Archive | February 19th, 2012

Palestine: a story that needs retelling


By Paul J. Balles

Paul J. Balles retells the story of Palestine, reminding us in brief and simple terms of the the basic, undeniable facts of the world’s worst, most obdurate and premeditated injustice.

I have a story to tell. This story has been told before. It can be found in several places on and off the internet, but not enough people have read it. If they have, it hasn’t sunk in.

It’s a narrative currently left out of the news of recent events – financial crises in Europe, Arab Spring with uprisings and occupy movements and elections in America.

The chaos has kept the spotlights away from Palestine, but the problem remains, and the story needs to be retold until enough people pay attention and share the simple truth.

Zion’s myth makers

Anyone who has read some of the history of Palestine knows that indigenous Jews and Palestinians had no trouble getting along. They lived, worked and played on the same land in Palestine. However, that’s not the way it’s told in the gullible West by the myth-makers of Zion.

The problems started when Jews in Europe invented Zionism for those Jews who wanted a Jewish state in order to escape from anti-Semitism in Europe.

At times, you can hear one of these Zionist attempts to distract people from the truth by calling anyone critical of Zionism anti-Semitic.

A huge gap exists between those accusations and reality. European Jews are not Semitic except in their use of Hebrew as one of the Semitic languages. Palestinians are Semitic for the same linguistic reason – they use a Semitic language.

To call anti-Zionists anti-Semitic is nothing more than a propaganda ploy designed to shut critics of Zionism up.

The Zionists lied about much to get their way in Palestine. According to Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, “They said that Palestine was empty when the Jewish settlers came there.”

The Zionists also spread the lie that “Israel was a land without a people for a people without a land,” says Phyllis Bennis of the Institute of Policy Studies. Palestine was not empty. There were farms and villages and towns with roads and commerce, a culture and an advanced society. Ninety-six per cent of the population was Muslim or Christian in the 19th century.

British duplicity in colonization

Following World War I, 65,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine when Britain implemented the Balfour Declaration, which the British had no right to make, carving a state out of Palestinian land.

The British had promised self-rule for the Palestinians. By the 1920s they supported the Zionist movement, denying the right of self-determination to the people in Palestine.

Clashes began when Jewish settlers tried to strip away land belonging to Palestinians. In the early 1930s the Jewish population remained under 17 per cent.

After Hitler rose to power, 174,000 Jews fled to Palestine, doubling the Jewish population. More arrived, adding 119,000 in five years.

This has been the pattern ever since. Bring settlers to Palestine under Israeli colonization and refuse to stop building settlements on Palestinian land.

A conference in March 2011 organized by the Palestine Society of London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), “Past is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine”, attempted to address the issue of colonization. It aimed:

…to understand Zionism as a settler colonial project which has, for more than a century, subjected Palestine and Palestinians to a structural and violent form of destruction, dispossession, land appropriation and erasure in the pursuit of a new Jewish Israeli society.

…for Zionism, like other settler colonial projects such as the British colonization of Ireland or European settlement of North America, South Africa or Australia, the imperative is to control the land and its resources – and to displace the original inhabitants.

When Zionists claim differently or label doubters anti-Semitic, they add a rationale for hatred of Zionists. They plant the seeds of self-destruction.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Palestine: a story that needs retelling

Friendly advice: France, UK to command ousting of Assad?



Coordinating help for Syrian opposition was high on the list in Paris talks between the French and British leaders on Friday. Anti-government troops lack unity and training, so sending military advisors could change the situation, the sides agreed.

The leaders of the two countries spoke of the need to find new ways of getting rid of “brutal dictator” Assad, who is “butchering and murdering” his own people.

“We have to put all the pressure we can on Bashar al-Assad to make him stand down,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said during the press conference on Friday. “I want us to go on working and thinking and asking ourselves what more we can do.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy believes that the Syrian opposition needs outside assistance in coming together for joint action.

“The Syrian opposition has to unite and organize to help us help them,” Sarkozy said at a press conference. “We never could have done what we did in Libya without the NTC taking the initiative.”

Behind the scenes, Cameron and Sarkozy are believed to have discussed further ways of helping the armed branch of the Syrian opposition, the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Both countries said officially they do not plan to provide arms or troops to support the uprising. They pledged they would limit their aid to diplomatic support and help to human rights groups in documenting alleged atrocities.

However the Syrian opposition remains disorganized and divided. Some British cabinet level officials believe a more substantial support of the FSA is needed, possibly organizational in nature, according to Guardian newspaper.

Britain and France may send military advisors to teach the Syrian insurgents combat tactics, communication and other skills needed to attack governmental forces. Earlier unconfirmed reports said that British military are already on the ground in the besieged city Homs doing the job.

The summit in Paris comes ahead of the fist meeting of the Friends of Syria group in Tunisia on February 24. The international team aims to further isolate Bashar Assad’s government and whip up support for the opposition.

Britain and UK were the champions in the last year’s bombing campaign in Libya, which ended with the ousting of the country’s leader Muammar Gaddafi and transition of power to the rebels. They used their Navy and Air Force to attack pro-government forces, sent military advisers to the rebels and even supplied them with arms in violation of the UN embargo. The operation was called the biggest success in NATO history.

A group called Friends of Libya, which included France and Britain, was used for diplomatic support of the Libyan opposition and coordination of the NATO operation. It also handled the post-war settlement in the country, which included confirmation of Gaddafi-era contracts with members of the group, handing over of seized Syrian assets to the new government and distribution of contracts for rebuilding the country.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Friendly advice: France, UK to command ousting of Assad?

After Jerusalem crash, Nazi racist comments appear on Naziyahu’s Facebook page


Posts include sighs of relief that ‘only Palestinians’ were killed, as well as slogans such as ‘Death to Arabs, Why do we help them?’


Racist comments appeared on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Facebook page after the school bus crash near Jerusalem on Thursday in which 10 children died and more than 40 were injured.

Satisfaction that “only Palestinians” were the victims and slogans such as “Death to Arabs, why do we help them?” were posted on the Facebook pages of Netanyahu, Wallah and the Israel Police.

Other comments included “Can we send another truck?” and “I’d send a double-trailer to wipe out all those shits” after the bus overturned when it crashed into a truck.

Netanyahu expressed sorrow over the accident, but his aides did not remove the racist comments from his Facebook page or denounce them.

“Relax, it’s Palestinian children,” someone wrote on Wallah’s Facebook page. Others wrote “Great! Fewer terrorists” and “May there be such buses every day.” Similar comments were posted on the police’s Facebook page, including “When they grew up they’d be terrorists …. God nipped them in the bud.”

Netanyahu’s aides declined to comment. Wallah site editor Gadi Lahav said “we monitor the page every few minutes and delete unworthy comments like these.”

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Arguing the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign with Norman Finkelstein from HuffPoMonitor on Vimeo.

Apparently Finkelstein asked initially that it be taken down, as he realized that it was destructive. It was but a number of Zionist sites re-uploaded it, so it’s entered circulation.


My initial thoughts after watching and reading.

I didn’t take it that Norman was saying that he supported israel per se. I understood it that if you want to call upon the international law to protect the rights of the Palestinians then they’ll have a much stronger case as an official, internationally recognized state. They’ll be much closer to the “inner ring”, a place at the table so to speak. It would make it easier for countries to feel they could legitimately criticize israel and support Palestine.
The argument that the israelis would use if the true intentions of a chunk the BDS were known, namely, the cessation/destruction of the state of israel, could then be turned on it’s head and the israelis true intention, the cessation/destruction of the new Palestinian state, would be far more recognizable to the general public. Thus creating an in road for a greater public empathy and mass movement for the rights of the Palestinians.

His example of the Troubles in Ireland were an example of how the discourse has moved on, since the recognition of Sinn Féin. It’s been a while since I’ve heard the Irish people mentioned in the same sentence as terrorism by the MSM.
Is it his opinion that, “it’s a window of opportunity” that could well lead to cessation of heavy violence perpetrated by the israelis on the Palestinians and an international isolation and gradual disintegration of israel?

Gilad says: “More and more people out there grasp that the continuum between Israel, AIPAC and the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) is the biggest threat to world peace.” In my life mixing with the throng, I unfortunately don’t see/hear the evidence for this. You could offer a thousand pounds in used notes to virtually any passing member of the public to write 2 paragraphs on AIPAC or the CFI and I doubt you’d get any takers. Don’t get me wrong, I wish it wasn’t so – I’m just a working class nobody and it’s taken years and a huge amount of effort to struggle through the zio propaganda brambles, attracting many puzzled looks and rejections from acquaintances along the way.
Yes, in London, people may be more aware, as I can testify having squatted and been politically active there.
The political cult aspect is a serious problem to me and groups are so easily manipulated. As Gilad has mentioned in his book, the jewish influence in the political left is massive and subtle. I remember sitting in a anti edl/fascist meeting and felt too uncomfortable to bring up some research I’d found out about the zionist edl connection, because of the “mention anything to do with the jews, in a negative way, and you’re a nazi scum” undercurrent that runs through most left politics, that prevents the whole story being told. I found Gilads, Fagin vs Einstein bit, enlightening.

For me, it goes without saying it’s the Palestinians alone to make the choices for their future and it’s for us to support them. As you say Roy:”Eternity in a refugee camp is unacceptable, end of.”

  1. I find myself in complete agreement with your analysis. Whilst watching it I found myself quite perplexed as to why NF would be advocating anyone recognise Israel’s right to exist in accordance with international law when it (Int.Law) is continually disregarded by Israel itself. It is as you very rightly state:

    “an aggressive, expansionist, racist and exclusivist nuclear Jewish State”

    and undeniably a danger to the rest of the world. It is most definitely neither ethical nor sensible for it to exist as it does – the Israelis have quite clearly demonstrated their inability to co-exist with others on an equal footing and this must change.

  2. Roy BardLog in to Reply

    February 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    I saw this and thought of Norm and his law fetish:

    Because the law is congealed power, any consensus which emerges in it reflects priorities of those exercising power rather than resisting it

    We know that Zionists work hard to limit the debate and shut down the discourse. So the public gets to hear a limited range of options in an oppressor controlled discourse.

    Norm thinks we can get politicians to do the right thing…. I’m not so sure. I think our job is to push the Palestinian position – who the hell has the right to say that Jews were entitled to come from Europe and mug them of their land at gunpoint?

    To assert Israel’s right to retain the spoils is to accept the racist premise behind that mugging.

    Eternity in a refugee camp is unacceptable, end of.

  3. Gilad AtzmonLog in to Reply

    February 17, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I also do not think that Finkelstein has become a Zionist or a supporter of Israel. He is producing a valid political analysis, yet being slightly autistic is capacity to understand the extent of international affairs is obviously limited.

    A friend pointed to me yesterday that like Dershowitz, Finki always thinks in legal terms, he is somehow impervious to justice or ethical thinking. Is it a coincidence? i don’t think so.

    Finki also manages to dismiss the tidal wave of popular resentment to the Jewish State in the region and beyond. Is it a coincidence? Again, I don’t think so..

    However, if the solidarity movement is a pluralist and tolerant movement, it should debate and tolerate Finkelstein’s ideas and criticism.

    Yesterday I came across an exchange between Jewish BDS activists who already set a campaign to destroy Finikelstein. Such an act affirms my fears that BDS would become a Judeo-centric Stalinist instrument instead of a genuine Palestinian solidarity campaign.

  4. fool me once…Log in to Reply

    February 17, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    “…yet being slightly autistic his capacity to understand the extent of international affairs is obviously limited.”
    Ha ha, as opposed to the non autistic? I think an explanation here wouldn’t go amiss.
    Your comment linking both Dershowitz and Finklestein, to being impervious to justice and ethical thinking, I find a little harsh on Finklestein. I would suggest Finklestein’s exposé of the holocaust industry was largely motivated by ethical thinking.
    Are you suggesting Dershowitz is also a mild autistic?
    Where does that leave yourself and Greenstein?
    Not saying it’s a bad thing, but, there is certainly an obsessive bent revolving around “the jew”, linking all four of you.
    There are plenty of interesting threads and posts regarding jews and autism on the net.
    An alternative way to view Finklestein and Dershowitz, could be, as a real life Sherlock and Moriarty, and we all know who we’d prefer the winner to be.

  5. Roy BardLog in to Reply

    February 17, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    According to duffer22o5, who says he is Frank Barat (and the two identities do seem to tie in together):

    Finkelstein himself asked me to remove video, because “it did some harm” (mainly to his reputation).

    And despite the fact that Finki would consign the Palestinians to a 5th of their historic homeland (if they’re lucky) Barat identifies him as ‘pro-Palestinian’.

    It would be fascinating to know what harm Finki thought the video did, and if he thought there was a way of making his point which didn’t do that harm.

    Fool me once said:

    I understood it that if you want to call upon the international law to protect the rights of the Palestinians then they’ll have a much stronger case as an official, internationally recognized state. They’ll be much closer to the “inner ring”, a place at the table so to speak. It would make it easier for countries to feel they could legitimately criticize israel and support Palestine.

    But for me the problem seems to be that being at that table would means ceding most of the historic Palestinian homeland to Israel. Besides the fact that a consensus for that could never be reached amongst the Palestinians, it would seem to mean that major Palestinian rights under International Law would already have been sacrificed.

  6. fool me once…Log in to Reply

    February 18, 2012 at 12:00 am

    @ Gilad – hey, I re-read our posts and think I was a bit off with you. I apologize, I felt defensive for Finklestein, as in the video he came across to me as a man who, as he says, was tired, probably close to burn out. I perceived your “autistic” comment as a low blow on someone who is sincere and has put themselves in the zio cross hairs for decades highlighting the Palestinian cause and exposing the zionist propaganda.
    @ Roy – My quote you use, is my initial interpretation of what I heard in the video. I agree with your point. To be clear, I stand with the vast majority of any peoples under occupation – that there should be a total removal of said occupier. As you know, the problem is the transition to that point, from where we are now.

    • Roy BardLog in to Reply

      February 18, 2012 at 2:22 am

      I don’t know about ‘total removal’of the occupier. It seems to make sense that those born there should be able to stay there if they desire. I’m really not that keen on borders, nor on hard and fast rules….

      Maybe it’s because I’m a South African…..

      In any case, I think the law is neither clear nor fair.

      For Finkelstein to depict the law as the source of justice and right is simply at odds with the evidence of one’s senses

      It would be good if he could imagine himself as someone who had been repatriated to a camp in the West Bank, and who had been brought up to believe his home was in Jaffa or Haifa, say?

      • Gilad AtzmonLog in to Reply

        February 18, 2012 at 2:40 am

        Hey fool me, i wasn’t ignoring you… I am touring now for the next 6 weeks and hardly get a chance to communicate.. the autistic reference wasn’t an insult, just an observation.

        If anything, in my piece, I support Finki right to express his thoughts and ideas. The fact that some Jewish BDS activists try to silence him his outrageous but symptomatic to J identity politics..for more than a while they exploit BDS as a Judeo centric vetting instrument. It is indeed a shame.

      • fool me once…Log in to Reply

        February 18, 2012 at 9:52 pm

        @Roy…. “It seems to make sense that those born there should be able to stay..”
        And their parents, who weren’t born there, have to leave? I don’t think that’s gonna go down too well with the occupiers tribe mentality. The occupying parental indoctrinators have sown their poison seeds and I think there would be a dangerous, constant state of friction in an already volatile place.
        I would think for the Palestinians to have to accept sharing their land with the IDF (3 million+ fit for military service) the perpetrators of 70years of terror and viewing them as equal citizens in a Palestinian one state, just wouldn’t wash. (I’m not sure if you’re suggesting that?) Too much bad blood.
        “I’m really not that keen on borders…I’m a South African… ” With respect, could you expand on this apparent contradiction. Surely you would be from the south of Africa?
        I agree with your last sentence, “It would be good if he…” where as, the israelis don’t have to imagine executing this injustice, it’s been their modus operandi since day one.
        “Finkelstein himself asked me to remove video, because “it did some harm” (mainly to his reputation).” – Is the interpretation contained within the brackets accurate? – can it be verified that Finklestein’s reason for requesting to “hide” the video was to protect his reputation? Or was the “mainly” opinion, offered by Frank, an attempt to try and save face and push the knife to the hilt?

        • Roy BardLog in to Reply

          February 19, 2012 at 4:55 am

          FMO…: “And their parents, who weren’t born there, have to leave? I don’t think that’s gonna go down too well with the occupiers tribe mentality. The occupying parental indoctrinators have sown their poison seeds and I think there would be a dangerous, constant state of friction in an already volatile place.”

          Hey, Israel has been in existence since 1948 – for some there is literally nowhere else to go. I think many Jews would choose to leave if the historic homeland of Palestine became a place where there was equality, but for some it is home. it is all they know, and all they want.

          FMO…: “I would think for the Palestinians to have to accept sharing their land with the IDF (3 million+ fit for military service) the perpetrators of 70years of terror and viewing them as equal citizens in a Palestinian one state, just wouldn’t wash. (I’m not sure if you’re suggesting that?) Too much bad blood.”

          Think South Africa …. I am not convinced that the Palestinians hate the Israeli Jews nearly as much as the Israeli Jews hate them. Given a choice between reconciliation and occupation, would reconciliation with peace and equality not seem like the preferable of the two?

          FMO…: With respect, could you expand on this apparent contradiction. Surely you would be from the south of Africa?

          I am, but the borders that divide humanity and spawn despotic regimes are still firmly in place. Without a British passport I feel them very keenly. I want to go back to Palestine so much, and I cannot…. I can’t even go to Amsterdam :-/

          FMO…: “I agree with your last sentence, “It would be good if he…” where as, the israelis don’t have to imagine executing this injustice, it’s been their modus operandi since day one.”

          Until Israelis can imagine what it feels like to be a Palestinian refugee, they are robbed of a bit of their humanity, no?

          FMO…: “Or was the “mainly” opinion, offered by Frank, an attempt to try and save face and push the knife to the hilt?”

          I would love to see them record another interview where they reflect on that one. Sure it may be Frank’s perspective and it may not reflect what Norm thinks. I wish Norm would let us know where he is at now. Don’t you?

          • fool me once…Log in to Reply

            February 20, 2012 at 1:33 am

            Balanced, humanity based answers, I hear you Roy.
            “I wish Norm would let us know where he is at now. Don’t you?” – I’m waiting with coffee and bakky scented breath. (uurrh!)

    • Roy BardLog in to Reply

      February 19, 2012 at 9:13 am

      Virginia Tilley response also worth a read:

      some activists do tune their positions to what they think the majority wants to hear, eschewing stands that “lack support”. They may believe themselves pragmatic, but I call these folks “human rights entrepreneurs”, as they are essentially market-oriented. Like courtiers, they position themselves just behind the cutting edge, with a keen eye for trends, so they can surf a wave they didn’t actually have the courage or insight to create themselves.

      (My ‘human rights entrepreneur’ of the week would be Mr. Hugh Lanning – How about you? )

  7. ariadnaLog in to Reply

    February 20, 2012 at 2:11 am

    I would not place Norm Finkelstein (NF) in the same sentence with the Dersh for the purposes of any comparison. I consider the latter a person without a moral conscience, wheraes NF is a moral man who happens to have a cumbersome blind spot, similar rather to the one Uri Avneri (UA) has.
    Both NF and UA are zionists. Earnest anti-zionist zionists…

    Both have grappled with the reality that as a “state for Jews,” Israel has never been and can never be a democracy and, unfortunately, in their inner forum… they won.
    There are always “specifics” to blame but the center holds for them.
    In their writings and speeches they try to put forth their personal myth, that zionism has betrayed its luminous goals but that is can have a humane face, it can be … nice.

    Both run as hard as they can in their asymptotic trajectory confident that at some point they will arrive at the destination, there, where wishful thinking meets the absurd and becomes reality.

  8. Paul EisenLog in to Reply

    February 20, 2012 at 9:10 am


    I thought that was a really perceptive analysis. It’s put into words what I’ve been wondering about for some time – the complex inner realities for very decent Zionists like Finkelstein and Avnery. Many thanks.

    I suspect others may take a very different view.



A.Loewenstein Online Newsletter




What you need to know about the Afghan war and aren’t afraid to ask

Posted: 16 Feb 2012

With the war in Afghanistan an unmitigated clusterfuck, it’s remarkable still how many voices in the corporate press talk about goals, achievements and possibilities (usually given by anonymous “officials”).

American journalist Michael Hastings obtains a fascinating document recently that reveals the depth of the mess:

Earlier this week, the New York Times’ Scott Shane published a bombshell piece about Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis, a 17-year Army veteran recently returned from a second tour in Afghanistan. According to the Times, the 48-year-old Davis had written an 84-page unclassified report, as well as a classified report, offering his assessment of the decade-long war. That assessment is essentially that the war has been a disaster and the military’s top brass has not leveled with the American public about just how badly it’s been going. “How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?” Davis boldly asks in an article summarizing his views in The Armed Forces Journal.

Davis last month submitted the unclassified report –titled “Dereliction of Duty II: Senior Military Leader’s Loss of Integrity Wounds Afghan War Effort” – for an internal Army review. Such a report could then be released to the public. However, according to U.S. military officials familiar with the situation, the Pentagon is refusing to do so. Rolling Stone has now obtained a full copy of the 84-page unclassified version, which has been making the rounds within the U.S. government, including the White House. We’ve decided to publish it in full; it’s well worth reading for yourself. It is, in my estimation, one of the most significant documents published by an active-duty officer in the past ten years.

Here is the report’s damning opening lines: “Senior ranking U.S. military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the U.S. Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable. This deception has damaged America’s credibility among both our allies and enemies, severely limiting our ability to reach a political solution to the war in Afghanistan.” Davis goes on to explain that everything in the report is “open source” – i.e., unclassified – information. According to Davis, the classified report, which he legally submitted to Congress, is even more devastating. “If the public had access to these classified reports they would see the dramatic gulf between what is often said in public by our senior leaders and what is actually true behind the scenes,” Davis writes. “It would be illegal for me to discuss, use, or cite classified material in an open venue and thus I will not do so; I am no WikiLeaks guy Part II.”

Hastings speaks about this on Democracy Now! yesterday.


Civil strife serious possibility in PNG due to vulture capitalism

Posted: 15 Feb 2012

My following investigation appears in Crikey today:

The story led the business pages in Papua New Guinea’s Post-Courier in early February. “Analyst: PNG on verge of change” screamed the headline. British-based market analysts Bdaily Business Network praised the $US17.3 billion Exxon-Mobil led LNG project. “[It] is the most important single development in the history of PNG”, it stated, coming online for overseas markets in 2014.

But the reality away from corporate spin is a simmering conflict. A source close to the Southern Highlands land owners, the site of the major LNG project, predicts civil strife in the coming years. Locals are starting to collect weapons and grenades for the coming fight. Sabotage and attacks on pipelines are likely. Weapons are being smuggled in from Indonesia, including West Papua and Thursday Island near Australia.

“I fear what is coming unless something changes soon,” he says at a local Chinese restaurant covered in Coke-coloured wallpaper. “We are not being heard and feel we have no choice. We know we will be out-gunned, and Exxon, being an American company, may receive US government support, but this is about dignity and our rights.”

Stanley Mamu, editor of the LNG Watch blog, fears a Bougainville-style war over resources. It is almost inevitable, he argues, unless Exxon and the government listen to the grievances of the local people. Tensions are already high after a deadly landslide in January was blamed on nearby mining blasts.

LNG project managing director Peter Graham told Radio Australia last year he was satisfied with the “extraordinarily consultative process” with the landowners. That would be news to most of them.

A story in PNG’s Sunday Chronicle in mid-February highlights their anger. Two landowner chiefs demanded Exxon “fulfil relocation” plans previously agreed to. They complain about Exxon-hired private security firm G4S — the company has implanted itself in the highest echelons of the national government, I am told by countless NGOs — and local police using excessive force to re-open a key access road to the LNG project. They warn that other residents will heed a call to join them in resisting the development.

A former commander in the PNG army during the Bougainville “crisis” of the 1990s warned in 2010 that the presence of a foreign militia company such as G4S heightened the chances of another conflict: “They [G4S] have no appreciation of the local customs, culture and the people.”

I recently travelled to Papa Lea-Lea, about 30 minutes from downtown Port Moresby, to investigate a key LNG hub of the project. Driving through impoverished communities living alongside the shore, we pass small villages along the cracked road — small houses built of stilts to keep them from sinking. “They would have to move if a cyclone hit,” an Oxfam PNG staff member who accompanied me says matter-of-factly.

Passing a roadblock — our driver is forced to pay a small bribe to a policeman because he doesn’t hold a driver’s licence — we soon see kilometres of high fences behind which sit LNG facilities in various stages of completion. Security guards watch us drive past. On one side of the road is the beaten-up land of the project, the other is lush, rolling hills. Oxfam tells me some landowners have done deals with Exxon for the use of their property while others complain they aren’t properly consulted before work has begun.

Oxfam recently released a report on the LNG’s impacts in the area after engaging an LNG Impact Listening Project. The results were decidedly mixed and explained how alcohol abuse by men and women was leading to a spike in HIV infection, domestic assault and infidelity. One woman from Porebada said that road construction caused excessive dust that affected the growth of bananas, mangoes and paw paws. “Every time we go to find our gardens polluted.”

The current Peter O’Neill government supports the LNG project as strongly as Michael Somare’s. Australian billionaire Clive Palmer recently announced his likely entry into the LNG race, saying: “If we find gas, we develop it and make billions of dollars out of it.” During my visit the re-entry of Shell into PNG was also warmly embraced as a key driver of LNG opportunities.

Australia still pours millions into the country as a supposed insurance policy against imminent collapse. Former foreign minister Alexander Downer recently wrote in The National that his government “rebuilt PNG’s economy” and “helped end the Bougainville crisis” when in reality — as Crikey has reported —  the Howard years entrenched the rot that has continued under the expanded Labor aid program (much of which goes on “boomerang aid”).

My time in Madang with the progressive NGO Bismarck Ramu Group (BRG) was a welcome change, one of the few organisations in the country that believes the only sustainable way forward for PNG is to reject all Australian support and find alternatives to mining and forestry projects, such as agriculture.

BRG’s Rosa Koian tells me there were countless examples just in her province — a polluting Chinese-owned Ramu Nickel mine and an equally polluting Filipino-run cannery — that show how corporate giants can mislead locals. Poor communication was a factor so BRG’s community workers take locals being romanced by corporations to areas where such firms have set up. “We have had 250 years of failed capitalism here,” Rosa says.

Terry is a key losing litigant in a recently completed case by landowners against the Chinese-owned MCC, which runs the Ramu Nickel mine in Madang. He claims violent intimidation by the company and has witnessed pollution in the water near his village. “Every day I hope the world comes to an end,” he says to me in despair. The top courts, ministers and federal government are all colluding to support the mine, he says.

MCC advertising in the local press claims the company is “ready to deliver”. But perhaps not for the people in Madang.

*Antony Loewenstein is an independent journalist currently working on a book about vulture capitalism. Read here his first PNG report from Bougainville.


Post Gaddafi Libya for North Koreans

Posted: 15 Feb 2012

My friend Yaara Bou-Melhem on Al-Jazeera tells the story of Asian migrant workers:

The tortured method of Murdoch’s British empire uncovering its crimes

Posted: 15 Feb 2012

Columbia Journalism Review ask the right questions about this murky investigation:

The New York Times piqued my interest by writing this on Sunday:

“Dozens of people — lawyers, forensic accountants, forensic computer technicians and, sometimes, police officers — gather daily at a site in Thomas More Square here, where News International is based, searching through 300 million e-mails and other documents stretching back a decade.”Here we are presented with the spectacle of police and News Corp. cheek-by-jowl investigating together a scandal that the company covered up for years and which involves the police themselves. If you think that sounds a bit awk, you’re not alone.

Behind it is a sticky question: What happens when an organization accused of systematically breaking the law is a news publisher with legitimate interests in protecting confidential sources? The tension is thick on the ground: News International’s newspapers are under criminal investigation for thousands of alleged crimes, including deadly serious ones like bribing police and other public officials, but the company also has sensitive information regarding its legitimate newsgathering.

On one hand, giving cops free run of the place could easily result in the exposure of confidential sources and the chilling of future whistleblowers, who would understandably think twice about ever talking to the press.

On the other, after years of News Corp. stonewalling, police can’t simply trust the company to sift through its own data on the cops’ behalf.


One day soon Haaretz may realise that 2 state solution will never happen

Posted: 15 Feb 2012

Long ago, in the mind of many Israelis, the supposed separation between Israel and the occupied territories disappeared. The paper’s editorial:

Construction of the new cultural auditorium in Ariel, taking students on tours of the West Bank, and now the plan to turn the ‘university center’ in Ariel into a full-fledged university, are erasing the pre-1967 borders from the collective consciousness of both Palestinians and Israelis.

When the violent conflict in the territories was at its height a decade or so ago, then IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon said Israel’s goal was to sear the Palestinians’ consciousness with the understanding that violence doesn’t pay.

Today, the government in which Ya’alon now serves as a minister doesn’t miss an opportunity to sear the consciousness of Palestinians and Israelis alike with the idea that a diplomatic agreement on a two-state solution is no longer on the table.

The expansion of settlements and the legalization of outposts have contributed to the physical erasure of the Green Line. Construction of the new cultural auditorium in Ariel, taking students on tours of the West Bank, and now the plan to turn the “university center” in Ariel into a full-fledged university, are similarly erasing the pre-1967 borders from the collective consciousness of both Palestinians and Israelis.

The budgetary implications of the decision made by a subcommittee of the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria – that the Ariel University Center meets the requirements for becoming a university – are dwarfed by the diplomatic and educational message this decision sends out. This message could be heard clearly when Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar pledged to upgrade the university center during a recent visit to Ariel, explaining that he views it as an “important anchor” of Israel’s presence in the northern West Bank.

As noted by the approximately 300 academics who signed a petition against upgrading the academic center, the initial establishment of a college in Ariel stemmed from political considerations that had no connection to the development needs of Israeli academia. In response to the lecturers’ protest, the university center’s president, Prof. Dan Meyerstein, argued that the decision on whether to recognize the university should be based on academic criteria, not its location.

But Ariel is not just another “location.” It is situated in occupied territory that is a focus of controversy both within Israeli society and in the international community. The State of Israel has barred Palestinians from most of the territory of the West Bank. They are permitted to build Ariel’s houses, but not to live there. Ariel, like all the other settlements, is a closed military zone as far as they are concerned.

If the government wishes to keep the two-state solution in the public consciousness, and/or to protect the status of Israeli universities within the international academic community, it would do better to call a halt to this dangerous move that the education minister is promoting.







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Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


Happy Valentines Day: Anonymous takes down web sites for tear gas company and Bahrain government

Feb 14, 2012

Allison Deger

hack and smash
(Image: Anonymous)

Marking today’s anniversary of the Bahrain anti-government uprising, the hacker group Anonymous shut down the Bahrain government’s website, along with the websites of several U.S. manufacturers of “less than lethal” weapons.

From a statement posted by the group today:

So you war profiteering all crazy, selling mad chemical weapons to militaries and cop shops around the world, thinking you will get away unscathed by the rising tides of insurrection?

combined systems
Combined Systems website, shut down by Anonymous.

The international hacking collaborative also targeted tear gas producer Combined Systems Inc. (CSI), citing the death and injury caused by the company’s tear gas canisters, and its use by police forces in the occupied Palestinian territories and against the Occupy Wall Street movement:

From the streets of Oakland to Tahrir Square, to Palestine, Greece, Bahrain and Syria, your sinister instruments of torture and brutality have been used by the vile swine enforcers of the rich ruling classes to repress our revolutionary movements. You shot and gassed protesters, running them off public parks in the US. Several dozen died because of your tear gas used in Egypt. You wave the Israeli flag outside of your offices, while just two months ago your tear gas cannisters fired by the IDF killed a man in the West Bank. Did you think we forgot? Why did you not expect us?

Screen shot 2012 02 14 at 10 45 53 AM

The actions are part of a larger campaign known as HackVDay, commemorating protest in Bahrain and drawing attention to the on-going military crackdowns. According to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, last year 14 were killed as a result of tear gas, and in the past month two protesters died of tear gas inhalation.

Additional weapons companies websites targeted by the hacker group include,,, and  Anonymous also threatened tech workers for the weapons companies, stating:

[I]f you so much as lift a finger to support CSI in rebuilding their websites, we will post all your mail on you and all your clients.

At the time of writing this article, off the hacked websites, excluding the Bahrain government, were still non-operational.


Norman Finkelstein slams the BDS movement calling it ‘a cult’

Feb 14, 2012

Adam Horowitz




You won’t have Ethan Bronner to kick around anymore . . .

Feb 14, 2012

Adam Horowitz

Jodi Rudoren is the next NYT bureau chief in Jerusalem. She replaces Ethan Bronner, who will cover national legal affairs in NY.

— NYTimes World (@nytimesworld) February 14, 2012

Per the NYTimes World twitter account, Ethan Bronner is being re-assigned to cover national legal affairs from New York. The new bureau chief in Jerusalem will be Jodi Rudoren, who is currently the Times education editor, and was formerly a deputy metropolitan editor for regional news. Rudoren will take up the new post in late April.

Politico has picked up the story and quotes from the internal Times memo announcing the move:

“For those of us who worked with him as deputy foreign editor, it came as no surprise that Ethan Bronner could navigate the Scylla and Charybdis of foreign stories, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as smoothly as he has,” foreign editor Joe Kahn and national editor Sam Sifton wrote in an internal memo, forwarded by a staffer. “Ethan’s deep familiarity with Israel, his unerring sense of fairness, and his nose for what is really new in an exhaustively charted territory distinguished his work.”

I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with Rudoren’s name at all. Here is older bio of her on the New School website from a journalism class she taught there:

Jodi is a Deputy Metropolitan Editor at the New York Times, where she has worked for 10 years. As a reporter for both The Times and the Los Angeles Times, Jodi has covered immigration, education, City Hall, the Columbine killings, the Amadou Diallo shooting, the largest municipal bankruptcy in history, and the 2004 presidential campaign; for five years, she was The Times’ Chicago bureau chief. Jodi lives in ProspectHeights, Brooklyn, with her husband, Gary, a comedy writer and architect, and their 2-year-old twins.

And here is an interesting Q & A between Rudoren and Times readers from 2007. Basically she says if you have a problem with the Times’s coverage of Israel/Palestine, it’s your problem, not theirs:

Q. How do you respond to critics from both ends of the political spectrum that claim The New York Times is either part of the so-called “liberal media,” or the outlet for corporate-filtered right-wing propoganda?

— Joe T.

A. Well asked, Joe. As your question implies, people with deeply entrenched political biases are generally the ones accusing The Times of being biased. The folks who cover the Middle East get criticism for being hopelessly pro-Israel and shamelessly co-opted by the Palestinians. I wish I still had the e-mails from readers during the campaign who would interpret the very same words about Howard Dean or John Kerry in exactly opposite ways.

One thing I’ve often urged such critics to do is to think about The Times’s coverage of an issue that they are not involved in or that they know little about. Our hallmark is detachment, and to people who are highly invested in a subject, detachment itself can seem like bias. If you’re a passionate advocate for (or critic of) bilingual education or violence prevention or Mitt Romney for president you are, not, frankly, in the best position to evaluate our coverage of those topics. We’re not really writing for you — the insider, the actor, the stakeholder — but for the mainstream mass of people who are smart and curious but uninformed or inexpert on the particulars.

And one thing I’ve tried to remind colleagues is that while we need to take very seriously the very loud criticism we sometimes see on blogs or in our in-baskets from these impassioned stakeholders, they are a pretty tiny fraction of The Times audience, the vast majority of which consumes the news, happily and engagedly, and maybe talks about it with a friend later in the day but otherwise pretty much forgets about it until the next morning, never thinking of calling or writing to comment or complain.

Over Twitter, Ali Abunimah has pointed to two articles she wrote in 2001 and 2002 — “Jewish Collegians Prepare to Defend Israel on the Campuses” and “American Jews; Unusually Unified in Solidarity With Israel, but Also Unusually Unnerved.” Both seem like cookie-cutter Times pieces, Abunimah remarked:

Seems Jodi Rudoren is another @nytimes reporter for whom Palestinians are just bit players in someone else’s drama. We’ll see…

— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) February 14, 2012

Mondo commenter munro points to this possibly auspicious tweet from Rudoren about the recent film Five Broken Cameras about Bilin:

Fascinating piece re West Bank documentarian. NYTimes: From Unyielding Cameraman, an Acclaimed Film

— Jodi Rudoren (@rudoren) January 23, 2012

Here is an interesting piece from this past December where she discusses her Jewishness, American identity and her kids. Turns out she is a member of Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn, which we’ve written about a bunch on the site. From her article “Class Parent: Mama, What Is Our Culture?”:

“Mama, what is our culture?” my son Lev, who is 4, asked the other morning while we were getting ready for work and school.

“Jewish, sweetie,” I responded without thinking.

“You have to write it on the back of our culture flags,” Lev said.

“Sure,” I told him, having no idea what a culture flag was or was for, but happy to oblige. “I’ll do it when we get to school.”

When we got to school — Public School 11 in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, where I am the class parent — it turned out that we were actually supposed to have decorated the culture flags, which the teachers had cut out of thick white paper and sent home with Lev and his twin sister, Shayna, the day before.

Because of baby sitter/husband communication bobbles, our undecorated flags were apparently sitting on the kitchen table rather than ready for posting outside the prekindergarten classroom. No problem, the teachers said, bring them Monday.

But I did have a problem: What is our culture, and how could we possibly depict it on a flag?

The culture flags were a great idea, bringing together December’s two curriculum themes of transportation and “cultures around the world.” The children had been talking for a few days about how they were “going on a cruise,” and we had already filled out faux passports.

On Friday, the teachers had planned to screen an Elmo movie about a world cruise, and that morning we arrived to see a cool ship on the bulletin board outside the classroom, just waiting to be surrounded by an array of diverse culture flags.

In a majority-minority school like P.S. 11, where 10 percent of the students are white like my children, sharing and studying roots is important and interesting both. There is a boy in our class whose dad is Austrian and mom Japanese — his flag looked awesome.

Before Thanksgiving, there had been a multicultural potluck, with chicken tikka masala, Irish soda bread, Korean sushi and be bim bop, potato latkes, chicken wings, coconut chicken, beef patties mac ’n’ cheese, and kabak goregi filled with spinach. But what did my little towheaded twins have to add?

We could, of course, make American flags — we are, after all, American. (Then again, so is everyone else.) One classmate had done a classic pre-K American flag, from the abstract-scribble school, and another had done one with silver-star stickers, the kind you use on behavior charts.

Maybe we should make an American flag with six-pointed stars, signifying Jewish-American. Or would that feel like defacing the flag? Did I want them primarily identified as Jews? (I know, I already sent them to public school with Hebrew and Yiddish first names.)

What about the Brooklyn flag — is there a Brooklyn flag? Lev loves rainbows: if we did a rainbow flag, would everyone assume he has two mamas (and would those who have met my bald, goateed husband be very confused)? Maybe we should just leave the flags white, since that’s how I was feeling: white; bland; boring.

Over the weekend, Lev was playing with blue paints, making what he described as a pool, and we decided to do the same for his flag. Shayna messed around with some reds and browns on hers. So for now, our culture is, um, free artistic exploration for 4-year-olds.

News roundup on the 59th day of Khader Adnan’s hunger strike

Feb 14, 2012

Today in Palestine

Khader Adnan

Adnan vows to hold on to his hunger strike
Detained Islamic Jihad leader Sheikh Khader Adnan has vowed to continue in his hunger strike despite the Israeli court ruling that he should serve his four-month administrative custody.
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URGENT: Heed Randa Adnan’s call. Military court rejects Khader Adnan’s appeal in de facto death sentence

“My husband is dying inside an Israeli jail. The world should make sure I am able to see him,” she said. “And it should pressure the Israeli government to release him before it’s too late… Israel denied Khader any fairness or decency…But maybe the rest of humanity will show more mercy.” – Randa Adnan

Israel military rejects Khader Adnan appeal as hunger striker’s wife urges intervention to spare his life, Ali Abunimah
“My husband is dying inside an Israeli jail. The world should make sure I am able to see him… And it should pressure the Israeli government to release him before it’s too late.”

As Khader Adnan entered his 59th day on hunger strike, his wife Randa appealed for the international community to end his isolation and save his life. “My husband is dying inside an Israeli jail. The world should make sure I am able to see him,” she said. “And it should pressure the Israeli government to release him before it’s too late.” Khader, a 33-year-old baker, graduate Birzeit University economics student, and Islamic Jihad Movement activist, was detained in a 3:30 am raid on his home in Arraba, Jenin on December 17. Israel’s forces have arrested him eight times, and he has spent over six years in its prisons, mostly under administrative detention orders. He has been unable to complete his studies because of these repeated imprisonments.

Starving for freedom: The hunger strike of Khader Adnan
Khader Adnan, currently on hunger strike in an Israeli prison, runs the risk of dying without international help. Amman, Jordan – By the time you read these words, Khader Adnan could be dead. After 58 full days on hunger strike, his body is already well past the stage where his vital organs may cease to function at any moment. But Khader Adnan is dying to live. The 33-year-old Palestinian baker, husband, father, and graduate student has refused food since December 18, a day after he was arrested in a nighttime raid on his family home by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank. He has lost over 40 kgs and his wife Randa and young daughters have described his appearance as “shocking”. Adnan, whom Israel says is a member of Islamic Jihad, was given a four month “administrative detention” order by the Israeli military – meaning that he is held without being charged for any crime or trial, a practice continued by Israel that dates back to British colonial days. Yesterday an Israeli military court rejected Adnan’s appeal against the arbitrary detention. Having vowed to maintain his hunger strike until he is released or charged, the judge – an Israeli military officer – might as well have sentenced Khader Adnan to death, unless there is urgent international intervention. Though the life in his body hangs on by a thread, his spirit is unbroken.

Israel shackles Palestinian hunger striker
Khader Adnan, detained without charge for two months, may be close to death say human rights groups. A Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike for more than eight weeks is being kept shackled to a hospital bed by the Israeli authorities, despite warnings that he may be close to death. Khader Adnan, 33, has been held without charge under “administrative detention” since mid-December. The Israeli military authorities have refused to tell his lawyer what he is accused of or disclose any evidence against him.


Hundreds in Israeli jails join hunger strike
Palestinian inmates join Khader Adnan who has gone 56 days without food in protest against his detention without charge.


Khader Adnan and Theodore Herzl, Hatim Kanaaneh

“A lot of the hair on his face and head has fallen off,” The Aljazera article quoted Randa, Khader Adnan’s wife, as saying. I had been alarmed by the evidence of Khader’s deteriorating health because of his hunger strike, now approaching the two-month mark. He is protesting his arrest by the Israeli occupation authorities with no trial or specific charges and of the attendant humiliation. He has declared his readiness to sacrifice his life in defense of dignity, his personal dignity and that of Palestinians under occupation in general. After all, fully one fourth of all Palestinians under occupation have experienced incarceration by Israel’s armed forces. In fact Palestinians everywhere have proclaimed Khader as their representative in the face of injustice. I have signed letters initiated by Physicians for Human Rights, a group I am proud to have participated in founding in Israel, asking for his immediate release on humanitarian and medical grounds. And I have read the few reports from Khader’s few visitors. Had I been back home, I would have agitated to visit him as a physician on behalf of one concerned group or another. But at my current location in New York I have to be satisfied with what I can glean about his health from second hand sources.

Saturday marked his 56th hunger striking day. “My dignity is more precious than food,” he said. He’s willing to die courageously defending it. He’s protesting his lawless detention and treatment by repressive Israeli prison authorities. They’re committing willful, malicious slow-motion murder. He’s uncharged because he’s innocent. Yet Israel illegally detains him under horrific conditions. Without food for eight weeks, his life hangs by a thread. He could die before this article’s published.

Land Theft / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid / Threats on Al Aqsa / Apartheid / Occupation


TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — Settlers from the illegal outpost of Migron said Monday that they had reached a deal with the Israeli government to relocate their homes inside the occupied West Bank. Israel’s High Court of Justice had ordered Israeli settlers in the Migron outpost near West Bank city Ramallah to leave by March 31 in response to a 2006 petition filed by seven Palestinian landowners and Israeli pressure group Peace Now. 

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Jewish settlers confiscate 20 dunums of Palestinian land in Al-Khalil
Hundreds of Jewish settlers from the Kiryat Arba settlement started on Sunday to cultivate 20 dunums of Palestinian land to the east of Al-Khalil.
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Israeli Forces Begin Construction of New Fence Near Beit Ommar
On the early morning of February 13, 2012, Israeli Forces accompanied by survey workers started to put marks on Route 60, the main road connecting the cities of Hebron and Jerusalem in the southern West Bank. The soldiers started surveying the area from the entrance of Al-Arroub refugee camp all the way to Beit Ommar. This move seems to signify the intention of the Israeli military to put up a four-meter-high fence along this area to isolate the two Palestinian communities from the main street, and further restricting the movement of Palestinian residents living in the area. This act is part of a wider design of a collective punishment policy pursued by the Israeli occupation, in light of the increasing peaceful popular resistance activities in these areas.
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Israel approves plan to build huge Jewish tourist center in Silwan
The Zionist district committee for planning and building approved on Monday a plan to build what it called the foot center in Wadi Hilwa neighborhood of Silwan area.
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Ariel center moves a step closer to becoming university

Hundreds of academics, including four Israel Prize laureates, petition education minister to nix process.
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Israeli Bulldozers Destroy Playground in Silwan
Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies – “Israeli bulldozers of the Jerusalem Municipality destroyed, on Monday morning, a playground in Wadi Hilweh area , in Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem, and removed the protest tent in Silwan”

Gaza City residents in the coastal Hamami neighborhood are outraged after the Gaza government bulldozed their houses to make way for a major infrastructure project.

Israeli Court Forbids Nablus Mosque from Using Loudspeakers
The Israeli Supreme Court issued a preliminary ruling, forbidding Burin village mosque, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, from using loud speakers, and even from using lights on the mosque’s minaret.


Hamas calls for defending the Aqsa mosque
Hamas warned the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) of persisting in its attempts to storm the Aqsa mosque, describing the Aqsa as a “red line”.


Arab League discusses peace with Israel, ignores threats against Aqsa Mosque
The Arab League ignored in its meeting on Sunday the latest Israeli threats against the Aqsa Mosque and focused on the peace process with the Israeli occupation.

The Association of Palestinian Scholars has issued a plea to the Muslim Ummah – its scholars, leaders, intellectuals, youth, and elderly across the world – to rise to the rescue of the al-Aqsa Mosque and to protect it from Zionist aggression. During a press conference held on Sunday, February 12, regarding the situation faced by the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Association asked Muslims around the globe; “Would you let al-Aqsa be demolished while you are alive? The head of the Association of Palestinian Scholars, Dr Salem Salama, urged the people of Jerusalem and Palestinians living inside Israel, to head to the al-Aqsa Mosque and stay inside it day and night in order to protect it.
UN Bashes Israel for Biased Housing Policies
The United Nations has strongly criticised Israeli plans for relocating Bedouins in the desert and semi-desert region of Negev as well as decades of promotion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and in Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem. Raquel Rolnik, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, finds that Israeli Arabs as well as Palestinians living under military occupation are also affected by ongoing threats against their right to housing. She made these remarks on February 13 just after concluding a two-week visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. “Throughout my visit, I was able to witness a land development model that excludes, discriminates against and displaces minorities in Israel which is being replicated in the occupied territory, affecting Palestinian communities,” she stated.


Exploring the Illegality of ‘Land Swap’ Agreements under Occupation
Al-Haq’s Exploring the Illegality of ‘Land Swap’ Agreements under Occupation examines the legal implications of the conclusion of ‘land swap’ agreements between Israel and the Palestinian representatives whilst the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip is ongoing.

Violence & Aggression
Jewish settlers throw stones at Palestinian woman in her car
Jewish settlers attacked a Palestinian car driven by a woman south of Al-Khalil and smashed its rear window on Sunday night.
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Hebron’s Palestinian residents report a spate of harassment since the Golani brigade moved into the city in December.

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A newly released report submitted to the United Nations by international organizations working in Al Khalil documents a sharp increase in serious human rights violations against Palestinian civilians, particularly youth and children, living in the Old City and Tel Rumeida., Internationals working in Al-Khalil have called for an immediate withdrawal of the Golani Brigade, citing fears that the abuses will continue to escalate and make life unbearable for Palestinians should the soldiers remain another two to five months as expected. 

Other Detainees

Crimes against Detained Palestinian Children
Amir Ofek, the press attaché for the Embassy of Israel in London, published an article  in response to The Guardian special report entitled ‘The Palestinian children – alone and bewildered – in Israel’s Al Jalame jail’. His response included many allegations and false information which should be clarified. He said, “When a minor involved in terrorist activity is arrested, the law is clear: no torture or humiliation is permitted, nor is solitary confinement in order to induce a confession – which challenges the veracity of the accounts in your article”. He also ignored all forms of torture to which Israel subjects Palestinian children. He claimed that children have been accused of committing atrocities, including killing the Fogel family while they slept. He also claimed that Palestinian factions send children to commit suicide bombings. 

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IOF troops round up 12 Palestinians
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up 12 Palestinian citizens in Al-Khalil and Ramallah provinces in pre-dawn raids on Tuesday.

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IOF soldiers arrest liberated prisoner
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained a Palestinian ex-prisoner, who was released in the exchange deal between Hamas and Israel in October last year, in Al-Khalil on Monday evening.

Gaza’s only power station closes
The authorities in Gaza say the Palestinian territory’s only power station has had to shut down because of a lack of fuel.
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GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A Palestinian student imprisoned for 50 days in Egypt appealed to Palestinian leaders on Monday to resolve his case.  Rami Nimnim, 32, from Gaza City, wrote to the leadership via relatives saying he was being held in a section of al-Qanatir prison in Cairo for foreigners residing illegally in the country.  Nimnim insists he has the right residency papers, and wants to complete his masters thesis in Cairo. He said the Palestinian embassy in Egypt had pledged to raise his case with the country’s authorities, but accused envoys of neglecting him.
Popular Protests

Israeli troops attacked on Saturday the weekly nonviolent protest against the Annexation Wall and settlements, in Beit Ummar town, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron; four protestors were kidnapped, several others were wounded. 
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On Saturday, February 11th, 2012, about 100 Palestinian demonstrators supported by international and Israeli solidarity activists, organized a demonstration in the community of Susiya, in the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank. The action was supported by the Palestine Solidarity Project. At 10am, the activists marched to an area where Israeli settlers had illegally erected a house on land belonging to Palestinians, and the Israeli military had blocked off the main access road to Palestinian vehicles with coils of barbed wire.

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Beit Ommar Activists Released From Israeli Jail with 1500 Shekel Fines
Yousef and Saqqar Abu Maria, two Palestinian activists from Beit Ommar who were arrested on Saturday, February 11, 2012 during an unarmed demonstration against the Israeli occupation, have been released from the Israeli prison of Ramle on the evening of February 13th. Both men were released after being held for more than 48 hours, after they each were ordered to pay a fine of 1500 shekels (roughly $450 usd) each by the Israeli courts. Please consider donating to the Palestine Solidarity Project legal defense fund to help cover these costs and other costs for unarmed Palestinian activists on the front lines of fighting for their freedom. Since the beginning of January 2012, 34 Palestinians have been arrested from Beit Ommar village alone by Israeli Forces. Seven of these were minors under the age of 18.

The bucolic village remains steadfast despite IOF violence
KAFR QADDOUM-Popular resistance demonstrations raged throughout the West Bank on Friday in protest of Israel’s Occupation, its systematic land annexations, and more recently, its use of administrative detention in solidarity with Khader Adnan.

BDS / Solidarity
Educators can’t stay silent about Israeli apartheid
US academics recently returned from a fact-finding delegation describe the daily ritual of subordination, humiliation and suspicion endured by Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.


Israeli Apartheid Week Montreal 2012
Israeli Apartheid Week Montreal. March 5-13th 2012 8th annual Israeli Apartheid Week featuring inspiring conferences, workshops, film screenings, demonstrations, and cultural events to raise awareness around the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid. Monday, March 5 Film Screening with Cinema Politica Tears of Gaza 7:00pm, Concordia University 1455 de Maisonneuve West room H-110 (Guy-Concordia metro) Disturbing, powerful and emotionally […]

‘Love Under Apartheid’ tells the story of Palestinians fighting for the right to love
Checkpoint date: When dinner isn’t the only check you have to worry about – watch more funny videos. On Monday February 13, human rights advocates launched a new website — — with the goal of sharing the stories of Palestinians struggling to maintain love and family relationships despite the boundaries imposed by Israeli apartheid. Israel’s systematic discrimination and segregation of Palestinians, the division of family by the apartheid wall and checkpoints, and the imposition laws of impeding Palestinian marriages have made certain forms of love impossible. By the afternoon, tweets using #LoveUnderApartheid had caused the hashtag to trend worldwide and in the United States, joining Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift in popularity on the social media website.

University president promotes hasbara event with Israeli soldier in campus-wide email, Adam Horowitz
A friend writes: Western University of Health Sciences‘ President, Philip Pumerantz, sent out a campus-wide email on February 7th inviting the campus community in joining him to welcome “Sgt. Benjamin Anthony from Israel, as he shares his experience in the Israeli army.” The email noted that a free lunch will be provided and asked those interested in attending the event to RSVP to WesternU’s Hillel Club. The event is co-sponsored by WesternU’s Hillel Club and Military Medical Students Association, the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, Hasbara, and Our Soldiers Speak.
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Political Developments
Speaking during Iran visit, Gaza PM says the ‘gun is our only response to Zionist regime,’ adding that compromises agreed to by Hamas as part of unity deal with Fatah serve Palestinian cause.
Iran’s supreme leader meets with Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh and warns him against any compromise with Israel.

Iran urges Hamas to continue fight against Israel (AP)
AP – Iran’s leaders urged the Hamas prime minister of Gaza to continue the Islamic militant group’s resistance against Israel and promised support, state TV reported on Sunday.

PM responds to Palestinian president’s speech in which he says that peace talks cannot resume without Israeli settlement freeze; Netanyahu accuses Abbas of effectively embracing Iran through his link to Hamas.
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Abbas: Israel has made two-state solution impossible
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the peace process deterioration stems from the act that Israel has broken all the agreements signed between the two sides and due to Israel’s lack of commitment to international decisions and the quartet’s declarations and the roadmap. At a press conference held in Ramallah Abbas added that “Israel’s actions have made the two state solution impossible and that is unacceptable.” He noted that the Palestinians were set to take steps agreed upon with the Arab states.

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Palestinian women await scrapping of honour killing
Ramallah: The Palestinian Women’s Movement is awaiting the implementation of the reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah, which will pave the way for a legitimate parliament to approve the long-awaited legislation which abolishes the legal clauses that allow crimes of honour. In an interview with Gulf News, Rawdah Baseer, an activist of the Palestinian Feminist Movement and head of the Palestinian Women’s Studies Centre, said the legislation once approved will be a key achievement for the women fighting against this menace since the 1990s.
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Other News

AIPAC trying to block a brief that states it is “an arm of the Israeli government in the US” whose standard is to “obtain classified information … that endangered US National Security”!
WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire — The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is attempting to block a brief filed by Director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) Grant F. Smith in the DC Court of Appeals on February 3, 2012. The 78-page IRmep filing asserts “AIPAC has never abandoned its original role as an arm of the Israeli government in the United States.”link to Citing declassified criminal investigations, IRmep underscores the public’s interest in the outcome of the case. “AIPAC’s observable standard for employees is ‘solicit, obtain and leverage classified information without being criminally indicted.’ AIPAC is never held publicly accountable for these types of activities which harm governance and public perception of rule of law.”  Exhibits include State Department files declassified on January 20, 2012 revealing in detail how former AIPAC Director Morris Amitay endangered US national security when he obtained Department of Defense secrets in 1974. The IRmep brief also analyzes ongoing financial damages from a 1984-1987 incident. The FBI investigated how AIPAC acquired an International Trade Commission report full of still-classified confidential business information.
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Fugitive enters Israel in 2000 using a forged passport and assumed name, after skipping bail after losing appeal of his 19-year sentence for DUI manslaughter.

Did IDF corporal sodomize fellow soldier?
Corporal A accused of sodomizing soldier in front of friends at southern Air Force base; Also charged with violent act against another soldier.

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Indictment: Jerusalem cult members abused minors
Prosecution files severe indictment against three wives, three children of cult leader; details harsh punishment for young members, including whipping, sexual abuse
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VIDEO: Protests on Bahrain anniversary
Police try to prevent people marking the anniversary of pro-democracy protests in Bahrain’s capital, after a second day of clashes in outlying villages.
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Bahrain troops attack anti-regime demo
Saudi-backed Bahraini forces have attacked anti-government demonstrators on the eve of the first anniversary of the popular uprising in the country.


Bahrain activists hit by teargas
Security forces in Bahrain fire teargas at protesters on the eve of the first anniversary of pro-democracy demonstrations in the Arab kingdom.


Fresh crackdown on anniversary of Bahrain protests
Protesters who gathered to mark the first anniversary of the Bahraini uprisings were attacked with teargas, birdshots, and stun grenades by Bahraini security forces on Tuesday, according to activists. “In addition to using excessive teargas, security forces are also firing birdshots at protesters. Many people were killed with birdshots in previous rallies,” said Mattar Ebrahim, an opposition figure in al-Wefaq party said.
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Bahrain: One year on, accountability remains a distant aspiration
The Bahraini government remains far from delivering the human rights changes that were recommended by an independent international commission, Amnesty International said today.  Amnesty International warned that the government risked falling short of meeting its self-imposed deadline of the end of February to implement the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI)’s recommendations.  The organization called on the government to release all prisoners convicted or held solely for leading or peaceful participation in protests and to bring all those responsible for the gross human rights violations committed during the last year to account. 


U.S.-Backed Bahraini Forces Arrest and Deport Two American Peace Activists Acting as Human Rights Observers
On Saturday, Bahrain arrested and deported two U.S. human rights lawyers, Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath, for their role in recent protests. They were deported Sunday and returned to New York last night. Both Arraf and Sainath are human rights lawyers and members of the Witness Bahrain initiative, which places international observers in the country in the hopes of preventing violence by security forces. Their arrest comes just ahead of the one-year anniversary of the popular uprising against the U.S.-backed monarchy. In the past year, Bahraini security forces have killed dozens of demonstrators, and hundreds more have been arrested or fired from their jobs. “[We] also were getting reports of journalists and human rights organization representatives being denied entry into the country in the lead-up to the first anniversary of the Bahrain revolution. And this caused great alarm, that the government was planning to escalate its oppression of the people,” says Huwaida Arraf. 

While February 14 will be celebrated as Valentine’s Day in many parts of the world, the streets of Manama, capital of the Island Kingdom of Bahrain will witness a “day of rage” to mark the one-year anniversary of pro-democracy protests.  Human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja had hoped to be in the heart of the demonstrations. But, two days prior to the anniversary, al-Khawaja was arrested as she approached the Pearl Roundabout during a protest. On this Valentine’s Day of rage, she will likely remain in detention.
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Fired Shias want Bahrain jobs back
It’s been one year since anti-government protests started in Bahrain. Nearly 2,000 mainly Shia Muslim workers in both the private and public sector lost their jobs as punishment for their perceived participation in the protests. Unions say they have not got their jobs back, despite repeated promises from the government. Human rights groups and activists say more than 60 people have been killed, including four policemen, since the crackdown began on Shia-led protesters. Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reports.
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Political Movements in Bahrain: Past, Present, and Future,  Omar AlShehabi
One year ago, online activists called for a “February 14 Revolution” on the tiny island of Bahrain. Although the ongoing mass protests might come as a surprise for some, political movements in Bahrain and the wider Arabian Gulf have a long history that stretches back a hundred years. To place these movements in context, it is necessary to delve back in history to better understand the present and what harbingers these movements hold for the future. The region witnessed a remarkable development in 1938. Three movements emerged in Bahrain, Dubai, and Kuwait—all then under British “protection”—calling for a greater say in ruling matters, even daring to ask for a representative assembly. Although this was not the first political initiative in Bahrain, it was up until then the most coherent and organized. The movements in Bahrain and Dubai were put down, and only in Kuwait did an elected assembly emerge for a few months before being disbanded. This set the tone for future political activities in Bahrain, swinging between regime overthrow versus reform, clandestine versus public activity, and broad-based coalitions versus factional movements.
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Bahraini Women: Pearls of The Revolution
Bahraini women were prominent partners in the Pearl revolution.
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Al-Akhbar contributor freed, recalls screams of torture in Egypt
Egypt freed Al-Akhbar contributor and Australian journalist Austin Gerassimos Mackell on Monday, along with translator, Aliya Alwi, and an American student, Derek Ludovici, after detaining them for more than two days. The three had headed to the city of Mahalla, a known ‘hotspot’ for union activity north of Cairo, to cover news of a strike taking place in the town. Ludovici, a post-graduate student at the American University of Cairo studying unions, had accompanied Mackell and Alwi to interview a local union figure, Kamal el-Fayoumi.
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Iran rejected accusations it was responsible for bomb attacks at the Israeli embassies in India and Georgia on Monday as “sheer lies.” “Any terrorist attack is condemned (by Iran) and we strongly reject the untrue comments by an Israeli official,” Iran’s ambassador to India, Mehdi Nabizadeh, was quoted as saying by IR

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

Dorothy Online Newsletter


Dear Friends,


Was a bad day today.  Khader Adnan’s life is apparently ebbing.  On top of that a bus and truck hit head on, the bus turned over on its side, burst into flame, while trapped inside were Palestinian children 4-6 years old, who were on a school or kindergarten outing.  Apparently 7 or 8 were killed outright, others so badly injured that their lives are/were hanging by a thread.  This tragedy was in all the on-line newspapers (local and international) that I read.  Item 6 has the BBC report on the event.  So sad. 


10 items below—too much, I know, especially since ‘Today in Palestine’ is the final one, with all of its news.  But there are at least 10 more items that I did not include.  Sometimes it’s like that—lots of information to pass on to you.


Item 1 is Richard Falk’s “Saving Khader Adnan’s life is saving our own soul.”  This is also the first item in ‘Today in Palestine,’ which again devotes its initial section to Khader Adnan.  I copied it here from Al Jazeera because I hope that by calling attention to it, to encourage you to read it.  One thing that Falk is right about technically speaking , but which I feel is nevertheless inaccurate, is that he speaks of Palestinians as being under occupation for 45 years, whereas Palestinian land including in Israel has been under occupation since 1947-8.


Item 2 “Palestinian hunger-striker Khader Adman near death” can’t compete with Falk’s piece, which is commentary, whereas 2 reports, but is also worth reading.


In item 3’s very brief report, the IOF confirms arrest of a Palestinian woman freed in the Shalit deal.  She is not the first.  I wonder how many other of the prisoners released to get Shalit home will eventually find themselves back in jail, not necessarily because they did anything that threatens Israel or Israelis, but just to outsmart those who thought that by releasing Shalit they could also release Palestinians?


Yesterday one of the items that I sent commented on the harassment meted out to Palestinians by ‘security’ personnel at Israeli airports.  Item 4 is a story of one such. 


Item 5, “Palestinian villages might soon go dark once again,” refers to the villages in which electricity was brought in by means of solar panels and wind turbines.  Now Israel wants to remove these.  Why?  It obviously wants to make life so unbearable that the Palestinians will leave. Nice leaders we have.  Had another country treated Jews the way Israel treats Palestinians, would the world once again remain silent, much as is the case now with Palestinians?


Item 6 reports the bus accident.


In item 7 Gideon Levy argues that “Iran uses terror to target civilians, so does Israel.  Good piece.  Except that the word ‘terror’ is over-used, so that what it really means is lost.  I prefer to talk about violence and non-violence.  Terror is the result of using violence or of means for the purpose of harming or of frightening.  Many people whom now are referred to as terrorists are in the eyes of their country men/women freedom fighters.  What after all were the Partisans of WWII.  Yet to the Nazis they were undoubtedly terrorists.  I oppose the use of violence.  It can produce terror, but seldom anything good.


Item 8 reports that the IOF tackles anti-tank missiles threat in the Gaza vicinity.  Have added to this piece a link to a report informing us that Israel has purchased 30 military training jets.  Israel’s leaders by adding structures or foliage to protect people, and by investing in more and more arms are not bringing Israelis security.  The means to security is not by force and weapons but by ending the occupation and seeing to it that Palestinians have justice.


Item 9, “U.S. Jews battle apartheid charges made against Israel,” is interesting in that the battle apparently does not include the argument that Israel does not practice apartheid.  Hmmmm


Item 10 is ‘Today in Palestine.’  One of the items requests that we write to Khader Adnan and to his family expressing our solidarity.  Please do, if only a few words.  I dread opening my inbox and on-line newspapers for fear of seeing that we’ve lost him.  Hopefully that won’t happen.  But I see no signs that it won’t.


That’s it for tonight (my time is 12:45 AM).


All the best,



1  Al Jazeera  Thursday, February 16, 2012


Saving Khader Adnan’s life is saving our own soul

The Palestinian prisoner’s case is a microcosm of the unbearable cruelty of prolonged occupation.


Richard Falk


Khader Adnan is entering his 61st day of a hunger strike in an Israeli prison [EPA]


The world watches as tragedy unfolds beneath its gaze. Khader Asnan is entering his 61st day as a hunger striker in an Israeli prison, being held under an administrative detention order without trial, charges, or any indication of the evidence against him.


From the outset of his brutal arrest in the middle of the night – in the presence of his wife and young daughters – he has been subject to the sort of inhumane and degrading treatment that is totally unlawful and morally inexcusable. Its only justification is to intimidate, if not terrify, Palestinians who have lived for 45 years under the yoke of an oppressive occupation. This occupation continuously whittles away at Palestinians’ rights under international humanitarian law – especially their right to self-determination, which is encroached upon every time a new housing unit is added to the colonising settlements that dot the hilltops surrounding Jerusalem and the West Bank.


Hundreds of Palestinians join hunger strike


The case of Khader Adnan is a revealing microcosm of the unbearable cruelty of prolonged occupation. It draws a contrast in the West between the dignity of an Israeli prisoner and the steadfast refusal to heed the abuse of thousands of Palestinians languishing in Israeli jails through court sentence or administrative order.


Mr Adnan’s father poignantly highlighted this contrast a few days ago by referring to Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held by Hamas in captivity for several years and recently released in good health: “Where are the mother and father of Gilad Shalit? Do they not feel for me in this humanitarian case? Where are they?” He went further in drawing this comparison: “My son was arrested from his house, from among his wife and children, was taken prisoner. He was not carrying any weapon. Whereas Shalit was fighting against the people of Gaza, and destroying their homes, and firing upon, and Shalit was released.”


It is true that foreign authority figures, from the UN Secretary General on down, showed their empathy for the agony experienced by Israelis concerned for the wellbeing of Shalit, but these same personalities are notably silent in the much more compelling ordeal being experienced before our eyes in the form of Mr Adnan’s captivity, seemingly unto death. It should not be surprising that surviving family members of IRA hunger strikers should step forward expressing solidarity with Mr Adnan and compare the Irish experience of resistance to that of the Palesinians.


And who is Khader Adnan? We do not know very much about him except that he is a member of the Islamic Jihad Party. There are no accusations against him that implicate him in violence against civilians. His fellow prisoner from an earlier period of confinement in Ashkelon Prison, Abu Maria, recalls his normalcy and humanity while sharing a cell, emphasising his interest in informing other Palestinians: “Prison was like a university in those times and he was one of the professors.” Commenting on his hunger strike that has brought him extreme pain, Abu Maria says he is convinced that Khader Asnan wants to live, but will not live in humiliation: “He is showing his commitment and resistance in the only way he can right now, with his body.”


Adameer, the respected Palestinian NGO concerned with prisoners, “holds Israel accountable for the life of Khader Adnan, whose health has entered an alarmingly critical stage that will now have irreversible consequences and could lead to his fatal collapse at any moment”. Physicians who have observed his current condition conclude that, at most, he could live a few more days, saying that such a hunger strike cannot be sustained beyond 70 days in any event. Any attempt at forced feeding to keep a prisoner from dying is widely viewed as an additional abuse, a form of torture.


Finally, the reliance by Israel on administrative detention in cases of this sort is totally unacceptable from the perspective of the Geneva Convention, especially so when no disclosure of the exceptional circumstances that might warrant for reasons of imminent security the use of such an extra-legal form of imprisonment. There are currently at least 300 Palestinians being held in a manner similar to that of Mr Adnan, and so it is no wonder that sympathy hunger strikes among Palestinians are underway as expressions of solidarity.


Have we not reached a stage in our appreciation of human rights that we should outlaw such state barbarism? Let us hope that the awful experience of Khader Adnan does not end with his death, and let us hope further that it sparks a worldwide protest against both administrative detention and prisoner abuse. The Palestinian people have suffered more than enough already.


Richard Falk is Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has authored and edited numerous publications spanning a period of five decades, most recently editing the volume International Law and the Third World: Reshaping Justice (Routledge, 2008).


He is currently serving his third year of a six-year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.



2    The Guardian

Thursday 16 February 2012


Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan ‘near death’ in Israeli detention

Medical report warns Israeli court Khader Adnan is in immediate danger after 61 days of protest at his ‘administrative detention’


Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem


Khader Adnan’s face appears on posters during a protest in Gaza City. Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images


A Palestinian prisoner on his 61st day of hunger strike while shackled to a bed in an Israeli hospital is in immediate danger of death, according to a medical report submitted to the supreme court in an effort to secure his release.


Khader Adnan, 33, a baker from a village near Jenin, is being held without charge by the Israeli authorities under a four-month term of “administrative detention”. He began his hunger strike on 18 December, the day after being arrested.


Adnan’s lawyers have submitted a petition for his release to Israel’s supreme court, but no date has been set for a hearing. The situation was urgent, lawyer Mahmoud Kassandra told the Guardian. “This is the last chance. The medical report says he could die at any minute. We hope this will succeed but I am not optimistic.”


Adnan’s hunger strike is in protest at his detention without charge or being told of any evidence against him, and over his claims of abuse and degrading treatment during arrest and interrogation. This is his ninth period of detention, according to reports. In the past he has acted as a spokesman for the militant group Islamic Jihad.


He was examined by a doctor from Physicians for Human Rights on Wednesday at the Rebecca Ziv hospital in Safed. Adnan was shackled by both legs and one arm, the doctor reported.


“He has lost 30kg and weighs 60kg. He suffers from stomach aches, vomiting, sometimes with blood, and headaches … His general condition is pale and very weak, his tongue is smooth, he has slight bleeding from the gums, dry skin, loss of hair, and significant muscular atrophy. His pulse is weak, blood pressure 100/75. He is permanently connected to a heart monitor.”


Adnan agreed to be treated with an infusion of liquids and salts, with the addition of glucose and vitamins, the doctor reported. “However, he maintains his refusal to end his hunger strike.” He was lucid and aware.


He was “in immediate danger of death,” the doctor concluded. “An absolute hunger strike in excess of 50 days causes the decomposition of muscles… and the creation of toxins in the body. Death may occur suddenly, due to heart failure or the result of infection following the collapse of the immune system. Bleeding in the digestive tracts and renal or hepatic failure are possible.


“A fast in excess of 70 days does not permit survival. Infusion of liquids, adjustment of salts, and the addition of glucose and vitamin cannot prevent certain death due to such a protracted hunger strike.”


Adnan’s wife, Randa, his two daughters and his father were permitted to visit him on Wednesday, although his mother, sister and brother were refused.


“Randa told me he was very thin and his health was worsening but his mental health is good,” his sister Maali said from the family home in Arrada. “But the whole family is worried, and Randa doesn’t know if she will see him again.”


Adnan’s elder daughter, also called Maali, who is nearly four, understood her father is very sick and was anxious about giving him a hug, the older Maali said. “She is telling her mother, please stop crying.” The younger daugher, Bissan, is 18 months and Randa is six months pregnant with the couple’s third child.


Following the visit, Adnan’s father addressed a demonstration outside the hospital in solidarity with Adnan, reporting that his son’s morale was high. “He does not undertake this hunger strike for its own sake, but he yearns for freedom for his people, for his countrymen, in order to live with heads held up high, without occupation,” Jihad Adnan told protesters.


Thousands of Palestinians and other supporters of Adnan have protested in the West Bank and Gaza, and outside Ofer military prison near Jerusalem. There have been clashes with police, who have fired tear gas and rubber bullets.


According to Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners’ support group, detainees in other prisons have also begun refusing food.


Many protesters say Adnan has become a symbol of Israel’s occupation and its treatment of prisoners. More than 300 Palestinians are held under “administrative detention” orders in Israeli prisons.


The Palestinian Authority has appealed for Adnan’s release. Physicians for Human Rights on Thursday urged to Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, to intervene in the case because of the prisoner’s dire medical condition.


Earlier this week, an Israeli military court rejected an appeal against Adnan’s continued detention. The Israeli prison service has said Adnan was being dealt with in accordance to his “definition as a security-administrative prisoner” and with humanitarian sensitivity.


Adnan’s hunger strike has attracted a big following on Twitter and Facebook. Many of his supporters complain his case is being ignored by the mainstream media. There has been little coverage in the Israeli and international press.


Bobby Sands, the Irish republican prisoner who died on hunger strike in a Northern Ireland prison in 1981, lasted 66 days without food. According to the British Medical Association, death generally occurs between 55 and 75 days of a hunger strike.


3  Ynet

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Breaking News


    IDF confirms arrest of Palestinian woman freed in Shalit deal,7340,L-4190932,00.html


An IDF official confirmed that earlier Thursday soldiers arrested an Islamic Jihad activist who was previously released as part of the Gilad Shalit swap deal in October 2011.


The Palestinian woman was arrested after intelligence information indicated she was involved in activities which may jeopardize Israel’s security. (Yoav Zitun)



4  Haaretz

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Israeli Arab journalist switches airline after ‘humiliating’ El Al security check

Nazareth-based women’s magazine editor Yara Mashour tells Haaretz she felt as if she was ‘raped’ by airport security agents in Milan airport.


By Jack Khoury

An Arab journalist says she was so profoundly insulted by El Al security staff at a Milan airport that she changed her itinerary and may sue the Israeli national carrier.


Yara Mashour is the editor of the Nazareth-based women’s magazine Lilac and the daughter of the late Lutfi Mashour, the editor and publisher of the Arabic weekly Al-Sinara. Yesterday she related what she said happened to her, her brother-in-law and another relative when they arrived at Milan’s Malpensa Airport on Monday for their return flight to Israel, and reached the El Al security checkpoint.


“As soon as they realized we were Arabs they immediately separated us from the other passengers. Three security people started asking us questions. At first we considered it to be routine, but it went on and on,” Mashour said.


She said that at some point security agents separated each member of her party “like criminals,” adding, “I began arguing and asking them why they were asking so many questions. One of the guards, apparently the one in charge, got mad and began yelling, ‘You won’t board the plane until I have asked you all the questions and you have passed the strictest security check,'” Mashour said. She was then asked to follow a number of security agents to another part of the airport, for a body search.



What are your thoughts on this issue? Follow on Facebook and share your views.


“I said I refused to undergo this humiliation and that I had no intention of cooperating. I said I was even willing to give up my flight,” Mashour said.


“I felt like they were raping me in many senses, and I am not prepared to let this go. The issue has already been given to a lawyer to handle, to check whether a suit can be filed for damages, for the insult and humiliation we suffered,” Mashour said.


According to Mashour the man in charge of security said it would be better if she did not fly, and that her money would be refunded.


“I went to the airline ticket counter to check and they told us they wouldn’t refund our tickets because it was our decision not to board the plane,” Mashour said.


According to Mashour, her two traveling companions were also subjected to humiliating security checks, in which they were forced to remove the contents of their bags for examination.


“It looked like they were doing this on purpose, because we asked why we were being humiliated,” she said.


On Tuesday the group flew to Israel, via Istanbul, on a Turkish airline.


“In Turkey we went through the usual check and amazingly, the plane reached Israel safely and did not blow up,” Mashour commented.


In a response, El Al said it operates “in accordance with the instructions of Israeli security agencies,” adding, “We regret that the passengers were offended and chose not to fly with us.”


5 Spiegel International 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tilting at Windmills

Palestinian Villages May Soon Go Dark Once Again,1518,815476,00.html


By Juliane von Mittelstaedt

 AP Several small Palestinian villages in the West Bank had been without electricity for decades — before an Israeli foundation with funding from Europe recently installed solar panels and wind turbines. Now, though, Israel wants to remove the facilities because they are on land under its administration.


The best part is when the lights in the tents go on, one by one, says Elad Orian. Electricity here, in the hills south of Hebron, was long unreliable. Either it was not available or it was too expensive, produced for just a few hours each day by a noisy, diesel-guzzling generator. That changed when Elad Orian and Noam Dotan, two Israeli physicians who had tired of conflict, came along three years ago and installed solar panels and erected wind turbines. Since then, such facilities have been installed in 16 communities, providing 1,500 Palestinians with electricity.


The women here no longer have to make their butter by hand; they can refrigerate the sheep’s cheese, which is their livelihood; and their children can do their homework at night. Now they can sit together and watch TV — and connect to a world that seems far removed from their lives on the edge of the Judaean Desert. It is but a small revolution, achieved at little cost. But it is a good example of successful development aid.


The success, though, could soon be a thing of the past. Israel has threatened to tear them down with five municipalities in recent weeks having received “stop work” orders — the first step on the road to demolition. The problem is that the facilities are in the so-called Area C, which covers 60 percent of the West Bank and is administered by Israel. Permission from the Israelis is a requirement before construction projects can move ahead — and permits are almost never given to Palestinians.


‘A Clear Signal’


The result is that Area C residents face poor roads and a lack of electricity and water. Farming is impossible, and the construction of factories forbidden. As a result, only 150,000 Palestinians live in Area C — and 310,000 well-supplied Israeli settlers. The solar project helps make life a bit more bearable for Palestinians in Area C. That, though, would appear to be something that Israel does not want.


“The demolition orders are meant to send a clear signal to all European Union countries: Do not interfere, do not invest in Area C,” says project founder Noam Dotan.


Some of the facilities have already been there for two years, which makes it hard to believe that they have only just been noticed now. Above all, the decision sends a signal to Germany which has provided most funds for the project, or a total of roughly €600,000 ($791,300). The project was carried out by the aid organization Medico International in cooperation with Comet-ME, the organization founded by the two Israelis.


European diplomats in Ramallah and Tel Aviv suspect that the demolition orders are a reaction to a recently drafted, unusually critical EU report on the situation in Area C. It states: “The window for a two-state solution is closing rapidly with the continued expansion of Israeli settlements.” The conclusion: The EU needs to target investment in economic development and improved living conditions of Palestinians in Area C.


Political Talking Point


A few months ago, a similar project co-financed by the Spanish government was scheduled for demolition, something which has been prevented thus far through massive diplomatic pressure.


Projects funded by foreign aid organizations or the EU have often been destroyed in the past, the best known example being the Gaza airport, financed with $38 million from the EU only to be destroyed by Israeli bombs a short time after its construction. Generally, though, the demolitions have been the result of security concerns. The fact that harmless solar cells — installations which are funded by allied countries to provide basic humanitarian needs — are at risk of demolition is a new development.


As such, when German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle traveled to Israel two weeks ago, he not only spoke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak about the peace process and Iran’s nuclear program, but also about wind turbines and solar panels in places like Shaab al-Buttum.


Hundreds of people live in the village, and they are the poorest of the poor. A community of shepherds, they moved freely through the area until Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967. Since then, they have settled, collecting rain water during the winter and buying expensive drinking water brought in by a truck along a gravel track in the summer. A well-maintained road to the settlement doesn’t exist, despite the fact that Shaab al-Buttum lies between two Israeli outposts. The settlements are illegal, but miraculously they have all the basics their Palestinian neighbors are missing: electricity, water and roads.


Social Changes


However, over the past four months, two wind turbines and 40 solar panels have supplied the villagers with energy: 40 to 60 kilowatt-hours each day. It is just enough to heat one square meter of a well-insulated house for a year — or enough to supply a whole village.



Since the arrival of electricity, Israeli anthropologist Shuli Hartman, 60, has been living in the village. She wanted to find out what electricity does to people. She observed that women have more time because their workload is reduced and they can earn more. She saw they became more independent, using mobile phones, which they couldn’t even charge until recently. And she saw how a village in which every family used to struggle to survive is now learning to become a community. An elderly villager told her: “Electricity for us is like water to a person walking through the desert.” Her life has become a bit easier as a result of the mini-power station.


Last but not least, the project has brought together Israelis and Palestinians. “The Palestinians here had previously only known Israelis as settlers and soldiers,” says Hartman.


“We did not want to just demonstrate and remain part of the conflict; we wanted to be part of the solution,” explains Noam Dotan. But a solution is apparently not wanted. In the absence of a small miracle, the tents in Shaab al-Buttum will soon be dark once again.



Thursday, February 16, 2012


Palestinian pupils killed in West Bank school bus crash

BBC’s Jon Donnison: “A Palestinian police official said the children were as young as five and six years old”


At least eight Palestinian children and a teacher have been killed in a collision between a school bus and a lorry in the West Bank.


The bus was carrying children as young as four on their way to Ramallah, just north of Jerusalem.


The vehicle overturned on impact and burst into flames. More than 30 children were injured, and there are fears the death toll may rise.


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has declared three days of mourning.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his sorrow and offered assistance.


‘National disaster’


The bus is believed to have been carrying up to 50 children at the time of the crash, which happened on a busy road junction.


In a broadcast, Mr Abbas described the accident as a horrific national disaster and said all flags would fly at half-mast.


Continue reading the main story “Start QuoteWe assume that either the bus or the truck slipped and crashed into each other”

End Quote Shalom Galil Paramedic

He said many injured were still receiving treatment at medical facilities around the West Bank.


The lorry driver, an Israeli-Arab, was injured.


Dr Ahmad Bitawi, director of Ramallah Hospital, said five children and a teacher had been pronounced dead at the hospital, while a further 54 people injured in the crash were treated there, Reuters news agency reported.

Some of the survivors were also taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Hospital.


“It is an ugly, unbelievable, terrible accident; it shakes the feelings of the whole world because it includes babies,” Adham Al-Hindin, uncle of two injured children, told Reuters.


Treacherous conditions


Palestinian police spokesman Yousif Osrael said the children had left Ramallah on a school trip but returned because of heavy rain and stormy weather, the Associated Press reported.


Mr Osrael said the dead children were aged between four and six.


The BBC’s Jon Donnison in Jerusalem says the roads in the area have been pretty treacherous following the rain.


It was one of the most serious road accidents involving Palestinians in a long time, our correspondent adds.



Shalom Galil – an Israeli medical worker at the scene – said the bad weather appeared to have been a factor.


He said the steep road where the crash happened had been affected by oil.


“We assume that either the bus or the truck slipped and crashed into each other,” he said.


Mr Galil said Israeli and Palestinian emergency services had worked closely together at the scene.


“Palestinian firefighters were involved. As far as I could see, there was full co-operation between the firefighters of Judea and Samaria [West Bank] and the Palestinian firefighters.”


Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld has said there was no suspicion of foul play.


7 Haaretz 

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Iran uses terror to target civilians, and so does Israel

Who is against terror? We will all devotedly raise our hands. But people who are truly against terror must also say: against all terror, against any terror, be it Iranian, Palestinian or Israeli.


By Gideon Levy

Tags: Palestinians Iran Iran threat Hezbollah Intifada

A great miracle happened in Tbilisi, New Delhi and Bangkok, and alongside that miracle there was ineptitude that flies in the face of Iranian pretentions and ambitions. But the intentions were clear and grave: to take Israeli lives, especially diplomats and other official representatives of the state. That is terror.


The assassinations of the Iranian scientists were no less terrorist, let’s admit it. Terror is terror, against diplomats exactly like against scientists, even if the latter are developing nuclear weapons. There is no great difference between an attempt to kill a representative of Israel’s Defense Ministry and a strike on an Iranian nuclear physicist. There are nuclear physicists in Israel too and if, God forbid, someone tried to assassinate them, that would rightly be considered cruel terror.


And so anyone who uses these deplorable assassination methods cannot be critical when someone else tries to emulate them. And why should the world denounce Iran’s terrorist acts – as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday – and not denounce others? Are there special countries that are allowed to assassinate at will, and others who are not?



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Both kinds of countries should be denounced. The methods this time were even amazingly similar. Magnetized explosive devices were stuck on cars, like in underworld hits; not blind mass attacks, but the kind that are directed against the occupants of one car, whose fate is sealed unless miracles and operational incompetence prevail.


People who were impressed with the assassination of the Iranian scientists – and there are many such people in Israel – those who say with a typical Israeli wink that “they shouldn’t be mourned” ignore the fact that another harsh, unnecessary bloody cycle has been launched. What possible use can there be in killing one scientist, who is then replaced by three others?


What good was it at the time to kill a key Palestinian terrorist when his place was taken by 10 others? The killer of Dr. Thabet Thabet in cold blood in 2001, a Tul Karm dentist and peace activist who did not deserve to die, also laid the groundwork for the assassination attempt in New Delhi.


The killer of Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyeh, an avowed terrorist who deserved to die, may have saved the lives of many Israelis, but put the lives of many others at risk.


That’s the way it is in the cruel cycle of assassination wars. But in Israel people who dwell in glass houses are keen to throw stones. Here people are impressed by and cheer Israeli assassinations and no one has questions or doubts, either about their morality or their efficacy. We are allowed.


Here people are shocked by attempted assassinations by Arabs or Iranians, but divorce them completely from the context of Israeli assassinations. How did a columnist in Israel Hayom put it this week? “Attacking Israel is in their DNA.” Theirs? And what about us? The writer forgot, and made us forget, our DNA. It, too, supports assassinations, including sometimes of the innocent.


Assassinations of Palestinians have scaled down in recent years and have been carried out mainly in Gaza, and so the hit lists of the Shin Bet security service and the Israel Defense Forces are now shorter. That’s a good thing.


But according to the data of the human rights group B’Tselem, Israel targeted and killed no less than 232 Palestinians in the territories between the beginning of the second intifada and Operation Cast Lead, a period of about eight years. During those attacks,approximately 150 innocent bystanders were killed, including women and children.


These assassinations, most of which did not target “ticking bombs,” were acts of terror. They are not much different from the criminal Iranian attempts in far-off Asia. The representative of the Defense Ministry in New Dehli does not deserve to die, but neither did Dr. Thabet Thabet. The Iranian scientists probably did not deserve to die either.


In February 1990, then-Commerce and Industry Minister Ariel Sharon asked the delegates to the Likud Central Committee convention: “Who’s for stopping terror?” A sea of hands flew up. Today the question should be: Who is against terror? We will all devotedly raise our hands. But people who are truly against terror must also say: against all terror, against any terror, be it Iranian, Palestinian or Israeli.


8 Ynet

Thursday,  February 16, 2012   

 Dangerous grounds Photo: Yoav Zitun


    IDF tackles anti-tank missile threat in Gaza vicinity area

Some 200 warning signs posted around border fence in addition to trees planted for security purposes along risky roads,7340,L-4190642,00.html


Yoav Zitun


Gaza rocket fire is not the only danger threatening the surrounding Jewish communities. Ten months after an anti-tank missile fired from Gaza hit a school bus heading towards Nahal Oz, the IDF has finished placing 200 warning signs in the open areas around the Gaza Strip.


The signs were posted in the Eshkol, Hof Ashkelom and Shaar Hanegev regional councils, mainly in areas attracting travelers five km from the border fence. IDF elements fear that terrorist groups will try to repeat the April 2011 attack by firing anti-tank missiles at vehicles or groups of travelers.


The signs read: “This area is restricted at the sector commander’s orders in light of sniper and rocket fire.”


Blocked road near Gaza (Photo: Yoav Zitun)


Thousands of travelers visit the area this time of year to enjoy the blooming of flowers. The restricted areas are those closest to the fence.


Apart from posting signs the IDF is also planting eucalyptus and cypress trees around the communities and in various points along the routes, mainly in junctions and curves where cars tend to slow down making them more exposed to missile hits. The anti-tank missiles’ range is estimated to include the new train station being built in Sderot which has prompted the IDF to arrange fortification and camouflage measures.


Warning signs posted around border fence (Photo: Yoav Zitun)


The old road leading to Nahal Oz where 16-year-old Daniel Viflic was killed is being closed from time to time due to rocket alerts. The IDF is also hoping residents will start using the new and safer road installed shortly after the attack.


“We have mapped out all the sensitive points but there are still small sections exposed to anti-tank rocket fire,” a military source told Ynet. “We are doing our best not to restrict the movement of civilians and we estimate that terrorist groups will first attempt to target IDF forces before aiming at civilians.”


[see also about Israel purchasing 30 military training jets,7340,L-4190927,00.html ]



9  Haaretz

Thursday, February 16, 2012


U.S. Jews battle apartheid charges made against Israel

Campus activists across America are staging Israel Peace Week in an effort to combat the annual festival of anti-Israel vitriol.


By Natasha Mozgovaya

Tags: AIPAC Jewish World J Street Barack Obama Newt Gingrich

This is a busy time in the calendar of an Israeli journalist in the United States. AIPAC and J Street are holding their annual conferences, Washington think tanks are discussing the Arab Spring, Iran and Syria. And then there is the 8th annual Israel Apartheid Week coming up (February 26 – March 3) with the usual discussions, films and photo exhibitions, flashmobs and an apartheid poster contest offering a $400 dollar prize. For the most part, the pro-Israeli community hasn’t yet figured out the best way to deal with this event, and so they opt to ignore it.


But there are a few exceptions. Among those who have chosen to confront the apartheid events are 75 universities across North America (up from 50 last year) that are holding “the Israel peace week,” where they will try to convey the message that “Israel wants peace and has demonstrated its willingness to make painful sacrifices for peace.”


“You refer to ‘pro-Palestinian activists’ but most of those aggressive people are anti-Israel, not pro-Palestinian,” says Natalie Menaged, education director of the independent NPO, the Hasbara Fellowships, which trained the Jewish student organizers of the “Israeli peace week.”


“I have yet to see them organize a national campaign to teach about Palestinian culture or plans for peace. They are only interested in propagating hatred of Israel. Our campaign, Peace Week, is more pro-Palestinian than anything the anti-Israel organizers are doing because we are actually discussing solutions.”


Menaged says the idea of “Israel peace week” – which will run from February 20 to March 9 – is “to engage the people in the middle, not the anti-Israel movement.” The campus organizers vary, and in many instances, are a combination of Jewish and non-Jewish students, who developed the concepts of the event on their own. The organization, however, provided them with print materials, films and speakers, if requested. This year’s materials include quotes of each Republican candidate, as well as President Obama, regarding their positions on Israel.


Menaged believes that this approach has proved successful. “At places like Berkeley or Rutgers University or Carleton University (Ottawa ), which have a history of anti-Israel activity, supporters of Israel have been able to change the conversation to one about what needs to be done for peace. And at the majority of schools, which don’t have a lot of anti-Israel activity – schools like Boston University, University of Illinois, Ohio State University, Johns Hopkins University – it is an excellent way to start the conversation”, she says.



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The J Street approach


J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami has a different approach to Israeli Apartheid Week. When asked what the activists of J Street U, the leftist lobby’s campus network, are planning in response, he says: “I think there is more interest in it in media than on college campuses. We condemn it, but there is no purpose in organizing around something that is so marginal. A handful of students attend those Israel apartheid events.


“I think the majority of Jewish students want to support Israel in a way that allows them to ask questions or criticize Israeli or American policy when they feel it’s appropriate, but to do it in a context of loving Israel. They don’t relate to boycotts,” says Ben-Ami. “We have over 750 students this year in our national conference, up from 500 a year ago, and we now have chapters in over 40 college campuses, which is double what we had last year. So we are seeing the formula of pro-Israeli and pro-peace as far more attractive for the Jewish American students than either the hard-line Israel right, or the “Israel is always wrong” approach of folks who organize the Israel apartheid week.”


Ben-Ami says he regrets the near absence of talk about the peace process in the presidential campaign. “The U.S. presidential election year is not going to be a year for significant American leadership towards diplomacy and peace. It’s J Street’s hope that whether President Obama wins the reelection, or someone else wins the election, in 2013 we’ll return to a serious discussion of what is actually in the best interest of the U.S. and the Middle East. In the campaign year, this is not a serious discussion. It’s a deep shame for Israel and the U.S.


Who’s pro-Israel?


“There are certain Republican candidates”, Ben-Ami continues,”Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, some of the others who dropped out, who are using the term ‘pro-Israel,’ but promoting policies that are clearly not in Israel’s long-term interests. Most Israelis would agree that the annexation of the territories, the notion that the Palestinian people don’t exist – these are policies that to my mind are simply outside the frame of the debate in Israel,” he says. Ben-Ami draws a distinction between candidates like “Newt Gingrich who say the Palestinian people are an invented people” and President Obama who “talks about Israel’s survival and long-term security as being dependent on the two-state solution.


“The president is very clearly committed to a two-state solution, and some of the Republicans are essentially abandoning decades of bipartisan American foreign policy, and moving in a completely different direction. I don’t include Mitt Romney in that – I didn’t hear him saying anything policy-wise on that.”


Regarding the Arab Spring, Ben-Ami paraphrases a metaphor used by Ami Ayalon, a former MK, navy commander and Shin Bet security service chief.”When you are a captain of the ship, and you see really bad weather rolling in, there is nothing you can do to change the weather. But you are in charge of the course of your ship. So the weather in the Middle East – whether it’s the results of the elections in Egypt or Iran or the chaos generally – is not good. But decisions about what the Israeli policy should be, or the American policy should be, are in Israeli hands. And the wise thing for Israel and the U.S. would be to find a long-term peace and long-term acceptance into the region, by working towards diplomatic resolution of the conflict that results in two states. So the circumstances are not good, and the security situation is deteriorating, but this is the time to pursue serious diplomatic efforts with Iran. Military action is not necessarily going to be effective, and it only deepens the conflict.”


10. Today in Palestine

February 16, 2012


[Among much else in ‘Today in Palestine some brutal Israeli responses to the horrid accident this AM when some 8 or 9  Palestinian children 4-6 years of age were killed and many others were badly injured in an accident.  Ugly people those who write such nasty dirt   ]





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In photos: PennBDS

Feb 15, 2012

Sara Jawhari

PennBDS 4
Diverse PennBDS conference attendees. (Photo: Sara Jawhari)

On February 4th, 2012, hundreds of students, professionals and academics gathered at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for a national BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) conference, organized by the University’s PennBDS student group.

The conference gained plenty of attention in the weeks leading up to it from local and nation-wide pro-Israeli groups and individuals. In speaking to some of the PennBDS leaders, some had doubts the conference would occur, due to all the built-up controversy. Luckily, the determination of the PennBDS organizers and supporters outweighed the slanderous accusations and malicious bullying of opponents of the conference. More than 60 organizations nationwide signed on in support of the conference, including Palestinian, Jewish, and Israeli groups. As one of the speakers stated after graciously congratulating the organizers, “If a conference was put on, and it didn’t receive any controversy or attention, did it really happen?”

The conference kicked off with an inspirational address by award-winning Palestinian American author, Susan Abulhawa, and Omar Barghouti, a human rights activist and co-founder of the 2005 Palestinian civil society boycott call. Barghouti sent in a special video message in support of the conference, “Our South African moment has arrived… we shall prevail over apartheid.”

Due to the expected high security at the conference, media was not allowed into all lectures/panels, but I am honored to present to you some highlights of the conference through photos I took over the course of the weekend. Neither photos, nor any amount of words could possibly describe the inspiration and wisdom gained from the wonderful speakers, but I hope to convey some of these stimulating moments through the following photos. Enjoy and, as always, “join us on the right side of history.”

PennBDS 16
A number of vendors sold shirts that read “Un-occupy Palestine,” “Freedom,” and other popular sentiments, with proceeds going to non-profit efforts on the ground in Palestine.
(Photo: Sara Jawhari)

PennBDS 18
Ali Abunimah, Palestinian American journalist and co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, gives keynote speech. Despite threats and malicious attacks of speaker leading up to the conference, not one person stood to oppose anything Abunimah said: “We’re here for Khader Adnan, a Palestinian who was jailed without charge and has been on hunger strike for 49 days and can die any second. Thirty five babies and five mothers have died at Israeli checkpoints… we are here for them too.” (Photo: Sara Jawhari)

PennBDS 5
“Lessons from the South African Struggle” with speakers Helena Cobban, Bill Fletcher, Jr., et al., with moderator Professor Amy Kaplan. “Was the Montgomery bus boycott a boycott against buses?”  (Photo: Sara Jawhari)

PennBDS 24
Journalist and author Max Blumenthal and professor and journalist Sarah Schulman lead the “Zionist Response to BDS” panel. Schulman recently authored a groundbreaking New York Times op-ed on the “pinkwashing” of the Israeli human rights abuses, in which she described submitting hundreds of research documents leading up to the eventual publication of the article. Blumenthal read a humorous chapter out of an up-coming book he is currently penning. (Photo: Sara Jawhari)

PennBDS 23
PennBDS organizers speak to a curious passerby. New attendees were welcomed to speeches so long as there was room left in audience. (Photo: Sara Jawhari)

PennBDS 30
Max Blumenthal, Helena Cobban and Philip Weiss lead a workshop titled “Palestine and the Media.” Here, Weiss is given a round of applause on being number one on the Anti-Defamation Leagues hateful list of the “Five of the Most Anti-Israel Individuals.” Cobban was number three on the list. (Photo: Sara Jawhari)

PennBDS 32
Dina Omar, Remi Kanazi and Susan Abulhawa lead one of the final sessions of the conference, titled “BDS and Literary Expression.” The speakers spoke on the place of literature, poetry and spoken word in Palestinian resistance. “Art, poetry, literature are powerful weapons/tools to break down the lies, myths, racist stereotypes that are spread,” Abulhawa says. “We don’t need to fight them, we just have to tell the truth.” (Photo: Sara Jawhari)

PennBDS 28

Conference opener and author of the International best-selling novel Mornings in Jenin Susan Abulhawa sits at a booth for “Playgrounds for Palestine,” an NGO she founded dedicated to upholding the Right to Play for Palestinian children. Palestinian olive oil from various villages is sold to benefit the organization. (Photo: Sara Jawhari)

PennBDS 31
Attendees kept activists worldwide updated throughout the conference by live Tweeting during every session using the hashtag #PennBDS. (Photo: Sara Jawhari)

Rudoren responds to the Twitter kerfuffle

Feb 15, 2012

Adam Horowitz

Politico’s Dylan Byers interviews new New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren about her recent Twitter controversy. Too bad she seems to refer to Ali Abunimah as an “extremist” (“of course I will talk to him. And I will talk to extremists on both sides”) whatever that means. (Update: Actually, in reading it over, I don’t think she’s calling Abunimah an extremist, but it is a little unclear)

From the interview:

What is your response to the suggestion that you’re showing anti-Zionist bias?

It’s wildly premature to assess my biases. I have written nothing, other than a few tweets. It is certainly possible, as some have suggested, that I was not careful enough in what I wrote in some tweets, and what exactly I tweeted. But I hardly think that the half-a-dozen or dozen tweets that I’ve sent out in the last 24 hours add up to anything. This is a fleeting medium, in which you react to what you see. So some of the retweets that I’ve done happened to be what I was reading at that moment. It was not a comprehensive review.

Let’s take the two things that people have criticized most in succession:

The first was what I wrote to Ali Abuminah [the editor of Electronic Intifada]. I meant to write him a Direct Message and I instead hit reply. That isn’t an excuse — I don’t mind that people saw it — but it wasn’t intended to be for the public, it was intended to be for him.

But yes, of course I will talk to him. And I will talk to extremists on both sides. And I will talk to moderates. I will talk to lots and lots of people from all sides of this conflict… I will not apologize for reaching out to Ali Abuminah; he seems to be an important person to me. Anyone who thinks that I shouldn’t talk to him doesn’t understand how we do our jobs.

But anyone who thinks I shouldn’t talk to him — I want to talk to them, too. Adam Kredo [a reporter at Washington Free Beacon] said I didn’t respond to him, but I never heard from Adam. So I emailed him back, but I haven’t heard from him. But I would be eager to talk to him about anything.

In terms of Peter Beinart’s book, I will absolutely not apologize for thinking that this is a good book. Peter is someone I’ve known for 20 years, he’s a journalist, he’s written a really interesting book. I don’t agree with everything in the book, I don’t even have an opinion about the arguments in the book, but it’s really well written, it’s really provocative, there’s tons of reporting in it with things people don’t know. I think people should read it. I think hard-right Zionists should read it and Palestinian activists should read it. And you American Jews, who are really the audience for  the book, should read it.

I will not apologize for tweeting about the book at all. Will I tweet about books written by people more closely aligned with Netanyahu? Absolutely. I’m reading one book at a time. I expect to have a long and robust and diverse reading list, and when the spirit moves me I may tweet about it.

Rudoren also talked with Marc Tracy at Tablet:

On her tweet praising Peter Beinart’s book.
I did write that tweet carefully with my role in mind. I’m trying to read widely right now on this issue. This happens to be the thing I just read. And it’s a really good book! It doesn’t mean I agree with his argument. It’s readable, it’s filled with new reporting, and its provocative. That’s a journalist’s take on another journalist’s book. He’s obviously more of an advocacy journalist than I am. It doesn’t mean I think his argument is correct, it doesn’t mean I think everyone should line up behind him. It’s well-written, it’s filled with interesting reporting and facts. I’ll say it on any medium you want. I expect some of the books I read from the Palestinian perspective and from the Likud perspective will be good books, and I expect some of them to be crappy!

My editorialization: re-reading this, her balancing “Palestinian” and “Likud” strikes me as another rookie mistake. If somebody more well versed in the conflict said it, I would question their balancing of the two. But, honestly, I really think she’s just getting her feet wet. Which is further argument, for me, on why she shouldn’t be tweeting about it yet.

It happens that I went to college with Peter and we are demographically simiilar, but I don’t do what he does. I’m not an activist.

On the wayward Abunimah direct message.
I’m not going to apologize for wanting to talk with Ali Abunimah either. I really am not prepared to tell you who the right counterpart is on the other side, but I want to meet that guy, too, and all the people in between. I’m going to talk to you and Ron Dermer and settlers and Palestinians and Haredim and Arab-Israelis and secular Israelis.

I tend to agree with Tracy about Rudoren’s odd comparison between “Palestinian” and “Likud.” By her own omission she’s reading up on the issue, and there can be a steep learning curve. I think it’s admirable she’s open to many different perspectives, and impressive that she’s holding her ground in the face of pressure from the usual gate keepers. She arrives in Israel/Palestine in late April, should be interesting to watch.

New ‘NYT’ bureau chief Jodi Rudoren faces outcry from Israel advocates over Twitter messages

Feb 15, 2012

Alex Kane

jodi rudoren
Jodi Rudoren

Barely a day went by before Jodi Rudoren, the spanking new Jerusalem bureau chief for the New York Times (NYT), got her first lesson in how quickly advocates for Israel could raise a media firestorm. Rudoren’s offense is writing “cozy” Twitter messages to the likes of Ali Abunimah, Mondoweiss and Peter Beinart.

Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon (whose inaccurate reporting on Iran I wrote about here) fired the first shot with an article decrying Rudoren for playing “Twitter footsie” with some of “Israel’s most extreme non-terrorist critics.” Yesterday, Rudoren sent the Electronic Intifada‘s Ali Abunimah a Twitter message after Abunimah criticized past NYT coverage of Palestine and the fact that she “will get to move into this lovely property stolen from Palestinians in 1948.” Rudoren wrote: “@AliAbunimah Hey there. Would love to chat sometime. About things other than the house. My friend Kareem Fahim says good things.” This message got her into trouble, which is revealing in and of itself.

The chief of the discourse-police, former Israeli prison guard and writer for the Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg, says today:

Reaching out to Abunimah is normal, of course: He’s a player in extremist circles, and someone she might wind-up covering. But it would have been better if she had twinned this reach-out with one to a Kahanist or some sort of radical settler rabbi, for balance

Commentary, the Jerusalem Post‘s Shmuel Rosner, and William Daroff of the Jewish Federations of North America have also joined in on the fun. And although Goldberg tweeted that there’s “nothing wrong with quoting Abunimah, if he’s identified as someone who seeks Israel’s elimination,” more reactionary elements of the Israel lobby disagree. Josh Block, the former AIPAC spokesman behind the recent smear campaign against the Center for American Progress, told Kredo:

These are not people you engage like this, especially your first day as Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the paper of record. You really don’t even want to be seen in public with them—it’s just a mistake.

For now, Rudoren’s tweets stand on their own, and it will be interesting to see how she covers the region. But the firestorm itself tells us some important things.

One lesson is that, as Max Blumenthal said at the BDS conference at UPenn, those in solidarity with Palestinians “operate in a racist environment.” The hysterical reaction to a nice message to Abunimah reveals the racism at the heart of U.S. media on this issue. Palestinians should not be heard, the message is, especially from one who advocates for one-state with equal rights for all. AIPAC’s Block thinks you shouldn’t be “seen in public” with them. Good for Rudoren for not sinking to that level.

The second lesson is that ardent advocates for Israel are trying to suppress a discourse and worldview anathema to them. The furious tweets and articles directed at Rudoren are meant to intimidate her into thinking about the conflict through an Israeli prism. Any open discourse on this issue is a danger.

My last point is a question: does the appointment of Rudoren indicate that the goalposts have moved on opening up an honest conversation about Israel in this country? There is no recent coverage from Jerusalem by Rudoren to definitively point to. The fact that she’s open to Beinart and Abunimah, though, could be indicative of a person willing to stand the heat and really report on occupied Palestine. We’ll see.

Rudoren’s latest message on Twitter was a response of sorts: “Thanks for all the new folos, and the advice re Tweeting. Plan to Tweet from all sides of conflict. Welcome suggestions of other books.”

Out of the Ballpark: Susan Abulhawa’s speech to the PennBDS conference

Feb 15, 2012

Annie Robbins

Susan Abulhawa PennBDS Opening from PennBDS on Vimeo.

There is a reason Susan Abulhawa has the reputation of a dragon slayer, and it is not just for any one time event or the fact that Mornings in Jenin just happens to be an international best seller translated into 26 languages. With the precision of a surgeon she unmasks and infuriates her adversaries, always with poise and dignity. Forever grounded in truth she lifts us up and fills us with courage and a will to carry on.

Helena wasn’t the only one saying it, Abulhawa’s opening presentation at PennBDS reverberated throughout the conference, all weekend sometimes in hushed tones and knowing glances as if in code “Did you hear her speech?”

PennBDS recently released this video of Abulhawa’s full speech.  On request Susie has provided us with the text, we are publishing the last 17 minutes of her 43 minute presentation today. Here, the end is broken down into 3 segments for those of you who may not take the time to listen in full.

A warning, be prepared.  By the time she voiced  “We are counting on the America that fought and killed pieces of itself to free an enslaved race.”,  I was in tears and I just listened to it again for the fifth time and it breaks me still.

Especially for students of the conflict this speech is a keeper (check the notes below). If you do not have time to listen today, save it. From start to finish..a keeper. We will be publishing further segments in the future for further discussion.


This process of destroying people to extricate them from their roots, does have an unfortunate precedent in history to which Israeli leaders have often eluded, betraying what I believe is their vision for a final outcome to this conflict.

I recalled one such statement from Benjamin Netanyahu – I couldn’t find it initially, but my friend Nima Shirazi helped me locate the actual quote. It was from a CNN interview in which Netanyahu described the United States affinity for Israel as “instinctive”, claiming that “America was the new promised land, we are the original Promised Land”.

I was struck by that when I first heard it because it confirmed what I’ve always suspected: that the project of stealing Palestine and getting rid of Palestinians is very much modeled after our own colonial past here in America, that all but obliterated the native American population. European settlers would sign agreements and treaties with native tribes.

Then, when it was convenient, settlers would break those agreements and take more territory, pushing Native Americans further off their land.

Settlers would systematically destroy their livelihoods and means of sustenance, like the mass extermination of the buffalo.

When Native Americans fought back, and sometimes they did so brutally, they were called savages. And for daring to resist the destruction of their societies, whole tribes were massacred, marched off their lands in death trails to prisons called reservations.



one agreement after another has been signed and broken by Israel, as they take more and more territory on a daily basis. Palestinian farms, trees and other means of livelihood are systematically destroyed. Palestinians are labeled terrorists as native Americans were “savages”.

For daring to resist or to vote the wrong way, Palestinians are met with wholesale slaughter, destruction and theft of their properties, and herded into open-air prisons called Gaza and Areas A,B and C, and refugee camps.

Even the earliest Zionists clearly had their eyes set on the plight of Native Americans as a model to follow.



Going back again to Ze’ev Jabotinsky: he recognized the indigenousness of Palestinians to the Holy Land when he stated in 1923 that “They [Palestinians] look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true favor the Aztecs looked upon Mexico or any Sioux looked upon his prairie. Palestine will remain for the Palestinians not a borderland, but their birthplace, the center and basis of their own national existence.” (Righteous Victims, p. 36)

But we are not living in the 16th, 17th, or 18th centuries, and Palestinians are not outnumbered to exist as a small minority in their own country. There are too many of us to ignore, to break, ignorize, subjugate, or imprison.

And so the institutional racism and the apparatus of occupation, are today more similar to the conditions of Apartheid South Africa than that of the Native American plight.


Just like the Apartheid government considered and treated the native Black population as lesser beings, so does Israel consider Palestinians as such. Israeli leaders in the highest offices have referred to us as everything from grasshoppers, cockroaches, to beasts on two legs.

One of Israel’s leading historians, a so-called intellectual, Benny Morris, had this to say:

“Something like a cage has to be built for them. I know that sounds terrible. It is really cruel. But there is no choice. There is a wild animal there that has to be locked up in one way or another.”

Where have we heard or read about such things before?

There is something humiliating in perpetually having to prove that we are human. To prove that we exist. That our grandparents who died dreaming of their homes and olive groves in Lydda, Haifa, Ein Hod, Jerusalem, that they were real and so was their pain and anguish.

But I will say it nonetheless.

We are natives of that land. In every sense of that word. Historically, culturally, legally and even genetically.

But more importantly, We are not a lesser species that we should be treated thus. We are not children of a lesser God that we should be relegated to teeter and despair on the margins of humanity.

This monumental injustice, with all it’s cages, wholesale dehumanization of an entire people has not abated in well over 60 years. This dismissal, trivializing, and destruction of an entire ancient culture and heritage is not okay, even if it is nothing new in history.

And it is not, despite its many unique aspects. We’ve been here before in other times, in other places just in modern history.

We sang “We Shall Overcome”, and we refused to ride in the back of the bus.

We instituted boycotts and we marched in the streets with Martin Luther King.

We pumped our fists in the air to the anti-Apartheid slogan of “One Man One Vote” and when the camps were liberated, we vowed “Never Again.”

Never again will we sit idly by while one group of the people tries to annihilate another. Never again will we tolerate the ugly manifestations of notions of inherent racial, ethnic, or religious entitlement.

But here we are again. Again, a group of people is destroying another. Palestine and Palestinians are quite literally being wiped off the map. Take a look, the map – the land itself – provides irrefutable testimony to this fact.


Everything we have has been taken from us. We have lived the past six decades years going from one trauma to another.

One tragedy, one slaugher to another.

Our history, our heritage, our cemeteries, our mosques and churches, our lands and resources and ancient artifacts have been pillaged and appropriated. Even our story is being denied.

Again, it is all being done in the name of God. Again, the aggressors are claiming to possess divine favor. And again, the world has been sitting idly by. Or worse, cheering it on, as the President of this university has implied in her statements on this conferences.

World leaders have done little to stop it.


We have a very large collection of UN resolutions. Grand words about justice and international law, that are hallow, bereft of voice or force.

So now we, like so many before us in other times, are refusing to sit by and do nothing. BDS is our non-violent response to this violence. It is a movement to give a voice to justice. It is a movement of ordinary people from all over the world who understand that we are on this earth to lift each other up.


BDS is a minimal recognition of Palestinian humanity and our right to live with dignity in our own homeland.

Israel may be may be modeling it’s plan on America’s colonial past; But so are we modeling our struggle on America’s past.

Israel may be betting on the United State’s “instinctive” affinity for conquest; But we are betting on America’s “instinctive” affinity for fair play.

Israel is counting on the US that erased Native American presence and culture from the land. We are counting on the America that fought and killed pieces of itself to free an enslaved race.

Israel is counting on the American of Gingrich, Geller, Abrams, and their ilk who spew hatred and fear-mongering for political expediency and perpetual war. We are counting on the America that marched with Martin Luther King.

We’re counting on the America of Pulitzer prize author Alice Walker and Holocaust suvivor Hedy Epstein, and so many like them around the world – like Peace Nobel Laureate Miread McGuire of Ireland – who risk so much, including their lives to amplify the voice of justice for Palestinians

We are counting on a world that produced young men and women like Rachel Corrie, Vittorio Arrigoni, and Tom Hurndall, who paid the ultimate price trying to bring this horror to an end.


We are counting on Israelis of conscience, who refused to be oppressors, and who are breaking the silence on the crimes they witnessed or crimes they committed against Palestinians

We are counting on ourselves, on the indominable human will to wait and fight and struggle for freedom and justice no matter how long it takes

We are counting on the America in this room. Indeed, we are counting on a world filled with people like those in this room.

BDS is counting on people of the world who understand that God is not a vengeful deity who plays favorites with her children. We’re counting on people of the world who affirm, unequivocally, that it is not okay to measure the worthiness of a human being by his or her religion.

BDS is engaging this part of humanity, which I believe represents the greatest majority of people.

Because our greatest and most unstoppable power lies in our roots and the moral authority of a struggle for freedom and human rights. Because while the concepts of justice and fair play matter little to those in power, they resonate with masses.

As such, because justice and fair play are central demands of BDS, this movement is shifting power from the corrupt ruling elite to the masses by pulling back the veil so people can see what is happening before their eyes.

And that’s scary to Israel and Israeli apologists. Because Israel cannot sell notions of religious exclusivity and entitlement to informed masses. They can’t convince an informed people of the merits of walls, fences, sieges, checkpoints, theft, demolitions, destruction, and Jewish-only this or Jewish-only that.

That’s why they tried to shut this conference down. That is why they have gone into overdrive publishing lies to smear the speakers and participants in this conference.

But BDS is bigger than that because it affirms our common humanity no matter where or what we come from. While it is true that Palestinians don’t anywhere near Israel’s clout among the ruling elite of powerful nations, or major US universities, we are far from being powerless.

In fact, we are unrivaled in our power on the ground level internationally. The Palestinian struggle for freedom is the longest running and best known around the world.


Referring to the liberation of Black South Africans, Nelson Mandela once said “We know all too well, that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”

BDS will only grow and grow, because now is our time.

It is our time to say that only free people can negotiate. It is our time to say that “our freedom is non-negotiable and human rights are non-negotiable”. It’s our time to take our seat on the bus and refuse to get up at another’s command. It’s our time to boycott. To divest. To proudly link arms together as Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindu, Athiests, Buddisht, gay, straight, Black, White and everything in between, in solidarity and in a march to freedom.

And to remember the solidarity shown to us, as our beloved Edward Said once said.

The lines of this conflict do not fall along religious divides. The lines of this conflict are even laid between Palestinians and Israelis because we recognize the sector of Israeli society that stands with us. The lines of this struggle are drawn simply between those who adhere to notions of exclusivity and state-sanctioned entitlement for particular groups and those who believe in equality in the eyes of the law of the state

It is between those who believe in inherent superiority and those who believe in the universality of human dignity

And so, with that in mind, I call on Israelis to abandon the path of violence and terrorism that you have employed against us for over six decades now.

I invite you to abandon the notions of inherent superiority and entitlement. Because you will never find peace nor security by annihilating us.

Because you will never break us, and your only hope is to break bread with us equals. Because despite what you have done to us, to our society, to our children, we can accept you as our equals, but never as our masters in our own land.

BDS is an opportunity for our Jewish brothers and sisters to reclaim Judaism from the grips of a racist military and apartheid political regime. It is a chance to be guided by the noble traditions of Judaism that have historically pursued liberation and justice, instead of pursuing power and domination over others.

To the University of Pennsylvania and universities everywhere, I invite you to act on the principles of equality, human rights, and international law. To take a definitive stand now instead of waiting to be a “me too” university that joins BDS only after others had the courage to take a moral stand first, however inconvenient it might be; because taking a moral stand when it’s unpopular to do so is the time when it really counts.

BDS is firmly rooted on moral ground and its demands reflect the most basic tenets of international law and universal human rights.

Just as the anti-Apartheid boycott movement brought to its knees a system that judged human worth by skin color. And so will this movement bring to its knees another system that judges human worth by religion.

Our demands for freedom and basic human rights are NOT POLITICAL BARGAINING CHIPS. They are self-evident truths that we should pursue without apology, without negotiations, without compromise, and without fear.

We are a proud people indigenous to the Holy Land, who have the capacity to forgive should Israel choose to atone for the sins it has committed against us. But whether they do or not, we aren’t going anywhere. We will continue wait and continue to struggle until justice is restored. And we will continue to dream and imagine a more gentle and human place – one that is inclusive and pluralistic, as Palestine used to be. One where a person is judged by the content of his or her character, not religion.

Thank you.

Susie ended her email to me with this final paragraph:

“I think freedom for Palestine could be an incredible source of hope to people struggling all over the world. I think it could also be an incredible inspiration to Arab people in the Middle East, who are struggling under undemocratic regimes which the US supports….” Rachel Corrie’s last words to her mother.


• Section of 5 in the Law of Political Parties and section 7A of the Basic Law: Stipulates that any party platform that calls for full and complete equality between Jews and non-Jews, can be disqualified from any political post. The law demands that Palestinian Arab citizens may not challenge the state’s Zionist identity.

• Law of Return: “Every Jew has the right to become a citizen no matter where they come from” while the indigenous non-Jewish inhabitants who were expelled in 1948 are expressly barred from returning to their homes

• Nakba Law: Penalizes any institution that commemorates or publicly mourns the expulsion of the native Palestinian population

• Anti-boycott law: Provides anyone calling for the boycott of Israel, or it’s illegal settlements, can be sued by the boycott’s targets without having to prove that they sustained damage. The court will then decide how much compensation is to be paid.

• Admission Committees Law formally allows neighborhood screening committees to prevent non-Jewish citizens from living in Jewish communities that control 81 percent of the territory in Israel. In March 2011 Israel passed a law to allow residents of Jewish towns to refuse non Jews from living in their communities.

• Amendment to the Citizenship Law: Stipulates that an Israeli citizen who marries a Palestinian cannot live as a couple in Israel with his or her spouse. A Palestinian spouse can neither gain citizenship nor residency.

• 93% of the land, the vast majority of which was confiscated from Palestinian owners after 1948, can only be owned by Jewish agencies for the benefit of Jews only. One of these agencies is the Jewish National Fund, which, in its charter forbids sale or lease to non-Jews.

• Specified Goods Tax and Luxury Tax Law [art 26, Laws of the State of Israel, vol. 6, p. 150 (1952)] Authorizes lower import taxes for Jewish citizens of Israel compared with non-Jewish citizens of Israel.

• National Planning and Building Law (1965) Through various zoning laws freezes the growth of existing Arab villages while providing for the expansion Jewish settlements and creation of new ones. The law also re-classifies a large portion of established Arab villages as “unrecognized” and therefore nonexistent, allowing the state to cut off water and electricity as well as to simply appropriate that property.

• Appropriations are carried out under The Requisitions Law which allows a “competent authority” to requisition the land – called “land requisition order” – so that only he may “use and exploit the land” as he sees fit. This applies to “home requisition orders” as well, whereby another “competent authority” who can “order the occupier of a house to surrender the house to the control of a person specified in the order, for residential purposes or for any other use, as may be prescribed in the order. “

• In the education sector within Israel, as an example, the state spends $192 per year per non-Jewish student compared to $1,100 per Jewish student.

• There is a planned Mosque Law that will prohibit the broadcasting of the Muslim call to prayer, which has been sounding over that land since the beginning of Islam.

• Non-Jews living in the West Bank are denied access to the holy places of Jerusalem, which are only a few kilometers away from them.

• ALSO, for the first time in the history of Islam and the history of Christianity, Palestinian Muslims and Christians in the West Bank and Gaza are denied access to their holy Places of Jerusalem, even on the high holy days of Eid, Christmas, and Easter Sunday.

• Since Israel took the West Bank, the Christian population has declined from 20,000 in 1967 to less than 7500 today.

• Military Order 1229: authorizes Israel to hold Palestinians in administrative detention for up to six months without charge or trial. Six-month detentions can be renewed indefinitely, without charge or trial.

• Military Order 329 and 1650 effectively prevents Palestinians from being anywhere in the West Bank without a specific permit to be there, making it a criminal offense to go from one Palestinian town to another.

• Military Oder #92 and #158: gives the Israeli military control of all water resources in the West Bank, which belongs to Palestinians.

• Israel then allows the Palestinians access to only a fraction of the shared water resources, while unlawful Israeli settlements there receive virtually unlimited supplies creating a reality of green lawns and swimming pools for Jewish settlers and a parched life for Palestinians, whose access to water, according to the World Health Organization does not meet the minimum requirements for basic human water needs.

• Furthermore, that fraction of confiscated Palestinian water is sold to Palestinians at 300% more than what it costs Jewish settlers in the same area. ($1.20/cubic meter vs $.40/cubic meter).

• Military Orders #811 and #847: Allows Jews to purchase land from unwilling Palestinian sellers by using “power of attorney”.

• Military Order #25: forbids public inspection of land transactions.

• Militar Order #998: requires Palestinians to get Israeli military permission to make a withdrawal from their bank account.

• Military Order #128: gives the Israeli military the right to take over any Palestinian business which is not open during regular business hours.

• Military Order #138 & #134: forbids Palestinians from operating tractors or other heavy farm machinery on their land.

• Military Order #93: gives all Palestinian insurance businesses to the Israeli Insurance Syndicate.

• Military Order # 1015: requires Palestinians to get Israeli military permission to plant and grow fruit trees. This permit expires every year.

• Through various military orders, according to the WHO, Israel has uprooted 2.5 million trees belonging to Palestinians, and which often represent their only means of sustenance.

And here are the numbers that scare me and break my heart the most. These are the cold prose of statistics pertaining to Palestinian children, that reflect the systematic destruction of Palestinian society:

• (UNICEF): “Conditions have rarely been worse for Palestinian children.” One in 10 Palestinian children now suffer from stunted growth due to compromised health, poor diet and nutrition and 50% of Palestinian children are anemic, and 75% of those under 5 suffer from vitamin A deficiency.

• Palestinian children are routinely imprisoned for months and years for throwing stones at Israeli jeeps, tanks, and soldiers. Many of them, as young as 12 years old, are tortured and held in solitary confinement.

• Meanwhile, for bludgeoning a 10 year old Palestinian boy (Hilmi Shusha) to death with the butt of his riffle, an Israeli settler received community service and a fine.

• A Palestinian man was convicted of rape and sentenced to 1.5 years in prison for having consensual sex with a Jewish woman, because he did not disabuse her of her assumption that he was Jewish

* These are Abulhawa’s notes and they are not an exact transcript.

Israeli apartheid is never fit to print in the ‘Times’, only in ‘Haaretz’

Feb 15, 2012

Matthew Taylor

Ariel University Center
Ariel University Center (Photo: Wikipedia)

‘NYT’ Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner’s reassignment is unlikely to change the fundamental bias of the Paper of Record. When has the Times ever filed a serious report on Israeli apartheid policies, and will it ever? Meanwhile, Haaretz today runs an editorial page broadside against the colony/settlement Ariel’s University expansion plans that you will never see from the editors or reporters of the Paper of Record:

[The Israeli government] doesn’t miss an opportunity to sear the consciousness of Palestinians and Israelis alike with the idea that a diplomatic agreement on a two-state solution is no longer on the table…. 

Ariel is not just another “location.” It is situated in occupied territory that is a focus of controversy both within Israeli society and in the international community. The State of Israel has barred Palestinians from most of the territory of the West Bank. They are permitted to build Ariel’s houses, but not to live there. Ariel, like all the other settlements, is a closed military zone as far as they are concerned.

The editorial’s basic message: 1) yes, Virginia, there is an “occupation” (the NYT frequently elides that word from its coverage, 2) Israel’s policy of separation (Apartheid) in the West Bank is untenable, 3) Israel is willfully destroying, or has already destroyed, any viable possibility of a Palestinian state.

Until the NYT gets serious about reporting/critiquing these three and similar realities, a changing of the guard in its staff will matter not.

Khader Adnan’s dignity

Feb 15, 2012


Ofer Khader Adnan
 A posters depicting Khader Adnan outside Ofer prison where he is being held.
(Photo: Activestills)

As I write this on day 60 of his hunger strike, Khader Adnan is still alive, as far as I know. There is no news yet today about his condition, although I came across a claim that he has fallen into a coma. We may be outraged that Israel upheld his detention and did not release him, but how could it have? Adnan in his own words made it clear that his protest is not only for himself, but for all prisoners detained illegally. Israel releasing Adnan would mean admitting that its detention of him was illegal, and then who knows, the whole house of cards could crumble—illegal imprisonment, illegal arrest, illegal occupation, illegal land confiscation, illegal annexation… 

It is surprising that there has been no mention of how Adnan was arrested by Israel in Area A, supposedly under the control of the Palestinian Authority, the supposed basis for an independent Palestinian state, to supposedly come about in a negotiated two-state settlement. Check out the location of his village of ‘Araba on B’Tselem’s map. Quite a hoax they all got going. 

Of course the judge appeared cold and callous by Adnan’s bedside. He should naturally be angry at Adnan’s subversion. The imprisoners are to have all the power. How dare Adnan find a way to have power, to retain his dignity. For despite all their domination, torture, interrogation, and secret evidence, Adnan can still control whether he eats. He can decide not to eat. He exercised this self-control, even though his jailers attempted to have every sort of control over him. 

Adnan has decided not to eat knowing the inevitable outcome. Herein lies his incredible bravery and his power of non-violent resistance. We can hope that Adnan’s choosing death would bring about change akin to that which resulted from Mohamed Bouazizi’s choosing death in Tunisia. But even if it does not, at least Adnan knows that he has retained self-control and dignity in the face of grave injustice, oppression, and cruelty. I hope this knowledge will provide solace and comfort to his family. May it also inspire and humble the rest of us. No poem, no work of art, no oration could be more moving than a man patiently, persistently, painfully taking his own life.

Israeli rights group to Ehud Barak: Put Khader Adnan on trial or release him immediately

Feb 15, 2012

Adam Horowitz

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel sent the following letter to Ehud Barak yesterday:

14 February 2012
Mr. Ehud Barak
Minister of Defense
Re: Urgent Request to Release or Try Khader Adnan Mohammad Musa

Dear Mr. Minister:
I am writing to ask for your urgent intervention to ensure the immediate release of Khader Adnan, currently in administrative detention, who has been on a hunger strike for 60 days; or alternatively – if the evidence so warrants – to put him on trial.

Mr. Adnan was arrested on 17 December 2011 and has been in administrative detention since 8 January 2012; to this day, no charges have been filed against him and he has not been given the opportunity to address any claims in a fair trial. To protest the abuse and brutal treatment that Mr. Adnan says he experienced during his arrest and interrogation, and to protest his continued detention without trial, Mr. Adnan began a hunger strike. According to Israeli human rights organization Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-Israel), Mr. Adnan’s health has seriously deteriorated as a result of the hunger strike, and continuing it will endanger his life. Under these circumstances, denying Mr. Adnan his freedom without trial is particularly grave, and immediate measures should be taken to release him or give him a fair trial.

Administrative detention, which allows the denial of a person’s freedom for months without trial, severely harms basic human rights, above all the right to freedom and dignity. Although administrative detainees are brought before a judge for review of their detention, the preponderance of material on which the detention is based remains classified – hidden from the suspect and his attorney – hence the detainee has no real opportunity to defend himself or refute the accusations against him. Under these circumstances, judicial oversight is no real guarantee of the lawfulness of the detention, and even the fairest of judges cannot administer justice. Judicial oversight in this context lacks the minimal assurance of a proper judicial process, and can doubtfully be regarded as a fair judicial procedure.

Beyond the injury of administrative detention to a person’s elementary right to due process, such detention is not limited in time (since it can be extended indefinitely). Therefore the detainee is in an untenable situation of ongoing uncertainty about his future and the length of his incarceration. This can be a source of severe emotional strain and constitutes additional humiliation, as the individual lacks all tools to defend himself.

Despite the extreme nature of administrative detention, Israeli security forces have over the years made routine use of it in the Occupied Territories. On 31 December 2011, according to B’Tselem data, no fewer than 307 Palestinians were being held in administrative detention – and this number has shown a worrisome increase recently. Mr. Adnan’s hunger strike is yet another reminder of the severe violation of human rights caused by isolating someone from his environment and family with no manifest reason or proven basis.

According to the ruling by the Military Court of Appeals on 13 February 2012, the detention order against Mr. Adnan was issued because of “organizational activity” attributed to him in the Islamic Jihad organization. Clearly terrorist activity is completely unacceptable, and is itself a fatal blow to the most fundamental human rights, including the right to life. However, if a claim is being made that Mr. Adnan is involved in any unlawful activity, there is a basic obligation to inform him of the nature of the specific accusations against him, and to conduct a fair proceeding that allows for investigation of his guilt.

This case is particularly grave in light of the shocking reports of Mr. Adnan’s detention conditions. According to Physicians for Human Rights, he is handcuffed to his bed on both sides in Sieff Hospital in Safed – in contravention of procedures concerning the shackling of a detainee in a public place, medical ethics, and logic, as this would not be necessary to prevent the escape of someone in such poor physical health.

In light of the above, and considering the deteriorating state of Mr. Adnan’s health, I urgently appeal to you to ensure Mr. Adnan’s immediate release from administrative detention or that he be put on trial. Human morality, rational thinking, and concern for the democratic character of Israel obligate us to bring this terrible affair to an end.

Sami Michael, President
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)

Report: Last five years has seen a 315% rise in settler violence; this violence is ‘structural and symptomatic of occupation’

Feb 15, 2012

 Adam Horowitz

Yesterday, the Palestine Center released “When Settlers Attack,” a new report on settler violence in the occupied territories. Is is the result of of a two-year project which cataloged over 3,700 instances of settler violence from 2004-2011.

From the report’s Executive Summary:

  • Israeli settler violence presents a direct and consistent threat to Palestinian civilians and their property in the occupied West Bank and instances of Israeli settler violence are on the rise.

  • From 2010 to 2011 there was a 39 percent increase in incidents of Israel Settler violence. In the five year period from 2007 through 2011 there has been a 315 percent increase. Conversely, over the same 5-year period, there has been a 95 percent decrease in Palestinian violence in the West Bank.

  • There is a noticeable shift in the proportion of violence as it occurs geographically in the West Bank. In the past, the southern part of the West Bank saw the largest number of instances but in recent years the northern part of the West Bank is becoming increasingly targeted and has overtaken the southern part of the West Bank in terms of number of attacks.

  • The period of the olive harvest annually brings a peak in violent settler activity. The presence of Palestinian civilians in olive groves, where they are easy targets for unrestrained and violent Israeli settlers, is the main reason why this occurs on an annual basis.

  • There is a noticeable increase in the frequency and proportion of arson attacks employed by violent settlers. This suggests that violent settlers are increasingly choosing this method of violence and will continue to do so. The percentage of arson among all attack types in 2005 was 6 percent and has risen to 11 percent in 2011.

  • While minimal variation in Israeli settler violence over time can be explained as a response to Israeli state actions against settlements, like the dismantlement of outposts, the vast majority of Israeli settler violence is not responsorial but rather structural and symptomatic of occupation.

  • Over 90 percent of all Palestinian villages which have experienced multiple instances of Israeli settler violence are in areas which fall under Israeli security jurisdiction

Here is the full report:

When Settlers Attack

Six US activists arrested in Bahrain while monitoring military crackdown

Feb 15, 2012

Allison Deger

Bahrain f14
Protest in Bahrain commemorating a year of uprisings. (Photo: EPA)

Yesterday, six international activists where arrested in Bahrain while attempting to monitor the government crackdown on protesters commemorating the one-year anniversary of uprisings.  The arrest comes a few days after two activists from the same group of internationals were deported from Bahrain.  

Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath sent out the following press release:

Six US citizens arrested in Bahrain, to be deported

For Immediate Release

(Manama) – Six US Citizens were arrested by Bahraini security forces in Manama on Tuesday during a peaceful protest on the way to the Pearl Roundabout. Protesters had marched into the city center to reestablish a presence of nonviolent, peaceful protest on the one year anniversary of the Arab Spring uprising in Bahrain.

The international observers were in Bahrain as part of Witness Bahrain, an effort aimed at providing civilian presence to report and monitor the situation on the ground ( Leading up to February 14, the one year anniversary of pro-democracy protests, Bahraini authorities had prevented journalists, human rights observers and other internationals from entering the country, leading many to fear a brutal crackdown.

Just yesterday, Secretary of State spokesperson Victoria Nuland stated that the US wanted to see the “security forces exercise restraint and operate within the rule of law and international judicial standards.” But she failed to condemn the violent arrests of US international observers, the detainment of numerous Bahraini pro-democracy activists (including President of the Bahraini Center for Human Rights, Nabeel Rajab) and the ongoing use of overwhelming amounts of tear gas.

The six US citizens were part of a peaceful protest marching towards the Pearl Roundabout – site of last year’s peaceful round-the-clock protest in Bahrain, modeled after Egypt’s Tahrir Square – when they were attacked. Bahraini authorities appear to have targeted the Witness Bahrain observers, as one volunteer was told that she was detained for reporting on the February 11th Manama protest.

Kate Rafael works at a San Francisco law firm and is a radio journalist, blogger and political activist from Oakland, California.
Flo Razowsky is photographer and community organizer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a Jewish anti-Zionist activist with Witness Bahrain and several Palestine solidarity organizations.
Linda Sartor teaches graduate school, and is a community activists based out of Northern California. She has been a human rights activist in Palestine, Sri Lanka, Iran, Afghanistan and Bahrain.
Paki Wieland is a retired social worker/family therapist educator in the Department of Applied Psychology, Antioch University, Keene, New Hampshire. Since the 1960s, she’s also been a dedicated anti-war and civil rights activist.
Mike Lopercio is a restaurant owner from Arizona and has visited Iraq with a Military Families delegation.
Brian Terrell lives and works at Strangers and Guests Farm in Maloy, Iowa. He is a long time peace activist and a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

The six observers remain in Bahraini custory in the Naem Police Station in Manama. This group of internationals is the second to be deported by the Bahraini government. Attorneys Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath were deported on Saturday, February 11th. The two were handcuffed for the duration of their flight from Bahrain to London.


Raw video footage of activist Huwaida Arraf facing arrest in Bahrain on February 11, 2012.

Supporting the arrestees, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network additionally issued an action alert, calling on the Bahrain government to return the activists and not handcuff them during the flight:

REQUESTS: Return delegates stuff AND do NOT handcuff them on long journey home


1. Call embassy in Bahrain and ask for an off-duty consular to go down to where the delegates are being held and make these demands: 011 973 1724 2700

2. Email embassy in Bahrain and ask for the same:

3. Call the US State Department Bureau of Consular Services, Citizen’s Services (888) 407-4747. Try to speak to Trish Cyper-Burley. If she is not available then ask to speak with someone who is. – let them know that you are relying on the embassy to do their job and protect the rights of their citizens who are there as human rights activists

SOLIDARITY ACTION: Sign this petition to President Obama to stop any new arms deals Bahrain!





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Remember MSM role over war; what the state says we report

Posted: 14 Feb 2012

Post 9/11, it was Afghanistan. Then Iraq. Then drones over Pakistan. Bombs against Gaza. Counter-terrorism in Somalia and Yemen.

Now the main target is Iran. The vast majority of corporate media hacks in the West hear a statement from Israel and America and simply report it without question. That’s called stenography. Salon’s Glenn Greenwald writes:

It’s just remarkable to watch the American media depict Iran as the threatening, aggressive party here. Literally on a daily basispoliticaland media figures in both the U.S. andIsrael openly threaten to attack Iran and debate how the attack should happen with a casualness that most people use to contemplate what to have for lunch. The U.S. has orchestrated devastating and always-escalating sanctions which, by design, are wrecking the Iranian economycollapsing its currency, and generating serious hardship for its 75 million citizens. The U.S. military has that country almost completely encircled. The U.S. military behemoth, and Israel’s massive nuclear stockpile and sophisticated weaponry, make the Iranian military by comparison look almost as laughable as Saddam’s. Iran’s scientists have been serially murdered on its own soil, their facilities bombarded with sophisticated cyber attacks, and dissident groups devoted to the overthrow of their government (ones even the U.S. designates as Terrorists) have been armed, trained and funded by Israel while leading American politicians openly shill for them in exchange for substantial payments.


What austerity really means in capitalism; private companies reaping rewards

Posted: 14 Feb 2012

One small example, via the Huffington Post, of how corporations are looking to maximise profits at the expensive of society:

As state governments wrestle with massive budget shortfalls, a Wall Street giant is offering a solution: cash in exchange for state property. Prisons, to be exact.

Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest operator of for-profit prisons, has sent letters recently to 48 states offering to buy up their prisons as a remedy for “challenging corrections budgets.” In exchange, the company is asking for a 20-year management contract, plus an assurance that the prison would remain at least 90 percent full, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Huffington Post.

The move reflects a significant shift in strategy for the private prison industry, which until now has expanded by building prisons of its own or managing state-controlled prisons. It also represents an unprecedented bid for more control of state prison systems.

Corrections Corporation has been a swiftly growing business, with revenues expanding more than fivefold since the mid-1990s. The company capitalized on the expansion of state prison systems in the ’80s and ’90s at the height of the so-called ‘war on drugs,’ contracting with state governments to build or manage new prisons to house an influx of drug offenders. During the past 10 years, it has found new opportunity in the business of locking up undocumented immigrants, as the federal government has contracted with private companies in an aggressive immigrant-detention campaign.




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Keeping Palestine Solidarity Campaign Anti-Racist!!

by Francis Clark-Lowes

Following a motion adopted at Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Extraordinary General Meeting on the evening of 7th April 2013 (Yom HaShoah), an Ethics Sub-Committee has been established composed of the following six members: Toni Grimmstein (Chair), Stephen Cohen, Simon Gold, Rick Silverman, Zeb Horowitz and Aaron Levin. The Sub-Committee is charged with ensuring that PSC remains an anti-racist organisation.

This memorandum includes (a) a summary of the events leading up to the EGM, (b) the measures proposed by the Sub-Committee, and (c) a diagram (attached as a PDF) to assist the screening of applicants for membership of PSC.

(a)   A summary of the events leading to the calling of an EGM

Toni Grimmstein had called for the EGM, and explained her reasons at the meeting as follows.

“Following the expulsion of Frances Lowes-Clarke in 2011, he exercised his right of appeal at the 2012 AGM. We never should have included a right of appeal for racists in our constitution because it gave Lowes-Clarke an opportunity to harangue delegates for five minutes with his anti-Semitic filth. That the right of appeal was not removed at that AGM is a matter for profound regret, happily rectified at our AGM last January. But this was too late to prevent another five appeal speeches, all equally obnoxious, being heard at that meeting. Of course, the decision to expel was upheld in all cases, but the process of hearing appeals was undoubtedly damaging to our movement, and some deluded people may have been persuaded of the arguments they heard from appellants.

There was, however, one helpful consequence of this shot in the foot, and that was the revelation that a substantial minority of our membership are racist. 20% voted for Lowes-Clarke in 2012 (although most of those were Stalinists), and between 15% and 30% voted in the cases before us earlier this year. It thus became abundantly clear that we have work to do in ensuring that racism, anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial have no place within our movement.

To this end I move that an Ethics Sub-Committee be established …”

(b)   Measures proposed by the Ethics Sub-Committee 

  • A programme to screen for racism all written and oral material in the public domain. In particular attention will be paid to articles, books and oral material where the words Jew, Jewish, Jewishness, Jewess, Holocaust denial and revisionism are mentioned. A list of racist authors/speakers will be compiled.

  • Any members found to be on the list of racist writers/speakers should immediately be expelled from both his/her branch and from the national organisation. Branches will be duty-bound to report any incidents of racism, and to provide documentary evidence of it. This duty should override any undertakings of confidentiality within branches.

  • Applications for membership should be checked against the list of racist writers/speakers, and if they are found to be on it, their application should be refused.

  •  This is not a sufficient precaution, however. There is a need for a rigorous screening process of application because once racists have been admitted to membership they can cause a great deal of damage to our reputation. To this end we have drawn up a questionnaire, with the diagram below to aid the assessment of responses. The Ethics Committee must endorse all applications before a new member is admitted.

  • If the responses given to items on the questionnaire by members admitted to membership prove subsequently to be false, their membership will immediately be recinded.

(c)  Click this link to view diagram: Keeping Our Campaign Anti-Racist.


Francis Clark-Lowes Posted by on February 16, 2012. Filed under Comedy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry



22 Responses to Keeping Palestine Solidarity Campaign Anti-Racist!!

  1. Laura Stuart Log in to Reply

    February 16, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Is this a joke? There seems to be something very racially exclusive about the names of the members of the ethics committee! Is it safe to assume that there are no Palestinians included?



  2. Francis Clark-Lowes Log in to Reply

    February 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Hi Laura, look at the date of the EGM! I’ll make it bold to be clearer. By the way, the diagram is now in colour!



  3. Laura Stuart Log in to Reply

    February 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    You caught me out there Francis lol



  4. Gill Kaffash Log in to Reply

    February 16, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    You have certainly saved PSC quite a lot of work, Francis! Constitutionally, they could adopt it immediately, only needing to seek ratification at the 2013 AGM: the EC already has the power to aqccept or refuse membership applications and the power to set up subcommittees.I expect they’ll have it in place in a month or two.
    Oe thing on bullet point 1: score 3 if the applicant always uses the phrase “anti-Zionist Jew” about any Jew in the solidarity movement.


    • Francis Clark-Lowes Log in to Reply

      February 16, 2012 at 6:59 pm

      Nice one, Gill. Yes, I suppose I have done their work for them. The trouble with my satire is that it could soon become reality! I wish I’d thought of the use of the expression ‘anti-Zionist Jew’. I could, of course, add it now, but there comes a point when it’s better to leave a creation alone! And I’d have to change the scoring system too. Your comment can be a kind of codicil.


      • Gill Kaffash Log in to Reply

        February 18, 2012 at 8:10 pm

        You see that’s why you had to be expelled from PSC, Francis. You don’t understand that the purpose of the Palestine solidarity movement is to make clear that Zionism is not Jewish, as Tony G. made clear in his moving closing speech at the PSC AGM.


  5. Jonathon Blakeley Log in to Reply

    February 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Super, the best laugh I have had all week.



  6. Gilad Atzmon Log in to Reply

    February 16, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Francis you are so funny !!!! i put it on my site . Peace G



  7. Mister Cellophane Log in to Reply

    February 17, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    It’s amazing how a small group of narcissists can infiltrate a group, and make it about them. They have hijacked the organization, to a degree — stripped the Palestinians of their victim status, and inserted themselves as the “true victims;” making the Palestinians of secondary concern — trumped by their need to supply and feed their narcissism. Subverting the true goals of the PSC, and diverting it’s energy to supply and fuel their narcissism, has in fact made them a detrimental force, that works against the goal of freeing the Palestinian people from their ongoing Holocaust.

    Narcissists do not give, they take. And when they are done using your organization, and have damaged it for their own nefarious desires, they trash it on the way out. It’s all about them, and you are just a bit-player in their great drama.


    • Francis Clark-Lowes Log in to Reply

      February 17, 2012 at 8:26 pm

      It may be narcisstic of me, but the penultimate sentence sounds as if it’s directed at me. I have been accused of damaging PSC, I recently definitively left it and I certainly made fun of it in my article, if I didn’t actually trash it. But then I’m reassured when you write that I’m just a bit-player in ‘their’ great drama. So I suppose you weren’t talking about me after all. I just wonder whether your fondness for the idea of nacissism isn’t a bit, well, narcisstic. I certainly love myself, don’t you? Having said this I agree with much that you say!


      • Mister Cellophane Log in to Reply

        February 17, 2012 at 10:12 pm

        Not directed at you in the least — none of it. It was directed at the individuals who targeted you. Sorry I didn’t make that more evident.

        I am not at all fond of narcissists, but am very aware of the damage they can do. And having spent a great deal of time studying personality disorders, I am aware of the problems damaged individuals can bring to our endeavors, and how they can hijack them. Loving ones-self is not narcissism. Narcissism is a disorder: loving ones-self, in a healthy manner, is necessary for all of us if we wish to be well balanced individuals.


        • Francis Clark-Lowes Log in to Reply

          February 18, 2012 at 9:33 am

          Ok, but what was the reference to trashing PSC on the way out about?

          I feel I was a bit ungrateful for your support, but you pressed one of my buttons. After many years of working in the area of mental health myself, and also of research into the history of psychoanalysis, I’ve come to have an aversion to psychological language. It seems to me that it obscures, rather than enlightens, particularly when used in discussion with people who are not specialists. But even among specialists, I doubt if it really helps to label someone narcissistic. At best it is a very rough description. And after all, one of our main objection to our opponents is that they label us according to their schema of the world.

          The definition of narcissism I got from the internet is:

          (1) Excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.
          (2) Extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration.

          In relation to the people we’re talking about, we not in a good position to make judgements about their erotic life, but when it comes to their interest in their physical appearance, the definition seems to fit rather badly! As regards the second part of the definition, when does ‘extreme’ kick in? And what does grandiose really mean?

          How about simply reverting to good old English and saying that these people are arrogantly convinced on their own view of the world, and enjoy the power derived from convincing others of this view? This may take longer to say, but it has the great advantage of being a common-or-garden judgement, and therefore of not pathologising people. Once you give someone a pathological label you are, effectively, absolving them of responsibility. This is the last thing I want to do with the people who had me removed from PSC.

          I feel a post coming on!

          I’m sorry, once again, for my rather hasty comments last night.


          • Gill Kaffash Log in to Reply

            February 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm

            Now that is the really interesting question. How do they convince others of their views? What makes us pay our dues to their superiority? “David’s people taught the world in righteousness” according to Deborah Maccabee’s alternative carol. Really? Is this the Judeo-Christian tradition?


      • Jonathon Blakeley Log in to Reply

        February 17, 2012 at 10:16 pm

        It may be narcisstic of me, but the penultimate sentence sounds as if it’s directed at me

        Francis I think you mean Paranoid, and it is understandable, because the PSC were plotting against you.


        • Mister Cellophane Log in to Reply

          February 17, 2012 at 10:23 pm

          Absolutely, and it was very unfair of them to do so. They lost a good friend and a person of value in the process. Francis was targeted by at least one very nasty individual of my acquaintance. Mr Gulagstein can be a real nasty piece of work, and it is he that I refer to when I discuss personality disorders.


          • Jonathon Blakeley Log in to Reply

            February 17, 2012 at 10:36 pm

            Indeed. I think it was Francis in one of his earlier posts quipped that “he was not Tony Grimstein’s psycho-analyst”.I chuckled when I read that, imagining what it must be like. Tony laid down on the couch. The psycho-analyst leans forward and asks.

            So Tony tell me about the PSC?


            • Mister Cellophane Log in to Reply

              February 17, 2012 at 10:55 pm

              When Tony brought up anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial as issues, he hijacked the juju meant for the Palestinians, and directed toward himself, to fuel his own issues. It’s an old trick; it makes it all about him, and it fuels the negative aspects of his personality. Analysts have very little luck with these kinds of disorders, as their causes lie in early development, and are often so hard-wired, that the patient cannot change them. There really isn’t anything funny about it, as the sufferer was generally the victim of some serious childhood neglect and emotional abuse. The narcissism is in fact a survival strategy that the sufferer clings to in an effort to create a protective shell.


              • Jonathon Blakeley Log in to Reply

                February 17, 2012 at 11:17 pm

                Hmmmn interesting, so Abuse > Compartmentalisation can lead to Narcissism.


              • Somoe Log in to Reply

                February 17, 2012 at 11:23 pm

                Bless you, for making me feel genuine pity for Tony as I have to confess I was struggling. You are clearly someone who has given much consideration to the workings of the human mind, and have great compassion and a desire to help humanity understand themselves and others better. Thank you for sharing:-)


            • Roy Bard Log in to Reply

              February 18, 2012 at 10:08 am

              JB: “I think it was Francis in one of his earlier posts quipped that “he was not Tony Grimstein’s psycho-analyst”.I chuckled when I read that, imagining what it must be like”

              I know Francis said that in the audio interview :-)

              It is quite an amusing idea. But I think it would also be a very painful job :-(


              • Jonathon Blakeley Log in to Reply

                February 18, 2012 at 10:45 am

                Oh thanks for that Roy, I knew I had come across it somewhere. As you say it would be a very bad job. ;-)


  8. Somoe Log in to Reply

    February 17, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Like Laura, I too had to do a double-take on this one Francis, just because it mimicked their crazy ways so well. LOL when the penny dropped:-D


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