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DOROTHY ONLONE NEWSLETTER

NOVANEWS

Dear Friends,

5 items from over a dozen that I deliberated sending.  Since 2 of the 5 are rather long, I thought you’d probably have enough with just the 5.  One can read so much. 

I’m not always so considerate, but when I find it too difficult to decide for you, I send the whole or almost the whole and let you decide what you wish to read, what not.

The first 2 items are reports.  The initial one relates that Israel is now making good its threat that I noted a few days ago.  The 4 Hamas members of the government whom Israel told to leave their homes and families refuse to leave.  Well, would you willingly leave your family, friends, home because a government told you to?  Israel will undoubtedly expel them.  Meanwhile it is jailing them.  These are not, by the way, individuals who have engaged in criminal acts.  They just belong to the wrong party.

The 2nd very brief report informs us of the kinds of things that Palestinians suffer—midnight raids by the IOF to capture and detain individuals who can’t otherwise be kept from demonstrating non-violently against the theft of their lands and destruction of their olive groves.  Every time I read about one of these events, I am reminded of the story that I have heard numerous times about how Nazi soldiers knocked on my in-laws door and took my mother-in-law to clean up the glass following Krystal Nacht. 

The family was fortunate.  She returned.  It was this incident that pushed my father-in-law to take his wife and 2 sons to Palestine, the only land that they had access to.

Item 3 is a response to Yossi Beilin regarding the Kairos document and Beilin’s comments to the Presbyterian Church in attempting to dissuade it from adopting bds (boycott/divestment/sanctions) against Israel.  It might interest you to know that in 2005 New Profile wrote a letter to PCUSA encouraging the Church to engage in selective divestment.

Item 4 is exactly what its title says “good news and bad”—about Israel and the OPT and the flotilla, of course.

Item 5 is a response to letters to the editor responding to an article in the Albuquerque Journal about the attack on the flotilla.

Dorothy

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1. Haaretz Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Israel arrests Hamas official for failing to leave East Jerusalem

Mohammed Abu Tir, along with three other Hamas legislators, was ordered to leave Israel by July over his links with the militant organization.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-arrests-hamas-official-for-failing-to-leave-east-jerusalem-1.299217

By Liel Kyzer

East Jerusalem Israel Police arrested Hamas official Mohammed Abu Tir on Wednesday for failing to comply with orders to leave his East Jerusalem home.

Abu Tir was arrested at the entrance to the city’s southeastern Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, and taken for questioning at the Russian Compound police headquarters.

Police are expected to ask a court on Thursday to remand Abu Tir in custody.

In early June, Jerusalem police confiscated Abu Tir’s Israeli identity card, along with those of three other Hamas legislators – Mohammed Totach, Khaled Abu Arafa, and Ahmed Atoun – giving them until July to leave Jerusalem.

All four have refused to give up their duties within the Hamas Legislative Council. Detectives from the Jerusalem District Police Central Unit took their identity cards after the High Court said it would not prevent the men’s expulsion.

Israel had warned the four men in the past to renounce membership of Hamas or risk losing residency rights in East Jerusalem.

On Thursday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced Israel’s plan to expel the four Hamas politicians from Jerusalem for belonging to the Islamic militant group Hamas, saying the expulsion Bank would set a dangerous precedent and would create new obstacles for peace.

Israel has stripped thousands of Palestinians of their Jerusalem residency since capturing the eastern part of the city in the 1967 Six-Day War, citing procedural reasons.

However, human rights activists say revoking the residency of the four Hamas politicians would mark the first time Israel had against Arab residents of the city because of their political affiliation. Israel considers Hamas a terrorist group.

More on this topic

Hamas official facing expulsion: I won’t leave my ancestral home

PA wants American pressure on Israel to allow freed Hamas lawmakers to keep blue ID cards

Print Page Send to a friend Comments Share Text Size +|- Follow us on Twitter Become a Haaretz.com Facebook friend This story is by:

Liel Kyzer

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2. Iyad Burnat _ Night Raid on Bil’in 30-06-2010http://www.bilin-ffj.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=293&Itemid=1

In the small hours of last night, at around 3 am, Israeli Occupation Forces raided the village of Bil’in to effect the political arrest of villager; Yasir Maher Yasseen who, happily evaded their clutches yet again. The IOF have a long history of harassing and jailing this young activist and excepting the kidnapping of 13 year old Fadi Al-Khatib on the 4th of this month and the terrorising of a false confession out of him, this raid comes after a relatively long hiatus (22-05-2010 was the last military incursion into the village) and may be a harbinger for a spate of further terrorising raids to come.?

Ashrah Abu Rahmah, brother of Bassem who the IOF murdered on 17-04-2009 at a peaceful protest at the nearby Apartheid-Annexation Wall, distinguished himself yet again with his relentless and brave efforts to breach the IOF cordon around the home of Yasir. Bil’in salutes him.


If you want to unsubscribe please send an email to friends-of-freedom-and-justice-bilin-unsubscribe@lists.riseup.net


3.  [forwarded by Connie Hackbarth]

Points 2 and 4 (through to the end) refer specifically to BDS
Justice is what we ask Mr. Yossi Beilin to remember

A Response to Mr. Yossi Beilin’s letter to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in USA

[If you are unfamiliar with the Kairos document discussed below, see The

Kairos Document introduction http://www.kairospalestine.ps/?q=node/1

[The document can be downloaded in various languages 

http://www.kairospalestine.ps/?q=content/document  Dorothy]

————–

Rifat Odeh Kassis

On June 24, B’nai B’rith International circulated a letter written by Mr. Yossi Beilin, Israel’s Former Deputy Foreign Minister, and issued to delegates of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). According to B’nai B’rith, Beilin’s letter sought to urge them against “unbalanced or counter-productive steps” on the Middle East.

One example of the “counter-productivity” Mr. Beilin feels the Presbyterian Church has wrongly endorsed is “A Moment of Truth,” the Kairos Document itself.  Mr. Beilin refers to the document as “polemical,” promoting a “blanket” strategy of boycott and sanctions. He criticizes the Presbyterian Church for supporting the views expressed in “A Moment of Truth” “without stated qualification,” citing the Kairos Document as a material that “[places] inordinate blame on Israel for the conflict.”

Throughout his letter, Mr. Beilin presents himself as a leading proponent of the peace process, a spokesperson for Israeli democracy, and an individual among the “most progressive and moderate among us” – in short, a voice whose calls for peace have been silenced by initiatives like the Kairos Document.

As the coordinator and a co-author of the Kairos Document – by which I also mean, as a member of a community working not only for peace, but also for peace with justice – I would like to respond to Mr. Beilin’s claims and statements. Mr. Beilin dramatically misunderstands and misstates the goals, content, and consequences of “A Moment of Truth.” Even more, however, his letter reveals misrepresentations of the very terms – “democracy,” “balance,” “peace process” – he supposedly extols. Indeed, rhetoric like Beilin’s heavily contributes to the continuation of the Israeli occupation, as well as to the justification of this status quo on the international stage.

What follows is a discussion of the major points I wish to contest.

1. Mr. Beilin introduces himself as a politician and peace activist whose career “has been defined by vigorous engagement in the pursuit of reconciliation and coexistence in the Middle East.” Chief among his stated credentials is his role as an initiator of the Oslo accords of 1993. Yet Mr. Beilin refers to Oslo as if it were a success – as if it were truly a symbol of, to use his words, reconciliation and coexistence. For Palestinians, this has never been the case. In fact, we have experienced the opposite.

The Oslo Accords have led to more illegal Israeli settlements, the Al-Aqsa Intifada, two wars (against Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008-2009), the Apartheid wall, and an astonishing number of violent deaths and brutal detentions. I wonder how long Mr. Beilin expects the Palestinian people to wait for Oslo to bear fruit for us – when we have seen no indication that it will. The “historic peace process” he defines as the Oslo Accords has been, for us, a historic failure.

2. I would also like to dispute Mr. Beilin’s argument against economic sanctions (which, as part of the global BDS campaign opposing the Israeli occupation, Kairos Palestine does support) on the grounds that Israel is a democracy. “I do believe in economic sanctions,” Beilin writes, “but when they are directed against democracies they are counter-productive.” Does this mean that he only believes in economic activism leveled against dictatorships? I fail to see how Israel’s “democratic” structure makes it immune to such measures – or to its inhabitants’ right to undertaking them.

The implications of Mr. Beilin’s logic are baffling: a democracy like Israel can behave as it likes, kill whom it wants, demolish homes, evict families, strip citizenships, imprison people for months or years without so much as informing them of the charges – but nothing should be done against it because it is a democracy? Israel’s much-touted reputation as “the only democracy in the Middle East” is always ironic, given its shocking track record of violating human rights and international law. But Mr. Beilin’s brief, weak argument against economic sanctions, using the existence of this “democracy” as its flimsy premise, is absurd indeed – especially when it comes from a former cabinet and parliament member of the democracy in question – and full of double standards.

3. Mr. Beilin addresses “narratives and activism,” specifically including the Kairos Document, “that appear to target Israelis or exclude recognition of any of Israel’s positive contributions to peace.” Does Mr. Beilin feel that we haven’t been adequately appreciative? It seems, rather, that Mr. Beilin himself is excluding recognition of Israel’s cynical, incendiary, and relentless actions that render the peace process humiliating at best and untenable at worst. The Israeli government continues to build settlements in the West Bank despite the so-called freeze, persists in demolishing the lives of Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem (the latest atrocity is the 22-house demolition order in Silwan, which will lead to the construction of a park), routinely nulls the citizenship of East Jerusalemites if they leave the country, keeps the keys to the jail of the West Bank and the solitary confinement of Gaza, besieging Gaza punishing more than one a half million people, slaughtered over 1400 Gazans (mostly civilians, including 350 children) in the war of 2008/2009, and murdered nine humanitarian activists (in international waters) aboard the Gaza-bound flotilla on May 31 of this year. If these actions have anything to do with Israeli’s contributions to peace, then we would prefer the contributions to stop.

4. Beilin concludes his letter to the Presbyterian delegates by urging them “to act for peace in a way that strengthens Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers alike.” It is for this very reason that we propose BDS as a means for peacemakers inside Israel to advocate for justice. Regrettably, the Israeli leftist movement has remained very weak. This weakness relates to the fact that strong criticism of Israel is often ignored or dismissed within the international community: many people fear Israel itself, or fear the stigma of being labeled anti-Semitic. This environment of fear and hesitation thus undermines the movement inside Israel and its endeavor to end the occupation.

But BDS, as a tactic with particular immediacy and collective power – including when enacted by Israelis, those who supposed to benefit from the occupation as it stands – is a unique chance to confront this environment and truly change it, both within Israel and with the solidarity of the international BDS movement. In short, we believe that BDS is an empowering, transformative peacemaking tool for Israeli and Palestinian activists alike.

Mr. Beilin’s attitude toward BDS, dismissing it as “imbalanced” or overly punitive, is by no means unfamiliar to us. Many, both in Israel and elsewhere, continue to reduce the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to a “balanced” dispute between two sides, refusing acknowledge that the situation is irrefutably otherwise: an apartheid state, brutally militarized and shamelessly discriminatory.

The Israeli occupation is a strategic, consistent, deliberate, historically constructed, externally condoned and internally sustained attempt to separate Palestinian and Israel rights and lives in the very place where we make and have always made our home. Boycotting Israel signifies boycotting this entire range of injustice.

If Mr. Beilin rejects BDS as a valid way to call for change, and as a right in and of itself, then what other means does he propose for creating peace in our region? With so much blood already shed and so many words (“democracy,” “balance,” “peace process”) sapped of their sincere, unironic meanings, how else does he believe Israel can be made to stop its destructive course?

The Israeli occupation of our land and our rights is not selective; justice must never be. This – justice, without which peace is meaningless – is what has been and continues to be missing from the peace process Mr. Yossi Beilin refers to in his letter. Justice is what both the Kairos Document and the BDS movement seek. And justice is what we ask Mr. Beilin to remember.

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4. [Forwarded by David N.]

Occupied Palestine: Good News And Bad

http://www.countercurrents.org/lendman250610A.htm

By Stephen Lendman

25 June, 2010

Countercurrents.org

First the good.

On June 22, the International Middle East Media Center reported that the UN Human Rights Council (that established the Goldstone Commission) approved “forming an international committee to probe the deadly Israeli” Flotilla attack, massacring and injuring dozens of nonviolent activists on board. Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak urged Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to shelve it, saying:

“We expressed our view that for the time being, as long as….new flotillas are in the preparation, it’s probably better to leave (an investigation) on the shelf for a certain time” – in other words, postpone it long enough to forget, letting Israel’s self-examination whitewash top officials’ culpability, a vain hope given world outrage, mushrooming toward universally branding Israel a pariah rogue state.

The Human Rights Council (HRC) said committee officials will include lawyers and international law and human rights experts, the body to present its findings in September.

The European Campaign Against the Siege said the International Committee will contact Israel, Greece, Turkey, and the Freedom Flotilla coalition. It will also visit Gaza and urge Tel Aviv’s cooperation, what wasn’t given the Goldstone Commission, nor will be this time. However, with or without it, the investigation will proceed, exposing Israel’s culpability.

On June 1, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RTP) responded to the Flotilla massacre headlining, “All States and the international community must urgently take measures against Israel’s violations of international law,” explaining that

Throughout its history, Israel has willfully, arrogantly, and repeatedly violated core international law principles without accountability. “These violations….involve Israel’s international responsibility, its obligation to make reparations for the damage resulting from these violations and the obligation of all States to prosecute and punish those responsible for these violations when they concern crimes against international law,” especially ones against peace – the supreme international crime.

RTP “insists” on the immediate and unconditional:

— “lifting of the blockade by Israel of humanitarian aid,” what Fourth Geneva and other international laws prohibit;

— ending the Gaza siege, also lawless and prohibited;

— “full and independent inquiry into the” Flotilla attack;

— “suspend(ing) of the EU/Israel Association Agreement in accordance with” its provisions; and

— implementation of the Goldstone Commission conclusions and recommendations.

Global human rights organizations agree, including BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee member, Dr. Ian Douglas, saying:

“Israel simply cannot face up to its own bloody origin. It is a settler state, founded in violence by individuals who came from outside Arab countries,” under rogue governments that support and instigate “terrorism.” The solution:

“The international community must cut all economic ties, all defense coordination and contracts, and all diplomatic, intellectual and cultural links with Israel until Zionism is recognized as racism. Until this happens, Israel continues to be the single biggest threat to world peace.

The possibility of a better society will keep being suffocated by the black hole of Israel’s insistence on perpetuating injustice against the Palestinians,” – partnered with Washington, “indistinguishable from Tel Aviv, or vice versa. Obama is either unwilling (or) unable….to break from that….Palestinians have no hope in (him). He won’t help them, and never intended to.”

More good news – a first in America against Israel.

On June 20 in Oakland, CA, over 800 longshoremen pickets blocked the unloading of an Israeli ship, the ZIM Shenhen, chanting:

“Free, free Palestine. Don’t cross the picket line. An injury to one is an injury to all – the Israeli apartheid wall will fall.”

An ad hoc Labor/Community Committee in Solidarity with the People of Palestine organized the action. Allied groups included the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee, several Palestinian solidarity groups, the Bay Area ANSWER Coalition, and local labor activists.

Their boycott followed the earlier June International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 motion condemning the Flotilla massacre, “call(ing) for unions to protest (by) any action they choose to take.”

Organizations supporting the boycott included the Oakland Educational Association, San Francisco Labor Council, Alameda County Labor Council, Cuban Labor Federation, Labor for Palestine, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, and numerous other groups – in solidarity with Occupied Palestinians.

Good news from Sweden – another boycott

On June 23, the Swedish Dock Workers Union announced a weeklong nationwide blockade in all unionized ports, refusing to handle goods from or to Israel until June 29, and demanding more, including lifting the Gaza siege and allowing an independent international investigation of the Flotilla massacre.

Still more – cancellation of Turkey’s water sales to Israel.

On June 20, Israel National News.com’s Maayana Miskin reported that Turkey “cancelled the planned sale of 1.75 billion cubic feet of water per year to Israel,” a 20-year agreement abandoned over the Flotilla massacre, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister, Taner Yildiz, saying sales have been halted unless Israel “apologizes and expresses its regret.”

Turkey also recalled its ambassador and froze a plan to supply Israel with Russian natural gas through an underwater pipeline.

Now the bad – a litany of Israeli crimes, some recent ones explained below.

On June 10, Palestine Think Tank.com contributor Kawther Salam headlined, “107 Israeli Crimes Against Palestinian Journalists,” saying:

Since January 2010, Israeli attacks included beatings, “breaking their cameras, preventing them from covering events, shooting at them deliberately, arresting and jailing them, fabricating serious charges, fining them, imposing high financial fines before releasing them from detention,” denying them access to East Jerusalem and other areas, and let “dozens of armed extremist settlers assault them and damage their cameras.”

This is how a police state operates when not waging all out war.

More bad news.

On June 22, the Palestine Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) headlined, “Continued Ethnic Cleansing and Measures Aimed at Creating Jewish Majority in Occupied Jerusalem,” in fact, an agenda to make all Jerusalem exclusively Jewish, dispossessing all non-Jews living there.

PCHR responded saying:

It “strongly condemns aggressive (Israeli) measures in East Jerusalem, which are part of a series of (others) aimed at ethnic cleansing,” and have included:

— bulldozing Palestinian houses on lands between Pisgat Ze’ev and Neve Ya’kov settlements to build 600 new units – approved a year earlier to link the two communities;

— the June 21 implemented “Israeli Municipality in Jerusalem decision to demolish 22 houses in al-Bustan neighborhood in Salwan village (to) establish ‘King David’s Garden’ ” on expropriated Palestinian land; on June 23, Haaretz writer Nir Hassan reported that East Jerusalem settlers “threatened to (hire private security firms to) forcibly evict four Palestinian families they claim are living on” Jewish Silwan property; East Jerusalem, in fact, is Occupied Palestinian territory, not belonging to invaders who have no business being there or legal right to the land;

— the June 20 Israeli High Court ruling, affirming the deportation of PLC member, Mohammed Abu Tir, a member of the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform Bloc;

— the June 20 closing of the Ilaf Association for Education Support in Jerusalem, using falsified documents to claim Hamas held meetings there; and

— Israel’s ongoing lawlessness in violation of international law, including expropriating Palestinian land, what, so far, the international community won’t stop.

More bad.

On June 20, the US State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs warned Americans against traveling to Gaza, stopping short of saying those doing it will be prosecuted, but calling it “infiltrating” by flotillas or other means.

The warning “applies to all US citizens, including journalists and aid workers,” with no mention of the illegal siege, the Flotilla massacre, or repeated attacks against defenseless civilians. A week earlier, Britain issued a similar alert, suggesting UK citizens doing it wouldn’t be welcomed back home. Israel endorsed both statements from its closest allies, together comprising the real axis of evil.

Still more.

On June 20, Haaretz writer Barak Ravid exposed Netanyahu’s bogus siege easing, headlining “Netanyahu: Security blockade on Gaza will get stronger,” quoting him saying that despite letting in more “civilian” goods:

The “security closure will be tightened from now on (to) keep (weapons and “dual use” goods) out of Gaza,” claiming “Our friends around the world are getting behind our decision and giving international legitimacy to the security blockade on Hamas.”

So though designated foods, housewares, writing implements, mattresses and toys can enter, cement and shoes (among hundreds of other non-military items) remain banned, Israel bogusly calling them “dual use,” meaning materials potentially for violence and conflict.

On June 24, Gaza Gateway.org reported “no significant change in the volume of trucks entering Gaza,” despite the supposed easing – last week, 654, fewer than before the Flotilla massacre when 662 entered; this week through four of five allowed crossing days, 567, “consistent with the (imposed) policy since June 2007.”

Gaza Gateway said only one crossing operates at near capacity of about 110 trucks a day, five days a week permitted – Kerem Shalom (Kerem Abu Salam). Karni Crossing, Gaza’s commercial lifeline, able to handle 1,000 trucks per day, remains closed.

The Obama administration and virtually all members of Congress support the most lawless Israeli policies, including the siege, subsidizing them with billions of dollars annually, the latest weapons and technology, and virtually any special requests – to wage war, commit violence, maintain an illegal occupation against Palestinian civilians and the legitimate Hamas government, bogusly called terrorist.

Confirmation of PA/Israeli/Washington Complicity

According to a June 22 Asa Winstanley Electronic Intifada (EI) article headlined, “Exclusive: Leaked documents show PA undermined Turkey’s push for UN flotilla probe:”

“A document sent to Ibrahim Khraishi, (PA UN) representative in Geneva,” shows its officials tried but failed to “neutralize a (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution condemning” the Flotilla massacre, by preventing an independent investigation and endorsing an Israeli one – a thinly veiled scheme to whitewash premeditated murder and absolve high-level culpability. Turkey rejected it out of hand. HRC approved an independent committee proceed and report back by September.

EI’s article and one document can be accessed through the following link:

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11350.shtml

Last year, Fatah officials tried to undermine the Goldstone Commission’s findings, proving they ally with Israel against their own people.

Last October, however, when the Commission’s findings were adopted, Mahmound Abbas “was forced into a humiliating U-turn after an outpouring of disgust and protest from Palestinians around the world,” not diminishing his contempt for his own people. Perhaps theirs now for him enough to elect a new president serving them, not their oppressive occupier in league with its Washington paymaster/partner.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/

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5.  Hi All,

On June 23 the Albuquerque Journal printed an op-ed by me on the Gaza Flotilla attack. On June 27 the Journal printed 5 letters to the editor all of which characterized me as an uninformed bigot. Today I replied with a rebuttal to the five who, not being able to refute actual evidence, resort to character assassination. Attached are the 5 letters to the editor as well as today’s rebuttal. And just below is the link to my original op-ed for those who have not read it. If you are unable to open the attachment I’ve also pasted my entire rebuttal after the link . Thanks, Rich

http://www.abqjournal.com/opinion/guest_columns/23213193866opinionguestcolumns06-23-10.htm

On June 23 the Journal printed my article on the Gaza flotilla, which they titled “Oppressive Occupation Also Harms Israelis, Americans.” In the article I presented information from the State Department, American Near East Refugee Aid and other reliable sources. My purpose was to counter “disingenuous claims” by Israel. On June 27 the Journal printed five letters to the editor. All portrayed me as bigoted and ignorant. Regina Loria said:

 “[T]he Arabs walked through Jewish neighborhoods and towns unmolested, while the Jews lived behind stone walls, armed wire and armed guards. Who is occupying whom?”

According to Loria, Israelis who forcefully steal land from Palestinians to build settlements – in violation of international law and any sense of decency – are occupied victims. And a people who desire the same rights to self-determination that Israelis enjoy are occupiers.

Deborah Gray accuses me of being uninformed because of my commonsense assertion that “Israel’s behavior,” in denying Palestinians the ability to live like human beings, “fuels anti-Semitism.” Gray chose to equate my criticism of Israeli behavior with criticism of all Jews. Israel does not speak for all Jews, certainly not for Jews who value justice and equality. Gray’s logic is that anti-Semitism existed prior to Israel’s establishment. Therefore, she contends, Israel’s behavior could not be a stimulus for anti-Semitism.

As virtually all studies since the early 1900s acknowledge, there was little anti-Semitism in Muslim lands until the rise of Zionism. Just as anger toward Muslims increased in the U.S. after 9/11 so too does anger increase when Israel kills civilians or attacks an unarmed ship carrying humanitarian aid. Admittedly, a small percentage of the anger is misplaced against Judaism rather than a Zionist ideology that deprives people of their homes, their lands and their dignity.

Joel Davis claims that pro-Palestinian activists “were trying to create an ugly incident to spur world pressure forcing Israel to break the blockade and … to allow unlimited passage of arms from Iran.” The latter allegation is false. Not only was the ship’s cargo checked before leaving port but overtures from Iranian groups were rejected. The ugliness of the incident stems from Israel’s deliberate acts of aggression.

I agree that these activists wanted to bring attention to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Their concern for their fellow man does not reflect a bias that favors Palestinians. Rather, it reflects a conviction that Palestinians are entitled to the same quality of life as Israelis, something Davis and the others don’t seem particularly concerned with. The activists’ reaction to a nighttime raid in international waters by a country known for its use of lethal force was purely defensive, especially given that Israeli commandos did in fact shoot live ammunition and percussion grenades as they boarded the ship.

Jacob Amir denounces the passengers of the Mavi Marmara on the basis that the other ships offered no resistance. The fact that commandos singled out the Mavi Marmara with confrontational behavior explains why the other ships did not resist. Would Amir have denounced the passengers of the Exodus for resisting British rule?

Perhaps these writers would have condemned the freedom riders, some of whom gave their lives to expose the viciousness and bigotry of segregation in the Deep South.

Russell Resnik characterizes my concern for truth and human rights as Hamas propaganda. Making such a characterization is far easier than examining actual evidence based on eyewitness reports and the writings of eminent Israeli journalists. It is easier still to parrot uninformed apologists.

Resnik justifies the blockade of Gaza on the basis of rocket attacks while ignoring the fact that Israel’s own strategists admitted that ending the blockade would ensure peace with Hamas for a generation. He also ignores Israel’s use of far more lethal rockets against Gaza. If he had taken the time to investigate Israeli sources he would have learned that from 2000 through 2008 Palestinian groups launched 8,088 rockets and mortars against Israel. 

From 2001 through 2008 eighteen Israelis were killed as a result of these attacks. From September 2005 to June 2006 Israel launched 7,700 rockets against Gaza. From 2005–2007, 1,290 Gazans, including 222 children, were killed as a result of Israeli rockets.

By justifying policies that knowingly harm civilians, including innocent children, these writers show a disregard not only for the Palestinian people but for the humanity that exists within the heart of Judaism.

Rich Forer

 Albuquerque

 

 

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