Archive | October 23rd, 2010



October 23, 2010by Debbie Menon

We are pleased that the ADL has noticed that If Americans Knew is influencing the debate on Israel



Alison Weir, Executive Director

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recently released a report on the top 10 “anti-Israel” organizations affecting the mainstream discourse in the United States. We are pleased to announce that  If Americans Knew is in this elite group of principled organizations.

Despite its alleged mission “to secure justice and fair treatment to all” the ADL (sometimes pointedly referred to as “the Arab Defamation League”) has a record of supporting Israel’s most egregious human rights violations and extremist leaders and of attacking anyone who speaks up on behalf of Palestinian rights. It recently joined the bigots who opposed the building of a New York Muslim Community Center and has a history of illegal spying against American citizens.

We are pleased that the ADL has noticed that If Americans Knew is influencing the debate on Israel, that our materials are widely circulated, and that Alison Weir is a frequent speaker at campuses and elsewhere around the country. And we are proud to be in such good company.

Alison has long been on the ADL’s list of the top five individuals in the country opposing Israeli injustice, the only non-Arab/Muslim on the list.

Your work and donations are the reason that we are able to have such a sizable impact — and your continued efforts will allow us to do even more.

Please consider making a donation, ordering materials, or taking another action today!

As the ADL acknowledges in its report, the paradigm is shifting — more and more Americans are paying attention, receptive to factual information, and willing to work for justice. Please help us continue to help build this powerful movement for justice.

(As you know, criticism of Israel does not constitute anti-Semitism. While our organization is focused on Israel-Palestine, we oppose injustice and discrimination wherever it is found and whoever the perpetrator. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case for the ADL.)

Read More from Alison Weir:

If Americans Knew What Israel Is Doing!

Ethan Bronner’s Conflict With Impartiality

US Media and Israeli Military: All in the Family

As Israel kills and maims, Outrage is directed at Helen Thomas

Alison Weir: The NYT and Israel’s Flotilla “Inquiry” 





October 23, 2010 

by Gordon Duff  


By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

The new Wikileaks claims the US undereported by 15,000, the deaths of Iraqi “civilians.”  With the numbers listed by the military as little as 10% or less of the actual deaths, bumping up the numbers must be a joke.  More leaks about torture and killings, Iraqi torture and the US “looking away?”  More idiocy.  With the US sending “suspects” around the world on rendition flights, sent to secret prisons and obvious to anyone with a brain, to shallow graves, this Wikileak is simply another sideshow, more “chickenfeed.”

Things have already come apart in Iraq.  Why leak this now?  Regular news stories are actually going much further than these “leaks.”  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the agenda here, an agenda with absolutely nothing to do with enlightening the world.

What does it prove, any of it?  For sure, we see one thing.  Everything leaked is carefully screened to have nothing of real value.  With Mossad running around Mosul, operating out of Erbil, supplying and advising the terrorist PKK, not a word is mentioned.  Instead, poor Iranians are swimming the Euphrates with explosives strapped to their chests.

Get real.

Thousands of tons of explosives were “mislaid” in Iraq.  The US failed to secure Saddam’s weapons depots which were looted.  These stockpiles were vast.  The idea that anyone would need to bring weapons into Iraq is insane, simply another Israeli ploy to pre-stage an attack on Iran.  Any fool can see this in seconds.

In fact, there are more assault rifles in Iraq than people.

While trying to blame Iran, is Wikileaks reporting the hundreds of thousands of weapons bought by the US that simply disappeared in Iraq?  It is easier to buy an assault rifle or RPG in Iraq than to get potato chips.  This need to blame Iran, the idea that “secret agents” are smuggling ordnance into Iraq, a country loaded with explosives, is insane.  Who would believe it?  The idiotic controlled press?

What will we see if we watch the stories coming out?  Where will the press be told to manipulate the public to look?


“Iran’s Training for Iraqi Militants Outlined in Leaked Pentagon Documents”

Bloomberg and The Guardian start the ball rolling.  Imagine Iraq, a country with the 3rd largest military force in the world, needing “trainers” from Iran.  Iraq with its elite Republican Guard and one million man army has more people with military training that Britain, a fact The Guardian seems oblivious to.  One minute, Iraq is building nuclear weapons and threatening the region with SCUD missiles, the next it is having to turn to “Iranian experts” to build pipe bombs.  Has any nation ever suffered such a case of collective amnesia in the area of weapons technology before?

As the days pass, we can expect more and more fanciful accounts of Iranian spies, trainers, kidnappers and terrorists, each story more sensational and fictitious than the last.

There is a more insidious aspect to Wikleaks.  Through representing itself as “anti-war” and “public spirited,” it carries forward a globalist agenda, promoting war, promoting regional strife, coincidentally all directly tied to Israel’s “hit list,”  the nations Israel openly advocates someone else destroys.

One could easily describe Wikileaks as a Mossad PsyOp.

Thus, Wikileaks is very effective in derailing genuine dialog and meaningful dissent.


Americans proved long ago that they were immune to guilt about torture and killing.  In fact, polls show that the more religious an American, the more willing they are to accept brutality, and few countries are as “religious’ as America.  No other country in recent times as killed as many people as America, even overshadowing the ethnic cleansing in Rwanda and Bosnia or the “situation” in Israel.

As with the earlier “leak,” Wikileaks has the ability to go through hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, carefully eliminating any blackmarket dealings, drug running or, as with Iraq, the massive corruption and theft of oil.

There are dozens of subjects that seem to be carefully screened from any Wikileak.  Even the Department of Defense, not so secretly, thanks Wikileaks for holding back really embarrassing information.  “Held back” information is, of course, blackmail.

Who is Wikileaks?

Is Wikileaks Israel?

Only Israel has the penetration of the Department of Defense that would allow this kind of spying.  Not only can they do it, they also have so many spies in the American chain of command, they could easily prevent it.  Who has the facilities to gather and filter this much data?  Who would want to?

With the biggest story in Iraq the falsified intelligence on “weapons of mass destruction,” why didn’t Wikileaks get us documents on this?  We know that the military had orders to try to falsify documents showing that they found fully operating nuclear, biological and chemical warfare facilities.  These would have made good reading along with the thousands of pages of reports about how these stories would be fabricated.  Even the “controlled press” wouldn’t touch them although they are still out there.

The lies.

Exposing this real Iraq scandal would so some good, except for one thing, friends of Israel inside the Pentagon were the creators of this program.  Is this why Wikileaks dodges the real issues?  Is it because the trail for much of what happened in Iraq heads directly to Tel Aviv?

Who even cares about Iraq this many years later?

Look at the watered down reports about American support of Al Qaeda.  The US is blamed for accidentally helping Al Qaeda by organizing the Sons of Iraq.  In truth, the US actually reorganized the Baathists, something far worse than the imaginary construct “Al Qaeda.”  Not a word is said about this.

One of the biggest scams of the Iraq “experience” was the looting of oil resources.  Most easily verified is the theft of oil from the Kirkuk fields through the Kirkuk/Ceyhan pipeline, which goes to the Mediterranean through Turkey.  Ships that load oil are shown on locator sights run by insurance companies and even the US Coast Guard.  Their tonnage is available, how many ships, how long.  When doing the math, how much oil is loaded compared to how much is paid for, billions and billions of dollars of oil is missing.

When Americans were paying $4 a gallon for gas, how many knew the oil that made the gasoline was “free” to the oil companies?  Who spit the take on this?  Who was paid?  How much was stolen through Basra?  Were the British involved?

Then we have Fallujah.  We are told America “carpet bombed” civilians and “ethnically cleansed” the area, as we are now informed, for no reason.  The version the Army told is being debunked along with the phony stories of the “embedded” press.  Nothing on this hit Wikileaks either.

We are also noting high levels of radiation there and a health crisis that can only be described as shocking.  Where is wikileaks on this REAL story?

There is little doubt that Wikileaks is a “sideshow’ run by an intelligence agency with dozens of agents inside the Department of Defense.  Only Israel has this capability, having penetrated Defense to such a degree they run it as their own.  What is the agenda of Wikileaks?  Is it revealing the truth?  If so, why is the truth censored and watered down to such a degree as to be “non-news” as the earlier leak had been.  In fact, most stories about leaks are simply speculation and most “leaks” are little than “chickenfeed.”

The last leak was an attack on Pakistan.  Wikileaks tried to make a case for Pakistan running the Taliban in Afghanistan.  However, the Taliban are Pashtun and don’t care much for Pakistan, they are “blood enemies.”  Because of this, Israel and India have found them useful allies against Pakistan, the only Islamic nuclear power.  Aid of all kinds gets to the Taliban from the Mossad and RAW, something Wikileaks worked hard to keep secret.

Real leaks by former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds proved that documents exist showing that rendition flights were used to ferry terrorists around, move drugs and tons of cash.  With bales of cash leaving Afghanistan every day, why is it that not one page, not one word of any of this, things we know are in American files, hit Wikileaks?

Why does Wikileaks spend more time hiding things than revealing them?  When the story dies down, are the Julian Assange rape allegations going to be dragged out again to give the story more play?  Last time they “double dipped” on that one, first charges, then no charges, then charges.  It was like a badly written “soap opera.”  We have just received reports of Julian Assange fleeing Pentagon death squads.  We are told he has virtually disappeared off the face of the planet.  We also have a schedule of public appearances and interviews for Assange, who will mysteriously re-materialize when needed.  Ah, to have powers such as those.

What about this new “leak?”

This one may be aimed at Iran.

Anyone surprised or shocked to find that Iraqi security forces killed or tortured people is living on their own private planet.  These were Saddam’s killers and torturers first.  Then they became ours.  What do killers and torturers do?

There was one reason for the invasion of Iraq with all the lies, all the killing, all the corruption.  Israel wanted Iraq destroyed.  Will Wikileaks ever get to something real?



Would Israel wage a 2nd Cast Lead war on Gaza?


October 23, 2010

by crescentandcross Quantcast

by Saud Abu Ramadan

GAZA, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) — Over the past few weeks, minor militant groups based in the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by Islamic Hamas movement, had escalated their daily homemade projectiles attacks at southern Israel, where the Israeli army carried out limited retaliatory attacks against specific targets.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced recently that Hamas owns anti-aircraft rockets. This was the first open statement from an Israeli official claiming that Hamas possesses anti-aircraft missiles, which would threaten Israeli airforces’ mastery of the sky over Gaza Strip.

However, despite the recent escalation, Palestinian observers ruled out that Israel would soon wage another war against the Gaza Strip similar to the late 2008 three-week “Cast Lead” war, citing different circumstances.

Israel waged the war on the Gaza Strip in late December 2008, which lasted for 21 days and around 1,400 Palestinians and 11 Israelis were killed, following an increase of Gaza militants’ rockets attacks on Israel.

With the ongoing homemade rockets and mortars attacks carried out by the minor militant groups, mainly the pro-Hamas Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), Israel’s retaliation is kept on a low profile, where Israeli warplanes strike on specific targets, such as tunnels and weapons stores.

Hani Habib, a Gaza-based political analyst told Xinhua that he does not believe that Israel would wage a second Cast Lead War against Gaza, despite the Israeli threats that Gaza militants have dangerous weapons, simply because Israel is not in need for a war at the current circumstances.

“The Israeli threats are something, and waging a real war on the ground is something different. Amid the current internal Israeli political disputes, I believe that Israel would carry on with its threats without waging a war because by this way, Israel would gain better consequences that the war itself,” he said.

The Israeli government, led by the right-wing parties, is currently focusing more on the issue of how to resume the peace talks with the Palestinians and at the same time keep settlement construction in the Palestinian territories, a strategy that the Palestinian leadership completely rejects.

The Middle East peace process is currently stalled due to the settlement issue, but the success of the Israeli-Palestinian direct peace talks might depend on the proposal of the international Elders Group, which is merging Hamas in the political Palestinian system through out achieving the inter- Palestinian reconciliation.

Mohsen Aburamadan, another a political analyst from Gaza, told Xinhua that “merging Hamas in the political system and recognizing it as part of this system, without joining the direct talks with Israel, would give President Mahmoud Abbas an umbrella and would save Gaza from another Israeli war.”

He added that “in case a final peace agreement is reached between Israel and the Palestinians, without Hamas, I believe that there will be serious scenarios waiting for Gaza, mainly uprooting Hamas by different mechanisms, either through the Arab League, or by waging another new war on Gaza.”


Posted in Politics1 Comment




October 23, 2010

by crescentandcross

Most Popular Content All 

Izzie and Zvi run a travel agency/ tour guide business in Tel Aviv. Business is bad, what with the fact that the world economy is crashing, much due to all the various Bernie Madoff’s in the financial sectors and the fact that the heartbeat of the world’s economy, America, has gone bankrupt fighting 2 disastrous wars for Israel.

In addition to this, people ‘round the world are more and more calling it quits viz a viz their love affair with visiting the Jewish state, what with its arrogant, racist, violent and apartheid policies and the fact that it has now become common practice now for Jews to spit on Gentiles as a means of showing their “affections” for them.

Business is so bad that Izzie and Zvi are actually thinking of burning the place down to collect the insurance money, knowing full well that they can get away with it because, after all, this is Israel, the protective haven of Jews everywhere. Just about the time they are about to dump gasoline everywhere and light the match, in walks Pastor John Hagee himself.

“Shalom fellas, my name is John Hagee, the most influential Christian pastor in America. You probably have seen me on TV, right?”

Both Izzie and Zvi are panting like dogs with their tongues hanging out. They look at Hagee’s suit–Armani, $3,000. They look at the rings on each of his fingers–24 karat gold, studded with diamonds, rubies and every other precious gem imaginable. He’s wearing a Rolex. The guy is a walking bag of money.

“Anyway,” Hagee continues, “As you know, I lead huge groups of Christians on tours throughout the Holy Land. Bring as many as 6 million–how’s that for a number–of them a year to Israel. We would like you two guys to handle all the arrangements. Can you guys handle a contract this big?”

Now Izzie and Zvi are not just panting, they’re sweating and ready to pee their pants. An account this big could save them. No need to burn the place down and they would be rich beyond even their wildest dreams, which are pretty wild, to say the least.

Hagee continued–”Before we can finalize the arrangements, we need to check you guys out first and make sure everything’s Kosher. If you don’t hear from my people by 5 pm on Friday, you’ll know you have the account”.

This was on Monday…

The days peeled by like years. Every time the phone rang, a cloud of dread overcame both Izzie and Zvi, sure that it was the bad news that they would not be getting the contract.

Finally, Friday rolled around, and at 5 minutes to 5, the phone rang. They both looked at each other in utter devastation, knowing what lie ahead for them. Izzie went over to the phone–

“Hello……Uh, huh. Yes. Yes. Uh huh. Well, that is terrible news, obviously. Yes. I will make sure to let him know. Goodbye.”

Izzie hung up the phone. Zvi stood there, waiting for the bad news, his spirits completely destroyed. He only had a few seconds however to experience the bitter mood of the moment before Izzie spun around on his heels, and with a look of complete elation on his face, clapped his hands together loudly in joy and began leaping up and down saying

“Great news Zvi! Your sister died!”




In Uncategorized

October 23, 2010

by crescentandcross

Over 300 activists from Syrian aid flotilla “Viva Palestina” crossed Thursday the Egyptian Border into Gaza by land with tons of medical equipment and food supplies for the residents of the coastal enclave.

According to the organizers of the flotilla, which departed from the Syrian port of Latkia, activists transported products worth in excess of $5 million.

Most of the activists arrived at the Egyptian port El-Arish on flights from Syria, while just 30 activists made the journey with the aid supplies by ship.

Egyptian security services barred a Mauritania citizen who arrived with the group from crossing the border into Gaza and his passport was taken for inspection. While 12 Mauritania activists remained with him pending the inspection, the remaining activists crossed the land border with Gaza uneventfully.

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A couple days ago I pointed out that Chas Freeman’s much-circulated Tufts speech, when parsed carefully, still endorsed an embrace of empire. An embrace of empire means killing brown people. I concluded that a policy that inexorably leads to the murder of brown people is racist. But Gabriel Ash of Jews Sans Frontieres very helpfully pointed out that the terms need clarification. Chas Freeman does not run around spitting at Arabs, supporting anti-miscegenation laws, or garbed in a white-hooded cloak. He is of American Indian ancestry. He probably is very lightly, if at all, prejudiced in his personal life. I’m sure he considers African-Americans worthy of full citizenship in America, doesn’t like the Minute Men carrying out vigilante border-keeping on the US-Mexico frontier, and supports affirmative action.

He is not, as Gabriel pointed out, afflicted with “racism, the theory and conscious belief of racial superiority, exclusivity and primacy, and the practices that follow intentionally from applying these beliefs.” Instead, he accepts “racism, a system of assumptions, habits of mind, knowledge, etc., that supports unequal relations of power between racially constructed groups and that helps to both naturalize and invisibilize the domination of one group over another.”

That is absolutely clear in his call for a toned-down liberal imperialism, one that should refrain from spectacular violence both on the grounds of the damage that it does to us as well as the damage it does to the victims, occluding a third option: that we have no right to interfere in other people’s societies.

When “we” are white and “they” are brown, this is racism, type two. These types are connected: when Freeman unconsciously, thoughtlessly, automatically, erases the genocide the American Indians and a myriad of colonial slaughters and replaces them with that saccharine abstraction, “our American traditions,” this erasure is somewhere on the spectrum between racism, type one, and racism, type two: to erase colonial massacre is to erase the humanity of the victims. When that occurs over racial lines, that is racist, and it’s not an unmerited attack to point that out.

More generally, a mixing of types can occur within a society rather than an individual. America is saturated in a mix of racism type one and type two: rabid Islamophobia and anti-Hispanic sentiment exists in many sectors. In other liberal sectors, we simply retain the right to interfere in their societies, not out of a conscious, articulated, coherent belief in the justice of racial domination but through a series of ideological maneuvers that work out to the same thing.

Israel is past saturated in racism, the overflow running wild. Still, some on the liberal-left may even think Arabs in Israel deserve full civil and political rights and that the occupation should end—but they will refuse to acknowledge the original sin of 1948, that is, the fundamental illegitimacy of a settler-colonial enterprise (Odd, since almost no one argues that Jews would leave cis-Jordan in a final settlement). Gabriel added that in societies as sodden with racism as the United States or Israel—settler-colonial states—racism type two (or type one a la Thomas Friedman) will be manifest in nearly anyone with general access to the public sphere, fair enough, although that still represents a choice, that of boring away from the interior rather than working from the outside to destabilize the system.

Freeman’s recognition that when we kill Palestinians, Iraqis, and Afghanis it is wrong because they are human, too, is laudable. But it’s laudable within limits. Those limits are set by him, not us. And he sets them when he (1) asserts the continued right to interfere in the societies of the global South; (2) for the most part, insists that violent intervention be restrained on the basis of its potential to blow-back upon us; (3) repeats this bit about “American traditions” of non-interference and all the rest, and thereby indoctrinates his audience with dangerous, damaging, insulting propaganda about the blood-soaked American past.

This utterance represents a violence to the memory of those who suffered genocides or from the slave trade, and it’s wrong, and that needs to be said, not out of a juvenile, holier-than-thou radicalism but because calling people out on rhetorically erasing imperialism is always the correct thing to do because it is only by recognizing the imperial enemy that we can adequately challenge it. Freeman is absolutely, as Gabriel pointed out, an ally to break the siege of Gaza. He’s an ally too in the fight for justice in Palestine (although if truly violent resistance again erupts, perhaps not). That matters.

That matters a lot. But there are limits as to how far he will go, and those limits are reflected in a rhetoric that calls for a redeployment of a subdued liberal imperialism. It matters to acknowledge that his rhetoric is the symptom of a diseased culture, and the only way to heal a sick culture is by being brutally frank about the nature of the illness.

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Posted in USAComments Off on CHAS FREEMAN,II


IDF probes top officers on Gaza war strike that killed 21 family members

In Uncategorized

October 23, 2010

by crescentandcross

Senior army officers are under investigation for authorizing an air strike in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead that killed 21 members of the same family despite possibly receiving warnings from subordinates that there could be civilians in the area.

One of those involved in authorizing the strike was then-Givati Brigade commander Col. Ilan Malka.

A security source told Haaretz that the Military Police probe into the incident turned out to be particularly complex, and added that this is “explosive and highly sensitive material,” which casts a shadow on senior figures in the military. If a decision is made to bring charges against those involved, the source said, there will be deliberations on the broader question of the rules of engagement during the operation. The rules of engagement had been described by officers who participated in Cast Lead as both excessive and overly lenient.

A decision on whether or not to charge officers has not yet been made.

The incident occurred on January 5, 2009, in the neighborhood of Zeitun in Gaza City. At the time, Givati units were on a mission in the neighborhood and identified the home of the Samouni family as a location of armed Palestinian militants.

An air strike was twice called in over a short period of time. Twenty-one people were killed, among them women and children, and 19 were injured.

Israel Defense Forces ground troops began operations in Zeitun on the night between the 3rd and the 4th of January. The forces also carried out some searches on the street where the Samouni clan lives. Some 100 family members had gathered in one of the homes.

According to the testimony of the family members, the IDF forces entered the home on January 4 and ordered them to stay in the home that they had already searched.

Some family members went out occasionally to collect wood for a fire. The soldiers watching the house knew clearly that there were civilians there.

On January 5 at 7 A.M., three or four missiles struck the home and its environs. According to witnesses, the missiles were fired from the air.

In two other cases in the same area, there were reports that three other members of the clan had been killed by the IDF.

Following the operation, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi appointed a number of investigation teams to look into unusual incidents. A team headed by Col. Tamir Yadi did not conclude that there had been anything out of the ordinary in the air strike.

Pressure from the UN following the Goldstone report led to the appointment of another team of investigators, headed by Col. Erez Katz, in November 2009.

The investigators’ conclusions led Military Advocate General Maj. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit to order a Military Police investigation into the possibility that there had been a violation of the rules of engagement.

At the time the MAG explained that the delay in ordering an investigation stemmed also from the different incidents involving members of the Samouni clan.

Security sources told Haaretz that the investigation included testimonies from air force officers who had warned the Givati Brigade commander that there could be civilians in the area.

During the investigation, the Brigade commander said that he had not been aware of the warning that there may be civilians and that the choice of missiles over gravity bombs – which would have caused more damage – was proportional to the risk the troops were running when confronted by militants nearby.

The chief defense lawyer in the IDF, Col. Udi Ben-Eliezer, who is representing Malka, told Haaretz that “the brigade commander’s actions were aimed at removing the immediate threat to his soldiers, in line with the data he had at the time.”

At least two very senior officers, outgoing GOC Southern Command Yoav Galant, and GOC Central Command Avi Mizrahi, opposed an MP investigation. Mizrahi said that on the basis of his professional evaluation of the video of the attack Malka had behaved “reasonably. In his place I would have done the same.”





Settlers/Land, property & resource theft and destruction/Ethnic cleansing

Settlers attack family picking olives

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Dozens of settlers attacked a family who were picking olives in Yatta, in the West Bank district of Hebron, witnesses said.  Locals said settlers attacked Othman Abu Sabha and his family, damaged his car and stole their olives.  Meanwhile, settlers entered Kfir Qaddum village east of Qalqiliya, and wrote graffiti on the walls threatening revenge.  Palestinian farmers across the West Bank have reported frequent settler attacks since the olive harvest began in early October.

Farmers Again Prevented from Entering their Land

Today a family in the village of Salim, southeast of Nablus, was prevented from harvesting their olives for a second time this year. All of their trees are located behind a settlers´ road leading to the illegal settlement of Elon More: a settlement which has stolen much of the village’s land.  As the family and three internationals approached the settlers´ road, closed by a military ga te, about 10 soldiers stood waiting for them. These soldiers said it would not be possible for the family to go onto their land because the army did not have enough forces to stay in the field with them. Internationals suggested that the soldiers present remain to ensure their safety, but instead soldiers wasted 45 minutes asserting that this wasn’t possible.  During this time, another jeep with five soldiers arrived, but the army maintained that there were not enough forces available, due to a “special operation”. Several times it was stated by the army that the commander of the unit, who was not available, had decided that the farmers could not harvest today, but “maybe tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow”.

Israel ramps up settlement building

Surveys say hundreds of homes in West Bank have begun to be built since settlement freeze was lifted three weeks ago.

UN: Settlement construction rate undermining Mideast peace talks

Mideast envoy says alarmed by Associated Press report stating 544 new settlement homes were built since freeze expired late last month.

Elders censure Israel over discrimination in east Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — The Elders, a group of retired world figures, criticised Israeli policies in Arab east Jerusalem on Thursday, saying they undermined regional peace efforts and Israel’s standing as a democracy.  “If a solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is to be found it has to be here in Jerusalem as well,” said delegation leader and former Irish president Mary Robinson.

Elders Visit Silwan, Hear Local Stories

Bethlehem – PNN – This morning a delegation from the peace advocacy group The Elders, including former US President Jimmy Carter, visited the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. The delegation sat down with local leaders to discuss the effects of settler violence and the occupation.  Image About 55,000 people live in Silwan, with many in the al-Bustan district being threatened with eviction as Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat plans to clear the area to build a tourist complex. Fakhri Abu Diab, a local spokesman, told the Elders that Palestinians have lived in Silwan for a thousand years but have been threatened with expulsion, assault, and harassment from Jewish settlers. Abu Diab was followed by a series of testimonials from Silwan residents, including a child’s account of capture and torture in an Israeli military prison.

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment

Fifteen injured, Three Homes Burned In Nabi Saleh Village

Ramallah – PNN – At least 15 civilians were injured on Friday and three homes were burned by the Israeli military when troops attacked the weekly anti-wall protest in the village of Nabi Saleh in the central West Bank.

One Injured, Two Arrested, During Wall Protest Near Bethlehem

Bethlehem – PNN – One international supporter was injured and two others were arrested by Israeli soldiers during the weekly anti-wall protest in Al Ma’ssara village near Bethlehem on Friday.  Israeli and international supporters joined the villagers and marched towards lands that Israel has planned to take over in order to construct its wall.  Israeli soldiers stopped the protesters near the local school and used tear gas and sound bombs to force them back. A French activist sustained head injuries from a tear gas bomb and soldiers arrested two other internationals. Today marks the fifth year of anti-wall weekly protests in Al Ma’ssara village. Local organizers told PNN that the injured French activist was taken to the village clinic for treatment and released after receiving four stitches

Dozens Suffer from Gas Inhalation at Ni’lin Weekly Wall Protest

Bethlehem – PNN – Dozens were injured in the weekly march against the wall in the central West Bank village of Ni’lin.  After Friday prayers, Ni’lin villagers listened to a speech from Sheikh Murad Amira, who commended them for campaigning for freedom and spreading their message to the world. Then they went directly and peacefully to the wall, shouting slogans against the wall and the occupation and demanding the release of prisoners.  As soon as the protestors reached the wall, soldiers began firing sound bombs and tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd. When the demonstrators began to flee, the soldiers pursued them back to the village, firing rubber and rubber-tipped bullets and causing a number of minor injuries.

Three Civilians Injured During Weekly Bil’in Anti Wall Protest

Ramallah – PNN – Two adults and one child were reported injured during the weekly anti-wall protest in the central West Bank village of Bil’in on Friday.  Israeli and international supporters joined villagers after the midday prayers at the local mosque and headed towards the Israeli wall that separates local farmers from their lands.  As soon as protester reached the gate of the wall Israeli soldiers stationed there showered them with tear gas and sound bombs.  Lamma Abu Rahma, 8 years old, along with Mohamed Al Khateb  and Ahmad Burnat, both 17 years old, were hit in the foot by a tear gas bombs. Many were also treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.  The village of Bil’in has been protesting the Israeli wall for the past six years. Earlier in the year the Israeli court ordered the military to move the wall back, giving the villagers half of their lands back. The Israeli military has still refused to adhere to the court order.

Israel Crushes A Palestinian Gandhi: Bil’in Organizer Sentenced to 18 months, Joseph Dana

Adeeb Abu Rahmah, a protest leader from Bil’in, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment by the Military Court of Appeals, for his involvement in organizing demonstrations. The decision dramatically aggravates the one-year sentence originally imposed in the first instance.

‘Viva Palestina’ activists deliver tons of aid to Gaza Strip

Most of the activists arrived at the Egyptian port El-Arish on flights from Syria, while just 30 activists made the journey with the aid supplies by ship.


8th Week against the Apartheid Wall, November 9 – 16 2010

Eight years into the construction of the Apartheid Wall, over 60% has already been built to ghettoize communities, threatening over 260,000 people with displacement and stealing land and water resources.

Univ. of Michigan students protest IDF speakers, Adam Horowitz

This video was just posted from a silent protest yesterday during a presentation from two IDF soldiers at the University of Michigan. They certainly know how to clear out a room. The students are wearing the names of Palestinians killed by the IDF.

Ardent Zionist turns boycott advocate

Occupied East Jerusalem (IPS) – A former captain in the Israeli Air Force, previously an ardent Zionist who lost many members of his family in the Holocaust, has been labeled a psychopath and denounced by many Israelis for the moral stand he has taken against the Israeli occupation.

Why is the UN hosting events with the Simon Wiesenthal Center (for intolerance)?, Philip Weiss

This is disturbing. The United Nations University in New York held a session yesterday with the appealing title, Can Citizen Action Save the World? and where did it do so– at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s “New York Tolerance Center” on E. 42d Street.

Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement

Gaza man dies after falling in tunnel

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A 20-year-old from southern Gaza died after falling in a tunnel near Salah El-Deen gate in Rafah.  The body of Ahmad Maher Abu Tu’eimah was taken to Abu Yousef An-Nijar hospital, Gaza medical services spokesman Adham Abu Silmiyya said.  A network of tunnels under the border between Gaza and Egypt have provided a lifeline to residents of the coastal enclave since Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza four years ago.

Israel finally confirms the obvious – The collective punishment of the Gaza siege is based on politics, not security, Gisha

After one and a half years in which Israel at first denied their existence and then claimed that revealing them would harm “state security”, the State of Israel today released three documents that outline its policy for permitting transfer of goods into the Gaza Strip prior to the May 31 flotilla incident. The documents were released due to a Freedom of Information Act petition submitted by Gisha-Legal Center for Freedom of Movement in the Tel Aviv District Court, in which Gisha demanded transparency regarding the Gaza closure policy.  Israel still refuses to release the current documents governing the closure policy as amended after the flotilla incident.

Exclusive: ‘No’ to UNRWA school ‘near Hamas base’

The Defense Ministry has rejected a UN request to establish a number of new schools in the Gaza Strip, because, it says, they were supposed to be built on land provided by Hamas and next to a Hamas military installation.

Jordan strips Jerusalem residents of citizenship rights

The Jordanian government has warned against the dangerous rise in the number of Jerusalemites residing in Jordan who don’t renew their residency permits issued by the Israeli occupation. This prompted the government to change the Jerusalemites permanent residency yellow cards to temporary green cards, stripping them of their basic rights. The Jordanian opposition said the citizenship order is unconstitutional. Hasan al-Shubaki met a Jerusalemite family and reported on their ordeal.

Rolling blackouts resume in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — One of the generators in Gaza’s sole power plant will stop running Friday as it has run out of fuel, a Gaza Electricity Company spokesman said.  Jamal Ad-Dardasawi said efforts to open Kerem Shalom crossing for the entry of fuel had failed. Israeli authorities informed Gaza crossings official Raed Fattouh that both Kerem Shalom and the Karni crossing would be closed on Friday and Saturday, and reopen Sunday.

Seeing Is Believing

ANERA- PNN –  The dingy basement room was constructed in 1972 with miserable ventilation and light. Worn-out, outdated computers are stacked in a monotonous line alongside the moldy crumbling walls.  ImageThis was the room in Kufur Thulth Secondary Girls School, located southeast of Qalqilia, where hundreds of high school girls used to squeeze in together to learn about computers.  “Seeing is believing,” said the headmistress Ayda Mwafi as she tried to describe the miserable condition of the old computer lab.

Racism & Discrimination

Israeli Arab MK: Loyalty oath relegates Israel’s Palestinian citizens to inferior status

In a New York Times op-ed, Ahmed Tibi says the loyalty oath is a ‘punch in the gut to Palestinians who for more than 60 years have struggled to achieve equal rights in Israel.’

Interior Ministry’s Oz police unit accused of beating U.S. immigrants

Their lawyer: Police yelled at them, ‘Afro-Americans, kushim [darkies], we don’t need you here.’


PCHR Weekly Report: 2 killed, 3 wounded, 13 abducted by Israeli forces this week

According to its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory for the week of 14– 20 October 2010, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights found that two members of the Palestinian resistance were killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip; three civilians were wounded, and 13 abducted, including two Israeli peace demonstrators and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Witnesses: Israeli patrol enters Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Israeli forces entered Gaza via the Karni and Sufa crossings Thursday morning, witnesses said.  Locals said soldiers patrolled the area east of Gaza City and opened fire before withdrawing.  Also, the An-Nasser Brigades claimed responsibility for attacking an Israeli force stationed near Al-Matbaq gate east of Rafah in southern Gaza.  An Israeli military spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.

More Clashes Reported In East Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers invaded on Thursday at night the Al Tour neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, and clashed with dozens of residents.

Israeli Troops Arrest Five Palestinians; Settlers Attack Villagers

Hebron – PNN – An Israeli military force invaded the villages of Beit Awa and Beit Omer near the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Friday morning, arresting five civilians.  Local sources said that troops searched and ransacked a number of homes in both villages before arresting five men and taking them to an unknown location.  Also on Friday, a group of Israeli settlers stormed the village of Kufer Qaduom in the northern West Bank. Settlers vandalized farmers’ property and wrote slogans on residents’ homes, telling them to leave or be killed.

Security guard attacks Al Jazeera reporter in Jerusalem

A private security guard was arrested on Thursday evening after allegedly attacking an Al Jazeera reporter at Malha Mall in Jerusalem.  The suspect, a Jewish man in his 40s, worked as a security guard at the Malha branch of the post office.  The reporter said he was sitting in a coffee shop in the mall with his crew when the guard attacked without provocation.  The guard was not armed during the confrontation. He was taken for questioning and will be brought before the court on Friday morning.


Sources: 6 detained at dawn from Hebron

HEBRON (Ma’an) – Israeli forces detained six residents of the West Bank district of Hebron at dawn on Friday, Palestinian security sources said.  The sources said Israeli soldiers detained Tareq Ahmad, 35, and confiscated 6 laptops and 21 cell phones from his home.  Meanwhile, Mahmoud Sawarneh, 18, and his 16-year-old brother Ahmad were detained from Beit Ummar, north of Hebron.  Saed Masalmeh, Yosef Masalmeh and Abdul Khader Masalmeh were detained from Beit Awwa in southern Hebron.  An Israeli military spokesman said two Palestinians were detained in Beit Awwa, but was not aware of any other detentions overnight.

Palestinian captives at Atzion live on bread and water for the past 10 days

Director of the PPS in the district of al-Khalil called on all human rights organisations to intervene to put a limit to the suffering of Palestinian captives at the Atzion detention centre

Israel’s Arab Helpers

Report: PA uncovers Hamas arms cache in Ramallah

PA security forces find rockets and automatic weapons in warehouse, which may have been meant for use on PA officials as well as targets in Israel.

PA officers secretly visit Rabin Center

Palestinian security officials from West Bank ask to keep museum tour discreet, receive headsets with Arabic translation and show interest in slain prime minister’s military legacy.,7340,L-3973312,00.html

MADA Asks PA to Release Detained Journalist

Bethlehem- PNN – The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) called on the Palestinian Authority to take immediate action to release 26-year-old Al Quds TV correspondent Mamdouh Hamamreh.  Hamamreh, from the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, has been held in the PA’s Bethlehem civilian prison since September 19, 2010.   The story of Hamamreh began on September 1, when a group of Palestinian intelligence services officers came to his home and took him to the intelligence headquarters in Bethlehem. After three days of questioning about his work at Al Quds TV, he was released and asked to return on September 18. He could not make that date and instead went in on September 19, whereupon the PA arrested him immediately.

War Criminals

Probe: IDF brass may have ignored risk of Gaza war civilian deaths

Former Givati commander probed for ordering air strike on civilians despite warnings.

‘IDF investigation an Israeli stunt’

Salah al-Samouni, who lost family members to IDF bombing in Gaza’s Zaitun neighborhood says current military probe into air raid meant only to ‘ease military’s conscience,’ not punish perpetrators.,7340,L-3973440,00.html

British passengers of Gaza flotilla seek to testify in Israeli probe

33 flotilla passengers from the U.K. ask to testify in person after Turkel panel requests only basic information.

Bulldozer driver insists he did not see Rachel Corrie

The family of Rachel Corrie had a long and painful wait for the opportunity to come face to face in court with the driver of the Israeli Army bulldozer that crushed her to death in southern Gaza more than seven years ago. But yesterday they were denied the chance – listening instead to the driver’s voice from behind a screen during four hours of testimony as he gave his own version of what happened on that fateful March afternoon.

Political Developments

Sha’ath: Talks on hold until US election

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A member of the PLO’s negotiating team said Thursday that the Obama administration had all but given up its efforts to restart peace talks at least until US midterm elections next month.  Fatah leader Nabil Sha’ath said the US position threw the Palestinian Authority into crisis through its handling of the talks, which ended in September when Israel opted to renew building settlements in the occupied territories.

Islamic Jihad joining Hamas ceasefire with Israel?

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Islamic Jihad is taking strides to restrain its members in the Gaza Strip from unauthorized attacks, suggesting that the group has quietly joined Hamas in enforcing a nearly 2-year ceasefire with Israel.  This became clear when, on Sunday morning, an Israeli drone killed two men widely believed to be current or former members of the Palestinian movement in northern Gaza; mysteriously, the group did not claim them as their own.  The Israeli military said the two were preparing to fire rockets into Israel.

Syria to officially invite Fatah to Damascus

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Syria will officially invite Fatah to continue Palestinian reconciliation talks in Damascus as a dispute between the two has been resolved, sources told Ma’an.  A meeting was scheduled to be held in the Syrian capital on Wednesday, but Fatah delayed the meeting over a perceived snub at the recent Arab League summit in Sirtre, Libya.  Fatah officials had been offended when Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad urged President Mahmoud Abbas to stop preventing attacks on Israel from the West Bank at the summit. Fatah leader Nabil Sha’ath said it would be difficult to send a delegation to Damascus “after the Syrians humiliated us in their speech.”

Taha: Fatah visit to Gaza postponed indefinitely

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A scheduled visit by Fatah to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip has been postponed, a Hamas leader said Thursday.  Ayman Taha said the visit, scheduled for Sunday, was delayed indefinitely “as not to create the impression that such a meeting would substitute for the Damascus talks.”  Taha added that “contacts are ongoing between the two movements to set a place other than Damascus.”

Peace with Palestinians would help U.S. on Iran: Peres (Reuters)

Reuters – Israel needs good ties with the United States to survive and must be more understanding of U.S. demands over securing peace with the Palestinians, Israeli President Shimon Peres said in remarks aired on Friday.

Netanyahu: Palestinians could only be ready for peace if they recognize Israel as a Jewish state

PM tells Jewish leaders that peace requires security and that Israel’s security needs are growing more and more.

Israel Considers Unilateral Moves

Israeli officials are considering declaring unilateral steps if the Palestinian leadership of Mahmoud Abbas implements its vows to walk out of the negotiations and seek international recognition of a Palestinian State

Clinton: We promise not to ‘turn our backs’ on Palestinians or Israelis, Josh Rogin

In a rousing 30-minute speech Wednesday night, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton implored attendees at the annual gala for the American Task Force on Palestine not to give up on the struggling Middle East peace process, despite past, current, and future obstacles. Hosted by ATFP President Ziad Asali, the event was packed with officials, experts, and influence makers involved with the region. The four honorees of the night were Retired Col. Peter Mansoor, renowned poet Naomi Shihab Nye, playwright Betty Shamieh, and Booz Allen Hamilton’s Ghassan Salameh. Other notables figures in attendance included Prince Turki bin Faisal al Saud and Sharif El-Gamal, the developer of the Park 51 Muslim Community Center. Palestinian-American comedienne Maysoon Zayid was also a hit.

Other News

Hamas ‘very eager’ to discuss Shalit with Israel: Carter (AFP)

AFP – Gaza’s Hamas rulers are “very eager” to resume talks with Israel over a prisoner exchange which could see captured soldier Gilad Shalit being freed, former US president Jimmy Carter said on Thursday.

Report: Shalit mediator met with senior jailed Hamas official

Source says that all Hamas leaders, in prison, in Gaza, and out of the country, have equal influence on group’s decisions.

Peres: Israel could not exist without the US 

President Shimon Peres on Thursday said that Israel could not exist without the assistance of the United States, and that it should assist in America’s security and to help enable the formation of a coalition against Iran by solving the conflict with the Palestinians, Israel Radio reported.  In Peres’s remarks at the JPPP conference in Jerusalem, the President said that he does not believe that there are problems with the US. He continued to say that he believes that the American people have a central connection with Israel, according to the report.

Netanyahu’s ‘list of millionaires’

List of potential donors prepared by then-opposition leader in 2007 provides peek into his fundraising industry in US. Officials include extreme rightists, people who got in trouble with law.,7340,L-3973366,00.html

Netanyahu may be eyeing Livni and Kadima as coalition partners

Officials believe Netanyahu seeks to include largest opposition party in coalition ahead of a possible resumption of settlement freeze.

2 IDF soldiers arrested for allegedly trading stolen weapons

State, military police join forces to probe 6 suspects in illegal trading of M-16 rifles, hand grenades and ammunition to criminals.

‘World Jews must play role in future Mideast peace talks’

U.S. Jewish leaders mark a radical departure from the Jewish Diaspora’s traditional custom of deferring all such decisions to Israeli government.

‘Israel violent regardless of Rabin murder’

Former chief rabbi, two of Israel leading sociologists believe Israelis would have become more materialistic, greedy and selfish than in November 1995 even without trauma of prime minister’s assassination. ‘The murder deepened the polarization and hatred between the people,’ Rabbi Lau says.,7340,L-3973330,00.html


Please see ‘Budrus’, Philip Weiss

Yesterday James North wrote a piece about Budrus and Ayed Morrar, the Palestinian organizer of nonviolent resistance who is at the heart of the film. At North’s urging, I went to see the film yesterday.  Every story we get about Palestinians must be smuggled into the United States; and now there is a story smuggled in, about the actual occupation, in the form of a feel-good documentary. By the end of Budrus you think that everything is OK, that the small village of Budrus got its land back, and the Palestinian activists and the Israeli activists are working together. The last image is of the activists walking down the hill together. A feel good moment, which does not represent the reality of the occupation.

Olives – A Palestinian family affair, Nour Odeh

Mommy wake up! It’s time to go pick olives! The sweet voice of my five-year-old Yasser this Friday morning didn’t feel so sweet. It was six in the morning on my first day off in a while and I was hoping to stay well-planted in dreamland until 9am.  But Yasser was too excited about his upcoming adventure, picking the olives we would eat for months to come, and being a very curious child, was curious to know how these treats end up at his table.   Olives and olive oil are a Palestinian must. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, these two healthy offerings are never absent from a Palestinian table.

Jerusalem center promotes Palestinian heritage

Situated just a few yards away from the Haram al-Sharif in the Souq al-Qattanin, the Cotton Market in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem, the Centre for Jerusalem Studies is both an assertion of the city’s Palestinian identity, and an example of the threat that identity faces.

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest

The Other Citizens of Israel, AHMAD TIBI

TAIBEH, Israel — Is there no limit to what the American government will accept from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his hard-line foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman?, With Netanyahu’s backing, the Israeli cabinet voted in support of Lieberman’s loyalty oath for non-Jewish immigrants, which requires allegiance to a “Jewish and democratic state” of Israel. It was as if Mexican immigrants to the United States would have to swear allegiance to a United States that is white and Protestant, while immigrants from Europe would face no such oath.

Time to abandon talks?

With Israel pushing a hardline stance while settlement expansion is ongoing, pressure is mounting on Ramallah to ditch US sponsored peace talks with Tel Aviv, writes Saleh Al-Naami.


It’s a normal day in Jerusalem. The famous Jerusalem sesame-seed round loaf of bread, all kinds of people, from all religions worship God in their own way.  There’s the traffic, the Old City shops, Jewish kids playing, Muslim kids playing, Christian kids playing, and… you can’t decipher who is who. If it were not for a few juxtaposed shots in between like soldiers, weapons, checkpoints, settlements, arrests, confrontation, house demolitions, and other pointers of a military occupation — one could falsely imagine that coexistence and normal life already exists in the holy city.

Now ‘Newsweek’ pressures Obama to include Hamas

Helena Cobban alerts us to this significant article by Babak Dehghanpisheh in this week’s Newsweek A Place for Mr. Meshaal, which reinforces what we all know, the need for Hamas at the table. The article includes some startling revelations that generally go unspoken in our mainstream media. Reflecting on the recent Newsweek interview with Meshaal, Dehghanpisheh asserts “Meshaal desperately wants a place at the table” and continues.

Image and Reality of Barack Obama’s Israel Policy, Alex Kane

The photo shown above of an Israeli throwing a shoe at an image of Barack Obama perfectly captures the bizarre notion emanating from right-wing Zionist circles, both in the U.S. and in Israel, that President Obama is hostile to the State of Israel.  In the U.S., neoconservative writers and commentators constantly push the meme that Obama is the most anti-Israel president the U.S. has ever seen.

Liberal Zionism is Flawed, Miko Peled

Setting aside for a moment the argument of whether dividing historic Palestine into two states was ever a good idea, clearly forty years ago it was a viable solution. Today as liberal Zionist Jews and others call for this solution, it is a sad and pathetic sight.  In 1967, after the IDF completed the conquest of Palestine, great men like Dr. Nahum Goldman, Dr. Yishayahu Leibovitch, General Dr. Matti Peled and other prominent Jews called for the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. However, Jews in Israel, America and elsewhere around the world were basking in the messianic glow of the conquest of historic Israel, bewitched by the sounds of biblical names now made accessible. Names like Hebron and Bethlehem, Shilo and Bet El, all of which who were now within reach drove everyone, including secular liberal Jews to believe that there is a God and that he was really on their side.

Image and reality of Barack Obama’s Israel policy, Alex Kane

The photo shown above of an Israeli throwing a shoe at an image of Barack Obama perfectly captures the bizarre notion emanating from right-wing Zionist circles, both in the U.S. and in Israel, that President Obama is hostile to the State of Israel. In the U.S., neoconservative writers and commentators constantly push the meme that Obama is the most anti-Israel president the U.S. has ever seen.

Let them eat cake, Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel

Ali Abunimah’s Pizza analogy for Israel’s facts-on-the-ground negotiating style has taken the world by storm. I have it on good authority that the clip has been watched and enjoyed on the most extreme Israeli settlements. One settler was even heard to say “that guy’s really cool for a Palestinian, but he makes me hungry.” I think it’s time however, to take things to another level: dessert. Pizza’s fine for negotiating strategy and settlement policy, but for a more complete metaphor, describing the essence of Israel and everything it stands for, we need cake.

Britain Hangs out ‘Welcome’ Sign to War Criminals, Stuart Littlewood – London

The UK is to become a safe haven for Israeli psychopaths while they continue their brutal military occupation, colonization and ethnic cleansing of the Holy Land, and carry on bombarding blockaded Gaza and executing or abducting anyone bringing humanitarian help.  That’s the British government’s latest contribution of Middle East peace.

The Violence Debate: Teaching the Oppressed How to Fight Oppression, Ramzy Baroud

An American activist once gave me a book she wrote detailing her experiences in Palestine. The largely visual volume documented her journey of the occupied West Bank, rife with barbered wires, checkpoints, soldiers and tanks. It also highlighted how Palestinians resisted the occupation peacefully, in contrast to the prevalent media depictions linking Palestinian resistance to violence.

Actuality–to use the language of Hegel–of the Zionist Idea

“Liberal Israelis fear that these measures may import the Arab-Israeli conflict, which had been largely confined to the territories occupied by Israel beyond the 1948 partition line, into Israel proper. Adding to the psychological barriers, the Lod authorities have erected physical ones. This year they have finished building a wall three metres high to separate Lod’s Jewish districts from its Arab ones. And where the Arab suburbs are cordoned off to prevent their spread, Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, encourages building for Jews to proceed with abandon.  His foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, on the coalition’s far right, champions building quarters for soldiers’ families in the town. The equally chauvinistic interior minister, Eli Yishai, who heads an ultra-Orthodox party, Shas, grants building permits for religious Jews.

Palestine’s Burning Olive Groves, Rannie Amiri

Olives and olive oil. Nothing symbolizes Palestinian land, identity and culture as they do. They are the hallmarks of national pride and the veritable heart of Palestine’s agricultural economy.  Although the subjugation and daily humiliation of occupation takes various forms in East Jerusalem and the West Bank—demeaning checkpoint searches; arrest and interrogation of minors; preventing ambulances from expeditiously transporting the sick to hospitals; the eviction of families and demolition of homes—few situations evoke more outrage and deep sadness as do the torching of olive orchards by vigilante settlers.


Ahmedinejad in Lebanon: shifting regional power balance

“Khosh amadid” quickly became the new catchphrase for many Lebanese when thousands of signs reading “welcome” in Farsi went up in areas around the country. The occasion was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s two-day visit to the country last week. Matthew Cassel comments for the Electronic Intifada.

SPEAKING FREELY : Ahmadinejad spurs Lebanon’s Palestinians

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad received a hero’s welcome from Hezbollah during his recent visit to Lebanon. He also took time out to meet with Palestinian refugees, who have indirectly benefited from extensive Iranian aid. “He’s more Palestinian than many Palestinians,” was one observation. – Franklin Lamb

A three-handed game in the Middle East

A surge in diplomatic activity in the Middle East has focused on the cabinet crisis in Iraq, and on tensions in Lebanon over the 2005 murder of ex-prime minister Rafik al-Hariri. This flurry of statesmanship has revealed considerable coordination between Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. – Sami Moubayed


Thursday: 1 Iraqi Killed, 7 Wounded

At least one Iraqi was killed and seven more were wounded in light violence.

Maliki in Turkey on regional support tour (AFP)

AFP – Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met Turkish leaders Thursday as part of a regional tour to drum up support for his bid to stay in power, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Iraqi leaders not following US advice on gov’t (AP)

AP – American influence has so dwindled in Iraq over the last several months that Iraqi lawmakers and political leaders say they no longer follow Washington’s advice for forming a government.

Iraq city with soaring child cancer gets new hospital (AFP)

AFP – Iraq’s first specialist cancer hospital for children could not have opened in a needier location — since 1993, Basra province has seen a sharp rise in the incidence of childhood cancer.

Iraqi Journalists Duck and Dive

With declining international media interest in Iraq, local reporters juggle multiple jobs to make ends meet.  Freelance journalist Faisal Ali says the only way to survive in Iraq’s cutthroat media market these days is to duck and dive and keep your editors far apart.

U.S./ Other Mideast/World News

US bracing for major leak of secret Iraq war files (AP)

AP – The Obama administration is bracing for the imminent disclosure by the WikiLeaks website of a vast cache of secret U.S. Iraq war documents, which could throw a light on some of the darkest episodes of that conflict.

Efforts to Prosecute Blackwater Are Collapsing

Nearly four years after the federal government began a string of investigations and criminal prosecutions against Blackwater Worldwide personnel accused of murder and other violent crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the cases are beginning to fall apart, burdened by a legal obstacle of the government’s own making.

Candidate who Shot Iraqis Brags about Gun Skills

A North Carolina Republican who killed two unarmed Iraqi prisoners in 2004 is holding a fundraiser at a gun range.

US to cut aid to Pakistani army units over abuse-NYT

WASHINGTON, Oct 22 (Reuters) – The United States intends to cut off aid to about a half-dozen Pakistani army units believed to have killed civilians and unarmed prisoners, The New York Times reported late on Thursday.  If confirmed, the decision would represent an extraordinary censure of the Pakistani military just as President Barack Obama’s administration seeks greater action from Islamabad in tackling Taliban safe havens.

Chavez meets Syrian President

The Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, yesterday on the Middle East leg of an international tour partly intended to counter what he calls US “imperialism”.

Chávez to buy S-300 missiles that Moscow refused to deliver to Iran

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said that the South American country will purchase S-300 missile systems that Russia refused to deliver to Iran due to the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on the Islamic Republic

UAE opens east coast naval base to secure oil-export capability; Move would ensure flow in event Iran seals Strait of Hormuz

The United Arab Emirates has opened a naval base on its east coast as part of efforts to secure its ability to export oil in the event Iran closes the strategic Strait of Hormuz, local media said Thursday.  The move by the UAE comes at the same time as the United States approved its biggest arms deal ever, announcing Wednesday that it will sell up to $60 billion worth of warplanes, helicopters and other weapons to Saudi Arabia, partly to help it counter Iran.

Egypt’s Mubarak ‘will run again’

A senior Egyptian official says President Hosni Mubarak will stand for re-election next year despite rumours about his health.

Egypt’s New Religious Fervour Breeds Ghetto Mentality

CAIRO (Reuters) – A wave of religious fervour and a backlash by secular liberals has left some ordinary Egyptians feeling like strangers in their own country, and civil rights activists warn of a dangerous drift into sectarianism.

Bahrain’s Shia face tough election battle

With a parliamentary election due in Bahrain this Saturday, the BBC’s Bill Law looks at the struggle of the country’s Shia majority for more powers from the Sunni-led rulers.

Islam in the West

A Canadian line of Campbell’s soups has activists stewing over Islamic connection

Campbell Soup Co., the Camden, N.J., food giant, has been fighting a grass-roots boycott of its products after its Canadian subsidiary rolled out a line of soups certified as halal, meaning they’re prepared according to Islamic dietary laws.

What about Iran?

High School Cheerleader Kicked Off Squad for Refusal to Cheer for Her Rapist

Rah, rah, sis boom bah: Silsbee High School in Texas wants their cheerleaders smiling, energetic, and willing to cheer for their rapists by name. Go team!  H.S., a Silsbee student, reported being raped in 2008 by Rakheem Bolton, a fellow student and athletic star, with the help of two of his friends. In the end, Bolton recently ended up getting off without serving any jail time by pleading guilty to a lesser assault charge, spending two years on probation, doing community service, paying a fine, and attending anger management courses. Hardly seems like an adequate punishment, but it’s unfortunately not uncommon for attackers to bargain down their charges. What really gets the blood boiling is how the students’ high school treated the victim when the rape charge was levied.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on DOROTHY ONLINE NEWSLETTER




My family survived the pogroms of Eastern Europe and came to the US before the outbreak of WWII only to see many close relatives killed in the Holocaust. My grandparents took their profound grief and channeled it into creating a state they hoped would be safe for Jews and a light unto nations.

It is because of their story that I was brought up to remember the past and to create a world that refuses to remain silent in the face of such persecution.

And it is because of their story that I’ve dedicated myself, like so many of you, to doing everything I can to push for a truly just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians that recognizes the full humanity of all peoples.

But to be told by the Anti-Defamation League, as we were last week when they named us one of the top-ten “anti-Israel” groups in the US, that this dream makes me anti-Israel and somehow less Jewish is beyond repugnant.

To the Anti-Defamation League: you do not speak for me, for my family, for our community.

For all of us who support the work of Jewish Voice for Peace, our belief in the universal value of human life is essential, not negotiable. Our work for human rights is based on a vision of possibilities for all of us.

The story about the ADL’s top ten list has made the news across Israel – in Haaretz, and the Jerusalem Post, and Ynet . But it’s also triggering quite a reaction here in the United States, revealing yet one more way the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman has a broken moral compass when it comes to Israel.

Below is JVP’s official response to being named on the ADL’s Top Ten list.

I’ve also included links to various media reports and analyses.

Finally, if you are as offended as I am by the assertion that the work we do to support universal human rights is in any way anti-Israel, I invite you to join the many others who have made a gift to JVP in honor of Abe Foxman himself by CLICKING HERE NOW.

Shabbat Shalom,
Cecilie Surasky, Jewish Voice for Peace

Jewish Voice for Peace statement on making it on the
Anti-Defamation League’s list of top ten “anti-Israel” groups

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is at it again. They just came up with a list of the top ten most influential anti-Israel Groups in America, and Jewish Voice for Peace makes the list. We appreciate the honor, except that the ADL–as usual–got a few things wrong in describing us.



We do not hold Zionism as a litmus test for membership. Some of our members are Zionists, some are anti-Zionists, and some are non-Zionists. We believe you can define yourself in any of these ways as long as you support an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank — including East Jerusalem — and Gaza, and you advocate for human rights, which naturally apply equally to Israelis and Palestinians.

We stand by Israelis that hold these views, such as Israeli conscientious objectors and Israeli actors refusing to play in illegal settlements in the West Bank.

We stand by Palestinians that hold these views, such as Palestinian activists protesting the Israeli confiscation of land in the West Bank town of Bil’in.

We stand by internationals that hold these views, such as students pressing for divestment from occupation and war crimes or activists trying to break the siege of Gaza.

What unites us is our belief in human rights and equality.


We are Jews and allies who strongly oppose anti-Jewish hatred, Islamophobia, and anti-Arab racism.

We do understand that as Jews we have a special role to play in bringing about a change in American and Israeli policy. Israel claims to be acting in the name of the Jewish people. Some American Jewish organizations defend Israel right or wrong, claiming to be representing all American Jews. It is up to us to set the record straight.

We strongly reject the misleading accusations of anti-Semitism that the ADL and others have used in other to protect Israel’s policies. For example, when the ADL accuses Archbishop Desmond Tutu of anti-Semitism, it is not only wrong, but it also makes all Jews less safe when facing a real case of anti-Jewish hatred.


Would the ADL call those that acknowledge the genocide of Native-Americans in this land anti-American?

We believe that in order to reach a just and comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the Nakba must be addressed. Without  acknowledging the events of 1947-9, there will be no truth and reconciliation. JVP adheres to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and return to his country.”

Israelis should acknowledge the Palestinian refugees’ right of return and negotiate a mutually agreed just solution based on principles established in international law, including  return, compensation, and/or resettlement.

We acknowledge our own legacy of suffering and the horrors of the Holocaust, but we do not allow these to blind us to the suffering of others. Quite the opposite, we have learned from our own history and from our own tradition not to stand silent when others are suffering. The ADL, on the other hand, fights Holocaust-deniers and denies full recognition of the Armenian genocide at the same time.


Jews in America constitute fewer than 2% of the population. We would be rightfully upset if we had to recognize the United States as a “Christian state.” And yet, he ADL expects Palestinians — 20% of Israel’s population — to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” The ADL apparently has learned little from Hillel: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”


The ADL protests the fact that JVP members hold signs stating “Starving Palestinians Is Not My Judaism.” This one they got right, and they have the picture to prove it. Our question to the ADL is: what is your Judaism?

Want to read more? 

Salon:Anti-Defamation League beclowns itself, again
Daily Beast on ADL’s “desperation.”

New York’s Jewish Week

Bay Area’s Jweekly 
CAIR reply in the Huffington Post.
Rabbinical Council co-chair Brant Rosen.  




Association for Civil Rights in Israel on democracy’s heart attack (Long)

From the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, reprinted by permission. 

Ed’s note: This is long, but close enough to our mission to warrant reprinting

 in full. Here you have the definite guide to anti-democracy bills in the Israeli

Knesset, some that will be familiar to readers of this blog, some that even close

followers of Israeli democracy will be unaware of. Did you know that the Israeli

Parliament (Knesset) might consider banning face veils? Or that there was a bill

to restrict the Israeli cinema? Or that Israel’s embattled political opposition faced

further restrictions in one bill that passed its first reading?  None of these bills have

passed as of yet. But they offer a window into what the next outrage might be and clearly

illustrate the steep downward trendlines of Israeli democracy. No doubt not all of these

bills will become law, but each will do their part to send a message to Israel’s political and

national minorities and oppressed groups about where things are headed. And exactly none

of them will be mentioned next time an official Israeli film festival comes to town, or the next

time an Israeli or American leader goes on about our shared democratic heritage. 

Harming Democracy in the Heart of Democracy

A Position Paper Ahead of the Knesset’s Winter Session

by Attorney Debbie Gild-Hayo
October 2010

For links to the texts of all Knesset bills and document cited, please view the

complete PDF version of this document


Over the past two years, we have been increasingly troubled by expanding tendencies

to harm Israel’s democracy. These trends are extensively surveyed in the State of the

Democracy Report – published by The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) in

intermittent chapters. The two chapters that have been published so far deal with

education system, and with the status of the Arab minority in Israel. The three future

chapters will address the Knesset and the judicial system, free media, and freedom of

protest and political activity. 

A source of great concern is the fact that one of the key rings in which the Israeli

democracy is threatened is the parliament itself – the very heart of democracy.

Ahead of the upcoming opening of the Knesset’s Winter Session, we have drafted

this brief review. It surveys the main aspects of anti-democratic trends in the Knesset,

focusing on anti-democratic legislation, which includes bills that harm basic democratic

rights – mainly the freedom of expression and political protest, and equality before the

law; verbal and even physical abuse of members of the Knesset minority factions at this

time;[1] attempts to delegitimize and infringe on the legitimate and much-needed

operations of human-rights and social-change organizations;[2] and attempts to restrict

the freedom of Israel’s academy. The above are most troubling signs, attesting to the

deterioration of Israel’s democratic regime. 

The attacks against Israel’s democracy are mainly characterized by attempts to

silence social or political minorities’ views or public criticism; attempts to

delegitimize political rivals, human-rights organizations, and minorities; attempts

to restrict parties with positions or activities that do not coincide with the political

majority’s desired direction; and by presenting minorities in the Israeli society as

enemies of the State, generalizing in an attempt to infringe on their civil and political rights.

As a result, the basic principles of the Israeli democratic system are harmed; there is

ongoing infringement on issues such as the freedom of expression, and human dignity

and equality; on the possibility of upholding the pluralism of views and thoughts; on the

freedom to congregate and protest; and on the legitimacy of certain views and stands.

We are witnessing a reality of increasing tyranny against social, political, and national

minorities, which harms their very rights. 

It should be noted that these events have been taking place against the backdrop of a social

and political reality which is always very loaded and often very harsh. Over the past 2 years,

for example, we witnessed the continuation of the occupation and all that it entails: fire on

Israel’s southern area, the military operation in Gaza, the flotilla affair, terror attacks, and more.

We believe, however, that raising the banner of “A Self-Defending Democracy” is a cynical

attempt to infringe on a democratic right of some minority (ethnic, social, or political)

and is neither legitimate nor just. We believe that the State of Israel and its democracy

must be defended, albeit proportionally and appropriately, and that basic rights may be

denied or restricted only in the most extreme cases – as the Israeli law currently stipulates.

It is inappropriate to legitimize the denial of minority rights as a matter of routine. 

These anti-democratic moves employ various means, most troubling of which is the use

of allegedly legitimate parliamentary tools, mainly through legislation. In recent years,

we witnessed harsh and unprecedented remarks by senior politicians against political

and human rights organizations, as well as various minorities, coupled by a variety of

restrictive moves against them. At the same time, attempts were made to promote legislative

initiatives and bills that clearly impair on the Israeli democracy and the rights, positions,

and civil status of parties that did not belong to the political majority at the time. 

It should be remembered that remarks and/or moves by senior members of the Israeli

political establishment, particularly members of the Knesset, which has been a symbol

of Israel’s democracy and its main upholder, have far-reaching implications on the Israeli

public stands and attitudes toward democracy, human rights, and political, social, and ethnic

minority groups. Surveys that the media carried over the past two years indicate that the

Israeli public, mainly Israeli youths, support undemocratic and racist views. 

Ahead of the Knesset’s October 2010 Winter Session

The 18th Knesset’s Winter Session 2010-11 will commence on October 10th.

Anticipating it, we wish to warn against the troubling trend of infringement against

democracy in Israel as expressed through the persistent promotion of anti-democratic

bills, decisionmaking process, and conduct by Members of Knesset (MK).

The Knesset plenum and committees have recently served as platforms for offensive and

anti-democratic discourse. 

In July 2010, at the close of the last Knesset Summer Session, The Association for

Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) sent a letter to the prime minister and the Knesset speaker

in which we warned about the troubling trend of infringement on democracy, pointing at

the important role the Knesset plays in defending democracy, and calling on them to take

steps to end that trend.[3] 

In the letter, we presented a list of bills promoted in the Knesset to demonstrate this troubling trend. At this time, ahead of the opening of the Winter Session, we wish to offer an update on these bills, some of which were not promoted while others were.

First, we wish to address bills that were listed in the aforementioned letter, and new bills that were submitted since and were not promoted because the Ministerial Legislation Committee rejected them, probably due to lack of agreement among its members (additionally, we list a bill that was passed and thus, naturally, will not be discussed in the upcoming Knesset session).

1. Bill on MK’s Pledge of Allegiance (David Rotem)

According to this bill, all MKs are required to pledge allegiance to the State of Israel as Jewish a democratic state, to its laws, symbols, and national anthem. The bill intends to delegitimize and even practically prevent minority groups from partaking in the Israeli democratic process.
Status: Not promoted due to lack of coalition agreement.

2. Bill Denying the High Court’s Right to Rule on Nationalization (Rotem and another 44 MKs)

This bill, which intends to bypass the High Court of Justice (HCJ), was devised in the wake of HCJ discussions of the Nationalization Act, though the court has not yet ruled against it, but probably may do so in the future.
Status: Not promoted due to lack of coalition agreement.

3. Bill for the Establishment of a Constitution Court (David Rotem)

This bill wishes to restrict the Supreme Court. In a democracy, the separation of powers means that the court must defend the rule of the law and prevent harm to human rights in general and to constitutional rights in particular through legislation, among other things. The proposed bill, which aims at denying the HCJ powers through a series of acts, severely harms the principle of the separation of powers, the protection of human rights, and the democratic system.
Status: Not promoted 

4. A series of government-initiated bills that intend to restrict the Knesset’s opposition factions

Seven MKs may split from a Knesset faction to establish a new faction – not one-third of the original faction members; increasing the quorum needed for budget-related bills to 55 MKs; if after a vote of no-confidence is endorsed by a Knesset majority, the new candidate for prime minister should fail to form a coalition-based government, the ousted government should regain its seat; a cabinet member who quits the Knesset shall be replaced by another on his faction list.

Status: passed the first reading; it seems there is no intention to promote further it at this time. 

5. Bill or Pardoning Disengagement Offenders (Rivlin et al)

Though legislation that eases punitive measures against persons who exercised their right to political protest is welcome in principle, this particular bill is problematic because it makes a distinction between political and ideological activists of various groups. Instead of promoting a general principles of “going easy” on protesters, this bill was promoted by the current political majority in favor of their electorate alone .[4]
Status: the Knesset passed the bill; the HCJ is currently reading a petition against its inequality.

6. The Cinema bill

According to this bill, the entire crew of a film that seeks public funding will have to pledge allegiance to the State of Israel as Jewish a democratic state, its laws, symbols, etc. This bill infringes on the freedom of expression, protest, and artistic and creative expression – referring only to a specific political, national, and social group.
Status: not promoted. 

7. Bill on Denying an MK’s Parliamentary Status (Dani Danon)

According to this bill, the parliamentary status of an MK may be revoked by a majority of 80 MKs if he expressed his opposition Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state, incited to racism, or supported an armed struggle against the State of Israel.
Status: Not approved by the government.

It may be expected, however, that some of the bills that the Knesset started promoting in the previous session will be actively promoted further in the upcoming session. Following is a list of bills that we believe carry high probability of promotion and even ratification, with such or other wording, and turn into state laws in the coming Winter Session. 

1. The Nakba Bill (Alex Miller)
According to this bill, persons marking Nakba Day as a day of mourning for the establishment of the State of Israel will be sentenced to prison. The government endorsed the bill but, in the wake of public protests, its wording was changed to state that persons marking Nakba Day shall be denied public funds. Even this “minimized” version still legally impairs on the freedom of expression, as the political majority bans a certain political view.
Status: The bill passed the first reading and will be discussed by the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee ahead of its second and third reading.

2. Anti-Incitement Bill (Zvulun Orlev)

An amendment of the existing act, according to which persons publishing a call that denies the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state shall be arrested. This is an extension of the penal code, which intends to incriminate a political view that another political group does not accept.
Status: Passed the preliminary reading and may be discussed by the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee ahead of its first reading. 

3. Nationalization, Pledge of Allegiance (David Rotem)

According to this bill, all Israeli citizens will have to pledge allegiance to the State of Israel as Jewish a democratic state, and do a term of military or national service.
Status: The government did not endorse this bill; a ministerial committee rejected it in May 2010, but another attempt was made in July to get the cabinet to endorse it and failed. Additional attempts to promote this bill may be expected. 

4. Bill on Admission Committees of Communal Settlements (David Rotem, Israel Hason, Shay Hermesh)

According to this bill, admission committees may turn down candidates for membership with a communal settlement if they “fail to meet the fundamental views of the settlement,” its social fabric, and so on. The bill primarily intends to deny ethnic minorities’ access to Jewish settlements, offering the possibility to reject anyone who does not concur with the settlement committee’s positions, religion, political views, and so on. It should be noted that ACRI filed petition against this bill, which is pending with the HCJ. [5]
Status: The bill passed the first reading and will be discussed by the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee ahead of its second and third reading.

5. Bill on Funds from Foreign Political Entities (Elkin et al)

According to the (original version) of this bill, any person or group financed by a foreign nation must register with the party registrar and immediately report each contribution, mark every document in this spirit, and state at the opening of any remark they make that they are funded by a foreign state. The bill names strict penalties too. In practice, the bill intends to delegitimize and impair on the activities of organizations that receive funds from, among other sources, foreign states. Though the Israeli law already makes reporting such donations imperative, this bill wishes to expand the existing law and force certain civil organizations to mark their activities as subversive and illegitimate. Furthermore, the bill practically refers to the activities of specific civil groups, focusing on human rights organizations, implicitly incriminating them when compared with other bodies or individuals funded by foreign non-state entities.[6] It should be noted that we sent a letter to the foreign minister recently warning against the state’s illegitimate intervention in fundraising by Israel’s civil organizations.[7]

Status: An amended version of the bill was endorsed by the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee; and will soon be presented for a first reading and then discussed by the committee ahead of its second and third reading.

6. Bill on Infiltration (Government)

The bill stipulates, among other things, that infiltrators based on their country of origin, and persons who assist them (!) may be sentenced to 5 to 7 years in prison. This bill follows the trend of delegitimizing human rights and aid organizations and individuals who help refugees and labor immigrants.
Status: The government pulled back the bill, but key points from it will be introduced through a new bill which, to the best of our knowledge, is currently drafted by the Justice Ministry.[8]

 7. Bill Against Boycott (Elkin et al)

According to this bill, persons who initiate, promote, or publish material that might serve as grounds for imposing a boycott against Israel are committing a crime and a civil wrong, and may be ordered to compensate parties economically affected by that boycott, including fixed reparations to the tune of 30,000 shekels, freeing the plaintiffs from the need to prove damages. If the felon is a foreign citizen, he may be banned from entering or doing business with Israel; and if it is a foreign state, Israel may not repay the debts it owes that state, and use the money to compensate offended parties; that state may additionally be banned from conducting business affairs in Israel. And if that is not enough, the above shall apply one year retroactively.

This too is a bill that discriminates against certain political groups in Israel, and is introduced by the political majority in an attempt to neutralize the political opposition it is facing. Primarily, the bill intends to reject legitimate boycotts of products of settlements, and thus severely impairs on a legitimate, legal, and nonviolent protest tool that is internationally accepted (including by Israel), while impairing on the Israeli citizens’ freedom of expression, protest, and congregation.[9]

Status: The bill passed a preliminary reading and the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee will discuss it ahead of its first reading. It should be noted that a ministerial committee rejected the chapters pertaining to foreign citizens and states, probably out of consideration for Israel’s foreign relations, and spiked the retroactive clause.

8. Bill on Revoking the Citizenship of Persons Convicted of Terrorism or Espionage (David Rotem)
This bill infringes on the basic rights of Israel’s citizens because when a citizenship (which in itself is a basic right) is denied, a series of basic rights that follow from it are denied too. Furthermore, the Israeli Penal Code already specifies ways of dealing with persons convicted of terrorism or espionage.[10]
Status: The bill was discussed by the Knesset Interior Committee, which will continue discussing it ahead of its first reading.

On top of these, two additional bills submitted over the past 2 months may be promoted in the coming session: 

1. An Associations Bill (ban on filing suits abroad against Israeli politicians or army officers), according to which an association that deals with suits against senior Israeli officials abroad may not be established, or will be shut down. 

2. Bill banning wearing veils in public, according to which, it would be illegal to cover one’s face in any public location, under penalty of imprisonment.

We further wish to stress that there is a tough and intolerant approach toward minority members and stands in the Knesset, as expressed in plenum and committees’ discussions. This trend was particularly visible after the flotilla affair, and included verbal and even physical abuse against MK Zuabi, as well as other Arab MKs, during and after the plenum discussion, when the Knesset discussed the revocation of her parliamentary rights. It should be noted that a petition was filed with the HCJ against that revocation, under the pretext that it was an undemocratic act. 

The prevailing atmosphere is not expected to change soon, certainly not during the current loaded period of talks with the Palestinians, terror attacks, rocket firing from Gaza, and the debate over freezing or not freezing construction works in the territories.

Answering our letter, dated July 2010, the Knesset speaker wrote that he too is uncomfortable with some of the bills mentioned in our letter, saying that he feel that “the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish nation, and as a Jewish and democratic state, is strong enough and needs no ‘fortifications’ such as those proposed by the bills you mentioned in your letter. I believe that, often unintentionally, they actually weaken and not bolster it.”[11]

Additional Issues on the Knesset Agenda Ahead of the October 2010 Session

While dealing with anti-democratic laws, we constantly work against legislation that impairs on human rights in all aspects of life.

At this time, we deem it particularly important to address two topical and central issues that carry human-rights implications that the Knesset will discuss in the upcoming session:

The Planning and Housing Reform – A new planning and construction law is about to be introduced that has far-reaching implications that might impact on all aspects of the Israeli residents’ lives. We believe that the currently proposed reform might impair on the public’s participation in related forums and on the protection of public interests. Cooperating with other organizations, we work to amend and correct the suggested reform so as to introduce tools that would ensure appropriate representation, the implementation of the public’s participation, and that various social interests are considered.

The State Budget and the Arrangements Act – Israel’s biannual budget for 2011-12 will be discussed and sealed in the coming months. We feel that the suggested budget contains numerous resolutions and amendments that impair on human rights in a wide range of issues. On behalf of ACRI and in collaboration with additional organizations, we drafted several position papers on issues such as – impairing on the courts’ accessibility; impairing on the rights of the unemployed and seekers of state allowances; harming the laborers’ rights; infringing on the residential rights of inhabitants of public housing, and so on.

Below are a few additional issues (samples only) that we handle and which are expected to be raised in the upcoming Knesset session:

1. A long line of bills dealing with immigration and civil status is expected to be discussed as part of the Arrangements Act, government deliberations ahead of the forming act, the new anti-infiltration bill, and more.

2. An amendment we initiated, banning discrimination in public services that will not allow further selection at club entrances, will be discussed by the Knesset Economic Committee in preparation for a second and third reading.

3. An amendment of the National Health Act, adding a standing mechanism for updating the medications basket that will ratify continuity, which we initiated together with the Knesset Labor Committee, will be discussed soon, having passed the first reading in the previous Knesset. 

4. A bill we initiated offering a program to replace the Wisconsin Program, which the Knesset Labor Committee will discuss. 


Anti-democratic tendencies in the Knesset are gaining momentum and, regrettably, the Winter Session is expected to follow on the last session’s trends. We feel, however, that it is important to point out that not all the anti-democratic bills were promoted, and that some of those that were promoted have undergone significant changes that minimized the damage they might cause. The last Knesset session stood out in laying the foundations for anti-democratic legislation, but the vast majority of the legislation processes concerning the aforementioned bills is not yet over. In this respect, the coming session will be a trying time. If the said bills should ripen and turn into state laws, their potential damage to democracy would be realized; but should the Knesset sober up and restrain itself, protecting our democracy against the tyranny of the majority, the Israeli parliament will pass the important test of the democracy’s durability.

Even if the anti-democratic bills – some, or even all, of them – do not eventually become laws – even then, Israeli democracy will have already sustained a serious blow. For the issue has yet another, public and educational, lasting aspect. The winds blowing from the Knesset, through these legislative efforts, are already affecting the public, helping to create a public perception of Israeli Arabs as always suspect, of human rights activists and organizations as enemies of the State, and of basic democratic norms as subject to the majority’s whims. Thus, the activities of many MKs, often supported by leading cabinet members, effectively provide the public with ongoing classes in anti-democracy. 

In conclusion, we would like to cite remarks that the Knesset speaker made on 2 August 2010, addressing Foreign Ministry cadets, as published in Haaretz: “Certain MKs address the people’s sentiments, and in doing so create an international image of Israel as an Apartheid state…. [Such MKs] create a wrongful discourse between Jews and Arabs in the Knesset that reflects on the existing conflict in the Israeli society.”[12] 

We hope that in the upcoming session, the MKs will sober up and change the parliament’s direction, and that the trends of tyranny of the majority will be replaced by new approaches that will restore essential democratic values and reintroduce the need to protect them into the heart of our democracy. Either way – whether the Knesset mends its ways or not – ACRI will keep guarding democratic values, monitoring the Knesset’s legislative processes, and doing everything it can to help promoting the values of equality, social justice, and human rights.

[1] See our letter to the Knesset speaker, dated 6 June 2010, following the flotilla events, and his reply dated 10 June 2010. 

[2] See our letter to the President, the prime minister, and the Knesset speaker, dated 31 January 2010, concerning the delegitimization of human rights organizations.

[3] See our letter dated 21 July 2010

[4] See an ACRI position paper on the issue dated 25 June 2010.

[5] See an ACRI position paper on the issue dated 21 December 2009.

[6] See an ACRI position paper on the issue dated 9 August 2010.

[7] See an ACRI letter to the foreign minister, dated 1 September 2010.

[8] See an ACRI position paper by the Refugees’ Rights Forum on the issue dated 4 June 2008.

[9] See a position paper on the issue dated 7 September 2010.

[10] See an ACRI position paper on the issue dated 4 July 2010.

[11] See the Knesset Speaker’s letter dated 3 August 2010.

[12] Read the English translation of the article here.

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