Archive | January 12th, 2011

KEN O’KEEFE ON PRESS TV’S NEWS ANALYSIS

NOVANEWS

Salem-News.com

(

TEHRAN / GAZA / LONDON / BEIRUT) – This edition of Press TV’s News Analysis will be looking at Israel’s latest violation in the occupied territories.

Located near the al-Aqsa mosque in the center of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem Al Quds laid the Shepherd Hotel, a heritage symbol for Palestinians, now destroyed by Israel, as part of their on-going effort to Judaize Al Quds.

These complaints address one important yet individual aspect of an effort by Israel to eradicate not just the living homes of Palestinians in this present day; as if they have no rights at all, (which they essentially don’t in numerous respects) but also the places that represent the rich heritage of people whose culture has existed hundreds of years prior to the present conflict.

Press TV is a solid news agency based in Tehran, that has scores of staff all over the world covering news without the filters of western political and commercial influence. The agency is under fire currently in London (see: Go Go Go – By Lauren Booth Special to Salem-News.com) by right wing political press. Visiting Press TV is a good way to show your support.

Kaveh Taghvai’s guests for the show are Nada Hashwi, Ken O’Keefe and Sameh Habeeb.

Enjoy the show.

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ZIONIST GESTAPO’S ASSAULT ON HUMAN RIGHT’S

NOVANEWS

 

The Nation,

January 12, 2011

Israel’s Assault on Human Rights

 

http://www.thenation.com/article/157664/israels-assault-human-rights

 

Neve Gordon

 

Imagine a college student returning to her university after spending Christmas break at home. At the airport she logs on to the Internet to double check some of the sources she used in her final take-home exam for the course “Introduction to Human Rights.” She gets online and begins to surf the web; however, she soon realizes that the websites of Amnesty International [1] and Human Rights Watch [2] are blocked. She calls the service provider’s 800 number, only to find out that all human rights organizations’ websites have indeed been restricted and that they can no longer be accessed from the airport.

 

This, you are probably thinking, cannot happen in the United States. Such practices are common in China, North Korea and Syria, but not in liberal democracies that pride themselves on the basic right to freedom of expression.

 

In the United States students can of course access human rights websites, no matter where they surf from. But in Israel, which is also known as the only democracy in the Middle East, human rights websites as well as the websites of some extreme right-wing organizations cannot be accessed from Ben-Gurion [3], the country’s only international airport.

 

If this attack on freedom of expression was merely an isolated incident, one might be able to conclude that it was a mistake. Yet the restriction of human rights websites is actually part of a well-orchestrated assault carried out by the current government and legislature against Israel’s democratic institutions, procedures and practices.  A spate of anti-democratic bills [4], now in the process of being ratified in the Israeli Knesset, render it a crime to support any ideology that poses alternatives to conservative interpretations of Zionism, such as support for the notion that Israel should be a democracy for all its citizens.

 

In early January forty-one (versus sixteen) Knesset members voted in favor of a proposal to establish a parliamentary inquiry commission [5] into the funding of Israeli human rights organizations. MK Fania Kirshenbaum, who submitted the proposal, accused human rights groups of providing material to the Goldstone commission [6], which investigated Israel’s 2008-09 Gaza offensive.

 

Considering that the funding of all human rights organizations in Israel is made public each year and scrutinized by the state auditor, the idea of creating a parliamentary commission to inspect their income is merely a smokescreen. The parliamentary commission’s actual goal is to intimidate Israeli rights groups and their donors and, as a result, stifle free speech.

 

MK Kirshenbaum said as much when she accused the rights organizations of being “behind the indictments lodged against Israeli officers and officials around the world.” The majority of Knesset members supporting Kirshenbaum’s proposal wish to deter human rights organizations from making use of international human rights law and universal jurisdiction. They thus want to deprive Israeli rights groups of their most basic tools, the tools deployed to criticize rights-abusive policies. They might not oppose human rights groups, but they certainly do not want human rights work. In their myopic minds, the problem is not Israel’s unethical practices, but the organizations that reveal them.

 

The ongoing delegitimization of those watchdogs of democracy—human rights NGOs, the press and public intellectuals—is leading Israel down a steep and slippery slope. The next time someone travels through Ben-Gurion airport, he or she might not be able to access the websites of Israeli rights groups like Physicians for Human Rights [7] and B’Tselem [8], not because they have been blocked, but because the organizations have been shut down.

 

The question Kirshenbaum and her supporters need to ask themselves is what kind of countries attack their own human rights organizations? The answer is straightforward.

 

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RACIST ZIO-NAZI’S: EVERYONE REMOVES BRA

NOVANEWS

 

Al-Jazeera producer and reporter Najwan Simri Diab recounts humiliating security check before meeting with PM Netanyahu. ‘I’m being treated like an enemy,’ she tells Ynet

Roee Nahmias

 

  01.12.11
 

“I was left with just my undershirt and trousers, and no shoes. The security guard examined the bra under my undershirt. She asked me to take the bra off too. A spokesperson from the office saw me in my undershirt and asked what was going on. When I told him what happened, he said, ‘Don’t create a drama.'”

Al-Jazeera producer and reporter Najwan Simri Diab on Wednesday recounted the  she underwent Tuesday before a meeting between  and foreign reporters.

 

Simri Diab, 31, told Ynet she was still shocked by the incident. Three of the news network’s staff members planned to attend the Jerusalem event, she said.

“We were invited to the event and I was asked to send the names of the staff members. That’s what I did – three days in advance. I, the office head Walid al-‘Umri, and reporter Shirin Abu ‘Aqla arrived at the event according to the scheduled timetable.

“Before our arrival, I received an angry phone call from our photographer, who was asked to arrive two hours earlier. He said everyone was allowed in apart from him and that all of his equipment was taken apart, including the screws of his camera’s battery. He said he and his assistant were asked to undress.”

Upon their arrival, Simri Diab and her two co-workers were asked to stand with the other foreign journalists in a queue for a security check.

“This is the sixth time we arrive at such an event and the second time during Netanyahu’s term. When it was our turn they saw that we had Israeli identity cards, but still took us aside. We waited for half an hour and saw more Arab journalists joining our queue. In fact, they created a queue for Arabs and a queue for other journalists. I was angry.”

After waiting for more than half an hour, the producer-reporter complained that she couldn’t stand up much longer because of her pregnancy. The security guards told her to sit down and wait.

“They later took me downstairs to the security check cell. They asked me to take off my coat and then my vest. I did. Then they asked me to take off my shirt. I took a deep breath and did it. I was left with just my undershirt and trousers, without my shoes and the rest of my equipment. The female officer felt me with her hands for 15 minutes in any place possible. I told her I was pregnant and asked her not to use the manual device, but compromised on that later too.”

 ‘So you won’t go in’

But the extensive security check did not end here, and she was later asked to remove her bra. “After she examined the bra under my undershirt, she asked me to take it off as well. I asked why, but she insisted. Her supervisor came over later and insisted as well. I refused, and she said, ‘Everyone removed it and so will you.’ I said, ‘I’m not taking it off even if I can’t go in.’ And she said, ‘So you won’t go in.'”

According to Simri Diab, men saw her too. “A spokesperson from the office saw me in my undershirt and asked what was going on. When I told him what happened, he said, ‘Don’t create a drama.’ The woman at the security check told him, ‘She refuses to be checked.’

“They sent me aside for 20 minutes and refused to return my belongings. They checked every single paper and document in my purse. They later returned all my items inside a box, and I had to arrange them for a long time.”

The other al-Jazeera reporter, who was waiting for her own security check, said she wanted to leave the event. The bureau head said he was asked to remove his trousers. “I got the feeling that even if I had arrived in a bikini, they would have asked me to remove it.”

Meridor acted differently

Simri Diab has been working for the al-Jazeera network for about eight years. She is originally from the north and currently resides in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Safafa.

She said this wasn’t the first time she had to undergo such a security check. “When we arrived to interview Minister Dan Meridor at the Prime Minister’s Office about half a year ago, they did the same thing and asked me to take off my trousers. They put the manual device in the most sensitive places and, what can you do, it beeped because of the zipper.”

Then, she said, the deputy prime minister intervened. “Minister Meridor saw it, was furious and told them, “If you don’t let them in I’ll take them home with me.’ So they agreed to let us in, but only with a personal escort.

“Unfortunately, we are used to having the security teams ask us to remove our trousers. A spokesman from the office told us yesterday, ‘We did the same with the Turkish team, and they do the same to me in the United States.’ So what? Am I supposed to feel better because others are humiliated?

 “I felt I was being humiliated for the sake of humiliation. I went back home and saw the prime minister 

The General Security Service stated in response, “All guests were subjected to a security check in accordance with the customary security procedures in such events. Three female reporters refused to be examined under these procedures and chose not to attend the event.”

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ZIO-NAZI BLACKLISTS INTERPAL A BRITISH CHARITY

NOVANEWS

Israel blacklists 163 foreign charities suspected of supporting terrorism

Preventing terrorism funds from infiltrating Israel is one of the goals of the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority.

By Chaim Levinson

The Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority has located 163 organizations contaminated with funds related to terrorism over the past three years, and issued specific orders prohibiting receiving money from them, Defense Ministry data shows.

Preventing terrorism funds from infiltrating Israel is one of the authority’s stated goals, no matter for what purpose the funds are being transferred. The organization’s investigators are in contact with similar international organizations in the UN and the United States, and their list totals 352 organizations. Bans issued by the authority are signed by either the defense minister or the security cabinet.

 

U.S. dollars (AP)

U.S. dollars (illustrative)

Photo by: AP

The proposed parliamentary committees of inquiry are meant to investigate the overseas financial sources of organizations allegedly damaging to Israeli soldiers, and check whether these sources are connected to terrorism. But it seems the authority has already done much of the committee’s work.

For instance, the authority banned Israeli organizations from receiving money from Interpal, a British charity which says its aim is to provide Palestinians with humanitarian aid and meet their basic needs. The organization has a turnover of 5 million pounds a year. After a number of investigations on suspicion of serving as a channel for funding for Hamas, Interpal was blacklisted in Israel and is no longer allowed to hold activities in the country or transfer funds to Israel, and activists belonging to the organization will be arrested if they arrive here.

The Charity Commission for England and Wales found Israel provided no proof that Interpal was connected to terrorism, but ordered the charity to break contact with a number of other organizations.

Other blacklisted groups include the Islamic National Bank, which has opened in Gaza; the Palestinian Relief Society in Switzerland; Pakistani humanitarian organization Wafa; Pakistani trust fund Rabbit, which is believed to be associated with Al-Qaida; the Afghan Support Committee; a British-based company set up by five Libyan businessmen and suspected of organizing terrorism in Libya; the Al Taqwa Bank, based in the Bahamas with branches in Europe and suspected connections to the Muslim Brotherhood; and Qatar Charity, which has signed a multimillion sponsorship deal with the Barcelona soccer club. The Turkish organization IHH was banned after the flotilla raid in May.

Israeli organizations about to go under scrutiny have come across these prohibitions before. “We heard from someone in the United States that there was a Qatari organization ready to support clinics,” said Hadas Ziv, in charge of public activity at Physicians for Human Rights. “We wanted to get money for them for that purpose, but we ran some checks and it turned out it was illegal to receive money from them in Israel. We abide by the law.”

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DOROTHY ONLINE NEWSLETTER

NOVANEWS

 

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem

Chair of West Midland PSC

 

Dear Friends,

Just 5 items below.  There is other news, too.  For one, the person who put out the video calling for murdering the Deputy Attorney General owned up to his antics, and although he apologized and said he did not really mean to call for killing, from what he was heard saying at a parliamentary meeting shown on channel 2 news tonight, he comes out very far right  though this is less evident in the report http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4012740,00.html.  He is now in police custody.

And there is information about Jewish Canadian racists  joining British racists in a Muslim-bashing affairhttp://www.haaretz.com/news/international/jewish-british-anti-muslim-event-in-toronto-draws-protests-arrests-1.336595 . Well, why shouldn’t some Jews be racist?  Jews, after all, are no better or worse than any other ethnic group.

But, this is not part of the 5 items below.

Item one relates the humiliating experience of a reporter who came to a scheduled meeting with Israel’s PM.  The type of experience that she endured is typical for leftists and Palestinians and other Arabs at Ben Gurion airport, but this disgusting custom has carried over now to other situations.

Item 2 reports that Israel blacklists 163 foreign charities.  The ones listed in the article are all from Arab sources, but the report says nothing about the sources of most of those blacklisted.

Item 3 is along the same lines—a law is pending to force people petitioning the High Court to reveal their funding sources.

You get the idea, right?  Israel’s leaders must be truly worried about ‘infiltrators.’  Israel is no longer sliding down a slippery slope.  It has slid, not quite all the way to the bottom yet, but very nearly.

In item 4 Jordan’s foreign minister warns that Israel’s refusal to accept the Arab League proposal (first offered in 2002 and then again affirmed in 2007) will bring ‘the world to view Israel as a country that is racist.’

In item 5 Amira Hass’s biting commentary on the row over the new proposed Chief of Staff hits not only the army but also the courts and the government.

I’m still waiting and hoping for that better day.  Please help it come by avidly supporting bds.

Thanks,

Dorothy

=======================================

1. Ynet,

January 12, 2011

Humiliating Check

Simri Diab. ‘What if I had arrived in a bikini?’ Photo courtesy of al-Jazeera

‘Shin Bet said everyone removes bra’

Al-Jazeera producer and reporter Najwan Simri Diab recounts humiliating security check before meeting with PM Netanyahu. ‘I’m being treated like an enemy,’ she tells Ynet

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4012564,00.html

Roee Nahmias

“I was left with just my undershirt and trousers, and no shoes. The security guard examined the bra under my undershirt. She asked me to take the bra off too. A spokesperson from the office saw me in my undershirt and asked what was going on. When I told him what happened, he said, ‘Don’t create a drama.'”

Al-Jazeera producer and reporter Najwan Simri Diab on Wednesday recounted the extensive security check she underwent Tuesday before a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and foreign reporters.

More Humiliation

Simri Diab, 31, told Ynet she was still shocked by the incident. Three of the news network’s staff members planned to attend the Jerusalem event, she said.

“We were invited to the event and I was asked to send the names of the staff members. That’s what I did – three days in advance. I, the office head Walid al-‘Umri, and reporter Shirin Abu ‘Aqla arrived at the event according to the scheduled timetable.

“Before our arrival, I received an angry phone call from our photographer, who was asked to arrive two hours earlier. He said everyone was allowed in apart from him and that all of his equipment was taken apart, including the screws of his camera’s battery. He said he and his assistant were asked to undress.”

Upon their arrival, Simri Diab and her two co-workers were asked to stand with the other foreign journalists in a queue for a security check.

“This is the sixth time we arrive at such an event and the second time during Netanyahu’s term. When it was our turn they saw that we had Israeli identity cards, but still took us aside. We waited for half an hour and saw more Arab journalists joining our queue. In fact, they created a queue for Arabs and a queue for other journalists. I was angry.”

After waiting for more than half an hour, the producer-reporter complained that she couldn’t stand up much longer because of her pregnancy. The security guards told her to sit down and wait.

“They later took me downstairs to the security check cell. They asked me to take off my coat and then my vest. I did. Then they asked me to take off my shirt. I took a deep breath and did it. I was left with just my undershirt and trousers, without my shoes and the rest of my equipment. The female officer felt me with her hands for 15 minutes in any place possible. I told her I was pregnant and asked her not to use the manual device, but compromised on that later too.”

‘So you won’t go in’

But the extensive security check did not end here, and she was later asked to remove her bra. “After she examined the bra under my undershirt, she asked me to take it off as well. I asked why, but she insisted. Her supervisor came over later and insisted as well. I refused, and she said, ‘Everyone removed it and so will you.’ I said, ‘I’m not taking it off even if I can’t go in.’ And she said, ‘So you won’t go in.'”

According to Simri Diab, men saw her too. “A spokesperson from the office saw me in my undershirt and asked what was going on. When I told him what happened, he said, ‘Don’t create a drama.’ The woman at the security check told him, ‘She refuses to be checked.’

“They sent me aside for 20 minutes and refused to return my belongings. They checked every single paper and document in my purse. They later returned all my items inside a box, and I had to arrange them for a long time.”

The other al-Jazeera reporter, who was waiting for her own security check, said she wanted to leave the event. The bureau head said he was asked to remove his trousers. “I got the feeling that even if I had arrived in a bikini, they would have asked me to remove it.”

Meridor acted differently

Simri Diab has been working for the al-Jazeera network for about eight years. She is originally from the north and currently resides in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Safafa.

She said this wasn’t the first time she had to undergo such a security check. “When we arrived to interview Minister Dan Meridor at the Prime Minister’s Office about half a year ago, they did the same thing and asked me to take off my trousers. They put the manual device in the most sensitive places and, what can you do, it beeped because of the zipper.”

Then, she said, the deputy prime minister intervened. “Minister Meridor saw it, was furious and told them, “If you don’t let them in I’ll take them home with me.’ So they agreed to let us in, but only with a personal escort.

“Unfortunately, we are used to having the security teams ask us to remove our trousers. A spokesman from the office told us yesterday, ‘We did the same with the Turkish team, and they do the same to me in the United States.’ So what? Am I supposed to feel better because others are humiliated?

“I felt I was being humiliated for the sake of humiliation. I went back home and saw the prime minister talking about the Iranian threat. I wanted to be there to inform him of what I had to go through. I’m being treated like an enemy. I will not give up my private space anywhere.”

The General Security Service stated in response, “All guests were subjected to a security check in accordance with the customary security procedures in such events. Three female reporters refused to be examined under these procedures and chose not to attend the event.”

=======================================

2.  Haaretz,

January 12, 2011

Israel blacklists 163 foreign charities suspected of supporting terrorism

Preventing terrorism funds from infiltrating Israel is one of the goals of the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-blacklists-163-foreign-charities-suspected-of-supporting-terrorism-1.336492

By Chaim Levinson

The Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority has located 163 organizations contaminated with funds related to terrorism over the past three years, and issued specific orders prohibiting receiving money from them, Defense Ministry data shows.

Preventing terrorism funds from infiltrating Israel is one of the authority’s stated goals, no matter for what purpose the funds are being transferred. The organization’s investigators are in contact with similar international organizations in the UN and the United States, and their list totals 352 organizations. Bans issued by the authority are signed by either the defense minister or the security cabinet.

The proposed parliamentary committees of inquiry are meant to investigate the overseas financial sources of organizations allegedly damaging to Israeli soldiers, and check whether these sources are connected to terrorism. But it seems the authority has already done much of the committee’s work.

For instance, the authority banned Israeli organizations from receiving money from Interpal, a British charity which says its aim is to provide Palestinians with humanitarian aid and meet their basic needs. The organization has a turnover of 5 million pounds a year. After a number of investigations on suspicion of serving as a channel for funding for Hamas, Interpal was blacklisted in Israel and is no longer allowed to hold activities in the country or transfer funds to Israel, and activists belonging to the organization will be arrested if they arrive here.

The Charity Commission for England and Wales found Israel provided no proof that Interpal was connected to terrorism, but ordered the charity to break contact with a number of other organizations.

Other blacklisted groups include the Islamic National Bank, which has opened in Gaza; the Palestinian Relief Society in Switzerland; Pakistani humanitarian organization Wafa; Pakistani trust fund Rabbit, which is believed to be associated with Al-Qaida; the Afghan Support Committee; a British-based company set up by five Libyan businessmen and suspected of organizing terrorism in Libya; the Al Taqwa Bank, based in the Bahamas with branches in Europe and suspected connections to the Muslim Brotherhood; and Qatar Charity, which has signed a multimillion sponsorship deal with the Barcelona soccer club. The Turkish organization IHH was banned after the flotilla raid in May.

Israeli organizations about to go under scrutiny have come across these prohibitions before. “We heard from someone in the United States that there was a Qatari organization ready to support clinics,” said Hadas Ziv, in charge of public activity at Physicians for Human Rights. “We wanted to get money for them for that purpose, but we ran some checks and it turned out it was illegal to receive money from them in Israel. We abide by the law.”

=====================================

3.  Haaretz,

January 12, 2011

Court petitioners may be forced to reveal funding sources

Under Likud MK Danny Danon’s proposal, public petitioners to the High Court of Justice would have to state whether they receive any funding from foreign sources, and if so, for what purpose,

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/court-petitioners-may-be-forced-to-reveal-funding-sources-1.336493

By Chaim Levinson

Public petitioners to the High Court of Justice would have to state in their petition whether they receive any funding from foreign sources, and if so, for what purpose, according to a bill that MK Danny Danon (Likud ) plans to submit to the Knesset this week.

Public petitioners are groups or individuals with no direct interest in the case’s outcome. They account for a significant portion of the petitions submitted to the High Court every year. Among the prominent public petitions filed recently are one by environmental groups against Yoav Galant’s appointment as the army’s next chief of staff and several by Peace Now demanding the evacuation of settlement outposts.

Often, public petitioners file jointly with a private petitioner, meaning someone who does have a direct personal interest in the outcome. Danon’s bill, however, would apply to all public petitioners, without exception.

Danon was also a leading advocate of the recently approved motion to establish a parliamentary committee of inquiry into left-wing nongovernmental organizations. “As part of the delegitimization campaign that has been waged for several years now against Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, hostile bodies try to influence the activities of Israel’s governing authorities via public petitions,” Danon wrote in the explanatory notes to the bill. “The parameters set in the bill will enable the court to ensure that there are no additional, non-Israeli motives or organizations behind the public petitioners.”

==========================

4.  Haaretz,

January 12, 2011

Jordan FM: Refusal of two-state vision exposes Israel as ‘apartheid’ state

Jordan FM Nasser Judeh says failure to solve Mideast conflict on basis of the Arab peace initiative would lead to increased tension and instability in the region.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/jordan-fm-refusal-of-two-state-vision-exposes-israel-as-apartheid-state-1.336650

[for those interested in the details of the Arab Peace Initiative first proposed in 2002 and again in 2007 see http://www.al-bab.com/arab/docs/league/peace02.htm Israel ignored the initiative, never affirming nor denying it]

By DPA

Tags: Middle East peace Arab peace initiative

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said Wednesday that Israel’s refusal of the two-state solution would expose it to the world as an “apartheid” country.

“His Majesty the king (Abdullah II) has made it clear that if we fail to achieve the two-state solution, then the alternative will be that the world will have eventually to view Israel as a state that practices racial policies,” Judeh said.

The foreign minister was testifying before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the upper house of parliament on the latest developments of the deadlocked direct peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel, the official Petra news agency said.

Judeh said that the recent recognition of the Palestinian state by Latin American countries “will put pressure on Israel and remind it that the world will not accept its unilateral actions” in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

He expected “more states” to follow in the steps of Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay in recognizing a Palestinian state.

Judeh warned that the failure to come up with a solution for the Palestine question in accordance with the Arab peace initiative “will have dire consequences in terms of escalating tension and instability.”

The Arab peace initiative offers Israel full recognition by all Arab states if it pulls out from all Arab territories it occupied during the Six-Day War in 1967, including East Jerusalem.

================================

5.  Haaretz,

January 12, 2011

The nation is behind you, Galant

The synergy between settlers and soldiers derives from the intimate relationship between defender and defended, and from the basic fact that the IDF is a people’s army.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/the-nation-is-behind-you-galant-1.336533

By Amira Hass

The seizure of public land, unauthorized road paving, misleading testimony, double standards in land allocation – all under the cover of an army uniform. Is this a precis of the history of Israeli colonialism? Not at all. These claims are the basis of the High Court of Justice petition by the Green Movement political party against Yoav Galant’s appointment as the next Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, accusations that Maariv journalist Kalman Liebeskind has made repeatedly in investigative reports over the past two years.

In the meantime, the High Court has asked the attorney general on Monday to explain how complaints lodged against Galant have been handled. Here is an explanation that has already been written, but in invisible ink:

The IDF, the greenhouse that has nurtured Galant, is the major land broker in Palestinian areas that were occupied in 1967. All the land that private speculators have managed to purchase by cunning and stealth does not come close to the vast territory stolen on military orders signed by our finest commanders. The army’s seizure of land “for military and security purposes” quickly turned into large-scale appropriation for the exclusive benefit of Israel’s super-citizens, at the expense of the subpar species.

The IDF is simultaneously the representative and the defender of a campaign to peddle the Bible as a real estate deed. Public land, private land, rocky ground, springs, unregistered land, irrigated land, unirrigated land, built-up land, precious artifacts of agricultural and architectural traditions – it’s all the same. Military and civilian jurists alike, ensconced in the robes of knowledge and boasting degrees conferred by the finest universities, have concocted infinite stratagems and machinations to plunder all types of land.

The jurists and the military commanders, like the soldiers who tack land seizure orders or demolition orders on olive trees, are the representatives, the emissaries, of the campaign. But in a state in which military service constitutes an admissions test for a successful political career, any lines that distinguish between those who devise policy and those who implement it become blurred.

Lest there be a misunderstanding, let me state that the settlers also play the role of emissary. Even when the puppet rises against its maker and protector, it is still an instrument, and it is implementing the consistent policy of undermining the prospect of a viable Palestinian state (as compared to a state of Bantustans, of the sort that Kadima and Labor are advocating.

Generations of soldiers and commanding officers owe to the settlement enterprise their social capital – their prestige – and their livelihood in the army, politics or business. As the settlement enterprise grows, so does the number of Israeli Jews who profit from it, whether directly or indirectly. And as that dual expansion takes place, the dispossession of those who aren’t Israeli Jews also increases, as does the need for more security techniques. Israelis serving in the army – whether recent recruits, career soldiers or reservists – are depicted as altruistic, as having no agenda of their own, as the prime human material behind these security techniques.

The synergy between settlers and soldiers derives from the intimate relationship between defender and defended, and from the basic fact that this is a people’s army. In a state in which the social welfare component has long since become watered down, it is the settlements that have become the best prospect for a socioeconomic upgrade for Israeli Jews.

For Galant, the synergy appears to have gone awry; according to the complaints, his actions were a scaled-down version of what his employer, the IDF, has been doing on a macro level.

If he lived in the West Bank settlement of Ofra and he took over land in the neighboring villages of Silwad and Ein Yabrud – just as he is accused of doing to his Jewish neighbors in Moshav Amikam – those who compile a report or file a complaint about it might be subject to a parliamentary investigation.

It would be pointless to file an altogether different kind of petition: one that protests Galant’s appointment as chief of staff not because of his private actions but because of the direct responsibility that he, as GOC Southern Command, bears for the killing of hundreds of civilians in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, in non-combat circumstances.

The nation is behind you, Galant.

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THE CULTURE OF THE OCCUPATION. (1)

NOVANEWS

January 11, 2011

by Debbie Menon  

WHY DO THEY HATE US ?

By Layla Anwar

I was not sure how to title this post, for it is a fairly complex subject that needs to take into account several factors. I will start easy and simple and see where that will take me…

 

IRAQI REFUGEES WAIT IN LIMBO

Echoes I hear from Baghdad and I will refer mainly to Baghdad as the center – the eye of the storm, so to speak, and from my observation of Iraqi refugee youth outside of Iraq, either those who have already emigrated – been placed in another country or are still caught in a limbo, in some psychological no man’s land, unable to move back or move forward…

The age group I shall focus on is the 15-25 years old or so. Bear in mind this is not an in depth sociological study nor is it meant to be. It is more like a mix of observations, experience and listening to people.

But before I do, I need to rewind back in time a little, first to the sanctions years then to the 2003 U.S occupation.

These young men and women were born during the sanction years or just a little before. The bulk of their growing up life experience in Iraq was marked by the first Gulf War and the subsequent sanctions years that lasted 13 years, in other words years perceived as years of “deprivation”.

If you have not lived the sanctions you would not know what I am talking about. The only image that comes to mind, a close enough picture – is one huge prison with transparent windows, where you are allowed to watch the outside world but never participate in it.

The sanctions years were crucial in preparing the whole psychological atmosphere for what was to come later – the brutal destruction of Iraqi culture and society.

Yet despite these draconian sanctions that left the majority of Iraqis in a state of total helplessness, the societal fabric even though pulled at the seams, had not cracked open yet, nor did it disintegrate like in the subsequent post 2003 years.

It remained a deeply secular society in its intra sect /intra ethnic dealings. Religion played a role,  sure, but remained confined to the personal and overall cultural realm. After all, Iraq is an Arab country and Islamic contributions to the world came forth from the Abbassid period, where Baghdad was one of the most important centers of learning and contributions to world civilization. But Religion, never NEVER occupied the center stage as it has done post 2003.

A parenthesis here – Every time I attempt to write an overall picture of the Iraq of before and after, I need to take a break, a choking feeling grips me in my throat and the rage rises again, like some lava from a volcano unwilling to die down.

That is why, when I hear shits of Westerners talk of the Iraq of before and after, in particular the garbage Americans the so called experts who made a fortune dissecting us like insects, in occupied Iraq, I honestly want to go for their jugular, literally… These are opportunistic bastards who came late on the scene and are still aiming for a best seller. They sicken me, my contempt for them sickens me…

That is why I refuse, categorically to read ANYTHING, any analysis of the War on Iraq by an American – apart from an occasional article that never fails to make me cringe with disgust.

Who am I ? The eternal Question . Have not figured it out fully yet . All you need to know about me is that I am a Middle Easterner, an Arab Woman – into my 40′s and old enough to know better. I have no homeland per se. I live in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Egypt simultaneously…All the rest is icing on the cake.

Posted in WorldComments Off on THE CULTURE OF THE OCCUPATION. (1)

FALK: ISRAEL’S VIOLENCE AGAINST SEPARAION WALL PROTESTS-ALONG THE ROAD OF STATE TERRORISM

NOVANEWS

 

January 10, 2011

by Debbie Menon 

By Richard Falk STAFF WRITER

 

Palestinian, foreign and Israeli peace activists are held back by Israeli soldiers as they demonstrate in the West Bank village of Artas close to the Biblical town of Bethlehem to protest against the building of the Israeli controversial separation barrier across Palestinian land, 25 May 2007. Israel justifies its massive barrier, made of electric fencing, barbed wire and concrete walls, by saying it needs to stop potential attackers from infiltrating the country and settlements in the West Bank. 

In 2004, the International Court of Justice issued a non-binding ruling that parts of the 650-kilometre (410-mile) barrier criss-crossing the West Bank are illegal and should be torn down. Israel has vowed to complete the project. AFP Photo Credit: MUSA Al-SHAER

One of the flashpoints in Occupied Palestine in recent years has involved peaceful weekly protests against continued Israeli construction of a separation wall extending throughout the whole of the West Bank. A particularly active site for these protests has been the village of Bil’in near the city of Ramallah, and it is here where the Israeli penchant to use deadly force to disrupt nonviolent demonstrations raises deep legal and moral concerns.

These concerns are accentuated when it is realized that way back in 2004 the International Court of Justice (the highest judicial body in the UN System) in a rare near unanimous ruling declared the construction of the wall on occupied Palestinian territory to be unlawful, and reached findings ordering Israel to dismantle the wall and compensatePalestinians for the harm done. Israel has defied this ruling, and so the wall remains, and work continues on segments yet to be completed.

It is against this background that the world should take note of the shocking death of Jawaher Abu Rahma on the first day of 2011 as a result of suffocation resulting from tear gas inhalation while not even being part of the Bil’in demonstration. Witnesses confirm that she was standing above the actual demonstration as an interested spectator. It was a large year end demonstration that included the participation of 350 Israeli and international activists. There was no excuse for the use of such a harsh method of disrupting a protest against a feature of the occupation that had been pronounced to be unlawful by an authoritative international body.

As it happens the brother of Ms. Rahman had been killed a few months earlier by a tear gas canister fired with a high velocity from a close range. And there are many other reports of casualties caused by Israel’s extreme methods of crowd control. International activists have also been injured and harshly detained in the past, including the Irish Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire. Together these deaths exhibit a general unacceptable Israeli disposition to use excessive force against Palestinians living under occupation. Just a day later an unarmed young Palestinian, Ahmed Maslamany, peacefully on his way to work was shot to death at a West Bank checkpoint because he failed to follow an instruction given in Hebrew, a language he did not understand.

When this lethal violence is directed against unarmed civilians seeking to uphold fundamental rights to land, routine mobility, and self-determination  it dramatizes just how lawless a state Israel has become and how justifiable and necessary is the growing world campaign of delegitimation centered upon the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS). Each instance of Israeli excessive and criminal violence inflicts suffering on innocent Palestinian civilians, but it also is a form of martyrdom in the nonviolent Legitimacy War that the Palestinians have been waging within Palestine and on the symbolic global battlefields of world public opinion with growing success.

Israel knows very well how to control unruly crowds with a minimum of violence. It has demonstrated this frequently by the way it gently deals, if it deals at all, with a variety of settler demonstrations that pose far greater threats to social peace than do these anti-wall demonstrations.

It is impossible to separate this excessive use of force by Israel on the ground against Palestinians from the indiscriminate use of force against civilians in Israel’s larger occupation policy, as illustrated by the cruel punitive blockade that has been imposed on the people of Gaza for more than three years and by the criminal manner in which carried out attacks for three weeks on the defenseless population in Gaza exactly two years ago. Is it not time for the international community to step in and offer this long vulnerable Palestinian population protection against Israeli violence?

Underneath Israel’s reliance on excessive force as a matter of strategic doctrine are thinly disguised racist ideas: Israeli lives are worth many times the value of Palestinian lives and Palestinians, like all Arabs, only understand the language of force (an essentially genocidal idea launched influentially years ago in a notorious book The Arab Mind by Raphael Patai published in 1973. It is also part of a punitive approach to the occupation, especially in Gaza, where WikiLeakscables confirm what was long suspected:

“As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to [U.S, Embassy economic officers] on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gaza economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.” (cable reported on Jan. 5, 2011, Norwegian daily) Then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a speech delivered in January 2008 said of the blockade: “We will not harm the supply of food for children, medicine for those who need it and fuel to save lives..But there is no justification for demanding we allow residents of Gaza to live normal live while shells and rockets are fired from their streets and courtyards (at southern Israel).”

This is a clear confession of collective punishment of a civilian population by Israel’s political leader at the time, violating the unconditional prohibition of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Such gross criminality should subject Israeli political leaders to international mechanisms designed to impose accountability on individuals responsible for the commission of crimes against humanity. It also makes it evident that the blockade is punitive, not responsive to cross-border violence that incidentally at all times was far more destructive of Palestinian lives and property than that of Israelis.

Beyond this, the Hamas leadership in Gaza had since its election repeatedly attempted to establish a ceasefire along its border, which when agreed upon with the help of Egypt reduced casualties on both sides to almost zero after being establishment in mid-2008. This ceasefire was provocatively disrupted by Israel on November 5, 2008 to set the stage for launching of the massive attacks on Gaza, lasting for three weeks after being initiated on December 27th of 2008.

In that war, if such a one-sided conflict should be so described, the criminality of the tactics relied upon by the Israeli Defense Forces Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. There is no reasonable basis for any longer doubting the substance of the allegations of criminality associated with those three weeks of all out attacks on the people and civilian infrastructure, including UN schools and buildings. has been abundantly documented by The Goldstone Report, by a comprehensive fact-finding mission headed by John Dugard under the auspices of the Arab League, and by detailed reports issued by

The Goldstone Report correctly noted that the overall impression left by the attacks was an extension of the Dahiya Doctrine attributed to an Israeli general during the Lebanon War 2006 in which the Israeli destruction from the air of a district in South Beirut was a deliberately excessive response, at the expense of civilian society, because of being an alleged Hezbollah stronghold, and in response to a border incident in which ten Israeli soldiers lost their lives in an encounter with Hezbollah combatants.

The 2009 Goldstone report Gadi Eisenkot, who said, “What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases. […] This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.” In effect, the civilian infrastructure of adversaries such as Hamas or Hezbollah are treated as permissible military targets, which is not only an overt violation of the most elementary norms of the law of war and of universal morality, but an avowal of a doctrine of violence that needs to be called by its proper name: STATE TERRORISM. quoted IDF Northern Command Chief

We have reached a stage where the oppressiveness of the Israeli occupation, extending now for more than 43 years and maintained in multiple daily violations of international humanitarian law.  In its essence and by design the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip should be understood and condemned as STATE TERRORISM as exhibited both in structure and practice.

Richard Falk , Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University is also author of  Explorations of the Edge of Time : The Prospects for World Order;Crimes of  War: Iraq and The Costs of War: International Lawthe UN and World Order after Iraq. He is the current  UN’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on FALK: ISRAEL’S VIOLENCE AGAINST SEPARAION WALL PROTESTS-ALONG THE ROAD OF STATE TERRORISM

MONDOWEISS ONLINE NEWSLETTER

NOVANEWS

 

01/12/2011

Another name is registered in Gaza

Jan 11, 2011

Max Ajl

 

I am trying to come up with something to say about the body I saw yesterday in the morgue at Kamal Adwan hospital. That body had belonged to an old man, 65 years old, who was shot through the neck by an Israeli sniper from 300 meters away while he was tying up his donkey on land he’d been farming for 40 years. An Israeli sniper murdered him for trespassing on his own land next to his own home in the buffer zone. He is the third civilian to have been killed the buffer zone in Gaza since I got here.

No words will bring him back, and no coverage from mainstream news agencies will resurrect him. No eulogy will roll back time for his fatherless children. There’s no way to beg that IDF soldier not to murder Shaban Karmout, there’s no way to warp this world and ask him not to tie up his donkey but to remain inside his small home in Beit Lehiya where it’s safe and the Israeli army can’t shoot him. And there’s no outrage into which one can rub the faces of those who tolerate outrages that will outrage them enough to say that this is one outrage too many. It was not one too many, because there will be more, there will be many more, and tallying up their names in our notebooks with acid in our eyes will do nothing to prevent the slow filling of Gaza’s cemeteries with old men who remember fleeing in terror before Zionist militia.

What can I say about Shaban Karmout that doesn’t turn him into a statistic in the endless pile of corpses that might slowly overwhelm the psyches of the conflicted people who support this obscenity? Or those who are not conflicted but simply accept that murdering old men is OK because once our old men were murdered?

Nothing passes like that

without account

All that you have done to our people

is registered in notebooks

So that’s what I can do: register it in my notebook. It is registered, and there is an empty line after Shaban’s name. That is for those who they kill tomorrow.

This post originally appeared on Max Ajl’s blog Jewbonics.

 


Solidarity in Lyd: ‘We strongly disbelieve that Jews can demonstrate by themselves ala Tel Aviv’

Jan 11, 2011

Alex Kane

 

dsc00579

(Photo:  Alex Kane)

Lyd, Israel–For the past year and a half, Israelis, Palestinians and international activists have held weekly demonstrations in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, protesting against the evictions of Palestinian families there and the move by settlers to take over their homes.

The solidarity movement, which has garnered international attention, is now expanding to different threatened neighborhoods in East Jerusalem like Issawiya and Silwan, as well as to areas in Israel such as Al-Araqib.

The latest area in Israel to see Sheikh Jarrah activists demonstrating is the mixed Jewish and Palestinian city Lyd, where, on one of the stormiest days of the year in December 2010, the Palestinian Abu Eid family’s 7 homes were demolished by Israeli authorities.

 

dsc00591

(Photo:  Alex Kane)

Weekly protests, like today’s evening protest, have been held in Lyd against the demolitions. The demonstrations see Israeli activists involved in the Sheikh Jarrah struggle, as well as some Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah who have been evicted or are threatened with eviction, join the residents of Lyd.

“People outside of Israel have to know what’s happening,” said Revka Vetenberg, an Israeli activist involved in the Sheikh Jarrah struggle who was demonstrating in Lyd. “Our Israeli government doesn’t want peace. They want only war, to say that this is our territory.”

The demolitions left 67 people homeless, with the men sleeping in tents and the women sleeping in their neighbors’ homes. The Israeli authorities said that the Abu Eid family did not have permits to expand their homes; permits are routinely denied to Palestinians to build, while Israeli Jews can build freely at will.

Chanting slogans of resistance and unity while marching down a street with activists drumming in the Palestinian area of Lyd, over 100 people protested the destruction of the Abu Eid family’s homes early this evening. While a significant police presence was there, no arrests were made. At the end of the demonstration, a concert was held with musicians from various groups joining together.

The activists from Sheikh Jarrah say they see the struggle in Lyd as the same struggle they have been fighting in East Jerusalem. The idea, activists say, is to expand and connect the struggle from Sheikh Jarrah to other areas with similar issues.

“We believe that these things are strongly connected. We strongly disbelieve that Jews have to demonstrate by themselves inside Tel Aviv like the Israeli left usually does–demonstrating by themselves without Palestinians and even without Israeli-Palestinians,” said Daniel Argo, a leader in the Sheikh Jarrah solidarity movement. “All the local issues are drawing us a bigger picture. In the longer term, this kind of activity can mobilize a bigger part of Jewish Israeli society to see with their own eyes what is happening on the ground.”

Buthaina Dabit, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who is the director of the New Israel Fund’s Shatil project, sees the oppression of Palestinians in the occupied territories as similar to the oppression of Palestinian citizens in Israel.

“We are one nation. We are oppressed by the Israeli law here and there, and by the military forces,” said Dabit. “We are very happy to make this cooperation [with the Sheikh Jarrah movement], and to meet our Palestinian relatives because we are one part. Together, we are more effective.”

Alex Kane is a blogger and journalist based in New York City. He blogs on Israel/Palestine and Islamophobia in the U.S. at alexbkane.wordpress.com, where this post originally appeared. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

 


Congressman Peter King suggests that Muslims are not American

Jan 11, 2011

Philip Weiss

 

Lee Fang at ThinkProgress. Note that even the Conservative Political Action Conference has frozen out King’s interviewer, Frank Gaffney, for being a “crazy bigot.”

Joining anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney on Gaffney’s radio program last week, King doubled down on his promise to launch a witch-hunt against Muslims…

GAFFNEY: It sounds like what you’re recognizing — thank God — is that within the Muslim community, even in this country, let alone elsewhere, folks are finding an environment in which on the one hand it is very easy to be radicalized if you will, to be brought to an adherence to Sharia which leads to jihad. But also, there’s an enomorous pressure on those within the community presumably I would imagine you agree from the Muslim Brotherhood which is much in place in this country to not to come forward, to not help us defeat what really is our common foe: namely the folks that would impose Sharia on all of us.

KING: Yeah, and Frank, this is very unusual for our country because despite a person’s ethnic background or religious background, when a war begins, we’re all Americans. But in this case, this is not the situation. And whether it’s pressure, whether it’s cultural tradition, whatever, the fact is the Muslim community does not cooperate anywhere near to the extent that it should. The irony is that we’re living in two different worlds. One is the real world that I find when I’m talking with police officers, talking with federal law enforcement authorities. And when I raise the question of Muslim cooperation, they look at me like ‘oh of course not, no there’s no cooperation, we don’t anticipate that.’ You know, ‘We never expect cooperation.’ They try but hardly ever get it.

 


Amnesty calls Abdallah Abu Rahma ‘prisoner of conscience jailed solely for speaking out’

Jan 11, 2011

Philip Weiss

 

Amnesty International has taken a significant step and upgraded the status of Abdallah Abu Rahma and condemned the Israeli military court:

Detained since December 2009, Abdallah Abu Rahma, a school teacher, was supposed to be released on 18 November 2010, but has been kept in detention at the military prosecution’s request. He has now been in prison for 13 months.”By extending Abdallah Abu Rahma’s sentence the Israeli authorities appear to be seeking not only to punish him further in a case where the prosecution’s evidence was questionable to begin with, but to deter others from participating in legitimate protests,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Amnesty International believes Abdallah Abu Rahma to be a prisoner of conscience, jailed solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and assembly. As such we call for his immediate and unconditional release.”

 

Birthright Israel calls on its alumni to ‘take back Zionism’

Jan 11, 2011

K. Feldman

 

takebackzionism logo

One more for the “War is peace” file: Birthright Israel alumni are invited to attend a February 1st kick-off event for a new (self-described) “international movement” called Take Back Zionism. The evening’s theme:

“Zionism is Humanitarianism.” Holocaust survivor-turned-ultra-hawk Elie Wiesel is the headliner, with an introduction by co-founding Birthright father, hedge fund demi-billionaire Michael Steinhardt. Promotional materials promise festivities will include “Israel’s Special Ops Humanitarian Task force” and “Israel’s Disaster Recovery Work in Haiti, New Orleans and Sri Lankaz [sic].” Tickets are $25 a pop, $150 for the VIP reception/open bar with Wiesel. If I don’t get to hold Baby Israel and hug his Haitian mother, I’m going to be very upset.

In many ways, Wiesel is the perfect front man for Birthright’s new venture. “Jerusalem is above politics,” Wiesel wrotein an open letter in April, echoing Birthright’s insistent claims of presenting Israel through an “apolitical” lens. (Conveniently, being “above politics” helps render institutions immune to political challenges.) “[Jerusalem] belongs to the Jewish people and is much more than a city, it is what binds one Jew to another,” Wiesel continued, adding, “And, contrary to certain media reports, Jews, Christians and Muslims ARE allowed to build their homes anywhere in the city.” Israel as exceptional, Israel as belonging not to its actual citizens but rather to diaspora Jewry, Israel as the perennial victim of the media’s slandering—it’s surprising Birthright and Wiesel don’t team up for hasbara more often.

Note that the evening’s headliner isn’t a David Grossman, someone to rehabilitate Zionism from the Avigdor Liebermans. Take Back Zionism is sponsored by the Birthright Israel Foundation-affiliated Jewish Enrichment Center, an Orthodox outfit that offers programming that ranges from challah baking to screenings of Crossing the Line: the Intifada Comes to Campus, the latest from the rabid anti-Muslim filmmaker who brought us Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.

Take Back Zionism’s partners are the usual right wing pro-Israel groups: Stand with Us, the David Project, AIPAC, Zionist Organization of America, and so forth. But none of this should be surprising given that Birthright co-founders Michael Steinhardt and Charles Bronfman are both former trustees of AIPAC’s one-off think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“Take Back Zionism”—from whom? From the delegitimizers? “Contemporary discourse seeks to narrowly define Zionism and attack it by limiting its scope,” the website reads, as if to argue, “Despite what the Israel haters say, Zionism is not the suffering of Gazans, the interminable Occupation, the Judaization of East Jerusalem, the forced ghettoization of Negev Bedouin, or any other fiction-based headline.” Birthright’s “Zionism is Humanitarianism” endeavor invites young people to retreat into the Israel-right-or-wrong bunker—and then put on blinders, just to make sure there is no reckoning with the very real humanitarian crises underway between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

Take Back Zionism exudes that familiar stink of desperation that increasingly seems to emanate from everything the American Jewish establishment does these days in relation to Israel and young people. It feels like an aging generation’s attempted Astroturf operation that’s grossly misjudged its desired base. Yes, the young will eat the old. I hope.

Then again, there seem to be plenty of Birthright alumni who’ve bought into what Bronfman calls “the selling of Jewishness to Jews.” At takebackzionism.org, visitors are invited to submit their own answers to the prompt “Zionism is…,” which are then featured on a scrolling marquis. With casual bellicosity, one woman named Hadassah offered, “The reason we have the state of Israel, to show the Arabs it is our birthright.” A visitor named Brad ventured, “Manifest Destiny of the Jews”—let’s hope, against all odds, it was intended as critique. 

“There are no right answers!” the website assures; it’s doubtful they’d approve a definition of Zionism that reminded visitors, as New Historian-turned-hawk Benny Morris put it unapologetically, “A Jewish state would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians…There was no choice but to expel the population.” Ditto a submission of Hannah Arendt’s formulation of Zionism as “German-inspired nationalism.” (Keep those words in mind when watching videos of the Birthright extravaganza known as the “Mega Event,” described by one former American Birthright tour leader as “a fascist rally.”)

Paging Jewish Voice for Peace: when you interrupted Netanyahu in New Orleans with correctives like “the Occupation delegitimizes Israel,” you made me proud to be young and Jewish. 73% of Birthright alumni describe their fun bus tours as “life changing”; the hawkish Israel on Campus Coalition boasts over 50% of their pro-Israel activists are Birthright alumni.

On Thursday, Netanyahu announced $100 million of Israeli government funding for Birthright over the next three years, with a goal of bringing 51,000 diaspora Jews to Israel per year. JVP, please raise hell in New York on Februrary 1st and help take back the young from Birthright’s clenches. If only a bunch of left-wing billionaires would get together and realize JVP’s alternate vision of a free, ten-day Israel trip open to both Jews and Palestinians…

 

Israel accelerates rate of killing Palestinians in early 2011

Jan 11, 2011

Seham

 

And other news from Today in Palestine:

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

Extremist Jews raze 20 graves in Maamanullah Cemetery
Extremist Jews razed around 20 graves in the Islamic historical Maamanullah Cemetery in occupied Jerusalem in an apparent attempt to gradually erase the Islamic identity of the holy city.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87Shepherd Hotel developer top donor to GOP foreign affairs chair Ros-Lehtinen
Irving Moskowitz, the retired Florida businessman who is developing a controversial Jewish apartment project at East Jerusalem’s Shepherd Hotel, is a top campaign contributor to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the new GOP chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, campaign finance records show. 
http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen/0111/Shepherd_

Mufti’s descendents: Shepherd Hotel ours
After Jerusalem court rejects petition against construction of Jewish neighborhood on site of derelict hotel, Husseini family calls for ‘international presence to protect Palestinian residents’ property’.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4011822,00.html

Shepherd Hotel Demolition an Outrage
MIFTAH strongly condemns the January 9 demolition of the Shepherd Hotel in east Jerusalem. The hotel, originally belonging to the prominent Haj Amin Al Hussein of Jerusalem was torn down to make way for a new settlement enclave in the eastern sector of the city. American Jewish millionaire and settlement advocate Irving Moskowitz supposedly bought the building although the sale is still under scrutiny. According to Israeli plans, 20 luxury homes exclusively for Jewish settlers will be built on the hotel grounds in the heart of the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. 
http://www.miftah.org/Display.cfm?DocId=23032&CategoryId=2

Palestinian Activist Attacked by Settlers in the South Hebron Hills
On Friday, January 7th, at 10am, Israeli settlers attacked Azmi Shoyokhi, a general member of all National Committees in the West Bank, while he was supporting Palestinian farmers in Om Al-Arrays, in the South Hebron Hills. About a dozen settlers surrounded Azmi, striking him in his head. Israeli military along with police were in the area and witnessed the attack, but they did nothing to intervene.
http://palestinesolidarityproject.org/2011/01/08/palestinian-activist-attacked-by-settlers-in-the-south-hebron-hills/

Silwan activists ask EU for protection against Israel’s actions
Letter to EU diplomats also requests that Palestinian activist Adnan Jith, recently banned from Jerusalem for four months, be granted political asylum.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/silwan-activists-ask-eu-for-protection-against-israel-s-actions-1.336265?localLinksEnabled=false

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Far Left activist Yonatan Pollack behind bars
Pollack begins prison sentence after conviction for illegal gathering. ‘It seems like a bad joke’ says activist’s father, actor Yossi Pollack.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4012032,00.html

Organizers say flotilla will try to break Gaza siege
BEIRUT: A Gaza-bound flotilla comprised of 25 ships would try to break the siege on the strip, organizers said following a news conference in Beirut Monday. The Freedom Flotilla’s journey was announced by Hani Sleiman, the coordinator of the National Initiative to Break the Siege on Gaza.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=123482

Boycott roundup: US tear gas-maker CSI urged to cancel Israel sales
Four activist groups in the US are calling on a tear gas manufacturer to stop providing its products to the Israeli military following the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah from severe respiratory distress on 1 January 2011 after inhaling tear gas fired by the Israeli army in the occupied West Bank.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11724.shtml?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+electronicIntifadaPalestine+%28Electronic+Intifada+%3A+Palestine+News%29

#BDS: Palestine ad in National Geographic triggers Zionist complaint
“Jewish organisations have condemned as misleading an advert that appeared in National Geographic Traveler magazine for implying that Palestine extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.  The Zionist Federation, which has complained to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), said the advert also gave “false impressions” by describing Palestine as a country and suggesting that the city of Hebron was under Palestinian control.  The advert, which appeared in this month’s edition of the magazine, invited tourists to visit the famous city of Jerusalem, but makes no mention of Israel.  It stated: “Palestine lies between the Mediterranean coast and the Jordan River, at the crossroads between Africa and the Middle East.”
http://youthanormalization.blogspot.com/2011/01/bds-palestine-ad-in-national-geographic.html

Human Rights/Humanitarian Issues/Siege/Refugees

Gaza’s Children Dare to Dream, Mel Frykberg
GAZA CITY, Jan 11, 2011 (IPS) – Despite the lingering trauma of living under siege, regular Israeli military attacks and the consequences of a bloody war several years ago, Gaza’s children still dream of happiness and of normal lives.
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=54083

Racism and Discrimination

“Cultural barriers” a euphemism for Israeli racism
“Arabs have a tremendous amount to contribute to the Israeli economy in fields such as high-tech, but they are not being hired due to cultural barriers, he said. Some of these barriers could be overcome by putting high-tech offices in Arab cities and by sector-specific training.”
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/01/cultural-barriers-euphemism-for-israeli.html

Bedouin man accused of rape after posing as Jewish pilot
Accusers claim the man lied on his internet dating service profile; he claims that his accusers also lied to him about their own details.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/bedouin-man-accused-of-rape-after-posing-as-jewish-pilot-1.336302?localLinksEnabled=false

There can be no coexistence with a racist consensus
MK Haneen Zoabi/translation Sol Salbe – +972 – The process of incitement and persecution against the “Jewish Left extremists”, set a different dynamic in motion than the persecution of Arab citizens. This time the political persecution is extending to all layers of Jewish society, permeating into political and cultural dimensions that even the Shin Bet and the establishment had not considered.
http://972mag.com/there-can-be-no-coexistence-with-a-racist-consensus/

Violence/Aggression/War Crimes

Israel accelerates rate of killing Palestinians in early 2011, Yaniv Reich
Last October, the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem published a report indicating that Israel murdered, on average, one Palestinian every other day between 2006 and 2009, excluding the attack on Gaza known as Cast Lead that killed an additional 1,400 people (note that including Cast Lead brings the total to an average of around 1.5 murdered Palestinians per day).  Nevertheless, Israel seems dissatisfied with that killing rate, because the inglorious Israeli occupation forces have increased it in early 2011.  A quick run-through of those Palestinian human beings already killed in the long first week of 2011.
http://www.hybridstates.com/2011/01/israel-accelerates-rate-of-killing-palestinians-in-early-2011/

Detainees

Official report: IOF troops arrested 67 Palestinians since start of 2011
A report by the ministry of prisoners in Gaza said that the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) had rounded up 67 Palestinians since the start of 2011 ten days ago including 13 minors and 3 fishermen. http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bc

Hamas MPs slam PA for kidnapping lawmaker’s son
The change and reform parliamentary bloc has condemned the PA security apparatuses in Ramallah for kidnapping the son of Hamas MP Azzam Salhab in Al-Khalil earlier on Monday.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd

IOF kidnap MP Abdelrazeq from his home in Safit
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) kidnapped at an early hour on Tuesday Hamas lawmaker and former minister of finance Omar Abdelrazeq after a violent raid on his home in Salfit city.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd8

Rights group: Israeli forces mistreated Hebron detainees
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A prisoners’ support group on Monday said Israeli soldiers mistreated five Palestinians detained in dawn raids on Friday.  Israeli forces detained the men the day after their release from Palestinian Authority custody.  PA security forces released the men Thursday following an order by President Mahmoud Abbas. The men had been on hunger strike since November and the Emir of Qatar, Hamas officials, rights groups as well as family members of the men in the West Bank had all appealed for their release.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=349948

In first, Hamas allows Fatah visit to Gaza prisons
GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Hamas officials have granted a lawmaker from bitter rival group Fatah the rare permission to visit several prisons run by them and to meet Fatah detainees.  The visits on Monday night were the first that the Gaza-based Hamas has permitted any member of Fatah, the party of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, and comes as the two parties trade accusations over the treatment of detainees.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hb7mstVl3FxY5vzvKUt8pe0DGf7A?docId=CNG.f1f4be5ff8c0625cfbb007232f3c6225.11

Political Developments

Ties make Palestinian state a SAmerican priority (AP)
AP – Five South American nations have recognized Palestinian statehood in recent weeks, and several more are expected to do so soon.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110111/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_south_america_palestinians

US Embassy Cables: Mossad implicated in murder of Hamas leader
Fourteen of the suspected murders used MasterCard credit cards issued by MetaBank, in Iowa, to book hotel rooms and pay for air travel.
http://crowdleak.net/mossad-implicated-in-murder-of-hamas-leader/

Netanyahu rejects Clinton criticism
Rebuffing U.S. criticism of a new housing project for Jews in an Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office said Monday that the project was a private initiative in which the government “was not involved.”
http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/click.phdo?i=959a96706b247078e5ae159d893464ac

Jerusalem will never be divided, says city mayor (AFP)
AFP – The mayor of Jerusalem, a rising star in Israeli politics, has vowed that the city would never be divided to allow the eastern side to become the capital of a future Palestinian state.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110111/wl_mideast_afp/israelpalestiniansconflictjerusalemmayor

US sets talks with Israeli, Palestinian negotiators (AFP)
AFP – Israeli and Palestinian envoys are expected to hold separate talks in Washington this week with US officials including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as part Washington’s bid to revive peace negotiations, the State Department said Monday.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110110/pl_afp/israelpalestinianpeaceus

Sarkozy envoy with ‘message from Damascus’
French envoy meets Netanyahu after visit to Syria, passing along message about possible renewal of peace talks. Israeli official: No special development.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4011866,00.html

Iranian ‘Mossad agent’: I was trained in Israel
Iranian state television shows interview with man who claims he was trained in espionage by Israel and participated in the assassination of a nuclear scientist in Tehran last year.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/iranian-mossad-agent-i-was-trained-in-israel-1.336288?localLinksEnabled=false

Iran ‘uncovers Israel spy network’
State television identifies a young Iranian as “main element” behind death of a nuclear scientist in January last year.
http://english.aljazeera.net//news/middleeast/2011/01/2011110232331581251.html

Other News

Blackwater (or Xe) in the West Bank
“A company closely associated with the security firm once known as Blackwater has won a new State Department contract worth more than $84 million over five years.  The contract was won by International Developments Solutions, a joint venture that includes U.S. Training Center, a company until recently owned by Xe Services, which changed its name from Blackwater following a cascade of legal problems over several years.  The consortium will provide protective security in the Israel-occupied West Bank, “services that are based from the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.”
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/01/blackwater-or-xe-in-west-bank.html

Arafat’s aide: New information on president’s death
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The special advisor to Yasser Arafat said Monday that he will soon release new information on the death of the late president.  In an interview with Ma’an Radio, Bassam Abu Shareef said research conducted by British forensic experts had revealed that Arafat was poisoned with Thallium. New information had also come to light, Abu Shareef said, adding that he would present it to an investigation committee.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=349911

Environmentalism in Gaza
“As Plato (or possible Aesop) said, necessity is the mother of invention. Despite the almost total lack of research facilities (al-Azhar University’s Agriculture faculty and the Islamic University’s laboratories were bombed in 2009), a highly-educated population dealing with severely-restricted circumstances is a recipe for innovation. I have seen ever more elaborate (and waterproof) buildings constructed from compressed earth, with two small factories now producing cheaper and more durable blocks. I have visited a laboratory – more of a kitchen, really – where an organic pesticide (BT) is being produced so effectively that the owners sell it to municipalities for a tenth of the price it costs in Israel. That knocked mosquitoes on the head throughout Gaza; they are now working on producing the variant which attacks the dreaded tomato pest mentioned above (bane of my summer, and that of 3,500 tomato farmers).” 
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/01/environmentalism-in-gaza.html

Video clip comes out against incitement
Following video threatening deputy state prosecutor, new youtube clip portrays incitement in Israeli society, containing archive footage with calls to murder Defense Minister Barak.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4011961,00.html

Leftists: Lieberman’s comments only spur us on
Netanyahu talks to FM following comments made against leftist groups but avoids denouncing statements, chooses to focus on remarks made against Likud ministers. Meanwhile, leftist activist describe feeling of persecution, stress comments only encourage them to work harder.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4011955,00.html

Report: How Arab money is transferred to Israeli Left
After Knesset approves establishment of inquiry commission into activity of leftist groups in Israel, Im Tirtzu report reveals money trail, which it says begins in Arab countries and ends with pro-Palestinian activity in the Jewish state. B’Tselem: Claims unfounded.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4011914,00.html

Israeli drug dealer arrested in Peru
(Video) Thirty-six-year-old Yaniv Benaim wanted in India for involvement in Goa drug network linked to local police officers, politicians. Reports claim Benaim also wanted on 16 counts of fraud, violence in Israel.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4011807,00.html

Analysis/Op-ed

Death by Tear Gas: On West Bank ‘Calm’, Stephen Lendman
Daily accounts can be followed on important sites such as Palestine Chronicle.com, Palestine Telegraph.com, and the Electronic Intifada.net as well as others like Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, Haaretz, available online in English.
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16541

Demolishing another Jerusalem Landmark, Jeremy Salt
Once again Israel demonstrates its contempt for the world. This time the location is the Jerusalem quarter of Sheikh Jarrah and this time the occasion is the demolition of the Shepherd Hotel, the latest target in a process of demolition and rebuilding in the Zionist image that has been going on for the past six decades in all of Palestine.
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16540

The Holocaust, Palestine and the Arab World: Gilbert Achcar interviewed
The Electronic Intifada contributor Arwa Aburawa interviews Gilbert Achcar about his latest book, The Arabs and the Holocaust.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11722.shtml?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+electronicIntifadaPalestine+%28Electronic+Intifada+%3A+Palestine+News%29

Amb. Richard P Parker, dead
By way of coincidence, I received the obituary of Ambassador Richard P Parker the day I wrote about him on my blog yesterday (in the post about Jeffrey Feltman–please don’t compare the two otherwise it would be an insult to knowledge, education, and expertise).   I knew Parker when I lived in Washington, DC and I saw him while he worked at the Middle East Institute.  He in fact, published my first piece in a journal: a study of the internal contradiction of the PFLP which he published in the Middle East Journal back in 1987 when I was still finishing my dissertation at Georgetown.  

Parker’s level of Arabic was quite impressive and he was very impatient with mistakes in Arabic transliteration which are still common in the press and in academia.  Parker served as ambassador in Lebanon in the late 1970s so I obviously had many questions to ask him about that experience.  I remember how much he detested Bashir Gemayyel–the worst Lebanese ever–and how he consistently referred to him as “thug”.   He was alarmed when the US government would later endorse him in the Reagan administration.  

He also served in Lebanon during the time when the Lebanese government tried to deployed army troops in the South (I personally am opposed to the deployment of any Lebanese troops in South Lebanon and call for their total removal from the area–along with the UNIFI–because the South should only be home to those resistance groups, Lebanese and Palestinians, who are willing to defend Lebanon from Israeli aggression and to attack Israel from Lebanese territory.)  And for Parker, it was clear that it was Israel and not the PLO–as the Israeli propaganda in the US would have it–which prevented the deployment and bombed the troops.  

I read a manuscript he wrote on that era and don’t know if he later published.  Parker belongs to that generation of Arabists who are not allowed to exist anymore:  WINIP and AIPAC now get to pick who get to serve where in the Middle East (how do you think that fanatic Zionist, Adam Ereli, got to serve as ambassador in Bahrain?  This Likudnik could one day become Asst Sec of State for the Near East due to his ties with the Likud network in DC.  Oh, and you have to watch him attempt to speak Arabic.  I remember once and Arab watched him and exclaimed: was that supposed to be Arabic?) and they decide what the criteria for Middle East expertise are (they are fanatic dedication to Likud interests). 
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/01/amb-richard-p-parker-dead.html

Obama needs to twist Israeli arms, George S. Hishmeh
US President Barack Obama must be very disappointed these days. He was hardly applauded in the American media which reviewed his domestic and foreign policies — especially his stance on the Middle East — at the beginning of the century’s second decade.
http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/obama-needs-to-twist-israeli-arms-1.741655

The lobby has been broken because… Israel isn’t good for the Jews, Philip Weiss
A few months back, young Brandon Davis, writing thrillingly in the Daily Princetonian, blamed the American Jewish community en bloc for the crimes of Israel–   [J]ust as it is fair to criticize Israeli policies, it is fair to criticize its apologists — groups that claim to represent the entire American Jewish community. American Jews have traditionally been at the forefront of progressive movements. But in recent years, American Jewish institutions have trended toward the ugly side of Zionism, defending — or at least apologizing for — the Israeli hard right in its continuation of the occupation of the West Bank and repression of Palestinian identity. The undeniable injustices of the Israeli government and military warrant criticism; silence in the face of these injustices warrants criticism as well.
http://mondoweiss.net/2011/01/the-lobby-has-been-broken-because-israel-isnt-good-for-the-jews.html

Why it will be said one day that anti-Zionists had a better grasp on 20th C history than Uri Avnery or Tom Friedman, Philip Weiss
“Left Zionism is the belief that destroying a people and taking their homeland is something that can be done humanely and fairly through mutual agreement and dialogue.” —Gabriel Ash of Jews Sans Fronteres
http://mondoweiss.net/2011/01/why-it-will-be-said-one-day-that-anti-zionists-had-a-better-grasp-on-20th-c-history-than-uri-avnery-or-tom-friedman.html

on pin-headed use of the word Shoah, Max Ajl
Someone pointed me to a recent piece about why it’s reasonable to call other atrocities Shoah, a Hebrew word that means literally catastrophe or devastation, and in its proper noun variant, is used for Holocaust. The author is of zero interest to me. What interests me is that it is taken as a point of high principle that atrocities other than those that occurred to “Jews” (but really to Roma, the disabled, gays, communists, trade-unionists, and others) should also be called Shoah, genocide, or Holocaust. Like most principles dear to the Facebook and Twitter battalions of the Palestine solidarity movement, this is stupidity of the first order. It’s stupid because under the cover of anti-Zionism, it’s Zionist to the core: a people has not endured tragedy until it has had its own Holocaust.

Atrocity must mirror the purposeful genocide of the Jews before it can enter into the historical ledger books as intolerable massacre. It’s also deeply racist: atrocity must be compared to not only Jewish atrocity but white peoples’ atrocity before it becomes real. It’s colonialist: the first atrocity to enter History was the Holocaust. Forget Leopold’s War. Forget Armenia. Forget the capitalist famines of the late Victorian Era. Shoahshoahshoah. Sorry but I had to get that out of my system.
http://www.maxajl.com/?p=4759&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+http%2Fwwwmaxajlcom%2Ffeedrss2+%28Jewbonics%29

There can be no half-measures on Palestinian sovereignty
The Arab Peace Initiative, which was adopted by the Arab League at its summit in Beirut in 2002, is a comprehensive peace initiative first proposed by then-Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, and re-endorsed at the Riyadh summit in 2007.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=123467

Britain’s War on Islam, Stephen Lendman
Western vilification of Islam is longstanding, cruel, and unjustifiable. In his 1978 book “Orientalism,” Edward Said explained a pattern of Western misinterpretation of the East, especially the Middle East. In “Culture and Imperialism” (1993), he broadened Orientalism’s core argument to show the complex relationships between East and West by referring to colonizers and the colonized, “the familiar (Europe, West, us) and the strange (the Orient, East, them).”
http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/01/britains-war-on-islam/

Partition of Sudan, As`ad Abukhalil
A lot can be said. Yes, the Arab North (with Soviet and later US support) has dealt with the South with a combination of neglect, racism, and cruelty.  But Israeli dirty hands have been present in the Southern rebellion from the start (there is no secessionist or partitionist movement in the Arab world in which Israel has not been heavily involved: either in support of the government (like in Oman) or in opposition to government (like in Iraq, Sudan, Lebanon, etc).  

But the referendum is a sham.  This is one of the most illiterate areas in the world.  The US creates an artificial mark for voter turnout level as a criterion, and then the US spends lavishly on a PR campaign in favor of the secession.  I mean, this is all cooked up by the US, no matter how much I condemn successive Sudanese government, especially the US puppet, the famous kook, Ja`far Numayri.  Also, there is something very fishy about the behavior of the tyrant, Omar Bashir.  He suddenly accepts the referendum and his ambassador even said that if the South wants to establish relations with Israel, it is their business.  

Bashir has received (political and/or financial) payment from the US for his silence.  For a corrupt ruler like himself, all is possible.  And can he be more annoying than when he dances with the cane?  Oh, would Obama and Carter have been in favor of a referendum of the people of the South IN THE US prior to Civil War? Just asking, really.
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/01/partition-of-sudan.html

Economists Foretell of U.S. Decline, China’s Ascension
“The age of American predominance is over,” he told a panel. “The (Chinese) Yuan will be the world’s reserve currency within two decades.
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE7082BL20110109

Lebanon

UN to help Lebanon demarcate sea borders to protect gas reserves
Beirut requested UN to protect the country’s gas reserves along the maritime border with Israel, after a huge gas field was discovered underneath the Mediterranean Sea.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/un-to-help-lebanon-demarcate-sea-borders-to-protect-gas-reserves-1.336271?localLinksEnabled=false

Moussawi: U.S. veto only hurdle for settlement
SIDON: Hizbullah M.P. Nawwaf al-Moussawi said Monday that part of the Saudi-Syrian talks to solve Lebanon’s political crisis was focused on whether to implement the agreement before or after the release of indictment by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon which is probing the assassination of Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=123477

Iraq

Monday: 5 Iraqis Killed, 13 Wounded
At least five Iraqis were killed and 13 more were wounded in new violence. Several more were wounded in Baghdad, but no figures were released. Meanwhile, Diyala provincial police reported arrested almost 10,000 suspects last year. They also noted that 1,876 policemen were killed and just over 3,000 were wounded during 2010. Many of these casualties went unreported in western media sources.
http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2011/01/10/monday-5-iraqis-killed-13-wounded/

Bombs Kill Four Across Iraq, among Them Children
Four Iraqis, including two children, have been killed and five others have been injured in bombings across the country over the past 48 hours.
http://www.abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=220396

13 killed and wounded in Iraq car bomb
The final death toll of the car bomb in Al Shirqat District, northern Tikrit, left 13 people among killed and wounded, a police source in Salahuddin province said. An official from Baghdad Secretariat was wounded in an armed attack on Monday night.
http://www.alsumaria.tv/en/Iraq-News/1-58801-13-killed-and-wounded-in-Iraq-car-bomb.html

Kuwaiti Coast Guards attack Iraqi boat
Three Iraqi sailors were wounded and four others went missing due to an attack by Kuwaiti Coast Guards on an Iraqi boat that was drowned, Al Sindibad Iraqi Fishermen Association said. Kuwaiti Coast Guards detained two Iraqi sailors, the Association said denying reports saying that Iraqi sailors.
http://www.alsumaria.tv/en/Iraq-News/1-58802-Kuwaiti-Coast-Guards-attack-Iraqi-boat.html

Iraq: cleric warns Maliki of walkout if US troops stay
Moqtada al-Sadr willing to imperil prime minister’s position if US soliders stay past expiration of security agreement.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/09/iraq-cleric-maliki-us-troops

Iraq to buy $26 billion worth of armaments from United States
The money will be used to buy aircraft, helicopters, tanks, other armored vehicles, warships and missiles, to enter service with the Iraqi defense and interior ministries.
http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20110109/162080981.html

Occupation of Iraq destroys women’s lives
More than seven years after the US- and UK-led invasion of their country, Iraqis continue to endure an occupation that has systematically violated their basic rights. In particular, the role and situation of women and girls has declined precipitously.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11723.shtml?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+electronicIntifadaPalestine+%28Electronic+Intifada+%3A+Palestine+News%29

Kurdish club scene booming as Baghdad bans alcohol (AP)
AP – Dozens of men gathered in the smoky little club to watch five scantily clad dancers sway their hips to the beat of a drum and the grooves of an electric piano. Once a common sight in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, the scene can now only be found in the more liberal Kurdish north.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/iraq/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110111/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iraq_kurdish_club_scene

U.S. and other world news

Date set for Assange hearing in UK
WikiLeaks’ founder to face full hearing on February 7 over Swedish request for his extradition over alleged sex crimes.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2011/01/2011111132318207707.html

Gabrielle Giffords Brain Injury Update: Congresswoman Gives Thumbs-Up
TUCSON, Ariz. — Doctors treating U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said Monday the congresswoman was responding to verbal commands by raising two fingers of her left hand and even managed to give a thumbs-up. Giffords, 40, is in critical condition in the intensive care unit of Tucson’s University Medical Center after she was shot through the head Saturday during a meet-and-greet with voters outside a supermarket. Two patients were discharged Sunday night. Eight others, including Giffords, remained hospitalized.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/10/gabrielle-giffords-brain-_n_807136.html

Fox News chief tells GOP employees to ‘tone it down’
It appears that even the president of Fox News knows when rhetorical attacks have gone too far. In a wide-ranging interview with Russell Simmons, Fox News’s Roger Ailes remarked that he’d told his employees to “shut up, tone it down” and “make your argument intellectually.” You don’t have to do it with bombast,” he reportedly […]
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/fox-news-chief-tells-gop-employees-tone-down/

US forced to import bullets from Israel as troops use 250,000 for every rebel killed
A government report says that US forces are now using 1.8 billion rounds of small-arms ammunition a year. The total has more than doubled in five years, largely as a result of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as changes in military doctrine.
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/us-forced-to-import-bullets-from-israel-as-troops-use-250000-for-every-rebel-killed-15050027.html

NATO Occupation Force Strike Kills 3 Afghan Policemen
A NATO airstrike killed three Afghan police officers in central Afghanistan on Sunday in what Afghan officials said was friendly fire, and two more police officers died Monday in a suicide car bomb attack in the southern Taliban stronghold of Kandahar Province.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/11/world/asia/11afghan.html?_r=1

Pakistan will implode if US does not leave Afghanistan
The assassination of Salmaan Taseer has shown only too clearly the growing extremism in Pakistan. – This is not just between the religious and the secular, but also the polarisation that the “war on terror” has caused between the various religious sects.
http://www.mg.co.za/article/2011-01-09-pakistan-will-implode-if-us-does-not-leave-afghanistan

Pakistanis believe U.S. is destroying their country
America has a dilemma in Afghanistan in that there is really no face-saving formula for an exit. The Taliban are gaining more territory, and they more or less control the countryside.
http://www.toledoblade.com/article/20110110/COLUMNIST12/110109527/-1/NEWS

Pakistan governor’s killing ‘hidden hands’ at work
In her first interview following the assassination of her father, the daughter of Salmaan Taseer tells Chanel 4 News she believes there are many “hidden hands” behind his murder.
http://www.channel4.com/news/pakistan-governors-killing-hidden-hands-at-work

Did the U.S. government misuse science to justify torture?
It is also possible that CIA doctors may have “neglected and/or concealed medical evidence of intentional harm” among detainees held after the September 11, 2001 attacks, according to a separate report from Physicians for Human Rights.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=did-the-us-government-misuse-scienc-2011-01-06&sc=emailfriend

Soldier’s inhumane imprisonment
For five months, Pfc. Bradley Manning is confined to his cell for 23 hours a day, with no sheets and without exercise, while he awaits trial on charges of providing documents to WikiLeaks.
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-manning-20110110,0,3558552.story

US demands Twitter release Assange details
A court order issued on 14 December ordered Twitter not to disclose the existence of the subpoena to any of those targeted because it was part of an ongoing criminal investigation. Only after legal action by Twitter was the order made public.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-demands-twitter-release-assange-details-2179740.html

US demands IP’s and other info of all 637,000 followers
Wikileaks says: Too late to unfollow; Trick used is to demand the lists, dates and IPs of all who received our twitter messages.
http://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/23943796899184640

Original Twitter Subpoena : pdf: 637,000 #Wikileaks followers are target of US gov subpoena against Twitter
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/01/07/twitter/subpoena.pdf

Facebook and Google under pressure over WikiLeaks
Pressure was growing for Facebook and Google to state whether they have been asked to submit data on prominent figures linked to WikiLeaks, as fresh signs emerged that a secret jury investigation will lead to an attempt to lay criminal charges against the whistleblowing website’s founder.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/online/facebook-and-google-under-pressure-over-wikileaks-2180281.html

Obama Eyeing Internet ID for Americans
President Obama is planning to hand the U.S. Commerce Department authority over a forthcoming cybersecurity effort to create an Internet ID for Americans, a White House official said here today.
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-20027837-501465.html

Iranian plane crashes
Make no mistake about it: blame the US and Israel (and their allies in EU) for all the plane crashes in Iran.  As is known, the Zionists believe that even plane spare parts should be on the sanctions list.  It is racism too: they would never apply sanctions affecting civilians if they people were white Europeans. 
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/01/iranian-plane-crashes.html

’35 killed’ in Tunisia violence
At least 35 people have died in violent unrest in Tunisia, according to a human rights group – more than the 14 the regime said had died.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/world-africa-12162096

Israeli dirty hands in Tunisia
“The Tunisian regime has killed over 20people thus far in attacks against civilian demonstrations, Tunisians have picked up tear gas cans with Hebrew writing identifying them from Israel. It is widely believed that secret relations exist. Now we know where the regime gets its tear gas. Other tear gas cans are in English and advise use for animals. This is how they treat Arabs! Not that Arab regimes need lessons from anyone as to how to kill their own people, but the regime mimics Israeli brutality against Palestinians where Palestinians have died after being hit by tear gas cans.”
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/01/israeli-dirty-hands-in-tunisia.html

Algeria unrest eases after state vows to lower food prices
ALGIERS: Algeria began cleaning up Monday following days of rioting over soaring food costs that left five people dead, hundreds wounded and 1,000 in jail, as authorities firmed up pledges to lower prices. Businesses, schools and public services opened as normal in much of the country as unrest that kicked off Wednesday last week.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=123468

Did Hillary Clinton and Jeffrey Feltman bring up her case when they met the Saudi king in NYC?
“JEDDAH – A 23-year-old unmarried woman was awarded one-year prison term and 100 lashes for committing adultery and trying to abort the resultant fetus.  The District Court in Jeddah pronounced the verdict on Saturday after the girl confessed that she had a forced sexual intercourse with a man who had offered her a ride. The man, the girl confessed, took her to a rest house, east of Jeddah, where he and four of friends assaulted her all nightlong.”  Notice it said: “she confessed that she had a forced sexual intercourse”.  She was raped, damn it. RAPED.  Does that exist in the legal books of House of Saud?? 
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/01/did-hillary-clinton-and-jeffrey-feltman.html

Woman jailed for beating maid
A Saudi court has sentenced a woman to three years in prison for beating her Indonesian maid.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/woman-jailed-for-beating-maid-2181139.html

 

The general vanishes

Jan 11, 2011

Yakov M. Rabkin

 

A few years ago, an Iranian general, Ali Reza Asgari, deputy minister of defence, vanished during a foreign trip. Rumours spread that he had defected or had been kidnapped by Israelis or Americans. At the end of 2010, the general once again appeared in the news. This time he was reportedly found dead in Israel. 

While no confirmation from Israel is forthcoming, there remains a strong suspicion that he was kidnapped by Israeli agents in Turkey, brought to Israel via the US Air base at Incirlik, interrogated for three years and finally died (was killed or committed suicide) in an Israeli prison. I have no privileged sources to support or deny the story. As a scholar long interested in Israel and Zionism, I can only assess the probability of such an event. Could Israel commit such acts? Is it congruent with its past record? Does it fit the ideology of Zionism that lies at the basis of the state of Israel?

Prima facie, the source of this story appears credible. This story reached me through a blog named ‘Tikun Olam”, Hebrew for Repairing the World, run by Richard Silverstein, an American Jewish activist. Jews, such as Ilan Pappe, Noam Chomsky and the rabbis of Neturei Karta have been among the most active and best-informed critics of Israel. This is no coincidence.

Most Jews, religious or not, rejected Zionism when it emerged in the late 19th century. In spite of the establishment of the Zionist state and its military an economic successes, Jewish opposition has not vanished to this day. My recent book on Jewish opposition to Zionism explains and interprets this important but often obscured phenomenon that sheds a different light on the century-long conflict in the Holy Land. Having looked at what motivates Jews who reject Zionism, I am inclined to trust Jewish critics of Israel.

While they are motivated by a strong desire to show that what Israel is and does has nothing to do with Jews, Jewish history and Jewish religion, their sources are usually reliable, and I have no reason to doubt this one.

Secondly, the suspected scenario fits established patterns. Kidnapping individuals in other countries and bringing them to Israel is part of the ethos that Israeli security services have developed over the years.

The history of Zionist activities even before the establishment of the state of Israel shows a taste for intrepid, often violent adventures and disdainful disregard for law, national or international. The cultivation of distrust by the state of Israel pretending to assure “the survival of the Jewish people” serves as a carte blanche to justify the use of any and all means available. Ironically, Zionism has turned the Holy Land into the most dangerous country for a Jew to live in. 

The first political murder perpetrated by Zionist organizations occurred as early as 1924, when Jacob De Haan, a prominent opponent of Zionism, was shot as he was leaving a synagogue in Jerusalem after the evening prayer. His murderers were Zionists who had infiltrated the British police. The murder was to prevent De Haan from organizing a delegation of rabbis to London in the hope of convincing British colonial authorities that Zionists did not represent Jews in Palestine or elsewhere, that Zionists represented only themselves.

As a result of De Haan’s assassination, this delegation never left for London, and Zionists continued to act as if the Jews of the world were supporting them. Among the conspirators to murder was the future President of Israel Yitzhak Ben-Tsvi. Later, Zionist assassination squads committed murders of British and international officials in Cairo, with at least one of them being attributed to the future Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Shamir. 

There is a bitter irony in the manner in which the state of Israel consistently ignores and defies public international law. In fact, Israel may be the only state to derive its legitimacy from an international organization, i.e. the United Nations. It was a decision of the UN General Assembly to partition Palestine in 1947 that gave the Zionist movement a degree of international respectability. Taken against the will of the majority of Palestinians – Jewish, Christian and Muslim – the UN resolution was a bizarre vestige of colonial mentality and a recipe for chronic violence that has plagued the region ever since.

When the United Nations later called on Israel to allow Palestinian refugees back, Israel refused and snubbed the international organization, proceeding to obliterate hundreds of Palestinian villages. Israel added insult to injury by settling the lands conquered from Egypt, Syria and Jordan in June 1967. Israel has since ignored dozens of resolutions adopted by the UN.

Israel has acted with resolve and determination, colonizing the occupied territories, assassinating presumed enemies around the world and – with particular relevance to our case – kidnapping people in other countries. The kidnapped are a rather motley crowd, ranging from the Nazi official Adolf Eichmann kidnapped in Argentina to the Israeli nuclear technician Mordekhai Vanunu abducted from Italy. Since kidnapping is part of the Israeli arsenal, it is quite conceivable that General Asgari would be dealt this way. / Israeli security services enjoy the privilege of impunity because of unswerving protection by the United States.

In fact, there is an interesting parallel between the exceptionalism of Israel and that of the United States. Both countries have acted self-righteously in pursuit of its interests whatever the legal consequences. The only counterweight has been the threat of credible force from their adversaries: this is how, for nearly half a century, the aggressive instincts of the United States were held in check by the Soviet Union.

For decades, rather than admit that the colonial settler state generates hostility through dispossession and displacement, Israel has attributed the hostility of Palestinians and other Arabs to irrational causes, including “the new antisemitism”. This justified routine use of violence as “the only language they understand”.

The United States and other Western nations embraced this doctrine soon after the dismemberment of the Soviet Union. Thus the hostility of the perpetrators of the attack on the Twin Towers was attributed to “their hatred of our way of life”, rather than to perfectly rational causes such as rejection of US policies in Western Asia. The stage was set for the concept of “Clash of Civilizations”, and for the unabashed reliance on the use of force in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan as well as growing threats of the use of force against Iran.

This is how the US practices have come to imitate those of Israel. Kidnapping was renamed “extraordinary rendition”, and came to be practiced with active cooperation of several European and Arab countries. There is little doubt that Israel and the United States would cooperate in such endeavours. It is therefore quite conceivable that the kidnapping of General Asgari could be carried out as a joint venture of Israel and the United States.

To justify a kidnapping of a deputy defence minister of another country, Israel had to build up the image of Iran as a dangerous and irrational enemy. This is how the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was portrayed as an anti-Semite who threatens to wipe Israel off the map.

These two claims have been proven false. While overtly anti-Zionist, he is not anti-Jewish. Indeed, had he been anti-Semitic, he would have harassed Iran’s Jews rather than criticize a nuclear-armed regional superpower. Nor has he threatened to wipe Israel off the map, as Zionist propaganda claims. Rather, comparing it to the Soviet Union, he expressed a wish to see Israel as the Zionist state disappear “from the page of time”. Just as the Soviet regime was not wiped out in a hail of nuclear weapons, he does not suggest using force to transform Israel into a normal state of equal citizens, which would live in peace with its neighbours. Like many non-, anti- and post-Zionist Jews, he wants Israel to evolve from a state for the Jews to an inclusive state of all its citizens.

A wish to see Israel evolve this way was misrepresented as a physical threat against Israeli civilians. This is how the emotionally charged allegations hurled at the Iranian president have become established truth and, moreover, ground for action in Israel and the United States.

Zionism has been a rebellion against Diaspora Judaism and its cult of humility and appeasement. Several Jewish thinkers had warned of this predicament. One of them prophesied in 1948, soon after the unilateral proclamation of independence by the Zionist leaders: 

And even if the Jews were to win the war, […] the “victorious” Jews would live surrounded by an entirely hostile Arab population, secluded inside ever-threatened borders, absorbed with physical self-defence. […] And all this would be the fate of a nation that – no matter how many immigrants it could still absorb and how far it extended its boundaries – would still remain a very small people greatly outnumbered by hostile neighbours. 

This warning came from the German-American scholar Hannah Arendt who understood the perils of establishing a state against the will of local inhabitants and all the surrounding nations. Secular and religious thinkers alike had feared that Zionism would endanger Jews engulfing them in chronic violence. Indeed, to impose itself onto its “hostile neigbours” Israel has acquired the mightiest military in the region. But this has brought its citizens neither peace nor tranquillity as if confirming the words of the Biblical prophet Samuel: it is not by strength that man prevails (Samuel I 2:9). 

Nowadays, when no Arab state poses a military threat to Israel it is Iran that the Israelis are being told to fear. Just next to Iran, which is as yet far from acquiring a nuclear potential, lies Pakistan, an unstable regime with a real, not imaginary, nuclear arsenal. Just as Arendt prophesied, there may be no end to existential threats if Israel maintains its Zionist character. It follows that kidnapping a deputy minister of another country in a third one would make perfect sense in the Zionist frame of mind. While I have no solid evidence that the kidnapping took place, its probability appears rather high. 

The author is Professor of History and associate of CERIUM, Centre for International Studies at the University of Montreal. His recent book on the history of Jewish opposition to Zionism has been translated into eleven languages. It was named one of the three best books of the year in Japan in 2010, nominated for the Hecht Prize for Studies on Zionism in 2008, and for Canada’s Governor General Award in 2006.

 


You know the lobby’s in crisis when Beinart gets microphone from Oren and Wiesel is trying to revive Zionism

Jan 11, 2011

Philip Weiss

 

Yesterday I wrote that the Israel lobby is crumbling— because Israel’s disgraceful behavior has made Israel bad for the Jews, because the two-state solution is fading and bringing about a fight at last between liberal Zionists who want the ’67 borders (David Remnick) and the neoconservative expansionists that the liberal Zionists made the mistake of building an American coalition with (Bret Stephens).

Here is more evidence for my belief that the lobby is in crisis.

Israeli ambassador and former American scholar Michael Oren, who is a hardliner, will be speaking at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs plenum in Washington in early March. The JCPA is very conservative on Israel, but look who who else will be at the plenum: Peter Beinart, the man who turned on the Israel lobby from inside it.

Writes Jeff Blankfort:

when the JCPA invites Beinart to speak, it means that there ARE serious problems within its Zionist core. Watch for an attack on the JCPA and pressure to withdraw the invite but even that will be positive. 

I wonder where this leaves J Street? Beinart is sort of their boy. How alt will the J Street conference in February be if JCPA is offering Beinart? (I think this means J Street will have to come out for sanctions, to distinguish itself.) Here is JCPA’s remarkably tolerant/realistic intro for Beinart:

…Peter Beinart argues that as young American Jews become less liberal and less Zionist, they don’t fit with mainstream American Jewish organizations. According to Beinart, young Americans have “grown up viewing Israel as a regional hegemon and an occupying power. As a result, they are more conscious than their parents of the degree to which Israeli behavior violates liberal ideals, and less willing to grant Israel an exemption because its survival seems in peril.” He has uncovered a disconnect that will affect the future of the Jewish community’s organizations.

Some more evidence for my view comes from the hardliners. Elie Wiesel and the birthright organization have started a new outfit called Take Back Zionism that seeks to address the crisis by– making the kids even more nationalist-religious! (K Feldman addresses the issue in the post above.) The group’s vague creed:

Zionism is not just about conflict and politics. It is a centuries’ old idea deeply rooted in the Jewish community and tradition. Zionism is many things.  It is land, history, religion, politics, peoplehood, culture, national destiny, self-determination. It is innovation and tradition. Zionism is ancient and modern.

I think that is ahistorical. Wiesel is locked into an eastern European, century-old idealistic view of Zionism as a liberation ideology, and this has nothing to do with modern empowered American Jewish life. Five of the grab-bag definitions of Zionism that folks are offering at Take Back Zionism:

A love for Israel .

The only democracy in the middle east

The pursuit of a safe-haven for the Jewish people all over the world.

Having a nation-state for the Jewish people. It’s our homeland.

 

Jewish unity

A frend writes: 

So far only 213 people have sent in definitions. The site appears to be an attempt to bring together a diverse group of people who consider themselves Zionists. What’s interesting is that the views expressed dramatically clash with each other and don’t have any coherent vision whatsoever, especially those provided by various Zionist organizations. The definitions are very revealing about American Jewish youth but also provide a way for birthright to hear our criticisms directly by flooding the site with our own definitions. …

 


On Sale Today: The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict

Jan 11, 2011

Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz

 

Horowitz The Goldstone pb

This is a big day for us: Nation Books is publishing our new book — The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict, which is an abridged copy of the UN report accompanied by a dozen essays, exploring the political, legal and social legacy of the report and the Israeli attack on Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009.

The book comes out at an important new moment in the history of the conflict, with the collapse of talks between the two sides, and growing international calls for accountability for Israel’s conduct in the occupied territories.  

A diverse group of leading commentators on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is assembled here. Our forward Is from Justice Goldstone’s longtime friend,   Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Our introduction, which says that the report has revived the principles of universal human rights and international law, is by bestselling author Naomi Klein.  

Human rights leader Raji Sourani describes the situation in Gaza today, legal scholar Jules Lobel explains the post-World War II standards on which the report is based, Jerome Slater takes apart the many criticisms of the report, Rashid Khalidi describes the rapidly-shifting western view of Israel that has given the report such an extended life.

Among other essayists, Noam Sheizaf explains the siege mentality inside Israel that the report has helped to generate, Letty Cottin Pogrebin says that the personal attacks on Goldstone have been a blot on the Jewish community, Henry Siegman  says Israel’s indifference to the loss of innocent life has undermined its legitimacy, and Ali Abunimah lays out the manner in which Israel’s crucial support in the west, from liberal and progressive communities, is beginning to crumble in part due to the Goldstone Report.

We include a leading critical piece on the report, from Moshe Halbertal, a professor of philosophy at Hebrew University, while former Washington State congressman Brian Baird relates that when the Report came to the House, “many of my colleagues, several of them prominent, literally did not understand either that collective punishment is a war crime, or why it is a war crime.”

The book concludes with a wrenching piece by Laila El-Haddad, about how her family survived the onslaught.

Our book can be read by newcomers to the issue and by old hands.  It anchors the historic report with a range of insights on what is happening to Israeli and Palestinian politics. It will be widely read, and we ask for your help in getting out the word.

Find out where you can buy the book here and follow the book on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest news about the book. Thanks!

 


EU envoy sticks a fork in 2SS

Jan 11, 2011

Philip Weiss

 

From a DailyKos commenter, via Annie:

EU envoy report in full [.pdf]. It describes how Israel is implementing “the progressive separation of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank” and concludes that “Israel is, by legal and practical means, actively pursuing its annexation by systematically undermining the Palestinian presence in the city”. It warns that if these trends aren’t quickly reversed the prospects of E. Jerusalem becoming the capital of a Palestinian state – that is, the prospects for a two-state settlement – are slim to none.”

And look at this, from that link. Note the global repercussions of radicalizing religious tensions.

The interlinked Israeli policies and measures continue to negatively affect East Jerusalem’s crucial role in Palestinian political, economic, social and cultural life. This has contributed to the increasing separation between East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank and Gaza. The wider political consequences of the above measures are of great concern. Over the past few years the changes to the city have run counter to the peace process. Attempts to exclusively emphasize the Jewish identity of the city threaten its religious diversity and radicalise the conflict, with potential regional and global repercussions.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on MONDOWEISS ONLINE NEWSLETTER

A YEAR IN JAIL NOT ENOUGH PUNISHMENT FOR PROTESTING

 NOVANEWS

Israel’s military went to court for the right to keep holding in jail Palestinian

organizer Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the cousin of slain protester Jawaher Abu-

 Rahmah. Happily for the Israeli Army, it’s a military court so they complied.

Abdallah is now to serve an additional 2-3 months. Presumably they believe

that’s enough that when Abdallah is released, Palestinians won’t mind having

their land stolen or their political and human rights denied.

I wouldn’t bet on it. I think the fact that a man committed to unarmed protest

can end up in millitary court tells you everything you need to know about the

Israeli regime.

This will definitely be an example to others, but not the way the military

 

wants it to be.e.

 

Here’s the account from Popular Struggle of the 

harshening of Abdallah’s sentence on appeal.

After ordering to keep Abdallah Abu Rahmah in detention past his release

date on the 18th of November 2010, the Military Court of Appeals sided with

the  prosecution’s  appeal  demanding  to  aggravate  the  one-year  sentence

imposed  on  Abu Rahmah. The  prosecution  asked the court to harshen the

sentence so that it exceeds two years imprisonment. However, the judge gave

a sentence of a total of sixteen months. He has been in jail for exactly thirteen

months  and  one  day. He  will  now  serve three more months to complete the

sixteen month sentence.

The judge sided with the military prosecution in front of a packed courtroom,

which included the German and Spanish heads of consul in East Jerusalem, as

well as diplomatic representatives from France, Malta, Sweden, Austria, United

Kingdom, and  the  European  Commission.  Despite  international  outrage,  the

prosecution  openly  argued  that  the  sentence  should  be  extended for political

reasons, namely “to serve as a deterrence not only to [Abu Rahmah] himself, but

also  to  others who may follow in his footsteps.” Abdallah Abu Rahmah served as

the coordinator of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements

until his arrest last year.

Such arguments by the prosecution expose the real motivation behind the countl-

ess recent arrests of anti-Wall organizers and activists, which is to squash the popular

struggle movement in the West Bank.

Gabi Lasky, Abdallah Abu Rahmah’s lawyer: “Israel has tried violent means to hinder

and stop the popular unarmed demonstrations in the West Bank. Military courts are

an instrument of the occupation and their verdicts are devised to help the occupation

continue.

This decision makes a mockery of the law and justice itself.” On October 11th 2010,

Abu Rahmah was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment for his prominent role

in  his  village’s  successful  campaign  against  the  construction  of  Israel’s Separation

Barrier on its lands. Abu Rahmah was convicted of two Freedom of Expression charges –

incitement and organizing illegal demonstrations, but was cleared of all charges conne-

cting him with direct violence.

Abu Rahmah was to be released from prison on November 18th, when the prison term

he  was  sentenced  to  ended, but  was  kept  in  jail on the order of the Military Court of

Appeals. The  controversial  decision  directly  conflicts  with  the  jurisprudence of the

Israeli Hight Court on the issue, instructing that a prisoner should only be kept under

arrest after his term was over in the most extenuating of circumstances.

Abu Rahmah was declared a human rights defender by the European Union, and his

conviction  and  sentence  generated  international  outrage,  and  was  denounced  by

human rights organizations and the international community alike, including EU

foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.

Background 

Abu Rahmah, the coordinator of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and

Settlements, was arrested last year by soldiers who raided his home at the middle of

the night and was subsequently indicted before an Israeli military court on unsubs-

tantiated charges that included stone-throwing and arms possession. Abu Rahmah

was cleared of both the stone-throwing and arms possession charges, butconvicted  

of organizing illegal demonstrations and incitement.

An exemplary case of mal-use of the Israeli military legal system in the West Bank for

the  purpose  of  silencing  legitimate  political  dissent,  Abu  Rahmah’s  conviction was

subject to harsh international criticism. The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton,

 expressed her deep concern “that the possible imprisonment of Mr Abu Rahma is inten-

ded  to  prevent  him  and  other  Palestinians  from  exercising  their  legitimate  right  to

protest[…]“, after  EU  diplomats  attended  all  hearings  in  Abu  Rahmah’s  case. Ashton’s

statement was followed by one from the Spanish Parliament.

Renowned  South  African  human  right  activist,  Archbishop  Desmond  Tutu,  called on

Israel  to  overturn Abu Rahmah’s conviction  on  behalf  of  the Elders,  a  group of interna-

tional public figures noted as elder statesmen, peace activists, and human rights advocates,

brought together by Nelson Mandela. Members of the Elders, including Tutu, have met with

Abu Rahmah on their visit to Bil’in prior to his arrest.

International human rights organization Amnesty International condemned Abu

Rahmah’s  conviction  as  an  assault  on  the  right  to  freedom of expression. Human

Rights Watch denounced the conviction, pronouncing the whole process “an unfair trial”.

Israeli organizations also distributed statements against the conviction – including a

statement by B’Tselem which raises the issue of questionable testimonies by minors

used to convict Abu Rahme, and The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) which

highlights the impossibility of organizing legal demonstrations for Palestinians in the

West Bank.

Legal Background 

Abu Rahmah, the coordinator of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and

Settlements, was acquitted of two out of the four charges brought against him in the

indictment – stone-throwing and a ridiculous and vindictive arms possession charge.

According  to  the  indictment,  Abu  Rahmah  collected  used  tear-gas  projectiles  and

bullet  casings  shot  at  demonstrators,  with the  intention of  exhibiting them to show

the violence used against demonstrators. This absurd charge is a clear example of how

eager the military prosecution is to use legal procedures as a tool to silence and smear

unarmed dissent.

The court did, however, find Abu Rahmah guilty of two of the most draconian anti-free

speech articles in military legislation: incitement, and organizing and participating in

illegal demonstrations. It did so based only on testimonies of minors who were arrested

in the middle of the  night  and  denied  their right to legal counsel, and despite acknowle-

dging significant ills in their questioning.

The court  was  also  undeterred  by  the  fact  that  the  prosecution  failed to provide any

concrete evidence implicating Abu Rahmah in any way, despite the fact that all demont-

rations in Bil’in

are systematically filmed by the army.

Under military law, incitement is defined as “The attempt, verbally or otherwise, to

influence public opinion in the Area in a way that may disturb the public peace or public order” (section 7(a) of the Order Concerning Prohibition of Activities of Incitement and

Hostile Propaganda (no.101), 1967), and carries a 10 years maximal sentence.

More Recent Articles

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on A YEAR IN JAIL NOT ENOUGH PUNISHMENT FOR PROTESTING

A.LOEWENSTEIN ONLINE NEWSLETTER

NOVANEWS

 

Of course the easy availability of guns in US is relevant

Posted: 11 Jan 2011 02:48 PM PST

 

Visit msnbc.com for breaking newsworld news, and news about the economy

Sigh:
 

 

After a Glock-wielding gunman killed six people at a Tucson shopping center on Jan. 8, Greg Wolff, the owner of two Arizona gun shops, told his manager to get ready for a stampede of new customers.

Wolff was right. Instead of hurting sales, the massacre had the $499 semi-automatic pistols — popular with police, sport shooters and gangsters — flying out the doors of his Glockmeister stores in Mesa and Phoenix.

“We’re at double our volume over what we usually do,” Wolff said two days after the shooting spree that also left 14 wounded, including Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in critical condition.

Assange thanks Australians not clueless federal government

Posted: 11 Jan 2011 02:24 PM PST

Presumably Assange isn’t thanking the supine Australian government, so desperate to please its American masters:

Julian Assange has thanked Australia for its support of his – and Wikileaks – cause but called on Americans to tone down political rhetoric, saying those who incite violence should be charged with incitement to murder.

Speaking to Fairfax in the stairwell of the Crown Magistrate’s Court just before his first hearing, Mr Assange smiled and appeared calm, saying Australia had been “enormously helpful to our cause” and whispered “thank you” before being whisked off to a special room with his legal team.

The hearing, in London’s Crown Magistrate Court, lasted less than 10 minutes with both sides saying that they are ready for the formal extradition hearing to be heard on February 6 and 7. Geoffrey Robertson said the defence case was proceeding in “swimming manner” and asked the judge that the defence’s skeleton argument be made available to the public.

 

Assange hanging in Gitmo

Posted: 11 Jan 2011 02:20 PM PST

Who would trust the Americans?

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, could be at “real risk” of the death penalty or detention in Guantánamo Bay if he is extradited to Sweden on accusations of rape and sexual assault, his lawyers claim.

In a skeleton summary of their defence against attempts by the Swedish director of public prosecutions to extradite him, released today, Assange’s legal team argue that there is a similar likelihood that the US would subsequently seek his extradition “and/or illegal rendition”, “where there will be a real risk of him being detained at Guantánamo Bay or elsewhere”.

“Indeed, if Mr Assange were rendered to the USA, without assurances that the death penalty would not be carried out, there is a real risk that he could be made subject to the death penalty. It is well known that prominent figures have implied, if not stated outright, that Mr Assange should be executed.”

 

Because Israel can really speak credibly about accepting Palestinians

Posted: 11 Jan 2011 02:48 AM PST

So it’s battle of the belligerent? Neither side here – Israel nor the Palestinian Authority – have much credibility with peace, understanding or recognition. If the Zionist lobby is pleased now, let’s not forget they completely ignored the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in previous ads of their own.

Sigh:

The Board of Deputies of British Jews today welcomed the launch of an official investigation into a Palestinian holiday advert, after complaining that it ignored the existence of Israel.

According to the advert from the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, appearing in this month’s edition of National Geographic’s Traveller magazine, “Palestine is a land rich in history with a tradition of hospitality. From the famous cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Nablus and Gaza, the Palestinian people welcome you to visit this Holy Land.”

It continues: “Starting from the earliest religious pilgrims, the country has seen famous visitors come and go.

“Palestine lies between the Mediterranean coast and Jordan River, at the crossroads between Africa and Middle East. It takes a visit to this wonderful country to appreciate the most palpable facet of its culture: the warmth and humour of the Palestine people.”

The Advertising Standards Authority received 60 complaints from individuals and organisations, including the Board of Deputies, which accused the advert of being “deeply disturbing” and “an affront to international law”. The ASA is now investigating the complaints.

A London lawyer, David Lewis, said it was “like describing Portugal as lying between the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean”.

In a letter to the ASA, Lewis wrote: “At the very least it implies that ‘Palestine’ has a Mediterranean coastline; but while this is true as regards to Gaza, that territory is not within the de facto jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. More seriously, it implies that Palestine occupies the whole or the bulk of the territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan, ignoring the existence of Israel.”

The Board of Deputies chief executive, Jon Benjamin, said he was pleased by the decision and hoped an “objective review” would “result in the necessary action”.

Last year two Israeli government tourist office ad campaigns fell foul of the ASA.

One included images of the Palestinian-run West Bank in a holiday advert. The ASA said it featured various landmarks that were in east Jerusalem, which were part of the occupied territories, and ordered that it not be used again.

The other depicted the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights – also part of the occupied territories – as part of Israel.

Because Israel should just continue fighting and fighting

Posted: 10 Jan 2011 11:03 PM PST

Is this really how Jews want to be seen?

Here’s Melanie Phillips, frothing Zionist, speaking at a conference in the illegal Jewish colony of Ariel in late 2010, on why Israel and the Jews must fight back, must never give in to, well, everybody. Note the complete lack of stated facts. Everything is an emotional opinion, everything is simply stated. The casual racism. The complete dismissal of Palestinians and Arabs.

This is what Zionism has done to my people:

As we all know by now, Israel has lost the battle for public opinion in the west. Even the Israel government is now acknowledging this fact. Israel and its defenders have been outclassed and outmanoeuvred in a war of the mind being waged on a battleground it never even acknowledged it was on.

Calls for more and better hasbara, however, are meaningless if the message or narrative promoted by Israel and its defenders misses the point of the attack being waged upon it. And it does miss that point, by a mile.

You cannot resist or overcome a threat unless you first understand its nature.

The first thing to say is that this phenomenon is characteristic not just of the media animosity or economic or academic boycotts. It goes across the intelligentsia and political class, spreading well beyond the normal suspects on the left into the mainstream middle-classes.

In Britain, the universities, the established church, the theatrical and publishing worlds, the voluntary sector, significant elements within the Foreign Office, members of Parliament across the political spectrum, as well as the media have overwhelmingly signed up to the demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel.

The scale of this phenomenon is nothing short of a multi-layered civilisational crisis.

The west is experiencing a total inversion of truth evidence and reason. A society’s thinking class has overwhelmingly subscribed to an immoral, patently false and in many cases demonstrably absurd account of the Middle East, past and present, which it has uncritically absorbed and assumes to be true.

In routine, everyday discourse history is turned on its head; logic is suspended; and an entirely false narrative of the conflict is now widely accepted as unchallengeable fact, from which fundamental error has been spun a global web of potentially catastrophic false conclusions.

This has led to a kind of dialogue of the demented in which rational discussion is simply not possible because there is no shared understanding of the meaning of language. So victim and victimiser, truth and lies, justice and injustice turn into their precise opposite.

This madness is being promulgated through a global alliance between state and non-state actors – diplomats and journalists, politicians and NGOs and websites. Many of these are waging war not just against Israel but against the west.

There are two preconditions for an effective fightback. First is to form effective structures of resistance. Those structures, however, depend in turn on a correct understanding of the nature and scale of what we are up against.

So far, the structures are not in place, and more important still, what Israel is up against is grossly — and fatally — underestimated and misunderstood.

The problem is that we are dealing with a pathology — to which we nevertheless respond as if it were rational behaviour.

What’s happened is a pattern of thinking in the west which turns reality upside down. Remarkably, this in turn echoes a very similar inversion of reality within the Islamic world, where such inversion has a theological base.

Because Islam is considered perfect, its adherents can never do wrong. All their aggression is therefore represented as self-defence, while western/Israeli self-defence is said to be aggression.

UPDATE: Here’s Melanie playing the victim card on Israeli TV this week. Why oh why can’t the world just see that occupying Israel is the victim? Um, well:

 

Paying to wipe all those offensive left-wing views

Posted: 10 Jan 2011 10:55 PM PST

So this is how you engineer society to exclude views you don’t like. George Monbiot explains:

For his film (Astro)Turf Wars, Taki Oldham secretly recorded a training session organised by a rightwing libertarian group called American Majority. The trainer, Austin James, was instructing Tea Party members on how to “manipulate the medium”. This is what he told them: “Here’s what I do. I get on Amazon; I type in ‘Liberal books’. I go through and I say ‘one star, one star, one star’. The flipside is you go to a conservative/ libertarian whatever, go to their products and give them five stars … This is where your kids get information: Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster. These are places where you can rate movies. So when you type in ‘Movies on healthcare’, I don’t want Michael Moore’s to come up, so I always give it bad ratings. I spend about 30 minutes a day, just click, click, click, click … If there’s a place to comment, a place to rate, a place to share information, you have to do it. That’s how you control the online dialogue and give our ideas a fighting chance.”

Over 75% of the funding for American Majority comes from the Sam Adams Alliance. In 2008, the year in which American Majority was founded, 88% of the alliance’s money came from a single donation, of $3.7m. A group that trains rightwing libertarians to distort online democratic processes was, in other words, set up with funding from a person or company with a very large wallet.

 

Wikileaks press release on incitement

Posted: 10 Jan 2011 07:38 PM PST

Spot on (just released statement):

“WikiLeaks: treat incitement seriously or expect more Gabrielle Gifford killing sprees.”

 Wikileaks today offered sympathy and condolences to the victims of the Tucson shooting together with best wishes for the recovery of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords, a democrat from Arizona’s 8th district, was the target of a shooting spree at a Jan 8 political event in which six others were killed. 

 Tucson Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, leading the investigation into the Gifford shooting, said that “vitriolic rhetoric” intended to “inflame the public on a daily basis … has [an] impact on people, especially who are unbalanced personalities to begin with.” Dupnik also observed that officials and media personalities engaging in violent rhetoric “have to consider that they have some responsibility when incidents like this occur and may occur in the future.” 

 WikiLeaks staff and contributors have also been the target of unprecedented violent rhetoric by US prominent media personalities, including Sarah Palin, who urged the US administration to “Hunt down the WikiLeaks chief like the Taliban”. Prominent US politician Mike Huckabee called for the execution of WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange on his Fox News program last November, and Fox News commentator Bob Beckel, referring to Assange, publicly called for people to “illegally shoot the son of a bitch.” US radio personality Rush Limbaugh has called for pressure to “Give [Fox News President Roger] Ailes the order and [then] there is no Assange, I’ll guarantee you, and there will be no fingerprints on it.”, while the Washington Times columnist Jeffery T. Kuhner titled his column “Assassinate Assange” captioned with a picture Julian Assange overlayed with a gun site, blood spatters, and “WANTED DEAD or ALIVE” with the alive crossed out. 

 John Hawkins of Townhall.com has stated “If Julian Assange is shot in the head tomorrow or if his car is blown up when he turns the key, what message do you think that would send about releasing sensitive American data?” 

 Christian Whiton in a Fox News opinion piece called for violence against WikiLeaks publishers and editors, saying the US should “designate WikiLeaks and its officers as enemy combatants, paving the way for non-judicial actions against them.” 

 WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange said: “No organisation anywhere in the world is a more devoted advocate of free speech than Wikileaks but when senior politicians and attention seeking media commentators call for specific individuals or groups of people to be killed they should be charged with incitement — to murder. Those who call for an act of murder deserve as significant share of the guilt as those raising a gun to pull the trigger.” 

 “WikiLeaks has many young staff, volunteers and supporters in the same geographic vicinity as these the broadcast or circulation of these incitements to kill. We have also seen mentally unstable people travel from the US and other counties to other locations. Consequently we have to engage in extreme security measures.” 

 “We call on US authorities and others to protect the rule of law by aggressively prosecuting these and similar incitements to kill. A civil nation of laws can not have prominent members of society constantly calling for the murder and assassination of other individuals or groups.”

People OK with murdering Assange

Posted: 10 Jan 2011 07:36 PM PST

 

This is what passes for mainstream political commentary in the US

Posted: 10 Jan 2011 07:16 PM PST

 

  

How Australian foreign policy establishment mouths State Department lies

Posted: 10 Jan 2011 06:06 PM PST

The following points by leading Australian intellectual and academic Scott Burchill is published here exclusively:

Below are edited transcripts of two interviews with Lowy Institute’s Michael Fullilove about WikiLeaks, both from ABC TV’s The 7.30 Report. The first is dated 30 November, 2010. The second is from 7 January, 2011.

I have removed contributions by others and incidental background material.

A posting at The Interpreter blog on 15 December, 2010 by Michael Fullilove appears below the interviews.

My annotations are in italics.

Wikileaks fallout

Australian Broadcasting Corporation: The 7.30 Report

Broadcast: 30/11/2010

Reporter: Thea Dikeos

MICHAEL FULLILOVE: A lot of the news that is breaking is things that we sort of knew anyway. We knew that Gulf States don’t trust Iran. We knew that China doesn’t like Google. A lot of new stories that they’re reporting, we really knew that stuff anyway.

SB: With fewer than 1% of the cables in the public domain at the time these remarks were made, this seems a remarkably premature evaluation for a foreign policy analyst. It sounds more like wishful thinking. What Fullilove can’t explain is why there was such an extraordinary global reaction (popular and governmental) when the first few cables were released if, as he suggests, there was nothing new in them. The “nothing new argument” was soon dropped by critics of WikiLeaks in response to daily revelations in the mainstream media and Washington’s apoplectic reaction. For revelations about Australia, see http://t.co/aeabyXS and for the world generally, see http://shar.es/XyjTW

MICHAEL FULLILOVE: I think getting diplomats that aren’t intelligence operatives to be collecting biometric data and frequent flyer numbers and that sort of stuff is not advisable.

SB: “Not advisable”? Try illegal.

MICHAEL FULLILOVE: If this is not a shield for anti-American behaviour, if they really believe that, then I would like to see their exposes on Chinese diplomatic and military dealings and Russian diplomatic and military dealings and Iranian and North Korean misdeeds.

SB: Fullilove knows WikiLeaks doesn’t source information. It publishes what it receives. If they had Chinese or Russian cables, they would have every reason to disclose them in the same way, for the same reasons. Fullilove is implying that WikiLeaks is holding back these cables because it is racist, and is arguing that it can only prove its patriotism (to whom?) if it publishes them.

What is it with the NSW Right of the ALP and their obsequious crawling to Washington (Carr, Arbib, Loosely, Fullilove, et al)? They seem so entranced by US history it would be no surprise to find them in costume re-enacting the Civil War. They are the new “forelock tuggers”, replacing the Tories they regularly pilloried for precisely the same servile behaviour.

For an analysis of equivalent antics in the Australian media, see http://bit.ly/eblxOm


Wikileaks debate

Australian Broadcasting Corporation: The 7.30 Report

Broadcast: 07/01/2011

Reporter: Tracy Bowden

TRACY BOWDEN, PRESENTER: Michael Fullilove, you say the release of these documents by WikiLeaks will create evil consequences. What do you mean by that?

MICHAEL FULLILOVE, FOREIGN POLICY ANALYST, LOWY INSTITUTE: Well, I think if you release or you propose to release a quarter of a million cables, then that will have good consequences but also evil consequences, and I’m not persuaded that WikiLeaks has discharged its duty of care to maximise the good consequences and minimise the evil consequences. I think the randomness and incoherence and sloppiness of WikiLeaks work doesn’t give me a lot of faith in their processes.

SB: What duty of care? To whom? Why is Assange morally or legally obliged to keep Washington’s secrets from the public, as Fullilove expects him to? References to “randomness”, “incoherence” and “sloppiness” imply WikiLeaks is, or should behave like a department of state. Why should it? The fact that still only 0.8% of the cables have been released belies these trite charges and one suspects WikiLeaks isn’t looking for Fullilove’s “faith in their processes.” It’s never claimed to be a representative, publicly-accountable organisation. These are the comments of someone who simply cannot imagine anything beyond the normal conduct of diplomacy by his “friends at State” and the cosy symbiosis between government and the media.

TRACY BOWDEN: You actually did say that a quarter of a million had been dumped, that’s not the case. So far it’s only 2,000 and they were released in tandem with a group of the world’s most respected newspapers.

MICHAEL FULLILOVE: But they’re proposing to release a quarter of a million. They’ve released those quarter of a million to the newspapers, including ‘The Guardian’ and I have every expectation that at some point those documents will all be released. Their emphasis is disclosure. Their view is very much people aren’t entitled to secrets, transparency is king, and I guess my approach is there are competing interests.

There is a need for transparency because without transparency bad things can happen, but there is also a need in society for confidentiality because without confidentiality, nothing can happen, and I don’t think WikiLeaks is good at balancing those competing interests.

SB: Where has Assange said all the cables will be released? In several interviews Assange has suggested that there are occasions when governments should legitimately maintain their secrets. Fullilove knows this but avoids the interviewer’s invitation to correct his mistake from the first interview by fudging his answer. Again he refuses to criticise the newspapers that are actually disseminating the cables. Why? Aren’t they equally guilty of “randomness”, “incoherence” and “sloppiness”?

His claim that “without confidentiality, nothing can happen” is nonsense. Open sources are much more reliable and confidentiality is often inversely proportional to trust. Confidentiality makes Fullilove and his “friends at State” feel special and they want to police entry to their exclusive club.

TRACY BOWDEN: As you would be aware, there was some care or responsibility, as far as Julian Assange is concerned, they say that there was several months of discussions before they released the documents, that they went to the State Department to talk about redactions and there was every effort they say to ensure that vital American contacts were not exposed. Does that comfort you?

MICHAEL FULLILOVE: Actually, all the recent reporting goes the other way. There is an article in the current edition of ‘Vanity Fair’ which reveals some of the discussions between ‘The Guardian’ and Mr Assange which paints WikiLeaks in a very bad light, I think.

Also, when you look at some of the email conversations between Mr Assange and his subordinates, you don’t get the sense that this is a substantial organisation with robust internal decision-making processes, it feels much more like an organisation, organised around a personality cult and I think that’s dangerous.

Again, I’m not saying that none of these documents are valuable. I think some of them are interesting, some of them indeed fascinating and important, but just like a sick tree can bear fruit, just because some of these cables are interesting and important doesn’t mean that WikiLeaks is admirable or credible or trustworthy.

SB: So Fullilove is in favour of some leaking. How much? Which cables? The ones Bob Woodward publishes without criticism and makes a fortune from? Do his “friends at State” know this?  Better to switch the interview to the organisation with condescending ad hominem attacks and nonsense about a personality cult which, as he well knows, the media is largely responsible for creating.

TRACY BOWDEN: It sounds like you’re questioning his motives as much as anything?

MICHAEL FULLILOVE: Well, I don’t want to go to his motives. I try to judge him, I think, on his actions and I just think he is not showing a lot of care in those actions, given what’s at stake.

SB: Except when you accused him of being “anti-American” – that is racist – in your earlier interview.

TRACY BOWDEN: Now, the cables show – one thing they do show is that the public has been lied to before and during the Iraq war. Isn’t that information that people should have and as a foreign policy analyst, isn’t that information that concerns you?

MICHAEL FULLILOVE: Look, I think this information is important and obviously for a foreign policy analyst, it’s good for business and I’m not saying none of this information should come out. I guess I’m critiquing the incoherence of WikiLeaks’ approach.

In other words there is a different between a whistleblower saying, ‘I have a particular piece of information about an abuse of power or about a dishonesty or lie that needs to surface’.

There is a difference between that and dumping thousands or tens of thousands of documents in the case of the Afghanistan/Iraq war that deal with all sorts of topics from all over the world and just saying, “go for broke.” I think society, organisations whether it’s ‘The 7:30 Report’ or the Lowy Institute or the US Government have a requirement for confidential information and just sort of calling open slather on information in the way that WikiLeaks does I think is dangerous.

SB: So some of the information should come out, but none of it would have without WikiLeaks, as Fullilove well knows. He seems to want an orderly, pre-approved release – ie the status quo which has left us so much in the dark. What he means by “incoherence” is beyond me – what doesn’t Fullilove understand? Actually the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs dealt almost exclusively with those two wars. They didn’t deal with “all sorts of topics from all over the world.” It seems that in Fullilove’s world there are good whistleblowers (who don’t upset his friends in Washington) and bad ones (who do – in fact WikiLeaks isn’t a whistleblower organisation, it publishers the document procured by whistleblowers). If you are inside the Beltway, you can be trusted to do the responsible thing.

Sourcing leaks is the lifeblood of investigative journalism. WikiLeaks is simply better at it than most. What Fullilove hates is the embarrassment these disclosures have caused to the political class he is so desperate to join.

TRACY BOWDEN: So are you saying that information about the lies told about Iraq, problems connected with the weapons of mass destruction are you saying it’s fair enough to release that information?

MICHAEL FULLILOVE: Well, it’s not clear to me that there were scoops in relation to that. I mean, we all know that there were no weapons of mass destruction; we all know that that intelligence turned out to be flawed. So it’s not clear to me that anything in particular was gained with that disclosure.

SB: So only issues deemed newsworthy or “scoops” can and should be legitimately leaked and published? That’s his criteria for publication? One would have thought these are precisely the cables he would be most concerned about. Clearly informing the public about the activities of their governments is not a high priority.

TRACY BOWDEN: So in terms of your concerns about these evil consequences, another issue has been the security of some of the sources. Is there any evidence yet that anyone has suffered as a consequence of these documents being released?

MICHAEL FULLILOVE: I think there is lots of evidence that people have suffered. Careers have been damaged; people have been humiliated and embarrassed for doing their jobs.

I think if you look at a lot of the documents that have come out of countries like China, I think you would say, although we don’t know what the evidence is, but you would have to say that security services who are not as fussy about human rights as, say, the FBI or the Justice Department will be able to look at that information and work out who some of those sources were.

But I think Tracy, the consequences are broader than that, broader than individual cases. I think this will have a chilling effect on the willingness of civil society members in authoritarian countries to talk to foreign diplomats. Already diplomats in country like China, Russia and Iran are saying they are finding it harder to encourage people to talk to them honestly and openly and I think that in the long run, I think that has deleterious consequences.

SB: The embarrassment and humiliation of Fullilove’s political mates and idols hardly constitutes “evil” behaviour. The question about “suffering” clearly refers to physical harm, and there is no evidence of WikiLeaks endangering people in that way – a point even the Pentagon has conceded. In the event that names have been redacted and given no-one can provide any evidence of what Fullilove claims (including his “chilling effect”), little will actually change.

The quarter of a million cables held by WikiLeaks enjoy only a moderate security classification, and constitute a very small percentage of the total classified material held by the State Department.

TRACY BOWDEN: The US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that he thinks that that was a little overstated and he as actually admitted that America’s security in relation with these documents was a bit slack?

MICHAEL FULLILOVE: I think America’s security in relation to the documents was hopeless. I think it’s unbelievable to me that a private could have access to so many documents and be able to copy them. I think it’s completely nuts, but that doesn’t change WikiLeaks’ responsibility for putting the documents out in the public domain.

SB: He avoids responding to Gates’ admission because it undermines his “argument”. Again its not the content of the cables which concerns Fullilove, but who gets to read them – ie the great unwashed masses.

TRACY BOWDEN: So essentially you’re saying that the benefits that might come out of the WikiLeaks are outweighed by the risks? The right of people to know, is not significant enough?

MICHAEL FULLILOVE: No, I think there are competing interests and I think that it’s incumbent upon anybody releasing information to try to balance those interests and to say, “there is a particular wrong here we’re trying to expose and therefore it makes sense to release this information.”

Journalists do this every day. Every day journalists exercise that sort of judgment, that’s entirely different from just proposing to dump thousands or tens of thousands of documents that could have all sorts of unintended consequences.

SB: Ah, such faith in the mainstream media. Woodward’s judgement is OK, Assange’s is not. The reason we have WikiLeaks is because the journalists that Fullilove has so much faith in haven’t done their job. If they had, there would be no market for WikiLeaks. What is “entirely different” is merely the scale and range of the leaking, which is what makes them so interesting to so many.

TRACY BOWDEN: Would you feel more comfortable if some of this information was about, for example, the Chinese Communist Party?

MICHAEL FULLILOVE: Well, I think it would be useful if the playing field that WikiLeaks was establishing was more level. I think because it’s easier to steal information from open democratic societies therefore the vast preponderance of material that we’ve found to date has been American in origin.

We haven’t seen the same – nearly the same level of documents from China or Russia or Iran and North Korea.

Interestingly, notwithstanding that, I think actually the Americans don’t come out of this as badly as Mr Assange probably hoped because if you squint your eyes and you look at the totality of information that has come out so far from the State Department leaks, what you find is that the problems that America complains about ritually, for example, the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, are serious, they’re serious problems taken very seriously by governments all around the world.

And yet whereas American diplomats are out there every day trying to resolve these problems, other governments might egg them on privately but publicly won’t do so. So in a funny sort of way Mr Assange has does America a favour.

SB: Translation: “My “friends at State” are great guys who can be trusted to always do the right thing (ie they are always striving to stop wars and never start them) and if they don’t think we should know something, we shouldn’t be told.”

If Assange is doing Washington a favour, what’s the problem?

TRACY BOWDEN: Finally, 59 percent of Australians support the release of the cables. I guess you’re at odds with them?

MICHAEL FULLILOVE: Well, I think Australians like an underdog and Mr Assange is taking it up to the most powerful country in the world but Australians also don’t like people who dodge their responsibility and they don’t like people who dodge extradition as Christopher Skase found out, so we’ll see how public opinion goes on that in the future.

SB: Nice link to the sex case against Assange: this is another ad hominem attack. Translation: “The public are irrelevant. It’s only people like me who count – the responsible men of power who can be trusted to be sound in judgement. We should decide what the public gets to hear and read.”


WikiLeaks: Fruit of an unhealthy tree

By Michael Fullilove

The Interpreter – Lowy Institute

15 December 2010

I would add a few points to Rory’s excellent first cut at WikiLeaks’ implications for the international system:

1. The randomness of the State Department dump is disturbing. Such a disclosure will inevitably have some good consequences; it will also have many evil ones. US contacts will be identified by security services that are less fussy about human rights than the FBI or the Justice Department. Peace processes will be compromised. Representatives of civil society in harsh places will be less willing to speak with foreign diplomats.

SB: There is no evidence for any of these claims. Which peace processes exactly? The FBI and Justice Department are “fussy about human rights”? In the sense that they are careful to abuse them?

I have no confidence that Julian Assange and his anonymous colleagues have exercised their duty of care to maximise the good and minimise the evil. Mr Assange’s scary Orwellian diktats to his browbeaten colleagues reveal that robust, collaborative internal decision-making processes are foreign to WikiLeaks.

SB: WikiLeaks staff are well known, few if any are anonymous. Again, what duty of care – and to whom? Fullilove knows little or nothing about the internal decision-making processes of WikiLeaks. And he remains resolutely mute about the media organisations that are leading the dissemination of the cables. Why no equivalent criticism of them?

2. The rationale for the dump is incoherent. What is the justification for dropping a quarter of a million cables, from diplomatic missions all over the world, on every topic under the sun? It’s one thing for a whistleblower to expose a particular piece of information relating to one abuse of power: even that is a serious act entailing a very heavy responsibility.

SB: Fewer than 1% of the cables have been dumped. The rationale may not be clear to Fullilove, though it seems to have convinced a number of the world’s leading newspapers, El Pais, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and The New York Times, who are also publishing the cables. To say nothing about their readers.

But with this dump WikiLeaks is not uncovering a particular secret; it is outlawing secrets altogether.

SB: This is nonsense. See comments above. Assange has conceded the need for secrets in a number of circumstances.

Does Mr Assange really believe no-one is entitled to secrets? Would the world be safer, saner or more pleasant if nothing could be held in confidence? How could wars be averted in such a world? How could peace negotiations take place? Would news sources talk to journalists? Would business be done and jobs created? Could families enjoy each other’s company? (I wonder whether the recent posting of Mr Assange’s online dating profile will alter his view that transparency must trump every other right and every other interest. I will not link to the profile because I believe people have a right to privacy.)

SB: Ditto. Reductio ad absurdum. What about the diplomatic secrecy which has caused wars (eg Iraq 2003) and prevented the settlement of conflicts (Israel-Palestine, East Timor, etc)?

3. It seems that Mr Assange has something against diplomacy. During the Bush Administration’s years, especially in its first term, the left was rightly critical of George W Bush’s over-reliance on military force. Now WikiLeaks is setting out to punish Washington for pursuing its aims through peaceful means — and undermining those peaceful means in the future. Thanks Julian, but I’d take the late Richard Holbrooke over you any day.

SB: Has the diplomatic system collapsed since WikiLeaks began leaking State Department cables in November 2010? In what ways have “peaceful means” been “undermined”? Fullilove is a chicken little who can’t point to any changes at all because there haven’t been any, other than a predictable tightening of communications security. Given his record on East Timor and elsewhere, it’s no surprise Fullilove prefers Holbrooke, see: http://j.mp/eIcxFU

4. The playing field WikiLeaks has established is not a level one. It is much easier to steal information from open, democratic societies than from closed, authoritarian ones. WikiLeaks has hinted about future Russian leaks, but so far the vast preponderance of material is American in origin. Therefore the world sees the frailties of US diplomacy in much sharper focus than that that of, say, China or Iran. Do US diplomats look good in every exchange on which they report? No. But WikiLeaks doesn’t allow us to compare them fairly to their foreign counterparts.

SB: See comment above. There is no level playing field. It’s not a competition or a game. Surely we can evaluate US diplomacy without rationalising it via comparative assessments? WikiLeaks publishes what it gets from whistleblowers. It doesn’t source the material.

5. Even though WikiLeaks has rigged the game against the Americans, they don’t come out of it as badly as you might think (and as Mr Assange doubtless hoped). If you squint your eyes and look at the totality of the information released so far, it turns out that the international problems about which Washington complains (for example, the Iranian nuclear program) are real and dangerous; that other capitals broadly agree with this; and that the American diplomats who are trying to address these problems often get little assistance from the rest of the world, including from those who egg them on privately. In other words, despite its clear intentions, WikiLeaks undercuts the view that America is arrogant, unilateral and bellicose.

SB: It doesn’t but if it did, why the complaints and concerns? Why is Hilary Clinton still travelling the world apologizing to allied and friendly governments? The diplomatic reputation of the US is in tatters, as virtually every “friendly” government from Singapore to Saudi Arabia has been saying. Squint your eyes and Washington’s calumny doesn’t evaporate unless, like Fullilove, you are a member of the US lobby in Australia. In that case your myopia ensures that you never see it anyway.

I can’t deny that WikiLeaks is fascinating. For a foreign policy think tank, it’s great for business. Though many of the documents tell us nothing new, some are genuinely interesting and enlightening. Yet none of this takes away from the essential recklessness of WikiLeaks’ conduct.

SB: It’s only reckless behavior if you are striving to preserve Washington’s secrets and keep the public in the dark. Unsurprisingly, the Australian public see things very differently.

Even a sick tree can bear fruit. But we shouldn’t pretend that the tree is healthy.

SB: If there is a sick tree worth felling it’s the current diplomatic system.

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