Archive | May 2nd, 2012

الذاكرة الفلسطينية تزيّن باحة الجامعة اللبنانيّة

Posted By: Siba Bizri

Arabic Arabic Editor in Chief

صبا البزري – خاص الموقع 

بدعوة من النادي الثقافي الفلسطيني العربي، أقامت بعض المؤسسات التربوية والشبابية والاجتماعية معرضها الخامس عشر الذي دأب النادي على تنظيمه على مدار سنوات وسنوات في باحة الجامعة اللّبنانية –  كلية الآداب – الفرع الثالث.

هنا الكلمة وحدها لم تعد تكفي فالصورة أبلغ من الكلام، حيث امتدت أركان المعرض على جانبي الباحة تزين أرجاءها بما ينضح به التراث الفلسطيني من أغانٍ شعبية حيناً وثورية حيناً آخر، الى أشغال يدوية وخزفية ومسابح وقلادات كلها حملت صورة فلسطين بأشكال متعددة إضافة الى المطرزات والمناديل والوسادات.

ما إن تدخل المعرض حتى يستقبلك ركن النادي الثقافي بصور مختلفة لنشاطاته وللمدن الفلسطينية، منها التراثي القديم ومنها الجديد ومنها ما ضمخته يد العدو الصهيوني بالدماء.

فتاة تلبس الزيّ الفلسطيني تلتف حولها طالبات الجامعة من مختلف جنسياتهن العربية يسارعن لمدّ أيديهن لتقوم بالنقش عليها بأشكال الحنّة الجميلة.

في هذا الركن تفوح رائحة الأطايب من الحلويات الفلسطينية المشهورة وأهمها الزلابية حيث يتمركز أيضاً صاج الخبر والمنقوش الذي يمتاز بأنه يجذب النظر قبل الشمّ والذوق.

للافت هناك أيضاً، الخيمة البدوية المجهزة بالأثاث الخاص بالتراث الفلسطيني، يتجمع حولها الشبان والشابات الذين تجمهروا عند سماعهم صوت الطبلة التي أعلنت بدء العرس الفلسطيني بالزفّة التي تألقت بها العروس بثوبها الأبيض المنقّش والمزركش وطرحتها المتدلية.

كاميرات طلاب الجامعة لم تتوقف عن التقاط الصور والتسجيل لطقوس هذا الإحتفال الذي صدحت بأغانيه الشعبية الفلسطينية أرجاء الجامعة لا سيما حين بدأت الدبكة التي أذهلت كل الحضور.

إن هذا المعرض لم يكن مجرد يوم فلسطيني مفتوح إنما تعداه ليكون يوماً تثقيفياً لتاريخ وتراث فلسطين وليحفر معه في أذهانناً صورة تحاول المؤامرات أن تمحيها من ذاكرتنا يوماً بعد اليوم عبر سياسات التطبيع والمحاولات الحثيثة التي تهدف الى نزع هوية أرض فلسطين عن أبنائها.

 المصور الشاب عبد شمس إلتقط لموقعنا بعض الصور من المعرض :

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United Methodists Face Moment of Occupation Truth

NOVANEWS

The mainstream media does not know it, and far too many high steeple church folk do not want to know it.

by James M Wall

But in Tampa, Florida, this week, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church will make a decision.

They will spend the week writing and rewriting. Some, like  Alissa Bertsch Johnson, a campus minister at Washington State University (at right), will passionately state their case.

Before the gavel falls on the last session of the 2012 General Conference, the people called Methodists will have responded, one way or another, to the call from Palestinian Christians that they take one small step toward ending the Israeli Occupation.

They may vote to endorse a targeted divestment resolution.

Or, they may declare that such action is not needed, forgetting that in doing so, they follow the path of those segregation-tolerating Birmingham church leaders who wrote to Martin Luther King, Jr., in words to this effect, “it is too soon to attack this evil. We must wait until our people are with us.”

A half century since King died in his battle with the evil of racism, we are still waiting for the end of  yet another manifestation of racism, one which continues to be tolerated, and even worse, financially sponsored, by the spiritual heirs of those earlier Birmingham church divines to whom King wrote his historic letter from a Birmingham jail.

In Martin Luther King, Jr’s, time, the “go slow” church leaders tolerated the evil that was in Selma, Alabama, the suburbs of Chicago, and the dark, frightening country roads of Mississippi.

In our time, “go slow” religious leaders refuse to see the evil of a so-called security barrier, a wall built not for Israel’s security, but as a land-stealing, prison enclosure, of the Palestinian people.

The “go slow” church leaders, and the parishioners they lead, choose not to acknowledge that the evil of Selma, Alabama, the South Side of Chicago, or the country roads of Mississippi, are still with us in Palestine where US church funds are used to build and maintain an Occupation.

The final United Methodist divestment vote will involve a resolution that instructs the church’s financial managers to divest from three American corporations that have refused to cease from profiting from the Occupation.

Israel’s supporters who have infiltrated the United Methodist legislative body, both as delegates and observers, are waging the divestment effort with half truths and outright lies, the same tactic used by secular politicians for whom  truth-speaking is an unknown language.

During the first week of the General Conference, delegates met in committees and sub committees to hassle over the wording of the final resolution. Occupation supporters want language in the resolution they can spin in their favor.

The waiting game

Above all, they want to remove the term “divestment”, which evokes the image of Israel as a modern day South Africa. In the past, one way to avoid this image is to employ evasive language like “constructive engagement”.

The winner of the resolution game will be the side that can spin the final action with its own special twist that produces a victory headline.

No matter how you spin it, as James Carville once said in an earlier political conflict, “its the Occupation, stupid”.

Opponents of the divestment resolution claim the church is endorsing a “boycott” of Israel. On the contrary, this resolution has nothing to do with boycotting. It is a divestment resolution that controls how the church invests its own funds, period.

Remember well the names of the three corporations which refused to listen to those for whom “going slow” has meant a continuation of humiliation and suffering.

They refused to listen to the case delegations of United Methodists have made to them to stop supporting the Occupation. Call this step, the failure of “constructive engagement”.

After several of these failed efforts to persuade the three corporations to cease and desist from  causing the suffering of others, activist United Methodists decided  to write specific divestment resolutions.

These resolutions were debated in local churches, then taken before regional conferences, and finally, this week, presented  to the United Methodists’ highest legislative body, the General Conference.

The three US corporations targeted by this resolution are Caterpillar, Hewitt Packard and Motorola, each of whom heard the pleas for support from Palestine, and hearing, passed by on the other side of the road.

United Methodists cannot halt the brutalization of the Palestinian people carried out by the Occupation.

Nor can they end the downfall of the state of Israel, a downfall most certain to take place unless this illegal and inhumane Occupation ends. No one knows this better than Jews who love Israel and hate what the Occupation does to both the Israelis and Palestinians.

Look not to the mainstream media for news of the internal conflict within world Judaism over this issue. Go instead to the internet and foreign media, and there you will find that the conflict is joined.

A respected Jewish writer and former New Republic editor, Peter Bienart, wrote a book he called The Crisis of Zionism, a plea for Israel to wake up from its nightmare of Palestinian oppression. He was viciously attacked by  neo-conservatives and right-wing Jews.

Ha’aretz knows that New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman steers clear of  this topic. His speciality is economics, not politics. But Ha’aretz reported a blog comment from Krugman which revealed his support for Beinart.

Paul Krugman believes that the policies of the current “narrow minded” Israeli government “are basically a gradual long-run form of national suicide.”

Writing in his New York Times blog “Conscience of a Liberal” about Peter Beinart’s controversial book The Crisis of Zionism, Krugman writes, “Like many liberal American Jews I basically avoid thinking about where Israel is going.

It seems obvious from here that the narrow-minded policies of the current government are basically a gradual, long-run form of national suicide – and that’s bad for Jews everywhere, not to mention the world.”

The battle also rages within the highest Israeli political circles.

Ha’aretz reports that former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin harshly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Friday during a meeting with residents of the city of Kfar Sava, Israel.

Diskin said the pair “is not worthy of leading the country”.

“My major problem is that I have no faith in the current leadership, which must lead us in an event on the scale of war with Iran or a regional war,” Diskin told the “Majdi Forum,” a group of local residents that meets to discuss political issues.

He also addressed the issue of racism in Israel.

“Over the past 10-15 years Israel has become more and more racist. All of the studies point to this. This is racism toward Arabs and toward foreigners, and we are also become a more belligerent society.”

Why do United Methodist delegates have to ponder more than a few seconds to realize that for the UMC to continue to support Israel’s Occupation with church funds, places the denomination on the wrong side of  the battle for Israel’s soul.

Israeli blogger Larry Derfner writes a post this week, “Israelis are living in a fear society, not a free society”, which is another reminder that the Occupation is not in the best interest of either Israelis or Palestinians.

Enabling a “fear society” is not the way American religious communities can best serve the cause of either peace or justice.

British Parliamentarian William Wilberforce, whose political activism had been influenced by John Wesley, did not end slavery, but he did finally persuade  the British Parliament to end the slave trade from British seaports.

It took him several decades to end the trade. During those decades, many slaves were transported to America from Africa as the British Parliament followed the political “go slow” policy in which evil flourishes.

American politicians, bought and paid for by forces that reward them for their absolute loyalty to the current right-wing Israeli government, have closed their minds, and most certainly, their hearts, to the injustices of the Occupation.

One day, when these politicians look back on their period of political service, they may recognize the evil they sponsored.  And one day, when United Methodist delegates to the 2012 General Conference look back on how they voted on the divestment resolution, they will realize how their vote will follow them into the Hereafter.

And there, I truly do hope they will be invited to one of Brother John Wesley’s heavenly society meetings where they will be confronted by the reality of the evil Occupation they tolerated for the sake of what they liked to call, “the delicate fabric of interfaith relations”.

What Wesley will say to them about that delicate fabric is chilling to contemplate.

A good preparation for watching how the United Methodist General Conference delegates will conduct themselves in the week ahead, is to spend some time attending to a 25 minute newscast discussion produced by Al Jazeera.

You will find appearances by former President Jimmy Carter, two Jewish panelists, Max Blumenthal and MJ Rosenberg, and Walt Davis, a major leader in the Presbyterian Church, the second Protestant denomination to vote on a divestment resolution during their national meeting this summer.

In his brief appearance at the start of the newscast, President Carter corrected the Al Jazeera host who surprisingly used the lie that Israel wants the world to hear, “boycott”, in describing the United Methodist and Presbyterian resolutions, neither of which use the term.

Carter points out, in his careful manner, that the two denominations are calling on their own leaders to divest from three US corporations. He quietly notes that they are not calling for a boycott of the Israeli economy. It is obvious that Carter follows this issue closely.

Click on the screen below to view the video. Watch it in segments, if you prefer. But watch it.

 

The picture above of Alissa Bertsch Johnson, a campus minister at Washington State University, is from the United Methodist News Service.

Editing: Debbie Menon

http://www.bdsmovement.net/

Desmond Tutu supports United Methodist Church decision to divest

 

United Methodist Kairos Response – Answering the Call from Holy Land Christians


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UAE Leads An Anti-Iranian Alliance

NOVANEWS

By Kourosh Ziabari

The United Arab Emirates officials are burning with a low blue flame. They have once again started insulting the Iranian nation using an arrogant and offensive language. What has irritated them this time is the recent visit paid by the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the Iranian island of Abu Musa in the Persian Gulf as part of his provincial trip to the southern province of Hormozgan on April 11. They claim that the island belongs to their soil and that Iran has violated their territorial integrity by continuing its “occupation” of the strategic island.

Of course fueling anti-Iranian sentiments has been constantly on the UAE officials’ political agenda. The statesmen of the newborn, tiny Arab sheikhdom think that by launching verbal attacks against Iran, they can gain power and popularity. But they have brought their eggs to the wrong market. Hostility and rivaling with Iran will backfire and fail. The hullabaloo of the Emirati officials is a tempest in a teapot and there’s no trace of logic and rationality in it. What is annoying and painful is that by credulously neglecting the principle of peaceful neighborhood and coexistence, the Arab officials are muttering the words of Israel, the U.S. and UK about Iran and upsetting a neighbor which has always contributed to their progress and development.

Over the past days, I was following the headlines and articles of the Arab newspapers and magazines. To my utmost surprise, I found that they have been collectively pursuing a unified policy of vilifying and denigrating Iran over the Abu Musa dispute. In line with their politicians and statesmen, the Arab media have used the most odious and abhorrent language against Iran, as if they were talking about a sworn enemy with which they have been at odds for centuries.

The public atmosphere of the Arab nations since the short trip of Iranian president to the Abu Musa island has been an ambience of hatred, antagonism and hostility. Iran believes that the UAE follows the path of the Western powers and Israel by saying that Abu Musa is occupied by Iran. But the UAE officials deny the charge as Anwar Mohammed Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs has rudely claimed that “we have fed up with the record of foreign pressure which the Iranians kept parroting.” Peter Hellyer, an American executive associated with the UAE Ministry of Information and Culture has discourteously called as “ludicrous” the statement by Iranian parliamentarians that the UK drives UAE in citing territorial claims against the Iranian island of Abu Musa. Albeit, it was consequently proved that Iranians’ suspicion about the possible role of the U.S., UK and other Western states in the UAE’s anti-Iranian scenario was right when the foreign ministries of Italy, France, UK and the U.S. Department of State issued separate statements, backing the tiny sheikhdom’s claims on the Abu Musa island.

An article run by the UAE newspaper “The National” written by Michael Theodoulou has impolitely called the Iranian president “publicity-loving and populist” and condemned his trip to the Abu Musa island. The other Arab nations in the region were not hesitant in rushing up to attack and insult Iran over the island row. Ali Bluwi, a columnist with the Saudi-based “Arab News” wrote an impertinent article titled “Iran’s political bluff,” describing Iran as a country suffering from “superiority complex.”

“Iran lives in self-denial and as if it is an angel free of defects and flaws. Psychologically, those suffering from superiority complex believe they can set a good example for others to copy,” he wrote.

Other Arab media have also shown the same reaction. They published articles and editorials with bombastic and insolent language, attacking Iranian people and officials in an impudent way.

Historical evidence confirming that the islands of Abu Musa, Lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb have always been an inseparable part of Iran’s soil is so abundant and plentiful that takes several research projects and scholarly articles to be cited. Historical documents including hundreds of precious ancient maps kept in the world museum give proof to the fact that the triple islands of Persian Gulf constitute the southernmost parts of Iran and that the claims of Emirati officials are unfounded, illegitimate and baseless. However, what is unfortunate and regrettable is that the UAE officials and statesmen from other Arab countries have all joined an ill-fated anti-Iranian scenario which bears no fruit and only costs them the friendship of a committed and faithful ally.

Over the past four decades and following the establishment of the United Arab Emirates, Iranians have enormously invested their money in different financial and economic sectors of the small Arab state, helping the vast, extensive desert turn into a prosperous country which has now become the hub of tourism in the Persian Gulf.

Some Iranian lawmakers have suggested that it’s better for Tehran to sever its ties with Abu Dhabi so that the tiny Emirates may learn a lesson not to interfere in Iran’s internal affairs in the future and refrain from making provocative statements about Iran’s territorial integrity. Iran’s Army Commander Ahmad Reza Pourdastan has also implied that all options are on the table vis-à-vis those who question Iran’s territorial integrity: “if the sedition is not resolved through diplomacy, military forces are ready to show the prowess of the establishment to the claimant.”

Iran’s cultural managers have also showed their diplomatic finesse and skill by saying that they will hold the next edition of Persian Gulf cultural festival in the Iranian island of Abu Musa. Vali Esmaili, a member of Iranian Parliament’s Domestic Policy Committee has also said that Iran is preparing the plans for establishing a new province called “Persian Gulf” with the “Abu Musa” island as its capital.

At any rate, when it comes to territorial integrity, Iranians have always shown a firm stance and demonstrated that they will not retreat an iota from their rights. In the 1980s when the United States and several European countries backed and equipped the late dictator Saddam Hussein in the war which he waged on Iran, the Iranians didn’t surrender an inch of their soil to the enemy.

Now, perhaps the UAE can win a psychological war against Iran with the help of numerous Arab and Western media outlets who are ready to blast and blitz Iran on every occasion, but the fact on ground is that Abu Musa and the two other Persian Gulf islands will remain and eternal and indissoluble part of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s soil.

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Misreading Arab public opinion on Iran’s nuclear program

NOVANEWS

Adapting to the sweeping changes of the Arab Spring requires a new paradigm about the Middle East, one that is cognizant and respectful of the democratic will of Arab public opinion.

 

This is most needed when weighing serious interventions such as military action against Iran’s nuclear installations.

Operating within the old paradigm may result in grave strategic errors.

 

by Nadim N. Rouhana

In a recent interview with the BBC, Israel’s deputy Prime Minister, Dan Meridor, who is also the country’s Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy, said that the prospect of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons “…sends shivers of fear to all Arab countries.” The assumption behind this statement is that “Arab states” see in Iran’s nuclear program a threat to their national security. This might lead one to believe that Arab governments and publics would support, or at least not oppose, military measures against Iran.

But debate about a military strike against Iran to cripple its nuclear facilities cannot be conducted with the old mindset that shaped our views about the Arab Middle East before the seismic political changes introduced by the “Arab Spring” — the mindset that equated “Arab states” with Arab governments and ruling families. Today, the transformation in the relationship between Arab governments and their constituencies ought to be strongly factored into any discussion of a military approach to the Iranian nuclear question.

To learn more about how Arabs view the threat that Iran poses to Arab national security and about nuclear weapons in the Middle East, the Doha Institute recently surveyed the publics in 12 Arab countries covering more than 85 percent of the total population of the Arab world. The survey, which was conducted from February to July 2011, consisted of more than 16,000 face-to-face interviews with representative samples in these countries, with a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

The results were unambiguous: The vast majority of the Arab public does not believe that Iran poses a threat to the “security of the Arab homeland.” Only 5 percent of respondents named Iran as a source of threat, versus 22 percent who named the U.S. The first place was reserved for Israel, which 51 percent of respondents named as a threat to Arab national security. Arab societies differed modestly in their answers: The largest percentage viewing Iran as a threat was reported in Lebanon and Jordan (10 percent) and the lowest (1 percent or less) was reported in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, and the Sudan. Even when respondents were asked about the state that poses the greatest threat to their particular country, the pattern held: Iran (7 percent), U.S. (14 percent), and Israel (35 percent). Interestingly, while Saudi Arabia is often cited as the primary Arab state in support of belligerence against Iran, the data indicate that this view doesn’t seem to extend to its public. In the Saudi Arabian sample, only 8 percent believed that Iran presents a threat — a lower percentage even than that which viewed the U.S. as a source of threat (13 percent).

The explicit questions about nuclear proliferation in the Middle East revealed other nuanced but unmistakable answers. Between 50 percent and 68 percent of respondents in 10 out of the 12 surveyed countries supported the idea of a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, with only two countries reporting less than 50 percent support (Morocco, 47 percent; Mauritania, 41 percent). However, this view changes when considering that Israel possesses nuclear weapons. More than half of all respondents (55 percent) believe that Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons justifies other states in the region seeking to acquire such weapons. Interestingly, this percentage is about 60 percent in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan (the so-called “Sunni” alliance). Finally, about 70 percent of those who support a nuclear-free Middle East make the same justification — that it is the right of other states in the region to pursue nuclear weapons in light of Israel’s possession of them.

Adapting to the sweeping changes of the Arab Spring requires a new paradigm about the Middle East, one that is cognizant and respectful of the democratic will of Arab public opinion. This is most needed when weighing serious interventions such as military action against Iran’s nuclear installations. Operating within the old paradigm may result in grave strategic errors.

First, stating that the “Arab states” view Iran as a major national security threat — a frequently cited “fact” — is not supported by these data. Such views may be privately expressed by some Arab rulers, but the empirical data demonstrates a gulf between such views and that of the broader Arab public. Within a new mindset, it is no longer accurate to say that “Arab states” support a strike against Iran.

Second, Arab governments that were willing to ignore their publics before the recent changes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen will now hesitate to do so, because the Arab Spring endowed the Arab public with enormous power. Policymakers in the Arab world who debate supporting military options against Iran must themselves adapt to the new weight of the Arab public. They only continue to ignore these shifting realities at their peril.

Third, with a majority of the Arab public thinking that it is justified for other states in the region to seek nuclear weapons in light of Israel’s possession of them, there needs to be an answer for why Israel has the right to possess numerous nuclear weapons while Iran’s mere pursuit of them is considered by some to be acausus belli (despite serious questions as to whether Iran is even seeking such weapons beyond civilian purposes). Such answers have not been offered, and Israel’s nuclear arsenal has never been the subject of serious international scrutiny. While the question about Israel’s right to possess nuclear weapons is not raised in the American discourse on Iran, it seems to be central to the Arab public.

In this context, the Arab public is likely to view threats of a military strike by Israel or the U.S. against Iran as brute intimidation. The potential damage to the already dubious U.S. moral standing in the Middle East is enormous. Furthermore, if the American threats and policies against Iran’s nuclear program are perceived as motivated by Israeli pressures — a widely held view in the Arab world and elsewhere — the stature and prestige of the U.S. will inevitably suffer even further in that region.

These errors and mistakes in judgment can still be avoided. The present historical moment in the Middle East offers an opportunity to the U.S. and the West in general to change the old pattern of relationships with the Middle East, based on ties with autocratic ruling families and undemocratic regimes, to one respectful of popular will and which thereby bolsters the chances for fledgling democracies to emerge.

Source: www.campaigniran.org

Editing: Debbie Menon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nadim N. Rouhana is professor of international affairs and conflict studies at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

As the US and Iranian governments escalate tensions in the already volatile Straits of Hormuz, and China and Russia begin openly questioning Washington’s interference in their internal politics, the world remains on a knife-edge of military tension.

Far from being a dispassionate observer of these developments, however, the media has in fact been central to increasing those tensions and preparing the public to expect a military confrontation. But as the online media rises to displace the traditional forms by which the public forms its understanding of the world, many are now beginning to see first hand how the media lies the public into war.

Media Lies and the Onset of War

Global Research TV


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NEW NAZI DESECRATED MUSLIM GRAVES

NOVANEWS

Graves of Muslim soldiers desecrated in France

AP

The graves of several Muslim soldiers in a cemetery in southeastern France were desecrated over the weekend, officials said Monday. The French president called the act “a slur” on the country’s history.

France has the largest Muslim population in western Europe – estimated at more than 5 million – and has struggled with Islamophobia.

A killing spree by a young Frenchman of Algerian origin this year, which targeted soldiers and Jewish children, has reinvigorated the debate over the integration of Muslims in French society.

That debate has played a big role in presidential elections, in which the far-right candidate drew nearly a fifth of the votes in the first round. President Nicolas Sarkozy has tacked hard to the right in the hopes of winning over those voters and, with them, Sunday’s decisive second round.

The French Muslim Council condemned the desecration of the graves and called it cowardly. Local press reported the vandalism included racist sayings scribbled on the tombstones.

Sarkozy expressed indignation at the “serious slur against our history” in a statement from his office that said the graves belonged to French soldiers.

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PALESTINE: Urif’s boys school was attacked by Zio-Nazi mask-wearing settlers

NOVANEWS

Yitzhar settlers attack school children in Urif

 

by Chris Beckett

ISM

Urif is a Palestinian town in the Nablus Governorate of the northern occupied West Bank, located thirteen kilometres South of Nablus. The town has a population of just under 3000 inhabitants and is overlooked by the illegal Israeli colony of Yitzhar. Last week on Sunday, April 22, Urif’s boys school was attacked by mask-wearing settlers supported by four Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) soldiers who used tear-gas, sound bombs, and live ammunition against unarmed Palestinian children.

The settlers were led by the head of security for the Yitzhar colony, a man suspected in the murder of a resident of Urif in 2004, a murder that nobody has yet been charged with. He continues to lead brutal assaults against the civilian population of six Palestinian towns in the lands surrounding Yitzhar: Burin, Huwara, Madma, Assria Al-Kalibya, Ein Nabous, and Urif.

The attack began when the Yitzhar head of security and a number of masked settlers approached the school from an overlooking hill. “The children were sitting their mock exams,” said Arif, a member of the local popular committee, “the settlers used foul language and began throwing stones at the windows of the school.”

The settlers were soon joined by four uniformed IOF soldiers who did nothing to stop the abuse and stones hurled towards the school.

“When the army came they were supposed to stop the settlers coming to the school, in fact the opposite happened, there was chaos,” said Arif. A number of Palestinian youth approached the armed Israeli settlers and soldiers on the hill, using stones to resist the attack. The IOF soldiers then threw tear gas canisters down towards them and the school. One canister landed on the roof where a member of the Israeli human rights group B’tselem, Adil Safadi, was filming the attack.

Following the attack teachers from the school collected sixty tear gas canisters, a number of sound grenades, and at least thirty rounds of live ammunition fired directly over their heads.

In the video of the incident wherein International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteers are shown, the screams of the children and the loud report of an assault rifle being fired in fully automatic mode can clearly be heard. At one point an IOF soldier took aim with his M16 directly at a Palestinian youth out of camera shot. The sustained assault lasted for around an hour before the settlers decided to leave with their IOF minders in tow.

Whilst some children hid in their classrooms during the attack under the watchful eye of their teachers, many rushed to their homes and were exposed to large amounts of tear-gas and required medical attention. The children of Urif’s boys school, aged between 13 and 18, have been subjected to this kind of brutality on a regular basis since the founding of the school which sits on the outskirts of the village and is thus vulnerable to these kind of attacks. Many of the older kids that attend the school were in the process of studying for their year final examinations which take place in early May.

“You can’t imagine the loss we have suffered as a result of this settlement,” says Arif,  “we would like to live in peace and prosperity, but that is something we cannot gain. The settlers are very aggressive, there is no word in the dictionary to describe them.”

This is not the first time the settlers, supported by the military, have attacked the school. Roughly one year ago they attempted and failed to burn it down. ISM was shown pictures depicting the charred remains of one classroom that was severely damaged during the attack.

Incursions from Yitzhar into Urif and Surrounding Villages

Arif and members of Urif municipality informed ISM of the following.

The illegal colony of Yitzhar was founded in 1984. It was not until the beginning of 2000 that it began to aggressively expand into the surrounding Palestinian lands. Yitzhar illegally annexed vast swaths of land and barred access to the Palestinian farmers, shepherds, and villagers that have lived and worked the land for countless generations.

The village of Urif is a mere 1500 meters away from the Israeli colony, and since 2000, over 2200 dunams have been stolen by the nearby settlement. In addition, four thousand olive trees cultivated by the village have been uprooted or burnt by settlers in the past four years.

The villagers of Urif have no access to running water, instead they rely on a small number of ancient wells. Two years ago, members of the village were dismayed to find tear gas canisters had been dropped into one of the wells by unknown settlers, poisoning the water supply.

Any attempt to expand infrastructure in the village is also met with settler attacks. ISM volunteers were shown the remains of a house that had been under construction before it was attacked and completely dismantled.

“Late at night they launch attacks on the residents in this area,” said Arif, pointing to the rubble strewn skeleton of the destroyed house. A tractor and a number of cars belonging to residents of the village had also been destroyed in a series of recent arson attacks.

Settlers have shot through the windows of a number of the homes. Graffiti reading ‘revenge’ in Hebrew was scrawled across one residents house. The widespread attacks of agricultural land has lead to a vast “wasteland” between the outskirts of Urif and Yitzhar. Hundreds of goats, sheep, and a few horses have been stolen.

This is not to mention the violence towards the villagers themselves. Arif reports that hundreds of villagers have been injured since 2000, with as many as 40 serious injuries (many of which were gunshot wounds) and one murder.

The combined effects of this systematic assault on Urif residents’ way of life, economy, and civil society is akin to a form of ethnic cleansing. One of the most stark indicators of the impact of the measures taken against the village of Urif by Yitzhar settlement is that unemployment is as high as 40%. Many people simply cannot survive under these conditions and are thus forced to abandon the village of their birth, leaving behind their friends, family, and identity.

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The Summer of Sucking Up (to Israel)

NOVANEWS

(Skulz’s correction of the original.)

1. Do you all enjoy sitting back and watching Americans kiss Israeli ass as much as I do? What amazes me is that after all these years they find new ways to do it. Of course the tried and true way to show that one has joined the caravan, so to speak, is to make a pilgrimage to Israel and openly support Israeli destruction of Palestinian society, Israeli ethnic cleansing and just about anything else that is immoral that Israel does. It’s a long list. Just ask Chris Christie.

And now the serious Israeli ass-kissing is going to go into high gear to see who gets to be Romney’s partner at the big dance. We are in for a long, hot, Zionist-Bullshit-filled summer. Have fun.

2. Helicopter Chris Christie flirts like a high-school girl with Mitt Romney.

3. Ron Paul on Israel:

“In October, 1981, most of the world and most of the congress voiced outrage over Israel’s attack on Iraq and their nuclear development. I was one of the few who defended her right to make her own decisions on foreign policy and to act in her own self interest.”

We should be their friend and their trading partner. They are a democracy and we share many values with them. But we should not be their master. We should not dictate where their borders will be nor should we have veto power over their foreign policy.”

“And Israel should stop sacrificing their sovereignty as an independent state to us or anybody else, no matter how well intentioned.”

From Jeffrey Goldberg’s article on Paul entitled “Ron Paul, Zionist

“There are good reason (sic) to include Ron Paul. He is, in one sense, a true Zionist, a believer in two core values of the Jewish liberation movement: Jewish independence and Jewish self-reliance.”

Goldberg quotes Paul:

“(W)hy does Israel need our help? We need to get out of their way. I mean, we interfere with them. We interfere with them when they deal with their borders. When they want to have peace treaties, we tell them what they can do because we buy their allegiance and they sacrifice their sovereignty to us.”

More from Doug Wead, ardent pro-Israeli, lover of George H.W. Bush, Christian Zionist and Ron Paul advisor:

“Ron Paul refused to vote to condemn Israel during the 2006 war with Lebanon.”


“As the former vice president of Christian and Jews United for Israel, I would strongly argue that Ron’s position of friendship, free trade, ending support for Israel’s enemies, and a cessation of meddling in Israel’s internal affairs would provide for a stronger U.S.-Israeli relationship and a net advantage for the Israelis.”

4. In the meantime:

“The fact that Pollard’s still in jail is of the biggest scandals in Diaspora Jewry,” Liebler said. “I expect US Jews to shout more and more about this.”

5. Poor evangelical Christians. Most are so Zionist-duped they have no clue. They are human mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed Zionist Bullshit.

They can also easily be scammed by anybody.  Here’s a lady who is actuallyfighting back against a scam that’s been going on for a long time that seems to have a tendency to target Christians who are grieving. It’s an interesting read and it is also meant as a warning to potential future victims.

6. From 42 years ago. It was quite a different time. We’ve only gotten worse. All of our efforts failed and failed miserably. Somehow I find the video soothing. Not sure why.

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Kosher prisons in U.S. spend millions on food for non-Jewish inmates

NOVANEWS

Jews make up just one sixth of inmates who eat kosher food in American prisons, costing U.S. taxpayers millions.

Haaretz

The tiny population of religious Jews in prison has plenty of company when it comes to keeping kosher behind bars. A number of secular Jews, messianic Jews, Black Hebrew Israelites and, in many cases, people with no Jewish background at all eat a traditional Jewish diet.

Jews, according to one estimate, make up just one-sixth — or about 4,000 — of the 24,000 inmates who eat kosher food in American prisons. And since kosher food can cost more than twice as much as regular fare, it’s costing taxpayers millions to feed all those who want to avoid treyf.

“We want them to be very careful about who they give kosher food to,” said Menachem Katz, director of prison and military outreach at the Aleph Institute, a Chabad-affiliated social services group. “We don’t want them to give kosher food to every Tom, Dick and Harry if they say they are Jewish.”

“It is a major problem, and it creates so much animosity” from prison officials, said Gary Friedman, founder of Jewish Prisoner Services International. Friedman provided estimates based on visits to prisons around the country.

The popularity of kosher food among non-Jewish inmates is one reason that many prisons around the country are seeking to curtail or change their Jewish dietary programs. But advocates for Jewish inmates say that prisons could easily solve this problem by limiting kosher food to Jews.

“They want to throw the baby out with the bath water,” Katz said. “Rather than get into the nitty-gritty, they say, ‘Let’s just destroy the whole thing.’”

Kosher food is a hot commodity in prisons for a number of reasons. Some prisoners simply think it tastes better; many others believe it is safer than standard-issue prison fare, according to prison chaplains and advocates. Kosher food also often comes prepackaged, making it easy to trade or sell among inmates.

For instance, at California Men’s Colony, a medium and minimum security facility in San Luis Obispo, Calif., prisoners who keep kosher receive three daily meals in a sack that they bring back to their cells. The meals consist of factory-sealed cut vegetables, frozen or non-perishable dishes like lasagna, and whole fruits and vegetables. Inmates frequently trade kosher food for prison-issued paper money, which can be used to buy items in the facility’s canteen.

“If someone can have special food, that makes them feel special and it makes them appear special to other people,” said Rabbi Lon Moskowitz, the chaplain at California Men’s. “It also has the added benefit of potentially being able to generate revenue on the black market.”

Kosher meals in prison are provided because prisoners in the United States are guaranteed religious freedoms under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000. If, according to case law, an inmate shows a “sincerely held” religious belief, then he or she is entitled to religious services, such as kosher or halal food.

The law is vague about what constitutes a sincere belief. Last year, there were more than 60 suits filed around the country by inmates claiming they were unfairly barred from following a kosher diet in prison, according to the Religion Clause blog, which tracks freedom of religion cases in prisons. About 40 of these were dismissed. Friedman, of Jewish Prisoner Services International, has himself been sued by inmates who claim they were denied kosher food by his organization, which formerly contracted with the Washington State Department of Corrections to provide religious services to inmates.

The law “leaves room for individuals to disagree about what religions require,” said Luke Goodrich, deputy general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The Becket Fund is currently appealing a Texas judge’s decision to bar an Iranian-Jewish inmate from receiving kosher food.

The situation is made more complicated by the fact that most American prisons are run on the state level. That means there are 50-plus departments of corrections around the country housing some 1.4 million people, according to a 2010 estimate, each of which has a unique interpretation of the rules about religious practice and diet.

In the federal corrections system, there are some 4,127 individuals receiving a so-called Certified Religious Diet out of a total of 217,000 inmates, or about 2% of the population. The diet costs $2.33 per meal as opposed to $0.99 for regular prison fare, and accommodates Jews and non-Jews with religious dietary needs. In order for a prisoner to access the diet, he must make a request in writing and then be interviewed by a chaplain. If an inmate is denied access, he can reapply in six months.

According to Goodrich, 35 states currently offer kosher meals in prisons. Prison officials, he said, are “rightly hesitant to set themselves up to say who is Jewish and who is not.” They often leave the decision in the hands of chaplains, Jewish or otherwise.

In California, for instance, Jewish chaplains oversee kosher programs at the state’s prisons, feeding kosher meals to about 800 people out of about 140,000 — or about 0.6% of — inmates. California has a strict policy against allowing non-Jewish prisoners to access kosher food, which costs about $8 a day as opposed to $3 a day for the regular diet. Even with the tight rules, California spends some $2 million per year on kosher food. At California Men’s Colony, inmates must fill out forms detailing their familial and religious backgrounds in order to be admitted into the program. Moskowitz said he asks non-Jewish prisoners who want to eat kosher to try practicing Judaism for six months before they can qualify for the special diet.

Recently, a messianic Jew named Margarito Jesus Garcia challenged the California system, claiming that a Jewish chaplain violated his religious rights by denying him kosher food. A California superior court ruled against Garcia, but in January, Garcia won his appeal.

According to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Bill Sessa, the department is considering shifting away from providing kosher meals for Jews alone and toward creating a common fare diet to accommodate all religious groups. Sessa said that inmates who keep kosher sometimes “manipulate the system,” asking to switch to non-kosher meals if the food is more desirable. “It gives us reason to think about what we might do differently,” he said.

The cost of kosher and halal foods led prison officials in the Indiana Department of Correction to drop their religious dietary programs altogether in 2009, serving those inmates a vegan diet instead. With budgets tight and the money spent on kosher and halal meals doubling every month, an official said the state had little choice.

“We got to the point of almost having to choose between correctional officers or special food,” said Stephen Hall, director of religious and volunteer services at the Indiana DOC.

In 2010, an Indiana court mandated the DOC to reinstate its religious food program when a Jewish inmate sued. But last year, the American Civil Liberties Union said that the DOC was in contempt of court because it administered a kosher diet to only half of those inmates who identified as Jews, a charge that the DOC denied.

“The decision of the court was that if someone has a sincere religious belief, they should have a kosher diet,” said Kenneth Falk, the Indiana ACLU’s legal director.

There have also been debates about whether the kosher meals served to prisoners meet religious standards for kosher food.

In Nevada last June, a Jewish inmate named Howard Ackerman sued the Nevada Department of Corrections in a class-action lawsuit, contending that the DOC’s new “common fare” menu was not actually kosher. The suit claimed, among other things, that the food was prepared on surfaces where milk and meat were mixed, and that the trays on which the food was served previously held non-kosher food. In February, a federal judge issued an injunction in the case to stop the department from serving the new food to inmates. According to Ackerman’s lawyer, Jacob Hafter, the case included about 40 to 50 Orthodox Jews, but also more than 200 other people who wanted the kosher diet.

Nevada DOC officials have said they will make sure that the common fare diet meets kosher standards.

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“ISRAEL’S MOST DANGEROUS ENEMIES”

NOVANEWS

By Gilad Atzmon

For a while I have been worrying that my most devoted and enthusiastic American campaigner is ill or even just gave up on me. But it seems that Alan Dershowitz is alive and kicking. Yesterday he admitted that together with Ilan Pappe and Neve Gordon, I am amongst the most dangerous enemies of Israel.

Isracampus reported yesterday that notorious ethnic cleansing advocate Dershowitz suggested that “some of the worst enemies of Israel are themselves Israelis.” He referred to Neve Gordon, Ilan Pappe and Gilad Atzmon. “In spite of the fact that the last two have emigrated from Israel, Dershowitz says that these three, and people like them, are people who wrap themselves in the Israeli flag only for the purpose of burning it. The only time these people claim to be Israelis at all is when they wish to wave this as a certificate to legitimize their own malicious and unreasonable attacks against Israel.”

Again Dershowitz is lying. I do not intend to talk on behalf of Pappe or Gordon but for myself, I have never wrapped myself with an Israeli flag. A long time ago I stripped myself of both Jewish and Israeli identities. Unlike book burner Dershowitz, I am not interested in setting fires but always enthusiastic for truth, justice and peace, I am certainly searching for light.

I believe that the Jewish State is a grave threat to world peace and I also contend that Hasbara agents such as Dershowitz must be exposed for who and what they are.

I believe that as long as the Jewish Lobby in America is pushing for a global war in the name of the Jewish State we must be entitled to ask who are the ‘Jews’, what is ‘Judaism’ and what is ‘Jewishness’. I have managed to answer these questions in my recent book The Wandering Who. My take on the subject is actually rather reasonable,. It is driven by love to peace, and devoid of any trace of racism. The text is endorsed by many  academics far superior to Dershowitz so it is not surprising that Dershowitz, together with other Zionists and AZZ (Anti Zionist Zionists) want to stop me and my book. But believe me, they don’t stand a chance –

liberating thoughts posses a unique capacity to travel through concrete walls. They are fuelled by negation. Hence, I am pretty sure that Gordon and Pappe are also thankful to Dershowitz for his recognition of their efforts.


 The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics

  The book can be  ordered  on Amazon.com  orAmazon.co.uk

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Israel’s Secret Agenda: Funding Arab Terrorism

NOVANEWS

Why would Israel provide covert support for Islamic fundamentalist extremists? The answer to this provocative question points toward a dirty little secret that the major media in America is keeping under wraps.

Exclusive To American Free Press

By Michael Collins Piper

There is a solid record of evidence pointing to ward a longtime—albeit little-known—role by Israel’s intelligence service, the Mossad, in providing financing and tactical support for the very “Muslim extremists” presumed to be Israel’s worst enemies. The truth is that Muslim extremists have proven useful (if often unwitting) tools in advancing Israel’s own geopolitical agenda.

Although many Americans are now aware that Osama bin Laden’s early efforts against the Soviets in Afghanistan were sponsored by the CIA, the media has been reticent to point out that this arms pipeline—described by Covert Action Information Bulletin (Sept ember 1987) as “the second largest covert operation” in the CIA’s history—was also, according to former Mossad operative Victor Ostrovsky (writing in The Other Side of Deception), under the direct supervision of the Mossad.

Ostrovsky noted: “It was a complex pipeline since a large portion of the mujahadeen’s weapons were American-made and were supplied to the Muslim Brotherhood directly from Israel, using as carriers the Bedouin nomads who roamed the demilitarized zones in the Sinai.”

Former ABC correspondent John K. Cooley, in Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism, provides some confirmation for Ostrovsky’s allegations. He writes:

Discussion of the input of outsiders to training and operations in Afghanistan would be incomplete without mention of Iran and the State of Israel. Iran’s major role in training and in supply is a matter of historical record. As for Israel, the evidence is much sketchier. . . .

Whether or not units of Israel’s elite special forces trained the Muslim warriors, who would soon turn their guns against Israel in Muslim organizations like Hamas, is a well-guarded Israeli secret.

Several Americans and Britons who took part in the training program have assured the author that Israelis did indeed take part, though no one will own to having actually seen, or spoken with, Israeli instructors or intelligence operatives in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

What is certain is that of all the members of the anti-Soviet coalition, the Israelis have been the most successful in concealing the details and even the broad traces of a training role; much more than the Americans and British. . . .

In addition, it should be noted that Sami Masri, a former insider in the infamous—supposedly “Islamic”—Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) told journalists Jonathan Beaty and S. C. Gwynne (both of Time magazine) that BCCI “was financing Israeli arms going into Afghan tan. There were Israeli arms, Israeli planes, and CIA pilots. Arms were coming into Afghanistan and [BCCI was] facilitating it.”

However, there’s much more to the story of the Mossad’s ties to the so-called Islamic terror networks that are the stuff of American nightmares today.

In his follow-up book, The Other Side of Deception, ex-Mossad figure Victor Ostrovsky unveils the disturbing fact that the Mossad had a secret history of supporting radical Islamic groups for its own purposes.

Pointing out that Arab- and Muslim-hating hard-liners in Israel and its Mossad believe that Israel’s survival lies in its military strength and that “this strength arises from the need to answer the constant threat of war,” the Israeli hard-liners fear that any peace with any Arab state could weaken Israel and bring about its demise. In that vein, Ostrovsky writes:

Supporting the radical elements of Muslim fundamentalism sat well with the Mossad’s general plan for the region. An Arab world run by fundamentalists would not be a party to any negotiations with the West, thus leaving Israel again as the only democratic, rational country in the region.

Even columnist Jack Anderson, a devoted news conduit for the Israeli lobby, has bragged of Israel’s skill: He wrote as long ago as Sept. 17, 1972:

The Israelis are also skillful at exploiting Arab rivalries and turning Arab against Arab. The Kurdish tribes, for example, inhabit the mountains of northern Iraq. Every month, a secret Israeli envoy slips into the mountains from the Iranian side to deliver $50,000 to Kurdish leader Mulla Mustafa al Barzani. The subsidy insures Kurdish hostility against Iraq, whose government is militantly anti-Israel.

In an April 25, 1983, column Anderson pointed out that one secret State Department report speculated that if Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat were to be dislodged, “the Palestinian movement will probably disintegrate into radical splinter groups, which, in combination with other revolutionary forces in the region, would pose a grave threat to the moderate Arab governments.”

Then, according to Anderson’s account, the State Department reported:

Israel seems determined to vent this threat . . . and can be expected to greatly expand its covert cooperations with revolutionary movements.

Anderson added that “two well-placed intelligence sources” had explained that this meant that it was in Israel’s interests to “divide and conquer” by setting various Palestinian factions against one another. This would then help destabilize all of the Arab and Islamic regimes in the Middle East. Anderson then stated flat out that the sources said: “Israel had secretly provided funds to Abu Nidal’s group.”

British journalist Patrick Seale, an acknowledged authority on the Middle East, devoted an entire book, entitled Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire, outlining and documenting his thesis that Nidal was largely a surrogate for the Mossad all along.

Today Nidal (reportedly in retirement in Egypt) has been replaced by Osama bin Laden in media headlines as “the world’s most wanted terrorist.”

And, like Nidal’s efforts to divide the Arab world, particularly the Palestinian cause, bin Laden’s activities seem to have a congruence of interests with those of Israel, although this is something that the major media has not been ready to acknowledge.

While bin Laden has never attacked an Israeli or Jewish target, even The Washington Post pointed out on Sept. 30 that bin Laden’s primary goal is bolstering “a destabilizing brand of Islamic fundamentalism in a long list of existing Middle East and Central Asia regimes.”

That same Post article revealed that—contrary to the general public view that somehow bin Laden is in league with favorite Israeli targets such as Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Qadaffi—a former bin Laden associate testified that bin Laden was quite hostile to both the Iraqi leader and the Libyan leader. This again is quite in line with Israel’s attitude toward the two Arab icons.

And in light of recent questions about the real nationalities and identities of the purported hijackers who brought down the four planes that created havoc on American soil on Sept. 11, Anderson’s aforementioned Sept. 17, 1972, column pointed out something that should be noted:

Israeli agents—immigrants whose families had lived in Arab lands for generations—have a perfect knowledge of Arab dialects and customs. They have been able to infiltrate Arab governments with ease.

As American Free Press reported on Oct. 22, there are some doubts as to whether those who have been identified as the hijackers on Sept. 11 were the hijackers.

Writing in The New Yorker on Oct. 8, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, pointed out that “many of the investigators believe that some of the initial clues about the terrorists’ identities and preparations, such as flight manuals, were meant to be found.”

Hersh has also noted that a senior military officer had suggested to him that “a major foreign intelligence service might also have been involved.”

Hersh did not point any fingers anywhere, but a reader familiar with Hersh’s past history of pinpointing intrigue by Israel’s Mossad could perhaps read between the lines and guess as to which foreign nation Hersh’s source might, however obliquely, be alluding.
http://www.americanfreepress.net/Mideast/Israel_s_Secret_Agenda__/israel_s_secret_agenda__.html

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