Archive | February 25th, 2012

Khader and Bobby, 66 days seperated by 31 years


By: Gaza TV

Khader and Bobby, 66 days seperated by 31 years 

On Tuesday February 21st, 2012, Khader Adnan ended his hunger strike after 66 days, the same length of time Bobby Sands endured before he died on May 5th 1981. Throughout Khader Adnan’s hunger strike, he was compared to Bobby Sands, the first of ten men to die in the Irish Hunger Strike of 1981.  Forever, the 2 men will be talked about in the same breath for their courage, determination, and in Bobby’s case,  ultimate sacrifice.

I was first alerted to Khader’s hunger strike via an article on the internet. At that stage he was on day 42, and receiving little to no coverage.  Through the Gaza TV News web site, and their facebook and twitter outlets, I started to push the news of his plight.  Little did I know he would go 66 days without food, and bring me into contact with the families of the  men who died on Hunger Strike in 1981, and with Tommy McKearney who went 53 days without food in 1980.

In 1980 I was an 11 year old boy growing up in Tyrone, and considering the Troubles started a month after I was born, I had known nothing else but the constant news of death and destruction on a daily basis. Towards the end of 1980, 7 men embarked on a hunger strike seeking to re establish their political status, which the British Government had ended 4 years before. One of those men was Tommy McKearney, who was from Moy, a town 5 mile from our home.

With some of the men near death around the 50 day mark, high level negotiations were taking place in attempts to end the strike. On the 53rd day, the British Government issued a document that on the face of it, gave in to the the prisoners demands, and 1 week before Christmas, the hunger strike was called off, and the 7 men survived. Shortly after the end, the Thatcher led British Government reneged on the deal. In the aftermath, another Hunger Strike was planned.

At the beginning of March 1981, Bobby Sands began his Hunger Strike, and 66 days later, on May 5th, he died. Over the course of the summer, another 9 men died before it came to an end on October 3rd.

A few weeks after Bobby started his fast, the Member of Parliament for my area died, and an election was called. A decision was made to run Bobby as a candidate in order to gain more attention to their plight, and on his 41st day on hunger strike, he was elected MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

It was an amazing victory, and I can remember the moment well in our kitchen, watching the result live on a  portable black and white TV. No one gave him any hope, and despite all the odds, he triumphed. There was wild celebrations at the announcement of his victory, and it was a serious boost to the prisoners, and their struggle. Over the coming days and weeks, we all thought that there was no way they would let an MP die, and that his life and that of the others following him would be saved. We slowly and painfully found out we were wrong.

In the early hours of May 5th, Bobby Sands died after 66 days on hunger strike. That Tuesday morning, everyone awoke to the news, and over the course of the day, rioting was taking place all over Belfast, and in many towns throughout the North.  People were raging that Thatcher let him die, and likely to let the others die too.

That same day,  3 miles from home, my father was on his way home from work in his new truck. He was stopped, and at gun point he was ordered out. Before his feet hit the ground, 2 petrol bombs were thrown into the cab, and in seconds the fire was blazing, within minutes, destroyed.  Coming home that evening my father was in a state of shock, and devastated. His livelihood wiped out in a flash. The following day, a milk delivery driver, Eric Guiney, and his 14 year old son were attacked during rioting, and they both died in the following days from the injuries they received.

A few days later, over 100,000 people attended Bobby Sands funeral, with schools and businesses closed as a mark of respect. It was a week that our family have never forgotten, and every time I hear his named mentioned, the memories of that week in May come flooding back.

My father bounced back, with incredible support from far and wide, and a few months later, the truck was fixed and back on the road, ironically, the same day that Joe McDonnell was been buried. Joe had gone on hunger strike replacing Bobby Sands, and had died after 61 days .

To the day my father died, he was never angry about it, and considering there was a gun involved, he always counted his lucky stars that he wasn’t shot. The day in October when new came through on the radio that the hunger strike had ended, I was with him. We were at a farm in Fermanagh listening to the news, and after a few minutes, he remarked on how lucky he was. Despite only receiving 50% compensation, he was able to replace what he lost that day in May. The Sands family couldn’t replace Bobby, or the 9 other families couldn’t replace their loved ones, and the Guiney family couldn’t replace Eric and Desmond.

Following Bobby, Francis Hughes, Ray McCreesh, Patsy O’Hara, Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty, Thomas McElwee, and Mickey Devine all died before the strike was called off. Within weeks, their demands were met by the British government. Thatcher didn’t have to let them die, but she did. And she has been despised in Ireland and beyond ever since.

31 years later, a Palestinian man, Khader Adnan embarked on a hunger strike in protest at the Israeli policy of Administrative Detention. This allows for Israel to arrest and detain anyone they chose, and hold them for whatever length of time they like. Currently, over 300 Palestinians are detained under this rule, and the longest a person has been held has been 8 years. In Ireland in the early 70′s, the British Government tried a similar policy, Internment. Hundreds of men were arrested, and thrown into Long Kesh without any charge or trail. It was wrong in the 70′s, and it is still wrong today.

As Khader was approaching his 50th day, I knew from the hunger strikes in ’80/’81 that his life was now in immediate danger. I didn’t give him much hope of lasting another ten days, and held zero hope that Israel would show some compassion and release him. Having witnessed at 1st hand their murder and destruction in Gaza over several trips to the besieged region, I held no hope for him. Time was against him, and action was needed.

It was at this point that I called Tommy McKearney and asked for his help. Tommy was aware of Khader’s plight, and didn’t hesitate. Considering Tommy had gone 53 days in 1980, I knew his help would be invaluable. Tommy agreed to record a message of support, and along with my good friend Paudie McShane, we met Tommy at his home and he recorded a very sincere and heartfelt message for Khader and his family. Khader was on day 53 at this stage, and the message carried sincere and genuine support, and a unique understanding of Khader’s condition.

Within hours, the message was on YouTube, and had started to go viral. I also e mailed the message to Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights. He was in the region and was working on Khader’s case among other things. I also sent the video to my good friend in Gaza, Ahmed Alnajjar. Ahmed took the video, added Abaric sub titles, and through his networks, sent the video far and wide through Palestine and beyond.

With no signs of release or charging Khader, and day 60 approaching, I contacted Oliver Hughes in Bellaghy, south Derry. Oliver’s brother, Francis, died after 59 days on hunger strike, and his cousin Thomas McElwee after 62. Oliver was aware of Khader’s situation, and he too was only to glad to help. Paudie and I met Oliver, and he too recorded a very powerful message for Khader and his family. This was recorded and released on Khader’s 59th day. Once again, it was uploaded on YouTube, along with an Arabic version from Ahmed, and i sent it to Richard Falk. Richard was in contact with me from Jordan, where he was working closely on Khader’s case, and he encouraged me to keep on getting support from an Irish perspective considering our history of the hunger strikes in ’80/’81.

At this stage, various main stream media outlets were picking up on Khader’s hunger strike, and several of them referred to to these messages of support. One such piece was from Richard Falk:  Saving Khader Adnan’s life is saving our own soul.

In his article, he made reference to the complete silence from western leaders in speaking up for Khader, and highlighted the support Khader was receiving from Tommy and Oliver. Another article appeared in The Independent by Donald MacIntyre, Khader Adnan: The West Bank’s Bobby Sands

Around this time, Khader’s story was spreading far and wide through social media networking sites, and in particular Twitter.  Through this campaign, people became not only aware of Khader Adnan, but also the draconian law of Administrative Detention. The world was waking up to his story. An excellent article appeared in the media highlighting the power of Twitter in Khader’s case. Hashtagging Khader Adnan: A Global Protest on Twitter

I was using the power of social media through Gaza TV News. It is a news site I created along with my good friend Tom Baker. Tom and myself had travelled to Gaza several times as part of the Viva Palestina convoys, and from our experiences, decided to set up GTV. For nearly 2 years we have been reporting daily on what is happening in Gaza, the West Bank, and internationally with respect to Palestine. We use facebooktwitter,YouTube, and ipadio to report the news. We have a combined following of over 50,000 from across the world, and when we started reporting on Khader Adnan, we knew we were reaching a massive audience. As has been witnessed across the Middle East in the past year or so, the power of social media has had a serious  impact on what has become known as the Arab Spring.

Another man I contacted for help was Carlos Latuff, the amazing political cartoonist. For years Carlos has been producing incredible cartoons highlighting the suffering of the Palestinians. He didn’t hesitate to help, and came up with three cartoons. One depicted Khader and Gandhi together, in reference to the calls for a Palestinian Gandhi many journalists have made in the past, and one of Khader shackled to his bed refusing food.

Two other men I was in contact with were Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein. Both men have been outspoken critics of Israeli policies and actions against the Palestinians for decades, and they too added their support. Norman used his web site, twitter and facebook page to report the latest news on Khader’s plight.

On Sunday 19th, as Khader was on his 64th day, and no doubt staring death at any minute, I got in contact with 3 more family members of the 10 men who had died in 1981. The McCreesh family, from South Armagh, sent a statement of support for Khader and his family. Ray McCreesh was the 3rd man to die after 61 days, and on the same day, May 21st, Patsy O’Hara also died. He too had gone 61 days on hunger strike.

On the Sunday evening, Patsy O’Hara’s brother Tony sent a message of support  on behalf of himself, and his mother Peggy. This too was a very personal message, and along with the McCreesh statement, added serious weight to the worldwide pressure that had now built up in support for Khader.

Late on the Sunday night, I got a call from Michelle Gildernew, our local MP, and she too wanted to record a message of support. She had been following Khader’s case, and wanted to offer support in any way she could. Michelle is the MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, the seat once held by Bobby Sands. We arranged to meet on Monday at 1pm to record her message for Khader and his family.

Waking up on Monday morning, I received another statement from the family of Mickey Devine, the last of the 10 men to die in 1981. Mickeys children, Michael og and Louise, sent through a heartfelt message, and considering they were around the same age as Khader’s children when their father died, their voices added a special meaning. Mickey Devine, aged 27, died on August 20th 1981, after 60 days on hunger strike.

On Monday afternoon, Noam Chomsky sent me a very strong statement on Khader’s plight, and a stong critism of Israel’s policy of Administrative Detention. He finished his statement with the line “His life is in our hands, and there is no time to lose.” When this article appeared on the web site and through social media outlets, it went viral immediately. It was as if God had spoken!

On top of these messages, 2 other former hunger strikers stepped forward and added their voices for Khader. Pat Sheehan who went 55 days in 1981 issued a statement, and Ray McCartney who went 53 days alongside Tommy sent a video message of support. When Khader was extremly close to death on day 65, Danny Morrison, who was a friend of Bobby Sands issued a statement. 

Throughout Ireland in Derry, Belfast, Newry, Dublin, Cork and Galway, thousands of people attended vigils and added their voices in support. People with very clear memories of 1980 and ’81 knew how much international support meant back then, and they didn’t flinch in their support for Khader. 22 TD’s issued a statement calling on the Irish Foreign Affairs spokesman to call on Israel to save Khader’s life. Parallels between the Irish hunger strikers were been made in practically every article about Khader, and when the spotlight focussed on Ireland, the Irish people stood tall and spoke out.

Going to bed on Monday night, I dreaded the feeling of that fateful day in May ’81 when Bobby Sands died after 66 days. Would Khader be alive or dead when I awoke on this, his 66th day? Would it be too late for him, and would Israel follow Thatcher and let him die?

Tuesday morning arrived, Khader was still alive, and various stories started to emerge. Al Jazeera put out an article saying that he had ended his hunger strike, and was to be released. This proved to be false. Many more media outlets quoted them, and people were celebrating a victory. I was not convinced, as I was only following one source for the truth, and that was Addameer, the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.

As my days work finished in the city of Derry, I called in with a good friend, Eamon McCann, to record a message of support for Khader. 5 minutes after recording Eamon’s message, Tom called me to let me know that Addameer had released a statement confirming Khader has officially ended his hunger strike. The news was incredible, and both Eamon and myself were able to breath a sigh of relief knowing that his life had been saved. Considering that Eamon has been to the forefront of campaigning for human rights both here in Ireland and around the world for over 40 years, it was a privledge to be in his company when confirmation came through.

The following day, Richard Falk covered Khader’s story, and what he had achieved through his 66 day hunger strike.  In an article entitled Saving Khader Adnan’s life and legacy he went on to mention Bobby Sands, and the messages Khader Adnan and his family received from the families and people mentioned above. Khader’s wife also issued a statement  praising her husband, and thanking everyone worldwide for voicing their support.

I write the above account from a personal perspective, and with a sense of history.  Having traveled the world over, the name of Bobby Sands is known by millions world wide. He is regarded as a hero to many, and a terrorist to a few, just like Khader Adnan. However, he was a son, a father, and a  brother who to this day is sorely missed by his family, and will never be replaced, just like the 9 other brave men who followed him to their graves in 1981.

After 66 days Bobby died, and Khader lived. Khader will hopefully regain his strength and return to his wife who is 5 months pregnant, his 2 daughters, and wider family circle. Hopefully he will go on to lead a life where he will share his experience on hunger strike for the greater good, and contribute to peace and justice just like Tommy McKearney, Pat Sheehan, and Ray McCartney have. Khader’s contribution to a peaceful settlement in Palestine could be huge.

I’m so happy that Khader didn’t die after 66 days on hunger strike, and that his family doesn’t have to live with his loss the same way as the Sands, Hughes, McCreesh, O’Hara, O’Donnell, Hurson, Lynch, Doherty, McElwee, and Devine families have had to deal with for the past 31 years. Plus, by ending his hunger strike, countless lives have undoubtedly been saved, as the prospect of mass rioting in Palestine breaking out if he had died were only too real. A repeat of the suffering of the Guiney family, and to a lesser extent, my own family were avoided.

In doing what I did for Khader, I did it in memory of my uncle Brian Mallaghan, who just like Khader, was kidnapped from his bed in the early hours one August morning in 1971 and threw into the dungeons of Long Kesh and held for nearly 2 years without charge or trial. There was no twitter, facebook or YouTube to help Brian or the hundreds of others like him in ’71. Instead, it was left to his parents, and  his brothers and sisters who suffered so much in trying to highlight his case as he lay in Long Kesh suffering beatings and humiliation.

Today, as I think of Khader Adnan, I think of my uncle Brian, and the  people  here in Ireland, Palestine, Guantanamo, and further afield who lie incarcerated without charge or trail. Their fight is our fight, and as has been proved over the past few weeks, people the world over will embrace their fight for justice, freedom, dignity, and humanity.

Today, I am Khader Adnan and Brian Mallaghan, the man who motivated me to fight for human rights, and who sadly passed away a few short months ago. As Khader lives, so too will Brian.


John Hurson


February 24th, 2012


Carlos Latuff


Khader’s father, wife, and 2 daughter

Khader Adnan




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“We didn’t give up. As Palestinians, we look for plan B all the time.”


By Stuart Littlewood


Gaza Strip

Stuart Littlewood tells the remarkable story of Palestinian students from Gaza who are competing in an international competition to design and build a racing car, which thanks to the medieval Israeli siege they are doing using domestic water pipes and parts scavenged from disused vehicles.

Imagine a handful of engineering students imprisoned in the tiny Gaza enclave taking on the cream of Europe’s technical universities in a competition to build a race car and compete with it.

They did it last year. And they’re planning to do it again this year – at least that’s what their students’ union tells me, and I’ve been trying to get confirmation.

The challenge

Formula Student (FS) is a challenge to university students around the world to design and build a single-seat racing car, which they must then put through its paces at the Silverstone Circuit in the UK in a series of static and dynamic tests.

The aim is to inspire young people and boost skills in advanced engineering. In Europe the competition is run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). America has a similar student competition run by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

Students have to pretend they’ve been engaged by a manufacturing firm to produce a prototype car for evaluation. In addition to technical skills, the exercise teaches management, marketing and people skills. The motor sport industry regards this as an ideal standard of achievement for students making the transition from college to workplace.

Last year’s Class 1 winner was the University of Stuttgart. Stuttgart, of course, is home to Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, and the University is renowned for its advanced automotive engineering. Gottlieb Daimler himself was a student there, and Wilhelm Maybach received an honorary doctorate from the University at the age of 70 – names to conjure with!

This gives some idea of what the Gaza lads, who are starting in Class 2, will eventually be up against. Peter Leipold, 26, Chief Executive of the winning Rennteam Stuttgart, said:

Formula Student gives you the chance to learn much more than you ever could through studying, internships and diplomas. You have to deal with ideas and concepts, design, manufacturing, costing, materials, testing, logistics – there’s such a huge range of work you have to do. I don’t think there’s any other competition in the world in which you can learn so much.

Construction of the car itself has to conform to nearly 30 pages of stringent rules and regulations. A four-stroke piston engine no larger than 610cc must be used, but this is enough to catapult the car from 0 to 60mph in just a few seconds. Electric only or hybrid vehicles are also allowed.

Further rules cover judging. The cars are judged in a series of tests such as technical inspection, cost and sustainability, presentation and engineering design, solo performance trials and high performance track endurance.

The rules even cover “unsportsmanlike conduct”.

The competition has been running in the UK since 1998 and Silverstone has been the venue since 2007. Nowadays Silverstone, besides being the home of Formula One racing, incorporates a technology park and is a very different world from the old aerodrome circuit many of us remember from the 1950s and 1960s.

Blockaded and starved of resources

The Khan Younis Training Centre (KYTC), located near Rafah, at the southern end of the Gaza Strip, was set up by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in 2007 to provide training for Gazan refugees and to inject skilled labour into the local economy. One of the programmes it offers is Autotronics, which includes diagnosis, maintenance and repair of automotive systems, injection and ignition systems, and electronics and electrical systems.

“It really is inspirational to see a team working so hard with the odds stacked against them like this. Formula Student is a massive challenge in its own right, but to be working with almost entirely recycled parts in one of the most deprived areas in the world is remarkable. “

Dr Colin Brown, Director of Engineering at IMechE

Ever since Hamas won the 2006 elections in Palestine and enforced their right to govern the Gaza Strip this tiny coastal enclave has been viciously blockaded by Israel, turning it into a prison. Nothing gets in or out without Israel’s say-so. Although the siege is illegal under international law, the international community does nothing. In 2009 KYTC’s first Autotronics class, frustrated at the lack of workshop materials for hands-on automotive experience, set about building a race car from recycled parts. The following year the students decided to go further and build a car to the exacting standards of Europe’s Formula Student contest. Eleven students eventually travelled to the UK last June with their high-octane creation.

Entered in Class 2, the team won third prize for their business plan and came ninth with their financial report. But they were docked a huge number penalty points for missing the deadline for their design and specification report. This was because Israel’s illegal blockade prevented special parts from Italy reaching them. The team had to improvise with recycled items from Gaza. Had they been awarded just an average score for the design and specification section they’d have finished in the top half of the results table along with Bath, Budapest, Brunel and Edinburgh.

Dr Colin Brown, Director of Engineering at IMechE, said:

It really is inspirational to see a team working so hard with the odds stacked against them like this. Formula Student is a massive challenge in its own right, but to be working with almost entirely recycled parts in one of the most deprived areas in the world is remarkable.

These students epitomise the spirit and inventiveness of those who take part in Formula Student.

A chassis made of domestic water pipes and powered by an old motorcycle engine

Who are these remarkable youngsters and who encouraged them to get involved? UNRWA says:

The 11 youngsters that make up the Formula Student team are following a course in autotronics, designed to give a solid practical grounding in automobile engineering. In educational terms, it equates to an A Level or Ordinary National Certificate (ONC). Many are from a background that the United Nations describes as “abject poverty”, which means families who do not have the financial resources to provide for the very basic necessities such as food, clothing, and hygiene…

The principal of the KYTC, Dr Ghassan Abu-Orf, was aware of the then-fledgling Formula Student competition while teaching at the University of Sunderland in the UK. When he returned to Gaza, he reckoned that building such a car locally would be an ideal project for his pupils.

According to Emel, the Muslim lifestyle magazine,

once the team had made the plans for the car and identified the necessary parts they needed, they set about contacting various suppliers around the world to see where they could be acquired from. After many companies turned them down, the students found an Italian company that was willing to work with them. But even after the parts were sent, the Israeli authorities refused to let them enter the Gaza Strip.

“We didn’t give up,” a member of the team told Emel. “As Palestinians, we look for plan B all the time.”

So the students checked old cars and machinery in the Gaza Strip and salvaged the parts they needed. The engine came from a used Honda motorcycle and the chassis was fabricated with domestic hot water pipes. “Unfortunately we didn’t have the tools, machines and parts necessary to give us the best possible results — technology in Gaza is still quite primitive and out of date in comparison with international standards. But our mission was different, and remains different.”

Sahar Mousa, writing in Rotterdam4gaza, said:

For us the Formula Student competition is more than a prize, its more than a competition to win, it’s not related to being famous or to get any material reward. When we think about the competition we think about Palestine, we think about the Palestinian people wherever they are, we think about a message we need to send for the world. We need to tell everybody that we are a part of this world and we deserve our place in this world. We are able to be active and Palestinian Youth are able to create, innovate, and compete.

Yes we can make it, we are strong enough to do it, because it’s for Palestine and it’s for every Palestinian.

Complacency of Palestinian officials

Sadly, I’m posting this article without any contributions from the main players – the General Union of Palestinian Students UK who hosted the Gaza team while in Britain, the Palestinian embassy in London and the team itself. The reason? After several requests the union said it was “too busy” to give me the team’s contact details.

The embassy has not, as far as I know, issued any press releases or briefings, although it did reproduce a Daily Telegraph report on its website last June. I have written twice asking the ambassador’s office for information and contact details only to be ignored. After combing the internet I found a general email address for KYTC. Two emails have been sent but not acknowledged.

So this amazing story is scraped together from other sources. Had I known about it last summer, I’d have been at Silverstone cheering the lads on.

What I’d now like to know is:

  • While in the UK the team visited Parliament and presumably other places besides Silverstone. Did they manage to establish any helpful links to the performance car industry (constructors and R&D) or liaise with likeminded education and training establishments?

  • Have they arranged a programme yet for their 2012 visit?

  • For 2012 what changes are they making? Will it be the same car modified or an entirely new one? The same team or a new one?

  • These were among the questions sent to the principal, although he might not have received them. I also asked for pictures. Again nothing.

The 2012 event is only three month away. If the KYTC lads read this and wish to update me on their preparations I’ll be happy to do a follow-up. But I hope they appreciate that writers and reporters need to wrap up their stories and move on. If unable to get a timely reply or make proper contact they soon lose interest.

As for the Palestinian embassy in London, its prime task is surely to represent all Palestinians in a good light, showcase their achievements and help open doors to opportunities. This year, if indeed these remarkable youngsters are coming back, let us hope the ambassador and his staff are on the ball and actively engaged.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on “We didn’t give up. As Palestinians, we look for plan B all the time.”



Dear friends,

You may recall my article about my friend Walid Abu Rass  who was arrested by Israel and placed under 6-month administrative detention. You may also remember reading his daughter’s  passage about her visit to the prison.

By the way, Israeli peace activist/historian Uri Avnery wrote  today about this infamous process of administrative detention.

Many of you acted to free Walid and I’m pleased to report that we achieved partial progress. Under military occupation all progress is partial!

After losing his appeal, which was a joke given the judge is a military judge from the occupation forces, he took his case to the only other court that Israel, the occupying power, respects (and even that, not always), the Israeli High Court.

I just heard from Walid’s wife and the organization legally representing him, Addameer . Walid’s wife attended the High Court hearing. It too was a joke. 

At the appeal last month the state claimed that Walid was a PFLP operative. The PFLP is a left-wing, political part of the PLO, the same PLO that Israel signed the Oslo Accords with. Now, at the High Court hearing the state presented to the 3 judges a letter saying he was an Islamic Jihad operative. The Islamic Jihad is a Palestinian Islamic party not part of the PLO. Even the judges were embarrassed and questioned the state prosecutor about how the same person can be viewed so differently. After the some back-and-forth between the state and the judges, the state withdraw the latter submission.   

Walid was not even present in the courtroom! When Walid’s attorney inquired about the absence of his client, the judges told the attorney if he wanted him to be in the courtroom they would need to postpone the hearing. An old game to buy time until the administration detention order expires. Walid’s attorney and wife agreed to continue without Walid’s presence.

After hearing the case, Walid’s wife and attorney were asked to step out of the courtroom. Thirty minutes later, after the judges deliberated, they returned and were told that the court decided to reduce Walid’s detention time by two months, which gives him a new release date of March 22. The judges added that this would be the release date unless concrete evidence is presented by the state. It’s all so sick. He should have been released today! How can a court of “law” keep a person imprisoned AFTER deliberating that the state’s case was flawed to the point of accepting to release the detainee!

I just wanted to let everyone know where things stand. Walid is in high spirits. Walid’s two girls are looking forward to see their dad soon. Walid’s wife is correctly worried that the administration order may get renewed, which happens frequently.


Insanity rules military occupation,



Dorothy Online Newsletter


1 LA Times

February 23, 2012

U.S. does not believe Iran is trying to build nuclear bomb

The latest U.S. intelligence report indicates Iran is pursuing research that could enable it to build a nuclear weapon, but that it has not sought to do so.,0,1164870,full.story

By Ken Dilanian,

Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Washington

 As U.S. and Israeli officials talk publicly about the prospect of a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, one fact is often overlooked: U.S. intelligence agencies don’t believe Iran is actively trying to build an atomic bomb.

A highly classified U.S. intelligence assessment circulated to policymakers early last year largely affirms that view, originally made in 2007. Both reports, known as national intelligence estimates, conclude that Tehran halted efforts to develop and build a nuclear warhead in 2003.

The most recent report, which represents the consensus of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, indicates that Iran is pursuing research that could put it in a position to build a weapon, but that it has not sought to do so.

Although Iran continues to enrich uranium at low levels, U.S. officials say they have not seen evidence that has caused them to significantly revise that judgment. Senior U.S. officials say Israel does not dispute the basic intelligence or analysis.

But Israel appears to have a lower threshold for action than Washington. It regards Iran as a threat to its existence and says it will not allow Iran to become capable of building and delivering a nuclear weapon. Some Israeli officials have raised the prospect of a military strike to stop Iran before it’s too late.

It’s unclear how much access U.S. intelligence has in Iran, a problem that bedeviled efforts to determine whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

The assessment that Saddam Hussein had secretly amassed stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and was seeking to build a nuclear weapon, cited by the George W. Bush administration to justify the invasion, turned out to be wrong.

Iran barred inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog group, from visiting Parchin, a military site, this week to determine whether explosives tests were aimed at developing nuclear technology.

An IAEA report in November cited “serious concerns” about “possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program,” but did not reach hard conclusions. Another IAEA report is imminent.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, insisted Wednesday that Tehran had no intention of producing nuclear weapons. In remarks broadcast on state television, he said that “owning a nuclear weapon is a big sin.”

But he said that “pressure, sanctions and assassinations” would not stop Iran from producing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The U.S. and European Union have imposed strict sanctions on Iran’s oil and banking sectors, and unidentified assassins on motorcycles have killed several nuclear scientists in Iran, attacks for which Tehran has blamed Israel.

For now, U.S. military and intelligence officials say they don’t believe Iran’s leadership has made the decision to build a bomb.

“I think they are keeping themselves in a position to make that decision,” James R. Clapper Jr., director of National Intelligence, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Feb. 16. “But there are certain things they have not yet done and have not done for some time.”

Clapper and CIA Director David H. Petraeus told a separate Senate hearing that Iran was enriching uranium below 20% purity. Uranium is considered weapons grade when it is enriched to about 90% purity, although it is still potentially usable at lower enrichment levels.

U.S. spy agencies also have not seen evidence of a decision-making structure on nuclear weapons around Khamenei, said David Albright, who heads the nonprofit Institute for Science and International Security and is an expert on Iran’s nuclear program.

Albright’s group estimates that with the centrifuges Iran already has, it could enrich uranium to sufficient purity to make a bomb in as little as six months, should it decide to do so.

It is not known precisely what other technical hurdles Iran would have to overcome, but Albright and many other experts believe that if it decides to proceed, the country has the scientific knowledge to design and build a crude working bomb in as little as a year. It would take as long as three years, Albright estimated, for Iran to build a warhead small enough to fit on a ballistic missile.

Albright said a push by Iran to build a nuclear weapon probably would be detected.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, the former CIA director, told a House committee that such a decision would be a “red line” prompting an international response.

Stephen Hadley, who was President Bush’s national security advisor, said it would be too late to respond then.

“When they’re assembling a bomb, that’s going to be the hardest thing to see,” said Hadley, now a senior advisor at the U.S. Institute of Peace, a government-funded think tank.

Some developments have bolstered the view that Iran is secretly pursuing a weapon.

In 2009, Western intelligence agencies discovered a clandestine underground facility called Fordow, near the city of Qom, that is said to be capable of housing 3,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium.

Israel worries that such facilities may be invulnerable to conventional bombing if Iran begins building a weapon. Israeli officials have warned that Iran could create what they call a “zone of immunity” by year’s end.

And some U.S. officials have come to different conclusions about the intelligence. Among them is Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “We know that [Iran is] aggressively pursuing a nuclear weapons program,” Rogers said this month.

U.S. intelligence on Iran’s nuclear ambitions has vacillated over the years. After Iranian dissidents exposed a long-hidden program in 2002, U.S. intelligence warned that Tehran was “determined to build nuclear weapons.”

In 2006, Bush asked aides to present him with options for a U.S. attack. But newly recruited informants, intercepted conversations and notes from deliberations of Iranian officials led U.S. intelligence to reconsider its warning.

In December 2007, the National Intelligence Estimate judged with “high confidence” that Tehran had halted its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003. It judged with “moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons.”

In his 2010 memoir, “Decision Points,” Bush questioned whether analysts had reversed course to atone for their errors on Iraq.

Michael Hayden, who was CIA director in 2007, said the analysts who wrote the report had no political motivation. “It was intelligence professionals calling balls and strikes the way they saw them,” he said in an interview.

He said the 2007 estimate was poorly worded and “quickly got translated into ‘Iran stopped its nuclear program,'” which he does not believe is accurate.

The more important finding, Hadley said, was that Iran was continuing its efforts to develop fissile material and to build ballistic missiles capable of delivering warheads.

“They are doing everything they can to put themselves in a position so that they have a clear and fairly quick route to a nuclear weapon,” he said.


2 Forwarded by Kris


FEBRUARY 21, 2012

Jodi Rudoren, Another Member of the Family

Meet the New York Times’ New Israel-Palestine News Chief


Michael Lerner, the editor of Tikkun Magazine, is known for his frequent condemnations of Israeli violence against Palestinians. He is labeled “pro-Palestinian” for such statements and is regularly attacked by pro-Israel zealots who charge that he is disloyal to the Jewish state.

Yet, in reality, Lerner frequently speaks of his devotion to Israel and states that his actions are taken in considerable part to protect it.

A while ago Lerner explained the difference in his feelings about Israelis compared to his feelings about Palestinians. “[T]here is a difference in my emotional and spiritual connection to these two sides,” Lerner said.

“On the one side is my family; on the other side are decent human beings. I want to support human beings all over the planet but I have a special connection to my family.”

This statement comes to mind when one considers the New York Times bureau chiefs who cover Israel-Palestine.

The most recent person to be chosen for this powerful post at arguably the most influential newspaper in the United States is Jodi Rudoren. She takes the place of Ethan Bronner, who was preceded by Steven Erlanger, who was preceded by James Bennet, who was preceded by Deborah Sontag. All, according to an Israeli report, are Jewish.

Most Americans — particularly those who would object to only white reporters covering racial issues or only male reporters covering gender issues — are reluctant to discuss the potential bias in such a profoundly un-diverse system, having been conditioned to fear that such discussion would be “anti-Semitic” or would open the commentator to this extremely damaging accusation.

In Israel, however, it is considered appropriate to discuss the Jewish roots of American politicians and journalists since Israel was created specifically to be “the Jewish state,” Jews have elevated status in it, and the vast majority of Israeli land is officially owned by “world Jewry” (although some individuals have publicly opted out).

An article on the Jerusalem Post website, a major Israeli newspaper, focuses on this aspect. The article, “Judaism at the New York Times”, reports that “all New York Times’ bureau chiefs for at least the last fifteen years have been Jewish.”

The article’s author, Ashley Rindsberg, notes that “the Times doesn’t consistently send Russian Americans to its Moscow bureau… or Mexican Americans to lead its Mexico City bureau…” and asks, “Why does the New York Times consistently send Jewish journalists to head their central office in the Jewish State?”

Rindsberg, who like many conservative Israelis considers the Times’ reporting anti-Israel, provides a somewhat convoluted answer. The Times’ Jewish owners, Rindsberg posits, are uncomfortable with their Jewish identity. Therefore, he claims, they “would just as soon as not have reporters who could be identified for their Jewishness. And to prove it, they send Jews to the Jewish State to report in a most un-Jewish way.”

The Times’ history of pro-Israel coverage

Despite Rindsberg’s view of Times, analysis shows its coverage to be consistently pro-Israel. A 2005 study found that the Times reported on Israeli deaths at rates up to seven times greater than its reports on Palestinian deaths, even though Palestinian deaths occurred first and in far greater numbers.

A 2007 study of the Times’ coverage of various international reports on human rights violations by Israelis and by Palestinians found that the Times covered reports condemning Israeli human rights violations at a rate only one-twentieth the rate that it covered reports condemning Palestinian human rights violations. The investigation found that during the study period there had been 76 reports by humanitarian agencies condemning Israel for abuses and four condemning Palestinians for abuses. The Times carried two stories on each side.

In its early years the Times specifically avoided assigning Jewish reporters to cover Israel out of concern that such journalists would have an inherent conflict of interest. This policy was reversed in 1979 after Abe Rosenthal became the paper’s executive editor and explicitly decided to choose Jewish journalists for the position.

While his first attempt failed (he had thought his choice, David Shipler, was Jewish), the Columbia Journalism review reports that most of the journalists who succeeded Shipler, beginning with Thomas Friedman, have been of Jewish ethnicity. The article notes that “for a century [the Times] has served, in effect, as the hometown paper of American Jewry.”

Former NY Times executive editor Max Frankel, who was an editor at the Times from 1972 through 2000, admitted in his memoirs: “I was much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert … Fortified by my knowledge of Israel and my friendships there, I myself wrote most of our Middle East commentaries. As more Arab than Jewish readers recognized, I wrote them from a pro-Israel perspective.”

An article by star reporter and author Grace Halsell describes her firsthand experience with pro-Israel bias at the Times in the early 1980s.

Halsell had written books about the plight of Native Americans, African Americans, and undocumented Mexican workers. She was a great favorite of New York Times matriarch Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger, whose father had acquired the Times in 1896, whose husband and then son had run it next, and whose grandson is now in charge.

When Halsell next wrote a powerful book describing the Palestinian plight, she incurred Mrs. Suzberger’s displeasure and was quickly dropped by the Times. Halsell writes: “I had little concept that from being buoyed so high I could be dropped so suddenly when I discovered—from her point of view—the ‘wrong’ underdog.”

In her article Halsell quotes a revealing statement by an Israeli journalist following Israel’s 1996 shelling of a U.N. base in Lebanon that killed more than 100 civilians sheltering in it: “We believe with absolute certitude that right now, with the White House in our hands, the Senate in our hands and The New York Times in our hands, the lives of others do not count the same way as our own.”

Since 1984 New York Times bureau chiefs have lived in a house that was acquired for the Times by then Jerusalem Bureau Chief Thomas Friedman (now the Times’ lead foreign policy columnist). The building originally belonged to a Palestinian family forced out in Israel’s 1947-49 founding war. Israel afterward prevented the family from returning and reclaiming their home. Therefore, Times’ bureau chiefs are in the strange position of living in a home that was stolen from Palestinians (acquiring property by violent conquest is illegal in today’s world).

Recent Situation: Bronner, Kershner, & Khader Adnan

Rudoren’s predecessor as Jerusalem bureau chief, Ethan Bronner, has a son who enlisted in the Israeli military. When this conflict with impartiality was exposed, even the Times’ own ombudsman suggested that journalistic ethics required that Bronner be moved to a different beat. Yet, Times then-editor Bill Keller insisted that this gave Bronner “special sophistication” and kept him in his position.

Bronner’s colleague at the bureau has been Isabel Kershner, who will apparently be staying on. J.J. Goldberg, editor of the Forward, writes: “Isabel Kershner immigrated to Israel from her native England as a young woman and spent a couple of decades in Israeli journalism and Jewish education before joining the Times a few years ago. By now she’s thoroughly Israeli (and, for full disclosure, a friend).”

While pro-Israel Zealots vehemently attack Bronner and Kershner when they cover Palestinian victimization, the truth is that they overlook a great many instances. For example, a 33-year-old Palestinian father of two young girls (another child is on the way) was on a hunger strike that lasted for 66 days. He was was near near death when he finally decided to end it on Feb 21.

The young man, Khader Adnan, was protesting his imprisonment by Israel – he was never charged with a crime – and the beatings and humiliations he endured from Israeli  interrogators. There was an extended international campaign about him that grew even more urgent when doctors began warning after 45 days that he was at risk of death. Eventually, there was so much pressure world wide (including by  UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk and EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton) that Israel  announced it would release Adnan at the end of his “sentence.”

Yet, Bronner and Kershner – and Times columnists who frequently bemoan the alleged lack of a Palestinian Gandhi – did not publish a single story on Adnan until the 66th (and last) day of his hunger strike  – after the Washington Post had finally carried a report two days before. The Times’ headline was the very bland, “Hearing for Palestinian on Hunger Strike Is Set.

While Adnan’s is the longest Palestinian hunger strike on record, through the years there have been hundreds of hunger strikes by multitudes of Palestinians in Israeli prisons; the Times almost never reports on them. It’s revealing to compare their numerous stories on the Israeli tank gunner captured by Palestinians, Gilad Shalit, to the sparsity of their reporting on Adnan and others.

Overall, the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel seem largely to have been invisible to Times’ reporters. While there have been gruesome reports of their torture for decades, there is little indication that Bronner or Kershner have investigated this or made much, if any, effort to visit Palestinians in Israeli prisons.

Who is Jodi Rudoren?

Now that Bronner’s four-year term has come to an end (he says he initiated the transfer himself and was not pushed out over conflict of interest), it is not clear what went into new editor Jill Abramson’s decision to choose Rudoren for this powerful position.

A cum laude graduate from Yale, Rudoren’s journalistic experience appears to be limited to domestic subjects. Most recently she had been head of the Times’ Education bureau. She speaks what she calls “functional Hebrew” but no Arabic. It’s unknown how much time, if any, she has spent in Israel, whether she has family there, or whether she has family members in the Israeli military.

When Rudoren received a tweet by Palestinian-American author Ali Abunimah, who noted that she would be moving into stolen Palestinian property, she responded: “Hey there. Would love to chat sometime. About things other than the house. My friend Kareem Fahim [a New York Times associate] says good things.”

This friendly but somewhat flip response to a serious subject has caused Israel zealots to attack her. The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg somewhat hysterically equated Abunimah, an author known for his intellectual analysis, with Israeli Jewish supremacists known for their violence.

Goldberg suggested that Rudoren should have “twinned” her tweet to Abunimah by reaching out to Kahanists — a group listed by both Israel and the U.S. as terrorists. Goldberg should be pleased to learn that Rudoren said she had done just that, telling the Jerusalem Post, “One of the people I followed before reaching out to Abunimah was David Ha’ivri.”

Ha’ivri is an extremist settler rabbi who was involved with Jewish Defense League founder Meir Kahane’s Kach terror group, celebrated the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin when he had begun to make peace with Palestinians, and was convicted some years ago for desecrating a mosque.

Abunimah, on the other hand, has written a book called “One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse,” in which he describes how Israelis and Palestinians can live together in peace.

Rudoren’s knowledge of Hebrew may have been bolstered by her summertime attendance at Camp Yavneh, a Jewish camp in New Hampshire that has an Israeli flag at the top of its website and boasts of its “strong Israeli programming.” It features a six-weeks “summer in Israel” program, though it’s unknown whether Rudoren attended this.

The camp website states that the current boys’ head counselor “grew up in Gush Etzion, Israel, and has served as a Lieutenant Commander in the Israeli Army in charge of 150 soldiers in the Givatti Brigade.” Another counselor is a resident of the Israeli settlement of Efrat, which, like all Israeli settlements, is built on confiscated Palestinian land and is illegal under international law.

Despite an upbringing that appears to have included considerable immersion in Zionist mythology, indications are that Rudoren may be working to widen her view. She raves about a book by Peter Beinart called “The Crisis of Zionism” and retweeted a message by blogger Sami Kishawi. It’s interesting to note that the Times’ only other female Jerusalem bureau chief, Deborah Sontag, often provided exemplary coverage; her term seems to have ended early.

Tweeting like a J-Street official?

Jeffrey Goldberg – who moved to Israel, became an Israeli citizen, joined the Israeli army, and worked as a prison guard at one of Israel’s most brutal prisons – assures readers that Rudoren is still within the pro-Israel fold, commenting, “I don’t know Rudoren… I do know her sister, from synagogue, mainly, and I don’t think Jodi is some sort of anti-Israel activist…”

Goldberg is concerned, however, that she is tweeting “as if she’s a J Street official.” For Goldberg this veers dangerously toward anti-Israelism.

In reality, however, J Street is a pro-Israel organization whose positions are dictated by what is good for Israel. Its founder has just published a book entitled “A New Voice for Israel.” If Goldberg’s assessment of Rudoren is accurate, then it appears that once again the Times has a person at the helm of its reporting on Israelis and Palestinians for whom Israelis are “family.” Quite possibly, literally.

Rudoren may be intending to cover the region accurately and with fairness. To do so, however, it appears that she will need to overcome enormous ingrained bias, relentless and vitriolic objections of the organized pro-Israel community (quite likely including friends and family), and pressure by many powerful Times advertisers and colleagues.

On top of this, unless she chooses a different lifestyle than her predecessors’, she will be living in Israel, her children will go to Israeli schools, and her home will be one of the thousands confiscated from Palestinians who are now living and suffering largely out of sight, their daily humiliations and victimization for the most part invisible.

These winds may be so strong that even when Rudoren believes she has stood upright against them, an outside view may show her tilted far over in the Israeli direction, her reporting on Israel-Palestine, to paraphrase Dorothy Parker, covering the gamut from A to C.

Let us hope that this doesn’t occur.

Let us hope Rudoren understands that good reporting does not equate a false narrative with a factual one; that she will not be, in Abunimah’s words, yet “another New York Times reporter for whom Palestinians are just bit players in someone else’s drama.”

Let us hope she understands that living in stolen property is not a good base from which to report honestly; that “balance” achieved by under-reporting Palestinian suffering while exaggerating that of Israelis is not balance, it is distortion. Let us hope, most of all, that she does not view some human beings as more important than others, but instead views all, regardless of their religion or ethnicity, as family.

Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew and president of the Council for the National Interest. She can be reached Bulk reprints of this article can be obtained

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A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter


The selling off of our prized possessions

Posted: 23 Feb 2012

The record of private security company G4S is deeply troubling (including in Papua New Guinea, from where I recently returned).

So this news is both worrying and a sign of things to come globally. For some privatisation propagandists, everything should sold to private interests:

Private security company G4S is about to sign a deal which would see it building and staffing the first British police station run by a private security contractor.

The deal with Lincolnshire Police Authority – expected to be signed within days – represents the most radical outsourcing of law enforcement so far, according to a report last week in the Financial Times .

The contract will see G4S take over jobs previously handled by police officers including custody and ID duties (but with custody sergeants still on hand), control room staffing, town enquiry officers, the crime management bureau, the criminal justice unit and firearms licensing.

But Simon Reed, vice-chair of the Police Federation, told the FT that he had some reservations about the scheme, as private employees may not have the same enshrined sense of public duty as police officers.

“Our concern is the resilience of the companies doing this,” he said. “When we have national emergencies or unforeseen events, will they be able to bring their staff in to work long hours, regardless of what their contracts say?”

The police station move is part of a £200m contract with G4S over 10 years. Other police forces are said to be considering similar moves.

In a joint statement announcing the contract last December , Lincolnshire Police Authority chairman Barry Young and chief constable Richard Crompton said:

“Over the period of the contract this new approach will make significant savings, whilst also providing investment in key areas like IT infrastructure. The subsequent streamlining of processes will free up officer time to concentrate on operational policing.

“This new approach will mean that the leanest police force in Britain, which already provides its services at the lowest cost per head of population, will be able to meet the challenges laid down by the government, whilst also meeting the high standards rightly expected by the people of Lincolnshire.”

John Shaw, managing director of G4S police support services, said:

“Lincolnshire is leading the way in responding to the challenges of the economic environment and this transformation project will mean many of the services provided by Lincolnshire Police will now be delivered externally by specialists who can deliver greater savings and improve efficiency.

“We believe that the combination of Lincolnshire’s policing model and our expertise in delivering middle and back office functions will improve services and deliver the savings the Authority needs.

Finally, in the NYT, acknowledgement that media leading us to war against Iran

Posted: 23 Feb 2012

Slow down there, eager journalists, hacks, politicians, Zionist lobby and think-tankers. An attack on Iran is clearly the war you’ve been dying for (since Iraq and Afghanistan worked out so well for you).

This piece in the New York Times, a paper with a long history of backing America’s imperial wars, offers necessary caution:

The United States has now endured what by some measures is the longest period of war in its history, with more than 6,300 American troops killed and 46,000 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ultimate costs estimated at $3 trillion. Both wars lasted far longer than predicted. The outcomes seem disappointing and uncertain.

So why is there already a new whiff of gunpowder in the air?

Talk of war over Iran’s nuclear program has reached a strident pitch in recent weeks, as Israel has escalated threats of a possible strike, the oratory of American politicians has become more bellicose and Iran has responded for the most part defiantly. With Israel and Iran exchanging accusations of assassination plots, some analysts see a danger of blundering into a war that would inevitably involve the United States.

Echoes of the period leading up to the Iraq war in 2003 are unmistakable, igniting a familiar debate over whether journalists are overstating Iran’s progress toward a bomb. Yet there is one significant difference: by contrast with 2003, when the Bush administration portrayed Iraq as an imminent threat, Obama administration officials and intelligence professionals seem eager to calm the feverish language.

Both the ombudsman of The Washington Post and the public editor of The New York Times in his online blog have scolded their newspapers since December for overstating the current evidence against Iran in particular headlines and stories. Amid the daily drumbeat about a possible war, the hazard of an assassination or a bombing setting off a conflict inadvertently worries some analysts. After a series of killings of Iranian scientists widely believed to be the work of Israel, Israeli diplomats in three countries were the targets last week of bombs suspected to have been planted by Iranians.

Peter Feaver of Duke University, who has long studied public opinion about war and worked in the administration of President George W. Bush, said the Obama administration’s policy was now “in the exact middle of American public opinion on Iran” — taking a hard line against a nuclear-armed Iran, yet opposing military action for now and escalating sanctions. But as the November election approaches, Mr. Feaver said, inflammatory oratory is likely to increase, even if it is unsuited to a problem as complicated as Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

“This is the standard danger of talking about foreign policy crises in a campaign,” he said. “If you try to explain a complex position, you sound hopelessly vague.”

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Dorothy Online Newsletter


Dear Friends,


The quote above is in item 2.  If it is correct, that adds a new dimension to Khader Adnan’s detention.  Right or not, I am glad that he is no longer starving to death.


Nonetheless,  Mairav Zonszeins attitude in item 1 pretty much expresses my feelings, too.  Khader Adnan’s struggle was against the military denying him due process, and also against the  mistreatment he received during interrogation, not to mention his being chained to the bed during the entire time he was in the hospital.  I have seen this some years ago on a different prisoner, one who was in better physical condition than Adnan was.  It’s awful.  Why, if there are 2 guards in the room, if the patient is never alone, why also chain him to the bed?  Why deny him family visits—yes, his wife and daughters and father were allowed to see him 3 times during the nearly 70 days that he was chained to the bed, but mainly because the authorities hoped the family would convince him to end his hunger strike.  We can only hope that his struggle was not in vain.


6 items in this message.


Items 1 and 2 are about Khader Adnan.  The Israeli media was almost silent on him today.  I haven’t checked the international media, but would expect mostly the same.  Let us hope that he will regain his health.


Item 3 is a novel attitude expressed by Zvi Bar’el towards Iran.  Indeed, it’s Israel’s leaders that are always bombing or threatening to bomb nuclear facilities of other countries—Iraq and Syria for a start, and now Iran.  Israel is the danger, not Iran.  Granted that Iran’s present leaders appear to be somewhat nutty, but then do Israel’s leaders strike you as sane?

In item 4 Anshel Pfeffer discusses the bds movement, not exactly with disdain, but with obvious dislike.  His stand that it has not achieved its main aim—that of economic pressure—does not mean that it won’t.  Moreover, am not sure that this is necessarily the main aim.  Boycott and Divestment and Sanctions are 3 different means of pressuring the Israeli government, and the fact that Israel is now sending out its ‘troops’ to counter the bds movement shows that something is working.


Item 5 suggests that eventually bds movements might be less necessary.  Carlo Strenger discusses German attitudes towards Israel.  If Germany is questioning, other countries will follow.


Item 6 is a handbook for bds beginners.  Pfeffer mentions it, but at this site you can either download it or order it.  I have read portions of it.  It’s worth thumbing through for ideas and information.


That’s it for tonight friends.

All the best,




1 Wednesday, February 22 2012

Independent commentary and news from Israel & Palestine

|Mairav Zonszein

‘Bad guy’ or not, Adnan hunger strike was about due process

As Khader Adnan’s case took over the news cycle this week, I noticed comments by thoughtful readers, generally on my Facebook feed, pointing out Adnan’s association with terror. They have circulated a video in which Adnan asks who the next suicide bomber will be, pointed to his affiliation with Islamic Jihad, and  asked: How can you root for a terrorist? How can supposed progressives like us rally around him?

(I would have posted the video but YouTube has blocked it in recent hours, claiming it violates its content standards. Note: Adnan does not make an explicit call for suicide bombing in the video but he does seem to call for violence and certainly it does not show him in a “Gandhist” light)

I do not know Adnan and did not know of his existence until recently. I cannot vouch for his character and do not know what he has or has not done. He may seek to cause me harm without even knowing me. He may be a really bad guy who just wants to kill Jews.

But his behavior and possible crimes are not at issue – and have not been demonstrated. How the state treats him is. The man has been held in prison by the government to which I pay taxes without charge, due to an unethical and longstanding practice used by Israel to punish and deter all kinds of acts of resistance. And no one can argue that it is okay just because administrative detention falls under Israeli law. The documentary The Law in These Partseffectively displays the ways in which an entire system of Israeli law and justice has been built to fit a specific political agenda.

The fact is that the man went on a hunger strike that lasted over two months and severely endangered his health. He had to risk his life in order to get the state to reach the logical conclusion that the military court must release him if it cannot provide evidence against him within an allotted period of time. But this is how the practice should always be. Even in exceptional cases, in which is it acceptable under international law to detain someone without trial due to security concerns, there is a period of time by which the person must either be tried or released. Yes, even if that person is a terrorist. And if that suspect is indeed a future murderer, then the law has failed humanity – this has happened many times in the world and unfortunately will continue to happen. It is a price that is paid in societies where people are innocent till proven guilty, and not the other way around.

I wasn’t rooting for Khader Adnan the individual, and those that believe that us “radical lefties,” “so-called peace-loving progressives” are celebrating a terrorist are simply missing the issue at hand.  As Mitchell Plitnick poignantly just expressed it:

I am delighted that Khader Adnan will not starve to death. I only wish that the eyes of the world had enough scope to focus not only on his effort, but also on this abhorrent practice that is a stain on the admittedly tattered honor of not only Israel, but also the United States.

My opposition to this Israeli policy (a policy rampant in plenty other countries, east and west, more democratic and less) does not translate into cheering for Palestinians. I was not rooting for Adnan so much as I was lamenting the fact that in the country I live in, a person must starve himself in order to receive basic fair treatment. While the deal is a step in the right direction, unless it leads to fundamental revamping of policy, I fear it will have merely been a way for Israel to continue administrative detention under the guise of a morality check.


2 Ynetnews

Wednesday, February 22, 2012




Ahmad Tibi Photo: Avihu Shapira


Poster calling for Adnan’s release Photo: EPA


Mohammad Barakeh Photo: Avihu Shapira,7340,L-4193088,00.html


MK Tibi: Adnan came out a winner

MK Ahmad Tibi says Palestinian detainee’s imprisonment was unjust, lauds deal that brought end to Adnan’s hunger strike


Elior Levy Published:  02.22.12, 00:09 / Israel News

Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) said Tuesday that Palestinian administrative detainee Khader Adnan has “come out a winner” after the State announced he is to be released next month.


The Islamic Jihad operative, who has been held in Israel without charge since December, ended a 65-day hunger strike earlier Tuesday when the State Prosecutor’s Office said it will not pursue the renewal of his administrative detention.


Tibi and MK Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash) made the remark during a ceremony that took place at Adnan’s hometown of Arraba in celebration of the prisoner’s impending freedom. The event was also attended by senior officials from the Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Ministry.


Tibi at Arraba ceremony (Photo: Reuters)


The High Court of Justice was set to convene over Adnan’s case on Tuesday, but the hearing was cancelled when the Justice Ministry announced it had reached a deal with Adnan, establishing that he is to be freed on April 17.


“This is a worthy agreement that is saving Adnan’s life,” Tibi said.


‘World was on his side’

The lawmaker spoke out against the State’s use of administrative detention, and called Adnan’s imprisonment “unjustified.”


“The hunger strike was his only means of voicing his opposition to the detention,” Tibi said. “The whole world was on his side. I’m glad the affair has concluded in a way that prevented a great tragedy.”


Tibi postulated that Adnan’s death would have caused an escalation in the region.


Randa Adnan: Khader’s not terrorist (Photo: AFP)


Adnan’s wife, Randa, told Ynet that his whole family gathered to celebrate the news. She said that she still does not understand the reason behind his arrest, asserting that he does not partake in terrorist activity.


“It’s true that he was the Islamic Jihad’s spokesman during the intifada, but over the past four years he had nothing to do with it,” she said. “He hadn’t talked to anyone from the Islamic Jihad. He left that activity altogether.”


Randa said that her husband has turned into a symbol for the Palestinian people.


“He has achieved his goal,” she said. “It’s a victory not only for him but for all of the Palestinian prisoners who are held in Israel, and especially for the administrative detainees.”


Adnan’s release, which coincides with “Palestinian Prisoners’ Day,” is to be celebrated with a welcome ceremony in Arraba.


Moran Azulay contributed to the report



3  Haaretz

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Iran’s real weapon


As things stand, Iran has achieved its goals without needing to stockpile nuclear bombs in its arsenal.


By Zvi Bar’el


How many centrifuges does North Korea have? How much enriched uranium does Pakistan have? What nuclear fuels are in Israel’s possession?


Even if someone does have the answers to these questions, it’s not because these countries have volunteered the information − far from it. But Iran, on the other hand, won’t shut its mouth for a second.


We don’t know everything about Iran’s nuclear capabilities, but recall how Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stood in front of television cameras and peeled the plastic wrapping off the country’s centrifuge rods. He doesn’t conceal the fact that he has enriched uranium at levels of 3.5 percent and 20 percent. Iran also readily discloses how many new centrifuges it has in its possession and when they were assembled.


Yet more surprising is Ahmadinejad’s public declarations about precisely what he intends to develop, assemble and enrich, and when. It’s as though he’s producing television promos. One might wonder why Iran is so public about its nuclear program. Why, for instance, does it not adopt Israel’s policy of nuclear ambiguity?

The answer is that Iran simply does not want to do so.


There is a consensus in the West, and also in Israel, that Iran has not yet decided whether to develop a nuclear weapon. But why hasn’t it decided? If it has no intention of producing such a weapon, then what’s all the fuss about? And if Iran does really want to develop a nuclear weapon, why is it waiting?


If sanctions imposed by Europe and the United States are truly stifling Iran’s decision-making process, then there’s no obvious reason to attack its nuclear facilities. Keeping the sanctions in place permanently should be enough to preserve peace. The sanctions might even be lifted at some point, so long as the West threatens to reinstate them should Iran risk a change in policy.


Yet the answers to all these questions appear to be deeper than we might initially think. It’s hard not to be astounded by Iran’s diplomatic successes over the past decade. Thanks to America’s occupation of Iraq, Iran managed to come across as Iraq’s patron. It also functions as Syria’s strategic backer; and via Hezbollah, Tehran controls Lebanon’s domestic affairs. It invests considerable funds in Afghanistan, and helps Pakistan manage wide-ranging affairs with India. This week it offered to help Egypt bolster its economy, should the United States decide to freeze aid to Cairo; in Egypt, there is vocal support for such a relationship with Iran.


Iran also maintains close relations with Turkey, Qatar and several North African countries.


And it isn’t very fastidious about an ally’s Sunni or secular character, either. Tehran is not motivated by the creation of Shi’ite coalitions or by Islamic revolutions. The Iranians are aware that Sunni states are wary of dealing with Shi’ites, and also that Sunni Islamic thinkers and leaders loathe the Shi’ite movement, which is regarded by many of them as outright apostasy. Iran’s calculations are not spiritual; they are strategic and rational. Many observers, including the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, are certain of this fact.


Iran also is not content with strengthening its regional status. Its major success involves the way it manipulates Western powers’ foreign policy with regard to Eastern powers − China and Russia. Iran stirs up disputes between Israel and the United States, which opposes an attack on Iran. And it has been able to forestall attacks on Syria. No country or coalition from the West wants to put Iran to the test, particularly not at a time when the overriding goal is to engage in a nuclear dialogue with Tehran.


In this way, the West has shown Iran that it has no need for a nuclear bomb. It has been enough for Iran to simply demonstrate its capacity to develop unconventional weapons. Such a threat has transformed Iran into a superpower able to manipulate the positions of countries around the world. Iran isn’t in a hurry to cross the line between having the potential to manufacture a bomb and actually producing such a weapon. It might never cross that line. Why should it furnish the West with a pretext to attack or impose more sanctions against it?


As things stand, Iran has achieved its goals without needing to stockpile nuclear bombs in its arsenal. Which is ideal, as far as Tehran is concerned. Iran has attained optimal deterrent power. The gist is this: Tell your friends what you’re capable of doing to them, should you choose to do so, and wait for them to embrace you. Wait a second, that’s Israel’s policy, isn’t it?



4  Haaretz

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Near and Apparent


by Anshel Pfeffer


Tags: Palestinians anti-Israel Israel culture Israel boycott


The boycott Israel movement’s small victories are far from sweeping success

Although BDS activists have convinced many to cancel performances here, the movement has not been able to exert the economic pressure on Israel it wishes to achieve.


American jazz musician Cassandra Wilson who decided at the last minute to cancel her planned performance at the Holon Women’s Festival today joins a lengthening list of artists who have decided for political reasons to skip Israel in their concert tours. The BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) movement can chalk up another victory but while the cancellations have dismayed Israelis who hoped to see their favorite musicians perform live, the BDS central aim, to exert economic pressure on Israel, has so far not been achieved.


The BDS movement has improved its organization over the last year, with a close-knit network of dozens of local groups, from around the world, radical left circles and pro-Palestinian movements like The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel based in Ramallah, coordinating protests over the internet and social networks. Last month, a BDS “handbook” was published, titled “Targeting Israeli Apartheid,” which tracks international corporations trading with Israel and recommending ways that activists can pressure them to cease their Israeli operations. But while the movement has managed to mobilize thousands of supporters around the world to send online entreaties that convince performers, many of whom see themselves as human-rights activists, to avoid Israel, the corporations and some of the more famous performers who are less exposed to Facebook campaigns, have been impervious. Despite the support of some prominent figures such as Bishop Desmond Tutu, the movement has not succeeded in affecting governments to limit their countries’ commerce with Israel either.

An anti-Ahava activist in London’s Covent Garden.


Photo by: Activestills


The BDS strategy of targeting Israel as a whole, rather than just the settlements across the Green Line, has made it a divisive issue also within the normally pro-Palestinian left. The official demands of the movement refer to end to “colonization of all Arab lands” without distinction, “full equality” for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees. Even the Palestinian Authority does not officially support BDS, focusing instead on the settlements.


In recent days, the movement is in uproar over a video interview with Professor Norman Finkelstein, a severe critic of Israeli policies, who seemed to be breaking with the BDS strategy, if not with its ideals. In the interview, Finkelstein described the movement’s rhetoric as disingenuousness, saying that “they don’t want Israel. They think they’re being very clever, they call it their three tiers – we want the end of the occupation, we want the right of return and we want equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they’re very clever because they know the result of implementing all three is what? What’s the result? You know and I know, what’s the result? There’s no Israel.” Finkelstein said that he had no problem in principle with that position, but that it would never succeed in convincing large numbers. “If you want to eliminate Israel that’s your right but I don’t think you’re going to reach anybody. I think it’s a non-starter.”


Finkelstein said that to gain credibility, the BDS movement has to recognize Israel’s right to exist, but said that many of the activists wanted to “wipe out Israel” and such a move would split the movement, which he likened to “a cult.”

Following the interview, angry debates broke out on the dozens of websites devoted to BDS, with some admitting openly that they believed the movement’s principles were incompatible with the existence of Israel and others writing that they would accept “a different Israel.” The interviewer, a BDS supporter, initially posted the video on YouTube, but subsequently removed it on Finkelstein’s request. It was reposted and has since been circulated on pro-Israel websites.


Finkelstein and his interlocutors probably were not aware, but a similar debate on the efficacy of the BDS campaign has been going on for some time within the Israeli Foreign Ministry and pro-Israel advocacy groups. Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), a series of events around the world, mainly on university campuses, trying to draw attention to Israel’s “apartheid” policies and promote the cause of BDS kicks off next week and while in the past, Israel’s defenders have tried to counter these efforts, even coming up with Israel Peace Week as an antidote to Apartheid Week, there is a growing feeling that BDS and IAW events attract few who are not already committed hardcore activists, fail to interest large mainstream news organizations and their high-profile web-presence does not reflect a widespread grassroots movement. The conclusion that the ministry and organizations such as ADL are beginning to come around to is that the best defense to the BDS campaign, is not an attack that will simply draw more attention, but disengagement and pro-Israel activities which are not seen as a direct response.



5  Haaretz

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Estranged friends? A view on Israel from Western Europe

Is there a commonality of interest between Germany and Israel, or is Israel gradually turning into a liability for its Western friends?


By Carlo Strenger

Tags: Europe EU Benjamin Netanyahu


AMSTERDAM – Last week I spent a few days in Berlin, primarily for a conference entitled: “Estranged Friends? Israeli and German Perceptions of State, Nation, Force” organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, a German foreign policy organizations allied with the left-leaning Green party.


I have met with members of the Green party and of the Heinrich Böll Foundation quite often, and I can say beyond doubt that many of its members are deeply engaged with and closely connected to Israel. Quite a number of them are true friends of, feel connected to and care for Israel. They know its political and social structure well, and are well informed about current affairs in Israel.


Germany’s relation to Israel has always been complex; overshadowed by the tragedy and horrors of the Holocaust. Support for Israel is a fixture of German politics, and Chancellor Merkel has gone as far to say that one of the Federal Republic’s raisons d’être is its commitment to Israel’s existential security.


It therefore took some courage for the Böll Foundation to formulate the conference’s guiding question: do Israel and Germany still share a true friendship, or has the estrangement become the dominant trait?


Israel was represented by a number of eloquent spokespeople, among them Shimon Stein, who served as Israel’s ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2007. Stein made it clear that he no longer represents Israel’s government and that he chose early retirement from the Foreign Service due to difficulties of representing Israel’s current government.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (r) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel


Photo by: AP


Stein’s position was particularly interesting, because he is, by no means, a starry-eyed idealist: he belongs to the realist school in international relations that understands relations between countries as a function of national interests. For him, the notion of friendship between nations is rather vague, and he prefers looking at commonalities of interest.


But here, exactly was one of the themes that resurfaced, time and again. Is there, at this point, a commonality of interest between Germany and Israel, or is Israel gradually turning into a liability for its supposedly Western friends? After all for these, the tense relations with the Islamic world are a source of great concern; partially because of their dependence on Arab oil, but also because of their preoccupation with the evolving relations with their Muslim minorities. In this respect, Germany’s friendship with Israel is indeed about to turn into more of a problem for its long-term interests.


By and large I saw remarkable sympathy and understanding for Israel’s genuine concerns, not only with respect to the possibility of a nuclear Iran. Ralph Fuecks , co-Chair of the Böll Foundation, repeatedly quoted the Mufti’s recent statement that Jews were the descendants of apes and pigs to show that incitement against Israel is by no means a matter of the past.


There are three major points on which Israel is clearly moving away from the West, as represented by Germany. One is the rise of nationalist rhetoric and the tendency of the ruling coalition to speak of Jews’ eternal right to the greater land of Israel. German intellectuals and politicians are highly aware that German romanticism has been crucial in developing this kind of rhetoric in the nineteenth century with utterly disastrous consequences in the Nazi period, and they firmly reject such rhetoric wherever it is used.


The second, connected, issue is Israel’s increasing movement towards ethnocracy: many of the Netanyahu coalition’s legislative proposals differentiating between Jews and non-Jews run very deeply against the model of civic equality in the Free World.


The third is the great involvement of religion in Israeli politics in a variety of ways: most importantly in the fateful influence of the national-religious agenda on the colonization of the West Bank; through the fact that Israel’s Rabbinate is a state agency; and the fact that it is even possible for ultra-Orthodox and national-religious groupings to demand that women be excluded from certain public functions like singing.


One of the participants, Prof. Michael Wolffsohn, a Jewish, Israeli-born historian at Munich University put the situation quite succinctly in one of the panels: he said that he can easily see how there could be an German-Meretz Friendship, but ever less a commonality between Germany and Israel. Because I’m quite sure that a number of readers will say ‘ah, another leftist’, it might be worth pointing out that Wolffsohn, who has served in the IDF, is considered a political conservative.


Wolffsohn’s statement highlights the growing chasm between Israel and Germany in particular, and the Free World in general. In terms of its core values, Israel has been moving away from the Free World, certainly during Netanyahu’s second tenure of the last three years.


I have, during these years, made great efforts to explain to European audiences what it is like to live under permanent existential threat, and I have tried to argue that at least certain aspects of Israel’s move to the right are the result of Israelis’ traumatization by the second Intifada and the shelling of southern Israel.


Nevertheless the conference, in my mind, has sharpened the question ‘quo vadis Israel?’ – where is the country headed? Are Israel’s growing nationalism and religiosity purely reactive, or do they reflect ethnic and religious identities that have become demographically more dominant?


I think that, certainly in German’s elites, there is still a strong will to maintain and develop friendship with Israel. This is certainly not reciprocated by Lieberman who continues to show nothing but disdain for Europe; judging from his actions, Netanyahu and most of his coalition partners seem not to care either.


In the foreseeable future such friendship will have to be nourished through the institutions of civil society – as for example the Böll Foundation’s conference in Berlin. For me, as for many in Israel for whom the ideals of liberty, human rights and equality are core values, friendship with Germany in particular and Europe in general is not purely instrumental: it reflects the ideals we share with a continent that has drawn important lessons from its tragic history.


6 Hi Dorothy,

This book and book review might be of interest to you and your e-list. It is very long, but perhaps you would want to mention it somehow without sending the entire article.






Dear all, Perhaps this handbook would be useful to those of you in the earlier stages of a BDS campaign.

Book identifies pressure points for boycott actions


The idea of boycotting Israel has gained more and more currency in the West over the last ten years or so, and one of the most frequent requests from new recruits to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is for a “boycott list.” Just tell us the companies to avoid, they say.

Long lists of companies with every conceivable link to Israel can be found on the Internet. But the effect of these bewilderingly long documents can be to leave the reader with a feeling of helplessness in the face of Israel’s extensive commercial links around the world.


However, tangible victories have been the key factor behind the growth of the Palestinian-led BDS movement since 2005. When a wave of musicians (including The Pixies and The Gorillaz) cancelled gigs in Israel in disgust at the lethal Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in May 2010, that was a tangible victory. When settler cosmetics company Ahava was shut down in London’s prestigious Covent Garden after a sustained protest campaign against it, that was a tangible victory. And on it goes.


Without a stream of such solid victories making the headlines, and affecting Israeli bottom lines, boycotting would be in danger of becoming little more than a morality test, or a way to feel good about ourselves without concrete results.


It took a huge coalition of Palestinian civil society groups to lead the way with the 2005 BDS call to action, which set a series of solid political and moral principles that have been the guiding light of the movement ever since. The effect has been to transform a good idea into a strengthening global movement.


Now led by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the movement’s principles have been taken to heart by a team of dedicated researchers from the organization Corporate Watch who have produced the new self-published book, Targeting Israeli Apartheid: a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Handbook.

It is based on years of first-hand research on the ground. The group has been publishing the results of their investigations on the excellent (and far-too-often overlooked) Corporate Occupation blog.


The authors draw on a large range of written sources (such as the essential database) but more often than not their conclusions are based on first-hand observation. They take photos of factories in settlement industrial zones (95). They interview Palestinians working in Israeli settlements, suffering from bad conditions and underpayment: “Despite the fact that so many Palestinian workers are ‘employed’ in the settlements, most workers interviewed by Corporate Watch support a boycott of Israel and see it as the only way they can eventually regain control of their land” (235).


Naming and shaming

The book’s structure is highly effective. Part one gives an overview of each sector of the Israeli economy. Companies are named and listed, human rights violations are highlighted and each company’s international links are outlined and detailed. Names are named and even business addresses are listed. This is a most thorough analysis, and an important and wide-ranging reference work. Sectors of the Israeli economy examined in detail include: telecoms, energy, high-tech, armaments, diamonds, pharmaceuticals, construction and even franchises (such as Ikea, Pizza Hut and KFC).

But this is no dry, theoretical examination of the Israeli economy. It is an entirely practical (and I’d even go so far as to say highly-readable) guide to the ins and outs of what is actually made in Israel and sold around the world. All the way through, the authors suggest good, practical targets for BDS campaigns. The team always has an eye out for companies that could be vulnerable to public and international pressure.


For example, along with naming UK bank Barclays as the “only British bank to own significant investment in Israeli companies” (9), the authors also list the Israeli companies Barclays invests in (291). Similarly, it is explained that Israeli bank Leumi has a small presence in the UK, which the authors recommend as a good target for concerted campaigning because it could be vulnerable to pressure (14-15).


Educational resource

I personally learned a lot from this book. For example, it drew my attention to the Yahav Bank for Government Employees. This institution is important for trade unionists campaigning for a boycott of the Histadrut, Israel’s general trade union, which owns 25 percent of this bank. Since Yahav provides loans and other services to illegal West Bank settlements, this means the Histadrut is directly complicit with and even directly profits from the ongoing Israeli colonization of the West Bank (13).


I was struck with the reality of the sheer, massive scale of international investment in Israel. On one hand, this is a sign that the BDS movement still has a long way to go. Take Intel, present in Israel — and with serious investments — since 1974. The computer chip maker has five facilities in the country, with even more investment planned for the future (155-6).

Vast opportunities to boycott


Yet reading about the scale of the problem still somehow gives you a sense of optimism. One reads the long lists of companies and their links to Israel and one cannot help but look at the situation in a glass-half-full kind of way. All those international links mean a lot of different opportunities for activists in countries around the world to try different BDS campaigns, and the authors are constantly suggesting good ideas, unexplored targets and potential strategies and tactics.


This sense of realistic optimism is also encouraged by the decision of the authors to include a “resistance” section at the end of many chapters. Here, they outline the record of Palestinian and international activism against each aspect of the Israeli economy: the victories and the limitations.

The only criticism of this book I have worth mentioning is the inconsistent approach to footnotes. While there is an admirable attempt to include a web address with every note, this is often at the expense of a proper reference. So article titles are not always included; you just get the web address. Besides the fact that URLs are often awkward and tedious to type in, many do not last in the long term, as they often change when websites are redesigned over the years (this happened a few years ago on the Haaretz website — all the old links were broken). A more consistent approach here would have been better. But this critique aside, the lengths to which the authors have gone to properly document and reference every claim is admirable.

Perhaps not a criticism as such, but there is a UK-specific focus in part three of the book that must be mentioned. Titled “Bringing the Fight Home,” it looks at what has been achieved in the UK and what still needs to be done. But most of the rest of the book is relevant globally. It is also published under a Creative Commons license, so there is scope here for other groups around the world to write their own local version of this chapter (though the exact terms of the license were not clear to me).


Overall, Targeting Israeli Apartheid is quite simply the essential reference work for any activist group serious about launching a new BDS campaign against companies involved in Israeli war crimes, apartheid and occupation. The Corporate Watch collective has even make the entire thing available to download for free on their website. Despite that, I still recommend buying a hard copy (available to order on their website for the very reasonable price of £9; $14). Not only is a hard copy easier to read, but financially supporting the book will hopefully encourage the group to continue its important research on Palestine.


Buy or download the book from

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist with a focus on Palestine. His website is

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Dorothy Online Newsletter



Fury as Israel president claims English are ‘anti-semitic’

Israel’s president has accused the English of being anti-semitic and claimed that MPs pander to Muslim voters.

Fury as Israel president claims English are 'anti-semitic'

Israel’s President Shimon Peres said that England’s attitude towards Jews was Israel’s “next big problem”.  Photo: REUTERS

By David Harrison and Adrian Blomfield in Jerusalem

9:00PM BST 31 Jul 2010

Shimon Peres said England was “deeply pro-Arab … and anti-Israeli”, adding: “They always worked against us.”

He added: “There is in England a saying that an anti-Semite is someone who hates the Jews more than is necessary.”

His remarks, made in an interview on a Jewish website, provoked anger from senior MPs and Jewish leaders who said the 87-year-old president had “got it wrong”.

But other groups backed the former Israeli prime minister and said the number of anti-semitic incidents had risen dramatically in the UK in recent years.

The controversy follows the furore last week over David Cameron’s remark that Gaza was a “prison camp”, as he urged Israel to allow aid and people to move freely in and out of the Palestinian territory.

Mr Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who is three years into his seven-year term as president and was awarded an honorary knighthood by the Queen in 2008, said that England’s attitude towards Jews was Israel’s “next big problem”.

“There are several million Muslim voters, and for many members of parliament, that’s the difference between getting elected and not getting elected,” he said.

“And in England there has always been something deeply pro-Arab, of course, not among all Englishmen, and anti-Israeli, in the establishment.

“They abstained in the [pro-Zionist] 1947 UN partition resolution … They maintained an arms embargo against us in the 1950s … They always worked against us. They think the Arabs are the underdogs.”

By contrast, relations with Germany, France and Italy were “pretty good”, he added.

He made the comments in an interview with the historian Professor Benny Morris of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev published last week in Tablet, a Jewish news website.

The wide-ranging interview covered Mr Peres’ role as one of Israel’s longest-serving political leaders – an MP for 48 years, twice prime minister, and holder of other ministerial posts over the decades. He is firmly on the Israeli Left.

He was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 jointly with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for his part as foreign minister in the peace talks which produced the landmark Oslo Accords.

But following his comments, James Clappison, the Conservative MP for Hertsmere and vice-chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel, said: “Mr Peres has got this wrong.

“There are pro- and anti-Israel views in all European countries. Things are certainly no worse, as far as Israel is concerned, in this country than other European countries.”

The MP added that he could “understand the frustration” that people in Israel felt with “certain elements of the British broadcast media” which present an unbalanced view of Israel.

He said: “I can understand Mr Peres’ concerns, but I don’t recognise what he is saying about England.”

Yet in Israel, Mr Peres is far from alone in holding such views, which have gained a wider following, particularly on the Right, since the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat over accusations that Mossad sent agents using British passports to assassinate a Hamas commander in Dubai.

Aryeh Eldad, a right-wing member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, accused Britain of working against Israeli interests for decades – ever since it “betrayed” its promises to build a Jewish homeland when it governed Palestine under a League of Nations mandate.

“Both governments from the right and the left prefer Arab interests over Israeli interests,” said Mr Eldad, whose father Israel was a leading figure in the Stern Gang, the most radical of the Jewish terror groups that fought British mandatory rule.

“The other layer is an ongoing, subtle form of anti-semitism. It is not as overt as it was in Germany, it is a quiet, polite form.”

Some leading Jewish commentators in Britain disagreed. Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, minister of Maidenhead synagogue and a writer and broadcaster, said: “I am surprised at Peres. It is a sweeping statement that is far too one-sided.

“Britain has supported both Israel and Arab causes at different periods over the last 50 years. There are elements of anti-semitism but it is not endemic to British society.

“The tolerance and pluralism here make Britain one of the best countries in the world in which to live.”

Mr Peres found support, however, from other pro-Israeli groups. Jacob Vince, the director of Christian Friends of Israel, said there was anti-semitism in the UK although many people had a positive view of Israel but were unwilling to express it publicly.

Mr Vince said it was “difficult to see how many MPs would not be influenced by the number of Muslim voters in their constituencies”.

The Government was not treating Arabs as the underdogs but rather was trying to appease them, he said. “The question is how well they understand those with whom they are seeking conciliation.”

Mr Peres is “measured and moderate,” he added.

He said: “His comments have serious connotations and I am sure would not be said lightly.”

One Israeli politician expressed disbelief that the doveish Mr Peres had launched such a broadside against the British.

Benny Begin, a cabinet minister whose father Menachem was prime minister and before that leader of Irgun, the group that killed 91 people in an attack on Jerusalem’s King David Hotel in 1946, said: “Peres? I simply can’t believe he said that.”

The latest figures show that the number of anti-semitic incidents in Britain is rising, according to the Community Security Trust (CST), a charity set up in 1984 to monitor such incidents.

The situation in Britain had worsened “significantly” in the past decade, a spokesman said.

In 2009 there were 924 anti-semitic incidents, the highest figure since CST began keeping records in 1984, and 55 per cent higher than the previous record in 2006.

The figures include reports, accepted only when backed by evidence, of physical assaults, verbal abuse and racist graffiti.

The monthly figure has soared from 10-20 incidents in the 1990s to 40-50 now.

Last year nearly half of the 924 anti-semitic race attacks recorded by the CST showed a political motivation, with 66 per cent of those including some reference to Israel and the Middle East.

A 2009 report by the US-based Anti-Defamation League found one in five Britons admitted Israel influences their opinion of British Jews, and the majority of those said that they felt “worse” about Jews than they used to. It found, however, that Britain was less anti-semitic than other European countries.


Rabbi: Participation in reality TV show violates Jewish law


Religious Zionism leader slams religious couple who took part in Israel’s ‘Amazing Race 2′ for taking part in reality show. Aviner: It isn’t modest

ed note–that there are rabbis complaining about ‘desecration of the sabbath’ is nothing new. We recently ran a story here detailing how one rabbi said that running water on the sabbath was an abomination and anyone who engaged in it should be killed.

THE REAL STORY  here is the title of the reality show appearing in Israel–’AMAZING RACE’.


And yet, when others point out this inherent racism and narcissism of ‘Jewishness’, we are accused of engaging in anti-semitism and in peddling ‘old canards’.

Remember, it is an established MO when it comes to organized Jewish interests that ‘by way of deception thou shalt do war’, and it is NOT just Israel and her Mossad who engage in this, but indeed is something that is embraced ACROSS THE BOARD AND ACROSS THE GLOBE.


Did religious couple from Israel ‘s “Amazing Race 2″ violate Jewish law? Religious Zionism leader Rabbi Shlomo Aviner is arguing that Akiva and Anhel Shmuli’s participation in a popular reality TV show goes against Jewish values and may be considered a violation of Jewish law.

“Not only is it not a mitzvah, but it’s a violation to travel abroad,” Rabbi Aviner said. “The exposure in itself isn’t modest. A man must be modest and humble; he shouldn’t have a video camera follow him and see what he does.”

“We’re not that modest, and sometimes we take pride and behave in such a certain way as to make an impression. We’re not okay and may God have mercy on us,” the rabbi said. “But here we see a man who invited the television crews on purpose and they follow him and his every move…that’s the opposite of being modest.”

The rabbi also told his followers that because immodest people participate in such reality shows, competing in the show it helps it stay on the air and promote it. He therefore referred to participants as “aiding in committing an offence.”

“People tell me: ‘It’ll show how gifted and nice the religious people are and encourage (people) to repent,’” Aviner said. “But first of all, nobody asked to turn anybody religious. And second of all, you should repent first.”

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U.S. refuses to grant visa to Zio-Nazi MKKK due to his membership in ‘terror group’



National Union Zio-Nazi MKKK Michael Ben Ari believes he was barred from U.S. for being a member of Zio-Nazi far-right Kach organization, says in response that this type of ‘U.S. blindness’ is what brought about the 9/11 attacks.


The U.S. government refused to grant a visa to National Union MK Michael Ben Ari, on the basis of his membership in a “terror organization.”

Ben Ari recently submitted a request to the U.S. consulate for a visa, so he could take part in two conferences held in the United States this week, one aimed at encouraging aliyah to Israel.

In response, however, he was told that he cannot be granted the visa based on a clause that allows the U.S. State Department to prohibit the entrance of people who were involved in terror activities or were members of a terror organization in a foreign country. Ben Ari believes that the U.S. government is referring to his membership in the Kach movement, a far-right political movement that is considered a terror organization in Israel, Canada, the European Union, and the United States.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin expresses anger over the decision to prohibit a Knesset member from entering the U.S.

In a letter addressed to the U.S. ambassador in Israel, Daniel Shapiro, Rivlin wrote, “I would like to express my protest against the decision and request that it be reconsidered.”

“Mr. Ben Ari is a Knesset member who represents the National Union party, an entirely legitimate party in the Israeli parliament. As a public official in Israel, a close ally of the U.S., he cannot be recognized as a member of a terror group or be prohibited from visiting the U.S.,” Rivlin wrote.

Ben Ari said in response to the decision, “The U.S. government, who receives with open arms [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, who calls for the destruction of Israel, [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas, who planned the murder of children in Jerusalem, and [Israeli Arab MK] Ahmed Tibi, who enthusiastically encourages shahids, chose to bar me from meeting with Jewish communites in the U.S. and to encourage aliyah to Israel, with claims that I am a terrorist. Now it is clear that the American blindness that cannot differentiate who is a terrorist threatening world peace, is what brought about the horrible terror attacks of September 11.”

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Open Letter to Vice Chancellor, Middlesex University

By Jonathan Hoffman
February 24, 2.2012

Dear Professor Michael Driscoll

Last night‘s Middlesex University Palestine Society meeting at Hendon was every bit as vile as might have been expected given the speakers – Ken O’Keefe, Ghada Karmi and ‘Jihad’ Jenny Tonge. You can tell how vile it was by the fact that Jihad Jenny was the mildest of the three speakers. In fact O’Keefe was subsequently reported to the Police for suspected Incitement.

Let me introduce you to O’Keefe if you have not had the pleasure:…

It being Hendon there were quite a few Israel supporters in the audience and O’Keefe’s worst statement was to them:

Like the Nazis [he meant the Germans who resisted the Nazis]you have a special obligation [to oppose Israel]”.

You must know that Jew/Nazi comparisons are antisemitic:…

He also repeated the “troofers'” lie that “Israel and Mossad was directly involved in 9/11″.

Tonge alleged falsely that “the Jewish Constitution is being changed to make Israel a Jewish-only state”

O’Keefe falsely claimed that Mandela compared Israel to apartheid South Africa. The truth is that in April 2000 Mandela came to London and spoke to the Board of Deputies of British Jews. He spoke of the need for Israel to leave the lands taken in 1967 but not unless there was first recognition of the Jewish State by the Arab States: “I added a second position, that Israel cannot be expected to withdraw from the Arab territories which she legitimately conquered when the Arab States wanted to whip her out of the map of the world.” No mention of ‘apartheid’ in Israel – from a man who spent 27 years as a prisoner of the loathsome apartheid regime in South Africa.

O’Keefe said that Israel’s objective was “to maintain perpetual conflict”

Karmi said that Israelis behave towards the Palestinians as if they were a subhuman species. She said that if a newborn baby is born and dies at a checkpoint the Israelis are pleased because that’s “another Palestinian gone”.

Karmi always says “it is not antisemitic to criticise Israel”. When she says it, I always challenge her to identify an instance when a critic of Israel has been incorrectly labelled “antisemitic” but she never can. This device is simply an attempt to delegitimise complaints of antisemitism – and is therefore itself racist.

Karmi said that 250,000 Israeli Arabs had had property confiscated under the Absentee Property Law (1950). Not true. The Law only applied to people who fled in 1948, not to those who stayed!. (And the Law only applied to long-term absentees. Moreover decisions under the Law are subject to judicial review (as is the case with all administrative decision-making in Israel)).

A shameful meeting. Universities have a duty of care to their students. What action do you propose to take?

Jonathan Hoffman


Shoah’s pages


February 2012
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