Archive | October 4th, 2010



Jewish Organizations Behind Internet Censorship Scourge

By Rev. Ted Pike

The Internet was probably the least foreseen of events challenging ADL/Israel’s agenda for world control. Leaping across previously Jewish-dominated media boundaries, the worldwide web has given people of conscience unfettered privileges to criticize Jewish supremacism and misbehavior of the state of Israel.

However, in my April 27 article, “Israeli Cyber-Warriors Crash Internet,” I detail how Israel, unable to legitimately dispel overwhelming world criticism, has been marshalling hundreds of thousands of Jews worldwide into an army of internet “cyber-warriors.” These act in unison to skew polls about Israel and disproportionately flood the internet with opinion favorable to the Jewish state – and against its critics.

Israel is also known to engage in active cyber-terrorism against its opponents, such as its sabotage of Syrian cyber-space preceding its September 6, 2007 aerial attack on Syria’s insipient nuclear program. The PBS news hour last week said that the particularly perverse Stuxnet worm virus, spread worldwide but heavily concentrated in Iran, probably originated in Israel.

Last week, after flooding YouTube with thousands of emails critical of David Duke, the Jewish Internet Task Force persuaded it to remove his videos. JITF claims to “promote Jewish pride,” and “Israel advocacy” and to “support Israel and fight Jew hatred and terrorism online.” Its victory announcement claims to possess “A massive, active, pro-Israel-Jewish audience…of over 270,000.” JITF boasts that Duke is only one of “THOUSANDS of channels we have been directly responsible for removing.” Any start-up Jewish organization with that level of participation is, by definition, orchestrated from Israel and supported by a myriad of Zionist groups worldwide.

Duke: First Domino to Fall?

After Canada passed ADL/B’nai B’rith’s hate law in 1971, the Jewish Gestapo’s strategy was to first indict those least in favor with Canadians: holocaust questioners and racists. While Duke is increasingly listened to on the far right, he will receive little sympathy in this controversy from mainstream Christian/conservatives who have been deeply imprinted with the negative stereotype of his KKK past and animus against blacks. Yet, in viewing several of his recent YouTube videos, I found everything he said to be factual and logical, without anything that could legitimately be described as racist or anti-semitic.

Knocking Duke off YouTube represents a significant starting point for the Israel-directed JITF and other Jewish groups in their attempts to force off many other internet videos including those of Brother Nathanial Kapner and myself. More mainline Christian/conservatives, however, should be aware that just as B’nai B’rith Canada graduated to persecution of Christians after the turn of the century—indicting their real quarry: pastors, churches, church schools, pro-lifers, etc, the same will happen if Jewish cyber-censors are allowed to effectively control the internet. JITF says it also is bombarding Google, who may soon make the same decision, accepting Israel’s definition of “hate,” “anti-semitism,” and even “terrorist sympathizers,” as all who criticize Israel.

It is vital NOW that these internet media giants realize they are being pressured by an Israeli-inspired propaganda campaign—not by honest objections from most internet users. We must convince YouTube, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc., that the world, in fact, deeply appreciates honest criticism of Jewish supremacism and human rights abuses by Israel. Such expression is not hateful or anti-semitic. If we do not speak out, eventually it will be anyone who represents an evangelical, populist, America-first agenda who will become the enemy of Israeli cyber-warriors.




Harry Belafonte: Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Are “Immoral, Unconscionable and Unwinnable

October 4, 2010by Debbie Menon


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AMY GOODMAN: Legendary singer, actor, activist, Harry Belafonte, addressing the rally in Washington, DC.

“The President’s decision to escalate the war in that region alone costs the nation $33 billion,” the legendary musician, actor and activist Harry Belafonte said at Saturday’s “One Nation Working Together” in Washington. “That sum of money could not only create 600,000 jobs here in America, but would even leave us a few billion to start rebuilding our schools, our roads, our hospitals and affordable housing. It could also help to rebuild the lives of the thousands of our returning wounded veterans.”

AMY GOODMAN: More than 100,000 people gathered in Washington, DC, at the Lincoln Memorial Saturday, October 4th, 2010,  to rally for progressive causes. More than 400 groups, including labor unions, as well as civil rights, gay rights, and environmental groups, endorsed the One Nation Working Together rally. Organizers said the gathering drew a crowd of 175,000 people. The focus of the day: jobs, justice and education for all. The rally’s sponsors said they also hoped to demonstrate that they, not the tea party, represented the nation’s majority. The gathering featured more than four hours of speeches, poetry, music.

You’ll hear some of it today. 




Rush Transcript

We begin with the words of the legendary singer, actor, humanitarian, Harry Belafonte, a key figure in the civil rights movement. He was close friends with Dr. Martin Luther King. He began by talking about Dr. King’s March on Washington forty-seven years ago.

Harry Belafonte, legendary musician, actor and activist. He was a key figure in the civil rights movement and close friends with Martin Luther King.

HARRY BELAFONTE: In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of this memorial and declared that this nation should come together and embrace its greater ideals. He said that we should rally together and overcome injustice and racism, and that all citizens should not only have the right to vote, but that we should exercise that right and make America whole.

That is part of why we are today. But we’re also here to tend other grievances. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his “I Have a Dream” speech forty-seven years ago, said that America would soon come to realize that the war that we were in at that time that this nation waged in Vietnam was not only unconscionable, but unwinnable. Fifty-eight thousand Americans died in that cruel adventure, and over two million Vietnamese and Cambodians perished. Now today, almost a half-a-century later, as we gather at this place where Dr. King prayed for the soul of this great nation, tens of thousands of citizens from all walks of life have come here today to rekindle his dream and once again hope that all America will soon come to the realization that the wars that we wage today in far away lands are immoral, unconscionable and unwinnable.

The Central Intelligence Agency, in its official report, tells us that the enemy we pursue in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, the al-Qaeda, they number less than fifty—I say fifty—people. Do we really think that sending 100,000 young American men and women to kill innocent civilians, woman and children, and antagonizing the tens of millions of people in the whole region somehow makes us secure? Does this make any sense?

The President’s decision to escalate the war in that region alone costs the nation $33 billion. That sum of money could not only create 600,000 jobs here in America, but would even leave us a few billion to start rebuilding our schools, our roads, our hospitals and affordable housing. It could also help to rebuild the lives of the thousands of our returning wounded veterans.

Dr. King loved this nation. He saw, as all of us here today see, that this great nation should not be allowed to perish. Martin’s vision was also the vision of Abraham Lincoln, who understood the evil of slavery and, in abolishing that evil, saved America. Although slavery may have be have been abolished, the crippling poison of racism still persists, and the struggle still continues. We have the largest prison population in the world. And as we industrialize these prison systems, we rob hundreds of thousands of workers of the jobs that they need and the wages that are rightfully theirs.

The plight of women bear no better. Their oppression refuses to yield, as rape and domestic violence and sex slaves and teenage pregnancy abounds.

But perhaps the greatest threat of all is the undermining of our Constitution and the systematic attack against the inalienable rights of the citizens of this nation, rights that are guaranteed by our Constitution. At the vanguard of this insidious attack is the tea party. This band of misguided citizens is moving perilously close to achieving villainous ends.

This gathering here today is America’s wake-up call. The giant called democracy is at last stirring again. Citizens are coming together to say freedom does not sleep. It may have been fueled and lulled for the moment into a lethargy, but it’s fully awake now. And we the people are its engine. We must awaken the apathetic, the cynical, the many angry doubters, who see their future as the perpetual hopelessness, and show them that our greatest weapon is the vote. And it is the answer to much that nags in us.

On November 2nd, in the millions, we must overburden our voting booths by voting against those who would see the nation become a totalitarian state. Americans know that Dr. King’s dream is not dead. Let us vote on November 2nd for jobs, for jobs, for jobs, for peace, for justice, for human rights, for our children and the future of America. And let us put an end to war. Peace is necessary. For justice, it is necessary. For hope, it is necessary, for our future. 

I love you all, and God bless America.






IDF soldiers convicted of using 11-year-old as human shield in Gaza

Oct 03, 2010


And more news from Today in Palestine:

Land and property theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid

Acting Hebron governor slams land confiscation
HEBRON (Ma’an) — The acting governor of Hebron denounced on Saturday the confiscation of 66 dunums of land in the Taffuh village in the district. Samir Abu Zneid said Israeli forces delivered confiscation warrants to the Banat Khalet Hatem area on plot number 24 in the village, which falls under the Dura Municipality’s jurisdiction, a statement read.

Israel’s homeless bedouin take on the state in the face of repeated demolitions / Jerrold Kessel & Peter Klochendler
…This is Al-Araqib in the Negev desert. Or what remains of it. Five times, Israeli police have demolished the village that has become a focal point of claims and counter-claims over land ownership between the state of Israel and the country’s bedouin communities. The battle over Al-Araqib is worsening Jewish-Arab relations, and threatens to evolve into a tectonic rift … Despite the repeated evictions, and the demolitions, most of the 35 families have returned to remake their home – around 400 people in all. “We have nowhere else to go,” says Salem. And so they rebuild only to face another demolition.

What’s behind the demolition of Al Arakib: Netanyahu and Aharonovich’s battle / Uriel Heilman
So you ask yourselves: if you send 1300 troops, regular policemen and Special Patrol Unit to demolish Al-Arakib for the first time; if so much is invested in thorough demolition of the homes … at the order of the “Green Patrol”; if you then destroy Al-Arakib four more times – during Ramadan as well, and at the height of the scorching summer heat, and for the fifth time – immediately after the Muslim feast day, ‘Id al-Fitr, because there’s no time to waste: Who is behind all this? What are the politics behind these actions? These are not the decisions of a junior clerk or the local police. There are larger forces being called in to action by someone, to crush and destroy.

Settler activists face eviction from East Jerusalem stronghold
This time it seems the bargaining chips – both judicial and political – have run out for the inhabitants of Beit Yonatan, a seven-story residence in the heart of Silwan that has been a flashpoint in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Ten Jewish families living in the structure are slated for evacuation, and that operation – put off until “after the holidays” – now seems almost unavoidable.

Future of vast Israeli enclave in West Bank far from settled
Ariel, established in 1978, is Israel’s fourth-largest settlement. It is also deep inside the West Bank, and there is no consensus about whether it should be part of Israel or absorbed into a Palestinian state … Palestinians complain that Ariel isolates about seven Palestinian villages, partially divides the northern West Bank and sits atop a coveted water supply.,0,4911782.story

Fact-checking Ethan Bronner on Israel’s settlements / Alex Kane
In today’s New York Times [2 Oct], Ethan Bronner states that “built up areas” of Israeli settlements — which have become the key issue surrounding the so-called “peace talks” — “make up only 2 percent to 3 percent of the West Bank.” That’s true, but out of context and misleading.  In July 2010, B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights group, published a comprehensive report on Israel’s settlement enterprise.  Here’s what the relevant section of the report, which is titled “By Hook and By Crook: Israel’s Settlement Policy in the West Bank” says about “built-up” areas and how much of the West Bank Israeli settlements actually control: -The percentage of “total builtup areas in settlements” in the West Bank is 0.99 percent. -But the total area controlled by the settlements in the West Bank is 42.8 percent.

Activism / Solidarity / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Soldiers attack nonviolent protesters in Hebron
Israeli soldiers attacked on Saturday evening dozens of Palestinian, Israeli and International protesters who held a march in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, demanding freedom of movement to the residents of Hebron. The protest was held near the Al Shuhada Street, one of many streets that are off-limits to the Palestinians in the city. Israeli soldiers attacked reporters and attempted to move them away under the pretext that the area is a closed military zone. Troops also topped several homes and used them as military towers.

Artery of Life 5 arrives at Syrian shores
The Artery of Life 5 solidarity ship arrived on Saturday night shortly after midnight at a Syrian port carrying dozens of activists and humanitarian supplies. All solidarity ships heading to Gaza will gather at the Lathiqiyya Syrian port before sailing to Al Arish port in Egypt. The flotilla was welcomed by thousands of residents

Egypt to issue decision over entry of Gaza-bound Lifeline 5 convoy
LATAKIA, (PIC)– The spokesman for the British Viva Palestina’s fifth convoy to Gaza, dubbed “Lifeline 5”, said efforts are being made with the Egyptian government to allow the convoy to transit through the country.

Nobel women’s delegation touring West Bank
[with photos] From September 28 to October 5, Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams (USA) is leading a delegation of women to visit Palestinian Territories and Israel to bear witness to the struggles of women working on the ground in the region towards building a sustainable peace … Accompanied by Dr Barghouthi, on 1 October, Nobel Peace Laureate and the delegation, visited the old city of Hebron; they witnessed how Israeli law-enforcement authorities and security forces have made the entire Palestinian population suffer in the process of protecting illegal Israeli settlements established in the city. [This is the group Mairead Corrigan-Maguire went to Israel to join]

UK charity supports Nablus
A UK charity delivered a mobile optical machine to students in the Nablus district, and provided water tankers to farmers as part of ongoing projects to support eduction and development in the West Bank district.

Graphic Intifadah
Spectacular images from many years of Palestinian resistance – nonviolent and violent


Berlusconi’s funny bone
For next weekend, in Rome, a large demonstration in support for Israel is planned. It is promoted among others by the Jewish Settler in Residence in the Italian parliament, Fiamma Nirenstein. I bet you didn’t know that the Italian Parliament has a settler in residence! Well, since 1996, Nirenstein divides her residence between Rome and the settlement of Gilo in East Jerusalem. In Rome, she is a member of the “post” fascist “Freedom Party” of Silvio Berlusconi … On her blog she characterizes the coming pro-apartheid rally, whose title is “For Truth, For Israel” as a rally “against all intolerance and antisemitism“.

Violence / Provocations

Jerusalem border guard kills Palestinian
A Palestinian worker from Hebron was shot and killed by Israeli border guards on Sunday while he attempted to enter East Jerusalem near the village of Al-Isawiya. The deceased was identified as 38-year-old Izz Ad-Din Al-Kawazba from the town of Sa’ir in Hebron. Al-Kawzaba’s cousin Salah told Ma’an that border guards shot the victim at close range, refuting police accounts that the shooting was accidental.

Officer: Shooting death of Palestinian infiltrator accidental
Izz al-Din Qawezba, 38, killed during confrontation with Border Guard force while trying to cross into Israel illegally; officer tells investigators gun misfired, or trigger pulled accidentally. Cousin: He was killed in cold blood,7340,L-3963426,00.html

Hamas: The absence of int’l justice caused Jerusalem killing
GAZA, (PIC)– Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum stated that the absence of international justice and the American bias were the reasons that encouraged Israeli troops to kill a Palestinian young man on Sunday morning in occupied Jerusalem. In a statement to the Palestinian information center (PIC) on Sunday, spokesman Barhoum added Israel exploited the absence of international justice, and the Arab and Islamic silence to commit further crimes against the Palestinian people.

Remembering the youth who died for our freedom / Steve Amsel
The following was written ten years ago: Asel is gone. After a popular, peace-loving Israeli Arab teen is shot dead by police, his family and friends — both Jewish and Arab — wrestle with what his loss means for Israel … ARABEH, Israel — With his die-hard optimism and winning smile, 17-year-old Asel Asleh didn’t look like a tormented teenager. Both an Arab and an Israeli, Asel moved between the two conflicting worlds with the ease of a talented, outgoing kid who was everybody’s best friend.

Video: Peaceful thoughts
Aseel Asleh, a 17-year peace activist [Seeds of Peace] and Palestinian citizen of Israel, was killed by Israeli police on October 2nd, 2000, during what became known as “Black October.” On the ten year-anniversary of his killing, people from all over the world recorded themselves on their webcams reading his ‘Peaceful Thoughts’ in their own languages


Jerusalem woman placed under arrest
Four days after ongoing interrogation, Dina Qawwas, 41, the wife of the head of the Palestinian Prisons Society in Jerusalem, was released on a 15.000 NIS bail, and was placed under house arrest. Her husband, who was also detained and placed under interrogation, was also released on a similar bail. The court claims that she participated in protests in occupied East Jerusalem, and charged her with “disrupting the peace, and violating the law”.  She was kidnapped by the Israeli army on Tuesday morning;

Egyptian sources tell Haaretz Shalit swap talks have resumed
According to Palestinian website, Israel shows flexibility on the identity of the Palestinian prisoners it is willing to release in exchange for captive IDF soldiers.

Siege / Restriction of movement / Humanitarian / Human rights

Israel opens 2 Gaza crossings
Israeli authorities announced the partial opening of two crossings between Israel and Gaza on Sunday for the limited transfer of goods and fuels, a Palestinian crossings official said.

Palestinian children betrayed by aid agencies / Eleanor Kilroy
A September 2010 report has found that Palestinian children’s rights to life and liberty are being sacrificed, as major donor agencies fail to challenge the Israeli state’s violations of international laws for fear of offending influential political lobbies.

Qatar lauded in US for helping Gaza kids
The American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) on Friday paid tribute to Qatar for its generous donation in aid of Gaza’s child refugees. Qatar’s grant of $1m will fund ANERA’s Milk for Preschoolers programme, which provides fortified milk and energised biscuits every day to about 20,000 Gazan refugees aged 3, 4, and 5.

Through conflict and poverty, students in the Occupied Palestinian Territory struggle to learn (UNICEF)
WEST BANK — Ask principal Hanan Awwad what it is like to head the Khan al-Ahmar elementary school and she will reply that she feels “fear and exhaustion” – but also great pride. The Ms. Awwad is afraid that her five-room school building could be demolished at any moment. Khan al-Ahmar – an ecologically-friendly school constructed two years ago by the non-governmental Italian Cooperation – was built in an area of the Occupied Palestinian Territory where building permits are rarely granted to Palestinians. Now it has been ordered demolished unless international pressure and court appeals can prevent its destruction. Some 75 children, all of them from nearby Bedouin encampments, carry out daily lessons here.

War crimes

IDF soldiers convicted of using 11-year-old as human shield in Gaza
Two soldiers forced Palestinian child to open bags, feared to have been booby trapped, during Operation Cast Lead … The conviction is the first such conviction for what is termed in the Israel Defense Forces ‘neighbor procedure’ — the use of human shields during searches and pursuits, which has been outlawed.

Gaza mom says convicted troops traumatized her son
The mother of a boy who was ordered by soldiers to open bags thought to contain explosives told Ynet Sunday that her son was traumatized by the incident, and has since demanded that the door to their apartment be kept locked at all times … Abed al-Hadi, a 50-year old resident of the building in Tel al-Hawa, is the owner of the bag Majd refused to open. “No trial can compensate for those moments. Besides, they shot my bag, which contained a passport, money, and a little gold we were afraid to leave in the apartment. The money disappeared and so did the gold.,7340,L-3963327,00.html

Turkey set to release anti-Israeli film imagining revenge for Gaza flotilla
Valley of the Wolves – Palestine is a spinoff from the controversial but highly popular TV drama series Valley of the Wolves, which sparked a diplomatic row between Turkey and Israel this year … This time, the hero Polat Alemdar and his team are given the task of hunting down the raid’s military commander and planner, a fictional character called Mose Ben Eliezer, according to the film’s website.

Israel’s Arab helpers

Israeli army chief visits Bethlehem
The Israeli military’s chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi met Palestinian Authority security officials in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Sunday. Ashkenazi arrived in Bethlehem with a delegation of senior Israeli officers on a visit coordinated by PA security, Bethlehem Governor Abdel Fattah Hamiyel said.

Our man in Palestine / Nathan Thrall
… Referred to by Hamas as “the Dayton forces,” the Palestinian security services are formally under the authority of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and chairman of Hamas’s rival, Fatah; but they are, in practice, controlled by Salam Fayyad, the unelected prime minister, a diminutive, mild-mannered technocrat … In 2009, Palestinian and Israeli forces took part in 1,297 coordinated activities, many of them against militant Palestinian groups, a 72 percent increase over the previous year. Together they have largely disbanded the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a principal Fatah militia; attacked Islamic Jihad cells; and all but eliminated Hamas’s social institutions, financial arrangements, and military activities in the West Bank.

‘Peace talks’ / Political developments

Hamas applauds PLO decision to stop talks
…Senior Hamas leader Salah Al-Bardawil told reporters Saturday that “Hamas hopes Fatah will take a decision to stop negotiations, maintain its decision, pay more attention to the internal Palestinian situation, contribute to easing the siege imposed on the Gaza strip rather than supporting it.”

Fatah MP: Party experts to join unity talks on security
Security experts from rival movements Fatah and Hamas have been invited to join talks to reach consensus on the last disputed point of the Egyptian unity document, Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmad said Saturday. Speaking with Ma’an radio, the Fatah lawmaker said security specialists Majid Farj from his party and Imad Al-A’lami from Hamas will participate in talks over the remaining security-related issues. “After that, the proposal will be ratified without any problem and very soon,” Al-Ahmad said.

Arab Peace Initiative to hold urgent session
The Arab Peace Initiative will hold an urgent meeting of Arab foreign ministers on Friday in Sirtre, Libya over direct negotiations before meeting for an extraordinary Arab League summit, the deputy Arab League chief said. Ahmad Bin Hali told reporters Saturday that President Mahmoud Abbas will address the committee and updated officials on US efforts to save talks from collapse in light of Israel’s decision not to extend its settlement freeze in the West Bank.

Egypt backs Palestinian position on settlements
As US special envoy meets with Egyptian president, Cairo’s foreign minister says current conditions’ not favorable for peace talks to continue,7340,L-3963280,00.html

Diplomats: Mitchell misrepresented initial success of peace talks
Netanyahu refused to hold a serious discussion on any of the core issues apart from security, Abbas reportedly told diplomats.

Palestinians want to keep peace talks alive: US envoy
AMMAN (AFP) — The Palestinians want peace talks with Israel to continue, US envoy George Mitchell insisted on Sunday, as he visited Egypt and Jordan in a last-ditch effort to salvage fledgling direct negotiations.

UN chief: Broaden settlement building restrictions
Even after PLO decision to suspend talks, Ban Ki-moon speaks to parties, calls on them to create atmosphere conducive to talks; Tzipi Livni: Breakdown will have ‘serious consequences’,7340,L-3962791,00.html

Not on the same page
One can’t help but wonder: What would former Israeli Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon or Yitzhak Rabin have done if their foreign ministers had delivered jaw-dropping speeches to the U.N. General Assembly contradicting their policies on peacemaking with the Palestinians, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s did this week?,0,3874759.story

Will Lieberman be leaving government?
Minister close to PM says foreign minister’s conduct during peace talks signals departure from coalition,7340,L-3963064,00.html

Syria wants Turkey to mediate talks with Israel (AP)
DAMASCUS, Syria — Syria wants Turkey to mediate its indirect peace talks with Israel and any other efforts would be subordinate to the Turkish role.

Egypt, Iran to resume direct flights
Countries sign aviation agreement for first time since their diplomatic relations fell apart in 1979,7340,L-3963435,00.html

Israel to Lebanon: Ahmadinejad visit to Israel border will be a provocation
Iran President intends to hurl stones at Israeli soldiers from Lebanese border, London-based newspaper reports.


Jordan gave 51,000 passports to Palestinians in 2010
Jordan issued over 51,000 temporary passports to Palestinians in 2010, the head of Jordan’s Passport and Civil Affairs department told Ma’an on Sunday … The official said Jordan has been “giving facilitation” since 1948 to enable Palestinians traveling to Saudi Arabia for the Muslim pilgrimage of Hajj, in order to pass easily through the kingdom, adding that “Jordan treats the West Bank and the Gaza Strip residents equally depending on the historic national relationship between Jordan and Palestine.” The passports issued to Palestinians do not confer a Jordanian national security number so that West Bank and Gaza Strip residents are unable to vote in Jordanian elections.

AlJazeera English’s In Pictures: Remembering the right of return
Israel may be urging Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, to continue faltering peace talks despite refusing to renew a freeze on illegal settlement building, but in the tinderbox Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon life is defined by an issue neither side has ever publicly expressed any willingness to compromise over: The right of Palestinian refugees to return home. Hugh Macleod.

Other news

Norway grants award to Rafah journalist
…In a statement, the Norwegian committee described recipient Mohammed Omer, from Rafah, as “a voice for the voiceless, for the population of Gaza that has too often been forgotten by the world community.”  Omer runs the website Rafah Today, and has contributed to The Nation, New Statesman, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and Inter Press Service, among others … Returning from an award ceremony in 2008, in which he collected the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, Omer was taken aside by Israeli security at the Allenby crossing from Jordan, brutally beaten and seriously bruised, with complicated rib fractures and neck injuries, the committee said.

AlJazeera English video: Ancient Gaza tunnels discovered
Archaeologists digging at a site on Gaza’s border with Egypt have discovered ancient tunnels in the same area as today’s smuggling tunnels. They are believed to be a part of a hidden city that is estimated to be over two thousand years old. However, the excavation work is complicated by the blockade of Gaza as there is the constant risk of being caught in the way of an Israeli rocket strike on a modern tunnel.

Israeli court sentences Jenin men for murder
An Israeli court on Sunday sentenced three men from the West Bank city of Jenin to life imprisonment for the murder of an Israeli taxi driver, Israeli press reported … The report said Ouda and Khaledi claimed the murder was revenge for a family member who had been killed by Israeli authorities in 2007.

Report: Missing Jordanian killed by Israeli forces
Jordanian authorities informed the family of missing man that their relative was killed during a mission against Israel, while the man’s mother insists he remains in captivity there, the London-based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi said Saturday … Zaboun’s mother refuted the news, telling the paper that she had received several letters from the International Red Cross in 1999, in addition to private letters, which said her son was detained in Israel’s Ashkelon prison, while more recent reports said he had been moved to the Negev prison in southern Israel.

US authorities arrest Israeli journalist on drug charges
Washington D.C. police arrest Orly Azoulay, U.S. reporter for the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, along with husband, senior CBS reporter Howard Arenstein.

Utah residents fear ‘Israeli art students’ prying into NSA data center
(includes ABC4 TV video) A local ABC affiliate in Salt Lake City, Utah has caused a stir online with a report suggesting that self-proclaimed Israeli art students, peddling their artwork from door to door, have been asking disturbing questions about plans to build an NSA data center in the area …The basis for the suspicions goes back to 2002, when a lengthy article at Salon described how Drug Enforcement Agency field offices were reporting that “young Israelis claiming to be art students and offering artwork for sale had been attempting to penetrate DEA offices for over a year. The Israelis had also attempted to penetrate the offices of other law enforcement and Department of Defense agencies.”

Israel set to start deporting foreign workers
For most Israelis, the phrase “after the holidays” refers to a return to routine. For many foreign workers, however, it means living in fear of being caught by authorities and expelled from the country. Starting this week, families with children who don’t meet residency criteria are now in danger of being deported. “I’m very worried about what will happen on Sunday, but I can’t just stay at home,” says Erica, mother of a girl born in Israel who is just shy of 5, the minimum age for receiving residency.

Analysis / Opinion / Human interest

A Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in prison / Gideon Levy
If the court indeed deports Mairead Corrigan-Maguire we’ll know that our court system is also tainted to the teeth … The Irish Corrigan-Maguire is the victim of state terror. A former secretary at the Guinness Brewery in Belfast, she had three nephews, all children at the time, who were killed during a British targeted assassination in Northern Ireland … The frightful family tragedy turned her into a peace activist, and she began to hoist the flag of non-violent resistance. For this she won the Nobel Peace Prize for 1976 … In recent years, Corrigan-Maguire has tried to hoist this flag in Israel, which knows a lot about state terror, assassinations and killing passersby, yet is now brutally closing its gates in her face.

Robert Wright, like others, coming to understand the one-state reality / Ahmed Moor
Robert Wright recently joined the one-state debate with a measured and well-intentioned piece in the New York Times. Unfortunately, he mistakes the one-state solution for a tactical cudgel instead of understanding it for what it is — an end unto itself. Wright clings to the atavistic (I don’t mean that pejoratively — just that the idea that people ought to be partitioned in this age is regressive) two-state outcome. He thinks that the one-state can be employed as Palestinian threat against Israeli colonization.

Netanyahu humiliates Obama again / MJ Rosenberg
The Obama administration must understand that the Israeli prime minister is essentially a right-wing Republican … The word from Israel is that Netanyahu is counting on a huge GOP landslide to save him from Obama. And then in 2012, there will be a Republican president who is more likely than Obama to let him bomb Iran.

Do settlers care about us? / Yair Lapid
Op-ed from a Zionist: Yair Lapid says 4% of Israelis cannot make decisions on behalf of entire nation — if the settlers have a problem with these Israelis, they have a real problem. Because these Israelis, who are Zionistic, Jewish, and hold national feelings are starting to feel that this is happening at their expense. They are not angry at the settlers, yet gradually they are being overcome by the feeling that the entire settlement enterprise is costing them too much.,7340,L-3962715,00.html

Book review: The way it really was / Amos Harel
Hufshat Kayitz (Summer Vacation) by Yossi Berger (in Hebrew) — Don’t get caught up in the rhetoric describing the Second Lebanon War as a success. Yossi Berger, a lieutenant colonel in the reserves, can tell you the truth about the war … He describes how orders and missions changed daily, and how the reservists found themselves ending up in the villages of Markaba, Taibeh and Qantara without anyone knowing their goals. He writes about the tank company commander who refused an order to travel because all the tanks that had preceded him into the area had been hit by anti-tank missiles…

To take up arms or not? A film joins the debate
[yes, it’s by Ethan Bronner and is problematic in places, but probably worth reading anyway just for the story of Budrus] “Budrus,” however, is not just the story of its surprising principals playing out gritty real-time confrontations. It raises some of the most difficult and contested questions surrounding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, notably the ability of each side to understand the other and the role of popular, nonviolent struggle in bringing it to an end.

Palestinian Oktoberfest lures thousands of revellers to West Bank
…Around 10,000 people were expected to attend the weekend’s Oktoberfest, which would make it the biggest since the event began in the Christian-dominated village. It is a mark of the festival’s success that the small area around the municipality building was crammed with food stalls doing a lively trade to Palestinian families (both Muslim and Christian), diplomats, aid workers and tourists.


Saturday: 2 Iraqis killed, 4 wounded
Excerpt: Violence was very light ahead of Independence Day observations. At least two Iraqis were killed and four more were wounded in new attacks. Residents of Anbar Province reported an increasing greater military presence since yesterday’s announcement that a Shi’ite super-coalition is supporting Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for a second turn as the premier. The surge risks antagonizing Sunnis, who may feel shut out of the political process.

Sunday: 12 Iraqis killed, 14 wounded
Excerpt: at least 12 Iraqis were killed and 14 more were wounded in the latest violence … In Fallujah, a policeman was killed and another was wounded when gunmen attacked their checkpoint. Gunmen also killed an Awakening Council (Sahwa) member when he stopped at a different checkpoint. A bomb planted on a Sahwa member’s car killed him and wounded two companions. A bomb killed a man, wounded his father, and damaged a number of stores in the Khan Dhary area of Abu Ghraib…

Iraq postpones nationwide census: minister
BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iraq again postponed its first census in more than two decades because of political wrangling over disputed areas in the country’s north, a deputy minister said on Sunday. The October 24 census has now been delayed until December 5, the latest in a string of deferrals that have consistently put back a count originally due in 2007.

Iraq crackdown on bombers brings silenced killings
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Militants in Iraq are resorting increasingly to guns with silencers to attack security forces and government officials, as successes against insurgents have made it harder for them to carry out trademark bombings.

Iraq’s military flexes to deter any Sunni backlash
(TIME) Mindful that the likely return to power of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at the head of yet another Shi’ite-dominated government could potentially trigger a Sunni backlash, the Iraqi military is putting on a show of force in Anbar province – an erstwhile hotbed of insurgency. But that plan risks inflaming hostility in a community that already feels politically marginalized.

Key Sunni: Iraq facing ‘last chance’ for democracy
MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — An Iraqi governor and leading Sunni politician said Sunday that the nation’s “last chance for democracy” could be derailed if the Shiite prime minister keeps his job despite losing to a Sunni-backed coalition in elections seven months ago.

IRAQ: Areas contaminated by cluster bomblets cleared near Mosul
…MAG cleared two areas contaminated by cluster submunitions in Kherava after students at the local school told a Community Liaison team about the presence of bomblets in their village. In one of the areas, submunitions were blocking important land used for farming and grazing.

Iraq – are the Americans conspiring? / Tariq Almohayed
There is a belief amongst many of the Iraqi elite, as well as other Arab politicians, intellectuals and journalists, that the U.S. is conspiring with the Iranians on the issue of Iraq, and that there is a plot to divide the region. The allegation is that America is concluding a deal with its Iranian counterparts, to persuade Tehran to cooperate with America and the West on the subject of its nuclear program [in exchange for allowing the Iranians to politically intervene in Iraq].

U.S. and other world news

On paper, NY Islamic center looks modern, secular
…The renderings, some of which were posted on the project’s website this week, are preliminary, but they project the development team’s desire to build something cosmopolitan and fun on a site now known only for controversy. “I don’t think that once this thing gets built, anyone will be picketing,” said Sharif El-Gamal, the project’s developer.

CIA backed by drones in Pakistan
The CIA is using an arsenal of armed drones and other equipment provided by the U.S. military to secretly escalate its operations in Pakistan by striking targets beyond the reach of American forces based in Afghanistan, U.S. officials said.

Britain follows US, issues Europe travel alert
Britain on Sunday backed a US State Department travel alert warning of possible attacks in Europe, saying it was “consistent” with its own assessment of the threat.,7340,L-3963334,00.html


Meeting Alan Dershowitz

Oct 03, 2010

Antony Loewenstein 

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz is currently in Sydney for the Festival of Dangerous Ideas and last night debated, in front of 2000 people at the Sydney Opera House, lawyer Geoffrey Robertson on The Sins of the Father; Should the Pope be Held to Account? over the massive number of child sex abuse cases. Robertson called for legal action while Dershowitz urged understanding of a “changed” Vatican.

Dershowitz has received relatively friendly media interviews in Australia (here and here) and his obsession with Israel is simply seen as an extension of a lifetime commitment to human rights. “The problem with Israel is that it’s too democratic”, he said last week on local radio.

After last night’s event I attended an after-party where Dershowitz made an appearance. I wanted to speak to him about his views on the Middle East. Our exchange lasted around five minutes, alongside his wife, and I began, after introducing myself as a journalist, by asking him if he would ever back boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. He said he would only do so after every other human rights abuse was condemned around the world “and Israel is the 177th on the list.” He wanted to know why there was such a focus on Israel at the expense of China, Africa and the Arab world.

But what if Israeli behaviour won’t change without serious external pressure, I countered. BDS would never be the solution, Dershowitz argued, because Israel “is a democracy”. He acknowledged that the Netanyahu government, with a far-right coalition, wasn’t the best placed to convince the world of the Jewish state’s seriousness towards peace “but I’ve known Netanyahu for many years and he recently asked me to be Israeli ambassador to the UN but I refused.”

“Tzipi Livni [Israel’s opposition leader] asked me to have dinner with her in Boston this Monday but I’ll still be in Australia.” He seemed to believe that peace was possible if she entered the coalition with Netanyahu.

I then asked if he feared BDS would continue to grow in international power. He thought it would. And then, after mentioning the current moves by the University of Johannesburg to end its relationship with the Israeli university, Ben-Gurion, unless certain conditions are met, he unloaded: “Archbishop Desmond Tutu is one of the most evil men in the world. He never condemns China, rarely Zimbabwe or any other county, it’s only Israel. I was once in the same room as him and he said Israeli actions were ‘unChristian.’”

Tutu recently eloquently explained why Israeli behaviour in Palestine required a strong global response.

This was the Dershowitz I had expected, ferocious, irrational and utterly unwilling to allow anyone to condemn Israeli actions (something Jimmy Carter knows all about, saying in 2008 that there’s a “special place in hell for somebody like that.”)

It was a short but revealing encounter with a man who must wonder how the world has increasingly lost patience with Israeli excuses for violence and colonisation. Even during his presentation about the Pope, he regularly mentioned Israel and its supposedly democratic ways. And, in 2010, the groups in the world most in love with Israel are Christian fundamentalists, far-right politicians in Europe and Orthodox Jews. That’s quite a motley collection of friends.

Antony Loewenstein is a Sydney-based independent freelance journalist, author, documentarian, photographer and blogger. His website is

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on MONDOWEISS ONLINE NEWSLETTER



Dear All,

Just 4 not very long items tonight.  If you are interested in additionally reading the Supreme Court’s reasoning about why to deny a Nobel Prize Laureate entry, please check out


The verdict was to have been expected.  This, after all, is Israel.

The initial 2 items are about Israel’s military—‘the most moral army in the world,’ you know.  Actually, the first item by Amira Hass, in which soldiers reveal how they are brain washed to prepare them to do anything, could serve as a case in point for Kathleen Barry’s new book, “Unmaking War, Remaking Men.”

The 2nd item is about a soldier being photographed dancing a belly dance next to a blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinian woman.  I doubt that the Israeli army is worse than any other.  But that does not make it beautiful!

Item 3 is a brief update on population, which claims that the Jewish population in Israel is decreasing.

Item 4 is a brief justifiably bitter note about Israel denying entry to a Palestinian.

All the best,



1. Haaretz Monday,

October 04, 2010

‘We were supposed to enter quietly – instead we threw grenades’

IDF soldiers speak out about the climate of fear that overshadowed their service in the West Bank.

By Amira Hass

I was traveling abroad when a thunderstorm struck, but nevertheless the first thought that entered my head was, So whom are we shelling now? Local elders later said they could not remember such frightening thunder, but for me, the amazement contained no fear, that is to say, no feeling of danger. Despite my automatic thoughts, the scenery and time left no room for doubt that this was not man-made thunder.

Far from home, therefore, I understood that these primeval sounds, so full of power, had been permanently distorted, disrupted and spoiled. And this is just another conclusion for the week marking 10 years since the start of the second intifada – in Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip there are hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps even more, who confuse the sound of thunder for something else. For them, the memories of Israeli shellings have wiped out the amazement over nature’s wonders. Instead, they arouse fear.

I learned about the disconnect between fear and reality in one of the first months of the intifada (or rather, its suppression ) when an Israel Defense Forces armored vehicle suddenly appeared in our neighborhood, an eastern neighborhood of Ramallah. Everything was new and seemed unreal, and the soldier had his upper body and head sticking out of the vehicle, and was calmly speaking with some English speakers and a Hebrew speaker. Suddenly there was a muffled shot in the distance. Without embarrassment or a show of bravery, the soldier quickly ducked into the vehicle and shut the lid, to the surprise of all the bystanders. We who were exposed knew there was no danger. The shot was nothing. Perhaps the soldier was frightened, or perhaps he was following army instructions that soldiers take no chances. What was certain was that he had no idea what the real situation was on the ground.

Therefore it makes no difference that you cannot compare a Palestinian Qassam strike to an Israeli shell strike, to say nothing of a bomb. Fear is still fear, regardless of the proportions of the weapons and the quantity of ammunition. In 2003 or 2004, in the Shati refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, I came across two Hamas members who would fire Qassams. I asked them what that achieved, and mentioned a joke that was going around Gaza – that every Qassam costs NIS 1 million, the amount of damage the Israel Defense Forces causes in Beit Hanun after every Qassam. The two explained to me unhesitatingly that they wanted Israeli women and children to live in fear just like their own women and children.

The army veterans who testified to Breaking the Silence about their service in the occupied territories during the second intifada also told stories of fear.

One soldier, for example, related how they had gone to arrest a certain person “whom we had been told was the source of all evil in the world and that Hitler was like Mother Teresa next to him, and because of him we can’t sleep at nights and he had fired at the command post of the battalion commander. All kinds of stories … You lack proportion and you go to fight after the brainwashing, which is total, and they make you feel like you have something to fear.

“I went all agitated to the arrest … (The family ) didn’t open the door because they apparently hadn’t woken up yet. After less than a minute, we broke down the door with a hammer, it was a wooden door. I expected to see terrorists and weapons but I saw a 60-year-old woman, an older man and grandchildren …

“We were supposed to enter quietly … We threw hand grenades and shot flares into the sky and this frightened the area residents.”

Another soldier told how 14-year-olds are detained: They are put in a jeep with their hands tied and their eyes covered with a piece of flannel as passersby watch. “In another minute, you could be shot. The whole situation is frightening, like … The guns are pointed at them … It was strange to aim at children.

“At the same time, you also aim your weapons at everything around … Apparently because you are afraid because you’re in an unfamiliar situation and also because they tell you to do that … When you don’t know the situation … you are no less frightened than they are.”

And there is another soldier who suddenly understood, during Operation Defensive Shield, that “the tank is a crazy source of fire. You’re moving around in (a populated area ) with all these refugee villages around and all these clumsy weapons, and you fire in a place like that. To fire with a cannon inside a neighborhood … I felt bad.

“Defensive Shield is a complicated and hysterical story … they constantly spoke in terms of war. It took me two or three months to understand … that I hadn’t returned from a war. I was in some campaign … that was worthless in many senses.

“And all the time there was that terminology of shoot in every direction, at anything that moves, and all the time the word war was repeated. The mood among the fighters, among ourselves, even inside the tank, was as if we were in a time machine, as if we were in our tank in some kind of Six Day [war] … To this day, I go around with the feeling that someone from the outside orchestrated the atmosphere.”

Another veteran said: “When I was a soldier I thought there was logic behind things. When I became a commander I understood that there isn’t really a logic. I understood that most of it was motivated by political reasons and if you have the forces, you find the action … You go into homes, you see people peeing from fear … or little children crying. Not something that shocked me too much at the time but … not too many things shocked me at the time.”

Amira Hass 


2. Haaretz Monday,

October 04, 2010

YouTube clip shows IDF soldier belly-dancing beside bound Palestinian woman  [to see this disgusting clip, use the link below. D]

A number of IDF soldiers have over the last year faced investigation and penalty for documenting themselves performing questionable acts in front of Palestinian prisoners or while on patrol.

By Haaretz Service

A new video uploaded to YouTube shows an Israel Defense Forces soldier wriggling in a belly dance beside a bound and handcuffed Palestinian woman, to the cheers of his comrades who were documenting the incident.

The IDF’s internal investigation department ordered an immediate probe into the matter after the Ch. 10 television program Tzinor Laila caught wind of the clip on the internet. The full clip and the details behind the incident will be broadcast on the show just before midnight on Monday.

A number of IDF soldiers have over the last year faced investigation and penalty for documenting themselves performing questionable acts in front of Palestinian prisoners or while on patrol.

In August, former soldier Eden Abergil raised controversy by posting pictures of herself beside a bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoner on her Facebook page.

Days later, three IDF soldiers were arrested taking photographs of themselves alongside cuffed and blindfolded Palestinian detainees using their cellphones.

Photographs uploaded by Abergil and labeled “IDF – the best time of my life,” depicted her smiling next to Palestinian prisoners with their hands bound and their eyes covered.

A comment attached to one of the photos of the soldier smiling in front of two blindfold men and posted by one of Abergil’s friends read “That looks really sexy for you,” with Abergil’s response reading: “I wonder if he is on Facebook too – I’ll have to tag him in the photo.”

A comment allegedly added by Abergil to her Facebook page later that wee said that she would “gladly kill Arabs – even slaughter them.”

“In war there are no rules,” Abergil allegedly wrote on the wall of her profile page.

Other soldiers faced disciplinary action over the last year for uploading video of themselves stopping a patrol in the West Bank to dance to American electro-pop singer Kesha’s hit Tick Tock.

The video “Batallion 50 Rock the Hebron Casbah” shows six dancing Nahal Brigade soldiers, armed and wearing bulletproof vests, patrolling as a Muslim call to prayer is heard. Then the music changes and they break into a Macarena-like dance.

The video was uploaded over the weekend, and quickly spread across Facebook pages and blogs before it was removed by those who uploaded it.


3. Haaretz Monday,

October 04, 2010

Jewish population in Israel is declining

Despite a million immigrants over the past two decades, the percentage of Jews in the Israeli population is declining.

By Arnon Soffer

I took up Moshe Arens’ suggestion, made on this page last month (“Demographic bogey” ), to take a look at the figures of the Central Bureau of Statistics that he finds so encouraging. And what do I find? For one, that the statistics bureau deals only with data within the Green Line, namely Israel, and data about the Jews of Judea and Samaria. As far as the Arabs in the territories are concerned, we will have to look elsewhere.

What is so encouraging about the figures for 2010? I found that within Israel, Jews constitute 75.5 percent of the population, but that the proportion in 1998 was 79.2 percent, and 81.7 percent in 1988. In other words, the percentage of Jews in the Israeli population is constantly declining, in spite of the influx of about 1 million immigrants over the past two decades.

According to the forecasts, in 2015 the percentage of Jews will decline to 73.5 percent, and will drop to 70.6 percent by 2025. Only in 2030 will there be, for the first time, a miniscule increase in the proportion of Jews, bringing us to 72 percent. What is there here to make Arens happy?

If to this harsh data we add foreign workers, immigrants from Africa, tourists who did not return to their homeland and Palestinians who enter the country and don’t return home, then the percentage of Jews drops to 70 percent of the inhabitants of Israel. What’s so wonderful here? It’s an unpleasant picture.

But in recent months Arens has been preaching in favor of the annexation of Judea and Samaria to Israel (according to him, that is the way to prevent the existence of two states in this narrow space ). Of course, that poses a serious demographic problem. So what does Arens do? He receives data from some American team, which enables him to count how many Arabs live in Judea and Samaria, how many have left, how many are leaving and how many will leave the Land of Israel in the future. He also keeps tabs on the number of births and deaths and asserts “scientifically” that only 1.5 million people live in Judea and Samaria. If we erase 1 million Arabs from the board, then there is a Jewish majority in the Land of Israel; the redeemer has come to Zion and the demographic bogey is dead.

But I don’t rely on American teams, and instead turn to the head of the Civil Administration in the Israel Defense Forces, who reports to me that there are presently about 2.6 million Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria, and in Gaza their number is estimated at 1.5 million. Anyone who doesn’t rely on the IDF can access the figures of the Palestinian statistics bureau, whose last census was held in 2007, under the aegis of representatives of the Norwegian government; their numbers are similar to those of the IDF (after subtracting the residents of Jerusalem who were already counted by the Israeli statistics bureau ). In both cases it turns out that, not counting Gaza or foreign residents, Jews constitute 59 percent of the total population in the Land of Israel. If you do count Gaza and foreign residents, there are somewhat fewer Jews than there are Palestinian Arabs.

There is no choice but to deal with forecasts for the next decade or two, and it turns out that by then the proportion of Jews will have declined to 42 percent. That means an end to the Jewish entity in the Middle East. The demographic bogey, then, is alive and threatening after all, and we still haven’t discussed the density of the population or the issues of internal security that we can expect from a hostile population of millions of people.

There is no choice but to tell Arens that the right-wing Betar ideology on which he was raised went bankrupt a long time ago and it won’t help if he virtually erases 1.5 million Arabs from the territories. They are here. The conclusion is frighteningly simple: Whoever brings about the establishment of a single binational state in the Land of Israel will doom the Jews of Israel to destruction. We, the sane majority who still live here, will not allow anyone to do that.

The writer is a professor emeritus at the University of Haifa.


4. Denied entry

The daughter of Israel tells the daughter of Jerusalem: You have no place here,,, not with your Palestinian husband ,,, not in the home of your family… You are DENIED ENTRY.  You can no more live with your husband in your city, because we are building a “Jewish state” and President Obama , Sarkouzy and Berlusconi have already blessed our intentions… We are only accepting Jewish immigrants,,, no Palestinians or Americans , You decide. You are not allowed in, because you went for ten years to study and work in the US… because you hold an American Citizenship. Here is your “denied entry” stamp in red on your Navy blue American Passport… go home,,, go to the US…

“E” was born in Jerusalem, the home of her parent’s families. She lived in Jerusalem two thirds of her life and one third in the US were her father’s family had citizenship status granted to her when she was a child. She married “O”, a Jerusalemite too who works and resides and tax payer in Jerusalem on permanent residency status. It was given to him by Israel upon its “law of entry to Israel”!!!…as an immigrant somehow!!! As if he entered Israel!!!

No names are published …fearing the Israeli authorities will black list them both… and the punishment goes on ,,,, the Nakba goes on ,,, the displacement goes on……..and the world is kept silent,,, kept unjust,,, and human rights goes down the garbage bin when it comes to Palestinians….

What do you call this???

Yusef Daher

Executive Secretary


Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre – JIC

P.O.Box 741, Jerusalem 91000 

Tel :+972 (0)2 627 4534 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +972 (0)2 627 4534      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, 628 9858 ( Ext. 105)

Fax:+972(0)2 627 4499

Mobile 050 5545 179

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The beauty of Bali

04 Oct 2010


The curious relationship between Wikileaks and everybody else

04 Oct 2010

What a story:

Where do you draw the line between free speech and national security? At what point do issues of justice trump potential threats to soldiers, translators and informants?

Last Thursday, Julian Assange answered these questions and more in a debate pitting him against the Times columnist David Aaronovitch at London’s City University that was sold out within hours, with TV crews and photographers flying in from around the world.

Assange found himself having to defend WikiLeaks, in particular the leaking of documents detailing Nato’s actions in Afghanistan. How would he feel if any Afghan citizens were killed as a result? Assange replied that the Pentagon had not identified a single person who had been harmed. But he added, somewhat chillingly: “I’m not scared to make mistakes or be blamed, or even accidentally cause harm in the cause of justice.”

The circumstances surrounding the debate were bizarre. Assange had contacted Index on Censorship’s chief executive, John Kampfner, through an intermediary: he would be in London, would Index be interested in hosting a talk by him?

Assange was told he would have to debate with one of his sternest critics. He agreed but had his own stipulations: no press photographers at the event; it could only be filmed by a camerawoman sanctioned by Index and the university; there would be no press calls, or live stream (this caused considerable consternation on Twitter).

How could Index, the UK’s leading free expression organisation, keep out broadcast media? In the end we decided it was worth going ahead. People in the lecture theatre would be free to tweet and liveblog.

The days leading up to the debate were tense: Assange went awol, and 36 hours before the event we were seriously considering cancelling. After a day and a half of nervous phonecalls, however, he emerged and was led through the university’s back corridors, avoiding the waiting cameras.

As the debate ended, the photographers and film crews were allowed in. A sensible compromise had been reached. But the situation demonstrated the tightrope that free-speech campaigners walk every day.


Just the kind of person to be working with David Cameron

04 Oct 2010

Rupert Murdoch must be so proud of his former staff. This is what ethical journalism is all about:

The prime minister’s media adviser, Andy Coulson, personally listened to the intercepted voicemail messages of public figures when he edited the News of the World, a senior journalist who worked alongside him has said.

Coulson has always denied knowing about any illegal activity by the journalists who worked for him, but an unidentified former executive from the paper told Channel Four Dispatches that Coulson not only knew his reporters were using intercepted voicemail but was also personally involved.

“Sometimes, they would say: ‘We’ve got a recording’ and Andy would say: ‘OK, bring it into my office and play it to me’ or ‘Bring me, email me a transcript of it’,” the journalist said.

The claim, due to be broadcast tomorrow night, goes beyond earlier statements by Coulson’s former colleagues.

Sean Hoare, a showbusiness reporter, told the New York Times Coulson had “actively encouraged” him to intercept voicemail.


Dershowitz in Sydney calls for quick little bombing run of Iran

03 Oct 2010

Last night in Sydney – and what an event to miss! – Sydney Morning Herald political editor Peter Hartcher interviewed Alan Dershowitz. Hartcher is a perfect person, being a close friend of the lobby (along with receiving free trips to Israel).

Sounds like there were too many “highlights” to mention but this stands out:

Dershowitz said that the Israeli red line, a line which if crossed by Iran would invoke an attack, is six months ahead of America’s and he advocated a three day war by the U.S. to knock out Iran’s nuclear infrastructure in order to maintain peace in a region threatened by Iran’s nuclear capability.

War is peace. Bombing helps stability. Zionism is all about love.

With 2000 people hearing Dershowitz at this venue and no doubt many of them Jews who love the idea of a Zionist who speaks about glorious Israeli democracy, occupation and bombing Iran, my religion is sick, perhaps beyond repair.


How the Ubud Writers Festival bridges the cultural divide

03 Oct 2010

This year’s Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali, Indonesia begins this Wednesday – I’m currently in Bali flossing my vocal chords – and Indonesian writers and poets will feature prominently.

The reaction to my work in Indonesia last year was amazing, countless engagements with a mainly Muslim audience, including in Aceh, about the Middle East and the importance of Jewish dissent over Palestine.

I’m ready for more.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on A.LOEWENSTEIN ONLINE NEWSLETTER



October 4, 2010

by Debbie Menon

By Avigail Abarbanel

Growing up as an Israeli provided me with an intimate understanding of Israeli-Jewish psychology.


I had the privilege of hearing Ali Abunimah speak at a dinner organised by an Australian pro-Palestinian activist group. Abunimah, an author and an editor of the Electronic Intifada website, is a supporter of the one-state solution in Palestine/Israel, and so am I. One democratic and secular state for both peoples with a right of return for the Palestinian refugees is the only just solution to the long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Abunimah is optimistic about what is possible. I would like to be as optimistic but am not so sure I can.

Growing up as an Israeli provided me with an intimate understanding of Israeli-Jewish psychology. Ever since I can remember, we in Israel were told that Jews have nowhere else to go because the world didn’t like Jews. Seventeen years ago, when my former husband and I were about to migrate to Australia, most of the people we knew were dismayed by our decision. I was told by many that I was making a big mistake. My father’s heart surgeon for example, was in complete shock when he heard our news. He took me aside and said that he did not understand how I could leave; that he would never be prepared to live anywhere where there might be even one anti-Semite alive. Like many others he believed that Jews can only safely live in Israel.

This idea that Israel is the only safe place for Jews is critical to understanding the roots of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and Israel’s policies and perspective in the present. The majority of Jewish people do not trust non-Jews as life-long compatriots. Experience and cultural narrative have been telling them that since antiquity, rulers and governments as well as populations have become hostile to Jews without warning. This means that no matter how long Jews have lived anywhere, no matter how unobtrusive and well integrated they have been, or how much they contributed to their society, things could turn against them overnight.

With a history of European persecutions, pogroms, discriminatory laws, expulsions, medieval and modern ghettos and a systematic plan of total annihilation in what was considered an enlightened European country, it’s hard to blame people for feeling insecure.

Israel was not born in 1948 or because of the Holocaust. Its origins are with Zionism, the Jewish national movement, which was born in the late 19th century. Zionism was to put an end to the precarious situation of European Jews by creating an exclusively Jewish state. The logic was simple: if Jews could not trust that they could ever be unconditionally welcome or safe in the countries in which they lived, they needed a state of their own.

This means a state governed by Jews only, and that was largely free of non-Jewish people. The location of the ‘Jewish national home’ was debated at first but eventually the entire Zionist movement agreed on Palestine because of the spiritual meaning it had for Jewish people. The fact that Palestine was populated was known, and openly recognised by the leaders of the Zionist movement. The mainstream view was that it was unfortunate, but that the plan to create a national home for the Jewish people could not be abandoned, because the Jews were in dire need.

Zionists have always believed that Jewish fear justifies ethnic cleansing. Ideas about transferring the existing non-Jewish population of Palestine — the Palestinians — elsewhere to make room for an exclusively Jewish state existed long before 1948. The word ‘transfer’ entered modern Hebrew, as a euphemism for ethnic cleansing, an idea or a plan to move the Palestinian population en masse elsewhere, as far away as possible from the borders of Israel.

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine started in 1948 behind the smokescreen of war, but it was not completed. It is not only continuing today but Israeli scholars like Ilan Pappé believe that it is escalating. Zionist ideology is directly responsible for the charter of present day Israel. Attempting to understand the dynamic of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict or to analyse Israel’s behaviour without understanding this charter is bound to be flawed, and to lead to more confusion and misunderstanding.

Since the foundational belief is that Jewish people can only be safe in an exclusively Jewish state, Israel’s charter is simple. Israel is required to maintain itself as a safe haven for all Jewish people. Based on their past experience and national and religious narratives Jewish people deeply believe that it’s only a matter of time before the tide once again turns against them. When (and not ‘if’) this happens, the state of Israel will be there to take them all in and save them.

I am using ‘they’ instead of ‘we’ because I have personally abandoned this narrative, and have chosen not to live my life in its shadow. This is seen by many Israelis as naive or even insane. But I decided to take my chances in the wider world because I do not believe that I can live a full life and make a contribution in the world if I live in a permanent state of fear.

The development of the state of Israel and Israel’s behaviour in the region have always been consistent with its charter. Israel sees that it would need as much land and natural resources as possible (such as water, which is scarce in the region), in order to accommodate the 13 millions Jews who are expected to flock to it from around the world, ‘when’ a new era of Jewish persecution begins. Israel would have to have enough housing, infrastructure and a functional economy. It would have to be a modern state in which Western Jews accustomed to technology, capitalism and affluence can feel comfortable. There is nothing inconsistent or strange in what Israel is doing to the Palestinians if you understand this charter. It surprises me that this is never discussed openly in any political analysis that I see.

At the heart of this conflict is not economics, oil, ‘war on terror’, religion or various regional loyalties. Rather it is an age-old psychology of persecution and survival to which all other considerations are subservient. Israel’s loyalties are utilitarian. There is no great love there for any other peoples or countries. Israelis always think in terms of what is good for the Jews and what isn’t, and they watch the world carefully from within this prism. Israeli children learn to see life from this point of view from a very young age. I was the same when I was growing up.

Only when we grasp this we can understand why negotiations with Israel mean so little; why Israel has never stopped building settlements on Palestinian land and has been consistently expanding its territory; why it’s making life for Palestinians inside and outside of Israel so unbelievably hellish; why it’s brutally restricting them to ever diminishing territories and why Israel is responding to Palestinian resistance with such disproportionate and overwhelming violence.

Breaking down Palestinian resistance is critical from Israel’s point of view not only because of the pain that Palestinian armed resistance causes in Israel, but also in order to destroy any aspirations Palestinians might have to return to their ancestral lands. Israel simply cannot afford this if it wants to stay an exclusively Jewish state.

Israel is a country based on racist considerations because of its very charter, and the circumstances through which it came into being. From the point of view of Israelis accepting the one-state idea, would change Israel into just another country where Jews live among non-Jews. The whole idea of a Jewish safe haven would have to be abandoned and there will be no guarantee that the new pluralist state would take in Jews if they were ever in need of rescue. Israeli Jews and many Zionists around the world believe that to ask them to live together with the Palestinian people is to ask them to go back to a state of insecurity and potential victimhood.

They simply do not believe that this is reasonable, and therefore would never willingly agree to any solution that compromises their safe haven. This is one of the reasons Zionists counteract any criticism of Israel with persistent cries of anti-Semitism. They really believe that to end the exclusively Jewish state would leave all Jews anywhere in the world, vulnerable to another potential Holocaust.

It is clear to me that if justice is to be achieved for the Palestinians this fear-based, racist and immoral ideology has to be overcome because the fear of one people cannot and must not justify the destruction of another. But I do not believe that the Palestinians can afford to wait until Jewish psychology changed by itself, and Jews felt sufficiently safe in the world to let go of the idea of an exclusively Jewish safe haven.

I believe it will take serious international pressure on Israel, or a real change of heart on the part of Israelis for a one state solution to become a reality. I would like to be optimistic and think that this change of heart will happen eventually but am not sure I can. My doubts come from my own experience — after all it used to be my psychology too. Thus, in order to save the Palestinian people the world must take decisive action in this conflict, as it did in South Africa, or continue sacrificing one people for the sake of another.

Avigail Abarbanel  is a humanist and psychotherapist. Her website: This article was first published in Electronic Intifada on 26th May 2008 under the title ‘A change needs to come

Also see:

Avigail Abarbanel  speaks at a protest rally against the Israeli massacre in Gaza.
in Canberra /Australia.


YouTube – Veterans Today –

Posted in PoliticsComments Off on THE ZIO=NAZI CHARTER


Zionism Unmasked — The Dark Face Of Jewish Nationalism

October 4, 2010

by Debbie Menon

The differences between Jewish nationalism (Zionism) and that of other countries and cultures

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu once remarked to a Likud gathering that “Israel is not like other countries.” Oddly enough for him, that time he was telling the truth, and nowhere is that more evident than with Jewish nationalism, whether or not one pins the “Zionist” label on it.

Nationalism in most countries and cultures can have both positive and negative aspects, unifying a people and sometimes leading them against their neighbors. Extremism can emerge, and often has, at least in part in almost every nationalist/independence movement I can recall (e.g., the French nationalist movement had The Terror, Kenya’s had the Mau Mau, etc.).

But whereas extremism in other nationalist movements is an aberration, extremism in Jewish nationalism is the norm, pitting Zionist Jews (secular or observant) against the goyim (everyone else), who are either possible predator or certain prey, if not both sequentially. This does not mean that all Jews or all Israelis feel and act this way, by any means. But it does mean that Israel today is what it cannot avoid being, and what it would be under any electable government (a point I’ll develop in another article).

The differences between Jewish nationalism (Zionism) and that of other countries and cultures here I think are fourfold:

1. Zionism is a real witches’ brew of xenophobia, racism, ultra-nationalism, and militarism that places it way outside of a “mere” nationalist context — for example, when I was in Ireland (both parts) I saw no indication whatsoever that the PIRAs or anyone else pressing for a united Ireland had a shred of design on shoving Protestants into camps or out of the country, although there may well have been a handful who thought that way — and goes far beyond the misery for others professed by the Nazis;

2. Zionism undermines civic loyalty among its adherents in other countries in a way that other nationalist movements (and even ultra-nationalist movements like Nazism) did not — e.g., a large majority of American Jews, including those who are not openly dual citizens, espouse a form of political bigamy called “dual loyalty” (to Israel & the US) that is every bit as dishonest as marital bigamy, attempts to finesse the precedence they give to Israel over the US (lots of Rahm Emanuels out there who served in the IDF but NOT in the US armed forces), and has absolutely no parallel in the sense of national or cultural identity espoused by any other definable ethnic or racial group in America — even the Nazi Bund in the US disappeared once Germany and the US went to war, with almost all of its members volunteering for the US armed forces;

3. The “enemy” of normal nationalist movements is the occupying power and perhaps its allies, and once independence is achieved, normal relations with the occupying power are truly the norm, but for Zionism almost everyone out there is an actual or potential enemy, differing only in proximity and placement on its very long list of enemies (which is now America’s target list); and

4. Almost all nationalist movements (including the irredentist and secessionist variants) intend to create an independent state from a population in place or to reunite a separated people (like the Sudeten Germans in the 1930s) — it is very rare for it to include the wholesale displacement of another indigenous population, which is far more common of successful colonialist movements as in the US — and perhaps a reason why most Americans wouldn’t care too much about what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians even if they DID know about it, is because that is no different than what Europeans in North America did to the Indians/Native Americans here in a longer & more low-tech fashion.

The implications of this for Middle East peace prospects, and for other countries in thrall to their domestic Jewish lobbies or not, are chilling. The Book of Deuteronomy come to life in a state with a nuclear arsenal would be enough to give pause to anyone not bought or bribed into submission — which these days encompasses the US Government, given Israel’s affinity for throwing crap into the face of the Obama administration and Obama’s visible affinity for accepting it with a smile, Bibi Netanyahu’s own “Uncle Tom” come to Washington.

The late General Moshe Dayan, who — Zionist or not — remains an honored part of my own Pantheon of military heroes, allegedly observed that Israel’s security depended on its being viewed by others as a mad dog. He may have been correct. But he neglected to note that the preferred response of everyone else is to kill that mad dog before it can decide to go berserk and bite. It is an option worth considering.

Alan Sabrosky (Ph.D, University of Michigan) is a ten-year US Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the US Army War College. In December 1988, he received the Superior Civilian Service Award after more than five years of service at the U.S. Army War College as Director of Studies, Strategic Studies Institute, and holder of the General of the Army Douglas MacArthur Chair of Research. He can be contacted at

Also See:

ALAN HART: Zionism Unmasked – A fairy tale that’s become a terrifying nightmare
JEFF GATES: Zionism Unmasked – Serving the Great Deceiver
MAIDHC Ó CATHAIL: Zionism Unmasked — Chutzpah, thy name is Zionism

Posted in EducationComments Off on THE DARK FACE OF JEWISH NATIONALISM



Please find a statement from Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) endorsing a major campaign calling upon the US non-profit pension fund TIAA-CREF to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and violations of Palestinian rights attached and pasted below. Please circulate and post to websites and blogs



BNC Europe Coordinator

TIAA-CREF: Divest from Injustice

October 4th 2010

Occupied Palestine, October 4th 2010 – The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), on behalf of its constituent organizations and unions representing the majority of Palestinian civil society, calls upon the US non-profit pension fund TIAA-CREF to live up to its motto of providing “Financial Services for the Greater Good” by divesting its funds from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and violation of Palestinian rights.

As in the struggle to end South African apartheid, divestment from wrongdoing companies is not just a moral obligation; it is a time-honored, particularly effective, non-violent form of pressure that can significantly contribute to ending Israel’s occupation, racial discrimination and denial of refugee rights.

The BNC strongly supports the fast-growing and inspiring campaign initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)1 and widely endorsed by US solidarity and just peace advocacy groups and coalitions, including the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation2 and Adalah-NY3, aimed at pressuring TIAA-CREF to divest from companies profiting from Israel’s occupation and violation of international law. We urge all groups working on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns in the US, especially on university campuses, to endorse this campaign and join it, whenever possible, to amplify its reach and impact across the US.

Investing in companies that profit from Israel’s multi-tiered oppression of the Palestinian people is a form of complicity in this oppression. Israel is methodically and routinely violating international law and Palestinian rights as part of its system of apartheid, colonization and occupation.4 Israeli colonial settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, continue to grow relentlessly, destroying lives and livelihoods.

These settlements are all illegal according international law, as most recently confirmed by the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in July 2004.5 The construction of Israel’s Apartheid Wall has isolated and put at risk of displacement over 250,000 Palestinians from over 75 communities.6 The immoral and illegal siege of Gaza continues, and the 2008-2009 military aggression campaign known as Operation Cast Lead has been condemned by a UN fact finding mission as constituting war crimes and possible crimes against humanity “in furtherance of an overall and continuing policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population”.7 Palestinian citizens of Israel face “institutional, legal and societal discrimination,” condemned even in US State Department reports.8 Over six million Palestinian refugees, the majority of the Palestinian people, are denied their UN-sanctioned right to return to their homes and receive reparations.

Through its investments in companies complicit in Israel’s violations of international law, TIAA-CREF directly profits from and is in turn accountable for these violations of international law:

–  Holdings worth $19.24m in Veolia,9 a company that profits from the construction and expansion of illegal Jewish-only settlements by operating a landfill in the West Bank,10 collecting rubbish from illegal settlements11 and being a key partner in a light rail system linking West Jerusalem and illegal Israeli settlements, described by the UN Human Rights Council as a “clear violation of international law”.12

–  Holdings worth $1.69m in Elbit Systems,13 Israel’s largest arms manufacturer which provides unmanned aerial vehicles used in the massacre of Palestinian civilians in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead and has been integral in the creation of the Apartheid Wall across the West Bank14 that has been ruled illegal by the ICJ.

–  Holdings worth $91.75m in Motorola,15 a provider of equipment and components for military checkpoints, that serve a humiliating and integral part of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian Territory, and the Israeli occupation forces.16

– Holdings worth $199.06m in Northrop Grumman,17 a vital supplier of military equipment to the Israeli occupation forces.18

– Holdings worth $236.85m in Caterpillar,19 who supply bulldozers routinely used to demolish Palestinian homes and in the construction of illegal Israeli settlements and supply unmanned bulldozers specially designed for urban warfare that were used in Operation Cast Lead. 20

Investments do not exist in isolation from the actions they fund. As holders of pension schemes with TIAA-CREF, over 3.5 million21 academic, medical, cultural and research practitioners throughout the United States are unwittingly profiting from violations of international law. Israeli impunity relies on the economic and political support gained by such investments; so did apartheid South Africa’s impunity. The BNC was pleased to learn that TIAA-CREF no longer owns shares in Africa-Israel,22 a company heavily involved in settlement construction.23 However, the BNC urges TIAA-CREF to ensure that its actions consistently reflect its own public statements about its commitment to “influence positive social change”24 and to ensure it sells its holdings in all companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and infringement of Palestinian rights.

In the face of the failure of the international community to hold Israel to account for its violations of international law and its denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and in harmony with the 2005 BDS Call issued by the overwhelming majority in Palestinian civil society, individuals of conscience, trade union and diverse institutions have engaged in campaigns to boycott and divest from companies complicit in Israeli violations of international law.

TIAA-CREF is an institution of great significance and weight and must take its responsibilities seriously. An organisation that professes to lead the field in ethical investment and hold progressive principles cannot bankroll and politically bolster Israeli aggression. Nor should individual pension scheme holders have their hard-earned savings ethically tarnished by their investment in Israeli violations of international law. The BNC looks forward to hearing that TIAA-CREF has ended its active complicity with Israeli contravention of Palestinian rights and calls upon board of TIAA-CREF to:

– Immediately divest its shares in all companies actively involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

– Take steps to ensure that such investments cannot be allowed to re-enter its portfolios.

– Inform all companies whose shares it holds that it will not tolerate involvement in Israeli aggression of any kind.

The BNC also calls upon individuals of conscience, international solidarity groups and academic, labour and student groups in particular to:

– Work closely with JVP, Adalah-NY and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation to support, enhance and ensure the success of the campaign against TIAA-CREF’s unethical investments.

– Raise awareness of TIAA-CREF’s investments in Israeli violations of international law in their communities, work places and educational establishments.

The BNC views this campaign with utter interest, as it is well justified, well though-out, as well as has every potential to succeed and, as a result, to play a key role in bolstering divestment campaigns across the US. Such prospects should not be taken lightly, given the undeniably great role played by divestment of international banks and corporations, especially the US-based ones, from apartheid South Africa in supporting the struggle for freedom and justice there.

3 For more information on the successful Adalah-NY campaign to secure TIAA-CREF divestment from Africa Israel see:

4 For an in-depth analysis of Israel’s regime over the Palestinian people constituting occupation, colonization and apartheid see:

9 Official TIAA-CREF records cited at




13 Official TIAA-CREF records cited at


15 Official TIAA-CREF records cited at


17 Official TIAA-CREF records cited at


19 Official TIAA-CREF records cited at









October 4, 2010

Even with the aid of the Internet it is often difficult to keep up with the EDL’s activities, their racism, their shenanigans and stupidity.

Even more perplexing to understand is the fact that some people still haven’t made up their minds concerning the EDL.

They haven’t digested the fact that the English Defence League are thugs, football hooligans, convicted criminals, professional racists, neo-Nazis and the flotsam and jetsam of the Extreme Right in Britain.

Still, ignorance is no excuse, particularly when there are valuable resources which detail the EDL’s vile activities on the web, here are two.

The Expose’s pictorial twitter, which has extracts from EDL and BNP supporters, showing their true views, with clips from the EDL’s Facebook page.

It also has a threatening piece, apparently from Chris Renton, one of the EDL leaders. There’s plenty of stuff, well worth a long trawl.

Another related group on Facebook is Exposing intolerance and racism online XVI, they have plenty of material and coverage of the EDL’s thugs.


Posted in UKComments Off on EDL RACISM & STUPIDITY



By Tom Krattenmaker

Source–USA Today

A strong work ethic, devotion to God and family, conservative views on abortion and sexuality — on these scores and more, the newcomers would appear to be right in stride with the traditional-values folk in Anytown, USA.

In view of the Christian gospel followed by most of the established residents, you might assume they’d extend a hand of hospitality. You certainly wouldn’t expect them to resist the newcomers’ worship centers, would you? Or squander an opportunity to enlist potential allies in the fight against the country’s inexorable drift toward coarseness and secularism?

These perfectly logical thoughts might run through your mind until you learned that the newcomers in question often have Middle Eastern-sounding names, wear beards or head scarves, and take their spiritual cues from the Quran. And then you’d know that the situation was bound to play out on a whole different frequency. At flashpoints from Temecula, Calif., to Gainesville, Fla., to New York, N.Y., and all along the low road in between, mongers of fear and haters of the “other” are sounding the alarm about Islam with a new level of intensity. To hear it from conservative spokesman Newt Gingrich and those of a similar persuasion, the Muslims between our shores are bent on taking over the country and imposing their “un-American” values.

This demonizing and demagoguery is beneath us. My plea to those tempted to fall for the beware-of-all-Muslims hype: Get to know someone before you decide to fear and hate him.

Theologically conservative

Through my own participation in interfaith activities, and as I’ve followed the recent turmoil around Islam in America, I’ve become increasingly struck by a peculiar dynamic: The non-Muslims one finds at interfaith and Muslim community activities, and speaking up for Muslims in politics and the news media, are most often liberals. Juxtaposed with that is the fact that most of the anti-Muslim rhetoric comes from the conservative side of the tracks. It’s enough to trick you into assuming that followers of Islam in this country are in lock step with progressives. But as the pollster John Zogby wrote last month in Forbes, American Muslims trend conservative on social and religious issues, with majorities of U.S. Muslims — much like conservative Protestants — favoring school vouchers, stronger laws against terrorism, and laws making it harder to get an abortion.

It leads you to wonder just what the leading Islamophobes actually know about their supposed enemies when they call their religion “evil” and perpetrate hostile acts such as these:

•Anti-Muslim protesters brought dogs (which Muslim teaching prohibits at places of worship) to the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley in July in a deliberate bid to intimidate and insult.

•Arsonists torched construction equipment last month at a mosque building site in Murfreesboro, outside Nashville — this following claims by the chief anti-mosque organizer that the project was a plot by “radical Islamic extremists” to challenge Christianity in the heart of the Bible Belt.

•A small church in Gainesville provoked international outrage with hugely publicized plans — eventually canceled — for a Quran-burning event on the 9/11 anniversary.

Amped up by the furor around the proposed Park51 project in Manhattan, the ominous tune has played out against a drumbeat of anti-Muslim propaganda across talk radio and the Internet, among other places — rhetoric that would have you believe that Islam is inherently opposed to American ideals. Bryan Fischer, director of issues analysis for the American Family Association, has gone so far as to demand a halt to the construction of mosques in the USA. “Each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government,” Fischer claims. “Each one is a potential jihadist recruitment and training center.”

The sad truth is that we human beings, for all our clever technology and supposed progress, are still dupes for the age-old instinct to fear the “other.” It’s understandable that Americans, especially those who haven’t had the chance for personal interaction with Muslims, might harbor wariness. The wounds from the horrific events of 9/11 are far from healed. And, to state the sadly obvious, nearly all the terrorism in the nine years since has been committed under the banner of Islam (a grossly distorted version of it, more precisely).

But it’s wrong that the chief demonizers, and those in their sway, are choosing to see in Muslim Americans not their commitment to God, work and family — not how much they share in common with them — but only their hijabs, their different word for the Almighty, and the relatively minute portion of their global community that spews hate and commits violence. It’s gratifying in recent weeks to see American religious leaders from across the theological spectrum making these points and standing shoulder to shoulder with our embattled Muslim fellow citizens.

In the midst of all the heat and fury of late summer, those with their ears to the ground could hear deeper positive rumblings. While the demagogues were busy with the Muslims, the Mormon Church— itself the object of more than its share of misunderstanding and ostracizing — announced a new online outreach campaign. The goal? That more and more Americans get to ” know a Mormon.” Focus groups and opinion surveys, the Utah-based church said, reveal that most Americans cling to false and negative impressions of Mormons until they get to know one.

Take a minute to learn

The same goes for Muslims. If you’re fortunate enough to have Muslim neighbors or co-workers, you’ve probably come to see that they have as much in common with suicide bombers as your friend at church has in common with the supposed Christians who bombed the Atlanta Olympics and murdered an abortion doctor at his church. If you’re one of the many who has formed a view of Muslims primarily from the news media or the rhetoric of anti-Muslim propagandists, take a minute to learn something about the world’s second-largest religion. It’s telling that the Florida pastor behind the vastly overpublicized plan to torch Qurans admits to never reading the text that he declared to be “of the devil.”

If American history has taught us anything by this point, more than two-and-a-quarter centuries in, it’s that there will always be a next new group at the gates. “It’s tough to live through this,” says Eboo Patel, a Muslim American who is founder and leader of the Interfaith Youth Core and a regular contributor to USA TODAY. “But what we are watching is Islam becoming an American religion.”

We know how this story is supposed to end. So can we please just skip the part that will embarrass us later?

Tom Krattenmaker is a Portland-based writer specializing in religion in public life and a member of USA TODAY’s board of contributors. His book Onward Christian Athletes was published last fall.

Posted in Education1 Comment

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