Archive for February, 2009

“If  good befalls you, it grieves them; but if some misfortune overtakes you, they rejoice at it. But if ye are constant and do right, not the least harm will their cunning do to you; for Allah Compasses round about all that they do” Surat A’ali Imran,  (the House of Imran), III, v. 119 

 

“I call on the Israeli army to crush these Palestinian terrorists who are at Iran’s beck and call; chase the rebels of Hamas, annihilate its lunatics and demented leaders who are disguised as men of faith, crush them and exterminate them and teach them a lesson which they will never forget just as you taught the terrorist Hizbullah a harsh lesson in 2006….So deliver Gaza from the grip of Hamas.  These Palestinians, wherever they go, they take with them terror, corruption, trouble l, tumult and ingratitude…..!”

 

These words were not written by Israeli propagandists or Zionist apologists seeking to justify the recent Israeli blitzkrieg in Gaza. They are actually the words of a Kuwaiti Arab columnist who has apparently sold his soul to the devil.

 

I say “sold his soul to the devil” because when a human being transforms himself into a willful liar in the service of evil, that person, knowingly or unknowingly, loses his morality and eventually loses his humanity as well.

 

I don’t know for sure what makes such people undergo such a diabolical metamorphosis. It could be mental weakness, or a certain psychological defect that they have failed to overcome, or even a mental dysfunction. However, treachery always goes hand in hand with moral depravity and lack of self-esteem.

 

Needless to say, a writer, or even a commoner, who gleefully rejoices over the extermination of children, as we saw recently in Gaza, has obviously banished himself from the realm of humanity.

 

Unfortunately, there is a number of so-called Arab writers who seem to have devoted themselves to besmirching and vilifying Hamas and other Arab resistance movements, as if the right thing to do were to succumb to Zionism, the Nazi-like movement that has been murdering Palestinians, destroying their homes, stealing their land and dispersing them to the four winds.

 

Indeed, instead of standing up for justice and identifying with the oppressed against the oppressor, as every noble human being should do, these wicked mercenaries have decided to curry favor with the Nazis of our time probably in the hope of receiving a certificate of good conduct or a citation of honor from Zionist entity. Or perhaps they hope that international Zionist circles might press award-granting bodies in the West to reward them for their treasonous behavior.

 

Well, they have. The Israeli Foreign Ministry has already prepared a list of “honor” of Zionized Arab writers who are doing a “marvelous job” on Israel’s behalf.

 

Just watch the Zionist media these days and see how often these lowly traitors are quoted by Zionist spinners and hasbara operatives.

 

This shows beyond doubt that these gullible little men have fully swallowed up the Zionist narrative, bait, hook, line and sinker.

 

I understand that many of these writers are shockingly ignorant of the facts. However, there are others who know the facts very well but lack the intellectual honesty and moral rectitude to stand up for the truth. It is the cheapness of character that makes them what they are, vile hypocrites swinging right and left depending on the instructions they receive from their paymasters and benefactors.

 

A few years ago, one of these so-called writers based in London was quoted heavily by much of the American and Israeli media when he claimed that “not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims.”

 

Well, I don’t know what was this so-called writer was smoking or drinking when he uttered this colossal mendacity, a canard that has more to do with mental diarrhea than with any genuine intellectual activity.

 

Didn’t that little man learn in school in Saudi Arabia that “defending one’s home, country and honor is a duty binding on all Muslims”?  Couldn’t he bring himself to understand that a foreign occupation is actually an act of rape, and that just as rape victims have every right to fight and resist their attackers, so do people languishing  under occupation have a similar right to resist their occupiers, oppressors and tormentors?  Did he forget that even in America, his real god, or more correctly the god of his god, they say “give me freedom or give me death.”

 

More to the point, couldn’t that weak-minded charlatan realize that the invasion, occupation and destruction of sovereign nations by the US, along with the murder of hundreds of thousands of people, represented and embodied terror in its ugliest forms? 

 

I understand that certain Arabs dislike Hamas because of ideological hostility. However, I never thought in my life that an Arab and Muslim bearing the name of Abdullah or Abdul Rahman would urge Israel to annihilate Palestinians and express the wish he was an Israeli soldier slaughtering Palestinian and Lebanese  children.

 

Well, moral depravity, it seems, has no limits.

 

I do know that the vast majority of Arabs are men and women of honor who stand soul and heart with their Palestinian brothers and sisters. This graceful solidarity manifested itself in the massive demonstrations which took place recently from Mauritania to Bahrain, mostly against the wishes of the tyrannical regimes.

 

In fact, it was this huge show of support and identification with our struggle that kept us going all these difficult days, facing and absorbing the genocidal onslaught by the Nazis of our time.

 

Some primitive Sheikhs in certain countries issued edicts against organizing demonstrations to protest Israeli atrocities in Gaza. They shamelessly argued that holding demonstrations constituted an imitation of non-Muslims and was therefore incompatible with the Islamic Sharia.

 

Well, what kind of Sharia are these ignoramuses talking about? Don’t they know that it was the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) and his companions who held the first demonstration in Islam in order to challenge the hegemony of the idolaters of Quraysh?

 

Moreover, if these pseudo-Ulema are really concerned about “Halal and Haram,” (virtue and vice), why don’t they speak up against the rampant promiscuities in their respective countries? Why don’t they speak up against the hundreds of pornographic and semi-pornographic TV stations which are owned and operated by decadent emirs who claim to be Muslim while doing the works of Satan?

 

Why don’t they speak up against their respective regimes’ disgraceful submission and subservience to Zionist-controlled America?

 

Is spreading moral permissiveness and pornography compatible with Islam? Is subservience to the US, Israel’s guardian-ally, compatible with the laws of the Sharia?

 

Answer me if you can, or just shut up, you hypocrites. You, your ignorance, stupidity and cowardice are a cancer upon the conscience of Islam and Muslims. 


But, thanks to God, we have many authentic, God-fearing Ulema, such as Sheikh Yosuf Qaradawi, who won’t flinch from standing on the side of the Umma and supporting the forces of resistance, without worrying about alienating the Tyrants.

 

It is such Ulema that we respect and salute. May they live to see the demise of Arab dictatorships.

 

In conclusion, I say we must isolate and expose these treacherous writers and mouthpieces of Zionism.  In fact, they are being exposed, not the least by Israel which enthusiastically publishes their silliness and trivialities.

 

Well, if Israel is your ultimate admirer, then you don’t need to tell us who you are. The tree is known by its fruit. 

A long time ago, I obtained a degree in Psychology. While I never pursued work in that field, and opted instead for areas giving me greater personal freedom and less risk of falling into an area where there was danger of me controlling other people, becoming a professional art restorer and professional translator and editor to make a living, I have never abandoned my interest in all psychological phenomena, particularly those of a mass nature that are more readily classified as having sociological implications. I did most of my research based on my interest in finding a theory that would “explain” the apparently contradictory urge for personal liberty (individualism) and the need for being part of a mass (the theorised Crowd Instinct) in a post-industrial world based on transportation and communication by the combination of what I considered the best out of two schools of thought, that of Elias Canetti, (Crowds and Power) and that of Guy Debord and the other Situationists. I never quite found what I was looking for, but very often, I saw the paradigms of their viewpoints on crowd dynamics, which were about the power of persuasion to people who often were convinced they were acting independently, illustrated perfectly in religious cults and political movements, two areas that continue to interest me.

 

When I was in University, there really weren’t many religious cults going around that I could identify clearly as such, but that energy (which Canetti and others describe as irresistible) would need to be directed someplace. Those were the days when New Age started to take a foothold in almost every place one could go. Being vegetarian, I guess I must have bumped into their world more often than most people do, as the practice of abstaining from meat is a frequent one in many New Age practices. My discount card at the vegetarian diner or food shop seemed to have put me on hundreds of mailing lists of all kinds. I resisted all the recruitment calls that were either blatant or veiled and I only took part in two events (a group hypnosis event, which I am still attempting to understand fully, and a drumming event, since I was a drummer and thought maybe I could learn something useful.) New Age carried a lot of the same features as any religious cult, such as the belief that its initiates were part of the creation of a New Society, while at the same time, increasing Personal, Individual Potential. Yet there is that little grey area that a sceptic, a rationalist such as I am would come to loggerheads with each and every time: the request to not really believe what you see and hear, but to believe in some kind of faith concept, often freely exchanged with various forms of Guruhood, hero-worship, deference to a “spiritual” or “political” head who was looking out for us, making great personal sacrifices, yet could SEE himself what we were still blinded to. Another feature is to reject facts, prior information or even information coming from other sources. In order to render this effective, you actually do need a group of people, including friends, to go along with it too. Recruitment (often for no other purpose than pure recruitment) has an element of a pyramid structure “con” to it which in today’s world of emails is a lot faster than it was in the 80s, and I would imagine, a lot more widespread. Although I do tend to believe that with the speed in which internet relationships are born and dissolved, it may not be as dangerous as it was in the past, since there is perhaps a more flippant attitude towards it. One may not even have to be a “true believer”, it’s enough to have your name added onto a “friends” list or a “mailing list” that will go into a market research kitty. In the end, gaining consensus seems to be little more than convincing someone that “everyone’s into it” so that the pinnacle of the pyramid feels himself entitled to act in the name of an enormous popular mandate. 

 

There is a lot of this in the Obama campaign, and myself and others far more entitled to an informed comment on it have pointed out here and elsewhere, and the macroscopic difference is, that while his hordes of adoring masses sometimes go off the deep end in idolising him, he was actually elected into office, he does have a mandate. But, this is not where I am going today. What actually started me thinking was a call from a friend of mine who is a practicing Psychologist. He asked me to lend a hand in some research regarding a certain cult that he knew I had familiarity with because our next-door neighbour was involved and had tried to recruit us both. My friend had only the sketchiest memory of the group and wanted to ask me what I remembered and could find out about the group structure and praxis, so that he could know what kind of levels of “self-surrender” his patient had been exposed to. While researching, I found some interesting things, which at some point, in another venue, I will write about, but what I found again and again were the characteristics of

 

1)      a group leader that had “reserved information” and “high-level contacts”. In a word: clout and prestige that the seeker would need to tap into so that he or she could be released from ignorance.

2)      a request that the seeker make some kind of commitment (economic, recruitment, active) to the purposes of the group.

3)      the insistence that the group was not an end in itself, but that there was a higher purpose that would be achieved through it, often in escatological or apocalyptical terms.

4)      slickness in the campaigning that demonstrates there is a large organisation behind it, perhaps a LOT of money, but not much disclosure of the organisation’s structure or finances. When it was disclosed, often the information could not be clearly verified and more often than not, one would find denials and contradictions with one Google search further.

5)      insistence that there were going to be great changes ahead, either personal or collective and in some cases, global. 

 

Now, there are many very innocent groups and organisations that may have some or all of these characteristics, but there is one constant characteristic that a legitimate group would never have, and that is the insistence that we have to “believe them” and not objective information, information obtained through personal perception or through sources that we trust. To make a fear, a projection or an illusion into a case bigger than a reality that can be objectively verified is a common trend in these groups. They want us to feel urgency, panic, outrage about the same things they do, and they present numbers, figures and projections out of all meaningful parameters. 

 

While trying to help my friend, I got caught up in a few quite competent Cult Watch organs, many of them doing admirable work and only to be commended. I cried while reading some of the testimonies, of how people who only sought positive things, love, knowledge, peace, were denied their liberty, mental well being and critical tools. I thought, the day freedom comes to the Palestinian people, I will direct my energies to work towards these slaves of gurus, healers and charlatans. Then, I thought, it’s probably a bigger industry than even Zionism… I think I am out of my league here! 

 

One thing though, that did trouble me in these forums, sites, lists, was the lack of appearance of some groups that I believe are every bit as dangerous and deluded, and I mean a category of groups that to me are on the wild side of rational thought, the Christian Zionists. I didn’t see any areas in these sites that would include this branch of cults. Christian Zionism has a few purposes, the practical one is to keep (especially US) international policy favourable to a Jewish State in Palestine, and to do this would do anything possible and imaginable so as to have leaders in office that will always have as their priority to render this scenario possible. The Christian Zionists need this for their escatological goal, the battle of Armageddon to be fought in Israel, thus saving the souls of the Christian Zionists who will be raptured. It gives me the creeps to actually write about it, to think of the implications, but all religions contain elements of a final scenario, and I suppose Christian Zionism has abandoned the principles that made Jesus Christ into a univeralist model of love and forgiveness, and instead focus in on the final countdown, where they can be protagonists in the big war. The focus of Christian Zionism has a narcissistic element, combined with the violent one, that obviously will be reflected in any campaign they do.

 

One group that has piqued my interest for a long time is CUFI, and I wrote about their big show “A Night to Honor Israel”. Here is another peice that shows their severe contradictions. I check them out from time to time, and this morning, I saw something that I think would be worthy of Cult watch, and that is, the campaign for a “Prayer Card for Israel”. 

 

To spare you having to actually give your personal information or visiting their site, I will show you the campaign. It starts out innocently enough, saying prayers for Israel (and America):

A Prayer Card to Help You Pray for Israel and America

Then click on it and you get to this page:

We Need to Pray for Israel

Your prayers are critical during these difficult times.   CUFI created a special prayer card to help you pray for Israel and the world.   

All of a sudden, America has become “the world”, but that’s just a little detail. Click further (they must get points for each click made, because you are forced to navigate for a while) and you come to the page where you request the “card”, needing to send them your name and email address. You get an email in less than a minute and you visit their site now from your email account, so they have your IP and NOW your email too. But, you are curious and you want to see this card so exclusive it has to be requested by email and you have to download a PDF, and damn the torpedoes! It hits you in the face with just that, there’s the image of a nuclear missile, a headshot of Ahmadinejad, writing in all caps: NOT ON OUR WATCH! And the tagline, Stand with one voice against the threats from Iran. Stand with Christians United for Israel 

 

This is the accompanying text:

Thank you downloading the prayer card to help you pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the world. You will receive a link to download your prayer in your e-mail shortly.

We want to provide this prayer card to millions of Christians around the world. We want to help every Christian pray for Israel and America.

Please help us reach millions of Christians worldwide. Please fill out the information below to send the prayer card to your family and friends.

Ah! the next step is the Pyramid one: you should send it around to friends. Hell, even your ENTIRE ADDRESS BOOK! Talk about obtaining a bunch of information for free!! Here is their text, misspellings and all – and note, the name of the text isn’t any longer “Israel prayer” but the hyperlink is “Iran prayer”, a classic bait and switch… but maybe it was about Iran the whole time?

 

In order to send to more than 5 friends, please enter your email to recieve a copy of this message to forward to your entire address book.

 

 

* Email: Required

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spam Control Text: 

 Please leave this field empty  

 

  

Tell a friend about our Prayer Card

* = Required Fields

 
  Link being sent: http://cufi.convio.net/site/PageServer?pagename=iran_prayer
  Your Name:
First Name: Last Name:

 

 

 

 

 

* Your Email:

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

* Send to:

Enter multiple addresses on separate lines or separate them with commas.
Please note that you can only list 5 friends at a time. If you want to send this to more than 5 friends please enter your email in the space above to receive a copy of this message to forward to your entire address book..
(Note: We respect your privacy, addresses you enter below will be added to your Address Book, but will not be used by the organization. For further information, see our Privacy Policy.)

 

Subject:

 

 

 

Body:

 

  

 The threat from Iran is increasing with every day that passes.  As Iran gets steadily closer to obtaining nuclear weapons, we get that much closer to the possibility of a second Holocaust.  The risk that Israel and her six million Jews might be “wiped off the map” is too great for us to sit silently by as the world does nothing.  Now is the time to combine fervent prayer with urgent action.

We must pray that this threat to Israel and America will be removed.  Christians United for Israel has created a prayer card with scriptures to beseech our Lord to protect Israel and the world in this trying time.   
 
 

 

Please click below to download this prayer card.   

Please pray for Israel and America.  Please use the prayer card, and any other scriptures that are meaningful to you, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the world.  

 

 

Israel actually has nuclear weapons. We aren’t supposed to think about that. (This follows the criteria of a cult of expecting people to not believe actual facts, but to trust the leader and to agree that his “fear” should be shared by you too). Israel has actually bombed others in the past few weeks, a fact we are also supposed to ignore. The problem is Israel’s existential threat coming from … Iran.

 

Well, this may be a nothing more than your average religious-political cult, but I believe that since they believe we should “pray” that this “THREAT TO ISRAEL AND AMERICA TO BE REMOVED”, convince others of this and give money, political consensus and … not a small matter … our mail contacts to them, since of course if they want to “read” the prayer, they have to fill out a form with their email address, etc., that this group may be just a bunch of Apocalyptic Messianic fanatics, they indeed should be monitored by anyone who not only sees a danger in the manipulation of facts to suit a limited and dangerous political agenda, as well as anyone who treasures privacy.

 

Since you’ve waited so long: here is that special prayer:

WRITTEN By PAUL SCHEMM
The rules were simple: Don’t touch the blindfold. The handcuffs stay on. Speak only when spoken to — and then only in a low voice.

Newly released German-Egyptian activist Philip Rizk said Thursday that he was interrogated by Egypt’s State Security for four days, accused of being everything from an Israeli spy to a gunrunner for the militant group Hamas.

Rizk was arrested by security officers last Friday after participating in a small march outside Cairo calling for an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip — a closure imposed by Egypt and Israel after Hamas gunmen seized control of the Palestinian territory in June 2007.

Rizk was held in solitary confinement for four days while friends, family and German diplomats inquired about his whereabouts and the reasons for his detention. Then he was abruptly dropped off at his apartment before dawn Wednesday.

His detention reflects Egypt’s increasing sensitivity over any criticism of its policies on Gaza and Hamas. Hundreds of members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood have been jailed, along with a half dozen young vocal bloggers like Rizk who put their criticism online.

Egypt has made no official comment on Rizk’s detention, and he was never charged.

Rizk called himself lucky because he was held only a few days and wasn’t hurt, ascribing that to his dual nationality and a spirited campaign for his release conducted by friends. Human rights groups allege that torture, including sexual abuse, is commonplace for Egypt’s approximately 18,000 political prisoners.

“What happened for a period of four days is that I did nothing much more than answer questions while being interrogated, or sleeping, or trying to sleep,” the 27-year-old Rizk told reporters gathered on his balcony in a leafy suburb Thursday, his birthday.

“I was blindfolded the entire time, was wearing handcuffs the entire time except for a few occasions,” usually during questioning, he said. He added that he was allowed only one shower.

Rizk said two men questioned him repeatedly about his life, his friends and acquaintances, and his activities. When his answers displeased them, they would replace the handcuffs and make him stand, he said.

“Everything in your head, we want to take it out,” he quoted one interrogator as telling him.

Rather than physical abuse, “it was more the threats of what could happen to me if I were not to say the truth,” Rizk said.

“I heard sounds of things going on around me,” including screams, he said. “I don’t know if they were recordings or they were actually taking place — people being tortured.”

Rizk said his questioners accused him of spying for Israel and then of dealing weapons to Israel’s staunch enemy, Hamas.

Until his detention, Rizk operated a blog highlighting the plight of Palestinians called Tabula Gaza and was a graduate student in Middle East studies at the American University in Cairo.

He said that while he was in custody security officers went to his apartment and took his computers, cameras, portable hard drives and the research notes for his master’s thesis. They also broke into e-mail accounts and read all his mail, he said.

“They’ve taken my blog down which I’ve worked on since 2006. They have more control over parts of my life than I do. This is a horrible feeling. It took some time to sink in,” Rizk said.

http://wire.antiwar.com/2009/02/12/freed-blogger-describes-interrogation-in-egypt/

 

 

Sure it was red all over Gaza this year, and earlier than any other country in the world, blood red, not rose red.

 

The Independent published an article today entitled Israel allows Valentine carnations out of Gaza. The Independent reporter described Israel’s allowing 25,000 carnations to cross the border in the first exports permitted from blockaded Gaza in a year as a gesture. Is this funny or what? Usually the expression gesture holds meanings of good will and kind intentions or so I thought, since gestures usually do not come after killing the people and bulldozing their homes to the ground as well as creating orphans and widows.

Good old Israel allowed 25,000 carnations from Gaza to cross the border so that the lovers in Israel and Europe will have a day to remember, but kept the medicine and children’s food under siege for 19 months. What a gesture… Oh I have forgotten that Palestinian children are not worthy of mercy or consideration, unlike the sensitive Europeans who should celebrate Valentine’s Day in style. I bet those carnations are the most expensive in the whole wide world since they grew in Palestine and were irrigated with blood. But thank God the Independent reporter assured us that Major Peter Lerner, of the military’s civil co-ordination office, said Israel had agreed to relax the blockade for the carnations at the request of the Dutch government. I wonder how come no government in the west succeeded in its requests of Israel to relax the blockade for children’s food and medicine and how come only Valentine’s Day flowers had this privilege.

One more question comes in mind, how come the children of Gaza were harvested by white phosphorus bombs while the carnations of St Valentine remained untouched…the irony that the people who are mourning their loved ones, are the ones who are growing the roses and carnations that will be enjoyed by the civilized part of the world, civilized to the point of creating weapons and watching the children of those who plant those flowers die of starvation and be burned by the bombs.

To all the Palestinian women who have lost their loved ones, may you rise up like olive trees and keep your roots in the soil… you deserve all the roses in the world. 

The photo:
Photo: Reuters

Every day, I am assaulted by something in the topsy-turvey world of US politics that amazes me and makes me say to myself, ‘Well I guess I have seen it all now’, only for it to be outdone and replaced the very next day by something even more outrageous.

Politics can do that to people. Power and the opportunity to play on the ‘big field’ is like a drug that makes people do crazy things, things that defy reason, logic, and sometimes decency.

Take for example the most recent article by Arab American Institute James Zogby in his defense of President Elect Barak Obama’s decision to appoint Rahm Emmanuel as White House Chief of Staff. In his piece entitled “Rahm Emanuel and Arab Perceptions” he writes “The emails and calls to my office were both troubled and troubling because much of the reaction was based on misinformation”. The “misinformation” in this case dealt with Rahm Emanuel, the “brilliant strategist” as Jim puts it and his many “proven” political skills which led to him being “tapped” by Obama. No more no less. That is, as Jim calls it, “First, the facts.” I just wonder if Rahm’s ‘proven politics’ is also what dragged Obama to AIPAC’s conference this past summer to deliver that infamous shameful speech, as well as the meeting
afterwards with the board of AIPAC where he was accompanied by Rahm
Emanuel. I don’t think Rahm being born to an Israeli parent who once ran guns for the Irgun Terrorist Organization, his faith as a devout Jew or his being a staunch supporter of Israel had “nothing” to do with his appointment as the conventional wisdom would like us to believe. Of course not, it is his ‘brilliancy’ that got him there. “Its that simple” says the spokesman for the Arab-American community Jim Zogby. Maybe Arabs lack thinking brains to be in positions of power.

Ok, Emanuel may not be an Israeli Citizen, even though Israeli law grants citizenship to Jews who are born for Israeli parents abroad. As a matter of fact the “Israeli Law of Return” grants Israeli citizenship to any Jew who wishes to have it. As a matter of fact many American Jews in high power positions are dual citizens. One such is Douglas Feith, who ran the Office of Special Plans at the Pentagon, and who concocted the ‘Yellow Cake’ theory giving George Bush the ammo he needed to invade an Arab country. Another one coming to mind is Michael Chertoff, our Director of Homeland Security whose father fought in the Bitar Brigade, a Jewish terrorist group during the Palestinian Holocaust which by the way, started way before the so-
called ‘Holocaust’ of Europe and which continues to this very day. No doubt the reader is inclined to call me an ‘anti-Semite’ despite the fact that there is more ‘semitism’ in one of my eyelashes than there is in the whole of European Jewish community because I said the “so-called” Oh well, I guess I am one of those ‘self-hating’ Semites.

Jim goes on to defend Rahm’s service in the Israeli Army saying: “Emanuel volunteered for a few weeks, as a civilian, doing maintenance on Israeli vehicles.” Is he a mechanic? So, not only is he “brilliant” when it comes to politics, he is ‘Rahm the Mechanic’ as well. Talk about a real Renaissance man. Not only is Rahm “brilliant” in banking and finance, “brilliant” in the way he stabs a steak knife into a hardwood table repeatedly when talking
about ‘enemies’ who must be dealt with, but “brilliant” with cars too, especially the ones used by Israel’s military. There is something so familiar between this and the whole “Joe the Plumber” business we heard so much about during the campaign.

Ok, let’s get back to that then–What vehicles Jim? What is a civilian volunteer in the Israeli Army? Did you know that there are no ‘civilians’ in Israel? If someone volunteers to go help a country at a time of war, one can safely assume he will be involved in some kind of a defense position. Was he greasing up the Israeli Tanks before they took positions on the Northern border with Syria and Lebanon in 1991? Or did he just write some nice love notes on Tank Shells? I am not sure, but this “brilliant” American found it
necessary to go and join the Israeli Army – ok in a civilian capacity, god don’t be so uptight on technicalities – but yet, he did not join the American Army fighting two wars. It makes you wonder what country comes first in Rahm’s mind. Is he one of those Israel’s Firsters bunch?

As an aside (although one of supreme importance) what should be noted is that if Mr. Zogby–seeing his homeland of Lebanon being bombarded by Israel as it was in July 2006–decided to don his US Passport and go to Lebanon in order to volunteer in protecting another country, he would be arrested upon re-entry into the US and charged with a whole assortment of crimes related to terrorism. However, when it is a Zionist Jew doing so for Israel, he is offered the highest position in the president’s cabinet and the rest of the world is not supposed to think anything of it.

Oh yes, this is the killer, I almost left it out. Jim wrote: “The truth is that Emanuel is an effective leader in Congress. He is a strong supporter of Israel. But then, how many members of Congress are not?” It’s no big deal, he is just one of the many in Washington who are supporters of Israel. Well Jim you forgot one fundamental difference between “Rahm the Mechanic” and others, namely that the other members of congress prostitute themselves for power, influence and money, but they really don’t get much enjoyment out of the deal. On the contrary–just like prostitutes they want the ordeal to be over with asap because deep down they feel so ashamed of themselves seeing Palestinian children dying from Israeli bullets fired by
Israeli settlers as well as Israel’s imposed starvation and hunger on
innocent people and they can’t do anything about it. “Rahm the
Mechanic” however, Mr Jim Zogby, enjoys what he is doing for Israel. His father, his family, and his “mother country” are proud of what he has become. Israeli Newspapers said “one of us in the White House.” He is doing it because he enjoys it. The Arabs are the sworn enemies of Rahm’s father and his last name is a reminder of that. Emanuel actually is not the last name of the family they changed it when rahm’s uncle, Emanuel was killed by Arabs before the establishment of Israel, and the family changed their last name to, Emanuel. Now do you understand why Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, and all freedom-loving people around the World are disturbed by Rahm’s appointment? Can you take your democratic hat off for a second and voice your concern about Rahm? Can you, Uncle Tom?

I saw you turning the world upside down for a comment that John McCain did not make-even though, we made a big issue out of it- I for one made the biggest stink about it, but I did not see you doing the same when Rahm’s father actually, and factually insulted ALL Arabs, dead, alive and yet to be born. Thank God for Mary Oakar and the ADC who forced an apology out of Rahm for what his father had said about how his son will “surely influence Obama’s decisions on Israel” while following it with the comment that “he wasn’t Arab” and therefore will not be going to the White House to “mop floors”. The funny thing in the whole episode is Rahm’s apology, and especially when he said that the comment made by his dad did not “reflect the way he was raised and did not reflect his family values”. I wonder who raised him?

It was his father who said it, the head of his family, the man who installed the values in Rahm, the very same man who ran guns to the Jewish terrorists to massacre the poor souls of Deir Yasin. Now Jim, do you blame the Arabs for their “perception” of Rahm? Is it just a perception? “Can you hear me now!!!”

www.currentissues.tv

Current issues with Hesham Tillawi can be viewed Live every Thursday at 8:00 PM Central Standard Time on Cox Cable system Channel 15 in Louisiana as well as Live on the Internet at www.currentissues.tv and can be contacted at Tillawi@currentissues.tv The show is also broadcast on Bridges TV via cable, satellite, and broadband and on Amazonas satellite World Wide. Current Issues the radio show airs live around the World on Broadband and shortwave 5.050 and many stations around the U.S. every Saturday 4-6 PM Central Time on www.republicbroadcasting.org

quote of the day

Posted: 02/12/2009 by editormary in Palestine, Quotes, Thinking
Tags: ,

What do the colors of the Palestinian flag represent?

Green is for the land of Palestine,
White is for the peace in which the Palestinian people lived before they were made refugees,
Red is for their blood spilled trying to liberate their land, and
Black is for their life under occupation.

quote of the day

Posted: 02/12/2009 by editormary in Falastin, Palestine, Quotes
Tags: ,

We will eat salt, but we will not bow our heads for anybody other than God, because we are faithful to the rights of our people and our nation. We will not betray it.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh

The Zionist Electorate Warmongers
The last parliamentary elections of the Zionist entity proved beyond doubt that there is no right or left as well as there are no extremist Zionists and no moderate Zionists, they are equally extremist in their hatred of Arabs, and their aim to fulfill their final goal that is to complete their ethnic cleansing of every single Palestinian Arab still sticking to their land from their historical homeland, Arab Palestine. Zionists consider the indigenous Arab population as an enemy within the entity; so being as such it is either our death or uprooting.

The Zionist elections: A society competing with itself…

The result is the same… It is either me or you!!!

An-Nahar – Beirut

For the first time in twenty years the veil dropped off the face of the Zionist candidates and their parties’ programs by dropping the deceiving and unwanted peace from their electoral programs, of course with the Arabs. In the past they always claimed that Palestinian Arabs are the obstacle to peace, and they are, Zionists, who call for it.   

Jonathan Cook, wrote on February 09, 2009 in the “The Nation
quoting Elias Khoury, a 33-year-old architect from the village of Ibilin in Galilee, who had been a lifelong supporter of the Communist Democratic Front, the only joint Arab-Jewish party represented in the Israeli parliament. No longer. Tomorrow, when Israelis head to the polls to elect their next government, Mr. Khoury – one of the country’s 1.2 million Arab citizens – will be staying home rather than casting a vote.

Zionist elections

An-Nahar – Beirut


Khoury said, “I’ve given up on the talk of coexistence,” and added. “Now it’s clear it is just empty rhetoric. After the attack on Gaza, I am sure there will never be two states here. It’s going to be either a Jewish state with no Arabs, or an Arab state with no Jews. Voting any Arab party into the parliament is a waste of time.” Of course this is a reflection of the over 90% or actually more of the Zionist electorate that endorsed the Zionist war waged last December/January, as well as being anti coexistence with Palestinian Arabs as well as in other occupied Arab territories.

Cook added, “His ominous vision of the future reflects disillusionment with the Israeli political system, he said, rather than extremism. ‘We are living in an extreme situation imposed on us by Israel.’”        

The Zionist imported society on all levels, of interests and professions had been cooking for their hatemongering and as thus warmongering against Arabs at large and Palestinians in particular, the vast majority of their university professors, historians and “philosophers” such as Benny Morris of Ben Gurion University in the Negev and Martin van Creveld, a former professor of military history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a world-leading writer on military matters, who both, like all their other colleagues, claim to be speaking on behalf of the civilized white European world, which has the right to annihilate third world peoples to establish their new civilized democracies on their lands,  of course with no exception Zionist military personnel are the teachers for and revivalists of Zionist hatred and warmongering.

Martin van Creveld said in a September 2003 interview in Elsevier (the Dutch weekly) to directly or indirectly threaten all Arab with atomic warheads, which Zionist leaders try to deny also directly or indirectly: “We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force…. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.”

Van Creveld like his fellow professor Morris who blamed Ben Gurion for not completing the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948, Creveld talked about ‘collective deportation’ as Israel’s only meaningful plan for the Palestinian people. “The Palestinians should all be deported. The people who strive for this [the Israeli government] are waiting only for the right man and the right time…”

The same person who wants to deport Palestinian Arabs from their own land, which we are sure as a historian knows better than to falsely claim that this land isn’t theirs said, “They are after our civilization. We must summon the forces of civilization and the force and the power to act against them now, when we have the power and when we still have the time to do so.”

In reviewing the elections campaign programs, you don’t have to read in between the lines, the above quote is in block letters, and was and shall still be ruminated by each and every one of the winning and losing candidates for which they receive high cheers and applause shall keep echoing as long as the Zionist entity is still in existence, which shall certainly shorten its life span…

Speech delivered by Nadine Rosa-Rosso at the The Beirut International Forum for Resistance, Anti-Imperialism, Solidarity between Peoples and Alternatives, held from January 16 to 18, 2009. 
The key question in this forum is how to support resistance against imperialism across the world. As an independent Belgian communist activist I would like to focus on the position of the European Left vis-à-vis this issue.

The massive demonstrations in European capitals and major cities in support of the people of Gaza highlighted once again the core problem: the vast majority of the Left, including communists, agrees in supporting the people of Gaza against Israeli aggression, but refuses to support its political expressions such as Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Left not only refuses to support them, but also denounces them and fights against them. Support for the people of Gaza exists only at a humanitarian level but not at the political level.

Concerning Hamas and Hezbollah; the Left is mainly concerned with the support these groups have amongst the Arab masses, but are hardly interested in the fact that Israel’s clear and aggressive intention is to destroy these resistance movements. From a political point of view we can say without exaggeration that the Left’s wish (more or less openly admitted) follows the same line as the Israeli government’s: to liquidate popular support for Hamas and Hezbollah.

This question arises not only for the Middle East but also in the European capitals because, today, the bulk of the demonstrators in Brussels, London and Paris are made up of people of North African origin, as well as South Asian Muslims in the case of London.

The reactions of the Left to these events are quite symptomatic. I will cite a few but there are dozens of examples. The headline of the French website ‘Res Publica’ following the mass demonstration in Paris on the 3rd of January read: “We refuse to be trapped by the Islamists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah!” The article continued: “Some activists of the left and far left (who only turned out in small numbers) were literally drowned in a crowd whose views are at odds with the spirit of the French Republican movement and of the 21st Century Left. Over 90% of the demonstrators championed a fundamentalist and communitarian worldview based on the clash of civilizations which is anti-secular and anti-Republican. They advocated a cultural relativism whose harmful tendencies are well known, particularly in England.

Res Publica is neither Marxist or communist, but one would be hard pressed to find even the most remotely positive words about Hamas on Marxist websites. One does find formulations such as “Whatever we think about Hamas, one thing is indisputable: the Palestinian people democratically elected Hamas to lead Gaza in elections held under international supervision.” Looking further at “what we can think of Hamas” one finds on the websites of both the French Communist Party and the Belgian Labour Party an article entitled “How Israel put Hamas in the saddle.” We learn little more than the assertion that Hamas has been supported by Israel, the United States and the European Union. I note that this article was put online on January 2nd after a week of intensive Israeli bombardment and the day before the ground offensive whose declared aim was the destruction of Hamas.

I will return to the quotation of Res Publica, because it summarizes quite well the general attitude of the Left not only in relation to the Palestinian resistance, but also in regard to the Arab and Muslim presence in Europe. The most interesting thing in this article is the comment in parentheses: ‘the Left and far Left (who only turned out in small numbers)’. One might expect following such a confession some self-critical analysis regarding the lack of mobilisation in the midst of the slaughter of the Palestinian people. But no, all charges directed against the demonstrators (90% of the whole protests) are accused of conducting a “war of civilizations.”

At all the demonstrations I participated in Brussels, I asked some demonstrators to translate the slogans that were chanted in Arabic, and they did so with pleasure every time. I heard a lot of support for the Palestinian resistance and denunciation of Arab governments (in particular the Egyptian President Mubarak), Israel’s crimes, and the deafening silence of the international community or the complicity of the European Union. In my opinion, these were all political slogans quite appropriate to the situation. But surely some people only hear Allah-u-akbar and form their opinion on this basis. The very fact that slogans are shouted in Arabic is sometimes enough to irritate the Left. For example, the organizing committee of the meeting of 11 January was concerned about which languages would be used. But could we not have simply distributed the translations of these slogans? This might be the first step towards mutual understanding. When we demonstrated in 1973 against the pro-American military takeover by Pinochet in Chile, no one would have dared to tell the Latin American demonstrators “Please, chant in French!” In order to lead this fight, we all learnt slogans in Spanish and no one was offended.

The problem is really in the parentheses: why do the Left and far Left mobilise such small numbers? And to be clear, are the Left and far Left still able to mobilize on these issues? The problem was already obvious when Israel invaded Lebanon in the summer of 2006. I would like to quote here an anti-Zionist Israeli who took refuge in London, jazz musician Gilad Atzmon, who already said, six months before the invasion: “For quite a long time, it has been very clear that the ideology of the Left is desperately struggling to find its way in the midst of the emerging battle between the West and the Middle East. The parameters of the so-called “clash of civilizations” are so clearly established that any “rational” and “atheist” leftist activist is clearly condemned to stand closer to Donald Rumsfeld than to a Muslim.”

One would find it difficult to state the problem more clearly.

I would like to briefly address two issues which literally paralyze the Left in its support to the Palestinian, Lebanese, and more generally to the Arab and Muslim resistance: religion and terrorism.

The Left and Religion

Perplexed by the religious feelings of people with an immigrant background, the Left, Marxist or not, continuously quotes the famous statement of Marx on religion: “religion is the opium of the people”. With this they think everything that needs to be said has been said. It might be more useful cite the fuller quote of Marx and perhaps give it more context. I do this not to hide behind an authority, but in the hope of provoking some thought amongst those who hold this over-simplified view, “Religion is the general theory of this world, (…), its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. (…) The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

(Translation of Prof. W. Banning, Life, Learning and Meaning, 1960, The Spectrum (p.62-63)

I have always been and remain an atheist, but the rise of religious feelings is hardly surprising. In today’s world most politicians, including those on the Left, do little more then display their weakness on this issue: they do nothing against the military power of the US, they do nothing or almost nothing against financial speculation and the logic of profit that plunges billions of people on this Earth into poverty, hunger and death. All this is due we are told to “the invisible hand” or “divine intervention”: where is the difference between this and religion? The only difference is that the theory of the “invisible hand” denies people the right to struggle for social and economical justice against this “divine intervention” that helps to maintain the status quo. Like it or not, we cannot look down on billions of people who may harbour religious feelings while wanting to ally with them.

The Left does exactly the same thing as what it accuses the Islamists of: it analyses the situation only in religious terms. It refuses to disclose the religious expressions as a “protest against misery”, as a protest against Imperialism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism. It cuts itself off from a huge part of the masses. Gilad Atzmon expresses it best when he states: “Rather than imposing our beliefs upon others, we better learn to understand what others believe in”. If we continue to refuse to learn, we will continue to lament the religious feelings of the masses instead of struggling with them for peace, independence and social and economic justice.

But there is more. The fate of Islam is very different from that of Christianity. I have never known the Left to hesitate when showing solidarity with the Latin American bishops, followers of liberation theology and the struggle against Yankee Imperialism in the 70s, or the Irish Catholic resistance to British Imperialism. Nor have I known the left to criticize Martin Luther King for his references to the Gospel, which was a powerful lever for the mobilisation of the Black American masses that did not have political, economic or social rights in the U.S in the sixties. This discriminatory treatment by the Left, this systematic mistrust of Muslims who are all without any distinction suspected of wanting to impose sharia law on us, can only be explained by colonialism that has profoundly marked our consciousness. We will not forget that the Communists, such as the Communist Party of Belgium (KPB), praised the benefits of colonization that were enthusiastically spread by Christian missionaries. For example, in the 1948 program of the KPB, when the party had just emerged from a period of heroic resistance against the Nazi occupation, it stated the following about the Belgian Congo: “a) Establishment of a single economic unit Belgium-Congo; b) Development of trade with the colony and realization of its national resources; c) Nationalization of resources and trusts in Congo; d) Development of a white colonists class and black farmers and artisan class; e) Gradual granting of democratic rights and freedoms to the black population.”

It was this kind of political education of workers by the Party which meant that there was hardly any protests from these Belgian workers influenced by the KPB when Patrice Lumumba, Pierre Mulele and many other African anti-imperialist leaders were assassinated. After all “our” Christian civilization is civilized, is it not? And democratic rights and freedoms can only “gradually” be assigned to the masses in the Third World, since they are too barbaric to make good use of them.

On the basis of exactly the same political colonialist reasoning, the Left is rather regretful in having supported democratic elections in Palestine. Perhaps they should have adopted a more gradualist approach towards the Palestinians since the majority of Palestinians have now voted for Hamas. Worse, the Left bemoans the fact that “the PLO was forced to organize parliamentary elections in 2006 at a time when everything showed that Hamas would win the elections”. This information is available on the sites of the French KP and Belgian PVDA.

If we would agree to stop staring blindly and with prejudice at the religious beliefs of people, we would perhaps “learn to understand” why the Arab and Muslim masses, who today demonstrate for Palestine, are screaming ‘Down with Mubarak’, an Arab and Muslim leader, and why they jubilantly shout the name of Chavez, a Christian-Latin American leader. Doesn’t this make it obvious that the Arab and Muslim masses frame their references not primarily through religion but by the relation of leaders to US and Zionist Imperialism?

And if the Left would formulate the issue in these terms, would they not partly regain the support of the people that formerly gave the Left its strength?

Another cause of paralysis of the Left in the anti-imperialist struggle is the fear of being associated with terrorism.

On the 11th of January 2009, the president of the German Chamber of Representatives, Walter Momper, the head of the parliamentarian group of ‘Die Grüne’ (the German Greens), Franziska Eichstädt-Bohlig, a leader of ‘Die Linke’, Klaus Lederer, and others held a demonstration in Berlin with 3000 participants to support Israel under the slogan ‘stop the terror of Hamas’. One must keep in mind that Die Linke are considered by many in Europe as the new and credible alternative Left, and an example to follow.

The entire history of colonisation and decolonisation is the history of land that has been stolen by military force and has been reclaimed by force. From Algeria to Vietnam, from Cuba to South-Africa, from Congo to Palestine: no colonial power ever renounced to its domination by means of negotiation or political dialogue alone.

For Gilad Atzmon it is this context that constitutes the real significance of the barrage of rockets by Hamas and the other Palestinian resistance organizations: “This week we all learned more about the ballistic capability of Hamas. Evidently, Hamas was rather restrained with Israel for a long while. It refrained from escalating the conflict to the whole of southern Israel. It occurred to me that the barrages of Qassams that have been landing sporadically on Sderot and Ashkelon were actually nothing but a message from the imprisoned Palestinians. First it was a message regarding stolen land, homes, fields and orchards: ‘Our beloved soil, we didn’t forget, we are still here fighting for you, sooner rather than later, we will come back, we will start again where we had stopped’. But it was also a clear message to the Israelis. ‘You out there, in Sderot, Beer Sheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Tel Aviv and Haifa, whether you realise it or not, you are actually living on our stolen land. You better start to pack because your time is running out, you have exhausted our patience. We, the Palestinian people, have nothing to lose anymore”. (Gilad Atzmon – Living on Borrowed Time in a Stolen Land)
What can be understood by an Israeli Jew, the European Left fails to understood, rather they find ’indefensible’ the necessity to take by force what has been stolen by force.

Since 9/11, the use of force in the anti-colonial and the anti-imperialist struggle has been classified under the category of ‘terrorism’; one cannot even discuss it any more. It is worth remembering that Hamas had been proscribed on the list of ‘foreign terrorist organizations’ by the United States in 1995, seven years before 9/11! In January 1995, the United States elaborated the ‘Specially designated terrorist List (STD)’ and put Hamas and all the other radical Palestinian liberation organisations on this list.

The capitulation on this question by a great part of the Western Left started after 9/11, after the launching of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) by the Bush administration. The fear of being classified ‘terrorists’ or apologists of terrorism has spread. This attitude of the Left is not only a political or ideological question, it is also inspired by the practical consequences linked to the GWOT. The European ‘Council Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on combating terrorism’ and its attached terror list who was a copy-and-paste version of the American terror list that has been incorporated into European legislation, which allow the courts to prosecute those who are suspected of supporting terrorism. During an anti-war rally in London, some activists sold a publication which included Marxist analysis on Hamas were stopped by the police and their magazines were confiscated. In other words, to attempt to inform people on the political program and the action of Hamas and Hezbollah becomes an illegal enterprise. The political atmosphere intimidates people into distancing themselves from these resistance movements and to denounce them without reservations.

In conclusion I have a concrete suggestion to make: we must launch an appeal to remove Hamas from the terror lists. At the same time we must ensure that Hezbollah are not added to the terror list. It is the least we can do if we want to support the Palestinian, Lebanese and Arab resistance. It is the minimal democratic condition for supporting the resistance and it is the essential political condition for the Left to have a chance to be heard by the anti-imperialist masses.

I am fully aware of the fact that my political opinions are a minority in the Left, in particular amongst the European communists. This worries me profoundly, not because of my own fate, I am not more then a militant amongst others, but for the fate of the communist ideal of an end of exploitation of man by man, a struggle which can only happen through the abolition of the imperialist, colonial and neo-colonial system.

Nadine Rosa-Rosso is a Brussels-based independent Marxist. She has edited two books: “Rassembler les résistances” of the French-language journal ‘Contradictions’ and “Du bon usage de la laïcité”, that argues for an open and democratic form of secularism. She can be contacted at nadinerr@gmail.com

http://www.countercurrents.org/rosso110209.htm

European Union, Canada and the United States, numerous organizations – including many national liberation movements and organizations – are listed as “designated terrorist organizations.” This status is used in an attempt to criminalize popular resistance and national liberation movements, equate those movements with “terrorism,” frighten and silence communities’ support of their national movements, and potentially penalize supporters of the Palestinian cause, as well as other national liberation movements.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is, alongside a number of other Palestinian political organizations, listed and designated as a “terrorist organization.” This designation, while doing nothing to change the fundamental character of our movement, is an attempt to isolate the resistance, strike fear in the hearts of our people, and enact U.S. foreign policy of massive support for Israel through the false use of a “terrorist” designation.

This designation is illegitimate, and an attempt to use the legal system to criminalize and demonize the Palestinian cause. It is an attempt to silence our people in exile through the use of fear and intimidation. Furthermore, it goes hand in hand with the funding, arming and support of Israel by the United States; the so-called “terrorist” designations are merely another weapon placed in the hands of the occupiers of Palestine.

Furthermore, this designation is a dangerous threat to freedom of speech and association, threatening all – especially immigrants and refugees – with unjust persecution merely for working to bring justice for Palestine.

These unjust designations can and must be undone. But a de-listing cannot and will not happen without loud voices speaking clearly to the use and abuse of “terrorist” designations to criminalize a people. Our movement is a just movement for national liberation, a cause supported by vast reams of international law and fundamental human rights principles, and our resistance is a just resistance against a brutal occupier on our land. This designation harms popular movements for freedom and justice in Palestine, and it is a mechanism of unconditional support for the occupation of our land and the dispossession and oppression of our people.

Please join us today to demand an end to the listing of the PFLP as a so-called “terrorist organization.” We are collecting statements, petitions and letters in support of a call to end this designation. Contact us and select “Support the campaign to remove ‘terrorist’ designation” and send us your letter of support today!

http://www.pflp.ps/english/?q=campaign-remove-terrorist-designations

cartoon of the day

Posted: 02/10/2009 by editormary in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

WRITTEN BY Francis Clark-Lowes 

‘How dare you place myself and other Jewish people in the same melting pot.’ This exclamation was one of the negative reactions to my article, ‘Gaza: The Tip of an Iceberg’ which appeared at Palestine Think Tank last month. The person who wrote it chose her words well, for it does indeed require courage to discuss such matters. In my article I had written: ‘until a majority [of Jews] turn against the supremacist culture which supports Israel’s actions I will continue to hold Jews collectively responsible for what is happening in the Middle East.’

 

But even those who are more sympathetic to my point of view question the wisdom of holding a whole people to account for the actions of some of them. This idea did not, however, simply arise out of some atavistic hatred of Jews. I had in mind two other societies which are often collectively held responsible for atrocities, the Germans and the British.

 

Like many young people in the seventies, I lived for a few months on a kibbutz in Israel. Some of my fellow volunteers were native German-speakers, all of them born since the war. Although many of the kibbutzniks shared their mother tongue, they would speak to my German colleagues in English to show their disapproval of the German culture which they associated with the Nazis. My colleagues would react by saying: ‘But I was born after the war. What has that to do with me?’ I sympathised with them, and I still think that the way they were treated was at times stupid. After all, they did not choose to be born German. But I also think there is a sense in which it is wrong to say that the Nazi period has nothing to do with post-war Germans. And the compensation paid from the taxes of post-war Germans to Jews and other dispossessed peoples indicates that I am not alone in thinking this way.

 

Nor do I think it is acceptable for British people (including Jews, by the way) to shrug off the slave trade because it happened a long time ago, and because we played no personal part in that dreadful history. Coming nearer to the present, when I lived in the Middle East I was constantly being reminded of our part in the plight of the Palestinians. I remember one such conversation with a family who put me up for the night in Khan Younis, in the Gaza Strip, in 1977.

 

Why did these Palestinians feel the need to infringe their own rules of hospitality to draw my attention to Britain’s past misdeeds? I think the answer is something like this. If I failed to own up to these misdeeds by my compatriots then they would be bound to see me as part of the problem against which they were struggling. They assumed, reasonably I believe, that I was proud to be British and that this pride might very well preclude me from being objective. In other words, they wanted to know whether I was an ally or an enemy. I am not for a moment suggesting that if I had denied all wrongdoing by Britain they would have dispatched me on the spot. No, they would have continued to be the model of courtesy. But they would not have told me anything more about their feelings towards Israel and the Jews.

 

I always admitted British culpability, that is I acknowledged my collective responsibility, as a Briton, for what my country did vis-à-vis Palestine. This admission has two sides to it. On the one hand it makes me aware that identifying as a Briton (which I do much more than I would sometimes like to think) has a cost – a feeling of shame about aspects of my country’s history. The other side of that coin is that it implies the need for atonement – making good. Without acknowledgement there can be no atonement, and in the case of the Palestinians, without atonement by the West in general, Israel will continue to have a free hand to oppress the Palestinians. British atonement is not enough, but it would be a good beginning.

 

Now Britain, as a state and as a society, shows very little inclination to atone for its terrible mistreatment of the Palestinians. On the contrary, our leadership takes every opportunity to assure the Israelis of our support, despite the self-evident atrocities of their country. A sense that we need to atone for our previous mistreatment of Jews no doubt plays its part in this. More importantly, I think, is the belief which has been inculcated in us that we Gentiles are tainted with a visceral antisemitism and must prove our credentials by loving Jews. This is, of course, a quite irrational idea, and the sooner we see it for the manipulation that it is the better. We could then get on with recognising more pressing issues.

 

If enough Britons were to acknowledge their collective responsibility for what we, as a state, did to the Palestinians, the situation would start to change. As a society we would come to reject the Zionist doctrine, our politicians would no longer fall over themselves to support Israel, and the BBC would stop reporting from Israel as if that state were a noble enterprise. That is why Palestinians ask me to agree that we British are collectively responsible for Balfour.

 

It is for precisely the same reason that I call upon all those who identify themselves as Jews to recognize their own collective complicity in the oppression of the Palestinians. It is not sufficient (though it is good) to say: ‘Not in my name!’ There is a need to acknowledge that their very Jewish identity, which they either cannot dissociate from, or choose not to, comes with a high price tag.

 

Now if Britons are disinclined to acknowledge their collective responsibility, it is not a patch on Jewish reluctance in this respect. For Jews have, since the Second World War, developed a self-image which almost precludes the possibility of collective wrong-doing. I believe that it is Western non-Jewish acquiescence in this view which makes it extremely difficult for our politicians to say or do anything which reflects adversely on the Jewish state. How have we allowed ourselves to be maneuvered into this disastrous position?

 

A key element in this is the ‘Holocaust’ narrative. Have you heard this Jewish joke? A Gentile asks: ‘How many Holocaust Centres can you fit in one country.’ A Jew answers: ‘I don’t know. But we’ll try it and see.’(i) Without our noticing it, we have allowed the story of Nazi atrocities to be hi-jacked by Jews. Again leaving aside the question as to what precisely those atrocities were – I am confident we will have a quite different picture in twenty years time – a key element in the standard narrative is the idea that the Nazi persecution of the Jews occurred in a contextual vacuum. In other words, Jews were in no way responsible for what happened to them (and the Nazis were simply unimaginably evil). They were entirely ‘innocent’, and indeed had always been entirely ‘innocent’ in their previous history of persecution.

 

This was not the view of Jewish historians until the rise of Zionism. Bernard Lazare, for example, was quite clear that Jews were as much responsible for their own persecution as Christians. In his view, expressed in his book Antisemitism: Its History and Causes,(ii) Christian rejection of Jews worked hand-in-hand with Jewish exclusiveness to produce the evils about which he writes. It seems to me that it was only after Herzl published The Jewish State a year later, in 1895, that the idea of an inbuilt predisposition of Gentiles to ‘antisemitism’ began to gain currency. The conclusion drawn from this idea was not only that there need be no explanation for hatred of Jews, but that there is none. After the Second World War this became the predominant view.

 

I have written the word ‘innocent’ above in inverted commas because I do not want to be understood to be endorsing either the reasons that Jews were hated at certain times in history, or indeed the forms that that hatred took. What I am opposing is the idea that this hatred was uncaused. This seems a wholly implausible idea. But its entrenchment in Jewish thinking is so complete that any suggestion, as in my essay, that Jews are currently collectively responsible for what is happening in Gaza, is met with a howl of rage. And that expected howl deters most non-Jews from saying anything about Jewish culpability.

 

Somewhere at the root of all this is a debate about the relationship between the individual and society. The modern Western ethos tends to emphasise the primacy of the individual. But post-modernism has taught us that the individual can only properly be understood in his or her cultural context. It is a severe blow to our individual pride to acknowledge that our thoughts and feeling are to a very large extent moulded by the society (or more accurately ‘cultures’ in the plural) in which we live.

 

People who cry: ‘Don’t hold me collectively responsible for the misdeeds of my country’ – or some other group – are, I believe, in a state of denial about the extent to which they are their country – or society, or family, or even corporation. Why, otherwise, do they say ‘my country’. Such people benefit from the sense of security and belonging their membership of the group gives them. This is the feeling I have whenever I step out of the terminal building at Heathrow. That benefit, to repeat myself, comes with a cost, and it is one which most of us cannot avoid, for most of us cannot ‘unidentify’.

 

Let us use the generic term ‘group’ to describe any gathering of human beings which has a sense of its own identity for this will enable me to answer a fundamental objection to my argument. I write as if there were no categorical difference between ‘the Jews’ and, for example, ‘the British state’. The latter is a clearly delineated and incorporated organisation, ‘the Jews’ are nothing of the kind. It is arguable that they have no universally recognised authority and that Jews are in no way incorporated. It would follow from this line of thinking that it is wrong to make any generalisation about Jews. Worse, that such generalisations arise from racial prejudice, or are, to use the misleading term, ‘antisemitic’.(iii)

 

My approach to this subject arises from my reading of sociology, history and especially psychology. It seems to me that the human instinct to combine together in groups is a fundamental phenomenon of human nature. The role model for all groups is the family. Thus humans seek to recreate in all their groupings their first experience of a group; or at least their instinctive understanding of what a group should be like. Whatever we may believe about equality, groups always tend to endorse an authority structure. In other words they always have ‘parents’ and ‘children’. The development of group culture occurs as a complex interaction between (1) elements imposed by the elite from above, (2) history and (3) elements introduced by the ordinary membership. A further characteristic of groups is that they tend to view outsiders as unreliable, at best, and enemies at worst, while one’s own group is reliable and friendly and deserves our loyalty – in other words it is psychologically the bosom of the family.

 

Whether a group is incorporated or not, whether it has a clear authority structure or not, its existence is confirmed once someone can say: ‘I am a ….’ with the meaning that s/he is a member. And once a group exists it has power (that is its purpose) and becomes a player, however large or small, on the world stage. Thus the fact that people can say: ‘I am a Jew’ confirms that a group called ‘the Jews’ exists. It follows that it is quite legitimate to ask questions about ‘the Jews’ and to attempt to arrive at generalised conclusions about that group.

 

My generalized – but tentative – conclusion about ‘the Jews’ is that they are a group who identify much more strongly around the idea of Zionism than they do around their religion – which a majority do not practise. Indeed, this is what Herzl had intended. In this sense a majority of Jews are clearly complicit in the crimes of Gaza. But there is, of course, a small minority of Jews who reject Zionism. Should I then conclude that the anti-Zionist Jews are not complicit in the crimes of Gaza? Should I revise my ‘Jews collectively’ to ‘all Zionist Jews’ when speaking of complicity?

 

I have already tried to explain why I think this is a mistake when talking about my own collective complicity in slavery and the Balfour Declaration. I will not repeat the argument. But I do want to comment on the degree of anger aroused when I suggest this idea which is, after all, not seriously dissimilar from the widely accepted religious idea of original sin. If I started to doubt my own ideas on this subject, the reaction to what I say would stop me in my tracks. For there is no smoke without fire.

 

On the subject of slavery, by the way, it is interesting that while I am quite prepared to admit my collective complicity in slavery (from which, after all, my country benefited materially), Jews in America have reacted hysterically to the revelation of Jewish involvement in the organisation of the slave trade. Tony Martin, who is black, has described the onslaught against him when he started to teach on this subject.(iv) In other words, this determination to avoid all culpability is a phenomenon which does not limit itself to the Israel-Palestine conflict but which spills over into a much wider Jewish context. Under no circumstances may Jews be represented as sinful. Put like that, it seems absurd, and yet so I believe it has become.

 

And so, when I say that Jews are collectively responsible for Gaza, I am crossing a red line. ‘How dare you place myself and other Jews in the same melting pot?’ I am asked. My answer is: ‘Because you put yourself in the same melting pot by reacting the way you do. You mock the idea of boycotting Israel on the grounds that many of its products are useful. So were the rockets which the Nazis developed and the Americans took over, so that argument takes us to a strange place! But since you oppose even this soft non-violent option for putting pressure on Israel, we can surely conclude that you are indeed in the same melting pot as most Jews in supporting the Jewish state.’ The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

 

 

Francis Clark-Lowes is a freelance writer and adult educator. He has been campaigning for Palestine for many years and was for two years Chair of the British Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). He also revived, and was for some years the Chair of, the Brighton branch of PSC. His doctoral research was on the early psychoanalyst, Wihelm Stekel. Before that he did a master’s dissertation on the influence of Goethe on Freud. In his thirties and forties he lived for a period of ten years in the Middle East. He is 64 and has two adult children.

 

Footnotes:

 

(i)Actually, I invented that joke. Now how do you feel about it? It is interesting to me that we view jokes about Jews quite differently according to whether they are Jewish or not.

(ii)Published as L’Antisémitisme, son histoire et ses causes in 1894.

(iii)That subject needs another essay, but briefly I believe the unspoken concept of ‘semitism’ is a king-pin of Zionist thinking, and should therefore be avoided like the plague.
(iv)Martin, Tony, The Jewish Onslaught: Dispatches from the Wellesley Battlefront, Dover, Mass, The Majority Press, 1993.

This article, which I only found yesterday, thanks to my friend Susanne, is slightly dated by a few weeks, but it is an absolutely astonishing document revealing the behind-the-scenes goings on prior to the current cease-fire in Gaza. Italian journalists of Arabmonitor, the first portal of the Arab World in Italy, have interviewed several of the key players who reveal steps Egypt has taken to block Turkey’s efforts at obtaining a ceasefire, their pressure on Hamas to “declare defeat”, the training of special troops of Dahlan in Egypt for a re-entry into Gaza, and the elation that Abu Mazen felt at the news of the assassinatin of Saed Siyam . Shocking reading….

THE EGYPTIAN NEGOTIATOR SHOUTED AT THE REPRESENTATIVES OF HAMAS: NOBODY IN THE ARAB WORLD CAN AFFORD TO SAY NO TO EGYPT
Damascus, January – The high-level representative of Hamas we had the opportunity to talk to chose to remain anonymous, considering the delicacy of the statements he had to make. With but a few hours into the assassination of Saed Siyam in the Gaza Strip and with equally short time left before the opening of the Arab-Islamic summit hosted by the Emir of Qatar, our interlocutor had been granted only two hours of sleep the previous night and his red-veined, deeply sunken eyeballs tell it all. He reveals to us that it’s not Egypt who is actually negotiating the terms of a cease-fire for Gaza, but Turkey: at least, as far as the demands from the Islamic resistance are concerned.
That is how we get to know that what the delegates of Hamas obtained from Egypt was not a draft for a cease-fire proposal, but a dictate: a lull in fighting for an initial two-weeks period, in order to allow for humanitarian aid to be distributed in the Gaza Strip and during which the terms for a durable long-term cease-fire would be negotiated. Cairo would actually opt for a twenty-years truce, but surely for nothing less than a fifteen-years duration of it, demanding at the same time the resistance to sign up on an unconditional defeat, to renounce armed struggle and refrain from military training for its members, as well as from producing and importing weapons.

During the short-term lull, the two-weeks halt of fire, there would be no opening of border crossings and even humanitarian aid allowed to pass into the Gaza Strip would do so at the discretion of Egypt and Israel.

“We thanked them, but explained that it was unacceptable. General Suleiman (head of the Egyptian intelligence) was furious and shouted: Nobody in the Arab world can afford to say no to Egypt”.

To describe the kind of game Cairo had been playing from early on in the run-up towards the Israeli aggression (starting 27 December), our interlocutor told us that on 26 December the Egyptians asked Hamas to “raise the white flag”, to declare defeat “and then we (the Egyptians) will intervene with the Israelis to guarantee your personal safety”. In any case, during this talk, which took place in the presence of some of Suleiman’s aides, the Egyptian interlocutors assured the Palestinians they had received guarantees from Israel that no military attack against Gaza was on the time-table. “In these three weeks of war there were days in which for periods of up to 48 hours they denied any passage through the Rafah crossing, even to gas canisters urgently needed by the surgical wards of Gaza hospitals.

That’s not all: since about ten days 400 of Mohammad Dahlan’s men (the former strongman of Fatah, the USA and Israel in the Gaza Strip) are guests hosted at an Egyptian military centre in al-Arish (provincial capital of Sinai), where they are being trained by Egyptians”. The plan is for these 400 to return to the Gaza Strip, if not on the back of Israeli tanks, then with the support from Egypt.

In recent days the waters of the Nile began to look very troubled, because Egypt did not appreciate at all the efforts of the Turkish delegation to mediate the terms of a cease-fire. General Suleiman initially even prevented the Turks from meeting the representatives of Hamas, demanding that he himself act as messenger between the two delegations. At a certain point, Ahmed Davotouglu, the senior advisor of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, ran out of patience and the Turkish delegation from Ankara obtained permission to access the Palestinians.

“The Turks went ahead with a quite pragmatic approach. They held out to Suleiman that the Egyptian proposal was, realistically speaking, unacceptable for us and came forward with ideas that would contain guarantees for us as well as for the Israelis. For instance, they proposed to establish a presence of international monitors directly at the crossings, in joint venture with Palestinian forces from the Authority in Gaza, who at the Rafah crossing ­ but only at the Rafah crossing ­ could also consist of a a mixed forces, that is, those of the Palestinian National Authority in addition to our own. According to the Turkish proposal, the international presence would be different from the one set up by the European Union at the Rafah crossing years ago, which practically implemented orders given by Israel through remote control by monitors. According to the new proposal, the forces at the border crossings would act as an independent authority. And again it were the Turks who proposed a time-table of possibly one year for the duration of the cease-fire. We consider Turkey a partner with whom to negotiate, because it has shown much realism”.

Among the key conditions proposed by the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement for a cease-fire there is the demand for a complete and definitive halt of the Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip, the immediate withdrawal of the invasion troops, who “could withdraw within two hours”, but whose evacuation should be accomplished latest within a couple of days, an end of the siege imposed on the area and the opening of all crossings, foremost of the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

We asked our talks partner to give us his evaluation of Abu Mazen’s performance during the present crisis. “Listen, shortly after the outbreak of the Israeli aggression he was called up on telephone by the Secretary General of the Islamic Jihad Ramadan Shallah (who lives in Syria, in exile), asking him to make a gesture and to call Ismail Haniye in Gaza, to find out what was going on. Abu Mazen rejected the plea. We know from absolutely trustworthy sources that yesterday, when news reached them at the Moqata (Abu Mazen’s seat at Ramallah) that Saed Siyam had been killed, the political leaders present, among them Abu Mazen, congratulated themselves and handed out sweets. What could I ever say, at this point?”.

Abu Mazen’s term as President of the Palestinian National Authority has expired on 9 January. “Yes, but given the current circumstances, we don’t want to create additional problems and prefer to suspend the issue until after the end of the war against Gaza, following which, last not least, we must address the task of reconstruction in Gaza”.

Our interlocutor told us that last year, ahead of the Arab League summit in Damascus, Egypt had tried by every means to persuade Palestinian Authority President to boycott the meeting, but Abu Mazen responded: “If I don’t go there, my seat will be occupied by Khaled Meshaal (head of the Political Office of Hamas)”, which was the reason why he went to Damascus (at the recent Arab-Islamic emergency meeting in Doha, from which he remained absent, the seat for the leader representing the Palestinians was indeed occupied by Meshaal).

The Europeans also, who in public always took care to present themselves as “virtuous” in avoiding any contact with Hamas, during the past weeks held more than once talks with the Palestinian Islamic Resistance. “Some of them approached us to express their negative feelings over the fact that we, according to them, refused to abide by the existing cease-fire. When we pointed out to them, that is was in fact Israel who violated the cease-fire by refusing to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip, these countries slipped away.

However, three European countries kept the lines open and we are still in contact with them. They offered their help to find a way out of the crisis. I can’t tell you the names of two of them, only that they are European Union members, one of them a leading power, and the other one driven by an ambitious policy. The third one to offer us their help is Norway”.

Nevertheless, on the American front some interesting developments are coming up. Daniel Kurtzer, former US Ambassador to Israel, who is quite close to Barack Obama’s team, has met twice “as a private citizen” with Hamas leaders. His aim was to “pick up ideas”. The two talks took place in spring 2008 and then again last November, following Obama’s electoral victory. And then, how could we fail to recall that former US President Jimmy Carter had asked for a personal encounter with Khaled Meshal, and with other figures from the Hamas leadership, in April last year as well as in November.

source:

WRITTEN BY IQBAL TAMIMI
Since the first minute the Zionists arrived in Palestine during the first half of the 1900s their policy was clear, it was to empty the land of its indigenous people and house immigrant Jews in their place. Almost 6 million Palestinians are now scattered all over the world as refugees since then, and hundreds of thousands were massacred and housed under the soil for resisting to abandon their home land.

The Telegraph published an article 5 Feb 2009 by Damien McElroy titled Britain offers to accept Palestinians who fled Iraq (30 widows with children!)

The article is about efforts to resettle Palestinians who have been forced into squalid desert refugee camps on the Iraqi border in the hardest conditions including facing hazards of fires and floods that have claimed many lives such as the story of Ahmed Mohammad who lost his pregnant wife when a fire engulfed his tent last month. “The fire took seconds to burn and I could only rescue my son.” said Ahmad. There are more than 800,000 Palestinian refugees still living in Syria and 224,000 are registered with the UN as refugees.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/palestinianauthority/4527498/Britain-offers-to-accept-Palestinians-who-fled-Iraq.html

many Palestinians were never granted citizenship in the countries they fled to, they and their offspring are scattered now all over the world from Europe to Chile. Governments like that of the UK have a moral obligation towards those Palestinian refugees for two reasons: the first is due to the British government’s role and policies since the Balfour Declaration which was a direct contributor to the Palestinians’ misery, and the second is its role in the Iraqi war that ended up with forcing the refugee Palestinians of Iraq to become refugees again. But still a solution like accepting 30 widows is not going to be the perfect solution. These Palestinian widows from the Tanf refugee camp in the desert must be grateful for this kind gesture, but this action solves the problem of 30 widows only, thus discriminating against male refugees who are as much victims as women. Men like 81-year-old Mahmoud Abdul who fled Haifa in 1948 from Palestine to Baghdad, then Amman, Damascus and now again he is with many other Palestinian refugees are in the no-man’s land holding tight to one dream only, they want to be citizens where they can set up homes and feel no one can take that home away from them. Saving the lives of 30 widows is a drop in the ocean regarding solving the problem of 6 million refugees. And we should not brag about accepting to rescue 30 widows after causing 6 million people become exiled and refugees.

Solving the problem of 30 widows or ‘spearheading’ this attempt as the Telegraph has called it, is not good enough, year after year Israel has been forcing more Palestinians to become refugees by enforcing different methods of pressure and expulsion. Even though Palestinians are grateful for such generous gestures they would rather be home in their own properties, taking care of their lands and feeling dignified instead of feeling like a heavy guest.

The new effort to resettle Palestinian refugees outside Palestine is another attempt to patch another hole Israel punctured while being sure that other countries should find a way to mend. Since 1948 Israel has been expelling Palestinians from their country, thus entering the circle of displacement over and over again. The only suggestion Israel keeps coming with is why don’t other Arab countries accommodate them? This is the most ridiculous statement made to escape the blame and dumb problems created by its policies of expanding occupation on other people’s steps. Israel’s continuous suggestions that the Palestinians should be absorbed by other Arab speaking countries is the most ridiculous statement ever, sharing a language does not in any way give a valid reason to accept such responsibility, it would be like a great mixture of people invading Australia because their God told them Australia will always be theirs regardless of where they came from or when they embraced that religion, and then demanding the UK to take the Australian refugees in because they speak English.

The Telegraph was fishing in muddy waters when it said in its report “After turning a blind eye for years, Syria feels it has done enough. There has to be a resettlement solution that allows these people to resettle in a third country.” Why should Syria or any other Arab country solve a problem created by Israel with the blessing of USA and UK? Syria itself is suffering the Israeli aggression and occupation of its Golan Heights and the stealing of its water resources by Israel.

Israel is still refusing to declare its borders, and was and still is expanding illegally on Palestinian land, Israel is still turning a blind eye to the international community and a long list of UN resolutions demanding its withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories and to stop building more settlements on Palestinian land, Israel is still stealing the resources and lands and properties in the Occupied Territories and still gets away with it. The media shows every day Israel being defended by the USA and UK governments, and shows the friendly visits of top politicians visiting Israel on the Palestinian occupied land, yet emphasising Israel’s RIGHTS to live in peace, what a load of ridiculous heap of pathetic policies, they are visiting an occupied territory and yet demanding safety of the occupier not the victims. But one knows well that such visits are not returned back because most Israeli politicians are wanted for war crimes, and the people in the USA and UK have a different stand from that of their government and sympathise with the oppressed Palestinians. Should any Israeli official gamble with his life and visit the UK I am sure he will be executed by being stoned by hales of shoes by the citizens who showed great support and sympathy to the misery of Gaza people.

Should the UK not do something regarding Israel’s continuous policy of forcing Palestinians to exile, one day it will find itself facing the moral obligation of not only taking the 13,000 Palestinians who fled to Syria with faked Iraqi identities but much more than this figure. The UK and other European countries have to bear in mind that if Israel was not stopped by international collective effort, those countries will be forced to clean Israel’s mess, and pass this inheritance to the coming generations.

In the US and the West, we are able and free to debate God and HIS/HER existence, debate Jesus, Moses, Mohamed, debate America, its failures and its successes, debate our constitution and its interpretations. We are free to debate George Bush and his stupidity, his crimes against America and the world, and his many failures. We are free to debate anything and everything except Zionism, Israel and Judaism. In Palestine and the Arab world, we are allowed to discuss few things but one thing no one dares to discuss is the PLO, its illegitimacy and its failures.

Israel committed war crimes for over 20 days in Gaza, killing and murdering in cold blood women and children, destroying homes, schools, social centers, UN facilities, mosques and hospitals yet, no one in the US and the West dare to say anything let alone criticize Israel, its racist and criminal practices, as we have seen in the BBC’s refusal to air calls for aid to Gaza and in the attack on Paul Simon and CBC for its airing of the recent special of why a two state solution is not possible any more.

Mahmoud Abbas, whose presidential term finished and expired a couple of weeks ago and who lost any and all legitimacy as president of Palestine and the Palestinian Authority stood up yesterday in Cairo and declared that under no circumstances will there be any dialogue with those who (Hamas) questions the legitimacy of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

I am sure all Palestinians and the Arab world, with the exception of the very few Palestinians who are on the payroll of the PLO know well that the PLO lost any and all of whatever legitimacy it had to begin with 20 years ago. What remains now of the PLO is nothing more than perhaps a couple of dozen “parasites” around Mahmoud Abbas, direct beneficiaries of his financial generosity. I am sure if the payroll stops they will drop the PLO as hot potatoes.

To begin with, the PLO was never elected, voted or chosen by the Palestinian people, rather the PLO was chosen by the Arab League, which itself is of questionable legitimacy with many Arab leaders coming to power by tanks but not by the ballots and have no legitimacy whatsoever. As at no time did the Palestinian people in an open debate, forums, votes or ballots ever vote for and selected the PLO as “the sole and only representative of the Palestinian people”. An organization like the Arab League with questionable legitimacy cannot vote on or select an organization for and on behalf of the Palestinians people. The Arab League never had a mandate to represent the people of Palestine let alone select its representative, never.

Even in its heyday, the PLO was never legitimate since its officers and members were not elected by the people, but through a process similar in so many ways to the old Communist Party of the old Soviet Union, where the party on its own, without ever going back to the people, chose its general members and this general membership elected a slate of candidates that the leadership put forward. The same is true of the PLO. Arafat as a party leader funded and organized unions such as teachers, artists, social scientists, engineers, students, etc to be part of the “party” and put forward the slate of leadership to head and represent these “unions” and in turn these selected leaders voted the same (Arafat) leadership that voted them in. Thus the Palestine National Council, which is the “elected” people’s congress, was never elected through open election: rather its members where selected by Arafat and his gangs and where voted in. Faulty process to the core.

Thus the Palestine National Congress never truly represented the people and Arafat and his gangs were never voted in by the Palestinian people inside or outside Palestine. That is why there was never ever an open and serious debate on issues of concern to the people such as the occupation, liberation, building institutions, representing the people of the Diaspora, let alone the many fatal and criminal decisions taken by Arafat and the PLO leadership. There was never a debate on what happened in Jordan in 1970, never a debate on what happened in Lebanon, never a debate on what happened in Tel-Zaater and Sabra and Shatila, never a debate on what happened to cause of the forced exiles of 350,000 from Kuwait, never a debate let alone filing criminal and civil charges against all those who committed war crimes against the Palestinian people. Equally troublesome is the lack of debate or call for accountability of the tens of billions of the people’s money that simply disappeared during the tenures of Arafat, Qurai and Abbas. Tens of billions of the people’s money stolen by the very same leadership that is supposed to be the people’s trustees of their money and future. As such the Palestine National Council was nothing more than a ‘yes’ congress for the leadership so similar to the party congress of the Soviet Union, a bunch of ‘yes’ people who serve the wills of their masters, the leadership.

It was the late Arafat and his partners Abbas and Qurai who, once they signed the Oslo agreement recognizing Israel and its occupations, and becoming its agents and administrators, simply discarded the PLO as no entity. The Palestinian Trio of Arafat, Abbas and Qurai, turned the PLO into a “shell” organization putting a number of loyal cadres on the payroll just to keep the PLO under “oxygen”. The Palestinian Authority became the legal and financial partner of the Jewish Occupation. Arafat and Abbas simply put the PLO in a cold freezer, to use only when needed and to serve the purpose of the Jewish Occupation.

Under Oslo, Israel recognized the PLO as “the representative of the Palestinian people” and the only one authorized to sign and execute a “peace agreement” with Israel. Thus Mahmoud Abbas’s insistence on the PLO and its role in the “peace process”. Without Abbas’s PLO, Israel could not consolidate its occupation, could not settle the issue of the refugees, could not keep the Jewish settlements and could not have a financial and security partner. Abbas’s insistence on the legitimacy of the PLO has nothing to do with ending the Jewish Occupation, has nothing to do with the Apartheid Wall, has nothing to do with ending the Jewish settlements, has nothing to do with return of refugees, has nothing to do with Jerusalem, has nothing to do with Jewish war crimes, has nothing to do with the 11,000 hostages held by Israel, certainly it has nothing to do with the siege of Gaza, with the war on Gaza and the Jewish war crimes committed in Gaza. It has everything to do with his the PLO legal obligations under Oslo to deliver Palestine and the Palestinian people under occupation and in the Diaspora to Israel. Without the PLO Israel could not reach a “peace agreement” that makes Israel a controlling partner of all Occupied Palestine of ‘67 including Jerusalem.

As for Israel and the lack of debate, we all know what happened to anyone and everyone who dares to say or speak out. They end up on the side streets of Washington, Berlin, Paris and London, politically finished and ruined. A deadly bullet waits all those who dare to speak out. The same is true in Palestine and the Arab world.

http://www.jeffersoncorner.com/the-forbidden-debate/

The Forbidden Debate

Posted: 02/05/2009 by editormary in Uncategorized

WRITTEN BY SAMI JAMIL JADALLAH
In the US and the West, we are able and free to debate God and HIS/HER existence, debate Jesus, Moses, Mohamed, debate America, its failures and its successes, debate our constitution and its interpretations. We are free to debate George Bush and his stupidity, his crimes against America and the world, and his many failures. We are free to debate anything and everything except Zionism, Israel and Judaism. In Palestine and the Arab world, we are allowed to discuss few things but one thing no one dares to discuss is the PLO, its illegitimacy and its failures.

Israel committed war crimes for over 20 days in Gaza, killing and murdering in cold blood women and children, destroying homes, schools, social centers, UN facilities, mosques and hospitals yet, no one in the US and the West dare to say anything let alone criticize Israel, its racist and criminal practices, as we have seen in the BBC’s refusal to air calls for aid to Gaza and in the attack on Paul Simon and CBC for its airing of the recent special of why a two state solution is not possible any more.

Mahmoud Abbas, whose presidential term finished and expired a couple of weeks ago and who lost any and all legitimacy as president of Palestine and the Palestinian Authority stood up yesterday in Cairo and declared that under no circumstances will there be any dialogue with those who (Hamas) questions the legitimacy of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

I am sure all Palestinians and the Arab world, with the exception of the very few Palestinians who are on the payroll of the PLO know well that the PLO lost any and all of whatever legitimacy it had to begin with 20 years ago. What remains now of the PLO is nothing more than perhaps a couple of dozen “parasites” around Mahmoud Abbas, direct beneficiaries of his financial generosity. I am sure if the payroll stops they will drop the PLO as hot potatoes.

To begin with, the PLO was never elected, voted or chosen by the Palestinian people, rather the PLO was chosen by the Arab League, which itself is of questionable legitimacy with many Arab leaders coming to power by tanks but not by the ballots and have no legitimacy whatsoever. As at no time did the Palestinian people in an open debate, forums, votes or ballots ever vote for and selected the PLO as “the sole and only representative of the Palestinian people”. An organization like the Arab League with questionable legitimacy cannot vote on or select an organization for and on behalf of the Palestinians people. The Arab League never had a mandate to represent the people of Palestine let alone select its representative, never.

Even in its heyday, the PLO was never legitimate since its officers and members were not elected by the people, but through a process similar in so many ways to the old Communist Party of the old Soviet Union, where the party on its own, without ever going back to the people, chose its general members and this general membership elected a slate of candidates that the leadership put forward. The same is true of the PLO. Arafat as a party leader funded and organized unions such as teachers, artists, social scientists, engineers, students, etc to be part of the “party” and put forward the slate of leadership to head and represent these “unions” and in turn these selected leaders voted the same (Arafat) leadership that voted them in. Thus the Palestine National Council, which is the “elected” people’s congress, was never elected through open election: rather its members where selected by Arafat and his gangs and where voted in.  Faulty process to the core.

Thus the Palestine National Congress never truly represented the people and Arafat and his gangs were never voted in by the Palestinian people inside or outside Palestine. That is why there was never ever an open and serious debate on issues of concern to the people such as the occupation, liberation, building institutions, representing the people of the Diaspora, let alone the many fatal and criminal decisions taken by Arafat and the PLO leadership. There was never a debate on what happened in Jordan in 1970, never a debate on what happened in Lebanon, never a debate on what happened in Tel-Zaater and Sabra and Shatila, never a debate on what happened to cause of the forced exiles of 350,000 from Kuwait, never a debate let alone filing criminal and civil charges against all those who committed war crimes against the Palestinian people. Equally troublesome is the lack of debate or call for accountability of the tens of billions of the people’s money that simply disappeared during the tenures of Arafat, Qurai and Abbas. Tens of billions of the people’s money stolen by the very same leadership that is supposed to be the people’s trustees of their money and future. As such the Palestine National Council was nothing more than a ‘yes’ congress for the leadership so similar to the party congress of the Soviet Union, a bunch of ‘yes’ people who serve the wills of their masters, the leadership.

It was the late Arafat and his partners Abbas and Qurai who, once they signed the Oslo agreement recognizing Israel and its occupations, and becoming its agents and administrators, simply discarded the PLO as no entity. The Palestinian Trio of Arafat, Abbas and Qurai, turned the PLO into a “shell” organization putting a number of loyal cadres on the payroll just to keep the PLO under “oxygen”. The Palestinian Authority became the legal and financial partner of the Jewish Occupation. Arafat and Abbas simply put the PLO in a cold freezer, to use only when needed and to serve the purpose of the Jewish Occupation.

Under Oslo, Israel recognized the PLO as “the representative of the Palestinian people” and the only one authorized to sign and execute a “peace agreement” with Israel. Thus Mahmoud Abbas’s insistence on the PLO and its role in the “peace process”. Without Abbas’s PLO, Israel could not consolidate its occupation, could not settle the issue of the refugees, could not keep the Jewish settlements and could not have a financial and security partner. Abbas’s insistence on the legitimacy of the PLO has nothing to do with ending the Jewish Occupation, has nothing to do with the Apartheid Wall, has nothing to do with ending the Jewish settlements, has nothing to do with return of refugees, has nothing to do with Jerusalem, has nothing to do with Jewish war crimes, has nothing to do with the 11,000 hostages held by Israel, certainly it has nothing to do with the siege of Gaza, with the war on Gaza and the Jewish war crimes committed in Gaza. It has everything to do with his the PLO legal obligations under Oslo to deliver Palestine and the Palestinian people under occupation and in the Diaspora to Israel. Without the PLO Israel could not reach a “peace agreement” that makes Israel a controlling partner of all Occupied Palestine of ‘67 including Jerusalem.

As for Israel and the lack of debate, we all know what happened to anyone and everyone who dares to say or speak out. They end up on the side streets of Washington, Berlin, Paris and London, politically finished and ruined.  A deadly bullet waits all those who dare to speak out. The same is true in Palestine and the Arab world.

http://www.jeffersoncorner.com/the-forbidden-debate/

quote of the day

Posted: 02/05/2009 by editormary in Falastin, Quotes

I would propose to everyone in this room that the first question on our minds when dealing with a humanitarian crisis of this magnitude is not whether or not these people are terrorists, but how we can help them?
Samer Badawi, United Palestinian Appeal

WRITTEN BY Paul Craig Roberts

According to US government propaganda, terrorist cells are spread throughout America, making it necessary for the government to spy on all to Americans and violate most other constitutional protections. Among President Bush’s last words as he left office was the warning that America would soon be struck again by Muslim terrorists.

If America were infected with terrorists, we would not need the government to tell us. We would know it from events. As there are no events, the US government substitutes warnings in order to keep alive the fear that causes the public to accept pointless wars, the infringement of civil liberty, national ID cards, and inconveniences and harassments when they fly.

The most obvious indication that there are no terrorist cells is that not a single neocon has been assassinated.

I do not approve of assassinations, and am ashamed of my country’s government for engaging in political assassination. The US and Israel have set a very bad example for al Qaeda to follow.

The US deals with al Qaeda and Taliban by assassinating their leaders, and Israel deals with Hamas by assassinating its leaders. It is reasonable to assume that al Qaeda would deal with the instigators and leaders of America’s wars in the Middle East in the same way.

Today every al Qaeda member is aware of the complicity of neoconservatives in the death and devastation inflicted on Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Gaza. Moreover, neocons are highly visible and are soft targets compared to Hamas and Hezbollah leaders. Neocons have been identified in the media for years, and as everyone knows, multiple listings of their names are available online.

Neocons do not have Secret Service protection. Dreadful to contemplate, but it would be child’s play for al Qaeda to assassinate any and every neocon. Yet, neocons move around freely, a good indication that the US does not have a terrorist problem.

If, as neocons constantly allege, terrorists can smuggle nuclear weapons or dirty bombs into the US with which to wreak havoc upon our cities, terrorists can acquire weapons with which to assassinate any neocon or former government official.

Yet, the neocons, who are the Americans most hated by Muslims, remain unscathed.
The “war on terror” is a hoax that fronts for American control of oil pipelines, the profits of the military-security complex, the assault on civil liberty by fomenters of a police state, and Israel’s territorial expansion.

There were no al Qaeda in Iraq until the Americans brought them there by invading and overthrowing Saddam Hussein, who kept al Qaeda out of Iraq.

The Taliban is not a terrorist organization, but a movement attempting to unify Afghanistan under Muslim law. The only Americans threatened by the Taliban are the Americans Bush sent to Afghanistan to kill Taliban and to impose a puppet state on the Afghan people.
   
    *  Hamas is the democratically elected government of Palestine, or what little remains of Palestine after Israel’s illegal annexations. Hamas is a terrorist organization in the same sense that the Israeli government and the US government are terrorist organizations. In an effort to bring Hamas under Israeli hegemony, Israel employs terror bombing and assassinations against Palestinians. Hamas replies to the Israeli terror with homemade and ineffectual rockets.
   
    *  Hezbollah represents the Shi’ites of southern Lebanon, another area in the Middle East that Israel seeks for its territorial expansion.
   
     * The US brands Hamas and Hezbollah “terrorist organizations” for no other reason than the US is on Israel’s side of the conflict. There is no objective basis for the US Department of State’s”finding” that Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist organizations. It is merely a propagandistic declaration.
    
    *  Americans and Israelis do not call their bombings of civilians terror. What Americans and Israelis call terror is the response of oppressed people who are stateless because their countries are ruled by puppets loyal to the oppressors. These people, dispossessed of their own countries, have no State Departments, Defense Departments, seats in the United Nations, or voices in the mainstream media. They can submit to foreign hegemony or resist by the limited means available to them.
   
    *  The fact that Israel and the United States carry on endless  propaganda to prevent this fundamental truth from being realized indicates that it is Israel and the US that are in the wrong and the Palestinians, Lebanese, Iraqis, and Afghans who are being wronged.
   
    *  The retired American generals who serve as war propagandists for Fox “News” are forever claiming that Iran arms the Iraqi and  Afghan insurgents and Hamas. But where are the arms? To deal with American tanks, insurgents have to construct homemade explosive devices out of artillery shells. After six years of conflict the insurgents still have no weapon against the American helicopter gunships. Contrast this *”arming”* with the weaponry the US supplied to the Afghans three decades ago when they were fighting to drive out the Soviets.
   
    *  The films of Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza show large numbers of Gazans fleeing from Israeli bombs or digging out the dead and maimed, and none of these people are armed. A person would think that by now every Palestinian would be armed, every man, woman, and child. Yet, all the films of the Israeli attack show an  unarmed population. Hamas has to construct homemade rockets that are little more than a sign of defiance. If Hamas were armed by Iran, Israel’s assault on Gaza would have cost Israel its helicopter gunships, its tanks, and hundreds of lives of its soldiers.
   
     * Hamas is a small organization armed with small caliber rifles incapable of penetrating body armor. Hamas is unable to stop small bands of Israeli settlers from descending on West Bank Palestinian villages, driving out the Palestinians, and appropriating their land.
   
     * The great mystery is: why after 60 years of oppression are the Palestinians still an unarmed people? Clearly, the Muslim countries are complicit with Israel and the US in keeping the Palestinians unarmed.
   
    *  The unsupported assertion that Iran supplies sophisticated arms to the Palestinians is like the unsupported assertion that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. These assertions are propagandistic justifications for killing Arab civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure in order to secure US and Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.
      
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during US President Reagan’s first term.  He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal.  He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution: An Insider’s Account of Policymaking in Washington http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067485621X/103-9747828-0329461;
 Alienation and the Soviet Economy
and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy
and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of GoodIntentions: How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling theConstitution in the Name of Justice

Once upon an alleged democracy, the Egyptian government decided a couple of days ago to try the journalist Majdi Hussein, the secretary-general of the Egyptian Labour party in a military court – even though he is a civilian – because he broke the law when he tried to “illegally enter the Gaza Strip”.

 

One wonders what is legal and what is not when it comes to Gaza.  It seems the law in Egypt is extremely elastic and can accommodate all manipulations and tailoring of the law to fit different sizes of growing plots. The good old Egyptian system is abiding by the law to the letter, and that’s why it wants to try a journalist in a military court for entering Gaza ‘illegally’ while the good old authority was providing the Israeli military ‘legally’ with tons of foods through the Gaza crossings while blocking any food sent to the starved to death children of Gaza who were burned to the bone by white phosphorus by that same Israeli army Egypt was feeding.

 

Last month the opposition Egyptian newspaper Alosbooa ‘The Week’ revealed in one of its reports a controversial story that was not refuted by the authorities about the Egyptian company ‘International Union of Food Industries’ which was providing the Israeli army with large quantities of homegrown Egyptian vegetables during the aggression on Gaza, since the very first day of the aggression. 

 

The report revealed that the Egyptian trucks were loaded with tons of frozen local grown vegetables from the company stores in the city of Sadat to the Israeli company “Food Channel”, through Al Awja crossing between Egypt and Israel. One of the drivers said that he has made these deliveries many times to Israel but he was hiding this fact from his relatives and neighbours in Albadry neighbourhood at Assalam city, and that he used to tell them that he was delivering goods to other Arab countries, or the delivery is heading towards far ports like Savaja because he was embarrassed to tell them the truth. Other drivers said they no more feel embarrassed or ashamed of doing so because their government itself has normalized relations with Israel years ago. The workers in the company said that the food was repackaged with Hebrew writing, showing the expiry date and the contents, and that the food has been prepared according to Jewish religious rules.  Thus indicating that it complied with the traditional religious Jewish parameters, and that’s why the company imposed a cordon around the place, keeping stored bags, boxes, posters and empty cartons away from the sight of intruders, not allowing any of the workers or the staff to approach the packaging area, and searching every worker at the end of his shift before leaving.

 

Contrary to what was expected, trade exchange between Egypt and Israel because of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians has increased notably to 4 billion dollars in addition to exports of oil and gas.

 

Regarding the journalist Majdi Husse, this was not his first encounter with the Egyptian authorities. He was Chief Editor of an Egyptian Islamic bi-weekly when he was imprisoned for 4 months along with the journalist Muhammad Hilal in 1998 with charges of defaming former Minister of the Interior in Egypt, Lt. Gen. Hussein al-Alfi.

Hussein said he was prevented twice by the Egyptian authorities from entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing point, forcing him to take an alternative route to get into the Palestinian territories.

The Egyptian prosecutor in Al-Arish city said the decision to put Hussein on military trial (even though he is a civilian) came after three days of investigations with him, and that he was arrested upon his arrival to the Egyptian side of the border with Gaza. The trial of Hussein is expected to be held on Thursday.

The Labour party in Egypt considered subjecting one of its top officials to a military trial as a grave violation of human rights, since he is a civilian, and commented that Majdi’s decision to get into Gaza Strip was driven by his “nationalist, Islamic, and popular considerations, and that Majdi’s determination to enter the Strip reflects the general feeling in the Egyptian street to lift the siege on Gaza and to open the Rafah crossing point before the Palestinian people.”

Majidi is not the only Arab journalist Egyptian authorities prevented from entering Gaza, the Al-Jazeera team was denied entry into Gaza too. The Egyptian authorities denied two of Al-Jazeera’s top journalists Ahmed Mansour and Ghassan Bin Jiddo entry into the Gaza Strip without explaining the reasons. Especially since Egypt had granted entry into the Gaza Strip to foreign and European journalists.

In a telephone call with his satellite channel, Mansour confirmed that the Egyptian authorities told them that they (he and bin Jiddo) were denied entry, at a time it granted many journalists of different nationalities the right to enter the Strip.

“We presented our identification documents to the Egyptian authorities and requested permission to enter the Gaza Strip as other journalists did, but we were denied entry,” added Mansour.

Mansour also said that the Egyptian officials stopped answering their telephone calls, but he stressed that the Al-Jazeera team will remain at the borders till a rational reason by the Egyptian authorities is given to justify such action.

Hence, according to the law-abiding Egyptian authorities, it is illegal to open the crossing to allow food and aid to the starved Gaza children, but it is legal to feed the Zionist army who were barbecuing Gaza children. It is legal to allow foreign journalists to cross to the Gaza haven, but it is against the law to allow Arab journalists to cross the borders to investigate or offer emotional support. It seems it is legal to stand on the borders and watch a full nation being killed and not only to stand idly doing nothing, but also to punish those who intend to help.

Translated into English by Manuel Talens and revised by Mary Rizzo

 

During the current Israeli aggression to Gaza both the Spanish Left and Right have built linguistic fences to position themselves around the problem. The case of the Spanish institutional Left is without any doubt paradigmatic: on one side there a party now in office – the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, PSOE – whose Minister of Foreign Affairs pretends to be a personal friend of Palestinians [1], whose Prime Minister Zapatero condemned the Israeli attacks during a PSOE meeting and whose militants (some of them) demonstrated in solidarity with Palestine. But on the other side, the government issued from this same party is among the ten main exporters of weapons to Israel, its secret services cooperates with their Israeli counterparts, it maintains preferential agreements with Tel Aviv, it supports the creation of the Sepharad-Israel House in Spain and it insists that what the party does is irrelevant to both the government’s performance and its State policies, which of course are to maintain very good diplomatic relations with “the great Israeli democracy” (so defined by the current UN President, Nicolas Sarkozy).

 

If this schizophrenic performance characterizes the party in office, the case of other Spanish organizations – labour unions and other left-wing groups with institutional vocation – is no less disturbing. While they have condemned Israel for its attacks, they also have emphasized their condemnation of Hamas as responsible for what happened to the Palestinians – although without mimicking Simon’s Peres accusations, – essentially sustaining the same justificatory arguments held by the Israeli government. They all have looked for a common denominator, a common language of consent – the same one that the Minister of Foreign Affairs Moratinos requests of the Palestinians when he says that “we don’t want unity but consent” – which would allow them to simultaneously show solidarity with Palestinians and be politically correct.

 

This consent has been built upon two taboos: never to use the word genocide and never question the Israeli democracy.

 

The objective result of building consent upon the negation of genocide and accepting the farce of Israeli democracy is a continuous complicity and the blockade of any fair option for the Palestinian people.

 

The imposition of consent betrays a far-reaching political objective in Spain. Either consciously or unconsciously it has intercepted the explosions of rage and pain by both Arab and Spaniards in the country, which have been systematically excluded, reprehended and silenced by the organized groups that led the manifestations of solidarity with the Palestinian people [2]. The Arabs of Spain went massively to all demonstrations in the country but were forced to accept the conditions imposed by these groups which organized the events, wrote the manifestos and chose “what actions were authorized and what not.” The fear that the immigrant Arab population – fully identified with the Palestinian cause – could explode and that this explosion could be considered as shared by the government has forced both the government and the Socialist party to a strategy to channel and control what the Left could carry out. [3]

 

The PSOE has managed to be part of all groups that organized actions and its interest in it was clear: to “normalize” them, to “control” them and to avoid any “radicalism,” as it risked to get out of hand considering what had happened in past demonstrations during the Iraq war. Clearly the PSOE wanted to avoid being forced to call the Israeli ambassador for consultations, to officially condemn the Israeli government or to interrupt the preferential relations with it.

 

As for other groups – unions, parties, some ONGs – a “minimum of consent” was essential to sustain the image of a not-radicalized-Left (so profitable from the institutional stand) while at the same time preserving the image of solidarity and the prestige of the slogan “another world is possible.” 

 

The Israeli genocide of Palestinians

 

The task of both PSOE militants and all other groups whose priorities are institutional was clear from the start: to provide all kinds of media, legal and economic support to demonstrations of solidarity with Gaza while intercepting all initiatives susceptible to friction with the Israeli government. That’s why the use of the word genocide was rejected in banners, manifestos, etc. under the threat of breaking the coalition of forces.

 

But why has it been so important to banish the word genocide from the vocabulary on any denunciation of Israel and of any act of solidarity with the Palestinian population? Why was the consented word massacre? Instead of looking into laws or international legislations, let’s see the definition of the word genocide in the Spanish Royal Academy Dictionary (DRAE): “extermination or systematic elimination of a social group for reasons of race, religion or politics.”

 

Historian Ilan Pappe carried out an exhaustive research on Jewish sources – unclassified documents from Israeli security services, Zionist files, Department of State reports, Ben Gurion’s files, military statements – and he reached the irrefutable conclusion that from the very moment of the foundation of the State of Israel the Jews planned the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. [4] In a recent piece he refers to different researchers who “call attention on the distinction between massacres that are part of a genocide, i.e., that are planned, and the unplanned massacres that directly happen out of hate and vengeance in the general context of an ethnic cleansing.” [5] All the indications and certainties of Israel’s “new historians” point to the fact that in the case of Israel’s acts against Palestinians they were massacres that happened in the context of the ethnic cleansing designed by the Israeli State, but at the same time, the original planning, systematization and political objectives made most of these massacres an integral part of the genocide against Palestinians. So if the ethnic cleansing – the genocide of Palestinians – is implicit to the foundational act of the Israeli nation, then the very existence of this State is delegitimized.

 

According to the DRAE the word massacre implies “slaughter of generally defenceless people produced by an armed attack or a similar cause.” If we substitute the word genocide for massacre we end up with a unplanned, not even intentional act against two, three or a hundred people but not against a people as a whole; a massacre is the result of “an armed attack or similar cause”, that is to say that it can be either the result of a war or that its causal relationship is directly related to an armed conflict so that the objective cannot be neither political – intended to eliminate people for racial, ethnic or political questions – nor its objective is to exterminate the civil population but rather it can be a unwanted consequence, uncontrolled hate by soldiers, a disproportion justified by technical questions… Finally, the people killed are – according to the DRAE – “generally defenceless” but maybe not. All of this means that a single word can be paramount to characterize and politically position people whether they use it or not. Words are neither neuter nor objective. In this case they characterize a conflict and place their users in one position or another.

 

From the point of view of the political costs, most of the organizations present in demonstrations did not risk anything before the mobilized masses as these did not perceive the difference between the words genocide and massacre; so organizers opted for the most acceptable term in order to safeguard all of their institutional contacts.

 

Beyond juridical considerations and the well-known pragmatism of law professionals, the definition of the attacks on Gaza as a massacre has contributed to halt any further analysis, considering it just as a regrettable but punctual fact similar to the destruction of Jenin in 2002. Calling it a “disproportionate attack” permits the filing of the case as a new example of the wrongdoings of certain leaders who maybe one day could be prosecuted for war crimes for their “errors” and their “disproportions.” Seen from a distance, the Spaniards’ image will be that of supportive human beings moved by the deaths of innocent people who after the “massacre” will return to mend their daily business after having done all that they could. By refusing to recognize the logic of manipulating words and scrutinizing the essence of the conflict and by adapting its speech to official requirements, the good-hearted and harmless Spanish “Left” has sided again – even without realizing it – with the wrong camp. 

 

Boycotting Israel

 

Neither Spanish institutions nor certain groups either favoured or compensated by their “efforts for peace” like to speak of boycotting Israel. A boycott implies to “deprive a person or an entity of all social or commercial exchanges in order to harm it and to force it to give in.” If all solidarity groups with Palestine ask – either politely or less so – that is it necessary to request Israel to abide by the United Nations resolutions, why do they give up an instrument as effective as the boycott as happened in South Africa?

 

In the case of Israel, requesting it to abide by the resolutions is like sending a letter to Santa Claus, even more considering the zero possibility of the UN either to force sanctions to Israel by the Security Council or to force it to abide by its resolutions. On top of that let’s not forget that the origin of the problem was the UN.

 

To deprive Israel of commercial exchanges could strangle its economy; its economy is not self-sufficient and its exchanges with Middle East countries would not allow Israel to commercially survive. On the other hand, its economy is strongly militarized, it depends on the US war industry and on the plundering of Palestinian resources. Israel would have a real problem if a boycott impacted on its commercial exchanges. In Spain there are groups which don’t refuse this kind of boycott because it can be carried out on an individual basis, it depends on the will of consumers and it permits justification of the resources spent on the necessary campaigns to increase sensitivity; a boycott would not jeopardize their institutional relations either. Other Spanish groups, it is true, defend this type of boycott with total sincerity.

 

The true problem arises when we think about an institutional boycott. From a political point of view a boycott of institutional relations with Israel has unacceptable implications to the Spanish State because the target of such a boycott is the democratic legitimacy of Israel. The aim of such a boycott would not have anything to do with the modification of a particular policy, or with the recognition of Palestinians, or with certain concession to the other part in conflict but with the very essence of the “Israeli democracy” in which there are discriminatory laws that mimic the South African apartheid system and create second class Arab Israeli citizens, i.e., the Law of Nationality that establishes differences in acquiring citizenship for Jews and non-Jews; the Law of Citizenship which forbids Israeli citizens to marry a resident of the occupied Palestinian territories [6]; the Law of Return which establishes that any Jew of the world can obtain citizenship and many privileges if he/she moves to Israel; as well, there are more than 11.000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israel to whom they apply military justice and the practice of torture is accepted by Israel based upon the British Command laws, etc.

 

The boycott entertains the possibility that both citizens and institutions could carry out actions that they depend entirely on them, not on the will of Israel nor of their own governments. This would suppose the breaking, even partial, of Israeli impunity. The impotence and the discouragement that generates an International Community unable to force Israel to abide by the UN resolutions and the message of a powerful Israel against whom nothing can be done would crumble with actions controlled by citizens and institutions (universities, sport organizations, foundations, unions, parties).

 

The blockade of the words genocide and boycott by the Spanish institutionalized “Left” neutralizes and deactivates the struggle against Israeli Zionism and reduces almost all the country’s political spectrum to the role of mere spectators who watch it with “indignation” and then scratch their pockets obeying Moratinos’ order to concentrate themselves on the humanitarian aid, so politically profitable. Meanwhile Palestinians will continue being bad victims because they will prefer, even at the cost of being murdered either slowly or quickly, to continue resisting and fighting for their territory. 

 

Notes

 

[1] Today Moratinos is one of the Israeli government’s main champions in Spain up to the point of having apologized to  Minister Tizpi Livni. He says he will try to reform the Spanish legislation so that it won’t permit again the prosecution of military Israelis on the charges of war crimes, as it has just happened at the Spanish National Audience on January 29th, 2009.

 

[2] The Arabs showed up massively at the first meeting before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Madrid (January 3rd, 2009), responding to the call of mosques. They overflowed the organizers, generating a spontaneous demonstration that walked toward the Israeli embassy and blocked important Madrid avenues. From that moment on it was clear to the PSOE that the danger of overflow had to be avoided.

 

[3] In fact, this channelling and control strategy was implemented by the PSOE just after the March 11 Madrid’s Atocha bombing in 2004: it created a federal group of “socialist Arabs” inside the secretary of social “Movements and relations with NGOs”. At the Ministry of Justice it also created the Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation to offer courses on both Islam and democratic principles, sponsor seminars on the integration of Muslims and follow-up the congresses of the Islamic communities in Spain, etc.

[4] Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Oneworld, 2006.

[5] Ibidem, “Demons of the Nakba”, Al-Ahram, May 17, 2002.

 

[6] If this happens the Jew loses all his/her rights as an Israeli citizen.

 

 

Source in Spanish: Los límites de la “izquierda” en su defensa del pueblo palestino

 

Ángeles Diez is professor of Political Sciences at the Madrid Complutense University. She has a PhD on Contemporary Latin America. She has done research work on collective action, social movements and NGOs.

 

The Spanish writer and translator Manuel Talens is a member of Tlaxcala, the Translators’ Network for Linguistic Diversity.