Archive | October 28th, 2010



Israel has problems but hey Hamas is nearby (relevance, Zionists?)

28 Oct 2010

Following my article yesterday in the Sydney Morning Herald on Israel/Palestine, the following letters appear in today’s edition:

For an alternative to Antony Loewenstein’s polemic against Israel (“Western politicians prefer to ignore Israel’s inherent racism”, October 28) I refer readers to Freedom in the World: Israel 2010 by Freedom House, a venerable and widely respected non-governmental organisation.

Under the Freedom House criteria, Israel has the highest of seven rankings for political rights and the second highest for civil liberties. It is the only country in the Middle East rated “free”. Its media is described as “vibrant and independent”.

Although Israel describes itself as a “Jewish and democratic state”, freedom of religion is respected, with Christian, Muslim and Bahai communities having jurisdiction over their members in matters of marriage, divorce and burial.

The judiciary is independent and regularly rules against the government. Freedoms of assembly and association are respected. Workers may join independent unions and have the right to strike and bargain collectively. Women have achieved substantial parity at almost all levels of society. Openly gay Israelis are permitted to serve in the armed forces.

Certainly, some serious discrimination exists in Israel, as in other democracies. But overall, not a bad record for a country faced with neighbours such as Iran and Syria, and organisations such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

Peter Wertheim Executive director, Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Sydney


By all means, let us go back to basics, starting with the United Nations partition plan for Palestine, as [Zionist lobbyist] Colin Rubenstein suggests (”Oath’s emphasis on a democratic nation state is soundly based”, October 28).

The plan showed clear borders of the two states, with Jerusalem as a UN zone which was barred from being the Israeli capital. The war between the Arab nations and Israel led to the occupation of territory clearly intended as belonging to the Arab state. At no time since it unilaterally declared its statehood has Israel confined itself to the boundaries allocated by the UN. Its illegal expansion into Arab territories continues.

The UN requirement that the rights of resident populations be recognised in the new state has been consistently ignored.

The British foresaw problems with the new state and its expansionist ambitions, and abstained from the UN vote. They have since fallen into line, as have we, with the blinkered Western view of the conflict.

Don Brown Narrabeen


Are we allowed to violently assault asylum seekers? Just asking

28 Oct 2010

Maybe one day, Western governments will ask themselves whether private companies should be tasked (and paid) to do the dirty work of removing refugees. Out of sight and out of mind:

The government’s deportation policy has been thrown into confusion after it emerged that the Home Office banned private security firms from forcing detainees on to flights following the death of a refugee, then lifted the moratorium 10 days later.

The chair of the Commons home affairs select committee, Keith Vaz, said he had “huge concerns” over the government’s apparent indecision about whether restraint could be used against deportees and accused officials of “flip-flopping”.

His concerns were echoed by Ed Balls, the shadow home secretary, who said it was now “vital” for the Home Office to release details of the circumstances surrounding the death of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan refugee who collapsed and died on a British Airways plane preparing for take-off at Heathrow earlier this month.

A ban on forcing detainees on to commercial flights, which officials described as a precautionary but “unprecedented” measure, was introduced on 15 October, three days after Mubenga lost consciousness while being heavily restrained by three guards working for the security firm G4S.

The Metropolitan police have since arrested the guards, who have been released on bail.

The firm, which conducts the majority of the 10,000 forced removals each year, informed the Guardian that use of restraint at boarding by its guards had been halted at the advice of the Home Office.

All private security firms were instructed by the Home Office to halt using force while officials checked that the techniques used to restrain deportees, which are the same used in prisons, were safe.


Nir Rosen on why Muslims don’t like occupation

27 Oct 2010

The fact that such sensible views are so rarely heard in the mainstream is revealing in itself:


Peace doesn’t sell on our TV screens

27 Oct 2010

How we view war, conflict and peace and our place in the world is primarily through the media. It’s no wonder, for example, that truly peaceful spokespeople (as opposed to generals and “officials) are routinely excluded from the debate:

The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) and Media Tenor today announced the results of “Measuring Peace in the Media”, the largest global study analysing the accuracy of international television networks’ coverage of peace, violence and conflict. The results show broad inconsistencies across geographies and networks, with US broadcasters much more focused on violence and conflict than their European and Middle Eastern counterparts. 
•         Four programmes included in the study devote more than 50% of their coverage to violence: CBS Evening News, Fox Special Report and ABC World News from the US and ITV News at 10 from the UK
•         The 10 TV programmes reporting the most violence dedicate on average 48% of their coverage to violence; 8 of these programmes are from the US or UK
•         The 10 TV programmes reporting the least violence dedicate 50% less of their coverage (24%) of their coverage to violence; 7 of these programmes are from Africa or the Middle East
•         US and European broadcasters dedicate more than 60% of their coverage on the Middle East to violence

The report includes a detailed case study on coverage of Afghanistan, which shows that a disproportionate amount of coverage is focused on defence and crime, while neglecting news of progress in critical areas needed to build lasting peace.

The study analysed 37 TV news and current affairs programmes from 23 networks in 15 countries* and then cross-referenced this with the 4th annual Global Peace Index (GPI) which measures the levels of peace and violence in 149 countries. BBC 2 Newsnight and ZDF Heute Journal were found to be the programmes whose editorial policies aligned their coverage most closely with the rankings of the GPI.

How Media Outlets Perform:

The World’s Eye on Afghanistan

CNN International, BBC World and Al Jazeera English all had similar number of reports on the topics that received the most total coverage – warfare, elections, crime and international politics.  However, Al Jazeera had the greatest breadth of coverage, including more coverage on topics which related progress in creating peace. Al Jazeera News was the most positive and had three times as many positive stories as BBC World, and more than eight times as many positive stories as CNN International Desk.


Mummy, why are Muslims so ungrateful when we kill them?

27 Oct 2010

Just in case you weren’t sure, Nir Rosen is one of the finest war reporters in the world. His new book, Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America’s Wars in the Muslim World, highlights Washington’s idea that guns and a few loaves of bread don’t bring love:

Supporters of General Stanley McChrystal, the former US commander in Afghanistan, liked to say “he gets it,” as if there was a magic counterinsurgency (COIN) formula they’d discovered in 2009. But Afghans have a memory. They remember, for example, that the American-backed mujahideen killed thousands of Afghan teachers and bombed schools in the name of their anti-Soviet jihad in the 1980s. The Taliban atrocities had not arisen in a vacuum. Similarly, past American actions have consequences. Opinions were already formed. The Taliban were gaining power thanks to American actions and alliances. Warlords were empowered by the Americans. No justice was sought for victims. The government and police were corrupt. The president stole the elections. The message was that there was no justice, and a pervasive sense of lawlessness and impunity had set in.

Afghans who had been humiliated or victimized by the Americans and their allies were unlikely to become smitten by them merely because of some development aid they received. And the aid was relatively small compared with other international projects, like Bosnia, Haiti, Rwanda, and East Timor. The Americans thought that by building roads they could win over opinion. But roads are just as useful for insurgents as they are for occupiers. The Americans had failed to convince Afghans that they should like them or want them to stay, and they certainly had not been convinced that President Hamid Karzai’s government has legitimacy. You can’t win hearts and minds with aid work when you are an occupying force.

The Taliban was the most obscurantist, backward, traditional, and despised government on earth. The fact that the Taliban was making a comeback was a testimony to the regime that the U.S. set up there, and to the atrocities that have been committed in Afghanistan by occupation troops and their Afghan allies. It was sheer arrogance to think that adding another 30,000 or 50,000 troops would change the situation so much that the occupation would become an attractive alternative.


When torture isn’t really about crushing a child’s balls

27 Oct 2010

How we love the New York Times…to obfuscate our crimes:

“Reports indicate meatbag tenderizing procedures”; “War logs show bothersome physical solicitations”; “Leaked war logs reveal that for which there is no emoticon”

Hitting the refresh button repeatedly, one can view dozens of other absurd headlines. The absurdity is the point, Rob Beschizza told me in a phone conversation. Beschizza is the managing editor at BoingBoing, and the above headlines are the result of his “New York Times Torture Euphemism Generator!” which was posted to the popular blog late Friday night. It includes an image of an article on the New York Times website with an interchangeable headline that provides a phrase meant to act as a stand-in for what many journalists consider a politically charged word: “Torture.” In the few days since being posted it has received over 460,000 page views.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on A.LOEWENSTEIN ONLINE NEWSLETTER



October 28, 2010

by Gordon Duff  



By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

“Yes, even without Wikileaks we always knew that such things were happening and now we know that altered versions of some of our reports and additional forgeries have been mixed in with documents meant to incriminate Iran.”

For nearly a decade, America has been, in the eyes of the world, the successor to Nazi Germany.  Last week, nearly 77% of Australians polled (over 10,000 respondents) considered the 9/11 terror attacks an American “false flag” and that nation has troops in Afghanistan fighting alongside Americans.  Imagine what nations that oppose American involvement think?

Whatever the percentage blaming America or Israel or both for 9/11,  30% or 90%, the numbers don’t matter.  The justification for war, seen as blatantly illegitimate, aggression, invasion and bullying, doesn’t stand, not among the people of the world, certainly not any more.  It also doesn’t stand well with America’s troops as well.  “Volunteer” doesn’t mean “stupid.”

American troops, raring to go, punish the terrorists, find the weapons of mass destruction, root Al Qaeda out of Iraq are older now, wiser, many are dead, hundreds of thousands damaged, many beyond repair and most of all, they feel exploited, misused and abused.

American troops didn’t sign up to be part of a force of occupation, there is no honor in that.

A key component, in fact the primary component of these “wars” has been “counter-insurgency” or “irregular warfare” or whatever buzzword the Pentagon is using today to describe people fighting against Americans exactly the same way Americans fought against the British at Lexington and Concord.  If the Minutemen had IEDs and RPGs, they would have used them and been seen as heroes for it.  Anyone who thinks our own troops aren’t faced by this irony on a daily basis are underestimating their intellect.

Troops and civilians have never mixed.  Civilians are quickly reclassified as “suspected terrorists” or even “hostiles” at the drop of a hat.  No army in the history of warfare has successfully occupied any conquered nation without resorting to both brutality and a “Quisling/Vichy” regime as a partner.

Seldom are there military operations among a population unless the force is an invader, an occupier, propping up a puppet government using brutality and intimidation.  We have many examples without going very far, two wars with Germany.  Nations seldom need saviors to come in, blow everything up, convert people to Christianity at gunpoint and spread venereal disease.  The Spanish tried this 500 years ago and they are now a debt ridden backwater.

You can’t walk across a street in Europe without seeing a memorial to someone executed by the Nazi’s or even the Kaiser’s troops.  The conquest of the America West was an occupation combined with an ethnic cleansing, deeply parallel to the “restoration” of Israel to the Jews.  A “people” exist, live and build, become a nation, if even only in a spiritual sense, these are the Palestinians.  Their land is coveted, nice beaches, good location.

G-d gave Judea to people of the Jewish religion, a group that is 95% converts from a continent away, it was “given” and it was taken and held by force.  We call this “occupation.”  Similarly, god gave America the west through “manifest destiny.” The story is always the same.  Even Americans are occupiers but, as is convenient after an ethnic cleansing, as with Palestine or America, when nobody is left to complain, the problem goes away.

When American troops gave blankets to the Cherokees being forcibly “removed”, blankets known to be infected with small pox, was this a holocaust?  It is known as the “Trail of Tears.”  It is history, so much history that it is even taught in schools in America, and that’s saying a lot.

Today, the culture with the guns and the German trained military wins.  We all learned from the experts.  Might makes right and the survivors are put into concentration camps, or reservations or “Gaza” or whatever is popular.  When they resist, when they even speak up, they are exterminated.  They had become “terrorists” or “renegades.”

This kind of war of conquest is simple.  If you win, the label sticks, “terrorist” or “insurgent” or “Taliban.”  If you lose, they become freedom fighters, patriotic resistance, heroes or martyrs.

If you lose, you become war criminals, murderers and barbarians.  War criminals, losers, face “Nuremberg” or hanging as with Saddam.  In America, they retire to Dallas and write a book.

The most powerful military force known to man has a new direction today, not dominance of space, the air or the seas nor protection of the United States and its interests.  America babysits poppy fields, oil pipelines and stands guard over corrupt dictators and druglords.  We train our soldiers to kick in doors, throw in a grenade and hope the dead aren’t all small children.  400,000 recent veterans who have filed for disability due to stress related illnesses brought on from such duties tell the tale.

There are shades of Vietnam in this, not just My Lai.  When helicopter crews reported,

“We were told, whenever we saw a unarmed male between 12 and 60, open up near them.  If they move, kill them, they are VC.”


Imperfect as Wikileaks are, the video showing the helicopter attack in Iraq actually went further than this.  Two American Apache helicopters with advanced optics and in full radio contact with base, not only wiped out local militia working for the Americans as part of the “Sunni Awakening” but destroyed a vehicle with unarmed civilians including children.  Reports from Fallujah now indicate that what we were told about that “great battle” is almost entirely false.

One of the staff writers at Veterans Today reviewed the recent Wikileaks output and made the following comments:

“I wrote countless SIGACT reports.  The ones I found on Wikileaks are not as I wrote them.   Due to the previous statement(s) it is unknown just how much of that data is altered or changed or can even be believed.  When one views the Wikileaks Iraq War Diaries I want the civilian population to be proud that our very small Army was capable of holding that vast territory, with an insurgency everywhere; and when the average reader can now see that children were regularly used as weapons against the troops, that bombs were everywhere (literally), no place was ever safe, the Police and Iraqi Army were untrustworthy if not criminal, and the ROE itself complicated matters by placing troops between a rock and a hard place.  Perhaps that may place a better perspective on allegations of mistreatment and violation of the ROE and using the Wikileaks documents to make political statements”.

 I viewed the Guardian UK’s Iraq War Logs interactive piece and was amazed at how crazy that one day was.  I was there that day, and I had my tail handed to me that month, along with the rest of the forces.  The sad part is, that I feel the Wikileaks release is missing most of what actually happened that day, and based upon my personal recollection I would say that only about 1/3 of the events of October 17, 2006 actually made it into the Wikileaks release. 

I suppose I am rambling here, and now I think you can see the dilemma in my head.  How the heck do you deliver this story?  From what perspective?  And worst of all, how do you make the troops look good (because they were and are) and try and convince a public that only cares about shopping, that these reports are not glass half empty, they are quite the opposite, they are glass half full? 

Do I just say it?  Hey America, the troops are the shit because we should all feel lucky that any Iraqi’s lived at all. That is just presumptuous and arrogant but very true.  These kids do need to feel proud that they didn’t waste every single person they saw.  Or do we stay out of this mess altogether?”

Of course, there are no lessons from Wikileaks as the receipt of altered and forged documents, can add nothing positive toward a realistic analysis of anything other than the motive of those responsible and their agenda.  Thus we can easily say,

“Yes, we always knew that such things were happening and now we know that altered versions of some of our reports and additional forgeries can be mixed in with documents meant to incriminate Iran.”


After D-Day, Germany had two classes of military units in France to fight off the allied landings, combat units and occupation forces.  No combat unit could remain as an “occupation” force and still be considered “effective.”  Occupation is a police activity at best and a criminal activity at worst.  Any army that becomes an occupying force is no longer an army.  Any army that trains for “hearts and minds” operations, will degenerate into something with little combat effectiveness, no discipline and severe morale problems.

It will turn into an army of PTSD victims.

If anything, “garrison duty” in a hostile environment is the worst of all worlds with the worst soldiers allowed to abuse civilians, get involved in rackets and “suck” their way into the hearts of an increasingly dispirited officer corps.  The best and brightest leave for the private sector, contractor jobs, advanced education and the job of holding families together while those who remain, a combination of the dedicated and the “dead beats” become, well, exactly what we are seeing.

When reports began coming in from Afghanistan that units “in the field,” really “occupation forces,” were “fragging” civilians and randomly murdering people along the road, intimidating, not only squad members but NCOs and officers as well, we knew how far things had gone.  In Vietnam, officers and senior NCOs eventually had to barricade themselves into small fortresses within American bases, little “Dien Bien Phu’s,” as it were.  Gunfire inside compounds, frag grenades, tear gas, all became a daily part of life.  The war between the LIFERs (Lazy Ignorant F&%$#’s Evading Reality) and the “heads” (drug users) was eventually more deadly than combat.

The “volunteer army” that was meant to end all that, when worn to nothing, betrayed and eventually “sold down the river” by both the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs, lasted as long as it could.


Despite the press releases, TV dramas and news reports, there is no terrorist organization called Al Qaeda.  There never has been.  None of the “intelligence” about Al Qaeda and Iraq proved correct, quite the contrary, it proved to be purposefully false, created to justify an illegal invasion, created at the request of the President of the United States.  Our government was controlled by war criminals and the invasion of Iraq and even Afghanistan are considered by every responsible expert in international law as criminal acts.

The idea of invading Afghanistan looking for Osama bin Laden, the man someone said was responsible for 9/11 is even more treasonous.  Though the US State Department at claims bin Laden is responsible for 9/11 and admitted such, that statement is totally untrue as is every other assertion of fact on America’s “9/11 debunking” website.  The site is maintained so poorly and updated so irregularly, that it disputes things that have long been admitted as fact by our own officials. is an embarrassment.

9 years later, we are in Afghanistan, tasked with destroying an insurgency we built and eliminating the worlds largest narcotics empire, which is run by our closest allies with our direct protection.  Is this clear?

Does anyone think our soldiers are so stupid they don’t see this?  When America went into Iraq, it took with it, wanted criminals, known gangsters hated by Iraq, to rule the country.  In Afghanistan, we forced “outsiders” from the “Northern Alliance” on the majority of Afghan’s, the fearless Pashtun tribesman, who will stop at nothing to destroy the United States and eliminate the insult of being placed under occupation by foreign tribesmen they see as criminal and backward.

We put a weak ruler, Hamid Karzai, in charge of the government, someone hated by all sides, accused of every imaginable crime, most of all “weakness.”  There is no greater sin in Afghanistan than “weakness.”

Then we left an occupation army there, drones killing thousands, Special Forces death squads tasked with “decapitating” insurgency leaders, involved in one bungled operation after another and finally, some of our troops roaming the countryside as murderers and rapists.  Worse than that, the troops themselves know this went on in Iraq, the same “bad apples” there simply moved on to Afghanistan, the Army didn’t care and knew that, in the end, nobody at the top of the food chain would end up being stuck with the bill. 

All this, and we plan to stay forever and ever and, if Israel has its way, institute a draft and send 400,000 troops into Iran so we can continue the same and more on a larger scale for another century.




October 28, 2010

by Debbie Menon  

Cantor explains that taking Israel out of the Sate Department’s annual budget will allow the US to continue protecting the security aid given to Israel, even if the rest of the foreign aid budget will be frozen due to a conflict between the Democratic president and a Republican House of Representatives.

We need Rep. Cantor out of Congress

By Yitzhak Benhorin 

YNet”– – WASHINGTON – In the days leading up to the United States Congress mid-term elections, senior Republicans are contemplating transferring the annual foreign aid responsibilities, provided these days to Israel from the State Department’s foreign aid budget, to the hands of the Pentagon.

According to advocates of this proposal, disconnecting Israel from the foreign aid’s law will guarantee the continued support while also allowing the Republicans to take control of the foreign aid budget and the money flow to other countries.

Israel is the biggest beneficiary of US foreign aid in its current formant. A couple of years ago, the Bush administration approved a 30 billion dollar aid budget to Israel, spreading out over a decade.

Since signing their peace agreement back in 1979, Israel and Egypt have received most of US foreign aid budget, which is approved every year by each of the Two Houses of Congress.

Eric Cantor, the only Jewish Republican serving in the US House of Representatives, has recently told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), that the House of Representatives, headed by the Republican Party, will work towards stopping the American aid to countries who do not operate according to American interest.

This means that there is a possibility that the House of Representatives will not approve the foreign aid budget submitted by the Government.

Israel is looking into it

Cantor said that a big part of the US dilemma surrounding this issue is due to the fact that Israel is part of the overall foreign aid budget, and not a separate one. He goes on to mention that hopefully some kind of separation can be made when it comes to the tax payers’ money going to Israel.

Only eight days before the congress mid-term elections, there seems to be a growing chance of a power shift from a Democratic to a Republican majority in the House.

Cantor explains that taking Israel out of the Sate Department’s annual budget will allow the US to continue protecting the security aid given to Israel, even if the rest of the foreign aid budget will be frozen due to a conflict between the Democratic president and a Republican House of Representatives.

If the Republicans win the upcoming elections, there will be more Tea Party right-winged representatives supporting tax cut-backs and strict foreign aid policy. Some of them have already stated that they intend to vote against foreign aid.

Israeli officials are looking into the issue, even if at this point it’s only a proposal and not a practical discussion. Such a separation in the foreign aid budget might not be good for Israel, and may tie her down more when it comes to American interest and hurt her independence. 

2010 Copyright – Yitzhak Benhorin, Ynet Washington Correspondent




Anarchists Against The Wall (AATW) have joined Palestinian villagers in a joint popular struggle which has been a potent tool in the hands of Palestinians and a focus of much of the solidarity movement. This struggle has remained steadfast for over 7 years and continues to be one of the most effective ways to resist Israel’s construction of the wall and settlements.

AATW are in the midst of a fund raising tour in North America. They are raising funds to pay for legal defense for hundreds of Palestinians and Israeli activists who are arrested and put on trial for their part in the resistance.

For details about tour locations and dates please see 








Posted in CampaignsComments Off on ANARCHISTS AGAINST THE WALL



IT wouldn’t be an exaggeration to claim that the resumption of peace talks between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority have thus far yielded nothing of value, at least not as far as settling the decades-long struggle.

For one, the media have paid the talks little attention, aside from the ceremonial coverage of the first round of talks in Washington on Sept. 2. It barely noticed the following round in the Middle East nearly two weeks later. What did capture the media’s attention was US President Barack Obama’s attempt to minimize the damage he invited upon himself for merely pressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to issue a partial moratorium on settlement building (about 11 months ago), and then to extend the settlement freeze.

The president of the United States has, expectedly, failed to persuade Israeli leaders to uphold such a basic prerequisite to ensuring a smooth sailing peace process. Its resumption signaled the return of American diplomacy to the Middle East. Its current problems and expected failure, unlike previous rounds of talks, could very much usher the end of American political adventurism in the region. If a president like Obama — who once enjoyed such a massive national and international mandate — could succumb to a right-wing Israeli prime minister, then why should others even try?

To save face — and postpone failure — Obama has reportedly promised Israel broad security and diplomatic guarantees. All he has asked for in return is the mere extension of the settlement moratorium of 60 days — enough to push his party through the November elections.

According to an article by David Makovsky, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the leaked letter from Obama to Netanyahu positions US foreign policy as a hostage to Israeli diktats, whereby the US makes no such future requests of settlement freeze, guarantees a US veto of any UN Security Council Resolution related to the peace talks for a year, agrees to increase pressure on Iran as per Israeli demands, and so on. Among the many disturbing pledges made by the Obama administration, one seems particularly generous. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the US will “‘accept the legitimacy’ of Israel’s security needs as defined by the Netanyahu government, referring apparently to the Israeli leader’s demand for a long-term Israeli military presence in the eastern West Bank, along the border with Jordan.”

For Obama to lease his country’s political influence to a foreign state for cheap political gain is bad enough. To achieve personal and party political goals at the expense of the national interest of the country is equally disturbing. But to promise a lasting military presence of an occupying power in another people’s land for a mere 60-day settlement freeze is completely unethical and illogical. Furthermore, it violates international law. This letter will someday be analyzed in the same category as the Balfour Declaration of 1917, when a Jewish homeland was promised by Britain to a group of European Zionists in historic Palestine — even when neither group had ownership rights or any political mandate.

Obama’s passionate speech in Cairo, in June 2009, was entitled “A New Beginning.” But a year and few months later, Obama has learned the limits of the political overreach of his country when it comes to Israel — as much as the Iraq War has demonstrated the limits of military power.

With this new wisdom, Obama and his advisers are acting like desperate salesmen before a conceited, dispassionate tourist. All Obama needs is a bit of time and Netanyahu is haggling over every detail to ensure maximum value for his dollar before Nov. 2 arrives. Then, Israel will find other ways to use whatever leverage it has to advance its interests.

Because Israeli leaders also understand that in times like this Washington is absolutely mute and meek, Tel Aviv is sparing no efforts to exploit the situation. At home, Netanyahu is flexing his muscles to impress his influential right-wing constituency by approving hundreds of new housing units in illegally occupied Arab East Jerusalem. Netanyahu has humbled the president of the “Free World,” and is enjoying every moment of it.

More, racist new laws are either passing or are scheduled for vote at the Israeli Knesset. One of these demands allegiance to Israel as “a Jewish and democratic state.” Many will have to take that oath or lose their citizenry rights in the country. It is an undemocratic law by every account, and is aimed largely at the Palestinian Christian and Muslim population, the natives of that land. The timings of these legislations are also meant to underscore Israel’s determination to do whatever it deems necessary. This will serve the right-wing parties in Israel very well in future elections.

As for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, there is little to be said. He has no political power, leverage or influence. He can only do as he is told. He might send out the occasional threat of quitting political life, but frankly few are paying attention or worried about that possibility.

However, Abbas has, perhaps inadvertently, helped Netanyahu by providing him with a political platform whereby the Israeli leader can claim to be engaged in a legitimate peace process with a Palestinian partner. This alone was enough to bring Netanyahu and his country back from political oblivion into the center stage of international diplomacy. The bloodbath that Israel unleashed on Gaza from 2008 to 2009, the ongoing siege, the killing of activists abroad the Freedom Flotilla have all been cast aside for now. Instead we listen to Netanyahu speak of peace, prosperity and security for all, amid hearty clapping and standing ovations.

Hundreds of Israeli speakers, politicians, diplomats and scholars have been circling the globe in recent months, talking about Israel’s undying commitment to peace. While this goes on, Israeli bulldozers are back in full gear, tearing down homes, businesses and olive groves. Israel continues to expand settlements and build what is rightly termed the Apartheid Wall, all with little, if any criticism from the US, the self-declared honest peace broker. Worse, as much as the political theater is organized and financed by US dollars, the full-scale destruction taking place in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is also courtesy of US coffers. Such is the self-defeating policy of the United States. Such is the peace process.

— Ramzy Baroud ( is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of




New resource in the fight for Israeli Democracy

 By Jesse BaconAmidst the dispiriting news coming from both American and Israeli democracy, one of the signs of hope has been the people who have continued to resist the downward trend. Association for Civil Rights in Israel is one of those hope-inducing groups, and they recently launched a new english-language version of their website Project Democracy, along with partners like Shatil and Zochrot. Their first post is a good a motto for our work as any ““Democracy cannot be sustained by voting alone.”

As we have found here at TOD? there is no shortage of material, Project Democracy’s second post is about Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s efforts to strip people of their citizenship for “disloyalty,” and their first twitter post tells of the Miniistry of Education cuts funding for civics, transferring it to Jewish studies.

So please, go check them out, support their work by subscribing or contributing, and keep struggling until the project is just a reality .

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 by crescentandcross

October 28, 2010
Some have expressed hopes that the tea partiers, many of whom grew out of the Ron Paul movement, will bring about a shift away from American imperialism through their demands for smaller, cheaper, less intrusive, and more accountable government. But it ain’t necessarily so. The tea partiers generally fail to understand that the indispensable element in the explosive growth of big government over the past ten years has been Washington’s failure to craft a foreign and security policy that is commensurate with the nation’s resources and proportional to the actual level of threat that exists in the world.
This results in the tea partiers overwhelmingly supporting an aggressive security policy even though they must know that leaving the Pentagon budget untouched and untouchable guarantees deficit spending and continued growth of the parts of government that are allegedly committed to “keeping us free.”

The Republican Party has clearly understood that tea partiers are more-or-less fallen away Republicans based on their dislike of government coupled with unthinking chauvinism and are currently crafting their message to entice them back into the fold prior to November 2 nd. It is amusing to watch John Boehner with a straight face decry government growth and deficits when it was George W. Bush, aided and abetted by the selfsame Republican Party, who started down that road. Boehner is careful not to mention the two wars started by Bush that the nation continues to be embroiled in, nor is he interested in the oceans of red ink that global conflict inevitably produces.

Discussion of foreign policy and war has been a no-no for both parties in the congressional elections campaign since both are complicit, and from the tea parties one hears nothing about Washington’s unbridled foreign interventionism. What America does overseas is a matter of little concern to most Americans as long as taxes do not rise to pay for it and one’s children are not drafted to hump a rifle through the Khyber Pass.

Nowhere is this blindness towards the foreign policy roots of the current political and economic disaster more evident than in two national political figures who are widely regarded favorably by many of the tea parties, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. Gingrichis an exceedingly clever and devious man whose foreign policy views are completely compatible with those of most neocons. He has also been close to Israel for some time. When he was speaker of the house, an Israeli company hired his second wife Marianne Gingrich for $2,500 a month plus commissions in September 1994 after he announced congressional support for construction of a free trade zone in Israel.

Her work for Israel Export Development Co. was to find tenants for the trade zone. Gingrich claimed that since her job did not involve working with the US government, there was no conflict of interest. Gingrich, a champion of family values, divorced second wife Marianne in 2000 and is now on wife number three, who is 23 years his junior.

Gingrich believes that Iran as a “nuclear state” presents a “serious problem” for the United States that must be addressed by President Obama. “The president needs to say to the world that it is unacceptable to have a vicious dictatorship seeking to gain nuclear weapons with the direct goal of genocide.” He worries that Iran policy is stuck in an appeasement mindset. “It’s like the 1930s. The Iranian regime is dedicated to creating a second Holocaust, in terms of wanting to annihilate Israel.

For 31 years, it has been trying to tell us through every method they know – through terrorism, killing Americans, and developing nuclear weapons – that they are trying to defeat us. Yet, while the regime is explicitly dedicated to the destruction of Israel, and the defeat of the United States, there remains an absolute refusal in the Western world to be honest about it. At what point do we decide that what we need is a calm and methodological regime-change policy…”

Gingrich also believes that waterboarding is not torture and that George W. Bush’s policies “blocked a number of planned attacks.” But the intention to use civil courts to combat terrorism means that “The Obama team is even more pro-terrorist rights and anti-national security than the Clinton team was.” Gingrich was also the first major US politician to assert that Islamic law – sharia – is a threat to American freedom. In a July 29 th, 2010 speech he stated: “The fight against sharia and the madrassas and mosques which teach hatred and fanaticism is the heart of the enemy movement from which the terrorists spring forth. … One of the things I am going to suggest today is a federal law which says no court anywhere in the United States under any circumstance is allowed to consider Sharia as a replacement for American law.”

Palin is something quite different, and a good deal more dangerous than the lumpish and frequently strident Gingrich. She knows nothing of foreign policy and even less of security and defense related issues and is basically a neocon creation being promoted by them as a national candidate. Palin was discovered by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol in 2007 while he and a group of National Review stalwarts were on an Alaska cruise.

Kristol assiduously pushed the right buttons to get her on the Republican ticket with John McCain. Palin returned the favor, describing how she had an Israeli flag on display in her governor’s office and describing her love for Israel during the debate with Joe Biden, but her ignorance of foreign policy issues was palpable during the campaign. Palin continues to be in contact with Kristol and has benefited from a recent hagiography The Persecution of Sarah Palin: How the Elite Media Tried to Bring Down a Rising Star by Matthew Continetti, who bears the title of “opinion editor” at the Kristol’s Weekly Standard.

Continetti’s critique of Obama administration policies appears to include all Muslims, “Since 2005, Americans have been worrying about Iran’s ambitions for regional hegemony. Maybe it’s time we started worrying about Turkey’s regional ambitions as well. The Turks ruled the region from 1453 to 1922, after all. A renascence of Turkish power, in an Islamist guise, would cause all sorts of troubles no one can anticipate.”

Palin’s closest foreign policy adviser appears to be hardliner Randy Scheunemann, who advised John McCain and is perhaps most famous for his working as a lobbyist for Georgia, likely motivating his boss to declare “We are all Georgians” in a war that Tbilisi initiated against its neighbor Russia. So much for getting things wrong, but that has never in any way slowed down the neoconservatives. Another close adviser on foreign policy is Michael Goldfarb, who is the partner of Scheunemann at lobbying firm Orion Strategies, also worked for Kristol at the Weekly Standard, is an adviser for the Emergency Committee for Israel, and has also been associated with Liz Cheney’s Keep America Safe.

Palin’s boasts of being the mother of a combat veteran – her son with the somewhat unusual name Track – and has repeatedly asserted fatuously that American soldiers overseas are fighting to preserve freedoms in the US. Her simplistic bumper sticker analysis is perhaps not too atypical of the political chattering class, but even by their standards she is sometimes overly adept at reducing complicated issues to neocon crafted soundbites. In what was billed as a major foreign policy speech, delivered to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in April 2010, she staked out her basic position vis-à-vis the Democrats: “In foreign policy, we’ve got the makings of the Obama Doctrine: coddling our enemies while alienating allies.”

In another speech on June 27 th during a celebration called Freedom Fest in Norfolk Virginia, she also discussed foreign and defense policy. She said “This administration may be willing to cut defense spending, but it’s increasing it everywhere else. I think we should do it the other way round: cut spending in other departments – apart from defense.

We should not be cutting corners on our national security.” Oddly, she added that “it takes a lot of resources to maintain the best fighting force in the world – especially at a time when we face financial uncertainty and a mountain of debt that threatens all of our futures” without apparently understanding that the two are related. Clearly failing to appreciate that military spending is money wasted, she asked “Did you know the US actually only ranks 25th worldwide on defense spending as a percentage of GDP? We spend three times more on entitlements and debt services than we do on defense.”

Concerning the War on Terror she insists on the use of the term “Islamic” to describe terrorists, opposes the proposal to close Guantanamo, rejects any deadline date for remaining in Afghanistan, and denounces any attempt to try terrorists in civilian courts.

And she is not surprisingly particularly outspoken on Israel, stating “Folks, someone needs to remind the President: Jerusalem is not a settlement. Israel is our friend.” At Freedom Fest she elaborated “They escalated a minor zoning issue in Jerusalem into a major dispute with our most important ally in the Middle East, Israel. They treated the Israeli Prime Minister shabbily in Washington.

When a Turkish sponsored flotilla threatened to violate a legal Israeli blockade of Hamas-run Gaza, the Obama Administration was silent. When Israeli commandos were assaulted as they sought to prevent unmonitored cargoes from being delivered to Hamas terrorists, the Obama Administration sent signals it might allow a UN investigation into the matter – an investigation that would be sure to condemn our ally Israel and bemoan the plight of Hamas.”

Tea partiers must begin to understand that accepting the calls of leaders like Palin and Gingrich for smaller and more sensible government and a return to constitutionalism without also understanding that they stand for an incoherent foreign policy, perpetual war, and ballooning deficits is self defeating. They are both traditional Republicans who want nothing more than to return the GOP to power.

Only when you begin to question the raison d’etre for the wars and put an end to the American empire can you stop writing a blank check every year for the Pentagon, stop borrowing money to fund the fighting, and take sensible steps to reduce the size of government, making it again answerable to the people. As the memory of the overhyped terrorist threat fades, you might even begin to restore some of those civil liberties that have been stripped away by the Patriot Acts, the Military Commissions Act, and the increasingly frequent assertion of state secrets privilege.

Is it imaginable that the Tea Parties might turn in that direction? Perhaps not, though much depends on the extent to which the Republican Party and people like Palin, Gingrich, and Boehner are able to co-opt the movement. If they do, the revolt will fizzle out and turn into George W. Bush lite, or perhaps not so lite, with complete adherence to the consensus politics that created the current mess in the first place. Hard to imagine, but if the tea parties take a large share of the vote and align behind policies embraced by the likes of Gingrich and Palin, things could actually get worse.





Israeli Bill allowing towns to reject residents gains ground

October 28, 2010

by crescentandcross 

Most Popular Content All 

Arab MKs walk out of Knesset debate, say Jewish communities seeking way to weed out Arabs

Roni Sofer

Published:  10.27.10, 

The Knesset’s Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee on Wednesday approved in its second and third reading a bill allowing communities of under 500 people to appoint admissions boards, which will be able to reject new residents who do not answer to a specific set of criteria.

The bill was proposed 10 years ago, when the High Court of Justice forced Katzir to accept the Kaadan family into its midst.

The bill, which attempts to bypass the court’s ruling, is seen by many as racist. It stipulates that acceptance committees will be capable of denying the application of anyone who does not suit the residents’ cultural and social perspectives, or who does not have sufficient funds to build a home there.

Arab MKs, many of whom walked out on the Knesset debate in protest, claim communities are seeking a way in which to legally reject Israeli-Arabs from settling there.

“This law allows the establishment of Jewish communities that want to prevent Arab residents from entering. All of the bill’s stipulations exist only in the Jewish sector,” said MK Taleb El-Sana (United Arab List-Ta’al).

He turned to MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu), who chairs the committee and is also one of the bill’s initiators, and said, “Say that Yisrael Beiteinu members will also be on the acceptance committees to check up on the applicants’ ideologies.”

MK Hanna Swaid (Hadash) added that the bill was a provocation. “We know the initiators of the bill mean one thing while speaking in completely different terms,” he said.

 ”‘Jewish communities need Arabs for Sabbath”

Arab and Jewish MKs bickered throughout the debate, with MK Rotem joking, “Every Jewish community needs at least one Arab resident, because someone needs to turn on the refrigerator on Saturdays.”

 Later, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) remarked jocularly that his colleague MK Michael Ben-Ari was trying at the moment to be admitted into the community of Umm al-Fahm, referring to the rightist march that sparked riots there on Wednesday.

 El-Sana responded, “As a sign of protest we are leaving. We will not be a part of a debate on this racist and fascist law. This is disgraceful – you have crossed the line.”

MK Israel Hasson (Kadima), who proposed the bill, explained that it “reflects the state’s commitment to the achievement of the Zionist vision in the Land of Israel”.

“Around 30 years ago the state established a number of small communities in the Galilee and the Negev. These communities were intended to achieve the government’s goals by spreading out the population and allowing residents to lead a rural lifestyle based on social and cultural cohesion,” Hasson explained.

“The bill is balanced and institutionalizes a public process which includes appeals, and representatives of ministers will guarantee a reliable process without discrimination or illegal bias while maintaining small community growth.”

Zvi Lavi contributed to this report



October 28, 2010

 by crescentandcross


Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips explained why he sent out an e-mail that included the Muslim faith of Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison on a list of reasons not to support him, claiming that Tea Party members ought to “seriously consider” whether they should vote for a candidate who adheres to Islam.
 “I am not going to apologize because I’m bothered by a religion that says kill the infidel, especially when I am the infidel,” Phillips wrote on the Tea Party Nation website Tuesday. “Should we vote out Keith Ellison just because he is a Muslim? No. But his beliefs define his character and his character is a central issue.”

The original message, which urged supporters to donate to Ellison’s independent challenger Lynn Torgerson, read in part:

“There are a lot of liberals who need to be retired this year, but there are few I can think of more deserving than Keith Ellison. Ellison is one of the most radical members of congress. He has a ZERO rating from the American Conservative Union. He is the only Muslim member of congress.”

Phillips later acknowledged in an interview with The Daily Caller that he was wrong about Ellison being the “only” Muslim in Congress — Ellison was joined by Indiana Democratic Rep. Andre Carson, a convert, in 2008 — but he has since defended his post, and said he suspects a number of Tea Partiers agree with him.

“A majority of Tea Party members, I suspect, are not fans of Islam,” Phillips said. “I, personally have a real problem with Islam. With Islam, you have a religion that says kill the Jews, kill the infidels. It bothers me when a religion says kill the infidels. It bothers me a lot more when I am the infidel.”

He added that he does not think Muslims, or a person of any faith, should be banned from running for Congress, citing a clause in the Constitution that restricts the government from issuing religious tests for office seekers.

When asked if he would vote for a Muslim candidate who was a conservative, he replied, “I don’t know.”

Tea Party Nation is one of many groups that are operating under the “Tea Party” mantle, a decentralized movement that prides itself for operating without a specific leader. Phillips’ organization made headlines when it held a convention in Nashville, Tennessee last February with former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

UPDATE: Ellison responded Wednesday with a statement posted on The Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog.

“I issue a call to civility, and urge Americans to reject the divisive rhetoric of Republican Tea Party leaders like Judson Phillips; including calls for my defeat solely because of my religion,” Ellison said. “…Religious tolerance is a deeply rooted American value, and regardless of political persuasion, it’s a value we must protect.”

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