Archive | September 22nd, 2010




September 22, 2010 by Gordon Duff



By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

“….the depth of Pollard’s info that he passed on to Russia (amongst others) was as damaging as the Rosenberg’s was during that era.  Devastatingly state of the art. Virtually everything that we knew/know about nukes….”  (US Navy nuclear weapons expert exclusive to Veterans Today)

It is the third  day since the Israeli government demanded the release of “nuclear super-spy” Jonathan Pollard.  Tel Aviv calls it a “spy swap” but it isn’t spies they are offering but rather the lives of Palestinian hostages.  Israel has promised that, if the US releases Pollard, it will hold off its plan to begin additional “resettlement” operations against Palestinian villages on the West Bank.

In the past, Israel, criticized for “ethnic cleansing” operations against Palestinians paralleling Serbian operations in Bosnia 0r those of the apartheid regime in South Africa, has resorted to the use of “blitzkrieg” tactics with the predicted high levels of civilian casualties.

Officials of the Obama administration have, thus far, failed to give in to Israeli demands.  In an almost identical scenario in 1979 in Iran, American diplomats were held hostage for 444 days, released only after coverts shipments of high-tech weaponry were promised by the Reagan administration, weapons still being used by Hizbollah fighters in Lebanon today.

President Obama has little reason to submit to Netanyahu’s demands as the Israeli leader has failed to keep to any agreements he has made in the past.

YouTube – Veterans Today –




Posted in Middle EastComments Off on GAZA HOLOCAUST & EXTREMISTS NAZI’S



The Permanent War Economy: What’s Really Behind the U.S.-Saudi Military Alliance

September 22, 2010

by Michael Leon  


Saudi security forces on parade. Photo – Al Jazeera

The historic $60 billion military “aid” package between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia is a classic example of the dangers of the American war machine

By: Anthony DiMaggio in FireDogLake

The historic $60 billion military “aid” package between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia is a classic example of the dangers of the American war machine. Al Jazeera reports that it represents the “largest ever U.S. deal to sell advanced fighter jets to Saudi Arabia.” The deal speaks to the vital role of U.S. imperial planers in committing massive resources to entrenched oil oligarchies in the Middle East. As is well known, these regimes are more interested in providing cheap oil to the U.S. than in allowing democratic representation for their people.

The new U.S.-Saudi agreement represents only the most recent attempt to prop up corruption throughout the region. This policy reaches back six and a half decades to the early efforts of FDR to establish ties to the fundamentalist medieval regime of Abdul Aziz bin Saud, the political and political founder of modern day Saudi Arabia. The forging of this relationship represented a blatant violation of FDR’s rhetoric in support of democracy and self-determination throughout the world. The Saud family’s support for an extreme interpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism (which persists in Saudi Arabia to this day) is a blatant violation of the notion of separating church and state, but this fact was deemed irrelevant in light of the Arabian Peninsula’s massive oil reserves. FDR and his successors paid little attention to harsh realities in Saudi Arabia: specifically its legalized slavery, its notorious repression of women, and its reliance on corporal punishment (in forms such as whipping and amputations for criminal offences such as stealing).

U.S. militarism abroad is also understood as intimately linked to corporate profiteering at home. In commenting on the permanent war economy, Lloyd Dumas argues that “the prevention of war may well require a re-orientation of priorities away from the military and toward the domestic economy…[peaceful]conversion [of the institutions of militarism] reaches into the economy and redirects human and capital resources from military to civilian-oriented activity.” Sadly, as Dumas reminds us, “today there are generations of managers, engineers, scientists, and production and maintenance workers whose employment experience includes little or nothing but military oriented work.” Rather than working in areas of the economy that contribute to human growth, this generation of military technocrats commit their energies to furthering American imperialism, greatly enriching a neocolonial system that places profits above human life and need.

The Wall Street Journal reports that “the [Obama] administration plans to tout the package as a major job creator – supporting at least 75,000 jobs – and sees the sale of advanced fighter jets and military helicopters to key Middle Eastern ally Riyadh as part of a broader policy aimed at shoring up Arab allies against Iran” (which has long been framed, contrary to all available intelligence, as a nuclear threat). The notion that the Iranian (non) threat will be countered by additional Saudi fighter jets and anti-ballistic missiles should strike any rational observer as insane, but the administration’s comments on the importance of the deal for the military industrial complex are instructive.

Military lobbyists provided more than $150 million in political contributions over the last decade, and these donations were distributed evenly across partisan lines. Like other corporate interests, military developers also exhibit tremendous political-economic power simply due to their power to hire and fire mass numbers of workers, thereby sustaining the U.S. manufacturing base.

Military projects such as the B-2 bomber are deliberately spread across most states in the union, thereby ensuring that most Congressional representatives retain a locally job-based economic interest in sustaining them. This broad-based commitment can border on the absurd (even in military planning terms), when reflecting upon a case like the “controversial” 2009 discontinuation of Lockheed’s F-22 raptor. The aircraft costs a whopping $227 million, and is nearly useless as a state-of-the art stealth fighter that sat on the sidelines in the non-battle between the U.S. military and defenseless punching bag of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Such logistical problems did not escape the attention of imperial planners.

As the Washington Post reported about the F-22, the “top-fighter jet” required “more than 30 hours of maintenance for every hour in the skies, pushing its hourly cost of flying to more than $44,000, a far higher figure than for the warplane it replaces, confidential Pentagon test results show. The aircraft’s radar-absorbing metallic skin is the principal cause of its maintenance troubles, with unexpected shortcomings — such as vulnerability to rain and other abrasion — challenging Air Force and contractor technicians since the mid-1990s, according to Pentagon officials, internal documents and a former engineer.”

One might think that the revelation that the top American fighter jet can’t fly in the rain would be a major point of reflection for any competent imperialist. Then again, air superiority is not the only goal of such massive boondoggles. The F-22 was designed from the beginning to be too big to fail, in light of the $65 billion pumped into the program. This is a tidy sum, considering that the spending was distributed through more than 1,000 sub-contracts across more than forty states. Predictably, the cancellation of the project met strong resistance among Congressmen.

The wide basis in which military contracts are distributed across America provides a structural incentive for the perpetuation of the imperial military industrial complex. Other institutional connections work to ensure the preeminence of military spending priorities. One merely needs to look to Congress to see evidence of the process at work. Military contractors are much likely to contribute to those sitting on the House and Senate Armed Services and Defense Appropriations committees than those who are not on these committees.

In the Senate, those officials who receive the largest sums from defense contract political action committees are almost twice as likely to support higher military spending when compared those who receive the least in contributions. Similarly, Congressional districts with defense committee leaders provide their constituencies with a 249 percent greater rate of defense projects than that received by districts without such leaders. In short, military contractor interests are well represented in the halls of Capitol Hill, and show no signs of subsiding in the foreseeable future.

Military contractors are also extremely shrewd in deciding where to locate manufacturing sites. Poorer rural districts are traditionally the most reliant on military funding, in part because they are characterized by low levels of worker organizing and unionization. This allows military producers greater leverage over negotiating pay and other benefits for workers. Military contractors also locate in poor rural areas because these locations are the least diversified when it comes to business activities. Fundamentally reliant on military contractors as the prime foundation for local economic activity, representatives from poor rural districts retain a distinct incentive to join defense-related committees. As recent data indicates, those members of Congress hailing from rural, poorer districts are twice as likely to join defense committees, compared to those from non-rural, wealthier districts.

In sum, the American military industrial complex is intricately interwoven into the halls of power in Washington. Its strong presence in Congress and throughout needy Congressional districts (in addition to its broad based presence across the vast majority of states) ensures that military spending will continue to receive a high priority in terms of national spending. Factor in U.S. imperial interests in the Middle East and around the world (and a continued reliance on cheap oil) and one has a recipe for the creation and maintenance of a permanent war economy.

An economy structured around neocolonialism and local clientelism/district-based pork barrel military spending represents a daunting challenge for those who would like to see a change in the status quo. Understanding the problem, however, is half the battle. Once Americans better understand exactly what they’re up against in confronting the military industrial complex, they will be in a better position to pressure their own representatives to redirect spending toward more productive endeavors. The time has come to re-prioritize our priorities away from destruction and toward helping those in need. Rather than sending billions of dollars in destructive hardware to corrupt oil-dictatorships, we owe it to those suffering without jobs and homes in current-day depressed America to work toward a better future for all. 

Anthony DiMaggio is the editor of media-ocracy (, a daily online magazine devoted to the study of media, public opinion, and current events. He has taught U.S. and Global Politics at Illinois State University and North Central College, and is the author of When Media Goes to War (2010) and Mass Media, Mass Propaganda (2008). He can be reached at:




September 22, 2010

by John Allen 


See larger image

Obama’s Wars (Hardcover)By (author) Bob Woodward


By Peter Baker

WASHINGTON — Some of the critical players in President Obama’s national security team doubt his strategy in Afghanistan will succeed and have spent much of the last 20 months quarreling with one another over policy, personalities and turf, according to a new book. 

The book, “Obama’s Wars,” by the journalist Bob Woodward, depicts an administration deeply torn over the war in Afghanistan even as the president agreed to triple troop levels there amid suspicion that he was being boxed in by the military. Mr. Obama’s top White House adviser on Afghanistan and his special envoy for the region are described as believing the strategy will not work. 

The president concluded from the start that “I have two years with the public on this” and pressed advisers for ways to avoid a big escalation, the book says. “I want an exit strategy,” he implored at one meeting. Privately, he told Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to push his alternative strategy opposing a big troop buildup in meetings, and while Mr. Obama ultimately rejected it, he set a withdrawal timetable because, “I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party.” 

But Mr. Biden is not the only one who harbors doubts about the strategy’s chances for success. Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, the president’s Afghanistan adviser, is described as believing that the president’s review did not “add up” to the decision he made. Richard C. Holbrooke, the president’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, is quoted saying of the strategy that “it can’t work.” 


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy 

Access extensive

Mr. Woodward, the longtime Washington Post reporter and editor, was granted extensive access to administration officials and documents for his account, including an interview with Mr. Obama. The New York Times obtained a copy of the book before its publication by Simon & Schuster, scheduled for next week. The White House had no comment on the book Tuesday night. 

Although the internal divisions described have become public, the book suggests that they were even more intense and disparate than previously known and offers new details. Mr. Biden called Mr. Holbrooke “the most egotistical bastard I’ve ever met.” A variety of administration officials expressed scorn for James L. Jones, the retired Marine general who is national security adviser, while he referred to some of the president’s other aides as “the water bugs” or “the Politburo.” 

Related: Obama fights for agenda in new Woodward book   

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thought his vice chairman, Gen. James E. Cartwright, went behind his back, while General Cartwright dismissed Admiral Mullen because he wasn’t a war fighter. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates worried that General Jones would be succeeded by his deputy, Thomas E. Donilon, who would be a “disaster.” 


President Obama and General Petraeus at the White House.

General Petraeus replaces General McCrystal

Gen. David H. Petraeus, who was overall commander for the Middle East until becoming the Afghanistan commander this summer, told a senior aide that he disliked talking with David M. Axelrod, the president’s senior adviser, because he was “a complete spin doctor.” General Petraeus was effectively banned by the administration from the Sunday talk shows but worked private channels with Congress and the news media. 

And the book recounts incidents in which Adm. Dennis C. Blair, then the national intelligence director, fought with Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, and John O. Brennan, the counterterrorism adviser. 

During a daily intelligence briefing in May 2009, Mr. Blair warned the president that radicals with American and European passports were being trained in Pakistan to attack their homelands. Mr. Emanuel afterward chastised him, saying, “You’re just trying to put this on us so it’s not your fault.” Mr. Blair also skirmished with Mr. Brennan about a report on the failed airliner terrorist attack on Dec. 25. Mr. Obama later forced Mr. Blair out. 

Beyond the internal battles, the book offers fresh disclosures on the nation’s continuing battle with terrorists. It reports that the C.I.A. has a 3,000-man “covert army” in Afghanistan called the Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams, or C.T.P.T., mostly Afghans who capture and kill Taliban fighters and seek support in tribal areas. Past news accounts have reported that the C.I.A. has a number of militias, including one trained on one of its compounds, but not the size of the covert army. 

Karzai manic-depressive

The book also reports that the United States has intelligence showing that manic-depression has been diagnosed in President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and that he was on medication, but adds no details. Mr. Karzai’s mood swings have been a challenge for the Obama administration. 


Video: Woodward on Bush, Iraq  

As for Mr. Obama himself, the book describes a professorial president who assigned “homework” to advisers but bristled at what he saw as military commanders’ attempts to force him into a decision he was not yet comfortable with. Even after he agreed to send another 30,000 troops last winter, the Pentagon asked for another 4,500 “enablers” to support them. 

The president lost his poise, according to the book. “I’m done doing this!” he erupted. 

To ensure that the Pentagon did not reinterpret his decision, Mr. Obama dictated a six-page, single-space “terms sheet” explicitly laying out his troop order and its objectives, a document included in the book’s appendix. 

Mr. Obama’s struggle with the decision comes through in a conversation with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who asked if his deadline to begin withdrawal in July 2011 was firm. “I have to say that,” Mr. Obama replied. “I can’t let this be a war without end, and I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party.” 

This story, ” Woodward Book Portrays Obama Aides’ Battles,” first appeared in The New York Times. 





September 22, 2010

by Gordon Duff


By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

Sir Oswald Moseley, baronet, 4th cousin of Queen Mother Elizabeth, was said to be the most hated man in England.  Interned during the war along with his wife Diana for opposing Britain’s entry into World War II, Mosley was reviled as a Fascists, leader of Britain’s “Blackshirt” movement.  He was also a powerful public speaker and, as history has that nasty habit of proving, not just correct in his predictions but so correct as to be psychic.  Mosley was portrayed as racist and opposed to Britain’s working class.  Moseley and the British Union of Fascists could best be described as anti-Communist though even this is an oversimplification.  As we learn, Mosley simply “got it.”

Released after the war, Mosley worked to create a single European state to stand against the Soviet Bloc.  He died in 1980.

His message, however, is more than worth listening to:

YouTube – Veterans Today –




September 22, 2010

by Michael Leon  

From the VA:

Mass marketing fraud includes any plan, program, promotion, or campaign that is conducted through solicitation by telephone, mail, the Internet, or other means (e.g., mass meetings) to induce multiple persons to (1) purchase goods or services; (2) participate in a contest, sweepstakes, or lottery; (3) invest for financial profit; or (4) otherwise pay advance fees or “taxes” for services that are promised but not delivered.

As the name implies, International Mass Marketing Fraud is a crime that uses distance and location as its primary means of success, making it more difficult for law enforcement to track and prosecute the perpetrators. In part, this is due to jurisdictional authority of law enforcement agencies throughout the world.

Some common scams are:
–Counterfeit Cashier’s Check
–Foreign Lotteries
–Telemarketing West African Advance-Fee
What to look for:
–Being asked for personal financial Information such as bank account information or credit card numbers via the telephone or by email.
–Using high-pressure sales tactics so as not to give you time to think about the information you are providing.
–Being told you have won a foreign lottery or sweepstakes.
– Being asked to help transfer funds out of a foreign country for a share of the money.
–Being offered help in repairing credit scores for an advanced fee.
–Receiving a counterfeit cashier’s check or money order for more than the cost of the item you are selling
Remain Vigilant:
–Take time to research any offers you receive over the Internet or telephone.
–Do not deposit any checks that are supposed winnings from a lottery or sweepstakes, especially if you didn’t enter one.
–Do not provide your sensitive, personal, or financial information unless you know who you are dealing with.
–Consult friends and family or a trusted advisor before making any major financial decisions.





September 22, 2010

by Debbie Menon

Iran’s president takes centre stage at the United Nations but his attack on the “unjust” west failed to be heard.

A calm and self-assured Iranian President, on his seventh trip to the United States, showed every sign of being in command of himself.

 By Debbie Menon via My Catbird Seat

Ahmadinejad Lost in Translation — “there’s no translation.”

By Aljazeera

September 21, 2010 — Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has addressed the General Assembly on the second day of the UN’s millennium development goals summit.

But it is not what he said on Tuesday that has made the news but what happened during the simultaneous translation of his speech, which has caused controversy.

Right from the start, his speech was overshadowed by technical problems, as the president was heard saying: “there’s no translation.” And these problems continued to cause confusion two minutes into his speech. All this was followed by an ominous announcement: “The interpreters would like to state that they are reading from a written text translated into English.” With that, the translation stopped altogether.

Despite all the technical issues, Ahmadinejad managed to communicate his message that there is a need for an overhaul of what he called “undemocratic and unjust” global decision-making bodies.

The much anticipated speech has now left many wondering what actually went wrong as the Iranian president’s speech ended the same way as it had started, without any translation.

Ahmadinejad, who arrived in New York on Saturday, told the Associated Press news agency that “the future belongs to Iran,” and challenged the US to accept that his country has a major role in world affairs.

US officials have made it clear that there are no plans for Barack Obama, the US president, to have any contact with the Iranian leader in New York this week.

Tight security

The New York Post, a right-wing tabloid, criticised US government spending on security preparations surrounding the Iranian leader’s visit.

“Ahmadinejad has access to a private elevator on his floor, a source said, and everything he touches is supplied by his aides. His rooms’ windowpanes were swapped for bullet-proof glass,” the paper reported.

On the topic of Iran’s nuclear programme, which Iran insists is for power generation rather than bomb-making, Obama plans to reiterate that the “door is still open” for international engagement, a US security official said on Monday.


Iran’s President, speaks here on the side lines of the UN summit, in two exclusive interviews with RT’s Marina Portnaya and ABC’s Christian Amanpour:

Unipolar World Will Lead to War: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Video Interview RT.COM

YouTube – Veterans Today –

President Ahmadinejad’s Interview With ABC’s Christiane Amanpour

“I think that discussions are always good, provided they are done respectfully and based on mutual trust,” Ahmadinejad told Amanpour. “If the U.S. administration truly wishes to alter its policies in Afghanistan, and in Iraq, and to move in a direction that serves the interest of the people of those two countries, we are always open to cooperation, as we are now.” –  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran

YouTube – Veterans Today –

ED.NOTE:  Every time I watch a westerner interview the President of Iran, I feel a surge of embarrassment wrote one blogger… It just goes to show you how propagandized most Americans and many other westerners are. So this rude cutting-in and cutting-off that our children are now treated-to by way of Telly-Vision Example, these days – is that style what is now termed “incisive”? (I remember the days when the interview questions actually meant something… Those days are clearly over for now…)

Source: Special thanks to:  INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE

and Aljazeera

Posted in WorldComments Off on IRAN: LOST IN TRANSLATION AT U.N SUMMIT



I was born into occupation. I was born in Palestine. My father was a member the P.L.O. (Palestinian Liberation Organization) and my mother always supported him. I was very lucky to have such rebellious father and patient mother.

When I think back to my childhood I always count myself as blessed to have had an opportunity to stay in Germany with some other children in 1990, three years after the onset of the First Intifada. The Palestinian children who went to Germany grew up under Israeli Tyranny and some of them suffered much more than I, having lost their parents, not to mention having been injured during warfare, losing their site or their arms or legs in explosions. The trip to Germany was a great chance for us to open our eyes to the world around us and escape the Ghetto that is Gaza.

In Berlin, everything was different; the language, the food, the people, even the weather. I was always so amazed how people got to simply live their life normally. They walked and talked, sang and danced, came and went wherever they wanted freely. They enjoyed their time and for them it was normal. When I thought back to my life in Palestine, it was as though we lived in hell. Living under the dictatorship of curfews, blockades, and checkpoints, our schools being shut down, being treated like prisoners in our own home. We used to throw stones at Israeli soldiers or burn tires when I was a kid, as it was all we could do to show our occupiers that we would never just accept their oppression.

I was also astonished at the fact that the world knew almost nothing about the Israeli crimes against our people. Throughout my time in Germany I often shared stories of my life in Palestine and many were very touched and appalled by the savage nature of the occupation we endured. After we returned home, we all had so much to say to say about our experience in Berlin and will always remember the German people as peaceful and calm.

Years later, when I was 15 years old, I got married. It was very tough experience for me to suddenly find myself responsible for a family, especially when I had my first son at 16. I made a huge effort to adapt myself to this new situation and things went well. I am now the mother of four wonderful children and couldn’t be happier.

Despite being a young wife and mother, I never give up on my dream of obtaining an education. I eventually went back to school and later on to college. In terms of my studies, my choice wasn’t an easy one. I always dreamed of being a journalist, but I had a stronger urge to study law because of my natural tendency to search for justice. And here I am, soon to be a lawyer.

It wasn’t easy, but my strongest source of motivation for my long and arduous journey was that my father always wanted me to become a lawyer. Sadly, he died before he had a chance to see our dream become a reality. He also witnessed my eldest brother arrested by Israelis and sentenced for 7 years in prison. My brother and I have always shard the deepest bond, always unconditional and unlimited in his support. I came to depend on him all the time and hope he will be released soon and that everything will be all right.

Deep in my heart, I believe the happiest moments of my life have yet to come and I spend my days an extremely optimistic person. I also believe the hardest moments of my life still lay ahead of me and preparing for the great challenges of my existence is an ongoing task. This may seem to be a contradiction, but such is my life; such is the way things have always been for me.

My country is my home, my country is my prison. I was born into occupation. I was born in Palestine.


Posted in Middle EastComments Off on INSIDE GAZA



September 22, 2010

It may sound unlikely, but we’re in ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan Street in Sheikh Jarrah and, together with Salah and other Palestinian friends from the neighborhood, we’re building a sukkah. The Sukkot holiday, my favorite, starts tonight. Religious Jews build little booths covered with palm fronds and eat and sleep in them for seven nights, a memory of the forty years of wandering in the desert and a reminder of the precariousness of all that exists, all that we value and love. You’re supposed to be able to see the stars through the fronds that provide a make-shift roof; honored guests, beginning with the Patriarchs and ending on day seven with King David, are invited to visit each day.

But why build one in Sheikh Jarrah, in the street where the al-Ghazi and al-Kurd houses have been taken over by Israeli settlers and the Palestinian owners driven out? Mr. Al-Kurd, dignified and calm as always, is watching over the construction. New and surprising forms of Palestinian-Israeli friendship have sprung up in this neighborhood in the course of the ongoing struggle, with its weekly demonstrations—often violently suppressed by the police (over a hundred demonstrators have been arrested during the last eight or nine months). The demonstrations are usually on Friday afternoon, but last week’s was cancelled because of Yom Kippur. Two nights before the fast, however, there was a joint prayer session in Sheikh Jarrah, and the exquisite texts of the Selichot—supplications for forgiveness—were read out together, in Arabic and Hebrew, by the activists and the evicted families, standing on this same tortured street, with the settlers jeering at them. I heard that many of our people had tears in their eyes.

There’s no question that the Jews have a lot to ask forgiveness for. There’s something shocking to me, still, in the High Holiday time in Israel. I live in a mixed neighborhood that has, over the years, like most neighborhoods in Jerusalem, becoming increasingly right-wing. Many of my neighbors are religious and, of course, strident nationalists, and some of them are even what I would call soft-core racists.

They find it convenient to hate Palestinians, or Arabs in general, and they feel no compunction whatsoever about the Israeli settlement project and the ongoing theft of Palestinian land, on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, proceeding apace day by day. So how is it, I ask myself—you have to forgive my stubborn innocence—that these same neighbors can spend Yom Kippur praying for forgiveness for their sins without even noticing that we, the people of Israel, are guilty of terrible crimes against our Palestinian brothers and sisters? Why bother going to the synagogue at all if you are so blind to the suffering of others, if you are living a lie? I know I’ll never understand.

So here we are building together a sukkat shalom, a Sukkah of Peace—another resonant phrase from the prayer book—and the police are, of course, here in force together with the Jerusalem municipality’s building inspectors, and they’ve given us notice that what we are doing is illegal and they will destroy the sukkah as soon as it’s built. You should know that the city is absolutely filled with sukkot, thousands of them, many of them built (without permits, of course) on sidewalks and other public thoroughfares (in some areas, such as Nahlaot, you can barely negotiate your way along the street), and none of them, it goes without saying, is in danger of being demolished—since they are good Jewish sukkot, after all, respectable appurtenances of the tribe. But a Palestinian-Israel Peace Sukkah, that’s clearly another matter. There’s no way the police will let it stand. It’s a public menace.

It might disturb for a few moments the proper order of a world in which Palestinians can be ruthlessly driven from their homes, and those who protest against this cruelty will be thrown in jail. It might even make some ordinary person stop and think when he or she reads the inscription on the cloth panel forming one of the sukkah’s sides: “The Sheikh Jarrah Sukkah of Peace.” Who knows what unsettling thoughts this rickety structure of poles and tinsel decorations might engender? Besides, we’re building it right outside the houses the settlers have stolen, and the pious settlers might take offense.

It’s somehow comforting to engage in these doomed, purely symbolic actions; it feels right. The very futility of it all makes it all the better, all the more necessary, even fun; in fact, the more absurd the better. Credo quia absurdum est. And there is the friendship infusing this moment and giving it meaning. We were here ten days ago for a joint ‘Id al-Fitr/Rosh Hashana party, and Mr. Al-Kurd spoke with his usual gracious forbearance, thanking us for standing beside them, and a little Palestinian girl took the microphone and said, “We are tired of the settlers’ stealing our homes and our toys.”

I have to confess, though, that today, as the afternoon wears on and the sukkah is destroyed, not once but twice, I’m also feeling very angry. This has been a tough day. In the early hours of the morning, a security guard employed by the Jewish settlers in Silwan, under the walls of the Old City, shot and killed a 32-year-old Palestinian man, Samir Sirhan, a father of five.

I wasn’t there to see it, I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I can say with confidence that if there were no Israeli enclave planted by force in the heart of Palestinian Silwan, with an armed mercenary militia to “protect” it, Samir would probably still be alive. Another two, at least, were wounded (the police have clamped down a news blackout, no one knows for sure how many were hurt). Amiel got there early and was, of course, arrested. (You can be quite sure that nothing will happen to the security guard who shot and killed.) Silwan, meanwhile, has erupted in violent protest.

It wouldn’t take much to spark off another Intifada, especially the way things are going, with Netanyahu refusing to renew the “freeze” on building in the settlements. If the talks collapse over this, as they may, or over some other piece of wicked foolishness, another round of violence is all too likely: that was the Chief of Staff’s assessment, as of yesterday. You have to remember, too, that every single housing unit that goes up in the territories is a crime under international law as well as a crime against ordinary human decency and against God, if there is a God.

So our sukkah is also planned as a Booth of Mourning for Samir, as is customary among Palestinians—another reason, no doubt, for the authorities to attack it. The Sheikh Jarrah protest, perhaps the most hopeful development in the Israeli peace movement in recent years, is closely allied with grass-roots Palestinian protest in Silwan. Three weeks ago we held a medium-size demonstration in Silwan against El’ad, the settler organization that effectively rules the village and that has been given responsibility for the archaeological site there, which they call the City of David, the most sensitive such site in the country (another unthinkable outrage, possible only in Israel). Every year El’ad runs an archaeological conference and tour in Silwan, open to the public, and we were there to protest.

We managed to make ourselves heard, at considerable cost; Daniel, standing right beside me, was brutally battered, kicked, and trampled by the police, without provocation, and taken off, bleeding profusely, his glasses shattered, to jail; Ram was seriously wounded in the foot by a border policeman; several others were also hurt, and eight arrested. I found it more depressing than usual, though in our terms these days the demonstration counts as a success. I had just returned from India, and the renewed encounter with hard-core monotheists was something of a shock.

For the record, and in brief, here is how the Sukkah comes crashing down. It’s standing there on the sidewalk, miraculously held together by strings and poles, as a Sukkah should be, and gaudily decorated with paper cut-outs and bright paintings and shiny flowers which we prepared together with the Palestinian children. Looks not bad. Nissim says we should apply to the annual competition for the Most Beautiful Sukkah prize. It huddles under a large fig tree whose branches spill over the courtyard wall; indeed, the Sukkah could easily be taken as no more than a slight extension of this beautiful tree.

We’re rather proud of it. We stand inside it as the police advance, and of course it’s not very sturdy so within about three minutes it’s been ripped apart, the poles strewn over the street, the palm fronds snapped, the decorations mangled and torn. At just this moment one of the settlers walks into the courtyard of his stolen house carrying a large palm frond for his sukkah, which, I assure you, no one will demolish; he wishes us a happy holiday. I can also assure you that ours is the only sukkah to be destroyed by the municipality this year.

Silan is arrested during this short altercation. As soon as it’s over, we start again. This time we forget about the poles on the sidewalk; we will hang the cloth panels down from a few wooden rods resting on the enclosure wall and reaching into the fig tree. There’s even room for a few more decorations. Salah works happily, defiantly, at making this half-sukkah fit the classical model, more or less, and after half an hour or so it is, indeed, a passable specimen, and even less of an Obstruction to the Public than its noble predecessor. However, it quickly shares the former’s sad fate.

Before the police move in the second time, I take my stand inside this lovable little booth; it’s where I want to be. Hillel is standing beside me; he knows Jewish law inside out, so when I say that I’m afraid that this is not quite a kosher sukkah—for one thing, you definitely can’t see the sky (to say nothing, in theory, of any stars)– he laughs and at once confirms this thought. Still, I decide that since I’ve helped build it, and I believe deeply in the almost hopeless idea that it embodies, I might as well say the holiday blessing.

You’re supposed to utter it sitting down, but there’s nowhere to sit in the Palestinian-Israeli Sukkah of Peace in its final moments, so I change the formula just a little: “Blessed art Thou, Lord of the Universe, who has commanded us to stand in the Sukkah.” You know what, maybe He does, after all, exist. Hillel, who knows I’ve been away in India, asks me if I’m back to stay a while, and I say yes and, a little bitterly, quote the old Zionist song: “I’ve come up to the Land to build and be built.” I wave my arms at our fragile, tacky, quixotic creation. “As you can see,” I say, “so far it’s not going very well.”

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Port Townsend co-op rejects boycott on a technicality

Sep 22, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

The following update was just sent out by Jefferson County Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions:

Following the intervention of the Israeli Consulate and a national lobbying group, the Port Townsend Food Coop Board of Directors decided to reject a proposal to boycott Israeli products on Tuesday night.

A similar proposal had been passed at the Olympia Food Co-op on July 16, the first of its kind to pass in the country. “This kind of interference by the Israeli government and a national organization show how important boycotts are to Israel,” said Anna-Marie Murano, Olympia Food Co-op member, “Boycott supporters are telling Israel that it will not benefit from the ongoing oppression of Palestinians.”

In July, a group of Port Townsend Co-op member-owners presented a proposal to the board, asking that the store pull Israeli products from its shelves until Israel complies with U.N. decisions regarding the occupied territories, lifts the siege on Gaza, ends its hafrada (apartheid) policies against Palestinians, and recognizes the refugees’ right of return. Over 350 members signed a petition supporting the boycott.

The meeting, held at Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, was attended by approximately 120 people and at times very emotional.

“In 5, 10, or 15 years, when the full impact of what happens in Gaza, the West Bank, and in Israel becomes as known to the world as earlier crimes, I want to be able to look my daughter in the eye and say we did everything we could to stop the killing,” stated boycott supporter Dena Shunra, drawing on her family’s World War II experience and placing the boycott proposal in a historical context.

The reason stated for rejection of the proposal was that “the boycott proposal is inconsistent with the [Co‑op’s] boycott policy.” Board president Sam Gibboney said that there is nothing in the boycott policy that permits the boycotting of a country. The board’s vote was 4 to 2 against the proposal.

The boycott proposal generated much needed discussion about Palestinian human rights, which opponents have not succeeded to silence. “Our anguish here is just a fraction of what people in Gaza experience”, said Kit Kittredge of Quilcene, WA, a boycott supporter who has visited the Gaza Strip several times.

Boycott supporters are confident that the momentum will continue, Palestine is now ‘on the map’, and people will continue to educate themselves about the conflict, support Palestinian human rights, and organize support for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Despite protests, Harvard to honor Peretz with research fund in his name

Sep 21, 2010

 Abdelnasser Rashid and Sam Sternin 

Statement on Committee on Degrees in Social Studies’ Decision to Honor Martin Peretz

September 21st, 2010.

We have received word that Harvard’s Standing Committee on Social Studies has finally decided to go ahead with plans to honor Martin Peretz despite his long public record of racist statements by creating a $650,000 research fund in his name.  The decision to honor Peretz despite his legacy of bigotry will be remembered as one of the most shameful in the history of Harvard University.

Against a backdrop of widespread opposition to honoring Peretz amongst faculty, students, alumni, staff, and other members of the Harvard community, the Committee also appears to have ‘demoted’ Peretz from his speaking role at the Saturday’s 50th anniversary celebration of Social Studies, but he continues to be listed by name on the program as a person to be honored.

We do not consider this matter settled.  We call upon President Drew Gilpin Faust, who has yet to find time in her schedule to meet with Muslim students, to reverse this decision and send a strong signal that Harvard is not for sale to bigotry.  That was true in 2004, when Harvard investigated and was on the verge of rejecting the $1.5 million donation of Shaykh Zayed al-Nahyan of the UAE (he technically asked for the funds back), and it should have been true today.

We also call upon the donors behind this fund—who apparently increased their contributions as a means to pressure Harvard into disregarding Peretz’s racism—to publicly repudiate Peretz and his legacy of bigotry.  If public figures such as Al Gore, Amy Gutmann, Abigail Thernstrom, Jamie Gorelick, David Ignatius, Tom Williamson, and Juan Carlos Zarate feel that this bigot is worthy of praise, then the crisis of publicly acceptable racism against Muslims in the United States is even worse than it seems today.

Some of Peretz’s defenders have claimed that he has repented for his statements.  Peretz’s purported apologies for a few recent remarks do not address his 25-year record of racism against African Americans, Latinos, Arabs, and Muslims.  The idea that, having belatedly apologized in the face of massive media pressure, he is suddenly a figure worth honoring (selected over dozens of other Social Studies luminaries) is absurd.

Others have argued that not honoring Peretz would be a violation of academic freedom. This is also nonsense – no one is proposing that Peretz be banned from voicing his noxious views on campus.  While free speech is a right (something Peretz apparently forgot when it comes to Muslims), being honored by a university is not.

Some have tried to focus on Peretz’s role as a teacher – but this cannot be separated from his public racist stances.  As for Peretz himself, if he truly wishes to atone for his actions, he should concede that he does not deserve to be honored and ask that the fund be withdrawn or re-named.

However Peretz and his friends respond, the ultimate responsibility remains with Harvard.  It seems that for now, a little over $650,000 has been enough to buy a cloak of respectability.  With Martin Peretz’s reputation in tatters, that Harvard cloak — and along with it the reputation of both Social Studies and the university — is itself besmirched.  The more than 550 Harvard and Social Studies alumni, students, faculty and supporters who have signed the petition against honoring Peretz in the space of five days will not be celebrating this Saturday at the Social Studies 50th anniversary: but we will continue to grow in numbers and organize.

On behalf of concerned Harvard students,
Abdelnasser Rashid (Social Studies ’11)

On behalf of concerned Harvard alumni,
Sam Sternin (Social Studies ’01)

Celebrity support for cultural boycott is getting attention

Sep 21, 2010

Adam Horowitz

For Thomas it was time to go, but for Peretz it’s a free ride

Sep 21, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

This Marty Peretz controversy is really good for pointing out double standards, isn’t it? Check out these editorials from the Boston Globe:

Helen Thomas: Bizarre end to a long career:

Helen Thomas, the longest-serving member of the White House press corps, retired abruptly but wisely yesterday after causing an uproar with her bizarre, offensive comments about Israel. . .

Thomas broke new ground for women in journalism, has been a model of longevity, and was, until now, an object of great affection in political and media circles. But to treat Thomas as a Washington institution, rather than as just another reporter, required everyone involved to overlook some unprofessional conduct on Thomas’s part. Thomas has now apologized for her comments, but they remain a sad coda for a groundbreaking career.

Marty Peretz: Not the sum of his sound bites:

IF HARVARD University were honoring someone who declared that “Jewish life is cheap,’’ one of the first voices to rise in indignation would surely be that of Martin Peretz, editor-in-chief of The New Republic. For the better part of four decades, Peretz and his magazine have policed the dialogue surrounding the Middle East with a sharp eye for anti-Semitism and double standards. But he’s also flung around some stereotypes of his own. . .

Peretz, like some others who’ve been castigated for intolerant views, is more than the sum of his sound bites. He purchased The New Republic at a low ebb in its fortunes and made it a force for thoughtful, centrist debate. Through his magazine, Peretz has been a defender of some of the most important American values, including free speech and (in most cases) tolerance. His support for Israel is heartfelt and intense. If it sometimes leads him to hyperbole and denunciation of Israel’s critics, others are free to disagree or ignore him. Despite his sometimes-offensive comments, he should not be treated like a pariah.

There is entirely too much intolerance in America today. Martin Peretz should be regarded in the full context of his career, and he should extend the same courtesy to others.

Maybe the Globe would have gone easier on Thomas if she had a lifetime of offensive comments, and not just one slip.

Our cross to bear

Sep 21, 2010

Matthew Phillips

chosenReaders may remember the Jewish novelist Michael Chabon’s strange article in the New York Times days after the Mavi Marmara debacle. In his op-ed, “Chosen, but Not Special”, Chabon claims that recent evidence of Israeli “stupidity”, namely the massacre of civilians in international waters, should put an end to the illusion that Jews are somehow more enlightened than others; an illusion which, Chabon hastens to add, has done the Jewish state no favors.

Paradoxically, Chabon points out, Israel claims to be a “light unto nations”, yet protests loudly against those who hold Israel to a “higher standard” than other states. Of course, Chabon provides no evidence of those who hold Israel to a “higher standard”, as virtually all diplomatic reaction to the Mavi Marmara affair bitterly criticized Israel’s behavior not because it fell short of some lofty theological ideal, but because it was an egregious violation of international law.

Certainly a comparative framework was used to highlight Israeli lawlessness, but for most commentators it was the real-world precedent of Somali piracy that proved germane. I do not recall anyone arguing that Jewish “chosenness” was the proper standard by which Israeli behavior should be judged.

Nevertheless, Chabon’s argument that Jews should basically eschew the idea of their essential uniqueness caused predictable reaction. Todd Gitlin and Liel Leibovitz, authors of the new book The Chosen Peoples: America, Israel, and the Ordeals of Divine Election, responded in the online magazine Tablet with an article entitled “the Centrality of Jewish Chosenness”. Gitlin and Leibovitz argue that a renunciation of Jewish chosenness is not only implausible, but also undesirable.

To them, chosenness is “foundational”; for who are the Jews, they ask, “if not people that believe that their ancestor [Abraham] was singled out…by God?” Indeed, Jewish chosenness is not simply a central aspect of Judaism, but to Gitlin and Leibovitz, its rasion d’etre: “In a way”, Gitlin and Leibovitz write, “the Jewish people have invented the idea of chosenness, but in truth, chosenness has invented the idea of the Jewish people. Such is Judaism’s wonderfully inverted logic: First comes redemption, only then reasons.”

Whatever the theological merits of Gitlin and Leibovitz’ argument, a reader of their article might be somewhat puzzled by the subtitle of their new book. “America, Israel and the Ordeals of Divine Election”? How can the “rich and strange idea” of chosenness, as the author’s call it in their Tablet article, be so problematic? Certainly it is seductive enough to be embraced by two admittedly secular writers like Gitlin and Leibovitz. The “ordeal”, then, must be the experience of the other side—those who have had the unlucky fortune, from the Bible onwards, to get in the way of the both the chosen people and the “almost chosen people”, as Abraham Lincoln famously labeled the Americans.

Yet the reader of The Chosen Peoples quickly discovers that the “ordeal” is, in fact, essentially our own. True, Gitlin and Leibovitz do discuss the unfortunate effect the idea of “divine election” has had on the lives of the “unchosen”. And they do set up the useful, if not exactly novel, analogy between American treatment of the indigenous population and Israeli behavior in the Occupied Territories. But Gitlin and Leibovitz are careful not to push things too far, and eagerly mitigate whatever negative conclusions the reader might come to about the idea of “divine election”.

Thus, for those of us who had the good fortune to learn about the postmodern concept of the “contrapuntal” in Comp Lit class, we know what Gitlin and Leibovitz mean when they tell us that “[t]he chosen and unchosen are entangled together by resentment and resignation, mercy and anger, humor and heartbreak, cacophony and harmony.” But if that’s not exactly clear to the reader who has just read about one-sided land theft and expropriation (the authors avoid, in their discussion of American Indians, the issue of genocide), Gitlin and Leibovitz further remind us that “the relationship between the chosen people and those whom they dispossess…is partly an extended war dance, but it is also a sequence of movements, sometimes slow, sometimes stormy, in which the vanquished, while never triumphant, nonetheless help determine the rhythm of history.”

I’m sure the remaining descendants of American Indians and present-day Palestinians in refugee camps will take comfort in this discovery of their role in history. Current students of Gitlin’s at Columbia University’s School of Journalism, however, might want to start working on their term papers as soon as possible.

Keeping to the theme of the “extended war dance”, Gitlin and Leibovitz show us that the “unchosen” are also susceptible to the same Manichean worldview as the “chosen”. The authors denounce the influence of Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth and its impact on the “third-worldist left”, the Palestinians in particular. “Hapless when Israel crushed the Arab armies in 1967”, Gitlin and Leibovitz inform us, these ‘victims of the victims’, as [Edward] Said called the Palestinians, were now ready-made to be cast as the wretched whose destiny—manifest destiny, one might have said—under Yasir Arafat was to inherit the occupied earth.”

Thus the playing field is essentially leveled, as the Palestinian quest for statehood in their historic homeland is shown to be not entirely different from American expansionism abroad. For good measure, the authors also distance themselves from Noam Chomsky, “who has for decades been so exercised by American and American-sponsored power and violence as to overlook or minimize or explain away the depredations committed by others.” Of course, no evidence is given to support this accusation, but the contour of the argument is clear: that in the “obsessive hatreds” of America and Israel (never enumerated), the authors hear “not so much love for justice, or the dispossessed, as the curses cast by Paul and Mohammad at their most unforgiving, the faith and fury that herald the passing of the mantle of chosenness from some of God’s children to others.” Present-day examples of this phenomenon aren’t given.

If all this seems somewhat convoluted, it isn’t surprising, because a clear assessment of the historical record is not Gitlin and Leibovitz’ objective. Indeed, what useful history is in the book is merely a prelude to what Gitlin and Leibovitz call their “unexpected conclusion”, which is essentially that the United States and Israel must embrace the idea of chosenness “in a different key”. In their Tablet article, the authors claim they set out to write a book challenging the idea of chosenness, whether Jewish or American. I very much doubt this was their intention, for throughout The Chosen Peoples, Gitlin and Leibovitz can only wax grandiloquent about “divine election”.

In one place, we are told about “the deep power and exquisite beauty of divine election” and “the profound merits of chosenness”; elsewhere, despite its apparent “beauty”, we are told that chosenness has been “an ordeal, closer to a curse than a blessing” and that, for example, “contemporary Israelis groan beneath the ancient burden, compelled to make sense of chosenness, queasy about unchecked territorial expansion.” (Recent polls of Israeli public opinion, however, suggest that Israelis may be less reticent about expansion that Gitlin and Leibovitz like to believe).  Whether good or bad, what these examples clearly point to is the fact that the authors fully subscribe to the reality of chosenness: how else to explain their studied avoidance, throughout the book, of words like “myth” and “illusion”?

Of course, Gitlin and Leibovitz, as proper bien-pensant intellectuals, cannot admit that they simply love the idea of “divine election”. To do so would be politically incorrect and embarrassing. Instead, they do what evasive people often do: they cast their advocacy in the language of analysis. “The clock cannot be reset to zero”, Gitlin and Leibovitz write; “we cannot choose to be unchosen”. Furthermore, “the cycles of race hatred, revenge, and war cannot be rescinded, erased from memory.

History is unsparing”. This is why “it is no use trying to bludgeon the notion [of chosenness] into nonexistence”, which is fortunate given that it is an “extraordinary, entrancing, ancient [and] deep” notion to begin with.  Thus the authors’ preferred conclusion is the inevitable one: “we must, like the Israelites of old, willingly bear the immense burden of membership in a tribe many of whom feel, and have long felt, chosen by God”. Gitlin and Leibovitz are speaking as Jews here; where this leaves America’s sense of “divine election” is anyone’s guess.

Finally, what are we to make of the attractiveness of “divine election” for secular intellectuals who are, on a day-to-day basis, otherwise committed to egalitarianism? Many years ago, in an essay for the now defunct journal Grand Street, Noam Chomsky sought to locate the appeal of the Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr for postwar American elites, especially liberals. Unimpressed by the intellectual level of most of Niebuhr’s work, Chomsky found that Niebuhr’s influence lay elsewhere—namely, in his concept of “the paradox of grace”.

 “The paradox of grace” basically holds that Man’s actions are inevitably tainted by self-interest, yet in a world of sin, moral men must risk doing evil for the greater good. Chomsky quotes Niebuhr’s biographer Richard Fox, who notes that for Kennedy liberals, Niebuhr “helped them maintain faith in themselves as political actors in a troubled—what he termed a sinful—world…responsibility meant taking risks: Niebuhr taught that moral men had to play hardball.”

I would suggest that a similar appeal lies in “divine election”. Like the “paradox of grace”, we are encouraged by Gitlin and Leibovitz to assume a great deal of “responsibility”, which in turn obviates the need for accountability. Indeed, if we err, as Gitlin and Leibovitz admit we have done on occasion, it can always be attributed to the “afflictions of chosenness”—afflictions we may not have invited, but are nonetheless at a loss to undo.

This is quite useful for those who fear a more unassuming role for America and Israel in the world— a role that, as the authors remind us over and over again, is basically inconceivable anyway.  “Even if it were possible for the Jews of Israel to accept the modest project of living normally”, Gitlin and Leibovitz tell us, “it is hard to see how they can reconcile themselves to the belief that their new mission consists of getting by. Logically possible it might be, but psychologically? Not very likely.” In other words, there is no “exquisite beauty” to be found in abiding by international law, or showing, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind.” Better to indulge in fantasies about a “burden to be gladly shouldered”, which, it should be clear to any reader relying on common sense, must obviously be no kind of burden at all—at least not for us, anyway.

Matthew Phillips is a twenty-five year old New Yorker pursuing an MA in Middle East studies. He previously reviewed Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions for Mondoweiss.

Segregation and solidarity

Sep 21, 2010

Joseph Dana

The following is in response to an informal gathering of ‘solidarity’ the Sheikh Jarrah movement is holding in Tel Aviv on Friday to inform israelis about the struggle there and hopefully recruit more people.

From the standpoint of joint Palestinian-Israeli struggle, this Friday’s ‘solidarity Shiekh Jarrah’ gathering in Tel Aviv raises important questions about the direction of the Sheikh Jarrah movement and especially the use of the term ‘solidarity’. The movement is moving to the center of Israeli political protest and away from the joint character of the struggle which has typified it for the past year. In what way is “solidarity” achieved by moving what is labeled as a ‘joint Palestinian-Israeli struggle’ to Tel Aviv, the most ethnically pure Jewish places in the country?

Why is the protest not moved to Nablus, Beit Umar, Iraq Burin, Nil’in or even Jaffa? In West Bank villages, Israelis can come and show ‘solidarity’ while in Tel Aviv, travel for Palestinians is something of a problem to say the least. Having a protest in Tel Aviv is not in itself a bad development. The problematic here is the term ‘solidarity’ when the protest is not moved to Palestinian villages and only to Israeli cities. In our conflict, solidarity must be expressed in the places of occupation by invitation of those which are occupied.

The Sheikh Jarrah movement has become an Israeli demonstration which is using the term ‘solidarity’ for its own purposes of rallying new Israeli recruits. Again, this is not a bad development per se despite the obvious perversion of having an Israeli protest in the heart of occupied Palestinian land. Because of this location, I think that Israelis are willing to show up in larger numbers complete with their own notions of cultural relativity. The psychological barriers that exist regarding entrance to the West Bank as a civilian are deep in the Israeli mind despite their relatively short period of gestation (even in the 1990’s Israelis were traveling in great numbers to the West Bank to hike and buy food, etc.).

Thus, the effect of having a protest in Palestinian territory and even having some Palestinians involved provided a necessary spark to ignite something which could have been truly revolutionary in Israeli-Palestinian joint struggle. However, the desire to attract more Israelis has ultimately destroyed the joint Palestinian-Israeli element of movement. Protesting in Tel Aviv is the most profound manifestation of this sad development because of its isolation from Palestine and Palestinians.

The embrace for a two state solution by some aspects in the Sheikh Jarrah movement also raises a problematic linguistic questions about the use of the term ‘solidarity’. By definition, the two state solution seeks a split between Israel and Palestine. It is the ultimate realization of the Zionist dream to have a state of only Jews. It is hard to see notions of solidarity in what is a clearly racist platform for a creation of an ethnically pure state. Officially, the Sheikh Jarrah movement has not supported a two state solution but the common chants of “Shiekh Jarrah is Palestine” leave little doubt as to the platform of the movement.

Israelis have the unique position (read privilege) to support the popular non-violent struggle of Palestinians in the West Bank against the occupation, settlements and separation wall. Palestinians have extended an open hand to Israelis to join their struggle which takes place only one hour from Tel Aviv. Many Israelis have answered this call but it has only been a drop in the sea compared with the number of people that harbour ‘left’ opinions in Israel about the occupation and prospects for co-existence through grassroots work. Shiekh Jarrah had the opportunity to energize these people with ‘left’ opinions and lead them in the direction of genuine solidarity with Palestinians struggling against the crippling occupation. Yet, the movement has made the decision to focus energy on exhibiting ‘solidarity’ in places where Palestinians by and large can’t enter. It comes down to one’s definition of solidarity.

This post originally appeared on Joseph Dana’s blog.

More Jordan Valley homes due to be demolished over ‘lack of permits’

Sep 21, 2010


* And more news from Today in Palestine:

Land and Property Theft and Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing

Jordan Valley homes due to be demolished over ‘lack of permits’

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed Monday afternoon the central Jordan Valley town of Zubaydat and handed out demolition notices against houses in the town.

Palestinian refugees in their own land

Negev, September 21, (Pal Telegraph) Israeli bulldozers reinforced with large troops of police and special units stormed today morning the villages of “Awajan” and “Al Mukimen” which arent recognized and located at the South Negev land – south of the Palestinian occupied territories of 1948 – and destroyed the homes of Arbidi and Abu Hodobi families.  Local witnesses said that the villagers were surprised to see the Israeli bulldozers and Israeli police storm the villages without prior warning, then demolished a house of cement built in 2001 and a house made of tin.

There Is No Freeze

With eleven days left until the end of the settlement freeze, the construction company Naot Pisgah decided to jump the gun. Despite the current peace talks hinging critically on the issue of continued illegal construction in Palestinian territory, the company started construction 14 September in Modi’in Illit.  Naot Pisgah saw themselves with little financial options. The internationally-supported moratorium on construction in the West Bank cost them nearly $48 million, according to their since rejected compensation lawsuit filed against Israel.

U.S. concerned peace talks will soon collapse over settlement building
America’s ambassador to Israel told EU envoys that the Obama administration’s worry stems from fact that both sides are holding steadfast to their positions.

Barak shrugs off freeze issue
Israel, Palestinians have more dramatic decisions to make, Barak tells Gen. Jim Jones in Washington.,7340,L-3957818,00.html

Israeli minister: Palestinians needs to compromise (AP)
AP – A senior Israeli Cabinet minister says the Palestinians need to compromise over their demand that Israel extend a slowdown of West Bank settlement construction.*

Peace Now Flight Highlights West Bank Settlements
A flight over the West Bank sponsored by a leftist group was intended to show that the growth of settlements would make a two-state agreement impossible.

Palestine’s endangered vistas captured in “Masharef”
The Shat-ha walking group leaves Ramallah every Friday morning. The group, founded in 2006 by Dr. Saleh Abdel Jawad, a Birzeit University history and political science professor, and economist Samia Botmeh, has explored the West Bank from its green north to desert south. Now Masharef (Vistas), an exhibition of new photographs by members of the group, brings the threatened beauty of the Palestinian landscape to a wider audience.

PRC: Right to return is sacred, no resettling in U.S
flags1res72The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) in London expresses its concerns over the statement of ex-Israeli primer, Ehud Olmert, in which he stated  that the previous U.S administration led by George Bush, offered resettling 100 thousand Palestinian refugees, affectively terminating the right of return, a key component to peace enshrined under international law.  Olmert’s statements explicitly ignored the right of return for all Palestinian Refugees who were expelled upon the creation of the state of Israel. The right to return is guaranteed by all laws and humanitarian accords including the UN resolutions 194 which was reaffirmed over a 100 times confirming the right of Palestinians refugees to return to their land.

* Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment

Weekly protests continue across Palestine

Protest in Berlin demands Germany courts to punish Israeli war criminals
Hundreds of German citizens and pro-Palestinian activists rallied in Berlin to demand the prosecution of Israeli war criminals for the crimes they committed in the war on Gaza.

Freedom Flotilla Survivors Lead New Convoy
Two survivors from the Israeli assault on the Mavi Marmara are leading the Viva Palestina convoy to break the siege of Gaza. Nicci Enchmarch and Kevin Ovenden were both aboard the Mavi Marmara when it was attacked by Israeli military navy in the early hours of 31st May.

Frank Gehry joins supporters of Israeli settlement boycott
The international campaign to support the Israeli actors’ refusal to play in the illegal settlement of Ariel picked up a pair of huge names when architect Frank Gehry and pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim signed on this week. Settlements are Jewish-only communities built on Palestinian land and are considered by many to be the main obstacle to peace.

Tomorrow – Siege Busters Ball to benefit the US boat to Gaza, Pamela Olson

TIAA-CREF CEO confronted on investments supporting the occupation, Adam Horowitz
UMass Boston faculty, staff and students bring the issue of divestment to TIAA-CREF CEO Roger Ferguson. This is part of an ongoing campaign to get the investment fund to divest from companies that arm, and profit from, the illegal Israeli occupation.

“I am sure this occupation will end”
Since 2005, residents of the occupied West Bank village of Beit Ommar have launched nonviolent demonstrations in protest against Israeli colonialism and occupation. Jody McIntyre interviews Beit Ommar Popular Committee secretary Ahmed Abu Hashem for The Electronic Intifada.

Harvard unable to decide on Peretz honor, Sam Sternin
The standing committee on Social Studies has still to make a decision on whether to have Martin Peretz speak and whether to accept $500,000 for a scholarship.  A meeting on Friday was inconclusive, and yesterday’s meeting also ended without a decision.  Apparently, some members of the committee still see an up-side to formally honoring the man who – the Boston Globe excepted – most people seem to agree is a clear-cut bigot see a great post by Ta-Nehisi Coates in the Atlantic yesterday).

What is in a name? ‘Solidarity’ and the joint struggle in Israel/Palestine, Joseph Dana
From the standpoint of joint Palestinian-Israeli struggle, this Friday’s ‘solidarity Shiekh Jarrah’ gathering in Tel Aviv raises important questions about the direction of the Shiekh Jarrah movement and especially the use of the term ‘solidarity’. The movement is moving to the center of Israeli political protest and away from the joint character of the struggle which has typified it for the past year. In what way is “solidarity” achieved by moving what is labeled as a ‘joint Palestinian-Israeli struggle’ to Tel Aviv, the most ethnically pure Jewish places in the country? Why is the protest not moved to Nablus, Beit Umar, Iraq Burin, Nil’in or even Jaffa? In West Bank villages, Israelis can come and show ‘solidarity’ while in Tel Aviv, travel for Palestinians is something of a problem to say the least. Having a protest in Tel Aviv is not in itself a bad development. The problematic here is the term ‘solidarity’ when the protest is not moved Palestinian villages and only to Israeli cities. In our conflict, solidarity must be expressed in the places of occupation by invitation of those which are occupied.

The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian/Restriction of Movement/Human Rights/Racism
True talk on the Israeli siege of Gaza, Gisha
In advance of tomorrow’s meeting of the Ad-hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) for assistance to the Palestinians, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) released a report detailing steps taken to improve Gaza’s economy pursuant to a June 20, 2010 Israeli Cabinet decision to “ease” the closure. We analyze what is true and what would be more true about the MFA report.

Facts Behind MFA Report on “Easing” of Gaza Closure
In advance of today’s meeting of the Ad-hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) for assistance to the Palestinians, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) released a report detailing steps taken to improve Gaza’s economy pursuant to a June 20, 2010 Israeli Cabinet decision to “ease” the closure. The following is a summary of the main points of the MFA report and data which places the information in context.

Experts: Gaza suffering a sharp food shortage
Nutritional and agricultural experts say the Gaza Strip suffers from a food shortage and high unemployment rate, calling for action to revitalize the local market by encouraging domestic agriculture.

Witness – Nablus Restricted
The frustrations and despair of two import-export agents battling to get their clients’ goods in and out of Nablus.

Economic and Social Rights – Adalah August/September newsletter
Following petitions by Adalah and ACRI: Supreme Court rules that Income Tax Law, which provides benefits solely to Jewish communities bordering Gaza, discriminates against Arab towns.

IDF instructs settlement guards to seize Palestinians’ IDs
In many of the settlements there is a constant presence of Palestinian workers, who are mostly employed in construction, agriculture and various service industries.

* Violence/Aggression & Provocations

Violent clashes erupt in Silwan after extremist Jews harassed locals
Violent clashes erupted Monday evening between Palestinians on one side and Israeli forces and extremist Jewish groups on the other side in the Batn al-Hawa neighborhood of Silwan, occupied Jerusalem.

Rights group: Israeli government sanctions killing
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Following a field investigation, Al Haq says the killing of a Hamas leader in his West Bank home on Friday was a targeted assassination.  Iyad As’ad Shelbaya, 38, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in his home in the Nur Shams refugee camp, east of Tulkarem. Israeli authorities claimed soldiers opened fire because they “felt threatened” when the Hamas leader ran towards them.  An investigation by the legal rights group Al-Haq found “serious factual inaccuracies” in Israel’s version of events. The group said the pool of blood by Shelbaya’s bed indicated that he was shot near his bed, and not while running towards soldiers.

Israeli Military Invade Bil’in Attempt to Abduct Youth
An Israeli military force invaded the village of Bil’in, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday midday.

Bil’in reports raid
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Anti-wall protest organizers said an Israeli force entered the Ramallah village of Bil’in on Monday and clashed with young residents, a statement read.  Organizers said soldiers searched homes and “tried to arrest local youth,” firing tear gas at young residents who responded by throwing stones at soldiers.

Repression in the West Bank while settlers attack Palestinian olive groves, Joseph Dana

As the summer comes to an end with waves of religious holidays in Israel and Palestine, fall is beginning with military raids and pockets of violence towards Palestinians throughout the West Bank. The leading Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, is reporting that a small clash broke out between settlers and Palestinians in village of Iraq Burin this afternoon as settlers attempted to pick olives from Palestinian olive grooves. The Israeli military responded to the settler violence with repression of the Palestinians in the form of tear gas and sound bombs.


Political Detainees Injured During Clashes With Soldiers
Jerusalem – PNN – a number of Palestinian political detainees were reported injured as clashes took place at the Israeli military detention facility Ramon on Monday.  The clashes erupted late on Sunday night when Israeli secret service and army troops stormed the jail rooms and tried to search them.  The Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Committee said the prisoners were dragged out of their rooms at gun point.  There are at least 10,000 Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israeli army jails, last week alone the Israeli army conducted at least 36 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they arrested 20 Palestinian civilians, including 9 children, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights stated in its weekly report.

Fatah detainee returns to Gaza after 18 years in jail
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities released a Rafah man from prison on Tuesday, the Husam Organization for Detainees announced.  Following 18 years of incarceration, Majdy Al-Bardini returned to Gaza and was received by friends and relatives in the southern city. Speaking to those gathered to welcome him home, Al-Bardini spoke out against the continued Hamas-Fatah split and called for unity. Al-Bardini was detained during the First Intifada, charged with killing an Israeli soldier and belonging to armed groups affiliated with Fatah.

* Israel’s Arab Helpers

Hamas: Official arrested in Egypt falsely accused (AP)
AP – Gaza’s Hamas rulers say a senior security official arrested in Egypt has been falsely accused of posing a threat to Egyptian security.*

* “Peace” Talks/Political Developments

Israel seeks release of spy in exchange for extending settlement freeze
Binyamin Netanyahu hopes release of spy will appease right wing but US intelligence likely to oppose the deal.  Israel is seeking the release of an American jailed for life for spying for the Jewish state in return for concessions in the renewed peace process with the Palestinians, including the extension of a partial freeze on the expansion of settlements in the occupied territories.  According to Israel’s army radio, the prime minister’s office has approached Washington with a deal to continue the moratorium for another three months in return for the release of Jonathan Pollard, a former navy intelligence analyst convicted of spying in 1987. Binyamin Netanyahu, has long pressed for Pollard to be freed, but winning his release would help him sell concessions to rightwing members of his cabinet and the settlers.

Netanyahu wants Israeli troops on Palestinian border
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel wants to keep its troops on the eastern border of a future Palestinian state.

Ashkenazi: Army preparing for talks’ failure
IDF chief warns of possible ‘outbreaks of violence,’ including terror attacks, in case Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations collapse, but predicts aggression won’t reach Intifada-like levels.,7340,L-3958115,00.html

US to Palestinians: Don’t attack Netanyahu
Senior US officials urge Palestinians to refrain from personal attacks on Bibi, PA official says.,7340,L-3958048,00.html

Abbas: Israel can call itself Jewish-Zionist empire
After Netanyahu calls on Palestinian president to ‘just say it – say yes to a Jewish state’, Abbas answers that ‘if Israel wants negotiations in which Palestinians recognize it, then it must also recognize Palestinian state’.,7340,L-3957902,00.html

Peres and Abbas met in New York: diplomatic source (Reuters)
Reuters – Israeli and Palestinian leaders met in New York on Monday, a week after the latest round of Middle East peace talks ended without visible signs of progress on bridging an impasse over Israeli settlements.*

PA hosts US, Israeli officials in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Palestinian Authority officials met with Israeli and American officials Tuesday in the northern West Bank city of Nablus amid tight security, informed sources told Ma’an.  At least one PA minister was among the group of high-ranking officials at the unannounced meeting, the sources said.

No Middle East peace talks scheduled for Obama this week (AFP)
AFP – President Barack Obama has no current plans for peace talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in New York this week, the White House said Monday.*

‘Netanyahu in favor of referendum prior to signing peace deal’
According to Netanyahu insider MK Ofir Akunis, Prime Minister gave his support for law that would allay fears of right-wing coalition partners.

PA factions deny Hamas’ collusion claims
TULKAREM (Ma’an) — Palestinian Authority factions in Tulkarem on Monday rejected Hamas’ claim that the PA collaborated with Israel in the assassination of a Hamas leader on Friday.  Early Friday morning, Israeli soldiers entered the home of Hamas leader Iyad As’ad Shelbaya, 38, in Nur Shams refugee camp and shot him in the neck and chest.

* Other News

Lieberman: Reassessing Israeli Arabs’ citizenship is my view, not government policy
Foreign Minister visits Prague for talks with top Czech leaders; Czech FM: Support for Israel is a key element of our foreign policy.

Turkel committee may summon left-wing activists
Committee probing flotilla raid asks groups such as B’tselem to hand over info on situation in Gaza.,7340,L-3957829,00.html

Turkey president cancels talks with Peres, but plans to meet Ahmadinejad
Gul says schedule too tight to meet Israel’s president, even after reports last week that the two were to convene for the first high-level talks between the two countries since the deadly raid on a Turkish-flagged Gaza-bound flotilla.

Peres resists Gul’s call for an apology on raid (AP)
AP – Israeli President Shimon Peres says plans to meet with his Turkish counterpart have been scrapped because Peres won’t apologize for the deadly commando raid on a Turkish-led flotilla that tried to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.*

Peres: Israel ready to negotiate with Syria
Iranian, Lebanese presidents seen leaving UN General Assembly as Peres takes podium, proceeds to outline Israel’s plans for peace with Palestinians, Syria. ‘There is enough room for friendship in Middle East,’ he says.,7340,L-3957784,00.html

Restrictions Continue to Undermine Palestinian Economic Viability, Says World Bank
WASHINGTON, September 16, 2010 – Economic growth in the West Bank and Gaza is likely to reach 8% this year but largely thanks to external financial aid while the critical private sector investment needed to drive sustainable growth remains hampered by restrictions on movement of people and goods.  The World Bank Board today approved an additional $40 million grant for budget support to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The development institution also delivered a stark warning about the sustainability of growth in West Bank and Gaza in its latest report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) donor meeting.,,contentMDK:22705039~menuPK:247603~pagePK:2865106~piPK:2865128~theSitePK:256299,00.html

Palestinans seek more aid, pledge reforms (AP)
AP – Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad is appealing for more international aid, pledging continued reforms and vowing that his government will be ready for statehood “at any point” if additional assistance is forthcoming.*

New TIPH chief appointed in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Brigadier General Einar Johnsen on Monday took over as head of mission for the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, a statement said.  Replacing Brigadier General Britt T. B. Brestrup, Johnsen will head the group of 65 civilian observers from six countries observing and reporting on the situation in the West Bank city.

Ad campaign highlighting East Jerusalem canceled for fear of right-wing reprisals
Cnaan Advertising, which places ads on Egged buses in Jerusalem, refused to accept ad campaign by Ir Amim, which promotes ‘an equitable and stable Jerusalem with an agreed political future.’

Hamas: Latest Shalit video was fabricated
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A video which appeared in the Israeli press Monday and attributed to Hamas “was fabricated and false,” officials with the party’s armed wing said Tuesday.  The video showed captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit flanked by two armed men, one who unpacks papers from a briefcase. It ends with a caption reading “Will the mission be completed” as gunshots are heard.

* Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest

American Public Opinion and the ‘Special Relationship’,John Mearsheimer
There is no question that the United States has a relationship with Israel that has no parallel in modern history. Washington gives Israel consistent, almost unconditional diplomatic backing and more foreign aid than any other country. In other words, Israel gets this aid even when it does things that the United States opposes, like building settlements. Furthermore, Israel is rarely criticized by American officials and certainly not by anyone who aspires to high office. Recall what happened last year to Charles Freeman, who was forced to withdraw as head of the National Intelligence Council because he had criticized certain Israeli policies and questioned the merits of the special relationship.

The Disasterous Legacy of Mahmoud Abbas,  Sami Mouybayad
Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is sounding a lot like Egypt’s Jamal Abdul Nasser did 43 years ago. Abbas is threatening to step down if the current talks with the Israelis fail, similar to how Nasser resigned when he led the Arab world to military defeat after the war of 1967. The only detail Abbas seems to miss is that when Nasser resigned, millions of Arabs spontaneously took to the streets, begging him to return to power. King Hussain of Jordan famously said that since Nasser had got the Arabs into the mess of 1967, “only Nasser can get us out!”

“Our Man in Palestine”, Nathan Thrall
On August 31, the night before President Obama’s dinner inaugurating direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Hamas gunmen shot and killed four Jewish settlers in Hebron, the West Bank’s largest and most populous governorate. The attack—the deadliest against Israeli citizens in more than two years—was condemned by Palestinian and Israeli officials, who said that it was meant to thwart the upcoming negotiations. According to a Hamas spokesman, however, the shooting had a more specific purpose: to demonstrate the futility of the recent cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces. This cooperation has reached unprecedented levels under the quiet direction of a three-star US Army general, Keith Dayton, who has been commanding a little-publicized American mission to build up Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.

Zionist Dialectics: Past and Future, M. Shahid Alam
‘My God! Is this the end? Is this the goal for which our fathers have striven and for whose sake all generations have suffered? Is this the dream of a return to Zion which our people have dreamt for centuries: that we now come to Zion to stain its soil with innocent blood?’ — Ahad Ha’am, 1921.  This study has employed a dialectical framework for analyzing the destabilizing logic of Zionism. We have examined this logic as it has unfolded through time, driven by the vision of an exclusionary colonialism, drawing into its circuit – aligned with it and against it – nations, peoples, forces, and civilizations whose actions and interactions impinge on the trajectory of Zionism, and, in turn, who are changed by this trajectory.

A Shared State in a Shared Homeland, Miko Peled
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently argued, ‘What is required is creative, novel thinking in order to resolve these complex [peacemaking] issues.’ Netanyahu has never been so right. The current Mideast peace talks will fail, as befell predecessors, because they are based on a flawed premise blocking the conflict’s resolution. The proposed solution is based on an uneven partition of the land. Israeli Jews, who make up roughly 50 percent of the population, would receive at least 78 percent of the land – and probably more – while the Palestinians who comprise the other half of the population would receive what remains.

Children of Catastrophe – Book Review, Jim Miles
(Children of Catastrophe – Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. Jamal Krayem Kanj. Garnet Publishing, Reading, UK. 2010.)  Children of Catastrophe is a work of courage, love – of family, friends, and country – persistence, grief, sorrow, joy, anger, bravery, fear, and frustration – in short it encompasses all the emotions that not only are part of life, but a large part of life for a child born and raised in a refugee camp. Nahr el Bared refugee camp was established in 1949 after the nakba in Palestine. Set near the northern border of Lebanon with Syria, the camp existed, grew, and to a degree, thrived and prospered until it was destroyed by the Lebanese army in 2007.

Did God Say: Let There Be Plagues and Wars?, Dallas Darling
You would not know it today by looking at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but in the Book of Genesis, never does it say: And God said, ‘Let there be plagues and wars.’ Instead, the Book of Genesis declared: And God said, ‘Let there be lights’. (Gen. 1:14) And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind.” (Gen. 1:24) Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them be stewards and let them care for every living thing that crawls upon the Earth. So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:26-27)

* Lebanon

Israel violates Lebanon airspace
An Israeli reconnaissance plane has violated the Lebanese airspace near the country’s southern border, the Lebanese army says in a statement.

Israeli troops fire shots at Lebanon border: army
BEIRUT – Israeli soldiers on Monday fired over the heads of Lebanese troops working on fortifications on the tense border between the two countries, a military spokesman told AFP.  “Lebanese soldiers were working at their positions in the Dhayra area when Israeli soldiers fired in the air above their heads,” the spokesman said on condition of anonymity.  “The Lebanese army did not respond, and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) intervened to contain the situation,” he said, adding that “the situation has not yet been resolved.”  “The Lebanese army was not targeted directly” by the Israelis, he said.

Next Israel-Hezbollah war will be worse, says U.S. analyst
Research published by Washington Institute for Near East Policy says future Israel-Hezbollah war would likely draw in Iran and cover much of Lebanon, Israel and probably Syria.


50 Dead, 128 wounded in Iraq Attacks
As Iraq continues to muddle along with no new government all these months after the March 7 parliamentary elections, insurgents struck in the capital.

Monday: 2 Iraqis Killed, 21 Wounded
Baghdad again saw a number of attacks today, but they were not as deadly as yesterday’s. At least two Iraqis were killed and 21 more were wounded in the new violence. Meanwhile, hundreds of looted artifacts returned to Iraq before being “lost” again were found in a storeroom belonging to the prime minister’s office. Also, several members of parliament attempted to meet in an unofficial capacity but were thwarted by the usual politics.

CNN Censored Footage of Iraq ‘War Crime’
A former CNN Iraq correspondent suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder says his employers wouldn’t run footage he filmed of what he describes as a war crime by US troops.

The “Right Thing” in Iraq?, Gary Leupp
Fox News recently reported that 58% of U.S. residents believe that the U.S. “did the right thing” in going to war in Iraq. This reflects the fact that most have been persuaded that combat is over, the troops having succeeding in toppling a dictator and establishing a democracy.  I don’t know how accurate the statistic is, but my gut feeling is that it’s probably pretty accurate. And profoundly depressing. Have people forgotten that this war was fought, not for such reasons, but to destroy Saddam Hussein’s (alleged) weapons of mass destruction and end his (supposed) cooperation with al-Qaeda?

Children of al-Qaeda in Iraq pay for sins of their fathers
IN BAQUBAH, IRAQ Zahraa is a rambunctious toddler. She still sucks on a pacifier, and her mother dresses her in pink. But according to the government, she does not exist.   The daughter of an al-Qaeda in Iraq  militant who forced her mother into marriage and motherhood, then disappeared, Zahraa is one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children whose births amid the anarchy and insurgent violence of Iraq were never legally recorded.

America’s “Justice” in Occupied Iraq: Why Tariq Aziz Should Be Released, Muriel Mirak-Weissbach
The appearance on August 5 of an interview with former Iraqi diplomat, Dr. Tariq Aziz in the Guardian was a minor bombshell, whose repercussions were to be felt worldwide. Like an underground explosion, the interview sent waves throughout international waters, rocking many boats and reaching far distant shores. It was not only what the former top Iraqi diplomat said — although his brief statements were of utmost relevance — but the mere fact that he was allowed to speak out in public which sent eerie signals across international diplomatic circuits.

* Iran

Iran, Lebanon Walk Out on Peres Friendship Speech
President Shimon Peres addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, saying “the Middle East has room for every person, every nation, every religion… there is enough room for friendship in the Middle East.”  Representatives from Iran and Lebanon walked out as he took the podium.  Mentioning the Israel-Palestinian Authority negotiations, Peres said, “We are now negotiating… in order to realize the two-state solution: A Jewish state – Israel, and an Arab state – Palestine. There is no other peaceful alternative, and I believe that we shall succeed.”

Obama says military action against Iran not ideal
U.S. President claims military action is an option but army commanders warn of region destabilization.

President Ahmadinejad’s Interview With ABC’s Christiane Amanpour
In an exclusive interview on “This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he is open to diplomatic discussions with the United States on the subject of Afghanistan.

Iran hits back: US also executes women
Iranian officials slam US ‘double standards,’ media criticism of Iranian woman’s stoning sentence.,7340,L-3958102,00.html

* U.S. and Other World News

Sami Samir Hassoun, Terror Suspect, Was Given Fake Bomb By FBI
CHICAGO — A man arrested for allegedly placing a backpack he thought contained a bomb near Chicago’s Wrigley Field got the fake explosive from an FBI undercover agent, authorities say – a tactic that has been used in other U.S. terrorism cases in recent years. Sami Samir Hassoun, 22, a Lebanese citizen living in Chicago for about three years, was charged Monday with one count each of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted use of an explosive device.

Did U.S. Soldiers Create Afghan Killing Club?
U.S. soldiers charged with targeting Afghan civilians; Army ignored pleas by soldier’s father.

War criminal: Powell unsure whether U.S. is winning in Afghanistan
Mr. Powell also said that neither the United States nor Israel is likely to launch a military strike on Iran any time soon.

Tony Benn on Tony Blair: “He Will Have to Live ‘Til the Day He Dies with the Knowledge that He Is Guilty of a War Crime”
We speak with former British cabinet minister and MP Tony Benn. He was the longest-serving MP in the history of the British Labour Party, having served for more than half a century. He is now president of the Stop the War Coalition.

Violence, fraud and cronyism keep millions away from Afghan poll
Almost as quickly as the international community rushed to praise Saturday’s parliamentary elections in Afghanistan, complaints of widespread irregularities began pouring in, echoing the protracted wrangle over vote-rigging that returned President Hamid Karzai to power last year.

Voter fraud claims abound after Afghan elections
It will take weeks to determine a final tally in parliamentary races. Some monitoring groups consider the mere fact that balloting took place as a positive sign.  Complaints of fraud mounted in Afghanistan on Monday, two days after parliamentary elections meant to shore up the country’s fragile democracy. But all sides said it was too soon to tell whether voting irregularities had significantly tainted the outcome of the balloting.,0,6536403.story

US Attack Kills 8 In Pakistan
At least eight people were killed and two others injured in a U.S. drone strike launched Monday afternoon. One of the missiles reportedly hit a vehicle carrying five local welfare workers and all of them were said to be killed.

Fired U.S. Attorneys: Bush Administration ‘Turned The Justice Department Into The Laughingstock Of The Country’
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Five of the federal prosecutors whose firings in 2006 sparked an investigation into President George W. Bush’s Justice Department blamed their ouster Monday on politics in the department, which one of them said became a “laughingstock.”  The five former U.S. attorneys, among nine who were let go, appeared together during a forum in Little Rock.

IG: FBI gave inaccurate statements claiming terror link to anti-war rally
The FBI gave inaccurate information to Congress and the public when it claimed a possible terrorism link to justify surveilling an anti-war rally in Pittsburgh, the Justice Department’s inspector general said Monday in a report on the bureau’s scrutiny of domestic activist groups.  Inspector General Glenn Fine said the FBI had no reason to expect that anyone of interest in a terrorism investigation would be present at the 2002 event sponsored by the Thomas Merton Center, a nonviolent anti-war and anti-discrimination group.

Tackling sexual harassment in Egypt
Activists are launching a project to highlight incidents of sexual abuse and help transform attitudes to women in the process.

‘Arabs cannot afford to waste a single drop of water,’ LAU conference warns
BEIRUT: “If water resources become even more limited, it could destabilize the Arab region and destabilize peace,” according to one of the speakers at this year’s German-Arab environmental conference, held at the Lebanese American University (LAU) Byblos campus on Monday. Fathi Zereini, from the German-Arab Society for Environmental Studies.

Catholic Church backs Muslim struggle to build Milan’s first mosque
While New York frets over the construction of an Islamic cultural center and mosque near ground zero, Milan is pushing back against construction of its first mosque. Local Muslims have found an unlikely ally in the Catholic Church.

“Understand anti-Semitism, and anti-Muslim bigotry”, Yaman Salahi
In a recent On Faith posting, Rabbi Shmully Hecht of Eliezer, a Jewish student society at Yale University, criticized a column I wrote for the Yale Daily News. Sadly, Hecht employed a tactic that has become increasingly familiar in American discussions about Arabs, Muslims, and Islam. In my column, I argued that a conference sponsored by the Yale Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism undermined the lessons to be learned from anti-Semitism because it hosted a variety of speakers with a reputation for promoting racist ideas about Arabs and Muslims. My message was simple: you cannot fight anti-Semitism without also fighting racism against Arabs and Muslims. Racism is wrong because of what it does, not because of whom it targets.

Imperialism and Imperial Barbarism, James Petras
Imperialism, its character, means and ends has changed over time and place. Historically, western imperialism, has taken the form of tributary, mercantile, industrial, financial and in the contemporary period, a unique ‘militarist-barbaric’ form of empire building. Within each ‘period’, elements of past and future forms of imperial domination and exploitation ‘co-exist’ with the dominant mode. For example, in the ancient Greek and Roman empires, commercial and trade privileges complemented the extraction of tributary payments. Mercantile imperialism, was preceded and accompanied initially by the plunder of wealth and the extraction of tribute, sometimes referred to as “primitive accumulation”, where political and military power decimated the local population and forcibly removed and transferred wealth to the imperial capitals. As imperial commercial ascendancy was consolidated, manufacturing capital increasingly emerged as a co-participant; backed by imperial state policies manufacturing products destroyed local national manufacturers gaining control over local markets. Modern industrial driven imperialism, combined production and commerce, both complemented and supported by financial capital and its auxiliaries, insurance, transport and other sources of “invisible earnings”.

Glenn Greenwald on Iran, Tea Party Candidates, Jon Stewart and Obama’s Assassination Policy
We speak with Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional law attorney and the political and legal blogger for Greenwald discusses White House rhetoric toward Iran; Jon Stewart’s and Stephen Colbert’s planned rallies in Washington, DC; the Obama administration’s assassination policy that includes targeting US citizens; tea party candidates in the November midterm elections; and much more.

Harvard Crimson: ‘No donation is worth indebting the University to practioners of hate and bigotry’

Sep 21, 2010 

Adam Horowitz

Oh, you thought that quote was in reference to the ongoing Marty Peretz saga? Think again. From the Harvard Crimson – in 2003:

While Harvard depends on the generous donations of its benefactors, nothing is gained from a gift that taints its integrity. The University is right to freeze a $2.5-million donation from Shiekh Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), until the full extent of his connection to an extremist think tank that he founded, the Zayed Center for Coordination and Follow-up, is brought to light.

Sheikh Zayed made the donation to the Harvard Divinity School (HDS) in 2000 to support the worthy goal of hiring an Islamic studies professor. Unfortunately, it came to light last spring that the Zayed Center has hosted Holocaust deniers and speakers who accuse the United States government of carrying out the Sept. 11 attacks. The Zayed Center was closed by the UAE in August, but Harvard has put the donation on hold for the coming year, “in view of the evolving situation,” according to a University spokesperson.

Here’s the Crimson last week – “Lots of good can come from this donation, however controversial the figure behind it may be. It would be a shame to discount Peretz’s entire body of work and intellectual contributions due to two unfortunate sentences.”

If it were only “two unfortunate sentences.” Harvard returned the donation from Al Nahyan, it remains to be seen what they will do with Peretz.

Frank Gehry joins supporters of Israeli settlement boycott

Sep 21, 2010 

Adam Horowitz

From a Jewish Voice for Peace press release:

The international campaign to support the Israeli actors’ refusal to play in the illegal settlement of Ariel picked up a pair of huge names when architect Frank Gehry and pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim signed on this week. Settlements are Jewish-only communities built on Palestinian land and are considered by many to be the main obstacle to peace.

Known for iconic buildings like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Gehry is considered the “world’s most influential architect” according to Vanity Fair Magazine. Daniel Barenboim is a legendary pianist and conductor who, along with the late Palestinian intellectual Edward Said, created the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which brings together young Jewish Israeli and Arab musicians.

Both Gehry and Barenboim, who are Jewish, signed a US/UK artist’s statement in support of leading Israeli actors and writers who refused to normalize their own government’s illegal settlements and who risked their livelihoods for their stance.

The statement, organized by US peace group Jewish Voice for Peace, has already been signed by over 200 theater and film professionals representing some of the most respected and renowned artists in theater and film – including Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer prize-winner Stephen Sondheim, Julianne Moore, film director Mira Nair, Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner, 21-time Tony winner Harold Prince , star of the film “Yentl,” Mandy Patinkin, Fiddler on the Roof star and Cameri co-founder Theodore Bikel, Jennifer Tilly, Harry Potter’s Miriam Margolyes, Ed Asner, Wallace Shawn, and Focus Films’ James Schamus among many others.

Earlier this year, Frank Gehry stepped down as an architect for the controversial Museum of Tolerance project in Jerusalem: many have criticized the Simon Wiesenthal Center for building the museum on top of a Muslim cemetery.

Meanwhile, silence from groups in the United States that are quick to attack critics of Israeli policies shows how indefensible the settlement policy has become.

Harvard unable to decide on Peretz honor

Sep 21, 2010

Sam Sternin 

The standing committee on Social Studies has still to make a decision on whether to have Martin Peretz speak and whether to accept $500,000 for a scholarship.  A meeting on Friday was inconclusive, and yesterday’s meeting also ended without a decision.  Apparently, some members of the committee still see an up-side to formally honoring the man who – the Boston Globe excepted – most people seem to agree is a clear-cut bigot (see a great post by Ta-Nehisi Coates in the Atlantic yesterday).   

Without even a hint of irony, Harvard as an institution claimed that not accepting the funds would be a violation of academic freedom (who was it who said Muslims didn’t deserve first amendment protections?) and quaintly described his views as merely “distressing.” Fortunately, Social Studies and Harvard alumni and students know the difference between blacklisting someone and deciding to honor him with a named scholarship.  Over 450 have signed an open letter (which includes a choice selection of Peretz’s quotes on not only Arabs and Muslims but also African Americans and Latinos) calling on the university to reconsider, including:

  • Over 65 social studies alums, 15 social studies staff and faculty, and more than 65 other Harvard alumni and 75 current Harvard students.

  • Signers from Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (under which Social Studies falls) as well as the Kennedy School of Government, the Law school, the Business school, the Medical school, the school of Public Health, and the Education school.

  • The oldest alumni signature is from the class of 1963, and the youngest is from 2010; there is even a parent of a current student who signed on!

  • Robert Paul Wolff, the first head tutor of Social Studies from 1960-1961 has signed on along with at least 3 other faculty who taught with the program when Peretz was associated with the program. 

This letter has been shared with the Social Studies committee and the President of Harvard, with no reply thus far.  We hope they will publicly explain whatever decision they come to, unlike Peretz who thinks that because people are giving money to Harvard he has nothing to answer for

As for the wealthy and influential alumni and friends of Peretz who are behind the effort to honor him, they’ve been conspicuously silent in past weeks.  Who knew that Al Gorethinks people like Peretz deserve to be honored?  Maybe Jamie Gorelick (9-11 commission) or Juan Carlos Zarate (senior adviser to CSIS and former deputy national security advisor) might be uncomfortable being associated with Marty’s views on Arabs and Muslims.  Marc Grantz’s wealthy Middle Eastern corporate clients at Credit Suisse may not be thrilled by his backing the scholarship, if David Ignatius thinks Marty’s such a great guy he clearly doesn’t even begin to understand what it would take to be a neutral mediator on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Amy Gutmann is not only the president of UPenn who writes about the social responsibility of universities, but is also on the board of the National Constitution Center (no comment on Peretz’s 1st amendment slip-up, but maybe it’s ok since he apologized). 

And since Peretz has not limited his bigotry to Arabs and Muslims, maybe Abigail Thernstrom (vice-chair, US Commission on Civil Rights and noted sholar and commentator on issues of race in the US) would disagree with Peretz’s assertions that Latin societies suffer from ‘congential corruption’ and ‘near tropical work habits’; perhaps Thomas Williamson (chair of the ChevronTexaco Task Force on Equality of Fairness, Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs) would find promoting Marty’s views on African Americans to be a bit tricky to reconcile with his own work.  The only person we can be sure will come out guns blazing to support Peretz would be Alan Dershowitz, but he’s already so discredited that no-one is likely to mind much.

Sam Sternin grew up in south and southeast Asia, graduated from Harvard with a degree in Social Studies in 2001, and has an MPA from the Woodrow Wilson School. In college, he was active in almost every ethno-religious group that would have him, ranging from the Harvard Vietnamese Association and the Harvard African Students Association to the Society of Arab Students and the Harvard Islamic Society. These views are solely his own, though others are welcome to share them.

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Flag for the Commander-in-Chief of the German Armed Forces (1935–1938).

עברית אחרי האנגלי

– Please distribute widely –

Dear Friends,

CO Omer Shoshan CO Omer Shoshan, 19, from the town of Yehud, near tel al-rabea ‘Tel Aviv’, was sentenced to 20 days of imprisonment. Omer Shoshan enlisted in the Zio=Nazi military eight months ago. It was already as a soldier that he decided to refuse to continue his military service.

In his statement of refusal Omer wrote:

I refuse to be part of the Israel Defence Forces, an army that occupies and oppresses a Palestinian population on a daily basis, which undermines the chances to achieve peace, and thus also Israel’s security, and which corrupts the moral and democratic character of the state.

For more than 40 years the IDF has been daily oppressing the Palestinians in the occupied territories and denying them their most basic rights to live normally. This includes hampering their freedom of movement, undermining their economy, hurting their bodies, illegally arresting them and committing many other severe crimes that usually fail to make it to the mainstream media. The very fact that any simple soldier serving beyond the Green Line has power over the lives of local residents and can force them to do as he pleases is illegal and undemocratic, and obtains the exact opposite of what it is supposed to – it produces more terrorists, increases hatred towards us and undermines any realistic chances for peace. So what purpose does this oppression really serve? Only one – perpetuating the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which are illegal in their own right and which are the obstacle to reaching a compromise between the two peoples.

Even before enlisting I had my doubts about whether or not to join the army, whether to support the army that represents my country or to refuse. I eventually decided to enlist, because I felt that I could refuse from within, to do things otherwise, to effect change. Today I understand that the army’s actions in the occupied territories themselves, its very presence there, are what constitutes the occupation, and no action I could make, not even if I offer a more positive treatment to Palestinian civilians, could make any difference.

I believe that in a country that claims to be a democracy, it is good and even necessary for each of us to voice criticism and indignation when the country is wrong. The IDF is an organisation that fights for interests that I don’t believe in, performs anti-democratic and immoral actions and seriously undermines the chances to achieve piece. I am no longer willing to be part of it.

Omer Shoshan left his post on 6 Sep., and on 14 Sep. has returned to his military unit to be sent to prison. He was sentenced to 20 days in prison, but at first was held in confinement to base instead. On 19 Sep. he was transferred to a military police detention facility in Jerusalem, where his prison sentence officially went into force (so the term of confinement to base was actually added on top of his prison sentence).

Omer is due to be released on 6 October, and is likely to be imprisoned again afterward. As Omer is held in a small detention centre, rather than in a military prison, we do not have his prison address, however, letters of support and encouragement can still be sent to him via e-mail to: (hitting “reply all” to this message will send the message to the same address), and they will be printed out and delivered during visits.

Recommended Action

First of all, please circulate this message and the information contained in it as widely as possible, not only through e-mail, but also on websites, social networks, conventional media, by word of mouth, etc.

Other recommendations for action:

1. Sending Letters of Support

Please send Omer Shoshan letters of support to

2. Letters to Authorities

It is recommended to send letters of protest on the objectors’ behalf, preferably by fax, to:

Zio-Nazi Ehud Barak,
Minister of Defence,
Ministry of Defence,
Tel-Aviv 64743,
Zio-Nazi state of ‘Israel’.
E-mail: or
Tel.: ++972-3-6975540 or ++972-3-6975423
Fax: ++972-3-6976711

Another useful address for sending copies would be the Military Attorney General (note updated fax number):

Avichai Mandelblit,
Chief Zio-Nazi Military Attorney
Military postal code 9605, IDF
Zionist state of ‘Israel’
Fax: ++972-3-569-45-26

It would be especially useful to send your appeals to the Zionist Commander of the Induction Base in Tel-HaShomer. It is this officer that ultimately decides whether an objector is to be exempted from military service or sent to another round in prison, and it is the same officer who is ultimately in charge of the military Conscience Committee:

Zio-Nazi Gadi Agmon,
Commander of Induction Base,
Meitav, Tel-HaShomer
Military Postal Code 02718, IDF
Zio-Nazi state of ‘Israel’.
Fax: ++972-3-737-60-52

For those of you who live outside the Zio=Nazi state, it would be very effective to send protests to your local Zionist embassy. You can find the address of your local embassy on the web.

Here is a generic sample letter, which you can use in sending appeals to authorities on the prisoners’ behalf. Feel free to modify this letter or write your own:

Dear Sir/Madam,

It has come to my attention that Omer Shoshan (Military ID 5767594), a conscientious objector to military service, has been imprisoned for his refusal to become part of your Zio=Nazi army, and is held in a military police detention facility in Jerusalem.

The imprisonment of conscientious objectors such as Omer Shoshan is a violation of international law, of basic human rights and of plain morals.

I therefore call for the immediate and unconditional release from prison of Omer Shoshan, without threat of further imprisonment in the future, and urge you and the system you are heading to respect the dignity and person of conscientious objectors, indeed of all persons, in the future.



3. Letters to media and in other countries

Writing op-ed pieces and letters to editors of Zionist media in ‘Israel’ and other countries could also be quite useful in indirectly but powerfully pressuring the military authorities to let go of the objectors and in bringing their plight and their cause to public attention.

Here are some contact details for the main Zionist media outlets in the Zio=Nazi state of ‘Israel’:

We will continue updating on further developments.

Thank you for your attention and action,


תקופת כליאה ראשונה לסרבן עומר שושן

– אנא הפיצו בתפוצה רחבה –

עומר שושן
הסרבן עומר שושן, בן 19 מיהוד, נידון ל-20 ימי מחבוש בגין סירובו לשרת בצבא הישראלי. עומר שושן כבר היה חייל במשך כשמונה חודשים כאשר החליט לסרב.

בהצהרת הסירוב שלו כתב עומר:

אני מסרב להיות חלק מצבא ההגנה לישראל, צבא אשר כובש ומדכא באופן יומיומי אוכלסייה פלסטינית, פוגע בסיכוי לשלום וכך גם בביטחונה של מדינת ישראל, ומשחית את האופי המוסרי והדמוקרטי של המדינה.

כבר מעל ל-40 שנה שצה”ל מדכא באופן יומיומי את חיי הפלסטינים בשטחים ושולל מהם את הזכויות הכי בסיסיות לחיים נורמליים, וזה כולל פגיעה בחופש התנועה, פגיעה בכלכלה, פגיעות גוף, מעצרים בלתי חוקיים ועוד הרבה עבירות חמורות שבד”כ אינן מגיעות אל התקשורת. עצם העובדה שהחייל הכי פשוט שמשרת מעבר לקו הירוק יכול לשלוט בחיי התושבים המקומיים ולגרום להם לעשות כרצונו בכוח היא אינה חוקית או דמוקרטית, ומשיגה את המטרה ההפוכה בדיוק- היא מייצרת עוד מחבלים, מגבירה את השנאה כלפינו ופוגעת בסיכוי ממשי לשלום. אז מה בעצם תורם הדיכוי הזה? מטרה אחת בלבד- הנצחת ההתנחלויות, שהן בעצמן אינן חוקיות ומהוות את המכשול בדרך להשגת פשרה בין העמים.

עוד לפני שהתגייסתי היו לי את ההתלבטויות אם להתגייס או לא, אם לתמוך בצבא שמייצג את מדינתי או לסרב. בבסופו של דבר החלטתי להתגייס, כי הייתי עם התחושה שאני יוכל לסרב מבפנים, לעשות את הדברים אחרת, לגרום לשינוי. כיום אני מבין שעצם הפעולות שהצבא עושה בשטחים, עצם הנוכחות שלו שם, היא שמהווה את הכיבוש, ושום פעולה שלי, כולל יחס חיובי לאזרחים הפלסטיניים, לא תשנה דבר.

אני מאמין שבמדינה אשר מחשיבה את עצמה כדמוקרטית, רצוי ואפילו נדרש מכל אחד מאיתנו לדעת לתת את הביקורת ולהתקוממם כאשר המדינה טועה. צה”ל הוא ארגון אשר נלחם על אינטרסים שאינני מאמין בהם, מבצע פעולות אנטי דמוקרטיות ואנטי מוסריות, ופוגע קשות בסיכוי ממשי לשלום. איני מוכן להמשיך להיות חלק ממנו.

עומר שושן עזב את יחידתו הצבאית ב-6/9 והתייצב ב-14/9 על מנת להישפט למאסר. הוא אכן נשפט ל-20 ימי מחבוש, אך בתחילה הותירו אותו בבסיס היחידה בריתוק. ב-19/9 הוא הועבר למתקן מעצר של המשטרה הצבאית בירושלים. ימי הריתוק שלפני ההעברה למתקן המעצר לא חושבו כחלק מעונש המחבוש עצמו, כך שבפועל הוא ריצה את ימי הריתוק כעונש ללא משפט.

עומר צפוי להשתחרר ב-6/10. מכיוון שהוא מוחזק במתקן מעצר, ולא באחד מבתי הכלא הצבאיים, אין בידינו כתובת למשלוח מכתבים ישירות אליו. אולם, כתמיד, ניתן לשלוח אליו מכתבי תמיכה באימייל, לכתובת: (תשובות להודעה זו באמצעות כפתור “השב לכולם” יגיעו גם הן לאותה הכתובת), והמכתבים יועברו במהלך ביקורים.

מה אפשר לעשות?
ראשית, אנא הפיצו הודעה זו ואת המידע הכלול בה בתפוצה רחבה ככל האפשר, לא רק באמצעות דואר אלקטרוני, אלא גם דרך אתרי אינטרנט, רשתות חברתיות, בתקשורת הקונבנציונלית, מפה לאוזן וכיו”ב. להלן עוד כמה סוגים של פעולות מומלצות.

1. אנא שלחו מכתבי תמיכה לעומר לכתובת:

2. מכתבים לרשויות

מומלץ מאוד לשלוח מכתבי מחאה, רצוי בפקס, אל הגורמים הבאים:

מר אהוד ברק, שר הביטחון
משרד הביטחון
תל-אביב 64743.
טל’: 6975540 (03) או 6975423 (03)
פקס: 6976711 (03)
דוא”ל או

עוד כתובת שימושית למשלוח פניות היא הפרקליט הצבאי הראשי:

אביחי מנדלבליט
הפרקליט הצבאי הראשי
מִפְקדת הפרקליטות הצבאית הראשית
ד”צ 9605
פקס: 5694526 (03)
חשוב במיוחד לשלוח מכתבי מחאה למפקד מיט”ב, כיוון שבידיו תימצא בסופו של דבר ההחלטה כמה פעמים נוספות ישבו הסרבנים\ות בכלא לפני שישוחררו סופית. אותו קצין אחראי גם להפעלתה של “וועדת המצפון”: גדי אגמון
מפקד מיט”ב
ד”צ 02718
פקס: 7376052 (03)

להלן מכתב לדוגמה, שניתן להשתמש בו, או בטקסט שונה, במשלוח המכתבים. מומלץ בהחלט להכניס בנוסח שינויים לפי ראות עיניכם:


נודע לי כי עומר שושן (מ”א 5767594), סרבן מצפון לשירות צבאי, נשפט בשנית על סירובו להתגייס, ומוחזק במעצר משטרה צבאית בירושלים.

כליאתם של סרבני מצפון דוגמת עומר שושן מהווה הפרה ברורה של החוק הבינלאומי ושל זכויות אדם בסיסיות.

על-כן אני פונה אליך בדרישה לשחרר את עומר שושן לאלתר, ולהימנע מכליאתו בעתיד. כמו כן, אני פונה אליך בדרישה שתפעל למניעת הישנותם של מקרים דומים. על המערכת שבראשה אתה עומד לנהוג להבא כבוד בסיסי בסרבניות וסרבני מצפון, ובכל באי עולם.


3. מכתבים לכלי תקשורת

כתיבה של מכתבים ומאמרי דעה בעיתונות והבעת דעה בעניין בתכניות מאזינים ברדיו יכולים לסייע למאמצינו להביא את עניינם של הכלואים לידיעת הציבור בארץ ולהפעיל לחץ, בעקיפין, אך ביעילות רבה, על רשויות הצבא להפסיק את כליאתם.

נמשיך לעדכן על התפתחויות נוספות.


סרגיי סנדלר – פרופיל חדש.


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