Archive for the ‘Counter-terrorism, No thanks!’ Category

Jubliant Americans

News during the last couple of weeks has rumbled in to shake an already rickety balance of world order. Perhaps one of the most disturbing images accompanying those headlines, though, was not that of more bruised and bulleted bodies. Rather, the image was of what the Associated Press termed a ‘jubilant crowd’. As though they had just won the World Cup Final, Americans waved flags as they sang and chanted their patriotic celebration.

Osama Bin Laden, they had just been told, had been shot dead. After nearly a decade-long manhunt, he had finally been pounced upon in Pakistan. The crowd cheered. And when President Obama made the official announcement, he coaxed the nation to cheer the same; he concluded by quoting the American pledge of allegiance:

‘Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all’.

‘Indivisible’. In this one word lies the notion that has fed American policy for many, many years: united we stand-divided they fall.

This is the disturbing aspect about the spectacle that accompanied a political assassination. The power that drives the ruin of lives has been reduced to a sports-style competition. The longstanding game strategy has become brazen: (1) unite ourselves to challenge a common enemy-of-the-day, (2) keep all designated enemies splintered with hostilities, and then (3) exploit the resulting instability. A 2005 report called ‘Dividing Our Enemies’, a report produced by the US Special Operations Command, admits frankly: ‘exploiting the rivalries or animosities among the insurgent bands clearly meets our goals’.

By way of example, just last month President Obama gave a speech stressing the importance of strengthening the nation by all working together. Meanwhile, American leaders were bristling at the renewed rumours of an impending reconciliation between the Fatah and Hamas parties of Palestine. They then promptly issued threats to cut off American support to the Palestinians should the Palestinians choose to work together themselves.

Within days, twenty-seven US Senators formerly demanded that President Obama ‘stand by its refusal to work with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas’. The Senators declared:

‘It is imperative for you [President Obama] to make clear to President Abbas that Palestinian Authority participation in a unity government with an unreformed Hamas will jeopardize its relationship with the United States, including its receipt of U.S. aid’.

Why had political support and financial aid been offered in the first place? Clearly not to facilitate a stable government of national unity. Repeatedly over the years, whenever the Palestinians have expressed their own unity, they have been rebuked for seeking their own terms of agreement. Only those Palestinians who were willing to abide by the terms of the Western “Israeli” Alliance were welcome.

This American pattern of provoking and prolonging internal hostilities amongst strategically targeted populations has been played out time and again in the Middle East. With protecting its “Israeli” project in the forefront, successive American governments have spared no effort to tame the Palestinians and Lebanese. Being unprocurable, Lebanon was played. From the 1950’s onward, relentless political manipulation and violent interference ensued.

Just as they had with the Palestinians, American governments offered political support and financial aid to select Lebanese-but only as a means of leverage. In the run-up to the Lebanese national election of 2009, for example, US Vice President Biden warned that his government would assess its willingness to continue aid to Lebanon ‘based on the composition of the new [Lebanese] government and the policies it advocates’. Years of open hostility toward Lebanese parties supportive of the Resistance clarified beyond any doubt what he meant.

Yet again in January 2011, the US cautioned that it ‘would have great concerns about a government within which Hizbullah plays a leading role’ and warned once again it could cut off aid, that tantalising carrot dangled in the faces of those pursued as strategic allies. A game played by house rules. But when the so-called assistance is bartered not for peace and stability, but solely for the political gain of the lender, then the role of the international community has gone terribly wrong.

Eleven years ago this month, the Lebanese thwarted the strategy of the Western “Israeli” Alliance to divide and conquer. The Lebanese Resistance rejected the presence of American-paid mercenaries and liberated its land from military occupation. The Resistance liberated its people from the dictum of imposed division. In so doing, the Resistance confirmed that the right to a durable national unity is not the prerogative of the Western world.

In similar fashion, the various calls for reform we are witnessing today in the Arab world are calls for integrity. They are resistance to a state divided from its people, resistance to a people divided from each other, and resistance to foreign states imposing their own agendas. In particular, the eagerness of the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples to achieve national unity is a key element of this developing global balance. Yet their eagerness has not been cheered; instead, it has been routinely met with stern disapproval from America-the self-proclaimed champion of united patriotism.

The concept of national unity, whether Arab or Western, should guide and grow with its people. It should be built on what is right about its own people-and not on what it perceives to be wrong about another. If we are ever to establish peaceful relations, the role of the international community is to be an honest broker in the pursuit of mutual benefit. When lives are at stake, it is simply not a game.

Brenda Heard is Founder of Friends of Lebanon, London. Details of the Lebanese Resistance & Liberation Day event in London, 25 May, ‘Reform as Resistance: emerging independence within the Arab world’ can be found here.

http://www.english.moqawama.org/essaydetails.php?eid=14083&cid=269


(Italian subtitles by Diego Traversa, French by Mirielle Rumeau)
To reply to the Gaza youth Manifesto, and with no additional words to the ones spoken with true heart on this video, we give you, The Manifesto. A simple, true, self-explanatory, expression of what we’re sick of.

As these days mark the 63rd memory of the Nakba, our people all around the world, revolt, and object to the injustice and hatred we are met with on a day to day basis, just because we’re Palestinians and just because we exist.

I urge your humanity and your conscience, to spread on this video, so the 15th of May 1948, wouldn’t ever be forgot, and so Palestinians would once more have their freedom and rights back; especially the right of return.

Salamat,
Two anonymous from Palestine.

كرد على بيان شباب غزة، وبدون أي كلمات إضافية للكلمات الصادقة من القلب التي قيلت في هذا الفيديو، نقدم نحن لكم “البيان” والذي هو تعبيرنا البسيط والصريح والغاني عن الشرح، الذي يعبر عن كل الأشياء “اللي احنا زهقنا منها”.

في هذه الأيام التي تمثل الذكرى الثالثة والستين للنكبة، شعبنا في مختلف أنحاء العالم ينتفض ويحتج على الظلم والكراهية التي نعامل بها على أساس يومي، فقط “علشان احنا فلسطينية”.

أنا أحث إنسانيتكم وضمائركم لتنشروا بياننا، لكي يبقى 15-5-1948 يوما لا ينسى في تاريخ الشعوب، ولكي يستعيد الفلسطينيون حريتهم وحقوقهم، وخاصة حقهم في العودة.

سلامات،
عشوائيان من فلسطين.

63 ans de Nakba

Par Deux anonymes de Gaza

Pour répondre au Manifeste de la Jeunesse de Gaza, et sans ajouter un mot à ceux qui sont dits du fond du cœur sur cette vidéo, nous vous donnons Le Manifeste. L’expression simple, qui se passe d’explications, de tout ce dont nous avons marre. En ces jours qui marquent le 63ème souvenir de la Nakba, notre peuple, dans le monde entier, se révolte et proteste contre l’injustice et la haine que nous rencontrons chaque jour, simplement parce que nous sommes Palestiniens et simplement parce que nous existons. (cliquer pour la suite du post et la traduction des sous-titres)
Nous en appelons à votre humanité et à votre conscience pour diffuser cette vidéo, pour que le 15 mai 1948 ne soit jamais oublié, et pour que les Palestiniens recouvrent leur liberté et leurs droits, en particulier le droit au retour.

Salamat,
Deux anonymes de Palestine

http://www.ism-france.org/temoignages/63-ans-de-Nakba-article-15565

63 ans de Nakba

J’en ai marre du mur
J’en ai marre des checkpoints entre les villes palestiniennes
J’en ai marre des colons israéliens illégaux et de leurs colonies
J’en ai marre que ma carte d’identité soit en hébreu
J’en ai marre que des gens ne connaissent rien de notre histoire mais qu’ils sachent tout de l’histoire juive
J’en ai marre que des gens ignorent le droit palestinien au retour et accepte le droit au retour des juifs
J’en ai marre de l’Accord d’Oslo que personne ici n’a d’abord voulu
J’en ai marre de l’Autorité palestinienne sans aucune autorité
J’en ai marre de voir mon père être humilié aux checkpoints par des gens de mon âge et plus jeunes
J’en ai marre que mes amis internationaux soient obligés de mentir quand ils viennent me voir, qu’ils soient interrogés, fouillés à corps et quelquefois expulsés
J’en ai marre que des gens ne comprennent pas ce qu’est “l’occupation”
J’en ai marre d’avoir tout le temps peur
J’en ai marre du syndrome de stress post-traumatique, un état normal ici en Palestine
J’en ai marre du Droit humanitaire international qui ne s’applique pas à l’État d’Israël
J’en ai marre de voir que combattre pour les droits humains de base des Palestiniens, ou critiquer la politique israélienne, est si souvent traité d'”antisémitisme”
J’en ai marre que tout le monde oublie que je suis une Sémite
J’en ai marre d’entendre les Israéliens se plaindre de discrimination quand l’État d’Israël a été fondé sur un principe de pureté ethnique
J’en ai marre de vivre à une époque où la discrimination raciale est devenue acceptable
J’en ai marre d’être constamment traité comme un suspect
J’en ai marre de la manière dont les médias nous décrivent, nous et notre situation
J’en ai marre que le monde entier se préoccupe de Gilad Shalit alors qu’il y a plus de 7000 Palestiniens dans les prisons israéliennes
J’en ai marre d’essayer de me défendre, moi-même, mes amis ou mes compatriotes et de me faire traiter de terroriste
J’en ai marre de voir, où je j’aille, le mur, une colonie ou une soldat israélien

J’en ai marre de 63 ans d’occupation israélienne

Traduction : MR pour ISM

We don’t know for sure as of yet who murdered international Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni. However, whoever committed this despicable crime must be a human beast walking on two legs.
 
Vittorio Arrigoni was abducted on Thursday, 14 April, in Central Gaza. Members of a notoriously fanatical group posted a video online saying they would kill him unless the Gaza government released detained Salafists from prison.
 
Within a few hours of the warning, Arrigoni’s body was found in an empty house.
 
Arrigoni’s death has infuriated Palestinians everywhere. Ismael Haniya, the elected Prime Minister of Hamas called Arrigoni’s murder a “nefarious crime that goes against our religion, norms and traditions.” A spokesman for the Gaza government described the perpetrators as “thugs and murderers of the lowest kind.”
 
One Islamist writer, Ibrahim Hamami, called the murderers, “the lowest of the low.”
 
The accused group, the Tawhid and Jihad, has denied posting the video or any involvement in the killing of Arrigoni. They hinted that the Israeli intelligence may have been the real killers of the Italian activist.
 
And while Israel can never be ruled out as an accused party, it is widely believed that the so-called Salafi group (Salafi means a true follower of the Prophet) remains the premier suspect. They are guilty until proven innocent, given the prima facie evidence that would indict them.
 
It is true that the Salafis are not carbon copies of each other. However, the militant Salafis have been accused of abductions, killings, attacking internet cafes, and calling for the expulsion of Christians from the Gaza Strip.
 
A group of Salafis last year carried out an armed rebellion against the Hamas-led government during which several people lost their lives. In one episode, an intermediary who was carrying a message to their leaders was brutally murdered by those who called themselves Muslims. Islam is absolutely against killing messengers even in war time.
 
One would hope to give these stupid fanatics the benefit of the doubt. However, their diabolic crimes in many parts of the Muslim world leave us no doubt as to their true nature.
 
They claim they are out to fight the armies of the disbelievers who have invaded some Muslim countries.  However, the falsehood and mendacity of their claims are made clear by the fact that for every western soldier they killed, they murdered at least a hundred Muslim men, women, and children.
 
And when they are confronted with these crimes, they often seek vague, erroneous, spurious and invalid edicts to justify and rationalize what is obviously evil.
 
Islam is not a vague religion, especially when it comes to human life. However, these ignorant fanatics seem to have been blinded by their misplaced zeal and ignorance.
 
They thrive and prosper and become quite gleeful upon killing innocent people, whether Muslims or non-Muslims. And they think that by so doing they endear themselves to the Almighty when the opposite is true.
 
Have the killers asked themselves what in the world would justify killing Arrigoni, a man who came all the way from Italy to identify with the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice? What wrong did he do? What crime did he commit? Didn’t they realize that Arrigoni may have done so much for Gaza which has now been besmirched by their cowardly crime?
 
Arrigoni didn’t come to Gaza as an aggressor or invader. He came to show solidarity with its wronged people and highlight the immense oppression meted out to be people by the Nazis of our time, the Zionist Israelis.
 
Hence, the claim that he came to the Land of Islam to spread corruption and disbelief should be treated with the utter contempt it deserves.
 
Again, there is no doubt that these ignoramuses are victims of their ignorance. They don’t represent the true followers of the Prophet (PBUH) who was quoted as saying according to authentic hadith that “whoever oppresses a Mua’hed (a non-Muslim resident or traveler in the land of Islam), or arrogated his rights, or takes something away from him against his will, or forces him to do that which is beyond his ability, I shall be his opponent on the Day of Judgment.”
 
In another hadith, the Prophet said “whoever killed a non-Muslim living in the land of Islam shall not smell the fragrance of paradise; verily its fragrance is smelled from a distance of a 40-year travel.”

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

By Luca Galassi, translated by Mary Rizzo

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

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

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

Écrit par Pasquale Navarra pour Forum Palestina (traduit en français par Wassyla-Heyett). 

Les causes et la dynamique de l’enlèvement et l’assassinat de Vittorio Arrigoni, activiste et correspondant du Mouvement international de solidarité avec la Palestine dans la bande de Gaza, sont pour le moment en cours de reconstitution. Certaines informations et  évaluations peuvent néanmoins être données, même maintenant.

Vittorio était sur le point de retourner en Italie pour collaborer avec la mission de la flottille de la liberté qui avait décidé de briser en mai le blocus contre les Palestiniens de Gaza, que Vittorio avait systématiquement dénoncé en fournissant une documentation depuis des années.

Vittorio a été découvert déjà mort quand la police palestinienne, aidé par la population locale, a été en mesure de trouver l’endroit où il avait été retenu en otage. L’ultimatum 30 heures n’a été rien de plus qu’un prétexte. Les ravisseurs étaient très jeunes, y compris au moins l’un d’entre eux qui était un citoyen jordanien (et non palestinien). 

Le groupe qui a enlevé et tué Vittorio appartient à cette pléiade de groupes islamistes salafistes, très différents de l’actuel Islam politique que le mouvement Hamas, qui gouverne la bande de Gaza, a comme référence. Ces groupes sont beaucoup plus actifs contre les autres courants islamiques corrompus et les régimes arabes – accusés d’apostasie – qu’ils ne sont opposés à l’occupation israélienne de la Palestine ou de la présence des États-Unis au Moyen-Orient. 

Certains de ces groupes appartiennent au réseau de l’Islam politique qui a comme référence l’Arabie saoudite, est financé et armé par elle. Certains de ces groupes ont déjà provoqué des affrontements et des problèmes très graves dans les camps de réfugiés palestiniens au Liban. 

En ces semaines où les alliances au Moyen-Orient sont brusquement bousculées par les révoltes des peuples et les tensions qui sont présentes dans toute la région, la monarchie saoudienne a établi une alliance avec Israël pour marquer l’ennemi commun représenté par l’Iran et son influence dans la région du Golfe et du Moyen-Orient. Cette alliance a été renforcée par un récent sommet à Moscou auquel participaient à la fois Netanyahu et les dirigeants des services services saoudiens. 

Ces dernières semaines, les autorités israéliennes ont lancé une campagne d’intimidation contre les militants et les campagnes internationales de solidarité avec la Palestine, en particulier contre la flottille de la liberté qui appareillera en mai pour se diriger vers la bande de Gaza, et contre le mouvement de boycott, de désinvestissement et de sanctions contre Israël. Les autorités israéliennes ont demandé aux gouvernements des pays qui ont des navires en partance de leurs côtes ou dans lesquels les campagnes BDS sont importantes, d’intervenir contre les activistes. Le Premier ministre italien Silvio Berlusconi a déjà accepté la demande du gouvernement israélien. Les services secrets israéliens ont été activés pour utiliser tous les moyens nécessaires afin de maintenir les militants internationaux loin de Gaza et de Palestine.

Nous n’avons pas tous les éléments de preuve, mais nous considérons que l’enlèvement et l’assassinat de Vittorio correspond peut-être au sale boulot effectué par les groupes islamistes liés au réseau d’Arabie Saoudite aujourd’hui alliée avec Israël. Le message aux militants internationaux est fort, claire et déconcertant: “Tenez vous loin de Gaza, tenez vous loin de  Palestine”, “Aucune internationalisation de la question palestinienne ne sera tolérée par les autorités de Tel-Aviv et ses alliés”. 

Nous tenons à adresser un message fort et clair à tous ceux qui en Israël ou dans le monde arabe, en Europe ou aux États-Unis entendent ​​resserrer l’étau de l’isolement et de la liquidation autour du droit à l’autodétermination des Palestiniens. Nous le devons à cette population qui se bat pour sa liberté depuis plus de soixante ans et maintenant nous le devons aussi à Vittorio. 

Forum Palestina 

Carlos Latuff's homage to Vittorio Arrigoni

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Il Forum Palestina

Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz Bin Libdeh AlKahtani

Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz Bin Libdeh AlKahtani

This individual is the present Saudi Force’s leader in Bahrain.

He is responsible for the killing of  the peaceful demonstraters and the violation of Geneva convention by insulting doctors and nurses along with hospitals’s patients and Occupation of hospitals.

We are looking for International Human Rights Lawyers wherever they are available. Contact the site if you are able to help and we will put you in connection with the individual who has asked us to spread this photo.

Blasting. Shouts. Screams. Sirens. 

Someone told me to run, I should.

I try to keep my eyes open; I would, if I could.

Wait,

Nobody told me it would feel this good.

I look at the sky and breathe in one last time,

That’s it; I think it has reached my time.

I close my eyes and as I let go, I smile,

I haven’t felt this happy in a very long while.

Don’t get carried away with me,

Going, Going, I’m gone away…

To my mother, father, son, daughter and anyone that has cried;

It would be an insult to say I have died,

Instead be blissful and speak my name in pride,

Or release those tears of joy you are trying to hide,

For I am waiting for you on the better side.

Sorry about the call you received at 4 o’clock in the morning,

I don’t want you upset and I don’t want you mourning.

I am sorry to anyone I have left behind,

I hope one day peace and tranquillity you will find.

Don’t worry about me I am wide awake,

For I have lost my earthly life for the almighty’s sake.

If you have lost me or any family member,

Stay with the thought that we will meet again in Jannah.

They say what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger,

So try and hold on a little while longer.

With you I will always remain, in your heart and your soul;

As you try to find freedom and accomplish this goal.

Be strong, and remain standing tall,

Don’t give up hope or lose patience as you fight for evil’s downfall,

Everything helps no matter how small,

Each one of us can build freedom like each brick builds a wall.

Pray, Pray, Pray and Pray.

Try not to lose patience and carry on day after day,

As you fight for freedom in every way.

My death wasn’t my end, it’s not over,

The sadness of my loss you will Inshallah get over,

Remember that paradise is what I fly over,

The Dunya’s hurt that I suffered I don’t think over,

Agony and Pain I will never again fret over,

Just carry on praying for the day that this is all over.

freedom fighters in BenghaziThe author of the article I post below, Robert Grenier, rightly asked: “Where are the Arabs?” but in our opinion, we Arab Nationalists, also believe that he had also rightly volunteered to reply to his own question which is in his own words:

“…the primary motivating principles of the rebels have been clear: A desire for personal liberty, dignity and collective social empowerment.” 

Once an Egyptian Arab intellectual lady, Huda Hanum Shaarawi, replied after the 1948 Palestinian Arab Nakbah to the question: “How is it possible that seven Arab states and their armies were defeated by one state “Israel”? Her reply was simple and clear: “Because they were seven states with seven armies and seven ‘leaderships’ each quarrelling with the rest, while the enemy was one with one leadership, one army for one state.”, which the author has described below:

Robert Grenier was the CIA’s chief of station in Islamabad, Pakistan, from 1999 to 2002. He was also the director of the CIA’s counter-terrorism centre.” As a high CIA officer he should have known why did the British  Mr. Sykes and the French M. Picot come together to plan to divide the east Mediterranean Arab territories even before the defeat and  expulsion of the Ottoman Turks from it. They met and agreed to conclude on what is known as “The Sykes Picot Agreement”, that is, to  apply the principle of “divide and rule”, of course to create small weak Arab states that cannot defend themselves in the face of the colonialist powers and their colonialist ambitions, who were at the time in the first place Great Britain and France.

And lately why the old Zionist fox Shimon Peres to be joined at a later time by Condoleezza Rice, U.S Secretary of State under George W. Bush, further try to divide the present Arab states into a smaller states based on religious and ethnic minorities, which Zionists and other colonialist powers shall try to create between them feuds and enmities so as to resort to these colonialist powers for protection against their other Arab brothers… then Zionists and other colonialists shall be able to control them all, but fortunately enough what is known as the New Middle East colonialist conspiracy did not see the light, and with the domino theory of Arab revolutions presently taking place shall never be realized, and hopefully an Arab unity shall instead be realized to counteract these Zionist and western colonialist conspiracies.

Now the aim of young Arab revolutionaries is to get rid of these rulers who want to keep their control on what they consider as their subjects in collaboration with their colonialist protectors, but the young Arab citizens who want to be no more subjects of their corrupt ruers, but real citizens and be able to decide their own fate are struggling to overthrow all these rotten, corrupt and isolationist rulers. That is why those particular rulers shall not volunteer to come to give assistance to Libyan Arabs or any revolutionary Arabs citizens revolting against their rotten rulers… because as we said and saw that by the domino theory, revolutions shall pass from one Arab state to another. They, Arab rulers, want to keep their chairs under the seat of their pants and keep on riding on the backs of what they consider their obedient subjects. The young revolutionaries want their freedom and liberty from their internal and external rulers.

In a big and rich Arab state, an official and a member of the ruling family commented on the simple and rightful demands of their young citizens whom they consider “subjects” who gathered peacefully. As is the case with all Arab rulers, the official said after denying that there were gatherings and demands: “The cooperation of citizens with security men to confront those who call for anarchy was a good proof and spontaneous response against those calling for evil in a peaceful country.” He added that, “driving people to overstep matters to what doesn’t achieve demands or reform, calls for dialogue,and that is exactly what those in command in the state call for”!!!!

Another highly posted official said: “Some of those calling for evil gathered in front of the ministry of internal affairs,” he claimed that, “they want to make of the state a place of chaos, they are organizing purposeless demonstrations that have no high aims, but they proved that they don’t know the people of their state”!!!

From Libya, correspondent Ogharit Dandaash wrote the story of the engineer Almahdi Zeo:

“Before February 14th there was not a single exceptional matter or incident that makes it to informational mass media, nor was there a political stance, be it pro or con, regarding the regime that was in the activities of this Benghazi engineer who was in his forties. Engineer Almahdi Zeo was living a quiet life in Benghazi, his financial status was as described by those who knew him well as “better than good (kwaiseh)”. Zeo was the head of a family, and the father of two daughters studying at university, who never heard or noticed him fidgeting when Gaddafi and his men ruling from their stronghold of terror in Benghazi were mentioned.

On February 15th 2011 the young people of Benghazi didn’t expect the official birth for the February 17th revolution, to mount the winds of change that blew from their neighborhood. They demonstrated and were confronted from the Benghazi battalion of terror with fire in front of the court house… many of the revolutionary fell down martyrs…

While the young revolutionaries were marching in the funeral of their martyred comrades, Zeo was passing an ordinary day during his monotonous life. He passed in front of the headquarters of the battalion on his way to practice his ordinary daily routine work, it was inevitable that some incident should happen to attract his attention. Young people returning from the funeral of their beloved comrades, were, without notice, confronted with live fire, the source of which was from the battalion of Al-Fadel Omar, the headquarters of the soldiers of the regime, where any activists with political opposition to the regime, or with any ideas that contradict those of the Gaddafi Green holy Book. Zeo stopped to see the young people confronting the heavily armed soldiers with their naked chests, He returned home to tell his two daughters about 18 years olds fighting without help.

The following morning he returned to practice his ordinary work, believing that the zeal of the young couldn’t but be aborted with the regime’s brutality, but just in front of the same battalion tens of young people returned for another sit down with other supporters… Zeo realized after a long life of submission and looking aside shall not end with the feeling at ease required by other human beings, those youngsters realized, before it was too late, that there is a difference between living as ordinary human beings and a life full with a humanitarian meaning.

That night he hugged his beloved ones like he had never done before, he talked to them about small heroic incidents that history books didn’t mention, and about which no poems were written, but they leave their effect in people’s souls that had submitted to accepting life at ease, and as an ordinary matter… and left his house.

The place is the headquarters of the Benghazi battalion, date before the new Libyan history, attendants, the young persons seated on the ground, the occasion: drawing a new road map for the revolution.

The engineer said: “Success depends on the element of surprise: Clearly, we need to act quickly.

One of youth there understood: the moment the road opens, we attack.

Another youth pointed out to another group of young people, the brothers coming here are from Baida, they came to help us.

The engineer said, “I am going ahead”.

The engineer mounts his car that was loaded with gas containers for home use, and drives towards the wall of the two storey building housing the battalion’s headquarters, which is impossible to enter to or to break into. He steps on the accelerator to maximum speed, hits the wall, the car explodes, the wall crumbles creating an opening, the youngsters rush into the headquarters.

The element of surprise dispersed the soldiers who ran away, the revolutionaries took control and they obtained their first quantity of arms, they took control of the helm of the battle and thus the battle turned in their favor. After some confrontations, the Abu Al-Fadel Omar battalion fell and its leader fled to Tripoli along with Assaadi Al-Gaddafi (One of Muamar Gaddafi’s sons) who took refuge at the battalion’s headquarters after the outbreak of revolution. Then the weapons and ammunitions stores are now in the service of the revolution born on February 17th.

The fall of the battalion contributed to the liberation of Benghazi, and the revolutionaries gave credit in that to Engineer Almahdi Zeo for the morale and military help he gave to them, and encouraging many officers and soldiers to defect from Gaddafi’s forces and join the revolutionaries, and opening the door wide open for victories, which made the east of Libya fall from the hands of Gaddafi into the hands of the revolution within four days.

Martyr Al-Mahdi Zeo did not live to reap the fruits of the trees he planted, but those Libyan young men and women who had never heard of Engineer Zeo know now that the engineer of the realized revolution shall be the name who they shall tell to their children and grandchildren when their hair shall turn grey about a revolution executed by dreamers who didn’t wait enjoy its fruits.

So we should not expect from these decaying, rotten and dictatorial regimes to step in to help other revolutions against their equally decaying, rotten and dictatorial Arab regimes… they are equally bad and should be overthrown by young Arab revolutionaries.

“Where are the Arabs?” The other Arabs, are the young revolutionary Arabs, who are each cleaning the dirt the old Arab dictatorial and rotten Arab regimes left over by colonialism behind. Good things are coming with Arab liberty and unity. 

So we cannot but agree with Robert Grenier saying: A new day is dawning in the Arab world. The revolutions underway have only just begun, and there is much to be sorted out in the countries where the democratic wave has taken hold. The response of other regional regimes, under less acute and immediate pressure, but still grappling with the challenge of socio-political changes now set perhaps inexorably in motion, remains very much to be seen. For all that its common outlook is rapidly evolving, the Arab world has a long way to go in coming to a firm consensus about what forms of rule will meet its minimum standards of acceptability.”

 ORIGINAL PIECE

Opinion
‘Where are the Arabs?’ By: Robert Grenier 

If Arab states are serious about ending Gaddafi’s menace to his people, they must take the lead in helping the rebels.

Robert Grenier Last Modified: 13 Mar 2011 08:35 GMT
If Arab states do not act now, when the last Libyan rebel lies bleeding in the desert, his final words
may well be: ‘Where are the Arabs?’

It was August of 1982. For seven weeks, Beirut had been sealed off, under attack by Israel from land, sea and air. Water and electricity supplies were cut. The Israelis had secured the airport and much of the southern suburbs. The Syrians had been defeated, their air force wiped from the Lebanese skies. Chairman Arafat and the PLO were seemingly at the mercy of their enemies, utterly dependent upon the international community to arrange an evacuation of their fighters which would bring an end to the carnage. Isolated and alone, all the leader of the Palestinian movement could do was look into the cameras and plead: “Where are the Arabs?”

In January of 1991, a nominally extensive international coalition of armed forces, led by the US but including many of the Arab countries, stood poised in northern Saudi Arabia to drive Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. It might have seemed that much of the Arab world was unified, and had engaged the United States and the international community in their cause to liberate a brutally occupied Arab country.

But in many of the Arab capitals, and to a seeming majority in the Arab street, the armies massed in the Saudi desert were anything but a sign of Arab strength and unity. For in point of fact, the Arab countries had had comparatively little to do with organizing this un-authorized, largely Western coalition. Many Arab nationalists from across the region asserted strenuously that the Arabs should not rely upon the Americans to sort out their difficulties, arguing in favor of an “Arab solution” to the crisis. In fact, however, this was mere posturing: An Arab solution to the crisis would have amounted to meek acquiescence in Saddam Hussein’s intra-Arab aggression. Those Arab countries most threatened by Saddam were not about to entrust their fate to regional Arab councils. They did not wish one day to be left, alone, to make the entreaty: “Where are the Arabs?”

Today, in the deserts along the coast of Libya, patriots are fighting to liberate themselves and their country from over 40 years of brutal, arbitrary misrule. Although tribal and other social divisions are no doubt playing a role in determining the fault lines of the civil war progressively settling over Libya, the primary motivating principles of the rebels have been clear: A desire for personal liberty, dignity and collective social empowerment. In this they have been transparently inspired by the courage of their brothers and sisters in Tunisia, in Egypt, and in many other parts of the Arab world. But as they attempt to withstand the onslaught of Muammar Gaddafi’s better-armed loyalists, and as those rebels most hard-pressed repeatedly plead for at least limited outside assistance, well they might ask: “Where are the Arabs?”

Passivity and diffidence

A new day is dawning in the Arab world. The revolutions underway have only just begun, and there is much to be sorted out in the countries where the democratic wave has taken hold. The response of other regional regimes, under less acute and immediate pressure, but still grappling with the challenge of socio-political changes now set perhaps inexorably in motion, remains very much to be seen. For all that its common outlook is rapidly evolving, the Arab world has a long way to go in coming to a firm consensus about what forms of rule will meet its minimum standards of acceptability.

Nonetheless, the latest indications of Arab intent in the context of Libya are positive, if as yet insufficient. A clear message has been sent by both the GCC and the Arab League that Gaddafi’s brutality toward his people is not acceptable, and has effectively delegitimised his government. The Arab nations have taken a clear stand in favour of a UN Security Council-imposed no-fly zone, and for urgent outreach to the National Transitional Council in Benghazi.

So far, perhaps, so good. Still, troubling signs of traditional passivity and diffidence remain. The Arabs are deferring action to the international community without suggestions as to how that action should be implemented, and with no firm commitment for their own direct involvement. The Arab League ministers aver that a no-fly zone should only be for the purpose of protecting Libyan civilians, and should end as quickly as possible. They continue to express concern over foreign intervention, while requesting precisely that. Their ambivalence is palpable.

At the same time, evidence is mounting that the international fixation on a no-fly zone may be a distraction from more urgently-needed action, and may in fact be counter-productive. First of all, it is not at all clear how great a threat is posed by Gaddafi’s air strikes, per se. While the military situation remains confused, it seems more likely that Gaddafi’s armour and artillery pose the more lethal danger to both rebel and civilian targets.

Moreover, imposition of a no-fly zone would be no simple task. Security Council agreement is far from assured: The Council is divided, and the Chinese, in particular, will do what they can to avoid approving international interference in internal Libyan affairs, out of fear of the negative precedent it might set for themselves. While others might well participate, the US, clearly, would have to take the lead. (As far we Arabs are concerned, we have no trust with the United States and other western powers, their policies are equally colonialist, and we suffered enough on their hands and their rogue adopted and nursed our Zionist entity- A.S.K.)

Following its doctrine, the US would need to attack Libyan air defences first; the potential for significant collateral damage is considerable. The Americans would also require a helicopter-borne “combat search and rescue (CSAR)” capability to be in place for downed pilots before they would willingly act. And there are not nearly enough aircraft in theatre, yet, for an effective no-fly effort. Finally, it may simply be too much to suppose that the Americans, already engaged militarily in two Muslim countries, should now intervene in a third, when the risk to their already weak regional standing from those who may advocate international action now, but will no doubt quickly criticise any missteps, is so great.

Taking the lead
If the Arab League is serious about ending Gaddafi’s menace to his people, they should focus on providing the National Transitional Council with the means to defeat him and his loyalist forces. The US, the EU and NATO have all made clear that they will only act with a clear legal mandate and with regional support. Therefore, it is up to the Arab nations to take the initiative.

It is very likely that the softness in the Arab League stance is a reflection of the divisions between those members on either side of the “democratic revolutionary” divide. Hobbled by the need for consensus, the League as a whole has gone about as far as it is capable; it is unlikely to take the tough decisions and hard actions necessary to counter Gaddafi’s resurgence. Those whose commitment to support of the rebellion is notably strong – Egypt and the GCC countries in particular – must be prepared to take the lead from here.

First, they should move quickly to recognise the Council in Benghazi as the legitimate government of Libya, and immediately request modification of the current UN arms embargo to exclude its forces. Meanwhile, a rapid assessment of the rebels’ military requirements is needed; these would likely include ammunition, anti-armour weapons, and perhaps rockets or artillery. It is clearly within the capabilities of at least some of the Arab countries to provide these rapidly by air, most likely with logistical assistance from the US or NATO. In this context, it would become far easier, and more palatable, for the US and NATO to provide overhead intelligence, perhaps off-shore jamming of Libyan military communications, and other forms of assistance to the transitional government.

We can begin to imagine that such an Arab-led initiative on behalf of the Libyans could help to build a new, cooperative relationship with America and the West – one which flows from Arab empowerment and collective resolve, and not, as in the past, from Arab weakness.

The time has come, in short, for the Arab regimes to demonstrate regionally and internationally the will and courage to act demonstrated by many of their own citizens domestically. Otherwise, they run the risk, in what is supposed to be a transforming Middle East, that when the last Libyan rebel lies bleeding in the desert, the boot of a pro-Gaddafi thug upon his neck, his last gasp will be: “Where are the Arabs?”

Robert Grenier was the CIA’s chief of station in Islamabad, Pakistan, from 1999 to 2002. He was also the director of the CIA’s counter-terrorism centre.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.Source:

Al Jazeera

Cameron likes private Israeli security orgs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.english.moqawama.org

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

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

The Rotten Orchard


(there are many important hyperlinks, the colour of which is very close to the text colour.) On March 19th, two months after the 22-day devastation of Gaza and the slaughtering of over 1,400 Palestinians, the Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz published harrowing testimonies by numerous Israeli soldiers who had participated in “Operation Cast Lead.” The soldiers, all recent graduates of the Yitzhak Rabin pre-military preparatory program, were speaking at an open academic forum about their recent military experiences and, as Sarah Anne Minkin of Jewish Peace News reports, “confessed that they’d knowingly shot civilians to death in Gaza, that they’d intentionally vandalized Palestinian homes, and that the rules of engagement in the war – rules handed down from above – were exceptionally permissive.”

In response to these testimonies, the Israeli military denied the claims made by their own personnel, stating that even if some of the allegations and anecdotes were true (since the troops had “no reason to lie”), they were isolated incidents and did not represent the IDF as a whole. Nonetheless, the IDF promised to conduct “intensive and comprehensive inquiries” and an investigation was launched.

Eleven days later, on March 30th – half the time it took the Israeli air force, navy, and army to murder 313 children, 116 women, 497 civilian men, and 255 non-combatant police officers, wound over 6,000 more, and leave tens of thousands homeless – the Israeli military concluded that the soldiers’ stories of gross misconduct and war crimes were baseless, that they were “based in hearsay” and “rumors,” and declared an end to the probe. Even though the pre-military program’s own founder and leader, Danny Zamir, who is himself a deputy battalion commander in the IDF, described the soldiers’ testimonies as “dismaying and depressing” and concluded that the stories reveal the truth about “an army with very low norms of value,” the IDF investigators disagreed. Luckily for the IDF, the “investigation” by the IDF found that the IDF was still, in fact, according to the IDF, “the most moral army in the world.” What a relief that must have been.

Apparently, the claims of intentionally targeting Palestinian civilians, of shooting women and children, of the wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure and personal property, even if they are true, are only, we are told, the misguided actions of a few bad apples.

In fact, we are told that, in Israel, any evidence of military or political misconduct, human rights or international law violations, or racism and oppression are mere aberrations from normality, simple – however troubling – deviations from the peace-loving, ethnically tolerant, democratically representative mainstream. We are told not to judge an entire society by the misdeeds of some bad apples. These bad apples don’t represent the whole Israeli orchard, which, we are told, thrives on justice and equality. (The fact that the Israeli orchard was planted atop a bulldozed Palestinian orchard is, we are told, irrelevant. Even broaching such a topic is anti-Semitic…we are told.)

We are told that the Jewish Rabbinate distributed books and pamphlets, indoctrinating Israeli troops headed for Gaza with claims that they are holy warriors fighting to expel the Palestinians (collectively called “murderers”) who are “interfering with our conquest of this holy land.” The rabbis preach that there is a “a biblical ban on surrendering a single millimeter” of Israel to non-Jews and the literature they hand out states that “when you show mercy to a cruel enemy, you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers. This is terribly immoral.” We are told that these rabid rabbis are just a handful of overzealous, extremist apples.

Even though in the first nine hours of the recent Gaza assault the Israeli Air Force dropped over 100 tons of bombs on one of the most densely populated areas on Earth – an area blockaded to ensure that no one penned up inside could escape Israeli missiles, shells, and bullets, we are told that the atrocities that occurred in Gaza must have been perpetrated by a few bad apples.

In three weeks of devastating bombings and ground assaults, the Israeli military destroyed over 4,100 homes, 25 schools and hospitals, two bridges, 1500 factories and shops, and numerous government offices and buildings in Gaza. Ten water and sewage arteries, ten electricity-generating stations, and 80% of all agricultural properties, including all farms and crops, were also destroyed. Damages to Palestinian infrastructure exceed $2 billion. Who is being held responsible for this destruction? Is it the Israeli government that authorized the operation, the military brass that planned and ordered the attacks, or the pilots, sailors, and soldiers that carried them out? We are told that the bad apples of Hamas are to blame.

We are told that “for the most part, someone who belongs to Hamas’ civilian welfare organizations is treated the same way as a member of its military wing” and is a legitimate target as dictated by Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security force. We are told that many of the Israeli attacks on Gaza were carried out via remote control. An Israeli reservist is quoted as saying, “It feels like hunting season has begun…Sometimes it reminds me of a Play Station game. You hear cheers in the war room after you see on the screens that the missile hit a target, as if it were a soccer game.” Have we lost count of bad apples yet?

We are told that Parash Hill, near Sderot, with views across lush green fields to Gaza City with the Mediterranean Sea beyond, was full of Israeli sightseers during the Gaza assault. They came with their families, binoculars, cameras with zoom lenses, and picnic baskets to watch Israeli F-16s, Apache helicopters, and unmanned drones fire missiles into residential neighborhoods, destroying buildings and slaughtering their terrified inhabitants. They gather on this “Hill of Shame” to view the carnage in the distance, celebrating the death and destruction, justifying the killing of children by saying, “When they grow up they’ll also probably be terrorists.” These Israelis, for whom watching genocidal air raids is a spectator sport, must be bad apples.

The Israeli military used banned and experimental weaponry such as white phosphorous and Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME) in heavily-populated civilian neighborhoods of Gaza. These weapons cause severe burns, dismemberment and mutilation to their victims. Numerous other atrocities have been well documented by Israeli and international organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the National Lawyers Guild, and B’Tselem. We are told that the perpetrators of such blatant war crimes must surely be bad apples, but for some reason the International Criminal Court has yet to charge anyone for misconduct.

The Israeli army used flechettes, which are “anti-personnel weapons designed to penetrate dense vegetation…4cm long metal darts that are sharply pointed at the front, with four fins at the rear. Between 5,000 and 8,000 are packed into 120mm shells which are generally fired from tanks.” Wafa’ Nabil Abu Jarad, a 21-year-old pregnant mother of two, was killed by flechettes in Gaza. Who would fire such heavy weaponry at a civilian? Probably just another bad apple.


Testimonies from Israeli soldiers reveal that it was common practice to storm an apartment building in Gaza and open fire upon anything that moved. Women and children waving white flags were gunned down. Soldiers “break down doors of houses for no reason other than it’s cool,” take over homes, write “Death to Arabs” on the walls, spit on family pictures, urinate on piles of the residents’ clothing, smear shit on the walls, and receive orders to “clean out the whole house. We threw everything, everything, out of the windows to make room. The entire contents of the house went flying out the windows.” Palestinians who try to run away must be terrorists, just as those who stay where they are must be terrorists. The pilot who makes a minor mistake like bombing a school and killing 40 Palestinian children is forgiven while the Israeli squad commander who says, “That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him. With us it was an old woman, on whom I didn’t see any weapon. The order was to take the person out, that woman, the moment you see her…I simply felt it was murder in cold blood” is yet another bad apple.

The sharpshooter who shot and killed a mother and her two children because they misunderstood orders (to turn right instead of left), given to them by Israeli soldiers who had invaded and occupied their home for days, holding them captive in one room before releasing them, was just a bad apple who made a mistake. According to the sniper’s squad leader:

“I don’t think he felt too bad about it, because after all, as far as he was concerned, he did his job according to the orders he was given. And the atmosphere in general, from what I understood from most of my men who I talked to … I don’t know how to describe it…The lives of Palestinians, let’s say, is something very, very less important than the lives of our soldiers. So as far as they are concerned they can justify it that way.”

Maybe he wasn’t such a bad apple, actually. After all, he was just following orders.

The non-commissioned officer who revealed that when the Israeli army “entered a house, we were supposed to bust down the door and start shooting inside and just go up storey by storey…I call that murder. Each storey, if we identify a person, we shoot them,” must just be talking about orders given by a bad apple or two and carried out by some more bad apples.

We are told that the Israeli soldiers who have custom t-shirts designed and printed for their units at end of training or field duty that bear such images as dead Palestinian babies, mothers weeping on their children’s graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques are just bad apples.

The snipers who wear shirts depicting a dead Palestinian baby with a teddy bear and his weeping mother beside him, accompanied by the inscription “Better use Durex,” the soldiers wearing shirts with a drawing of a Palestinian boy and the words, “Don’t bother running because you’ll die tired,” those who wear shirts depicting an Israeli soldier raping a Palestinian girl and the inscription “No virgins, no terror attacks,” the sharpshooters from the Givati Brigade’s Shaked battalion who wear T-shirts showing a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull’s-eye superimposed on her belly, and the slogan, “1 shot, 2 kills,” these, we are told again and again, are just some more bad apples.

We are told that troops in Gaza engaged in a military practice called the “Neighborhood Procedure,” wherein Palestinian civilians are forced, often at gunpoint, to enter homes and ask the inhabitants to come out. This practice has been rejected by Israel’s own Supreme Court due to the ruling that using civilians in military operations violates not only IDF protocol but also international law, such as the Geneva Conventions that guarantee immunity to all civilians. So what is happening to the bad apples in the IDF who are using Palestinian civilians as human shields?

We are told that the IDF commanders who ordered their troops to shoot at Palestinian and Red Cross paramedics, rescuers, and ambulances in Gaza, preventing evacuation and treatment of the wounded, resulting in the deaths of an unknown number of Palestinians, in another unequivocal breach of international law, are most likely just some bad apples.

The rules of engagement in Gaza, as defined by the Israeli military, state that a Palestinian need only be in a “problematic” location for him to be “incriminated” and thereby automatically be “sentenced to death. Often, there is no need for him to be identified as carrying a weapon. Three people in the home of a known Hamas operative, someone out on a roof at 2 A.M. about a kilometer away from an Israeli post, a person walking down the wrong street before dawn – all are legitimate targets for attack.” According to the IDF, the bad apples here are the “suspicious” Palestinians, stupidly living their lives without seeking permission from Israel, and not the soldiers shooting unarmed civilians.


In Gaza, Israeli soldiers entered the home of a woman and her ten children and told her she had to choose five of her children to “give as a gift to Israel.” After ignoring the screams and pleas for mercy and repeating their demands, the soldiers said they would choose for her and murdered five of the children before her eyes. These soldiers are apparently bad apples.

A senior Israeli reserve officer, after hearing about some of the barbarity of the Israeli troops in Gaza, said it was important to “bear in mind what sort of values inductees have when they come to us these days. Every year, the education system produces a significant number of little racists.” That sounds like a significant number of bad little apples.

Israel’s new Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is one such bad apple. Lieberman, leader of the openly fascist Israel Beteynu party, ran for Prime Minister in Israel’s recent elections under the banner of “No loyalty, no citizenship” with the hopes of implementing oaths of allegiance to a Jewish state in order for Arab citizens of Israel and Jewish critics of Israeli policies toward Palestinians to maintain their citizenship. Lieberman even led a call to ban two Arab parties from Knesset elections – a move that was approved by the Central Elections Committee but subsequentally overturned by the Supreme Court. Undeterred, Lieberman said, “We will not give up. In the next Knesset we will pass the Citizenship Law, which will put a border on the disloyalty of some of the Israeli Arabs.” He is also a confessed and convicted child abuser, is under investigation for money-laundering and fraud, was a proud member of Meir Kahane’s Kach political party, which was outlawed due to its overt racism, and lives in an illegal Israeli settlement in the Palestinian West Bank.

As Minister of Transport in 2003, Lieberman, in response to the news that 350 Palestinian prisoners were to be given amnesty by Israel, declared that he would be happy to provide buses to take the prisoners to the Dead Sea and drown them there.

Of the thirty-three parties running for the Knesset in the recent elections, Israel Beteynu came in third. In mock elections held in 10 high schools prior to the official vote, the party came in first, followed by the hard-right Likud. The left-wing Meretz party came in dead last. Lieberman’s rabid teenage supporters wave Israeli flags and shout “Death to the Arabs” outside Israel Beteynu conferences, openly call for a fascist dictatorship in Israel, and explain their support for such beliefs by drawing connections to their mandatory military service this way:

“It gives us motivation against the Arabs. You want to enlist in the army so you can stick it to them. The preparation gives you the motivation to stick it to the Arabs and we want to elect someone who’ll do that. I like Lieberman’s thinking about the Arabs. Bibi doesn’t want to go as far.”

So, how many bad apples does it take for Israel Beteynu to finish third in parliamentary elections?

Lieberman’s predecessor, Tzipi Livni, is seen as being more of a centrist in Israeli politics. As leader of the Kadima party, founded in 2005 by war criminal Ariel Sharon, Livni supports the establishment of a Palestinian state in order to transfer Arab citizens out of Israel. Speaking at a Tel Aviv high school a week before the Gaza attacks, she said, “My solution for maintaining a Jewish and democratic State of Israel is to have two nation-states with certain concessions and with clear red lines…And among other things, I will also be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Israeli Arabs, and tell them, ‘your national solution lies elsewhere.'” Is someone who limits national identity and the full spectrum of rights to only Jewish citizens of Israel, thereby excluding nearly one fifth of the population, a good apple or a bad apple?

Benyamin Netanyahu is Israel’s new Prime Minister and head of the Likud party. The 1999 party platform, more than a decade newer than the constantly-pointed-to Hamas Charter, confirms Likud’s unabashed support for illegal Jewish settlements in Palestine:

“The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”

The document also states that “Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem” and wholly rejects any semblance of a sovereign Palestinian state:

“The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river. The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs.”

If we are told that Hamas leaders Khalid Meshal and Ismail Haniyeh are bad apples for consistently offering 30-year-long truces and accepting (and recognizing) Israel as a legitimate political entity within its 1967 borders, then what exactly are Bibi and his Likudniks?

We are told that the Israeli government has banned Palestinian political activity in Jerusalem. At one recent event, celebrating the Arab League’s designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture for 2009, Israeli authorities broke up a children’s march at an East Jerusalem Catholic school and when the teenage girls present at the gathering “released a few dozen balloons in the red, white, green and black colors of the Palestinian flag over the walled Old City…Israeli military police and soldiers quickly moved into the schoolyard and popped the remaining balloons.” Obviously, these balloon-poppers and party-poopers are just some local bad apples enforcing the law.

A recent poll by Israel’s Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies shows that 46% of Israel’s Jewish citizens favor the “transfer” of Palestinians out of the West Bank and Gaza, 31% favor the “transfer” of Israeli-Arabs out of the country altogether. Moreover, 55% say that the state should encourage Arab emigration, only 49% support the establishment of a Palestinian state, 61% believe Israeli-Arabs pose a threat to Israel’s security, and around 80% are opposed to Israeli-Arabs being involved in important decisions, such as delineating the country’s borders. Another poll, conducted by the Israeli Association for Civil Rights, found that 78% of Jewish Israelis are opposed to Arab parties being part of a coalition government, 56% believe that “Arabs cannot attain the Jewish level of cultural development,” 75% agree that Arabs are inclined to be violent (54% of Arab Israelis feel the same way about Jews), and 75% of Israeli Jews say they would not live in the same building as Arabs.

By contrast, the United Nations Development Program reports that nearly 70% of Palestinian young adults over the age of 17 oppose the use of violence to resolve the conflict with Israel and only 8% believe that violence is an important tool. The study also found that 42% were depressed by their current conditions and 39% were “extremely” depressed (55% in Gaza).

We are told that the barbaric destruction of Gaza had the support of 90% (if not 94%) of Israelis. Assuming this percentage excludes all Palestinian citizens of Israel, we’re only talking about 5 million or so bad apples.

When the seeds of a society are cultivated on a steady diet of historical falsehoods, bogus founding mythologies, unabated colonization and rampant militarism, some bad apples, infested with hatred, racism, and convictions of divine right, ethnic supremacy, and perpetual victimization, will surely grow.

But with so many bad apples, it is clear: the entire orchard is rotten.

Nima Shirazi is a writer and a musician. He was born and raised in Manhattan. Now living in Brooklyn, he writes the weblog Wide Asleep In America under the moniker “Lord Baltimore.” He can be reached at wideasleepinamerica (at) gmail (dot) com.

 


صلح با عدالت
Peace with justice

Lord Baltimore
Wide Asleep In America
Brooklyn, NY
http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com

The people of the Middle East could learn more about modern democracy from the anti-war camp, and not from former president Bush and his ‘coalition of the willing’, the very anti-Christ of democracy, writes Mamoon Alabbasi.

 
– “Those dirty A-rabs don’t deserve democracy. We give them freedom and they kill our troops. We should nuke them all in their shit-hole.”

-“Bring our troops home. What are they doing dying in some far away land trying to bring democracy to people who don’t want it?”

-“We Arabs are not yet ready for democracy. We need strong authoritarian governments to keep the peace and ensure economic growth.”

-“We should be grateful to the Americans. They got rid of our dictator and brought us democracy.”

-“Is this democracy? Is this freedom? The Americans killed all my family and destroyed my house. If this democracy, I tell you my brother, we don’t want it!”

Such comments and their likes are unfortunately not uncommon among some Americans and Iraqis regarding the US-led invasion of Iraq. Whether American or Iraqi, pro-war or anti-war, one fallacy lies at the bottom of their reasoning: that somehow ‘democracy’ had anything to do with the Iraq war.

Not that possessing WMDs was ever – objectively – enough reason to subject the whole of Iraq to so much senseless destruction; but since it became clear that the only real threat Iraq posed was to itself, the rhetoric had shifted into saving Iraqis from themselves by bringing onto them good old (well, in human history it isn’t actually that old) democracy.

But the fact is, that was never the case. Not in Iraq and certainly not in the region. Not in 2003 and most definitely not before that. After the fall of Baghdad, there were no serious moves to install democracy. Instead, US policies were channelled to inflame the sectarian divide.

After 12 years of merciless US-backed sanctions, all Iraq needed was one small push to descend into total chaos. Yet many Iraqis still waited to see what the US would offer. What they got was complete absence of security, hundreds of thousands of jobs losses, and death and torture at the hands of US forces with the help of some ‘favoured’ Iraqis.

That’s where the seeds of sectarianism had been sown. Instead of promoting reconciliation and unity, the US played a classic ‘divide and rule’ game in Iraq and drew the new Iraq – politically – along sectarian lines.

Militarily, Iraqis who had friends or family members killed or tortured by US forces in the presence (or under the advice) of other Iraqis weren’t always strong enough to punish the Americans so they took vengeance on their fellow Iraqis. The result? A cycle of vengeance that could have been averted.

Meanwhile, on the ‘democracy’ front, we had one segment of the population relatively prepared for campaigning whilst the other barely struggling to stay alive let alone take part in elections. Who would they vote for? How can you have fair elections when all your potential candidates are in hiding for fear of being killed or detained and tortured? Voting may (or may not) have been free, but who would one vote for if his/her choice is not on the list that is approved by the powers that be?

Adding to the confusion, Iraqis were requested to approve a constitution that most of whom have not even had the chance to read, let alone contemplate. ‘Imported’ from the US and released only five days before its referendum date, the new constitution caused further divisions in Iraq. In the meantime, new laws continued to be passed despite strong objection from a large segment of the population that was never properly represented in parliament because there never had been free elections in the first place.

All this was taking place with direct US involvement, with a mainly favourable outcome for the war architects. Big money was being made by the invasion’s supporters while ordinary Iraqis were being killed by many unexplainable attacks. Some of a sectarian nature, others just for money; ones blamed on Iran or Israel, while others blamed on Al-Qaeda (which only came to Iraq post-2003 invasion) or on the US military (frequently accused of secretly targeting civilians to discredit the insurgency).

The absolute truth may never be known, but one thing is certain: the US, as an occupying power, was under obligation, according to international law, to protect Iraqis. We all know how well that went. If it can’t – or is unwilling to – assume such responsibility it should have not been there in the first place, and trigger a ‘sectarian domino effect’, in addition to its own acts of murder and torture.

Washington and its allies in right-wing think thanks and mainstream media experts cannot talk of ‘mistakes’ happening when the average person in the street predicted that total chaos (at least) would befall Iraq in the event of an invasion. How can pro-invasion so called ‘experts’, ‘analysts’, and ‘intelligence’ fail to foresee what an average bricklayer in Tunisia predicted?

 

Charity begins at home

In fact, how can the invading countries ‘export’ democracy to Iraq while they were fighting democratic value at home? Why would an Iraqi believe that the US is bringing him/her democracy when he/she sees American citizens gradually being deprived of their rights and freedoms by the Bush administration? They also ignored the loud voices of their own people protesting against the Iraq war.

Saddam Hussein was accused of torture, detaining suspects indefinitely, spying on his own people, silencing journalist critical of his policies, and inciting fear in the hearts of his opponents. And how does that differ – relatively – from the actions of Bush, the ‘decider in chief’? Can anyone say – with a straight face – that Saddam was more of a threat to the American people than Bush himself?

Yet US and European right-wingers, and their ‘political pawns’ in the Middle East continue to speak favourably of so called ‘democracy and freedom interventions’ in the region. Yes, democracy should be vigorously sought in the Middle East (by the people of the region) and yes Americans and Europeans have every reason to be proud of their democracies (despite many shortfalls). But the pro-war establishment has no right to boast of democracy because whatever rights and freedoms ‘western’ societies enjoy today, they were the direct result of people fighting or challenging a similar-natured establishment in former eras. Today’s anti-war camp is the legitimate inheritor of the women’s-rights and the civil-rights movements. They are the rightful heirs of the anti-slavery and later the anti-empire heroes.

The people of the Middle East could learn more about modern democracy from the anti-war camp, and not from former president Bush and his ‘coalition of the willing’, the very anti-Christ of democracy.

What has the Bush administration really done to support democracy in the region?

 

US-backed dictatorships

Despite few lip services to democracy in the Middle East now and then, American foreign policy has always backed Arab dictators to remain in power and oppress their own people. These ‘puppet presidents’ or ‘drag-queen kings’ are kept in power – with US weapons and intelligence – for as long as they continue to serve American interests, not those of their own peoples.

Although mainstream media is not equally kind to them, the truth is often grossly distorted. These leaders are always much more ‘liberal’ than their predominantly conservative societies on social and religious issues. They would only draw a red line when their hold to power is shaken or challenged. But as Bush does with democracy, they often pay lip service to ‘moral values’. And if you believe Bush then you might as well believe them too.

 

War on words

As is the case with all wars, truth was the first causality too in the Iraq war. But as more details emerge regarding the lead up to the invasion, one could say, to a small degree, that the truth is making a slow but sustainable recovery. I wish I could say the same for the English language which was among the early victims of the Bush administration.

Many may laugh at the clumsy language mistakes Bush made during his speeches or when answering questions from the press, but few know that it is really the former US president who had the last laugh. The truth maybe recovering, but the English language is not. The Bush administration may have gone, but twisted right-wing rhetoric still lingers on in most mainstream media outlets.

From that perspective, killing ‘our’ soldiers is ‘terrorism’ yet killing ‘their’ civilians is not. Their actions are ‘barbaric’ but ours are ‘controversial’, etc.

But my concern here is on terms related to governments and politicians. How come Middle Easterners don’t get to have ‘hawks’ and ‘doves’ like their US (and sometime Israeli) counterparts? And why don’t Americans have ‘moderates’, ‘hardliners’ and ‘radicals’ at the Oval office?

More importantly, why are some US-backed Arab dictators who are extremely repressive of their own populations referred to as ‘moderates’? Is it just because they serve the interests of Washington (or Tel Aviv) instead of their own countries? At the same time, those who are brought to power through the ballot box or enjoy extremely wide support among their populations are termed ‘hardliners’ or ‘radicals’ just because they are not in good terms with foreign invading (or occupying) powers.

Who will defend the English language from ‘radical democracies’ and ‘moderate dictatorships’?

 

Iron Iran

Far from being a perfect democracy, Iran today is much closer to realising the wishes of its people than during the era of the ruthless US-backed dictator, the Shah, toppled by the 1979 revolution. Most Iranians today, despite their young age, are also familiar with the role of the US CIA-backed coup against their democratically elected PM in the fifties, Mohammed Mosadaq.

Iranians are in an uphill struggle to have a modern democracy and more freedoms, but the last thing their reformers or rights activists need is foreign interference that would directly discredit them in the eyes of the majority of their people.

The people of Iran, generally fond of ‘western’ societies, remain suspicious of US foreign policy. And amid rumours that neo-conservatives and Christian Zionists seek to nuke their 70- million population, accompanied with serious threats from the Bush administration, their reformist camp took a heavy blow. You have to remember that during World War II even rooted democracies like Britain suspended all democratic activities, and to Iranians the US is still perceived as an enemy that poses an existential threat.

 

Hands off Hamas

I don’t know of any people who have defended their electoral choice with so much blood and sweat (plus hunger and disease) as the people of Palestine following their election of Hamas.

They faced a superpower (US), an occupation power (Israel), propaganda war by pro-Israelis, Islamaphopbes, anti-Arab racists, Arab dictators, self-loathing Muslims, and tag-along opportunists, while being besieged in a tiny overpopulated strip.

They were punished for their votes and yet at the same time were prevented somehow from being represented. It is OK, according to some Rabbis, to kill them because they voted for Hamas, but Hamas, so Israel wishes, must not be seen as representing them. It wasn’t enough to take away their liberty, health and lives; their political and social voices had to be taken away too. And thus Hamas leaders had to be silenced – but should they speak, then the mainstream media is there to distort their views.

So called ‘experts’ and ‘analysts’ would indulge in debates on why Hamas was elected, fruitlessly seeking to undermine their legitimacy, forgetting that in democracies, reasons of voting for one party instead of another does not affect the power that comes from the ballot box.

They often speak of corruption in Fatah or by some members of the Palestinian Authority, without even giving much thought to what that implies. To Palestinians, corruption is not just breaking the law for some financial benefits; it is deeper than that. Many see corruption as selling Palestinian rights to Israel for personal gains; i.e. treason of the first degree.

The people of Palestine had faced many atrocities before; land theft, ethnic cleansing, occupation, bone breaking, imprisonment, tight sieges, and mass murder, among other injustices. But it was only under Bush’s watch that their first ever democracy and electoral choice came under such ruthless attack.

 

Jews-only democracy

No doubt that in many senses of the word, Israel is a democracy. It could be because the whole system was planted there by the ‘west’, like many of its American and European immigrants who settled there during and after the creation of the Jewish state. It also could be the people there reached that wise decision on their own. Nevertheless, whatever the causes and reasons are, the positive aspects of its democracy must be acknowledged.

But it should not pass as something comparable to ‘western’ democracies (not that they make those like they used to anymore). You have to remember a democracy is usually elected by a majority. Yet the majority of the people of that particular land are forced to live in exile.

Imagine if you’d expel the majority of blacks in the US and then when Election Day comes, you’d say to the few that remained that they have a right to vote and they should count their blessings for living in a democracy. You might even want to consider demanding that they’d show their loyalty to you. You didn’t ban anyone from voting, you just prevented them from returning to their rightful homes, making them unable to cast their ballots.

Until the Palestinian refugees’ problem is solved on a just basis, the Jewish state cannot claim to be a true democracy. But what has the Bush administration done to the plight of those estimated six million Palestinian refugees?

Plus, as the US should know, being a democracy at home does not give you the right to be a dictator abroad.

So why was Iraq invaded? Was it for money (oil)? For love (of Israel)? Or just for fame (keeping superpower reputation means teaching others a lesson every now and then)? I am not completely sure, but you can bet your sorry soul it was never about democracy.

Mamoon Alabbasi is an editor for Middle East Online and can be reached via: alabbasi@middle-east-online.com

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=31257

art by Jorge Arrieta: http://www.popsiclesandgrenades.com/archives/2009/03/beware-peace-democracy-is-coming/

To listen to Gilad Atzmon deconstructing antisemitism click here (or link at the podcast at the bottom of this post)

 

To listen to David Aaronovitch reading Gilad Atzmon click here

 

To listen to David Aaronovitch’s tantrum click here

 

To listen to Atzmon confronted with an outraged Jewish member of the audience click here

 

To listen to a disappointed member of the audience click here

 

To listen to Aaronovitch confronted with a Jewish member of the audience click here

 

To listen to Aaronovitch’s closing remarks click here

 

To listen to Atzmon’s closing remarks click here

 

 

Last Wednesday, I participated in a panel that could have been a breakthrough debate on issues having to do with ‘Antisemitism’. The event was part of The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival and it took place at Oxford University. The discussion was moderated by the legendary BBC reporter Martin Bell. On the panel we had Nick Cohen and David Aaronovitch.  They were there to elaborate on the case of ‘new antisemitism’. Interestingly enough, Aaronovitch and Cohen were the prominent advocates of the illegal war in Iraq through the British press. They are also notoriously famous for their  Islamophobic ranting, as if this is not enough, they were also caught supporting the latest Israeli deadly campaign in Gaza. I was there to argue that antisemitism is a spin, it is a myth, I was there to deliver a very simple message: there is no such a thing as antisemitism.

 

I was looking forward for the event. I gathered that it might not be easy confronting Britain’s loudest Ziocon lobbyists alone. In fact I was wrong. It was a piece of cake. It was almost an effortless task to expose and demolish the lame Zionist argument, mainly because there is no such argument. Zionism is not a dialogical narrative, it is rather a pragmatic ruthless practice that seeks control of land and discourse.

 

I may as well say it, unlike Aaronovitch and Cohen, I believe in dialogue and I support every form of well-argued debate. In fact, I would debate anyone, whether it is a Nazi or a Zionist, whether it is a white supremacist or a Judeocentric Islamophobe agitator.  In my world, platform is granted to anyone who endorses a well-mannered conversation. However, last Wednesday, both Aaronovitch and Cohen didn’t want to debate or to argue. They believed that finishing me off would serve their cause. Funnily enough, not only did they fail, they ended up on the defence, begging for the audience to stop applauding and running out of sympathy.

 

Sadly, the panel was not very effective in elaborating on the given topic (Anti Semitism  – Alive And Well in Europe?). David Aaronovitch, who happened to be the first to talk, insisted that rather than discussing the subject, he would score more points citing the best of my published Jewels. He was determined to convince the audience that I was the lowest of the low and I should have never been invited to such a prestigious platform. This is not a joke. Aaronovitch who is notoriously famous for lobbying for a war that that has left (so far) 1.5 million civilians dead, a person that is engaged in spreading vile anti left and Islamophobic Zionised propaganda, is convinced that he is entitled to preach to the public who should participate in the discourse.  Aaronovitch foolishly anticipated that once he read my words, a gasp of resentment towards me would spread in the marquee. The deluded man must have invested an enormous amount of energy gathering these endless quotes. He must have read each of my papers, picking what he thoughtlessly and Zionistly interpreted as ‘outrageous thoughts’. I, on my side, was rather thrilled and amused. It doesn’t happen that often that people read my materials with such enthusiasm on such a prestigious platform. Neither myself nor my most devoted readers could do a better job presenting my ideas. 

 

Sadly for Aaronovitch, his plan didn’t work out, there was not a single noticeable reaction in the room.  There was not a single gasp of resentment.  And yet, the truth must be said, Aaronovitch is a very talented melodramatic epic performer. He brilliantly over-dramaticised my ideas, he beautifully stressed the various variations of the different ‘J’ words, he would then slow down, stare at me with exaggerated contempt, he would giggle expecting the crowed to join him. But they didn’t.

 

For some reason that is far beyond me, Aaronovitch and Cohen failed to realise that Oxford University was not exactly a Yeshiva. It was not an occupied territory either.  It wasn’t down to them or the Israeli Hasbara Committee to decide who was entitled to engage in a public debate. If anything, the two warmongers should have had the minimum intellectual integrity to ban themselves from the public eye for advocating a war that led to a genocide. The two warmongers should have enough honesty to realise that if there is antisemitism, as they say, they must be the root cause for such a phenomenon.

 

Aaronovitch failed to grasp that people who attend literary events are largely curious and open minded, they are far more interested in listening to some enlightening ideas rather than being indoctrinated or patronised by a rightwing Zionist propagandist agitator. 

 

Seemingly, Aaronovitch failed to realise that people out there do read the news from time to time. They read about Charles Freeman and the Jewish Lobby, they read about swindler Madoff, Lord Cash Machine Levy, Proxy donor David Abrahams, Labour Friends of Israel, Alan Greenspan and the credit crunch. People out there do realise that more than just a single prominent Zionist Jew is caught in the eye of the current storms (Iraq, finance, Gaza). Aaronovitch, who by his own admission, has been monitoring my writing for years, should have known that NO ONE out of the Jewish ghetto is offended by my observations about Jewish excessive lobbying and Zionist power. If anything, my stand against tribal politics makes me more and more popular within far bigger circles. 

 

Needless to say, I myself have never sought this kind of fame. I am a Jazz musician, I run a very rewarding musical career. When it comes to my intervention on Jewish identity, I write what I regard to be the truth, realising that there maybe more than one truth. I publish my thoughts while knowing that my truth today may be shaken tomorrow. My task is very simple. I try to be coherent just to make sure that at least I myself manage to follow my thread of thoughts. I am aware of the fact that my writing may devastate some, more than once I myself happen to be concerned with the ideas I managed to reach.  Unlike Cohen and Aaronovitch, for me it has never been a political battle, it has never been about power or scoring a win.  It was always about ethics and intellectual integrity. Seemingly, ethics and intellectual honesty is exactly what the Ziocons à la Aaronovitch/Cohen lack. Seemingly, it is evidently the shortage of ethical commitment and intellectual integrity that pushes Cohen and Aaronovitch back to where they belong: the insular segregated kosher cyber ghetto.

 

Notably, both Aaronovitch and Cohen are famous for their incredibly deceiving call to “Liberate the Iraqi people”. The two Jewish Chronicle writers claimed to know what the Iraqi people ‘desired’. They were obviously wrong and the total Western defeat in Iraq proves it beyond doubt. It is obviously understandable and expectable that two Zionist Londoners would fail to grasp the true will of the Iraqi people. Yet, one would expect Aaronovitch and Cohen to know ‘something’ about the middle class crowd in Oxford.  At the end of the day, Aaronovitch and Cohen were raised in the UK and educated in British Universities. In spite of them promoting Zionist propaganda in the midst of the British media, they are still British, they should have known better.  I would also expect that after 200 years of ‘Jewish assimilation’, the tribal activists would learn something about their neighbours’ appetite. Apparently Aaronovitch and Cohen didn’t. The enthusiastic reception of my intervention drove Aaronovitch into a vile tantrum. “Shame on you” he shouted at the applauding Oxford crowd. Not before too long, Aaronovitch was caught on tape blaming HIS audience for being antisemitic. Clearly, on the recording, sporadic members of the audience are heard giggling at the embarrassing sight of a neurotic outburst of a decaying Neocon. 

 

I do realise that my performance in Oxford was actually very symbolic in its resemblance to the success of the Iraqi resistance: though my English is rather broken, my grammar is faulty, my resources are limited, in spite of me being sluggish and slightly messy, the truth was on my side, or shall I say: the truth is in our side.  As far as public debate is concerned, Jewish tribalism, Zionism and Neocon precepts are indefensible.   We will win in every intellectual battle against those warmongers just because we are ethical, genuine and coherent. All we have to do is to survive their endless spin and slander.

 

Once Aaronovitch ended citing my ‘pearls’. Nick Cohen took the platform. He spoke about the Elders Of Zion. Like Aaronovitch, he failed to address the subject. It is clear that Zionist lobbyists really believe that focussing on a 19th century text would divert the attention from the current powerful elders who lobby for more and more global conflicts and biblical plunder. Cohen, I guess, must be convinced that as long as the protocols are alive in our thoughts, he may be able to advocate wars without us noticing it. He must be a fool. We do see him, we see it all and we do not like what we see.

 

“I refuse to accept the premise of the debate,” I told the people in Oxford. Antisemitism is a misleading notion. It is there to give the impression that opposition to Jewish politics is racially motivated. However, Jews are not a race nor they are in any proximity of any recognised racial continuum. Since Jews are not a race (though can be very racist) their opposition, at least currently, is not racially orientated or motivated whatsoever! 

 

Antisemitism is nothing but spin, it is there to silence criticism of Israel, Jewish nationalism, Jewish politics and Jewish lobbies around the world. Rather than talking about antisemitism, we better talk about the rise of anti-Jewish feelings.

 

I am more than willing to admit that there is indeed more than one piece of evidence of growing resentment towards Jewishness and I am referring here to Jewish ideology and Jewish politics.  Yet, in a liberal society, political and ideological criticism is supposed to be a fully legitimate endeavour. As it happens, there is a growing rage towards Jewish politics and national politics in particular, but this shouldn’t take us by surprise considering the crimes that are committed locally and globally by Zionists and Neocons, whether it is Olmert’s genocidal practice in Palestine or Aaronovitch/Cohen lobbying for a war against Israel’s enemies and last pockets of resistance.

 

I was also willing to admit that some innocent ethnic Jews are caught in the midst of all this. This is indeed a serious problem and I do not have a simple answer to offer.  Yet, I would mention that my wife, my kids, and a few of my band members who happen to be of Jewish origin have never come across any form of antisemitic abuse. If we have ever noticed any abuse, it was somehow always Jewish violence against us in the form of death threats, smears, slander and spin.

 

In the light of this very simple observation, 2 questions must be asked.

1.    How is it that the campaigners against anti Semitism such as Aaronovitch and Cohen happen to be also muddled up with some ludicrous Islamophobic statements?

 

The answer is very simple. Those who preach to us about antisemitism are neither humanists nor universalists, they are just banal tribal activists that are committed to the interests of their ethnic group and that group alone. The very few sporadic gentiles who advocate this immoral discourse do it for the sake of political reasons. Within the Jewish terminology they are called the ‘Sabbath Goy’(1). They are there to work for the Jews and they are fully rewarded accordingly.

 

2.    We have good reason to believe that Aaronovitch and Cohen know very well that Jews are not descendents of people of the Semitic origin and do not form a racial continuum. Why then do they try to pretend that the negation towards Jews is racially motivated?

 

Again the answer is rather obvious. The Jewish ethnic campaigner will spin and cheat and spread lies because Jewish ideology (right, left and centre) cannot be defended or argued in rational or ethical terms. All Jewish national politic discourses are exclusivist, supremacist and racially orientated (though Jews are far from being a race, every form of Jewish politics is categorically racist to the bone. It is always about different formations of a ‘Jews only’ club).  

 

To a certain extent, I was very lucky to share a platform with Aaronovitch and Cohen for the simple reason that they are the ultimate embodiment of tribal activism and war lobbying in this country. Aaronovitch and Cohen, amongst a few other Ziocon protagonists, are the root cause of resentment towards Jewish political lobbying. It was almost entertaining to hear the Jewish Chronicle writer Aaronovitch denying being a Jew, presenting the lame pathetic argument that he had been in a synagogue just “3 times in his entire life”. Aaronovitch must have thought that he may get away with this new spin. He obviously knows that Jews do not have to believe in God, they do not have to go to synagogues, he must know also that even one visit in a synagogue is probably far more than the vast majority of humanity has ever experienced.  What makes Aaronovitch into a Jewish tribal campaigner is, for instance, the fact that he is listed on the Israel Hasbara (2) Committee as one of their authors. The Israeli propaganda (Hasbara) Committee, which lists Aaronovitch as one of its authors declares that its aim is: 

 

“To promote understanding of Judaism and Israel”

 

Do you know any goy who is affiliated with the ‘promotion’ of Judaism AND Israel? Oh yes, Aaronovitch, has one spinning line he has yet to explore. He may suggest to us that he is actually a ‘Christian Zionist’. 

 

What makes Aaronovitch into a Jew has nothing to do with his religious affiliation or belief.  It has nothing to do with the ethnicity of his parents. It has nothing to do with the shape of his nose or the tip of his knob. What makes Aaronovitch into a Jew and a Zionist one in particular is his affiliation with the most rabid, notorious, nationalist Jewish political school. What made Aaronovitch so spiteful and despised in Oxford had nothing to do with his father’s origin, it was actually his Zionist politics and Zionised tactics, it was his commitment to Israeli Propaganda, it was the fact that he lobbied for a war that made us all into war criminals, a war that led to a genocide of 1.5 million innocent Iraqi civilians. 

 

Aaronovitch and Cohen may have learned a lesson in Oxford. Aaronovitch pledged never to see me again. Listening to the audio recording of the event and especially to his tantrum he has a very good reason not to. The contemptible Ziocon was exposed. However, in the light of Aaronovitch being listed as an Israeli ‘propaganda author’, and bearing in mind his being a lobbyist for an illegal war, Mr Aaronovitch is not exactly a Western liberal humanist. Seemingly, he is more of an Israeli patriot than a British one. This is something that his readers in The Times must keep in mind once Aaronovitch attempts to drag this country into another devastating global conflict.   


[1] Sabbath Goy (urban dictionary)- Originally, a non-Jew who does work on Sabbath that a Jew cannot do. In modern times, it is a non-Jew who toadies to the every wish and whim of the Jews, especially in politics, or a non-Jew who is heavily supportive of Israel.
 
[2] Hasbara –Propaganda (Hebrew)

 

SEE ALSO: Dima Omar, So What Did We Learn About Anti-Semitism?

WRITTEN BY Anis Hamadeh

 

With amazement the world public has noticed in recent weeks that war crimes had apparently been committed in Gaza. (1) Even Israeli soldiers and military staff now report about their own cruelties against the Palestinian population, cruelties that we do not even know from movies. (2) The stylish T-shirts, that promote the shooting of pregnant Palestinian women by indicating that in this way you can kill two human beings with one bullet, appeared strange to people abroad, too. (3) Moreover, the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Israeli foreign minister horrifies the public. (4) There would be further reasons to be disgusted, like the ongoing ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, the plans for expanding the illegal settlements, some killings, the abduction of Gazan fishermen and so on, but these details do not enter the global discourse, because, well, because they never did. The question is: how genuine is the amazement about what happened in Gaza?

 

Did anything change in Israeli politics? Are those really completely new phenomena, suddenly coming up in the discourse, out of thin air? Or do we only witness the consequences of a continuing strategy that had begun more than sixty years ago? There are good arguments for the latter alternative, especially when you look at the facts. Let us, for example, revisit the year 1948 …


Deir Yassin and the Human Rights

 

1948 was a special year. It was marked by Plan D, the Israeli plan to ethnically cleanse Palestine. (5) Jewish troops expelled about 700,000 people from the indigenous population of the country and killed many of the men in combat age. Even in 1936, after the Palestinian revolt, the Palestinian elite had been persecuted. This was shortly after the first Palestinian party was founded which was to represent the interests of the native population in the two fronts struggle against the British occupation and the Zionist conquerers. “Punishments” like the demolition of residence houses were firstly used by the British and were adopted later by the Zionists. In 1948, several Jewish terror groups were known, like the Haganah, Irgun, the Stern Gang, Lechi and others. They killed, took the land away from the local people and later contributed several prime ministers who were accepted by the world public without any difficulty – very similar to today.

 

Don’t think that the pogroms against the population of Palestine during the execution of Plan D were secret. When the future Prime Minister Menachem Begin had the Arab village of Deir Yassin attacked on April 9 and many of its inhabitants killed (certainly including children and women) in order to terrorize and horrify the people, this was covered in the world press. Begin defended his deed with a typical Israeli bonmot: “The massacre of Deir Yassin not only had its justification – without the ‘victory’ of Deir Yassin there had never been a State of Israel.” (6) Four years later, the same Begin attempted to kill the German chancellor Adenauer (7) and in 1978 he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

When Deir Yassin went through the press, the horror about this deed was huge, very similar to today after Gaza. Everybody was surprised and disgusted, even perpetrators like Haganah and the Jewish Agency. A pattern came into being, the pattern of shooting and crying, i.e. killing with subsequent lament. This has worked: there have never been any consequences for Israel. The killings, the expropriations and the humiliation of the local population until today belong to the salient characteristics of Israeli politics. Nothing has changed.

 

At the end of 1948, large portions of Palestine were “Palestinian-free”, much more than the designated part of the land that the international community and the UN had granted to the Jews (with the explicit demand that the local people be treated well). We remember that the international community decided to give some land to the victims of the European genocide against the Jews and everybody was happy with the Palestine decision … except, of course, the people who lived in the region, because it was their land according to all international and logical standards. Weapons and myths (8) silenced them.

 

1948 was also the year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In December, when Israel was established on the blood of the Palestinians, the world celebrated the Human Rights and did not care about Palestinians. The world wanted human rights with exceptions, but this did not work. Now, sixty years later, we begin to understand that.

 

The Aryan state did not work, let’s try a Jewish state …

 

During its history, Israel has continued the Deir Yassin policy, and today there is less than 10 or 5 percent of the land left to the Palestinians. On global refugee days people do not talk about Palestinians, although they are the biggest group of refugees in the world with far over 5 million people. This works because Palestinians (and Arabs and Muslims in general) are needed to fill the role of the anti-Semite which is substantial to the Zionist ideology.

 

It is, as if the world said: the Aryan state did not work, let’s try a Jewish state … Is it really surprising that we witness stunning similarities between the two today? (9) The Israeli population today is exactly confronted with the “final solution” subject now, because Israel cannot make peace on the one hand (this would imply justice for Palestinians, an unthinkable idea in Israel’s decision-making) and needs to end the conflict, on the other. With extremely violent politicians like Netanyahu and Lieberman the “transfer” plan comes closer, an idea to just expel Palestinians en masse like in the old days. Of course, if this happens, it will not mean peace, but more violence and even stronger resistance. So let your imagination fly and think about what a final solution could look like.

 

It is not known how many Palestinians must die before the world recognizes that they are human beings and not anti-Semites. Right now the killing goes on, the Gaza peak did not evoke a real criticism yet. Israel is encouraged to go on to see how far it can go. Do not think that this was it, do not think that Israel will now see that it cannot go on like this. The Zionists have learned that they can do anything with impunity. On March 22, 2009, a total of 14,000 tons of new US weapons arrived in Ashdod on the German cargo ship “MS Wehr Elbe” (owner: Oskar Wehr KG, Hamburg). (10) With these weapons alone, tens of thousands of people can be killed.

 

The Jewish state will collapse, like the Aryan state has collapsed, because both have the seed of self-destruction in them. Both are clearly racist, violent and expansionist in nature. This time it hits Arabs and Muslims instead of Jews. For over sixty years the international community has been blind to this fact, although it is so obvious that ordinary people know it and talk about it – not politicians or journalists or others who need the public.

 

Countries like Germany even have a “reason of state” to secure the persecution of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, calling it a “historical responsibility”. There is no other possible reason to introduce a reason of state if it was not for something highly illegal that needs to be hushed up.

 

We may still save the rest

 

The repressive tolerance of Western countries like Germany and the USA makes it possible to write all this down, because it usually has no “harmful” effects towards change. A lot of people think that – unlike the Nazi state – the Zionist state cannot be overcome by violence and thus will prevail. This is an error. Racist regimes of this ilk end up in self-destruction if they are not overcome from the outside. What is important now: we can still save lives. We cannot save the about 1,500 dead in Gaza anymore. But we may still save the rest.

 

At the end of May, the Free Gaza Movement will organize a flotilla of boats, the Hope Fleet, to break the siege of Gaza. You can support them. (11) The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is present in Palestine to shield Palestinians from the Zionist killers (12). You can support them and save lives. This is a critical phase and every hand is needed, every tongue and every cent. Boycott Zionists now! Take it seriously now! Boycott non-Israeli journalists and politicians who support the killing! Argue with them! Support those Jews who are committed against violence and for peace in Palestine. For the sake of humanity and of yourself: do not take part in this murder.

 


NOTES:
1. E.g. in the German “Spiegel”, “Israelische Armee: Gaza-Veteranen schockieren mit Aussagen über wahllose Morde.” by Ulrike Putz, Beirut,
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,614286,00.html
2.
See e.g. ‘Shooting and crying’, von Amos Harel, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072475.html
3. See e.g. http://news.sky.com 20 March 2009, “Israeli Army T-Shirts Mock Gaza Killings”, by Dominic Waghorn (URL too long)
4. Guardian 25 March 2009, “Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s shame”, by Neve Gordon, http://www.redress.cc/palestine/ngordon20090327
5. Ilan Pappe, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”, 2006
6.
Markus A. Weingardt (2002): Deutsche Israel- und Nahostpolitik. p. 33
7. See e.g. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 12 June 2006 “‘Im Auftrag des Gewissens’. Begin war Drahtzieher des Adenauer-Attentats”, www.faz.net/s/RubFC06D389EE76479E9E76425072B196C3/Doc~E35BBCD5A37DA47809AD4F6A865C6332B~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html
8. Myths like “A land without a people for a people without land”, “Arab aggressions/ David vs. Goliath”, “anti-Semitic Arabs/Muslims”, Palestinian Nazi cooperation (it was far less effective than Zionist Nazi cooperation), Arab military superiority (Jordan was the only country with a decent army then, and the Jordanian king was successfully promised a part of the prey, namely the West Bank); also see John Rose (2004), “Myths of Zionism”
9. This comparison is still forbidden in the mainstream, “for the security of Israel”, but it is as obvious as it is founded and necessary. See my essay “The Second Case”, Feb. 5, 2009, http://www.anis-online.de/1/essays/23.htm
10. Amnesty International, Press Release, April 1, 2009, United States Delivers Massive New Weapons Shipment to Israel, Confirmed by Pentagon, Says Amnesty International, http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGUSA20090402002&lang=e (NB: The German government is co-guilty, cf. (in German): http://www.radio-utopie.de/2009/01/23/Bundesregierung-dementiert-Wissen-ueber-Waffentransport-nach-Israel-Chronologie-der-Wehr-Elbe-Affaere)
11. See press release and updates at www.freegaza.org
12. http://palsolidarity.org

 

SOURCE: http://www.freegaza.org/en/home/804-shooting-and-crying-nothing-new-since-1948–or-is-it

 

On the occasion of the June 2009 European elections, we are launching an urgent appeal to all candidates for the 736 seats in the European parliament.
We ask that they actively pursue the immediate and unconditional removal of Hamas and all other Palestinian liberation organizations from the European list of proscribed terrorist organizations. We further ask that they acknowledge the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and, by so doing, recognise, Hamas as a legitimate voice for the Palestinian people’s aspirations for national liberation.
http://www.recogniseresistance.net/

http://www.recogniseresistance.net/index.php

Initial Signatories:

275 personalities on March 30th 2009

ABICHT Ludo Belgique-ABOUDAN F, Dr. Stellvertret Vorsitzender des Deutsch Syrischen e.V. Allemagne-ABOU JAHJAH Dyab, activiste, Belgique-Liban Belgique-ABUALROB Mohammad, coordinator of the Palestinian People society Afrique du Sud-AHIDAR Fouad, parlementaire bruxellois Belgique-ALEGRE Greta, cinéaste, Artistes contre le Mur Belgique – ALI Tariq, writer, film-maker and editor of New Left Review Royaume-Uni-ALLEG Henri France-ALLEG-SALEM Gilberte France-AL-ZOEBI Mohammed, prof. Dr., ex-Minister in Syria Allemagne-AMADOR Irene, anthropologue Espagne-AMARA Jean-Claude, porte-parole de Droits devant !!, France-ANDREEVA Nina, Secretary general of Central Comity A-UCPB Russie-ANWAR Aamer, Human Rights Lawyer, Ecosse Royaume-Uni-AOURAGH Miriyam, co-organizer Dutch antiwar and antiracism campaign, Pays-Bas-ARSALAN Fathallah, porte-parole du mouvement Justice et Spiritualité Maroc-ARTLIEB Marion, Dpl.Ing. computer scientist Autriche-ATZMON Gilad, artiste de jazz et écrivain Royaume-Uni-AYALA SOSA Rosa (Dr.ssa), CIEP  Italie-BADER Wilfried, local counsellor Angerberg, Tirol Autriche-BARBEAU-LAVALETTE Anaïs, Réalisatrice Québec Canada-BARGHOUTHY Hani, Writer, editor-in-chief of arabianawareness.com Canada-Baroud Ramzy, Author, Journalist USA-BARRETT Mark, civil liberties campaigner, London Royaume Uni-BARTOLIK Pawel Michal, Journalist of Trybuna Robotnicza (Workers Tribune) Pologne-BEAUGIER Catherine, Poète – Ecrivain Belgique-BELAHRACHE Radouane, Nîmes France-BELAL Aabdelhai, PHD student Chypre-BENGHABRIT Hassan, écrivain/poète France-BENMERAD Djamal, Ecrivain Bruxelles Belgique-BENZAKOUR Mohammed, écrivain et journaliste Pays-Bas-BERLIN Greta, co-fondatrice Free Gaza Movment USA-BIBEAU Robert, expert en éducation au Ministère de l’Éducation du Québec Canada-BLEITRACH Danielle, sociologue et écrivain France-BOAL Augusto, homme de théâtre Brésil-BONALI Giulio Italie-BONAZZI Giuseppe, Professore emerito Fac. Scienze Politiche Università di Torino Italie-BORREMAN Hadassah, publiciste Belgique-BORREMAN Shmiel Mordche, Yechouroun Judaïsme contre Sionisme Belgique-BOUAMAMA Saïd, sociologue France-BOUKMAN Daniel, écrivain Martinique-BOUMEDIENE-THIERY Alima, sénatrice France-BOUSSOUMAH Youssef, Mouvement des Indigènes de la République France-BOUTELDJA Houria, Mouvement des Indigènes de la République France-BOUTELDJA Naima, Journalist, Royaume-Uni-BOUZERDA Abdou, président Arab European League Pays-Bas-BRACKE Maud, lecturer, University of Glasgow Royaume-Uni-BRACKE Sarah, féministe & professor KULeuven Belgique-BRICMONT Jean, physicien Belgique-BROWN Brenda, Chair, Brighton & Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign  Royaume-Uni-BRUGUIER Alain, vice-président de l’AFPS de Nîmes (Gard) France-BUSTANI Hisham, Writer and Secretary of the Socialist Thought Forum Jordanie-CAPORALE Alessandra, social anthropologist, university lecturer, Barcelona Espagne-CATALINOTTO John, managing editor, Workers World Newspaper USA-CAVALLI Franco, Immediate Past President of UICC, Direktor IOSI in Bellinzona, Initiator Medicuba, Nationalrat der SP Schweiz von 1995 – 2007 Suisse-CERRI Giovanni, Professore di Letteratura greca antica Università di Roma Tre Italie-CHAAMBI Abdelaziz, militant associatif France-CHANDAN Sukant, Chair, English branch of the IUPFP Royaume-Uni-CHASSEUR Tony, musicien Martinique-CHIAROTTO Francesca, dottoranda in Studi Politici, Torino Italie-CHICHAH Souhail, chercheur ULB Belgique-CHIESA Giulietto, parlamentare europeo e giornalista Italie-CHRISTISON Bill, writer, Palestinian rights activist USA-CHRISTISON Kathleen, writer, Palestinian rights activist USA-COLLON Michel, écrivain et journaliste Belgique-COLONNA Eric, citoyen engagé, Lyon France-CONFIANT Raphaël, écrivain Martinique-CONSTANTINOU Petros, Campain Genoa 2001 Grèce-COOPER Alan, Senior Lecturer, European College of Business and Management, Royaume-Uni-COSSELLU Mario Gabrielli, Segretario Circolo PRC/SE “Enrico Berlinguer” Bruxelles Belgique-CRETAUX Sophie, ex-chercheur au CNRS, agrégée d’histoire France-CROOKE Alistair, Conflicts Forum Director and Founder Royaume-Uni-DALTON Des, Vize-Präsident von Republican Sinn Féin, Betriebsrat der Gewerkschaft SIPTU Irlande-DAWOOD Fakeer, Dr., Prof. Telecommunication, Montreal, Qc Canada-DE BRABANDER Ludo, Stafmedewerker vzw Vrede Belgique-DE HERT Robbe, cinéaste Belgique-DE LEY Herman, emeritus professor.Universiteit Gent Belgique-DE SANTI Massimo (Prof.), Presidente Comitato Internazionale di Educazione per la Pace Italie-DE WITTE Ludo, auteur Belgique-DE WITTE Paul, Woordvoerder Basisbewehging voor democratie in samenlevving en kerken, Belgique-DEDAJ Viktor, cyberjournaliaste France-DEKKERS Daniel, Ingénieur retraité Belgique-DELMOTTE Paul, professeur IHECS Belgique-DELORCA Frédéric, Sociologue, coordinateur du blog de l’Atlas alternatif, France-DELPHY Christine, Fondatrice et directrice de la revue NQF, France-DEQUEECKER Ida, féministe Belgique-DERMAGNE Jean-Marie, Avocat, Enseignant à l’Université Belgique-DERONNE Thierry, vice-président télévision publique Vive TV République bolivarienne du Venezuela Venezuela-DERRICHE Ouardia, membre de l’Association Belgique-Palestine Belgique-DIAGNE Roland, enseignant en France, militant communiste marxiste-léniniste France-D’ORSI Angelo (Prof.),  Cattedra di Storia del Pensiero politico Dipartimento di Studi Politici, Università di -Torino Italie-DOUGLAS Emory, Former Minister of Culture of The Black Panther Party USA-DRURY Ivan, member of Vancouver Socialist Forum, contributing editor of Socialist Voice Canada-DUISENBERG Gretta, Chair Foundation Stop the Occupation Pays-Bas-DUMAS F. LAFONTANT Doumafis, Organizer, African Liberation Day USA-DURAND Benjamin, professeur de cinéma et télévision, Caracas Venezuela-DUTHU Françoise, ancienne députée au Parlement Européen (Les Verts) France-DWORCZAK Hermann, social scientist, trade unionist Autriche-EDDE Dominique, écrivain franco-libanaise France-EL KADI Mohamed, Président de l’Agence Méditerranée pour la Coopération Internationale, Journaliste /Directeur du Journal “La Méditerranée”, Fès Maroc-EL-ABED Chairman Fathi, Danish Palestinian Friendship Association and Candidate to the EU-Parliament (The -Socialist People Party) Danemark-EL-SALAHI Zaki, Masters student, Edinburgh, Scotland Royaume-Uni-ELSÄSSER Jürgen, journalist, Berlin Allemagne-FADIL Nadia, sociologue Belgique-FANON-MENDES-FRANCE Mireille France-FELLER Jonas, Anti-imperialist activist and high school student, Rostock Allemagne-FIGUEIREDO Jorge, Webmaster resistir.info Portugal-FINKELSTEIN Norman G., enseignant, auteur USA-FISCHER Franz, Sekretariat Partei der Arbeit der Schweiz – Sektion Basel, Trade Union UNIA Suisse-FLINKER Jean,  enseignant, membre d’Attac-Bruxelles, Belgique-FLOUNDERS Sara, co-director, International Action Center USA-FRABETTI Carlo, écrivain Espagne-GABRIEL Leo, journalist and social anthropologist, member of the council of the World Social Forum Autriche-GARREAU Micheline, militante ISM  France-GEYS Herman, Kunstenaar Belgique-GHARBI Anouar, Président de « Droit pout tous » et porte parole de la « Campagne Européenne pour mettre -fin au siège de Gaza » Suisse-GHARBI Anouar, Président de « Droit pout tous » et porte parole de la « Campagne Européenne pour mettre fin au siège de Gaza », Suisse-GIRARD Youssef, étudiant France-GOEMAN Eric, woordvoerder Attac Vlaanderen Belgique-GOOSSENS Pol, journaliste Belgique-GRAZIANI Tiberio, directeur Eurasia. Rivista di studi geopolitici Roma Italie-HABERKORN Amir Belgique-HACK Margherita, Astrofisica Italie-HADDAD Georges, Writer, Bulgaria/Liban-HAIDER Ahmad, Dr. med. Urologe und Androloge Allemagne-HALPIN David, FRCS Standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people Royaume-Uni-HAMAD Nidal, Writer and Joournalist, Palestine/Norway Norvège-HAMIDI Malika, doctorante EHESS à Paris Belgique-HARTMANN Klaus, Offenbach am Main, Bundesvorsitzender des Deutschen Freidenker-Verbandes Allemagne-HASSOUN Karim, Voorzitter AEL Belgique-HAYDEN Josephine, ehem. politische Gefangene in Irland, Sekretärin von Republican Sinn Féin Irlande-HAYEEM A
be, Chair, Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine Royaume-Uni-HAZAN Eric, éditeur France-HEARD Brenda, Founder Friends of Lebanon London Royaume-Uni-HECHT-GALINSKI Evelyn, Publizistin Allemagne-HELMUT Franz, Oberstleutnant der Deutschen Bundeswehr i. R. Allemagne-HOFBAUER Hannes, publisher and publicist  Autriche-HÖRSTEL Christoph, Regierungs-/Unternehmensberater, Buchautor, Vors. Friedenskreis Deutschland e.V. i.G., Nehls, Gertrud, AK Asyl Allemagne-HOUSE James, maitre de conférences à l’Université de Leeds Royaume-Uni-HOUTART François, professeur émérite de l’Université catholique de Louvain Belgique-HUI Matthias, Fachstelle OeME, Ref. Kirchen Bern-Jura-Solothurn, Suisse-HUTNYK John, Professor of Cultural Studies, Academic Director of CCS Goldsmiths University of London -Royaume-Uni-ITANI Zouhair, Prof.Dr.med. Dermatologist, Düsseldorf Allemagne-JENART Nathalie, psychologue, directrice d’un centre PMS, Bruxelles Belgique-JENNAR Raoul Marc, consultant en relations internationales France-KAREL Arnaut, antropoloog, UGent  Belgique-KARSLI Jamal, FAKT-Party Allemagne-KASRILS Ronnie, former South African government minister, writer Afrique du Sud-KEHOE Jon, artist, London Royaume-Uni-KHIARI Sadri, Mouvement des indigènes de la république France-KHRESHE Hassan Dr., Vice President Palestinian legislative council Palestine-KOUCHAKJI George A., Palestine Solidarity Basel Suisse-KOWALEWSKI Zbigniew Marcin, researcher and editor Pologne-KREBS Djamila, membre d’Europalestine Allemagne-KRZYŻANIAK Piotr, trade-unionist of All-Polish Trade Union “Workers’ Initiative” (Ogólnopolski Związek —Zawodowy “Inicjatywa Pracownicza”) Pologne-LACROIX-RIZ Annie, professeur d’histoire contemporaine, université Paris 7 France-LAHAYE Laure, Chargée de collections en arabe à la Bibliothèque nationale de France, Conseillère de quartier, -Paris, France-LAMB Franklin P. , PhD, Director Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Washington DC – Beirut Acting –Chair, the Sabra-Shatila Memorial Scholarship Program Laptop Initiative, Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp-LAMP Paul, board member of Stop the Occupation Pays-Bas-LAMRABET Asma, Médecin et Essayiste Maroc-LANGTHALER Wilhelm, Anti-imperialist Camp Autriche-LANOYE Tom, auteur Belgique-LAROSIERE Jean-François, responsable syndical et associatif France-LAWLOR Zoe, Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign Membership Officer Irlande-LEGRAND Michel, Président du Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche-Orient Luxembourg-LEUENBERGER Peter, Historiker, Vorstandsmitglied Gesellschaft Schweiz- Palästina, Suisse-LEVY Laurent, essayiste France-LOPE (de) Monique, professeur émérite à l’Université de Provence France-LOS René, bestuurder Belgique-LOSURDO Domenico, Direttore Istituto Scienze filosofiche, università di Urbino Italie-LOUCKX Fred, Sociologue,  Vrije Universiteit Brussel Belgique-LOUIS Tim, Former Vancouver City Councillor Canada-MAC MANUS Patrick, author Danemark-MAESTRO MARTIN Ángeles, mèdica especialista en salud pública Espagne-MAGUIRE Mairead, prix Nobel de la Paix Irlande-MAHI Yacob, Enseignant, Théologien, Dr. en Histoire et Sciences des Religions, Belgique-MAIRA Antonio, Politólogo, redactor Diario digital inSurGente Espagne-MANAMELA Buti, National Secretary Young Communist League of South Africa-MANDUCA Paola, geneticist Italie-MANISCO Lucio, giornalista ed ex parlamentare europeo Italie-MARTINEZ Miguel, website kelebekler.com Italie-MASSARRAT Mohssen, Professor Dr. Osnabrück Allemagne-MAUERSBERGER Günter, Botschafter a.D., Vize- Vorsitzender des Nahostforum e.V. Allemagne-MELVYN Peter, Jewish voices for a just peace in the Middle East Autriche-MEYER HAJO G., Bestuurslid “Een Ander Joods Geluid” Pays-Bas-MOFFA Claudio, Professor University of Teramo Italie-MOMMAERTS Omer, militant vakbond ACV-CSC Belgique-MORRISON Danny, writer Irlande-MORTIER Erwin, schrijver Belgique-MOUEDDEN Mohsin, éducateur Belgique-MOUSSET Renée, Association Belgique-Palestine, Liège Belgique-MUKUNA Olivier, journaliste Belgique-MYRDAL Jan, écrivain Suède-NOUR DACHAN Mohamed (Dr.), Unione delle Comunità ed organizzazioni Islamiche in Italia Italie-Ó BRÁDAIGH Ruairí, President Sinn Féin Poblachtach since 1969, IRA Chief of Staff 1956-62 Irlande-OBERKOFLER Gerhard, University professor, Vice president of the Association Alfred Klahr, Innsbruck Autriche-OBID Milan, chairman of the Slovene Students Club Vienna Autriche-OLFF-RASTEGAR Perrine, Porte-parole du Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Paix – Strasbourg France-PAGANI Giovanna (Prof.ssa), Presidente On. Wilpf Italia -Lega Internazionale delle Donne per la Pace e la Libertà Italie-PEIRCE Gareth, solicitor, Londres Royaume-Uni-PELLEGRIN-RESCIA Marie L., Présidente, Séminaire d’anthropologie et psychologie sociale J S, Paris V—Sorbonne France-PEREZ BERROCAL Gloria, programmatrice de télévision Espagne-PETRAS James, Bartle professor emeritus Binghamton University USA-PIERART Pierre, Professeur Honoraire Université Mons Hainaut Belgique-PINO Julio (Dr.), professor of history USA-PIRKER Werner, journalist Autriche-PLOUVIER Liliane, Professeur de droit international Bruxelles Belgique-POLGAR Alexandru, philosophe, éditeur de la revue Idea Roumanie-POSMAN André, eredocent actualiteit Sint Lucasinstituut Gent, lic. Geschiedenis. Dir Concertreeksen DE Rode -Pomp Gent Belgique-RAHWANJI Maha, Member of the Executive Committee, Palestine Solidarity Campaign Royaume-Uni-RAMADAN Tariq, professor, Oxford/Erasmus Universities Royaume-Uni-RAMIREZ Ronnie, cinéaste Belgique-RAVENTÓS BARANGÉ Anna, PhD Senior Lecturer Faculty of Arts and Letters University of Seville Espagne-REVELLI  Philippe, journaliste France-RICHA Raymond, Ingénieur France-RICHET Mathis, Musician Royaume-Uni-RIDLEY Yvonne, journaliste Royaume-Uni-RIZZO Mary, co-Editor of Palestine Think Tank and co-founders of Tlaxcala, Dr. Art Historian and Art Restorer Italie-ROELS Frank, MD, emeritus professor Ugent Belgique-ROMANO Vicente, professeur d’université Espagne-ROSA-ROSSO Nadine, enseignante et auteur Belgique-ROSSEEL Eric, gepensioneerd docent psychologie VUB Belgique-RUMEAU Mireille, militante ISM France-SAÏDI Nordine, Mouvement Citoyen Palestine Belgique-SALEM Jean, philosophe, professeur à la Sorbonne, Paris France-SANDBAEK Ulla, Former Member of the European Parliament Danemark-SARAMAGO Jose, écrivain, Portugal-SCHAUER Waltraud, former human shield in Iraq Autriche-SCHLERETH Einar, Journalist Suède-SCHMID Estella, Kurdistan Solidarity Committee & CAMPACC Royaume-Uni-SCHÖGLER Johann, Styrian Peace Platform Autriche-SCHOMBLOND Christiane, chargée de cours honoraire de l’ULB Belgique-SCHYDLO Krystyna, Deutsch-Palästinensische Gesellschaft, Ruhrgebiet Allemagne-SEBOGO BERNARD NKUMAH, Chairperson of Boston Branch, All African People’s Revolutionary Party USA-SEIFERT Arne C. (Dr.), Botschafter a.D., Sprecher der Initiativer “Diplomaten für Frieden mit der Islamischen Welt” Allemagne-SENOUCI Brahim, maître de conférences France-SHEIKH KHALIL Nabil, Association to Support Palestinians in Need Suisse-SIFAKAKIS Yiannis, Stop the war Coalition Grèce-SOETERIK Robert, antropoloog, Middle East Research Associates Pays-Bas-STASZEWSKI Michel, enseignant, Bruxelles Belgique-STERN Catherine, enseignante d’Histoire à la retraite, ancienne chargée de cours à Paris France-STUDEN-KIRCHNER Aleks, author and interpreter Autriche-SWYNGEDOUW Erik, Professor of Geography School of Environment and Development Manchester University Royaume-Uni-TALENS Manuel, écrivain Espagne-TAWFIK AL-MANSOURI Mohamed, Ph.D., Writer and Researcher, Afnan Magazine Canada-TENA Carlos, periodista Espagne-THARANI Marishka, Actress Royaume-Uni-TIBON-CORNILLOT Michel, Universitaire, écrivain France-TILLEY Virginia, political scientist Afrique du Sud-TURINE Jean-Marc, écrivain Belgique-URBANO Miguel, écrivain Portugal-VAN DEN BERGHE Gie, professor Universiteit Gent, ethicus en historicus Belgique-VAN HOORNE Michel, coordinateur du mouvement ‘Links Ecologisch Forum (LEF)’Belgique-VANDEN BAVIERE Paul, journaliste et historien Belgique-VANDEPERRE Elke, coördinator v
zw Motief Belgique-VANHOVE Daniel, Observateur civil, auteur, membre de l’ABP et du MCP Belgique-VARNAVA-SKOURA Gella, professeur en sciences de l’éducation à l’Université d’Athènes Grèce-VATTIMO Gianni, Filosofo ed ex parlamentare europeo Italie-VERCHEVAL Véronique, Photographe Belgique-VERCRUYSSEN Frank, acteur Belgique-VERGAELEN Eva, writer Belgique-VERLICCHI Elsa, Anthropologist, Rome Italie-VERVAET Luk, président section belge IUPFP Belgique-VERWIMP Remi, coördinator Werkplaats voor Theologie en Maatschappiij Belgique-VIRGIN Robin, Pluto Press, England Royaume-Uni-VISCHER Daniel, MP of the Green Party Suisse-VON RAUSSENDORFF Klaus, Referent für internationale Fragen beim Bundesvorstand des Deutschen Freidenker-Verbands  Allemagne-WALSH Richard, Pressesprecher von Republican Sinn Féin und Vorsitzender der Republican Prisoners Action Group Irlande-WILHELMSON Lasse, teacher Suède-WINTER Heinz-Dieter (Dr.), Botschafter a.D. Allemagne-YAFOUT Merieme, Responsable de la section féminine du mouvement Justice et Spiritualité Maroc-ZAAF Mohamed, chirurgien et conseiller municipal France-ZAAIMAN Andre, Researcher Afrique du Sud-ZEMOR Olivia, présidente de CAPJPO-EuroPalestine et responsable europalestine.com France-ZOLO Danilo, Docente di Filosofia del Diritto internazionale, università di Firenze Italie

WRITTEN BY IQBAL TAMIMI Yesterday evening the Centre for Islamic Studies in Oxford hosted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by his wife Amina, whom I consider as an icon of a Muslim woman that deserves all the respect and admiration for her continuous support for the Palestinian women and her courage and dedication to human rights. A number of diplomatic personalities and statesmen accompanied the PM to Oxford after the last G20 summit meeting.

Erdogan was welcomed with a very long, warm applause, he spoke to the masses after some delay by the traffic in London which he apologized for, commenting in his usual humorous way that his counterpart Gordon Brown should do something to solve the traffic problem. ‘I used to think that the traffic jams in Turkey were the worst, but I discovered that London’s traffic is even worse,’ he said.  

The Turkish Bristolian group who I have accompanied included Sakir Yildirim who drove an eight thousand mile round trip delivering an ambulance loaded with practical aid to Gaza. Business man Talip Topuz waited a long time until he got Prime Minster Erdogan’s autograph and danced happily with it for quite a while. The Bristol PSC group were lucky to secure a place, while almost a thousand people had to return back home, for the crowds were much more than the expectations of the lecture organizers, but still some preferred to wait outside the hall. 

Most amazing was the relaxed atmosphere and the very friendly local police and security personnel, amongst whom were a British Muslim policewoman wearing a Hijab as part of her uniform.

Erdogan who had just arrived from the last meeting of the G20 summit held in London, during which he proposed solutions for the global economic crisis were discussed as well as another equally important issue of the mutual understanding and respect between people of different faiths and communities. 

“It is important that the Western community understands that Turkey is a country that identifies with the European region and is part of it, but at the same time the majority of our nation are Muslims,” he said.

His call for others to understand the importance of mutual respect of faith choice was clear, ‘I respect Jesus and Moses and the message they came with, and I expect others to have similar understanding and respect for my faith,“ he said.

One of the guests requested a comment from the Prime Minister regarding the incident when he stormed out of a conference held in Davos, which was attended by Israeli President Shimon Peres after Israel’s bombing of Gaza. Erdogan said, “I had to do the same in Georgia as well, because I saw a fierce barbaric attack on women, children, the elderly and the vulnerable who do not have the means to defend themselves, they were killed while no one from the international community intervened to stop this aggression, this I could not tolerate. I saw with my own eyes young Palestinian children being killed in Gaza. The situation is still bad, for Israel is still refusing to open this big prison of Gaza to allow for humanitarian aid and food to reach families in desperate need of help, the people of Gaza are still living in tents and in need of help. I spoke with Quartet envoy Tony Blair on this subject, and told him there is an urgent need to open the borders to allow the necessary building materials enter Gaza for rebuilding the badly damaged infrastructure.”

In response to a question about the expected timing of Turkey’s joining the European Union, Turkish Prime Minister said, “Until now, there is no set time. The UK had struggled for 11 years before joining the EU, and perhaps we should expect to wait as long. There is a routine procedure of examining two files at a time, and I always asked why only two, why not three.”

Erdogan also talked about Turkey’s organic farming plans: “There is a large extended border area between Turkey and Syria full of land mines; we plan to clean up the minefields and cultivate the area organically,” he commented on a question asked about farming in Turkey.

He also spoke about the upcoming visit of U.S. President Obama, expected to take place in Turkey next week and said, “I spoke with Quartet envoy Tony Blair as well, and discussed this issue with USA President Obama and we will discuss it again when he arrives in Turkey that there is an urgent need to find a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and such discussions should involve all Palestinian parties involved, including the Hamas.” (photo by Iqbal Tamimi)

Visit Palestinian Mothers

News has come out, which normal people with eyes have seen anyway, that some IDF soldiers have admitted that killing civilians was routine and they knew it. Haaretz has started a series of the accounts, but I urge you to visit Richard Silverstein’s blog, where he translates the bits the English Edition didn’t really want others to see, the worst parts, obviously… and they are revolting.

Yet, for the moment, I’m not going to address this issue. I’ll wait until the MFA lie factory comes out with their excuses. In the meantime, I present another side to the fun and games that is life as an Israel soldier, and that is, the company unit t-shirts that they wear for bonding reasons. If anyone has any doubts about the Morals of this Moral Army, read this article from Haaretz written by Uri Blau. No Virgins No Terror Attacks shows the utter banality of evil.

‘No virgins, no terror attacks’
The office at the Adiv fabric-printing shop in south Tel Aviv handles a constant stream of customers, many of them soldiers in uniform, who come to order custom clothing featuring their unit’s insignia, usually accompanied by a slogan and drawing of their choosing. Elsewhere on the premises, the sketches are turned into plates used for imprinting the ordered items, mainly T-shirts and baseball caps, but also hoodies, fleece jackets and pants. A young Arab man from Jaffa supervises the workers who imprint the words and pictures, and afterward hands over the finished product.

Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children’s graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques – these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty. The slogans accompanying the drawings are not exactly anemic either: A T-shirt for infantry snipers bears the inscription “Better use Durex,” next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him. A sharpshooter’s T-shirt from the Givati Brigade’s Shaked battalion shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull’s-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, “1 shot, 2 kills.” A “graduation” shirt for those who have completed another snipers course depicts a Palestinian baby, who grows into a combative boy and then an armed adult, with the inscription, “No matter how it begins, we’ll put an end to it.”

There are also plenty of shirts with blatant sexual messages. For example, the Lavi battalion produced a shirt featuring a drawing of a soldier next to a young woman with bruises, and the slogan, “Bet you got raped!” A few of the images underscore actions whose existence the army officially denies – such as “confirming the kill” (shooting a bullet into an enemy victim’s head from close range, to ensure he is dead), or harming religious sites, or female or child non-combatants.

In many cases, the content is submitted for approval to one of the unit’s commanders. The latter, however, do not always have control over what gets printed, because the artwork is a private initiative of soldiers that they never hear about. Drawings or slogans previously banned in certain units have been approved for distribution elsewhere. For example, shirts declaring, “We won’t chill ’til we confirm the kill” were banned in the past (the IDF claims that the practice doesn’t exist), yet the Haruv battalion printed some last year.

The slogan “Let every Arab mother know that her son’s fate is in my hands!” had previously been banned for use on another infantry unit’s shirt. A Givati soldier said this week, however, that at the end of last year, his platoon printed up dozens of shirts, fleece jackets and pants bearing this slogan.

“It has a drawing depicting a soldier as the Angel of Death, next to a gun and an Arab town,” he explains. “The text was very powerful. The funniest part was that when our soldier came to get the shirts, the man who printed them was an Arab, and the soldier felt so bad that he told the girl at the counter to bring them to him.”

Does the design go to the commanders for approval?

The Givati soldier: “Usually the shirts undergo a selection process by some officer, but in this case, they were approved at the level of platoon sergeant. We ordered shirts for 30 soldiers and they were really into it, and everyone wanted several items and paid NIS 200 on average.”

What do you think of the slogan that was printed?

“I didn’t like it so much, but most of the soldiers wanted it.”

Many controversial shirts have been ordered by graduates of snipers courses, which bring together soldiers from various units. In 2006, soldiers from the “Carmon Team” course for elite-unit marksmen printed a shirt with a drawing of a knife-wielding Palestinian in the crosshairs of a gun sight, and the slogan, “You’ve got to run fast, run fast, run fast, before it’s all over.” Below is a drawing of Arab women weeping over a grave and the words: “And afterward they cry, and afterward they cry.” [The inscriptions are riffs on a popular song.] Another sniper’s shirt also features an Arab man in the crosshairs, and the announcement, “Everything is with the best of intentions.”

G., a soldier in an elite unit who has done a snipers course, explained that, “it’s a type of bonding process, and also it’s well known that anyone who is a sniper is messed up in the head. Our shirts have a lot of double entendres, for example: ‘Bad people with good aims.’ Every group that finishes a course puts out stuff like that.”

When are these shirts worn?

G. “These are shirts for around the house, for jogging, in the army. Not for going out. Sometimes people will ask you what it’s about.”

Of the shirt depicting a bull’s-eye on a pregnant woman, he said: “There are people who think it’s not right, and I think so as well, but it doesn’t really mean anything. I mean it’s not like someone is gonna go and shoot a pregnant woman.”

What is the idea behind the shirt from July 2007, which has an image of a child with the slogan “Smaller – harder!”?

“It’s a kid, so you’ve got a little more of a problem, morally, and also the target is smaller.”

Do your superiors approve the shirts before printing?

“Yes, although one time they rejected some shirt that was too extreme. I don’t remember what was on it.”

These shirts also seem pretty extreme. Why draw crosshairs over a child – do you shoot kids?

‘We came, we saw’

“As a sniper, you get a lot of extreme situations. You suddenly see a small boy who picks up a weapon and it’s up to you to decide whether to shoot. These shirts are half-facetious, bordering on the truth, and they reflect the extreme situations you might encounter. The one who-honest-to-God sees the target with his own eyes – that’s the sniper.”

Have you encountered a situation like that?

“Fortunately, not involving a kid, but involving a woman – yes. There was someone who wasn’t holding a weapon, but she was near a prohibited area and could have posed a threat.”

What did you do?

“I didn’t take it” (i.e., shoot).

You don’t regret that, I imagine.

“No. Whomever I had to shoot, I shot.”

A shirt printed up just this week for soldiers of the Lavi battalion, who spent three years in the West Bank, reads: “We came, we saw, we destroyed!” – alongside images of weapons, an angry soldier and a Palestinian village with a ruined mosque in the center.

A shirt printed after Operation Cast Lead in Gaza for Battalion 890 of the Paratroops depicts a King Kong-like soldier in a city under attack. The slogan is unambiguous: “If you believe it can be fixed, then believe it can be destroyed!”

Y., a soldier/yeshiva student, designed the shirt. “You take whoever [in the unit] knows how to draw and then you give it to the commanders before printing,” he explained.

What is the soldier holding in his hand?

Y. “A mosque. Before I drew the shirt I had some misgivings, because I wanted it to be like King Kong, but not too monstrous. The one holding the mosque – I wanted him to have a more normal-looking face, so it wouldn’t look like an anti-Semitic cartoon. Some of the people who saw it told me, ‘Is that what you’ve got to show for the IDF? That it destroys homes?’ I can understand people who look at this from outside and see it that way, but I was in Gaza and they kept emphasizing that the object of the operation was to wreak destruction on the infrastructure, so that the price the Palestinians and the leadership pay will make them realize that it isn’t worth it for them to go on shooting. So that’s the idea of ‘we’re coming to destroy’ in the drawing.”

According to Y., most of these shirts are worn strictly in an army context, not in civilian life. “And within the army people look at it differently,” he added. “I don’t think I would walk down the street in this shirt, because it would draw fire. Even at my yeshiva I don’t think people would like it.”

Y. also came up with a design for the shirt his unit printed at the end of basic training. It shows a clenched fist shattering the symbol of the Paratroops Corps.

Where does the fist come from?

“It’s reminiscent of [Rabbi Meir] Kahane’s symbol. I borrowed it from an emblem for something in Russia, but basically it’s supposed to look like Kahane’s symbol, the one from ‘Kahane Was Right’ – it’s a sort of joke. Our company commander is kind of gung-ho.”

Was the shirt printed?

“Yes. It was a company shirt. We printed about 100 like that.”

This past January, the “Night Predators” demolitions platoon from Golani’s Battalion 13 ordered a T-shirt showing a Golani devil detonating a charge that destroys a mosque. An inscription above it says, “Only God forgives.”

One of the soldiers in the platoon downplays it: “It doesn’t mean much, it’s just a T-shirt from our platoon. It’s not a big deal. A friend of mine drew a picture and we made it into a shirt.”

What’s the idea behind “Only God forgives”?

The soldier: “It’s just a saying.”

No one had a problem with the fact that a mosque gets blown up in the picture?

“I don’t see what you’re getting at. I don’t like the way you’re going with this. Don’t take this somewhere you’re not supposed to, as though we hate Arabs.”

After Operation Cast Lead, soldiers from that battalion printed a T-shirt depicting a vulture sexually penetrating Hamas’ prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, accompanied by a particularly graphic slogan. S., a soldier in the platoon that ordered the shirt, said the idea came from a similar shirt, printed after the Second Lebanon War, that featured Hassan Nasrallah instead of Haniyeh.

“They don’t okay things like that at the company level. It’s a shirt we put out just for the platoon,” S. explained.

What’s the problem with this shirt?

S.: “It bothers some people to see these things, from a religious standpoint …”

How did people who saw it respond?

“We don’t have that many Orthodox people in the platoon, so it wasn’t a problem. It’s just something the guys want to put out. It’s more for wearing around the house, and not within the companies, because it bothers people. The Orthodox mainly. The officers tell us it’s best not to wear shirts like this on the base.”

The sketches printed in recent years at the Adiv factory, one of the largest of its kind in the country, are arranged in drawers according to the names of the units placing the orders: Paratroops, Golani, air force, sharpshooters and so on. Each drawer contains hundreds of drawings, filed by year. Many of the prints are cartoons and slogans relating to life in the unit, or inside jokes that outsiders wouldn’t get (and might not care to, either), but a handful reflect particular aggressiveness, violence and vulgarity.

Print-shop manager Haim Yisrael, who has worked there since the early 1980s, said Adiv prints around 1,000 different patterns each month, with soldiers accounting for about half. Yisrael recalled that when he started out, there were hardly any orders from the army.

“The first ones to do it were from the Nahal brigade,” he said. “Later on other infantry units started printing up shirts, and nowadays any course with 15 participants prints up shirts.”

From time to time, officers complain. “Sometimes the soldiers do things that are inside jokes that only they get, and sometimes they do something foolish that they take to an extreme,” Yisrael explained. “There have been a few times when commanding officers called and said, ‘How can you print things like that for soldiers?’ For example, with shirts that trashed the Arabs too much. I told them it’s a private company, and I’m not interested in the content. I can print whatever I like. We’re neutral. There have always been some more extreme and some less so. It’s just that now more people are making shirts.”

Race to be unique

Evyatar Ben-Tzedef, a research associate at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism and former editor of the IDF publication Maarachot, said the phenomenon of custom-made T-shirts is a product of “the infantry’s insane race to be unique. I, for example, had only one shirt that I received after the Yom Kippur War. It said on it, ‘The School for Officers,’ and that was it. What happened since then is a product of the decision to assign every unit an emblem and a beret. After all, there used to be very few berets: black, red or green. This changed in the 1990s. [The shirts] developed because of the fact that for bonding purposes, each unit created something that was unique to it.

“These days the content on shirts is sometimes deplorable,” Ben-Tzedef explained. “It stems from the fact that profanity is very acceptable and normative in Israel, and that there is a lack of respect for human beings and their environment, which includes racism aimed in every direction.”

Yossi Kaufman, who moderates the army and defense forum on the Web site Fresh, served in the Armored Corps from 1996 to 1999. “I also drew shirts, and I remember the first one,” he said. “It had a small emblem on the front and some inside joke, like, ‘When we die, we’ll go to heaven, because we’ve already been through hell.'”

Kaufman has also been exposed to T-shirts of the sort described here. “I know there are shirts like these,” he says. “I’ve heard and also seen a little. These are not shirts that soldiers can wear in civilian life, because they would get stoned, nor at a battalion get-together, because the battalion commander would be pissed off. They wear them on very rare occasions. There’s all sorts of black humor stuff, mainly from snipers, such as, ‘Don’t bother running because you’ll die tired’ – with a drawing of a Palestinian boy, not a terrorist. There’s a Golani or Givati shirt of a soldier raping a girl, and underneath it says, ‘No virgins, no terror attacks.’ I laughed, but it was pretty awful. When I was asked once to draw things like that, I said it wasn’t appropriate.”

The IDF Spokesman’s Office comments on the phenomenon: “Military regulations do not apply to civilian clothing, including shirts produced at the end of basic training and various courses. The designs are printed at the soldiers’ private initiative, and on civilian shirts. The examples raised by Haaretz are not in keeping with the values of the IDF spirit, not representative of IDF life, and are in poor taste. Humor of this kind deserves every condemnation and excoriation. The IDF intends to take action for the immediate eradication of this phenomenon. To this end, it is emphasizing to commanding officers that it is appropriate, among other things, to take discretionary and disciplinary measures against those involved in acts of this sort.”

Shlomo Tzipori, a lieutenant colonel in the reserves and a lawyer specializing in martial law, said the army does bring soldiers up on charges for offenses that occur outside the base and during their free time. According to Tzipori, slogans that constitute an “insult to the army or to those in uniform” are grounds for court-martial, on charges of “shameful conduct” or “disciplinary infraction,” which are general clauses in judicial martial law.

Sociologist Dr. Orna Sasson-Levy, of Bar-Ilan University, author of “Identities in Uniform: Masculinities and Femininities in the Israeli Military,” said that the phenomenon is “part of a radicalization process the entire country is undergoing, and the soldiers are at its forefront. I think that ever since the second intifada there has been a continual shift to the right. The pullout from Gaza and its outcome – the calm that never arrived – led to a further shift rightward.

“This tendency is most strikingly evident among soldiers who encounter various situations in the territories on a daily basis. There is less meticulousness than in the past, and increasing callousness. There is a perception that the Palestinian is not a person, a human being entitled to basic rights, and therefore anything may be done to him.”

Could the printing of clothing be viewed also as a means of venting aggression?

Sasson-Levy: “No. I think it strengthens and stimulates aggression and legitimizes it. What disturbs me is that a shirt is something that has permanence. The soldiers later wear it in civilian life; their girlfriends wear it afterward. It is not a statement, but rather something physical that remains, that is out there in the world. Beyond that, I think the link made between sexist views and nationalist views, as in the ‘Screw Haniyeh’ shirt, is interesting. National chauvinism and gender chauvinism combine and strengthen one another. It establishes a masculinity shaped by violent aggression toward women and Arabs; a masculinity that considers it legitimate to speak in a crude and violent manner toward women and Arabs.”

Col. (res.) Ron Levy began his military service in the Sayeret Matkal elite commando force before the Six-Day War. He was the IDF’s chief psychologist, and headed the army’s mental health department in the 1980s.

Levy: “I’m familiar with things of this sort going back 40, 50 years, and each time they take a different form. Psychologically speaking, this is one of the ways in which soldiers project their anger, frustration and violence. It is a certain expression of things, which I call ‘below the belt.'”

Do you think this a good way to vent anger?

Levy: “It’s safe. But there are also things here that deviate from the norm, and you could say that whoever is creating these things has reached some level of normality. He gives expression to the fact that what is considered abnormal today might no longer be so tomorrow.”

On March 3rd something that is (to my knowledge) unprecedented happened in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. A standing room only crowd of over 130 persons heard actual Congressmen (not just outsiders given a platform by Congressmen) objectively discuss the devastation recently visited upon Gaza by the Israeli Defense Forces.

It began with an excerpt from a video about the Congressmen’s visit to Gaza that showed what was left of a day-care center. Although not much more than rubble, the center was host to an art exhibit that the staff insisted on mounting after its destruction because it was a center of life. There were also interviews with the staff of a hospital who, although their homes are only an 18-minute drive away, must go through an at least 90-minute (each way) check point every working day.

There was also a grocery store in Jaballia camp in which there were items on shelves thanks to the infamous tunnels. Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) argued that it would be better to open the crossings where freight would be checked.

One must understand that none of the speakers blamed Israel for what happened. Indeed, all who spoke strongly emphasized that they were not taking sides and mentioned the anxieties that militants in Gaza have imposed on Israel with their rocket attacks. Nonetheless, when most in Congress and the mainstream media are in a state of denial about the humanitarian crisis, the fact that these few stood up to show pictures of bombed schools and displaced civilians indicates that there is change in the air and that the time for the Palestinian narrative to complement the other one that has monopolized the discourse in America is timely.

Ellison insisted that his call for opening the crossings, which he said was the only message he had to offer, would enhance Israeli security as well as alleviate the humanitarian crisis. He said that at no time did they hear any anti-American talk, nor anti-Israeli or pro-Hamas comments (although that may have been due to the fact that their visit was for only one day). Ellison noted that without a dedicated constituency, Gazans can expect no action. He noted that there is well-organized Israeli lobby and a somewhat less well-organized Palestinian lobby, but no peace lobby.

Brian Baird (D-WA) said that the original intention of the Congressional visit was for him and Ellison to speak on Islam in the West. Now, he said, the challenge is to be honest about what they have seen without being accused of taking sides. He felt that what has been done in the last couple of months gives people there hope, but that money is not sufficient. Neither the rockets nor the invasion has moved things forward; neither has advanced the prosperity or security of the people there.

Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) says he never feared for his safety and he never met anyone looking for a fight. He said he found only friendly children and people who wanted to get on with their lives. He expressed the view that letting aid go only through tunnels has not stopped the rockets and not advanced communication between the parties to the conflict, but only enriched outlaws. Holt mentioned seeing a science book at an American school there shredded by the bombings and Baird recalled a book about baseball that mentioned Jackie Robinson’s successful struggle against racism.

The respondent was Daniel Levy, Director of the Middle East Task Force of the New America Foundation. He remarked that the Congressmen had done a service for America’s public diplomacy by restoring hope. He thanked them for resisting playing the blame game and noted that the arbitrary definition of “basic food and medicine” that is now allowed at the Rafah crossing excludes toothpaste, building materials and item arbitrarily labeled ‘luxuries.’ Banknotes are not allowed in. Even when credit is deposited to a bank it can’t be withdrawn because there is no physical currency. He said these are collective sanctions rather than targeted sanctions. He concluded that to resolve the issue there needs to be a deal on Gilad Shalit, the crossings must be opened, and a cease fire accepted. What must not happen, he said, is to continue to hold the entire population hostage. The theory that deprivation of Gaza will cause them to overthrow Hamas has been disproven.

Levy explained that in 2005 there was an agreement that the Rafah crossing would not be used for commerce, and all commerce would go through the five Israeli crossings, but those crossings are now closed. Although 200 trucks now pass through Rafah, the minimal aid requirement is 500 trucks. Baird added that the crossing best equipped to screen trucks for contraband is not open.

In response to reporter Sally Quinn’s allegations of fears by “Arab and Muslim leaders” that Hamas will steal any aid and her inquiry as to whether Gazans are angry at or supportive of Hamas, Ellison replied that Gazans are focused on their survival. Baird added that there was a lot of discussion of long-term psychological effects on children and that they had heard at the Islamic Conference that if we don’t proactively reward moderates extremism will flourish. Because of the frequency of allegations of a “hate filled curriculum,” he asked the children about their attitudes toward the U.S. and got typical kid answers. Levy added that we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact the Fatah position was that by working with the U.S. and Israel they would deliver a Palestinian state; all these years after the handshake on the White House lawn that has become a tough promise to sell. There is a recognition now that Hamas is part of the landscape like it or not.

In response to a question from a reporter from Al Jazeera as to whether the trip and program signaled a real shift in American policy, Baird replied that “you can criticize a friend and still be a friend.” He feels that many in Congress would like resolutions to be more measured and nuanced. Ellison noted that in Israel it is okay to talk about these things; it is only in Washington that politicians fear derision for stating the obvious.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
http://www.minaret.org

source: http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/thinking_through_a_us_strategy_toward_gaza_a_congressional_view/0017209

Many countries are set to participate in the Conference against Racism, scheduled to be held in Geneva, April 20-25. But the highly touted international meet is already marred with disagreement after Israel, the United States and other countries decided not to participate. Although the abstention of four or more countries is immaterial to the proceedings, the US decision in particular was meant to render the conference ‘controversial’, at best.

 

The US government’s provoking stance is not new, but a repetition of another fiasco which took place in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

 

Israeli and US representatives stormed out in protest of the “anti-Israeli” and the “anti-Semitic” sentiments that supposedly pervaded the World Conference against Racism (WCAR), held in Durban in 2001. The decision was an ominous sign, for the Bush Administration was yet to be tested on foreign policy in any definite terms, as the conference concluded on September 8, three days before the 911 terrorist attacks.

 

The US justified its denunciation of the international forum, then on the very same, unsubstantiated grounds cited by Israel, that the forum was transformed to a stage for anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic rhetoric.

 

But was “the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and related intolerance” indeed transformed into a stage for racism and bigotry, as Israel’s friends, lead amongst them the Bush Administration, charged?

 

What indeed took place at the conference was democracy in its best manifestations, where no country could defy international consensus with the use of a veto power, or could flex its economic muscles to bend the will of the international community. The result was, of course, disturbing from the view point of those who refuse to treat all United Nations member states with equity and impartiality. An African demand for a separate apology from every country that benefited from slavery, to every African nation that suffered from slavery was considered excessive, and eventually discounted.

 

But the main “controversial” issue that led to the US representative’s departure from the conference was the criticism by many countries of Israel’s racism against the Palestinians. A majority of countries called for reinstituting UN General Assembly resolution 3379 which in 1975 equated Zionism with racism.

 

The conference, then, was not meant to only address the issue of Palestine and Israel. However, the strong American resistance to any criticism of the racially motivated practices of the Israeli state – the extreme violence, the land theft, the Wall, the settlements, the protracted military occupation, etc – pushed the issue to center stage.

 

The Palestinian struggle is not meant to overshadow the struggles of oppressed nations around the world, but it rather compliments the calls for rights, freedom and liberation that continue to echo around the globe. However, the fact that the illegal and violent mass oppression of Palestinians, as practiced openly by the Israeli state continue unabated – and is rather defended and justified by the United States and other European powers – highlights the historical legacy championed by former colonial powers throughout the so-called third world for so many years.

 

There are hardly many international forums that are held and governed by principals of equality and fairness amongst nations. The World Conference against Racism is one of very few, indeed. It was not a surprise, therefore, to witness the international solidarity with the Palestinian and world-wide repulsion of the racist and Apartheid policies carried out daily by Israel.

 

But the mere censure of Israel’s unfair, undemocratic and racist policies – let alone taking any action to bring them to a halt – is mechanically considered anti-Semitic from an Israeli standpoint and US administrations.

 

The US conditioned its participation of the April conference in Geneva (Durban II) by removing any specific censure of Israel, and ensuring that Israel is not ‘singled out’ for criticism. Although US sensibilities constantly expect, but demand the singling out of any country, leader or group it deems rouge, war criminal, or terrorist, Israel is treated based on different standards. “A bad document became worse, and the US decided not to participate in the conference”, Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported in reference to the draft documents being finalized before the conference.

 

The original “bad” document apparently dubs Israel “an occupying state that carries out racist policies”, a description which is consistent with international law, UN resolutions and the views of leading world human rights defenders – Archbishop Desmond Tutu,  John Dugard, the former UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk,the current UN’s envoy, among many others.

 

The ‘bad document’ might have ‘became worse’ with new references to the Gaza bloodbath, which killed and wounded nearly 7,000 Palestinians in 22-days.

 

From an American – and unfortunately, Canadian and Italian, so far – viewpoint, such inhumane practices don’t warrant a pause or mere words of condemnation. The same, of course, doesn’t apply to Sudan, Zimbabwe, Iran, Cuba and other ‘unfriendly’ nations. The US decision must be particularity disheartening to African nations who saw in the advent of Barack Obama some vindication. The US first black president, however, saw it fit to boycott a conference that intended to discuss the issue of slavery and repatriation, to once again prove that race alone is hardly sufficient in explaining US internal and external policies.

 

A day after rebuffing the conference, US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton arrived on her first visit to the Middle East, where she admonished Iran, Hamas and Hizbollah – for largely posing threats to Israel – and praised the Jewish state and its ‘moderate’ allies.

 

She remarked in a joint statement with Israeli president Shimon Peres, on March 3: “It is important that the United States always underscore our unshakeable, durable, fundamental relationship and support for the State of Israel. I will be going from here to Yad VaShem to pay respects to the lost souls, to remember those who the Holocaust took, to lay a wreath, and to say a prayer.” 

 

Needless to say, Mrs. Clinton refused to visit Gaza, where 1.5 million people are trapped in one large concentration camp, denied access to food, medicine, political and human rights. 

 

– Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author and editor of www.PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers, journals and anthologies around the world. His latest book is, The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, London). 

 

SEE ALSO: Cynthia McKinney’s article on Black Agenda Report on Obama and Durban II and https://wewritewhatwelike.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/durban-2-feat1.jpgptt-tv/ for a short video on Middle Eastern Stereotypes