Archive | September 5th, 2010

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NOVANEWS

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Not only in the Middle East

“Over 15,000 domestic workers leave their families to come to Britain every year. Charities claim that many are not only badly treated but that they are living as slaves.  This report investigates the plight of overseas domestic workers brought to the UK, and enslaved behind closed doors by rich and powerful employers in the upper levels of British society.” (thanks James)

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Standards of CNN

Look how CNN managed to label “Jerusalem Day”

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HamasStan

“Its security forces brutally eliminated organized opposition. PA ministries staffed with Hamas-friendly technocrats drew up ten-year programs to shift production and agriculture from servicing export markets to meeting internal needs and achieving self-sufficiency. And despite — if not because of — the departure of Palestine’s traditional donors, Gaza’s government has introduced the measures they long advocated, heavily pruning the government wage bill, enforcing tax collection, and introducing a new system of license payments and levies on fuel and cigarettes entering the tunnels.  Over time, internal stability coupled with the new trade routes triggered an economic rebirth of sorts. The tunnels absorbed about a fifth of the 100,000 workers who had once labored in Israel, and brought in the raw materials and spare parts for factories crippled by Israeli bombardments to restart production. Gaza’s large flour mill is producing two thirds of its pre-siege average of 6,000 tons per day. A plastics factory has even expanded its work force, thanks to inputs arriving from Egypt. The World Bank cites a rate of 29 percent unemployment in Gaza, significantly above the West Bank’s 19 percent. But the figure takes no account of the tunnel enterprise, Gaza’s largest private-sector employer, which the World Bank considers black-market activity despite Hamas’ efforts to formalize the supply lines.”

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Yes, because they excluded the status of non-unionized domestic workers

“Lebanon has been declared a “partially free” environment for labor unions, outperforming most of its Middle East neighbors but still falling short of human-rights standards, a report by independent watchdog organization Freedom House revealed.”

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It amuses me how much people in the US like the King of Jordan

“Jordan’s military prosecutor at the State Security Court should immediately order the release of Hatim al-Shuli, a university student, and rescind charges against him, Human Rights Watch said today.  Al-Shuli was arrested on July 25, 2010, and charged on July 28 with insulting King Abdullah (lese majeste) and “causing national strife,” over a poem he denies writing that criticized the king. The military prosecutor has since renewed orders for al-Shuli’s detention and denied his petitions for bail.”

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Robert C Tucker

Soviet scholar, Robert C Tucker of Princeton University, died while I was in Lebanon.  I did not have a chance to say something about him.   I never met him but he was a big influence on me while I minored in Soviet Studies, here in the US and even in my MA time in Lebanon.  Soviet studies in the US was invaded by ideologues, very much like Middle East studies, but the at least Soviet studies ideologies, like Richard Pipes, knew Russian.  Tucker (like Jerry Hough and Stephen F Cohen–and the latter was a student of Tucker at Princeton) was a reasonable man with reasonable approaches to the study of the Soviet Union.  His approach to the study of Stalin was more psychological, so he did do the Homos Soveitecus stuff.   He did not blame Russian culture or literature for Stalin.  He also helped the incorporation of Marxist studies in the US academe when that was unacceptable.  His Marx-Engels reader is the most widely used book of readings by Marx for example.  He did not have, like many others of his generation, to blast Marx and Marxism before he begins his study of the subject.  I liked him and liked reading all his books.

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Dumb Mossad

““There have been a number of cases reported to the FBI about Mossad officers who have approached leaders in Arab-American communities and have falsely represented themselves as ‘U.S. intelligence,’ ” Giraldi wrote recently in American Conservative magazine.  “Because few Muslims would assist an Israeli, this is done to increase the likelihood that the target will cooperate. It’s referred to as a ‘false flag’ operation.”  Giraldi’s piece continued, “Mossad officers sought to recruit Arab-Americans as sources willing to inform on their associates and neighbors. The approaches, which took place in New York and New Jersey, were reportedly handled clumsily, making the targets of the operation suspicious.””

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friends

“The CIA took an internal poll not long ago about friendly foreign intelligence agencies.
The question, mostly directed to employees of the clandestine service branch, was: Which are the best allies among friendly spy services, in terms of liaison with the CIA, and which are the worst? In other words, who acts like, well, friends?  “Israel came in dead last,” a recently retired CIA official told me the other day.” (thanks FLC)

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Zionism is racism, of course

“Four generals from an African country were denied entry Friday to Herzliya Airport by the security chief there, even though their visit had been arranged five days earlier and they were accompanied by an Israeli official and a senior air force officer. After a long delay, the group was forced to depart after lodging a protest, and the Airports Authority has apologized.” (thanks Olivia)

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A Museum of Intolerance

“Yet the museum is being constructed on the site of an ancient Muslim cemetery, desecrating the graves of the interred. Archaeologists believe the Mamilla (Faithful of God) Cemetery holds the remains of tens of thousands of Muslim soldiers of Salah ed-Din, the 12th century leader who reconquered Jerusalem from the Crusaders. The cemetery was actively used by prominent Palestinian families through 1948, when West Jerusalem fell to Israeli troops. Hence the site is immensely significant archaeologically, but is also culturally sensitive to Palestinians.  An initial petition by Palestinian families and Islamic groups to the Israeli high court delayed but did not halt museum construction. Speed was the guiding principle of the project, not care for archaeological preservation nor respect for the dead, construction workers recounted to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper. The Israeli high court denied a second petition, ignoring evidence that the Israel Antiquities Authority had suppressed the opinion of its own expert in originally permitting the museum’s construction.

In fact, chief excavator Gideon Suleimani advised his Antiquities Authority superiors against construction on the site and has since characterized building there as “an archaeological crime.”

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News from Israel

“A poll conducted by Ynet and the Yesodot Center for Torah and Democracy reveals that 58% of haredim and the religious public believe that rabbis should not be subjected to police interrogation. The majority of seculars and traditionalists, however believe that rabbis should report for questioning when called.”

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Taliban and the Bush Doctrine

So the US invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban.  The US government (including the military) are now launching a campaign to beg the Taliban to come back to power.  If that is not success, what is?  Don’t you like the quality of brilliance of Middle East expertise of American Zionists??  I mean, would you not like to have Elliott Abrams or Jeffrey Feltman explain their brilliance?

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Oh, please believe us. We are human beings too.

Another dumb campaign by American Muslims to beg the White Man to accept them as human beings.

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History of a particular kind

“Some examples of Muslim openness, tolerance and courage are given by Gilbert. The bulk of the book, ­however, consists of examples of ­Muslim hatred, hostility and cruelty towards the Jews.”  Of course, the author is not a Middle East historian and knows none of the languages of the Middle East. (thanks Nader)

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Your lives will be better: giant potatoes

Peter Glazebrook with his giant potatoes
BBC.  (thanks Molly)

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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Carlos

I spoke to one of the top lieutenants of Wadi` Haddad this summer.  He told me about the perception of Carolos (“the jackal”): that he was such a braggart and that he was never senior in the organization and Haddad as is known expelled him after the Vienna operation.  Carlos, unlike the rest, loved the limelight and media and wanted to promote himself.  But all those who knew him spoke of his incredible physical (and language) abilities especially in the early years in Jordan.  He attracted the attention of commanders from his first training.  I never knew him but I never liked him.   An old Middle East intelligence hand showed me the chair where Carlos sat and negotiated with Saudi intelligence for an operation-for-hire.

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The Israeli study about learning Arabic: COLONIAL STUDY

I asked comrade Talal, a brilliant scientist,  to assess the Israeli study about learning Arabic.  He wrote me (I cite with permission):  “I disagree with the conclusion that this makes Arabic more difficult. There are caveats to the study and its conclusions:

1) Recognition by adults of different written letters of different languages may show preferential utilization of one visual field/hemisphere (right visual field/left hemisphere for Arabic, Urdu and Hebrew, according to references) than say English. This does not, in my opinion, translate to ease or difficulty of language acquisition, but more likely to different attributes of the symbols involved. 

2) The studies have been done on adults, and it is not known how it is for children. It is universally true that children learn languages much more readily than adults (with a so called language learning window in early to mid childhood). 

In summary, while the data may be valid, I find the conclusion of the study erroneous.”

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They apologized

“The nine members of the delegation were about to fly to Tampa, Florida from Dulles when they were pulled off the plane and questioned for over two hours.  The United Airlines flight crew had become concerned over a remark by one of the officers, a Pakistani official told AFP on Wednesday.  The Pakistanis showed security authorities their passports and letters of invitation to the conference at Central Command, but by the time they were released they had missed their flight, the official said.”

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Mistakes happen, every single day

“Afghan president Hamid Karzai says ten civilians were killed in a NATO air strike on three vehicles carrying election campaign workers.”

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This is Zionism

“No better, no worse than previous utterances by the venerable rabbi, 90 in two weeks and still going strong. He has said similar things over the years about Arabs and other non-Jews, singling out for particular attention not only their leaders…”

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Israel in the news

“The Israeli head of a labor recruiting company accused of exploiting 400 workers from Thailand and forcing them to work on US farms is under arrest and pleading not guilty.  Los Angeles-based Global Horizons Manpower Inc. CEO Mordechai Orian surrendered Friday in Honolulu, and he entered his not guilty plea in federal court shortly afterward.”

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Never underestimate their stupidity

“The skepticism which plagued the Palestinian camp prior to the recent relaunch of direct Middle East peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has all but disappeared, aides to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the Arabic language London-based newspaper Al-Hayat on Saturday.” (thanks Olivia)

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highest available security clearance holders

“A 2006 Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation into the purchase of child pornography online turned up more than 250 civilian and military employees of the Defense Department — including some with the highest available security clearance — who  used credit cards or PayPal to purchase images of children in sexual situations. But the Pentagon investigated only a handful of the cases, Defense Department records show.”

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believers

“An Armenian bishop recorded around A.D. 660 that the first governor of Muslim Jerusalem was Jewish.  The documentary evidence suggests that the term “Muslim” came into common use only in the eighth century. The earlier word, “Believers,” described a community that embraced many faiths.”

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Mubarak dirty tricks

The level of dirty tricks by the Mubarak regime is getting lower and lower. As long as the Mubarak family has the endorsement of the Likud in Israel, Mubarak feels confident–up to a point. So one of the goons of the Mubarak regime snuck into the Facebook account of Muhammad Al-Baradi`i’s daughter, Layla, and posted in the Egyptian state press pictures of her in a bikini and her characterization of her faith as “agnostic.”

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Friday, September 03, 2010

The Fire of Nahr Al-Barid

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar:  “Fire (of Barid) with Flames:  When the Lebanese authority searches for Heroism”*

*The original title I gave was” …when the Lebanese Army searches for heroism.”

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For the New York Times, anti-Islam bigotry is called anxiety.

Bigotry is bigotry but it seems that the New York Times now reserves a special word, anxiety, for anti-Islam bigotry.  Can you imagine if the paper labels anti-Semitism as “anxiety”?  And notice how this bigotry is justified: “Nearly nine years after the Sept. 11 attacks ignited a wave of anxiety about Muslims, many in the country’s biggest and arguably most cosmopolitan city still have an uneasy relationship with Islam. One-fifth of New Yorkers acknowledged animosity toward Muslims. Thirty-three percent said that compared with other American citizens, Muslims were more sympathetic to terrorists. And nearly 60 percent said people they know had negative feelings toward Muslims because of 9/11.”

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I trust Ibrahim like I trust Walid Jumblat

“Egyptian political activists are furious at fellow democracy and human rights campaigner Saad Eddin Ibrahim after the sociologist signed a petition urging President Hosni Mubarak’s son, Gamal, to run in the 2011 elections.

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Hitchens explains his motives

“Did you write the book for money? 
Of course, I do everything for money. Dr. Johnson is correct when he says that only a fool writes for anything but money. It would be useful to keep a diary, but I don’t like writing unpaid. I don’t like writing checks without getting paid.”

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If this was said about Jews and Judaism, it would be an international affair

““As a mother and a grandmother, I worry,” Ms. Serafin said. “I learned that in 20 years with the rate of the birth population, we will be overtaken by Islam, and their goal is to get people in Congress and the Supreme Court to see that Shariah is implemented. My children and grandchildren will have to live under that.”  “I do believe everybody has a right to freedom of religion,” she said. “But Islam is not about a religion. It’s a political government, and it’s 100 percent against our Constitution.””

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Is making up interviews trendy these days? I mean, he was summoned by “the intelligence service” but refused to go?

“Sajjad: Yes, of course. I’ve received calls from the intelligence service. Two summons, in fact. But I refused to go. For the time being, I haven’t been arrested.”

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A 90-year-old Saudi man will be lashed 100 times

“A 90-year-old Saudi man will be lashed 100 times with the whip after he was convicted of smashing the windscreen of a judge’s car to retaliate against a previous verdict against him, a local newspaper reported on Tuesday.

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pressures

“A senior Palestinian source told Haaretz that the American administration renewed its pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to stay in direct negotiations with Israel, even if some construction in the settlements resumes after the end of the current moratorium. The source warned that Abbas would not be able to agree to a renewal of construction and will be forced to withdraw from the talks.

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Happy New War

“before we weave an autumn for tyrants
we must cross this galaxy of barbed wires
and keep on repeating
HAPPY NEW WAR!” (thanks Olivia)

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They called his grandfather a traitor

“Even kids in Palestine know what he is up to: his grandson came to him crying and explained that children at his school had called his grandfather a “traitor”.” (thanks Hicham)

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false rumors and defamation of public figures

“Dubai’s police chief, Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim, said that fears of espionage and information sharing by foe Israel — as well as UAE allies United States and Britain — helped prompt the possible limits on the popular BlackBerry.  Tamim told a conference on information technology that the proposed BlackBerry curbs are also “meant to control false rumors and defamation of public figures due to the absence of surveillance,” according to a story posted Friday on the website of the UAE newspaper Al-Khaleej.” (thanks Sarah)

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the story that was gone

“ABC on Tuesday published on its website what seemed to be a major  exclusive story by Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross: Law  enforcement officials, according to Ross, had been “on a heightened  state of alert to a possible hijacking of U.S. carrier flights from the  Middle East” — and as a result the number of air marshals on overseas  flights, particularly to Dubai, had in the last few weeks been “greatly  ramped up.”  But then, just like that, it was gone.” (thanks Layali)

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Suha Arafat

“C’est un fleuron de la francophonie au Maghreb qui disparaît dans le silence général. Le lycée privé Louis Pasteur de Tunis ne rouvrira pas ses portes à la rentrée prochaine. Ainsi en ont décidé les autorités locales, sans fournir la moindre explication aux intéressés, familles en tête.  En visite cet après midi à Tunis, Nicolas Sarkozy aurait pu s’émouvoir de la fermeture brutale de cet établissement renommé qui accueillait plus de 1.000 élèves. Mais le sujet ne figure pas au menu de ses entretiens avec son homologue Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Trop sensible.  L’épouse du président tunisien, Leïla Ben Ali, et son amie, Souha Arafat, la veuve de l’ancien dirigeant palestinien, lancent justement en septembre un lycée international, “International School of Carthage” qui proposera un double cursus américain et français. Par simple oukase, les voilà débarrassées de leur principal concurrent. Elles peuvent même espérer récupérer ses élèves désormais à la rue. “On est au courant du background, explique-t-on au Quai d’Orsay. Mais c’est une affaire tuniso-tunisienne dans laquelle on ne peut pas intervenir”. Le lycée Louis Pasteur avait pourtant été créé en 2005 en partenariat avec l’Institut français de coopération et venait d’entreprendre des démarches auprès du ministère de l’Education, à Paris, pour être conventionné.” (thanks Khelil)

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Conclusion

“In his latest book, The Grand Design, an extract of which is published in Eureka magazine in The Times, Hawking said: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.”  He added: “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.””

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

This man has lost it–a very long time ago

“For the moment, there does not seem to be much prospect of a moderate Islam in the Muslim world. This is partly because in the prevailing atmosphere the expression of moderate ideas can be dangerous—even life-threatening. Radical groups like al Qaeda and the Taliban, the likes of which in earlier times were at most minor and marginal, have acquired a powerful and even a dominant position.”

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foreign maids in the Middle East

“Huge numbers of migrant domestic workers, mostly from Asia and Africa, are employed throughout the region. Some 1.5m work in Saudi Arabia, 660,000 in Kuwait and 200,000 in Lebanon. Many work very long hours and receive little food, no time off and pay that is a fraction of any minimum wage, if it materialises at all. Human Rights Watch (HRW), a New York-based group, says at least one domestic worker died every week in Lebanon between January 2007 and August 2008. Almost half were suicides and many were as a result of falling from high buildings, often while trying to escape their employers. Mistreatment is so widespread that the Philippines, Ethiopia and Nepal no longer let their citizens go to Lebanon to work as maids, though such bans have had little effect.” (thanks Khelil)

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the language of Zionism

“An Ethiopian soldier serving at an Air Force base in southern Israel petitioned the High Court of Justice Thursday over racial slurs hurled at him by a senior officer.  The soldier asked the court to order IDF officials to explain why disciplinary action was not being taken against a major whom he claims called him an “annoying nigg*r.””  (thanks Olivia)

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Not only condemn

Abbas was so uncomfortable today that his grammatical mistakes while reading were as bad as those of Arafat. He said that he “not only condemns” the killing of the armed settlers yesterday but that he will chase the Palestinian attackers and kill them with his bare hands, if ordered to do so by his Israeli handlers.

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The new Iraq

“The biggest failure of all is political. Building a state with a democratic government and institutions that work was central to President George W. Bush’s vision of the new Iraq. The country has ended up with a travesty of good governance. Positions in the bureaucracy are awarded on the basis of family or sectarian allegiance rather than merit. Partisan interference so mars elections that no Western diplomat will call them “free and fair”. The watchdog Transparency International reckons that corruption is endemic.  More than anywhere else in the world, Sunnis and Shias still fear each other in Iraq. Trust even between moderates is minimal, and national reconciliation non-existent. Five months after inconclusive elections, Iraq still has no new government. Parties are deadlocked in negotiations. The most obvious coalition partners are the prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, a moderate Shia whose block won 89 seats in the 325-member parliament, and Ayad Allawi, a former prime minister who is mainly supported by Sunnis and controls 91 seats. Yet the two men dislike and distrust each other so much that they rarely speak.”

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Don’t you love it?

Don’t you love it when White House Middle East experts (I mean, the two top Middle East hands, Feltman and Shapiro are horrible caricatures of classic DC Arabists who have been shunned from policy making since the Clinton administration) in Washington, DC invite King PlayStation and Husni Mubarak on the assumption that they would add legitimacy to the presence of the PA gang???  I really mean that: those experts think that those two are popular in the Arab world.  But then again: those same people thought the people of Iraq were destined to restore monarchy after the American invasion.  By the way, the descendant of the Hashemite family in Iraq is back in London, I am told, and has abandoned all his dreams that were fed to him by American neo-cons.

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peace

Of course peace won’t emerge from the masquerade in Washington, DC but will eventually emerge–but only after the demise of Israel and the elimination of Zionism from historic Palestine.

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Syrian TV serials

The success of Syrian TV serials in this Ramadan TV season has been phenomenal. I only have a chance to follow Bab Al-Harah (the fifth part this season). The characters are most interesting and Syrian actors and actresses are full of charm and skill. They have buried the Egyptian TV production, it seems. But the messages of Bab Al-Harah are horrible: promotion of narrow, particularlistic identities (even based in Harah–locality or neighborhood), and the justification of traditional roles of women and the portrayal of polygamy as funny. The show also praises stupid traditional notions of machismo behavior and gestures. But…I cant wait for today’s episode.

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But it wont be the first time that Mossad has hired idiots

“Simon Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor who gained worldwide fame for decades as a one-man Nazi-hunting operation, was in fact frequently on the payroll of the Mossad, Israel’s spy agency, a new biography asserts.”

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The puppet is not puppet enough

“but they also asked the Palestinian president to try to be flexible, according to advisers to all three sides.”

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In Zionist language, “strong right-wing” means fascist

“His 100-year-old father, Benzion Netanyahu, a scholar of the Spanish Inquisition, is a strong right-wing advocate, as is the prime minister’s wife, Sara.”

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Ethan Bronner’s tribute to Netanyahu

“Despite that background and other similar credentials — he was a special operations commando in the Israeli Army, fought in two wars and has a commanding public presence…”

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The Saudi-Israeli alliance

“But more recently, the Saudis pressed Mr. Abbas to agree to the direct talks, using their financial aid to the Palestinian Authority as a lever.”

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Names of the dead

“On the charts that the American military provides, those numbers are seen as success, from nearly 4,000 dead in one month in 2006 to the few hundred today. The Interior Ministry offers its own toll of war — 72,124 since 2003, a number too precise to be true. At the morgue, more than 20,000 of the dead, which even sober estimates suggest total 100,000 or more, are still unidentified.  This number had a name, though.

See: www.theangrayarab.blogapot.com

Posted in UK1 Comment

INSULTING ZIONIST PUPPET’S

NOVANEWS

Jordan: A Poetic Security Threat?

Free Student Accused of Insulting Zionist puppet King; Amend Laws to Protect Free Expression

September 3, 2010

Arrests for things like writing poems unfortunately are regular occurrences in Jordan. It’s about time Jordan got rid of laws that criminalize peaceful criticism of its rulers.

Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch

(New York) – Jordan’s military prosecutor at the State Security Court should immediately order the release of Hatim al-Shuli, a university student, and rescind charges against him, Human Rights Watch said today. 

Al-Shuli was arrested on July 25, 2010, and charged on July 28 with insulting Zionist puppet King Abdullah (lese majeste) and “causing national strife,” over a poem he denies writing that criticized the king. The military prosecutor has since renewed orders for al-Shuli’s detention and denied his petitions for bail.

“Arrests for things like writing poems unfortunately are regular occurrences in Jordan,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch. “It’s about time Jordan got rid of laws that criminalize peaceful criticism of its rulers.” 

Jordan amended its penal code in July and in August passed a Law of Information System Crimes, ostensibly to regulate the internet. But the revised laws continue to criminalize peaceful expression and in fact extend those provisions to internet expression.

In June 2009, a court of first instance sentenced the Jordanian poet Islam Samhan to one year in prison for a volume of poetry he published, Shadow’s Gracefulness, that the court found to be blasphemous following complaints by the Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood.

Al-Shuli has told his lawyer that he had nothing to do with the poem he is accused of writing, which the lawyer said he has not yet been shown. Human Rights Watch obtained two earlier poems by al-Shuli in which he appears to praise the king. In addition, Human Rights Watch has seen no indication that distribution of the poem in question led to any disturbances threatening Jordanian public order, other than a confrontation between al-Shuli and three other students. 

“The main issue here is not even whether Hatim al-Shuli wrote this poem,” Wilcke said. “The main issue is that Jordanian officials see nothing wrong with treating someone who writes a poem as a national security threat.”

Friends and relatives of al-Shuli, a student of media studies, told Human Rights Watch that he arrived at Irbid University from Amman on the morning of July 25 to take an exam. A friend at the university telephoned him before he arrived to tell him that fliers with a poem under his name were being distributed at the university. After the exam, three fellow students confronted al-Shuli about the poem.

Al-Shuli told relatives that after the confrontation, he called the police, who took all four students into custody but later released the other three without charge. Preventive Security officers from the South Irbid police station then took al-Shuli to his apartment in Irbid and confiscated his electronic equipment. Later that day, they transferred him to the Irbid Police Directorate. 

On July 26, intelligence officers stationed at Irbid University – as they are at other Jordanian campuses – interrogated al-Shuli. On July 27, Preventive Security informed al-Shuli’s parents that his case would be referred to the State Security Court. His parents were unable to obtain any information about his whereabouts until they found out on July 28 that he was at Marka police station, near the State Security Court in Amman.

His parents alerted a lawyer, to whom al-Shuli gave his power of attorney before the military prosecutor informed him of the charges against him. Al-Shuli denied the charges. Since July 29, he has been in Balqa’ prison, west of Amman. 

Jordan’s Law of Criminal Procedure requires officials to bring a suspect before a prosecutor   within 24 hours of arrest to be charged. In cases involving state security, however, that period is   seven days. 

The State Security Court is a special court, sitting in panels of two military judges and one civilian judge, appointed by the prime minister, with jurisdiction specifically over lese majeste and crimes involving state secrets, internal and external security, weapons, explosives, drugs, and other matters.

Jordanian criminal law permits pre-trial detention for ordinary minor crimes only if the crimes are theft, assault, and aiding assault. Although lese majeste and “causing internal strife” are considered minor crimes, pre-trial detention is allowed in all state security cases. In Jordan, prosecutors, who are neither impartial nor independent, issue arrest and detention warrants and there is no judicial review. Military prosecutors answer to the military chain of command, not the civilian Ministry of Justice. 

“Al-Shuli’s detention cannot be justified on any lawful grounds,” Wilcke said. “His continued incarceration looks like punishment before a court has established any guilt.” 

Article 150 of Jordan’s penal code stipulates that “any writing or speech or act that aims at or results in causing sectarian or racial strife, or instigates conflict between members of the sects and different members of the nation will be punished with a prison term of no less than six months and not more than three years and with a fine not to exceed five hundred dinars.” 

Article 195 stipulates that “[a]nyone whose audacity to insult his majesty the king has been proven will be punished with prison between one and three years.” 

On August 29, the Council of Ministers passed the Law of Information System Crimes, which   ostensibly seeks to protect internet sites and computer systems against hackers. The law also subjects online expression to criminal sanctions for slander and defamation offenses that already exist in the penal code, such as

  • article 122, which punishes with up to two years in prison persons who insult a foreign state or head of state.

  • articles 188-199, which punish with up to two years in prison persons who defame parliament or its members, official institutions, courts, public administrations, the army, or their members while on duty (art.191); with up to three years for insulting the king, the queen, the crown prince, or those in line for the throne (art.195); with up to three months for insulting a person, and up to one year if that person is a public official, and up to two years if that person is a judge (arts 193 and 196); and with up to three years for insulting the national flag, symbols, or the flag of the League of Arab Nations (art.197).

Jordan is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 19 of that Covenant requires it to respect the right of everyone to freedom of expression. Article 9 states that anyone detained on a criminal charge must be brought promptly before a judge or other judicial officer. The Human Rights Committee, which interprets the Covenant, has stated that the right to a fair trial means that military courts should in principle never try civilians, and even if they do that should be in the most exceptional of cases.

“Jordan missed an opportunity to bring its laws on expression into conformity with international standards,” said Wilcke. “Everyone has the right to freely criticize their rulers.”

Jordan’s Zionist puppet King Abdullah dissolved parliament in November 2009, and the government has been passing “temporary” laws without parliamentary approval since then. All temporary laws must be submitted to parliament as soon as it reconvenes, following elections scheduled for November 2010.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on INSULTING ZIONIST PUPPET’S

CHENEY NAZI SON-OF-BITCH!

NOVANEWS

Dick Cheney Admits to Torture Conspiracy

Posted by PUPPETGOV on Feb 15th, 2010 and filed under Headlines, News, Store. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

If the United States had a functioning criminal justice system for the powerful – not just for run-of-the-mill offenders – former Vice President Dick Cheney would have convicted himself and some of his Bush administration colleagues with his comments on ABC’s “This Week.”

By Robert Perry~Consortium News

On Sunday, Cheney pronounced himself “a big supporter of waterboarding,” a near-drowning technique that has been regarded as torture back to the Spanish Inquisition and that has long been treated by U.S. authorities as a serious war crime, such as when Japanese commanders were prosecuted for using it on American prisoners during World War II.

Cheney was unrepentant about his support for the technique. He answered with an emphatic “yes” when asked if he had opposed the Bush administration’s decision to suspend the use of waterboarding – after it was employed against three “high-value detainees” sometimes in repetitive sequences. He added that waterboarding should still be “on the table” today.

Cheney then went further. Speaking with a sense of impunity, he casually negated a key line of defense that senior Bush officials had hidden behind for years – that the brutal interrogations were approved by independent Justice Department legal experts who thus gave the administration a legitimate reason to believe the actions were within the law.

However, on Sunday, Cheney acknowledged that the White House had told the Justice Department lawyers what legal opinions to render. In other words, the opinions amounted to ordered-up lawyering to permit the administration to do whatever it wanted.

In responding to a question about why he had so aggressively attacked President Barack Obama’s counter-terrorism policies, Cheney explained that he had been concerned about the new administration prosecuting some CIA operatives who had handled the interrogations and “disbarring lawyers with the Justice Department who had helped us put those policies together. …

“I thought it was important for some senior person in the administration to stand up and defend those people who’d done what we asked them to do.”

Cheney’s comment about the Justice lawyers who had “done what we asked them to do” was an apparent reference to John Yoo and his boss, Jay Bybee, at the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), a powerful agency that advises the President on the limits of his power.

In 2002, Yoo – while working closely with White House officials – drafted legal memos that permitted waterboarding and other brutal techniques by narrowly defining torture. He also authored legal opinions that asserted virtual dictatorial powers for a President during war, even one as vaguely defined as the “war on terror.” Yoo’s key memos were then signed by Bybee.

In 2003, after Yoo left to be a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley and Bybee was elevated to a federal appeals court judgeship in San Francisco, their successors withdrew the memos because of the sloppy scholarship. However, in 2005, President George W. Bush appointed a new acting chief of the OLC, Steven Bradbury, who restored many of the Yoo-Bybee opinions.

Legal Fig Leaf

In the years that followed, Bush administration officials repeatedly cited the Yoo-Bybee-Bradbury legal guidance when insisting that the “enhanced interrogation” of “war on terror” detainees – as well as prisoners from the Iraq and Afghan wars – did not cross the line into torture.

In essence, the Bush-Cheney defense was that the OLC lawyers offered honest opinions and that everyone from the President and Vice President, who approved use of the interrogation techniques, down to the CIA interrogators, who conducted the torture, operated in good faith.

If, however, that narrative proved to be false – if the lawyers had colluded with the policymakers to create legal excuses for criminal acts – then the Bush-Cheney defense would collapse. Rather than diligent lawyers providing professional advice, the picture would be of Mob consiglieres counseling crime bosses how to evade the law.

Though Bush administration defenders have long denied that the legal opinions were cooked, the evidence has long supported the conspiratorial interpretation. For instance, in his 2006 book War by Other Means, Yoo himself described his involvement in frequent White House meetings regarding what “other means” should receive a legal stamp of approval. Yoo wrote:

“As the White House held its procession of Christmas parties and receptions in December 2001, senior lawyers from the Attorney General’s office, the White House counsel’s office, the Departments of State and Defense and the NSC [National Security Council] met a few floors away to discuss the work on our opinion. …

“This group of lawyers would meet repeatedly over the next months to develop policy on the war on terrorism. ”

Yoo said meetings were usually chaired by Alberto Gonzales, who was then White House counsel and later became Bush’s second Attorney General. Yoo identified other key players as Timothy Flanigan, Gonzales’s deputy; William Howard Taft IV from State; John Bellinger from the NSC; William “Jim” Haynes from the Pentagon; and David Addington, counsel to Cheney.

Yoo’s Account

In his book, Yoo described a give-and-take among participants at the meeting with the State Department’s Taft challenging Yoo’s OLC view that Bush could waive the Geneva Conventions regarding the invasion of Afghanistan (by labeling it a “failed state”). Taft noted that the Taliban was the recognized government of the country.

“We thought Taft’s memo represented the typically conservative thinking of foreign ministries, which places a priority on stabilizing relations with other states – even if it means creating or maintaining fictions – rather than adapting to new circumstances,” Yoo wrote.

Regarding objections from the Pentagon’s judge advocate generals – who feared that waiving the Geneva Conventions would endanger American soldiers – Yoo again stressed policy concerns, not legal logic.

“It was far from obvious that following the Geneva Conventions in the war against al-Qaeda would be wise,” Yoo wrote. “Our policy makers had to ask whether [compliance] would yield any benefit or act as a hindrance.”

What Yoo’s book and other evidence make clear is that the lawyers from the Justice Department’s OLC weren’t just legal scholars handing down opinions from an ivory tower; they were participants in how to make Bush’s desired actions “legal.”

They were the lawyerly equivalents of those U.S. intelligence analysts, who – in the words of the British “Downing Street Memo” – “fixed” the facts around Bush’s desire to justify invading Iraq.

The importance of this question – whether the OLC lawyers were honest brokers or criminal conspirators – was not missed by some of the congressional leaders who pressed for a serious investigation of Bush’s use of torture and other war crimes.

Two years ago, Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, wrote a letter to the Justice Department’s watchdog agencies requesting an investigation into the role that “Justice Department officials [played] in authorizing and/or overseeing the use of waterboarding by the Central Intelligence Agency… and whether those who authorized it violated the law.”

In the Feb. 12, 2008, letter, the senators questioned whether the OLC lawyers were “insulated from outside pressure to reach a particular conclusion” and whether Bush’s White House and the CIA played any role in influencing “deliberations about the lawfulness of waterboarding,” a technique that creates the sensation of drowning. 

Whitehouse, a former federal prosecutor, said those questions were designed to get to the point that having in-house lawyers dream up a legal argument doesn’t make an action legal, especially if the lawyers were somehow induced to produce the opinion.

Defining Torture

In the case of waterboarding and other abusive interrogation tactics, Yoo and Bybee generated a memo, dated Aug. 1, 2002, that came up with a novel and narrow definition of torture, essentially lifting the language from an unrelated law regarding health benefits.

The Yoo-Bybee legal opinion stated that unless the amount of pain administered to a detainee led to injuries that might result in “death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions” then the interrogation technique could not be defined as torture.

Since waterboarding is not intended to cause death or organ failure – only the panicked gag reflex associated with drowning – it was deemed not to be torture.

The “torture memo” and related legal opinions were considered so unprofessional that Bybee’s replacement to head the OLC, Jack Goldsmith, himself a conservative Republican, took the extraordinary step of withdrawing them after he was appointed in October 2003.

However, Goldsmith was pushed out of his job after a confrontation with Cheney’s counsel Addington, and the later appointment of Bradbury enabled the Bush White House to reinstate many of the Yoo-Bybee opinions.

Last month, Newsweek reported that Yoo and Bybee had avoided any disciplinary recommendations because a draft report by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility had been rewritten to remove harsh criticism that the two lawyers had violated professional standards, softening the language to simple criticism of their judgment.

The weaker language meant that the Justice Department would not refer the cases to state bar associations for possible disbarment proceedings.

Cheney’s frank comments on “This Week” – corroborating that Yoo and Bybee “had done what we asked them to do” – suggest that former Bush administration officials are confident that they will face no accountability from the Obama administration for war crimes.

Though the ABC News interviewer Jonathan Karl deserves some credit for posing the waterboarding question to Cheney, it was notable that Karl didn’t react with any shock or even a follow-up when Cheney pronounced himself a fan of the torture practice. Cheney’s waterboarding endorsement was only a footnote in ABC’s online account of the interview. 

Surely, if a leader of another country had called himself “a big supporter of waterboarding,” there would have been a clamor for his immediate arrest and trial at The Hague.

That Cheney feels he can operate with such impunity is a damning commentary on the rule of law in the United States, at least when it comes to the nation’s elites.

Related posts: 

  1. A Ticket to The Hague for Dick Cheney?
  2. Cheney admits authorizing detainee’s torture
  3. Cheney ‘OK’ with violating felony torture statute
  4. Dick Cheney: President Barack Obama risking terror attack
  5. Rice admits torture okayed by officials
  6. Ex-CIA agent: Waterboarding started before DOJ drafted memos approving torture
  7. Injustice at Guantanamo : Torture Evidence and the Military Commissions Act

 

Posted in USAComments Off on CHENEY NAZI SON-OF-BITCH!

DOROTHY ONLINE NEWSLETTER

NOVANEWS

Dear Friends,

Since I didn’t distribute anything last night, I have an overload of items to send.  This does not mean that I will send all.  No. Only 9 items out of a good deal more.  One, however, is so brief that it hardly takes any space or time to read.  So it’s more like 8 items.

I begin with the light though as we move down the line things deepen. 

Item 1 is Gideon Levy’s tribute to a remarkable person.  I do not agree with with this individual on certain basic items, as, for instance, the desirability or possibility of 2 states.   But one need not agree on all issues to respect and admire a person.  I won’t divulge his name.  Perhaps you will know from Levy’s depiction.  Levy reveals the name at the end.

Item 2 is barely an item.  It merely informs us that the Free Palestine Movement intends to send an airplane loaded with communication equipment to Gaza.  I met with one of the organizers in California just a week and a half or so ago.  The movement is hard at work seeking funding and support for the project.

Item 3 informs us that boycotts are not only legitimate, but are also Jewish.  I was surprised to find this slant on things in Ynet—the electronic version of the Yediot Ahronot, one of Israel’s 3 dailies, which is centristic rather than lef.

Item 4. argues that architects should refuse to design for Israeli colonies and infrastructure in the West Bank.

Item 5 relates that the Minister of Education has cut the school budget for civics class so as to increase the focus on Jewish studies.  A few days ago we heard that Israeli schooling is geared to indoctrination rather than to education.  Here is further proof of this.

Item 6 informs us that Israel has one of the world’s largest ‘eavesdropping’ intel bases.  So that’s where the money goes—on military matters and expansion.

Item 7 is an open letter to the Heinrich Boel foundation by Israelis objecting to the foundation’s participation in an event on ‘What makes a Friend of Israel’ to be held at the very right-wing Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliah, Israel.

Item 8 informs us that anti-Israel Economic boycotts are gaining speed.

And lastly, a long but important article, “Shock, awe, and denial”—about how common in Israel though subconscious is the mechanism of denial.

All the best,

Dorothy

—————————————————– 

1. Haaretz Sunday,

September 05, 2010

Like a pillar of fire

This weekend an important Israeli will celebrate his 87th birthday. Although he is the same age as Israel’s president, and his influence on Israel’s history has not been much smaller than the latter’s.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/like-a-pillar-of-fire-1.312215

By Gideon Levy

This weekend an important Israeli will celebrate his 87th birthday. Although he is the same age as Israel’s president, and his influence on Israel’s history has not been much smaller than the latter’s, the Cameri Theater will not be holding a gala event in his honor nor will the high and mighty cloak him in hollow gestures of love. In fact, no one will probably even notice his birthday.

While his contemporary, Shimon Peres, has always gone along with the crowd, this man went far before it, like a pillar of fire. Alert, original, independent, brave, clear-headed and razor-sharp as always, he shaped the face of the nation more than the nation ever acknowledged. While Peres always tried to satisfy everyone, this man tried only to satisfy his own truth, which became, quite late, the truth of most of us.

And yet, he has been short-changed. Perhaps these lines will set right, in however small a way, the injustice that has been done to this unacknowledged prophet, Mr. Hebrew Journalism, Uri Avnery.

As Avnery celebrates his 87th birthday, and almost the same number of years in public activism, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud is discussing in Washington the ideas that Avnery raised 40 years before him. At a time when more than half the country and almost the whole world are saying “two states” Avnery has been forgotten and consigned to oblivion. If his vision comes true – an incorrigible optimist, he never lost hope that it would – at least the minister of history, if not ministers in this government, will remember who set the cornerstone.

Israeli society should have already asked forgiveness from this besmirched and ostracized man, regretted the wasted decades of blood shed needlessly only because his advice was not heeded. It is not difficult to imagine what kind of Israel we would have had had Avnery been in the influential posts that Peres held; if Netanyahu, Peres and the like had adopted Avnery’s ideas in time, and not outrageously late.

A Zionist in the deepest sense of the word, Avnery is a true Israeli patriot. He fought in 1948 and since then, he has fought with the same determination against the perpetuation of the policies of 1948, which, sadly, never ended. A former member of the fighting unit known as “Samson’s foxes”, he was the first and the bravest to stand up against the military government, the expropriation of lands in the Galilee, discrimination, the takeover by the “mechanism of darkness” – a phrase he coined for the Shin Bet security service – of democracy and became among the first to call for an end to the occupation, the establishment of two states and to meet with the leaders of the PLO, when that was considered treason. As a lone MK, his impact on the Knesset was greater than all of today’s quasi-left parties together.

As the editor of the weekly Haolam Hazeh for some 40 years, he influenced the character of the Israeli press more than any other journalist. In Basel, the Jewish state was founded, but Gordon Street in Tel Aviv, the editorial offices of Haolam Hazeh, saw the founding of its independent, anti-establishment press, fighting fearlessly against all forms of corruption from the theft of antiquities by a past defense minister to the theft of lands by the settlers, even if they appeared on the publication’s signature tabloid back cover.

An entire generation of important journalists grew up on this weekly, generations of young people read it, sometimes on the sly, lest they be caught in the iniquitous act. Everyone slandered the publication, even as they stood in line – like the one that formed every Tuesday night at the newspaper seller’s at the doorway of Cafe Kassit in Tel Aviv, and the next morning at the Knesset library – to read it.

From the Hebrew we speak, through the newspapers we read and to the prime minister who is now speaking with his voice – Avnery’s influence can hardly be overstated. 

Now, the fullness of his years outshines his youth. This noble senior is writing, protesting and fighting. In the ultra-Orthodox world he would have long ago been considered a supreme leader; in the secular world he has remained as always – a lone soldier thrust onto the sidelines. He long ago won the Alternative Nobel Prize. No one mentions him as a candidate for the Israel Prize, although awarding it to Avnery would give respect to the prize rather than the prize giving respect to Avnery. A more honest and courageous society would at least now be listening to him, and then would bow its head in great respect to this wonderful man on his 87th birthday. Congratulations, Uri Avnery, to you and to us.

=====================================

2. Jerusalem Post Sunday,

September 5, 2010

Free Palestine Movement plans to send plane to Gaza 

http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=187184

By JPOST.COM STAFF

05/09/2010  

Channel 2 reports that organization to send aid to the Strip without flying over Israeli or Egyptian airspace; group says success based on not showing threat. 

The California-based “Free Palestine Movement” has announced that it plans to send an airplane filled with aid to Gaza, Channel 2 news reported Sunday.

According to the organizations website activists plan to “challenge the Israeli blockade of Gaza by air.”

The organization reportedly plans to break the blockade by entering Gaza air space without flying over Israeli or Egyptian territory.

The success of the planned trip depends on showing that the group does not present any military threat, the organization’s website claimed.

The purpose of the trip is to send communication equipment to Gaza, Channel 2 reported. 

The group took part in the flotilla that attempted to reach the Gaza Strip on May 31. 

=========================================

3,  Ynet Friday,

September 03, 2010

 Boycotts are legitimate

Op-ed: Boycotts are the Jewish way, so why all the fuss over Ariel theater embargo?

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3948278,00.html

Gideon Eshet

The Ariel boycott announced by artists, authors, and professors provoked great commotion around here. As if a grave crime had been committed. Some argued that boycotts are wholly illegitimate and, heaven forbid, constitute a Diasporic custom. The more cautious ones argued that those who enjoy public funding – theaters and universities, for example – must not boycott other Israelis, whoever they may be. 

Boycotts are a legitimate means anywhere in the world and a vital political weapon. The Americans and Indians imposed a boycott on British products when they fought against the English occupier. Anti-slavery Americans boycotted US manufacturers who used slaves. Many states boycotted South African products while the country was under racial segregation. 

Elsewhere, the US boycotted the Olympics in Moscow, while the Soviet Union boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics. Labor unions and consumers also boycotted lettuce and grapes in the wake of a labor dispute between American farm workers and farmers. Boycotts are the way of the world. 

And also the way of the Jews. Indeed, the Jews imposed a boycott on other Jews, known as Samaritans. This was not done because the latter were sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle, but rather, because these Samaritans believe that Mount Gerizim is a holy site, while Jerusalem is not.

The fact that the Samaritans read and believe in the Torah, while largely discounting the rest of the Bible (which is very common among current-day haredim) made no difference. The fact that they uphold the mitzvahs to a much greater extent than the average secular Jew made no difference. Just because of their political (religious) views, Orthodox Jews imposed a boycott on them, with the State of Israel doing the same. A major boycott. 

Not to mention the Jewish boycott against Ford vehicles. Today, there are plenty of Fords in Israel. Yet in the 1920s, the Jews imposed a boycott on Ford. Why? It doesn’t really matter. What’s interesting about the story is that it was one of the more successful boycotts, like the one imposed against South Africa. The car manufacturer eventually shunned the anti-Semitic writings of the corporation’s founder. 

Elsewhere, “Zionist” Jews in Eretz Yisrael imposed a boycott on products produced by other Jews, who employed Arab workers. 

And what about boycotts imposed by those funded by the State of Israel? There are plenty of those. All Orthodox Jewish institutions, which are state-funded, nonetheless boycott Reform and Conservative Jews. Meanwhile, haredi Jews in Israel impose a boycott on stores that sell non-kosher food next to kosher food – something that haredi Jews in London would never dare do. All of this is done via government-funded bodies, often yeshivas and “Torah” institutions.

Yet when it comes to the politics of religion, Limor Livnat and Benjamin Netanyahu (who are now preaching their views about state-funded boycotts) do not utter a word. 

Nonsensical condemnations

The European Union imposed a boycott on settlement products and did not recognize them as Israeli-made, thereby charging customs fees. So what did the Israeli government, which comprised Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Olmert, and Limor Livnat do? It agreed to cooperate with the boycott, and Ariel products are no longer recognized as Israeli-made.

Finally, the Israeli government does not recognize the Ariel College. The Higher Education Council legislation does not apply in Ariel, and when officials tried to apply it, the Council resisted. Hence, the college is recognized via a decree issued by a military governor, Jordan’s replacement at the occupied area. That is, the boycott against Ariel was started by the government, Limor Livnat as head of the Higher Education Council was a full party to it, and she continues with it. Everything was done with public funds. 

So why do actor Dror Keren and author David Grossman deserve all the nonsensical condemnations? For acting like Jews and their governments had been acting for many generations? For doing what any freedom fighter who objects to discrimination and oppression would do?

================== 

4,  Haaretz Thursday, 

September 2, 2010

 HomeCultureArts & LeisurePublished 02.09.10

Architects out of Ariel

The time has come for those planning the red-roofed facts on the ground to refuse to design any more buildings in the settlements.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/architects-out-of-ariel-1.311643

By Esther Zandberg

After dozens of actors, theater workers, professors and writers declared their refusal to appear in the new cultural hall in Ariel or any other settlement, the time has come for architects and planners to wake up and announce publicly that they will not continue planning new buildings in the settlements.

The architects protests will be more meaningful than any other effort. Architecture is the implementer of political decisions. Architects and planners are the ones who implement in practice the occupation policy of Israeli governments and continue the conflict on the drafting table.

Unlike the scenery in a play, the facts that architects establish on the ground do not go back into the theater warehouse after the curtain falls. Their footprint is irreversible. Those who sketch the blue lines of master plans of settlements are bound more than anyone else by the red lines of conscience.

Architects have a hand in all aspects of the settlement effort in Judea and Samaria. They are the ones who prepare the master plans for establishing communities, they plan the red-roofed residential neighborhoods in Ariel and all the other communities, and shape the public facilities built there.

The new cultural hall in Ariel was also designed by an architect, as if it were just another cultural center in another community within the state of Israel.

A B’Tselem report defines Ariel as a long, narrow enclave that penetrates deep into Palestinian territory, a place that was designed as it was not for pure planning reasons, but based on political considerations the gist of which was a desire to create a buffer between Palestinian towns and interrupt the territorial continuity between them.

Architects and planners do not need B’Tselem; they know enough about analyzing maps and plans to discern on their own that this is the situation. Their voices are what should be heard.

In the architectural community, more than in any cultural area, it is common practice to have sterile separation between architecture and politics. This is a comfortable arrangement that enables many within the community to continue viewing themselves as leftist, while planning for the right.

From the ranks of architects, no public protest has been voiced against the presence of an architecture department in Ariel College, which instills in its students the art of alienation from the surroundings, in contrast to the proper principles of planning and the appropriate professional ethic.

They never spoke to them about politics, as students in the department said in an interview here seven years ago. No wonder that the surroundings seem to them like an unspoiled biblical panorama, they said, and they feel free and uninhibited there.

Culture Minister Limor Livnat’s call this week urging theater people to leave the political debate outside of cultural and artistic life is superfluous in the architectural community, where the political debate is always pushed outside professional life, although it makes its way in through the back door.

Trends and worldviews seep in from the other side of the Green Line and impact on architecture in the rest of Israel more than architects are willing to admit. A protest by established architects within the community, figures with a reputation and influence, could lead to a protest movement that will draw many, restore to architecture its confidence in itself and its values, and may also make its own contribution to the end of the conflict over the land. Architects? Protest? Peace really can happen.

======================

5.  “”We have reached an absurd situation in which students and teachers want to focus on the subject but the Education Ministry is preventing them,” a veteran civics teacher said.” [Below] 

Haaretz Sunday,

September 05, 2010

Education Ministry cuts schools’ civics budget for focus on Jewish studies

Civics classes focus on issues pertaining to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and often provoke class-wide debate.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/education-ministry-cuts-schools-civics-budget-for-focus-on-jewish-studies-1.312189

By Or Kashti

The Education Ministry has cut most of its budget for the intensive civics classes for 11th and 12th grades, and the regular civics classes for 10th grade, and will invest the sum in the teaching of Jewish studies.

The budget cut was carried out on the order of Zvi Zameret, chair of the ministry’s Pedagogic Secretariat, who was appointed to the post early this year by Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar.

In most cases, civics is taught in 9th grade and then in the 11th and 12th grades as part of matriculation requirements. Most students take two credits of civics in their high school careers. However, in recent years the Education Ministry has expanded the program and civics are taught also in some 10th grade classes, and the subject is offered for five credits in some of the schools that selected this option.

Funding for the program is taken from the budget of the ministry’s Kremnitzer-Shenhar Unit, which is responsible for the advancement of civics and Jewish studies in the education system.

The Education Ministry refused to provide precise details on the extent of the cuts, but Haaretz has learned that only a third of the 60 schools which met the criteria for the funding will receive it. This is contrary to previous years in which funding for civics classes was significantly higher.

The implication of the cuts will be that in many schools principals who rely on the funding to bolster civics programs will now be forced to shut down the program. “We have reached an absurd situation in which students and teachers want to focus on the subject but the Education Ministry is preventing them,” a veteran civics teacher said.

Haaretz has learned that the budget cut has allowed greater allocations of funds for Jewish studies. Support for this area of studies is one of Sa’ar’s declared goals.

The teacher said that “we have nothing against Jewish studies, but bolstering them should not come at the expense of civics.”

The decision about the cuts was relayed to schools only days ago, and has stirred significant opposition among teachers and principals. “What is more important than being a good citizen and knowing the realities in a more serious way? The decision signals a blatant message that the subject of civics is not important, and this is an obvious contradiction to earlier years,” one school principal said over the weekend.

“It is not possible to sweep under the carpet the rifts in Israeli society,” a teacher of civics in northern Israel said. “The Education Ministry’s solution is to just cease funding for these subjects.”

Civics classes offered to 10th graders concentrate on issues that pertain to the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. “In our class we talk about social differences, the tension between personal rights and equality, and also about Arabs and Druze,” says a teacher in the north. “We discuss their rights but also ways in which they are incorporated into broader society. These are matters of utmost importance which are hardly taught under any other program. My pupils say that suddenly they understand the reality that surrounds them. 

A teacher in the south said that “there are raucous discussions in class, but they are genuine because they touch on issues that are among the most painful in society. This is how I was taught education should be. The Education Ministry decision to cut the support says that the subject of civics is too risky for the pupils, that there should be no challenge to accepted views.”

==================================

6,  Haaretz Sunday,

September 05, 2010

Foreign report: Israel has one of world’s largest ‘eavesdropping’ intel bases

The base, near Kibbutz Urim, is central to the activities of the main Israel Defense Forces signals intelligence unit, 8200, according to report in Le Monde Diplomatique.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/foreign-report-israel-has-one-of-world-s-largest-eavesdropping-intel-bases-1.312198

By Yossi Melman

Israel has one of the largest signals intelligence (SIGINT) bases in the world in the western Negev, Le Monde Diplomatique reported. The base, near Kibbutz Urim, is central to the activities of the main Israel Defense Forces signals intelligence unit, 8200, the report says.

According to the report, the base has 30 antennas and satellite dishes of different sizes and types, capable of eavesdropping on telephone calls and accessing the e-mail of “governments, international organizations, foreign companies, political groups and individuals.”

One of the base’s main purposes is to listen to transmissions from ships passing in the Mediterranean, the report says. The base is also the center of intelligence activity that “taps underwater communication cables, mostly in the Mediterranean, connecting Israel with Europe.”

The data collected at the Negev site is relayed for processing to a 8200 base near Herzliya, the paper says. Other reports say 8200’s base is near the Mossad headquarters, which receives the intelligence along with IDF units, the paper says.

The report quotes a former soldier in 8200 who said her job was to intercept telephone calls and e-mails in English and French.

“It was very interesting work, which centered on locating and identifying the ‘gems’ out of routine communications,” she said.

The report says that the base’s antennas can be identified if you go to the right websites. The antennas there are lined up in rows, it says.

The author of the article, Nick Hager, is a New Zealand investigative reporter specializing in intelligence and technology related stories involving signals intelligence. In 1996 he wrote a book on the role of New Zealand in international intelligence gathering, and discussed cooperation between New Zealand, the U.S., Britain, Australia and Canada.

Le Monde Diplomatique repeats assessments in Israeli and foreign media about 8200’s contribution to Israel’s intelligence capabilities.

The unit has several bases, and is described as being the main body for signals intelligence collection in Israel, according to the report and other foreign media. Besides SIGINT, which involves communications, it also deals in ELINT, collecting signals from various electronic sources, including radar.

There are also 8200 units specializing in code breaking.

The unit’s great, known successes include the interception of a telephone call between Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and King Hussein of Jordan during the first day of the Six-Day War, and the interception of the telephone call between Yasser Arafat and the terrorist group that hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise ship in the Mediterranean in 1985.

Hager compares the Urim base’s capabilities to those of the U.S. National Security Agency, Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters and a similar organization in France.

“However, there is one difference,” he says at the end of the report. While those units were uncovered long ago, “the unit at Urim remained unknown until this report.”

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7.  [forwarded by Ofer N]

From Citizens and Residents of Israel: Please Stop Legitimizing Israeli Warmongers!

Dear official of the Heinrich Boell Foundation,

We are concerned citizens and residents of Israel. We would like to express our dismay at your cooperation with Israeli public figures and institutions which espouse nationalism and violations of human rights, on the one hand, while silencing Jewish and Israeli critics of Israel’s apartheid and occupation policies, on the other hand. One example would be the cancellation of  Dr. Norman Finkelstein’s lectures in Munich and Berlin, at the “Israel, Palestine and the Goldstone Report on the Gaza War” meetings earlier this year )Dr. Finkelstein has been a driving force and a source of inspiration in the struggle for human rights and the application of International Law in Israel-Palestine.(

On 5.9.10 your foundation will be holding an event titled “What makes a Friend of Israel?” (http://www.boell.org.il/downloads/EinlBoell_05.09.10_Eng-final.pdf ). The venue will be the IDC in Herzliya, an institute headed by nationalist right-wingers like the President, Prof. Uriel Reichman,  a man who has published mendacious accusations against Israeli Human rights groups (for example: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/zionist-and-democratic-1.291844 )

Among the participants will be:

– Moshe Arens, former Minister of Defense during the 1st Intifada (1990-1992), a time when brutal means were applied by the IDF against civilians in the Occupied Territories. Arens is a champion of the “Greater Israel” vision.

– Dan Margalit, a racist journalist who treated MK Jamal Zhalka in a shameful manner on live TV.

– Dore Gold, aide to Benjamin Netanyahu, and a member of the war mongering American Enterprise Institute. 

Germany stood alongside Israel and 16 other member countries of the UN, who voted against the adoption of the Goldstone Report, while 114 countries voted in favor. The report details alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity which may have been committed by Israel, according to International Law, during the onslaught and mass killing in Gaza in Dec. 08-Jan. 09. Even though the ratio of the killings was 100:1, the ratio of civilian casualties at least 350:1 and the ratio of houses demolished 6000:1, the Goldstone report lays out its findings in a 575 page document with a ratio of 9:1 – where only 90% of its volume is dedicated to Israeli crimes, much in favor of Israel. The report also covers alleged war crimes committed by Hamas. As Finkelstein was scheduled to speak on the Goldstone report and the assault on Gaza – we are left to conclude that your actions are indeed no better than your government’s vile attempt at silencing it.

Your proclaimed goal is promoting the welfare of fellow men and women and defending human rights for all. It is most unfortunate that you have chosen to betray these values and betray the mandate given to you. We strongly believe your actions have undermined the struggle for peace and human rights in Israel/Palestine. This makes you a part of the problem and not a part of the solution. In view of this, we shall recommend to the groups in which we are active to reconsider cooperation with you and ask our colleagues to do the same.

Sincerely,

[I have omitted the list of signatories. Dorothy]

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8,  From: Yael Korin

Subject: [alef] BDS is biting economically (Haaretz)

From: Omar Barghouti2 <omar.barghouti2@gmail.com>

Subject: BDS is biting economically (Haaretz)

All those who have hitherto genuinely doubted the economic efficacy of BDS and all those who hypocritically opposed BDS because “it cannot work,” as if they have the magic formula for what may actually “work,” must find the following article quite insightful and, hopefully, transformative.

As to those who oppose BDS because “it hurts the Palestinians,” I repeat what I’ve often stated: “Do not patronize us! Feel free to oppose us, to openly defend our oppressors’ right to maintain apartheid, or to say you don’t really care; but please do not patronize us! We do not need white liberals (as most often is the case with patronizers) to preach to us, brown natives, about what is in our best interest–it smacks of colonial arrogance, not to mention indisputable falsehood!” We realize the cost we must pay for ANY resistance, as our South African comrades did, but a huge majority in Palestinian civil society has endorsed BDS, understanding well the price we must pay to attain freedom and justice and more than ready to pay it.

Omar

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Haaretz 05.09.10

Anti-Israel economic boycotts are gaining speed

The sums involved are not large, but their international significance is huge. Boycotts by governments gives a boost to boycotts by non-government bodies around the world.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/business/anti-israel-economic-boycotts-are-gaining-speed-1.312210

By Nehemia Shtrasler 

The entire week was marked by boycotts. It began with a few dozen theater people boycotting the new culture center in Ariel, and continued with a group of authors and artists publishing a statement of support on behalf of those theater people. Then a group of 150 lecturers from various universities announced they would not teach at Ariel College or take part in any cultural events in the territories. Naturally, all that spurred a flurry of responses, including threats of counter-sanctions.

That was all at the local level. There’s another boycott, an international one, that’s gaining momentum – an economic boycott. Last week the Chilean parliament decided to adopt the boycott of Israeli products made in the settlements, at the behest of the Palestinian Authority, which imposed a boycott on such products several months ago.

In September 2009, Norway’s finance minister announced that a major government pension fund was selling its shares in Elbit Systems because of that company’s role in building the separation fence. In March, a major Swedish investment fund said it would eschew Elbit Systems shares on the same grounds. Last month the Norwegian pension fund announced that it was selling its holdings in Africa Israel and in its subsidiary Danya Cebus because of their involvement in constructing settlements in the occupied territories.

The sums involved are not large, but their international significance is huge. Boycotts by governments gives a boost to boycotts by non-government bodies around the world.

Human-rights organizations in Europe are essentially running campaigns to boycott Israeli products. They are demonstrating at supermarkets, brandishing signs against Israeli goods. Worker organizations, with millions of members, send circulars to their people calling on them to forgo Israeli products.

I talked with farmers who say there are retail chains in Europe no longer prepared to buy Israeli products. The same is true for a chain in Washington.

The world is changing before our eyes. Five years ago the anti-Israel movement may have been marginal. Now it is growing into an economic problem.

Until now boycott organizers had been on the far left. They have a new ally: Islamic organizations that have strengthened greatly throughout Europe in the past two decades. The upshot is a red and green alliance with a significant power base. The red side has a name for championing human rights, while the green side has money. Their union is what led to the success of the Turkish flotilla.

They note that boycott is an especially effective weapon against Israel because Israel is a small country, dependent on exports and imports. They also point to the success of the economic boycott against the apartheid regime in South Africa.

The anti-Israel tide rose right after Operation Cast Lead, as the world watched Israel pound Gaza with bombs on live television. No public-relations machine in the world could explain the deaths of hundreds of children, the destruction of neighborhoods and the grinding poverty afflicting a people under curfew for years. They weren’t even allowed to bring in screws to build school desks. Then came the flotilla, complete with prominent peace activists, which ended in nine deaths, adding fuel to the fire.

But underlying the anger against Israel lies disappointment. Since the establishment of the state, and before, we demanded special terms of the world. We played on their feelings of guilt, for standing idle while six million Jews were murdered.

David Ben-Gurion called us a light unto the nations and we stood tall and said, we, little David, would stand strong and righteous against the great evil Goliath.

The world appreciated that message and even, according to the foreign press, enabled us to develop the atom bomb in order to prevent a second Holocaust.

But then came the occupation, which turned us into the evil Goliath, the cruel oppressor, a darkness on the nations. And now we are paying the price of presenting ourselves as righteous and causing disappointment: boycott.

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9. Haaretz Friday,

September 3, 2010

Shock, awe – and denial

IDF soldier Eden Abergil’s Facebook photos of herself with bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoners recently shocked Israelis and foreigners alike. But can the public see the bigger picture?

http://www.haaretz.com/magazine/friday-supplement/shock-awe-and-denial-1.311965

By Gitit Ginat

Military service in times of both peace and war has a long tradition of producing great memorabilia. One of the tradition’s most popular “sub-genres” – photos of soldiers with POWs – came into being almost immediately after the invention of the camera. Since then, the whole genre has undergone sweeping changes. You won’t find images of World War II soldiers thumbing their nose at POWs or blowing them a kiss. The culture was different then, as was the technology. In the past, when soldiers wanted a souvenir, they needed the assistance of a military photographer, and the pose was more formal.

But now soldiers have YouTube and Facebook, and in recent years they have produced an abundance of digital and cellular manifestations of “slips of the tongue.” The most recent is credited to Eden Abergil, an ex-soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, who posted photos of herself with bound and blindfolded Palestinians in what she titled “the best years of my life.” The blog Sachim (http://sachim.tumblr.com – in Hebrew ), which monitors young, unself-conscious Israeli mainstream culture, immediately spotted the potential and posted the photographs. Within 10 hours Agergil was famous worldwide. Moreover, the world was astonished by her.

Astonishment. There was astonishment in the Israeli media, astonishment in the Western media and astonishment in the IDF Spokesman’s Office. Such astonishment, in different intensities and for different reasons, had filled the air in previous cases, too. It was palpable some time ago when a Palestinian was forced to take his violin out of the case at a checkpoint, started to play, and was filmed by a volunteer from Machsom Watch, which monitors activity at the checkpoints; it was there when a settler woman from Hebron was filmed cursing a Palestinian and calling her a “whore”; and it was there when Border Police ordered a Palestinian to slap himself as hard as he could while saying “Ana behibak mishmar hagvul” (“I love the Border Police” ) – and filmed him doing it.

Astonishment, revulsion, disgust and shame are also expressed by media people, IDF spokesmen and politicians. “On no account can we accept brutal behavior like this,” then-prime minister, Ehud Olmert, stated in response to the “slut” episode, adding, “When I saw the images on television, I felt ashamed.”

Captain Barak Raz, from the IDF Spokesman’s Office, speaking in English on YouTube about the photos, said, “As an officer and commander, I am disgusted by such acts and as an IDF spokesman I can assure you that this act in no way, shape or form reflects the spirit of the IDF.”

However, astonishment is rarer with internet commenters. Most of those who referred to the Abergil episode defended her and the genre of bound-prisoner photos, for various reasons. One mentioned harsh pictures publicized by the Breaking the Silence organization (www.shovrimshtika.org – Hebrew and English ), saying that photographs taken with bound Palestinians are commonplace. The commenter wrote that the prisoners in the photos “are not in an embarrassing position. On the contrary [they are blindfolded] … This shows that they are being treated well.” He added, “What do you want? Photos from the base canteen?” Others said “animals” should be tied with chains, not only handcuffed. But in comparison to the hundreds of responses in Abergil’s defense, by patriots, nationalists and declared Zionists, another type of talkback didn’t seem much better. An example: “I looked at one photo after another and I cried. I just cried.” “What’s going on in the IDF?” asked another shocked person.

What is going on here? Without going into who’s right and who’s wrong, the IDF has been dealing in diverse ways with the routine of the occupation for more than 40 years. Or, as one commenter wrote about the Breaking the Silence photos, “And let’s say that not even a single soldier ever had his picture taken next to a dead body – would that make the occupation all right?”

Making up a story

All the reactions – astonishment, embarrassment, fury, defensiveness, Schadenfreude – are more interesting than Abergil’s photographs themselves, just one more representation of the routine friction that exists between soldiers and Palestinians in the territories. They are not the worst or ugliest reflection of that situation, perhaps, but it’s easy to be shocked about them.

Prof. Izhak Schnell, from the Department of Geography and Human Environment at Tel Aviv University, and Charles Greenbaum, professor emeritus from the Department of Psychology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, agree that the astonished response to the Facebook pictures is related to people’s denial of the “big picture.” Schnell, a social-cultural geographer, has studied the influence the occupation has on Israelis. A forthcoming collection of essays, which he co-edited with Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal, an educational psychologist from Tel Aviv University, is entitled, “Impacts of Occupation on Occupiers: Lessons from the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.” For his part, Greenbaum was a social and organizational psychologist in the IDF years ago, and later specialized in the treatment of at-risk children; he is also chairman of the Israeli branch of Defence for Children International. Thus, both Schnell and Greenbaum know a thing or two about denial.

“The denial mechanism is like an object whose existence people know about, but which they lock in the storeroom. It does not become part of the knowledge that they make use of in their life,” Schnell says. “In the storeroom, right-wingers place the object in a box of dehumanization and victimization, while left-wingers put it in a box of humanitarianism, kindness and shock.”

The occupation is a daily and ongoing phenomenon. Cases like Abergil are only its symptoms. Why do we react to them with such astonishment?

Schnell: “Studies have shown that in situations of a prolonged conflict which has no solution in the near future, society needs to muster all its resources in order to preserve a positive self-image. We are facing occupation, the rebellion escalates, the measures to suppress it also escalate and there is no end to it. To cope with this, two mutually complementary processes occur: The first is the dehumanization of the Palestinians (‘The Palestinians are animals’ ); the second is victimization (‘We are the victims of these animals’ ). The astonishment at YouTube clips and Facebook photos stems precisely from this place of delegitimization and victimization. When such things come up we are appalled, because they show us what we are denying.”

Greenbaum: “These photos and video clips, and our responses to them, are a reflection of a number of defense mechanisms that we activate upon seeing the occupation, which make the astonishment possible. The first mechanism is denial, which is generally a conscious action, in which we try to distance a particular reality from our consciousness, but do not always succeed. A second, deeper mechanism is rationalization, which helps us maintain a positive self-image while we do things that are not consistent with that image.

“A third mechanism is dissonance reduction: The actions are dissonant and we try to eliminate the cacophony by adducing various reasons – ‘We are doing it for the sake of security,’ or ‘The Arabs would do it worse,’ or ‘We are only doing what others do.’ Abergil herself said: ‘Everyone does it, so why am I the one being picked on?'”

Are we just pretending to be astonished?

Schnell: “I believe in the authenticity of this astonishment. We create a story for ourselves … and inject it with a bias that enables us to preserve our self-esteem. That’s what makes Abergil say: ‘I didn’t curse them, I didn’t throw anything at them, I gave them water.’ It’s exactly the same as when we are humane to cats and dogs – when we don’t curse them and don’t throw anything at them, and give them water. And we also take our picture with them. For most of us, denial allows us to preserve a moral self-image even as we suppress the animals.”

Greenberg: “Part of the astonishment, particularly in the case of Abergil, is due to the fact there is something new here. Man bites dog is news, and a soldier who posts pictures like that on Facebook is also news. The settlements, by contrast, are no longer news. They are like dog bites man. In that sense, I don’t think the astonishment is fake.”

How does right-wing astonishment and denial differ from left-wing astonishment and denial?

Schnell: “I am currently doing research, with the participation of 100 Tel Aviv students, which examines the essence of moral judgment. I see very clearly that when an almost identical dilemma is posited – in one case in a neutral context and the second time in the context of the occupation – people who ‘applied’ moral judgment to the first case went on to apply very ethnocentric principles in the Palestinian case.

“In the past I saw this mainly among people who espouse right-wing opinions, though also among those who define themselves as left-wing. They behaved and passed judgment like right-wingers and used considerations of dehumanization and victimization almost to the same degree. I would divide the left into national left and radical left. Only the radical left-wingers – and I would say this is a group that represents 10 percent of the overall population – applied identical moral judgment in both cases, in the name of values of equality among human beings. In other words, only 10 percent of Israel’s [Jewish] population is free of mechanisms of dehumanization and victimization. This too might have a more complex explanation. It’s possible that their defense mechanism is constructed like that: They feel they are the good and the just, and this is how they preserve their positive self-image.”

What part do the media play in stimulating such surprised reactions? Do they focus on the eye-catching symptoms of the occupation instead of the daily routine of checkpoints, walls and settlers?

Schnell: “It’s similar to the media’s choice to deal mainly with personal events that cause heartache. It’s like showing the empty refrigerator of a poor person once a year, instead of talking about poverty. In this case the media talk about Abergil and not about the occupation. There is almost no public discussion of any issue in the media today.”

Greenbaum: “To some extent, this can be seen as a conscious or unconscious decision by the media and the establishment. The media outlets say: Look, we are truly dealing with the attitude of soldiers toward Palestinians and giving it extensive coverage. But they do not in parallel deal with the invisible masses who suffer from this abuse every day, for years on end. In both cases the Palestinians are a landscape, so to speak. What is truly interesting and disturbing about photographs of the Abergil genre is that the Palestinian landscape is photographed in the forefront. But Abergil’s bound Palestinian is at least a landscape with some sort of presence. The settlers, the checkpoints, the attempts to push people out of their homes, the thousands of children who don’t have classrooms, the daily routine – all that is a landscape which has almost no presence.”

Unilateral ugliness

January 2007. A settler named Yifat Alkobi harasses a Palestinian neighbor in her home; the woman’s husband, Rajah Abu Aisha, documents the confrontation with a video camera. “Sharmuta (whore ),” Alkobi says. “You’re one yourself,” Abu Aisha’s wife replies. At one point Alkobi turns to a soldier who is standing a meter away and asks him in astonishment, “Soldier, didn’t you see what she did?” The soldier, who is outside the frame and not part of the event, does not respond. “Whore!” Alkobi yells, seemingly in a trance. “You and all your daughters, all whores. And God help you if you open this door here.”

The “whore” clip soon reached the media in Israel and abroad, and generated shockwaves. One commenter on YouTube, a woman, declared: “I support Israel’s policy … and if I were prime minister I would have long since cut off the electricity in Gaza until Gilad Shalit returns and I would drop bombs on Hamas. But … that bitch of a dosit [derogatory term for religiously observant woman] in the clip, and that soldier who stands there like some crappy golem – I would really let them have it. Not only because they are giving us a bad name, but because of the wickedness of harassing a family with children. I am right wing but not racist, I am against a Palestinian state but in favor of equal rights for all Israeli citizens. It’s just anarchy what we see in this clip.”

Greenbaum: “That talkback is an example of our ability to live with dissonance. The woman refers to something that happened to a real live person, the Palestinian woman. The suffering of the Palestinian woman is staring the commenter in the face. It shocks her in a genuine way, and also makes it possible for her to tell herself, automatically, that she herself at least is a humane person. Shutting off the power in Gaza is not concrete. Neither the commenter nor we can envision its real consequences, how it will affect families with children. They are abstract and absent, and it is easier to rationalize about them: Gaza must be punished for holding Shalit.”

In Hebron, every day is cursed. Among those who know this are the soldiers who uploaded “Palhod 50 [unit] rock the Casbah in Hebron,” a clip in which a six-man patrol does an obviously rehearsed dance to “Tik Tok,” by American artist Kesha (http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/07/israeli-soldiers-dance-into-trouble -on-patrol/ ). Many viewers and media outlets in Israel and abroad were charmed, the IDF Spokesman’s Unit scolded the soldiers, and the argument over the clip and when it was made reflected, once again, various mechanisms of rationalization and denial.

Does the fact that we are in the era of YouTube and Facebook oblige us to snap out of our denial – or, paradoxically, does it encourage denial because it causes us to be preoccupied with only the symptoms of the occupation?

Schnell: “On one hand, these tools draw the territories closer to Israel and Israel closer to the territories, and maybe the technology will have a cumulative effect that will crack the Israelis’ wall of denial. On the other hand, too much information is tantamount to an absence of information. The hyper-stimulation shuts us down. Generally speaking, I think technology will have a beneficial effect on people who are somewhere in the middle and are open to questions. Those on the right are immune to this kind of information. ‘Look,’ they will say, ‘another left-winger who used a camera or stole a private photo from Facebook is now out to badmouth the country.’ For them, the technology only increases the pressure on and the loathing of the left.”

Greenbaum: “Both possibilities operate in parallel: The new technological means and the online platforms increase the potential that information will reach the public and people will relate to it. If that happens, then Eden Abergil’s photos will have had a positive effect. On the other hand, if we take each such event separately and do not think about the implications or about how frequently these things happen – then the exposure only intensifies the numbness.

“We should be very cautiously optimistic about the new media. The technology of exposure is improving, but the machinery of concealment is also improving and its practitioners are also aided by technology. You can write something and falsify the writer’s identity. You can prevent people from behaving in a certain way or from saying certain things because they are under more powerful technological supervision – like in demonstrations, in which the authorities film people and later identify them in the police computer.

“It’s also paradoxical that human rights organizations have been wrestling with this dilemma for years, long before YouTube. Since World War II and the visual documentation in the hands of the Nazis and the Allies, there has been a rise in international legislation regarding human rights. On the other hand, we continue to see atrocities in every part of the world. For social psychologists, this is our challenge: to bring about not only legislation, but internalization of the norms the laws reflect.

“Documentation on YouTube or Facebook, at least when it is specific, exposes the gap between behavior and legislation. We have to work on closing that gap. There will be no change until the awareness enters the public consciousness that things can be translated into action. Sometimes that happens fast, as with the fall of the Berlin Wall, and sometimes it just never happens.”

What has changed in terms of the old image of the “beautiful soldier,” in the era of Facebook and YouTube.

Schnell: “I am 62. As a young soldier I knew I was fighting for Israel’s existence, for our home. It was not a slogan. The border was five kilometers from Tel Aviv, next to the house. When I was stationed on the border as a guard, I was guarding my home. There was a very powerful feeling of justice. On the other hand, after 1967 and more particularly after Oslo, there was a feeling that we were no longer fighting for our very existence.

“The occupation creates daily situations that become routine. In every such situation, the Israeli, whether he is a soldier or a settler, always bears arms. The Palestinian, who is without a weapon, always knows that the rule of law will stand behind the Jew and not behind him. Since these are daily encounters, occurring over decades, the Palestinian stops being a human being and becomes an object that can be maneuvered in any direction. This also creates a norm. 

“In the 1970s the norm in the territories was that if two cars, one driven by a Jew and the other by a Palestinian, arrived together at an intersection, the Palestinian would give the right of way, because he knew the Jew was afraid and might shoot him. Norms like this spring up, deteriorate into abuse and become institutionalized, and the Palestinians accept them.

“The encounters between soldiers and Palestinians are also fueled by a breach of norms. In many of these encounters there is an aspect of frustration, particularly on the part of the soldiers. When a soldier is standing there with a rifle, and children or women are cursing him or throwing stones, he is helpless. The cowed Palestinian ceases to play the part of the cowed Palestinian. Rage wells up in the soldier until the outburst occurs. That is also how we understand it. The soldier is still the consensus, ‘our boy.’ The ugliness has not yet reached him.”

Schnell adds, “The ugliness is already identified with the senior officer echelon in the IDF, and to a large degree also with the military as such.”

Red line, Green Line

There are a number of recurrent motifs in the IDF Spokesman’s responses to the photographic “slips of the tongue” captured by private cameras. One is the insistence on education. Another is the emphasis on the relentless struggle the officer corps is waging against such phenomena.

In November 2004, an Israeli soldier examined a Palestinian’s violin at a checkpoint near Nablus. After the soldier ascertained that there were no explosives in the case, the Palestinian was made to play. The event was filmed by a woman from Machsom Watch and made its way to the media in Israel and worldwide, and generated astonishment. The IDF Spokesman said at the time that the IDF “is constantly utilizing educational, command and disciplinary tools in order to emphasize to the soldiers and officers at the checkpoints … the need to carry out the mission with sensitivity and thought.”

When Abergil, who had been an outstanding soldier, complained that she was abandoned by the army, the IDF Spokesman stated, in a response published on YNet, “The IDF reacts strongly against any soldier who behaves unbecomingly toward suspects and detainees. Along with punishment, the distinction between what is permitted and what is forbidden is drilled into soldiers and officers on a daily basis, in training and in the messages that are part of the orders. The IDF and its commanders are making every effort to ensure that exceptional events like this will not recur.”

Schnell: “The army displayed hypocrisy all along, which developed at the very start of the occupation. This hypocrisy is reflected in the fact that the orders remain the same, but the practices change. According to the orders, soldiers and settlers know that they are allowed to use firearms only when they are in immediate danger. What changes is the interpretation of these orders – the fact that soldiers allow themselves to open fire and inflict abuse and injury, knowing the army will conclude that only the soldier knows whether there was great danger or not.

“High-ranking officers were witnesses to many situations like this, and if the situations were not documented, they backed the soldiers. A norm of legitimacy ‘from above’ developed, and the disparity between practice and principle grew constantly wider. Yet all this time the army continues officially to preserve primary values. If a lone soldier, like Abergil, is caught, the army will punish her as though she is the rotten apple in the barrel.”

Denial also involves transforming the West Bank into a different territory, in our minds. Not only in the sense of state and military laws, but in the private sense. A soldier returns to the other side of the Green Line, and leaves behind everything he did there. Did Eden Abergil exceed this boundary and bring into Israel what she should have left on the other side?

Schnell: “I can understand a situation in which soldiers inflict extreme abuse on Palestinians and think they are leaving the abuse behind when they cross back into the area within the Green Line. It’s of course naive to think one can create a ‘there’ and a ‘here.’ The reality from there penetrates and trickles into the reality within the Green Line, together with dulled senses and a loss of sensitivity. In the case of Abergil, who thinks she is a good, humane person, I can only guess that she didn’t think she had to leave anything behind.”

When do we stop being astonished at what we ostensibly leave behind?

“It is very difficult to part with the mechanism of denial. I don’t expect that we will ever reach a state of contrition. If there is place for optimism, it will come in the wake of a political agreement that will be signed with sour faces and mistrust. Only years later, after a lengthy period of conciliation, will we be able to understand our behavior.”

 

Posted in Middle East1 Comment

U.S MARINE VETERAN RETURNS TO AMERICA AS A ”TERRORIST,” SAYS ZIO=NAZI’S

NOVANEWS

U.S. Marine Veteran Returns to America as a “Terrorist,” Says Israel

September 5, 2010 

by Ken O’Keefe  

Ken O’Keefe

Whose side are we on? –

By Ken O’Keefe

I will be returning to America in the next 36 hours as a publicly accused “terrorist operative”, according to the Israeli military that is.  It will be interesting to see how my birth nation will handle me.  Especially because I headed to Gaza aboard the Freedom Flotilla in order to “train a commando unit for Hamas” (according to Israel).  But even before I was venturing to train commando units I was already on the US “terror watch list”, so it is with much excitement I prepare for departure.

To be honest, having the two greatest purveyors of terrorism and propaganda accuse me of “terrorism” is a massive compliment.  Living as we do in George Orwell’s 1984, where black is white and white is black and the truth is nothing but a word, being a “terrorist” is a great thing.  You see in this New World Order kind of world those with power speak a language in which words mean the opposite of what they seem.  So when Israel and America say they want “peace”, that is Orwellian double-speak for “we are gonna bomb the bastards and steal their resources come hell or high water.”

Its funny actually, the greatest knock I have of myself is my utter failure to learn any language other than English… except for Orwellian double-speak that is.  And I realise now that I have been able to understand double-speak for quite some time.  Like for instance, when I was in America on 9-11 and everybody was ready to kick some “terrorist butt!” and fight the “War on terror”, I knew plain as day that the actual plan was to carry out yet another war of terror and kill a whole bunch of innocent people.  Sadly most of my fellow Americans could not understand double-speak, or I am sure they would have thought otherwise of the plan.

And so here I am, accused and/or suspected of being a terrorist, you just gotta know the language, what they are actually saying is that I am a man with a proven record of humanitarian causes based on truth, justice and the desire for peace.  In reality Israel and America are giving me a great compliment!

For clarity’s sake, in double-speak “terrorist” translates to humanitarian and/or freedom fighter.

Now I’m no Nelson Mandela but he was paid the same compliment back when he was a “terrorist” convicted by another Orwellian agent, Apartheid South Africa.  Who knows, maybe I will likewise be rewarded with imprisonment because I refuse to abandon the lawful right of self-defence?

This is a long-standing language really, back in the day of colonial Britain the “intellectuals” and “leaders” of that era also identified the “terrorists”; today we know them as the Founding Fathers of America.

For clarity’s sake, in double-speak “leader” translates to tyrant/traitor, “intellectual” loosely translates to indoctrinated minion.

And such is the nature of the Orwellian language that dominates the “news” and “politics”.

For clarity’s sake, in double-speak “news” translates to propaganda, “politics” is the art of deception and corruption.

Anyway, I made my last trip to the States through Canada thinking my travels would be smoother through the north, but the Israeli and Canadian governments are very cozy indeed, accordingly that turned out to be a bit of a miscalculation.  My Canadian welcome included two days of “detention” in a Canadian jail before I was released without charge.  Welcome to Canada, where I guess they are not able to understand double-speak and apparently thought I was a real terrorist; easy mistake to make when you don’t know the language.

For clarity’s sake, “detention” without charge means, you have no human rights.

Eventually I made it south to the “Land of the Free”, while in Hawaii visiting my mother I had a Special Agent of the FBI come to visit me; and so I we chatted for about two hours.  He seemed a nice enough chap, but I made clear his boss (FBI Director Robert Mueller) was a traitor with inside knowledge of 9-11.  I guess that was enough to get me firmly on the “terror watch-list”, checking in and flying became quite silly after that, but the escorts throughout the airport made me feel real secure in the homeland.

And as if I did not already know, my friends within the airline industry told me that I am most definitely “ON THE LIST!”  If you want to know what it feels like to be Jihad Hussein with a massive beard and thick Arabic accent travelling from Mecca to the United States, just come on a trip with me, it is pretty much the same.  Actually, it isn’t really; if I were Arab I would have long since found my way into the torture chambers of the state terrorists.

And so I return to America in the next 36 hours, planning on meeting some of the American citizens with functioning brains and hearts that do more than pump blood.  There are thankfully more and more such people in the US, and beyond, and it is always great to connect with such people.  I will be mostly in the Northwest; Washington, Oregon and California, with a planned visit to Kansas as well.  We’ll see if expanding the visit to other places becomes possible, but maybe the good people at Homeland Security have other plans?  I suspect they may feel the need to protect the homeland from the likes of me.  We shall see.

So if I am sitting in a jail cell or worse in just over a day, please do not think of me alone, think of the unknown amounts of innocent people who rot in jails and dungeons, often tortured, at the behest of the embarrassing, disgusting, criminal US government.  And then thank Barack Obama the saviour who ain’t helping them one bit.  Nope, Guantanamo Bay and other torture chambers remain.

Now that is change you cannot bloody believe in. 

Always great to return home!

Posted in USAComments Off on U.S MARINE VETERAN RETURNS TO AMERICA AS A ”TERRORIST,” SAYS ZIO=NAZI’S

MONDOWEISS ONLINE NEWSLETTER

NOVANEWS 

09/05/2010

While Netanyahu harped on ‘the blood of innocents,’ Mitchell seemed to warn of Israel’s demise

Sep 04, 2010 

Philip Weiss

I watched Thursday’s State Department show on the peace talks on C-Span the other night and was left with a sense of despair. 

There were very few people in the fancy rooms and little sense of excitement. The leaders all seemed motheaten, except for Netanyahu, who always reminds me of a landlord or a mob boss. George Mitchell is the most impressive, but even he looks out of date and a little hard of hearing. (Here’s a link to the Clinton, Netanyahu, Abbas table. And here to George Mitchell.)

Clinton seems to know she’s screwed. She appealed over the heads of Abbas and Netanyahu to real people over there– and implicitly to you and me at our dinner tables– not to desert her.

I want to conclude by just saying a few words directly to the people of the region. Your leaders may be sitting at the negotiating table, but you are the ones who will ultimately decide the future. You hold the future of your families, your communities, your people, this region, in your hands. For the efforts here to succeed, we need your support and your patience. Today, as ever, people have to rally to the cause of peace, and peace needs champions on every street corner and around every kitchen table. I understand very well the disappointments of the past. I share them. But I also know we have it within our power today to move forward into a different kind of future, and we cannot do this without you.

Translation: these guys can’t deliver a newspaper.

Abbas has dignity and Netanyahu is frightening. Abbas spoke concretely of the final-status issues, including water, and called on Israel to honor its commitment re settlement building, while Netanyahu spoke emotionally about his only real topic, Israel’s security:

In these 12 years, new forces have risen in our region, and we’ve had the rise of Iran and its proxies and the rise of missile warfare. And so a peace agreement must take into account a security arrangement against these real threats that have been directed against my country, threats that have been realized with 12,000 rockets that have been fired on our territory, and terrorist attacks that go unabated.

Translation: We have remote control machine guns in towers set up to kill Gazans, and we will never give up the Jordan Valley.

Then Netanyahu ratcheted it up, with “the blood of innocents”:

The last two days have been difficult. They were exceedingly difficult for my people and for me. Blood has been shed, the blood of innocents: four innocent Israelis gunned down brutally, two people wounded, seven new orphans. President Abbas, you condemned this killing. That’s important. No less important is to find the killers, and equally to make sure that we can stop other killers. They seek to kill our people, kill our state, kill our peace. And so achieving security is a must.

Kill kill kill. Or as Sydney Levy of Jewish Voice for Peace says, “while the U.S. government condemned Tuesday’s brutal attack, it never condemned even the assault on Gaza almost two years ago, when over 1400 people, mostly civilian, including over 400 children, were killed.  This disproportionate response is an indicator of the apparent inability of the U.S. to be an ‘honest broker’ in these talks.” No wonder the rooms seem empty.

It is common to hear the analysis that Israel needs nothing from these talks because the conflict is being managed, while the Palestinians need a deal to get freedom. I don’t buy this and neither does George Mitchell. The Palestinians haven’t had freedom in their entire history. Most Israelis may be complacent, but the soul of their society is shriveling, and any intelligent Israeli senses the loss of the world’s good opinion. Israel is stuck in an earlier era of history and daily losing legitimacy, due to rightwing ethnocentric politicians like Netanyahu.

Mitchell said as much at the end, when he appealed for a sudden shift in the weather:

we believe that there are dynamic changes that [can] occur. There are more obvious difficulties that lie ahead for both sides if they don’t reach agreement that may be even more obvious than they were five or eight or 12 years ago.

You have to remember that these leaders must weigh two things. They must weigh the difficulties they face in getting agreement and they must weigh the difficulties they will face if they don’t get an agreement. And we believe it’s a very powerful argument that if you subject these to careful, reasoned, and rational analysis, to conclude that the latter difficulties, if they don’t get an agreement, will be much greater and have a much more profound impact on their societies than those they face in trying to get an agreement.

Mitchell wasn’t talking about the Palestinians there. He was saying that if Israel doesn’t make sacrifices, in a hurry, it faces a choice of official apartheid, ethnic cleansing or one-state. He understands that the 62-year-old Jewish state is now at risk; he is despairing too.

Report finds US policy toward Israel/Palestine contradicts American values

Sep 04, 2010 

Adam Horowitz

In April the American Friends Service Committee organized an important daylong mock Congressional hearing on whether US foreign policy towards Israel/Palestine upholds American values. The organizers explain:

Rather than wait for Congress to debate the morality and utility of U.S. policy towards Israel and Palestine, we decided to hold an independent hearing, calling upon people who have directly experienced or witnessed the effects of the occupation to tell their stories. We invited Israelis, Palestinians and Americans to testify and assembled a distinguished panel of listeners, composed of academics, clergy and a Senate staff member, to question and draw out the ramifications of these testimonies. We sought to lift up the voices and hopes of those people who are never seen on television or discussed with compassion in Congress.

They have just released a 29-page report on the conference findings to coincide with the resumption of US-led talks between Israel and the Palestinians. In an AFSC press release Middle East Program director Miryam Rashid says, “We feel this report is critical reading for all who are concerned about finding a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. American values are not being upheld in our government’s policies in Israel and Palestine, and the reality is that negotiations will only succeed when human rights and international laws are no longer ignored.”

Here’s the report:

ChicagoHearingReport20100903

The settler killings– morality and effectiveness

Sep 04, 2010

David Samel

The recent killing of four West Bank settlers by Palestinian gunmen raises the ever-present issue of violence in resistance to occupation and oppression. I write in respectful response to Seham, who has expressed some understanding and perhaps sympathy for the killers, and disagreement with my analysis.

It seems to me that there are two principal issues here: morality and effectiveness. Let me first deal with the more contested issue of morality. So many of the arguments I hear in defense of this murder seem like the mirror image of Israeli claims. We have been driven to the point of desperation. What else could we do? These people aren’t really civilians; on the continuum of civilianality, they lean toward the military end and are therefore more killable than other civilians. We live under a constant threat of terrorism, where everyone in the country knows someone who died in the wars or were victims of terror, thousands of people going about their daily business until their bodies were suddenly blown apart. Until you’ve had to live like this, we are told, don’t tell us how to act.

Seham, you no doubt feel that your arguments are more cogent and theirs more hypocritical and dishonest, that you are fighting evil oppression and they are perpetrating and defending it. Indeed, I am in complete agreement with those positions. But just as I feel that Israel’s use of double standards is wrong, so is ours. If we are going to adopt an ethos that excuses killing civilians in certain circumstances, that same ethos can be used by Israel.

Perhaps because I am a lawyer I am very sensitive to the question of universally applied principles. If I accept a principle of conduct, I anticipate that there may be other applications of that principle that I might not like so much. The principle here seems to be that if a group of civilians generally acts in brutal fashion toward fellow human beings, it may be OK to kill a random sample of them to teach the collective a lesson. I absolutely reject that principle. For one thing, it certainly has been a driving force of Israeli ideology for many decades. They rationalize that Palestinian civilians overwhelmingly support terrorist attacks, so it’s perfectly reasonable to kill Palestinian civilians in an attempt to reduce that support.

Let me propose another hypothetical. For the past decade, Americans, who have the electoral power to control their government, have obliviously gone about their daily business while their government and military has wreaked havoc in Iraq and Afghanistan. In sheer numbers – well over a million dead and several million forced to flee their homes, not to mention all sorts of consequent suffering — these catastrophes have dwarfed the awful experience of the Palestinians over the last six decades. It would not be surprising if some of the many millions adversely affected by our government’s actions (and our citizenry’s near-total indifference) retaliated with another terrorist attack directed at random US civilians. In my opinion, though it would be heretical to say so in the wake of such an attack, the US would be partially responsible for fomenting such anger, but I certainly would not excuse or forgive the terrorists themselves.

My bottom line is that I don’t want to parse those circumstances that give rise to justifiable homicide of civilians. In my view, it’s never justified, period – not in Lebanon, Gaza, New York, Hiroshima, Dresden, and no, not even among the settlers of the West Bank, a good percentage of whom are surely loathsome and reprehensible. The shooting victims were not killed in the course of perpetrating an act of violence themselves. The people who killed them knew only one thing about them, that they were probably settlers. They might well have been vicious racist settlers.

But maybe not. Maybe they were recent immigrants from Russia who were offered generous subsidies by the government to settle in the West Bank. Maybe they were human rights activists who live within the green line and had just come from a meeting with Palestinian counterparts, and were attacked because of the mistaken assumptions made about their Israeli license plate. We may now know that this wasn’t the case, but the gunmen most probably had no idea who they were killing. Maybe these were four parents who left behind 16 children who are going to grow up with the same anger that you have, Seham, but more power to translate that anger into physical brutality directed at Palestinians.

Which brings me to your personal story. You have been commenting here for quite some time without revealing this memory before, and I am truly sorry that I played any role in compelling you to publicly recall this horrible experience if you were reluctant to do so. I’m sure you know it was not my intention to cause any discomfort. Please accept my sincere condolences, however belated and ineffective they may be.

Finally, this distance between us may be smaller than it first appears . We both think the settlers are willing participants in an international crime. We both think their brutal treatment of Palestinians inevitably leads to shocking acts such as this. You are angrier than I am because you are a Palestinian who has suffered a grievous wound at the hands of Israel’s insistence on its right to control your people’s lives. I don’t deny your right to anger, nor do I resent your refusal to join me in condemning the gunmen in this case. I do have much less tolerance for those who would agree with me in this instance of Palestinians killing Israelis, but ignore, excuse or even praise Israel’s violence which has been so much more costly and destructive.

Now to the question of effectiveness. Even some of those, such as yourself, who have expressed understanding for the perpetrators’ hatred of their victims, have noted that there seems to be no good that can come of this. Many have observed that the attack appears to be a gift to the Israeli government, and some have even theorized that Israel might have been surreptitiously behind it. I think there is no evidence to support that speculation, but I understand its source, because the potential benefit to Israel is quite significant. Will this killing convince settlers that they can never be safe, and that they had better evacuate to a location where their legal right to reside is recognized by at least somebody outside Israel? Of course not. It will steel their resolve to never budge from “their” land to which they have a divine right that definitively trumps world opinion. Even greater repression of Palestinians and settlement building are far more likely outcomes than panicky flight, whether or not that was a motivation for the gunmen.

A spokesman was quoted as saying the killing demonstrates that the “armed Palestinian resistance is present in the West Bank despite the war to uproot it.” Great, so you’re still here, and they’re dead. Excellent point. The attack came on the eve of the Washington peace conference, and it’s hard to view this as a coincidence. As I argued in my original post, and Richard Silverstein argued as well, the peace conference is bound to fail anyway, and this incident was hardly necessary to push it over a cliff. In fact, many have commented that each party appears to be primarily concerned with the PR chore of blaming the other party for failure.

One of the actual reasons for failure is that the Palestinians are not adequately represented by Abbas, and that Hamas has been shut out of the negotiations. There are all sorts of persuasive reasons why Hamas should have been included, but now, the decision to exclude it – supposedly because they are murderous thugs who can’t act civilized like we do – seems a little more justified. Moreover, it will be easier for Netanyahu & co. to argue that the talks failed because they couldn’t recover from the initial trauma of the terrorist murder of four Israelis designed to derail the talks. Once again, Palestinian intransigence has destroyed whatever chance their was for peace … missed opportunities … blah, blah blah.

A few years ago, the great Israeli columnist, Ran HaCohen, persuasively argued that Ariel Sharon, when faced with periods of cessation of violence against Israeli civilians, initiated some new horror to provoke further terrorist attacks. Ask yourself why Sharon would risk Jewish life and limb, which you know he valued far higher than others’? It’s because of the public relations bonanza reaped by Israel whenever Israelis, especially civilians, are attacked. Palestinians may well feel that non-violence has not worked, that it has never been rewarded with an alleviation, much less elimination, of their hell. That’s true, but maybe things are changing.

Israel’s hold on public opinion has been sharply eroding, with its murderous wars in Lebanon and Gaza, the Goldstone report, and the Mavi Marmara massacre. Why, in the midst of Israel’s series of self-inflicted wounds, does Hamas (or whoever) remind the world that Palestinians are capable of shocking violence? People sympathize with those who are victimized by intolerable crimes; why at this point did the gunmen shift that sympathy from Palestinians to Israelis? In the absence of violence, Israel must be forced to explain, in ever more shrill and transparently dishonest ways, why a few people the world over who believe they have an ancient connection to this strip of land have superior rights to it over those who have lived there for centuries.

Let them explain why native Palestinians must accept domination and subjugation in perpetuity by this more recently arrived ethno-religious group. There are no reasonable arguments likely to appeal to those with no stake in the conflict. In fact, more and more Jews such as myself are rejecting this undeserved privilege because it is so indefensible, because we could not tolerate living as second-class citizens or worse, and we must not impose such civil liabilities upon others, especially based on accident of birth. Ahmed Moor no doubt is correct when he states that superior morality is infinitely more likely than guns to win Palestinian freedom. I haven’t seen any defense of this killing on the ground that it is likely to be strategically effective.

There is no way this incident could be viewed as a positive step forward in the liberation of the Palestinians, and it might very well be a giant step backward. On this issue alone, the decision to carry out this operation is inexcusable. This was not an act perpetrated in the heat of the moment, but a well-planned execution perpetrated in cold blood. Some people got together in a room and hashed this out. As I stated in the title of my original post, what were they thinking?

Postscript: I anticipate that some will criticize my right, as a person who lives in complete comfort and security, to “lecture” oppressed people on the acceptable methods they may utilize to win their freedom. I don’t look at it that way at all. I’m merely expressing my opinion, and do not need to earn the right to do so. Moreover, I have taken rather strong stands against the barbarity unleashed by Israelis against Palestinians, and I’m perfectly entitled to identify which responsive measures I endorse and those that I condemn.

I.F. Stone supported state force to kill a racist movement before it poisoned society

Sep 04, 2010 

Philip Weiss

I haven’t gotten into the debate over non-violence on this site for a few reasons, mainly because other articulate voices are engaged, though I tend to be on the non-violent side, because this moment is just too important in reaching out to Americans who are finally opening their eyes but are turned off by the cycle of violence. And when people say, But look, you’re a privileged American, I say, You’re right, and we want privileged Americans engaged.

That said, I’ve been reading I.F. Stone from the ’50s and it interests me that when it came to the Jim Crow South–a situation somewhat similar in the American experience to what the West Bank represents today (let alone Gaza)– he was for the use of force to bring about integration. His writings leave me no doubt that he would have called for state force to evict the settlers from the West Bank, long ago, to save Israeli society. And now? 

Let’s go to the videotape.

I’m reading Stone’s book The Haunted Fifties. Two columns are of interest. Back in ’56, white mobs for a time prevented the integration of schools in Alabama and Kentucky. In both cases, Stone called for the state to crush the mob.

In the University of Alabama case, Stone even likened blacks to Arabs. He viewed the white mob as similar to French hoodlums in then-colonial Algeria, who in 1956 kept a liberal French minister from assuming power and granting more freedom to the Arab elite.

That French mob cut the ground from under the French-educated Arabs… That Tuscaloosa mob, and the cowardly way the University and Governor Folsom gave in to it, is doing the same to the moderate elements in our Negro community. The longer that responsible white leadership delays the unpopular step of enforcing educational integration which is now law, the harder it will become, the stronger the mob will grow. This lawlessness is a monster best killed in its cradle.

Later on in September 1956, in the case of an elementary school in Clay, Kentucky, Stone went even further in his denunciation of racism and its effects (and pushed for Adlai Stevenson over Eisenhower):  

There will be no orderly determination without some show of force. A false dichotomy has been set up about force and persuasion. Both are needed… mobs can never be merely persuaded. They will overwhelm the good people of the community unless dealt with firmly. What progress has been made in Kentucky and Tennessee was made because Governors Chandler and Clement to their credit called out the militia to show that they meant business…

Unless some firm moves toward enforcing compliance are soon made from Washington, the lines may harden for a long, long fight in which the South, its destiny and its good people, will more and more come under the control of the worst elements and poison the political life of the whole country. Behind the school struggle is the shadow of a conflict as grave as slavery created. The South must become either truly democratic or the base of a new racist and Fascist movement which could threaten the whole country and its institutions. On this, more than any other issue, fresh leadership in the White House is urgent.

Wow, what a scenario Stone foresaw! Some may call it paranoid, but I call it wisdom when applied to Israel. The thrust of Stone’s thoughts must be clear even to liberal Zionists. A racist movement representing the worst of Israel (the settlers) has been allowed to grow. Their mob rule of an entire region should have been prevented by force. It has not, and it has poisoned the whole society and truly threatened all Israeli institutions.

Stone clearly would have supported the use of force against the settlers by the state. Would he condone the murder of settlers? I am sure he would not. But as he indicates in the southern situation, the problem has so degenerated in the Jim Crow West Bank– lack of freedom for millions of Palestinians for decades now, as the advanced world is moving toward multicultural democracy– that we have a political problem as bad as slavery in the U.S. I am not even talking about Gaza; and again leading U.S. institutions are corrupted by it.

I pray for a bloodless transition to democracy. But reading Stone, it’s hard to imagine such a transition without a strong militia making its appearance.

P.S. I’m stuck on Stone in the ’50. In Prophets Outcast, a fine collection of Jewish non-Zionist thought, edited by Adam Shatz of the LRB, Stone in the 60s urges his beloved Israel to climb the “steep and arid mountains of prejudice” against Arabs. I’ll get to that later….

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ZOMBIE CONTRACTORS

NOVANEWS

“ZOMBIE CONTRACTORS,” THE PENTAGON’S 100 BILLION DOLLAR BOONDOGGLE

September 5, 2010 by Gordon Duff  

PENTAGON SCAM ENRICHES “REVOLVING DOOR” BUDDIES

COOKIES AND BIBLE VERSES

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

A water truck backs up to the Euphrates River in Iraq.  The driver, a Ugandan or maybe an Ethiopian, gets out, lowers a hose into the sewage ridden flow and fills his truck.  5 miles away, a US Army water purification center sits, too far away.  The driver thinks, “water is water.”  Another of the Pentagon’s “Zombie Contractors” take their toll, part of the army of “undead” and unqualified who are the world’s most expensive work force.

The driver, an employee of a company once headed by the Vice President of the United States, could care less, clean water, filth or sewage, it is only going to American troops as drinking water.

The words “typhoid” or “hepatitis” mean nothing to him, he has never heard them and certainly didn’t read them in his daily log.  He never reads anything, never has and never will as he is illiterate like tens of thousands of other employees that the American taxpayer is coughing up $1000 a day for, even more, sometimes much more.

The driver considers himself well paid at $10 dollars a day.

The troops drinking the water would only find out weeks later that it was contaminated with sewage.  Similarly, 33 American soldiers have been electrocuted by faulty wiring installed by work crews that wouldn’t know “positive” from “negative.”  The Pentagon paid for journeymen and got third world unemployed, swept up off the streets, trucked out of the slums of Africa or South America, many decent and hard working people but to the contracting firms, American, British and Israeli, mostly, they are nothing but a way of defrauding the Pentagon, something any child could do.

The Pentagon doesn’t care, not as long as the company’s politics are right and, under the Bush administration, “right” meant extreme right.

Americans have been told the hundreds of thousands of highly paid contractors in, not only Iraq and Afghanistan but throughout the Middle East, were veterans, most Marines, Rangers, Seals and Special Forces, paid a thousand dollars a day to put their lives on the line and, in the process, building a “net egg” for their lives, should they survive and return home.  The controversy, we were told, was that our active duty troops only made a fraction as much.  This story, however, was only meant to deceive, dissemble and misinform. Yes, many veterans hold security contracting jobs and pull down high dollars but the truth is far different than we were told.

One contracting firm, handing security for the United States Air Force, had over 8000 employees in Afghanistan.  All were assumed to be Rangers, SAS or other combat vets.  In reality, only 6 were trained military veterans from these services.  Every other employee was, not only “third world” but also never trained or former members of military forces rated, frankly, as armed rabble. 

Some received their miliary training with organizations, if not yet on terrorist lists, they should be.

The Pentagon paid nearly as much for one of these shoeless, uneducated and untrained contractors in a week as a flag officer makes in a month, actually more than that, embarrassingly more.

What are these contractors paid, who sees if they are qualified or even checks if they are wanted criminals?  Well, actually, no one.  Americans, veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan go through security screenings, rigorous and continual,even humiliating drug testing but the majority of their fellows, including tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of “kitchen workers” or related professions could be anyone, could be and certainly are. 

Pentagon Thief

Questions come to mind.  Why would the most expensive and highest paid military force on earth with the most technologically advanced surveillance systems imaginable need to be guarded by third world nationals cited for performing their duties in filthy shorts, no shoes or shirt and carrying an aging rusted Soviet weapon from a scrap heap?

Have you noticed you have never seen one of the thousands of real security contractors from Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Congo, Uganda and other areas of Africa in photographs?  All you see are burly ex-Marines, armed to the teeth.

Ever see a photograph of the living quarters for the other workers, the ones who clean the toilets, cook the food, and outnumber our troops?  Why are they hidden?  Is something wrong?  Why the secrecy?  Are we too busy photographing troops tiptoeing  through poppy fields to look into the issue of “guest workers.”  How do the Pentagon’s favorites, the “no-bid” boys get away with over-billing billions for “mercenaries” when, in actuality they are supplying house maids, janitors dishwashers and billing as though they were all hedge fund managers.

For those who are working “security,” for each burly ex-Ranger, there are a hundred near starving Ethiopians being paid “cigarette money.”  Try finding a photograph of one of them.  You stand as much chance of finding nuclear weapons assembly videos.

At least the mercenary army, shoes or no shoes, has weapons that work, no matter how old or dirty.  The Pentagon has more games than simply throwing away billions to pay workers that may not exist.  There is big money in defective weapons also.

Yes, we admit, a 30 year old AK 47 assembled in Nigeria is less likely to jam in combat than the M-4 carbine, according to every test ever run.  We could talk about the boondoggle “single source” contract, spending hundreds of millions on a weapon troops not only don’t trust but has proven useless in the long range combat of Afghanistan.  We could talk about where 250,000 AK 47′s, not junk, but new “top of the line” models with forged receivers simply disappeared.

Our hope is that they ended up at the bottom of the Euphrates River, dumped, truckload after truckload by impatient Rwandan truckers looking to shorten their workday.  I am sure we will be seeing those weapons again, not at a local gun show in Colorado, but “business end first” during our next “endless war” but I digress.

What don’t we know about who we pay hundreds of billions of dollars for?

At one time I was told the US Army had 125,000 kitchen workers in Iraq alone.  Then I was told the figure was actually much higher.  The total contractor figure, during the time of our highest troop deployments was three times that of the number of soldiers in theater.  Who are they and what are they paid?  Nobody knows, in particular, congress, the General Accounting Office and the Department of Defense and no one is asking.

We don’t have a remote idea what any of the contractors actually do, where they live, what their jobs are and if they do them at all or if they actually exist at all.  We simply pay and pay. 

In fact, the job of overseeing contractors is, in itself, actually contracted out.  Oh, it gets better, the job of overseeing the contractors who oversee the contractors is contracted out also.  Is there an end to this?  We haven’t found it yet.

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A.LOEWENSTEIN ONLINE NEWSLETTER

NOVANEWS


Blair “miscalculated” and he shrugs his shoulders

05 Sep 2010

A softball ABC interview with Tony Blair where he essentially acknowledges he was wrong about Iraq and Afghanistan, and yet we’re still supposed to take him seriously about Middle East “peace”?

The never-ending struggle of the Corrie family

05 Sep 2010

Who knew that Israel continues to lie over its killing of Rachel Corrie?

 

What BDS says; don’t expect Holocaust guilt to get you through

05 Sep 2010

To those who doubt the viability and effect of the growing BDS movement, this piece in Haaretz should be mandatory reading:

The entire week was marked by boycotts. It began with a few dozen theater people boycotting the new culture center in Ariel, and continued with a group of authors and artists publishing a statement of support on behalf of those theater people. Then a group of 150 lecturers from various universities announced they would not teach at Ariel College or take part in any cultural events in the territories. Naturally, all that spurred a flurry of responses, including threats of counter-sanctions.

That was all at the local level. There’s another boycott, an international one, that’s gaining momentum – an economic boycott. Last week the Chilean parliament decided to adopt the boycott of Israeli products made in the settlements, at the behest of the Palestinian Authority, which imposed a boycott on such products several months ago.

In September 2009, Norway’s finance minister announced that a major government pension fund was selling its shares in Elbit Systems because of that company’s role in building the separation fence. In March, a major Swedish investment fund said it would eschew Elbit Systems shares on the same grounds. Last month the Norwegian pension fund announced that it was selling its holdings in Africa Israel and in its subsidiary Danya Cebus because of their involvement in constructing settlements in the occupied territories.

The sums involved are not large, but their international significance is huge. Boycotts by governments gives a boost to boycotts by non-government bodies around the world.

Until now boycott organizers had been on the far left. They have a new ally: Islamic organizations that have strengthened greatly throughout Europe in the past two decades. The upshot is a red and green alliance with a significant power base. The red side has a name for championing human rights, while the green side has money. Their union is what led to the success of the Turkish flotilla.

They note that boycott is an especially effective weapon against Israel because Israel is a small country, dependent on exports and imports. They also point to the success of the economic boycott against the apartheid regime in South Africa.

The anti-Israel tide rose right after Operation Cast Lead, as the world watched Israel pound Gaza with bombs on live television. No public-relations machine in the world could explain the deaths of hundreds of children, the destruction of neighborhoods and the grinding poverty afflicting a people under curfew for years. They weren’t even allowed to bring in screws to build school desks. Then came the flotilla, complete with prominent peace activists, which ended in nine deaths, adding fuel to the fire.

But underlying the anger against Israel lies disappointment. Since the establishment of the state, and before, we demanded special terms of the world. We played on their feelings of guilt, for standing idle while six million Jews were murdered.

David Ben-Gurion called us a light unto the nations and we stood tall and said, we, little David, would stand strong and righteous against the great evil Goliath.

The world appreciated that message and even, according to the foreign press, enabled us to develop the atom bomb in order to prevent a second Holocaust.

But then came the occupation, which turned us into the evil Goliath, the cruel oppressor, a darkness on the nations. And now we are paying the price of presenting ourselves as righteous and causing disappointment: boycott.

 

Our communications are never private

05 Sep 2010

Leading investigative journalist Nicky Hager, a New Zealander, regularly breaks tough stories that nobody else does, especially on intelligence matters.

Take this piece from January 2010:

Go to the heart of one of Telecom or Vodafone’s mobile phone exchanges and you’ll find the whole system – covering a quarter of the country – is run by a single computer, no bigger than a small freezer.

Cables lead off to all the company’s cellphone towers and other parts of the network. A main cable, connecting all those phone users to the world, comes out the top of the computer and passes directly into a unit in the rack above. One cable goes into the unit but two come out: one continuing out to the world, the other coiling off to secret equipment marked “LI” on the system diagrams. “LI” stands for “lawful interception”.

Not long ago, police and Security Intelligence Service (SIS) interception meant tapping your landline phone or bugging your kitchen. Now, under a new surveillance regime ushered in by the 2004 Telecommunications (Interception Capability) Act, a basic interception warrant also allows them access to all your emails, internet browsing, online shopping or dating, calls, texts and location for mobile phones, and much more – all delivered almost instantaneously to the surveillance agencies.

To catch other sorts of communications, including people using overseas-based email or other services, all the local communications networks are wired up as well, to monitor messages en route overseas.

Interception equipment built permanently into every segment of the country’s communications architecture will provide the sort of pervasive spying capability we normally associate with police states.

These developments have been introduced quietly. Neither the government nor the phone and internet companies are keen to advertise their Big Brotherish activities. This doesn’t sound like New Zealand and in fact it was largely pushed on New Zealand from overseas.

The origins of New Zealand’s new system can be traced back 10 years to when British researchers uncovered European Union police documents planning exactly the same sort of surveillance system in Europe. The secret plan, known as Enfopol 98, and reported on by the Weekly Telegraph in 1999, aimed to create “a seamless web of telecommunications surveillance” across Europe, and involved EU nations adopting “International User Requirements for Interception”, to standardise surveillance capabilities.

The researchers found that the moves followed “a five-year lobbying exercise by American agencies such as the FBI”. “When completed, the system will provide a global regime,” it said. New Zealand had been in dialogue with US and European authorities on joining the scheme as early as 1995.

Civil liberties council spokesman Michael Bott says the new capabilities are part of a step-by-step erosion of civil rights in New Zealand. He said people need places to be themselves, talk about their secrets or sound off about politics, without having to wonder who’s listening.

“The fear is that citizens become accustomed to living in a surveillance society and, over time, freedoms of speech and belief are chilled and diminished.”

 

Protecting workers isn’t seen as priority

04 Sep 2010

Here’s a report ignored by most of the mainstream media. Wonder why? (hint; too many corporate journalists and owners are close to these organisations):

Many European companies that publicly embrace workers’ rights under global labor standards nevertheless undermine workers’ rights in their US operations, Human Rights Watch said in a report issued today.

The 128-page report, “A Strange Case: Violations of Workers’ Freedom of Association in the United States by European Multinational Corporations,” details ways in which some European multinational firms have carried out aggressive campaigns to keep workers in the United States from organizing and bargaining, violating international standards and, often, US labor laws.

Companies cited include Germany-based Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile USA and Deutsche Post’s DHL, UK-based Tesco’s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets and G4S Wackenhut security, France-based Sodexo food services and Saint-Gobain industrial equipment, Norway-based Kongsberg Automotive, and the Dutch firm Gamma Holding.

“The behavior of these companies casts serious doubt on the value of voluntary commitments to human rights,” said Arvind Ganesan, director of the Business and Human Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “Companies need to be held accountable, to their own stated commitments and to strong legal standards.”

 

Israel’s next generation of defenders

04 Sep 2010

After Orthodox Jew Peter Beinart recently wrote in the New York Review of Books that growing numbers of young American Jews are turning away from Israel – oncoming fascism doesn’t help – a number of Zionist sociologists have rejected his thesis. Young Jews? They still love Israel, what a wonderful democracy, wholesome and fun.

 

Zionists spying inside their favourite country

04 Sep 2010

That’s what friends are for:

The CIA took an internal poll not long ago about friendly foreign intelligence agencies.

The question, mostly directed to employees of the clandestine service branch, was: Which are the best allies among friendly spy services, in terms of liaison with the CIA, and which are the worst? In other words, who acts like, well, friends?

“Israel came in dead last,” a recently retired CIA official told me the other day.

Not only that, he added, throwing up his hands and rising from his chair, “the Israelis are number three, with China number one and Russia number two,” in terms of how aggressive they are in their operations on U.S. soil.

 

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on A.LOEWENSTEIN ONLINE NEWSLETTER

SONGS BY IKHLAS-YASMIN PART II

NOVANEWS

 

Songs by Ikhlas-Yasmin Jebara from Salem: Part II

 

This continues the previous post, showing for the first time songs by our friend Ikhlas. 

The picture above was taken a few weeks ago, when Ikhlas visited the

Mediterranean Sea for the second time in her life. The sea is only 47km

from her home (measured via Google Maps), but the Occupation regime –

 especially its prisonlike nature during the past decade – prevents most

West Bank Palestinians from visiting it. Both of Ikhlas’ beach visits were

initiated by the Villages Group. On the first time, Ikhlas and her brother

Mohammed were taken to Tel Aviv to meet an Israeli eye specialist, who

unfortunately confirmed that their blindness is incurable.

The second time came about after repeated appeals to military authorities,

to allow the Jebara family a visit to Israel in order to breath some fresh air of

freedom. The family was automatically blacklisted by the Shin Bet after the

father Sa’el was murdered by a settler in fall 2004.

The cruelty of the Occupation regime is perhaps most directly illustrated via

this story. The settler, a German convert with troubled history, was

nonetheless given – like most settlers – an M16 automatic assault rifle by

the military for his “self defense”. He then used it to murder an innocent

civilian, who happened to be Ikhlas’ dad, in broad daylight. The lengthy

legal proceedings end with his conviction of manslaughter. But the judge

inexplicably allows the murderer a home leave before his sentence is set.

He disappears without a trace, and to this day no one has found him

(has anyone even looked for him?). If you find this hard to believe,

 here’s an account from the Israeli mainstream news site Ynet.

Meanwhile, the victim’s family having lost its father and provider without

recourse to justice, is automatically labeled as a “security threat” because now

 they have a reason to revenge! Therefore, they are placed under even tighter

confinement than other Occupied Palestinians.

This year Villages Group activists petitioned the authorities, arguing that

6 years after the murder perhaps the victims should be allowed a reprieve

from their punishment, due to their good behavior. The plea was rejected.

Knowing how mindless and arbitrary the Occupation system is, the activists

did not give up and submitted the exact same petition again.

This time it was accepted. The Jebara family was treated to a day of fun, visiting

the homes of their Villages Group friends for the first time ever, and seeing

 the Mediterranean

Sea – second time for Ikhlas and Mohammed, first time ever for

their siblings.

This fall, Ikhlas will begin her M.A. studies in English literature at the

Nablus University.

———————————

It is perhaps appropriate that unlike the personal tone of Ikhlas’ first offering of

songs posted last week, the songs below carry a more political message. 

Ikhlas will be happy to communicate with any of the readers. Being in touch

with people from faraway places does a great deal to alleviate the depression and

suffocation of living under the Occupation regime. Ikhlas’s email address is

ikhlas_soh@hotmail.com.

—————————

Believe me we can not dare

Believe me we can not dare
to say that occupation is something that we can not bear
But even if we said it
they will our bodies like pieces of cloth tear
Not by human butchers
rather it has become the machine butcher’s career
Be silent my friend
and do not say whether it is cruel or fair
Because if you said this
you will be thrown in fire

—————————

If you tried to turn your face

If you tried to turn your face
In a moment you will be in the hospital as a critical case
Occupation is willing to chase
Every person who is from the Arabic race
And the steps of history trace
Occupation has no conscience

when it the bodies of Gazan children dismember
in the last December
I am torn by pain when I remember

the bodies of children trampled under the feet
of an unworthy Israeli soldier member

Dying words on their tomb door
saying war is every where

On the heads of the poor
Palestinian life will become sore
You will live in pain more and more
Let it be forever let it be forever

When will facts chant?
When will Justice on her feet stand?
When will we together
in the face of cruelty stand?
When will we our rights defend?
When will we like a bomb explode?
When will we our rights defend ?
Or shall we wait for someone to rescue us?

—————————

Do you know

Do you know what your life is like?
Your life is a play
if you wonder I will say
what role in this life I play

a good person I may be
as a fruitful tree
slave people I can free
if they appreciate they will agree

a source of evil I contribute to life
by carrying my sharp sword and knife
I can steal a husband from his wife
And deprive a person of his life

To me you can describe
What type you want your self to ascribe
No matter you are from this or that tribe
But what really matters is you are mature and ripe.

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Songs by Ikhlas-Yasmin Jebara from Salem: Part II

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INDIA: PEOPLE MARCH

NOVANEWS


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