Archive for the ‘Hasbara / Zionist Propaganda’ Category

The Third Way march, with their Icons in "yes we can" Shepard Fairey style!

The Third Way march, with their Icons in “yes we can” Shepard Fairey style!

WRITTEN BY HISAM ASHKAR, translated by Laila Attar and Ubiydah Mobarak

News of the visits of fascist and far-right groups to Syria, to show solidarity with the regime, have recently started to emerge, especially with the beginning of the revolutionary process in the Arab region. It seems that the Syrian issue ranks highly on the agenda of the European far-right. So, is it axiomatic to say that the majority of the European far-right supports Assad’s regime and stands against the revolution in Syria?

Nearly two decades ago, several parties and far-right groups started to weave relations with the Syrian regime. For example, communications began between some of the French right in France and the Syrian regime, since the nineties. Many visits then followed. Most notable was that of “Frederic Chatillon“, the president of the extreme student group (Groupe Union Défense), who is very close now to “Marine Le Pen”, the current President of the French party «National Front» (Front National). During his visit in 1994, he met the Syrian Defense Minister at the time “Mustafa Tlass”.

In the first decade of this century, especially since 2006, the visits increased. Most of them took place in Lebanon, the usual place to hold meetings between visitors and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party which is an ally of the Syrian regime. Frederic Chatillon with Alain Sorel were some of the most prominent visitors. This relation was not limited to the official visits and political discussions, it extended to business. For example, the company (Riwal) which is owned by Chatillon, founded the company (Riwal-Syria) to develop economic relations between Syrian and French companies in 2009.

Chatillon, Tlass, Dieudonnè, oh those happy days!

Chatillon, Tlass, Dieudonnè, oh those happy days!

By the start of the uprising in Syria in March 2011, the far-right began to support the Syrian regime in various ways. Frederic Chatillon was the first to support Assad. Since the early days of the revolution, Chatillon accused all those who took part in the demonstrations of the opposition of being partners to the Zionist lobby, which wants to destabilize Syria. Chatillon went even further to organise a demonstration in Paris to support Assad in October of the same year. Chatillon’s company «Riwal» still perseveres to support the news website (InfoSyrie) which is campaigning for the Assad regime.

With time, far-right demonstrations supporting the regime were organised in many European cities, from Rome to Warsaw and Geneva. At the same time, several visits to show support were organized, notably the «fact-finding mission» in June 2013. Several European far-right personalities took part in this visit like Nick Griffin “MP in the House of Commons”, Philip Dewinter “deputy in the Flemish parliament in Belgium”. This extent of the support reached the level of going to Syria to fight along side Assad forces in some cases, as the New-Nazi Greek organization «black tulip» (Mavros Krinos) declared. There were also many meetings held by the far-right which aimed to discuss the Syrian situation and how to support Assad’s regime. The most notable was the Boreal Festival which was held in Kanto in Italy on the 12th of September 2013 in the presence of a large number of European fascists. Paradoxically, the Mayor of Kanto, who was hosting that event, began his speech with words by Rosa Luxemburg!

Why does the European far-right back the Syrian regime?

In her thorough article, “Who are Assad’s fascist supporters?” Leila Shrooms attributes this support to:

“Anti-imperialist/anti-globalism sentiment with a strong focus on national states (they believe the Assad regime protects the Syrian state against US imperialism), Islamophobia (they believe the Assad regime fights Islamic extremists), anti-semitism (they believe Assad’s regime acts as resistance to Israel).”

3 way

As for Serge Ayoub, leader of the far-right organization Third way, Troisieme Voie, banned since the summer of 2013, he organized on the 2nd of February 2013 a march in support of the Syrian Assad regime. The reason for his support becomes clear in his answer to the following question, “why are Syrian supporters of the Assad regime participating in this demonstration?” Ayoub replies, “Why are the Syrians with us? Of course, it is our duty to support their cause! Syria is a nation, a homeland, a socialist country with national supremacy. They are fighting for secularism, and they are subject to an attack by imperialist America, globalization and its salafist servants and Qatari and Saudi mercenaries. The purpose is to destroy the state.”

We find in Ayoub’s narrative all the reasons presented by Leila Shrooms, except for Israeli resistance. The far-right does not hide its aversion to Israel, as we have seen in Chatillon. Paradoxically, Ayoub’s supporters who describe themselves as French revolutionary nationalists, and who gained the support of many French and European Fascist organizations, brandished the photographs of five personalities in the demonstration: Bashar Al Assad’s, next to it that of the Russian president Putin, the Belarusian president Lukashenko, the Venezuelan Ex-president Chavez and the national Serb Draga Mihailovič. Many flags were also lifted, among them the Syrian, French, Russian, Venezuelan and Cuban flags.

The grounds for this support presented by all the far-right organizations on the one hand and the organizations who criticize them on the other, stir many questions such as, “Why didn’t this right ally itself with Syria against Israel before the decade of the nineties? Why did this right stand against the Syrian revolution since its beginnings before the rise of the armed extremist Islamic movements? And what is the truth of this anti-imperialist anti-globalization stance of the right?

To demonstrate the background and logic of the right’s position with regards to what is happening in Syria, we have to go back in time 25 years, to a new historical phase that started with the fall of the Berlin wall.

Redefining the enemy: from the communist threat to the threat of the American model.

In his book “The anatomy of Fascism”, Paxton says that Fascist movements are always in need of an enemy that symbolises the overwhelming crises that’s taking society by storm, and who pushes the mass to unite under the flag of the saviour leader. Towards the end of the cold war, most far-right movements in northern Europe considered The Soviet Union to be that enemy-symbol, to the extent that Jean Marie le Pen, the leader of the far-right French party, The National Front, alleged that he carried the legacies of Winston Churchill, Douglas McArthur and Ronald Regan[1], not just in the political arena, but also in the field of Economy. For until the end of the eighties, the National Front was glorifying and defending liberal Economy.[2]

In this context, the fall of communism did not just cause a crisis in the left, rather it went beyond it to reach the far-right, who lost over night its main enemy and one of the basis of its politics. The reconsideration done by some of the members of the right led to adopting ideas of ideological groups such as GRECE, which started since the sixties developing the theory of cultural difference, which opposes racial mixing because it represents a danger for the identity of nations. Hence the United States became the enemy – the new symbol, for various reasons:

1-      Cultural and political American dominance represents a threat to national identities.

2-      The American model reflects a presence and mix between various races and cultures, regardless of the racism and inequality that are rooted in this model.

Redefining the enemy has forced these right wing forces to reconsider many of their political and economic stances to fit with their new ideological position. It is worth remembering here that far-right and main fascist parties are pragmatic parties which don’t hesitate in redefining their main positions (especially concerning the economy, because they do not rely on a fixed line or position in this field, rather they fluctuate according to the political variables.)[3] In order to achieve their goal: success and power.[4] Hence this Right raised the bar of its animosity towards the USA and the new political order, such as economic neo-liberalism and globalization, and establishing relations with those they consider as enemies of this political order. For example, Jean Marie le Pen is the ally of the Lebanese far-right Phalange party since the mid-seventies, and on his visit to Beirut in 2002, he tried to no avail to meet with Ayatullah Fadlallah, who has close relations with Hezbollah. This redefinition of the enemy is what explains the rapprochement between Hizbollah and the Syrian regime, which started in a shy way in the nineties to become more solid and entrenched in the last ten years.

The new far right: “left wing in its work, right wing in its values”!?…

European delegation in support of Assad, containing members of the extreme right, Zenit, Casa Pound, Stato e Potenza, Fascisti del III Milennio,  Partito dei Comunisti Italiani. When Black and Red go to Bed together.

European delegation in support of Assad, containing members of the extreme right, Zenit, Casa Pound, Stato e Potenza, Fascisti del III Milennio, Partito dei Comunisti Italiani. When Black and Red go to Bed together.

The transformation undergone by the Right because of the redefinition of the enemy on one hand and reprioritization on the other, has led to adopting and overtaking some of the leftist ideas in order to empower this new intellectual orientation. For example, we see that the campaign of Marine le Pen in the French presidential elections of 2012 was based on social and economic issues, to the extent that it almost failed to mention some of the favourite topics of the far-right such as banning migrants. The far-right’s adoption of some of the leftist and Marxist rhetoric is not new; this was clear since the birth of fascism as Mussolini used to address the proletariat and fascists alike with his radical, nationalistic, anti-capitalist speeches. Of course, this was to a great extent a selective and manipulative manoeuvre, because the enemy was foreign capitalism and not the national one, and some of the aims of these speeches were the conciliation between the work force and the nationalistic business owners. [5]

In this context, the reliance of the new right on leftist ideas is nothing but that populist national communism, in other words, a return to the classical Fascist speech like in the twenties, and in one of the most important European capitalist crisis at the time. This return is apparent in the National Front’s adoption of the slogan “No Right and no Left” in a clear reiteration of the saying of the founder of the fascist Spanish Phalange Party (Falange Española de las JONS), Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera), that his movement was neither of the right nor the left.

National Front event, all together now! Zenith, December 2006: A. Soral, JM Dubois, B. Gollnish, D. Joly, Jany Le Pen, F. Chatillon, G. Mahé, Dieudonné and others...

National Front event, all together now! Zenith, December 2006: A. Soral, JM Dubois, B. Gollnish, D. Joly, Jany Le Pen, F. Chatillon, G. Mahé, Dieudonné and others…

However the current rhetoric and orientation of this Right differs from its 80 year old predecessor in many details. This right does not stop at adopting leftist slogans and headings, it also partially takes from its ideology to add it to its heritage.  We see Marine le Pen in her book “For France to live” (Pour que vive la France)[6], relying on sayings by many thinkers, politicians, writers and others from the Left, from George Aurel, to Bertlot Brecht and even Karl Marx himself, praising the beginnings of this Left that she considers to have later on betrayed its principles, insisting that it is now the National Front that carries these objectives. Some far-right thinkers such as Alain Soral have even gone a step further, rather than repudiating the left and the right, they try to bring them together. Soral, the ex member of the French communist party and then the National Front looks at the union of the ethical right with the economic social left against the unethical left that compliments the economic right. In form, on his online political group Egalite et Reconciliation, Soral puts together the photos of Che Guevara, Gaddafi, Mahmood Ahmadi Najad, Vladimir Putin and the far-right French icon Jeanne d’Arc. Alain Soral attacks the global political system represented by the USA and Israel and talks about social justice, and the exploitation of the social classes. He denounces imperialism and demands a real left.

In context, he does not suggest anything new apart from the reconciliation between workers and business owners, with full emphasis on the conservative principles and values which lead to the salvation of the French nation.

ayoub 3

Soral might seem like an entertainer mixing economy theology and the conspiracy theory, but his page attracts many visitors and followers, especially youth. The ideas people like Soral promote are translated in the streets, such as members from the Third Way brandishing pictures of personalities and flags as mentioned above. That could sometimes be understood as a communication and coalition between the right and some extreme nationalist left movements, such as the Polish fascist organization (Falanga) which is establishing connections with the Mauis and nationalist Bolsheviks.

 

The extreme right Italian movement Casa Pound mixes Right, Left and Nationalism all in this poster, Fatherland, Socialism or Death. Honour to Hugo Chavez

The extreme right Italian movement Casa Pound mixes Right, Left and Nationalism all in this poster, Fatherland, Socialism or Death. Honour to Hugo Chavez

This ideological change, even if directed solely at the national internal interest of these parties, carries in its folds the support of this right for the Syrian regime. Theorists such as Soral, consider Bashar Al-Assad to be one of the characters standing in the face of the global system. Moreover, the Syrian regime is the example, even if not ideal, for their slogan, “left wing in terms of work, Right wing in terms of values”. Emphasising that this system is not applicable in Europe rather suitable for “the political idiosyncrasies of the Middle East, where it is important to have a strong leader to control the ethnic sectarian cohesion with a firm hand, and that is usually acceptable by all clans… As was the case in the past [in Europe]”

The limits of the hatred of the far-right for the “Foreigner”

In addition to the excuse of the “pressing foreign danger”, the far-right parties also need and internal enemy that can be a factor in the demise of the mass, and that prevents the achievement of a more comprehensive and stronger society. [7] Among the internal enemies of this Right is the “foreigner”, and in Europe the two main “foreigners” in the eyes of the far-right are the Jews and recently the Muslims. However the anti-Semitism of this Right does not always translate into animosity towards Israel. In the era of the cold war, most of the far-right considered Israel as the fortress of the west in the face of the Soviet Union. However this rapprochement was always hindered by the position of the far-right with regards to the holocaust. With the end of the cold war, and the redefining of the enemy, Israel moved from the impervious fortress in the face of the communist danger to the strongest ally of the new American enemy. This development was accompanied by a change in the perception of some of this right and their rapprochement to some of the European groups, in a step some researchers attribute to the appearance of a new danger for this Right in Europe, namely the Muslims.

This comparison remains somehow simplistic, for Islamophobia can represent an incentive for this rapprochement, however it does not explain the radical change in the perception of the far-right towards the foreigner. A few decade ago, we find that some of the prominent faces of the far-right were either Jewish or of Jewish origins, one of the most eminent examples is the vice-president of the National Front and life partner of Marine Le Pen, Louis Aliot, who has Jewish Algerian roots. Moreover, in the French parliamentary elections of 2012, the national front nominated the Jewish Michel Toris for one of the seats in Paris. Also, Far-right Jewish organizations such as the Jewish Defence League, were always close to the far-right, first to the (Bloc identitaire) then to the National Front. If we go back in time to the early nineteen twenties, we find that Mussolini’s fascist party included many Jews.[8] Hence we see that the far-right antagonizes the “foreigner” who tries to hold on to his idiosyncrasies and characteristics, while accepting the “foreigner” who adopts the values and principles of this Right – or in other words, who fuses nationally, according to the fascist expressions – then this foreigner becomes a part of that right, in that case he can assume leading positions such as Serge Ayoub who is from Lebanese origins. Therefore it will be no surprise to find Muslims among the electoral list of some of the far-right parties in Europe, and that’s in the near future.

This is with regards of the internal foreigner so what about the external one? From the unstable relationship between the Far-right and the Jews and Israel, and despite the recent antagonism with Israel, some of this right such as the National Front is trying to restore what was severed for internal electoral reasons. In this context, Marine Le Pen has declared to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in 2011 that “The National Front was a constant supporter of the Zionist movement and a constant defender of Israel’s right to exist.”

However, we would be mistaken to think of this speech just as an electoral campaign, it has to be considered carefully and seriously. Defending Israel’s right to exist does not necessarily mean supporting it, the support is for the Zionist movement, i.e. for another far-right nationalist ideology, that decided to create an entity outside the European Nationalistic movements. The far-right parties while denying foreigners the right to be within its national and geographical borders, do not deny it the right to exist within its own geographical borders, as long as it does not clash with its own sphere. This explains the cooperation and communication between the far-right parties internationally.

Hezbollah, what a group salute that is!

Hezbollah, what a group salute that is!

This clarifies the original seeming paradox. There is no contradiction in the support of the Far-right for the Syrian regime, and their animosity towards the Syrian refugees in their countries even if they were pro-regime. Moreover, animosity towards Islam becomes a secondary reason to back Assad. We mustn’t forget that this Right supports, even boasts about fighting side to side with an Islamic party, Hizbollah, as declared by the organization “Black Tulip”. One can also see clearly the pivotal role of the far-right parties that are Assad’s regime’s allies, in forming and strengthening this relationship and what that entails. This explains the regular visits of this European right to Beirut to meet parties such as the Syrian National Social party. The role of this party in particular and its network with the European Far-right deserves deeper consideration, to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the topic.

Conclusion

This article has attempted to look at the Far-right in general, while in reality this right has various ideologies. This difference takes many forms according to the type and volume of these groups, from the bigger more pragmatic parties to the intellectual circles and the more radical paramilitary groups. Nonetheless, the general principles are the same, even if the difference in form seems radical, this remains particular and not essential. As we have seen in this article, any reading or analysis of the Right’s position has to take into consideration that the ideology that this right portrays is moving and constantly changing. One of the important tools for analysis and rapprochement is the basis that Paxton deduced such as to feel the crushing burden of a crisis that cannot be solved in a traditional way, priority of the group over the individual, considering the mass as victim and fearing for its demise. There is a need for a closer-knitted purer society, etc…

the Far Left sure looks like the Far Right, Good thing there is the hammer and sickle to remind us!

the Far Left sure looks like the Far Right, Good thing there is the hammer and sickle to remind us!

Hands off Syria, Love to Assad

Hands off Syria, Love to Assad

As for why does the far-right support the Syrian regime? The main reason is that the ideological crossing between the right and what it represents and what the Syrian regime represents has happened at this historical moment. For this Right, this represents one of the aspects of its advertising campaign with the enemy – the new symbol. This support also represents its difference from the other European political parties and movements, which he accuses of being a toy in the hand of this enemy. Although this Right knows that it is not possible to exploit this support internally, because of the bad reputation and violence of the Syrian regime, the development of events in Syria allows it to exploit European public opinion through sympathizing with the situation of the Christians in the east for example, or through the topic of European Jihadists in Syria. This matter requires further investigation to reveal the extent and ramification of these relations.

Most importantly, one of the main incentives behind these reasons is the inherent opportunism of the Far-right’s ideology that will not hesitate in taking whatever stance or doing whatever it takes to get even a little closer to power.

[1]                      Ariane Chebel d’Appolonia, L’Extrême droite en France. De Maurras à Le Pen, Bruxelles: Editions Complexe et PUF, 1987.

[2]                      Sylvain Crépon, La nouvelle extrême droite: Enquête sur les jeunes militants du front National, Paris: L’Harmattan, 2006.

[3]                      Local examples for this: the rapprochement of the National Social Syrian Party in Lebanon to the Marxist propositions in the sixties, after a failed coup on New Year’s Eve 1962.

[4]                      Robert Paxton, the Anatomy of Fascism, New York: Knopf, 2004.

[5]                      Paxton, 2004

[6]                      Marine Le Pen, Pour que vive la Farnce, Paris: Grancher, 2012

[7]                      Paxton, 2004

[8]                      Paxton, 2004

Translated by Laila Attar and Ubiydah Mobarak from Arabic ORIGINAL http://al-manshour.org/node/4904&usg=ALkJrhjqYVOhwg5JmixoJ5kn2QJQJfWlMA 

thanks to Johnny Pineiro

This is a transcript of a presentation given by Palestinian anarchist Budour Hassan on 17 November 2013 at a Teach in on Syria in New York organized by the MENA Solidarity Newtork US . There is a link to the video of the presentation below.

*******

In April of 2011 a famous megastar Egyptian blogger told Syrian revolutionaries that they needed to raise Palestinian flags during the demonstrations on Friday just to prove that they support the Palestinian resistance and to deny the narrative by the regime that the regime supports the Palestinian cause.

Now I asked myself then, do Syrians have to do that? Do Syrians have to raise the Palestinian flag just to prove that they support Palestine? Do Syrians have to show their nationalist credentials so the world supports their cause? And the answer was clear to me then: No, Syrians do not have to do that. Now a Syrian friend told me at the start of the uprising that we avoided raising Palestinian flags and talking about Palestine not because we don’t support the Palestinian cause, but because this cause was exploited by the regime to a degree that turned it into just a political tool, and we love Palestine so much that we don’t agree to turn the cause into a political tool, and this is why we avoided using it. And I think that Syrians do not have to do this, Syrians do not have to wave a Palestinian flag to prove that they support us. Because Palestine is not a flag. Definitely Palestine is much more than that.

Palestine is the refugees in Yarmouk camp who supported the revolution from the first day, who aided displaced Syrians and who participated in protests, documented the uprising, and helped as much as they could. The revolution is also the Palestinian refugees in al Raml refugee camp in Latakia who took a hard beating by the regime and had to deal with a heavy crackdown starting from July 2011. And the revolution lives not in the palaces of the regime, nor in the speeches of a resistance leader who thinks that just because he leads a resistance movement this gives him the right to speak in the name of Palestinians, and to kill innocent people in Syria not just in the name of resistance but also in the name of Palestine. So this is why I think that Syrians do not have to prove anything to anyone.

Secondly, even though if we suppose that the Syrian regime does in fact support the Palestinian resistance, does it mean that this allows the Syrian regime to control Syria, to prevent people from expressing their opinions, to kill and torture hundreds of thousands of Syrians just because they dare say no to more than 40 years of oppression, to more than 40 years of injustice? Of course not. Even if Bashar al Assad was the only person capable of liberating Palestine I would not support him, and I’m sure that many Palestinians would not do so either. Because our liberation cannot be established on the enslavement of another people, particularly when this enslavement is an enslavement of our sisters and brothers in Syria.

And in fact the truth is that the Syrian regime has never truly supported Palestine; for the Syrian regime, Palestine has always been a fig leaf and always been a political tool. And it started from the 1970s when the Syrian regime helped other militias in Lebanon to crack down on the refugees in Tel al-Zaatar. The siege and massacre in Tel al-Zaatar cannot be forgotten. And the massacres that the regime helped the Amal party in Lebanon commit in the 1980s also against refugees in Lebanon and against the PLO cannot be forgotten either. And the siege the regime is imposing in Yarmouk refugee camp, preventing people from getting medical aid or baby milk, preventing people from going in and out of the refugee camp, cannot be tolerated and cannot be just ignored, as many are doing unfortunately just because they think that this regime is for resistance, and that this regime is for the human rights of Palestinians.

Now the thing is that me as a Palestinian, I don’t need to say this for many people just to convince them about the justice of the Syrian cause. Because in my opinion it is very clear that this revolution was a revolution for freedom and dignity. But unfortunately for many of us here in Palestine, because there is a polarization among Palestinians, as is the case in many other Arab countries, about the Syrian regime, we had to say it over and over again and to try to convince our comrades — or our former comrades – that they need to stop supporting the Syrian regime, that all we hear about the Syrian regime’s support of resistance is nothing but propaganda.

Now unfortunately it didn’t really help. People mostly stick to their opinions regarding the regime. If we want to talk about what the reaction of Palestinians toward the Syrian revolution is, it varies. Unfortunately the left, mostly the mainstream left, supports the Assad regime. And here lies the irony, because one of the most supportive parties of the regime is called the Israeli Communist Party, and it supports the regime because, it says, “Well, this regime is against imperialism.” But at the same time these people had absolutely no problem in participating in protests alongside Zionists in Tel Aviv, liberal Zionists for instance. So how can you say that you support the Syrian regime because it is against imperialism and on the other hand participate in protests with Zionists?

And also there are others who say that we supported the Syrian Revolution when it was nonviolent, but then after it got violent we couldn’t support it anymore, and it was hijacked. So yes, the Syrian Revolution was indeed hijacked, and we know that there are many Salafis, many jihadists and many other groups, and many pro-America and pro-imperialist groups that tried to hijack the Syrian Revolution. But that does not by any means tarnish the Syrian Revolution, and it also doesn’t mean that just because a revolutionary movement was hijacked that we should stand on the sidelines and stop supporting it.

Of course there are still so many revolutionaries working on the ground, many of them are nonviolent, and there are even many nonsectarian armed brigades that we cannot ignore. If the revolution was hijacked we don’t just go and start blaming the people for it being hijacked. We actually do everything to side with the people in order to get the revolution back on the right track. And this is what many leftists couldn’t understand.

Now on the other side of the spectrum you have the right wingers and the Islamists who support the Syrian Revolution but not truly because they believe in the right of freedom and dignity, but because they think that it is a Sunni uprising against an Alawite regime. Now this is why it was for me very hard to participate in protests organized by Islamists in support of the Revolution, because for me, although of course there are religious movements inside the Revolution, it still a Revolution for freedom, equality, social justice and dignity. And this is why I cannot agree with the line of the Islamists here in Palestine who support the Revolution just because they see it as Sunni versus Alawite.

Now there is a small section among the Palestinian left that supports the Syrian Revolution that doesn’t lecture Syrians about what they have to do, and how they failed. And we managed to organize a few protests, in Haifa for instance, in Jeruslaem, and in other places in Palestine. Although they were small protests I think it meant a lot for us to show the Syrian people that yes there are people in Palestine who stand with you, and there are people who don’t buy into the regime propaganda.

I mean it says a lot that in Syria right now there is an intelligence branch, one of the most notorious intelligence branches in Syria, it’s called “Palestine.” That means that there are people being tortured, including Palestinans, by the way, that are being tortured in the name of Palestine, in the name of our country, in the name of our cause, because we believe it is a cause for freedom.

Now to those Palestinians and to those people who believe that the Syrian regime is truly supportive of Palestine, and who do not support the Revolution, who stand on the side and say “no, we don’t want to support the Revolution, or who remain neutral: I say you have a Palestine and I have my own.

Your Palestine is an intelligence branch in Damascus that kills and tortures people, while my Palestine is Khaled Bakrawi, the martyr from the Yarmouk refugee camp, who was arrested and tortured to death. Your Palestine is a speech by Bashar al-Assad, while my Palestine is the chants of Syrian freedom fighters in Hama. Your Palestine is just empty rhetoric, while my Palestine is people in Bustan al-Qasr raising the picture of Samer Assawi, the hunger-striking prisoner.

My Palestine is people from the north to the south chanting in solidarity with Gaza during the recent war on Gaza last year and saying “Oh Gaza, we are with you ‘til death.” They did it when they were bombarded by the Assad regime and they were shelled. My Palestine is that of the Syrian Revolutionary Youth in Damascus who raised a pamphlet in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Nakab and said “Prawer shall not pass!”

So Syrian revolutionaries, even when they face the most terrible cases of torture, of persecution, and of crackdown, they still remember their sisters and brothers in Palestine, they still chant in solidarity with them and do not forget about the prisoners.

So I think it is very important to remember that, and to remember the hundreds of thousands of Syrians and Palestinian prisoners who still languish in regime jails, for example Ali Shihabi, the communist Palestinian who has been detained in Syrian regime jails for almost a year, and Maher al-Jajeh also, another youth activist from Yarmouk refugee camp, who has been detained by the Syrian regime for more than a year and no one knows what is going on with his case now.

Also we will not forget the martyr Anas Amara, who was murdered simply because he was trying to get aid into Yarmouk refugee camp and trying to break the siege. And my Palestine is that also of Jihad Asad Muhammad, the Syrian journalist who even prior to the Syrian Revolution was always writing in solidarity with Palestine, and who like many others did not believe that this Palestine is Bashar al-Assad’s Palestine, but this is a cause that interests all Arabs.

So I just ask one last thing: I ask people who think that Bashar al-Assad supports Palestine or still believe his propaganda, just go over history a little bit, read more about what he and his father did to Palestine and to the Palestinian camps. And even if you are not convinced, don’t let this fact, don’t let political gains affect your support of the Syrian revolution. Because it is obviously not about geopolitics. We do not know whether if the revolution wins in Syria how will that affect the Palestinian cause. It might indeed damage us, I do not know. But I do not care on the other hand. Because my support of the Syrian Revolution is unconditional.

And I do believe that even though it is getting more and more complicated, and despite all the terrible groups that are trying to hijack the Syrian Revolution, especially the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, which we obviously oppose like so many Syrians, the same Syrians who started protest against the regime and are also protesting against the Islamic State, so I have faith in these people. I have faith in a woman like Souad Nofal, I have faith in those who are so resilient and steadfast in Damascus and in Daraa, birthplace of the Revolution, and in Aleppo and in Salamieh, the fantastic city that has been protesting since the first days of the uprising.

So I have faith in these people, that even though things are getting more and more complicated, that they can manage to keep the uprising going, and even if this means bad things for my cause I really do not care. What I care about is the freedom and dignity of my Syrian sisters and brothers, and to reject that my name or my country or my cause be used or coopted by the Syrian regime to kill and persecute my sisters and brothers in Syria.

Sryrian Children. Worth more than all the "pundits" put together. They should be seen AND heard.

Sryrian Children. Worth more than all the “pundits” put together. They should be seen AND heard.

Written by Mary Rizzo
For well over two and a half years, there has been a war in Syria. Some will call it a Civil War, and yet… these same people who call it a civil war (despite having been repeatedly corrected by fighters on the ground that it is an Intifada, an uprising and a revolution) are now finally taking to the  streets to chant, “No War – Hands off Syria” as if it is currently waiting for a war to start and are simply being targeted by the West for imperial expansionism. A variant on the theme, they shout, “Stop the War” and again, they don’t mean to in any way address the bombing that has destroyed most of Syria, they mean the air strikes that a very few Western leaders are threatening to do to a very limited amount of targets inside Syria. Why on earth would the Western leaders do something like this when for two and a half years they have not done anything more severe than “deplore” the use of barrel bombs and carpet bombing of residential areas? Because they had to in some way establish a point of no return and it randomly fell on the use of Chemical Weapons.

It is beyond all reasonable doubt that the Syrian regime (which had admitted they possessed these weapons and have the only means to have implemented their use on a massive scale this August, exposing 15,000 people, including the elderly, women and children, to lethal nerve gas while in their beds) used Sarin Gas against its own people. Many more details about its acquisition will come out in the future, but at the current moment, over 1,500 have succumbed to it immediately (including hundreds of infants and children) and thousands more who have been exposed have had to deal with its very dangerous effects. So, I would think that any human being would be against the use of this weapon, considering it to be an atrocity that should not be ignored or even in the slightest way defended.

But what has instead happened? After the international news agencies, refusing to support the revolution also due to the fear that the western public has of any change of regime in the Arab world and an allergy to revolutions in general, finally displayed a fragment of the visual evidence of people suffocating to their deaths, their bodies writhing in pain or struck by uncontrollable spasms, the solidarity world started to move. But how did it happen that instead of condemning the atrocity, they are rallying around the Syrian regime and demanding the contradictory “no war” and “stop the war”. It seems that the western solidarity industry (yes, that part where people make a living as “activists”) again has been working overtime to keep its overwhelmingly white, male, western and older pundits on their pedestals. From these pedestals, they lament of the terrible hypocrisy of the very West (where most of them thrive and are “alternative media stars”. (Hint: the Syrian people sure have very little use for them, if they even know who they are).

The Western activists who have not opened their mouths in support of the popular revolution that they have pretended to have supported for the Palestinians but when push comes to shove, even over 1,600 Palestinians murdered by the Assad regime and tens of thousands sent into further exile, have been silent and uncaring, are disgusted by the hypocrisy of their own leaders. This is the argument they use: The West didn’t come in and in any way strike those who were using chemical weapons against the Palestinians, so the West is comprised of freedom hating hypocrites.  And this position begs the question: does this mean that if the US and the West had acted in this way for Palestine, it would not have been intervention, but something else instead? And if it is something else, what would they classify it as? Could it be exactly what the Syrians who are besieged in many parts of Syria and subject to ethnic cleansing and massacres have been begging for?  This seemingly contradictory stance (intervention for Palestine is considered as “good”, intervention for Syria is considered as “evil”) is at the core of what I will call “the Waffle Syndrome”. Waffling on a position and changing it according to a specific point of view fuelled not by a revolutionary vision of liberation and freedom, but by an ideological position of “anti-west” activism and money to be made in a cause that has long ago entered into the discourse thanks to the hard work of many activists (in primis Palestinians and Arabs, with the support of some Westerners who run the gamut from pan-arabists to anarchists, Marxists and anti-imperialists).

If the sudden interest in the death of Syrians (which of course, if you follow the discourse of these pundits, will only start when NATO bombs the living daylights out of Syria, so the “humanitarian” thing to do is to wash “our dirty hands that have always been evil” of it and stay out now… in stark contrast with the calls to support the Intifada and Arabs that were part of the discourse until the Arab Spring actually happened!) is going to do anything for Arab-Western relations, it is going to heighten the distrust not only of the West, which never does what it says it will, or which uses the pain of other people as a means to get involved in international disputes, but it is going to bring the level of hatred for western ACTIVISTS who are showing now, like never before, that they have not got a grasp on even the very basic and core ideals of revolution or struggles to liberate oneself from an oppressor.

sarinWhen push comes to shove, when the most widely condemned atrocities are added to atrocities that started from shooting peaceful protesters and arbitrary arrest and torture of civilian political opposition and even of children, leading up to the absolute destruction of most of Syria where the majority live (leaving the minority who sustain the bombing of their own country by their own leader unscathed because it maintains their privilege- similar to the theory of “if you want an omelette, you have to break a few eggs” of imperialist memory) it is clear that the bulk of the activists stand by the perpetrator of the crimes and against the common people, the refugees and the unarmed. They are following the hasbara (Israeli propaganda that knows it is propaganda and a narrative) tricks used against the Palestinians, accusing them of using their homes and people as human shields for terrorists. It is a new version of hasbara, but applied to the Syrian people: claiming to be with the Syrian people but selectively ignoring any crimes against them except for the few that the Syrian regime and propaganda machine want them to be scandalised by, specifically if they are backed by flags with Islamic or Islamist slogans. The problem is not that Assad is bombing the Syrian country into oblivion and driving one quarter of its population into refugee status. The problem is that there are evil foreign agents who will impose their will on Syria. They are imperialists and Islamists, and in a three-card-shuffle, these two diametrically opposed entities are scratching one another’s back, as if they have the same goal and interests. As far as the Wafflers are concerned, they are the same, and they use the same reactionary rhetoric that the hasbarists use against the Palestinian struggle for liberation.

But what is worse than the lack of interest of the “activists” and their support of the regime “because the alternative is worse FOR THE SYRIANS”, if you follow their rhetoric? It is the hypocrisy they have regarding the very issue of intervention and the role of the international community.

They have not seemed to have ever taken the streets or set the internet on fire with their calls against intervention in Syria before. They seem to ignore that for years there has been foreign intervention in Syria, that Russian weapons and experts, troops from Iran and Hezbollah, have been waging the war already, fuelling it and at times even bringing their own soldiers home in flag draped boxes. Are they unaware that Russian intervention has also used the tool to advance their personal agenda and interests, the tool that every single one of us for years had believed was the “original sin”: the UN Veto of a resolution condemning an act of war or imposing a restriction on intervention. It seems that the arms embargo against the revolutionary Free Syrian Army has been in force while there has been no such restriction in arming the regime. If it is a civil war, it is indeed alimented with great gusto by the Russians by means of the unethical tool of their power to impose their will by means of a veto.  It is this waffling and hypocrisy that will deepen the gulf of “misunderstanding” between the people of the Arab world and the “caring” West, which is represented by impotent leaders or reactionary, counter-revolutionary activists who are expert navel-gazers.

PLEASE don't tell the Syrians things will get bad once they start getting bombed. They might think you are insane.

PLEASE don’t tell the Syrians things will get bad once they start getting bombed. They might think you are insane.

Because, when it comes down to it, the counter-revolutionaries are going to scream bloody murder when a protester in Berkeley gets pepper spray in her eyes by the cops and at the same time defend the ruler in a regime where rule of law and democracy has never been in force, there is some heavy-duty orientalism/superior thinking going on. Evidently, a single protester in the USA is worth more, or the belief that Americans deserve full rule of law and justice but Syrians just must persevere because they have to resist “Western Imperialism” is rife. And why is this idea so common? Because (as usual) the Western activists have a great deal of trouble accepting that maybe they don’t know better than “the other” what’s better for them. They impose their fears on them, their ideology is naturally “revolutionary” but it does nothing in the slightest to back the revolution, and in fact, uses the terminology that the reactionary right/hasbarists have been using against the Palestinians for decades. They say that they would really support the Syrians, but they “know” that the Islamists are worse than Assad. How do they know this? Because they watch Press TV (run by an Islamic Theocratic state that incidentally finances Assad’s regime because it is holding back the majority rule in Syria, which would likely be democratic or in the lack of that, Sunni dominated) and they read who I have been referring to for years as the “fat white male western pundits”.

For years, I have managed and run various sites for Arab freedom causes, and for years, I have placed at the top of those sites articles and commentary written by Arabs. I believe that if you are able to serve a cause, the first task is to listen, then if you can, amplify the voice of the oppressed. But, while the names I published and translated on my site were overwhelmingly Arab, the names getting the big circulation on the web and doing the well-paid speaking tours were non-Arab, many times they were actually Israelis (ostensibly speaking “for” the Palestinians), almost all the time they were male, the educated élite of punditry and most of them were at least a generation older than those who were marching in the streets for their own rights. It was a rare thing to see the actual protagonists saying, “this is what I think, this is what I want, this is what I want from you”.

All of that has changed so much recently. There is a vast range of articles written by Syrians about their situation, by Palestinians about their situation as “double refugees” and by Arabs around the world who want to express solidarity with those of their language/culture and often religious affiliation. More than that, any week of the year, you can see the posters from the marches INSIDE Syria. Yes. After two and a half years, they are still marching in their streets and expressing what they want. They are not props set up by anyone, they are not the pawns of someone else’s interests, they are THOSE WE ARE SUPPOSED TO LISTEN TO AND EXPRESS SOLIDARITY WITH. What are they saying? Are they begging for the world to ignore them and let them sort it out on their own? No. In fact they are saying what they have been saying since the beginning, “if you don’t help us, we will be killed”.

Can the message get any clearer?

Can the message get any clearer?

Are you prepared to understand what kind of help they have been begging for from the start? They have been first of all asking for protection from the bombs. That means that those who are in the streets in the West have ignored for two and a half years that an entire population has been bombed night and day and that hundreds of thousands of them have lost everything they had. How could the “No War” people have missed this? Oh, that’s right, they have been listening only to the well-paid, popular, fat, white, western guys who get money from Press TV or Al Manar to tell them what is happening in Syria. They don’t actually have to LISTEN to Syrians or watch their videos that they load with constancy despite the difficulties, because they WANT us to know and to do something. They have been asking for the lifting of the arms embargo against the Free Syrian Army, which they recognise as their liberation force. The first commander of the FSA said (two years ago) that if the FSA were armed adequately, they would finish the revolution in a matter of weeks with no direct foreign intervention. He also said that if this did not happen, there would be other forces around who would not wait to form militias and enter into Syria, without the same revolutionary goals, and definitely not with an interest in a Syria for all of its people, even those who currently support Assad.

I suppose the most ironic part of the waffling hypocritical “activism” world that woke up now to “stop a war” that they aren’t even sure exists or not, and if it does, what kind of war it is, is that they claim to be anti-Zionist, but when for the first time a true threat to the Zionist state has been uttered by the regime and some of its supporters (Iran and Hezbollah) as the Syrian regime Army Generals warned “in case of attacks on Syria, ‘Israel will burn’ and that if Syria weakens, ‘certain irresponsible groups’ will be formed that would endanger Israel,” they don’t seem to understand the actual regional dynamics – or else they really don’t want anything to threaten Israel, whose own “security” has always trumped Arab rights and Arab lives.

Now, here is the core of the hypocrisy. Evidently, a Syria that accepts the provocations of Israel without responding, that accepts for decades the occupation of Syrian soil and helps to actually displace once again more Palestinians and to engage in a “scorched earth” policy with regard to what is supposed to be a threat to Israel (Syria itself), is considered as “resistant”. It is considered as an idea that is beyond the pale to bring Israel into any kind of conflict, and if there is such a thing, it can only be considered “irresponsible”. Israel has got to be left alone, not even a slap on the wrist, the Syrian regime is the one that sees to their protection, they are their border guardian not only throughout the decades, but more than ever now that Syria might actually lose Assad as its leader.

The expansion of the conflict is not what anyone wants, and in fact, Assad has seen to it to be the exact party not only to maintain the Israeli status quo, but to also keep any kind of anti-west or anti-pluralism elements at arm’s reach. If nothing else, this statement alone shows the fundamental flaw of the reasoning of at least a portion of the “solidarity activists against the war”. Now, not only will they be used to enhance the totalitarian, Arab-hating and Islamophobic forces in the area, but they will be given the legitimacy that they don’t get from their own people. Once again, Imperialism Wins! The Westerners know BETTER! And there is an important lesson to be learned, and repeated by any kind of “oriental despot”: massacre your own people in their sleep and the “solidarity” champions will make a hero of you.

 

In honor of the sixty-third anniversary of Israel’s independence from the proprietors of the land on which it was established, the Israeli embassy in Panama is issuing a four-part magazine series entitled “Israel: 63 years of constant progress”. The first 30-page installment arrived last week with the morning La Prensa and dealt with typical cultural themes such as hummus, shawarma, and the coexistence in the Israeli democratic “oasis” of various ethnicities enjoying equal rights. Cultural trivia items included that “Israelis drink 3.5 cups of coffee per day”, “A cup of coffee costs 4 dollars on average”, and “Because they are adventurous, Israelis love extreme sports”.

Higher-caliber trivia—such as the success of an Israeli invention for an electric hair removal device, which according to Israel’s Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs “makes women happy all over the world” and should thus be used in order to counter “barbs of criticism” levied against Jewish state on account of its barbarous policies—was not on this occasion made available to Panamanians. Nor was it explained whether the multiethnic democracy’s Afghan Jewish inhabitants, represented by a photograph of women in blue burqas, had access to alternate ensembles for use during skydiving and other extreme activities, or how vast portions of the Israeli population living below the poverty line can spend 14 dollars a day on coffee.

The theme of the second supplement in the anniversary series, which arrived yesterday, is Israeli-Panamanian relations. The magazine cover features a handshake, with one hand patterned after the Israeli flag and the other after the Panamanian one. Lest there remain any doubt as to economic motives for political obsequiousness to Israel, this installment—like the first—is transparently interspersed with full-page advertisements from Panamanian banks and related institutions congratulating Israel on 63 years of independence. Also interspersed, however, is the detail that the “land of Israel” was in 1947 “also known as Palestine”.

On page 15 of the magazine it is announced that “Panama played an important role in the processes that led to the creation of the state of Israel”, thanks especially to a certain Eduardo Morgan Alvarez who “understood the injustices that the Jews had suffered” and who was appointed by Panamanian President Enrique A. Jimenez to represent the country before the U.N. Palestine Commission. According to the magazine, Morgan’s most important achievement “was to persuade smaller countries, primarily in Latin America, to support the U.N. [partition] resolution”.

Regarding Israeli acquisition of an air force, meanwhile, consider the following paragraph:

The first planes arrived to [Israel] by way of clandestine operations, due to the arms embargo by the West. One such operation involved transferring 13 planes from the U.S. to Panama, registering them under the name of Líneas Aéreas de Panama, LAPSA, a company that was created precisely for this purpose. The first plane arrived to Israel on June 21, 1948.”

Other bright spots in the history of Israeli-Panamanian relations appear on page 17, where we learn that current Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli’s March 2010 visit to Israel and signing of five accords prompted the Israelis to “issue a page of postage stamps in his honor”.

As for the report that bilateral trade between Israel and Panama increased 35 percent last year and that “Panama is one of Israel’s best trading partners in Latin America”, the sanctity of the arrangement is not without constraints—something confirmed by recently WikiLeaked cables indicating that Martinelli bowed to U.S. embassy pressure to cease providing contracts to the Israeli security firm Global CST. Run by former Head of the Operations Directorate of the IDF Israel Ziv, the firm’s regional accomplishments include employing an Argentine-born Israeli interpreter who endeavored to sell classified Colombian military documents to the FARC.

Of course, such trivia is irrelevant to Israel’s sixty-third anniversary of promoting conflict at home and abroad. Far more important is the recognition that “Israelis understand and appreciate good coffee, and they drink it the same way the Europeans do”, and that “Israel has the most divers per capita in the world, who enjoy world-renowned diving spots”.

http://pulsemedia.org/2011/05/11/panama’s-underappreciated-role-in-the-creation-of-israel/

UPDATE: THE JOB IS NOT OVER! THE SITE WITH THE SPECIFIC INCITEMENT HAS BEEN CLOSED (WHICH WE HAVE ON ARCHIVES) BUT A SITE WITH A DIFFERENT URL IS STILL THREATENING! DON’T STOP WRITING LETTERS OF COMPLAINT TO HAVE HIM SENTENCED! http://wewritewhatwelike.com/2011/04/18/re-arrigoni-execution-write-to-italian-foreign-office-to-close-kaplan-site-scrivete-alla-farnesina/ TAKE ACTION!!

By Luca Galassi, translated by Mary Rizzo

Lee KaplanLee Kaplan, its author, is being investigated by Interpol

The site of the Jewish fundamentalist Lee Kaplan has been closed. “Stop the ISM”, a site financed by the well-known American David Horowitz, urged on for people to provide information so that the pacifist Vittorio Arrigono could be localised and then eliminated by the Israeli military. For now, awaiting that the Interpol investigations run their course, the ferocity of the words of Kaplan have brought about a rightful elimination as the price to pay. We raised the question in this article (in English here with the archived copy of the original threat to Vittorio and the other activists), highlighting the very serious echo that the words of Kaplan would have had and reconstructing the links of the self-styled “journalist and political analyst” with the Jewish Lobby of the extreme Right.
The Italian embassy at Tel Aviv and the Italian Foreign Ministry, contacted repeatedly by us on the matter have evidently alerted the competent authorities to address this case that regarded our fellow Italian citizen. And, for once, our denouncement was not ignored. 

http://it.peacereporter.net/articolo/13782/Chiuso+il+sito+che+incitava+a+uccidere+il+pacifista+Arrigoni

Carlos Latuff's homage to Vittorio Arrigoni

Written by Pasquale Navarra for Forum Palestina (translated by Mary Rizzo)

The causes and the dynamics of the kidnapping and assassination of Vittorio Arrigoni, activist and correspondent of the International Solidarity Movement with Palestine in Gaza, are at the moment being reconstructed. Some information and evaluations can nevertheless be given even now.

Vittorio was about to return to Italy so that he could collaborate with the Freedom Flotilla mission which in May was planning on breaking the siege against the Palestinians of Gaza, a siege that Vittorio had systematically denounced and for years had been documenting.

Vittorio was found already dead when the Palestinian police, helped by the local population, was able to find the place where he had been held hostage. The 30 hour ultimatum was nothing more than a pretext. The kidnappers were very young, including at least one who was a Jordanian citizen (and not Palestinian).

The group that had kidnapped and killed Vittorio belongs to that galaxy of Salafi Islamic groups, very different from the current of Political Islam that the Hamas movement, which governs the Gaza Strip, has as its point of reference. These groups are much more active against the other corrupt Islamic currents and the Arab regimes – accused of apostasy – than they are against the Israeli occupation of Palestine or the USA presence in the Middle East.

Some of these groups belong to the network of Political Islam that has as its reference, is financed and armed by Saudi Arabia. Some of these groups have already provoked clashes and very serious problems in the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon.

In these weeks in which the alliances of the Middle East are brusquely shuffled around by the people’s revolts and the tensions that are present in the entire region, the Saudi monarchy has established an alliance with Israel to mark the common enemy represented by Iran and its influence in the Gulf region and the Middle East. This alliance has been strengthened by a recent summit in Moscow in which present were both Netanyahu and the Saudi secret services leaders.

In these weeks the Israel authorities have initiated an intimidation campaign against the activists and the international solidarity campaigns with Palestine, in particular against the Freedom Flotilla which will leave in May, headed towards Gaza and the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel. The Israeli authorities have asked the governments of the countries which will have ships leaving from their shores or in which the BDS campaigns are strong to intervene against the activists. The Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi has already accepted the request from the Israeli government. The Israeli secret services have been activated to use any means necessary to keep the international activists far from Gaza and from Palestine.

We do not have all the evidence, but we consider that the kidnapping and assassination of Vittorio possibly fits into the dirty work carried out by the Islamic groups tied to the Saudi Arabian network that today is allied with Israel. The message to the international activists is loud, clear and disconcerting: “Stay far away from Gaza, stay far away from Palestine”, “No internationalisation on the Palestinian question will be tolerated by the authorities of Tel Aviv and its allies”.

We would like to send a loud and clear message to all those who in Israel or in the Arab world, in Europe or the United States intend upon tightening the noose of isolation and liquidation around the right of self-determination of the Palestinians. We owe it to this population that has been fighting for its freedom for over sixty years and now we also owe it to Vittorio.

Il Forum Palestina

Dershowitz

While some friends of the Jewish state are preoccupied with the possibility of a sushi shortage in Israel thanks to the disaster in Japan, Harvard’s crazed law professor Alan M. Dershowitz has more important things on his mind.

His most recent dispatch, entitled “Israel Now Has The Right To Attack Iran’s Nuclear Reactors,” begins with the assertion that “Iran’s recent attempt to ship arms to Hamas in Gaza is an act of war committed by the Iranian government against the Israeli government.”

As we well know, it is not necessary for Harvard law professors to specify that Israel has merely alleged that Iran attempted to ship arms to Hamas, or that the credibility of Israeli arms allegations has been called into question by the fact that the photographs published by the Israeli Foreign Ministry of the “weapons cache” found on board the Mavi Marmara last year ended up consisting of items like a metal pail and marbles.

It is meanwhile unclear why Dershowitz has chosen to include the word “Now” in his title, given that he immediately announces: “Nor is this the first act of war that would justify a military response by Israel under international law.” Other acts are said to include the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992: “That bombing, which was carried out by Iranian agents, constituted a direct armed attack on the state of Israel, since its embassy is part of its sovereign territory.”

Persons required to adhere to truth and logic, such as investigative historian and journalist Gareth Porter, have noted that in 1992 the Iranians clearly viewed with optimism the prospect of the resumption of transfer of nuclear technology from Argentina to Iran—thus removing the presumed motive for the attack. This suggests that the bombing may have instead been orchestrated by groups opposed to the Iranian acquisition of such technology.

Absolved of reason, Dershowitz spews on:

Two other recent events enhance Israel’s right use military means to prevent Iran from continuing to arm Israel’s enemies. The recent disaster in Japan has shown the world the extraordinary dangers posed by nuclear radiation. If anybody ever doubted the power of a dirty bomb to devastate a nation, both physically and psychologically, those doubts have been eliminated by what is now going on in Japan. If Iran were to develop nuclear weapons, the next ship destined to Gaza might contain a nuclear dirty bomb and Israel might not intercept that one. A dirty bomb detonated in tiny Israel would cause incalculable damage to civilian life.

Moreover, the recent killings in Itamar of a family including three children, demonstrate how weapons are used by Israel’s enemies against civilians in violation of the laws of war. Even babies are targeted by those armed by Iran.”

First of all, if anybody ever doubted the power of a dirty bomb to devastate a nation, both physically and psychologically, their doubts would most probably have been dispelled by events in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 rather than current radiation leaks from nuclear power plants. Second of all, it would seem that civilian life currently suffers a greater threat of incalculable damage not from a hypothetical Iranian dirty bomb but rather from Israel’s sizable nuclear arsenal—not mentioned by Dershowitz—which exists in violation of the very same Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that is invoked as an excuse for attacking Iran. Lastly, the fact that Israel slaughtered 300 children in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09 indicates that those armed by the U.S. rather than by Iran are exceedingly capable of targeting babies.

After stressing the right of Israel to prevent its citizens from being murdered, our law guru concludes the following:

This is not to say that Israel should attack Iran’s nuclear reactors now. That it has the right to do so does not mean that it should not wait for a more opportune time. The law of war does not require an immediate military response to an armed attack. The nation attacked can postpone its counterattack without waiving its right.”

That the Palestinians do not enjoy the same right of response to military attack is obvious. A note to the Chinese, however: Remember that time NATO accidentally bombed your embassy in Belgrade? You can still retaliate!

And as for the United Nations, if you ever feel like attacking Israel, just invoke the 1996 bombing of your compound in Qana, or the 2006 bombing of your outpost in Khiam.

Israel meanwhile suffers fallout from Japanese disaster

Making rounds over the past few days is an item from the Business section of Israel’s Ynet news site, entitled “Israel fears sushi shortage after quake”. The article begins by noting that, while Japan “has yet to recover from one of the greatest disasters in its history, Israelis fear a shortage in the ingredients of one of their favorite dishes: Sushi”.

In case readers are still unclear as to the identity of the real victims of the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear radiation crisis, the second paragraph of the article underscores the frightening dilemma presently facing humanity:

Many of sushi’s basic components come from Japan or are imported through the battered countries. Will Israelis soon suffer from a shortage of the beloved rolls’ necessary ingredients?”

That all is not lost is confirmed by the article’s subheading, however: “Rice shortage not expected”.

Sane observers appear to be confused as to whether the piece was intended for publication in The Onion, where it would certainly thrive thanks in large part to the article’s protagonist Dudi Afriat, sales manager of the Rakuto Kasei company that imports Kikkoman soy sauce and other sushi paraphernalia to Israel.

Among Afriat’s contributions are pronouncements about the role of Kikkoman in Israeli society:

Israeli chefs feel very connected to this product. After the tsunami I received phone calls from hysterical people fearing a shortage of Kikkoman.”

One thing The Onion editors might have done differently is to make Afriat less of a passive observer. His remark that damage to a Kikkoman factory in Japan has caused “delays in the supply” and fueled shortage fears, for example, might have been jazzed up with a suggestion that the Japanese technicians currently working round-the-clock and risking death to defuse the radiation crisis instead divide their time and energy between the Fukushima nuclear power plant and the Kikkoman factory.

Israel’s tendency to cast itself as uniquely entitled to victimhood is nothing new, of course, although it usually occurs at the expense of Arab and Muslim populations rather than Japanese. Given that the Israeli definition of victim extends even to IDF commandos who kill humanitarian activists in international waters, it is safe to assume that—if something even remotely as devastating as what has befallen Japan were to occur in Israel proper—the Israelis would not take kindly to articles in widely-read media outlets about fears of a decrease in production of Bamba snacks or the award-winning kosher pigs-in-a-blanket.

http://pulsemedia.org/2011/03/18/world-fears-shortage-of-kosher-hotdogs-in-event-of-nuclear-strike-on-israel/

Cameron likes private Israeli security orgs

‘With me you have a prime minister whose belief in Israel is indestructible’, David Cameron assured over a thousand supporters of a private security organisation that polices the English Jewish communities.  While his commitment has long been common knowledge, his word choice underscores the need for concern.

When we say we ‘believe in’ something, we are making a personal value judgement.  Whether we ‘believe in’ God, or we ‘believe in’ drinking five litres of water a day, the phrase means that we think the concept is valid.  The British Prime Minister’s word choice points to a political phenomenon: Israel has never been a traditional state as much as it has been an ethos.  From the beginning, the Israeli project has been an ideology imposed at the expense of those whose only fault was to have been caught unawares on a coveted land. 

Indeed the whole of Cameron’s speech, which can be read here http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/46044/david-camerons-speech-cst, exudes a passion for a conceptual people under siege.  Cameron thus describes his belief in the Israeli project as ‘indestructible’—defensively and defiantly ‘indestructible’. 

The need for concern lies with his personal adulation dictating the terms of his political management.  Certainly, to guarantee equal rights for English people of all religious faiths is admirable.  But throughout his speech Cameron equates ‘Jewish’ with ‘Israeli’—as if all London Jews were pro-Israeli (they are not) and as if all Israelis were Jewish (they are not).   Such a stance discredits both demographics.  Likewise, his promise that he ‘will always be an advocate for the State of Israel’ denies the possibility of a conflict of interest with his sworn duty as Prime Minister to be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth: to be an advocate for the United Kingdom.

Equally as worrisome, though, is the Prime Minister’s characterisation of the recent upheavals in the Arab world.  Cameron notes that ‘this instability may seem a cause for concern for Israel’, but he then shrewdly reassures his audience.  This is a ‘precious moment of opportunity’, he says.  ‘We want to see Israel driving the process, which means seizing the initiative.  Doing so is absolutely vital’.

Vital to whom?  Is it vital to the Libyan people against whom Muammar and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi are using mercenary weapons outsourced from similar Israeli ‘security firms’?  No, not vital, but lethal to those seeking redress.

Cameron devotes a significant portion of his speech to discussing the Arab uprisings as an ‘opportunity’ for Israel and its Western patrons to remake the region to better suit themselves.  This myopic exploitation typifies the pattern of defining all matters and all peoples of the Greater Middle East in terms of the Western-Israeli Alliance. 

A spirit of entitlement and superiority has for many long and bloody years pervaded Western foreign policies.  Many of those who have been suffocated by such attitudes have at last realised that they deserve to decide for themselves their own business.

A state is a dynamic entity.  No state comprises people of identical values.  Its success lies in achieving a balance in the cultural expression of those values.   But this balance cannot be imposed.  It can be determined only by the people themselves. 

The Arab peoples have had enough of the condescending advisories from those who have their strategic eye on Aladdin’s cave.  The Arab peoples do not need the dubious money-maker George Soros to sort out on the BBC the Arabs’ handling of their own natural resources.  Nor do they need David Cameron’s vision of ‘stability and security for all.’  Because his vision is simply not for all.  He said it himself: he will always be an advocate for the State of Israel. 

The seemingly contagious quests for Arab autonomy throughout the region have been propelled by people who want and need and demand a voice.  Their own voice.  The uprisings are neither pro-Westernism, nor anti-Westernism.  Rather, the uprisings are about self-respect.  The uprisings are resistance to imposed ideologies.  Let us be clear: the region is not for sale.

www.english.moqawama.org

Originally posted at http://english.moqawama.org/essaydetails.php?eid=13593&cid=269  

Photo from http://thecst.org.uk/blog/?p=2359   

It had been pointed out (thanks Wassy and Eva) that there was a banner on the top of the “newspaper pro-Palestinian activists in the West love”, Ha’aretz, for a “Palestinian State”. This banner was paid for by a group of Fanatics lead by Israeli MK Aryeh Eldad and the text of it, I found on this site,  http://israelifrontline.blogspot.com/ run by a woman who lived 40 years of her life in Canada and the USA, but now has “returned to Israel”. Check out this campaign entitled:

A Democratic Jordan is Palestine  (Jordan is Palestine)

What follows is the material the signatories spread if they have a site or mailing list, with my (mary rizzo) comments in RED.

Just because the flags are similar, they propose "unification" as Palestine

Please sign this petition from Knesset Minister Dr. Aryeh Eldad, and forward it to all your friends, urging Jordanian King Abdullah to declare Jordan as the new Palestinian State and Homeland.
The New ‘Road Map’ for Peace starts Now! No. No need for the actual citizens to have a voice in it! That’s the way every “Road Map for Peace” has always worked.

Larry Kosberg
—————————–
As you well know, we are encouraging people to sign this petition so we can declare Jordan the new Palestinian State. Because wishing makes it so! Please watch the video below (complete with trashy electronic pop) to learn more about the history of this region.  Read the declaration, and if you agree, please sign the petition. And in the meantime declare Disneyland a Nuclear Free Zone and why not The Moon as the next frontier? Lacking that, declare your next door neighbour’s garage as belonging to the guy across the street. Everyone will think it’s reasonable!

Israel is being pressured to create a Palestinian State.  In response, we want to pressure the international community and the UN to pressure King Abdullah II to turn Jordan into the Palestinian State. 80% of Jordanians are so-called “Palestinians”. We propose that the rest may join them. From Pressure to pressure, the pressure on “the rest” is not going to be a petition or a kind invitation. It takes other forms, ones that include guns, bombs, arrests, and the thing we call “willing population transfer”.

Now is the time to stand in support of the state of Israel and to create peace in this region by giving the Arabs a country of their own. Arabs there had a country of their own, a land of their own, a home of their own.  They will never again be able to say that they do not have a state. They actually were robbed of their homes, and during the process of post colonial state-making, were swindled out of their state, which is a crime that has not been rectified with the imposition of unlimited mass immigration of Jews into Israel and with the expulsion of the indigenous Palestinian population also into other Arab states.

Most importantly, after you have signed, please be sure to forward this message to your list to keep this trend going and to have a significant number of signatures.
Thank you very much,

Michelle Cohen (a so-called “Israeli” who lived 40 of her years in Canada and the USA).

Please click HERE to sign this petition. Not advised to even leave a snide remark… they will use your name and that is not what you want.  

The Government of Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu are under  pressure to accept and implement “the  two states solution”  which means a creation of  a Palestinian State in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Right now, they better grab it while the going is good. But they have never been able to understand what the implications of their Jewish State were in actual fact. It means obviously claiming in fact what the unstated annexation of the territory has allowed them to avoid…. less territory than the entirety. Now that the “demand” might happen, they change the cards on the table. So, to find a way to get all the land, “get the rest of the unwanted to join others” in population transfer, which is actually a word that means deportation, a crime against humanity, they make it look like a boon for Palestinians and an asset for peace. YES!  The old hasbara trick of commit an atrocity and paint it as humanitarian goodness! 

It was the late Prime Minister Rabin who wrote :”A Palestinian State can be created only on the ruins of the State of Israel”. We are concerned that the only political plan to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – is the plan that endangers the very existence of Israel.
 
 
 

Prof. Aryeh Eldad, M.D. (For a detailed biography on Prof. Eldad, please click here.) No, see below where I comment on his “illustrious” biography.

Jordan is Palestine (with deconstruction in red)

To His Majesty
The King of Jordan
King Abdullah the Second
&
The Government and Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Presented this Date, the 25th of May 2011
The 65th Independence Day of the Kingdom of Jordan
 
As the cries for democracy reach us from Tunis, Egypt, and all around the Arab world, we call upon the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to declare itself the democratic nation state of the Palestinian people. (And it frightens us to see the word democracy which is translated into human terms, numbers and people in flesh and blood asking to be counted. This goes against our ideals of what democracy means so let’s kill two birds with one stone: complain that Jordan is NOT a democracy because it is ruled by a King, and also present ourselves as a democratic entity because we don’t have a king. We are the Jewish state, we don’t need anything else that complicates this simple reasoning).
 
80% of the population of Jordan are disenfranchised Palestinians. (Let’s hope that no one remembers how they actually ended up there, it’s already bad enough we have to use the P word).  This declarative step (imposed by us, so you have to reject it, and then the real victory: ARABS ARE AGAIN REJECTIONIST OF A PEACEFUL SOLUTION)  would correct that injustice and provide the foundation for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace between the Jewish and Arab peoples. (Israel isn’t even stated yet in MY words, how clever am I? Now let me drop the bomb for my own people, after all, they are the only ones who will read this! Then I repeat it once we get that pesky Palestine out of the way.)
 
The late Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin wrote: “A Palestinian State can be created only on the ruins of the State of Israel”.
That needn’t be the case. That shouldn’t be the case. (How in the hell can I sell the idea of Eretz Yisrael unless I brand it in the figurehead the peaceniks love? How clever am I?!)
 
Let Jordan be democratic and free, and let the Palestinian people accept upon themselves the full mantle and responsibility of democratic statehood in Jordan – without the destruction or diminishment of the state of Israel and without the physical transfer of any population, neither Jew nor Arab. (Now, when I say without the physical transfer, I cover my bottom nicely, and I don’t even need to state that we officially take the land and make it Jewish! We keep on doing what we are doing now and if they are so masochistic they want to say, it’s their own damn doing! How clever am I? Now remember, what I said, those Arabs are the enemies within the Jewish state of Israel. Within a few years we would be able to resettle 2-3 million refugees in Jordan, this is my plan and I never hid it except now. I call it “willing population transfer”.)
 
We the undersigned, citizens of the world, representatives of hundreds of thousands around the world, (there, covered my bottom again because the signatories will not be even six million) ask the Government of Jordan and King Abdullah the Second, to proclaim the Hashemite Kingdom the democratic nation state of the Palestinians, and with this symbolic and declarative step, make a decisive contribution to Middle East and world peace. (Since he’s a KING, he can just do that! Monarchy is good for us right now, thanks G-d!)
 
We remind you of the brave words of your father: (who was a king, so WTF does this mean but deep Arabic bowing which will win his heart and make us look like we respect all of that rot).
  
“I wish democracy and peace to be my legacy to my people and the shield of generations to come.” - King Hussein I of Jordan

Aryeh Eldad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 

 

Aryeh Eldad
Arie Eldad.jpg
Date of birth 1 May 1950 (1950-05-01) (age 60)
Place of birth Tel Aviv, Israel
Knessets 16th, 17th, 18th
Party National Union
 

Prof. Aryeh Eldad, M.D. (Hebrew: אריה אלדד‎, born 1 May 1950) is an Israeli physician and politician, and a member of the Knesset for the National Union, within which he heads the Hatikva faction.

Biography

Eldad was born in Tel Aviv in 1950. He is married with five children. His father, Israel Eldad, was a well known Israeli public thinker and formerly one of the leaders of the underground group Lehi. (Underground is a polite word for TERRORIST. Lehi assassinated Folke Bernadotte, the UN attachè in the mandate.

The other major Jewish terrorist group, Lehi, was more extremist than the Irgun, claiming all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates as belonging to the Jews. When Jabotinsky declared a cease-fire in the fight against Britain and its mandate troops in Palestine during World War II, Stern broke with him and founded Lehi. Stern sought alliance with the Nazis, both because they shared an enemy in Britain and because Lehi shared Hitler’s totalitarian ideology. During the war Sternists openly celebrated Nazi victories on the battlefield.

 He is a resident of Kfar Adumim (he’s a settler in the most simplified sense of the term) and is a Brigadier-General (reserves) in the Israel Defense Forces. Self explanatory.

Medical career

Eldad is a professor and head of the plastic surgery and burns unit at the Hadassah Medical Center hospital in Jerusalem. He studied medicine at Tel Aviv University, where he earned his doctorate. He served as the chief medical officer and was the senior commander of the Israeli Defense Forces medical corps for 25 years, and reached a rank of Tat Aluf (Brigadier General). He is renowned worldwide for his treatment of burns and won the Evans Award from the American Burns Treatment Association.

Political career

Eldad was first elected to the Knesset on the National Union list in 2003, and chaired the Ethics Committee

Some of his ethics: He considers Israel as the “canary in the mines of radical Islam,” something his fellow Israelis would rather not think about. He is bringing courageous Dutch parliamentarian, Geert Wilders to show his controversial film “Fitna” (strife or chaos in Arabic) and legislators from Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the U.K. and America to formulate a declaration against Islamization among Western democracies. Eldad deems it to be crucially important for Israelis to become educated about the nuances of this existential threat that seeks to extinguish the Jewish state as well as other non-Muslim nations.

and how about these ethics:

Thus, the first step in the attack against Iran should be a pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah and Hamas. The timing of the war against Hezbollah should be coordinated with the plans against Iran.

Prior to the scheduled Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank in August 2005, Eldad was the only member of parliament to call for non-violent civil disobedience as a tactic in the struggle against the government. Eldad even walked the few hundred kilometres between the now evacuated community of Sa-Nur (in the northern West Bank) to Neve Dekalim in order to attract attention to the opposition of the Withdrawal plan.

In the February 2006 dismantlement of the Amona outpost Eldad was injured during the confrontation between demonstrators and police, as was his ally MK Effi Eitam. The event caused a storm of criticism on both sides, as interim Prime MinisterEhud Olmert accused them of inciting the crowd to attack the police, while they accused Olmert and the police of reckless use of force. But it achieved the enormous benefit of making the settlers into “the force to reckon with”. From the horse’s mouth: But a new standard of resistance was achieved. No government in Israel will take for granted that they can evacuate a settlement and destroy it. They know very well that the next time they try it; they may have to kill some of us first. They know that no government in Israel will survive such brutality. The fact that the government avoids any attempt to forcibly evacuate settler outposts after Amona is the direct result of that very traumatic day.

After being re-elected in 2006, in August 2007 Eldad established and headed a 10-member Homesh Knesset caucus met for the first time. The caucus’ mandate is to work to promote the re-establishment of Homesh – with the aim of eventually re-establishing all the settlements dismantled in 2005.

In November 2007 he announced the formation of a new secular right-wing party named Hatikva. Ultimately the party ran as a faction of the National Union in the 2009 elections, with Eldad in third place on the alliance’s list. He retained his seat as the Union won four mandates.

In 2008 he submitted a bill to the Knesset proposing that Hebron‘s Arab residents be removed “in order to protect the Jews of Hebron”.[1] but his suggestion came to no avail.

Eldad’s 2009 proposal that Palestinian Arabs be given Jordanian citizenship drew a formal protest from the Jordanian foreign minister.[2]

Political beliefs

Eldad is a Revisionist Zionist who believes in the ideas of Zionist philosopher Zeev Jabotinsky who wrote:

“If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison for the land, or find a benefactor who will maintain the garrison on your behalf. … Zionism is a colonizing adventure and, therefore, it stands or falls on the question of armed forces.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 45).

Eldad supports the right of Jews to live in any part of the Land of Israel and opposes any surrender of Israeli sovereignty to the PLO. “We have to understand that there is a price to pay if we want to be an independent Jewish State. It is still a lower price then what we will have to pay as Dhimmis living at the mercy of the Islamic terror” and what is that price? “There is only one answer to the challenge of the Jihad from Gaza: a military one.”

Eldad opposes the creation of any Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan River and called its possibility a “disaster”. The creation of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would lead, Eldad believes, to a Hamas-run center of terror within three days of Israeli transfer of the land. Furthermore, Eldad believes that the State of Israel will never have peace with the Arabs.

On his Zionism, Eldad stated that “I belong to this part of the Jewish people that believes the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel.” In a university lecture, he questioned, “how did we [the Jewish people] become so distorted as to say the Arabs have a right to our land?” On “occupation,” he posits that “the only occupation I know of is the Arab occupation of the Land of Israel in the seventh century… If I am an occupier in Hebron, I am an occupier in Tel Aviv…” The Balfour Declaration, the White Papers, the United Nations recognition of the State of Israel – all these, Eldad believes, are not the sources of the Jewish right to the Land of Israel, but “only recognition of our right.” Yes, an occupier. This is clear. If one is an occupier in Hebron, one is an occupier in Tel Aviv.

On his political goals, Eldad has stated: “When I wake up in the morning, I divide the day into two parts. In the first part of the day, I try to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. It is not a full-time job, so in the second part of the day, I try to prevent corruption.”

In March 2010, in response to David Miliband‘s statement that the Israeli cloning of British passports is “intolerable”, he commented: “I think the British are being hypocritical, and I do not wish to insult dogs here, since some dogs show true loyalty, [but] who gave the British the right to judge us on the war on terror?” Uhm, try the same guys who gave you that Declaration that you use as the recognition of your “right”. Let’s make a deal, they withhold judgement and you forget about the Balfour Declaration. Seems logical.

During Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s visit to Lebanon in October 2010, Eldad stated:

“History would have been different if in 1939 some Jewish soldier would have succeeded in taking Hitler out. If Ahmadinejad will be in the crosshairs of an IDF rifle when he comes to throw rocks at us, he must not return home alive.” (spoken like a true son of Lehi).

  

from PACBI -As Palestinian Students based in Gaza we are alarmed to see yet another group ‘Al Tariq’[1] presenting solutions for us Palestinians, as if two equal parties were locked in a stalemate. According to the group website “both sides” need to “learn from each other through reconciliation, forgiveness, and dialogue”. For us young people among the 1.5 million languishing in Gaza open-air prison, (800,000 children) the 4 year-long medieval blockade of land, air and sea and 2 years on from the most devastating of massacres that killed over 1400 of us and over 350 of our children, this is quite an insult.

We ask: can we forget the ongoing ethnic cleansing? How can we forget the brutal killing of 350 of our children and 1400 citizens, while more shootings of farmers and rock collectors continue along the border? How can we forget the ongoing medieval siege of the whole of the Gaza Strip which still deprives sick patients from treatment abroad and allows no concrete in for reconstruction?

The dialogue promoted is a diversion from addressing the wrongs and route to justice for a clearly racist and colonial subjugation of an entire people such as that imposed by Israel on us Palestinians languishing in besieged Gaza or in the Bantustans of the West Bank. Israeli oppression has traditionally followed the sequence of, ‘murder, steal and colonize first, then dialogue on our terms later’.

This applied to South African Apartheid, and the white Afrikaner regime and its allies and supporters steadily felt their hold was threatened only when civil resistance grew among South African blacks and the global Anti-Apartheid Movement. The right to resist illegal military occupation and racist domination is enshrined in international law, yet like us they branded the African National Congress as one of the more ‘notorious terrorist organisations’ – Nelson Mandela was on the US terror watch list until 2008.

Anti-Apartheid heroes Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Ronnie Kasrils have said that the situation here is worse than apartheid. So we ask again, would we have asked for White South African youth to discuss with Black youth under Apartheid telling them that, “the path that both parties walk only after they learn from each other through reconciliation, forgiveness, and dialogue?”

For South Africa, there was no discussion, there was no debate, the racist oppression had only one answer: BOYCOTT.

Acknowledging the one-way nature of the oppression, Al Tariq should introduce to Palestinian youth, Israeli groups that endorse the 2005 Boycott Divestment and Sanction call[2] by over 170 Palestinian civil society groups, such as Boycott! and Boycott from Within. Not as in one of al Tariq’s workshops, hearing from an Israeli youth leader who “gave the Palestinian participants the opportunity to see the Israeli liberation movement in another light and recognize the similarities between both nations in their struggle for freedom, security and peace.”

What kind of liberation movement required as a prerequisite the violent ethnic cleansing of 531 villages and 11 urban neighborhoods destroyed or emptied by force by the nascent Israeli army – all belonging to us Palestinians, the indigenous population. Over two thirds of us in Gaza are UN registered refugees, still expecting justice like any other human being would.

Dialogue groups such as Al Tariq are nothing but a cover for the status quo of Israeli domination – the illegal occupation, the forced exile of 6 million Palestinian refugees, systematic discrimination and an illegal blockade of Gaza, and the increasing number of discriminatory laws against the indigenous population of 1948. In fact, by maintaining the myth of parity between the sides, the lives of Palestinians become progressively worse due to the settler colonial nature of Israeli oppression with incremental land theft and continuous ethnic cleansing and genocide.

We say enough to equating the colonizer with the colonized, enough to the false parity between the “two sides” presented by this utterly false vision of the Middle East. We ask Al Tariq to continue the rising international isolation of Israel’s colonial enterprise instead of feeding the myth that the colonizer and colonized require dialogue, the likes of which has done nothing more than mask Israel’s increasing domination of Palestinian lives based on a racism at the core of their expansionist and apartheid policies. We call on the Palestinian participants in this project to withdraw immediately and act in accordance with Palestinian consensus by boycotting such projects of normalization.

Besieged Gaza, Palestine
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
University Teachers’ Association

[1] http://altariq.wordpress.com
[2] http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/52

 

Nomen omen

from PULSE - A few weeks ago, while I was in al-Arakhib after the 11th ethnic cleansing attempt (yesterday was the 15th), I was interviewed by the Israeli Channel 10 culture editor, about Vanessa Paradis’ cancellation of her performance in Israel. Only one of the sentences I uttered in the 15-minute interview was included in the segment, and the rest is somewhere on the Channel 10 editing floor. So in an act of preservation, I’d like to paraphrase a part of the interview:

Channel 10 culture editor: “OK, so Vanessa Paradis canceled, do you really think anybody cares?”

Myself: “You came all the way to al-Arakhib to ask me that, I think it’s pretty effective.”

Macy Gray Draws The Picket Line

Macy Gray’s initial words of condemnation showed her to be someone who understands, to an extent, that Israel is practicing apartheid. This created a situation in which the international community expected her to act in moral accordance with her words. We all worked very hard to help her understand the meaning of occupation and apartheid, but we failed. We also failed to show her why she has a responsibility, beyond her performance, towards the Palestinian people. Though Gray had tried to offer a plethora of unacceptable “solutions” that would allow her to continue the show, (like doing the show in combination with going to the West Bank, as she published on her official blog) we had failed in getting her to do the one thing she had to do: Not perform.

Though I repeat that we’ve failed, I’d like to make it clear that due to her actions, it’s clear that Gray actually has no real understanding of the situation and how her actions, as innocent as they may seem, are in fact lending her face to injustice. As if performing in the “White City” wasn’t enough, Gray had followed up with a list of things that not only don’t help, but they actually exasperate the situation. I feel it’s important to follow these actions, so that maybe other artists will be more informed in the future (not to mention us “little people” who guide them in the process).

I’ve written about Gray’s meeting with the Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles. It’s most crucial to understand the international artist’s role in whitewashing of Israel’s atrocities and creating an illusion of “business as usual.” The Israeli government has always made an effort to bring international artists to Israel. The artist’s name gives the state a sort of unofficial sponsorship- a vote of support- which is good for “the market”. The D in BDS is about divestiture from Israeli companies that profit from the occupation, or from Israeli institutions that enable, forward, or whitewash the occupation. One way to achieve this goal is to directly inform international companies where their money is going, another way is to erode Israel’s “sexy” image, by taking away its star-studded aura, which artists such as Madonna, Paul McCartney, Elton John, and now Macy Gray, provide.

It’s important to add that Gray’s meeting with the Consulate is direct cooperation with the government of Israel. She has already violated the boycott, before she even stepped on the “holy soil”. However, even this could have been rectified, had Gray came out with a public statement that her good name has been used for Israeli state propaganda. As expected, this “seemingly innocent” meeting has made good use of Gray, as the Consulate proudly plastered a picture of gray and Consul, Jacob Dayan, on the front page of its website, accompanied by a press release and a Facebook release.

Not recognizing the pattern, after a sour experience with the Israeli government, Gray came to Israel and met a currently undisclosed member of Knesset, in the Knesset building. Of course the violation of BDS is obvious, but she furthered the propaganda on her Twitter page with these following statements:

Seeds of Illusion

If that statement wasn’t enough to get Israel a few more business deals, then we can look into her meeting with “Seeds of Peace”. I wonder who set this meeting up, because as we’ve seen in the case of the Cape Town Opera, meeting with Palestinian organizations after performing in Israel isn’t an option. More so, when the organization is an Israeli-Palestinian organization that promotes an illusion of balance, and more so, when the organization is American (government and corporations) funded, such as the case of Seeds of Peace.

On the face of it, the organization is impressive. A mixed population of children, both Israeli and Palestinian (and other conflict regions, but allow me to focus), are taught “leadership and coexistence skills” within the context of the “conflict”. It’s very exiting to see a program which teaches kids things like economics and gender within the prism of politics. However, with the sterilized language on the website (no “occupation” to be found) and the program’s focus on trust building games between strangers that fake mutual trust in a sterilized environment, one must ask, how will these kids be able to be effective in the real world, when their education was based on a fictional balance between their situations? I highly doubt that an Ashkenazi Israeli young woman faces the same economic problems and obstacles that a Gazan young woman faces, for example.

Beyond the questionable content and context of Seeds of Peace, there’s the highly dubious list of funders:

USaid- A US federal government agency “[extending] assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms.” The question remains: Is this before, or after they give 3 billion dollars worth of military aid to Israel, on an annual basis? Before or after it brought democracy to Iraq? And this is what USaid, who’s busy donating to Gaza with one hand, is busy doing with its other hand:

The end of the year downturn [for the Israeli economy] was caused by a combination of factors. The violence in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza led to a steep drop in the number of foreign tourists. Construction and agriculture were hurt by the sudden loss of Palestinian workers, unable to travel to jobs in Israel because of closures imposed by the Israeli military. A drop in economic growth in the United States led to a lower level of exports. Finally, the steep drop on the stock exchange resulted in a decrease in the rate of new foreign investment in Israel.

How does USaid solve this?

THE USAID PROGRAM: The United States, acting through the USAID, will provide $720,000,000 in FY 2002 funds to Israel as a cash transfer. These funds will be used by Israel primarily for repayment of debt to the United States

Who would have ever thought masturbation can be profitable outside the porn industry…

ExxonMobil – I was once told by an ethical investing consultant that the biggest donators on the planet, are the most harmful corporations. Now this makes sense, if you just think about the sheer size of these corporations. This manipulation that these corporations practice is, of course, what allows them to continue destroying every green patch of this little earth (also metaphorically speaking). ExxonMobil, which I doubt needs an introduction, trades in fossil fuels and is ranked “sixth among corporations emitting airborne pollutants in the United States”. It’s responsible for catastrophic oil spills, endangering the wildlife and the funding of skepticism of global warming. In addition to environmental damage, ExxonMobil is neck-deep in human rights violations, from denying LGBT employees same-sex partner benefits, to it’s hand in oil-rich governments around the world, creating military unrest, leading to torture, murder and rape. Indeed, is this economics of politics taught to our precious seeds of peace?

Carlson Wagonlit Travel- CWT is a travel agency with branches all over the world. Its branch in Israel is run by the Israeli travel agency Ophir Tours, which exclusively provide travel services to the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI), which is sponsored by the Jewish National Fund, thus taking an active part in Judaizing Israel (“Aliya”), ethnically cleansing the Bedouin population from the south of Israel, and whitewashing Israel’s brutal past of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

Clean Like Pros – A cleaning company run by the Singer family. The Singers are active in the Jewish Federation of Ocean County, an offshoot of the Jewish Federations of North America, who’s top partner is the Jewish Agency.

Toll Brothers – A house building company who’s list of contributions could have melted my heart, had it not included that infamous excuse for idleness The Anti Defamation League.

The content and list of donors leaves very little room to speculate about Seeds of Peace using Palestinian youth (and other marginalized young people of color around the world, as well as in the United States) as tokens for a cynical game that furthers a capitalist, imperialist American agenda, which never doubts it’s commitment to its arm in the Middle East, Israel. Don’t believe me? Just check out the Seeds of Peace Advisory Board of Directors list:

T.H. George H. W. Bush

T.H. William Jefferson Clinton

Her Majesty Queen Noor

H.E. Shimon Peres

Dr. Sa’eb Erekat

(A word to Sa’eb Erekat: Who needs Al Jazeera leaks?!)

The Show Can’t Go On

Not only did Gray meet all the wrong people, she went on with her show and in it included a lavish donation of a motorcycle  to United Hatzalah, an Israeli emergency medical organization, which also receives motorcycles from non other than the most notorious settlement in all of the occupied territories, Hebron.

United Hatzallah funded by Hebron settlement. Ceremony held in the Cave of Patriarchs.

Panic in the Knesset

Without a doubt, the combination of Vanessa Paradis (and Johnny Depp along with her) canceling and the possibility that Macy Gray may cancel, as well, propelled the Knesset into action. You’d think that the “Boycott Prohibition” bill ( that will be passed tomorrow), criminalizing BDS criticism and activity in Israel, would be enough for the only democracy in the Middle East, but it seems that they just can’t get enough of the BDS jive [limited by my translation]:

I don’t know what our legal abilities are to act against these boycotts, but if we’re silent, we allow these things to happen… it’s very important that we raise our voice against this issue, especially when we’re talking about organizations that come from within Israel.

These are the words of Kadima’s MK Ronit Tirosh. In this same meeting, she also said [limited by my translation]:

The problem isn’t with specific organizations that boycott Israel and try to have impact, but about the use of different social networks in order to pressure the artists themselves on a personal level and even the people around them, like members of the band and roadies. We’ve asked the ministry of culture to take the issue of utilizing social networks from the Israeli side, too, in the face of the pressure they are exposed to, and an artist, who needs fans, has to recognize the extent of his hurt he causes his fans in the state, and maybe, as a result he’ll reweigh the cancellation.

Tirosh may not know the extent of her legal abilities to counter the BDS movement, but not for lack of trying. She’s just one of the MKs to be behind the “Boycott Prohibition” bill:

…a proposal to outlaw any nongovernmental organization that provides information to foreign or international bodies that leads to war crimes accusations against the government or the army.

The proposed legislation would apply to NGOs that provide information directly to accusers, or to NGOs that put information in the public domain that leads to such accusations… For the lawmaker behind the bill, Ronit Tirosh of Kadima, it is a necessary move to “end the rampage” by organizations that are trying to “subvert the state.”

Other MK’s also had some bright ideas [limited by my translation]:

Yisrael Beitenu MK, Alex Miller, head of the Culture and Education Committee, is planning to create a cross-ministry committee of the Foreign Affairs, Culture and Treasury ministries, who’s purpose will be to create an insurance policy to compensate (with my tax money) the Israeli producers, that bring the acts to Israel, who’s act bailed on them for “ideological motives”. He also added that he’ll join MK Tirosh in a law proposal to ensure this. He also called on the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Culture to build a joint strategy in dealing with the “delegitimization phenomenon of Israel in the culture world”. Lastly, he called on the producers to use the services of the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Culture, let them know about cancellations, so that consulate representatives can apply pressure on the artists.

Alon Barr, Director of Culture Ties of the Foreign Affairs Ministry:

…the boycott phenomenon is well known from the fields of commerce, academia, and international jurisdiction [prosecution] of IDF officers. “The way I deal with it is with an effort to propagate Israeli culture abroad and to encourage cooperation between Israeli artists and artists abroad. If we had more funds, we could do more.

Beit El settlement establisher, founder of Gush Emonim, responsible for doubling the Jewish population beyond the Green Line, National Union member, Arutz Sheva executive director, and Law of Boycott Prohibition initiator, Ya’akov Katz, in his capacity as a fair and balanced media man had this to say:

There are a few dictators of the Israeli media… that systematically stand behind organizations that boycott artists in Israel.

Shas MK, Nissim Zeev, had little to add, except the word “incitement”.

Of course, no Knesset conference, dealing with threats to Israel’s existence, would be complete without a member of the Re’ut Institute. In his capacity of “National Security team leader”, Eran ShayShon added:

..our job is to create a differentiation between legitimate criticism and delegitimization.

The BDS movement has come a long way. Thanks to Macy Gray all the crazies came out of the woodwork. While the “Boycott Prohibition” bill was proposed last summer, only tomorrow will it be passed. From a movement of the most impoverished and oppressed, that for 60 years couldn’t get the time of day from the media, Palestinians of the Occupied Territories are now changing Israeli legislation.