See Immediate ACTION ALERT ….. HERE


The new legislation would prevent New York higher-ed institutions from paying membership fees to academic groups that boycott Israel and will no longer reimburse students or scholars for their travel expenses to conventions of groups that have voted to boycott the Jewish State.


Another great blow to Democracy and Academic Freedom …

In line with the policies of New York City, the State itself is now backing the occupation of Palestine with the following legislation …


New York State passes anti-boycott legislation

Bill proposed by Democratic state senator passes chamber, if signed into law will prohibit New York universities and colleges from paying dues to ASA and other academic organizations that boycott Israel

By Yitzhak Benhorin FOR


WASHINGTON – New York State Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that directly addressed the controversy surrounding the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli universities.

The bill, to become law if signed by the governor, would prohibit the state’s massive higher education system from funding organizations that “have undertaken an official action boycotting certain countries or their higher education institutions” according to the language of the legislation.

The bill was sponsored by Democratic Senator Jeff Klein, and it passed with a wide margin of 56-4.

The senator’s office released a statement: “This legislation sends a very simple message, which is that we should never ask taxpayers to support religious, ethnic, or racial discrimination.”

The statement stressed the New York legislator’s relationship with the Jewish State: “I will not allow the enemies of Israel or the Jewish people to gain an inch in New York.”

The new legislation would prevent New York higher-ed institutions from paying membership fees to academic groups that boycott Israel and will no longer reimburse students or scholars for their travel expenses to conventions of groups that have voted to boycott the Jewish State.

Violators of the new bill would be cut off from state aid for the academic years in which the violation occurred.

The president-elect of the ASA, Lisa Duggan, told Al Jazeera that the New York Senate legislation is intended to cover Israel’s “ongoing violations of international law and human rights.”

In an emailed statement to Al Jazeera, Duggan said: “This law’s supporters claim to oppose discriminatory boycotts, but they have designed their legislation to let Israel off the hook for restricting the academic and other freedoms of Palestinians, while punishing those who protest those injustices.”


Without Pete Seeger, the state of our union is far worse today than it was yesterday.


Pete Seeger, 1919 – 2014

 By Nima Shirazi
“A good song reminds us what we’re fighting for.

The great Pete Seeger has passed away at the age of 94.

Obituaries recounting his activism and folk singing, his moral strength and indelible contributions to not only American folk music, but the struggles for civil rights, equality, peace and justice, are now everywhere. He sang for freedom; he sang for labor; he sang for the oppressed, he sang for the land and the air and water; he sang for the tired and poor. He sang about dangers and he sang out warnings. He sang out love. He sang for you and me.

Reflecting on his life and career during an interview in 2010, Seeger said, “The most important thing is that I did not want to become rich, not become a part of the establishment.”

I share a hometown with Seeger; we were born and raised on the banks of the same river. I’ve had the privilege of wading waist-deep in the mud and pulling weedsalongside him in the shallows of the Hudson. I have sailed on the sloop Clearwater and have sung with him around a campfire. For this, I consider myself lucky. And today I am sad.

The twang of Pete Seeger’s five-string banjo and the tremble in his unmistakable voice – the People’s voice – taught me not to study war and told me we were not alone and not afraid. He told me to take it easy, but take it. And I learned from Pete that we shall overcome. Someday.

I can think of no better tribute to him – consistent champion of the ninety-nine percent, a true American hero walking that freedom highway – than to let his own words speak for themselves, words not found in his music, but rather on the floor of the United States government’s House Un-American Activities Committee on August 18, 1955. The text is below.

Subpoenaed to testify during the dark days of McCarthy’s anti-Communist witch hunts, he refused to invoke the Fifth Amendment, instead chastising Fascistic Congressmen for their loathsome line of questioning. He never named names. He was blacklisted, found in contempt and held his head high. His testimony is a damning indictment of power and fear and an inspiration to those who refuse to remain silent in the face of injustice, of greed, of hatred, and of violence.

“I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin, or situation in life. I have sung in hobo jungles, and I have sung for the Rockefellers, and I am proud that I have never refused to sing for anybody,” he told the committee.

“Singing is my business,” he said.

Without Pete Seeger, the state of our union is far worse today than it was yesterday.

RIP, Pete. Take it easy, we’ll take it from here.

Testimony of Pete Seeger before the House Un-American Activities Committee, August 18, 1955

. . . Mr. TAVENNER: The Committee has information obtained in part from theDaily Worker indicating that, over a period of time, especially since December of 1945, you took part in numerous entertainment features. I have before me a photostatic copy of the June 20, 1947, issue of the Daily Worker. In a column entitled “What’s On” appears this advertisement: “Tonight—Bronx, hear Peter Seeger and his guitar, at Allerton Section housewarming.” May I ask you whether or not the Allerton Section was a section of the Communist Party?

Mr. SEEGER: Sir, I refuse to answer that question whether it was a quote from theNew York Times or the Vegetarian Journal.

Mr. TAVENNER: I don’t believe there is any more authoritative document in regard to the Communist Party than its official organ, the Daily Worker.

Mr. SCHERER: He hasn’t answered the question, and he merely said he wouldn’t answer whether the article appeared in the New York Times or some other magazine. I ask you to direct the witness to answer the question.

Chairman WALTER: I direct you to answer.

Mr. SEEGER: Sir, the whole line of questioning—

Chairman WALTER: You have only been asked one question, so far.

Mr. SEEGER: I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this. I would be very glad to tell you my life if you want to hear of it.

Mr. TAVENNER: Has the witness declined to answer this specific question?

Chairman WALTER: He said that he is not going to answer any questions, any names or things.

Mr. SCHERER: He was directed to answer the question.

Mr. TAVENNER: I have before me a photostatic copy of the April 30, 1948, issue of the Daily Worker which carries under the same title of “What’s On,” an advertisement of a “May Day Rally: For Peace, Security and Democracy.” The advertisement states: “Are you in a fighting mood? Then attend the May Day rally.” Expert speakers are stated to be slated for the program, and then follows a statement, “Entertainment by Pete Seeger.” At the bottom appears this: “Auspices Essex County Communist Party,” and at the top, “Tonight, Newark, N.J.” Did you lend your talent to the Essex County Communist Party on the occasion indicated by this article from the Daily Worker?

Mr. SEEGER: Mr. Walter, I believe I have already answered this question, and the same answer.

Chairman WALTER: The same answer. In other words, you mean that you decline to answer because of the reasons stated before?

Mr. SEEGER: I gave my answer, sir.

Chairman WALTER: What is your answer?

Mr. SEEGER: You see, sir, I feel—

Chairman WALTER: What is your answer?

Mr. SEEGER: I will tell you what my answer is.

I feel that in my whole life I have never done anything of any conspiratorial nature and I resent very much and very deeply the implication of being called before this Committee that in some way because my opinions may be different from yours, or yours, Mr. Willis, or yours, Mr. Scherer, that I am any less of an American than anybody else. I love my country very deeply, sir.

Chairman WALTER: Why don’t you make a little contribution toward preserving its institutions?

Mr. SEEGER: I feel that my whole life is a contribution. That is why I would like to tell you about it.

Chairman WALTER: I don’t want to hear about it.

Mr. SCHERER: I think that there must be a direction to answer.

Chairman WALTER: I direct you to answer that question.

Mr. SEEGER: I have already given you my answer, sir.

Mr. SCHERER: Let me understand. You are not relying on the Fifth Amendment, are you?

Mr. SEEGER: No, sir, although I do not want to in any way discredit or depreciate or depredate the witnesses that have used the Fifth Amendment, and I simply feel it is improper for this committee to ask such questions.

Mr. SCHERER: And then in answering the rest of the questions, or in refusing to answer the rest of the questions, I understand that you are not relying on the Fifth Amendment as a basis for your refusal to answer?

Mr. SEEGER: No, I am not, sir. . . .

Mr. TAVENNER: You said that you would tell us about the songs. Did you participate in a program at Wingdale Lodge in the State of New York, which is a summer camp for adults and children, on the weekend of July Fourth of this year?

(Witness consulted with counsel.)

Mr. SEEGER: Again, I say I will be glad to tell what songs I have ever sung, because singing is my business.

Mr. TAVENNER: I am going to ask you.

Mr. SEEGER: But I decline to say who has ever listened to them, who has written them, or other people who have sung them.

Mr. TAVENNER: Did you sing this song, to which we have referred, “Now Is the Time,” at Wingdale Lodge on the weekend of July Fourth?

Mr. SEEGER: I don’t know any song by that name, and I know a song with a similar name. It is called “Wasn’t That a Time.” Is that the song?

Chairman WALTER: Did you sing that song?

Mr. SEEGER: I can sing it. I don’t know how well I can do it without my banjo.

Chairman WALTER: I said, Did you sing it on that occasion?

Mr. SEEGER: I have sung that song. I am not going to go into where I have sung it. I have sung it many places.

Chairman WALTER: Did you sing it on this particular occasion? That is what you are being asked.

Mr. SEEGER: Again my answer is the same.

Chairman WALTER: You said that you would tell us about it.

Mr. SEEGER: I will tell you about the songs, but I am not going to tell you or try to explain—

Chairman WALTER: I direct you to answer the question. Did you sing this particular song on the Fourth of July at Wingdale Lodge in New York?

Mr. SEEGER: I have already given you my answer to that question, and all questions such as that. I feel that is improper: to ask about my associations and opinions. I have said that I would be voluntarily glad to tell you any song, or what I have done in my life.

Chairman WALTER: I think it is my duty to inform you that we don’t accept this answer and the others, and I give you an opportunity now to answer these questions, particularly the last one.

Mr. SEEGER: Sir, my answer is always the same.

Chairman WALTER: All right, go ahead, Mr. Tavenner.

Mr. TAVENNER: Were you chosen by Mr. Elliott Sullivan to take part in the program on the weekend of July Fourth at Wingdale Lodge?

Mr. SEEGER: The answer is the same, sir.

Mr. WILLIS: Was that the occasion of the satire on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

Mr. TAVENNER: The same occasion, yes, sir. I have before me a photostatic copy of a page from the June 1, 1949, issue of the Daily Worker, and in a column entitled “Town Talk” there is found this statement:

The first performance of a new song, “If I Had a Hammer,” on the theme of the Foley Square trial of the Communist leaders, will be given at a testimonial dinner for the 12 on Friday night at St. Nicholas Arena. . . . Among those on hand for the singing will be . . . Pete Seeger, and Lee Hays . . . and others whose names are mentioned. Did you take part in that performance?

Mr. SEEGER: I shall be glad to answer about the song, sir, and I am not interested in carrying on the line of questioning about where I have sung any songs.

Mr. TAVENNER: I ask a direction.

Chairman WALTER: You may not be interested, but we are, however. I direct you to answer. You can answer that question.

Mr. SEEGER: I feel these questions are improper, sir, and I feel they are immoral to ask any American this kind of question.

Mr. TAVENNER: Have you finished your answer?

Mr. SEEGER: Yes, sir. . . .

Mr. TAVENNER: Did you hear Mr. George Hall’s testimony yesterday in which he stated that, as an actor, the special contribution that he was expected to make to the Communist Party was to use his talents by entertaining at Communist Party functions? Did you hear that testimony?

Mr. SEEGER: I didn’t hear it, no.

Mr. TAVENNER: It is a fact that he so testified. I want to know whether or not you were engaged in a similar type of service to the Communist Party in entertaining at these features.

(Witness consulted with counsel.)

Mr. SEEGER: I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin, or situation in life. I have sung in hobo jungles, and I have sung for the Rockefellers, and I am proud that I have never refused to sing for anybody. That is the only answer I can give along that line.

Chairman WALTER: Mr. Tavenner, are you getting around to that letter? There was a letter introduced yesterday that I think was of greater importance than any bit of evidence adduced at these hearings, concerning the attempt made to influence people in this professional performers’ guild and union to assist a purely Communist cause which had no relation whatsoever to the arts and the theater. Is that what you are leading up to?

Mr. TAVENNER: Yes, it is. That was the letter of Peter Lawrence, which I questioned him about yesterday. That related to the trial of the Smith Act defendants here at Foley Square. I am trying to inquire now whether this witness was party to the same type of propaganda effort by the Communist Party.

Mr. SCHERER: There has been no answer to your last question.

Mr. TAVENNER: That is right; may I have a direction?

Mr. SEEGER: Would you repeat the question? I don’t even know what the last question was, and I thought I have answered all of them up to now.

Mr. TAVENNER: What you stated was not in response to the question.

Chairman WALTER: Proceed with the questioning, Mr. Tavenner.

Mr. TAVENNER: I believe, Mr. Chairman, with your permission, I will have the question read to him. I think it should be put in exactly the same form.

(Whereupon the reporter read the pending question as above recorded.)

Mr. SEEGER: “These features”: what do you mean? Except for the answer I have already given you, I have no answer. The answer I gave you you have, don’t you? That is, that I am proud that I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I have never refused to sing for anybody because I disagreed with their political opinion, and I am proud of the fact that my songs seem to cut across and find perhaps a unifying thing, basic humanity, and that is why I would love to be able to tell you about these songs, because I feel that you would agree with me more, sir. I know many beautiful songs from your home county, Carbon, and Monroe, and I hitchhiked through there and stayed in the homes of miners.

Mr. TAVENNER: My question was whether or not you sang at these functions of the Communist Party. You have answered it inferentially, and if I understand your answer, you are saying you did.

Mr. SEEGER: Except for that answer, I decline to answer further. . . .

Mr. SCHERER: Do you understand it is the feeling of the Committee that you are in contempt as a result of the position you take?

Mr. SEEGER: I can’t say.

Mr. SCHERER: I am telling you that that is the position of the Committee. . . .

Mr. SEEGER: I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American. I will tell you about my songs, but I am not interested in telling you who wrote them, and I will tell you about my songs, and I am not interested in who listened to them….

Source: Congress, House, Committee on Un-American Activities, Investigation of Communist Activities, New York Area (Entertainment): Hearings, 84th Congress, August 18, 1955

Written FOR


There can be no talk of peace in the current climate. The struggle faced by the Palestinians in Israel is for full civil rights and an end to discrimination, as the struggle faced by their brethren in the Palestinian territory is to end the 46-year-long occupation. Both will continue to fight for these human rights, because they can’t be trampled on forever.



Palestinians in Israel The Struggle for Rights

By Fida Jiryis *

“In fact, in the ‘sovereign state of the Jewish people’ there is little hope that Arab citizens will gain equal rights. For the Jewish majority, Israel is comparable in its civil liberties and inequities to Western democracies. But Arabs have no place in the Jewish state, except as a tolerated but essentially foreign element […] There is no substantial segment of Israeli society that opposes or seriously questions the fundamental principle of discrimination.”i
Few situations are as complex or riddled with contradiction as that of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. While many other minorities in the world suffer from discrimination and animosity, few are seen so blatantly as an enemy who must be treated with systematic oppression, with the hope that it would somehow disappear. A ludicrous notion, yes, but one that is deeply entrenched in the Israeli psyche and that will take a long process of understanding to reverse.Sadly, that process has not begun. Israel’s Palestinian minority is treated with mounting animosity and suspicion, targeted by a system of institutionalised, state-condoned discrimination and racist laws. In the “only democracy in the Middle East,” it has become commonplace to speak of a Jewish-only state, oaths of allegiance to such a state, and the threat of revoking citizenship from any dissidents – which is unparalleled worldwide and is against human rights – whose “crimes” may amount to no more than speaking out against injustice. In fact, the state goes far beyond this: it refers to its Palestinian citizens as a “demographic problem,” and its politicians frequently speak on policies of “transferring” them to the Palestinian territories, as though these “citizens” are pawns to be moved at will. In short, Israel defines itself as a Jewish state, and those Palestinians who live in it – about 1.5 million people, or a fifth of its population – are a thorn in its side. It wants to be rid of them to fully practice being its exclusionist self.

While these Palestinians are, on paper, free and equal citizens of the state, in reality, this citizenship is far from equal. I have only to travel through Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, for example, to be reminded of this. The infamous search process there has been described by many, and I’ve met one or two foreigners who, after having experienced it, have sworn never to come back. As soon as I line up at the check-in, an army of security personnel pounces. They see my passport, recognise me as Palestinian, and immediately give me a sticker that indicates that I must be searched. I’m then subjected to long, detailed questioning about where I’m going and for what purpose, and an equally harrowing baggage search, which is done slowly and manually, as though the x-ray machines wouldn’t pick up objects of suspicion. People’s reaction to this treatment is varied; some are frightened and intimidated, but most are humiliated and furious; many a voice rises in these halls.

Well, one does not travel every day. More pressing are the questions of daily life and work. For Palestinians to actually get jobs in the Israeli system is an exercise in itself. When I arrived in the Galilee in 1995, fresh out of Lancaster University in England with a BSc in computer science and some work experience, numerous interviewers in Israeli hi-tech companies demanded my army number. I was unable to provide it. Palestinians are exempt from serving in the Israeli army that oppresses their fellow Palestinians in the occupied territories. I was thanked and told that the companies would “call me.” No such calls came. In fact, as I discovered, this is the state’s way of discriminating against Palestinians in employment without appearing to do so outright. In the few instances when I found a job, it was in smaller companies with less rigid hiring procedures that were usually desperate for someone who knew English, since neither Arabs nor Jews in Israel are especially fluent in English. Twice, I found myself the only Arab among thirty or more Israeli employees.

The state has put in place an almost mind-boggling array of discrimination tools, such that one almost wonders at the ingenuity with which a people can practice systematic oppression of another.

In every Arab community, and in the five mixed cities where both Jews and Arabs live, de facto discrimination is readily apparent. Israel’s 1.37 million Arab citizens vote, pay taxes, and speak Hebrew, yet they suffer pervasive discrimination, unequal allocation of resources and violation of their legal rights. Housing, education, and income all substantially lag behind those of the Jewish majority. Only 3 percent of the land in Israel proper is owned by Arabs; permits are rarely granted to Arab families to expand their housing; and most Jewish towns and neighbourhoods remain off-limits.ii

Even more alarming, Israeli society is tending more towards right-wing ideology and racism. A 2012 surveyiii found that most Israelis believe that the state practices “apartheid” against Palestinians, and they are in favour of this. One-third to one-half of Jewish Israelis, according to the survey results, want to live in a state that practices formal, open discrimination against its Arab citizens.

The majority of the Jewish public, 59 percent, wants preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries. Almost half the Jews, 49 percent, want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab citizens; 42 percent don’t want to live in the same building with Arabs and 42 percent don’t want their children in the same class with Arab children.

A third of the Jewish public wants a law barring Israeli Arabs from voting for the Knesset and a large majority of 69 percent objects to giving 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote if Israel annexes the West Bank.

A sweeping 74 percent majority is in favour of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank.

The findings “reflect the widespread notion that Israel, as a Jewish State, should be a state that favours Jews,” wrote Noam Sheizaf, an Israeli journalist and blogger. “They are also the result of the occupation … After almost half a century of dominating another people, it’s no surprise that most Israelis don’t think Arabs deserve the same rights.”

Far from building bridges and attempting to negotiate a peaceful reconciliation, we live at the opposite end of the spectrum.

What do people do? Well, what they do everywhere else: they get up, send their children to school, and go out to battle the odds for survival every day. Some attend Israeli universities, get degrees, then usually find themselves in lower paying jobs that they’re just glad to have. Others finish school and, with difficult financial conditions being prevalent among the Arab population and their not being eligible for any government student loans, find themselves out of education and in the workforce. A large number of Israel’s Palestinians thus work in construction, factories, and other forms of manual labour simply because of lack of opportunity. Many university graduates also join these ranks after spending years looking for a professional job to no avail.

But Palestinians are highly resilient, because they’ve simply had to be. So they keep their culture, speak their language, albeit with a lot of Hebrew influence, and practice their customs. They protect as much as they can of their heritage and push forth for a decent life in this state that was forced on them. And, at the end of the day, they’re not going anywhere.

In recent years, also, youth have become fed up with the system and are more forthcoming in voicing their dissent. Their parents and grandparents grew up in a culture of military rule; today’s generation is far from being intimidated. It is getting more education and is realising, as it sees itself within the world and looks at other countries, that it is living in a system of apartheid. There is increasing awareness among Palestinians, even the poorest and least educated, that they are not being treated fairly and that discrimination is a yoke on their backs.

There can be no talk of peace in the current climate. The struggle faced by the Palestinians in Israel is for full civil rights and an end to discrimination, as the struggle faced by their brethren in the Palestinian territory is to end the 46-year-long occupation. Both will continue to fight for these human rights, because they can’t be trampled on forever.

*Fida Jiryis is a Palestinian writer, editor, and author of Hayatuna Elsagheera (Our Small Life), 2011, and Al-Khawaja, 2013, two collections of Arabic short stories depicting village life in the Galilee. 

i The Arabs in Israel, Sabri Jiryis, Monthly Review Press, USA, 1976, p. xi.
ii The Paradox of Ethnicity and Citizenship, New Israel Fund, 2011, http://www.nif.org/issue-areas/israeli-arabs/
iii The new Israeli apartheid: Poll reveals widespread Jewish support for policy of discrimination against Arab minority, Catrina Stewart, The Independent, Tuesday October 23, 2012; Survey: Most Israeli Jews wouldn’t give Palestinians vote if West Bank was annexed, Gideon Levy, Haaretz, October 23, 2012.

Written FOR


A statement released by Johansson’s spokesman Wednesday said the 29-year-old actress has “a fundamental difference of opinion” with Oxfam International because the humanitarian group opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, saying they are illegal and deny Palestinian rights.


Despite OXFAM’S waivering and wishy washy positions on the matter … this latest move adds legitimacy to the entire BDS Movement.


Johansson stepping down as Oxfam ambassador



Scarlett Johansson is ending her relationship with a humanitarian group after being criticized over her support for an Israeli company that operates in the West Bank.

A statement released by Johansson’s spokesman Wednesday said the 29-year-old actress has “a fundamental difference of opinion” with Oxfam International because the humanitarian group opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, saying they are illegal and deny Palestinian rights.

“Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,” the statement said. “She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam.”

Earlier this month, “The Avengers” and “Her” actress signed on as the first global brand ambassador of SodaStream International Ltd., and she’s set to appear in an ad for the at-home soda maker during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

SodaStream has come under fire from pro-Palestinian activists for maintaining a large factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, a territory captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians.

In response to the criticism, Johansson said last week she was a “supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.”

Oxfam took issue with Johansson, noting it was “considering the implications of her new statement and what it means for Ms. Johansson’s role as an Oxfam global ambassador.”

Johansson had served as a global ambassador for Oxfam since 2007, raising funds and promoting awareness about global poverty. In her role as an Oxfam ambassador, she traveled to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya to highlight the impact of traumatic disasters and chronic poverty.

Oxfam representatives did not immediately return messages seeking comment.




Here you can watch the despicable Johansson in action 

‘Save the world by supporting the occupation’



Sorry, Coke & Pepsi’ is the uncensored version of SodaStream’s commercial for the Big Game 2014. Watch as Scarlett Johansson shows us how to save the world with a soda that’s better-for-you and all of us. Less sugar, less bottles. http://www.sodastream.com


Up-and-coming Pittsburgh Emcee Jasiri X releases “Checkpoint,” a chilling music video documenting his experience visiting Palestine in 2014. The video features footage Jasiri himself captured of Israeli soldiers, as well as newsreel clips of IDF brutality against Palestinians and internationals. Watch closely, Ferrari Sheppard of Stop Being Famous has cameo in this powerful video.

Share and Enjoy.



And here are the lyrics:

Journal of the hard times tales from the dark side
Evidence of the settlements on my hard drive
Man I swear my heart died at the end of that car ride
When I saw that checkpoint welcome to apartheid
Soldiers wear military green at the checkpoint
Automatic guns that’s machine at the checkpoint
Tavors not m16s at the checkpoint
Fingers on the trigger you’ll get leaned at the checkpoint
Little children grown adults or teens at the checkpoint
All ya papers better be clean at the checkpoint
You gotta but your finger on the screen at the checkpoint
And pray that red light turns green at the check point

If Martin Luther King had a dream of the checkpoint
He wake with loud screams from the scenes at the checkpoint
It’s Malcolm X by any means at the check point
Imagine if you daily routine was the checkpoint

Separation walls that’s surrounding the checkpoint
On top is barbwire like a crown on the checkpoint
Better have ya permits if your found at the checkpoint
Gunmen on the tower aiming down at the checkpoint
The idea is to keep you in fear of the checkpoint
You enter through the cage in the rear of the checkpoint
It feels like prison on a tier at the check point
I’d rather be anywhere but here at this checkpoint
Nelson Mandela wasn’t blind to the check point
He stood for free Palestine not a check point
Support BDS don’t give a dime to the checkpoint
This is international crime at the checkpoint
Arabs get treated like dogs at the checkpoint
Cause discrimination is the law at the checkpoint
Criminalized without a cause at the checkpoint
I’m just telling you what I saw at the checkpoint
Soldiers got bad attitudes at the checkpoint
Condescending and real rude at the checkpoint
Don’t look em in they eyes when they move at the checkpoint
They might strip a man or woman nude at the checkpoint
Soldiers might blow you out of ya shoes at the checkpoint
Gas you up and then light the fuse at the checkpoint
Everyday you stand to be accused at the checkpoint
Each time your life you could lose at the checkpoint

If Martin Luther King had a dream of the checkpoint
He wake with loud screams from the scenes at the checkpoint
It’s Malcolm X by any means at the check point
Imagine if you daily routine was the checkpoint

At the airport in Tel Aviv is a checkpoint
They pulled over our taxi at the checkpoint
Passport visa ID at the checkpoint
Soldiers going all through my things at the checkpoint
Said I was high risk security at the checkpoint
Because of the oppression I see at the checkpoint
Occupation in the 3rd degree at the checkpoint
All a nigga wanna do is leave fuck a checkpoint

Sheppard and Jasiri X were traveling together in Israel/Palestine on a delegation organized by the Carter Center of prominent African-American journalists and artists. You can read more about the trip on Sheppard’s site here, here’s an excerpt:

In Jerusalem, I witnessed great religious and ethnic diversity. I saw Arabs, Asians, Europeans, Africans, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, Christians, all scrambling in Old City Jerusalem towards their various destinations. It was postcard worthy.

The variety of cultures in Jerusalem is outstanding. Similar to many societies however, Palestine-Israel presents a polished version of itself to tourists, where 5-star hotels in Tel Aviv and tourist attractions in Jerusalem cloak its brutal realities. The fact remains that our delegation was subject to a type of racism I’ve only experienced in the southern states of the United States of America. Of course, to a Jew or a middle class Palestinian living in Jerusalem or Nazareth, my observations may sound like exaggerations, but for the African migrant sleeping on the ground in South Tel Aviv, or for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, my evaluations are dead on.

The blatant, systemic subjugation and profiling of Arabs was most pronounced when our tour guide, a middle class Palestinian woman, was forced by IDF soldiers to exit our tour van and pass through a checkpoint on foot. As all Palestinians must do, she was told to place her thumb on a scanner to pass through a turn-style at a checkpoint. The members of our delegation were no exception to IDF scrutiny. The light skinned blacks in our delegation were interrogated and asked bluntly if they were Arab, and if not, what the last names of their fathers’ were.

Palestinians and progressive Israelis told our delegation story after story of the abuses and degradation they’ve suffered at the hands of Israeli settlers or soldiers, and we witnessed some of this treatment first hand. Along with the rampant home and land confiscation in the West Bank (in which settlers receive state subsidies), agricultural violence is on the rise, as settlers uproot and destroy the olive trees Palestinians rely on for income and nourishment. More sinisterly, public beatings, arrests and shootings are common, particularly in the West Bank. Without charges, a Palestinian can be imprisoned and held for months or years under administrative detention. The same law does not apply to Jewish Israelis. In fact, Israeli citizens can commit a range of crimes against Palestinians with near impunity.


Originally posted AT



An Open Letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio:

We are Jewish residents of New York who read, in the leaked transcript of your private speech to a meeting of AIPAC leaders, the following:

“City Hall will always be open to AIPAC. When you need me to stand by you in Washington or anywhere, I will answer the call and I’ll answer it happily ’cause that’s my job.”

We understand that the job of mayor of New York is a complex one that often calls for your participation on the international stage, and we would not presume to define your job for you. But we do know that the needs and concerns of many of your constituents–U.S. Jews like us among them–are not aligned with those of AIPAC, and that no, your job is not to do AIPAC’s bidding when they call you to do so. AIPAC speaks for Israel’s hard-line government and its right-wing supporters, and for them alone; it does not speak for us.

Sincerely yours,

Ruth J. Abram
Karen R. Adler
Arlene Alda
Anita Altman
Esther Ann-Asch
Emanuel Ax
Peter Beinart
Andrew Berger
Loren Bevans
Martin I. Bresler
Kenneth David Burrows
Howard Clyman
Rabbi Rachel Cowan
Barbara Deinhardt
Barbara Dobkin
Eugene Eisner
Laurel W. Eisner
Daniel Engelstein
Eve Ensler
Danny Goldberg
Sally Gottesman
Linda Gottlieb
Laurence Greenwald
Jane Hirschmann
Erica Jong
Peter A. Joseph
Alice Kessler-Harris
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum
Gil Kulick
Martha Weinman Lear
Bobbie Leigh
Jonathan Leigh
Alan H. Levine
Rabbi Ellen Lippmann
Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon
Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark
Donna Nevel
Kathleen Peratis
Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Bertrand B. Pogrebin
Michael Ratner
Anne Roiphe
Betty Rollin
Al Ruben
Marlene Sanders
James Schamus
Dan Silverman
Beverly Solochek
Carla Singer
Rabbi Felicia Sol
Alisa Solomon
Gloria Steinem
Herbert Teitelbaum
Rebecca Vilkomerson
Rabbi Burton Visotzky
Peter Weiss
Jack Willis
Eugenia Zukerman

Originally posted AT


A Prince that never abdicated his throne …
From all sectors of the media tributes continue to pour in honouring this remarkable human being. His name was never a household word, but there are few houses where his music has not been heard at one time or another.
His life spanned 2 World Wars, a depression, a Civil War in Spain, a Cold War, wars in Korea, Vietnam and in America itself …. BY AMERICANS! His music captured it all. He was truly a gift to the people of America and the world at large ….
Following are some of the tributes that are worth mentioning  ….
From the Jewish Telegraphic News Agency
From The Forward
An Appraisal in today’s New York Times was a pleasant surprise …

Pete Seeger, a Folk Revivalist Who Used His Voice to Bring Out a Nation’s


The singer and champion of progressive causes died on Monday at 94. via Reuters

Pete Seeger sang until his voice wore out, and then he kept on singing, decade upon decade. Mr. Seeger, who died on Monday at 94, sang for children, folk-music devotees, union members, civil-rights marchers, antiwar protesters, environmentalists and everyone else drawn to a repertoire that extended from ancient ballads to brand-new songs about every cause that moved him. But it wasn’t his own voice he wanted to hear. He wanted everyone to sing along.

Although Mr. Seeger summed up Vietnam-era frustration when he wrote “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” and created a lasting antiwar parable with “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” he wasn’t simply a protest singer or propagandist. Like his father, the musicologist Charles Seeger, and his colleague the ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, Pete Seeger was devoted to songs that had been passed on through generations of people singing and playing together. He was determined — in an era when recording was rarer and broadcasting limited — to get those songs heard and sung anew, lest they disappear.

That put him at the center of the folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s, in all its idealism, earnestness and contradictions. Collectors found songs that had archetypal resonance, sung in unpretty voices and played with regional quirks, and transcribed them to be learned from sheet music. The folk revival prized authenticity — the work song recorded in prison, the fiddle tune recorded on a back porch — and then diluted it as the making of amateur collegiate strum-alongs. Mr. Seeger and his fellow folk revivalists freely adapted old songs to new occasions, using durable old tunes to carry topical thoughts, speaking of a “folk tradition” of communal authorship and inevitable change. They would warp a song to preserve it. (In succeeding years, copyright problems could and did ensue.)

It was an era of purists generating the impure, and, sloppy or saccharine as it could be, it turned out well. Folk-revival ditties pointed their more dedicated listeners — particularly musicians — back to original versions, extending the reach of regional styles. The hootenanny movement spurred people to play music instead of passively consume it, and the noncommercial, do-it-yourself spirit — though not the sound of banjos and acoustic guitars — would resound in punk-rock, which had its own kind of protest songs.

Mr. Seeger in 1967, when the folk revival was developing into an antiwar movement. D.Steinberg/Associated Press

Even more important, the folk revival, with Mr. Seeger as one of its prime movers, introduced American pop to a different America: the one outside Tin Pan Alley and Hollywood, where a volunteer gospel choir could sing with more gumption than a studio chorus, and where a decades-old song about hard times could speak directly to the present. The folk revival reminded the pop world that songs could be about something more than romance — a notion that the revival’s greatest student and transformer, Bob Dylan, would run with. Mr. Seeger also learned and performed songs from abroad; there were folks there, too.

Mr. Seeger’s discography runs to dozens of albums: topical songs, Mother Goose rhymes, banjo instruction, African songs, lullabies, blues, Civil War songs, Spanish Civil War songs and far more. His canon was selective but not exclusive; he wanted all those songs to get more chances. His cultural mission was democratic.

In 2011, Pete Seeger, 92, joining Occupy Wall Street by marching from a concert at Symphony Space to Columbus Circle. Marcus Yam for The New York Times

His mission was political too, of course. In 2012, Mr. Seeger told aninterviewer on WNYC how he would like to be remembered: “He made up songs to try and persuade people to do something,” not just say something. As the 1940s began, he recorded songs reflecting the Communist party line; accusations of Communist Party affiliations got him questioned by the House Un-American Activities Committee and blacklisted during the McCarthy era. More felicitously, Mr. Seeger recast traditional songs to rally unions, civil-rights groups, Vietnam War protesters and environmentalists. Mr. Seeger was a longtime mentor for topical songwriters. The best of his own songs, like the biblical “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” reach for cycles and archetypes, not ephemeral complaints.

Pop tastes quickly turned away from the folk revival; the Beatles were more fun. In the 21st century, folky protest and topical songs have generally been shunted to the far sidelines. Although Bruce Springsteen has taken songs from Mr. Seeger’s repertory to arenas, social consciousness is now disseminated more widely through metal and hip-hop. Yet the plink of acoustic instruments is still a token of sincerity. The banjo has resurfaced in groups like Mumford & Sons, while fascination with the folk-revival era animates the Coen brothers film “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

Yet Mr. Seeger wasn’t aiming for pop celebrity anyway. He had all the audiences he needed: at Carnegie Hall or at Barack Obama’s inauguration or at a local coffeehouse, in a high-school classroom or at a union meeting. He had the kindly demeanor of a favorite uncle and the encouraging tone of a secular preacher as he picked his banjo and taught another chorus to yet another audience, beaming as the singalong grew louder and more confident, turning one more group of folks into a community.


Here is my own tribute to this great man which was posted yesterday.



It looks like the zionists have their work cut out for themselves. They act threatened by what they call anti-Semitism …. but on the other hand, what would they do without it? Their fabrications are what literally keep them in business.


Oy Vey …. a world without anti-Semitism …. perish the thought 😉


BUT … one of their loudest mouthpieces assured the Klan that anti-Semitism is here to stay … a guarantee that the dollars will continue to pour in. Elie Wiesel spoke to Ynet 


Elie Wiesel: People are no longer ashamed to be anti-Semites

Nobel Peace Prize laureate tells Ynet about never-ending struggle against anti-Semitism and recognition that it will likely never be defeated


BOSTON – Prof. Elie Wiesel was supposed to be the keynote speaker at the inauguration ceremony of the new display at theJewish pavilion in Auschwitz, the place where he was enslaved and lost his loved ones.

For personal reasons he was unable to attend the important event, but in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the author and Nobel Peace Prize laureate told Ynet about the never-ending struggle against anti-Semitism and the recognition that it would likely never be defeated.

The world is still silent

Prof. Wiesel, who coined the eternal expression “Not all victims were Jews, but all Jews were victims,” examines every significant occurrence with an overall view of world peace. To the same extent, he meticulously examines whether the memory of the Holocaust has been engraved in people’s minds, and whether there is a danger that the events of 1939-1945 will repeat themselves, and the world – as it was during those years – will be indifferent and silent.

Prof. Elie Wiesel with Dr. Yoel Rappel. 'I thought the memory of the Holocaust would shame those boasting anti-Semitic opinions. I was wrong' (Photo: Dorit Rappel)
Prof. Elie Wiesel with Dr. Yoel Rappel. ‘I thought the memory of the Holocaust would shame those boasting anti-Semitic opinions. I was wrong’ (Photo: Dorit Rappel)


“The Holocaust is a unique event, but it has a universal significance which must be memorized incessantly,” he says, voicing concerns over the temptation of Iran’s nuclear ability and the civil war in Syria, which has already claimed a price of 150,000 deaths. And the world is silent.

The unstoppable conversation between us has been going on for several years now, but the murky wave of anti-Semitism sweeping over the Western world, as well as Eastern Europe (with therecent incidents in Hungary and Ukraine), are fresh and extract statements with despair running through them.

“Unfortunately, anti-Semitism still exists,” Wiesel says. “It has been alive for more than 2,000 years, and will likely continue living. I thought that the memory of the Holocaust would shame those boasting anti-Semitic opinions. I was wrong. It still exists in different countries, and it seems people are no longer ashamed to be anti-Semitic.”

Concerned mainly about Israel

Wiesel believes that the memory of the Holocaust is the only chance of saving the world from another disaster. He defines the modern anti-Semite, first and foremost, as anti-Israel. “It’s very difficult to separate between the two,” he says.

“There are anti-Semites who are only anti-Israel,” he explains. “Once I thought that anti-Semitism had ended; today it is clear to be that it will probably never end. It might weaken sometimes, but it will continue existing, because in different countries there is no shame in being an anti-Semite. We must remember that anti-Semitism led to Auschwitz. Without anti-Semitism there would have been no Auschwitz.”

Elie Wiesel. Circumcision and ritual slaughter bans 'stem first of all from ignorance and disregard of the Jewish faith' (Photo: Reuters)
Elie Wiesel. Circumcision and ritual slaughter bans ‘stem first of all from ignorance and disregard of the Jewish faith’ (Photo: Reuters)

Known as one of the State of Israel’s greatest advocates, Wiesel argues that the fundamental problem is the attitude towards Israel and not anti-Semitism.

“It’s clear to me that one can’t be Jewish without Israel. Religious or non-religious, Zionist or non-Zionist, Ashkenazi or Sephardic – all these will not exist without Israel. The State’s existence is the oxygen of the image and ideas of the new anti-Semitism.”

Does the public dispute over the circumcision and ritual slaughter bans also stem from anti-Semitism?

“In my opinion, it stems first of all from ignorance and disregard of the Jewish faith. Those who raise such ideas and others will soon come up with the idea to cancel Shabbat, so that Jews will rest on Sunday. It’s more of case of ignorance, and it leads to harassment against the foundations of Judaism.”

Can the different phenomena experienced recently by theJewish community in the United States be defined as anti-Semitism?

“There are expressions of anti-Semitism, yet we can’t talk about an anti-Semitic movement but about groups of anti-Semites which operate in different places, and we don’t know how many members they have. This reality must also concern us, because it could expand.”

For Prof. Elie Wiesel, the battle for instilling the memory of the Holocaust is a daily and unstoppable one. In the United States, International Holocaust Remembrance Day is only marked with an event held at the United Nations building. The American nation commemorates the memory of the victims of the Holocaust on the same day as the State of Israel.

The proposal made by Wiesel, who served as chairman of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust, was accepted at the time by the American Congress and has become a fixed tradition.




Pete Seeger, a personal friend and comrade died yesterday at the age of 94, just months after the passing of his wife of 70 years, Toshi.


Despite his advanced age, he did not live long enough to see the free world that he envisioned throughout his active political life.


He was more than just a Folk Singer, he was a singer for the folk. Those of us that had the opportunity and blessing of knowing him will miss him dearly. His legacy and music will live on for eternity which will ease our sorrow a bit, and will serve as a  continual reminder that his work is undone and we must continue with it.



Bella Ciao Dear Comrade



The New York Times published the following obituary today … (including photos)


Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94


Pete Seeger, the singer, folk-song collector and songwriter who spearheaded an American folk revival and spent a long career championing folk music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for social change, died Monday. He was 94 and lived in Beacon, N.Y.

His death was confirmed by his grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson, who said he died of natural causes at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

Mr. Seeger’s career carried him from singing at labor rallies to the Top 10 to college auditoriums to folk festivals, and from a conviction for contempt of Congress (after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s) to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural concert for Barack Obama.

For Mr. Seeger, folk music and a sense of community were inseparable, and where he saw a community, he saw the possibility of political action.

In his hearty tenor, Mr. Seeger, a beanpole of a man who most often played 12-string guitar or five-string banjo, sang topical songs and children’s songs, humorous tunes and earnest anthems, always encouraging listeners to join in. His agenda paralleled the concerns of the American left: He sang for the labor movement in the 1940s and 1950s, for civil rights marches and anti-Vietnam War rallies in the 1960s, and for environmental and antiwar causes in the 1970s and beyond. “We Shall Overcome,” which Mr. Seeger adapted from old spirituals, became a civil rights anthem.

Mr. Seeger was a prime mover in the folk revival that transformed popular music in the 1950s. As a member of the Weavers, he sang hits including Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene” — which reached No. 1 — and “If I Had a Hammer,” which he wrote with the group’s Lee Hays. Another of Mr. Seeger’s songs, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” became an antiwar standard. And in 1965, the Byrds had a No. 1 hit with a folk-rock version of “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” Mr. Seeger’s setting of a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Mr. Seeger was a mentor to younger folk and topical singers in the ‘50s and ‘60s, among them Bob Dylan, Don McLean and Bernice Johnson Reagon, who founded Sweet Honey in the Rock. Decades later, Bruce Springsteen drew the songs on his 2006 album, “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions,” from Mr. Seeger’s repertoire of traditional music about a turbulent American experience, and in 2009 he performed Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” with Mr. Seeger at the Obama inaugural. At a Madison Square Garden concert celebrating Mr. Seeger’s 90th birthday, Mr. Springsteen introduced him as “a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along.”

Although he recorded more than 100 albums, Mr. Seeger distrusted commercialism and was never comfortable with the idea of stardom. He invariably tried to use his celebrity to bring attention and contributions to the causes that moved him, or to the traditional songs he wanted to preserve.

Mr. Seeger saw himself as part of a continuing folk tradition, constantly recycling and revising music that had been honed by time.

During the McCarthy era Mr. Seeger’s political affiliations, including membership in the Communist Party in the 1940s, led to his being blacklisted and later indicted for contempt of Congress. The pressure broke up the Weavers, and Mr. Seeger disappeared from television until the late 1960s. But he never stopped recording, performing and listening to songs from ordinary people. Through the decades, his songs have become part of America’s folklore.

“My job,” he said in 2009, “is to show folks there’s a lot of good music in this world, and if used right it may help to save the planet.”

Peter Seeger was born on May 3, 1919, to Charles Seeger, a musicologist, and Constance de Clyver Edson Seeger, a concert violinist. His parents later divorced.

He began playing the ukulele while attending Avon Old Farms, a private boarding school in Connecticut. His father and his stepmother, the composer Ruth Crawford Seeger, were collecting and transcribing rural American folk music, as were folklorists like John and Alan Lomax. He heard the five-string banjo, which would become his main instrument, when his father took him to a square-dance festival in North Carolina.

Young Pete became enthralled by rural traditions. “I liked the strident vocal tone of the singers, the vigorous dancing,” he is quoted in “How Can I Keep From Singing,” a biography by David Dunaway. “The words of the songs had all the meat of life in them. Their humor had a bite, it was not trivial. Their tragedy was real, not sentimental.”

Planning to be a journalist, Mr. Seeger attended Harvard, where he founded a radical newspaper and joined the Young Communist League. After two years, he dropped out and came to New York City, where Mr. Lomax introduced him to the blues singer Huddie Ledbetter, known as Lead Belly. Mr. Lomax also helped Mr. Seeger find a job cataloging and transcribing music at the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress.

Mr. Seeger met Mr. Guthrie, a songwriter who shared his love of vernacular music and agitprop ambitions, in 1940, when they performed at a benefit concert for migrant California workers. Traveling across the United States with Mr. Guthrie, Mr. Seeger picked up some of his style and repertory. He also hitchhiked and hopped freight trains by himself, trading and learning songs.

When he returned to New York later in 1940, Mr. Seeger made his first albums. He, Millard Lampell and Mr. Hays founded the Almanac Singers, who performed union songs and, until Germany invaded the Soviet Union, antiwar songs, following the Communist Party line. Mr. Guthrie soon joined the group.

During World War II the Almanac Singers’s repertory turned to patriotic, antifascist songs, bringing them a broad audience, including a prime-time national radio spot. But the group’s earlier antiwar songs, the target of an F.B.I. investigation, came to light, and the group’s career plummeted.

Before the group completely dissolved, however, Mr. Seeger was drafted in 1942 and assigned to a unit of performers. He married Toshi-Aline Ohta while on furlough in 1943.

When he returned from the war he founded People’s Songs Inc., which published political songs and presented concerts for several years before going bankrupt. He also started his nightclub career, performing at the Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village. Mr. Seeger and Paul Robeson toured with the campaign of Henry Wallace, the Progressive Party presidential candidate, in 1948.

Mr. Seeger invested $1,700 in 17 acres of land overlooking the Hudson River in Beacon and began building a log cabin there in the late 1940s. In 1949, Mr. Seeger, Mr. Hays, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman started working together as the Weavers. They were signed to Decca Records by Gordon Jenkins, the company’s music director and an arranger for Frank Sinatra. With Mr. Jenkins’s elaborate orchestral arrangements, the group recorded a repertoire that stretched from “If I Had a Hammer” to a South African song, “Wimoweh” (the title was Mr. Seeger’s mishearing of “Mbube,” the name of a South African hit by Solomon Linda), to an Israeli soldiers’ song, “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,” to a cleaned-up version of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene.” Onstage, they also sang more pointed topical songs.

In 1950 and 1951 the Weavers were national stars, with hit singles and engagements at major nightclubs. Their hits included “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” and Mr. Guthrie’s “So Long (It’s Been Good to Know Yuh),” and they sold an estimated four million singles and albums.

But “Red Channels,” an influential pamphlet listing performers with suspected Communist ties, appeared in June 1950 and listed Mr. Seeger, although by then he had quit the Communist Party. He would later criticize himself for having not left the party sooner, though he continued to describe himself as a “communist with a small ‘c.’ ”

Despite the Weavers’ commercial success, by the summer of 1951 the “Red Channels” citation and leaks from F.B.I. files had led to the cancellation of television appearances. In 1951, the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee investigated the Weavers for sedition. And in February 1952, a former member of People’s Songs testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee that three of the four Weavers were members of the Communist Party.

As engagements dried up the Weavers disbanded, though they reunited periodically in the mid-1950s. After the group recorded an advertisement for Lucky Strike cigarettes, Mr. Seeger left, citing his objection to promoting tobacco use.

Shut out of national exposure, Mr. Seeger returned primarily to solo concerts, touring college coffeehouses, churches, schools and summer camps, building an audience for folk music among young people. He started to write a long-running column for the folk-song magazine Sing Out! And he recorded prolifically for the independent Folkways label, singing everything from children’s songs to Spanish Civil War anthems.

In 1955 he was subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee, where he testified, “I feel that in my whole life I have never done anything of any conspiratorial nature.” He also stated: “I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.”

Mr. Seeger offered to sing the songs mentioned by the congressmen who questioned him. The committee declined.

Mr. Seeger was indicted in 1957 on 10 counts of contempt of Congress. He was convicted in 1961 and sentenced to a year in prison, but the next year an appeals court dismissed the indictment as faulty. After the indictment, Mr. Seeger’s concerts were often picketed by the John Birch Society and other rightist groups. “All those protests did was sell tickets and get me free publicity,” he later said. “The more they protested, the bigger the audiences became.”

By then, the folk revival was prospering. In 1959, Mr. Seeger was among the founders of the Newport Folk Festival. The Kingston Trio’s version of Mr. Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” reached the Top 40 in 1962, soon followed by Peter, Paul and Mary’s version of “If I Had a Hammer,” which rose to the Top 10.

Mr. Seeger was signed to a major label, Columbia Records, in 1961, but he remained unwelcome on network television. “Hootenanny,” an early-1960s show on ABC that capitalized on the folk revival, refused to book Mr. Seeger, causing other performers (including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary) to boycott it. “Hootenanny” eventually offered to present Mr. Seeger if he would sign a loyalty oath. He refused.

He toured the world, performing and collecting folk songs, in 1963, and returned to serenade civil rights advocates, who had made a rallying song of his “We Shall Overcome.”

Like many of Mr. Seeger’s songs, “We Shall Overcome” had convoluted traditional roots. It was based on old gospel songs, primarily “I’ll Overcome,” a hymn that striking tobacco workers had sung on a picket line in South Carolina. A slower version, “We Will Overcome,” was collected from one of the workers, Lucille Simmons, by Zilphia Horton, the musical director of the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tenn., which trained union organizers.

Ms. Horton taught it to Mr. Seeger, and her version of “We Will Overcome” was published in the People’s Songs newsletter. Mr. Seeger changed “We will” to “We shall” and added verses (“We’ll walk hand in hand”). He taught it to the singers Frank Hamilton, who would join the Weavers in 1962, and Guy Carawan, who became musical director at Highlander in the ‘50s. Mr. Carawan taught the song to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at its founding convention.

The song was copyrighted by Mr. Seeger, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Carawan and Ms. Horton. “At that time we didn’t know Lucille Simmons’s name,” Mr. Seeger wrote in his 1993 autobiography, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” All of the song’s royalties go to the “We Shall Overcome” Fund, administered by what is now the Highlander Research and Education Center, which provides grants to African-Americans organizing in the South.

Along with many elders of the protest-song movement, Mr. Seeger felt betrayed when Bob Dylan appeared at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival with a loud electric blues band. Reports emerged that Mr. Seeger had tried to cut the power cable with an ax, but witnesses including the producer George Wein and the festival’s production manager, Joe Boyd (later a leading folk-rock record producer), said he did not go that far. (An ax was available, however. A group of prisoners had used it while singing a logging song.)

As the United States grew divided over the Vietnam War, Mr. Seeger wrote “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” an antiwar song with the refrain “The big fool says to push on.” He performed the song during a taping of “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” in September 1967, his return to network television, but it was cut before the show was broadcast. After the Smothers Brothers publicized the censorship, Mr. Seeger returned to perform the song for broadcast in February 1968.

During the late 1960s Mr. Seeger started an improbable project: a sailing ship that would crusade for cleaner water on the Hudson River. Between other benefit concerts he raised money to build the Clearwater, a 106-foot sloop that was launched in June 1969 with a crew of musicians. The ship became a symbol and a rallying point for antipollution efforts and education.

In May 2009, after decades of litigation and environmental activism led by Mr. Seeger’s nonprofit environmental organization, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, General Electric began dredging sediment containing PCBs it had dumped into the Hudson. Mr. Seeger and his wife also helped organize a yearly summer folk festival named after the Clearwater.

In the ‘80s and ‘90s Mr. Seeger toured regularly with Arlo Guthrie, Woody’s son, and continued to lead singalongs and perform benefit concerts. Recognition and awards arrived. He was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, and in 1993 he was given a lifetime achievement Grammy Award. In 1994, President Bill Clinton handed him the National Medal of Arts, America’s highest arts honor, given by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1999, he traveled to Cuba to receive the Order of Félix Varela, Cuba’s highest cultural award, for his “humanistic and artistic work in defense of the environment and against racism.”

In 1996, Mr. Seeger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence. Arlo Guthrie, who paid tribute at the ceremony, mentioned that the Weavers’ hit “Goodnight, Irene” reached No. 1, only to add, “I can’t think of a single event in Pete’s life that is probably less important to him.” Mr. Seeger made no acceptance speech, but he did lead a singalong of “Goodnight, Irene,” flanked by Stevie Wonder, David Byrne and members of the Jefferson Airplane.

Mr. Seeger won Grammy Awards for best traditional folk album in 1997, for the album “Pete,” and in 2009, for the album “At 89.” He also won a Grammy in the children’s music category in 2011 for “Tomorrow’s Children.”

Mr. Seeger kept performing into the 21st century, despite a flagging voice; audiences happily sang along more loudly. He celebrated his 90th birthday, on May 3, 2009, at a Madison Square Garden concert — a benefit for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater — with Mr. Springsteen, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, Joan Baez, Ani DiFranco, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, Emmylou Harris and dozens of other musicians paying tribute. In August he was back in Newport for the 50th anniversary of the Newport Folk Festival.

Mr. Seeger’s wife, Toshi, died in 2013, days before the couple’s 70th anniversary. Survivors include his son, Daniel; his daughters, Mika and Tinya; a half-sister, Peggy; and six grandchildren, including the musician Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, who performed with him at the Obama inaugural. His half-brother Mike Seeger, a folklorist and performer who founded the New Lost City Ramblers, died in 2009.

Through the years, Mr. Seeger remained determinedly optimistic. “The key to the future of the world,” he said in 1994, “is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.”


Another tribute can be read HERE


Netanyahu is not satisfied with the occupation of all of Palestine, now he wants to occupy the entire Internet as well …. including our minds.


“There should be a sort of UN for the internet. A coalition of the leading companies in the cyber world…and in my opinion Israel is the most advanced.”


‘Turn the curse into a blessing’: Netanyahu wants UN of the internet


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his opening speech of the "CyberTech 2014" international conference on January 27, 2014. (AFP Photo / Jack Guez)


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said at the Cybertech conference in Tel Aviv that he wants to create a coalition of leading companies to turn the internet from a curse into a blessing.

In the wake of a reported breach of Defense Ministry computers, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu talked of the importance of cyber security at an Israeli cybertech conference in the Israeli capital on Monday, Globes reports.

“The biggest challenge we face with the cyber world is protecting the privacy and security of the public. There could be a serious breach,” he said.

“There should be a sort of UN for the internet. A coalition of the leading companies in the cyber world…and in my opinion Israel is the most advanced,” he added.

Fleshing out his plan during the conference, the prime minister said he envisaged hundreds of cybertech companies being set up in an unprecedented cooperation between the government and the business world. He explained that the more computerized the world gets, the more vulnerable we all become, and so we must deal with it in a systematic and focused manner.

“This project is big and reflects our visions to develop Israel with international cooperation. We all want to see a cyber-world that is open, free and cooperative. When you think cyber, think Israel,” Israel’s leader said.

Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive of IBM Software and Systems, speaks during the opening of the "CyberTech 2014" international conference on January 27, 2014 in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel-Aviv. (AFP Photo / Jack Guez)Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive of IBM Software and Systems, speaks during the opening of the “CyberTech 2014” international conference on January 27, 2014 in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel-Aviv. (AFP Photo / Jack Guez)


Netanyahu’s speech came hot on the heels of it becoming public that hackers had broken into an Israeli Defense Ministry computer via an email attachment earlier this month, which was tainted with malicious software.

The hackers broke into 15 computers, one of them belonging to Israel’s Civil Administration that monitors Palestinians in Israeli occupied territory.

The software managed to fool employees at the Defense Ministry because it looked like it had been sent by Israel’s Shin Bet secret security service, an Israeli cyber security firm said on Sunday.

The chief technology officer at Seculert, Aviv Raff, told Reuters that Palestinians were suspected of being behind the attack, but other than that he did not have any information on what the hackers did. The Defense Ministry declined to comment.




Winging his way to the depths of hell …


It is just over a week since the earthly remains of this most despicable being were handed over to the worms to devour. There is no doubt that his satanic soul is now burning with the others who dedicated their lives to the destruction of humanity.


Below are two not-so fond misrememberances by others who share my disdain for the ‘Butcher of Beirut’.



Uri Avnery        


                                                The Imperator


IN THE middle of the 70s, Ariel Sharon asked me to arrange something for him – a meeting with Yasser Arafat. 

A few days before, the Israeli media had discovered that I was in regular contact with the leadership of the PLO, which was listed at the time as a terrorist organization. 

I told Sharon that my PLO contacts would probably ask what he intended to propose to the Palestinians. He told me that his plan was to help the Palestinians to overthrow the Jordanian monarchy, and turn Jordan into a Palestinian state, with Arafat as its president. 

What about the West Bank?” I asked. 

Once Jordan becomes Palestine, there will no longer be a conflict between two peoples, but between two states. That will be much easier to resolve. We shall find some form of partition, territorial or functional, or we shall rule the territory together.”  

My friends submitted the request to Arafat, who laughed it off. But he did not miss the opportunity to tell King Hussein about it. Hussein disclosed the story to a Kuwaiti newspaper, Alrai, and that’s how it came back to me. 

SHARON’S PLAN was revolutionary at the time. Almost the entire Israeli establishment – including Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Defense Minister Shimon Peres – believed in the so-called “Jordanian option”: the idea that we must make peace with King Hussein. The Palestinians were either ignored or considered arch-enemies, or both. 

Five years earlier, when the Palestinians in Jordan were battling the Hashemite regime there, Israel came to the aid of the king at the request of Henry Kissinger. I proposed the opposite in my magazine: to aid the Palestinians. Sharon later told me that he, a general at the time, had asked the General Staff to do the same, though for a different end. My idea was to create a Palestinian state in the West Bank, his was to create it in the East Bank. 

(The idea of turning Jordan into Palestine has a generally unknown linguistic background. In Hebrew usage, “Eretz Israel” is the land on both sides of the Jordan River, where the ancient Hebrew tribes settled according to the Biblical myth. In Palestinian usage, “Filastin” is only the land on the West side of the river. Therefore is quite natural for ignorant Israelis to ask the Palestinians to set up their state beyond the Jordan. For Palestinians, that means setting up their state abroad.) 

AT THE time, Sharon was in political exile. 

In 1973 he left the army, after realizing that he had no chance of becoming Chief of Staff. This may seem odd, since he was already recognized as an outstanding battlefield commander. The trouble was that he was also known as an insubordinate officer, who despised his superiors and his peers (as well as everybody else.) Also, his relationship with the truth was problematical. David Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary that Sharon could be an exemplary military officer, if only he could abstain from lying. 

When he left the army, Sharon almost single-handedly created the Likud by unifying all the right-wing parties. That’s when I chose him the first time as Haolam Hazeh’s Man of the Year and wrote a large biographical article about him. A few days later, the Yom Kippur War broke out, and Sharon was drafted back into the army. His part in it is considered by many as pure genius, by others as a story of insubordination and luck. A photo of him with his head bandaged became his trademark, though it was only a slight wound caused by hitting his head on his command vehicle. (To be fair, he was really wounded in battle, like me, in 1948.) 

After the Yom Kippur war, the argument about his part in that war became the center of “the battle of the generals”. He started to visit me at my home to explain his moves, and we became quite friendly. 

He left the Likud when he realized that he could not become its leader as long as Menachem Begin was around. He started to chart his own course. That’s when he asked for the meeting with Arafat. 

He was thinking about creating a new party, neither right nor left, but led by him and “outstanding personalities” from all over the political landscape. He invited me to join, and we had long conversations at his home. 

I must explain here that for a long time I had been looking for a person with military credentials to lead a large united peace camp. A leader with such a background would make it much easier for us to gain public support for our aims. Sharon fitted the recipe. (As Yitzhak Rabin did later.) Yet during our conversations it became clear to me that he had basically remained a right-winger. 

In the end Sharon set up a new party called Shlomtzion (“Peace of Zion”), which was a dismal failure on election day. The next day, he rejoined the Likud. 

The Likud had won the elections and Begin became Prime Minister. If Sharon had hoped to be appointed Minister of Defense, he was soon disabused. Begin did not trust him. Sharon looked like a general who might organize a coup. The powerful new Finance Minister said that if Sharon became commander-in-chief, he would “send his tanks to surround the Knesset.” 

(There was a joke making the rounds at the time:  Defense Minister Sharon would call for a meeting of the General Staff and announce: “Comrades, tomorrow morning at 06.00 we take over the government!” For a moment the audience was dumfounded, and then it broke out into riotous laughter.) 

However, when Begin’s preferred Defense Minister, the former Air Force chief Ezer Weizman, resigned, Begin was compelled to appoint Sharon as his successor. For the second time I chose Sharon as Haolam Hazeh’s Man of the Year. He took this very seriously and sat with me for many hours, in several meetings at his home and office, in order to explain his ideas. 

One of them, which he expounded at the same time to the US strategic planners, was to conquer Iran. When Ayatollah Khomeini dies, he said, there will begin a race between the Soviet Union and the US to determine who will arrive first on the scene and take over. The US is far away, but Israel can do the job. With the help of heavy arms that the US will store in Israel well before, our army will be in full possession before the Soviets move. He showed me the detailed maps of the advance, hour by hour and day by day. 

This was typical Sharon, His vision was wide and all-embracing. His listener was left breathless, comparing him to the ordinary little politicians, devoid of vision and breadth. But his ideas were generally based on abysmal ignorance of the other side, and therefore came to naught. 

AT THE same time, nine months before the Lebanon War, he disclosed to me his Grand Plan for a new Middle East of his making. He allowed me to publish it, provided I did not mention him as the source. He trusted me. 

Basically it was the same as the one he wanted to propose to Arafat. 

The army would invade Lebanon and drive the Palestinians from there to Syria, from whence the Syrians would drive them into Jordan. There the Palestinians would overthrow the king and establish the State of Palestine. 

The army would also drive the Syrians out of Lebanon. In Lebanon Sharon would choose a Christian officer and install him as dictator. Lebanon would make official peace with Israel and in effect become a vassal state. 

I duly published all this, and nine months later Sharon invaded Lebanon, after lying to Begin and the cabinet about his aims. But the war was a catastrophe, both militarily and politically. 

Militarily it was a demonstration of “the Peter principle” – the brilliant battle commander was a miserable strategist. No unit of the Israeli army reached its objective on time, if at all. The Israeli-installed dictator, Bachir Gemayel, was assassinated. His brother and successor signed a peace treaty with Israel, which has been completely forgotten by now. The Syrians remained in Lebanon for many years to come. The Israeli army extricated itself after a guerrilla war that lasted 18 full years, during which the despised and downtrodden Shiites in Israeli-occupied South Lebanon became the dominant political force in the country. 

And, worst of all, in order to induce the Palestinians to flee, Sharon let the barbarous Christian Phalangists into the Palestinian refugee camps Sabra and Shatila, where they committed a terrible massacre. Hundreds of thousands of outraged Israelis protested in Tel Aviv, and Sharon was dismissed from the defense ministry. 

At the height of the Battle of Beirut I crossed the lines and met with Yasser Arafat, who had become Sharon’s Nemesis. Since then, Sharon and I did not exchange a single word, not even greeting each other. 

IT LOOKED like the end of Sharon’s career. But for Sharon, every end was a new beginning. 

One of his media vassals, Uri Dan (who had started his career in Haolam Hazeh) once coined a prophetic phrase: “Those who don’t want him as Chief of Staff, will get him as Minister of Defense. Those who don’t want him as Minister of Defense, will get him as Prime Minister.” Today one could add: “Those who did not want him as Prime Minister, are getting him as a national icon.”   

An ex-general, Yitzhak Ben-Israel, told me yesterday: “He was an Imperator!” I find this a very apt description. 

Like a Roman imperator, Sharon was a supreme being, admired and feared, generous and cruel, genial and treacherous, hedonistic and corrupt, a victorious general and a war criminal, quick to make decisions and unwavering once he had made them, overcoming all obstacles by sheer force of personality. 

One could not meet him without being struck by the sense of power he emanated. Power was his element. 

He believed that destiny had chosen him to lead Israel. He did not think so – he knew. For him, his personal career and the fate of Israel were one and the same. Therefore, anyone who tried to block him was a traitor to Israel. He despised everyone around him – from Begin down to the last politician and general. 

His character was formed in his early childhood in Kfar Malal, a communal village which belonged to the Labor party. His mother, Vera, managed the family farm with an iron will, quarreling with all the neighbors, the village institutions and the party. When little Arik was injured in a fall on a pitchfork, she did not take him to the village clinic, which she hated, but put him on a donkey and led him for several kilometers to a doctor in Kfar Saba. 

When rumor had it that the Arabs in neighboring villages were planning an attack, little Arik was hidden in a haystack. 

Later in life, when his mother (who still managed the farm) visited his new ranch and saw a low wall with holes for irrigation, she exclaimed: “Ah, you have embrasures! Very good, you can shoot through them at the Arabs!” 

How could a poor army officer acquire the largest ranch in the country? Simple: he got it as a gift from an Israeli-American billionaire, with the help of the finance minister. Several dubious large deals with other billionaires followed. 

SHARON WAS the most typical Israeli one could imagine, embodying the saying (to which I modestly claim authorship): “If force does not work, try more force.” 

I was therefore very surprised when he came out in favor of the law dispensing with the military service of tens of thousands of orthodox youngsters. “How can you?” I asked him. His answer: “I am first of all a Jew, and only after that an Israeli!” I told him that for me it was the other way round. 

Ideologically, he was the pupil and successor of David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan, leaders who believed in military force and in expanding the territory of Israel without limit. His military career started for real in the 1950s when Moshe Dayan put him in charge of an unofficial outfit called Unit 101, which was sent across the border to kill and destroy, in retaliation for similar actions committed by Arabs. His most famous exploit was the massacre of Qibya village in 1953, when 49 innocent villagers were buried under the houses which he blew up. 

Later, when requested to put an end to “terrorism” in Gaza, he killed every Arab who was caught with arms. When I later asked him about killing prisoners, he answered: “I did not kill prisoners. I did not take prisoners!” 

At the beginning of his career as commander he was a bad general. But from war to war he improved. Unusual for a general, he learned from his mistakes. In the 1973 war he was already considered the equal of Erwin Rommel and George Patton. It also became known that between the battles he gorged himself on seafood, which is not kosher. 

THE MAIN endeavor of his life was the settlement enterprise. As army officer, politician and successively chief of half a dozen different ministries, his central effort was always to plan and set up settlements in the occupied territories. 

He did not care whether they were legal or illegal under Israeli law (all of them, of course, are illegal under international law, for which he did not give a damn). 

He planned their location, with the aim of cutting the West Bank into ribbons which would make a Palestinian state impossible. Then he rammed it through the cabinet and the ministries. Not for nothing was he nicknamed “the Bulldozer”. 

The “Israel Defense Army” (its official Hebrew name) turned into the “Settlers Defense Army”, sinking slowly in the morass of the occupation. 

However, when settlements obstructed his plans, he had no compunction about destroying them. When he was in favor of peace with Egypt, in order to concentrate on the war with the Palestinians, he destroyed the entire town of Yamit in North Sinai and the adjacent settlements. Later he did the same to the settlements in the Gaza Strip, attracting the enduring hatred of the settlers, his erstwhile proteges. He acted like a general who is ready to sacrifice a brigade to improve his overall strategic position.  

WHEN HE died last week, after lying in a coma for eight years, he was eulogized by the very people he despised, and turned into a shallow folk hero. The Ministry of Education compared him to Moses. 

In real life he was a very complex person, as complex as Israel. His personal history is interwoven with the history of Israel. 

His main legacy was catastrophic: the scores of settlements which he implanted all over the West Bank – each of them a landmine which will have to be removed at great risk when the time comes.


The Whitewashing of Ariel Sharon

By Yousef  (From)

It was inevitable, I suppose. The legacy of Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli Prime Minister who died recently after years in a coma, was the subject of much debate and conversation in the Israel/Palestine discourse this week. Some mainstream American media outlets did a particularly poor job, however, in characterizing the life of the man.

My thoughts on Ariel Sharon, for those who might not have already guessed, are here. It is fair to say that in general, Palestinians view Ariel Sharon negatively and, frankly, as a war criminal. But it would be unfair to say that only Palestinians view him in this way, as if Ariel Sharon’s legacy was just some other endless point of debate between irreconcilable Israeli and Palestinian narratives. In fact, anyone characterizing points of debate in this way is probably just to afraid to take an objective stance.

In reality, those authoring critical pieces of Sharon’s legacy have come from a variety of different backgrounds. The New Yorker carried a post by Raja Shahada and another byBernard Avishai. Max Blumenthal’s piece in the Nation was also stellar, as was Rashid Khalidi’s piece for Foreign Policy and Daniel Levy’s piece for Al Jazeera America. Sara Leah Whitson fromHuman Rights Watch made an important contribution as well. There were many more that got it right. The bottom line is Sharon was responsible for some pretty heinous things in his life that included massacres of civilians and the massacre of the peace process through settlement expansion.

Unfortunately, many others failed to get the story right and among them are some of the most mainstream outlets for what is considered serious conversation in the United States. Two particularly egregious examples are The New York Times and The Charlie Rose Show.

The New York Times ran an obituary on Ariel Sharon and a number of opinion pieces all by Israelis (as of now I am not aware that they have run a Palestinian voice on Sharon). Here are a few key gems from the obituary and some notes:

“he stunned Israel and the world in 2005 with a Nixon-to-China reversal and withdrew all Israeli settlers and troops from Gaza. He then abandoned his Likud Party and formed a centrist movement called Kadima focused on further territorial withdrawal and a Palestinian state next door.”

The problem with this narrative is that there is no objective evidence proving that Sharon’s intention with the unilateral disengagement of Gaza was benevolent. We do however, thanks to the very same New York Times, have this tidbit that Mr. Bronner chose not to include in his obituary from Mr. Sharon’s key aide:

”The significance of our disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process,” Mr. Weisglass was quoted as saying in Haaretz, a liberal daily often critical of Mr. Sharon’s government. ”It supplies the formaldehyde necessary so there is no political process with Palestinians.”

 ”When you freeze the process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state,” Mr. Weisglass added. ”Effectively, this whole package called a Palestinian state, with all it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda.”

Why wouldn’t Bronner include that? Also, there is that other inconvenient truth for Bronner’s narrative. Sharon was perhaps the most pro-colonization Israeli leader ever. I am not only talking about the 1970s and 1980s but all the way through Sharon’s premiership. He presided over the single largest period of expansion in the Israeli settler population, some 75,000, since the Menachem Begin era. That bit of info also didn’t make it into Bronner’s obit. Of course, if it did, it would be hard to reconcile with the unsubstantiated claim that Sharon intended to leave the West Bank to create a Palestinian state.  It gets worse in the obit (emphasis added):

 “The massacre provoked international outrage, and many Israelis, already despondent that the “48-hour” Lebanon incursion had turned into a lengthy military and geopolitical adventure, were outraged. There were furious calls for Mr. Sharon’s resignation.

Mr. Sharon and Mr. Begin said this was intolerable slander. As Mr. Begin said, using the Hebrew word for non-Jews, “Goyim kill goyim, and they blame the Jews.” Nonetheless, even Mr. Begin started to distance himself from Mr. Sharon, whose political demise began to seem inevitable.

The government established an official investigation of the massacre, led by Israel’s chief justice, Yitzhak Kahan. The investigating committee absolved Mr. Sharon of direct responsibility, but said he should have anticipated that sending enraged militiamen of the Phalange into Palestinian neighborhoods right after the assassination of the group’s leader amounted to an invitation to carnage. The committee recommended his resignation.

Time magazine reported that Mr. Sharon had actually urged the Gemayel family to have its troops take revenge on the Palestinians for the death of Mr. Gemayel. The magazine said Mr. Sharon made this point during his condolence visit to the family. It claimed further that a secret appendix to the Kahan Commission report made this clear.

Mr. Sharon sued Time for libel and won a partial victory in Federal District Court in New York. The court found that the secret appendix, which contained names of Israeli intelligence officers, included no assertion by Mr. Sharon of the need for Phalangist revenge. But it ruled that Mr. Sharon had not been libeled because he could not prove “malice” on the magazine’s part.”

Bronner tells us about Sabra and Shatila toward the very end of a 4,000+ word piece. He presents it in a way where the facts, and Sharon’s role in the events are disputed. He sets up a dichotomy between an official Israeli Government investigation and a US libel lawsuit, as if those two could ever be on equal standing as authorities on actions taken by the Israeli military. He also says that “the investigating committee absolved Mr. Sharon of direct responsibility”, which is very odd since the actual committee’s report says (emphasis added):

We have found, as has been detailed in this report, that the Minister of Defense [Sharon] bears personal responsibility. In our opinion, it is fitting that the Minister of Defense draw the appropriate personal conclusions arising out of the defects revealed with regard to the manner in which he discharged the duties of his office – and if necessary, that the Prime Minister consider whether he should exercise his authority under Section 21-A(a) of the Basic Law: the Government, according to which “the Prime Minister may, after informing the Cabinet of his intention to do so, remove a minister from office.

Why does Bronner tell us that the committee report says one thing when it fact it said the opposite? The entire treatment of Ariel Sharon’s history of war crimes in his obituary in theNew York Times is poorly done, to say the least, and there are several signs suggesting that the reporter intentionally downplays Sharon’s war crimes.

It is important to remember that many questions have been raised about Bronner’s objectivity, in part because his son was serving in the Israeli military as he was reporting about it. That and the public editor of the New York Times saw fit to argue that this conflict of interest should have led editors to take Bronner off the Israel beat. Why editors today saw fit to have him write the obituary is another question all together.

Still another question is what is going through the minds of the bookers and producers at the Charlie Rose show when they were putting together their “appreciation of Ariel Sharon“? Of course, who does Charlie Rose have on to discuss Sharon’s legacy? Ethan Bronner. Who else? Jeffrey Goldberg, the journalist who left for Israel after college in the US to volunteer in the Israeli military as a prison guard during the first intifada.

Is there no one out there without connections to the Israeli military, the very same military that Ariel Sharon committed war crimes while working for, that can objectively discuss the man’s legacy? ANYONE?

The discussion that ensues is everything you’d expect and less. Our helpful interns havetranscribed the segment from last night.

Goldberg calls Sharon “Israel’s greatest warrior hero” , “the sort of tank commander that any Prime Minister would want to have in his corner at a really stressful moment”, “the greatest reckless general Israel had” , “the boldest” , “he was all energy and that energy was always moved forward” , “he wanted to make sure that you were comfortable, that you were happy” . Then, and this is the kicker,in the rare moment of describing Sharon’s barbarism, Goldberg descends into some orientalist drivel. “Ariel Sharon was very Middle Eastern” Goldberg said as he likened the trait of ruthlessness to region, “and I don’t mean that in sort of an enlightened way. ”

Yeah, no kidding.

Bronner, for his part, calls Sharon “ruthlessly pragmatic” , “Charming certainly, but a difficult guy who wanted to do it his way” and “a funny guy”.

Funny? I’m sure the victims at Sabra and Shatila didn’t find him funny. Of course Sabra and Shatila was not mentioned at all in the discussion around Charlie Rose’s table. And, even though Bronner mentioned Sharon’s involvement in the Commando Unit 101, whose members he described as “very bright, very capable young people doing these very daring acts” , he never mentions Sharon’s likely earliest war crime as a leader of that unit, the massacre at Qibya. After the Goldberg & Bronner Sharon love fest, the rest of the show featured old interviews with Sharon himself.

What kind of war criminals get this lionizing treatment? The kind, it seems, that get away with it.


For close to 70 years zion has pulled the victim card in reference to the Holocaust. They garnered enough world sympathy throughout the world to establish their state, a state where survivors of the horrors can make a new life for themselves ….


BUT ….


Recently the following was brought to light by the remaining survivors themselves, the shameful fact that they themselves are now the latest victims of the greatest zionist sham in history …


We have a very small window of opportunity, about five years, to ensure that the Holocaust survivors live their lives in dignity. As of today, the survivors are sicker, lonelier, poorer, and unfortunately their number continues to diminish.”


Protest of Holocaust survivors, February 2012 (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Protest of Holocaust survivors, February 2012 (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


A Holocaust survivor dies every 45 minutes

 Poorer and lonelier: As world marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day, figures show bleak reality behind lives of the surviving remnant in Israel

Omri Efraim FOR


More than a thousand Holocaust survivors pass away every month, and the average age of those who live among us, some of them in extreme poverty, is 85 years of age, according to figures published Monday by the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel.

The figures were released to the public on the day the world marks the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Despite the government’s decision to increase funds by over NIS 500 million ($143 million) in the next few years, it seems many survivors are still living in severe conditions. Some 193,000  Holocaust survivors reside in Israel, and about 123,000 of them are treated by the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel – an organization that was founded by Holocaust survivors.

Figures show that 86% of the 60,000 who turn to financial assistance from the organization live on less than NIS 5,000 ($1,432) a month, and 66% live on less than NIS 3,000 ($859). On average, 2,000 new requests for financial assistance are submitted every month. In the past two years about 36,000 have asked to be given refunds for medical equipment.

There is still uncertainty among the State establishments caring for the survivors. In July, Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Welfare and Social Services Minister Meir Cohen said that in order to make the treatment of survivors’ rights more efficient, the government will transfer the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims from the Finance Ministry to the Welfare Ministry, thus having all of their needs addressed in one place, yet so far the organization continues to operate under the Finance Ministry.

The foundation states that the aging of the Holocaust survivors in turn increases their nursing needs. A third of all survivors in Israel have required nursing assistance from the foundation and every month about 600 new requests are submitted.

Figures show bleak reality behind lives of Shoah survivors (Photo: Avi Roccah/Illustration)
Figures show bleak reality behind lives of Shoah survivors (Photo: Avi Roccah/Illustration)

In the past year, the government increased the budget transferred to survivors, and the number of survivors entitled to nursing hours through the foundation increased from 25,400 in the past year to 26,800 in the current year.

However, according to the foundation’s general manager Rony Kalinsky, “the figures show a bleak reality of the Holocaust survivors in Israel in 2014. The painful figure of 60,000 survivors requiring the foundation’s assistance every year rings warning bells and obligates us, as a society, to do a reorganization of the growing needs of the Holocaust survivors’ community that is still with us.” 

Kalinsky added that “the winds of change in the current administration and the realization that time is working against us are encouraging, and we hope this trend continues. We have a very small window of opportunity, about five years, to ensure that the Holocaust survivors live their lives in dignity. As of today, the survivors are sicker, lonelier, poorer, and unfortunately their number continues to diminish.”


OXFAM can’t seem to make up its mind on boycotting the Occupation of Israel …. perhaps if we boycott them it will open their eyes to the injustices they are supporting ….STOP SUPPORTING OXFAM until they support the BDS Movement!




First there was this FROM …..

Oxfam tells SodaStream spokesmodel Scarlett Johansson that settlements harm Palestinians

 by Ali Abunimah

Scarlett Johansson (Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia)


The international development charity Oxfamhas publicly admonished Hollywood actressScarlett Johansson over her new and highly controversial role as spokesperson for the Israeli occupation profiteering firmSodaStream.

“We are proud of our relationship with Scarlett Johansson who has worked with Oxfam since 2005 to support Oxfam’s mission to end poverty and injustice,” the charity says in a statement.

“As an Oxfam Global Ambassador, she has travelled to India, Sri Lanka and Kenya to highlight the impact of traumatic disasters and chronic poverty, and she has helped to raise critical funds for life-saving and poverty-fighting work around the world. We deeply value her support.”

But, the statement, adds, “Oxfam believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.”

“We have made our concerns known to Ms Johansson and we are now engaged in a dialogue on these important issues.”


In the UK, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign is urging people to contact Oxfam to call for Johansson “to immediately end her contract with Sodastream or to cut ties with her following her signing up with Sodastream.”

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has issued a similar action alert aimed at Oxfam America.

It is still unclear whether Oxfam will eventually drop Johansson – following a 2009 precedent with Hollywood actress Kristin Davis – or whether the charity will convince Johansson to drop her lucrative contract with SodaStream.

Clearly it would be preferable if Johansson would learn the lesson and walk away from SodaStream. Either way, it is now apparent that no matter how much money you get, doing business with firms that exploit Palestinian workers and profit from Israeli crimes carries, at least, a mounting reputational cost.


And now THIS ….. also FROM


Oxfam backs Scarlett Johansson, despite actress’ endorsement of Israeli settlements

 by Ali Abunimah

International charity Oxfam is standing by its “Global Ambassador” Scarlett Johansson, at least for now, despite the fact that the Hollywood actress has come out in full support of Israeli settlements and profiteering in the occupied West Bank.

Johansson has faced strong criticism and media scrutiny for a multi-million dollar endorsement deal with SodaStream, an Israeli firm that operates in an illegal colony in the occupied West Bank.

In a statement yesterday, Johansson defended the deal and praised Israeli settlements.

“We have been engaged in dialogue with Scarlett Johansson and she has now expressed her position in a statement, including stressing her pride in her past work with Oxfam,” Oxfam spokesperson Kate Pattison told The Electronic Intifada in an email this morning.

“Oxfam is now considering the implications [of] her new statement and what it means for Ms Johansson’s role as an Oxfam global ambassador,” Pattison added.

Laundering settlements

In a statement to The Huffington Post yesterday, Johansson attempted launder the SodaStream deal as something beneficial for “peace”:

“I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine,” the actress said. “SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma’ale Adumim factory every working day.”

Maale Adumim is an Israeli colony built on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law.

Choosing celebrity over principle

Johansson’s clear endorsement of Israeli colonization and regurgitation of SodaStream propaganda is at sharp odds with Oxfam’s own policy.

In a statement on 23 January, Oxfam said it had informed the actress that “Oxfam believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.”

Johansson’s statement indicates that the “dialogue” Oxfam has been hiding behind has failed to impress on the actress that profiting from Israeli crimes is totally incompatible with a role promoting human rights and development.

But at least for now, Oxfam has chosen to back celebrity over principle by continuing to stand behind Johansson.

In doing so, it has taken a clear position against Palestinians and their rights and chosen complicity with Israeli occupation and colonization.


In light of Oxfam’s comments to The Electronic Intifada and Johansson’s statement, US Campaign to End the Israeli OccupationAdalah-NY and Jewish Voice for Peace todayexpressed outrage at Johansson’s endorsement of settlements and Oxfam’s failure to act on it.

“We demand Oxfam respond immediately and drop her as their Global Ambassador in accordance with their own stated position that settlements are a major barrier to peace and contributor to poverty,” said the US Campaign’s Ramah Kudaimi.


OXFAM must keep in mind that when you sit on the fence, there is always the danger that you will fall flat on your face!


Shulamit Aloni died on Friday at the age of 86. She was a rebel within zion, a former lawmaker, always a friend of Palestine and one of Israel’s greatest advocates of Peace. She will be missed and her memory will forever be cherished by those who shared her values.


cry aloud


Former political allies and opponents alike lauded her on Friday as a boundary-breaking pioneer for peace, “a moral compass,” “a special breed,” “an inspiration for all women” and a “pillar of fire.”


From a Democracy Now interview …


Her obituary from today’s New York Times ….


Shulamit Aloni, Outspoken Israeli Lawmaker, Dies at 86



Shulamit Aloni, a longtime left-wing Israeli minister and Parliament member who was an early champion of civil liberties, challenger of religious hegemony and outspoken opponent of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, died Friday at her home in Kfar Shmaryahu, a Tel Aviv suburb. She was 86.

One of her sons, Nimrod, said she had not been seriously ill, “just very old.”

Mrs. Aloni, an elected lawmaker for 28 years, was the author of six books, including one of Israel’s earliest texts on civics. She was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize in 2000 “for her struggle to right injustices and for raising the standard of equality.”

In 2008, at age 80, she published  “Israel: Democracy or Ethnocracy?” a harsh assessment of her homeland. She wrote on the cover, “The state is returning to the ghetto, to Orthodox Judaism, and the rule of the fundamentalist rabbinate is becoming more profound.”

Reuven Rivlin, a Parliament member from the conservative Likud Party, described Mrs. Aloni on Friday as “the last politician in her generation who said what she thought.” But her outspokenness also made for problems.

In 1992, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin rebuked her for questioning the biblical version of Creation and speaking in the same breath of the Hebrew matriarch Rachel and the prostitute Rahav. The next year, after Mrs. Aloni’s challenging of religious political leaders provoked a coalition crisis, Rabin demoted her from education minister to minister of communications and science and technology.

After Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Muslims at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in 1994, she was among the first to call for the expulsion of hundreds of Jewish settlers from the West Bank city of Hebron. She also said that high school trips to Holocaust sites were turning Israeli youths into xenophobes, and she incited outrage by holding official meetings abroad in nonkosher restaurants.

Former political allies and opponents alike lauded her on Friday as a boundary-breaking pioneer for peace, “a moral compass,” “a special breed,” “an inspiration for all women” and a “pillar of fire.”

“It was impossible not to admire such a combative woman who fought for what she believed in and was prepared to pay the price,” said Geula Cohen, who founded a right-wing faction and frequently faced off with her in Parliament.

Yossi Sarid, who in 1996 successfully challenged Mrs. Aloni for leadership of the far-left Meretz Party, called her “a phenomenon” who feared “absolutely nothing.”

“How did we first become acquainted with civil rights? How did we first discover the occupation?” Mr. Sarid, now a political analyst, asked rhetorically Friday morning on Israel Radio. “She wanted to change the national and social agenda, and she did so, on her own, by virtue of her own capabilities, and attained great and unparalleled achievements.”

Although some sources say she was 85, her son Nimrod said she was 86 and was born in December 1927. Born Shulamit Adler in Tel Aviv to Polish immigrant parents, she fought in Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.

She started her political career with the Labor-Alignment faction, then helped create the Citizens’ Rights Movement and, later, Meretz. She was married for 36 years to Reuven Aloni, who died in 1988. She is survived by their three sons, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Her death was a reminder of the decline of the left among Jews in Israel. Labor’s last prime minister was Ehud Barak in 2001, and Labor and Meretz combined hold 21 of Parliament’s 120 seats today. When Mrs. Aloni left elected office, they had 56.

“The pillar of fire has been extinguished,” the advocacy group Peace Now lamented in a statement.


Another one that promised ‘change’ …..


New York “City Hall will always be open to AIPAC. When you need me to stand by you in Washington or anywhere, I will answer the call and I’ll answer it happily ’cause that’s my job.”


Sounds just like Bloomberg …. where’s the ‘change’?


Especially if they are zionists …


De Blasio’s AIPAC speech causes row 

Newly elected NY Mayor de Blasio tells AIPAC the ‘his door is always open,’ because of his obligation to ‘defend Israel,’ but causes storm for hiding events from press



New York Mayor Bill de Blasio caused a furor Friday after failing to inform the press of his attendance in a conference with AIPAC.

According to Capital New York, which first broke the story, “at the event hosted by the powerful lobbying organization, de Blasio gave a pro-Israel speech entirely devoid of his usual rhetoric about income inequality.”

Capital questioned De Blasio about his failure to disclosure the comments after it obtained a recording of his AIPAC speech, leading De Blasio to promise to provide a “clearer understanding” of his schedule and speeches.



He noted that AIPAC wanted the dinner to be closed to the press, yet said he should have informed the press regardless, Capital reported.

According to the recording, de Blasio gave an impassioned speech in which he said: “There is a philosophical grounding to my belief in Israel and it is my belief, it is our obligation, to defend Israel, but it is also something that is elemental to being an American because there is no greater ally on earth, and that’s something we can say proudly.”

De Blasio took things one step forward and said that New York “City Hall will always be open to AIPAC. When you need me to stand by you in Washington or anywhere, I will answer the call and I’ll answer it happily ’cause that’s my job.”

“There is no deeper connection across boundaries than this connection we share,” the New York mayor also said.


Anelka urges English FA to drop race charge 

West Brom striker insists English Football Association wrongly interpreted meaning of ‘quenelle’ gesture. ‘I repeat, I am not anti-Semitic or racist,’ he says



West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka called on the English Football Association on Wednesday to drop his racism charge after the leader of French Jewry insisted a goal-celebration gesture was not anti-Semitic.


Full report HERE


A year after Internet activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide, a new documentary brings to light the young computer prodigy’s earnest battle to bring online freedom of access to information for everyone.



Aaron Swartz Story Comes to Sundance

By Piya Sinha-Roy


(Reuters) — A year after Internet activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide, a new documentary brings to light the young computer prodigy’s earnest battle to bring online freedom of access to information for everyone.

“The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday and director Brian Knappenberger was joined by Swartz’s father Robert and two brothers, Noah and Ben, all of whom received a standing ovation.

“It’s unbelievably hard for us, but Aaron is dead, there’s nothing we can do about that,” Swartz’s father told the audience, saying he hoped the film would raise awareness of Aaron’s activism and encourage others to fight on his behalf.

Swartz died aged 26 in his Brooklyn, New York apartment on January 11, 2013, after facing felony charges brought by a federal grand jury that included theft, wire fraud and computer fraud.

The federal indictment said Swartz, a fellow at Harvard University, had downloaded millions of articles and journals from digital archive JSTOR through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology servers. Swartz, who pleaded not guilty to all counts, faced 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted.

In the film, which is a contender in Sundance’s U.S. documentary competition, Knappenberger focuses on Swartz’s intellect and growing political ambitions, with interviews that shed insight into his personality from Swartz’s family, friends and colleagues.

This is the second film by Knappenberger exploring those on the fringes of the Internet. His first film, “We Are the Legion,” about the online Anonymous hacktivist group, premiered at the underground Slamdance film festival that runs alongside Sundance, in 2012.

“The Internet’s Own Boy,” financed by crowd-sourced funding website Kickstarter, where more than 1,500 backers raised $93,000, will be released under a Creative Commons license allowing others to build off Knappenberger’s work, in the spirit of Swartz’s desire for free, open and accessible content for all.

The film begins with family footage of a young and mischievous Swartz, playing with his two brothers, reading books and expressing curiosity in the world around him.

Swartz’s early life was dominated by his superior intellect and his love of computers. His brotherBen explained Swartz was drawn to coding as he felt like it was “magic, and could be used to solve anything.”

Soon, a young Swartz was attending meetings and panels for computer programming, setting up an online crowd-sourced encyclopedia, and co-authoring the Web feed RSS 1.0, which would help users collate summaries of the latest headlines from their favorite websites onto one page.

Much of the film focuses on Swartz’s political activism after he parted ways in 2007 with Reddit, a user-submitted news and entertainment social platform that he co-founded, and became engrossed with copyright laws.

Swartz’s efforts to bring what he felt were public access documents to the mass public for free, including approximately 19 million court documents from the PACER case-law website, made him an online icon.

Swartz was also instrumental in campaigning against the Stop Online Piracy Act, a controversial U.S. bill that would have allowed court orders to curb access to certain websites deemed to be engaging in illegal sharing of intellectual property. The bill was later withdrawn.

Many of Swartz’s friends and collaborators, including Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, and Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, criticized the charges brought against Swartz, blaming the prosecutors for trying to make Swartz an example case for hackers.

Lessig teared up when talking about Swartz’s death, saying he had “never lost anybody in this way before.”

“The movie brings out the fact that the criminal justice system is broken, and that one needs criminal justice reform,” Swartz’s father passionately told the audience.

“The fact that over 90 percent of people indicted plead guilty, and over 90 percent who go to trial are convicted, means that the presumption of innocence no longer exists in our system,” he said.






As a Canadian citizen, this truly saddens and disgusts me  *

Harper Sings ‘Hey Jude’ At State Dinner In Jerusalem


It’s fair to say Stephen Harper has received a “rock star” welcome on his first official visit to Israel.

And on Tuesday, he rocked out.

The prime minister took the stage at a state dinner in Jerusalem to perform some Beatles tunes on the keyboard, including “Hey Jude,” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looking on.

And judging by the videos posted online, it seems Harper’s musical stylings were warmly received by Netanyahu and his wife, Sara.

The Jerusalem Post described Harper’s performance as courageous.

Netanyahu posted a brief clip to his YouTube account.

Harper also dusted off an old classic, “With A Little Help From My Friends.”





Related Report


Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff


What did she expect us to do??


Scarlett Johansson under fire for supporting Israeli SodaStream



Actress will appear in soda pop-making gadget’s Super Bowl commercial, as BDS supporters cry for boycott is muted by product’s unique success

Adi Gold


Just moments after actress Scarlett Johansson became the ambassador of Israeli company SodaStream, the celebrity was already being criticized for supporting a business that operates in the West Bank.

Five years ago the Israeli carbonated drink company made its way to the US market, and Americans have since fallen in love with the soda pop-making gadget. But the product’s success has been overshadowed by a political cloud, which is threatening the Israeli business’s achievements and its spokeswoman.


Scarlett Johansson (Photo: Reuters)
Scarlett Johansson (Photo: Reuters)

“While she’s openly gunning for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for 2016, Johansson would do well to realize that ‘normalizing’ the Israeli occupation is a bad use of her celebrity,” the Forward wrote. The New Yorker said Johansson’s doings are in conflict her Oxfam activities and New York Magazine called the product “blood bubbles.”

Johansson will appear in the company’s advertisement during the Super Bowl, the largest American tv event of the year, but stores across the US are continuing to ban the product for its political background. In addition, there have been vocal protests, calling for the same type of boycott and sanctions that were imposed on South Africa.

SodaStream employs 900 Palestinians in the Israeli settlements where its products are manufactured and according to reports pays Palestinian employees Israeli wages.

Despite the disagreements with the company’s politics, BDS supporters can’t argue with the product’s success.

“A lefty journalist friend of mine in Tel Aviv has a machine he keeps under his kitchen sink so that he doesn’t get embarrassed when other lefties come over for dinner,” said Ali Gharib, a reporter covering Middle East issues, told New York Magazine.

Anti-Israel non-soda drinkers even went out of their way to provide an alternative to the product.

Palestinian rights activist Henry Norr made his own version of SodaStream, using sugar, yeast, and an elaborate system of tubes, bottles, and clamps.

“I’m a little embarrassed because it seems so trivial and inane,” he said. “It’s a classed product to begin with. I was never a soda drinker before doing the research,” he said in a New York Magazine article.

SodaStream makes beverage carbonation systems that allow consumers to turn tap water into sparkling water and carbonated soft drinks. Besides selling the machines, it also sells gas refills and syrup flavors.


Written FOR


‘They’ want a Jewish Country …. ‘They’ want to transfer the Arabs out of it ….
When an Arab refuses to serve in the IDF, the following happens ….


   – Please distribute widely –

Conscientious objector Omar Saad sentenced to prison for the third time for his refusal to join the Israeli Army.

Omar Saad, 18 years old from Mghar, a village in the Galil, arrived, Monday 13.1.2014, to the Induction Base in Tal Hashomer where he declared his refusal to serve in the Israeli Army. Omar was sentenced to 20 days of imprisonment for his refusal, in the military prison No. 6 near Atlit.
Omar is a young guy belonging to the Palestinian Arab Druze community. This community, in contrast to Arab society in large, was the target of a decision by Prime Minister Ben Gurion in 1956 that forced them to serve in the Israeli army. following this decision, mobilization orders were sent to all Druze citizens in deployment age. That decision was faced with serious resistance from the Druze community for many reasons. The main reasons were: refusing to fight against their own people and demanding to be treated just like the rest of the Palestinian Arab society in Israel. (* To read more on this issue follow the reference below).
In his refusal declaration Omar wrote:

I refuse that because I am pacifist, and I hate any kind of violence, and I believe that the army institute is the top of physical and psychological violence, and since I received your order for making the checking procedures my life changed completely. I became very nervous and my thoughts were dispersed. I remembered thousands of hard images, and I could not imagine myself wearing the military uniform and participating in suppressing my Palestinian people, and fighting my Arab brothers. I reject enlisting to the Israeli army or to any other army, because of national and moral reasons. I hate oppression, and I reject occupation.

You can read the full declaration here.
His prison address is:
Omar Saad
Military ID 08143090
Military Prison No. 6
Military Postal Code 01860, IDF
Since the prison authorities often block mail from reaching imprisoned objectors, we also recommend you to send them your letters of support and encouragement via e-mail to: messages2prison@newprofile.org (hitting “reply all” to this message will send the message to the same address), and they will be printed out and delivered during visits.
Recommended Action
First of all, please circulate this message and the information contained in it as widely as possible, not only through e-mail, but also on websites, social networks, conventional media, by word of mouth, etc.
Other recommendations for action:
1. Sending Letters of Support
Please send Omar letters of support to the prison address above and via e-mail to: messages2prison@newprofile.org
2. Letters to Authorities
It is recommended to send letters of protest on the objectors’ behalf, preferably by fax, to:
Mr. Moshe Ya’alon,
Minister of Defence,
Ministry of Defence,
Tel-Aviv 61909,
s…@mod.gov.il or pniot@mod.gov.il
Tel.: ++972-3-6975220
Fax: ++972-3-6962757
Copies of your letters can also be sent to the commander of the military prison at:
Commander of Military Prison No. 6,
Military Prison No. 6
Military Postal Code 01860, IDF
Another useful address for sending copies would be the Military Attorney General:
Denny Efroni,
Chief Military Attorney
Military postal code 9605, IDF
It would be especially useful to send your appeals to the Commander of the Induction Base in Tel-HaShomer. It is this officer that ultimately decides whether an objector is to be exempted from military service or sent to another round in prison, and it is the same officer who is ultimately in charge of the military Conscience Committee:
Gil Ben Shaul,
Commander of Induction Base,
Meitav, Tel-HaShomer
Military Postal Code 02718, IDF
For those of you who live outside Israel, it would be very effective to send protests to your local Israeli embassy. You can find the address of your local embassy on the web.
Here is a generic sample letter, which you can use in sending appeals to authorities on the prisoners’ behalf. Feel free to modify this letter or write your own:
Dear Sir/Madam,
It has come to my attention that Omar Saad (military ID 08143090), a conscientious objector to military service, has been imprisoned for the third time for his refusal to become part of the Israeli army, and is held in Military Prison no. 6 near Atlit.
The imprisonment of conscientious objectors such as Saad is a violation of international law, of basic human rights and of plain morals. The repeater imprisonment of conscientious objectors is an especially grave offence, as it means sentencing a person more than once for the same offence, and has been judged by the UN working Group on Arbitrary Detention to constitute a clear case arbitrary detention.
I therefore call for the immediate and unconditional release from prison of Omar Saad, without threat of further imprisonment in the future, and urge you and the system you are heading to respect the dignity and person of conscientious objectors, indeed of all persons, in the future.
3. Letters to media in Israel and in other countries
Writing op-ed pieces and letters to editors of media in Israel and other countries could also be quite useful in indirectly but powerfully pressuring the military authorities to let go of the objectors and in bringing their plight and their cause to public attention. 

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