Posts Tagged ‘War’

Protesters for Libyan freedom in London

It seems like years ago, but only a few months have gone by. The anti-imperialist world raised their virtual glasses in a united toast to the people’s revolutions. When I say this phrase, it seems I need to define every term, so bear with me. I will try to not take any concepts for granted.

The anti-imperialist world as I have come to know it is generally comprised of generally well-to-do intellectual-type folks who engage more time in discourse and social networking than they actually do in developing strategies or training individuals for a radical change in society where local (indigenous) people are their own leaders and determine for their exclusive benefit the policies and economic organisation of their own territory. They however are generally very passionate about the need to seek justice against tyrants and they believe that the people themselves want the same thing, so they do what they can (far from the places themselves) ninety-nine times out of one hundred by raising awareness through their articles, videos, comments, social network activities and fundraisers for more public events to raise awareness (and this cycle continues until it exhausts itself into the next fashionable group of unfortunate others).

With all that awareness-raising, you would be sure that by now, this formidable band of selfless virtual warriors would have convinced all of the world that there is no way on earth that the will of the people should be trampled on and that sooner rather than later, each people will achieve its own autonomy and self-reliance. These people who have concretely moved towards self-liberation might even be so inclined as to bite the hands that looks like it feeds them, if this has to happen for them to truly be free, but an anti-imperialist should never look at his or her own interests as a member of the empire who enjoys the privileges of that status, and should even tolerate great levels of aggression against the empire he calls home.

That said, when first Tunisia, then Egypt, began staging independent demos to demand change in their government systems, inspired by their sheer numbers, they seemed to be fully successful. There was bloodshed among civilians, but it ended, and this was a revolution that was almost like a dream, almost too easy and certainly so full of promise and hope. It even adopted the name that will remain with it for all time, “Arab Spring”, the long-awaited renewal of Arabhood connected to the idea of development of a new society that was going to put people before anything else. That it gained support at a global level probably was intrinsic to its success.

Protesters in Gaza

How did that happen? Well, we all know it was through mass communications, some of it entirely spontaneous between those directly involved, and some of it presented to a wider community to enlist their sympathies and support. It was the fact that the world was watching that perhaps hastened the demise of Ben Ali and Mubarak, and it could also be the fact that a barrier of fear had been broken. Make no mistake, I have been  documenting Egyptian uprisings for at least 3 years, and there are others who like me were not under the impression that Egyptians were passively accepting a lack of political expression and a worsening social crisis. Several of us had commented that it was necessary to break through the impression that Egyptians were incapable of rebellion and to show that there was the emergence of a protest movement that was non-confessional, and was tying together the idea of the rebirth of Arabhood as well as an Egyptian national identity that was as vibrant as the Egyptian people. We could have been some of the few who were not surprised by the revolution, but what did surprise us was the enablement that  this gave to nearby peoples.

Living in the European country closest to Libya and with a colonial past which as recently as 1972 has seen mass expulsions of Libyans of Italian descent, whatever happens in Libya is going to be felt directly. In the past years, hundreds of boats full of refugees have headed toward our shores,  and as has been documented thoroughly, the Libyan regime had utilised the African migrants as a playing card to obtain many things from Italy. The Africans who were brought to Libyan Migrant Detention Centres were actually imprisoned there, and the thought of dying at sea on unsafe and overcrowded ships was a risk almost all of them were desirous to take after months of torment from the military and police branches of the Libyan government. There were truckloads of them driven to the confines of the desert and left there to die, documented by Italian film crews, who were concerned about lives in the face of the “Bilateral Agreements” so that Gaddafi could keep a foothold in Italy’s economy and obtain “aid” worth billions of Euros for infrastructure (some of it I can personally testify was for bunkers), weaponry and telecommunications in exchange for a policy of limiting African immigration from Libyan shores.

Gaddafi’s racism thought it found another foothold in the sensitivities of the Italian government, and his words were carefully used to obtain what he  wanted, a combination of greed and rank racism that I witnessed few anti-imperialists getting upset about.  It deserves being read word by word:

“Europe runs the risk of turning black from illegal immigration, it could turn into Africa. We need support from the European Union to stop this army trying to get across from Libya, which is their entry point. At the moment there is a dangerous level of immigration from Africa into Europe and we don’t know what will happen. What will be the reaction of the white Christian Europeans to this mass of hungry, uneducated Africans? We don’t know if Europe will remain an advanced and cohesive continent or if it will be destroyed by this barbarian invasion. We have to imagine that this could happen but before it does we need to work together.”

Gaddafi's recent "Rome By Night" outing

Gaddafi would come to Italy, honoured by Silvio Berlusconi and the best that the Italian government had to offer by way of hospitality, in order to seal more deals and to re-establish that these two neighbours had the same interests at heart: especially a thirst for petroleum and a provider who would make sure there would be preferential treatment under certain conditions, including keeping Europe white. Berlusconi was also an honoured guest in Libya, promising billions of Euros for schools, retirement homes, infrastructure and other things. It is curious that those continually claiming Libya was fulfilling all of its people’s needs on its own seem to not question why they would need so very much Italian money to do what they claim has already been done. During these visits, our news shows were almost suffering an embarrassment at how to represent it. The feelings run deep, and we had known of the abuses that were going on in Libya. Many of us know Libyans, some of them in exile, “You mean  you can’t go back? What do you mean you can’t go back?” Others who come on scholarships and seem to never want to talk about politics either. I would joke with two friends (one in each category) and call it the Libyan black hole. However, both would easily admit that Libya could be much more than it is, if only it could have the chance for that.

So, I watched the revolutions with other anti-imperialists, and the Libyan revolution had quite a few of us excited at the first moments because  Libya is not a Middle Eastern country and it also has ambiguous and collaborative relations with the empire, and with my nation in particular. I  was naively convinced that true anti-imperialists would welcome the will of the people as sovereign and that the information constantly withheld from us regarding many human rights violations would cause one of those powerful moments of decision: supporting an action that really was going to mean conflict and risk for my own nation. As February 17th approached, (with its planned march in Benghazi of the family members of the 1,200 political prisoners of Abu Salim who had been executed by Gaddafi ) I noticed that a few would start to say it was not a real revolution because a) it was against a leader who claimed to be anti-imperialist, b) it was a tribal conflict that we should not take part in, as it would lead to division of Libya (as if they actually knew or cared!), c)the protesters had some problems that did not make them revolutionary, with the sub-groups of 1) they are seeking the restoration of the monarchy, 2) they are religious fanatics that will turn back the clock on progressive revolutions and make Libya a theocratic state. I asked them if they had the right to determine when a revolution was valid and when it was not, and I was surprised to hear that they were putting conditions on the support of a people, and didn’t they notice the people were demanding their freedom?

I started to check into all my favourite anti-imperialist sites, most of the relevant articles indicated to me by friends on Facebook, and lo and behold, most of these were articles by Westerners. If I had kept count, and I should have, I would have the evidence in front of me that out of 100 articles perhaps 3 were actually penned by Libyans. I got to wondering what was happening when I had been reading and hearing the reports from Benghazi by Mohamed Nabbous, killed by Gaddafi’s squadrons and in the many comments surrounding these interventions, and noticed the enormous gulf in what the Pundits were saying, and what Libyans were saying. It was as if there were two worlds colliding. All of these people claimed to love freedom and to want to do anything necessary to obtain it, but there was that nasty issue of Gaddafi actually threatening to exterminate those who tried. At this point, one would think that this would be enough for one to firmly side with the Libyan people and wonder what the pundits were going on about.

And, at this time, many things entered the scene, such as NATO, which all of us detest, and transitional governments and Libyan officials abandoning their leader and an upsurge in refugees flooding into Tunisia and war and death in the land that only a few weeks before was the next domino with a tyrant’s face that had to be knocked down.

We read of infiltrations of Al Qaeda, (this was what Gaddafi claimed the Thuwar (“rebels” to those who hate them and “freedom fighters” to those who love them), of deals with Empire, of CIA infiltrates and anything else that you can imagine by way of establishing that those who were commemorating the massacre of their loved ones and who were massacred while doing so were SO BAD and if we supported them, we were dupes. I guess it would take a very self-assured person to still want to see the Thuwar and indeed the people opposing Gaddafi in a decent light.

Already involved in a few discussion groups regarding the events in the region, I was invited by friends to join a few private mostly-Libyan discussion groups. I wanted to observe the discourse, and since my sympathies and antipathies were known to me, but not backed up by enough concrete information, I took it as my “personal fact finding mission” to learn as much as I could about the situation from Libyans. Indeed, the discussions in these groups are lively, and shockingly, almost everyone in the groups (which are by no means small either) has a martyr for the cause and has family living in conditions of siege. It is quite a shocker to log in and see someone receiving condolences for his father, his uncle, her brother, a daily litany of suffering and loss… And even more shocking was the coming into contact with a world I should have been more aware of, that of the acceptance of the will and wisdom of God.

Yes, religion plays a big part in many of these struggles, and while this is not a religious war, (and all Libyans practice the same religion for the most part), the element of faith and perseverance that these people surely learned from over four decades of negation of their political freedom is omnipresent. I would also peek into Pro-Gaddafi boards and oddly, there was a sort of violence and lack of humanity that were not even hidden very well. It became almost apparent to me that there was a lot more to this situation than meets the eye.

I got into discussions with American Communists (self-proclaimed, naturally) and leftists in general and when they started to stress that they didn’t like the religious symbolism that they were seeing (as if their taste was going to matter) I had to ask them why they thought they knew better than the Libyans what was best for Libyans. I was told that the Libyans would put the monarchy in. I stated that the TNC issued a statement and it was supported by those I was discussing things with, that there were to be elections and there was going to be an establishment of democracy. These AC + Leftists told me that the Libyans were dupes for the empire and religious fanatics and that if they were not working for a world revolution but for a repressive and authoritative patriarchal set-up, and thus, as AC + Leftists, the Libyans would not be worthy of obtaining their support. I thought that was some cheek. So what I decided to do was to serve as a filter, I invited Libyans to use my board to engage with these anti-imperialists, and many willingly did so. They presented the Libyan point of view, they were kind, patient and tried to explain what the situation was so that it could be understood.

I admit I was shocked at the violent verbal reactions they got. I admit it was the classic Western Pundit thing of orientalism and ignoring the voice of the common man if that common man was not “politically advanced”. It was the thing I see time and again in Palestine activism: the great Western hero (usually white, male, often Christian or Jewish) determines that he or she knows what is best and becomes the spokesman and mouthpiece for Palestinians. It is denial of Palestinian agency, but it is so common and so normal that we tend to not notice it as the alarming trend it is.

McKinney not looking too objective there.

Working for the Man

So, when Cynthia McKinney stepped onto the scene, it is as if the secret prayers of the Gaddafi supporters who also are against the Libyan people’s revolution (they want to deny it’s what it is, but they are unable to turn off our memory cells that far back) had been answered. Black, female, present in the past in brave gestures for Palestine, outspoken against the robbery of the Democratic vote in the Bush elections, pacifist and they can plug their noses on the fact that she actually might represent empire by being involved in the presidential elections as a candidate and as a Roman Catholic. She does fine to complain against NATO abuses and even their involvement, but to become the mouthpiece of Gaddafi went above and beyond the call of duty, even going so far as to follow the game plan he provided while establishing the proper narrative to put forth. She did this as well on Libyan State TV, yes, the same state TV that has been accused by Libyans as sending out calls for ethnic cleansing of the Amazigh people (a linguistic minority in Libya) and those living in cities where protesting became resistance and then revolution.

And it seems, once again, we have thousands of eyewitnesses who the anti- imperialists, Leftists, American Communists refuse to listen to or when they are given the opportunity censor them or hurl insults their way, but when an American “eyewitness” (who has been shown where the Gaddafi cronies have taken her and nowhere else) speaks, she is the one who must be listened to, because she will not change anything, because she has no loved ones there, so whatever happens is politics, because she will have her hardcore followers and for all the ones she loses, she will pick up more, sensing where the anti-imperialist (banter) winds blow, feeding the fundraising machine for awareness-raising in an endless cycle. Those who actually are Libyans are treated to the usual “shut up” that is reserved for “counter-revolutionaries”. All from the comfort of these Western Anti-Imperialist homes far away from where the blood is being shed.

So what is my final remark to anti-imperialists, that group which I had felt I had proudly belonged to for decades? Quit lecturing with such an attitude of cultural colonialism and start listening to those who are actually the directly interested party. Answer them at least once when they ask  what alternative you would have offered when it was clear that their people were being violently crushed. Realise they are not interested in anything but their own freedom, and that includes freedom from you and your ideology and platitudes that contain nothing concrete for them to use towards obtainment of their freedom. If the anti-imperialists can’t understand that, then Khalas, because shutting up is golden.

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Jamila Al Habash

It has been two years since the war launched on the Gaza Strip. On 27th of December 2008 at 11:30, explosions were heard everywhere; and then the nightmare of 22 days begun. The nightmare, which resulted in 1,434 martyrs and 5,303 injured most of them were children. For most of the Gazans, the war did not end yet. Its memories bring alive the moment of the war. Everyone in Gaza has his own story to tell about the war. The war came into our houses like a thief, stole our beautiful and precious things and left for us pain and agony. Every house, every family, every person, every child and even me has a story of loss, fear and horror. I have lived the moment of fear and horror that I might wake up; and I do not find my family around me. In my dreams, I have seen my mother crying beside my dead body. The suffering did not end. Mothers still remember their children dying in front of their eyes, fathers still smell the blood of children on their hands and some children are still afraid that the war might come back again. There are many tragic and appalling stories to tell. Al Samouny family’s story, Jamila Al Habash and Om Ahmed Fawaz Saleh all suffered from the brutality of the war.

Al Samouny family’s plight began with the Israeli incursion into and firing at Al Zaytoun neighborhood. The Israeli occupying forces started bombing the area leaving no way out to the people living there. As the situation deteriorated and the shelling intensified, Al Samouny family sought refuge in Tallal Al Samouny’s house, thinking that they would be safe there, 60 members of Al Samouny family gathered at Tallal’s house. They were left without water for 24 hours. Unconcerned about the people’s lives in the area, the Israeli forces continued shelling the house. Emergency services were banned from reaching the area. Dead bodies of Palestinians lay in the house, only thirteen family members were still alive. Eight of them were children, some of them injured, who had been locked in for three days with the bodies of their dead parents and family members, with no access to food or water. Overall, 26 members of the Al Samouny family were killed, including 10 children and 7 women. Back to the children who had been locked in with the dead bodies for three days. Those children will be traumatized by the sad and mournful memory of seeing their parents dying in front of their eyes. They will be imprisoned in their painful past forever. Can any child in the world endure what those children have undergone?

Om Ahmed Fawaz Saleh has a story of loss to tell. Om Ahmed lives in Jabalia; she had four children. She lost two of them in the war, Ahmed and Fawzia. During the war, Jabalia was subjected to an intensified Israeli shelling. Most of people there left their houses to seek shelter. Om Ahmed did the same thing. She wanted to take her children to a safe place, her sister’s house. She started packing her children’s clothes, but the Israeli forces were faster than she was. As her children stepped out of the room, a missile hit the house. Ahmed and Fawzia achieved martyrdom, and the other two children were injured. Om Ahmed tried her best to save her children, but she could not. She spoke about her children with tears in her throat. She remembers her sons, Ahmed’s, dreams. She said:” Ahmed wanted to go to the kindergarten; he wanted to buy me sweets with his pocket money. But his dream will never come true.” Om Ahmed has nothing left for her except memories that will always bring the harsh moment of war.

Jamila Al Habah is another evidence of the Israeli barbarity and cruelty. Jamila is a 15-year old girl who lost her legs in the war, when her house was bombed by a missile. Her sister and cousin were killed. Jamila was taken to the hospital and had several operations. When she woke up, she discovered that her legs were amputated. In spite of her ordeal, Jamila decided to be a strong girl, smile, and continue her way towards her dreams. Jamila went under physical treatment and used a wheelchair. Now she is able to walk using crutches with artificial limbs. When I met Jamila, I was impressed by her beautiful smile and her strong will. She challenged her plight. She continues going to school every day on crutches. Looking at her gave me hope. She is willing to achieve her dream and be a famous journalist. Her story is a story of faith and hope.

The Israeli war caused the Gazans so much misery; but it did not break our strong will to exist. The Israelis are to be held accountable for their crimes against humanity, and the truth will be exposed one day. Despite the war, the life in Gaza did not die. Nothing will kill the Gazans’ spirits. Finally, I would thank a friend of mine who supported and helped me in writing this article; a friend who has a story of loss; but it was so painful to talk about it.

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/

Israel has once more sent out a message to the Islamic and Arab world with its onslaught on Gaza that the struggle for the Middle East will be uncompromisingly bloody and violent. It was the same message in the summer of 2006 with the invasion of the Lebanon, with the Qana massacre of 1996, with the invasion and the 18 year occupation of the Lebanon in 1982 to 2000, and all the way back to 1948. For those who abjure violence in their personal lives, and for those, like me, who have never carried or used a gun, the boycott campaign is an important tool of nonviolent struggle against the Occupation of the West Bank, and the racist polity within the ever shifting borders of Israel, the borderless state in Occupied Palestine.

 

I admire Hamas’ and Hezbollah’s armed resistance against overwhelming force, but it should be by now clear after sixty one years that by itself armed resistance to Zionism will not lead to its overthrow. The most these organisations can do to Israel is harass, with as much impact as a wasp stinging a human being. This in itself is not negligible. The main effect of the missiles launched over Israel’s border is psychological terror, and occasional fatalities, against which the fourth most powerful military machine in the world is powerless. Psychological terror may discourage new Jewish immigrants from arriving in Israel, and that is to the good. 

 

However such tactics do not even elicit a pause from Israel’s political leadership, Right and Left, in the ongoing war on the Palestinians, the Zionist project of clearing the land of Arabs, and the continued illegal settlement by Jews of the Palestine’s West Bank. Clearly Hamas and other resistance organizations are quite powerless by themselves to stop Zionism in its tracks. In a defensive struggle the Shi’ite organization Hezbollah did succeed in throwing the IDF out of Lebanon in the year 2000, and successfully frustrated Israel’s attempt to reoccupy the Southern Lebanon in 2006. Israeli expansionism was thus contained.

 

At no point in the last sixty-one years have Arab armies succeeded in crossing Israel’s 1967 borders, or even in invading the annexed West Bank. Israel’s wars, including that of 1948, have been fought on the territory of other countries. The Yom Kippur War of 1973, although a partial defeat for the Arabs, did eventually lead to the return of the Sinai to Egypt (under American pressure) during the Carter administration. The regional military balance has been shifting in Israel’s favour for the last sixty years (Ref. “Plowshares Into Swords: From Zionism to Israel” by Arno J Mayer, Verso, 2008). Talk of Hamas’ “victory” in Gaza in 2009 (http://news.antiwar.com/2009/01/18/hamas-leader-declares-victory-in-gaza-war) is in my view self-deluding and misplaced. An unopposed massacre of over 1,400 civilians is not a victory. 

 

I do not want to see the Palestinian resistance reduced to the equivalent of the Native American “ghost dances” of the 1880s, as the last resistance of the aboriginal inhabitants of Palestine is vanquished. I do not think for a moment that this will happen, because the Palestinian Diaspora now numbers more than 7 million, but the weakness of the opposition to the Zionist colonisation of Palestine within Israel is very concerning, and a helping hand from an international citizens’ boycott of Israeli goods and services is its chief, but not its only hope. Arab resistance and Arab demography are other reasons for hope.

 

Resistance as enshrined in the UN charter is legal; Israel is not, as the renowned Irgun terrorist Menachem Begin and future Israeli Prime Minister remarked the day after the UN vote on the partition of Palestine in November 1947: “The Partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognized …. Jerusalem was and will forever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And forever.” In order to be accepted as a member state in the United Nations, in 1949, Israel was required to endorse General Assembly Resolution 194, which recognizes the right of return of the Palestinian refugees and commits itself to the return of all “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours” (700,000 in total at the time), to its sovereign territory. Israel accepted, was made a member state and immediately after announced it had no intention of implementing the UN resolution. Israel thus announced its illegitimacy as a member state of the UN. The Security Council, dominated by the imperialist states of the West, who helped to implant Israel in the Middle East in the first place, went along for the ride.

 

Israel’s key vulnerability lies in its being a trading state with a highly skilled workforce but few natural resources. The boycott of Israeli products, coupled with divestment in Israeli companies and a cultural embargo has to be a key way of supporting the Islamic and secular Palestinian resistance (PFLP), as well as a way of applying pressure to the Zionist establishment to moderate its penchant for atrocities, encouraging dissent within Israel and the deepening of existing fissures within Israeli society. If an international boycott can be linked to the issue of the Right of Return for the Palestinians and the cancellation of the Jewish Right of Return, an uncontroversial strategic goal in support of the Palestinians can be flagged up for the movement.

 

In January 2009 479 Israeli citizens signed a document called “A Call From Israeli Citizens” (at www.kibush.co.il) calling for the boycott of Israeli products, divestment from and sanctions against Israel as the only way forward to begin the Civil-ization (in both senses – demilitarisation as well – Occupied Palestine to become a civilian society once again rather than a garrison state) of the Zionist military machine and stop the ongoing war on the Palestinian population.

 

In the 1980s Meron Benvenisti, an Israeli writer and the ex-deputy mayor of Jerusalem, ran the West Bank Data Project, which analyzed the interaction of the Israeli and Palestinian economies in the Occupation. The resulting study concluded that the West Bank had effectively been annexed by Israel, not merely occupied (Ref: Intimate Enemies, Jews and Arabs in a Shared Land, 1995). As pre-1967 Israel was also an annexation by military force, accompanied by some strong arming of Truman and the infant United Nations by Zionist elements in the American Jewish community, the term “Occupied Palestine” correctly refers to the whole of the land between the river Jordan and the sea.  Any other designation fudges the evidence, which suggests that the military occupation of the West Bank will remain until the post-1948 colonial regime itself is either brought down or collapses under the weight of its own internal contradictions, to be replaced by a non-colonial political order and the re-establishment of political and economic equality between Arab and Jew. 

 

Before 1967, Palestinian civilians of Israel also lived under a military occupation, and were in a similar position politically to those of the West Bank and Gaza now. The Palestinian American writer Rashid Khalidi uses the term “helot” (a term from the Greek of Ancient Greece to designate an indeterminate status between that of a slave and that of a citizen) to designate the position of Palestinian civilians who have neither civil rights nor any political opportunity to influence the behaviour of the state that dominates and controls their lives in endlessly demeaning and demoralising ways. 

 

Those who do not like equality before the law and citizenship for all will leave, just as the Algerian French did together with some of the pieds noirs in 1962, helping to solve the problem of housing some of the Palestinian refugees from Occupied Palestine at a stroke. Frantz Fanon’s two most important books, Black Skin, White Masks, and The Wretched of the Earth, have now been translated into Hebrew (2004). I am sure that they have been available in Arabic for a long time, but the political culture of the Hebrews is backward and inward looking, which is to be expected in a colonial state. Were the champion of the Algerian liberation struggle Fanon alive today (he would be 82 years old) he would certainly support the Palestinians. It is our privilege and duty as free citizens of the international community to do the same.

 

Paul Grenville 1st April 2009.

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?

Well, not much really…. Just that when you invite people who don’t consider each other to be “within the pale”, as British columnist David Aaronovitch said, then the discussion on anti-Semitism turns into character assassination.  

No one expected a calm discussion during the debate entitled “Anti-Semitism – Alive and Well in Europe?”, which was organised by the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival. Along with Aaronovitch, the panel included Gilad Atzmon and the Observer columnist Nick Cohen. 

It’s not clear why Cohen was invited to join at the very last minute when his views, to the naked eye at least, are akin to those of Aaronovitch’s. It would be fair to describe both men as supporters of Zionism who believe that anti-Semitism is on the rise and that much of it is “unfairly” blamed on Israel’s actions. 

Atzmon’s views, on the other hand, are well-known to those who follow websites on Palestinian activism. He has very strong views on “Jewishness” and “Jewish identity”, and makes a clear distinction between Jews as a people and those who commit crimes in the name of “Jewish ideology”. 

Both Aaronovitch and Cohen launched an attack on Atzmon. Aaronovich took the podium for 18 minutes (when we were told each speaker would only have 10, and indeed Atzmon had less than 10) during which he gave a  theatrical performance, reading out paragraph after paragraph of Atzmon’s articles to prove the point that the man was “fascist”. I doubt anyone in the audience managed to grasp what he was saying, but when you spit out the word “Jews” then at least it gives the impression what you’re saying about them is bad! 

Cohen, other the hand, kept wondering, over and over again, why “upper-class”, “educated”, “white” people would waste such a beautiful spring day debating anti-Semitism with a “nutter” (well, at least I could say I learned something about racial and class prejudice that day!) 

One can imagine how shocked and angry Atzmon was by the time it was his turn to take the podium. And this is why the event became a missed opportunity. He  tried to steer the debate back to its theme, but at times his emotions failed him. In between having to answer to the attacks levelled against him by Aaronovitch and Cohen, and trying to remind people of what they came to discuss, much of his ideas were lost on those who’ve never followed his writings. 

Once the floor was opened for questions, a member of the audience said the discussion, as a whole, “was a profound disappointment”. 

So why did the Oxford Literary Festival invite Atzmon? After all, he’s the “proud self-hating Jew” who wonders how America has allowed its foreign policies to be shaped by “ruthless Zionists”. He’s the one who insists that the burning of synagogues is illegitimate, yet he believes the motivations behind such actions are political rather than religious or racial.

Cohen certainly conceded that whenever Israel launches a fresh attack on Gaza or Lebanon, synagogues and Jewish cemeteries are attacked in the UK. Yet somehow he refuses to accept the correlation between Zionist policies and anti-Semitism. He wants us to believe that anti-Semitism is fuelled by pure hatred for the Jews. After all, Chinese property wasn’t attacked in the aftermath of the Tibetan clashes last year. Sudanese property wasn’t attacked when Darfur was in the media. 

Well, Mr. Cohen, maybe it’s because China and Sudan are being condemned in the international community, especially in Britain, while Israel to this day is being hailed as the West’s indispensable partner. Maybe it’s because what Israel has committed in Gaza during “Operation Cast Lead” earlier this year has created more devastation than what happened in Darfur (and this is according to the head of the International Red Cross). Maybe it’s because it is acceptable for British Jews to join the IDF, and actively take part in Israel’s wars, while British Muslims or Chinese or whatever would never dare join a non-British army. 

The response from some members of the “upper-middle class, educated, white” audience proved that these questions are not an endorsement of conspiracy theories. They are legitimate questions. 

One man raised the question of the pro-Israeli lobby in Washington. It was their pressure that led Obama to back down on his decision to appoint Mr. Freeman as an advisor, a man well-known for his criticism of Israel. “In those circumstances,” the man asked, “is a rise in anti-Semitism surprising when democracy is affected by that type of lobbying activity that prevents Obama from being able to appoint Ambassador Freeman?” 

We know what Atzmon would’ve said, but neither Aaronovitch nor Cohen answered that question. 

None of this justifies attacking synagogues or anti-Jewish graffiti. If anything, Atzmon – whom Aaronovitch and Cohen blasted as a “fascist” and a “nutter – was saying ordinary Jewish people “must be saved of the crimes imposed on them.” The crimes taking place in Palestine aren’t being committed just in the name of Israel, but in the name of the Jewish people. That’s not a conspiracy theory, that’s a fact. If you’re in doubt, go and read the Israeli government’s statements during Operation Cast Lead. 

Is it so outrageous to ask Jews in the UK to disassociate themselves from what is happening in Israel, without being labelled as an “anti-Semite”? Apparently it is. When people applauded Atzmon for making that point in the discussion, they were attacked by Aaronovitch who shouted “Shame on you! How dare you!”, even addressing one member in the audience by saying “You Sir, are an anti-Semite.”

In the aftermath of the July 7th attacks, Muslims were attacked everywhere. It became so dangerous that a fatwa had to be issued allowing women to take off the headscarf if they felt their lives were in danger. Yet at the same time, the Muslim community was under enormous pressure to disassociate itself from the terrorists who blew up those trains and busses. While they were being attacked themselves, they were still expected to make a clear statement that what happened on July 7th does not represent them and is not being committed in their name. 

Try and say that to the Jewish community today without being called an “anti-Semite”. 

Now I don’t want to ponder too much semantics but it is very ironic that anti-Semitism has been coined as a term exclusively for Jews when most of them do not belong to the Semitic race. Arabs, on the other hand, are Semitic. So if for one moment I, as an Arab, could reclaim that definition, I leave you with one point to think about. 

In the beginning of his speech, Aaronovitch wanted to illustrate just how bad Atzmon was. He quoted the Guardian’s Jon Lewis who described Atzmon’s writings as “extremely popular in the Arab world.” Aaronovitch then fixed his audience with a gaze and asked them to keep that sentence at the very front of their minds. 

On second thought, I think I did learn something about “anti-Semitism” that day. 

Dima Omar is a Palestinian journalist and filmmaker. She is based in London. 

To listen to David Aaronovitch reading Gilad Atzmon click here

To listen to David Aaronovitch’s tantrum click here

To Listen to Gilad Atzmon deconstructing antisemitism click here

To listen to Atzmon confronted with a outraged Jewish member of the audience click here
 
To listen to a disappointed member of the audience click here
 
To link 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

(From the Palestine Telegraph) To be a Palestinian in this world today is a truly unique experience. You are made to and in fact, begin to feel that you are “different” from everyone else the minute that you start to understand and comprehend what your birthright means for you. By the simple fact of being born on and living on that small piece of real estate between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea , your life takes you on a path that others cannot fully comprehend.

Simple arrival in this world is looked at with suspicion and no small amount of concern. You are not just another baby: you are a statistic to be counted and watched by those who worry not about your welfare or your future, but about the fact that another Palestinian has been added to the ‘demographic equation’. Those that watch the demographics with concern would be happier if you were never born at all, and if in you had to come into “their world”, it would better elsewhere. Your arrival adds to their worry that they would lose the majority. A majority based on the “exclusivity” of a “chosen” race and religion, even though you can trace your ancestors to that piece of land for thousands of years, in the eyes of the demographers, you are not welcome there.

From the very first day that you could understand your surroundings, you begin to comprehend the burden of being a Palestinian. While other children in the world learn and play in an atmosphere of relative safety and bliss, you cannot. Your life is regulated by the ever present occupiers: settlers and their soldiers. While other kids retain the innocence that goes with childhood, yours is shattered and traumatized by the sights and sounds of the endless war of attrition surrounding you. Things that would make adults cringe with horror in other parts of the world are a part of your everyday life and in fact, become “routine”. You become as hard as your surroundings. The games of childhood are no longer innocent and lose meaning or interest to you. The games that you play reflect the desperation of your Palestinian reality. While others plan and look forward to a future, you are concerned only with surviving the present.

Your father, once the pillar of your life, the man who made you feel safe and secure, can no longer find work to support your family. He is stripped of his clothes and his honor, right there, in full view of the world: you begin to see that he cannot be the guarantor of your well being. Your heart aches to see him in such light. In your youthful anger, you want him to lash out and defy, resuming his proper place in your eyes. Yet the reality is that he cannot, and you begin to understand that it is not out of fear for his own safety, but from his fear for the well being of yourself and siblings. You begin to understand the great burden that he must shoulder in silence, suffering alone.

Your mother, the symbol of all that is good and pure in this world, is reduced to begging and pleading just to be able to move from one area to the next. You watch in horror and rage as a young Israeli soldier yells profanities and makes derogatory remarks to her. Yet she holds her ground and with the patience that only a Palestinian mother can have, she perseveres. She has been pushed to the forefront of trying to provide for and keep her family going. She undergoes the greatest humiliations at the checkpoints in order to spare your father worse treatment. She steps between you and danger, following her motherly instincts, shielding you from certain harm. You wonder what she thinks about during those sleepless nights, but you will never know, for she bears this burden in total silence.

You go to school, when allowed, and get good grades, yet you know deep down in your heart that no matter how much education you have, the best that you can hope for is a low paying menial job, even at that, a scarcity. You see the young men gather everyday on the same streets, in a ritual of boredom and futility. They either have finished their schooling or just quit out of frustration and hopelessness. Their numbers seem to grow daily, as their prospects for a hopeful future diminish. This, you begin to understand is the byproduct of the many decades of occupation, colonialism, and brazen policies to keep your people down, desperate, and broken. You begin to feel your loneliness in this world, to understand that the rest of the world doesn’t know of your plight or simply doesn’t care. You watch television images of your tormentors, living but a few kilometers away, enjoying the very life that they deny you. Your life, home, land, and history continue to be stolen, destroyed, and expropriated by others in an endless campaign to erase “Palestinian” from the land whose very soil, is mixed with the blood, sweat, and tears of your ancestors, and no amount effort will ever “cleanse” the land of the traces of its rightful owners!

While the world at large, including those that count themselves as your “brothers” in the Arab world, make yet another proclamation, statement, and preach about freedom and justice, they collude with your tormentors to imprison, starve, and oppress you in everyway possible: setting aside the very Conventions, laws, and acts of human decency that they espouse, as if those things are meant to apply to everyone, BUT those that happen to born Palestinian!

Food, a basic human need for survival, is now a “luxury” according to your oppressors, and should you happen to make too much noise about your situation, then the “dogs of war” are unleashed to kill and destroy at will, with no actual regard for your life and those around, be they young or old, as total and barbaric destruction is once again the answer to your cries for freedom, justice, and dignity, for “being Palestinian” in their eyes and the eyes that grant them unconditional support, makes you a “child of a lesser God”, thus negating your basic human rights…

You watch with envy and anger as others enjoy the freedoms forbidden to you. While others travel around the world and claim that indeed the world is a “smaller place”, you scoff at them because you cannot even travel a few kilometers to visit family, loved ones, in your own homeland. Your world grows “smaller” and more claustrophobic each day, filled only with suffocating blockades, check points, closures, and curfews.

Even though sometimes you find yourself living in another part of the world, whether close or far away from the land that is YOUR birthright, in “comfortable” and not so very comfortable surroundings, you continue to yearn for your homeland, and realize that something will always be missing in your life, that you cannot ever be “whole” or “complete” and that as Palestinians, we are different from others in that while others live in a “homeland”, our homeland will forever live in us…

“You are not very different from the canary that you keep in the cage, indeed, he might be better off than you. You take him out and set him free and watch with envy and admiration as he soars high in the sky. Free at last, A free bird in Palestine. You envy that bird and wish that you were one also…”

 Mike Odetalla

 

http://www.hanini.org/Beingpalestinian.html

source:

http://www.paltelegraph.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=293:to-be-a-palestinian&catid=60:palestinian-refugees&Itemid=184

The Jewish War on Gaza and its resultant destruction of the Gaza Strip and the horrible killings of innocent women and children in cold blood and as reported in series of articles in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and in statements made by UN officials were not surprising since Jewish soldiers are educated and trained to do that, simply kill. And so the total silence of the Jewish community around the world and especially the US Jewish community should not come as a shocking surprise but was and is expected and so their dancing in the streets of New York City as their army was leveling Gaza, destroying homes, schools, hospitals, clinics, and UN supply depot and so their successful push for a an overwhelming resolutions in both House and Senate supporting Israel’s crimes in the name of “self defense”.

Ehud Barak, the Jewish Defense Chief in charge of the War on Gaza had the Chutzpah to declare the Jewish Army as “the most moral army in the world” as he went about justifying the killing and mayhem in Gaza. Of course Ehud Barak is right. The war on Gaza and the War on Lebanon, the many wars on the Arabs, and the crimes committed by his Jewish army are part of a culture, religious and value system that makes killing and murder of Arabs, a moral thing. For sure neither Ehud Barak nor the Jewish communities around the world and especially in the US seems to have heard of the word of the late Chaim Weizmann, the first Jewish president as he warned “ I am certain that the world will judge the Jewish State by what it will do with the Arabs”. Chaim Weizmann had good reasons to worry about how these Jewish settlers of Palestine and how they treat the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine, the Palestinians.

The Jewish State was not founded by peaceful new immigrants seeking refuge and escape from the Pogroms of Russia; it was founded by angry, racist militants committed to ethnically cleansing Palestine from its Arab inhabitants by all means, preferably by military means and cold blooded murder. That philosophy of the past continues today some 100 years later. The Jewish Occupation of 67 not only inspired the Jewish communities around the world, it was the rallying cry of Jews energized and drunk with victory giving Israel total unconditional and unquestionable support for all of its actions and the many wars initiated and engaged in by the Jewish state since 67.

The political, theological and social ideology that inspired the killings in Gaza, is the same that inspired the force expulsion of 700,000 Arabs, the total demolitions of 550 Arab villages, the killings in Deir Yassin, Qibya, Lod, Sabra and Shatilla, Qana I and Qana II, and the same that inspired the dropping of high explosive bombs over the school in Dir Albaqr in Egypt, the same that inspired the dropping of 1.5 million cluster bombs over civilian targets in Lebanon, the same that inspired the dropping of phosphorous bombs over civilian targets in Gaza and bombings of hospitals, schools, homes and mosques.  Such a theological value system also inspired the American Rabbi Baruch Goldstein to gun down dozens and injure more than a hundred Muslim worshipers as they kneeled in early Morning Prayer in the Ibrahimi Mosque (the Tomb of the Patriarchs) in Hebron. This theological philosophy was well explained in an essay titled “Ideology behind the Hebron Massacre” by the late Professor Israel Shahak.

For many Jews, secular or religious, believe that true redemptions comes about through murder and killings of Arabs, such were the views of the late American Jewish Rabbi Meir Kahane proponent of “ extermination of the Arabs as the surest way to bring about “True Redemption of the Jews”. Rabbi Kahane calls on the Jews not fear Gentile but fear God only as “they go about expelling all Arabs from the land of Israel”. This view remains the rallying cry of the Jewish Settlers movements and the Hill Top Jews.

That religious and theological philosophy is the prevailing philosophy of the Gush Emunim, the Jewish Settlers movement benefiting from the large generosity of American Jews especially philanthropic Jews engaged in gambling, prostitution, liquors and Bingo Games and Gods knows what else? According to Ian Lustic, Gush Emunim believe that “Jews are not and cannot be normal people” due the covenant made with God in Mount Sinai.  Rabbi Shlomo Aviner one of their leader believes “while God requires other normal nations to abide by abstract codes of “justice and righteousness” such laws do not apply to Jews”.  Rabbi Israel Ariel was quoted as saying “a Jew who kills a non-Jew is exempt from human judgment, and has not violated the prohibition of murder” Such religious philosophy prevails among the leaders of the Gush Emunim the likes of Rabbi Aviner, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, Rabbi Ariel all of whom are of the views that” Arabs living in Palestine are thieves because the land was once Jewish all the property to be found on that land “really” belongs to the Jews”. As such the Arab-Israeli conflict must not be seen as political conflict but a theological conflict that justifies the crimes in Gaza.

Eric H Yoffe in an article titled “Promoting Racism in Israel”  provides a very similar and frightening interpretation of the prevailing views among leading Rabbis especially the explanation of the commandment in Deuteronomy 25:17 where quoting from February 26,1980 article published in Bat Kol, the student paper of Bar-Illan University and titled “ The Mitzvah of Genocide in the Torah” written by Rabbi Israel Hess  where theological justifications for are found for  Killing of babes and sucklings, and forbid the showing of mercy”. This theological view comes from “milchment mitzvah” or war of religious obligations “Jewish Jihad”. Unlike the views held by suicide bombers that God provides them with 70 virgins for killing innocent people, the Jews believe that God Him Self comes down on the side of Jewish soldiers as they engage in cold blooded murder of non-Jews. This view was recently confirmed by Grand Rabbi Joseph Ovadia who claimed as reported in Haaretz that God interfered on the side of the Jewish soldiers during the War on Gaza and telling them where the terrorists were hiding.

In the same article Eric H. Yoffe, reports of exchange between Rabbi Shimon Wiser and one Yeshiva student who is also a member of the Jewish Army where the later (student) concludes “during wartimes I am permitted, even obligated to kill every Arab man and woman who happens across my way. I am obligated to kill them even if this leads to complications with military codes”. It seems this was the prevailing views not only of soldiers, but commanders and civilians leaders as well. It should not be so shocking for American Jews who secured congressional support for their Jewish Army to note the recent testimony of soldiers who reported in certain instances the cold blooded murder of an old Palestinian woman as she drudged alone on a lonely road, or the killings of a women and her children as she confused the orders of going left rather than right.  I am sure such acts of cold blooded murder made those who prepared and shoved the congressional resolutions down the throat of members of Congress very proud and is part of the value system prevailing among Israeli supporters.

This racist and criminal attitude goes toward the views that Palestinians Arabs do not belong and should not belong in Jerusalem, in Jewish towns and cities and certainly not in Israel. Thus the views of politicians the likes of Avigdor Lieberman who is committed to “transfer” of Arabs out of Israel/Palestine, and leading scholars such as Rabbi Elieser Waldenberg, the winner of the 1976 Israel Prize who is of the view that Palestinians, Muslims and Christians should not be allowed to live in Jerusalem and if the Jewish State to follow the covenant with God “it must expel all non Jews from  Jerusalem, in like manner, it is forbidden to us to permit non-Jews to be a majority in any cities among the cities of Israel” (Haaretz, May 9, 1967). Thus the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Jerusalem has nothing to do with security as claimed, and the recent demolitions of Arab homes in Jerusalem has nothing to do with city regulations and housing codes, but has every thing to do with a theological and religious fatwa’s that forbid non-Jews to live in Jerusalem.

I always wondered why there is so much enmity between the Jewish State and the Arabs, between the world Jewish community, especially the American Jewish community and the Arabs, since the Arabs never committed the kind of crimes the Jews had to face for thousands of years, from the expulsion to Babylon, to the Inquision of Catholic Spain, to the Pogroms of Orthodox Czarist Russia to the Holocaust of Protestant Germany and the defamation of the Protocols of Zion. The Arabs and Muslims never did commit the kind of crimes that makes the Jews hate the Arabs so much. The golden age of Jews was during the periods of Muslims empires. However now I understand. It must be part of a religious, theological and cultural philosophy that must have been dormant for thousands of years and was dusted off and given a new life with the founding of Zionism and founding of a Jewish State to be a light among all nations.

With very few exceptions there is a defending silence among “Diaspora Jews”, as if a conspiracy of silence exists and in fact it does exist, especially in the US where very few Jews dare to speak out against the racist and criminal acts of Israel, against the Jewish Occupation, against the more than 500 “security” check points where Palestinians of all ages are subject to the most demeaning of human humiliations on daily basis. There is absolute silence against Israel Apartheid policies and practices, against the Jewish settlements on stolen Arab lands (including mine), against the Apartheid Wall, against the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Jerusalem, against the destruction of farms and uprooting of hundreds of thousands of trees, against house demolitions, against targeted killings, against arbitrary arrests, against the use of civilians as shields for the very brave Jewish soldiers and  against the siege of Gaza and against war crimes committed by the Jewish Army in Gaza. Those brave Diaspora Jews (very few) who dare to speak out find themselves in the cold, out on the streets, dismissed from jobs and denied tenures and otherwise blackmailed by a Jewish community that prides itself to be among the first to support the Civil Rights movement, the first to stand up against the late Senator Joseph McCarthy and his “un-American inquisition”. Yes we have every right to be angry at “Diaspora Jews” and we have every right not to forgive them for turning what would and should have been a safe heaven for Jews that turned to a racist and criminal enterprise called the State of Israel. Of course no one expect Jewish leaders, commanders and soldiers to ever face war crimes, since Jews are not subject to abstract codes of justice and righteousness.

This essay was inspired by:

“The Ideology Behind Hebron Massacre” by Professor Israel Shakah.       

“Promoting Racism in Israel” by Eric H. Yoffe.

“On the eve of destruction” by Ari Shavit

IDF in Gaza: Killing civilians, vandalism and lax rules of engagement: Haaretz 19/03/2009.

ANALYSIS/ Can Israel dismiss its own troops’ stories from Gaza? Haaretz 19/03/2009.

IDF orders probe into allegations over Gaza war. Haaretz 19/03/2009.

Barak seeks legal okay to move civilians from homes. Haaretz 04/03/2008

Judges, scholars call on UN to probe war crimes by both sides in Gaza. Haaretz 20/03/2009.

Reserve IDF generals: Ethics probe necessary but difficult to carry out. Haaretz 20/03/2009.

UN envoy: Gaza op seems to be war crimes of greatest magnitude. Haaretz 19/03/2009.

Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques- IDF fashion 2009. Haaretz 20/03/2009.

Special Note: The Jewish State in addition to banning pasta, it also banned jam, biscuits, tomato paste, tea, sweets, and date bars, as security items from going into Gaza. 

http://www.jeffersoncorner.com/we-will-not-forgive-the-jews-for-their-silence-for-turning-israel-into-a-racist-criminal-state/

cartoon of the day

Posted: 03/20/2009 by editormary in Palestine
Tags: , , ,

“Is it right to pay millions to save innocent lives?”

“Don’t worry, we pay much more more to kill them!”

By Vauro

By the Qawem Coalition: In a recent interview in the Zionist newspaper Haaretz, Marc Garlasco, an American military analyst for Human Rights Watch (and former intelligence analyst for the Pentagon), could not hide his excitement regarding “Israel’s” possible use of a new weapon called TAR-21. “It is an incredible weapon,” he says, and proceeds to describe in great detail the military capabilities of the Zionist army. An interview with a human rights organization that was expected to condemn Zionist use of chemical
and test weapons like white phosphorus and DIME (dense inert metal explosives) turns into praise for the aggressors’ military might. At the same time, Garlasco condemns the Palestinian resistance for its use of “illegal weapons,” which include conventional Qassam and Grad rockets because, according to him, they are “useless” and “not accurate enough.”
The interview with Human Rights Watch sums up the role of human rights organizations in the Zionist colonization of Palestine and exposes their racism towards the colonized. The role is always to protect the colonizer’s image of military superiority, while at the same time discouraging the colonized population from joining a meaningful resistance movement aimed at liberating the people from lifetime imprisonment.
**The population of Gaza: We are not looking for handouts
The “US” has offered 0.9 billion dollars in “aid” to Gaza, while subsidizing “Israel’s” military and economic assault to the tune of 3 billion dollars a year. Our people in Gaza overwhelmingly rejected the idea of meaningless western “aid” and described it as handouts not fit for a proud population that withstood the most aggressive military campaign in modern times. The population of Gaza stands with the resistance’s only realistic and natural demand: an end to the siege and the opening of all border crossings. This would enable the population to engage in normal trade and would certainly support any serious rebuilding effort. No society can function on handouts that do not respect the right of people to live freely, work and contribute to human society.
**Rebuilding according to the population’s strategic needs
In early March, a conference at Sharm el-Sheikh raised 4.5 billion dollars for the reconstruction of Gaza. Not surprisingly, the conference insisted that most aid would be channeled through the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Abbas, which currently acts as the administrator of the Zionist occupation. The primary representative of the Palestinian people, Hamas, was not invited to the conference to participate in the discussion. “US” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in attendance and pledged 900 million dollars of “US aid”– about $600 million dollars of which was in developmental aid to the Palestinian Authority. She made clear that none of this aid would go to Hamas, which currently controls Gaza and enjoys popular support among Gaza’s population.
The aim is clear. The invasion of Gaza failed to achieve any of its stated objectives. The Zionist army could not destroy the military capacity of the Palestinian resistance or undermine support for it through collective punishment. Quoting Haaretz, once again, “only when the IDF left [Gaza] could the results of the war be seen as limited, with almost daily [resistance] attacks near the fence, a continuing ‘drizzle’ of rockets and information on renewed arms smuggling.” “Humanitarian aid” now takes up where military action left off: it is offered on the condition that Palestinians in Gaza renounce the resistance and accept a leadership that does not represent their interests.
This comes as no surprise, as the rebuilding effort is seen by these organizations and countries as an opportunity to continue the war on the Palestinian resistance. Past experience in the Jenin refugee camp teaches us that though rebuilding needs to address the strategic needs of the  population, it was the aggressors’ future plans for colonization that guided the rebuilding of Jenin: the Jenin refugee camp was rebuilt according to Zionist specifications by donor countries. The specifications addressed the Zionist army’s future war plans and operational needs.
The rebuilding effort in Gaza must be done by the people of Gaza and for the people of Gaza.
**Gaza’s Call to Action
Gaza and Palestinian resistance groups have called upon all free people across the globe to contribute to Gaza’s rebuilding efforts and continue with their campaigns of solidarity. Ramadan Shallah, a Palestinian professor who has taught in the U.S. and is the leader of Islamic Jihad, said: “Every free person that voiced support for the resistance is part of the world’s collective victory in Gaza.”
Gaza is in immediate need for honest aid that is meant to alleviate its current wounds without a political price-tag — aid that does not ask the population to drop their weapons for a handout of food.
The Qawem Coalition
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

 

 

 

 

Not only have the whites been guilty of being on the offensive, but by some skilful manoeuvres, they have managed to control the responses of the blacks to the provocation. Not only have they kicked the black, but they have also told him how to react to the kick. For a long time the black has been listening with patience to the advice he has been receiving on how best to respond to the kick. With painful slowness he is now beginning to show signs that it is his right and duty to respond to the kick in the way he sees fit.   – Steve Biko

 

One of the most important outcomes of the Gaza massacre (2009) has been the unprecedented tremendous outpouring of popular support for the Palestinian cause; something the signatories of the Oslo accords (1993) must have not been happy with. The return of the pre-Oslo slogans of liberation, as opposed to independence, have, undoubtedly, created a new dilemma, not only for Oslo political elites, but also for the NGOized, Stalinist Left.

 

The process of “Osloization”, i.e, a combination of corruption, Negotization, and a selling-out of revolutionary principles and sloganeering, fused with the fiction of the two-prison solution, has been dealt a heavy blow in the 2006 elections. Judging from statements made, not only by PA officials, but also by the Left, and even the Hamas government, the ultimate goal of the current river of blood has become the establishment of a Palestinian state in any dimension, i.e. the two-state solution. The contradiction between the tremendous international support, the revival of the BDS campaign, the outpouring of demos against Apartheid Israel and its war crimes against the Palestinians of Gaza, and the reiteration, by most political orgs, of the two state mantra is a strong indication of the need for an alternative program that makes the De-Osloization of Palestine its first priority.

 

In order to understand the Oslo Accords and the extreme damage they have caused to the Palestinian cause, one needs a historical contextualization of the so called “peace process”, or rather what many critical thinkers have called the peace industry. This understanding is a necessary step towards a process of De-Osloization, a term I will get back to at a later stage.

 

The Oslo accord was claimed to be the first step towards self-determination and an independent state. But it is clear now, 16 years after the famous handshake on the White House lawn, that no state in the short run will be established because of the mere fact that Oslo simply ignored the existence of the Palestinian people as a people. In other words, these accords have offered Zionism what it has always been striving for. Golda Meir’s infamous statement that there are no Palestinians is a case in point here.

 

And yet, to claim that ‘Oslo’ and ‘Camp David’ were great missed opportunities and ‘breakthrough’, and that the so-called ‘peace process’ was in track until the Palestinians (i.e. colonized victims) blew it is a deliberate ideological distortion of reality claimed in order to prepare Palestinians for more concessions. Real comprehensive peace was not created in Oslo and Washington; rather what was created is an American/Israeli plan to resolve the conflict after the destruction of Iraq and the collapse of the Soviet Union and their attempt to construct a “new Middle East”—to use Condoleezza Rice’s words–a Middle East characterized by imperialist-Zionist hegemony and supported by despotic regimes. The Oslo accord was born dead because it did not guarantee the minimum national and political rights of 10 million Palestinian. As long as there are refugees, cantons, detainees, blockade, settlements, ‘legal torture’ of prisoners, dispossession, assassinations and occupation, comprehensive peace cannot be achieved. It is an illusion in the minds of those who signed the Oslo accords.

 

These accords have led to the creation of a limited “administrative autonomy” in the Gaza Strip and some parts of the West Bank. The local population was given “the right” to form an authority that they could call “national.” Now the question is what makes the PNA (Palestinian National Authority) beyond questioning? What is the ‘legitimate’ ground upon which it was established? Very simple: The Oslo Accords. It has now become very obvious that despite the famous hand shakes on the White house lawn and in Annapolis, and the optimistic talk of the ‘New Middle East,’ these accords, in contradistinction with UN and Security Council resolutions, have not guaranteed the establishment of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state, or the return of the refugees, nor even the demolishment of the Jewish settlements, and compensation for those Palestinians who have lost—and still losing—their homes, lands and properties; nor the release of all political prisoners, or the opening of all checkpoints, which have become daily nightmares for residents of the WB and GS; …etc. In spite of all the hand shakes, kisses, and friendly press conferences, Israel launched one of the bloodiest wars in the history of the conflict against the civilian population of Gaza, killing in 22 days more than 1400 people, including 438 children, 120 women, 95 old people, 16 medics, 5 journalists, 5 foreign women, and in which it destroyed more than 40.000 institutions and houses, leaving many families homeless. That, of course, was not mentioned as an objective of the Oslo Accords, but nothing either was mentioned in them that would prevent such bloodletting from taking place.

 

This is the political reality that Palestinian officials who signed the agreement do not like to be reminded of. In fact, what has been created in parts of Gaza and the West Bank is a very strange entity—an apartheid-type Bantustan endorsed by the international community. Gaza 2009, therefore, is the mirror-image of Oslo. When we bear in mind that 75-80% of Gazans are refugees, the results of 2006 elections become more comprehensible not only in its anti-colonial context, but also in socio-political terms. What Oslo has created in Gaza, and the West Bank for that matter, is literally two different worlds, both of which have been led by undemocratic institutions, many security apparatuses, a Third Worldish military court (commended by the Clinton administration), corruption, mismanagement, inefficiency and nepotism—to mention but few (neo)colonial qualities.

 

By winning the 1948, 1956 and 1967 wars, and by getting international, Arab and Palestinian recognition, Israel–as an Apartheid settler-colonial state—has hoped to move into a new stage; a stage  that requires the formation of ‘new consciousness’ amongst colonized Palestinians. Herein lies the danger of Oslo; Osloization, within this neo-Zionist context, means the creation of a new paradigm through which you wash out the consciousness of your supposed enemy-the ‘Other’-and replace it with a one-dimensional mentality, through the construction of a fiction (two states for two peoples) whose end is unattainable. Even the fascist Lieberman has started singing the same song.

 

Put differently, to aim at creating the two-state Palestinian is to aim at creating false consciousness led by assimilated intelligentsia, some of whom have a revolutionary past record. Singing the slogans of “the two state solution,” “two states for two peoples,” “return to the 1967 borders,”–or even “a long-term Hudna” (as proposed by Hamas) — is intended to guarantee the subordination and conformity of the Palestinians, especially those with revolutionary ideas. Gone are the right of return of 6 million refugees and their compensation, and the national and cultural rights of the indigenous population of Palestine 1948.

 

This goal, however, never sees the antithesis it creates as a result of displacement, exploitation, and oppression; it ignores the revolutionary consciousness that has been formulated throughout the different phases of the Palestinian struggle. Nor does it take into account the legacy of civil and political resistance that has become a trademark of the Palestinian struggle. Hence the necessity of the formulation of Palestinian alternative politics. To be conscious of the corruption of the Palestinian Authority, and of the huge class gape that the Oslo Accords have created has definitely been the beginning of De-Osloization represented in the Al-Aqsa uprising and the outcome of the 2006 elections. This is an oppositional consciousness that the signatories of Oslo did not take into account. Both events represent an outright rejection of the Oslo Accords and their consequences.

 

The Gaza Strip, however, is seen by the PA as one of three building blocks of an independent state, although it is geographically separated from the second block, i.e. the West Bank. The third block is, Jerusalem, is under total Israeli control. None of the Palestinians in the occupied territories believe that the ‘semi-autonomous’ zones in the GS and the WB -that is, the ones that fall under category A—can lay the foundation for an independent state. What Oslo has led to is, in fact, a South Africa. When black South Africans needed to move from their townships to big ‘white’ cities, they needed to get a ‘pass’. During ‘peace time,’ Palestinians, not only those who work in Israel, but also those who wanted to visit the WB form Gaza, or vice versa, needed to apply for a ‘permit’. Beside the permit, Palestinians needed a so-called ‘magnetic card,’ which is a computer card that has a password to its holder’s security file. No one could work in Israel, or visit the WB, or even go to a hospital inside the ‘green line’ without a ‘permit’ and a ‘magnetic card’. If one was granted such invaluable cards, one was still not allowed to visit any other area except the one s/he was entitled to visit. If one was ‘caught’ at another area, one’s permit and card were confiscated immediately, not to mention the torture one was exposed to. Nowadays, no one is even given such luxurious ‘permits’ and cards.  How was apartheid South Africa different?

 

The tribal chiefs of the South African Bantustans used to believe that they were the heads of independent states. Luckily, the ANC, despite its many compromises with the National Party, had never accepted the idea of separation and Bantustans. The official Palestinian leadership on the other hand, at the end of the millennium, boasts of having laid the foundation for a Bantustan, claiming it to be an independent state in the make. Undoubtedly, this is the ultimate prize Zionism can offer to its ‘Other’ after having denied her/his existence for a century, and after that same ‘Other’ has proved that she is human. For Zionism’s continued presence in Palestine, the ‘Other’ must be assimilated and enslaved without her/ him being conscious of her/his enslavement. Hence the granting of ‘semi-autonomous’ rule over the most crowded Palestinian cities, and hence the logic driving the Oslo Accords.

 

Oslo, then, brought an unprecedented level of corruption into Palestine; and security coordination with Israel, under the supervision of—irony of ironies—an American general, has become the norm. Repeating the two-state mantra, carrying the Palestinian flag, singing the national anthem and— more importantly—recognizing Israel, regardless of the rights of two thirds of the Palestinian people, are what Oslo is all about.

 

The lesson we learn from Gaza 2009 is to harness all effort to fight the outcome of the Oslo Accords, and to form a United Front on a platform of resistance and reforms. This cannot be achieved without dismantling the PA and realizing that ministries, premierships, and presidencies in Gaza and Ramallah are a façade not unlike the South African Independent Homelands with their tribal chiefs. The classical national program, created and adopted by the Palestinian bourgeoisie has reached its end unsuccessfully. Most political forces, including the governing party in Gaza, fail to explain how 6 million Palestinian refugees will return to the Israeli State of the Jews and an independent Palestinian state will be created at the same time.

 

Hence the necessity for an alternative paradigm that divorces itself from the fiction of the two-prison solution, a paradigm that takes the sacrifices of the people of Gaza as a turning point in the struggle for liberation, one that builds on the growing global anti-apartheid movement that has been given an impetus by Gaza 2009. De-Osloizing Palestine is, therefore, a precondition for the creation of peace with justice.

 

Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, and a member of the One Democratic State Group. – haidareid@yahoo.com

 

Source:

http://www.amin.org/articles.php?t=ENews&id=2845

$30 Billion For Israel's Military

Posted: 03/13/2009 by editormary in Newswire, Palestine, War, Zionism
Tags: , , , , ,

military_aid_postcard_1

Same old story, new president:

U.S. President Barack Obama will not cut the billions of dollars in military aid promised to Israel, a senior U.S. administration official said Wednesday. The $30 billion in aid promised to Israel over the next decade will not be harmed by the world financial crisis, the official told Israel Radio. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. military aid to Israel was increased in a decade-long deal agreed to by Bush in 2007. OTOH, U.S. will pay close to $1 billion for rebuilding the wreckage in Gaza mostly caused by armaments paid for by the U.S.! To add insult to injury, there is a condition on that money:

(more…)

On 2 February 2009, The Lancet Medical Journal’s Global Health Network online published Dr Swee Ang and Dr Ghassan Abu Sitta’s `The Wounds of Gaza’, first published here at PULSE. It introduced the article by stating:

Two Surgeons from the UK, Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah and Dr Swee Ang, managed to get into Gaza during the Israeli invasion. Here they describe their experiences, share their views, and conclude that the people of Gaza are extremely vulnerable and defenseless in the event of another attack.

On 2 March 09 the Journal removed the article (though The Lancet Student still has it), stating: “We have taken down the blog post The Wounds of Gaza because of factual inaccuracies.”

No specific faults or amendments to the alleged inaccuracies are suggested. The reader comments, overwhelmingly in support, remain posted. A letter penned by four israelis (surprise, surprise!) that objects to the article was published on February 18. Our friend Dr Swee responds to this development and elaborates on the figures.

Dr Swee Ang on reporting from Palestine and Lebanon

Many of us are afraid to put numbers down because the pro-Israel Lobby will inundate us with emails and complaints. This has gone to the extent that only figures sanctioned by the Israelis are credible. Everything else is viewed as suspect!

Over the last twenty-six and a half years, I have taken many blows over this kind of issue. The only question I ask myself when writing is – when is the version according to the victims going to be articulated? The people of Gaza knew that 5,000 were killed in the Khan Younis massacre in 1956; 100,000 gone missing in 1967 of which 35,000 were murdered – just because they cannot go to the Sinai and take pictures, or dig up the mass graves, does not mean we refuse to let them state their case.

I looked at Northern Gaza – how often have I driven down Sala -Uddin Road in 1988 and 1989. I remember every turn and corner- I know the citrus orchards, the farms and the homes. Often I would stop my ambulance to give a ride to the farm workers and they in return would give me freshly picked lemons and oranges. I now see it completely laid waste by Israeli explosives like the nuclear holocaust of Hiroshima, and yet we were called liars when we put forward the figure of one and a half million tons of explosives. We have seen apartment blocks not only reduced to rubble but incinerated – how many kilotons of explosives are responsible for this kind of damage?

The Lancet Global Health Network withdrawing `The Wounds of Gaza’ is not a problem at all. The wonder is how it even got to be published in the first instance.

My book From Beirut to Jerusalem, when first published in 1989, was reprinted hard back and then paperback within 2 months, as it was sold out on publication, and again sold out as soon as reprinted. Then Tom Friedman came out with a book with exactly the same title half a year later and by the same publisher. My book was withdrawn from the shelves. It went out of print for many years.

But the truth has to come out. Most times at great inconvenience to some of us as we well know.

I just want you to know that I am not afraid to believe the Palestinians. It is a scandal that the extent of the Khan Younis massacre had not come to light for all these years. It is a scandal that what happened in the Six Day War was not published. The intimidation to silence witnesses has to stop. We cannot allow the case to be stated only by the perpetrators of the killings.

Like the Palestinians in Gaza – I am also not afraid. My witness of Gaza counts. So does your witness. We should not be afraid of saying what the Palestinians told us. They are the ones whose families were killed, who bear the wounds of violence, who are dispossessed and persecuted. Their voices must be heard.

Dr. Swee Ang on the explosives used in Gaza

The actual tonnage of the explosives dropped on Gaza can only be accurately known to the IDF themselves. So other figures can only be estimates. However some of us have many years of experience looking at bombed out countries.

Over the 22 days, Gaza was intensely bombed from land, air and sea. The bombs dropped from the air are large, and most of them are more than a ton on average. In the south the bombs used to destroy the tunnels and structures around them are large heavy bombs.

Of the 21,000 buildings destroyed, 4000 of them are completely demolished. Some believe that these are by small nuclear fission bombs. However there is no proof and it is impossible to tell, though the effect of all structures, especially concrete, being incinerated, would suggest that the size of these bombs are of the order of kilotons­whether they are conventional explosives or otherwise. If you were to look at the effect of the atom bomb on Hiroshima (about 15 – 20 kilotons), you would see the incineration of concrete similar to that of that seen in these 4,000 buildings. These 4,000 buildings would have been destroyed by 4,000 kilotons of explosives. The other 17,000 destroyed buildings are the result of bombs of single figure tonnage judging from the kind of destruction. Apart from bombs being dropped on buildings reducing them to rubble, bombs were also dropped on fields, orchards, farms and roads.

We do not know enough of the explosive values of DIME to comment and hence have not speculated on it. They have been used in Gaza. But from what is commonly known about them, they are very heavy bombs, more so than conventional.

As to the person who queried the “million and a half tons of explosives dropped in 22 days” as such an amount would have obliterated Gaza [a question put forward to http://www.womenforpalestine.org, a site which carried Dr Ang’s article]­ we can safely answer him that the whole of Northern Gaza has indeed been obliterated – he or she is most welcome to see for themselves! The whole stretch of Northern Gaza has been converted to a complete wasteland. In the South again vast stretches of agricultural areas have also been demolished.

The figure of one and a half million tons of explosives in our view is a conservative estimate. Those who are sceptical about it need to see it for themselves.

Dr Swee Ang on the figure of 35,000 political prisoners being executed during the 1967 Six Day war

The number 35,000 was from the International Co-operation Department (ICD) of Gaza. Within the first 2 hours of the attack on Egypt, 11,000 Egyptian soldiers were killed. But we are not talking about them, as they would be those killed in action.

After the first 2 hours till the end of the 6-Day War, about 100,000 Egyptian and Palestinian combatants were missing and never found. These included many young men in Gaza who had joined the Egyptians and the early PLA (of Nasser) to fight the Israelis. There are at least 2 mass graves in El-Arish on the edge of the Sinai desert, and the Israelis themselves had admitted to killing those captured, but had not admitted to killing so many. The Gaza information had stated 35,000 executed, but we had not asked them the whereabouts of the remaining 65,000. Many of the missing still have surviving relatives living in Gaza. The names of those executed could be traced from the ICD in Gaza. 1967 is a long time ago, and I do not see what advantage it is to the ICD in Gaza to make up these figures.

As many of you will be aware, a similar situation occurred with the Sabra and Shatilla massacre, where Palestinian sources believed that 3,000 were killed and IDF only admitted to over 300. Bayan Al-Hout had compiled at least one and a half thousand names to date, and the list is still increasing. We still do not know the whereabouts of the men murdered in the Stadium, now that some soldiers of the Phalange have admitted to executing people there. The bodies buried in Martyr’s Square were from within the camp itself, and not those abducted to the Stadium.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE, NOW REMOVED from Lancet, but always on PTT
https://wewritewhatwelike.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/swee-ang-thumb1.jpg2009/02/04/the-wounds-of-gaza/

from http://pulsemedia.org/2009/03/04/lancet-withdraws-gaza-article/ email: meca@mecaforpeace.org web: http://www.mecaforpeace.org

FOR A TALK AND PRESENTATION SEE ALSO URL: http://www.inminds.com/from-beirut-to-jerusalem.html

The extent of the funding pledged to the Palestinian Authority by donor countries reflects the extent of their support for Israel and its policies. The American taxpayers’ contribution to the Ramallah government’s bank account is dwarfed by the large sums the U.S. government donates to Israel every year. It’s impossible to get excited over the American pledge of $900 million (two-thirds of it for strengthening Salam Fayyad’s government and the rest for Gaza’s recovery) and forget the $30 billion the United States has promised Israel in defense aid by the end of 2017, as last week’s Amnesty International report noted.

The $900 million pledged to the Palestinians in Sharm el-Sheikh should be seen as part of the regular American aid to Israel. As an occupying power, Israel is obligated to assure the well-being of the population under its control. But Israel is harming it instead, after which the United States (like other countries) rushes to compensate for the damage.The Clinton and Bush administrations – and Barack Obama appears to be following in their footsteps – erased the phrase “Israeli occupation” from their dictionaries and collaborated with Israel in ignoring its commitments as enshrined in international law. The billions of dollars that Israel receives from the United States for weapons and defense development – which played a significant role in the destruction in the Gaza Strip – are part of Israel’s successful propaganda, which presents the Rafah tunnels and Grad rockets as a strategic threat and part of the Islamic terror offensive against enlightened countries.

 

The West has blown the Hamas movement out of proportion, exaggerating its military might to the point of mendacity; this allowed for an extended siege and three weeks of Israeli military intractability. In the Palestinian and larger Arab world, this embellishment helps Hamas depict itself as the real patriotic force. The hundreds of millions of euros that have been donated or pledged to help Gaza, as though it were beset by natural disasters, are overshadowing the trade ties between Europe and Israel. The Western countries concerned about humanitarian aid for the Palestinians also buy from Israel arms and defense knowledge developed under the laboratory conditions of the occupation, that serial creator of humanitarian crises.

And the 1 billion petrodollars? First of all, they were generated from a natural resource that logic dictates should benefit the Arab peoples. Second, they were pledged at a conference that boycotted Gaza (neither Hamas nor business people or social activists from the Strip participated in the donors conference). This is how Saudi Arabia lends its hand to the American and Israeli veto of inter-Palestinian reconciliation.

Every cent paid to the Palestinians – whether for the Ramallah government’s budget or medical treatment of children wounded by Israeli pilots or soldiers – lets Israel know that it can continue its efforts to force a capitulation deal on the Palestinian elite. Only by recognizing that surrender is the goal can one understand that 16 years after Oslo, no Palestinian state was established. When did Shimon Peres, Ariel Sharon and Tzipi Livni begin talking about two states? Only after their bulldozers and military bureaucrats crushed the realistic physical basis of a Palestinian state. And this basis is: June 4, 1967 land (including East Jerusalem), Gaza – an inseparable part of the state – and zero settlements (and that applies to Gilo and Ma’aleh Adumim).

During the 1990s it was still possible to describe donations to the Palestinians as an expression of confidence and hope in Israel’s readiness to free itself of the occupation regime it had created. But not in 2009. Support for Israeli policy – this is the only way to understand the fact that other countries keep pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars meant to put out the fires set by this policy, without extinguishing the source of the blaze.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1068553.html

thinking quote

Posted: 03/02/2009 by editormary in Quotes, Thinking
Tags: ,

Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.
Maria Montessori, Educator

When the war gets tough, Israel brings out that magic word that they seem to have a unique understanding of: “peace / Shalom”. That word which to any normal person means harmony, tolerance, end of violence and condemnation of destructive acts that cause suffering doesn’t mean the same thing to the average Israeli, who is basically a hardcore warmonger in sheep’s clothing. “Peace” to a normal person means good things, things we see our children paint, like blue skies, rainbows and people who are in harmony with man and the environment. To an Israeli, it means something entirely different. And that is why, in a moment when Israel has driven the million and a half human beings into a hell of suffering and starvation, then decided to bomb the living daylights out of them and destroy their lives and possessions, they bring out their weapons of mass persuasion, their Hasbara pros who are able to sing and talk about love and peace, while on the other side of the mouth they are spouting words of intolerance and accusations. Noa is called to the front lines each time there is a nasty bit of reality that involves her country, and this time, she’s been a busy little bee and getting busier.

Years ago, I used to be a fan of Noa. I saw her on the Festival of San Remo, and found her performance original and thought she had a special talent. I didn’t really care that she was Israeli, she seemed somewhat a-political. (Nowadays she sounds like a warbly Celine Dion, but this is the market, and she is part of it). But, times change and if someone is Israeli, given what Israel is, they have two choices, it seems: to embrace that Israeliness until the bitter end or to cast it off. Israel can’t leave anyone indifferent, given that it’s involved in occupation and war, and their performers, writers and “intellectuals” know they are showcasing the political agenda of their country. Noa never fails to come up with the goods, and I will explain some of her recent exploits, after a brief introduction.

For quite a long time, Israel has been dishing out one atrocity after another. It almost defies the imagination of where to begin in a timeline, there is simply too much that disgusts anyone with a conscience. Yet, let’s get close to home, very close to home, and go back only as far as the 2006 war against Lebanon. If there was a cruel and evil war, that was surely it. From Cluster bombs to bombing milk factories and power plants, roads, bridges and hospitals, not to leave out dropping bombs on convoys of families who were told to flee lest they be bombed within their homes, Israel left no stone unturned in their horrifying range of violence. Funnily enough, Noa appeared on TV in Italy a few times that month, once in a “fashion show” where she sang “Shalom” while images of the “poor settlers leaving Gaza in tears” were projected behind her. Yes, it was a shock, that this was the message: Israelis suffer. Then she and Gil Dor did a song on the evening TV news, she made a few more appearances just to bring the point home.

It kind of reminded me of something that happened this January. As Europeans know, 27 January is Shoah Memorial Day week month year. Yes, it starts some time on the eve of the 26th of January and then it ends on the eve of the 27th of January a year later. It is this way each year. And, when there is a bloodbath Israel is making happen, the celebrations are not only for about an hour a day, but from dawn till dawn. I must mention a memorable moment. I was on the phone with a friend in the West Bank and we were trying to get information about a mutual friend of ours, who we knew lived near the police station that was destroyed in the first bloody day of Israeli air raids. No one had been able to reach him and it won’t be hard to imagine the fear we had. Of course, any civilians suffering in a war is bad, but there is a difference when you know your loved ones are in the middle of it. It is a nightmare. In the other room, my husband was offering coffee to his colleagues who are rescue volunteers like he is. They turned on the news and during the height of the destruction in Gaza, all that could be reported was one Shoah item after another. It was pretty striking, the way reality was so different from what the mass media was proposing. I heard one of the ambulance drivers, someone who has no interest in politics at all, say, (and it really only works best in Italian…) “più porcate si fanno, più giorni della memoria ci mettono”, which roughly translates to: the more horrible things Israelis do, the more Holocaust Memorial Days they give us.” Yes, someone who doesn’t follow these things was able to understand the connection, there’s really no other excuse for the massive bombardment of Jewish victimhood and Israeli flags that we see especially in moments of horror against Arab peoples. Reality and Hasbara are two worlds that can never cross the divide.

So, where did Noa enter into all of this? She came to hasbara rescue in a major way: through internet in her “letter to the Palestinians” where she told them that the war was necessary in order to get rid of the bad guys (Hamas). Many people were utterly disgusted by this total lack of comprehension that this war was as dirty and filthy as it gets, that she can no longer pretend to be about peace when she is justifying the slaughter of innocents, which was precisely what she was doing. In fact, Juliano Mer Khamis and others initiated a petition to have her NOT sing a charity gig for Gazan children (published here https://wewritewhatwelike.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/noa-thumb21.jpg2009/01/21/ban-achinoam-nini-noa-from-participating-at-gaza-charity-event/) and she pulled out, but then, she was called to sing her peace song and talk about how wonderfully peaceful she was on the worst television talk show in Italy, that of Fabio Fazio, who is sure to have one Israeli a week during wartime, people like Grossman, (sometimes appearing twice in one war  month!) Well, right now, Noa is going to be the Israeli entry to the Eurovision song contest, Yawn. Which is of course OF COURSE having her sing a song about the theme Israelis are the world experts on, Peace. How much ya wanna bet she becomes the victim-darling-peace advocate… yes, reality and hasbara are worlds apart.

If you’d like to see Noa’s current vision of peace, check out her site this week where she talks about the Israeli elections. Sure, they didn’t go the way she (a leftist, she tells us) would have preferred but still : LEIBERMAN AIN’T HAMAS!  And how bad is Hamas? Seeing that Noa moans about Israel being condemned by “Jew-haters” and “anti-Semites”, calling people who do this spreading INCREDIBLE propaganda (she spreads Hasbara…. different stuff, you don’t question hasbara, folks, unless you want to be insulted, bombed or occupied). Reminds me of when I saw Magdi Allam, a nutbar pro-Israel journalist. He said that those responsible for the war in Iraq were the “peace movement people who gave Saddam the hope that there was a way out of the war, and thus made him confident”. Yes, that kind of thinking is what Noa engages in: the “right” won because there was just so much nasty PROPAGANDA by Jew-haters going on. IT’S OUR FAULT! (OH, I’m getting into her style of shouting out things in all caps… sorry!)

Read it to believe it: the voice of peace. This post requires no commentary. Her hatred and Islamophobia speaks for itself. Hell, it could have been written by the ADL itself or anyone in The Israel Project, the MFA or any propaganda organ for Israel at all. It has a little something for everybody! http://www.noasmusic.com/index.asp

Hello all.

A few words about the Israeli elections and where things stand now, from my point of view:

Though i voted left, as always, I am not surprised by the results of the Israeli elections.

I am proud to live in a democratic country which has given voice to the people, even when i am unhappy with the result. I am proud to say that the ONLY party that was ever deemed illegal in Israel was KACH, lead by Kahana, the fanatic Jewish right wing party. Raam and Tal , two Arab parties who support Iran and refuse to recognize Israel as a homeland for the Jews, who don’t even make their party’s declaration of principles available in Hebrew, are kept in the Knesset. They are PROTECTED by the Israeli supreme court.

The Israeli election results, however saddening, were obvious, amongst other things, in the face of the INCREDIBLE propaganda spread around the world by the ENORMOUS amount of Anti-Semites and Jew- haters who are bent on destroying Israel. When the Israeli population sees the lies spread around, the hypocrisy of the world who sees Israel as the aggressor rather than a country acting in self defence, a world whose eyes are blind to the killing and the massacres by the MUSLIM fanatics of the Palestinian people, of Fatah, of women who dare to raise their head, of ANYONE who does not agree with them, when the Israeli people who number 7 million, 1.5 million of them Arabs, see around them 1.5 BILLION Arabs, with hardly ONE voice raised in peace, compared to the ENDLESS Israeli and Jewish voices raised in peace, then it is clear that the elections will go right.

A challenge for you:

Try Googling ’peace organizations’, see the endless, endless peace organizations based in Israel, Arabs and Jews together, and Jews everywhere in the world (the only one in Lebanon is in Lebanon, MICHIGAN!).

Then Google “Jewish terror´and see what you find….

Now, Google “Arab peace organizations…”, ?????????????

and Google “Arab/Muslim terror”……!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By the way, Meretz, a very sane and liberal left wing organization who supports 2 states for 2 people, has supported both of Israel’s operations, in Lebanon and Gaza. Of course they have, because Meretz know very well that Israel was acting in self defence against fanatic, cruel, Nazi-like organizations, the Hamas and Hezbollah, who are holding innocent people captive, Arabs and Jews as one, and using them as human shields in their death-loving Jihad.

Why don’t you spend some time looking at THIS?

and THIS?

and THIS?

and for a thorough report, THIS:

and the list goes on and on.

I would like to say again:

both sides have failed to make peace, and now both sides have become more extreme, especially the Muslim side. Fortunately, Lieberman and his friends, which i care nothing for, can never compete with the death loving fanatics on the other side.

Now it is up to both sides to state their intentions for peace, recognition, co-existence and compromise.

I would like to raise my voice in support of peace, equal rights for all Arab citizens in Israel, equal rights for all Jewish people in all Arab countries, co-existence between Jews and Arabs in Israel and everywhere, Palestine alongside Israel in peace, prosperity and freedom.

Who will join?

And finally: The international community would do well to stop pointing fingers in such an unintelligent, not to say hateful, anti-Semitic and down-right stupid way, and start getting both sides to the table to start working out a deal.

All the best

Noa

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3679680,00.html
hear the songs here:: one of them “YOU and ME still ALIVE”
part of the lyrics.. sure, she can sing that, not those who she approved the slaughter of! How ironic, not to say sickening.

In “There must be another way” we hear this: And I cry I cry for both of us… (after you’ve said that there was a Cancer to Get Rid of, how DARE you, Noa, you hypocrite).
Faith in the Light is the most traditional Noa-esque song, and it offers this bit, “Where can we go from here, sister, it’s been one long night. Tell me that we’re here to stay and that we can set things right….” sick. You are here to stay Noa, but thousands, including babies too small to speak, are no longer here to stay, thanks to support from you!
“Second Chance” has these beads of wisdom: “Every second is a second chance.”
All of this restores my belief that the only good thing to ever have come out of Eurovision was Abba… At least they were sincere.

WRITTEN BY William A. Cook

“Become more human, and humans will love you.”

(Text of the Gospel of Phillip, 143)

Predictably, the United States Senate and House of Representatives voted to support Israel’s carnage in Gaza thereby handing the new President yet one more war to contend with, one unhappily more dangerous to America than those in Iraq or Afghanistan. That may seem to be, on its face, a strange thing to say unless one understands that we are in Iraq fighting for Israel and, with this vote, our Congress has indebted itself to the Israeli forces that govern the United States (as Ariel Sharon said long ago), forces that will use endangerment of Israel as leverage to attack Iran and Syria, countries already in their military sites since 1992.

Our Senate’s indebtedness is unanimous; while 20 in the House abstained and five voted against the resolution, all the rest voted to support. The reasons offered: Israel has a right to defend itself even though we do not know where Israel is: that is, Israel has yet to define its borders and remove itself from occupied territories; and the rockets fired over the last 8 years must stop, even though Israel, with one shell in Gaza, killed 43 at the UN school, twice the number killed by rockets in 8 years. But logic, international law and international opinion, and fundamental moral law cannot sway our Congress; money can and does. Obama may have a Senate majority and a Democratically controlled House of Representatives, but he cannot respond to the desires of the American people for change – no more wars – nor to the United community of nations that have voted with their feet against the actions of the Israeli government in open and defiant dissent against their governments in London, Ireland, Scotland, Europe and through out the Arab world including Jordan and Egypt. Our Representatives represent Israeli wishes and policies not those of the American people; the people voted overwhelmingly for change not the continued support of Israel represented by these votes or the appointments made by Obama as advisors.

Ironically our “only democratic ally” in the mid-east, as constantly reiterated by our mainstream media and talking heads, has locked the media out of Gaza in order to isolate truth to its Public Relations campaign begun the day it invaded Gaza three weeks ago. Consequently, Americans receive their news from those that decided to break international law and their own responsibilities as an occupying force under the Geneva conventions. No truth, no morality, only raw force serves this Zionist nation beholden only to itself and those it owns, including our Congress. Yet the news gets out. The people of Gaza transmit the truth by phone cameras and a handful of Al Jazeera  journalists that report from the killing fields. These pictures inundate the Internet and even a European press on occasion.   

Contrast the reality of the coverage with that provided to Americans. In Sderot, the little town used by Israel to portray its misery, devastation, and ultimate demise at the hands of the “terrorists,” the citizens have taken to the hillside overlooking Gaza — binoculars, sunglasses and beach chairs in tow — to watch the rain of Israeli terror by air, sea and land on an imprisoned people. (Shashank Bengali, “Israelis, sipping Pepsi, watch bombardment of Gaza town,” 1/5/2009, McClatchy). Are they in danger? Perhaps, although they do have bomb shelters and warning sirens, something that the people of Gaza do not have. And as I have noted elsewhere (in Counterpunch, 1/5/2009), they have been bombarded on average with 2 rockets per day for 8 years. Twenty three have died over these 8 years, an unsupportable number killed by meaningless use of force. Nonetheless, this has become the rationale for Israel’s current killing that now approaches 1000 half of whom are children. Disproportionate? Not to our Representatives.

Now consider what we are not shown, an image that the western media finds “pornographic,” “irresponsible journalism,” “too graphic,” “too emotional” for public consumption; yet the rest of the world sees these images, hundreds and hundreds of them. This alone should give our representatives pause to reflect on how their subservience to the barbaric behavior of Zionist Israel plays out in the world that is not controlled by American corporations or complicit congressmen. You can go to www.al-ayyam.ps/znews/site/pdfs/7-1-2009/p01.pdf. There you will see the head of a little girl looking forlornly though vacant eyes, mouth still open, completely buried from the neck down in rubble from her crushed home; indeed, too graphic, too emotional to contemplate, just another unnamed casualty of war where death happens … unfortunately, and “we’re sorry.” This appeared in multimedia, a Norwegian site, where you can also hear Sven Egil Omdel, the Director, explain why he decided to publish the photo even though it is against policy: “It is (the publication) a conscious provocation and we have two reasons for it: Israel keep (sic) all western journalists away from the war in Gaza. … The most important reason for us to show this face, is that the Arab world sees pictures like these from Gaza every day. Not a single still, but hours and hours of TV images of hospital floors full of small, dead bodies. Four year olds, two year olds, seven year olds, newly borns – These pictures represent the war in Gaza for millions of muslims – and we wonder why the hatred against Israel and the west grows? (translation)” This now is Obama’s war whether he wants it or not including the 3000 tons of ordnance being shipped now to Israel by the United States to supplement what they are currently using in Gaza.

Americans must understand the timing of this “war” that is not a war but a slaughter of caged people that have no where to hide, no where to go and even then, when following IDF orders, find themselves in a building targeted for destruction, their destruction. Deceit governs; racism motivates; hatred compels and greed for others’ land is the bed rock of action.

Why now? For two years, during the election campaign for the US Presidency, Israel imposed a siege on Gaza, a calculated act of slow, insidious decimation of the people planned in 2004 (www.infoimagination.org) to ultimately compel the Palestinian people to submit to Israeli dominance, without a state, without an army, without freedom of ingress and egress, unclassified and wholly dependent on Israel. Included in that strategy was the need to complete “Securing the Realm,” the document drawn up by our faithful Neo-Con “servants” that drove the policies of Bush’s administration and called for regime change in Syria and Iran in addition to Iraq. During the political campaign, while press coverage crowded out virtually all other news, the Zionist forces destroyed the infrastructure of Gaza, began the locking down of gates and the slow but methodical destruction of Gaza’s economy. Simultaneously they sought, but failed to get in time, Bush’s approval of attacks on Iran’s nuclear sites. Now, as the days of the Bush reign of terror ends, they are desperate to force Obama into a continuation of absolute and unquestioned support of Israeli policies in the mid-east. With the Congress in hand, with the vote made public in America and its continued commitment made known to the world, they believe that hey have locked Obama in a prison not unlike that surrounding Gaza.

What now? Reflection on the past few years, since 2005 to present, especially in the United States, makes possible this observation: the people of the United States and the people of Israel no longer see eye to eye on matters of mutual concern and, indeed, have already expressed that reality in fact. What do I mean? Beginning with the Downing Street memo and the disclosures of Richard Clark and Ambassador Wilson, the ability of the main stream press to hide the truth from the American people could no longer hold. As 2005 evolved, more and more disclosures unraveled the lies protected by the “fair and balanced reporting” of the corporate owned and controlled media. Fair and balanced was neither fair to truth nor balanced. To put two items on a scale, one for, one against, does not present truth or a balanced report. It simply shows two different perspectives, one for and one against. But as facts and documents became available to the American people, items available over the prior years on various Internet publications, the American people reacted by throwing out Bush supporters in the 2006 and 2008 elections and Bush support eroded into the mid-twenties.

They wanted “change” promised from the start by Senator Obama and mimicked eventually by most of the other contenders to the throne. Change meant getting out of Iraq immediately and return to a government that had a concern for America, including less absolute and blind support for Israel. The vast majority of the American people do not accept the disproportionate and cruel invasion of Gaza by Israel. As more and more pictures and videos become available on the Internet, especially the recurring images of savagery on You Tube, the American people are traumatized by the horror, especially the uncountable number of deaths of children. Our representative government does not represent the American electorate; it represents only scared politicians who depend on AIPAC money, men and women who fear for their political seats regardless of what their constituents believe and want.

By contrast Israeli citizens are faced with an election that has all three contenders fighting to convince the electorate that he/she is the one that will inflict more force to subjugate the Palestinians to Israeli will. The focus of this campaign resonates around the war monger Benjamin Netanyahu; both Livni and Barak must demonstrate that they are better leaders to take Israel against the Palestinians, the Syrians and the Iranians. Israel’s future is one of continued war which means in turn continued American billions to sustain their ambitions against their perceived enemies. They do not talk of “talk” with neighbors, only unending war against those that oppose the Jews. One does not speak of Israel as a state or government when “victimhood” is needed to induce unyielding support for the Israeli governments need to acquire more land and control the regimes of its neighbors, one must turn to the bias against Jews that is world wide and endemic. Sympathy cannot be rung from criticism of a government’s policies.

Horribly, the invasion of Gaza can be viewed quite accurately as a campaign war where Livni and Barak have made evident to the electorate that they will use force to ensure Israel’s right to dominate the area regardless of international pressure and opinion, international law or international justice. They know they can do this because they have control of the American Congress and administration including the veto power of the United States in the Security Council. World opinion means nothing. The Israeli electorate, with modest exception, does not want change.

Ultimately, it’s AIPAC’s will against the American citizens’ expressed desires as they voted for this man of change. Who will win? Will the blatant exposure of Israeli violence and mercilessness, in pictures and videos, turn the tide? Can Israeli hacking of Internet sites like that done to The Palestine Chronicle and the attempted erasure of sites that contain the pictures and videos described above stop the flow of sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza and quell the building animosity that has arisen world-wide against the cruelty employed by Israel in its savage destruction of Gaza?

Will Obama turn to diplomacy, as he preached when a candidate and, thus doing, fulfill the truth enunciated by Phillip, “Become more human, and humans will love you”? Will he turn to negotiations with those engaged in these brutalities, to stem the violence? Will he recognize the impossible absence of the democratically elected Hamas government from deliberations with Israel over Gaza? How absurd. Will he reconsider the bribery that Bush employed to keep Egypt and Jordan in collusion with Israel despite the agony the people of Egypt and Jordan experience as they watch their people die in Gaza? Will he seek justice by returning to the resolutions of the UN that demand Israel return to the borders of 1948 or 1967, to leave the occupied lands of Palestine including East Jerusalem, to recognize the right of return of the refugees, to realize that Palestinians have a right to their state just as Israel has a right to its, something recognized by Hamas though never recognized as true by our main stream press. (Guardian, 1/12/2006 and Ynet, 1/30/2006). Will Obama seek peace that America might be free of its entanglement with a rogue state that blindly leads America into the darkness of unending conflict and death? Will he demand of Israel that its support from America depends of its recognition that it can only survive if it lives in harmony with its neighbors not out of fear but out of brotherhood? Will he suggest that the Israelis consider a diametrically opposite road to peace, one that understands “People will love you if you become more human”?

One of my dearest friends and fellow Pro-Palestine Blogger, Steve Amsel wrote a post about a “tool” I mentioned to him and other friends. Please visit his site to join in the discussion. Below his post is the post by Sinéad of http://irish4palestine.blogspot.com/ , who remarks on another group of organised pro-Israel “net warriors”. Great comments there too.

ZIO WEB ATTACKS ~~~ ARE YOU A ‘VICTIM’?

 

Do you write articles giving the truth about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? Do you have a Blog known for its anti zionist viewpoints? Have you been getting extra ‘visitors’ to your Blog who leave negative comments or participate in polls? 
 
If yes to any of the above, there is a good reason for all of this….it’s a project called Megaphone Israel.It is a new desktop tool that alerts its subscribers to any entries that might be anti Israel or anti zionist. 
 
After notification, the ‘warriors’ jump into action and attack the source of the article. Are we to quiver in our seats because of this? Are we to stop posting because of this? I THINK NOT! 
 
As long as Israel continues its existing genocidal policies and actions against the people of Palestine, Blogs such as this one will continue to expose their crimes. Where the media fails to, we will present the facts. 
 
So Megaphone Israel should be kept busy for the next (hopefully) short while. 
 
Do any of my readers have suggestions as to how we might also be alerted….. to racist or zionist postings on the Web? We too should be posting OUR comments on their sites, just to let them know we are aware of their ‘games’. 
 
Thanks to Mary Rizzo for the alert on this situation…..

 

21/02/09 Online Censorship by Israel

What do BLOGGER, YOUTUBE, FACEBOOK, and WIKIPEDIA have in common?

Following up on yesterday’s post “Is Israel Controlling the Internet” today we will learn about Israel’s Government and the IDF attempting to censor and control the internet, face book, you tube and many other social networks, blogs, message boards and news organisations. Today I will be discussing these groups who work online for Israel and the IDF (Israeli Army).

These groups came about after the many genocidal murders committed by Israel and the IDF. Hundreds upon thousands of Lebanese, Palestinians being killed, with the majority of them being innocent civilians, women and children. Israel need helps to re-create its image worldwide. What better place than the internet?

Why the internet? Because the internet is a huge echo chamber. It also influences what news you see on your television or MSM news sites, like CNN, ABC, MSNBC and CBS for instance. It also influences what you read in your newspapers worldwide. With today’s 24 hour news cycle, the need for fresh news is quite important for retaining viewers and readers. So, many news publications and organisations turn to the internet to see what the “buzz” is and then report on that. Also, due to the internets wide range of people and access to webcams, videos and blogs, many times regular individuals get important news online before main stream media does. Given these facts, who ever controls the internet controls the news and controls the battle for the hearts and minds of the general public.

Winning public opinion is extremely important, remember Americans vote, and they could, if organized, exert pressure on their government and President to stop handing over their hard earned tax dollars to Israel. . Another important reason is “war” Israel needs Americans to be afraid of Muslims, it needs Americans to think everyone in the Middle East are either terrorists, supporting terrorists, swayed by terrorists, and that only little isolated Israel (with the 4th largest army in the world AND having nuclear weapons) is the only friend America has, and on this premise, Americans should back everything Israel does as they are our “friends” (even though they murder American military and cover it up, see below)

Their “job” is to win the battle of public opinion online. In other words, they want to influence what people think of Israel. Why is this important? Well, the obvious answer is NOT that Israel really cares what you think if it. After all, if it did perhaps it would begin adhering to some of the more than 60 UN resolutions it has against it, or perhaps stop breaking international law, or perhaps allowing international investigations when it murders people in Palestine, Lebanon and US Military men onboard the USS Liberty;

The USS Liberty off the coast of Egypt was attacked without warning. The attack lasted 40 minutes and 34 Americans were murdered, with 17o injured and the Ship destroyed.

theories as to why Israel would take such drastic action against its superpower ally is that the Liberty, a $40m state-of-the-art surveillance ship, was eavesdropping on an Israeli massacre of Egyptian prisoners of war.

The assertion of a cover-up was lent weight by a 2003 independent commission of inquiry which reported that the attack on the Liberty “remains the only serious naval incident that has never been thoroughly investigated by Congress”.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6690425.stm
also here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH-oZHBzOe8

So, to sway public opinion of Israel and its war crimes in Lebanon and Palestine, back in 2000 they decided to create an online group called JIDF or Jewish Internet Defence Force, to manipulate polls and message boards and blogs by spamming comments and votes. However, this has now progressed into removing sites, videos and blogs that critisize Israel or it’s genocide in Palestine, also sites that are against Zionism, which, importantly, is NOT the same as being against Jews!! And there is another group as well, called GIYUS, or “Give Israel Your United Support”

first look at GIYUS:

GIVE ISRAEL YOUR UNITED SUPPORT
Why do I need to report?

GIYUS.ORG spends a lot of effort tracking down online articles  and surveys that members should see and act upon.
After installing the Megaphone application, you will receive alerts on these articles so that you can voice your opinion on
them.

You can help even more! Report relevant articles and surveys to
GIYUS.ORG and help Israel win the public opinion front.

Now let’s look at the other group called JIDF, e.g Jewish Internet Defense Force, sounds very miltary doesn’t it now?
“One of their campaigns has already led to 106 Facebook groups being removed”See here:

The Jewish Internet Defense Force, (JIDF) is approximately 8 years old as a collective of activists and has operated under the name the “Jewish Internet Defense Force”

The JIDF is involved in mass email campaigns, we work to discuss the issues on many fronts, in various forums. We report our concerns of TOS violations to many companies. We advocate for Israel, and we work to unify our people who share our concerns. We write emails to the media, to the internet companies, to law enforcement, and to the government. We also have a major campaign involving YouTube, where we report hateful videos or videos which are promoting violence or terrorism. We work to keep things neutral on Wikipedia,

We have also been a leading pro-Israel force online, and the success often comes in the form of inspiring someone new, who eventually becomes a solid soldier in our online army.

Jewish Internet Defense Force
http://www.thejidf.org
Leading the Fight

So let’s just have a look at the groups they target listed below with excerpts from the JIDF site itself:

FACEBOOK

Through the creation of 4 proactive Facebook groups, The JIDF initiated a 35 day campaign urging 5,000 people to report all the following groups. During that time, 106 groups were deleted, Many more groups crop up daily. Jewish Leadership must coordinate with the management of Facebook to help develop plans to fight this problem.

YOUTUBE

The JIDF believes the following channels and videos most likely break YouTube’s rules against promoting hatred and/or violence. As you can see by the amount of channels which have been suspended we have a pretty good track record. (NOTE: Too many for me to list here, but take link to see the entire list of suspended accounts http://www.thejidf.org/2008/02/problematic-youtube-channels-and-videos.html  scroll down and further down the page you will see the 100’s of accounts they are currently targeting)
http://www.thejidf.org/2008/02/problematic-youtube-channels-and-videos.html

Below are links and comments pasted exactly from their VERY long list of youtube users they want suspended, or videos removed. Admittedly some are from skinheads and truly are racist, but the vast majority are just normal videos with excerpts from credible news sources or photos from news sources. Note that the comments under the links are the actual notes this group has made regarding the video in the link it wants removed.

http://www.youtube.com/user/LaydeeLiberty123
1 video, many problematic favs

(NOTE FYI Meaning she favourited other peoples videos and got her account closed!!)

(But here is the best one of all!!)

http://www.youtube.com/user/FedFarmer
1 video – (might not be against the rules)

Now, this video is a documented media video from a British reporter and an Israeli Human Rights organisation no less. And they want to close this person’s youtube account because they uploaded this video? Why? Because as usual, the video shows human rights abuses by Israelis, so we can’t have that now can we?? Even when it’s an Israeli group that uncovered it and made the documentary, so they attempt to censor their own people!!

Here’s the video (listed above form their site) they want taken down

View it yourself

Oh no, it gets even better, and here’s another one, this is a RAP music video showing news footage and photos of those killed by Israel, again, we can’t let the world see this, they might not like us!!
CENSOR CENSOR CENSOR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acW5hxSwCsw
(This video shows dead bodies, this is against the YouTube Community Guidelines)

and yet another one here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBa-dFdrJ7Y
(This video shows dead bodies of children, and people getting hurt, attacked, or humiliated)

 

and here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B-PqTAXTEc
(This video shows dead bodies, and dead children)
(NOTE with regard to YouTube the JIDF also work with an American right wing NeoCon group called YOU TUBE SMACKDOWN http://smackdowncorps.org/

like minds stick together)

WIKIPEDIA

In general, please alert us to any problems of POV-Pushing, bias, subtle antisemitic jabs and the standard “Jew baiting” so commonly found on Wikipedia (WP), so we may update this list and continue cite specific examples. We are also looking to get a lot more active on Wikipedia, since much has been written about the problems and many people have pointed out unfair Wikipedia policies and implementation thereof, especially with regard to Israel and the Jewish people.

Please keep us posted as to any problems you experience on Wikipedia as it will aid in our research and approach. Please enjoy the following list of heavily biased Wikipedia editors. We have listed their “contributions” from “earliest” to most recent, since many of them are trying to pretend they are not biased as of late:

They are targeting several people in Wikipedia, one is an Arab, the other is a Jew who is against Zionism, here is what they say about the Anti-Zionist Jew on Wikipedia, notice how other Jews who are not Zionist fanatics like the JIDF are also targets:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:RolandR
User Contributions

Real name, “Roland Rance” who chairs “Jews Against Zionism” meetings

Just look at this user’s userpage. Wikipedia is supposed to have rules against using it for “soapboxing” but apparently they make an exception in this case (Mary Rizzo’s note: Rance is himself a major gatekeeper and censor… he manipulates according to his own taste pages on Gilad Atzmon, who is a bigger enemy of his than any Zionist is, apparently… but I did not write this post, just leaving my observation in).

Here is one of their complaints about wikipedia: the way, in the current Wikipedia article about Hamas, the fact that it is a terrorist organization isn’t even hinted at until the 6th paragraph!)

Heaven forbid, we have to get the word “terrorist” and “HAMAS” in the first sentance, otherwise it’s unfair to poor Israel!! what a load of bollox! As if people can’t think for themselves, we all need Israel to tell us what to think!

BLOGGER

Don’t think they are serious about closing blogs, webpages, facebook, and youtube accounts and more?

They even invented software to use to make their word easier, it is called “megaphone”, and endorsed by the IDF (Israeli army) and government!

See here:


Megaphone desktop tool
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Megaphone desktop tool is a Windows “action alert” tool developed by Give Israel Your United Support (GIYUS) and distributed by World Union of Jewish Students, World Jewish Congress, The Jewish Agency for Israel, World Zionist Organization, StandWithUs, Hasbara fellowships, HonestReporting, and other pro-Israel public relations, media watchdog, or activism organizations. The tool delivers real-time alerts about key articles, videos, blogs, and surveys related to Israel or the Arab-Israeli conflict, especially those perceived by GIYUS to be highly critical of Israel, so that users can vote or add comments expressing their support of Israel. The tool was released in July during the 2006 Lebanon War.

According the Jerusalem Post, Amir Gissin, head of the Public Affairs Department of the Foreign Ministry of Israel, has expressed support for the tool’s use. “The Foreign Ministry itself is now pushing the idea, urging supporters of Israel everywhere to become cyberspace soldiers in the new battleground for Israel’s image.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megaphone_desktop_tool

 

So, if you can’t win the public hearts and minds by doing the right thing, then just CHEAT CHEAT CHEAT, CENSOR CENSOR CENSOR

Report Jew-Hating Blogs in Less Than a Minute
Click here and then click “submit”
Then come back here and do the same thing with this one.
Do this many times a day. Many days a week and share it with all your friends and email lists.
The blogs in question are some of the most hateful sites we have seen and clearly against Blogger’s own rules.

Thanks!

And a little tidbit from the Jpost on JIDF. Notice that this JIDF group infiltrated and then took over a FACEBOOK group using some type of software, because they did not like the answer they got from FACEBOOK when they complained. The group, according to FACEBOOK was a political discourse group, and as such, FACEBOOK refused to close it down. So the JIDF took action themselves. See here:
Jul 29, 2008 21:16 Updated Jul 30, 2008 9:47

Jewish Internet Defense Force ‘seizes control’ of anti-Israel Facebook group
In the JIDF’s latest efforts, the group has been working around the clock to dismantle the group on Facebook titled, “Israel is not a country! Delist it from Facebook as a country.” That group had tens of thousands of members.
Facebook’s negligence and abdication of responsibility gave us no option but to take matters in our own hands,” the JIDF added.

The JIDF would not specify what technological methods it used to gain access to the group, but said it succeeded in doing so after the old administrators left.

The JIDF received a response from Facebook, he said, which called the anti-Israel group “legitimate political discourse.” Facebook was not available for comment.

“[The JIDF] gained control of the group without compromising Facebook’s security,” Oboler said. “What they have done… is taken away the hate that was spreading through [the group’s] membership. It’s a shame that Facebook themselves did not remove it. It has taken a lot of effort from [the JIDF], while it would have taken Facebook one click.”

The JIDF said its efforts are not limited to Facebook, but extend to anti-Semitism and anti-Israel posts found throughout the Internet, including on sites such as Google, Google Earth, YouTube and Wikipedia.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1215331137728&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
So what group or site will they come for next? Beware of who you allow to join your groups and blogs, they will join and then destroy your site.

Remember this, he who controls the internet controls the news and controls the battle for the hearts and minds of the general public. If any of this makes you angry or outraged, write to your Elected Representatives and demand that Israel stop censoring the internet. Who made them “Judge, Jury and Executioner”

We are all intelligent enough to make up our own minds *if* we are allowed to see unfettered information ourselves, why is Israel so worried? Because the internet is the LAST place news is free and where news can freely be put online for all to see. Don’t’ let Israel gain control of what you see, hear and read. America must stop being Israel’s “poodle”.

More information on this subject in tomorrow’s blog, check back then or subscribe to this blog.

PEOPLE READING THIS BLOG SHOULD CHECK TO SEE IF THEIR YOUTUBE CHANNEL OR ACCOUNT IS LISTED AS A TARGET OF THE CENSORING ZIONISTS WHO WORK FOR THE ISRAEL ARMY AND GOVERNMENT

Here is the JIDF’s YOUTUBE LIST OF CHANNELS AND USERS (note the first scrolling box are all the accounts they have managed to suspend or close down, but scroll down the page more to see the active list they are currently working on now, you may be listed!)

http://www.thejidf.org/2008/02/problematic-youtube-channels-and-videos.html

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, don’t say anyhing bad about Israel, or they will come for you in the night…………………

thus concludes Sinéad’s fine report.

And this is what I found while digging into it some more:

Wage Cyberwar Against Hamas, Surrender Your PC
By Noah Shachtman EmailJanuary 08, 2009 | 1:10:27 PM

A group of Israeli students and would-be cyberwarriors have developed a program that makes it easy for just about anyone to start pounding on pro-Hamas websites. But using this “Patriot” software, to join in the online fight, means handing over control of your computer to the Israeli hacker group.

“While you’re running their program, they can do whatever they want with your computer,” Mike La Pilla, manager of malicious code operations at Verisign iDefense, the electronic security firm.

The online collective “Help Israel Win” formed in late December, as the current conflict in Gaza erupted. “We couldn’t join the real combat, so we decided to fight Hamas in the cyber arena,” “Liri,” one the group’s organizers, told Danger Room.

So they created a simple program, supposedly designed to overload Hamas-friendly sites like qudsnews.net and palestine-info.info. In recent years, such online struggles have become key components in the information warfare that accompanies traditional bomb-and-bullets conflicts. Each side tries to recruit more and more people — and more and more computers — to help in the network assaults. Help Israel Win says that more than 8,000 people have already downloaded and installed its Patriot software. It’s a small part of a larger, increasingly sophisticated propaganda fight between supporters of Israel and Hamas that’s being waged over the airwaves and online.

Help Israel Win, which has websites in Hebrew, English, Spanish, French, Russian and Portugese, doesn’t say much about how the program functions — only that it “unites the computer capabilities of many people around the world. Our goal is to use this power in order to disrupt our enemy’s efforts to destroy the state of Israel. The more support we get, the more efficient we are.”

Analysis from iDefense and the SANS Institute, however, reveals that computer users put their PCs at risk when they run the Patriot software. The program connects a computer to one of a number of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) servers. Once the machine is linked up, Help Israel Win can order it to do just about anything.

The Patriot program does something “fishy,” SANS Institute security specialist Bojan Zdrnja said, by retrieving “a remote file and sav[ing] it on the local machine as TmpUpdateFile.exe.” That could easily be a “trojan,” Zdrnja said, referring to a program that sneaks malicious code onto a computer.

“While at the moment it does not appear to do anything bad (it just connects to the IRC server and sites there — there also appeared to be around 1,000 machines running this when I tested this) the owner can probably do whatever he wants with machines running this,” Zdrnja wrote.

Liri, with Help Israel Win, conceded that “the Patriot code could be used as a trojan. However, “practically it is not used as such, and will never be.”

“The update option is used to fix bugs in the client, and not to upload any malicious code… never have and never will,” Liri said. “The project will close right after the war is over, and we have given a fully functional uninstaller to [remove] the application.”

It’s also unclear how much the Patriot program is really helping the Israeli side in the online information war.

La Pilla has been monitoring Help Israel Win’s IRC servers for days. “They didn’t make us download and install anything. Didn’t make us [attack] anybody. I was basically just sitting idle on their network.” The group claims to have shut down sarayaalquds.org and qudsvoice.net. But, as of now, the rest of the group’s pro-Hamas targets remain online. Meanwhile, Help Israel Win has had to shift from website to website, as they come under attack from unknown assailants.

“We began to focus on internet companies like Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, MySpace, and Digg,


thanks very much to one of our attentive readers, Rodney, who sent this video from Australian TV, where Shimon Peres makes one outrageous claim after another, including that the Gaza checkpoints have always been open. If you can stand someone lying through their teeth, this is the man for you.