Archive | November 6th, 2010



November 6, 2010

by Raja Mujtaba  

By Air Commodore (R ) Khalid Iqbal While in India, President Obama is poised to walk a tight rope. Pre-trip speculations in India, centred on unrealistic “deliverables” like agreements on export controls, resolution of the nuclear liability problem, military supply.


agreements, cooperation in the domain of upper space, American nod for a permanent seat in UNSC etc.

Actually Obama does not have a “deliverable” of the size and magnitude of what his predecessors had. There will be a few run of the mill agreements on security and economic cooperation, including on military sales like C17 military transport aircraft. There could be symbolic touching of some other domains as well. Gap between the expectations and the reality of this summit is likely to be enormous which could be made-up by louder oratory about renewed commitment of close cooperation on high sounding ideals, mostly the intangibles.

Symbolically, India is all set to generate pressure waves against Pakistan. Making 26/11 commemoration at Taj Hotel as the starting event of Obama’s visit was squarely aimed at that. The issue of David Headley has recently been stirred up for similar purpose. This dubious RAW-cum-FBI agent is known for maligning Pakistani institutions, on behest of its pay masters, especially in connection with the unfortunate Mumbai incident of 26/11.

This visit is taking place when US-India relations are in a ‘recession’. India feels sore that even after obliging America through multi-billion dollar investment in Afghanistan; America is not sponsoring India for a ‘heir apparent’ status in post America Afghanistan. The United States is unlikely to sponsor the kind of military role that India envisages to have.

Likewise, Americans are perturbed that instead of reciprocating out-of-the way favour of ‘Agreement 123’, India has literally closed the door for American firms by inserting a clause in its domestic liabilities statute  that binds the suppliers for compensation in case of an accident. ‘Civil Liability for the Nuclear Damages Bill, 2010,’ was envisaged to be the last stage towards completion of the dubious Civilian Nuclear deal, but now it effectively undermines the very (ulterior) motives for which America concluded the dubious ‘Agreement 123’.

Indian legislation is inconsistent with existing international standards governing nuclear commerce, which place liability exclusively with the operator of a nuclear reactor while immunizing its suppliers.  The Indian law, however, renders both suppliers and operators liable for eighty years after the construction of the reactor. India’s post haste joining of convention on ‘Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage’ is not likely to divert attention from an anti- America domestic law. Kashmir issue is another point of disagreement.

The intifada that exploded this summer in Kashmir can not be ignored by the visiting President. During the recent months there have been numerous incidents of brutal use of force by the Indian security forces in IHK. Human rights violations in IHK have been brought to light by many international agencies of repute. Prior to reverting to the status of ‘Candidate Obama’, for re-election, President Obama is keen to see tangible progress towards settlement of Kashmir dispute.

His credibility is at stake. If Indian’s do not fall inline, Obama will have little option but to have direct contact with the parties representing political resistance against the Indian occupation of Kashmir, say on the pattern of Presidential liaisons with Dalai Lama. President Obama’s vision of nuclear weapons free world is held hostage to intricately (read mischievously) intertwined Indian policies of nuclear security and power generation.

India has already piled up 1300 tons of reactor grade fissile material churned out by its nuclear power reactors over the previous years. One of the Indian nuclear explosions of 1998 was done by using reactor grade Plutonium. It is this conundrum that has compelled Pakistan to block the negotiations on Fissile Material Treaty (FMT), at the Conference of Disarmament. Despite pressuring Pakistan to fall in line on FMT issue, Americans know it well that spoiler is someone else. Pakistan’s principal worry is the perpetually snowballing disparity with the Indian stockpile of fissile material which threatens the strategic stability in the region. Current impasse on FMT emanates from India’s nuclear energy policy rather than its nuclear strategy. Likewise, India’s ambitious plans for Fast Breeder Reactor technology have serious implications for the nuclear stability in the region. Therefore, any progress on the FMT would only be possible if India is willing to separate the domains of nuclear energy from that of nuclear security.

China is likely to figure extensively in the private talks. Since cold war days, India has been on American retainer-ship as a cheap deterrent against China. Now China has outgrown the capacity of this deterrence. America views China as a cornerstone of Asian stability; this is nightmarish for Indian strategists who continue to live in yesteryears. With Japan, China and Russia firm and fit, Indian dream of regional leadership is in disarray. There is not much that Obama could do to alter Asia’s natural power equilibrium. The United States is betting the future of its role in Asia on the development of broad-based diverse power structures, of which India is only a small component.

Recently, India’s multiple weaknesses have been exposed. Management of ‘Common Wealth Games’ has demonstrated that India still has the capacities of a typical developing state. While reporting that India is home of the largest population of hungry in the world, the ‘Global Hunger Index 2010’ has placed India in the pit of shame. India was ranked 67th among 84 hungry countries of the world.

An international report submitted by ‘Save the Children Fund’ on the eve of recent UN Summit on Millennium Development Goals shows that over 5,000 children succumb to malnutrition every day; India has once again topped the global ranking. United Nations’ 2010 Human Resource Index places India at 119th position out of 169 countries. Recent anti-outsourcing legislation by America and the ensuing rise in visa fees for Indian companies would cast a shadow over trade talks.

The business process industry brings billions of dollars to India each year; it employs around 2 million personnel. New legislation is expected to cost Indian IT enterprises up to $200 million per year. Keeping in views the urgency of creating more jobs for Americans, President Obama will not be able to alter the relevant law.

Much of the apparent strength of US-India relations is illusory. From Indian perspective it is based on its eagerness to strengthen negative images like anti China, anti Pakistan, monopoly over Indian Ocean, undercover vertical nuclear proliferation, weaponisation of outer space etc.

The United States can no longer afford to carry along such baggage. The only way forward for the US is to work more closely with China. The stark reality is an ascendant China and a beleaguered America, groping for a way out of Asia. Overwhelming convergence of strategic interests between the US and India is unlikely. Despite Obama’s compulsion to accrue Indian contracts for cash starved American military industrial complex, the US is not likely to cross redlines in its policies towards Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and may be Iran; just to appease India. The summit is likely to be more of style than substance. Air Cdre Khalid is Masters in

Political Science along with War and Strategic Studies. He has also done Air War

Course, Fellow of Air War College. Instructor’s Course. Senior Command & Staff course. Combat Commander’s Course. He has been a Directing Staff at various institutions of Pakistan Air Force. Presently he is a visitng faculty at:

  • PAF air War College (Staff Wing &War Wing).

  • School of Army Air Defence.

  • Naval War College, Lahore.

  • Quaid-i- Azam University (DSS Department).

  • He is a regular contibutor to Opinion Maker and Member Board Of Advisors.




November 6, 2010

by Debbie Menon

By Neve Gordon –  London Review of Books blog

Would Meryl Streep, Spike Lee, Tim Robbins or Susan Sarandon be willing to swear an oath of loyalty to the United States and its policies in order to receive public funding for feature films that they star in, direct or produce?

In Israel, the far-right Knesset member Michael Ben Ari has proposed a bill that would require entire film crews to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, and to declare loyalty to its laws and symbols, as a condition for receiving public funding. It’s just one of more than ten bills to be discussed during the Knesset’s winter session that several commentators in Ha’aretz have characterised as proto-fascist.

As in most democracies, all new Israeli citizens must declare loyalty to the state and its laws, but the cabinet last month decided to support (22 in favour, 8 against) an amendment to Israel’s citizenship law that would require all newly naturalised citizens to declare loyalty to the Jewish character of the state. In Britain, this would be like requiring Jews, Muslims and atheists who wish to become citizens to declare loyalty not only to the laws of the United Kingdom but also to the Church of England.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has warned that this amendment, which will soon become law, is the tip of an iceberg. Some of the bills now going through the Knesset, which have a good chance of being ratified, would make support for an alternative political ideology, such as the idea that Israel should be a democracy for all its citizens, a crime.

A proposed amendment to the existing anti-incitement bill, for instance, stipulates that people who deny Israel’s Jewish character will be arrested. This extension to the penal code, which has already passed its preliminary reading, incriminates a political view. Another bill lays the groundwork for turning down candidates for membership in communal settlements built on public land if they do not concur with the settlement committee’s political views or are adherents of a different religion. The point of this is to make it legal to deny Palestinian citizens of Israel access to Jewish villages.

Still another bill that has already passed its first reading stipulates that institutions marking the Palestinian Nakba of 1948 will be denied public funds. This is like denying public funding to schools in the United States that wish to commemorate slavery or to memorialise the crimes perpetrated against Native Americans.

Then there is a bill against people who initiate, promote, or publish material that might serve as grounds for imposing a boycott against Israel. According to this proposed law, which has also passed a preliminary reading, anyone proven guilty of supporting a boycott will be ordered to pay affected parties about $8000 without the plaintiff’s need to demonstrate any damages.

Finally, eight Knesset members are proposing a bill to ban residents of East Jerusalem from operating as tour guides in the city, potentially putting hundreds out of work. The rationale behind this is that Palestinian residents of Jerusalem should not be certified guides because they do not represent Israel’s national interest well enough ‘and in an appropriate manner’.

The sudden spate of these bills at this historical juncture is no coincidence. The struggle between the democratic demand that all citizens be treated equally and Zionism’s hyper-nationalist ideal seems to have been determined once and for all: Zionism’s aspiration to promote democratic values is giving way to its nationalist ethos.

Neve Gordon is a professor of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He writes on issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and human rights. A third-generation Israeli, Gordon did his military service in a IDF Paratrooper unit. During the first Intifada he served as director of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel. He identifies himself as a member of the Israeli peace camp, has described Israel as an ‘apartheid state‘ and supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel movement.

Posted in CampaignsComments Off on GORDON: THOUGHTCRIMES





Tags: anti-Jewish racism, Anti-Muslim Bigots, Anti-Muslim Racism, antifascism, antisemitism, EDL, Gilad Atzmon, Islamophobia And Antisemitism, neo-fascism, SWP, Unite Against Fascism | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

There is a problem in Britain and parts of Europe, that problem is anti-Muslim bigotry.

Most of it seems to be a refocused form of existing xenophobia and racism, that are common to many European countries, including Britain, on the weakest.

The levels of social deprivation and poverty faced by many Asians in Britain is well-known and documented, but more so in areas where there is a predominantly Muslim mix. They are often treated like second class citizens. Bigots and neofascists like picking on who they see as weak or vulnerable, that’s why they pick on Muslims for the moment. Their targets have changes over the decades, other ethnic minorities, but the bigot’s and neo-fascist’s basic methods haven’t, stir up hatred.

Modern day neo-fascist in the English Defence League want to use anti-Muslim bigotry to ferment racial hatred in Britain, to start riots and conflict, as the EDL’s recent actions show

This type of bigotry however it masks itself should be combated, from the violent racism of the EDL to the casual anti-Muslim joke. It is wrong and socially cancerous to society and individuals.

So I welcomed the recent Unite Against Fascism initiative against Islamophobia and other forms of racism.

Others might have their reservations concerning the UAF, as a SWP front, but I think if they are going to combat racism that I am prepared to pass over, momentarily, the SWP’s previous mistakes, whilst they do good work.

Astute readers will notice that the original letter from the UAF includes a passage deploring the rise of antisemitism as well, which is to be welcomed:

“We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned by the rise in fascism, Islamophobia, antisemitism and racism. The English Defence League has organised events across the country, stirring up hatred, Islamophobia and racism – running riot in some cases and provoking violent attacks on Muslim, black and Asian communities and on Mosques and Mandirs (Hindu temples)

Imagine, however, my surprise when I read an email on the 6th November’s event and saw something missing.

Yes, that’s right, opposition to antisemitism had somehow been dropped from the event’s main propaganda. There’s a small bit is on a flyer and a previous email, but all of the Facebook links leave it out.

I assumed it was a simple slipup, so I looked on the Facebook page of the UAF.

Nothing mentioning *specifically* opposition to antisemitism, as the letter had.


So I asked a question or 2+ in their comments boxes, but didn’t receive terribly illuminating replies.

In fact, the UAF replies were tetchy, defensive and avoided dealing with my questions, directly. I suppose the UAFers didn’t know what was going on, but couldn’t exactly admit it.

Now I’m prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt in this instance, but I think that the UAF should employ better proof readers and make sure that they don’t forget about opposition to antisemitism in all of their documentation.

The UAF need to spell out their opposition to antisemitism on Facebook and in their links, clearly, and not make it appear as an afterthought.




Gove to force so called ‘failing’ schools to become Academies?

In a recent speech Michael Gove has made it clear that he  will use his powers to take over

schools he considers to be failing.
“For some years, we have also had powers on the statute book for the Secretary of State to intervene

directly in failing schools. The new Academies Act enables me to make an Academy Order in respect of

any school that is eligible for intervention. This includes, specifically, schools that Ofsted has judged to

require special measures or significant improvement or which have failed to respond to a valid warning

He is clearly working with Academy sponsors to arrange for them to take over more of our schools.
More here

Government to allow private companies to distribute education funds?

“The Secretary of State for Education has today allocated £110 million to establish an education endowment

fund (EEF) designed to raise standards in underperforming schools. The EEF will distribute money to local

authorities, academy sponsors, charities and other groups that bring forward innovative proposals to improve performance in our most challenging schools”
The organisation which will distribute these funds will not be the government, organisations are being

encouraged to bid to run the EEF.
So a private company will then be in control of deciding if a Local Authority or Academy should get the

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.
CASE conference
Campaign for State Education conference Saturday 20th November. 
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.

Reject Arne Duncan’s Chicago Charter school model

Constraints put pressure on Tory pledge

Michael Gove: the teacher of the future?

Are free schools a disaster? | Education | The Guardian

A covert war on schools

Manchester Academies unpopular

More news stories here
Anti Academies Newspaper
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 ANTI-ACADEMIES




Dear,Last week, the oldest and most respected Jewish paper in the United

States,the Jewish Daily Forward, did the unimaginable. They named Rebecca Vilko-

merson, the director of of Jewish Voice for Peace, one of the top 50 Jewish

leaders in the United States.

Rebecca’s inclusion on the list is really a symbol of JVP becoming a

force that cannot be ignored. It is a stunning acknowledgement of the

work of  the staff, board, chapters and countless volunteer activists

who have spent years making Jewish Voice for Peace what it is, a sign

of our extraordinary progress. Today, we are the only national U.S.

Jewish group that fights for full equality for Israelis and Palestinians.

We can’t stop now. We’ve got our foot in the door – and now it’s time to kickit

wide open. And, we need your help to do it.

You see, to be acknowledged for our influence in the Jewish world is nearly

unthinkable. We’ve been handed a moment to exponentially increase that

influence. We’ve got to be louder, stronger and bigger – and that means finding

more and more people who, like you, are willing to speak the truth, to speak of

peace, to dissent with us.

This isn’t just our idea, though. When a couple of donors heard the news

about Rebecca’s inclusion in Forward, they came to us and asked, “What’s

the most important thing we can do to make the most of this moment?”,

the answer seemed obvious.
We said, Help us be louder and stronger and bigger and more effective

than ever.

So they made us an offer, ”For every person who adds their name to the

Jewish Voice for Peace email list, we’ll donate a dollar.”

They’ve promised us $15,000 if we can get 15,000 new people on our e-list.

All you have to do is have your friends paste this URL into their browser:

Please forward this email to your friends, along with your note about why you

 stand for a just peace. Every voice counts.


Penny Rosenwasser,
Founding Board Member
Jewish Voice for Peace

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on KICKING THE DOOR DOWN



27 October 2010

To Corporate Trade Unions

By Post and Email

Dear Colleague

Housing and Constituencies Services Review

Trade Union Consultation – Section 188 Notice

This notice is issued under Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations

(Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULR(C)A 1992) to advise you of Birmingham City

Council’s proposals which have the potential for redundancies within the Housing

and Constituencies Directorate.

Within the current financial cycle for 2010/11 Constituencies are delivering

significant revenue budget efficiencies. In future years these savings targets

will increase as part of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan for 2011/12

onwards, to respond to the impact of the Government Spending Review. This

will also impact on services funded by Area Based Grant and other time

limited external funding programmes such as Working Neighbourhoods Fund.

There is, therefore, a need to explore and determine how this and future years

financial targets will impact on Constituency Services. Each Constituency has

developed business cases to achieve the required savings this year in

advance of the more far reaching proposals required for future years.

The proposals in the business cases include, but not exclusively, the

following service areas:

Community Libraries

Community and Play

Sports and Leisure

Ward Support

Management and Administration

Constituency Engineers

Business cases for each Constituency are attached or will be supplied as part

of the consultation process.

Note – teams affected by the Neighbourhood Office Future Operating Model

are being addressed under a separate process as part of the Customer First

Business Transformation Programme and are not included within this

consultation exercise.

The proposals have a potential to be wide ranging and to affect a cross

section of staff within the Constituencies. Information detailed below will be

subject to further refinement as the position becomes more clearly

understood through ongoing developments and consultations.

School Crossing Patrols

Proposed Approach to Consultations:

Consultation has been ongoing in relation to the 2010/11 efficiencies and their

impact on Constituency staffing in each of the service areas outlined above.

Further consultation is proposed to finalise the 2010/11 budget reductions and

to commence early consultation on the emerging proposals for future years.

The business cases for 2010/11 efficiency proposals have been prepared on

a Constituency basis and it is proposed that each will be brought together on

a service area basis i.e. Community Libraries, Sport and Leisure etc so that

Trade Unions and Staff can engage at a service wide level as well as a

Constituency specific level.

It is proposed that the consultation period should commence on


given that the potential number of redundancies is more than 100. As

consultations progress, the duration of the consultation exercise will be

reviewed and extended where appropriate. We will notify the unions if that is

our intention and will confirm this in writing.

As indicated, both formal and informal consultation meetings have been

taking place with the unions and staff, who are aware of the issues being

faced. The formal collective consultation will, therefore, run in parallel with

on-going communications with staff.

27 Octoberfor a period of at least 90 days in line with the statutory requirement

Strategy to Mitigate the Effects of Redundancy:

The issue of this notice in no way affects the Council’s commitment to take all

reasonable steps to avoid or reduce the numbers of proposed

redundancies, or to mitigate the effects of the potential redundancies. The

Council is committed to seeking to minimise the number of any resulting


A number of actions to avoid the need for compulsory redundancy and to

mitigate its effects have already been introduced across the Council, in

response to the ongoing financial situation. These include:-

process to minimise any increase in headcount and to maximise the

Council’s ability to redeploy staff at risk.

The introduction of recruitment controls and a corporate moderation

explore suitable, alternative employment within Birmingham City

Council for any displaced staff and facilitating appropriate training and

development opportunities to aid such transition.

Using In-Source services, including the Priority Movers register, to

staff to help them in their transition to roles outside the organisation, if


Outplacement support to be provided through In-Source for displaced

through the selection process.

Interview technique support for affected staff that will be going

Voluntary Redundancy. In addition to this, corporate unions are

currently involved in discussions to support a City wide exercise to

invite staff to apply for voluntary redundancy.

Following earlier initial consultation with trade unions, the Housing and

Constituencies Directorate has introduced options for:

Considering applications for Voluntary Early Retirement and

Containing non-employee expenditure and increasing income

Deleting posts through natural wastage wherever possible

displaced staff

Holding of available vacancies within the Directorate for potentially

Reducing the usage of agency and temporary staff

Numbers and descriptions of employees at risk of redundancy

At the date of this notice, the number of employees that are considered as

being potentially at risk of redundancy in this area are

:173 (90.3 fte posts).

Definitive figures for each business case will develop through consultation.

The summary of how these numbers have been reached is attached at

Appendix 1. As part of the consultation process we wish to consult with you

on the numbers that we have identified at Appendix 1. These numbers and

roles may therefore change during the consultation process.

Selection method

The selection method for potential redundancy will be the subject of

consultation with the Trade Unions. The approach to selection will be

informed by any existing corporate policy and/or guidelines on redundancy

selection and organisational design and strategy.

The individuals displaced as a result of the selection process will be at risk of

redundancy and placed on the Priority Movers Register.

Method of carrying out proposed redundancies

Birmingham City Council will seek to make efforts to mitigate potential

redundancies. However, if after meaningful consultation has taken place,

compulsory redundancies are unavoidable, dismissals will be effected by the

issue of notice of termination for the relevant statutory period, in accordance

with the Council’s agreed corporate procedures.

Calculation method of redundancy payments

If Birmingham City Council is not able to secure suitable alternative

employment for staff, resulting in compulsory redundancies, then any

payments will follow the statutory redundancy payment process. However,

weekly pay will be calculated at actual pay and not the capped statutory level.

Yours faithfully

Elaine Elkington

Strategic Director – Housing and Constituencies


Summary Affected Roles*

Total Roles: All Constituencies

People Posts

All Constituencies Total

Roles by Service: All Constituencies

All Constituencies People Posts

173 90.3

Management 1 0.5

Neighbourhood Offices 11 10.5

Libraries 6 3.3

Sports and Leisure 113 52.8

Community Development 42 23.2

Constituency Services 0 0

Engineers 0 0


Total Roles: By Constituency

People Posts


173 90.30 0


19 12.7

Hall Green

94 41.1

Hodge Hill

8 4


30 16


1 1

Perry Barr

7 7

Sutton Coldfield

0 0

Selly Oak

2 0.44


12 8.1


* All numbers relating to people are assumed until substantive post-holder details can be confirmed

and relates to the 2010/11 business cases. Additional business cases will need to be developed.

173 90.3

Total Number of Employees of Each Description Employed at

the Establ ishment in Question

The employees covered by this consul tat ion not ice are

employed under the condi t ions of employment of the NJC for

Local Government Services Employees body.

Detai ls of the potent ial redundancies analysed by

establ ishment and grade are as fol lows:-

Grade Number of Existing


Proposed Number of


Number of Potential

Employees Affected

Grade 1 2 (0.8fte)

Grade 2 9 (5.05fte)

Grade 3 4 (3fte)

Grade 4 12 (10.9fte)

Grade 5 17 (17fte)

Grade 6 1 (1fte)

Grade 7 N/A

Other* 128 (52.6fte)

Total 173 (90.34fte)

The numbers of potent ial redundancies set out in the table

above are correct as at the date of this not ice but they are

subject to change, pending further invest igat ions by the

organisat ion and the outcome of our consul tat ion. We

undertake to not i fy you in wri t ing during consul tation of

changes to these f igures as and when they occur.


issue the Not ice at this t ime, and in this way, so as to be as

transparent as possible and to ensure ef fect ive and

meaningful consul tat ion. It is our intent ion to t ry to reduce

the impact of any potent ial changes wi thin the workplace and

we hope that sharing the proposals at this stage wi l l assist

everyone involved.

Appendix 1 ident i f ies numbers of employees wi thin the

“af fected” and “possibly af fected” categories by Di rectorate

and by job role. These total a number of 173 (90.34f te)

Housing and Constituencies Directorate has decided to

* “Other” figure contains information on sessional staff paid at hourly

rates which do not fit within grade structure





28th October 2010

Dear All

I write to inform you that Corporate Trade Unions Representatives were issued with two Section 188 Notices yesterday (27/10/2010) covering :

(i) All Constituency Staff

(ii) All WNF or other externally funded staff employed in Constituencies

The areas currently under review are:

WNF/ other external funding sources – S188

Neighbourhood Management
Town Centre Management
Constituency Employment and Skills Co-ordination
Community Safety Management

Generic – S188

Community Libraries
Community and Play
Sports and Leisure
Ward Support
Management and Administration
Constituency Engineers
School Crossing Patrols

The Section 188 notice is the name given specifically to the written communication that is sent to the trade unions to mark the start of collective consultation. Employees may, however, also find this document useful.  A copy of these Notices is attached, for your information.

The issue of a Section 188 Notices begins formal consultation about the HR implications of :

(i) achieving the required budget savings for this and future financial years;

(ii) managing the end of various external funding streams, such as WNF.

Services are facing challenging in year efficiency targets and the impact of the Government Spending Review. Initial business cases for 2010/2011 have been developed and discussed informally with staff and local trade union colleagues. Many of the required savings for 2010/2011 have already been implemented.  However, additional savings will be required for future years.

We are consulting with staff and trade union colleagues to explore whether it is possible to avoid the need for redundancy, reduce the numbers of potential redundancies and/or mitigate the effects of any redundancies made.

A range of informal initiatives had been introduced within the Directorate as a means of avoiding the need for potential redundancies. Unfortunately, the nature of the challenges faced means that there is a potential scenario for posts to be made redundant.

The formal consultation processes will include discussions with trade unions via the Constituencies Joint Consultation Forum (CJCF) and further specific meetings about functional/service areas.  In addition, there will be group staff briefings (involving union representatives) and individual meetings will be arranged where appropriate.

An email address is being set up as an additional channel to support the consultation. It is anticipated that this will be “live” by the middle of next week. Whilst it will not be possible to guarantee that we can respond to individual queries directly, we will collate and respond to messages received at regular intervals through the consultation.

A proposed timetable of consultation has been prepared for discussion with the trade unions and so is subject to change. Further details will be provided in due course and will include arrangements for staff briefings and individual consultation. Staff and managers will also receive regular reports on the development of the consultation.

We will keep staff informed of developments and ongoing consultations. The views of staff will also be actively sought and considered during the consultation process.

In the meantime, should you have immediate queries or concerns, please contact myself and I will arrange to meet you individually or in groups (whichever you prefer).

You can also access useful information on People Solutions which covers a whole range of relevant issues including redundancy and redeployment.

I would be grateful if you would forward this email to all of your staff or work colleague and inform those staff who are without email access or who are absent due to maternity leave, long term sick leave etc.

Finally, I am sorry to have to write to you all in these terms but I thought it appropriate that I inform you personally of the situation.

Yours truly,

Bret Willers
Constituency Director
Hall Green Constituency                                






         *   The reunification of my parents


The reunification of my parents

Nov 05, 2010

Linah Alsaafin

DSC08829 Linah’s parents together in March, 2009

Yesterday my mother crossed the Allenby bridge, from the West Bank to Jordan, to see my father in Amman. What makes this banal act unusual is that she had to wait almost a year to be finally granted permission to cross the border.

Last year my brother wrote about my family’s series of unfortunate events which began in August 2009 – how we went from being British citizens living in our homeland on my dad’s one year work renewable visas, to plain old brown Palestinians forced to accept our Israeli-issued identity cards in order to be classified as ‘legal’ residents, which resulted our own mini diaspora. My brother and father, both born in the Gaza strip, have Gaza identity cards which of course bans them from entering the West Bank, where we were living.

My mother, despite being from the city of Albireh in the West Bank, was also inexplicably issued a Gaza ID, despite her owning her original West Bank ID. My younger brother and sister and I have West Bank ID’s, as we were registered under my mother’s original ID, further contributing to the confusion and idiotic regulations manned by the Israeli military. Subsequently, my father spent his time between Lebanon and Jordan, and my brother began new chapters of his life in Qatar and Virginia. They couldn’t come to us, and while my siblings and I could cross over to Amman (which served as our meeting point) my mother could not do the same.

The new astonishingly racist Israeli military order 1650 which was first used in April of this year only made matters worse. My mother was now regarded as an ‘infiltrator’. If caught in the West Bank, she could have faced up to seven years in prison or be deported back to Gaza. As her children, we would obviously follow her footsteps, because Zionism does not like the presumptuous notion of Palestinian families choosing where they want to live and raise their kids in their homeland. This past year has been terribly nerve-racking. Our emotions were taken on a non-stop rollercoaster ride-highs and lows and periods of blank insecurity.

My mother knew beforehand that her West Bank ID changed into a Gaza one and was already in contact with Gisha, the Israeli non-profit organization whose goal is to protect the rights of free movement of Palestinians, before calamity fell upon us in the shape of my father’s arrest at Erez checkpoint, where he had crossed many times before. Gisha then wanted to focus more on my father’s case and bring him back to the West Bank. That amounted to absolutely nothing, so in January, a month after my father was finally allowed to leave Gaza to work in Lebanon, my mother resumed contact. She wanted a piece of paper that would grant her access to the border crossing. After 11 months, her coordination paper finally came.

Waiting wasn’t easy. I had to deal with my parents’ unwanted and forced separation, and watched as my mother lost weight and woke up every day with puffy eyes. We’ve had skyping sessions with my father, which was such a bittersweet experience. My father had to go through his life without his wife or children with him, and sometimes this despairing emotion overwhelmed him. Of course we all kept in regular touch with each other-technology is beautiful in that way. I’ll never forget how we both broke down one time over the phone after I confessed that the only reason I was going through with university was because I knew how much joy and pride it would bring to him when I’d graduate, and how now it wouldn’t even matter because he wouldn’t be at my graduation.

I felt like a kid with divorced parents, “Ok are you going to spend Eid with Baba or here?” It wasn’t fair to leave my mother all alone on holidays, and it wasn’t fair for my father to be all alone either. I hated it. I hated the law enforcers of Israel so much. I hated the collaborative PA regime, I hated the Zionists, I hated being torn apart in my mind, I hated how after living in England and the UAE and the USA, coming back to our homeland eventually was what resulted in our bleak estrangement.


My mother signed up for consecutive months in a gym and in a way, that was her catharsis. Every week she’d call Gisha to see where their progress was heading, and every single time she received the same answer: In a couple more weeks we’ll know for sure, next month, give it one more week, and another. Summer arrived, and with it more arising uncertainties.

My father was having a really tough time coping by himself, and wanted us with him, permanently. My frustration grew. Transferring to another university that would post pone my graduation by up to two semesters? Pulling my sister out of her high school in her senior year to a different one? All of this, in our least favorite city in the world, Amman? It was too much. Selfishness wasn’t what I was going through, I managed to convince myself. I just couldn’t live in Amman. It’s another thing I hate.

Then one day, we got into contact with a lawyer. This lawyer said that in exactly a month, give or take a week, he’ll have my mother’s correct West Bank ID with him. We were tentative. But a given timeline was better than a forever extended one. My mother chose to go with the lawyer, and suspended talks with Gisha. Unfortunately, this particular lawyer was the definitive kind with upholding standards.

He called one Thursday in June, and told my mother that by Sunday the latest, she will finally have her West Bank ID. I had my friends over for a barbeque that day, and I had never felt so relieved, so happy when I heard the news. Sunday came and went. The next day, after calling him multiple times, he finally had the virtue of picking up and informing us that sorry, but there was nothing he could do. We were back to square one.

Talks were resumed with Gisha. Why was it taking so long? The coordination paper only takes a month to be issued! However, it took two months before the proper clerk in the PA told my mother that her coordination paper was rejected. She immediately got in touch with Gisha, who throughout this whole time were dealing with her ID problem, and they agreed to take over the coordination matter. They spoke in such a manner that led my mother to pack her suitcase. This was in August. The green suitcase was smack dab in the middle of her bedroom, and it was almost fully packed. She was hopeful that a breakthrough would come at last. She called my dad and asked him what he wanted from here, and she bought three kilos worth of roasted nuts.

I watched as those bags went into the suitcase, then out again a few weeks later. Then some hack from the PA’s Ministry of Interior called to say that there was nothing they could do from their side to change the Gaza ID into a West Bank one. I couldn’t understand where my mother’s optimism was coming from.

Two weeks later, we finally received the long awaited news. The coordination paper was out, and the Israeli military finally, belatedly admitted that they made a mistake in her address in her ID. They issued a permit that would now make it ‘legal’ for her to live in the West Bank, for six months. During that time, her correct ID should hopefully be given to her.They would correct, and this is important-correct not change-the address from Gaza to the West Bank. Now we could all see my father and brother (when he manages to get a few days off from work) in Amman, back and forth, on holidays, occasions, whenever we want. The green suitcase now included fresh roasted nuts and my father’s books for his research work. My mother busied herself at a salon, and came back with a new hairstyle, eye liner, and a smile that was beautiful and young in nature. A year and 3 months apart, reunited again tonight.

Yesterday, I received a call from my parents. Hearing both of their voices, talking excitedly at the same time, in the same room was music to my ears. My sister and I wanted to know the full details-did you both cry? I bet you did! What was it like, seeing other? What did you first think of? Are you holding hands now? Does Mama look any different to you? What did she say about your bald spot? Yes, we’re doing ok, we have enough food for three days. Can’t wait until next week (Eid al-Adha break) where we can be together again!

Our case in general is not a unique one. Who could forget the student studying at Bethlehem University, with only three credits to graduate, being arrested at a checkpoint and deported to Gaza because of her insidious crime of not owning the proper ID card? Or the many husbands and wives torn apart from each other and their children? Israel is running amok with its proud Apartheid stance, and I strongly believe that BDS is the sure path to toe Israel’s line.

Israel’s wretched controlling of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is of course illegal and not an action fitting for its ‘democratic’ nature. With awareness there comes boycott, and with boycott there comes international pressure, and with international pressure, there comes the breakdown and elimination of the Apartheid and occupying laws that have ruled us with an iron fist for too long now. My family’s story is still not complete, as my older brother and father still cannot be granted access to the West Bank. It is especially difficult to be uprooted from your homeland once, imagine how it feels like to go through the process twice.

Justice for Palestine.

Linah Alsaafin is a third-year student at Birzeit University in the West Bank, where she is studying English Literature. She’s been living in Ramallah, West Bank since 2004, and despite being only 50 miles away from her grandparents and uncles in the Gaza Strip, she hasn’t seen them since 2005. Alsaafin was born in Cardiff, Wales, and was raised in England, the United States, and Palestine.

Brooklyn-Jenin: Wars of the Jews

Nov 05, 2010

Udi Aloni

America, America

How odd are the leaders Jewish right-wing in the United States. On the one hand, they raise six million dollars to finance a PR war over Jews like me, members of Jewish Voice for Peace. This is an organization which acts, or so they claim, to delegitimize Israel for anti-Semitic reasons (and not because Israel is, heaven forbid, racist). On the other hand, they have the great temerity to call the greatest of rabbis, Sephardic rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a racist, and demand that the Ashkenazi Zionists denounce him thoroughly.

Truth be told, I never thought the Anti-Defamation League, headed by Abraham Foxman, would join our well-timed campaign to delegitimize Israel. But there you go, miracles happen even nowadays, and here he is, bad-mouthing the leader of Shas, the third or fourth largest political party in Israel and a partner in Israeli governments for generations. He calls it a racist party, and if it is racist then the government is racist and that means that the state is racist. That’s how it happens that Foxman and his organizations start understanding the depth of unimaginable racism which has seeped into Israel on the one hand, and on the other hand they denounce the humanist Jewish Voice For Peace organization, which has been fighting against that self-same racism for years, which Foxman, now suddenly can see.

What was it that the Honorable Rabbi Ovadia said, which so horrified the Jews of America? He said that in Messianic times, the role of the goyim (gentiles) will be to serve the Jews. I imagine that if the Honorable Rabbi would have said Muslims rather than Goyim Mr. Foxman would have overlooked it. But – with all due respect to Foxman if the Messiah decides otherwise, I assume that the Honorable Rabbi would accept his decision. In contrast with the elderly rabbi, three men in the prime of their life are currently at the helm of Israel – three hooligans, entirely secular ones, a holy fascist trinity: Lieberman, Netanyahu, and Barak. These men are not waiting for the Messiah.

As far as they’re concerned, the only role gentiles have is to serve the Jewish state. They continue plundering lands in broad daylight and making a mockery of every nation in the world. On the one hand they collect huge amounts of money for upkeep of the state, as reparations for the Holocaust, and on the other hand they complain when nations ask them oh-so-gingerly to stop being a glorious apartheid state.

While secular, bleeding heart Israelis struggle against the deportation of the 300 children of undocumented foreigners (a struggle which is undoubtedly just), they ignore the millions of resident Palestinian children, who have been living for sixty-three years as deportees in refugee camps and in exile, now being made to require them to pledge allegiance to the new lords of the land. And thus it happens that as part of the complex hasbara system of this racist entity, demagogues with flawless English are sent abroad, to persuade the Western world that our crazies are only the religious people and the settlers, thus covering up the real crime: that the State of Israel is being turned into a Judeo-Fascist state by its secular elites, of all people.

On the day that the government of Israel declared that the state was a Jewish and Fascist state, several filmmakers were interviewed, including the maker of Lebanon. They all declared very proudly on the Ynet news portal that they are the best ambassadors for the State of Israel. Well, I’ve got to tell you: if that is the purpose of Israeli creativity, the people who argue for a cultural boycott of Israel are right.

And to Mr. Foxman and the people who call up six million dollars for a PR campaign against us, alluding to the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust by the very number of dollars that they have raised, I have a suggestion: let us donate the money to the poor people of our country, and we will show up in the United States for any verbal debate. You can bring your swords and your spears, Alan Dershowitz, Bernard-Henri Levy, Gadi Taub, Shmulik Maoz. We will come in the name of human brotherhood and in the name of the living God.

Cultural Intifada

Jenin in New York

When faced with a reality where almost everyone collaborates in the construction of a racist state, where the Palestinian citizens of Israel cannot feel safe and are threatened daily with one form or the other of ethnic cleansing, I have nothing left to say beyond this: I have not found a better way to save my art and my Judaism than joining simultaneously the Jewish Voice for Peace in the United States and the Freedom Theater established by Juliano in the Jenin refugee camp.

I believe that only a Jewish-Palestinian coalition against racism, occupation, and apartheid can perhaps prevent the rise of a Jewish fascist state in Israel. The Zionist Left must understand that dialectically, a real and planned rip in the fabric of the Jewish society itself is a necessary perquisite for creating the space and conditions where the wounds of the ongoing trauma can be healed, and an equitable, dynamic democracy can be created.


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Udi Aloni, Slavoj Zizek and Alain Badiou discuss “What if Antigone were a refugee?”

We ended our last blog with Mustafa’s desperate trip to Amman, to get to the American consulate, as his way to the one in Jerusalem had been blocked. As we said already, miracles do happen, and Mustafa received a visa to the U.S. and joined Mariam to take part in the main event for the theater, where I took part in a symposium along with philosophers Slavoj Zizek and Alain Badiou discussing “What If Antigone Were A Refugee?”.

As part of our focal work in finding ways of promoting particular struggles into a universal one, we tried to examine how two particular struggles – the struggle for the liberation of Palestine and the struggle for women’s liberation – could go hand in hand. We should state that we intend to shoot a feature film in Jenin, and that Palestinian author Ala Hlehel is working on the script at this very moment.

The discussion can be summarized, without encompassing all of its many facets and layers, by saying that there are those who claim that for women to struggle for her equitable place, national emancipation must first be achieved. In other words, Sophocles’ Antigone cannot make heard her independent, feminine, and political voice of the sovereign, King Creon, is not the king who has established the sovereignty of his nation. In contrast with this linear-revolutionary way of thinking, Antigone can be interpreted as a feminine force of justice, which could have neutralized the inevitable element of a revolution that feeds upon its own children had she appeared in the course of reconstructing sovereignty and not after it. In other words, one can hope that the excess of violence of the revolution will not turned upon itself, after its victory.

mariam ahava
Mariam at the demonstration against Ahava cosmetics. The protest was sponsored by Brooklyn For Peace on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights on October 26, 2010. (Photo: Bud Korotzer)

Miriam and Mustafa went from university to university and from stand-up comedy performance to participation in a demonstration against the Ahava Dead Sea products, which are actually beauty stolen from the natural treasures that belong to the Palestinians.

And that is how Mustafa, Miriam, and I engaged in all three modes of non-violent resistance, to promote full equality during our visit to New York. We demonstrated with our bodies, shoulder-to-shoulder, Palestinians, Jews and others in New York, we called for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against apartheid products, and we made art, which is a means of struggle but primarily, an aim for its own.

We may always fail. Colonialist powers may always be stronger than we are. But on that day, at St. Paul’s Cathedral in New York, one thousand of us gathered together – Jews, Muslims, and Christian, straights and queers, and Pastor Gilbert, who hosted us, told us that when he was young he was a black Mexican Indian laborer, who supported the legendary Cesar Chavez, who used a boycott of grapes to bring the vine-workers from slavery into liberty. And we said, in silent prayer: “Free-Free Palestine! No more killing! No more crimes!” and everyone knew that this prayer unites a growing group of people, all around the world, who believe in justice, quality, and brotherhood, wherever there is injustice.

This article is from Udi Aloni’s Brooklyn-Jenin column he is writing for the Israeli website Ynet about his experience living between New York City and the Jenin refugee camp, where he is teaching a film production class. You can read the entire Brooklyn-Jenin series here. This article was translated by Dena Shunra.

Today in Bil’in

Nov 05, 2010

Adam Horowitz

IMG 9246

A protester protects his face from tear gas during the weekly march against the Wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in. The hot tear gas canisters set fire to Bil’in’s olive fields several places. (Photo: Hamde Abu Rahmah).

13-year-old Palestinian put under 5-month house arrest for maybe throwing some stones

Nov 05, 2010


and other news from Today in Palestine:


Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing

State transferred East Jerusalem lands to rightist groups without tenders
Investigation reveals Israel Lands Administration gave properties in Silwan and in Old City to Elad and Ateret Cohanim for low prices.

Abbas: Israel building ferociously in Jerusalem
Palestinian president tells CNN, ‘To ask us to continue peace talks while settlement activities continue is unacceptable because eventually we will have nothing to negotiate for.’ Adds: Iran pressuring Hamas not to be part of any agreement.,7340,L-3980054,00.html

‘Netanyahu’s refusal to extend settlement freeze is hurting Israel’
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni says PM rejected a proposed Likud-Kadima government that would ‘do the right thing, in both domestic and foreign matters.’

Barghouthi tracking settlement expansion
NABLUS (Ma’an) — In the wake of the end of a partial Israeli settlement construction freeze, officials say the number of buildings going up on Palestinian lands has reached new highs.  Palestinian National Initiative chief Mustafa Al-Barghouti said Thursday that new areas of land had been confiscated by Israel in the northern Salfit district, adjacent to the Barkan settlement. He said 62 new units were planned.

(UNRWA)  Summer camp supports Bedouin communities facing demolition threat
“It’s not easy living here. You never know what will happen tomorrow,” says N. Abu Dahuk, a community play worker at the Jahalin School in the Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar, in the West Bank. The school is under imminent threat of demolition.

Israeli Settlers Threaten Sheikh Jarrah, Steve Lendman
Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, including Fourth Geneva’s Article 49 stating:  “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of the motive.”  In addition, various UN resolutions (including 446, 452 and 465) condemned Israel’s settlement building, declaring they have “no legal validity” to exist. However, they do and regularly expand, endangering all Palestinian communities, Sheikh Jarrah one of many and their longstanding residents.

PLO: Settler violence on rise
JERICHO (Ma’an) — A PLO report on settler violence said Friday that a sharp increase in assaults on Palestinians and vandalism of property ws recorded for October.  According to the report, Palestinians in the West Bank reported a total of 277 cases of settler violence from August through October 2010, with a sharp increase in incidents in the last weeks of October.

Hilltop Youth presents: Cursing lexicon
Settler youth leaders publish ‘pocket dictionary’ with sophisticated, up-to-date swear words to be used against cops on different occasions. ‘Trash’, ‘scumbag’ – out; ‘wine vinegar’, ‘Indian’ – in. Officers who don’t keep their promise should be called ‘Bibi’,7340,L-3980144,00.html

Israelis mull leaving settlers in Palestine (AP)
AP – It has become an article of faith in the Israeli-Palestinian equation: Israel’s withdrawal from occupied lands must be accompanied by a removal of Jewish settlers.*

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

An-Nabi Salih: Army enters home of protest leaders
AN-NABI SALAH, Ramallah (Ma’an) — The homes of two brothers were raided by Israeli soldiers overnight, with officers warning the men against participation in the village’s weekly protest against land confiscation.  An-Nabi Salih, a village north of Ramallah bordered by an Israeli guard post in the north and the settlement of Hallamish to the south, is one of four population centers that participates in a regular demonstration against land confiscations, held every Friday afternoon following the prayer.

Three Injured By Israeli Gunfire at al-Nabi Saleh Anti-wall Protest
Ramallah – PNN – Three civilians were injured and many others treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation on Friday after Israeli troops violently suppressed the weekly anti-wall protest at the village of al-Nabi Saleh in the central West Bank.  Israeli and international supporters joined the villagers and marched towards the lands taken to build the wall. This week, the march was to mark the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.

Israeli Troops Use Tear Gas To Suppress Anti-wall Protest Near Bethlehem
Bethlehem – PNN – A number of civilians were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation during the weekly anti-wall protest on Friday in the village of Al Ma’sara, near Bethlehem in the southern West Bank.  Villagers along with international and Israeli supporters marched from the  village mosque towards the village lands, where Israel has planned to built the wall.  Soldiers stopped protesters at the village entrance near Settlers Road 60. Later, they fired tear gas at the unarmed protesters to force them back into the village. A number of civilians were treated at the local clinic for tear gas inhalation.

Israeli Troops Fire Tear Gas At Bil’in Protestors
Ramallah – PNN – A number of civilians were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti wall protest at the central West Bank village of Bil’in on Friday.  International and Israeli supporters joined the villages shortly after the midday prayers at the local mosque and marched to farmers’ lands behind the Israeli wall built on land owned by Bil’in villagers.  As people reached the gate of the wall, holding flags and banners demanding the wall’s removal, stationed troops fired tear gas and sound bombs at them. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.  The weekly action ended with clashes between local youth and the Israeli soldiers. Bil’in has been organizing weekly anti-wall protests for the past six years. Earlier this year the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled in favor of the villagers and ordered the army to remove the wall built on their lands.  Due to the court order, Bil’in farmers got back 750 dunums of the originally taken 1500 dunums. The Israeli military still refuses to adhere to the court ruling.

Five Injured by Army Fire During Weekly Ni’lin Anti-wall Protest
Ramallah – PNN – Five civilians were treated for tear gas inhalation on Friday after the weekly anti-wall protest organized in the village of Ni’lin in the central West Bank.  Israeli and international supporters joined villagers after they held midday prayers. They marched to the gate of the wall separating villagers from their lands, where stationed Israeli troops fired rubber-coated steel bullets and sound bombs at them.  Soldiers then chased the protesters back to the villages firing tear gas at them. The inhalation victims were treated at the local clinic.

Justice Dept. Renews Enforcement of Subpoenas for Anti-War Activists Targeted in FBI Raids
We get an update on the fallout from the FBI raids in late September that targeted antiwar activists in Minneapolis and Chicago. Subpoenas to appear before a grand jury were served on 13 people, but later withdrawn when the activists asserted their right to remain silent. But this week the Department of Justice said it intends to enforce the subpoenas for some of them and require them to appear before a grand jury.

Boycott victory: Africa Israel suspends settlement construction
Africa Israel, the flagship company of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, announced this week that it is no longer involved in Israeli settlement projects and that it has no plans for future settlement activities.

Interview: Budrus “built a model of civil resistance”
This Sunday, 7 November, will mark exactly seven years since Ayed Morrar first saw Israeli bulldozers arrive to destroy the land of his village, Budrus, in the occupied West Bank. Ayed al-Morrar, founder of the first popular committee to resist Israel’s wall, discusses with The Electronic Intifada contributor Jody McIntyre.

Cinema Politica: Artists Against Apartheid
Ezra Winton founder Cinema Politica @ Quebec BDS conference Montreal Oct 2010 Photo Ariel view on Israeli apartheid wall cutting though Palestinian lands. As someone working in the media arts sector, I signed the 500 artist BDS letter along with Cinema Politica’s Executive Director Svetla Turnin. We signed because it was a tangible action that connected art […]

Action Alert: Tell your MP that war criminals should be prosecuted not welcomed!
Yesterday, the Foreign Secretary William Hague reiterated the government’s commitment to urgently resolve the “unacceptable situation” with regard to universal jurisdiction during his visit to Israel.  The coalition government want to change the current legislation to give the Director of Public Prosecutions power over issuing arrest warrants against alleged international criminals who visit the UK

Canada’s largest drugstore chain censors criticism of Israel, Ibn Tufayl
Muslims are called primitive and pre-Enlightenment for not understanding the need for free and open debate – except, when it comes to the Holy Idol state. This censorship is insidious and takes place daily in local settings across North America.

My Hummus Tastes Like Apartheid, Abbas Naqvi
The recent attacks by Israel on the humanitarian Flotilla is yet another signal for us, as citizens of the United States, to hold the Israeli regime accountable for its reckless and illegal behavior. Israel has consistently prevented aid from entering the Gaza Strip, including medical supplies, cement and food. Consequently, the three-year old blockade has turned Gaza into the world’s largest open-air prison, with an entire population starved and deprived of basic necessities. The simple but tragic truth is that Israel acts with such audacity because the international community fails to hold it responsible for the ongoing occupation and apartheid system against the Palestinian people.  However, this is slowly changing as people around the globe have begun to question Israel’s policies, with an increasing number and visibility.

Israeli Abuse of Palestinian Children

Palestinian Teenage Boy Put Under House Arrest
A 13-year-old Palestinian boy has been placed under five-month house arrest on suspicion of throwing stones at Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.

Racism and Discrimination

Safed ads: Raed Salah plots to take over our city
Dozens of street ads in northern city inciting against mayor following his decision to build medical school. Ads claim: Evil plot destined to establish Arab refugee camp.,7340,L-3979968,00.html

Hebrew U.: Harassment by El Al security could harm Israeli science
Neuroscientist Heather Bradshaw says she was interrogated, searched with no explanation by El Al security en route to Hebrew Univerity conference.

Israel has turned ‘Jew’ into a hollow, separatist title / Avirama Golan
The small communities are the visible tip of an iceberg of systematic, ongoing ostracism that affects a great many Israelis — What is so terrible, G. asked me, about people in small communities wanting to choose their neighbors? … what’s so terrible about the fact that we don’t want Arabs? They are genuinely unsuited to a community with a Jewish-Zionist character. G. is a young computer programmer from central Israel. His wife is pregnant. The dream of a hilltop community in the Galilee beckons him, and he thinks he and his wife, both hard-working college graduates, will join one. Let’s start with the fact, I replied, that you haven’t a chance of being accepted. G. was shocked. You’re Mizrahi, a Jew of Middle Eastern origin, I explained, and your wife is the daughter of recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

Restriction of Movement/Siege/Other Rights Violations/Humanitarian Issues

Gaza borders closed
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Crossing terminals between Israel and the Gaza Strip were closed on Friday, a day ahead of the scheduled weekend shut-down on Saturday, officials said.  Set to open again on Sunday, Palestinian liaison officer Raed Fattouh said, the cessation of Friday operations comes in line with decisions announced each Friday since the summer 2009.

Eroding Conditions for Israeli Arabs: Part II, Steve Lendman
An earlier article reviewed the April Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel report titled, “One Year for Israel’s New Government and the Arab Minority in Israel,” accessed through the following link:  This article discusses a new Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) report titled, “Project Democracy – Fighting for the Ground Rules” for Israeli Arabs.

Report: West Bank checkpoints convert to Hebrew
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — Israel’s Military Police and Crossings Administration will begin a new campaign to upgrade and replace checkpoint signs to their Hebrew monikers, the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv reported Friday.  The report also noted that some of the checkpoints, which never had Hebrew names and instead borrowed the names of the Palestinian towns and villages they abutted, would be changed in favor of more traditional Hebrew.

German FM to visit Gaza Strip
BERLIN, Germany (DPA) – German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle will visit the Gaza Strip on Monday, a government spokesman announced on Friday, in what would be the first such visit by a German government member since 2006.  Westerwelle will assess “concrete possibilities for improving the situation” in Gaza, a foreign ministry spokesman said.  Earlier in the year, Israeli authorities denied German Development Minister Dirk Niebel entry to the Palestinian-controlled territory, ruled by Hamas.

‘Gaza almost defies words’
As a journalist living in the West Bank, Jon Elmer doesn’t see peace on the Middle East’s horizon.  Elmer, a Torontonian who has spent the last eight years working as a freelance journal-ist in Bethlehem, spoke yester-day at Laurentian University about his experiences living and reporting in the region.  The talk, organized by the university’s Palestinian Soli-darity Working Group, was part of a lecture series focused on the day-to-day difficulties of Palestinians in the Middle East and Canada’s role in the area.

Gaza surfer girls find freedom on the waves
SHEIKH IJLEEN, Gaza Strip, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Away from Gaza’s troubled reality and beyond its polluted shore, Shorouq and Sabah Abu Ghanem surf in a world of their own.  The two girls, 13 and 12, learnt how to swim at the age of three at the hand of their lifeguard father.  They can swim up to 10 km (6 miles), dive to seven meters (25 feet) and surf on plastic boards that they hope one day to trade in for competition-grade models.  “In the sea I find my freedom. I feel free of everything I leave behind on land,” said 13-year-old Shorouq.

Gaza’s ‘Tuk Tuks’ override donkey taxis
Donkey carts have been a traditional form of transportation in the Gaza Strip for years – due in part to an Israeli embargo that makes petrol hard to find. But a new innovative motorbike cart dubbed the “Tuk Tuk” is emerging as a more popular way to get around due to its greater speed and comfort. Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba reports on how a familiar sight from roads in the Far East is threatening to override the donkey taxi industry in Gaza.

War Criminals and their Enablers

Arrest fears prompt Israel to relocate strategic forum with U.K.
U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague says Britain will soon change a law that has threatened Israeli officials with arrest for war crimes if they visit Britain.

UK: Israeli officials shouldn’t fear arrest (AP)
AP – Israeli officials should not fear arrest warrants initiated by pro-Palestinian activists when they travel to Britain on official business, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Thursday.*

Violence/Aggression and Detainees

Military Operations in Jerusalem Near Al-Aqsa, Silwan
Jerusalem – PNN – Wafa reported that Israeli authorities commenced “major military procedures” in Jerusalem neighborhoods near the walls of the Old City, and in particular al-Aqsa Mosque.  According to a Wafa reporter, a large force of Israeli soldiers surrounded Silwan, ostensibly to prevent the outbreak of violence after Friday prayers. Clashes on Thursday night lasted until nearly midnight.  The reporter added that Israel justified the incursion with information about a developing “security situation” involving an al-Aqsa congregation demonstrating in the Old City near the Western Wall.

Jerusalemite beaten, hospitalized
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — The family of a Jerusalem resident said undercover Israeli officers beat Haitham Samih Darwish while he was working near the Austrian Hospice in the Old City on Thursday night.  When Haitham’s brother Abed As-Salam intervened, he was detained, they added, along with at least four others on the same job site.

Israeli army denies hinting at US clearance over Gaza assassination
TEL AVIV, Israel (DPA) — The Israeli military denied Thursday that it had hinted it had received clearance from the United States, before it used a bomb to assassinate a suspected Palestinian militant in Gaza City the previous day.  Lieutenant-Colonel Avital Leibovich, who briefed reporters on the assassination Wednesday night, said her remarks were not meant as a hint that Israel had given Washington advance notice of the hit.

Lawyer calls for end to cell raids in Negev prison
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – Ramallah’s Mandela Institute called on the administration at Israel’s Nafha prison in the southern Negev to stop what prisoners have called a campaign of cell raids.  Lawyer with the institute Buthaina Duqmaq said that during her Thursday visit to the facility, she witnessed a cell raid and was forced to evacuate the room of several detainees ten minutes after she arrived to conduct interviews.  Following the procedure, Duqmaq said detainees related that the raids had been ongoing on an almost daily basis, up to three times a day, with prison guards reportedly looking for mobile phones.

Israel’s Arab Helpers

Egypt finds 13 Gaza tunnels used by smugglers (AFP)
AFP – Thirteen tunnels used to smuggle goods under the border between Egypt and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip have been found in the past two days, an Egyptian security official told AFP on Thursday.*

Palestinians complain of widespread torture in PA Lockups
“It is a slaughter house,” “even the Gestapo didn’t do this;” I spent many years in Israeli jails, and never experienced some thing like that.” These are some of the comments and observations made by people who have just been released from Palestinian Authority (PA) lockups and detention centers.  The PA said  it formally and completely stopped physical torture  in its numerous detention centers as of October 2000, especially following protests by the donor countries which complained that their tax-payers’ money was being used to torture suspected political  opponents in the West Bank.

Clinton: Abbas ‘made clear’ he would accept peace terms
Former US president offers new insights at NY ceremony marking Rabin anniversary, recalls trust inspired by slain prime minister.

Political “Developments”

Hamas: Peace talks with Israel are dividing the Palestinian people
Senior Hamas politburo member says that reconcilliation with Fatah is not imminent; calls peace talks with Israel ‘futile’.

Fatah official: Resistance will continue under unity pact
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Members of armed Palestinian groups will be protected under security arrangements that are a part of a planned unity agreement, a senior Fatah official in Gaza said Thursday.  “We are protecting resistance which is committed to the political decision,” Faisal Abu Shahla said in an interview. He was referring to security arrangements planned under an Egyptian-backed plan to reunite Fatah and Hamas.

In Gaza, rise of Hamas military wing complicates reconciliation with Fatah
The rising clout of Al Qassam in Gaza dims prospects for mending the Hamas-Fatah rift. Reconciliation talks are slated to start Nov. 9.

Unity hinges on security forces deal
Officials commenting on the latest unity rumors say the issue of a re-hauled security service amalgamating the West Bank and Gaza units remains the final stumbling block to inter-party reconciliation., Representative of independent officials seeking unity Yaser Al-Wadieyah said he expected Hamas and Fatah officials in Damascus to discuss the final arrangements of the security issue, saying all other files were all but resolved.

New US talks with Palestinians held in Washington (AFP)
AFP – US Middle East envoy George Mitchell and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat met Thursday in Washington on efforts to salvage peace talks with Israel, the State Department said,*

Palestinians to give US peace effort more time
WASHINGTON, Nov 4 (Reuters) – The Palestinians will give the United States several more weeks to try to relaunch direct peace talks with Israel, but will not buckle on their key demand for a halt to Israeli settlement activity, a top Palestinian official said on Thursday.  Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that an Arab League decision on Oct. 9 giving the United States one month to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop settlements could slip — but that the core demand would remain unchanged.

Israel PM to meet Egyptian intelligence chief
JERUSALEM — Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu was on Thursday to meet Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman in Tel Aviv for talks expected to focus on the deadlocked peace talks, a government source said.  “He will meet Omar Suleiman in Tel Aviv during the afternoon,” the source told AFP on condition of anonymity, without giving further details.

Egypt intelligence chief to Peres: Mubarak is worried about region
Omar Suleiman visits Israel to help jump start Middle East peace talks; Peres: Egypt is always attentive to needs of all sides.

Saudi prince rules out engagement with Israel until Arab land is returned
Saudi Arabia will refuse to “directly or indirectly engage Israel” until it leaves all land captured during the 1967 Six-Day War, a leading member of the Saudi royal family said Thursday, dashing any hopes the Obama administration might have had for rapprochement before a final peace deal.

Window of opportunity for two-state solution is closing, William Hague warns Israel

British foreign secretary ends two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories with call for Netanyahu to renew freeze on settlement construction to allow talks to resume. William Hague warned today that the window of opportunity for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was closing and failure by the two parties to reach agreement would be a “serious setback”.

Other News

Child abuse is underreported throughout country
Percentage of sexual abuse cases reported are higher in Jerusalem; the 33,751 child abuse cases reported in 2009 “only the tip of the iceberg.”

A West Bank dairy farm churns out gourmet cheese
With funding from international organizations, a dairy farm in Tubas in the West Bank produces gourmet Italian cheeses with a little Palestinian spice.


Gaza on Canvas With Mohammed Al-Hawajri, Palestine Monitor
The devastated Gaza strip, still reeling from Operation Cast Lead and scarred by chronic rates of poverty and malnutrition, would be few artists’ idea of a creative paradise. For Mohammed Al-Hawajri, recently honoured with Birzeit University’s artist of the month award, the “life rich in details and contradictions” is one he would not swap for Manhattan or Barcelona.

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest

Witness – Encounter Point: Ali’s story
Ali, a Palestinian intifada veteran, is struggling with how to go forward peacefully after the death of his younger brother by the Israeli army. It is a film about hope, courage, and Palestinian and Israeli grassroots peace efforts.

Queen Noor Brings Palestinian Struggle to MSNBC; Scarborough Repeats Israeli Talking Points, Alex Kane by Alex Kane
It’s not often that the story of Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation gets told in a fair way to American consumers of media, but today on MSNBC‘s “Morning Joe” that’s exactly what happened.  Queen Noor of Jordan was a guest on the show, promoting the powerful documentary “Budrus,” which tells the story of how the West Bank village of Budrus successfully beat back Israeli attempts to confiscate Palestinian land as part of the Israeli effort to build a “separation barrier,” which was ruled to be illegal by the International Court of Justice in a 2004 advisory opinion.

The Real Yitzhak Rabin, Alex Kane
Today marks the fifteenth anniversary of when former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli extremist for Rabin’s signing of the Oslo Accords with Yasir Arafat.  With the anniversary comes the obligatory mourning of Rabin as a “man of peace,” as the Israeli leader who, had he survived, might have been the one who brought lasting peace to Israel and Palestine.

Did Rabin assassination mark decline of Israel’s peace camp?
At the time of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, his Labor party controlled more than one-third of parliament. Today, it’s barely 10 percent – and slipping.

Thoughtcrimes, Neve Gordon – Israel
Would Meryl Streep, Spike Lee, Tim Robbins or Susan Sarandon be willing to swear an oath of loyalty to the United States and its policies in order to receive public funding for feature films that they star in, direct or produce? In Israel, the far-right Knesset member Michael Ben Ari has proposed a bill that would require entire film crews to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, and to declare loyalty to its laws and symbols, as a condition for receiving public funding. It’s just one of more than ten bills to be discussed during the Knesset’s winter session that several commentators in Ha’aretz have characterised as proto-fascist.

A tale of two ghettos, Adam Horowitz
The images above are raising some hackles, especially the comparison between the Warsaw ghetto and Gaza today. They are from the current issue of Adbusters magazine, which had 3,500 copies taken off the racks of Shoppers Drug Mart, Canada’s largest drugstore chain, after the CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Bernie M. Farber, called them anti-Semitic in the National Post.

The reunification of my parents, Linah Alsaafin

Yesterday my mother crossed the Allenby bridge, from the West Bank to Jordan, to see my father in Amman. What makes this banal act unusual is that she had to wait almost a year to be finally granted permission to cross the border.

Israel slams Arab incitement, ignores clarion Jewish racism
Is a state like Israel, whose entire existence has been based on ethnic cleansing, land theft, and mendacity, qualified to preach to the world about incitement?

Tablet calling Israel “A Liberal’s Paradise” (!)
Even as a joke, this is taking it a bit far. Recent Hasbara efforts to portray Tel Aviv as a sort of fun & arts capitol have apparently got Mr. Tracy a bit confused. Or it’s the medical pot.

Palestinian Writer Shehadeh Straddles “A Rift in Time”
Jerusalem – PNN/Exclusive – Palestinian author Raja Shehadeh’s new book “A Rift in Time” is aptly titled to straddle past and present. Yet it also spans genres, crosses rivers, and connects two men from two very different eras—Shehadeh himself and his great uncle Najib Nassar, a proud subject of the Ottoman Empire, conscientious objector, and exile.  Shehadeh read selections from the book at the Swedish Christian Study Center, near Jerusalem’s Jaffa Gate, on Thursday night. The book is his fourth; his third, “Palestinian Walks,” won Britain’s prestigious Orwell Prize for political writing.  A writer, lawyer, and founder of the human rights organization Al-Haq, Shehadeh has spent most of his life in Ramallah.

Conned by Democracy: The Middle East’s Stagnant ‘Change’, Ramzy Baroud
Democracy in the Middle East continues to be a hugely popular topic of discussion. Its virtues are tirelessly praised by rulers and oppositions alike, by intellectuals and ordinary people, by political prisoners and their prison guards. Yet, in actuality, it also remains an illusion, if not a front to ensure the demise of any real possibility of public participation in decision-making.

The Battle of Nahr al-Barid: Iraq Comes to Lebanon – an excerpt from Nir Rosen’s new book Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America’s Wars in the Muslim World, Adam Horowitz

A sense of foreboding united people in Lebanon and throughout the region in response to the destabilizing occupation of Iraq. It also made Sunnis feel vulnerable. North of Tripoli, by the village of Qubat Shamra, where a boy was selling watermelons off the side of the road the day I visited, there was a stretch of broken wall with two lines of graffiti. “We tell you, o rulers, of treachery and tyranny, the blood of the martyr Hariri is not to be forgotten,” said one.

The other listed the successors of the Prophet Muhammad whom Sunnis revere and warned that “the blood of Sunnis is boiling.” It was signed by an unknown group called the Mujahideen Battalions of Tel Hayat, in reference to a nearby village. Further up the road toward the Syrian border, past tall pine and eucalyptus trees, one side of an apartment building was covered with a large painting of Rafiq al-Hariri. “They feared you so they killed you,” it said. “Truly they are pigs.” It quoted from the Koran as well, an example of the strange juxtaposition of Islamism and the Hariri cult.

I stopped at Kusha and met a twenty-three-year-old third-year law student called Muhamad, who had learned English from listening to rap music. Muhamad had joined the Interior Ministry’s new Information Branch earlier that year as a volunteer “because of the Shiite campaign against this government,” he said. “You have to do something.” His responsibility was to “keep an eye open for anything strange in town.”

If al-Qa’ida Really Want to Hit the West, They Can, PATRICK COCKBURN
The ability of al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, now based in Yemen, to smuggle sophisticated bombs concealed in ink cartridges for printers on board planes is even more ominous than it sounds. This is because Western governments have so often exaggerated the threat from the most amateur and ineffective conspirators since 9/11 that they do not have any rhetoric left to describe the development of new and more serious threats.

The Phantom Left, Chris Hedges
The American left is a phantom. It is conjured up by the right wing to tag Barack Obama as a socialist and used by the liberal class to justify its complacency and lethargy. It diverts attention from corporate power. It perpetuates the myth of a democratic system that is influenced by the votes of citizens, political platforms and the work of legislators. It keeps the world neatly divided into a left and a right. The phantom left functions as a convenient scapegoat. The right wing blames it for moral degeneration and fiscal chaos. The liberal class uses it to call for “moderation.” And while we waste our time talking nonsense, the engines of corporate power—masked, ruthless and unexamined—happily devour the state.

Murdoch’s Imaginary War, Stuart Littlewood
In his recent pep-talk to the Anti-Defamation League, media magnate Rupert Murdoch complains about “an ongoing war against the Jews.”  He seems desperate to divert attention from the mounting resentment around the world towards Israel. But his threadbare argument collapses straightaway because no distinction is made between criminal Israelis and Jews generally. The one remains carefully hidden behind the other.

“The Truth Is There Is No Al Qaeda”, MONA EL-NAGGAR and ROBERT F. WORTH
The Yemeni government has used jihadists as proxy soldiers in the past, and sometimes conflates the Qaeda threat and the unrelated political insurgencies it has fought in northern and southern Yemen in recent years.


Authorities charge 19 terror suspects, issue indictment against spy for Israel
BEIRUT: Judicial authorities filed a lawsuit against 19 terrorism suspects Thursday and issued an indictment against an Israeli spy. Government Commissioner to the Military Tribunal Judge Saqr Saqr filed a lawsuit against 19 suspects who were arrested by the Lebanese Army in October.

MP: Public must know about Israel’s telecom violations
BEIRUT: Parliament’s Media and Telecommunications Committee said Thursday the Lebanese public ought to be made aware of Israel’s violations of their country’s telecommunications sector.

Communist Party says indictments will cause strife
BEIRUT: Secretary General of the Lebanese Communist Party (LCP) Khaled Hadadeh said Thursday the indictment to be issued by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) would instigate an internal strife, the state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported.

Higher Shiite Council: Tribunal threatening security
BEIRUT: The Higher Shiite Council said Thursday the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was threatening Lebanon’s security and blocking the chances of uncovering the truth in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Hezbollah boycotts Lebanese talks over UN tribunal (AP)
AP – Hezbollah and its allies boycotted the latest round of Lebanon’s national dialogue on Thursday because of tensions surrounding a U.N. tribunal’s investigation of the 2005 assassination of a former prime minister.*

Britain: Hizbullah’s arms threaten peace process
LONDON: Hizbullah’s continued possession of non-state weapons risks torpedoing the stuttering peace process, the British government has said. Foreign Office spokesperson Barry Marston warned this week continued tension in south Lebanon, derived largely from the existence of contraband arms, was “potentially damaging” to lasting regional stability.


Thursday: 9 Iraqis Killed, 28 Wounded
At least nine Iraqis were killed and 28 more were wounded in a small surge of violence today. Meanwhile, Iraqis are demonstrating against the deadly attacks that rattled Baghdad earlier this week.

Three Iraqi police die trying to defuse bomb
Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) — More than 150 Iraqis have been killed since Friday, including three police officers who died north of Baghdad on Thursday when the bomb they were trying to defuse exploded, police said.  The roadside bomb was in the town of Shirqat, according to police officials in Salaheddin province. Six people were wounded.  Shirqat is about 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of Baghdad.

Islamic State of Iraq claims responsibility for Baghdad bombings
After it claimed responsibility for Our Lady of Salvation Church massacre in Karrada District, Baghdad, Al Qaeda group Islamic State of Iraq claimed as well responsibility for the series of bombings that hit the capital on Tuesday.

Iraqi Qaeda claims bombs against Shiite ‘insults’ (AFP)
AFP – Al-Qaeda’s Iraqi affiliate said on Friday it was behind car bombings against Shiites in Baghdad this week that killed 64 people, saying they were revenge for “insults” and threatening more attacks.*

Extra security at Iraq churches
There is extra security around churches and other Christian institutions in Iraq, in response to threats from a militant Islamist group linked to Al-Qaeda.

Baghdadis Despair Over Security
In aftermath of recent attacks, residents say years of frustration about security situation now turning to hopelessness.  Baghdad has been stunned by two days of bombings that have left security officials searching for answers and residents bracing for more violence.

Iraqi eyewitness: Mistreatment by UK troops
The High Court in London will is hearing allegations that 142 Iraqis were mistreated by British forces in Iraq between 2003 and 2008.

Video: Secret British military video of interrogation techniques in Iraq
Clip submitted during high court proceedings shows a prisoner threatened, intimidated, subjected to sensory deprivation and complaining of starvation.

Baghdad Carnage: Could It End Iraq’s Political Impasse? ( – Seven months have passed since Iraq elected a new parliament but no new government has been formed. Will two horrific days scare the powerbrokers into action?*

Iraq’s idle MPs urged to return $40 mln in pay (AFP)
AFP – Civil society groups said on Friday they are to launch a legal battle for Iraqi MPs left idle since a March 7 poll to return 40 million dollars received in salaries and allowances over the past eight months.*

One ton of gold for the dome of Samarra Mosque in Iraq
An Iraqi restoration team is about to complete the reconstruction of the damage Golden Mosque in the city of Samarra north of Baghdad, the head of Samarra antiquities office said.  Omer Abdulzahra, who is also a member of the supervising committee charged with the restoration, said one ton of gold has been earmarked for the dome.  The mosque’s two minarets, its golden dome and much of its magnificent interior were blown up in 2007 in an attack which the authorities then attributed to al-Qaeda.  The attack sparked a deadly and ruinous cycle of Sunni-Shiite reprisals that left thousands dead and displaced hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.\2010-11-04\kurd.htm

Americans Still Turn Blind Eye to the Savagery We Unleashed in Iraq
Bush & BushIt was bad enough when, before the fourth game of the World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, George Bush drove his father and himself out to the pitching mound in a golf cart to toss out the traditional first ball. (One could be forgiven for wondering if it was part of his book tour.) But it was galling when he threw a near-perfect pitch.   Worst of all, though, as opposed to when he performed the same function on baseball’s 2008 opening day at Nationals Park in Washington and was jeered, this time only cheers could be heard on T.V. by the naked ear. No doubt many in the crowd weren’t happy to see him and held their applause. Still, even though it was Bush’s home state, couldn’t anybody see his or her way clear to expressing contempt for his poor excuse for a presidency?

U.S. and Other World News

Jewish Settler Leaders Praise Republican Gains
The U.S. midterm elections heartened some right-leaning Israelis, including settler leaders, who have seen President Barack Obama’s Mideast policy as antagonist and now view his repudiation in the polls as a sign he may be less able to pressure Israel into concessions in stalled peace talks.

CIA lawyer: U.S. law does not forbid rendition
Daniel Pines, an assistant general counsel at the CIA, has asserted in a law journal that the abduction of terrorism suspects abroad is legal under U.S. law, even when the suspect is turned over to countries notorious for torture.

War criminal: Bush makes clear he approved use of waterboarding
In a memoir due out Tuesday, Bush makes clear that he personally approved the use of that coercive technique against alleged Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheik Mohammed, an admission the human rights experts say could one day have legal consequences for him.

229 Afghan civilians killed in October
Official: 15 percent increase in compare with the previous month,” Bashari told a press briefing here, Xinhua reported.

Chomsky: US-led Afghan War, Criminal
Noam Chomsky says US invasion of Afghanistan was illegal since to date there is no evidence that al-Qaeda has carried out the 9/11 attacks.

US embassy accused of spying in Norway, Oslo demands answers
OSLO — Norway has demanded an explanation from the United States after a television documentary said its embassy had conducted illegal surveillance of hundreds of Norwegian residents over the past decade.  According to the TV2 News channel, the US embassy in Oslo employed between 15 and 20 people, including former high-ranking police officers, to monitor local residents in a bid to ward off attacks on US interests in the country.

Iran detains ‘UK-linked fighters’
State TV says four people are arrested on suspicion of belonging to a Kurdish rebel cell funded by a UK-based commander.

Iranian lawyer on hunger strike
Jailed Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is in a serious condition after going on hunger strike, a New York-based Iranian rights group says.

Syria: Jailed Rights Defender Assaulted, Punished in Prison
(London) – Eight leading human rights organizations today called on the Syrian government to guarantee the safety of Muhannad al-Hassani, a human rights defender serving a three-year prison term, after he was assaulted last week in ‘Adra prison, Damascus.  The eight organizations – Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) and Front Line – urged the Syrian government to investigate the assault and protect al-Hassani from further brutality or ill-treatment.

Arabs make development strides, challenges remain: UN (AFP)
AFP – Some Arab states have made significant strides in human development over the past 40 years, but challenges such as public empowerment and official accountability remain, a new UN report said.*

Saudi prince: Iran is on ‘explosive’ path in Middle East
Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former ambassador to the U.S., says Washington shouldn’t take military steps against Iran to reassure Israel.

Islam in the West

Justice Stevens voices support for NYC mosque
Justice Stevens says Americans should accept mosque near Ground Zero in spirit of tolerance Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said Thursday that Americans should be tolerant of plans to build an Islamic center and mosque near the site of the World Trade Center in New York.

The Battle of Nahr al-Barid: Iraq Comes to Lebanon – an excerpt from Nir Rosen’s new book Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America’s Wars in the Muslim World

Nov 05, 2010

Adam Horowitz

Rosen AftermathWe are very excited to have an exclusive excerpt from Nir Rosen’s new book Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America’s Wars in the Muslim World. One thing we try to do on Mondoweiss is to bring you firsthand perspectives from the ground that give you an idea of what life looks like behind the headlines.

No one does this better than Nir Rosen.

Aftermath offers Rosen’s vivid, and often shocking, reporting from some of the places the US “war on terror” is being fought – Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Afghanistan. The following excerpt takes us to northern Lebanon during the May 2007 assault on the Nahr al-Barid Palestinian refugee camp, as the war in Iraq continues to spread across the region and its influence tears at the seams of Lebanese society.  

A sense of foreboding united people in Lebanon and throughout the region in response to the destabilizing occupation of Iraq. It also made Sunnis feel vulnerable. North of Tripoli, by the village of Qubat Shamra, where a boy was selling watermelons off the side of the road the day I visited, there was a stretch of broken wall with two lines of graffiti.

 “We tell you, o rulers, of treachery and tyranny, the blood of the martyr Hariri is not to be forgotten,” said one. The other listed the successors of the Prophet Muhammad whom Sunnis revere and warned that “the blood of Sunnis is boiling.” It was signed by an unknown group called the Mujahideen Battalions of Tel Hayat, in reference to a nearby village.

Further up the road toward the Syrian border, past tall pine and eucalyptus trees, one side of an apartment building was covered with a large painting of Rafiq al-Hariri. “They feared you so they killed you,” it said. “Truly they are pigs.” It quoted from the Koran as well, an example of the strange juxtaposition of Islamism and the Hariri cult. I stopped at Kusha and met a twenty-three-year-old third-year law student called Muhamad, who had learned English from listening to rap music. Muhamad had joined the Interior Ministry’s new Information Branch earlier that year as a volunteer “because of the Shiite campaign against this government,” he said. “You have to do something.” His responsibility was to “keep an eye open for anything strange in town.”

According to Muhamad, Lebanon’s Sunnis had finally come to believe that Lebanon was their country. “After they killed Hariri we woke up,” he said. “Shiites hate us. After Hariri’s death I started feeling hatred of Shiites. I hate Shiites after they thanked Syria in the demonstration.” He also hated Shiites for reacting positively to Saddam Hussein’s execution. “At the end Saddam was a Sunni,” he said. “I love Saddam. He subjugated Shiites. He was a leader in every sense of the word.” Muhamad believed he was helping to defend Lebanon from the “Shiite crescent.” “They’re trying to extend their principles through all of Lebanon. The biggest danger is coming from Shiites, not Israel. The priority is Shiites, to confront their project. I would take a gun and face Shiites, not only me but many people here.”

In the village of Masha I drove by the main mosque, which had a large picture of Hariri on one wall. Above the mosque a large blue sign said, “Palestine and Iraq are calling you, boycott American products.” Elsewhere in town a small shop had the obligatory picture of Saddam with his two sons at his side. A local sheikh had praised Fatah al-Islam as mujahideen.

Throughout Sunni towns in the north and Sunni neighborhoods in Tripoli and Beirut one finds images of Saddam and graffiti praising the executed former Iraqi leader. “The nation that gave birth to Saddam Hussein will not bow,” said one in the Beqaa. In Beirut’s Sunni stronghold of Tariq al-Jadida I found posters of “the martyred leader” Saddam with the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem behind him. On the road to Mishmish, a small mountain town in Akkar, I passed a wall where someone had written “Long live the hero Saddam Hussein.” Entering the town I drove under many banners honoring the army. “Only your pure blood draws the red line,” said one, in reference to Nasrallah’s recent speech. When I visited in late July 2007, the all-Sunni town had already lost three of its men to Fatah al-Islam; eight other soldiers from Mishmish were wounded. “People are very angry at the Palestinians,” mayor

Hanzar Amr Din told me. He did not believe the anger would subside after the fighting. “If they think of coming back to the camp, people will destroy it,” he said. “People here were very upset at Nasrallah’s words about red lines,” he said. “Last summer people were happy with Nasrallah for fighting Israel, but saying that the camp is a red line means he is backing Palestinians against the army.”

That summer I found similar sentiments in the Sunni town of Bibnine. A laborer in a sandwich shop compared the situation to the 1970 Black September fighting, when the Jordanians had gotten rid of Palestinians. “I swear on the Koran,” he told me, “if I see a Palestinian I would slaughter him and drink his blood.” I asked him what he thought of Hizballah. “I hope they get rid of them too,” he said. The walls of Bibnine were plastered with pictures of the ten soldiers killed in the fighting, and I was reminded of the similar pictures festooning Shiite towns a year before in honor of the Hizballah soldiers who had died. On a wall near children playing on a road, someone had written with chalk, “Saddam Hussein is the martyr of the nation.” Khuzaimi, a twelve-year-old boy, told me that “we all want to grow up to join the army to destroy this infidel al-Absi.” But since Fatah al-Islam would be destroyed by then, he said, “then we will all go fight Israel.”


Most of the townsmen had taken their weapons to Nahr al-Barid in the first days of the fighting to “help the army,” I was told by Qais, a member of the Internal Security Forces from the town. “Anybody above sixteen went down,” he said—122 soldiers in all. “There is no family in Bibnine without somebody down there,” he said, adding that his family had fifteen men there. “There is a big anger at the Palestinians,” he said. “We consider them responsible for this.” When I visited Bibnine on July 31 the shelling of Nahr al-Barid echoed up to the town. Many of the townsmen worked as fishermen off the coast of Tripoli, but since the fighting had begun they had been forced to stay at home.

“They should be put on the border in the south so they can smell Palestine soil and remember it,” said Abu Muhamad, whose son Osama, a twenty-six-year-old soldier, had died in Nahr al-Barid. He blamed Syria for sending Fatah al-Islam to Lebanon. “My son the martyr, from childhood he wanted to be in the army. He grew up in a military house. I am a retired soldier. I am proud of him. He was brave, not a coward.” Abu Muhamad had two other sons in the army, one of whom was wounded in the battle. “Our first martyr was Rafiq al-Hariri,” he told me. “He was a martyr to the nation, and we all want to be martyrs to the nation.”

From his balcony Abu Muhamad could view the camp smoldering down on the coast. His face was lined and weathered. He looked tired but tried to smile. “The people won’t allow the camp to be rebuilt,” he said. “As soon as the fighting stops, people will go down to prevent it from being rebuilt.” Another guest, the father of a soldier still fighting in the camp, repeated an oft-heard slander that the Palestinians had sold Palestine to the Jews in 1948 and now had sold Nahr al-Barid to the jihadists. “That gang bought their camp,” the man said. He had been among the first armed men to descend on the camp, he told me.

“All towns around the camp went down and took the arms of soldiers who were killed,” he said. “Now there is a blood feud between Lebanese and Palestinians,” said Abu Muhamad. “The big problem is not with the Palestinians.” The real problem was not the Nahr al-Barid camp but the one in downtown Beirut, he said, meaning the Shiite protesters. Like most Sunnis in the north, he had been angered by Nasrallah’s “red lines” speech in May. “Call it red lines or green lines or whatever you want,” he said. “Your lines won’t stop us.”

The forty thousand homeless Palestinians of Nahr al-Barid were housed in local schools in the nearby Bedawi camp and in Tripoli, watching from afar as their homes were obliterated. Nahr al-Barid was a thoroughly urban camp, with many low apartment buildings. It was located right off the Mediterranean beach, and the view would have afforded its residents some respite from their fate. At least forty-two Palestinian civilians had been killed by September 2, when the army and media declared a great victory—some even called it a victory over Nahr al-Barid rather than Fatah al-Islam. It was only on October 10 that the army finally began to allow a trickle of Palestinians back to their homes, and only in the so-called “new camp,” a small area that had housed two thousand families on the outskirts of the original camp. The army had been in control of the new camp, and fighting had not taken place there.

About one thousand families obtained the permits from the army and passed through the checkpoints, where soldiers and Lebanese demonstrators heckled them. They found only destruction. It was as if a giant plague of locusts had ravaged the camp. Every single home, building, apartment, and shop was destroyed. Most were also burned from the inside, and signs of the flammable liquids the soldiers had used abounded on the walls. The empty fuel canisters were left behind on the floors.

Ceilings and walls were riddled with bullets shot from inside for sport. Lebanese soldiers had defecated in kitchens, on plates, bowls, and pots, as well as on mattresses. They had urinated into jars of olive oil. Most homes had been emptied of all their belongings. Furniture, appliances, sinks, toilets, televisions, refrigerators, gold jewelry, cash—all were stolen. Even the charred walls the Palestinians had been left with were not spared: insulting graffiti had been written on them, along with threats, signed by various army units. The media were not permitted in, and with few exceptions they were ignoring the plight of the Palestinians, if not reveling in it.

The army’s behavior confused observers. While it seemed to ignore Fatah al-Islam targets, it systematically destroyed other parts of the camp. Following the battle the army continued to treat the camp as a military zone and imposed an army engineer onto the committee planning the reconstruction, informing other members of what the army wanted done.

The army, which had never been used to defend Lebanon from external threats such as Israel, only to suppress internal dissent, and which had struggled to defeat a small band of extremists, had systematically gone through every bit of the camp and ravaged the infrastructure, destroying six decades of life to render it impossible for the Palestinians to return. All the windows were broken, electrical wiring was pulled out, copper wires stolen for resale or reuse, water pumps removed or destroyed, generators stolen or shot up. The columns typical in the camp, which supported homes, had been shot up so that the concrete was turned to rubble and the rebar exposed.

Those few computers that were not stolen had been picked apart, and the RAM and hard drives were all missing. Photo albums had been torn to shreds. Every car in the camp was burned, shot up, or crushed by tanks or bulldozers. Much of the looting and destruction had taken place after the fighting ceased, or in areas where fighting never occurred. The many businesses and shops that had served much of northern Lebanon had been looted of their wares, as had pharmacies and health clinics.

Palestinians reported seeing their belongings on sale in the main outdoor market in Tripoli. The camp had once been imbricated into the local economy and culture. Now the Palestinians were unwanted and rejected. For some it was not just the second time they were refugees. Apart from 1948, in 1976 many arrived from Tel al-Zaatar, a camp near Beirut that had housed twenty thousand refugees until Lebanese Christian militias besieged it, massacred many of its inhabitants, and then leveled the camp to prevent the Palestinians’ return. “It is our destiny,” one man said without emotion in his blackened home in Nahr al-Barid, standing by excrement the Lebanese soldiers had left behind on the kitchen floor. The total loss of life from Nahr al-Barid was fifty civilians, 179 soldiers, and 226 suspected Fatah al-Islam militants. About six thousand families lost their homes.

Palestinian children’s art from this period depicts the Lebanese soldiers and Lebanese tanks destroying the camp as Israelis. Videos filmed by Lebanese soldiers circulated on the Internet, showing medical staff from the Civil Defense brigade abusing corpses and beating prisoners. Hundreds of Palestinians had been abused or tortured in Lebanese detention, and some had died from medical neglect of treatable wounds. Although still facing harassment and the occasional beating by Lebanese soldiers, hundreds of Palestinians were at work emptying their homes of rubble. One woman stood on her balcony throwing rubble from inside her home onto the broken street, where it was piled up on the sides.

The majority of the Palestinians were still unable to access their homes, and could only wonder what was stolen, broken, and excreted upon. On the roof of a taller building in the new camp, I found Farhan Said Mansur, a sanitation officer standing with his wife and gazing silently across to their distant home, whose broken roof they could just make out—as if looking at Palestine, where he was born. “It is a calamity to all Palestinians,” he said.

Many Salafi jihadists had escaped to the Bedawi camp. Other cells had remained in Bedawi during the fighting. The camp’s security committee still had them under surveillance. Outside Bedawi I stopped with my photographer as he shot a bony horse grazing on a hill. Palestinian mechanics in the area surrounded him, holding his hand and warning him not to take pictures, because it was a Palestinian military position. We noticed concrete bunkers on the top of hills belonging to the pro-Syrian PFLP-GC. Just beyond was the army.

In November the influential American-allied Lebanese leader Walid Jumblatt threatened that the Burj al-Barajneh camp in Beirut would be the next Nahr al-Barid, and the Palestinian community felt even more vulnerable. That month the Lebanese cabinet warned that Islamist militants were infiltrating other Palestinian camps. The phenomenon would be dealt with as it had in Nahr al-Barid, said the minister of information, Ghazi al-Aridi. Nobody thought to address the actual condition of Palestinians in the camps.

As the Lebanese Army celebrated its “victory” over Fatah al-Islam, its commander, Michel Suleiman, seemed poised to become the next president. He would not be the first president to have punished the Palestinians. Between 1958 and 1964, President Fouad Shehab created an elaborate, ruthless secret-service network to monitor the Palestinian camps. During his 1970–76 reign, President Suleiman Franjieh clashed with Palestinian factions, even using the air force to bomb a neighborhood thought to be pro-Palestinian.

I’ve heard followers of assassinated president-elect Bashir Gemayel, whose Maronite Christian militia massacred Palestinians in 1976, brag that he was stopped at a checkpoint in the early years of the country’s 1975–90 civil war with a trunk full of the skulls of dead Palestinians. Even today, the Lebanese opposition’s preferred candidate for president is Michel Aoun, a Christian retired general who participated in the 1976 killings.

“Social confinement is leading the youth to religious radicalism,” says Bernard Rougier. “Youngsters are socialized by religious clerics who tell them how to understand the world and the “true reasons” of their social exclusion. To end that situation, refugees should be allowed to work in the Lebanese society, in order for them to live under new and different influences (with a restriction: nothing should be done to naturalize them, because it could upset the Lebanese balance of power, and Palestinian refugees would be, once again, caught in the Lebanese inner contradictions; in addition to that, such naturalization would dissolve the negotiations about the right of return). So what needs to be done is to distinguish between the issues, between what is social (the right to work), what is political (and should be discussed at the regional level), and what is linked to the legal situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. In order to do that, Lebanese parties would have to stop frightening the Lebanese society about the risk of tawtin (a condition almost impossible to meet in Lebanon).”

As Iraq became a less hospitable place for jihadists and foreign fighters, or as there were less American targets to go after, these veterans, experienced at fighting the most advanced army in the world, were looking for new battles. Andrew Exum is a former U.S. Army officer who led a platoon of light infantry in Afghanistan in 2002 and then led a platoon of Army Rangers in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004. He lived in Beirut from 2004 until 2006, and now researches insurgencies and militant Islamist groups at the Center for New American Security in Washington, D.C. “The fighting in Nahr al-Bared is, unfortunately, just the first round in what I fear will be a series of battles fought in the aftermath of the Iraq War,” he says. “On Internet chat rooms, we’re seeing militants turn away volunteers to go fight in Iraq and promising the next fight will be in Lebanon and the Gulf. Lebanon, especially, is a magnet for Sunni extremists.

You not only have a haven for these groups in the Palestinian camps—with security services from rival Arab states competing for their loyalty and attention—you also have two tempting targets: both the pro-Western ruling coalition in Beirut as well as the opposition, led by a powerful bloc of Shiite parties. How can we not expect these Sunni militants, who have spent the past four years waging war on the Shiites of Iraq, to try and carry that fight onto the large, politically active Shiite population in Lebanon? Or onto the pro-Western regime that precariously hangs onto power?”

Following the civil war Iraq became a less prominent topic on the jihadi web forums. In part the novelty factor wore off. But Iraq was a loss for the jihadists, and as it grew bloodier, with more civilians being targeted, it was less inspiring for aspiring jihadists than merely fighting against the crusader and occupier. But there was very little soul-searching on the forums; jihadis seemed to have moved on without a lot of serious public discussion of what went wrong. This was partly because fighting picked up in other places after 2005, especially in Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Somalia.

And while America’s militaristic ambitions will likely engender violent resistance movements regardless of the ideological environment, a major reason for the growth of Al Qaeda is now something beyond anti-Americanism. It is the internal war between Sunnis and Shiites in places like Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan, and even Yemen. Al Qaeda can no longer be seen as just a force against U.S. encroachments; it is now part of these local phenomena. In this internal war in the Muslim world, Al Qaeda has become a major driving force of Sunni-Shiite hatred. Al Qaeda in this case means something more general than the actual organization. Even in moderate Lebanon, you get sectarian Sunnis who have been Salafized.

They may not have been religious beforehand, but they view Al Qaeda as an effective way to combat perceived Shiite expansion and a potent symbol for them to reclaim their masculinity. One of the many ramifications of that is that the United States is yet again involving itself in forms of spiraling violence whose outcomes are unpredictable and whose unintended consequences will be keeping it busy for decades to come.

From the book Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America’s Wars in the Muslim World, by Nir Rosen. Excerpted by arrangement with Nation Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2010.

Second ‘Jewish Perspective on BDS’ event taking place next week

Nov 05, 2010

Adam Horowitz

Last June, Phil posted on an event that took place here in New York that tried to get a conversation started in the Jewish community about BDS. It was such a success the organizers are doing it again. I’m excited to say that I’ll be moderating, and I’m sure it will be a thought-provoking evening. If you’re anywhere near Brooklyn, please come. Here’s the announcement:


Thursday, November 11, 2010

1012 Eighth Avenue (between 10th St. & 11th St.), Park Slope,
Church of Gethsemane (F or G train to 7th Avenue)

Seating is limited.

Many Jews wish to see Israel end the occupation; abide by international humanitarian law, human rights laws and precepts; and meet its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.

Some believe that an effective way to do so is to adopt and to maintain nonviolent and punitive measures through participating in a campaign to boycott, divest from, and sanction (BDS) Israel. The movement has grown rapidly since 2005, when a broad coalition of Palestinian civil society groups called on people around the world to join a campaign that involves academic, cultural, consumer, and sports boycotts; encouragement of and pressure on individuals, financial institutions and companies to shed their investments in Israel; and sanctions—ending preferential trade, joint research, and other agreements, local and regional governments ties between municipalities or regional councils and Israel, and military links and support to Israel.

Others, whose goal is a two-state solution–where Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace and security—believe that this goal is ill- or ineffectively served by the Global BDS Movement and many of its allies because they deploy BDS tools in ways that are more blunt than smart, the movement diverts resources from more effective advocacy and action, and BDS tends to alienate stakeholders from each other rather than encouraging their engagement and collaboration to achieve the goal.

We invite you to a respectful dialogue on BDS—whether you already have a position on it or you want to clarify for yourself the complex issues it raises. This event will provide an opportunity to hear from people who disagree about whether BDS is an appropriate and effective strategy.

We are fortunate to have speakers who have thought deeply about–and been involved–in issues of peace and justice, who have spent a lot of time in Israel/Palestine, and who disagree with each other about BDS. We also have a moderator/respondent who will encourage the speakers and audience to probe more deeply into these issues. We hope you will join us.


Gil Kulick—co-chair of the J Street-NYC Communications/Media Committee; a founder of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom; former Communications Director of the New Israel Fund and deputy political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Israel and—will speak in opposition to the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.

Hannah Mermelstein—active member, Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel; co-founder, Birthright Unplugged; co-founder, Students Boycott Apartheid—will speak in support of the Global BDS movement.

Kathleen Peratis—board member of J Street, The Forward, Human Rights Watch; former vice president New Israel Fund; former president NYCLU; occasional columnist for The Forward; partner New York law firm Outten & Golden LLP—will speak in opposition to the Global BDS movement.

Rebecca Vilkomerson—National Director of Jewish Voice for Peace; lived in Israel, 2006-2009; worked for a Palestinian-Israeli public policy center and a Bedouin-Jewish environmental rights organization—will speak in support of the Global BDS movement.

Defending Jean-Luc Godard

Nov 05, 2010

Philip Weiss

I’m finally getting on this. On November 1, the NYT did a big piece on French film director Jean-Luc Godard, who is up for an honorary Oscar, that credited attacks by him from Jewish establishment orgs saying that he is an anti-Semite, based on a number of glancing statements about Jews in Hollywood, and his strong opposition to Zionism. Richard Cohen has chimed in by saying that it’s an “outrage” that Hollywood means to honor a man of raw “Jew-hatred.”

Now the pushback. Critic David Ehrenstein has since taken on Richard Cohen’s slam: “Godard has become the designated Leni Riefenstahl… He must be defended against this vicious utterly mendacious attack.” 

And here is a letter written to the Times by Bill Riordan, a college professor in Colorado. Riordan specifically addresses a film by Godard called “Here and Elsewhere.” He allowed us to publish the letter because the Times doesn’t appear likely to do so. 

To the Editor:

 Re “Hollywood Production: An Honorary Oscar Revives a Controversy”
The charge that the filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard is an anti-Semite—reported in the Michael Cieply article in the November 2nd edition of the Times—is as absurd as it is obscene. Quoting the author of the not-very-good book, “Everything Is Cinema” does not make it any less ridiculous and creepy.  The film at the center of the controversy, “Here and There,” was a masterpiece made in the mid-70s and most likely never seen by a single member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In the film, Godard submits his own political practice and that of the European left (the film’s intended audience) to a searing self-criticism.

The film’s principal thesis is that the developed world’s left, unable to make a revolution in Europe and in the “first world,” projected its own desires on “third world” revolutionaries and, specifically, the left Palestinian resistance. Inert and wallowing in their political impotence, Godard blames the European left and himself for responsibility in the massacres and repression that the Palestinian resistance suffered at the hands of the Israeli military. The film, which has (like all of Godard’s work) a rich diachronic depth, views the plight of Palestinians at the hands of Zionist nationalism as the historical product of Europe’s own anti-Semitic past.

Thus Godard brilliantly represents a history defined by a quasi-Hegelian unity-of-opposites (Golda Meir and Hitler) in which former victims become victimizers and what Jean-Paul Sartre would have called history’s “counter finality” where the ultimate product of Europe’s racist past is an emerging quasi-fascist and racist state constructed as a “Jewish” homeland. Many contemporary Israeli intellectuals and artists are making the same charges against the current State of Israel.

The film, if anything, seems not so much anti-Semitic as prophetic. Our contemporary situation in which a stifling ideological conformity is demanded of us, as well as the continual and ongoing attempts of censorship against any possible narratives that might counter Zionism’s self-representation, demonstrates the prescience and profundity of one of the finest film artists in our world. I (as well as Godard, I imagine) find this suffocating ideological climate chilling.  The current charges against Godard continue to demonstrate the contemporary relevance of his work.

Bill Riordan
Denver, Colorado.

My mixed loyalties

Nov 05, 2010

Yonah Fredman

I have two parents.  My father is America and my mother is Israel.

In 1973 I was in Israel for the Yom Kippur war and the experience convinced me to toss in my lot with Israel: join the army and suffer the slings and arrows of “tzava” [army life].  In America people were dodging the draft or adjusting to the withdrawal of American troops or celebrating the change to a volunteer army, which meant other people fighting but not me or people who thought like me (RFK supporter). 

But my path into Israelihood and army-hood was through the yeshiva where I was studying, not in some “foreign” mass showing up at the draft board, and for the yeshiva I needed my father and mother’s approval (literal rather than metaphorical this time) and instead they issued a veto and I returned to America. 

America is a super power sometimes extending, sometimes retracting her reach in the world.  Israel is a small country in crisis. Which parent needs my help and which parent asks for the ultimate sacrifice?

When I moved to Israel in 2006 I took Israeli citizenship.


  If dual citizenship did not exist I would not have given up my American citizenship in order to take up residence in Israel.  The loyalties of an 18 or 19 year old have a different dynamic than those of a 51 year old.  Why I moved to Israel is for another conversation.  For right now let’s say I moved there not for the public sculpture but for the cuisine: to combine the tastes of kishke and chumus at its purest essence.

My opinion regarding US middle east policy is prejudiced, because of my mixed loyalties.  I don’t know what would be best for America. (The most objective opinion I have regarding American policy is towards stability: which would include neither an attack on Iran nor a 180 degree turn around on Israel versus Palestine.  Also: the role of money and lobbyists in Washington is anti democratic, but it seems almost inevitable.)

I don’t know if America is up to the “light unto the nations” role.  (I’m sure Israel is not.)  I would be hard pressed to name another country that attracts the eyes of the world as much as America.  America sadly falls short in this role.  Others would say that America is cast in this role only in the mind of America, because of its bull-in-a-China shop ways both regarding foreign policy and standard of living.  But it has the eyes of the world.

American law allows for dual citizenship.  Some Americans hate this idea.  I didn’t write the law and have done no research regarding the evolution of the law.  Some Americans hate anyone who has anything but singular single minded loyalty.  Others merely hate those who are dishonest about their loyalty.  I have tried to eliminate most of my dishonesty.

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show details 10:16 (14 hours ago)
Thank you for your email in response to the decision by Vince Cable to refer News Corporation’s plan to take full control of BSkyB to Ofcom.
I would much have preferred Vince Cable to use his powers to block Mr. Murdoch’s ambitions and he could have made this decision himself.  The problem about referring this take-over to Ofcom is that they owe their existence, as do all other regulators, to Government dictact and if they produce a report which is not strongly against the take-over then this provides Vince Cable and the Coalition with the justification for not blocking the proposed take-over because he is not obliged to refer it to the Competition Commission.
I do not want Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation to take control of BSkyB and if Vince Cable and the Coalition were opposed to this take-over then powers exist to stop it without referring it to a body like Ofcom.
Kind regards,

 Roger Godsiff MP

0207 219 5191 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              0207 219 5191      end_of_the_skype_highlighting






Tags: British class system, British government, Classless society, General Election, Mandarins, Old Etonians, Politicians, The Tories | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

No, I’m not going to tally up the number of old Etonian’s in the Tory party, it would take forever and only annoy me.

But it is interesting to think how the expected role of old Etonians, to run the upper reaches of British government is still continuing, when it should have died off ages ago, if we were to believe all of the guff about a classless society.

The Guardian has an interesting piece, Ten things you didn’t know about the 2010 general election:

“4. Sun readers swung towards the Tories more than the readers of any other paper. In 2010, 43% of Sun readers voted Tory and 28% voted Labour. Compared with 2005, that represented a 13.5% swing. The next largest swing was among readers of the Daily Star, where the swing from Labour to the Conservatives was 10%.

5. Guardian readers were less likely to vote Lib Dem in 2010 than in 2005 – even though the paper endorsed the Lib Dems this year in a leader. Some 46% of Guardian readers backed Labour, 37% the Lib Dems (down four points since 2005) and 9% the Tories.

7. Almost as many Old Etonians were elected to parliament (20) as former manual workers (25). There’s one Lib Dem Old Etonian, John Thurso, and 19 Tories. Interestingly, the 19 Tories include Jo Johnson and Rory Stewart, meaning that 50% of the “new blood” Tories elected to parliament went to David Cameron’s old school.

8. No Labour Old Etonians were elected, which means that the parliamentary Labour party is without an Old Etonian for the first time since 1923. (Mark Fisher was Labour’s only Old Etonian in the last parliament.) “

Posted in UKComments Off on OLD ETONIANS & THE TORIES

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