Archive | November 9th, 2010

IRAN VS ZIONISM: WHAT THE ZIO=NAZI CONTROLLED MEDIA WANTS YOU TO FORGET!

NOVANEWS
11/9/2010
Iran vs Israel: What the Zionist Controlled Media Wants You to Forget!

Iran vs Israel: What The Media Wants You To Forget!

From What Really Happened

Read this article and watch No War for Israel in Iran!  –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qxzZY4JycY

The corporate media have been given their orders to throw the focus back on to Iran. Here is a recap of what they are trying to make you forget.

1. Last Spring, Rose Gottemoeller, an assistant secretary of state and Washington’s chief nuclear arms negotiator, asked Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel refused.

2. The United Nations passed a resolution calling on Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to submit to inspections. Israel refused.

3. The IAEA asked Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to submit to inspections. Israel refused.

4. Iran’s formal notification to the IAEA of the planned construction of the backup fuel-rod facility underscores that Iran is playing by the rules of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which Iran has signed.

5. Iran allows IAEA inspections of all its facilities.

6. Contrary to face-saving claims, it appears that the US and Israel were both caught off guard by Iran’s announcement. The reasoning is simple. Had the US or Israel announced the existence of the new facility before Iran notified the IAEA, it would have put Iran on the defensive. As it is now, the US and Israel seem to be playing catch up, casting doubt on the veracity of Israel’s claims to “know” that Iran is a nuclear threat.

7. The IAEA and all 16 United States Intelligence Agencies are unanimous in agreement that Iran is not building, and does not possess, nuclear weapons.

8. In 1986, Mordachai Vanunu blew the whistle and provided photographs showing Israel’s clandestine nuclear weapons factory underneath the reactor at Dimona.

9. Israel made the same accusations against Iraq that it is now making against Iran, leading up to Israel’s bombing of the power station at Osirik. Following the invasion of 2003, international experts examined the ruins of the power station at Osirik and found no evidence of a clandestine weapons factory in the rubble.

10. The United Nations has just released the Goldstone Report, a scathing report which accuses Israel of 37 specific war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza earlier this year. Israel has denounced the report as “Anti-Semitic (even though Judge Goldstone is himself Jewish), and the United States will block the report from being referred to the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague, thereby making the US Government an accessory after-the-fact.

11. Recently revealed documents prove not only that Israel has nuclear weapons, but that it actually tried to sell some to Apartheid South Africa. Who else Israel approached to sell nuclear weapons remains an unasked question.

12. In 1965, Israel stole over 200-600 pounds of weapons-grade uranium from the United States.

13. Declassified documents from the former South African regime prove not only that Israel has had nuclear weapons for decades, but that it has tried to sell them to other countries! We all need to be Joe Wilson right now. We need to stand up and scream, “LIAR!” at every politician and every talking media moron that is pushing this war in Iran. And we need to keep doing it until they get the message that we will not be deceived anymore. Israel wants to send your kids off to die in Iran, and YOU are the only one that can stop them.

 

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BIBI CAN TAKE US INTO WAR WITH IRAN

NOVANEWS
November 9, 2010

A former CIA member says the Israeli premier can take US into war with Iran but Washington is not prepared for such a confrontation.

By Press TVPress tv” — US Republicans, riding a wave of economic discontent, took over the House of Representatives in mid-term polls, dealing a heavy blow to President Barack Obama.

November 08,2010 “

Analysts say control of the House will now give Republicans enough power to slam the brakes on Obama’s agenda.

“On Iran, there’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans. They’re very comfortable with the idea that a foreign leader like [Benjamin] Netanyahu can take 300 million Americans to war whenever he wants,” said counterterrorism expert Michael Scheuer, who has worked with the Central Intelligence Agency for more than 20 years.

“The election was a disaster in terms of increasing the chances of another war that we don’t have the resources to fight, and we won’t have the will to win,” Newsmax quoted Scheuer as saying.

He criticized Obama for “saying the country can handle another 9/11 attack,” and added, “It’s a foolish comment of a man who is only moderately talented in terms of international affairs.”

“Given the disastrous state of our economy, I’m not so sure we could handle all the effects of an attack.”

Scheuer expressed doubt that gaining control of the US House by Republicans would improve anti-terrorism efforts, adding that “I don’t think there’s any real difference between Obama and his party and the Republicans.”

“They’re still fighting an enemy that doesn’t exist, an enemy they believe is attacking us because we have elections…”

Scheuer said no problem would be resolved “until they [US officials] understand we’re being attacked because of our foreign policy and what we do in the Muslim world, we’re never going to understand the motivation and size of the enemy.”

Regarding the Afghan war, Scheuer said the US forces should already have withdrawn from the country.

“It’s very clear that neither the military nor the president nor the Republicans intend to win in Afghanistan,” Scheuer said.

The Republicans, whose public support receded significantly during the presidency of George W. Bush, are now capitalizing on voter discontent with the troubled US economy, a nearly 10-percent unemployment rate, a home foreclosure crisis and the direction of the war in Afghanistan.

The US congressional elections have taken the character of a referendum on the policies of Obama, whose approval rating has hit a record low of 37 percent.

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Biden: US Support for Israel Must Continue ‘Forever’

Address to Jewish Group Claims Policy Disagreements Can Never Break Ties

by Jason Ditz,

November 09, 2010

Speaking today at the Jewish Federations of North America meeting, US Vice President Joe Biden vowed eternal support for the Israeli government, insisting US support for the nation would continue no matter what Israel does “forever.

The ties between our two countries are literally unbreakable” insisted Biden, adding that policy disagreements with the far-right government will never be “fundamental” and will never have any affect on ties. Biden insists President Obama “feels exactly the same way.”

The comments were largely in keeping with a number of top US officials over the past few decades who have pledged eternal fealty to Israel regardless of the relative merits of that government’s position on any given issue. Biden’s position is therefore a politically safe one, but is it an obsolete one?

Perhaps. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a speech at the self-same gathering yesterday and was heckled off stage by attendees outraged by his government’s policies. Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren chided American Jews, insisting it was their duty to support Israel unquestioningly. This claim however whiffed of desperation, and there seems to be concern on the Israeli right that policy disagreements really are forging a growing rift with its traditional allies.

Given the excitement at the conference during Netanyahu’s speech, Biden’s loyalty pledge must seem extremely quaint, albeit not particularly topical. Claims that Israel can’t hurt US ties no matter what they do are going to be less and less credible as what their government does becomes increasingly publicized and increasingly embarrassing for US officials.

Harper will defend Israel ‘whatever the cost’

Prime Minister Stephen Harper pauses as he delivers a speech on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday Nov. 8, 2010. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper pauses as he delivers a speech on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday Nov. 8, 2010. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

CTV.ca News Staff

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he is prepared to suffer any political backlash that comes his way for speaking out against anti-Israel rhetoric.

Harper told an audience Monday that while Israel is receptive to fair criticism, Canada is obligated to stand up for its ally when it comes under attack from others.

“Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israel mob tell us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are in the longer term a threat to all of us.”

The prime minister acknowledged that his position is not popular with all governments and organizations, including members of the United Nations and the Francophonie.

“And I know, by the way, because I have the bruises to show for it, that whether it is at the United Nations or any other international forum, the easiest thing to do is simply to just get along and go along with this anti-Israel rhetoric, to pretend it is just about being even-handed, and to excuse oneself with the label of honest broker.

“There are, after all, a lot more votes — a lot more — in being anti-Israeli than in taking a stand. But as long as I am prime minister, whether it is at the United Nations, the Francophonie or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost.”

The prime minister’s use of the phrase “honest broker” is an apparent reference to a recent speech made by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.

Ignatieff criticized the Harper government for using Israel as a wedge issue with his political opponents in Canada, at the expense of the country’s influence on peace in the Middle East. The Liberal leader called for a return to a time when Canada was perceived to be an honest broker in the global community.

Harper made his remarks at the start of a two-day conference on anti-Semitism that is being held on Parliament Hill during Holocaust Education Week.

After his caucus meeting on Monday, Ignatieff criticized Harper for suggesting that Canada’s recent failure to secure a seat on the UN Security Council can be blamed on the federal government’s support for Israel.

“They’re trying to claim it’s a moral victory,” Ignatieff told reporters.

“It’s a defeat, especially if you want to support the state of Israel. What is the institution that’s enforcing sanctions against Iran, which is a strategic threat to Israel? The Security Council. If you’re not on it, you’re not playing.”

Ignatieff also reiterated his party’s support of a two-state solution for peace in the Middle East.

“Why? Because we believe it’s essential for the security of Israel, and because we think it’s essential for the security of the Palestinian people,” Ignatieff said.

He also added that “we are not neutral and will never be neutral between terrorist organizations and democratic states. That’s been the position of Canada for a very long time, that’s the position of the Liberal Party.”

Meanwhile, the group Independent Jewish Voices, which is not taking part in the conference, accused the Harper government of trying to suppress debate about Israel.

On CTV’s Power Play, spokesperson Diana Ralph said the government is trying to “criminalize criticism of Israel.”

“What this conference is actually about isn’t anti-Semitism,” Ralph said. “What it’s about is attacking and limiting dissent and criticism on expressing criticisms of Israel. And the thing is that when Harper says today that Israel is a country under attack, Israel is being attacked for its violations of human rights.”

With files from The Canadian Press

Muslim Americans Foil Terror Threats

by William Fisher 

November 10, 2010

A new report on violent extremists in the United States finds that terrorism plots by non-Muslims greatly outnumber those attempted by Muslims, and that Muslim-American communities helped foil close to a third of al-Qaeda-related terror plots threatening the country since Sept. 11, 2001.

The report comes from the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a not-for-profit organization advocating for the civil rights of American Muslims. It consists largely of MPAC’s “Post-9/11 Terrorism Incident Database.”

Reportedly the first of its kind by a Muslim-American organization, the database tracks plots by Muslim and non-Muslim violent extremists against the United States.

The author of the report, Alejandro J. Beutel, MPAC researcher and government liaison, told IPS, “This report demonstrates the validity of two of our guiding principles.”

“The first of these is that the choice between our rights and liberties and national security is a false choice; we can have both,” he said. “The second is that law enforcement will be much more successful if it treats the American Muslim community as partners, not as adversaries.”

He added, “Because of the baseless spying by the FBI on our mosques, we are very cautious about our engagement with the Bureau.”

The report found “little evidence of a rise in ideological extremism.” It concluded that those Muslims involved in 13 out of the 15 plots since Barack Obama’s election as president were engaged in ideological extremism before the vote. Of the 15, 10 were engaged in ideological extremism since 2007.

It declares that al-Qaeda does not appear to be making new ideological gains into the American Muslim community. Instead, the data is pointing toward greater numbers of longstanding ideological extremists turning to violence.

The report asserts that Muslim communities have helped foil almost one out of every three al-Qaeda-related terror plots threatening the U.S. since 9/11/01. It says this highlights the importance of law enforcement partnering with citizens through community-oriented policing.

The report recommended that the government expand community-oriented policing initiatives; increase support for research on combating biased policing; expand investments in better human capital acquisitions; highlight citizen contributions to national security; and reform the fusion center process to increase coordination among law enforcement communities.

The report examined the challenges posed by violent extremists in two ways. The first was by examining the quantitative and qualitative nature of terrorism trials. Second, it looked at the number of actual and attempted attacks within the United States, including a comparative analysis of incidents involving Muslim and non-Muslim perpetrators.

The report appears amidst a resurgence of anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S. Some of this has been triggered by the proposed building of an Islamic community center two blocks from “Ground Zero,” the site where the World Trade Center once stood.

A number of individual and community groups, including some families of 9/11 victims, have blasted the project as “a celebration of Islam.” Supporters see it as a vehicle for bringing diverse faiths closer together.

In communities throughout the U.S., there have been “copycat” campaigns to thwart mosque planning or construction.

The recent midterm elections here have also provided some candidates with platforms from which to verbally attack Muslims, including Muslim-Americans. These candidates have largely been Republicans and members of the tea party, on the extreme right-wing of the political spectrum. While a few Democrats attempted to debunk the “all Muslims are terrorists” mantra, most remained silent.

Several recent unsuccessful terrorist plots have also contributed to heightened public anxiety – and the search for scapegoats. The so-called Times Square bomber was a home-grown terrorist who admitted attending training school in Pakistan; the “underwear bomber” who attempted to bring a passenger plane down over Detriot last Christmas day was a Nigerian believed to have been trained in Yemen. Both men are Muslims.

And the successful interception of two parcel bombs shipped as cargo from Yemen further raised the public’s level of apprehension that another terrorist attack was in the making.

The backlash takes a number of forms. For example, ordinary Muslims are experiencing renewed discrimination in the workplace. The New York Times reports that Muslim workers filed a record 803 such claims in the year ended Sept. 30, 2009. That was up 20 percent from the previous year and up nearly 60 percent from 2005, according to federal data.

The Times says the number of complaints filed since then will not be announced until January, “but Islamic groups say they have received a surge in complaints recently, suggesting that 2010′s figure will set another record.”

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed several lawsuits connected with anti-Muslim discrimination. It sued JBS Swift, a meatpacking company, on behalf of 160 Somali immigrants; it filed a case against Abercrombie & Fitch, the clothing retailer, for refusing to hire a Muslim who wore a head scarf; and it sued a Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Phoenix, charging that an Iraqi immigrant was called a “camel jockey.”

Finally, MPAC and similar groups are angry and disappointed at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which has acknowledged placing “agent provocateurs” inside mosques in attempts to root out terrorists, terrorist plots, and terrorist cells.

“We feel betrayed,” says Alejandro Beutel. 

Key Findings

There were 72 total plots by domestic non-Muslim perpetrators against the United States since 9/11/01. In comparison, there have been 37 total plots by domestic and international Muslim perpetrators since that date.

There are at least five incidents of non-Muslim domestic extremists possessing or attempting to possess biological, chemical, or radiological weapons. One of those occurred since Obama’s election.

No such cases involving Muslim violent extremists have been reported since 9/11/01. Evidence clearly indicates a general rise in violent extremism across ideologies.

The report says that, using Obama’s election as a base measurement, since Nov. 4, 2008, there have been 39 terror plots by non-Muslim domestic extremists.

By comparison, there have been 15 plots by Muslim domestic and international extremists. Each of these cases constitutes close to half of all violent extremism cases since 9/11/01.

(Inter Press Service)

Iran slams Israeli war threats

Iran has lashed out at Israeli prime minister’s comments that encourage the US to take military action against Tehran.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told Press TV that Tehran has taken legal action in the United Nations against the Israeli threat.

“Our mission in New York will send a note to the secretary general of the United Nations and register this kind of threats of the [Israeli] regime in the region,” the Iranian top diplomat said.

“The existence of this illegal regime is mixed with violation, terror, threats and aggression,” Mottaki stated.

Mottaki’s remarks come a day after Benjamin Netanyahu demanded Washington launch a military attack against Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu, paying a visit to the US, said a credible military threat by the United States is the only way to deter Iran. His call was rejected by US Defense Secretary, Robert Gates.

Israel, which is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East region, has repeatedly voiced its determination to stop Iran’s nuclear program, even through military means.

Unlike Israel, Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has repeatedly declared that its nuclear program is peaceful.

The US and some Western powers accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, in its reports on Iran’s nuclear program, has said that its inspectors have found no shred of evidence to indicate that Tehran plans to develop a military nuclear program.

Bush rejects claims that Israel was behind Iraq war

  Former US president GW Bush's memoir

By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER 
11/10/2010 01:07

In new memoir, former US president says “those theories were false. I was sending our troops into combat to protect the American people.” 

WASHINGTON – In his new memoir out Tuesday, former US president George W. Bush flatly rejects the notion that Israel was behind his decision to invade Iraq.

Referring to critics who cast aspersions on his motives, Bush dismisses those who “alleged that America’s real intent was to control Iraq’s oil or satisfy Israel.”

He stresses, “Those theories were false. I was sending our troops into combat to protect the American people.”

In the 30 pages he spends in Decision Points detailing the frantic diplomacy, military planning and consultations with international figures in the run-up to the Iraq war, Bush never once mentions a conversation with an Israeli official or member of a pro-Israel organization.

Bush does mention the threat of Israel being bombarded with missiles among his many concerns about fallout from an invasion – including the well-being of Iraqi civilians and the possibility of chemical weapons being used against US soldiers.

But when it comes to Middle Eastern pressure to declare war, he only describes Arab input: from Saudi Arabian Prince Bandar, who urged him to make a decision on whether to attack, and from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who said Iraq had biological weapons and would certainly use them against the US, an assessment Mubarak wouldn’t make public “for fear of inciting the Arab street.”

The picture Bush paints stands in stark contrast to the assertions of critics who charged that the “Israel lobby” was a major factor in the decision to go to war. Among the most vocal were scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, who said of the Israel lobby that “the war would almost certainly not have occurred had it been absent.”

The only reference Bush makes to a pro-Israel figure having a role in his Iraq deliberations is the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, a supporter of military intervention whose opinion the president solicited as he weighed his options.

“Elie is a sober and gentle man. But there was passion in his seventy-four-year-old eyes when he compared Saddam Hussein’s brutality to the Nazi genocide,” Bush writes.

The other major pro-Israel figure whose influence Bush notes in his work comes during his discussion of the “Freedom Agenda.” Bush cites a passage from Natan Sharansky’s book The Case for Democracy in making the argument that America needed to “put pressure on the arms of the world’s tyrants.”

Bush sees his Freedom Agenda as being most needed in the Middle East to help diminish the appeal of terrorism, and speaks sympathetically of the terror that visited Israel during the second intifada.

“I was appalled by the violence and loss of life on both sides. But I refused to accept the moral equivalence between Palestinian suicide attacks on innocent civilians and Israeli military actions intended to protect their people,” Bush writes, saying his views on the right of countries to defend themselves were magnified by September 11.

And he points out, “The Israeli people responded to the violent onslaught the way any democracy would. They elected a leader who promised to protect them, Ariel Sharon.”

Though he scores Sharon for making a “provocative” visit to the Temple Mount after the collapse of the Camp David talks in 2000, Bush says the blame for the violence that followed fell squarely on Yasser Arafat, whom he describes as someone who “didn’t seem very interested in peace.”

His wariness about Arafat only increased in early 2002 after Israel intercepted the Karine A, an Iranian ship it believed was smuggling deadly weapons to Palestinians. Arafat pleaded his innocence in a letter to Bush, who notes that both the US and Israel had evidence refuting his claim.

“Arafat had lied to me. I never trusted him again,” Bush relates. “In fact, I never spoke to him again. By the spring of 2002, I had concluded that peace would not be possible with Arafat in power.”

Bush also details differences with Sharon, particularly his feeling that Sharon’s sweeping West Bank offensive against Palestinian terrorists following the Pessah bombing of the Park Hotel in Netanya had gone too far and become “counterproductive.”

“‘Enough is enough,’ I said.

Still Sharon wouldn’t budge,” he writes.

During the offensive, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia arrived at Bush’s ranch in Texas for a visit. Bush recounts that the Saudis expected the US to have put a stop to the operation by then, and threatened to leave soon after arriving should it continue.

“They were insisting that I call the Israeli prime minister on the spot. I wasn’t going to conduct diplomacy that way,” Bush writes.

He was, however, able to convince a miffed Abdullah, who happened to be a farming enthusiast, to take a tour of the ranch. While driving along, a hen turkey stood in the middle of the road, blocking their progress.

Bush recalls that he then felt Abdullah grab his arm and tell him, “It is a sign from Allah. This is a good omen.”

The visit continued without a hitch, with Bush concluding, “I had never seen a hen turkey on that part of the property, and I haven’t seen one since.”

Zahar: Jews will soon be expelled from Palestine

By KHALED ABU TOAMEH 
11/06/2010 20:30

Hamas leader says Jews were kicked out by France, Britain, Russia and Germany “because they betrayed, stole and corrupted these countries.”

The Jews will soon be expelled from Palestine that same way they were kicked out by France, Britain, Belgium, Russia and Germany, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said over the weekend.

“The only nation that received the Jews after they were expelled was the Islamic nation, which protected them and looked after them,” Zahar said in a speech in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip over the weekend.

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“But they have no place here amongst us because of their crimes. They will soon be expelled from here and we will pray at the Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem].”

Zahar claimed that Jews were expelled in the past “because they betrayed, stole and corrupted these countries.”

Zahar called for unity with Fatah as representatives of the two parties prepare to hold another round of reconciliation talks in the Syrian capital of Damascus this week.

“Let’s join ranks and speak in one voice,” Zahar said in his appeal to Fatah. “Together, with blood, we could liberate our lands and holy sites. You have tasted the bitterness of arbitrary negotiations.” He said that Hamas was making “big efforts” to ensure the success of reconciliation talks with Fatah.

Meanwhile, Ramadan Shallah, leader of Islamic Jihad, called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to step down for abandoning the armed struggle against Israel. Shallah was speaking in Damascus on the 23rd anniversary of the establishment of his group.

“The negotiations [with Israel] have ended and there’s no alternative to jihad and resistance,” Shallah said. “The present leadership of the Palestinian Authority is not authorized to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians. If Mahmoud Abbas can’t adopt the option of Yasser Arafat, resistance, we recommend another option which is more honorable: to quit and sit at home.”

The Islamic Jihad leader said that “Palestine is all ours and we won’t give up one inch of it. We won’t participate in or accept any settlement that limits our rights only to the 1967 borders.”

In response, Abbas’s Fatah faction accused Shallah of serving the agenda of Iran. “We urge Shallah to adopt a constructive approach and not a destructive one,” said Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf. “Many Arabs and foreigners have tried to hijack the Palestinians’ independent decision-making process, but Fatah has preserved all Palestinian achievements despite internal and external conspiracies.”

Iran hawks step up pressure on Obama — some see echoes of Iraq

Emboldened by President Obama’s political struggles, foreign-policy hard-liners are stepping up efforts to press the administration to take a tougher stance — and perhaps even launch an attack — on Iran.

Some observers see parallels with the successful multiyear campaign for a U.S. invasion of Iraq. “The theoreticians who called for war in Iraq as a way to stop Saddam acquiring weapons of mass destruction are at it again, with the same playbook,” Joel Rubin of the liberal National Security Network told The Upshot.

Of course, advocates of an aggressive foreign policy have long talked up the notion of an attack on Iran as a means of preventing the Islamic republic from acquiring a nuclear weapon — remember Sen. John McCain’s “Bomb Iran” performance from the 2008 presidential campaign? But with a weakened president, the effort to promote a military strike is “definitely going into a higher gear” of late, Matthew Duss of the liberal Center for American Progress told The Upshot.

On Saturday, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a prominent Republican voice for an aggressive foreign policy, floated the idea of an all-out offensive against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime — “not to just neutralize their nuclear program, but to sink their navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard. In other words, neuter that regime. Destroy their ability to fight back.”

Speaking at an international conference in Halifax, Canada, Graham held out the prospect of Republican support if President Obama goes beyond the administration’s current policy of tough economic sanctions.

Graham is not alone. At the same event, his close ally McCain (R-Ariz.) urged Obama to “do something dramatically different” on Iran, by publicly “advocating regime change.”

In late September, more than 50 House Republicans, including Minority Leader John Boehner, signed a letter to the president: “We urge you to take whatever action is necessary to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. All options should be on the table in curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”

Just days before last week’s midterms, Washington Post columnist David Broder raised eyebrows by arguing that Obama should ramp up arms production and create “a showdown with the mullahs” in order to kick-start the U.S. economy and boost his political standing. Versions of Broder’s argument had already been made this year two separate times, by neoconservative foreign policy thinkers Elliott Abrams and Daniel Pipes. Abrams was a staffer on President George W. Bush’s National Security Council, where he had strongly advocated for the invasion of Iraq. And Pipes, as the founder and director of the conservative Middle East Forum think tank, was also a staunch supporter of the Iraq war.

Obama has consistently advocated a diplomatic approach to dealing with Iran, and he’s unlikely to do an about-face. But advocates of a military strike may be playing a longer game. Here again, critics point to the precedent of the Iraq invasion. During the 1990s, a well-connected group of neoconservative foreign policy thinkers, including Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol and Richard Perle, who would later chair the Defense Policy Advisory Board in the George W. Bush administration, worked with Republicans in Congress to pass the Iraq Liberation Act, making regime change in Iraq the official policy of the U.S. government. The legislation wasn’t aimed at spurring then-President Clinton to launch an invasion — there was little chance of that. Instead, the idea was to give the goal of regime change long-term momentum and a bipartisan veneer, since the law was signed by a Democratic president. That helped pave the way once the country had a Republican president more likely to sign off on an invasion.

Supporters of the Obama administration’s diplomatic approach say that advocates of  an Iran invasion are pursuing the same long-term strategy now.:By putting the issue on the table right now, Iran hawks are hoping to limit the president’s room to maneuver, and make it easier for a future president to launch a military strike. “Iraq didn’t happen in two months,” Rubin told The Upshot, noting that it took five years from the passage of the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 until the 2003 invasion. “So this is the playbook.”

Indeed, Marc Lynch of Foreign Policy magazine wrote recently that he’s anticipating “some kind of Iran Liberation Act on the horizon” from the GOP Congress.

Duss agreed. “You see them running a very similar game as they ran in the ’90s,” he said. During that period, Republicans and their allies frustrated many of Clinton’s political goals, “then offered [the Iraq Liberation Act] as a way to be bipartisan.”

And last week’s election results give the hawks more leverage. “After the election, they feel the broader Obama agenda has been rejected,” Rubin said. “There’s a feeling they may have Obama a bit more on the ropes.” And that, in turn, may make the president more willing to move toward the GOP on Iran policy, observers say.  “Graham is saying: If [Obama] wants Republican support and bipartisanship, being tougher on Iran would work,” according to Rubin.

Starting in January, advocates of a tougher line on Iran will have powerful allies in Congress who could help advance that plan. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), a veteran Iran hawk who has downplayed the effectiveness of sanctions, will take over as chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Rubin, Duss and others who oppose the hawks’ escalating rhetoric say there’s no doubt that Iran is a genuine threat to world security. But they argue that publicly raising the threat of a military strike is likely to be counterproductive.  “Launching a third war in the Middle East against a Muslim country,” Rubin wrote in the Jewish Chronicle on Monday,  “will increase our vulnerability to terrorist attack, will increase the likelihood that Iran will accelerate its nuclear program, will expose Israel to powerful military attack with unpredictable consequences, will place our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan at risk, will severely harm the Iranian people and will trigger a new oil crisis.”

Still, the call for a more aggressive stance is winning support from America’s top ally in the Middle East. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told Vice President Joe Biden that Iran must be made to fear a military strike — a departure from Netanyahu’s previous focus on diplomacy as the best counter to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

(2007 photo of Graham flanked by McCain, left, and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut: AP/Lauren Victoria Burke)

Let’s Attack Iran!

 Oh good. I see that Senator Lindsey Graham wants to attack Iran. The US, he says, should “sink their navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard.”Visit his blog

By Fred Reed

Senator Graham has the brains of a tapeworm, making him eminently qualified for the senate. Tapeworms, I note, do not have brains. It is characteristic of warlike innocents, to include the Pentagon, to believe that if you destroy navies and air forces, you win wars. This worked well in Vietnam, you will recall, and as soon as we destroy the Taliban’s navy, Afghanistan will be a cakewalk.

Now, I understand that practicality and realism are alien concepts in American politics, to be approached with trepidation, but maybe, just once, we should think before sticking our private parts into a wood-chipper. Just once. I do not propose consistent rationality, forethought, or intelligent behavior. I profoundly respect my country’s traditions.

However, folk wisdom from West Virginia: Before you say, “I can whip any man in the bar!” it is well to scout the bar.

Note that the United States cannot defeat Iran militarily, short of using nuclear weapons. It is easy to start a war. Finishing one is harder. I could punch out Mike Tyson. Things thereafter might not go as well as hoped.

Some will find the thought of American martial incapacity outrageous. Can’t beat Iran? Buncha towel monkeys? Among grrr-bowwow-woof patriots, there exists a heady delusion of American potency, that the US has “the greatest military power the world has ever seen.” Ah. And when did it last win a war? In Afghanistan, for ten years the gloriousest military ever known, the expensivist, and whoosh-bangiest, hasn’t managed to defeat a bunch of pissed-off illiterates with AKs and RPGs.

At this point Lindsey of Persia will doubtless allude to the wonders of air power, of “precision-guided weapons,” of smart bombs that presumably read Kant on the way down. Those pitiable Iranians would have no hope of stopping our mighty bombers. True.

Implicit in this Thomistic fantasy (Clancy, I mean, not Aquinas) is that Iran wouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t dare fight back without a navy, etc. Lindsey had better be very sure that Iran couldn’t block the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation. Enough of the world’s petroleum comes from the Gulf that the price would rise drastically if the Straits were blocked. Some economies would simply stop.

How many supertankers going up in flames would be tolerated before operators of tankers refused to risk it?

Iran recently began serial production of the Nasr 1, an anti-ship cruise missile. Tankers are thin-skinned and highly flammable. The Nasr 1 can be fired from the back of a truck. Trucks by their nature are mobile. They are easy to hide.

The Air Force, to include Naval Air, may be confident that it can destroy all of Iran’s missiles. The Air Force always believes that air power can do anything and everything – make coffee, win at marbles, everything. After all, don’t its airplanes say “Vrooom!” and “Swoosh!”? Don’t cockpits have lots of portentous buttons and spiffy little screens? Unfortunately the Air Force is regularly wrong.

In fact the entire military is regularly wrong about the ease and duration of its adventures. For example, it had no idea that Viet Nam would turn into an endless war ending in defeat (if that makes sense). Iraq notoriously was going to be a walk in the park. That the war on Afghanistan would last ten years with a distinct possibility of defeat…this never occurred to the soldiers.

It is barely conceivable that the Five-Sided Wind Box could do what Field Marshal Graham thinks it could do. The unexpected is always a possibility. But, the stakes being what they would be in Hormuz, hoo-boy….

Another possibility is that Israel will attack Iran, as it has threatened. I would like to think that even Bibi Nut-and-Yahoo has better sense but, it the US can produce gibbering wingnuts, why not Israel? The practical effects of an Israeli attack would be indistinguishable from those of an American attack: America would have to solve the problem. Which it probably couldn’t. Israel can bomb Iran’s nuclear codpieces, but it can’t defeat Iran. And if the Strait were blocked after an Israeli attack, the entire globe would holler, “Israel did it!” which would be true.

The distance from “Israel did it” to “The Jews did it,” though logically great, is emotionally short. People think in collective terms. Remember that after some Saudis dropped the Towers, the alleged war on terror morphed almost instantly into intense hostility for Moslems. It doesn’t make sense, but what has that got to do with anything?

I know a lot of Jews, who are all over the place politically and intellectually. They have in common a complete lack of resemblance to the scheming, hand-rubbing, heh-heh-heh Jews of Neo-nazi imagination. Few sacrifice Christian children (a temptation strongest, I can attest, among Christian parents). But…people think collectively.

Congress doesn’t support Israel because it likes Israel, but from political expediency. If the wind blows the other way, so will Congress. Gasoline at twelve dollars is a lot of wind in a commuting country.

Things worsen for America, yet we really don’t know where the country is going or how it will react. The last domestic catastrophe was the Great Depression, when America was a very different place. How bad can things get, economically, politically, internationally? How does a pampered population incapable of planting a garden respond to genuinely hard times? “It can’t happen here,” one hears. What can’t? I suspect that all sorts of things could happen, given sufficiently hard times.

The United States is today an edgy, unhappy country, sliding toward poverty, increasingly dictatorial, inchoately angry, hostile to blacks, the French, Mexicans, Moslems and, creepingly, the Chinese. (Jews, perhaps to their surprise, don’t make the enemies list.) Americans don’t do cosmopolitan. The federal pressure for diversity exists because otherwise no one would associate with anyone else. The Persian Gulf is one of few places that plausibly might wreck the industrial world. There would have to be someone to blame. And Israel can’t survive without American support.

Maybe I’m crazy. But if I were an Israeli, I’d find a nice café on Diesengoff and enjoy a double cappuccino, watch the girls, and keep my bombs in my pocket. Let somebody else take the fall.

Fred Reed is author of Nekkid in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well and A Brass Pole in Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to Be. His latest book is Curmudgeing Through Paradise: Reports from a Fractal Dung Beetle.

Copyright © 2010 Fred Reed

17 arrested for stealing $42.5 million meant for Holocaust survivors

Individuals participated in fraud against the Claims Conference, which issues payments to Jewish Holocaust victims, by falsifying documents attesting to eligibility for Holocaust-related compensation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has arrested 17 individuals in New York on Tuesday, for participating in a $42.5 million organized fraud against the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which issues payments to Jewish Holocaust victims.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is charging the 17 individuals, which include six current and former staff members of the Claims Conference, for their involvement in creating and submitting fraudulent documents attesting to eligibility for Holocaust-related compensation payments.

“We are outraged that individuals would steal money intended for survivors of history’s worst crime to enrich themselves,” said Julius Berman, Chairman of the Claims Conference. “It is an affront to human decency.”

The scheme was discovered late last year when Claims Conference officials noticed that several claimants had falsified information to receive pensions from the Hardship Fund, an account established by the German government which makes one-time payments of $3,600 for Jewish victims of Nazism who emigrated from Soviet bloc countries.

In July 2010, the Claims Conference announced that 202 pensions had been suspended with a total value of $7 million. Since then, an additional 456 pensions are thought to be fraudulent with a total value of $24.5 million. In addition, 4,957 one-time payments under the Hardship Fund are thought to be fraudulent with a total value of $18 million, adding up to $42.5 million in total.

The Claims Conference said that no Holocaust victims were deprived of any funds because of the crime, and pledged its full cooperation to help federal authorities bring to justice those who have perpetrated the fraud.

Palestinians demand immediate statehood to counter Israeli ‘unilateralism’

Israel’s plan to build new homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank should be countered by international recognition of a Palestinian state, the chief Palestinian negotiator said on Tuesday.

Raising the stakes in the deadlock over stalled peace talks, Saeb Erekat said it was clear from the latest announcement of building plans that Israel wants settlements, not peace.

erekat - Dan Keinan - Dec 29 2008

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in a file photo.

Photo by: Dan Keinan

“Israeli unilateralism is a call for immediate international recognition of the Palestinian state,” he said in a statement.

The world paid little attention when the late Yasser Arafat declared a Palestinian state in 1988. But political winds have shifted and Israel today is seriously concerned that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas might win recognition.

Abbas has floated the idea of “going to the United Nations” to declare statehood as one option if peace talks collapse, but only after first seeking support from Washington.

Israel on Monday announced plans to build 1,300 new housing units on occupied land near Jerusalem, and on Tuesday, Haaretz reported that a further 800 units were planned in the big settlement of Ariel in the northern West Bank.

The building plans were made public as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in the United States to discuss ways to revive Middle East peace talks that have stalled over the issue of settlement building.

The United States said it was “deeply disappointed” by Monday’s news of the housing project which is “counterproductive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties”, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was expected to raise the issue in a meeting with Netanyahu in New York on Thursday.

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in September almost as soon as they had begun, after Netanyahu rebuffed Palestinian demands to extend a partial freeze on West Bank settlement building.

Noting that the controversial housing announcement was made while Netanyahu was in the United States, Crowley said: “It could very well be that somebody in Israel has made this known in order to embarrass the prime minister and to undermine the process”.

Washington was outraged in March when settlement housing plans were announced with what looked like defiant timing as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Jerusalem.

Israeli Interior Ministry spokeswoman Efrat Orbach said Monday’s announcement was simply another procedural stage. “It can take months or years from this point until building can actually begin,” she said.

The Palestinians dismissed this explanation.

“Israel’s settlement enterprise … is nothing but a premeditated process to kill the possibility of an independent Palestinian state,” Erekat said.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad embarked on a two-year plan in 2009 to construct the complete institutional framework of a state by mid-2011. It has won European Union backing and warnings from Israeli analysts that Fayyad should be taken seriously.

“I firmly believe this can happen, that it will happen. We need to build up a sense of inevitability about this. I think it will happen next year,” Fayyad told Reuters in an interview earlier this month.

“The more it is seen to be inevitable, the more likely it will get to a resolution,” he added.

The prospect of the United States recognising an independent Palestine without the agreement of Israel seems very remote. But Israeli analysts speculate that President Barack Obama could threaten to abstain rather than veto a UN resolution if he believes Israel is obstructing the path to a peace treaty.

A World Bank report last month said that if the Palestinian Authority keeps up its “performance in institution-building and delivery of public services, it is well-positioned for the establishment of a state at any point in the near future”.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank, in the 1967 Six-Day War and regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, including the two neighborhoods where new housing has been approved.

Obama sees ‘enormous obstacles’ for Middle East peace

 The Middle East peace process faces “enormous obstacles” but the United States will do all it can to achieve a “just” outcome in talks between Israelis and Palestinians, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday.

Speaking during a trip to Indonesia a day after criticizing Israelis and Palestinians for not doing enough to reach a breakthrough, Obama said the pursuit of peace in the region was persistent despite setbacks.

“Israelis and Palestinians restarted direct talks, but enormous obstacles remain,” he said.

“But let there be no doubt: we will spare no effort in working for the outcome that is just, and that is in the interest of all the parties involved: two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.”

The President’s words of determination follow several contentious exchanges between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. officials which began after new building plans for Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem were revealed.

U.S. President Barack Obama - AP - Nov. 10, 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia on Nov. 10, 2010.

Photo by: AP

On Tuesday, the U.S. rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement  that construction in East Jerusalem doesn’t affect the peace process.

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said the statement from Netanyahu’s office was unhelpful, and rejected its suggestion there was no link between Israeli construction in East Jerusalem and the peace process.

“There clearly is a link in the sense that it is incumbent on both parties, as we’ve insisted all along, that they are responsible for creating conditions for a successful negotiation,” Crowley said. “To suggest that this kind of announcement would not have an impact on the Palestinian side I think is incorrect.”

The statement issued from the Prime Minister’s Office emphasized that “Jerusalem isn’t a settlement” and that it doesn’t “see any connection between the peace process and the building and planning policy in Jerusalem.”

The statement came as a reply to President Obama, who said on Tuesday that Israel’s plan to build 1,300 new homes in East Jerusalem was “unhelpful” to peace negotiations.

Earlier Tuesday, Obama was asked to comment on news that the Interior Ministry in Israel had announced plans to build in East Jerusalem. Saying that he had not been fully briefed on the matter, the U.S. president explained that activities of this type were not helpful for the peace talks and expressed concern that neither side was making the necessary effort to find a breakthrough that would create the conditions of a secure Israel living in peace with an independent Palestinian state.

Construction in Har Homa - AP

Construction in Har Homa.

Photo by: AP

Vowing to continue working toward peace, Obama described the peace process as being in the interest of the international community, of Israel and the Palestinians.

Netanyahu began his visit to the U.S. with a feeling that the Americans consider the Palestinians responsible for the impasse in the talks. However, the announcement of plans for more construction in East Jerusalem reverted the attention in his direction, ahead of interviews scheduled in New York with the U.S. media, and a meeting Wednesday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, where it is expected he will hear further criticism of the decision.

European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton said in response to the news of planned construction that she was “extremely concerned by the announcement that Israel plans to go ahead with the construction of 1,300 new housing units in East Jerusalem.”

“This plan contradicts the efforts by the international community to resume direct negotiations and the decision should be reversed,” she said in a statement.

The announcement of planned construction also impacted a meeting between the prime minister and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who expressed his concern about the construction in East Jerusalem.

source–haaretz

Netanyahu to Obama: Jerusalem is not a settlement

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement Tuesday responding to criticism by the United States over Israel’s plan to build 1,300 new homes in East Jerusalem, emphasizing that Israel is doing nothing to harm the peace process.

“Jerusalem isn’t a settlement – Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” the statement by the Prime Minister’s Office read. “Israel has never put any sort of limits on construction in Jerusalem, where some 800,000 people reside, and didn’t do so during the 10-month settlement freeze in the West Bank either.”

Netanyahu GA - AP - 09/11/10

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the GA conference in New Orleans, November 9, 2010.

Photo by: AP

The statement was referring to a temporary moratorium on construction in West Bank settlements declared by Netanyahu last November. The moratorium expired late last month, bringing recently renewed direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians to a halt.

Earlier Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that Israel’s new building plan could obstruct the peace process.

“This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations,” said Obama, adding that he was concerned Israel and Palestinian were not making enough of an effort to advance peace negotiations.

Netanyahu, on the other hand, stressed that building in Jerusalem hasn’t impeded the peace process in 40 years, so there is no reason it would be an obstacle now.

“Israel does not see any connection between the peace process and the building and planning policy in Jerusalem, which hasn’t changed for 40 years,” Netanyahu’s statement said.

“Every Israeli government in the last 40 years has built in all parts of the city. During this period, peace agreements were signed with Egypt and Jordan and for 17 years, peace negotiations with the Palestinians were carried out. These are historical facts. Construction in Jerusalem has never disrupted the peace process.

Our difference of opinion with the United States regarding Jerusalem is well-known. This, also, isn’t a new development and is something that has been going on for 40 years. We hope to overcome this and continue moving forward with the peace process. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is looking forward to his meeting on Thursday with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in order to push peace talks forward.”

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Night raid in Bil’in

Nov 09, 2010

Hamde Abu Rahme

(Photo: Hamde Abu Rahme)

Today, November 9 at about 3:00 in the morning, the Israeli army entered the village

of Bil’in. About 50 soldiers entered the village by jeep and foot. When they arrived at the

 two targeted houses, they ran and took positions outside while a number of soldiers

entered the house.


(Photo: Hamde Abu Rahme)

At first the soldiers were hammering on the door of one house, demanding to see 30-year

 old Ashraf al-Khatib. It turned out they went to the wrong house. They then went to

another house – forcing one of Ashraf’s brothers to show them where Ashraf lives.

Soldiers then entered that house, and his brother’s family’s house, and again they woke

up the family, asking for Ashraf al-Khatib. His brother, Haytham al-Khatib, is a journalist

from the human right’s group B’tselem and was of the ones woken up by the army.

Even though they entered a house where their target didn’t  live, they stayed there for

about one and a half hours, searching all the rooms.

Haytham al-Khatib told me about his 6-year-old son’s reaction to waking up to see dozens

of soldiers in his house, “he asked me to close the door, because he didn’t want to see them.”

Haytham himself was prevented when he wanted to record the raid in his family’s houses –

the soldiers simply locked him in a room for more than an hour, away from his

children and wife. The children in the houses are ages 1,5 and 8 years old, and this is not

the first time they have seen their homes raided at night.

However, after 1.5 hours of searching for the target in three houses, two of which he

doesn’t reside in, Ashraf al-Khatib was not found. Five weeks ago

Ashraf was shot in his leg with live ammunition by an Israeli soldier during a

demonstration in Bil’in. The bullet went through his leg, breaking the bone. Even though

he was heavily injured and in major pain, the soldiers tried to arrest him. Luckily he was

brought to safety, and then taken to a hospital for surgery by fellow protesters.

Tonight the army decided to come and take him in front of his wife and 1.5 year old

daughter instead.

The soldiers finally retreated from the targeted houses by foot, walking toward the

military road that follows the illegal segregation fence in Bil’in, at about 4.30 AM.

The village of Bil’in has suffered from frequent night raids over the last few years,

and a number of villagers have been taken for interrogation and imprisoned for their

non-violent resistance to the occupation and segregation wall on Bil’in’s land.

(Photo: Hamde Abu Rahme)

Five young Jews disrupt Netanyahu speech with call for new Jewish identity

Nov 08, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Update: The video with four of the activists who disrupted Netanyahu was just posted

to YouTube.

News from the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations in New Orleans, a press

release from Jewish Voice for Peace. Note the inspiring statements from the

young disrupters:

A group of young Jews with the Young Leadership Institute of Jewish Voice for Peace

has traveled to the largest gathering of Jewish leaders in the US, the Jewish Federation

General Assembly, to confront leaders on an approach to saving Israel’s reputation and

building young Jewish identity they say actually turns young Jews away.

Five of the young adults, including 3 Israelis and Israeli–Americans, disrupted a speech

this morning by Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu with banners that said:

 YoungJewishProud.org and and one of the below-

The Settlements Delegitimize Israel
The Occupation Delegitimizes Israel
The Siege of Gaza Delegitimizes Israel
The Loyalty Oath Delegitimizes Israel
Silencing Dissent Delegitimizes Israel

and The Settlements Betray Jewish Values
(and in hebrew:) Justice justice you shall pursue – Deuteronomy 16:20.

The young Jews faced a violent backlash from some audience members. Some audience

 members attempted to hit and gag Rae Abileah, a young Jewish protestor. 3 of the young

Jews- Matan Cohen, Matthew Taylor and Emily Ratner were temporarily detained, but not

before they interrupted Netanyahu’s speech five times with chants, and forced him to

address them directly.

Two of them were captured on the conference live TV feed as they were removed from

the crowd. Flipcam footage will be available later.

The young Jews’ website, www.YoungJewishProud.org,  presents the group’s Young

Jewish Declaration, a compelling vision of collective identity, purpose and values

written as an invitation and call to action for  peers who care about Israel and Palestine.

It is also a strong challenge to elders. [“We are young Jews, and we get to decide what

that means.”]

These actions are in part a protest of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA)

and Jewish Public Affairs Council (JCPA) newly announced $6 million dollar program

to target campus, church, peace and human rights groups that are working to end Israel’s

human rights violations through nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions pressure

campaigns. The Federations and JCPA are calling this initiative the “Israel Action Network.”  

Critics say it is a “Shoot the Messenger” approach.

“We’re here to call out the elephant in the middle of the room. Israel continues to

expropriate Palestinian land for Jewish-only communities, passes increasingly racist

laws in the Knesset, the foreign minister wants to strip Palestinian citizens of their

citizenship — these are the reasons Israel is becoming a pariah in the world, NOT the

human rights groups that are using nonviolent economic pressure to hold Israel

accountable. We would be dismissing the values we were raised on if we did not speak up.”
Eitan Issacson, Israeli-American, Seattle

“The Jewish establishment thinks that all we want are free trips to Israel and feel-good

service projects. That is in insult to our intelligence and to the Jewish values we were

brought up on. What we want is for the American Jewish community to stand up and say

that Israel’s ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights are wrong and that we will

not continue to support it with our dollars, our political strength and our moral abilities.

We are the next generation of American Jews, proud of our heritage, strongly committed

to Jewish life. We live our Jewish values in opposing Israel’s human rights violations and

we invite – no, implore –all Jews to join in this urgent struggle.”
Hanna King, Swarthmore College, Philadelphia

“We were surprised by how many other young Jews were enthusiastic about the

perspective that we brought to the General Assembly. It was scary to ask questions

of sometimes hostile panelists, but in fact many people our age were supportive and

even asked their own critical questions. We realized this is a terrific opportunity to

organize.” Antonia House, graduate student, NYU

“Right now, the choice for those of us who care about the future of Israel and

Palestine is between the status quo— which includes continued settlement

expansion, the siege of Gaza, and the racist Israeli foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman–

or Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions. Given that choice, Boycotts, Divestment and

Sanctions will win every time.”  Matan Cohen, Israeli, Hampshire College

The students also announced the creation of a spoof Birthright Trip called

Taglit-Lekulanu http://taglit-lekulanu.org/ , Birthright for All, open to Palestinian

and Jewish-Americans which they followed up with a spoof denial. The goal of the

spoof was to highlight the one-sided narrative that Birthright presents, the ways it

renders Palestinians invisible. The rebuttal laid bare the problematic assumptions

underlying Birthright such as the emphasis on marrying Jews and procreating.

 http://taglit-lekulanu.org/.

My conversation with an Israeli leftist

Nov 08, 2010

Andraos Tarshihe 

I think the following gchat conversation gives some insight into Israeli leftist

thinking. The irony of this conversation that sticks out most is that in visiting

various villages in the West Bank, it is notable that Israel does not at all differentiate

 itself from the dozens of settlements it has built inside the West Bank & East

Jerusalem, where police officers wear the same uniforms and use the same data

 systems for information sharing. Notably, Palestinian citizens of Israel are

referred to as “Arabs 48” (in Arabic) and many Palestinians elsewhere refer to

Israel as ’48 (the year the land of Palestine was declared the State of Israel),

noting that Israel is yet to recognize their rights and their existence.

me: hey

me: I am going to be in ’48 for a stretch soon I think, because people here will

begin with Eid al-Adha. So maybe I can come by and see the office during that time?
israeli leftist: yes, I am here everyday

me: k 🙂

me: i got detained for the 1st time yesterday btw

me: which was sort of ridiculous. i was with some farmers helping, and got

detained israeli leftist: sorry to hear that

me: no biggie. only upset bcs they took my info
israeli leftist: oy

me: writing it up now

me: army came to get us – then transfer us to police… which was odd
israeli leftist: maybe they heard you cannot utter the word “Israel” out of your

mouth and decided you want to destroy Israel

me: lol

israeli leftist: seriously, why can’t you say the word “Israel”?

me: what r u talking about?

israeli leftist: you just wrote “I am going to be in ’48”

me: yeah, what’s wrong with that?

me: and why does that indicate that I cannot utter the word Israel out of

my mouth?

israeli leftist: it does not indicate it, but still the use of the expression “’48”

to indicate that you are going to Israel, might, albiet not necessarily, indicate

that you don’t want to use the word Israel me: first off, if you were to visit your

chat history I’m sure you can find instances of me using the word Israel. second,

if I said I never wanted to use the word Israel because Israel stands for the

destruction of peoples’ land, ethnic cleansing, and millions of refugees both

here in the west bank and across the world. If I said that I didn’t want to use

Israel because my family doesn’t share equal rights there, because my uncle, a

man of musical brilliance had his instruments cracked open by racist police

officers there – because he was beaten brutally by a racist cop for being a Palestinian.

If I said I didn’t want to say Israel for all those reasons – would that be a problem for you?

israeli leftist: yes, it is a problem for me you cannot use the word Israel.

israeli leftist: Next time I visit 1776, I will look for Guantanamo Bay

me: I have a lot of respect for you and the work you do. But please, only IM me

when you’ve looked over how ridiculous this conversation is and when you start

seeing me as an equal human being. If a native-american came to me tomorrow

and he called the land I lived on “1776” – I would never have the audacity to have

this disgusting conversation with him – and he’d be more than welcome to call it

that as it’s his fuckin land I’m living on and my country that’s oppressing him.

me: Especially if my country was still actively taking his land, oppressing him, and

there were laws that discriminated against him/her inside the country and a military

occupation of the land he had retreated to.

israeli leftist: I wish you all the best. I am with you in this struggle, but I have no

patience for this bullshit.

Andraos Tarshihee is a diaspora Palestinian human rights activist whose family

are Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Canadian lawmakers resurrect McCarthy in hearings that say criticism of Israel is

anti-Semitism

Nov 08, 2010

Jillian Kestler-D’Amours 

Canada is the latest front in the battle between critics of Israel and those who

would smear them as anti-Semites. The video below is from Independent Jewish Voices.

An article by Jillian Kestler-D’Amours follows.

The Canadian Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism (CPCCA) held an international Conference on Combating Anti-Semitism in Ottawa from Nov. 7-9, in what for many not only signals Canada’s increasingly pro-Israel policy, but demonstrates the dangerous worldwide trend of equating legitimate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

“The CPCCA’s goal is to criminalize criticism of Israel and Zionism, not to hold impartial hearings,” wrote Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) Canada, in a petition addressed to Canadian Parliament members that has been signed by over 1,500 people.

“Therefore, we oppose the CPCCA as an ideologically biased organization with an agenda that will harm free speech and human rights activity in Canada. We oppose the CPCCA’s Orwellian distortion of anti-Semitism. It is a danger to both Canadian liberties and to the genuine and necessary fight against anti-Semitism,” IJV Canada wrote.

The CPCCA boasted that Parliamentarians and experts from over 40 countries gathered in Ottawa for what was “the largest ever international parliamentary gathering on anti-Semitism.”

“The recommendations made by participants during the Conference will be made available broadly and be used as the basis for further action to help put an end to the world’s oldest and most enduring form of discrimination,” the CPCCA website read.

It continued, “Anti-Semitism is an age-old phenomenon, yet it is always re-invented and manifested in different ways. For example, while accusations of blood libel are still being made against the Jewish people, instead they are being directed against the State of Israel, such that anti-Zionism is being used as a cover for anti-Semitism.”

Between November 2009 and January 2010, the CPCCA held ten separate hearings during which representatives of various non-governmental organizations, universities, police departments and Canadian political parties presented papers meant to assess the level of anti-Semitism in Canada.

Most of the speakers during the hearings equated legitimate criticism of Israel with this so-called “new” anti-Semitism and a particular focus was placed on Canadian university campuses, the supposed hotbeds of anti-Semitism.

Indeed, according to the CPCCA website, anti-Semitism “is especially prevalent on campuses where Jewish students are ridiculed and intimidated for any deemed support for the “Nazi” and “apartheid” State of Israel, which is claimed to have no right to exist. The problem is also exemplified by individuals and governments who call for the destruction of the State of Israel and its inhabitants.”

On Tuesday, November 24, 2009, however, in the fourth session of the hearings, Dr. Fred Lowy, President Emeritus of Concordia University in Montreal, stated that “by and large, Canadian campuses are safe and are not hotbeds of anti-Semitism of any kind.”

Still, representatives of B’Nai Brith Canada, the Canadian Jewish Congress, and other organizations across the country continued to talk about this “new” anti-Semitism, and often targeted the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement as the prime example.

“Much of today’s anti-Semitism manifests in anti-Israel agitation around boycotts, divestment and sanctions,” said Avi Benlolo, President and CEO of the Toronto-based Friends of the Simon Wisenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, during the November 30, 2009 hearing.

“It deploys an unfair double standard against the Jewish state, singling out of Israel alone for one-sided, harsh criticism and calls for punitive actions. Some of the criticism approaches open incitement that contributes to hatred of Israel, Judaism, and the Jewish people in the mainstream of society,” Benlolo said.

In recent years, Canadian policy has been increasingly pro-Israel in nature. In fact, Canadian politicians across the entire political spectrum have not shied away from declaring their support for Israel, despite ongoing illegal settlement construction in the West Bank and the Israeli attack on Gaza in December 2009/January 2010.

In February 2010, for example, Canada’s Junior Foreign Minister Peter Kent was quoted in Shalom Life magazine as saying that “an attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada.”

A month earlier, Canada announced it would discontinue its financial contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the organization that provides support and resources like clothing, food and health services to approximately 4.7 million registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territories. 

Since it took power, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s minority Conservative government has cut funding to many Canadian non-governmental organizations, many of had worked on issues related to Israel/Palestine in some way, or had spoken out against recent Israeli human rights abuses. These organizations, including Kairos Churches and Alternatives, had maintained relationships with the Canadian government for decades. 

Right-wing Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman even remarked in June 2009: “It’s hard to find a country friendlier to Israel than Canada these days.”

ndeed, according to Thomas Woodley, the President of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), the intent of the CPCCA hearings and conference is in line with Canada’s over-arching policy: to stifle criticism of Israeli policy and intimidate individuals and organizations working for Palestinian rights.

“The presence on ICCA’s steering committee of hardliner Israeli minister Yuli Edelstein—who not only opposes any moves to scale back the Occupation but also seeks to intensify Israeli presence in Palestinian territory— is indicative of ICCA’s orientation and underlying purpose,” Woodley said.

In a press release dated November 5, 2010, CJPME also outlined its disappointment that Canada’s Governor General David Johnston, the House of Commons (Parliament) and Senate Speakers, Official Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff and Foreign Affairs critic Bob Rae all spoke at and lent “their names —and Canada’s— to a closed event orchestrated to shield Israel from criticism.”

“CJPME is firmly opposed to anti-Semitism, a historical problem of tragic proportions, and is concerned about a growing movement to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.” 

Jillian Kestler-D’Amours is a freelance writer and documentary filmmaker based in occupied East Jerusalem. More of her work can be found

Israeli Supreme Court approves buildings for ‘Jews only’ in Jaffa

Nov 08, 2010

Seham 

And more news from Today in Palestine:

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

IOA deprives two Palestinian villages of potable water
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has been depriving villages of Brukin and Kufr Al-Deek, west of Salfit district, of potable water for the fifth day on Sunday, locals reported.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7

Israeli police threaten to tear down Sahwa Mosque in Negev area again
The inspector-general of the Israeli police, who personally supervised the demolition of Al-Sahwa mosque said the mosque will be razed again after the Palestinians there finish rebuilding it.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2b

Defiant Bedouin rebuild Rahat mosque razed by state
Residents relay foundations after police demolish illegal building funded by Islamic Movement activists.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/defiant-bedouin-rebuild-rahat-mosque-razed-by-state-1.323466?localLinksEnabled=false

Al-Aqsa preacher slams demolition of Negev mosque
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — The orator of Jerusalem’s iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque condemned on Sunday Israel’s demolition of a mosque in the Bedouin town of Rahat, in the Negev, as a part of an attempt to drive Palestinians off their land.  Yousef Jumah Salamah said the demolition was a “crime that was carried out by Israeli soldiers.”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=331739

Jerusalem: 32 housing units approved for construction in Pisgat Zeev
The Jerusalem Municipality’s Planning and Building Committee approved the construction of 32 housing units in the neighborhood of Givat Zeev Mizrach, located beyond the ’67 borders.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3981486,00.html

Netanyahu faces embarrassment in U.S. over new Jerusalem building plan
Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee published details of program that will allow 930 new housing units to be built beyond the Green Line.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-faces-embarrassment-in-u-s-over-new-jerusalem-building-plan-1.323597?localLinksEnabled=false

Full Haaretz expose / How the state helped right-wing groups settle East Jerusalem
A Haaretz investigation shows the state used a controversial law to transfer East Jerusalem assets to the rightist organizations Elad and Ateret Cohanim without a tender, and at very low prices.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/full-haaretz-expose-how-the-state-helped-right-wing-groups-settle-east-jerusalem-1.323312?localLinksEnabled=false

Incentives for settlement freeze likely on agenda as Netanyahu heads to Jewish GA
Netanyahu envoy arrived in Washington earlier this week to meet chief Palestinian negotiator on ways to renew negotiations.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/incentives-for-settlement-freeze-likely-on-agenda-as-netanyahu-heads-to-jewish-ga-1.323293?localLinksEnabled=false

Yossi Sarid / GA delegates – beware when you cheer for Netanyahu
When it comes to America, Netanyahu’s rules change suddenly: The U.S. will continue to give generously, and will get an obscene hand gesture in return.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/yossi-sarid-ga-delegates-beware-when-you-cheer-for-netanyahu-1.323291?localLinksEnabled=false

Barghouthi: IOA exploiting negotiations to impose facts on the ground
MP Dr. Mustafa Al-Barghouthi said that giving the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) a fresh breathing space to continue negotiations would not be of any good.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7

Local & Global Actions: Week Against the Apartheid Wall 9-16 November 2010
Nov 7, 2010– The list of Local & Global actions for the National & International Week Against the Apartheid Wall between the 9th -16th of November 2010.  Updated Continuously [MORE]
http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/2391.shtml

Palestine, before 1948

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Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
Israeli forces remove the memorial of Samer Sarhan amidst daily unrest in Silwan
Today, workers from the Jerusalem municipality and Israeli forces removed the Memorial of Samer Sarhan, this morning. They also removed the water supply donated on the soul of Samer Sarhan and the olive tree planted in the place, although the tree was present prior to the monument. The operation took place under the monitoring of an Israeli helicopter in the area. Vehicles of municipal workers and Israeli forces emerged after the enforcement of the task in less than ten minutes. One eyewitness and a resident of the region said, “members of the Israeli police came earlier to take pictures of the site of the memorial. They must have have studied how to implement the process in a very short time and leave before a large number of residents noticed them.” He adds, “police were not alone
http://palsolidarity.org/2010/11/15410/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+palsolidarity+%28International+Solidarity+Movement%29

Ten Protesters Injured During Nabi Saleh Demonstration; Four Hospitalized
In another outbreak of military violence against protesting civilians, soldiers and Border Police officers confronted demonstrators with rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas; torched olive tree.
http://josephdana.com/2010/11/ten-protesters-injured-during-nabi-saleh-demonstration-four-hospitalized/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ten-protesters-injured-during-nabi-saleh-demonstration-four-hospitalized

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign in Support of Palestinian Human Rights Moves Forward in Australia After Landmark Conference:  Worldwide Activism, Australian BDS Campaign, Nov 4, 2010
From October 29-31 more than 150 Palestine solidarity activists and supporters of human rights gathered in Melbourne for Australia’s first national Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) conference. The conference represents a watershed moment in the Palestinian solidarity movement in Australia with activists across various campaigns coming together and addressing the way forward in the global campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions.
http://stopthewall.org/worldwideactivism/2390.shtml

Join the Anti-Apartheid Media Marathon on 12 and 13 November
Nov 8, 2010– The annual Week Against the Apartheid Wall from 9-16 November is starting! Palestinian and international activists will again mobilize in the streets and organize a series of events across the globe. This mobilization on the ground will be complemented by a fast paced 48 hour media marathon on 12 and 13 November. We call on media to join 48 hours non-stop coverage!
http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/2392.shtml

Local & Global Actions: Week Against the Apartheid Wall 9-16 November 2010
Nov 7, 2010– The list of Local & Global actions for the National & International Week Against the Apartheid Wall between the 9th -16th of November 2010.
http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/2391.shtml

8th Week against the Apartheid Wall, November 9 – 16 2010
Sep 1, 2010– Eight years into the construction of the Apartheid Wall, over 60% has already been built to ghettoize communities, threatening over 260,000 people with displacement and stealing land and water resources.
http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/2361.shtml

A scene from the boycott movement, 2010
Eva-Lee Baird took this photo in September outside Ricky’s cosmetics store in Brooklyn. That’s Nancy Kricorian of Code Pink on the left, she’s led the boycott against Ahava products made from stolen minerals in the occupied West Bank, and she’s giving a piece of her mind to some of the young men who come out to mock the boycotters wearing clown wigs. Great street theater.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/a-scene-from-the-boycott-movement-2010.html

#BDS: Marilyn Monroe launches ‘Boycott Israeli Blood Diamonds’ campaign in Dublin
On Saturday 30th October 2010 the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) held a nationwide awareness-raising day to expose the contamination of the global diamond market with Israeli “blood diamonds” ahead of the annual meeting of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KP) in Jerusalem on November 1st. To launch the Boycott Israeli Blood Diamonds campaign activists from the IPSC in Cork, Galway, Limerick, Wexford and Waterford activists from the IPSC handed out thousands of leaflets and collected petition signatures to while in Dublin, a blood-stained Marilyn Monroe even turned up to endorse the campaign saying “the fact that Israeli diamonds are sold as ‘conflict free’ means that diamonds can no longer be considered a girl’s best friend!”
http://youthanormalization.blogspot.com/2010/11/bds-marilyn-monroe-launches-boycott.html

Goosebumps video links American sacrifices in civil rights struggle to Palestinian protesters’ travails
One of my strongest impressions of my last trip to Palestine is what a great price people are paying for their sturdy resistance to occupation. This is also a theme of Budrus, the fine new documentary. Well now Sana Kassem (whose work we grabbed last week) sounds the same theme with another stirring video, this one marrying Barbara Dane’s civil-rights anthem, It Isn’t Nice (backed up by the Chambers brothers), to images of the struggle in Palestine. Notice especially the three last pictures in the sequence
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/goosebumps-video-links-american-sacrifices-in-civil-rights-struggle-to-palestinian-protesters-travails.html

#BDS: ‘Lonely Planet’ guidebook rates Tel Aviv among world’s ‘top ten cities’ despite boycott calls
In the midst of a worldwide boycott campaign urging tourists to refuse to visit Israel until Israeli authorities adhere to international law and signed agreements, the ‘Lonely Planet’ travel guide company has listed Israeli city Tel Aviv as #3 in its ‘top ten cities for 2011’.  The company has been the subject of a targeted campaign by the Israeli tourism ministry after boycott activists encouraged the company to support a boycott of Israel.
http://youthanormalization.blogspot.com/2010/11/bds-lonely-planet-guidebook-rates-tel.html

#BDS: Turning the tables on BDS
Don’t just react; undermine the credibility and influence of groups promoting boycott, divestment and sanctions.
The North American Jewish community has taken an important step to counter the delegitimization campaigns targeting Israel. Directed by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) in partnership with the Jewish Council of Public Affairs (JCPA), the Israel Action Network should be a vital resource to combat these assaults.
http://youthanormalization.blogspot.com/2010/11/bds-turning-tables-on-bds.html

The tired “academic freedom” argument
Once again, the specter of the suppression of academic freedom has been invoked in what is now becoming an organized campaign to counter the growing global movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel, and the academic and cultural boycott in particular. This time, a number of American, European, and Israeli Nobel laureates have been enlisted in the campaign, in the hope that their plea to defend “academic freedom” will stem the tide of this ever-expanding movement.
http://www.tadamon.ca/post/8307

For Family of Activist Killed in Gaza, No End in Sight for Case
“I don’t see this as about Israel’s legitimacy,” she said in an interview. “My family is not anti-Israel. What Rachel saw when she went to Gaza was extremely troubling and because of what happened to her we are now connected to the Palestinian issue. But Israeli peace activists shared her concern and are helping us with our case. From our family’s perspective, this is about human rights for all people and holding governments accountable.” Cindy Corrie added, “An Israeli colonel said at this trial that there are no civilians in a war zone. But there are. If that hadn’t been the army’s attitude, maybe my daughter would still be with us.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/08/world/middleeast/08corrie.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

‘New Yorker’ connects Elvis Costello’s use of the word ‘nigger’ 30 years ago to his recent participation in boycott of Israel, Philip Weiss
From Abe Foxman’s lips to the New Yorker’s ear. Nick Paumgarten profiles Elvis Costello in the new New Yorker magazine, and links the entertainer’s use of the n-word in an episode 30 years ago to his participation this year in boycott of Israel, another “mess” that Costello made for himself. Ali Gharib, who brought this to my attention, writes: “There is no mention of a positive reaction to Costello’s move (I sure saw the Facebook postings and got the blast e-mails); it is merely suggested as a racist ‘bookend’ to his career or the ‘arbitrary… singling out of Israel.'” Does the New Yorker understand the moral/political universe that Costello is operating in? In the occupation, a Palestinian is killed every other day, and inside Israel, hundreds of Jewish towns have been created in the last 60 years, and not one new Palestinian town, and meanwhile the foreign minister talks about expelling Palestinians. This is why boycott has traction.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/new-yorker-connects-elvis-costellos-use-of-the-word-nigger-30-years-ago-to-his-recent-participation-in-boycott-of-israel.html

Israel’s Lieberman denounces settlement boycott (Reuters)
Reuters – Israel’s ultranationalist foreign minister Monday accused left-wing artists threatening to boycott a theater in a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank of waging “cultural terrorism.”
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101108/wl_nm/us_palestinians_israel_settlements

Goods – Needs Vs. Supply – Oct 10 – Nov 6
http://www.gazagateway.org/2010/11/goods-%e2%80%93-needs-vs-supply-%e2%80%93-oct-10-%e2%80%93-nov-6/

Source: United Nations General Assembly:  Israeli Restrictions Deepen Palestinian Hardships, Second Committee Told as It Considers Arab Sovereignty over Natural Resources in Occupied Lands
Israel’s continuing restrictions on Palestinian movement and access to natural resources, its expansion of settlements, and its military offensive against the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009 had deepened the hardship suffered by the Palestinians, Amr Nour, Director of the United Nations Regional Commissions New York Office, told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today.
http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/EGUA-8AWL5Y?OpenDocument&RSS20=02-P

Israeli government documents show deliberate policy to keep Gazans at near-starvation levels
Documents whose existence were denied by the Israeli government for over a year have been released after a legal battle led by Israeli human rights group Gisha. The documents reveal a deliberate policy by the Israeli government in which the dietary needs for the population of Gaza are chillingly calculated, and the amounts of food let in by the Israeli government measured to remain just enough to keep the population alive at a near-starvation level. This documents the statement made by a number of Israeli officials that they are “putting the people of Gaza on a diet.”
http://www.imemc.org/article/59843

UN fears Defense Ministry control of Jerusalem crossings will delay aid
For several years, the IDF has been gradually handing over responsibility for crossings into the West Bank to the Defense Ministry Crossing Authority.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/un-fears-defense-ministry-control-of-jerusalem-crossings-will-delay-aid-1.323472?localLinksEnabled=false

Israel denies doctor entry to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities denied entry to a doctor visiting Gaza as part of a French group Sunday, medical sources said.  The Iraqi doctor holds British nationality, and is an anesthestist. He was part of a delegation with Professor Christophe Oberlin, a specialist in hand surgery, a statement from Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=331841

Gaza worker dies collecting rubble
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A 19-year-old worker died of asphyxiation Sunday after he fell in a ditch and was buried under rubble as he collected stone aggregates in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.  Gaza medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiyya identified the victim as Mahmoud Salem Abu Araqa, and said his body was transferred to Nasser Hospital.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=331784

Stressed out Gazans need therapists, pop pills
JABALYA, Gaza Strip (Reuters) – If ever there was a little corner of the world where trauma therapists hanging out their shingle should do a boom business, it has to be Gaza.
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6A71UF20101108

Racism and Discrimination

Supreme Court okays Jewish-only buildings in Jaffa
Three apartment blocks approved for Arab neighborhood Ajami – despite discrimination claims.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/supreme-court-okays-jewish-only-buildings-in-jaffa-1.323474?localLinksEnabled=false

Bnei Brak rabbis: Don’t rent to refugees
Six of ultra-Orthodox city’s religious leaders sign halachic ruling forbidding locals to rent apartments to Africans. ‘Yeshiva students scared to walk on street at night,’ says neighborhood rabbi, calling upsurge in Sudanese residents a ‘spiritual danger’.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3981441,00.html

MK: Tel Aviv to turn into African city
National Union’s Yaakov Katz warns that ‘within a few years, Israel will have more than 100,000 African immigrants.’ Tel Aviv’s residents will have to move to Judea and Samaria, he adds.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3981335,00.html

Fundamentalists Attack Chilean Tourist After “Suspecting” He Is Arab
A group of Israeli fundamentalists attacked, on Thursday after midnight, a Chilean tourist while walking through a public park in Jerusalem after “suspecting” that he is an Arab.
http://www.imemc.org/article/59847

War Criminals

IOF soldiers shot any Palestinian talking on mobile phone in Gaza war
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) invading the Gaza Strip in late 2008 and early 2009 shot at any Palestinian citizen talking on a mobile phone, Hebrew website Walla said.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?x

Inside Story – Abandoning ‘universal jurisdiction’?
Britain’s foreign minister has pledged that the UK will quickly amend a law that has allowed pro-Palestinian activists to request arrest warrants for visiting Israeli officials over alleged war crimes. Activists in Britain have sought the arrest of Israeli officials in the past under the principle of “universal jurisdiction”, which allows courts to prosecute alleged war crimes from elsewhere in the world. The reassurance came after Israel suspended suspended ‘special strategic dialogue’ with the UK in protest over the law. But what message is the UK sending to the rest of the world?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNqJUmFITFQ&feature=youtube_gdata

Israel is right to be concerned, Rami G. Khouri
We can learn much from the Israeli government’s decision this week to suspend a special strategic dialog with the United Kingdom because of concerns that Israeli officials could be arrested and indicted with crimes against humanity in the UK, according to a British law that provides for “universal jurisdiction” in such cases, i.e., a suspect of any country can be charged, detained and tried in a British court even if the alleged crimes occurred in a third country and did not include British citizens among the victims. Israel’s Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni recently cancelled a trip to London as did Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor this week, because he was advised that he risked being arrested.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=121218#axzz14dFrT96M

Violence & Aggression

IOF troops fire at residential quarters in Rafah, round up more West Bankers
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired at Palestinian citizens’ homes and land east of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, on Sunday night but no casualties were reported.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Q

“targeted assassinations,” in Gaza, again, Max Ajl
I meant to write about this earlier but forgot. Several days ago, to conscience-shattering silence, the Israeli Defense Forces carried out a “targeted assassination” in downtown Gaza City, blowing up a car belonging to Mohammed Jamal al-Nimnim, a senior member of the Army of Islam. The little black crosses, xananas (drones) that buzz above Gaza constantly apparently hit the car with a missile, “pre-empting” several “terrorist attacks” against “American and Israeli” targets al-Nimnim was planning in the Sinai. IDF spokeswoman Lt.-Col. Avital Leibovitz said that “Earlier today, the Israeli army targeted a ticking bomb,” and since army spokeswomen are incapable of emitting truth, we know how to take that assertion (Someone tell me what “American” targets are sitting in the Sinai—sun-burnt tourists in Sharm al-Sheikh?) Enjoy also the color the racist Jerusalem Post added to the story: “Hamas said he was a senior aide to Mumtaz Dughmush, commander of the Army of Islam. Dughmush is a former Hamas activist and heads the violent Dughmush clan in Gaza City,” a bizarre Orientalist way to describe the Dughmush family, as though they’re sitting around a campfire in the Gazan dunes with their scimitars plotting the next Jew-killing.
http://www.maxajl.com/?p=4400&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+http%2Fwwwmaxajlcom%2Ffeedrss2+%28Jewbonics%29

Detainees

Palestinian prisoner society calls for firing Habbash from his post
The Palestinian prisoner society called on Mahmoud Abbas to remove his minister of religious affairs Mahmoud Habbash from his post after he expunged 200 names of pilgrims.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6

Political “Developments”

Netanyahu tells Biden: Peace agreement must not be forced on us from above
Netanyahu meets with U.S. VP Biden on sidelines of Jewish GA in New Orleans; says that Palestinians must be stopped from taking unilateral action to establish a state.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/netanyahu-tells-biden-peace-agreement-must-not-be-forced-on-us-from-above-1.323469?localLinksEnabled=false

Biden: US opposes unilateral moves
After meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, American vice president addresses Jewish leaders, stresses his country will do all it can to fight de-legitimization campaign against Israel. He cautions both Israel, Palestinians from taking unilateral actions.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3981195,00.html

`Unilateral statehood unwise at this juncture`
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A limited accord was reached between Israeli and Palestinian leaders discussing the issue of a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood when the two met on Hard Questions, the Palestinian talk show.  Former Palestinian Ambassador to Cairo Nabil Amr debated the issue alongside Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset Jamal Zahalqa with questions from chief editor of Ma’an Nasser Lahham.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=331255

Abbas: Palestinian State Could be Declared Within a Year
Speaking at the first Sir Bani Yas Forum on Peace and Global Security in Abu Dhabi, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that Palestinians will declare a sovereign state within a year, if negotiations with Israel fail.
http://www.imemc.org/article/59848

Bahar: West Bank lawmaker can’t hold PLC meeting
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Palestinian Legislative Council Deputy Speaker Ahmad Bahar criticized a West Bank lawmaker for claiming to hold a session of the parliamentary body on Sunday.  This came in response to an announcement by Fatah lawmaker Jamal Abu Ar-Rub that the PLC would hold a special session in Ramallah to discuss making arrangements for Palestinian prisoners’ families to perform the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=331723

Hamas wants Gaza security structure included in future deals
Hamas Interior Minister Fatthi Hammad said Sunday that Hamas security services must remain inside the framework of any future agreement with Fatah party.  Hammad said security forces in Gaza “have succeeded in running the Gaza Strip,” adding “this thing should not be bypassed in any reconciliation agreement.”  Hammad’s statements came during a parade for his ministry’s security services all over the Gaza Strip, which Hamas has been controlling since routing pro-Abbas forces in 2007.
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90777/90854/7191056.html

Hamas slams German foreign minister’s refusal to meet
GAZA CITY (DPA) — The Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip on Monday slammed as “insulting” the refusal by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle to meet it while visiting the salient.  Senior Hamas leader and legislator Kamal Shrafi said that while the Islamist Palestinian movement welcomed a visit by an official of his standing, it was “completely wrong to come to Gaza and not meet with the legal government’s representative.”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=332001

Fatah using Iran bogey to justify surrender to Israel
To justify its moral and political bankruptcy, the Fatah movement, under PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, is trying to use the so-called Iran bogey to justify its effective surrender to the Zionist regime.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq

Other News

West Bank most-wanted terrorist list has dwindled to almost nil
The situation is a reflection of both the improved security situation in the West Bank and the increasing cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian Authority security forces.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/west-bank-most-wanted-terrorist-list-has-dwindled-to-almost-nil-1.323465?localLinksEnabled=false

Eli Yishai to Netanyahu: Push for the release of Jonathan Pollard during U.S. visit
Shas chairman says the request is now justified since Israel is asked to make concessions for peace; Netanyahu refuses to take MKs’ letter asking for Pollard’s release to the U.S.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/eli-yishai-to-netanyahu-push-for-the-release-of-jonathan-pollard-during-u-s-visit-1.323278?localLinksEnabled=false

Maariv: Geert Wilders to express support for “Jordan is Palestine” at Tel-Aviv conference
Cooperation between the extreme right wing in Holland and Israel: Dutch anti-Muslim nationalist Geert Wilders will come to Israel in order to support the idea that “Jordan is the Palestinian nation state,” which is being promoted by MK Arieh Eldad (National Union).

armed UNRWA
“UNRWA — the “United Nations Relief and Works Agency” for Palestinian refugees — has had plenty of problems through the years. But, if it now starts to shoot at Palestinians, it’s situation in Gaza will become untenable.  What good are four “submachine” guns going to do, if there’s a real attack on the UNRWA Director of Operations, John Ging, who these weapons are reportedly meant to protect? Maybe the UN should pull out of Gaza, instead of running around with a few powerful weapons.  If the UN begins shooting up the place, there’s no telling what will happen next.”
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2010/11/armed-unrwa.html

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest
It’s time to dismantle the PA, Ahmed Moor
Salam Fayyad is surviving on borrowed time – or money. By now everyone’s aware that the Netanyahu-engineered “economic miracle” is the predictable result of periodic cash injections into a closed economic space. Pretending that Palestinian growth in the West Bank is viable is like pretending a six-year-old is rich because his mother handed him twenty dollars.  But it’s more insidious than that. The unsustainable bubble economy fails to capture the means of production and therefore strengthens the occupation. That’s because the European donor funds (that’s how the Europeans remain ‘relevant’ to the ‘peace process’ – they pay for what Israel breaks) are meted out in salary form to sustain Fayyad’s repressive police statelet.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/its-time-to-dismantle-the-pa.html

Erekat: “I Will Not Join the Zionist Movement”
Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat equates Israel’s request at recognition as a “Jewish state” with a request to join the “Zionist movement,” army radio reported on Saturday., Erekat reportedly made the remark during his visit to Washington where he has met with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, as well as other senior State Department officials, saying “they [Israel] want me to join the Zionist movement. I will not.”, In addition, he said, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu must choose between settlements and peace, referring to the reason peace talks were stalled on when building moratorium expired on September 26. The Palestinians have demanded a resumption of the freeze as a condition for rejoining direct talks., Last week, Erekat said that the Palestinians are willing to give the United States at least two more weeks to break the impasse in the peace process and to return both sides to the negotiating table, despite a looming deadline set by the Arab League., Despite the fact that the Arab League on October 9 gave the US only 30 days to find a way to continue the talks, Erekat said the Palestinians were willing to give the US the time it needed., Source: Jerusalem Post
http://almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=161209&language=en

‘Let us out of the box’, Scott McConnell
On Thursday, Palestinian chief negotiatior Saeb Erakat sat down for an hour and half “conversation” with former peace processor Aaron David Miller at the Woodrow Wilson Center in DC. They spoke in a cozy theater on the sixth floor, a setting perfect for peace process theater. Erakat is a decent and intelligent man, who said wryly that negotiating with Israel is the only thing on his CV, he’s been involved in such things for twenty years. The same could be said of Miller.  The conversation was not clarifying. Erakat expressed frustration in various ways, and must have used some variant of the phrase “in a box” , or “let us out of the box” a dozen times.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/let-us-out-of-the-box.html

Former AIPAC aide calls J Street fleas and liars, Philip Weiss
Josh Block used to work at AIPAC (and before that for Edward Kennedy). He just left the organization and, freed from institutional restraint, teed off on J Street, and J Street knocked him back. And now Block has gone back after J Street in a note to Adam Kredo of Washington Jewish Week. There’s a lot of vicious invective here that I pass along because it is so repulsive. I wonder what Block is afraid of?
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/former-aipac-aide-calls-j-street-fleas-and-liars.html

Alienated affection: Israel relationship is costing the U.S. its alliance with Turkey, Gil Maguire
Israel and its U.S. lobby’s insistence on unquestioning U.S. support for Israel in its brutal and illegal conduct toward Palestinian and Turkish civilians has cost the U.S. a major, strategic ally, Turkey, and has severely undermined U.S. foreign policy goals, strategy, and power in the Middle East.  President George W. Bush has been accused of having the most disastrous foreign policy in U.S. history. Unfortunately, President Obama’s apparent inability to stand up to Israel’s U.S. lobby may have created a foreign policy catastrophe that exceeds even that of his hapless predecessor by costing the U.S. the loss of Turkey as our main strategic ally in the region, and by drastically reducing U.S. influence and power in the Middle East.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/alienated-affection-israel-relationship-is-costing-the-u-s-its-alliance-with-turkey.html

Cornerstone of Zionism is to Conquer, Not Negotiate, Hasan Afif El-Hasan
Only through force and sheer violence, not negotiations, an exclusively Jewish state could be established in a country inhabited and owned by another people. It is humanly inconceivable that people surrender their country to strangers through negotiations. Thus violence against the indigenous Palestinians has been a central component of the Zionist movement since it was conceived as a colonial enterprise. Violence as an instrument to intimidate the Palestinians has been embedded in the Zionist ideology and in its popular culture.
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16390

Political Roulette in Palestine, Dr. Eyad El Sarraj – Gaza
– She asked: Where have you been all day? I was worried about you! And why did you turn off your mobile?
– Then he replied meekly:”It was an exhausting day, long strategy meetings and discussions of administration and finance. I have a meeting tonight with “the Elders”.
– “What elders?”
– “They are the group of Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and other international figures who are to tell the truth on the world’s troubles”
– “And what is the benefit of meeting them?”
– “It is very important to tell them our story” then almost begging “Now, I want to rest for a while so that I can go to the meeting.”
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16391

A Lost Decade in Israel-Palestine: Diary Series Kickoff, Assaf Oron
This diary opens a collaborative effort to profile the past decade in the life of Israel-Palestine. A Lost Decade in all respects. Far worse than Japan’s “Lost Decade.”  Unfortunately, the events that set this decade onto its lamentable trajectory happened shortly before the advent of the blogosphere. Therefore, in living blogo-memory, it has always been like this: a partisan tit-for-tat between “I”s and “P”s, accompanied by bigotry and shrill name-calling, and a sense of helpless circularity – or rather, of gradually spiraling down.
http://theonlydemocracy.org/2010/11/a-lost-decade-in-israel-palestine-diary-series-kickoff/

Israeli State Violence and the Value of Palestinian Life, Elia Zureik
Disregard for Palestinian life has characterized the attitudes of Israeli authorities towards its Arab citizens since the establishment of the state. The Palestinians constitute what the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben calls homo sacer, according to which the laws of humanity do not apply to them. For Israel, the Palestinians exist in conditions of “bare life”. Their minimal existence is tolerated but not enhanced. Invariably, the law is suspended when it comes to rectifying Palestinian grievances. Israel is usually quick to cite “national security” as justification for its lethal actions. Life for Palestinian citizens of the state is in a perpetual state of emergency where exception to the universal application of the law is the rule. As a colonial state, life in Israel is best viewed from a racialized prism where ethnicity and race govern the treatment of its citizens. As in all colonial regimes, territory and population are the two central elements which occupy the colonizer, and Israel is no exception. Both of these components provide the cornerstone of modern Zionism.
http://www.kabobfest.com/2010/11/israeli-state-violence-and-the-value-of-palestinian-life.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kabobfest%2FGrillMe+%28KABOBfest%29

Is Netanyahu a Botha or a de Klerk?
1948 is an infamous year.  It was the year that Jews largely separated themselves from non-Jewish people in Palestine, and it was the year that the system of Apartheid began in South Africa.  Afrikaners progressively separated themselves from blacks and coloreds in a racist system.   The system continued through the years that Die Groot Krokodil (Afrikaans for “The Big Crocodile”) P. W. Botha- the religious, former Minister of Colored Affairs- led South Africa. For many, the ending of Apartheid seemed unfathomable, yet the system of racial separation in South Africa ended under President F. W. de Klerk.
http://palestinenote.com/blogs/blogs/archive/2010/11/07/is-netanyahu-a-botha-or-a-de-klerk.aspx

For Palestinians, Mid-Term Elections don’t Mean Much, Joharah Baker for MIFTAH
Many of us were disheartened by the outcome of the United States’ mid-term elections and for good reason. It has been decades since the Republicans have made such a sweeping victory, taking over the House of Representatives and sizably increasing their number in the Senate. This set off alarm bells, not only for Democrats, but for plenty of others the world over. The Palestinians, who always watch US elections closely, did so this time around too, not because they are so concerned with internal US affairs but because they always seem to think that US elections, kind of like Israeli elections, will have a direct impact on the peace process.

Aisheen: Still Alive in Gaza
Shot a few weeks after the end of Israel’s January 2009 offensive, this sensitively crafted doc captures the human suffering and devastation wrought on Gaza’s Palestinian residents as they struggle daily to survive. “Where is the ghost town?” asks the little boy to the theme park attendant. “It’s there, right there. But it has been bombed.  Do you want to see it?” With these words, Aisheen begins. The film is a compelling, impressionistic journey through a devastated Gaza after the war. And the ghost town? Gaza is the ghost town. Clowns trying to make children forget the bombing with balloons and make-up; a beached whale “as big as a building” picked clean in a matter of hours by hungry residents; a scrawny stuffed lion hanging limply in a zoo cage—these surreal scenes convey the absurdity of a nation living on the brink, seemingly forever.
http://www.cinemapolitica.org/node/1859

My family, the enemy
Israeli film-maker Noa Ben-Hagai went in search of a forgotten great-aunt and found cousins who are Palestinian Arabs. What happened next?  Back when peace did not seem such an impossibility, it was fashionable to cast the Middle East conflict as a family feud. Jews and Arabs were held to be if not brothers then long-lost cousins – the descendants, of Isaac and Ishmael, perhaps, or of Jacob and Esau – who would one day end their estrangement in an embrace. After the collapse of the Oslo peace process, a second intifada and a lethal military offensive in Gaza, you don’t hear that kind of talk so much these days.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/nov/08/israel-palestine-jewish-film-festival

The proxy war in the Middle East may escalate in the coming weeks, David Ignatius
While American eyes were focused on the midterm elections, a bitter conflict has continued between the US and Iran for influence in the Middle East. The flash points have been Iraq and Lebanon, where the Iranians have been pushing through their proxies for what amounts to political control.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=121220

Lebanon

Court sentences man to death for collaborating with Israel
BEIRUT: A Lebanese man was sentenced to death Friday on charges of collaborating with Israel. The Permanent Military Tribunal headed by Judge Nizar Khalil had demanded the death penalty for detained Gerges Elias Farah on charges of collaborating with Israeli authorities and providing them with information about military headquarters belonging to Hizbullah along with civilian structures.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=121250

Media watchdog: Israel interrupted radio frequency
BEIRUT: The Samir Kassir Eyes (SKeyes) foundation mentioned an Israeli violation of a Lebanese radio frequency in its monthly media freedom report Friday. The radio frequency 90.3 FM, used by the Lebanese radio station Light FM, was interrupted by the station Sawt al-Mashreq, the official station for what was known as the South Lebanon Army militia.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=121237

Hezbollah: False Witnesses to Be Transferred to Judicial Council
06/11/2010 Hezbollah renewed on Saturday calls for transferring the file of the false witnesses in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri’s case to the Judicial Council, wondering about the reasons preventing some Lebanese politicians from taking such decision.  In this context, member of the Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc MP Hussein Moussawi said that Hezbollah was determined to transfer the false witnesses to the Judicial Council as soon as possible in order to sue the ones who harmed the country and hurted its relations with brothers. He accused those who’re seeking to cover the false witnesses and protect them of being additional false witnesses.
http://almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=161257&language=en

Hezbollah to Kouchner: STL Tool in US War on Resistance!
06/11/2010 French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in Beirut…  The French top diplomat, who became a “close friend” to some Lebanese politicians thanks to his various visits to Beirut, held a series of meetings in the Lebanese capital, stressing once again his country’s “commitment” to Lebanon’s sovereignty and stability as well as international resolution 1701 and, of course, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
http://almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=161239&language=en

Anti-landmine group welcomes Lebanese ban of cluster bombs
BEIRUT: A leading anti-landmine campaign group welcomed Sunday Lebanon’s decision to become the 46th country to ratify an international treaty banning the use of cluster munitions.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=121285

How Israel fights wars (and gets humiliated)
“Bush voiced disappointment in the Israel Defense Forces’ performance against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 (though he does not say, at least according to the excerpts released so far, that while he gave Israel unlimited time for action in Lebanon, he tied its hands by vetoing its plan to strike Lebanon’s infrastructure ).
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-israel-fights-wars-and-gets.html

Chou Sar? What Happened in Lebanon?, LARRY PORTIS
His name is De Gaulle, and he knows well what happened on December 9, 1980. He was ten years old on that sunny afternoon in the northern Lebanese village of Edbel, 20 miles north of Tripoli—Lebanon’s second largest city—when almost his whole family was killed before his eyes.  De Gaulle, named after the famous French general and president in honor of the then independent foreign policy of the French government concerning the Middle East, knows well what happened because he knew the killers he saw and heard. They were from the same village.
http://www.counterpunch.com/portis11052010.html

Iraq

Car bombings in Iraq kill 18 (AFP)
AFP – Twin bombings in Shiite holy cities targeting Iranians killed at least 18 people on Monday, 10 of them pilgrims from Iran, at the start of a ninth month of wrangling over a new government.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/iraq/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101108/wl_afp/iraqunrest

Car bomb kills 3 in Iraq’s holy city of Najaf
NAJAF, Iraq, Nov 8 (Reuters) – At least 3 people were killed and 10 others wounded when a car bomb exploded near buses transporting Iranian pilgrims in Iraq’s holy Shi’ite city of Najaf on Monday, a health official said.
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LDE6A70UT.htm

Activists mock political greed in Baghdad skit (AFP)
AFP – Activists staged a satirical play in a Baghdad square on Saturday to protest against greedy politicians, as Iraq marked eight months without a new government since an inconclusive parliamentary election.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/iraq/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101106/wl_mideast_afp/iraqpoliticsparliamentdemo

France to treat Iraqis wounded in church siege (AFP)  [Great news for the wounded, but what about the Muslims that are targeted every day?]
AFP – Almost 40 Iraqis wounded in a deadly Al-Qaeda hostage crisis in a Baghdad church are to be flown to France for hospital treatment, the French embassy in the Iraqi capital said on Saturday.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/iraq/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101106/wl_mideast_afp/iraqunrestchristianslebanonfrance

French asylum for Iraqi Christians
France has offered to grant asylum to 150 Iraqi Christians, including those wounded in church attack.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2010/11/201011884743146470.html

Robert Fisk: Only justice can bring peace to this benighted region
The speed with which the Baghdad church massacre by al-Qa’ida has frightened the peoples of the Middle East is a sign of just how fragile is the earth’s crust beneath their feet.
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-only-justice-can-bring-peace-to-this-benighted-region-2126754.html

Iraqi Kids Struggle on Dangerous Edges in Syria (OneWorld.net)
OneWorld.net – DAMASCUS, Nov 7 (IPS) – Leila, 17, presses her hijab-clad head against the front door and strains to hear outside. “There’s nothing,” she says cautiously, turning towards her mother Rawda, the head of the household, in their quiet basement apartment. Along the brocade couch sit her two sisters, Mona, 19, Nadja, 15, and 10-year-old brother Khaled.*
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/iraq/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/oneworld/20101107/wl_oneworld/world3696201289171048

Chart Of The Day
Each pixel represents a death: U.S. soldiers blue, Iraqi troops green, enemies grey, and civilians orange.
http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/11/chart-of-the-day-1.html

U.S. & Other World News

Senator: US must neuter Iran
Lindsey Graham says Obama will ‘feel a lot of Republican support if he decides to be tough with Tehran beyond sanctions,’ adding, ‘Last thing world needs is nuclear-armed Iran’.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3980736,00.html

Netanyahu to press U.S. for military threat on Iran (Reuters)
Reuters – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will tell U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday that only a credible military threat can deter Iran from building a nuclear weapon, Israeli political sources said.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101107/ts_nm/us_usa_israel

Netanyahu to Biden: Sanctions are not stopping Iran’s nuclear program
Premier meets U.S. Vice President on sidelines of Jewish GA, says that Palestinians must be stopped from taking unilateral action to establish a state.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-to-biden-sanctions-are-not-stopping-iran-s-nuclear-program-1.323448?localLinksEnabled=false

What Did WikiLeaks Really Tell Us about Iran?, Ali Gharib
Use caution in reading the Iraq war logs—and news coverage of them.  A source provides details to the American government about the nefarious activities of a Middle Eastern country. That information ends up in scores of secret U.S. government documents. Subsequently, the information winds up on the front pages of major newspapers, and is heralded by war hawks in Washington as a casus belli.
http://www.cjr.org/campaign_desk/what_did_wikileaks_really_tell.php

Now Sweden accuses US of spying
Sweden joins Norway in alleging US embassies spied on citizens People linked with the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm have performed surveillance activities in Sweden without the knowledge of the host nation’s authorities, a government officials said Saturday.
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/sweden-accuses-spying/

Obama’s midterm blues elicit advice from Israel, Philip Weiss
More craziness from Israel– pressure on Obama without the usual lobby middlemen. Aluf Benn, an editor at Haaretz, echoes David Broder’s column saying that a U.S. attack on Iran would resurrect the economy and reelect Obama (Broder link here), then goes further and advises Obama to carry out such an attack so as to win Israel’s compliance with international law re colonies in West Bank. Israel sure is a tough lay!
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/obamas-midterm-blues-elicit-advice-from-israel.html

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen once called for the assassination of Fidel Castro, Josh Rogin
Ever since we published our election night profile of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the next head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, we’ve received dozens of e-mails pointing us to a video clip where the Florida-based Cuban-American lawmaker appears to call for the assassination of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.  “I just feel such a great source of pride of being here in the United States Congress representing so many freedom fighters both in exile in the United States and on the island as well. I welcome the opportunity of having anyone assassinate Fidel Castro and any leader who is oppressing the people,” Ros-Lehtinen says in the video clip, recorded in a 2006 interview for the British documentary 638 Ways to Kill Castro.
http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/11/05/ileana_ros_lehtinen_once_called_for_the_assassination_of_fidel_castro

Ex-Clinton strategist: Obama needs event ‘similar’ to OKC to ‘reconnect’ with voters
Former Hillary Clinton campaign adviser and current public relations executive Mark Penn suggested that President Obama needs a moment “similar” to the tragic terrorist attack on the Oklahoma City federal building, in order to “reconnect” with voters.
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/exclinton-strategist-obama-event-similar-okc-reconnect-voters/

None of Us Were Like This Before: American Soldiers and Torture: Reporter Joshua Phillips
With the support of Adam’s mother and the cooperation of his Army buddies—investigated Adam’s death. What Phillips uncovered was a story of American veterans psychologically scarred by the abuse they had meted out to Iraqi prisoners. http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/2010/jun/15/american-soldiers-and-torture/
http://www.versobooks.com/books/483-none-of-us-were-like-this-before

Inside Story – US human rights abuses
The US has, for the first time, faced the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva over accusations of human rights violations. Is it an opportunity for Washington to defend its human rights record, or an opportunity for others to shatter the US’ public commitment to international human rights?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBf8YyzEeNg&feature=youtube_gdata

Amnesty International:  Slideshow: Photographs from The Invisibles
Every year, thousands of migrants face kidnap, rape and murder in Mexico. Driven by grinding poverty and insecurity back home, they travel through Mexico in hope of reaching the USA with its promise of a better life. But all too often their dreams are turned to nightmares.  Told over four parts, The Invisibles exposes the truth behind one of the most dangerous journeys in the world and reveals the untold stories of the people who make the journey north through Mexico.
http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/slideshow-photographs-invisibles-2010-11-08

Tunisian leader defends law accused of limiting free speech
TUNIS: Tunisia’s President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali defended Sunday a controversial law that critics say limits press freedom as he announced increased subsidies to opposition parties and their newspapers.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=121266

Egypt Cracks Down as U.S. Stands
NEW YORK, Nov 7, 2010 (IPS) – In the face of police brutality, crackdowns on political parties and media, and a host of other violations ahead of Egypt’s Nov. 28 parliamentary election, human rights advocates are calling on President Barack Obama to use U.S. leverage to persuade Egypt to reform its electoral process, allow international monitors to assess the election, and conduct transparent and accountable balloting.
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=53481

Egyptian Christian Women Convert To Islam To Obtain Divorce
BAGHDAD — Al-Qaida’s front group in Iraq has threatened more attacks on Christians after a siege on a Baghdad church that left 58 people dead, linking the warning to claims that Egypt’s Coptic Church is holding women captive for converting to Islam.  The Islamic State of Iraq, which has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s assault on a Catholic church during Mass in downtown Baghdad, said its deadline for Egypt’s Copts to release the women had expired and its fighters would attack Christians wherever they can be reached.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/05/egyptian-christian-women-convert-divorce_n_779644.html

Popular Saudi supermarket chain snubs fatwa against use of women cashiers
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia: Women cashiers were at work in several Jeddah supermarkets over the weekend as their employer ignored a fatwa by the country’s highest religious authority forbidding female checkout clerks.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=121258

Syrians working harder on child labor
DAMASCUS, Syria (IRIN) — The Syrian government and international agencies are focusing efforts on tackling child labor, amid concerns that rates in the country are rising.  “Child labor is a serious issue in Syria and the government, UNICEF and the ILO [International Labour Organization] all look at it as an issue of concern,” said Sherazade Boualia, UNICEF country representative.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=331492

Scepticism surrounds Jordan polls
Jordanians are making their choice for a new parliament on Tuesday. The vote is being boycotted by the country’s main opposition group. Last year, Jordan’s king dissolved parliament after accusing politicians of failing to address the people’s needs. Al Jazeera’s Nisreen El-Shamayleh reports.

Iran and Qatar renew cultural ties
Iran’s ancient culture is on display at a week-long event in Qatar. Relations between the two countries precede the Islamic Revolution of 1979. While Iran struggles to promote a harmonious image to the world, Qatar is proving to be an important partner in the process. Al Jazeera’s Dorsa Jabbari has some of the highlights.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWZA3I8yHy0&feature=youtube_gdata

Acclaimed Indian Author Arundhati Roy on Obama’s Wars, Poverty and India’s Maoist Rebels
Maoist rebels in India called for a strike Monday to protest President Obama’s visit. The Indian media reports Maoists blew up a new school building and killed four persons in the eastern Indian states of Orissa and Bihar. We speak with author and essayist Arundhati Roy about the struggle of the Maoist rebels in India and her assessment of President Obama.
http://www.democracynow.org/2010/11/8/acclaimed_indian_author_arundhati_roy_on

Netherlands politician has angry words for Muslims
Parliament member Geert Wilders compares the Koran to Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ and wants the followers of Islam deported. He says his legal fight is putting the right to free speech on trial.  He calls Islam a “totalitarian ideology.” He compares the Koran to “Mein Kampf” and wants it banned. He says that millions of Muslims who have settled in Europe ought to be deported, taking their “retarded” culture with them.
http://feeds.latimes.com/%7Er/latimes/middleeast/%7E3/h48RSL8U3r8/la-fg-netherlands-wilders-20101107,0,522057.story

Ignorance and prejudice in the New York Times, As`ad Abukhalil
I don’t know who this guy is, and I have never heard of his name, but I can easily tell that he knows no Arabic whatsoever.  The Syrian people live under a repressive regime and yet they show tremendous courage and defiance and innovation in the face of censorship and repression.  Days ago I was talking to a guy who stopped me near Bab Tuma in downtown Damascus: and he was complaining about censorship and how arbitrary it seems.  He told me that Al-Akhbar is sold in Syria but is regularly banned on Saturdays, when my article appears.   1) I don’t mind that the article talks about repression in Syria but the paper ignores repression–worse repression–in pro-US regimes, like Saudi Arabia or Libya; 2) the article does not give credit to the Syrian people in how they defy the regime; 3) look at this passage:  “I had seen what he meant just the previous night, wandering past a cafe where dozens of Syrians had gathered outdoors as usual to watch, on a big screen, “Bab al-Hara,” a hugely popular soap opera across the Arab world about life in Damascus at the turn of the last century. In it women gossip, men shoot guns and shout at one another. It’s what passes for popular culture — not worse than what passes for it in Rome or Red Hook, maybe, except that for Syrians the alternatives are few.”  That was what really irked me.  This guy knows no Arabic and sat down to watch people watch a program and wrote this.  I happen to have seen all episodes of this season’s Bab Al-Harah and wrote a critique of the show, but this lousy and silly description does not do justice to the show and its actors and actresses.  Another moment of shame, prejudice, and ignorance at the New York Times.  When it comes to covering Arabs and Muslims, they don’t disappiont–the classical bigots and racists, that is.

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2010/11/ignorance-and-prejudice-in-new-york.html

 www.TheHeadlines.org

‘Zionism and peace are incompatible’ — Israeli general’s son

Nov 08, 2010

Miko Peled

Now that the two-state-solution is all but dead, it is vital for Americans to hear the voices of Israelis and Jews and Palestinians who are imagining a different future. And maybe we are witnessing in that the end of Zionism. The important thing though is the strength of the voices, and the moral and spiritual vitality of them, and their potential leadership. Here is Miko Peled, an Israeli, the son of a war hero, uncle of the victim of a suicide bomber, writing a month ago:

Setting aside for a moment the argument of whether dividing historic Palestine into two states was ever a good idea, clearly forty years ago it was a viable solution. Today as liberal Zionist Jews and others call for this solution, it is a sad and pathetic sight.

In 1967, after the IDF completed the conquest of Palestine, great men like Dr. Nahum Goldman, Dr. Yishayahu Leibovitch, General Dr. Matti Peled and other prominent Jews called for the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. However, Jews in Israel, America and elsewhere around the world were basking in the messianic glow of the conquest of historic Israel, bewitched by the sounds of biblical names now made accessible.  Names like Hebron and Bethlehem, Shilo and Bet El, all of which who were now within reach drove everyone, including secular liberal Jews to believe that there is a God and that he was really on their side.

Never mind that a solution whereby half of the population receives barely 20 percent of its historic homeland while the remaining half receives the rest had little chance of success to begin with. Now the West Bank is riddled with towns and malls and highways built on Palestinian land for Jews only and Israeli cabinet members openly discuss population transfers, or rather transfer of its non-Jewish population.  The level of oppression and the intensity of the violence against Palestinians has reached new heights and so the questions that begs to be asked are: who exactly will allow Palestinians to establish their mini state? and where will this state exist? If there is any doubt in anyone’s mind, Israel has no intentions of ever letting go of any part of historic Israel. 

Discussing the two state solution now under these conditions shows an acute inability to accept reality. As one learns about the history of the Zionist movement and the early years of the state of Israel one will understand that parting with any portion of historic Israel is not something Israel will ever do.  Liberal Jews in the US (see J Street) and in Israel (see the Zionist liberals like David Grossman who recently received a peace award in Germany) all of a sudden realized that there was a problem. They all claim that the solution is partition and segregation via the creation of a tiny and impotent state for the Arabs of Palestine.  They do claim that Israel must be reprimanded for its treatment of Palestinians and they even condemn the siege on Gaza.  These are commendable statements coming from Zionists anywhere particularly in the US where criticizing Israel is a mortal sin, but this is just talk. 

There is an illusion that a liberal, forward thinking government can rise in Israel and then everything will be just as liberal Zionists wish it to be.  They will pick up where Rabin and Arafat left off and we will have the pie in sky Jewish democracy liberal Jews want so much to see in Israel. This illusion is shared by American Jews, liberal Zionists in Israel and around the world and in the West where guilt of two millennia of persecuting Jews still haunts the conscience of many.  If only there were better leaders and if only this and if only that… But alas, reality continues to slap everyone in the face: Zionism and peace are incompatible. I will say it again: Zionism is incompatible with peace. 

A serious study of the history of modern Israel will show that the emergence of Netanyahu and Lieberman was perfectly predictable. They are the natural successors of David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin.  As one looks at the political map in Israel one can see that future Zionist leaders, be they from Labor, Likud, Meretz or the religious nationals, will be no different and offer no change.  The problem is Zionism and the solution is dismantling the Zionist framework and instituting a secular democracy that does not discriminate between Israelis and Palestinians. In other words, no one nation will rule over the other but the rule of law will govern everyone equally. 

Zionism has created a state that wants nothing to do with peace or reconciliation.  The problem is not Benjamin Netanyahu and Lieberman and the solution is not Yossi Beilin or David Grossman who represent the Zionist liberals.  The problem is that the basic premise on which the Jewish state was founded, Zionism, is flawed.

Noah’s arc

Nov 08, 2010

Philip Weiss

Last Friday at NYU, Noah Feldman, the terrifyingly-successful Harvard Law School professor and former Iraq war apparatchik, raised one of the central points in the pro-Israel argument when he said in essence that the Palestinians are not ready for democracy. I’ll get to his argument in the body of this report, but I wanted to flag it at the top. This really is the key issue for a lot of Israel lobbyists and their fellows, and it has a real logic. Look around at the Arab world and there are countless big men and dictatorships. Why do you think you can plant a democracy in Palestine?

The occasion was Feldman’s speech on American religious freedom at an NYU Law school conference about the First Amendment under attack. A friend, sending along the info, said, “Noah gets to be a liberal at home” – in distinction to his hawkish foreign policy positions.

I wanted to see Feldman because I like to study Establishment success, sometimes with a clothespin on my nose, and Feldman didn’t disappoint. He is a small guy with a confident, kinetic but slightly aggressive manner, very attractive, a strong profile under the well-known pouffe of blonde hair. He looks very young. For 20 minutes, he spoke about the political reaction against the Islamic center in lower Manhattan and what it reveals about a “grave” shift in American political culture, and then he answered four or five questions. He was on and off in 30 minutes. He is facile in the best and worst senses of the word. I saw a few flashes of brilliance, a hint of arrogance, no no no passion, and he made one joke. He said that Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t really belong to any political party, because he’s a billionaire. Good joke. The speech was inoffensive, and you had little idea where Feldman’s heart lies. The most interesting moments in the performance were the asides.

The speech was premised on what Feldman said was Madison’s initial opposition to the First Amendment because he believed that unless there was a vibrant and diverse political culture, no constitutional provision would guarantee freedom of expression and worship. And Madison was right about the structure of democracy, but this diverse tradition, Feldman said, was now at risk. The battle over the Islamic center in lower Manhattan had become partisan, and the claim that there should be limits on Muslims’ freedoms had entered the mainstream public discourse, the two-party structure. Grave and serious. 

Let me get to the asides.

Aside 1 came when Feldman was saying that the argument against the Islamic center had begun at the periphery of the political discourse till it was responded to by two “significant” figures, Mayor Bloomberg and Barack Obama. The first opposition “began as an argument that was politically acceptable”: that this specific location was “inappropriate” for a mosque. But then it had snowballed into a larger anti-Muslim sentiment that was not acceptable.

Feldman didn’t unpack these ideas, and I don’t think he wanted to. He wanted to stay on the easy/valiant political ground that Muslims have the right to free religious practice. He wanted us to glide right by his view that it was OK to argue that Muslims couldn’t build near Ground Zero. I don’t know what that means. I need to say frankly here that I have good friends who said in July or so that it was inappropriate that the mosque be built there, and I admit that I wondered if they were right; and then I watched them change their position, to one of vigorous support for the right of the Park 51 to be built there, due to the leadership of people like Mike Bloomberg. To me this was actually the revelation of the episode. That when leaders like Mike Bloomberg stood up for their right to do so, what Feldman had styled a “politically acceptable” argument vanished. But it took moral leadership to draw that line. I remember other folks like Ali Abunimah and Steve Walt and MJ Rosenberg speaking out forcefully on the question and leading. So I felt that Feldman was less than sincere. If it was really a “politically acceptable” argument that the mosque not be built near Ground Zero, well, he should have explained this belief and stood up for it. But the speech was dry. There was really no personal exposure in the speech.

Aside 2 was that the U.S. had maintained religious diversity because there is no single majority religion and that even the “made-up religion, Judeo-Christianity,” was made up in the ’50s for a good reason, in order to be inclusive, “to try and communicate the message to a Jewish minority that they weren’t wholly excluded and they would be honored with the great privilege of being associated with Christianity.” Laughter.

Aside 2 upset me. Feldman and I are both beneficiaries of this wonderful process of inclusion; and there was no acknowledgment of what this had really meant, what a boon it had been to our little 2 percent, the Jews, and actually there was a kind of chippiness towards the Protestant establishment in his comment rather than an awareness of the social revolution that lifted Noah’s arc, and mine, way below his. And out of that spirit of inclusion, is the American experiment finished? No no. We Jews were once other and lesser in many ways; what extension of spirit is now demanded of us in the Establishment?

Aside 3 was the most important aside. It came during the Q-and-A. Someone asked him about the degree to which Republicans demonize the Other, and Feldman had a really interesting answer, interesting because it had such scope and knowledge, and even touched on the Jewish rise into the Establishment (at the end of the answer), and his sense of anti-Semitism (at the beginning). But the answer was also assumptive, and in the end, disturbing.

Here’s a partial transcript: 

It’s a fair and legitimate question…There has traditionally in the United States been substantial nativist sentiment coming from the left, not the communist left, but the progressive labor left but also from the right… No one has a monopoly in the American political context on these issues.

Notice the sensitivity to Jewish oppression. Feldman is referring to anti-Semitism among the isolationist LaFollette types, the time when Minneapolis was the capital of anti-Semitism.

Feldman then moved to George W. Bush’s commitment to religious liberty and then to the “compatibility” of Islam and democracy.

In my own view, very far from being purely instrumental is [Bush’s] defense of religious liberty, he was actually saying things that he truly believed….And he and others on the conservative side were far more open to the argument of compatibility than was anybody on the Democratic side, certainly in the foreign policy establishment.  Now you might say about Bush he believed that as a pure article of faith, he didn’t believe it as a matter of cold rational logic…What I think is indisputable is that he believed it and said it many times, and it often led to very bad policy decisions. You know, his view for example that holding elections in Iraq in particular but one could add Palestine and some other examples, his belief that having such elections would not have any negative consequences for politics, because, you know, democracy and Islam are perfectly compatible, I think is a view that he unquestionably sincerely believed.

Feldman then took the question back to the field of religious tolerance in the U.S. And again we have a sense of the Jewish presence in his comments.

So I think it’s very complicated in the American context. It has to do specifically with the way that different religious denominations in the United States have seen themselves as in or out of power, and there there are plenty of circumstances where religious minorities have been conservative in American political history and have therefore have stood up for the general principle of religious liberty and indeed have embraced the idea of religious difference from the right

The answer offers what Feldman offered throughout– a clinic on power, where it lies, how to find it. It touches on his earlier statement that the debate on the Islamic Center had gone on in “fairly peripheral” places till “significant” figures, Obama and Bloomberg, picked it up. Well actually the debate had gone on among very smart people before Obama picked it up. They just didn’t have nearly his power.

As Feldman would not say publicly, because he lacks intellectual courage, Jews are a religious denomination that are now “in … power.” And there was throughout his speech not the least acknowledgment of that power, nor of Madison’s famous fear in the Federalist papers about factions dominating our political life: “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”

Madison’s warning anticipates the Israel lobby, and what you see in Feldman’s description of the Palestinians is the Israel lobby in action. I even think there’s some Jewish superiority buried in his statement. Think about it, the Israelis– citizens of a country that a majority of the residents did not want established in the first place– have been able to hold elections for many years, and have lately elevated a rightwing government with fascistic leanings, and meantime the Palestinians have had no rights of self-determination for more than 60 years and have lost land and rights again and again. 90 years ago the British Mandate was established in part because British lawyers believed that the Palestinians “are not able to stand alone” (as Strawson tells us) and Feldman is merely the American version of that legal condescension, a century on. 

I don’t know how you accept such a double standard and meantime exalt the 1950s inclusion of Jews in America–Jews being a fractional minority. I imagine that Feldman is a secret Bernard Lewisite, that he would say that US political culture and Islamic political culture are two different animals. And there’s obvious truth there; but does that justify oppression and a complete absence of democracy? Palestine has been shattered politically again and again because it has no political representation. If you don’t like Hamas, or the Jewish-supremacist party, Yisrael Beteinu, maybe the answer is to actually imagine a full democratic transition in Israel and Palestine, with an undivided polity, in which the reasonable middles on both sides would then have to find one another in campaigns, and support centrist candidates. As it is, the two sides are divided, and they are led by their extremist bases. 

What you see in Feldman is high intelligence yoked to the most conventional ideas. He is wed to the standard Establishment (read Israel-lobby) take on Islamic political culture and on that basis can justify what we’ve seen forever in Israel and Palestine, the denial of democracy for everyone but Jews.

Gaza siege keeps graduate student from attending program in the US

Nov 08, 2010

Adam Horowitz

Abed Al Hadi Basheer is being prevented from attending gradutate school at Washington State University because Israel will not allow him to leave Gaza in order to attend his student visa interview in Jerusalem. The only possible bright side to this story is that it is exposing more Americans to Israel’s collective punishment of ordinary Gazans. From the WSU paper The Daily Evergreen:

“I am just waiting for a miracle,” Basheer said in an e-mail to The Daily Evergreen. “I called Amnesty International, raised the issue in Israeli court, and even called the Gisha organization in Tel Aviv. Nothing new (has) happened.” According to the organization’s website, Gisha is a nonprofit organization aimed at protecting “freedom of movement” for Palestinians in Gaza. The organization is just one of many advocacy groups trying to end Israel’s blockade on the region.

“International law says (Israel) can’t have a blockade the way they are doing it,” said Michael Hayes, associate professor of teaching and learning at WSU. “There have been international protests and a variety of other things that protest the blockade.” Hayes said he met Basheer while working on a project with students in Gaza. Basheer’s interaction with Hayes is what motivated him to apply to WSU’s graduate program.

“Michael Hayes was surprised that the embassy refused to grant (the) visa,” Basheer said. “All I can do now (is) draw my appeal.” WSU contacted local government representatives and the American consulate with Basheer’s case, Hayes said.

“Senators (Maria) Cantwell and (Patty) Murray have written very supportive letters to the American consulate,” he said. “We’re trying to apply pressure wherever pressure can be applied.” In an attempt to draw support, Basheer created a Facebook page called “Free voice from Gaza, ‘Help Abed AlHadi bASHEER’” that has attracted 375 members.

“This is my last chance to come to (WSU) in the spring,” Basheer said. “(Representatives) of Washington are the only people who can help me (by) calling the embassy. I am ready to start studying.”

Mike Pence takes part in a venerable Washington tradition

Nov 08, 2010

Adam Horowitz

The above video is from Sam Husseini’s indispensable blog The Washington Stakeout. After noting that Mike Pence is eying a 2012 presidential run (and that he’s on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia) Husseini adds:

Pence refuses to acknowledge the empirical fact of Israel’s nuclear arsenal. Unfortunately, he’s not alone. Stakeout also asked this question of John Edwards and then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, who also tried to dodge it. Helen Thomas asked a similar question of Obama at his first news conference. One of the few politicos to answer that question in a remotely straightforward manner was Russ Feingold

Who is this cat, our secretary of defense?

Nov 08, 2010

Philip Weis

Haaretz:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in New Orleans on Sunday and asked the United States to “create a credible threat of military action against Iran,” which he said was the only way to make sure Iran doesn’t go nuclear, a senior Israeli official said.

 

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WANNA LOSE YOUR SOUL?

NOVANEWS

November 9, 2010

by Debbie Menon  

“When we talk about compassion we talk in terms of being kind. But compassion is not so much being kind; it is being creative [enough] to wake a person up” – Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoch, 1939-1987

By J. Speer-Williams — Veterans Today

When we don’t exercise our bodies, our muscles become weak. When we do not exercise our minds, what has the potential to be a steel trap begins to rust and it’s springs lose snap.

Our conscience, that regulates our morality, also becomes rusty and weakens if not used. Ignore your conscience long enough and you might lose your soul.

A soul-less being has no empathy for others. Lose your empathy, and you’ll know you’ve lost your conscience, on the way to losing your soul.

My use of the word “empathy” here goes deeper than the concept of mere pity, as pity has a condescending connotation.

Empathizing with another does not, however, mean being a patsy, a pigeon, a doormat; one can practice “tough-love” while being empathetic, as one would practice tough-love on onesself.

Empathy, according to my dictionary, is a complete understanding, so intimate that the feelings, thoughts, and motives of one are readily comprehended by another. I believe we are all connected at a spiritual level, but lose sight of that as we fall from spirituality by a loss of empathy; a spirituality we can regain with a growing empathy for others.

The private International Monetary/Banking, that has long had a strangle hold on our country, through its control of intelligence agencies, uses “our” federal government, and their mass media to eradicate our empathetic impulses with their movies, mores, and morals, that desensitize us to violence, torture, and killing. Their television shows and video games start their desensitization of our youth before our children reach their teens, all by design, none of it by mere happenstance. 

It’s a covert war for our souls, wherein we can witness – or in time even perform – horrendous deeds without any objection from what was once our conscience.

There is, however, a “greater divide” in empathy, forming amongst mankind, and it is often war that triggers that divide: Most still justify war and torture, while a growing minority of others are beginning to see national governments for what they really are – organized crime syndicates, masquerading under such pretenses as “national security” or “consumer protection.”

George Orwell wrote, “One of the most horrible features of wars is that all the war propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred comes invariably from people who are not fighting.”

War is not a gentlemanly dual between nobles, satiated with honor, it’s a license for the cowardly to commit a hundred million atrocities, while others do the suffering and dying.

An infantry soldier’s life in combat is hard and dangerous; and everything irritates combat soldiers, from their sergeants, to their platoon leaders, to their fellow soldiers. In such a frame of mind, blowing away an innocent civilian comes rather easy at times.

And once a combat soldier kills a defenseless non-combatant, he either likes it or feels remorse. If he likes it, he kills more non-combatants, many more. If he feels remorse, he’s still likely to kill more non-combatants to anesthetized or deaden his feelings of moral anguish for having initially killed an innocent human being. In either case, such wanton killing is encouraged by “command intention,” from above, for a variety of reasons; but mainly, it’s done to spread the contagion of universal madness: a soulless world without empathy.

And once a soldier kills enough old women and children, he has no more empathy for life; he’d shoot off the legs of a stray dog for kicks.

And soon, the mad soldier’s reality becomes a consensus reality that transmits to other soldiers; then the contagion spreads throughout the Middle East, and even hops broad oceans, and non-combat zones become insane themselves by a lack of empathy.

In such dehumanized societies, as in our notional ally of Israeli, citizens justify burning alive Palestinian children, with illegal white phosphorus bombs, while back home, republicans still justify Bush’s torture and murder of about two million innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today, many democrats simply overlook President Obama’s expanded wars; and thus like republicans, risk forfeiting their very souls. Now, these same self-proclaimed patriots will justify, or even deny, all other governmental crimes as they are so heavily invested in them emotionally, with their lack of empathy.

A lack of empathy will blind a human being to justice, liberty, decency, and personal discernment, rendering them virtually soulless.

Wanna lose your soul? If so, support your national government – right or wrong.

Best to exercise your empathy by creatively waking up your war or torture supporting friends and family to the dangerous path they are treading.

The spirit of liberty is beautifully reflected by how well we respect the rights of others: Let no being ever be tortured, no matter the screaming justifications for such abuse from the dark hellions, who are trying to lead us toward oblivion.

Jack Speer-Williams: J ack is a former Hollywood producer of live stage shows that featured various movie and TV stars. In Los Angeles for almost a quarter of a century, Jack had a front-row seat in observing the disintegration of the foundations of America society before he retreated to the woods of New Hampshire.

A graduate of the University of Florida, where he studied economics. According to Jack, “Those of us stuck deeply into the engineered left/right paradigm have no desire to be objective, and are thus blinded to all truth that does not reinforce biased opinions. Remedial work in geo-politics will not open the minds of such people, as they are badly in need of spiritual remedies; nevertheless, facts are facts, and some are available to truth-seekers, the subject matter of my writings.” He can be reached at: JSW4@mac.com

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OBAMA & JIHAD & HOW NOT TO FIGHT TERRORISM

NOVANEWS

November 9, 2010

by Alan Hart

Despite President  Obama’s rhetoric (sometimes) to the contrary, his  policy of continuing  targeted assassinations by drone attacks over Afghanistan is escalating a drift to extremism 

 

AP Nov. 8: Obama sits between India’s President Prathiba Patil, right, and India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a state dinner in New Delhi, India.

By Alan Hart — Veterans Today

In Mumbai President Obama was asked by an Indian student for his “take or opinion on jihad”. He began his answer with the observation that “the phrase jihad has a lot of meanings within Islam and is subject to a lot of different interpretations.” In its report of the discussion, The New York Times noted that Obama “carefully avoided saying that he was opposed to jihad”. (I ask – How could he be opposed if he is aware of its two real and true meanings in Islam? The Greater jihad is the inner struggle for self-improvement to become a good Muslim. The Lesser jihad is struggle against oppression – oppression as in Israel’s occupation and treatment of the Palestinians, for example).

Obama went on (my emphasis added): “I think all of us recognize that this great religion in the hands of a few extremists has been distorted to justify violence towards innocent people that is never justified. And so, I think, one of the challenges that we face is, how do we isolate those who have these distorted notions of religious war?”

He is, of course, right about the nature of the particular challenge. It is to isolate those who can be correctly labeled as Arab and other Muslim terrorists. The question is – How can that be done effectively?

Part of the answer is not the way President George “Dubya” Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair set about doing it, a counter-productive way with bombs and bullets.

Today there are few if any real experts who would deny that Bush and Blair’s approach to counter-terrorism made the two of them the best recruiting sergeants for violent Islamic fundamentalism in all of its forms and franchises. (In the past I have imagined Osama Bin Laden on his knees giving thanks to his god for the folly of the Bush-and-Blair approach).

There is, in fact, only one tried and tested way of defeating non-state terrorism. (State terrorism is that directed and executed by an agency of state such Israel’s Mossad and America’s CIA). In Volume Three of the American edition of my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, I get it down to 146 words, which I would expect an averagely intelligent child to understand, as follows:

Terrorists cannot operate, not for long, without the cover and the practical, emotional and moral support of the community of which they are a part. When that community perceives itself to be the victim of a massive injustice, and if that injustice is not addressed by political means, the community will cover, condone and even applaud the activities of those of its own who resort to terror as the only means of drawing attention to the injustice, to cause it to be addressed. It follows that the way to defeat terrorism – the only successful and actually proven way – is by addressing the genuine and legitimate grievances of the host community. The community will then withdraw its cover and support for its terrorists; and if they continue to try to operate, the community will oppose them by exposing them – reporting them to the authorities if reasoning fails.

I go on to say there are many case studies to support this analysis. In Northern Ireland, for example, the British Army did not defeat Provisional IRA terrorism. The terrorists called off their campaign when they had no choice – because the Catholic host community would not cover and support them any longer. And that happened only because the British government summoned up the will, about half a century later than it should have done, to risk the wrath of militant Protestantism by insisting that the legitimate grievances of the Catholics of Northern Ireland be addressed.

It follows that the only effective way to defeat Arab and other Muslim terrorism is by addressing the legitimate grievances of its host communities. What are those grievances? The list is quite long but at the top of it is the double standard of Western foreign policy as manifest in its refusal to call and hold Israel to account for its defiance of international law, while at the same time making demands, often backed with punishment including war, for Arab and other Muslim regimes to act in accordance with international law.

It’s worth recalling that in May 2004, the most senior official at the British Foreign Office, Permanent Secretary Sir Michael Jay, wrote a letter to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Andrew Turnbull. It was a warning to Prime Minister Blair and his ministers that Britain’s foreign policy was fuelling Muslim extremism. (We were not supposed to know about that letter but it was leaked to The Observer). 

  • It said that British foreign policy was a “key driver” behind recruitment by Muslim extremist groups.

  • It said that a “recurring theme” among the underlying causes of extremism in the Muslim community was “the issue of British foreign policy, especially in the context of the Middle East peace process and Iraq.” (If written today Afghanistan would be added to the context).

  • It said that “British foreign policy and the perception of its negative effect on Muslims globally plays a significant role in creating a feeling of anger and impotence among especially the younger generation of British Muslims.”

For a whole it seemed that Prime Minister Blair was taking the Foreign Officer’s advice. But he subsequently demonstrated his total contempt for it and his absolute rejection of it. He said, “Muslims have a completely false sense of grievance against the West.”

At the time I wrote that if there was a prize for the most dangerously irresponsible statement of recent times, I would recommend it be given to Mr. Blair for that statement. In my view, the least that could be said about it was that it cut the ground – not all of it but a lot – from under the feet of moderate Muslim leaders who are trying to stop the drift to extremism in their communities caused in large part by British foreign policy – correction, by Blair’s foreign policy and in the American context Bush’s foreign policy. 

A policy which despite his rhetoric (sometimes) to the contrary, Obama is continuing and, with targeted assassinations by drone attacks over Afghanistan, has escalated.

 

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A RECIPE FOR FASCISM

NOVANEWS

November 9, 2010

by Michael Leon  

AP – Matt York

By Chris Hedges at truthdig

American politics, as the midterm elections demonstrated, have descended into the irrational. On one side stands a corrupt liberal class, bereft of ideas and unable to respond coherently to the collapse of the global economy, the dismantling of our manufacturing sector and the deadly assault on the ecosystem. On the other side stands a mass of increasingly bitter people whose alienation, desperation and rage fuel emotionally driven and incoherent political agendas. It is a recipe for fascism.

More than half of those identified in a poll by the Republican-leaning Rasmussen Reports as “mainstream Americans” now view the tea party favorably. The other half, still grounded in a reality-based world, is passive and apathetic. The liberal class wastes its energy imploring Barack Obama and the Democrats to promote sane measures including job creation programs, regulation as well as criminal proceedings against the financial industry, and an end to our permanent war economy.

Those who view the tea party favorably want to tear the governmental edifice down, with the odd exception of the military and the security state, accelerating our plunge into a nation of masters and serfs. The corporate state, unchallenged, continues to turn everything, including human beings and the natural world, into commodities to exploit until exhaustion or collapse.

All sides of the political equation are lackeys for Wall Street. They sanction, through continued deregulation, massive corporate profits and the obscene compensation and bonuses for corporate managers. Most of that money—hundreds of billions of dollars—is funneled upward from the U.S. Treasury. The Sarah Palins and the Glenn Becks use hatred as a mobilizing passion to get the masses, fearful and angry, to call for their own enslavement as well as to deny uncomfortable truths, including global warming.

Our dispossessed working class and beleaguered middle class are vulnerable to this manipulation because they can no longer bear the chaos and uncertainty that come with impoverishment, hopelessness and loss of control. They have retreated into a world of illusion, one peddled by right-wing demagogues, which offers a reassuring emotional consistency. This consistency appears to protect them from the turmoil in which they have been forced to live. The propaganda of a Palin or a Beck may insult common sense, but, for a growing number of Americans, common sense has lost its validity.

The liberal class, which remains rooted in a world of fact, rationalizes placating corporate power as the only practical response. It understands the systems of corporate power. It knows the limitations and parameters. And it works within them. The result, however, is the same. The entire spectrum of the political landscape collaborates in the strangulation of our disenfranchised working class, the eroding of state power, the criminal activity of the financial class and the paralysis of our political process.

Commerce cannot be the sole guide of human behavior. This utopian fantasy, embraced by the tea party as well as the liberal elite, defies 3,000 years of economic history. It is a chimera. This ideology has been used to justify the disempowerment of the working class, destroy our manufacturing capacity, and ruthlessly gut social programs that once protected and educated the working and middle class.

It has obliterated the traditional liberal notion that societies should be configured around the common good. All social and cultural values are now sacrificed before the altar of the marketplace.

The failure to question the utopian assumptions of globalization has left us in an intellectual vacuum. Regulations, which we have dismantled, were the bulwarks that prevented unobstructed brutality and pillaging by the powerful and protected democracy. It was a heavily regulated economy, as well as labor unions and robust liberal institutions, which made the American working class the envy of the industrialized world. And it was the loss of those unions, along with a failure to protect our manufacturing, which transformed this working class into a permanent underclass clinging to part-time or poorly paid jobs without protection or benefits.

The “inevitability” of globalization has permitted huge pockets of the country to be abandoned economically. It has left tens of millions of Americans in economic ruin. Private charity is now supposed to feed and house the newly minted poor, a job that once, the old liberal class argued, belonged to the government. As John Ralston Saul in “The Collapse of Globalization” points out, “the role of charity should be to fill the cracks of society, the imaginative edges, to go where the public good hasn’t yet focused or can’t. Dealing with poverty is the basic responsibility of the state.”

But the state no longer has the interest or the resources to protect us. And the next target slated for elimination is Social Security.

That human society has an ethical foundation that must be maintained by citizens and the state is an anathema to utopian ideologues of all shades. They always demand that we sacrifice human beings for a distant goal. The propagandists of globalization—from Lawrence Summers to Francis Fukuyama to Thomas Friedman—do for globalization and the free market what Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky did for Marxism. They sell us a dream.

These elite interpreters of globalism are the vanguard, the elect, the prophets, who alone grasp a great absolute truth and have the right to impose this truth on a captive people no matter what the cost. Human suffering is dismissed as the price to be paid for the coming paradise. The response of these propagandists to the death rattles around them is to continue to speak in globalization’s empty rhetoric and use state resources to service a dead system. They lack the vision to offer any alternative.

They can function only as systems managers. They will hollow out the state to sustain a casino capitalism that is doomed to fail. And what they offer as a solution is as irrational as the visions of a Christian America harbored by many within the tea party.

We are ruled by huge corporate monopolies that replicate the political and economic power, on a vastly expanded scale, of the old trading companies of the 17th and 18th centuries. Wal-Mart’s gross annual revenues of $250 billion are greater than those of most small nation-states. The political theater funded by the corporate state is composed of hypocritical and impotent liberals, the traditional moneyed elite, and a disenfranchised and angry underclass that is being encouraged to lash out at the bankrupt liberal institutions and the government that once protected them.

The tea party rabble, to placate their anger, will also be encouraged by their puppet masters to attack helpless minorities, from immigrants to Muslims to homosexuals. All these political courtiers, however, serve the interests of the corporate state and the utopian ideology of globalism. Our social and political ethic can be summed up in the mantra let the market decide. Greed is good. 

The old left—the Wobblies, the Congress of Industrial Workers (CIO), the Socialist and Communist parties, the fiercely independent publications such as Appeal to Reason and The Masses—would have known what to do with the rage of our dispossessed. It used anger at injustice, corporate greed and state repression to mobilize Americans to terrify the power elite on the eve of World War I.

This was the time when socialism was not a dirty word in America but a promise embraced by millions who hoped to create a world where everyone would have a chance. The steady destruction of the movements of the left was carefully orchestrated. They fell victim to a mixture of sophisticated forms of government and corporate propaganda, especially during the witch hunts for communists, and overt repression. Their disappearance means we lack the vocabulary of class warfare and the militant organizations, including an independent press, with which to fight back.

We believe, like the Spaniards in the 16th century who pillaged Latin America for gold and silver, that money, usually the product of making and trading goods, is real. The Spanish empire, once the money ran out and it no longer produced anything worth buying, went up in smoke. Today’s use in the United States of some $12 trillion in government funds to refinance our class of speculators is a similar form of self-deception. Money markets are still treated, despite the collapse of the global economy, as a legitimate source of trade and wealth creation.

The destructive power of financial bubbles, as well as the danger of an unchecked elite, was discovered in ancient Athens and detailed more than a century ago in Emile Zola’s novel “Money.” But we seem determined to find out this self-destructive force for ourselves. And when the second collapse comes, as come it must, we will revisit wrenching economic and political tragedies forgotten in the mists of history. 

Chris Hedges, who writes a weekly column for Truthdig, is the author of “Death of the Liberal Class.”

Posted in USAComments Off on A RECIPE FOR FASCISM

HOW TO ANGER THE PRO-ISRAEL LOBBY

NOVANEWS

November 9, 2010

by Stuart Littlewood  

 

Tell How It Really is in Gaza, Especially If You’re an Archbishop

How very refreshing. Those other bishops who loaf around the House of Lords and never open their mouths when so much needs to be said and done, please note…..

By Stuart Littlewood

Barry Morgan, ‘The Archbishop of Wales’ has urged church members to speak out on the ‘injustice’ of Gaza

To their eternal shame, Western churchmen seem to care little about the plight of their brothers and sisters in the Holy Land or the fate of the holy places where Christianity was born.

There are, of course, honorable exceptions. One such is the Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev Dr Barry Morgan, whose church has provided the Gazans with a mobile dental unit.

He is not best pleased that the Israelis make it difficult to obtain fuel and medical supplies for it, and he didn’t mince his words when recently reporting to the Church’s governing body how things really are in Gaza.

The truth of the matter seemed to annoy a certain Mr Simon McIlwaine, who complained that the Archbishop’s words put the state of Israel in an unduly harsh light and he was compelled to “provide some badly needed context”. Whereupon Mr McIlwaine launched into the familiar anti-Gaza, anti-Hamas rant we’re used to hearing from the pro-Israel lobby. http://www.anglicanfriendsofisrael.com/content/view/106/33/

  • “The Archbishop raises a central issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict – anti-Semitism…”

The central issue is 62 years of criminal oppression. The charges include land theft, illegal occupation, ethnic cleansing, disregard for human rights, and war crimes such as those documented in the Goldstone Report. The action required is set out in international law, numerous UN resolutions and every code of human decency.

  • “Hamas is an explicitly anti-Semitic organization that at the very least seeks to exercise a veto over the Jewish right to self-determination.”

Israel is deeply anti-Arab and continues to dispossess and remove Arabs not only from Israel proper but also from areas of the West Bank and East Jerusalem that Israel has earmarked for permanent occupation.

Palestinians have been denied the right to self-determination for decades and Israel even refuses to recognize their perfectly satisfactory democratic process.

  • “Hamas’ anti-Semitic ideology pre-existed the blockade…”

Israel’s illegal occupation pre-dates the founding of Hamas.

  • “Hamas’ attacks against Israel are not merely motivated by a desire to end the blockade, but to deprive the Jewish people of their ability to enjoy a national life of their own.”

The irony of that remark is apparently lost on Mr McIlwaine.

  • “Clearly, anti-Semitism plays a significant role in fomenting violence against Israel in the Middle East.”

Playing the anti-Semitism card yet again. Israel is the violator. Hamas chief Khaled Mesh’al has explained that armed resistance against Israel is the result of Israeli occupation, injustice and oppression, not religious differences.

  • “The Archbishop describes the devastation in the Gaza Strip without acknowledging the role Hamas played in bringing the destruction about.”

Israel broke the ceasefire with a raid killing at least 6 Palestinians in order to provoke the sort of retaliation that could then be used as an excuse to launch Operation Cast Lead, the 3-week onslaught Israel had been preparing for months.

  • “History has shown that isolating tyrannical regimes such as Hamas results in civilian suffering.”

Israel was making Palestinians’ lives a misery long before Hamas appeared on the scene. What right has Israel or anyone else to isolate a democratically elected government and its people anyway?

Hamas is an Islamic party legitimately ruling a mainly Islamic country. It is the people’s choice. How can it be any more “tyrannical” than the Jewish State with its exclusivity laws and lethal attitude towards non-Jews?

  • “…Responsibility for the disruption of daily life in the Gaza Strip lies with Hamas. By way of comparison, daily life in the West Bank, which has not been the source of rocket attacks, is improving.”

As long as Israel occupies Gaza’s airspace, coastal waters and air-waves, controls all access points (except now the Egyptian border, although it still interferes there), maintains a sea blockade and attacks and even murders volunteers bringing humanitarian supplies, it is ridiculous to suggest that anyone else is responsible for disrupting daily life.

In 2007 when Israel tightened the siege on Gaza the prime minister’s adviser, Dov Weisglass, said “the idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger”. According to documents just released under a Freedom of Information petition by Gisha, an Israeli law centre, Israel operated “a policy of deliberate reduction” of basic goods in the Gaza Strip. Gisha’s director accuses Israel of “paralyzing normal life in Gaza”, and adds: “I am sorry to say that major elements of this policy are still in place.” http://www.gisha.org/index.php?intLanguage=2&intItemId=1904&intSiteSN=113. 

The documents confirm that the siege was not for security reasons but aimed at keeping Gazans at near-starvation level. Since around half the population are growing children this act of collective punishment has meant that hundreds of thousands are undernourished.

Mr McIlwaine is right that no rockets have been fired from the West Bank. Why, then, are the shredded remains of that territory still under cruel occupation and tight restriction?

  • “Hamas has murdered its political opponents, threatened its critics and stolen humanitarian aid shipped in from outside.

Another classic piece of irony for us to savour… Assassinations and extra-judicial executions are an Israeli speciality. So is thieving. They even steal British passports for their murder squads.

We never hear what happens to humanitarian aid seized in international waters by Israeli thugs who abduct passengers and crew and rob them of their possessions.  Remember how Israel kept stealing Gaza’s tax revenues? Did they ever give the money back?

Simon McIlwaine is co-director of Anglican Friends of Israel, an organization whose aims include:

  • Securing defensible borders for the State of Israel. (What borders… its ever-expanding illegal borders enclosing stolen lands or its internationally-recognised 1967 borders?)
  • Calling Anglicans to repentance for the wrongs inflicted by Christians on the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.
  • Protecting the Christian communities threatened by Islamic extremism in the Middle East (though not, it seems, against the crushing oppression of Israeli extremists).

The puzzle is why any Anglican would befriend a regime with so much blood on its hands and attack a bishop who speaks up for its wretched victims. St Augustine must be spinning in his grave.

At least Dr Morgan went to Gaza to see for himself. Did Mr McIlwaine?

What did the good Archbishop say that so rattled Mr McIlwaine’s cage? http://www.churchinwales.org.uk/structure/bishops/sermonsb/b38.html

Regarding Gaza, Dr Morgan observed: “Two-thirds of these people live in abject poverty, in refugee camps, after the confiscation of their homes and land by the Israeli Government.  The situation is worse now than when I visited in 2001…” He described how people lived in zinc shacks, without electricity or water and with open sewers running down the streets, and how Gaza City itself was like a bombsite.

“Only 32% of the industrial fuel needed in one week in August 2010 for Gaza’s power plant was allowed into Gaza.  The result was that the power plant shut down completely for two days after exhausting its reserves of fuel, triggering power cuts of 16 hours per day – affecting water supply, sewage treatment and removal, and the functioning of health services. 30% of households in Gaza have access to running water for only 4 to 8 hours per week; 40% receive water once every four days, and the other 30% obtain it once every two days.  Half of the normal level of need of cooking gas entered Gaza in August; no diesel or petrol has been delivered for weeks – hence diesel and petrol being taken through the tunnels at the risk of attack by the Israelis. Imports are limited, raw materials severely restricted, no building materials are allowed into Gaza, exports from Gaza are banned entirely.

“The blockade in Gaza has destroyed public service infrastructure and hospitals have power cuts for twelve hours a day, emergency medical treatment for residents of Gaza is denied, and 40 million litres of sewage is being discharged every day into the sea because of lack of fuel to pump or treat human waste.  Family members in Gaza have been separated from relatives living in the West Bank and elsewhere.”

All of which is confirmed by other sources.

Dr Morgan continued: “The United Nations, the Security Council and the European Union want crossings to Gaza to be permanently open to allow access for humanitarian and commercial aid and all of this was agreed between Israel and the Palestinian authorities in 2005.

He also referred to the Kairos document issued by Palestinian Church leaders a year ago and the report ‘Justice and Peace for Palestine’ discussed recently by the Methodist Church. “Both of those reports say that the key hindrance to security and a lasting peace for all in the region is the occupation of Palestinian territory by the State of Israel…”

For 43 long years. Who is foolish enough to believe there can be peace under the jackboot of occupation?

“Settlements by Israeli settlers are illegal under international law, and over one third have been built on Palestinian privately owned land.  The wall that has been built covering a distance of 702 kilometres…not only separates Israelis from Palestinians but Palestinians from family members and friends.  In rural areas, it effectively cuts them off from their olive trees and fruit and vegetable plantations.  In July 2004, the International Court of Justice declared the separation barrier illegal, and called on Israel to cease construction to dismantle constructed areas and provide reparation to those materially damaged by the construction.”

“Settlers” is too nice a word for my taste. It suggests peaceful pioneers wishing to integrate. Israeli “settlers” are anything but. They are squatters, half a million in over 100 illegal colonies – ugly blots on an otherwise lovely landscape. They include gangs of armed delinquents who terrorise local villagers, vandalise their crops, pollute their land and harass their children.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention clearly forbids an occupying power from transferring parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

Next time, the Archbishop might question why the Separation Wall, if meant for

security, wasn’t built within Israel’s internationally recognised borders. Its

actual route bites deep into Palestinian territory and is designed to annex choice

agricultural land and the Palestinians’ precious water supplies. Palestinians are

now severely rationed and have to pay Israel inflated prices for a dribble of their own

water while Israelis splash around in their swimming pools and wash their cars.

The Archbishop finished by saying: “Now we, as a Church, perhaps cannot do very much except that we ought to acquaint ourselves with what is going on, and fight against injustice, and demand that the rule of law be upheld wherever it is being flouted for whatever reason.  We have a duty to speak out.”

On an earlier occasion in 2009, after Israel’s blitz on Gaza, Dr Morgan was saying:

“Having visited Gaza twice over the past few years I have seen the appalling conditions in which the people there live… with no proper homes, sanitation or means of escape. Their lives are now unbearable as they come under daily fire and are too scared to even leave their homes. We have heard that it has now become too dangerous for our clinic, which was being used as a frontline hospital dealing with casualties, to continue its work.

“It is tragic that there is so much violence in an area known as the Holy Land…  It is time for the fighting to stop – enough children have died and enough homes have been destroyed and it is immoral for the world to stand by and do nothing.”

How very refreshing. Those other bishops who loaf around the House of Lords and never open their mouths when so much needs to be said and done, please note. 

Related post:  What sort of Christians become Zionists?

 

Posted in CampaignsComments Off on HOW TO ANGER THE PRO-ISRAEL LOBBY

A.LOEWENSTEIN ONLINE NEWSLETTER

NOVANEWS


The best way to deal with Netanyahu09 Nov 2010
How Palestine inspires the people of Kashmir09 Nov 2010

Arundhati Roy in the New York Times powerfully expresses the conflict in Kashmir, America’s

willful impotence and the mood of resistance:

A week before he was elected in 2008, President Obama said that solving the dispute over

Kashmir’s struggle for self-determination — which has led to three wars between India and

Pakistan since 1947 — would be among his “critical tasks.” His remarks were greeted with

consternation in India, and he has said almost nothing about Kashmir since then.

But on Monday, during his visit here, he pleased his hosts immensely by saying the United

States would not intervene in Kashmir and announcing

his support for India’s seat on the United Nations Security Council. While he spoke eloquently

about threats of terrorism, he kept quiet about human rights abuses in Kashmir.

Whether Mr. Obama decides to change his position on Kashmir again depends on

several factors:

how the war in Afghanistan is going, how much help the United States needs from

Pakistan and whether the government of India goes aircraft shopping this winter.

(An order for 10 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, worth $5.8 billion, among other

 huge business deals in the pipeline, may ensure the president’s silence.) But neither

Mr. Obama’s silence nor his intervention is likely to make the people in Kashmir drop

the stones in their hands.I was in Kashmir 10 days ago, in that beautiful valley on the

 Pakistani border, home to three great civilizations — Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist.

It’s a valley of myth and history. Some believe that Jesus died there; others that Moses

 went there to find the lost tribe. Millions worship at the Hazratbal

shrine, where a few days a year a hair of the Prophet Muhammad is displayed to

believers.Now Kashmir, caught between the influence of militant Islam from Pakistan

 and Afghanistan, America’s interests in the region and Indian nationalism (which is

becoming increasingly aggressive and “Hinduized”), is considered a nuclear flash point.

It is patrolled by more than half a million soldiers and has become the most highly

militarized zone in the world.

The atmosphere on the highway between Kashmir’s capital, Srinagar, and my

destination, the little apple town of Shopian in the south, was tense. Groups of soldiers

 were deployed along the highway, in the orchards, in the fields, on the rooftops and

outside shops in the little market squares. Despite months of curfew, the “stone pelters”

calling for “azadi” (freedom), inspired by the Palestinian intifada, were out again. Some

stretches of the highway were covered with so many of these stones that you needed an

S.U.V. to drive over them.Fortunately the friends I was with knew alternative routes

down the back lanes and village roads. The “longcut” gave me the time to listen to

their stories of this year’s uprising. The youngest, still a boy, told us that when

three of his friends were arrested for throwing stones, the police pulled out their

fingernails — every nail, on both hands.For three years in a row now, Kashmiris

have been in the streets, protesting what they see as India’s violent occupation.

08 Nov 2010

The increasing ties between the hard-right and Zionism is clear. Israel has few friends

in the world and the far-right loves the Jewish state for its abusive treatment of Arabs

and Palestinian. Witness the upcoming visit to Israel by Dutch politician Geert Wilders

to speak about creating a Pales-tinian state in Jordan.

My friend and colleague Reuben Brand was recently in London and sent me the following

 exclusive information and photos. They really speak for themselves but note the complete

lack of outcry by Zionist groups that Jews are now seemingly working alongside fascists.

This is what blind nationalism and Zionism has done to my people. Over to Reuben:

Got stuck in the middle of a protest in London a week or so ago. It was outside

 “Ahava” an Israeli company that basically steals its produce from occupied

territories. Loads of Palestinian supporters rallied outside, effectively closing

the shop for a couple of hours. But the Israelis were there in force – it would

seem that they have now banded together with the EDL (English Defence League)

a Neo-Nazi kind of organisation hell bent on ridding the UK of all Muslims.

One flag was a combination of EDL along with the Israeli flag with a caption

“EDL Jewish Division”; interesting considering such groups were once responsible

 for mass discrimination against Jews…hmmm. One guy was waving a rainbow gay

 rights flag and shouting: “No gay rights in Gaza!” “Hamas hates homos!” Have some

 pics I’ll send your way if you want (peeps wrapped

in Israeli flags, EDL members, Pro Palestine protesters… usual suspects)

Reuben continues:

I was approached by both sides at the protest, the pro Israel people gave me a flyer that clearly

states the following:

“THE LIE: The protesters claim that Israel oppresses the Palestinians”  

“THE TRUTH:”  

“PALESTINIANS: Palestinian terror organisations refuse to recognise Israel’s right to exist and are

committed to war against Israel”  

“ISRAEL: Israel wants a two-state solution with Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in peace  

“PALESTINIANS: There were regular suicide bombings inside Israel on par with our own 7/7 attacks

on the British transport system.”  

“ISRAEL: Israel managed to put a stop to suicide bombings with tightened security.”  

“PALESTINIANS: Now Palestinian people are being oppressed by their own terror organisations

just like the Taliban oppressed the Afghan people.”  

“ISRAEL: Israel has no choice but to fight Palestinian terror organisations just like our brave troops

are fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.”  

“Sadly, in war civilians get killed. Many Afghanistan civilians have been tragically caught up in the

 fighting. But the reason for these civilian deaths is that terror organisations like the Afghanistan

Taliban and the Palestinian Hamas purposely fight within their own civilian areas. They have no

respect for their own people.”  

Interesting propaganda line re likening it to the ever so popular war in Afghanistan… and pulling on

ye olde heart strings re the 7/7 attacks… The Palestinian side gave me a flyer also – all the info is

on their website: http://www.palestinecampaign.org/  

That, along with the slogans that were being shouted out made for an interesting day… It would

seem that the EDL has some vested interest in joining forces with this mob… Re Ahava: Apparently

they have made a submission to the Australian Government re petroleum, gas and mineral explor-

ation in the Woomera prohibited areas in SA

http://jobs.ahavaresources.com/engineering_&_geology_jobs/mining-&-geology-jobs.html

 

08 Nov 2010

It is possible to both sustain and support a successful political party without corporate donations,

tobacco companies and lobbyists:

For the better part of two decades the Victorian Greens have continued to exist by relying on the

financial indulgence of its cashed-up members. Following a strong federal vote in August, it has

received about $2 million in public funding and is likely to qualify for a further $1.3 million if its

vote holds up as expected in the state poll. As a comparison, public funding to the Greens after the

2006 state election totalled $788,000.

It will be no comfort to the established political parties, but the Greens are about to become a self-

sufficient, on-going political machine. Indeed, the Greens have a growth trajectory unmatched by

any minor party in Australian politics. The party will remain a machine dependent on public funding

and an army of volunteers, but the days of tapping individuals for bridging finance appear to be over.

 

08 Nov 2010

This is “news” on the Huffington Post:

Michelle Obama shines at state dinner in India

 

Young Jews lead the way for Palestinian rights08 Nov 2010

This is what democracy about; not respecting leaders who actively oppress another people:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the Jewish Federations General Assembly on

Monday was marked by repeated heckling from members of the audience, who were then

unceremoniously escorted from the plush ballroom.

The first heckler, who interrupted Netanyahu barely moments after he began his 30 minute

speech, was ejected while shouting “the loyalty oath delegitimizes Israel”.

The prime minister, unperturbed by the interruption, responded by saying, “I was going to talk

about delegitimizing Israel but they really have the wrong address.”

Subsequent interruptions of regular intervals protested Israel’s occupation, claiming that it too

delegitimizes Israel.

Hannah King, a 17-year-old student and member of the Jewish Voices for Peace, which organized

the protests, told Haaretz that the protesters had been escorted out of the hotel, where they were

handed over to the police, although she did not believe that they had been arrested.

King said that she had been driven to act as she felt Israel’s behavior went against her Jewish

upbringing.

“We believe that the actions that Israel is taking, like settlements, like the occupation, like the

loyalty oath, are contrary to the Jewish values that we learnt in Jewish day school,” she said.

“This is not Tikkun Olam. Oppressing people in refugee camps is not Tikkun Olam. And it is a

hypocrisy that I cannot abide.”

 

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on A.LOEWENSTEIN ONLINE NEWSLETTER

WHAT’S GOUING AT UNITED AGAINST FASCISM?

NOVANEWS


modernityblog | 09/11/2010 at 02:09 | Tags: Anti-Muslim Bigots, Anti-Muslim Racism, antifascism, Crass stupidity, EDL, neo-fascism, Northern March Against Racism, SWP, TCAR, Tyneside Community Action Against Racism, UAF, Unite Against Fascism | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p4XPG-2sW

Political stupidity is nothing new and the British Left’s almost perpetual sectarianism has impeded many developments, but even I am surprised at this, from Indymedia:
Dear TCAR members and supporters,

The following open letter is being sent this week by the organising group for the Northern March Against Racism, after much consideration. It is a response to an unacceptable act of sectarianism by a leading member of UAF (Unite Against Fascism) to undermine the Northern March Against Racism, which has been called by TCAR. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that leading members of UAF around the Socialist Worker Party have attempted to undermine the work of other anti-racist organisations in the North East.

We are writing this open letter in the hope that this issue will be addressed by UAF and that similar situations can be avoided in the future.

To the leadership and members of UAF (Unite Against Fascism):
Cc: Ken Livingstone, UAF Chair; Sabby Dhalu, UAF joint Secretary; Weyman Bennett, UAF joint Secretary; Martin Smith, SWP National Secretary

We are writing from the organising group of the Northern March Against Racism 2010, which is due to take place in Newcastle upon Tyne on 20 November. The march has been called by TCAR (Tyneside Community Action Against Racism), and is supported by over a dozen other organisations and trade union branches. We are writing concerning attempts by a leading UAF member and SWP regional organiser, Yunus Bakhsh, to undermine the Northern March.

On Monday 18 October, TCAR supporters put posters in the following shops in the Arthurs Hill area of Newcastle to publicise the Northern March:

Crossley Wine Centre
Brighton Oriental Food Stores
Fenham Call Centre
Mishti Mukh Sweet Centre
Tanveer Gents Hairdresser
M.A. Travels
Kamran’s Barber Shop
Geordie Hairdressing Salon
Persian Delights
Aanchal Fashions
Sanam Travel
Heera Jewelers

By Wednesday 20 October, most of these had been removed and in their place were UAF posters advertising the march in London on 6 November. We then put up more posters for the Northern March in the same shops on 20 October, of course leaving the UAF posters in place. The Northern March posters remained until the morning of Tuesday 26 October, when someone again removed the posters from shops including:
Crossley Wine Centre

Brighton Oriental Food Stores
Fenham Call Centre
Tanveer Gents Hairdresser
M.A. Travels
Kamran’s Barber Shop
Aanchal Fashions
Sanam Travel
Heera Jewelers

On enquiring with shopkeepers, several were able to confirm that a man had entered the shop, removed the posters for the Northern March, and in some cases replaced them with a poster for the UAF march. These shopkeepers confirmed from a photograph that the individual who removed the posters was Yunus Bakhsh. We have access to a shopkeeper’s CCTV footage, which clearly shows Yunus entering the shop at 14:48:26 on 26 October, removing the poster for the Northern March Against Racism, before going to the counter and handing the shopkeeper a flier for the 6 November UAF march.

We are sure you will agree that this is an appalling and unacceptable act of sectarianism, which damages the integrity of the wider anti-racist movement in the region. How can any serious socialist justify this sort of behaviour? We urge you to take measures to ensure the members involved end such acts of sabotage immediately.

The Northern March Against Racism is a vital part of building positive anti-racist unity in the region. It is being organised on an open and democratic basis. The local branch of UAF were first invited to participate in building the Northern March on 14 July, including full rights to distribute their literature, display banners and have a speaker.

This offer has so far been ignored, but remains open. We hope that you will take immediate action to end the removal of our posters by your members, and that UAF will start to make a positive contribution to the Northern March. We await your response, and wish you well in London on the 6 November.

Fraternally,

Organising Group

Northern March Against Racism 2010

Justice for Immigrants! Freedom for Refugees!

Together we are Stronger!

TYNESIDE COMMUNITY ACTION AGAINST RACISM (TCAR)

formerly TYNESIDE COMMUNITY ACTION FOR REFUGEES (TCAR)

James Taylor 

It doesn’t get more stupid than that. I do wish that the SWP and UAF would get their act together, British neofascism is the real danger not other antiracists.

Posted in CampaignsComments Off on WHAT’S GOUING AT UNITED AGAINST FASCISM?

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