Archive | November 18th, 2010



November 18, 2010

by Debbie Menon

Eric Cantor’s Pledge of Allegiance to Israel over America

By Dr. Lawrence Davidson

Zionists of all stripes incessantly complain about

Rep. Cantor promised Netanyahu party will act as a “check” on the Obama administration. antisemitism. They tell us that it is on the rise and that is why Israel is so important. They warn that when antisemitism inevitably reaches lethal levels Israel will be the only safe haven left for world’s Jews, including those oh so comfortable ones in the United States.

The flip side of this alarmism is that the same Zionists are forever striving to turn the warning into a self-fulfilling prophecy. For instance, Israeli governments have behaved in such a brutal and illegal fashion toward the Palestinians that no self-respecting ethical human being can help but be indignant and angry. And, because of Zionist insistence that Israeli nationalism and Judaism are one in the same, half the world now thinks it’s the Jews who are collectively responsible for the sins of the Israelis.

The Israelis are not alone in acting in a manner that can only ruin the reputation of the Jews. For a long time American politicians have quietly allowed themselves to be dictated to by Israeli allied organizations such as AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee). This corrupting process is usually hidden behind a facade of propaganda incorrectly describing Israel as a strategic asset, the only democracy in the Middle East, and a country sharing American values. As a consequence the public has hardly noticed as the interests of the United States are shaped to conform to those of Israel–with very negative results for the American position not only in the Middle East, but within the entire Muslim world. But now the corruption has reached a new level, one so open and brazen that the likelihood of the American public taking notice has, correspondingly, become more probable. And, when notice is taken, the possibility of a rise in American antisemitism also presents itself.

For this dangerous turn of events we can all thank a Republican political leader by the name of Eric Cantor. Cantor is a Congressional Representative from the Richmond Virginia who is presently competing for the position of GOP House Majority Leader. He styles himself as one of the party’s “young guns.” So what is it that Congressman Cantor has done that may well contribute to the a heightened level of American antisemitism? On Wednesday, November 10th Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was in Washington DC for a meeting with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. But Cantor got to Netanyahu first and, according to the Congressman’s boastful press release, he “stressed that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the [Obama] Administration ….He [Cantor] made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States, and that the security of each nation is reliant upon the other.”

How do we translate this? Essentially what Cantor did was tell the leader of a foreign country that he will protect that country from the official policies of the President of the United States–the person charged by the Constitution to carry out the nation’s foreign policy. Actually, the Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, have been supplying just this sort of protection for a very long time. But they have always done so surreptitiously. What is different with Cantor is that he has done this quite publically, letting us all know about it in a notice on his official stationary.

What Eric Cantor did on November 10th was illegal. He broke the law. The Law he boasted about violating is known as the Logan Act. This act makes it a felony for an American citizen “without authority of the United States” to interact “with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof” with the intent to influence that government’s behavior on any disputes with the United States.

There are obviously disputes between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government. And here comes Eric Cantor to tell the Israeli Prime Minister that he and the Republican Party will use the power of the House of Representatives to protect Israel from U.S. government policy. If that is not a communication made in such a way as to influence the behavior of a foreign power, nothing is! In addition, Cantor cannot claim ignorance of the law, for there can be no doubt that he is aware of the Logan Act. We know this to be true because he tried to use it against Nancy Pelosi in 2007 after she met briefly with President Assad of Syria. Pelosi, of course, met with the Syrian government with the full knowledge and approval of the State Department. Cantor, on the other, had no official sanction whatsoever.

So what did Cantor think he was doing on November 10th? The probable answer is that he was not thinking at all. Men like Cantor are so imbued with the notion of a “special relationship” that they have lost sight of the fact that Israel is a foreign country. After all, Israel has had a powerful special interest lobby operating in this country, distributing money to politicians on both sides of the aisle, for so long that it seems quite natural. Does Mr. Cantor realize that he can now be hoisted on his own petard–the Logan Act?

And herein lies the risk for American Jews. What seems so natural inside the Beltway, is losing its normalcy in the country at large. There is so much objectively unnatural about the U.S.- Israel relationship that if the general public actually starts paying attention things might turn nasty. There are the billions of dollars that go to a economically advanced country even when the US economy is hurting; there are all those UN vetoes that protect the same country in its incessant violation of international law; there is the fact that this money and protection is going to a land characterized by racist practices that would be illegal if carried out in the United States; there is the Israeli lobby’s involvement in the launching of the second Iraq war, and on it goes. What if the American people get angry about all of this? Who are they going to blame? The politicians? Probably. The Israelis and their Zionist lobby? For sure. And, because the Zionists are so insistent that Israel and Judaism are one in the same, the public may generalize out their discontent to American Jews in general.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Israel and its Zionist supporters, as well as the U.S. politicians who have so long cooperated with them, have placed American Jewry in potential jeopardy. Realization of that potential probably requires on-going economic bad times and foreign disaster. But how far are we from that? If things get bad enough, all it would take is a spark to reinvigorate an ancient prejudice that has long laid dormant in the U.S. I can think of no one more qualified, in terms of sheer unthinking brazenness, to ignite that spark than Congressman Eric Cantor from Virginia. Maybe that is what it means to be a Republican “top gun.”

Lawrence Davidson
Department of History
West Chester University
West Chester, Pa 19383


DR. LAWRENCE DAVIDSON is professor of Middle East history at West Chester University in West Chester, PA, and the author of America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood (University of Florida Press, 2001), Islamic Fundamentalism (Greenwood Press, 2003), and Foreign Policy, Inc.: Privatizing American National Interest (University of Kentuck Press, 2009).

Also see:

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America




November 18, 2010

by tourney  

USS Liberty

By Phil Tourney STAFF WRITER

When Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., Commander in Chief, United States Naval Forces, Europe, ordered the cover-up on the attack of the USS LIBERTY GTR-5 it was a sure act of treason perpetrated on the American people and the crew of the LIBERTY to hide the true facts surrounding the unprovoked attack by the Government of Israel on our ship, the USS LIBERTY.

As most of you know, the Government of Israel attacked our ship in international waters on June 8, 1967. On this bright, sunny day our ship had been positively identified as American and friendly. This very fact has been repeated by our attackers, Israel. They knew we were there but around 1:00 they forgot about us. This was the excuse given, that they accidentally took us off their war table, like we just vanished into thin air.

Doesn’t that sound like a fairy tale? Well, it is. How could this lie hold water with the Board of Inquiry conducted by Admiral Isaac Kidd along with Captain Ward Boston, JAG officer, reporting to the Judge Advocate General, USN and Admiral McCain. The answer to that question is very easy. It goes right back to Admiral McCain. He did not want the truth to come out. He ordered those two respected career naval officers to hide, cover-up and lie in their official Board of Inquiry which McCain signed off on in approximately 10 days. Can you imagine a Board of Inquiry of this magnitude could be completed and signed off on in ten days? It is unheard of, ever, in the annuls of US Naval history.

Also, can you imagine this same Admiral would recall all rescue aircraft coming to our aid, along with McNamara and the president himself, LBJ?

We were set up to be sunk. The Israelis, along with our own government, would blame it on an Arab combatant, Egypt.

As we now know, Cairo was only 120 seconds away from a nuclear attack from the US Government, all for the benefit of Israel, the killers of 34 Americans, the wounding of 174 others and the near destruction of a $40 million ship that ended up being scrapped.

Captain Ward Boston said to Admiral Kidd that he knew this was wrong but must follow orders from Admiral McCain. As far as I and most of the crew are concerned, Admiral McCain, Jr. has LIBERTY blood on his hands. Captain Ward Boston has since recanted his remarks in the Board of Inquiry as lies ordered upon him by Admiral McCain, Jr. God bless him for his courage to come forward with the truth.

Now, we come to what has happened in the past few years. A man called A. J. Cristol, a Jewish bankruptcy judge from Florida, wrote a book called THE LIBERTY INCIDENT, in which he says Israel is exonerated for the attack on the LIBERTY because it was a case of mistaken identity. The book is full of lies, falsehoods and continues the cover-up for Israel’s blatant murder of American sons on the high seas. The survivors call this book a bunch of hog wash. Guess who endorses this book as factual? YEP! You guessed it – Senator John McCain. He knows all about the cover-up on the LIBERTY attack but he follows in his father’s footsteps and praises this piece of garbage. He, along with his father, has the blood of the LIBERTY crew on his hands.

Please email Senator John McCain and express your outrage for this continued cover-up never heard of before in US Naval history. All McCain cares about is the Jewish vote and pleasing Israel. No one should be allowed to get by with murder, not even Israel nor our elected officials. They all should be held accountable for the murders and wounding of Americans and the subsequent cover-up, especially Senator John McCain.

I love our country and I want it back to be the home of the brave and the land of the free where honest Americans care about our homeland, not Israel. We can’t fight anymore wars for Israel with the blessing of our congress. It is killing our sons and daughters and has bankrupted our government, all for the sake of Israel.

That, ladies and gentlemen, are the facts, sad but, oh so true.

Phillip F. Tourney, Proud Survivor USS LIBERTY




November 18, 2010

by Debbie Menon  


Decades of Israeli/Palestinian/US relations prove nothing from Washington or Tel Aviv can be trusted, their word never their bond

By Stephen Lendman


Hillary offers Bibi a package of incentives for a 90 days settlement freeze

When all else fails, offer money, or in this case weapons for peace (a clear oxymoron) via for a three month settlement construction moratorium in name only. In fact, new building is unimpeded, Obama’s offer a facade to hide reality on the ground. More on the deal below. 

Last December, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the moratorium, saying he hoped it would launch meaningful peace talks. They’re entirely fraudulent ones, a grand illusion even Netanyahu once called “a waste of time.”

Two earlier articles on them can be accessed through the following links:

Another covers Netanyahu’s sham moratorium (never called a freeze):

Decades of Israeli/Palestinian/US relations prove nothing from Washington or Tel Aviv can be trusted, their word never their bond.

On November 13, said since late October, the end Netanyahu’s moratorium, “settlers (began) build(ing) 1,629 housing units, and even (dug) foundations for 1,116 of them. (Work began) in 63 settlements, 46 of them east of the Separation (Wall) and 17 on (its) western side.”

Moreover, throughout 2009, “according to the Israeli CBS (Central Bureau of Statistics) data,” work began on 1,888 units. It continued virtually unabated during the moratorium, and goes on steadily every day.

In addition, whatever Washington/Tel Aviv deal is stuck, East Jerusalem is off the table, a November 13 AFP report saying “Israel plans to (sell) 3,000 new Jewish homes in Jerusalem next year, including in Arab areas,” according to a municipality official.

On November 9, Netanyahu’s office, in fact, said:

“Jerusalem isn’t a settlement – Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. 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….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. Every Israeli government in the past 40 years has built in all parts of the city.”

East Jerusalem is also the Palestinian capital, a right no PA leader will relinquish. Moreover, honest observers see no connection between the “peace process” and peace. Negotiations have been still born from inception, a charade assuring no peace because neither Washington nor Israel will tolerate it. It’s one of many unspoken dirty secrets, explaining why conflict and repressive occupation have raged unabated for decades.

Obama’s Offer – F-35s for Peace

In fact, 20 F-35s (America’s most advanced fighter jet) will be added to an existing Israeli order under a $2.75 billion contract. On November 10, Haaretz’s Amos Harel called a deal too good to refuse, along with:

“other gifts the US administration is willing to offer to Israel in exchange for three months of construction freeze in the settlements….”

It makes Harel think “someone has gone mad.” Nonetheless, a “political and ideological headache for Netanyahu” may be too enticing to turn down. He suspects “much broader and substantive issues” are involved, including on the Iranian question.

According to an unnamed senior Israeli defense source, “The Americans have put forth an excellent proposal,” a gift. “It will be a big mistake not to take it….If we do not implement this deal, we will suffer in terms of defense.” Israeli weapons, in fact, are for offense, not defense. No nation anywhere threatens it. Claiming so is duplicitous fear-mongering, the last refuge of belligerents.

Reportedly, Israel also took delivery of the first batch of 1,000 new US 250-pound GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs), F-15s, F-16s, and F-35s able to carry them. They’re extremely powerful, able to penetrate eight feet of concrete, an ideal weapon against underground targets.

Waiting for Netanyahu

On November 10, Haaretz headlined, ” Netanyahu awaiting written offer from Obama on settlement freeze,” saying:

Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said “We still do not have a final proposal in writing that can be discussed in depth.” Netanyahu’s communications advisor, Nir Nefetz, said he and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reached “understandings on the matter,” but formulating a written proposal will take time.

On November 14, New York Times writers Ethan Bronner and Mark Landler headlined, “A 90-Day Bet on Mideast Talks,” saying:

“The vote by Mr. Netanyahu’s cabinet on (Obama’s) proposal is expected to be very close but (it’s) likely to pass by at least one vote, analysts said. Likewise, while the Palestinians have objected partly because the proposed construction freeze does not include East Jerusalem which they want as the capital of their future state, that is not considered an issue likely to dissuade them from rejoining the talks.”

New York Times and other major media writers are clueless on East Jerusalem. Palestinians don’t want it as their future capital. It’s non-negotiably theirs now, what neither The Times or other Western media will acknowledge, showing one-sided support for Israel.

A Final Comment

Another illusory construction halt is bad enough, especially by avoiding the real issue – an unconditional ban on new building as a starting point for negotiations. Worse still is the sham peace process when conflict rages daily. Numerous reports explain why. 

On November 13, Israeli forces raided Bil’in village for the fifth time almost in as many days, invading homes late at night, randomly shooting, using concussion grenades, reigning terror on peaceful civilians, a process repeated regularly throughout the Territories.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with U.S. Vice-President Joseph Biden earlier this past year
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with U.S. Vice-President Joseph Biden earlier this past year

On November 14, B’Tselem said Israel’s Separation Wall is strangling al-Walajah village in southwest Jerusalem, half of it stolen for a settlement. The Wall, in fact, surrounds the village, causing enormous damage, and isolating it from the city and West Bank, an act of war by other means.

Another report said Saffa Palestinians are prohibited from farming. Five international activists were arrested trying to escort residents to their land, accused of entering a closed military zone. One was beaten and injured. Israel has earmarked Saffa for annexation, another belligerent act.

Two other reports said extremist settlers destroyed trees in Surif and burned olive trees near Nablus. A third headlined, “Military Repression of Non-Violent Demonstration in Nabi Salih as the Army Lays Siege to the Village,” saying:

Israeli soldiers closed all roads and “negligently used dangerous high-velocity tear-gas projectiles,” able to cause serious injuries or death. Similar attacks occur regularly throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as frequent Gaza incursions by land against civilians, including farmers; sea against fishermen; and air against neighborhoods, communities, and other non-military targets.

This Week in Silwan headline reported “clashes, raids, arrests, and demolition orders,” its residents regularly attacked. Another cited Israeli troops raiding and looting a house and commercial property belonging to a Palestinian resident. One more reported Israeli artillery and navy randomly shelling parts of Gaza and raiding Hebron homes and a mosque, arresting three. Eleven others were arrested in Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem, and Hebron raids.

Assaults, incursions, air attacks, home invasions, demolitions, land seizures, targeted killings, crop destruction, arrests, torture, and other abuses happen regularly, the daily reality putting a lie to the sham peace talks, whether or not they resume.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.  Listen to his cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening at his  blog site: He can be reached at:

Posted in USAComments Off on A BRIBE TOO GOOD TO REFUSE



November 18, 2010

President Barack Obama’s speech in Indonesia in which he conceded that the United States must do more to establish a good working relationship with many Muslim nations would have ranked as one of the more pathetic performances by an American president in recent years but for the fact that there have been so many awful performances to choose from.  The president’s grammar and syntax were perfect and the speech was cleverly crafted, exactly what we have come to expect.  It was replete with carefully designed pauses, Indonesian words and phrases, and some self deprecating humor, but it was characteristically bloodless and completely tone deaf.  One almost longed to see Bill Clinton choking up and shedding a tear or two. 

Obama’s spin team made a heroic effort to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.  They likened the Indonesia speech to his Cairo offering seventeen months ago, in which he likewise committed his administration to establishing a new, more convivial modality for dealing with Islamic nations.  That speech was received respectfully and even positively in many quarters, but this time no one was fooled.  It’s funny how a year and a half of inaction and even retreat can reshape how someone thinks.  One Indonesian commented afterwards “What will Obama do in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? If we don’t see any progress, what he says is just a speech.”

Obama’s offering was full of the usual bromides, about how respectful he is of Islam and its traditions.  He even touched on Israel-Palestine, not surprisingly blaming both sides for not taking the necessary courageous steps to find peace.  It is a familiar argument for American audiences who are used to hearing that the conflict is bilateral, but did not go down well in Indonesia where the listeners are all too aware of the details of the brutal Israeli occupation.

What Obama should have said was that it has now become clear that Israel’s Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has no desire for any peace agreement that does not provide for perpetual and absolute Israeli dominance over the Palestinians.  He should have added that he knows that Netanyahu has nothing but contempt for him personally in the wake of the midterm election debacle and he might also observe that his ability to act independently is conditioned by the Israel Lobby so he can do nothing to help the Palestinians achieve statehood or even to recover a measure of dignity under Israeli occupation. 

He might admit that he has now been reduced to offering multi-billion dollar bribes of military equipment to Israel just to tempt it to suspend some settlement activity for ninety day.  Obama’s words would not have changed reality on the ground, but at least he would have told the truth for a change and the candor would have been refreshing.

If Obama wants to establish some kind of modus vivendi with the Islamic world he must speak to it in language that it understands and not lie about things that all Muslims know to be true.  And it is also past time that he begin to speak the truth to the American people also.  His administration’s retreat from any confrontation with Israel in an attempt to make a recalcitrant Netanyahu conform even to minimal standards of behavior confirms what all the world already knows:  Israel will act and the United States will follow, even if those actions will inflict grave damage on the American people and on the US national interest.

And what will that mean for the United States?  It means that the decision about going to war for the US is essentially controlled by Israel because Tel Aviv can start a conflict with Iran at any time that will quickly draw Washington in.  Those who think that the White House still is managing the situation are completely naïve.  There is no indication that the Obama administration has warned Israel against bombing Iran because the US has no cards to play, having ruled out exerting any sort of economic or military pressure on Netanyahu.

And there should be no doubt that an attack by Israel on an Iranian nuclear facility would trigger Iranian retaliation and immediate calls in Congress and the media to support Tel Aviv, leaving the president no option but to enter the conflict.  A third war in the region would mean goodbye to any American ability to disengage from the other conflicts that are bleeding the US white and would possibly lead to even more dire consequences if neighbors like nuclear armed Pakistan and India somehow enter the fray. 

Bibi Netanyahu surely understands that the cost to the United States in lives and treasure from war with Iran could potentially be catastrophic but it is a price he is willing to pay as his own people and economy would largely be spared, at least initially.  No American leader should tolerate such a situation but, deplorably, those who have spoken out at all on the Middle East have lined up behind the Israelis as if they were part of the United States, or even more esteemed than any of the fifty states.

Vice President Joe Biden told the Jewish Federations of North America annual gathering in New Orleans last week that “the ties between our two countries are literally unbreakable” and described how he is “absolutely certain that our support for Israel must continue … forever,” echoing similar statements made by both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama.  Biden knows full well that Israeli and US interests do not coincide and his comments amount to political pandering of the worst sort.  It is even more disconcerting to think that he might actually mean what he says.

Meanwhile Steny Hoyer, who calls himself a Zionist and frequently expresses his love for Israel, and has spoken of  “our responsibility to stand by Israel and the Jewish people,” is poised to take over as Minority Whip in the House of Representatives.  On the other side of the aisle, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Eric Cantor are unrelenting advocates of Israel who are about to step into senior positions in the Republican dominated congress.  Cantor recently met privately with Bibi Netanyahu and said the Republican Party would serve “as a check on” the Obama Administration over its policies in the Middle East.

Then “He made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States, and that the security of each nation is reliant upon the other.” In other words, Cantor was meeting with the leader of a foreign country and promising to do whatever he could to influence and even subvert the foreign policy of his own country.  Think about that one for a minute or two.

And while Cantor, Hoyer, Biden and company are ceding US national security to the Israelis, who actually is calling the shots on shaping American policy?  None other than the redoubtable Dennis Ross, perched in the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the Central Region.  Ross, who has been described as Israel’s lawyer, is poison in the very heart of the policy making apparatus.

He recently spoke at an AIPAC Conference in Hollywood Florida where he said “Just last week, I participated in the US-Strategic Dialogue, a biannual event that includes a comprehensive exchange of views on regional issues crucial to both the United State and Israel. But more importantly, the Strategic Dialogue is just one of many, ongoing, and high-level exchanges that occur regularly between the United States in Israel. I’m not aware of another country that we engage more regularly on such a wide range of issues. These types of exchanges not only provide opportunities for discussion of ideas on policy, but they also help solidify connections between our two governments. Over the last two years, I have seen four-star generals, intelligence officers, and high-ranking diplomats all develop personal relationships with their Israeli counterparts.

Frankly, this degree of coordination is unprecedented. I have participated in these types of discussions for the last 30 years, and they have never been as intense or focused, reflecting the serious cooperation that we have today with Israel. But our commitment to Israel’s security is defined not by talk. It is defined by the kinds of actions and deeds that help make both of our countries safer and stronger in the face of common threats.” 

So if you doubt that the United States is tied hand and foot to Israel in terms of its ability to take independent action in the Middle East, just listen to what Dennis Ross, Joe Biden, and Eric Cantor are saying.  Does it sound like they are articulating policies beneficial to the US?  They are insisting that Americans have to support Israel unquestioningly no matter what it does and are little more than advocates for monsters like Bibi Netanyahu, pure and simple.  The word Quisling comes to mind when one thinks of them and also Hoyer and Ros-Lehtinen. 

If their failure to be truly loyal to the country that has nurtured them brings about a new war in which many of their fellow citizens will die, their actions and posturing should be defined by one and all as treason.  If America is to be taken back in a new revolution that will lead to a restoration of the vision of the Founding Fathers it will only take place after the betrayers of our constitution are removed from government, every single one of them. 

When American politicians and senior government officials speak of their love of a foreign government that pursues policies inimical to US values and interests they should be disowned by every true patriot and also by every respectable media outlet.  It should be grounds for their immediate removal. 

Posted in USAComments Off on OBAMA LIAR, LIAR



Dear Friends, the letter below has not yet been published.  However, I have been assured that its author would appreciate having it distributed widely.  Please, therefore, forward also to your contacts.

The author of the letter, Rifat Odeh Kassis, was active in composing the Kairos document from the Christian clergy in Palestine.  It, among other things expresses support for boycott.and divestment.  In this letter, Rifat Odeh Kassis responds to a letter by Rabbi Warren Goldstein, the chief Rabbi of South Africa, whose open letter to Archbishop Desmond Tutu was published on November 3, 2010 in the Jerusalem Post.  

[Forwarded to me by Terry]

“An Affront to Truth and Justice”: Occupation, Not Dissent

A Response to Rabbi Warren Goldstein

by Rifat Odeh Kassis

November 2010

As a Palestinian living in the so-called West Bank, I cannot go to Tel Aviv at all, let alone to the Tel Aviv Opera House. But I know what‟s on the program for tonight: Porgy and Bess, performed by none other than the Cape Town Opera, from November 12-27.

This collaboration between the South African and Israeli opera companies is both ironic and painful, given South Africa‟s recent era of apartheid – and our current one. In response to the news of this performance, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu contacted the Cape Town Opera‟s managing director and urged them to reconsider their visit. Kairos Palestine (co-authors of “A Moment of Truth,” which is Christian Palestinians‟ word to the world about the Israeli occupation and a call for support in establishing a just peace), of which I am the coordinator, did the same. The Cape Town Opera refused, and so they are in Tel Aviv at the time of this writing, performing Porgy and Bess (which has, as Archbishop Tutu noted, a “universal message of non-discrimination), playing their part in normalizing the fundamental injustices of the Israeli state.

Yet I write today in response not to the Cape Town Opera House, nor to the Israeli government, but rather to Rabbi Warren Goldstein, the chief Rabbi of South Africa. Rabbi Goldstein wrote an open letter to Archbishop Tutu, published in The Jerusalem Post on 3 November, which essentially condemned the Archbishop‟s commitments to peace with justice, equality for Palestinians, and boycott as an important and non-violent means of opposing the systemic atrocities of Israeli occupation – a means successfully employed for all of the same reasons in apartheid South Africa.

Thus, I will address Rabbi Goldstein directly from now on.

Rabbi Goldstein, I write in response to the many ways in which your words contribute to the apparatus of racism, denial, inequity and outright falsehood that continually oppresses the Palestinian people. You have urged Archbishop Tutu to remember the core values of truth, justice, and peace – but I have searched your letter for these values and I cannot find them. Please allow me to revisit and reflect upon some of your words.

You wrote:

1. “The truth, archbishop, is that Israel is simply not an apartheid state. In the State of Israel, all citizens – Jew and Arab – are equal before the law…Israel is a vibrant liberal democracy with a free press and independent judiciary, and accords full political, religious and other human rights to all its people, including its more than 1 million Arab citizens….”

As Professors Allan Boesak and Farid Esack state in their eloquent response to your letter, published in the Star Newspaper of South Africa on 10 November, you “[conflate] life inside Israel and life in the occupied territories.” But given that your above remarks refer to Palestinian citizens of Israel, I will also focus on this community in the following comments.

I marvel at the use of your phrase “equal before the law,” a statement both audacious and false. Since obtaining citizenship, the Palestinian population in Israel has been systematically dealt with as second-class citizens, facing exclusion and discrimination in educational, professional, political, and all other public spheres. In a heavily militarized national culture, Israel often justifies its discrimination against Palestinian citizens on the basis that they don‟t serve in the military.

Palestinian schools have separate curricula; Palestinian municipalities receive only a small percentage of funds allocated by the state, per resident, to settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) or to so-called “development towns” inhabited solely by Jews; and a brutal land-expropriation policy has severely damaged Palestinian citizens‟ ability to own land, keep land already owned, or receive adequate services.

I wonder if you have ever spoken to a young Palestinian citizen of Israel attempting to rent an apartment for the first time, rejected on the basis of her last time; to a family of Palestinian citizens of Israel who seek to buy land, or keep the land their families had owned for generations; to a Palestinian university student within Israel, excluded from scholarship opportunities offered only to military veterans of specific wars; the residents of Al-Araqib, a Bedouin village in the Naqab (Negev) Desert whose residents, all Palestinian citizens of Israel, have had their homes demolished for the sixth time in the past three months; to Palestinian MKs in the Israeli Knesset who are dismissed as terrorists for criticizing any of these practices of oppression – I wonder if you have ever spoken to one of them and tried to convince them that they are equal before the law. 

Again, this information specifically addresses the inequalities facing Palestinian citizens of Israel. However, the charges of apartheid (which you so confidently refute) affect the entire Palestinian population, most harshly those living under direct military occupation. As former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has said, “When Israel does occupy this territory deep within the West Bank, and connects the 200-or-so settlements with each other, with a road, and then prohibits the Palestinians from using that road, or in many cases even crossing the road, this perpetrates even worse instances of apartness, or apartheid, than we witnessed even in South Africa.”

2. “The other untruth is the accusation of illegal occupation of Arab land.”

By the end of the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, the Israeli military had destroyed more than 400 Palestinian villages and claimed the land on which they stood (expelling, in the process, about 780,000 Palestinians, versus the 150,000 who remained). Israel has seized what is now the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights. Between 1967 and 2007, 121 official settlements, 10 “unrecognized” settlements, and many outposts (proto-settlements, if you will) were constructed in the oPt. An additional 12 settlements exist within East Jerusalem, which was annexed – illegally, according to international law – by Israel in 1967. This systematic construction was made possible by the continual theft of Palestinian land: thousands of dunams once belonging to Palestinian families, farmers, and communities have been and continue to be expropriated for settlement building.

Rabbi Goldstein, we did not invent the definition of “occupation,” nor of “illegal.” Scores of international laws and UN resolutions condemn the illegality of Israel‟s confiscation of, occupation of, and construction on Palestinian land – all practices that egregiously violate the human rights of Palestinians in the process.

3. “Archbishop, you and I as religious leaders always turn to the Bible as a source of truth.”

In your letter, you speak at length about the land promised to the Jewish people, about the inherent Jewish right to this land, about the Bible‟s statement of this connection – of the Jewish “claim,” essentially, to a holy place and its sites. My purpose in writing this article is not to provide interpretations of God‟s promises. But Kairos Palestine and I do oppose ideological readings of the Bible, and we certainly oppose any use of the Bible that legitimizes injustice, promotes inequality, endorses racial and religious domination, or otherwise severs the Word of God from its universality and love.

Thus, we condemn the way in which your interpretation justifies the denial of Palestinian rights, and our very existence, in our home. This is the logic of the Israeli occupation itself, which is fundamentally a distortion of the image of God in human beings, a degradation of the way we were meant to treat and be treated by one another, and a dishonoring of God‟s love. 

4. “Archbishop, the Arab/Israeli conflict is not a struggle against apartheid or occupation. It is a century-long war against the very existence of Jews and a Jewish state in the Middle East.”

This statement ignores the Israeli occupation as a driving force, a fundamental source, of conflict in the Middle East, while simultaneously ignoring the many positive steps taken by Palestinians and Arabs from other countries in order to resolve this conflict. In 1988, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) formally recognized the state of Israel; in 2002, all Arab countries expressed their willingness to recognize the state of Israel with the end of the occupation.

It is misleading to pretend that the Arab world has sought to prolong the conflict forever, or that its “rejection of Israel” is the core problem. You glibly refer to many missed opportunities for peace. But justice, without which peace is meaningless, is what has been and continues to be missing from the peace process. The state of Israel has yet to act in a way that demonstrates its investment in justice as opposed to simply a “resolution” that affords it a maximum of control.

Moreover, if opposition to the Israeli occupation and the policies of the Israeli government is considered anti-Semitic (you frequently make this erroneous charge in your letter), then this is a very dangerous conflation indeed; it makes anti-Semitism into a tool used to intimidate anyone who criticizes Israeli policies. In our document, “A Moment of Truth, we “condemn all forms of racism, whether religious or ethnic, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia; and we call you to condemn it and oppose it in all its manifestations (passage 6.3). What we oppose is not and has never been Judaism: what we oppose is oppression and occupation in any form, 

5. “…[U]ntil the National Party was prepared to accept that black South Africans had a place in their own country, there could be no peace. And so, too, until the Arab/Muslim world accepts that Jews have a right to a state of their own on their ancestral land, there will be no peace.”

There are many possible analogies to be drawn between the South African struggle and the Palestinian one, but yours is not one of them: this analysis is both insulting and incorrect. First and foremost, as Professors Boesak and Esack state, “The solution in South Africa was precisely NOT to accept separate black states, but to reject that „solution‟ for the lie that it was.

Israel must give up the premise of separation – apartheid.” Second, you wrongly position the “Arab/Muslim world” as the National Party, as the white leadership of South Africa, in this analogy, while you position Jews as the equivalent of oppressed black South Africans. No, Rabbi Goldstein, the reality is quite the opposite. The Israeli government is an apartheid elite systematically separating the Palestinian population from the full and equal realization of their human rights and self-determination. Who is David and who is Goliath? 

6. “In 2000, the Palestinian leadership launched a massive wave of suicide bombers into Israel….”

Like you, we reject terrorism and all other acts of violence, including those implemented in frameworks of religious fundamentalism. However, we also reject the idea that acts of terror occur in a vacuum. The root evil of occupation continues to generate its own worst extremes – enacted by both Palestinians and Israelis – and the cycle of violence continues to affect and involve individuals and groups from both sides. Further, I wish to raise the following question: is the definition of terrorism exclusive to those who use themselves as suicide bombers, or should this category not also include the murder of innocent people at the hands of those in uniform, using sophisticated arms, firing from tanks? We condemn the acts of terror that have killed innocent Israeli civilians. We also condemn the acts of terror that, for example, killed over 1000 innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza, including over 300 children, in December 2008/January2009. We must extend the definition of terrorism to everyone who perpetrates it, and we must end the cycle of violence completely. 

7. “The checkpoints are on the border between sovereign Israeli territory and the disputed territories of the West Bank and Gaza in order to keep civilians from being murdered….”

The idea that checkpoints are located on the “border” between sovereign Israeli territory and the oPt, and that these checkpoints exist solely as a protective measure, is gravely misleading. Of the approximately 99 numbered permanent checkpoints, only 36 are located along the Separation Wall or equivalent entry/exit points (which are often located far from the Green Line), while the other 63 permanent checkpoints are scattered within the oPt. The city of Hebron alone has 16. These permanent checkpoints form an overall structure of movement restrictions for Palestinians, yet the Israeli state also establishes multiple “flying” (temporary) checkpoints, the existence or locations of which can change on a daily or weekly basis. Together, the system of checkpoints and roadblocks also serves to divide the oPt into six geographical regions, making travel within the oPt more burdensome and fragmenting Palestinian communities even more than they already were.

In short, checkpoints do not obey a consistent territorial border; in reality, they operate primarily to limit and monitor Palestinian movement within the oPt, each one a locus of restriction and humiliation for the individuals who must pass through them.

Further, the fact that you refer to the oPt as “disputed territories” is euphemistic to the point of absurd. They are not disputed; they are confiscated, they are occupied, and this occupation is illegal.

8. “Archbishop, do not bestow respectability on an immoral sanctions campaign that is an affront to truth and justice, which prevents peace and prolongs the terrible suffering of people on both sides of this painful conflict.”

Your attitude toward the global BDS campaign is by no means unfamiliar to us. Many people criticize this campaign as “imbalanced” or overly punitive, because they still erroneously reduce the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to a “balanced” dispute between two sides, refusing to acknowledge that the situation is irrefutably otherwise: an apartheid state, brutally militarized and shamelessly unequal. Many people complain, as you have done, that BDS “prevents peace.”

Starting from the fact that Palestinians are boycotted by Israel to begin with, I must emphasize the hypocrisy of such an argument. Rabbi Goldstein, your letter to Archbishop Tutu extols the state of Israel as a “vibrant liberal democracy.” Later, you condemn terrorism. I‟d like to remind you that boycott, divestment and sanctions are all means of non-violent protest consistent with democratic rights and responsibilities. Its methods are peaceful, and its objective is peace – for all. By affirming this tactic, we reject violence and revenge; the complete system of sanctions should lead to justice and freedom for Palestinians, and peace and security for Israelis as well.

If you reject BDS as a valid way to call for change, and as a right in and of itself – a right that should be defended by any true democracy – than what other means do you propose for creating peace in our region? In a time when bloodshed has been the primary tactic, negotiations are an exercise in humiliation, and voices like yours continue to suggest that Palestinians have no rights to defend in the first place, BDS is an effective, nonviolent tool that strengthens – and unites – Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers alike.

What is truly an “affront to truth and justice,” and what “prolongs the terrible suffering of people on both sides of this painful conflict,” is occupation – compounded by the blind support offered by so many people, including you, for its existence and its crimes.

We, too, pray for the three inseparable values you have quoted: justice, truth, and peace. We hope you will join us in these prayers.




Dear All,

Just 3 items this evening. 

The first is Gisha’s commentary and facts about Gaza—specifically in this report it’s about why Gazans do not and will not have enough flour to bake enough bread to feed all.  The Hebrew report follows the English one.

The 2nd is Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh’s report on the catastrophe happening to the Bedouins.  One might add to what he says that Israel is in fact urbanizing the West Bank just as it did Israel.  Consider what happens to farmers and husbandmen when large portions of the WB that were devoted to agriculture or ranching are stolen from Palestinians and turned into urban areas.  What happens to the farmers?  There is little work for them, but there are large families for them to feed.  Imagine what it must be like to be a Palestinian farmer living under colonization and occupation. 

The 3rd and last item is really a selection of articles from the AIC (Alternative Information Center—not to be confused with New Profile’s Alternative Information messages). 

Good reading,



If they haven’t bread, let them eat gravel

November 18, 2010

The eve of Eid al-Adha celebrated this week brought news of a shortage of flour in

the Gaza Strip. For the past two weeks, traders and flour mill owners have warned

of shortages of wheat in the Strip, claiming that the mills have been providing about

half of their production capacity. The mathematical formulas, which the army used

to determine the level to which they would allow the stock of flour in Gaza to be reduced,

are no longer in effect. So why is there a shortage?

Wheat is delivered to Gaza through the conveyer belt at the Karni crossing (currently the only operational part of the crossing, which was closed to trucks in June 2007).

 So far, the conveyer belt has been operational on only two days per week for the transfer

of wheat and animal feed into Gaza. However, since mid-October, Israel has reduced the

transfer of wheat and animal feed to just one day per week. On the other day, Israel allows

gravel to be transferred to the Strip, pursuant to its June announcement regarding changes

to the policy for the entry of goods into Gaza, including a promise to allow the entry of

construction materials for projects run by international organizations.

Incidentally, Israel also promised to open other land crossings “if the need arises to

further increase the capacity of the crossings”. In practice, approvals for construction

projects are extremely limited – since the change in policy, an average of 107 trucks

carrying construction materials were allowed into Gaza per month compared to an

average of about 5,000 trucks which entered Gaza every month prior to the closure.

In addition, instead of opening additional crossing points, Israel has announced its

intention to close the Karni conveyor belt and transfer all operations to Kerem Shalom. 

Thus Israel’s promise to allow the entry of construction materials, which was supposed

to be good news for the residents of Gaza, has created additional difficulties in transferring

basic and essential nutritional ingredients. Israel refuses to increase the number of days

the conveyor belt operates and with regard to opening additional crossing points –

there is no room for discussion.

Moreover, the gravel which Israel allows into the Gaza Strip is not sufficient for the

construction planned by international organizations. According to UNRWA, at this rate,

it will take 75 years to implement the organization’s plan to rehabilitate Gaza. UNRWA,

incidentally, is also facing a shortage in its flour reserves, because it buys flour from the

local market in Gaza after the wheat is transferred to the Strip through the Karni crossing. 






of scorpions, settlers, soldiers, and springs Mazin Qumsiyeh

reports on a field visit to an area heavily impacted by the occupation in the Jordan valley.

We spent two days in the Auja area north of  Jericho on a field trip to survey what remains

of the animals and plants in one of hundreds of areas directly devastated by Israeli occupation policies.  Our host and guide was Mubarak Zawahra, a father of seven young children who lives near Bethlehem but his mother and many of his brothers live in the Jordan valley. 

The family are considered Bedouins.  Bedouins are not nomads.  Before their lives were restricted and devastated by the occupation they usually held two locations (one for

the winter months and one for the summer months).

They relied on their economy on flocks of sheep and goats that they

grazed in the wide open areas around the two locations. They also

raised pigeons and chickens and occasionally planted crops. 

Mubarak’s father was so successful at what he did that at one point he and
his 16 children had over 1000 head of sheep and goats.  It was not an easy
life and required very hard work.  Their life meant covering many miles
every day to reduce overgrazing. Spending over 12 hours daily walking rough
terrains, Bedouins come to know every small path, wadi, tree, cave,
depression etc. over vast areas.  Their encyclopedic knowledge of their
surroundings is astounding. They have stories to tell you about every
feature of their landscape, every animal and every plant.  Even as a
seasoned biologist, I always learn new things from going out with Bedouins
about nature. 

They have unique names even for the different species of desert land

snails.  They can tell you of natural treatments to different maladies. 

While life was difficult, it was a life that functioned in harmony with

nature and with spiritual matters for thousands of years.

Their generosity and kindness to strangers is legendary.  Disputes were

mostly solved by tribal traditional laws. 

The fields were not overgrazed and nature was left untouched.

The balance was maintained and tranquility prevailed and as

Mubarak told me in the evening after a very hard day of work in

the fields, the best time was to sit after a meal, drink strong sweet

tea seasoned with wild mint surrounded by loved ones and look at

clear skies dotted with brilliant stars.

That life of course is slowly ending.  The Zawahra’s saga is just an example. Colonial Jewish settlements in two main locations of the Zawahra’s domain(in the hills around Bethlehem and in the Jordan valley) have made it impossiblefor the Zawahras to continue the Bedouin way of life.  In the Bethlehem district,

Israeli colonies, security zones, army bases etc now control the vast majority of

the rich lands.  The remaining land is basically the developed Palestinian areas

with few open areas.  With less than 5% of the open range areas of the Bethlehem

district left available for grazing, the impact was devastating: 1) significant decrease

in number of animals (even as the human population more than trippled in the past 45
years), and 2) the forced overgrazing on the few remaining open areas had a devastating ecological effect.  It is sad to compare biodiversity in the Bethlehem area today versus

what I saw 40 years ago.  Many species can no longer be found in the hills of Bethlehem

(both plants and animals).  Some areas are so barren that the only living animals

I can see in the late summer and fall months are humans, goats (more hardy than sheep),

and flies. These were areas that 40 years ago, I could show you at least 40 species in
a span of 2 hours.

The second domain of the Zawahras is in the Jordan valley a few kilometers
north of Jericho in the Wadi Auja area.   This valley had until a few years
ago water flow year round estimated at 9 million cubic meters coming from
the hills near Ramallah and flowing into the Jordan valley to feed the river
Jordan.  It made a beautiful oasis that attracted thousands of visitors year
round for recreation.

Downstream, agriculture has flourished.  Farms had been established

and the tranquil village of Auja with 7000 residents including Christians

and Muslim farmers and Bedouins flourished.  My school mate Imad Mukarkar took me to his family farm there when we were in high

school over 35 years ago and I distinctly remember bountiful citrus

fruit, bananas, vegetables of all kinds etc.  On Tuesday night as we

stretched nets to catch bats, we chatted with his brother Khalid who

is struggling to maintain the family farm. 

He explained how even the well water he relied on is decreasing in output both in quality and quantity while the settlers nearby have unlimited water to grow corn and even watermelons. A way of life is slowly being squeezed for the Palestinians and created for colonial Jewish settlers.  These settlers looking for short term political achievements have no clue about the long term consequences of their policies. 

Stealing water via pipes at the hills and bringing it to the Jewish settler
communities also via closed pipes dried up the natural flow of water in Wadi
Auja.  The oasis is no longer an oasis.  The valley now has water only in
the brief rainy season (for about two months at best) whern up until the
late 1990s had water year-round. The crisis of water is so desperate that
winter rain runoff will be collected via a dam adding to the changes created
by the Israeli water theft. 

Desertification (already a problem because of global warming) has thus accelerated.

The rich valley fauna and flora was devastated.  We did manage to record three species

of scorpions, two species of bats, spiny mice, five species of birds, two lizards, a desert fox, and struggling desert trees and shrubs.  We were interrupted once by an Israeli military patrol who wanted to know what we were doing and seemed bemused by our scorpions. One soldier stated that they kill many of them.  I did not want to argue but I did think in my mind that scorpions are really much kinder than some people since they do kill only for food or to defend themselves.

Comparing field work now and three decades ago, we can see dramatic
differences. For example I distinctly recall over 20 species of birds seen
in one morning and we now found no frogs, an important environmental
indicator, when there used to be plenty. The loss of biodiversity meant a
loss of livelihood for the native Palestinians who live in this area.

The Zawahra family who had hundreds of sheep and hundreds of goats now have few animals and struggle to find menial jobs to make a living.  And farmers like Khalid Mukarker who used to get plentiful agricultural produce have seen their costs quadruple and their output decline. Local animals and plants lost are irreplaceable.

The quality of water and air deteriorates year after year which will make it
eventually impossible even for the colonial settlers to continue to live
here. Short term political thinking of Zionists once again trumps long term
planning.  There is clearly a very heavy economic and ecological cost of
colonialism.  Urgent studies and documentation are needed for areas like
Al-Auja and increased activism to end this colonial occupation as quickly as
possible.  Time is not on our (human) side.  Very soon, the damages done to
the environment will make life impossible for all of us (Jews, Christians,
Muslims, other animals, and plants) in this (un)holy Land.Thanks to Mubarak, his family, my wife, my student Michael and his brother
Majd for help in making this trip successful.Here are two pictures of Auja valley with water in it a few years ago
_verkleind.jpgand here is a link to pictures posted by my wife from our field trip

For details on what is happening in Al-Auja including maps, see this report
by the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD 

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Below are a selection of recent AIC news articles.

Israel Continues Assault on East Jerusalem’s Issawiya
    Israeli military and police forces entered the East Jerusalem
neighbourhood of Al Issawiya for several days last week, arresting 5
and demolishing several structures.

The Lesser of Many Evils: Plea Bargain of Ameer Makhoul and the
Israeli Legal System
     Advocate Hussein Abu Hussein spoke to the Haifa Arabic-language
daily Al-Ittihad about the plea bargain that was reached by the state
prosecutor and the defendant of Ittijah’s Executive Director Ameer

MK Dichter Cancels Participation in Madrid Coalition Peace Conference
for Fear of Arrest Member of Knesset Avi Dichter, former Head of Israeli

General Security Services (GSS), recently canceled a trip to Spain, due to
fear he would be detained or arrested by Spanish authorities for his
involvement in alleged war crimes against Palestinians.

Thousands of Palestinians Attend Memorial Services for Yasser Arafat
    Thousands attended a memorial service in Ramallah  and throughout
the West Bank on Thursday and Friday (11-12 November), commemorating
the 6th anniversary of the death of iconic Palestinian leader Yasser

Five Australian Unions Support BDS of Israel
    Five Australian unions have joined the international campaign
advocating the boycott of Israeli goods from the occupied West Bank.

New Yorkers Protest Fundraising Cruise for Illegal Hebron Settlements
    120 New Yorkers silently picketed at the entrance to Manhattan’s
Chelsea Piers this evening (16 November) to protest against the
Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund’s fundraising event to expand Jewish
settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

AICVideo: Sheikh Jarrah: One Year of Protests

The AIC can also be followed on Twitter at AICNews, on Facebook at
Alternative Information Center, and of course on our website at–
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “AIC Newsletter” group.

To post to this group, send email to
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Below are a selection of recent AIC news articles.

Israel Continues Assault on East Jerusalem’s Issawiya
    Israeli military and police forces entered the East Jerusalem
neighbourhood of Al Issawiya for several days last week, arresting 5
and demolishing several structures.

The Lesser of Many Evils: Plea Bargain of Ameer Makhoul and the
Israeli Legal System
     Advocate Hussein Abu Hussein spoke to the Haifa Arabic-language
daily Al-Ittihad about the plea bargain that was reached by the state
prosecutor and the defendant of Ittijah’s Executive Director Ameer

MK Dichter Cancels Participation in Madrid Coalition Peace Conference
for Fear of Arrest Member of Knesset Avi Dichter, former Head of Israeli General
Security Services (GSS), recently canceled a trip to Spain, due to
fear he would be detained or arrested by Spanish authorities for his
involvement in alleged war crimes against Palestinians.

Thousands of Palestinians Attend Memorial Services for Yasser Arafat
    Thousands attended a memorial service in Ramallah  and throughout
the West Bank on Thursday and Friday (11-12 November), commemorating
the 6th anniversary of the death of iconic Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Five Australian Unions Support BDS of Israel
    Five Australian unions have joined the international campaign
advocating the boycott of Israeli goods from the occupied West Bank.

New Yorkers Protest Fundraising Cruise for Illegal Hebron Settlements
    120 New Yorkers silently picketed at the entrance to Manhattan’s
Chelsea Piers this evening (16 November) to protest against the
Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund’s fundraising event to expand Jewish
settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

AICVideo: Sheikh Jarrah: One Year of Protests

The AIC can also be followed on Twitter at AICNews, on Facebook at
Alternative Information Center, and of course on our website at

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “AIC Newsletter” group.

To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on DOROTHY ONLINE NEWSLETTER




Will Miral be this generation’s Exodus?

Nov 17, 2010

Adam Horowitz

Today, I saw Julian Schnabel’s new film Miral. It won’t be arriving in theaters in the US until next March, so it will be awhile until we see what effect it has, but my initial impression was amazement at what I was watching. Here was a film following many of the conventions of a traditional Hollywood film, but this time it was telling the Palestinian liberation story (which might explain why it was not produced in Hollywood and instead was a French/Israeli/Italian/Indian co-production).

The film, based on Rula Jebreal’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, takes us from the Nakba, and children orphaned during the Deir Yassin massacre, through the first Intifada to the signing of the Oslo Accords. I know there will be criticisms, and I have a few that I’ll share later, but right now I am struck by the emotional impact of the film. You follow the lead character through checkpoints, refugee camps, home demolitions, interrogations, humiliations and protests. After that it is impossible to not understand, and feel, the Palestinian call for justice. 

Many times on this site we have reflected on the 1960 film Exodus that helped form a view of Israel, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for a generation of moviegoers. It would unrealistic to expect Miral to carry a similar cultural weight, but it is resonable to draw a line connecting the two and ask whether this film might reflect a current moment where understandings of Israel/Palestine are shifting radically. It appears this thinking might not be too far from the filmmaker’s own experience. The press notes distributed at the screening quote Schnabel as saying the following:

Before I made this film, I hardly knew anything about Palestinians. But I’ve been following the story of Israel my whole life. As a child, I remember watching Exodus at Manhattan’s Rivoli Theatre with my parents. Everybody stood up when they sang Hatikvah and put their hands on their chests. My mother and father were very proud. I recently learned from my sister Andrea that my mother was President of Hadassah in Brooklyn . . . in 1948, the year of Israel’s birth. Making this film in Jerusalem allowed me to see this world for the first time, and to work with a landscape that I needed to see.

Many others need to see this landscape as well, and hopefully Miral will introduce them to it.

Q: Does Chomsky feel Jewish responsibility for Israel’s crimes?

Nov 17, 2010

Philip Weiss

Here is a great interview of the great Chomsky by David Samuels at Tablet, thoroughly exploring the roots of Chomsky’s ethnic/religious identification, which I think is largely unconscious for him. Samuels is uniquely positioned to do this, he comes out of an institutional-religious background; and so does Chomsky. I excerpt some of the religious-roots exchange below.

I am going to leave out the Walt and Mearsheimer question, you can find it at the link. It angries up my blood (as Satchel Paige said of fried food); in essence you have two ethnocentric Jews saying that Jews lack agency in American government, and had nothing to do with the decision to destroy Iraq, no that was Lockheed Martin and Intel and Goldman, Sachs, see, that’s how power works. As readers here know, I ascribe a huge part of the blame to neoconservative Jewish thinkers; and the neoconservatism is all over the liberal Jewish community because of Israel; and we can’t begin to undo the damage till we look at the role of Zionism in Jewish life.

To his credit, Samuels understands the issue of Jewish responsibility when it comes to Israel; and I am going to first quote his last questions, well-feathered arrows that expose Chomsky’s lack of reflective capacity here. Samuels:

When you speak about Israeli crimes, do you feel that you have a special responsibility to speak out as someone who comes from a specific Jewish tradition, or do you simply speak as an American?

I love Chomsky; he is Mount Rainier. But notice how Chomsky doesn’t really address the question. It doesn’t seem like he even can. Wow. And then Samuels persists and still Chomsky doesn’t touch it:

There are many factors, as always. A sufficient factor is that the United States is responsible. But of course there’s a lot more. Background. Childhood. Emotional connections. Friends. All sorts of things. But they’re kind of irrelevant to the fundamental issue, those personal things. The fundamental issue is quite simple: Every U.S. taxpayer is responsible for Israeli crimes. They can’t carry them out without the decisive military, economic, ideological, and diplomatic support of the United States. The United States destroyed Iraq. Of course that should be harshly condemned. In fact I do it much more than I talk about Israel. In the case of the Vietnam war, we basically destroyed three countries. They’ll never recover. Same with Nicaragua. Same with Cuba. Go on and on. Same with Chile. That’s what we ought to be concentrating on. Israel happens to be a subcase of a larger problem. And yes, for me personally, it’s additional things.

[Samuels again] Those additional things—namely, your parents, your childhood memories, your sense of emotional connection—

It’s all there. You can’t get out of your skin. But when we get down to the moral issue, it’s independent of one’s personal background.

So Chomsky distinguishes between his “personal background,” which he admits is part of his gestalt, and the real moral factors in human history, i.e., the United States. Are Jews the bad guy of the occupation? Samuels has asked. No, the United States is, is the answer. I believe that Roger Cohen and Tom Friedman have done better here just by saying, Israel’s conduct makes me ashamed as a Jew. Chomsky seems unable to ascribe power to Jews as Jews, or even really to talk about such attachment. And in that “personal” dismissal, every “personal” element of Jewish energy on behalf of Zionism goes out the window, from Eddie Jacobson getting into his friend Truman’s office to lobby him, Chuck Schumer screaming that the People of Israel live, Weizmann pressing Balfour after giving the English the invention of acetone to fight World War I, Louis Brandeis converting to Zionism before he got on the Supreme Court, Herzl going to the Ottoman court and dangling debt relief and PR work on your Armenia problem in the European press in exchange for Palestine. None of it matters. It’s Lockheed Martin. 

Now here’s the wonderful Jewish stuff (and thanks to commenter Jim Holstun for correcting me, below)

Were there any gentiles in your parents’ world?

Practically not. In fact there weren’t even Yiddish-speaking Jews. They lived in if not a physical ghetto then in a cultural ghetto. Their friends were all people deeply involved in the revival of the Hebrew language and cultural Zionism. I happened to have some non-Jewish friends, but that’s just from school….

At the age of 10 I came to the conclusion that the God I learned about in school didn’t exist.

I remember how I did that. I remember it very well. My father’s family was super Orthodox. They came from a little shtetl somewhere in Russia. My father told me that they had regressed even beyond a medieval level. You couldn’t study Hebrew, you couldn’t study Russian. Mathematics was out of the question. We went to see them for the holidays. My grandfather had a long beard, I don’t think he knew he was in the United States. He spoke Yiddish and lived in a couple of blocks of his friends. We were there on Pesach, and I noticed that he was smoking.

So I asked my father, how could he smoke? There’s a line in the Talmud that says, ayn bein shabbat v’yom tov ela b’inyan achilah. I said, “How come he’s smoking?” He said, “Well, he decided that smoking is eating.” And a sudden flash came to me: Religion is based on the idea that God is an imbecile. He can’t figure these things out. If that’s what it is, I don’t want anything to do with it….

Did your mother also come from a religious family?

She came to America with her family when she was 1 year old. They were so religious that she told me that when she was a teenager, talking with her girlfriends on the street, if she saw her father coming toward them, she would get them to cross the street so that she didn’t have to suffer the embarrassment of having her father walk past her and not acknowledge her because she was a girl. It was a very Orthodox family. Of course, they grew up here, and the kids lost it quickly. My father came here in 1917. He and my mother shared many interests and experiences in common.

They were so dedicated. I remember friends of my father and mother, a couple of women, who when they called a department store downtown, they would insist on talking Hebrew, in the hopes of convincing them to hire a Hebrew-language operator. I mean they all spoke English. It was real dedication..

Tel Aviv dance club, November 2010

Nov 17, 2010

Philip Weiss

This photograph is by Dimi Reider at the new magazine, at 972. It is a photograph of two people at a dance bar last weekend. “That danse macabre,” he headlines it. “Partying in Tel Aviv, a dearly beloved bubble of bubbles in the midst of one of the world’s longest conflicts, can summon some poignant imagery.” On the-1000-words-is-better-than-a-picture front, Reider links to pieces by Lisa Goldman and Karl Vick to contextualize the shot.

Some animals are more equal than others

Nov 17, 2010

Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel

In one of his posts from the Holy Land, Phil referred to an obnoxious teenager on a bus as an “ars” (Israeli slang for unsavoury young man, inevitably Mizrahi – from the Arabic word for pimp), and Avigdor “Yvette” Lieberman the “Russian” bouncer seems to be a mainstay of liberal discourse about Israel and Israeli politics these days. Phil picked up the slur “Homo Sovieticus” here (probably without grasping its significance).

These are Israeli stereotypes or, more specifically, some of the favourite stereotypes (along with those concerning the settlers and the religious) of Israel’s predominantly-Ashkenazi, secular, liberal, Zionist elite – called Ahusalim by the late Baruch Kimmerling. Apart from their appalling racism, these stereotypes also serve to perpetuate the myth of Israel’s inherent progressiveness and pre-’67 innocence (before all of these “others” came and stole “our” state from us). A good example of this self-delusion and sense of lost entitlement can be found in the recent Declaration of Independence from Fascism, published in response to the government’s proposed “loyalty oath” and other insufficiently-concealed racist bills on the Knesset calendar.

So why do those who claim to seek justice and equality for Palestinians (in the name of anti-racism) embrace racist Israeli stereotypes? Maybe it’s because so much of our information about Israel comes from Israeli sources. Or maybe it’s because we see liberal Israelis as our peers, instinctively trust them and respect their dissident voices, and have trouble separating them from our own. The ’67-paradigm reflected in the two-state solution many of us support (if only in terms of “the art of the possible”) also distinguishes between the theft that most benefited the country’s liberal elite (1948-1967), and the post-’67 theft that most benefited the Third Israel (as well as the First Israel, if only as an alternative and significantly cheaper welfare system – see Y. Shenhav, The Time of the Green Line), creating a false distinction between “good” (liberal Ashkenazi) and “bad” (Russian, Mizrahi and religious) Israelis.

There is a hierarchy of racism in Israel that permeates all discourse – even, and maybe especially, critical, left-wing discourse. Not only is it incorrect to blame Israel’s systemic discrimination on some of its (partial) victims, but to associate the ills of Israeli society – and particularly Israeli racism – with specific subgroups (Russian, Mizrahi, Religious), is in itself racist.

Website publishes list/faces of Israeli officers as ‘retribution’ for Gaza onslaught

Nov 17, 2010

Philip Weiss


Ali Abunimah reports that a website called Israeliwarcriminals has published a “pirated” list of names/faces of Israeli officers it says took part in the Gaza onslaught of two years ago, thereby defying Israeli government bars on such publication. Not all the officers are photographed. (Kawther Salam published a less extensive list two years ago.) Abunimah says that facebook has blocked publication of the list. The website asserts that the list was leaked, and that it is publishing it as a form of “retribution.” More chilling words:

In underlining them we are purposefully directing attention to individuals rather than the static structures through which they operate. We are aligning people with actions. It is to these persons and others, Like them, to which we must object and bring our plaints to bear upon… do your bit so that this virtual list may come to bear upon the physical.

P.S. The Goldstone Report insisted on accountability for the war crimes of Gaza in order to preserve the integrity of international law and make sure another Gaza doesn’t happen. Nothing happened; Israel has enjoyed impunity for the killings of 300+ children in 22 days. So here comes an internet vigilante, is it really so surprising?

If anti-semitism justifies ethnic cleansing, then what does anti-Palestinianism justify?

Nov 17, 2010

Ahmed Moor

Jerome Slater tries to make the claim that Zionism isn’t racism. Many of the commenters who responded to his post presented more eloquent and knowledgeable arguments than I can, so I’ll keep it brief.

According to Slater, Zionism isn’t racism because it’s just Jewish nationalism.

Likewise, White nationalism isn’t racism. It’s the legitimate expression of White people’s cultural aspirations. Furthermore, it doesn’t take land inhabited by non-whites as its geographical locus – which Zionism does.

Don’t bother bandying about any inconvenient quotes by David Duke either. The Zionists have equipped me with more than enough to win that contest. Here’s a pretty good one issued by that humanitarian Theodor Herzl:

“We can be the vanguard of culture against barbarianism.”

Sweet. Nothing racist in that.

Slater writes that the term racism “must include the belief that other races or peoples are inferior to one’s own.” But Zionism is predicated upon just that belief. This isn’t immediately clear, so I’ll explain why that’s true.

What kind of person says “I’m going to pick up today and ethnically cleanse a tract of land so people like me can settle there?”

That person necessarily regards his right to the land as superior to the other who lives there. When that right is predicated on racial differences it’s racism. Think of it this way: My right to this land as a Jew is superior to this Arab’s claim because I’m a Jew and he’s not. I have superior rights to the land based on my chosenness, itself a hallmark of my superiority.

Don’t bother arguing that the first Zionists were secular either. If their claim to Palestine wasn’t notarized by God, then how did they presume to ethnically cleanse the land of its indigenous inhabitants? Ah, yes. They were white men who could bring culture and industry and civilize the place.

“We can be the vanguard of culture against barbarism.”

To be perfectly clear, Zionism in principle is a racist dogma. For Zionism to succeed, lesser races had to be ethnically cleansed so the Jews could settle exclusively amongst Jews. The ethnic cleansing of Palestine, which was perpetrated by Zionists on a racial basis, was wrong and should never have happened.

There’s no need to belabor the point. Slater and others like him can dogmatically resist the prima facie truth, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Slater belongs to a different generation. And I’m sympathetic to those – like Abraham Foxman – whose every breath is belabored by the bitter ashes of the Holocaust. I wonder if I’d be the same kind of Zionist if I was a Jew of their generation. Probably, I’d be just as aggressive.

Slater’s argument that anti-Semitism in the West is latent and unpredictable is rational given his historical experience. I wouldn’t be surprised if John Hagee and his acolytes are readying for the first sign of red heifer. American Jews are in a better position to evaluate that threat than I am.

But what if I too were to reserve the right to recede into nationalist self-love, chauvinism and fear? The Jewish people have a right to their state because of anti-Semitism. Fine. Likewise, the Palestinian people have a right to their state because of Zionist anti-Palestinianism. And since the Zionists refuse to vacate Mandate Palestine peacefully, we must overwhelm them in every way possible.

I would argue that the methods that were right for the Zionists in 1948 because of anti-Semitism are right for us today because of Zionist anti-Palestinianism. If we cannot ethnically cleanse them with our guns, we’ll overwhelm them with our superior birth rates. Maybe, if we can keep their numbers to about 20% of the total, we’ll think about integrating them into our state.

Slater can hew to Zionism. He can seek to justify a racist, atavistic, race-peculiar ideology for the rest of his life. But he should be grateful that those of us who are taking control refuse to do so. 

Settler convicted of kidnapping and abusing Palestinian teen

Nov 17, 2010


and other news from Today in Palestine:

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

8th Week against the Apartheid Wall, November 9 – 16 2010

Beit Ommar National Committee Member Released From Prison
On Tuesday November 16th, Eyad Jamil Al Alami was released from prison. He was arrested on Monday, October 11th, 2010, when Israeli Forces raided Beit Ommar and arrested him. After three days he was taken to military court, there was no defense possible due to presence of a secret file from the Israeli military that neither Eyad or his lawyer have access to. He was sentenced to four months of administrative detention but they were forced to release him since there was no evidence to keep him there.

‘Palestine, and the livin aint easy’–Israeli boycotters strike Tel Aviv opera, Philip Weiss
The ground really is shifting. Here’s incredible video from Israel of Israeli boycott activists trying to submarine the Cape Town Opera House’s performance of “Porgy and Bess” in Tel Aviv last night. Boycott apartheid! they sing. Note the big turnout of activists, the inspiring songs. Ynet reports 40 activists. Wow. This is inside Israel. And it’s civil society: people of conscience around the world waking up to the humiliation and dispossession and statelessness of the Palestinians– and seeing that they can take action.

Settler protest: Strike and anti-PM clip
(Video) West Bank Jews to strike against renewing settlement construction freeze; animated clip released showing weak PM ‘eaten’ by US President ‘Hussein’ Obama.,7340,L-3985681,00.html

Abuse of Palestinian Children

Settler convicted of kidnapping, abusing Palestinian teen
Shiloh resident Zvi Struk kidnapped 15-year-old boy, beat him and left him naked, blindfolded and bound in field. Yesh Din: Most Palestinian complaints end without indictment.,7340,L-3985625,00.html

Siege/Humanitarian Issues/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement

100-year-old refugee gets new Gaza home in time for Eid
The four-member Abu Daher family lived their happiest day yet since Israeli army bulldozers crushed their cement home almost two years ago during Israel’s massive assault on the Gaza Strip. Rami Almeghari reports from Gaza.

Racism and Discrimination

South Tel Aviv residents call for expelling foreigners from neighborhood
Emergency meeting assembled following the Friday murder of an Eritrean woman by her husband in the Hatikvah neighborhood.

Political “Developments”

Palestinians and Arab League likely to reject US proposal
According to Maan News, a proposal from the United States for a 90-day temporary freeze on construction in Israeli West Bank settlements might not be enough to entice the Palestinians into renewing Middle East peace talks.

‘No tension between Israel and U.S. over settlement freeze assurances’
State Department declines to comment on whether letter will be forthcoming, says willing to make every effort to return sides to talks.

Clash with U.S. over terms of settlement freeze stalls cabinet vote
Disagreements rose from American desire to remain vague over whether it will seek another freeze three months from now.

Israel demands written US guarantees before freeze
Official says Netanyahu will not present Cabinet with American proposal for renewal of settlement construction moratorium until he receives written security guarantees. Likud MK: We cannot sell our national interests.,7340,L-3985647,00.html

Israeli official: US plan for Mideast hits snag (AP)
AP – An Israeli official said Tuesday that an expected ministerial vote on a U.S. proposal for restarting Mideast peace talks has been put on hold.*

Likud rebels gathering Knesset signatures for anti-freeze protest letter
Right-wing Knesset members demand that Netanyahu fulfill promises he made to them that West Bank building will not be frozen again.

Report: Lieberman bureau tried to meddle in Foreign Ministry appointment
Channel 2 says Foreign Minister attempted to change criteria for cultural attache at Israel’s Moscow embassy, effectively disqualifying one of two final candidates.

Other News

Rep. Gohmert Doesn’t Like “Illegal Palestinian Settlements”

Congress must pass legislation to protect Jewish students from anti-semitic harassment
Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) introduced legislation last week that would require that Jewish students be protected from harassment and intimidation on their campuses.

IDF freezes service deferrals for volunteering due to enlistment drop
Decrease in number of army recruits is due primarily to rise in number of ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students who don’t serve at all.

Palestinian Economy Is Booming, Thanks to Foreign Aid
In a sign of the new prosperity, the West Bank gets it first five-star hotel – and Gaza’s in line to get one, too.  In the lobby, a pair of workers is hanging large portrait photographs of Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, while outside a construction scaffolding sits close by the front entrance, but otherwise the West Bank’s first five-star hotel is open for business.  Banners advertising the Palestinian stock exchange’s annual conference in the grand ballroom adorn centerpieces, while smartly dressed women and men in dark business suits mingle over drinks. Indeed, the demand for conference space is so strong that the Ramallah-based Movenpick Hotel began hosting them before weeks before its first guests checked in.

After FBI came to his door in ‘04, AIPAC staffer promptly called Israeli embassy, Philip Weiss
Grant Smith has long argued that AIPAC should have to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Well here is a snippet from Smith’s eyebrow-raising report on depositions in the 2009 lawsuit against AIPAC by former staffer Steve Rosen. You’ll remember that Rosen was indicted in 2005 by the Justice Department under the Espionage Act– a case that the government has since dropped– and that Rosen is suing AIPAC for millions because he felt that the lobby defamed him and hung him out to dry.

Analysis/Op-ed/Human Interest

The myth of American pressure
The conventional wisdom is that when Washington has exerted pressure on Israeli governments they have eventually succumbed to American demands. However, a closer reading of the historical record and declassified American archival documents reveals a more complex dynamic between the two allies.

A modest proposal for the Middle East peace talks, Stephen M. Walt
I’ve been trying to figure what I think of the latest attempt to jump-start the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. For the most part I agree with FP colleague Marc Lynch — it’s hard to see how this is going to lead anywhere. Even if you get a 90-day extension of the partial freeze on settlement building, nobody thinks you can get a viable final-status agreement in that time period. The best you could hope for is some sort of agreement on borders, but even there I’d be pretty pessimistic.

America must draw a map for Palestine
But let’s say we do get back to the talks, there is no reason to believe Israelis and Palestinians can agree on those borders between them in direct or indirect talks, in ninety days or nine thousand days. The history of this conflict leaves no hope the parties can settle such a difficult issue between them. Left to decide the border line, Israelis and Palestinians will never get there. After all, these are very hard choices to make. Bibi will be telling thousands of Israelis they are homeless. The Palestinians will be losing land they have lived in for centuries. With generations of hate and mistrust between them, an agreement between the parties is a mirage.  Yet after almost two decades of American–brokered Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, including the Camp David summit in 2000, it is abundantly clear what those borders will look like if we are ever to get a deal. They will be based on the 1948 armistice line with adjustments to put some of the largest Israeli settlements inside Israel, matched by swaps of equivalent pieces of territory given to the Palestinians from pre-1967 Israel. In Jerusalem the city would be split along the simple proposition of what is Jewish is Israel and what is Arab is Palestine.

But what if the Palestinians are the victims?, Philip Weiss
Roger Cohen praises Fayyad, and pushes the Obama-Clinton efforts. The settlement deal with Netanyahu is “positive but a detail.” (I’m not sure what he means by that.) His take on the Palestinian change of attitude reminds me a little of patronizing comments on lamentable Jewish attitudes of yesteryear. Of course then we got the IDF! But really I don’t know that it is self-pitying and a cult of victimhood for people to talk about the denial of their basic rights for six decades.

Israel’s loyalty oath
“Even Ehud Barak attempted to add to the Loyalty Oath the declaration of independence, he did not differ from Avigdor Lieberman, and certainly not from Benjamin Netanyahu. He only strengthened the tight connection between the law and the declaration of independence. And indeed all the Zionist parties, including SHAS, revolve around the contradictory model of a “Jewish and democratic state”, when it is obvious that the country being Jewish must come at the expense of it being democratic.  Jewishness, that is race and ethnicity as outlined in religion, is an essential element to reciving equal rights in Israel. That means that the new law makes clear to non-Jews who wish to join that they will be doing so as inferior tenants and that the Jewish Israeli society is built on the basis of religious purity of blood, or strict religious practice. Therefore, Israel, despite its statments, is essentially a Jewish nation and is not democratic. It is one who occupies another nation while discriminating against its Arab citizens.  In fact, most of the parties agree to this. Therefore the difference between them and Lieberman is only in that he does what they appear to suppress but in essence, and with a wink, approve. That is, they don’t object but prefer to hide behind a mask of democracy. So Minister Yitzhak Herzog’s opposition to the law isn’t opposition to the disastrous concept of a “Jewish and democratic” country, but opposition to the concept being openly revealed.” (Translated by Lia Tarachansky)

Dishonesty and East Jerusalem, Henry Siegman
|In response to President Barack Obama’s criticism of Israel’s most recently announced building plans in East Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman made the following statements on behalf of the Prime Minister: “Jerusalem is not a settlement.” “Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel.” “Israel never agreed to limit its construction in any way in Jerusalem.” “Israel sees no connection at all between the peace process and building plans in Jerusalem.”  Most, if not all, of these views have since been repeated by Netanyahu himself.

This Congress won’t give Obama a free pass on Israel
The new Congress can be expected to be openly supportive of Israel. That means that if the president were to resume his tactic of pressuring Israel he will find himself in opposition to many in the Congress.

Cantor Recants, MJ Rosenberg
It is Cantor’s statement of loyalty to Netanyahu that is the shocker. Specifically, it is his promise that he would ensure that Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives “will serve as a check” on U.S. Middle East policy.

The Real Obama-Clinton Game Plan For Israel/Palestine?, Alan Hart
My speculation here will convince many that I have taken leave of my senses  – is that Obama might have an ace up his sleeve.

Middle East’s Only Democracy Crushes Dissent, Tammy Obeidallah
Ever since becoming an activist on behalf of Palestine some ten years ago, I have found ironic humor in the label, ‘The Middle East’s Only Democracy’ used by American policymakers and media in describing the Jewish State. This statement is erroneous on two counts. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of a democracy knows that Israelis overwhelmingly shun the values associated with such a system; furthermore quite a few countries in the Middle East hold elections regularly. Most recently, Jordan elected a new parliament.

Bush at Large, Ralph Nader
George W. Bush is on a roll—a money roll with a $7 million advance for his book Decision Points and a rehabilitation roll to paint his war crimes as justifiable mass-slaughter and torture.  His carefully chosen interviewers—NBC’s Matt Lauer and Oprah Winfrey—agreed to a safe pre-taping to avoid demonstrations and tough questions. Requests for him to speak are pouring in from business conventions and other rich assemblages willing to pay $200,000 for “the Decider’s” banalities. This is “Shrub’s” month in the sun.

Me, Myself & أنا
I remember this once I got in a cab in Beijing. The driver was naturally curious; asked where I was from. I told him that I was Arab-American. He began to laugh. I accommodated his laughter with a forced grin, while trying to figure out what was so funny. He then semi-sobered up from his laughter and said: “How can you be Arab-American? Does that mean you wage war against yourself?”, It’s one of those Kungfu Panda moments, when the least expected incident reveals an epiphany. How can I be an Arab and an American at the same time? Before then, I didn’t give it much thought. The identity “Arab-American” just vibrated out of my vocal cords so naturally. Then I began to wonder: surely I must feel I’m a little bit more of one over the other, no? Or are the two identities malleable, each perching on its fitted branch (like I’m more Arab when hanging out with other Arabs, but more American when hanging out with monolingual Americans)?


Moussawi to Al-Manar: Hezbollah Prepared for all STL Scenarios
15/11/2010 What could happen in case the Saudi-Syrian ongoing efforts to resolve the Lebanese crisis fail? What if the American-Israeli scheme takes place and Hezbollah members were indicted in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri’s case?  One thing is certain, according to all Hezbollah officials. The Resistance party is prepared for all scenarios. In any case, Hezbollah won’t remain silent and therefore, it’s impossible to expect the Resistance party to accept an accusation of involvement in Hariri’s murder, under any pretext.

Russia to gift Lebanon with arms, military supplies to bolster army
Russian announcement follows U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs lifting ban on giving $100 million in military assistance to the Lebanese army.

Stand by Hariri: the New York Times hearts (Israel over) Lebanon
The New York Times today expressed strong support for mini-Hariri and the lousy tribunal for his lousy dead daddy.  Let me say this: it suffices for the New York Times to support the Hariri tribunal for me to fiercely oppose it.  The paper, like other Zionist outlets, does not take a stance that is not based on the interest of Zionist aggression.  Let me make it clear: I have been fiercely opposed to the tribunal from day one believing–let me use the classical wooden language that so upset rightists and Wahhabi columnists–that it is a US-Zionist plot aimed at defeating enemies of Israel in Lebanon.  Look at the language…

Oxford Analytica: “Ashkenazi smoking something on Hezbollah ‘coup d’etat'”
Israeli army chief Gabi Ashkenazi has warned of the risk of a Hizbollah coup in Lebanon in the event that its members are indicted by the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon, according to an army statement today. Local media close to Hizbollah have speculated that the group may launch a military takeover if Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri refuses to denounce the tribunal, which is investigating the assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. Tensions have escalated in recent months over the expected indictments, and Hizbollah has warned that cooperation with the tribunal will be considered equivalent to an attack on the movement. Cooperative regional efforts to find a solution to the crisis, and to moderate Hizbollah’s response, appear to be having little success. A military takeover is unlikely — the costs would be too high — although a ‘soft’ takeover is plausible; Hizbollah and its allies could withdraw from the government, paralysing Hariri’s cabinet and hoping for a parliamentary majority which would strengthen their position in the formation of a new government. However, such an outcome may be avoided, since the group is aware that there is little the tribunal can do to enforce its indictments.

Israel may give up border village
Israel’s cabinet will meet on Wednesday, and is expected to approve a plan which could leave a border village split down the middle. Ghajar is currently occupied by Israel but under an agreement with the UN, the northern half could be given to Lebanon. As Sherine Tadros explains, it’s just the latest twist for the village, which will have had three owners in the past half century.

Communist Party slams ‘deliberate’ education slip
BEIRUT: The Secretary General of the Lebanese Communist Party (LCP), Khaled Haddade, called Monday for combating what he called a deliberate decline in the quality of national education. He made his remarks during the launch of a LCP youth conference and said “the government is executing an educational plan in the dark.”


Tuesday: 5 Iraqis Killed, 2 Wounded
Sunni Iraqis who did not travel to Mecca observed Eid al-Adha at home today, while Shi’ite Iraqis must wait until tomorrow. The holiday either reduced violence or prevented reports from reaching the news wires, as the only reported attacks occurred in Mosul. At least five Iraqis were killed there and two more were wounded in the last day or so. The government did take steps to protect the public during the Eid, including deploying about 28,000 security personnel in Diyala province.

INTERVIEW-Iraq’s Talabani sees Sunni bloc joining govt
PARIS, Nov 16 (Reuters) – An Iraqi government supported by the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc will be set up but it is unclear whether its leader will be part of the new Shi’ite-led coalition administration, President Jalal Talabani said on Tuesday.

U.S. & Other World News

US urged to probe torture claims
New UN expert on torture says US must conduct full investigation into detainee abuse abroad and hold those accountable.

Gruesome Find Told at US Hearing into Afghan Killings
If proved in a full court martial, the crimes would be among the worst committed by US forces in Afghanist.

US Torture Victims To Receive Payouts Of Up To £1Million
British former inmates of Guantanamo Bay are to set to receive large payments from the Government to drop claims that British secret agents knew they were being tortured.

CIA renditions unlawful: Amnesty
European governments should not follow the United States’ reluctance to shed light on unlawful intelligence operations carried out against suspected Islamist terrorists, Amnesty International said in a report published on Monday.

EU criticised for ‘complicity’ in CIA rendition programmes
Amnesty International says EU has failed to hold Britain and other countries accountable for involvement in the CIA’s illegal rendition and detention.

Bush Can’t Travel Abroad Without Risking Arrest
The confessed waterboarder is a marked man. If he travels abroad, other countries can—and should—nab him and try him for the crime of torture.

Nato chief says there is no alternative to staying in Afghanistan
His comments came as Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s president, said intrusive foreign military operations in Afghan communities were exacerbating the threat from the Taliban.

Holbrooke denies exit strategy for Afghanistan
Special US representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, on Monday said there will be some drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan next year but the US combat mission will not end until 2014.

Report: US preparing for extensive Yemen operation
The US is planning an extensive military operation against Al-Qaeda in Yemen, Washington is moving military and intelligence forces in order to aid US and Yemeni military strikes against Al Qaeda targets.,7340,L-3985538,00.html

US Propose New Bases In Yemen
The proposed bases would vary in size, but could each accommodate scores of troops, including specialized Yemeni commando units, which are trained by the U.S

US sanctions weaves big trouble for Persian rugs
The US has imposed economic sanctions against Iran for nearly 30 years and the trade barriers have created problems for Iranian businesses. The import and export sector is among the most affected, including in some unusual areas such as the carpet industry. The latest round of sanctions has made trading in Persian rugs illegal, which by extension will hurt the traditional weavers in Iran. Al Jazeera’s Kristen Saloomey reports from New Jersey.

More Reasons to Hate the TSA
Designed to confuse citizens and indoctrinate them to the idea that they should unquestioningly submit to absurd directives from authorities. It’s how you control a populace.

US airport body scanners condemned
New security measures amount to ‘virtual strip searches’ and ‘breast groping’, critics and some travelers say.

Beyond the Mosque: Bloomberg and New York’s Muslims, Alex Kane
The following article originally appeared in the Gotham Gazette, an online-only publication focusing on New York City government and politics:  When Mayor Michael Bloomberg strongly defended the proposed Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero last August even as polls showed most New Yorkers opposed the project, he garnered some favorable media coverage and praise for his stance.

$17m Islamophobic push during 2008 campaign is tied to shadowy figure in Israel lobby, Philip Weiss
Salon’s Justin Elliott is on the trail of the mysterious donor who funded the wide distribution of an Islamophobic film, “Obsession,” during the 2008 campaign, to the tune of $17 million. And he suspicions someone who’s in the Israel lobby: Barry Seid, whose name shows up on an IRS filing by the film’s distributor, Clarion.

Syrian bloggers brace for fresh blow to Middle East press freedom
A Syrian law awaiting parliamentary approval is one of a raft of measures across the region to clamp down on a surge in Internet activity over the past decade.

Sectarian violence in south Egypt
At least 10 houses have been burnt down in a confrontation between Christians and Muslims in southern Egypt.

Indonesia condemns maid torture
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has demanded justice for the “extraordinary torture” of an Indonesian maid in Saudi Arabia.

J Street is shunned by Reform synagogue in Newton (amid talk of ‘donors’)

Nov 17, 2010

Philip Weiss

Astonishing. A J Street event is cancelled by a Reform Newton synagogue due to fierce opposition by a small group inside the congregation. And they have money. This is why Barney Frank has said that he can’t come out against settlements. In the most “liberal” district in the country. Because neoconservatism is deeply embedded in American Jewish life out of concern for Israel’s security.

Again this shows how you cannot reform these militant ethnocentric attitudes inside Jewish life. Universalist Jews must make coalitions with Palestinians, realists, non-Jews, anyone who cares about human rights– to take on the intolerant attitudes within Jewish life.Note the Ben-Ami money quote. Lisa Wangsness:

Rabbi Keith Stern, who has led Temple Beth Avodah for more than 13 years, said a “small, influential group’’ within the congregation voiced strong opposition to hosting the event. Synagogue leaders decided to cancel after “an agonizing process,’’ he said, because they felt the controversy would “threaten the fabric of the congregation.’’

“The understanding was that it was going to be what I considered to be an honest and open conversation with a liberal Jewish organization, but I clearly did not understand how deep the antipathy is among a group within the Jewish community toward J Street and toward Jeremy Ben-Ami,’’ he said….

[Ben-Ami] “My reaction is really one of sadness that this is the state of the conversation in some parts of the Jewish community,’’ he said. “That a small handful of zealous donors to an institution can prevent a larger community from an open and honest conversation is a real shame.’’

(Thanks to commenter bijou.)

Breaking w/ Israel has helped Turkey in competition for Asian markets

Nov 17, 2010

Philip Weiss

This is interesting. Risk analyst Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia group was on Charlie Rose two nights back describing the struggle between market capitalism and state capitalism, US v China. My sense is that risk analysts are cold fish who assess the geopolitical business climate without regard to the moral struggle; and there was a bright thread through Bremmer’s comments that Israel is just getting in the way, and also that the Palestinian story has merit.

Bremmer excerpts begin with his take on the advantages of China’s state capitalism, and then to Turkey’s game:

Chinese corporations– the nature of their relationship between the state capitalist Chinese system and a free-market, if-badly-regulated, American system– is really changing the playing field…

CHARLIE ROSE: Have they had an unfair advantage? 

IAN BREMMER [not taking sides]: You know, I think that the narrative between the United States and China is increasingly becoming as disparate as the narrative between the Israelis and the Palestinians. 

CHARLIE ROSE: In what way?

IAN BREMMER: To answer your question of whether or not they’ve had an unfair advantage, you listen to Hillary Clinton and Obama, you’re going to hear them talking a lot not just about currency, but they’re going to say we want a level playing field. Right?

Look at this table. We want a level playing field. What do we mean when we say we want a level playing field? We want the Chinese to operate by the same rules we do. What we’re really saying is that we want the way that corporations have been operating in China, we want that to continue to be the case. We want to continue to be able to operate business as normal. …

Now here’s Bremmer on Turkey:

So what’s going on in Turkey?

IAN BREMMER: I think Turkey’s doing exceptionally well. First point is —

CHARLIE ROSE: That’s self-evident. Just look at the numbers.

IAN BREMMER: Yes, but strategically they couldn’t have picked a better time to cut themselves from loose from Europe and move toward the Middle East.

CHARLIE ROSE: What’s the indication they’ve cut themselves loose. What’s the indication they’ve cut themselves loose?

IAN BREMMER: I think first of all a bunch of statements you see by Erdogan and the rest in terms of —

CHARLIE ROSE: What would be exhibit one?

IAN BREMMER: A willingness to focus on Islam as a legitimating factor in the Turkish government, which I think is clearly anathema to a continental Europe which is becoming only more concerned about Islamic immigration and non-integration within their countries. I think that the turn of the Turkish government directly away from Israel and the willingness to break off diplomatic relations with the Israelis — what the Turks are doing is saying, look, we know where the economic growth is going to be. It’s in the Middle East.

We want to play a leadership role. Iraq is the most exciting investment story in this entire part of the world and the Turks are betting positioned to take advantage of it than anybody else.


Perry: Obama’s obeisance to Netanyahu is ‘dangerous’ and of a piece with Dogan’s unprotested killing and Kagan emulating an Israeli justice

Nov 17, 2010

Philip Weiss

Here is an amazing post by Mark Perry at Foreign Policy blasting Obama’s deal with Netanyahu for a settlement freeze extension as a gutless concession of power. Even Petraeus is afraid of the Israel lobby, which dominates Establishment attitudes, Perry says, and he honorably cites the killing of Furkan Dogan on the Mavi Marmara as evidence of American subjection to Israeli interests.

This is a new level of criticism of the Israel lobby, at Foreign Policy no less, as compromising Beltway culture; and why I’ve always said that Walt and Mearsheimer merely scratched the surface. And why Lincoln’s attack on the two-party “conspiracy” of the slave power in our politics should be echoed today by criticism of the two-party agreement on blind support for Israel. I would note that Lincoln included Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney in that conspiracy– and that Perry goes after Elena Kagan:

If only Jefferson could see us now. This weekend, the Obama administration promised to turn over $3 billion in stealth fighters to Israel (supplementing the 20 F-35s it will buy with the $2.75 billion in “grants” it gets from Washington) and veto any U.N. resolution that questions Israel’s legitimacy — all in exchange for Israel’s pledge to extend a ten-month partial settlement moratorium for another 90 days.

This is a bad idea. And it’s dangerous. There are differences, of course, between the events of the last 24 hours and the crisis that Jefferson faced in 1804. Then, we protested that we were “paying tribute,” now we are “providing incentives.” Then too, Israel is not making any “demands,” they are simply (in Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s words) “insisting.” Oh — and let’s not forget — the pirates of Barbary were America’s “enemy.” That’s a lot different than now; Israel is our “friend.”

This administration’s decision would be shocking were it not so predictable. Back on October 20, State Department spokesman Andrew Shapiro reassured the press that a $60 billion U.S. arms transfer to Saudi Arabia would go forward because “Israel does not object…”

The tone-deafness evidenced by Andrew Shapiro is now an all-consuming part of public policy, extending to every part of the American government — and beyond. When Elena Kagan testified during her confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, she cited Israel jurist Aharon Barak as her model, because he was the “John Marshall of the State of Israel.” Kagan might well be a brilliant justice, but I would have thought she would cite Marshall as her model. Reminded that Barak was a judicial activist (and therefore not necessarily acceptable for some committee members), Kagan gave a ready explanation: “Israel means a lot to me,” she explained. Enough said.

When David Petreaus was criticized by Israel advocates for his March testimony, he backtracked, asking neo-conservative Max Boot (in an email he carelessly sent to a blogger) whether it would help “if folks know that I hosted Elie Wiesel and his wife at our quarters last Sun night?” Petreaus is our nation’s most influential military officer since Eisenhower. Guess what?

He’s afraid of Israel’s lobby. And when Angela Merkel addressed the U.S. Congress in November of 2009, she didn’t talk about American security, but Israeli security. “Security for the state of Israel is, for me, non-negotiable,” she said. “Whoever threatens Israel also threatens us.” Even senior aides to the otherwise pro-Israel Congress were puzzled.  “Maybe she thought she was talking to the Knesset,” one of them said. Finally, Republican Eric Cantor recently told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the new Republican majority would serve as “a check on the administration” in any dispute with Israel — a statement so astonishing that one pro-Israel journalist viewed it as not only unprecedented, but “extraordinary.”

None of this has been lost on the administration, which is apparently intent on proving to Cantor (and the new Republican majority) that it’s as committed to Israel as they are. Or more. On October 25, Dennis Ross, the White House point person on the Middle East, told a meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that not only is America committed “to Israel’s security”, but that the U.S. commitment “has also been demonstrated in our work to defeat efforts in international organizations to single out or delegitimize Israel.”…

The message to American citizens is clear: if a Muslim kills you it’s because he’s a terrorist, if an Israeli kills you, [Furkan Dogan, American-Turk killed on Mavi Marmara] it’s because you’re a terrorist. The Obama Administration’s newest promise to Israel is abject, embarrassing and gutless.

Our country — our president — is rewarding a foreign leader who openly boasts that America “is something that can easily be moved,” who urges a waiting game with the U.S. because he knows that Israel’s friends in the Congress will defy a president who opposes him, who tells his cabinet that he will outfox Barack Obama. We are paying Israel to do something that is in their own interests — and very much not in ours. That’s extortion. The Obama Administration has this dangerously wrong. F-35s? This is not a defensive weapon. The jet is the most advanced air system in the world, with a round-trip capability that puts Tehran in range of Tel Aviv.

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Report back from joint Lambeth and Wandsworth PSC and Lambeth

Unison public meeting during BDS week – 9 November 2010

By Gurmeet Khurana, International Officer – Lambeth Unison

Palestine Public meeting

9 November 2010

Photograph by Gurmeet Khurana

Around 30 people attended this joint meeting organised by Lambeth and

Wandsworth Palestine Solidarity Campaign (LWPCS) and Lambeth Unison during

BDS week.

The meeting was chaired by Jackie Lewis, chair of the LWPSC who opened the

meeting by reading out the Sanctions against Israel from which the International

BDS campaign originated.

The statement can be read in full by visiting Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and

The first speaker was Bell Reberio-Addy who is on the National Union of Students Black

students committee. She spoke about the role that students have played in the

supporting the Palestinians concentrating on the actions that students took around the

time of the Gaza bombing in 2008. She also mentioned that within the NUS, only the

Black students committee and the LGBT group were affiliated to the Palestine Solidarity

campaign and also stop the war. Unfortunately, she did not envisage that changing

anytime soon as the leadership in the NUS have made it very difficult for students to

attend meetings where this could be voted on and changed.

The second speaker was Muthanna Al-Qadi who is the Middle East Affairs editor for

the Al-Quds newspaper in Jerusalem. Muthanna gave an update of the current

situation in Palestine. He spoke about Israel’s decision to give the go-ahead for the

construction of more than one thousand new settler homes in occupied East

Jerusalem which was announced as Benyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime

minister, visits the United States. He also spoke about the continued eviction of

Bedouin’s from their villages so their land could be confiscated. He went on to talk

about tourism which has become an extremely political issue. He explained the

proposed Knesset bill which would ban some 300 Palestinian tour guides from

eastern Jerusalem from serving in the city and the anger that it was generating.

According to the bill, the Palestinian tour guides do not present the Israeli viewpoint.

Despite the fact that these Palestinian tour guides are certified by Israel’s Tourism

Ministry, they are being told they will be banned from working! Muthanna explained

the context behind the attacks on Palestinians in East Jerusalem is linked to Israel’s

attempts to claim all of Jerusalem as its capital. Muthanna then went on to give an

update on the situation in the West Bank talking about the violent attacks by settlers

on the farmers and olive trees, which are the main source of income for many

families in the West Bank, whilst IDF soldiers stand and watch. Mutanna ended by

talking about the security situation in Gaza and warned of the signs of a possible

future attack on Gaza and Iran.

Next to speak was

moving account of their journey to Gaza as she recalled her experience of driving as part

of the convoy. She spoke about warm reception the convoy received at every stage of

their journey from farmers in fields giving the convoy the peace sign to the family of some

of those brave activists who were murdered on the Mavi Marmara.

She also spoke about how people from local communities came to visit them to

bring them medicine and clothes to take with them. The convoy was also able to

visit the graves of three of the men who were killed on the Mavi Marmara and

Amena recalled the moving story of the families of these men giving the convoy

soil from the graves to take and mix with the soil in Gaza so a part of them would

forever be in Gaza.

In Leon, the convoy met the town’s Mayor who flies the Palestinian flag above the Town

Hall. He has been ordered to remove it but refuses to do so until Palestine is free!

Unfortunately, Amena was one the 17 members of the convoy who was denied entry

into Gaza but was delighted that the convoy managed to break the siege.

Amena Saleem who was on the Viva Palestina 5 convoy, gave a

The final speaker was Sahida Uddin, who was part of a recent Lambeth Unison

delegation to West Bank. Sahida opened by explaining the purpose of the delegation

visit which was to officially twin Lambeth Unison Branch with the Nablus branch of

the PGFTU. She explained the importance of such initiatives between unions and the

role they can play in building International solidarity amongst workers and also as an

opportunity to share experiences of organising in a trade union. It also provides us

with a source for information about the latest situation in Palestine.

Sahida also brought a clear message from the PGFTU who stated that while the

Palestinian economy has been tied into the Israeli economy due to the occupation

and and the Palestinians do not often have a choice to buy non-Israeli products, we

clearly have a choice. BDS is a movement endorsed by the PGFTU and it is a

powerful tool in the struggle for equality, justice and freedom for the Palestinian


Sahida went on to talk about her experience of visiting the West Bank and the work

of the Hebron rehabilitation centre and her shock at hearing about the settler attacks

on Palestinians living and working in Hebron. She described seeing the checkpoints

in Qalqilia and the horrific conditions that workers there had to endure to get to work

in the settlement. She also recalled her experience of going to the weekly nonviolent

demonstration at Bil’in, which is echoed throughout the West Bank in

villages, towns and lands at risk of destruction from the Israeli apartheid barrier.

Sahida spoke of the bravery of the international and Israeli activists as well as the

determination and courage of the local Palestinians, who faced this weekly attack of

tear gas, violence and often rubber and live bullets from the IDF, but continued to

hold peaceful protests. She told the story of one of the key Palestinian leaders of the

non-violent movement who was killed at Bi’lin, during one of these demonstrations,

when a tear gas canister hit his chest and exploded. Sahida went on to talk about her

visit to the Defence for Children International in Hebron and the accounts she heard

about children sometimes as young as five years old being arrested, interrogated

and scared into spying on family members. She talked of the annexing of Palestinian

lands in Bethlehem and the visit to a Palestinian farmer whose land is being

confiscated with a ruthlessness that means his parents’ graves will now be on the

Israeli side of the proposed separation barrier.

She went on to describe the mobile health clinics in Nablus and the effects of the

military occupation on health, resulting in the deaths of Palestinians as a result of

the long delays and harassment at checkpoints. She closed by taking about the main

message that she has taken away from her visit which was that Internationals need

to do what they can in their own countries and put pressure on their own governments

as well as giving support to Palestinians.

Gurmeet Khurana, International Officer – Lambeth Unison


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November 17, 2010

weather balloon soars into space


By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

The submarine launch of an ICBM off the California coast on November 8 is a milestone in American history.  The immediate denials that it was an American test were a public relations disaster.  America’s government does little but lie to its people, 9/11, Osama bin Laden, we could go on forever.  In fact, nothing coming out of Washington or the press is remotely credible and it has finally been proven.  This is a private confirmation we received:

REDACTED: Finally there is something that has occurred, in which I am actually an expert and qualified to give a real answer about.  I am a retired U.S. Navy FireControl Technician, who is platform certified in missile systems XXXXXXXXX, I have also worked with the Navy’s Harpoon, Tomahawk and ASROC missile systems.Anyway, what I saw in the recent video concerning the object 30 miles off the coast of CA is blatantly a foreign made, Large Cruise or ICBM missile, being launched by a sub-surface aquatic platform.

First I know its a large missile because it did not exhibit the typical “corkscrewing” trajectory of a beam riding missile as it trys to acquire the targeting beam. This tells me its a Big Boy with a complete guidance system installed in it, what is nicknamed a “fire and forget” missile, as once its launched its internal guidance system takes over and there is no real need for external guidance. 

I’m fairly confident its not one of ours, as the vapor trail appears “dirty” it looks brownish. I have personally been involved in (5) SM2 missile launches, and (2) ASROC missile launches, and have been on safety observation for at least 15 more launches of Harpoons, Tomahawks and other missiles. We put a lot of sweat and money into our “birds” and part of that is the fuel cells, they burn very clean, a whitish-blue infact, not a dirty blackish brown. That missile had rather crude fuel cells, which tells me its not one of ours.

 A submarine comes approaches America’s heavily guarded coast, through a network of defenses costing billions, and launches an ICBM capable of carrying up to 10 hydrogen bombs, launches the missile 2 minutes from Los Angeles, and we are utterly unaware?  This is the same military we trust our children’s lives to?

This is the same military that spent a 9 years hunting for Osama bin Laden, knowing he was dead, hundreds of millions of dollars, endless lives lost, all over a lie.  Keeping bin Laden’s death secret is a deception not unlike the phony Yemen bomb scare and the “crotch bomber” last Christmas, “third rate boogeyman” ploys to justify wasted money and airport passenger abuse.

This is the same military that killed 5000 Americans in Iraq over more lies, always known to be lies.  Behind the flag waving and patriotic blithering is a pack of greedy incompetents, many religious extremists, most up to their necks in right wing politics and too many willing to send us to war for their own personal reasons.  A patriot wouldn’t last 5 minutes in Americas military.

They would tear the place down around them, screaming “thieves, liars and cowards” as they did it.  This, however, this last insult, is just too much.   The America people expected a decent lie.  It is now nearly 10 days later and the military believes they can simply put their pointy little heads in the sand and the rest of us can go to hell?  Not hardly!

Laid bare is the level of post Cold War leadership in the Pentagon, accustomed to wasting money,  fabricating war news and trying to lie their way to empty victory in wars without plan or purpose, long proven unwinable.


Wayne Madsen, says the missile was fired from a Chinese submarine.  Madsen has a fairly good track record on such things.  There are 5 nations, all permanent members of the UN Security Council, that have such capabilities.  (India soon)  Madsen’s claim that China launched the missile just prior to announcing the lowering of America’s credit rating from A+ to AA, just above “junk bonds” is part of the story and certainly explains the timing.  America’s ability to play world bully with someone else’s money is at an end.

However, it is more than economics, the move by the Federal Reserve to buy up its own debt, a shady currency manipulation aimed at China, or the push to continue the Bush era “free ride” tax breaks, all make America an unreliable investment.  There are 5000 criminals in Wall Street that, if they lived in China, would have gotten a bullet in the brain.  In stead, America gave them 2 trillion dollars in borrowed from China and jailed poor old Bernie Madoff.  There are other reasons for China to mistrust America, a nation they clearly see as under the control of gangsters and extremists.

Thus the warning.


There is only one reason that the United States didn’t announce the usual “weather balloon” or “box cutters” cover stories.  It means that the nation responsible, assuming it is China, warned us that they would go public and that the American military had to live with the humiliation as a punishment.

There is no other explanation.  There also is no other “suspect” than China, who has the interests in the Pacific region, the technical capability and the complex “love-hate” relationship with the United States.  China finances Americas debt, they are our largest trading partner, certainly our primary business partner in the world today in every way and are still continually presented to the American people as an enemy.  Our homes are filled with Chinese products, without China, our local Walmarts would stand empty.

Assuming China, and without a denial from the Pentagon, we must assume China, what could the United States have done to push them this far?  Is China telling the United States that we are ‘mad dogs’ ready to be “put down?”


America’s ignorance of history will continue to assure that America remains a victim of history’s lessons.  China forgets nothing.

The Opium Wars of the 19th century were an announcement to the world that China was open for business, not trade, certainly not development but for crime and exploitation at the hands of the colonial powers of Europe, Russia and Japan.  Over the next half decade, culminating in the Boxer Rebellion, China was carved up, piece at a time, humiliated and crushed.  Nobody stood up for China, nobody but the United States.  American missionaries were in every region of China, running schools, orphanages and earning the trust and affection of the Chinese people.  It is one of those bright spots in American history.

McKinley’s Secretary of State, John Hay sided with China against the ravages of the colonial powers with his Open Door circulars.  America’s policy toward China was one of open and free trade, something impossible under the system of “treaty ports” and “extrality” being used to subjugate China into a checkerboard of “interest zones.”

China learned to hate the west but not America.  American’s were raised on the books of Pearl Buck who presented the countless generations of suffering and perseverance of the Chinese people in an idyllic manner.  These were the books I read as a child, before that, read by my mother, who grew up with them in a coal mining camp in Kentucky.  Millions of Americans knew more of China than they did their own country, felt a bond, a kinship and a partnership of spirit.

With the Japanese invasion and its endless atrocities America was divided on China.  Franklin Roosevelt and the majority of the American people sided with China.  Wall Street and the oil companies sided with Japan and kept sending oil, scrap metal and other vital resources which allowed Japan to build a military machine to control, not only China but huge portions of the Pacific as well.  This would lead to period of unpleasantness between Japan and the United States culminating with the incineration of most of Japan’s cities.

Every child in China is taught about the AVG, the American Volunteer Group, the “Flying Tigers.”  American pilots, under the leadership of General Claire Lee Chennault, provided the only resistance to Japanese bombing attacks on Chinese cities.  To the Chinese, Americans are heroes who stood by China during its darkest hour.  Ask any American who travels to China.

Describing the tumultuous period of Chinese history during the 20s and 30s is a task best left elsewhere.  Suffice it to say, the struggle between the Nationalists under Chiang kai-shek  and the communist forces under Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai are filled with twists and turns.  During the 1920s, they were forced to worked together for awhile but Chiang turned on the communists who escaped his trap in what is now called “the Long March.”  Later, when America entered the war, the Nationalists and communists joined forces under the supervision of American General Joseph Stillwell.

It is noted that the communists under Mao made far better allies than Chiang’s nationalists.  A recommended read on this is Edgar Snow’s Red Star Over China.

With the advent of the Cold War and American misconceptions about the nature of Soviet and Chinese communism, America chose the disastrous policy of supporting the hopeless Nationalist cause and, eventually, direct military confrontation with a fully communist China during the Korean war.  China could just as easily have been an American ally against the Soviets, even with its communist government, if it weren’t for the McCarthy witch hunt and the leadership failures of the Truman administration, some being deeply paralleled by President Obama today.

China had never been America’s enemy.  It took “ping pong diplomacy” and Richard Nixon to restore balance and sanity to American policy after decades of childish blithering about the menace of “Red China,” an imaginary threat, being continually harped on by neo-cons even today, whenever the public tires of the fictions about Islamic extremism.

Today, China’s friendship for America is all that is keeping the United States afloat.


China, once a country where, in famine years, baby girls were abandoned in fields to die, is now the richest country in the world.  Where millions had starved each year, Chinese tourists can now be seen anywhere in the world.  Their progress is a marvel and one of the greatest success stories in the history of mankind.  China’s government is a hybrid of privatization and communism, ruled by a “technocracy” that manages the economy and maintains an unaligned position in world affairs.

China’s policies are based on both security of its borders and people and the assurance of access to natural resources, oil and minerals in particular, without which China’s “bubble” might well burst.

America, on the other hand, seems to be moving backward, hopelessly in debt, continually embroiled in military adventures and clearly a failed democracy at home, moving inexorably toward totalitarianism and extremism.  Sound far fetched?  This is how the world sees America, not just the Islamic world but Canada, Britain, Western Europe and Russia.  The question now, does China see America as a threat, a “rabid dog?”  Are America’s adventures in the Middle East and South Asia, which have killed hundreds of thousands, maybe more, a threat to China?


China and the world have seen Iraq and Afghanistan destroyed.  They are watching Pakistan be destroyed by an American policy that can have no purpose other than to see Pakistan dismembered and crushed.  America’s covert war against Pakistan, a nation that has been an American ally since its inception, is a senseless policy.  Now, with the “sea change” toward increased Israeli influence in America’s government, the onset of the new extremist “Tea Party” wing of “Israeli firsters,” an attack on Iran, one of China’s closest allies and largest suppliers of crude oil, is expected at any time.

China has no doubts that America, as it is currently “misgoverned,” stands ready to do anything as a pretense for war even though its last two military adventures are both “unresolved,” a generous term for “failed.”

It is also clear to China and others that America’s ruling cabal, calling it a government is a certain misnomer, no longer functions in the national interest.  If the Chinese missile launch, providing it was the Chinese, was a warning of something, it was a warning based on this knowledge.

“If America can’t be trusted to take care of its own people and exercise its position as world superpower with sensibility and restraint, “there’s a new sheriff in town.”




November 17, 2010

by Eric L. Wattree  


The Conservative Corruption of Progressive Thought (Reprise)


As one who has always tried, with varying success, to be progressive in my thinking, I’d like to make a few personal observations on the contemporary progressive movement. I want to preface my remarks, however, with the assurance that I have long since recognized that I corner the market on neither knowledge, wisdom, nor intellect, but I’d like to share my thoughts nevertheless – not as a condescending edict handed down by a self-appointed pundit, but in the hope that the thoughts of an average man with common facility are worthy of public discussion.

It is my firm belief that the appropriate attitude for a progressive to bring to every discussion is a firmness of thought and an open mind to divergent ideas. A progressive, by definition, should have the intellectual capacity to recognize that one can neither scream, nor insult, one’s way to a solution to any problem. And what should always set a progressive apart from all others is an affinity for humanity, independence of thought, and a fierce determination to remain a seeker of truth above all else, regardless to where that truth may lead.

But those values no longer seem to be the case among many who define themselves as progressives today. Many contemporary ‘progressives’ tend to possess the very same rigidity of thought, and meanspirited, knee-jerk adherence to ideology that the progressive movement was created to combat. The response that many of these people bring to even the slightest divergence from their rigid ideological beliefs can only be described as one of radical reactionism.

That concerns me greatly, because while conservatives and today’s so-called progressives remain completely divergent in their views toward governance, in terms of intellectual disposition they’ve become different sides of the same coin. I’ve often heard it stated that the regimented intolerance of reactionary conservatism is reminiscent of Nazi Germany. That may, or may not be true. But if it is, it must also be acknowledged that the intolerant regimentation of many contemporary radical ‘progressives’ represent the USSR at best.

Many modern progressives have allowed themselves to become infected with the exact same kind of intellectual rigidity that we previously associated with the radical conservative mindset. In fact, many who define themselves as progress today could very accurately be called latter-day conservatives. They have a slightly updated set of values, but their rigidity and rabid defense of those values will surely morph into the closed-minded conservatism of tomorrow.

That’s the primary reason that the conservatives’ reckless campaign of rampant disinformation is winning the battle over reasoned and logical thought. So many contemporary progressives have taken on the conservative mindset of anger before contemplation, and reaction over reason, that there’s no one left who’s actually thinking. Everyone is simply reacting through anger, ignorance, and disinformation. That’s an environment in which the Republican Party thrives, since as any thinking person would know, radical conservatism is reactionary by definition.

Progressives cannot out-scream the Republican Party, and we shouldn’t try. The disinformation that’s currently being disseminated by the GOP must be met with facts, a well thought-out plan of action, integrity, and character.

The American people are not stupid. They desperately want these qualities in their governance, but the current progressive movement is not giving them a viable alternative. Regardless to what our intent, we’re acting with just as much thoughtless anger and reckless abandon as the Republican Party.

The problem is, we have not coalesced into a solid front with a clear and viable agenda. We’ve divided ourselves into so many factions with so many different agendas that the people no longer know what we represent. And the reason for that is that too many of us really don’t know what it means to be progressives ourselves.

Too many of us fail to understand that the primary goal of the progressive movement is to create a viable democracy that serve, respect, and honor ALL of the people. But due to the destruction of our educational system, the corrupting influence of Republican governance over the past twenty years, and an irresponsible media, our ideals and what we represent as a people is only a rumor up for debate for an entire generation of Americans.

But what’s worse, and the subject of this contemplation, is the above is also true of young people of the left who consider themselves progressives. The fact is, while they know that their political orientation is liberal, what they don’t know is there’s a vast difference between being simply liberal, and being a progressive. As a result, many of these young people approach our democracy like it’s a sporting event – our team against their team. Period.

What they fail to realize is that the progressive movement is much more than just a synonym for left-wing liberalism. Progressives have also served as America’s philosophers, intellectuals, and conscience. Thus, true progressives don’t see conservatives as the enemy. They understand that both liberals, and conservatives, play an important role in our society. They recognize that both are necessary in order to maintain a balanced America. And they clearly understand that while there’s a burning need for a Martin Luther King to remind America of its humanity, there is also a need for a Gen. MacArthur to ensure our security.

Thus, the progressive movement is not so much a political ideology as it is a philosophical attitude towards human behavior. A true progressive, as oppose to an ideologue of any stripe, will always give truth, logical thought, and the interest of humanity priority over ideology. And regardless to how much he or she may admire any politician, he will always hold that politician accountable for truth, justice, and his fidelity to mankind.

I can cite an example of that in my personal life. I’m a huge supporter of President Obama because I agree with more of his positions on public policy than I do with the Republicans. But I have both friends, and family, who go absolutely crazy on those occasions when I write a column critical of him when I disagree with something that he does, or something that he fails to do. They take the position that I’m only serving to help the Republican Party drag him down.

I take the position, as both a journalist, and a progressive, that while I support Obama, it is not my job to censor information when in my opinion he’s taken a position that’s not in the best interest of the people (failing to follow the rule of law regarding the atrocities of war committed by the Bush Administration, for example). Neither is it my job to protect Obama’s presidency. It is Obama’s job to protect his presidency, by making the right decisions in office.

Barack Obama is a politician, and a democracy can only remain viable by holding EVERY politician’s feet to the fire. So it doesn’t matter how I feel about him personally, as a journalist, and as a progressive, all I’m concerned with is what he does to, or for the people.

In my opinion, that’s what it means to be a progressive, and I find it extremely disheartening to watch the corruption of such an essential component of our political environment. What’s even more disheartening, however, is the impact that it’s loss is sure to have on American life. With the demise of a vigorous and thriving progressive movement America is becoming a place where power and political ideology takes precedence over justice and the welfare of humanity, and that’s a scenario that can only lead to our ultimate destruction.

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It’s not that I hate everyone who doesn’t look, think, and act like me – it’s just that God does.


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