Archive | May 18th, 2012

Kashmir Will No Longer Be Silenced


When I started this blog, I started it because I felt an emotional link with my brothers and sisters in Kashmir. My heritage ties me to their struggle and the land which my father grew up in has seen over 60 years of conflict and suffering since the division of India.

Before India was divided Kashmir was the biggest princely state in Britains empire in India.  Kashmir was a cultural centre, a historic and beautiful valley where people from all over the world would visit just to get a taste of the pure breath taking beauty and rich culture. The tourists didn’t stop coming after the separation Kashmir’s long history of hospitality and generosity meant that people would visit the valley in huge numbers each year and spend time with local residents who happily homed the foreigners and give them a raw piece of Kashmir to return home with.

Once the separatist movement, the movement to create and independent Kashmiri state or to join Kashmir with Pakistan, began in the late 80’s and early 90’s for the residents of Kashmir life would never be the same. The war and violence they had seen during the separation of Pakistan and India and the wars over their land became a daily display of violence against them. Nobody came to Kashmir. Nobody wanted to know. The stories of checkpoints, crackdowns and curfews they had been hearing over their radios about other nations soon became a reality and they were hearing of none other than their own neighbours and friends.

The line of control which separates Indian and Pakistani Kashmir otherwise known as Jammu and Azad Kashmir has claimed the blood and lives of many Kashmiri youth over the decades it has existed. It has separated mothers from daughters and fathers from their sons. Families have been torn apart and travelling from Azad to Jammu or Jammu to Azad Kashmir is a very difficult and humiliating task.  There are many parallels which can be drawn between the occupation of Palestine and the occupation of Kashmir.

Since 1989 the Indian occupation of Kashmir has not only become a reality for the outside world the brutality of the occupation has increased. Young men disappear from their homes and are later returned dead or are never heard of again. Mass unmarked graves are being found. Land mine explosions are the norm. Curfews, crackdowns and torture at the hands of the Indian army are anything but rare. Rape, raids and road attacks on civilian vehicles are more than a daily occurrence. This is life in Kashmir.

Kashmir today is a vision of hell. The valleys which once enticed visitors with their beauty now cry out to their residents in pain. The people who once taught their culture to others are afraid to say “I am Kashmiri” as this could result in an early death. Those who live in Kashmir leave their homes in fear that they may not return or if they do, there will be nothing left in the place of their family home.

Kashmir is the resistance of the youth with a stone as he faces a tank and the courage of the women who search for their children in the rubble of their destroyed homes. Kashmir is the strength of reporters who risk their lives to tell us the story of the valley. Kashmir is the silence which brings me nothing but pain.

I begun this project because I wished to give a voice to the struggle of my people because I believe that injustice an inhumanity must be targeted with resistance everywhere it shows its ugly head.  I could have easily forgotten the land where my parents were born and where my father grew up. Though my family is from Azad Kashmir I identify myself with the struggle of the people from both sides of the line of control, because this artificial border and barrier has caused decades of pain to people on both sides and though there is a huge difference in situation on the two sides my brothers and sisters in Kashmir are just as human as I.

Someone told me as I set up this blog that I could not represent my parents homeland and the place my blood ties me to the way that Dahlia represents Iraq because my bond was purely emotional and I did not have a political understanding of the conflict. Today I say that I will represent the struggle of my people in Kashmir, because I have more than a responsibility to my homeland and to the oppressed, I have an obligation to ensure that their stories are heard.

A political and historical understanding of the conflict will be built from my reading materials and from what my father’s experience tells me. Knowledge comes to those who seek it and that I will in order to adequately give a voice to the forgotten struggle and bring Kashmir back to the front line of the struggle of those who stand for justice and peace.

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Pakistani Occupied Kashmir?!?


When it comes down to it the occupation of Kashmir is perceived by different individuals in different ways. Some take one side and for many their beliefs are formed fully from the opinions of others.  I have to admit my very first knowledge of Kashmir came from word of mouth and things that I heard . From this I formed my very first thoughts on the conflict “I totally detest the Indian occupation” but little did I know what was happening on the other side.

Kashmir is occupied by three countries, India, Pakistan and China. On the Chinese front I know very little and I’ll keep you posted with more as I learn it. When I refer to the valley, I refer to both Azad and Jammu Kashmir, but recently I found that “the valley” was a term used only for Jammu. I never intended for it to mean that. My valley is the valley stretching from the western borders of Azad Kashmir, to the eastern borders of Jammu, all the way to the Northern borders where Chinese occupied Kashmir meets China.

India’s crimes against the citizens living in Jammu Kashmir are often picked up by the media’s reports and we are aware somewhat of what is going on. We hear about mass graves, crackdowns, military offences, disappearances and half widows and we’ve grown used to these ideas. We know what’s happening yet we refuse to act against it. We won’t act, but in Jammu we hear voices chanting against the occupation and the military forces which are regularly raiding villages. We see photographs of young men attacking Indian defence forces with rocks and we hear stories of sacrifice depart from every household in the valley.

They say the crimes against humanity in the Pakistani occupied Kashmir are much fewer and far between. When Kashmiri’s go to Mirpur, like my brother just told me, we come back to the UK and boast about how we now have a MacDonald’s in Mirpur and a shopping centre. How could a military occupied country possible have a MacDonald’s? My answer would be corporate imperialism but we can save that for another day.

In Azad Kashmir, “Azad” being the Pahari and Urdu term for “free”, I wouldn’t describe anybody as being free. It may not be a regular occurrence for Pakistani forces to raid villages and hold Kashmiri children at a ransom and it also may not be a regular occurrence for Kashmiri women to be raped at the hands of occupying forces but this doesn’t mean that these things don’t happen in Azad Kashmir.

The chants against the Indian occupation which leave the valleys of Jammu and reach the ears of human beings all over the world aren’t heard in Azad Kashmir.  In Azad Kashmir the sound of resistance is silenced by fear.

The Pakistani occupation of Azad Kashmir is evident in the political situation of Azad Kashmir and it is evident through the disappearances of young and old Kashmiri people who have gone missing never to be found again because they spoke out against the occupation of their homeland. Many would argue that the situation in Indian occupied Kashmir on a human level is much worse than in Azad Kashmir and I would never hesitate to agree but Pakistani occupied Kashmir has resulted in generations of youth both inside and outside Kashmir unaware of their heritage. You ask why, because their parents and ancestors were forcibly silenced by occupying forces. Words of truth in “Free” Kashmir result in disappearances and death.

The districts of Mirpur, Kotli and others in Azad Kashmir have for two long been subject to silence or assault. The occupation may not be through evident use of force but any Kashmiri person from Pakistani occupied Kashmir is aware of the implications of their actions if they are to speak against the occupiers.

As Kashmiri’s abroad we do not face torture or brutal silencing for speaking against an illegal occupation in either Jammu or Azad Kashmir yet we remain silent and for me that would amount to the greatest betrayal. I will no longer be silent. As a Kashmiri from Azad Kashmir, I denounce the Pakistani occupation of my homeland.

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Jewish Supremacist “Ambassador” to IsraHell: US Ready to Attack Iran



Jewish supremacist and supposed US “ambassador” to Israel, Dan Shapiro, has publicly confirmed that America has plans ready to attack Iran, even though all evidence shows that the Iranians have no nuclear weapons program.

According to an Associated Press report, the U.S. has plans in place to attack Iran if necessary to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.

Shapiro said that although the Obama administration has made efforts to negotiate a deal on Iran’s nuclear program, “that doesn’t mean that option is not fully available. Not just available, but it’s ready,” he said. “The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it’s ready.”

According to a report on the website, the comment was typical of the talk coming out of the Obama administration for months. Officials have consistently employed tough talk, aimed particularly at trigger happy Israeli hawks who are unsure about Obama’s commitment to go to war on Israel’s paranoid say-so.

“We do believe there is time. Some time, not an unlimited amount of time,” Shapiro said in reference to the P5+1 talks with Iran on its nuclear program. “But at a certain point, we may have to make a judgment that the diplomacy will not work.”

Shapiro made his comments without emphasizing the conclusion of the U.S. military and intelligence community, that Iran has no nuclear weapons program, has demonstrated no intention to develop one, and that an attack would needlessly cause a regional conflagration of international violence which could not be contained.

What will come to the negotiations remains to be seen, but there is a simple solution to the issue which is completely off the table. Namely, establishing a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East. Top Iranian officials have repeatedly voiced their support for such a plan, but Israel has refused to give up its hundreds of nuclear weapons and also to open up its stockpile to international inspections.

So while every single participant in the talks with Iran acknowledges that they don’t even have a weapons program, no talks have been scheduled with Israel over its well-established weapons program. The double standard is not only glaring, but it is the cause of much of the tension over potential conflict in the Middle East, antiwar,com said.

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Mask of Zion Report with Jonathon Azaziah, May 17, 2012

by crescentandcross

The incomparable Jonathon Azaziah debuts his very first live weekly program here on TUT. Make sure to tune in every Thursday live at 4 pm eastern to hear.


Download Here


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Postcolonial, feminist and gay studies share many similarities to the extent that some academics regard these fields as theoretically and ideologically complementary. These fields of study are primarily concerned with politics, the structure of hegemony, the oppressed and the mechanism that brings about injustice. It is only natural then, that these realms of thought, primarily concerned with prejudice and injustice, would become key instruments in our understanding of Zionism and Israeli oppression.

Without questioning the intellectual validity and the theoretical substance of the postcolonial spectrum of thought, it is clear that some contemporary leading trends within this realm of studies emphasize the role of ‘White male’ and the ‘phallus’ as being at the core of contemporary Western society’s malaise. So the next question is almost inevitable –Where does it leave the ‘White male’? Or more anecdotally, am I, a person who happens to be wrapped in pale skin and is also attached to a white phallic organ, do I bear responsibility for centuries of European genocides? Would my responsibility lessen once I decide to chop my male organ off?  Am I, or any other White male, left with any authentic ethical role?  Or are we biologically doomed to be the epitome of every wrongdoing of the Western society for generations? The astute postcolonial theorist may suggest that ‘Masculinity’, ‘Whiteness’ and the ‘Phallus’ are mere symbolic representations rather than ‘things in themselves’.

Some postcolonial and feminist theoreticians would argue that imperialism, like patriarchy is, after all, a ‘phallo-centric’, ‘supremacist’, ‘White’ ideology that subjugates and dominates its subjects. This is an interesting and even intriguing statement, yet I am not so sure that it is valid or at all relevant to our understanding of Zionism and the crimes committed by the Jewish state. Zionism and Israel are clearly supremacist ideologies, yet is AIPAC’s push for a war against Iran ‘phallo-centric’? Is the Zionist appetite for Palestinian land ‘patriarchal’, or inspired by any form of ‘phallic’ enthusiasm or even ‘Whiteness’? Is the ‘War against Terror’ that left about one and a half million fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan, ‘phallicly’ orientated or is it the White male again?

Let’s face it, Zionism, Israeli politics and Jewish Lobbying are not particularly ‘phallo-centric’ or ‘patriarchal’. They also have little to do with ‘Whiteness’. Zionism, and Israel are actually primarily ‘Judeo-centric’ to the bone. They are racially driven and fuelled by a particular supremacist culture that is inspired by some aspects of Talmudic Goy hating and some sporadic (and false) Old Testament (false) interpretations. But this is exactly the verdict the postcolonial scholar attempts to prevent us from reaching. It is especially embarrassing because Israelis and Zionists openly draw their inspiration and expansionist enthusiasm from Jewish culture and texts, which they interpret in a very particular self-serving manner.

In spite of the fact that this discourse, in its current form, is pretty much, irrelevant to our understanding of Zionism and Israel, this postcolonial discourse is still, very popular amongst some anti Zionists and in particular, Jewish anti Zionists. The reason is pretty simple; it is effective in diverting attention from the real issues; it disguises the magnitude of Jewish power, Jewish politics, the inherent ‘Jewish’ nature of the ‘Jewish State’ and Jewish intellectual hegemony within the west and the Left in particular. Within the realm of the postcolonial discourse we are not even allowed to mention the ‘J word’, let alone criticise Jewish lobbying or Jewish power structures.

In fact, the postcolonial discourse, allows its acolytes to talk endlessly and passionately about Israel and Zionism without saying anything meaningful. It allows the Left to refer to Zionism as ‘settler colonialism’ in spite of the embarrassing fact that no one actually knows where or what exactly is the Jewish ‘mother state’ is[1]. Postcolonial scholars also encourage us to refer to Israel as an Apartheid state in spite of the fact that Apartheid is a racially driven system of exploitation of the indigenous. The Postcolonial enthusiast would obviously turn a blind eye to the fact that Israel is not interested in exploitation of the Palestinians. It prefers to see them gone. Hence, since it aims to get rid of the indigenous, Israel should be realised as an avid follower of the Lebensraum (Living-space) philosophy. From that perspective at least, Israel should be equated with Nazi Germany rather than with South Africa.

The postcolonial discourse, in its current form, allows its anti Zionist enthusiasts to spin endlessly. They can refer to Israel and Zionism without actually disturbing, hurting or even touching Israelis, Zionists and Jewish political structures. The postcolonial theorist is basically engaged in an attack on an imaginary phantasmic construction that has zero relevance to Zionist ideology or Israeli politics whatsoever. It is basically an advanced form of an intellectual onanism.

Like Rabbinical Judaism and Stalinism, the postcolonial discourse is extremely intolerant towards dissent and criticism. It surrounds itself with a defense wall, operates as an intellectual ghetto. In fact, it also invented political correctness just to police and curtail, by means of self-censorship, any freedom of expression.

Arab and Palestinian Postcolonial Scholarship

One of the most influential postcolonial thinkers was Palestinian- American literary theorist Edward Said. Said’s polemic, Orientalism (1979) was a deeply profound attempt to grasp the West’s vision of the Orient, the colony and Islam. The term Orientalism, as coined by Said, covers three interrelated meanings. First, it names the academic study of the Orient. Secondly, it is a form of deliberation that constitutes the Arab as the ‘other’.  Thirdly, it is the structures that maintain Western domination over the Orient.

Being an outstanding creative intellect, Said engaged in a vast examination of a multitude of Orientalist discourse. His writings refer to political and historical texts as well as literature and media. Said obviously realised the immense importance of cultural criticism and cultural studies.

Confusingly, some of Edward Said’s Palestinian and Arab successors seem to oppose the very field of study Said championed.  For example, as much as Said was immersed in deep cultural examination and discourse analysis, Palestinian activist and academic Ali Abunimah recently claimed the following.“We should be very clear in condemning explanations which try to blame a culture or a religion for a political situation.“ Abunimah basically believes that culture doesn’t explain ‘anything at all’. It seems to me that Abunimah, who often integrates the term ‘Orientalism’ into his political statements and tweets, is apparently unfamiliar with the intellectual core of Edward Said’s thought and methodology.

Ali Abunimah is not happy at all with my reading of the conflict. This is understandable and totally legitimate and furthermore, he is not alone. Other exiled Palestinians seem also to be very concerned. Their outrage at my argument that Israel is not a European style colonial state implies that they fear the end to a discourse in which they have invested so much. Some of those Palestinians were very happy to add their names to the list of book burners who demanded my disavowal.  This was indeed a very sad turn – futile, yet, at the same time both revealing and predictable. Though those Arab and Palestinian scholars criticized my work for being ‘racist’ without providing a single racist comment by me, it was disappointing to discover that, it was in fact their writing that was actually saturated with biological determinist comments and peppered with blunt racism.

Recently we came across a video of cultural BDS leader Omar Barghouti exploring some ‘postcolonial’ ideas. He for instance, insisted that “the white race is the most violent in the history of mankind.” This is an outrageous sweeping generalization especially since , Barghouti surely knows that Zionism is Judeo-centric and has very little to do with Whiteness. It is not the degree of ‘Whiteness’ that constitutes the racist element within the Israeli legal system, it is rather the ‘degree of Jewishness’ that makes an Arab Jew privileged in comparison to a Palestinian with a very similar skin colour. Omar Barghouti is studying in a ‘Zionist’ Tel Aviv university (while asking the rest of us to boycott the same university). Seemingly, he has internalised the Zionist academic postcolonial jargon and has integrated and implemented some biological determinist and racist ideas into his pro-Palestinian political thinking.

And Omar Barghouti is not alone. Assad Abu Khalil, AKA The Angry Arab, is another postcolonial enthusiast who also engages in a similar racially driven approach. In his blog post White Man and Paul Newman, Angry AbuKhalil writes “the White Man is not a racial category–or it is not merely a racial category but also a political and epistemological category.” Not only does Angry Arab agree that the ‘White Man’ is partially a racial category, he even goes as far as linking skin colour with a political stand and even epistemology.[2]

Of course, I realise that being an Arab academic in a Zionised American or British university is a tough mission. I guess that for some time the postcolonial discourse was the only possible template that allowed a criticism of Israel and Zionism. But the time is ripe to move on. We’d better now call a spade a spade.  It is time to call Israel what it is, namely “The Jewish State”. The time has come to ask what the Jewish State is all about and what is the true meaning of the Jewish symbols that decorate Israeli tanks and airplanes? The time has come for us to grasp that the Jewish Lobby is a primary threat to world peace.

But can we do it all while being thought-policed by the rigid boundaries of the postcolonial realm?  Can we talk about Jewish identity politics while some prominent Palestinians activists attempt – to block any discussion on Jewish culture & power?  My answer is yes we can, and we’d better make every possible effort to liberate our discourse from the Judeo-centric postcolonial grip.

Whiteness, The Jew & The Queer

In the last few weeks I have wondered why Omar Barghouti attacks the ‘White race’? Is it really necessary? Couldn’t he just refer to the ‘West’, America, Orientalism or the ‘British Empire’? Why does Angry Arab fight the White man? Is it really an elementary political category?  Does the introduction of racial categories and biological determinism serve the Palestinian cause or Arab liberation?  I decided to jump into the water and immersed myself in some contemporary texts about whiteness and postcolonial theory. I thought that it may help me to understand the emergence of such thoughts.

Following the recommendation of my friend and musical partner Sarah Gillespie, one of the first texts I picked was Richard Dyer’s ‘White’. Dyer is a respected film scholar and a leading writer on the topic. It didn’t take more than five pages before I stumbled upon a very interesting passage that opened my eyes. In the next few lines Dyer speaks about his childhood friendship with a Jewish pal and the impact it had on him.

“The key figure here was a Jewish boy at school, whom I’ll call Danny Marker. I used to visit him and his family in Golders Green, a Jewish neighbourhood of London. I knew by then that I was a homosexual and I envied Danny and his family-they too were an oppressed minority, whom, like queers, you could not always spot; but, unlike us, they had this wonderful, warm community and culture and the wrongfulness of their oppression was socially recognised. I now believe that there are intellectual and political problems with making and analogy between Jews and queers, between ethnic and sexual discrimination, but I am trying to say how it felt then. I envied Danny’s ethnicity and wanted to be part of it, indeed, felt at home with it.”  (White, Richard Dyer,  White Pg 5)

In The Wandering Who, I wrote extensively about the clear ideological and theoretical continuum between Zionism and other marginal thoughts. I explored the deep ideological similarity between Queer theory and the Jewish national aspiration. On the one hand we notice a legitimate and reasonable call against injustice – the Zionist and the Queer theorist demand to become ‘people like other people’ a call obviously understood and supported by many. But on the other hand, we also detect another forceful demand – to maintain and preserve uniqueness and differentiation. As one can imagine, the humanist call for equality can easily clash with the forceful self-centric, clannish demand for preservation (especially when celebrated on the expense of others).

However, Richard Dyer explores here another special affinity between the queer and the Jew. As a homosexual he expresses a clear and innocent envy of his Jewish schoolmate’s social landscape. Dyer notices that in spite of being oppressed, the Jews have managed to form a “warm and wonderful community and culture.”  Dyer’s feeling at home within the Jewish family nest may explain why Tel Aviv has become a Gay capital. It explains why some prominent Queer activists feel so strongly and positively about the Jewish State, Zionism, Jewish culture and Jewishness in general. But it also may explain why some Arab and exiled Palestinian secular academics, feel some affinity to the Jewish dominated anti Zionist postcolonial nest. Operating as an intellectual ghetto, it may also retain some Jewish characteristics, it is probably a ‘warm community’ as Dyer describes it. It may even be that some Palestinian postcolonial secular academics would feel more comfortable in Tel Aviv University than in Al-Azhar University in Gaza.

I obviously understand it and I am far from being judgmental. But am I naïve to expect Palestinian activists and intellectuals to ensure that the, ‘wrongfulness of Palestinian oppression’ be widely and ‘socially recognised’ by the masses, rather than by a few postcolonial Jewish Anti Zionists? It is time for our discourse to leave the ghetto.

I guess that in order to achieve such a goal, we must transcend the decaying postcolonial discourse or else completely revise it. We must drift away from any form of marginal ideology.  We must be able to deconstruct Jewish texts and Jewish cultural discourse with the same vigor that Edward Said deconstructed the European canon, whether it was Charles Dickens or Lord Balfour. We actually better locate the issue of Palestine at the forefront of the battle for a better world, humanity and humanism.

We should engage in an inclusive, open intellectual debate that welcomes all oppressed (queers, gays, Arabs, Muslims, people of colour and so on) and oppressors too. At the end of the day, with 50 million Americans living in deep poverty watching 30.000 drones fly over their heads, Gaza is now in Detroit, Newark and Philadelphia. Our solidarity with Palestine can now become a true force of genuine empathy. We don’t now just put ourselves in the shoes of the Palestinians, we actually wear them. We all strive for the same liberty. We are one.

For more information about Zionism and other marginal thoughts:

The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics

The book can be  ordered  on  or


[1]  If Israel is the Jewish ‘Settler State’ we better be informed at last where is the Jewish ‘mother state’ for colonialism is defined by a clear material, cultural and spiritual exchange between a mother and a settler states.

[2] It would be wrong not to mention professor Joseph Massad of Columbia University. Following his Mentor Edward Said, Massad also writes  about the role of colonialism, its structure, its impact  and the scars it left behind. Like Barghouti and Abu Khalil, Massad also refers occasionally to skin colour. Yet, unlike Barghouti and Abu Khalil, Massad seems to be far more careful and astute. Rather than falling into the banal biological determinist trap, he seems to critically refer and examine the role of skin colour from structural, social, cultural and political perspectives.


UK Unemployment Falls By 45,000 To 2.63m, Part-Time Workers At Record High


PA/The Huffington Post UK


The number of jobseeker’s allowance claimants fell by over 13,000 between January and March

Unemployment has fallen by 45,000 between January and March to 2.63 million, the second consecutive month that the number has dropped.

The number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance last month fell by 13,700 to 1.59 million, said the Office for National Statistics, the biggest fall of its kind since July 2010.

While, average earnings increased by 0.6% in the year to March, 0.5% down on the previous month, the number of people in work increased by 105,000 to almost 30 million. However, this was entirely due to a rise in part-time workers.

Almost eight million Britons are now in a part-time job, the highest since records began in 1992, while those working part-time because they cannot find full-time work increased by 73,000 to a record high of 1.4 million.

Average earnings increased by 0.6% in the year to March, down by 0.5 percentage points on the previous month because of lower bonuses in the private sector.

Self-employment has also reached a record figure of 4.1 million, up by 89,000 since the previous quarter.

In less good news for the Government, other figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the number of people unemployed for more than a year increased by 27,000 to 887,000, the worst total since 1996.

The number of people unemployed for more than two years rose by 5,000 to 428,000.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said that Wednesday’s figures were: “A welcome step in the right direction. For a number of months now, employment has been growing and this is starting to feed through into improving unemployment figures.

“However, we still face significant international uncertainty so we need to hold firm on our current economic strategy and continue to do everything we can to ensure unemployment continues to fall.”

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TUT Pod-Broadcast May 14, 2012

by crescentandcross

Sanctions against Iran–what they really mean and what they are doing to the average Iranian family.

We are joined by Iranian journaist Kourosh Ziabari to discuss this and other relevant issues


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Your Hard-Earned US Tax Dollars and Church Pension Funds at Work for Israel


Mass demonstrations in support of 2500 Palestinian hunger strikers swept through the West Bank this weekend.

by James M. Wall

Marchers moved through the streets of Hebron, Kafr Qaddoum, Nablus, Nabi Saleh, Ni’lin, Ramallah, al-Walaja and outside of Ofer prison. The picture above was taken in Hebron.

It shows an Israeli soldier with his knee firmly planted on a young Palestinian’s neck.

The picture also shows how American tax dollars and church pensions are at work on this Mothers Day weekend, a commercially-driven event in which American teenagers and their families annually  honor mothers with gifts and family meals.

On this particular American Mothers’ Day weekend, a large contingent of  Palestinian teenagers joined their mothers and other family members to offer their support to prisoners on lengthy and dangerous hunger strikes.

Laura Kacere wrote in A Nation of Change, that Mothers Day had a different meaning when it was initially launched.  In fact, the Palestinian mothers who marched this weekend in support of hunger strikers, some of whom may have been their children, are demonstrating in a manner more akin to the original purpose of Mothers Day.

Mother’s Day began in America in 1870 when Julia Ward Howe wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation. Written in response to the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War, her proclamation called on women to use their position as mothers to influence society in fighting for an end to all wars. She called for women to stand up against the unjust violence of war through their roles as wife and mother, to protest the futility of their sons killing other mothers’ sons.

Amira Hass, the Ha’aretz columnist who has watched Israeli duplicity at work for decades, explains how Israel makes use of  ”administrative detention”:

Administrative detainees have been held without trial for years under emergency regulations inspired by the British Mandate. It’s not important. Hundreds of prisoners from the Gaza Strip haven’t seen their families for six or more years. Why should anyone care?

American tax-payers and church members should care. But do they?  The record is not good.

The Methodist General Conference ended its once-every-four-years confab in Tampa last week with a small step toward caring. They will not have this opportunity again for four years in a governance system first established in the early 1800s by John Wesley.

In their 2012 Conference the Methodists voted to call for a boycott of US companies supporting the occupation. They failed, however, to pass a specific divestment resolution removing church pension funds from three US corporations, Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola Systems.

Why did the 2012 Methodists only hit .500?  The Methodist Board of Pensions and their allies roamed about the floor of the conference spreading the lie that divestment from these companies would threaten Africa University’s funding. Those prefabrications were aimed at Central Conferences (overseas) delegates, who are very protective of their continent’s Methodist University.

There were even reports that some Methodist delegates were told they could be sued if they voted for divestment. Would church leaders act in this manner? Hard to imagine, but then, there have also been reports (a tape recording to be exact) that Mitt Romney cannot recall a teenage incident which his classmates insist involved young Mitt cutting the hair of a classmate suspected of being gay.

Now it is the Presbyterians’ chance to divest from three US corporations that support the Israeli occupation. Will they join the Episcopalians and urge tea and cookies with their local rabbis, or will they look more closely at how the Israelis are spending their pension funds?

Meanwhile, the Palestinian hunger strikes continue.

Why hunger strikes?  How else does a prisoner reach the outside world, at least that part of the outside world willing to look up from its tea and cookies long enough to notice?

There are currently 2,000 Palestinian inmates on a mass hunger strike in the Nafha, Ashkelon, Gilboa and other prisons around Israel. Amira Hass writes that it is “the very fact of their decision to refuse food and their willingness to risk being punished by the authorities [that] stands as a reminder of their humanity”.

The US public remains blissfully ignorant during this Mothers Day weekend that 2000 Palestinians hunger strikers, some near death, are refusing food to protest their treatment and their unfair and unjust incarceration.

The bulk of the Israeli public, safe and secure behind a massive Security Wall, remain largely indifferent to the strikers.

Amira Hass explains:

The Israel Prison Service does not have to make much of an effort to conceal this mass action from Israeli eyes. The great majority of Israelis label all incarcerated Palestinians as conscienceless murderers or common terrorists, at the least. They have little interest in acts of personal or collective courage on the part of Palestinian detainees that serve as reminders that they are human beings.

Richard Falk and Noura Erakat have written about the history of the Israeli use of administrative detention, which in case you have not noticed, is a practice the US Congress is currently planning to add to the American legal arsenal against its own citizens.

Administrative detention has constituted a core of Israel’s 1,500 occupation laws that apply to Palestinians only, and which are not subject to any type of civilian or public review. Derived from British Mandate laws, administrative detention permits Israeli Forces to arrest Palestinians for up to six months without charge or trial, and without any show of incriminating evidence. Such detention orders can be renewed indefinitely, each time for another six-month term.

Ayed Dudeen is one of the longest-serving administrative detainees in Israeli captivity. First arrested in October 2007, Israeli officials renewed his detention thirty times without charge or trial. After languishing in a prison cell for nearly four years without due process, prison authorities released him in August 2011, only to re-arrest him two weeks later. His wife Amal no longer tells their six children that their father is coming home, because, in her words, “I do not want to give them false hope anymore, I just hope that this nightmare will go away.”

Twenty percent of the Palestinian population of the Occupied Palestinian Territories have at one point been held under administrative detention by Israeli forces. Israel argues these policies are necessary to ensure the security of its Jewish citizens, including those unlawfully resident in settlements surrounding Jerusalem, Area C, and the Jordan Valley—in flagrant contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention’s Article 49(6), which explicitly prohibits the transfer of one’s civilian population to the territory it occupies.

And how does the US government view the hunger strikes?

When one persistent journalist (identified as “Said”) demanded, politely, that US State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, answer a question about the Palestinian hunger strikes, this is how Nuland handled his query, according to the transcript from the State Department:

QUESTION: Okay. And one – a couple more. On the Palestinian prisoner issue, I wonder if you are aware of the situation of striking – hunger striking Palestinian prisoners?

MS. NULAND: I don’t have anything for you on that, Said.

QUESTION: Well, do you have a position on the hunger strike of prisoners who have not been charged with anything and they have been held for a long time? They’ve gone today – their 70th day of a hunger strike. Thaer Halahla and many others, five others, are probably – are likely to – they could face – I mean, they could die in the next day or so. Would the United States Government take a position on that?

MS. NULAND: Well, let me take the question, Said, because frankly, I don’t have anything one way or the other. I don’t know if we have a comment on it.

QUESTION: Because, lastly, I mean, it – if something happens to these prisoners, it could be a flashpoint between Israelis and the Palestinians.

MS. NULAND: No, I understand the question. Let me take it, okay?

QUESTION: Thank you.

If, or when, a hunger striker dies in an Israeli prison, the US State Department will have an answer ready to go. It will express regret at the death and urge “all parties involved” to resolve their differences.

One “party” involved is the IDF, shown in action at the pictures above and below. In this picture, smoke makes it difficult to determine if the IDF vehicle is a Caterpillar product. Perhaps not, since it is smaller than the Caterpillar tractors that built the Wall, and continues to demolish Palestinian homes.

But there is no question that the battle between the rock-throwing teen aged Palestinians and their IDF enemy serves as a metaphor for a US and church supported occupation force and a defiant civilian population.

Karl-John N. Stone and Thomas A. Prinz have just written an article for The Christian Century magazine, “Invest, Not Divest” which argues just what the title suggests it would argue, a misguided solution which embraces a market faith rather than a religious faith.

Stone is assistant to the bishop in the Upper Susquehanna Synod (ELCA) in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Prinz is pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Leesburg, Virginia. They ask:

What better way for the church to act as peacemakers than to engage in actual investment, building up Palestinian society and infrastructure, thereby helping to ensure a sound and viable sovereign state when a political solution is found and potentially hastening that political solution?

Stone and Prinz close their argument for “hastening that political solution” with this bit of capitalist stock market cheer leading:

The New York Times reported in February that the Palestinian Stock Exchange has been one of the best-­performing markets in the Arab world in recent years. In 2011, a year marked by great political upheaval in the region, the Palestinian exchange was second only to that of Qatar, falling only 2.58 percent over the course of the year.

The Times quoted Fayez Husseini, manager of Abraaj Capital’s $50 million Pales­tine Growth Capital Fund, as saying: “Strong stock market performance proves that these Palestinian companies are well managed, resilient and adaptive.”

They conclude their market-driven argument:

Investment moves churches beyond a black-and-white concept of justice and a conflict model of advocacy toward a model of empowerment and reconciliation. This move represents the best hope for churches to contribute to long-term peace and justice for Israelis and Palestinians.

Give our Lutheran brothers credit, they do offer us a choice between “a black-and-white concept of justice”, and “a model of empowerment and reconciliation”.

Prinz and Stone may think they are channeling Reinhold Niebuhr with that division. I suspect they are really channeling the Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop quoted in their piece.

Speaking of quoting, there is no sign that Prinz and Stone discussed this matter with any Palestinians under occupation, unless you count the New York Times‘ quote from Fayez Husseini, manager of Abraaj Capital’s $50 million Pales­tine Growth Capital Fund.

Next time Prinz and Stone offer advice to Palestinians, they might want to talk with Palestinian Baptist pastor, Dr. Alex Awad, who told Methodists when they were debating their divestment resolution:

“We are asking for divestment for our freedom, not investment to improve our lives in prison.”

The picture at top is by Mussa Qawasma. It was used in a Mondoweiss article by Allison Deger. The picture of the teenagers confronting IDF fire power is by Jaafar Ashtiyeh. It is from Agence France Presse  (AFP).

Source: Wall Writings

Editing: Debbie Menon


Water & Salt Show of support for Prisoners, Ramallah


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Posted in USAComments Off on Your Hard-Earned US Tax Dollars and Church Pension Funds at Work for Israel

9/11 Coup d’etat Triggered Pre-Planned War on Islam


I was interviewed on Press TV yesterday. Below is a rough transcript.

War against Muslims started even before 9/11

(watch the video)

Reports about a Virginia military course that taught officers to prepare for a total war on Islam indicate the US right wing agenda even before 9/11, an analyst tells Press TV.
Press TV has interviewed Dr. Kevin Barrett, author of ‘Questioning the War on Terror’ about the orchestrated campaign against Islam since September 11th, 2001.

What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: The Virginia (military) course that was mentioned there in our report has also warned officers between the link of the Muslim Civil Liberties Advocacy organization, which is known as CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) and other such groups, and Hamas, which is referred to as the enemy.

Why have these rights groups been targeted?

Dr. Barrett: Well, that’s a good question and another good question is why is Hamas considered America’s enemy? Hamas is not opposed to America; Hamas is opposed to Zionists in Israel.

So, this leads us to the real reason for this wave of Islamophobic hysteria that’s swept over the USA since 9/11 and that is, to sum it up – September 11th was a coup d’etat by extreme right wing forces in the US military particularly with dispensationalist Christian extremists at the top of the Air Force.

It was overseen by Cheney and the Israeli MOSSAD with its assets in the New York crime scene blew up the World trade Center… and deceptively blamed it on Muslims to launch a war against the religion of Islam.

Today, with these recent revelations, we are only beginning to learn – not we… people like me have known this for a long time, but others that have been in denial about the reality of what really happened on September 11th have just begun to learn how absolutely insane these extreme right wing forces in the USA are.

The good news is that they are being rooted out. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey has been one of many professional leaders in the US military who are unhappy about the September 11th coup d’etat and the War on Islam. And they are slowly, but surely rooting out these crazed Islamophobic forces.

And yes, these Islamophobes are absolutely committed to going after anybody that defends Islam in any way including those who are using the freedom of speech granted under the US Constitution to defend the religion of Islam.

Press TV: You’ve written a book on the War on Terror and I’d like to bring this issue up with you, our guest in Washington was suggesting there that this is a war on Islam that has been supported by three sides and this is not just a non-profit organization maybe in the US giving out an extreme view on Islam, but this is a policy that is entrenched in the government and is part of the policy.

Sometimes we even think when we see for instance reports of Qu’ran burning in Afghanistan Islam are attempts to test the nerves of Islam community. What do you think this war on terror is about and has it become, on the ground, a war on Islam?

Dr. Barrett: Actually, the guest in London was absolutely correct that this does go back to before 9/11. I think the war on terror actually began in 1979 at the Jerusalem Conference on International terrorism (JCIT). Netanyahu summoned George H W Bush and Scoop Jackson who was the leading Senate military budget guy and other big time movers and shakers in the US military establishment and policy makers to Jerusalem.

And at that Jerusalem conference on International Terrorism in 1979, before the Cold War was over, they laid out a plan to replace communism with terrorism as the next great enemy.

Now, terrorism should have been put in quotes because what was really going on was that Netanyahu and his people were setting Islam up to be the next great enemy of the West. Why is that? Because Islam – well, not so much the religion of Islam, but the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims is the obstacle to Greater Israel.

The Zionists have been stealing more and more land; butchering more and more people; pushing their ethnic cleansing harder and harder all the time. The hardcore Zionists want to take the whole of the Middle East for themselves. They want everything from the Nile to the Euphrates and they want to dominate the rest of it.

And in order to do that they basically have to go to war with Muslims because it so happens that the people who live in that part of the world are Muslims. So the war on terror is really a disguised war on Islam on behalf of radical Zionists led by Benyamin Netanyahu who started the whole thing with the Jerusalem conference on International terrorism back in 1979.

Press TV: Suggesting a nuclear attack to justify the destruction of the holy cities of Medina and Mecca we’ve heard, Dr. Barrett, it does sound completely radical and we never hear any official trying to justify it let alone repeat it, but nonetheless, how effective are these kinds of ideas in promoting extremist behaviour towards Muslims?

Dr. Barrett: Well, unfortunately they are effective within a small group of extremists who have become ensconced in certain parts of our military as well as some of the Zionists. There are plenty of liberal Zionists who are somewhat horrified by this kind of extreme rhetoric, but who let it pass and  are willing to go along with it because it serves their interests.

Now, we need to step back here for a moment and talk about what would have happened here in the US if for instance we had heard that a US military teacher had drawn up these official documents saying that we might need to have a total war against Jews, on the order of let’s say Dachau and Auschwitz.

What would have happened? The American media would have gone bananas and the US army would have been torn apart and everybody involved would have been kicked out.

The US Constitution has a clause, which says that all religions must be treated equally – that’s our First Amendment. And so, here in America we need to wake up and put a stop to this kind of extreme Islamophobia that wouldn’t ever be accepted if it were directed against any other group.

Posted in USAComments Off on 9/11 Coup d’etat Triggered Pre-Planned War on Islam

US Has Always Been a Bully

by Paul Balles


America has always been a bully. Americans are convinced that they have a God-given right, or destiny, to expand the country’s borders from “sea to shining sea”.

“The land of the free and the home of the brave” was conquered with complete disregard for the rights of America’s original inhabitants.

Full of expansionist tendencies, Americans engaged in wars throughout the entire world and became involved in foreign affairs where their participation was unwelcome.

Native American Indians welcomed the Pilgrims with open arms, unaware that increasing numbers of settlers would cost the natives their land and lives.

With all that stolen land, white American bullies needed slaves that ships brought from Africa to work the land.

In a war with Mexico, the western settlers stole Texas. Eventually, large northern portions of Mexico, including California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah were occupied and ruled by Americans.

By the middle of the 19th century, America decided to force Japan to trade with the U.S. Japan had to accept the U.S.A.’s terms or face naval bombardment.

Due to strong U.S. expansionist sentiment at the end of the 19th century, another conflict broke out between Spain and America. This time the U.S. wanted Spain’s territories of Cuba, Puerto Rico, The Philippines, Guam and the Caroline Islands.

A large part of the 20th century saw widespread hatred and persecution of communists and foreigners with the U.S. engaged in military conflicts in Vietnam in the 1960’s and 70’s.

America’s history of conquests is beginning to resonate with another, more recent, history: that of Israel.

When Israel has thoroughly isolated the remaining Palestinians on small reservations by American bullying tactics, where will they expand next?

Is there any reason to believe that the Israelis won’t continue to use the American model of occupation and rule? What will Israel use as a continuation of “The War on Terrorism”? Israel’s hawks and the Zionists in America want Iran decimated.

What do Israel and America need to consider before further bloodthirsty expansion?

First, they rely on proficiency in weapons manufacture and military tactics. In the past, they have always been one step ahead of the nations and people they were trying to conquer.

Next, their conquests have never been based on victory alone, but on total and complete subjugation. Herein have been the difficulties with leaving Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Third, control over their own internal affairs has never been enough. They need to interfere with internal affairs of other countries and exploit potential crises for their own personal gain.

America and Israel have involved themselves in an ever-growing military escapade in the Middle East, spreading it with the help of scare tactics and lies.

With America, it has been the threat of terrorism. With Israel, the bogus need for greater self-defence.

Deciding to take military action by disregarding U.N. disapproval and on ridiculous and unproven grounds, America and Israel qualify as the bullies of our time.

It’s time for America to grow up and let Israel deservedly take the condemnation as the world’s chief bully. What should America do?

  • Stop invading, bombing and “regime changing” countries that haven’t attacked us or invaded their neighbours.
  • Quit supporting Israel’s bullying of Palestinians, Lebanon, Gaza and other neighbouring countries.
  • Cease interference in other countries’ domestic elections.
  • Stop assassinating foreign leaders.
  • Dismantle our global military empire, withdrawing our troops from other countries and giving up the notion that we should exert military control over the entire world.
  • Join the international community as one member of the family of nations, rather than as the biggest bully.

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