Archive | October 16th, 2012

TUT Broadcast: IsraHell should nuke Europe

TUT Broadcast Oct 15, 2012

by crescentandcross

Pamela Geller says if Iran attacks IsraHell, IsraHell should nuke Europe.

This and other news items.

tut-broadcast-oct-15-2012.mp3

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IsraHell Tries to Assassinate Top US General, Then Invites Him for Tea

NOVANEWS
Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem Sr

Has a massive, seismic fault line opened up between the US and Israel?

by Kevin Barrett

The Israeli government, like its New York special agent Larry Silverstein, has never been criticized for lacking chutzpah.

But Netanyahu and company may be setting a new record for diplomatic chutzpah by inviting America’s top military commander over for tea –  two months after they tried to assassinate him!

The Times of Israel, a pro-Netanyahu rag, just published an article practically begging Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chair of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff, to come visit Israel a week before the US presidential elections. I have reprinted the entire article below, interspersed with my translations from the Neocon-ese.  The original article is plain text; my translations are bracketed in boldface.

US chief of staff will likely visit Israel this month

Martin Dempsey expected to be on hand for conclusion of joint training exercise ‘Austere Challenge 12′

By Asher Zeiger October 14, 2012, 6:56 pm 1

http://www.timesofisrael.com/us-chief-of-staff-to-likely-visit-israel-this-month/

The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey [who survived an Israeli assassination attempt in reprisal for his nixing war with Iran]  is expected to visit Israel at the end of the upcoming joint missile defense exercise in late October, Israeli sources revealed on Sunday.
“Austere Challenge 12″ is set to be the largest-ever exercise of its kind, involving some 1,500 soldiers from the Israeli and American armies. The exercise is expected to go on for approximately two weeks, and while Dempsey’s visit has not yet been officially confirmed, Israeli sources were quoted by Maariv as saying that they expected him to be in Israel at the end of the exercise. [Is this wishful thinking, the same way Israel “expected” Obama to meet with Netanyahu, rather than David Letterman, in New York last month? Or will Dempsey really be there – to tell Israel “no October surprises, don’t even think about attacking Iran – and by the way, any more assassination attempts, and we might just ‘accidentally’ turn Tel Aviv into a molten glass parking lot.”]

If he does come to Israel, Dempsey will join Adm. James Stavridis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). The visit will take place about one week before the US elections are held on November 6.[Translation: “Perfect timing for a Patrick Clawson-style October Surprise…too bad Dempsey and his friends are hip to us, otherwise we could blow him up and blame Iran.”]

Tensions between the US and Israel have been on the rise in recent months over the appropriate course of action to thwart the Iranian nuclear drive. Israel has pushed the US to declare a “red line” for Tehran — a point after which there would be military action rather than sanctions — while the US has reiterated the need to continue pressuring Iran through diplomatic means, reserving a  military strike as a last resort. [This is not entirely a “US vs. Israel” issue. It’s a “sane people vs. crazy people” issue. It’s the lunatics in the US and Israel, including Netanyahu a.k.a. Wile E. Coyote and his dumb friend Mitt, who want red lines and military action; while sane heads in both countries have no interest in war with Iran, period.]

One unnamed Israeli source said Dempsey’s visit would be politically significant in that it would underline the depth of security ties between Israel and the US. [In other words, Netanyahu could say “Gee, Gen. Dempsey, we’re really sorry about trying to assassinate you in Afghanistan, please don’t hold it against us.”] In August, the longstanding relationship between the two allies was called into question when Dempsey called on Israel not to attack Iran, saying that he would not want to be “complicit” in such a strike. [The subsequent assassination attempt on Dempsey “called the relationship into question” even more sharply.]

Tensions between the US and Israel also increased when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly in late September and was unable to arrange a sit-down with President Barack Obama. [Who was too busy yukking it up with a really important person, David Letterman.US officials attempted to downplay the lack of a meeting, saying that Obama did not arrange individual meetings with any world leaders during the General Assembly. [Except for Letterman, the King of Late-Night Comedy.] Israeli officials, however, interpreted Obama’s refusal to meet as a response to continued Israeli pressure regarding Iran. [They figured if Obama only meets with really funny guys like Letterman, maybe Netanyahu could win back Obama’s friendship by doing a truly hilarious Wile E. Coyote imitation at the U.N.]

In late September, Obama reiterated in an interview on “60 Minutes” that his working relationship with the Israeli prime minister was very good. [The actual quote, I believe, was: “Boy, I’ve been giving it to him good, haven’t I? Like when Sarkozy and I left the microphone on – that was really good!”] “I understand and share Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon,” Obama said. [“However,” he added, “I do not suffer from his paranoid delusion that Iran actually has a nuclear weapons program.”]

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Is this what you want YOUR five-year-old learning about sex? Explicit materials cleared for schools

NOVANEWS

By KATE LOVEYS and HANNAH ROBERTS

Explicit cartoons, films and books have been cleared for use to teach sex education to schoolchildren as young as five.

A disturbing dossier exposes a wide range of graphic resources recommended for primary school lessons.

The shocking material – promoted by local councils and even the BBC – teaches youngsters about adult language and sexual intercourse.

sex education graphic

Among the books singled out in the report is How Did I Begin? by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom which has a cartoon image of a couple in bed in an intimate embrace.

It is accompanied by an explanation – using frank and adult terminology – of the act of intercourse.

Another, called The Primary School Sex And Relationships Education Pack by HIT UK, includes material to allow children aged five to 11 to learn about different sexual positions and prostitution.

The BBC has been highlighted for an educational video featuring full frontal nudity, while its learning resources department, BBC Active, shows computer-generated images of male genitalia.

All the material has been recommended by councils for use at ages ‘seven-plus’.

The dossier, compiled by the Christian Institute, also pinpoints a book called Let’s Talk About Sex, by Robie H Harris, which includes a chapter on heterosexuality called ‘Straight and Gay’.

Furious family campaigners have described the material as ‘too much, too young’ and warn it will encourage sexualisation.

Mike Judge, of the Christian Institute, said: ‘The current approach to sex education demands ever more explicit sex education at ever younger ages.

Let's Talk About Sex By Robie H. Harris
How Did I Begin? by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

Controversial: A worrying dossier exposes a range of graphic resources recommended for primary school lessons. Books singled out include Let’s Talk About Sex, which includes a chapter on heterosexuality called ‘Straight and Gay’ – and How Did I Begin?, which has a cartoon image of a couple in bed in an intimate embrace

‘Parents don’t want their children to be exposed to material which sexualises them and most would be deeply upset if these materials were used with their primary-aged child.

‘If public bodies believe these resources are suitable for young children, there is clearly a problem with their judgment and more control needs to be given to parents.’
The Christian Institute identified 16 councils which have recommended explicit books and videos to schools.

These include Derby City, Devon County, Swindon County, Worcestershire County, Hampshire County, Birmingham City and Brighton and Hove, many of which have links to the material on their websites.

At present, primary and secondary schools have to teach pupils ‘age-appropriate’ science lessons about the biology of sex.

Schools must also have a sex education policy, although the subject is compulsory only in secondary education. However, the Coalition is reviewing sex education.

Before the election, the Liberal Democrats said they ‘unreservedly’ supported mandatory sex education in primary schools.

But in its report, the Christian Institute warns ministers that compulsory sex education would lead to the proliferation of explicit material.

It states: ‘If sex education is made compulsory for primary schools, the publications highlighted in this report are the kind of materials that will be used with children as young as five.’

Last night, Swindon Council was unapologetic about its recommendation of the material.

It confirmed it recommended Let’s Talk About Where Babies Come From and Let’s Talk About Sex, both by Robie H Harris, and a Channel 4 DVD called All About Us Living And Growing.

A spokesman said the material was recommended ‘to schools and governors as part of a much wider range of resource options for teaching sex and relationship education. It is up to individual schools and their governors whether they feel any of the resources are appropriate’.

It said it did not have information on whether any of the resources were being used in class.

Too much too young? 'Most parents would be deeply upset if these materials were used with their primary-aged child' says one father Too much too young? ‘Most parents would be deeply upset if these materials were used with their primary-aged child’ says the Christian Institute

In How Did I Begin?, which was highlighted in the Christian Institute report, the image of a couple in bed is accompanied by the explanation: ‘As they cuddled, your dad’s penis moved gently inside your mum’s vagina and the sperms flowed out.’

The pack produced by HIT UK, meanwhile, encourages primary aged children to learn about ‘anal intercourse’, ‘oral sex’ and ‘prostitution’.

Labour had planned to amend legislation to introduce sex education topics into the National Curriculum for primary schools, which would have led to schools teaching pupils about contraception and civil partnerships from age seven.

The Department for Education said: ‘By law, schools must make sure that sex and relationship education (SRE) classes are appropriate to pupils’ ages and maturity. It’s down to teachers themselves to use their professional judgment in deciding this.

‘Parents retain the right to pull their children out of any SRE class, outside statutory science, if they are unhappy with teaching.’

Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, said the use of explicit teaching tools was ‘deeply concerning’ and eroded ‘traditional moral standards’.

He said: ‘It is vital that schools remain accountable to parents at the local level and, in line with the law, ensure that children are protected from inappropriate teaching and materials, having regard for their age and religious and cultural background.

‘Too many local authorities are taking their lead from the Sex Education Forum – a body that includes organisations that encourage sexual experimentation and aim to break down traditional moral standards.

‘Introducing sex education at an early age runs the risk of breaking down children’s natural sense of reserve. Far from being a hindrance, children’s natural inhibitions and sense of modesty in talking about sexual matters are healthy and provide a necessary safeguard against both sexual abuse and casual attitudes towards sexual intimacy later on.’

BBC Active said: ‘We would stress that we leave it up to individual schools and parents to decide what material is appropriate.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1364360/Sex-education-Do-want-5-year-old-child-given-explicit-lessons.html#ixzz29S4EF5vC
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Why I Refuse: On God/Love, Nonviolence and Israel’s Military Occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

NOVANEWS

 

My name is Moriel Zachariah Rothman. I am 23 years old and live in Jerusalem. I lived for most of my life in the United States, but I was born in Jerusalem (and am Jewish) and have thus been an Israeli citizen since birth. As such, I am, like [most] other Israeli Jews, expected to serve in the IDF. I moved back to Jerusalem last year, and I recently received a draft notice from the IDF. After much thinking, wrestling and searching, and drawing inspiration from my community and from many who have made the same choice before me, I have decided to refuse to serve in the army.

Before explaining my decision, I want to acknowledge both my privilege and the fact that I am here by choice. As for the former, I am deeply aware of the privileges I have as compared to many other Israelis- privileges of education, of financial security, of light skin, of circumstance- and I thus want to make clear that I do not see my decision to refuse as making me somehow “more moral” or otherwise superior to my Israeli peers who chose to serve. In many if not most cases, the decision to serve was barely a choice, and was more of a product of 18 years of upbringing, societal pressure, propaganda, the threat of jail or punishment and the perhaps more devastating threat of stigmatization and metaphorical/spiritual exile.

While I have immense admiration for those 18 year olds who did indeed refuse, despite all of the aforementioned, it is clear to me that if I had been here when I was 18, I would have served in the army, and likely in a combat unit, and thus likely in the occupied territories, despite the reservations and internal conflicts (which I certainly had then, but which have grown and intensified over the past five years, thanks to academic study, direct exposure to different narratives, spiritual contemplation, community influences and many other products of my privilege).

I thus want to make it clear that my decision to refuse was intricately connected to privilege and circumstance, and thus that it is an act of protest against what I see as an unjust and evil system, and not against individuals. All of that said, I certainly hope that my action can be an example for others (including other immigrants from the US who have similar privileges and opportunities), that it will take away a bit of the fear and stigma surrounding the idea of refusal, and that others will, indeed, follow in the same path, just as I am following in the path of those who have refused to serve in the military before me, here and elsewhere in the world.

And a word on my choice to be here: I moved here, to Israel-Palestine, like millions of other Jews over the last century, because I feel a connection to the people and to the land. I chose to be here. I chose to throw my lot in with the Jewish people, in the place on earth in which Jewish decisions- for better and for worse- have the most impact. I want to be a part of this society, and I want to make my contribution to this society’s safety, with the hope that we can break free from the cycle of violence into which the Jewish people was collectively launched, and to live up to the ethical ideals carved into our holy books and our historical memories.

Instead of adding one more drop to the already frothing, overflowing pool of violence here, I will do my best to obey the biblical commandment that appears more times than any other, and seek to love and do justice with the stranger (eg. Deut. 10:18; Zach. 7:10). That is how I want to spend my life, and I want to do it in the land in which biblical values of justice first took root.

So why am I refusing?

In short, the reasons are as follows: God/Love, Nonviolence, and Israel’s Military Occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

In long, read on.

God/Love. 

Humanity was created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27). To take a person’s life is to destroy part of God and to diminish the Oneness that is Humanity. To bound and gag other people- or other peoples- is to desecrate God. To violate human dignity is to lessen God’s holiness. The only way to truly uplift God is through love of others. I constantly seek, and constantly fail, and constantly continue to seek to live a life with God/others-love at its center. I do love others: although this love is not manifested in all of my actions, and maybe not even in all of my days, it exists somewhere deep inside of me, as I think that it does in everyone. I love their laughter, and their songs, and the softness of their eyes. I am often overwhelmed by others, blown away by how Godly and how human all humans are, by how confused we all are, by how tiny. David Foster Wallace, in his speech to the graduating class of Kenyon College in 2005, made the case for empathy based on shared humanity and fundamental un-knowing of others’ lives:

“You can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she’s not usually like this. Maybe she’s been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible. It just depends what you want to consider.” 

I realize it might seem like I’m going off on a tangent by quoting that passage in a letter on refusal, but I will exploit yet another privilege I have (ie. a Politically Relevant and Highly Controversial subject which is perhaps P.R. & H. C. enough to convince some of you to read all of these seven pages) and ask that you stay with me: I think there is a sort of logic to it all, a thread –of love, perhaps, or of Godliness, or just humanity, depending on how one chooses to put words to this thing that is– that connects the woman in the checkout line to the solider at the checkpoint, and that leads me to a determined refusal to hate any individual soldier or human part of the system even as I refuse to become a solider and part of a system that I hate. Truly: I do not know.

I do not know.

Another element of my belief in God is unknowability. The only God that I know is God that is almost entirely unknowable, mysterious, God perhaps somehow manifested in Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s concept of “radical amazement” at the stunning unknowableness of every moment and “wonder” at the very fact that we are able to wonder. As God is unknowable, a deep humility is demanded of us as we try to walk in what we think/feel/sense/believe is God’s path. This unknowability connects directly to the second reason I am refusing, which is a commitment to nonviolence.

Nonviolence. 

There is a chance in every moment that all of us are completely and entirely Wrong. That, as my friend Sarah once said to me, is part of why we must choose nonviolence. As we grapple with the knowledge that we may be Wrong about everything we “know” or believe– including this letter and my act of refusal itself- at least we can be certain that we are not actively eliminating from the world those who might actually be Right, as measured by God, justice, history or some other force, or half Right, or together with whom we could find some measure of Right.

True nonviolence, based on morally-intuited educated guesses its proponents about what is Right, must be accompanied by humility. Martin Luther King Jr., in his reflections on his visit to India, wrote about the need to embrace “realistic pacifism,” a pacifism that does not frame nonviolence as “sinless,” but rather as “the lesser evil in the circumstances.” Indeed whether I refuse or not, people will continue to kill other people- especially those who are sure that they are Right.

Israeli society will remain plagued by militarism, by fear, and by the structural violence rampant throughout all Western societies. I do not acquit myself from any of these injustices or “clean my hands” simply by refusing to serve one of the manifestations of societal violence. Even the Pacifist has blood on his or her hands. As the early Jewish – and Zionist, albeit in a very different way than the racist and hyper-nationalistic forms of Zionism that take center stage today- philosopher Martin Buber wrote, in a 1932 essay entitled And if not now, when?, “there can be no life without injustice.” Thus, Buber continues, the imperative to do no more injustice than we must. This applies both on the individual level and on the communal level, as “what is wrong for the individual cannot be right for the community.”

I have come to believe, as have many before me, both here and elsewhere, that committed nonviolence is the only way to end the cycle of the violence that has brutalized and continues to destroy our world, this region and humanity. In other words, only nonviolence can end violence. This statement sounds simple and un-dangerous, yet it echoes in many ears as threatening and subversive, leads some people to call me horrific names and tell me that I have no place in this society. Throughout history and across the planet, holding fast to nonviolence has often come with a price, from physical pain or danger to societal estrangement, from employment issues to the loss of certain freedoms and jailtime.

Again though: the fact that I have arrived at a point in which I am willing to pay a certain personal price (and it is a relatively small price compared to what such a decision would entail throughout much of the world, the worst likely-scenario being a short period of time in Israeli military jail) for my beliefs does not make me “more moral” than my peers, and, it must be noted, is in a certain way informed by my Ego and aggrandized conception of self, which certainly clashes with the humility which leads me to believe in nonviolence, which is a contradiction that I have not yet resolved and do not know how to resolve- if this were purely about humility, I might refuse silently, and yet, if I refused silently, the action would surely have no affect on others, and would thus be a purely-self-oriented decision, which then would also render it a selfish act. And so. I leave this contradiction unresolved for now, but acknowledged.

To return to nonviolence: my ideas about and admiration for nonviolence were deeply influenced by my childhood admiration for the American Civil Rights Movement (an admiration fostered and nurtured, interestingly, by the established Jewish community, as well as by my incredible family and Ohio hometown). My childhood admiration of the movement melted into an adolescent textual exploration which, like many before me, led me to the works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as other, slightly less famous but equally inspiring figures like Bob Moses, Fannie Lou Hamer, Vernon Dahmer, Diane Nash and the thousands upon thousands of unremembered heroes and, also, the Jewish activists who made up a disproportionate amount of the non-Black freedom riders and civil rights figures. King, who functioned as a sort of mouthpiece for the movement, wrote in his book on the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, that true nonviolence “avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of the spirit. The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him.” Mickey Schwerner, one of the Jewish activists murdered in Mississippi in 1964 by members of the KKK was recorded as saying, right before he was shot by a member of the Klan, “Sir, I know just how you feel.”

I will assert explicitly, if this had not already been made clear, that I do not hate soldiers, nor do I hate settlers. I hate many of their actions, I hate the system they support and are supported by, I hate oppression and racism and separation and the fact that Israel’s regime today looks, in many ways, devastatingly similar to the United States in the 1950 and 60s. And I hate, with all of my soul, the worst manifestation of my society’s racism, violence, and oppression, the IDF’s main venture and purpose, today, in 2012: Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

My refusal is not “selective.” I would similarly refuse to serve in the United States military, or the Turkish military, or the Palestinian military, if ever there becomes such a thing. That said, it was through witnessing of the violence of the IDF’s actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, both physical and structural, that my principled opposition to systematic violence was forged and cemented, and it was the occupation that led me to my belief that armies are not only formed in order to enact violence, but indeed, when placed in a tense situation, themselves create, initiate and necessitate violence.

Israel’s Military Occupation of the Palestinian Territories

I chose to write about this factor in my decision last not because it is somehow less important to me- on the contrary, it is far more urgent and less theoretical than the other two- but because there has been created, within much of the Israeli and world Jewish Communities, whom I see as my main conversation partners in this action and in general, a culture of radical denial, of a knee-jerk ear-and-heart closing to most discussions of Israel’s occupation, and even to the word itself, which seems, to me, the word “occupation” does, to be a rather tame and sterile way to describe the situation today West Bank and East Jerusalem (and Gaza.

Although it is a different case than the former two areas, Gaza is still occupied by air and by water, is economically stifled and dependent, and the Palestinians living in Gaza collectively suffer the constant threat of devastating violence, most horrifically illustrated by “Operation Cast Lead” in 2009. All of that said, I have never been to Gaza, and thus my understanding of the Occupation is largely informed by my experiences in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the following discussion will focus there). The Occupation is the primary task of the IDF, and it is made possible by support for the IDF and its actions by Israeli and world-Jewish conservatives and liberals alike.

My hope is that those who made it this far in the letter will realize, at least on some level, that my opposition to the occupation and the IDF’s central role in the occupation stems directly from my Jewish and universal values, and will thus have a bit more openness in their hearts when reading this final section of this letter.

But it cannot be said lightly, the time has long passed for gentle language and “hear-able” rhetoric: The Occupation is cruelty and injustice manifest.

The Occupation is anti-God, anti-Love and staggeringly, constantly violent.

The Occupation is based on a system of racial/ethnic separation that does, in fact, resemble South African Apartheid and segregation in the Southern United States until the 1960s.

And this “temporary” Occupation is not “on its way out,” but is rather growing in strength every single day.

There is almost zero political will within Israel’s government to end it, and the Israeli public has largely accepted the status quo, in which the occupation is basically a theoretical question, and one of which many have grown tired. But the occupation can only be theoretical if you are not occupied, and thus my refusal to support the occupation by serving in the IDF is also an act of solidarity with Palestinians living under occupation, whose lives and suffering I cannot truly understand, coming from the privilege I come from (if/when I go to jail, it will be a fundamentally less frightening, more privileged, more predictable, and all around easier experience than the experiences of the thousands and thousands of Palestinians, among them children and innocents, who have spent time in Israeli prisons), and whose forms of nonviolent resistance to Occupation have amazed and inspired me, whether through protests, or through hunger strikes, or through community development and art and culture, or through the basic act of maintaining dignity and beauty in the face of the historical injustice and suffering Palestinians have faced, continually, since the Nakba of 1948, and especially since the Occupation beginning in 1967.

I do not intend to write in depth about the specifics of Occupation in this letter (for my specific and in depth thoughts on the Occupation, see my blog, The Leftern Wall, and other articles and poems I have written at www.thelefternwall.com). I do not imagine that this letter, however lengthy and detailed, could single-handedly shift the views of someone who does not see the Occupation as desperately, crushingly evil or of someone who believes that the IDF’s actions in the Palestinian territories are justified or “necessary.” But I do believe that it may plant a seed of questioning in a few hearts and a few souls. As such, I will simply tell a story, the power of which, I think, is far greater than overused academic or intellectual arguments, and give a few recommendations of reading/viewing materials that had profound impacts on me.

This past winter, in the village of Silwan in East Jerusalem, I met a fourteen year-old boy named “S”. “S”  is medium height, and has short dark hair and almond-colored eyes. He is bit shy and has a soft smile and should have been finishing his ninth grade year. But when I met “S” , he had just been released from 30 days in Israeli prison, where he had been physically and emotionally tortured and abused, separated from his parents and family, threatened with a knife and with “electric means,” at times kept in solitary confinement. Fourteen years old. When he was released, he was immediately put under house arrest, and when I met him, he was missing the end of the school year. He was excited to meet me, “S”, and asked if I could help him tell his story, and maybe help him return to school, and if we could take a picture together on his cellphone.

And then comes the question: But what did he do?

And the answer: it does not matter. Only in a system overflowing with discrimination and violence, like the occupation, could a boy- who is not even a citizen of Israel- be held in such awful conditions. Only under occupation could such a story be not only believable for Palestinians and those who work with them, but in fact unsurprising.

For those who have not had the privilege/burden of witnessing this reality first hand, though, such stories are hard to swallow. Many times I have told this story, and the reaction has been: “I don’t believe this,” or “this is not true.” Would that it were not true.

It is. As are thousands and thousands of stories like it, told and untold. The occupation, which is based off of unequal treatment, and subjugating the entire Palestinian population by force, not only allows such acts of cruelty as arresting and abusing a 14 year old boy and then barring him from returning to school: it needs them. It needs to crush Palestinians into submission, to keep them in a constant state of fear and uncertainty, to treat them as if they are somehow less human, as if they are less deserving of rights and dignity and security. This is the primary task of the IDF in the Occupied Territories (and thus the primary task of the IDF period): to keep Palestinians in a constant state of fear, “sh’lo yarimu rosh,” that they not be allowed to lift their heads up, to maintain a constant threat of violence and punishment against the entire population.

I refuse to support a system that treats any children as if they are not human.

Part of my ask is that readers for whom even parts of this letter resonate take the time to learn more about the occupation, to challenge their views on the IDF (and of armies and violence in general) and its role in perpetrating injustice. I believe that the best way to learn about the Occupation is to witness it, and I underwent one of my most fundamental change after a tours of occupied East Jerusalem and occupied Hebron (both, interestingly, given by former combat soldiers).

There were also a few books and movies that truly cracked me open and gave me the ability to hear a narrative so different than the one I had heard from mainstream Israeli and Jewish sources as a child, among them Martin Buber’s “A Land of Two Peoples,” (edited by Paul Mendes-Flohr), S. Yizhar’s “Khirbet Khizeh,” Edward Said’s “A Question of Palestine,” the films “Budrus” by JustVision and “The Law in These Parts” by Ra’anan Alexandrovich and many poems by Mahmoud Darwish, especially, in this context, “A Soldier Dreams of White Lilies:”

I want a smiling child in this day

not an issue of the war-machine.

I came here because I thought a sun

was approaching its zenith not setting.

So I refuse. I refuse to serve in the army, to put on a uniform, to pick up a gun. I refuse to contribute to the cycle of violence and dehumanization that plagues this place that I love. I refuse because I love, and because I believe in the possibility of a better reality, and because I believe in God and in humanity and in nonviolence and and because, as R. Heschel teaches, to despair is the most selfish thing one can do, to say “this is hard for me,” or “it seems to me that the situation will never change,” and to thus be unable to serve God by serving others. I believe that the situation can change. I believe that my refusal is a tiny, tiny, tiny contribution to a reality in which violence is less normal, less prevalent, less accepted.

I seek to refuse with the most humility that I can muster, because I do not know, about this or about anything. I refuse in solidarity with Palestinians living under occupation, in and in hope that the ripples of my action will reach the hearts of some members of my Israeli Jewish and American Jewish societies. I refuse to hate those who have chosen differently, and I hope that the refusal to hate will be reciprocated by those who disagree with my decision.

In hope, sadness, some fear, and love,

Moriel Zachariah Rothman.

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EU bans imports of natural gas from Iran

NOVANEWS

Eurobloc votes in favor of tougher sanctions on Tehran in a bid to increase pressure over country’s controversial nuclear program

ynet

The European Union’s foreign ministers voted Monday on a new round of sanctions that the eurobloc will impose on Iran over its nuclear defiance.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said ahead of Monday’s meeting of EU foreign ministers that new sanctions would be “a sign of our resolve in the European Union that we will step up the pressure.”

Hague said such pressure would continue to mount “over the coming months unless negotiations succeed. We remain open of course to success of negotiations.”

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said that EU would be banning the import of Iranian natural gas into the bloc’s member-nations, trying to increase pressure on Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Westerwelle also indicated that other sanctions on Iran are being considered by EU foreign ministers as they meet Monday in Luxembourg.

The foreign ministers of France and Germany made similar calls. They did not elaborate on the kind of measures under consideration.

Meanwhile, EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said that there is still time for diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear program, and negotiations could move forward soon.

Ashton represents six major powers in their on-and-off talks with Iran.

“There is room for negotiation… I do hope we will able to move forward soon with our discussions with Iran,” she said.

Posted in Europe, IranComments Off on EU bans imports of natural gas from Iran

European satellite provider blocks Iran TV

NOVANEWS

Eutelsat takes 19 Iranian TV, radio channels off the air as part of EU sanctions on Islamic Republic

ynet

European satellite provider Eutelsat has taken 19 Iranian television and radio broadcasters off the air as a result of European Union sanctions.

Eutelsat says a new round of EU sanctions against Iran adopted earlier this year included Irib.

The EU toughened its sanctions against Iran as part of broader efforts to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.

Iran’s Press TV said Iran’s broadcasting company could seek legal action against Eutelsat.

Press TV said it is among the channels cut by the Eutelsat decision.

Others include Farsi-language channels for Iranian expatriates and Arabic-language offerings, including the news channel al-Alam. Most are still visible in Iran.

Posted in Europe, IranComments Off on European satellite provider blocks Iran TV

Turkey Moves Tanks to Hilltops Overlooking Syria

NOVANEWS
By Selcan Hacaoglu
  • Turkey Deploys Tanks on Hills Overlooking Syria Amid Tensions
  • Turkey Deploys Tanks on Hills Overlooking Syria Amid Tensions
  • Turkey Deploys Tanks on Hills Overlooking Syria Amid Tensions

Turkey deployed tanks and missile defense systems on hilltops overlooking Syria today, the state- run Anatolia news agency said.

The deployment in Mursitpinar, near the border town of Suruc, came hours after Turkey scrambled fighter jets after a Syrian helicopter came close to the border, according to a Turkish official who declined to be identified because the information is sensitive.

Turkey has threatened to target Syrian military elements if they pose a security threat, following the downing of a Turkish military jet by Syria in June.

Turkey’s ties with Syria, once an ally, dramatically deteriorated over Turkish backing for Syrian rebels fighting forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey fired artillery in response to Syrian shelling that killed five people in the Turkish border town of Akcakale on Oct. 3.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which called the attack on Akcakale “a flagrant breach of international law,” praised Turkey’s restraint on Oct. 9 and assured the Turkish government of the alliance’s military support if it’s attacked.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu survived an opposition censure motion in parliament today for allegedly bringing Turkey to the brink of war with Syria.

The ruling Justice and Development Party used its almost 60 percent majority in the 550-seat parliament to defeat the motion by the Republican People’s Party.

Syrian Denials

In an interview published in the Turkish newspaper Aydinlik today, Assad denied Turkish accusations that Syria was aiding militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, also known by its Kurdish acronym PKK, an armed separatist group in Turkey’s southeast.

“The Turkish government is circulating these claims to legitimize its support to armed groups” fighting the government, Assad said, according to the newspaper.

About 500 Syrian officers, including 40 generals, and 500 soldiers have deserted to Turkey since fighting broke out between rebels and government forces in March 2011, Suphi Atan, a Foreign Ministry official, said by phone today from the border province of Kilis.

At least 210 people were killed across Syria yesterday, including 47 in Idlib, the opposition Local Coordination Committees said in an e-mailed statement. It said 51 people were killed today and that the rebels have captured the 80th Brigade air defense base in Aleppo.

Cargo Seized

The base was taken by rebels and Sunni fundamentalist fighters from the al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front to Protect the Levant, Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition activist group, said by telephone from Coventry, England.

Turkey forced a Syrian passenger plane from Russia, with 17 Russians on board, to land in Ankara on Oct. 10 and confiscated its cargo on grounds that it included military equipment and munitions for the Syrian Defense Ministry. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday the cargo was sent from “a Russian institution” equivalent to Turkey’s state arms manufacturer.

The plane was carrying 12 crates of technical components for radar stations that are part of Syria’s air-defense systems, Moscow-based Kommersant reported today, without saying where it got the information.

More Refugees

Davutoglu was scheduled to meet United Nations Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in Istanbul tomorrow to discuss mounting tensions with Syria, state-run Anatolia news agency said today.

Turkey shelters 99,500 refugees in camps along the border, and another 14,000 Syrians are waiting to cross into the country, Atan said.

“We are accepting 600 to 700 Syrians daily,” Atan said. Turkey has 15 refugee camps along the 911-kilometer (569-mile) border with Syria and is building two more, he said.

About 8,000 people are waiting across the border point of Oncupinar in Kilis, Atan said. The rest are scattered along border areas in Hatay and Sanliurfa provinces.

Turkey, which has been distributing food and humanitarian supplies to refugees who remain on the Syrian side of the border, has appealed to the UN to shoulder the burden of sheltering Syrians who have fled the fighting between rebels and government forces.

Some Syrian refugees were using small boats to cross the Orontes River, which runs through the border, NTV television footage showed today.

 

Posted in TurkeyComments Off on Turkey Moves Tanks to Hilltops Overlooking Syria

New Senate Push to Pledge Unconditional Support for IsraHell “Preventive” War on Iran

NOVANEWS

 

By Jamal Abdi

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is planning to press the Senate next month to pledge U.S. troops, money, and political support to Israel should Bibi Netanyahu launch a preventive war on Iran.

Graham claims his effort would merely make explicit that the U.S. has Israel’s back. But when your friend is drunk, you don’t hand them the keys. If Graham has his way, he will hand Bibi the keys and lend him our car, while the rest of us ride shotgun.

Graham’s planned measure would outsource the decision about whether the U.S. goes to war to the Israeli prime minister, pledging that if Bibi decides to act — regardless of the consequences and our own calculations — the U.S. will provide money, troops, and political leverage (presumably at the UN and IAEA where there will be a push to shred the sanctions and the Non-Proliferation Treaty).

Those who support the measure will likely claim that a “credible threat” of war must be issued in order to prevent an actual war. But U.S. military leaders understand the difference between a credible threat, which is already very much on the table given the U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf, and outsourcing the decision of whether the U.S. goes to war to Bibi Netanyahu.

As chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey pointedly said just weeks ago about potential Israeli strikes on Iran, “I don’t want to be complicit if they decide to do it.” Graham’s resolution is about as clear a signal of complicity as you can get.

Graham’s mendacity on Iran policy should by now be notorious. His most recent victory was to convince Congress to endorse Netanayhu’s redline for war with Iran instead of the redline laid out by the president. The trick was that, in pushing that measure, Graham disingenuously claimed that Obama’s redline was nuclear weapons “capability.” And Congress bought it. In reality, the president very clearly rejected that redline and said the U.S redline was to prevent Iran from actually getting the bomb, not getting an amorphous “capability.”

But Graham (and Bibi) won the battle on the Hill. Both the House and the Senate voted to endorse Netanyahu’s redline, not Obama’s. To be fair, many in the House and Senate who supported the resolution still have no idea that there is a difference. They read the talking points circulated by Graham and AIPAC (the measure’s chief advocates), and to this day think they were simply voting to endorse what Obama had already said.

Now, Graham is herding his willfully ignorant colleagues to support another incremental step towards war with Iran, under the guise of being “pro-Israel” and supporting the president. His new resolution would twist Obama’s words that the U.S. “has Israel’s back” to mean the U.S. is on call to jump into war with Iran if and when Netanyahu decides it’s go time.

According to CQ, Graham said having Israel’s back means, “if you get into a fight, I’m coming to help you.” He continued:

“There are two different clocks here, the Washington clock and the Tel Aviv clock,” he said. “The Israelis are not going to let the window close on their ability to slow down this program. They’re going to act… They’re going to control their own destiny.”

Graham’s resolution would make it clear that the United States would provide assistance to Israel “if they have to go because they’ve decided they are not going to turn their window over to us or anybody else.”

Sorry, but there is a difference between not getting in Israel’s way and actively supporting a disastrous decision with American servicemembers, money, and international political leverage. Graham is hoping that, yet again, no one notices the difference.

Having Israel’s back does not mean supporting preventive war that the entire national security establishment says would be a disaster for everyone involved and could guarantee an Iranian nuclear weapon. Having Israel’s back does not mean goading them into making stupid decisions and pledging to bail them out unconditionally.

The Senate should not be handing out promises to enable foreign leaders to decide whether and when the U.S. goes to war. This would not be a mutual defense pact — it would be a suicide pact

Jamal Abdi, Policy Director, National Iranian American Council.

Posted in USAComments Off on New Senate Push to Pledge Unconditional Support for IsraHell “Preventive” War on Iran

Stop Supporting Separatist Groups in Iran

NOVANEWS

by Muhammad Sahimi

Some of the most important obstacles to the efforts by the War Party in the United States and Israel to gain absolute hegemonic power in the Middle East and create what Condoleezza Rice once called a “new Middle East” have been countries that follow a path that is politically independent of Washington and Tel Aviv. Nations such as Iraq under Saddam Hussein from 1990 until 2003, when his regime was toppled by the U.S., and Iran, Syria, and Lebanon are in this group. Iraq was invaded and occupied after a campaign of lies, deceptions, and exaggerations, and it is unlikely to regain its stature in the Middle East any time soon.

The United States, together with its allies in the region, namely, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Turkey, are arming and funding the groups that are fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, groups that include extremists such as the Salafis, Wahhabis, the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and al-Qaeda in Iraq. Western and Israeli strategists believe that Lebanon will come under their control once Iran and Syria are defeated.

Iran, the most important of the trio, has not been destroyed by war or become a client state. The problem with Iran is that it is a large country with a population of 77 million that is young, educated, dynamic, and highly nationalistic. Invading Iran is out of the question, as a recent report by a group of former U.S. diplomats, generals, and admirals acknowledged. Even aerial bombardment of Iran is considered to be extremely dangerous, as many experts believe that it will lead to a long and bloody war in the entire Middle East.

Thus, trying to turn Iran into a client state — one that will carry water for the interests of the U.S. and Israel over its own national interests —  through military means is impossible. Iran was a client state during the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah, but the 1979 Revolution toppled his regime. While crippling sanctions have mostly hurt ordinary — especially sick — Iranians, the War Party and Israel have been trying to find other ways of achieving their goal as well, and one approach that had been discussed for years and is now being seriously pursued is inciting ethnic unrest and creating puppet separatist groups or “liberation movements” in Iran’s provinces where ethnic groups other than Persians make up a significant portion of the population. They include Iran’s two Azerbaijan provinces, Kurdistan, and the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, where a small but significant part of the population is Iranian-Arab.

The idea is not new. Princeton University’s Bernard Lewis has written for years about using ethnic groups in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East to break up the region into weak mini-states. In her bookBorders and Brethren: Iran and the Challenge of Azerbaijani Identity, Brenda Shaffer, the American-Israeli academic, claims that there is no such thing as a unifying collective Iranian identity and advocates separation of Iran’s Azerbaijan and joining it with the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Interestingly, the current Republic of Azerbaijan was part of Iran throughout history until the Russian empire separated it from Iran in 1820s. Other academics have also made such bogus claims for years. Several years ago a quote was widely attributed to an aide to Israel’s former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, according to which, “Even if Iran becomes a completely democratic state, it would still be too large and a threat to Israel’s security.”

But what has brought the issue to the fore again is the standoff over Iran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons program. The standoff is not really over the possible threat by a nuclear Iran to Israel’s security. Many Israeli leaders have conceded that even if Iran develops nuclear weapons, it will pose no grave danger to their nation. It is a question of hegemony, and an Iran that cannot be attacked because it can develop a nuclear deterrent on a short notice is unacceptable to the U.S. and Israel. Thus, along with the crippling sanctions, the efforts to stir ethnic and separatist tensions along Iran’s western borders began in earnest several years ago.

In 2005, the American Enterprise Institute, the bastion of the neoconservatives, held aconference, “The Unknown Iran: Another Case for Federalism?” which, as usual, was attended by some who claim to represent a portion of the Iranian population. But the conference also provoked wide protests by Iranians. Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan has been reported as saying that one component of Israel’s plan to confront Iran since 2003 has been stirring up ethnic tensions, which was also confirmed by a U.S. diplomatic cable dated Aug. 17, 2007, that was revealed by WikiLeaks.

Seymour Hershreported in 2006 that U.S. Special Forces have established contacts with some ethnic groups in Iran, in particular the Kurdish terrorist group PJAK, an assertion that herepeated in July 2008. PJAK is in fact the Iranian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party, commonly known as the PKK, which has been fighting the Turkish government for decades. It was widely reported that the George W. Bush administration supported the terrorist group Jundallah, which claims to represent the Baluchi people, operates from Pakistan, and attacks Iranian forces and people in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province. Support for the group may have continuedunder President Obama. It was reported in January that agents of Israel’s Mossad posed as CIA agents to recruit Jundallah members for terrorist operations within Iran.

Israel’s IDF agents have been reported to be highly active in Kurdistan part of Iraq, where some small Iranian dissident Kurdish groups have their headquarters. Israel has also established close relations with the Republic of Azerbaijan and is using it to spy on Iran —  in addition to have possibly been granted access to an air force basethere — where some extremist elements have called for changing the name of the nation to Republic of Northern Azerbaijan, implying that Iran’s Azerbaijan to the south is also part of the Republic.

There have been efforts by Israel’s supporters in Congress as well. In 2009, when she was still in Congress, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) spoke to a gathering of AIPAC,saying, “The Persian population in Iran is not a majority, it is a plurality. There are many different, diverse, and disagreeing populations inside Iran and an obvious strategy, which I believe is a good strategy, is to separate those populations.”

The declaration caused deep anger in the Iranian-American community, with thousands of angry emails and phone calls flooding her office, forcing her to retract and apologize for her statement, although it is certainly not clear to me how sincere she was. More recently, another ardent Israel supporter, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) introduced a resolution in the House, urging the Obama administration to support “right of Azeri self-determination,” which also provoked wide anger and protests in the Iranian community in the diaspora.

Puppet separatist groups have also sprung up. They have very little, if any, support within Iran, but with the encouragement and support that they receive in the West they pretend to speak for their ethnic groups in Iran. In addition to Jundallah, there is, for example, the International South Azerbaijani Turks’ National Council, presumably emulating the “National Councils” that were formed in Libya and Syria. If it’s not propped up by the U.S., Israel, and their allies, then the “Council” is nothing more than a website and a small group of people residing in the West. Then we have the so-called Al-Ahwaz Arab People’s Democratic Front, a London-based group that seeks to separate the oil province of Khuzestan from Iran and is considered a terrorist organization that has carried out bombing and terrorist operations within Iran.

Some believe that the group is supported by the British government. Interestingly, when Saddam Hussein’s army invaded Iran through Khuzestan, the Iranian Arabs fought fiercely against the Iraqi army, and, in fact, Rear Adm. Ali Shamkhani, an Iranian Arab, was minister of defense in the administration of former President Mohammad Khatami, and Mohsen Rezaei, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard during the war with Iraq, is from Khuzestan.

In August, two Kurdish groups, Komalah and Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, issued a joint statement in which they called for the right of “self-determination” and “free elections” for the Kurdish population, widely interpreted as meaning the right to separate from Iran, although the two groups have denied it. Historically, however, the Kurdish people have identified themselves with Iran more than with any other group. The two groups are led, respectively, by Abdollah Mohtadi and Mostafa Hejri, two highly divisive figures even among the Kurdish population without much support.

In particular, Hejri has been close to the U.S. neoconservatives. He congratulated George W. Bush when he was re-elected in 2004 and implicitly encouraged him to intervene in Iran, and he recently called for a no-fly zone over Iran’s Kurdistan province, if the government forces attack the people there. The joint statement by Hejri and Mohtadi and the former’s relations with the neoconservatives and European powers provoked protests by many Iranians.

The European Union —  which was just awarded the Nobel Peace Prize — seems to have also joined the efforts to support separatist groups. In July, there was a conference in the building of the French Parliament in which the supposed representatives of Iranian ethnic groups took part, including Hejri, who recently also met with members of the British Parliament.

In addition to the aforementioned London-based al-Ahwazi group, the so-called Ahwaz Liberation Organization is based in Maastricht, the Netherlands, and has explicitly called for separating Khuzestan from Iran. Though it claims to represent the people of Khuzestan, it is in fact the remnants of three puppet organizations formed by Iraq, one of which, the so-called Democratic Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Arabistan, was sponsored by Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war, as described in Martin Arostegui’s bookTwilight Warriors: Inside the World’s Special Forces.

Let me emphasize that there is no question that successive central governments in Iran have carried out discriminatory policies against Iranian ethnic groups. In addition, rejecting separatist tendencies, which do not even enjoy any significant support among ethnic minorities, does not imply support for the current Iranian government, which is a theocratic dictatorship that has repressed all Iranians, not just minorities.

But these are issues for all the Iranian people to decide, not ill-informed American politicians, neoconservatives, or Israelis. The efforts to break Iran up will ultimately fail, as Iran has existed for thousands of years, but they may lead to extensive bloodshed and destruction before Western and Israeli leaders recognize that their policy has failed.

Posted in IranComments Off on Stop Supporting Separatist Groups in Iran

Western-Backed Rebels Move Against Syria’s Christian Minority

NOVANEWS

Churches in Homs Under Constant Attack

by Jason Ditz

Lost in the focus on the larger battle for Syria the nation-state is the fate of Syria as an historical site of religious pluralism, as the Sunni majority rebels turn not only on the Alawite dominated government, but in growing instances on all religious minorities,including Syria’s ancient Christian community.

Syria is the site of one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, a 2,0000-year-old tradition followed by an estimated 10 percent of the nation’s population. Increasingly under attack by jihadist-minded rebel factions, they may soon go the way of Iraqi Christians, who during the US occupation were chased out of the nation en masse.

Militant factions in rebel-held cities like Homs see Christian communities as easy targets for extortion, and the more Islamist blocs regularly target their churches, damaging many and destroying others.

Christians and other minorities have tried to form militias to protect their neighborhoods, but with the rebels awash in Western money and arms, they are simply out-manned and outgunned. As the fight continues to escalate, the groups are facing a tougher and tougher choice about whether to try to stay or to flee abroad.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Western-Backed Rebels Move Against Syria’s Christian Minority

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