Archive | April 11th, 2011

Twitterers Paid To Spread IsraHell Propaganda

NOVANEWS

 

Posted By: Sammi Ibrahem
Chair of West Midl;and PSC

By Jonathan Cook


Nazareth: The passionate support for Israel expressed on talkback sections of websites, internet chat forums, blogs, Twitters and Facebook may not be all that it seems.

Israel’s foreign ministry is reported to be establishing a special undercover team of paid workers whose job it will be to surf the internet 24 hours a day spreading positive news about Israel.

Internet-savvy Israeli youngsters, mainly recent graduates and demobilised soldiers with language skills, are being recruited to pose as ordinary surfers while they provide the government’s line on the Middle East conflict.

“To all intents and purposes the internet is a theatre in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we must be active in that theatre, otherwise we will lose,” said Ilan Shturman, who is responsible for the project.

The existence of an “internet warfare team” came to light when it was included in this year’s foreign ministry budget. About $150,000 has been set aside for the first stage of development, with increased funding expected next year.

The team will fall under the authority of a large department already dealing with what Israelis term “hasbara”, officially translated as “public explanation” but more usually meaning propaganda. That includes not only government public relations work but more secretive dealings the ministry has with a battery of private organisations and initiatives that promote Israel’s image in print, on TV and online.

In an interview this month with the Calcalist, an Israeli business newspaper, Mr Shturman, the deputy director of the ministry’s hasbara department, admitted his team would be working undercover.

“Our people will not say: ‘Hello, I am from the hasbara department of the Israeli foreign ministry and I want to tell you the following.’ Nor will they necessarily identify themselves as Israelis,” he said. “They will speak as net-surfers and as citizens, and will write responses that will look personal but will be based on a prepared list of messages that the foreign ministry developed.”

Rona Kuperboim, a columnist for Ynet, Israel’s most popular news website, denounced the initiative, saying it indicated that Israel had become a “thought-police state”.

She added that “good PR cannot make the reality in the occupied territories prettier. Children are being killed, homes are being bombed, and families are starved.”

Her column was greeted by several talkbackers asking how they could apply for a job with the foreign ministry’s team.

The project is a formalisation of public relations practices the ministry developed specifically for Israel’s assault on Gaza in December and January.

“During Operation Cast Lead we appealed to Jewish communities abroad and with their help we recruited a few thousand volunteers, who were joined by Israeli volunteers,” Mr Shturman said.

“We gave them background material and hasbara material, and we sent them to represent the Israeli point of view on news websites and in polls on the internet.”

The Israeli army also had one of the most popular sites on the video-sharing site YouTube and regularly uploaded clips, although it was criticised by human rights groups for misleading viewers about what was shown in its footage.

Mr Shturman said that during the war the ministry had concentrated its activities on European websites where audiences were more hostile to Israeli policy. High on its list of target sites for the new project would be BBC Online and Arabic websites, he added.

Elon Gilad, who heads the internet team, told Calcalist that many people had contacted the ministry offering their services during the Gaza attack. “People just asked for information, and afterwards we saw that the information was distributed all over the internet.”

He suggested that there had been widespread government cooperation, with the ministry of absorption handing over contact details for hundreds of recent immigrants to Israel, who wrote pro-Israel material for websites in their native languages.

The new team is expected to increase the ministry’s close coordination with a private advocacy group, giyus.org (Give Israel Your United Support). About 50,000 activists are reported to have downloaded a programme called Megaphone that sends an alert to their computers when an article critical of Israel is published. They are then supposed to bombard the site with comments supporting Israel.

Nasser Rego of Ilam, a group based in Nazareth that monitors the Israeli media, said Arab organisations in Israel were among those regularly targeted by hasbara groups for “character assassination”. He was concerned the new team would try to make such work appear more professional and convincing.

“If these people are misrepresenting who they are, we can guess they won’t worry too much about misrepresenting the groups and individuals they write about. Their aim, it’s clear, will be to discredit those who stand for human rights and justice for the Palestinians.”

When The National called the foreign ministry, Yigal Palmor, a spokesman, denied the existence of the internet team, though he admitted officials were stepping up exploitation of new media.

He declined to say which comments by Mr Shturman or Mr Gilad had been misrepresented by the Hebrew-language media, and said the ministry would not be taking any action over the reports.

Israel has developed an increasingly sophisticated approach to new media since it launched a “Brand Israel” campaign in 2005.

Market research persuaded officials that Israel should play up good news about business success, and scientific and medical breakthroughs involving Israelis.

Mr Shturman said his staff would seek to use websites to improve “Israel’s image as a developed state that contributes to the quality of the environment and to humanity”.

David Saranga, head of public relations at Israel’s consulate-general in New York, which has been leading the push for more upbeat messages about Israel, argued last week that Israel was at a disadvantage against pro-Palestinian advocacy.

“Unlike the Muslim world, which has hundreds of millions of supporters who have adopted the Palestinian narrative in order to slam Israel, the Jewish world numbers only 13 million,” he wrote in Ynet.

Israel has become particularly concerned that support is ebbing among the younger generations in Europe and the United States.

In 2007 it emerged that the foreign ministry was behind a photo-shoot published in Maxim, a popular US men’s magazine, in which female Israeli soldiers posed in swimsuits.

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Dahlan, nutty Dahlan

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“”Gilad described Dahlan as a man whose emotional and mental health was deteriorating to the point that he ‘collapsed’ in Gilad’s arms when the latter met him on the evening of September 16,” Dibble wrote. “Gilad described the meeting as follows: ‘Dahlan was there with his daughter-in-law. I told him ‘You are sick,’ and he started screaming and shouting at me. He shouted for hours. We called a doctor and suggested he go to a hospital. He refused and said he had to speak to thousands of Palestinians on September 17.
He then collapsed on his bed. He looked ghostly white … I said, ‘If you leave this room you will either be martyred or end up paralyzed.’ He broke down in my arms and said he would go to hospital. We arranged a VIP room at a hospital in Tel Aviv and took him there in an ambulance with a police  escort. The following day doctors said he had a slipped disc.“”

Haaretz WikiLeaks exclusive / Fatah strongman’s mental health failing, Israel official reported

Head of the Defense Ministry’s political-security branch Amos Gilad said in 2005 that Palestinian Authority’s Dahlan was in psychological free fall.

By Yossi Melman

Palestinian Authority strongman Mohammed Dahlan’s mental health is rapidly deteriorating, the head of the Defense Ministry’s political-security branch Maj. Gen. (res. ) Amos Gilad told an American diplomat in 2005, according to the latest documents released by WikiLeaks.

Dahlan, then minister for civil affairs in the Palestinian Authority, was responsible at the time for one of the Palestinian Authority’s security organizations and was seen as one of Israel’s key interlocutors in the territories, working directly with heads of the Shin Bet security service. Gilad described Dahlan’s psychological condition in a meeting with Elizabeth Dibble, then a senior official at the State Department’s Middle East desk. The meeting was reported in a message sent from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv.

 

dahlan - Kobi Gideon - April 10 2011 Mohammed Dahlan
Photo by: Kobi Gideon
“Gilad described Dahlan as a man whose emotional and mental health was deteriorating to the point that he ‘collapsed’ in Gilad’s arms when the latter met him on the evening of September 16,” Dibble wrote. “Gilad described the meeting as follows: ‘Dahlan was there with his daughter-in-law. I told him ‘You are sick,’ and he started screaming and shouting at me. He shouted for hours. We called a doctor and suggested he go to a hospital. He refused and said he had to speak to thousands of Palestinians on September 17. He then collapsed on his bed. He looked ghostly white … I said, ‘If you leave this room you will either be martyred or end up paralyzed.’ He broke down in my arms and said he would go to hospital. We arranged a VIP room at a hospital in Tel Aviv and took him there in an ambulance with a police escort. The following day doctors said he had a slipped disc.”

Gilad said King Abdullah of Jordan sent a helicopter within 30 minutes and flew him to Amman.

 

gilad - Nir Kafri - April 10 2011 Amos Gilad
Photo by: Nir Kafri

 

Although Dahlan’s hospitalization was eventually reported in Israeli media, Gilad said the Israeli government was not responsible for the leak, fearing it would be used by other Palestinians to humiliate and undermine Dahlan. Gilad said he would never break his word to Dahlan, despite the latter being “extremist and unhelpful on the Rafah issue,” Dibble wrote. She noted Gilad described Dahlan as “destructive,” saying that Dahlan was behind the “elimination” of PA interior minister Nasser Yousef.

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Why would the leftist, Counterpunch, publish this piece of Saudi propaganda?

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Zogby has been an advocate for the sons of Zayid for years now:  “In this area, Bahrain’s neighbours have a key role to play. Earlier this year, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members made a commitment of long-term financial assistance to Bahrain. And now they have sent troops into the country, deepening their commitment to their neighbour and fellow member.
More must be done. Bahrain needs help. Just as other GCC countries realised that the long-term standoff that shut down a vital part of the country was not sustainable or constructive, so too they must realise that the government’s crackdown that ended the standoff will also not solve the country’s problems or even contribute to a resolution.”  He talks about the Saudi invasion of Bahrain as if it was a peace mission.

The Roots of Bahrain’s Crisis

By JAMES ZOGBY

Frequently these days I am asked whether our past polling at Zogby International gave us any advance clues on the uprisings that have occurred in several Arab countries. The answer, of course, is no. We were surprised, as I believe were the demonstrators themselves, by the outpouring of support and the rapid growth of their movements in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond.

But while our polling couldn’t predict the uprisings, it nevertheless has been helpful in contributing to our understanding of the issues and concerns that define the political landscape in countries across the region.

In preparing for a talk on Bahrain earlier this week, I took a look at a survey of the “middle class” in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain we conducted a few years ago for McKinsey and Company. It was most instructive. What I found, back then, in that in-depth look into the economic status and outlook of Gulf Arabs, were yellow flags flying all over our Bahrain data, warning that the country’s citizens were distressed.

We found that not only are Bahrain’s neighbours in Saudi Arabia and the UAE wealthier, in terms of macroeconomic indicators, their citizens are also more satisfied with their current status and more optimistic about their prospects for the future. Ask the questions “are you better off than your parents were when they were your age” and between two-thirds to three-quarters of Saudis and Emiratis say “yes”. On the other hand, only one-third of Bahrainis would agree that they are better off than their parent’s generation. And when asked whether their children would be better off in the future, more than a half of Saudis and Emiratis agreed that they would be better off, while only 17 per cent of Bahrainis are optimistic about the future of their offspring.

Hard data establishes that Bahrain’s unemployment is significantly more than double that of its neighbours, but this is only part of the story. Most unemployed Saudis and Emiratis report having incomes (with some being fairly substantial coming from family support; others report income from rental properties or investments, etc). And most of those reporting themselves as “unemployed” in those two countries are from households in which two or more individuals are employed. In Bahrain, on the other hand, most of the unemployed report having no sources of other income; most have no savings, and most come from households where only one person or no one at all is a wage earner.

One doesn’t have to make the leap to a crude type of economic determinism to conclude that this economic stress in Bahrain would have consequences. Bahrainis report being less satisfied with their jobs and the salaries they receive, and give lower grades to government services than their neighbours in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. While this obvious economic distress in Bahrain is only one factor among others to which one can point in an effort to account for the turmoil in the country, it is a revealing and important factor nonetheless.

Issues of political reform, concerns with discrimination, and government accountability have now been brought to the fore in Bahrain and are the key agenda items for a much-needed national dialogue. But as this broader political discussion advances (and one can only hope that it does), the economic needs of Bahrain’s people should not be ignored. Meeting economic concerns will not substitute for political reform, but not addressing these economic matters will only make advancing on the political front all the harder.

In this area, Bahrain’s neighbours have a key role to play. Earlier this year, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members made a commitment of long-term financial assistance to Bahrain. And now they have sent troops into the country, deepening their commitment to their neighbour and fellow member. More must be done. Bahrain needs help. Just as other GCC countries realised that the long-term standoff that shut down a vital part of the country was not sustainable or constructive, so too they must realise that the government’s crackdown that ended the standoff will also not solve the country’s problems or even contribute to a resolution. An honest, open, and good faith dialogue on all key issues is the only way forward. As that occurs, the GCC can design a more comprehensive economic package for Bahrain — an incentive to move the reform process forward, and a sign of GCC solidarity with the Bahraini people and government. It would also be a way of demonstrating that Arab problems can be solved by Arabs.

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Feltman is a liar, says Lebanon’s Minister of Defense

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The Wikileaks revelations have been most embarrassing to this most awful and incompetent Lebanese ministers, Ilyas Al-Murr.  Hasan Nasrallah last weekend challenged March 14 figures to disprove Feltman’s account of meetings with March 14 figures.  Today, Ihlas Murr responded and called Feltman a “liar.”

 

 

 

 


الياس المر 

سمعت السيّد حسن نصر الله الأمين العام لحزب الله يطالب بأن نقول “فيلتمان كذّاب”.

لا بأس. فليكن. لكنّ السؤال الذي نطرحه اليوم هو: هل هذه التقارير التي رفعها فيلتمان، حين كان سفيرا لبلاده في لبنان، ثم السفيرة ميشيل سيسون وغيرهما، هي معلومات موثوق بها ويمكن البناء عليها، أم إنها تتضمّن استنتاجات وآراء وتحاليل وتقويما، تخدم مصالحهم ضمن الإدارة التي ينتمون إليها، والكلّ يعرف أنّ اللوبي الصهيوني يسيطر على تلك الإدارات بشكل أو بآخر، ما يعني أنه يؤثّر في مستقبل أي موظف في تلك الإدارات؟

والسؤال الثاني وهو الأدقّ والأخطر: هناك وثائق ومستندات خرجت من دوائر السفارة الأميركية في بيروت، ولا تتضمّن أيّ تأويل أو تحليل أو تفسير، بل فقط معلومات على جانب كبير من الخطورة، وقد حصلت “الجمهورية” على نسخ من هذه الوثائق بالطريقة التي حصلت عليها زميلاتها من الصحف، والتي من شأنها أن تكشف المستور.

ومن المفترض أن يكون “مسرّبو” الوثائق قد حصلوا على نسخ منها، إلاّ أنّهم لم ينشروها. لماذا لم يفعلوا ذلك؟ ولماذا الاستنساب والاختيار في نشر ما يعتبر بين الرأي والثرثرة والتحليل وتصوير “حزب الله” أنه المظلوم والضحية والمستهدَف، والامتناع عن نشر الوثائق التي تحمل معلومات لا تصبّ، حتما، في مصلحة الحزب، بل بالعكس تماما؟

أمّا السؤال الثالث فهو: لماذا علينا أن نصدّق ما يتم استنسابه وانتقاؤه وتسريبه من التقارير المترجَمة أو المفبركة، ولا نصدّق كل ما صدر عن السفارة الأميركية من تلك الوثائق المرقَّمة والمرمَّزة، وفيها كثير من المعلومات والتقارير، نربأ بأنفسنا نشرها في الوقت الراهن لئلا نصبّ الزيت فوق النار، إيمانا منّا بأن لا بدّ في النهاية من انتصار صوت العقل والحكمة على صراخ التخوين والاتهام والوعيد.

في النهاية، أعيد السؤال إلى السيد نصر الله، ولتكن الكلمة كلمته. إذا رأيتم أنّ هؤلاء السفراء كاذبون في ما كتبوه وحلّلوه ونسبوه واستنتجوه، فليكن ذلك، وعليه نعتبر أنّ ما بين أيدينا من وثائق هو من النوع المركّب والمفبرك لتعميق الخلاف بين اللبنانيين.

أما إذا تمسّكتم بأن تقارير فيلتمان وسيسون مقدسة ومُنزَلة، فمن حقنا أن نبني على ما لدينا من وثائق خطيرة، على أساس أنها صادقة وصحيحة.

الكلمة لكم: فيلتمان “كذّاب” أم لا؟

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Zio-Nazi Supreme court of Apartheid

NOVANEWs

“Anyone who suspects the Supreme Court and its judges of leftism should read the latest ruling on “The Israeli Seam Zone Permit Regime.” In plain language, this is the bureaucratic machinery that the Defense Ministry and the Civil Administration have created to restrict to the absolute minimum Palestinians’ entry, time spent, and ability to live and work on lands in the West Bank that are west of the separation fence. To be more exact, it refers to Zio-Nazi annexation of 184,868 dunams (about 45,682 acres ), for now, of Palestinian land trapped between the fence and the Green Line”

Supreme Court is on wrong side of West Bank separation fence

A recent ruling demonstrates the bureaucratic machinery the state has created to restrict the Palestinians’ ability to enter, live and work on land west of the separation fence.

By Amira Hass

Anyone who suspects the Supreme Court and its judges of leftism should read the latest ruling on “The Israeli Seam Zone Permit Regime.” In plain language, this is the bureaucratic machinery that the Defense Ministry and the Civil Administration have created to restrict to the absolute minimum Palestinians’ entry, time spent, and ability to live and work on lands in the West Bank that are west of the separation fence. To be more exact, it refers to Israel’s annexation of 184,868 dunams (about 45,682 acres ), for now, of Palestinian land trapped between the fence and the Green Line.

Read the ruling issued by the Supreme Court, sitting in its capacity as the High Court of Justice, in files 9961/03 and 639/04 from April 5 of this year, and you, the distrustful, will be put at ease.

Separation fence in Bethelehem Meta-graffiti of a walled Christmas tree on the separation fence in Bethelehem.
Photo by: Olivier Fitoussi

With more than half a million settlers living in spacious settlements that encroach upon suffocating Palestinian enclaves, the court is still convinced Palestinian lands have been taken over for security reasons. Politicians regard the route of the separation fence as “the effective border between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” but Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch writes that “we can but hope that this is a need that is of a temporary nature, because alongside the need to fight terrorism, the uninvolved civilian population is, to our great regret, also harmed.”

Over the past eight years, except for certain sections that it ruled must be changed, the High Court of Justice has endorsed the invasive route of the separation fence (85 percent of which is within the West Bank, far from the Green Line, according to OCHA, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ).

The process was completed last week when the court handed down, without any fanfare, its rulings on two petitions, one submitted by Hamoked – the Center for the Defense of the Individual, in 2003; the other by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, in 2004. The petitioners did not argue over the route of the fence, but over the dispossession of Palestinians from their lands, in practice, and the discrimination between Jews and Palestinians.

Stuck in between

The fence’s invasive route cuts off a considerable chunk of land – some 9.5% of the total area of the West Bank – from its natural owners, the Palestinian community. As a permanently declared closed military zone, only Israelis and tourists are permitted to enter, travel and hike there, and only Jews are permitted to settle there. The entry, movement and housing for Palestinians in those areas, meanwhile, is kept to a minimum. Three groups of the population are directly affected by this.

First of all, the tens of thousands of residents who live east of the fence but whose lands lie to its west. There are towns and villages that cannot expand or build as their natural growth would require. What is permitted for Alfei Menashe is forbidden to Qalqilyah; what is permitted for the settlement of Na’aleh is forbidden to Na’alin.

The second group directly affected includes those with the bad luck of having their homes situated in this in-between area: 3,000 people who are required to have a special permanent permit from the Civil Administration allowing them to live in their own homes. All the others – family members, friends, doctors, teachers, garbage collectors, TV technicians – must undergo an exhausting bureaucratic process to obtain a temporary permit (“for personal purposes” or “for infrastructure workers” or “for medical teams” ) to visit – and not everyone can get it, and not each time a request is submitted.

The third group is made up of the farmers whose lands are imprisoned behind closed gates, heavy locks and a cumbersome machinery of soldiers who are never in a hurry. In the beginning, the state had promised two-year agricultural permits. In 2006, 10,037 such permits were issued. Another 214 temporary permits were given to farmers whose claims to the land had not yet been decided. A total of 3,881 short-term work permits were also issued to agricultural workers and family members of farmers.

But since then, there’s been a steady decline in the number of permanent permits issued. In 2010, only 1,200 Palestinians received “permanent agricultural permits” for a period of more than one year, as the Civil Administration reported to ACRI just one week ago. Another 392 Palestinians received permits ranging in length from six months to one year, while another 1,167 got “agricultural permits in the seam area” – those whose rights to the land had not been made clear. On the other hand, the number of work permits issued skyrocketed to 18,630 – of these 8,583 were valid for one to three months, and 7,463 for six months to one year.

No problem for Beinisch

Overall this is okay, according to Beinisch and her colleagues on the bench, Eliezer Rivlin and Ayala Procaccia. Beinisch commented on the drop in the number of visiting permits issued “for personal purposes” (from 11,000 in 2007 to 5,200 in 2009 ) and asked the Civil Administration to be more flexible.

She also noted the fact that no reasonable timetable had been fixed within which to process the permit requests.

But “this time too,” Beinisch wrote, “we could not ignore the vital security purpose which lies at the basis of the decision to close the seam area… We came to the conclusion that, subject to a number of changes fully detailed above, the decision to close the seam area and to impose the Permits Regime there withstands the tests of legality and we therefore do not see reason for intervention on our part.”

She also took Moked to task for comparing the situation to apartheid.

What apparently does not concern the High Court in any way is the constant Israeli tendency to divide the Palestinian population into categories and sub-categories.

These sub-categories are recognizable by the lack of freedom of movement the Palestinians face on their own expanse of land. The drop in the number of “permanent farmers” offers further proof that Israel has made the bureaucratic process of determining Palestinian ownership of land even more complicated.

It allows temporary workers to go and work in the area. They may be the children or the grandchildren of the owners of the land, but their ownership is not recognized.

Will Israel decide in another 10 years that this land does not have any owners? And then the honorable High Court justices will be able to rule that this is indeed so, and that without an owner the Sovereign (Israel ) is permitted to do with the land as it wills?

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The World Banks vomits advice

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem
Chair of West Midland PSC

In a report released on Monday, the World Bank says that there should be far more focus on building stable government, and on justice and police, than on health and education.”

 

Aid spending should target conflict, World Bank urges

By David LoynBBC international development correspondent

Soldier patrols beach in Guatemala

Poverty rates are 20% higher in countries hit by violence, so aid should target violence, the Bank says

The World Bank is recommending a major difference in the way aid is spent.

A quarter of the world’s population live in states affected by conflict.

In a report released on Monday, the World Bank says that there should be far more focus on building stable government, and on justice and police, than on health and education.

The report says if there is not a major refocusing of aid in this direction, then other targets on poverty, health and education will not be reached.

There is far more spent on alleviating the effects of conflict than preventing it from breaking out, and conflicts tend to be repeated.

Ninety percent of recent civil wars occurred in countries that had already had a civil war in the last 30 years.

The report found that cycles of violence were hard to stop, for example in South Africa and Central America.

In Guatemala, twice as many people are dying now at the hands of criminals than died in the civil war in the 1980s.

Poverty rates are 20 percentage points higher in countries affected by violence, but up to now, the World Bank found, there had been too little focus on ending corruption or reforming state institutions and justice systems. For instance, reform of justice was not one of the Millennium Development Goals.

Police, not hospitals

The report’s author Sarah Cliffe says this is the greatest development challenge facing the world.

“It’s much easier for countries to get help with their militaries than it is with their police forces or justice systems, and much easier for them to get help with growth, health or education than it is with employment,” she says.

“Our analysis would indicate that that should change.”

A lot of this thinking is not new.

Britain is already refocusing its aid towards conflict states.

If other countries do the same it would mark a fundamental shift, where spending money on good police becomes a higher priority than good hospitals or schools.

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The Jews do do these things

NOVANEWS

 

On 11 March 2011, an adult couple and three of their children were stabbed to death at the Zionist illegal settlement of Itamar. It is yet unclear who murdered them, and I was waiting for the investigation to reach a conclusion before commenting on the case. Almost one month has passed, though, and a gag order remains in place forbidding IsraHell officials from releasing information on the investigation’s progress. However, today, April 9, is a good day to reflect a little on this tragedy and how it has been handled.

One of the most striking aspects about the coverage of the massacre was how the Zionist media were quick to ascribe it to terrorists, despite the alternative explanations available (revenge killing by a Thai worker, retribution for the killing of 2 Palestinian children near the settlement two years ago…). Not only that, but the whole Palestinian people were dehumanized in op-ed after op-ed, despite the Palestinian Authority’s condemnation of the murders. In some cases the demonization reached cosmic levels. I was particularly shocked by a Hanoch Daum article at Ynet under the title These are not humans:

Are they members of the family of nations at all? Would a human being stab a three-month-old baby girl in her sleep and kill a tender four-year-old child sleeping peacefully in his bed next to his parents’ bedroom? (…)

We can keep talking at length about painful concessions, but as long as on the other side we have blood-thirsty psychopaths capable of knifing an 11-year-old child, a four-year-old boy, and a baby who was just born, such talk would mostly be futile.

We have to recognize the following fact: Inhumane elements exist in the other camp. These are terrorists that Israel must eliminate, before they kill our children.

The desired reader reaction took nothing to arise:

15. Kill of 5 family members
The pain that is coused here is too unbearable. something must be done about it. my heart bleeds for this family- wich will have a heavy future. May god protect us from those Unhuman Living things wich act worse then animals.
Katy, Vienna (03.14.11)

30. Time to kill Palestinians (End)
Eyal, USA ISRAEL (03.14.11)

43. The Murderers are not Psychopaths
Hanoch Daum is wrong. The murderer who perpetrated this horror is not a psychopath. He is not a sick individual. He is the natural product of his upbringing, an upbringing that glorifies the spilling of Jewish blood. A society that names public squares and schools after murderers is going to produce more of the same. When are we going to wake up this reality. Bibi and all the rest talk of bringing the perpetrator to justice. The entire society is to blame. The perpetrator is simply the agent who actually carried out the horror. The society applauds him and in a few years will name a school or a hospital after him.
Moshe Tokayer, Petach Tikvah (03.14.11)

Now Ynet talkbacks are moderated. One wonders what the reaction would be if, say, The Guardian published a comment along the lines of “Time to kill Jews.”

But what I take issue with most is Hanoch Daum’s assertion that “the other” side is capable of horrific actions that, presumably, his side would never engage in. Yes, the old, tired argument “They hate, we don’t; the Jews don’t do these things.”

Even if we accept, for the sake of argument, that the settler family was murdered by a Palestinian, it is utterly wrong to compare what that presumed terrorist did with what the State of Israel does and conclude that only one side, the Palestinians, intentionally kills civilians. Three thoughts arise:

1) The Palestinians can’t disguise their crimes as military actions. The Israelis can. We can’t say “the Israelis don’t kill civilians;” at most, we can say that the extent of IDF operations makes it impossible to ascertain if the civilians that they kill are intended murders or not. The recent case of an old man killed in his sleep by IDF forces provides an excellent example of a totally unnecessary and highly suspicious death in which the soldier who pulled the trigger is acquitted based on his own testimony.

2) The Israelis have at their disposal –and use– a variety of methods to punish the Palestinians, from bombing their power plants to targetedly killing their leaders (and a few bystanders in the process) to impeding the import of food and clothing. The only way the Palestinians have of exacting a price for the Israelis’ crimes is to randomly kill civilians. Again, this is not to excuse those killings; it’s simply to compare the many retaliatory options the Israelis enjoy with the only one the Palestinians have. Give them planes, choppers and the most powerful army in the Middle East and they will probably do other, less disgusting things, such as blacking out Tel Aviv, killing 120 policemen at a graduation ceremony or using Israeli minors as human shields.

3) If any valid comparison is to be established, it must be with what the Jews did when they didn’t have a State. And here’s where it is worth remembering that in such a day as today, April 9, but 63 years ago, Jewish terrorists under the command of later Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin carried out the Deir Yassin massacre, in which at least 93 Arabs were murdered in cold blood — before Israel became independent, the seven Arab armies invaded, etc.

And it doesn’t end there. When the Jews didn’t have a State, they randomly killed civilians — 42 machine-gun attacks on buses, trucks and carts in January-March, 1948, alone; Arab women, children and elderly people blown to smithereens in markets; high-ranking UN officials mowed down in the street… And remember, the most ferocious Jewish terrorist of all, David Raziel, has hundreds of streets and even a town named after him.

Indeed there may exist a peaceful people that fully rejects the killing of civilians, but it’s not the Jews.

See: The Hasbera Buster

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Mer-Khamis and binational resistance movement

NOVANEWS

 

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem
Chair of West Midland PSC

Through his life and his body, Juliano Mer-Khamis embodied the possibility of a binational resistance movement.

By Amira Hass Haaretz April 6, 2011.Those who knew Juliano Mer-Khamis, the Nazareth-born actor and director who was shot in Jenin on Monday, will have to be the ones to write about him; all that the rest of us can do is write about the milestones in his life.Juliano was lucky. He was born Palestinian and Jewish, Jewish and Palestinian. This angry man was beset by conflicting yet complementary identities. He was the long shadow of an imagined binational community from the 1950s. Like a Peter Pan who refuses to grow up, Juliano embodied the potential of a shared life (ta’ayush in Arabic ) while striving for equality. The son of a Jewish mother and a Palestinian father, he was born to two cultures, and chose to live in both. He saw no need to explain.My guess is that Juliano wasn’t entertaining illusions; sustaining blows from all sides, the potential of ta’ayush shrank. Ta’ayush is the sane vision, but the chance that it will be realized is increasingly slim. There are some who fantasize about the days of the Messiah to avoid thinking about the days before the next disaster strikes. Juliano’s was the offspring of a fantasy of ta’ayush. His birth was the outcome of a fantasy of ta’ayush, and his death is a disaster.Juliano was angry. His rage was the kind that only a Jew like him, who was born on the left and craved equality until the end, can allow himself to express as a way of life. Palestinians must conquer the anger, mellow it; they must tame it, repress it, sublimate it. That’s the only way to stay both alive and sane (without getting arrested, wounded or killed ) under the conditions of physical and non-physical violence dictated by Israel.Oy, this coarse violence, which reeks of rationalism and supremacy and pretends to be enlightened. It is found in every detail of life, moment by moment, from cradle to grave. It is found from a expropriation order and an accompanying map to the firing hole of a watchtower; from the Interior Ministry expelling Palestinian Jerusalemites from their home town to the blocking of return to the Galilee village of Bir’im; from the racist responses of Jewish youth in opinion polls to the drone that homed in on children playing on the roof in Gaza. The violence is always there, from the Jerusalem municipal taxes despite the ruined roads and uncollected garbage to the security cameras in the Jewish neighborhood/Crusader shtetl in Silwan; from the lush green of a settlement to the Palestinian cistern destroyed by an Israeli bulldozer; from the permits granted to individual ranches in the Negev to the incrimination of Bedouin as “infiltrators.” In short, from the Jewish to the democratic.This violence has so many different angles that it can drive you mad. Juliano was lucky to be an artist, and madness was one of his paintbrushes. Through the theater he founded in Jenin, Juliano allowed himself to criticize repressive aspects of Palestinian society. One would guess he did so as a left-winger, as an actor committed to the artist’s oath of truthfulness, and as a Palestinian. Let’s hope that the killer will be found, and then we’ll know if a Palestinian artist was killed because of his courage to live in a way that disrupts the order, or if a Jewish artist was killed because he gave himself permission to overtly criticize a society that is not his, according to some, or if a left-winger was killed because he was disrupting the norm. Or perhaps all three together. Even if he was killed for some other reason, Juliano was still an artist and a Palestinian, a left-winger and a Jew.Now that the prospect of the sane vision of ta’ayush is small, what is left? The path. This is the option of a binational resistance movement, which wants to topple the Gadhafi-like, Mubarak-like, Assad-like rule of one people over another.There are some who insist on fantasizing about a binational movement as a historic necessity, as a logical antithesis to the ideology of the demographic separation that has become the bible of the Oslo process. The truth must be said: In the meantime, most of those who harbor such a fantasy are Jewish. Thus do we soften the contradiction between love for the people and the place on the one hand and the abhorrence of the enlightened violence on the other.Through his life and his body, Juliano Mer-Khamis embodied the possibility of a binational resistance movement. The killer, whatever his motive, was aiming for the body. In his death, Juliano has bequeathed us the possible.

Juliano

Among the old photographs which I kept from all sorts of demonstrations I saw on the wall opposite the computer where I am now writing one which is a bit faded but still very noticeable. It shows Juliano Mer-Khamish and his late mother Arna at a demonstration held in the Lower Town of Haifa. The photographer captured both of them at a moment of a very intense crying out. Juliano is quite young on this photograph, no yet having grown the beard which characterized him in later years. I think I remember this particular demonstration, the chanting and protest and anger, but I can’t remember which was the particular act of grave injustice against which we were protesting on that day, and which impelled Giuliano to wear a Yellow Star on his breast and engage in angry shouting confrontations with passers-by.There were years when a demonstration against the Occupation was incomplete without having Juliano Mer among its participants and organizers.In recent years he was hardly seen in demonstrations any more. He gave himself totally to the Freedom Theatre which he founded and directed at the Jenin Refugee Camp, the idea that Palestinians can fight against the occupation from the stage of the theater. Not a few Palestinians were drawn in, including some who before only believed in the gun.Did he come there as an Israeli Jew from his mother’s side, who came to express solidarity with the oppressed and occupied? (In fact,.it was Arna who first started going to the Jenin Refugee Camp, starting there a kindergarten in the midst of the First Intifada, for which she later got the Alternative Nobel Prize? Or did he come as a Palestinian from his father’s side, a Palestinian with relatively comfortable circumstances who came to help the more blatantly oppressed members of his people? “Both and neither, first and foremost he was a human being,” an activist from Haifa who knew him well told me.Someone, somewhere found the activity of Juliano Mer-Khamish at the Jenin Refugee Camp to be very disturbing. Disturbing enough to send masked assassins to shoot him down. Juliano’s marked personality and outspoken message certainly created for him enemies left and right. His co-workers, the young Palestinian actors , the friends of the Freedom Theater of Jenin Refugee Camp will have to carry on without him, strenghtened by the enormous outrage at the terrible news. Also among the Israeli actors Juliano was respected and beloved.

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Interview with the late Juliano Mer-Khamis

NOVANEWS

 

“We are freedom fighters”

Maryam Monalisa Gharavi,
The Electronic Intifada, 5 April 2011

Actor-director Juliano Mer-Khamis was shot dead by a masked gunman yesterday outside the Freedom Theatre that he co-founded in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Jenin in 2006. Born in Nazareth in 1958 to Saliba Khamis, a Palestinian Christian leader of the Israeli Communist Party, and Arna Mer, an Israeli Jewish dramatist, Juliano memorably described himself as “100 percent Palestinian, and 100 percent Jewish.”

Julian had tried to get his film Arna’s Children, which documents his mother’s extraordinary transformation from a young settler in 1948 to a drama teacher in the Jenin refugee camp, shown widely. As he discusses in the previously unpublished interview which follows, the film was met with little success the first time. In 2006, he returned as indefatigably as ever, and I met him for the first time at a screening of his film at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Despite the scarce number of people in attendance that night (which Juliano loudly called attention to), one grasped the general astonishment that accompanied viewing this rare and unforgettable work. Juliano paced the room after the film, a passionate cadence rising in his voice as he described the devastations of occupation and the hazards of filmmaking.

Though Arna’s Children is a documentary, the time markers of the film relegate it closer to a work of fiction. Like other works of art centered on the loss of historic Palestine, most notably the characters who return to their pre-1948 homes in Ghassan Kanafani’s Returning to Haifa, Juliano constructed a narrative that is almost impossible to recreate or imagine from any other point of view.

In one shot of the film, the sequencing of events binds a shot of Juliano alongside his mother’s wrapped body at a hospital with a subsequent shot of the Israeli army bulldozing Arna’s Stone Theatre in April 2002. The Stone Theatre was part of Arna’s larger cultural project, Care and Learning, founded to allow the children of Jenin — faced with a crushing and seemingly inescapable military occupation — a creative outlet for their chronic trauma. The theater was leveled by the Israeli incursion, which Juliano captured on film. The historical date of both these events align almost miraculously, but the montages of destruction — his mother’s corpse and the ruins of the beloved theatre — are superimposed as mutually ravaged bodies.

I interviewed Juliano at Boston’s South Station on 4 April 2006 just before he caught a train to the New York screening — exactly five years before he was killed just outside the Freedom Theatre in Jenin, the locus of his life’s most notable work.

Juliano’s resume as an actor is well-documented, and the details of his biography are sure to be revisited in the aftermath of his murder. It was his cinematic and personal relationship to the refugee camp in Jenin and his complex relationship to Israel that most concerned us in this conversation.

Juliano’s tone in this interview will be familiar to all who knew him: brutally honest, sardonic and always with an unflinching eye toward the original historic pitfalls of Israel and the Palestinians. He candidly discusses the social engineering of Israeli society, his mother’s visionary work in Jenin and his own path from paratrooper to filmmaker/activist. My hope is that it is read as a fragment of discourse alongside the rest of his film and activism work, which together formed the unlikely and uncompromising triumph of art, what artist Paul Chan has called “freedom without force.”

The following is an excerpt from my 2006 interview with Juliano Mer-Khamis.

Maryam Monalist Gharavi: How long was Arna’s Children banned in Israel?

Juliano Mer-Khamis: It was not really banned. It was silenced. Journalists who wanted to write about the film could not get through the editorial decisions. There were two TV programs made about the film and cancelled at the last moment. We could not find a distributor in Israel for the film or cinemas to screen it. There were certain moments when some critics and journalists used the film as an outlet for their own frustrations, which were imposed on them by censorship and by directing or imposing a very certain discourse on the media by the government. I’m talking about issuing papers, in which were written ‘words you can use and cannot use,’ ‘certain questions you are not allowed to ask’ and the way you [are allowed to] ask those questions. If you speak to a Palestinian or to the military you have to change your expressions and the terms you use. So this outlet gave them the courage, I believe, to write, and since then they legitimized the film in Israel and it was screened all over the country.

MMG: Arna gave a poignant speech upon accepting the Right Livelihood Award at the Swedish parliament. She said that as Rosh Pina [the Israeli settlement where she lived following the Palestinian Nakba of 1948] grew and developed, the nearby Arab village al-Jauna was “erased from the face of the earth,” its Palestinian inhabitants becoming refugees, along with 700,000 others, “through sheer robbery and forced displacement.” What do you think stops other Israelis from coming to the same conclusion as your mother?

JMK: That’s a very interesting question. I’ll give you just the framework in which I can analyze this process of history that enabled Israel to confiscate, to settle and to colonize Palestine and not go through the path my mother chose. The reasons are many but the main reason you must understand is that since the Zionist movement was created, it manipulated the history of the Jews, especially the Holocaust period, and used forces around it to create one of the most successful colonies in Palestine. And since then, the victim philosophy or victim theory or victim policy of Jews and Israelis used all means and all aspects in their history since the pogroms — what they call the persecutions in Russia during the Czar period — till the announcement of hundreds of suicide warnings coming to Israel. From that to here, we see a policy of fear, a ghetto mentality, a policy that distracts the average Israeli from the truth. Frightened and victimized people can justify any crime they do and it enables them to live with their conscience in a very comfortable way like most of the Israelis. Once you are a victim, it’s very easy to create dehumanization and demonization of the other, and this is the success of the first Israeli propaganda in the Zionist movement.

MMG: In the scene of your mother’s body at the mortuary, you comment somewhat half-heartedly that the only place that would bury her was the kibbutz. What happened after she died?

JMK: My mother could not be buried because she refused to be buried in a religious ceremony or funeral. Israel is not a democracy; it’s a theocracy. The religion is not separated from the state so all issues concerning the privacy of life — marriage, burial and many other aspects — are controlled by the religious authorities, so you cannot be buried in a civilian funeral. The only way to do it is buy a piece of land in some kibbutzim, which refused to sell us a piece of land because of the politics of my mother. It’s not a very popular thing in a civilian, non-religious way. And then I had to take the coffin home. And it stayed in my house for three days and I could not find a place to bury her. So I announced in a press conference that she was going to be buried in the garden of my house. There was a big scandal, police came, a lot of TV and media [came], violent warnings were issued against me. There were big demonstrations around the house, till I got a phone call from friends from a kibbutz, Ramot Menashe, who are from the left side of the map, and they came from Argentina. Nice Zionist Israelis, maybe post-Zionist. They offered a piece of land there. And the funny thing is that while we were looking for a place to bury my mother, there were discussions in Jenin to offer me to bring her for burial there, in the shahid’s [martyr’s] graveyard. They told me there was one Fatah leader, who was humorously saying, “Well, guys, look, it’s an honor to have Arna with us here, a great honor, the only thing is maybe in about fifty years’ time some Jewish archaeologists will come here and say there are some Jewish bones here and they’re going to confiscate the land of Jenin.” [Laughs] They do it. Even if they find the Jewish bones of a dog, they take the place. That’s the place they do it. Every place they confiscate they find the bones of a Jew and that’s how they justify the ownership of the land, by finding bones.

MMG: There was a recent, widely-publicized Haaretz poll that 68 percent of Israelis would not live in the same building as an Arab.

JMK: I have it here.

MMG: So the logic runs that if you don’t want to live next to a Palestinian, why be buried next to one?

JMK: Yeah. And almost 50 percent of Israelis think the Arabs inside the ’48 [boundary], inside Israel, are a [demographic] and security threat. These are their neighbors, so imagine what kind of relationships, imagine what kind of democracy this is.

MMG: I thought one of the most important scenes in the film occurred when Alaa’s house, as well as Ashraf’s [two of Arna’s theatre students in the film], had been destroyed in Jenin, and your mother asks them to express their anger, even to hit her. You end up with this tension, as elsewhere in the film, of a tragicomedy. You find the audience laughing through their teeth.

JMK: [Arna] was trained as a psychodramatist. She was successful at it.

MMG: How would you respond to pro-Zionists watching your film, that despite your mother’s “rehabilitation of the Arab mind,” the child actors become “terrorists?”

JMK: It’s a very sick question, not yours, but the pro-Zionist attitude that thinks the problem of violence is the violence of children and not the violence of the Israeli occupation and it’s exactly to turn the pyramid upside down again, and I mean to use the propaganda to turn the question [upside down]. The question is not about the Israeli soldiers’ violence. You don’t have to heal the children in Jenin. We didn’t try to heal their violence.

We tried to challenge it into more productive ways. And more productive ways are not an alternative to resistance. What we were doing in the theatre is not trying to be a replacement or an alternative to the resistance of the Palestinians in the struggle for liberation. Just the opposite. This must be clear. I know it’s not good for fundraising, because I’m not a social worker, I’m not a good Jew going to help the Arabs, and I’m not a philanthropic Palestinian who comes to feed the poor. We are joining, by all means, the struggle for liberation of the Palestinian people, which is our liberation struggle. Everybody who is connected to this project says that he feels that he is also occupied by the Zionist movement, by the military regime of Israel, and by its policy. Either he lives in Jenin, or in Haifa, or in Tel Aviv. Nobody joined this project to heal. We’re not healers. We’re not good Christians. We are freedom fighters.

MMG: The film was cancelled in many cities?

JMK: Yeah, the screenings of it. It was sold, but not broadcast and also in Israel in many places. I don’t know, this is for you to judge, but I believe that people will try to boycott or create difficulties to screen this film. Of course, that’s why we’re pushing it so hard, trying to do it by ourselves. But just to clarify the theatre [question], joining the Palestinian intifada, by our definition: we believe that the strongest struggle today should be cultural, moral. This must be clear. We are not teaching the boys and the girls how to use arms or how to create explosives, but we expose them to discourse of liberation, of liberty. We expose them to art, culture, music — which I believe can create better people for the future, and I hope that some of them, some of our friends in Jenin, will lead … and continue the resistance against the occupation through this project, through this theatre.

MMG: Israeli director Yehuda “Judd” Ne’eman says he came to filmmaking “through the slaughterhouse of modern warfare.” He says he was disillusioned by art in the face of war atrocities, but, I’m quoting, “When the situation in my country deteriorates politically, when my body deteriorates physically, it’s high time to believe in art.” Is that different or similar to your own mission across political and artistic fault lines?
JMK: The same aspects and same starting points apply for me. Art, in our case, can combine and generate and mobilize other aspects of resistance. All I care about is resistance. I’m not doing art for the sake of art. I don’t believe in art for the sake of art. I think art can generate and motivate and combine and create a universal, liberated discourse. This is my concern about art. On the other side there is the therapeutic level, and the therapeutic level is not to heal. This is very important if you can point it out — it’s not to heal anybody from his violence. It’s to create an awareness they can use in the right way. Not against themselves.

MMG: You served in the Israeli army but quit after you were asked to stop your father’s Palestinian relatives at a military checkpoint. How significant was that event as a turning point in your political and even artistic formation?

JMK: It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. But I was boiling since I tried to disguise myself. The outfit could not fit, you see? I could not fit the outfit. And it blew up in my face that certain day in the checkpoint, but I was boiling for years.

MMG: How long did you serve?

JMK: I served for one and a half years, but in a very intensive special forces unit [the Paratroopers Brigade]. I don’t regret it, I must be honest. First of all, from the practical side, it saved my life many times during this theatre-making and the film. I know all aspects of the Israeli army, I speak Hebrew, I know the language, I know how to deal with them. It’s like combat training for life. And on the other hand, I penetrated the deepest sources of the Israeli propaganda, the smallest cells of Israeli society, which is fertilized in the army. The army in Israel is the essence of life, the army in Israel is the discourse of life, the army in Israeli is the foundation of the society. Once you penetrate this and you understand the dynamics, you can oppose and create and use it for yourself.

Maryam Monalisa Gharavi has contributed poetry and critical writing to various publications. Her films have been screened at Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art, Harvard Film Archive, Pacific Film Archive and elsewhere. She is a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature and Film and Visual Studies at Harvard University.

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The Goldstone Chronicles

NOVANEWS
By ROGER COHEN

 

LONDON — We have a new verb, “to Goldstone.” Its meaning: To make a finding, and then partially retract it for uncertain motive. Etymology: the strange actions of a respected South African Jewish jurist under intense pressure from Israel, the U.S. Congress and world Jewish groups.Richard Goldstone is an author of the “Goldstone Report,” an investigation of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009. It found that Israel had engaged in a “deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population,” for which responsibility lay “in the first place with those who designed, planned, ordered and oversaw the operations.”

It said both Israel and Hamas may have committed crimes against humanity in a conflict that saw a ratio of about 100 Palestinian dead (including many children) for every one Israeli.Now Goldstone’s volte-face appears in the form of a Washington Post op-ed. It’s a bizarre effort. He says his report would have been different “if I had known then what I know now.” The core difference the judge identifies is that he’s now convinced Gaza “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.” His shift is attributed to the findings of a follow-up report by a U.N. committee of independent experts chaired by Mary McGowan Davis, a former New York judge, and what is “recognized” therein about Israeli military investigations.

Well, Goldstone and I have not been reading the same report.McGowan Davis is in fact deeply critical of those Israeli investigations — their tardiness, leniency, lack of transparency and flawed structure. Her report — stymied by lack of access to Israel, Gaza or the West Bank — contains no new information I can see that might buttress a change of heart.On the core issue of intentionality, it declares: “There is no indication that Israel has opened investigations into the actions of those who designed, planned, ordered and oversaw Operation Cast Lead.” It says Israel has not adequately answered the Goldstone Report’s allegations about the “design and implementation of the Gaza operations” or its “objectives and targets.” Victims on both sides, McGowan Davis argues, can expect “no genuine accountability and no justice.” In short there is a mystery here. Goldstone has moved but the evidence has not, really.

That raises the issue of whether the jurist buckled under pressure so unrelenting it almost got him barred from his grandson’s bar mitzvah in South Africa. Is this more a matter of judicial cojones than coherence?The fact that Hamas has not conducted any investigation into its unconscionable attacks on southern Israel — rockets and mortars still fall — is appalling if unsurprising. Goldstone makes much of this. But it does not change the nature of what Israel did in Gaza, nor allay the McGowan Davis concerns about Israel’s investigative failings.Goldstone, a Jew who takes his Jewishness seriously, has been pilloried by Israel. He fell afoul, as perhaps no other, of the siege mentality of a nation controlling the lives of millions of Palestinians but unsure what to do with them or with the world’s growing disavowal of this corrosive dominion that humiliates its victims and eats into the soul of its masters.

The charges cascaded: He was a “self-hating Jew,” a hypocrite, a traitor. For Alan Dershowitz he was “despicable.” For Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, Goldstone was up there with the Iranian nuclear program and Hamas rockets as one of Israel’s “three major strategic challenges.” Theories already abound on the Goldstone psyche. It was an emotional meeting last year with the South African Jewish Board of Deputies that set him on the retraction road. No, it was a bruising debate last month at Stanford University. No, it was a rightist Israeli minister telling him his report fueled those who knifed West Bank settlers. He was “broken,” one friend suggests. I don’t know. I asked Goldstone.

He responded in an e-mail that he was declining “media interviews.” I do know this: The contortions of his about-face are considerable.Goldstone expresses confidence that the Israeli officer responsible for the killing of 29 members of the al-Samouni family will be properly punished. Yet the McGowan Davis report is critical of this investigation and notes that “no decision had been made as to whether or not the officer would stand trial.” It also notes that more than a third of the 36 Gaza incidents identified in the Goldstone Report “are still unresolved or unclear.” There have been just two convictions — and the one for credit card theft brought a more severe sentence than use of a Palestinian child as a human shield! And this gives Goldstone confidence?Israel is celebrating what it calls a vindication.

It is preparing to welcome Goldstone. It is demanding nullification of the report, even though Goldstone is only one of its four authors. Meanwhile the facts remain: the 1,400 plus Palestinian dead, the 13 Israelis killed, the devastation, the Hamas rockets — and the need for credible investigation of what all evidence suggests were large-scale, indiscriminate, unlawful Israeli attacks in Gaza, as well as Hamas’ crimes against civilians.To “Goldstone”: (Colloq.) To sow confusion, hide a secret, create havoc.

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