Archive | March 16th, 2012

Resisting IsraHell Oppression Courageously

by Stephen Lendman


On March 8, women worldwide commemorate International Women’s Day. It celebrates over a century of economic, political, and social achievements.

This year for Palestinians, Hana Shalabi’s hunger strike for justice is highlighted. After three weeks, it’s taken a toll. Nonetheless, she’s determined to resist Israel’s lawless arrest, detention, torture, and degrading treatment.

Since arrested on February 16, she’s only ingested water. However, for the past five days, extreme nausea prevents her from drinking more than 1.5 liters daily.

Steadily her health deteriorates. She’s experiencing chest pain and dizziness. Her lawyer said she can barely speak. She’s also tired and can’t move much.

She refuses Israeli Prison Prison Service (IPS) medical care. She’ll accept only Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) doctors. On March 4, IPS officials denied PHR-I’s request to see her.

Repressively they said non-prison physician access is only allowed for second opinions. Since Hana refuses IPS treatment, request denied.

On March 4, PHR-I petitioned the Petach Tikva District Court, demanding immediate access to Hana. No word on if it’s approved or rejected. PHR-I expressed grave concern for her health. After two weeks without food, muscle decomposition begins. The heart and other organs are affected.

On March 5, Hana’s lawyers petitioned Israel’s Military Court of Appeals to end her administrative detention. Her scheduled March 7 hearing was postponed until March 11 or 12. She vowed to continue hunger striking for justice.

For days, Palestinians rallied supportively. A candlelight vigil was held. Dozens of other Palestinian prisoners hunger struck with her. According to Palestinian Prisoners’ Club head Qadoura Fares, they’re also protesting their own horrific conditions.

Fares said growing numbers of prisoners began refusing food. Israel doesn’t care if they live or die. On March 6, IPS authorities transferred about 80 political prisoners from Gilboa Prison to Nafha in Negev desert isolation.

Since February 28, they’d been hunger striking supportively. Earlier they did in mid-February for one day. In response, Israel punished them harshly. Now they’ll endure Nafha Prison isolation far from home. Israel often does it punitively. As a result, their suffering increases.

Torture is official Israeli policy. So is state terror and many other forms of cruel and inhuman treatment. April 17 marks Palestinian Political Prisoners Day. Dozens of human rights and other organizations worldwide called for a day of international action against Israeli injustice.

On March 7, the Addameer Prisoner Support group called for immediately releasing all female political prisoners on International Women’s Day. Among them they named Lina Jarbuni, Wurud Qassem, Salwa Hassan, Alaa Jubeh, Yusra Qaadan, Manal Suwan, and Hana.

According to PLO data, around 100,000 Palestinians, including 10,000 women, were lawlessly administratively detained since 1967. Many spent months or years uncharged with no trials. Young children are affected as part of Israel’s collective punishment policy, violating international law.

Addameer said Israel now detains 36 women administratively uncharged. To raise global awareness, the above named seven were highlighted.

(1) Lina Jarbuni

Arrested on 18 April 2002, she was sentenced to 17 years in prison. She’s currently at HaSharon.

(2) Wurud Qassem

On October 4 2006, she received 6 years in prison. She’s currently at Damon Prison.

(3) Salwa Hassan

Arrested on 19 October 2011, she’s at HaSharon Prison awaiting trial.

(4) Alaa Jubeh

On December 7 2011, she was arrested. She’s also at HaSharon. So far, she’s unsentenced. Though age 17 when arrested, she’ll be treated like an adult. Israel makes no distinction in violation of international law.

(5) Yusra Qaadan

Arrested on March 4, 2012 while visiting an imprisoned family member, she’s currently detained for interrogation in Beersheva.

(6) Manal Suwan

On March 6, 2012, she was arrested. She’s currently undergoing brutal interrogation at HaSharon. Virtually all Israeli interrogations use torture, abusive and degrading treatment to force innocent detainees to confess. It’s standard policy.

(7) Hana Shalabi

On February 16 2012, she was re-arrested less than four months after release as part of Israel’s October 18, 2011 Shalit prisoner exchange deal. Earlier she was lawlessly detained for two and a half years.

On February 23, 2012, she received a six month administrative detention without charge. On March 4, it was reduced to four months. For her and thousands of other Palestinian political prisoners, four minutes is too long.

As a result, Hana, Khader Adnan, and others hunger strike for justice. Hana’s at HaSharon. On March 8, day 22 and counting began.

Addameer highlighted their plight, saying:

All Palestinian prisoners are treated abusively, including children and women. They endure “sexual harassment, psychological and physical punishment and humiliation, and a lack of gender-sensitive healthcare. These practices (violate) international law and must stop immediately.”

Free or incarcerated, Israel treats all Palestinians oppressively. Children and women are especially affected, including young girls.

On March 7, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Mezan, and Al Dameer called for Hana’s immediate release. They hold Israeli responsible for her life and welfare.

A joint March 8 Palestinian Council of Human Rights Organizations (PCHRO) statement said Palestinian women and girls are “regularly subjected to harassment, intimidation and ill-treatment by Israeli military authorities and as a consequence they are denied the enjoyment of basic human rights such as education, health and freedom of movement. Such treatment amounts to an assault on their dignity and security of person in violation of international law.”

“The international community of States cannot continue to avert its gaze while Israel refuses to apply international human rights law, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), in the OPT.”

“Israel is not only in violation of the positive duty to implement its obligations under CEDAW, but also, through the imposition of illegal policies such as restrictions on the freedom of movement, is in breach of its negative duty not to interfere in the enjoyment of the rights under the Convention.”

Israel spurns all international law abusively. Contemptuously, it treats Palestinians horrifically for praying to the wrong God and demanding freedom on their own land in their own country.

As a result, they’re called terrorists. World leaders able to act do nothing. With or without help, their liberating struggle continues.

Hana, Khader, and many other courageous hunger strikers highlight its importance. Millions worldwide support them. Everyone should! Their struggle is ours!

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One Year after Fukushima: Defining and Classifying a Disaster

By Lucas W. Hickson

This is the first in a series of articles dedicated to preserve the facts revealed about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.



disaster is a natural or man-made (or technological) hazard that has come to fruition, resulting in an event of substantial extent causing significant physical damage or destruction, loss of life, or drastic change to the environment, as the consequence of inappropriately managed risk.  These risks are the product of a combination of both hazard/s and vulnerability.

All disasters are the result of human failure to introduce appropriate disaster management measures.


This coming week will mark the first anniversary of Fukushima’s multiple meltdown nuclear disaster. There is little data on how badly contaminated the now-abandoned area of forced evacuation is in the 20-kilometer (12-mile) zone around the Fukushima plant. The mainstream media has already begun trotting out assorted “experts” to assure anyone who might be still interested in Fukushima that  all is well and no one’s been harmed by all the radiation the reactors released.

There’s no getting past the fact that the nuclear accident dumped radioactive particles into the atmosphere, soil and sea, which is a serious concern for the Japanese, who consume about 9 million tons of seafood a year, second behind China.  Those poisons “rained out,” creating hot spots over the Northern Hemisphere.  Radioactive material can get into water from steam or smoke which is carried by wind, rain or other precipitation onto land, surface reservoirs or the ocean. It could also be discharged directly into the ocean or leak onto land and eventually seep into groundwater.  There are still traces of Cesium lingering from nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific in the 1950s and 1960s.


“The Japanese people no longer trust the nuclear industry and the government. People do not know whether their food and their land is safe,”

– Kim Kearfott, an expert on radiation health risks at the University of Michigan, who toured Japan in 2011.


Japan is under pressure to enhance food inspections as it has no centralized system for detecting radiation contamination.  Japanese products including spinach, mushrooms, milk and beef were contaminated with radiation as far as 360 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi site which was destroyed by the disaster. Adding to concerns, basic radiation checks with handheld dosimeters failed to detect the ingested cesium in the cattle.

The government argues that food fears are overblown. It says hundreds of food samples are tested daily for radiation, and few exceed government standards for radioactive cesium.  However, they are often seen as being habitual late-responders, critics point to contaminated beef that has turned up on the market. Broccoli, spinach and shiitake, too — all discovered after they were already on sale.  The Japanese youth face years of uncertainty about what’s safe to put on the table.

The Fukushima disaster has been marked by such confusion, much of it due to TEPCO’s bungling response, which has been severely criticized by the government and the independent press.  Most recent reports also suggest that the Japanese government is seriously downplaying the real amount of radioactive substances that leaked from Fukushima. Experts said the Japanese government must decide what to do about contamination spread across the nation, especially since radiation releases from the plant could continue for years.


The contamination will affect Japan for decades, studies in Belarus found that in 2000, 14 years after the Chernobyl disaster, fewer than 20 percent of children were considered “practically healthy,” compared to 90 percent before Chernobyl.   Thousands of people continue to inhabit areas that are highly contaminated, particularly northwest of Fukushima. Radioactive elements have been found in tap water in Tokyo and concentrated in national products such as tea, beef, rice and other food.


Many want answers: How did radioactive cesium from the reactors at Fukushima end up here?

Tetsuo Iguchi, a specialist on radiation monitoring at Nagoya University, says experts don’t know.  Iguchi is working as a consultant with a government group that is urging thousands of tons of contaminated soil to be cleared off and then sent to storage, possibly inside the Fukushima complex.

“Nothing like this has ever been seen before.” He said.


Radiation from Fukushima has been discovered on the other side of the globe in British Columbia, along the West Coast and East Coast of the United States and in Europe, and heavy contamination has been found in oceanic waters.  Radioactive cesium, xenon and iodine have been detected over a wide area of North America.   Other radioactive particles have been detected in the waters near the plant, and some have made their way into fish. Trace amounts of radioactive cesium-137 have been found in anchovies as far away Tokyo.

Radiation is more dangerous for infants because their cells are dividing more rapidly and radiation-damaged RNA may be carried in more generations of cells.  Radioactive iodine has been detected in the thyroids of half of 1,000 Fukushima children, NHK reported, citing findings from a group led by Satoshi Tashiro, a professor at Hiroshima University. Prolonged exposure to radiation in the air, ground and food can cause leukemia and other cancers, according to the London- based World Nuclear Association.

“Usually the contamination happens in a nuclear facility, inside a controlled area, but this type of contamination is global environmental contamination – it’s completely different,”

-Shunichi Tanaka, the former acting head of Japan’s Atomic Energy Agency.

The contamination has also begun to seep into the sea, and tests iodine was found in nearby Fukushima seawater at levels 4,385 times the legal limit. Radioactive iodine is short-lived, with a half-life of just eight days, and in any case was expected to dissipate quickly in the vast Pacific Ocean. Radioactive contamination in groundwater underneath reactor No 2 was measured at 10,000 times the government health standard, according to media reports.

The release of radioactivity from Fukushima is the largest accidental release of radiation to the ocean in history, and it is still on-going.  It will likely take decades before results are available to fully evaluate the impacts of this accident on the ocean.  Groundwater, reservoirs and sea water around Japan’s earthquake damaged nuclear plant face “significant contamination” from the high levels of radiation leaking from the plant, a worrying development that heightens potential health risks in the region.  A Kyodo News survey showed Sunday that 83 percent of local governments have anxiety about distributing iodine preparations to their residents in the event of a nuclear crisis, partly because they do not know how to instruct residents to take it.  The results of the survey indicate that many local-level authorities are still having difficulty preventing internal exposure.

Most of Japan is skeptical about the Japanese governments’ objectivity because of their general mistrust of those who repeatedly have shown more loyalty to the nuclear industry than their own fellow citizens, and repeatedly delayed disclosing key data and revised evacuation zones and safety standards after the accident.   Some even wonder whether the government-organized studies are in fact really using them as human guinea pigs to examine the impact of radiation on humans. Some experts have voiced their concerns as well, stating that Japan has repeatedly only released data related to the “most popular” radioactive isotopes, and only looked at the “most widely known” effects and abnormalities that may infer internalized contamination. They continue to call for the Japanese government to check for as many potential problems as possible.

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“Planetary Genocide”: Fukushima One Year Later : The Poisoning of Planet Earth

By Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri


“The most difficult thing of all is to see is what is right in front of your eyes.” Goethe.


As we approach the tragic one-year anniversary of Fukushima’s multiple nuclear reactors’ accident on March 11, that initially affected the entire Japanese population, we now know that this nightmare has engulfed all of us. Let us also not forget that this is the third nuclear attack on the Japanese (the first two were Hiroshima and Nagasaki). Given what has not been done to ensure public safety, we cannot think of it any other way. From the very first day, there were lies and a massive cover-up of the extent of the destruction and the inherent radioactive dangers –not just from Japanese officials and TEPCO corporate reports, but also from the US. The Mark 1 reactors, built by General Electric, have design flaws. There are many of these same-designed reactors in the US.


A year later, much of the corruption, deceit, and careless practices have been documented extensively here at Global Research –while mainstream news continues Orwellian doublespeak. Last month, in a rare but very belated mainstream account, CBS News reported that after the tsunami and nuclear accident: “The normal lines of [government] authority completely collapsed in Japan.” See:


Early on, even essential radioactive monitoring was shut down. In May 2011, the prestigious Norsk Institute’s online site was blocked from the US. They had been monitoring on a daily basis the worldwide radioactive contamination to which we were all –and continue to be– exposed. Conveniently, any early radiation monitoring in the US was inconsistent, with numerous sites supposedly not working for one or another reason. Then the so-called “acceptable” radiation levels in food were raised in the US and EU:


As Dr. Helen Caldicott and Dr. Chris Busby have repeatedly reported: “There is no safe level of radionuclide exposure, whether from food, water, or other sources. Period.” See:



So, what is not monitored, or where the radiation rates are manipulated, then no one –government officials and corporations– can ever be held accountable, nor can increased death rates, diabetes, stillbirths, birth defects ever be attributed to this catastrophic planetary event.


When have we ever been told the truth about our life-long systemic radiation poisoning? For decades, we have been uninformed experimental laboratory rats since before the Manhattan Project. There never were any ethical or precautionary considerations. Greed and secret agendas trumped everything else.


With various half-lives –some eons-long– of numerous radioactive components, the human race and every other living creature on our planet is on its way to extinction, due to the known sterilization effects of radiation. Here is a short list of the half-life of five of the radioactive isotopes that are and will continue to poison all of our children, and us, ad infinitum, in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink and in which we bathe:

  • ·         Cesium 137: 30 years


  • ·         Plutonium 239: 24,000 years


  • ·         Strontium 90: 29 years [mimics calcium in the body]


  • ·         Uranium 235: 700-million years


  • ·         Iodine 131: 8 days [absorbed into the thyroid and gives heavy radiation dose. Also goes into the soil, passed onto us through cow’s milk.]


In a report released just a few week’s ago, the milk tested in the San Francisco area still had radioactive levels of Cesium 134 and Cesium 137. According to even a compromised EPA, these are now at “150 percent of their maximum contaminant level.” Here’s the chart:


In addition, Fukushima’s Unit 3 reactor also used MOX [mixed oxide], a plutonium-uranium fuel mixture that is deadly. A single milligram of MOX is 2-million times more deadly than enriched uranium.


Current radiation levels reported on Feb. 25 in Tokyo, 100 miles from Fukushima and an international hub, are “25 times the Fukushima mandatory evacuation zone.” The eminent physicist Dr. Paolo Scampa has reported in detail his latest calculations on deadly radiation exposure here (see page 2):

For 30-million Japanese this is an epic tragedy.


Any reasonable safety precautions or realistic evacuations never took place at Fukushima or elsewhere. In addition, a collection of 40-years worth of 600,000 spent fuel rods posed an immediate HazMat threat that never went away. The water poured over them evaporated into radioactive steam to go directly into our planet’s atmosphere and the tons of sea water sprayed on the entire nuclear conflagration were criminally dumped into the Pacific Ocean. Again, because it was not monitored, we will never know how many millions of tons of radioactive water were dumped into the Pacific Ocean. The entire web of ocean life then was irreversibly contaminated with radioactive nuclear waste and detritus, as the ocean currents carried this nightmare to the west coast shores of North America (California, Oregon, Washington, and Vancouver). As with other major planetary bodies of water, the Pacific Ocean has become an enormous radioactive garbage dump of incalculable proportions that are beyond any remediation currently known to science. This majestic body of water has become one of our planet’s toilets.(1)


What about the entire web of ocean life? From the great and magnificent whales to the variety of microscopic life, this entire vast ecosystem has been poisoned. Yet, we will never know the immense extent of death and destruction that Fukushima caused to it. Even knowing that the ocean food chain is contaminated with radioactivity, this was not reported by mainstream media. So, the fishing industry is catching and selling various fish and crustaceans that are radioactive. How many tons of these have gone up through the entire food chain, and then sold to uninformed consumers who eat these HazMat foods? Profits always trump our safety and well-being. This is the massive global poisoning of our only home –Mother Earth. We are fortunate, however, that the alternative internet media has reported on these dangers.


While hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions?) will develop various radiation-related illnesses (cancers and diabetes, as well as radiation-induced miscarriages, stillbirths and birth deformities) over the next decades, the coffers of the medical profession, pharmaceutical companies, and nuclear industry will be bursting with profits. The 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl continues its deathly impact –and that was only one reactor.(2) Fukushima had six reactors.


Medical reports are already showing a significant rise in deaths due to Fukushima’s radioactive fallout. Noted toxicologist and internist Dr. Janet Sherman recently said:” Based on our continuing research, the actual death count here [in the US] may be as high as 18,000… but we continue to find that infants are hardest hit because their tissues are rapidly multiplying, they have undeveloped immune systems, and the doses of radioisotopes are proportionally greater than for adults.” See:


This massive and frightening crisis is the result of no precaution, no prevention, and no care or concern for human or any other kind of life on our planet. None of this is mainstream news. E.O. Wilson (“The Future of Life” and “Biodiversity”) and Bill McKibben (“The End of Nature”) were writing about these issues decades ago. The dangers of the nuclear age continue to mount with off-the-scale disastrous results to all of us.


How much longer can we be deceived about the extreme dangers of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons? Everything that encompasses nuclear energy is unsafe. It is hazardous in the extreme. Further, nuclear waste has been accumulating for six decades. There is NO LONG-TERM SAFE WAY TO STORE ANY NUCLEAR WASTE. For example, countless drums of nuclear waste have been dumped into the ocean, and have been found to be leaking radioactive poisons.


Everything on our planet has been contaminated with life-long and long-term radiation. I continue to write: “Invisible does not mean safe.” With many nuclear facilities in the US old and having numerous problems, the core issue of it as a hazardous endeavor remains. Two nuclear plants with serious troubles are Vermont Yankee, and just last month San Onofre (built right on a fault line). They are just the tips of the proverbial radioactive iceberg.


So, as long as profits trump safety, and as long as the entire nuclear industry has ties to the military, we will never be safe. Valid citizens’ and medical concerns continue to be ignored. We are all expendable.


This is not a one-issue health and/or environmental crisis. We MUST think of the bigger picture, across many disciplines. We are in the midst of a long-planned and multi-pronged assault on our health and our planet’s. The destruction of real and long-term good health has been replaced by multiple and chronic diseases (often caused by enormous toxic pollution that envelops all of us). Our entire biology has been battered for a century. The blood-brain barrier has been breached. Nano-technology and invisible stealth-created micro-organisms –both unregulated– are our modern-day plagues. Many were created in some bio-hazard lab. To add to this is the poisoning of our water, air and food supply. In 1998, the print-edition of London’s “The Ecologist” (perhaps the earliest environmental magazine, first published in the 1970s), devoted their entire issue to “The Monsanto Files. Can we survive genetic engineering?”(3) For many years, F. William Engdahl (“Seed of Destruction”) and Dr. Mae Wan-Ho both have written about the abundant and well-documented dangers of genetic engineering and the GM poisoned foods.


Add to that:, we have an illegal but on-going geo-engineered aerosol 24/7/365 stealth assault overhead that has completely changed our air and poisoned our health. In numerous lectures and research papers, Clifford Carnicom has documented that our air has been transformed to a plasma state; and with it is the associated tragedy of Morgellons syndrome that was created from some synthetic self-replicating nano-organism. There is no “off switch” for this; but the media ridicules sufferers. Time magazine recently published an article noting that these very real and documented symptoms were “delusional.” Into this synergistic nightmare are also 100,000 chemicals –90 percent of which are untested– that surround our every move.


Last, but by no means the least, of these hazards is the hidden dangers of the EMF/RF spectrum [Electromagnetic Frequency/Radiation Frequency]. The proliferation of this deadly technology encompasses: cell phones and Wi-Fi and their towers that poison our landscapes. With more than 5-billion cell phones sold, consumers were never told how dangerous they were. Outdated data and reports do not include the now constant barrage of these higher frequencies that wreck our health. There is also newly reported research demonstrating that this also includes impairment of cognitive function and brain damage.(4)


The latest release of this hazardous technology is the so-called “Smart” Meters that are being installed all over North America and Europe without any mandate and without any preliminary research that the utility [electric, gas, and water] companies did on the numerous biological threats they are already causing people who have had a meter installed.(5)


With 8,000 complaints, California leads the US in the most vocal concerns about these meters. Several cities, including Santa Cruz, CA, have banned them with year-long moratoria. There was never any mandate to force these meters on anyone; the utility companies did not warn customers of the extreme risks of constantly pulsing EMF, nor did they warn customers about breakage to our DNA or brain damage. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (founded in 1965) has called for a moratorium on these dangerous meters.(6) It is conceivable that the unfolding EMF crisis will be far worse than the asbestos and tobacco hazards combined. Scientist Prof. Olle Johansson of Sweden’s prestigious Karolinska Institute, has been warning about these invisible biological dangers for decades. See:





Corporations have personhood and have the same legal standing as any real humans. They have the financial means to block any real justice for the environmental and health damage their products continue to cause. They are rarely held accountable. Add to that the destruction of 30-years of environmental laws meant to protect us, this is another part of the disaster recipe in which we live out our days. The nuclear industry has never told us the truth about the permanent level of radiation dangers to which we are all exposed. The plunder of our planet and the destruction of vast ecosystems have been documented for decades. These poisons, mostly invisible, envelop our every move, contaminate our DNA, and wreck our health and ability to reproduce safely. The past 10 years this destruction has been accelerated at a phenomenal rate, while mainstream media continues to report lies.


Nevertheless, more and more millions of people are waking up and connecting many of the dots of these epidemics of serious illnesses, loss of millions of jobs, theft of millions of homes, stealing of trillions of dollars of wealth to pay off banksters, CEOs and insiders, while the middle class around the globe is in extremis. Evidence continues to mount of what insider trading and printing of fiat money has done to destroy people’s lives and economies around the globe. We cannot minimize or discount a situation that is totally out of control; and we cannot think of each of these HazMats as separate problems. They are all inter-related and they are destroying out health. Connecting the dots of this multi-pronged assault on all of us as well as our entire biosphere is ESSENTIAL. It is not sustainable. It is up to all of us to become well-informed and educated about what is happening, join together, and to paraphrase Dr. Rosalie Bertell “refuse to co-operate in our own destruction.” We still have that choice.


Remember: What we don’t look for, we can’t find. If those in charge decide NOT to monitor or report the dangers, then no one is ever held accountable –that includes those in charge. We all suffer the consequences.



1. Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri. “The Pacific Ocean: A Radioactive Garbage Dump.” May 14, 2011:


2. Mittica, Pierpaolo, et al. “Chernobyl. The Hidden Legacy.” London: Trolley, Ltd., 2007; and Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri. “Chernobyl: The Horrific Legacy. 25 Years and Counting.” April 25, 2009:


3. “The Monsanto Files. Can we survive genetic engineering?” London. The Ecologist. Vol. 28, No. 5: Sept./Oct. 1998.


4. Adamantia Fragopoulou et al. “Brain proteome response following whole body exposure of mice to mobile phone or wireless DECT base radiation.” Jan. 25, 2012.There is an abstract at:


5. See: “The Invisible Hazards of ‘Smart’ Meters.” August 19, 2011:; and ‘”Smart’ Meter Dangers Update: Scientific Proof of These Hazards.” Feb. 10, 2012:


6. “American Academy of Environmental Medicine calls for a halt to wireless smart meters.” Jan. 23, 2012:

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Palestine: UN statehood bid falters


Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!

After the fanfare accompanying the application to the United Nations for full Palestinian statehood by Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Abbas at the end of September there has been silence. There have been no mobilisations on Palestine’s streets, no international campaign and hardly a murmur of response from the UN. The application to the Security Council went immediately to its Committee on the Admission of New Members for ‘examination and report’ and on 11 November it became clear that out of the 15 states that make up the Security Council, Palestine could count on, at most, eight votes; one vote short of the nine needed for a Security Council majority which would force the US to use its veto. Britain indicated that it would abstain, which in practical terms is the same as opposing Palestinian statehood. BOB SHEPHERD reports.


The one glimmer of hope for Abbas’s strategy of UN recognition was the 31 October vote by UNESCO to admit Palestine as a full member. This small step was met with fury by the US and Israel. The next day Israel announced it was withholding paying $100 million a year tax and VAT revenue it collects from the PA and that it would fast-track construction of 2,000 new settlement units in East Jerusalem. The US said it was suspending its contribution of $60 million a year to UNESCO, 25% of UNESCO’s annual budget. Canada said it would cease its $10 million a year contribution. Withholding of the tax revenues will have an immediate effect on thousands of Palestinians as it is the main source of money used to pay the salaries of PA employees. It follows a decision by the US Congress to block nearly $200 million of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people, intended for food, health care, and infrastructure projects.

As we pointed out in FRFI 223, ‘For Abbas and Fatah the decision to go to the UN is in effect the last throw of the dice for them, their strategy of “peace talks” and negotiations that stretch from the Oslo Accords in 1993 until today have been a disaster for the Palestinian masses and a growing humiliation for them. No matter what concessions Abbas and Fatah make to Israel the Zionist come back demanding more and at the same time the settlement construction advances across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.’ If Abbas and Fatah thought that in the political turmoil engulfing the region their bid for statehood at the UN would force the US to stop Israel from expanding settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem they were wrong. The only way the US could stop Israel from continuing to build the settlements would be through financial penalties but this would carry with it the possibility of destabilising Israeli society and imperialism will not allow this to happen. Imperialism’s political priority is the continuation of Israel as a stable military power able to defend imperialist interests in the region.

The strategy pursued by Abbas and Fatah stumbles from one humiliating failure to another, in contrast with the unprecedented prisoner swap organised by Hamas. This political victory saw them negotiate an agreement that will ultimately release over 1,000 Palestinian political prisoners in exchange for the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. That Israel agreed to the deal is of tremendous political significance for the Palestinian people, especially for those within the Palestinian movement who advocate a strategy of militant resistance. It seemed not long ago that the Arab Spring had passed the Palestinians by, but the prisoner release shows that Israel is being affected by the wider political changes in the region. Netanyahu, explaining the deal agreed with Hamas, placed it in the context of what he called the ‘storms’ sweeping the Middle East. ‘With everything that is happening in Egypt and the region I don’t know if the future would have allowed us to get a better deal – or any deal for that matter…this is a window of opportunity that might have been missed.’ The role played by the Egyptian regime in helping organise the deal highlights the changing political realities for Israel.

The first batch of 477 prisoners was freed on 18 October in return for the release of Shalit after over five years of captivity. The remaining 550 will be released by the end of 2011. Of these 477 prisoners, 110 were returned to their homes in the West Bank and 203 were deported to Jordan, Turkey, Qatar and Syria, countries which had agreed to take those whom Israel insisted must not be allowed to return home. The rest were transported to Gaza even if they were not originally from there. Although Hamas had to accept 203 deportees as part of the deal, Israel had to cross a number of what it had deemed to be ‘red lines’: freeing prisoners with ‘blood on their hands’ and prisoners from within both Israel and East Jerusalem. All women and child prisoners are also to be released under the deal. Approximately 5,300 Palestinian prisoners will remain in Israeli gaols.

The release of Shalit removes the excuse for the Zionists’ punitive blockade of Gaza and the isolation and inhuman conditions that Palestinian prisoners suffer, all of which were imposed on the pretext of forcing the Palestinians to release Shalit. As the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) puts it, ‘with the ending of Shalit’s case… PCHR calls for immediately lifting of the closure and an end to all collective punitive measures imposed on the civilian population. PCHR calls upon the international community to intervene in order to end the suffering of the Palestinian civilians and lift the closure of the Gaza Strip.’

End the Siege of Gaza!

Release all Palestinian political prisoners!

Boycott Israeli goods!

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Misrepresentation and moral cowardice: Gilad Atzmon responds to Ali Abunimah and company


By Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon debunks a statement signed by Ali Abunimah and others in which they misrepresent his critique of Jewish identity politics, and he vows to continue his fight for the truth. By publishing this, we reaffirm our support for Mr Atzmon and hope that the signatories of the statement will turn their focus to the real enemies of the Palestinian people.

Ali Abunimah and company tend to present themselves as advocates of “One democratic state in Palestine.” This leaves me puzzled: what kind of democracy do they have in mind, exactly? For bycalling for my “disavowal”, they prove beyond doubt that they cannot tolerate even some elementary cultural criticism – criticism that is endorsed and praised by some of the most respected thinkers within our movement and beyond.

“Not only has my latest bookThe Wandering Who? rocked the boat, but it has also managed to unite Alan Dershowitz and Abe Foxman with Ali Abunimah and Max Blumenthal.”

In fact, I am pretty delighted with the outraged reactions to my thoughts. I guess it enables us to map the discourse and its boundaries – and means that those boundaries are now official. Not only has my latest book The Wandering Who? rocked the boat, but it has also managed to unite Alan Dershowitz and Abe Foxman with Ali Abunimah and Max Blumenthal. That is pretty encouraging: it means that peace may prevail after all.

Water off a duck’s back

However, I also have some bad news for my would-be silencers, Palestinian and Jewish alike. I do not have any plans to slow down or drift away. I am a jazz musician and an independent thinker. I am basically a free agent – I say what I think and think what I say. The popularity of my writing among Palestinians, solidarity activists and truth seekers is the direct outcome of my sincere approach to the subject matter.

Whether my detractors accept it or not, the strength of my arguments is grounded on the transparent and truthful nature of my premises. Until now, not one of my opponents has been able to point out a single discrepancy within my argument or the facts I cite. For instance, I contend that since Israel defines itself as the Jewish state – its tanks and planes decorated with Jewish symbols – it is our duty to ask: Who are the Jews? What is Judaism? And what is Jewishness all about?

The fact that some activists shy away from asking those questions doesn’t mean that the rest of us also should behave cowardly.

In case my detractors – be they Zionists, “anti-Zionist” Zionists or Palestinians – fail to realize it, Palestine is not alone anymore, and is no longer an isolated, remote discourse. Even as I write, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is publicly and relentlessly pushing America into a new global conflict. In Britain, 80 per cent of Tory Members of Parliament belong to the Conservative Friends of Israel. What we are witnessing here is a clear Zionist shift from the discourse of a “promised land” to one of a “promised planet”. I am convinced that calling a spade a spade could actually save the world, including Americans, Britons, Iranians and Palestinians. But it also can save the Jews from the grave potential consequences inflicted on them by the Jewish lobbies.


Sadly, Ali Abunimah has misrepresented my thoughts. Clearly there is no racism, anti-Semitism or Holocaust denial in my writing. As determined as my detractors are to find it, they have failed to identify a single bit of evidence of such tendencies in my work.

“…why would any person who seeks justice and peace object to my approach? Is Jewish culture or identity politics beyond criticism? Are Jews chosen after all. ”

Ali Abunimah says on my behalf that “one cannot self-describe as a Jew and also do work in solidarity with Palestine, because to identify as a Jew is to be a Zionist.”

What a ludicrous interpretation of my writing, in which I go out of my way to define the issue in categorical terms. What I am obviously opposing is Jewish racial exclusivity. I argue that that if Israel is in the wrong for being a Jews-only state,  then its Jewish critics had better fight it using an inclusive, universalist ideology and practice.

I am indeed critical of Jewish identity politics, Jewish culture and Jewish ideology. I am also critical of the Jewish cultural attitude toward history. I am critical of Jewishness and any form of exclusive Jewish political activism. And yet, I wonder, why would any person who seeks justice and peace object to my approach? Is Jewish culture or identity politics beyond criticism? Are Jews chosen after all.

The wrong model

I am sorry to disappoint my Palestinian and Jewish league of opponents, but it seems as if their terminology is faulty and misleading: Zionism is not colonialism, for colonialism is defined as a material exchange between a mother state and a settler state. The fact that there is no Jewish mother state suggests that Zionism doesn’t fit the colonial model.

Nor is Israel an apartheid state, for apartheid is defined by the exploitation of the indigenous residents. Yet the Jewish state prefers that the Palestinians simply and completely disappear. In other words, we are dealing here with a unique, racially-driven expansionist philosophy not very different from the Nazis’ Lebensraum.

Israel is not Zionism, and vice-versa. Israel is the outcome of the Zionist project. If Zionism is a promise to establish a “Jewish national home in Palestine”, then Israel is its post-revolutionary product. Indeed, Israelis are barely familiar with Zionist thought and ideology. From their perspective, anti-Zionist ranting is a remote diaspora discourse.

Shalom does not mean peace, reconciliation or harmony. Its accurate English translation is “security for the Jews”. Israeli culture lacks a clear notion of “peace” as we know it – i.e. harmony and reconciliation.

“In spite of the relentless slander campaign against my writing, it has not achieved a thing except to expose a blatant intellectual intolerance in our midst. If my opponents are concerned with my thoughts, they will have to learn to debate”

I suggest that my detractors spend some time and think this through, so they can understand that the issues involved in  this conflict and its resolution go far beyond mere political discourse.

Counterproductive intolerance

I would like to take this opportunity to advise my opponents that their campaign is counterproductive. Those who are interested in my ideas realize that we are living in a post-political and post-ideological era. Like myself, they are interested in an ethical argument. They are not “party members”, and they are not taking “orders” from any sectarian group or ideology. Instead they listen to their hearts. Those pro-Palestinian organizations sponsoring my current US book tour realize very well that my work galvanizes a demarcation line between truth and its enemies.

In spite of the relentless slander campaign against my writing, it has not achieved a thing except to expose a blatant intellectual intolerance in our midst. If my opponents are concerned with my thoughts, they will have to learn to debate.

But before we can proceed, my detractors will have to actually read my book and decide exactly what they are against.


US editor’s lament for IsraHell overlooks Zionism’s inherent racism


By Lawrence Davidson

Lawrence Davidson argues that Israel’s anti-democratic and racist traits are not recent phenomena, located mainly among the settlers on the West Bank, but “flow from structural problems that were built into the Zionist experiment that ultimately resulted in the Israeli state. They were built in by the Zionist ideology itself.”

The lament

On 12 March 2012 David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, wrote a brief lament for Israeli democracy. It appeared under the title”Threatened” and can be found in the magazine’s “Talk of the Town” comment section. Here are some of the points that Remnick made:

1. “Democracy is never fully achieved. At best, it’s an ambition, a state of becoming.” Remnick goes on to say that in the US it has taken “generations” for many minority groups to attain “the rights of citizenship”. And, even now it is an ongoing struggle for there are always those (including some of the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination) who wish to “scale back such rights”.

Remnick is correct. However, it should be emphasized that the general historical trend in the US, particularly since World War II, has been toward greater inclusiveness. Sometimes its two steps forward and one step backward, but the presence of the nation’s first black president should be taken as a sign of the direction in which the US is moving.

2. Israel is “embroiled in a crisis of democratic becoming”. Politically, Israel was built on a social democratic model and the resulting institutions should be seen as “points of pride”. And yet “an intensifying conflict of values has put its democratic nature under tremendous stress”.

“While the democratic majority in the US has chosen to interpret its laws and political philosophy in an inclusive manner, Israel’s Jewish majority has chosen to pursue the opposite goal – an exclusive, ethnocentric, and ultimately racist state.”

Remnick refers here to “an existential threat that looms within”. What is this potentially fatal threat? “Reactionary elements” who would lead Israel to the political brink – a “descent into apartheid, xenophobia and isolation”.

Remnick believes that “the political corrosion begins … with the occupation of the Palestinian territories … that has lasted for 45 years”. He points out that the result has been “a profoundly anti-democratic, even racist, political culture [that] has become endemic among much of the Jewish population in the West Bank, and jeopardizes Israel proper”. He notes that recent Israeli polls show the youth of the country “losing touch with the liberal democratic principles of the state”.

3. Remnick sees this as a horrible step backward from Theodor Herzl’s vision of “a pluralist Zionism” and he puts a lot of the blame on “emboldened [Jewish] fundamentalists [who] flaunt an increasingly aggressive medievalism”, the kind that has made heroes of Jewish terrorists such as the mass murder Baruch Goldstein. Such people now thrive in a political environment in which “the tenets of liberal democracy [are] negotiable in a game of coalition politics”.

4. Remnick’s conclusion is that “such short-term expedience cannot but exact a long-term price: this dream – and process of democratic becoming – may be painfully, even fatally, deferred”.

Historical corrections

Certainly many of David Remnick’s observations of anti-democratic Israeli behaviour are accurate but his assumption that these are relatively recent phenomena, located mainly among the settlers on the West Bank, is just historically wrong. Israel’s anti-democratic trends flow from structural problems that were built into the Zionist experiment that ultimately resulted in the Israeli state. They were built in by the Zionist ideology itself.

The truth is that you cannot design a state, and its supporting political ideology, for one in-group only, then try to implement it in a land filled with out-groups, and not come forth with a discriminatory product. Having an exclusionary goal from the beginning, as the Zionists did, makes Israeli prejudices structural and not an accident of this or that government’s policies.

Thus, an accurate reading of Theodor Herzl reveals that his “pluralistic Zionism” was a concept that assumed, indeed demanded, that the population of the state be overwhelmingly Jewish. The non-Jewish population had to be enticed or pushed out of the Jewish state. That makes Israel’s anti-democratic Zionist attitude 117 years old (dating from the 1895 publication of Herzl’s Der Jundenstaat – The Jewish State) and not, as Remnick suggests, 45. Once Herzl’s desired purge was accomplished, there could them be “pluralism” among the solely Jewish population remaining. Today, we call such ethnocentrism by its name, racism.

“…there is a split among Zionists … in the United States. The so-called ‘soft Zionists’ are increasingly troubled by the fact that Israel’s behaviour contradicts their long cherished myths.

An accurate and open-minded look at Israel’s history, as can be had from the works of Ilan Pappe and Benny Morris, among others, shows beyond a doubt that, from the beginning, Israeli political leaders, be they of the right or the left, secular or religious, all had the same goal of purging the country of non-Jews. If differences existed relevant to this goal, they were tactical and not strategic. And this, by the way, is why all the talk heard across the American political spectrum of how Israel is “just like us” is again, historically incorrect. While the democratic majority in the US has chosen to interpret its laws and political philosophy in an inclusive manner, Israel’s Jewish majority has chosen to pursue the opposite goal – an exclusive, ethnocentric, and ultimately racist state.


Nonetheless, David Remnick’s brief essay is both interesting and important. It shows that there is a split among Zionists here in the United States. The so-called “soft Zionists” are increasingly troubled by the fact that Israel’s behaviour contradicts their long cherished myths.

All nations have cherished myths and they are important in sustaining support for and faith in the nation itself. When the myths start to fall away you know that support must fall away as well. And so it is with Israel. You can see it in the increasing numbers of Israelis deciding to emigrate out of their country, and you can see it in David Remnick’s essay which, in its own way, is an act of emigration. Seeing his imagined liberal Israel overtaken by “an increasingly aggressive medievalism”, David Remnick has apparently come to the conclusion that this is not the sort of Israel he can support.

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