Archive | February 11th, 2012



Dear, All

We are writing you because we need your help to enable our unique community of Arabs and Jews in Israel’s desert to thrive. It all began five years ago, when a group of local residents of Beer Sheva among them, Neve Gordon, Amal Elsana Alh’jooj, Yusef Al’atawneh and Yifat Hillel founded HAGAR, a bilingual Jewish-Arab school.

You might not be aware, but in Israel segregation in the educational system is the rule and Hagar, which we have been creating, against all odds, is the only non-segregated school in the Negev, a region where over 700,000 people live, 25 percent of whom are Palestinian citizens, mostly Bedouins. 

Over the years we have managed to create an educational space where Jewish and Palestinian children not only mix (each ethnic group makes up 50 percent of the student body) but they learn together in a bilingual atmosphere of mutual respect. In 2011-12, 200 children, from nursery through fourth grade (growing a grade each year) attend this bilingual school, whose commitment to equality informs every aspect of our educational agenda.  To ensure that Hebrew and Arabic are awarded equal status two teachers, one Jewish and the other Arab, are present in every classroom. But language is only one aspect of our pedagogical endeavor. Within this bilingual space HAGAR encourages direct contactwith the heritage, customs and historical narrative of the different ethnic groups.

By the age of two, children are already celebrating the holidays and memorial days of both people. On Israeli Independence Day, for example, Hagar emphasizes the notion of independence and its relation to responsibility. On Nakba Day and Holocaust Day the school emphasizes the idea of loss and suffering and accentuates the importance of empathy, and that everyone has experienced some kind of pain and grief. By the time the children are old enough to learn that there are two conflicting national narratives, both of which will be taught in the higher grades, they already have the necessary emotional and intellectual tools to deal with conflict through dialogue.

None of this is obvious within the Israeli context, particularly when one takes into account the new spur of anti-democratic legislation, some of which have direct implications on our work (like the Nakba law). Moreover, to sustain such a project is extremely expensive as the Ministry of Education funds only one teacher in each classroom, providing only the Jewish narrative, with the library filled with books in Hebrew. We need your help to continue developing our Palestinian narrative program, to buy books and educational materials in Arabic for our children, and to pay the extra salary for a teacher in each class. We must ensure that all voices are heard.

Five dollars in the cost of one book in Arabic, five hundred to bring in a Palestinian puppet theatre troupe. Whether the gift is small or large, every dollar makes a difference.

Please make a contribution to support this incredible initiative where the next generation will advocate for equality, human rights and peace.

Click here to donate now.

Thank you for supporting our community. Mah Salaame,

Anwar Alh’jooj and Akiva Leibowitz
Co-chairs of Hagar

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Redefining Prosperity


50 years of incessant advertising and lies has made us think that prosperity means having more money to buy more ‘things’. Yet each of us knows that beyond a certain level, the ownership of ‘things’ makes us no happier and certainly no healthier. There is a perception that a bigger car or house increases our social status, but that perception is marginal at best. It does not make for a better human being.

Prosperity is defined as being flourishing, thriving and successful. To be a flourishing, thriving and successful human being depends more upon health and happiness than the size of your bank balance. The misplaced clamour for economic growth has put many economies into decline, and economic notions of prosperity are at last being seen for what they actually are – a negative impact on personal and national self esteem.  It seems that we have mistakenly equated the acquisition of monetary wealth with our feelings about ourselves.

If the crazy drive for economic growth has got us where we are – a society becoming less equal by the day, public borrowing at levels in excess of £1 trillion in the UK (US $15 trillion), shrinking tax receipts and rising unemployment – why oh why is the government baying for more growth?

Our socio–economic order is rotten. Greed and irresponsibility have fuelled little but disaster. Yet still we hear the cry for a return to ‘business as usual’. Certain groups and individuals know exactly what to do, because they know how much they have to gain from it. A return to the old order – as if that was possible – would continue to magnify the wealth of the few. We now know that the problems facing communities right now are a result of ‘growth’. We do not want a return to the old order.

We live in a world of finite resources. No matter how deep we dig, the fossil fuels will eventually disappear, so for starters an oil based economy does not make much sense. Uranium too is a fossil fuel, and its supply is finite. Gas, coal – all the fossil fuels can only be mined for so long, and they will be no more.

Life for us all is poised to change. There are a lot of mouths to feed, so we must look to ourselves and our communities for the answers. Big Money and Big Corporations will be dragged screaming into their own decline, because the last thing they want to see is ordinary people managing their  our own way into the future – and it could be a lot better than the past.

A sensible government would be looking to real prosperity. It would be using sustainable energy sources and guiding us towards non-financial goals such as family life, health and community. The Buddhist definition of prosperity is based on collectivism and compassion, and that is not a bad place to start.


Right now the internet takes up 5.3% of global energy production. Therefore, as our mailing list is large, we will be sending out less emails, so please go the blog at for all our posts as they happen.

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Communism in Indiana, the Real GOP



Secretary of State, GOP-er, Convicted of 6 Counts of Election Rigging


 by  Gordon Duff, 


It has taken me a long time to get over the idea that Communism is a “left” thing.  I now know better, that “Neocon” means “Commie.”  For years we were told that right wingers were Nazi’s.  Imagine, having to apologize to Nazis. 

The problem is spreading but the worst places, of course, have been Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana.  A group there of what we now know to be communists have taken over the government pretending to be conservatives.

They have been working to break trade unions and replace them, not with capitalism. They want a Stalinist police state with gun seizures, neighborhood spy groups that they call “anti-terrorist watches” and, at the same time, destroy the middle class and education systems which might threaten totalitarian rule.

We thought “ground zero” would be Wisconsin but it is now Indiana where a jury just convicted Secretary of State Charlie White, the man who runs the state’s elections with 6 felony counts of voter fraud.

The governor tried to keep him in office anyway and has appointed his assistant, someone who may also face similar charges in what we have been told is a secret Federal Grand Jury investigation, as his replacement.

Is there no shortage of communists in Indiana?  Why Indiana?  Why the resurgence of communism?  How did communists get control of the Republican party?

Mike Connell literally had a falling out – of the sky

The verdict against White came back yesterday at 2 pm while Whites assistant in all his acts on behalf of what we can now call the Socialist Republic of Indiana, Jerry Bonnet, has taken up his gauntlet.

The basis of communism is the elimination of free elections, we know this well in Ohio.

In our last election, the governors attempt to use his socialist, Republican party to take over the state’s labor unions was defeated by a massive margin, a governor whose election itself was likely voter fraud as were the two Bush wins in Ohio.

A website had been set up offering a $10,000 reward for proof of the murder of Michael Connell, the Republican party programmer who admitted to rigging the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections for Bush.

Connell died in a mysterious plane crash after asking for protection.  He was to testify against Bush advisor Karl Rove in an election fraud civil trial.

Connell had agreed to testify

A tipster close to the McCain campaign disclosed to VR in July that Mr. Connell’s life was in jeopardy and that Karl Rove had threatened him and his wife, Heather.   VR’s attorney, Cliff Arnebeck, notified the United States Attorney General , Ohio law enforcement and the federal court about these threats and insisted that Mr. Connell be placed in protective custody.  VR also told a close associate of Mr. Connell’s not to fly his plane because of another tip that the plane could be sabotaged. 

Mr. Connell, a very experienced pilot, has had to abandon at least two flights in the past two  months because of suspicious problems with his plane.  On  December 18, 2008, Mr. Connell flew to a small airport outside of Washington DC to meet some people.  It was on his return flight the next day that he crashed.

On October 31, Mr. Connell appeared before a federal judge in Ohio after being subpoenaed in a federal lawsuit investigating the rigging of the 2004 election under the direction of Karl Rove.  The judge ordered Mr. Connell to testify under oath at a deposition on November 3rd, the day before the presidential election.  

Velvet Revolution received confidential information that the White House was extremely concerned about Mr. Connell talking about his illegal work for the White House and two Bush/Cheney 04 attorneys were dispatched to represent him.

An associate of Mr. Connell’s told VR that Mr. Connell was involved with the destruction of the White House emails and the setting up of the off-grid White House email system.

Rove had threatened Connell, who had requested to be put in witness protection.  The Bush Justice Department had refused to protect Connell who was quickly eliminated.   Sources in the intelligence community said the same group that was responsible for the murder of Senator Paul Wellstone and his family were used to kill Connell.

As a final reminder of how far things have gone, please watch the following video which includes two classified news reports and police recordings from 9/11:

Both CNN and CBS now say they never made the recordings you just saw.

Van Mural

You imagined them.

Those who were arrested as the police network recording indicated, disappeared.  Their arrest records no longer exist.

All forensic evidence of the truck explosion is gone.

All witness statements, number, we are told, 188 eyewitnesses, disappeared as well.

The arresting officers “no longer exist” as does the dispatcher.

Video of the incident, both “dashcam” and CCTV have disappeared as have all legal records.

In fact, this one small incident, the explosion on the Garden State Parkway, is the biggest and certainly the best documented coverup in American history.

Truck Mural

More arrests were made by NYPD of a similar truck outside the Lincoln Tunnel.


The same, no records, no police, no arrestees, no records, no video, nothing.

On this basis, we are ready to believe that 9/11 may never have happened at all, in fact we are waiting for the announcement that the twin towers had never been built.

We had already been told the 3rd tower, “Building 7″ had never existed.

The following video would be humor were it not for several hundred dead, victims of the building that never existed, whose destruction you watch while, in fact, the building still stands virtually undamaged:

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Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


As Khader Adnan struggles through his 55th day on a hunger strike, a reminder that he has not been charged with a crime
Feb 09, 2012 11:14 pm | Today in Palestine

Khader Adnan enters the 55th day of his hungry strike in Israeli detention, he has not been charged with anything

A Palestinian prisoner on a hunger strike for 55 days to protest against his detention without trial by Israel is refusing medical treatment and his life is in danger, a hospital spokeswoman said on Thursday. Khader Adnan, 33, has been refusing to eat since mid-December, shortly after his arrest in the occupied West Bank, and has only drunk liquids since then. “He is not in good shape. People on a hunger strike for more than 50 days are in real danger. The doctors are extremely concerned,” said Yael Shavit, spokeswoman for Sieff Hospital in the northern Israeli town of Safed, where Adnan has been taken. “He refuses to accept any treatment. He has not agreed to be hooked up to an IV,” she said, referring to intravenous infusion.

Israel military again delays action on Khader Adnan’s appeal as concern over hunger striker’s condition mounts, Ali Abunimah
Despite his grave medical condition after 54 days of hunger strike, Israeli military authorities have once again postponed action on Khader Adnan’s appeal against his four-month “administrative detention” – without charge or trial.

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Khader Adnan, 54 days of hunger strike, to see final military appeal tomorrow
Tomorrow, Khader Adnan, now on his 54th day of hunger strike against an administrative detention order, will see an Israeli judge for a final military court appeal.  Ma’an News Agency reported the “special session” will take place in an Israeli hospital, where Adnan is currently shackled to a bed.  In addition to the unconventional court session, yesterday Israeli authorities also unexpectedly granted Adnan a family visit, in which his wife described his physical condition as “horrifying.” Adnan is 33, a father of two, and his wife Randa is five months pregnant with their third child. He is a baker and is pursuing a Masters degree in Economics.

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RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — An Israeli court will hold a special session for hunger-striking prisoner Adnan Khader on Thursday. Palestinian prisoners society lawyer Jawad Bulus told Ma’an on Wednesday that the appeal session will take place in Zeif hospital in Safed at 11 a.m. The decision was made after Israeli authorities were advised that Adnan’s poor health would prevent him from being moved to Ofer court, Bulus said. A chairman at Zeif hospital sent a letter to Ofer court informing them that Adnan has refused all treatment and his condition is serious. 

Lawyer of hunger striker Adnan refuses Israeli request to delay hearing
The Israeli prison authority asked for delaying the appeal hearing of prisoner Khader Adnan, on hunger strike for more than 50 days in an Israeli jail, and said his health deteriorated very badly.

The family of 52-day Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan have appealed for an Israeli court to release him before he dies, with his wife describing his condition as “horrifying.” Adnan is due in court on Thursday to appeal a decision to uphold his four-month sentence amid increasing fears about his safety. Rights groups have criticized the decision to keep him in jail as Adnan, who is seriously ill and refusing minerals, is in serious danger of organ failure. Adnan has been on hunger strike since his detention on 17 December in protest against Israel’s consistent violations of human rights, according to Jerusalem-based NGO Addameer. He has been detained without being charged for a crime, with the Israeli military claiming he was involved with Islamic Jihad.

Khader Adnan: 53 days on Hunger Strike
Yesterday also marked the first time Khader Adnan’s pregnant wife Randa and their two young daughters were able to visit him. Randa described Khader’s physical appearance as “horrifying”, and their four year old daughter asked why he looked like that and why he couldn’t come home.


Wife of hunger striker: Adnan enjoys high morale despite bad health condition
Wife of detainee Sheikh Khader Adnan said after meeting him in hospital that his morale was high despite his faltering health after 52 days of hunger strike.


On the 17th of December 2011 (53 days ago), Khader Adnan began his hunger strike in protest of his ill-treatment in Israeli detention and his arbitrary detention without charge or trial (known as Administrative Detention). He is in danger of dying at any moment. His wife, Randa, who saw him for the first time since his detention today described his condition as rapidly deteriorating and that he has lost a third of his weight and his hair.

VIDEO: Former Irish hunger striker’s message for Khader Adnan, a Palestinian prisoner 55 days on hunger strike, Ali Abunimah
Tommy McKearney, one of the participants of the legendary 1980-81 Irish hunger strikes has sent a video message of solidarity to Khader Adnan and his family. Adnan, a Palestinian, has been on hunger strike ever since his 17 December detention without charge or trial by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank.
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Ethnic Cleansing / Destruction of Homes & Property / Apartheid

Landowner notified by Israel of confiscation orders

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces have distributed confiscation orders for 68 dunums of Jabaa village lands southwest of Bethlehem in order to expand Beitar Illit and Gva’ot settlements, a landowner said Thursday.  Khaled Mashala told Ma’an he was surprised when he arrived to his land to find the notifications, which were signed by the head of Israel’s civil administration.  The notifications give Mashala 45 days to object to the judicial authorities in Israel.

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Palestinian family forced to destroy their home
Palestinian family in Occupied East Jerusalem have until Friday to clear the rubble from their house which they were forced to destroy with their own hands.
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Settlers take more land in occupied West Bank
Jewish settlers have seized a large area of the town of Yatta, south of the city of Hebron. The land grab is to expand an illegal settlement. The Yatta coordinator of the Popular Committees Against the Wall and Settlements, Rateb El-Jabour, told Quds Press that the settlers cordoned-off around 3,000 square metres in the early morning. This, he said, was a prelude to the land’s confiscation for expansion of a settlement near ancient Susya. 
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Building for Palestinians in the Jordan Valley
The Bedouins of Al-Hadidiya have seen their tents demolished a dozen times since 2007. A community of about 12 families in the North of the Jordan Valley, Hadidiya was originally made up of shacks and animal shelters. 
Jewish settlers seize land, army threatens demolition of homes
Jewish settlers confiscated three dunums of Palestinian land to the east of Yatta town, south of Al-Khalil, on Wednesday, local sources said.


Aqsa foundation warns of Israeli plan to expand Jewish neighborhood in J’lem
The Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage revealed an Israeli plan to expand the illegal Jewish neighborhood in the old city at the expense of lands belonging to the Armenian monastery.

Israeli law finds new ways to keep out Palestinians
Israel’s racist legislation deepens AKKA-The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, conceived as temporary legislation in 2003, prevents the unification of Israeli citizens with spouses that are from the occupied Palestinian territories. 

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A UN seminar in Cairo heard on Tuesday that the Palestinian economy would be double the size it is now if it was not subjected to Israel’s occupation. The seminar, held from Feb. 6-7, focused on quantifying the cost of Israel’s occupation to the Palestinian economy. The restrictions imposed on the Palestinian people by Israel were the main impediments to any prospects for a sustainable Palestinian economy, Jad Isaac, director of the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem, told panelists.
Violence & Aggression

Israeli forces assault family, arrest their 13-year-old child
A large number of Israeli special forces broke into the home of a Palestinian family in Aisawiye village in occupied Jerusalem and arrested a 13-year-old minor.


Soldiers invade homes in Hebron’s Old City
Early on the morning of February 8, more than 20 Israeli soldiers and border police broke into at least 30 homes in the Old City neighborhood of Al-Khalil [Hebron].


Hundreds of Jewish settlers storm Nablus village
Hundreds of Jewish settlers stormed Sabastiya village to the north west of Nablus at noon Wednesday to visit a number of historical sites.

Other Detainees

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested two Hamas leaders from their homes in Tobas, to the north of the West Bank, at dawn Thursday.

NABLUS (Ma’an) – Israeli forces detained six Palestinians in the northern West Bank early Tuesday, locals told Ma’an.  Ahmad Beitawi, from the Human Rights Solidarity group, said soldiers raided the Rafidia district of Nablus city and detained Alaa Hamdan Abu Khader, 36, a researcher in prisoners’ affairs and a former prisoner.  Forces ransacked his family home and confiscated his computer taking him to Israel’s Megiddo prison, the group said, adding that Abu Khader was released in 2009 after serving 16 years in Israeli jails. 

Israeli police round up 21 Palestinian workers
Israeli police forces arrested 21 Palestinian workers from the Jenin province while working in number of villages in the Galilee on Thursday.

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Gaza Energy Authority announced on Thursday that if fuel doesn’t enter the coastal enclave within 72 hours the Strip will face a severe electricity crisis. “In less than 72 hours if we don’t receive fuel, Gaza will fall into darkness and disability in all aspects of life,” Kanan Obeid, president of the Energy Authority, said. The Hamas run authority has called on Arab and Islamic countries to intervene to prevent a crisis.  Since 2007, Israel’s closure of the Gaza Strip has led to severely restricted fuel supply, causing power shortages.
More than three years ago, on December 27, 2008, the Israeli Defense Force launched Operation Cast Lead in Gaza leaving over 1200 dead and thousands injured and nearly the entire 1.5 million-person population traumatized.
Under repressive occupation, Military Orders govern virtually all aspects of life. Freedom is entirely restricted. Police state authority runs Palestine. Although Oslo called Palestine one territorial unit, Israel maintains total control of people and goods movement in and out of Gaza. In June 1989, Israel began restricting free movement between Gaza and Israel through magnetic ID cards not given former prisoners. In 1991, Palestinians had to apply for personal exit permits. They were required to enter or leave Palestine and how long they could stay in Israel. Over time, numbers issued decreased.

Rabbi calls for reoccupying Gaza, El-Arish
A well-known Jewish rabbi has called for reoccupying Gaza Strip and the nearby Egyptian city of El-Arish, claiming that they were part of Greater Israel.

Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Since 2008, demonstrations are organized in front of Erez in Beit Hanoun. This is in defiance of the “no go zone” imposed unilaterally by the Israelis. Any person who approaches the Green Line is under risk of being shot at. In fact many farmers; or rubble collectors have been shot in these border areas. The “no go zone” is not really defined. The Israelis announced a 300 meters line not to be crossed but people have been shot as far as 1,5 kilometer away from the border. All this “shoot and kill” policy means than more than 30% of the agricultural land in Gaza has been made inaccessible to Palestinians due to the imminent danger of shooting by the Israeli army. This is affecting thousands of farmers along the roughly 50km-long border with Israel. Many lands in these areas have been bulldozed. Houses were destroyed especially during Operation Cast Lead. The zone has become a strange no-mans land with not one tree standing. For more information see here.
Are you looking for opportunities to educate your community and advance a campaign for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel? Or are you gearing up to launch such a campaign? Israeli Apartheid Week 2012 is a fantastic opportunity to do so, and it’s just three weeks away! 

Israeli Apartheid Week Trailer from Never Before Campaign
Please find below the link to the a video, a trailer, produced for the Israeli Apartheid Week activities set to be launched in cities all over the world during February. As usual, you feedback and assistance in distributing the video is much appreciated.


Palestinian youth to France: “Stop financing the killing of our people”
Two protests have been held today in Palestine to protest a French-Israeli military deal. A wide variety of youth organizations has organized the protests to oppose the French acquisition of $500 million worth of drones from Israeli Airspace Indistries. Some 30 people gathered in Jerusalem in front of the French consulate and only hours later some 50 people protested in Ramallah in front of the French cultural center. The activists targeting the French institutions to express their outrage against French complicity with the Israeli military and Israeli war crimes held up banners calling for an immediate military embargo against Israel and for a boycott of Israel. They shouted slogans denouncing this latest deal betwen Israel and the French government.

Discrimination/ Racism

ISRAEL: The tribulations of being an Ethiopian Jew
TEL AVIV 09 February 2012 (IRIN) – Growing up in Israel, Shai Siun became accustomed to being called a “nigger”.

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The faces of young girls modeling Purim costumes in a toy store ad were blurred in a haredi Orthodox newspaper in Beit Shemesh. The Red Pirate toy store chain said the ads in the Hadash BeBeit Shemeh newspaper were altered without its knowledge, Ynet reported. The faces of boys in costume were not altered. The chain issued a statement saying that the newspaper’s kashrut supervisor decided to blur the ad. The statement also apologized to anyone who was offended by the ad, according to Ynet. Hadash BeBeit Shemeh responded with a statement saying that “This is not a case of women’s exclusion or girls’ exclusion. The ads were blurred by the advertising company, at our request, out of respect to our readers — both men and women — who want to receive a paper which matches their worldview and lifestyle. The attempts made by people who are not part of the haredi public to meddle in the desires of a different public are pathetic and doomed to fail, as haredi readers will not bring an unclean newspaper into their home.” In response, some Beit Shemesh residents upset by the ad have urged consumers to boycott Red Pirate stores, Ynet reported. Beit Shemesh, a Jerusalem suburb of 80,000, has been the site of intense conflict over gender separation and female modesty issues.
Political Developments / Diplomacy / Other News
Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud al-Zahar come out against key clause in Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal in which Abbas would serve as both president and prime minister of future Palestinian government.
Tuesday marked Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s first official visit to Washington in 18 months and he made extensive rounds, meeting with State Department officials and a host of lawmakers on Capitol Hill. In the morning, Lieberman met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the first time since 2010. There were no official statements made after the meeting, but Lieberman told Haaretz it was a “very good” meeting that included a lot of substance. “We are waiting for Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions and we express our appreciation for the support of Israel,” he said. “We appreciate the very crucial decision [by the Obama administration] of sanctions against Iran, and we continue to monitor it closely.” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Tuesday that the meeting

Israel Seeking New Air Force Base in Cyprus
The Israeli government, under Benjamin Netanyahu, is about to initiate talks with Cyprus in order to establish an Israeli Air Force base in the country, while affirming Israel’s “outstanding” relations with Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. 


Bahrain Protesters Attacked, “US Assisting Regime Forces”
Bahraini regime forces attacked peaceful protesters amid a 10-day sit-in protest held near the capital. Meanwhile, activists accused the United States of assisting regime forces in their crackdown.

Violence in Bahrain escalates ahead of February 14 anniversary (Reuters)
Reuters – The funeral march for Mohammed Yaacoub had barely ended last week when police and protesters faced off in the town of Sitra, an impoverished district of Bahrain that has borne the brunt of a year of unrest.


Jailed Bahraini activist renews hunger strike (Reuters)
Reuters – A jailed rights activist in Bahrain has gone back on hunger strike ahead of the February 14 anniversary of a pro-democracy uprising, the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights said Thursday.

Updated: 11:14 a.m. ET — Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.
A New York Times report says Obama administration see approach of Defense Minister Ehud Barak for stopping the Iranian program as ‘too narrow.’

Iran: Arrest Sweeps Target Arab Minority
Iranian security forces arrested more than 65 Arab residents during security sweeps in Iran’s Arab-majority Khuzestan province since late 2011 according to local activists. The Iranian government should immediately charge or release those arrested. Authorities should also investigate reports by local activists that two detainees have died in Intelligence Ministry detention facilities in the past week.

Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran’s Joint Armed Forces Masoud Jazayeri says Tehran’s support for Syria is the same as its support for Palestine and Lebanon.
During a Special Edition of NBC’s Today Show, broadcast live on Sunday before the Super Bowl, Matt Lauerinterviewed Barack Obama and asked the President about a potential Israeli attack on Iran. Obama said,  “I think they, like us, believe that Iran has to stand down on its nuclear weapons program…[Iran is] feeling the pinch, they are feeling the pressure, but they have not taken the step that they need to diplomatically, which is to say, ‘We will pursue peaceful nuclear power. We will not pursue a nuclear weapon.’ Until they do, I think Israel rightly is going to be very concerned and we are as well.” Obama also noted that the United States and Israel “have closer military and intelligence consultation between our two countries than we ever have” and are working “in lock-step” to “solve” the Iranian nuclear issue, “hopefully diplomatically.”
Despite the beating drums of war on its news pages from David Sanger and others, the Times published anintelligent, pragmatic outline of a possible agreement between Iran and the U.S., written by two senior diplomats of past Republican administrations, Tom Pickering and Bill Luers.
Europe Fears a Summer Attack on Iran
MUNICH — The appeals to Israel by numerous European diplomats attending the Munich security conference last weekend have led to growing concern that Israeli plans to attack Iran are imminent. The very number of warnings to Israel, and the emphasis with which diplomats have expressed concern, suggests that Israeli plans to attack Iran are real […]


U.S. Most Powerful Bunker Buster Cannot Destroy Iran’s Nukes, Richard Silverstein

Leon Panetta revealed to the Wall Street Journal that the U.S.’ most powerful bunker buster has failed tests designed to prove it could penetrate and destroy Iran’s most hardened nuclear facility in Fordow.
Israel Vying for War: Attacking Iran Will Not Repeat History, Ramzy Baroud
On April 10, 2002, then British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the House of Commons, ‘Saddam Hussein’s regime is…developing weapons of mass destruction, and we cannot leave him doing so unchecked.’ A year later, Blair, enthusiastically joined a US-led coalition that launched an illegal war against Iraq. Their hunt for weapons of mass destruction was futile because no such weapons actually existed. The Iraq Survey Group, a 1,400 strong member organization set up by the CIA and the Pentagon, made every attempt to prove otherwise, but only came back empty-handed. In its final Duelfer Report, released in September 2004, the group “found no evidence of concerted efforts to restart the [nuclear] program.”
The United States’ policies concerning the Iranian nuclear program could make this winter even tougher for Europe, whose economies would be further threatened by a shortage of crude oil imports.

Iraq has executed 65 people so far this year
Iraqi authorities executed at least 65 people in the first 40 days of 2012 for various offences, including 14 on a single day, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). Joe Stork, the group’s deputy Middle East director, said Iraqi authorities appeared to have given the “green light to execute at will”. The New York-based advocacy group said trials often violated international standards. Many defendants were unable to challenge the evidence against them, which may include coerced confession.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi crackdown kills one, injures 14
Saudi regime forces have opened fire on anti-government demonstrators in the kingdom’s Eastern Province, killing one person and wounding at least 14 others.

Journalist Flees Saudi After Tweet on Prophet

An apology by Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari over his controversial tweet about Prophet Muhammad failed to dampen a Salafi campaign against him prompting him to flee his home country.  The issue has turned from a spontaneous reaction into an organized campaign run by a group of disturbed Salafis, which has included death threats.  That’s how a series of attacks quickly escalated against Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari following his tweets on the Prophet Mohammad’s mawlid(birth), which was celebrated on Saturday. Kashgari fled in the wake of the campaign. There are conflicting reports about his current whereabouts. A new twitter account believed to be his claims he headed to Canada while other news reports say he is in Southeast Asia.  The Saudi writer, who wrote for al-Bilad newspaper, did not only receive a deluge of threats. His address and phone number were circulated so that his opponents would know how to find him.”

Saudi Arabia recently declared its intention to launch its own nuclear program. The announcement was made in December by the Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Zainal, who said 375 billion riyals (US$100 billion) would be spent on building 16 nuclear power plants to generate electricity in different parts of the kingdom. This was later confirmed by Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, who indicated that other member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are also “studying the economics of nuclear energy.”
Arab League ‘plans to revive’ Syria mission
Ban Ki-moon says bloc wants to send observers back with UN help as Syrian forces continued their assault on Homs.

Homs under fire as Syria battle rages

Syrian forces continued their assault on Homs Thursday, bombarding rebel-held neighborhoods in a bid to restore control over the restive city, activists said. The Local Coordination Committees – an opposition group that organizes anti-regime protests – said at least 47 people have so far been killed in Homs on Thursday, warning that it expected the death toll to rise. As dawn broke on Thursday, rocket and mortar fire rained down again on Baba Amro, Khalidiya and other districts, according to activists and residents. 

With President Bashar Assad refusing to cede power, U.S. options include arming Syrian rebels or looking the other way if others do. Some foresee a proxy war.

Syrians must decide Assad fate: Russia
Russia has dismissed a forced regime change in Syria, stressing that Syrian people must decide about President Bashar al-Assad not the international community.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah reiterated his party’s solidarity with the Assad regime on Tuesday, accusing Western-backed powers and Arab autocracies of using the protests to try to force President Bashar Assad out of power to undermine resistance forces in the region.  In a wide-ranging televised speech to commemorate the birth of the Prophet Mohammed, Nasrallah also explicitly stated that his party receives financial support from Iran, without which, he said, the resistance in Lebanon would not have persisted and triumphed.
Syrians have fled from the crisis in their country to the nearby Bekaa valley in eastern Lebanon, where they are living in difficult conditions with little or no assistance from the state.
The second part of Al-Akhbar’s exclusive series on the Free Syrian Army in Lebanon delves into the organization’s shaky command structures, casualty smuggling, and political convictions.
The final part of this Al-Akhbar exclusive looks at the medical support and media networks that compliment the military activity of the Free Syrian Army in Lebanon.
Wadi Khaled in Northern Lebanon has become a magnet for media outlets eager to report on Syrian refugees. But many Syrian families have settled in the coastal town of Tripoli, where they suffer from marginalization, politicisation, and neglect by the Lebanese authorities.

The warm welcome received by Syrian Ambassador Bashar Jaafari’s UN speech over the weekend, among those who reject the Syrian opposition’s armed wing and its calls for foreign intervention, was not restricted to Syrians only.


A Struggle for Regional Supremacy: Syria Conflict Escalates as World Powers Debate Assad’s Future
Syria is seeing some of the worst violence of the 11-month uprising against Bashar al-Assad amid an ongoing international standoff over how to respond. Assad’s forces have launched what appears to be one of their fiercest assaults on the flashpoint city of Homs to date. Both the United States and Britain have closed their embassies in the Syrian capital of Damascus and withdrawn diplomatic personnel, citing safety fears. As the crisis escalates, Russia and China are facing criticism for blocking a U.N. Security Council resolution backed by the United States and Arab League calling for a political transition in Syria. To discuss the situation in Syria, we’re joined by Patrick Seale, a leading British writer on the Middle East and author of “Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East.” “It’s at least a two- or possibly a three-stage crisis. Internally in Syria, the situation is getting worse by the day,” Seale says. “At a higher level, there is a struggle between the United States, on the one hand, and its allies, and its opponents like Russia and China… Then there’s a third level, possibly, of Arab Gulf states like Qatar, for example, even Saudi Arabia behind it, who are obsessed and worried by Iran, and they think that Iran might stir up Shia communities in the region.” 

Syria: It’s not what we should do now, it’s what we should have done then, Liane Ross
In March 2011, I wrote a long piece on the military intervention in Libya in which I summarised academic research on intervention in intrastate conflicts. Since proponents of the responsibility to protect doctrine typically argue for it via an account of one or two notorious cases where we should have but failed to intervene, the debates typically overrate the lessons of those few cases and ignore all the rest. Consequently, I disregarded theoretical and anecdotal accounts of, or arguments for, military intervention and focused exclusively on empirical studies where the authors analysed dozens or hundreds of conflicts across the past century or more to calculate whether the consequences of such intervention are usually positive.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) — Russia’s veto of a Security Council resolution on Syria goes far beyond mere protection for a close ally and arms buyer — it showed Moscow’s determination to crush what it sees as a Western crusade to use the United Nations to topple unfriendly regimes. The same holds true for China, which followed Russia’s lead and joined Moscow in its second double veto to strike down a European-Arab draft resolution that would have endorsed an Arab League plan for Syrian President Bashar Assad to transfer power to his deputy to prepare free elections. Russia’s move, analysts and diplomats say, was a diplomatic counteroffensive responding to an unusually active period for the Security Council. Last year the 15-nation panel twice adopted resolutions authorizing “all necessary measures” — diplomatic code for military force — in Libya and Ivory Coast.

“Consider this paragraph from an article about Syria in The Times on Saturday by Nada Bakri, a Beirut correspondent: “A 34-year-old teacher from the Alawite sect said her life had changed in ways she never imagined. Six months ago, she started covering her head like Sunni Muslim women, hoping not to stand out. Her husband, an officer in the Syrian Army, rarely leaves his base to come home. She said she and their two sons had not seen him in months. A few weeks ago, her landlord, a Sunni, asked her to leave the house because his newly married son wanted to move in. ‘Sunnis have begun to feel empowered,’ the teacher said. ‘A year ago, no one would have expected this to happen.’ She had already made plans to return to her village.”  With good reason. There is a lot of pent-up anger there.”

Other News
MPs question British arms supplies to Middle East and North Africa  Minister admits trade with undemocratic countries with poor human rights record

Radical Muslim Americans Pose Little Threat, Study Says
The study found that arrests of Muslim Americans in plots or violent attacks have dropped sharply since 2009.

Analysis / Op-ed

A few days ago, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas head Khaled Mesha’al announced an agreement for a unified Palestinian government, whose task would be to facilitate general elections, and begin the rebuilding of Gaza. The deal puts unity between the two main Palestinian factions back on track, much to the chagrin of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


JustSalvos Censors Palestine Story
I recently witnessed a Christian social justice group, which I greatly respect, be successfully pressured into suppressing the issue of Palestine from their work. The episode raises broader questions about censorship and the concepts of ‘bias’ and ‘balance’. JustSalvos is an Australian organisation within The Salvation Army that seeks to raise awareness, and campaign on, social justice issues. Its website includes information on such issues as poverty, refugees and asylum-seekers, HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, and the plight of Australia’s indigenous people. Visitors to the website can purchase Fair Trade products, and can also purchase products for disadvantaged people in developing countries, such as education tools, micro-financing kits, livestock, seeds, toys, and health supplies(1). JustSalvos also has a blog, and Facebook and YouTube pages. I have been a member of JustSalvos’ Facebook page for some time now, and wrote an article for their blog.


Modern Love: In Search for My Palestinian Family
It was during the First Intifada, in the spring of 1988, that I took a bus from Jerusalem to Bethlehem to find my real dad. Soldiers squatted on abandoned shop fronts with metal cages pulled around their faces, riffles to hand. They stared suspiciously as a waif-like English girl, all of seventeen, and her friend alighted from the bus to wander the barren streets, and disappear into the dust. “Please do not go,” my mother had pleaded from England. But there was no stopping me.


Since World War II, the impulse of the American foreign policy elite has been to intervene in trouble spots abroad and apparently let God sort out the consequences. The ill effects of such interventions are usually plain to see — if nothing else, after the episodes are over — but the arrogance of the elite […]


Where is the Bedouin Intifada?

Feb 09, 2012

Mya Guarnieri

al arakib aic
The unrecognized Bedouin village of Al Arakib after it was demolished in September 2010 (Photo: Mya Guarnieri)

This article was originally published on February 9, 2012 for the Alternative Information Center.

In 2004, Israeli officials were up in arms about an impending Bedouin Intifada. But the Bedouin didn’t rebel and now, despite plans to expel tens of thousands of Bedouin from their homes in the West Bank and the Negev, things remain relatively quiet. Why?

As Israel steps up its expansionist policies both inside and outside the Green Line, the Bedouin community has come under particularly intense pressure.

Inside of Israel, the state seeks to Judaize the Negev (Naqab) desert. This “development” includes last year’s Prawer plan which recommends that Israel relocate some 30,000-40,000 Bedouin citizens, ripping them from their villages and sticking them in impoverished townships, to clear the area for Jewish-only settlements.

After the Israeli cabinet passed the Prawer plan in September 2011, Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel likened it to “a declaration of war.”

Al Arakib could be considered an opening battle. The state first demolished the unrecognized village in July 2010—destroying homes and tearing olive trees from the ground to make way for a forest to be planted by the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF). After the Bedouin residents of Al Arakib rebuilt their village, Israeli forces returned and destroyed it again. Since then, Al Arakib has been demolished and rebuilt over 30 times.

Israel’s policies are just as inhumane on the other side of the Green Line, where the so-called “Civil Administration” seeks to remove 27,000 Bedouin from Area C in order to expand illegal Israeli settlements. The Civil Administration’s plans will be carried out over the next three to six years.

The United Nations reports that Israeli forces demolished 44 Palestinian-owned buildings in East Jerusalem and the West Bank last month, including 14 houses. 66 people were displaced, 40 of whom were Bedouin.

Recent years have seen Israel escalate its campaign to push Palestinians and Bedouin out of their homes. According to the UN, nearly 1100 Palestinians and Bedouins were displaced by Israeli house demolitions in 2011—approximately 80 percent more than 2010.

So where is the Bedouin Intifada?

In 2004, the Israeli daily Haaretz called a Bedouin uprising “practically inevitable.” Lurching from one alarmist quote to the next, the article labeled the Bedouin a “ticking bomb,” a “keg of dynamite,” depicting them not as native inhabitants but as criminals who have taken over the Negev.

Amidst the hysteria came a fetishizing remark from Reuven Gal, then-Deputy National Security Advisor for Domestic Policy, who commented that, to the Bedouin, “honor is more precious than money.”

The writer concluded, ominously, “every plan to develop the Negev is likely to face violent opposition because of the Bedouin who live in the area.”

The article drips with racism and colonialism—Israeli plans to displace the Bedouin constitute “development.” Not only are the Bedouin sure to oppose such “progress,” they are likely to be “violent.” And then there are the Orientalist depictions of the Bedouin as reactionary, volatile beings unable to control their impulses, especially when “honor” is at stake.

But it would be wrong to blame the writer and his interviewees alone.

In his book Good Arabs, Hillel Cohen describes an incident that took place in 1950, when the Israeli army’s chief of staff visited a Bedouin tribe, reporter in tow. The journalist recounted a “royal meal,” eaten against the backdrop of “the echoes of gunshots” and “riders’ galloping.” The evening climaxed with a ceremonial “presentation of the sword of the desert.”

Cohen explains that the reporter’s depiction “fit well with that period’s common portrayal of the Bedouin as hospitable noble savages….” An Orientalist view of the Bedouin is deeply rooted and, as the 2004 Haaretz article suggests, persists. So feverish proclamations about a Bedouin Intifada should be taken with a camel-sized grain of salt.

We should also consider the motives behind such “warnings.” As, Jaber Abu Kaf, a representative of the Regional Council for Unrecognized Bedouin Villages told Haaretz in 2004, claims of an imminent Bedouin Intifada “are baseless and are intended to promote a political agenda.”

But, for argument’s sake, let’s say that the Bedouin would like to revolt, violently, against Israel’s discrimination.

Let’s set aside the quiet acts of resistance, the small, silent intifada, already taking place: rebuilding demolished homes; the day-long general strike held in December of 2011; the massive protestoutside the Prime Minister’s office on the same December day.

And let’s set aside individual agency and pretend the Bedouin can only react, collectively, to Israeli policies.

So why hasn’t that “ticking bomb” exploded?

The answer lies, in part, in the state’s founding. Before Israel was established in 1948, some 91,000 Bedouin lived in the Negev. After the war, only twelve percent of the original population remained. Many of the Bedouin facing forced transfer from the West Bank today are refugees whose families fled or were driven from the Negev during the nakba.

Shattered and scattered, the Bedouin were subject to additional Israeli efforts to divide and rule. A number of those who had managed to hang on to their land in the Negev were pushed off of it. In some cases, the state appointed local mukhtars, pitting families against one another, and putting weak leaders, or those who would serve Israeli interests, at the head of villages.

Israeli authorities also sowed seeds of disunity by actively encouraging–and rewarding–collaboration. That some took the bait undermines the Orientalist assertion that the Bedouin value honor more than money.

Israel has also fomented poverty in the Bedouin community. In the 1970s, the state built seven townships for the Negev Bedouin that are home today to approximately 80,000 Bedouin. These ghettos have the country’s highest unemployment and school dropout rates as well as the social problems that accompany poverty and hopelessness, including rampant drug abuse.

Those that remained in the desert have not had it much easier. Despite the fact that many Bedouin live in villages that predate the state itself, Israel does not recognize most of these communities. Some 80,000 Bedouin live in the unrecognized villages that lack infrastructure and high schools. Rawia Aburabia, an attorney with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), calls the status of Bedouin education, “catastrophic,” pointing out to a drop out rate that tops 40 percent.

There is also the contentious issue of military service. Some Bedouin tribes serve in the Israeli army; many do not. This creates tension within the community and serves as yet another obstacle to the unity needed for a successful uprising.

With Palestine’s Bedouin divided between Israel and the surrounding countries; split between those who serve in the Israeli army and those who don’t; struggling to survive; lacking leadership and a cohesive national strategy, an organized and sustainable uprising is unlikely. The international community, then, has a responsibility to stop the home demolitions and forced transfers that Palestinians and Bedouin face in the West Bank and inside Israel.

Advocating for outside intervention runs the risk of sounding patronizing, at best, colonial, at worst. That’s the beauty of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. The call for BDS comes from Palestinian civil society and is self-empowering.

While some Palestinians don’t consider the Bedouin to be Palestinian—and many Bedouin don’t consider themselves Palestinian, either—BDS is an appropriate response to Israel’s treatment of the Bedouin. They suffer from the same discriminatory policies that plague the Palestinians. And the two communities share common hopes for human and civil rights, to return to their homeland, and to live in freedom, justice, and dignity.

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

YouGov survey shows minimal support for academies and ‘free’ schools


A new YouGov survey has asked people what their opinion is on Academies and ‘Free’ schools.
Only ¼ of the participants think either academies or ‘free’ schools will improve standards, with over ½ thinking they will make no difference or make them worse.
Do you think turning more schools into academies – which have the freedom to set their own rates of pay for staff and greater independence over the curriculum and their budgets – will make education standards better or worse, or will it make no difference?

will make standards better              27

will make standards worse             24

will make no difference                  29

don’t know                                        20

YouGov survey shows minimal support for academies and ‘free’ schools

Kimberley school governors vote unanimously against academy status

Statement by the Governing Body of The Kimberley School as agreed at the meeting of 7 February 2012:
As a result of the comprehensive consultation exercise the Governors of The Kimberley School unanimously believe that, on balance, it is not in the best interests of the school to change status at this time. However, Governors have resolved to keep this under review. 

Kimberley school governors vote unanimously against academy status

Free Schools: Mystery of a Chuckle Brother’s ‘ghost’ school with no staff or pupils

THE launch of one of the Government’s flagship free schools, backed by a television entertainer and hailed as “outstanding” by Michael Gove, has been thrown into doubt with no confirmed premises, staff or pupils in place – despite supposedly being due to open in eight months.
Questions are now being asked about why the Government waved through initial approval of Rotherham Central Free School, with officials suggesting little obvious consultation has been carried out.

Mystery of a Chuckle Brother’s ‘ghost’ free school with no staff or pupils

Phantom plan for free school?

Other ‘Free’ school news

Liverpool Catholic Church rejects Hawthornes Free School Trust

‘Free’ School to be run entirely by ex military personnel

Tottenham Hotspur in talks to open free school at their new stadium


More fallout from the GCSE results

The release of the GCSE results for 2011 two weeks ago was accompanied by a mass of other useful data. Since then a number of analysis of the results have been released, again and again they show that academies are not ‘proven to succeed’ as Gove and the DfE claim.

Academies and exploitation of “equivalent” qualifications

Academies and the ‘English Baccalaureate’

Academies falling below the ‘floor target’

Note on academies and disadvantaged pupils

Academy chains: No case for expansion

Most GCSE equivalents axed from school league tables


Conference: Education in Lincolnshire: what does the future hold?

A free conference for parents, governors and teachers. Education reforms, nationally and locally, are making huge changes to schooling in Lincolnshire. What is driving these changes? Are the arguments educational or economic? What’s in it for the County’s children?

2-5 pm, Saturday 3rd March

EMMTEC Auditorium,University of Lincoln, Brayford Campus
Speakers include Melissa Benn, Alasdair Smith – Anti Academies Alliance national secretary

Education in Lincolnshire: what does the future hold?


Early Day Motion 2632 – Forced Academies in Primary Schools

The following Early Day Motion had been submitted by David Lammy MP in Parliament.
The more MPs sign it the clearer it is that there is widespread opposition to Forced Academies.
Please contact your MP immediately and ask them to sign EDM 2632

Academy figures for February 2012

The latest government figures for academies, released on 3rd February, show there are now 1580 academies open.
49 new academies opened at the beginning of February
Of these 24 are secondary and 33 are primary schools.
55% of secondaries are not academies – 1735

15,000 primary schools remain as community schools – 96%

Click here to download the latest data by Local Authority
Other news

Teachers call for Islington school to drop academy status

Academy to alter school ‘measuring point’ to exclude council estate pupils

Let state schools be run for profit, says former Department for Education chief

What’s happening at OASIS MediaCity Academy?

Ofsted give damning report into Birkdale High School Academy

Fears over academy plan for primaries

Free School Meals: 6 Feb 2012: Hansard Written Answers and Statements

The very undemocratic process of forcing academy status on primary schools…and o…

Parents speak against Brixton primary school academy plans
Having trouble keeping up with the news on Academies and Free Schools?
You can follow the Anti Academies Alliance on

Facebook –!/pages/Anti-Academies-


Twitter –

Summary of Twitter news –

Delicious –

Posted in EducationComments Off on YouGov survey shows minimal support for academies and ‘free’ schools

Khader Adnan—news about and action request: URGENT!


The latest update is from one of his lawyers, Tamar Peleg-Sryck, who informs us that the judge who heard his appeal yesterday will write his decision only next week after the “protocol will be typed and delivered to him.”  We are not talking here about a person who has a lifetime ahead, and can wait for a decision weeks or months.  Khader Adnan is in danger of imminent death!  We must write and phone and try to save his life.  Of this more later in this note.  Here is what Tamar wrote.


Hi Dorothy

Yesterday’ February 9′ we the lawyers  and Khader in a wheel chair attended the appeal against the decision  of the first instant judge to approve of the 4 month’s administrative detention order. The appeal  proceedings took place in Sieff hospital in Safad where Khader  is presently hospitalized. He was represented by 6 lawyers including myself. The protocol  will be typed and delivered to the judge only  “next  week” as we were told by him  and  afterwards he will write his decision.  The authorities take their time  regardless of Khader’s precarious  situation following over 50 day’s hunger strike. It should be understood: his life is in imminent danger.

This is the time to protest and demand his release from administrative detention.

It should be made clear that he is alleged of  political opinions and political activities  – without a hint of  any sort of violence. However the army’ following  Shabak’  claim that he “endangers the security” and should remain in detention .


If you have any questions’ please  write.




Additional recent updates and news on Khader Adnan:



Support grows for Palestinian hunger striker


BBC Palestinian on hunger strike ‘in critical condition’




The time has come to flood the phone, fax, and email lines of the following Israeli officials (if you do write, one and the same note or letter can be used for all)


Note that Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, is also Minister of Health, and can be written to or addressed in both capacities.


Netanyahu phone from abroad +972 2 670 5512

(from Israel 02 670 5512)

Fax +972 2 566 4 838

(from Israel drop the 972 and add 0 at beginning)



Minister of Defense Ehud Barak   phone (from abroad) +972 3 697 663

Fax +972 3 697 6218



COGAT (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) I have no email, but you can phone the Public Ombudsman at the Civil Administration +972 2 997 7001


Emphasis should be put on the exigency, that Khader Adnan should be released immediately.





Posted in Human RightsComments Off on Khader Adnan—news about and action request: URGENT!

Dorothy Online Newsletter


Dear Friends,

The 5 items below begin with a petition from ICRC regarding Khader Adnan.  I know that I sent out and signed one from ICRC a few days ago, but believe that this is a new one.  In any event, I signed it and hope that you will, too, unless you discern that it is the one that I already sent.  Sorry. I apparently didn’t save it, so don’t know for certain.


Two of the items below I found while checking to see if the international media had anything on Khader Adnan.  Apart from Al Jazeera and BBC I found nothing.  But I did find in an Australian paper a report stating that BBC had apologized because of a blunder that it had made: it included Ariel as a city in Israel, even before Israel has expropriated it.  This is item 2.


The other is item 3—it describes the miseries of a Jerusalem neighborhood that has been cut off from Jerusalem by the infamous wall.  Who says that Israel does not practice apartheid?  Read and judge for yourselves.


Item 4 has 2 parts:  a brief movie (5 minutes) and a comment about last night’s demonstration against attacking Iran.  My comments about both are below.


Item 5 is ‘Today in Palestine’ for February 10.


All the best, and may our endeavors for Khader save his life.




From: on behalf of Ruth Edmonds

Sent: Friday, February 10, 2012

Subject: Khader Adnan’s life at risk as he enters day 54 of hunger Strike – since 17 December 2011‏


Please read and sign, you should act quickly, it is our responsibility to act because the ICRC is not raking the necessary steps to save Adnans life.

That’s why I signed a petition to ICRC, which says:

“We are writing to express our frustration at your slow acting in regards to the Palestinian detainee, Mr. Adnan Khader, who has been on hunger strike since 17 December 2011.  Mr. Khader is protesting his being held under administrative detention by the Israeli occupation forces. Adnan’s detention is based on military order with secret evidence that he and his attorney are not allowed to review. According to the order, he was sentenced to jail for a six month period that may be renewed without limitation. His detention is continuing without trial or charges. According to International Humanitarian Law, it is the responsibility of the ICRC to take active steps to save his life by applying pressure on the Israeli government to release him.”

Please click here to sign:




2 BBC apologizes for quiz question on Israeli Cities



3  The LA Times

Tuesday, February 7, 2012



Neighborhood pays price of being on wrong side of Israel’s wall

Residents of Kafr Aqab are cut off from most public services, even though they live within Jerusalem’s city limits. The once-upscale area is now a slum.,0,5027978,full.story

By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Jerusalem

With a fire extinguisher in his hand and a cellphone pressed to his ear, principal Sameeh abu Rameelh battled an electrical fire in his Jerusalem high school’s computer lab while pleading with the fire department to come to his aid.


But when the emergency dispatcher heard that the school was in Kafr Aqab, separated from the rest of Jerusalem by a 36-foot-high concrete wall, he told Abu Rameelh that firetrucks wouldn’t cross Israel’s separation barrier without army protection.


The principal turned to the West Bank city of Ramallah, hoping Palestinian Authority fire crews would help. Sorry, they responded, but they were not permitted to enter Jerusalem.


Eventually, Abu Rameelh said, he and some volunteers put out the blaze. No one was hurt, but the lab, with 40 computers and desks, was gutted.


“We’re forgotten here,” he said.


With Israel’s construction during the last eight years of a barrier to separate it from militants in the West Bank, more than 50,000 Jerusalem residents — almost all Arabs — have found themselves on the wrong side of an increasingly impenetrable line.


They are cut off from most public services, even though they live within Jerusalem’s city limits, hold residency cards and pay city taxes like everyone else.


Kafr Aqab, in the northern corner of East Jerusalem, is one of the largest, most isolated neighborhoods, with an estimated 20,000 residents. Once seen as an upscale Palestinian area, Kafr Aqab today is one of the worst slums in Jerusalem.


There are no police officers, nor is there mail service. The only hospital is a maternity clinic. Trash is piled up along narrow roads with deep potholes. There’s only one traffic light at the busy main intersection, but it broke years ago, residents say, and was never repaired.


Unauthorized midrise construction is exploding because city inspectors almost never visit. Falling bricks from one building project recently forced a neighboring elementary school to seal off part of its playground so students wouldn’t be hit by debris.


Many families with enough money to move have relocated to other parts of East Jerusalem not cut off by the wall. They’ve left behind a neighborhood increasingly beset by poverty and crime.


In the security vacuum, residents try to maintain order themselves, relying on local elders and powerful families to resolve disputes. About two years ago, an armed gang assaulted a school official here and briefly held hundreds of students in a dispute involving an angry parent. Jerusalem police refused to come, and the standoff ended only when other parents rushed to the school and chased off the gang.


Israeli officials defend the wall as essential in stopping Palestinian suicide bombers who once terrorized their citizens. Such attacks have mostly stopped since the barrier was constructed.


At the time it was being built, military officials justified cutting off some Jerusalem neighborhoods, saying they feared the areas were hotbeds of militancy or could be used to gain access to Jerusalem from the West Bank.


Israel promised to make special arrangements for those neighborhoods to ensure city services were not disrupted. That never happened.


Though Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has touted his efforts to improve life in other parts of East Jerusalem, he and other city officials have acknowledged that they are no longer able to provide adequate services to neighborhoods over the wall. In December, Barkat proposed turning over administration of the areas to the army and redrawing the city’s borders to permanently exclude them.


“We must relinquish areas of the municipality that are located outside the fence,” Barkat said in a speech to Israel’s National Defense College. “I recommend keeping the fence the way it is and relinquishing parts of the municipality that are on the other side of the fence.”


Barkat’s plan envisions a trade of sorts, annexing a few pockets of West Bank territory that are now on the Jerusalem side of the wall.


The controversial idea was quickly rejected by other Israeli leaders, who object to relinquishing any Jerusalem land. Palestinians also complained, accusing the mayor of trying to reduce Jerusalem’s Arab population to strengthen the Jewish majority in the city.


“This isn’t about security,” said Ziad Hammouri, director of the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights. “It’s about demographics and the Judaization of East Jerusalem.”


Barkat spokesman Barak Cohen did not respond to requests for comment.


The Palestinian Authority has given money to some neglected East Jerusalem neighborhoods for schools or roads, both as a gesture of support and an attempt to embarrass Israel. But the authority can barely afford to take care of its own people, much less help out in Jerusalem, where Israel and peace accords limit its ability to operate.


Though Kafr Aqab is cut off from the rest of Jerusalem, its ability to forge ties with the West Bank is also limited. Schools in Kafr Aqab, for example, are prohibited by the city from buying paper and other supplies in Ramallah, which is cheaper and closer, school officials say. Likewise, their sports teams aren’t allowed to compete against Palestinian schools, leaving them to play among themselves, mostly, or not all.


Pharmacies, which are regulated by Israel, can’t restock drugs or bandages from West Bank suppliers even though Jerusalem vendors refuse to deliver to them. Instead, they must go through the checkpoint to get supplies.


For residents of Kafr Aqab, life behind the wall is increasingly difficult. Commuters heading to jobs in other parts of the city have to allow two hours to get through the security checkpoints that regulate access through the barrier. Those injured in car accidents or collapsing with heart failure can be evacuated to Ramallah in a pinch, but such arrangements are usually possible only in life-or-death situations, residents say.


At the 24-bed Al-Quds Maternity Hospital, bandits keep stealing the telephone lines, leaving the facility without service. Israel’s land-line provider, Bezeq, repaired the line once, but now is refusing to send technicians because they said they fear entering the neighborhood, hospital administrator Helmi Barak said.


When a maternity patient had to be transferred to another Jerusalem hospital recently, Barak said he had to run to a nearby drugstore to fax her medical records.


Another time, he said, a woman went into labor seven months into her term and had to be rushed to larger hospital. She ended up in Ramallah because there was no time to wait at the checkpoint. Now the parents are having trouble proving Jerusalem residency because the child was born in the West Bank.


Because no one will pick up the hospital’s medical waste, a staffer must load up his car with old needles, expired drugs and other environmentally dangerous materials and drive through the checkpoint to a Jerusalem dump.


“No hospital in the developed world would be expected to operate without telephone service,” Barak said. “Is this Africa? We pay taxes and are regulated by Israel’s Ministry of Health. Shouldn’t we get the same basic services? I don’t understand how they can provide electricity to army outposts all over the West Bank but not telephone service to Jerusalem.”


Most of the schools in Kafr Aqab receive funding from Israel, but their facilities are mostly converted apartment buildings, hotels or military camps. At one public elementary school, the only place for students to play is a small concrete courtyard. The school had to hold its graduation ceremony in the street several years ago because it couldn’t find a local building large enough for the gathering.


Abu Rameelh, the principal at the semiprivate Dar Al Maarefa High School, said he’s given up trying to maintain ties with other schools in Jerusalem. Though more than three dozen of his students recently passed a qualifying exam to participate in a nationwide math contest, none will be going. Likewise, his soccer team no long plays other schools in the district. Field trips have been scaled back.


Participating in such events means passing through military checkpoints, which sometimes includes sniffer dogs and physical searches by soldiers.


Last year, six buses loaded with enthusiastic first- and second-graders departed for a field trip to a Tel Aviv amusement park. But two of the buses were turned back by soldiers at military checkpoints for unknown reasons, he said, leaving Abu Rameelh to deal with dozens of tearful, disappointed 7-year-olds.


“It’s just not worth it anymore,” he said. “Parents won’t allow us to send children [to the other side of] the wall because they worry about how they will be treated. It’s not easy for kids. There’s a psychological impact. So we just try to avoid it by not going anywhere.”


Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times


4  Short film (5 minutes) depicting Iran nuclear attack scenario—in addition to watching the film worth reading the script and comments.  Supposing that Iran does not have or use nuclear weapons in an attack, and only conventional missiles hit Israel from all sides via support from Hezbollah and others—would that make the scenario better?  The safest way is No War, No Attack on Iran.



Vibrant democracy faces prospect of war


In response to Larry Derfner, I admit that I stated that there were more police than demonstrators—which was an exaggeration, but was my reaction to the Ynet report that 100 demonstrators were present.  Truth is that 100 or 1,000 demonstrators won’t change Israeli government policies.  But if Barak and Netanyahu decide to strike Iran, whether or not one demonstrates, we will all pay the price.  And so we try.  I was surprised that there weren’t many more of us, since a recent poll showed that most Israelis (over 60%, if I remember correctly) were against attacking Iran.  But I can also understand the apathy.  After all, look at the huge numbers of people in many countries that demonstrated against attacking Iraq.  But Iraq was nevertheless attacked.  Besides, in Israel our leaders make sure that we are always subjected to threats of attack—real or imagined.  For how long can one go about feeling threatened?  Hence apathy.



5. Today in Palestine for February 10, 2012


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Judge delays ruling on Khader Adnan, now in his 56th day of hunger strike

Feb 10, 2012

 Allison Deger

Ofer Khader Adnan
Solidarity hunger strike outside Ofer prison. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Active Stills)

Yesterday, an Israeli judge postponed a decision for hunger striker Khader Adnan’s final appeal in the military court system, which was heard in his hospital room. The judge requested more documents as the reason for the delay in either ordering a continuation of Adnan’s administrative detention, or possible release from Israeli custody.

The unusual trial was held in Zeif Hospital and media were not permitted on site. Currently, Adnan is held without charge, based on secret evidence the prosecution has not disclosed to the political prisoner or his legal representation. However, the prosecution previously noted that the current evidence against Adnan as so-called leader in Islamic Jihad is not sufficient to press charges against the hunger striker.

Adnan’s case sits at an impasse. It is unknown when the Israeli judge will make release a decision on the hunger striker’s appeal. In the absence of judicial release, human rights organizations and activist are petitioning for his release, and pressuring news agencies to cover Adnan’s detention.

The Israel Lobby on campus in Illinois: A challenge for BDS

Feb 10, 2012 

 David Green

I only recently learned of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s trip to Israel this past summer (2011) for a “week-long educational mission where he sealed two important agreements and received briefings from high-ranking Israeli officials, academic experts and business leaders on topics ranging from high-tech development (read Motorola), energy, water conservation and environmentalism (sic) to disaster preparedness, Iran, and U.S.-Israel relations.” This is reported on the website of Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. The reader is expected, of course, to find the high-minded and triumphant tone of this article to be unproblematic.

The article states: “The Governor’s educational visit was part of a JUF initiative that, for the past two decades, has brought influential leaders to Israel.” Quinn signed a “formal agreement on academic cooperation between Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to establish a wide-ranging partnership. The agreement will promote faculty and student exchanges, joint research, and other academic activities of mutual interest. The agreement greatly expands the existing relationship between the universities in the field of public health.”

Beyond principled opposition to such academic agreements between our public universities and those of the apartheid Jewish state, it’s important to note that the academic merit and social outcomes of such agreements are obviously limited by the political context that provokes fundamental opposition from advocates of social justice. In relation to Motorola, for example, it’s impossible to believe that there will be public discussion promoting the public interest regarding military applications in general or surveillance technology in particular.

Similarly, such an agreement cannot conceivably promote consideration of fundamental and historical water resource and environmental degradation issues pertaining to political conflict between Israel and Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. It’s also highly unlikely that the essentially political nature of such an academic agreement would allow or encourage researchers to address the public health concerns of Palestinians, either as citizens of Israel or in the occupied territories; nor would they likely address, for example, the conditions of African immigrants in Israel who find themselves increasingly despised and unwanted.

A biased and discriminatory political agenda, dictated and limited by Israeli state interests and U.S. hegemonic interests in the region, is thus inevitably part and parcel of such academic agreements. The public university and its scholarly and scientific reputation is commandeered and exploited by the Israel Lobby in order to serve and legitimize that agenda.

Beyond this particular “academic exchange,” my perspective is informed by the principles of the BDS movement and the challenges inevitably presented to the movement by the Israel Lobby’s incessant pressure on public officials and institutions at all levels. As a long-term resident of Illinois and employee of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), I have been a journalist and activist regarding the manner in which Jewish and Zionist institutions have come to occupy the putatively public space of our public university—clearly to the detriment of dignity and justice for the Palestinians, as well as informed discussion in a democratic and scholarly context of the Israel/Palestine issue.

Continuing from an article that I wrote for Electronic Intifada in 2009, I argue here that the developments noted above constitute egregious extensions of the Zionist infrastructure that has been promoted by the Israel Lobby in state government in general and in public higher education in Illinois. I would hope that this opportunistic, outrageous, and cynical agreement between Governor Quinn and Israeli officials creates a critical mass of awareness and potential activism within and beyond the BDS movement in Illinois. I would hope to see a clear response to the manner in which the Lobby feels entitled to self-righteously promote—without objection—what are repugnant and sectarian political interests in state politics and higher education—disingenuously and transparently framed in terms of technological, scientific, and economic development.

From my perspective as a Jewish pro-Palestinian activist in Urbana-Champaign, I have observed two primary developments: first, the establishment of a privately-funded Program for Jewish Culture and Society two decades ago and its attendant moral emphasis on the Holocaust and Jewish victimization in general; second, the use of PJCS as an institutional and moral umbrella for an Israel Lobby-funded and baldly propagandistic“Israel Studies Project,” which has moreover been clearly racist in its exclusion of Palestinian Israelis from its purview.

Blatant conflicts of interest regarding PJCS in relation to the Israel Lobby were obvious from the start, and dovetail with Governor Quinn’s junket. The promoters of PJCS were two professors with prominent positions in local Jewish institutions—religious, secular, and Zionist. One professor, Michael Shapiro, is the father of Daniel Shapiro, current U.S. ambassador to Israel.

In 2004, Michael Shapiro worked closely with Michael Kotzin, JUF Executive Vice President, to fund the Israel Studies Project, part of a state-wide effort by the Israel Lobby at both public and private universities. Kotzin wrote in the Forward in 2004 that the “manner in which Israel and the Middle East are taught about in the nation’s university classrooms has increasingly come to the fore as one of the most difficult and far-reaching challenges facing the Jewish community.” In translation, this is to say that the Lobby needs to take serious measures to intervene in academia to promote Israel’s interests, in response to students who are increasingly enlightened regarding the plight of the Palestinians.

Kotzin, a long-time Lobby apparatchik in Chicago, accompanied Governor Quinn to Israel, commenting “It is particularly gratifying to be here with Gov. Quinn today when that partnership moves to a new level.” Quinn’s group was addressed in Israel by Ambassador Shapiro, who tellingly “called his address to the group ‘his first official duty’ after arriving the day before to assume his responsibilities as U.S. Ambassador to Israel.”

I would add that the Urbana campus has also procured, for the past two academic years, a visiting Jewish-Israeli professor of Israel Studies whose position is by no means disinterestedly funded by the Schusterman Family Foundation and the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE). According to the Jewish Virtual Library, “The aim of the program is to present American students with a broad understanding of Israel’s history, society, politics, culture and relations with its neighbors and the broader international community.” In plainer language, the aim of this program—as of the Israel Studies Project at UIUC and the broader Israel Studies movement in general—is to promote a sanitized version of Zionism, Israel, and Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. The current visiting professor at the Urbana Campus, Rhona Seidelman, has well-served this purpose.

It is unacceptable that a visiting professor essentially hired by the Israel Lobby is charged with teaching the one class offered at UIUC on the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict. Perhaps needless to say, UIUC has never hired a professor of Palestinian or Arab background specifically in relation to teaching and research regarding the topic of Israel/Palestine. Regarding any other oppressed minority, it would be unheard of for faculty members to be bought and paid for by interests promoting and justifying such oppression. But in the case of the Israel Lobby on campus, it is business as usual. At UIUC and other campuses in Illinois, the Lobby has de facto attempted to limit the institutional space within which Palestinian perspectives can be understood and legitimized.

The political proficiency and resources of the Israel Lobby in Illinois and elsewhere present formidable challenges to pro-Palestinian and BDS activists. Nevertheless, popular support for Israel, including among Jews and on campuses, is at an all-time low. The recent and welcome radicalization of the notion of “occupy,” combined with the principles and goals of the BDS movement, suggests assertive and persistent responses to Lobby business as usual on campus and in state government.

Norcal Activists take on Veolia

Feb 10, 2012

Deppen Webber

veolia graffiti
(Photo: ISM Sweden)

The North Coast Coalition for Palestine  in the San Francisco North Bay are preparing to present a letter to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors opposing the county’s contract with Veolia. The French multinational company currently operates the county’s bus system and has come under international pressure due to its involvement in a light rail line in Occupied East Jerusalem. Activists plans to collect signatures and present the letter to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.

Recently Palestinian Freedom Riders challenged Israeli laws banning Palestinians from riding on Israeli-only bus lines. The action draws the parallel between segregated buses in the US and the current situation in Palestine.


The full text of the letter is below. Sonoma County residents are encouraged to sign. Other comments are encouraged and can be directed to the county here.

Open Letter to Sonoma County Board of Supervisors concerning SCTA Veolia contract

As residents of Sonoma County we are asking the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to reconsider Sonoma County’s transportation contract with Veolia unless it stops aiding and abetting human rights violations by the Israeli government in the occupied West Bank of Palestine.

The French company, Veolia, which operates the Sonoma County Transit buses under a contract with the county, also operates buses that carry Israeli citizens between Jerusalem and illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine’s West Bank. This is in direct violation of international law which has declared these settlements to be illegal.

Seven hundred thousand Israelis now live in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) in Jewish-only settlements. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has condemned the settlements as an obstacle to peace. The last six U.S. administrations have taken similar stances and President Carter has described the situation as apartheid.

According to Israeli Human Rights organization, B’Tselem, there are 144 miles of roads in the Occupied West Bank that, “Israel classified for the sole, or almost sole, use of Israelis, primarily of settlers. Israel also prohibits Palestinians from even crossing some of these roads with vehicles, thereby restricting their access to nearby roads that they are ostensibly not prohibited from using. In these cases, Palestinians travelers have to get out of the vehicle, cross the road on foot, and find an alternative mode of transportation on the other side.”

In 2005 Palestinian civil society called for the boycott of companies that profit from, or are complicit in, the occupation of Palestine. As a result ,Veolia has lost several contracts with government agencies and other public institutions.

In 2008 Matthijs Bierman, the director ot the Dutch Bank Triodos, announced that the bank will not invest in Veolia, comparing this new policy to the bank’s past divestment targeting apartheid South Africa.

In 2009 the Stockholm Community Council in Sweden announced that Veolia, which had operated the subways in Stockholm County for 10 years, had lost its contract.

In December 2010 the monitoring network Banktrack noted that financial investment in Veolia is “risky” because of its illegal activities in the OPT based upon Veolia’s violations of international law.

In November 2011 Veolia was removed from selection for construction of a waste treatment facility in South London worth £ 1 billion. Again, in 2011, Cambridge University students voted to break a contract with Veolia because of Veolia’s connection to Israeli human rights abuses. Jewish student Daniel Benjamin, who was involved in the campaign, said, “With this vote, Cambridge students make a strong statement against Veolia’s criminal actions in the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories).

Sonoma County Transit Authority has a contract with Veolia. Citing human rights violations, and discrimination based on race and religion, we, as Sonoma County residents, are requesting that Sonoma County officials work with Veolia to discontinue its contract in Palestine, or face possible termination of its contract with Sonoma County Transit.

Fight for academic freedom continues with MESA support for Marc Ellis

Feb 10, 2012

Allison Deger and Adam Horowitz

Marc Ellis
Prof. Marc Ellis (Photo: Greenbelt)

This week the Middle Eastern Studies Association of North America (MESA) sent a letter to Baylor University president Kenneth Starr condemning the ongoing investigation of Prof. Marc Ellis, which is largely seen as connected to Ellis’s views on Israel/Palestine.

Last fall, Ellis was removed from his teaching and administrative duties in response to an investigation on “abuse of authority.”  Professor Ellis had taught at the Christian institution for over 10 years with support from every university president, excluding the current post-holder, Starr.

Baylor’s conservative politics are well known, including hiring practices which bar gays, lesbians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Mormons, and many view his probation as a political sanction for his work on Israel/Palestine. Read MESA’s letter to Kenneth Starr:

Letters on North America
February 6, 2012

Kenneth Starr
President, Baylor University
Office of the President
One Bear Place #97096
Waco, TX 76798

Fax: 254-710-3557

Dear President Starr:

I write to you on behalf of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) and its Committee on Academic Freedom to express our grave concern about the disciplinary charges which Baylor University has brought against Professor Marc Ellis, and about his removal from his teaching and administrative duties without a hearing. We are concerned that the disciplinary procedures to which Professor Ellis is being subjected, which could result in his dismissal, may not conform to the standards widely accepted at institutions of higher education in this country and may be motivated by Professor Ellis’ views regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If so, this would constitute a serious violation of Professor Ellis’s right to free speech and severely undermine the principles of academic freedom.

MESA was founded in 1966 to promote scholarship and teaching on the Middle East and North Africa. The preeminent organization in the field, the Association publishes the International Journal of Middle East Studies and has nearly 3000 members worldwide. MESA is committed to ensuring academic freedom and freedom of expression, both within the region and in connection with the study of the region in North America and elsewhere.

Last fall Professor Ellis was removed from his role as the chair of Jewish Studies at Baylor University without the benefit of a hearing. Although a hearing is apparently scheduled for the spring, our understanding of best practices, as defined by the American Association of University Professors, is that suspension of a faculty member before or during disciplinary proceedings is warranted only if “immediate harm to the faculty member or others is threatened by the faculty member’s continuance.” Unless your university can demonstrate a threat of immediate harm, we believe that Professor Ellis should be immediately reinstated and allowed to resume his teaching duties. More broadly, we call on Baylor University to ensure that any disciplinary proceedings against Professor Ellis be conducted in an open, fair and transparent manner, in conformity with accepted standards and best practices at American universities.

We are particularly concerned about the possibility that Professor Ellis is facing selective enforcement of university policies as a result of his political positions. Baylor University officials have denied that the disciplinary measures initiated against Professor Ellis are politically motivated, but we would welcome a statement from you making it absolutely clear that Baylor strongly supports the right to free speech, including on issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that it is firmly committed to protecting the academic freedom of its faculty.

Institutions of higher learning in this country and around the world have a responsibility to uphold and defend the principles of academic freedom. They must also be sanctuaries for the free expression of ideas and opinions. We call upon you to reaffirm your commitment to these principles and to ensuring that Baylor will adhere to generally accepted standards and best practices in disciplinary cases. We look forward to your response.


Fred M. Donner
MESA President

Professor of Near Eastern History, University of Chicago

Kiera Feldman has just written the first in-depth look at the case for Religion Dispatches. From her piece, “Ken Starr Pulling ‘a Clinton’ on a Jewish Studies Professor at Baylor U?“:

Ellis, a tenured professor described as “deeply thoughtful and courageous” by the late Edward Said, will face a three-day dismissal hearing this March. Speaking on condition of anonymity, several faculty members with first-hand knowledge of the proceedings confirm that Ellis is being investigated for alleged sexual misconduct (or “misuses of God’s gift” as the faculty handbook has it). According to Baylor policy, misconduct is defined as “sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery, fornication and homosexual acts.” And so Ken Starr enters his golden years.

It’s unclear what exactly Ellis is on trial for, as neither Baylor nor Ellis would comment on the record about the nature of the charges. (One clue: no criminal charges have been filed against Ellis.) Roger Sanders, Ellis’ lawyer, says Baylor’s lawyers told him the internal process mandates nondisclosure, though Baylor spokesperson Lori Fogleman disputes this, telling RD that the charges can only be released with Ellis’ written permission.

Sanders says the investigation hinges on “bogus allegations.” One can only hope the result will not be another 336-page Starr Report—the $40 million product of the independent counsel’s four-year investigation, for which the beleaguered Monica Lewinsky was interrogated over 20 times. “‘You’re a pervert, Ken Starr,’” Lewinsky’s father once saidhe’d like to tell the former independent counsel.

In late November Cornel West, feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and other luminaries launched a petition addressed to Starr, which has thus far gathered over 5,000 signatures. The petition asserts that the controversy “looks more and more like a persecution to silence a Jewish voice of dissent.”

“The charges,” reads a petition update, “are about ‘abuse of authority.’…Many of us were contacted several times by institutional lawyers who tried to persuade us to tell them examples of ‘abuse of authority’ he has exercised.”

According to Sanders, the investigation consisted of “sort of announc[ing] to people, ‘Here’s what Marc’s guilty of. Now tell us what you know about him.’” Fogleman claims no knowledge of the investigation’s procedures and declined to recommend officials who could answer questions about it.

As Ellis sees it, the investigation stems from Starr’s desire to replace him with “a different kind of Jew”—namely, “a right wing, Israel-loving Jew that would cement [Starr’s] reputation with the right wing, like [Alan] Dershowitz.” (Fogleman says Starr has nothing to do with the investigation, which itself has “no relationship” to “Dr. Ellis’ positions on Israel and Palestine.”)

According to a two-part Ethics Daily examination of his religious background, Starr “holds unassailable credentials in the American evangelical community”; in his post-Clinton years, he represented Blackwater (whose founder Erik Prince has close ties to both the conservative Catholic and the evangelical communities, including Chuck Colson) and helped defend California’s Proposition 8, a ballot amendment seeking to prevent same sex couples from getting married.

It’s clear that Starr is a conservative Christian, yet his Israel politics are something of an unknown. Raised in a nondenominational Church of Christ, he would very likely have been exposed to Christian Zionist theology. Years later he joined the McLean Bible Church in Virginia, which he remained a member of years after having moved to California to take a position at the Church of Christ-affiliated Pepperdine University. Starr’s pastor at McLean, Jewish-born evangelical Lon Solomon, has been a board member of the Christian Zionist ministry Jews for Jesus for the past 25 years. It would be unusual were Starr not a Christian Zionist.

Building the Tabernacle in the Midst of Sinai

In November, during an American Academy of Religion panel honoring his work, Ellis noted that in his thirteen years at Baylor, previous presidents “were protective.” Ellis was their token dissident. “Taking me down is a signal of what the Administration can do,” he told RD. “If President Starr intends to remake Baylor in his own image, I will be his first public academic freedom test.”

Sanders claims that the Starr administration has singled Ellis out. “They have treated Christians differently than they have treated Jews,” he said. In order to address this allegation Ellis has recently filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint against the Baylor administration alleging anti-Semitism. In his writings, Ellis has long put forward a two-pronged argument: anti-Semitism still exists, and it is not anti-Semitic to speak out against what he terms “Constantinian Judaism”—Jews in America, Israel, and elsewhere who are “intent on enabling empire [and] collud[ing] with other powers to keep everything as it is.”

Baylor’s spokesperson said that she’s not aware of any EEOC complaint filed by Ellis. Asked to comment on Sanders’ allegation of disparate treatment, Fogleman laughed a moment, followed by “Oh gosh. Um.” After a 10-second pause, she said she’s unsure whether she’s “in a position to be able to characterize anything like that.” She then asked for the question to be repeated and paused another 10 seconds before returning to the script, calling Baylor an “open institution.” (As a private university, Baylor maintains policies against hiring Muslims, gays and lesbians, Mormons and anyone who is not a Jew or a Christian by Baylor’s definition. In a recent Washington Post op-ed titled “Can I Vote for a Mormon?” Starr concluded he would not use church attendance as a litmus test this November.)

“With Ken Starr as the president now, Baylor is really looking to clean house,” one faculty member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told RD. “Finally they have a president who is accessible to the broader business community and can bring in lots of money.” In his first year at Baylor, Starr raised nearly $35 million of the $100 million 3-year goal he’d set upon arrival.

“This has been very biblical,” Starr boasted to the Texas Tribune in September 2011. “How did the ancient Israelites build the tabernacle in the wilderness of Sinai? Well, they all pitched in.” Starr is said to roam the grandstand at football games, imploring spectators to donate to Baylor Nation, the school’s alumni fund. In a region defined by its generations-old football rivalries, a decade ago Baylor was a disgrace, widely seen as an unworthy member of the Big 12, a conference that includes Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and the University of Texas.

But today, Baylor’s star is on the rise. In April, the Big 12 schools signed a television contract with Fox Sports worth over $1 billion. Over the summer, Starr met with architects and drew up plans for a new $250 million football stadium. At the moment Baylor is the only Big 12 school lacking its own on-campus facilities. In December, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III won the Heisman trophy, college football’s top honor. “I know my role,” Starr told theNew York Times. “Keep the donors and alumni happy.” Thanks to the Heisman, Starr noted, “People’s levels of happiness is already manifesting itself in gifts.”

“I think there is big money behind it,” hypothesized another faculty member. “I don’t think the [local] Jewish community is driving this—like ‘get rid of Ellis and we’ll give you money’—but I do think it would open up possibilities.” Remaking Ellis’ Center for Jewish Studies into a “pro-Israel” center, the faculty member added, could help Baylor attract grants and donations at a national level. “Marc is just in the way.” Given the growing popularity of Christian Zionism in the U.S., it’s just as likely, if not moreso, that conservative Christian donations might be easier to elicit with Ellis out of the way.

Hasbara PennBDS wrap-up: Pro-Israel students are ignorant

Feb 10, 2012

Allison Deger


Post-PennBDS conference, Hasbara groups and journalists described pro-Israel students as “ignorant,” and unable to defend their stance against statements such as “Israel took Arab land.” From “Lessons Learned from the Frontline,”  Lisa Hostein, executive editor of the Jewish Exponent, laments:

the pervasive ignorance of young Jews and too many adults who can’t begin to counter simple questions about Israel’s legitimacy let alone respond to the more sophisticated sophistry from those like BDS keynoter Ali Abunimah.

Bryan Schwartzman, also from the Jewish Exponent confirms this inability to counter with an anti-BDS narratives. The writer asks:

[D]id BDS speakers like Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah reveal how much pro-Israel students need to learn in order to counter arguments that are steeped in the language of universal justice and human rights?

His answer — yes. Schwatzman continues with Hasbara failures by detailing Abunimah’s keynote speech, where he de facto throws Abunimah a moral endorsement over Alan Dershowitz. Referencing the Palestinian activist/author as recently catching  the pro-Israel professor in a lie, during his February 2nd speech. Schwartzman writes:

During a question-and-answer session there, a female student asked Dershowitz, ‘If an Arab student comes up to me and says, ‘You took my land,’ and I respond, ‘Yeah, but we support gay rights,’ how does that add up?’

Dershowitz said the answer is that the Jews didn’t steal the land.

In addition to articulating Hasbara faults, both journalists managed to highlight what they viewed as the one victory: consensus. The Exponent found though Pro-Israel students and Zionist organizations failed to provide any meaningful challenge to BDS, they were successful in sending a unified message that they are all against BDS. Therefore, while pro-Israel students may be ignorant, at least they are successful at sticking together.

Hat tip to Nima Shirazi for catching this**

MSNBC: Israel trains Iranian terror group to kill nuclear scientists

Feb 10, 2012 

 Allison Deger

Tehran car bombing
2011 Tehran car bombing. (Photo: Mehdi Marizad / Fars)

Yesterday, MSNBC reported that Mossad agents trained an Iranian group on the U.S. terror list, in order to carry out assassinations of nuclear scientists. Active since the 1970s, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran are credited as responsible for five deadly attacks on scientists since 2007.

Rock Center with Brian Williams MSNBC report.

MSNBC spoke with Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior aide in the Iranian government whose assertion the terror organization was linked to Mossad was confirmed.  The group was “financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service.”  MSNBC reports:

Moreover, [Larigani] said, the Mossad, the Israeli secret service, is training MEK [the Iranian terror group] members in Israel on the use of motorcycles and small bombs. In one case, he said, Mossad agents built a replica of the home of an Iranian nuclear scientist so that the assassins could familiarize themselves with the layout prior to the attack. [Emphasis added]

The news station’s evidence is based upon interviews with Iranian officials, and documents apprehended from a thwarted assassination attempt in 2010.

The Iranian terror organization denies allegations of a relationship with Mossad, citing the report as “absolutely false.” Conversely, U.S. government officials stated to MSNBC “all your inclinations are correct,” and affirm no involvement.  However, skepticism remains, Al Jazeerapreviously chronicled the group’s strong U.S. ties:

George W. Bush’s attorney general Michael Mukasey has described MEK members as ‘courageous freedom fighters’. President Barack Obama’s former national security advisor, General James L. Jones, gave a speech at a MEK conference dominated by non-Iranians. Their events have also been attended by former Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge, former NATO supreme commander Wesley Clark and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Hat tip to Paul Mutter for catching this**

BDS: Rock musician Cat Power cancels Tel Aviv gig

Feb 10, 2012

 Annie Robbins 

chan marshall @CATPOWER


He War

I never meant to be the needle that broke your back
You were here, you were here, and you were here
Don’t look back

I never meant to be the needle that broke your back
You were here, you were here, and you were here
Don’t look back

He war, he war
He will kill for you
He war, he war
He will kill for you
From who you can
You know you can

Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey

I’m not that hot new chick
And if you won’t let me run with it
We’re on to your same old trick
Get up and run away with it

I’m not that hot new chick
And if you won’t let me run with it
We’re on to your same old trick
Get up and run away with it

Hey hey hey
He war, he war
He will kill for you
Hey hey hey
He war, he war
He will kill for you
Hey hey hey
From who you can
Hey hey hey
You know you can

Hey hey hey
He war, he war
He will kill for you
Hey hey hey
He war, he war
He will kill for you
Hey hey hey
From who you can
Hey hey hey
You know you can

Washington Post

JERUSALEM — American musician Cat Power has canceled her show in Israel, joining a list of artists shunning the country over its conflict with the Palestinians.

Charlyn Marie Marshall, better known by her stage name Cat Power, was to perform in Tel Aviv on Sunday.

But she tweeted on Friday that due to “much confusion” she felt she could not play for her Israeli fans and that she felt “sick in her spirit.”

We’re a growing movement. We’re the future, apartheid isn’t.

Thanks Cat, more power to you.

(Hat tip Omar Barghouti)

Posted in Nova Newsletter1 Comment

Egyptian General Strike

By the time you watch this video, the Egyptian general strike will likely have begun.

Cf. Salma Said: “I think that the impasse in the revolution right now is because we’ve reached a dead-end in our escalation tactics…We’ve tried peaceful demonstrations and peaceful sit-ins…One of the most effective tactics the world over is civil disobedience, when civil disobedience leads to a general strike, this can completely cripple the state…the dictatorial state that is killing and wounding us everyday…And I think that the key to the success of a general strike, or civil disobedience, lies in the participation of the large sectors, the sectors most capable of crippling the machinery of the state, the industrial workers, teachers, and doctors…”; the Egyptian government states regarding the general strike: “We face conspiracies hatched against the homeland, whose goal is to undermine the institutions of the Egyptian state and whose aim is to topple the state itself so that chaos reigns and destruction spreads”; Muslim Brotherhood Secretary-General Mahmoud Hussein adds, “These calls are extremely dangerous and threaten the nation and its future…A general strike would see train traffic halted, no transportation, and no work in factories, institutes or universities…It also means no one would pay taxes to the government, or fees for public utilities, which would damage the already crippled economy and lead to the country’s decline.”

Hesham Sallam: “Egypt today faces a choice between an officers-politicians pact that could help the country ‘transition’ to a managed form of limited political competition and participation, versus a much more comprehensive process of revolutionary change dictated and advanced by popular pressures and demands”; Shana Marshall: “Far from slowing down in the face of economic uncertainty or concerns over political stability on the part of arms exporters, co-production agreements and technology transfers may be intensifying under the leadership of the interim military government…If SCAF is able to use its executive power to engineer a post-transition system that protects the military’s economic perquisites, the latter will use the tactics described above to augment the share of the economy already under military control. This is only likely to increase the longer SCAF remains in control of the political system, allowing the military to shape electoral outcomes and legal frameworks.”

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Zionist Settlements: An Obstacle to Peace


by Stephen Lendman


Netanyahu’s Likud Party platform says the following about Palestinian self-determination:

Unilaterally establishing a Palestinian state “will constitute a fundamental and substantive violation of the agreements with the State of Israel and the scuttling of the Oslo and Wye accords. The government will adopt immediate stringent measures in the event of such a declaration.”

In fact, on November 15, 1988, the Palestinian National Council (PNC) proclaimed an independent Palestine. At the time, Washington provisionally recognized its independence.

According to UN Charter Article 80(1), it can’t reverse its position by vetoing a Security Council (SC) resolution calling for Palestine’s UN admission. Doing so is illegal, subject to further SC action under the Charter’s Chapter VI.

The SC only recommends admissions. The General Assembly affirms them by a two-thirds majority. An overwhelming majority of states support de jure Palestinian membership.

Abbas could have had it last fall by petitioning the General Assembly through the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution 377. Not doing so revealed his longtime collaborationist credentials. As a result, the issue remains in limbo.

Likud’s platform said the following about settlements:

“The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (all Occupied Palestine) are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel.”

“The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”

Likud also rejects Green Line separation of Israel and Palestine. It proves it by incrementally stealing Palestinian land declared all Jerusalem sovereign Israeli territory.

Since 1967, Israel established 121 settlements. The Interior Ministry calls “communities.” Another 100 unauthorized outposts exist.

In addition, Israel considers 12 annexed Jerusalem neighborhoods as settlements. Moreover, settler enclaves exist in Palestinian East Jerusalem.

Overall, Israeli occupied territory, including settlements, exceeds 40% of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Their choicest parts are colonized. Systematic land theft increases them.

Yet international law is explicit. Fourth Geneva’s Article 49 states, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

Moreover, in July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled:

“Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and an obstacle to peace and to economic and social development.” In addition, they’ve “been established in breach of international law” on sovereign Palestinian territory.

Five rounds of Amman, Jordan Israeli/Palestinian talks ended January 25 in failure. Further meetings aren’t scheduled. At issue is Netanyahu’s unreasonable demands. In return, he offered nothing.

Home demolitions, land theft, dispossessions, and settlement construction continue.

It gets worse. Israel wants Green Line partitioning ended. Replacing it would be by Separation Wall annexation of 12% of Palestine when completed. Israel also wants Jordan Valley territory declared a strategic security asset. It represents one-fourth of West Bank land.

On January 28, AP said two Palestinian officials confirmed it “based on their interpretation of principles Israel presented in talks this week.”

Moreover, Israel wants East Jerusalem and settlements made part of Israel. Palestinians want sovereign Palestine to include all occupied territories to their 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem as their capital. Nothing less is acceptable.

On January 27, New York Times writer Ethan Bronner headlined, “Israelis Say Settlements Must be Part of Israeli State,” saying:

Israel’s “approach” wants “settlement blocks to become part of Israel….” In fact, it’s a demand, not an “approach.” Bronner’s framing is unsurprising. In March 2008, he joined Lone Star Communications’ speakers bureau. It’s one of Israel’s leading PR firms. It arranges speaking dates for Bronner and suggests issues to discuss.

Times editors see no conflict of interest or for other writers compromising their journalistic integrity. An earlier controversy involved Bronner’s son serving in Israel’s military. Former Times executive editor Bill Keller backed him. Times assistant managing editor Susan Chira called his coverage “scrupulously fair….”

Others disagree based on studies showing pro-Israeli Times bias. It’s how all its correspondents, op-ed and editorial writers do their jobs on all world and national issues. “Scrupulously fair” isn’t in their vocabularies.

They also spurn Palestinians wanting self-determination and freedom, as well as millions of loyal supporters. None get Times or other major media print space.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Zionist Settlements: An Obstacle to Peace

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