(As a preface, yesterday Mondoweiss posted a letter by Alan Levine written to Schumer & Gillibrand urging them to follow the Leahy law which states that countries who use arms against a people in a way that violates international law and creates war crimes will no longer receive arms or $ for arms from the US.  

On Monday, October 6th, Jewish Voice for Peace NY and Jews Say No, with the support of several other organizations that support justice for Palestinians, held an 8 hour demonstration in front of the offices of Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand at 780 3rd Avenue.  Demonstrators came and went in the course of the day but there were always between 50 and 80 people there.  Palestinian food was served to the demonstrators and people passing by, many having questions to ask or just wanting to chat a bit. It was explained that welcoming with food was part of a strong Palestinian tradition.  Informational leaflets were also distributed.  Most participants carried signs throughout the day created by We Will Not Be Silent. 

There was also an educational/cultural program.  People read Palestinian poetry, songs were sung accompanied by a guitar, there was a humorous skit about a trip to Israel and another about a news conference for a newly reformed Senator Schumer,  a reading of the Carol Churchill play, 7 Jewish Children, by some very talented actors (done twice) and a concert from the Rude Mechanical Orchestra.  Another participant read a  list of some of the horrible conditions that Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza are forced to live with, all imposed by Israel because of the occupation. 

At one point the Granny Peace Brigade came with some of the representations that they made of the 519 children murdered by Israel in Gaza this summer.  The people present held up each figure, read their name and age, and noted that they were murdered by Israel, some noting that this was done with the active support of the 2 New York senators and U.S. taxpayer funds.  Some people were brought to tears because the action felt very much like a funeral.  One of the participants noted, “These children are all our children and our grandchildren.” 

The 8 hours passed very quickly.  Many strangers in the street stopped to read the signs and leaflets and to listen to the presentations.  It is hoped that as people learn what Israel is doing they will urge Congress not to give Israel $8.7 million a day and a carte blanc to kill and destroy at will.


Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee




































The U.S. is not a neutral mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; it is an active participant and is guilty of the crimes being committed by Israel against Palestinians, most recently, the mass killings and destruction Israel wrought on the Gaza Strip during the summer. The reality that the U.S. is an active supporter of unimaginable suffering may very well be the motivating force behind the U.S.’s adamant attempts to block the Palestinians from using any of the internationally recognized tools of accountability to hold Israel responsible, such as the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. When an indigenous, stateless population is blocked access to opportunities for justice by superpowers like the U.S., something is wrong—deadly wrong.


US guilty of war crimes in Palestine 

The U.S. is not a neutral mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; it is an active participant and is guilty of the crimes being committed by Israel against Palestinians, most recently, the mass killings and destruction Israel wrought on the Gaza Strip during the summer. The reality that the U.S. is an active supporter of unimaginable suffering may very well be the motivating force behind the U.S.’s adamant attempts to block the Palestinians from using any of the internationally recognized tools of accountability to hold Israel responsible, such as the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. When an indigenous, stateless population is blocked access to opportunities for justice by superpowers like the U.S., something is wrong—deadly wrong.

While Israeli bombs were hammering Gaza, Alice Lynd with the assistance of Staughton Lynd, drafted a 32-page pamphlet which was published by the Palestine-Israel Working Group of Historians Against the War (HAW) titled, Violations by Israel and the Problem of Enforcement (August 2014). The policy paper places the U.S. in front of its own mirror and meticulously documents how one hand of the U.S. government systematically documents Israeli violations of U.S. law and international law, while the other hand unconditionally dishes out financial, military, and diplomatic support to Israel.

The study notes that “United States law states that no military assistance will be provided to a government that engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. Yet the United States gives more military assistance to Israel than to any other country, currently in excess of $3.1 billion per year. The U.S. participates in joint military exercises, military research, and weapons development.”
This contradiction of its own policy would seem incriminating enough, but if all the other means of U.S. support to Israel are added—especially the U.S.’s unwavering role in the UN Security Council as a proxy for Israel’s interests by vetoing and thereby blocking international steps for justice—the evidence that the U.S. is an active player in Israel’s onslaught and continued military occupation becomes overwhelming.

It stands to reason that the U.S. very rightly fears that any step to hold Israel accountable for crimes against humanity would ultimately incriminate the U.S. as Israel’s funder, diplomatic cover, political handler, and arms supplier for decades.

While this new document was being researched, the Historians Against the War circulated a letter to President Obama and members of Congress that begins: “We deplore the ongoing attacks against civilians in Gaza and in Israel. We also recognize the disproportionate harm that the Israeli military, which the United States has armed and supported for decades, is inflicting on the population of Gaza.” (July 31, 2014). The pamphlet’s contents strike this point home with incriminating details.

The pamphlet quotes historian Robin D. G. Kelley who recently said about the ongoing conflict, “Determining next steps requires that we go back many steps—before the siege, before the election of Hamas, before the withdrawal of Jewish settlements in Gaza, before the Oslo Accords, even before the strip came under Israeli occupation in 1967.” (“When the smoke clears in Gaza,” Aug. 8, 2014, Black Educator).

I had the honor of working with both authors of this pamphlet following the First Gulf War (1990-1991) when they suggested we co-edit an oral history of Palestine as a tool to understand the centrality of Palestine to the entire destabilization of the Middle East, a reality that is even more true today. Following several field visits to the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Israel, and the Golan Heights, that effort resulted in the publishing of Homeland: Oral History of Palestine and Palestinians (1993). Their new effort revisits many familiar topics that we addressed in our book, with chapter headings such as International Agreements and U.S. Law, International Agreements on Human Rights, U.S. Law on Foreign Assistance, Violations of Internationally Recognized Human Rights, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Arbitrary Arrest or Detention, Collective Punishment, among many more.

Perhaps the most important chapter in this brief pamphlet is “The Problem of Enforcement.” One need not be a historian or political scientist to understand that as long as global enforcement mechanisms of accountability are denied to Palestinians due to the political whims of a superpower, Israel has the green light to attack Gaza and the West Bank at any time with impunity.

Israel’s senseless military attack this summer (deceptively coined “Operation Protective Edge” in English, and more accurately “Solid Cliff” in Hebrew) left 2,168 Palestinians dead, more than 500 of them children. The Institute for Middle East Understanding compared the proportionate impact of these deaths to the population in the U.S. Gaza’s devastating human loss would be equivalent to 376,680 Americans killed in 51 days if such events were undertaken in the U.S. To put this in perspective, this number is slightly fewer than the 407,000 U.S. soldiers killed in World War II. It is not hyperbole to say that everyone in Gaza knows at least one person who died or was injured in this atrocity, with each person left wondering if he or she would be next.

If humanity is to be served, citizens who believe in equal access to international tools of justice must speak up and denounce the continued U.S. hegemony over Palestine. If you support nonviolent means for addressing crimes against humanity—especially if you are American or Israeli—act now by contacting your elected representative to demand a change in policy so that marginalized populations are not shut out of systems of justice when they are the victims of crimes against humanity. Holding individuals responsible for their crimes is a core American value; it’s a value we should not compromise for any country, especially our own.


Written FOR



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“This is an unprecedented show of support by Hollywood for Israel. Not only does the list of signatories to our statement keep growing, their voice is being picked up by national, as well as international, press.”


Hollywood support of Israel continues to grow

Among star signatories joining Schwarzenegger and Stallone are TV host Bill Maher, Academy Award nominee Minnie Driver, as well as major studio execs.


WASHINGTON – After first expressing their support for Israel during Operation Protective Edge, members of the film industry posted an additional ad Saturday in the New York Times which included 300 of Hollywood’s most prominent figures expressing their “commitment to peace and justice.”

The stars have already planned their next target, setting their sights on Europe, particularly Germany and the city of London, where many they feel cultural figures operate against Israel.

“This is an unprecedented show of support by Hollywood for Israel. Not only does the list of signatories to our statement keep growing, their voice is being picked up by national, as well as international, press,” said CCFP (Creative Community for Peace) director Lana Melman.


Arnold Schwarzenegger and Silvester Stallone (Photo: MCT)


CCFP, an organization that brings together prominent members of the entertainment industry to counter the cultural boycott of Israel, applauded the hundreds of artists and executives who signed the statement.

Scores of celebrities and power-brokers from the Hollywood establishment have come out in support of Israel and a peaceful resolution to its conflict with Hamas.

Stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sarah Silverman and Seth Rogen expressed support for Israel and said Hamas “cannot be allowed to rain rockets on Israeli cities, nor … hold its own people hostage.”

Comedian Sarah Silverman (Photo: Ayelet Yagil)

The statement comes after weeks in which a number of celebrities, including Penelope Cruz and husband Javier Bardem, condemned Israel for its handling of conflict, with Cruz and Bardem even accusing Israel of genocide. But with the notable exceptions of comedian Joan Rivers and actors Roseanne Barr and Mayim Bialik, few have expressed support for Israel.

Aaron Sorkin, Academy- and Emmy-award winning screenwriter, producer, and playwright, commented on his own endorsement, stating, “The CCFP statement fully supports the right of the Palestinians in Gaza to live in peace and prosperity. We unambiguously condemn the values and actions of Hamas, a barbaric and brutal terrorist organization that is the enemy of basic human rights, equality, freedom, and peace.”

The statement has already run in major industry publications, including Billboard, Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, and Deadline Hollywood, as well as in mainstream national publications such as the Los Angeles Times. The ad was also sent to international publications from India to Romania, including the Times of India, the Latin Post, Italy’s Il Mattino, and Romania Libera.

“It is gratifying to see that recent events in Israel and Gaza have caused an outpouring of support for Israel in its fight against Hamas, whose founding charter calls for the death of all Jews and the obliteration of an entire nation,” said CCFP co-founder David Renzer.

“This support comes from all facets of the entertainment industry, including top musicians, actors, and executives. The unifying statement also comes at a time of growing concerns regarding the rise of global anti-Semitism, usually cloaked in anti-Israel sentiment,” added Renzer.

Among the signatories are veteran action stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, Jewish comedian Sarah Silverman, television host Bill Maher, Academy Award nominee Minnie Driver and owners of large Hollywood studios such as co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Amy Pascal, Chairman and CEO of MGM Gerry Barber.




The ad itself …




See the full list of signatories HERE


And the faces …. REMEMBER THEM WELL


Shout this out .... LOUD AND CLEAR!

Shout this out …. LOUD AND CLEAR!


In your name, Israel in 2006, 2008-2009, 2012 and now in 2014, dropped millions of bombs, bomblets and missiles all over South Lebanon and Gaza, exterminating thousands of innocent people, and destroying tens of thousands of homes. You have made Gaza look like Hiroshima in 1945.

My Message to the Jews

By Khalid Amayreh

I realize very well that Jews are not carbon copies of each other. And I also know perfectly well that there are many Jews around the world who truly despise what Israel has been doing to the Palestinian people in your name.

I earnestly commend these conscientious Jews for their morality and human decency. It is these honest and honourable people that enable us to retain the hope that counting on Jewish morality is not a lost cause.

None the less, one must be faithful to one’s conscience and intellectual honesty. That is why we must recognize that there are huge numbers of Jews who have found themselves transformed thoroughly into soldiers of darkness and advocates of evil. Today, there are Jews, too many of them, who shamelessly advocate the total annihilation of the Palestinian people. We also know that yesterday, there were many non-Jews who shamelessly advocated the total annihilation of Jews.

We have seen some of many Jews celebrate the mass murder of Palestinian children. There is no point in denying the undeniable.

Unfortunately, these psychopaths don’t seem to be an isolated or marginal minority. I hope and pray they don’t represent a majority among Jews.

But I am afraid they really do. But even if they don’t, they can still bully whatever “silent majority” there is in Israel into doing their bidding.

Recent history taught us what an extremist vocal minority is capable of doing. You certainly understand what I am alluding to.

It is these misguided and misguiding Nazi-like multitudes of Jews I am addressing in this article. And, in truth, my ultimate goal is not to vilify and demonize, but rather to warn and admonish them to wake up from worshiping this modern Golden Calf, otherwise known as the State of Israel.

To begin with, I would like to remind you of a Talmudic story, which I believe is familiar to many of you. The story is told that a heathen came to Shammai with the request to be accepted as a convert on condition that he was taught the whole of the Torah while he stood on one foot. The Rabbi drove him away with the yard-stick which he was holding. He then went to Hillel with the same request; and he said to him: “What is hateful to you yourself, do not do to your fellow-man. That is the whole of the Torah and the remainder is but commentary. Go, learn it.”

Yes, yes, what is hateful to yourself, don’t do to your fellow-man. What beautiful words of light and wisdom!

Now are you mentally prepared to accept this universal law, which nearly every Jew on earth would agree encapsulates Jewish and universal morality?

If you are, then you should thoroughly examine your attitudes toward Israel, a state that has more in common with the ideas of Hitler than it does with the teachings of Moses Ben Maimon.

Israel is deceiving you, lying to you and betraying your moral legacy, the legacy bequeathed to all of us by the Israelite prophets, and their (our) forefather Ibrahim.

I am sorry to speak in such a harsh tone, but, in truth, Israel and Zionism succeeded through the years in transforming you from a people who believe in justice and value morality into murderers and justifiers of murder, into thieves and justifiers of theft, and into liars who have to change the black into white and the white into black in order to cover up their shame, and then call the lies strange names such as hasbara and public relations and political correctness and what have you.

In your name, Israel, knowingly and deliberately, is slaughtering innocent people, including children, en masse.

This is not done by mistake as Israeli leaders and spokespeople would falsely claim. When “mistakes” happen every day and every hour and every minute; these mistakes are no longer mistakes. They are policy. Besides the images are too graphic to be ignored and too obscenely brazen to be dismissed as “Arab propaganda.” They transcend reality.

In your name, Israel has been committing every conceivable crime against humanity. Don’t just invoke your usual defensive reflexes and claim that violence and oppression are not Jewish values. Your acquiescent silence in the face of Israeli crimes suggests that violence and oppression are totally compatible with Jewish values. After all, the pornographically Nazi-like oppression being meted out to the Palestinians is coming from the very people who claim to adhere to the Ten Commandments.

In your name, Israel in 2006, 2008-2009, 2012 and now in 2014, dropped millions of bombs, bomblets and missiles all over South Lebanon and Gaza, exterminating thousands of innocent people, and destroying tens of thousands of homes. You have made Gaza look like Hiroshima in 1945.

Is this the light upon the nations that you claim to be? Shame on you!

It is because of your crimes against man and God that we, the Palestinians, have effectively become “the Jews of our time,” while you have effectively transformed yourselves into the “anti-Semites or even the Nazis of our time.” You, the Jews, the premier victims of the holocaust, and the numerous pogroms and inquisitions, have turned out to be like all underdogs, when you get on the top, you become as murderous and as brutal to your victims as your former oppressors were to you when you were underneath.

The Nazis looked down on Jews and others as Untermensch, and you are looking down on us as “dirty Arabs”.!! The Nazis sought expansion at their neighbours’ expense and called it “lebensraum.” And you are doing the same, under the pretext of building “settlements for Jews.”

The Nazis carried out “pacification operations” in which innocent people were mercilessly killed; and you carry out rather routinely “defensive operations” during which you wreak death and havoc on innocent people. At least the Nazis didn’t lie about their criminality like you do about yours. The Nazis didn’t brag about their monstrous crimes like you gleefully do. You are not only evil murderers and child killers. You are also nefarious liars.

The Nazis believed in an Aryan “master race” and you, Zionists, are trying to make a “race” out of Jews. Your methods are similar and your goals are nearly identical.

You can’t deny this; we are not naïve North Americans or Europeans whom you think you can bamboozle very easily. We have been through it all, from creation to destruction.

I am saying this because in the final analysis when people, any people, including Jews, behave and act like the Nazis did, they themselves become Nazis. Evil, whether done by a “master race” or a “chosen people” is evil. Evil can’t be kosher. True, there are no gas chambers in Gaza and Hebron. But the Jews are bringing gas chambers to every Palestinian home, hospital, collage, mosque and neighbourhood.

Don’t say I am exaggerating. If you do, just try to have a fleeting look at your shame.

Too harsh?

In light of your criminal callousness to what you have been and are doing to us, it is immensely naïve to think that you will experience a moral awakening. At the very least, you should stop asking why the Germans were silent when Jews were being shipped to the concentration camps. Whether we like it or not, you are now in the Germans’ shoes. Don’t deny it; the images from Gaza are too graphic to be denied.

Many of you may be forgiven for being ignorant of Israel’s evil reality. But you are not a people of ignorance, which means you are doing and supporting evil knowingly and consciously. If so, you are no better than your past tormentors.

Don’t be so excited about America’s unlimited and unrestricted support and backing. America is not helping you to uphold your moral principles, America is “helping” you to destroy these principles, which you are doing anyway. And you are so happy about it!!!

Needless to say, when an evil power “helps” you corrode your moral system, this should not be a cause for joy and satisfaction. I am sure that wise men and women amongst you understand the meaning of my words.

Finally, I call on you to wake up from this toxic arrogance of power, this collective megalomania and false sense of triumph. You are actually experiencing a collective psychosis, a virtual moral meltdown. Hence, you are really in a big trouble.

If I were you, I would immediately stop killing and tormenting the helpless Palestinians for you had been helpless yourselves. Stop killing their children. Stop destroying their homes. Stop confiscating their land. Stop imprisoning their sons without charge and trial. Stop narrowing their horizons. Stop your mass murder, mass terror and mass oppression. Stop making turning our daily life into an unrelenting hell. Yes, stop it, if not for justice and human decency, then for your own safety. Oppression eventually boomerangs on the oppressors.

And remember, it is not an act of heroism to murder unprotected innocent civilians, using the state-of-the-art of America’s technology of death. History won’t be kind to you.

What heroism is there in having an F-16 fighter rain death on sleeping children and women in an apartment building? It is very much like sending trains, packed with people, to a concentration camp.




The US Government is usually silent when one of its citizens is either savagely beaten or even murdered by the Israeli establishment.

BUT ….

Finally they are talking about this;


Let’s see what they do about it.


US accuses Israel of targeting Abu Khdeir’s family

State Department says concerned ‘members of the Khdeir family appeared to be singled out for arrest’ by Israel, after 2 cousins arrested.



The United States on Wednesday charged Israel had targeted members of a Palestinian family whose teenaged son, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, was kidnapped and killed in July along with two cousins, who are US citizens.

Tensions between Palestinians and Israelis in East Jerusalem plunged to a new low on July 2 when 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was snatched from an East Jerusalem street and later found burned alive.

Israeli police arrested six suspects and on July 17 charged three, freeing the others.


Mohammad Abu Khdeir, kidnapped and murdered.
Mohammad Abu Khdeir, kidnapped and murdered.


The death of the Palestinian teen – thought likely in retaliation for the abduction and killing of three Israeli yeshiva students in late June – sparked rioting and helped unleash the conflict under way in Gaza between Israel and Hamas.

Three days after his death, on July 5, the United States slammed Israel’s arrest of a 15-year-old cousin, Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, a US citizen. He said he was beaten in detention and has since been freed and returned to Florida.

Tariq Abu Khdeir after being released from Israeli detention (Photo: Reuters)
Tariq Abu Khdeir after being released from Israeli detention (Photo: Reuters)


On July 28, another cousin of Abu Khdeir, also American, was arrested in Israel as well, the State Department said Wednesday.

Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf identified him as “Mohammed Abu Khdeir,” which would mean his name is the same as his murdered cousin’s.

“We can confirm that Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a US citizen, was arrested on July 28. The US consulate general in Jerusalem is providing consular assistance. A consular official visited him on August 14. The consulate is also in contact with Mr. Khdeir’s family and his lawyer,” Harf said.

Yet “we are concerned that the US consulate general in Jerusalem was not notified of his arrest by the government of Israel.

And “we are also concerned about the fact that members of the Khdeir family appeared to be singled out for arrest by the Israeli authorities,” Harf added.




‘What’s that you said? …. I seem to have a problem seeing or hearing about evil’.



Traffic and lives will be disrupted in Jerusalem on Sunday and Monday due to the visit of Pope Francis.

How can anyone even think that he will speak out for Palestinian rights when he remained silent and complacent about the rights of his own people in Argentina during the fascist coup? That was not his only silence

During the coup, over twenty two thousand people were either murdered or ‘simply’ disappeared, including dissident priests allegedly turned over to the authorities by then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.


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The marred criminal history of Pope Francis makes him the perfect candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize [sic], NOT POPE!

Shame on the Vatican for putting such a man in charge of the flock.

Best he stay home and pray for forgiveness, surely he won’t find that here.


Mazin Qumsiyeh PhD adds …



Pope, Israeli lies

The Pope is coming to Palestine, a country under a regime of apartheid and colonialism. The Zionists are greeting him by insisting that they will continue to occupy the site of the last supper and insisting that he visit “Yad Vashem” (a museum exploiting one tragedy to create more holocausts), and “Mount Herzle” named after the guy who is a key architect of ethnic cleansing and colonialism here that cost hundreds of thousands of Arab lives. Christians here (and all other people) have become more and more active in boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against the Zionist regime. Meanwhile Palestinian leadership in Ramallah still seems mired in its old ways of sanctifying pope Abu Mazen. Text of signs here in Bethlehem initially welcomed the Pope as a guest of Abu Mazen not the guest of Palestine; this text was changed after some uproar though Abu Mazen’s pictures remained.  The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and many others complained about the unilateral moves and decisions by Abu Mazen without consulting the Palestinian people (and not just his key financially connected yes-men from Fatah). PFLP was promptly denied its financial share from the PLO umbrella (small as it maybe since the PLO was subsumed to the Palestinian Authority and its corrupt officials).These issues and problems portray a liberation movement gone awry after Oslo treacherous agreements. Yet, this does not take away from the justice of the Palestinian cause or the fact that it is inevitable that truth and freedom will prevail. Meanwhile we continue here struggling and sacrificing. Below are glimpses of reality and in particular please note the plight of youth assassinated and prisoners in “administrative detention”. Maybe the Pope will say something about this continuing suffering and the lies and mythology that make it all possible. Israeli military commit crimes and are caught lying (again). This is not the first time the Israeli army assassinates Children and lie about it. In this case two young people are shot with live ammunition and Israeli military said they posed direct threats and that they only used rubber bullets.



A United States government call on Israel to investigate the cold-blooded videotaped killing of two Palestinian boys falls far short of a real demand for accountability and amounts to complicity in covering up the crime.

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US is complicit in Israel’s videotaped murder of Palestinian boys


IDF stands idly by as settlers throw stones at Palestinians


New video by human rights organization shows soldiers failing to intervene in standoff between Palestinians and settlers in West Bank.

Video: B’Tselem


See Report HERE


For a few brief moments, Obama spoke the truth about the situation that Palestinians were living under. But they were hollow words, given the fact that it is Obama, on the same trip, who announced the extension well into the future of American military aid to Israel. That speech to Israeli youth, as other analysts have observed, also saw Obama affirm the Zionist narrative of Jewish redemption in the land of Israel, with no mention of how that “redemption” was carried out through the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians who were never allowed to return to their land.

My 72 depressing hours on Obama’s trail

by Alex Kane
US and Israeli flags
Image via Blog.StandforIsrael.Org

If you ever had a burning desire to see the American-Israeli alliance shine, there wasn’t a better place to be than Jerusalem last week. Spending 72 hours there, on the trail of President Obama’s tour through Israel/Palestine, was more than enough time to appreciate the enormous work ahead of those wishing to shift policy on the conflict in the U.S. Those three days were full of symbolic gestures that testified to the rock-solid U.S.-Israeli alliance—gestures that obscured the dispiriting reality for Palestinians forced to live under the grinding system of control Israel has imposed on them.

Ben-Gurion Airport on day one of Obama’s tour was ground zero for seeing the alliance up close and personal. You couldn’t walk around the place without seeing American and Israeli flags flying together. An Israeli military band blared out the sounds of Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem, and the Star Spangled Banner. That band also played out a song, “Jerusalem of Gold,” which celebrates the so-called reunification of Jerusalem, a result of the capture of the holy city by Israeli forces following the 1967 war. Nobody, including the American officials gathered there, batted an eye, though.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida Congresswoman who as chair of the Democratic National Committee helped lead Obama’s Jewish outreach during the last presidential election, walked alongside Congressman Eliot Engel and greeted the Israeli officials lined up. President Obama did the same, and even shook the hand of Naftali Bennett, the new Israeli cabinet official who wants to annex Area C and further solidify Israeli apartheid.

At that exact moment, it seemed as if nothing could shake the decades-old American posture towards Israel. If the rise of Bennett and other racist, right-wing officials determined to colonize the West Bank doesn’t shake that posture, what can?

The next two days of Obama’s jaunt through Israel/Palestine were full of other depressing moments.

There was the press conference where Obama fawned over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, repeatedly referring to him as “Bibi.”

There was Obama paying homage to Zionist icon Theodor Herzl.

And yes, the much-heralded Obama speech to Israeli youth was the icing on the cake of the tour that showed the world how strong America’s ties to Israel were.

For a few brief moments, Obama spoke the truth about the situation that Palestinians were living under. But they were hollow words, given the fact that it is Obama, on the same trip, who announced the extension well into the future of American military aid to Israel. That speech to Israeli youth, as other analysts have observed, also saw Obama affirm the Zionist narrative of Jewish redemption in the land of Israel, with no mention of how that “redemption” was carried out through the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians who were never allowed to return to their land.

The Jerusalem Convention Center speech should be remembered as the moment where the U.S. president promised unconditional support for Israel no matter what it does; more colonies, more apartheid, more war crimes will be funded by America, no questions asked.

On the other side of the ugly separation wall, the story wasn’t much different. There, a small group of protesters in Ramallah sought to penetrate through the careful choreography of the Obama trip by yelling for the president to go home. Butthey were stopped on a march by walls and walls of Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces. The Western-trained and financed forces were there to protect the Muqata as the meaningless Obama press conference with PA President Mahmoud Abbas carried on.

The Obama visit to Ramallah was meant to shore up Abbas’ position as the true and legitimate Palestinian leader, no matter what actual people on the ground think. That shoring up is fundamentally about protecting Israel from the wrath of Palestinians who first have to deal with a leadership primarily interested in their self-preservation, rather than a true liberation struggle. The Obama administration understands the need to preserve the Oslo-initiated status quo, where the PA puts down unrest in the West Bank in exchange for Western support. That’s what the millions of dollars in aid recently released to the PA from the U.S. was all about.

This distressing reality is enough to make you want to bury your head in the sand. Day in and day out, Israel further strengthens its hold on the West Bank, and the U.S. just sits back and nods. The PA carries on with empty talk and continued lip-service to negotiations that has only got the Palestinians more settlements.

But of course, the answer is not to bury your head in the sand, though that’s the easy thing to do. It is Palestinians who suffer from the status quo every day, and they have not yet given up. It remains the responsibility of the Americans who fund the conflict, and who are the main reason why Israeli apartheid can continue to exist, to speak up and say enough.

The odds are stacked against those wishing to see a shift in American policy towards Israel. Despite those odds, though, calls for justice for Palestine should continue to ring out. Perhaps eventually, those calls can create a deafening ring that is impossible to ignore. Until then, it remains imperative to continue to at least try and expose the toxic system Israel has created, and the American support than enables that system to carry on without any costs.



Written FOR


Obama won’t bring peace to Palestine

Miko Peled 

US President Barack Obama at the Israel lobby group AIPAC’s conference in 2011.



If US President Barack Obama wanted to move the Palestine/Israel issue along, he would need to demand that Israel free thousands of political prisoners it holds in violation of international law, end its violations of Palestinian human rights, lift the siege on Gaza or at the very least end the indiscriminate killing of Palestinian civilians.

However, because the fear that retribution by Israel’s lobby will be swift and painful, none of these things will be said — much less demanded — even though they are well-documented and widely known. And so, President Obama’s planned trip to Israel will not offer any solution to the Palestine/Israel conflict.

The Israeli-Palestinian issue is, politically, a toxic wasteland that no US president in his right mind would want to clean up. It has become a vicious cycle of deceit and double standards, and it will contaminate any US politician who tries to clean it up. One may trust that President Obama, being fully aware of this, will avoid getting involved with this issue in his second term, just as he did in his first term.

Even if he does visit the West Bank city of Ramallah during his planned visit, there can be little doubt that Barack Obama will continue to stand behind Israel and place his real efforts elsewhere. It’s the cost of doing business.

Blank check

The official US stance on the Israeli-Palestinian issue is that it needs to be resolved within the framework of a two-state solution but without the US pressuring the parties to reach a resolution. The pressures placed upon politicians in the US by the Israel lobby have created a reality in which criticizing Israel constitutes political suicide.

Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren, the Torquemada of the Israel lobby, stated recently on the satirical television program The Colbert Report that: “there are not many issues for which there is bipartisan support, the support for Israel is a true bipartisan issue” (“Obama’s Israel trip – Michael Oren,” 5 March 2013).

“Support for Israel” means a blank check. Understandably, Oren takes pride in this because it is an accomplishment for which his inquisition-style lobby has worked tirelessly. So much so, that the only vote on this issue that is acceptable in Washington is a vote that is aligned with Israel.

Reckless and destructive

The price of doing business in US politics is to applaud, encourage and pay for Israel to do whatever it wants, regardless how reckless and destructive it may be, and to ignore the plight of the Palestinians. This was true before the last Israeli elections, and now with the results of the Israeli elections clearly showing that Israelis have no interest in resolving the Palestinian issue, the president would have to go against Israeli electorate as well as the Israel lobby in the US, and all this to accomplish something no American president would even dare to articulate: peace and justice for Palestinians.

The naïve hope that Obama’s second term in office will be different than his first on this issue is just that, naïve. A just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian question will not come from an American president, nor will it come from an Israeli prime minister. The resolution of the conflict will come as a result of the fall of the Zionist state, not unlike the fall of theapartheid regime in South Africa.

No substance at all

As student groups, churches, trade unions, civil society organizations and the movement calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel increase their pressure, Western governments who are now complicit in Israel’s crimes will inevitably be forced to halt their support for Israel.

This, along with the ongoing pressure from popular Palestinian resistance, disobedience and defiance of the laws that allow the Zionist occupation of Palestine to function, will bring about a democracy in Palestine, in place of the Zionist state.

But this will not come about of its own accord. People who care about Palestinians and Israelis and who care about justice and peace need to act vigorously and demand a democracy with full equal rights in Palestine/Israel. As for the president’s planned visit, we may expect, and we will surely see no substance at all.

Miko Peled is the author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.



Passover comes early this year, starting a week from today. Observant households are in a frenzy of ridding their homes of all forms of leaven, in some cases even rice and legumes.
The new Israeli government is also in a frenzy as to when to ‘lock the gates’ closing off all of Israel to its Palestinian residents for the duration of the 8 day holiday. President Obama’s visit to the region makes that a bit awkward, but the timing is perfect as he will be leaving a few days before the holiday actually starts as not to witness the true meaning of apartheid.
Latuff”s view of the settlement’s new government …
The Jewish ‘Festival of Freedom’ means that Palestinians lose whatever vestiges of  freedom they might have. They will be unable to go to work, unable to visit friends and family, unable to live, period! All in the name of ‘Freedom’ …. (sic)
The following rap song appears on the FaceBook page of the US Consul General in Jerusalem … The US is obviously aware of the situation but chooses to be silent about it. ‘Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose, Freedom ain’t worth nothing but it’s free’ … Yup, it’s free until you don’t have it!
Below is a repost of my annual Passover message, unfortunately still valid today …



My maternal grandmother was a simple Shtetel Jew. She came from a place not much different from the small town portrayed in Fiddler on The Roof.
Traditionally the womenfolk from those areas were uneducated in matters of anything other than home making and child raising, while the menfolk studied their Holy Books for hours on end. Life was simple for them, and they themselves were basically a very simple folk.
I remember my grandmother going through the frenzy of cleaning the house this time of year…. the traditional Passover cleaning. All traces of leaven had to be removed from the home before the start of the Holiday. To her, that process included the removal of any trace of dust or smears on the window panes. The house sparkled when she was finished. Most of our non-Jewish neighbours were going through the same process, but simply called it ’spring cleaning’, ridding the house of all unwanted matter, including broken furniture and junk.
I remember asking my grandmother why she was going through such a frenzy…. her answer was simple and to the point…. “If a Jew eats bread during Passover he will die!” That was what she was taught, that’s what she taught us….
In Israel today, things are not much different from life in the Shtetel when it comes to Passover preparations. But today there is a growing number of non observant Jews as well as a growing number of non Jews. This is a threat to the lifestyle of the self-imposed Shtetel Jew living here today.
Christian Pilgrims from abroad, as well as local Christians are denied access to their Holy Sites. Where is the uproar against this?
Where is the uproar against the Neanderthal rabbis that have recently called for the expulsion or the genocide of the Palestinians? WHERE??? As in previous years, the Palestinians living on the ‘other side’ of the great wall of apartheid will be sealed in for the duration of the Holiday (8 days), literally making the State of Israel Arabrein for that period of time. Where is the uproar against this? WHERE???
Israel does need a cleansing… a good one; not only of bread during the Holiday season but also of hatred. Both are violations of the Holy Teachings.


 Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
Pope Francis I: Bergoglio Has Ties To A Dark Period For The Catholic Church

by Geoffrey Ingersoll

Francis I along with the whole Argentine Catholic Church have faced criticism for their silence or complicity during the post-1976 military dictatorship — a failure for which the Church apologized in 2012.

Known as the Dirty War, this period saw a brutal battle between the ruling military elite and leftist guerrilla fighters, in which up to 30,000 Argentinians were “disappeared” and others were raped or killed.

Argentine journalist Horacio Verbitsky chronicled how the Church and Bergoglio were involved in this dark era. As described by Hugh O’Shaughnessy of The Guardian in 2011:

[Verbitsky] recounts how the Argentine navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship’s political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate. The most shaming thing for the church is that in such circumstances Bergoglio’s name was allowed to go forward in the ballot to chose the successor of John Paul II. What scandal would not have ensued if the first pope ever to be elected from the continent of America had been revealed as an accessory to murder and false imprisonment.

Bergoglio contended to writer Sergio Rubin that he hid these people to keep them from the violent military junta, not the Human Rights Commission — even as his Jesuit order and Church leaders publicly endorsed the dictatorship.

He later said the endorsement was one of political pragmatism, which is understandable in the face of certain death, if not exactly righteous, according to the AP.

Bergoglio also faced criticism from human rights lawyer Myriam Bregman, who tried to bring the Catholic leader to court for allegedly turning over two priests to Argentine death squads — charges which others have denied.

In any case Bregman sees evidence in Bergoglio’s statements that he knew of the dictatorship’s crimes. “The dictatorship could not have operated this way without this key support,” she said, according to the AP.

Certainly the waters here are a bit muddied. The history has many sides, as it often does when it’s so far removed from such shocking tragedy and conflict. But it shouldn’t be forgotten, even as the present is filled with white smoke and cheering crowds.

Written FOR




Obama did not visit Israel during his first term, which drew heavy criticism from American Jewish leaders and Israeli supporters in the United States.
Can’t have that happen again 😉
logo-guesswho_large (1)
  • U.S. President Barack Obama to visit Israel in March

    Trip will be his first as U.S. president; According to a White House official, Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the matter in a telephone call on January 28. 

  • By Barak Ravid and Reuters


U.S. President Barack Obama plans to visit Israel at the end of March, his first trip to the country since taking office.

The U.S. president’s visit is expected to take place after the new Israeli government is already formed. The assumption is that this will happen by mid-March, and a likely date for the visit is March 21. According to a senior Israeli official, the visit may be postponed until after Passover if the coalition-building process is delayed.

According to a White House official, Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the visit in a telephone call on January 28.

“The start of the president’s second term and the formation of a new Israeli government offer the opportunity to reaffirm the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel and to discuss the way forward on a broad range of issues of mutual concern, including Iran and Syria,” the official said.

“Additional details about the trip – including the dates of travel – will be released at a later time,” the official said.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that while he is here, Obama will also visit Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and King Abdullah of Jordan. He is currently due to be preceded by his new secretary of state, John Kerry, who is slated to travel to Israel, the PA and Egypt in about 10 days’ time. But its possible Kerry will delay his visit and come with Obama instead.

Obama’s decision to visit so early in his second term is somewhat surprising , both because of his famously tense relationship with Netanyahu and because White House officials had previously said he would visit only if he thought doing so would help to advance the peace process.

Equally surprising, a White House statement about the visit made no mention of the Palestinian issue at all. “The start of the president’s second term and the formation of a new Israeli government offer the opportunity to reaffirm the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel and to discuss the way forward on a broad range of issues of mutual concern, including Iran and Syria,” said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor.

A senior Israeli official involved in preparing the visit said that Obama wants to see movement on the Palestinian issue and will give a diplomatic speech while he is here, “but at this stage, there’s no clear American plan to resume the peace process or diplomatic initiative that the president intends to launch during his visit.”

Israeli Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren told Haaretz that the visit is meant “to send a clear message to the entire region about the strength of the U.S.-Israeli relationship and the intent to strengthen this historic alliance still further at this challenging moment in the Middle East.”

Obama did not visit Israel during his first term, which drew heavy criticism from American Jewish leaders and Israeli supporters in the United States.

On the same day that Netanyahu and Obama held their conversation, Israel’s Army Radio aired an interview with former U.S. Ambassador Martin Indyk, who said that Obama had made a “mistake” by not visiting the country in his first term, despite being “deeply committed” to Israel’s security.

“Of course it was a mistake. And it’s a mistake that he hasn’t come to Jerusalem since then,” Indyk told Army Radio in the interview. “I think it’s very important that the Israeli public come to feel him. He is a man who is deeply committed to Israel’s security. The problem is that the Israeli public cannot feel him.”

A visit so early into his second term is a bit surprising due to tensions between Netanyahu and Obama and because in recent months, White House officials clarified the president would only come if he felt his trip would be effective in promoting the peace process.

An Obama administration official said last summer said Israel could expect a visit if Obama was re-elected. “We can expect him to visit Israel in a second term, should he be reelected,” Colin Kahl, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, said.



Let’s hope we don’t get droned while he’s here (compliments of Michael Rivero)




My problem with the Arabs in Israel manifests itself every time an election is called. An ever increasing number of the Palestinian population feel it is useless to vote, leaving any possible change to the ever decreasing left in the country.
Not voting is not the solution! It’s as simple as that. VOTE! Show your disgust with the present situation.  Don’t let them win hands down. As can seen in this attitude from the extreme right; Some leading rightists feel quite differently. David Rotem, a legislator from Yisrael Beiteinu, said, “It is their problem how and what they vote. If they choose not to vote despite having the right to do so, then Israel is perfectly fine. It is no problem at all.”
If Israel has no problem with it, then WE DO…. Let’s give them one!
The Forward had a pretty good analysis of the situation today …

Israeli Arabs Gripped by Election Apathy

Palestinian Parties Blamed as Much as Far Right for Lethargy

Arab Apathy: It’s election season in Israel. But many Arabs see little reason to vote, despite the prospect of an even more right-wing government.

Arab Apathy: It’s election season in Israel. But many Arabs see little reason to vote, despite the prospect of an even more right-wing government.

BAQA AL-GHARBIYYE, ISRAEL — “To whom are you leaving the country?” entreats one poster for Balad, an Arab party, showing a photo of Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party. The party has proposed stripping Arabs of their voting rights if they refuse to pledge loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state.

But the pitch seems to be falling on deaf ears. Members of the country’s Arab minority are poised to stay home in record numbers in the country’s January 22 parliamentary election, according to recent polls. The phenomenon, if borne out in the election, would signal growing alienation among the one-fifth of the citizenry that is Arab. Analysts say it would also help perpetuate right-wing rule. Some critics of the trend say it raises tough questions about how democratic Israel is.

“‘People are in despair,” said Yusuf Khawish, a former high school psychology teacher in this town east of Hadera in northern Israel. “Their psychological situation doesn’t encourage voting. Who votes? Only he who thinks he can benefit.”

In a packed local shawarma shop where Quranic verses adorn the wall, Rami Sawaied, a 27-year-old lawyer, dismissed the election’s significance for himself and other Arabs as he munched on a sandwich during his lunch break.

“I am not going to vote. I don’t think that if I voted it would change anything,” he said.

Like many potential voters interviewed by the Forward in Arab areas of northern Israel, Sawaied perceives national politics as an Israeli Jewish game in which Arabs cannot be real players. They blame entrenched discriminatory attitudes. “This is a Jewish country, and they don’t give the Arab people a chance to live,” Sawaied said.

Another diner, Samir Auweisat, 34, said he would vote but did not believe it would make a difference. ‘’We can’t change the situation, because all the government is Jews,” said Auweisat, an Arabian horse trainer. “They won’t have [Arabs] in the [government] coalition.”

His point is a historically accurate one. Throughout Israel’s history, both left and right governments have shunned Arab parties, which oppose the Zionist conception of Israel, as coalition partners. Various ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, which also oppose Zionism, have served frequently in Israeli governing coalitions. But the Arab parties have been viewed differently.

During the course of 32 governments, only one Muslim cabinet minister has ever been appointed — Ghaleb Majadale of the Labor Party, who was appointed Minister of Culture in 2007. And under Israel’s political system, it is from within the government, not the Knesset, that real power is wielded.

The burgeoning sense of nonbelonging was reinforced this past December, when the Central Elections Commission nullified the candidacy of Haneen Zoabi from the Arab nationalist Balad party. The Supreme Court overturned this decision 9–0, but Likud party legislator Danny Danon is vowing to introduce legislation to bypass the court ruling and prevent Zoabi from serving if she is re-elected.

Zoabi is reviled by right-wing Israelis for joining in 2010 with pro-Palestinian activists on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, which tried to break Israel’s long-running blockade on goods and materials entering Gaza. Israel imposed the blockade, which included heating fuel, many food goods and civilian essentials, in an effort to squeeze Hamas, the Palestinian faction that governs Gaza. The group has sponsored attacks on Israeli civilians and launched rockets from Gaza on Israel. But in Baqa, Zoabi’s banning was seen by many as anti-Arab and as an attack on Zoabi’s freedom of expression.

“She was banned because she speaks the reality, the truth about the situation of the people,” said Imad Mowasi, a local baklava seller.

Khawish, the former high school teacher, predicted that lingering anger over Zoabi’s aborted banning might push some to vote who otherwise would have stayed home — but not enough to significantly stem the tide of abstention.

The looming stay-away comes despite there being a great deal at stake for Arabs in the election. In late October, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the ruling Likud party merged his party’s Knesset candidates list with that of Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, a faction in many ways to the right of the already right-wing Likud.

Yisrael Beiteinu, for example, advocates stripping Israeli citizenship from hundreds of thousands of Arabs who live near the so-called Green Line that separates Israel from the occupied West Bank and handing them and the land on which they reside over to be part of a Palestinian state as part of a peace agreement. In exchange, Israel would annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

But the sense of Arab alienation is economic as well as political. According to the Adva Center, a social affairs think-tank in Tel Aviv, 53% of Israeli Arabs live below the poverty line, compared with 14% of Israeli Jews. In Umm al-Fahm, a crowded, sprawling town near Baqa, residents singled out lack of land for housing as one of their most important problems, something for which they blame the zoning practices of the government.

“There is a lot of racism, in housing, in how you are treated in offices. There is no equality at all,’’ said Ahmad Mahajane, who works as a waiter in Tel Aviv.

The government says it is committed to reducing such social and economic inequalities. But few Israeli Arabs believe that whom they vote for will have any impact on their situation.

Alienation was not always this deep. Voter turnout among Israel’s Arab minority was 70% during the contest that brought Yitzhak Rabin of the Labor Party to power back in 1992. After the election, Rabin struck an alliance with Arab legislators who gave him a blocking majority of 61 seats in the 120-seat parliament. This kept his government from being toppled by the right as he pursued the Oslo peace agreement for Palestinian self-rule in the occupied territories.

Arab voter participation peaked at 75% during the election that brought Labor’s Ehud Barak to power in 1999. But the alliance between Arab politicians and the ruling Labor Party unraveled during Barak’s tenure, especially after the outbreak of the second intifada uprising in 2000 and the killing by security forces of 12 Arab citizens during protests.

In 2009, Arab turnout for parliamentary elections sank to an all-time low of 53%. A poll taken in October by the Abraham Fund, a group promoting coexistence, suggests it will tumble below 50% this time.

Mohammad Darawshe, co-director of the Abraham Fund, blamed both Jewish and Arab political leaders in Israel for Arab electoral alienation.

The political leaders of Labor and of Jewish centrist parties have failed to engage the Arab electorate during the current campaign, Darawshe said. And no mainstream party, he added, has committed itself to including Arab parties in its coalition should it come to power.

Labor Party officials declined to respond to this criticism. But Kassam Grifat, head of Arab affairs for the centrist HaTnua party, led by former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, said his faction was actively campaigning for Arab votes. Polls pointing to low turnout in this sector were due to “failed government policy,” he said, which HaTnua would reverse.

Darawshe cited findings in the Abraham Fund’s October survey to argue that Arab politicians were also failing Arab citizens. According to its findings, the Arab public wanted the three Arab-oriented parties in the Knesset to set aside their ideological and personal differences and run a united list emphasizing education, poverty and employment. But Balad and Hadash, the two secular Arab parties, and Ra’am Ta’al, whose orientation is Islamist, could not overcome their differences.

Sawaied concurred that Arab Knesset members were out of touch with people’s concerns: “The Arab members in the Knesset don’t talk about our problems, like unemployment and socioeconomic problems,” he said. “All the time they talk about how the Palestinians have to get a country, but they don’t talk about our problems.”

On this point, Sawaied’s views appear to agree with those of Danon, one of the Likud’s more aggressive right-wing lawmakers. “The main reason they don’t want to vote is that their leaders, instead of worrying about the public that elected them, chose to take care of enemies, and to board the Marmara and participate in incitement,” Danon said.

Yossi Sarid, who served as Rabin’s education minister, said that a very low Arab turnout would only help perpetuate right-wing rule by reducing the number of seats won by the left. And Darawshe warned that a further decline in Arab voters would have negative implications not just for Arab citizens, but also for the Israeli state as a whole. “A democracy that cannot create space for 20% of the population to find its political role is a failing democracy,” he said.

Some leading rightists feel quite differently. David Rotem, a legislator from Yisrael Beiteinu, said, “It is their problem how and what they vote. If they choose not to vote despite having the right to do so, then Israel is perfectly fine. It is no problem at all.”


 The following reports deal with situations of the past week. Can you even think of another nation that suffers this much as the ENTIRE WORLD watches in silence?
Click on headings to access reports…

78 percent of Jerusalem Palestinians living in poverty



WATCH: Settlers shoot Palestinian in head while soldiers stand by





Palestinians asked to close their shops for Jerusalem Day



Two Injured As Settlers Attack Nablus Village


Israeli Plan to Construct 2100 New Settlement Unit


Nakba Action




All of the above via URUKNET


Palestinian grape farmers attempting to sell their produce abroad….
Palestinian tomato growers having the chutzpah to water their crops with water belonging to THEM….
BUT ….. in all seriousness, the biggest crime of them all is the fact that the West is aware of Israel’s crimes and yet it continues to allow them to continue… their watchful eye sees all.
The following video is a must watch, hopefully what will become a wakeup call to end the occupation once and for all.
Ali’s tale is that of a life-long struggle with the Israeli occupation: Arrests, violence, road-blocks, water restriction and economical hardship, a struggle to maintain the life of a Palestinian grape farmer.


No one seems to travel as much as the wandering Israeli, and no other nation turns it back as much on the rest of the world. You might expect such a tourism-loving people to open its eyes and ears to what can be seen and heard around the globe; instead, we keep walling ourselves in against what the world thinks and feels.

At home and abroad, Israelis ignore the rest of the world

You might expect such a tourism-loving people to open its eyes and ears to what can be seen and heard around the globe. Instead, we keep walling ourselves in against what the world thinks and feels.

By Gideon Levy

More than 300,000 people are on their way home now. They once again traveled and vacationed abroad. The traveling nation is visible, very much so, but blind. You’ll see and hear them in all four corners of the earth, but they’ll come home without seeing much and understanding even less.

Some 20,000 will come from the Sinai without seeing Egypt, thousands of students come home from Poland every year without exchanging a word with a Pole, and tens of thousands come back from Goa or the Tierra del Fuego without listening to what the Indians of South America or the Indians of India have to say. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have “done” America and Europe, east and west, and they will come home as oblivious and closed in as they were when they left.

No one seems to travel as much as the wandering Israeli, and no other nation turns it back as much on the rest of the world. You might expect such a tourism-loving people to open its eyes and ears to what can be seen and heard around the globe; instead, we keep walling ourselves in against what the world thinks and feels.

Every journey begins with a national scare campaign, a barrage of terror threats and travel warnings, which almost never materialize and which we don’t listen to anyway. The latest one, over the weekend, was that another global terror attack was on its way. And what are we supposed to do? Be extra careful? How exactly? Not travel? Not take cabs? Countless more Israelis have died in terror attacks inside Israel than abroad, without any travel warnings.

Alongside the threats of the Counterterrorism Bureau comes the usual threat about the whole world being against us. The Poles are anti-Semites, hardly anything needs to be said about the Turks and Germans, the Swedes all hate us and so do the French. Nearly every young person will come back with some fabricated story about some appalling anti-Semitic incident.

After the intimidation comes your ordinary Israeli condescension. The Americans are square, the Indians are primitive, the South Americans are backward, the Turks are Muslim, the Brits are old-fashioned, the Scandinavians are naive and the Italians are ridiculous. Israelis are the chosen people. We’ll teach them all a lesson in improvisation, resourcefulness and trickery.

It’s not that we don’t have anything to teach the world, but how about some modesty? Maybe the world can teach us something too? No sir. People around the world who haven’t heard about the murders in Itamar are seen as ignoramuses − yet what do we know about them? Zilch.

Then comes the coming together. Between the Chabad House in Nepal and Moshe’s hummus place in Thailand, Israelis come in tight bunches − Israelis with Israelis, no foreigners allowed. They eat shawarma and shakshuka, schnitzel in a pita and pizza on a plate just like back home, including croutons and cornflakes from Israel. That’s why they went all that way − to be Israelis at home and Israelis abroad. Even when in Rome they don’t do as the Romans do.

You could expect something different to come out of all this welcome travel. These trips were supposed to provide some openness, modesty, curiosity and knowledge. They could have taught us that despite everything we’re told, the world is not entirely against us and we’re not always the world’s chief concern; that there’s a world without Israel and it’s rich with culture and lessons. They were supposed to expand our knowledge and understanding that sometimes we too should listen to what the world has to say.

But we insist: International law doesn’t concern us, and neither do international institutions and organizations. We don’t care about world opinion, or the opinions of other governments, and we don’t even want to hear about the lessons from other nations’ pasts.

There have been closed-in nations that traveled here and there. But this combination of complete apathy to the world and endless traveling around it is a truly Israeli invention. Why? Because as the bumper sticker says, Israeli is best, bro.




The latest numbers from the United Nations show a two-fold increase in the number of Palestinian homes and agricultural buildings destroyed by Israel order this year, causing concern among officials.

UN: Massive increase in home demolitions

Members of the Younis family watch while their home is demolished by Israeli
bulldozers in the West Bank village of Azzun Atma near Qalqilia, January 11,
2011. The village, stranded between the Green Line, Israel’s separation wall
and two settlements, is only partially under Palestinian control. Areas of the
village near the barrier and settlements come under Israeli civil and military
jurisdiction. [MaanImages/Khaleel Reash]

BETHLEHEM — The latest numbers from the United Nations show a two-fold increase in the number of Palestinian homes and agricultural buildings destroyed by Israel order this year, causing concern among officials. 

The UN Relief and Works Agency recorded 70 demolitions since the start of 2011, displacing 105 Palestinians, of whom 43 were under the age of 18. The demolitions were carried out across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and ordered by Israeli police, municipal officials and by mandate of the Civil Administration.

Commenting on the jump, UNRWA spokesman in Jerusalem Chris Gunness told Ma’an that officials were concerned, comparing the number to the average of 24 demolitions per month since 2000, when the agency began monitoring.

The last two months in 2010, Gunness said in comparison, saw 29 structures demolished.

“The High Commissioner for Human Rights described this as discriminatory,” he said, referring to comments of Navi Pillay who visited the region last month. She said, “All settlement-related activities, and any legal or administrative decision or practice that directly or indirectly coerce Palestinians to leave East Jerusalem, including evictions, demolitions, forced displacements and cancelation of residence permits on a discriminatory basis, should be halted and restrictions on access to East Jerusalem by other West Bank inhabitants should be lifted,” in a statement on her final day in the region.

“Pillay clearly related these demolitions to the peace process, to human rights,” Gunness continued, calling the process of demolitions a “triple humiliation, with families forced to build illegally, faced with the demolition of their homes, a process that all too often occurs in front of the faces of their children.”

In East Jerusalem, Israel has zoned 13 percent of the city for Palestinian building, “most of which is already incredibly built up,” Gunness noted. “They are forced to build without a permit.”

In the West Bank, Palestinians are prohibited from building in zones declared by Israel to be military training zones, firing areas, state land, near settlements, or areas otherwise declared to be “Area C,” which falls under Israeli Civil Administration. According to UN numbers, more than 60 percent of the West Bank falls under one or more of these designates.

‘Slow demolition of the peace process’

In the context of peace talks stalled since September 2010, the recent announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of another 500 settlement homes in the West Bank in reported retaliation for the slaying of a settler family by unknown assailants, and the consequent spike in settler violence against Palestinians, Gunness said of the parallel increase in home demolitions:

“We are seeing the bulldozing of people’s hopes in a peaceful future and the slow demolition of the peace process itself.”

Bedouin village receives demolition orders

The most recent demolition orders to hit Palestinians were delivered to the Auda family, an extended network of Bedouins living in the Arab Ar-Rashayida village.

Family members told Ma’an on Friday that at least a dozen tents and animal shelters were included in an order delivered by representatives of Israel’s Civil Administration.

Ali Auda, the head of the family, said the orders “say we are violating the borders of Israel under the Oslo Accords … we are more than 450 meters away from where they put the signs.”

He said if their homes were taken down, the family — 50 members in all — would have nowhere else to go.

“It is the farce of the twenty-first century, imagine, an occupying state telling Palestinians they are violating their own land.”

Auda said he believed that his family was served eviction notices because “Israel wants to rid the area of its residents.”

A spokesman for Israel’s Civil Administration said he was unaware of any recent orders being delivered to the area.


“There’s a price one has to pay for embracing a dictatorship”

Turmoil in Egypt Divides Neocons Over ‘Democracy First’ Agenda

Egypt and Israel: An Egyptian protester holds up a caricature of President Hosni Mubarak with a Star of David on his forehead.  

Egypt and Israel: An Egyptian protester holds up a caricature of President Hosni Mubarak with a Star of David on his forehead.

Washington — After once uniting to support regime change in Iraq through an American military invasion, neoconservatives are now divided as they face the prospect of a regime change in Egypt driven by popular internal forces out of America’s control.

As Washington’s foremost champions of pushing to overturn Middle East dictatorships, monarchies and autocracies, these advocates, including former officials of the Bush administration, hail the revolutionary calls for democracy echoing out of Cairo as a belated vindication of their ideology. But the specter of anti-Western and anti-Israeli Islamist groups surging in to fill the political vacuum is giving some of them pause.

“The U.S. should make clear in an unambiguous way that a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt is a danger to American interests and could even lead to American intervention,” David Wurmser, an adviser on the Middle East to vice president Dick Cheney, told the Forward. The Brotherhood is a well-organized and long-supressed Islamist opposition group in Egypt and is now part of the broad coalition calling for a democratic revolution there.

Wurmser described the recent events in Egypt as a “bittersweet moment,” for those who share his worldview. “Bitter” because he fears the final outcome of a revolution, and “sweet” because the popular uprising proved that “what motivated the Arab street is not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the awful governance in their own countries.”

But some supporters of the democracy-first approach believe that the rise of extremism in Egypt could be inevitable and must be accepted. “There’s a price one has to pay for embracing a dictatorship,” said Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Gerecht, a former CIA specialist, said that another inevitable consequence of the uprising in Egypt could be a drive to chill relations with Israel. “We will see a significant change, and it will be rough,” he said. “Israel will have to adjust, and we will all need to cross our fingers and hope that the interest of democracies to avoid wars will be resilient.”

Historically, neoconservatives have not simply advocated embrace of any party that emerges victorious in a democratic process in the Middle East. In 2006, when the Islamist group Hamas won American-backed Palestinian parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza, Wurmser wrote a memo to his boss, Cheney, warning that “engagement and tolerance” of Islamist forces, even if democratically elected, would only build up their power.

Subsequently, the Bush administration strongly opposed efforts to bring together Hamas and its secular opponent, Fatah, into a unity government. After Hamas took control of Gaza in a clash with Fatah, Bush supported tough Israeli sanctions against Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization.

Still, in a Washington Post opinion piece published January 29 by Elliott Abrams, a deputy national security adviser in the second Bush administration, the tone of vindication was inescapable.

“Egypt protests show George W. Bush was right about freedom in the Arab world,” the headline on the piece read.

“It definitely shows that those who stressed the dangers of a policy that emphasizes stability at the expense of democracy had valid concerns,” said Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy, of the events in Egypt.

The outcome of American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dealt a blow in public opinion to those who advocated an American policy of pressing any world leader, friend or foe, to adopt democracy. But backers of the neoconservative view believe that events on the ground are now demonstrating the importance of this policy, of what they refer to as the “freedom agenda” — an American policy that puts front and center the drive for democracy.

“It shows how desirable it would be if the U.S. had made an effort in advance to cultivate benign political forces in the Arab world,” said Feith, author of “War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism,” in an interview with the Forward.

According to Feith, the problem of succession in Arab regimes was known to be one of the toughest for American policymakers. “Those in the Bush administration who spoke about the importance of promoting democracy had problems of this kind in mind,” he said.

For all their difficulties, Feith believes that the Bush-era wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have proved to be important in empowering Arab protesters. “In a broader perspective, it will be seen that people’s expectations [for democracy] were affected by the sight of people choosing their own leaders in other countries,” he said.

Peter Beinart, an initial liberal supporter of the Iraq war who later turned against it, saw an element of truth in one aspect of the neoconservative worldview, though heavily laced with irony.

“Middle Eastern tyrannies aren’t falling the way George W. Bush predicted,” Beinart wrote on the website The Daily Beast. “America isn’t the hammer; if anything, we’re the anvil. But Bush’s argument that Middle Eastern democracy could help drain the ideological swamp in which al Qaeda grew may yet be proved true. Osama bin Laden has never looked more irrelevant than he does this week.”

But some in the Jewish community voice concern even if a more moderate scenario unfolds, one in which the emerging secular opposition leader, Mohamed ElBaradei, takes over after the fall of Mubarak. “He is a stooge of Iran,” warned Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. In an interview with the Orthodox website The Yeshiva World, Hoenlein argued that when ElBaradei served as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, he “fronted” for the Iranians and distorted reports pointing to a covert Iranian nuclear program.

“All we can do is express our hope that Egypt will be more democratic and that the tripartite relations between Egypt, the United States and Israel remain strong,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.


The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.


Isn’t it strange that the leaders of an occupied people are not supporting a popular uprising?

Both images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Why isn’t the PA supporting the Egypt uprising?

Palestinian leadership has been careful not to support the uprisings, banning demonstrations in solidarity with the Egyptians; Palestinian television has virtually ignored the events in Egypt.

By Amira Hass

The Palestinian leadership has been careful not to support the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and has banned demonstrations in solidarity with the rebelling peoples. Palestinian television has virtually ignored the events in Egypt.

Dr. Mamdouh al-Aker, a 68-year-old urologist, studied in Cairo and was a member of the Palestinian-Jordanian delegation at the Washington-Madrid talks. He treats patients in Ramallah and Jerusalem’s Augusta Victoria Hospital.

For the past seven years, he has been the general commissioner of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights, an organization formed by a decree by Yasser Arafat in 1993. The commission seeks to guarantee that the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization meet the requirements for safeguarding human rights.

How is that so many people like yourself are happy about the developments in Egypt [before the bloody clashes erupted], yet there is no public expression of support in West Bank cities?

[On Tuesday] afternoon I returned from a meeting on another matter with [Palestinian President] Mahmoud Abbas. Appalled, I told him about a young man who initiated on Facebook a solidarity vigil for the Egyptian people. He was detained and interrogated the evening before the demonstration. Abbas expressed dissatisfaction and promised that the young man would be released immediately. I didn’t know that he had already been freed.

Demonstrators who went to the Egyptian consulate in Ramallah and were dispersed told me that security personnel in civilian clothes monitored them, threateningly. Two weeks ago, other young people organized a similar solidarity event for Tunisia. They told me they intended to demonstrate even though they had been told this was forbidden. In both cases, young people said they were thankful to the two peoples for their support of the Palestinian cause.

I was impressed by their enthusiasm. But most people don’t demonstrate because they know it is not welcomed. We have a pattern of restricting the freedom of demonstration and assembly. Demonstrations of support for our own people, during the attack on Gaza and against the occupation, were suppressed.

What is that Palestinian Authority afraid of when it bans solidarity demonstrations?

There are two reasons. Due to the close relations with the Mubarak regime, the leadership is perplexed by expressions of support for the opponents of a friend. The second reason – when a regime is insufficiently democratic, it fears that popular demonstrations might spin out of control.

There are reasons to suppose that many of the factors that drove people to protest in Tunisia and Egypt are in play here.

There is one huge difference: Here we live under Israeli occupation. We have to focus on the main goal of ending the occupation. And that’s the problem: For years we have behaved as though we have turned into a subcontractor of the occupation, so we have to return and make the occupation pay a price. Not necessarily by using arms, and definitely not by harming civilians.

People dare in several places to confront the Israeli army, but not the Palestinian police.

Yes. But that won’t continue indefinitely. The main lesson to be drawn from the Al Jazeera documents is that Israel is not ripe for a fair political agreement. So we should concentrate on our internal situation, put our home in order, enhance our steadfastness. A storm of change is soon to happen, and if we fail to change our path, we will be swept up by it.

People have quoted you as saying that the Palestinian Authority is a police state without being a state.

Generally, I don’t like expressing in Israeli media our criticism of the Palestinian Authority, even though the criticism is public and can be found in all our publications. But I consented to your request for an interview.

For three years I have been warning that certain characteristics will drag us toward becoming a police state, unless we pay attention: Arbitrary, illegal arrests. Torture of detainees – due to our complaints, there has been an improvement for several months, but now there appears to be a return to this miserable procedure. Screening of candidates for public posts by the intelligence and preventive security apparatus. Arrests of civilians by the security apparatus – there was a promise that this would end, but we will still wait for an explicit guarantee from the high political level. A lack of compliance with court rulings.

And in the Gaza Strip?

It’s a mirror image. Just two weeks ago, I was invited to a conference of the “security sciences academy” in Jericho. Participants discussed perceptions of security in the future state. I said the situation in this pre-state period will influence the future state. I brought up two reasons for incredulity: the building of a national army under the auspices of the occupation and its close scrutiny. That’s surreal; it has no historical precedent! Another absurdity is the size of the security apparatus; our ratio between security men and civilians is one of the highest in the world. Why?” That’s not under orders from Israel and the United States?

I didn’t discuss the political aspect. I’m talking professionally from the angle of human rights. Almost 30 percent of the [PA’s] budget is allocated to security; these allocations come at the expense of health and education. [Participants at the conference] sat and kept quiet.

Isn’t it strange that the leaders of an occupied people are not supporting a popular uprising?

That’s the result and the price of being dragged to the status of a regime, before liberation, while giving up on the agenda of a national liberation movement. As a regime, they must identify with regimes.

Is the situation reversible? Can the PLO return from its status as a virtual regime to a national liberation movement?

The same people? No. But there is a new a spirit. The Palestinian Authority’s role has to change. The leadership core must return to the PLO, while the PA should remain with powers as a large municipality. Nothing more. The PLO, which has lost its structure, must be rebuilt.

One of the tragic mistakes is that we didn’t focus on the demand for the right to self-determination that encompasses everything. Instead, they concentrated on the idea of a state. A state? [Benjamim] Netanyahu and [Ariel] Sharon also talk about a state, without land, water and borders. Everything is enclaves. As far as I’m concerned, they can call that an empire.

I can feel the seeds of change. There are demonstrations in the villages, the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel], the boycott on settlement products, defying the PA on the Goldstone report. What has happened in Tunisia and Egypt will expedite the process of change, revitalize the Palestinian cause and bring it back to where it belongs – not to a government or a “state,” but as a movement of national liberation.”


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