Archive | April, 2011

Treason Fest



Treason Fest 2011: AIPAC’s Annual Policy Conference May 22-24


1. Hey goys and girls, it’s that time of year again. Yup, it’s time for your so-called representatives in whore House and Senate to engage in the annual bacchanalian/sodomite freak show known as the AIPAC Policy Conference that runs from May 22-24 in downtown  WashingTelAvivton. Oh and this year there is a counter fest being held at the same time, and guess what, it’s being run by Palestinians. Well, actually it isn’t being run by Palestinians. It’s being run by the Vatican. Well, er, no it isn’t.  It’s actually being run by people who are afraid to let Helen Thomas speak. Pretty gutsy.  More on that later. But first let’s get to the ass-kissing and its repercussions for you and your loved ones.

Take a gander at this:

Global Currents – Confronting Radical Islam

From Kabul to Khartoum, London to Lahore, the threat of Islamic radicalism aimed at the United States and its allies is growing. How has the threat evolved since the 9/11 attacks? What can the United States and the West do to confront the global proliferation of Islamist terrorism? This session looks at the options available to policymakers.

The above quote could have come, these days, from almost anywhere. It could have come from Glenn Beck, Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, you name it.  No doubt it will not surprise readers of this website that the quote above is from AIPAC’s pages where it is advertising its upcoming hate conference known euphemistically as the AIPAC Policy Conference.  The Zionist Jews want you to be afraid of Muslims, they want you to hate Muslims, they want you to kill Muslims, they want you to persecute Muslims living in the United States even if they are US loyal US citizens. They have worked hard to create a violently anti-Muslim culture in the United States. That culture is something I’ve documented here for the past two years and many others for much longer have done the same from their own perspectives.

They promote hate and you goys and girls fall for this bullshit every single time. And your sons and daughters then go out and die for this bullshit. They also, not incidentally, kill for this bullshit. In fact, the more they kill for this bullshit the more enemies we make and the more enemies we make the happier ZMIC becomes. (That would be the Zio-Military Industrial Complex).  I also call it the Zio-cycle. More on this in a second.

I’m tired of having people come up to me in daily life talking about the “150 million Muslims who want to kill Americans.”  I mean, if I walk into a coffee shop and sit down with my $35.00 cup of mocha (and no I don’t do this at Star of David Bucks) no sooner do I sit down with my laptop to start another post than hordes of white zombies come running up to me asking me this question. “Oh Mantiq, why do 150 million Mooselims want to kill us?”  The fact is, thanks to our behavior, the number really should be much much higher. But in reality the number is astonishingly small. But this type of question comes up all the time because it is what people read and hear about constantly: that millions of Muslims want to kill them. It’s fed to them day and night. Click here and here for a couple of the funnier examples. Oh, and here too. Hell, you may as well go herehereherehere, and  here. Also, go here. But I digress.

There is a reason American are fed this shit about millions of Muslims.  The larger the number of mindless Muslim zombies (MZBs) the better it is for Israel. Also, the larger the number, the better it is for the Zio-Military-Industrial Complex (ZMIC) to make tons and tons of money all the while controlling stupid dumbass Fox-fed Americans. Wonder why these stupid wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and now Libya seem endless? Because it means money for these people. They don’t give a shit if they bring democracy to these countries or a holocaust. In fact the latter is preferred because it means endless money for them. Remember those missiles we dropped on Libya at about a million a piece? Each time we drop one we then go back to the contractor and order another to replace it. Military people get promoted, their contractor friends make more money, and the icing on the cake is that Muslims die which causes more Muslims to hate us and so they do something and then we kill more of them. It’s the Zio-cycle.

The announcement above, from AIPAC’s website and which is featuring one of its many programs during AIPAC’s hate fest scheduled for May 22-24, is a typical example of what I am talking about.  Let me rewrite this to illustrate my point:

From Lod to Langley, Herziliyya to Huston, Ashqalon to Anchorage, Tel-Aviv to Topeka, the threat of Jewish radicalism aimed at the United States and its allies is growing. How has the threat evolved since the 9/11 attacks? What can the United States and the West do to confront the global proliferation of Jewish terrorism? This session looks at the options available to policymakers.

Wonder how long an organization holding seminars like this would be allowed to lobby on behalf of a foreign power and never even have to register as an agent of a foreign government?

2. They Pray, Therefore They Must Die

Now I want you to read this carefully. The red highlights are mine. The radio conversation shows that the US military personnel involved in the mass murder of a bunch of civilians, men, women and children in the excerpt from the story I am citing below, had a thoroughly bigoted attitude about the people of Afghanistan.  Thoroughly bigoted, totally utterly bigoted. This mass murder was a hate crime.  Since it was a hate crime against Muslims, the ADL has nothing to say.

The US war in Afghanistan is a hate crime. The US war in Iraq is a hate crime. US support of Israel is a hate crime.  And the  source of these hate crimes is the virulently bigoted anti-Islam and anti-Muslim propaganda propagated by the main stream media, by a number of academics, by a whole slew of viciously anti-Islam and anti-Muslim websites, by many members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, by any number of people in the executive branch of the US government,  by “think tanks” that train US, state and local government and law enforcement agencies, by a considerable number of American “Christian” clerics, and by a huge number of Jews and organizations run by Jews.  At the risk of sounding repetitive: One thread runs through all of these groups: the influence exerted upon them by a huge number of Jews and organizations run by Jews.  The result today is that US popular culture is just as bigoted today, maybe more so, against Muslims as it was against African Americans before (and during) the civil rights movement.

So you dumbasses go out and kill Muslims, and the more you kill the more enemies you make and the more enemies you make the more money they make.

You fight, Muslims (and you) die, they all make money. Nice work if you can get it.

Here’s the Zio-cycle at work:

Nearly three miles above the rugged hills of central Afghanistan, American eyes silently tracked two SUVs and a pickup truck as they snaked down a dirt road in the pre-dawn darkness.

The vehicles, packed with people, were 3 1/2 miles from a dozen U.S. special operations soldiers, who had been dropped into the area hours earlier to root out insurgents. The convoy was closing in on them.

At 6:15 a.m., just before the sun crested the mountains, the convoy halted.

“We have 18 pax [passengers] dismounted and spreading out at this time,” an Air Force pilot said from a cramped control room at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, 7,000 miles away. He was flying a Predator drone remotely using a joystick, watching its live video transmissions from the Afghan sky and radioing his crew and the unit on the ground.

The Afghans unfolded what looked like blankets and kneeled. “They’re praying. They are praying,” said the Predator’s camera operator, seated near the pilot.

By now, the Predator crew was sure that the men were Taliban. “This is definitely it, this is their force,” the cameraman said. “Praying? I mean, seriously, that’s what they do.”

“They’re gonna do something nefarious,” the crew’s intelligence coordinator chimed in.

That’s right, prayer is an indicator of terroristic intent.  But only if it’s Muslims who are praying. How, pray tell, could US military officers and grunts all hold the these views? It is because our culture is permeated with anti Muslim hatred which is literally ingrained in our civil society, our government and our military. See hereherehere, and here to learn about how our government at the state and local levels – to include our police forces is taught hatred against Muslims. Go here to see the utterlydisgusting on-line web presentation by an officer in US military intelligence which is not only filled with falsehoods but is also in part plagiarized. Go here to see an unintentionally funny website by a guy who does comic books about how much Islam sucks. I have been told by civil servants that US government personnel place this cretin’s literature in the hallways of US government buildings. Did you know that Islam is a Vatican conspiracy? But I digress.

Go here and here and here and here to see what psycho’s we have or have had in the US military and what they do to Muslims. Please note that one of those psycho’s is a speaker in one of the links above. In fact, here is that same video but at youtube itself. It’s Senator Allen West of Florida a former nutcase in the military who was rewarded by being elected to be a nutcase in the Senate.  (You might have fun reading this link too, though I do not endorse the thesis, it’s deliciously ironic. )

Where is this all coming from?  You get one guess. (Shas Party members get two, of course.) How is it in your best interests that you are paying for wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and on smaller scales in countless other places many of them against majority Muslim populations? But I digress, let’s get back to killing Muslims.

So what did the drone end up doing?

At 6:22 a.m., the drone pilot radioed an update: “All … are finishing up praying and rallying up near all three vehicles at this time.”

The camera operator watched the men climb back into the vehicles.

“Oh, sweet target,” he said.

And they sure as hell were. The drone took them out about 3 hours later.

By the U.S. count, 15 or 16 men were killed and 12 people were wounded, including a woman and three children. Elders from the Afghans’ home villages said in interviews that 23 had been killed, including two boys, Daoud, 3, and Murtaza, 4.

All of the victims were non-combatants. Every single one.

The Zio-cycle keeps rolling along.

3. So yeah, there’s this alternative thingy to Treason Fest that is being held in WashingTelAvivton  at exactly the same time. Go here to read about them and their activities.  Because some very good people are supporting this alternative conference, such as the folks at the Rachel Corrie Foundation, Grant Smith, John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt and Nadia Hijab, the tuyuur here at Mantiq al-Tayr voted, reluctantly, to support them. The vote was not unanimous. There was much bickering and gnashing of beaks.

The issue we had was that Helen Thomas had been asked to speak at the conference but once this was announced a bunch of people in the “Move Over AIPAC” coalition started bitching and moaning about it and so Ms. Thomas graciously decided not to participate but she did encourage others to join in this effort. She did not want her presence to be a distraction. Well, for me, the people who bitched and moaned about her are the distraction. If people opposing the Zionist stranglehold on this country are afraid of being called names because they invite someone like Helen Thomas to attend their function then they are doomed to fail in not only the short term, but also in the long term because they are allowing the enemy to dictate the terms of the struggle. Until you stupid dumbass American goyim say “enough is enough” you will forever remain subject to the Zio-cycle.

Nonetheless, due the presence of so many good folks of all persuasions attending this event, Mantiq al-Tayr endorses it and might even travel to WashingTelAvivton to attend. Needless to say, I won’t be speaking at the event. :-)

But they have some really interesting workshops and I might pop up at one of them. Their schedule ishere.  Give it a good read. They are busy with all sorts of cool things Saturday and Sunday, the 21st and 22nd. One workshop that looks really extra cool is one that Grant Smith will be at. It’s called: “Exposing AIPAC: Delving into the Nitty-Gritty of How the Israel Lobby Works”.  Could be very informative. Oh, and some guy no one has ever heard of, Jeffrey Blankfort, will also be at that one. :-)

I hope Ms. Thomas shows up anyway.  In case she doesn’t, you can all read her columns at the Fall Church News-Press.

4. “We are the ones who resist, from the river to the sea, from the north to the south.”

It sure would be nice if Nabil Mansour could be at the counter-AIPAC event I mentioned above. Nabil, is, of course, familiar to readers of Mantiq al-Tayr. Here’s a new one from him. Beautiful, simply beautiful. Get out your Mantiq al-Tayr handkerchiefs for this one.


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Anti-Syria Zionist Propaganda “Crunch Time for the Syrian Regime”



Peter Harling in Foreign Policy

Seen from Damascus, the crisis that is gripping Syria is fast approaching crunch-time. The regime appears to have stopped pretending it can offer a way out. More than ever, it portrays the confrontation as a war waged against a multifaceted foreign enemy which it blames for all casualties. This narrative, which informs the security services’ brutal response to protests, has cost the authorities the decisive battle for perceptions abroad, at home, and even in central Damascus — a rare bubble of relative calm that has now entered into a state of utter confusion.

The primary benefit of observing events from the Syrian capital is to measure just how unreliable all sources of information have become. Local media tell a tale of accusations and denials in which, incredibly, security services are the sole victims, persecuted by armed gangs. Where the regime initially acknowledged civilian martyrs and sought to differentiate between legitimate grievances and what it characterized as sedition, such efforts have come to an end.

For its part, the foreign media, denied access by the regime, relies virtually exclusively on material produced by on-the-ground protesters, the dependability of which has proven uneven. The novel phenomenon of “eye-witnesses” further blurs the picture. Outside observers have sought to counter the state-imposed blackout by recruiting correspondents, often haphazardly, flooding the country with satellite phones and modems. Several cases of false testimonies have cast doubts on such procedures but, for lack of an alternative, they largely continue to shape coverage of events.

Under the circumstances, Damascenes have but one option: to work the phones, calling relatives, friends, and colleagues throughout the country in a desperate attempt to form their own opinion. They hear and tell stories that are self-contradictory. Some tend to confirm the existence of armed agents provocateurs; many others credibly blame the regime for the bulk of the violence. Instances of sectarian polarization surface in some areas, while examples of cross-community solidarity burgeon in others. Neighbors often provide inconsistent accounts while people who share socio-economic backgrounds react to similar events in contrasting ways.

Such chaos is inherent in times of crisis, but it also is a reflection of the profound mistrust between citizens and their state, which has failed to offer any point of reference around which undecided Syrians could rally. To the contrary: the regime has systematically fostered a sense of bewilderment and anxiety. Most damaging of all has been the constant contradiction between its words and deeds.

Regime assertions notwithstanding, evidence regarding excessive use of force by security forces in circumstances that cannot plausibly be described as representing an immediate threat is piling up. Given the extraordinary deployment of forces and security lockdown in and around the capital last weekend, it is simply impossible to imagine that so-called agitators could be behind the bloodshed. Even where the regime’s responsibility in both the onset and escalation of confrontation is beyond doubt, as in the southern city of Deraa, the regime feels the need to undertake an endless “investigation” before holding anyone accountable, even as arbitrary arrests remain the norm when dealing with protesters.

On the political front, the regime has lifted the emergency law but allows security services to conduct business as usual, illustrating how irrelevant the concept of legality was in the first place. It authorizes demonstrations while stating they are no longer needed and labeling them as seditious. It speaks of reforming the media and, in the same breath, fires an oh-so-loyal editor-in-chief for straying from the official line. It insists on ignoring the most outrageous symbols of corruption. It promises a multi-party law even as it proves how little power is vested in civilian institutions. Finally, and although it has engaged in numerous bilateral talks with local representatives, it resists convening a national dialogue, which might offer a slim chance of finding an inclusive and credible way forward.

In more parts of the country than one can count, protesters now face only the most brutal, repressive side of the regime. For those who mourn the dead and know them not as saboteurs and traitors, but as relatives, neighbors, and friends, there is nothing left to discuss. Slowly but surely, these ink spots of radicalized opposition are spreading and joining in an increasingly determined and coordinated movement to topple the regime.

Many Syrians — even among those without sympathy for the regime — still resist this conclusion. Their arguments should not be ignored. They dread the breakup of a state whose institutions, including the military, are weak even by regional standards. They fear that sectarian dynamics or a hegemonic religious agenda could take hold. They suspect Syria would cave in to foreign interference. And they distrust an exiled opposition that is all too reminiscent of Iraq’s.

The regime appears to be calculating that the prospect of a bloodbath will prove the strongest argument of all. The scenario is both risky and self-defeating, for if it will be a tragedy for the Syrian people, it will also spell disaster for the regime itself. Instead, it should immediately rein in security services, take decisive action against those responsible for state violence, and initiate a genuine, all-inclusive national dialogue. This could provide an opportunity for representatives of the popular movement to emerge, for their demands to be fleshed out, and for authorities to demonstrate they have more to offer than empty words and certain doom.

Peter Harling is the Iraq-Syria-Lebanon project director with the International Crisis Group ‘ a Zionist Group work with the CIA and Nazi Mossad’

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“National Initiative for Change” Program of Syrian Opposition: the liberal wing


The following is a press release from the liberal wing of the Syrian Opposition. It is notable because it does not include anyone that I know who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood or Islamic currents of the opposition or speaks for it. Many of the animators of the movement are academics in the US – Najib Ghadbian, a political science professor, and his wife, Mouhja Kahf, a talented poet, both teach at the University of Arkansas.Ammar Kahf, probably a brother,  is a grad student at UCLA.

Radwan Ziyadeh is now visiting at George Washington University and was at USIP. Ammar Abdulhamid was visiting at Brookings’ Saban Center. Khawla Yousef, another signer and activist, is his wife.

Ausama Monajed is the head of public relations at the Movement for Justice and Development in London , which has been in the news recently for getting 6 million dollars from the US.

Osama Kadi is co-founder and president of Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies SCPSS – a non-profit organization registered in Washington DC.

Their strategy is to ask the Syrian Army to turn against the president, as was the case in Egypt. This is an unlikely scenario because the Syrian Army has remained loyal to the President. The opposition has been claiming that soldiers have been shooting other soldiers for refusing to shoot on protesters. This is not convincing and seems to be the product of wishful thinking. Of course, if the revolution grows in size and force, the Sunni military officers will come under increasing social pressure to resign or defect.

The political reform plan is admirable.

Press Release

National Initiative for Change

Syrian Opposition Demand The Army to Protect Civilians and Facilitate a Transitional Period
Damascus, 29 April 2011


Last Friday, 84 different cities and towns in Syria witnessed massive protests, 400 have been killed since the Syrian revolution started on March 15, with hundreds missing and thousands that have been detained. This popular uprising will lead eventually to the overthrow of the regime. It is imperative that we put an end to the arguments of Syrian exception. Our ultimate dream, as loyal

Syrian nationals, is first to witness our country become one of the best nations in the world. Given that we are witnessing profound “revolutionary”  changes not seen in the Arab region since the 1950’s and that we do not want a single drop of blood to be shed by any Syrian, we aspire to learn from other experiences and apply it to our case starting from experiments of transitions to democracies in Western Europe in the 1970’s, Latin American in the 1980’s, Eastern Europe in the 1990’s and what the Arab world is experiencing today as a result of successful popular revolts overthrowing regimes that had been in power for three decades or more.

Situation Now

Syria today only faces two options; either the ruling regime leads itself in a peaceful transition towards democracy –and we are very doubtful to the desire or will of the regime to do so- or it will go through a process of popular protests that will evolve into a massive and grassroots revolution that will breakdown the regime and carry Syria through a period of transition after a wave of violence and instability. Therefore Syria is at a crossroads; the best option is for the leadership of the regime is to lead a transition to democracy that would safeguard the nation from falling into a period of violence, chaos and civil war.

Moving Ahead Syria can accomplish this goal by many means. Political reform should start with re-writing the constitution in a modern democratic fashion that guarantees basic rights to its citizens and emphasizes a system of checks and balances between branches of government. This means a complete separation of the three branches of government: judiciary, executive and legislative. This would also include a radical reform of the judicial system or institutions that have been overcome with corruption and loss of trust by the citizens. This includes the lifting of the state of emergency and all extrajudicial special, martial and field courts -especially the State Security Court-, the release of all political prisoners, the legislation of a modern law governing political parties that would ensure the participation of all Syrians with no exceptions, the reform of media laws and regulations in order to guarantee freedom of the press, the legislation of a new election law, and the forming of a national committee for truth and reconciliation to investigate Syrians who have disappeared and to compensate political prisoners. Above all comes the granting of all political rights to Kurds, the removal of all forms of systemic discrimination practices against them and the prioritizing of eastern provinces in development and infrastructure projects.

The safe transition period in Syria must be based on a firm conviction that the Syrian population completely lost faith in the executive authority, on top of it is the president, his deputies, the prime minister, and the parliament or the People’s Council that has no role in the decision making process and its members are elected with no minimum standards of credibility, transparency and integrity in addition to the election law that regulates the political process rendering it no role in the transition process.

Therefore, the only institution that has the capability to lead the transition period would be the military, and especially the current Minister of Defense General Ali Habib and the Chief of Staff General Dawud Rajha. Both individuals represent a background that Syrians can positively relate with that enables them to take a key pivotal role during the transition process by leading negotiations with civilian representatives from the leadership of the opposition or other respected individuals to form an interim government. By entering the negotiation phase that should take us on a specified timeline to accomplish the democratic transition by first drafting an interim constitution for the country that should be ratified by a national referendum. The transition government will be responsible to monitor the elections and safeguard the successful accomplishment of the transition period beginning with certifying a new constitution drafted by professional constitutional and reform specialists.

Afterwards, the interim government shall issue a new election and political party law to regulate the election process for the president and members of the parliament which is monitored by an independent national committee based on judicial as well as domestic and international observers with an open door policy welcoming the formation of political parties that will participate in the elections.

If the Syrian President does not wish to be recorded in history as a leader of this transition period, there is no alternative left for Syrians except to move forward along the same path as did the Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans before them.

Signatories inside Syria:

150 politicians, civil society activists and human rights defenders (names are not published for personal safety reasons but will be provided to media).

Signatories outside Syria:

Yahya Mahmoud, Amer Mahdi, Najib Ghadbian, Saleh Moubarak, Ausama Monajed, Obaida Faris, Mohammed Askaf, Ammar Abdulhamid, Mohammed Zuhair Khateeb, Khawla Yousef, Abdulrahman Alhaaj, Douha Nashef, Mahmoud Alsayed Doughaim, Mouhja Kahf, Feras Kassas, Ammar Kahf, Aref Jabo, Mohyeddin Kassar, Abdulbaset Saida, Mazen Hashem, Hassan Jamali, Osama Kadi, Radwan Ziyadeh

Coordinators inside Syria:

Adnan Mahamid: +963 945 988958

Ayman Al-Aswad: +963 988 760302

Coordinators outside Syria:

Radwan Ziadeh:

Ausama Monajed:

Najib Ghadbian:

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The Man behind “Syria Revolution 2011″ Facebook-Page Speaks Out


Administrator of the “Syrian Revolution 2011 Facebook Page” Speaks Out. The official spokesman of the cite lives in Sweden and leads Sweden’s chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood according to the Syrian press. His name is فداء الدين طريف السيد عيسى  Fida’ ad-Din Tariif as-Sayyid `Isa, born 1985. Syria Revolution 2011 is the most important webpage of the Syria revolution. It has over 130,000 members. It is the major source of news and Youtube videos about the Syrian revolution.

An account of how the video was captured and what happened to the Syria Revolution 2011 webpage on Saturday 2011, sent to me by a friend.

On Saturday afternoon, the suffered a sudden technical glitch. The main content page lost most of its content and its membership read only a few hundred rather than the nearly 138,000 members it had had.  Shortly after chrashing, a video appeared on the site.  In this video, a man – the administrator of the site – is seen angrily lashing out against those he believed had hacked the original Facebook page and taken it down.

Approximately 15 minutes later, a new message was loaded on the page. This message explained how it was an error by Facebook that brought the page down.  Shortly after the original page was restored along with the nearly 138,000 members who have joined.  The video accusing the Syrian authorities of having hacked the site was immediately taken down by the owner.  It has been sent to Syria Comment, which will presumably publish it.  The owner of the site “Syria Revolution 2011″ is clearly the same man that was mentioned by Champress a few weeks ago. In that article, it was revealed that the gentleman is based in Sweden and that he belongs to the Moslem Brotherhood.

فداء الدين طريف السيد عيسى من مواليد  عام 1985 ومنظم في جماعة “الاخوان المسلمين” ومدير لمكتبها في السويد ، وهو أحد أعضاء من يدعون اللجنة المؤقتة لإعلان دمشق المدعومة من جهات باتت معروفة بعداءها لـ سوريا

Here is another email about Fida’

All I know is that on March 22nd, Champress got it right when they said that he is the admin of the revolution page. Someone managed to get into his Facebook page and got all the photos in that article. Plus according to Champress:

ويظهر في صفحته الخاصة على الـ (فيس بوك) شعارات “للاخوان المسلمين” و صور تجمعه مع قيادات “للاخوان” في مصر ومحاضرات يلقيها على بعض الشباب في أماكن متفرقة.

وكان فداء بدأ بالظهورعلى بعض الأقنية الفضائية دون الكشف عن صورته ، ويحرص على تقديم نفسه بإسم حركي مختصر من اسمه الكامل ، وعمد بعد أخر ظهور له على قناة الـ بي بي سي والتي ظهر فيها بوجهه الحقيقي الى إزالة كافة صوره الموجودة على صفحته الشخصية.

ولدى الرجوع إلى بعض هذه اللقاءات يظهر فداء في لقاء مع قناة “بردى” الفضائية المعارضة في تاريخ 5 شباط الماضي و يتحدث عن دعواته للتظاهر ويزّل بكلمة “جماعتنا” المشهورة الاستخدام للدلالة على “الاخوان المسلمين” قبل أن يتراجع مخاطباً المذيع بأنه لا يريد أن تظهر الدعوة بأنها من “الجماعة” بل يريدها أن تظهر بأنها عفوية وشبابية لمخاطبة شرائح كبيرة من المجتمع السوري لجرها إلى التظاهر.

Also, on his Facebook profile he had photos of meetings he held with Egyptian brotherhood leaders, he had the logo of the brotherhood, but when he appeared on the BBC and exposed his identity, he removed all previous photos from his profile on FB.

Also, he spoke to Barada TV on Feb 5th and called upon the Syrian people to demonstrate in the streets using “جماعتنا” (which is normally used to imply the Muslim Brotherhood.

I don’t know much more, but I have the administrator’s original (first few weeks’) posts and they were big time ikhwan.

See the attached sample where one Egyptian comment says “Dear administrator: I wish you can reduce the heavy use of religious language, we want to attract the whole spectrum of people”

Also, you can check this Egyptian imam’s video (Fadel Suleiman) that the admin posted proudly

It says “to Syrian Alawites … join us or your children will pay a heavy price from now until eternity”

Other videos of Syrian activists within the country

Activist Encouraging Aleppo to Rise Up

Student of Aleppo University Calling for Revolution

Activists Elsewhere

Exiles Shaping World’s Image of Syria Revolt

Rami Nakhle, a Syrian dissident hiding in Beirut, coordinated coverage of protests in Syria on Friday from his apartment.
Published: April 23, 2011

….Mr. Monajed [A London based activist] estimates that 18 to 20 people are engaged in helping coordinate and cover the protests full time, though he boasts that he can find someone in his broader community to translate English to French at 4 a.m. He has a contact in every Syrian province, who in turn have their networks of 10 people. “And the regime can’t do anything about it,” he said. [Here is Monajed’s website: Syrian Revolution News Round-up]

Ausama Monajed

Several say they relied on Syrian businessmen — abroad or in Syria — to finance one of their most impressive feats. After witnessing the Egyptian  government’s success in shutting down the Internet and mobile phone networks in January, they made a concerted attempt to circumvent a similar move by delivering satellite phones and modems across Syria.

Ammar Abdulhamid, an activist in Maryland, estimated that they delivered 100 satellite phones, along with hundreds of cameras and laptops…. Ammar’s site: Syrian Revolution Digest

Mr. Nakhle said he had urged people to use slogans that are free of the sectarian or religious bent popular with Islamic activists. “We have to worry about these people,” he admitted.

The unprecedented power of the long-distance activists to shape the message troubled Camille Otrakji, a Damascus-born political blogger who lives in Montreal. Where others see coordination, he sees manipulation, arguing that the activists’ mastery of image belies a revolt more sectarian than national, and deaf to the fears of minorities. “I call it deception,” said Mr. Otrakji, a somewhat lonely voice in the Internet tumult. “It’s like putting something on the wrapping of a product which has nothing to do with what’s inside. This is all being manipulated.”

Posted in Syria3 Comments





Actually, It isn’t nice is the name of the song, written by Malvina Reynolds, and performed as the soundtrack to this video by Barbara Dane.


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Exposing Democracy Promotion in the Middle East




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Zio-Nazi Drone War Crime in Gaza



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Mondoweiss Online Newsletter



Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem

Chair of West Midland Palestine Solidarity Campaign


To be a teenager in Bil’in

Apr 29, 2011

Hamde Abu Rahme

Two children were taken to hospital after the latest army invasion in Bil’in, a village in the occupied Palestinian territories.
At midday on April 28, the Israeli army entered Bil’in. Three military jeeps came through the Western gate in the Wall, drove through the village and to the mosque. Clashes erupted when a group of children and youth saw the jeeps, and stones were thrown in order to make the soldiers leave the village.

However, instead of leaving the army decided to stay for an hour, throwing stun grenades and shooting tear gas and rubber covered steel bullets towards the villagers. Two young boys were injured by rubber covered steel bullets; Jamal (14) was shot with two bullets on his chin, while Najmi (15) was hit in his leg. An ambulance was called to take them both to the hospital in Ramallah for treatment.

‘So you come to take Amina’ — a loving Syrian father saves his gay blogger daughter from the security services

Apr 29, 2011

A Gay Girl in Damascus

Editor’s note: Saleema told us to post “My father, the hero,” an astonishing post by Amina, A Gay Girl in Damascus, from two days back, and it being the internet, we’ve grabbed a lot of the post. Please read the full post at her site. It describes a nighttime visit from the “security services,” two men in their 20s in leather jackets. Amina, who is an out lesbian, and her father go to the door.

“Really?” my father interrupts. “My daughter is a salafi?” he starts laughing. “Look at her: can’t you see that that is ridiculous? She doesn’t even cover any more … and if you have really read even half of what she has written, you know how ridiculous that is. When was the last time you heard a wahhabi, or even someone from the brotherhood say that wearing hijab is the woman’s choice only?”
he pauses, they don’t say anything.
“I did not think so,” he goes on. “When was the last time you saw one of those write that there should be no religion as religion of teh state?”
Again nothing.
“When was the last time you saw them saying that the gays should be allowed the right to marry, a man to a man or a woman to a woman?”
“And when you say nothing, you show,” he says, “that you have no reason to take my daughter.”
They say nothing. Then one whispers something to the other, he smiles.
“Uh huh,” the man says, “so your daughter tells you everything, huh?”
“Of course,” my father says.
“Did she tell you that she likes to sleep with women?” he grins, pure poison, feeling like he has made a hit. “That she is one of those faggots who fucks little girls?” (the arabic he used is far cruder … you get the idea)
My dad glances at me. I nod; we understand each other.
“She is my daughter,” he says and I can see the anger growing in his eyes, “and she is who she is and if you want her, you must take me as well.”
“Stupid city-fuckers,” says the same guy. “All you rich pansies are the same. No wonder she ends up fucking girls and kikes” (again, the Arabic is much rawer ,,,)
He steps twoards me and puts his hand on my breast.
“Maybe if you were with a real man,” he lears, “you’d stop this nonsense and lies; maybe we should show you now and let your pansy father watch so he understands how real men are.”
I am almost trembling with rage. My dad moves his head slightly to tell me to be silent.
“What are you?” he says. “Did the jackal sleep with the monkey before you were born? What are your names?”

They tell him. He nods
“Your father,” he says to the one who threatened to rape me, “does he know this is how you act? He was an officer, yes? And he served in …” (he mentions exactly and then turns to the other) “and your mother? Wasn’t she the daughter of …?”
They are both wide-eyed, yes, that is right,
“What would they think if they heard how you act? And my daughter? Let me tell you this about her; she has done many things that, if I had been her, I would not have done. But she has never once stopped being my daughter and I will never once let you do any harm to her. You will not take her from here. And, if you try, know that generations of her ancestors are looking down on you. Do you know what is our family name? You do? Then you know where we stood when Muhammad, peace be upon him, went to Medina, you know who it was who liberated al Quds, you know too, maybe, that my father fought to save this country from the foreigners and who he was, know who my uncles and my brothers were … and if that doesn’t shame you enough, you know my cousins and you will leave here.
“You will leave her alone and you will tell the rest of your gang to leave her alone. And I will tell you something now because I think maybe you are too stupid to figure this out on your own. You are alawiyeen; do not deny that, I know you both are. We are Sunni. You know that. And in your offices and in your villages they are telling you that all of you must stand shoulder to shoulder now because we are coming for you as soon as we can and we will serve you as they have served ours in the land of the two rivers. So you are scared. I would be too.
“So you come here to take Amina. Let me tell you something though. She is not the one you should fear; you should be heaping praises on her and on people like her. They are the ones saying alawi, sunni, arabi, kurdi, duruzi, christian, everyone is the same and will be equal in the new Syria; they are the ones who, if the revolution comes, will be saving Your mother and your sisters. They are the ones fighting the wahhabi most seriously. You idiots are, though, serving them by saying ‘every sunni is salafi, every protester is salafi, every one of them is an enemy’ because when you do that you make it so.
“Your Bashar and your Maher, they will not live forever, they will not rule forever, and you both know that. So, if you want good things for yourselves in the future, you will leave and you will not take Amina with you. You will go back and you will tell the rest of yours that the people like her are the best friends the Alawi could ever have and you will not come for her again.
“And right now, you two will both apologize for waking her and putting her through all this. Do you understand me?”
And time froze when he stopped speaking. Now, they would either smack him down and beat him, rape me, and take us both away … or …

the first one nodded, then the second one.
“Go back to sleep,” he said, “we are sorry for troubling you.”
And they left!
As soon as the gate shut ,,, I heard clapping; everyone in the house was awake now and had been watching from balconies and doorways and windows all around the courtyard … and everyone was cheering …
MY DAD had just defeated them! Not with weapons but with words … and they had left …
I hugged him and kissed him; I literally owe him my life now.
And everyone came down and hugged and kissed, every member of the family, and the servants and everyone … we had won … this time …

My father is a hero; I always knew that … but now I am sure …

Egyptians continue protests against Israel and call for a million-man march to support Palestinians

Apr 28, 2011


Two great pictures at Kabobfest, 1 and 2, of Egyptian protesters getting on the Palestinian issue. And other news from the Arab uprisings:


Bahrain sentences protesters to death
Military court sentences four men to death over killing of police during unrest, state media says.

Bahrain urged to halt execution of protesters
A military court in Bahrain has sentenced four anti-government protesters to death. Authorities in Bahrain must not allow the execution of four protesters sentenced to death by a military court over the killing of two police officers in anti-government demonstrations last month, Amnesty International said today. “The Bahraini authorities have a responsibility to bring to justice those who commit violent crimes. But when doing so, they must uphold the right to fair trial and they must not use the death penalty under any circumstances,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Why Bahrain is Trying Civilians Before a Military Court ( – The island kingdom’s massive crackdown on civil liberties continues with civilians about to be put in front of a military court.*

Shiites decry ‘persecution in Bahrain’
Shiites face fast-tracked martial courts, continued detention of hundreds, demolition of mosques and arbitrary dismissal of employees in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, they say.

Bahrain: We must speak out about brutality in the Gulf
To have different levels of tolerance for different despots raises awkward questions.

Bahrain thanks Saudi Arabia
Saudi media do cover Bahrain. The mouthpiece of Prince Salman and his sons, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat, has this headline: “A Green Bahraini Day in thanks to People and Leadership of Saudi Arabia.”  I kid you not.

Lebanese Muslim scholars urge Bahrain to end crackdown
Sheikh Abdel Amir Kabalan, head of the Shiite Higher Council, urged the Bahraini government to halt all forms of “injustice and oppression.” BEIRUT: Violence against Bahraini protesters should cease, Lebanese Muslim scholars urged Manama Wednesday, warning of a conspiracy to incite strife among the island’s population.

More on Bahrain
Jane sent me this (I cite with her permission):  “I guess you saw the news that four men have been sentenced to death today by a military court that convicted them of killing two policemen during the uprising. Today Bahrain TV aired a “documentary” that gives full details, including televised “confessions” from several of the men. The programme has been uploaded to YouTube here:  (Yes, it genuinely does begin “Bahrain is a country of peace and love…”) As some people have asked, why would defendants who were pleading “not guilty” make confessions on camera? The names of those confessing aren’t given, but Chanad, an eagle-eyed blogger/tweep, pointed out that the first man “confessing” (six minutes into the programme) appears to be Ali Isa Saqer. Mr Saqer was one of the people detained in connection with the killings, but he was not sentenced yesterday. That’s because he already died in custody in early April. Human Rights Watch, which saw his body, said it bore signs of “horrific abuse”. He was buried on April 10th. Frank Gardner of the BBC wrote about him recently (the last line is particularly worth reading): “Accused of trying to run over a policeman during a protest, Ali Isa al-Saqer had handed himself over to police after his family say they were threatened. Six days later he died in their custody, the authorities say he fought his jailers. His family, seeing his battered body for the first time since his arrest, collapsed in howls of grief; his wounds were quite simply horrific. Beaten black and blue, his lacerated back resembled a bloody zebra; he appeared to have been whipped with heavy cables, his ankles and wrists manacled. I brought up his case with the health minister, Dr Fatima al-Beloushi, who is also minister for human rights. At first she said that the opposition had altered the images to invent the lacerations. But when I replied that we had been to the funeral and seen them ourselves she immediately promised a full investigation.


One of my sources:  “So 4 of the protestors were sentenced to death. 3 given life. The last time the death penalty was imposed was in 2006 after three incidents of 3 bangledeshis killing Bahrainis – one of the bangledeshis was a cook for a super-rich Bahraini family (wonder if he was abused by them?). Since two of the ones killed were from prominent tribes the government decided to ban all bangledeshis from coming to Bahrain. I have no idea if the ban still exists – there is a similar ban in either Saudi or Kuwait. Here’s an old blog post on the issue: Funny how the defenders of the Bahraini government forgot this and now are acting like they are the defenders of all expats in Bahrain. At the beginning of the violence, the government claimed that the protesters cut of the tongue of a bangledeshi muazzin. The Bangledeshi ambassador denied this.”

When a Bahraini secular suddenly becomes a caller for an Islamic republic

One of my reliable sources on Bahrain:  “I’m not sure if you have heard of Abdul Hadi and Khawaja. He is one of the most prominent human rights activists that have been detained by the Bahraini regime. Now Al Khwaja is one of the regime’s most hated dissidents (probably right after Mushaima and Singece who are the leaders of the banned opposition group Haq). They have been trying to get rid of him and get him to stay quiet for years. Their biggest problem they have with him, (other than the fact that he exposes their crimes) is that unlike a lot of the prominent dissidents in Bahrain, he is calling for the downfall of the entire regime and for the establishment of a republic. He has been doing it for years and he just never ever shuts up. Now this has lead them and their pro-government supporters as an extremist, a terrorist, and most hilarious of all, as a person calling for the creation of an Islamic Iranian style theocracy in Bahrain. Well the funny thing is, according to a wikileaks cable, the Crown Prince himself calls Al Khawaja secular. In fact he repeats this so much that it has lead me to believe that the entire regime knows very well that Al-Khawaja would never ever call for an Islamic republic. Here is the link to the wikileaks article in case you are interested:
By the way, Al-Khawaja’s daughter was the one who went on a hunger strike and wrote an open letter to Obama. I believe that he is being put on trial now.”
PS The daughter calls her blog The Angry (Female) Arab

Egypt-Israel gas pipeline fire could rage for days, sources say
Explosion rocks natural gas terminal, disrupting supply to neighboring Israel and Jordan, following the second armed attack on Egypt gas pipelines since February.

Egyptian youth call for million-man marches to support Palestinians
A call for “million-man” marches in support of the Palestinians has been made by Egypt’s Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution. The first march, to be held in Alexandria on 13 May, will also demand the opening of the Egypt-Gaza border for food, medical and humanitarian aid; marchers will head for the Israeli Consulate in the city.

Photos: Protesting the Israeli Embassy
The Israeli Embassy in Giza, a once impermissible area to hold protests during the godforsaken days of Mubarak, has recently been a hotspot of demonstrations organized by Egyptian youth. They started weeks ago with a spontaneous demo that marched from Tahrir to the embassy in response to the attacks on Gaza. They are rallying to call for an immediate stop to the the brutal attacks on the collectively punished civilians of Gaza strip, and the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and severing ties with the Zionist state. Protesters held banners that read “Here is the Palestinian embassy” (below left) and waved the Palestinian flags high (below right).

Another protest against the Israeli occupation embassy in Cairo

Egypt’s socialist network keeps the spirit of the revolution alive
Much of the old regime is still in place in Egypt – the Popular Alliance’s aim is to make people aware of alternatives. With September’s parliamentary elections just around the corner, Egypt’s revolution is in a vulnerable phase. Without clear, progressive direction based on the values forged in Tahrir Square, there is a real possibility that remnants of the old system will re-establish a grip on power.

The new Egypt: go tell the Zionist hoodlums
“The attack comes at a particularly delicate time as the Egyptian public — freed from restrictions that had been imposed by the government of President Hosni Mubarak — has aired anger more openly at Israel and at its own government’s handling of the original pipeline deal. It also comes as the Egyptian authorities have lost some control over the North Sinai after many police officers pulled back during the political turmoil surrounding the ouster of Mr. Mubarak in February.”

My comrades, my heroes in Egypt
“Labour movements are continuing the revolution today. Their flagship cause has become the ongoing strikes in Shubra el-Kom, where disgruntled textile workers are calling for the nationalisation of their factory, which was sold to Indonesian owners at a fraction of its value in an example of the institutional corruption fostered by Mubarak. The Popular Alliance has seized upon this, using the protests as a recruiting ground – highly effectively – and identifying itself with the struggle. Should the workers be triumphant, it would set a precedent for public ownership of hundreds more companies, while cementing the socialists as the workers’ representatives. The Alliance has built on union demands to advocate a raft of populist reforms such as subsidised housing for the poor, free education and greater local representation through city presidents. These connect neatly with the core demands of the revolution for social justice, freedom and democracy, which will have cross-demographic appeal.”

Egypt’s Years Of Repression Give Way To New-Found Voice
CAIRO (Reuters) For decades, authoritarian rule and police brutality ensured the only voice heard from Egypt was that of its leaders. Since popular protests deposed President Hosni Mubarak, the silent majority has erupted into a cacophony. Emboldened by the success of their uprising, almost everyone in post-Mubarak Egypt, from Western-educated professionals to illiterate farmhands to once-banned Islamists, has something to say about their nation’s past and future.

Gaddafi forces regain Libya’s western border
Rebels forced to abandon post on Tunisian frontier as border town of Zintan comes under rocket attack by Gaddafi forces.

Gates hints at killing Gadhafi
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday that Libyan military command centers “wherever we find them” are legitimate targets for U.S. and NATO air attack, suggesting that “strongman” Moammar Gadhafi himself is increasingly in danger.

Ex-CIA chief: Kadhafi was good partner
The former chief of the CIA on Tuesday praised Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s past cooperation and said his downfall could complicate US interests in the short term.

Gaddafi arms Libyan ‘home guard’ – minimum age 17
Regime in Libya trains civilians in use of AK-47s in attempt to build resistance to Pro NATO Enemy Combatants

Shots, explosions heard in Libyan rebel stronghold
BENGHAZI, Libya, April 28 (Reuters) – Explosions and bursts of gunfire were heard in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya on Thursday, a Reuters correspondent said. The cause was not immediate clear. Some residents had attributed an earlier outburst of gunfire to a possible clash between feuding local families. Young Benghazi men often fire guns, and occasionally rocket propelled grenades, into the air as an act of defiance against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, whose forces were expelled from eastern Libya in a February uprising.

Libya Death Toll Could Be As High As 30,000: U.S.
WASHINGTON — The death toll in Libya after more than two months of violence could reach as high as 30,000, an Obama administration official said Wednesday. Gene Cretz, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, said it is very hard to gauge how many people have died in strongman Moammar Gadhafi’s crackdown on protesters and the subsequent fighting between rebels and pro-government forces.

Nato fire ‘kills Misrata rebels’
A stray Nato air strike kills at least 11 rebel fighters in the besieged Libyan port of Misrata, say reports, as intense fighting with pro-Gaddafi forces continues.

Battle for Libya: Uprising in Nalut
For more than two months, a battle has been raging between Muammar Gadaffi’s forces and opposition fighters in the Nefusa mountain range of western Libya. More than 30,000 residents have moved across the border to Tunisia. Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught went to the town of Nalut to meet the people testing their new sense of freedom – and the risks that come with it.

Fighting continues in Libya’s Misurata
Rebels say humanitarian deliveries affected in besieged city, as battles rage for control of port rage on.

Libya rebels battle for Misurata airport
Fighting continues after Libyan leader’s forces are pushed back from city’s sea port.

Libyan rebels to free five Gaddafi soldiers
BENGHAZI, Libya, April 27 (Reuters) – Libyan rebels will free five captured Libyan soldiers loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, a senior rebel spokesman said, in a goodwill gesture aimed at boosting the rebels’ credibility internationally. Libya’s opposition forces hold as many as 32 Libyans and 72 foreign mercenaries captured during fighting in the uprising that began in mid-February, Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, spokesman for the rebel National Council, said.

U.S. gives limited support to rebel government in Libya
The U.S. will encourage other nations to line up behind the Transitional National Council, but continues to wrestle with whether it should extend recognition to the Libyan group. The Obama administration gave an official blessing to the chief Libyan opposition group Wednesday, opening the way for closer ties but not necessarily recognition as the country’s legitimate government.,0,5393485.story

Children bear brunt of Libyan conflict
With the conflict raging on in Libya, education is suffering, especially in the rebel-held areas. From schools to unversities, everything is shut. Some students and teachers are on the frontline in the battle against government forces. Al Jazeera’s Omar Al Saleh has more from Benghazi.

As conflict drags on, food supplies run low in Benghazi
Fears of looming food shortage have grown since the World Food Programme warned that food stocks would run out in two months.

Three Syrian soldiers killed, 15 injured by “terrorists”
A military source said ” extremist and terrorist groups” attacked some Syrian army units Tuesday along the road leading to the occupied Golan Heights, killing three soldiers and wounding 15, the official SANA news agency reported.

Syrian soldiers ‘switching allegiances’
Reports are coming out of Syria that some soldiers are siding with the anti-government protesters. Amateur footage is said to show that some troops have been shot at from within their own ranks for refusing to fire upon protesters in the city of Deraa. Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the footage, which is said to have been shot on Wednesday. Imran Khan reports.

Syrian ruling party members defect en masse
More than 200 Baath Party members announced their resignation Wednesday in the largest expression of dissent since the party came to power in 1963.

UN fails to agree on Syria condemnation
Security Council members remain divided on US-backed statement condemning violence against protesters.

Dozens arrested in Syrian town
Residents say security forces raid homes in the mountain town Madaya, amid reports of soldiers switching allegiances.

Al Jazeera suspends Arabic service operations in Syria
DUBAI, April 28 (Reuters) – Qatar-based satellite channel Al Jazeera said it had suspended some operations in Syria, in a move a media watchdog said was the result of restrictions and attacks on its staff. A spokesman for the network told Reuters the suspended operations were from the channel’s Arabic language service. The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists said the network had told it Damascus had subjected Syrian employees to sustained pressure to resign from the news channel.

“Protesters Want Changes to Syria’s Power Structure,” Landis on NPR
The Assad family, which has ruled Syria for the last 40 years, belongs to the Alawite religious sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam. It includes only 12 percent of the country’s population. Syria expert Joshua Landis talks to Steve Inskeep about how the family has maintained its power.

Syrian Communist Party (Unified), “Stop Violence Now and Start National Dialogue!”
The ongoing tragedy only benefits the enemies of Syria, the enemies of our national project that is guiding the country, the enemies who are promoting the American and Zionist project in the region, as well as the forces who do not want the process of reform to deepen and expand. Our party, which keenly feels the responsibility for our country, believing that Syria belongs to all its citizens and that every drop of blood of its sons and daughters is precious, calls for a national dialogue to marginalize the advocates of sedition and division, based on broad and direct participation of all, of not only the parties of the Progressive National Front but also other national forces outside the front, a dialogue that includes representatives of economic enterprises, civil society organizations, cultural and intellectual associations, labor unions and professional associations, religious leaders and other figures of national stature, all who cherish Syria and its national unity, in order to achieve the following objectives. . .

From Aleppo
“As I was walking through Suleymaniyya yesterday, a upper class Christian neighborhood in Aleppo, I stumbled across a protest that was taking place.  Based on their chants, it was a mix of opposition and supporters of Bashar, although the latter was bussed in and quickly outnumbered the former.  Weirdly enough, I haven’t found anything about it in todays news, although it’s possible that most news sources have effectively given up on Aleppo.  I’ve heard that Syrians have begun mocking Aleppans for their reluctance to join in on the protests, even denying some Aleppo plated cars gas in other cities.  A friend of mine here says that one of the main reasons there are so few protests in Aleppo is the lack of Alawites.  As she puts it, there’s no “friction” here between the Alawites and everyone else, i.e. they don’t see firsthand the absurd social privileges Alawites receive.”

Muslim Brotherhood
Any alliance or deal with Muslim Brotherhood by any leftist or progressive should be rejected categorically.  This organization can’t be trusted.  Those who will trust the Brotherhood will face the same fate like those Iranian leftists who trusted Khumayni’s empty assurances before the Revolution.

UAE targets activists as clampdown widens
Six civil society activists are arrested and the government takes over a rights organization in the United Arab Emirates. The arrest of six civil society activists and the government’s takeover of a rights organization in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are part of a worrying clampdown on dissent in the country, Amnesty International said today. Five of the activists were among more than 100 signatories of a recent petition calling for democratic reforms in the UAE, according to local media reports.

Yemeni president must be held accountable over rights violations
Yemen’s power-transfer deal must not allow immunity against prosecution for human rights abuses. The Yemeni president and his political allies must not be given immunity from prosecution as the price for ending the country’s spiralling human rights crisis, Amnesty International said today. Following months of protests against his 33-year rule, President Ali Abdallah Saleh is expected to agree a deal to transfer power to opposition leaders and step down 30 days later.

Gunmen Kill 10 in Yemen Anti-Government Protests
Plainclothes gunmen killed 10 people and wounded dozens more in Yemen’s capital Wednesday when they opened fire on protesters demanding the immediate ouster of the president, whom Gulf Arab mediators want to ease from power.

Saudi Arabia
Two bloggers arrested in Saudi Arabia
Will this make the news in the West? Two Saudi bloggers arrested?

Saudi propaganda
Saudi propaganda is very funny indeed.  Not only that they are audacious enough to offer advice on how to construct democracies in Arab countries, but they play with the facts and headlines in a funny way.  The headline of the mouthpiece of Prince Salman and his sons, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat (one of the most vulgar of the various propaganda sheets of House of Saud and STDs) talks about “mass resignations” from the Syrian Ba`th party, and then you read that 30 members resigned (followed later by 200 according to the paper). But there are around 200,000 Ba`th members in Dir`ah alone.  Of course, people join the Ba`th party in Syria like people joined the Communist Party in USSR: for advancement and career opportunities and opportunism (there were some 17 million members in the Soviet Communist Party before the fall of communism).

Riddle of Riyadh
How Saudi Arabia seeks to shape the Middle East.

Arab spring pushes Palestinian rivals Hamas and Fatah to reconcile
But many are skeptical that the accord will hold, given that huge differences remain between Fatah and Hamas, and Israel is strongly opposed to Palestinian unity.

New trends in Arab politics
I expect that some features of Arab politics from the 1960s and 1970s will make a comeback.  States that opened up, like Egypt and Tunisia, may experience plots and assassinations.  Decades-long frustrations are destined to have an impact, here and there, and maybe everywhere.  The second bombing of the gas pipeline to Israel is only a beginning.  Israel has been an actor for decades, while Arabs were forced to watch.  Tables will be reversed.  Israel will begin to watch a show that it won’t enjoy.  The political trends are clear: from North Africa to Gulf.  The counter-revolution is in full force, to be sure, but it suffers from a major weakness: it is led by House of Saud and sons of Zayid, for potato’s sake.

Aljazeera’s standards
The main complain about Aljazeera’s coverage is not that it covers Arab upheavals but that in only covers selectively and that it lowers its standards.  Any person can call and claim to be a “witness in Syria” and he would be put on the air and allowed to say anything.  One pro-regime Syrian tested that theory: he was put on the air, and then went on to curse Aljazeera and the Emir of Qatar.  (The obscenities would offend your ears so I did not provide the clip).  Now former Aljazeera anchor woman, Luna Ash-Shibl (who hosted the program For Women Only), who resigned with four other female anchors over accusations of gender insensitivity spoke to a pro-Syrian regime news channel.  She criticizes the the network but her remarks are not credible because she is an unapologetic advocate for the regime, and she advances wild conspiracy theories of the Arab revolutions, stating that they were all manipulated by the US and Israel.  If only Arabs know how much Zionists would like us to believe that we are too weak and too impotent to chart our own destiny.  Enough with those silly conspiracy theories that maintain that some Zionist organizations plotted the Arab upheavals.  If that is the case, why Arab Zionists freaking out?  Are you kidding me??  Zionists would get rid of Theodor Herzl before they get rid of Husni Mubarak.

Memo From Cairo: Embattled Arab Leaders Decide It’s Better to Fight Than Quit
The lesson autocrats are taking from the Arab Spring is that those who quit, like Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, face humiliation, while those who continue to use force gain leverage.

Worries about the Arab Democratic Renaissance, Hasan Afif El-Hasan
The struggle for the future of the Arab nations has just begun. The best thing that can be said about their uprising is that it was truly ‘made in the Arab lands by the Arab youth.’ The West including the US can influence events but they learnt from the war on Iraq to do so quietly, behind the scenes. The West especially the US cannot be a reliable supporter of democracy unless its interests are served.

As a Holocaust survivor, AIPAC does not speak for me

Apr 28, 2011

Hedy Epstein

At the end of one of my first journeys to the Israeli-occupied West Bank in 2004, I endured a shocking experience at Ben-Gurion Airport. I never imagined that Israeli security forces would abuse a 79-year-old Holocaust survivor, but they held me for five hours, and strip-searched and cavity-searched every part of my naked body. The only shame these security officials expressed was to turn their badges around so that their names were invisible.

The only conceivable purpose for this gross violation of my bodily integrity was to humiliate and terrify me. But it had just the opposite effect. It made me more determined to speak out against abuses by the Israeli government and military.

Yet my own experience, unpleasant as it was, is nothing compared to the indignities and abuses heaped on Palestinians year after year. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is based not on equal rights and fair play, but on what Human Rights Watch has termed a “two-tier” legal system – in other words, apartheid, with one set of laws for Jews and a harsh, oppressive set of laws for Palestinians.

This, however, is the legal system and security state AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) will defend from May 22-24 at its annual conference. And, despite this grim reality, members of Congress will converge to hail AIPAC and Israel . The Palestinians’ lack of freedom is bound to be obscured at the AIPAC conference with its obsessive focus on security and shunting aside of anything to do with upholding fundamental Palestinian rights.

Several years ago near Der Beilut in the West Bank, I saw the Israeli police turn a water cannon on our nonviolent protest. As it happened, I recalled Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 and wondered why an ostensibly democratic society responded to peaceable assembly by trying, literally, to drown out the voice of our protest.

In Mas’ha, also in the occupied West Bank , I joined a demonstration against the wall Israel has built, usually inside the West Bank and occasionally towering to 25 feet in height. I saw a red sign warning ominously of “mortal danger” to any who dared to cross in an area where it ran as a fence. I saw Israeli soldiers aiming at unarmed Israelis, Palestinians and international protesters. I also saw blood pouring out of Gil Na’amati, a young Israeli whose first public act after completing his mandatory military service was to protest against the wall. I saw shrapnel lodged in the leg of Anne Farina, one of my traveling companions from St. Louis . And I thought of Kent State and Jackson State, where National Guardsmen opened fire in 1970 on protesters against the Vietnam War.

So as AIPAC meets and members of Congress cheer, I hold these images of Israel in my mind and fear AIPAC’s ability to move US policy in dangerous directions. AIPAC does a disservice to the Palestinians, the Israelis and the American people. It helps to keep the Middle East in a perpetual state of war and this year will be no different from last year as it keeps up a steady drumbeat calling for war against Iran .

AIPAC pretends to speak for all Jews, but it certainly does not speak for me or other members of the Jewish community in this country who are committed to equal rights for all and are aware that American interventionism is likely to bring further disaster and chaos to the Middle East .

Israel, of course, would not be able to carry out its war crimes against civilians in Lebanon and Gaza without the United States – and our $3 billion in military aid – permitting it to do so. At 86 years old, I use every ounce of my energy to educate the American public about the need to stop supporting the abuses committed by the Israeli government and military against the Palestinian people. Sometimes there are people who try to shout me down and scream that I am a self-hating Jew, but most of the time the audience is receptive to hear from someone who survived the Holocaust and now works to free the Palestinians from Israeli oppression.

The vicious discrimination brought to bear against Palestinians in the occupied territories deserves no applause this week from members of Congress attending the AIPAC conference. Instead, they should raise basic questions with Israeli officials about decades of inferior rights endured by Palestinians both inside Israel and the occupied territories.

Hedy Epstein is a Holocaust survivor, who writes and travels extensively to speak about social justice causes and Middle Eastern affairs. Take action by attending Move Over AIPAC, a gathering in Washington DC from May 21-24, 2011, to expose AIPAC and build the vision for a new US foreign policy in the Middle East! More information can be found at

Zuckerman rag prints bald-faced lies on upcoming flotilla to Gaza

Apr 28, 2011

Alex Kane and Nima Shirazi

It comes as no surprise that a newspaper owned by Mort Zuckerman, an ardent Zionist, would be anti-Palestinian and that it would strongly oppose efforts to break the Israeli naval blockade by sending a flotilla of ships to Gaza.  But arecent editorial printed by the Zuckerman-owned New York Daily News is a particularly egregious example of U.S. media’s aversion to the facts on Israel/Palestine.  The bald-faced lies–which follow recent Israeli pronouncements about the “terrorists” organizing the upcoming international flotilla to break the Israeli blockade–printed would be laughable only if it wasn’t going to be read by thousands of people.

The editorial states:

Sponsors of the flotilla are happily playing with fire, as they did a year ago in sailing into the blockade under the guise of delivering medicines and the like to Gaza. In fact, some of those ships carried suicidal fighters instead of useful goods. Nine of the brigands died when Israeli commandos were forced to board and came under assault.

To claim that those aboard the Mavi Marmara were the aggressors is to completely invert reality. The attack was conducted in international waters after Israel cut off all communications from the ships and surrounded the flotilla with over 20 naval vessels and warships, along with multiple helicopters. In addition to the 45 highly-trained and heavily-armed commandos who rappelled onto the largest ship, the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, murdering at least 9 civilians and wounding about 60 more, about 650 other Israeli troops, including surveillance and support troops alongside those who actually boarded the ships, took part in the illegal assault on the flotilla.

And then there’s these howlers:

No one of any credibility disputes that Israel’s blockade is legal under international law. In coordination with Egypt, Israel barred sea-going shipments into Gaza in 2009 after years of Palestinian mortar and rocket attacks on Jewish soil.

As a board of inquiry put it:

“Israel imposed the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip for military-security reasons, which mainly concerned the need to prevent weapons, terrorists and money” from entering.

The UN has recognized the blockade’s legitimacy under international law. Now, it must prevent this perilous propaganda ploy.

First of all, the naval blockade has been in place since 2007, along with the land and air blockade–not 2009 as the editorial claims.  The “board of inquiry” the Daily News refers to is the Turkel Commission, the name for the Israeli investigation into the flotilla events–hardly a neutral source of facts about the blockade of Gaza.

And finally, it appears that Zuckerman’s newspaper likes to make up facts.  The UN has not “recognized the blockade’s legitimacy under international law.”  In fact, various UN reports have labeled the blockade illegal.  The UN fact-finding mission on the 2008-09 Gaza conflict, known as the Goldstone report, stated that the blockade was a form of collective punishment and that it was therefore in “violation of the provisions of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”  The UN report on the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara also clearly states that the blockade is illegal. In 2009, theAssociated Press reported that “U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay has accused Israel of violating the rules of war with its blockade stopping people and goods from moving in and out of the Gaza Strip.”

Nima Shirazi is a political commentator from New York City. His analysis of United States policy and Middle East issues, particularly with reference to current events in Iran, Israel, and Palestine, can also be found in numerous other online and print publications, as well as his own website,

Alex Kane, a freelance journalist based in New York City, blogs on Israel/Palestine and Islamophobia in the United States  Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

9/11 and western prejudice fostered the Arab revolutions –Abdelkader Benali

Apr 28, 2011

Philip Weiss

What happened to my utter joy at the Egyptian revolution? Where is my feeling that it was going to sweep away the injustices in the Middle East and American foreign policy, and ravish the U.S. too in a wave of Arabophobia? Well it’s still there.

Last night at the 92d Street Y in New York, a group of Arab intellectuals had a tremendous conversation about the cultural and political changes in the Arab world that are slowly but surely rocking the universe. I want to take my hat off right here to the 92d Street Y for staging the event. And Pen World Voices for setting up the panel. The 92d Street Y is a Zionist organization. It will brook no criticism of the Jewish state; and don’t worry, I will get to the horror of these intellectual conditions in a subsequent post, because even last night’s conversation plays a role in this destitution that is threatening all our lives.

But let’s not talk about Jews, let’s talk about Arabs, and let me celebrate the important ideas that were expressed last night. They were ideas about the universality of the human experience, the chain of ideas and spirit that unites western culture to the Arab world, and the incredible leadership that young Arabs have demonstrated in breaking all our minds out of horrible prejudice, the prejudice that has built an iron wall across the Arab world, from Palestine to Iraq.

And so let me get to the argument. I am going to quote four disputing Arab intellectuals, after Jake Weisberg, the deft moderator, got out of the way, and the intellectuals got to fight. The argument began over a simple issue: Why did we leave the Arab world? For three of the intellectuals had left. One lives in Holland, one in Paris, one in New York. Only Issandr El-Amrani, of the (and LRB on Libya), lives in the Arab world.

I will begin with Rula Jebreal, and her explaining why she left Palestine and Egypt.

She said that the Egyptians created files on cultural figures to use against them, and a great singer, who had been a lover of Mubarak’s son, the son threw her out of a second floor window and she broke her back and her career was blocked.

“This is the lever that they use, the regime uses, against intellectuals. If you notice, all of us live abroad. You have no choice. [pointing at the others on stage] He lives in Holland, he is in Paris, I live in New York…. For Arab intellectuals and journalists, you have no choice– disappear, be in jail, or leave. These are the choices. 100 percent of them.”

So during the revolutions, Jebreal said, the intellectuals were absent. They were dead or in jail or abroad. “So we watched our countries from abroad.”

And from there Jebreal got to the heart of the discussion, the anti-Arab feeling in the west.

“The prejudice it was very hard. It was very hard to talk about our countries after September 11…. But the truth– the prejudice against us–we have to fight our regimes, but abroad we have to fight the prejudice, the discrimination, and we have to fight something stronger, the idea that is in the head of the majority of the people in this room and in this country before Tahrir Square, this idea that most of us, we are not liberal. We beat our women, that we marry more than once, whatever, and we are terrorists. If we are not terrorists, then we are potential terrorists. This idea started changing in Tahrir Square.

“So I really would like to thank these women and men who stood for three weeks asking for freedom and dignity and asking for a better life. They convinced all of us that we have a right to that, but I ithink they changed somehow the opinion in the western world.”

There came a showering of applause for Jebreal, and then Issandr El-Amrani said that the analysis was “a little unfair.” He suggested that Jebreal was not in touch with the Arab world.

He said that in the last five or six years, Arab culture had changed. He spoke of an underground Moroccan gay magazine. The editor was not from an elite background. His family had not lived abroad. And the editor was not out to his family. “But slowly he’s creating room for debate, this is one of the most wonderful things about what is happening in Tunisia, Egypt.”

El Amrani said that when he went to Tunis in January after Ben Ali left, he heard people arguing in the streets about a parliamentary system or a presidential system. Some said, “We are Arabs, we need a strong president—and back and forth it went.”

And then the same happened in Tahrir. It was not just the secular elites. He saw a peasant, whose shoes were falling apart, who had come on a third class train from southern Egypt, unemployed, dirty, uneducated. And the man said, “I’m staying here either until Mubarak goes or I die.”

And bearded Islamists were participating alongside Christians, and women trading food. “It was a gasp of fresh air. People feel that they can have a conversation.” Yes it may take 25 years, El Amrani said, as it had taken 25 years after the French revolution for things to sort out. “It may be generations. But the conversation is now possible. The conversation wasn’t possible before because the public space wasn’t there.”

Then it was Abdellah Taia’s turn, and he was in the Jebreal camp. He is a Moroccan gay writer who has lived in Paris for the last eight years, lithe with close cropped hair and a plaid shirt. He talked about the political space in Morocco, and how closed it was. There was no room to criticize; he was made to feel that Islam was against him. Though inside he understood, it is their problem not mine– he could be both “gay and Muslim.” This absence of political space was created by a dictator, Hassan 2. “He put all the leaders in jail in the 70s and 80s, he invented a literary prize.” And this is why Taia had had to get away. Because there was no room to criticize. There were no intellectuals on TV.

Now came the fourth speaker, Abdelkader Benali. He grew up poor in Morocco. He has lived in Holland for 30 years; and his ideas, which echoed El Amrani’s, were simply electrifying.

He began by speaking of the cultural space that develops in a closed society. When there is oppression and people are put into prison just for speaking their own language, well then the society changes, and people change. Because cultural and political ideas need to be exchanged regardless of conditions.

“Suddenly grocery sellers become poets, taxi drivers are commentators. And someone who cleans the street becomes achronicleur of what is happening in the streets.”

Wow. And when Benali went back to Morocco from Europe, “even my grandmother who is illiterate, she knew what was going on in the world, how Morocco was faring.” She told his sisters to get an education, never to stay in the kitchen. School “is the only thing you have, otherwise you become like me.” She wanted those children in Europe.

Then came 9/11. And that is when the Arab revolution began.

“I have a feeling that the Arab intellectuals, especially the ones who became articulated in the west, they came back to their own homes and their own countries. They decided there was so much orientalist militarist language going on about the Orient, that they said, there is no place in the west now for us to create a discourse.”

This had befallen Benali himself. The hatred toward Arabs in Amsterdam even as the towers fell, a neighbor’s belief that he had no empathy, and the Israel-Palestine issue too (though I am keeping my powder dry, reader)—he had felt alienated from this great western society that was putting “experts” on television to speak about the Arab world, when he knew so much more about the Arab world.

And it had driven him back to the Arab world.

“We go back home and we see what we can do here. This is our west actually. We created our own kind of version of intellectual climate, and it was going to be a secret Nobody should know about it. So what you see is all these young urban intellectuals flying under the radar, doing things sometimes only once, because if you do it once, it will be closed down.”

And these were the materials of the revolution.

“In the last five or six years this has become a very fruitful terrain for dialogue, for talking about the responsibility of an intellectual writer to form his society, to give an idea of how it could look like, to create new dreams…”

The conceit of the evening was that Arab societies are shut down and now they are being liberated. It’s an arrogant western conceit, god knows that I feel some of it in myself. We gave them the tools. Yes and one of the tools was our prejudice. They had to build their own west.

Backgrounder on Hamas-Fatah split

Apr 28, 2011

Pamela Olson

Shortly after Hamas won Parliamentary elections in 2006, I wrote an essay that addressed frequently asked questions about the Hamas election victory. I thought now would be a good time to link to it (read the full essay here), given that it looks like Hamas and Fatah have finally closed a unity deal — to remind people what got us here in the first place.

It should go without saying, but this should not be read as a personal endorsement for Hamas. It’s nothing more or less than a description of the atmosphere in Palestine in 2006.

An excerpt:

Why is Hamas popular?

After the results were announced, many in the West were worried that the Palestinians had elected a rejectionist terrorist organization and that the will of the Palestinian people was endless warfare or even collective suicide.

But polls consistently reveal that a solid majority of Palestinians are anxious for a negotiated peace with Israel based on international law, and that most desire a secular democratic state alongside a sovereign Israel. So why was there so much support for an Islamist movement?

Palestinians elected Mahmoud Abbas as President of Palestine in January 2005 as a vote of confidence in his pragmatic message of peaceful negotiations toward a two-state solution. Palestinians gave him a chance despite Fatah’s long history of corruption, nepotism, undemocratic methods, and counterproductive political calculations. Hamas also respected the ceasefire that Abbas brokered in Sharm el-Sheikh on February 8, 2005, in deference to public opinion. Hopes for peace after the election of Abbas were enthusiastic and genuine.

What did the Palestinian people receive in return? From February 2005, after Abbas was sworn in and the ceasefire was brokered, until January 2006, when the Hamas elections took place, more than 150 Palestinians were killed, including 38 children, at least 23 men assassinated by Israeli soldiers, and 8 innocent bystanders killed in the course of assassinations. Thousands more were arrested, making a mockery of Israel’s agreement to release Palestinian prisoners as stipulated by the terms of the ceasefire.

In the same period, 37 Israelis were killed, most in suicide bombings conducted by a rogue faction called Islamic Jihad. Scores of homemade rockets were also launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel both before and after the disengagement, causing very little damage or injuries but a great deal of fear. It is unclear whether Abbas was unwilling or unable to stop them. Israeli closures and refusal to allow necessary equipment and ammunition into the Palestinian territories weakened and splintered Abbas’s police force, and Israel’s failure to abide by the terms of the ceasefire weakened his political mandate.

Israel also continued to expand its illegal settlements in the West Bank at such a rate that the number of settlers actually increased in 2005 despite the Gaza disengagement. Settler terrorist attacks against unarmed Palestinian farmers and villagers continued and intensified, with their usual near-impunity from the law. Hamas, though not responsible for any suicide attacks on Israeli soil since August 2004, was constantly targeted, and Abbas was soon declared “no partner.”

When Israel refused even to negotiate the terms of the Gaza redeployment, Hamas was able to take credit for the withdrawal and Abbas, his party, and the PA were made to look irrelevant and foolish. Palestinian hopes that Israel would negotiate in good faith plummeted. Meanwhile conditions in Gaza only worsened with constant Israeli bombardments, sonic boom attacks, and closures that made it even more difficult for Gaza’s goods to reach world markets than before the disengagement.

When it became clear that even Fatah, which was supported by the West, could not bring Israel to the negotiating table, even symbolically in the case of the disengagement, the party lost its biggest selling point. Business as usual continued even under a pragmatic leader while most factions respected a ceasefire. The occupation had no end in sight.

With these and many other statements and actions, the Israeli establishment made it clear that its vision for a two-“state” solution was a unilateral one, not a negotiated one, no matter who came to power in Palestine. It would be based on the route of the Wall, which annexes 10% of the West Bank, including most of the so-called “settlement blocs,” and Israeli control over the Jordan Valley—another 30% of the West Bank. Settlement blocs Israel plans to keep include Ma’ale Adumim, which severs the West Bank’s north-south contiguity; Ariel, which splits the northern West Bank in two and sits atop an important fresh water aquifer; and Gush Etzion, which steals much of Bethlehem’s land and strangles several Palestinian villages.

An Israeli journalist summarized the ruling party’s plans: “Kadima’s practical diplomatic program, as elucidated by Ehud Olmert, adds up to no more than direct Israeli control over approximately one-half of West Bank territory, and the splintering of the remainder into cantons.”

To Palestinians, the resulting series of non-viable, non-contiguous, Walled-in ghettoes on the remaining 60% of the West Bank, devoid of any real sovereignty, with Arab East Jerusalem and its surroundings illegally annexed to Israel, and with no control over water or borders, would be no more acceptable as a “state” than the Bantu Homelands were to black South Africans under Apartheid. Ariel Sharon openly used terms like ‘cantons’ or ‘Bantustans’ to describe his plans for Palestine. Though Olmert has been slightly more discreet, he is committed to the same agenda.

Into this fray, and after 18 months of refraining from attacks on Israel, Hamas ran in the first elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council in a decade under a ticket called “Change and Reform” — not “Islamism and Terrorism.” Because Palestinian voters understood that Fatah could not deliver peaceful negotiations anyway, they voted based on other considerations. According to Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki, “The two most important issues for the voters were corruption… and the inability of the PA to enforce law and order.”

Hamas was elected because it was seen as a disciplined and clean-handed organization that provided a social safety net for some of the poorest and most vulnerable Palestinians when the Palestinian Authority was unwilling or unable to do so. Its charitable organizations include schools, food distribution centers for the needy, and community centers upon which tens or hundreds of thousands of Palestinians depend. Many of these people have, in real and measurable terms, been better-served by Hamas than Fatah.

Why are secular assimilating American Jews so Zionist?

Apr 28, 2011


Our friend Elliot had this comment on a post on Christian Zionism the other day. We’re trying to break out comments from time to time.

Many Orthodox Jews are not believers. That’s where Jews are different to Christians. Orthodox Judaism is also a lifestyle.
Commenter Michael W. is right. There is a large contingent of Orthodox Jews who very fervently believe that the exile is over. The hardcore of that group are the ideological settlers of the West Bank.
And as for eee, the fact that the mainstream ultra-Orthodox (commonly known as “black hats” or “black skullcap”) no longer openly oppose the State of Israel does not mean that they believe the exile is over. They still say all the traditional prayers mourning the exile and have added nothing to the liturgy to indicate that anything has changed.
To the extent that there is an ultra-Orthodox dogma, they still believe in the exile. And for the reasons Craig Nielsen gives in the article.

What is mystifying to me is how Zionist secular American Jews are. Even as cultural and family assimilation picks up pace their Zionism remains undimmed. That indicates that the source of their Zionism is not Judaism (or the Judaism that is practised today in America).
Secularized Christian America may have done away with fish on Fridays but they are still good Zionists. American Jews are good Americans too ergo: they are just as Zionist as their Christian neighbors.

Christian Zionism is the reason American Jews support Netanyahu and settlements.

Where does Israel end and the Diaspora begin? Or Zionism end and Judaism begin?

Apr 28, 2011

Philip Weiss

This is interesting. AB Yehoshua writes at Haaretz that the conflict remains unresolved because it is unprecedented in human history. John Mearsheimer has said the same thing: the special relationship is unprecedented, indeed for reasons that touch on Yehoshua’s reasoning. But Gilad Atzmon, whom I generally avoid here, seizes on Yehoshua’s point, to explore the borderless national and religious identity issues:

According to Yehoshua, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is not really about territorial issues. “Territorial issues can be resolved” he says.  “In our conflict, both sides, struggle over national identity of the whole country.” Yehoshua offers here a very interesting insight that cannot be uttered within the boundaries of the Left discourse. For both parties, especially the Palestinians, he says,  “it is unclear what is the size of the people it is up against, is it only the Israelis or is it also the Jewish Diaspora as a whole.” Yehoshua raises here an issue I myself have been stressing for years. It is far from being clear to anyone (including  Israelis and Jews) where Israel ends and the Diaspora starts. It is also far from being clear where the Israeli ends and the Jew starts. I guess that for most contemporary Jews it is even far from being clear anymore where Zionism ends and Judaism starts. In the contemporary Jewish world there are no clear dichotomies. We are dealing with a spineless elastic metamorphic identity that shapes itself to fit every possible circumstances. This may explain how come the Jewish state can dually operate as an oppressor and a victim simultaneously.

The Israelis, according to Yehoshua are also subject to a similar confusion. They also cannot figure out whether it is just the Palestinian people they are up against or is it the whole Arab nation or even the entire Muslim world.  For Yehoshua, the conflict “lacks a clear demographic boundaries. This fact alone creates an initial deep distrust between the two peoples that prevents a possible solution.”

Yeshoua is far from being a brilliant mind, yet, he manages to analyse the conflict correctly just because he is free to think out of the Leftist box. Being a proud Israeli Jew he is free to say what he thinks without the need to appease half a dozen so-called ‘progressive’  Jews.  Yehoshua’s analysis makes a lot of sense to me though we draw the complete opposite conclusions. I believe that ti the Palestinian solidarity discourse  better liberate itself of any form of  dogmatic political thinking. It is about time  and look at the conflict for what it is.  We must engage in a true plural debate and emancipate ourselves of any traces of rigid and anachronistic thinking.

Bipartisanship at last: U.S. politicians line up to castigate Palestinian unity deal

Apr 28, 2011

Alex Kane

In stark contrast to partisan wrangling over the budget and women’s rights, Democrats and Republicans are lining up to demand the cut-off of U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority as a response to the reported unity deal between Hamas and Fatah. Expect the Obama administration to take heed and agree with Congress–especially with the 2012 elections approaching.

The rhetoric from both sides of the aisle is uniform. It’s the Israel lobby’s line. It’s telling, for example, that a staunch Republican and neoconservative pro-Israel hawk like Jennifer Rubin would approvingly quote an otherwise reliable liberal like Representative Gary Ackerman, a Democrat from New York:

The purported deal, which does not require Hamas to accept Israel’s right to exist, or the binding nature of prior Palestinian commitments, or even to require Hamas to temporarily forgo violence against Israel (as if it were some kind barbaric of addiction, or compulsion), is a recipe for failure, mixed with violence, leading to disaster. It is a ghastly mistake that I fear will be paid for in the lives of innocent Israelis.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, similarly said:

The reported agreement between Fatah and Hamas means that a Foreign Terrorist Organization which has called for the destruction of Israel will be part of the Palestinian Authority government. U.S. taxpayer funds should not and must not be used to support those who threaten U.S. security, our interests, and our vital ally, Israel.

Interestingly, though, there are some, if not many, analysts and activists in solidarity with the Palestinian cause that will be happy with a cut off of U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority (for different reasons than Congress). U.S. aid, which has gone to train the Palestinian Authority’s security forces, has contributed deeply to the split between Hamas and Fatah.

As Ali Abunimah noted for the Electronic Intifada, “in The Palestine Papers, the main concern of Ramallah officials was always to maintain Western financial aid to the PA, and not to make any agreement with Hamas that would jeopardize American and European financing for the PA.” The Western financial aid has been used to crack down on Hamas. But if U.S. and European aid is cut off, perhaps the Palestinian Authority would no longer imprison Hamas members and quash dissent. That would go a long away towards true Palestinian unity.

Alex Kane, a freelance journalist based in New York City, blogs on Israel/Palestine and Islamophobia in the United States, where this post originally appeared.  Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

Dorothy Online Newsletter



Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem

Chair of West Midland Palestine Solidarity Campaign


Dear Friends,

Five items below, beginning with one entitled Awarta.

Ever since the killing of the family in Itamar and the resultant suffering that the village of Awarta has experienced from the IOF, I have often thought that it couldn’t be someone from Awarta who had committed the crime.  I don’t want to believe that it was.  I don’t know many people from the village, but the few whom I have met are not murderers.  They are farmers trying to eke out a living mainly from their olive groves, and with problems from Itamar colonists and others.  Also, for a time—I don’t remember whether for a year or two years—I drove a 20-21 year old boy from Awarta to the hospital—sometimes with his father, sometimes with a friend, and met his mother and a brother at the hospital, too.  I liked his family.  And he was a lovely young person, who had taught himself English and kept on planning for a future.  He had leukemia, and had had 2 bone marrow transplants with bone marrow from a younger brother.  They did not help.  He died. It was for me like losing a loved one from my own family.

And so I find it hard to connect the brutal killing with anyone from his village.

When I first heard about what the IOF and settlers were doing to Awarta following the murder, I felt ill.  I am in no position to know the truth, to investigate.  All that I can say is that I find the questions that Mazin Qumsieyh raises below pertinent. The Israeli military wants to find Palestinians accountable for the murder.  Like Mazin, I also heard about the Thai worker who was owed money.  Perhaps he did it.  But even if he did, it is unlikely that this will ever be known, because of Israel’s attitude, which is likely to put the 2 boys in prison for all their lives, whether they committed the crime or not.  Palestinians must pay for the crime.

Item 2 is the Ynet version of what occurred at Kif l’Hares during the recent visit of religious zealots to Joshua’s tomb, which is in the village.  I presume that the reporter most likely got his data from the IOF spokesperson.  But when after reading the report I phoned a dear and trusted friend from the village, whom I trust to tell the truth and to know the facts, as he is from a leading family in the village and happens to live right across the street from the tomb.

So, the report says ‘thousands’ came, which is more or less correct.  Abed says that there were 8,000 accompanied by as many if not  more soldiers.  They came at 10:00 PM and remained until 7:00 AM.  This time, by contrast to previous times, they did no damage.  However, they made a lot of noise and left all their trash from eating and drinking in the tomb, which is also sacred to Muslims, who had to clean it up.  The report claims that the villagers were free to move about.  Abed claims that although this time by contrast to previous times there was no closure announced, but no one was allowed out of their homes.  He was not even allowed to stand by his window to watch the happenings.  When you read the report, keep in mind these discrepancies.

In item 3, Hedy Epstein, now in her mid 80s, relates her experience leaving from Ben Gurion, and ties it in with what Palestinians experience, and her own reactions to their plights.

Item 4 is an argument for having Israeli Jews learn and respect the Nakba, just as Jews want Palestinians to respect and understand the Holocaust.  Refreshing to find a newspaper item advocating mutual respect.

Finally, in item 5, Uri Avnery (by contrast to Israel’s leaders) praises the decision of Hamas and Fatah to join hands in unity.  May it last.

All the best,



1. Awarta

By Mazin Qumsiyeh,

April 29, 2011

We finally toured the devastated village of Awarta Wednesday and were
stunned at what we saw and heard.  On the way, we stopped by a tiny village
called Izbet Al-tabib, a village of 350 people was served with a new order
by the Israeli military to take over a significant portion of their land.
The wall that will be built and isolate this land behind it is supposed to
“protect” the illegal highway 55, an Israeli road built already on
Palestinian lands to serve the Jewish colonies built on the rich Western
water aquifer of the Palestinian West Bank.  Yet, instead of building the
wall on the colonial road 55, it is to be built a long distance from that to
the north side near the village houses with the idea of capturing the rich
agricultural land between.  The villagers do not know what to do beyond
going to the biased Israeli courts run by Israeli judges that obviously
favor Israeli colonial interests.  The work on the wall is slated to start
Sunday and the villagers asked if we could all go there then. Leaving this
small devastated village near Qalqilia, we headed east towards Nablus and

After a quick lunch in Nablus hosted generously by our friend Dr. Saed
Abuhijleh, we drove the short distance to Awarta.  We enter the rich valley
from the Western side and past the Israeli military camp and notice the
colonial Jewish settlements dotting the hilltops around the valley.  The
native village of 6000 brave souls is on the slope to north side of the
valley and villagers have to face this scene of growing colonial settlements
on their lands.  The main colonial settlement built on stolen village lands
is called by Jewish settlers Itamar.  Over 12,000 dunums (4000 acres) of
Awarta’s lands were already taken by this colony inhabited by the most rabid
and fanatical of Jewish settlers.  Two Palestinians from Awarta were killed
for coming within 500 meters of the fortified fencing of this colony.  This
is one of the many reasons why we are very convinced that the whole story
about the killing of a settler family by two teenagers from the village of
Awarta is a lie.  But the killing of these settlers set stage for a
ransacking of the village by the colonizing army of the state of Israel.
Beating people, massive destruction, torture and more was inflicted on the
village of 6000 people as collective punishment.  It is hard to describe
what we saw and heard.  The video just reveals a glimpse of it.

The village has already suffered repeated attacks from settlers in the past.
Just last year, settlers and soldiers executed (shot at close range) two
youths (18 and 19 year old cousins Salah and Muhamad Qawariq) who were
working their agricultural field.  Villagers asked us why there was no
outrage and no one held accountable in any of these atrocities.  We are all
100% convinced that that the settler family was not killed by the
Palestinian teenagers that are claimed as culprits by the Israeli
authorities.  The story the colonial army gave is so full of holes that it
is simply not plausible.  Things that do not make sense:

-Why would two young teenagers not involved in politics, one of them a
straight A student in his last year of high school and the other a
westernized rapper enjoying his life decide to do such a thing? Killing
children is especially not tolerated in our culture no matter what?
-How could such a pair manage to bypass one of the most heavily guarded and
secured colonies in the WB.  How would they cut through the electrified
security fence and its other barriers in a settlement that brags that it is
the most secure of Jewish colonies in the West bank.  How could two
strangers manage to stay in the settlement for two hours and even go back to
the same house supposedly after leaving to get an M-16 gun that happened to
be just sitting there in a bedroom (army story)?
-Why would two people who committed such a crime go back to studying and
enjoying their lives for days even after one of them was arrested,
questioned for 10 hours and released? Why not run away?
-There were reports in Israeli papers that a Thai worker who has not been
paid thousands of shekels as being involved but then this suddenly
disappeared from print.  Why?
-What of the villagers’ contention that this whole incident is calculated to
acquire 1000 more dunums of their lands?
-Why did Israeli authorities not allow media scrutiny of what was really
-Why did Israeli authorities not allow independent investigation or
International protection or presence to witness what was really going on?
-Why would the two young people be denied access to lawyers and family

These and hundreds of other questions poured out from the villagers.  I was
particularly shocked to hear from Um Adam, a 77 year old grandmother (14 living children, over 75 grandchildren).  She herself was arrested with
hundreds of others and forced (like all of them) to take a DNA test and to
put her fingerprints on a document in Hebrew that she does not read.  She,
like hundreds, was not allowed access to lawyers during their detention.  14
of her children and grandchildren are still kidnapped by the colonial
soldiers.  One of her Children still held by the Israelis is the volunteer
head of the Municipal council. Another child is the only doctor in town.
The homes of these two children, her home, and many other homes were
ransacked and heavily damaged (the fascist soldiers had clearly come to
destroy as an act of collective punishment).  The doctor’s room and his
medical books and supplies were not spared. While we visited nearly three
weeks after the damage and after much of the houses were tidied-up with help of international volunteers, we still could see significant evidence of the damages. To punish a whole village in such a fashion reminds us of the worst regimes in history.

It is a stain on humanity that the world is silent about these practices of
land theft and destruction of people’s lives. Now that Hamas and Fatah are
reconciling some of their differences, I wonder if any of them (in positions
of “authority”) will do something for the villages of Awarta or Izbet
Al-Tabib.  We are angry and sad and we ask all decent people (Israelis,
Palestinians, and Internationals) to shed what is left of our collective
apathy.  We must insist that settlers be removed from all stolen Palestinian
lands and that Palestinians be provided protection.  If the Palestinians
can’t be provided protection by neutral parties, then it is almost certain
that, based on our history of 15 uprisings, a new uprising against this
injustice will be carried forth.

“Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as
a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human
rights should be protected by the rule of law,..” preamble of the universal
declaration of human rights

“If we make peaceful revolution impossible, we make violent revolution
inevitable.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy


Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD


2. Ynet,

April 29, 2011

Orderly Pilgrimage

Praying at the tomb Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg

Thousands visit Tomb of Joshua

Traditional celebration in Kifl Hares coordinated with IDF, Palestinians, unlike infiltrations to Joseph’s Tomb. Chief Rabbi Metzger calls on worshippers to coordinate pilgrimages with security forces,7340,L-4062160,00.html

Yair Altman

Thousands of Jewish worshippers visited the Tomb of Joshua in the Palestinian village of Kifl Hares near Ariel on Friday. The pilgrimage, marking the anniversary to Joshua’s death, was organized by the Shomron Regional Council and coordinated with the Israel Defense Forces, unlike the infiltration to Joseph’s Tomb earlier this week which resulted in the death of Yosef Ben Livnat.

The worshippers gathered around the site for a mass prayer of Aleinu which Joshua allegedly penned. The site was guarded by IDF forces. Local Palestinian residents were allowed to move freely and some even opened their shops for the worshippers to enjoy.

Among the worshippers were Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, Minister of Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein, MK Danny Danon (Likud) and three National Union MKs.

Chief Rabbi Metzger and MK Danon (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

A haredi man who purchased a waterpipe in one of the Palestinian shops aroused angry responses by some of the worshippers who shouted “don’t buy in Arab shops.”

Fathi Buzib, former head of the village said he welcomed all the worshippers. “Every person has a right to pray and we honor our guests. Nevertheless, it’s a pity some of them came to stir a mess. I’m glad the army removed them from the site.”

Chief Rabbi Metzger addressed the shooting incident in Joseph’s Tomb and said he opposed uncoordinated pilgrimage.

“Every Jew has a right to visit Joseph’s Tomb but it must be coordinated with the security forces. Take great care of your souls. I call on government ministers to allow more people to enter the site, not just once a month, especially as this is stipulated in all the agreements.”

Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika called on Israeli leaders to learn from Joshua. “Sever the hand of any person who lifts it against a Jew. Our leaders must learn from Joshua’s power and decisive way.”


3.Forwarded by the JPLO List

As a Holocaust survivor, AIPAC does not speak for me
by HEDY EPSTEIN on APRIL 28, 2011\

At the end of one of my first journeys to the Israeli-occupied West Bank
in 2004, I endured a shocking experience at Ben-Gurion Airport.
I never
imagined that Israeli security forces would abuse a 79-year-old
Holocaust survivor, but they held me for five hours, and strip-searched
and cavity-searched every part of my naked body. The only shame these
security officials expressed was to turn their badges around so that
their names were invisible.

The only conceivable purpose for this gross violation of my bodily
integrity was to humiliate and terrify me. But it had just the opposite
effect. It made me more determined to speak out against abuses by the
Israeli government and military.

Yet my own experience, unpleasant as it was, is nothing compared to the
indignities and abuses heaped on Palestinians year after year.
Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is based not on equal rights
and fair play, but on what Human Rights Watch has termed a
“two-tier” legal system – in other words, apartheid, with
one set of laws for Jews and a harsh, oppressive set of laws for

This, however, is the legal system and security state AIPAC (The
American Israel Public Affairs Committee) will defend from May 22-24 at
its annual conference. And, despite this grim reality, members of
Congress will converge to hail AIPAC and Israel . The Palestinians’
lack of freedom is bound to be obscured at the AIPAC conference with its
obsessive focus on security and shunting aside of anything to do with
upholding fundamental Palestinian rights.

Several years ago near Der Beilut in the West Bank, I saw the Israeli
police turn a water cannon on our nonviolent protest. As it happened, I
recalled Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 and wondered why an ostensibly
democratic society responded to peaceable assembly by trying, literally,
to drown out the voice of our protest.

In Mas’ha, also in the occupied West Bank , I joined a demonstration
against the wall Israel has built, usually inside the West Bank and
occasionally towering to 25 feet in height. I saw a red sign warning
ominously of “mortal danger” to any who dared to cross in an
area where it ran as a fence. I saw Israeli soldiers aiming at unarmed
Israelis, Palestinians and international protesters. I also saw blood
pouring out of Gil Na’amati, a young Israeli whose first public act
after completing his mandatory military service was to protest against
the wall. I saw shrapnel lodged in the leg of Anne Farina, one of my
traveling companions from St. Louis . And I thought of Kent State and
Jackson State, where National Guardsmen opened fire in 1970 on
protesters against the Vietnam War.

So as AIPAC meets and members of Congress cheer, I hold these images of  Israel in my mind and fear AIPAC’s ability to move US policy in
dangerous directions. AIPAC does a disservice to the Palestinians, the
Israelis and the American people. It helps to keep the Middle East in a
perpetual state of war and this year will be no different from last year
as it keeps up a steady drumbeat calling for war against Iran .

AIPAC pretends to speak for all Jews, but it certainly does not speak
for me or other members of the Jewish community in this country who are
committed to equal rights for all and are aware that American
interventionism is likely to bring further disaster and chaos to the
Middle East .

Israel, of course, would not be able to carry out its war crimes against
civilians in Lebanon and Gaza without the United States – and our $3
billion in military aid – permitting it to do so. At 86 years old, I
use every ounce of my energy to educate the American public about the
need to stop supporting the abuses committed by the Israeli government
and military against the Palestinian people. Sometimes there are people
who try to shout me down and scream that I am a self-hating Jew, but
most of the time the audience is receptive to hear from someone who
survived the Holocaust and now works to free the Palestinians from
Israeli oppression.

The vicious discrimination brought to bear against Palestinians in the
occupied territories deserves no applause this week from members of
Congress attending the AIPAC conference. Instead, they should raise
basic questions with Israeli officials about decades of inferior rights
endured by Palestinians both inside Israel and the occupied territories.

Hedy Epstein is a Holocaust survivor, who writes and travels extensively
to speak about social justice causes and Middle Eastern affairs. Take
action by attending Move Over AIPAC, a gathering in Washington DC from May 21-24, 2011, to expose AIPAC and build the vision for a new US foreign policy in the Middle East! More information can be found at <> .

4. Haaretz ,

April 29, 2011

Defiance, not denial

Are there any serious educators who believe that by means of a question on an exam it will be possible to arouse identification with the Jews and empathy for them among young Arabs?

By Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu

In advance of the coming school year, the Education Ministry has decided that the matriculation exam in history in the Arabic-language school system will include a mandatory question about the Holocaust, and that it will be worth 24 points − almost a quarter of the maximum score.

This decision came in the wake of the state comptroller’s report on the subject of Holocaust education in the various population sectors, and the “grave results” of a survey on “Holocaust denial” among Israel’s Arab citizens. That survey, which was conducted four years ago, found that about 40 percent of Arabs polled said that “the Holocaust didn’t happen at all.”

Unfortunately, the ministry’s decision will not solve the real problem revealed by the survey, which has nothing to do with “Holocaust denial” in the usual sense. This is not only because Holocaust studies have been mandatory for years in the Arab school system, but also because interest in the Shoah on the part of Arab educators and students has been on a steady rise. This interest is reflected in various ways, from school-wide projects to organized delegations of Arab students to Poland. In addition, even in the context of Arab students’ university studies, Holocaust Remembrance Day ‏(which this year falls on Monday‏) is observed in an organized manner

The obvious conclusion, therefore, is that at least in terms of knowledge, nearly all of Israel’s Arab citizens ‏(the vast majority of whom graduate from the public school system‏), definitely know that the Holocaust of the Jewish people did in fact takelace.

The results of the survey, then, must have an explanation other than Holocaust denial, and understanding these results first requires an understanding of the context in which Israeli Arabs are asked about the subject. Many of these citizens feel that since its establishment, the state has turned its back on their suffering and their most profound pain. Not only is there no recognition on the part of the Jewish majority of their continuing deprivation and the fact that they have in effect become second-class citizens: There is not even recognition, legitimization or empathy for the pain and loss they experienced as part of the historical process that led to the establishment of the State of Israel.

In a correct reading of the situation of Arab citizens, the “denial” of the Holocaust should not be understood as a lack of knowledge of the subject or as a failure to recognize its importance for the Jewish people, but as simple defiance: “If you don’t recognize us and our pain, we will retaliate by not recognizing your pain.” Paradoxically, the painful use of “denial” by the Arabs polled in the survey actually implies recognition of the Holocaust and of the depth of the pain it represents for the Jews.

This complexity assumes an additional current and tragic dimension, because the decision of the Education Ministry regarding the matriculation exam is being made parallel to a series of steps by the government, including legislation, whose objective is to forbid Arab citizens and groups from teaching or commemorating − even in a low-key manner − the historical story of the Palestinian tragedy that took place with the establishment of the State of Israel, the Nakba, and to persecute and punish those who do so. In that sense, we can assume that if the above-mentioned survey were to be conducted now, the percentage of Arab “Holocaust deniers” would skyrocket.

The teaching of the Holocaust to Arab students in Israel is not and never will be a neutral issue. For the Arabs it will always be part of a wider historical context, and see themselves as those on whose doorstep the terrible tragedy of the Jews ended up.

Are there any serious educators who believe that a mandatory question on a matriculation exam will arouse empathy and identification among young Arabs vis-a-vis the Jews’ terrible tragedy, while at the same time they are forbidden even to acknowledge their own past?

Social solidarity and cohesion are based on a shared fate. Alongside the tremendous importance of studying the Holocaust in the Arab school system, with all its universal and particularistic dimensions, it is also important that the Israeli establishment recognize the need of the Arab-Palestinian minority to study and commemorate its tragedy and its pain.

When this happens, the real objective behind the decision of the Education Ministry will have been achieved in any case.

Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu is co-executive director of the Abraham Fund Initiatives, an organization that promotes coexistence and equality between Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens. p.


5. Uri Avnery

April 30, 2011

One Word

IN ONE word: Bravo!

The news about the reconciliation agreement between Fatah
and Hamas is good for peace. If the final difficulties are
ironed out and a full agreement is signed by the two
leaders, it will be a huge step forward for the
Palestinians – and for us.

There is no sense in making peace with half a people.
Making peace with the entire Palestinian people may be more
difficult, but will be infinitely more fruitful.

Therefore: Bravo!

Binyamin Netanyahu also says Bravo. Since the government of
Israel has declared Hamas a terrorist organization with
whom there will be no dealings whatsoever, Netanyahu can
now put an end to any talk about peace negotiations with
the Palestinian Authority. What, peace with a Palestinian
government that includes terrorists? Never! End of

Two bravos, but such a difference.

THE ISRAELI debate about Arab unity goes back a long way.
It already started in the early fifties, when the idea of
pan-Arab unity raised its head. Gamal Abd-al-Nasser hoisted
this banner in Egypt, and the pan-Arab Baath movement
became a force in several countries (long before it
degenerated into local Mafias in Iraq and Syria).

Nahum Goldman, President of the World Zionist Organization,
argued that pan-Arab unity was good for Israel. He believed
that peace was necessary for the existence of Israel, and
that it would take all the Arab countries together to have
the courage to make it.

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s Prime Minister, thought that
peace was bad for Israel, at least until Zionism had
achieved all its (publicly undefined) goals. In a state of
war, unity among Arabs was a danger that had to be
prevented at all costs.

Goldman, the most brilliant coward I ever knew, did not
have the courage of his convictions. Ben-Gurion was far
less brilliant, but much more determined.

He won.

NOW WE have the same problem all over again.

Netanyahu and his band of peace saboteurs want to prevent
Palestinian unity at all costs. They do not want peace,
because peace would prevent Israel from achieving the
Zionist goals, as they conceive them: a Jewish state in all
of historical Palestine, from the sea to the Jordan River
(at least). The conflict is going to last for a long, long
time to come, and the more divided the enemy, the better.

As a matter of fact, the very emergence of Hamas was
influenced by this calculation. The Israeli occupation
authorities deliberately encouraged the Islamic movement,
which later became Hamas, as a counterweight to the secular
nationalist Fatah, which was then conceived as the main

Later, the Israeli government deliberately fostered the
division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip by
violating the Oslo agreement and refusing to open the four
“safe passages” between the two territories provided for in
the agreement. Not one was open for a single day. The
geographical separation brought about the political one.

When Hamas won the January 2006 Palestinian elections,
surprising everybody including itself, the Israeli
government declared that it would have no dealings with any
Palestinian government in which Hamas was represented. It
ordered – there is no other word – the US and EU
governments to follow suit. Thus the Palestinian Unity
Government was brought down.

The next step was an Israeli-American effort to install a
strongman of their choosing as dictator of the Gaza Strip,
the bulwark of Hamas. The chosen hero was Muhammad Dahlan,
a local chieftain. It was not a very good choice – the
Israeli security chief recently disclosed that Dahlan had
collapsed sobbing into his arms. After a short battle,
Hamas took direct control of the Gaza Strip.

A FRATRICIDAL split in a liberation movement is not an
exception. It is almost the rule.

The Irish revolutionary movement was an outstanding
example. In this country we had the fight between the
Hagana and the Irgun, which at times became violent and
very ugly. It was Menachem Begin, then the Irgun commander,
who prevented a full-fledged civil war.

The Palestinian people, with all the odds against them, can
hardly afford such a disaster. The split has generated
intense mutual hatred between comrades who spent time in
Israeli prison together. Hamas accused the Palestinian
Authority – with some justification – of cooperating with
the Israeli government against them, urging the Israelis
and the Egyptians to tighten the brutal blockade against
the Gaza Strip, even preventing a deal for the release of
the Israeli prisoner-of-war, Gilad Shalit, in order to
block the release of Hamas activists and their return to
the West Bank. Many Hamas activists suffer in Palestinian
prisons, and the lot of Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip
is no more joyous.

Yet both Fatah and Hamas are minorities in Palestine. The
great mass of the Palestinian people desperately want unity
and a joint struggle to end the occupation. If the final
reconciliation agreement is signed by Mahmoud Abbas and
Khalid Meshaal, Palestinians everywhere will be jubilant.

BINYAMIN NETANYAHU is jubilant already. The ink was not yet
dry on the preliminary agreement initialed in Cairo, when
Netanyahu made a solemn speech on TV, something like an
address to the nation after an historic event.

“You have to choose between us and Hamas,” he told the
Palestinian Authority. That would not be too difficult –
one the one side a brutal occupation regime, on the other
Palestinian brothers with a different ideology.

But this stupid threat was not the main point of the
statement. What Netanyahu told us was that there would be
no dealings with a Palestinian Authority connected in any
way with the “terrorist Hamas”.

The whole thing is a huge relief for Netanyahu. He has been
invited by the new Republican masters to address the US
Congress next month and had nothing to say. Nor had he
anything to offer the UN, which is about to recognize the
State of Palestine this coming September. Now he has: peace
is impossible, all Palestinians are terrorists who want to
throw us into the sea. Ergo: no peace, no negotiations, no

IF ONE really wants peace, the message should of course be
quite different.

Hamas is a part of Palestinian reality. Sure, it is
extremist, but as the British have taught us many times, it
is better to make peace with extremists than with
moderates. Make peace with the moderates, and you must
still deal with the extremists. Make peace with the
extremists, and the business is finished.

Actually, Hamas is not quite as extreme as it likes to
present itself. It has declared many times that it will
accept a peace agreement based on the 1967 lines and signed
by Mahmoud Abbas if it is ratified by the people in a
referendum or a vote in parliament. Accepting the
Palestinian Authority means accepting the Oslo agreement,
on which the PA is based – including the mutual recognition
of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. In
Islam, as in all other religions, God’s word is definitely
final, but it can be “interpreted” any way needed. Don’t we
Jews know.

What made both sides more flexible? Both have lost their
patrons – Fatah its Egyptian protector, Hosny Mubarak, and
Hamas its Syrian protector, Bashar al-Assad, who cannot be
relied upon anymore. That has brought both sides to face
reality: Palestinians stand alone, so they had better

For peace-oriented Israelis, it will be a great relief to
deal with a united Palestinian people and with a united
Palestinian territory. Israel can do a lot to help this
along: open at long last an exterritorial free passage
between the West Bank and Gaza, put an end to the stupid
and cruel blockade of the Gaza Strip (which has become even
more idiotic with the elimination of the Egyptian
collaborator), let the Gazans open their port, airport and
borders. Israel must accept the fact that religious
elements are now a part of the political scene all over the
Arab world. They will become institutionalized and,
probably, far more “moderate”. That is part of the new
reality in the Arab world.

The emergence of Palestinian unity should be welcomed by
Israel, as well as by the European nations and the United
States. They should get ready to recognize the State of
Palestine within the 1967 borders. They should encourage
the holding of free and democratic Palestinian elections
and accept their results, whatever they may be.

The wind of the Arab Spring is blowing in Palestine too.

Posted in LibyaComments Off on Dorothy Online Newsletter

U.S. helps Libyan rebels as Gaddafi open new fronts



Libyan soldiers loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi are seen in the city of Tarhouna, south of Tripoli, April 27, 2011. Editor s note: Picture taken on guided government tour. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi  

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – The United States threw a financial lifeline to rebels controlling eastern Libya while forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi harried insurgent strongholds in the west and far southeast of the country.

Government troops kept up shelling overnight of the besieged rebel outpost of Misrata, where aid ships have been attempting to bring in emergency supplies and evacuate the wounded. A local doctor said by telephone that seven insurgents were killed when a checkpoint came under rocket and heavy artillery fire.

The Arabic Al Jazeera television said forces under Gaddafi, who has ruled the oil-producer over four decades, also clashed with rebels in the remote southeastern district of Kufra, near the Egyptian border. It gave no further details.

The rebel-held western town of Zintan came under fire from government forces using multiple rocket launchers on Thursday.

“Gaddafi forces have been using Grad missiles to bomb the town including inhabited areas. Today alone, 80 missiles hit the town,” said a rebel spokesman in Zintan identifying himself as Abdulrahman.

“Fortunately the majority of Zintan residents have already left their homes and fled either toward the Tunisian border or to secure areas in and around Zintan,” he told Reuters.

After weeks of fast moving advances and retreats by rebel and pro-Gaddafi forces along the Mediterranean coast, fighting appears to have settled into a pattern of clashes and skirmishes from the mountains of the west to the southeastern desert.

French and British-led NATO air attacks have eased the plight of poorly trained and armed rebels, but have not brought the collapse of the Gaddafi leadership rebels had wished for.

The protracted struggle has sown division among Western countries on how to increase pressure on Gaddafi and given him time to shore up support among tribal and political allies from his Tripoli power base.

Senior rebel National Council spokesman Abdel Hafiz Ghoga told a news conference in the rebel heartland city of Benghazi that he was particularly concerned by use of Russian-made Grad missiles, fired in volleys, often from the back of trucks.

“Many in the Western Mountains in towns such as Yefrin, Zintan and Kabau are being killed by this indiscriminate shelling,” rebel National Council spokesman Abdel Hafiz Ghoga told a news conference in Benghazi in the east on Wednesday.

The United States voiced confidence in the Benghazi-based council Wednesday as the U.S. Treasury moved to permit oil deals with the group, which is struggling to provide funding for the battle-scarred areas under its control.

The order by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control may help to clear up concerns among potential buyers over legal complications related to ownership of Libyan oil and the impact of international sanctions.

The first major oil shipment from rebel-held east Libya, reported to be 80,000 tonnes of crude, was expected to arrive in Singapore on Thursday for refueling but oil traders told Reuters finding a buyer was not straightforward, with many of the usual traders still worried about legal complications.

A tanker booked for Italian oil company Eni to carry crude to Italy from Gaddafi-held territory in Libya never arrived in port and left empty last week because the sanctions meant the government would not have got paid, trade sources said.

“They didn’t want the crude to go, because they wouldn’t have gotten any money for it,” an industry source said on Wednesday, adding, “They could use it to refine into gasoline.”


Residents say pro-Gaddafi forces have been surrounding mountain-top towns in western Libya, cutting them off from food, water and fuel supplies and unleashing indiscriminate bombardments on their homes with rockets and mortars.

Libyan officials deny targeting civilians, saying they are fighting armed gangs and al Qaeda sympathizers who are terrorizing the local population.

Rebels who seized a remote post on the western border with Tunisia hurriedly dug trenches after hearing that forces loyal to Gaddafi were on their way to re-take the crossing.

The rebel spokesman in the Western Mountains town of Zintan, scene of some of the region’s most intense fighting, said there was heavy bombardment there on Wednesday, that at least 15 people were wounded and five houses destroyed.

Both the rebels and the European Union said the shelling of the Misrata port threatened a vital supply and rescue route.

“We are receiving reports of hospitals being overwhelmed by a growing number of wounded,” EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement.

An aid ship took advantage of a brief lull in the fighting on Wednesday to rescue Libyans and a French journalist wounded in the fighting in Misrata, along with migrant workers, from the western rebel enclave and headed for Benghazi, center of the rebel heartland in the east.

“Despite heavy shelling of the port area … about 935 migrants and Libyans have been rescued and are now safely en route to Benghazi,” the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.

(Additional reporting by Christian Lowe in Algiers, Guy Desmond and Maher Nazeh in Tripoli, Deepa Babington and Alexander Dziadosz in Benghazi, Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; writing by Ralph boulton and Philippa Fletcher; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Posted in LibyaComments Off on U.S. helps Libyan rebels as Gaddafi open new fronts

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