HELEN KELLER; BLIND, DEAF, BUT FAR FROM DUMB

A childhood illness rendered this dear woman blind, deaf and dumb ….

Yet, in adulthood she saw more than most people, heard of the injustices facing humanity and spoke volumes about it all.

“What are you committed to,” an interviewer asked her in 1916, “education or revolution?” “Revolution,” Keller replied.

The following poem was written in honour of her 136th birthday on the 27th of June

teacher-by-helen-keller-3-728

THREE LIVES

© By Tom Karlson

born June 27th, 1880

partial death two years later

coffined by the fever

without sound, without light, without words

for six years

hot and cold, odors, winds, vibrations

tantrum without words

nightmare without sound

 

blind deaf mute

but wait

Anne Sullivan is coming

grave robber and miracle worker

teaching Helen

turning lips into words, thoughts, visions

teaching Helen Braille, finger spelling,

signs and speech

vibration into pitch

pitch into Beethoven

thought into books, speeches

 

thought into action

socialism, the IWW,

labor rights, women’s rights, civil rights anti war

joins Debs’ Socialist Party

when Debs was jailed

when the ACLU was founded

Helen carried the card

when communism was under fire

Helen joined the fray

 

our blind deaf Helen roars

sees, hears, talks and writes of evil

the evils of war

the evils of exploitation

the evils of capitalism

MUHAMMAD ALI WAS A POWERFUL, DANGEROUS POLITICAL FORCE

His life was one of polarization and reconciliation, anger and love, and a ferocious, uncompromising commitment to nonviolence, all delivered through the scandalously dirty vessel of corruption known as boxing. Few have ever walked so confidently and casually from man to myth, and that journey was well earned.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff

Don’t remember Muhammad Ali as a sanctified sports hero. He was a powerful, dangerous political force

by Dave Zirin


Muhammad Ali
‘s saga is without parallel: the champion boxer who was the most famous draft resister in history; a man whose phone was bugged by the Johnson and Nixon administrations yet who later was invited to the White House of Gerald Ford; a prodigal son whom his hometown city council in Louisville, Ky., condemned, but who a few years later had a main street renamed in his honor and today has a museum that bears his name.

His life was one of polarization and reconciliation, anger and love, and a ferocious, uncompromising commitment to nonviolence, all delivered through the scandalously dirty vessel of corruption known as boxing. Few have ever walked so confidently and casually from man to myth, and that journey was well earned.

As football great Jim Brown said to me last year: “It was unbelievable, the courage he had. He wasn’t just a championship athlete. He was a champion who fought for his people…. The man used his athletic ability as a platform to project himself right up there with world leaders … going after things that very few people have the courage to go after. From the standpoint of his ability to perform and his ability to be involved with the world, Ali was the most important sports figure in history.”

To this day it is awe-inspiring that he once bellowed ‘God damn the white man’s money’ at a time when such words were more than shocking — they were sacrilege.

Or, as Bill Russell said in 1967 in supporting Ali’s decision to risk five years in prison for resisting the draft: “I envy Muhammad Ali…. He has something I have never been able to attain and something very few people possess: He has absolute and sincere faith. I’m not worried about Muhammad Ali. He is better equipped than anyone I know to withstand the trials in store for him. What I’m worried about is the rest of us.”

Ali’s death, however, should be an opportunity to remember what made him so dangerous in the first place. The best place to start would be to recall the part of him that died decades ago: his voice. No athlete, no politician, no preacher ever had a voice quite like his or used it as effectively as he did. Ali’s voice was playful, lilting, with a rhythm that matched his otherworldly footwork in the boxing ring. It’s a voice that forced you to listen lest you miss a joke, a gibe or a flash of joy.

Retired New York Times sportswriter Robert Lipsyte said to me, “Before everything else, what I’ll remember about the young Ali was that he was so much fun.” And that his voice had a physical beauty that “beat you to death with his attractiveness.”

With that voice, face and body, the man Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. could have been Michael Jordan before Jordan: an icon of ungodly wealth and conspicuous consumption.

But Cassius Clay chose to be Muhammad Ali and do something different with that voice. He used it to speak out from a hyper-exalted sports platform to change the world. He joined the Nation of Islam in frustration with the pace and demands of the civil rights movement. He was willing to go to jail in opposition to the war in Vietnam. But one has to hear the voice, and read the words, to understand what exactly made it so dangerous and, by extension, made it all matter.

Imagine not only an athlete but a public figure telling these kinds of unvarnished truths. To this day it is awe-inspiring that he once bellowed “God damn the white man’s money” at a time when such words were more than shocking — they were sacrilege.

It is awe-inspiring that, when facing five years in prison, Ali said: “I strongly object to the fact that so many newspapers have given the American public and the world the impression that I have only two alternatives in this stand — either I go to jail or go to the Army. There is another alternative, and that alternative is justice. If justice prevails, if my constitutional rights are upheld, I will be forced to go neither to the Army nor jail. In the end, I am confident that justice will come my way, for the truth must eventually prevail.”

He was equally moving when he said on another occasion: “Boxing is nothing, just satisfying to some bloodthirsty people. I’m no longer a Cassius Clay, a Negro from Kentucky. I belong to the world, the black world. This is more than money.”

In 1967, long before it was obvious to most, Ali connected the black freedom struggle to the injustices of the war in Vietnam, saying: “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No, I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again: The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality…. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people, they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

We haven’t heard Ali speak for himself in more than a generation, and it says something damning about this country that he was only truly embraced after he lost his power of speech, stripped of that beautiful voice. Ali may have seemed like he was from another world, but his greatest gift was that he gave us quite a simple road map to walk his path. It is not about being a world-class athlete or an impossibly beautiful and charismatic person. It is simply to stand up for what you believe in.

Political courage might seem to be in short supply, but it was inside a young boxer from Louisville who dreamed about being King of the World. Goodbye, Champ. Rest in power and peace.

 

Be sure to see YESTERDAY’S POST

REMEMBERING MUHAMMAD ALI’S ‘FIGHTS’ OUTSIDE THE RING

REMEMBERING MUHAMMAD ALI’S ‘FIGHTS’ OUTSIDE THE RING

Ali’s official time of death was 9.10pm MST on Friday, and the cause of death was septic shock due to unspecified natural causes. He did not suffer.

Bella Ciao dear Brother

How we remember the Champ

How we remember the Champ

 

‘I Just Wanted to Be Free’: The Radical Reverberations of Muhammad Ali

by Dave Zirin

The reverberations. Not the rumbles, the reverberations. The death of Muhammad Ali will undoubtedly move people’s minds to his epic boxing matches against Joe Frazier and George Foreman, or there will be retrospectives about his epic “rumbles” against racism and war. But it’s the reverberations that we have to understand in order to see Muhammad Ali as what he remains: the most important athlete to ever live. It’s the reverberations that are our best defense against real-time efforts to pull out his political teeth and turn him into a harmless icon suitable for mass consumption.

When Dr. Martin Luther King came out against the war in Vietnam in 1967, he was criticized by the mainstream press and his own advisors who told him to not focus on “foreign” policy. But Dr. King forged ahead and to justify his new stand, said publicly, “Like Muhammad Ali puts it, we are all—black and brown and poor—victims of the same system of oppression.”

When Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island, he said that Muhammad Ali gave him hope that the walls would some day come tumbling down.

When John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their fists on the medal stand in Mexico City, one of their demands was to “Restore Muhammad Ali’s title.” They called Ali “the warrior-saint of the Black Athlete’s Revolt.”

When Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) volunteers in Lowndes County, Alabama launched an independent political party in 1965, their new group was the first to use the symbol of a black panther. Beneath the jungle cat’s black silhouette was a slogan straight from the champ: “WE Are the Greatest.”

When Billie Jean King was aiming to win equal rights for women in sports, Muhammad Ali would say to her, “Billie Jean King! YOU ARE THE QUEEN!” She said that this made her feel brave in her own skin.

The question is why? Why was he able to create this kind of radical ripple throughout the culture and across the world?

What Muhammad Ali did—in a culture that worships sports and violence as well as a culture that idolizes black athletes while criminalizing black skin—was redefine what it meant to be tough and collectivize the very idea of courage. Through the Champ’s words on the streets and deeds in the ring, bravery was not only standing up to Sonny Liston. It was speaking truth to power, no matter the cost. He was a boxer whose very presence taught a simple and dangerous lesson fifty years ago: “real men” fight for peace and “real women” raise their voices and join the fray. Or as Bryant Gumbel said years ago,  “Muhammad Ali refused to be afraid. And being that way, he gave other people courage.”

My favorite Ali line is not him saying, “I hospitalized a rock. I beat up a brick. I’m so bad I make medicine sick” or anything of the sort. It was when he was suspended from boxing for refusing to be drafted into the Vietnam War. He was attending a rally for fair housing in Louisville when he said, “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality…. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d jointomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

Damn. This is not only an assertion of black power, but a statement. It’s a statement of international solidarity: of oppressed people coming together in an act of collective resistance. It was a statement that connected wars abroad with attacks on the black, brown and poor at home, and it was said from the most hyper exalted platform our society offered at the time: the platform of being the Champ.

Please know that these views did not only earn him the hatred of the mainstream press and the right wing of this country. It also made him a target of liberals in the media as well as the mainstream civil rights movement, who did not like Ali for his membership in the Nation of Islam and opposition to what was Lyndon Johnson’s war.

But for an emerging movement that was demanding an end to racism by any means necessary and a very young, emerging anti-war struggle, he was a transformative figure. In the mid-1960s, the anti-war and anti-racist movements were on parallel tracks. Then you had the heavyweight champ. Or as poet Sonia Sanchez put it with aching beauty, “It’s hard now to relay the emotion of that time. This was still a time when hardly any well-known people were resisting the draft. It was a war that was disproportionately killing young Black brothers and here was this beautiful, funny poetical young man standing up and saying no! Imagine it for a moment! The heavyweight champion, a magical man, taking his fight out of the ring and into the arena of politics and standing firm. The message was sent.” We are still attempting to hear the full message that Muhammad Ali was attempting to relay: a message about the need to fight for peace.

Full articles can and should be written about his complexities: his fallout with Malcolm X, his depoliticization in the 1970s, the ways that warmongers attempted to use him like a prop as he suffered in failing health. But the most important part of his legacy is that time in the 1960s when he refused to be afraid. As he said years later, “Some people thought I was a hero. Some people said that what I did was wrong. But everything I did was according to my conscience. I wasn’t trying to be a leader. I just wanted to be free.” Not the fight, the reverberations. They are still being felt by a new generation of people. They ensure that the Champ’s name will outlive us all.

Bill Russell said it best in 1967. “I’m not worried about Muhammad Ali. I’m worried about the rest of us.” That is more true than ever.

A Real Champ!

In April 1967, Ali refused to be drafted and requested conscientious-objector status. He was immediately stripped of his title by boxing commissions around the country. Several months later he was convicted of draft evasion, a verdict he appealed. Credit Ed Kolenovsky/Associated Press

In April 1967, Ali refused to be drafted and requested conscientious-objector status. He was immediately stripped of his title by boxing commissions around the country. Several months later he was convicted of draft evasion, a verdict he appealed. Credit Ed Kolenovsky/Associated Press

Also see THIS post from the archives

MESSAGE TO OBAMA: YOU CAN’T HAVE MUHAMMAD ALI

POEM ~~ REAGAN’S GIFT

 Nominated To Supreme Court--President Reagan gestures during a news briefing at the White House

Scalia Nominated To Supreme Court–President Reagan gestures during a news briefing at the White House

 

Reagan’s Gift

© Tom Karlson

 

someone’s mother said don’t speak ill of the dead

not mine

she said a bastard is a bastard

dead or alive

 

haven’t you noticed that lying bastards

the Kissingers the Chaneys

never die

 

so when Scalia was reported dead

I thought it was a joke, how can this be

then the truth began to stomp and holler

yes he’s gone

now

men and women can marry who they will

women’s bodies belong to the brain attached

nurses can organize

a president will never be selected again by the high court

 

night and day lovers eulogize this man

who wept tears of legal restraint,

an original

who said I will not legislate from the bench

a mind reader of the dead

who knew what Franklin and Jefferson thought

covering his unrepentant race-class-sex hatred

behind a mumbo-jumbo of legalese

 

he died under a millionaires roof

this well travelled hooker

is recused with no more votes to sell

 

 

but what will Clarence Thomas do

RAPE IN THE NAME OF GOD

howthreeholybookscompareonrapebiblequran

GO FIGURE

Submitted by Mahan Singh Khalsa *

    The ISIS soldier comes home from manning the check point. He lays out his prayer rug, kneels and prays. Then he fetches his captive, a young Yazidi girl, and rapes her. He was horny and wanted sex. Then he goes back to his prayer rug and prays. Furthermore he claims his sacred text approves it. What he has done is a Holy thing.

    The Zionist soldier rises and goes to his temple to pray. Then he and his fellow soldiers go into the occupied territory. They drag a young Palestinian woman and her children out of their house into the street and bulldoze the house. They are greedy and want the land. Then he goes back to the temple to pray. Furthermore he claims his sacred text approves it. What he has done is a Holy thing.

    Meanwhile politics in the United States are such that the ignorant ISIS soldier is considered evil and the ignorant Zionist soldier is considered noble. The United States bombs ISIS and gives bombs to Zionists.  GO FIGURE!

*  I am member of “Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land” which is a member of “US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation of Palestine and Sabeel North America”. I am also a member of “Military Families Speak Out” which is for families who have members in the U.S. military and are concerned about overseas involvements and deployments.

JEREMY CORBYN ~~ MENTCH* EXTRAORDINAIRE

*mentch

noun 

  1. (literally) A human or person.
  2. A person with integrity and concern for others.
  3. A gentleman.

Etymology: Yiddish (mentsh), an honorable person, from German Mensch (person).

Jeremy Corbyn, MP.

Jeremy Corbyn, MP.

When a bunch of neo-Nazis and antisemites threatened to march in Golders Green a few months ago, a wide campaign was organised to stop them with a counter-demonstration.  Only one of the current candidates for the Labour Party leadership sent a message of support to the counter-demonstrators.

Jeremy Corbyn, MP.

Yet this same Jeremy Corbyn has been the target of an ugly smear campaign attempting to brand him an enemy of Jewish people, by means of contrived “association” with antisemites. As Corbyn moved from outsider to a favourite to win,  addressing huge rallies of supporters, one Jewish newspaper even claimed Jews in Britain “feared” what might happen if he became leader of the Labour Party.

“Jews for Jeremy” was launched as a Facebook group by Ian Saville, primarily in response to the smear campaign, in order to counter the lies, spread awareness, and provide a rallying point for Jewish people who refuse to be regimented by such artificial “fear”.

Members have agreed the following statement –

A group of several hundred members of the British Jewish community has launched Jews for Jeremy, a group to support Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign for leadership of the Labour Party.

Some members of the group live in Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency, some have worked with him on various campaigns, and many know him from his reputation and his tireless work for the disadvantaged in society, including migrants and asylum seekers, over the past 32 years. They are convinced that his policies are the right ones for the Labour Party to pursue both domestically and internationally at this time.

The Conservative government is implementing harsh austerity measures that are harming the British economy and the lives of British people. Members of Jews for Jeremy believe that Jeremy Corbyn’s policies would be more likely to bring both fairness and prosperity. Jeremy Corbyn’s economic plans have been endorsed by more than forty leading economists in a letter to the Observer this week, and members of the group believe they are sound, fair and realistic. They believe, as do many economists and commentators, that they will resonate with the British people, and that they will be popular with the electorate. They are impressed by Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to bring more democracy to the Labour Party, and to seek to bring in candidates for office from a wider range of backgrounds. They note that Jeremy Corbyn was the only leadership candidate to respond in full to questions from the environmental charity Friends of the Earth, with an environmental policy which is progressive and responsible.

In international relations, the group asserts that Jeremy Corbyn’s policies offer the best hope for peaceful resolution of conflicts both in the Middle East and the rest of the world. Members applaud his efforts to bring together opposing parties to many conflicts in dialogue in a constructive way, and are dismayed that in some cases this has been held against him. The group notes that even Tony Blair and the Israeli government have very recently engaged in such dialogue, and it is unfortunate that it was not begun much earlier.

Crucially, as Jews, members of the group are alarmed that some unscrupulous sections of the media have sought to label Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite, or a knowing associate and supporter of antisemites. Those who know Jeremy Corbyn and have worked with him believe that this is an absurd charge. Jeremy Corbyn has a long history of principled anti-racism, and has a close and amiable relationship with the Jewish community in his constituency. He has long had friendly contact with Jewish organisations throughout the UK and abroad. Members of Jews for Jeremy believe that these accusations are a cynical attempt to damage Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign, and do not think they amount to legitimate political criticism or debate.

The group appeals both to Jews who are Labour members or supporters and to those who support Jeremy Corbyn from outside Labour to join with them. For those who quite legitimately support other candidates, or are critical of left politics in general, members of the group are happy to debate or argue in a respectful and friendly manner, but hope to dispense with the smears which have characterised some of the debate so far.

Read more @ http://jewsforjeremy.org/

Sent by Charles Pottins

If THEY hate him, then YOU gotta love him!

#Where’sCharley?

where-s-charley-raul-julia-complete-on-2-cd-s-a64d

Where’s Charley

© By Tom Karlson

smashed glass

screams, detonations

darkness

16 dead journalists

 

not Paris

not 2015

this is Yugoslavia 1999

no Muslims

no jihadists

it is NATO

a missile attack

on Serbian TV

where is Charlie

 

it is July 2011

that Zionist Christian Islamaphobe is working

Norway

at nightfall 77 dead

teenagers

Charlie not here

 

Honduras, Columbia

40 executed journalists in a generation

no Charlie

 

January 2015

2 thugs at work

12 dead

jihad is war

jihad is terror

2 million march

here is Charlie

 

and now

Charlie is gone

no motive no issue

just mad men

to be hunted down

never an attack on god and country

an attack on one weekly magazine 

A TRIBUTE TO OUR MEN IN BLUE

maniac-cop-a

Men in Blue

By Tom Karlson

 

spawned under the rebel flag

to destroy the slave hating  antichrist

derail her railroad

poison the drinking gourd

send Harriet and Sojourner to the tobacco field

ball and chain Douglass back to Maryland

patrol and police Robert E Lee’s turf

the men in blue

are reincarnated at reconstructions death

in the north

Chicago and her sister cities

anywhere

that workers organize

anywhere

that immigrants march

anywhere there are scabs

there work  the men in blue

some men in blue

stop and frisk

arrest and arrest and arrest

using executors muscle

keeping the machine spinning

stocking the furnace

of the new Jim Crow

some men in blue

protect and serve

with brain and tongue

when forced to fight

for more pay and less hours

                                                  the militia  comes running

governor and mayor with whip and gun

Pinkerton and National Guard

those men in blue do learn quickly

they have no right to strike

against public safety

anywhere any reason anytime

LIVING IN ISRAEL ISN’T THE SOLUTION TO ANTI-SEMITISM

Living in Israel isn’t the solution to antisemitism, though many like the concept of a Jewish state despite its racial exclusivity. Modern Jewish identity isn’t about cowering in fear but should be about building decent communities that accept the diversity of human existence.

Israeli life isn’t a protection against real anti-Semitism

Antony Loewenstein

*

A woman holds a cardboard sign reading “Je suis Charlie, je suis Juive, je suis Musulmane, je suis Francaise,” meaning “I am Charlie, I am Jewish, I am a Muslim, I am French” during a unity rally in Paris on Jan. 11. (Photo: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman holds a cardboard sign reading “Je suis Charlie, je suis Juive, je suis Musulmane, je suis Francaise,” meaning “I am Charlie, I am Jewish, I am a Muslim, I am French” during a unity rally in Paris on Jan. 11. (Photo: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images)

“Europe will forever be tainted”, wrote Haaretz journalist Anshel Pfeffer in the wake of the terrorist attacks against Charlie Hebdo magazine and the kosher supermarket in Paris. “It will always be the continent of expulsion, blood libels, numerus clausus, ghettos and the Final Solution.”

It was an ominous warning to European Jewry that it “may be too late” to save them from discrimination, hatred and violence. “Freedom of speech is shrinking in Europe”, Pfeffer concluded, “hemmed in on all sides by libel laws, political correctness, financial pressure and religious intimidation.” Jews would inevitably flee, he argued, if “freedom and tolerance” didn’t survive across Europe; instinctively Jews knew the history of pogroms, expulsions and death camps and never felt safe away from Israel. 

This is the debate that never goes away. It’s a discussion that lurks under the surface of almost all arguments on the future of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. Terror in France has unpicked a scab that never heals, unleashing insecurity over what it means to be a Jew in the 21st century and where to live it. Growing numbers of French Jews are moving to Israel, claiming they feel safer there than in their birth country, happy that they can openly wear a kippah [skullcap] and comforted with an army to protect them. There’s little comment about what that military actually does to the Palestinians, occupying and brutalising them daily.

It was a highly selective argument forcefully made recently by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling French Jews that they were only secure under his nation’s protection, though he was slammed for shamelessly appropriating a tragedy for political gain. Israel even pressured one of the Jewish victim’s families to be buried there.

Too much of the discussion in the last weeks has revolved around a clash of civilisations narrative, with refined Europe, Israel and the west on the one side and barbaric extremism of the Muslim fanatic on the other. This is a gross insult to the truth. Moroccan-Dutch writer Abdelkader Benali explains that the reason so many European Muslims are disenfranchised, and a tiny minority are attracted to violent jihad, is because “Muslims are every bit as European as the Roma, gays, intellectuals, farmers and factory workers. We have been in Europe for centuries and politicians and the press must stop acting as if we arrived yesterday. We are here to stay.” Both Said and Cherif Kouachi, the Charlie Hebdo killers, had a long history of radicalisation against France, the US and Jews.

Increasing numbers of Muslims have argued that Islam itself needs to become far more capable of both tolerating and accepting blasphemy in a non-violent way and acknowledging that virulent antisemitism, not simply in response to Israeli violence in Gaza or the West Bank, is a rising problem. Not all anti-Jewish hatred is about Israeli crimes in Palestine (though it is one of many causes). The Jews of France have felt increasingly targeted for the act of being Jewish. Historical anti-Semitism was always about targeting the “otherness” of Jews, playing on stereotypes that today finds an expression in Islamist attacks on Jewish centres of learning. Muslims also face deep discrimination for their faith, practices and alleged association with terrorism. In fact, separatist groups are the largest majority of perpetrators of political violence in Europe, not Islamist jihadis. For example, in 2013 there were 152 terror attacks across Europe and only two were “religiously motivated”, according to Europol.

Israel is hardly a good model of tolerance and plurality; there’s a reason European boycotts are surging, more young Israelis are refusing to serve in an occupying military and prominent Zionist groups decry intermarriage as treason. It’s a delusion to believe that Jews are either safer in Israel than in Europe or more able to live peaceful lives. The narrative pushed by Netanyahu that all Jews of the world should move to Israel – 90% of his election funding comes from American Jews, proving that a Jewish diaspora remains an essential support base for maintaining Israeli policies – cynically expands the belief that Jews are the eternal victim (despite now having a country with nuclear weapons). Islam is framed as the enemy, an image recently tweeted by the Israeli embassy in Ireland.

Instead, Israeli writer Orly Noy explains, it’s easier to “promote a worldview in which there is no national conflict, no occupation, no Palestinian people and no blatant disregard for human rights. There are only Jews and Muslims. Turns out we look a lot better fighting a religious war than we do running an occupation.” Free speech is constantly under threat in Israel with a vocal and active far-right, Jewish fundamentalist movement. 

Hypocrisy over free speech principles defines this debate. Muslims are accused of having no sense of humour over depictions of the Prophet Mohammed and yet Israel and its backers routinely try to censor images critical of the Jewish state.

France, with its historical and ongoing record of colonial adventures in Africa and the Middle East, claims to believe in free speech but wants to silence those with whom it disagrees. The Charlie Hebdo massacre should enlighten us to the real power of satire and how it affects those with and without power. Is it a false comparison to say that if you can insult the prophet Muhammad, you should be able to poke fun at the Holocaust? Does British journalist Mehdi Hasan have a point when he says that “Muslims are expected to have thicker skins than their Christian and Jewish brethren”?

British political parties such as the UK Independence Party have mainstreamed anti-Muslim rhetoric of the type once experienced by Jews. “The cold truth is that organised suspicion and denigration of Islam is the new antisemitism”, argues historian John Keane. Islamophobia is a scourge despite the term being dismissed by the French prime minister.

So what are Jews to do from Australia to Europe to America? In a recent survey, a majority of British Jews said they couldn’t imagine a long-term future in England, concerned with rising anti-Semitism. This Jewish feeling of insecurity is real and can’t be easily dismissed. British police have recently stepped up patrolling Jewish communities and soldiers in Belgium are guarding Jewish sites. The threat exists.

The answer isn’t more state surveillance, as proposed by Australia, Britain, France and the US, nor mass emigration. The facts speak to a vibrant Jewish diaspora that has the right, in light of the 20th century, to settle and be safe wherever they want. Fleeing to Israel isn’t the answer. It would be a “blatant capitulation to terror”, suggested Israeli reporter Chemi Shalev.

Israel has framed itself since its inception as a “light unto the nations”. “There is no demographic or practical existence for the Jewish people without a Jewish state”, Netanyahu proclaimed in 2010. But the vast bulk of global Jewry feels secure in their own multicultural country with full rights and responsibilities, a transformation from 100 years ago when Jews were often ghettoised.

Living in Israel isn’t the solution to antisemitism, though many like the concept of a Jewish state despite its racial exclusivity. Modern Jewish identity isn’t about cowering in fear but should be about building decent communities that accept the diversity of human existence.

Originally posted AT

APARTHEID; IN DEFENSE OF THE INDEFENSIBLE

Israel and its defenders go to great lengths to insist the “Jewish state” is not an apartheid one. Curious, then, that the only arguments they can muster in their favor are precisely those that were used to apologize for South Africa’s decades of indefensible discrimination and violence.

*

Defending Apartheid: Then in South Africa, Now in Palestine

By Nima Shirazi FOR

 *
Just like another Israel,
by enemies surrounded, lost in the veld,but for another Canaan elected,
led forward by God’s plan.

– Reverend J.D. du Toit, Potgieter’s Trek (1909)

*

This past May, in a relatively banal column touting the necessity of an impossible “two-state solution” in the context of what he deemed to be U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s “specious comparison” of a potential Israeli future to South African apartheid, formerHa’aretz editor-in-chief David Landau wrote:

This resort to apartheid infuriates the majority of Israelis and Israel-lovers, including those in the peace camp, and one can readily understand why. Apartheid was based on racism; Israeli Jews are not racist. They may occupy, persecute and discriminate Palestinians, but they act out of misguided patriotism and a hundred years of bloody conflict. Not out of racism.

It would be a gross understatement to say that Landau’s formulation was fundamentally flawed.

First and foremost, there is a vast amount of evidence proving that Jewish Israeli society – built wholly upon the 19th century premise (and promise) of ethnic and religious superiority, exclusivity, and privilege enforced through ethnic cleansing,forced expulsion, displacement and dispossession, segregation, colonization and occupation – is somehow becoming even more openly racist. Poll after poll revealsincreasingly bigoted trends.

The work of reporters like David Sheen and Max Blumenthal, for instance, routinely demonstrates a viciously militarized and unjust society masquerading as an embattled liberal democracy, acting with aggression and impunity. More recently, pogroms targetingmigrants and refugees from Africa, incitement against Palestinians inside Israel, andexplicit anti-miscegenation campaigns are becoming more frequent and more dangerous.

A country for “the white man”

In a mid-2012 interview, Israel’s Interior Minister Eli Yishai said that Africans, “along with the Palestinians, will bring a quick end to the Zionist dream,” since “[m]ost of those people arriving here are Muslims who think the country doesn’t belong to us, the white man.” Referring to refugees from Sudan and Eritrea as an “infiltrator threat,” he told the press he was eager to deport all African immigrants for, in his words, “the benefit of the Zionist dream.”

A chapter in a forthcoming book, detailing a three-year, anthropological study of the attitudes of typical, secular Israeli high school students conducted by Dr. Idan Yaron, isstark in its assessment of the cultural racism and hatred present in Israeli society. Reporter Ori Kashti notes that, based upon Yaron’s observations, “such hatred is a basic everyday element among youth, and a key component of their identity. Yaron portrays the hatred without rose-colored glasses or any attempt to present it as a sign of social ‘unity.’ What he observed is unfiltered hatred.”

Landau’s desperate defense against the apartheid label perfectly demonstrates theLiberal Zionist need to insist that Israel and its founding ideology are not inherently racist, a position less and less palatable to people who are actually paying attention.

His claim that because “Israeli Jews are not racist,” and therefore Israel can’t possibly be deemed a “apartheid” state, not only misunderstands the actual definition of apartheid, which isn’t merely race-based discrimination and oppression. It also mirrors precisely the arguments made by defenders of South African apartheid in opposition to calls for equal human and civil rights.

Zionism’s defenders mirror apartheid’s apologists

Beyond the shared “promised land” and “chosen people” rhetoric that has inspired boththe Afrikaner and Zionist ideologies of racial, religious, and ethnic supremacy, so has that of land redemption through settler-colonialism and transplanting indigenous populations. The connective tissue between apartheid and Zionism is thick, and not only in that both European colonial ideologies were officially institutionalized and implemented against native peoples as government policy in 1948.

Historian Donald Akenson has written, “The very spine of Afrikaner history (no less than the historical sense of the Hebrew scriptures upon which it is based) involves the winning of ‘the Land’ from alien, and indeed, evil forces.”

One can easily see a corollary in the words of David Ben-Gurion, written in a 1937 letter to his son, Amos. Palestine, he wrote, “contains vast colonization potential” for Jewish settlement to exploit. Moreover, he declared, “What we really want is not that the land remain whole and unified. What we want is that the whole and unified land be Jewish. A unified Eretz Israel would be no source of satisfaction for me – if it were Arab.” (emphasis in original)

This past June, settler leader Dani Dayan argued in the New York Times that, assummarized by David Samel, “Israel retain control of ‘Judea and Samaria,’ that it continue to exercise military rule over millions of stateless Palestinians, but that it loosen its stranglehold by making concerted efforts to make Palestinians happier despite the permanent loss of freedom, equality in the land of their birth, and justice under international law.”

Dayan’s essay calls for what is essentially, in Samel’s words, “window dressing of reduced restrictions on Palestinians” in order to “keep the natives happy.” Just like his more “liberal” counterparts like David Landau on the west side of the Green Line, Dayaninsists, “we settlers were never driven — except for fringe elements — by bigotry, hate or racism.”

This argument effectively relies on the disingenuous presumption that the actual victims of an exclusivist, 19th century European ideology – the colonized indigenous population – are merely incidental to the ideology itself. That is, as Landau wrote, “misguided patriotism and a hundred years of bloody conflict” are really to blame for the oppression, discrimination and violence against Palestinians, not the racist obligations of Zionism.

In October 1964, Foreign Affairs published the lengthy essay, “In Defense of Apartheid,” by Charles A. W. Manning. Not only did Manning accuse outside meddlers and finger-waggers of refusing to acknowledge South Africa’s right to exist as an apartheid state, he also justified its racist policies as “a heritage from a complicated past.”

Quoting approvingly from the 1954 Tomlinson Commission, Manning wrote that while “a continuation of the policy of integration would intensify racial friction and animosity… the only alternative is to promote the establishment of separate communities in their own separate territories where each will have the fullest opportunity for self-expression and development.”

Two states for two peoples, indeed.

In the face of international opprobrium, apartheid is “the philosophy of patriots,” Manning explained, “a remedial treatment for a state of things deriving from the past.” He added that apartheid is a matter of “nationalism, rather than racialism.”

It is easy for the foreigner to deride a nationalism which he does not share; but nowhere in human history has nationalism ever been destroyed by foreign scorn. Admittedly, Afrikaner nationalism is a form of collective selfishness; but to say this is simply to say that it is an authentic case of nationalism. For what is nationalism anywhere if not collective self-love? What underlies apartheid is at bottom an attitude not toward the black man, but toward the forefathers-and the future-of the Afrikaner people.

Manning continued:

Deplore the white man’s collective self-concern, and you may equally well damn every other example of nationalism, white or black. It is absurd to assume that nationalism is nice, or nasty, according to its color.

Manning bemoaned that, as a result of misunderstanding the necessity and, yes, benevolence of apartheid, even South Africa’s best friends were beginning to abandon it. “Israel finds it necessary to ignore the analogy between South Africa’s predicament and her own,” he lamented.

Still, Israel maintained diplomatic relations with South Africa into 1987 and was one of the last countries to join the international boycott campaign.

‘National suicide’

In 2012, Israel’s High Court upheld the state’s explicitly discriminatory “Citizenship and Entry” law, which, as Ben White has explained, “places severe restrictions on the ability of Palestinian citizens of Israel to live with spouses from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as from so-called ‘enemy states’ (defined as Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq).” The ruling stated that “Palestinians who gain Israeli citizenship through marriage pose a security threat.”

Writing in Al Jazeera, following the decision, White elaborated:

In the majority opinion, Justice Asher Grunis wrote that “human rights are not a prescription for national suicide”, a term often invoked by those worrying about what realising Palestinian rights would mean for Israel’s Jewish majority. This same phrase was invoked by the Interior Minister Eli Yishai, while coalition chair and Likud MK Ze’ev Elkin applauded the High Court judges for understanding, as he put it, that “human rights cannot jeopardize the State”.

A particularly instructive reaction came from Kadima MK Otniel Schneller, who said that the decision “articulates the rationale of separation between the (two) peoples and the need to maintain a Jewish majority and the (Jewish) character of the state”.

The notion that advocating and legislating in favor of “human rights” and equality would be the death knell of the Israeli state – “national suicide” – perfectly articulates that inherent injustice of Zionism; indeed, it is a self-indicting statement.

And, as has already been noted here and elsewhere, is yet one more example of how Israel’s apologists employ precisely the same logic, arguments and excuses – often literally the same words, verbatim – as the staunch defenders of the apartheid system in South Africa.

In April 1953, on the eve of assembly elections in South Africa, Prime Minister D.F. Malanwarned that outside forces – including “the United Nations, Communist Russia… as well as a hostile press” – were “trying to force upon us equality, which must inevitably mean to white South Africa nothing less than national suicide.”

Malan added, “I consider the approaching election South Africa’s last chance to remain a white man’s country.”

Just months after Malan and his National Party won the election and consolidated power, South Africa’s London-based High Commissioner A.L. Geyer delivered a speech on August 19, 1953 entitled, “The Case for Apartheid,” before the city’s Rotary Club. He argued against the indigenous claims of the native black population (“South Africa is no more the original home of its black Africans, the Bantu, than it is of its white Africans”); that the apartheid state is the only “homeland” known to white South Africans (“the only independent white nation in all Africa… a nation which has created a highly developed modern state”); and that “South Africa is the only independent country in the world in which white people are outnumbered by black people.”

These claims echo common hasbara tropes: that Palestinians are an “invented people” and that the Arab majority in Palestine was due to immigration into Palestine rather than an ancient indigenous population with roots in that land for centuries, if not millennia; that Israel is the “only democracy in the Middle East,” a bright bastion of technology and Western modernism amidst a sea of darker-skinned barbarians.

In his speech, Geyer – who was national chairman of the South African Bureau of Racial Affairs, known, ironically, by the acronym “SABRA” – turns to the question of what the future South Africa will look like and sees “two possible lines of development: Apartheidor Partnership.” He explains:

Partnership means Cooperation of the individual citizens within a single community, irrespective of race… [It] demands that there shall be no discrimination whatsoever in trade and industry, in the professions and the Public Service. Therefore, whether a man is black or a white African, must according to this policy be as irrelevant as whether in London a man is a Scotsman or an Englishman. I take it: that Partnership must also aim at the eventual disappearance of all social segregation based on race.

Geyer, speaking on behalf of those intent on maintaining a stratified and discriminatory society, was obviously not a fan of this prospective outcome. Just as those who still push for an illusorytwo-state solution” insist that a Jewish majority must be artificially engineered to exclude as many non-Jews as possible within the area controlled by Israel for a “Jewish and democratic” state to continue existing, Geyer too bristled at the idea of true self-determination wherein the result wasn’t already predetermined through gerrymandered demographics.

If the black population were to be given full voting rights, for instance, whites would no longer hold a monopoly on political power in the country. The inevitable result, Geyer warned, would be “black domination, in the sense that power must pass to the immense African majority.”

This sentiment was similarly articulated by Ehud Olmert, then the Israeli Prime Minister, in a 2007 interview with Ha’aretz. “If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories),” he said “then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished.”

Here’s how Geyer, in 1953, articulated his argument against such a horrifying future of democracy, equality, and justice:

Need I say more to show that this policy of Partnership could, in South Africa, only mean the eventual disappearance of the white South African nation? And will you be greatly surprised if I tell you that this white nation is not prepared to commit national suicide, not even by slow poisoning? The only alternative is a policy ofapartheid, the policy of separate development.

Indeed, as Israeli Justice Grunis reminded us, “human rights are not a prescription for national suicide.” Geyer couldn’t have agreed more. Denying basic and fundamental rights, while promoting and implementing a policy of demographic segregation and geographic separation, was a matter of survival, Geyer argued – just like his Zionist successors do now.

“Apartheid is a policy of self-preservation,” Geyer said. “We make no apology for possessing that very natural urge. But it is more than that. It is an attempt at self­-preservation in a manner that will enable the Bantu to develop fully as a separate people.” As the native black Africa population in South Africa was, Geyer noted, “still very immature,” efforts must be made “to develop the Bantu areas both agriculturally and industrially, with the object of making these areas in every sense the national home of the Bantu.”

Thirty years later, very little had actually changed.

In his infamous “Rubicon” speech, delivered in Durban on August 15, 1985, South African president P.W. Botha declared that “most leaders in their own right in South Africa and reasonable South Africans will not accept the principle of one-man-one-vote in a unitary system. That would lead to domination of one over the other and it would lead to chaos. Consequently, I reject it as a solution.”

Botha added, “I am not prepared to lead White South Africans and other minority groups on a road to abdication and suicide. Destroy White South Africa and our influence, and this country will drift into faction strife, chaos and poverty.”

In response, ANC president Oliver Tambo condemned Botha’s disingenuous statements about his apartheid regime’s commitment to “the protection of minorities” and “the just and equal treatment of all parts of South Africa.” Botha, he said, had instead committed to the continued “oppression of the overwhelming majority of our people” and “promised our people more brutal repression.”

Calling for increased resistance, through both armed struggle and the imposition of international sanctions, Tambo declared that all victims of apartheid were “ready to make any and all sacrifices to achieve justice and democracy based on the principle of one man, one vote in a unitary South Africa.”

That very same year, Raphael Israeli, a professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem andfuture client of the neoconservative PR firm Benador Associates, published an essay promoting increased Zionist colonization of the West Bank and Gaza and then subsequent partition of what he called “Greater Palestine” (which includes Jordan) as part of a potential solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli argued that “the seemingly reasonable claim that the ‘state belongs to all its inhabitants'” anticipates the “nightmare of a bi-national state” in which “Israel is no longer a state of the Jews or a Jewish state.”

The essay, entitled “One Palestinian People and One Palestine,” was eventually included in a collection edited by Israeli himself entitled, “Dangers of a Palestinian State.”

In laying out his vision for a bizarre tripartite entity within “Greater Palestine,” with redefined parameters of sovereignty and self-determination in which a “Palestinian government” is established in Amman, Jordan, alongside the Hashemite monarchy, and Israeli military control over the West Bank continues until a final settlement on borders is agreed upon.

Israeli stresses that Jewish citizens of the Zionist state reject the implementation of a “one person, one vote” system throughout Israel and the territories it occupies because they would be “faced with an intractable dilemma: either a democratic and egalitarian Israel with rights for all, with the corollaries of a bi-national state immediately and an Arab-majority state in the future; or Jewish Israel where the Jews would maintain rights and rule and the Arabs would be devoid of both.”

“No Israeli government,” the renowned academic wrote, “could face that dilemma and resolve it in any acceptable way.”

For Zionism, as it was for apartheid, equality and human rights are non-starters. The fear that a “one person, one vote” system and of a “state for all its citizens” instills in Zionists is no different from that expressed by defenders of South African apartheid.

Defended by de Klerk

Following John Kerry’s “apartheid” comment earlier this year, F.W. de Klerk, the former South Africa prime minister who presided over the dismantling of the apartheid regime, came to Israel’s defense. “I think it’s unfair to call Israel an apartheid state,” he said.

This is the same de Klerk, however, who two years earlier reflected that, while “[i]n as much as it trampled human rights, [apartheid] was and remains morally indefensible,” he still defended what he said was the system’s “original concept of seeking to bring justice to all South Africans through the concept of nation states.”

De Klerk explained that the Bantustanization of South Africa was conceived as a way to “bring justice for black South Africans in a way which would not – that’s what I believed then – destroy the justice to which my people were entitled.”  He added that it was “not repugnant” to believe that “ethnic entities with one culture, with one language, can be happy and can fulfill their democratic aspirations in [their] own state,” separate from one another.
After his comments sparked negative reactions, de Klerk’s spokesman walked back his comments. When “an artificial creation” like apartheid fell, the spokesman said, “you can go two ways – either by going your separate ways like in the Soviet Union or in what is being suggested for Israel and Palestine, or by trying to build a multicultural society.”When “the first option” failed in South Africa, apartheid leaders “changed course,” he said, continuing, “It is not immoral for the Afrikaners to want to rule themselves any more than it is for the Israelis or the Scots to wish for the same things.”

Israel and its defenders go to great lengths to insist the “Jewish state” is not an apartheid one. Curious, then, that the only arguments they can muster in their favor are precisely those that were used to apologize for South Africa’s decades of indefensible discrimination and violence.

A LETTER FROM A CHILD’S GRAVE IN GAZA

I’m fine. Really, don’t cry for me. Cry for yourselves.

*
un122807

*

Don’t Cry For Me

The voice of a Palestinian child in Gaza, taken from this world by Israel — “the only democracy in the Middle East”

By Sam Bahour

*

As the latest horrific obscenity of Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Strip continues, the death toll mounts. Palestinian children are paying the highest price, both those who are killed and wounded, and maybe even more so, those who survive.

Since I have written for decades about how Israel’s prolonged military occupation and endless violations of international law—let alone their blatant disregard to their very own self-interests—would get us to this very point, fresh analysis and fresh vantage points are difficult to find. The only words I can muster now, while the images of the carnage are freshly etched into my mind, are the words that may have come from one of the child victims whose life was cut short by a U.S. supplied Israeli F-16 fighter jet missile.

Below is the imagined letter from the victim:

Dear Humankind,

Hi. My name is Eman; it means faith in Arabic. I doubt you will have seen or remember me; only particular photos make it to your TV screen, those are the ones you will remember. I’m a Palestinian child from Gaza. I like my dolls, playing with my sister, and swimming. I was told that many of you are crying for me, but please don’t cry for me. I just arrived to this place and wanted to write to let you know that I’m OK. Really, I’m fine. I just miss Mommy.

There are a lot of people here, just like back home in Gaza. Lots of Palestinian kids too, some have been here for a very long time. Why would you want to cry for only me?

My neighbor arrived a few months ago from the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria, he shares a room with someone who came from a different refugee camp in South Lebanon called Sabra who arrived in September 1982. I really don’t know what a refugee camp is, even though Mommy told me that’s where we live too.

Down the road I saw a really older girl, maybe 23 years old. Her name is also Iman, but she spells it with an “I”. Iman came here in October 2004. She told me she was walking home from school, not far from my house in Gaza, when an Israeli soldier emptied his magazine into her after she was wounded and laying on the ground. She says he was caught on radio communications saying he was “confirming the kill.” I don’t really know what that means, either.

There are a lot of old people here, too: mommies and daddies. Some have their kids with them and some are alone. I actually saw a sign on one house that said the person arrived from Kufer Kassem in 1948 (that’s a long time ago!). I think Kufer Kassem is not far from Gaza, but I really don’t know since Daddy never took us on trips far away.

Anyway, I made friends with another girl exactly my age, Amal, her name means hope and she is from Qana in Lebanon. She lives with her sisters; one arrived in 1996 and the other in 2006. There are really a lot of nice people here from Lebanon.

See, I’m in good company, so please, don’t cry for me.

I am exactly 8 years and 23 days old; pretty big girl, wouldn’t you say? I have one baby sister and two older brothers, or at least Mommy tells me that I have two brothers. I’ve only seen one, the other, Mommy says, lives in an Israeli prison and has been there for a very long time. Even though I never saw him, I still love him. 

It is true that I was born in Gaza, but Grandpa told me when I was very young that our real home is in a place called al-Majdal. He still has the key to his house. It’s all rusted but I think it may still work. I bet you don’t know where al-Majdal is located, but you may know a place called Ashkelon. I understand how this can happen, it happens all the time. Those people who made Grandma and Grandpa come to Gaza keep changing the names of everything, even their own names. They not only changed the name of al-Majdal, they changed the name of many cities and villages too. Daddy told me that one organization called Zochrot goes around and puts signs up with the original names where Palestinian towns and villages were wiped off the face of the earth. This way no one will forget. You really don’t need to worry, because here they must have a very big computer, as all the names are what they used to be, nothing is forgotten. So please, don’t cry for me. 

Let me tell you what happened to me last month. It was the beginning of Ramadan. I love Ramadan because at the end of the month there is a big feast and Daddy takes us all to the marketplace and we each are allowed to buy two toys. A few days before the end of Ramadan, Mommy takes us to buy new clothes and shoes. This is the happiest time of the year for me and my brother and sister. But this year, Mommy was sad. She stayed sitting in my room crying while she nursed my baby sister. When I asked her why she was crying she said that we would not be able to buy new clothes this year because all the stores were closed. I understood (I am almost 9 years old, you know) so I surprised her. I went to my closet and pulled out my dress from last year’s Ramadan and I dusted off the pink paddy leather shoes Mommy bought me on my last birthday and I told her she can stop crying because I don’t mind wearing old clothes, even if they don’t match. But she cried even more. I think I know why she was crying. The neighbors were playing with fireworks all night and day, even though Ramadan was only in its first week. Usually fireworks happen only at the end of Ramadan. I asked her if she wanted me to go tell them to stop but she said no, she liked to hear them. I pretended as if I liked the fireworks too, but I don’t think she was telling me the truth because they are scary, especially at night. I’m glad there are no fireworks here. 

Anyway, just as I was putting my Eid clothes back in the closet something happened. I want to tell you what happened but I really don’t know how. I felt like I was swimming, but I wasn’t. The water did not feel like the bathtub, it was warm and sticky. When I glanced down I think it was red too. The last thing I remember is looking up and seeing the light fixture in my room, the one that looks like a clown’s head (Daddy bought that for me when my sister was born). It was falling, coming straight at me. I know this is not making sense, because ceilings don’t fall, but I swear that was what it looked like. 

Next thing I knew, I was brought to this nice place. I love it here but I really miss Mommy and my baby sister. I wonder why they did not come here with me. Mom would love it. We have electricity all day and night and the stores never close. Really, I’m not joking. In my home here, I can drink water right out of the faucet any time I’m thirsty. One of my friends told me that when I get a little older we can even go on trips far, far away, even to Jerusalem. I’m not sure where that is but I’m sure I’ll be able to ride a plane for the first time ever to get there. 

I want to tell you so much more but I’ll have to write again later because I need to go now. My two newest friends, Hadar and Issa, are bringing their bikes to take turns in giving me a ride. Can you tell Mommy to send me my bike? I also forgot my toothbrush in the rush to get here so I need that too. Tell her not to send me my Eid dress and shoes. I want my baby sister to wear them for Ramadan next year, because I doubt the stores will open anytime soon. One more thing, please: tell Mommy to empty my piggybank, and send all my savings to The Palestine Children Relief Fund because I’m sure that many of my friends who did not come with me are going to need a lot of help. 

After going for the bike ride I’m coming back home to take a nap. I was so happy that I found the CD here with the same exact song that Mommy use to sing to me every night at bedtime. It’s this one.

So see, I’m fine. Really, don’t cry for me. Cry for yourselves.

Love,
Eman

 

TRIANGLE FIRE ~~ 104 YEARS AND COUNTING

*

pilfering and work-breaks will not be tolerated

The Triangle Shirtwaist fire

March 23, 1911

By Tom Karlson

doors chained

exits blocked

!fire!

infernoed smoke and heat everywhere

elevator pulleys buckle,

fire-escape collapses

women leap

bodies smashed

sculpted by fire and crash

charred pick-up sticks

to be counted and named

by shattered lovers and family

148 sweatshop workers

148 Italian and Jewish women

148 from 14 to 48

on that sidewalk morgue

a flat temporary mausoleum

lined with

tears and blood

from mass murder will come new laws

protecting labor

*
A look at the history

MUSLIMS IN ADVERTISING

The Anatomy of Advertising Deception Using Muslims

By Robin
*
*

Where to begin? Let’s start with the advertisement itself. One that has “stirred controversy” yet according to the company who put out the ad, SnoreStop, their new campaign is supposed to be about diversity while it purposely stirs controversy. They have chosen to portray “couples” Couples who you “don’t see but which exist”

“As a snoring solution company, we’re in the business of keeping people together,” said Melody Devemark, spokeswoman and member of the family that owns the Camarillo, California-based company, in a press release. “So we found the most polarized couple and thought: ‘If we can keep them together, we can keep anybody together.'” 

The company said the ad is inspired by a real life couple — veteran Jamie Sutton and his wife Aleah, who is Muslim. (source) Note the spokeswoman says the ad was “inspired by”. She does not claim the couple portrayed on the billboard is an actual couple. Or do they? Five days ago “Stefanianne” who claims to be part of the promotion claimed on her  Instagram (note the comment by SlexyDayz and various hashtags)

Read what is purported in this San Diego FOX News report on the ad. “Officials said the models, U.S. soldier Paul Evans and his Muslim girlfriend are also a real couple.”

Are they? Let’s see. Starting with the female in the ad whose name is Lexi Panterra, “slexydayz” First question. Is Lexi a niqabi? Is this how she normally dresses as a conservative Muslim? You can judge for yourself from her own WEBSITEHERE is a music video of Lexi’s. Is niqab her attire as a conservative Muslim? Absolutely not.Now ask yourself these questions:


1. While the FOX News article claims Lexi is Paul Evans’ girlfriend. Ask yourself “do niqabis” have boyfriends? Besides, look at that wedding ring she is prominently showing on her finger on the billboard. The indication is that they are married.

2. Do conservative Muslim women marry non-Muslims? Answer is “no” they don’t.Per Islam, Muslim women marry Muslim men. Do mixed marriages occur sometimes between Muslim women and non-Muslim men? Yes. Among secular Muslims, not conservative Muslims who wear niqab, absolutely not. Can a non-Muslim male convert (actual proper term in Islam is REvert) to Islam and marry a Muslim woman? Yes, it happens often.  So the billboard might lead a thinking person to “assume” that since they are a “couple” as the company claims, Paul Evans must also be Muslim which is a very reasonable assumptioin due to the fact that there are many Muslims serving in the US military. Of course the woman in the ad is identified easily as a Muslim because she is wearing niqab. Paul Evans however is only portrayed as a soldier with no religious identity indicated in any way. Is this purposeful on the part of the advertising company and SnoreStop? I would say “definitely” otherwise the company would have clearly stated this is a Muslim COUPLE, not just a soldier, Paul Evans with a niqabi who has stated “”You know, as soldiers, that’s really what we fight for right there; I mean, we just want our freedoms, we just want that equality,” . (source) I ask Mr. Evans, did the US have to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, occupy those countries, in order for you and others to marry or DATE a conservative Muslim niqabi? Shades of WWII occupied Japan and Germany. Why not go further back and portray a US Calvary soldier with a Native American woman? After all, you became a soldier for “freedom” right? 
3. Are Paul Evans and Lexi Panterra (who is not a niqabi) a couple as both the company and Paul Evans claim? One needs to go no further than Lexi’s Instagram and Tumbler accounts to find the answer. On Halloween she posted an Instagram video “boyfriend’s makeup” Is that Paul Evans in the video? No it is not. It is a man named Sebastian Praga. How long have Lexi and her boyfriend Sebastian Praga been together? That can be documented per her Tumbler account to some degree by the pictures she has posted of him there. October 18,2013 “My boyfriend does my makeup tag“. You know conservative Muslim niqabis change out “boyfriends” easily right? They also take niqab on and off easily, one day making  sexy music videos, another day donning niqab as an ACTRESS in an ad to “keep couples together” by stopping snoring. 
SnoreStop must not work as claimed to “keep couples together” because if Paul Evans and Lexi Panterra were ever a couple in the first place, they sure aren’t now! #product fail #advertising deception #fighting wars so you can have the freedom to DATE slexidayz who dresses up as a niqabi and is NOT a niqabi #using deception in advertising to “stir controversy” when your product does not work as advertised LOL. 
To note, none of the above addresses the use of CONCOCTED political controversy when the US invasioins of Iraq resulted in the deaths of millions of Muslims and countless refugees, the longest US occupatiion of any country, Afghanistan which is an utter fail, the use of drones which have killed countless innocents. 
That’s a whole different aspect of this DECEPTIVE advertisement which is easily documented. 
Hat’s off to SnoreStop. You pulled a fast one all right.  Sleep tight! Don’t let the bed bugs bite. 
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Video on the making of this ad can be found in THIS article at Huffington Post. 
Written FOR

THE ANATOMY OF ISLAMOPHOBIA

racism-on-wheels
*

The Anatomy of Islamophobia: Rehash an OLD Story as New: Set LOOSE in Internet Land: How the Clarion Project Did It

FROM By Robin

To open, what this story is not about. It is not about the Qatif Girl. She is but a prop in this instance, used by an organization that has rightfully been named as one of the top propagators of Islamophobia, The organization is the Clarion Fund, founded in 2006 by Canadian-Israeli Raphael Shore. Read about this organization HERE giving their history, and their agenda.

Now for the unfolding of the Anatomy of Islamophobia: the REHASH of an old news story, set lose on the Internet. How I saw this unfold (and it’s still unfolding as more and more sites are posting this “news”)

On Thursday Sept 26 Nick Kristoff posted the following on his Facebook page, linking to an article at Examiner.com by Timothy Whiteman (who Loonwatch wrote about in a very interesting article) Note how many followers Nick Kristoff has (623,734) Notice how many likes he received for the post.(1,084)

 

 

Then commenters, including myself, did just a bit of digging and realized that the article he had linked to, the story, had an uncanny resemblance to the story of the Qatif Girl. However, what the Whiteman article failed to note was that the Qatif Girl story was old news, she had been pardoned in December 2007 by King Abdullah. Whiteman’s  story is alarming! It is NOW and the girl has had her punishment increased to 200 lashes just this week! Due to  proof of how this story seemed eerily similar to the Qatif Girl, Nick Kristoff wrote:

 

 
More comments ensued, namely by myself, noting that the Whiteman article that he had posted, sourced an article on the Clarion Fund website as the only source of his “news”.  Note the date Whiteman says Clarion posted the article: Sept 22, 2013. 
I asked Kristoff to look into the the organization that had rehashed an old story as “news”, leaving out the resolution of the story, the Qatif Girl’s pardon. I asked him to look into the Clarion Fund because they are a top propagator of Islamophobia. He ignored me and eventually deleted the entire post writing: “
 
Nicholas Kristof Folks, I don’t have confidence in this article any more, and I’m going to delete this post. I think it’s the 2007 Qatif Girl case, just recycled.
When I tried linking to the Clarion Project link Whiteman gave, it didn’t work (at that time). So I went to The Clarion Project’s Facebook page and lo and behold it was there. That link worked. The article has since been removed from the Clarion Project’s Facebook page. As well, the article date on the Clarion Project’s website has been changed from September 22, 2013 to November 15, 2007 (in keeping with when the news was actually news) As well an UPDATE has been added at the bottom which reads
Update: Since publishing this article it has been reported that Saudi King Abdullah took note of the negative media coverage surrounding this case and that resulted in his direct intervention in the case and the pardoning of the woman.” 
That update was added yesterday morning after I left a comment there that has been deleted, calling them “Liars”, this isn’t news, and the Qatif Girl was pardoned in December 07. 

Unable to find the article in cache with the original date of Sept 22, I have found other proof that Clarion published the article as “news” on Sept 22, 2013. As well, since they did, this “news” has spread to page after page of Whiteman’s article and Clarion’s original article. Here is the screenshot of Googling this phrase “Clarion Saudi Arabia lashing: Note the date.

Now, here is what I would like you to do, read the comments on Whiteman’s article. It’s the usual, Saudi Arabia of course is mentioned, but most of the comments (as usual) are bashing all Muslims. Why? Because this is how it works in the Islamophobe Industry, search out every single thing you can find negative regarding Muslims and then paint all Muslims with that brush. Paint them all as women abusers. (and in Whiteman’s case call the Clarion Project a “women’s rights news portal which is beyond laughable) Yes Saudi Arabia is rife for use by the Islamophobe Industry but this is NOT about the Qatif Girl or Saudi Arabia, this is about smearing all Muslims any chance you can get, even if it means rehashing OLD news and omitting that the woman in question has been free since December 2007 and never received ANY lashings and lashings are certainly not imminent for her NOW. Indeed it is Whiteman’s article that is spreading like wildfire across the internet, now on page after page NOT saying she was pardoned, but rather she is in danger NOW. Shark chum, and boy oh boy are they biting. They always do.Now, just as Whiteman picked up Clarion’s Sept 22nd “news” story, another journalist has also picked it up through other sources writing after Clarion’s article and written

his own story at opposingviews.com. Jonathan Vankin has listed his sources as New York Times,Daily Bhaskar and AP. Note the dates on the sources. The NYT article is from 2007, the AP article is from 2007 but the Daily Bhaskar article is dated Sept 27, 2013 and gets it ALL wrong saying the woman was raped on Sept 22 just last week! Notice that the Daily Bhashkar article sites the Clarion Project as the source. (apparently not reading it very thoroughly because Clarion states the case goes back to 2006) How could Jonathan Vanig who has so many credits to his name get it so wrong? Answer, he did, and he didn’t put two and two together that the 2007 articles had an entirely different date on which the woman was raped! I have emailed Mr. Vankin but as of this moment he has not responded to me. How many times is Mr. Vankin’s article now going to be shared in Internet Land? How many times is it going to be used NOW as shark chum to bash all Muslims? 

This latest shark chum all started with the Clarion Fund on Sept 22.  They have attempted to cover their tracks, but it doesn’t work, for the proof is there above, they published on Sept 22 and since then one more “incident” has hit Internet Land. A woman is going to be lashed 200 times! Look at those EVIL Muslims who are doing this. That old saying, “Everything old is new again” applies.

To liars.

(I will post updates as they occur)

Read: Fear Inc.

Read CAIR’s Sept 2013 report 

Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States

KERRY’S ‘PEACE’ PLAN ~~ A PEEK AND A LEAK

The first proclaimed leak from Secretary John Kerry’s efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as it is so often called, were published last week in the reputable London-based daily Arabic newspaper, Al-Hayat.
*
abbas-netanyahu-kerry
*
A Peek inside Kerry’s “Peace” Efforts or Propaganda?
By Sam Bahour

The first proclaimed leak from Secretary John Kerry’s efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as it is so often called, were published last week in the reputable London-based daily Arabic newspaper, Al-Hayat. The source is said to be from a posting from the website of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, who claim the information was leaked to them by someone attending the tightly closed negotiating sessions. The validity of this claim and the contents of the leak are unverifiable and the infighting between Hamas and Fatah give both a vested interest to publicly damage the other, however, a read through the supposed leaked information makes anyone familiar with this issue take a worrying note.

 

The Al-Hayat article on the leak states that Secretary Kerry obtained Palestinian President Abbas’ approval on general parameters for the restart of negotiations, at meetings between the two in Amman on 17-18 July 2013, prior to Secretary Kerry’s announcement that negotiations would restart. According to the leaked document, “Kerry set a maximum period of time ranging from 6 to 9 monthswould be dedicated to bilateral Palestinian-Israeli negotiations … without anypreconditions,” beyond the principles listed below and whereby Jordanparticipates in meetings on refugees, Jerusalem and borders where necessary:

 

1.                The Separation Wall will serve as the security borders of the ‘Jewish’ state, and the temporary border of the ‘Palestinian’ state… Both parties will acknowledge and announce this.” 

2.                There will be “an exchange in disputed territories within the plan of the Separation Wall noted above, as agreed to by both parties and with the blessing of the Arab League Follow-up Committee, as specified by this Committee to Mr. Kerry during their last visit to Washington, ranging in size from eight to ten percent of West Bank lands.”

3.                There will be also be a “freeze in the settlement projects at a number of outposts, as approved by the Israeli government, which does not apply to existing projects in large settlement communities located in the vicinity of Jerusalem and in the Jordan Valley, including the settlements of Ma’ale Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Har Homa, Gilo, Neve Yacov, Ramat Shlomo, Ramat Alman, Kiryat Arba’, and other densely populated settlements.

4.                The document adds that “residents in frozen settlement communities will have the right to choose between Israeli citizenship, or Palestinian citizenship, or both, at the conclusion of negotiations,” and that “talks will culminate with a historic agreement … along the lines of the Oslo Agreement, during which both parties will announce the end of the historic conflict between their peoples, as well as full normalization with all Arab states, at a celebratory meeting attended by the Arab League and representatives of all Arab countries, announcing their approval of Israel’s establishment of a Palestinian state within the limits set out … above, according to agreements…. concluded by the two parties at the end of the negotiations, which will also entail Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.

5.                It adds that “at the end of negotiations some Palestinian families will be allowed to reunite in the West Bank, Rafah and Gaza, while others will have the right to compensation, or emigration … to Arab countries, especially the Gulf…” where they will be “…naturalized… utilizing the Right of Return Fund for this purpose.

6.                Concerning the status of East Jerusalem, the leaked document indicates that it will be “placed under an international administration (Palestinian-Israeli-Jordanian) for ten years, whereby  resident Israelis in East Jerusalem will have the right  to choose their identity,” i.e. citizenship. 

7.                Furthermore, “Israelis and Palestinians agree to discuss the issue of land exchanges, in the West Bank and Jerusalem, through negotiating committees despite the non-core points of contention between the two parties… especially those points that are considered important by the delegation of the Arab League, including the proposal to grant citizenship to every Palestinian who has been resident in the Gulf for more than ten years.

8.                The document indicates that there will be a “discussion of executive steps in this agreement during negotiations within the time-limit mentioned above, and that its implementation will extend to ten years from the signing of the agreement.

9.                Israel will also “release a number of Palestinian detainees have who spent twenty years or more in detention, and no longer pose a security threat.

10.           It also stipulates that “President Mahmoud Abbas will call for legislative and presidential elections in the West Bank after the public announcement of the Agreement, in anticipation of the possibility of the emergence of objections to it, and that the terms of the agreement will not fully be announced until after the start of negotiations and the preoccupation of Palestinians with the battles of the Legislative Council and the Presidency.

11.           It also says that “with the signing of the agreement at the end of the specified time-limit and the declaration of an independent Palestinian state, the Palestinians and Jordanians will, with the blessing of Israel and the Arabs, reach an understandings on the role of Jordanian security assistance … to the Palestinian Authority … to stand by its side and help it overcome potential internal or external dangers … as part of a Confederation, which will be announced in conjunction with a trilateral economic initiative, in which Israel will play an active role in its formation.

Shocking, to say the least!

 

If these are anywhere near the truth, the region should be preparing for yet another major fallout, this time in Palestine and Israel, again.

 

If the U.S. and Israel continue to choose the game of might is right, then they should expect, sooner rather than later, a new generation of Palestinians to lookIsrael straight in the eye and say, “You win! You get it all Israel: Israel, theWest Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, both east and west sides, all of the settlements, all of the water, all of the Jordan Valley, all of the electromagnetic spectrum, all of the airspace, and most importantly, you also get all of us. Now, we heard you have free health care in Israel; where do we pick up our medical cards? We also want some of that free education too.”

 

In other words, if the U.S. and Israel are adamant to throw into the sea international law, humanitarian law, UN resolutions, human rights, rights of refugees, and sheer common sense, then expect the Palestinians to redefine their self-determination from a struggle for statehood to a struggle for civil rights between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.

 

In the words of the late Palestinian (and global) intellectual, Edward Said, it’s “equality or nothing.” What is it about these three simple words that are so hard to comprehend?

 

Written FOR

50 YEARS AFTER ‘THE DREAM’, THE NIGHTMARE CONTINUES

*

WHITE SKIN AMERICA
By Tom Karlson
*

That White Skin

Another man gone done

He could not stand his ground                

Another man gone

Ah those riflin’

Standin’ your ground

Hoodie baitin’

Black skin huntin’

Legal lynchin’

Terrorizin’

White skinned privileged motherfucker

Judged prosecuted defended juried

Tag teamin’

three card Monty playin’

Strange fruit swingin’

*

A shot to the heart

The dead man’s on trial

The shooter whines

Feared for his life

*

The heads talk

And talk of

Post racial America

A black presidented America

A beyond reasonable doubt America

*

Not a murmur

Of a million stop and frisks

A thousand legal lynchings

The 21st century Jim Crowed prison complex

And never not ever

0f white skin privileged America

*

Another man done gone

He could not stand his ground

Another man done gone

Another man done gone

THE LANGUAGE OF POWER AND OTHER ISSUES

rhetoric-words-politics-1348800099
*
Prepared by Nima Shirazi
*
As expected, the dog whistles of war have began blowing again. And they’re as shrill as ever, regurgitating the same old talking points we’ve heard for decades now.  Whether from Obama’s pick for the next US Ambassador to the United Nations, a megalomaniacal, obsessed Israeli Prime Minister, or a delisted terrorist cult with deep pockets and well-connected friends, the media amplifies unfounded allegations as fact and fails, as usual, to challenge long-established narratives that lead inevitably to a misinformed and fearful public and the potential for unspeakable violence.

Below are links to a number of my recent posts on these (and some other) issues.

The Language of Power:

Obama’s “Humanitarian Hawk” & Israel’s New Gladiator at the UN
July 18, 2013

In her first appearance before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Samantha Power, Obama’s pick for next U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, made clear that she will spend her time in the role much as her predecessor Susan Rice did: acting as Israel’s consummate defender, fear-mongering about Iran, and opposing any move to champion Palestinian human rights or self-determination.

In her confirmation hearing yesterday, Power revealed her adherence to AIPAC talking points, essentially working her way down the tried and true list of boilerplate phrases. Perhaps her most disturbing comments, however, were about Iran. She claimed that the Islamic Republic’s “continued pursuit of nuclear weapons is a grave threat to international peace and security,” echoing precisely George W. Bush’s own UN Ambassador, perennial Iran hawk John Bolton, who in 2006, insisted to the UN Security Council that Iran, by “continuing its pursuit of nuclear weapons…constituted a direct threat to international peace and security.”

 
[Read more]

July 16, 2013

In a renewed propaganda blitz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CBS‘ Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” that Iran is getting “closer and closer to the bomb,” and resurrected a number of embarrassing phrases including “red line,” “credible military threat” and something about ticking clocks.

Netanyahu has been leading the charge against Iran since the mid-1990s, warning of weapons programs that don’t exist and calling for sanctions and explicit military threats. His talking points since then literally have not changed and are identical to those he used to encourage the United States to invade Iraq a decade ago.

Here’s a reminder of why the Israeli Prime Minister’s CBS interview may actually have been a rerun…

On January 11, 1995, Benjamin Netanyahu told a nearly empty Knesset hearing that “within three to five years, we can assume that Iran will become autonomous in its ability to develop and produce a nuclear bomb, without having to import either the technology or the material.”  His solution to this crisis? “[The nuclear threat] must be uprooted by an international front headed by the U.S. It necessitates economic sanctions on Iran,” he declared.

Fourteen years later, then-Prime Ministerial candidate Benjamin Netanyahu told an American Congressional delegation that Israeli “experts” determined Iranian nuclear weapons capability “was probably only one or two years away.”

 
[Read more]

July 13, 2013

Embracing its recent removal from the U.S. State Department’s list of designated foreign terrorist organizations, the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), an exiled Iranianterror cult with deep pockets and close ties to the Washington establishment, is attempting to ramp up the fear-mongering and propaganda over Iran’s nuclear program following last month’s election of moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani as the Islamic Republic’s next president.

In April 2013, the group opened an office in Washington DC and officially registeredas a lobbying organization the following month.

Now, a Reuters article from July 11, 2013 reported the MEK and its affiliate organizations such as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) claim to have “obtained reliable information on a new and completely secret site designated for [Iran’s] nuclear project,” despite providing no credible evidence to back up the allegation.

 
[Read more]

Relax, Iran Isn’t Going to Withdraw from the NPT

July 11, 2013

An article in The Cairo Review by Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a former ambassador who served as spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiating team from 2003 to 2005 under Hassan Rouhani, outlines five options for addressing the stand-off between the United States and Iran over the latter’s uranium enrichment and nuclear energy program.  The most striking option Mousavian floats is that Iran could potentially “[w]ithdraw from the NPT and all WMD treaties” and merely “substitute the treaties with the supreme leader’s religious fatwa banning all WMDs.”

“This move,” Mousavian writes, “will relieve Iran of its treaty obligations, which have been used by the West to place further sanctions on Tehran,” adding, “Withdrawing from the NPT has become an increasingly attractive option within the decision-making circles of the country,” because, he argues, “since the 1979 Revolution, the NPT has proven more harmful than beneficial for Iran.”

This argument, surprisingly coming from such a consistently reasoned and rationaldiplomat like Mousavian, doesn’t actually make much sense.  In fact, while it’s essentially the same suggestion that various Iranian parliamentarians have been making for a decade now out of frustration with Western duplicity and arrogance, Iranian policy towards the NPT has been consistent: as a charter member of the treaty, Iran abides by its tenets and will continue to do so.

 
[Read more]

*****
Nima Blogs AT
 

THE ANGUISH OF A JEWISH PEACENIK FROM THE CLASS OF ’62

 940988_242575589216757_894479098_n
*
Mirah and I attended the same High School for four years, grew up just blocks from each other, yet we never met. We had many mutual friends, yet we never even crossed paths. Some 40 odd years later we finally did meet via a Social Network known as Classmates.Com. She visited Israel about ten years ago and we spent a day together. Since then, we have been very close and are in constant contact.
*
Yesterday she sent me the following piece which I must share with you. In her own words, “This article took a LONG TIME – 68 years – to coalesce and articulate!”
*

I Am A Jewish Peacenik

What ‘Never Again’ Means To Me

By Mirah Riben
*
I’m a Post WW II Brooklyn born Jewish woman living in retirement community. I didn’t choose to live here for its disproportionally predominantly Jewish population but here I am. I have enjoyed all of my life, since leaving my family of origins, living in more heterogeneous environments, yet there is the comfort of chicken soup being here surrounded by those I feel a shared history with, and being reminded of the few, long-forgotten Yiddish words and phrases I recall from my childhood. Yet, at the same time it brings back old outcast feelings of high school where I never quite “fit in.” 
*
I am a life-long social justice and peace activist and not a gung-ho Zionist and more now than ever, here in this community, I often find myself in the midst of an uncomfortable conversation such as this: Two women, a generation apart but both Jewish immigrants, one from Ukraine and the other from Poland began talking about how things were so different for them than for current immigrants. “We” came here and learned English and worked hard; “they” live on welfare and food stamps.
*
Why do I as a Jewish woman in my retirement years eschew these activities my peers love so dearly? Why do their conversations make me bristle with discomfort? The answer for me oddly lies in the lessons learned from the Holocaust.
*
Since childhood, I cringed at the racist, judgmental talk that was commonly acceptable at the time. My father’s use of bigoted and discriminatory language extended to all “gentiles” or non-Jews. By high school I was well aware of, and not at all fond of, the hypocrisy between my parents‘ lack of religious observance and their insistence on Jewish superiority. Dad’s southern cousins used to welcome us with open arms calling us “DamnYankees” in one word and never thought it offensive. My father likewise called all non-Jews “DumbGoyim” in one word.
*
The recent we/they dichotomy conversation was not just uncomfortable, it was blatantly, historically untrue. It disregards the fact that all immigrants have a hard time and most are very hard-working and not lazy bums living off the dole, while many American born families suffer inter-generational welfare mentality. Chinese immigrants built our railroads while others worked in mines under life-threatening conditions getting paid barely more than slave-labor. Living as we do on the East Coast, the vast majority of immigrants we see here are from Asia. In New Jersey in particular we have the largest population of Asian Indians in the nation. They, ironically, not unlike Jewish immigrants are derided for the exact opposite of being lazy! Many grumble that Asians from India and China are filing all the college openings leaving the children of less demanding American-born parents, behind.
*
What does all of this have to do with the Holocaust? The lesson of the Holocaust for all Jews is “Never Again.” But what does that mean? How do we as Jews interpret that and put those two powerful words into action, politically and personally?
*
For many of Jewish decent “Never Again” is a rally cry to make Jews a stronger people who will not take it but instead will stand and fight oppression when it comes; take up arms and fight back against hatred. “Never Again” is a show of strength and pride of our Jewish culture, our heritage, the state of Israel, and a battle cry to fight for it so it is never taken from us again. All of which I fully understand.
*
I, however, try to take a more Gandhian approach: Working to prevent hatred, nipping it in the bud, and most of all not being party to it. For me, the lesson learned from the Holocaust is to not become my enemy. Like a child who grew up abused one can decide to never “take it” – never to be the beaten down underdog again – and in doing so replicate their parents, or chose to break the cycle.
*
As Jews, who suffered the worst discrimination – genocide – I believe we need to be all the more sensitive to and refrain from all we/they talk. It is that very kind of talk of one race or ethnicity being superior and another being inferior that led to the Holocaust which cemented for Jews around the world our world view and underlies beliefs and politics.
*
I hear it as a call for peace; a rally cry that no people should ever be persecuted. Islamophobia is every bit as offensive to me as is anti-Semitism. The Civil Rights movement did not just teach us to integrate and extend equal rights to Blacks but rather continues to teach us shape our policies on women’s rights and LGBT rights. Hate is hate. Persecution is persecution and none of us are free until all of us are free.
*
I struggle to have, maintain and nurture a healthy sense of my Jewish cultural and ethnic identity without allowing it to become ethnocentric. I have been called a “bad Jew” for my views: pro-Hitler, pro-Muslim and pro-Palestine for not supporting every offensive, defensive and divisive action of the Israeli government. I’ve heard it all. I have been shunned by friends and some family who so fervently disagree.
*
We seem able to accept that the Holocaust, understandably, made some more devout in their religious beliefs and turned others into atheists. Yet we are less able to accept world views shaped differently from the same event.
*
If we cannot accept – not tolerate – but and accept, honor and value with dignity differences amongst ourselves, how can we ever hope to accept them amongst and between “others.”? And until we can do that, how can we co-exist on this planet? What is the alternative: Endless war? Or can we learn to “Never HATE Again”? 

*
Mirah Riben is the author of shedding light on…The Dark Side of Adoption (1988) and THE STORK MARKET: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry (2007) http://www.AdvocatePublications.com and on the Board of Directors of Origins-USA.org

 

THE ‘ANTI-SEMITE’ WHO ISN’T

The controversy as to who is an anti-Semite and who isn’t one has become the most talked about item in the Progressive Jewish Blogesphere. Both the ADL and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre have outdone themselves in this year’s listings. These Progressive sites are helping to ‘Break the Silence’ daily.
*
at50e5df5f
*
The following was written by Mark Elf of Jews Sans Frontiers …. in case you missed THIS post, it’s a must read, as is THIS one.
*
The more idiotic their accusations get, the more legimate our struggle to liberate Palestine becomes.
*
After the list was published, a passionate debate erupted in German newspapers over what constitutes justifiable criticism of Israeli policies and what exactly defines anti-Semitism.
*

Jakob Augstein: also ran in Wiesenthal’s Zionist Olympics

In the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s top ten antisemites list there were bound to be some real cases of antisemitism.  Carlos Latuff stood out in third place as the kind anti-zionist who you’d expect to be smeared by a zionist organisation like SWC.  Carlos came sufficiently high in the hit parade to be noticed.  He also has a very large anti-racist following.  But there is another highly questionable case and that is Jakob Augstein.

Here’s Der Spiegel:

The usual suspects can be found in the top spots of the 2012 list of “anti-Semitic/anti-Israel slurs”: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is in first place, followed by the Iranian regime, which aims to destroy the state of Israel. Not the kind of list one wants to be a part of.
[note they stopped short of third place which was awarded to Latuff]
But prominent German journalist Jakob Augstein, publisher of the weekly newspaper Der Freitag and author of a regular column on SPIEGEL ONLINE (which is occasionally translated into English for publication), appears in 9th place on the list.
 
It’s a scandal. SPIEGEL immediately sought to find out what had happened and why Augstein had appeared on the list — but failed. It is a failure that speaks volumes about the methods and position of the Wiesenthal Center. At issue are absurd demands and emails that seem to stem from a different world.
 
After the list was published, a passionate debate erupted in German newspapers over what constitutes justifiable criticism of Israeli policies and what exactly defines anti-Semitism. Most journalists felt that the accusation against Augstein was absurd, with the exception of Henryk Broder, a former SPIEGEL writer and well-known polemicist. Broder, in an effort to illustrate Augstein’s lack of self reflection, even went so far as to liken him to a pedophile who views himself as a friend of children.
Salomon Korn, vice president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, seemed to put an end to the debate when he said that he had never had the impression that Augstein’s writings were anti-Semitic, and suggested that the Americans hadn’t done their homework. Korn said on the radio station Deutschlandradio Kultur, that the Americans were “pretty far removed, in a manner of speaking, from German reality.”

Now of course Germany has all sorts of issues around Jews, Israel and zionism so what’s a mainstream publication to do when one of its own contacts is falsely accused of antisemitism by so august an organisation as Wiesenthal? And for Der Spiegel there was another problem:

It’s a tricky issue for SPIEGEL. Augstein isn’t a member of the editorial staff, nor does he have any influence over the content of the magazine. Augstein doesn’t even write for the magazine per se, since SPIEGEL ONLINE, its Web-based sister publication, has its own editorial staff.
Nevertheless, he is the adopted son of SPIEGEL founder Rudolf Augstein. As heirs, he and his siblings own 24 percent of the SPIEGEL publishing house. We didn’t want to attack him, because we believe that the accusation against him is wrong. But we could hardly defend him, because every reader would expect us to defend him. Doing so would devalue every sentence.
But there was a possible solution: We believed that readers could form their own opinions about the accusations if we presented both positions. So we tried to organize a debate between Augstein and the person at the Wiesenthal Center in charge of the list so as to allow the opponents to argue their sides in detail. We contacted Augstein by telephone, and he agreed.

But the SWC didn’t seem up to defending its position:

It took Cooper less than 24 hours to respond by email. He wrote that he appreciated the “kind offer” and that he was willing to participate, but only under certain conditions. “If you wish to interview me together with him,” Cooper wrote, “Mr. Augstein must publicly apologize in advance for the statements that earned him his designation on the Wiesenthal Center’s Top Ten anti-Semitism List.” Otherwise, he added, he would refuse to “sit in the same room with him.”
 
Such a request is nothing less than a snub, yet Augstein reacted matter-of-factly when told about Cooper’s response. Of course he wouldn’t apologize for criticizing Israel, he said, noting that he is, after all, a journalist.
 
Since Cooper apparently finds Augstein’s physical presence intolerable, we thought the debate could also be held via Skype. The two men could sit in two different rooms, as Cooper wanted, and conducting the debate online wouldn’t diminish its quality.
 
Augstein doesn’t really like Skype conversations owing to the sometimes poor technical quality, but there was no getting around it. The editorial office sent Cooper the proposal, along with a plan covering its technical aspects.

In his email response to the proposal, Cooper was even more adamantly opposed to the idea: “I will not participate in any face-to-face, simultaneous ‘discussion’ live, in the same room or digitally with Mr. Augstein unless he has apologized,” Cooper wrote (italics in original). Instead, he added, he would prefer to have a page for himself in SPIEGEL, apparently so that he could tell its readers about his accusations without having to entertain any opposing arguments.

The SWC are actually being more underhanded than simply dodging the debate.  See this tweet:

German media: ‘Der Spiegel’ heir not anti-Semiticfb.me/2v9YQqqTA

It could be a withdrawal of the allegation but the link is to a Jerusalem Post article which pretty much supports the SWC. 

All fairly standard zionist stuff. Allege antisemitism and then refuse to debate. The difference this time is that mainstream German media has come into the frame and traveled a long way up its learning curve in the process.

YOU CAN BE THE CHANGE ….. JUST LIKE ROSA WAS

*

The Legacy of a Civil Rights Hero

By Peter Amsel
*

You have heard the name, but do you know the story of Rosa Parks and the role she played in the Civil Rights Movement? What happened in Montgomery in 1955 was far more important than anyone imagined when the events were unfolding at the time. Rosa Louise McCauley did not begin her life dreaming of becoming the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement”, she was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, the granddaughter of former slaves and the daughter of a carpenter and rural schoolteacher. Rosa moved to Montgomery, Alabama, and attended Alabama State College, an all-black school. It was there, in 1932, that she married Raymond Parks, who worked as a barber. It was at this time that Rosa also became active in Montgomery’s chapter of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People.

Her work with the NAACP was more than just passive membership; when she joined the organization in 1943 she worked with the state president, Edgar Daniel Nixon in mobilizing a voter registration drive in Montgomery. Rosa Parks was also elected Secretary of the Montgomery branch of the NAACP in 1943. There should be no doubt that the heart of a true activist beat within the chest of this future Civil Rights leader, even years before the most significant act of her career would take place; an act that was born out of a desire for nothing more than fairness.

In the 1950s Rosa Parks began working as a tailor’s assistant in a department store, Montgomery Fair, she also worked part-time for a white liberal couple who encouraged Parks in her Civil Rights work. Six months before the arrest that would change the history of the Civil Rights movement Rosa received a scholarship to attend a workshop on school integration held at the Highlander folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee. The workshop was aimed at community leaders, and Rosa Parks spent several weeks there.

In the segregated South public transportation allowed for anyone to use the service, but it was anything but “public” in the sense that if you were a “coloured” person you had to surrender your seat to a white person, and move to the back of the bus. African Americans were required to pay to ride the bus at the front of the bus and then re-board through the back door, they were not even good enough to take a seat through the front of the bus: that is how they were perceived at the time. The first ten seats on the buses in Montgomery were permanently reserved for the white passengers, and when the bus become crowded the drivers would instruct any black passengers to make room for white passengers. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to move.

The ramifications of this action shook Montgomery to its core, changed America, and began an action that was watched by the world. It also launched the career of another Civil Rights activist, someone who would galvanise the movement, and transform it in ways no one could have foreseen before Rosa Parks’s actions that day.

After the arrest of Rosa Parks she was released on a $100 bond that was posted by her employers, the Durrs, and the president of the NAACP, Edgar Nixon. Rosa decided to allow the NAACP to take on the case and another organisation, the Women’s Political Council, which was led by JoAnn Robinson, came up with the idea of having a one day bus boycott coinciding with the date of Park’s trial. The WPC printed and distributed more than 52,000 fliers spreading the word about the boycott, on December 5, the day Rosa Parks would stand trial.

On that day the buses went through Montgomery almost empty and Rosa Parks was convicted by the local court and fined $14. With the assistance of her lawyer, Ed Gray, she immediately filed an appeal to the circuit court. While her appeal languished in red-tape, the U.S. District court was dealing with another case having to do with racial segregation and public buses, ruling that it was unconstitutional. That case, Browder v. Gayle, was ruled upon on June 4, 1956, by a three-judge panel that included Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. The decision was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in November 1956. Rosa Parks never paid her fine.

On the day of the boycott, December 5, 1955, there was a new minister in the town of Montgomery named Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. He became the president of the boycott committee, urging the residents of Montgomery to stay off the buses, fighting for justice by opposing those who denied them the same. The boycott ultimately lasted 381 days and propelled King into the spotlight of national prominence as a Civil Rights leader whose voice could not be ignored. The Montgomery bus Boycott remains as one of the seminal Civil Rights actions, a marking post in the history of the movement, and it all began with the actions of one woman named Rosa.
 *
Written FOR

« Older entries