Archive | October 30th, 2010



Historic BDS debate in Zeek

By Jesse Bacon

Zeek, the artsy hipstery Jewish journal, published two long pieces on BDS

(Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) for what I assume is the first time.

This bold move plants the movement squarely within the more creative

portion of the Jewish establishment, at least as a topic of conversation.

This suggests that the effort to make any discussion, as opposed to demo-

nization, of BDS taboo has backfired. It is the BDS-demonizers who find

themselves increasingly having a conversation with themselves.

Iff you saw my credit at the end of JVP Executive Director

(and Forward 50 honoree!)  Rebecca Vilkomerson’s piece, or if you have

read any of my own work, it should be no surprise where my sympathies lie.

The surprises are only that the New Israel Fund managed to

make an anti-BDS case without the use of epithets or smears. This is not so

surprising when you consider the record of the New Israel Fund, who we have

extolled several time on these pages. But it is sadly the exception among

Jewish organizations when discussing BDS, so much so that BDS supporters

in Olympia felt compelled to issue an open letter to their opponents asking

them to refrain from such tactics.

As for the New Israel Fund’s actual arguments I am, unsurprisingly,

less impressed. While the invest in Peace initiatives are perhaps worthy

on their own terms, it is hard to see how they will overturn the juggernaut

that is the Israeli land grab. And then there’s this curious conclusion:

Not a Dead Armadillo

Recently, an NIF board member was invited to speak at a

 panel in a community whose food co-op was considering

a boycott of all Israeli products. Literally positioned between

 Stand With Us and Code Pink, she described our work and the

alternatives to global BDS offered by the New Israel Fund and

other pro-Israel, progressive organizations. At the end of the

night, she was literally embraced by several audience members,

who were urgently looking for ways to live their progressive

values without shunning Israel as a pariah state, beyond redemption.

While it is nice that their supporters hugged them for providing a

 “moderate” alternative, New Israel Fund owes its supporters, of

which I am one, a program that is capable of actually achieving its

 goals. New Israel Fund’s grantees are the best hope for Israeli

democracy, but without an internationally engaged BDS movement

they are badly outgunned in a quite literal fashion. I hope that New

Israel Fund will come to see that, but I welcome being friendly adversaries

 with them on this question. If only all groups were engaged in sucha 

good faith effort to determine the most ethical and effective way to support

freedom and equality in Israel-Palestine.

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Historic BDS debate in Zeek


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Caterpillar Withholding Sale of D9 Death Bulldozers to Human Rights Violator

October 30, 2010  by Michael Leon  

This is not an earthquake. This is what CAT bulldozers do in Palestine.

American Corporation Caterpillar has Taken a Stand for Humans in Stopping the Sales of Bulldozers that Destroy Homes of Indigenious Peoples

Jewish Groups for Peace Rejoice with Millions Around the World

Via Jewish Voice for Peace,

I have remarkable news. The Israeli press is reporting that Caterpillar is withholding the delivery of tens of D9 bulldozers—valued at $50 million—to the Israeli military.(1)

These are weaponized bulldozers that are used to illegally destroy homes and orchards of Palestinian families. And they are the very same bulldozers as the one that killed a 23-year-old American peace activist named Rachel Corrie seven years ago when she tried to protect the home of the Nasrallah family in Gaza.

That’s why the next part of the story is even more amazing. The news reports say that the deliveries have been suspended now because Rachel’s parents, Cindy and Craig Corrie, are bringing a civil suit against the government of Israel in a court in Tel Aviv.(2) The deliveries are to stop during the length of the trial. We take this as an indirect admission by the company that these bulldozers are being used to violate human rights and to violate the law. The Corrie story is sadly just one of thousands of stories of loss and pain.

A suspension of the sale of bulldozers is what we have been asking Caterpillar for over seven years now. This is a great win, but this is no time to let off the pressure.

Caterpillar and the U.S. government have neither confirmed nor denied the news. And news reports describe the company’s move as a temporary decision only. To urge the U.S. government to make this policy permanent, please sign the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s petition to President Obama to continue this new policy.

We need to hold both our government and corporations profiting from the occupation accountable. TIAA-CREF, one of the largest financial services in the United States, invests heavily in Caterpillar (over $250 million as of their last financial report). Please ask TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar and other companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. If TIAA-CREF divests from Caterpillar, it will have a rippling impact everywhere.

Since 2003, Jewish Voice for Peace has been filing annual shareholder resolutions to pressure Caterpillar with a growing coalition of interfaith partners. We’ve organized protests. We’ve taken over a CAT dealership. We’ve worked in support of Presbyterian and Methodist divestment initiatives from the company, and with your help, we are asking TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar as well.

Caterpillar has never budged… until now.

Caterpillar’s irresponsible behavior comes with a heavy price tag. In the last ten years, at least 11,795 homes have been demolished.(3) These statistics, gruesome as they are, cannot do justice to the pain of so many families, to their razed livelihoods and their shattered dreams.

The picture above does not come from an earthquake scene. It depicts the man-made destruction and the hopelessness that the Caterpillar bulldozers bring at the hand of the soldiers who wield them. Let’s make sure that this is the last picture of this kind we get to see.

Thank you and shabbat shalom,

Sydney Levy

Jewish Voice for Peace

 (1) Report: Caterpillar to delay supply of D9 bulldozers to IDF. Jerusalem Post, Oct 25, 2010, as well as Israel’s Channel 2 TV, October 25, 2010 (evening broadcast in Hebrew).
(2) For updates on the trial, visit
the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.
(3) The statistics are from the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitionsand run up only until July 28, 2010, a day after the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the northern Negev desert was razed to the ground. The village would be rebuilt and demolished five additional times (see Open Letter to JNF: Equal Rights, Sustainable Development for Negev, Not Dispossession of Bedouin! and El Araqib Village Demolished for Sixth Time.)





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The Zionist Organization of America’s Effort to Criminalize Campus Activism through Federal Civil Rights Legislation

By Eyal Mazor

Under the leadership of Mort Klein, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)

 is celebrating its success in its efforts to expand federal anti-bullying guidelines

 stipulated under the US Civil Rights Act of 1964.  So why in the world would Mort

 Klein and his pro-occupation and pro-settlement ZOA be interested in federal civil

 rights and anti-bullying policy in the first place? Perhaps a new-found interest in

 protecting religious practice and reigning in on all instances of discrimination?

 Of course not. Read on and prepare yourself to be outraged.

In a policy statement released this week, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

has adopted new guidelines that include protections against religious groups with

“shared ethnic characteristics.”   Appearing alongside indisputably positive policy

changes that increase protections for LGBT and disabled students facing bullying

and discrimination, it may seem totally inappropriate to cast doubt on this particular

aspect of the policy, no matter who has brought it to the table. After all, expanding

categories of protection is a good thing. However, once we understand the ZOA’s

motives, it becomes clear that this development should be cause for alarm for anybody

wanting to preserve students’ rights to organize on American campuses for peace and

justice in Palestine and Israel!

Indeed, the ZOA took up this effort specifically as a way to clamp down on student

activism that has pushed universities to hold Israel accountable to international law.

How? Title VI of the Civil Rights Act says that colleges and universities that don’t

address issues of discrimination can lose their federal funding.

This is part of a strategy to scare public universities into putting a stop to entirely

legal and non-discriminatory activism that the ZOA and others just don’t like.

Klein is shamelessly trafficking in the language of bigotry and anti-discrimination

in an effort to criminalize campus human rights activism in favor of justice and

peace in Palestine and Israel. It’s hard to imagine a more reprehensible manip-

ulation of the legacy of civil rights struggle.

The story actually begins in October 2004 when the first complaint to US

Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in 2004 on the behalf of Jewish students at the

University of California at Irvine. These claims, which form the centerpiece

of the ZOA’s whole case to OCR, seem at best to be an extreme misrepres-

entation of actual goings-on, and at worst totally lack substance–and that’s

coming from their subjects: UC Irvine students themselves. In response to

the initial complaint the ZOA filed with OCR on behalf of Jewish students at

the University of California at Irvine in October 2004, the most prominent

leaders of the campus Jewish community actually came out and publicly

refuted the ZOA’s claims that UCI is a hostile environment for Jewish students.

In March 2008, prominent Jewish student leaders of UCI (including the presidents

of the campus Hillel, the self-described pro-Israel group Anteaters for Israel, and

the Jewish Fraternity and Sorority) issued a public statement clearly and directly

contradicting the ZOA’s claims about their campus, stating instead that  “Jewish

student life thrives on campus, despite misinformation from outside organizations.”

In a story published in May 2008 issue of New Voices (since expunged from their

website, but available below), student leaders from UCI’s Jewish community testify

to being ignored, silenced, and even publicly discredited by ZOA and associated

activists for speaking the truth of their experience on campus.  One student, then

President of Anteaters for Israel,  even lost his position with the Israel advocacy

training group StandWithUs over a statement he made that the threat of anti-Semitism

on his campus has been exaggerated by community activists and organizations.

Who Speaks for Jewish Students?

In another case cited in a recent op-ed, Klein also cites a battery case filed by a

female pro-Israel activist at the University of California at Berkeley against a

Palestinian student activist. In fact, all charges have been dropped against the

Palestinian student, Husam Zakharia, who said from the very beginning that he

lost control of a shopping cart overflowing with donated toys bound for Gaza when

it accidentally hit the female student.

Klein’s campaign seemed to really take off earlier this year when 13 Jewish

organizations endorsed a March 16 letter to the Education Minister urging

the Office of Civil Rights to investigate incidents of anti-Semitism. Among

the endorsing groups are Abe Foxman’s ADL, American Jewish Congress (AJC),

and Hillel– all of which have a track record of manipulating charges of anti-Semitism

to silence critics of Israeli policy.

More recently, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Senator Arlen Specter (D-CA)

 have been championing in Congress Mort Klein and the ZOA’s proposal to amend the

 Civil Rights Act. In September, Sherman and Specter introduced legislation that would

 inscribe into federal law what the Department of Education has just changed in

federal policy. Shortly after the new guidelines were announced, Congressman

Sherman released a statement naming only Jewish students who face “severe and

persistent anti-Semitic hostility on their campuses” among groups who will enjoy

new protections under the policy.

Making no mention of any other communities facing religion-based discrimination, such as Muslims, Sikhs and other groups most impacted by the up-swell of Islamophobic discrimination, the political motives of the ZOA’s appeal is perfectly transparent. The ZOA is not and has never claimed to be an organization that fights bigotry or discrimination, nor do they purport to hold a message of universal tolerance. It is an organization set up to promote a pro-settlement, pro-occupation, right-wing Zionist agenda.

In addition to using federal anti-discrimination legislation to pursue a highly politicized agenda, one of the most troubling aspects of this campaign is that it has considerable de-amplifying effects for when authentic instances of anti-Semitism do arise.  This type of action will not make Jews, or anyone else, any safe

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Edwin M. Wright (pictured) was a State Department employee in the 1940s and 1950s, excerpts from his recollections concerning Zionist control over America make for some absolutely eye opening reading — admin:

Edwin Wright: Zionist Jews Worked to Capture US Government

The Truman Library

I might mention here that I have found Zionism very deceitful. There is a double meaning in all the words Zionists use, and [Chaim] Weizmann himself said one time, ‘Let the British or anyone else talk about Zionism and they can use our terminology, but we know what the meaning of it is. It has one meaning to us, one meaning to the Gentiles.’ They’ve always had this double-entendre in everything that they have done.

Whenever they use words you have to try to find out what is the context in which they are using these words.

Domestic issues are not based on intelligence, but on self interest of a smaller group, and I think in this connection I think I should mention specifically two. One was what we called the China Lobby, a very odd and indiscriminate group of people who never were really organized, but had a tremendous influence upon government. They eventually were captured by Senator [Joseph R.] McCarthy. The other were the Zionists, who were more organized. They had been working for a long time to capture the U.S. Government; to use it for purposes of developing a Jewish state. In other words, we had two lobby groups in America who knew little about the area at all, who had certain ideological concepts of society and America. When the people from the fields reported what was unpopular to these groups, they were fired.

…when the election was coming up in 1946 in New York, the group of New York Jews called upon Mr. Truman. [Alan Taylor, op. cit. p.93] Emmanuel Cellar was the head of this committee. Rabbi Steven Wise and several others were in it. They called upon Mr. Truman and said, ‘We have just been talking with Mr. [Tom] Thomas Dewey. He is willing to come out and declare for a Jewish state, and we are going to turn our money and urge the Jews to vote for him unless you beat him to it.’ Then Emmanuel Cellar pounded upon Mr. Truman’s desk and said, ‘And if you don’t come out for a Jewish state we’ll run you out of town.’

Henry Byroade made a talk in Philadelphia in April 1954. …In it he made this statement: ‘I have some advice for both Arabs and for Jews. Israel should think of itself as a state living in the Middle East and that it must live with its Arab neighbors. The Arabs must cease to think of themselves as wanting to destroy Israel and should come to terms with Israel itself.’ …The next morning Henry Byroade got a call from Nathan Goldman, who was in California. [Nathan Goldman was president of the World Jewish Congress and many years president of the World Zionist Organization…] He used his first name and said, ‘Hank, did you make that speech in Philadelphia that was reported in the papers today?’

Byroade said, ‘Yes, I made that speech.’

He said, ‘We will see to it that you’ll never hold another good position.’

The Zionists are organized in 17 (now 31) different committees and groups in America. They are all inter-related by what’s called the Association of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. These are the presidents of the 31 Zionist organizations. All they have to do is to send in a letter to any one of them and these 31 will reproduce it in mimeograph and send it out to all their organizations. As a result of one letter you’ll get hundreds of replies coming in attacking me. This is the type of constant fear that a Government official lives under because of the mimeograph machine and the xerox machine.

Mr. Truman himself has the most remarkable of all statements in there, a memo that’s quoted, in which he says, ‘Something’s going on and I don’t know what it is. Somebody called up the President of Haiti and he said that it was I. [F.R.U.S., 1947 , Vol. V, p. 1309.] He said, “We want you to vote for the Zionist program.” As a result the President of Haiti changed his vote to satisfy what he thought was me. I don’t know who this fellow was that called him up.’

In other words, somebody impersonated President Truman and threatened the President of Haiti. There were people who used President Truman’s voice and name and he didn’t know who they were. The State Department never found out who they were, but this is the way decisions are made in Washington.

I think I know who that fellow was. It was Robert Nathan, because I met Robert Nathan frequently at the U.N. I had met him out in the Middle East, and he was the one who was running to the telephone booth and calling up the President of Liberia, calling up Costa Rica, telling them, “Unless you will vote for our program, we will see to it that the American interhighway system is not built through your country.” These people assumed that Nathan and Co. were acting for America and nobody had consulted them at all. This kind of thing went on at the U.N. and in Washington and if you want the documentary proof of it, it’s in Mr. Truman’s statement.

Before I read this statement of Mr. Truman’s I’ll have to explain what the situation was. There was tremendous pressure upon the governments of other countries to vote for the partition program, which the Zionists had accepted. I was at the U.N. and was Mr. Henderson’s assistant and was there when he read some of these memos. I was reporting back to the State Department what was happening at the U.N.

There were a number of Jewish Zionists at the U.N., like Robert Nathan, Bernard Baruch, and various other people, who were calling up the chiefs of other states and saying, “Unless you vote for this partition program, the United States will not build a road in your country; will not help you in aid or will not do something else.” They were pretending they had the authority of the President of the United States to determine policy, when they were just one individual operating on their own. They had no authority, no official position, but they were using the importance of the United States as a threat against these countries.

That’s an official document. Somebody represented himself as the President of the United States to some foreign countries. This was the kind of threat that the Zionists used to change votes at that last session when finally it was voted by a small majority of two or three.

It’s very rare that a country of which no boundaries are known is recognized. There are also other questions: When you recognize a state do you recognize its claims to people outside the state? The Zionists have always claimed that the Jewish nation is wherever a Jew is, anywhere in the world. Every Jew, therefore, is part of this Jewish nation. Golda Meir repeated this when they asked her what the boundaries of Israel are. She said, ‘Wherever there’s a Jew, there is Israel. It’s not a line on a map.’

‘Constantly they kept asking me, “Why does the United States behave this way?” I couldn’t explain it to them.’

Nobody can explain it, because you’ve got to know how they buy congressional and senatorial votes through speeches; how they control the five electoral states, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, etc. You have to understand the weighting of the Jewish vote in America and the contribution to the party systems. By the time we explained that to Arabs they’d say, ‘But aren’t you corrupt?’

The answer is, ‘Yes, we’re corrupt.’(…Full Article)





AMY GOODMAN: We turn to the award-winning Indian author Arundhati Roy, facing possible arrest in Indian on sedition charges after recent comments she made about Kashmir.

Earlier today, an Indian politician from the right-wing BJP party filed a written complaint against Roy after she publicly advocated for Kashmir independence and challenged India’s claim that Kashmir is a, quote, “integral part of India.” The area of Kashmir has been at the center of a decades-long dispute between India and Pakistan. Arundhati Roy made the comment at a conference organized to call on India to formally admit that Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute. If charged and convicted of sedition, Arundhati Roy could face up to life in prison.

On Tuesday, she defended her statements made at the conference. She wrote, quote, “I said what millions of people here say every day…I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world.”

Roy went on to write, quote, “Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice, while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.”

Well, last month, I had a chance to interview the author of The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy, about Kashmir. We spoke in London. She began by describing how Kashmir is the unfinished business of the partition of India in 1947.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Since the 1990s, which is when—you know, at the same time that the war in Afghanistan, the American one, its jihad in Afghanistan, and India realigned itself and became, you know, what it is now, sort of completely aligned with the US. And, you know, the whole problem in Kashmir, the militant armed struggle for independence—I mean, there was always a struggle for independence. It’s not independence. It’s not ever been really a part of India, which is why it’s ridiculous for the Indian government to keep saying it’s an integral part of India. But that armed struggle claimed the lives of 68,000 people, because India today has 500,000 troops manning that little valley. It’s the highest, most militarized zone in the world.

India has done everything wrong there. Apart from a military occupation, it has completely rigged elections. It has changed that valley into a little sort of puddle, a little pool of spies and informers and intelligence networks and torture chambers. And today, you know, it’s come to a stage where people have just had enough. Now you don’t even know who the rulers are—I mean, who the leaders of the uprising are, because it’s just people who cannot take it anymore. But the government still is quite busy trying to manage the crisis. You know, there’s are all sorts of shady things going on. Cleaning mobs are setting business—buildings on fire, when it does look very much as though the intelligence agencies are doing that themselves in order to, you know, paint—once again paint this uprising in a different light.

But the fact is that it’s a bit like feeding a population heavy metal in its diet all the time. And that metal, that toxicity, it just lives in the body, you know, and it goes into different places at different times, but the body never gets rid of it. And now that toxicity has reached a stage where I really think that until the international community somehow pays attention, this small valley is going to be just squashed by this completely, I mean, intransigent juggernaut that is the Indian state, that will not back off, doing something absolutely—absolutely immoral, you know? Absolutely as bad as it is in any other kind of occupation, including the Israeli occupation of Palestine, you know? But Kashmir, nobody talks about.

AMY GOODMAN: You’ve been there.

ARUNDHATI ROY: Of course I’ve been there. I spend a lot of time there.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, how does it fuel what is happening in Pakistan, and maybe even going into Afghanistan?

ARUNDHATI ROY: Well, I mean, obviously, Pakistan and India, Kashmir is the toxic center of that relationship. And unless it’s resolved, I don’t think any part of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India can be—that whole area is like getting more and more toxic, you know? And what—right now the fact is that the US is deeply involved in all of it. And as far as—


ARUNDHATI ROY: Because of what it’s been doing in Pakistan and Afghanistan all these years. But right now in India, I mean, the Congress government can’t resolve Kashmir on its own, because the right-wing BJP is there to stymie it at any point of time, you know? So it does need now an intervention from a larger community that is saying to this country that this is just not acceptable.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think needs to happen?

ARUNDHATI ROY: I think there has to be a kind of undiplomatic, if you like, intervention. A lot of people from outside need to look at that issue very carefully and stop looking at India as if, “Oh, it’s just this market where we can—you know, it’s a good financial destination, so let it do what it wants in Kashmir,” because that’s—the whole thing is going to unravel. So I do think that even the Americans need to look into Kashmir and, you know, talk about it, since they are involved in creating this cesspool there now.

AMY GOODMAN: The conflict is what? Who is fighting for what?

ARUNDHATI ROY: The Kashmiris. See, Jammu and Kashmir used to been an independent kingdom at the time of partition. And when partition happened, all these independent princely states were told that they could, you know, decide whether they wanted to go with India or with Pakistan, which is already a bit strange. You know, why should—I mean, what was the moral logic behind that? But anyway, in Kashmir, there had already been a democratic movement against the king, who was actually a Hindu king ruling Muslim—a majority Muslim state. So the king really didn’t have any moral authority at the time. And when partition happened, because of how it happened, he signed a letter of ascension, you know, asking India to send in troops. But that was based on the fact that there would be a plebiscite later. And that plebiscite never took place, you know, and the situation just became worse and worse and worse. So, right now what they are fighting for is what they call “Azadi,” which is independence from India and from Pakistan.

AMY GOODMAN: And why the escalation of violence now and the escalation of protest now?

ARUNDHATI ROY: Well, it’s the third year in succession, you know? In 2008, first—there’s always some pretext, you know, but the pretexts are not important. In Kashmir even, if the electricity goes off, it turns into a struggle for independence. You know, so, in a way, it’s sort of looking away from the issue to find the immediate cause.

But the immediate cause this time—last summer it was two girls who were drowned, who were—you know, who were sort of killed and drowned, and then they said—I mean, whose bodies were found in this shallow water. And they said, oh, you know, they drowned in this three inches of water or whatever it was. Year before that, it was over the sort of transfer of land to this Amarnath Yatra, which is a sort of Hindu pilgrimage trust. And this year, it’s because protests happened and the police started to shoot into the crowd and kill young boys, and it just became bigger and bigger and bigger ’til now, already sixty or seventy young people have been killed.

But the point is that it’s never been so huge, the protests. They’ve gone on—it’s gone on for months. They’re not being able to diffuse it. They don’t know who to arrest. They don’t know who to kill. You know, they’re longing for it to become the same old, same old—you know, some militants that they can say are sent from Pakistan—but they can’t deal with these basically unarmed crowds, stone-throwing stone pelters. They don’t know how to deal with them. So, every day, every day, the anger increases, and a few more are killed, and the anger increases.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, clearly the US has tremendous power, because it has billions invested in India. The latest is nuclear power deals, US corporations there. And, of course, the US pours billions into Pakistan. So, what do you think the US can do—and not just the government, but people calling for justice? What do you feel is just?

ARUNDHATI ROY: I think, for example, Obama is going to India now, and India is desperately trying to sort of, you know, push—like for the Commonwealth Games that are happening now, they are pushing all the beggars into some park and, you know, putting billboards around them so that no one will see them. And they are trying to do something similar in Kashmir, desperately trying to shut the problem away from public scrutiny before he comes.

But I think that the most important thing is now not to allow India or Pakistan to speak for Kashmiri people, you know? Because Kashmiri people need a space in which to think. They’ve just lived all their lives with a palatine bag over their heads and a gun pointed at their temples. They need—somebody needs to create the space for them to be able to say what they want, because this is a whole population that is in—living in the most insufferable conditions.

AMY GOODMAN: Arundhati Roy, speaking about Kashmir. We were sitting in London a few weeks ago, where she had come to visit. She is back in India now, and she faces possible arrest for sedition, for talking about Kashmir in the way she has described on Democracy Now!, calling for India to formally admit that Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute.

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Racheli Gai <>

This is so powerful, painful, moving – hold on to your seat!


I gave this speech on Tuesday, October 26 at The Women’s Conference in Long Beach, CA.

It happens like this
The doctor walks towards me
His face is ashen
He says we have found something
It does not look good
There is a trap door in the seat of the waiting room
And I am falling
And as I fall I hear
The echo of him saying
Cat scan
As big as a mango
We can’t be sure
This falling goes on for days
Even though I appear to be walking
And giving speeches and riding on airplanes
I am falling
As the new doctor at the new hospital
says it
As I wait to hear where it’s coming from
And where it’s gone
As I get pricked and probed and punctured
I am falling
As they first say it is not in my liver
And then later they can’t be sure
Until they drug me and wheel me off
For nine hours
And when I wake up
I am in a new country
Nothing is familiar
Because the possibility of not dying
Is gone
Because I am now living in the land of the sick
Turns out my being a vegetarian-sober-nonsmoker-activist has not protected me at all

The surgeon tells me he has done 1,000 operations and he has never seen anything like it
Then he uses the word fistula
And uterus

First thing I think of course is
I knew from the first time I went to Panzi hospital in Bukavu
I stood in the place that felt like an open barn
In the place where 200 women sat on benches
Their wounded heads
Their canes
Their sweat
The strong smell of pee and shit from their fistulae
From the holes their rapist pierced into their bodies, tearing them apart
I knew from that first moment
When I looked into their faces
And saw the crimes of this century burning in their eyes
500,000 raped women
500,000 vaginas violated
500,000 bodies massacred
500,000 wombs destroyed
I had no way to protect myself
From the hugeness of the atrocity
From the insanity of this disgrace
It rolled over me like a tsunami of pain and took me
Took me took me
I have never come back
And I never will
And I knew those women now owned me
Have me
There is no other place I could ever be
No other fight that is not this fight
It’s in your uterus
The tumor of rape
That is wild across the world
The tumor of rape
That exchanges women’s bodies for the price of a cell phone
Or gold or diamonds
Or anything that can be extracted and stolen from their land

The tumor of rape that began growing in me when I was only five and now has matured into something the size of a mango
That’s what the doctor said
Which of course is the fruit of the Congo
The most delicious in the world

The women of Congo are in my body
First gift I realize — I am not alone
I have imagined what it feels like to lose your uterus or your ovaries
And inside the emptiness of my missing womb
There is space
There is a hunger
To just be still
Cancer stopped me
From running
Trying to prove my worth
It stopped me
From apologizing for the truth

It made me stay in one place
For 6 months
It brought me back my sister
It allowed me to commune with my friends
It forced me to take in love
And be cared for, which made me human
It took away the privilege of the well
And made me a patient
It taught me a new kind of pain
And now I see even more clearly the sick, the poor, the raped and the oppressed and I know we are family
And the majority
And that what divides us is illusion
Created by our refusal to feel
Maintained and manipulated by those in power
And I know I almost died and that it was only a couple of inches
And a few months that kept me here
And I now live with death as my companion
And sometimes she scares me and sometimes
she comforts me
But mainly she inspires me to be braver
And I no longer have any desire to be invincible
Because it isn’t possible
Or accurate
I am vulnerable and porous
And outraged and crazy-happy and alive
And I know what care is
And what it isn’t
How someone can stick you with a needle
And never see you
Or they can stick you and take the time so it doesn’t hurt
And I fell in love with nurses
And I know that everything is ass-backwards
That we idolize people who steal our money and own everything, rather than those who get paid very little
To serve

And I know that chemo can be a metaphor
As well as a physical treatment
And that the poison is not meant for me
But the cancer
The perpetrators
The rapists
And it’s okay to imagine them dead, mutilated and destroyed
Because we need an outlet for our rage
I know that after I was battered for years by my father and raped by him I held his badness, as if it were my own
And that the surgery finally removed it
And the chemo burned it off
And I know that no one will ever again
Convince me I am bad
Nor will I tolerate being undermined
And undone
I know that the abscess that grew around my wound
After the operation
The 16 ounces of puss
Became the contaminated Gulf of Mexico
And the catheters they shoved into me without proper medication made me scream the way the earth cries out from the drilling

I know that everything is connected
And the scar that runs the length of my torso is the markings of an earthquake
And I am there with the 3 million
Who are living in the streets of Port au Prince
And the fire that burns in me on day 3 through 6 of treatment is the fire that is burning the forests of so much of the world

Cancer made it clear
That time is short

And we must decide
If we devote ourselves to wrestling power inside the crumbling walls of patriarchy
If we are ready and brave enough to build the new world

And after searching for so many years to figure out what we are doing here
I finally get that we are being alive
And there must be time to linger
And time to enjoy
And time to remember
And time for nothing
And everything is precious
The Indian sari curtains glittering in late summer sun
The man petting his ugly dog in the park
The morning fog
The coconut popsicle

And I know that avoiding suffering is impossible

Stop defending against what is being done
Stop pretending you don’t see the ragged man with his arm outstretched
Or hearing the cries of the earth being slaughtered
Or rationalizing the immoral war being fought in your name
Or finding ways to let famous rapists off the hook
Stop spending 900 billion dollars on unjust wars
While 30 million Americans are unemployed
Or justifying one genocide by another
Or burying your own story because you think you can’t bear how much it hurts

Dying is the only way of being born

My cancer is blessedly gone now
My hair is growing back
I have a scar
A warrior track that runs down
My 57-year-old body
Each time I look at it I am reminded that I was opened up in order to remove the darkness
I was laid bare in order to be free of the pain
I surrendered in order to find my power
Each time I see my scar
I am reminded that I was lucky
That I had insurance
That I could afford the most extraordinary and loving surgeons and doctors
That I was surrounded by an embarrassment of love and friends and family who bought me soup and presents
And rubbed my feet and made me eggs at 6 in the morning when I was ready to throw up
I am reminded that I mattered
And because of that I recovered
I know that every single person deserves this attention
Every single person
And so my scar has become a permanent tattoo
Calling for inclusion and joy

I know that what truly kept me alive is the women of Congo
Whenever I grew despondent
Or sorry for myself
I would think of the women and girls
Who still dance after 6 million
Of their brothers and sisters have perished from the earth

Who still dance even after the international power elite has forsaken them for 13 years
Who dance now knowing that V-Day’s City of Joy will open February 4th
And they will have their place, their fields
Their village to turn their pain to power
And become leaders in their world

How blessed I am to be forever linked with their destiny
I could not die
Simply until they were safe and free and running things

I bow to the women of Congo and thank them for saving my life

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on POWERFUL,PAINFUL & MOVING




‘Free’ Schools project flounders

Michael Gove’s ‘Free’ School proposals are running into widespread opposition.

‘Free’ Schools are schools that are to be run by businesses or charities. They will not be part of Local Authority planning, and as such the opening of a ‘Free’ School is likely to lead to the closure of other schools. It is market madness being brought into education.

The following are useful articles, all from the last week, outlining Gove’s problems.






Trafford Academy defeated

Parents opposing the proposed Trafford Academy, merging Lostock College and Stretford High, called in the Independent Schools Adjudicator. He upheld the parents objections and ruled that the schools should remain open.


New Literature from the Education unions

ATL Academies toolkit

Growing opposition in the Labour Party

North East Somerset Labour Party has joined the campaign opposing the government’s headlong rush to school academies.

Anti Academies Alliance Financial Appeal

The Anti Academies Alliance has launched a Financial Appeal to help build the opposition to Academies and ‘Free’ Schools.
Read our Appeal, and download the leaflet, here

How can the Anti Academies Alliance help your school?

In the last few weeks a number of schools have approached us to help them campaign against Academy proposals that are being pushed on them.
The Anti Academies Alliance is happy to work with head teachers, governors, parents and staff to develop a campaign to prevent your school becoming an Academy.
Please contact the office if you need help.

TUC conference: The future for our schools

The TUC have organised a major conference on education on Saturday 27th November.
More details and registration here

Anti Academies Alliance AGM
The Anti Academies Alliance AGM will be held on Saturday 15th January in Central London. More information to follow.


Gove accused of meddling as he backs academy chain’s ‘hostile’ bid

Gove’s 25 year old ex adviser given Free Schools contract

Interview with Andy Burnham, shadow education secretary

Catholic Bishops to discuss Academies

Special Needs pupils hit by cuts

Warship producer can help you become an Academy

More news stories here

Anti Academies Newspaper – Orders over 60,000

Over 60,000 newspapers have now been despatched around the country and are being distributed to parents, teachers, governors.
It includes updates on the impact of the Academies Act, the case against ‘Free’ schools, who loses? consultation, campaign news.
Please download the order form and post in your order here
Or email in your order and we will send you an invoice.

Anti Academies DVD

We have an excellent new 13 minute DVD outlining the case against Academies and ‘Free’ Schools.
It is perfect for union meetings / parent meetings / campaign meetings.
If you would like a copy they are £10 to union groups / £2 to parent and campaign groups. Send orders to the office and we will despatch them with an invoice.

Campaign materials

Make your campaign stall / meeting complete with Stickers / Balloons / Mugs / T Shirts

Having trouble keeping up with the news on Academies and Free Schools?

You can follow the Anti Academies Alliance on
Facebook –!/pages/Anti-Academies-Alliance/178831804728?ref=ts
Twitter –
Summary of Twitter news –

Posted in EducationComments Off on SAY NO TO ACADEMY SCHOOLS


October 30, 2010

by crescentandcross   Quantcast

(c) 2010 by Waqar H. Rizvi, News Anchor/Commentator–Press TV

One can only laugh at the desperation shown when a government resorts to “terrorist threats” whenever it needs to garner enough support for its sinister plans.

Department of Homeland Security statement: “[Commercial airline passengers are being told to expect] an unpredictable mix of security layers that include explosives trace detection, advanced imaging technology, canine teams and pat downs, among others.”

That ought to be the right dose of fear. So, how did things get so bad?

Well for one, there was news of the US spending double in the following years on intelligence agencies since 2007, while misplacing, for lack of a better word, some 18 billion dollars in Afghanistan. But, wait, this isn’t about THAT silly, it’s about suspicious packages emanating from Yemen, found on planes headed to the US. The boogeyman’s out to attack the freedoms and rights Americans enjoy!

The boogeyman really hates American elections, be they presidential, mid-term, or the like. He hates democracy. After all, how else can one explain how he’s managed to rear his ugly, unwanted, and fear-instilling head every time the US public has been set to vote, recently?

The alternate reality: that of Obama instilling fear to win an election, is just too implausible a scenario for anyone in their right, patriotic, and brainwashed mind to accept.

Facts such as…

– Gibbs dodging a direct question by a journalist on whether this was a ploy to garner votes.

– the US using the term ” apparently contained explosive materials”, right before backtracking and saying this still does present “a credible terrorist threat”

… and many others, cannot be but simple coincidences. Right?

Much applause is being directed towards Obama and his team for not only discovering the threat before the first package was even spotted, but also acting swiftly in reaction. This is all down to “good intelligence” and the partnership with allies around the world. Allies like Saudi Arabia, were Wahhabism emanates from and where Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other extemists receive their most warped-ideology. But thats not important. Saudis are allies.

Whats important is to loudly ask: “Was this a dry-run, a test of US security measures? Who in Yemen sent this and why?” Remember here that it’s been claimed the 9/11 hijackers put forth dry-runs as well, in order to test US security at the time. THAT certainly didn’t go well!

Back to the nightmare at hand. All those addressed were in the US. Let’s also throw in a spicy tidbit: those addressed were synagogues. To that, Linda Haase, associate vice president of the Jewish United Fund and Jewish Federation of Chicago said: “Sadly, this is not the first time the Jewish community has had to deal with a security issue.” A terrorism expert on CNN was quick to snap: “This was an attempted Anti-Semitic attack.”

Words are important people. Israel needs every opportunity possible to garner undying support for its brutal occupation. Question not the Jewish state’s actions, for the world hates the Jewish people, and they must protect themselves. The cost or method is not important.

Whose being praised is important too..

The White House says communication among US intelligence agencies and between these agencies and foreign counterparts played a big part. So, in other words, don’t you dare, be you a concerned-Senator or citizen, question funding for the wars, intelligence services, security contractors, weapons manufacturers, bribes for allies, etc. All this money we, as the US government, are spending on your safety, though you may not have food on your table or a roof over your heads. Question not our motives, while we finance these berserk goals with YOUR hard-earned money, of which you have none left now anyhow!

It’s all really very clear. The war-mongers have to win these mid-terms, and for that they have to keep fear alive. Fear of fellow Muslim Americans who are out to take over hallowed grounds, and destroy every freedom, right, and privilege you enjoy living in the land of the free. Silly me though. Gibbs says he wants you all to keep travelling and not put your holiday schedules on hold. Fear not, the skies are safe, even though “suspicious packages” were found on planes that were meant to blow you all up into the minutest of pieces. Got that?

Toner cartridges everywhere, beware; you’ve been discovered for what you really are!

(c) 2010 by Waqar H. Rizvi, News Anchor/Commentator–Press TV




Analysis: Anticipated shake-up of US political landscape won’t necessarily have major reverberations on the US-Israel relationship, peace talks.

 WASHINGTON – The negotiations between Israelis and Palestinian have entered a holding pattern while the sides wait for next Tuesday’s elections that are almost certain to give Republicans control of the US House of Representatives and possibly the Senate.

But the anticipated shake-up of the American political landscape won’t necessarily have major reverberations on the US-Israel relationship and American-brokered peace talks.

The White House is expected to give more attention to reinvigorating the stalled process after Election Day, but not to shift tactics.

“The expectation is that it will be back to business again, trying to get these talks moving and trying to get the two sides to sit down to business,” said one Israeli official, speaking as the sides remained deadlocked. Israel refuses to renew its freeze on construction in the settlements and the Palestinians continue to make the freeze a condition for negotiating.

Though some observers have suggested a vocal Republican congressional majority – regarded as strongly supportive of Israel and willing to oppose signs of pressure on Jerusalem – could put the brakes on Obama’s efforts, an Israeli official disagreed.

“It would be a mistake for any policy maker in Israel to think, come November 3, that because it’s a Republican Congress we’re going to have an easier or better time than we’ve had before. It won’t make a difference,” he said. “Foreign policy is dictated by the White House, and Congress and the administration are going to be preoccupied with dealing with the economic situation.”

At the same time, he said he has seen no sign that the White House would do anything more than continue its intensive efforts to get the talks back on track, despite speculation that US President Barack Obama might come down harder on Israel to compromise on settlements after the focus on midterm elections – and its domestic politics – are behind him.

The Israeli official gave late winter as the earliest time-frame for America to come forward with its own bridging proposals, in a scenario in which negotiations resumed in the near future.

That would be soon after Republicans take the reins of Congress in January, if the elections go their way. In the House, where the GOP is most likely to take control, several key Israel allies would be in line to assume key positions, though they’d generally be replacing Democrats who are themselves strongly pro-Israel.

Eric Cantor of Virginia, currently minority whip, would be almost certain to become majority leader in place of Maryland’s Steny Hoyer. That would make Cantor the highest- ranking Jewish Republican in House history.

Howard Berman, a Jew from California, would lose the chairmanship of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, but the latter is considered staunchly supportive of Israel.

“I think you’ll see slightly more friendly [congressional] leadership, but usually both parties are quite friendly toward Israel,” said Tevi Troy, a Jewish liaison in the George W. Bush White House, of a potential Republican shift.

But he suggested that a Republican Congress could still complicate Israel’s position, hypothesizing that if Obama finds his domestic agenda “stymied” by the GOP, he could intensify his foreign policy efforts.

“You might have a situation where Congress is more friendly to Israel but it ends up with Israel being pressed more as a result, although indirect,” Troy said.

Other Israel supporters are worried that a Republican Party increasingly conservative and influenced by Tea Party candidates who prioritize budget-cutting could hurt US aid to Israel.

Cantor, responding to a question about the growing Republican tendency to vote against foreign aid, told JTA that he would seek to put Israel aid in a category separate from the general foreign aid budget.

“Part of the dilemma is that Israel has been put in the overall foreign aid looping,” he said. “I’m hoping we can see some kind of separation in terms of tax dollars going to Israel.”

But that kind of change could set Israel on a dangerous course, warned National Jewish Democratic Council President David Harris.

“It’s a strategy the organized pro- Israel community has opposed,” Harris said of similar suggestions to change the source of Israel aid allocations in the past. “Politically, it’s not the wisest move to separate Israel from every other country in the world and from every other constituency in the country.”

He argued that a Republican vote against foreign aid would be a sign of a policy of isolation, which also bodes ill for Israel.

Still, Harris acknowledged that even if Democrats retain the House, it would be by a very slim margin that would complicate legislative efforts.

The Israeli official said that either way support for the Jewish state would be widespread.

“We might have a strong Congress, slightly more vocal in support of Israel,” he said of a Republican victory, but he pointed to a recent letter supporting Israel in its peace efforts signed by 87 senators.

“We’re in pretty good shape regardless of whether Republicans take over the House or not,” he said.

source–Jerusalem Post




Party’s right flank protests the peace process and the proposed freeze on settlement construction.

By Jonathan Lis

Likud activists who oppose the settlement freeze have set up a protest movement against the peace process and the continued construction moratorium in the West Bank. The group is modeled after the far-right conservative Tea Party movement in the United States.

The Israeli group will hold a rally Sunday at the Zionist Organization of America House in Tel Aviv, under the banner “Saying No to Obama,” where they plan to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policy and the American pressure on Israel to renew the settlement construction freeze.

danon - David Bachar - October 28 2010 Danny Danon.
Photo by: David Bachar

Likud activists said yesterday that their Tea Party will be the opening shot in their efforts to stop the peace process entirely. They said Israel’s commitment to negotiations stems only from inertia and habit, rather than a real need or interest on Israel’s part.

Knesset members Danny Danon, Ayoob Kara and Yariv Levin are among the Likud lawmakers who have agreed to participate in Sunday’s rally. Former MK Michael Kleiner, who initiated the event, believes it will trigger a popular wave of protest that will counter U.S. President Barack Obama’s pressure on Netanyahu and prevent the freeze on construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem from being continued.

On the Facebook page set up by the group’s activists, they wrote that the decision to form an Israeli Tea Party came from a deep sense of frustration with what they see as a political vacuum in the right wing.

“We believe there is no buffer on the political map separating leaders from making decisions on the peace process that are disastrous and dangerous to Israel,” the activists wrote.

“The Iranian nuclear issue is also only a guise to weakness and allows us to be dragged into making ‘gestures,’ and enacting conciliatory policy and concessions in negotiations with someone who, apart from promising terror, cannot give us a thing,” the group’s Facebook page says.


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