Archive | August 4th, 2011

Libya: Amnesty International Reports

NOVANEWS

Claims Gaddafi Given “Clean Bill of Health” Debunked

By Gordon Duff, Senior Editor

(Full Amnesty International Links Below)

It isn’t often I find myself in line with Newsweek or the New York Times but Libya is just such an occasion.

This is a complex issue, one few understand, least of all many of those who believe they are reporting on Libya for the alternative press.  They simply aren’t doing the work, they don’t have the resources, people on the ground there.  We do, on both sides.

Libya, under Gaddafi, is a 42 year old dictatorship run by the equivalent of the worst trade union in the world, petty thugs and secret police, armies of busybodies and informants, who spy and snitch while those who speak up disappear, end up in prison, “lost in the desert” or are butchered in the streets.

A real discussion is needed simply to get some of the liberal left back to earth. Well meaning people are being hoodwinked into taking the wrong side.  The Libya “sideshow” has been used to end any effective antiwar movement to stop Afghanistan, a very real slaughter.  This isn’t by accident.  There are certainly ways to defend Gaddafi, especially when worse is happening in Syria and Bahrain, Israel and Gaza, also, and nothing is being done.

Instead, members of sectors of the press have gone “over the top” and are peddling fantasies about Libya.  We tracked down Gaddafi’s public relations slush fund, and long ago found him to be firmly entrenched in the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party.

One of the protocols of the recent budget deal was an assurance that no military aid be given to rebels in Libya or the US would be pushed into debt default.  This was put forward by the same group of right wing extremists that demand an immediate invasion of Iran.  Who’s hand is visible in this?

This is how CNN put a spin on it:

Boehner, R-Ohio, said last week that cutting funding for the mission was an option that the Republican-controlled House will consider when it takes up a defense appropriations bill this week. He contended that President Barack Obama has failed to comply with the War Powers

Inseparable

Resolution, and that the main tool Congress has to respond is to control the spending.

Boehner, Gaddafi’s “monkeyboy” in congress is also Netanyahu’s “monkeyboy” in congress.

Gaddafi, years ago, became a neocon, aligning himself with big oil, Bush and Blair.  Gaddafi is a fascinating person, so is Hannibal Lector, but he is fictional.

People who, under any honest circumstance, would be calling for Gaddafi’s removal and free elections are now inventing wild plots, telling bizarre “Al Qaeda” scare stories, and doing hasty paraphrasing jobs of press releases.  Their new rhetoric, of course, is pure neocon bunkum.

I have two issues.  One is “spontaneous demonstrations.”  Our people inside Libya, not hotel guests eating lobster and drinking “Dom” by the magnum, put us straight long ago.  When Gaddafi wants a crowd in the streets, his thugs arrange it and anyone who doesn’t attend pays for it dearly.  The least that is done is family members are beaten.  “Journalists” who provide cover for these brutalities are not excused.

This is a real report from Libya:

Debbie, Gordon, Jim,

You have to understand how things work in Libya, Syria and other countries with similar regimes. When I was living in Libya, and many years after I stopped supporting Gaddafi, I used to go on pro-Gaddafi demonstrations and rallies. In fact, I never missed one.

That’s a fact.

The reason is simple. Every state employee (i.e. 100 per cent of the working population) had no choice but to go on these or else go to prison instead.  Here’s how it worked: you arrive at work in the morning, only to find loads of coaches parked outside. Upon entering your work premises, you will find armed security agents outside asking you to submit your work ID.

They take the ID and give you a permit to the demo in its place. You are directed to the coaches, the coaches take you to the demo and they bring you back to your work premises. Upon returning, the piece of paper you were given in lieu of your work ID is stamped and taken away, and your ID is returned to you.  If you manage to circumvent this process, one of two things will happen:

(1) You get a visit from the internal security organization (Al-Amn al-Dakhili) during the night and you are taken away. If you’re lucky, they’d beat the hell out of you and release you in a few days. If you’re unlucky, you vanish. And some people, including former work colleagues, friends and two neighbours of ours, have vanished and have never been seen again. Their only crime was not to go on a demo.

(2) You go to work the very next day and, upon arrival, you are bundled away and suffer the same fate as No. 1 above.

And what about at the pro-Gaddafi demos themselves. What happens there? From my own personal experience, when you get there you find the whole damn gathering is infested with secret police. Everyone is listening, observing, some taking notes and pictures.
If you are seen to “lack enthusiasm”, i.e. not shout slogans for hours on end, then hell is your destiny. You can guarantee — and it has happened to me three times in the late 1990s — you will get visited, again in the dead of night, questioned, questioned again and again, warned and threatened that you will be watched, and then released.
If you are married or have children, insinuations will be made about what could hypothetically happen to them.
There you have it! I am talking from my own personal, direct experience.
Regards,

(Name Withheld)

This is hardly “anecdotal,” has long been verified and all members of the media know of this.  Why would anyone cover for this kind of brutality?  This is no different than the Israeli abuses, in some ways it is even more insidious.  It is the same in Syria, it was the same in Iran under the Shah, in East Germany under the Stasi, who actually trained Gaddafi’s security forces in the first place, and it goes on around the world.  Gaddafi isn’t unique as a brutal dictator and thug, not by a long shot, but lying, lying when documentation is so easily available, who would do that?

The other is that some journalists claim Amnesty International has given Gaddafi a “clean bill of health.”  To check for yourself, this is the Libya page there: http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/libya

As a simple clarification, we will link all recent stories on Libya and we can all look for that “clean bill of health” I have read about so many times.  Perhaps on their main page there is an apology to Colonel Gaddafi.  I have yet to find it.  All articles are included, the list is, as you can easily verify, unedited.  Hundreds of charges are made and investigations are demanded.  Not all are proven true, only the vast majority.

Mispreporting such things as some have done is very suspicious.  Facts tend to totally debunk claims that Amnesty international has now rescinded its charges against Gaddafi.  In fact, a review of the documents linked below will be very enlightening.  Unless every charge made has been formally rescinded in writing, each and every one, we have journalists whose broad statements now appear to be purposefully misleading in service of an agenda very much in favor of money, power and brutality.  Nothing new there.

Libya: Renewed rocket attacks target civilians in Misratah …
24 June 2011

Forces loyal to Libyan Colonel Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi are once again targeting civilians in Misratah by firing rockets, some containing ball bearings, into the city’s …

Press Release

African Union must prioritize the protection of civilians in …
23 June 2011

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL. PUBLIC STATEMENT. 23 June 2011. AI Index: IOR 63/002/2011. African Union m ust p rioriti z e t he p rotection …

Public Statement IOR 63/002/2011

Qatar deportation of Eman al-Obeidi violates international law …
3 June 2011

Al-Obeidi, who publically accused Libyan soldiers of rape, has been deported to eastern Libya against her will.

Story

Amnesty International team from Libya available for interview
1 June 2011

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL. MEDIA ADVISORY. Date: 1 June 2011. Index: MDE 19/023/2011. Amnesty International team from Libya available for interview. …

PressItem MDE 19/023/2011

Libya: Campaign of enforced disappearances in Nafusa region must …
27 May 2011

Scores of people have vanished from Libya’s Nafusa Mountain area, apparently at the hands of forces loyal to Colonel al-Gaddafi.

Report Abstract

Libya: Disappearances in the besieged Nafusa Mountain as thousands …
27 May 2011

LIBYA DISAPPEARANCES IN THE BESIEGED NAFUSA MOUNTAIN AS THOUSANDS SEEK SAFETY IN TUNISIA. Amnesty International Publications First …

Report MDE 19/020/2011

Amnesty International report on Libya’s Nafusa Mountain released …
27 May 2011

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL MEDIA ADVISORY Date: 27 May 2011 AI Index: MDE 19/022/2011. Amnesty International report on Libya’s Nafusa Mountain released today. …

PressItem MDE 19/022/2011

Libya: Civilians at risk amid new mine threat | Amnesty …
25 May 2011

The discovery of over twenty highly explosive anti-personnel mines in Misratah raises fears of more mines being discovered in the city.

Story

G8 leaders urged to champion human rights in the Middle East and …
25 May 2011

Human rights should be at the core of the G8′s engagement with governments in the Middle East and North Africa.

Story

Al-Gaddafi arrest warrant ‘a step towards justice’ | Amnesty …
16 May 2011

The International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s request for an arrest warrant for Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi is a step towards justice for the victims of human rights …

Press Release

Al-Gaddafi arrest warrant ‘a step towards justice’ | Amnesty …
16 May 2011

International Criminal Court arrest warrants are set to be issued for Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Al-Gaddafi for crimes against humanity.

Story

Amnesty International Report 2011: State of human rights in the …
13 May 2011

People first called for fundamental change in Tunisia at the end of 2010, the year covered by Amnesty International’s latest annual worldwide survey of human rights …

Report POL 10/012/2011

Report 2011: Amnesty International at 50 says historic change on …
13 May 2011

Amnesty International’s annual report details how the rise of social media is fuelling a new activism that repressive governments are struggling to control.

Story

Al-Gaddafi’s forces carry out indiscriminate attacks in Misratah …
8 May 2011

Amnesty International today corroborated claims about the use of anti-vehicle mines in Misratah’s port by forces loyal to Colonel al-Gaddafi, as indiscriminate …

Press Release

Libya: Attacks against Misratah residents point to war crimes …
6 May 2011

Attacks by forces loyal to Colonel al-Gaddafi on civilian and residential areas of Misratah may amount to war crimes, Amnesty International said today in a new …

Press Release

Libya: Misratah – under siege and under fire
6 May 2011

The 300000 residents of Misratah, Libya’s third largest city have been living under siege and under fire since March 2011 when forces loyal to Colonel al-Gaddafi …

Report MDE 19/019/2011

Libya: Attacks against Misratah residents point to war crimes …
5 May 2011

New Amnesty International report reveals bleak situation in city besieged by forces loyal to Colonel al-Gaddafi.

Report Abstract

Libya: Further information: Four men released in Libya
26 April 2011

Four men, Zeyad Ramadan, Ghazi Ramadan, Khaled Sury and another unnamed man, were released at 9:30pm on 25 April 2011. They had been held incommunicado from 19 …

Urgent Action MDE 19/017/2011

Libya: Further information: Syrian journalist released in Libya
26 April 2011

Rana al-Aqbani, detained incommunicado since 28 March 2011, was released at 3:30am on 17 April. Her brother Hani al-Aqbani was released several days earlier. They …

Urgent Action MDE 19/018/2011

Libya: International community must urgently increase aid to …
19 April 2011

The international community must immediately step up humanitarian aid to the Libyan city of Misratah, Amnesty International said today, as many of its residents …

Press Release

Libya: International community must urgently increase aid to …
19 April 2011

Much of Misratah remains without communications, power or water as civilians are caught up in a worsening humanitarian crisis.

Story

Killing of captives points to war crimes by Libyan government …
11 April 2011

Amnesty International has today revealed fresh evidence of extrajudicial executions apparently committed by Colonel Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi’s forces near the town of …

Press Release

Killing of captives points to war crimes by Libyan government …
11 April 2011

Amnesty International reveals fresh evidence of extrajudicial executions apparently committed by Colonel Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi’s forces.

Story

Libya: Four men held incommunicado in Libya
5 April 2011

Four men, Zeyad Ramadan, Ghazi Ramadan, Khaled Sury and another unnamed man, were arrested on 19 March in Tripoli, Libya. They are held incommunicado and as such …

Urgent Action MDE 19/016/2011

Libya: Further information: Woman detained after rape claims is …
4 April 2011

A Libyan woman, Eman al-Obaidi, who was detained after alleging that she was raped by members of Colonel Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi’s forces, has been released. She is …

Urgent Action MDE 19/015/2011

Libya: Syrian journalist and brother held in Libya
4 April 2011

A Syrian journalist and her brother have been detained incommunicado in Libya since 28 March and are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. She is accused of …

Urgent Action MDE 19/014/2011

Wire, April/May 2011. Vol. 41, issue 02
1 April 2011

1) Death and injury the order of the day 2) LiveWire: Libya; Romania; Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories; Egypt 3) Time to demand a bullet-proof Arms …

Newsletter NWS 21/002/2011

Detained female journalist interrogated on Libyan television …
1 April 2011

Campaigns; Library; For Media. Logo Skip to main content. اللغة العربية; Français; Español. Register | Login. Home; Who We …

Video Clip

Detained female journalist interrogated on Libyan television …
1 April 2011

Campaigns; Library; For Media. Logo Skip to main content. اللغة العربية. Register | Login. Home; Who We Are; How You Can Help; …

Video Clip

Libya: Woman detained after alleging rape in Libya
1 April 2011

A Libyan woman has been detained, mostly incommunicado, after alleging that she was raped by members of Colonel Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi’s forces. She is at serious …

Urgent Action MDE 19/013/2011

The Wire, April/May 2011. Vol. 41, issue 02
1 April 2011

THIS IS A DUMMY DOCUMENT USED FOR THE PURPOSES OF GAINING A DOCUMENT ID FROM SYBASE. IT WILL BE DELETED WHEN THE FINAL VERSION OF THE DOCUMENT ARRIVES.

Newsletter NWS 21/002/2011

Libya: End campaign to discredit Eman al-Obeidi | Amnesty …
31 March 2011

The Libyan authorities have been carrying out a smear campaign against Eman al-Obeidi, who is now being sued by those she says raped her.

Story

Libya: End campaign to discredit Eman al-Obeidi | Amnesty …
31 March 2011

The Libyan authorities must end their campaign to discredit Eman al-Obeidi after the government said she was being sued by the security officials who she says raped …

Press Release

Thousands stranded in ‘appalling’ conditions on Italian island …
30 March 2011

Amnesty International reveals situation facing people fleeing North Africa unrest as Silvio Berlusconi pledges to “clear Lampedusa within 48-60 hours”.

Story

Libya: Campaign of enforced disappearances must end | Amnesty …
29 March 2011

A new briefing paper reveals how Libyan security forces have carried out a campaign of disappearances in an attempt to crush opposition.

Report Abstract

Libya: Detainees, disappeared and missing
29 March 2011

In this briefing Amnesty International expresses its concern for the safety of those currently being held by forces loyal to Colonel al-Gaddafi. Many people have …

Document MDE 19/011/2011

Libya: Campaign of enforced disappearances must end | Amnesty …
29 March 2011

Libyan forces loyal to Colonel Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi have carried out a campaign of enforced disappearances in an attempt to crush growing opposition to his rule, …

Press Release

Thorough investigation urged over Libya rape case | Amnesty …
28 March 2011

The Libyan authorities must thoroughly investigate the case of a woman who said she had been raped by forces loyal to Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, Amnesty International …

Press Release

Thorough investigation urged over Libya rape case | Amnesty …
28 March 2011

Libyan authorities must investigate Eman al-Obeidi’s rape allegations, reveal her whereabouts and guarantee her safety.

Story

Libya: Journalists detained and at risk in Libya
22 March 2011

Four Al Jazeera journalists working in western Libya have been held incommunicado since they were detained while trying to leave the country two weeks ago. They …

Urgent Action MDE 19/008/2011

Q&A: Human rights and war in Libya | Amnesty International
21 March 2011

Story

Libya: Q&A: Human rights and war in Libya
21 March 2011

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS. 21 March 2011. AI Index: MDE 19/009/2011. Q&A: Human rights and war in Libya. Following …

Questions And Answers MDE 19/009/2011

Al Jazeera journalists missing in Libya must be released | Amnesty …
21 March 2011

Amnesty International has called on the Libyan authorities to release four Al Jazeera journalists held incommunicado since they were detained while trying to leave …

Press Release

Al Jazeera journalists missing in Libya must be released | Amnesty …
21 March 2011

Four journalists held incommunicado since being detained while trying to leave the country two weeks ago.

Story

Civilians must be protected during Libya military action | Amnesty …
18 March 2011

Amnesty International has today urged all parties to make the protection of civilians in Libya their top priority, after the passing of UN Security Council Resolution …

Press Release

Civilians must be protected during Libya military action | Amnesty …
18 March 2011

Amnesty International calls on any forces that may become involved in the Libya conflict to respect fully the laws of war.

Story

UN urged to put human rights first in Middle East | Amnesty …
15 March 2011

Amnesty International has asked the UN Secretary-General to do more to help combat violations in Libya and support human rights in Egypt and Tunisia.

Story

Killing of Al Jazeera journalist condemned | Amnesty International
13 March 2011

Amnesty International warns of a campaign of attacks and harassment against journalists reporting from Libya after an Al Jazeera cameraman is shot dead.

Story

Killing of Al Jazeera journalist condemned | Amnesty International
13 March 2011

Amnesty International has today condemned the killing of Al Jazeera cameraman Ali Hassan Al Jaber in Libya and warned of a campaign of attacks and harassment on …

Press Release

Libyan paramedics targeted by pro-Gaddafi forces | Amnesty …
4 March 2011

Libyan medical teams tell Amnesty International how they came under fire from pro-Gaddafi security forces while carrying out their work.

Story

Libyan paramedics targeted by pro-Gaddafi forces | Amnesty …
4 March 2011

Libyan medical teams have told Amnesty International how they came under fire from pro-Gaddafi security forces yesterday while carrying out their medical work.

Press Release

Fears grow for Libya migrants as thousands flee | Amnesty …
2 March 2011

Amnesty International has warned of a growing humanitarian crisis as thousands of migrants flee Libya during continuing unrest.

Press Release

Suspension of Libya from Human Rights Council welcomed | Amnesty …
2 March 2011

The UN General Assembly unanimously voted for the suspension following a crackdown on protesters in the country which has reportedly led to the deaths of hundreds …

Story

Unanimous Security Council vote a crucial moment for international …
28 February 2011

Council refers Libya to the International Criminal Court after a plea from the country’s own UN delegation, which says it no longer represents Col al-Gaddafi.

Story

Unanimous Security Council vote a crucial moment for international …
27 February 2011

Saturday’s Security Council referral of Libya to the International Criminal Court marks a historic moment in accountability for crimes under international law, …

Press Release

Security Council must refer Libya to International Criminal Court …
25 February 2011

Amnesty International urges the UN to act now to stop the outrageous abuses taking place on the streets of Tripoli and elsewhere in the country.

Story

Middle East and North Africa: Stop supply of arms used in protest …
25 February 2011

The violence in Libya, where hundreds have been killed, including protesters exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly, has escalated …

Action Document

Security Council must refer Libya to International Criminal Court …
25 February 2011

Amnesty International has today called on the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court and impose an immediate arms …

Press Release

Security Council and African Union failing Libyan people | Amnesty …
23 February 2011

Amnesty International has today accused the international community of failing the Libyan people in their hour of greatest need as Colonel Gaddafi threatened to …

Press Release

African Union must back up condemnation with action | Amnesty …
23 February 2011

Amnesty International has welcomed news reports that the African Union plans to send a mission to Libya, and called for the mission to include a specific investigation …

Press Release

Posted in Libya1 Comment

“My Friend Came To Me with Sadness In His Eyes”

NOVANEWS

It wasn’t about Bangladesh or Somalia but Palestine

by Eileen Fleming

Part 1:
August 2, 2011: Thanks to George and Friends with hope for Somalia

“My Friend Came to me with sadness in his eyes” but it wasn’t about Bangladesh or Somalia but Palestine

Forty years ago, on the first day of August, George Harrison and Friends and fans got together for two shows at Madison Square Garden, New York City and blew the roof off at The Concert for Bangladesh.

Everyone checked their egos at the door and in harmonious rocking solidarity with George, Ringo, Clapton, Dylan, Leon Russell, Ravi Shankar and more raised awareness and funds that were- and still are- being dispersed through UNICEF.

Today, 11 million people in and around Somalia are currently at risk of starvation amidst the worst drought to hit the nation in a generation.

The Concert for Bangladesh continues to help refugees, the hungry and homeless.

The George Harrison fund for UNICEF supports lifesaving assistance to children caught in humanitarian emergencies, not just in Bangladesh, but all countries in crisis where children are at risk.

The Concert for Bangladesh ended as George sang:

My friend came to me, with sadness in his eyes
He told me that he wanted help
Before his country dies

Such a great disaster – I don’t understand
But it sure looks like a mess
I’ve never known such distress
Now please don’t turn away,

Now it may seem so far from where we all are
It’s something we can’t neglect
It’s something I can’t neglect.

In 2003, I met a man from Palestine with sadness in his eyes.

While listening to his stories of being a 1948 refugee from the Galilee who made his way to the USA and into a Top Secret position in the Defense Industry during the Cold War, we became friends and he inspired my first book:  KEEP HOPE ALIVE


“The formula is simple and it’s reduced to four words every kid in the world knows: Tell me a story. It’s that easy.”-Don Hewitt

Excerpted from Chapter 4: BROTHER HAROLD

Jake and Harold had finished filling seven deer feeders scattered throughout their privately-held four thousand acres of wetland an hour east of Orlando, on the outskirts of the rural town of Christmas. The two men were in partnership with a group of professional businessmen, who had purchased the undeveloped acreage as an investment. Jake, Harold, and a few other partners also used the property as a hunting preserve.

While riding in a dilapidated camouflaged Jeep on the way back to camp, Harold yelled, “Hey, look! There are two deer in the clearing — nice fat does.” Jake cut the engine and the men sat in silence, watching the deer graze. Out of the thick palmettos, a twelve-point and a young buck with peach-fuzzed antlers appeared. The men watched in awe as the deer fed. When the majestic stag raised his eyes to the men and snorted, they all turned and bolted.

Further down the dirt road, Harold yelled once again, “Look, I think there is another herd way over there.”

Jake focused his cerulean eyes where Harold pointed and wryly retorted, “Harold, that’s a bunch of hogs!”

“Oh, guess my eyes aren’t what they use to be.” Harold pulled out a purple velveteen sack that enrobed his bottle of Crown Royal and asked, “Care for some sustenance, Jake?”

Jake shook his head as he lit a cigar and grabbed a Tab from the cooler at his side. “You know, Brother Harold, I cannot get my neighbor’s problem off my mind. It’s usually my patients that keep me awake. But all day, I keep seeing this poor guy’s face. He’s worried about his wife, and there is cause for concern. If that weren’t enough, he’s on this mission to help save the world. I’ve told you about all of that, remember?”

Harold snorted affirmatively, and Jake continued, “Dr. D. has more passion and commitment to social justice issues than anyone I have ever personally known. He is flying to Cairo Tuesday night, and I just told him his wife’s condition is unstable. For the past year, he has been working out a deal with the president of the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development in Kuwait. He did this while working fifty hours a week at Martin Marietta. He has this incredible vision of linking the twenty-two Arab countries via modern telecommunication systems. He rounded up nine Arab-Americans with advanced degrees and lucrative positions to quit their jobs, go back to their homeland, and help their people. This Dr. D. is an incredible person. He’s a Muslim, but he’s a better Christian than a lot of Christians I’ve known.”

“Yeah, man, I know exactly what you mean. But what I just don’t get is why those people over there keep fighting each other. If they are all so religious, why don’t they do what their religions teach and treat each other the way they want to be treated?”

Jake eased naturally into his other role of teacher and lecturer, and launched into a history lesson. “This modern conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Jews began around the turn of the twentieth century. The two groups have different religions; and do you understand that ‘Palestinian’ means Muslims, Christians, and Druze? The animosity towards Israel is not about religious differences, but about land. The UN divided the area known as Palestine into three parts in 1947: Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. This is a very small geographical area, about the size of Maryland.

“Imagine carving up the state of Maryland, forcing the folks out of their homes without paying them, and ripping up their deeds. It really is an unjust situation, and things are more out of hand all the time. This morning, when we were discussing if he should go or not, I had a sense of uneasiness that had nothing to do with doctoring. Something I can’t put my finger on, like a bad premonition — but now I am sounding like my wife!”

Brother Harold nodded and rubbed his protuberant abdomen before responding. “Well, you don’t have to be a psychic to know bad stuff will keep on happening over there. What’s the deal with the UN? Why can’t they maintain peace there?”

“Well, the United Nations was the body that carved up the borders, and that is what led to the 1948 war. In November of 1947, even though the Arab Nations disagreed with the boundary lines, the UN went ahead with their plan. You see, after the fall of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, Britain had taken control of the land via a mandate whose time had run out. With Britain withdrawing from the area, the Jewish people flooded the region, claiming not just the territory given to them by the UN, but also places like Dr. D’s hometown. It was Palestinian territory, according to the UN. Come on, why should the Palestinians have to pay the price for the Nazi’s sins?

“Imagine the outrage, and you can understand why the Arab nations that surround the area formerly known as Palestine attacked the new state of Israel. That was the war of 1948. Since then, there have been two more wars, in ’56 and ’67, and I won’t be surprised when another happens. Understand, these attackers are being born and bred in the refugee camps. Imagine being young and healthy, and having no prospects or future. There is not much else to do but make babies. And they most certainly have been busy doing that. The Palestinians no longer have a nation, so they cannot get passports to migrate elsewhere.

“The group known as Fedayeen, which means ‘self-sacrificer,’ was born in the despair of the refugee camps. These men have given up hope of returning to their homes, which mostly have been torn down and rebuilt by the Israelis now. These Fedayeen do not only sacrifice themselves; they kill innocent people. They are homicide bombers! This naturally causes retaliation, which sets into place the continuing cycle of violence and destruction.”

“So why exactly does your friend want to go back over there?”

“He is a man with a vision and a passion. He is committed to justice for both sides, and he believes he can make a positive difference. If you knew him personally, Harold, you would believe it, too.”

Harold lifted his almost empty pouch of Crown Royal and exclaimed, “Let’s toast the man, and then I’ll tell you what my daddy told me when I was a kid, when my brothers and I would get out of hand. He’d say, ‘boys, you all are going the way of Cain and Abel, and you’d better quit. For one of those boys was filled with so much hatred and jealousy that he killed the other.’

“Then my old man would be on a roll, and he’d tell us about Sarah, Abraham’s wife. And we loved to hear that part, so we’d quit our fight. You see, although Sarah was already menopaused, she still desired a child. God had even shared a laugh with her about it coming true, but just like a woman, she took the matter into her own hands, and refused to wait for the Lord to deliver. So old Sarah decided to give her maidservant to her old man, and that chick and Abraham made a kid. Everything was fine when Ishmael arrived, but only for a very short while.

“Now, although Sarah was a dried-up old crone, she, too, birthed a son, and named him after the laughter she had shared with God, but called the kid Isaac. Sarah had gotten very territorial and demanded Abraham cast out his beloved first son with his mama Haggar, into the barren wilderness, and Abraham did it! But, as God always hears the cries of mothers and sons, he promised to make a great nation from Ishmael’s descendants, too. And thus, the Arab nation was born.

“By the sixth century before Christ, the conflicts in the land were already old news, and Jeremiah warned the people that all God could see was violence and destruction in the city. Sickness and wounds were all around.

“And then my old man would get tears in his eyes and softly recite, for every misunderstanding, every condemning thought, every negative vibration, every tear torn from a heart, every time one grabbed and wouldn’t let go, and they only did it because they did not know. The Divine is within all creation and within all women and men.

And every tiny kindness you have ever done, every gentle word spoken, every time you held your tongue, every positive thought, every smile freely given, every helping hand that opens, helps bring in the kingdom. And the kingdom comes from above, and it comes from within. Imagine a kingdom of sisterhood of all creatures and all men.

Harold stroked a tear away with the velvet pouch that held his Crown Royal, drew the last swig and offered up, “Godspeed to Dr. D on his mission from God.”

Read More: 16 Days in Israel Palestine

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on “My Friend Came To Me with Sadness In His Eyes”

A Response To The Transparent Assault Against Ken O’Keefe

NOVANEWS

By: crescentandcress

M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. Associate Editor Salem-News.com

(WINDSOR, N.H.) – I am not going to claim full knowledge of all the events behind this issue. As a veteran of many political endeavors, movements and radical groups both above and below ground, however, I will comment on the realities of such smear campaigns.

First, and most important in my mind, is that Ken has certainly proven himself as the “genuine” article through all the work he has thus far accomplished with regard to Palestine and for the beautiful Palestinian people. Anyone who questions this does so with intentionally closed eyes and ears.

I defy those who are attempting to malign his character to produce any verifiable evidence in support of their malicious claims against him. To date, no one has accomplished this, let alone actually try.

Second, what is being demonstrated through this obviously orchestrated attack upon his person and his efforts is a well worn program of deceit very well known and understood by veterans such as myself. We have seen it played out over and over again.

It is commonly understood that any group of advocates and/or activists who gain public awareness for their actions and accomplishments will, without exception, be infiltrated by agents of either governments (which is the more frequent) or politically oppositional organizations.

Ken’s gained western press attention of time and time again when others tried but could not, pressuring Israel to end Human Rights
violations in Gaza by ending the several year old illegal blockade.

In fact, the more effective an organization or individual is, the greater the need these detractors have for infiltrating and destroying them. The sole intent of such infiltrations is to create dissent within the activists’ circles and diminish their effectiveness and ability to continue their work.

This is easily accomplished through rumour, innuendo, slander, libel, planting of evidence and creating illegal and harmful situations in direct opposition to the core principles and values of the organization in such a way as to bring criminal charges against members and/or the organization itself.

I could easily outline the factual scenarios supporting this for each and every activist organization I have ever worked for or with and a great many for whom I did not work. To do so, here, is not practical. Instead, I suggest anyone seriously interested merely type in Infiltration of Activist Groups into their Google search and commence reading.

Third, the fact that commenters, here, have raised the ridiculous “arguments” presented, absent any attempt to support these foolish claims with any evidence, demonstrates the standard attack used by infiltrators and their network of side promoters.

The concept of repeating a lie or lies again and again, without regard to evidence, and most commonly through pretentious “challenges” such as “How do you know he has an Irish passport?” or harping on his possession of an American passport despite the matter (of what little worth it is) having been thoroughly explained is the sort of subterfuge used by anyone who cannot honestly sustain a reasonable argument under any circumstance but who desires to create some manner of doubt about the intended target. If there is anyone out there that does not recognize the organization behind the “Birther” movement, please now fall upon your sword (or a nail studded board, or pen…).

Fourth, I can personally assure anyone with doubt that, to the degree Hamas trusts anyone not Arab or with lineage within Hamas, Ken is quite highly regarded for the work he has done for Palestine and the beautiful Palestinian people. More important, there is absolutely no question as to the regard the Palestinians hold for Ken.

Ken and the late, great Gaza Activist, Vik Arrigoni. Ken had to ID his body after his murder last April. This is who Ken is…

Having requested comment from sources I do have in both Egypt and Gaza, if Ken is banned in either country, no one seems to be aware of it, they look forward to his presence and express deep regard for his safety wherever he might be. One source, having heard a bit about this smearing, stated he is sad that such a genuinely compassionate individual has to endure this “trial by fire” but assured that his friends and family in Palestine would always, and proudly, stand with him. Far from being considered a rock star or god, they consider Ken a family member… as do I and all of his family at Salem-news (and I am certain a great many more).

Finally, Ken has learned a difficult lesson. Unfortunately, the perpetrators of this most despicable infiltration (and this is exactly what this is) have further victimized the Palestinian people in attempting to hurt Ken. Ken is going to survive this bit of nonsense precisely because the people who truly know him will stick with him and those who have or had ulterior motives will drift away. Ken will continue to do the good work while his detractors will perhaps make an attempt to glorify their positions with some cosmetic actions or simply move on, having convinced themselves of their efficacy in destroying his name. Fools that they are, they may just believe they actually have the power to do so.

To Ken: Every good organization needs a shake up at some point in order to understand itself and its true allies. These shake ups can be painful at times and self doubt can seep in. You are morally and mentally too strong to succumb to this (far stronger than they must think) and you will definitely come out on top in this matter..stronger and wiser. Don’t let the drama become your focus. Let the infiltrators dance in their illusions/delusions and sing whatever tune makes them giggle.

Don’t play into it with any written or verbal exchanges for public edification. That is what they want.. to draw you into their arena. Focus on your next effort and ignore them. Find the legal team you need and let them deal with these clowns. Your deeds are going to prove them wrong.. not your words. You are a very trusting person and that is a beautiful quality.

In fact, before this all happened, I’d no doubt that had either Judas asked, you would have taken a bullet for them. They knew this.. and they used it against you. In the real world, you have many detractors such as ShuRAT HaDin, Bibi, the Psychotic “Religious” right, and on. Every one of them will attempt to seat you with a Judas. Keep your heart open and continue to trust.. but vet carefully as you have learned that grievous harm can come, to those you love, from filth that would use your trust. You don’t have to prove anything to us or the Palestinians, Ken. We know. The people that truly matter are all behind you, beside you and with you. Shake these desert fleas and move forward.

Stay Human, Brother!!

M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D.

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Mysterious company dissolves after giving $1 million to pro-Romney PAC

NOVANEWS

Yahoo News

Did someone create a company for the sole purpose of giving to a political action committee trying to boost Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign?

That’s what it looks like. As The Ticket reported earlier this week, three firms gave $1 million apiece to Restore Our Future, a conservative “super PAC” planning to spend millions to help Romney’s White House bid.

One of those companies was W. Spann LLC, a mysterious New York-based company that apparently closed up shop last month shortly after its contribution to the pro-Romney PAC. As NBC News’s Michael Isikoff reports, the company was formed in March by Boston estate tax lawyer Cameron Casey and listed a midtown Manhattan address where the landlord says there’s no record of the firm being a tenant.

The company gave $1 million to Restore Our Future on April 28, and according to records obtained by Isikoff, dissolved on July 12th, just two weeks before the pro-Romney PAC disclosed its donors to the Federal Election Commission. There’s no indication in the records of what the company did or who its owners or principals were.

Casey did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Ticket.

As Isikoff notes, Rope & Gray, the law firm where Casey works, has previously done work for Bain Capital—where Romney used to work—but the company denies any involvement with W. Spann. The now-defunct LLC listed its address as 590 Madison, the same address where Ropes & Gray bases its New York offices.

But W. Spann isn’t the only mystery about big contributions to Restore Our Future.  As The Ticket previously reported, two other $1 million donations came from two equally mysterious companies:  Eli Publishing and F8 LLC. The two entities list the same Provo, Utah, address, according to FEC records, but there’s no indication of what the companies do.

Still, there are hints at who the companies are affiliate with. Steven Lund, head of the anti-aging company Nu Skin and a prominent Mormon, is listed as the registered agent for Eli Publishing, according to Utah corporate records. Lund has been a major financial supporter of Romney’s previous campaigns.

Restore Our Future did not respond to request for comment from The Ticket, but Charles Spies, a former Romney aide who is one of the PAC’s founders, told Isikoff the committee has no information on W. Spann LLC or any of its corporate donors–insisting they aren’t required to ask for information beyond basic FEC disclosure requirements.

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Dorothy, Work With Us to Seek Justice

NOVANEWS

Dear Dorothy,

Shakeel Syed, Grace Said, and Rabbi Brian Walt
Above from left:
Shakeel Syed, Grace Said, Rabbi Brian Walt

We, leaders in the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities, write to you at the start of the month of Ramadan, a time when practicing Muslims deepen their spiritual experience. Among other virtues, empathy toward the oppressed and the indigent is especially exercised.

At the end of August, Jews begin a 40-day period of repentance, when we examine our wrongdoing, concluding on the holiest day of the Jewish year, the fast of Yom Kippur. On that day Jews read the words of the prophet Isaiah: “This is the fast that God desires: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, to share your bread with the hungry, to take the wretched poor into your home.”

Christians often turn to fasting and repentance as a spiritual discipline in the face of injustice that draws one closer to God and to one’s neighbor suffering from injustice. Think of Cesar Chavez‘s fast for justice for farm workers and Witness Against Torture‘s fasts to protest detention and torture at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.

This Ramadan we express our empathy with the Palestinians’ decades-long quest for freedom, and work together to help end U.S. support for Israel’s denial of Palestinian human rights.

As faith leaders active in interfaith alliances, we urge you, Dorothy, to please include the US Campaign in your special giving this Ramadan and in the coming seasons of Jewish and Christian celebrationsThe US Campaign is the only national coalition that brings together a diverse membership of nearly 360 groups and 50,000 individualsto work for change in U.S. policy. 

Breaking the fast with family and friends is a centuries-old tradition that Muslims around the world are able to celebrate. But manyPalestinian Muslims cannot. Their families and friends are dispersed across the globe, prevented by Israel from returning to their homes and lands.

Many cannot even break their fast (Iftar) at sunset with loved ones from neighboring villages and towns bisected by Israel’s Apartheid Wall and roads, and by hundreds of checkpoints. And the Palestinians ofGaza have had year-round “fasting” imposed on them by Israel’s draconian siege, now in its sixth year.

Muslims traditionally give charity (zakat) to the poor in the blessed month of Ramadan. Palestinian Muslims give too, but most have been forced into dependency on foreign aid, either by Israel’s blockade of Gaza or by the tight border controls around all occupied Palestinian territories. Still others are deprived by Israel’s rejection of the refugees’ right of return — in violation of international law.

Dorothy, working together through our nationwide coalition, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, we can help change U.S. policy and break the long fast for Palestinian freedom.

Our three traditions — IslamJudaism and Christianity — all seekjustice. No religion’s faithful want to see injustice done in any part of the world, and especially not for so long in a land so dear to our three faiths. We salute the commitment by people of faith from all over the world to support freedomjustice and equality for the Palestinian people.

Please donate now, Dorothy, and help us to work for a U.S. policy that ends our country’s support for Israel’s denial of Palestinian freedom and human rights.

Shakeel Syed
Steering Committee
Member
US Campaign
Grace Said
Board Member
Friends of Sabeel
North America
Rabbi Brian Walt
Co-coordinator
Jewish Fast for Gaza

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Zio-Nazi racist Lawmakers seek to drop Arabic as one of Zionist official languages

NOVANEWS

Legislation, backed by  Zio-Nazi Kadima, Labor and Likud MKs, would make democratic rule subservient to state’s definition as ‘national home for the Jewish people.’

Haaretz

Forty lawmakers from both the coalition and opposition Wednesday submitted a proposal to the Knesset for a new Basic Law that would change the accepted definition of Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state.”

The bill, initiated by MKs Avi Dichter (Kadima ), Zeev Elkin (Likud ) and David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu ), and supported by 20 of the 28 Kadima MKs, would make democratic rule subservient to the state’s definition as “the national home for the Jewish people.”

Do you think Israel should drop Arabic as one of its official languages? Visit Haaretz.com on Facebook and share your views.

The legislation, a private member’s bill, won support from Labor, Atzamaut, Yisrael Beiteinu and National Union lawmakers.

Sources at the Knesset say the law currently has broad support, and they believe it will be passed during the Knesset’s winter session.

According to Elkin, the law is intended to give the courts reasoning that supports “the state as the Jewish nation state in ruling in situations in which the Jewish character of the state clashes with its democratic character.”

Elkin said: “The courts deal with this issue quite a lot, such as with the Law of Return as a discriminatory law.”

The bill redefines basic consensus regarding the character of the state. For example, it also proposes that Hebrew would be the only official language in Israel, as opposed to the present situation – based on current mandatory law, Arabic and English are also recognized as official languages.

The bill accords Arabic “special status,” and states that Arabic speakers “have the right to linguistic access to the services of the state, as determined by law.”

Jewish inspiration

Another clause states that Jewish law will be a source of inspiration to the legislature and the courts.

This would mean that MKs would be asked to legislate in the spirit of Jewish law, and courts to adjudicate by it in cases where no other express law exists. In the language of the bill: “If the court sees a legal question requiring a ruling, and finds no solution in legislation, custom or clear analogy, it will rule in light of the principles of freedom, justice, integrity and peace in Jewish heritage.”

The bill also calls on the state to “act to ingather the exiles of Israel and [further] Jewish settlement within it, and allocate resources to this end.”

As for other ethnic groups in Israel, according to the bill: “The state is permitted to allow a community, including people of another faith or nation, to maintain a separate community.”

Elkin says he is not concerned over the implications of the bill for the image of Israel internationally. “If we were talking about the world in which the United Nations equates Zionism with racism, there might be a problem. But today the world is ready to accept this,” he said.

As opposed to other Basic Laws, this one can only be changed by passing another Basic Law in its stead.

The bill was formulated on the initiative of, and jointly with, the Institute for Zionist Strategies, a conservative think tank.

Elkin and Rotem have supported a number of controversial pieces of legislation presented during the Knesset summer session. They include the successfully-passed Boycott Law, which calls for economic sanctions on people who boycott West Bank settlements; and laws restricting the activities of associations that oppose the existence of Israel and requiring political groups to reveal sources of funding they received from foreign countries.

In response, Kadima said that the proposed law is a private member’s bill submitted by MK Avi Dichter and not by a faction. Like every other bill, this one will also be discussed by the faction, which will then decide its position on it.

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Parole denied for Plymouth Marine in Iraq war crime

NOVANEWS

SAN DIEGO — The Navy has denied parole for a Camp Pendleton Marine convicted of murder in a major Iraq war crime case, rejecting the request by his lawyer who had argued that he should be released because of an error at his 2007 trial.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy Juan Garcia said Tuesday that parole at this time would be “premature” for Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III, who is set to be released in July 2015 at the earliest. Hutchins was convicted for leading an eight-man squad that kidnapped an Iraqi man from his home in the village of Hamdania in 2006, marched him into a ditch and killed him.

Garcia said he thoroughly reviewed the case and commended Hutchins for his good behavior during his jail time, which he called “evidence of his rehabilitative desire.”

But “the offenses for which Pvt. Hutchins was convicted require his continued confinement to ensure he is sufficiently punished and to deter others from similar conduct,” Garcia said in a statement.

Hutchins, 26, of Plymouth, Mass., has spent more than fours years in a military prison for the killing. He led the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment squad that prosecutors said was on a mission to find an insurgent.

When they failed to find the suspect at his home, prosecutors said, they went to a nearby house and pulled out a retired Iraqi policeman, killed him and then planted an AK-47 and a shovel to make the 52-year-old look like an insurgent planting a bomb.

Navy officials said he was denied parole because of the severity of the crime and the deceptiveness in trying to cover it up. The six other Marines and a Navy corpsman in his squad served less than 18 months.

The decision was the latest turn in the case. Hutchins was released last year after a military court threw out his conviction and ruled he had received an unfair trial because his previous lawyer left the case only weeks before the court-martial began.

The military’s highest court disagreed and said the error was not serious enough to warrant a new trial. That court reinstated the conviction, and the Marine Corps sent Hutchins back to the brig in February to complete his 11-year sentence after he spent eight months working at Camp Pendleton at a desk job.

Hutchins had written a letter given to the Navy Clemency and Parole board in which he had said he was deeply sorry for what happened and has suffered nightmares and anxiety because of the death.

His lawyer, Marine Reserve Maj. Babu Kaza, said the decision was politically motivated and not based on justice.

Kaza said he planned to fight the case in military court, arguing that Navy Secretary Ray Mabus illegally interfered in the case and influenced officers under him to rule against Hutchins’ release.

Mabus has said that the killing did not happen in the fog of battle, but was a carefully planned attack and cover-up.

“This outcome shows that for Hutchins, the military justice system has been subordinated to politics, which is a travesty as a matter of constitutional due process,” Kaza said.

Kaza had argued that Hutchins was an outstanding Marine during his release and deserved to be freed. He also argued that Hutchins’ family has suffered enough: Hutchins has a young daughter and a pregnant wife.

His wife, Reyna Hutchins, said that her family was devastated by the decision.

“I spoke with my husband shortly after he was informed of the results and he is heartbroken and was in tears on the phone,” she said. “We are very sad that he will be missing the birth of his son, he is so happy and excited about this baby and it breaks his heart knowing that he can’t be there for me during the complicated pregnancy that I am having. I told Larry to stay strong and not to cry, this isn’t the end.”

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Meet the Right-Wing Hatemongers Who Inspired the Norway Killer

NOVANEWS

Why were America’s Islamophobes able to avoid accountability for so long?

By Max Blumenthal

Few political terrorists in recent history took as much care to articulate their ideological influences and political views as Anders Hans Breivik did. The right-wing Norwegian Islamophobe who murdered 76 children and adults in Oslo and at a government-run youth camp spent months, if not years, preparing his 1,500 page manifesto.

Besides its length, one of the most remarkable aspects of the manifesto is the extent to which its European author quoted from the writings of figures from the American conservative movement. Though he referred heavily to his fellow Norwegian, the blogger Fjordman, it was Robert Spencer, the American Islamophobic pseudo-academic, who received the most references from Breivik — 55 in all. Then there was Daniel Pipes, the Muslim-bashing American neoconservative who earned 18 citations from the terrorist. Other American anti-Muslim characters appear prominently in the manifesto, including the extremist blogger Pam Geller, who operates an Islamophobic organization in partnership with Spencer.

Breivik may have developed his destructive sensibility in the stark political environment of a European continent riveted by mass immigration from the Muslim world, but his conceptualization of the changes he was witnessing reflect the influence of a cadre of far-right bloggers and activists from across the Atlantic Ocean. He not only mimicked their terminology and emulated their language, he substantially adopted their political worldview. The profound impact of the American right’s Islamophobic subculture on Breivik’s thinking raises a question that has not been adequately explored: Where is the American version of Breivik and why has he not struck yet? Or has he?

Many of the American writers who influenced Breivik spent years churning out calls for the mass murder of Muslims, Palestinians and their left-wing Western supporters. But the sort of terrorism these US-based rightists incited for was not the style the Norwegian killer would eventually adopt. Instead of Breivik’s renegade free-booting, they preferred the “shock and awe” brand of state terror perfected by Western armies against the brown hordes threatening to impose Sharia law on the people in Peoria. This kind of violence provides a righteous satisfaction so powerful it can be experienced from thousands of miles away.

And so most American Islamophobes simply sit back from the comfort of their homes and cheer as American and Israeli troops — and their remote-controlled aerial drones — leave a trail of charred bodies from Waziristan to Gaza City. Only a select group of able-bodied Islamophobes are willing to suit up in a uniform and rush to the front lines of the clash of civilizations. There, they have discovered that they can mow down Muslim non-combatants without much fear of legal consequences, and that when they return, they will be celebrated as the elite Crusader-warriors of the new Islamophobic right — a few particularly violent figures have been rewarded with seats in Congress. Given the variety of culturally acceptable, officially approved outlets for venting violent anti-Muslim resentment, there is little reason for any American to follow in Breivik’s path of infamy.

Before exploring the online subculture that both shaped and mirrored Breivik’s depravity, it is necessary to define state terror, especially the kind refined by its most prolific practitioners. At the dawn of the “war on terror,” the United States and Israel began cultivating a military doctrine called “asymmetrical warfare.” Pioneered by an Israeli philosophy and “practical ethics” professor named Asa Kasher and the former head of Israeli military intelligence, Lt. Gen. Amos Yadlin, and successfully marketed to the Pentagon, the asymmetrical warfare doctrine did away with traditional counterinsurgency tactics which depended on winning the “hearts and minds” of indigenous populations.

Under the new rules, the application of disproportionate force against non-combatants who were supposedly intermingled with the “terrorists” was not only  justified but considered necessary. According to Kasher and Yadlin, eliminating the principle of distinction between enemy combatants and civilians was the most efficient means of deterring attacks from non-state actors like Hamas and Hezbollah while guarding the lives of Israeli soldiers.

Asymmetrical warfare has been witnessed in theaters of war across the Muslim world, leaving tens of thousands of civilians dead in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gaza Strip. The strategy was formalized in the Dahiya district of southern Beirut in 2006, when the Israeli military flattened hundreds of civilian structures and homes to supposedly punish Hezbollah for its capturing of two Israeli soldiers.

From the ashes of the Israeli carpet bombing campaign emerged the “Dahiya Doctrine,” a term coined by an Israeli general responsible for directing the war on Lebanon in 2006. “IDF Northern Command Chief Gadi Eisenkot uttered clear words that essentially mean the following,” wrote Israeli journalist Yaron London, who had just interviewed the general. “In the next clash with Hezbollah we won’t bother to hunt for tens of thousands of rocket launchers and we won’t spill our soldiers’ blood in attempts to overtake fortified Hizbullah positions. Rather, we shall destroy Lebanon and won’t be deterred by the protests of the ‘world.’” In a single paragraph, London neatly encapsulated the logic of state terror.

While Israel has sought to insulate itself from the legal ramifications of its attacks on civilian life by deploying elaborate propaganda and intellectual sophistry (witness the country’s frantic campaign to discredit the Goldstone Report), and the United States has casually dismissed allegations of war crimes as any swaggering superpower would (after a US airstrike killed scores of Afghan civilians, former US CENTCOM Director David Petraeus baselessly claimed that Afghan parents had deliberately burned their children alive to increase the death toll), the online Islamophobes who inspired Breivik tacitly accept the reality of Israeli and American state terror.

And they like it. Indeed, American Islamophobes derive frightening levels of ecstasy from the violence inflicted by the armed forces against Muslim civilians. The Facebook page of Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s hate group, Stop the Islamicization of America (SOIA), is Exhibit A of the phenomenon.

During a visit to SOIA’s Facebook page, which is personally administered by Geller and Spencer, it is possible to read rambling calls for killing “the diaper heads” and for Israel to “rule the whole Middle East.” A cursory glance at the website will also reveal visual propaganda reveling in the prospect of a genocide against Muslims. One image posted on the site depicts American and British troops dropping a nuclear bomb in the midst of thousands of Muslim pilgrims in Mecca. “Who ya gonna call? Shitbusters,” it reads.

A second image portraying a nuclear mushroom cloud declares: “DEALING WITH MUSLIMS — RULES OF ENGAGEMENT; Rule #1: Kill the Enemy. Rule #2: There is no rule #2.” Another posted on SOIA’s Facebook page shows the bullet-riddled, bloodsoaked bodies of Muslim civilians splayed out by a roadside. “ARMY MATH,” the caption reads. “4 Tangos + (3 round burst x 4 M 4′s) = 288 virgins.” However pathological these images might seem to outsiders, in the subculture of Geller and Spencer’s online fascisphere, they are understood as legitimate expressions of nationalistic, “pro-Western” pride. Indeed, none seem to celebrate violence against Muslims by anyone except uniformed representatives of Western armies.

The anti-Muslim fervor of Geller, Spencer and their allies reached a fever pitch during the controversy they manufactured in 2010 over the construction of the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” in downtown New York City. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, in North Carolina, a right-wing Republican ex-Marine named Ilario Pantano made opposing the mosque the centerpiece of his campaign for Congress, proclaiming that New York was “forsaking Israel” by allowing the mosque’s construction. During the height of the his campaign, a report relying on documented evidence and confirmed testimonies revealed that while serving in Iraq in 2004, Pantano had executed two unarmed civilians near Fallujah, firing 60 bullets into their bodies with his M16A4 automatic rifle — he even stopped to reload — then decorated their corpses a placard inscribed with the Marine motto: “No better friend, No worse enemy.” The incident did not hinder Pantano’s campaign, however. His Democratic opponent never mentioned it, Pam Geller hailed Pantano as “a war hero,” and he cruised to a resounding victory.

Pantano was sworn into Congress alongside another US military veteran closely allied with the Islamophobic right: Republican Representative Allen West. While serving in Iraq, West was discharged from the military and fined $5000 after he brutally beat an Iraqi policeman, then fired his pistol behind the immobilized man’s head. As in Pantano’s case, reports of the disturbing incident only helped propel West to victory. In fact, West boasted about the beating in his campaign speeches, citing it as evidence of how hard he would fight for his constituents if elected.

Though Breivik’s hatred for Muslims clearly spurred him to violence, he wound up murdering scores of the non-Muslims. He believed they were enabling an Islamic takeover of Europe, or what he called the creation of “Eurabia,” and that the “traitors” deserved the ultimate punishment. In homing in on liberal elements in Norway, Breivik borrowed from the language of right-wing figures from the United States, labeling his targets as “Cultural Marxists.” Initially introduced by the anti-Semitic right-wing organizer William Lind of the Washington-based Free Congress Foundation, Breivik understood the term as a characterization of liberal advocates of open immigration and sympathizers with the Palestinian cause.

“Let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists, against all cultural Marxists/multiculturalists,” Breivik wrote in his manifesto. The killer also sought to differentiate between good Jews (supporters of Israel) and bad Jews (advocates for Palestinian rights), claiming that “Jews that support multi-culturalism today are as much of a threat to Israel and Zionism as they are to us.”

Breivik’s characterizations of the left and of left-wing Jews echoed those familiar to right-wing bloggers and conservative activists in the US, particularly on the issue of Israel-Palestine. The only difference seems to have been that Breivik was willing to personally kill sympathizers with Palestinian rights, while American Islamophobes have prefered to sit back and cheer for the Israeli military to do the job instead. The tendency of the American right was on shocking display this June when the Free Gaza Flotilla attempted to break the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip (during the previous flotilla in 2010, nine activists were killed by what a United Nations report described as execution style shootings by Israeli commandoes).

As the debate about the flotilla escalated on Twitter, Joshua Trevino, a US army veteran and who worked as a speechwriter in the administration of George W. Bush, chimed in. “Dear IDF,” Trevino tweeted. “If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla — well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me.” While Trevino hectored flotilla participants, Kurt Schlicter, a former American army officer and right-wing blogger for Andrew Breitbart’s Big Peace site, joined the calls for bloodshed. “Sink the flotilla,” Schlicter wrote on Twitter. “Enough screwing around with these psychos.”

Neither Schlicter or Trevino saw any reason to apologize for inciting the murder of fellow Americans, nor did Trevino appear to face any consequences at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, where he serves as Vice President. Instead, Trevino earned a rousing defense from prominent conservative personalities like Erick Erickson, a paid CNN contributor who lauded “the correctness of Josh’s opinion” that Israel should kill American leftists. Indeed, no one from inside the American right’s online media hothouse condemned Trevino, Schlicter or Erickson, or even brooked a slight disagreement. Meanwhile, the incitement against Palestine solidarity activists has continued, with pro-Israel operatives Roz Rothstein and Roberta Seid writing this July in the Jerusalem Post that “Flotilla Folk are not like other people.”

When the smoke cleared from Breivik’s terrorist rampage across Norway, American Islamophobes went into  intellectual contortions, condemning his acts while carefully avoiding any criticism of his views. While making sure to call Breivik “evil,” the ultra-nationalist commentator and former Republican presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan insisted that “Breivik may be right” about the supposed clash of civilizations between the Muslim East and the Christian West. Pipes, for his part, accused Breivik of a “purposeful” campaign to discredit him by citing him so frequently in his manifesto, while a panicked Geller claimed that Breivik “is a murderer, a mass murderer. Period. He’s not anything else.”

The comically revealing reactions by American Islamophobes to Brevik’s killing spree demonstrate the politically catastrophic situation they have gotten themselves into. All of a sudden, their movement was under intense scrutiny from a previously derelict mainstream media. And they were likely to be monitored to an unprecedented degree by federal law enforcement. These same figures who influenced Breivik had been printing open calls for terrorist violence against Muslims and leftists for years — while a few, like Pantano, went a step further. Before Breivik killed 76 innocent people, they had generally gotten away with it.

Why were America’s Islamophobes able to avoid accountability for so long? The answer is not that their yearnings for righteous political violence had not been fulfilled until Breivik emerged. The truth is far more uncomfortable than that. America’s Islamophobic right was only able to make so much political headway because a broad sector of the American public had tolerated and even supported the kind of terror that they openly celebrated.


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A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter

Few thoughts about Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib

Posted: 03 Aug 2011

 

I heard him speak yesterday at the New South Wales parliament (he’s in Australia trying to convince the madly pro-Zionist Australian government to view Palestinians as human beings, so good luck with that).

Khatib talked about the proposed UN vote on Palestine in September and spoke creatively about the alleged readiness of Palestine for statehood, ignoring PA forces abusing citizens and massive corruption. It’s a sad state of affairs that many in the world, including at the Sydney event, are fooled by the PA’s spin; they’ve benefited from occupation since the Oslo days.

 

Iran’s insecure mullahs attempt to cut off country from the web

Posted: 03 Aug 2011

 

Insane, unworkable and signs of autocrats who fear freedom of expression and their own citizens:

Communication and information technology minister Reza Taqipour Anvari announced at the start of July that the first phase of a “National Internet,” also called “Clean Internet,” will get under way at the end of August, offering an 8 Mbps speed broadband connection that will later rise to 20 Mbps and a national search engine called “Ya Haq” (Oh Just One) to be launched in early 2012. The project’s aim is to “better manage national emails and information gathering within the country and to improve security,” he said. Surveillance of dissidents’ email will inevitably increase.

Online social networks are used in Iran to resist government repression and circulate independent news and information, despite the severity of the censorship system. This new project will reinforce censorship and surveillance of netizens. It consists of an Intranet designed ultimately to replace the international Internet and to discriminate between ordinary citizens and the “elite” (banks, ministries and big companies), which will continue to have access to the international Internet.

The new project does not seem very advisable from the economic viewpoint as this technological step backwards could dissuade certain countries from investing in Iran. It shows that the regime wants to impose total censorship on all sectors involved in disseminated information.

The life of Iran’s Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei

Posted: 03 Aug 2011

American Muslims show deep tolerance (not that Murdoch and friends really care)

Posted: 03 Aug 2011

 

If only the bigots, haters, many politicians and media hacks took a deep breath more often:

Muslims in the United States express greater tolerance for members of other faiths than any other major religious group, according to a major new survey and report released here Thursday by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center.

They are also more likely than any other religious group to oppose violent or military attacks against civilians, according to the survey, “Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future”.

Nearly four out of five (78 percent) U.S. Muslims say that military attacks against civilians can never be justified. That compares with less than two of five Protestants (38 percent) and Catholics (39 percent) and just over four out of Jews (43 percent) who take that position, the poll found.

Similarly, 89 percent of Muslims said attacks by “an individual person or a small group of individuals to target and kill civilians can never be justified”. Between 71 percent and 75 percent of Christian and Jewish respondents agreed.

The survey also found that Jewish and Muslim Americans shared many views, including how best to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Eighty-one percent of Muslims and 78 percent of Jews queried by Gallup said they supported a two-state solution.

Jewish respondents were also more likely than any other group, including Muslims themselves, to believe that Muslims face prejudice in the U.S.

Mubarak and his sons denying all charges against them

Posted: 03 Aug 2011

Surreal images:

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Hidden video shows treatment of ‘flytilla’ detainees in Israeli prison

Aug 02, 2011

Adam Horowitz

Reut Institute: The Boycott Law helps Israel’s critics (and alienates American Jews)

Aug 02, 2011

Adam Horowitz

The Reut Institute, an influential Israeli think tank that has lead the way in Israel’s fight against “delegitimization,” has acknowledged that the recently passed Boycott Law furthers Israel’s international isolation rather than combat it. From “The Boycott Law Plays to the Hands of De-legitimizers“:

[The organizations’ and individuals’ promoting this de-legitimization campaign] ability to achieve disproportionate influence, and promote the political assault on Israel, has been due to their success in harnessing liberal and progressive circles in the West. Their strategy in this regard, is to deliberately blur the distinction between de-legitimization, and the legitimate discourse on Israeli government policy. In contrast, the inability of many in Israel and the Diaspora to recognize this critical distinction has only further enhanced the de-legitimizers and increased their influence. This is why legislation which attempts to restrict the actions of parts of Israeli society in their criticism of government policy, only further serves the interests of those seeking to blur the boundaries.

The Boycott Law is, in some sense, the worst of both worlds. The law does not properly address the de-legitimization phenomenon, as the law is territorial in its application and yet the de-legitimization campaign is global, primarily operating beyond Israel’s borders. Therefore, those who thought that the law would provide the legal tools to deter those promoting de-legitimization will soon be disappointed. The greater damage of the law, however, is the controversy forming around it. The internal divisions within the Israeli camp have been exacerbated, when in fact; the response to the assault on Israel’s legitimacy requires unity. Instead of uniting the major factions within Israeli politics against the de-legitimization threat, the legislation has turned the discourse into a public shouting match where those supporting the government’s policy and those opposing it are throwing mud at each other.

Another alarming symptom and consequence of the de-legitimization phenomenon can already be observed in some North American Jewish communities. While in the past Israel was a unifying issue, now Israel is such a polarizing issue that many communities prefer not to address it at all. The Boycott Law, which has already been the subject of much criticism from North American Jewry, certainly does not contribute toward reversing this trend of Israel becoming a factor that divides Jewish communities.

Pamela Geller slanders the Utoya victims (elitist anti-Semites, Hitler youth, oh and race-mixers)

Aug 02, 2011

Paul Mutter

Pamela Geller, founder of Atlas Shrugs, delayed a full response to the shootings in Norway (by her own admission). Her ideological associates, in the meantime, had been issuing statements condemning the violence – as well as the victims’ politics. And now, Atlas Shrugs has finally joined this argument: this past Sunday, Geller published an analysis of the victims titled “Summer Camp? Antisemitic Indoctrination Training Center“:

But the jihad-loving media never told us what antisemitic war games they were playing on that island. Utoya Island is a Communist/Socialist campground, and they clearly had a pro-Islamic agenda.

Only the malevolent media could use the euphemism summer camp and get away with it.

The slaughter was horrific. What these kids were being taught and instructed to do was a different kind of grotesque. There is no justification for Breivik’s actions whatsoever. There is also no justification for Norway’s antisemitism and demonization of Israel.

Even Geller knows these statement will be construed by the “Genocidal Leftists” as an endorsement of violence, but insists that it necessary to put the shootings in a larger context – the context of the global struggle against Islam:

. . . . Utoya camp was not Islamist but it WAS something not much more wholesome (by our standards, at any rate).

It was a summer indoctrination camp run by Norway’s ruling Labor Party for up-and-coming children of the ruling elite.

Glen Beck [sic] was not far off when he compared it to the Hitlerjugend or Young Pioneers.”

Think Progress caught on to the fact that an earlier version of this post referred to “race mixing” among the Norwegian youth at the camp. Specifically, a now-removed picture caption read “Note the faces which are more MIddle Eastern [sic] or mixed than pure Norwegian.” Even some favorable commenters on the post called Ms. Geller out on this caption. Perhaps the intent of this statement was to demonstrate that there were Muslims present at the summer camp and that their presence was (of course) related to the youth organization’s “anti-Semitic” and “pro-Palestinian” agenda?

The statement was probably removed, though, because it could be taken to suggest that a non-Caucasian life (especially one mixed in with Muslim blood) is somehow “worth less” than a non-Caucasian (or part-Caucasian) one. While Geller did not  come out and say that, the notion is far from the fringes of respectability in “journalistic” debate.

Geller also approvingly quotes an argument for moral relativismvis a vis Palestinians and Israelis in relation to the shootings:

“For them it is unacceptable for Breivik to murder Norwegian children, because his ideology is wrong. But it is acceptable for Palestinians to murder Israeli children, because their ideology is right.”

Given the intensely pro-Zionist feelings among the anti-Islamic right, it is sadly inevitable that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be used to “contextualize” a terorrist attack on “socialist” “pro-Islamic” “aristocrats” (all terms she uses to describe the camp attendees). The spleen is practically audible.

Is the anti-Islamic right suggesting that the Islamocommunist children of Norway’s ruling party were asking for trouble by engaging in behavior such as displaying signs that say “Opphev Blokkaden Av Gaza” (Oppose the Blockade of Gaza) and signing onto the BDS Movement? Geller and her cohorts suggested, soon after the identity of the shooter became known, that “If anyone incited him to violence, it was Islamic supremacists. If anything incited him to violence, it was the Euro-Med policy.”

Such statements now even more eerily echo Breivik’s own manifesto in that he lumped together his specific targets with the larger anti-Semitic Islamocommunist alliance that, according to the anti-Islamic right, holds Norway (and the EU in general) in its grip. Such sentiments have long been present in the discourse, but to hear such assertions articulated more forcefully now after what has happened is even more disturbing. “We are witnesssing the complete breakdown of rational society,” Geller opined in response to hate mail she has recieved since the attacks.

Geller has no idea how right she is!

Norway attack reveals Israel’s embrace of Islamophobia

Aug 02, 2011

Adam Horowitz

From Ali Abunimah’s Al Jazeera English article “Islamophobia, Zionism and the Norway massacre“:

Foxman’s claim that Breivik’s support for Israel is “bizarre” is a brazen attempt to deflect attention from the alliance that Foxman and leading Israeli politicians have made with the most racist Islamophobes – ones Foxman accurately likens to anti-Semites.

To be clear, Israel and Zionism have always been racist toward Palestinians and other non-Jews, otherwise how else could they justify the expulsion and exclusion of millions of Palestinians solely on the grounds that they are not Jews? It is the virulent, specifically anti-Muslim trend that has been particularly pronounced since 2001.

But the rot has already gone too far. As a recent article in Der Spiegel underscores, Europe’s far-right anti-Muslim demagogues have found many allies and admirers in Israel, particularly within the upper echelons of the ruling Likud and Yisrael Beitenu parties.

And the feeling is mutual: European ultra-nationalists, such as Dutch Islamophobe Geert Wilders, have put support for Israel’s right-wing government at the centre of their politics.

Islamophobia welcome in Israel

While the world was united in horror at Breivik’s massacre, several commentators in Israel’s mainstream media were much more understanding of his motives, if not for his actions. Anoped on Ynet, the website of Israel’s mass circulation Yediot Aharonot, stated that “the youth movement of the ruling Labour Party” – of which many of the youths murdered on Utoya island were members – “is an organisation of anti-Israeli hate mongers”.

An editorial in The Jerusalem Post offered sympathy for Breivik’s anti-Muslim ideology and called on Norway to act on the concerns expressed in his manifesto, while an op-ed published by the same papersaid that the youth camp Breivik attacked had been engaged in “a pro-terrorist program”.

Meanwhile, an article in the American Jewish newspaper The Forward noted that on many mainstream internet forums, Israelis expressed satisfaction with Breivik’s massacre and thought that Norway got what it deserved.

Clear warning signs

Foxman cannot claim he didn’t see any of this coming. Back in 2003, I interviewed him for an article about the inclusion of Yisrael Beitenu and other parties in Israel’s governing coalition, parties that openly advocated the expulsion of Palestinians. Foxman’s attitude was as indulgent toward those racists and would-be ethnic cleansers as he was to Hagee’s hate-mongering a few years later, and it is those same Israeli parties that have forged the closest ties with European and American anti-Muslim extremists.

The continued lurch towards extremism in Israel, and among many of its supporters, underscores the truth that anyone who wants to dissociate from ultranationalism, racism and Islamophobia, also has to repudiate Israel’s state ideology, Zionism. Universal rights and equality for all human beings are concepts that are anathema to both.

Read the whole article here.

Flip side of Jennifer Rubin n Robert Spencer
Aug 02, 2011

Philip Weiss

conspiracyFrom an Iranian site. (Spotted by neocons Michael Rubin and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies)

Propaganda spotlight: The truth about the West Bank
Aug 02, 2011 10:19 am | timhaughton

Danny Ayalon recently posted a propaganda video to his YouTube channel regarding the “Truth of the West Bank”. Ordinarily I’m not prone to producing videos for YouTube, partly because I have zero budget (it’s just me and Powerpoint) and also because I hate the sound of my own voice.

But, given that I was looking at a YouTube video, I thought it fitting that any riposte should take the same form. In that guise, I offer up the following (apologising in advance for the lack of slick cartoon animations):

Part I:

Part II:

Observing the discrimination against Palestinians gives me flashbacks to the ‘Whites Only’ signs in my youth in Mississippi

Aug 02, 2011

Gloria Brown

Interfaith Peace Builders sent an African-American team to Israel and Palestine last month. And on July 27, Gloria Brown filed this report (at the link among others):

Seeing dimensions of discrimination and oppression in Israel/Palestine (e.g., walls, murder scenes, unequal funding for education, class/race separation, hiring practices, gender inequity, etc.) has caused me to have major flashbacks about growing up and teaching in the state of Mississippi where “White” was right. As it relates to Israel/Palestine, Jews are “right.” Despite Biblical references to Jews being a chosen people, I know that is not how God works and I still cannot understand how Jews believe they have the right to oppress others who are attempting to remain on the land they ought to be able to rightfully claim.

I see the walls constricting Palestinians here and am reminded of the “White Only” signs of my youth – just knowing there were places I could not go. One specific example is the underpinning of why I never learned to swim. The White children in my Mississippi community had access to a beautiful swimming pool that African American children could only experience in passing. In order for me to learn to swim, it would have been necessary for me to brave the murky waters in concert with water moccasins, black runners, rattle snakes, and “you name the snake.” As much as I wanted to learn to swim, I did not want to be the main course that assorted reptiles would enjoy for dinner.

Another example of a wall in Mississippi was when I was among 22 African American teachers selected to deliver instruction in an all-White school during court-ordered desegregation.  The experience was horrific; two weeks of non-violent attempts to enter the school passed before we could walk through the doors of the all-white DeKalb High School. Day after day, we arrived and were turned back by the KKK in full regalia, mounted on horses, with shotguns drawn. With the help of civil rights lawyers, I was able to file affidavits almost daily to report the wrong-doings in this school (i.e., whites-only bells to change classes, whites-only bells for lunch, white faculty meetings, no faculty meetings for African Americans, and having to teach only African American children, among others).

I loved the African American children for many of them were my cousins or neighbors. The pain in my soul had to do with the fact that illegal makeshift solutions were emerging in the name of integration of schools in compliance with the recent court order to desegregate within 48 hours.

I heard several Palestinians talk about bloodshed and profiling. Those acts reminded me of the civil rights workers who were killed in Mississippi just a few miles from my home. I was reminded of a young man who went to the “Bottom” (a nightclub) on a Saturday night. He had an altercation with a police officer in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and was killed. No one was ever charged for his murder. I am also reminded of my uncles coming home from Cleveland, New York, and other places. They knew that at some point, they would be ticketed for having the wrong “paint job” (black skin/driving a decent car.)

Finally, despite all the pain and suffering of the Palestinian people, they are extremely friendly and giving. At every Palestinian door, I am welcomed with open arms. I want the Palestinian people to know that our struggles are similar. Treatment of African Americans in Mississippi is much better today. Many African Americans are attorneys, engineers, hold political offices, are educators held in high esteem, and are distinguished citizens.

I urge the Palestinians to keep up the non-violent fight, for I believe a brighter day is just on the horizon.

Wash. Post blogger Rubin may not be ‘an ogre or a racist’ but is she a ‘bigot’?

Aug 02, 2011

Philip Weiss

Patrick Pexton, Washington Post ombudsman, defends blogger Jennifer Rubin from her error in declaring that the Norway bomber was a jihadist. He cuts her a pass on late correcting because she is a religious Jew and was not online during the Sabbath following her error.

In a long chat with Rubin last week, I found her forceful and unrepentant, yet not unreasonable. She is not an ogre or a racist. And she does not deserve some of the calumny she got.

I guess she does deserve some of the calumny then? The comments are fabulous.

There’s this from MarkMacDonald: “Also, using the Sabbath as an excuse for inaccurate writing simply does not cut the mustard.”

And this from bernielatham. wow. Note that Webster’s defines bigot as “one obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his own opinions and prejudices.” Shoe fit?

Certainly not an ogre. Possibly not a racist either depending on how you define your terms. But it would be very interesting to see an explication from you or how the term “bigot” does not apply as regards Rubin’s statements on Muslims along with examples of to whom that term would apply in this context.

“This brings us back to the shootings in Norway, an act committed by a disturbed man who drew some of his inspiration from extremist Web sites. A blogosphere given to vitriol and hasty judgments ought to consider the possible consequences of its own online attacks.”

“Some”? What proportion, do you think? And among those sources, how many has Rubin herself quoted, referenced or linked to in the past (Geller, Spencer, Pipes)?

But it’s your final sentence I’ve quoted above which is the real head-shaker. How in the name of heaven can it be that Rubin’s many derogatory and inflammatory comments on Muslims are not part of what you indict here? How is it that you make no reference to that at all?

Will Israel’s tent protesters awaken to the tents that came before theirs?

Aug 02, 2011

Ofra Yeshua-Lyth

It is the corner of Seinkin and Rothschild Boulevard, Friday afternoon. We and our Palestinian guests – a group of “Illegal Sojourners” in the ugly Occupation Jargon – have had a lovelyday of sightseeing and swimming. Now we are on our way to be entertained lavishly by one of us who is blessed with a flat and a roof in the coveted heart of Tel Aviv. On the way there we pass a new and exciting tourist attraction: the huge tent camp which keeps mushrooming in the boulevard.

Our guests, some in pious head gear, listen attentively to the story about middle class Jewish youngsters with no place to live, to study and to work from. The tents are so many, so small. They nod in amazement, expressing sympathy or perhaps even some pleasure over the new potential for solidarity. The sharp tongued one is quick to come up with a punch line none of us would have thought of: “Hada Muchayem Lajiyin Israeliyin!” – “A refugee camp for Israelis”, she exclaims.

We laugh at this smart crack. No similarity at all, to be sure – or maybe just a little something, after all. The young people of Rothschild (may Allah help them, may their protest yield fruit), are supposedly able to get up any time and move back to the grim life they were accustomed to before settling into the sizzling Boulevard.  However they are condemned to life in the lower end of the Israeli chain of housing – with no property, no land and no roof of their own. Some of the women we have with us this evening –exuberant, full of curiosity and passion for fun – have been living in “real” refugee camps most of their lives. Some were born there, others  got married and moved to share the fate of large families condensed into crumbling homes that were started as temporary tents at the outskirts of towns and villages in the West Bank many years ago.

Next evening, at the great Saturday Night Demonstration of the housing crisis, angry signs and voices point at the many housing perks bestowed on the settler community and the ultra-orthodox. It is not hard to recognize the many billion investments in the settlements all over the territories occupied by Israel since 1967 as assets robbed from the welfare of the next generation of Israelis. Blunt sectarian favoritism is to be blamed for the neglect suffered by every hard working citizen not aligned to one of the “preferred” sectors, who has not been blessed with parents of deep pockets.

It is far more difficult and painful to point at the basic choice of Israel to be a state for only one sector, defined by its religion, as the basic cause of this country’s many malaises, including the housing situation. Undeniably, the cost of this choice is incredibly heavy in financial, military and human resources.  Israel’s present rulers constantly wave its “Jewish State” identity as a concept superior to any pretence it ever had to be a just, democratic and peace seeking society. They incite and radicalize, but they had really not started any new path. They merely carry on a tradition that started when this state started –with blood bath and fire – as an entity unable to tolerate anybody perceived as “Other” according to the rabbinical code.

Most young people in the tents do not wish to hear this but a large part of the most coveted addresses in our non-stop city actually belong to landlords who are unable to overcharge, profiteer, or make any use of their assets. Israelis of all ages dedicate their best years and certainly a major part of their tax payments to our state’s continuous and stubborn effort to prevent these owners from practicing their property rights. Jaffa and its surroundings, Manshia nest to the Charles Clore promenade, Sumeil on the corner of Arlozorov and Ibn Gabirol, Jamussin of Bavli and the Akirov Towers and Sheich Moanis of Ramat Aviv and the University, all are real estate under the Israel Land Administration, which have the firm obligation to make them available to Jews only. It is perfectly ridiculous to hear the Prime Minister and his people puffing angrily against the “cartel” (as they currently call this Administration) which Zionism established for the purpose of preserving the “national lands” for one ethnic group. Aspiring for a free real estate market? Fine, let us find whose names are on the deeds and start to negotiate.

Israeli governments irregular housing solutions did not start in Ariel, Ofra, Efrat and their hundreds illegal predator copies. Bibi Nethanyahu did not initiate them. He was born into these solutions just like the rest of us, the parent’s generation of today’s angry young men and women. Israel’s venerated founding fathers chose to house hundreds of thousands of long suffering refugees in the homes from which hundreds and thousands of long suffering refugees escaped or were expelled. Next they flooded the country in transit camps (“maabarot”) of miserable tents and shacks, for the masses that were lured to forsake their homes in Arabic speaking countries in favor of improving the demographic balance for the Jews in Zion. These masses were ground to dust in the social habitat that designated them to the role of farmers and laborers, a substitute the gap left by the Palestinians that could only observe, sad eyed, as they still do, from their refugee camps all over the Middle East. The children and grandchildren of these Arab speaking Jewish immigrants grew into a new incarnation – some as fervent religious nationals who despise all Arabs passionately.

“A Home is a fundamental value, it is the base for  everything”  leaders of the Youth rally shouted last Saturday. Their impressive, just and heart warning demonstration called for social justice, rejected charity, and warned against crafty make-belief solutions. “WE HAVE WOKEN UP”, some black signs read, “AND WE SHALL NOT GO BACK TO SLEEP”. One can only hope that the awakening also included an end to the illusion, that only the continuous violent oppression of part of the people of this land can secure the well being of the other part, defined by the “correct” religion.

Perhaps there are no instant solutions to the housing problem, but great public works are certainly an option. This country, like many others, has great resources that should and could support its needy young. A land that knew how to transfer hundreds of thousands in and out, built development towns, transit camps and a huge region of army camps and settlements should not have any difficulty in performing some model projects.

Here is a suggestion for a really easy one: Last Saturday demonstrators were squeezed to the barb-wire coroneted wall of this camp facing Tel Aviv Museum for the Fine Arts. Behind this eye sore lies a huge and spacious estate, the well guarded, superbly protected shrine of the Middle East’s most powerful army and one of the greatest military forces in the whole world. Why not clear the Kiria IDF headquarters in favor of affordable housing well located for the poor children of Tel Aviv? Its top ranking officers do not really need a workplace so indulgingly urbane for the purpose of planning their next war, during which we shall be instructed to keep quiet (fighting is in progress!) and to stop moaning about the rent. No doubt they will be happy to move somewhere else. It is after all very wrong, they always tell us, to have military facilities in the midst of civilian population. At least we complain bitterly when this is done by Hezbollah and Hamas.

Or maybe the army will not be willing to move so willingly, as it had long ago ceased to be the People’s Army. We, the people, are its submissive subjects, and who are we to deny it the high-rises from which it  looks down on us, all the way from the Azrieli shopping center to Café Dubnov. It is under the hospices of the army that the government is supplies its only generous “housing solutions”:  reaped off Bill’in,  Ni’ilin, Hebron, Beith Ommar, Saffa, Nabi Salach and dozens other hard beaten spots under occupation. It is the army’s unlimited violent might that facilitates the usurping of homes in Siluan and Sheich Jarrach in favor of some chosen members of militant groups with an inclination for affordable homes well located in Jerusalem.

The yellow clouds of tear gas and the unbearable stink of the “skunk” hoses, the armed forces faithful allies, have long ago transcended oceans all the way to the United Nations halls in New York. No longer may transfers, lootings and expulsions be hidden and silenced, as was the fate of the inhabitants of Iraq Manshia (today’s Qiryat-Gat) or Sidna Ali (Herzlia Pituah). But likewise, they are the products of the same tough and hollow ideology we were all educated on. These days this ideology is compulsory by law even for kindergarten toddlers. Its repetitive false message, anchored in ancient and unfriendly religion: it is dangerous and forbidden for Jews to live in the vicinity of other people.

The angry residents of Israel’s “refugee camps” all over the country are going these days through an awakening process from the false consciousness that brought them to this tricky junction of the summer of 2011. It is not an easy process, but well worth making the effort to go all the way to the root of our problems. Those of us, who were privileged last weekend to dance, sing and hug on a Tel Aviv rooftop with our friends from the villages and refugee camps of the occupied territories, will never agree to give up the warm human contact with people we once considered enemies. Just think how many good flats could be produced with the assets wasted over the decades on fortifying the dumb concept that all non Jews are a “danger for our demography”.

This piece first appeared at Zochrot. Ofra Yeshua-Lyth’s book “A State of Mind` why Israel should become Secular and Democratic ” is published these days by Maariv publishers.http://mystateofmind.co.il/

Thinktank backed by Bronfman and Saban promotes claim that Muslims will force Jews from Europe and rape uncovered women

Aug 02, 2011

Philip Weiss

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies sent out an email blast today that is all about the Iranian “terrorist hydra” and that approvingly quotes Mark Steyn issuing the bigoted statements about Muslims in my headline. I’d remind you that this is the Foundation that, as Eli Clifton reported a couple weeks back, wants war with Iran and has been backed by leading conservative figures in the Jewish community, including Haim Saban, Bernard Marcus (of Home Depot),  Charles and Edgar Bronfman, and Michael Steinhardt (author/financier and backer of Jewish day school in New York, the New Republic, and Makor, a social center aimed at promoting Jewish inmarriage). From FDD:

Mark Steyn writes that by 2050

a majority of Austrians under 15 will be Muslim. 2050 isn’t that far away. …

A world that becomes more Muslim becomes less everything else: First it’s Jews, already fleeing Malmo in Sweden. Then it’s homosexuals, already under siege from gay-bashing in Amsterdam, “the most tolerant city in Europe”. Then it’s uncovered women, already targeted for rape in Oslo and other Continental cities. And, if you don’t any longer have any Jews or (officially) any gays or (increasingly) uncovered women, there are always just Christians in general, from Egypt to Pakistan.

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