ISRAEL’S GREATEST DEFENSE IS THEIR OBSESSION WITH PROPAGANDA

And so begins another ugly bout of the endless propaganda disease that is so endemic to this conflict. Israel is reported to have killed 1,397 Palestinian children not involved in hostilities since the start of the second intifada, according to the NGO Defence for Children International in Palestine, but there are no investigations into their deaths because none have been as emblematic as Muhammad.
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Muhammad al-Dura and Israel’s obsession with the propaganda war

A report suggesting the death of the boy may have been faked was all spin, disregarding Palestinian testimony
Rachel Shabi
Muhammad and Jamal al-Dura

Footage from the France 2 report showing Muhammad al-Dura and his father, Jamal. Photograph: EPA

If Israel’s government is to be believed, Palestinians have sunk so low as to be capable of faking their own deaths. Or wait, maybe the Israeli accusation of fakery is itself the indication of a horrifying new nadir. An Israeli report has concluded that Muhammad al-Dura, the 12-year-old Palestinian whose death in 2000 in Gaza was captured by a French public TV channel, was not killed by Israelis – and may in fact not be dead at all.

Back then, a short film of Muhammad and his father, both caught in a shootout, trying helplessly to shelter against a barrage of gunfire, was narrated by French Channel 2 correspondent Charles Enderlin and relayed around the world, turning the boy into a symbol of the brutality of the second intifada and the Israeli occupation. Now, Israel says those same images are yet more proof of a global campaign to delegitimise Israel – and are, additionally, attempts to invoke the blood libel.

And so begins another ugly bout of the endless propaganda disease that is so endemic to this conflict. Israel is reported to have killed 1,397 Palestinian children not involved in hostilities since the start of the second intifada, according to the NGO Defence for Children International in Palestine, but there are no investigations into their deaths because none have been as emblematic as Muhammad. Those images of his terrified face seconds before his death were relayed around the world and are now burned into so many hearts: there are postage stamps of him, parks and streets named after him and screen-grab posters of that terrible moment raised on roads across the Arab and Muslim world.

This investigation, commissioned by Binyamin Netanyahu last year, seems intended only to give fuel to rightist Israel supporters – any report seeking to get closer to the truth might have bothered to speak to Muhammad’s father, or Enderlin, or France’s Channel 2. Instead, what this document provides is spin and no new evidence. It has cued a flood of commentary, about lying Palestinians and a hostile foreign media, from rightwing Israeli commentators.

But what stands out, yet again, is the disregard for anything Palestinians might have to contribute to the story. In effect, this report is saying to Palestinians: your words, your pain and your losses are insignificant, erasable bumps in this narrative. It is no wonder that Muhammad’s father, Jamal al-Dura, has said: “What saddens me is that I feel alone in the face of the Israeli propaganda machine …”, going on to lament a lack of support from either the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah or the Hamas government in Gaza.

With this investigation, Israel’s government exposes its obsession with trying to win the propaganda war, as though this will magically make everything OK. Netanyahu has called the al-Dura incident part of the “ongoing, mendacious campaign to delegitimise Israel”. But the problem is that nothing could possibility delegitimise Israel more than its prolonged and oppressive occupation of the Palestinian people – the escalating deaths; the daily, grinding humiliation. The longer it continues, the more such attempts to obfuscate or detract from this reality – rather than bring about its end – will only make matters worse.

Written FOR

AL JAZEERA; UNCENSORING THE CENSORS

Just two days ago THIS was posted regarding Al Jazeera caving to zionist pressure and censoring an article written by a noted Columbia University professor. Today, we are pleased to report that the decision has been reversed.
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Ehab Al Shihabi (right), with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, has promoted himself as the public face of Al Jazeera America. (Source: Al Jazeera America)

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  • Al Jazeera restores Massad’s article and denies political pressure.
  • Massad expresses disappointment in network’s actions.*

Al Jazeera roiled by US manager’s decision to censor Joseph Massad article

 by Ali Abunimah 
  • Al Jazeera restores Massad’s article and denies political pressure.
  • Massad expresses disappointment in network’s actions.
  • The Electronic Intifada reveals the political and commercial fears that motivated top manager Ehab Al Shihabi’s move to remove article.
  • Azmi Bishara condemns “cowardly” decision.

Days after a top Al Jazeera executive ordered the removal of an op-ed critical of Zionism by Joseph Massad, the article was today restored to the network’s English-language website.

Imad Musa, the head of Al Jazeera English Online, also posted a statement on the Editor’s Blog denying that Al Jazeera had “succumbed to various pressures, and censored its own pages” when it removed the article.

The about-face follows a growing uproar inside and outside Al Jazeera over the article’s removal, amid fears for editorial independence and freedom of speech as the Qatar-based network prepares to launch Al Jazeera America.

Musa’s statement claims that “After publication, many questions arose about the article’s content. In addition, the article was deemed to be similar in argument to Massad’s previous column, ‘Zionism, anti-Semitism and colonialism,’ published on these pages in December.”

However, Musa acknowledges that “We should have handled this better, and we have learned lessons that will enable us to maintain the highest standards of journalistic integrity.”

Massad “heartened” by reaction

Massad, who has written for the Al Jazeera English website for two years, welcomed the restoration of his article, but expressed disappointment in Al Jazeera’s statement in a response sent to The Electronic Intifada:

I am heartened to know that there has been a huge and widespread upheaval among Al Jazeera journalists and staffers against this arbitrary decision, which flew in the face of professional journalistic standards and the freedom of expression. Their opposition along with the reaction and outrage expressed by the general public internationally in the last two days clearly tipped the balance against the peremptory power of the profit-seeking executives and has put the latter on notice.

While the restoration of my article is a triumph against the political commissars of Al Jazeera, the statement that Al Jazeera issued, which contained no apology, falls short of being a triumph for all those who insist on maintaining Al Jazeera’s independence and critical edge from American media restrictions. I am saddened that their principled stance has yet to fully triumph in this important fight.

Political decision made by “higher ups”

Massad rejected Al Jazeera’s claim that the article had been removed due to its similarity to a previous article, and said he had been given the same line by Imad Musa, who telephoned Massad from Doha last night.

“I quickly disabused him of it, explaining that while ‘The Last of the Semites’ was related to the article I published last December,” Massad wrote, “it was a different article altogether and had a different frame and a different set of arguments and facts.”

Massad said the excuse was “a damage control move that refuses to take responsibility for Al Jazeera’s submission to American Zionist dictates.”

Massad recounts his conversation with Musa:

I explained that since he was the new Head of Al Jazeera Online (he told me that he had been appointed in this new position ten days ago), he could restore the article and issue the apology immediately and not have to wait till the next day. He explained that the matter was “more complicated than that.” I retorted: “Are you or are you not the Head of Al Jazeera Online?” He murmured embarrassingly that the matter was not in his hands. I responded by reaffirming to him that indeed it was not and that the matter was not up to him but to the higher ups who made the decision for political reasons.

Musa did not respond to an email from The Electronic Intifada requesting comment.

The debacle unfolds

Speaking with multiple sources over the course of several days, The Electronic Intifada has been able to piece together and corroborate key elements of what happened and these inquiries confirm that politics and commercial interests were indeed at play.

As Massad explained in a statement in Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar, he filed “The Last of the Semites” after a request from his editor to submit a piece for Nakba Day – the annual 15 May commemoration of Israel’s ethnic cleansing and colonization of Palestine.

Massad’s article, based on a lecture he gave in Stuttgart, Germany on 10 May, was published on 14 May. The entire conference, including Massad’s speech, was carried on the network’s live channel Al Jazeera Mubasher. Mhamed Krichen, one of Al Jazeera’s star anchors, participated on two panels at the conference, including one with Massad.

But in the days after Massad’s article appeared, as The Electronic Intifada previously reported, there was a more than usually intense outcry from high-profile Zionist commentators including The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, who grossly distorted Massad’s article and escalated their defamation and slurs against him.

Suddenly, on 19 May, the article disappeared from Al Jazeera’s main English website, and hours later from its mobile site. What happened?

Fear that op-ed would hurt Al Jazeera America launch

The person who got spooked by the volume of criticism was Ehab Al Shihabi, executive director for international operations of Al Jazeera America, and the man in charge of launching the network’s high-profile, high-risk US venture.

Al Shihabi, a Palestinian American, demanded that the article be taken down, and, by several accounts, management in Doha acquiesced.

A career management consultant with no journalistic background and no formal editorial role, Al Shihabi’s intervention was unusual to say the least. But Al Shihabi’s power in the company has grown tremendously in recent years, along with criticism that he is accountable to no one.

Massad wrote in Al-Akhbar that when he saw that his article had been removed, he called one of the two editors with whom he normally works.

That editor was also initially unaware that the article had been removed, and when he got back to Massad after looking into it, could only confirm that it had been “pulled by management.”

Al Shihabi did not respond to an email from The Electronic Intifada requesting comment.

Political repurcussions

Al Shihabi’s reason for wanting Massad silenced was fear of the political repurcussions for Al Jazeera America.

He conveyed his concerns that the intensified criticism could jeopardize his efforts to launch the channel including winning cable distribution deals needed to get the channel into American living rooms.

It will be the voice of Main Street,” Al Shihabi recently said of the nascent US-based Al Jazeera offshoot.

Clearly, in Al Shihabi’s eyes, Massad’s searing, well-researched criticism of Zionism was not going to fly in the American mainstream.

Al Shihabi has positioned himself as the face of Al Jazeera America, barnstorming US campuses and other locations, often promoting pictures of himself on the company blog.

Yet, the huge embarrassment Al Shihabi’s intervention to remove Massad’s article has caused the network suggests a serious lack of judgment.

Breaking into American market

Al Shihabi certainly knew that Al Jazeera, which has cleverly used the Internet to reach primary audiences, has had a hard time getting its English-language channels carried by US cable distributors.

It has often faced politically-motivated and racist opposition and accusations that the channel promotes “terrorism” because of its Arab and Qatari background and willingness to air viewpoints routinely suppressed in mainstream American media.

In January, Al Jazeera bought Current TV, a cable network founded by former US Vice President Al Gore, which instantly enabled it to expand its reach to 40 million American homes from just 4.7 million before the deal.

Soon after, the deal was criticized by former long-time Washington Post media commentator and CNN host Howard Kurtz, who also pointed out that the network has been called “anti-American” and a “fount” of “anti-Israel propaganda.”

The vast majority of the criticism of Al Jazeera’s US expansion plans has indeed come from extreme Islamophobic and pro-Israel sources.

Just weeks ago, The New York Post reported that Al Jazeera was in talks to buy more cable networks – a move that is likely only to generate more opposition.

Perhaps hoping to head off such resistance, Ehab Al Shihabi, an intensely political operator, has sought to cozy up to key players in the US establishment, such as his recent,high-profile meeting with influential Democratic Party power-broker and Chicago MayorRahm Emanuel. Emanuel, President Obama’s first White House chief of staff, has been, as the son of a member of the Zionist terrorist gang, the Irgun, a hardline supporter of Israel.

Breakdown of editorial control

Clearly, the normal editorial controls had been circumvented in order for Massad’s article to be removed. The breakdown in accountability demonstrated by this incident has caused soul-searching among Al Jazeera staffers.

Several journalists on several continents spoke of a widespread sense that the blunder damaged the reputation of the whole network, especially in light of persistent criticism that Al Jazeera’s legendary independence, particularly of its Arabic channel, has been sacrificed to the interests of Qatar’s foreign policy.

Al Shihabi, an unaccountable senior manager, ordering the deletion of an article without telling either the author or the editors who commissioned it, seemed to confirm the worst expectations.

“Cowardly” decision

Azmi Bishara, the Palestinian political leader and academic and one of Al Jazeera’s most prominent commentators, forcefully condemned the network’s action as “cowardly and opportunistic.”

In a statement on his Facebook page hours before Massad’s article was restored, Bishara said that the deletion of Massad’s article followed false accusations of anti-Semitism by “Zionist” and “racist” individuals.

Relating the move to the planned launch of Al Jazeera America, Bishara added, “If the price of Al Jazeera’s entry into the United States means its submission to Zionist dictates, then this means that America will be moving into Al Jazeera and not the reverse.”

Given that even Massad’s university, Columbia, had eventually stood up to similar false and disproven accusations and campaigns, Bishara noted that Al Jazeera had been “even less vigilant than Columbia in defending the rights of an Arab professor to express his opinion. Shame on you.”

Massad echoed this theme in his statement, noting that “the attempt to censor my article is the price that Al Jazeera, or at least Ehab Al Shihabi and other upper management executives, are willing to pay in order to enter the US media market.”

Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald added his own searing indictment of the network earlier today:

No media outlet can possibly do something like this without publicly accounting for what happened and expect to retain credibility. How can you demand transparency and accountability from others when you refuse to provide any yourself? Refusing to comment on secret actions of this significance is the province of corrupt politicians, not journalists. It’s behavior that journalists should be condemning, not emulating.

Restoring credibility?

What Bishara has said publicly, many present and former Al Jazeera staffers have been saying privately. Yet many Al Jazeera journalists are determined to retain the respect that the network has enjoyed for being willing to take on stories and offer voices – especially on Palestine – that no other network of its size would touch.

The restoration of Massad’s article, they must hope, will be a first step towards regaining Al Jazeera’s reputation as a place where free discussion of Palestine, Zionism and Israel are still permitted, even if it doesn’t always sell on Main Street. But there’s no doubt the damage has been great.

Joseph Massad’s statement in full

I am heartened to know that there has been a huge and widespread upheaval among Al Jazeera journalists and staffers against this arbitrary decision, which flew in the face of professional journalistic standards and the freedom of expression. Their opposition along with the reaction and outrage expressed by the general public internationally in the last two days clearly tipped the balance against the peremptory power of the profit-seeking executives and has put the latter on notice.

While the restoration of my article is a triumph against the political commissars of Al Jazeera, the statement that Al Jazeera issued, which contained no apology, falls short of being a triumph for all those who insist on maintaining Al Jazeera’s independence and critical edge from American media restrictions. I am saddened that their principled stance has yet to fully triumph in this important fight.

It seems to me that the attempt to censor my article is the price that Al Jazeera, or at least Ehab Al Shihabi and other upper management executives, are willing to pay in order to enter the US media market. This means that Al Shihabi and other executives at Al Jazeera see no problem in sacrificing Al Jazeera’s freedom of expression and subjecting it to the severe restrictions of the American mainstream media on the question of US foreign policy in the Middle East and on the question of Israel, thus eliminating in the process Al Jazeera’s critical coverage of both. Clearly, American Zionist pressure, placed on Al Shihabi and on Al Jazeera, is intended to impart to Al Jazeera the mediocre standards of mainstream American journalism and its commitment to severe censorship of views critical of US policy and of Israeli colonialism. When Oscar Wilde was asked in 1882 upon entering the US if he had anything to declare to the customs authorities of New York, he responded: “I have nothing to declare but my genius;” Not only is Al Jazeera having to declare its journalistic independence as a foreign taxable commodity, but it is also surrendering it at the US border altogether.

As for the line that someone made a mistake and removed my article because it resembled the one I had published last December, this line was tried on me on the phone when the new Head of Al Jazeera online Imad Musa called me yesterday evening to discuss the matter. Mr. Musa used that line as an opening bid but I quickly disabused him of it, explaining that while “The Last of the Semites” was related to the article I published last December titled “Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and Colonialism,” it was a different article altogether and had a different frame and a different set of arguments and facts. I also informed him that I had a very good idea how this decision had been taken and that Al Shihabi was the man behind the ban. He offered to arrange a meeting in New York between Al Shihabi and me, but I quickly told him that we could not ponder any such meetings until after Al Jazeera restored my article and issued a public apology. I also informed him that I do not meet with people who coordinate with the likes of Rahm Emanuel.

After making a few phone calls, Mr. Musa called me back to assure me that I would be pleased with what Al Jazeera would do tomorrow (i.e. today). I explained that since he was the new Head of Al Jazeera Online (he told me that he had been appointed in this new position ten days ago), he could restore the article and issue the apology immediately and not have to wait till the next day. He explained that the matter was “more complicated than that.” I retorted: “Are you or are you not the Head of Al Jazeera Online?” He murmured embarrassingly that the matter was not in his hands. I responded by reaffirming to him that indeed it was not and that the matter was not up to him but to the higher ups who made the decision for political reasons.

At any rate, Mr. Musa never called back today, though he issued a statement on the Al Jazeera website this afternoon which does not contain an apology to the readers or to me. There are no expressions of regret either, or any acknowledgment of the motivations for the censorship. Musa repeats the shameful excuse that the reason why the article was pulled was due to its alleged similarity with the December article. I find this to be a damage control move that refuses to take responsibility for Al Jazeera’s submission to American Zionist dictates.

 

Written FOR

YOU WOULD THINK A 30 BILLION DOLLAR A YEAR HANDOUT WAS ENOUGH …

Not in the case of Israel!
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You would think that the 30 Billion Dollar$ GIVEN to Israel by the US Government annually (from YOUR tax dollars) was enough …. NOT SO! Most private donations via various zionist organisations to Israel are ALSO tax deductible  Worse yet, these organisations maintain a Tax-Exempt Status, leaving even less in the US coffers that could and should be used for Social Welfare Programmes at home….
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Just how long will this injustice be tolerated?
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And What happens if they lose that status? Donations intended for the ZOA given between February 2012 and May 2013 went to a donor advised fund maintained by an outside organization. The money still poured in via a ‘back door’.
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ZOA Regains Tax-Exempt Status After Yearlong Hiatus

Pro-Israel Group Skipped Federal Disclosure Filings

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Back in Business: ZOA National President Morton Klein chats with Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann at the group’s gala in 2011.
NAOMI ZEVELOFF
Back in Business: ZOA National President Morton Klein chats with Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann at the group’s gala in 2011.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

The Zionist Organization of America has regained its tax exemption more than a year after its failure to file financial disclosures led the Internal Revenue Service to revoke its nonprofit status.

The 116-year-old Jewish group’s tax exemption was reinstated on May 15, according to a statement from the ZOA.

“We’re delighted and gratified,” said ZOA National President Morton Klein in an interview with the Forward. “Now we can be raising money directly for ZOA.”

Donations intended for the ZOA given between February 2012 and May 2013 went to a donor advised fund maintained by an outside organization.

The ZOA, which occupies a decidedly hawkish slot on the pro-Israel Jewish spectrum, faced deep internal strife following the loss of its tax exemption in February 2012. ZOA National Vice Chairman Steven Goldberg emerged as a strident critic of the organization’s professional leadership, criticizing Klein for what Goldberg alleged was an effort to keep the loss of the tax exemption from the public.

The ZOA also fired Orit Arfa, the Los Angeles-based executive director of the ZOA’s Western Region, who had complained internally that the group was not doing enough to inform donors that the group’s tax exemption had been revoked. A ZOA spokesman said at the time that Arfa’s firing was not retaliatory. Arfa has sued the ZOA for wrongful termination in federal court in California. The ZOA has filed a motion to dismiss the case. Klein declined to comment on Arfa’s suit, though he called it “without merit.”

The ZOA’s loss of its tax exemption was not revealed until the publication of a Forward exposé in September, eight months the revocation occurred. A March email from ZOA national executive director David Drimer, submitted as an exhibit in Arfa’s lawsuit, asked ZOA staffers to keep the revocation quiet.

“In general, please do not broach this subject with donors unless it is absolutely necessary or they ask about it specifically,” Drimer wrote. “We firmly believe we can turn this around quickly through retroactive reinstatement so that assertively publicizing the current state of affairs will not be advantageous for the short and long-term interests of the ZOA.” An attached set of talking points prepared staffers to answer questions raised by donors.

The revocation came after the ZOA failed to file three years’ worth of Form 990s, required financial disclosures filed annually with the IRS by not-for-profit organizations. Subsequent filings revealed that Klein received a 38% bump in his base compensation for the period during which ZOA failed to file its tax reports.

Klein told the Forward that ZOA has now instituted organizational protections to prevent such filing errors from recurring, including the creation of a board committee to oversee the organization’s accounting operations.

As of May 15, the ZOA is again able to accept donations itself.

“There’s been zero impact, zero, on our work,” Klein said. “Our campus work, our work on [Capitol] Hill, our Title XI [civil rights] work, my speaking, my writing, my doing TV and radio. Nothing organizationally changed.”

The ZOA canceled its annual gala in 2012, citing the loss of the group’s tax-exempt status and a serious illness from which Klein was recovering at that time. The group says its 2013 gala will now go forward. The keynote speaker will be Mike Huckabee, former Republican presidential candidate and Fox News host. Loews Corp. CEO James Tisch will also be honored.

“We’re coming back with major people,” Klein said.

Source

AL JAZEERA CAVES TO ZIONIST PRESSURE AND CENSORS ARTICLE BY NOTED COLUMBIA U. PROFESSOR

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In an unprecedented act of political censorship Al Jazeera English has deleted an article by noted Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad after coming under intense criticism from Zionists in recent days.

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Al Jazeera management orders Joseph Massad article pulled in act of pro-Israel censorship

 Ali Abunimah
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In an unprecedented act of political censorship Al Jazeera English has deleted an article by noted Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad after coming under intense criticism from Zionists in recent days.

Massad told The Electronic Intifada that he had “received confirmation” from his editor at Al Jazeera English that “management pulled the article.” The Electronic Intifada was able to independently confirm that the article was pulled.

The piece, “The Last of the Semites,” published on 14 May, was taken down from the main Al Jazeera English site this morning – the link now redirects to Al Jazeera’s main page. It has also disappeared from Massad’s personal page on the Al Jazeera website.

The article had been one of the most viewed and emailed articles on the site and had been tweeted hundreds of times.

Al Jazeera has yet to offer any public explanation for its action.

Intense criticism

Since its publication, the article generated intense criticism from Zionist extremists,including a columnist in the virulently anti-Palestinian Jerusalem Post, and condemnation on Twitter from President Barack Obama’s favorite Israel lobby gatekeeper and former Israeli prison guard Jeffrey Goldberg:

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on Twitter

Congratulations, al Jazeera: You’ve just posted one of the most anti-Jewish screeds in recent memory: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/05/201351275829430527.html 

The last of the Semites

It is Israel’s claims that it represents and speaks for all Jews that are the most anti-Semitic claims of all.

Al Jazeera English @AJEnglish

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John Podhoretz, editor of the neoconservative anti-Palestinian Zionist magazineCommentary tweeted about Massad, “Congratulations, donors to Columbia University, for paying this monstrous fuckhead’s salary!”

The backlash has been so intense precisely because Massad goes to the core of Israel’s claim to represent Jews and to cast its critics as anti-Semites by showing that indeed it is Israel and Zionism that partake of the same anti-Semitism that targeted European Jews.

In doing so, Massad pulls the rug from under Zionists and Israel lobbyists by demonstrating that they are the anti-Semites and taking away the most formidable weapon they wield against critics of Israel: the accusation that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.

By neutralizing this ideological weapon that Israel has used so effectively in the Western media to cover up its colonization of Palestine, Massad’s pro-Jewish position and strenuous attack on Zionist anti-Semitism is clearly understood by Israel lobby figures such as Goldberg as a complete obliteration of their ideological arsenal.

Zionism and anti-Semitism: two sides of the same coin

Goldberg’s claim that Massad’s article is an “anti-Jewish screed” could not be further from the truth.

Massad has long argued – convincingly – that Zionism and anti-Semitism are two sides of the same coin. It is a theme he develops with great erudition in his 2006 book The Persistence of the Palestinian Question, and one to which he returns in his latest article, “The Last of the Semites,” published on Al Jazeera on 14 May, which opens thus:

Jewish opponents of Zionism understood the movement since its early age as one that shared the precepts of anti-Semitism in its diagnosis of what gentile Europeans called the “Jewish Question.” What galled anti-Zionist Jews the most, however, was that Zionism also shared the “solution” to the Jewish Question that anti-Semites had always advocated, namely the expulsion of Jews from Europe.

Last December, in another piece for Al Jazeera, Massad explained how “Zionist leaders consciously recognized that state anti-Semitism was essential to their colonial project,” in Palestine, a recognition epitomized by the notorious Transfer Agreement Zionist leaders signed with the Nazi government of Germany in 1933.

A theme that Massad develops in his latest piece is that European, and especially Germany’s, support for Israel after 1948, is no break with the anti-Semitic past:

West Germany’s alliance with Zionism and Israel after WWII, of supplying Israel with huge economic aid in the 1950s and of economic and military aid since the early 1960s, including tanks, which it used to kill Palestinians and other Arabs, is a continuation of the alliance that the Nazi government concluded with the Zionists in the 1930s.

The “The Last of the Semites” was based on a lecture Massad gave at a conference in Stuttgart (PDF), Germany, to a largely German audience, just last week:

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Censorship

Although Qatar-based Al Jazeera receives much criticism, and often deserved for reflecting Qatar’s foreign policy, the censorship of Massad’s article for political reasons is unprecedented because the English-language website had, until now, enjoyed complete editorial independence.

It is well understood that Al Jazeera’s red lines have always been criticism of Qatar or its Emir, and yet, Massad has even published several articles on Al Jazeera English that harshly criticized both Qatari foreign policy (See herehere and hereand the Emir himself without ever being censored.

And Massad has written plenty of articles that have enraged Zionists.

This indicates, without doubt, that the decision to remove Massad’s article today was taken at the highest level.

But why would this happen now?

One reasonable interpretation would be that the removal of Massad’s article reflects a tightening of the editorial line as the network launches its new channel, Al Jazeera America, which will rely – for access to cable systems, and “mainstream” credibility – on forging good relations with US elites.

An illustration of what this process might look like was on display when Ehab Al Shihabi, executive director of Al Jazeera’s international operations and the official responsible for setting up Al Jazeera America, recently visited Chicago – which will be home to a major Al Jazeera bureau.

While in the city, Al Shihabi struck up a cozy relationship with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff.

Emanuel, a major powerbroker in America’s ruling Democratic Party, is, of course, also notorious for his hardline pro-Israel positions.

It is unknown if Al Shihabi had anything directly to do with the removal of Massad’s article – that decision would almost certainly have been taken at an even higher level in Doha – but his dalliance with Emanuel is a good indicator of who Al Jazeera is out to impress.

Until late Sunday, Massad’s piece could still be read in full on Al Jazeera’s mobile site, but by late evening, that too had disappeared.

Here is a PDF image of the censored article.

The Last of the Semites – Joseph Massad – Al Jazeera English

 

Written FOR

A ‘FABRICATED’ DEATH THAT WAS FOR REAL

 Despite Israeli denials, 12 year old Mohammed al-Dura was murdered by IDF fire 13 years ago. The only thing fabricated about the case is the newly released report including a YouTube video.
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September ordered an investigation into the incident which Israel sees as a blight on its image and an enduring inspiration for violence against it.
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Palestinian Father Hits Back Over Israel Claim Son Wasn’t Really Killed in Video

Blasts Report Casting Doubt on Death as ‘Fabrication’

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YOUTUBE 

By Reuters

A Palestinian father whose son was captured on tape being shot in an iconic 2000 video that helped launch the intifada hit back at Israeli claims that the video is a fraud.

In Gaza, Jamal al-Dura denounced an Israeli report casting doubt on the death as “a new fabrication”. In an interview with Reuters, he demanded an international investigation, including Arab participation, into “what happened to me and my son”.

Twelve-year-old Mohammed al-Dura and his father, Jamal, were filmed crouching in terror by a wall in the Gaza Strip in September 2000, bullets whizzing around them, as Israeli forces battled Palestinian gunmen days into an uprising that erupted after failed peace talks.

The boy was later pronounced dead, and his father wounded.

Al-Dura spoke out after Israel demanded a French television station on Sunday correct a report from nearly 13 years ago which helped fuel anger across the world and ignite a bloody uprising against the Jewish state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September ordered an investigation into the incident which Israel sees as a blight on its image and an enduring inspiration for violence against it.

Israel at first apologised then blamed Palestinian militants for the death of Dura, whose lifeless image was shown around the world, turning him into a martyr in Arab countries.

The 36-page Israeli report said the France 2 accusation that troops had killed Dura was “destructive” and said it had fuelled attacks for years by Islamist militants against it as well as American targets, and “served as an inspiration and justification for terrorism, anti-Semitism.”

Based on its review of the film, the Israeli report said “there is no evidence that the Israeli military was in any way responsible for causing any of the alleged injuries” to the boy and his father.

“The review showed that it is highly doubtful that bullet holes in the vicinity of the two could have had their source in fire from the Israeli position,” it said.

The document also questioned whether the footage supports conclusions that either Palestinian victim was hurt during the film clip. “There are numerous indications that the two were not struck by bullets at all,” the report said.

“There remains a need to publicly correct and clarify the France 2 narrative as a first step towards moderating the report’s destructive effects,” it added.

In response to Israel’s report, France 2 said in a statement it “has shown a willingness to participate in any official independent investigation, carried out according to international standards”.

It said it was also ready to help exhume the boy’s “to help clarify the circumstances” of his death.

Source

YOUTUBE ‘PROVES’ THAT A MURDERED PALESTINIAN CHILD WASN’T DEAD AFTER ALL

 It took 13 years for Israel to garner enough CHUTZPAH to present ‘proof’ that a child murdered by the IDF in Gaza wasn’t dead after all….
Here is the ‘proof’ they offer via YouTube…
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“Contrary to the claim that the boy was dead, the committee’s review of the raw footage indicates that at the end of the video – the part that was not broadcast – the boy appears to be alive,” the inquiry stated. “The probe has found that there is no evidence to support the claims that the father, Jamal, or the boy Mohammed, were shot. Furthermore, the video does not show Jamal being seriously wounded.”
“On the other hand, many signs indicate that the two were never hit by the bullets,” the panel added in its conclusion.
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Israeli panel: Palestinian boy ‘killed’ by IDF at start of intifada did not actually die

National Israeli panel of inquiry says iconic footage from start of second intifada reveals that Palestinian child apparently caught by IDF bullets did not actually die in the incident.

By Barak Ravid
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Mohammed al-Dura - AP - 19022012
The infamous image of Mohammed al-Dura (left) sheltering with his father Jamal. Photo by AP
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Thirteen years after an exchange of fire in Gaza appeared to have resulted in the death of a Palestinian boy at the start of the second intifada, an Israeli investigative panel has found “there are many indications” that Mohammed al-Dura and his father, Jamal, “were never hit by gunfire” – neither Israeli nor Palestinian – after all.

The national panel of inquiry further claims that contrary to the famed report carried by the France 2 television network on the day of the incident, September 30, 2000, 12-year-old Mohammed al-Dura appears to be alive at the end of the complete footage captured of the event.

The investigative panel was commissioned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon in September 2012, and was headed by Yossi Kuperwasser, former director general of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs. It included representatives of the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit and the Israel Police, as well as outside experts.

The probe focused primarily on the France 2 report about al-Dura’s death and the events that followed. The report, which was presented by journalist Charles Enderlin, alleged that the boy was killed by bullets fired by Israel Defense Forces troops.

The committee found that the evidence in the television station’s possession did not support the claim that al-Dura died as a result of IDF gunfire. It added that the report falsely created the impression that the channel had solid proof that Israeli soldiers were responsible for the boy’s death.

“Contrary to the claim that the boy was dead, the committee’s review of the raw footage indicates that at the end of the video – the part that was not broadcast – the boy appears to be alive,” the inquiry stated. “The probe has found that there is no evidence to support the claims that the father, Jamal, or the boy Mohammed, were shot. Furthermore, the video does not show Jamal being seriously wounded.” 

“On the other hand, many signs indicate that the two were never hit by the bullets,” the panel added in its conclusion.

The inquiry casts doubt on the possibility that the bullet holes left on a wall under which the boy and his father sought shelter were caused by gunfire that came from a nearby IDF post, as was suggested in the France 2 report.

The committee stressed that “many question marks surround almost every aspect of the report,” further hinting that a boy named Mohammed al-Dura may have never existed.

The committee, which submitted its report for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s review on Sunday, charges France 2 and the reporter, Enderlin, with “harming Israel’s international standing and igniting the flames of terror and hatred.”

“Since it aired, the France 2 report about Israel’s actions has served as inspiration and justification for terror, anti-Semitism and the Israel’s de-legitimization,” the panel said.

An entire chapter within the inquiry report criticizes the media and offers conclusions that should be employed by journalists, even though no reporters were part of the committee. The panel asserted that the incident and its coverage highlight the need for “media outlets to abide by the strictest professional and ethical standards while reporting on asymmetrical conflicts.”

The photos of the Duras, father and son, taking cover behind a barrel during an exchange of gunfire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants, near the Netzarim junction in the Gaza Strip, remains one of the most enduring images of the second intifada.

Israel initially apologized for the boy’s death but issued a retraction when subsequent investigations indicated the boy was most likely killed by Palestinian fire.

In a February 2005 hearing in Paris, French Web site owner Phillipe Karsenty claimed France 2 had staged the incident, claiming the footage showed the boy still moving his arm, even though the cameraman had said he was dead. He provided a report from a French ballistics expert indicating the shots fired past the al-Duras came from the Palestinian position, and he pointed out that several scenes before the al-Dura incident appeared staged.

The judge agreed in that hearing that some scenes did not seem genuine.

However, Enderlin said that the images were no different from the clashes he had witnessed repeatedly. The prosecution stated that a dead Palestinian boy had been buried after the Netzarim junction incident, and that Jamal al-Dura consented to DNA tests that could prove the boy was his son.

 
 

STILL ANOTHER BONE TO PICK WITH DONALD TRUMP

MonopolyMan-RichUnclePennybags
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I’ve had a personal vendetta against Donald Trump for as long as I can remember. If you click on the link you will understand why ….
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But now, in the days when the Boycott and Divest Movements against Israel are growing daily, Trump decides to invest in Israel …. NOT DIVEST.
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Just another personal bone to pick with the man that one day hopes to own the entire world.
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Donald Trump Plans World-Class Golf Course in Israel

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Screen shot of Donald Trump. Photo: Youtube 

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Real estate magnate and television celebrity Donald Trump plans to bring his real estate empire to Israel by building a world class golf course in Ashkelon, Globes reported.

Trump is interested in building a course on a 210-acre site on the Mediterranean coast, adjacent to the Nitzanim Nature Reserve. The project will include an 18-hole course, 650 hotel recreation units, a convention hall, a country club, and commercial space.

“I am excited about the plans to build a world-class golf center along the beautiful Mediterranean coast. I have great affection for Israel and its people, and I believe that Israel is a worthy place to be included in the list of communities which host Trump golf centers,” Trump said in a letter to Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin.

The famously outspoken Trump has expressed interest in Israel for years. He also endorsed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in elections last January, calling him a “great man and great prime minister.”

If built, the golf course would be Israel’s second full course behind the Caesarea Golf & Country Club

Source

BDS SUPPORTERS CONTINUE TO CELEBRATE HAWKING’S DECISION WHILST THE ZIONISTS CONTINUE TO WHINE ABOUT IT

For supporters of the BDS movement, who call for boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel, Hawking’s decision was cause for unprecedented celebration. Not only is Hawking a world-leading scientist who succeeded in making theoretical physics and cosmology accessible to laymen, he also demonstrated, in his struggle with a debilitating nervous system disease, the strength of mind over body. The event Hawking chose to boycott — an international gathering celebrating the 90th birthday of Israel’s most well-known leader, Shimon Peres — added to the BDS movement’s triumph.
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Is Steven Hawking’s Decision To Boycott an Israeli Conference Boon to BDS?

Israel Supporters Note Significance But Question Longterm Impact

Game Changer? British astrophysicist Steven Hawking endorsed the boycott of Israel by refusing to attend a academic conference there. Does his celebrity status provide a crucial new boost to movement?

GETTY IMAGES
Game Changer? British astrophysicist Steven Hawking endorsed the boycott of Israel by refusing to attend a academic conference there. Does his celebrity status provide a crucial new boost to movement?

By Nathan Guttman

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WASHINGTON — In the battle between supporters of Israel and those calling for a boycott of the Jewish state success is measured to a great extent by symbolic victories. And nothing makes for more of a symbolic victory than getting the most prominent living scientist to boycott Israel’s most prestigious gathering.

Such was the impact of British physicist Stephen Hawking’s surprise withdrawal from Israel’s Presidential Conference at the request of pro-Palestinian activists.

For supporters of the BDS movement, who call for boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel, Hawking’s decision was cause for unprecedented celebration. Not only is Hawking a world-leading scientist who succeeded in making theoretical physics and cosmology accessible to laymen, he also demonstrated, in his struggle with a debilitating nervous system disease, the strength of mind over body. The event Hawking chose to boycott — an international gathering celebrating the 90th birthday of Israel’s most well-known leader, Shimon Peres — added to the BDS movement’s triumph.

“This is a fantastic move, a sort of watershed moment,” BDS activist Sami Hermez said in a May 10 interview on Al Jazeera TV. “When someone like that boycotts Israel, you have the possibility of a snowball effect and it speaks to the growing nature of the BDS movement.”

Supporters of Israel did not dispute the significance of Hawking joining the BDS camp, but they did question the significance of the move for future attempts to boycott Israel. Oren Segal, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, called the decision “a PR gift to the movement,” but noted at the same time that putting Hawking’s move in perspective would require acknowledging that “for every high-profile person who acquiesces to those demanding a boycott, there are dozens of others who do not succumb to this pressure.”

Reaction in Israel and around the world to Hawking’s move helped enforce the notion that Hawking was more than another name on the list of celebrities refusing to visit Israel. The chairman of the Presidential Conference, Israel Maimon, responded angrily, calling the decision “outrageous and improper.” Maimon added that the imposition of such a boycott is “incompatible with open, democratic dialogue.” The British press, which covered the Hawking affair closely, devoted lengthy articles to the decision, voicing opinions both favoring the boycott and opposing it. In the American media, usually known to lean more in favor of Israel than the European press does, the mainstream Boston Globe stood out by publishing an editorial that labeled the Israeli response an “overreaction” and called Hawking’s move a “reasonable way to express one’s political views.”

Hawking announced his decision on May 9, after it was initially reported a day earlier in the British newspaper The Guardian. In a letter to organizers, Hawking explained that he made the decision following appeals from Palestinian academics to withdraw. “Had I attended,” he wrote in the letter, “I would have stated my opinion that the policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster.”

The BDS movement began to organize in 2005, modeled after the global movement to boycott South Africa during the Apartheid regime.

The extent of the BDS movement’s success has been in dispute. Efforts to enroll major companies, stockholders and unions in pulling their investments from Israel or from firms doing business with Israel failed to gain traction, and there has been little success in limiting the sale of Israeli products, especially in the United States.

The movement did succeed, however, in convincing some high-profile artists, including Roger Waters, Elvis Costello and Snoop Dogg, to drop Israel from their concert tour schedules. Other performing artists decided in past years to cancel planned shows in Israel without providing any explanation or tying their decision openly to the Israeli– Palestinian conflict.

Academic circles have not been immune to boycott attempts, though practical moves to withdraw from conferences in Israel or reject Israeli researchers were rare and occurred mostly in Europe. Hawking’s move could change that balance, adding celebrity power to the academic and scientific boycott in a way that could make intellectual interactions between Israelis and their colleagues around the world more difficult in years to come.

Itamar Rabinovich, former president of Tel Aviv University, called the academic boycott movement “an incremental process” that has been “gathering volume.” He noted that Hawking’s withdrawal and the attention it drew should be seen as “jumping to a new level” in the attempts to isolate Israeli academic work. “It resonates and it is being used by those who believe in it to give the movement more m omentum,” said Rabinovich, who also served in the past as Israel’s ambassador to Washington.

Rabinovich characterized Hawking’s decision as only a boost to the BDS movement, not a game changer. The impact of anti-Israeli sentiments in the academic world is already noticeable, he said, and could increase in the future. In humanities and social studies, he said, “if you want to get invited to an important conference or to spend a sabbatical in a leading university, you better be politically correct on issues relating to Israel, or else you won’t have a chance.”

In the scientific field, Rabinovich said, such pressure is not yet noticed but could emerge in coming years, making it more difficult for Israeli scientists to receive research grants or to find colleagues who will work together on projects supported by binational funds.

Activists monitoring the BDS movement, such as Segal, were puzzled by the route Hawking took to express his criticism of Israel. Refusing to take part in activities relating directly to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is more common in academic circles, he said, as is the boycott of goods from settlements, or refusing to visit individuals involved in Jewish life in the occupied territories. Hawking’s move was more extreme, Segal said, especially for a scientist who has not been vocal on these issues before.

“His decision was a kind of denial of Israel’s existence,” Segal said of the withdrawal from the Presidential Conference. “That’s what makes it all the more disturbing.”

Source

JASON ALEXANDER; FROM FUNNY GUY TO PEACEMAKER

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Though we may be actors in an important drama, we do know the difference between dreams and reality. The ever-shifting realities in the Middle East have been altering the plot lines of our story for a long time. But they do not change the ending. The grand finale can and must be a spectacular and happy ending. There is simply no other choice. And we can either play no role or some role. To play none is a dangerous choice and a dishonorable one.
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We can only wish him luck …. any effort might lead to an end to the madness. BTW, Jason shares a page with me on the S H I T List 🙂
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Playing your role: A Middle East peace drama

Op-ed: Actor Jason Alexander explains his decision to help resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Jason Alexander

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The Middle East is a very difficult stage to play upon. Without doubt, it is a good drama. And on occasion, there are situations so unimaginable, if not ludicrous, as to make them almost comic. But the cast is constantly changing, the audience is often disengaged and it seems at times that no one is actually running the show. So, how does one find their role?

On May 16, I will be joining a panel of experts organized by the OneVoice Movement at 92Y in New York City to explore this very point. We will discuss what civil society can do to rekindle and fuel the hopes for peace between Palestinians and Israelis. I am, by no means, one of those experts. Nor need I be to understand the importance of this cause and the value of participation from people in all walks of life – both directly engaged in this conflict and supporting from the outside.

I found that looking at the Israeli/Palestinian conflict from an outside vantage point was actually quite distancing. The history of the conflict, the personalities, the violence, the distrust, and the seeming lack of viable solutions made meaningful involvement feel impossible. What changed that, for me, was changing the vantage point.

I’ve visited the region several times, many with OneVoice during delegation trips, and each time my interest and activism in this conflict increased because I not only saw and heard with my own eyes and ears, but through those living the conflict daily.

Event number one: While visiting a kibbutz in the north of Israel, I learned of an interesting exchange during a security patrol. The kibbutz is situated on a hill at the bottom of which sits an Arab village in Lebanon. Despite the ongoing struggles, the kibbutz and the village had been good neighbors – sharing resources, celebrating each other’s holidays and generally looking out for each other. Then, a fundamentalist group came into the village and forcefully took over day-to-day operations.

Voice of humanity

To the outside observer, the two environments were now deadly enemies. One night on patrol, the security team for the kibbutz encountered an elderly man from the village who was about to fire two mortar rockets into the kibbutz. The team confiscated the rockets and then realized that they all knew this man. They reminded him of how they had all been such good neighbors, how their children all played together, of how they had spent many happy times together and then asked the man why he now hated them so much that he would attack them. The elderly man answered, “I don’t hate you. There is no work. There is no income. The fundamentalists pay me seventy-five dollars for each rocket I fire at an Israeli target. For one hundred and fifty dollars, I can support my family for six months. I cannot say no. But I have no hatred for you. In fact, give me the rockets and give me the one hundred fifty dollars and I will fire at the fundamentalists”. This “conflict of ideologies” was no such thing. This was a desperate act of survival.

Event number two occurred in Los Angeles in the mid-90s. OneVoice founders and board members Daniel Lubetzky and Mohammad Darawshe had come to talk about their vision for a new path to peace for Israel and Palestine. I was dubious. I thought this was merely an appeal for money that would be thrown cavalierly at an impossible project. But during their presentation, Mohammad spoke about why he chose to devote himself to OneVoice. He spoke of his young son, Fadi, and of how remarkable this boy’s dedication to goals had been. Fadi had promised his father that he would be the top student in his class, and succeeded. He promised he would be captain of the soccer team, and succeeded. And then one day, he came to his father and promised that he was going to be a martyr. He was twelve years old. Mohammad then spoke of how he would stop at nothing to make this goal one that his son would never keep. And as he was weeping, so was I. Mohammad was a father. I was a father. His child was my child. And I had to help.

Those are the stories that do not get told in this conflict. We on the outside do not get these glimpses of reality. We see and hear about Israelis and Palestinians only when they are defined by the global media as “occupiers,” “terrorists,” and “victims.” But we forget that they are fathers and mothers and sons and daughters and neighbors and doctors and shop-owners and farmers and students. It is those roles, those definitions that make possible the name of the organization I support – OneVoice. Because in those roles of family and community and shared interests, we do all speak with one voice – our voice of humanity.

At 92Y, OneVoice is unveiling its new strategic vision, the “Peoples’ Blueprint.” OneVoice is creating activists out of everyday people and forging links with local, national, and global stakeholders to create positive facts on the ground toward a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. They are playing their role by jump starting the political process from the ground-up.

Though we may be actors in an important drama, we do know the difference between dreams and reality. The ever-shifting realities in the Middle East have been altering the plot lines of our story for a long time. But they do not change the ending. The grand finale can and must be a spectacular and happy ending. There is simply no other choice. And we can either play no role or some role. To play none is a dangerous choice and a dishonorable one.

So, with my concluding lines, may I implore you to see beyond the stereotypes and the news bites? Good men and women are struggling for their futures, their dignities, and their security. We have a role to play, no matter how small. I have taken a part, but this cast is large. And the players need you. It is a great story. You really shouldn’t miss it.  

 

 

Written FOR

RAPPIN FOR THE NAKBA

ONE MAN’S PERSONAL NAKBA
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EndTheOccupation

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We will return.
That is not a threat
not a wish
a hope
or a dream
but a promise
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For more on Remi Kanazi’s work, visit his website (www.PoeticInjustice.net) or follow him on Twitter @Remroum.
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Originally posted AT

ZIONISM LITERALLY GRASPING AT STRAWS

The frenzie over Stephen Hawking’s support of the BDS Movement continues in today’s zionist Press. They are literally grasping at straws with the ridiculous arguments they present in praise of apartheid and ethnic cleansing …
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the-straw (1)
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Those who call for a boycott want to look good, like peace activists, but instead of trying to make the world a better place, they are doing the exact opposite. I’m sure many of them, Hawking included, did not take the time to Google Israel and see its extraordinary contribution to the world in many fields, from science and medicine to high-tech and entertainment. I bet they don’t know that many people worldwide, Palestinians included, have been treated by inventions that changed the face of medicine. I bet they have no idea that the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology, which has recently fallen under the boycott radar, stands behind Rasagiline, a drug effective in the treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, the “Snake Robot,” an innovative search and rescue robot invaluable to earthquake survivors, and more.
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The new wave

Op-ed: Israel boycotters find it very convenient to believe horror stories about ethnic cleansing

Noga Gur-Arieh*

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The world’s most famous scientist, Professor Stephen Hawking, was supposed to arrive in Israel in June. Hawking, 71, a world-renowned theoretical physicist, was invited to participate the high- profile Presidential Conference in Jerusalem titled “Facing Tomorrow,” which will also include a 90th birthday celebration for our President, Shimon Peres.  

Everything was settled, and the excitement was high. I mean, not every day one of the most respected people in the world clears his schedule to visit Israel. My cousin, who is a fan, told me this means the world to her, that her idol would travel all the way from England to Israel. It wasn’t even a month later when Hawking changed his mind.  

Like many before him, the Cambridge University Professor joined the boycott of  Israel, and cancelled his visit in protest of “the treatment of Palestinians.” Like many before him, Hawking did not check facts come and see what is really going on here for himself, but decided it is much more convenient to believe the horror stories about ethnic cleansing, a second holocaust, abuse, apartheid and other lies. Turns out that him being a scientist, and more than that, a person who suffers from motor neuron disease and uses Israeli technology to communicate, does not make him think how stupid, empty and hypocritical this whole thing is.  

This new trend of boycotting Israel is catching like a fire in a hay field. Musicians, scientists, universities and public figures fall in love with the idea of becoming heroes and supporting an important cause, and without thinking twice, jump on the bandwagon. One by one they fall into the picture drawn to them by haters and liars, as we, just like in some twisted horror movie, are forced to watch everything from afar, not able to say a word of truth without being called “liars.”  

Every time I hear about a new guest at the “boo Israel” party, I can’t help but wonder what they are trying to achieve, and why they don’t even bother checking the facts. I mean, the situation here is very complex, and I understand why some who have been here would support an independent Palestinian country. Supporting this is legitimate. It is a political argument, just like the issue of the US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. But there is a long way from this to making accusations about ethnic cleansing, or comparing Israel of 2013 to Germany of 1940.  

Those who call for a boycott want to look good, like peace activists, but instead of trying to make the world a better place, they are doing the exact opposite. I’m sure many of them, Hawking included, did not take the time to Google Israel and see its extraordinary contribution to the world in many fields, from science and medicine to high-tech and entertainment. I bet they don’t know that many people worldwide, Palestinians included, have been treated by inventions that changed the face of medicine. I bet they have no idea that the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology, which has recently fallen under the boycott radar, stands behind Rasagiline, a drug effective in the treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, the “Snake Robot,” an innovative search and rescue robot invaluable to earthquake survivors, and more  

Joining the boycott of Israel does not bring the world forward, but takes it backwards. It stifles progress and hurts us, the Israelis, personally. I don’t kill Palestinians for fun, honestly. I checked twice. The same goes for my friends, which some of them are Arabic. While we sometimes have our political differences, we all believe in progress and we all believe in peace. And when we hear about yet another public figure canceling a visit, we feel excluded.  

We feel as though we are doomed to hear terrible lies about us, without being able to defend ourselves. We stand aside, boycotted, as the world is being filled with more and more hate with every cancellation. Those people call for peace, but they are so caught up in this new wave, that they don’t take a moment to look back on the trail of damage they are leaving behind.  

I want to use the very little power I have here, as one little person against a raging crowd, and ask Hawking and his friends to take a moment, check the facts (which means listening to the other side as well, or even stopping by for a visit) and rethink the damage they are doing. Branding us as killers is easy, because dealing with the real killers, including the one next door, is a difficult task. It requires action, and a true struggle for peace. So, boycotters, please stop doing what you’re doing. You are not taking the high road. It is the road of twisted lies and a struggle for nothing. Check the facts, then agree or disagree, but don’t hate for nothing and don’t fall for lies. This is not what peace is made of.

*Noga Gur-Arieh, a journalist, currently writes the blog “Israelife” at http://www.jewishjournal.com, and is a contributor for The Jewish Daily Forward

REVISITING AND RELIVING THE NAKBA

 Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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As Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, our problem is not with Jews who believe in “live and let live” but is rather with this diabolical, fanatical and genocidal Zionism which has drenched this part of the world with blood, hatred and inequity.
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The Nakba revisited
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By Khalid Amayreh
 

Today marks the 65th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, the violent usurpation and occupation of Palestine by Zionist Jewish invaders coming from around the world. The seizure of Palestine can be considered as one of the greatest acts of theft in the history of mankind. Israel itself therefore is a gigantic war crime and a crime against humanity.

Thanks to the infamous Balfour declaration of 1917, Palestine, an Arab country since the seventh century, was given by another country (Britain) to a third people (the Jews) without even consulting the native people of the country.

According to the British Philosopher Bertrand Russell:” The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was ‘given’ by a foreign power to another people for the creation of a new state.”

In fact, it can be safely argued that the West, particularly Britain, committed the original sin by envisaging, planning and implanting Israel in the heart of the Arab world in order to protect its colonial and imperialistic interests.

In 1905, Britain’s Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman invited the Western Imperial powers for conference which continued until 1907.

The conference of the thieves recommended the establishment of ” a state on the lands of Palestine, to serve as an advanced base for the covetous colonialists, and protect their interests, implement their plans and schemes and ensure the outflow of natural resources from the region, as well as the import of their goods and products into the markets of the region.”

The American Jewish writer Noam Chomsky described this evilness committed by these European powers, especially Britain:

“When a man brings a snake and puts it in the bed of a child and it stings the child, the man is responsible for the child’s death, not the snake,”.

The person who brings the snake into the child’s bed is the real criminal, not the snake. This person cannot claim innocence and say ‘I did not know that the snake is so poisonous!'”

The famous British historian Arnold Toynbee, in his book “A Study of History” said that “while the direct responsibility for the calamity that overtook the Palestinian Arabs in A.D. 1948 was on the heads of the Zionist Jews who seized a lebensraum for themselves in Palestine by force of arms in that year, a heavy load of indirect, yet irrefutable, responsibility was on the heads of the people of the United Kingdom.

But the “snake” (Israel) has acquired a life of its own, and it no longer depends on its erstwhile western benefactors for its survival and continuity.”

None the less, there is no guarantee, historical, moral or religious that the “snake” will have an extended life, e.g. live longer than a century.

In the final analysis, Israel is an immoral and illegal being that will have to go. Yes, Israel is a regional superpower, has a prosperous economy, is technologically advanced and tightly controls the government, Congress and media of the United States .

But nations don’t live by modern fighter jets and nuclear bombs alone. The Soviet Union had a plenty of these.

In order to have a sustained existence nations must possess a moral justification. Justice, not military might, is what guarantees the longevity and continuity of states.

In 1948, Zionist leaders such as Ben Gurion thought that that the Palestinian people would go into oblivion, slowly but surely. Indeed, just as the genocidal invaders from Eastern Europe and elsewhere bulldozed and obliterated more than 500 Palestinian villages, Zionist elders thought that old Palestinians will die and young Palestinians will forget!

But to the Zionists’ chagrin, the Palestinian cause is still as vivid and relevant in the minds and hearts of the Palestinian people today as it was in 1948.

Thousands of Palestinians still retain the keys to their homes from which they were expelled at gunpoint when Israel was created 65 years ago. The trust is bequeathed by the older to younger generations.

Today, even the least patriotic Palestinians who would rather reach “a peace deal” with Israel by hook or by crook wouldn’t even dare suggest that they would sell out the right of return even in return for a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

To be sure, Palestinians and Muslims in general have no problem living with Jews. Jews lived side by side with Arabs and Muslims for close to 1400 years. Jews had never revolted against their Muslim rulers or demanded a state of their own.

Indeed, the call for the return of Jews to Palestine did not come from Middle Eastern or Palestine Jews; it rather came from Western Jews.

When the Hungarian Jewish leader Herzl convened the first Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897, which was attended by 196 delegates. Only four of the 196 delegates were Jews from Palestine .

As Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, our problem is not with Jews who believe in “live and let live” but is rather with this diabolical, fanatical and genocidal Zionism which has drenched this part of the world with blood, hatred and inequity.

Israel claims to be Jewish and following ancient Jewish ideals of justice. But this is a hollow claim, bordering on wishful thinking.

The truth of the matter is that Israel represents the antithesis of the prophetic ideals of the ancient Israeli prophets. What happened to “Thou shall not murder, thou shall not steal, and thou shall not lie”?

Even Abraham, the purported common forefather of the ancient Israelites and northern Arabs wouldn’t accept to obtain a burial place for his dead wife Sara free of charge in Hebron.

Today, one is really affronted by these fanatical Jewish settlers who terrorize and savage peaceable Palestinian villagers, poison and kill their livestock, burn down their fields and orchards.

And when the unprotected helpless Palestinians seek redress at Israeli courts, they are told by the Jewish judges that the settlers have a point because “your homes and land once belonged to the settlers’ ancestors some three thousand years ago.”!!!

Such a state where inequity and oppression are rampant can’t and will not live long, even if it possessed all the modern warplanes in the world.

They killed the two-state solution

Israel has already decapitated the two state solution. The intensive expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem , has really left no room for a viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian state.

The U.S., EU and the helpless Palestinian Authority (PA) pretend that there is still a chance for reviving the two-state solution strategy. But we who live here in the West Bank know better. We just can’t betray our eyes.

We also know rather well two other facts that further enforce our conviction that the chances for establishing a true Palestinian state have vanished rather irreversibly. The first fact is that the Israeli society is moving steadily toward Talmudic Jewish fascism, which makes it extremely unlikely that Israel would agree anytime in the predictable future to give up the spoils of the 1967 war, which would imply the inevitable dismantlement of hundreds of Jewish colonies built on the occupied Palestinian territory.

The second fact is that the United States, Israel’s guardian-ally, is utterly unable, even if willing, to exert any meaningful pressure on Israel, which would force or convince the Jewish state to end its occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. The reason for this is the tight Jewish stranglehold on the American decision-making process. Thus, the Israeli control of the White House, Congress and other American political institutions is too overwhelming to allow for any U.S. maneuver outside the Jewish dragnet.

The Demographic situation in Israel/Palestine

Apart from the historical rights and moral high-ground, the Palestinians also have a strategic advantage over Zionism, namely the demographic asset. According to the prominent Israeli demographer Della Pergula, there are already more non-Jews than Jews between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean.

“We have already reached the demographic critical mass, the establishment of a Palestinian state now is therefore more of an urgent Israeli need than a Palestinian need” But the possibility for establishing a viable Palestinian state no longer exists in light of the phenomenal expansion of Jewish settlements mentioned earlier. More to the point, the concept of a bi-national state is a kind of anathema for most Israelis as it would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state. Hence, the problem.

There are millions of Israelis who would think or probably are already thinking of unthinkable scenarios such as expelling large number of Palestinians. But expulsion can’t really be carried out without some sort of a genocide. None the less, the Palestinians have thoroughly learned and imbibed the lessons of 1948 and would never ever leave their country. They would rather die in their own homes, towns and villages rather than give Zionists the joy of watching them repeat the Nakba scenario.

The Israeli Zionists have already committed huge and numerous crimes against the Palestinian people. Needless to say, committing still more crimes would be suicidal and fraught with grave consequences for Israel and Jews.

In the final analysis, the repetition of what happened in 1948 could speed up the process of Israel’s demise and extinction.

 

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Ongoing Nakba: Powerful infographic from Visualizing Palestine shows century of land theft, expulsion

 

(Visualizing Palestine)

Disappearing Palestine, a powerful new infographic from Visualizing Palestine (visualizingpalestine.org).

YOU CAN HELP END THE MADNESS

Petitioning All intelligent entities of goodwill – including the entire human race.

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End the Madness

 Petition by Peter Dunn, Manchester, United Kingdom

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We must get rid of all WMDs if we: the human race, are to enjoy a future in which we live together in peace, free from war – exploitation by those whom profit from war – and the constant threat of nuclear annihilation.
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Click HERE to take you to the Petition …..

 

MOTHER PALESTINE MARKS 65 YEARS OF THE NAKBA

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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Sam Bahour سام بحّور – Refugees Waiting

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Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American based in Al-Bireh/Ramallah, Palestine. He is a freelance business consultant operating as Applied Information Management (AIM), specializing in business development with a niche focus on the information technology sector and start-ups. Sam was instrumental in the establishment of the Palestine Telecommunications Company and the PLAZA Shopping Center and until recently served as a Board of Trustees member at Birzeit University. He is a Director at the Arab Islamic Bank and serves in various capacities in several community organizations. Sam writes frequently on Palestinian affairs and has been widely published. He is co-editor of HOMELAND: Oral History of Palestine and Palestinians. He blogs at http://www.epalestine.com. 

يحمل رجل الأعمال الفلسطيني سام بحور الجنسية الأميركية وهو يسكن في مدينة البيرة في رام الله، فلسطين. ويعمل بشكل مستقل كمستشار ومنسق مشاريع كما يملك شركة لإدارة المعلومات التطبيقية (إيم) وهي تختص في تطوير الأعمال والمشاريع مع تركيز على الشركات الناشئة. ولعب سام دوراً أساسياً في تأسيس شركة الإتصالات الفلسطينية (بالتل)، ومركز بلازا للتسوق. وأصبح مؤخراً عضو فاعل في مجلس الأمناء في جامعة بيرزيت. ويشغل حالياً منصب عضو مجلس إدارة في البنك الإسلامي العربي، كما يشغل عدة مناصب أخرى في منظمات المجتمع المدني. ويركز سام كثيراً في كتاباته على الشؤون الفلسطينية، فتنشر مقالاته على نطاق واسع. ساهم سام في تحرير كتاب “الوطن: التاريخ الشفوي لفلسطين والفلسطينيين” ويمكن معرفة المزيد عنه والاطلاع على مقالاته من خلال تصفح مدونته على الموقع الالكتروني التالي: www.epalestine.com

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During this tragic period of remembrance, just a reminder that NEVER AGAIN means something, TODAY!

AND YOU THOUGHT ZIONISM COULDN’T SINK TO THIS NEW LOW?

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A News Break …. (UPDATE)
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Just received the following comment plus an email from one of the leaders of the Boycott From Within Movement in Israel, Ofer Neiman ….
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Hi People
Come on!
Eli is being IRONIC. googlize him. He’s strongly opposed to Israeli apartheid

Ofer

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Thanks Ofer.
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The FORWARD is usually the most progressive of the Jewish Press in the United States, but today they proved that zionism has no limits as to how low they can sink in their bed of hatred …
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Brief History of Stephen Hawking’s Hypocrisy

By Eli Valley

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British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking waded into the Israel debate last week by announcing his decision to boycott an academic conference. Eli Valley offers his own unique graphic take on the controversy.

Got wheels, Mr. Hawking?
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eli-valley-hawking-forward-thinking4

IT STARTED WITH A YELLOW STAR …..

 picture_holocaust
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Then it became ….
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Israeli airport sorts passengers with ‘Jewish stickers’ and ‘Arab stickers’

 Philip Weiss

This shocking story– of yet another “huge humiliation” of a non-Jew at Ben Gurion airport– was posted by Mira Awad, an Israeli Palestinian singer, on her Facebook page, in Hebrew, today. Ami Kaufman at +972 provided a translation of the entry, and notes that Awad is a celebrity in Israel. Awad in translation: 

So, I was checked at the airport, they asked the questions, put the stickers on, and I proceeded to the X-Ray machine. Suddenly, the young security man comes to me: “Mira? Mira Awad?”

Me: “Yes?”

Security man: “Can I see your passport? There’s a mistake with the sticker.”

I almost told him: “No, you’re not mistaken, I see you put the right one on — the sticker for Arabs”, but I didn’t say that (security people have their humor extracted during their preparatory course). I gave him my passport, he opens it, takes off the sticker in the passport and on the suitcase and puts on a new one, different, the same color but smaller.

Now the dilemma. On the one hand it’s obvious the young man has just made my life easier by putting on the sticker for Jews. On the other hand, it’s one of the things that it’s hard to say thanks for. I mean, thank you for not considering me a terrorist any more? Thanks that someone whispered to you, “it’s Mira Awad,” so the “Awad” isn’t scary anymore? Thanks for upgrading me to a Class A citizen? I turned into one of “ours,” or actually one of “yours.” A small sticker that carries with it such huge humiliation, and today even enfolds stupidity. Because since they cancelled the stickers with different colors, which we protested, they made new stickers with less recognizable differences to the inexperienced eye, and here they are embarrassing themselves with unaware patronizing like, “Let’s award you with the status of a privileged person!” — so you don’t say that we aren’t humane. By the way, it happend to me also last week, when a senior security man who wanted to “show off” (maybe you’ll say he wanted to joke around, but we’ve already concluded that he doesn’t know how to joke around, see earlier “extraction of humor”) and asked one of his employees to get me one of the “regular” stickers and then winked at me as he continued to speak him: “Can’t you see it’s Mira Awad?”

So, the conclusion is, if you’re Israeli and your name is Awad – you better be famous! If not, forget about the duty free! Yalla, I’m out of here. For now.

Thanks to Ofer Neiman.

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Some people DO care …..

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Fighting Israeli Apartheid in Seattle

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OnBus6
 Equal Rights for Palestinians: The Way to Peace bus ads Seattle Metro (photo: SeaMAC)

Seattleites are becoming familiar with a host of different SeaMAC ads. Below are just a sampling of the ads they’ve run in Seattle’s 2 local print weeklies, The Stranger and the Seattle Weekly. Many more can be viewed at their website.

IsraelsSegregatedBuses
SeaMAC Israels Segregated Buses print ad
SegregationSchools
SeaMAC Segregation Schools print ad
SegregationTowns
SeaMAC Segregation Towns print ad
Both posts FROM

‘ONE STATE SOLUTION’ WORKED OUT IN SYDNEY AUSTRALIA

Hopefully dying together will lead to living together 😉
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With both communities facing a severe shortage of burial space at Rookwood Necropolis, believed to be the largest cemetery in the Southern Hemisphere, the New South Wales State Government officially opened the last available land there to be shared by the two faiths.
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Sydney’s Muslim, Jewish communities to share burial space in local cemetery

New 3.3-hectare site will have enough burial space for both communities for the next decade or more.

By Dan Goldberg
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Lakemba Mosque’s Sheikh Safi and Yair Miller.
Lakemba Mosque’s Sheikh Safi and Yair Miller at Rookwood General Cemetery.Photo by Courtesoy of Rookwood General Cemetery.

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Sydney’s Muslims and Jews may not see eye to eye on certain matters, especially those involving Israel, but last week the two communities found some much-needed common ground. Burial ground, that is.

With both communities facing a severe shortage of burial space at Rookwood Necropolis, believed to be the largest cemetery in the Southern Hemisphere, the New South Wales State Government officially opened the last available land there to be shared by the two faiths.

The Harbor City’s Muslim population, which numbers more than 150,000, would have run out of burial space within months, according to officials.

The city’s 45,000-plus Jewish community would have managed in the short term.

The new 3.3-hectare site will have enough burial space for both communities for the next decade or more.

Half of the new lot will be reserved for about 4000 double-depth Islamic graves; the other half will be for around 2,700 single Jewish burial plots, said Katrina Hodgkinson, the Primary Industries Minister.

The two sections will be divided by small roads inside the cemetery, she added.

The development comes amid allegations of Hezbollah sleeper cells operating in Australia and a controversial call for an academic boycott of the Technion in Haifa by students at the University of Sydney.

Yair Miller, president of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, said the new burial site was proof of the healthy relationship between the two faiths in New South Wales.

“It needs to always be worked on but we have a very cordial relationship in NSW with most of the mainstream Muslim groups,” Miller said.

“The Jewish community is still in need of a long-term solution but we’re very, very thankful.”

Ahmad Kamaledine, the Muslim representative on the Rookwood General Cemeteries Trust, told local media: “Being able to see [members of] the Jewish and Muslim community being buried side by side and sharing the same ground will demonstrate the willingness of the community in Australia to work together.”

It was “vitally important for cultural and religious reasons” that the two communities had some certainty about where their loved ones would be buried, said Victor Dominello, the Minister for Citizenship and Communities.

Miller said he was not aware of any opposition within the Jewish community to the plan. “The model of a multi-faith cemetery is one we’ve lived with here in the last 200 years.

“These plots happen to be next to each other but are not intertwined. There are still roads between the sections, it’s a very big plot divided by internal roads so there’s no inter-burying.”

But Michael Burd, a vocal critic of Islamic extremism in Australia, said he was horrified. “When I read about this decision I very disappointed,” he said.

Referring to Lebanese-born Sheikh Yahya Safi, the Imam of Lakemba Mosque who was at last week’s official opening, Burd added: “Sheikh Safi presides over a mosque that is notorious for espousing hatred of Israel and Jews in Sydney. Our Jewish community representative who agreed to this joint venture should be ashamed of himself,” he said.

“I am not exactly happy about it,” added a Jewish woman from Sydney, who wished to remain anonymous.

“But then I am not happy either with all the Muslim interfaith rubbish the Board of Deputies gets up to either.”

Jeremy Jones, a former president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and a founder of the Australia National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims & Jews, said the local media’s interest in the story was out of context with decades of Jewish-Muslim relations.

“The biggest story here is that some journalists seem surprised that Jews and Muslims work together on such matters. It was more than 30 years ago when I began working with Muslims (and vegetarians) due to a mutual interest in having food ingredients labeled.”

The two faiths have collaborated on many other matters, such as anti-discrimination legislation, he added.

But Jones conceded that “extra special care” will have to be exercised by cemetery officials for certain high-profile burials.

“But there is no reason for any group to disturb or dismay one another,” he said.

 

Source

INTRODUCING STEPHEN HAWKING

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We have been reading about this man’s position on Israel and the Boycott Movement for over a week now, but do we know who he is?
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A fair outline of his life can be found on Wikipedia. When most people hear his name they think of a shriveled up human being who is wheelchair bound. The man cannot utter a sound yet he speaks volumes …. volumes that rocked the foundations of zion this past week.
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Below is a video that demonstrates the man’s brilliance;
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From the bottom of our hearts Dr. Hawking, we thank you  for trying to include Israel in the universe as a part of humanity.
stephen-hawking-boycotts-israel-academic-conference (1)
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A wonderful Editorial in The Boston Globe sums it all up …
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Stephen Hawking makes a peaceful protest

When the esteemed physicist Stephen Hawking announced his decision to boycott Israel’s Presidential Conference, a gathering of politicians, scholars, and other high-profile figures scheduled for June, the response was as predictable as the movement of the cosmos that inspired Hawking’s career. The conference chair, Israel Maimon, called the move “outrageous and improper,” while Omar Barghouti, a founder of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement that advocates protests against Israeli policies, declared, “Palestinians deeply appreciate Stephen Hawking’s support.”

In fact, the decision to withdraw from a conference is a reasonable way to express one’s political views. Observers need not agree with Hawking’s position in order to understand and even respect his choice. The movement that Hawking has signed on to aims to place pressure on Israel through peaceful means. In the context of a Mideast conflict that has caused so much destruction and cost so many lives, nonviolence is something to be encouraged. That is equally true of attempts to inspire cooperation on the Palestinian side.

Chances for a peaceful solution in Israel and Palestine are remote enough without overreactions like Maimon’s. Foreclosing nonviolent avenues to give people a political voice — and maybe bring about an eventual resolution — only makes what is already difficult that much more challenging.

 

WHY IS ISRAEL SO AFRAID OF STEPHEN HAWKING?

  • What is clear today is that his action has forced Israelis – and the rest of the world – to understand that the status quo has a price. Israel cannot continue to pretend that it is a country of culture, technology and enlightenment while millions of Palestinians live invisibly under the brutal rule of bullets, bulldozers and armed settlers.*
    • Stephen Hawking’s support for the boycott of Israel is a turning point
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      Boycotting Israel as a stance for justice is going mainstream – Israelis can no longer pretend theirs is in an enlightened country
      • Ali Abunimah
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      • hawking
      • ‘Professor Hawking’s decision to respect the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has forced Israelis – and the rest of the world – to understand that the status quo has a price.’ Photograph: John Phillips/UK Press via Getty Images
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        A standard objection to the Palestinian campaign for the boycott of Israel is that it would cut off “dialogue” and hurt the chances of peace. We’ve heard this again in the wake of Professor Stephen Hawking’s laudable decision to withdraw from Israel’s Presidential Conference in response to requests from Palestinian academics – but it would be hard to think of a more unconvincing position as far as Palestinians are concerned.

        One of the most deceptive aspects of the so-called peace process is the pretence that Palestinians and Israelis are two equal sides, equally at fault, equally responsible – thus erasing from view the brutal reality that Palestinians are an occupied, colonised people, dispossessed at the hands of one of the most powerful militaries on earth.

        For more than two decades, under the cover of this fiction, Palestinians have engaged in internationally-sponsored “peace talks” and other forms of dialogue, only to watch as Israel has continued to occupy, steal and settle their land, and to kill and maim thousands of people with impunity.

        While there are a handful of courageous dissenting Israeli voices, major Israeli institutions, especially the universities, have been complicit in this oppression by, for example, engaging in research and training partnerships with the Israeli army. Israel’s government has actively engaged academics, artists and other cultural figures in international “Brand Israel” campaigns to prettify the country’s image and distract attention from the oppression of Palestinians.

        The vast majority of Palestinians, meanwhile, have been disenfranchised by the official peace process as their fate has been placed in the hands of venal and comprised envoys such as Tony Blair, and US and EU governments that only seem to find the courage to implement international law and protect human rights when it comes to the transgressions of African or Arab states.

        When it comes to Israel’s abuses, governments around the world have offered nothing but lip service; while dozens of countries face US, EU or UN sanctions for far lesser transgressions, it has taken years for EU governments to even discuss timid steps such as labelling goods from illegal Israeli settlements, let alone actually banning them. Yet the peace process train trundles on – now with a new conductor in the form of John Kerry, the US secretary of state – but with no greater prospects of ever reaching its destination. So, enough talk already.

        The Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) aims to change this dynamic. It puts the initiative back in the hands of Palestinians. The goal is to build pressure on Israel to respect the rights of all Palestinians by ending its occupation and blockade of the West Bank and Gaza Strip; respecting the rights of Palestinian refugees who are currently excluded from returning to their homes just because they are not Jews; and abolishing all forms of discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

        These demands are in line with universal human rights principles and would be unremarkable and uncontroversial in any other context, which is precisely why support for them is growing.

        BDS builds on a long tradition of popular resistance around the world: from within Palestine itself to the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Historically, boycotts work.

        During the 1980s opponents of sanctions against apartheid South Africa – including, notoriously, the late Margaret Thatcher – argued instead for “constructive engagement”. They were on the wrong side of history. Today, Palestinians are lectured to drop BDS and return to empty talks that are the present-day equivalent of constructive engagement.

        But there can be no going back to the days when Palestinians were silenced and only the strong were given a voice. There can be no going back to endless “dialogue” and fuzzy and toothless talk about “peace” that provides a cover for Israel to entrench its colonisation.

        When we look back in a few years, Hawking’s decision to respect BDS may be seen as a turning point – the moment when boycotting Israel as a stance for justice went mainstream.

        What is clear today is that his action has forced Israelis – and the rest of the world – to understand that the status quo has a price. Israel cannot continue to pretend that it is a country of culture, technology and enlightenment while millions of Palestinians live invisibly under the brutal rule of bullets, bulldozers and armed settlers.

         

        Written FOR Comment Is Free

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        Philip Weiss reports on Mondoweiss
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        Even Dershowitz had to pontificate on the matter …
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        Dershowitz said that his job is to protect Israel. He doesn’t care what Jews do inside Jewish life; he is concerned with external threats, like Stephen Hawking.
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        Dershowitz calls Hawking an ‘ignoramus,’ a ‘lemming,’ and likely an anti-Semite

        by Philip Weiss 
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        Last night at the City University of New York, Alan Dershowitz attacked the British physicist Stephen Hawking for cancelling a visit to Israel in protest of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Dershowitz called Hawking an “ignoramus” and suggested he’s anti-Semitic, then said he is just another “lemming” being pressured by the BDS (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions) movement, which he said was gaining ground around the world.

        Dershowitz made these sober utterances in his third debate with liberal Zionist Peter Beinart over whether there’s a crisis for Zionism.

        It was an interesting discussion. Below are some excerpts. I’ll focus on Dershowitz’s and Beinart’s central disagreement over what is fueling the movement against the Jewish state, even inside American Jewish life–anti-Semitism or Israel’s actions. 

        Dershowitz said that his job is to protect Israel. He doesn’t care what Jews do inside Jewish life; he is concerned with external threats, like Stephen Hawking:

        If Jews choose to assimilate, that’s a question of free will, choice and freedom… But I defend Israel against its external enemies, external threats. My job is to protect Israel, the nation state of the Jewish people, along with many other people, from external threats so that Jews can obsess about their internal problems and drive themselves crazy. I want to get back to the point where we are divided and fight among each other and have these kinds of arguments– as long as the Stephen Hawkings of the world leave us alone and don’t try and destroy us.

        Dershowitz was most compelling when he deconstructed the idea of Jewish values and opposed Beinart’s call for more religious education. He sounded a lot like Israel Shahak and Yossi Gurvitz, criticizing the Jewish religion:

        Peter talks about Jewish values. I don’t know what that means, Jewish values. I’m as familiar with the Torah as Peter is. I can quote from all the wonderful parts of the Torah and the wonderful parts of the Talmud. But I also understand that for every wonderful part of the Torah and the Talmud, there’s at least  one perhaps two godawful parts that also represent the worst of Jewish values….

        [Peter] wants [Israel] to represent Peter’s Jewish values…. I like Peter’s Jewish values. I would much prefer that they [Israel] represent Peter’s Jewish values than Meir Kahane’s Jewish values because I like Peter’s Jewish values more than Meir Kahane’s, but I can’t tell you that Kahane’s are any less authentic.

        To the red meat. Moderator Ethan Bronner of the New York Times asked the anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism question. Bronner, the former Jerusalem bureau chief of The New York Times who was so often indifferent to Palestinian conditions in his reporting, is Jewish, and he ventured that “Israel is the central project of the Jewish people of the world,” the one thing that nearly every Jew has some link to.

        Bronner: If that’s true, is attacking Israel’s right to exist a form of anti-Semitism?

        Dershowitz: Let me put it this way, I have never met anybody except perhaps Palestinians who really give one good goddamn about the Palestinian people. The love of the Palestinian people is largely a function of the hatred of the nation state of the Jewish people. People who don’t care about the Kurds, who don’t care about the Armenians, who don’t care about the Tibetans, who didn’t give a damn about the Cambodians, who didn’t say a word about the people of Rwanda and the people of Darfur, suddenly have discovered the Palestinian people. The deep hatred that people have of Israel– I’m not talking about criticism; I was very actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement, I remember how strongly we felt about white South Africa, it didn’t come close to the kind of hatred that many people feel today about Israel. Let me put it this way, Stephen Hawkings [sic] would not refuse to attend a conference in a country that was equally oppressing another country, say China and Tibet, or Russia and Chechnya– it’s all about the fact that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people. You cannot understand the hatred of Israel if you eliminate the fact that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people. Is that anti-Semitism? You know– you name it, I’m describing it.

        Dershowitz acknowledged that supporting Israel has become an embarrassment because of the shift in attitude on campus and in Europe, toward what he described as politically-correct anti-Semitism. This also explains Stephen Hawking’s defection.

        Dershowitz: In 1967 Jews were able to beat their chest and say wow we’re proud to be Israel, look how tough Israelis are. It was a source of pride. Today it’s a source of embarrassment.

        Bronner: Because of the occupation.

        No. Because of their friends, because of Stephen Hawking. Because of the Brits. No, it’s not about the occupation. If the occupation ended tomorrow, you would find the same… He [Hawking] accepted the invitation two months ago. What happened– did the Israelis start the occupation in the last two months? He got a lot of pressure in 2 months. What we’re seeing is, Today if you go to dinner at a university dinner, and you speak up on behalf of Israel, in favor of Israel, it is an embarrassment. It is not an embarrassment because of what Israel is doing but because of what Israel is. And the BDS movement is growing and the BDS movement does not talk about the occupation. The occupation BDS talks about is the occupation of 1948, the occupation from the ocean to the sea. [sic]

        Beinart took sharp issue with that analysis. He said that what is driving world opinion and many young Jews away from support for Israel is the condition of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

        Beinart: It’s definitely true that there are a lot of people who don’t want Israel to exist as a Jewish state, and there are many important people in the BDS movement who take that view. But if you don’t believe that their efforts are being fueled by people’s anger at what happens in the West Bank and Gaza, you’re just not connected to reality. And this is the problem with the Jewish community. We go to Israel all the time, and it’s wonderful. But where we don’t go– on Birthright, our synagogue trips– we don’t go to experience Palestinian life in the West Bank. And as a result, we are disproportionately ignorant. It’s actually the non-Jews who go and see those things. And when you go and see those things– I was there last week. Believe me, there’s an Israeli flag on my kid’s wall, I love Israel. It is deeply, deeply upsetting and deeply angering to see the way that people are forced to live because they lack [unintelligible]. It is that anger which is leading to the BDS anti-Zionists getting more and more support, and leading to those Jewish kids hearing from their friends…

        Dershowitz: They’ve never seen the West Bank. They are just being politically correct. They are being lemmings, who are being led the way the ignoramus Stephen Hawking who doesn’t know anything about the Middle East was led, by pressure from his fellow academics. That’s what it’s about today. It’s an embarrassment.

        Beinart and Dershowitz argued about how democratic Israel is. Dershowitz expressed some indifference about the matter. “Israel’s soul will take care of itself, so long as [its] body is kept intact,” he said, then quoted Scripture to make the point that he wants Israel to survive and be stronger than all its neighbors, more than he wants it to have peace. 

        Beinart: The message of [the Israeli documentary] The Gatekeepers is precisely that Israel’s ethical character and its physical security are intertwined. This was the bet that Israel’s founders made when they yoked Zionism to democracy, that ultimately if Israel surrendered its democratic character it would not be able to survive physically. Because in today’s age, any nondemocratic government is living on borrowed time. Any nondemocratic government has a huge legitimacy problem in today’s world, and that’s why you can’t distinguish so easily Israel’s democratic survival and its physical survival.

        Dershowitz: I don’t disagree with that, but… the worst case scenario Israel is still among the top 5 or 10 percent of the countries in the world in terms of democratic values–

        Beinart: Not on the West Bank–

        Dershowitz: in terms of the judiciary, in terms of the rule of law, in terms of equality of women, equality of  gays.  Israel’s soul is not in grave turmoil today.

        Beinart: Alan– Alan– Alan– have you been to–

        Dershowitz: It could improve. It could get matter. Israel on the West Bank, the worst case scenario, Israel on the West Bank is more democratic than any Arab or Muslim state in the world today. And there is more democracy on the West Bank, more freedom of speech, more freedom to criticize, more freedom to get an education. I think Israel on the West Bank is a three or four on a scale of ten.

        Beinart: You need to spend more time there.

        Dershowitz: I spend a lot of time there.

        Beinart. Go to Shuhada street [in Hebron], where Palestinians are literally not allowed to walk on that street even if they live on that street and tell me that Israel’s soul in Hebron is doing well.

        Dershowitz. You don’t look at one place–

        Beinart said that Palestinians’ inability to vote for the government that is determining their lives is the reason there is a global campaign to delegitimize Israel. If those Palestinians did have the vote, there would have been a “radically different outcome” in the last Israel election.

        Dershowitz challenged Beinart: But Israelis chose that government, and it supports the occupation; what would you do to overrule them, impeach Netanyahu?

        Beinart: We stand up as Americans and say this is bad for American national security. And we stand up as Jews and say that Our honor is on the line in the question of how Jews use power…. That’s what we do.

        An excellent speech. Beinart concluded by addressing the power of the Israel lobby.

        Beinart: Look Israel is not going to– the United States is Israel’s only important strategic partner in the world. If the U.S. president said that the relationship with the United States is going to change if you don’t support the ’67 parameters, believe me, the Israeli government would fall.

        Dershowitz responded with Bill Kristol’s warning to another liberal Zionist on the Upper West Side a year or so back: he warned Beinart against sitting in comfort in New York and telling the Israelis how to behave.

        Beinart: We have a right to decide what is best for the United States. I believe that America must always support Israel’s security interest… But we as Americans and Jews do not have to fund and support the settlement enterprise that is destroying Israel’s democratic character…. We can have a president who said that very loudly…

         

A MOST HAUNTING PHOTO FROM BANGLADESH

Think of this photo the next time you go shopping for clothes …. LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL!
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A Final Embrace: The Most Haunting Photograph from Bangladesh

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Taslima Akhter 
April 25, 2013. Two victims amid the rubble of a garment factory building collapse in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh.
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Many powerful photographs have been made in the aftermath of the devastating collapse of a garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh. But one photo, by Bangladeshi photographer Taslima Akhter, has emerged as the most heart wrenching, capturing an entire country’s grief in a single image.

Shahidul Alam, Bangladeshi photographer, writer and founder of Pathshala, the South Asian Institute of Photography, said of the photo: “This image, while deeply disturbing, is also hauntingly beautiful. An embrace in death, its tenderness rises above the rubble to touch us where we are most vulnerable. By making it personal, it refuses to let go. This is a photograph that will torment us in our dreams. Quietly it tells us. Never again.”

Akhter writes for LightBox about the photograph, which appears in this week’s TIME International alongside an essay by David Von Drehle.

I have been asked many questions about the photograph of the couple embracing in the aftermath of the collapse. I have tried desperately, but have yet to find any clues about them. I don’t know who they are or what their relationship is with each other.

I spent the entire day the building collapsed on the scene, watching as injured garment workers were being rescued from the rubble. I remember the frightened eyes of relatives — I was exhausted both mentally and physically. Around 2 a.m., I found a couple embracing each other in the rubble. The lower parts of their bodies were buried under the concrete. The blood from the eyes of the man ran like a tear. When I saw the couple, I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I knew them — they felt very close to me. I looked at who they were in their last moments as they stood together and tried to save each other — to save their beloved lives.

Every time I look back to this photo, I feel uncomfortable — it haunts me. It’s as if they are saying to me, we are not a number — not only cheap labor and cheap lives. We are human beings like you. Our life is precious like yours, and our dreams are precious too.

They are witnesses in this cruel history of workers being killed. The death toll is now more than 750. What a harsh situation we are in, where human beings are treated only as numbers.

This photo is haunting me all the time. If the people responsible don’t receive the highest level of punishment, we will see this type of tragedy again. There will be no relief from these horrific feelings. I’ve felt a tremendous pressure and pain over the past two weeks surrounded by dead bodies. As a witness to this cruelty, I feel the urge to share this pain with everyone. That’s why I want this photo to be seen.


Taslima Akhter is a Bangladeshi photographer and activist.

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