Archive | October 18th, 2010



October 18, 2010

by Johnny Punish

The Holy Land is Here in the USA where, We Americans, The True Chosen People Live!

Chosen People

Recently, there has been a wave of right wing U.S. Christian fundi leaders in the USA who continue to assert to our U.S. peoples that Jews are the “Chosen People” and that our $ 10 billion per year in money and contracts paid by our U.S. taxpayers to the Zionist State of Israel is just and right based on their hardlined religious beliefs.

I have thought long and hard about this assertion.

Then my kids tell me that the State of California is cutting their education with deep budget cuts, and my neighbor, a right wing Christian, tells me he’s losing his house because his wife’ job at the post office is being cut by 30 hours per week, and then my right wing Christian friend in Las Vegas tells me that he lost his job completely and is now part of the 15% unemployed in that city and soon will be part of that beaten group who’ve lost their homes to foreclosure.

Chosen People? What is going on here?

Why are we Americans paying for a tribe that lives half-way across the globe in a land that’s smaller than Rhode Island while our children and their future children get the screw job here at home? This makes no cents at all.

And what do we get for our investment in Israel? Um, err….the pleasure of knowing that we are funding the alleged chosen people? Are you kidding me? Who cares about these so-called “Chosen People”? Our people come first! Who made up this myth?

I mean, what kind of idiotic society must we be if we send our resources to a tribe that makes fun of us at the expense of our tribe. “Stupid” is the word that comes to mind…..

If the Jews wrote the old testament book back 8 trillion years ago calling themselves the chosen people, then be advised that I, the new American True Prophet of God, Johnny Punish, hereby declare in my new biblical book titled “Americans Come First: The True Chosen People” that;


Okay! How’s that followers! That’s right, we are the chosen people! Now, doesn’t that feel right to you! Believe me, it’s sane to put yourself and your tribe first. What is insane is to send our resources out to peoples that do NOT share our values, interests, or care one lick about the welfare of our children and families.

We are the USA. We are NOT Israel. Israel is NOT our country! Let’s get with this “We are the Chosen People” concept!

So if you are drinking the fundi zionist kool-aid, no worries, we have a cure outlined by me, your new prophet. It is very simple! Step outside your home, then;

Kiss the Holy Ground you Live on Because the USA is # 1, NOT Israel

As a US Citizen, you’re either Pro-USA or you’re not! Invest all of our monies at home for our interests!  In the USA, we are the Chosen People!  Period!

2010 Copyright – Johnny Punish




October 18, 2010

by Debbie Menon

Mr Obama’s most pressing concern is shoring up his Democratic Party’s vote at the congressional mid-term elections in early November.

By Jonathan Cook

A ghost haunted the meeting of the Arab League in Libya at the weekend, as its foreign ministers decided to give a little more time to the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Ghost of Camp David

That ghost was the Camp David talks of summer 2000, when US President Bill Clinton publicly held Yasser Arafat, the then-Palestinian leader, responsible for the breakdown of the negotiations, despite an earlier promise to blame neither side if they failed.

Mr Clinton’s finger-pointing breathed life into the accusation from Ehud Barak, Israel’s prime minister, that there was “no Palestinian partner for peace”; brought about the collapse of the Israeli peace movement, and ultimately sanctioned the decision of Mr Barak’s successor, Ariel Sharon, to invade the Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank.

A decade later, the Arab League ministers did not want to expose Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, to a similar charge from Barack Obama.

They therefore played the safest hand possible: they offered Washington another month’s breathing space to persuade Israel to renew a freeze on settlement building, while also supporting Mr Abbas’s decision to break off direct talks until the freeze was back in place.

The decision’s dual purpose was to throw the spotlight squarely back on Israel as the recalcitrant party, and allow the White House to continue to pretend the talks are still on track.

The league’s new deadline was chosen precisely to appease Washington. Mr Obama’s most pressing concern is shoring up his Democratic Party’s vote at the congressional mid-term elections in early November. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians want to be seen walking away from the president’s peace initiative before then.

Instead, the Palestinians and Israelis concentrated on the blame game, thereby highlighting the fact that both think the talks are doomed. The Camp David talks lasted two weeks before collapsing; these negotiations have been on life support since they began more than a month ago.

“The Israeli government was given the choice between peace and settlements, and it has chosen settlements,” the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said on 8 October.

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, spun events the other way, arguing implausibly that the Palestinians should have engaged more decisively in talks during the 10-month partial freeze on settlement growth, which expired two weeks ago. “The questions need to be directed to the Palestinians: why are you abandoning the talks?” Mr Netanyhau said on 7 October.

Rather than investing wasted energy in doomed talks, the two sides appear to be adopting the same alternative strategy: cutting a deal directly with Washington that circumvents the other party.

Palestinians’ US gamble

At the weekend it was reported that Mr Abbas had told Arab leaders he was considering asking the US president to recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state in the whole of the West Bank.

Mr Erekat told Reuters another option might be a request for a United Nations Security Council resolution calling on member states to “recognize the state of Palestine on the 1967 borders”.

In the past, Washington has greeted such Palestinian proposals unenthusiastically. But threats by Mr Abbas to resign if the Israeli settlement freeze is not renewed – leaving no obvious successor – are intended to add to the pressure on the White House.

Israel-US axis

Mr Netanyahu, meanwhile, is reported to be working on a counter-offensive he hopes will win Washington’s approval. Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, officially confirmed to the Washington Post last week that the Obama administration had offered Israel a range of generous diplomatic, security and financial “incentives” to secure a few months’ extension of the partial moratorium on settlement building.

Mr Netanyahu is reported to have turned down the offer but only, it appears, because he believes he can win a more valuable concession. His real aim, the Israeli media reported last week, is to persuade the White House to reaffirm a promise made in a 2004 letter from Mr Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, that Israel will not be required to withdraw to the pre-1967 borders in a peace deal.

Israeli officials understood that to mean the Americans would approve the annexation of the main settlements to Israel, allowing most of the half-million settlers to remain in place. The Obama administration has until now denied the pledge was ever made.

In exchange for Mr Obama’s endorsement of the promise, Mr Netanyahu might be willing to reimpose a short-term settlement freeze, arguing to his ministers that soon it would no longer apply to most of the settlements.

Ari Shavit, a columnist with Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper, argued last week that arm-twisting the White House to honour Mr Bush’s commitment was “a win-win formula” for Mr Netanyahu.

Either Washington would be committed to Israel’s key demands in the talks or “US credibility” would be damaged. “Instead of Netanyahu being the dissenter, Obama will be the dissenter,” he wrote.

Mr Netanyahu, however, is stuck unless he can overcome opposition to a deal on a settlement freeze within his own cabinet, led by Avigdor Lieberman, the far-right foreign minister.

According to senior officials in the Labour Party, ostensibly the most dovish of Mr Netanyahu’s coalition partners, that explains the timing of his move to placate Mr Lieberman by backing a loyalty oath for non-Jews applying for citizenship.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair“.




PRESS RELEASE                                  

FOR IMMEDIATE USE                                               Monday, 18th October 2010


STUART RICHARDSON (07771 567 496)

or TONY FOLEY (07845 969 959)


1)   Protest demonstration and rally against the expected proposed cuts to jobs, pensions and services (Comprehensive Spending Review).

             Date: Wednesday, 20th October 2010

             Time: 5.00 – 6.45 pm

Venue: Government Office for the West Midlands, 5 St Philips Place,                         Off Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2PW

Event: Protest demonstration and rally against the proposed cuts.

Speakers: Local trade union officials, the People’s Charter, Birmingham Trade Union Council, political representatives, community activists and pensioner representatives.

2)   One Day Conference: How to Fight the Cuts, A New Vision for Birmingham.

            Date: Saturday, 23rd October 2010

             Time: 10.00am – 4.00 pm (registration from 9.30am)

Venue: Birmingham Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham B1 1BB

Event: An all-day conference on how to fight the cuts and present a new vision for a better Birmingham for its people.


Tony Benn (ex Labour M.P. and founder of the Coalition of Resistance)


John Hendy Q.C. (Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers)

Chris Baugh (Asst. Gen. Sec. PCS union)

Jack Dromey M.P. (Birmingham, Erdington)

Romayne Phoenix (Green Party)

And local representatives of struggles against the cuts

Notes for Editor:

These two events are being promoted by the Birmingham People’s Charter, Birmingham Trades Union Council and are supported by other interested bodies. The People’s Charter consists of people who are against the proposed cuts promised by the Con-Dem coalition government. The People’s Charter is supported by the T.U.C. and many leading trade unionists. Visit the People’s Charter website for our demand and full text: www.the   

Cuts in jobs and services will make our city worse to live in and will further destroy the local economy. There is no need for any cuts; instead we demand progressive taxes without loopholes or tax havens. We must own and control the main banks that the ordinary working people have had to bail out.

The protest demonstration on Wednesday is held on the day of the announcement of the Comprehensive Spending Review when massive cuts in jobs, services and pensions are expected to be announced. These cuts will affect the poor, women, pensioners and youth the most. This demonstration will build upon the protest attended by many hundreds in the city on Budget Day last June.

The all-day conference on Saturday in the Council House will consist of two parts; in the morning there will be speeches and workshops focused on how to fight the cuts, whilst the afternoon will be devoted to workshops and speeches to envisage a Birmingham with better jobs, services, housing, transport and community facilities.

Tony Benn was for many years a Labour Party M.P., and minister, and is a founder of the Coalition of Resistance. CoR is a broad united national campaign against cuts and privatisation in our workplaces, community and welfare services, and is based on the general agreement with the founding statement issued by Tony Benn in August 2010. It is linked to no particular political party, but is committed to openly working, in a non-sectarian way, with all organisations seeking to co-ordinate resistance; and is dedicated to supplementing, rather than supplanting, trade union, student, pensioner and community opposition to austerity measures. Visit the website for more information: 


 STUART RICHARDSON (07771 567 496)

or TONY FOLEY (07845 969 959)



Posted in UKComments Off on SAY NO TOSERVICE CUTS




Palestinian child abuse

Oct 17, 2010


For me, the most spectacular thing about Zionist hasbara has been how they’ve managed to convince most Americans that Palestinian parents “don’t care about their children,” “send them out to blow themselves up,”  and “celebrate the martyrdom of their children.”  They’ve even created a word for any expression of emotion that Palestinians express: “Pallywood Production.”  This hatred that Palestinian parents supposedly have for their children is quite effective propaganda actually.  It plays a large role in most Americans justifying or ignoring the slaughter of Palestinians with their tax dollars.  You see, if Palestinian parents hate their children, then they aren’t really human and if they aren’t really human, then it’s OK to kill them. When the media began covering the Gaza zoo, which is the only to boast of a zebra which is actually a donkey with stripes painted on, everyone thought it was such a funny story.  I didn’t, it was a very emotional one for me. To see the parents banding together to bring some happiness to their children’s lives, an attempt to normalize something amid the inhumane siege on Gaza.

In fact nothing that Palestinian parents are accused of doing can compare with the systematic abuse of Palestinian children by Israelis. Tens of thousands of Palestinian children are deprived of an education in Gaza because of Israeli policies. In the West Bank countless roadblocks, literally, prevent children from normal access to education.  Soldiers routinely invade Palestinian schools in the West Bank and drag children out of their classes and into a horrific web of administrative detention that can drag on for months and years.  And when idle minds turn to militancy and rocks, Palestinian parents are accused of not loving their children.

According to the Defense of Children International (DCI), the Israelis are accelerating the rate at which they arrest young children.  Young Palestinian children, held by an illegal military regime.  The report also says:

The [DCI] said, based on the testimonies of some children who were released from detention, Israeli police treated minors poorly and physically and morally tortured them to force out confessions. The use of violence when arresting children in front of their families with the use of beatings and intimidation with dogs could be a blatant expression to perpetuate the use of violence against children, the [DCI] noted. The [DCI] also highlighted recent decisions issued by Israeli courts sentencing children to be expelled from their homes.

That wasn’t the only news I came across today which highlights the systematic abuse of Palestinian children by Israelis. 

A 12 year old boy was taken into custody this morning after he was identified in a video in which he was struck down by a settler’s car.  The settler has not been arrested

Palestine, I hear you

Oct 17, 2010

Lillian Rosengarten 

Palestine! You call to me with whispers of pain.

You speak of lost poets, children who cry for lost parents, lost teachers

lost childhoods, dreams torn from their roots, mangled in a desert gone dry.

In this place, water is poisoned, air putrid from the blood belly of war

There is no escape, only sleep ravished by nightmares or death

I want to hear your poetry

and tell you mine.

I want to look into your eyes and see myself in you.

Down! Down beneath the graves I hear your cries

Muffled in a shroud of deception. You don’t exist. 

Israel, you are no longer my Israel.

You punish those you call Arabs, dirty Arabs.

Sad peoples of Palestine spit on and defiled, kept behind a wall.

Oh ghetto of Israel I ache for the reviled proud Palestinians, our brothers and sisters.

But most of all I ache for you, for you know not what you do.


British director Mike Leigh cancels trip to Israel on account of loyalty oath

Oct 17, 2010


and other news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers / Land, property & resource theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing

IOA renews building in Revava settlement
SALFIT, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) resumed construction in Revava settlement established on land of the Hares and Deir Estiyya villages north of Salfit district on Sunday. Eyewitnesses said that bulldozers were digging land in the southern sector of the settlement in preparation for establishing new housing units.

Demolition orders issued to Hebron community
Israeli authorities delivered demolition orders to a community in the Hebron district on Saturday, a land research center said. The An-Nawaj’ah family was ordered to remove tents in Wadi Ijheish south of Yatta. A family of 20, including 10 children, live in the tents. The family was also ordered to destroy troughs for livestock south of Susiya village, the center said, adding that 10 structures were slated for demolition in total, all of which were vital to the community’s survival. The center said Israeli authorities were carrying out arbitrary demolitions to force Palestinians to leave their land, which would be requisitioned to build illegal settlements.

Hebron: Settlers begin work on new road
Israeli settlers began construction on a new road Sunday on Palestinian farmland in the Al-Buweira village in the southern West Bank district of Hebron. Bulldozers were seen digging up land near the Kiryat Arba and Kharisna settlements in the district to make way for a road between the latter settlement and a nearby hill, Ma’an’s correspondent said. The hill was recently taken over by settlers and planted with trees following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to establish gardens near each settlement …

Israeli settler sewage floods Beit Ommar land
Palestine Solidarity Project — 17 Oct – (with video) Thousands of liters of raw sewage from the illegal Gush Etzion settlement flooded over 50 dunams of Palestinian farmland in the village of Beit Ommar last night. The sewage was pumped from a storage unit inside the settlement onto the land of the Sabarna family, flooding trees and submerging a bulldozer. As of 10 AM the water is still flooding. Today marks the fourth time this year that the settlement has dumped waste water onto the Sabarna’s land. The settlement emptied sewage onto their land in March, April and June, destroying the crops and costing the farmers thousands of shekels in lost income.

Israel settlers start fires amid West Bank harvest (AFP)
FARATA’A, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – Thick black smoke billows from the olive grove under the gaze of Israeli soldiers as Palestinian farmers use branches to try to beat out the fires lit by Jewish settlers. It’s olive harvest time in the occupied West Bank. The firebombers swooped down from Havat Gilad, a wildcat Jewish settlement unauthorised even by the Israeli government. Encircled by barbed wire, the makeshift dwellings glower down on the surrounding Palestinian olive plantations from a hilltop in the northern West Bank.



PM’s office: Construction plans in East Jerusalem are nothing new
The Prime Minister’s Office responded Saturday to the criticism by the United States and France regarding Israel’s plans to build 238 new housing units in East Jerusalem, saying that announcements on renewal of construction in Jerusalem are nothing new … Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office also noted that even though the White House did not approve of the plans for further settlement construction, opposition to the settlements has been a U.S. policy for 40 years already.

Officials say new housing units to remain in Israeli hands (AP)
Israeli officials responded to condemnation over the issuing of building bids for 240 housing units in the east Jerusalem neighborhoods of Pisgat Ze’ev and Ramot. The officials said the new construction was confined to neighborhoods that would remain in Israeli hands in any proposed peace plan and in no way contradicted Israel’s goal of reaching peace with the Palestinians.,7340,L-3970235,00.html

Ministers unfazed by global condemnation
“The issued statements of condemnation were not serious,” said a senior minister. “What counts is what the Americans say. Those who remember what happened with Joe Biden understand that what they said was not a condemnation. All they are saying is that they’re disappointed. The Olmert government sometimes faced condemnations which were much more serious.”,7340,L-3970215,00.html

Activism / Solidarity

Residents gather to stop removal of Silwan sit-in tent
Palestinian residents of Silwan gathered Sunday to stop the dismantling of a sit-in tent by Israeli authorities. Israeli police delivered a removal order to Na’im Ruweidi, upon whose roof the tent is located. Ruweidi said Israeli intelligence summoned him two days ago, and threatened to deport him and his family from Jerusalem and to demolish his home if the tent was not taken down.

Army shuts down Beit Ummar rally
Israeli forces used tear gas and sound grenades to shut down a peaceful rally in Beit Ummar near Hebron on Saturday, protest organizers said …
The PSP official added that on Saturday an Israeli military court sentenced Iyad Jamil Al-Alami, 24, to six months imprisonment. Al-Alami is a member of the local committee against the wall, and was detained on Monday.

Settlers attack Burin olive farmers
Oct 16, by Evie — Today farmers in Burin, a village located south of Nablus, were forced to abandon their olive harvesting when about one hundred settlers came down to their fields. The settlers came from the illegal settlement of Bracha, Yitzhar and from the outpost located on another hilltop. Villagers reported that the settlers threw rocks and shot slingshots, aiming to hit the farming families and children. One farmer was hit by a rock that caused a bleeding injury. The settlers also verbally harassed the Palestinians, shouting statements such as “This is not your land, go to Jordan” or insults to the Prophet Mohammed

3 settlers suspected of hurling stones at Palestinian village
The Israel Defense Forces arrested three settlers on Saturday afternoon on suspicion of hurling stones at the West Bank village of Burin. The three were making their way to an illegal outpost in the area along with some 20 other settlers. They began throwing the stones after being spotted by soldiers.,7340,L-3970142,00.html

Video: Hebron/Al-Khalil protest 16 Oct 2010
Peaceful march in Al-Khalil demanding the opening of Shuhada street

Peaceful Al-Ma`asara demonstration attacked with tear gas and concussion grenades
(with video) 15 Oct

Gaza-bound aid convoy arrives in Algeria
An international humanitarian aid convoy headed to the Gaza Strip arrived in Algeria Saturday afternoon, the official news agency APS reported. The convoy, including 29 vehicles and 67 people, the convoy carried supplies including textbooks, clothes, winter blankets, medicines and mobile hospitals, said Mohamed El Haddad, a British member of Libyan origin.

Convoy departure delayed
Sunday — The Gaza aid convoy, with 40 survivors from the Mavi Marmara massacre, has been delayed departing Latakia, Syria for Gaza. Last minute complications over entry requirements by the Egyptian authorities are responsible for the postponement. Convoy organisers are confident these problems will be quickly resolved and the convoy will be on its way tomorrow morning (Monday).

British director Mike Leigh cancels Israel trip to protest loyalty oath
Leigh, who last visited Israel in 1990 and has since stayed away to protest Israeli policy, was meant to arrive on November 20 for one week as guest of the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School in Jerusalem


2 killed in Israeli airstrike on Gaza
Sunday – A Palestinian succumbed to his wounds sustained Sunday morning during an Israeli airstrike northwest of Gaza City, bringing the death toll up to two. A medical source identified the second Palestinian killed in the bombings as 22-year-old Muhammad Hisham Zaqout. Earlier, Gaza medical services spokesman Adham Abu Silmiyya said Mahmoud Jabir Washah, 21, was killed when Israel’s air force struck the As-Sudaniyya neighborhood near Gaza City. The Israeli army said the strike targeted “a squad of terror operatives who were preparing to fire rockets from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel,” a statement read.

I am still looking for the head of my son
By Anne Paq/ — The “buffer zone”, the “no-go zone”, the no man’s land, whatever you call it, is a scary and devastated place. It is also deadly for the few ones who still dare to go there … On 13 September 2010, 91-year-old Ibrahim Abu Sayed, together with his 17-year-old grandson, Hossam and the young boy’s friend and neighbour 16-year-old Ismail Abu Oda, went to Ibrahim’s lot of land, with their cattle. The day was expected to be nice. They prepared for barbecue and tea but it turned into a nightmare.

Urgent appeal – Children of the Gravel
Defence for Children International – Palestine Section. Update: 16 October 2010
Between 22 May and 14 October 2010, DCI-Palestine documented 12 cases of children shot whilst collecting building gravel near the border fence between Gaza Strip and Israel. Due to a severe lack of job opportunities and a shortage of construction material entering Gaza from Israel, hundreds of men and boys scavenge for building gravel amongst the destroyed buildings close to the border fence … In the cases documented by DCI-Palestine, the children report being shot whilst working between 50 to 800 metres from the border fence.

Siege / Restriction of movement / Human rights / Humanitarian issues

17,000 cross Allenby Bridge
JERICHO (Ma’an) — Palestinian Authority police said Saturday that almost 17,000 travelers crossed the Allenby Bridge between the West Bank and Jordan during the week. A police report added that 11 Palestinians “wanted for various criminal acts” were apprehended at the border crossing, and would be transferred to prosecution to commence legal proceedings. Israeli forces also barred 47 Palestinians from traveling, citing security concerns.

Over 1,600 return to Gaza via Rafah
The Gaza Crossings Administration said 1673 Palestinians stranded on the Egyptian side of the crossing were permitted entry into Gaza. Most of them were patients who had received treatment in Egyptian hospitals, a statement said. Meanwhile, 1,613 individuals traveled through the crossing into Egypt over the week, while 378 were denied passage by Egyptian authorities.

Israel opens one Gaza crossing
Israeli authorities said they would partially open one crossing into Gaza for the limited delivery of food and fuel on Sunday, a Palestinian liaison official said.


Arab youth accused of hurling stone at Jewish leader
Muhammad Sharaf, 21, of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, was indicted at the Jerusalem District Court for hurling stones and smashing the windowpanes of a car belonging to David Be’eri, chairman of the Elad association engaged in the “Judaization” of east Jerusalem. According to the State Prosecutor’s Office, about 10 days ago Sharaf threw stones at Be’eri with the intention of hurting him and putting him in danger.,7340,L-3970386,00.html

Second child seen struck down by settler detained
Israeli police detained a 12-year-old boy on Sunday who was seen on video being struck down by an Israeli settler organization leader in the flashpoint East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on 8 October. Omran Muhammad Mansour was taken to the Russian compound detention center in Jerusalem for questioning and was not allowed to be accompanied by his parents, Ma’an’s correspondent said. Mansour was one of the two children seen being hit by Elad leader David Be’eri with his car as they threw stones at him during protests in the neighborhood during weeks of unrest following the killing of a Palestinian resident by an Israeli settler guard on 22 September.

Kids run over by settler leader questioned
Police detain two of children caught on tape hurling stones at car of David Be’eri before being run over. Silwan man who threw stones in same incident indicted … The father of Amran Mansour, 12.5, told Ynet that police officers had arrived at his home at 5:30 am … “They told us to prepare 2,000 shekels (about $560), apparently because he is supposed to be released on bail,” he said … The child’s lawyer, Mahmoud Muhammad, complained to the court about the arrest. “He was taken to the station illegally. This is serious injustice – instead of prosecuting the hitting driver, the police arrest this young boy.”,7340,L-3970397,00.html

Former Umm Al-Fahm mayor gets suspended sentence for attacking police officer
Dr. Suleiman Aghbaria fought with police at a demonstration in Jerusalem’s old city in 2007 with Sheikh Raed Salah, who is serving jail time for a similar offense … There was a demonstration against construction work being done at the Mughrabi Gate in February 2007, and the demonstrators, Islamic movement members and residents of Jerusalem, fought with police. After the incident, Salah and Aghbaria were investigated and it was decided to hand down indictments.

IOA refuses to allow medical specialists to visit prisoners in Ramla hospital
WEST BANK, (PIC) — The Palestinian prisoner committee said that the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) refused to allow a specialized medical committee to visit the Palestinian patients under detention in the Ramla prison hospital and held it fully responsible for their lives … It explained that the hospital administration stopped the natural therapy which the prison doctors prescribed for prisoner Suleiman Abu Drie, who lost the ability to move because of the medical neglect, adding that his medical condition is getting worse and the prison administration still refuses to allow him to undergo necessary medical tests to determine the causes of his illness….

Israel’s Arab helpers

Egypt denies entry to 17 activists on board Lifeline 5 convoy to Gaza
LATAKIA, (PIC)– The Egyptian Embassy in Syria notified Lifeline 5 operators that it will not allow 17 of the activists on board to enter the Gaza Strip, exclusive PIC sources said, underlining that the banned persons’ list includes most of the convoy’s leadership. Lifeline spokesman Zahir Beirawi said Egyptian officials did not provide a reason for the decision, but said: “Egypt is a sovereign state and provides permission to whom we please to enter the country.”

Hamas exposes 38-year collaborator
Thirty-eight years at the service of Israeli intelligence? Hamas’ interior minister, Fathi Hamad, announced Sunday that the Gaza government’s security organizations have uncovered a 56-year-old Palestinian who was operated by Israel since 1972. The minister failed to add any additional details on the man’s identity or how he was exposed, but noted that the Strip’s security organizations were about to complete “the most comprehensive and successful campaign against the Israeli intelligence and its accomplices in the Gaza Strip.,7340,L-3970746,00.html

War crimes

Israeli inquiry issues calls for witnesses in Gaza flotilla probe
An Israeli commission investigating the storming of a Gaza-bound ship in which nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists were killed issued an open invitation on Sunday for passengers and crew to testify … “We are aware that there are issues which arise regarding arranging such testimony, and would be happy to work with the embassy and with the Turkish authorities … to overcome any such obstacles,” the spokesman quoted the letter as saying. The panel appeared to be alluding to Israel’s past vows to prosecute some of the hundreds of activists aboard the Mavi Marmara

Political developments

Paris peace summit postponed (Reuters)
Sarkozy’s invitation to Netanyahu and Abbas to hold direct talks in France will not be taken up in late October as originally planned due to Israeli-Palestinian disagreement over settlement construction.

Jordan’s Abdullah: EU should help restart stalled Mideast peace talks
Jordan’s king Abdullah II on Sunday reiterated his belief that the European Union should help get the Middle East peace process back on track as he met with Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, a royal court statement said.

PLO: No talks while settlements continue
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The PLO’s Executive Committee reiterated Saturday its refusal to resume negotiations with Israeli leaders while settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories continues …Ahead of the PLO meeting, Fatah Central Committee member Mohammed Shtayyeh said the Executive Committee would discuss alternatives to continuing peace talks, including asking the UN Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state, a proposal discussed by the Arab League. US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters at a daily press briefing that he could not say how the US would vote at a UN referendum on the establishment of a Palestinian state, adding that the US would “continue to promote direct negotiations as the best way to resolve the conflict.”

Elders: Do not exclude Hamas from peace process
Head of the Elders delegation visiting the Gaza Strip said Saturday evening that the international community should not exclude Hamas from the peace process. Former president of Ireland Mary Robinson told reporters in Gaza City that the Islamist movement should be involved in regional talks “because the movement actually controls the Gaza Strip and they were elected.” … Commenting on the devastation caused by Israel’s winter assault last year, Robinson said “It is unbelievable after the destructive war on Gaza that people and international organizations are unable to carry out reconstructions and that UN schools fail to house 40,000 students because the UNRWA isn’t able to rebuild damaged schools.”

Thousands march in Tel Aviv against loyalty oath bill
Hadash MK Dov Khenin warns concept of a population transfer of Israel’s Arab citizens has turned from a nightmare into an operational plan … Thousands marched in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening in a joint Jewish-Arab protest against the cabinet’s approval of a controversial amendment to the citizenship bill, requiring non-Jews seeking citizenship to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. The demonstrators marched carrying signs reading “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies” and “Together we will protect the democratic space”. Among the organizers of the protests were Hadash, Meretz, The Green Movement, and Gush Shalom parties and many social and human rights organizations.

What American Jews want
Results of a recent American Jewish Committee survey regarding American Jews’ opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the U.S. government leave little room for doubt: 95% of respondents felt the demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state in a final status agreement is justified. Over three-quarters of those surveyed believe the Arabs’ real objective is not the restoration of occupied territories, but rather the destruction of Israel.

Palestinian factions meet in Gaza City
Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah, met in Gaza City on Saturday to discuss the rise in extremist Israeli policies, Palestinian People’s Party member Walid Al-Awad said.

Gaza factions slam Abed Rabbo comments
Palestinian factions convening in Gaza City on Saturday denounced comments made by PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo on recognizing Israel as a Jewish state if the US were to present a map of the Palestinian state on 1967 borders …  On Wednesday, Abed Rabbo denied speaking with Israeli daily Haaretz where he reportedly said “any formulation” presented by the US would be agreed to so long as the Palestinian state was established on 1967 borders.

Israel woos Greece after rift with Turkey (BBC)
Earlier this week the Israeli Air Force completed a series of exercises with its Greek counterpart – a sign of the growing links between the two countries. But more than this, it is an indication of the changing political geography of the eastern Mediterranean.

PM: Lebanon becoming Iranian satellite
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers held a special cabinet meeting at Kibbutz Degania Sunday, in honor of its centennial year. Netanyahu addresses Iranian president’s recent visit to Lebanon, says ‘we will know how to defend ourselves.’ Shalit supporters stage protest rally across from meeting,7340,L-3970491,00.html

Other news

Vietnam and Yom Kippur wars were closely connected, newly released US documents reveal
Secret documents contain Henry Kissinger’s conversations with Golda Meir and former South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu.

Three Palestinians die in freak West Bank olive press accident
Three Palestinians in the West Bank drowned in a well full of olive mulch on Thursday after a boy fell into the pit and two men dived in to save him. The freak accident at a village near Tul Karm occurred just a few days into the West Bank olive harvest season, where risks of injury are usually linked to clashes with Israeli settlers over access to olive groves.

Analysis / Opinion / Human interest

When the cat is away the mice will play / Adam Keller
How long until the U.S. elections? Three weeks? Quick, quick, how much more can we achieve in three weeks? Hurry, after the election Obama will come back in force, what we don’t achieve now will never get done, quick, quick …

Show us all the map! / Alan Hart
Better late than never, a very senior Palestinian official in Ramallah, Yasser Abed Rabbo, found the right way to challenge Israel and the U.S. As reported by AFP on 13 October, he said, “We officially demand that the US administration and the Israeli government provide a map of the borders of the state of Israel which they want us to recognise.” That’s a completely logical and totally reasonable demand …So there will be no map. (I mean not one that could come even close to satisfying the Palestinian demand and need). Yasser Abed Rabbo knew that when he put the demand into words. So what was the point of his challenge? I presume he was hoping that Israel’s refusal to come up with a map based on more or less pre-June 1967 borders will help to convince more and more people, Americans especially, that Israel simply is not interested in peace on terms virtually all Palestinians and most other Arabs and Muslims everywhere could accept,

A city of Arabs and Jews is being pulled apart by the government’s attitude (The Economist)
Palestinian Pundit: “Some reservations about the article. But it is as good as mainstream journalism can get” — Not long ago, Lod, an Israeli city near the commercial hub of Tel Aviv, was a sleepy backwater. Its 20,000 Arabs among 45,000 Jews peppered their Arabic with Hebraisms, voted for Jewish parties, and described themselves as Israeli. The Arab population, drastically reduced in the 1948 war that marked Israel’s birth, has revived, exceeding its previous total. But the calm has been disturbed. This month Israel’s leaders have taken their demand that the world — and the Palestinians — should recognise their state as specifically Jewish in exchange for a renewed freeze on building Jewish settlements in the West Bank, to Lod. Cabinet members have proposed “strengthening” the city’s population by bringing in more Jews and have approved a wider bill requiring new citizens to swear a loyalty oath accepting Israel as Jewish and democratic — in that order. Other measures are aimed at Israel’s Arabs, including a ban on teaching the Palestinian narrative that Israel expelled most of its Arabs in the war of independence.

The mistake / Steve Feldman
What happened that caused hundreds of thousands of Palestinian people to become refugees from their homes and villages?  Some people say that the Palestinians’ problems derived from a bad strategic decision, a mistake, made by Arab countries in 1948 not to accept Israel.  That wasn’t the mistake that caused Palestinians to become refugees … Based on the Jewish morals taught at my Hebrew school, the underlying mistake goes back further, back to the idea that an exclusive Jewish State could be created in a land where Christian and Muslim families were already living.  Jewish Palestinians had been living in Palestine for centuries, peacefully alongside Christian and Muslims Palestinians.

The non-Jewish immigrant loyalty oath / Gary Leupp
…I think there are two issues worth exploring. One is the demographic issue much on Netanyahu’s mind. Over 20% of all Israeli citizens are Arabs and about 5% other non-Jews such as Armenians, Circassians, Assyrians etc., or non-Jewish spouses and other family members of Jews who’ve acquired Israeli citizenship. As of 2008 only 75.5% of Israelis were Jewish … The second issue is the question of what it means to be a Jew, entitled automatically to inclusion in a specifically Jewish state. Jewishness (as opposed to Judaism) is a complicated category.

Settler rabbi celebrates murder of Palestinians / Richard Silverstein
You may remember during the 1991 Iraq war that Saddam launched several SCUDs which hit Tel Aviv and killed an Israeli.  There was dancing on the rooftops in the West Bank.  Israelis were aghast and used that for years as an indignant proof of the brutishness of the Palestinian national movement.  Now picture this, Palestinian militants murder four Jewish settlers from the most extremist of all settler groups.  In the ensuing days, the IDF hunts down those it alleges to have planned and executed the attack and mows them down, in at least one instance killing a sleeping man in his bed.  No proof ever offered.  None needed.  No trial, of course because this is justice-IDF style. The result: a Simchat Torah style settler celebration of cold-blooded murder replete with dancing, joy, smiles, abundant feasting, etc.

An excuse named Ahmadinejad / Zvi Bar’el
Lebanon, that little country that has no intrinsic strategic significance, is serving well as the region’s boxing ring … “How do you feel with Ahmadinejad so nearby?” a farmer from Moshav Avivim, on the Lebanese border, was asked, as if an actual Iranian nuclear bomb had been laid right next to the border.

For Israeli Arab musicians, apolitical is not an option
Dismissed in Israel, rejected abroad, Arab musicians find themselves torn between the passion to succeed, national identity, and their status in the Arab world … Hip hop is the main musical genre in which Israeli Arabs have been able to break through. One of the pioneers of Arab Hip hop in Israel the rap Group DAM. One of the most politically outspoken groups in Israel, DAM’s criticism of Israeli policy has contributed immensely to their popularity in the Arab world, paving the way for other Arab Hip hop artists in Israel.

Palestinians earn a living making Jewish skullcaps
Under the shade of a leafy vine in the occupied West Bank village of Lobban al-Gharbia, three Palestinian women are sitting, knitting and nattering … These three Palestinian Muslim women are making one of the most obvious symbols of Jewishness and Judaism – the kippa.

Iraq, other Mideast

Saturday: 2 Iraqis killed, 11 wounded
At least two Iraqis were killed and 11 more were wounded in light violence. Meanwhile, unapologetic Iraqi officials seem recklessly nonchalant about the increasing defections of Sunni Awakening Council members back to al-Qaeda groups. Also, Iraqiya leader, Ayad Allawi, continues to warn the West of Iran’s meddling in Iraq.

Ancient way of life threatened
Elders of the Ma’dan tribes – otherwise known as Marsh Arabs – of Iraq’s southern Basra province insist they won’t relocate or alter their millennia-old way of life even as plans proceed to industrialise their oil-rich ancestral wetlands.

12 killed in Iraq goldshop robbery (Reuters)
BAGHDAD, Oct 17 – At least 12 people died when gunmen swooped on a row of goldsmiths’ shops in a brazen robbery in the Iraqi capital on Sunday and ended up in a gunfight with security forces, police and military sources said.

Lebanon media: Massive explosives hoard found in country’s south
Lebanon’s National News Agency says construction workers discover 300kg stockpile dating from 2006 Second Lebanon war.

Ahmadinejad endorses new nuclear talks with West
Iranian President warns talks with Iran would not make progress unless West clarifies its stance over Israel’s alleged nuclear arsenal.

Egypt: Another dawn and another bout of MB arrests
As dawn breaks Egypt ‘s M[uslim] B[rotherhood] faced further crackdowns as security forces raided and ransacked the houses of 3 MB leaders in Sharqiya and four in Qalyubiya. The aggressive clampdown indicates the regime’s inability to face honest and honourable competition.

Deadly attack hits Yemen convoy
Armed men ambush troops in the south of the country, where al-Qaeda and and separatists are battling the government.

Selma Al-Radi, restored historic madrasa, dies at 71
The Amiriya Madrasa, erected in 1504 … was then and is now again one of the great treasures of Islamic art and architecture. That the Amiriya today stands resplendent after five centuries of neglect is due almost entirely to the efforts of one woman, the Iraqi-born archaeologist [Dr] Selma Al-Radi. [See video of the madrasa and its restoration]

Obituary: Marzieh, 86
Marzieh, a celebrated interpreter of traditional Persian music whose career in her native Iran was silenced by the clerical dictatorship and who in exile became a sharp voice of political dissent, died of cancer Oct. 13 at a hospital in Paris … Her career was effectively scotched after the shah was overthrown in 1979 and mullahs established a hardline government. Solo female voices were prohibited from the radio.

Afghanistan / Pakistan

Afghan-Taliban talks focus on site, safe passage for negotiations
…In an interview Friday evening, Burhanuddin Rabbani, the former Afghan president chosen to chair the committee to foster peace talks, said a government official had told him the Taliban representatives offered to provide security if the talks were to be on their turf – presumably Pakistan – and asked for security if meetings were in Kabul or a third country.

21 killed in Pakistan attacks amid vote in country’s largest city (AP)
Gunmen have killed at least 21 people in Karachi in the past 24 hours, raising tensions in Pakistan’s largest city as voters cast ballots Sunday for a replacement for a provincial lawmaker murdered in August.

CNN Poll: What the numbers say about progress in Afghanistan
Washington (CNN) – American support for the war in Afghanistan has never been lower, according to the latest CNN polling. The latest poll from CNN and Opinion Research Corporation found only 37% of all Americans favor the war, 52% say the war in Afghanistan has turned into a Vietnam.

Latest Afghanistan operation called ‘success’, but no press witnessed it
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — A major military operation involving hundreds of American troops, U.S. Special Forces and heavy bombers dropping 2,000-pound bombs on Taliban command and control centers wrapped up last week, concluding a critical phase in the campaign to oust the Taliban from Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province. But no journalists were there to witness the operation. U.S. military officials told journalists who had arrived to Kandahar Airfield for embeds in the Arghandab district between Oct. 1 and Oct. 15 that logistical problems had caused their embeds to be cancelled.
Afghanistan world capital of disfiguring skin disease (AP)
An outbreak of a tropical disease caused by sand fly bites that leaves disfiguring skin sores has hit Afghanistan, with tens of thousands of people infected, health officials said Friday. Cutaneous leishmanisis is a parasitic disease transmitted by the female phlebotomine sand fly … Most victims are women and children.

U.S., other world news

New hearing set for Sami Al-Arian / Stephen Lendman
Though free on bail, Al-Arian remains politically imprisoned like many hundreds of others behind bars. Because of his faith, ethnicity, prominence and political activism, he was accused of supporting ‘terrorism’ and other outrageous charges. In fact, he’s a Palestinian refugee, a distinguished professor, scholar, community leader, and civil activist, a man deserving honor, not incarceration doing hard time until released after five and half years of brutal treatment, including solitary confinement in rat and roach-infested cells.

US: End military commission trial of former child soldier (HRW)
(New York) – The US government should stop the Guantanamo military commission trial of Omar Khadr, a former child soldier captured when he was 15, Human Rights Watch said today. According to news reports …  “Omar Khadr was picked up at age 15 and has now spent a third of his life at Guantanamo,” said Andrea Prasow, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch.

Ex-Guantanamo inmate in book probe
Australia’s government to consider lawsuit against former detainee David Hicks over possible profit from his new book. In his book “Guantanamo: My Journey”, which was released in Australia on Saturday, he writes that he only admitted to a charge of providing material support to al-Qaeda to escape Guantanamo

Al-Hamdulillah – ‘Judaic Studies’ at Univ at Albany to host the great Amira Hass next month
Objective journalism? Telling the truth about the occupation – a lecture by AMIRA HASS

‘We’ve found peace in this land’
Like the pioneer families in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books, Iraqi refugees Naef and Suad and their seven children spent their initial winter on the Great Plains huddled indoors, suffering from shock and cabin fever. “The first time we saw snow, we were so excited, and the kids went outside and played,” their father recalls. “But after that we felt like prisoners in our own home. There was so much ice, we only went to the store once a week.”

School system to get Muslim holiday
As a Muslim and a high school senior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 17-year-old Dunia Kassay faces a tough choice every year on Islamic holy days: go to school or stay home to be with family and friends … In a move that school officials believe is the first of its kind in the state [Massachusetts], Cambridge will close schools for one Muslim holiday each year beginning in the 2011-2012 school year .

Florida pastor gets car for canceling Qur’an burning (AP)
SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. | Car dealer Brad Benson made the pitch to Florida pastor Terry Jones in one of his quirky radio ads: If you don’t burn a Qu’ran, I’ll give you a new car. He was surprised, though, when a representative for Jones called to collect the 2011 Hyundai Accent, retailing for $14,200.

Trainwreck in Boston: Dershowitz calls a Palestinian novelist a bigot and a Holocaust-denier

Oct 17, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Here is further evidence that the collapse of the two-state solution is creating despair and anxiety inside the Israel lobby: Alan Dershowitz going ballistic as a young Palestinian novelist with whom he is sharing a stage calls for one democratic state in Israel and Palestine.

At the Boston Book Festival yesterday, the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston (to its credit) sponsored a panel featuring Dershowitz and Palestinian novelist Susan Abulhawa, a daughter of 1967 refugees. The panel becomes excruciating in a hurry. Abulhawa is cool; in fact Dershowitz rails at her once for maintaining such a “calm” demeanor. And meantime he goes a little haywire, calling Abulhawa a liar, an “extremist,” a “zealot,” a “bigot” and a Holocaust denier– all because she insists on Palestinian political freedom in a secular state, and calls for boycott to get there. 

I don’t think Dershowitz ever uses Abulhawa’s name. She is “this woman.” You can watch it here at Pulse. At the end Abulhawa says that Dershowitz’s conduct is “unseemly.. and unbecoming of a Harvard professor.”

Some snips from Dershowitz:

“You are extremist, you are a zealot… She is an extremist and a barrier to peace….

“Listen to that nonsense… There’s only one person on this stage who rejects the two state solution and that is this woman… I will not sit silently in the face of this bigotry….

“For her there is no Holocaust.”

To someone demanding an answer in the audience: “Hey buddy– you don’t like my answer but I gave you an answer!”

Turning a literary event into a political event, and a call for boycott, was all her responsibility. “Shame on you!”

Repeatedly likening Palestinian nationalists to Nazis, Dershowitz says: “The only way the occupation is going to end is the way that the occupation of Germany ended, the way that the occupation of Japan ended…”

Abulhawa: Supporters of BDS “are not bigots.”

Dershowitz: “Yes they are. Anyone who calls for boycott or divestment against Israel and doesn’t say a word about Darfur or Rwanda is a bigot!”

And notice this contradiction in Dershowitz’s statements:

43:50 or so: “Israel is the most secular country in the Middle East… Nobody has ever said Israel is a Jewish nation, it is the nation of the Jewish people in the same way that France is the nation of the French people…”

46:00: “If you think that Israel is going to commit politicide, is going to give up its right to be a Jewish nation, you’re living in an unreal world.”

P.S. Robin Yassin-Kassab reviewed Abulhawa’s book here.

Why didn’t Dershowitz give up his American citizenship?

Oct 17, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Tell me if I’m wrong, but Dershowitz seems to get defensive on the dual-loyalty front at the beginning of this conversation with Eliot Spitzer on CNN. He confirms the rumor that Netanyahu “urged” him to be Israel’s UN ambassador, and says he “would have loved to do it” (and namedrops that it would have put him in the company of Einstein as an American proxy for Israel), but says he had to turn Netanyahu down because it would have raised dual loyalty issues, if the American interest and the Israeli interest conflicted.

A little too emphatically, he says: “Reluctantly I had to turn it down, because as an American I couldn’t be perceived, because it isn’t true, as having dual loyalty.”

I find the spiel amusing for a couple reasons. First, it would be nice to know if Dershowitz has ever seen the two countries’ interests diverging in the last 50 years. I bet not. So where’s the conflict? Then, too, Dersh points out that Michael Oren gave up his American citizenship to become Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. If he’d love to be Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., and was only afraid of the dual loyalty charge, why did Dershowitz turn Netanyahu down? Why didn’t he do like Oren and give up his U.S. citizenship?

I think the answer is twofold: Dershowitz likes being American, wouldn’t want to live in Israel, like so much of the rest of the Israel lobby; and secondly, he feels he’s more effective as Israel’s ambassador sans portfolio.

Gosh, another American writing for a liberal magazine says lowering ‘Arab’ birthrate inside Israel is hunky-dory

Oct 17, 2010

Philip Weiss 

This is what I don’t understand. Jonathan Tepperman of the “Eurasia group, a global political risk consulting firm,” is I’m guessing Jewish and is doing fine in the U.S. So for him personally, as for me, the structural basis of Zionism– that Jews are endangered in the west– is probably meaningless; and I bet he likes living in a country where a member of a minority gets to be president. But here he is given a platform at the Atlantic to say that Israel is the “refuge for the Jews” and therefore it’s legitimate that it act to limit the population growth of Israeli Palestinians so they don’t threaten the Jewish majority–of a country he has the freedom to move to tomorrow and doesn’t want to.

Yes historically, that was the basis of Israel’s founding. Does it make sense today?

Notice too that throughout this argument, Tepperman speaks of “Israelis” and means Jews, and speaks of Palestinian Israelis as “Arabs.” And Israel is, for those Israeli Jews, “their own land.” Not the Arabs. That’s implicitly racist. Those Palestinians are actually Israelis! Those Palestinians may not be represented in the government, because of racism, but they’re Israeli citizens. Just as many blacks and Jews are Americans and many of us would resent it if, say, we were excluded from higher office in the U.S. As I say, I just don’t get this.

Also note Tepperman’s argument that Israel must preserve its majority because Jews in Arab countries have been oppressed. Interesting realist argument, a two-wrongs argument. Jeffrey Goldberg makes it too. I’ve been in the neighboring Arab countries and he’s right, their governments aren’t pretty, but I don’t see why this should check democratic reform in Israel and Palestine. Tepperman:

Due to a birthrate much higher than Israel’s Jewish population, it was only a matter of time before Jews ceased to be a numerical majority in the territory they controlled. Sure enough: In 1970, Jews represented about 70% of the population between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. But by 1995 that figure had fallen to 56% and by 2005 (just before the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza) to 51%.

These numbers forced successive Israeli leaders to face the fact that if they were determined to hold on to the Occupied Territories, they would soon become outnumbered in their own lands. At that point, Israel would have to choose between being Jewish or democratic, but it couldn’t be both. It was this hard logic that pushed such unsentimental men as Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert to eventually accept the logic of withdrawing from Gaza.

But as Lieberman has highlighted, the territories only represent part of the problem. Even if Israel were to shed itself completely of the West Bank today, the issue wouldn’t go away. For Israel proper–as defined by its 1967 borders–also has a sizable Arab population, and that population is also growing fast (or so it is commonly believed), again thanks to a birthrate higher than that of the Jews. The rate of increase is far too fast for the likes of people like Lieberman–but also too fast for many secular Israeli Jews, who worry that once again they risk being outnumbered in their own land.

This fear has merit. By the end of 2008 (the last date for which numbers are available), Israeli Arabs represented fully 20% of country’s population (excluding the territories), according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics. This percentage has steadily risen over the years.

Now, those Israelis who worry about this, and dread being outnumbered by Arabs in their own country, aren’t necessarily racists. The two sides of Israel’s nature–its Jewish and democratic soul–have always coexisted uneasily, and would be quickly upset by a demographic shift. Israel was founded and internationally recognized as a refuge for Jews, and it is legitimate that modern Israelis are determined to keep it so. Given the way Jews have been treated in Arab lands, moreover, they have grounds to fear life under an Arab majority.

For all these reasons, a little demographic-induced panic is understandable.

‘NY Jewish Week’ says progressive Zionists are feeling ‘battered by boycott’

Oct 17, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Julie Wiener’s 7 year old daughter “decided” (are 7 year olds autonomous? I dont know; but she surely reflected her mother’s love of Israel) to have an Israel-themed birthday party in New York. At least a couple of people boycotted the party. Weiner sees the boycott movement gaining traction all around us. Her piece is “Battered by Boycotts” for the New York Jewish Week. I have left out her many arguments against BDS (singling out; Abu Ghraib, etc) but her longwindedness and fretful tone show that the South Africa progressive movement is beginning to gather at last. And even “progressive Zionists” are feelin the heat:

I’m talking about the streets of New York City, where, as efforts to boycott the products of Israel (and the settlements) intensify, a simple trip to a dance performance in Chelsea (Batsheva Dance Troupe), a café in Soho (Aroma), a Ricky’s cosmetics shop in Brooklyn (Ahava skin products) — or, in my case, to a 7-year-old’s birthday party in Queens — can quickly turn into a political act.

There seem to be an endless variety of competing Israel-related boycotts and counter-boycotts (known as “buycotts,” they’ve actually helped boost sales of boycott targets like Ahava) out there. Some, like the international Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement target everything in any way connected to the Israel Defense Forces (in short, almost everything Israeli), while others focus on the settlements ( Not to mention the ever-growing array of efforts to promote purchases, investments or loans ( that benefit everything from the entire Israeli economy ( to Fair Trade Palestinian-made olive oil ( to organic, sustainably-raised honey, fruits and spices produced by Jews and Bedouins in the Negev (….

for those of us who love Israel yet also worry that right-wing intransigence, settlement building and problematic treatment of Palestinians are major (albeit hardly the only) obstacles to peace, it’s hard to know exactly where to stand. Not to mention that it’s exhausting and frustrating to feel like one has to take a stand every time one sees a blue-and-white flag, let alone goes to the grocery store. It’s dispiriting and depressing to feel as if one can never just relax and celebrate the many positive aspects of Israeli culture, without being constantly reminded of the suffering Palestinians…

I don’t think Zionism will be redeemed by David Grossman

Oct 17, 2010

Philip Weiss 

The Israeli novelist David Grossman has been in the U.S. promoting a new novel, To the End of the Land. The New Yorker did a big piece on him saying that he is on the far left of the Israeli discourse. This is a misrepresentation, and a serious one. Consider that last week Gideon Levy was visiting our country saying what a racist disaster course Israel is on; he is truly on the Israeli left, responding to real conditions with humanist values. And this week Joseph Dana will be at NYU to describe the popular resistance to the occupation; Dana says that his work with Palestinians has led him to believe that a one-state solution is possible. Again, here is a leftwinger responding to a crushing reality by embracing liberal principles.

I’m talking about political imagination.  I watched Grossman a little on Charlie Rose the other night, and then I read the transcript of the interview. I agree, he is a very humane sensitive guy, and is aware of the suffering of Palestinians. But in the end you must ask, What political values is he taking a stand for? Are they liberal values or Jewish-centric ones? And while I find Grossman to be eloquent and well-meaning, he strikes me as being an insular Jewish artist, incapable of any kind of vision that responds to the actual political conditions of Palestinians. To the videotape:

Rose nostalgically invokes Grossman’s living in the occupied territories more than ten years ago:

CHARLIE ROSE: If Israeli leaders could live in the occupied territory as you did and feel and see, would they make different decisions?

DAVID GROSSMAN: I guess they know what the reality is. Maybe not in details. Maybe they do not do what they should do, and this is really put themselves in the place of the other and see reality from the point of view of the Palestinians. I think it’s very important for us. It’s very important because only then they will be in contact with reality, not only with the projection of their nightmares or their wishful thinking….

But does he see things from the point of view of Palestinians? I think not. His views are pretty insular. Here he is terrified of the end of Israel, by which he seems to mean the end of Jewish supremacy:

[T]his option that terrifies us all the time [is] that there might be an end to this country, which really freaks me out to think that after 62 years of independence, sovereignty, having enormous strong army. Yet our existence is not guaranteed, is not solid…

You know, if you read in an American paper that America plans its road plan for the years 2030, it sounds normal, yes, reasonable. No sane Israeli will make plans for such a long time in advance…

CHARLIE ROSE: Too optimistic in your assumption that it will be there.

DAVID GROSSMAN: Yes. And this must be corrected. This must be changed. It’s impossible that we shall continue to live in this uncertainty. And I believe that only peace will allow us to enjoy this sequence of generation and having a solid feeling of future and also something that is maybe hard to understand, but I will call it solidity of existence, of the people who is rooted in its own land, who has fixed borders between him and his neighbors …

What does he mean by “the people … in its own land”? I think, the Jews.

Israel was created so it will be the homeland of the Jewish people, the Jewish people who never really felt at home in the world. This is our tragedy. And we have Israel, and still it is not the home that we need and we deserve and we yearn to. Only peace will allow us to have home and future and this solidity of existence….

Still, Grossman puts himself forward as a writer/outsider who is capable of seeing things from the standpoint of Israel’s enemy–

more than everything, I think, writers have this ability to look at the point of view — to look from the point of view from the other even if this other is my enemy.

But his viewpoint really is that of a Jewish Israeli. Here is more of his traditional Zionist speech, mixed in with the usual storm clouds:

When you have such a rare privilege to have a state of the 2,000 years we did not have a state, and to be able to gather together people from 70 countries, lands, and to form what we have formed there, a democracy… and revitalized Hebrew language. This is miracle, a language that was dormant for almost 2,000 years…

And things are going wrong because of the course that Israel took. And I think we do not treat this opportunity that we go from history, we do not treat it with enough respect. We are not really taking responsibility for the thing that we have created there.

Now Grossman is a good guy. He goes to the Sheikh Jarrah demonstrations against the eviction of Palestinians from their houses in East Jerusalem. He surely supports a viable two-state solution, and he sees what violence has done to Israeli identity–

…all our short history, 62, 63 years of Israel, we are constantly involved in violence, violence that we produce, violence that is addressed at us, it has an effect on the country, on the way people are approaching each other, on our self-image, on the way people are looking at us from the outside, on the amount of violence within our families, in our roads, on the beaches. It is there. Violence is very, very present. This should be maybe the main reason to change the situation, to allow Israel and the Israelis to explore life of normality, life without this dead and sour feeling, this lack of hope and lack of existential confidence. All this together it creates a reality that is bad for Israel, it is not good for us.

We are not doing any favor to the Palestinians by coming into negotiation of peace process with them. We are doing a great favor to ourselves….

But again note that “we” means Israeli Jews. And I am saying that if you really undertook the novelist’s projection of self into the mind of your enemy, you would have to say the following: Look, the Arabs told the west they didn’t want Israel established; Roosevelt said he would consult the Arabs and honor the principle of self-determination, and then Truman ignored these promises. The Arabs were never consulted, and there’s been violence since. Call the Palestinians anything you want, terrorists or resisters; but our own State Department said that Israel could only be established by force and preserved by force.

And today half the population is not politically represented, at a time when the west is learning to include minorities in political life, and Gaza is an impoverished prison that recalls the Warsaw ghetto. These conditions cry out for new answers. 

If Grossman really wanted to see things from the Palestinian p-o-v, he would mention the simple grotesque facts that B’Tselem talks about: a Palestinian noncombatant is killed by Israel in the Occupied Territories every other day. Indeed, the young Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf, who is also in the U.S. right now, and should be on Charlie Rose, once told me a mantra– that at the end of every sentence in Hebrew sits an Arab with a hookah. Our destiny is tied to the destiny of the Palestinians. You cannot sort our destiny out without integrating Palestinians into the vision; and Zionism has avoided this spiritual/political labor for more than 100 years. And still the task only grows more urgent.

The lobby to Israeli dissenters: you be democratic, we are authoritarian

Oct 17, 2010

Philip Weiss

Visiting New York, Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf writes at 972 that AIPAC and other Israel lobby organizations are “cheerleaders of the occupation,” and they don’t really brook dissent among the American Jewish leadership, even when they brag about that dissent.

Recently, I met a friend who works with the US office of an Israeli NGO. He told me of a conversation he once had with a top AIPAC official…

“We appreciate the work that you are doing in Israel,” the AIPAC guy told my friend. “We often give it as an example of the fact that Israel is indeed a thriving democracy. But you shouldn’t have opened a US office, and you shouldn’t be lobbying on the Hill.”

I am not sure what words exactly the AIPAC man used but, according to my friend, his message was clear enough: even Israelis shouldn’t criticize Israeli government abroad.

Attacks by AIPAC on Jewish and Palestinians activists are very common, but what I found interesting in this anecdote is the way AIPAC views Israeli NGO and opposition groups: not as a party that raises legitimate concerns that should be addressed, but as a tool in their PR effort.

This approach was demonstrated again when the head of The Israel Project (TIP), Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, was asked by an Israeli reporter about her organization’s view on the Loyalty Oath issue, which caused a political storm in Israel last week. “We didn’t put out a press release,” was all Mizrahi would say, according to JTA’s report.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on MONDOWEISS ONLINE NEWSLETTER



A Billionaire, Mine Owners And Unpaid Wages.


The billionaire President of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, has been milking the pain and suffering of the 33 miners that were trapped underground for all that it is worth.

But the carefully crafted photo-shoots with Sr. Pinera, all smiles, hides a deeper reality, other mineworkers at the San Jose mine have not been paid for two months.

Imagine, you are already short of money and then you don’t get paid for two months, that’s what the mineowners inflicted on the San Jose mineworkers.

These consequences of the accident largely go unreported, except for two small pieces on the BBC:

“But their colleagues have taken to the streets in protest because they haven’t been paid since the accident, which happened two months ago.”

And the returning miners face a grim future:

“Many have returned to poverty in the hardscrabble neighborhoods that climb the hills around Copiapo, the Atacama region’s gritty capital. Some have strained relationships with the families who held vigil, praying for their survival. All face a search for work since the mine that employed them has filed for bankruptcy.

Miner Carlos Mamani lives in a small green wooden house on an unpaved road in Padre Negro, a neighborhood on a hill where the glittering street lights of Copiapo stretch out like a carpet. But Padre Negro’s 38 houses lack access to sewers and running water. Mamani and his neighbors must walk for blocks to two public taps to get water and then carry it back up the hill.

“This area is dangerous at night. Drugs are sold here and there is theft. I’ve lived here for a while and I still have to be careful to avoid problems,” said one of Mamani’s neighbors, 15-year-old Jose Vadillo.

Some miners live closer to central Copiapo, in a neighborhood where gangs mark their territory with old sneakers hanging from electricity poles. Bugueno is among those living in Tiltil Bajo, a neighborhood of wood and tin houses that lack sewage connections.”



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 Ali Abunimah: Full equality message too much for New Mexico Jewish Federation, UNM Hillel

Ali Abunimah’s post is worth reprinting in whole:

Let the Sun Shine In: Israel lobby tries to censor my appearance at University of New Mexico

It has come to my attention that the Jewish Federation of New Mexico and Hillel at the University of New Mexico are actively trying to censor my lecture at the University of New Mexico next month by writing to departments and professors who may co-sponsor it as they co-sponsor countless other educational events on campus. Below is a copy of a letter that has been sent to departments, signed by Sam Sokolove, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico and Sara Koplik, Director of Hillel at the University of New Mexico.

Typically, they throw in everything to try to defame and tar me: Hamas, Hizbullah, anti-Semitism, making Jewish students feel uncomfortable — all the usual defamatory silencing tactics to try to suppress debate and discussion about Israel’s apartheid and the alternatives that respect everyone. As they surely know, I have been an unflagging advocate of full equality and human rights for all Palestinians and Israeli Jews and others living in historic Palestine, and am guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Why do they not want students at the University of New Mexico to hear this message?

Instead of trying to censor my speech and intimidate departments from co-sponsoring it with the most lurid, false and manipulative charges, I invite them to attend and to urge students to attend and listen and ask me any questions they want.


It has come to our attention that the XXXXXXXXXX Department at UNM is co-presenting an appearance by Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada at the University of New Mexico campus on Sunday, November 7th. We are deeply troubled by the implications of the XXXXXXXXXX Department lending its support to this presentation.

As you are likely aware, Abunimah is a representative of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a global movement intent on destroying Israel and her credibility in the world. It is an adjunct to what Hamas and Hezbollah are doing frontally, and according to the Anti-Defamation League, “BDS is about the three ‘D’s: “Demonization, Deligitimization, and applying a Double Standard.”

This movement is disinterested in peace, the exchange of ideas or legitimate dialogue. Its tactics deny Israel’s cultural products; deny Israel’s emissaries the right to be heard; delegitimize the Jewish historical ties to Israel; and portray Zionism not as an expression of peoplehood, but as an extension of European colonization.

This is all anti-Semitism in its clearest, most noxious form.

Whatever your personal views are on this matter, you should be aware of two things:

  • The XXXXXXXXXXX Department’s support of this speaker sends a tacit message of support for the anti-Semitic message of BDS;

  • The department’s endorsement sends a chilling message to the Jewish students and faculty of this public institution that the legitimacy of Israel within your department is questioned.

For those who care deeply about true peace, this is not an issue of “equal time” or “balance” on behalf of the pro-Israel perspective. Nor do we oppose Abunimah’s right to speak. Rather, we oppose the patina of respectability that your sponsorship provides to the message of demonizing The Other that is part and parcel of the BDS movement.

We ask in the strongest terms that you reconsider your department’s presentation of Ali Abunimah.

Sam Sokolove
Executive Director
Jewish Federation of New Mexico

Sara Koplik, PhD.
Hillel at the University of New Mexico.

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Fathers Imprison Adult Daughters, Prevent Marriage, Obtain Grandchildren’s Custody

October 18, 2010


Saudi women in Riyadh.

© 2009 Reuters

Related Materials: 

Perpetual MinorsSaudi Arabia: Women’s Rights Promises Broken

Saudi judges have elevated a father’s authority to a pillar of law. The result of unquestioned fatherly authority far too often has been family strife and unwarranted suffering for the adult children.

Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch

(New York) – Saudi judges have repeatedly granted fathers the right to interfere arbitrarily in their adult children’s private lives, in serious violation of their right to privacy and to establish families freely, Human Rights Watch said today. Fathers have imprisoned their adult daughters for “disobedience” and prevented their marriage, and have been granted custody over a grandchild without valid reason, all with the support of the courts.

Human Rights Watch has been studying a number of cases where male family members obtain court approval to prevent, force, or seek to dissolve marriages over the past four years.

“Saudi judges have elevated a father’s authority to a pillar of law,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The result of unquestioned fatherly authority far too often has been family strife and unwarranted suffering for the adult children.”

These judicial rulings have disregarded individual rights to privacy, the right to choose one’s spouse freely, and the right of parents to a fair hearing in determining access to their children. They have also exposed women to abuse by making them choose between being locked up in a shelter and going back to the houses of abusive fathers and brothers.

The Saudi government recognizes filial “disobedience” as a crime and denies an adult woman the right to live on her own and to marry of her free will.

The experience of Samar Bawadi, 29, is a case in point, Human Rights Watch said. In July 2010, Jeddah’s General Court ruled in her favor after she sued her father for refusing to let her marry, known as an adhl suit. Badawi is in prison pending trial, however, because her father had sued her for “disobedience” after she fled his home for a shelter.

Badawi, who has a nine-year-old son, Bara’, from a previous marriage, in March 2008 escaped what she said and Saudi officials have confirmed was her father’s physical abuse to the Protection Home in Jeddah, a shelter for victims of domestic violence. Her father attempted to bring a “disobedience” charge against her, but the Saudi Public Prosecutions and Investigation Bureau decided not to prosecute her.

Badawi’s father again sued her in 2009 for “disobedience,” and Jeddah’s Summary Court president, Judge Abdullah al-‘Uthaim, in late June 2009 issued a warrant for her arrest after she had missed several trial dates. Al-‘Uthaim said that “disobedience is among the serious cases requiring imprisonment,” citing Interior Ministry decree 1900. In fact, this decree, defining serious crimes and dated August 14, 2007, only lists “assaulting a parent with beatings” as a crime concerning parent-child relations among the 15 serious crimes requiring detention pending trial.

She left the shelter in July 2009 with the permission of Jeddah’s governor, Prince Mish’al bin Abd al-Majid, to live with her brother, believing this would protect her from arrest and imprisonment in the outstanding disobedience case. When she found a man whom she wanted to marry, and her father refused, she filed the adhl suit against her father. On April 4, 2010, she went to the first court session in her adhl case, where her father had her arrested based on the outstanding “disobedience” warrant. She had left her son in safe hands, expecting an arrest.

In a short report dated July 18, 2010, by a governorate committee set up to look into Badawi’s case, Makka’s governor, Prince Khalid bin Faisal, stated that Badawi had “married, had a child, and divorced, which caused her to return to her father’s house, who used violence against her.” He proposed a committee to reconcile father and daughter by making him promise not to use violence against her, to allow her to marry, and not to file spurious lawsuits he could not prove, according to a scanned copy of the report. Badawi’s lawyer, Walid Abu al-Khair, a human rights advocate, confirmed the document’s authenticity.

The governor’s proposal came a year after a non-judicial investigation at the Protection Home found that Badawi’s father had beaten and verbally abused her, used drugs, had 14 wives, had exhausted his financial resources, had repeatedly changed jobs, and became friendly with a “bad group of people.”

The Protection Home initiated a psychological evaluation of Badawi and her father that both underwent. In a “medical report” dated May 17, 2008, the director of the Jeddah Mental Health Hospital found Badawi to be “in a stable state.” In an undated report, the Charitable Society for Family Protection, working in the Protection Home, stated that the resident psychologist at the shelter had evaluated her father on May 20, 2008, and concluded with the “general impression” that he exhibits “psychopathic behavioral anxiety.”

The charge for “disobedience” has not progressed, and no trial sessions have been held. Badawi’s father has appealed the ruling against him in the adhl suit. On October 18, the Supreme Judicial Council of Saudi Arabia informed Abu al-Khair, Badawi’s lawyer, that it would open an investigation into the lawfulness of proceedings in the two court cases in which Badawi is a party.

In another case,  Lulwa Abd al-Rahman, who is more than 30-years-old, remains in the Protection Home in Jeddah for a third year, her fiancé told Human Rights Watch. She had fled her abusive father, who  refused to allow them to marry four years ago because of the fiancé’s  allegedly inferior tribe.

When she insisted on marrying despite her father’s objection, he placed her in a mental hospital. After doctors there found no mental illnesses warranting detention or treatment, her father locked her in their house in Ahsa’ province, Abd al-Rahman told Al-Hayat newspaper in March. She escaped on a visit to Makka’s Grand Mosque and went to the Protection Home, she said.

Abd al-Rahman, like Badawi, won a case of adhl against her father in Jeddah’s General Court, which also stripped the father of his status as her guardian, but the Court of Cassation granted the father’s appeal and returned the case to the lower court for reconsideration. Judge Abdullah Mutawwa’ of the General Court again affirmed the verdict, and the appeals court again sent it back, calling Abd al-Rahman’s actions “rebellion” against her father.

After Mutawwa’ reissued his verdict for a third time, the cassation court transferred Abd al-Rahman’s case to a new lower court judge, Fahd al-‘Ammari, who again affirmed the verdict after her father failed to appear in court. When her father appealed again, the Cassation Court referred Abd al-Rahman’s case to the public prosecutor to charge her with “illegal seclusion” with her fiancé, based on the father’s allegation.

Neither the court proceedings with regard to her case for adhl, nor the investigation of her alleged illegal seclusion, have been completed. Abd al-Rahman remains in the Protection Home and cannot leave. She needs permission from her male guardian – her father – to release her.

In a third case, the father of ‘Adil Matrudi, a Saudi banker, has taken away and gained legal custody of the 9-year-old child of Matrudi and his wife, Raminiatun Asmin, an Indonesian. The two married in January 2000, and later that year had their first daughter, Thuraya. Matrudi’s parents disapproved of his marriage, and, he told Human Rights Watch, accused Asmin of witchcraft and called them both derogatory names.

When the disagreement escalated, Matrudi asserts, his father coerced him into divorcing Asmin, which he did on July 19, 2003. But he took back his divorce in an Indonesian Sharia court six weeks later, thus invalidating the divorce under Islamic law. Matrudi alleges that 11 days after his divorce in Saudi Arabia, his father sent his domestic worker, wearing a full face veil, to court with Asmin’s identity card to relinquish her custody over Thuraya. The court withdrew Asmin’s custody without verifying the identity of the veiled woman.

On December 12, 2008, Matrudi’s father took his granddaughter, Thuraya, into his house and prevented her parents from contacting her. Fearful that Matrudi might take his daughter as she left school, his father stopped sending her to school on December 14, an Education Ministry letter shows.

Matrudi went to the Human Rights Commission, a Saudi government agency, whose legal department, in a memorandum of June 4, 2009, stated that they considered the case a violation of parental custody, given that neither father nor mother was proven incapable of providing for the child, and that preventing her from going to school violated her right to education.

Judge Muhammad al-‘Unaizan of Riyadh’s General Court reached a different opinion, however, and on October 7, 2009, granted Matrudi’s father custody. Matrudi attended the hearing and stated his case, that the divorce occurred by coercion and that he had revoked the divorce and was thus still married to Asmin. Since then, Asmin has not seen Thuraya, who remains locked in her grandfather’s house. Matrudi and Asmin have two other daughters, who now live with their mother in Indonesia. She left the kingdom in fear of losing her other children, too.

“Seeking shelter from abuse, marrying one’s freely chosen spouse, or wanting to care for one’s children are basic rights,” Wilcke said. “Saudi judges should be protecting these rights rather than violating them in the name of a patriarchal order.”

Human Rights Watch in November 2009 and August 2010 wrote to the governmental Human Rights Commission of Saudi Arabia regarding the cases of two Saudi women whose brothers forced them to marry multiple men against their will, and who suffered physical, sexual, and verbal abuse in their family homes.

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Seeing “Budrus” in Jerusalem

17 Oct 2010

Julia Bacha and Justvision’s “Budrus” was screened last night at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, and will be screened again on Tuesday night, I believe. I went to see the film and to see the people who would come out to see the film. “Budrus” has toured the festival circuit (winning important prizes) and is now entering into wider release worldwide (in Israel it will be only shown in cinematheques, which is a pity.)

If you care at all about what is going on in Israel and Palestine, you must see this film. And then support those Palestinian villagers and Israeli and international activists who stand united against oppression.

“Budrus” tells the story of the successful, unarmed struggle of the Palestinian village Budrus against the Israeli Separation Barrier – successful, because the wall’s route was moved. Bacha accessed a lot of footage of the demonstrations taken by Palestinian and Jewish activists, and then went in and interviewed some of the main players, including the leader of the struggle, Ayed Morrer, as well as Yasmine Levy, a Border Police Captain, and Doron Spielman, an IDF spokesperson. The finished product is a moving film, with an uplifting, if bittersweet, ending. For Budrus’ success has not been repeated so far in other places.

The audience in Jerusalem last night was composed of the usual mix of Israelis and foreigners, very young and (ahem) middle-aged and above. At the Q and A after the screening, Rula Salameh, a Palestinian journalist and co-producer, told of the impact of the film in the Palestinian territories. Last week it was screened in Gaza (for a report of this showing see Jared Malsin’s post here). It has been screened in Ramallah, in Wallajeh, and in other places in the Territories.

The message of the film is clear: According to Salameh, Budrus succeeded because a) the whole village was involved, including women; b) Hamas and Fatah representatives were united; c) Israeli and foreign nationals lent support to the Palestinian struggle, standing side by side by them; d) the demonstrations were not limited to a few hours a day. I would add that Budrus succeeded because it was the first, or one of the first, and caught Israel off-guard. The hope of the producers is that Budrus will set an example, and more and more people will become involved.

I noticed that the film gave voice to those who preferred nonviolent struggle over unarmed struggle, but one of the titles in the film implicitly conceded that the barrier route was changed after months of unarmed struggle. (“Unarmed” allows the throwing of rocks.)

The demonstrations usually start out as nonviolent but, if necessary, switch to unarmed protest as a defensive measure against the IDF’s violent measures to disperse the population. (This is a large topic; my own view is that hurling rocks is morally justified in a situation when there is a threat to your person by an occupying army who wishes to disperse violently a demonstration; the decision to hurl rocks then becomes a tactical and not a moral one. But this issue was not discussed in the film.)

There are lots of good movies to see about Israel Palestine, but Budrus is special and should be a high priority on your list. If you agree with the message, you should also considering support groups that are active in the struggle (the film ends with a long list of them, but I would mention specifically, in this regard, the Anarchists Against the Wall)

And tell your friends to see it, too.

Posted in EducationComments Off on SEEING ”BUDRUS” IN JERUSALEM



Forwarded message

אנא הפיצו


This time Ezra Nawi needs our help!

A few weeks ago, human rights activist, Ezra Nawi, was released from jail after serving a month’s sentence following his attempt to prevent a bulldozer from destroying Palestinian homes in the South Hebron Hills. His imprisonment constitutes a relatively small milestone in his dedicated activism, which has continued non-stop for the past decade.

For the past ten years, Ezra has travelled to the South Hebron Hills a few times each week and has worked tirelessly against settler violence and the oppression of the Civil Administration in an attempt to preserve the basic rights of the local Palestinian residents.
People who have had the chance to met Ezra know that he is a righteous man.

A few years ago, Ezra’s car was stolen and we managed to raise enough money for him to replace it. Today, his Mitsubishi pickup truck is falling apart, and he desperately needs to replace this car. Ezra cannot afford to buy a car, so a group of friends has decided to
collect donations so that Ezra can buy a newer model, which will, in
turn, enable him to continue his important work in the West Bank. We want to raise 50,000 shekels. This is the moment to give.

Please send checks to Ta’ayush, c/o Yehuda Agus,

PO Box 360,


36576, Israel

Or donate online at

Please send an email to Neve to alert him once you have donated and the amount.


David Shulman, Nissim Mossek, Amiel Vardi, Neve Gordon 


Posted in CampaignsComments Off on THIS TIME WE NEEDS YOUR HELP!



Paul Woodward and Phil Weiss have both picked up on a speech that Chas Freeman delivered at Tufts. It is a decent speech in the sense that Freeman seems somewhat aware of the fact that Palestinians, Iraqis, and Afghanis are human beings, a realization that’s tantamount to spiritual transformation for imperial apparatchiks.

Here’s the beginning of Freeman’s speech:

The Middle East is a constant reminder that a clear conscience is usually a sign of either a faulty memory or a severe case of arrogant amorality. It is not a badge of innocence. These days, we meticulously tally our own battlefield dead; we do not count the numbers of foreigners who perish at our hands or those of our allies. Yet each death is a tragedy that extinguishes one soul and wounds others. This deserves our grief. If we cannot feel it, we may justly be charged with inhumanity.

All that is required to be hated is to do hateful things. Apparent indifference to the pain and humiliation one has inflicted further outrages its victims, their families, and their friends. As the Golden Rule, common – in one form or another – to all religions, implicitly warns, moral blindness is contagious. That is why warring parties engaged in tit for tat come in time to resemble each other rather than to sharpen their differences.

This is where the speech is at its best, and even here Freeman can’t stick with a straightforwardly moral critique, but instead lapses into the bit about “all this is required to be hated is to do hateful things” or, basically, watch out they’re getting angry, a sugar-coated rendition of Zbigniew Brzezinski. He goes on to inventory Iraqi, Palestinian, and what he considers to be the Afghan body counts (other estimates are orders-of-magnitude greater) from imperial/Israeli massacres, and then makes per-capita estimates of what those would amount to in America:

To understand the hatreds war unleashes and its lasting psychological and political consequences, one has only to translate foreign casualty figures into terms we Americans can relate to. You can do this by imagining that the same percentages of Americans might die or suffer injury as foreigners have. Then think about the impact that level of physical and moral insult would have on us.

Now, maybe Freeman is cynical and thinks this is the only way through to his audience. With that caveat, what he is saying is, within your racist moral imaginary, imagine that what we do to brown people had happened to us. Wouldn’t be we angry, too?

Freeman goes on to write:

We’re accumulating a critical mass of enemies with personal as well as religious and nationalistic reasons to seek retribution against us. As our violence against foreign civilians has escalated, our enemies have multiplied. The logic of this progression is best understood anecdotally…No amount of public diplomacy, no matter how cleverly conducted, can prevail over the bitterness of personal and collective experience.

The only way to reverse trends supporting anti-American violence by the aggrieved is to reverse the policies that feed it. That means finding alternatives to military intervention as the principal instrument of U.S. foreign policy, and it means returning to the American tradition of respect for the sovereignty and ways of life of other nations.

First, you don’t need a PhD in colonial history to know that the “American tradition of respect for blablabla” is a fantasy fit, first, for fourth graders and second, for Ron Paul. America has been enslaving, raping, murdering, and looting for centuries. American economic “prosperity” is founded on the slave trade and genocide. To ignore that is racist, and to write what Freeman wrote is to indulge in a racist, history-rewriting exceptionalism that is the common ideological narrative of the American and Israeli settler-states.

Since the Palestine solidarity movement is overwhelmingly composed of people acutely aware that Zionism was an original sin against the indigenous Palestinian population, I’ve always thought it was a little off to embrace a warmed-over racist like Freeman just because the Lobby lashed out at him. Freeman is a tactical ally, absolutely. He is sufficiently clear-sighted that he can see the Lobby, and the Lobby is powerful, but it’s not everything—even in the Middle East, even in Palestine.

But ask another question: would Freeman be waxing in lachrymose lyrics about the fates of the Muslims we’re massacring if there were no blow-back: no 9/11s, no attacks on embassies, no terror plots, no “anti-American violence”? What if there were ways to carry out such colonial occupations without such mass death? What if the populations quietly accepted domination? These questions aren’t rhetorical. The per-capita deaths in Palestine are so much lower than in Iraq because for the most part—with heroic exceptions—resistance for the time being is passive. Here is Sara Roy reporting from East Jerusalem:

One of the great achievements of Israeli policy over the last decade, with the support of a co-operative Palestinian Authority security structure, has been to make everyday life so difficult for the Palestinians that they have no energy left to oppose the occupation. People are now simply (and understandably) grateful for the absence of pain. A friend of mine from Bethlehem, a city severed by the separation wall, told me how ‘calm’ it is now because ‘we rarely see Israeli soldiers inside the city anymore.’ Under such confinement, any small breakthrough is a success of sorts: one morning I found myself elated by the lack of traffic at the Kalandia checkpoint, which meant I got where I was going in half the time it usually took me.

So what then? What if the occupied populations are mostly quiet, I want to ask Freeman after reading that speech. What if they don’t resist? Chomsky wrote this 40 years ago in his introduction to American Power and the New Mandarins:

The primary reason for opposition to the war is its cost to us. A second cause is that the feeling that its cost to its victims is too great. At first glance this reaction seems to be at a higher moral level than the first, but this is questionable. The principle that we should retract our claws when the victim bleeds too much is hardly an elevated one. What about opposition to war on the grounds that we have no right to stabilize or restructure Vietnamese society…Such opposition is slight, and in the political arena, virtually non-existent.

Who determines when the costs are too great to the victims? We do. As Eqbal Ahmad pointed out, disaffected social-engineering liberals will decide that brown corpses are piling up unbecomingly and decide to stop the conflict, while the core values that led to the conflict remain unexamined—and thus, replicated, and manifested in the next massacre carried out under the banner of defending freedom. 

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