Archive | October 1st, 2010

THE IMPENDING COLLAPSE OF ZIONISM

PROF. FRANCIS BOYLE: THE IMPENDING COLLAPSE OF ISRAEL IN PALESTINE

October 1, 2010

by Debbie Menon

The Palestinians must sign nothing and let Israel collapse!

By Professor Francis A. Boyle via My Catbird Seat

  

University of Illinois Law Professor Francis A. Boyle

On November 15, 1988 the Palestine National Council (P.N.C.) meeting in Algiers proclaimed the Palestinian Declaration of Independence that created the independent state of Palestine.   Today the State of Palestine is bilaterally recognized de jure by about 130 states.  Palestine has de facto diplomatic recognition from most of Europe.  It was only massive political pressure applied by the U.S. government that prevented European states from according to Palestine de jure diplomatic recognition.

Palestine is a member state of the League of Arab States and of the Islamic Conference Organization.  When the International Court of Justice in The Hague—the so-called World Court of the United Nations System—conducted its legal proceedings on Israel’s apartheid wall on the West Bank, the World Court invited the State of Palestine to participate in the proceedings.  In other words, the International Court of Justice recognized the State of Palestine.

Palestine has Observer State Status with the United Nations Organization, and basically all the rights of a U.N. Member State except the right to vote.  Effectively, Palestine has de facto U.N. Membership.  The only thing keeping Palestine from de jure U.N. Membership is the implicit threat of a veto at the U.N. Security Council by the United States, which is clearly illegal.  Someday Palestine shall be a full-fledged U.N. Member State.

From a world-order perspective, the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence created a remarkable opportunity for peace with Israel because therein the P.N.C. explicitly accepted the U.N. General Assembly’s Partition Resolution 181(II) of 1947 that called for the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state in the Mandate for Palestine, together with an international trusteeship for the City of Jerusalem, in order to resolve their basic conflict:

Despite the historical injustice inflicted on the Palestinian Arab people resulting in their dispersion and depriving them of their right to self-determination following upon U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 (1947), which partitioned Palestine into two states, one Arab, one Jewish, yet it is this Resolution that still provides those conditions of international legitimacy that ensure the right of the Palestinian Arab people to sovereignty and national independence.

The significance of the P.N.C.’s acceptance of the Partition Resolution in the Palestinian Declaration of Independence itself could not be over-emphasized.  Prior thereto, from the perspective of the Palestinian People the Partition Resolution had been deemed to be a criminal act that was perpetrated upon them by the United Nations Organization in gross violation of their fundamental right to self-determination as recognized by the United Nations Charter and general principles of public international law.  The acceptance of the Partition Resolution in their actual Declaration of Independence signaled the genuine desire by the Palestinian People to transcend the past century of bitter conflict with the Jewish People living illegally in their midst in order to reach an historic accommodation with them on the basis of a two-state solution.

The very fact that this acceptance of Partition Resolution 181 was set forth in their Declaration of Independence indicated the degree of sincerity with which the Palestinian People accepted Israel.  The Declaration of Independence was the foundational document for the State of Palestine.  It was intended to be determinative, definitive, and irreversible.  As the P.N.C. well knew at the time, their Declaration of Independence was not something that could be amended or bargained away.

Nonetheless, the Palestinians have now fruitlessly spent the past twenty-two years trying to negotiate in good faith with Israel over the two-state solution set forth in Resolution 181.   They have gotten absolutely nowhere.  Israel has never demonstrated one iota of good faith when it came to negotiating a comprehensive Middle Peace settlement with the Palestinians on the basis of a two-state solution.  Even the 1993 Oslo Agreement was nothing more than an Israeli-drafted interim Bantustan arrangement for five years that was rejected in Washington, D.C. by the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations for that precise reason.  Both Israel and the United States now want to make the Oslo Bantustan permanent and, incidental thereto, destroy the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes as required by U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) of 1948 and general principles of public international law.

In this regard, shortly before he died on September 24, 2007, I called up the former Head of the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations, Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi at his home in Gaza in order to review the entire situation with him.  According to Dr. Haidar: “The Zionists have not changed their objectives since the Basel Conference of 1897!”  In other words, the Zionists want a “Greater” Israel on all of the Mandate for Palestine together with as much ethnic cleansing of Palestinians out of Palestine that the Zionists believe they can get away with internationally.

After twenty-two years of getting nowhere but further screwed to Israel’s apartheid wall on the West Bank and strangulated in Gaza, it is now time for the Palestinians to adopt a new strategy, which I most respectfully recommend here for them to consider:  Sign nothing and let Israel collapse!   Recently it was reported that the United States’ own Central Intelligence Agency predicted the collapse of Israel within twenty years.  My most respectful advice to the Palestinians is to let Israel so collapse!

For the Palestinians to sign any type of comprehensive peace treaty with Israel would only shore up, consolidate, and guarantee the existence of Zionism and Zionists in Palestine forever.  Why would the Palestinians want to do that?  Without approval by the Palestinians in writing, Zionism and Israel in Palestine will collapse.  So the Palestinians must not sign any Middle East Peace Treaty with Israel, but rather must keep the pressure on Israel for the collapse of Zionism over the next two decades as predicted by the Central Intelligence Agency.  The correct historical analogue here is not apartheid South Africa, but instead the genocidal Yugoslavia that collapsed as a State, lost its U.N. Membership, and no longer exists as a State for that very reason.

All the demographic forces are in favor of the Palestinians and against the Zionists.  The United States government is tired of its blank-check support for Israel because this policy seriously undermines and conflicts with America’s imperial objective to obtain the oil and gas lying beneath Arab and Muslim states by hook or by crook.  Israel is ridden with and paralyzed by so many internal contradictions and conflicts that they are too numerous to list here.

Indeed, from the very moment of its inception as a direct result of the Zionists’ genocidal al Nakba in 1948, Israel has been the proverbial failed state, and still is so today.  Israel would have never come into existence without the support of Western colonial imperial powers throughout the twentieth century.   And the same is true today.  Without the political, economic, diplomatic, and military support provided primarily by the United States, and to a lesser extent by Britain, France, and Germany, Israel would immediately collapse.  The international Campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (B.D.S.) against Israel is quickly whittling away Israel’s domestic support in those countries.  Israel’s own serial barbarous atrocities perpetrated against the Palestinians and the Lebanese have revealed the true face of Zionism for the entire world to see:  genocide.

In fact, Israel has never been a State but just an Army masquerading as a State — a Potemkin Village of a State.  Israel is the archetypal Great Band of Robbers described by St. Augustine in Book 4, Chapter 4 of The City of God:

Kingdoms without justice are similar to robber barons. And so if justice is left out, what are kingdoms except great robber bands?  For what are robber bands except little kingdoms?  The band also is a group of men governed by the orders of a leader, bound by social compact, and its booty is divided according to a law agreed upon.  If by repeatedly adding desperate men this plague grows to the point where it holds territory and establishes a fixed seat, seizes cites and subdues peoples, then it more conspicuously assumes the name of kingdom, and this name is now openly granted to it, not for any subtraction of cupidity, but by addition of impunity….

All of these political, economic, military, diplomatic, sociological, psychological, and demographic forces are working in favor of the Palestinians and against Israel and the Zionists in Palestine.  It will take a few more years for these historical forces to predominate and then to prevail.  But the proverbial handwriting is on the wall for the Zionist Enterprise in Palestine for the entire world to see, including and especially the C.I.A.  Even large numbers of Zionists living in Israel have already prepared their parachutes, and their exit plans, and their landing zones to go elsewhere in the world.   There is no reason for the Palestinians to give the Zionists a new lease on life in Palestine by signing any sort of peace treaty with Israel.

It is obvious that soon Zionism will enter into Trotsky’s “ashcan” of history along with every other nationalistic “ism” that has plagued humankind during the twentieth century: Nazism, Fascism, Francoism, Phalangism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc.  The only thing that could save Zionism in Palestine is for the Palestinians to conclude any type of so-called comprehensive Middle East Peace treaty with Israel.  It is for precisely that reason then that the Palestinians must sign nothing and let Israel collapse of its own weight over the next two decades.

Millions of Palestinians have waited in refugee camps since 1948 in order to return to their homes, that is for 62 years.  They can wait a little longer until Israel collapses within 20 years.  Otherwise, for the Palestinians to sign a comprehensive peace treaty with Israel means that they will never be able to return to their homes as required by Resolution 194 of 1948.  History and demography are on the side of Palestine and the Palestinians against Israel and the Zionists.  But the Palestinians must allow history and demography a little bit more time in order to produce the collapse of Israel and Zionism in Palestine.  Twenty years is but the blink of an eye in the millennia-long history of the Palestinian People, who are the original indigenous inhabitants of Palestine.  God had no right to steal Palestine from the Palestinians and give Palestine to the Jews to begin with.  A fortiori the United Nations had no right to steal Palestine from the Palestinians and give Palestine to the Zionists in 1947.

In the meantime, the Palestinians must keep up the pressure on Israel, Zionism and the Zionists in Palestine.  The Palestinians have a perfect right under international law to resist an illegal, colonial, genocidal, criminal, military occupation regimé of their lands and of their homes and of their People that goes back to 1948 so long as it is done in a manner consistent with the requirements of international humanitarian law.  Simultaneously, the Palestinians must continue to build their state from the ground up as they have been doing successfully since the first Intifada began in 1987 with its grassroots Unified Leadership of the Intifada.

Internationally, the Palestinians must continue their diplomatic and political and legal offensive against Israel.  Palestine has gained enormous ground since November 15, 1988 when the P.N.C. proclaimed the independent State of Palestine.  Palestine will continue to gain more support internationally over the next two decades, including the accelerating B.D.S. campaign that will delegitimize Israel and Zionism all around the world.  At the same time, Israel will continue its rapid descent into pariah state status along the lines of the genocidal Yugoslavia that collapsed as a state and no longer exists.  Israel will meet the same fate as the genocidal Yugoslavia provided the Palestinians do not sign any type of international peace agreement with Israel.

When Israel collapses, most Zionists will have already left or will soon leave for other states around the world.  The Palestinians will then be able to claim all of the historic Mandate for Palestine as their State, including the entire City of Jerusalem as their Capital.  Palestine will then be able to invite all of its refugees to return to their homes pursuant to Resolution 194.

Some Jews will remain in Palestine either voluntarily or involuntarily.  Palestine and the Palestinians will treat the remaining Jews fairly.  Palestine and the Palestinians will not do to the Jews what Israel, Zionism, and the Zionists have done to the Palestinians.

The Palestinians must sign nothing and let Israel collapse! 

University of Illinois Law Professor Francis A. Boyle served as Legal Advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization on the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence; to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations from 1991 to 1993; and to H.E. Chairman and President Yasser Arafat. The story is told in his book “Palestine, Palestinians and International Law” (Clarity Press: 2003).

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MY BRUSH WITH GREATNESS

NOVANEWS


My Brush With Greatness

crescentandcross | October 1, 2010  Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p2dGk-x2

In a world so full of disappointments, and particularly in the “truth” and “anti-war” movements where it seems disappointment is the main ingredient, to say it is invigorating to meet real people who care about real things is an understatement.

Yesterday I had the sincere pleasure and honor of spending the day with real American heroes who made a several-day road trip to come to the Northwest and speak on issues affecting us all.

Pictured above, from left to right is Tim King, chief editor of

Next is Ken O’Keefe, one of the many heroes of Israel’s murderous attack on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara May 31st. Ken is one of the most brilliant and spiritually-conscious people I have ever known.

Next is my good friend Jules, who lived for many years in the Middle East, and without knowing it, probably knew some of my cousins while living there.

And of course, lil’ ol me, honored to stand in the presence of great men.

www.salem-news.com. Tim and I, upon seeing each other for the first time embraced like brothers who had known each other their whole lives yet never met

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OSBORNE: CRACK DOWN ON TAX CHEATS ?

NOVANEWS

Dear,

Thousands of us have decided what 38 Degrees should do as the government plans cuts. Together we’re going to push them to crack down on the billions we lose from tax dodgers every year.

Right now Chancellor George Osborne is deciding what he’ll cut. We’re all going to be hit by the VAT rise in January and less money for services like schools, hospitals and the police. [1] Every year a selfish few rip us off by dodging billions in tax. It’s a big problem – the government says every year we lose at least £42 billion in “uncollected” tax. [2] The government needs to stand up to tax cheats and make sure everybody, including billionaires, bankers and media moguls, pays their fair share. 

So here’s the plan. This week we’re launching our “Crack Down on Tax Dodgers” petition to pile the pressure on Osborne. Next week, together we’ll start work on hard hitting adverts to publicly shame the Government into taking real action. [3] Then as our ads are hitting the media we’ll take the campaign to Parliament – so everywhere Osborne goes he’ll be asked “what are you doing to stop tax dodgers?”

But time’s tight – the first thing we need to do is prove this is a big issue amongst ordinary taxpayers. Help make this petition massive so the government knows how many of us want them to “Crack Down on Tax Dodgers”. Sign the petition now: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/crack-down-on-tax-cheats

The government likes to talk tough about catching benefit cheats. But it doesn’t make sense to only target benefit cheats when tax cheats cost us £40 billion a year more. [4] 

Some politicians have made grand speeches about tackling tax dodging. [5] But they haven’t turned their words into concrete action. We need to show the government that tough talk isn’t enough – we need real action. Sign the petition in 30 seconds at: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/crack-down-on-tax-cheats 

We’ve got a huge amount to do to pile the pressure on Osborne before he announces his cuts in three weeks. We’ve made politicians listen before and we can do it again. Earlier this year we helped persuade Osborne to make the rich pay their fair share by increasing Capital Gains Tax. Before then we persuaded the previous Chancellor to stand up to the banks with a windfall tax. Already this year 25,000 of us have shared our stories about why protecting the NHS is so important. [6]  

Let’s force the government to crack down on tax cheats. Sign the petition then forward this email to your friends: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/crack-down-on-tax-cheats

Thanks for getting involved,

Johnny, Hannah, David and the 38 Degrees team

PS: Osborne will be making his mind up about what to cut very soon. That means we don’t have long to prove how many people think the government should crack down on tax dodgers. Click here to sign the “Crack Down on Tax Dodgers” petition now:  http://www.38degrees.org.uk/crack-down-on-tax-cheats

Notes:
[1] The BBC is compiling a list of the cuts they think will be announced here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-10924719

[2] BBC News: Tax gap has reached £42bn, says HMRC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11342237. The government admits it £42bn but some experts say it’s as much as £120bn. The Guardian has made a visualisation of it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/sep/22/tax-gap-information-beautiful

[3] You can share your ideas at www.38degrees.org.uk/tax-cheats-suggest-an-ad

[4] The Guardian reports that £1bn is lost a year to benefit fraud, while the government admits that £42 billion a year is lost to tax cheats http://www.leftfootforward.org/2010/08/camerons-one-sided-crusade-on-cheats/ and http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/aug/08/cuts-savings-welfare-schools-defence

[5] Osborne’s deputy, Danny Alexander said earlier this month “There are some people who seem to believe that not paying their fair share of tax is a lifestyle choice that is socially acceptable. It is not…Their actions take resources from those who need them most.”. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/sep/19/lib-dem-nick-clegg-tax

[6] You can see the stories and join in at  http://www.38degrees.org.uk/protect-the-NHS

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ZIONISM PATH OF SELF-DESTRUCTION

NOVANEWS
  1. Lessons from the UC Berkeley Divestment Effort, Hillel on Campus

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Lessons from the UC Berkeley Divestment Effort, Hillel on Campus

[Editor’s note: The Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s video report (above) on Israel-defense training for students made me think that now would be a good time to re-publish Lessons from the UC Berkeley Divestment Effort. My colleague Sydney Levy and I wrote it this summer in response to the UC Berkeley divestment struggle and Israeli Consul General Akiva Tor’s rather strange response to the effort.

In watching the JTA video in which the national head of Hillel is trying to make a subtle point but revealingly ends up comparing Muslims to vampires, I’d add that it has never been so clear to me how older Jews have failed this younger generation. Students are smart enough to handle an open conversation about complexity and Israel. But many in the older generation in power don’t want that to happen. The fundamental irony, of course, is that when it comes to both delegitimizing and existentially threatening Israel, no critic can hold a candle to Israel itself and its ever-expanding settlement project (and human rights abuses etc…)

There is no faster way for Israel to continue down the path of self-destruction than to continue the status quo, unhindered. In that very important sense, the BDS movement may be Israel’s last chance. Especially now that we know that Congress and the Obama administration is no more willing to hold Netanyahu accountable than previous administrations.]

Lessons from the UC Berkeley Divestment Effort

By Cecilie Surasky and Sydney Levy, Jewish Voice for Peace

(June 1, 2010) Israel right-or-wrong apologists have reason to be worried after three lengthy UC Berkeley student senate hearings concluded each with a solid majority of votes (60% or more) in favor of divestment from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. Though in the end, the vote fell 1 short of the needed supermajority required to overturn a veto, neither our opponents nor we forget that a clear majority consistently supported the bill.

Now, a few weeks after the hearings are over, it is a good time to examine how familiar tactics were deployed to stop the divestment effort and are now being used to prevent future similar ones. These tactics do not advance the cause of peace and have the unintended potential to cause harm to Jews in the US. Silencing debate, confusing the facts, taking over student senates, making indiscriminate charges of anti-Semitism, criminalizing anti-occupation activism, implicitly or explicitly condoning widespread hostility against Muslims, Palestinians, and anti-occupation Jews – these are the tactics with which we’ve unfortunately become too familiar. We’ll review them below.

1) Silencing debate

The first tactic, which predates UC Berkeley’s divestment initiative, is the effort to shut down debate within the Jewish community. The story is an old one, but given the growing level of desperation among the Israel right-or-wrong crowd, the measures being deployed are increasingly bold and destructive.

Just a few months ago, the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation issued the most restrictive funding guidelines in the country. These guidelines aim to silence open discussion within the institutional Jewish community on Israeli policies and the merits of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement. And they also have led to an old-fashioned blacklist of well-known human rights groups now banned from the Federation’s donor designated fund’s acceptable charities list.

The guidelines’ impact has not gone unnoticed. An open letter in The Forward signed by Jewish professors, rabbis, and other notables from both the left and center describes the San Francisco Federation guidelines in these terms:

Despite the guidelines’ repeatedly stated commitment to the values of free and open discussion and diversity, they will have a chilling effect on the entire spectrum of community institutions, including educational, service, social justice and arts organizations. They will also limit American Jewish exposure to the range of art, literature, scholarship, and political discourse that exists in Israel. The guidelines will encourage self-censorship. Organizations will fear losing their funding; individuals will fear losing their jobs.

Though the ad is written in future tense about the negative effects the guidelines will have, we know for certain that these effects have already taken hold. Fearing loss of jobs or funding, people are staying quiet.

More recently, the guidelines were directly linked by a Haaretz columnist Bradley Burston to Israel’s banning of political linguist Noam Chomsky and other indications of incipient “fascism.”

This effort to stifle debate inside our communities has ironically meant that the only way that Jews have been able to speak face-to-face with other Jews about divestment has been at the UC Berkeley hearings. And what the hearings revealed was striking: an authentic crisis in the Jewish community. By all appearances, the number of Jewish supporters of divestment on campus easily matched the number of opponents.

The group that sponsored the divest initiative, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), includes many Israelis and Jews as well as Palestinians and Muslims and many others of various faiths and nationalities, and the co-author of the divest bill himself is an Israeli Jew. Many Jewish professors, including members of the Jewish studies program, came out in support of the divest bill.

The Federation guidelines not only prevent an open conversation on these critically important issues, but they also banish these Jewish studies professors and the Jewish and Israeli students from any public forum on Israel funded by the Federation. The guidelines banish some of our best and most knowledgeable minds from the conversations where we truly need them most.

By silencing debate, the Israel right-or-wrong advocates get to act like they’re speaking for the majority of Jews. But we know that they are not. For now, they’ve shut down public debate inside the Jewish institutional world, and their McCarthyite methods cast a long shadow. But the divestment hearing shows that whether or not the Jewish institutional world is ready, these conversations will take place because people, including many Jews, want to have them.

2) Confusing the Facts

The second tactic we saw used, yet again, was a consistent campaign to mislead the public about the nature of specific divestment resolutions. Many in the Jewish world, including the director of Berkeley Hillel ignored the fact that the UC Berkeley divestment resolution addressed only the Israeli occupation and repeatedly suggested instead that it targeted Israel as a whole.

3) Take over student senates

The Forward reported that,

At an AIPAC conference in Washington in late March, AIPAC leadership development director Jonathan Kessler said that his organization would “make sure that pro-Israel students take over the student government and reverse the vote,” as recorded in a video taken at the conference by the JTA. “This is how AIPAC operates in our nation’s Capitol. This is how AIPAC must operate on our nation’s campuses,” he said.

You can watch the chilling but frank video with Mr. Kessler’s statement here, where Mr. Kessler explicitly refers to the Berkeley resolution. This of course did not stop an AIPAC spokesperson from declaring:

“We took no position on the Berkeley student election, since like in any other election, we don’t rate or endorse candidates. Of course we would always, publicly and consistently, encourage pro-Israel students to be active in civic and political life.”

This year alone, about 1,300 students from all 50 states were offered a travel junket to DC to attend an AIPAC conference and learn the finer points of Israeli Hasbara. About a quarter of those in attendance were student government presidents, the kinds of leaders that can veto a divestment bill, just like UC Berkeley student senate president Will Smelko did. What is striking, as documented in the AIPAC video, is that a number of these student leaders had not heard of AIPAC before the offer of the free trip.

4) Making indiscriminate charges of anti-Semitism

By far the most pernicious tactic was the accusation of anti-Semitism combined with something new, a heightened sense of almost theatrical victimization. We witnessed this at the Berkeley hearings themselves and most recently in a piece posted by the Israeli Consul General, Akiva Tor.

Let’s be clear. Anti-Semitism is wrong. We condemn it when we see or hear it, we condemn it as a concept, and we work with allies who take strong positions against anti-Semitism. As Jews whose families have experienced chronic statelessness and expulsion, pogroms, the ghettos and death camps, we refuse to be lectured on this topic.

And indeed the few and isolated instances of anti-Jewish name-calling that occurred in the audience at the Berkeley hearings were publicly condemned both by divestment advocates and by the student senate. The mysterious marking of swastikas on a Berkeley dorm days before the last Berkeley hearing deserved and got vociferous condemnation at the start of the hearing. Not one person at a microphone made a comment that could remotely be construed as anti-Semitic.

Further, many Jewish students said the divest bill had for the first time helped make them feel safe on campus as anti-occupation, progressive Jews who had been shut out by the institutional Jewish world. For most Palestinian students, lack of safety or visibility on the UC campus was not an exception, but a lifetime norm.

Many members of Students for Justice in Palestine are Jewish and Israeli, and it was absolutely striking to us over the weeks we worked with them to see the breadth and depth of authentic loving relationships between students of all races and religions, and especially between Jewish and Muslim students–students who clearly would stand by each other in a heartbeat if there was a true threat. Palestinian American SJP member Dina Omar wrote, “These Jews and Israelis, whose lives I care for as dearly as my own—they are “my people.”

But you would not know any of this from Mr. Tor’s account. Then again, Mr. Tor’s words need to be read with great skepticism. With a straight face, Mr. Tor compares the Berkeley hearings to the Moscow show trials, trials in which witnesses were detained, tortured, forced to confess to crimes they did not commit and then sentenced to death or to labor camps. He also refers to a large multi-faith group that included Christian pastors, Jews, Muslims and others as a menacing group of “100 Muslims”, thus revealing more than we could ever say about how he sees the “other side.”

It was also painful to read Tor’s condemnation of 84 year old pro-divestment advocate and Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein for “manipulation of the Holocaust.”
Apparently Tor, and the Israeli government and its proxies, hold the monopoly on the lessons from the Holocaust.

Talking points issued by the rightwing Jewish student group Tikvah explicitly encouraged anti-divestment students to avoid addressing the occupation and to appear distraught when they testified at the hearings. At the hearings it was difficult to know what fear was real and what was fabricated. There were some real instances reported of reprehensible anti-Jewish comments, and those were vehemently denounced as we said before. But most of what we witnessed was authentic discomfort, which led many anti-divestment students to call the bill “divisive” (again, per the talking points).

It seemed as though the sudden exposure to such widespread support for the Palestinian narrative, perhaps for the first time in their lives, made these students uncomfortable. At the same time, many Palestinian students who reported living with daily exposure to racism said that for the first time in their lives, they suddenly felt visible, safer and supported.

Should the intensity of emotions and pain of looking at tough truths triggered by any difficult political debate be dismissed as massive anti-Semitism? Clearly not, yet that is exactly what Tor predictably seeks to do.

Not lost on most at the UC hearings, Jewish or otherwise, was the fact that Jews are members of one of the most successful immigrant/ethnic groups in American history. There is no longer any institutionalized or systematic discrimination against Jews in this country – as Jews, our marriages are not illegal in most states, we are not kicked out of the military if our identity is discovered; though we were immigrants, we don’t fear being rounded up by the INS or queried about papers proving our identity; we are no longer limited by quotas or gentleman’s agreements, we are not paid 77 cents on the dollar, we are not stopped by police for driving-while-Jewish, and most of us do not have to contend with grotesquely high interest housing loans or generational poverty.

If anything, especially the majority of Ashkenazi Jews are beneficiaries of massive white and class and even specifically Jewish privilege: Jews on all sides of the conflict are frequently given the space to talk about the issue while Palestinians and others are consistently marginalized.

The language of Jewish victimization, as though every moment were 1938 and every non-Jew a latent anti-Semite, is simply alien to the experience of this generation of Jews. And yet, it is precisely that kind of fear which is deliberately cultivated by Israel’s advocates in younger generations, not as a way to fight bigotry, but cynically, as a way to protect Israel from accountability. As former AIPAC and Israel Policy Forum staffer and analyst MJ Rosenberg wrote about the hearings:

AIPAC and Hillel, the Jewish student group allied with AIPAC, came up with the strategy of having Jewish students tell the university senate that seeing signs calling for divestment frightened them. Some broke down in tears when describing the pain of seeing pro-divestment placards in the student union.

It was hilarious because it was so utterly bogus. I know that I come from a different era. Back in the day when I was a pro-Israel activist on campus, we traded insults and threw chairs when confronted by our adversaries (some were scary Maoists!) but I don’t recall weeping. We liked confrontation. We were college kids.

But this is the new style of pro-Israel advocacy built on victimhood. No wonder so few American kids buy into this. (As for Israeli kids, they would fall over laughing).

Our guess is that at least some of those students did feel various levels of fear—and we feel terrible that those feelings are real– but the fear is stoked, cultivated and serves to isolate them and push them further into denial about Israel, not to connect them or weave together a broad-based coalition opposed to all forms of bigotry, including anti-Jewish hatred.

How exactly are these fears stoked? What are the students being told? We have a few ideas.

In one behind-closed-doors meeting with students senators organized by Berkeley Hillel and in the presence of Mr. Tor himself, according to a few witnesses who took copious notes, the students in attendance were told that Jews who supported the bill were afflicted by a “cultural pathology.” The student senators were given a bizarre interpretation of what constitutes anti-Semitism.

They were reportedly told that comparing Israel with Apartheid South Africa was anti-Semitic, plain and simple.

Worse yet, they were told that it was anti-Semitic to make the mere suggestion that Israel did not distinguish between civilians and combatants during the attack on Gaza and that as a result many children died. And not just any kind of anti-Semitism, mind you. Making this assertion was compared to medieval blood libels against Jews.

The fact that Israel fired deliberately or indiscriminately into civilian areas in Gaza resulting in the deaths of adults and children has been verified by theGoldstone Report and by many reputable human rights organizations. On the other hand, the anti-Semitic blood libels falsely charged Jews with the killing of gentile children for ritual purposes and generally ended in deadly attacks against defenseless Jewish communities. Where is the comparison between the two?

These false charges of anti-Semitism cause great damage to our credibility as Jews whenever we face real attacks against us.

5) Criminalizing BDS and anti-occupation activism on campuses

Coincidentally, around the time of the first Berkeley divestment hearing, a number of Jewish organizations (as part of a campaign led by the far right Zionist Organization of America) sent a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, asking the department’s Office for Civil Rights to adopt a policy that would protect Jewish students from anti-Semitic harassment on college campuses by barring federal funding from academic institutions deemed anti-Semitic. This is a laudatory move in and of itself, were it not for the fact that Mr. Tor and others use false charges of anti-Semitism to protect Israel from criticism. Such a change could easily lead to federal investigations of campus activism and teaching.

As the Forward reported:

The Jewish groups’ letter argues that “anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiment” can cross “the line into anti-Semitism,” and that “conduct that threatens, harasses or intimidates particular Jewish students to the point that their ability to participate in and benefit from their college experience is impaired should not be deemed unactionable simply because that conduct is couched as ‘anti-Israel’ or ‘anti-Zionist.’” The letter, however, also acknowledges that “much vehemently anti-Israel and anti-Semitic speech can – and should – be protected First Amendment activity” and that “there is a high bar before any speech or conduct can amount to legally actionable harassment.”

Like clockwork, just days after the last hearing, the far right wing Israel advocacy group StandWithUs reported in an email to supporters:

[May 20-San Francisco] “Pay attention to the growing anti-Semitism on UC campuses…Condemn anti-Semitism as clearly and vigorously as you would condemn other forms of racism,” Dr. Mike Harris of the Bay area chapter of StandWithUs, S.F. Voice for Israel, urged the University of California Regents during their meeting on Wednesday, May 19.

Harris urged the regents to set up a committee to implement the U.S. State Department definition of anti-Semitism that recognizes that anti-Zionism is a new form of anti-Semitism and condemn it on UC campuses.

And thus, a more coherent campus-based strategy reveals itself. Overly-dramatizing Jewish suffering and calling divestment efforts divisive (as though the status quo of silence and complicity were unifying for anyone other than students who unconditionally support Israel) is a way to involve federal and campus administrations in shutting down anti-occupation activism.

Such strategies are well under way. David Theo Goldberg and Saree Makdisi wrote about them at length in Tikkun in The Trial of Israel’s Campus Critics.

6) Remaining silent and/or actively fueling atmosphere of hate against Muslims, Palestinians and progressive anti-occupation Jews

What makes Tor’s and others’ strategy of indiscriminate charges of anti-Semitism particularly galling is the myriad ways the Israel right-or-wrong crowd has deliberately trafficked in anti-Muslim imagery and demonizing language against dissenting Jews. Despite his habit of making outrageous comments like comparing Jewish South Africa jurist Richard Goldstone to infamous the Nazi Dr. Menegeleand repeatedly saying that Palestinians played a significant role in the Holocaust, Alan Dershowitz was rewarded by the Israeli government, Mr. Tor’s employers, with an offer (which Mr. Dershowitz refused) to be the Israel ambassador to the UN.

Tor’s own boss, Israeli foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is a well known virulent anti-Arab racist who has been compared to Jorg Haider of Austria and Jean-Marie le Pen of France. The Israeli Knesset discusses and passes laws that are by American standards openly and even proudly racist against non-Jews.

Further up the command chain, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sends as his special emissary to American campuses none other than Effie Eitam, an Israeli politician notorious for his proposal to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from the West Bank.

“We’ll have to expel the overwhelming majority of West Bank Arabs from here and remove Israeli Arabs from [the] political system.”

His campus tour was sponsored by the Jewish National Fund and by Hillel, and protests against this racist Islamophobe who called Palestinian citizens of Israel “a cancer” were met with the absurd counter-charge of medieval blood libels. Sounds familiar?

In late 2008, when student members of the most vociferously pro-Israel group on campus physically assaulted Palestinian students who were silently and nonviolently standing with a Palestinian flag, they yelled terrible things at the Palestinian students like “I will kick your Arab ass,” and “Arab pigs”. Where was the condemnation from the Consul General?

The combination of silence in the face of real attacks and discriminatory, deliberate misrepresentation of Palestinians and anti-occupation Jews fuels a dangerous environment. Rabbi Michael Lerner’s house was just vandalized, and, like him, we at Jewish Voice for Peace have come to see the steady stream of hate speech and at times death threats as part of daily life.

A number of student senators told us that during the weeks of the divestment debate, they received countless emails calling them terrible names, some even threatening them over future employment. The San Francisco Jewish Community Relations council acknowledged this dangerous underbelly of Jewish hatred when they started adding additional warnings on their action alerts about the UC hearings. The last ones said:

• Please send POLITE and RESPECTFUL messages to the students (remember, they are 18-22 years old)
• Messages that attack the students or use profanity are NOT helpful and may harm efforts to sustain the veto

When such pointers must be offered for emails being sent to student senators at the most prestigious public university in the country, there is no question that a blatant atmosphere of hatred and hostility has been fomented.

If you have any doubt, ask the Muslim and Arab students at UC Berkeley, or simply take a moment to read the hateful comments following a recent article at the Daily Californian.

Akiva Tor finishes his essay with an unanswered question: “how in the name of heaven will we ever make peace?” We answer him with our own question: “for how long will you continue this farce that you are a peacemaker when you consistently demonize, silence and endanger the other side – not just here, but in Israel and Palestine?”

-Cecilie Surasky, Jewish Voice for Peace, www.jvp.org

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Posted in PoliticsComments Off on ZIONISM PATH OF SELF-DESTRUCTION

NAZI COURT: YOU HAVE NO RIGHT

NOVANEWS

Dear,

Seized in the night. Tortured. Held without trial, then tried in a military court where you have no rights; convicted on the coerced confessions of minors, you are facing a sentence of years in prison. All for organizing peaceful protests against the theft of your land and asserting your democratic rights.

Most of us who believe in human rights and democracy can never imagine being treated in such a way. Yet that is exactly what befell Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a democracy advocate from Bil’in in the Occupied West Bank. His town is known around the world for the determination of its residents – joined by Israelis and internationals in solidarity – to protest weekly against the theft of their land by Israeli authorities.

In Abdallah’s case, the charges were as bogus as the consequences were grave. He had collected spent tear gas canisters (see picture) to represent the harshness of the Israeli soldiers’ continuing violent response to unarmed demonstrators, and which had caused the death of Bassem Abu Rahme, Mr. Abu Rahmah’s cousin.

Israel charged, that Abdallah intended to use the no longer viable canisters as weapons. They arrested him, charging him as a security risk!   This illustrates that the Israeli Defense Forces are far more afraid of unarmed protest than of armed resistance, and showing that they view Palestinians asserting their democratic rights as a crime. He was convicted on the ridiculous charges of “organizing illegal marches” and “incitement” after a unfair trial, and is now facing years in prison.

We who draw inspiration from his actions cannot let this happen. Now is the time to raise our voices and ensure Abdallah Abu Rahmah is free to organize and advocate for the rights of his community. We stand with Abdallah.

Israel needs to realize that leaders like Abdallah offer the best hope for a just peace for Israelis and Palestinains alike. We need to tell our governments to use their influence with Israel to free Abdallah Abu Rahmah.

In solidarity,

Sydney Levy
Jewish Voice for Peace

Posted in PoliticsComments Off on NAZI COURT: YOU HAVE NO RIGHT

THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS

NOVANEWS

Matthew Cassel on the right to bear arms

I recently came across this exchange between Mondoweiss contributor Ahmed Moor and Electronic Intifada editor Matthew Cassel on the right of Palestinians in Lebanon to bear arms. The core of Moor’s claim is that Palestinians in Lebanon should barter away their weapons for the right to work, amongst other rights. Cassel argues, correctly, that Moor is essentially taking the status quo in Lebanon as a given, and suggesting that Palestinians need to give up their weapons in order to be treated like human beings. Cassel makes short work of the argument–there are plenty of Palestinians living in Lebanon without weapons, in the cities, and they are not treated like human beings. Cassel insists that the problem resides in a Lebanese political culture that dehumanizes Palestinians.

Not Palestinian political culture in which they insist that they will hold onto their arms so that should there be another attempt to slaughter them as at Sabra and Shatila–the anniversary of which was two weeks ago–they will go down fighting. As a friend wrote  to me when discussing the presence-absence of the “Palestinian Gandhi” (not that the Palestinians need a Gandhi), “Why on earth is the discussion about the Palestinians‘ responsibilities in any primary sense?” In Lebanon and Palestine the problem is the political culture of those with power, not the political culture of those suffering from the pathologies of those with power.

Just the same as it is here. We can quibble amongst one another about whether Palestinian violence against paramilitary settlers should be condemned, debate whether to attribute the origins of modern Zionist practice to German Romanticism or the crucible of the Holocaust, discuss where on the spectrum of non-violent practice impotent stone-chucking falls, or do something simpler: stop sending arms to the Middle East. A component of that is defending the reasonable claims of the powerless against the unreasonable racism of those in power, until reasonable claims turn into political practice. Oddly enough, I really don’t think they’ll need guns so much in Gaza or southern Lebanon when we stop shipping Blackhawks to Israel.

This month, Palestinians in Lebanon commemorated the 28th anniversary of a crime whose perpetrators remain unpunished and whose victims still wait for justice. In September 1982, the Israeli army surrounded the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut. For nearly three days, Israeli forces allowed their allies in the right-wing Lebanese Christian Phalange militia to enter the camps and massacre more than a thousand Palestinian refugees and Lebanese citizens. All of the victims — men, women and children — were unarmed civilians.

The massacre was the culmination of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and more than two months of siege of West Beirut which eventually forced the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to withdraw from the country. PLO fighters relinquished their heavy weapons to the Lebanese army and in a symbolic act of resistance, left Beirut with their small arms still at their sides. However, the majority of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, exiled since 1948 when Israel was established on top of their homes, remained behind. Dispersed throughout the country’s dozen or so refugee camps, Palestinians were left virtually unprotected.

The PLO withdrew from Beirut only after agreeing to a US-mediated ceasefire with Israel. They were given reassurances by Washington that Israel would not harm Palestinian civilians remaining in the camps. However, these reassurances proved to be shallow, and after waging an invasion of Lebanon that killed nearly 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinians and devastated much of the country, Israel invaded and occupied the practically defenseless Lebanese capital.

Prior to this somber anniversary, a writer argued in the Guardian’s Comment is Free site that Palestinian weapons were the key issue preventing Palestinian refugees from obtaining basic civil rights in Lebanon, which the state has denied them for 62 years. He described the camps as “heavily armed” and the refugees living there as gripped by an “illusion of martial security” (“Disarming Lebanon’s Palestinians,” Ahmed Moor, 8 September 2010).

As someone who has lived in Lebanon for several years, I was struck by these assertions. Anyone familiar with Lebanese politics recognizes them as the typical refrain of the right-wing, whose adherents object not only to providing Palestinian refugees with basic rights but their very presence on Lebanese soil. Nor do these characterizations come close to accurately describing the camps or the Palestinians in Lebanon I know. The camps today are far from being heavily armed, especially when compared to the various Lebanese militias or the Lebanese army.

I thought I would visit the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, which today are essentially one camp resembling a slum, and speak with Palestinian refugees about the issue of trading in their weapons for rights.

Inside a small call center in the camp, frequented by mostly Palestinians without credit on their mobile phones and foreign workers calling home, I spoke to a young man named Osama. He told me: “The issue of our arms and our civil rights are unrelated. Lebanese should give us rights as Arabs, as human beings living among them like Palestinian refugees in Jordan and Syria.”

“Our weapons don’t necessarily make me feel safer,” he added, “especially with the internal problems that we have in the camps here like in Palestine. But if we were to give them up, we’d have no protection. At least with our weapons if we die, we die standing and not like in Sabra and Shatila when we were massacred without even one weapon to resist. If the Lebanese army was able to protect us from Israel, then there would be no need for Palestinians to have weapons.”

At the headquarters of the Najdeh Association just outside the camp, I spoke with executive director Laila al-Ali. Founded in the 1970s, Najdeh is an nongovernmental organization that runs social programs in Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps and is the leading organization behind the “Right to Work Campaign” for Palestinian refugees. Al-Ali, a Palestinian refugee who grew up in Shatila, explained, “It’s not the Lebanese who are looking for assurances or guarantees from the Palestinians, it’s the Palestinians who need this guarantee from the Lebanese. Palestinians don’t feel safe.”

Al-Ali said that only a few groups and individuals have weapons in the camps. She added that the argument claiming these small arms are a prerequisite to granting Palestinians rights is merely “Lebanese [rhetoric] trying to deny Palestinians their human and civil rights.”

I asked her about a recent law passed by the Lebanese parliament that made minor changes to the restrictions on the ability of Palestinian refugees to work in the country. Al-Ali stated bluntly: “It gives them nothing. The Lebanese mentality needs to be changed, they cannot continue dealing with Palestinians from the security perspective [alone].”

Back in Shatila, others shared her sentiments. I walked into a barbershop owned by Ahmed, who explained while snipping away at a man’s hair that “We keep weapons for protection. Even between the Lebanese there is no stability. Today they are together and tomorrow they’re not. In the past we only had our weapons to protect ourselves. Like during the [1985-88] war of the camps, our weapons protected us from the [Lebanese Shia] Amal movement.”

I turned to a young man named Omar who was finishing a deep pore cleansing. Bearing a pistol on his hip, Omar is a member of one of the camp’s security branches. “The weapons are not the reason for denying us rights, this is a pretext for the Lebanese to take our weapons,” he said. “If we lose our weapons, we lose the right to go back to Palestine. I carry my weapon because it’s not worth throwing away. The weapons are the peoples’ property.”

Unprompted, a taxi driver named Mahmoud with a freshly trimmed mustache jumped in. “Once we lose the weapons we’ll be slapped from all directions,” he said. “I will never accept to give up our weapons. The Lebanese will never be able to protect our cause. It’s not their cause, and nobody can protect it but ourselves.”

After speaking with dozens of individuals in the camp, all of whom refused to give up their right to bear arms, I asked a friend to take me to someone in the camp who he thought would disagree. He brought me to his 66-year-old grandmother, Miyasar, a refugee who has been forced to flee her home at least five times since 1948 and now lives in Shatila.

Before I could even finish asking her the first question about trading rights for arms, Miyasar closed her eyes, shook her head and said: “The Lebanese cannot give us rights, they can’t even give themselves rights. Each group is by itself with its own weapons — Hizballah has guns, Amal has guns, the Future [movement] has guns. The Lebanese are the ones who need help, not the Palestinians.”

She added, “When the Israelis came they said, give up our guns. We did and look what happened! Even a donkey that falls in one spot learns not to fall in that same spot again. We have no faith in Lebanese to give us rights. We will keep our weapons until we go back to Palestine.”

Matthew Cassel is based in Beirut, Lebanon and is Assistant Editor of The Electronic Intifada. His website is justimage.org. A version of this essay was originally published by the Guardian’s Comment is Free and is republished with permission.

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ZIO=NAZI REGIME ADDICTED TO OCCUPATION

NOVANEWS

Jonathan Cook presents a compact introduction to the intricate web of special interests that sustain Israel’s occupation policies. The crux of his presentation is that large and influential sectors of Israeli society, not just that obvious political target known as ‘the settlers’, benefit from the occupation. In fact, the Israeli elite, which comprises many secular, Ashkenazi citizens, and is considered the most dovish sector of Israeli society, may be the champion of all profiteers: Israel’s hi-tec industries, many of them focused on sophisticated “security” products, are an essential component of the country’s successful endless-war/no-peace economy. No wonder that most voters belonging to this sector of society have easily found their way to the no-different-from-Likkud Kadima party, which does not even pretend to be a proponent of urgently needed progressive social reform or a real ending of the occupation, not to mention reconciliation with our neighbors (causes to which the
moribund Labour party has at least been paying lip service).
 
For a more elaborate presentation of the themes in Cook’s article, please read chapter 21, “Losing the Peace Incentive: Israel as Warning”, in Naomi Klein’s book ”The Shock Doctrine”:
http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine/resources/part7/chapter21
 
For further information about that intricate web of profiteering, please see the Israeli database
“Who Profits from the Occupation?”  http://whoprofits.org/
 
This information is highly relevant to the ongoing debate on the desirable scope of sanctions against Israeli policies. A coalition of diverse interest groups – not just the ideological settlers in Ofra and Kiryat Arba but also those secular CEO’s of software companies in Tel-Aviv who regard the former as loonies and their places of residence as remote lunar colonies – now have a common interest: maintaining the status-quo!  Many Israelis have become structurally dependent, albeit in an indirect manner, on severe, endemic human rights violations, for their high standards of living. This amounts to a form of collective addiction, and rehab has been long overdue. If this is the case, the comprehensive campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions, which targets much more than the so-called ‘settlement industry’, may be justified.
 
Ofer Neiman
 
Rela Mazali and Racheli Gai add:
We’d like to draw special attention to the role of the military and related “security” outfits, and their connection to the US. The myriad US companies making a killing off of the occupation have, of course, inherent interest in keeping it going.
 
“The ranks of Israel’s career soldiers, and associated security services such as the Shin Bet secret police, have ballooned during the occupation.
 
The demands of controlling another people around the clock justifies huge budgets, the latest weaponry (much of it paid for by the United States) and the creation of a powerful class of military bureaucrat.
 
While teenage conscripts do the dangerous jobs, the army’s senior ranks retire in their early forties on full pensions, with lengthy second careers ahead in business or politics. Many also go on to profit from the burgeoning “homeland security” industries in which Israel excels. Small specialist companies led by former generals offer a home to retired soldiers drawing on years of experience running the occupation.
 
Those who spent their service in the West Bank and Gaza Strip quickly learn how to apply and refine new technologies for surveillance, crowd control and urban warfare that find ready markets overseas. In 2006 Israel’s defence exports reached $3.4bn, making the country the fourth largest arms dealer in the world.”
 

http://www.counterpunch.org/cook09282010.html
 
Too Heavy a Price for Israeli Elites?
 
JONATHAN COOK: Reasoning Against Peace / Counter Punch
 
September 28, 2010
 

With the resumption of settlement construction in the West Bank yesterday, Israel’s powerful settler movement hopes that it has scuttled peace talks with the Palestinians.
 
It would be misleading, however, to assume that the only major obstacle to the success of the negotiations is the right-wing political ideology the settler movement represents. Equally important are deeply entrenched economic interests shared across Israeli society.
 
These interests took root more than six decades ago with Israel’s establishment and have flourished at an ever-accelerating pace since Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the 1967 war.
 
Even many Israeli Jews living within the recognised borders of Israel privately acknowledge that they are the beneficiaries of the seizure of another people’s lands, homes, businesses and bank accounts in 1948. Most Israelis profit directly from the continuing dispossession of millions of Palestinian refugees.
 
Israeli officials assume that the international community will bear the burden of restitution for the refugees. The problem for Israel’s Jewish population is that the refugees now living in exile were not the only ones dispossessed.
 
The fifth of Israel’s citizens who are Palestinian but survived the expulsions of 1948 found themselves either transformed into internally displaced people or the victims of a later land-nationalisation programme that stripped them of their ancestral property.
 
Even if Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, signed away the rights of the refugees, he would have no power to do the same for Israel’s Palestinian citizens, the so-called Israeli Arabs. Peace, as many Israelis understand, would open a Pandora’s box of historic land claims from Palestinian citizens at the expense of Israel’s Jewish citizens.
 
But the threat to the economic privileges of Israeli Jews would not end with a reckoning over the injustices caused by the state’s creation. The occupation of the Palestinian territories after 1967 spawned many other powerful economic interests opposed to peace.
 
The most visible constituency are the settlers, who have benefited hugely from government subsidies and tax breaks designed to encourage Israelis to relocate to the West Bank. Peace Now estimates that such benefits alone are worth more than $550 million a year.
 
Far from being a fringe element, the half a million settlers constitute nearly a tenth of Israel’s Jewish population and include such prominent figures as foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman.
 
Hundreds of businesses serving the settlers are booming in the 60 per cent of the West Bank, the so-called Area C, that falls under Israel’s full control. The real estate and construction industries, in particular, benefit from cut-price land — and increased profits — made available by theft from Palestinian owners.
 
Other businesses, meanwhile, have moved into Israel’s West Bank industrial zones, benefiting from cheap Palestinian labour and from discounted land, tax perks and lax enforcement of environmental protections.
 
Much of the tourism industry also depends on Israel’s hold over the holy sites located in occupied East Jerusalem.
 
This web of interests depends on what Akiva Eldar, of the Haaretz newspaper, terms “land-laundering” overseen by government ministries, state institutions and Zionist organisations. These murky transactions create ample opportunities for corruption that have become a staple for Israel’s rich and powerful, including, it seems, its prime ministers.
 
But the benefits of occupation are not restricted to the civilian population. The most potent pressure group in Israel — the military —  has much to lose from a peace agreement, too.
 
The ranks of Israel’s career soldiers, and associated security services such as the Shin Bet secret police, have ballooned during the occupation.
 
The demands of controlling another people around the clock justifies huge budgets, the latest weaponry (much of it paid for by the United States) and the creation of a powerful class of military bureaucrat.
 
While teenage conscripts do the dangerous jobs, the army’s senior ranks retire in their early forties on full pensions, with lengthy second careers ahead in business or politics. Many also go on to profit from the burgeoning “homeland security” industries in which Israel excels. Small specialist companies led by former generals offer a home to retired soldiers drawing on years of experience running the occupation.
 
Those who spent their service in the West Bank and Gaza Strip quickly learn how to apply and refine new technologies for surveillance, crowd control and urban warfare that find ready markets overseas. In 2006 Israel’s defence exports reached $3.4bn, making the country the fourth largest arms dealer in the world.
 
These groups fear that a peace agreement and Palestinian statehood would turn Israel overnight into an insignificant Middle Eastern state, one that would soon be starved of its enormous US subsidies. In addition, Israel would be forced to right a historic wrong and redirect the region’s plundered resources, including its land and water, back to Palestinians, depriving Jews of their established entitlements.
 
A cost-benefit calculus suggests to most Israeli Jews — including the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu — that a real solution to their conflict with the Palestinians might come at too heavy a price to their own pockets.
 
……………………………………………………….
 Jewish Peace News editors:
 Joel Beinin
 Racheli Gai
 Rela Mazali
 Sarah Anne Minkin
 Judith Norman
 Lincoln Z. Shlensky
 Rebecca Vilkomerson
 Alistair Welchman
 ————
 Jewish Peace News archive and blog: http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com
 ————
 Jewish Peace News sends its news clippings only to subscribers. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or manage your subscription, go to http://www.jewishpeacenews.net
 

Posted in Politics1 Comment

CON-DOM GOVERNMENT PLANS FOR SERVICE CUTS

NOVANEWS

Dear,

Thousands of us have decided what 38 Degrees should do as the government plans cuts. Together we’re going to push them to crack down on the billions we lose from tax dodgers every year.

Right now Chancellor George Osborne is deciding what he’ll cut. We’re all going to be hit by the VAT rise in January and less money for services like schools, hospitals and the police. [1] Every year a selfish few rip us off by dodging billions in tax. It’s a big problem – the government says every year we lose at least £42 billion in “uncollected” tax. [2] The government needs to stand up to tax cheats and make sure everybody, including billionaires, bankers and media moguls, pays their fair share.

So here’s the plan. This week we’re launching our “Crack Down on Tax Dodgers” petition to pile the pressure on Osborne. Next week, together we’ll start work on hard hitting adverts to publicly shame the Government into taking real action. [3] Then as our ads are hitting the media we’ll take the campaign to Parliament – so everywhere Osborne goes he’ll be asked “what are you doing to stop tax dodgers?”

But time’s tight – the first thing we need to do is prove this is a big issue amongst ordinary taxpayers. Help make this petition massive so the government knows how many of us want them to “Crack Down on Tax Dodgers”. Sign the petition now: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/crack-down-on-tax-cheats

The government likes to talk tough about catching benefit cheats. But it doesn’t make sense to only target benefit cheats when tax cheats cost us £40 billion a year more. [4]

Some politicians have made grand speeches about tackling tax dodging. [5] But they haven’t turned their words into concrete action. We need to show the government that tough talk isn’t enough – we need real action. Sign the petition in 30 seconds at: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/crack-down-on-tax-cheats

We’ve got a huge amount to do to pile the pressure on Osborne before he announces his cuts in three weeks. We’ve made politicians listen before and we can do it again. Earlier this year we helped persuade Osborne to make the rich pay their fair share by increasing Capital Gains Tax. Before then we persuaded the previous Chancellor to stand up to the banks with a windfall tax. Already this year 25,000 of us have shared our stories about why protecting the NHS is so important. [6] 

Let’s force the government to crack down on tax cheats. Sign the petition then forward this email to your friends: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/crack-down-on-tax-cheats

Thanks for getting involved,

Johnny, Hannah, David and the 38 Degrees team

PS: Osborne will be making his mind up about what to cut very soon. That means we don’t have long to prove how many people think the government should crack down on tax dodgers. Click here to sign the “Crack Down on Tax Dodgers” petition now:  http://www.38degrees.org.uk/crack-down-on-tax-cheats

Notes:
[1] The BBC is compiling a list of the cuts they think will be announced here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-10924719

[2] BBC News: Tax gap has reached £42bn, says HMRC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11342237. The government admits it £42bn but some experts say it’s as much as £120bn. The Guardian has made a visualisation of it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/sep/22/tax-gap-information-beautiful

[3] You can share your ideas at www.38degrees.org.uk/tax-cheats-suggest-an-ad

[4] The Guardian reports that £1bn is lost a year to benefit fraud, while the government admits that £42 billion a year is lost to tax cheats http://www.leftfootforward.org/2010/08/camerons-one-sided-crusade-on-cheats/ and http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/aug/08/cuts-savings-welfare-schools-defence

[5] Osborne’s deputy, Danny Alexander said earlier this month “There are some people who seem to believe that not paying their fair share of tax is a lifestyle choice that is socially acceptable. It is not…Their actions take resources from those who need them most.”. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/sep/19/lib-dem-nick-clegg-tax

[6] You can see the stories and join in at  http://www.38degrees.org.uk/protect-the-NHS

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