Archive | June 12th, 2011

The lies of the Zionist ambassador in the US


Look what he said:  “A half-million Arab soldiers and more than 5,000 tanks converged on Israel from every direction, including the West Bank, then part of Jordan. Their plans called for obliterating Israel’s army, conquering the country, and killing large numbers of civilians.”  His narrative almost forgets that it was Zionist that attacked Arab countries, and not vice versa.

And if they had such plan to obliterate Zionist Army–I wish they had such a plan–why was it not put into effect?  They forgot?  This piece proves again, that Zionist propaganda is getting dumber by the day.  It is now officially a level below the crude and stupid propaganda of the Ba`th Party.

Remembering Six Days in 1967

The anniversary of Israel’s Six-Day War is a reminder why it cannot return to armistice borders.

JUNE 6, 2011

“We shall destroy Israel and its inhabitants,” declared Palestine Liberation Organization leader Ahmad al-Shuqayri. “As for the survivors — if there are any — the boats are ready to deport them.” A half-million Arab soldiers and more than 5,000 tanks converged on Israel from every direction, including the West Bank, then part of Jordan. Their plans called for obliterating Israel’s army, conquering the country, and killing large numbers of civilians. Iraqi President Abdul Rahman Arif said the Arab goal was to wipe Israel off the map: “We shall, God willing, meet in Tel Aviv and Haifa.”

This was the fate awaiting Israel on June 4, 1967. Many Israelis feverishly dug trenches and filled sandbags, while others secretly dug 10,000 graves for the presumed victims. Some 14,000 hospital beds were arranged and gas masks distributed to the civilian population. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) prepared to launch a pre-emptive strike to neutralize Egypt, the most powerful Arab state, but the threat of invasion by other Arab armies remained.

Israel’s borders at the time were demarcated by the armistice lines established at the end of Israel’s war of independence 18 years earlier. These lines left Israel a mere 9 miles wide at its most populous area. Israelis faced mountains to the east and the sea to their backs and, in West Jerusalem, were virtually surrounded by hostile forces. In 1948, Arab troops nearly cut the country in half at its narrow waist and laid siege to Jerusalem, depriving 100,000 Jews of food and water.

The Arabs readied to strike — but Israel did not wait. “We will suffer many losses, but we have no other choice,” explained IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin. The next morning, on June 5, Israeli jets and tanks launched a surprise attack against Egypt, destroying 204 of its planes in the first half-hour. By the end of the first morning of fighting, the Israeli Air Force had destroyed 286 of Egypt’s 420 combat aircraft, 13 air bases, and 23 radar stations and anti-aircraft sites. It was the most successful single operation in aerial military history.

But, as feared, other Arab forces attacked. Enemy planes struck Israeli cities along the narrow waist, including Hadera, Netanya, Kfar Saba, and the northern suburbs of Tel Aviv; and thousands of artillery shells fired from the West Bank pummeled greater Tel Aviv and West Jerusalem. Ground forces, meanwhile, moved to encircle Jerusalem’s Jewish neighborhoods as they did in 1948.

In six days, Israel repelled these incursions and established secure boundaries. It drove the Egyptians from the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula, and the Syrians, who had also opened fire, from the Golan Heights. Most significantly, Israel replaced the indefensible armistice lines by reuniting Jerusalem and capturing the West Bank from Jordan.

The Six-Day War furnished Israel with the territory and permanence necessary for achieving peace with Egypt and Jordan. It transformed Jerusalem from a divided backwater into a thriving capital, free for the first time to adherents of all faiths. It reconnected the Jewish people to our ancestral homeland in Judea and Samaria, inspiring many thousands to move there. But it also made us aware that another people — the Palestinians — inhabited that land and that we would have to share it.

As early as the summer of 1967, Israel proposed autonomy for the Palestinians in the West Bank and later, in 2000 and 2008, full statehood. Unfortunately, Palestinian leaders rejected these offers. In 2005, Israel uprooted all 8,000 of its citizens living in Gaza, giving the Palestinians the opportunity for self-determination. Instead, they turned Gaza into a Hamas-run terrorist state that has launched thousands of rockets into Israel. Now, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank intends to unilaterally declare statehood at the United Nations without making peace. It has also united with Gaza’s Hamas regime, which demands Israel’s destruction.

In spite of the Palestinians’ record of rejection and violence, Israel remains committed to the vision of two states living side by side in peace. But peace is predicated on security and on our ability to defend ourselves if the peace breaks down. Such provisions are crucial in the Middle East, where the governments of Israel’s neighbors might change tomorrow. As such, we seek the demilitarization of the Palestinian state as well as a long-term IDF presence along the Jordan River to prevent rocket smuggling, as has occurred in Gaza. Moreover, we need defensible borders to ensure that Israel will never again pose an attractive target for attack.

For this reason, Israel appreciates U.S. President Barack Obama’s opposition to unilaterally declared Palestinian statehood and negotiations with Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel, uphold previous peace agreements, and disavow terrorism. Similarly, we support the president’s call for the nonmilitarization of any future Palestinian state that must be capable of assuming “security responsibility.” In his recent address to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed the president’s statement that the negotiated border will be “different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967.”

Forty-four years after Arab forces sought to exploit the vulnerable armistice lines, it remains clear that Israel cannot return to those lines. And 44 years after the United Nations, through Resolution 242, indicated that Israel would not have to forfeit all of the captured territories and must achieve “secure and recognized boundaries,” the unsecure and unrecognized armistice lines must not be revived. Israel’s insistence on defensible borders is a prerequisite for peace and a safeguard against a return to the Arab illusions and Israeli fears of June 1967.


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Who is behind the violence in Syria?


Now this is the key question.  I have been asking and talking and thinking and here are my conclusions: 1) The regime is the major and primary culprit of violence in Syria. There is no question about it.  The notion that there are “criminal gangs” roaming the country and killing protesters and soldiers alike is a clear fabrication.  It does not even make sense. Why would they do that? Who are they, and how did the regime allow them go grow and spread?  There are civilians who are shooting and killing but they belong to the people.  But the regime bears double responsibility for all the killing in Syria: this oppressive regime drew its legitimacy from its bragging about its ability to provide security to the people of Syria, and thus they are responsible for killing by opponents of the regime (if they are directed at the people as regime propaganda claims) too.  2) Why do you assume that the Muslim Brotherhood is a peaceful organization?

The rebellion of the Brothers back in the late 70s and early 80s was not peaceful and I dont expect them to have stumbled on the theories of the funny guy, Gene Sharp (who the New York Times believes inspired the Arab uprisings), and decided to suddenly shun violence.

The Jordanian regime admitted in the early 80s that they have armed the Brothers and they also got weapons from IsraHell (through the Phalanges).   Back then, the Brothers not only targeted regime armed men, but they went indiscriminate on innocent `Alawites.  Their sectarian violent campaign only solidified `Alawite ranks and turned even those `Alawites who were opposed to the regime in its favor.  3)  There are from what I am hearing Wahhabi and Salafite groups with money and weapons who have been active in Syria.  I won’t be surprised if the Harirites are involved too.

I find it very likely, in the service of Hariri agenda.  A reliable informant of this blog in Syria tells me (I am translating from Arabic):  “Yes, there are professional, trained, and organized gangs which are controlled by clerics who all have lived in Saudi Arabia, like `Adnan Al-`Ar`ur, and they kill and use violence against other sects…In Latakia, there are professional elements which used to live a normal life like sleeper cells and they perpetrated acts of sabotage and sectarian sedition and I saw that myself as i was there then…In Tell Kalakh, there are splinter groups from Fath-Islam which are moved by Hariri money, and not Hariri men as spread by Syrian media.  In Banyas, it is said that there are officers from Saudi Arabia and UAE and a Mossad element who are now in custody of the security service.

There were booby traps there because it has a generator and an oil refinery and a pipe line from Iraq.  In Homs, there are extremist pockets from prior to Ba`th and it has been reactivated and is still strong with Saudi money.  Now Idlib is all in flame and Turkey is supplying all with weapons and with fighters.  Army is facing difficulty advancing because all passages and bridges have been booby trapped.”  This last passage is from my informant and I have no way of verifying the information.  And as they used to end books of Islamic theology, I say: And Karl Marx is the all-knowing.

PS Nir Rosen added this:  “there is also the iraq and zarqawi factor syria was a key staging area for zarqawi types, they had safe houses in damascus and allepo, they had a network of facilitators, as the americans like to say and i’d love to know whats happening in the border area with Iraq’s anbar where families have close ties on both sides and where Zarqawi people had safe houses. the town of Abu kamal for example, which borders the iraqi town of husseiba in al qaim. the americans raided Abu kamal a couple of years ago and killed some key al qaeda guy. abu kamal had an uprising against the regime a couple of weeks ago. i think the Zarqawi factor is an important one. these people always spoke about how the final battle will be in Sham”.

Posted by As’ad AbuKhalil

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BAHRAIN: Torture in Zionist Family police custody



Picture 21


A fourth person has died in Hamad Zionist police custody and his body shows signs of torture, Bahraini human rights groups alleged.

Businessman Karim Fakhrawi, a member of the opposition movement Wefaq, was arrested last week and pronounced dead Tuesday. The party released a statement on its Facebook page claiming Fakhrawi to be the fourth of its supporters to die in custody.

News of his death follows a violent Zionist regime in Bahran crackdown against the popular protest movement that rocked Hamad family earlier this year.

Rights activists said Fakhrawi’s family was instructed by authorities not to take photos of the body and to restrict the funeral to immediate family members, but videos and photos have been leaked onto the Internet and to media [the video linked here contains graphic imagery].

Fakhrawi is the fourth activist to die in Hamad Zionist regime detention. Blogger Zakariya Rashid Hassan Ashiri died in police custody on Saturday under “mysterious circumstaces,” ?? according to theCommittee to Protect Journalists, which called for an immediate investigation despite official claims that Ashiri died from complications associated with sickle cell disease.

Another detainee, Ali Issa Sakr, was killed  when guards tried to restain him for “causing chaos,” according to the BBC, ?? while activist Hassan Makki died in custody under suspicious circumstances earlier.


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BAHRAIN: Democracy Now Interviews Seymour Hersh



AMY GOODMAN: Sharif, yes.

SEYMOUR HERSH: And so, you had something amazing—yes, you had something amazing going on. And what you have now—and that of course spread. That spread throughout the Gulf regions. And what you have now is a very, very—it’s sort of unremarked upon by the press here in America—you have a counterrevolution going on, fueled largely by the Saudis and their panic.You see the implication of that in Bahrain, where the unbelievable things are happening to the Shiites, the minority Shiites there. They may be a majority in terms of population, but certainly a minority in terms of power. And you have that regime brutalizing its people in a way that’s beyond, I would argue, anything going on elsewhere, including in Syria. As bad as it is in Syria, it’s much worse in Bahrain. And the United States, of course, for a lot of reasons, is ignoring that.

You have the Gulf states in a state of sort of controlled panic now. They’re all sort of locally owned oil combines, owned by various one-time Bedouin—you know, Bedouin desert livers, now suddenly owners of huge complexes of oil billionaires, all of them, and they want to stay in power in the Gulf—Oman, even Qatar. You can see a lot of problems with Al Jazeera’s coverage, particularly of Bahrain. Al Jazeera, for example, is always calling me, didn’t call me for this story because everybody wants to point fingers at Iran. The United States has essentially equated Iran’s upset and encouragement of some of the—encouragement of the stuff going on with Bahrain as—for the United States, this is as much of a sin as the Al Khalifa family beating the hell out of everybody and doing worse than that—particularly doctors and nurses—in Bahrain. So there’s a huge—

AMY GOODMAN: And it’s the home of the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet, Sy.

SEYMOUR HERSH:—counterrevolution going on.

Yes, absolutely, it is the home. And, of course, the Fifth Fleet often, wisely, will move a lot of their vehicles offshore when trouble gets going. Yes, it’s the home of our—Bahrain is an important base. It’s an important facility. But we could go other places, too, I’m sure. It’s just we have a lot of things there.

So you have the American response to—you have this GCC, the Gulf Cooperation Community or Committee. It’s probably the only defense organization in the world that’s designed for all the countries getting together to ward against internal dissent, not external threat, but internal threats. And so, we have this amazing institution. Morocco just joined the GCC. So, this is going on before our eyes, and we’re not paying enough attention to it.

And what we do is we focus on Iran as the bad guy: Iran is responsible, they’re shifting gear to the Syrians to help the Syrian Mukhabarat control its society, as if the Baathist Party in Syria needs outside help in doing that. They’re pretty good at it. We’ve made Iran into a bogeyman. And my own guess is, the reason we’re so intent on the sanctions and keeping them going, when there’s no evidence of any weaponization, there’s no real threat at all—even the Israelis—I was in Israel last in June—rather, in April, two months ago now. And I can’t—they have crazy, strange rules, ground rules, on what you can report. But I can tell you right now, the Israelis understand, the more sophisticated ones and serious people in the intelligence community there, they understand that that Iran doesn’t have a bomb now. If it decides to get one and they get a bomb, they’re not going to throw it against Tel Aviv, because they know that’s annihilation. They understand that, despite the fact they say different things and they raise the threat. So we’re making the Iranians sort of the people responsible for what’s going on, in terms of the revolutions, and we’re really on the wrong side of history on that, the United States.

It’s really the Saudis we should be looking at quite a bit. And when you get to that question, you then say, here are the Saudis, who obviously—we know from reports and from everything I’ve been told—are very angry at us. They feel that our support for Mubarak undercut them. You know, they like to keep rigid control over a population that includes, certainly in Saudi Arabia, many Shiites who work the oil fields. And so, you have the Saudis in full panic, refusing—in anger at us, refusing to increase the oil output, so the price of oil stays—gasoline is $4 or more a gallon. And then, here we have a president whose reelection is going to depend not on killing Osama bin Laden—hooray, he did it—but more on what the price of gasoline is going to be next year. And we have the Saudis stiffing us.

And here you have Iran, which is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the world, also has a lot of oil—its fields are diminishing, but it’s got a lot of stuff. The sanctions aren’t working. The Iranians are selling stuff to India, to China, Pakistan. They’re doing a lot of business. You think—I mean, dumb and dumber. You think maybe we would start doing what a lot of people in the article I published—Tom Pickering, the former secretary—under secretary of state, a longtime ambassador, very serious guy, is among those who’s been doing—involved in secret contacts with the Iranians and has been telling us for years, he and his group, “Get off this nuclear business. There’s a lot of other issues you could deal with the Iranians. They want to be respected. You could really get some progress,” and maybe even getting to the point where we can—we don’t have to—we’re not interested in changing the regime there. That’s impossible. We do know that. Unlike Bush and Cheney, Obama doesn’t want to. Maybe we can get to the point where you can start getting some of the energy that they have to produce. Instead, we’re trying to keep them from the market. It just doesn’t make sense. And sanctions, you know, go ask Castro how well they work. We’ve been sanctioning Cuba, what, since 1960, ’61, ’62, and, you know—and as far as I know, Cuba is still there, and so is Castro.

AMY GOODMAN:—the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh. Sy, we haven’t talked to you in a while. Your assessment of President Obama’s war in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

SEYMOUR HERSH: A disaster. Stupid. I do think that the White House really wanted the bin Laden raid, about which I’ve been doing a lot of work. There’s always—things are always more interesting than they seem. I’m not suggesting he wasn’t killed or anything like that, but just more interesting. And I think the getting of bin Laden will give Obama the freedom to make a serious cut in this war in Afghanistan that everybody on the inside—everybody on the inside, believe me—I don’t know about Petraeus, General Petraeus, who for some reason is going to the CIA, just as for some reason Panetta, who doesn’t really know much about the Pentagon is going to the Pentagon. I don’t quite understand what they’re doing.

But this is a war that has nothing to do with American national security. And the obvious way out is to actually find a way to start talking to Mullah Omar. Instead, we keep on isolating him. And we’re driving Pakistan crazy with this war. We’re increasing the jihadism there. We’re increasing the terrorism there. We’re sticking it to the Paks in very direct ways. It’s a totally counterproductive system. We have our guys going out doing night raids. We always call them NATO, and the press goes along with calling them NATO. But our Joint Special Operations Command is still going out. I don’t fault the guys doing it. Let me make it clear, they’re very, very competent guys. They’re under orders, and they do what they do. They just do it very well. But there’s no way you’re going to make strikes at night and not kill an awful lot of noncombatants—”collateral damage,” they call it. And it’s just—we’re hated. We’re outsiders. We don’t have to be doing the bombs to be hated by the Pashtun. That’s been the society all along. The Pakistanis are in terrible fear of what’s going to happen in Afghanistan. They always see Afghanistan as bulwark against India. They’re afraid of our relationship with India.

And I’ll tell you the biggest problem he has, as awful as those things are, as counterproductive, and as much as he’s following, oh, yes, Bush and Cheney in those policies—and I think the President—I’ll be writing about this—I think he was really sandbagged by the Pentagon after he got into office, when he was new and innocent. And I still think—I think right now—I would almost use the word “cult” to describe what’s going on in the White House. Everything is political. He’s isolated. Very good people say they’ve never seen a president this isolated, in terms of being unable to get to him with different opinions, etc. So here’s really captive of a few people there. I know this may sound strange, but I know what I’m talking about. You can’t get to the guy—and even, for example, Pickering, as competent as he is. And Pickering has done some wonderful stuff for the United States intelligence community undercover, and so he’s known as a trusted guy. Those guys who have been involved in talking to Iran off the record, Track II policy talks, for years can’t get to the President. He may not even know they’re looking for him. I just don’t know.

And so, here we have this very bright guy continuing insane policies that are counterproductive, do nothing for the United States, and meanwhile the real crisis is going to be about Iraq, because, whatever you’re hearing, Iraq is going bad. Sunnis are killing Shia. It’s sectarian war. And the big question is going to be whether we pull out or not. And there’s going to be a lot of pressure to keep them—we’ve got 40,000 or 50,000 Americans there—to keep them there. I don’t know how it’s going to play out, but I’ll tell you right now, there are Sunni Baathist groups in Damascus, in various places, in the United Kingdom—Leeds is one place—ready, as soon as we get out, to declare an alternative government, a provisional government, and announce that they’re going to retake Iran from the Shiites and from—Iraq from the Shiites, who they believe are totally tied in to the Iranians, which probably isn’t true, but that’s always been the fiction we have, or the fear we have: Iran controls Iraq. There’s a mutuality of interests, but Maliki is a very tough customer. You know, Maliki worked for 21 years in Syria as a cop for the Mukhabarat, for the secret police. He was working as a sergeant there for 21 years in Syria, before he went back as an exile after we kicked out Saddam. He is nobody’s patsy. But there’s going to be a holy hell there. It’s going to be probably the biggest problem the President has next year, along with gas, along with the crazy Republicans that are running against him. He’s going to—and along with Afghan and along with Iran, it’s going to be Iraq. We’re going to be back looking at Iraq, as that country goes berserk.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Sy Hersh, I want to—

SEYMOUR HERSH: That’s very cheerful. I’m really Mr. Happy News, huh?

JUAN GONZALEZ: I want to get back to the Arab Spring for a moment and ask you, do you think that in Egypt—for example, the uprisings that led to the overthrow of Mubarak and now to the trial, apparently, the trial of Mubarak, it is understandable why the Egyptian people would want to put this ruthless leader on trial. But do you think that the trying of Mubarak has had repercussions throughout the rest of the region, with all these other dictators who say, “Well, I better fight to the end, because if not, I will end up like Mubarak, will be immediately put on trial by my people”?

SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, you know, I can’t say that about the trial, because I haven’t actually talked to anybody about whether the trial makes a difference. But before that, I would say what you’re saying is absolutely right. The moment the United States—the waffling that the President did—if you remember, he was with the kids, he was against the kids, and we had the Secretary of State saying the same thing, with, against. There’s no question that the fear—there’s an enormous fear in the Arab world, in the Gulf, in the Gulf region. And right now they’re very angry at us. They’re terrified of Iran. And they’re very worried about internal security.

They’re worried about—what’s going on in Bahrain is, I’m telling you, it’s a sensationally underreported story. The brutality there is beyond—it’s shocking. And again, the Saudis are directly involved, sort of with our OK. Again, if you don’t think Saudi Arabia has enormous control over Saleh in Yemen, you’re not paying attention. He’s got enormous control over him. The Saudis—if the Saudis wanted to, they could play a very positive role there. They’re not. He’s their guy. And so, you have this counterrevolution fed by the Saudi billions. And the Saudis went recently in the—Prince Bandar, my favorite dark prince, was recently in Pakistan, and the Pakistanis are supplying some thuggery, some arms, some muscle, in Bahrain. And I think the Pakistanis are also helping out in internal security inside Saudi Arabia itself. And so, everybody is muscling up now to beat up the kids who want to do something.

And meanwhile, if you look at it, the single biggest blow against al-Qaeda, I would argue—bin Laden, of course, was great, wonderful, I’m glad he’s gone and all that stuff—but the other big blow was the Arab Spring, because once you lose the sense of humiliation among the Arab population and the sense of fear—you’re seeing that in Syria right now, although that’s also complicated, because the Saudis are deeply involved in trying to get rid of—or certainly make it more difficult for Bandar—for Bashar Assad to exist. That’s a more complicated position. But once the fear is gone, al-Qaeda is gone.

So, the one thing we had going for ourselves, in terms of getting rid of these terrorists who prey on the frustrations of the Arab young, wow, instead, we’re going the wrong way. And it’s a horrible mistake. It’s happening right in front of us. It’s not being seen, but it’s right there to be seen. And it’s just this country, this president—traditionally, we’ve been unable to pull the trigger on the Saudis. Even now, when confronted with heinous activity, we still can’t pull the trigger on the Saudis, because of the need for oil. And again, this is a country, Saudi Arabia, that is not lifting—not agreeing to lift two or three more billion barrels a day. They’re at eight-and-a-half billion. We’d love them to go to 11, 10-and-a-half and 11. That would take pressure off the price. And it’s politically useful for the President not to—for the President to have it happen. It’s not going to happen.

So, Arab Spring is being undercut enormously. There’s still some hope in Egypt, because the kids are so strong, the movement there is so strong. But I can tell you, Suleiman, the leader of the intelligence service, is still there. I think an awful lot—I would look at Libya as part coming out of Arab Spring. An awful lot of it comes out of Libyan intervention. There’s been a longstanding American CIA role and opposition to Gaddafi. And one of the things Gaddafi drove everybody crazy with, just to show you how silly the world is, every oil deal he wanted 20 percent on the top of. And so, there was a lot of corporate anger at him, too. He was getting 20 percent kickback. Even Saddam, in the heyday, only wanted 10 percent. It all comes down sometimes to money. And I don’t know what’s going to happen there.

Source: Democracy Now!

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May Saudi stand-up comedy bring down the nation’s brutes



Amazing New York Times feature on the US backed dictatorship of Saudi Arabia and the brave souls challenging one of the most bigoted and oppressive regimes on earth:

You know you are attending a Saudi Arabian comedy night when the sprawling performance tent is pitched 50 miles out into the desert to avoid the morals police and, astonishingly, the ushers are women, even if they remain shrouded by the standard-issue black garments.

Then the swirling disco lights and giant speakers thumping out “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas go still for evening prayer. And sex determines the seating — bachelors on the right, families including women on the left.

“I love Riyadh!” the master of ceremonies starts in Arabic, eliciting a tepid response from the audience of about 1,000 people with his next line: “When you walk on the streets, you don’t see any women!”

Stand-up comedy in Saudi Arabia remains a somewhat clandestine affair, emerging from the raw local performers hired as warm-up acts for the mostly Arab-Americans who began touring the Middle East a few years ago. But Saudi comics are now coming into their own.

Two have established wildly popular shows on YouTube — not least because the Web has emerged as the one public space in the kingdom where it is O.K. to endorse the Arab uprisings. Comedy nights have just switched to Arabic from English, broadening their appeal, and comedians have even been asked to entertain at Koran conferences.

“It is really convenient for Saudi society because it is one person on stage; there is no acting, no women on stage, no men dressed as women,” said Ahmad Fathaldin, a 25-year-old medical student and one of six twentysomethings who write and perform the hit series “On the Fly” on YouTube. “Socially it is accepted.”

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Kosminsky and the critics



A friend of mine sent me this youtube clip of Peter Kosminsky facing, you might say facing down, critics of his mini series, The Promise:


A late take on Kosminsky’s The Promise

A mini series titled, The Promise, by Peter Kosminsky, aired on Channel 4 back in February this year.  I didn’t hear or notice that much about it at the time but a Palestinian friend of mine mentioned that he liked it, I was asked on a blog whether I would condemn its anti-Israel bias (because I had mentioned a general mainstream media bias in favour of Israel) and I have seen some real anger expressed about it on pro-Israel blogs.  Eventually, over about two weeks, I watched the four parter on Channel 4 oD.

The story jumps forward and back through the main characters, a Palestine based British soldier called Len and his granddaughter, Erin, who uses his diary of his time in Palestine to explore the story surrounding the establishment of the State of Israel and to fulfill her grandfather’s promise to a Palestinian chap he had befriended back then. 

Well, it seems to be very well made. It’s certainly up there with Dallas and Friends. The plot reminded me a bit of Zelig or Forrest Gump. It relies heavily, almost entirely, on the most amazing coincidences.

The story begins with Erin considering going to Israel with her friend, a young Anglo-Israeli woman together with old Len suffering some hospitalising condition. It jumps back to Len being involved in and diarising the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. Current TV drama is interwoven skilfully with old newsreel much like Zelig, in fairness, without the humour.  Au contraire, the footage of the dead in Belsen is chilling and provides the backdrop for Len writing of why Britain had gone to war. Then it jumps forward to Erin in Israel with her friend and the friend’s parents who are clearly very wealthy.

Anyway, the plot takes Len from Belsen to Palestine.  If I hadn’t seen the protests from zionist quarters and not knowing anything of Kosminsky’s sympathies, I would have assumed the jump from Belsen to Palestine to be part of yet another zionist propaganda show.  Can’t they satisfying themselves with news and documentary?  Well, it wasn’t like that.  Poor old Len was very conflicted about the whole thing.

He had a liberal non-Sabra Jewish girlfriend.  She turned out to be an Irgunist. His unit also had an Arab chai wallah who Len befriends.

The coincidences come in thick and fast as Len gets caught up in everything everyone who follows Palestine knows about.  He is at the King David Hotel when it gets blown up.  He gets captured with the two British soldiers hanged by the Irgun. He is at Deir Yassin when the Irgun (and the unmentioned rest) slaughter most of the villagers.  His, by then, ex-girlfriend is among the slaughterers.  She still loves Len.  Not sure if it’s mutual.

Erin too gets caught up in a few things that those of us who follow what goes on know about.  She’s there when settler kids attack schoolgirls in Hebron.  She remonstrates with Israeli soldiers for not intervening. She meets a Palestinian woman whose family protected Jews during the 1929 Hebron massacre.  She even manages a Rachel Corrie moment when an Israeli bulldozer comes to flatten the home of a suicide bomber’s family in Gaza.

I can’t really apologise for spoiling the plot because the past historical (if unfinished) side is so well known.  The story doesn’t have that much in the way of nuance or intricacy.  It’s actually a bit in yer face but it is very well made as far as I can tell. And it is good that someone troubled to dramatise some real historical and current issues in Palestine for a mass audience.  I read somewhere that all the portrayals of Jews are negative. That’s not true.  Zionism is put under a spotlight (not a microscope) but zionism isn’t the Jews and remember the programme practically starts in Bergen-Belsen.  All in all it’s an entertaining tale but I can well see why Israel advocates are chalking this down as one of their failures.

So if you have some spare moments you might want to read this Guardian preview.  Or if you have a few hours you can watch the programme.

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Engaging with Engage



South African Jewish Report has recently published a response to David Hirsh by Ran Greenstein. The exchange began with an article by an Alison Goldberg. It’s buried in here somewhere. But it’s not really the article or Ran Greenstein’s response that interests me. It’s Hirsh’s response to the response together with Ran Greenstein’s response to Hirsh’s response. Got that?

Here’s Hirsh, from Engage but presumably as published in SA Jewish Report:

RAN GREENSTEIN wants to get us bogged down in the detail of wording and of who said what. But what is important is whether we choose to embrace the politics of peace and reconciliation between Israel and Palestine; or whether we choose the politics of siding with one set of ardent nationalists in their war against the other.
Greenstein does not support a peace between Israel and Palestine. He insists instead that Israel and Palestine should be thought of as one divided people who are ruled over by an apartheid regime.
He wants to dismantle Israel, like the apartheid regime in South Africa was dismantled, and he proposes instead a regime of individual rights within a new state.
But Israel is a nation, the nation descended from those who were driven out of Europe, out of Russia and out of the Middle East by 20th century anti-Semitism.
Israel is not an apartheid regime, it is a life-raft state, and it will not allow itself to be dismantled. Given this fact, Ran’s plan for treating Israelis in the way that the apartheid regime was treated, can only be a programme for conquest. The conquest of Israel is, hopefully, impossible and would in any case, never lead to a democratic outcome.
It is quite wrong to tell Palestinians that Israel must be finally defeated before they can be free, because it is like telling them that they can never be free.
But Palestinians can be free. Even the most terrible and entrenched conflicts between nations come to an end. They don’t come to an end with the final defeat of one or the other, but with a peace agreement between the two.
President Barack Obama was right when he outlined the deal: an Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories and both nations to recognise the sovereignty of the other.
Greenstein’s “Boycotts, Divestments, Sanctions” slogan tries to exclude Israelis, and only Israelis, from the cultural, academic, sporting and economic life of humanity.
It is war by other means, it is not peace and reconciliation. And such a politics of exclusion, aimed at the descendents of the Jews who have already been boycotted and pushed out, is a politics which is insufficiently sensitive to the history of anti-Semitism which not only hangs over Jews, but over us all.
Ran Greenstein, who has given up on Israelis, has despaired of building the Israeli peace movement, imagines that peace in his homeland can be built by demonising them here, and in the UK and around the world.
He thinks that anybody who disagrees with him should be denounced as supporters of apartheid.
Instead of the politics of anger and desperation, we should back those in both Israel and Palestine who want peace and who stand against the demonisation of the other.
David Hirsh
Goldsmiths College, University of London

Funnily enough Hirsh failed to link to what it was he was responding to and refused to publish Greenstein’s response to his response. He simply linked to the SA Jewish Report with his letter in it.

Well it so happens that the South African Jewish Report has now published Ran Greenstein’s response:

David Hirsh does not think that “”wording”” and “”who said what”” are important. This is curious for an academic who deals with little else. But words do matter: contrary to his claims, I support peace between Israel and Palestine, conceived as democratic, mutli-ethnic societies, which guarantee equal individual and collective rights to all their people. I said as much at the UJ seminar and in my letter to SA Jewish Report, to which he was responding.
If words (and reality) mattered to Hirsh, he would understand that ‘’dismantling’’ apartheid meant the creation of a democratic state in South Africa, not the destruction of white people. Not only do I not want to ‘’dismantle’’ Israeli Jews, but I wish for them to live long and prosper as equal citizens, together with their fellow residents of the land. Why does the spectre of equality and democracy haunt Hirsh?
The real challenge facing us is to find ways to reach that goal. Certainly not by using violence to attack civilians (a practice employed to a far greater extent, resulting in far greater destruction, by the state of Israel than by Palestinians). Rather, it is by waging non-violent campaigns, peaceful protests, legal challenges, educational initiatives and, yes, sanctions as well. These have been used in many cases and constitute one important peaceful tactic, among others.
Are Israelis singled out here? Hirsh seems unaware that his own country has imposed severe sanctions and used violent means of censure against numerous targets in the last two decades: PLO, Hamas, Burma, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Belarus, Serbia and, most recently, Libya and Syria, have been subject to sanctions and military campaigns far more aggressive and violent than Israel is likely ever to face. Israel has been singled out indeed, for receiving vast sums of military and financial aid that allow it to entrench the occupation, and diplomatic immunity by the USA for its acts of violence against civilians.
Instead of pursuing his campaign of manufactured hysteria and distortions against those working for justice and democracy, Hirsh could support the thousands of Palestinians and Israelis who protest peacefully in Bil’in, Ni’ilin, Sheikh Jarrah, and elsewhere in Israel/Palestine. These young activists do not support one national group against another, but campaign for members of both to unite in order to stop oppression and create a secure democratic future for all. This is my goal as well, and should be supported by all progressive people wherever they are.

This link to Jews for Justice for Palestinians is more reliable as the SA Jewish Report updates its letters page every week.  By the way, that means that Engage is currently linking to Ran Greenstein’s withering response that Hirsh apparently didn’t want his readers to see.

Of course Dr Hirsh has been mentioned in another dispatch by Antony Lerman, whose post on the demise of the Yale factory for the confusion of anti-zionism with antisemitism I linked to earlier. Here is a comment exchange between former American Jewish Committee employee, Ben Cohen and his host, Antony Lerman.

Ben Cohen:

I specifically said that YIISA published some excellent papers and ran an exciting seminar series!

And here’s Lerman:

you provide as your first example of ‘did produce some’—again, a comment that sounds like you’re really saying ‘did produce some, but not very much’—the Hirsh paper, which I briefly criticise in my post. If that paper had been submitted to me by an undergraduate, I would have given it back with the following instructions: ‘Start again, curb your verbosity, cut out the value-laden attacks on people for whom you clearly have an animus, work out precisely what questions you want to ask and proceed on the basis of a clearly worked-out structure. And no more than 30 pages maximum. There are some good ideas here, but they’re just not thought through.’

So the best of times and the worst of times for Dr Hirsh. On the one hand he is getting a bit of publicity. On the other hand, er, he is getting a bit of publicity.

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BRICUP being the British Committee for Universities for Palestine

Here’s the letter:


4 June 2011

Dear Paul Simon,

We know you’re no stranger to controversy. When you recorded parts of ‘Graceland’ in apartheid South Africa with black South African musicians, you were publicly criticised by the liberation movement, the ANC, and anti-apartheid organisations, for breaking the cultural boycott.

At the time, you told the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid that you yourself had ‘refused to perform in South Africa’. And since anti-apartheid icons Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela played in the live ‘Graceland’ tour (even though there were anti-apartheid demonstrators at some of the venues), you clearly convinced key members of the anti-apartheid movement that you were not colluding with, or intending in any way to promote, the apartheid regime.

We’re struggling to see any carry-over from this situation to your forthcoming concert in Ramat Gan, Israel, on July 21. You’ve played in Israel before, so perhaps this event doesn’t seem that important to you – just a one-night add-on to your US and European tour (and maybe that’s why the Ramat Gan date doesn’t figure in the tour list on your website).

But if you hope this concert in Israel can be about music, not about politics, that’s not how your promoter, Marcel Avraham, sees things. In July last year he told the Israeli online news site,, that he does shows in Israel ‘as a mission, a sense of Zionism, not just to make a buck’.

Whether you intend it or not, your show in Tel Aviv will make a political statement. And Avraham is absolutely clear what he believes that statement to be. He told Ynetnews that Elton John, Metallica and Rod Stewart, all under pressure to cancel their shows in Israel, had approached him ‘with questions. “My answer to them was very simple. Listen”, I told them. “Israel is a small country still fighting for its existence. The Arabs want to throw us to the sea. If you want to come and lend us a shoulder, by all means, we’ll be delighted”.’

This hackneyed scenario – small beleaguered state teetering on the edge of extinction — won’t wash any more. Israel’s army has dominated the region for the past 40-something years, and the people who are clearly and evidently ‘fighting for existence’ are the Palestinians.

So — are you willing to ‘lend a shoulder’ to daily land-grabs and water-grabs and the inexorable squeezing and stifling of Palestinian lives and hopes? Are you willing to ‘lend a shoulder’ to illegal settlements and illegal military checkpoints, to detention without trial, torture in prison, and the innumerable daily cruelties, small and large, aimed at making Palestinian existence intolerable and driving people out?

If you don’t support these actions by successive Israeli governments (documented in comprehensive detail by human rights organisations like Amnesty International), and if you don’t want to appear to condone Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity (see, for example, the UN Goldstone report on the Gaza onslaught in 2008-9), then we believe you should want to cancel the Ramat Gan concert.

Your choice is simple: occupier vs occupied; ethnic cleanser vs ethnically cleansed; oppressor vs oppressed. You can’t avoid it. Please follow the logic of your opposition to South African apartheid. ‘Strong wind destroy our home’ – it’s happening to the Palestinians every day. Please lend a shoulder to them.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Haim Bresheeth
Mike Cushman
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead
British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP)

PS: We’ve just noticed that the liner notes of your recent album, ‘So Beautiful or So What’, were written by Elvis Costello. You probably know that Elvis Costello cancelled the concerts he was scheduled to give in Israel last year as ‘a matter of instinct and conscience’. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) said Costello’s decision was ‘exceptionally brave and principled…a victory for the ethical responsibilities of international cultural figures’. When you cancel, you’ll be in good company. Please don’t go.

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Muslims call for action against hate crimes


Islamophobic attacks have been on the rise, with an increase in assaults, vandalised mosques and desecrated graves

By Andrew McCorkell

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Mohammed Khaliel lives in High Wycombe and was among horrified families who discovered Muslim graves at a local cemetery had been desecrated on 20 April 


Mohammed Khaliel lives in High Wycombe and was among horrified families who discovered Muslim graves at a local cemetery had been desecrated on 20 April

Britain’s largest mainstream Muslim organisation will today call for “robust action” to combat Islamophobic attacks amid fears of growing violence and under-reporting of hate crimes.


The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) will challenge the “ethnic profiling” of members of its community, claiming that minorities are 42 times more likely to be targeted under the Terrorism Act.

MCB secretary-general Farooq Murad will tell the council’s AGM in Birmingham that there must be more monitoring of anti-Muslim crimes in response to incidents including violent assaults, death threats and the desecration of graves. He will also complain that not enough is being done to encourage communities to report crimes to the police.

The calls, supported by leading academics, a counter-terrorist think-tank and Muslim groups, come as the Metropolitan Police confirmed a total of 762 Islamophobic offences in London since April 2009, including 333 in 2010/11 and 57 since this April. A spokesman said the Met was aware of “significant” under-reporting of hate crime, and acknowledged “missed opportunities” to keep victims safe.

Despite rising concerns about the impact of hate crime on all communities, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) said that data on such offences are not collated centrally as this would be an “overly bureaucratic process for local forces”. Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris, who leads the police on hate crime, was unavailable for comment.

In his speech, Mr Murad is expected to warn that attacks are increasing. “Islamophobic attacks, on persons and properties, are committed by a tiny minority, but the number of incidents is increasing. Robust action is necessary and this means we must have a systematic manner of recording, monitoring and analysing such attacks. Only a small number of police forces record anti-Muslim hate crimes.”

He will claim that figures collated from only two police forces indicate 1,200 Anti-Muslim crimes in 2010, as opposed to 546 anti-Semitic crimes from all the police forces in the UK.

Muslims from across the country have reported attacks on imams and mosque staff, including petrol bombings and bricks thrown through windows, pigs’ heads being fixed prominently to entrances and minarets, vandalism and abusive messages.

Mr Murad will tell the gathering at the Bordesley Centre: “It is not a piece of cloth on someone’s head or face, the shape of someone’s dress, a harmless concrete pillar on a religious building or even not speaking a common language that creates alienation.”

Dr Robert Lambert, co-director of

the European Muslim Research Centre and research fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Exeter University, said a decade of research will report before the 10th anniversary of 11 September.

His report will provide comprehensive figures on attacks on mosques, Islamic organisations and Muslim institutions, while avoiding confusion over race-related or random attacks.

Dr Lambert, a former counter-terrorism police officer, said problems over data collection stemmed from a lack of political will, rather than from the police efforts – and that the onus was on Muslim communities to emulate the “outstanding” data collection around anti-Semitic crimes conducted by the Community Security Trust.

He added: “When I was working in the police, some of the notable spikes in incidents came after terrorist events such as 9/11 and 7/7. We have more than 50 incidences of fire-bomb attacks and we have yet to reach the 10-year anniversary. But no leading politician has seen fit to stand shoulder to shoulder with mosque leaders. That is quite something.”

Ghaffar Hussain of the counter-extremism think-tank Quilliam said: “Anti-Muslim bigotry is very real. It does exist. There are sections of our society who are deeply suspicious of Muslims, even of Muslims building mosques, and are threatened by the idea of Islamification across Europe.”

Some 40 to 60 per cent of the mosques, Islamic centres and Muslim organisations in the UK have suffered at least one attack since 9/11.

Taji Mustafa, spokesman for Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain, said: “Xenophobic attacks on Muslims have increased under successive governments. In a manipulative alliance with some sections of the media, they have demonised Islam as part of their foreign policy propaganda.”

Case study: Community leader and diversity trainer

Mohammed Khaliel, 48, lives in High Wycombe and was among horrified families who discovered Muslim graves at a local cemetery had been desecrated on 20 April

“I am the community representative, but, equally, I’m a victim of it as well. My mother had been buried there four weeks earlier.

This is not the first time that there has been desecration. This time it was much more severe, with more than 25 graves attacked. I’ve got photographic evidence of someone hammering them. It was a proper effort to deliberately do it.

It was pure hatred. You have a graveyard that is 200 years old that has a small section for Muslims, and only that section was attacked. It was clearly Islamophobia.

I’m on a number of advisory boards, including Scotland Yard, so I get notified as a courtesy on any Islamic issues relating to the community. On this one, they asked me to sit down before they told me.

A lot of the relatives belong to our mosque. We called an emergency meeting, and we had to calm people down. There was a stage at which, if we had not handled things properly, it could have turned into an expression of anger. But that didn’t discount the hurt they felt for [their] loved ones to be attacked like that.”

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Zio-Nazi Spying on US: A Long History



Former CIA counterterrorism officer Philip Giraldi is on a mission. He says he wants to expose how costly and dangerous Zionist espionage is to the United States. Giraldi is the Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest Foundation which just released a 12 page overview written by Giraldi called The Spy Who Loves Us.

He says Zionist conducts more espionage against America than any other US ally. Giraldi says Zionist profits from selling US technology. Giraldi says Israeli spying has bankrupted some American companies. According to his report, virtually all US government bodies including the FBI and General Accountabilty office have confirmed that Zio-Nazi espionage takes place.

And while collecting intelligence is part of the function of government, Zionist crosses the line. Giraldi says the intensity and persistency of Zionist spying is paticularly disturbing considering how much Zionist reliees on the US for political and military support.

Giraldi says Zionist lobbies have too much power in Washington. Giraldi has written about Zionist espionage for The American Conservative. He also has a regular column in the magazine called Deep Background.

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