Archive | November 22nd, 2010



Video: Bombs, Body Scans and Israel!



New Video is:  Bombs, Body scans, and Israel !


This video focuses on the new airport body scans and the loss of rights and and invasion of privacy — all because of the Zionist domination of our government and foreign policy.

As seen by the airport scans and body searches, Americans face more loss of rights and a draconian invasion of privacy from the Zionist dominated government. Sooner or later Americans need to wake up to the real cost of supporting the criminal state of Israel.

Terrorism, loss of rights, economic destruction and loss, and don’t forget: wars, lots of bloody, costly wars…for Israel not America!

911, Afghanistan, Iraq, how many trillions of dollars, how many lost lives, how much hate have they sewn across the fabric of the earth?

Down with Zionism!

This video is about the new body scans and full body searches you may now be required to go through to simply take a flight! This video adds a new commentary from me plus the  Shoe Bombs, Crotch Bombs, 911 and Israel– original video–  to make a powerful presentation on how Zionism is the world’s biggest problem!

Posted in USAComments Off on BOMBS, BODY SCANS & ZIONISM



November 21, 2010

by Debbie Menon  


By Jeff Stein / Spy Talk

The latest episode of the AIPAC spy scandal turned sordid last week, with the pro-Israeli lobby releasing its deposition of fired official Steven J. Rosen in which he confesses he engaged in extra-marital sex and watched pornography on his office computer.

But largely buried beneath such tawdry details was an admission arguably far more damaging to Rosen’s drive to prove the organization ruined his professional life: that major Jewish donors supported him with hundreds of thousands of dollars during the four years after his dismissal in May 2005.

Haim Saban – The Forbes 400 Richest Americans 2009 –


Lawyers for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, argue that such financial support, as well as continuing references to Rosen as an influential figure in Middle East policy circles, shows that his firing hasn’t materially affected his life. Indeed, many of the dozen benefactors Rosen named, including entertainment mogul Haim Saban and Slim-Fast billionaire Daniel Abraham, are also major donors to AIPAC, which fired him after the Justice Department charged him with illegally giving classified information to Washington Post reporter Glenn Kessler and an Israeli Embassy official.

Daniel Abraham – The World’s Billionaires 2009 –


During his Sept. 22 deposition, AIPAC’s lawyer alleged that Rosen had received “over $1 million in gifts or severance or payments of benefits between ’05 and ’09.” Rosen detailed gifts that amounted to $670,000.

One philanthropist “bundled” about $200,000 for him, Rosen said. Saban gave $100,000 to him, his wife and children. Another supporter, philanthropist Lynn Schusterman, paid off Rosen’s daughter’s $18,000 college loan, he said. In all, about a dozen supporters gave him $670,000, according to his testimony, which AIPAC released last week.

The payments stopped in 2009, Rosen says, when the government dropped its case against him and another AIPAC official, saying it couldn’t make an espionage case against them.

During its deposition of Rosen, AIPAC’s lawyer Thomas L. McCally clearly tried to make his confessions of pornography and philandering the central issues in his dismissal. Rosen shot back that he had “witnessed” AIPAC’s executive director Howard Kohr “view… pornographic images on AIPAC computers,” as well as “his secretary do it repeatedly, and call people over to see it, including Howard Kohr.” He said he “witnessed other members of staff do it,” too.

Kohr did not respond to a request for comment on Rosen’s pornography allegation. AIPAC spokesman Patrick Dorton declined to comment on that allegation but said his suit had no merit.

Rosen portrays the pornography issue as a red herring, contending that government attorneys stampeded the organization into firing him by playing its officials a selectively edited portion of a wiretapped conversation that made him look like he knew he was illegally trafficking in classified Pentagon documents.

Within hours, the organization announced it was firing Rosen because such alleged behavior “did not comport with standards that AIPAC expects of its employees.”

Rosen says his actions were common practice at the organization. He said his next move is to show that AIPAC, Washington’s major pro-Israeli lobbying group by far, regularly traffics in sensitive U.S. government information, especially material related to the Middle East.

“I will introduce documentary evidence that AIPAC approved of the receipt of classified information,” he said by e-mail. “Most instances of actual receipt are hard to document, because orally received information rarely comes with classified stamps on it nor records alerts that the information is classified.”

But Rosen said he would produce “statements of AIPAC employees to the FBI, internal documents, deposition statements, public statements and other evidence showing that [the] receipt of classified information by employees other than [himself] … was condoned … for months prior to being condemned in March 2005 after threats from the prosecutors.”

AIPAC, he said, “will make denials. The jury will have to decide who is telling the truth — I am.”



SpyTalk columnist Jeff Stein is a longtime investigative reporter specializing in U.S. intelligence, defense and foreign policy issues. An Army Intelligence case officer in Vietnam, Stein has authored three highly regarded books and has been a frequent contributor to periodicals ranging from Esquire,Vanity Fair, GQ and Playboy to The New Republic, The Nation and The Christian Science Monitor. He also appears frequently on television and radio as an analyst on national security issues.





November 21, 2010

by Gordon Duff




By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

What if efforts to stem Antisemitism actually were the primary cause of Antisemitism, a “self fulfilling prophesy” as it were?  Or, worse yet, what if selling the idea of threat, the same way the Bush administration sold the war on terror to bankrupt the United States and gut its democratic freedoms, was used by self aggrandizing manipulators to exploit and terrorize Jews in America, Canada, AnZac, Western Europe and Israel for the same reasons? 

These are the concepts we are going to be discussing.  With childish and even violent rhetoric abounding, idiotic statements continually flowing from the mouths of those who know better, a return to some aspect of honesty and reality is the only way to restore balance.

There simply can’t be any more wild talk, Nazi’s everywhere, holocaust deniers, Iran planning to wipe out Jews or similar.

Every time a Jew hears talk about the holocaust being an “industry” there are feelings of anger and revulsion.  Why are these things being said by non-Jews when these are really purely Jewish issues, issues that effect Jewish life and the future of Jews in the world?  Were Jews, themselves, free to debate their own fate, their own political direction and their own future, instead of being subject to threats, intimidation and brutality, the voices from Iran or the “revisionists” would be a joke.

Killing honest debate among Jews, throwing around terms like “self hating” is Fascism in its purest form.  Killing honest debate is the biggest threat Jews face today.

Iran has held conferences, idiotic laws have been passed, Canada, Europe, which restrict debate and the dozens of Zionist groups in the US drumbeat continually about the threat to Israel and Jews worldwide.  The threats aren’t real, military reality makes that clear, but the moral high ground has been sacrificed and nothing should be more embarrassing to Israel than this.

Thus, we have a debate based on name calling, threats, phony bin Laden tapes, scare tactics and outright lies coming, not from one side, but from all sides.

All of this is without substance and validity, all a game, tools for con men to scare Jews into joining reprehensible right wing, and frankly very much Nazi political movements, as has been done in the US and Israel with the Likud thugs.  How could any sane Jew follow these knuckle dragging morons?

There are two real areas of contention, geographically, Israel and the United States.  There are real things Jews can do in each nation, using their influence, not inconsiderable by any means.  First and foremost is to forward human aims, the things any righteous and decent person strives for, and Jews are obligated to be exactly that.  Instead, lies, propaganda and scare tactics have turned Jews, many, not all, into angry and fearful people who live in societies where they are both welcomed, certainly very secure and extremely successful.

The behaviors, the perceptions caused by anger, caused by defensiveness and the poorly considered aggressive and extremist behaviors that have resulted from Jewish leadership falling subject to total idiots is going to do one thing, undo 50 years of progress.  Jews are totally accepted in America, even without the “ham handed” (excuse the Kosher pun) press and media manipulation.  Jews were marginalized in America, clearly discriminated against and that history must be taught and this lesson must be remembered.

It is true.  Truth is everything.

Truth now tells us that Jews are accepted, respected and very “mainstream” in America, despite fringe neo-Nazi groups that almost all Americans revile.  The danger has been, not a revival of Antisemitism, but a revival of Zionism, fueled by the worst type of people, Christian extremists, America’s ignorant and racist elements, now being politically exploited, not to make Israel “safe” but to build a political block tied to building a totalitarian society that favors and protects the rich.  Jews have been exploited to become part of this reprehensible movement, some joining forces with the worst elements of American society, elements that, two generations ago, would have run gas chambers here gladly.

This is terrible judgement.  When the most debased elements of American society are elevated under the guise of “neo-conservatism,” a thinly veiled ploy to bring to power a group of families whose history is clearly intertwined with that of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, and Jews in America are misled and frightened into self destructive stupidity, expect the worst.

The only real enemy Jews in America can have are themselves.  When Netanyahu tells us how easily America can be “moved,” what he isn’t saying is how the moving is backward.  I don’t believe he wishes to build an Antisemitic America that will force the 14 million Jews here to flee to the Middle East.  Are there that many Jews in America?  Sure there are and so what?

Ignoring the history of Zionist plots is also a form of denial that is inexcusable.  Jews are no longer taught that synagogues were burned by fellow Jews to encourage immigration to Israel or that, often as not, when a swastika is painted somewhere, a Jew is responsible.  The excuse given?  These are done to unite Jews, increase awareness and to strengthen Israel.  These tactics would be correct and may, at one time have been but today?

Today Jews are played for chumps.

In the Middle East, everything is lies.  Israel is in no danger.  We have two issues.

  1. Israel is manipulating the United States to support territorial ambitions, eliminate commercial competition and neuter potential military threats.  However, the damage this policy has done to the United States may eventually destroy Israel.  I am not going to take the time here to explain the events being foreshadowed but I believe any intelligent person can see the risks and see how they are a probability not a possibility.
  2. Israel is being manipulated by oil and defense industries and the drug cartels.  Many Israeli’s are taking part, in defense and oil these are or could be honest commercial endeavors but some clearly are not.  Who is driving what?  We can’t tell without delving into conspiracy theory but we can see the evidence of a conspiracy.  Entropy.


Behind all of this is an abuse of reason, a descent into barbarity, racism, ethnic cleansing, new holocausts with Israel itself complicit, defending its actions with thinly veiled lies, depending on new generations of Jews to be social misfits, weaklings, ignorant, immoral and undiscerning.

This is honesty, spoken from the heart.

Is this the kind of generations to build a society and culture from?

Posted in PoliticsComments Off on HOW ANTI-SEMITISM CONS THE JEW



November 21, 2010

by Gordon Duff






Ed: The worldwide popularity of Tony Lawson’s videos has done more to help American veterans and military understand the real issues that confront them and the very real moral failures that have brought America to its dire position in the world.  As with Vietnam, there have been no parades, no victory, only the dead, the wounded and the damaged, already, not only forgotten but cast aside and turned away as so many had predicted long ago when American entered this path in 2001.

The only thing left, the only thing that is real is truth.  We have had enough lies, enough coddling, enough manipulation and disinformation.  The truth may not set us free, only courage can do that, but it is a start.

YouTube – Veterans Today –






Operation Cast Lead  December 27, 2008 (2008-12-27) – January 18, 2009

Operation Cast Lead




1,166 and 1,417 Palestinian and 13 Israeli deaths.

During the operation Cast Lead United Nations schools were attacked, hospitals and many houses and other civilian buildings were destroyed. Israel used White Phosphorus during the operation. Israel admits to the use of white phosphorus but asserts that Phosphorus was used legally.


A West Midlands restaurateur lost thirteen members of her family during the Operation Cast Lead. Yet today at the city’s University we have a person speaking in defence of those who executed these crimes against a part of our humanity.


The Israeli Human Rights Organisation, B’Tselem wrote “the extremely heavy civilian casualties and the massive damage to civilian property require serious introspection on the part of Israeli society.”


We need to do everything possible to ensure that those responsible for violation of international should be brought to justice.


What can you do:


  1. Write to your MP to demand that Britain raises the Goldstone report at the United Nations and gets its recommendations implemented.

  2. Ensure you become part of the campaign to boycott Israel as consumer.

  3. Join the Palestine Solidarity campaign to highlight the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

  4. Some of the multinationals are assisting Israel in their illegal construction of settlements in occupied Palestine. Some of our public bodies have contracts with these companies. In particular, most of our councils, including Birmingham Council, uses Veolia for waste management. Write to your councillors why this is happening.

  5. Visit our website for more details on the various things you can do to assist the Palestinians and bring peace to the region


As citizens of this city we are appalled that the University has allowed its premises to be used for the purpose of the defence of war crimes in our times.


Some facts about Gaza that contradict Colonel Kemp’s assertion that Israel did everything to protect the civilian population of Gaza during its Cast Lead operation.


  1. Gaza is one of the most densely populated place on earth with over 1.5 million people living in a area no larger 360 sq Km  – as a comparison Metropolitan Birmingham with 600 sq Km has a population of 2.2 million.

  2. One million of the 1.5 million Gazans are refugees from areas of Palestine that now constitute Israel.

  3. According to B’Tselem, the Israelis killed 1397 Palestinians, 345 of these were minors, 110 were women and 117 were men over the age of 50.

  4. Over 70% of Gazans live below the poverty line.

  5. IDF’s own enquiry admits that the UN Building was bombed, two  UN vehicle was attacked. The IDF also admits attacking a child and mother clinic.

  6. IDF report admits to using Phosphorus at least until the 7th Januarry 2009. for details of the statistics check the website


  1. A member of the West Midland Palestinian community lost 15 members of her extended family during operation cast lead.

  2. According to the Goldstone report IDF used Human Shields in violation of an earlier


Colonel Kemp claims that Israel, defence forces did everything to protect civilian life while bombing Gaza. Facts tell a very different story.  Following are some of the key findings of the Goldstone report:


  1. That the IDF caused civilian casualties when attacking the UNRWA building.

  2. The IDF attacked Al-Quds hospital and used Phosphorus shells against the hospital. In particular the attack led to the death of a young girl only eight years old.

  3. The report finds the IDF in contravention of international law in not safeguarding the civilians when attacking targets.

  4. The report finds the IDF  of wilful killings causing great suffering to protected persons and such give rise to individual criminal responsibility.


Those who defend Israel’s illegal occupation, like Colonel Kemp, its illegal behavior and its continued violation of international law are only prolonging the suffering of the part of our humanity. We need to accept the findings of the Goldstone report and ensure the implement it recommends to bring about peace.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on OPERATION CAST LEAD OR NAZI HOLOCAUST



By Bill Hare


Many Bush critics make the mistake of underestimating him.  This is one area where he has surprised with his ability to take a presumably bottomed out status and bottom it some more.

Bush’s latest return with the same brash cockiness that has been a staple item recalls the words of a professor of his at Harvard, where he pursued a master of business administration degree.  

What the professor found in Bush’s behavior, which included coming to class equipped with chewing tobacco and spitting pieces of it into a cup, was not so much a fundamental deficiency of intelligence but a glaring absence of parental development.

His father, George H.W. Bush, was criticized for a spoiled patrician’s manner.  Critics said that he resembled someone who had been born on third base and was convinced that he had hit a triple.

George W. Bush has checkmated his father in that category.  The younger Bush resembles someone who had been born at home plate and is convinced that he circled the bases so often that he shattered all previous home run records.

His arrogance in putting a deceptive spin on his presidential record was almost equaled by his brashness at hawking his book.  His frequently repeated mantra when interviewer Matt Lauer of NBC would quote a critic was not to state disagreement so much as to say, “Let him buy the book.”

Bush has put a newer spin on the war he started in Iraq, which after numerous modifications had shifted from protecting ourselves from the impending “mushroom cloud” that Condoleezza Rice described resulting from Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” to “We overthrew a bad man!”

Bush offered another explanation to Lauer.  Since Iraqi scientists had the chemical components that comprise nuclear weapons it was essential to stop Saddam Hussein before he could unleash them on America.

Scientist A possesses certain chemical components in his laboratory.  He  might therefore at some point in the future use them to make deliverable nuclear weapons that could incinerate the world.

This is an argument comparable to justification for Reagan’s invasion of Grenada.  Cuban construction workers were helping to build an airport.  In the future could that airport not be used to launch airplanes that could launch a nuclear attack on America?

After clearing up the weapons of mass destruction issue, Bush went on to quickly dispose of the outing of CIA weapons intelligence specialist Valerie Plame as an angry neocon reprisal against her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, launched by stalwarts Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and Robert Novak.  Outed CIA specialists had been killed in the past.  

To Bush the Valerie Plame incident was no more than a misunderstanding.  While he resisted Cheney’s effort to have him pardon Libby, there were no hard feelings in the final analysis.  

He called Cheney a “good soldier,” the same person who maximized his college deferments and finally impregnated his wife to avoid serving a cause in Vietnam that he verbally championed.  Then again, Bush’s powerful father got him a coveted post in the Texas National Guard, from which he eventually bolted.

The most interesting and in many ways the most revealing expression of Bush’s hubris was his disclosure of what he viewed as the “worst moment” of his presidency.  It occurred when African American rapper, singer, and record producer Kanye West called him a racist for perceived indifference to Hurricane Katrina.

Here was someone who launched the Iraq War and, at the time the first bombs were falling on Baghdad, pumped a clenched fist into the air and exclaimed, “Feels good!”

Bush was also in office when 9/11 occurred, resulting in tragic loss of American life.  He could justify repeated violations of civil liberties at home and flouting of laws abroad through waterboarding and rendition by citing the tragedies of 9/11, but at the end of the day an inarticulate and brash rapper’s accusation represented the worst moment of his eight years in the Oval Office.

Winston Churchill was Britain’s prime minister during World War Two.  He personally witnessed wholesale destruction of the land he loved and was a major architect of war strategy in a conflict that resulted in an estimated 50 million deaths.

Could anyone imagine Churchill, after his days as prime minister had ended, telling an interviewer that the worst moments of his premiership were the names that his bitter enemy Lady Astor called him?

The irony is that West reveals the same kind of inarticulate brashness of a spoiled child that typifies Bush.  West revealed himself by seizing a microphone from Taylor Swift.  Bush flouted debate rules in 2004 against John Kerry and disregarded moderator Charlie Gibson’s attempt to achieve order as he launched an angry tirade.

There was another African American that Bush did not mention.  He was the crushed father who faced the camera after his son became one of the first death casualties of the Iraq War and powerfully exclaimed:

“You took the only son I had, President Bush!”




Please read.  This is not the worst that I have heard, but it is bad enough, and will give you some tiny inkling of what it is like to be a Palestinian family living under Israel’s thumb.



The reunification of my parents


by Linah Alsaafin on November 5, 2010  


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


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


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


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


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


Waiting wasn’t easy. I had to deal with my parents’ unwanted and forced separation, and watched as my mother lost weight and woke up every day with puffy eyes. We’ve had skyping sessions with my father, which was such a bittersweet experience. My father had to go through his life without his wife or children with him, and sometimes this despairing emotion overwhelmed him. Of course we all kept in regular touch with each other-technology is beautiful in that way.


I’ll never forget how we both broke down one time over the phone after I confessed that the only reason I was going through with university was because I knew how much joy and pride it would bring to him when I’d graduate, and how now it wouldn’t even matter because he wouldn’t be at my graduation. I felt like a kid with divorced parents, “Ok are you going to spend Eid with Baba or here?” It wasn’t fair to leave my mother all alone on holidays, and it wasn’t fair for my father to be all alone either. I hated it. I hated the law enforcers of Israel so much. I hated the collaborative PA regime, I hated the Zionists, I hated being torn apart in my mind, I hated how after living in England and the UAE and the USA , coming back to our homeland eventually was what resulted in our bleak estrangement.


My mother signed up for consecutive months in a gym and in a way, that was her catharsis. Every week she’d call Gisha to see where their progress was heading, and every single time she received the same answer: In a couple more weeks we’ll know for sure, next month, give it one more week, and another. Summer arrived, and with it more arising uncertainties. My father was having a really tough time coping by himself, and wanted us with him, permanently. My frustration grew. Transferring to another university that would post pone my graduation by up to two semesters?


Pulling my sister out of her high school in her senior year to a different one? All of this, in our least favorite city in the world, Amman ? It was too much. Selfishness wasn’t what I was going through, I managed to convince myself. I just couldn’t live in Amman . It’s another thing I hate. Then one day, we got into contact with a lawyer. This lawyer said that in exactly a month, give or take a week, he’ll have my mother’s correct West Bank ID with him. We were tentative. But a given timeline was better than a forever extended one. My mother chose to go with the lawyer, and suspended talks with Gisha.


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


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


She called my dad and asked him what he wanted from here, and she bought three kilos worth of roasted nuts. I watched as those bags went into the suitcase, then out again a few weeks later. Then some hack from the PA’s Ministry of Interior called to say that there was nothing they could do from their side to change the Gaza ID into a West Bank one. I couldn’t understand where my mother’s optimism was coming from.


Two weeks later, we finally received the long awaited news. The coordination paper was out, and the Israeli military finally, belatedly admitted that they made a mistake in her address in her ID. They issued a permit that would now make it ‘legal’ for her to live in the West Bank , for six months. During that time, her correct ID should hopefully be given to her.They would correct, and this is important-correct not change-the address from Gaza to the West Bank . Now we could all see my father and brother (when he manages to get a few days off from work) in Amman , back and forth, on holidays, occasions, whenever we want.


The green suitcase now included fresh roasted nuts and my father’s books for his research work. My mother busied herself at a salon, and came back with a new hairstyle, eye liner, and a smile that was beautiful and young in nature. A year and 3 months apart, reunited again tonight.


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


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


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


Justice for Palestine .


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


Posted in Middle EastComments Off on LIVING UNDER ZIO=NAZI THUMB



Just 4 items this evening, since 2 are fairly long. 

Item 1 informs us  that “Over the past three years, the State Department has allocated $392 million to the Dayton mission, with another $150 million requested for 2011.13”—the Dayton mission being to build and train the Palestinian security forces.  Why, one wonders, does America with its own serious economic issues continue to sink so much money into producing more military and force in this blood-soaked region. 

And, Ethan Bronner in item 2, Why America Chases an Israeli-Palestinian Peace, quotes a top Israeli intelligence official who says that without peace the Palestinian security system might not remain what it is being trained to be.  Is it the purpose of the U.S. to stir more wars here, with an Israeli army facing a Palestinian one?

Item 3 relates that education in Israel is so poor due in part to classes of 40 youngsters that students whose families can pay the price send their children to private tutors, sometimes with the recommendations of their school teachers.  Where does this leave those who cannot afford to pay for private lessons?  Right.  At the bottom of the barrel.

Item 4 informs us that Jerusalem’s mayor does not obey the law.  And does anyone do anything about it?  Not at all.  The argument that it is right to demolish Palestinian homes because they were built without permits doesn’t  hold, because Israel seldom gives Palestinians permits to build at all.

Good reading,



[Forwarded by David McReynolds]

The New York Review of Books


Our Man in Palestine

By Nathan Thrall


Lieutenant General Keith Dayton (right), the US security coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with Brigadier General Munir al-Zoubi, commander of the Palestinian Presidential Guard, the elite force that protects top officials and guests,


On August 31, the night before President Obama’s dinner inaugurating direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Hamas gunmen shot and killed four Jewish settlers in Hebron, the West Bank’s largest and most populous governorate. The attack—the deadliest against Israeli citizens in more than two years—was condemned by Palestinian and Israeli officials, who said that it was meant to thwart the upcoming negotiations. According to a Hamas spokesman, however, the shooting had a more specific purpose: to demonstrate the futility of the recent cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces. This cooperation has reached unprecedented levels under the quiet direction of a three-star US Army general, Keith Dayton, who has been commanding a little-publicized American mission to build up Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.1


Referred to by Hamas as “the Dayton forces,” the Palestinian security services are formally under the authority of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and chairman of Hamas’s rival, Fatah; but they are, in practice, controlled by Salam Fayyad, the unelected prime minister, a diminutive, mild-mannered technocrat. Abbas appointed Fayyad following Hamas’s grim takeover of Gaza in June 2007—which occurred seventeen months after the Islamist party won the January 2006 parliamentary elections—and entrusted him with preventing Hamas from also seizing the West Bank.


Fayyad received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin and held positions at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the World Bank, and the IMF before becoming finance minister under President Yasser Arafat. His reputation as a fiscally responsible and trustworthy manager ensures the steady supply of international aid on which the Palestinian economy depends. Though he has neither a popular following nor backing from a large political party (his Third Way list received a mere 2.4 percent of the votes in the 2006 legislative elections), today he is responsible for nearly every aspect of Palestinian governance. Yet he is not participating in the negotiations over a settlement with Israel, which are the province of the PLO (of whose leadership Fayyad is not a member) and are handled by its chairman, the seventy-five-year-old Abbas.


Fayyad is criticized at home for many of the same reasons he is lauded abroad. He has condemned violence against Israel as antithetical to his people’s national aspirations, stated that Palestinian refugees could be resettled not in Israel but in a future Palestinian state, and suggested that this state would offer citizenship to Jews.2 He is praised in the opinion pages of The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, and has good relations with foreign leaders unpopular in Palestine: on Fayyad’s first visit to the Oval Office, in 2003, George W. Bush greeted him with index and pinky fingers extended to display UT Austin’s “Hook ‘em Horns” sign. When the daughter of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s chief of staff was married several years ago, Fayyad sat next to Sharon at the wedding and talked with him at length.3



In February, Fayyad spoke before Israel’s security establishment at the annual Herzliya Conference, where he was compared by Israeli President Shimon Peres to David Ben-Gurion.4 Much of Fayyad’s speech concerned his ambitious plan, made public in late August 2009, to establish unilaterally a de facto Palestinian state by August 2011. By that time, according to Fayyad, “the reality of [a Palestinian] state will impose itself on the world.”5 Fayyad’s plan to “build” a state—he does not say he will declare one—has been endorsed by the Quartet (the US, EU, UN, and Russian Federation) and supported eagerly by international donors.


Some Palestinians have rejected it as too closely resembling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s notion of “economic peace,” which proposes that development precede independence. And a number of Israelis have expressed suspicions that Palestine will seek UN recognition of its statehood when the plan is complete. Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister, has warned that any unilateral steps Fayyad takes toward a state could prompt Israel to annul past agreements and annex parts of the West Bank.6


Fayyad has said that his plan to build a new state “is intended to generate pressure” on Israeli–Palestinian negotiations, and the direct talks recently started by the two parties have a late summer 2011 deadline that coincides with Fayyad’s.7 Mike Herzog, former chief of staff to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, told me, “Ultimately, I think Fayyad calculates that political negotiations will not succeed and his plan [to establish a state] will be the only game in town.” The danger, for Israel and the Palestinian Authority alike, is what will happen if negotiations fail and Fayyad’s plan does not produce significant concessions from Israel. “We are not going to withdraw from certain areas just because there was a declaration or a UN resolution,” Herzog said. In that event Hamas will be able to present a persuasive argument that violence is the only means of achieving national liberation. “Fayyad sets an arbitrary date and says, ‘Okay, now all of you break your heads if you want to avoid a catastrophe,’” Herzog said. “What he did is very risky but also very smart.”


So far, Fayyad’s strategy is succeeding. His administration has started more than one thousand development projects, which include paving roads, planting trees, digging wells, and constructing new buildings, most prominently in the twin cities of Ramallah and al-Bireh.8 He has reduced dependence on foreign aid and started to carry out plans to build new hospitals, classrooms, courthouses, industrial parks, housing, and even a new city, Rawabi, between Ramallah and Nablus. But “reforming the security forces,” Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, told me, “is the main and integral part of the Fayyad plan. Many of the government’s other successes, such as economic growth, came as a result.”


To its citizens, Fayyad’s government has presented reform of the police and other security forces as principally a matter of providing law and order—apprehending criminal gangs, consolidating competing security services, forbidding public displays of weapons, and locating stolen cars. But its program for “counterterrorism”—which is directed mainly against Hamas and viewed by many Palestinians as collaboration with Israel—is its most important element: targeting Hamas members and suspected sympathizers is intended to reduce the likelihood of a West Bank takeover and, as important, helps Fayyad make a plausible case that he is in control and that Israel can safely withdraw from the territory.


In 2009, Palestinian and Israeli forces took part in 1,297 coordinated activities, many of them against militant Palestinian groups, a 72 percent increase over the previous year.9 Together they have largely disbanded the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a principal Fatah militia; attacked Islamic Jihad cells; and all but eliminated Hamas’s social institutions, financial arrangements, and military activities in the West Bank.


According to the latest annual report of the Shin Bet, Israel’s FBI, “continuous [counterterrorist] activity conducted by Israel and the Palestinian security apparatuses” reduced Palestinian attacks against Israelis in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to their lowest numbers since 2000.10 Today’s level of cooperation, Herzog said, “is better than before the second intifada even—it’s excellent.” Mouna Mansour, a Hamas legislator in the Palestinian Parliament and widow of an assassinated senior leader of the movement, told me, “The PA has succeeded more than the Israelis in crushing Hamas in the West Bank.”


At the center of the Palestinian government’s security reforms are several “special battalions” of the National Security Forces (NSF), an eight-thousand-member gendarmerie that makes up the largest unit of the 25,000-strong Palestinian armed forces in the West Bank.11 The officer in charge of the vetting, training, equipping, and strategic planning of these special battalions is Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, the United States security coordinator (USSC) for Israel and the Palestinian Authority.


In a desert town sixteen miles southeast of Amman, more than three thousand Palestinians have completed nineteen-week military courses under Dayton’s supervision at the Jordan International Police Training Center, built with American funds in 2003 for the instruction of Iraqi police. In Hebron, Jenin, Jericho, and Ramallah, the Dayton mission is organizing the construction and renovation of garrisons, training colleges, facilities for the Interior Ministry, and security headquarters—some of which, like the one I visited on a hilltop in central Hebron, were destroyed by Israel during the second intifada. The office of the USSC plans to build new camps in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Tubas, and Tulkarm. It offers two-month leadership courses to senior PA officers, and has created and appointed advisers to a Strategic Planning Directorate in the Ministry of Interior.12 Over the past three years, the State Department has allocated $392 million to the Dayton mission, with another $150 million requested for 2011.13


At its headquarters in a nineteenth-century stone building at the US consulate in West Jerusalem, the USSC has a forty-five-person core staff composed primarily of American and Canadian but also British and Turkish military officers. In addition, it employs twenty-eight private contractors from the Virginia-based DynCorp International.14 State Department rules require the mission’s US government staff to travel only in large, heavily armored convoys, though these restrictions do not apply to its private security contractors and foreign military officers, some of whom are based in Ramallah. By late 2011—a date that dovetails with Fayyad’s deadline—the USSC plans to have supervised the training of ten NSF battalions, one for every West Bank governorate except Jerusalem.15


General Dayton reports to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He advises George Mitchell, special envoy for Middle East peace, and has been praised by influential senators, congressmen, and Middle East analysts, who view the work of the USSC as a singular achievement.16 Israel has granted greater responsibility to Palestinian security forces, expanding their geographical areas of operation, sharing higher-quality intelligence with them, and lifting their midnight-to-five-AM curfews in several of the largest West Bank cities.17 According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israel has also reduced the travel time between most urban centers in the West Bank by opening roads, relaxing controls at checkpoints, lifting vehicle permit requirements, and removing physical obstacles, which are expected to be reduced in the near future to their lowest number since 2005.18


Colonel Philip J. Dermer, a former member of the USSC, wrote in a March 2010 report circulated among senior White House and military staff that “the USSC mission has arguably achieved more progress on the ground than any other US effort in Israeli- Palestinian peacemaking”19 Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, has said, “You can send George Mitchell back and forth to the Middle East as much as you like, but expanding what [General] Dayton is doing in the security realm to other sectors of Palestinian governance and society is really the only viable model for progress.”20


The first United States security coordinator, Lieutenant General William “Kip” Ward, arrived in Jerusalem in March 2005. Elliott Abrams, formerly the deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush, told me that Ward’s mission was organized in response to three closely coinciding events: the reelection, in November 2004, of Bush, who wanted to rebuild Palestinian security forces as a part of his 2003 road map to Middle East peace; the death, nine days later, of Yasser Arafat, who had resisted American attempts to reform the Palestinian security services; and the victory of America’s favored candidate, Mahmoud Abbas, in the January 2005 presidential election.


1. For an excellent report on Palestinian security reform, see ” Squaring the Circle: Palestinian Security Reform Under Occupation ,” International Crisis Group, September 7, 2010. ↩


2. “Fayyad: Jews Can Be Equal Citizens in a Palestinian State,” Haaretz , July 5, 2009. ↩


3. For an example of the sort of approbation Fayyad receives, see several recent columns by Roger Cohen, who has called Fayyad “the most important phenomenon in the Middle East,” and Thomas Friedman, who has coined a term for the prime minister’s brand of “transparent, accountable administration and services”—”Fayyadism”—which he thinks “the most exciting new idea in Arab governance ever.” Roger Cohen, “Beating the Mideast’s Black Hole,” The International Herald Tribune , April 27, 2010; Thomas Friedman, “Green Shoots in Palestine,” The New York Times , August 4, 2009. ↩


4. Akiva Eldar, “A Day in the Life of the Palestinian Ben-Gurion,” Haaretz , February 11, 2010. ↩


5. Fadi Elsalameen, ” Fayyad: ‘Build, Build Despite the Occupation ,'” The Palestine Note , July 30, 2010. ↩


6. Merav Michaeli, “Lieberman: Israel’s Gestures to Palestinians Met with ‘Slaps in the Face,'” Haaretz , May 13, 2010. ↩


7. Fadi Elsalameen, “Fayyad: ‘Build, Build Despite the Occupation.'” ↩


8. Much has been made of a report by the International Monetary Fund stating that real GDP in the West Bank grew by 8.5 percent in 2009. For a source arguing that the IMF’s report of West Bank economic growth is greatly exaggerated, see Bassim S. Khoury, ” Putting the Palestinian ‘Carriage Behind the Horse ,'”, July 1, 2010. ↩


9. ” Measures Taken by Israel in Support of Developing the Palestinian Economy, the Socio-Economic Structure, and the Security Reforms ,” Report of the Government of Israel to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, April 13, 2010. ↩


10. “2009 Annual Summary—Data and Trends in Palestinian Terrorism,” Israeli Security Agency, 2009. See also previous Israeli Security Agency reports and ” Four Years of Conflict: Israel’s War Against Terrorism ,” Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, October 3, 2004. ↩


11. On the size of the NSF, see the estimates made in “Palestinian Authority: US Assistance Is Training and Equipping Security Forces, but the Program Needs to Measure Progress and Faces Logistical Constraints,” Government Accountability Office, May 2010; and “Squaring the Circle: Palestinian Security Reform Under Occupation.” The number used in this piece falls between the figures provided in those two reports and represents a slight adjustment, presented to me by a spokesman for EUPOL COPPS (the European Union Police Mission for the Palestinian Territories) in April 2010, of a previous estimate made by US officials. See ” West Bank: Palestinian Security Forces ,” US Security Coordination Road Warrior Team, June 2008. ↩


12. These courses are open to members of each of the seven security services: the National Security Forces, Presidential Guard, Civil Police, Civil Defense, and three intelligence services—Military Intelligence, General Intelligence, and Preventive Security. ↩


13. “Palestinian Authority: US Assistance Is Training and Equipping Security Forces, but the Program Needs to Measure Progress and Faces Logistical Constraints.” ↩


14. “Palestinian Authority: US Assistance Is Training and Equipping Security Forces, but the Program Needs to Measure Progress and Faces Logistical Constraints.” ↩


15. The State Department, however, expects the forces to be deployed in only nine governorates, with one battalion as a reserve force. (The PA security sector treats the governorates of Jenin and Tubas as a single unit.) See “US Security Assistance to the Palestinian Authority,” Congressional Research Service, January 8, 2010; and “Squaring the Circle,” International Crisis Group, September 7, 2010, p. 11. ↩


16. Dayton served alongside the national security adviser, General James Jones, who was special envoy for Middle East security in 2007–2008; wrote a glowing blurb for a recent book coauthored by Dennis Ross, a senior director at the National Security Council and special adviser to the President; and has given presentations to influential senators, congressmen, and interest groups visiting Israel. ↩


17. “Squaring the Circle: Palestinian Security Reform Under Occupation.” ↩


18. ” West Bank Movement and Access Update ,” United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Occupied Palestinian Territory, June 2010. ↩


19. Colonel Philip J. Dermer, “Trip Notes on a Return to Israel and the West Bank: Reflections on US Peacemaking, the Security Mission, and What Should Be Done,” Journal of Palestine Studies , Vol. 39, No. 3 (Spring 2010). ↩


20. James Kitfield, “United They Fall; Divided They Stand,” National Journal , March 28, 2009. ↩


2. New York Times,

November 20, 2010


Why America Chases an Israeli-Palestinian Peace




JERUSALEM — Lt. Gen. Keith W. Dayton, who left Israel last month after overseeing the training of Palestinian security forces for five years, liked to tell the story of his first assignment in the Middle East. Charged with locating Iraq’s elusive weapons of mass destruction after Saddam Hussein was deposed in 2003, General Dayton found no weapons but kept coming upon something else inside Iraqi military barracks — drawings of Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem being squeezed by a serpent labeled Israel.


He was amazed to see that hundreds of miles from the Holy Land, the Arab-Israeli dispute felt so immediate and significant.


In trying to understand the unrelenting American effort to keep alive talks between Israel and the Palestinians — this last week produced the image of the Obama administration chasing the Israeli government with an enticement of more fighter jets — it is worth standing in General Dayton’s boots for a moment.


From there one can see why, in many ways, the United States feels a greater urgency and drive for the peace talks than do the Palestinians and Israelis themselves. Here, neither side believes the other is serious about real compromise and each actively cultivates a sense of historic victimhood. Washington, by contrast, deeply believes that ending this conflict is the key to unlocking its own regional strategic dilemmas.


“Every American ambassador in the region knows that official meetings with Arab leaders start with the obligatory half-hour lecture on the Palestinian question,” said a senior American diplomat who has spent his career in the Middle East and asked not to be identified to protect his work. “If we could dispense with that half-hour and get down to our other business, we might actually be able to get something done.”


For the past week, the Obama administration has been trying to lure Israel into a 90-day freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank so that the Palestinians will return to direct talks broken off when the last freeze ended in September.


To get the next freeze, an earlier offer to sell Israel 20 fighter jets has been sweetened to include a gift of 20 more (buy one, get one free). In addition, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has offered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu specific assurances of diplomatic support over the next year, all to facilitate efforts to reach a final deal with the Palestinians that many suspect will fail, as such efforts have for the past 17 years.


It is worth noting that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been largely drained of deadly violence in the past few years. Moreover, the Palestinians are increasingly divided between the Fatah-led West Bank and the Hamas-led Gaza, and the Israeli government is dominated by pro-settler politicians largely opposed to a Palestinian state. In other words, the dispute is calmer than it has been in years, which, in the brutal logic of the Middle East, means that neither side is eager right now for the necessary compromises. So why push so hard?


The answer has a number of levels, but the most important is this: The United States believes that if it can end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its fraught relationship with the Muslim world will greatly improve, thereby allowing America to accomplish much that is currently eluding it in places like Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, not to mention easing its role as the prime guarantor of Israel’s own security.


Gen. James L. Jones, who stepped down recently as President Obama’s national security adviser, often told visitors that if he had to pick one foreign policy issue to tackle, it would be the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because its resolution would help with all the others.


Gen. David H. Petraeus, who oversaw American war efforts in Iraq and now in Afghanistan, told Congress this year that the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict created a hostile environment for the United States in the region.


The idea isn’t that the Americans would walk away from Israeli, their staunch ally, or see its vital interests undercut in a peace settlement. The idea is that if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were resolved, anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world would diminish, American prospects in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would brighten, and Arab governments would find it easier to cooperate with Washington as it seeks to blunt Iranian ambitions.


Many Israelis dismiss this as a form of magical thinking.


“Let’s play a mind game,” suggested Mark Heller, a researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. “Let’s assume that you’ve resolved the conflict or that Israel has disappeared or that Israel and the United States are now enemies. Will the Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq suddenly start making love? Will the Sunnis, Shiites and Christians in Lebanon get together? Will it end the oppression of Christians in Egypt? Will it raise the status of women or put an end to the use of violence as a political weapon in the Muslim world? It’s a total illusion.”


There are many illusions at work in this region. The founding charter of Hamas states that after Palestine, the Jews seek to conquer all land between the Nile and the Euphrates. A significant portion of Muslims believe that Israel carried out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Extremist Jewish settlers believe that if they hold firm, the millions of Palestinians around them will leave their land.


In such an atmosphere, negotiations for peace inevitably require a leap of faith. But while these negotiations may carry a real risk of failure, taking that risk seems far preferable to giving in to the fear that the conflict has no end. American insistence on pushing for this deal at this moment is based on other specific factors as well.


While lower-level Israeli officials have embarrassed the Obama administration this year with ill-timed announcements about housing construction on contested land in East Jerusalem, Israel has also made clear that it knows that a strong Washington on its side is central to its security. A weakened or humiliated United States is not viewed here as in Israel’s interest. That is the main reason that a year ago Mr. Netanyahu froze most settlement building in the West Bank for 10 months — Mr. Obama had made such a point of asking for it.


On July 4, Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, spoke at an American Independence Day celebration in Israel. He told of the time David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding prime minister, first met John F. Kennedy in 1961, days before he was inaugurated as president.


Kennedy asked Ben-Gurion how he could help Israel. “The best thing you can do for Israel,” Mr. Peres said Ben-Gurion replied, “is be a great president of the United States.” A strong America is vital for Israel, he added.


Beyond this, there is another reason the Obama administration is putting such effort into ending this dispute. Mr. Netanyahu has convinced key members of the administration that he really does want a deal and that, ruling from the right, he has the political clout to carry it off. American officials are also convinced that the current Palestinian leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is more oriented toward negotiations and diplomacy than any other in Palestinian history. Both have repeatedly renounced violence.


One more factor: The administration knows that there is a point beyond which the creation of a Palestinian state will become unachievable — when so many Israeli settlers are spread over so much West Bank land that it will simply no longer be feasible to carve out a viable state. Some argue that with 300,000 settlers, that point has already been reached; all agree that it is not far away.


Finally, there is future violence. Ten years ago, when peace talks led by President Bill Clinton at Camp David fell apart, the second Palestinian uprising broke out, leading to exploding buses, suicide bombings and harsh Israeli countermeasures. Thousands — most of them Palestinians — were killed.


Israeli military and intelligence officials say that while the forces General Dayton helped train are the most professional Palestinian security men ever, their discipline and professionalism could break down without the prospect of an independent state.



“If there will not be real progress, I believe we can find that some time within three months, six months or one year from now, that the functioning of the Palestinian security system is in a very different place,” a top Israeli intelligence official told a group of foreign correspondents last week, speaking without attribution, as is the common practice of intelligence officials here. “In order to keep the legitimacy and functioning of the Palestinian security system, we need real progress in the peace process.”



3.  The lowly level of teaching at Israeli schools, the unbearable physical and crowded conditions, and the lack of discipline push local students into the arms of private tutors. The industry is flourishing, while further boosting the gaps between Israel’s haves and have-nots. 


The data again places Israel at the bottom of the list among Western nations. Some 42% of seventh and eighth grade students and 38% of fifth and sixth grade students require the help of private tutors for at least one of the core subjects (math, Hebrew, science or technology.) The figures are commensurate with a report released about a year ago by Professor Dan Ben David, which showed that 38% of Israel’s junior high students need to supplement their math studies with at least four hours of extracurricular work. The average in OECD countries is much lower and stands at 15%. 


The phenomenon has greatly expanded in recent years, with students turning to private tutors in subjects such as history, literature, and Bible as well. The utilization of tutors has even gained a foothold among young children, with many parents arranging private lessons for their preschoolers.


Crowded Israeli classroom (Photo: George Ginsburg)


“I usually arrange my week so that on Sunday I have an English lesson, on Wednesday a math lesson, and on Thursday a Hebrew lesson – but next week I have a math test, so I decided to focus on one subject only and took math lessons almost every day.” This is the normal routine adopted by Shir, an 11th grade student from an upscale community in the Jerusalem area. 


When he studied in elementary school, Shir was embarrassed to admit that he uses private tutors. In recent years, not only has the shame disappeared, but students boast of being able to arrange lessons with the most prominent teachers. “We talk to each other during breaks and recommend which teachers should be hired and who can teach in a fun way,” he says. “During class we barely listen, both because it’s hard to concentrate for so many hours and also because we know that we have no reason to make an effort – in any case, we’ll review the material in a peaceful atmosphere with our private tutor.” 


‘This is the norm’

Officials at Shir’s school encourage weaker students to enroll in extracurricular classes and even recommend prominent teachers. A similar situation prevails in the high school where Liat, a recent graduate, studied. “It was clear that in class you can’t really study, and those who want good grades need to pay money and sit one-on-one with a private tutor,” she says. 


Under the current circumstances, Israeli parents understand there is no other choice. “I don’t trust the education system and I’m unwilling to have my girls fall behind,” says Yael, a mother of two daughters in grades 12 and six from Tel Aviv. “My young daughter studies algebra, and in classes of 40 students it’s impossible to understand the material. I’m not waiting for her to fail; I went ahead and paid for a private tutor.” 


Miguel Herf, the chairman of the parents’ association in the town of Modiin, pays NIS 150 (roughly $40) per hour for private lessons in Hebrew for his son. “To my regret, today this is the norm, whereby parents who can afford it pay for private lessons. This is a wrong, twisted method, yet the level of education at schools is incommensurate with the needs. No parents agree to have their child stay behind, as matriculation grades are the entry ticket to university…the wealthier the parents, the higher their children’s chances to excel in their studies.” 


“Free education is the greatest joke there is,” says Dudi Feliser, formerly the parents’ association chairman in the city of Rehovot. “We, the parents, buy with our money our children’s achievements via private lessons. Every year, schools boast of rising grades in matriculation grades, yet it’s a bold lie. They are in fact taking pride in the money we paid. If they checked the level of knowledge only based on studies at school the results would be grim.” 


‘Rich parents, high grades’

The growing trend is being encouraged by school teachers too, “who understand that in a classroom of 40 students they have no chance to reach everyone, and there will always be those who fall behind,” as one northern Israel teacher says. Many teachers recommend colleagues from other schools as private tutors. “Private lessons have turned into a built-in feature in the system in recent years, and it’s taken for granted that a student who enrolls in intense math or physics studies will pay for a private tutor.”


The rising demand for private lessons mostly attests to the lack of parental faith in the public education system, where “teachers function less as an education official and more as a social worker, psychologist, and police officer because of the discipline problems,” says Dr. Marita Barabash, deputy president of the Ahava education college. According to a Ynet inspection, the per-hour tutoring fee for the most desirable subjects (English, math, physics and chemistry) ranges between NIS 100 (roughly $30) for a professional tutor during the school year and NIS 200 (roughly $60) during the matriculation exam period. With such rates, it is no wonder that children from lower socioeconomic strata fall far behind.


Beersheba resident Mazal recounts her own experience: “My daughter completed her studies a year ago and I had no possibility to help her. I work part time and my husband makes a living through an income supplement. Private lessons for my girl were out of the question. Thankfully, city hall helped us and provided my daughter with extra help that enabled her to complete her studies with a full high school diploma. 


Shalom Barbi, the deputy chairman of the parents’ association in Dimona, cannot afford private lessons for his daughters. “Here in Dimona, only the children of the wealthy have money for private tutors. The other residents are simply forced to tell their children they can’t have lessons. Many of us don’t speak English, so for lack of other choice I turned to our neighbors from the Black Hebrew community and asked them to help my children with English lessons. It’s very important for me to have my daughters succeed in their studies, but I need to provide for my family, and with my salary there is no way I can afford a private tutor. Those who have rich parents have high grades.”


4.  Jerusalem Post,

November 21, 2010 Sunday    


 Analysis: Barkat still seeks ways to save Beit Yehonatan





Jerusalem mayor attempts to sidestep Attorney General in drive to save Silwan structure illegally built by right-wing families. 



Not for the first time, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is trying to ignore explicit instructions from an attorney-general or a state attorney to execute a court order to seal up the illegally built Beit Yehonatan apartment building in Silwan and evacuate its occupants.


This time the victim of Barkat’s wiles is the new attorney- general, Yehuda Weinstein.


He has already succeeded in tap-dancing past former attorney-general Menahem Mazuz and current State Attorney Moshe Lador, not to mention the law, by ignoring their orders as well.


On Wednesday, Weinstein told Barkat and the Jerusalem District Police in no uncertain terms that Beit Yehonatan must be sealed up and its occupants evicted at an “early date.”


The idea is anathema to Barkat. From the day he entered office in 2008, the mayor has been doing everything possible to save the structure built illegally by right-wing families seeking to increase the Jewish presence in the neighborhood, part of which is located on the biblical site of the City of David.


Weinstein tried to assuage Barkat by adding in his letter that the mayor should also identify Palestinian buildings in Silwan guilty of gross building violations and take action against them as well. Not only would this demonstrate that justice is blind, but it would also comfort right-wing supporters of Beit Yehonatan who have accused the attorney-general of showing favoritism to the Arabs, who have built many more illegal structures.


But in a reply to Weinstein sent shortly after Barkat received the attorney-general’s letter, the mayor, somewhat obliquely, indicated that he had other ideas altogether. The municipality, under Barkat, has drawn up new plans for Gan Hamelech, the site of the biblical garden of King Solomon in the southeast corner of Silwan, and for the densely populated, old village center of Silwan on the western slope of the hill, where Beit Yehonatan is located.


His idea is to rezone the two areas, register the ownership of the land and the houses, including those built without permits and demolish only those illegal ones standing in the way of badly needed, modern infrastructure, including roads. The plan for Gan Hamelech calls for removing the roughly 110 illegal structures currently occupying the land, building a new housing, commercial and tourism project for all the squatters on about half of the original garden and creating an archeological park in the other half.


But Barkat has made his development plans conditional on the fact that the state prosecution agrees to suspend all demolition orders, or seal orders in the case of Beit Yehonatan, from start to finish of the planning process, which could take many years and may never succeed. The state prosecution has agreed to treat all requests to stay demolition orders sympathetically but refuses to commit itself to a total moratorium.


As long as it does not, Beit Yehonatan remains in danger, as Weinstein’s letter to Barkat on Wednesday proved conclusively.


Instead of telling Weinstein that he would carry out the court order without delay, as the law bids him to, and as he already should have done in the past when ordered to by Mazuz and Lador, Barkat effectively told the attorney-general that he would follow his own timetable. Not only that, but he added that the Knesset State Control Committee agreed with him on this matter.


Barkat wrote that he had told the committee “he needed the cooperation of the attorney-general and those who are answerable to him in order to advance the plan according to the policy that will be agreed upon by all the elements dealing with the matter and according to the priorities which they determine. I should add that this position won the support of the committee which called on the government to help implement the recommendations of the state comptroller regarding the replanning of Silwan.”


The cooperation that Barkat was referring to was Weinstein’s agreement to freeze all demolition orders in Silwan.


Barkat added that members of the Knesset State Control Committee and attorney Hovav Artzi, a senior Justice Ministry official, would meet to discuss the demolition orders and building violations in all of east Jerusalem and devise a uniform policy and an order of priorities.


Barkat was as much as telling Weinstein that not he, but a Knesset committee whose active members on the subject of illegal construction in Silwan all belonged to right-wing parties except for its chairman, Yoel Hasson, who belongs to the right wing of Kadima, would determine the priorities for implementing court orders, rather than the attorney-general, whose mandate is to be the government’s interpreter of the law and its foremost law enforcement officer.


Barkat’s letter makes it clear that he hopes to use the Knesset State Control Committee as a sword and a shield to protect him from having to implement the attorney-general’s insistent and repeated demand that Beit Yehonatan be evacuated and sealed up. 

Posted in Middle East1 Comment



November 22, 2010

by crescentandcross 



By John Feffer / TomDispatch

The Muslims were bloodthirsty and treacherous. They conducted a sneak attack against the French army and slaughtered every single soldier, 20,000 in all. More than 1,000 years ago, in the mountain passes of Spain, the Muslim horde cut down the finest soldiers in Charlemagne’s command, including his brave nephew Roland. Then, according to the famous poem that immortalized the tragedy, Charlemagne exacted his revenge by routing the entire Muslim army.

The Song of Roland, an eleventh century rendering in verse of an eighth century battle, is a staple of Western Civilization classes at colleges around the country. A “masterpiece of epic drama,” in the words of its renowned translator Dorothy Sayers, it provides a handy preface for students before they delve into readings on the Crusades that began in 1095. More ominously, the poem has schooled generations of Judeo-Christians to view Muslims as perfidious enemies who once threatened the very foundations of Western civilization.

The problem, however, is that the whole epic is built on a curious falsehood. The army that fell upon Roland and his Frankish soldiers was not Muslim at all. In the real battle of 778, the slayers of the Franks were Christian Basques furious at Charlemagne for pillaging their city of Pamplona. Not epic at all, the battle emerged from a parochial dispute in the complex wars of medieval Spain. Only later, as kings and popes and knights prepared to do battle in the First Crusade, did an anonymous bard repurpose the text to serve the needs of an emerging cross-against-crescent holy war.

Similarly, we think of the Crusades as the archetypal “clash of civilizations” between the followers of Jesus and the followers of Mohammed. In the popular version of those Crusades, the Muslim adversary has, in fact, replaced a remarkable range of peoples the Crusaders dealt with as enemies, including Jews killed in pogroms on the way to the Holy Land, rival Catholics slaughtered in the Balkans and in Constantinople, and Christian heretics hunted down in southern France.

Much later, during the Cold War, mythmakers in Washington performed a similar act, substituting a monolithic crew labeled “godless communists” for a disparate group of anti-imperial nationalists in an attempt to transform conflicts in remote locations like Vietnam, Guatemala, and Iran into epic struggles between the forces of the Free World and the forces of evil. In recent years, the Bush administration did it all over again by portraying Arab nationalists as fiendish Islamic fundamentalist when we invaded Iraq and prepared to topple the regime in Syria.

Similar mythmaking continues today. The recent surge of Islamophobia in the United States has drawn strength from several extraordinary substitutions. A clearly Christian president has become Muslim in the minds of a significant number of Americans. The thoughtful Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan has become a closet fundamentalist in the writings of Paul Berman and others. And an Islamic center in lower Manhattan, organized by proponents of interfaith dialogue, has become an extremist “mosque at Ground Zero” in the TV appearances, political speeches, and Internet sputterings of a determined clique of right-wing activists.

This transformation of Islam into a violent caricature of itself — as if Ann Coulter had suddenly morphed into the face of Christianity — comes at a somewhat strange juncture in the United States. Anti-Islamic rhetoric and hate crimes, which spiked immediately after September 11, 2001, had been on the wane. No major terrorist attack had taken place in the U.S. or Europe since the London bombings in 2005. The current American president had reached out to the Muslim world and retired the controversial acronym GWOT, or “Global War on Terror.”

All the elements seemed in place, in other words, for us to turn the page on an ugly chapter in our history. Yet it’s as if we remain fixed in the eleventh century in a perpetual battle of “us” against “them.” Like the undead rising from their coffins, our previous “crusades” never go away.  Indeed, we still seem to be fighting the three great wars of the millennium, even though two of these conflicts have long been over and the third has been rhetorically reduced to “overseas contingency operations.” The Crusades, which finally petered out in the seventeenth century, continue to shape our global imagination today. The Cold War ended in 1991, but key elements of the anti-communism credo have been awkwardly grafted onto the new Islamist adversary. And the Global War on Terror, which President Obama quietly renamed shortly after taking office, has in fact metastasized into the wars that his administration continues to prosecute in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere.

Those in Europe and the United States who cheer on these wars claim that they are issuing a wake-up call about the continued threat of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other militants who claim the banner of Islam. However, what really keeps Islamophobes up at night is not the marginal and backwards-looking Islamic fundamentalists but rather the growing economic, political, and global influence of modern, mainstream Islam. Examples of Islam successfully grappling with modernity abound, from Turkey’s new foreign policy and Indonesia’s economic muscle to the Islamic political parties participating in elections in Lebanon, Morocco, and Jordan. Instead of providing reassurance, however, these trends only incite Islamophobes to intensify their battles to “save” Western civilization.

As long as our unfinished wars still burn in the collective consciousness — and still rage in Kabul, Baghdad, Sana’a, and the Tribal Areas of Pakistan — Islamophobia will make its impact felt in our media, politics, and daily life. Only if we decisively end the millennial Crusades, the half-century Cold War, and the decade-long War on Terror (under whatever name) will we overcome the dangerous divide that has consumed so many lives, wasted so much wealth, and distorted our very understanding of our Western selves.

The Crusades Continue

With their irrational fear of spiders, arachnophobes are scared of both harmless daddy longlegs and poisonous brown recluse spiders. In extreme cases, an arachnophobe can break out in a sweat while merely looking at photos of spiders. It is, of course, reasonable to steer clear of black widows. What makes a legitimate fear into an irrational phobia, however, is the tendency to lump all of any group, spiders or humans, into one lethal category and then to exaggerate how threatening they are. Spider bites, after all, are responsible for at most a handful of deaths a year in the United States.

Islamophobia is, similarly, an irrational fear of Islam. Yes, certain Muslim fundamentalists have been responsible for terrorist attacks, certain fantasists about a “global caliphate” continue to plot attacks on perceived enemies, and certain groups like Afghanistan’s Taliban and Somalia’s al-Shabaab practice medieval versions of the religion. But Islamophobes confuse these small parts with the whole and then see terrorist jihad under every Islamic pillow. They break out in a sweat at the mere picture of an imam.

Irrational fears are often rooted in our dimly remembered childhoods. Our irrational fear of Islam similarly seems to stem from events that happened in the early days of Christendom. Three myths inherited from the era of the Crusades constitute the core of Islamophobia today: Muslims are inherently violent, Muslims want to take over the world, and Muslims can’t be trusted.

The myth of Islam as a “religion of the sword” was a staple of Crusader literature and art. In fact, the atrocities committed by Muslim leaders and armies — and there were some — rarely rivaled the slaughters of the Crusaders, who retook Jerusalem in 1099 in a veritable bloodbath. “The heaps of the dead presented an immediate problem for the conquerors,”writes Christopher Tyerman in God’s War. “Many of the surviving Muslim population were forced to clear the streets and carry the bodies outside the walls to be burnt in great pyres, whereat they themselves were massacred.” Jerusalem’s Jews suffered a similar fate when the Crusaders burned many of them alive in their main synagogue. Four hundred years earlier, by contrast, Caliph ‘Umar put no one to the sword when he took over Jerusalem, signing a pact with the Christian patriarch Sophronius that pledged “no compulsion in religion.”

This myth of the inherently violent Muslim endures. Islam “teaches violence,” televangelist Pat Robertson proclaimedin 2005. “The Koran teaches violence and most Muslims, including so-called moderate Muslims, openly believe in violence,” was the way Major General Jerry Curry (U.S. Army, ret.), who served in the Carter, Reagan, and Bush Sr. administrations, put it.

The Crusaders justified their violence by arguing that Muslims were bent on taking over the world. In its early days, the expanding Islamic empire did indeed imagine an ever-growing dar-es-Islam (House of Islam). By the time of the Crusades, however, this initial burst of enthusiasm for holy war had long been spent. Moreover, the Christian West harbored its own set of desires when it came to extending the Pope’s authority to every corner of the globe. Even that early believer in soft power, Francis of Assisi, sat down with Sultan al-Kamil during the Fifth Crusade with the aim of eliminating Islam through conversion.

Today, Islamophobes portray the building of Cordoba House in lower Manhattan as just another gambit in this millennial power grab: “This is Islamic domination and expansionism,” writes right-wing blogger Pamela Geller, who made the “Ground Zero Mosque” into a media obsession. “Islam is a religion with a very political agenda,” warns ex-Muslim Ali Sina. “The ultimate goal of Islam is to rule the world.”

These two myths — of inherent violence and global ambitions — led to the firm conviction that Muslims were by nature untrustworthy. Robert of Ketton, a twelfth century translator of the Koran, was typical in badmouthing the prophet Mohammad this way: “Like the liar you are, you everywhere contradict yourself.” The suspicion of untrustworthiness fell as well on any Christian who took up the possibility of coexistence with Islam. Pope Gregory, for instance, believed that the thirteenth century Crusader Frederick II was the Anti-Christ himself because he developed close relationships with Muslims.

For Islamophobes today, Muslims abroad are similarly terrorists-in-waiting. As for Muslims at home, “American Muslims must face their either/or,” writes the novelist Edward Cline, “to repudiate Islam or remain a quiet, sanctioning fifth column.” Even American Muslims in high places, like Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), are not above suspicion. In a 2006 CNN interview, Glenn Beck said, “I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.’”

These three myths of Islamophobia flourish in our era, just as they did almost a millennium ago, because of a cunning conflation of a certain type of Islamic fundamentalism with Islam itself. Bill O’Reilly was neatly channeling this Crusader mindset when he asserted recently that “the Muslim threat to the world is not isolated. It’s huge!”  When Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence William Boykin, in an infamous 2003 sermon, thundered “What I’m here to do today is to recruit you to be warriors of God’s kingdom,” he was issuing the Crusader call to arms.

But O’Reilly and Boykin, who represent the violence, duplicity, and expansionist mind-set of today’s Western crusaders, were also invoking a more recent tradition, closer in time and far more familiar.
The Totalitarian Myth

In 1951, the CIA and the emerging anti-communist elite, including soon-to-be-president Dwight Eisenhower, created the Crusade for Freedom as a key component of a growing psychological warfare campaign against the Soviet Union and the satellite countries it controlled in Eastern Europe. The language of this “crusade” was intentionally religious. It reached out to “peoples deeply rooted in the heritage of western civilization,” living under the “crushing weight of a godless dictatorship.” In its call for the liberation of the communist world, it echoed the nearly thousand-year-old crusader rhetoric of “recovering” Jerusalem and other outposts of Christianity.

In the theology of the Cold War, the Soviet Union replaced the Islamic world as the untrustworthy infidel. However unconsciously, the old crusader myths about Islam translated remarkably easily into governing assumptions about the communist enemy: the Soviets and their allies were bent on taking over the world, could not be trusted with their rhetoric of peaceful coexistence, imperiled Western civilization, and fought with unique savagery as well as a willingness to martyr themselves for the greater ideological good.

Ironically, Western governments were so obsessed with fighting this new scourge that, in the Cold War years, on the theory that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, they nurtured radical Islam as a weapon. As journalist Robert Dreyfuss ably details in his book The Devil’s Game, the U.S. funding of the mujahideen in Afghanistan was only one part of the anti-communist crusade in the Islamic world. To undermine Arab nationalists and leftists who might align themselves with the Soviet Union, the United States (and Israel) worked with Iranian mullahs, helped create Hamas, and facilitated the spread of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Though the Cold War ended with the sudden disappearance of the Soviet Union in 1991, that era’s mind-set — and so many of the Cold Warriors sporting it — never went with it. The prevailing mythology was simply transferred back to the Islamic world.  In anti-communist theology, for example, the worst curse word was “totalitarianism,” said to describe the essence of the all-encompassing Soviet state and system. According to the gloss that early neoconservative Jeanne Kirkpatrick provided in her book Dictatorships and Double Standards, the West had every reason to support right-wing authoritarian dictatorships because they would steadfastly oppose left-wing totalitarian dictatorships, which, unlike the autocracies we allied with, were supposedly incapable of internal reform.

According to the new “Islamo-fascism” school — and its acolytes like Norman Podhoretz, David Horowitz, Bill O’Reilly, Pamela Geller — the fundamentalists are simply the “new totalitarians,” as hidebound, fanatical, and incapable of change as communists. For a more sophisticated treatment of the Islamo-fascist argument, check out Paul Berman, a rightward-leaning liberal intellectual who has tried to demonstrate that “moderate Muslims” are fundamentalists in reformist clothing.

These Cold Warriors all treat the Islamic world as an undifferentiated mass — in spirit, a modern Soviet Union — where Arab governments and radical Islamists work hand in glove. They simply fail to grasp that the Syrian, Egyptian, and Saudi Arabian governments have launched their own attacks on radical Islam. The sharp divides between the Iranian regime and the Taliban, between the Jordanian government and the Palestinians, between Shi’ites and Sunni in Iraq, and even among Kurds all disappear in the totalitarian blender, just as anti-communists generally failed to distinguish between the Communist hardliner Leonid Brezhnev and the Communist reformer Mikhail Gorbachev.

At the root of terrorism, according to Berman, are “immense failures of political courage and imagination within the Muslim world,” rather than the violent fantasies of a group of religious outliers or the Crusader-ish military operations of the West. In other words, something flawed at the very core of Islam itself is responsible for the violence done in its name — a line of argument remarkably similar to one Cold Warriors made about communism.

All of this, of course, represents a mirror image of al-Qaeda’s arguments about the inherent perversities of the infidel West. As during the Cold War, hardliners reinforce one another.

The persistence of Crusader myths and their transposition into a Cold War framework help explain why the West is saddled with so many misconceptions about Islam. They don’t, however, explain the recent spike in Islamophobia in the U.S. after several years of relative tolerance. To understand this, we must turn to the third unfinished war: the Global War on Terror or GWOT, launched by George W. Bush.

Fanning the Flames

President Obama was careful to groom his Christian image during his campaign. He was repeatedly seen praying in churches, and he studiously avoided mosques. He did everything possible to efface the traces of Muslim identity in his past.

His opponents, of course, did just the opposite. They emphasized his middle name, Hussein, challenged his birth records, and asserted that he was too close to the Palestinian cause.  They also tried to turn liberal constituencies — particularly Jewish-American ones — against the presumptive president. Like Frederick II for an earlier generation of Christian fundamentalists, since entering the Oval Office Obama has become the Anti-Christ of the Islamophobes.

Once in power, he broke with Bush administration policies toward the Islamic world on a few points. He did indeed push ahead with his plan to remove combat troops from Iraq (with some important exceptions). He has attempted to pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to stop expanding settlements in occupied Palestinian lands and to negotiate in good faith (though he has done so without resorting to the kind of pressure that might be meaningful, like a cutback of or even cessation of U.S. arms exports to Israel). In a highly publicized speech in Cairo in June 2009, he also reached out rhetorically to the Islamic world at a time when he was also eliminating the name “Global War on Terror” from the government’s vocabulary.

For Muslims worldwide, however, GWOT itself continues. The United States has orchestrated a surge in Afghanistan. The CIA’s drone war in the Pakistani borderlands has escalated rapidly. U.S. Special Forces now operate in 75 countries, at least 15 more than during the Bush years. Meanwhile, Guantanamo remains open, the United States still practices extraordinary rendition, and assassination remains an active part of Washington’s toolbox.

The civilians killed in these overseas contingency operations are predominantly Muslim. The people seized and interrogated are mostly Muslim. The buildings destroyed are largely Muslim-owned. As a result, the rhetoric of “crusaders and imperialists” used by al-Qaeda falls on receptive ears. Despite his Cairo speech, the favorability rating of the United States in the Muslim world, already grim enough, has slid even further since Obama took office — in Egypt, from 41% in 2009 to 31% percent now; in Turkey, from 33% to 23%; and in Pakistan, from 13% to 8%.

The U.S. wars, occupations, raids, and repeated air strikes have produced much of this disaffection and, as political scientist Robert Pape has consistently argued, most of the suicide bombings and other attacks against Western troops and targets as well. This is revenge, not religion, talking — just as it was for Americans after September 11, 2001. As commentator M. Junaid Levesque-Alam astutely pointed out, “When three planes hurtled into national icons, did anger and hatred rise in American hearts only after consultation of Biblical verses?”

And yet those dismal polling figures do not actually reflect a rejection of Western values (despite Islamophobe assurances that they mean exactly that). “Numerous polls that we have conducted,” writes pollster Stephen Kull, “as well as others by the World Values Survey and Arab Barometer, show strong support in the Muslim world for democracy, for human rights, and for an international order based on international law and a strong United Nations.”

In other words, nine years after September 11th a second spike in Islamophobia and in home-grown terrorist attacks like that of the would-be Times Square bomber has been born of two intersecting pressures: American critics of Obama’s foreign policy believe that he has backed away from the major civilizational struggle of our time, even as many in the Muslim world see Obama-era foreign policy as a continuation, even an escalation, of Bush-era policies of war and occupation.

Here is the irony: alongside the indisputable rise of fundamentalism over the last two decades, only some of it oriented towards violence, the Islamic world has undergone a shift which deep-sixes the cliché that Islam has held countries back from political and economic development. “Since the early 1990s, 23 Muslim countries have developed more democratic institutions, with fairly run elections, energized and competitive political parties, greater civil liberties, or better legal protections for journalists,” writes Philip Howard in The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. Turkey has emerged as a vibrant democracy and a major foreign policy player. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, is now the largest economy in Southeast Asia and the eighteenth largest economy in the world.

Are Islamophobes missing this story of mainstream Islam’s accommodation with democracy and economic growth? Or is it this story (not Islamo-fascism starring al-Qaeda) that is their real concern?

The recent preoccupations of Islamophobes are telling in this regard. Pamela Geller, after all, was typical in the way she went after not a radical mosque, but an Islamic center about two blocks from Ground Zero proposed by a proponent of interfaith dialogue. As journalist Stephen Salisbury writes, “The mosque controversy is not really about a mosque at all; it’s about the presence of Muslims in America, and the free-floating anxiety and fear that now dominate the nation’s psyche.” For her latest venture, Geller is pushing a boycott of Campbell’s Soup because it accepts halal certification — the Islamic version of kosher certification by a rabbi — from the Islamic Society of North America, a group which, by the way, has gone out of its way to denounce religious extremism.

Paul Berman, meanwhile, has devoted his latest book, The Flight of the Intellectuals, to deconstructing the arguments not of Osama bin-Laden or his ilk, but of Tariq Ramadan, the foremost mainstream Islamic theologian. Ramadan is a man firmly committed to breaking down the old distinctions between “us” and “them.” Critical of the West for colonialism, racism, and other ills, he also challenges the injustices of the Islamic world. He is far from a fundamentalist.

And what country, by the way, has exercised European Islamophobes more than any other? Pakistan? Saudi Arabia? Taliban Afghanistan?  No, the answer is: Turkey. “The Turks are conquering Germany in the same way the Kosovars conquered Kosovo: by using higher birth-rates,” argues Germany’s Islamophobe du jour, Thilo Sarrazin, a member of Germany’s Social Democratic Party. The far right has even united around a Europe-wide referendum to keep Turkey out of the European Union.

Despite his many defects, George W. Bush at least knew enough to distinguish Islam from Islamism. By targeting a perfectly normal Islamic center, a perfectly normal Islamic scholar, and a perfectly normal Islamic country — all firmly in the mainstream of that religion — the Islamophobes have actually declared war on normalcy, not extremism.

The victories of the tea party movement and the increased power of Republican militants in Congress, not to mention the renaissance of the far right in Europe, suggest that we will be living with this Islamophobia and the three unfinished wars of the West against the Rest for some time. The Crusades lasted hundreds of years. Let’s hope that Crusade 2.0, and the dark age that we find ourselves in, has a far shorter lifespan.



November 22, 2010
by crescentandcross in Uncategorized

(c) 2010 by S.H. Pearson

26 November 2008 is when it started — my awareness of Pakistan. I was on the last leg of my last semester. Seeing the home-stretch and a possible graduation day. My head was down, plowing the last jagged mile.

Then the “news” hit about the Taj Mumbai and how Indians were gunned down in the streets. India and the Zionist news media were quick to point at Pakistan and yell, “terrorist.”

It seemed formulaic to me by then, their point and yell routine. I saw the same one played out on 11 September 2001. Suddenly every Muslim I saw took on a new status. One minute I was having a pleasant chat with an Egyptian Arab and the next, she wore a stigma. We sat next to each other as the news of 9/11 was announced. Immediately I saw her as a potential terrorist and religious fanatic. The power of Zionist television yet again — spreading its manure and doing its dirt. This time they were out to assassinate the character of an entire Faith.

As I was inundated with scenes from India in November 2008, I began to question the news. The killers could have been any South Asian men. It occurred to me that when you cross the border from India into Pakistan, there is no change in how people look. That is because Pakistanis are of the same breed as Indians, the Indo-Aryan race.

The Muslim Faith of Pakistan is the reason there is a Pakistan. In 1947 there was a massacre of Muslims by Hindus. After the bloodbath, it was deemed that a separate region should be allotted to Indian Muslims. Since then there has been nothing but bad blood between India and Pakistan. According to Zaid Hamid, “Pakistan and India were separated on the basis of religion. Pakistan is an ideological Islamic State just as Israel is an ideological Jewish, though illegal State, and India is an ideological Hindu Zionist State. Both India and Israel are natural allies against a State which is not just Islamic but also nuclear armed.”

Given this history, consider the following: India is a 3rd-world country known for its corruption. They test-drove socialism after the partition of Pakistan much to their disappointment. Now they are tucked in bed with Israel like much the rest of the money-loving world, doing the high-step in meeting Zionist agenda.

Part of this agenda, apparently, was to frame Pakistan for acts of terrorism in 2008. As my investigative mind ran its course on the Mumbai killings, I began to publish related questions in my university blog. Part of our grade in Online Journalism was making blog entries about current events.

My initial questions were about forensic evidence. Every dead body has a story to tell, despite the old adage that “dead men tell no tales.” This is borne out by how hard it is to get five minutes of a coroner’s time. From journalists like me they bolt for the hills. I noticed how quickly the killers were killed-off after their killing spree. It was as if they didn’t want those guys talking to anybody. As if what the killers knew was nothing unknown to those who did the clean-up job. Why else kill them off so fast? There are murderers sitting in “protective custody” to this day awaiting some kind of legal procedure. You would think that in a case of international terrorism, the “authorities” would have questions for the killers.

Give me a corpse and I can tell you volumes. Levantine Semites are of a distinct breed. Their eyes, lips, facial bones, lashes and nasal cartilage cannot masquerade as something else, any more than an Eastern European Ashkenazi Khazar can masquerade as a Semitic anything. So too, in a pure-bred race such as South Asia’s, an anatomist can discern the facial signature of an Indo-Aryan. None of this information was reported about the Mumbai killers. Why not?

In the case of our dead Mumbai shooters, medical examiners gleaned enough to seal the case. But we never heard a peep from the media. Why not?

Not long after the Mumbai media circus, I came across a series of English-language videos featuring Pakistan’s Zaid Hamid. In them he presented his thorough investigative report on the acts of terrorism that India attributed to Pakistan. I watched all the videos and read his report. Everything he said and wrote supported my earlier thoughts on the matter. What Hamid substantiated answered many of my questions. A photograph exposed one of the killers as a Hindu male by a thread bracelet he wore that is intrinsic to Hindu tradition. Call that “photographic evidence” if you will.

The most stunning detail of Hamid’s delivery was how it came at a confident gallop. If a man is not telling the truth, there is no such flow to his discourse. He will pause to think, fabricate, hesitate, and sometimes even stammer.

Truth is always in long-term memory while falsehood is not. Truth is never something one has to remember because it resides in random access memory. This is why they cross-examine witnesses in court rooms. Sooner or later, a liar will forget his previous lie. Hence the slips about the 9/11 story from government officials.

I believe that Hamid is correct in his deductions–That India employed (like my government did in 9/11) an act of “home-made terrorism.” I believe that India sacrificed its own people to perpetrate an act of false-flag warfare to frame Pakistan as a terrorist State.

This of course is supported by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) who have vested interests in disarming Pakistan as a nuclear power. This is because Pakistan makes Israel nervous and NATO genuflects to Israel.

I believe what happened in Mumbai on 26 November 2008 was an attempt to create pretext. If India had any evidence to prove their cry of Pakistani terrorism, it would have been put on the table by now.

For example, the student who allegedly killed his university fellows at Virginia Tech and the grainy video-tape of Daniel Pearl’s beheading was submitted to the public mind as truth. However, until we see forensic evidence proving who did what to whom and when, what do we really have? The word of the media? How good is that? These are the same people who wrote that a German guy killed the Lindbergh baby and Osama bin Laden master-minded 9/11.

I was a college student during the Virginia Tech Massacre and noticed right after the killings how my university installed video cameras everywhere. All the classroom doors had automatic locking devices put on them as well. Were those more staged killings to serve as pretext for other agendas? How can you disprove it? Any forensics on that Cho kid? If you are waiting for them to show up in the news, I wager you’ll have a long wait.

What the Mumbai Massacre of 2008 shares with the Nazi Holocaust is how both accusers are screaming bloody murder, yet have no evidence. If they had any evidence to prove their story, it would be flapping in the breeze from every flagpole by now and with all eyes fixated on it.

© 2010 SH Pearson

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