Archive | April 27th, 2010


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UC Berkeley students testify in favor of divestment


It’s not often that one gets to bear witness to the start of a movement. It’s even rarer when you get the chance to help make it happen.

But here we are, faced with the beginning of a campus-led movement to divest from companies that profit from the occupation of Palestinian people and land. A movement made up of people of every race, ethnicity and religion all compelled by an overwhelming sense that divestment is the right, the moral, and the just thing to do. A movement that started with a call from Palestinians, moved to places of higher learning in the US like Hampshire College and the University of Michigan, and is now catching on in places like Georgetown, Brown, and the campuses of the University of California.

On Wednesday April 28, in just one day, not one but two separate college campuses – the University of California at Berkeley and at San Diego- will be voting on the question of divestment and occupation.

Students at UC Berkeley will  again try to overturn a veto of their original 16 to 4 pro-divestment vote. And the students at UC San Diego will put their resolution- nearly identical to that of UC Berkeley–before the student senate for the first time.

Already nearly 6,000 of you have shown your support of UC Berkeley students by signing this statement and making sure we represent your name on a bright green statement at the hearing. Let’s do the same for the students at UC San Diego.

We have just 1 day to demonstrate our support and solidarity with these amazing people who are standing for justice for all people in Palestine and Israel. I urge you to stand with them and let them know  that they are not alone.

The UC San Diego students need your support. They need to know that Jews and our allies support divestment from companies that profit from the occupation.

They need to hear that we all stand proudly together:

With Palestinian student Ibrahim Shikaki and Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein; With student organizations representing every race and ethnicity; With dozens of professors, Nobel prize winners, and rabbis; With Archbishop Desmond Tutu, George Bisharat, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, 9 Israeli peace groups With thousands of grandmothers and grandsons, Muslims and Jews, Christians and atheists, fathers and daughters.

What happens tomorrow in Berkeley and San Diego is critical. Students are watching, studying, planning their own campaigns. These campaigns are politicizing an entire generation of college students who see each other and those in Israel and Palestine as equals. Let UC San Diego senators know that we support a courageous vote that says “The Occupation ends with me.

All our best,

Jewish Voice for Peace


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Palestinians protest settler attacks in the occupied territories and inside Israel

Posted: 27 Apr 2010 10:32 AM PDT

jaffa protest
Hundreds of Jaffa residents gather on the main street in the heart of Ajami to protest settler intimidation in Jaffa. (Photo: The Daily Nuisance)

Tensions are rising between Israeli settlers and Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel after clashes in Occupied East Jerusalem and Jaffa this past weekend.

Ultranationalist religious Jews attempted to provoke and intimidate local Palestinian residents while marching through the Occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Sunday as hundreds of Israeli police stood guard. Hundreds of residents clashed with police in response, some throwing rocks and lighting tire fires. Twenty Palestinians and solidarity activists were injured as police shot rubber bullets and beat protesters. Two police were also injured when they were hit by rocks.

The seventy right wing Israelis were protesting a court order to evacuate Beit Yonatan, an illegal structure housing eight settler families in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. In July 2008 the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the seven-story building to be sealed off for demolition, and another evacuation order was issued in July 2009, but neither has been enforced.

The previous day, in Jaffa’s last remaining Palestinian neighborhood – Ajami, hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel and their supporters rallied in opposition to settler youth from Kiryat Arba who invaded the property of a Palestinian family on April 18, when Israelis commemorated the night of the fallen soldier. Waving flags and banners in front of the house on Jaffa’s main road, Yeffet, they chanted in Arabic and Hebrew.

The mother of the household Zynab Rahayel says she was sitting in her dining room when three buses full of settlers stopped outside, got out and started to jump around while shouting that this piece of land was theirs and raising the Israeli flag. One boy who entered their garden and peered through their front door told Rahayel twice, “This is my house, not yours.” When she exited her home they shouted at her that Palestinians have been in Jaffa for only a short time and “This is our land and you will get out of here!” One settler pushed Rahayel’s son after he said something offensive. Soon other Ajami Palestinians came and began arguing with the boys.

Jaffa, which now conjoins Tel Aviv, was a busy Arab port city before over 90 percent of the Palestinian population was forced out by the advancing Israeli army in the 1948 war. “Sixty-two years ago we were afraid to lose our dignity and our land. But today we’ve already lost our land… and the only thing we have is our spirit and our houses,” says Yousef Asfor, housing coordinator for Amnesty International. “They can’t take our spirit, but they are trying to take our houses.”

“No to Apartheid” read a sign held by one boy standing on the sidewalk in the heart of Ajami Saturday. Meanwhile, Jaffa residents shouted: “Jews and Arabs don’t want settlers here!” and “Jaffa is for Jaffans!” and “With our souls and with our blood we’ll defend Jaffa!”

Sami Abu Schade, organizer of Saturday’s solidarity demo, says they are condemning the police for their inaction after the settler provocation in Ajami. He says the cops didn’t do anything “because of racist policies towards the Palestinian community inside Israel.” He explains, “If a few hundred people had just attacked a Jewish woman at her home in Tel Aviv and said, ‘We don’t want a Jewish presence here,’ police would have dealt with it differently.”

Abu Schade says the protest was also to send a message to the municipality that a policy that supports settlements in Ajami is inherently violent. The settlement he is referring to is the apartment buildings being constructed in Ajami by Bemuna, a company that mostly builds Jewish housing in West Bank settlements. Bemuna says the apartments are for Jews only and that they won’t sell to Arabs.

Tensions have been rising between the Palestinian community and Orthodox Jewish nationalists in Jaffa over the last few months. Local activists have been protesting weekly outside the Yeshiva in Ajami, while Jaffa’s housing coalition has been fighting the development of the Bemuna apartment complex. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has also brought a high profile legal suit against the Israel Lands Administration for awarding Bemuna the contract, who they say is clearly discriminating against Arabs in Ajami.

Abu Schade feels that once the apartments have been constructed and more religious rightwing hardliners move in, the settler movement will be strengthened in Jaffa, leading to more violence. “We have been warning Israeli police and the Tel Aviv municipality that the settler project is endangering the coexistence between the Jewish and Arab population in Jaffa. Unfortunately, they’re ignoring our calls to stop immediately this project,” explains Abu Schhade.

“Without international pressure, unfortunately things are going to be more dangerous for all residents of Israel,” says Abu Schade.

This story originally appeared on The Daily Nuisance.

UC divestment spreads – UC San Diego to vote on bill tomorrow

Posted: 27 Apr 2010 09:37 AM PDT

UC San Diego will be joining Berkeley in holding a vote on divestment tomorrow evening. The San Diego bill under consideration is slightly different, and organizers seem to have learned from some of Berkeley’s challenges. From the UC San Diego newspaper The Guardian:

The resolution was drafted by members of several campus organizations — including Students for Justice in Palestine and the Student Sustainability Collective — and approved by Transfer Senator Adam Powers and Campuswide Senator Desiree Prevo. According to Associate Vice President of Enterprise Operations Rishi Ghosh — a co-sponsor of the resolution — the council was inspired by a similar effort at UC Berkeley, where the resolution passed 16-4 in the student Senate, but was eventually vetoed by Berkeley A.S. President Will Smelko.

The resolution calls for the UC system to stop investing in companies such as General Electric and United Technologies, which supporters of the resolution claim promote violence by providing technology — such as helicopters and aircraft engines — to warring countries around the world.

Sixth College senior Leena Barakat — who helped draft the resolution — said the UCSD version was altered to ensure that it condemned human-rights violations as a whole, and not specifically actions taken by the state of Israel.

Of course pro-Israel students and organizations are attacking the effort, and some of their arguments seem especially desperate – including comparing United Nations documentation of human rights abuses in Gaza to Holocaust denial (huh?!). Again from The Guardian:

A.S. Engineering Senator Adi Singer — a member of the pro-Israel community and creator of the Facebook group “Students Against ASUCSD Anti-Israel Bias and Resolutions” — said the resolution is a pointed attack against Israel.

“It’s a very thinly veiled political statement,” Singer said. “If it’s about all human-rights violations, why are there a ton of citings specifically about Gaza and very few about anywhere else?”

Although Ghosh said the resolution has received endorsements from groups such as Jewish Voices for the Peace and that information in the resolution regarding companies profiting from occupancy was provided by the United Nations, Singer maintained that the draft is biased.

“My main issue with this is that it’s very one-sided,” Singer said. “It’s not hard to find news sources that support your point of view. I can go on the Internet right now and find tons of sources that say that the Holocaust never happened.”

She added that the resolution would be detrimental to relations between Israeli and Palestinian interest groups on campus.

“Say what you want about it — the intent is clear,” she said. “The pro-Israel community has been trying really hard to build relations with the pro-Palestine community, and we would never bring up a resolution against Hamas.”

Tritons for Israel President Dafna Barzilay said it is not the council’s place to pass resolutions pertaining to international issues.

“We don’t support any such resolutions, even if it was pro-Israel or anti-Hamas,” she said. “It’s not the business of A.S. to support international problems that require that scale of spending and is not directly related to the university.”

In contrast, Ghosh said it is the council’s duty to be aware of global issues.

“If they believe that, why weren’t they there when we passed a resolution to support Haiti with allocations?” he asked. “Why weren’t they in the past, when we’ve been fighting for human rights in Sudan, fair trade in Africa?”

He said the resolution is meant to be a politically-neutral gesture.

“It is not anti-Israel,” he said. “Israel was very cleverly kept out of it.”

You can learn more about the UC San Diego effort, and what you can do to help, at their website UCSD Divest For Peace.

From the horse’s mouth

Posted: 27 Apr 2010 09:01 AM PDT

From the JTA article “South Africa likens Israeli restrictions to apartheid“:

The South African government has compared new Israeli military restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank to apartheid laws.

The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation issued a statement condemning the restrictions as “a gross violation of an individual’s human rights,” saying that the military order “further exacerbates the already fragile situation in Palestine,” according to a report in the daily Cape Times. . .

“South Africa, because of its history, is particularly sensitive to the infringement of human rights that the carrying of a permit implies and the unilateral punishments that can be brought to bear on an individual by the state,” the South African statement said.

Berkeley student: ‘A vote in favor of the divestment bill is a small cry for common sense’

Posted: 27 Apr 2010 08:59 AM PDT

The final vote on Berkeley divestment will be taking place tomorrow, April 28. Here is Matthew Taylor, a Jewish UC Berkeley Peace and Conflict Studies student, making yet another appeal to school Senators at the Daily Kos:

When will the University of California stop funding war crimes against Palestinian civilians and the occupation of Palestinian land? How much longer will grieving mothers have to wait for justice?

Zinad Samouni is still waiting. She is a 35-year-old Palestinian mother of eight who lost 48 of her family members in Israel’s assault on Gaza in January 2009, including her four-year-old son Ahmed.

“The soldiers came early on the morning of Sunday January 4th. [My husband] Atiyeh went to the door with his hands raised holding his ID but they shot him in the doorway,” said Zinad. “I shouted ‘children, children’ in Hebrew but they started shooting,” said Zinad’s nephew Faraj.

After the massacre, Israeli soldiers left messages for the dead Samounis on the walls of a neighbor’s house. The graffiti read: “Arabs need 2 die,” “Arabs are pieces of shit,” and “1 is DOWN 999,999 TO GO.” . .

Senators, how do you think it feels for us students to know that our tuition dollars are paying to kill our friends, family members, and colleagues in Gaza? Israel should not be entitled to special treatment and a free pass to commit war crimes just because it promotes itself as a Jewish state and certain defenders of Israel can’t bring themselves to see the reality of war crimes.

A vote in favor of the divestment bill is a small cry for common sense and ethics in UC investments, and removes the current UC bias toward funding Israel’s military.

Any other vote will continue the status quo of this University funding yet more war crimes against Palestinian civilians. A yes vote will finally begin the process of justice for Zinad Samouni’s 48 dead family members.


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COL. EUGENE KHRUSHCHEV: False Flag Operation in Afghanistan a “Joint” Operation



By Col Khrushchev (ret)  STAFF WRITER/Editor

Monterey & Marja

Right after 4/20 celebration of Weed Day in California, the duo of Supernova Afghan experts from Monterey published their mind-boggling trip on Marja opium.

What could have been a funny frolic for a couple of stoned students, has turned out to be a false flag operation to exonerate ISAF/UK/USA for clandestine promotion of narco-caliphate in Afghanistan and shift the blame squarely on the USSR. 

To detox this opium opus, I’ll examine the validity of its claims against the facts:

Part one: alibi for NATO and number-crunching for dope management

For starters, the flashy headline, “In Afghanistan, Poppy Eradication Pits Russia vs. NATO”, jars with the opening, which splendidly omits NATO from any association or participation in US & UK narco-policy, financially or otherwise:

Despite having spent over $1 billion on counter narcotics programs in Afghanistan since 2002, including eradication efforts, the U.S. and the U.K. have failed to curb the illicit drug industry.’

The only way to reconcile this contradiction is to come clean that NATO is a new abbreviation for US/UK military joint venture. Now, let’s check the numbers:

According to GAO AFGHANISTAN DRUG CONTROL March 92010 report, ‘Since 2005 the US has allotted approximately $2.5 billion’ on [counter?] narcotics alone, (p.3) with additional $1.4 billion for alternative development and agriculture programs, (p.4). – which means that overall, the US has wasted, siphoned off or invested in Afghan drug control a whopping amount of $3.9 billion – without the UK input.

This margin of error with dates (2003-2005) and dollars (1- 3.9 bln) in the first paragraph about the US & UK gives a fair feel what to expect when it comes to ‘analyzing’ the Soviet role and Russian stance on drug disease in Afghanistan.

The massive decrease in eradication reflects NATO’s new emphasis on attacking entrepreneurs [?] who benefit from the drug trade higher up the value chain, while sparing the lower-level participants, such as farmers. ’

Only dedicated joint chain smoker could exhale such a fairy cloud:

  • The concept – to compensate eradication decrease by interdiction increase – seems a sound proposition in theory and on paper, but in practice, it’s utter wishful thinking in Afghanistan. Ask the former governor of Helmand, aka anti-Soviet freedom fighter, what happened after he was accidentally ‘interdicted’ with a few tons of opium is his mansion. The Afghan viceroy has twisted this concept into subterfuge: full stop to eradication and non-start to interdiction.
  • The link reflects NATO’s new emphasis leads to …3-years old WPR article, implying that ‘NATO’s new emphasis’ hasn’t changed and remains stale & stinking since then.
  • Despite relentless US efforts, NATO hasn’t attacked anybody anywhere – and never will (see the Alliance caveats). Apart from a clinical enlargement obsession, NATO has excelled only at bombing civilians in Yugoslavia & Afghanistan – naturally, in self-defense.
  • To call narco terrorists ‘entrepreneurs & participants’ would be appropriate in the context of ‘Transnational Dope Enterprise’. In this case, it’s a rather self-incriminating way to show the true colors and demonstrate the attitude.

Part two: opium sci-fi fantasy or hands off drug plantations
This is an appeal to the CIA credentials and anathema to herbicides Spike and Weed-B-Gone as a last resort to discredit aerial eradication. Tough luck, because:

  • On the drug issue, the CIA operates at cross purposes with the DEA & SOF – the one promotes it, the others fight it. Despite all the talk about the difference between the Northern & Southern part of the Republic of California, to dial 911 to Langley for beefing up the argument is hardly politically correct or a shoo-in even in Monterey. Hollywood has accurately captured this dope narrative in no uncertain terms: the good guys, DEA and Green Berets vets vs. the bad guys, CIA renegades’ drug network.
  • To equate aerial eradication (the best method) with the toxic herbicides of the last century, Spike or Weed-B-Gone (the worst means) is a glaring example of scare mongering & disinformation shtick. I respectfully disagree with the most prominent Republican Californian, Dana Rohrabacher, on many issues, but heartily embrace his views on Afghan drugs remedy: “Opium production obviously remains a great challenge. Micro-herbicides can provide a solution. The State Department for years has refused to test this anti-opium poppy-killing fungus, though I saw to it that money was budgeted for such testing.” (The Washington Times, March 3, 2009). I can only add that fungus, as an organic, not a chemical substance, is the best match for aerial eradication to wipe out the root-cause of narco-terrorism.

Part tree: the Wilson War blame game

Herein comes the Cold War shower of clichés, just as I warned you from the outset:

It was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that helped propel the country into the realm of industrial-scale narcotics production… Soviet scorched-earth operations resulted in the destruction of one-quarter to one-third of all irrigation systems.’

First, the Soviet COIN in Afghanistan (as declassified DIA files properly attested) has been meticulously documented by the US National Archive, without any shred of evidence to substantiate such USIA canards.

So back to the first question: who propelled Afghanistan into a ‘full-blown narco state’?

This is what Alfred W McCoy had to say on Fool’s Day in Asia Times:

The answer to this critical question lies in the history of the three Afghan wars in which Washington has been involved over the past 30 years – the CIA covert warfare of the 1980, the civil war of the 1990s (fueled at its start by $900 million in CIA funding), and since 2001, the US invasion…In each of these conflicts, Washington has tolerated drug trafficking by its Afghan allies as the price of military success – a policy of benign neglectthat has helped make Afghanistan today the world’s number one narco-state…the CIA covert war served as the catalyst that transformed the Afghan-Pakistan borderlands into the world’s largest heroin producing region”.

Here’s the real McCoy answer to the second implied question: In addition to the USAID disastrous irrigation project in Helmand that resulted in land salinization, who later destroyed the unique treasure of Afghan agriculture – high-value added perennial tree crops, including walnut & pistachio?

“While the Soviets simply blasted the landscape with firepower, the Taliban, with an unerring instinct for their society’s economic jugular, violated the unwritten rules of traditional Afghan warfare by cutting down the orchards on the vast Shomali plain north of Kabul”. What shall I say? Bull’s eye!

Mission accomplished

With the toxic target identified, engaged & neutralized – without collateral damage, excessive force, or overkill – let me run the last pass on my KA-50 over the smoke-belching debris and release the warning flare on the way home.

At the end of the day, this opium opus has made a disservice to the US Navy in general and to the NPS, the Naval Postgraduate School in particular, and especially to the memory of the Navy SEALS sent in harm’s way to the Afghan Valley of Death. Why?

False flag uncovered

Because this dope-loving duo officially associated with the NPS has inadvertently deprived Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, who is in charge of info ops in Afghanistan, the last chance of credible deniability to dismiss the growing suspicion that it was he who had commissioned that propaganda trash to the Naval Postgraduate School to distract attention from the Marja drug deal.

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U.S.-Israel Political Maneuvers Go Deep and Dark

 by Michael Leon


Steve Clemons at the Washington Note has a piece observing  a new development in the increasingly adversarial U.S.-Israeli relationship: More secrecy.

As AIPAC boasts on its website of its influence on our Congress in imposing “crippling sanctions on Iran,” AIPAC’s long-held policy position detailed in a letter “[s]igned by over three-quarters of the entire Congress – 81 senators and 366 House members,” Clemons notes “AIPAC itself has sent out this past week a roster of statements from Obama administration officials, that showed that much had been done to move the hard edged differences between the administration [and Israel] out of the public and into private channels.”

Considering that our republic is founded on the foundation that the consent of citizens direct our elected representatives, this move towards secrecy (private channels) appears antithetical to democratic notions of citizens deciding the direction of public policy.

We are engaged in a political fight with a political enemy, but this fight ought to be discussed endlessly in the public sphere of our country.

In these pages Jeff Gates writes, “[f]orced to face the reality of an enemy within, [Israel], our military leadership signaled Obama that they are prepared to cover his back. The oath of office mandates a defense against all enemies. Yet it also places our defense under civilian control. …”

Civilian control indeed, American citizen control. Let’s reaffirm the alliance between American citizens and our government, a tradition dating back to our first president who warned of the dangers of foreign nations who seek to influence the American people and its government.

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Message to non-Jews: don’t mention Jews unless you say you love them every five secondsPosted: 26 Apr 2010 06:16 PM PDT

God help the Zionist lobby.

This joke, told by US National Security Adviser James Jones at a Zionist think-tank, has offended the Anti-Defamation League. Seriously. Yes, it’s impossible to tell a joke about Jews without some Zionist group thinking a non-Jew is straying into inappropriate territory.

Another own goal by the Zionist Diaspora:

Count the Jews on the side of angels today (only two hands are needed)Posted: 26 Apr 2010 06:36 AM PDT

A wonderful column by Jerusalem Post commentator Larry Derfner. What humane, powerful and morally concise writing looks like:

Judge Richard Goldstone, talking last October with a group of liberal North American rabbis, explained why he agreed to head the UN’s investigation of the war in Gaza.

“I knew,” he said, “there would be strong and negative opposition to my doing it on the part of members of the Jewish community and particularly with the government of Israel and its supporters in Israel and the Diaspora. But I really felt that to live with myself and to live with my own conscience, I couldn’t justify having gotten involved in the investigations in many other countries and because I was Jewish refuse to use the same norms and the same principles in relation to Israel.”

I don’t think there is a single Israeli or Diaspora Jew in a high position of leadership today who understands what Goldstone was talking about. What he was talking about, plainly and simply, was moral courage.

It’s not here. It’s not what Israel is about, not what Diaspora Jewry is about, certainly not the leadership, and not the followers, either, who want to stay inside the warmth of the consensus. To be a good, patriotic Zionist Jew today, you have to pour out your wrath on Goldstone. A “small man,” was how President Shimon Peres described him. An “evil” man, a “traitor,” was Alan Dershowitz’s description.

As far as I’m concerned, neither Peres nor Dershowitz nor any of the legions of other proud, patriotic Zionist Jews who’ve ganged up on Goldstone are worthy of carrying his briefcase.

He is the absolute best of the Jewish tradition. He stands up for justice, he stands up for the oppressed and he speaks truth to power – no matter who holds the power and no matter what it costs him. This is one of the great Jews of our time. Goldstone is the secular equivalent of a Jewish prophet, and by trying so hard to dishonor him, Israel and the Diaspora Jewish establishment have succeeded only in dishonoring themselves.

LAST WEEK the Zionist and Orthodox Jewish establishment in South Africa stooped to forcing him to agree to stay away from his grandson’s upcoming bar mitzva in Johannesburg. (Goldstone now lives in Washington DC.) The South African Zionist Federation threatened to lead a protest outside the synagogue, so Goldstone, “in the interest of my grandson,” announced he wouldn’t be attending the ceremony.

The machers of the South African Jewish community were pleased. Avrom Krengel, chairman of the Zionist Federation, said his organization had been duly “sensitive” to the bar mitzva boy and his family. Rabbi Moshe Kurtsag, head of the South African beit din, or religious court, pronounced the outcome “quite a sensible thing to avert all this unpleasantness.” No religious or communal leader of South African Jewry said a word against this abomination. Neither did any Jewish leader outside South Africa. Neither did anybody important in Israel.

There were, however, some prominent, independent South African Jews who still knew the difference between right and wrong. “If it is correct that this has the blessing of the leadership of the Jewish community in South Africa, it reflects on them rather than on Justice Goldstone. They should hang their heads in shame,” said Judge Arthur Chaskalson, retired president of South Africa’s Constitutional Court.

By the end of last week, the ostracism of Goldstone had backfired. The story ran in The New York Times, the British papers, all around the world. The leaders of organized South African Jewry had brought shame on the community, so this week they’re in damage control mode, suggesting that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea, after all, to destroy a kid’s bar mitzva to get at his grandfather.

I’m sure that by the end of this week, the South African Jewish machers will have shoved the whole episode down the memory hole. They’re very good at this. So is Israel. Ever since apartheid ended, South African Jewish officialdom has tried to make everyone forget they ever went along the system, while Israeli officialdom has tried to make everyone forget the special relationship they had with the white regime.

In his book Rivonia’s Children, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Glenn Frankel writes that as Afrikaners began to identify with Israel after the Six Day War, leading to the closest of military/diplomatic relations between the two nations, “South Africa’s Jews became increasingly identified with the government and less with its opposition in the liberation movement. All of this began to unravel with [Nelson] Mandela’s release, and ended upon his taking office.

In denying their own culpability, many Jews pointed to the fact that their brethren were prominently involved in the anti-apartheid movement; indeed, some used this to suggest that the Jewish community as a whole had been committed to the liberation cause.”

Israel, likewise, professes to have been against apartheid all along, preferring not to mention that from the mid-’70s, as Frankel writes, “the two sides began sharing nuclear technology… Israeli technicians, engineers and retired military officers increasingly took up places as consultants and planners of the new tribal homelands, the nominally independent puppet states that the Pretoria government created out of rural wastelands.”

None of this is mentioned anymore in polite Jewish company in Johannesburg or Jerusalem.

No, as everyone recalls, we all stood up against apartheid; as Jews, we had no choice.

One day, if Israel ever ends its tyranny over the Palestinians, it will be difficult to find a Jew in this country or the Diaspora who ever supported Operation Cast Lead. It will be difficult to find a Jew in this country or the Diaspora who ever said a bad word about Judge Richard Goldstone.

If Israel ever ends its tyranny over the Palestinians, a whole lot of proud, patriotic Zionist Jews are going to be loaded down, searching frantically for the memory hole.

Give me the internet, Twitter, Facebook and YouTubePosted: 26 Apr 2010 06:32 AM PDT

A nation of addicts proudly (and desperately?) need their daily fix:

American college students are hooked on cellphones, social media and the Internet and showing symptoms similar to drug and alcohol addictions, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Maryland who asked 200 students to give up all media for one full day found that after 24 hours many showed signs of withdrawal, craving and anxiety along with an inability to function well without their media and social links.

Susan Moeller, the study’s project director and a journalism professor at the university, said many students wrote about how they hated losing their media connections, which some equated to going without friends and family.

“I clearly am addicted and the dependency is sickening,” said one student. “Between having a Blackberry, a laptop, a television, and an iPod, people have become unable to shed their media skin.”

Moeller said students complained most about their need to use text messages, instant messages, e-mail and Facebook.

“Texting and IM-ing my friends gives me a constant feeling of comfort,” wrote one of the students, who blogged about their reactions. “When I did not have those two luxuries, I felt quite alone and secluded from my life.”

Few students reported watching TV news or reading a newspaper.

The American Psychiatric Association does not recognize so-called Internet addiction as a disorder.

But it seems to be an affliction of modern life. In one extreme example in South Korea reported by the media, a couple allegedly neglected their three-month-old daughter, who died of malnutrition, because they were on the computer for up to 12 hours a day raising a virtual child.

In the United States a small private U.S. center called ReSTART, located near Redmond, Washington, opened last year in the shadow of computer giant Microsoft to treat excessive use of the Internet, video gaming and texting.

The center’s website cites various examples of students who ran up large debts or dropped out of college due to their obsession.

Students in the Maryland study also showed no loyalty to news programs, a news personality or news platform. They maintained a casual relationship to news brands, and rarely distinguished between news and general information.

“They care about what is going on among their friends and families and even in the world at large,” said Ph.D. student Raymond McCaffrey who worked on the study. Loyalty “does not seemed tied to any single device or application or news outlet.”

Friends, get behind Iran or Israel in this fun game for onePosted: 26 Apr 2010 06:16 AM PDT

Obama is anti-Semitic, pro-Islam and anti-Israel (say rational protestors in New York)Posted: 26 Apr 2010 06:05 AM PDT

Don’t you wish you were in New York yesterday at the Zionist/Christian protest against America’s meek and mild criticisms of Israel? Obama is an “anti-Israel” President, America’s first in history.

Can we survive without them?Posted: 26 Apr 2010 05:45 AM PDT

Should there be limits on online advertising (including for women and children?)Posted: 26 Apr 2010 05:21 AM PDT

We all love the internet and can’t live without it (or am I just speaking about myself?) but this kind of reality takes off the utopian glow:

Craigslist, one of the most popular Web sites in the United States, is on track to increase its revenue 22 percent this year, largely from its controversial sex advertisements. That financial success is reviving scrutiny from law-enforcement officials who say the ads are still being used for illegal ends.

The ads, many of which blatantly advertise prostitution, are expected to bring $36 million this year, according to a new projection of Craigslist’s income. That is three times the revenue in last year’s projection.

Law-enforcement officials have been fighting a mostly losing battle to get Craigslist to rein in the sex ads. At the same time, officials of organizations that oppose human trafficking say the site remains the biggest online hub for selling women against their will.

Last week, in the latest example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested 14 members of the Gambino crime family on charges of, among other things, selling the sexual services of girls ages 15 to 19 on Craigslist.

Illegal East Jerusalem expansion on the cards and Washington approvesPosted: 26 Apr 2010 05:14 AM PDT

A revealing article by one of Israel’s leading establishment reporters, Ben Caspit, that indicates the kind of dance that Washington and Israel have always done. And we wonder why Palestine continues to be colonised?

Israel and the US have reached secret agreements about construction in Jerusalem. Both sides agreed to leave the agreements between themselves and not make them public, and if they should be leaked nevertheless, deny them vigorously. The purpose is in order not to create difficulties for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the coalition, and particularly in the Likud party.

The agreements indicate that contrary to Israeli boasting, Netanyahu’s answer to Obama regarding Jerusalem was not “No.” It was something in the middle, a little closer to the far end (a freeze) than the close one (continued construction at full tilt). The most accurate translation for this agreement is “Yes, but.” It is possible that Netanyahu has learned something from the bad old days of Shimon Peres, during which he got the nickname “Yes and no.” Now it is Netanyahu’s turn.

The agreements were made in a very long series of meetings and discussions between the parties. Attorney Yitzhak Molcho worked for Netanyahu. Working on the American side was mostly Dan Shapiro, the director of the Middle East department at the National Security Council.

As far as anyone knows, the parties agreed that no construction freeze would be announced. On the contrary, Netanyahu may continue to announce that he did not agree to a freeze. But in reality, Netanyahu agreed to delay the Ramat Shlomo project by at least several years and not to issue any new construction tenders in Jerusalem.

He also promised “to do as much as the law allows and use his full authority as prime minister to prevent unnecessary Israeli activity in the Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. These agreements do not include the procedures that are already being carried out, such as, for example, the Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem.

Another agreement between the parties is that if Netanyahu should encounter a particularly severe crisis or heavy pressure, or if these agreements should be leaked, there will be a tendency to let him approve a small number of symbolic construction projects in secret coordination with the Americans so that it will continue to look as though he did not give in.

In the end, the agreement is a good and effective one. The Americans are moving forward with it, and the members of the forum of seven are willing to accept it as well. It is saying no and acting yes. In the current situation, if there are no last-minute surprises, there will soon be an announcement of the resumption of the proximity talks between the parties. The Palestinians will go with it, and the Americans will finally be able to finish the job and check off the first item on their to-do list.

They made a big strategic mistake in their insistence on a construction freeze in Jerusalem from the first moment. They paid dearly for it. Now they will try to make up for it, but they will find fairly quickly that the worst of all is still ahead.

Netanyahu is not where they think he is. The reports that the prime minister has offered the Palestinians a state with temporary borders are premature. The plan has existed for a long time. It was created by Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak (and also, separately, by Shaul Mofaz). Just as he did then, Netanyahu has expressed his agreement in secret, but hopes that something will come along to blow up the whole matter, and not move it forward. Prepare for the next crisis.

Please tell me why America is unwilling to seriously address the Middle East?Posted: 26 Apr 2010 04:52 AM PDT

An American puppet asks his paymaster to grow a spine (worthy aim and yet…):

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas made a blunt appeal to the US at the weekend, asking US President Barack Obama to “impose” a solution to the Middle East conflict. The call comes amid deepening frustration at Israel’s refusal to suspend the construction of Jewish homes in Arab-dominated East Jerusalem.

The plea, made several times in private but uttered in public for the first time, came as US envoy George Mitchell wrapped up a three-day visit to Jerusalem without any breakthrough on starting the proximity talks. “Since you, Mr President and you, the members of the American administration, believe in this [Palestinian statehood], it is your duty to call for the steps in order to reach the solution and impose the solution – impose it,” Mr Abbas said in a speech to leaders of his Fatah party.

“But don’t tell me it’s a vital national strategic American interest … and then not do anything,” he added.


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Cross-posted from JNews.

The Jewish peace camp’s attempt at rebirth in Europe

Gilles Paris, Le Monde, April 23 2010 [translated by Idit Arad; French original here]

The name J Street is already taken, so this is called J Call. On 3rd May, in Brussels, a new European Jewish movement for peace between Israelis and Palestinians will be launched.

The similarities between the organisation and the American J Street, a pro-Israeli and pro-peace organisation created in April 2008, are not coincidental: in common with J Street, the founders of J Call are alarmed at the complete deadlock in discussions between Israelis and Palestinians, and support international intervention to try and salvage the wreck that the political peace process has become.

“Israel faces existential threats,” they write in their “Call for Reason,” launched in the hope of assembling and uniting the European survivors of the ‘peace camp’ once identified with the Israeli left, which has progressively crumbled since the second Palestinian intifada. In Israel’s last election in 2009, combined support for the Zionist parties thought of as ‘the left’ (Labour and Meretz) collapsed to an all-time low of 16 seats (out of 120).

‘Far from underestimating the threats from its external enemies, we know that the danger also lies in the occupation and the continuing pursuit of settlements in the West Bank and in the Arab districts of East Jerusalem. These policies are morally and politically wrong and feed the unacceptable delegitimization process that Israel currently faces abroad.’

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on PEACE CAMP’S IN EUROPE


Netanyahu and Hafez Assad: The agreement that was not reached

Ofer Shelah, Maariv, April 27 2010 [page 8]


The most fascinating interview you did not read appeared this month in Halohem, the newsletter of the IDF disabled veterans organization.  Perhaps it was the esoteric platform, perhaps it was the circumstances of the interview, and perhaps because the time had simply come—Maj. Gen. (res.) Uri Saguy tells in the interview, in rare detail, about the negotiations he held with the Syrians in 1999 and 2000:

 “A strategic diplomatic failure of the first order,” says Saguy, who was the director of Military Intelligence and head of the negotiating team for the talks with Syria in Ehud Barak’s days as prime minister, referring to the missed opportunity to reach an arrangement with Hafez Assad; such an arrangement could have prevented all the wars in the past decade and fundamentally changed Israel’s situation in the region.

According to Saguy, it was not the question of Syrians dipping their feet in the water of the Kinneret that prevented an arrangement, but rather the weakness of the leaders. 

 After lengthy negotiations throughout the world, the secret part of which included envoys of president Hafez Assad and military officers, and the open part of which was led by foreign minister Farouk Ashara, the sides managed to bridge their differences in most of the disputed issues. 

 “I feel uncomfortable about quoting Bashar Assad,” Saguy says, “but he’s right when he says that 80 percent of the problems were resolved.”  It is also clear to him that despite the Israeli declarations about “returning to negotiations without preconditions,” any future talks with Syria will have to be renewed from the same point.

Saguy reveals in detail the facts that Israel’s leaders over the past two decades have been trying to distort or conceal: He says explicitly that five prime ministers, from Rabin to Olmert, including Netanyahu, accepted the principle that an agreement would include a full withdrawal from the Golan to the June 4, 1967 borders. 

 Sources close to the talks held at the time corroborate his statements, and add that agreed-upon ways were also found to bridge the disagreement over the question of where the border line passed on June 4, which was demarcated in the past by 41 boundary markers. 

In stating this, incidentally, Saguy is contradicting Netanyahu’s statements made after he lost the elections in May 1999, according to which his envoy Ron Lauder did not consent to a withdrawal to the June 4 borders.  As the person who inherited the negotiations with the Syrians from Netanyahu’s aides, as Ehud Barak’s envoy, Saguy should know.

Saguy goes on to say that solutions were found to most of the questions pertaining to borders, security and water: On the latter matter, it has already been said that the drop of the Kinneret level in recent years has created a completely different situation than the one discussed a decade ago. 

The line referred to by the Syrians was the water line at the Kinneret’s maximum height—208.9 meters below sea level.  The drop in the water level in recent years has shifted the disputed points of the shore hundreds of meters to the west, to a place that everyone agrees is in Israeli territory.

But more than the historical revelation, one sentence that Saguy says in the interview is important.  “Israel berates itself after military failures in wars, (but) does not examine itself after strategic diplomatic failures—and in 2000 it was a strategic diplomatic failure of the first order for the State of Israel,” he says—and does not explicitly address Israel’s strategic diplomatic failure of the first order that occurred nine years later, in the talks that Ehud Olmert conducted with Syria through Turkish mediation.  In the last conversation, according to informed sources, Bashar Assad asked Olmert concrete questions intended to bolster and restore the 2000 understandings, mainly on border issues. 

 The Israeli prime minister’s response was supposed to confirm that he indeed stood behind his predecessors’ assurances.  “Olmert exhausted the foreplay with the Syrians,” an informed source says.  But then, the Israeli prime minister cut off the meetings, returned to Israel, and a few days later launched Operation Cast Lead.

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MuzzleWatch – 1 new article

UC Santa Cruz cancels Israeli speakers. Israeli Consulate Outraged-not!

Here’s the short version. An April 20 talk by Palestinian and Jewish Israeli citizens on the cost of war and Israeli militarism is canceled at the last minute by UC Santa Cruz administration after some 90 Jewish students protest and 2 faculty write hard-hitting letter comparing proposed talk to hanging a noose to intimidate African American students. Talk organizer finds alternative venue anyway, but Israeli peace group co-sponsoring talk gets really ticked off and writes even harder-hitting letter to faculty and students. Anti-Defamation League, Israeli Consul General say nothing about Israeli citizens being banned from a University of California (UC) campus.

UCSC cedes point, that criticism of Israel is attack on Jewish American students- while Israeli-Jews say to American Jews, “get your own Jewish identity without sacrificing our children for your fantasy.”

Here’s a response from Israeli feminist anti-militarist  group New Profile to the suggestion by UCSC faculty and a student that the speaking tour, which includes a New Profile member, threatens the student’s Jewish identity. (Below this quote, should you hunger to read the whole megillah, you’ll find the original statement from organizer Scott Kennedy, the complaint letter from the Benjamins, and the New profile response.)

Furthermore, while we can sympathize with the student, Jenna Miller, that Israel is central to her identity,” she lives in America (as do both of you, apparently), whereas the speakers live in Israel, as do we.

We therefore pose this question to you, since you appear to condone Israel’s colonization of Palestine: Just how many more generations of our children, grand children, and great grand children, and our neighbors’ children and their children, et al. do you wish to fight and die so that you, Jenna, and others like you can feel that this place somewhere out there that is called Israel is central to your identity, disregarding the price we in Israel pay, namely that of burying our young. Till today Israel has seen 12 wars and military campaigns—-yes 12! In less than 62 years, with the next war always just around the corner!!! ….

How many more Israeli parents and families must become bereaved and grieve while you ply your pen to keep students and faculty from hearing truths—perhaps the saddest truth of all being that excepting war zones as Afghanistan, Israel is the least safe place in the world for Jews. Nowhere else have so many Jews been killed since WWII. No where else is every Jewish child obliged to conscript at the age of 18. No where else is there so much post-traumatic distress symptoms among Jewish youth. Please convey this to Jenna Miller.


And now, all the original documents. from Scott Kennedy, speaking tour organizer and peace activist


“April 20th “Unheard Perspectives” Mid East Program Canceled by UCSC with 48 hours notice”


A program featuring Jewish and Palestinian Israeli citizens speaking on will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday April 20th at the Messiah Lutheran Church, 801 High Street in Santa Cruz. This is a new time and place for the program “Costs of War on Israeli Society: Two Unheard Perspectives.”

The Resource Center for Nonviolence was informed on Sunday night, with less than 48 hours notice, that the program scheduled for a Cowell College residential meeting room had been canceled. The “directive” to cancel the event reportedly came from the upper UCSC administration.


Scott Kennedy is coordinator of a two week speaking tour with Ofra Yeshua Lyth of Tel Aviv and Ismail Kharoub of nearby Jaffa, the Palestinian Arab community recently featured in the film “Ajami,” nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards. Lyth is treasurer of New Profile, an organization of feminist men and women working to demilitarize Israeli society that supports the right of conscience for military refusers in Israel.


“This cancellation by UCSC confirms the very need for this speaking tour,” said Kennedy. “Even UCSC wants these perspectives to go unheard. Given that the event was to take place on 4/20, we have to wonder what UCSC administrators are smoking! They are acting like a Texas school board, not a campus of one of the world’s great universities.”


Kharoub and Lyth have during the past ten days spoken at Monterey Institute of International Studies, California State University at Fresno, California Lutheran University, Modesto Junior College, and San Joaquin Delta College. They spoke in churches in Thousand Oaks, Davis, Sacramento, Fresno, Stockton, Modesto and Sunnyvale.

Their program has been sponsored in different communities by Jewish Voice for Peace, Friends of the Middle East/MIIS, Monterey Peace & Justice Center Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions/Ventura, Fresno Center for Nonviolence, Peace Fresno, WILPF (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom/Fresno Branch), Modesto Peace/Life Center, Church of the Brethren/Fresno, and Architects of Peace The speakers have also spoken before a dozen high schools and community groups.


Kennedy serves on the national board of directors of the Refuser Solidarity Network ( and as coordinator of the Middle East Program of the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz. He helped organize and coordinate the speaking tour to raise awareness of the United States of the toll exacted on citizens of Israel by the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Below is the flier distributed about the event. Also included is a letter sent to campus administrators by two members of the UCSC community, demanding that the event be cancelled. According to Kennedy, the gathering was organized by residential assistants at Oakes and Cowell Colleges in the same way as dozens of other events on campus. It was primarily intended for Cowell and Oakes students but others from the community were welcome to attend.

The event on campus was not published on the speaking tour’s website. The opportunity for students and others to meet the two guests from Israel arose because planning for another venue in the San Jose did not materialize. No donations or fund raising was to be done at the event.


According to Kennedy, “While a bureaucratic excuse has apparently been given for canceling this event, it seems clear that the University has been cowed by extremists who want these Israeli voices to remain unheard. It’s a shame, for what it says about public discourse on Middle East events in Santa Cruz and the United States, for what it says about the influence of extremists on the free debate of ideas on Middle East issues, and for what it says about the collapsing space for free speech and the exchange of ideas at the University.”


For more information, contact Scott Kennedy


And the complain letter from the Benjamins:

Subject: concerns about an anti-Israel event sponsored by Cowell/Oakes

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 13:30:42 -0700

From: Tammi Rossman-Benjamin


Dear Provost Shemek and Provost Lau:


We are deeply concerned about a program entitled “Costs of War on Israeli Society: Two Unheard Perspectives”, that is scheduled to take place on April 20th at Cowell College, with the sponsorship of both

Cowell College and Oakes College. (See attached flyer).


We believe there are three compelling reasons why you should withdraw your Colleges’ sponsorship of this event immediately:


*1) **The program is politically motivated and directed, and your Colleges’ sponsorship of it violates University of California policy prohibiting the use of the University’s name, facilities and resources

for political purposes.* As you may know, the “Costs of War” event that your Colleges are

sponsoring is just one of fourteen stops of this program on a California speaking tour that has been organized by Scott Kennedy of the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV), and it is the only one with

formal university sponsorship. According to a report on this event at a previous venue last Tuesday, the purpose of the tour is to promote the work of the Refuser Solidarity Network and New Profile , two organizations that actively promote the demilitarization of Israel and provide support to

Israeli men and women who refuse compulsory military service. Along with the RCNV, these two groups are co-sponsors of the April 20th event.


The RCNV, too, is an organization that has engaged in a great deal of anti-Israel political activism in order to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state. Over the last decade, the RCNV has sponsored several dozen

events about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, both on the UCSC campus and in the community, and all of these have been unabashedly anti-Israel. In addition, the RCNV is a member of the US Campaign to End the Occupation, which supports illegal boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against the Jewish state.


Scott Kennedy, the founder and director of the RCNV, makes no secret of his pro-Palestinian sympathies: He flies a Palestinian flag outside of his Santa Cruz home and was warmly welcomed by the leader of the

terrorist organization Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, when he met with him in Gaza in November 2006, on one of the many trips he has made to that region in support of the Palestinians. Kennedy himself was a featured speaker at “Pulse on Palestine”, another Israel-bashing event sponsored by Cowell

College and the RCNV in January 2009. At that event, Kennedy used his university-sponsored bully pulpit to encourage students to engage in activism against Israel by joining or donating money to several

organizations that engage in anti-Israel activism, some with links to terrorist organizations.


It is also worth mentioning that Ofra Yeshua-Lyth, who is one of the two featured speakers in this program, is a well-known Jewish anti-Zionist, who has written a book which calls for the elimination of the Jewish state. Yeshua-Lyth also actively supports Israelis who refuse compulsory military service


When you consider all of these points, it is quite obvious that the April 20th event which your Colleges are sponsoring will be politically motivated and directed, and that your sponsorship of it therefore

violates UC policy, which expressly prohibits the use of the University’s name, facilities or resources for

political activities.



2) The program is being brought to UCSC for the express purpose of

promoting and raising money for a foreign NGO that encourages illegal

activity in its home country, and your Colleges’ sponsorship may violate

federal law. According to Scott Kennedy, who organized the California tour of the

“Costs of War” program: “Proceeds from the speaking tour will support the work of *New Profile*, a feminist Israeli organization that offers support for those refusing military service”. By providing a venue and

funding for this event, you are also supporting an organization which actively encourages Israelis to break Israeli law and has been investigated by the Attorney General of Israel for incitement to avoid

military service. Your Colleges’ sponsorship of this program may thus be a violation of both U.S. law and UC policy , which prohibits the use of University property “for the purpose of organizing and carrying out

unlawful activity”.


3) Most importantly, your Colleges’ sponsorship of a program whose sole

purpose is to harm the Jewish state will be deeply offensive and hurtful

to many Jewish students on our campus, and an egregious violation of

UCSC’s Principles of Community. In addition, the fact that over the

last several years both Cowell and Oakes Colleges have sponsored

numerous virulently anti-Israel programs, but none that demonizes or

delegitimizes any other minority group on campus, is perceived by many

Jewish students as a flagrant double standard that is anti-Semitic in

effect if not in intent.*



The very same day a noose was found scrawled on a bathroom door at the

Earth and Marine Sciences Building last month, Chancellor Blumenthal

sent out a letter to the entire UCSC community, which included the

following sentiments: “There is no place on this campus for racial

intolerance or hate of any kind… there is more work to do as we strive

to build a diverse community, firmly rooted in principles of equality

and justice. Please join me in reaffirming that vision of our future and

upholding our Principles of Community ”. Not only will the “Costs of War” be an event filled with intolerance and hate, it will also violate every one of UCSC’s Principles of Community.



Please understand that /demonizing and delegitimizing Israel and her supporters or calling for the elimination of the Jewish state are at least as offensive and hurtful to a Jewish student as a Compton Cook-out

or noose are to an African American student./* And the pain is so much

greater when the student’s own College sponsors an event of this nature.

Consider, for example, what then-Cowell College senior Jenna Miller

wrote to Cowell administrators Adrianne Waite and Jim Carter, pleading

with them to revoke Cowell’s sponsorship of the Israel-bashing event

“Pulse on Palestine”:




“As a Jew, Israel is central to my identity–to my culture, to my religion, to my ethnicity. To claim so misguidedly that Israel is illegitimate, and furthermore, should be revoked–is so hurtful and

so offensive beyond words. Cowell’s sponsorship of this event is more than hurtful, it’s absolutely unsettling. My trust in UCSC as a non-discriminatory academic environment has been damaged.”




On the same day that Jenna sent her letter, a petition signed by 90 Jewish students, requesting that Cowell College withdraw its sponsorship of “Pulse on Palestine” because the event “is politically biased and

discriminates against the Jewish student population”, was also presented to College administrators. However, the students’ pleas were ignored.

To add insult to injury, a Cowell administrator callously asserted that the College had “every right” to sponsor such an offensive event. These students, however, were well aware that Cowell College would /never/

assert “every right” to sponsor an event that was homophobic or racist, and they experienced the College’s unwillness to extend the same respect and sensitivity to Jewish students as a form institutional

discrimination that was anti-Semitic in effect if not in intent. We are sure that many Jewish students will feel the same way now if you do not withdraw your sponsorship of this event.




In conclusion, we believe that it is legally, ethically and morally imperative that Cowell and Oakes Colleges remove their sponsorship of this event immediately. Furthermore, we recommend that organizations

like Scott Kennedy’s Resource Center for Nonviolence, which has time and again come to campus to sow the seeds of hate against the Jewish state and the Jews who identify with it, be banned from the campus and prohibited from sponsoring future events at UCSC.


We look forward to hearing from you soon about our concerns.




Ilan Benjamin

Professor of Chemistry


Tammi Rossman-Benjamin

Lecturer in Hebrew



CC: George Blumenthal, Chancellor

David Kliger, Executive Vice Chancellor and Campus Provost

Felicia McGinty, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs

UCSC Counsel Carole Rossi

Jim Carter, Cowell College Administrative Officer

Susan Welte, Oakes College Administrative Officer

Debra Ellis, Cowell College Coordinator for Residential Education

Mandie Stout, Oakes College Coordinator for Residential Education

And finally, from New Profile:




From New Profile


Dear Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and Ilan Benjamin,

We have carefully perused your letter of Friday, April 16, 2010 to Provost Shemek and Provost Lau, and have seriously considered your “three compelling reasons” that the college should withdraw sponsorship for an event about “Costs of War on Israeli Society: Two Unheard of Perspectives.”

We wish here to comment on certain statements and viewpoints in your letter that we believe to be erroneous.

1. Not the least of these is your contention that the program was “politically motivated.” The speakers, after all, were not running for office nor asking that the audience vote on an issue. Furthermore, would you have claimed the same had the speakers been from AIPAC, an acknowledged lobby? What has happened to freedom of speech? And where is freedom of speech more important than in colleges, where young minds are being formed? Should students be denied the opportunity to hear opinions not frequently available except from discussions the nature of one on “Costs of war”?

Would it not have been wiser on your part to allow the event to take place, to attend it, and during the Q and A to express objections to ideas that you disagreed with? Or were you afraid that your objections would have seemed weak, senseless, or uninformed in the light of the information that the speakers had brought to the fore?


2. As for your implying that there is something shameful about ‘actively promoting the demilitarization of Israel and providing support to Israeli men and women (18 year olds!) who refuse compulsory military service,’ would you have claimed the same for organizations that aided American COs during the Vietnam war, when the draft was compulsory. One reason that America has no draft today is that its leaders learned from that experience that you cannot force individuals of conscience to kill or be killed.

So it is in Israel that there are young people who are pacifists or who disagree with their governments’ policies and refuse to enlist. Many of them are willing to pay the price and have served time in prison.

Civil disobedience is a time-honored and respected practice in the United States, as it should be everywhere. Jimmy Carter’s first act as president was to offer amnesty to Vietnam War ‘draft dogers.’ And just this month the City Council of Berkeley, Calif. passed a resolution calling for “Universal and Unconditional Amnesty for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan War Military Resisters and Veterans Who Acted In Opposition to the War for Matters of Conscience” (

In the same spirit, New Profile guides youngsters who request help. New Profile does nothing illegal. NP does not, as you claim, ‘actively encourage Israelis to break the law.’ NP does help individuals who need guidance about the law, who have questions, and NP tries to encourage Israeli youth to think (something that Israeli education fails to do). But NP neither actively calls for refusal nor incites, as you can readily see from our website .

You are correct to state that NP was investigated, but you neglect to mention that the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence,7340,L-3798368,00.html Furthermore, the investigation was not instigated by the police, but began at the bequest of “the High Court of Justice following a petition filed by the Israeli Forum for the Promotion of Equal Share in the Burden to have the New Profile movement dismantled following the content published on its website.”

New Profile questions the need for wars, whereas the “Israeli forum for the Promotion of Equal Share in the Burden” accepts wars as matter of fact, and demands that all Israeli youngsters conscript. The Israeli forum failed to delegitimize New Profile, but not for want of trying. The investigation found no evidence to back up the Forum’s complaint. We presume that you trust the judgment of the police, the courts, and the prosecutor.

3. Your claim that the “sole” purpose of the speaking event was to “harm the Jewish state” implies that anyone who disagrees with Israel’s governments’ policies intends to ‘harm the Jewish state.’ Do you also believe that anyone who criticizes US policies aspires to harm America?

And to imply that people as Scott Kennedy and Ofra Lyth or that events of the sort they take part in are anti-Semitic is pure nonsense! It is no more anti-Semitic to criticize Israel than it was anti-American to criticize the Vietnam war, nor is anti-American to criticize the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan! To the contrary!

4. Furthermore, while we can sympathize with the student, Jenna Miller, that Israel is central to her identity,” she lives in America (as do both of you, apparently), whereas the speakers live in Israel, as do we.

We therefore pose this question to you, since you appear to condone Israel’s colonization of Palestine: Just how many more generations of our children, grand children, and great grand children, and our neighbors’ children and their children, et al. do you wish to fight and die so that you, Jenna, and others like you can feel that this place somewhere out there that is called Israel is central to your identity, disregarding the price we in Israel pay, namely that of burying our young. Till today Israel has seen 12 wars and military campaigns—-yes 12! In less than 62 years, with the next war always just around the corner!!!


One bereaved mother, Nurit Peled-Elhanan–who lost her only daughter in a suicide bombing–captures in a nutshell an important aspect of what New Profile is battling by objecting to militarism. Professor Peled-Elhanan, when speaking to the EU Parliament on International Women’s Day in 2005 stated the following:

“. . . Israeli, American, Italian and British mothers have been for the most part violently blinded and brainwashed to such a degree that they . . . are all mind-infected by the same viruses engendered by politicians. And the viruses , though they may have various illustrious names such as Democracy. Patriotism. God. Homeland, are all the same. They are all part of false and fake ideologies that are meant to enrich the rich and to empower the powerful.

Is this the message that you fear to have told? Do you wish to hide from American students that Israel’s wars are not from Heaven nor necessary? Do you wish to hide from students that since 2002 Israel’s governments have refused to accept a comprehensive peace package offered by its Arab neighbors? Do you wish to hide from students and faculty the fact that Israel’s governments thus devaluate human life—-Jewish as well as non-Jewish, because the Greater Israel is more important to our leaders than are our children’s lives?

5. Lastly, you attempt to paint Scott Kennedy and Ofra Lyth in evil colors! But of course it is always easier to ply ad hominem rather than to deal with the facts. Unfortunately, you won this battle. Unfortunately for the students, unfortunately for us who live in Israel, where the rituals of mourning over dead sons and daughters killed in the conflict are so frequent and abundant.

How many more Israeli parents and families must become bereaved and grieve while you ply your pen to keep students and faculty from hearing truths—perhaps the saddest truth of all being that excepting war zones as Afghanistan, Israel is the least safe place in the world for Jews. Nowhere else have so many Jews been killed since WWII. No where else is every Jewish child obliged to conscript at the age of 18. No where else is there so much post-traumatic distress symptoms among Jewish youth. Please convey this to Jenna Miller.

Sincerely,Dorothy Naor, Ruth Divon, Ruth Hiller, Ronit Marian-Kadishay, For New Profile



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A new racist political group is organising on the streets. They call themselves the English Defence League (EDL), but who are they and what do they represent?

The movement around the EDL appears to be escalating. The central question is, what kind of organisation are they?

The foot soldiers are clearly drawn from a number of football hooligan “firms”, including Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers, Luton, Aston Villa, Bristol Rovers, Wolves and Preston North End.

The media like to portray these hooligans as working class “yobs”. No survey has been conducted on the class base of the EDL, but what little we know about them suggests that many come from “petty bourgeois” professions – the classic base of fascism.

The leadership of the EDL clearly comes from the “petty bourgeois”, but as they grow they are attracting more working class support.
The rise of the EDL is as rapid as it is shocking – but it is explainable.Socialist Worker Public Meeting:

Martin Smith
Author of “Why British jobs for British workers will not solve the crisis”, “John Coltrane: Jazz, racism and resistance”.
Assed Baig
Birmingham UAF and President of Stafford University.

Date and Time:
7pm, Thursday 29th April
Venue: Bertha Wright Room
Carrs Lane Church,
Carrs Lane, Birmingham
(Opposite Moor Street Station)

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on WHO ARE THE EDL AND HOW DO WE STOP THEM?


Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri
Rival groups strongly oppose the Palestinian Authority’s decision to hold local council elections in the West Bank without the Gaza Strip’s participation.

The Palestinian cabinet in the West Bank announced that the municipal vote will be held on July 17 as it decided to postpone the elections in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. The decision to defer the elections in the Gaza Strip was made on recommendation by Fatah’s central committee.

The move drew angry reactions from Palestinian groups in the besieged coastal enclave, especially the Islamic Hamas movement, which gained a sweeping victory in the 2006 council and parliamentary elections.

“These elections are unconstitutional because the Ramallah government is not constitutional,” Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri said in an interview with Press TV. “Everyone knows that the outcome will be in favor of Fatah who controls the West bank with an iron fist,” he added, warning that the decision would “bolster the division because Fatah is stealing the elections in the West Bank.”

The Islamic Jihad movement, also based in Gaza, criticized the decision for hampering reconciliation efforts. “We oppose these elections as they will only widen the gap between the Palestinians,” said the movement’s spokesman, Abbas Modallal.

Highlighting the significance of a national reconciliation accord, Modallal noted that such a deal would “guarantee the right of resisting the Israeli occupation by all means.” Analysts point out that the election row is yet another proof of deepening divisions between Palestinian factions, particularly Hamas and Western-backed Fatah.

Hamas secured a majority in the 2006 general elections but had to limit its rule to the Gaza Strip in June 2007 upon a coup attempt by rival Fatah, which set up its own government in Ramallah.

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