Archive | April 5th, 2010


The Independent has a letter from Tony Greenstein and Deborah Fink explaining Why we protested at Wigmore Hall:

As Jewish participants in the protest against the Jerusalem Quartet concert, we reject the suggestion by Elisa Bray and Kim Sengupta (1 April) that the JQ were targeted because their members had served in the Israeli army.

Although those brave Israeli high school students, the Shministim, do refuse to serve and suffer repeated imprisonment as a result, this was not the reason for our protest.

The Jerusalem Quartet has repeatedly gone out of its way to identify with Israel’s military. According to the Jerusalem Music Centre, which helped to found and support the JQ, and which is itself based in the illegal West Bank settlement of Mishkenot Sha’ananim, the JQ serve in the army as Distinguished Musicians.

Far from having no responsibility for the Israeli state, the Quartet’s foreign tours have been repeatedly sponsored by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and each member of the JQ has been given generous support by the American Israel Cultural Foundation, whose purpose is “supporting the next generation of Israel’s cultural ambassadors”.

It is untrue that we campaign against the “excesses of the Jewish State”. Our disagreement is far more fundamental.

A Jewish state means a state where Jews receive privileges as against Arabs, for example access to state land in Israel, a segregated education system and a society where over 75 per cent believe that Arabs and Jews should not share apartment blocks, and 60 per cent would refuse to allow an Arab to visit their own apartment.

Despite their well-documented role with Israel’s army and as Israel’s cultural ambassadors, the Jerusalem Quartet has not once condemned discrimination or the repression of the Palestinians.

John Gilhooly, the director of the Wigmore Hall, states that music transcends politics. We disagree. This was the argument used in the days of the sporting boycotts against South African apartheid.

And, contrary to Elisa Bray’s article, Deborah Fink is a trained professional classical singer.

Tony Greenstein, Deborah Fink

Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, Brighton


There’s also a letter criticising the “increasingly insufferable”* Howard Jacobson. You can guess the kind of mealy mouthed nonsense he came out with from the swift demolition:

Contrary to Howard Jacobson’s article (3 April), expecting Israel to respect international law is both treating Israel like any other country and as a “grown-up”. The fact that he resorts to calling his opponents “poorly educated and easily led” suggests that campaigners for Palestinian human rights are making progress.

Janet Green

London, NW5

Ok, here’s the link to Jacobson but be warned, it is more of his usual tosh.

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on MORE ON WIGMORE



This is from the Scots Palestine Solidarity website:

 A Written statement (30 Mar 2010) by Jerusalem Quartet in response to disruption of their Wigmore Hall concert the day before states:

“The demonstrators were mistaken because we are not representatives of the Government of Israel. We are Israeli citizens, but have no connection with or patronage by the Government.
The statement said much more which was untrue, but the above point is crucial. It is understandable that the Jerusalem Quartet attempt to distance themselves from the State of Israel, and therefore the criticism that comes with their status as Cultural Ambassadors of an apartheid state.
Unfortunately, facts can be a nuisance for those seeking to defend the indefensible. Let’s look at them:
Perhaps they don’t consider Co-SPONSORSHIP BY THE ISRAELI EMBASSY “connection with or patronage by the Government”:
See here and also here.
Or perhaps they don’t consider $8000 FUNDING BY THE ISRAELI EMBASSY “connection with or patronage by the Government”:
More recently, “The Israeli Government provided about $8000 towards the costs of the[ir Nov 2009 Australia] tour. Mary-Jo Capps, the chief executive of Musica Viva, the Australian touring organisation that has brought the quartet out annually for the past four years, said this was only a minuscule proportion of the total cost.” (See original article)
Perhaps they don’t consider BEING INTRODUCED ON STAGE BY THE ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE US “connection with or patronage by the Government”:
In April 2007, “the Library of Congress played host – together with the Israeli Embassy – to their [the Jerusalem Quartet’s] Washington return”.
 A music lover reports a speech by the Israeli Ambassador to the US as he introduced the Jerusalem Quartet on stage in Washington: “We continue to sing and dance, even as we are under attack from all sides. We need to defend ourselves, but we’ll still make beautiful music.”
The concert-goer describes the Israeli Ambassador’s introduction as “shockingly clumsy”, and opines:
“Those are lines that are perfectly appropriate for a speech given, or concert held, at the auditorium of AEI or an AIPAC event. They probably were not well chosen for the Library of Congress, where music generally does the speaking, not politicians.
The very presence of the Jerusalem Quartet (and their program) was (successful) public diplomacy – the kind of cultural diplomacy that countries should engage more in. To go beyond that, to really rub in the propaganda aspect of the event, was unnecessary and arguably in bad taste.” Link
or “performing a concert in Amman at the residence of Israel’s ambassador to Jordan”;
Or “a European concert tour sponsored by the Israel Foreign Ministry featuring concerts in Oslo, Stockholm, Vienna, The Hague, Copenhagen, and Bratislavia” (see below)
 The role of a Cultural Ambassador
As Israeli poet, Yitzhak Laor points out in Haaretz, July 31, 2008 that sponsorship or funding by the Israeli state comes with strings attached:
“the contract that authors and artists sign with the Foreign Ministry in exchange for funding” is “Between the State of Israel, via the Foreign Ministry, Division for Cultural and Scientific Affairs”.
“The service provider is aware that the purpose of ordering services from him is to promote the policy interests of the State of Israel via culture and art, including contributing to creating a positive image for Israel.”
Note: their job is not to promote Israeli art and culture, but rather to promote the policy interests of the State of Israel via culture and art.
Histroy of the Jerusalem Quartet
“The Jerusalem Quartet… were created, nurtured and launched onto the world scene from the JMC [Jerusalem Music Centre]. The JMC was in turn founded “Through the enthusiastic contributions of AICF [America Israel Cultural Foundation] patrons”.
“The AICF provides vital scholarships for musical study, including numerous chamber groups such as the Jerusalem Quartet.” Link
“The mission of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation” is to “depict the State of Israel as a thriving cultural environment that stimulates creativity and artistic life.”
AICF boast that “In the past five years alone, AICF has awarded over $6.5m in scholarships to Israeli students of the arts, supporting the next generation of Israel’s cultural ambassadors.”
When seeking donations, the AICF noted, “These artists and institutions represent Israel throughout the world. Israel’s need to allocate scarce resources to defense and security necessitates AICF’s vital contribution to the arts.”
[ this page has since been removed, but it is unlikely that the AICF would deny this]
According to the JMC, “the Quartet has been busy playing concerts in Israel and abroad, including a concert in Amman at the residence of Israel’s ambassador to Jordan; the Israeli premiere of 12 Microludes by Gyorgy Kurtag in the presence of the composer; a European concert tour sponsored by the Israel Foreign Ministry featuring concerts in Oslo, Stockholm, Vienna, The Hague, Copenhagen, and Bratislavia”.
[This page has also been recently modified, but once again, it is doubtful that the JMC would deny this. Googling “Jerusalem Quartet”, “Israel’s Ambassador” and “Amman”, still takes you to the modified page, even though it makes no more mention of “Amman” or “Israel’s Ambassador”…]
According to a World Zionist Press Service article entitled, Israeli musicians also have military strings attached—Jerusalem Quartet members serving in nation’s army:
“For the three immigrants, carrying a rifle in one hand and a violin in the other is the ultimate Zionist statement.”It’s something our parents could hardly have imagined ten years ago,” says Zlotnikov.”
“Bressler (second violin) says his only fear then was that something would happen to his hands.”
Zlotinikov also noted in a 2006 article, “‘People say we are the best ambassadors from Israel, and we are happy about that,” [The Australian, 14th March 2006: (pay-for article)]
Cultural Boycott of Israel includes the Jerusalem Quartet
It is understandable that The Jerusalem Quartet attempt to distance themselves from the State of Israel, and therefore the criticism that comes with their status as Cultural Ambassadors of an apartheid state.
But while they continue to be just that, they will continue to attract critics of the state whose “policy interests” they are contractually obliged to “promote”.

Posted in EuropeComments Off on JERUSALEM QUARTET EXPOSED



Diary, March 24, 2010

After I finished Arabic class, we rushed to Nuseirat refugee camp, where Dr. Mona al-Farra runs an amazing center called Faq al-Jadeeda: New Horizons. Mona is an old leftist. Faq al-Jadeeda was filled with children. It’s a kindergarten-cum-public-health-clinic-cum-health-education-cum-water-provider. They do a lot there. Dr. Mona said that the center’s catchment area as including 15,000 people, maybe a fifth of Nuseirat.

First, we watched six young men perform another fantastically well-rehearsed dabka. I asked Dr. Mona about the size of the center’s operations and their curriculum, whether it is vetted, who approves it. It is approved by the Hamas Ministry of Education. Mona said that everyone who works there is a “very progressive person,” and with pride said that they had to double their kindergarten enrollment, to 250 4 to 6 year-olds.

There was also playground equipment. She told me that not everyone kindergarten in Gaza has such nice equipment. We walked around, looking at the children. We gave out balloons reading “Free Palestine,” and took pictures of the children. Then we left. I asked Dr. Mona a few more questions, about her training–on the job training in public health–and then about her work.

She does women’s health education, which must be immensely challenging given prevailing strictures, both governmental and cultural, and the way they dynamically reinforce one another.

On the ride back, I asked Dr. Mona about what we could do. I told her I had seen that they had a Viva Palestina ambulance. She said that she had secured two Viva ambulances with the help of Middle East Children’s Alliance. Local Initiative could have used an ambulance, too, but they are not registered as an NGO.

Faq could have been the recipient of the vehicle on behalf of Local Initiative, but they did not know this and Westerners didn’t ask, and we don’t ask frequently enough–a recurring problem.

[Yea this was almost two weeks ago, I meant to post something other than violence and confrontation, and this leftist-style sumoud was the best example].

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Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on CELLULAR INTIFADA



by Jeff Davis

On Easter Sunday, I took a look at the (Jewish) TV programs and they had a documentary about the Dalai Lama, a documentary on Islamic Art, horror movies about anacondas, a Stephen King movie, several sex documentaries and worst-of-all those snotty, atheistic, British-narrated “science” documentaries that attack and belittle the Bible as if it’s all superstitions and folk tales.

I remember a biology professor in college who pointed out that the order of evolution in science was the exact same order as the story of Creation in the Bible. First the world was created, then life in the seas, then life on land and last of all man appeared. Was a higher entity telling people on this world information that mankind couldn’t possibly have known 2,500 years ago?

As for the miracles in the Bible, advanced science looks like a miracle to primitive people. A “virgin birth” could be the creation of a clone and its surgical implantation, a technology that has only become known in recent decades.

We can bring people back from the “dead” for about five minutes after they “die” with CPR and/or a defibrillator. God was capable of bringing back people from the dead three days after death as was the case with Lazarus and Jesus Christ. And God had that technology two thousand years ago.

Instead of rightly seeing that we are like primitive pygmies compared to the incredibly advanced technology of God, some scientists become arrogant and attack religion and dismiss it as a primitive superstition simply because we’ve traded our oxcarts for cars and our thatch-covered huts for condos.

The heavy infiltration of Jews into science over the last 100 years has no doubt contributed to the anti-Christian attitude of many in that field.

In addition to the attacks on Christianity by the Jewish media and by Jewish elements in the field of science, there are political attacks on Christianity, which have been greatly escalated with the Obama regime.

One of the first things that any Marxist regime does once it assumes power is to ruthlessly eliminate any official acknowledgment or reverence for the Christian religion. We have a somewhat softer version of socialism in America, but the process is beginning here as well.

An ABC News article reports: “One week before the most solemn day in the Christian year, the city of Davenport, Iowa removed Good Friday from its municipal calendar, setting off a storm of complaints from Christians and union members whose contracts give them that day off.

Taking a recommendation by the Davenport Civil Rights Commission to change the holiday’s name to something more ecumenical, City Administrator Craig Malin sent a memo to municipal employees announcing Good Friday would officially be known as ‘Spring Holiday….The city administrator made the change unilaterally and did not bring it to the council for a vote, a requirement for a change in policy.”

Malin is a common Jewish surname. Curiously, the prefix “mal” in French means “bad” or “wrongful”.

ABC News goes on: “It didn’t take long for the city the resurrect the name Good Friday. Malin was overruled today and the words Spring Holiday disappeared. The Civil Rights Commission said it recommended changing the name to better reflect the city’s diversity and maintain a separation of church and state when it came to official municipal holidays.”

This little attack on Christian tradition in the US was rolled back, but how about the next little attempt, somewhere else, say a major city that isn’t so White and Christian as Davenport, Iowa? How many places in this country have had Christmas replaced with “Xmas” or “the Holiday Season” or even Hanukkah which is in fact a very minor Jewish festival or the even less important “Kwanzaa” which is a completely bogus Black holiday made up in the 1970s.

Socialists and Communists (like Barack Obama and most of the Democrat Party today) traditionally use what is known as the “salami slicer” technique in societies where they do not as yet have complete control, slicing away rights and customs thin slice by slice.

It looks like a slice from the salami slicer was narrowly averted in Iowa, but if we want to have any kind of America to leave to our children, we need to wake up White people to the Jewish problem and create a third party that will truly oppose them, and not be a doormat in the face of tyranny like the Republican Party.




RFK announces assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., April 4, 1968. Violence, as King lived and died to tell us, is a betrayal. RFK picked up the torch and was struck down. Do we hear their voices?

From Bob Herbert, We Still Don’t Hear Him

‘I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight,’ said the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., ‘because my conscience leaves me no other choice.’This was on the evening of April 4, 1967, almost exactly 43 years ago. Dr. King told the more than 3,000 people who had crowded into Riverside Church that silence in the face of the horror that was taking place in Vietnam amounted to a ‘betrayal.’

He spoke of both the carnage in the war zone and the toll the war was taking here in the United States. The speech comes to mind now for two reasons: A Tavis Smiley documentary currently airing on PBS revisits the controversy set off by Dr. King’s indictment of ‘the madness of Vietnam.’ And recent news reports show ever-increasing evidence that we have ensnared ourselves in a mad and tragic venture in Afghanistan.

Dr. King spoke of how, in Vietnam, the United States increased its commitment of troops ‘in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support.’

It’s strange, indeed, to read those words more than four decades later as we are increasing our commitment of troops in Afghanistan to fight in support of Hamid Karzai, who remains in power after an election that the world knows was riddled with fraud and whose government is one of the most corrupt and inept on the planet.

If Mr. Karzai is at all grateful for this support, he has a very peculiar way of showing it. He has ignored pleas from President Obama and others to take meaningful steps to rein in the rampant corruption. His brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, the kingpin in southern Afghanistan, is believed by top American officials to be engaged in all manner of nefarious activities, including money-laundering and involvement in the flourishing opium trade.

Hamid Karzai himself pulled off a calculated insult to the U.S. by inviting Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the presidential palace in Kabul, where Ahmadinejad promptly delivered a fiery anti-American speech. As Dexter Filkins and Mark Landler reported in The Times this week: ‘Even as Mr. Obama pours tens of thousands of additional American troops into the country to help defend Mr. Karzai’s government, Mr. Karzai now often voices the view that his interests and the United States’ no longer coincide.’

Is this what American service members are dying for in Afghanistan? Can you imagine giving up your life, or your child’s life, for that crowd?

In his speech, Dr. King spoke about the damage the Vietnam War was doing to America’s war on poverty, and the way it was undermining other important domestic initiatives. What he wanted from the U.S. was not warfare overseas but a renewed commitment to economic and social justice at home. As he put it: ‘A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.’

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on SHOT RANG OUT IN THE MEMPHIS SKY



The new New C-SPAN Video Library is a great resource for political junkies.

From Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire on the New C-SPAN Video Library:

Here are a few great clips I found:

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on POLITICAL JUNKIES ON NEW C-SPAN



Another Gulf War Syndrome?

Burning trash on bases is sickening soldiers, but the Army refuses to extinguish the burn pits.

* By Beth Hawkins Mother Jones *

Before her last deployment, 31-year-old Staff Sergeant Danielle Nienajadlo passed her Army physical with flying colors. So when she started having health problems several weeks after arriving at Balad Air Base in Iraq, no one knew what to make of her symptoms: headaches that kept her awake; unexplained bruises all over her body; an open sore on her back that wouldn’t heal; vomiting and weight loss. In July 2008, after

three miserable months, Nienajadlo checked into the base emergency room with a 104-degree fever.

She was sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and learned she had been diagnosed with acute In the past 17 months, more than 500 veterans have contacted Disabled American Veterans (DAV), a national nonprofit serving vets, to report illnesses they blame on the burn pits.

Throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, contractors—many of the burn pits are operated by companies like former Halliburton subsidiary KBR—have dumped hundreds of tons of refuse into giant open-air trenches, doused the piles with fuel, and left them to burn. The trash includes plastic, metal, asbestos, batteries, tires, unexploded ordnance, medical waste, even entire trucks.

(The military now operates several actual incinerators and has made efforts to create recycling programs, but the majority of war-zone trash is still burned in pits.), a fast-progressing form of the disease. She told her doctors and her family she had felt fine until she started inhaling the oily black smoke that spewed out of the base’s open-air trash-burning facility day and night. At times, the plume contained dioxins, some of which can cause the kind of cancer Nienajadlo had.

“She breathed in this gunk,” says her mother, Lindsay Weidman. “She’d go back to the hooch at night to go to bed and cough up these black chunks.”

In the past 17 months, more than 500 veterans have contacted Disabled American Veterans (DAV), a national nonprofit serving vets, to report illnesses they blame on the burn pits. Throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, contractors—many of the burn pits are operated by companies like former Halliburton subsidiary KBR—have dumped hundreds of tons of refuse into giant open-air trenches, doused the piles with fuel, and left them to burn.

The trash includes plastic, metal, asbestos, batteries, tires, unexploded ordnance, medical waste, even entire trucks. (The military now operates several actual incinerators and has made efforts to create recycling programs, but the majority of war-zone trash is still burned in pits.)

On Burn Pits Action Center, a website operated by the staff of Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.)—who learned of the problem via the reporting of Army Times writer Kelly Kennedy in 2008—GIs describe dumping rat poison, hydraulic fluid, and pressure-treated wood into the pits.

“When the question was raised about what we were off-loading for burning, the answer was along the lines of ‘Don’t worry about it as the heat will burn up the bad stuff so it isn’t a threat,’reported Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class John Wingfield, who served near Balad in 2004 and 2005.

Read more at Mother Jones

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on ANOTHER GIFT TO THE MILITARY



 by Bob Higgins

* By Janie Lorber New York Times

The dogs learn to fetch, turn lights on and off and even dial 911. Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Just weeks after Chris Goehner, 25, an Iraq war veteran, got a dog, he was able to cut in half the dose of anxiety and sleep medications he took for post-traumatic stress disorder. The night terrors and suicidal thoughts that kept him awake for days on end ceased.

At the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility in Warwick, N.Y., service dogs share a room with the prisoners who help train them.

Aaron Ellis, 29, another Iraq veteran with the stress disorder, scrapped his medications entirely soon after getting a dog — and set foot in a grocery store for the first time in three years.

The dogs to whom they credit their improved health are not just pets. Rather, they are psychiatric service dogs specially trained to help traumatized veterans leave the battlefield behind as they reintegrate into society.

Because of stories like these, the federal government, not usually at the forefront of alternative medical treatments, is spending several million dollars to study whether scientific research supports anecdotal reports that the dogs might speed recovery from the psychological wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In dozens of interviews, veterans and their therapists reported drastic reductions in P.T.S.D. symptoms and in reliance on medication after receiving a service dog.

Veterans rely on their dogs to gauge the safety of their surroundings, allowing them to venture into public places without constantly scanning for snipers, hidden bombs and other dangers lurking in the minds of those with the disorder.

In August, Jacob Hyde got his service dog, Mya, from Puppies Behind Bars, a program based in New York State that uses prisoners to raise and train dogs for lives of service. The organization has placed 23 dogs with veterans with P.T.S.D. in the last two years, training them to obey 87 different commands.

Read more at New York Times

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on FOR THE BATTLE-SCARRED, COMFORT AT LEASH END



Although Egypt’s heir apparent Gamal Mubarak says next year’s election “is going to be free and fair,” his father Hosni’s regime has tightened the election laws to block other contenders to his presidency, an American magazine says.

Mubarak senior has also used the odious Emergency Law to jail five of the 16 leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in the past year and is imprisoning secular critics as well. People are afraid to speak out, much less run for office. Gamal Eid, executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, told Joshua Hammer of The New Yorker magazine that “Hundreds of bloggers are being summoned, kept for days, or weeks, or months, and then released.”

One blogger, Mosaad Abu Fajr, who ripped the government’s human-rights abuses against Bedouins, has been imprisoned since 2007 and Kareem Amer, who mockingly referred to boss Hosni as a deity, is serving a four-year term for his joke.

Enacted in 1981, the Emergency Law “has been used to jail thousands of people without charges,” Hammer writes, and bans public gatherings of more than five people without prior official permission. This makes it nearly impossible for opponents of the dictatorship to fill the streets with protesters in a show of support.

And just so his political opponents get the message, Mubarak’s regime jailed Ayman Nour, a lawyer who finished second in the farcical 2005 presidential election. Nour, whose “fraud” conviction bars him from running again, was freed last year ahead of schedule perhaps because of U.S. pressure (Washington gives the Egyptian dictatorship $2 billion a year).

Even as the U.S. says makes a show of calling for fair elections in Egypt, its CIA has rendered suspects there without due process of law for interrogation and likely torture by electro-shock. Egypt is one of 28 countries that detain U.S. suspects from its bogus “War on Terror.”

In an article called “The Contenders” in the April 5 issue, Nour tells Hammer Gamal’s succession would be a “catastrophe.” “It will kill democracy. It will encourage the militant groups to become even more militant, because the regime is illegitimate,” Nour says.

One formidable threat to a Mubarak dynasty is Mohamed ElBaradei, the former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

“His international stature and his reputation for integrity have made him an appealing symbol in a country where forty per cent of the population lives on less than two dollars a day, and where anger with Mubarak’s regime is growing,” The New Yorker’s Hammer observes. “The gap between rich and poor is widening dramatically,” ElBaradei told him.

ElBaradei’s reputation was earned in part from standing up to Bush administration lies that Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear arms. ElBaradei was to later term the U.S. invasion of Iraq “a glaring example of how, in many cases, the use of force exacerbates the problem rather than solving it.”

ElBaradei also was widely praised for urging Libya to dismantle its nuclear program as part of his campaign against nuclear proliferation.

For good measure, his long-standing opposition to Israel’s nuclear arsenal might not be lost on Egyptian voters, should he run. “This is not really sustainable that you have Israel sitting with nuclear weapons capability there while everyone else (in the region) is part of the non-proliferation regime,” ElBaradei remarked during his tenure at the watchdog agency.

Foreshadowing a nuanced diplomatic stance he might take if ever he were to get elected president, ElBaradei said, “I don’t think it’s a matter of p;ressure. It’s a question of providing Israel with a credible alternative that they are better off without nuclear weapons.”

Hala Mustafa, an Egyptian academic, told Hammer that ElBaradei enjoys “wide appeal—he can attract supporters from different backgrounds, and different generations, which gives him more leverage than any other figure. He doesn’t look like someone who has been co-opted by the regime.”

However, Mustafa called El Baradei’s ambitions for democratizing Egypt unrealistic against “a real state machine.” She said, “Even ElBaradei himself, unless he gathers a huge number of people into the streets, can’t succeed.”

Asked if he felt ready to serve as Egypt’s president, Gamal Mubarak told Hammer, “in the last nine years, my social and political exposure has given me a better understanding of the issues, of the problems that average citizens feel.” He added, “The government must show people that we are making a difference in their daily lives.

And then we have to organize, mobilizing our activists, and supporters. This is our focus. Any talk beyond that, about 2011, is simply premature.”

The world’s focus, however, will be on Egypt to see if the presidential campaign  under the Mubarak regime is indeed going to be “free and fair.” If it conducts next year’s elections the way it ignores the rule of law and runs its prisons, there’s little hope of it.”   # (Sherwood Ross, an award-winning journalist who formerly reported for the Chicago Daily News and wire services, is an American publicist and free-lance writer. Reach him at

Posted in EgyptComments Off on EGYPT: ZIONIST MU-BARAK & ELECTION LAWS



Jewish Voice for Peace -Wonderful work last week by Cecilie Surasky at MuzzleWatch.

As it was reported last week that “AIPAC  has persuaded more than three-quarters of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives to sign a letter calling for an end to public criticism of Israel and urging the US to ‘reinforce’ its relationship with the Jewish state (UK Guardian),” it is worth noting one fact of American citizenship:

American servicemen and women, all federal employees, and elected representatives who swear to defend the U.S. Constitution do not affirm dual allegiance to Israel or any other country.

In fact, no American owes an affirmative vow of loyalty to Israel, as AIPAC and the Reut Institute apparently would have us believe.

But there is one point that Israeli militarists like AIPAC make that is valid: Israel is losing its legitimacy. 

It’s Israel’s moral legitimacy, in the same way that the Catholic Church is losing its moral legitimacy: Inhumanity, arrogance, and lack of compassion for its victims.

What the Reut Institute really wants: NOT one person-one vote

by Cecilie Surasky

A week after his visit to AIPAC, I am left wondering if it is possible for anyone other than Bibi Netanyahu to so beautifully embody the notion of “strutting victimization”. And yet, it’s not just Bibi who can taunt Israel’s primary sponsor, the United States, with plans for endless settlement expansion while simultaneously playing the powerless victim. (I’m sure my Israeli friends have much to say on this phenomenon.)

The people at Israel’s Reut Institute have also mastered this unpleasant juxtaposition of aggression and powerlessness.

As Carol Sanders put it so beautifully in The Only Democracy?:

Reut Institute, a leading Israeli national security and socioeconomic policy think tank, has released its preliminary report on “The Delegitimization Challenge:  Creating a Political Firewall”

In an extraordinary exercise in doublethink, Reut scratches its head over Israel’s declining diplomatic status in the aftermath of its assault on Gaza and the Goldstone Report,  and concludes that,  yet again, it is the victim.

Among its key victimizers, and therefore targets? Human rights and peace organizations.

One of the Reut Institute report co-authors, a man named Eran Shayshon, probably had his dream come true when he picked a fight with journalist and activist Naomi Klein which we covered here on Muzzlewatch.

Shayshon demonstrated one of the paper’s recommended attack techniques by going on Canada’s top radio show to make claims about what he’s certain Klein wants, in spite of her actual record of statements. But she fought back.

Now he’s taking it to the pages of Ha’aretz. It’s hard to know if Shayshon believes what he says, or if his lines are being fed to him by a Hasbara-Message-Scrambler which randomly spits out favorite Hasbara attack cliches.

Keep in mind these fun tidbits about the report itself before we get into Shayshon’s attempt to regain his dignity by first dismissing Klein but then going on to write about her in-depth, and even attempting to introduce a new word into the lexicon, “Kleinism.” The Reut Report:

  1. Carol Sanders again: “The Report’s analysis is drenched in the language of victimization:  the Resistance Network is “rooted in, and nourished by, Israel’s entrapment in the Palestinian arena.” (The Occupier is entrapped!) …
  2. The Delegitimization Network “tarnishes Israel’s reputation, ties Israel’s hands in defending itself against military assaults, and advances the ‘one-state solution’.”
  3. The Reut report actually uses the words occupation and discrimination in quotes. In the case of occupation, repeatedly. There is only ‘occupation’ and “‘discrimination’ against Arabs”. (Let’s just put ‘international law’ and heck, ‘phosphorus’ and ‘Palestinians’ in quotes while we’re at it.)
  4. The report portrays Israel as trying desperately to achieve a two state solution, blocked only by Palestinians and Arabs. There are no illegal settlements making a one state solution more likely each day. Occupationis just a word. The wall isn’t built on Palestinian land. Gaza, well…. Naturally, the report regards the by now well-documented charges that successive Israeli governments have largely been interested in settlement expansion, as hate-mongering and demonization.
  5. The report insists that most criticism of Israel from a human rights perspective is not delegitimization, yet then goes on to promote “sabotaging” what it calls delegitimization networks, using as its only example highly public personal attacks on Human Rights Watch workers which it approvingly calls making them pay a “price tag.”

In today’s “price tag” attack piece from Ha’aretz,  What  Naomi Klein really wants, the essence of Shayson’s charge is this:

In my response to Klein, I argued that despite never explicitly rejecting Israel’s right to exist, the fact that in her work, she singles Israel out, demonizes it, calls it a perpetrator of apartheid, and suggests it was born in sin, leaves little room for doubt regarding her intentions.

He is obsessed with what he is sure is Klein’s belief that Israel doesn’t have a right to exist, but why does he care? The famous Israeli statesman Abba Eban famously said “Nobody does Israel any service by proclaiming its ‘right to exist.’ …

Israel’s right to exist, like that of the United States, Saudi Arabia and 152 other states, is axiomatic and unreserved. Israel’s legitimacy is not suspended in midair awaiting acknowledgement….(New York Times, November 18, 1981).


And the cliche argument?

a) The “Singling out” argument. I love this tautological argument because the minute you open your mouth to mention Israel, you have committed the sin of singling it out. (Apparently you can complain about N. Korea, Monsanto, health care reform and Sudan without actually unfairly singling them out.)

Of course, being accused of “singling out” only counts if you are critical. If Israel is one of the few top human rights violators that is not sanctioned by the United States; if there is “no space” between US and Israeli policy unlike any other country in the world; if Israel is the top recipient of US aid; if it is the only human rights violator that repeatedly enjoys diplomatic protection from the world’s only superpower–those things are NOT singling out.

That’s just as it should be. And if you take on Israel’s occupation precisely because of the aforementioned ways that it is singled out (in addition to the fact that the conflict, by virtue of sheer location, involves most of the world’s population), why, you’re picking on Israel!

In Klein’s case, the idiocy of such a charge is even more apparent since she has spent an entire career documenting structural inequality all over the world. These days, she’s writing mostly about Haiti. Sometimes about Chile. There’s the IMF, the WTO, the climate change Copenhagen summit . Israel’s occupation, the attack on Gaza… talking about these issues is all in a day’s work. But in the funhouse Hasbara mirror, Israel is apparently all Klein writes about.

b) “The Demonizing/Use of Apartheid” charge. This is also a classic because, once again, the second you call out Israel on human rights violations and neglect to mention 5 other countries (which begs the question, why would you want to be mentioned on a longer list of violators), you’re apparently demonizing the country.

As to using Israel and apartheid in the same sentence- you’re free to disagree with the usage of the term, but we are simply past the point of no return on the acceptability of the comparison. The term is used regularly in the pages of Ha’aretz, and has been used by former Israeli cabinet ministers Shulamit Aloni and Yossi Paritzky, Archbishop Desmond Tutu,

Israel’s attorney-general Michael Ben-Yair, Henry Siegman– an ordained Orthodox rabbi and former national director of the American Jewish Congress– and so on and so forth.

Are all of these people to be banned from the public square too? Are they all committed to the erasure of Israel, or could it be that Israel’s only true friends these days are those committed to a reality-based conversation about the problem and its solution.

Is it possible that Klein and others talk about Israel precisely because they actually care about what happens there? And worse, what if? what if they are right? Doesn’t that morally obligate one to pursue any nonviolent means at one’s disposal to end such systematic discrimination?

c) The “Born in Sin/do not touch 1948″ argument
Former Ha’aretz editor David Landau has a sobering op-ed today, Israel is sliding toward McCarthyism, in which he recounts the story of a conversation on Israeli Army radio about a proposed bill that would give a three year jail sentence to anyone “mourning the  Nakba [”the catastrophe,” as the Palestinians see 1948 and after] on Independence Day”.

The respected jurist being intervieewd on the show said a better solution to the “problem” is a bill, which is working its way through the Knesset now, which would cut off state funding “from any local authority marking the Nakba on Independence Day.” Landau remarks at the casual nature of the conversation, the total disinterest in the fact that they were talking about banning free speech and thought in a democracy.

It shouldn’t be a controversial proposition that knowing, rather than erasing, the whole historical narrative of 1948, is absolutely necessary for peace and reconciliation. Especially for we history-obsessed Jews. But in Israel, there are those who think such an assertion should get one put in jail.

I can hold the fact that the greatest day in my grandparents’ lives was simultaneously the worst day in my Palestinian friends’ grandparents’ lives?  I also can hold the fact that the promised land, the U.S., for my family was a place of genocide for my Native American friends. Does that mean I really want to see Israel or the United States destroyed? Come on!

What Reut Institute and Shayson really want.

What Shayshon says they are fighting against is a one-state solution, which would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state. Of course he has every right to oppose a one-state solution, but not to engage Israel’s security forces in fighting legitimate nonviolent resistance to occupation, which is exactly what Reut does.

But the most telling part of the report, which Shayshon repeats in his oped, is the near panic at the idea of the BDS/boycott, divestment and sanctions movement:

According to this logic, what worked in bringing down white South Africa in 1994 can also work in Israel’s case: Building a global grassroots movement for boycotts, sanctions and divestments that will eventually impact official policies in the leading nations of the world so that the political and economic model of Israel collapses under pressure, and surrenders to the principle
of ‘one person, one vote.’

That’s right, they think the push for one-person-one vote is WRONG. It’s something you “surrender” to only under pressure. And they’re completely open about it. And they state it over and over again, which is why they fear the South Africa analogy.

Call me old-fashioned, but I fully support one-person – one vote. Anything less than that is wrong. And Palestinians living under occupation have much less than that. (Under full Israeli control, they live with some trappings, but none of the substance of a democracy.)

Whether Palestinians exercise their one person/one vote right in a Palestinian state or a bi-national state is at this point up to the Israeli government. But from a moral and now political perspective, this 43-year occupation with 3.5 Palestinians living under Israeli control can not continue.


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