Archive | July 22nd, 2011

Zio-Nazi urged to stop faking foreign passports

NOVANEWS

Various countries send strong message to Zio-Nazi saying they are aware their passports are being used by Mossad agents

Various countries have sent secret messages to Zio-Nazi informing Jerusalem that they are aware that Mossad agents are using their passports in overseas operations, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.

The countries, all friends of IsraHell, demanded to halt all use of such passports in messages to Zio-Nazi embassies and as part of the consular discourse.

The protest had caused considerable embarrassment to Zionism in several cases. In other cases, IsraHell could not respond to the claims as they did not include names and details of the alleged Mossad agents.

The protest grew following the assassination of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in February 2010. Dubai’s police distributed photos and names of 33 individuals suspected of entering the country using European passports.

A diplomatic crisis between IsraHell and the UK ensued and culminated with the expulsion of an IsraHell diplomat from London. Australia and Ireland followed suit, while France and Germany demanded clarifications from Jerusalem.

However, recent demands regarding the use of foreign passports came from countries which were not involved in the Mabhouh affair, including Asian, African and East European nations. It is unclear whether the messages are based on solid information or suspicions alone.

One of the foreign diplomats who conveyed one such message said: “You have a bad reputation when it comes to other countries’ passports.”

On Wednesday, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key denied reports suggesting that three IsraHellis killed in the Christchurch earthquake were Mossad agents.

“There was no link between those individuals and the Israeli intelligence agencies,” he said.

He stressed that none of the passports found in the name of Ofer Mizrahi, the Zionist who was killed during the devastating quake, were New Zealand passports.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI2 Comments

Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

Taking on TIAA-CREF, with pain and outrage

Jul 20, 2011

Alice Rothchild

Today in Charlotte, North Carolina, CREF, part of TIAA-CREF (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America and the College Retirement Equities Fund), a $400 billion finanical services, investment and retirement company, held its annual shareholders’ meeting. The company elected trustees, considered shareholder resolutions and “any other business that may properly come before the meeting.” This year, however, was not business as usual.

TIAA-CREF states, “our socially screened funds and accounts invest in companies that satisfy environmental, social and governance criteria…” As a socially responsible investor, the company has attracted the portfolios of people like myself in the academic, cultural, research, and medical fields, and has become one of the largest retirement funds in the world. It is dedicated to the nonprofit sector and recently divested from assets in Sudan due to concerns about human rights violations in that country.

So what happens when a group of shareholders, organized by a national Jewish peace group, asks TIAA-CREF to divest from companies that profit from or maintain the Israeli occupation? It seems that despite the Arab Spring and a growing recognition of Arabs as fellow human beings, human rights do not apply equally to everyone.

We are not talking about subtle accusations. These companies:

· Supply armor-plated and weaponized bulldozers to destroy Palestinian homes and olive orchards in the West Bank and Gaza (Caterpillar);

· Run segregated bus services for Jewish settlers in the Occupied Territories and manage the Tovlan landfill in the Jordan Valley, dumping trash from Jewish settlements and Israel into the West Bank (Veolia);

· Produce parts for Apache helicopters and F-16 aircrafts responsible for the death and injury of hundreds of civilians and massive destruction during the 2008-2009 Gaza assault (Northrop Grumman);

· Provide Israeli surveillance systems, unmanned drones, and construction of the Separation Wall which was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice and UN Security Council (Elbit);

· Construct surveillance systems around Jewish settlements, checkpoints, and military bases in the West Bank (Motorola).

Jewish Voice for Peace’s “We Divest” campaign sponsors include the American Friends Service Committee, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, and Grassroots International, and has over 22,000 signatures in support of this divestment campaign. TIAA-CREF went so far as to get the SEC to give its blessing to ignore this resolution by its own shareholders as meddling in internal business operations.

Nonetheless, there is mounting international concern over the ongoing Israeli exploitation of Palestinian land and water resources, the continued permitting system and denial of access and movement within the West Bank, the seizing of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem, and the crushing blockade of Gaza (despite the flourishing tunnel economy). There is also a growing nonviolent movement to respond to these injustices that not only devastate Palestinians but are deeply corruptive to Israeli society. The recent Israeli law banning and criminalizing boycotts of Jewish settlement goods has even provoked Israelis who are deeply concerned with democracy and free speech in their own country.

But there is one big taboo. Recognizing the Palestinian struggle as valid and understanding that despite the long history of anti-Semitism and Jewish victimization, the Israeli government and military are in fact the more powerful and egregious aggressors, is a tough and unpopular concept. These are stressful times for the Israel right-or-wrong crowd. There has been an obvious meltdown of the “peace process” on all fronts and the Israeli political scene is plunging rightward, making liberals increasingly uncomfortable. Palestinians are pushing for recognition of a state by the UN, struggling to build a unity government that will move democratic forces forward, and embracing a nonviolent strategy to fight the Israeli occupation. People are increasingly questioning the difference between state-sponsored violence, such as Israeli commandos attacking unarmed activists in international waters, and acts of terror.

As a Jewish American who values my culture’s long commitment to justice, to “healing the world,” I write from a place of both pain and outrage. It seems that at this point, the greatest threat to Israeli legitimacy is the behavior of the Israeli government and military. The greatest threat to Israeli security is not the return to the 1967 lines, but the denial of democratic rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel, the continued oppression of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, and the lack of a reasonable and just resolution to the Palestinian refugee issue.

As teachers and caregivers we have an historic opportunity to make our voices heard; to hold multinational corporations accountable for their contribution to this conflict. On July 19, while shareholders met in Charlotte, there was a national day of action demanding that TIAA-CREF fulfill its mission: to support socially responsible investing and the establishment of social screens that prohibit investment in companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and the ongoing subjugation of Palestinians. This is only the beginning of a long and critical struggle.

Here is an account of the action today in North Carolina. Alice Rothchild is a Boston-based physician and author of “Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: Stories of Jewish Trauma and Resilience.” Her website is www.alicerothchild.com.

I have no doubt that Palestinians will be victorious, sooner than later

Jul 20, 2011

Seham

Officer points loaded weapon into face of Palestinian, Palestinian does not back down.

More from Haaretz:

According to B’Tselem, a human rights organization that uploaded the video, on June 18 IDF forces came to arrest a youth from the village for allegedly throwing stones when his cousin stopped the IDF officer to try to prevent the arrest.

The video shows the IDF officer, a First Lieutenant, shouting and pushing the Palestinian man and then immediately cocking his loaded gun into the man’s face. When the man continued to fight with him, the IDF officer again pointed the gun at him.

 

Normalizing Israeli apartheid through international sporting events

Jul 20, 2011

Eleanor Kilroy

The use of sport to unite children divided by street violence and traumatized by war is a compelling idea. ‘Serious Play: The Goal is Peace‘ is the title of a 7 JulyHuffington Post article by Alison Craiglow Hockenberry. It opens with the anecdote of a young Jürgen Griesbeck overcoming the murder of his friend in Colombia in 1994 by founding a program called Football for Peace, which brings at-risk kids together to play in Medellín, “one of the most dangerous and violent cities in the world”. Next up is the story of Palestinian children, of whom interviewee Hani Qattan of PACES – the Palestinian Association for Children’s Encouragement of Sports is quoted as saying, “are exposed to drugs, smoking, and… extremism that may result in violence” if they are left idle in the street. Looking at the PACES website homepage, these young girls do not look like potential terrorists, but never mind, they are Palestinian. That is why the Peres Centre for Peace, established in 1996 by current Israeli president Shimon Peres, who has played a prominent role in successive Israeli wars of choice, inflicting death and suffering on countless children, has stepped in with its ‘Twinned Peace Sport School’ to bring over 2,000 Palestinian and Israeli kids together on teams to play and compete.

Hockenberry is not strong on political context, but the two words ‘Israeli occupation’ would have gone a long way to explaining the dark future envisioned for these children. Those words do not appear on the website of the Centre with the oxymoronic name either; instead we are warned of ‘the dire situation that exists in certain areas of the Palestinian Authority as a result of the lack of infrastructural development and continuing conflict’. The Sport School is an initiative for Israeli, ‘Arab-Israeli’ and Palestinian children from the ‘Palestinian Authority’.

Fragmentation being a major tool of Israeli control, children from the besieged Gaza Strip need not apply. We learn that ‘most of the participating Israeli communities are within 40 kilometers of the Gaza Strip’, and as such during the 2008/9 Israeli Operation Cast Lead massacre in Gaza, ‘it was forbidden by the Israeli Home Front Command to gather for outdoor activities… Furthermore, demonstrations in the West Bank which resulted in general strikes also limited the amount of activities held on the Palestinian side.’ The clear implication is that it was Palestinian terrorist activity and revolts that threatened to ‘setback’ the program. Last year, Mr Dawood Hammoudeh, a researcher at Stop the Wall NGO, told the Palestine Monitor about the use of sports for pro-Israel propaganda. The Peres Centre organised a mixed Israeli/Palestinian football team to play Barcelona FC in Spain in 2005: “‘It was a response to the Spanish boycott movement of Israeli football, an attempt to improve Israel’s image'”.

A ‘Peace Team’, co-sponsored by the Peres Center andAl Quds Association for Democracy and Dialogue, will take part in the Australian Football League (AFL) Cup this August. In preparation, a delegation from the Australian Football League visited Israel this month to meet with the Peace Team, accompanied by Australian media, (which might explain why one of the Team’s sponsors is Sydney’s Israel Travel Centre). The Team will also participate in a welcome function at Marrickville Town Hall on 18 August. This is in spite of the fact thatMarrickville Council voted to “in principle” support a Green Party-led boycott of cultural and sporting exchanges with Israeli institutions.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu sent a letter praising the Council for taking a stand, noting that ‘Ten Marrickville councillors – five Greens, four Labor and one independent – voted to support the boycott campaign against Israel last December, provoking condemnation from federal and state politicians, Jewish groups and media commentators. The motion was overturned in April, when all the Labor and two Green councillors withdrew their support.’ Ziyaad Lunat, a member of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee (BNC), told me “Al-Quds Association are part of a program that includes a stop-over at Marrickville, Australia, participating in anti-BDS propaganda set up by pro-occupation groups.” As ‘Merc’ says in the post Foul Play, ‘all it took was a little email from a Zionist, and the Victorian Greens (‘we’), without any discernible thought or research, threw caution to the winds and embraced a cheap little Zionist BDS-busting PR stunt.’ I asked Australians for Palestine’s Public Advocate, Samah Sabawi, to comment and she said, “What can be more appealing for those of us in Australia who are passionate about peace in Israel/Palestine than to welcome the AFL Peace Team? The answer: the idea that when members of this team return to their homes, the Palestinian players would not have to go through dehumanising checkpoints, around high barbed wire walls and into Bantustans surrounded and suffocated by a matrix of Jewish-only roads, settlements and security zones.”

Another similarly named program, Football for Peace International (F4P), is involved in a high-profile normalization event on 15-17 September: Sport as a Mediator between Cultures: The International Conference on Sport for Development and Peace will take place on the campus of the Wingate Institute, Israel’s National Centre for Sport and Physical Education. It is organized under the leadership of the Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Israeli Ministry of Regional Cooperation, and the German Federal Ministry of the Interior: ‘For this event the organising partners have consciously chosen a venue in a region which is characterised by deep-seated social divisions, political imbalances and ethno-religious conflicts.’ That is one way of characterising apartheid. Crucially, this conference is funded by an official Israeli body – two government ministries, which Palestinian civil society has called on international bodies and people of conscience to boycott until Israel complies with international law.

The boycott campaign against apartheid South Africa has been a major source of inspiration in formulating the Palestinian boycott calls and their criteria. The South African apartheid regime and its apologists around the world argued that the anti-apartheid cultural and sports boycott violated freedom of expression and cultural exchange, a charge consistently levelled against the BDS movement. But as the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) makes explicit in its guidelines: ‘events and projects, often seeking to encourage dialogue or “reconciliation between the two sides” without addressing the requirements of justice, promote the normalization of oppression and injustice. All such events and projects that bring Palestinians and/or Arabs and Israelis together, unless framed within the explicit context of opposition to occupation and other forms of Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, are strong candidates for boycott.’

Recently, the British Council in Israel has been boasting of offering transitory fun to children who are daily discriminated against as non-Jews. F4P has been running projects in Israel since 2001. The July issue of the British Council’s e-news announced it was ‘proud to bring together over 1000 Arab and Jewish youngsters from neighbouring communities to take part in this year’s Football for Peace. 60 coaches from the UK and Germany are teaming up with 150 local coaches to run values based sports activities across the country.’ The communities taking part are from the South and Centre of Israel, including Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Jerusalem, and the North, including Galilee, Tiberias, Nazareth, Misgav and Sakhnin. The Judaization of the Galilee is an ongoing project of the State of Israel that belies the co-existence narrative. Writing in Haaretz, Shani Shiloh, explainedthat although a High Court ruling in 2000 does not allow Jewish community settlements in Galilee to reject families on the grounds of “unsuitability” [read, ‘being Arab’]…”these townlets are pretty much left to do as they please”. The Mitzpim project was first conceived in 1979, and called for the establishment of dozens of Jewish settlements, kibbutzim and moshavim, to be strategically placed on Galilee hilltops to break the continuity of the Arab population in the region. Today, discussing territorial threats is frowned upon. The issue still exists, says researcher Katz Ben-Sasson, but it has just gone undercover: “What’s happened is that people now say: Let’s all live together with people just like ourselves…. They don’t say, let’s Judaicize the Galilee, as used to be the case.”

According to the Israel Sports Authority, Ministry of Culture and Sport, Football 4 Peace “are here to help us – to move forward one significant step toward a better understanding and a wonderful new bridge of co-existence, peace and harmony between the Arabs and the Jews here in the Galilee region in the State of Israel.” Besides the Israel Sports Authority, who has a vested interest in suppressing the truth, the program’s backers include the British Council, Brighton University’s Chelsea School of Sport (UK), the Sports University in Cologne (Germany), and the European Union. There is a very good reason why the Palestinian boycott of Israel applies to such ‘co-existence’ programs: they take place within a political context completely hostile towards a just resolution of the Palestinian refugee crisis and one based on Israel’s denial of its responsibility for the 1948 Nakba – in particular the waves of ethnic cleansing and dispossession that created this crisis.

In June, the Palestinian sports community wrote to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to register their dismay that ‘Israel has been rewarded for its continued impunity and violent oppression of our people with the honour of hosting the UEFA Under-21 tournament in 2013… The infamous Israeli permit system, which has been used to deny so many Palestinians the right to travel, is reminiscent of the “pass laws” of Apartheid South Africa, and is used to deny footballers the right to travel to international tournaments, or even participate in local practices, in violation of Article 33 of the Geneva Conventions barring collective punishment. The use of overwhelming force in Operation Cast Lead in winter 2008-09 was responsible for leveling large swathes of Gaza including the Rafah National Stadium, and killing football players Ayman Alkurd, Shadi Sbakhe and Wajeh Moshate, as well as over 1,400 other Gazans. Israel’s Apartheid Wall, ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004, runs its eight- meter-high solid concrete course less than 100 meters away from the Faisal Al Husseini Stadium in Al-Ram, the current national stadium of Palestine. The arbitrary arrest of thousands of Palestinians, including Gazan Palestinian National Team member Mahmoud Kamel As-Sarsak, held without trial or indeed public explanation for their arrest, is a routine tool of Israeli occupation.’

The campaign to move the 2013 tournament away from Israel is called Red Card Israeli Apartheid. Supporters are encouraged to write their own letter to UEFA president Michel Platini, using the e-tool, and join the Facebook page, regularly updated with ideas on how to take action. Readers are also urged to write to the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE), and ask the sports community to boycott the September International Conference on Sport for Development and Peace in Israel. Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, writes that the conference is a “well-intentioned and apolitical endeavour aimed at advancing mutual understanding in the region and beyond”. The involvement of Israeli government ministries gives the lie to his statement. Young people are being used as political pawns to mischaracterize Israeli apartheid and colonization as a symmetric conflict between two nations and cultures.

Message to Marty

Jul 20, 2011

annie

Marty Peretz is back on his soapbox again positing hostility towards Israel is “fashionable” for “chic progressives”. Hey Marty, it’s the apartheid. I learned something new about Marty from this article, his hero is George Washington. I wonder if he read Washington’sFarewell Address to the nation? Money quote:

The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

Straight outta Gaza

Jul 20, 2011

Adam Horowitz

For more on Palestinian rap music see Slingshot Hip Hop.

Settlers attack Palestinians and international observers with clubs and rocks

Jul 20, 2011

Kate

Settlers ‘attack’ foreign observers near Hebron
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 July — Three settlers from the illegal Havat Maon settlement south of Hebron attacked a group of internationals on Monday in the Meshakna valley, a Christian peace group said.  “Around 6.35 p.m. three settlers attacked two members of Operation Dove and one member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams with clubs and stones in the Meshakha valley outside of At-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills,” a CPT statement said. “The settlers were observed coming out of the outpost of Havat Maon covering their faces with scarves then running with clubs in their hands toward two Palestinian shepherds who were grazing their sheep in a valley nearby. “The masked settlers could not catch the shepherds who were alerted of the approaching danger. The attackers then turned and ran toward the internationals who entered the valley to intervene and document the attack … This is the fifth case of settler violence from the outpost of Havat Maon against internationals and Palestinians in the last 30 days, the statement added.

Operation Dove slideshow: Settlers from Haat Ma’on attack internationals in Meshakha hill 2011-07-18

And more news from Today in Palestine:

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid

The Israeli rail trail spider-net trap for the anticipated Palestinian state
[with maps] ARIJ 1 April — … Jerusalem has always been a vortex for the rest of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the point where the leave the occupied territory into Israel. More than that the success, in fact the durability of the settlement project in the West Bank became somehow associated with providing a swift and functional transportation system for the settlers between the settlements within Jerusalem and the outskirts of the occupied city to major cities to the settlers’ work areas.  The whole transportation system is an integrated one that aims to complement settlements, Jerusalem and Israel in the following phased scenario
link to www.poica.org

Jenin youngsters share JVS work in Jiftlik
Jordan Valley Solidarity 19 July — Today, youngsters from the Jenin Creative Cultural Center spent the day in the Jiftlik Friends Meeting House. 25 teenagers from Jenin city and villages came to the Jordan Valley today to share our volunteering work in one of the eldest houses of the Jordan Valley. Along with Palestinians and internationals JVS volunteers, they have been taught how to make mud bricks in the traditional way. They also participated in renovating the outside walls of the 200 year-old house, which is made entirely with mud bricks.
link to www.jordanvalleysolidarity.org

Water resources in Masafer-Yatta, the South Hebron Hills / Georgio Algeri
[photos] PalMon 19 July — Starting on Friday 1 July, I stayed for one week in at-Tuwani (ﺍﻟﻃﻮﺍﻧﻲ‎ ﺍﻟتوانة), the small Palestinian village about 9 miles to the south of Hebron in the area known as Masafer-Yatta or the South Hebron Hills … at-Tuwani was the first village in the South Hebron Hills to initiate non-violent resistance. Other nearby villages followed their example. But unlike many other Palestinian villages, at-Tuwani has experienced some success. Last year at-Tuwani was permitted by Israel to connect to the water pipeline from nearby Yatta, a nearby village in Area A, under Palestinian Authority control … Since 1967, Israel has controlled all water resources in West Bank (vis-à-vis the Mountain Aquifer and the Jordan Basin). Using a law that dates back to the Ottoman period, Israel claims land that has been uncultivated for three consecutive years. Lack of access to water resources debilitates Palestinian farmers and makes it nearly impossible for them to tend their crops. In the hills surrounding at-Tuwani, other small villages face their own, related problems.
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/?p=1155

Jerusalem

Teenagers kidnapped by Israeli police in Wadi Hilweh
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 19 July — Israeli forces kidnapped two children in Wadi Hilweh district of Silwan yesterday afternoon. Two police cars were sighted approaching Mohammed Qaq and Hamza Samreen, both aged 15, at high speed, then making the arrests. Details of the arrests remain unknown. A third boy, Hamza Siyam, 17, was also arrested for a brief period before being released.
link to silwanic.net

Madaa Center launches 5th annual Summer Games in Silwan
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 19 July — The Madaa Creative Center “Summer Games” program was launched yesterday in Wadi Hilweh district of Silwan. The Games features a wide range of activities for children during one week of the summer holiday period, including games, educational activities and entertainment. The week will be concluded with a colorful street rally in Wadi Hilweh, a tradition since 2008 when the first rally was staged as a community gathering and protest against settlement policy in Silwan.
link to silwanic.net

Settlers

Israeli bulldozers raze 35 dunums near Hebron
HEBRON  (WAFA) 19 July — Israeli bulldozers Tuesday razed 35 dunums of Palestinian land and confiscated irrigation networks in Baq‘a area [see here for history of Israeli attacks on Al Baq‘a, the most fertile land in the governorate of Hebron] to the east of Hebron, according to local residents. Azzam Jaber, a local farmer, told WAFA that members of the Israeli police, border guards and civil administration razed 35 dunums planted with vegetables for the third time in two months in order to force Palestinian farmers to leave the area. He said Israel wants to expand Kiryat Arba and Kharsina settlements at the expense of their land.
link to www.wafa.ps

Israeli forces

Soldiers ‘attack mourners’ at Hebron funeral
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 July — Israeli forces on Monday evening accosted a group of mourners in Beit Ummar village Monday, activists said. Two workers for the rights group B’Tselem were beaten by Israeli troops, who opened fire and shot stun grenades at people attending the funeral, local activist Muhammad Awad said. Awad told Ma‘an that Imad Abu Hashem, 21, was taken to a clinic for treatment of injuries. He added that the troops raided the cemetery and banned people from burying Ibrahim Al-Khatib. People waited in the cemetery until the troops left and then buried Al-Khatib, he said.
link to www.maannews.net

Twilight Zone: Drive-by shooting / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 15 July — Jalal Al-Masri was fatally shot by soldiers while driving to collect his family for a weekend vacation in Eilat. Six months after the incident, his bereaved family are still looking for answers — What happened in January this year? During that month, Israel Defense Forces soldiers, using live ammunition, killed three Palestinians in incidents at checkpoints and another, aged 66, as he slept in his bed. In the six months since, not one Palestinian has been killed in the West Bank. Last week, however, the fifth casualty from January died. The circumstances of his death are especially puzzling and infuriating … Jalal Al-Masri was a 28-year-old truck driver from Jerusalem’s mixed Arab-Jewish Abu Tor neighborhood, married and the father of two children. He carried cargo between Ashdod and Sde Uziyahu, a village near the port … He had no security or criminal background, was never arrested or interrogated, never “belonged,” and was never “active.” … Late in the evening of Thursday, January 20, Jalal left his home for Idna, to pick up his wife and children ‏(who were there for a short family visit‏), ahead of the trip to Eilat early the next morning. Jalal was in good spirits, say his two brothers, Jamil and Hakham. He had supper with his parents and left Abu Tor for Idna around 10 P.M. in his Peugeot. The details of what happened on the way are few and very unclear. What’s known is that around noon the next day, the police called Hakham and told him Jalal had been injured in a road accident and was in Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem. Jalal had driven south on Highway 60. He was shot with live ammunition by soldiers who were standing on the roadside outside the town of Halhul, near Hebron. Three bullets tore through the rear window of the Peugeot; no bullet struck the wheels or other parts of the vehicle. One bullet hit Jalal in the back of the head and exited through the front, doing lethal damage to his brain … He would remain comatose for the next six months. During all those months, his family never left his bedside … During all this time, no one in the IDF had bothered to explain to the family what happened. They have now hired a lawyer and are demanding an investigation. 
http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/magazine/twilight-zone-drive-by-shooting-1.373400

Detention

Ashqar: Israel detained more than 3,000 Palestinian children in 5 years
GAZA  (PIC) 19 July — The ministry of prisoners in Gaza said that the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have detained more than 3,000 Palestinian minors over the period 2005 – 2010 and not only 835 as published by the Israeli B’Tselem. The ministry’s spokesman Riyadh Al-Ashqar said in a statement on Tuesday that the number mentioned in B’Tselem report is only 25% (or less) of the real number of those detained by occupation. He said that most of the arrested children were released after few days, weeks or months while some of them are still behind bars. Ashqar underlined that IOF soldiers detained more than 1,000 children in 2010 alone half of them from occupied Jerusalem. However, Ashqar described the B’Tselem report as “important” despite not including all numbers of detained children because it was released by an Israeli institution and could be used against Israel in international courts.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcO

Five Palestinians arrested during Israeli crackdown in the West Bank
WEST BANK (PIC) 19 July — Five Palestinians including a woman were arrested in the West Bank on Tuesday amid an intense Israeli search and arrest campaign … That morning, the Israeli occupation forces nabbed two men in Taffouh, which lies west of Al-Khalil, and a woman aged 45 after searching her husband’s home in Al-Khalil city. Similar forces searched a separate home in nearby Dhahiriyya without report of arrest.
The same day, the IOF declared the village of Al-Tuwana, to the south of Al-Khalil, a military zone and banned dozens of foreign pro-Palestinian activists from entering and supporting locals who have been under attack by Jewish settlers from the Ma’on settlement outpost.
In Jenin, IOF troops carried out a raid and search operation on Palestinian homes in the Al-Bassatein district and questioned locals early morning on the ground. Locals said that more than 20 military vehicles joined the operation. Locals also reported that IOF troops arrested a 22-year-old Palestinian youth in Jenin’s Kharouba district. The IOF also raided the villages of Al-Yamoun, Al-Seilat al-Harithiyya, Al-Hashimiyya, and Al-Irqa and deployed its vehicles in those communities.
On Tuesday morning, IOF soldiers arrested a young man from the Tekoa southeast of Bethlehem after raiding the home of a local there. The IOF set up military checkpoints earlier that night in Tekoa and Khadir, stopping and searching vehicles and checking for identification.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcO

Young man seized in West Bank raid
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 July – Israeli forces detained a young man from the Hebron town of Beit Ummar, relatives said. Ahmad At-Tit, 21, who suffers from diabetes, was seized from his home, according to his father, Abdul Fattah. Ahmad requires two injections each day and his father fears the arrest could threaten his life.
link to www.maannews.net

Renewal of Palestinian prisoner’s administrative detention for 8th time
HEBRON (WAFA) 17 July —  Israeli authorities Sunday renewed the administrative detention of Palestinian prisoner Akram Abu Sneineh, 40, for the eighth time in a row, said Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC). Head of PPC in Hebron, Amjad Najjar, said Abu Sneineh had been arrested eight times before the last arrest and has served a total of 12 years in Israeli jails. During his last arrest, Abu Sneineh’s father died and he could not attend the funeral. Abu Sneineh is currently detained in Naqab prison without legal justifications or charges.
link to www.wafa.ps

Israeli court holds MP in administrative custody
NABLUS (PIC) 19 July — The Israeli military court in Salem has ordered the administrative detention of Hamas MP Dr. Nasser Abdel Jawad for six months, his office director said. He told the PIC on Monday that the court said that it would allow an appeal on Wednesday against the ruling. He said that the lawmaker is currently held in Megiddo jail where he was incarcerated since his detention on 28/6/2011. Abdel Jawad has served more than 15 years in Israeli occupation jails and was last released from three years of administrative detention in September 2009.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd

Ufree slams Israel’s continued detention of Palestinian mayor’s daughter
OSLO (PIC) 19 July — The European network to support the rights of Palestinian prisoners (Ufree) has expressed strong condemnation after an Israeli court extended the detention of the daughter of Jamal al-Tawil, the mayor of Al-Beira near the West Bank city of Ramallah. In a statement, Ufree, which is headquartered in Oslo, called what was happening to the 17-year-old “an attempt to use her to pressure and extort her father.” The Ashkelon court ruled Monday to extend Bushra’s period of detention for another eight days. Ufree described the detention as a blatant violation of international law, which has forbidden the detention of minors. She has already been held for two weeks. Ufree called on the Red Cross and other human rights organizations to urgently intervene, expressing special concern over Israel’s interrogation methods.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MD

Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike becomes seriously ill
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 July — The Palestinian center for detainees reported Tuesday that a prisoner at Ramla prison hospital in Israel has become seriously ill.  Yousef Skafi, 42, has been on hunger strike for 38 days and refuses to take any medicine. His health has seriously deteriorated in recent days. A lawyer from the center told Ma‘an that Skafi no longer has the energy to speak. Skafi went on hunger strike to protest against the medical neglect of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and against the inhumane treatment of prisoners by Israeli authorities.
link to www.maannews.net

Prisoner Wraidat transferred to hospital
HEBRON (WAFA) 19 July — An ailing Palestinian prisoner who started an open hunger strike 37 days ago in protest against Israeli medical negligence and bad prison conditions was transferred Tuesday to Ramla prison hospital due to severe deterioration in his health condition, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC). Atef Wraidat, 45, was arrested in 1982 at 16 years of age and imprisoned for 11 years. He was released in 1993, in bad health due to heart disease and medical negligence in prison. He was arrested again in 2002 and sentenced to another 11 years, of which he has served 10. He suffers from various illnesses including diabetes, hypertension and heart problems. His health worsened in Asqalan prison south of Israel, where he is kept, and he has been in need of open heart surgery for over a year.
link to www.wafa.ps

Palestinian prisoners’ kids visit Israel
Ynet 19 July — Initiative brings Arab-Israeli, Palestinian children together in special summer camp to promote co-existence. Most participants children of security prisoners — While Israel and the Palestinian Authority participate in a diplomatic battle as September looms ever nearer, 18 Palestinian children from the Dheisheh Refugee Camp near Bethlehem arrived in Israel on Monday to take part in the ‘living color’ summer camp together with children from Arab villages and cities in Israel … The group behind the initiative is the Jewish-Arab institute at Beit Berl … One of the participants, a 12-year-old girl whose father was charged with attempted kidnapping of an Israeli soldier said angrily: “My father had a very difficult life and I can’t forget that — vengeance is the right way.” Mohammad Fuad al-Ham, whose father was also imprisoned in Israel, said that he feared that he would not be allowed to cross the border and would be forced to go back because of his father’s actions. “I was very happy when I got to Israel and that I will be able to fulfill my dream — to swim in the sea for the very first time. I want peace very much but I hate what the Israeli government is doing.”
link to www.ynetnews.com

Gaza

EWASH: Destruction of Gaza water and sanitation infrastructure must stop
Gaza (PNN) 19 July — The Emergency Water Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH) has condemned recent Israeli airstrikes that have resulted in damaged water and sanitation infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. EWASH, a coalition of 30 prominent humanitarian organisations working in the Palestinian territories, in a press release today detailed the damage caused by one particular air strike on Sunday. The air strike destroyed an agricultural well in Beit Hanoun, injuring 4 children and 3 women in the process. The well provided water for the Az-Za’anin family and 39 dunams of agricultural land. The same strike also caused damage to 9 water tanks that served five households of 59 people. EWASH condemns such strikes on essential civilian infrastructure.
link to english.pnn.ps

Health Ministry: Gaza health situation has been spiraling since early June
GAZA (PIC) 19 June — The Gaza Health Ministry’s public relations director Dr. Ashraf al-Qudra warned that the health sector in the Gaza Strip is spiraling downward as the “unprecedented medicine crisis” has continued since early June. Qudra said that 163 medicines and 160 medical consumables have gone completely out of stock, “which means impairment of many of the daily health services in the hospitals and primary care centers in the Gaza Strip.” He warned that the health situation in Gaza could completely collapse within the next three months as fifty more medicines and seventy more consumables are at risk of running out.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcO

Gazans who fled Libya’s revolution to receive compensation
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 July — The government in Gaza is set to approve a recommendation by the ministry of work and social affairs to pay $1,000 to destitute families who fled from Libya after the revolution. Another $4,000 will be paid later, the cabinet announced. The ministry has been asked to send a food package worth $200 to each family who returned to Gaza from Libya in addition to health insurance for families in need. Most families will also benefit from a 3-month employment program too.
link to www.maannews.net

Turkey building hospital in Gaza despite difficulties
Today’s Zaman 19 July — Turkey, Palestine and Egypt, led by the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA), are working together despite all odds to build a 150-bed hospital in the Gaza Strip … The project for the hospital was undertaken by Aker Construction in April of last year, but the company faced many challenges during the building process as the availability of construction materials fell short and difficulties at the border crossings made for delays as materials could not be delivered on time.
link to www.todayszaman.com

Activism / Solidarity

2 injured at demonstration concluding Palestine Popular Resistance Conference
PSP 18 July — At least 2 were injured and hundreds suffered tear gas inhalation following the conclusion of the Palestine Popular Resistance Conference in the village of Budrus, in the northern West Bank. The conference brought together around a thousand Palestinians along with international and Israeli supporters over the past three days to discuss the state of the popular resistance in Palestine, concluding with a large protest against the Annexation Barrier in Budrus. Large crowds listened to speakers and attended workshops in the villages of Beit Ommar, Ni‘lin, and Budrus. Palestinians debated the merits of the resistance and asked questions of political leaders in open forums. Workshops were given on topics ranging from the growing movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel to the growth of the occupation through settlements and the Annexation Barrier … A large number of cities, villages and towns were represented at the conference.
link to palestinesolidarityproject.org

Beit Ommar youth summer camp
The Center for Freedom and Justice is currently hosting its second annual summer camp for 150 youths, age 8-14, in the Beit Ommar area. Campers have so far participated in two of the three weeks of the camp, and have engaged in a wide range of activities, including traditional Palestinian dance, arts and crafts, drama, music, sports, and nonviolence training.
link to www.youtube.com

Norway calls donors for extra efforts to support Palestinians
OSLO (WAFA) 19 July — Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre said in a press release Tuesday, a day after he met President Mahmoud Abbas in Oslo, “All donors should make an extra effort to support the Palestinians this summer and autumn.” He said that the Palestinian people face the threat of a serious economic crisis as pledged funding for the Palestinian Authority is not being paid. An economic crisis would hit the people of Gaza particularly hard. “I also urge all donors and in particular the Palestinians’ neighbors and Arab countries to show generosity and solidarity in this time before Ramadan,” said Støre. He said that Norway chairs the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), where the parties and donors meet to coordinate assistance to the Palestinians. So far this year, the donors are behind on payments amounting to more than $150 million, and it seems that only half the need for budget support will be met this year.
link to www.wafa.ps

Freedom Flotilla II

Flotilla Diary: Sailing on a bucket, surrounded by commandos / Amira Hass
Haaretz 19 July — Three battleships and seven commando boats of different sizes and types were scrambled yesterday to intercept a small bucket named Dignité-Al-Karame (Respect), three nautical miles from the shore. At least 150 soldiers were sent to sea early morning in order to carry out the mission: to prevent ten citizens of the “Freedom Flotilla,” alongside three crewmen and three journalists, from reaching the port of Gaza.
Tuesday morning, for a short while, the activists made the mistake of believing the Israeli Navy might abandon the expensive operation, which comes out of the Israeli taxpayers’ pockets, and allow them to reach Gaza. An AFP reporter in Jerusalem told the activists that he called the Defense Ministry and asked what Israel intends to do. He was told that if the activists do not cause a provocation, they may be allowed to pass. The activists wondered, what would be considered a provocation?
See: A full account of life on a flotilla boat – Wednesday on Haaretz.com
link to www.haaretz.com

French ship enters Ashdod port
Ynet 19 July 18:37 — Navy commandos escort ship Dignité al Karama into Ashdod Port where Immigration Authority personnel await passengers. Activists to face hearings, deportation and automatic removal from Israel for 10 years — Navy commandos escorted the Gaza-bound flotilla ship Dignité al Karama into the Ashdod Port Tuesday where police forces were deployed in the case of possible riots. Navy senior official Brigadier-General Rani Ben Yehuda said that the takeover was restrained and that no weapons or humanitarian equipment were found on the ship … The Population, Immigration and Borders Authority said that the foreign activists on board the ship are effectively entering Israel illegally … State officials said that an Al Jazeera TV crew on board the ship will not be deported from Israel. In the past, Israel warned that all media personnel on board flotilla vessels will be deported, but the decision was reversed … The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that the takeover took place some 65 kilometers [40.4 miles] off the Gaza coast.
link to www.ynetnews.com

Israel intercepts sole remnant of flotilla heading for Gaza
[with 32-sec VIDEO of Navy boarding the ‘Carame’] Haaretz 19 July 14:15 — The Israel Navy on Tuesday intercepted the last remaining member of a flotilla of boats which had intended to reach the Gaza Strip, after it refused to obey an Israeli demand to change course as it sailed for a Gaza port. Elite troops from Israel’s Shayetet 13 naval commando unit boarded the French yacht Dignité-Al Karame minutes after Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz issued the order to intercept. The commandos quickly took control of the vessel, with no resistance from those aboard … Following the rapid takeover, the vessel was directed to Ashdod port. There the passengers were to be taken into custody and dealt with by immigration authorities. The IDF spokesperson stressed that the order to intercept the ship was issued only after the passengers repeatedly refused to answer the demands of the navy or to change course from Gaza. According to the IDF spokesperson, none of the passengers were hurt and IDF soldiers offered the passengers food and beverages once the boat had been intercepted.
link to www.haaretz.com

The 16 activists from the Dignité-Al Karama
PNN 19 July The French yacht Dignité-Al Karama, boarded by the Israeli Army just 60 [40] miles away from Gaza, carried representatives of the Canadian, French, Greek and Swedish Boats from the Freedom Flotilla II. Along with the activists and three journalists, two crew members, Yannick Voisin and Hilaire Folacci, man the ship, which brings the total number of people on board the Dignite-Al Karama to 16, from 6 different countries. [List of those on board follows]
link to english.pnn.ps

Spanish ship from Freedom Flotilla leaves Greece and departs for Spain
IMEMC 19 July — The Spanish ship, the Gernika, part of the Second Freedom Flotilla, that has remained at Port Kolymvari for two weeks, has finally been authorized by Greek Authorities to set sail back to Spain but is not authorized to set sail to Gaza … The activists have been at the Spanish Embassy in Athens, Greece since July 5, 2011. Several activists went on hunger strikes in an effort to pressure the Government of Spain to pressure Greek authorities to permit the Gernika to set sail to Israeli Blockaded Gaza … The ship was carrying 2,000 tons of humanitarian supplies, mostly medical, as well as educational and rebuilding materials to supply to Gaza.
link to www.imemc.org

IDF learnt from last year’s mistakes when dealing with latest Gaza flotilla / Anshel Pfeffer
Haaretz 19 July — Israel’s handling of the 2011 Gaza flotilla was almost the direct opposite of the way it dealt with the previous flotilla, in terms of diplomatic, judicial, intelligence, and operational resources … The moment the Israel Navy contacted the yacht on Tuesday morning, the IDF activated a full electronic takeover, stopping both the activists and the Al Jazeera crew from publishing a single image, video, or even Tweet. Simultaneously, the IDF Spokesperson supplied media outlets with real-time updates on every stage of the negotiations between the navy and the French yacht, released the IDF chief’s orders to intercept the vessel, and, after 10 minutes, put out a statement on the IDF interception, which had been carried out quickly and smoothly. Pictures and videos taken by IDF ships were also immediately circulated. 
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/idf-learnt-from-last-year-s-mistakes-when-dealing-with-latest-gaza-flotilla-1.374070

Hasbara

Hasbara video: The imaginative world of deputy FM Ayalon / Dimi Reider
972mag 18 July — So this is where deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon exists: In a vast white space populated by magically appearing and reappearing figments of his imagination. Why am I not surprised … Update: The video appears to be lifted straight off an earlier and equally ludicrous campaign by the flagship settler organization, the Yesha council. Take a look:
link to 972mag.com

Erekat responds to Ayalon video denying occupation
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 July  — PLO official Saeb Erekat responded Tuesday to a YouTube video in which Israel’s deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon argues the West Bank is not occupied territory. “With this video, the Israeli government has left no doubt on its pro-conflict agenda. Now, the international community knows,” Erekat said. “This is not an amateur video prepared by an extremist group. An official representing the State of Israel presents a cynical and falsified account of history and international law,” he said in a statement.
link to www.maannews.net

Racism

A black and white issue
Haaretz 18 July — Ethiopian parents mount integration struggle in Petah Tikva, where schools are nearly segregated — Only one of the 294 pupils at the Ner Etzion Elementary School in Petah Tikva is not of Ethiopian origin. As a result, the school has become a symbol of the difficulties involved in integrating the Ethiopian community in the city – and now the struggle has become even more acute. Last week, dozens of parents of children from the school got together to call on the authorities to close down the institution in the next school year and disperse the children among other elementary schools in Petah Tikva. At the meeting, which was organized by activists from the city’s Ethiopian community, the parents announced that they would keep their children home from school until a suitable arrangement was worked out. The struggle is not limited to Ner Etzion, which is part of the state religious stream. They want to see integration with veteran Israelis also in four kindergartens in the city’s Yoseftal and Amishav neighborhoods, where the children of Ethiopian origin form the vast majority. 
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/a-black-and-white-issue-1.373795

Political / Diplomatic / International

Dahlan planning return to West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 July — Ousted Fatah official Muhammad Dahlan says he will return to the occupied West Bank on Friday to take part in an internal party judicial hearing that will begin on July 24. Dahlan told Ma‘an radio that he would appear in person and accept the outcome. “Getting back into the central committee is not the main issue, but the court,” Dahlan said, adding that he remained committed to Fatah and had no intention of causing problems for the party.
link to www.maannews.net

Erdogan affirms Gaza visit
ANKARA (PIC) 19 July — Turkish premier Recep Erdogan on Tuesday affirmed intention to visit the Gaza Strip later this month. Turkish media quoted Erdogan as telling reporters before leaving on a visit for Northern Cyprus that given appropriate circumstances he would consider visiting Gaza.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcO

US scrambling to prevent Israel-Turkey ties from worsening
Haaretz 19 July — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton relayed a message during her visit to Istanbul late last week to Turkish President Abdullah Gul from President Barack Obama, on the crisis in Turkish-Israeli relations. A senior Israeli official noted that Clinton told the Turkish president that Obama considered the restoration of ties between the two countries very important and would like to see relations between the two U.S. allies return to their previous levels.
link to www.haaretz.com

US: Fight on terror to be condition on foreign aid
AP 19 July — A House panel unveiled a bill that would block US aid to Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority, unless the Obama administration reassures Congress that they are cooperating in the battling terrorism.  The legislation is a direct challenge to President Barack Obama and his foreign policy authority, and comes as the House is looking at significant cuts in the annual budget for the State Department and foreign assistance.
link to www.ynetnews.com

‘NZ quake victims — Mossad agents’
Ynet 19 July — New Zealand press raises suspicions that Israeli travelers killed in Christchurch earthquake last February were secret service agents. Israeli ambassador dismisses claims as ‘science fiction’  … Ofer Mizrahi was killed after a block of concrete collapsed on his car. Foreign reports suggest that a parcel of his effects contained several passports, possibly five or six. Ambassador Tzur confirmed that Mizrahi, 23, had more than one passport but was not aware of reports of as many as five or six … Israel and New Zealand’s relations have been strained since 2004’s “passport affair” involving two Israelis who tried to fraudulently issue New Zealand passports. A local court ruled they were Mossad agents. New Zealand’s prime minister even declared sanctions against Israel following the affair.
link to www.ynetnews.com

Other news

Knesset expected to reject proposal to probe Israeli NGOs
Haaretz 19 July — Yisrael Beiteinu plans to demand a roll-call vote, to embarrass MKs on the right who vote against or skip the vote — The Knesset is slated to vote tomorrow on whether to set up two parliamentary inquiry committees to investigate the funding sources of nongovernmental organizations. But because the proposal has little support even within the coalition, it is expected to fail by a large majority.
link to www.haaretz.com

More than 60,000 Palestinians expected to visit Israel as tourists in 2011
Haaretz 19 July — More than 60,000 Palestinians are expected to visit Israel as tourists by the end of 2011, at least twice as many as last year, a defense official said. Israel is planning to double the number of permits issued to Palestinians this year, due to the improved security in the West Bank, the source said. However, if the situation deteriorates in September following the Palestinians’ UN bid for statehood, it will be harder to issue permits, he said. The permits are not usually issued to individuals or families, but mainly to schools and summer camps wishing to take children to visit beaches and mixed Jewish-Arab cities in Israel … “We want Palestinians, especially young ones, to see another kind of Israeli, not only soldiers and settlers. Anything that can help them blow off steam and relax. Perhaps instead of demonstrating in September they’ll go to the beach,” the source said. Most of the Palestinians visit Arab and mixed towns such as Haifa, Jaffa and Acre, among other things, because of their beaches.
link to www.haaretz.com

Civics studies to focus on Jewish democracy
Ynet 19 July — Education Ministry approves controversial changes to high school civics curriculum which will emphasize historical justifications for State of Israel’s establishment
link to www.ynetnews.com

Israeli teachers and parents miffed by directive to sing Hatikva at kindergartens
Haaretz 19 July — Education Ministry directive sent to principals as part of an effort to strengthen Zionist and Jewish identities among children — …”It’s brainwashing,” said Avivit, a nursery school teacher in Ramat Gan yesterday, adding: “In my opinion, there are things that are a lot more important in the children’s education at that age. If they want children who love the Land of Israel, the way to achieve this is not by singing the anthem and raising the flag.” … In other education news, the Knesset yesterday gave preliminary approval to a bill sponsored by MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi ) that would make it mandatory to educate the children of the country about the importance of military service or alternative national or civilian service. The bill had the support of the government and of Education Ministry Gideon Sa’ar in particular.
link to www.haaretz.com

Analysis / Opinion

Why the Quartet failed
Bitterlemons 18 July — Palestinian-Israeli crossfire. Yossi Alpher, Ghassan Khatib, Akiva Eldar, Nagi Shurrab.
link to www.bitterlemons.org

Israel rules out nonviolence: Method in Netanyahu’s madness  / Jonathan Cook
PalChron 18 July — It was an Arab legislator who made the most telling comment to the Israeli parliament last week as it passed the boycott law, which outlaws calls to boycott Israel or its settlements in the occupied territories. Ahmed Tibi asked: “What is a peace activist or Palestinian allowed to do to oppose the occupation? Is there anything you agree to?” … These initiatives, as Tibi points out, leave no room for non-violent opposition to the occupation. Arundhati Roy, the award-winning Indian writer, has noted that non-violence is essentially “a piece of theatre. [It] needs an audience. What can you do when you have no audience?” Netanyahu and the Israeli right understand this point. They are carefully dismantling every platform on which dissident Israelis, Palestinians and international activists hope to stage their protests. They are making it impossible to organise joint peaceful and non-violent resistance, whether in the form of boycotts or solidarity visits. The only way being left open is violence.
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16991

Yes, Mr. Lieberman, I’m a proud Jewish terrorist / Shlomo Gazit
Haaretz Opinion 19 July — The foreign minister says Yesh Din, the organization of whose public council I am a member, is a terrorist organization – 69 years after the British Mandatory government defined me as a terrorist — In 1942, as a young boy, a high school student in Tel Aviv, I joined the Haganah (the main pre-state underground Jewish militia ). The British Mandatory government considered me, and others who did as I did, to be members of an illegal organization. Two years later I enlisted in the Palmach, the elite strike force of the Haganah, and during my period of activity in the framework of the Jewish resistance movement the British government considered me a “terrorist.” Afterwards I fought in the War of Independence and spent another 32 years in the Israel Defense Forces as a career soldier. Today I consider the continuation of our occupation rule in Judea and Samaria an existential danger. As I see it, this situation is threatening the main achievement to which I contributed 70 years ago: the establishment of a sovereign and democratic Jewish state. If we don’t separate as soon as possible from the Palestinian population on the ground, Jewish and democratic Israel will be unable to survive. A few years ago I became a member of the public council of Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights. I can’t influence Israel’s diplomatic decisions, but I saw it as my duty to contribute to upholding the law in the occupied under our control. I believe that the Israeli government, the Knesset and the vast majority of the people want the law to be enforced in the area east of the Green Line, just as they want it to be enforced to the west of it. But in the present situation, unfortunately, there is no equal treatment for Jews and Arabs when it comes to law enforcement. The legal system that enforces the law in a discriminatory way on the basis of national identity, is actually maintaining an apartheid regime. And I wanted to prevent that with my activity and contribution as a member of the council of Yesh Din.
link to www.haaretz.com

Israeli democracy by the ‘selector’ from Moldova / Michael Warschawski
AIC 19 July — Ivet Lieberman was not yet the minister responsible for approving citizenship of the people indigenous to this land. Back then the new immigrant from Moldova served as a selector in one of the bars of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. When he finished his work he would lend a hand to pogroms against Arab students, and his name went before him: the educated amongst the students of the Left dubbed him “Chmielnitzki”, after the Ukranian organizer of pogroms in the 17th century, Bogdan Chmielnitzki. His positions in the Likud were gained through his heroic acts on the university campus, in which he even surpassed his teacher and mentor Tzachi Hanegbi. Throughout his entire political life, the Moldovan bully has remained a selector. The election campaign slogan of his party — “no loyalty no citizenship” is a prominent example of his role as selector: the state/leader/loyalty committee will determine who is eligible (and who is not) to be a citizen. In defence of the man it could be said that he never had the opportunity to learn the foundations of democracy, not in Stalinist USSR and not in colonial Israel which, by the time he moved there, had already lost its strikingly small democratic space. This is also how the selector and his friends work in the party and the parliament: They, and not the voters, will determine who is eligible to be a Knesset member (or not). Hanin Zoabi was elected by numerous voters? So what: The selector, who did not manage to completely prevent her entry into Knesset, decided to suspend her membership and rights, as was done to MK Azmi Bishara and his pension.
link to www.alternativenews.org

Mead consecrates Jewish nationalism and American nationalism on the rock of anti-Semitism

Jul 20, 2011

Jack Ross

Walter Russell Mead is the apotheosis of the American establishment in our time, which tends to make his pronouncements of great profundity exercises in extreme silliness. With that noted, he wrote on his blog yesterday, for some strange reason having to do with the anniversary of the publication of Mein Kampf, a courageous stand against anti-Semitism in such high dudgeon as to be buffoonish. Because Mead fancies himself a high priest of America’s “civil religion”, which is in so many ways inseparable from Zionist ideology, there is much to be learned from deconstructing what he has termed “the five pillars of anti-Semitism”. Mead sternly informs us that “anti-Semitism involves belief in any or all of the following ideas” which are all “demonstrably false”:

Jews are more clannish than other people and act in concert to support a specifically Jewish agenda.

This means that the most convinced and stalwart anti-Semites living today are the editors of Commentary magazine.

Any perusal of the select works of Ruth Wisse, Jack Wertheimer, Daniel Gordis, and countless others I could think of have no clearer underlying premise than that there exists a transnational entity called “the Jewish collective”, that the political and other prerogatives of said collective must be secured by any means necessary, and that the treachery of the better number of American Jews is that they have embraced liberalism at the expense of the “norms of the community”.

Jews deploy extraordinary wealth with almost superhuman cunning in support of the Jewish agenda.

Some readers of this blog may be upset with me for saying so, but on this I take exactly the same position as Andrew Bacevich, who in an interview in which he chided leftists who make a panacea of the military-industrial complex in understanding the politics of American empire added “and I would say the same of those who make a single-minded focus on the Israel lobby – yes there is a military-industrial complex, yes there is an Israel lobby, but to focus narrowly on either or both is a panacea to avoid the deeper pathologies of American politics and society.” That being said, this is not the same thing as anti-Semitism, it is merely age-old adherence to a populist panacea. I can attest from personal experience that it is this, not Jew-hatred, in the hearts of those who adopt it.

As a religious and national minority, Jews cannot flourish without attacking the traditional values of their host society. In every country Jews seek to weaken national culture, unity, and cohesion.

The first sentence, at least, is again a thesis adhered to by no one more steadfastly than the aforementioned ideologues of Jewish collectivism. Indeed, probably no one in history ever believed this more devoutly than the classical Zionists. For what else can be the meaning of the virtually nonsensical argument that one can only live a “normal” or “fully Jewish life” in eretz yisrael?

Jews are not a national group or a people in the way that others are, they do not have the same right to establish a nation state that other peoples do.

If any statement in this whole discussion can be called “demonstrably false”, it is the exact opposite of the above statement; and it cannot be stressed often enough that for over a century before the end of World War II the belief that there existed a Jewish “nation” or “race” was the essence of anti-Semitism, and that the triumph of Zionism therefore represented the acceptance of a core doctrine of Naziism. I refer all readers to Shlomo Sand’s landmark The Invention of The Jewish People on the falsity of the existence of a “Jewish nation”.

As for the relative nature of Jewish nationalism to other nationalisms, there is no better statement than the following of the late great Tony Judt:

The problem with Israel, in short, is not—as is sometimes suggested—that it is a European “enclave” in the Arab world; but rather that it arrived too late. It has imported a characteristically late-nineteenth-century separatist project into a world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law. The very idea of a “Jewish state”—a state in which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded—is rooted in another time and place. Israel, in short, is an anachronism.

 Back to WRM:

Where Jewish interests are concerned, the appearance of open debate in our society and many others is a carefully constructed illusion. In reality, Jews work together to block open debate on issues they care about and those who resist the Jewish agenda are marginalized in public discussion.

With the caveat, of course, that one must replace the word “Jews” with “Zionists” or “the American Jewish establishment”, to any casual reader of this blog I need say no more. But to the extent that the existence and operation of the Israel lobby/American Jewish establishment conforms to narratives of classical anti-Semitism, if I may include here a plug for my book, it was precisely the cause for great alarm and outrage of the American Council for Judaism, and other opponents of the creation of the American Jewish establishment in the American Jewish Conference of 1943, that said conference could have been no better constructed if its principals actually were consciously seeking to bring into existence the fictional Elders of Zion.

Mead goes on to solemnly inform us, with a superhuman obliviousness to irony, that “In some countries these beliefs are so common that they are no longer recognized as an aggressive and communicable mental disease.” This deeply irrational belief that anti-Semitism is some kind of constant mystical force in history is central to the sacred story of Jewish nationalism, which, as I have argued elsewhere, is also the sacred story of American nationalism. That is, the belief of both Jewish nationalists and American nationalists that with the salvation of the Jews as the heroic outcome of the Second World War followed by the establishment of the State of Israel, the American Empire was the god which brought about the essential precondition for the millennium which the Living God would not – the redemption of Israel.

Walter Russell Mead has thus given us this meditation as part of his solemn duty to uphold and extend what some neocons refer to as “Americanism – the fourth great western religion”, and many more euphemistically refer to as “civil religion”. Because I am a Jew, there is only one thing that I can call this – idolatry – and must therefore oppose it with every fiber of my being.

Jack Ross is the author of Rabbi Outcast, a biography of the anti-Zionist rabbi Elmer Berger.

 

At last, integrationists have won the great ideological struggle inside Jewish life

Jul 20, 2011

Philip Weiss

In summertime my wife’s family goes to an exclusive community in the mountains where families occupy traditional camps with the owners’ names painted on an oar nailed to a tree out where their driveways meet the dirt road that circles the lake. Under this oar, the family then hooks shingles to advertise the various branches of the family who’ve shown up that weekend.

I’ve been going to the place for 22 years and after about ten years my name showed up when my father-in-law painted it on a pine sliver. Then a year or so back my shingle got painted over– they needed it for someone else. I didn’t say a word. I’ve always been a little socially apprehensive, felt myself to be an outsider as a Jew in this fern-and-pines community. What’s my place here?

And then this weekend on the back porch, I saw Julie, as I’ll call her, a friend of my wife’s niece, painting a new one for me. It was her first time visiting, but she said that she planned to do one for herself before long, “so two Jewish names can hang right next to one another.”

It was a generational moment.

Julie and I had just met. We’d not shared the fact that we’re both Jewish. And here she brought it up effortlessly; because Julie has none of my hangups. She comes out of a privileged world in which Jews and non-Jews freely mingle. It seems like most of her friends are half-Jewish, she told me, their parents intermarried. And that is true for much of privileged coastal America. Why just look at the New York Times Magazine lying on the adirondack chair nearby Julie’s painting project– the cover features Miranda July, film director, the product of intermarriage.

Later it struck me that my old narrative, of social apprehension of the in-laws, perceived exclusion, was as Yesterday as my parents’ marriage stories with their whiff of Sholom Aleichem– about Jewish families that didn’t cough up dowries or about legendary upward Jewish marriages– Hank Greenberg married Gimbel’s daughter!

Julie’s narrative is one of Jewish inclusion, of Jewish integration into the establishment.

I say this all the time, of course. But I think we’ve reached a new stage. Why just look at the Murdoch scandal.

Yesterday Murdoch was backed at the Parliamentary hearing by Joel Klein, the former New York Schools Chancellor, who sat next to Murdoch’s wife Wendy. Murdoch has lately hired the p.r. firm Edelman, founded by Daniel Edelman, said to be the largest p.r. firm in the world. He is also said to have gotten advice from his son-in-law Matthew Freud, the communications genius who of course is the great-grandson of you know who.

You say Murdoch is a philo-Semite; but you can play this game with anyone. Murdoch was vigorously questioned yesterday by Conservative M.P. Louise Mensch, a blonde who is famous as an author of chicklit under her maiden name Bagshawe. She got her new last name from American Peter Mensch, the manager of Metallica and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. (Mensch went to Brandeis and his partner is Burnstein, so I’m assuming he’s Jewish.) Damian Collins was another Conservative questioner; he said his wife works at Edelman…

For more than a century now, the great ideological antagonism in Jewish life has been between Integrationists and Zionists. Integrationists said that the Jewish future lay with integrating into western societies, as Jews fully participating in western democracies.

Integrationists said we would be secure that way. Zionists said that Jews needed a nation of their own. And the Holocaust dealt a sharp reversal to the Integrationists. It said that we would never be safe. And in the 80s and 90s, I came of professional age with privileged American journalists who may have acted like Integrationists but who said stuff to me like, Will your in-laws hide you when the pogroms come? or How can we even talk about Jewish power; my wife just visited her ancestral village in Eastern Europe and even the Jewish graveyard is gone…

On the basis of such questions, Zionism thrived. We need a Jewish state because of the threat of anti-Semitism in the west.

I kept pointing out that I was happily making my way in a mixed Jewish-Christian world. The late Tony Judt– who was as stunned by this social integration as I was– said that Jewish nationalism was a 19th century anachronism.

And still we lost the argument. Fears of assimilationism played into this. For years the Jewish community was rocked by the National Jewish Population Survey of 1990, showing that more than half of young Jews were marrying outside the faith. The Jewish community fought the truth of that survey for years. With the Jewish day school movement, with Zionism, with elevating such race-men as Jeffrey Goldberg to be the spokesmen for the community.

In the end the nationalists will lose. They will lose because young Jews believe in integrationism, and more than believe in it, they live it. They are our living history, they are following Rabbi Hillel’s great commandment, to Be Here Now (If not now, when, as he put it). They will change American and Jewish tradition, and in time too, the oars on the lake.

‘New Israel Fund’ explains why it opposes BDS

Jul 20, 2011

Naomi Paiss

Lately Samah Sabawi offered a critique of the New Israel Fund‘s stance on boycott-divestment-sanctions at this site. A response from NIF:

The article by Samah Sabawi, regarding Professor Naomi Chazan’s visit to Australia and our organization’s stance on global BDS, deserves response.

The New Israel Fund arrived at its current BDS policy after much thoughtful debate within our broad-based family of organizations and stakeholders. We do not fund organizations with global BDS programs, although organizations involved in specific boycotts of settlement goods and services are not disqualified from funding.

Contrary to the implications of Ms. Sabawi’s article, NIF does not oppose global BDS to retain “privilege” for Israel’s Jewish majority. We are on record time and time again as insisting on full equality for Israel’s minority Palestinians. We are on record time and time again against the occupation and the settlement enterprise. We were the first funder of civil rights organizations representing Israel’s Palestinian minority and we continue to support those groups despite the extraordinary controversy it entails from those who do not understand why we would fund organizations that reject the Zionist narrative.

We believe that global BDS is a counter-productive and inflammatory strategy, for the reasons Professor Chazan discussed exhaustively in Australia and elsewhere. We think that both the proponents and antagonists of the global BDS movement exaggerate its impact to elevate their own ideologies and the threats of their opponents; as a study by The Forward demonstrated, global BDS has created a lot of heat but very little light. That said, Professor Chazan acknowledged in Australia that it is generally a legitimate, non-violent tool of democratic action. It is not one that we support or fund. We are not “aggressively campaigning” against the global BDS movement – it is a distraction from our job of serious social change in Israel. Every organization working in Israel sooner or later faces the BDS question, and we’ve answered that question to our own, if not to everyone’s, satisfaction. We surely are not defending the American arms industries! We are going about our business, painfully difficult and challenging now, of strengthening Israeli democracy and supporting hundreds of organizations and thousands of activists working in dozens of sectors for equality and justice.

Professor Chazan, a renowned political scientist, would be very capable of making the case that being attacked from all sides is the lot in life of any broad-based, nuanced, big-tent organization or mission. Our principles are clear (http://www.nif.org/about/new-israel-fund-principles) and will not suit everyone. Global BDS is a strategy, and one that we do not believe will bring about the desired result of an egalitarian and just Israel existing alongside an egalitarian and just Palestine.

It is fair to differ with us on our strategic analysis. It is not fair to characterize Professor Chazan, a human rights activist for her entire career, as an “enabler” of inequality. The venomous criticism she has endured, particularly in the past two years, for her bravery and leadership deserve respect, even from her ideological adversaries. Professor Chazan and the New Israel Fund respect civil discourse and empower the disempowered to find and use their voices, even when their conclusions differ from ours.

We ask the same in return.

Naomi Paiss is Director of Communications for the New Israel Fund.

 

Would the South be free if Freedom Riders had experienced a media blackout in the north?

Jul 20, 2011

Philip Weiss

Why isn’t the New York Times doing this cutting-edge  journalism? Harriet Sherwood of the Guardian goes out with Gaza fishing boats to see what they are up against, and as Israeli gunboats close in on them inside Gazan waters she files a bunch of frightening tweets. If the Times did this kind of journalism, it might actually help the poor fishermen of Gaza! A couple tweets. From today!!

IDF coming very close. Sirens. Banking hard causing a lot of backwash for our small motor boat…

6 or 7 troops on bridge, all armed. We have cut our engines…

IDF still firing on Oliva the human rights boat. They are trying to drown it says my translator…

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

Erdogan to IsraHell–”Apologise for flotilla deaths or I go to Gaza”

NOVANEWS

In announcing his intention to visit the Gaza Strip, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, has raised the stakes in an ongoing crisis with Israel, observers say.

Quoting unnamed foreign ministry sources in Ankara, the Turkish daily Radikal reported yesterday that Turkish diplomats had told their Israeli counterparts they expected an Israeli apology for the death of nine Turkish activists during a raid on a flotilla of ships carrying aid for Gaza last year by July 27.

That day, a panel of the United Nations is expected to publish its report on the Israeli raid. In case Israel does not issue an apology before that date, Turkish-Israeli relations could sink even deeper into crisis, Radikal said. “If Israel apologises, [Mr Erdogan’s] Gaza trip will not take place,” the paper reported. There was no official comment on the newspaper story.

Mr Erdogan told reporters on Tuesday that he intended to visit the Gaza Strip after a visit to Egypt, which is expected to take place next month. He said the Turkish foreign ministry was looking into arranging the Gaza trip.

Celalettin Yavuz, the deputy director of the Turkish Centre for International Relations and Strategic Analysis, a think tank in Ankara, said Mr Erdogan’s announcement stood for a new, tougher style of foreign policy. By entering Gaza from Egypt, Mr Erdogan would in effect break the Israeli blockade of the area, Mr Yavuz said by telephone yesterday.

“Either Israel apologises by July 27 and Erdogan will not go to Gaza via Israel, or Israel does not apologise, and then tensions will rise further,” Mr Yavuz said. “It is too early to tell what will happen.”

He said Mr Erdogan’s government had concluded that Turkey’s foreign-policy approach of recent years, which sought to address international problems like the Cyprus conflict with “goodwill”, had failed to produce tangible results. That is why Mr Erdogan had started to follow a tougher line.

Earlier this week, the Turkish prime minister ruled out further Turkish concessions to overcome the division of Cyprus, even though the conflict on the Mediterranean island has slowed down Turkey’s bid to join the European Union. Mr Erdogan also said Turkey would freeze relations with the EU during the second half of next year, when the Greek republic of Cyprus will hold the bloc’s rotating presidency. Last week, Mr Erdogan refused to meet Stefan Fule, the EU’s enlargement commissioner.

In the case of Israel, Mr Erdogan was aware that a confrontational style benefited him both domestically and among many governments in the Middle East, Mr Yavuz said. “Every now and then, he plays this card.” But too much public pressure on Israel carried the risk of making an Israeli apology less likely, Mr Yavuz added.

Mr Erdogan’s announcement of his planned visit to Gaza came at a time when Turkish diplomats were expressing optimism about a solution of the row.

“I would be surprised if there were no apologies since both sides have the political will to resolve this crisis,” ambassador Ozdem Sanberk, a Turkish member of the UN panel probing the Israeli raid, said earlier this week, according to the Agence France-Presse news agency. “We are heading toward a solution probably toward the end of the month.”

Israeli officials, including the foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, have said publicly that Israel will not apologise. But Israeli officials also acknowledge that upgrading relations with Ankara was a high diplomatic priority and that Israel would benefit from a return to the close ties the countries had before a series of crises that started with Israel’s military operation in Gaza in late 2008.

Turkey showed its willingness to improve ties with Israel by putting pressure on a controversial aid organisation in Istanbul not to take part in this year’s second Gaza flotilla. As a result, the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, or IHH, pulled out of the project last month.

On Tuesday, Israeli forces intercepted a French ship heading for Gaza. Fifteen passengers, along with an Israeli journalist, on board the Dignity Al Karama were arrested and were to be deported yesterday.

Posted in TurkeyComments Off on Erdogan to IsraHell–”Apologise for flotilla deaths or I go to Gaza”

Video shows Zio-Nazi officer pointing loaded gun at unarmed Palestinian

NOVANEWS

YouTube video uploaded by B’Tselem shows Zio-Nazi officer cocking his gun and pointing it at a Palestinian man during an Zio-Nazi operation in the West Bank; Zio-Nazi’s says will open investigation into the matter.??

According to B’Tselem, a human rights organization that uploaded the video, on June 18  Zio-Nazi army came to arrest a Palestinian youth from the legally  occupied village for allegedly throwing stones when his cousin stopped Zio-Nazi officer to try to prevent the arrest.    

The video shows the Gestapo officer, a First Lieutenant, shouting and pushing the Palestinian man and then immediately cocking his loaded gun into the man’s face. When the man continued to fight with him, Zio-Nazi officer again pointed the gun at him.    

The Zio-Nazi Spokesperson said in response, “On the surface this looks like a serious incident. The incident will be brought to the attention of the commanders and simultaneously an investigation will be opened on the matter.” ??

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Video shows Zio-Nazi officer pointing loaded gun at unarmed Palestinian

Attorney General to Naziyahu: Apologize to Turkey or face indictments for Zio-Nazi troops

NOVANEWS

Sources say Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein believes apology would convince Turkey not to file lawsuits against IDF officers who took over the Mavi Marmara in 2010.

Haaretz

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has advised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel should apologize for the deadly takeover of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship last year, in which nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists were killed, sources in Jerusalem said Thursday.

According to the sources, Weinstein believes the UN investigation into the 2010 flotilla incident might prompt lawsuits against IDF soldiers. Therefore, he recommends reaching an understanding with Turkey, even if that means issuing an apology. The Justice Department declined to comment on these details.

The sources added that Weinstein believes that if Turkey promises not to file lawsuits against IDF soldiers and officers that took part in the Marmara interception, Israel should consider apologizing for operational mistakes and misuse of force. The suggested apology would be a general one, and would not apply to stopping the flotilla or the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Although the UN investigation is expected to find the naval blockade legal, it is likely to determine that the Israeli commando soldiers used excessive force while intercepting the ship. The investigation mentions autopsy reports which claim that the activists killed were shot several times.

The UN report is expected to be published on July 27 in New York. The report’s release has been delayed several times due to pressure from the United States, who is worried that the ongoing crisis between Israel and Turkey will harm its interests in the Middle East.

Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who has led negotiations with Turkey over the last few weeks, adamantly opposes any kind of apology to Turkey, a view shared by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Ya’alon believes that even if Israel apologizes, citizens from Turkey or other countries could still file lawsuits against IDF soldiers and officers.

Posted in TurkeyComments Off on Attorney General to Naziyahu: Apologize to Turkey or face indictments for Zio-Nazi troops

Supporters worry about muting of pro-IsraHell media voice

NOVANEWS

Backers of Israel worried that a diminished Murdoch presence may mute the strongly pro-Israel voice of many of the publications he owns.

jpost.com

WASHINGTON — Pro-Israel leaders in the United States, Britain and Australia are warily watching the unfolding of the phone-hacking scandal that is threatening to engulf the media empire of Rupert Murdoch, founder of News Corp.

Murdoch’s sudden massive reversal of fortune — with 10 top former staffers and executives under arrest in Britain for hacking into the phones of public figures and a murdered schoolgirl, and paying off the police and journalists — has supporters of Israel worried that a diminished Murdoch presence may mute the strongly pro-Israel voice of many of the publications he owns.

“His publications and media have proven to be fairer on the issue of Israel than the rest of the media,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice-chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “I hope that won’t be impacted.”

Murdoch’s huge stable encompasses broadsheets such as The Wall Street Journal, the Times of London and The Australian, as well as tabloids, most notably The Sun in Britain and the New York Post. It also includes the influential Fox News Channel in the United States and a 39 percent stake in British Sky Broadcasting, or BSkyB, a satellite broadcaster. Murdoch founded the neoconservative flagship The Weekly Standard in 1995, and sold it last year.

Jewish leaders said that Murdoch’s view of Israel’s dealings with the Palestinians and with its Arab neighbors seemed both knowledgeable and sensitive to the Jewish state’s self-perception as beleaguered and isolated.

“My own perspective is simple: We live in a world where there is an ongoing war against the Jews,” Murdoch said last October at an Anti-Defamation League dinner in his honor. “When Americans think of anti-Semitism, we tend to think of the vulgar caricatures and attacks of the first part of the 20th century. Now it seems that the most virulent strains come from the left. Often this new anti-Semitism dresses itself up as legitimate disagreement with Israel.”

Murdoch, 80, has visited Israel multiple times and met with many of its leaders. In 2009 he was honored by the American Jewish Committee.

“In the West, we are used to thinking that Israel cannot survive without the help of Europe and the United States,” he said at the AJC event. “Tonight I say to you, maybe we should start wondering whether we in Europe and the United States can survive if we allow the terrorists to succeed in Israel. “

Leaders of a number of pro-Israel groups declined to comment for this story because of Murdoch’s current difficulties. On Tuesday he and his son, James, testified before a parliamentary committee in London.

Murdoch also has been seen as a friend of the Jews in the Diaspora, even though Fox has irritated the Jewish establishment for championing at times what many Jews perceive as the margins of right-wing thinking — for instance, when Fox host Bill O’Reilly defended Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie “The Passion of the Christ.”

When some Jewish organizational leaders complained that Fox talk show host Glenn Beck was relying on anti-Semitic tropes in peddling discredited theories about liberal billionaire financier George Soros, Murdoch nudged Fox chief Roger Ailes into meetings with Jewish leaders. Beck left Fox last month.

Murdoch’s affection for Israel arose less out of his conservative sensibility than from his native Australian sympathy for the underdog fending off elites seized by conventional wisdoms, according to Isi Liebler, a longtime Australian Jewish community leader who now lives in Israel.

“From my personal communications with him, it’s something that built up,” Liebler told JTA. “He’s met Israelis, he’s been to Israel, he’s seen Israel as the plucky underdog when the rest of the world saw Israel as an occupier.”

Australian Jews noted the pro-Israel cast of Murdoch’s papers as early as the 1970s, before he had established ties with the Jewish community. The word from inside his company was that Israel was an issue that he cared about, which helped shape its coverage in his media properties.

Robert Fisk, a veteran Middle East correspondent and a fierce critic of Israel who worked for the Murdoch-owned Times of London from 1981 until 1988, eventually quit and moved to The Independent because of what he said was undue editorial interference in his writing. Recalling those days, Fisk said Murdoch’s influence trickled down through editors who understood that he wanted his media to reflect his outlook.

“I don’t believe Murdoch personally interfered in any of the above events,” Fisk wrote recently in The Independent, describing the decisions that drove him away from the Times. “He didn’t need to. He had turned The Times into a tame, pro-Tory, pro-Israeli paper shorn of all editorial independence.”

In recent days, Murdoch has appeared wan and battered by the crisis that already has shut down a flagship paper, The News of the World, and scuttled his takeover plans for BSkyB.

The question now circulating in pro-Israel circles is whether the empire’s pro-Israel stance will survive Murdoch.

“Is this curtains for pro-Israel Murdoch?” the London Jewish Chronicle asked in a column last week.

An account of a clash over Israel between Murdoch and his son and heir apparent was first published in the diaries of Labor Party publicist Alastair Campbell and has splashed through pro- and anti-Israel blogs in recent days.

Campbell, in an account republished last week in The Guardian, which has led the coverage of the phone-hacking charges, described a dinner at 10 Downing St., the British prime minister’s residence, in 2002, when Tony Blair — also seen as pro-Israel — was its occupant.

“Murdoch said he didn’t see what the Palestinians’ problem was and James said it was that they were kicked out of their f—ing homes and had nowhere to f—ing live,” the account in The Guardian said. Murdoch chided his son for using foul language in the prime minister’s home.

Liebler said that from what he understood, the incident was an anomaly and one that emerged during one of the most intense periods of Israeli-Palestinian clashes.

“He’s had differences with his son on many issues, and this happened once and it went off the map,” Liebler said. “I don’t think it was anything fundamental.”

Posted in UKComments Off on Supporters worry about muting of pro-IsraHell media voice

Hillary Cracks the Whip

NOVANEWS 

Philip Giraldi

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was at it again last week. She was in Turkey attending a NATO gathering dealing with what to do about the succession in Libya, based on the perhaps erroneous assumption that Muammar Gadhafi is on his way out. Clinton and NATO decided, based on their own admittedly partial view of the situation, that the Gadhafi regime is no longer legitimate and that the rebels who are trying to topple him are now to be regarded as the legal government. The “international recognition” will enable them to use the roughly $30 billion in frozen Libyan government assets, mostly located in American and European banks. Hopefully, things will go better than they did in Iraq back in 2003. Washington sent in a proconsul supported by a host of neocon Myrmidons to make sure things would run smoothly. More than $20 billion of Iraqi state “reconstruction” funds were unfrozen and then went missing after liberation took place. The Iraqi people are still waiting for the electricity to come back on.

Clinton also took some heavy-handed swipes at Syria, making clear that both she and her boss want to see regime change. Three hundred fifty representatives of Syrian dissident groups were perhaps not coincidentally present in Istanbul for a “National Salvation Conference,” so Clinton took the opportunity to denounce President Bashar al-Assad’s government as having “lost legitimacy.” The White House backed up Clinton’s possibly impromptu comment, and over at Foggy Bottom, Victoria Nuland, the State Department’s neoconnish press spokeswoman, made the case more explicitly, denouncing “a Syrian government that continues to beat, imprison, torture, slaughter its own people.”

If Syria sounds like any number of regimes that the United States has quite comfortable relationships with, it should. While it would seem that international conferencing and seeking to overthrow two regimes would make for a busy weekend for even the most peripatetic secretary of state, Hillary also decided to take on her host, Turkey. She lauded Muslim Turkey as a model for the future development of Arab Spring states but then whacked its government for imprisoning journalists. Whoever was briefing her from her staff or from the Embassy evidently neglected to describe how Turkey has a wide open and fairly raucous press that often is very critical of the government. Most of the 60 detained journalists are reported to have close and continuing ties with separatist groups, including the terrorist Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). Others are believed to be linked to right-wing extremists who have been advocating a military coup to overthrow the civilian government. Turkish sources make clear that there is little doubt that the authorities have quite likely overreacted and used sometimes flimsy evidence to concoct their cases against at least some of the journalists, but the political engagement of many of those arrested might suggest that there is more to the story than meets the eye.

I will confess right here that I have a particular fondness for Turkey, having lived and worked there, and I continue to have many close Turkish friends. Turks are particularly stubborn and extremely loyal, but my recent trips to the country have revealed that they are also utterly fed up with United States policies in the region. The Turkish media is full of the latest missteps by Washington, with particular emphasis on how the entire Near East has been destabilized through U.S. military action and the “war on terror.” Even shopkeepers are caught up in the outrage. On my last visit I was harangued for 30 minutes on U.S. policy by a rug merchant whom I have known for 30 years, a man who has visited the United States and who has many American friends. Even though I agreed with nearly everything he said, he insisted on explaining things in some detail “in his own words,” a prolonged tale of Washington’s arrogance and ignorance.

The U.S. media fans the flames and reciprocates by frequently reporting on Washington’s disenchantment with Turkey and the direction it is moving in, but they are really only expressing their own biases, which are generally measured through their consideration of what Israel appears to want. Recently, two American senators have indicated that they will work to derail any planned NATO missile defense deployment in Turkey unless Ankara agrees to share all information with Israel. Perhaps someone should point out to Sens. Jon Kyl and Mark Kirk that Israel is not a member of NATO and is not in any formal alliance, with the United States or anyone else. Which means that the United States would be compelling NATO to participate in the defense of Israel without any apparent reciprocity on the part of Tel Aviv.

In the middle of all the finger pointing, the United States seems to have lost sight of its own national interest. It is true that Turkey did not support the invasion of Iraq, but it was the right decision not to do so. If a few more countries had also said “no,” perhaps the United States would not have killed a couple of hundred thousand people and wasted more than $1 trillion dollars while accomplishing absolutely nothing.

It is also true that Turkey has condemned Israeli policies and its occupation of the Palestinian territories, but most of the world would consider that a perfectly legitimate viewpoint. Turkey is also derided for becoming more religious even though most of its people have always been devout, and the open expression of belief is also part of its becoming more democratic. In addition, the mainstream media frequently claims that Ankara is soft on Iran sanctions and aligning culturally and politically with its eastern neighbors. Critics forget that Turkey’s attempts to become part of the European Union have been consistently rejected while the country itself is geographically mostly in Asia and sharing borders and trade relationships with quite a lot of the rest of it, including Iran.

To my mind, Turkey is far too nice to Hillary and to Washington. Rather than be lectured, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan might suggest that Clinton go away and find another bone to chew. If the Middle East is in a catastrophic state, it is precisely because of Washington’s meddling and its perennial tilt toward Israel. Erdogan might note that Turkey’s economy is booming because it takes pains to remain on good terms with everyone, and he might reasonably ask why Washington cannot recognize its own failure to put its house in order. How many congressmen are suggesting that the costs of empire be cut to help pass a federal government budget? Only a handful, while to virtually everyone else in the world watching the spectacle of American impotence on display, the mailed fist and the angry frown of Hillary Clinton are what the United States represents.

What is going on in Syria is another poster child for what is wrong. I have no particular insight into what is occurring in Syria except for my belief that the United States government quite likely knows little about what is taking place and is probably wildly wrong about what the dissidents represent and what they would be likely to do if they were to seize power. There might be a few Patrick Henrys among them ready to go all out for the cause, but I doubt there is a Thomas Jefferson who can pick up the pieces and put Humpty Dumpty back together. Would a destabilized Syria be a precondition for an Israeli attack supported by Washington? You heard it here first.

In the case of Syria, the United States has made plain right from the get-go that it is supporting dissidents through training and provision of technology and infrastructure to enable them to communicate and organize. On July 7, U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford traveled with full ambassadorial entourage to the city of Hama, believed to be a hotbed of resistance to the government. He did so to express his support for the rebels. When he returned to Damascus, an angry crowd, no doubt egged on by the regime, attacked and entered the U.S. Embassy and was eventually driven out of the building by the Marine guards. At the end of it all, it was difficult to discern what the ambassador’s trip was intended to do apart from increase tension. It did produce a tit-for-tat that benefited neither Washington nor Damascus, nor, insofar as can be determined, the rebels or reformers, depending on how one regards them.

The examples of Libya, Syria, and Turkey reveal that the United States persists in thinking that it can lead the world by intimidation rather than by example. One hesitates to construct an analogy, but if the ambassador of an unfriendly country, Venezuela perhaps, were to publicly announce that his country would support separatists in the United States with training and communications equipment and, furthermore, that he would travel to attend an anti-government rally in Texas or Alaska, it would certainly cause considerable heartburn, and I can well imagine President Barack Obama taking aggressive steps to stop the activity. The United States is ever the proverbial pot calling the kettle black, acting out in ways that it denies to others. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are no strangers to the word “hypocrisy” in their dealings all around the world. Yes, it is certainly true that people are protesting and dying in Syria, but it is not our quarrel. It is something that the Syrians themselves will have to sort out.

But perhaps there is a more fundamental question. Who is Hillary Clinton to pronounce on the legitimacy of any foreign government? Victoria Nuland’s condemnation of Syria cites “beating, imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering,” but doesn’t Washington do all of that and more? Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, CIA secret prisons, and Predator drone strikes surely tell the tale. No other government claims that it has the right to kill its own citizens anywhere in the world based on secret evidence. Isn’t it time for Washington to recognize that it has become a rogue state and for Hillary to come home, sit down, and stop talking?

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US fleet may quit troubled Bahrain

NOVANEWS

 

THE US Navy is looking at plans to move its Fifth Fleet away from Bahrain amid fears over violence and continued instability in the Gulf kingdom.

Sources in Washington and the Gulf have confirmed a growing consensus around the idea of relocating the fleet after the recent crackdown on anti-government protests that left at least 32 dead.

Politicians in Washington are concerned the navy’s continued presence a few kilometres from the centre of the capital Manama lends tacit support to Bahrain’s suppression of the opposition, amid allegations of systematic human rights abuses.

“There was talk on Capitol Hill about moving the fleet within days of the protests breaking out, and that increased in March and April as people realised that what was happening in Bahrain ran counter to our interests,” one source said.

The Fifth Fleet is a key component of US military power in the Gulf. Possible alternative locations include the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. However, neither has the current capacity for the fleet and a potential move remains some years off.

The UAE is considered the most likely destination. The US already moors its aircraft carriers at Dubai’s main port, Jebel Ali, and has other military capabilities in the country.

Qatar would offer a logistical link with the large US airbase in the emirate. A new port under construction outside Doha has been expanded to include a naval base adjoining the commercial port, though sources in the Qatari capital say the port is being built to accommodate the domestic navy and “occasional visitors”.

The US Navy has little desire to move, fearing the operation would be costly and pose a logistical nightmare. The fleet comprises 40 vessels and close to 30,000 personnel. But among naval commanders there is an acceptance that political pressure could force the transition.

“This decision may well rest with the Department of State rather than Defence,” said Chris Le Miere at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

Offsetting the Pentagon’s concerns over cost, sources in the Gulf believe that the UAE and Qatar could launch a bidding war to secure the fleet if Washington signalled it was ready to move.

The damage to Bahrain’s reputation would be enormous were the fleet to leave. The kingdom and its ruling Al Khalifa family have been staunch allies of Washington and the US has had a permanent naval presence in Bahrain since the 1970s, with the Fifth Fleet providing a crucial bulwark against Iranian influence in the region.

Among other duties, US and allied ships based in the kingdom secure the Straits of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Gulf through which 40 per cent of the world’s seaborne oil passes. Iran has often threatened to close the straits. The final decision will be taken in Washington, but Britain will have a say, supporting as it does coalition efforts in counter-piracy from Bahrain. Britain has minesweepers, destroyers and a submarine based in Bahrain.

Relations between Washington and Bahrain have been tested since Shia-led protests broke out across the kingdom in February demanding democratic reforms from the Sunni government. Washington was caught off-guard in March when Saudi Arabia sent troops into Bahrain to support a crackdown. Calls from the US State Department to halt the deployment were rebuffed by Riyadh.

Riyadh’s increasing influence is likely to provoke further suppression of the Shia and renewed unrest — giving the US greater incentive to leave.

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Iran claims to have shot down U.S. spy drone over nuclear site

NOVANEWS


Report comes a day after Iran confirmed it was installing a new generation of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges.

Reuters

Iran has shot down an unmanned U.S. spy plane over its Fordu nuclear site, a state-run website reported on Wednesday, a day after it confirmed it was installing a new generation of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges.

“An unmanned U.S. spy plane flying over the holy city of Qom near the uranium enrichment Fordu site was shot down by the Revolutionary Guards’ air defense units,” MP Ali Aghazadeh Dafsari was quoted as saying by the Youth Journalists Club, affiliated to Iran’s state TV.

“The plane … was trying to collect information about the site’s location ,” he said, without giving details. He did not say when the incident happened.

The Fordu site, secretly built inside a mountain bunker near Qom, was acknowledged by Iran only after Western intelligence agencies identified it in 2009.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast on Tuesday appeared to confirm a Reuters story last week that Iran was installing two more advanced models of the centrifuges used to refine uranium for large-scale testing at a research site.

In January Iran announced it had shot down two unmanned western reconnaissance drone aircraft in the Gulf.

The Pentagon denied that report but acknowledged some spy planes had crashed in the past due to mechanical failure.

Iran is at odds with major powers over its nuclear work, which the United States and its allies say are intended to enable Iran to produce bombs. Iran denies the allegations and 
says it wants only to generate electricity.

The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to end the nuclear row.

Iran has dismissed reports of possible U.S. or Israeli plans to strike Iran, warning that it will respond by attacking U.S. interests in the Gulf and Israel if any such assault was made.

Analysts say Tehran could retaliate by launching hit-and-run strikes in the Gulf and by closing the Strait of Hormuz. About 40 percent of all traded oil leaves the Gulf region through the strategic waterway.

Iran often launches military drills in the country to display its military capabilities amid persistent speculation about a possible U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

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Syria warns U.S., French ambassadors not to leave Damascus

NOVANEWS

Move comes after the envoys angered Assad regime by visiting Hama, the center of the country’s four-month-old uprising.

Haaretz

Syria warned the American and French ambassadors Wednesday not to travel outside the capital without permission, two weeks after they angered the regime by visiting a city that has become the center of the country’s four-month-old uprising.

If the U.S. and French envoys disobey the order, Syria will ban all diplomats from leaving Damascus, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said during a lecture at Damascus University.

Syrian pro-government supporters carrying pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad during a sit-in in front of the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria, May 11, 2011.

“We did not evict the two ambassadors because we want the relations to develop in the future and in order for their governments to review their stances toward Syria,” al-Moallem said.

“If these acts are repeated, we will impose a ban preventing (diplomats) from going more than 25 kilometers (15 miles) outside Damascus,” he said.

Syria has come under withering international criticism and sanctions for its crackdown, which activists say has killed some 1,600 people, most of them unarmed protesters.

The regime has banned nearly all foreign media and restricted media coverage, making it nearly impossible to independently verify events on the ground.

On July 7 and 8, U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford and French Ambassador Eric Chevallier traveled to Hama, about 125 miles (200 kilometers) north of the capital, in separate trips to express support for the Syrian people to demonstrate peacefully. The State Department said friendly Syrians welcomed Ford and lavished his car with flowers and olive branches.

Hama residents told The Associated Press that the visits helped prevent attacks by security forces.

But the regime seized on Ford’s visit to insist that foreign conspirators are behind the unrest, not true reform-seekers. Relations between the U.S.¬ and Syria are chronically strained over Assad’s ties with Iran. Within hours of the visit being made public, regime supporters attacked the U.S. and French embassies in Damascus, smashing windows and painting graffiti.

Three French Embassy workers were injured.

Also Wednesday, Syrian security forces swept through restive neighborhoods, detaining dozens of people … including a key opposition figure, activists said.

Security forces targeted suburbs of Damascus and the central city of Homs, which has seen some of the most intense and sustained violence in recent days.

Up to 50 people have been killed there since Saturday, according to activists and witnesses. The figure could not be verified.

George Sabra, who heads the outlawed National Democratic Party, was picked up from his home in the Damascus suburb of Qatana, said the Local Coordination Committees, which help organize and document the protests in Syria. It was the second time that Sabra has been arrested since the uprising began.

In Homs, a father and his four sons were among those pulled from their homes overnight, said an activist in the city. He asked that his name not be published for fear of reprisals.

He added that soldiers and armored personnel carriers were patrolling the city, along with plainclothes security agents carrying automatic rifles.

Also Wednesday, authorities released prominent political activist Ali Abdullah of the Damascus Declaration opposition group, three days after he was taken from his home near Damascus, the Local Coordination Committees said.

Abdullah, who has spent years in jail in the past, was released due to bad health, the group said. The 61-year-old underwent heart surgery earlier this month.

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