Archive | October 29th, 2010



October 29, 2010 

by Robert L. Hanafin

ivawIraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) views on Wikileaks

The following notice was sent to Veterans Today by Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW)

The latest release by Wikileaks of the Iraq War Logs is the largest leak in U.S. history and reveals in extensive detail what IVAWar has been saying since their founding in 2004.  The U.S. has presided over a bloody occupation for seven years where war crimes are a common offense, civilian casualties have been grossly under-reported, and corporate contractors run amok.

See the IVAW official statement on the Iraq War Logs below.  To forward this statement to others, click here.

Iraq Veterans Against the War


Posted by Robert L. Hanafin, Veterans Issues Editor, Veterans Today News


IVAW Statement on the Iraq War Logs – A Call for Accountability


The recent Wikileaks release–The Iraq War Logs–has shed important light on the high rate of civilian death and widespread atrocities,

including torture, that are endemic to the war in Iraq. As veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, IVAW members are outraged that the U.S. government sought to hide this information from the U.S. public, instead presenting a sanitized and deceptive version of war, and we think it is vital for this and further information to get out. Members of IVAW have experienced firsthand the realities of war on the ground, and since IVAW inception they  have spoken out about similar atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The members of IVAW are asking the U.S. public to join IVAW in calling on our government to end the occupations and bring our brothers and sisters home.

Civilian Death Tolls in Iraq and Afghanistan


ivawThe U.S. government has been claiming for years that they do not keep count of civilian death tolls, yet the recent releases show that they do, in fact, keep count.

Between 2004 and 2009, according to these newly disclosed records, at least 109,032 Iraqis died, 66,081 were civilians. The Guardian reports that the Iraq War Logs show that the U.S. military and government gave de facto approval for hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape, and murder by Iraqi soldiers and police officers.

These recent revelations, along with the Afghan War Diaries and Collateral Murder footage, weave a picture of wars in which the rules of engagement allow for excessive violence, woven into the fabric of daily life with the U.S. military presence acting as a destabilizing and brutalizing force.

The Iraq War Logs, while crucial, are reports produced in real time and they may be slanted to minimize the culpability of U.S. forces. Still, they represent an important part of evidence in assessing the reality of the Iraq war, evidence that can only be improved by the further release of documents and information and corroboration by individuals involved. To this end, IVAW members are reviewing both Wikileaks’ Afghanistan War Diaries and the Iraq War Logs to identify incidents IVAW members were part of and to shed more light on what really happened.

IVAW is comprised of over 2,000 veterans and active duty troops who have served since September 11, 2001. IVAW demands immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, reparations for the people of those countries, and full benefits for returning veterans, including mental healthcare.

At IVAW’s March 2008 Winter Soldier hearings in Maryland, more than fifty veterans and active-duty service members publicly testified about the orders they were told to carry out in these countries, sharing stories of excessive violence, trauma, and abuse.


Josh Stieber and Ethan McCord, two IVAW members who were in the unit captured in the Wikileaks “Collateral Murder” video, have spoken out about how the incidents caught on film are not isolated cases of ‘a few bad soldiers’ but rather, part of the nature of these wars.

“There has been little accountability in the wars that my friends and I once thought represented everything that was noble about our country,” wrote Stieber in anticipation of the Iraq War Logs. In an open letter, Stieber calls for policy makers to “take accountability for these wars and the full truth about them.”

As veterans, IVAW knows that the violence documented in the Iraq War Logs traumatizes the people living under occupation. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also have been marked by staggering rates of military trauma and suicide among the troops tasked with carrying out these orders.

Last year, 239 soldiers killed themselves and 1,713 soldiers survived suicide attempts; 146 soldiers died from high-risk activities, including 74 drug overdoses. A third of returning troops report mental health problems, and 18.5 percent of all returning service members are battling either Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or depression, according to a study by the Rand Corporation.

IVAW’s Operation Recovery campaign, launched on October 7, seeks to end the cruel and inhumane practice of redeploying troops suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Military Sexual Trauma, Traumatic Brain Injury, and other mental and physical wounds–a practice that underlies the continued occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Exposing war crimes is not a crime.

Critics attacking Wikileaks founder Julian Assange‘s character are attempting to use ad hominem arguments to detract from the real issues and divert public attention from the content of the Iraq War Logs. IVAW urges honest and thorough discussion of the content of these documents, and we think this discussion must not be sidelined by a swift boating and character assassination of Mr. Assange regardless where it comes from.

Demonizing Low Ranking Army Specialist Bradley Manning as Generals, Admirals, and High Level Politicians have leaked biased military information to make their political points.


Furthermore, with past Wikileaks revelations, U.S. [Obama] administration and military authorities were quick to vilify Army Specialist Bradley Manning who is being accused of leaking these documents to the public. Yet IVAW insists that it is the right of the U.S. public to have accurate information about wars that are being fought in our name and funded by our tax dollars, and we support the public sharing of this information.

Government deception to manipulate public opinion is inexcusable.

Authorities have kept this information secret in the name of ‘national security,’ but what they really are afraid of is public opinion, which they know will turn against them [even more] if the truth about these wars gets out in the mainstream.

An accurate count of Iraqi dead, acknowledgment of torture, and full disclosure of the role of private contractors are facts that should be made public in a democracy.

IVAW believes that real national security is created where government transparency and accountability, free press, and an end to spending on illegal wars and occupations are the norm.

Continued silence and secrecy is a grave threat to the security of the Iraqi and Afghan people, and IVAW demands openness, accountability, and real discussion of these revelations.

IVAW grieves for the Iraqi and Afghan lives that were lost and destroyed in these wars. We also grieve for our brothers and sisters in arms, who have been lost to battle or suicide. The Iraq War Logs bring home part of the harsh reality of these wars, a reality that we–as veterans–live with everyday. We demand a real end to both wars, including immediate withdrawal of the 50,000 “non-combat” troops who remain in the Iraq.

The Iraq War Logs underscore the urgent need for peace, healing, and reparations for all who have been harmed by these wars. The first step is to bring our brothers and sisters home.


To forward this statement to friends, click here.

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW)




Irish Independent


See also at


New eyewitness accounts of the shootings of 11 people by British soldiers in Northern Ireland have been submitted to the region’s Attorney General in a bid to get fresh inquests opened.

The statements form part of an extensive file of information related to the so-called Ballymurphy Massacre in west Belfast that has been compiled by the victims’ families. Archive testimony of the 1971 killings collected by the Catholic Church and full autopsy reports are also included in the submission to John Larkin QC.

The families are dissatisfied with the open verdicts delivered in the original inquests, held in the wake of the controversial shootings by British Paratroopers, and have asked Mr Larkin to establish new probes.

The call comes as the relatives continue to demand an independent international investigation into the events of August 1971, when the Army stormed the nationalist area after the Northern Ireland government introduced the contentious policy of internment without trial.

A Catholic priest and a mother-of-eight were among the 11 shot dead during a three day operation that was designed to round up suspected republican paramilitaries. The killings happened only months before soldiers from the Parachute Regiment shot dead 14 civil rights marchers in Londonderry in 1972.

Briege Voyle, whose mother Joan Connolly was killed in Ballymurphy, expressed hope that the file contained enough evidence to persuade Mr Larkin. She said: “Some of this was available at the time of our loved ones’ murders and was not considered or investigated.

“The families for over the last 20 years have collected information from eyewitnesses to the massacre along with full autopsy reports that were previously withheld from the families, and hope that the Attorney General may open the inquest into the death of our loved ones and consider investigating the circumstances around their murder and conclude that they were brutally murdered.”

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said the appointment of the region’s first Attorney General in 38 years – Mr Larkin took up post this year following the devolution of policing and justice powers to Stormont – had enabled the legal bid.

“The families have spent years carrying out their own inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of their loved ones,” said Mr Adams. “They believe that not all of the facts pertaining to the shootings were made known or that the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) or British Army’s Military Police properly investigated the killings.”

A spokesman for Mr Larkin confirmed the submission had been received and said the Attorney General would now take time to review it.

Briege Voyle speaking on International Women’s Day as guest of Coventry Trades Union Council

Photo: Troops Out Movement.

What Can We Do to Support the Ballymurphy Families?

  • Distribute this information as widely as possible – in Trade Unions, Political Parties, Community Groups, friends & colleagues. Detailed leaflets about the massacre are available from the address below.

  • Write to David Cameron, Owen Paterson and your own MP to demand a full Independent, International, Investigation into the Ballymurphy killings – and encourage others to do so.

Contact details

Sign the Petition in support of the families’ demands:                                       

Troops Out Movement

Campaigning for British Withdrawal from Ireland

PO Box 1032 Birmingham B12 8BZ  Tel: 0121 773 8683 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting           
 0121 773 8683      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Mob: 0797 017 4167 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              
0797 017 4167      end_of_the_skype_highlighting




PSG calls for South Africans to boycott the Cape Town Opera Company for refusing to reconsider their performance in Israel

On Fri, Oct 29, 2010 Steve Zeltzer <> wrote:

PSG Opposes Cape Town Opera’s Singing of praise to Israel


29 October 2010


PSG Opposes Cape Town Opera’s Singing of praise to Israel

The Cape Town Opera has chosen to go ahead with its controversial singing assignment in Tel Aviv, Israel in defiance of calls by international and local organisations as well as prominent individuals such as Nobel prize-winner, Anglican Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Tutu. This act of defiance to the global boycott and disinvestment call against Israel is effectively an endorsement by Cape Town Opera to the ongoing violent oppression of Palestinians by the Israeli colonial settler regime.

The barbaric acts of the Israeli government and its settler supporters has included murder, imprisonment without trial, torture, bombings of Palestinian communities killing hundreds and illegally invading a ship and murdering its passengers in the recent Gaza flotilla catastrophe.  Palestinians face the daily humiliation of highly controlled movement under the abusive supervision of the Israeli Defence Force and racial discrimination in every sphere of life.    

It is no wonder that visitors to Palestinian areas under Israeli domination, most notably Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have described conditions for the people there as much worse than what black people experienced under Apartheid. It is therefore entirely appropriate that the Archbishop, now speaking from a free South Africa, should call on a South African company to reciprocate the international solidarity shown us by shunning Israel, for as long as it continues contemptuously to flout international law by its illegal and unconscionable occupation of Palestine and the daily oppression of Palestinians.

The Cape Opera Company’s rejection of Tutu’s call reveals that business interests have probably placed the company beyond reason and morality and selling its soul for the proverbial “30 pieces of silver”.

The Palestine Solidarity Group (PSG), a non-sectarian collection of Muslims, Jews, Christians and those of no faith, therefore calls upon the people of the Cape and all South Africans to show our revulsion over the Cape Opera Company’s behaviour by boycotting all home performances of the Company and voicing our objections. 


We make this call not only because, as South Africans, we expected and received international solidarity during our dark days but because our tax money almost certainly goes towards supporting a company that has no qualms about besmirching the good name of all South Africans who are committed to democracy, freedom and equality. We also call on the City of Cape Town and Western

Cape governments to withdraw and cancel all future subsidies to the Cape Town Opera.



For more information contact:

Mercia Andrews 0823683429

Martin Jansen 0828702025




  29 Oct 2010

Following my article on Israel/Palestine in the Sydney Morning Herald this week and the response the day after, today’s paper has the following comment by the letter’s editor:

Arguments about Israel and Palestine often seem to go on in parallel tunnels with no connecting passages, and that was neatly illustrated by the response to Thursday’s pieces by Antony Loewenstein and Colin Rubenstein. Many argued strenuously and coherently against one or the other, but almost no one tried to draw conclusions from a synthesis or overview of the two.



  29 Oct 2010

David Rotem, Yisrael Beiteinu:

In my opinion, every Jewish town needs at least one Arab. What would happen if my refrigerator stopped working on a Saturday?

 29 Oct 2010

Because the New York Times really needs more riding instructions from the Zionist establishment: 

New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. and the influential daily’s executive editor Bill Keller visited the West Bank city of Ariel on Wednesday.

According to the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, the American executives were given a tour of a number of settlements as part of a PR campaign launched by the [settler] Yesha Council. During their 24-hour stay in Israel, Sulzberger, Keller, the editor of the New York Times’ editorial page and the paper’s foreign desk editor met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Palestinian counterpart Salam Fayyad.

As part of their tour of the West Bank, Sulzberger and the editors visited the Barkan Industrial Park, which is an important source of employment for both Israelis and Palestinians. Following a meeting with Yesha Council chairman Danny Dayan, the New York Times executives continued to the Ariel University Center of Samaria, where Chancellor Yigal Cohen-Orgad spoke to them about the Arab students who are enrolled in the institution. Some 160 opinion leaders from all over the world have visited the West Bank over the past six months. 

  29 Oct 2010

The meltdown of an American Zionist leader, Abe Foxman, is an astounding thing to see: 


Abraham Foxman from Blue Pilgrimage on Vimeo.

Max Blumenthal comments
and I totally agree:

Personally, I would prefer to see Foxman stay at the helm of the ADL for a long time, and not only because I enjoy witnessing the slow motion collapse of the sclerotic, reactionary Jewish-American establishment that he represents.


  29 Oct 2010

This is what we have created in Iraq by our own actions; turning a blind eye to torture, murder and abuse. In the name of “liberation”, of course:


During the foreboding months of 2005, one police unit struck more fear into Iraqis than the entire occupying US army. They were known as the Wolf Brigade.

Brutal even by Iraqi standards, their soldiers and officers seemingly answered to no one. They were seen as indiscriminate and predatory. The unit’s reputation had been known Iraq-wide and results of their numerous raids are still bogged down in Iraq’s legal system.

But the full range of their abuses and close co-operation with the US army remained in the shadows until the WikiLeaks disclosures showcased them in stark detail.

A visit from the unit to any neighbourhood was sure to bring trouble – as it it did for Omar Salem Shehab on 25 June that year.

“We were at home that night,” Shehab recalled this week. “We were three brothers sleeping above my ice-cream shop. We were woken by soldiers entering our house by force. They came with Americans. They said we were wanted and produced a document. The Americans took our pictures, then the soldiers we now knew were the Wolf Brigade took us to the Seventh Division camp [of the Iraqi army].”

Shehab and his brothers lived in Dora, in Baghdad’s south, a lethal enclave of the city that was rapidly deteriorating into chaos. Like most of Dora’s residents, they are Sunni Muslims.

The trio were at the army camp for a day, then transferred to Baghdad’s main prison, known as Tsferrat.

“We were tortured all the time, he said. “We were never investigated, just tortured. The commander of the Wolf Brigade, Abu al-Walid was one of the torturers. My brother had a kidney problem and they continued to torture him without giving him medicine.  


An Iraqi criminal prisoner was tortured and beaten to death within three days of being turned over to police in Basra by British troops.

This latest detailed evidence of previously covered-up Iraq atrocities has emerged following the leak of a vast number of Iraq war logs compiled by the US army and containing hour-by-hour military field reports.

The 391,832 previously secret field reports, passed to the Guardian and other newspapers by the online whistleblowing group WikiLeaks, has already shown that US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, rape and murder by Iraqi police and soldiers.

According to the new evidence, British authorities were well aware of the atrocities that were occurring in Basra and were unhappy about them.

An autopsy was conducted on the prisoner, the police officer said to have killed him was named in a UK investigation, and high-level diplomatic protests were made to the Iraqi interior minister, without apparent result.

Documents obtained by the Guardian and by a Danish newspaper detail the arrest of Abbas Alawi by a joint British and Danish patrol on 10 April 2005.

In Operation Grey Wolf, Alawi – code-named Bravo One – was picked up along with three other men in a dawn raid by British infantry of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. The logs record that the prisoners were handed over to the Basra police, controlled by Iraq’s ministry of the interior.

29 Oct 2010

James Wolfensohn, former World Bank President and former head of the Middle East Quartet, was on Australian TV last night talking about Israel/Palestine and the message was clear; America is Israel’s lawyer:

Jim Wolfensohn, I’d like to focus mainly on your personal experience as George W. Bush’s handpicked choice as special enjoy of quartet to the Middle East – the US, Russia, the European Union and the UN.


KERRY O’BRIEN: Because in your book you suggest a cynicism behind your appointment that over time cut the ground from under you. Now before we get to the detail of that, can you just briefly explain what you set out to achieve in that job?

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: Well I was asked by the quartet to try and assist in two things. The first one was the immediate issue of the withdrawal from Gaza. And the second was to try and see if that could be extended to a resolution of the issues in the West Bank so that ultimately there could be the much-sought-after two-state solution. And the reason that I was asked to do it was to make sure that, initially, the Gaza withdrawal took place satisfactorily.

KERRY O’BRIEN: And very much a part of your intent was to try to help secure some kind of economic underpinning for the future of the West Bank and Gaza so that the Palestinian community as a separate state would actually have some chance of establishing itself.

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: Well the immediate issue then was to make sure that Gaza could survive, and there are a number of things associated with that. You needed to have some sort of industry in Gaza and there were two things which suggested themselves. One was tourism, because it has a wonderful coastline, and the other was agriculture, because there were greenhouses there that were left by arrangements which we made by the Israeli settlers.

And so, it looked as though you could have a Gaza that was financially and economically stable. And the second part was that there was agreement for a linkage between the Gaza and the West Bank with the ability for people to travel between the Gaza and the West Bank. And there was also a plan which was announced by Condi Rice for an airport, for a port in Gaza which gave them the possibility of access, not only to the West Bank, but to the rest of the world.

KERRY O’BRIEN: You felt you were making real progress on a number of fronts. You won significantly more money from the G8 for economic aid for the Palestinian authority, …


KERRY O’BRIEN: … you were breaking down Israeli barriers to the flow of trade in and out of Gaza on the West Bank. You had built a rapport with both Israeli and Palestinian leaderships. But at a critical point when you ask asked for backup from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice you felt that you were essentially cut of at the knees. Now what happened?

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: Well I think several things happened. The first thing was that shortly after the withdrawal Arik Sharon, shortly after the withdrawal, got sick for a first time, and then as you know became permanently incapacitated. So that took away the leader on the Israeli side. The second thing was that I don’t think the Americans ever were totally committed or convinced that the opening of Gaza would be a peaceful activity, and unfortunately they were assisted in coming to a contrary view by the fact that you had an outbreak of violence in Gaza towards Israel.

KERRY O’BRIEN: But during those talks when Condi Rice was there in the Middle East, …


KERRY O’BRIEN: … you were so angry at being …

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: I was very angry.

KERRY O’BRIEN: When you realised you were being cut out of the process with Condi Rice, the Palestinians and the Israelis, that you told Secretary Rice that you were resigning.

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: I did, that night, exactly. And I said that I wasn’t there as a token. I was there – I’d worked very hard to try and bring about a sense of confidence on both sides and I was trusted by both sides. When those negotiations were going on, I was sitting with the Palestinians and really keeping them calm because they were friends of mine. I’d worked with both sides.

And, unfortunately I think there was a very different axis between the United States and Israel about what was going to happen, what the outcome was going to be. So I told Condi that I was out at 10 o’clock that night and she said, “No, you can’t get out,” and so he worked till five o’clock in the morning, and I was more or less in the discussions and was there then with the head of the European Union to try and make an announcement at seven or eight the next morning that we had this agreement about the airport, the port, the linkage between the Gaza and the West Bank, all of which sounded great but which very sadly never happened.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Well, in fact you say with that agreement, the Condi Rice and the Israelis subsequently took it apart, piece by piece.

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: That’s correct. But the reason that they gave for that was the outbreak of violence, which occurred by some extremist Palestinians and some extremist Israelis who were to be found in the military who responded, and the sense of good will which we’d hoped for to build a peaceful working relationship, certainly didn’t happen. And, …

KERRY O’BRIEN: Left you nowhere to go.

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: … that was at the moment when Arik Sharon had got sick. And if Arik had been around I think things could have could have been different, but he wasn’t.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Now, the job collapsed for you in April 2006. You walked away


KERRY O’BRIEN: But in October Kofi Anan asked you …


KERRY O’BRIEN: … to take up the cudgel again …


KERRY O’BRIEN: … and become special envoy again to the quartet.

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: Right. With the support of the United States, that offer was made.

KERRY O’BRIEN: But you obviously were a little bit mistrusting of that support because you had a conversation with Condi Rice, asked her some pertinent questions and as a result of her answers, you then declined the offer.

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: Well the key question was: would I be kept informed about what the United States was doing. Because after the previous experience it was very clear to me that there was a direct dialogue between the United States and the Israelis. And if you weren’t part of that, you really had no chance of being central to what was going on. And I warned my successor, Tony Blair, of that issue and I’m afraid Tony is suffering in the same way.

KERRY O’BRIEN: But, the second question you asked related to your own security. Would you have the same security arrangements backed by the United States as you had last time and she wasn’t even prepared to do that?

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: They were prepared not to do that, but the Brits were prepared to do it. But I thought it was ridiculous to have British security in the United States but I never got round to arguing it because the other issue was much more important.

KERRY O’BRIEN: So, on the one hand the United States wanted you back in the game, but they didn’t?

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: I believe that to be the case. I believe the quartet wanted me back and the US went along with it because I hadn’t done anything wrong, and then they appointed Tony Blair on the same limited terms that I was fighting against. So I think honestly the United States never took the quartet seriously. I think the issue was that they were conducting the negotiations with the Israelis and the quartet was a camouflage.

KERRY O’BRIEN: So when you warned Tony Blair to read the fine print, what did he say?

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: Well, he tried to get an expanded mandate, which unfortunately he never got, so he doesn’t – he has been part of the economic process, but not part of the political process and I think he misses that.

KERRY O’BRIEN: So do you think he’s doomed to the same failure that you were?

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: Well if he’s happy with an economic mandate, then he’s OK. But you should ask him, but I would be surprised if he felt that his talents were being adequately used in terms of the peace process.

KERRY O’BRIEN: But isn’t the success of the economic mandate contingent on the success of the political mandate?

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: Very significant.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Aren’t they absolutely inter-related?

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: Very significantly, but it is possible to contemplate having economic advances, as there are very significantly today in the West Bank. In the West Bank there is very close co-operation between Israeli and Palestinian companies. What is being left out is of course Gaza, for a variety of reasons, the most obvious of which is the political and the threat that Gaza poses, not just to the Israelis, but also to a united Palestine.

KERRY O’BRIEN: As somebody who takes the whole issue of peace in the Middle East extremely seriously, there are aspects to that saga that must have left you feeling sick in the stomach.

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: They did and I am very worried now because I think we’re at the last stage of trying to get a negotiated agreement now. And I worry very much that if the current discussions collapse, I think there isn’t the energy around for looking at getting everybody focused on this issue for quite some time. And I fear the consequences could be substantial violence.

KERRY O’BRIEN: You say that in the end the Israelis and the Palestinians are 11 million people in a sea of 350 million Arabs, and that they need to understand they are not the most important regional issue. What are you saying? What’s the message?

JAMES WOLFENSOHN: Well, I think the most important regional issues are the split between the Sunnis and the Shias and obviously the issue of Iran, which dominates everything. And I think that the 11 million people have had a lot of prominence, get a lot of prominence in the press, but really it’s relatively a small issue. The issue of Jerusalem is a very important issue emotionally, but the issue of the 11 million, where frankly my experience was that no-one particularly likes the Jews, no-one particularly likes the Palestinians, but that’s a very personal comment which probably shouldn’t be on television, but it is what I believe. 

28 Oct 2010

The always eloquent Jewish writer and blogger The Magnes Zionist:

Israel’s ‘Arab Problem’ was not the inevitable creation of Zionism, or even of the Jewish state idea. It was created by the specific kind of Jewish state that was founded in 1948, a state that embodied the exclusivist ethnic nationalist ethos of the founders, who passed and implemented ethnically discriminatory laws and policies in the early years of the state – and in recent days. The sort of Jewish state that Israel became is more discriminatory and marginalizing of its minority than most contemporary ethnicpreference in immigration to members of its majority ethnic group, Israel bestows automatic and immediate citizenship to anyone who is considered Jewish religiously or racially, provided that he or she was not an adherent of another religion.

Again, unlike many other ethnic states, which accord preference in citizenship to native minorities, Israel’s Arab minority is not considered favored in immigration; on the contrary, there are emergency orders forbidding spouses of Israeli citizens to become naturalized, if the citizens are Palestinian Arab. Again, unlike other ethnic states that have procedures for nationalizing those who are not members of the majority ethnic group, Israel has no naturalization procedure besides the fiat of the minister of Interior. A minister of Interior from a rightwing or religious party ensures that there will be no naturalized citizens.


  28 Oct 2010

So while Australian troops are training Afghan warlords here and working with them in their country – something the military establishment is defending because, well, that’s the way it is in Afghanistan and it’s jolly fun to work alongside alleged murderers and rapists in the “war on terror” – the Western war effort is going just swimmingly:

The U.S. military has only minimal knowledge of – and exercises virtually no control over – the thousands of Afghans it indirectly pays to guard its installations, including “warlords and strongmen linked to murder, kidnapping, bribery” and to the Taliban, Senate investigators said in a blistering report released Thursday.





Posted in Middle EastComments Off on A.LOEWENSTEIN ONLINE NEWSLETTER



Dear Friends,

Win some, lose some.  Item 1 reports a loss. 

Notwithstanding Desmond Tutu’s eloquent plea to the Cape Town opera not to perform Porgy and Bess in Israel, not to perform at all in Israel until it ended its apartheid regime, the opera company has rejected his appeal. 

I must say that this surprised me.  I thought that if there is one country, or opera company in that country, that Tutu’s appeal and those of others not to come would stir to act on it, it would be a South African opera company.  Of course there is no question that to break a contract would have cost the company money—very likely a great deal, but is that all that counts?

Item 2 consists of reports about several recent occurrences in the West Bank—things that you should know.  None of these is long.  Just remember not to forget that life for Palestinians in the West Bank is often unpleasant—especially when settlers burn Palestinian olive trees, and chase Palestinian children.

Item 3 is Amira Hass’s idea of how to wean Palestinians away from Hamas.  I have added a link there to an Israeli General’s plan for easing life for the population of Gaza.  He has much the same aim, perhaps, as Hass, but . . .

The final item consists of links to one of today’s main Israeli news items: the fundamentalist right-wingers march through the Palestinian city (in Israel) of Um al-Fahm.  The links are to international sources, most of which I found more thorough than the Israeli reports.

All the best,



1. Cape Town Opera to go on Israel tour despite Tutu plea

Desmond Tutu was an outspoken critic of apartheid and was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1984

South Africa’s Cape Town Opera has turned down an appeal from Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu to call off a tour of Israel.

He said it would be as inappropriate as it had been for international firms to visit South Africa during apartheid.

But Cape Town Opera’s managing director said the company was reluctant to take the political stand of shunning cultural ties with Israel.

An Israel government spokesman told the BBC such boycotts did not aid peace.

Continue reading the main story

Related stories

The opera’s production of Porgy and Bess will be performed in Tel Aviv next month.

In his letter the archbishop, who retired from public life earlier this month, said it would be wrong for the Cape Town singers to perform “in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity”.

‘Vicious propaganda’

He said the tour should be postponed “until both Israeli and Palestinian opera lovers of the region have equal opportunity and unfettered access to attend performances”.

“Only the thickest-skinned South Africans would be comfortable performing before an audience that excluded residents living, for example, in an occupied West Bank village 30 minutes from Tel Aviv.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote 

Our artists act as ambassadors and exemplars of the free society that has been achieved in democratic South Africa”

End Quote Michael Williams Cape Town Opera

“To perform Porgy and Bess, with its universal message of non-discrimination, in the present state of Israel, is unconscionable.”

Israeli government spokesman Andy David said boycotts were not the way forward and cultural tours were the best way to bring peace in the violent region.

“Cultural relations sending messages of peace and co-operation – that’s the only way to promote peace,” he told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme.

Mr David also dismissed any comparison between apartheid South Africa and Israel.

“There are no discriminatory laws in Israel, there are no racial issues in Israel – we have Arabs in the government.”

The spokesman added that he felt that the archbishop’s comments were “one-sided” and were a cause for concern.

“I think that people from the opera who never visited Israel are listening to vicious propaganda against my country.”

‘Food for thought’

Cape Town Opera’s managing director said he believed in the “transformative power of the arts”.

“I am proud that our artists, when travelling abroad, act as ambassadors and exemplars of the free society that has been achieved in democratic South Africa,” Michael Williams said in a statement.

He said the company was “reluctant to adopt the essentially political position of disengagement from cultural ties with Israel or with Palestine”.

Mr Williams said was aware of the possibility of being seen as partisan, so has ongoing negotiations to perform within the Arab world.

“In particular, Cape Town Opera welcomes the opportunity to perform within Palestine as well,” he said.

The production of the Gershwin opera has “much which should provide food for thought for audiences in Israel”, he added.

More on This Story

Related stories


2.  Notes from the West Bank

From Iyad Burnat,

October 27, 2010

The Racism Even In The Image Of The Wall

Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2010

I went on a tour to photograph the Apartheid Wall that was built on the territory of the Palestinian village of Bil’in, located in the West Bank.

After a ruling of the highest Israeli Court, the path of which the first wall had been built had to be changed and now the Israel has to build a new wall: the new wall is a set of concrete cubes ranging in length up to eight meters tall. The old wall was an electric fence with barbed wire which would send an electric shock at the slightest touch. This first wall was set up by Israel on Palestinian land and has been extremely dangerous (in some cases deadly), not only to human beings but also to animals and other wildlife. Many animals lost their lives after running into the fence and being instantly electrocuted.

The Palestinian resistance has been ongoing and consistent for the past five and a half years. The people insist on continuing this resistance and do not want to give up their rights to their land. They refuse to be silent about the theft by Israeli companies building illegal settlements on Palestinian land. The people also refuse to be silent about the destruction of their olive trees; these trees are not only considered a living for some but a symbol of strength for all Palestinian people …

This “Non-Violent” Resistance that started in most Palestinian areas after the building of the Wall and the building of illegal settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will continue and will not cease. This new kind of resistance has an unprecedented amount of support from Palestinian, Israeli and international activists and volunteers alike.
After the changes of the route of the old Wall in Bil’in, 1000 dunums of land located behind the wall will be returned to the respective owners in the village.

When I arrived at the Israeli side of the new Wall, I saw a strange thing. This wall is not only racist in its completion but also in its composition. I am familiar with the cubes on the Palestinian side of the Wall, but I discovered that on the other side the Wall is decorated with beautiful motifs. So people on the Israeli side of the wall do not feel the same as people on the Palestinian side of the wall. To me it seemed that if one did not know what the real purpose of the wall was, from the Israeli side it looks like a decorated highway partition….however, on the Palestinian side it’s concrete cubes stacked one above the other, which is ugly and not pleasant and looks exactly how the wall of a maximum security prison looks like.

This type of racism is applied by the Israeli government on Palestinians. This and other types of scams deceive people and does not show them the truth. It paints a picture that is beautiful on the outside but on the inside, in reality, is grim.!/profile.php?id=100000131186902

Iyad Burnat



 from Amos Gvirtz

Don’t say we did not know #235

On Saturday, 9th October, 2010, Palestinian farmers, residents of Palestinian Sussya, accompanied by Israeli human rights activists, went to plough their fields in ‘Atariyya (located south of the access road to the outpost Mitzpe Yair). The activity was co-ordinated with the Civil Administration (IDF). Settlers who came from Sussya started to attack. The IDF soldiers declared the area a closed military area and drove the farmers and accompanying group out, instead of kicking out the attackers.

When the Israeli activists returned to their vehicle (Ezra Nawi’s car) they were attacked by three settlers with covered faces.  The settlers smashed the front window and hurt one of the activists. Soldiers and policemen who were only 120m away did nothing to stop the attack or detain the attackers. The soldiers even mocked the activists…


 On Wednesday, 20th October, 2010, government representatives accompanied by police went to Bedouin villages in the Negev and demolished homes. In Bir el-Hamam a home was demolished; 12 people were made homeless.  In el-Gara a home and two structures were demolished; eight people were made homeless.

 Questions & queries:

From CPT Tuwani Team <>


October 26, 2010

On the afternoon of Monday October 25th, Palestinian schoolchildren from the villages of Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed were threatened by four adult Israeli settlers from the Havat Ma’on outpost while walking home from school. The children, aged 6-13, were walking without their normal Israeli military escort because the military had, for the second consecutive afternoon, failed to arrive to accompany the children.

After waiting for the military for over an hour, the children were forced to take a longer route on which masked Israeli settlers have attacked Palestinians and Internationals on three separate occasions over the past two weeks (see release, Internationals from the Christian Peacemaker Teams accompanied the children home and were present to observe the four Israeli settlers leave a house on a ridge above the path and begin to run towards the children and Internationals. The schoolchildren immediately began to run away, at which point the settlers slowed to a brisk walk but continued to follow the running children for a few more minutes until all were safely out of sight.

The Israeli military is mandated by the Israeli Knesset to escort these children to and from school each day because Israeli settlers from the Ma’on settlement and Havat Ma’on outpost have repeatedly attacked schoolchildren on their way to and from school. On the afternoons of the 24th and 25th, Internationals from Operation Dove and the Christian Peacemaker Teams made repeated calls to the Israeli military to notify them that the children were ready and waiting for the escort, but the army never arrived. This is the third incident this month in which the army has failed to arrive to escort the schoolchildren.

Operation Dove and Christian Peacemaker Teams have maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and South Hebron Hills since 2004. 

[Note: According to the Geneva Conventions, the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and numerous United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal. Most settlement outposts, including Havot Ma’on (Hill 833) are considered illegal under Israeli law.]


3.  Haaretz,

October 27, 2010

The Israeli General in charge of Coordinating Israeli government policies in Gaza set out a plan for improving life there.  If it interests you, check it out and compare to Amira Hass’s program and decide for yourselves which is the most likely to succeed–,7340,L-3975423,00.html

Of course Israel’s leaders would gladly do away with Gaza.  It’s a bone in their throats, since it is part and parcel of historic Palestine, but thanks to Israel colonizing the area between Gaza and the West Bank, is now physically separated from the WB.  Israel has no intention of allowing Gaza to reunite with the WB.  Hamas is a convenient excuse for keeping Gaza under Israel’s foot.  Had there been no Hamas, Israel would have had to invent it.

Want to weaken Hamas? Open Gaza’s gates

Israel’s policy, meant to overthrow Hamas by prohibiting production and manufacturing, has failed miserably.

By Amira Hass

Do you really want to weaken Hamas? Surprise it. Go back and open Gaza’s gates – to ordinary human movement, not just to cherries, shavers and a handful of pious Muslims who manage to wend their way past the Egyptian bureaucracy. Open the Erez checkpoint. Then you’ll see how Gazans yearn for life.

Let young people study outside the Gaza Strip. Despite the exasperating presence of Israel’s foreign rule, in the Palestinian enclaves in the West Bank those young people will encounter a form of diversity that is becoming extinct in Gaza. They will discover that such diversity is better than the monolithic reality imposed by Israel’s siege and messianic politics. Allow female pupils and female teachers to tour their land and see that the world is more complicated than brainwashing television programs and competitions to obtain relief packages. Consider this: Diplomats report that most Hamas summer camps in Gaza have been closed; most children preferred camps operated by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.

Stop suffocating manufacturers who have become impoverished over the past five years. Challenge those who call for a boycott, and allow the forcibly unemployed to find work in Israel. Let’s see if Hamas can stop them from doing that. The Kav La’oved worker’s hotline will campaign devotedly against their exploitation, while Palestinian organizations will try to dissuade them, softly or not, from working in Israel.

Yet their self-esteem, buoyed by the fact that they are again providing for their families, will find its place among such internal contradictions. Let cement and iron enter Gaza so engineers, builders and painters can get back to work. They will rebuild the rubble, along with their attitudes on life.

When residents from Hebron, Nazareth and foreign countries travel to the Khan Yunis coast, or visit a cultural center north of the Al-Shatti refugee camp, their illusions about the wonders of the religious-totalitarian regime will evaporate. The earlier the quarantine in which Gazans were put some 20 years ago is broken, the harder it will be for Hamas to tighten the bridle.

The apocryphal legend says that the closure – the regime of movement restrictions – was imposed on the Palestinians because of the strengthening Islamic movement and the terror strikes against Israeli citizens. But the sequence of events should be read the opposite way: The policy of mass confinement took root in January 1991, before the suicide attacks in Israel. This is a society that was progressively allowed less access to the outside world and experienced ever-more sophisticated variants of Israeli oppression and a lack of concrete solutions from the PLO leadership. Under such circumstances, is it any wonder Allah’s earthly emissaries managed to find their way to people’s hearts?

If the Israeli government’s policy indeed meant to overthrow Hamas by prohibiting production and manufacturing, and by using mathematical formulas to make sure that the animals’ – excuse me, the human beings’ – nourishment does not slip beyond a red line, then it has failed miserably. This failure was evident before Israel was compelled by international pressure to annul the restrictions on the entry of consumer goods. Gaza residents’ famously high threshold of pain and endurance levels let them get by the past three dark years. Unjustly, this resilience is attributed to Hamas.

Appearing increasingly self-confident and self-satisfied, Hamas is consolidating its rule. True, it relies on stifling dissent, intimidation and oppression (like its rival, the Palestinian Authority ). But thanks to its strong talent for improvisation, Hamas is learning to serve the population and supply vital needs under extremely hostile circumstances. Are those policy makers who devised the draconian restrictions that foolish to think that bans on chocolate and toys and the destruction of the manufacturing sector would stir an uprising against Hamas or convince it to deliver the keys of power to Mahmoud Abbas?

It would be wrong to dismiss the wisdom of our leaders. Perhaps they’ve gotten exactly what they wanted – to strengthen Hamas in the Gaza Strip, both for perpetuating the intentional division between Gaza and the West Bank and to encourage perpetual low-intensity warfare (which sometimes escalates ).

Only under such circumstances do our leaders know how to function, while securing their people’s support.


4.  Links to one of today’s top stories in Israel: Fundamentalist Israeli rightists march in Um al-Fahm, a Palestinian city in Israel—1000s of police to protect 50 or so marchers and to keep the Palestinians (all citizens of Israel) in line.  Reports are also in the three main Israeli daylies, but I found some of the international ones more objective and in some cases better.  You can judge for yourselves. If  you decide to read only one, then I recommend Al Jazeera, and if 2, then also the Independent.

International news reports about today’s (Oct. 27) Israeli fundamentalist march in Um al-Fahm.

BBC (includes video)




Al Jazeera [the only report that I have seen that mentions the ‘plain clothes policemen’—a military unit that dresses like Arabs and then operates from within the crowd or  Palestinian city, or neighborhood, or at demonstrations.  They infiltrate and seeming to be Arabs do not draw attention, which enables them to kill, detain, whatever without at first being suspected.

The LA Times, NY Times, and Washington Post had nothing about the events, yet.


Posted in Middle East1 Comment



Dear Friends,

Tonight’s message is almost entirely reports and commentary about Israeli racism.  Even the first item, which is about a massacre, can ultimately be posited under Israeli racism. 

Items 2-4 are reports about racist incidents.  Item 5 is commentary that furnishes background. Item 6 is satirical.  When Israeli racism becomes material for satire, we know not only that it really exists, but also that it has become extreme.



1.The report below about the Kfar Qassem commemoration leaves out more than it relates, namely the details of the massacre.  In brief, it occurred when a curfew was imposed on the village by the military government, at which time many of the villagers were in their fields and unaware of the curfew.  When they returned the border police mowed them down—women, children, elderly, as well as men.  For those of you who would like more details, the internet has much on the incident.  See for instance 


October 29, 2010

    Arabs mark Kfar Kassem massacre anniversary

MKs, Arab leaders and some Jews remember those killed by Border Police officers 54 years ago, call out against current government’s ‘racist discourse’,7340,L-3976683,00.html

Sharon Roffe-Ofir

Hundreds of people gathered in Kfar Kassem Friday morning to mark the 54th anniversary of the massacre which took place in the Arab village.

“Unfortunately, the anniversary of the massacre is relevant more than ever before. The idea of a (population) transfer, which was the guiding principle of the massacre, has become the official discourse of the Israeli government,” Knesset Member Mohammad Barakeh told Ynet. 

The massacre was carried out by Israeli Border Police officers and resulted in the death of 49 Arab civilians. 

During the memorial service, MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) referred to the controversial loyalty oath, saying, “Our weapon is our loyalty to our homeland and clinging to the land. Jews must join our fight against racism for the sake of democracy and equality.” 

MK Barakeh added, “We sense the danger but do not fear the racists. We will defeat them one day.” 

Friday’s rally, held just two days after a rightist march in Umm al-Fahm triggered Arab riots in the northern town, was attended by Arab lawmakers, leaders of the Israeli-Arab community and a number of Jews, who called out against “fascism” and the government’s “violent and racist discourse.” 

The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee called for a city-wide strike in Umm al-Fahm in condemnation of “excessive police violence” during the rioting. 


2.  Haaretz,

October 29, 2010

Segregation of Jews and Arabs in 2010 Israel is almost absolute

For those of us who live here, it is something we take for granted. But visitors from abroad cannot believe their eyes.

By Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu

Under the guise of the deceptively mundane name “Amendment to the Cooperative Associations Bill,” the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee this week finalized a bill intended to bypass previous rulings of the High Court of Justice. If indeed this legislation is approved by the Knesset plenum, it will not be possible to describe it as anything other than an apartheid law.

Ten years ago, the High Court of Justice ordered the town of Katzir to accept the family of Adel and Iman Kaadan, Arab citizens of Israel, as members of the community. Seven years later, the court issued a similar ruling against the Galilee village of Rakefet, which, like Katzir, is Jewish. Now, however, the legislature has come up with a proper “Zionist” response to the justices: If it becomes law, the amendment will give acceptance committees of communal villages the authority to limit residence in their towns exclusively to Jews.

Using polished and sanitized language, the bill would allow such committees in small rural suburbs to reject applications from families that “are incompatible with the social-cultural fabric of the community, and where there are grounds to assume that they will disrupt this fabric.”

In other words, if admissions committees were previously forced to exercise some degree of creativity if they wanted to hide their national-ethnic grounds for rejecting Arabs, now, as Rabbi Akiva said, “All is foreseen, and freedom of choice is granted” (Pirkei Avot 3 ). Arabs? Not here. Sorry, the law is with us on this.

Those who feign innocence, including some from the center of our political map, will say, “The bill is not intended to keep out Arabs. What’s wrong with supporting the right of communities to protect their unique way of life?”

Indeed, what is wrong with that? There’s no argument that the vegetarians of Moshav Amirim, in the Galilee, have a right to defend themselves against an invasion of carnivores, just as the practitioners of transcendental meditation at Hararit, in the Misgav region, need to be able to meditate without interruption, but those communities are genuinely unique in character. This is not the case for the dozens of yeshuvim kehilati’im (literally, “community settlements” ) all over Israel, whose principal cultural feature is the fact that their residents are Jewish and Zionist – hardly a population under imminent threat, whose unique way of life needs protection.

Several months ago, we were given a glimpse of just how quickly the new law will be implemented, when several such villages, anticipating the Knesset’s action, hurriedly established bylaws that effectively barred Arabs. In the communities of Yuvalim and Manof, in the Misgav area, applicants are now required to declare their allegiance to the Zionist vision, while in Mitzpe Aviv, a bit to the south, applicants must declare their identification with the values of Zionism and the definition of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

It’s not as if Arab families are standing in line to move to these gated communities, which were established mainly in the 1970s and ’80s by Zionist organizations like the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund for the purpose of “Judaizing” areas like the Negev and the Galilee. No one ever expected these towns to provide the answer to the horrendous housing shortage faced by Israel’s Arab population. For them, not a single new town has been established since 1948, with the exception of a few impoverished Bedouin settlements in the Negev. Nor has the central government seen fit to assist or give approval to the existing Arab municipalities in the drawing up of master plans that would allow them to implement a program of growth and development to meet the needs of a growing population or mitigate their poor quality of life.

And this is without even mentioning cities like Upper Nazareth, Safed or Carmiel, where a variety of statements have been made – sometimes by the most senior municipal officials themselves – that are designed to push Arabs out or prevent their integration into these cities.

Segregation of Jews and Arabs in Israel of 2010 is almost absolute. For those of us who live here, it is something we take for granted. But visitors from abroad cannot believe their eyes: segregated education, segregated businesses, separate entertainment venues, different languages, separate political parties … and of course, segregated housing. In many senses, this is the way members of both groups want things to be, but such separation only contributes to the growing mutual alienation of Jews and Arabs.

Several courageous attempts – particularly in mixed cities and regions – have been made to change the situation, bridge the rifts and promote integration. These range from efforts to develop mixed educational frameworks, to joint economic ventures and other interventions intended to foster good neighborly relations based on equal opportunity. Until now, these attempts addressed a situation of de facto segregation. From today, however, segregation will be de jure, to the shame of Israel. 

Amnon Be’eri Sulitzeanu is the co-executive director of the Abraham Fund Initiatives, an organization that promotes coexistence and equality between Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens.


3.  Haaretz,

October 29, 2010

Arab students attacked in Safed

Attack reflects rising tension over the growth in the Safed’s Arab population, mostly students.

Some 20 youngsters from Safed attacked several Arab students who live in an apartment in the town’s center last weekend. Nobody was hurt. The police arrested three suspects in the assault, including one border policeman.

The attack is seen as a reflection of the rising tension over the growth in the Arab population in Safed, mostly students at Safed College who are residing in the city.

About two weeks ago, the town’s chief rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu, and other prominent rabbis called not to rent or sell apartments to non-Jews.

The rabbis also held what they called an “emergency gathering” whose speakers said the college was enabling the influx because most of its students are Arabs.

Eliyahu called to keep Arab students out of Safed College some eight years ago, after a suicide attack on a bus at Meron junction, after an Arab student had reportedly been warned of the attack by one of the terrorists. 

Eliyahu was indicted for incitement to racism for this and other statements he had made at that time. But the indictment was revoked about four years ago, following an agreement in which he promised to publish a clarification of his statements. (Eli Ashkenazi )


4.  Haaretz,

October 29, 2010

Shas spiritual leader may back ban on renting to Arabs

Former chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef cites centuries-old interpretation of halakhic ruling barring the sale of land to non-Jews.

By Chaim Levinson and Jack Khoury

A former chief rabbi of Israel on Thursday backed a centuries-old interpretation of Jewish religious law barring the sale of land to non-Jews.

Days after a group of rabbis urged Safed residents not to rent apartments to Arabs, former Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef reiterated a 500-year-old halakhic ruling barring the sale of land in the Land of Israel to non-Jews – a move that appeared to be a show of support for the other rabbis.

  Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, center, has a history of making controversial comments.

Photo by: Tomer Appelbaum 

With an increasing number of Arab students enrolling at Safed College, the city has also seen a rise in Arab students renting apartments there.

Rabbi Yosef’s comments on Thursday were made at a beit midrash, an institution for religious studies, and contradicted remarks he made last Saturday night to a more general audience in Jerusalem.

Yesterday he addressed halakha, Jewish religious law, in greater detail.

Rabbi Yosef, who has been known to make controversial comments in the past, cited rulings based on the Book of Deuteronomy related to the Jewish people’s inheritance of the land, the presence of other peoples on the land, and that the Jews should not make a covenant with them “nor show mercy unto them.”

According to Yosef, this has been understood to mean barring the sale of land to non-Jews, based on an interpretation by Rabbi Yosef Caro, the 16th-century author of the codification of Jewish law, the Shulhan Arukh.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef did not, however, explicitly address the issue of renting apartments to non-Jews.

In yesterday’s lesson, he said “selling to [non-Jews], even for a lot of money, is not allowed. We won’t let them take control of us here.”

The former chief rabbi is the spiritual leader of the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox Shas party, which refused to comment on his remarks.

In recent months, some rabbis and right-wing activists have campaigned against the sale of apartments to Arabs, particularly in mixed Arab-Jewish towns.

Two focal points of this effort are the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev, where followers of Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg of the Yitzhar settlement have been active, and Safed, where a group of rabbis claimed two weeks ago that the call not to rent to Arabs is supported by halakha. The latter event unleashed a storm of controversy in the Knesset, and led to stone-throwing last Saturday at Arab students’ apartments in Safed.

The Abraham Fund Initiatives, which promotes coexistence between Jews and Arabs, condemned Rabbi Yosef’s latest remarks, describing them as racist and having deepened the alienation between Jews and Arabs in Israel.

The organization said that the leader of a Sephardi-based movement, a community the Abraham Fund said had suffered from neglect and discrimination for many years, would be expected not to lend a hand to incitement, but instead work to promote tolerance.


5. [Thanks to Ran Greenstein for calling attention to this.]

  October 29 2010Independent commentary from Israel & the Palestinian territoriesCategories

October 28 2010’aadan-curse/

Yossi Gurvitz

Introducing ethnic segregation: the Q’aadan curse

How and why Zionist discrimination against non-Jews is made legal

Our story begins with a middle class couple, who wanted to build themselves a house in a country settlement. The time was the early 1990s, and the couple was facing one major problem. ‘Aadel and ‘Iman Q’aadan were not, as their names attest, good Jews. The plot they wanted to build on, in Katzir, was government land which was leased to the Jewish Agency.

The JA is a relic of the pre-independence period, and one of its main functions ever since the creation of Israel is to assist the government in assuring only Jews can buy land in Israel. The government has, for years, used the practice of leasing its lands to the JA, because its charter forbids it from selling land to non-Jews. The state could thus play the innocent and say well, it’s not our fault Arabs can’t live there; don’t look at us, talk to the Agency.

The Q’aadans appealed to the Supreme Court of Justice, citing the obvious fact that this practice amounts to discrimination in allocating state assets. They filed in 1995; and the Court did anything possible to steer clear of this booby-trapped petition, asking the sides to reach a settlement. Finally, in 2000, the Court was left with no choice and produced the only possible verdict. Aharon Barak, that great liberal, wrote at the time he was fearful of what his decision meant for Zionism; but when forced to choose between Zionism and equality, he chose = not without effort – to side with equality.

The saga doesn’t end here. Armed with the decision of the Court, the Q’aadans went back to Katzir and asked for the plot of land. The local committee took a few minutes to look into the issue and then informed them, obviously with great anguish and gnashing of teeth, that the Q’aadans “did not fit the character” of Katzir, and therefore the committee has no choice but to deny their request. The committee did not bother to explain its decision. The Q’aadans had to go appeal to the Supreme Court once more, the latter dragged its feet again, and it was only in August 2007 – seven and a half years since the original court decision, and 12 years after the original appeal – the Q’aadans finally got their land. The received assistance from the ACRI, who wrote to the Court (Hebrew) that while the government was waving its 2000 decision as a proof of its commitment to equality, it was doing all it could to prevent its execution.

The Q’aadan decision exposed Israel’s great bluff: for decades it pretended to be devoted to equality, all while acting to deny 20% of the population of its share in public assets – assets which, tragically, were often enough confiscated from that population. To use a less polite yet more accurate phrasing, the Zionist establishment is trying to keep its stolen property, even if, in the process, it will have to show the claim that Israel is a democracy to be an empty lie.

Why do I bother you with old news? Because it’s not old, not really. Yesterday, the Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset approved (Hebrew) a new bill, whose unofficial name says it all: “Q’aadan bypass bill”. According to the bill,  settlements with less than 500 families may create sorting committees; the latter may prevent a candidate from living there if he “does not fit the criteria of the settlement’s character”. They will become, in law as well as in effect, segregated communities.

What are the criteria? Certainly you can guess some of them  by yourselves. The local council of Misgav, for instance, demands that a candidate “be a Zionist” and “observe the Israeli [read: Jewish] holidays”. The goal of these criteria is rather clear – to prevent future Q’aadans from applying – but there are others. In the Kfar Akhim moshav, for instance, all applying couples must have married in the rabbinate. This means that heretics, divorcees, one-parent families and certainly gay couples need not apply.

The new bill also allows the committees to prevent anyone who doesn’t seem to have the money to build a house from living in the settlements. So, the government takes public lands, and then distributes them in a way that denies them not just to the 20% of non-Jews of the population, but also to anyone who isn’t rich enough to build a country house. Which seems to cover most of the population.

So, to sum up, a small group of well-to-do people will get much more territory, on condition that it serve as the door guard of the Israeli government, who will prevent Israeli Arabs from living beyond their Pale.

This way of establishing land robbery seems acceptable both to the government and the new landowners. As for the rest of the population, those who don’t have and won’t have the money to buy a house in an exclusive settlement will always be calmed down by being told that do doing so denies land to the Arabs. As for the Arabs, the government never took any account of them anyway.

As for equality, well, it’s a nice practice if you’re a democracy, but it hardly fits Jewish countries, does it?

Update: According to ‘Adalla, the law center dealing with discrimination against Israeli Palestinians, should the bill pass, 81% of public lands will be denied (Hebrew) to Israeli Palestinians. 

Read more from +972 Magazine’s contributors on the reception ==========================

6.  Haaretz,

October 29, 2010

Three cheers for Israel’s right

Because the right has been so phenomenally successful in its wise strategies, we can be pretty sure that it will continue to aggravate the world even further.

By Carlo Strenger

At this point the Western world is looking at Israel with a complete lack of understanding. Is it just a banana republic, something like a failed state? Or is it just behaving like a spoiled child, as Tom Friedman lately argued? Or is it an ethnocracy that, unsuccessfully, tries to hide ethnic cleansing and colonial ambitions behind protestations that it is under existential threat?

Israelis, in turn, feels misunderstood: After all, their country faces very real threats: Iran keeps calling for Israel’s destruction, and may become a nuclear power. Hezbollah is armed to the teeth with rockets, and it has shown that it is willing to use them against Israel’s population centers. Hamas rules Gaza, and its official position is that it will never accept Israel’s existence. So why doesn’t the world understand us?

The answer is, in the end, quite simple. It is the great achievement of Israel’s right to have made Israel’s fears utterly unbelievable to the world. Its other great achievement is that it has managed to confuse a large part of Israel’s constituency. It is therefore of the essence to celebrate this immortal achievement, because Israel’s right is about to score a further, valuable victory: After 62 years, Israel may soon cease to be a democracy, and finally be a Jewish state without excuses.

So let’s see how they’ve done it. For starters, they have intensely studied successful right-wing groups that have succeeded in the past. They have realized that these parties have always made use of the same three tricks: First, take a real danger and blow it out of proportion. Second, conflate it with some other, imaginary dangers, so it looks even greater. And third, act in a way that reinforces the imaginary danger by doing everything possible to invite criticism from abroad.

The first point is easy, because Israel is under real threat from Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas. There is also another, real problem: The Palestinians as yet have to state explicitly that they renounce the right of return to Israel inside the 1967 lines.

The phenomenal creativity of Israel’s right truly shines by mixing these real dangers with a few others. First, we are told that Israeli Arabs are a fifth column and will tear Israel apart. Then say that the world no longer accepts Israel’s existence. Make sure to conflate Ahmadinejad and Hamas with France, Britain and the European left. The former deny Israel’s legitimacy; the latter just want us to stop building settlements, to get out of the settlements, and to let the Palestinians have a state. Just keep the distinctions blurred so you can fan hysterical fear.

Now it’s really important to act in a way that reinforces your point. Build settlements; evict Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah; expropriate Palestinian property in Silwan and Judaize Jerusalem. Just to make sure the world won’t like us, demand a loyalty oath for gentiles who want Israeli citizenship. That may not be enough, so let’s make sure our foreign minister offends high-ranking French and Spanish officials, and runs wild at the UN. Oh, and it will truly help if Rabbi Ovadia Yosef also says that Gentiles were only created to serve Jews.

Now the world really hates us. What a relief! The rest is easy, because now you can discard every rational policy Israel could choose to defuse the real dangers. It could, God forbid, accept the Arab League peace initiative, and along the way make peace with Syria, thus weakening Hezbollah and Hamas dramatically, and isolate Iran.

Hope and constructive thinking have never been good for the right, so make every effort to prevent Israelis from knowing how effective Salaam Fayad has been in building institutions and a viable security force in the West Bank, and that Israelis are having coffee by the thousands in Jenin.

If the right is lucky, the voices in the world that argue that Israel has gone nuts and that Israel doesn’t intend to reach an agreement with the Palestinians will grow ever stronger. As a result, they will use the UN to recognize a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders. Then we can also say that the world as a whole hates us and that the language of international law and of human rights has been designed specifically to hurt Israel.

Because the right has been so phenomenally successful in its wise strategies, we can be pretty sure that it will continue to aggravate the world even further. And this will lead to the right’s ultimate triumph: Because after all, not only Israeli Arabs endanger Israel. So do leftist professors, writers and artists. Soon the right will get public opinion to the point where it will be acceptable to shut up all these disloyal people. Democracy, after all, is a Helenistic invention and very un-Jewish. So why not just drop the fiction of ‘Jewish and Democratic?’



Posted in Middle EastComments Off on DOROTHY ONLINE NEWSLETTER





Meltdown of the Macher: Abe Foxman loses it, calls Israeli interviewer a bigot and condemns the Seinfeld ‘Soup Nazi’

Oct 28, 2010

Max Blumenthal 

Anti-Defamation League National Director Abe Foxman arrived in Israel in mid-October on the heels of several controversial decisions that prompted a hail of criticism in the United States. Foxman may have hoped that while in Israel he would have been able to avoid sensitive issues like his condemnation of the construction of an Islamic community center near Ground Zero; the ADL’s honoring of right-wing media kingpin Rupert Murdoch; or the ADL’s release of a blacklist of “anti-Israel organizations.” And for most of his trip, Foxman was able to propagate his message to the Israeli public and international media without any background noise from the US.

Then the great macher agreed to an on-camera interview with David Sheen, a young writer and videographer who splits time between the center-left Israeli paper Haaretz and independent documentary projects. Sheen, an Israeli citizen who is a friend and colleague of mine, makes no secret of his strong views about issues ranging from the occupation of Palestine to animal rights. He submitted his questions to Foxman days before the interview at the request of the ADL’s press handler. But Foxman did not bother to review the questions. Instead, he walked into the interview expecting to be handled as he was by the rest of the Israeli media: gently and with a degree of deference.

This may explain why Foxman appears so shocked when Sheen confronts him with pointed questions about the ADL’s honoring of Murdoch (Foxman calls him “a media genius”) and his endorsement of the “bigoted” positions of opponents of the Park 51 mosque (Foxman claims the reporter who quoted him defending the anti-mosque crowd’s bigotry “didn’t know history from borscht”). As Sheen presents Foxman with a litany of concerns of his growing legion of detractors, who have accused him of turning the ADL into a smear machine that has nothing to do with its stated mission of promoting civil rights, Foxman furiously lashes out at his interviewer, accusing him of staging a “set up.”

On at least four occasions, Foxman threatens to end the interview, claiming the questions are “not productive” and that he has better things to do. But each time he remains in his seat and berates Sheen. As the interview progresses (or deteriorates), it is clear that Foxman has little interest in promoting the work of the ADL, or even in rebutting his critics. He is far more interested in screaming at Sheen. It is one of the strangest and most embarrassing interview performances I have seen since Sarah Palin campaigned for Vice President.

At around the 28 minute mark of the video, after Sheen has poked and prodded Foxman about the ADL’s denunciation of the animal rights group PETA –- an unusual line of questioning to be sure — Foxman suddenly launches into a forceful condemnation of the “Soup Nazi” character from the TV show Seinfeld. At this point, the interview morphs from a tense exchange into some kind of free association borscht belt comedy routine.

“If you don’t understand [the Holocaust] then you don’t learn the lessons,” Foxman remarks. “So if in New York we have a restaurant where a guy calls himself a Soup Nazi because he decides what kind of soup you’re going to eat, or buy, that’s a trivialization, you’ve learned nothing from history, and yeah, we do care, and we’ll speak out against it.” (No soup for you, Foxman!)

For the rest of the interview, Foxman and Sheen manage not to discuss a single issue of substance. Instead, Foxman rails against Sheen almost uncontrollably, accusing him of setting him up. At around 45 minutes into the video, Foxman launches into a crazed diatribe that ends with him calling Sheen (what else?) a bigot.

“’You don’t like this cup. Why don’t you like this cup? You support this camera! But what about this camera?’ That’s what you’re doing!” Foxman booms, waving his arms at every cup and camera in sight. “That’s the only thing you’re doing. And you’re selecting which cup of coffee, which camera — you’re selecting every example… You only showed your bigotry.” (No cups were harmed in the making of Sheen’s video).

Once again, Foxman declares an end to the interview. He is furious. But instead of leaving he remains in his seat and invites Sheen out for a meal. “First I want to talk to you at dinner. I want to get to know you. Then if you want to play this game before your audience, fine,” Foxman exclaims.

Before Sheen can direct his subject to the nearest TGI Friday’s, Foxman is overcome with regret for ever agreeing to the interview. He compares Sheen to the Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir, whose acclaimed documentary “Defamation” followed Foxman around the globe and ultimately exposed him and his colleagues as a bunch of goofballs hyping the issue of anti-Semitism to increase their influence and paychecks.

“I’ve made mistakes before. I participated in a movie in Israel. I made a judgment,” Foxman reflected. “I trusted him [Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir]. I took him into my heart. He screwed me. And a lot of people said don’t trust media. And in a nice way you basically did the same thing…. This was a set up, David! This was a way to embarrass what we do, to say there’s no consistency. PETA? Who gives a shit about PETA?”

Even after Foxman steps off the set, he continues to berate Sheen for supposedly being unfair. Finally, Sheen lights into Foxman for not being able to handle a few tough questions. “You know what I felt?” Sheen asks him. “You’re a professional. It’s your day job. You think all the time about these questions. You think all the time about the answers. I thought you’d be like 1, 2, 3 – like throwing cards at me. Because you hear them all the time. If you don’t hear them, maybe you’re in groupthink; maybe you’re only with people who think the same way you do.”

Sheen raises a good point here: Why couldn’t Foxman simply respond to his questions with a few punchy soundbites and walk away? Why did he throw an hour-long fit that had little to do with the ADL’s work and everything to do with his persecution complex? And has Foxman always behaved this way with journalists?

If I were a responsible member of the ADL’s board of directors who had watched Foxman’s performance, I would enter the next board meeting with some serious questions about his ability to lead. If he persists in responding to mildly adversarial or unpredictable questions like a cantankerous altecocker, or if he cannot control his temper in interviews long enough to muster a semi-coherent thought, Foxman is an organizational liability who might need to be replaced. Personally, I would prefer to see Foxman stay at the helm of the ADL for a long time, and not only because I enjoy witnessing the slow motion collapse of the sclerotic, reactionary Jewish-American establishment that he represents, but because I am a huge fan of borscht belt comedy, even of the unintentional variety.

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author based in New York City.

‘In my opinion, every Jewish town needs at least one Arab. What would happen if my refrigerator stopped working on a Saturday?’

Oct 28, 2010

Eva Smagacz

My Community Must be kept Pure

Asked David Rotem, chairman of Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee after said committee approved unanimously a law that allows communities to reject potential residents if they do not meet criteria of “suitability to the communities fundamental outlook” so that they are free to reject candidates on the grounds of age, sex, religion and socio-economic status.

I was not privileged to take part in deliberations of the Law and Justice Committee, but I can assume that between arguments forwarded was one not unlike this one

(…) this year Jewish-Israeli communities will finally be liberated from the sight and disastrous impact of these parasites. Step by step, the authorities responsible for the (…) future of Jewish-Israeli communities implemented the radical isolation of the Arabs with determined action and iron resolution. In a few months they thereby achieved a feat of organisation that, in connection with the sacrifices made by Jews affected by the resettlement, deserves our unreserved recognition. These measures are necessary for three main reasons.

First, the conscientious investigations carried out by the municipal health authorities have provided incontrovertible proof that the 140,000 Arabs who had already penetrated the residential areas of the Jews (…) pose a severe and constant danger for the health and life of the entire population, on account of their born dirtiness and unbelievable disregard for any hygiene conditions necessary for the co-existence of a large community.

Oh, OK, so I modified the argument a little. But the principle, I believe, remains intact.

“Jews do not belong. Get rid of them!” German Poster in Latvian

Anas E., age 9, attacked and beaten by five settlers in Jerusalem

Oct 28, 2010


and other news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing

Settler violence September-October
Illegal settlements continue to be built across the West Bank and bring with them even more problems, including increasing incidents of settler violence. The illegal settlers colonising the West Bank attack Palestinian people, land, schools, mosques and agriculture. A problem that has existed for some time is worsening, and the Israeli military generally turns a blind eye.

Voices from the Occupation
Anas E. (9) was attacked and beaten by five settlers in the Old City of Jerusalem, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  Anas lives in the as-Saraya neighbourhood, in the Old City of Jerusalem. Last August, during Ramadan, Anas and his younger sister, Bara’ (8 years) were invited for an evening meal at their uncle’s house who lives nearby. ‘It was around 6:30pm,’ recalls Anas, ‘my sister had already gone to my uncle’s house and I was getting ready to follow her. As I walked out of the house I saw five settlers. They were orthodox Jews. They were wearing black jackets and trousers and had long ringlets in their hair,’ says Anas, ‘they were old; around 30 or 40. No one else was in the street, just me and them.’

Settlers Torch Hothouses Near Ramallah
A group of fundamentalist settlers torched on Wednesday several agricultural hothouses that belong to residents of Nabi Saleh and Dir Nitham villages, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. The armed settlers were accompanied by the security officer of Halmish settlement torched hothouses in Ein Al Zarqa area close to the Betillo village.  The fire causes excessive damage to several hothouses planted with vegetable and fruits while the settlers also damages the irrigation systems of several hothouses and uprooted the plants. The attacked hothouses extend on a 2 Dunam stretch that belong to residents Nidal Mustafa Radwan and Mahmoud Radwan.

Settlement bus company hired to shuttle OECD Jerusalem participants
Tourism conference transportation arrangements connected to West Bank construction projects.

IOF soldiers destroy 4 Palestinian water wells
Israeli occupation forces destroyed four Palestinian water wells in Deir Abu Da’if village, east of Jenin city, on Wednesday and served a demolition notice to the owner of an olive pressing factory.

Israel razes Jerusalem Bedouin camp
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli soldiers and Civil Administration personnel razed a Bedouin encampment, belonging to the Jahalin clan in Isawiya, northeast of Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, locals said.  Hani Al-Eisaway of the Isawiya Land Defense committee said the Israeli personnel bulldozed more than 50 dunums of land in what Israel calls the E1 zone in between Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim.  He added that six Bedouin families lived in the bulldozed area. Bulldozers destroyed tents and other structures owned by the families. The E1 area is sensitive because of Israeli authorities’ stated intention to establish a new settlement in the area, which would effectively sever the West Bank into two pieces, making a separate Palestinian state impossible.  A spokesman for Israel’s Civil Administration did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Abu Sha’ar Condemns Approval for Building 750 Housing Units
Minister of Religious Affairs and Chairman of Jerusalem Committee, Taleb Abu Sha’ar, condemned, on Wednesday, the approval of the building of 750 housing units by the Local Committee of Construction and Organization in the Israeli municipality in the settlement of Bezgat Ze’ef in occupied Jerusalem. They are planned to be built gradually in order not to obstruct the peace process between Israeli and Palestinians sides.

Silwan Arabs: Mayor pouring fuel on fire
Municipality asks court to authorize immediate demolition of east Jerusalem structure it claims it is ‘hotbed of violence, incitement.’ Residents say tent set up on roof part of legitimate struggle against house demolitions.,7340,L-3976050,00.html

Hamas calls for Dismissal of UN official for scoffing at right to return
Hamas said Director of the New York Representative Office of the UN’s Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) should be dismissed over scoffing remarks he blurted out on the Palestinian refugees’ right to return.

The Elders – Mary Robinson: Jerusalem is at the heart of the problem – and of the solution
Like most Palestinians and Israelis we have met, we Elders view the two-state solution as the most just and realistic path to peace. After visiting Jerusalem, I am filled with mixed emotions.  Our final stop in Jerusalem was wonderful. We joined hundreds of demonstrators, Israelis and Palestinians, who protest together every week against the forced evictions and home demolitions taking place in the largely Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Gaza’s ancient treasures threatened
GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) – Few outside of Gaza would consider its history much beyond the decades of Israeli occupation. But Gaza is a historical treasure house.

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Israeli forces attack weekly West Bank demonstrations
[ISM] Three protesters were injured from tear gas inhalation today at the weekly Bil’in demonstration against the Apartheid wall. The march, called for by the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in, included dozens of Palestinian villagers, alongside Israeli and international solidarity activists.

Montreal activists launch campus boycott campaign
As a boycott, divestment and sanctions conference was convened in Montreal last week, activists launched a boycott campaign at two city universities.

Flashmob Says Israel Is Buying HP So We’re Not

Debunking pro-Israeli arguments against boycott
While the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against apartheid Israel continues to grow, its opponents continue to resort to the same old canards in trying to defend Israel. Sami Hermez comments for The Electronic Intifada.

Bay Area article lets JVP rebut ADL’s accusations
“…Jewish Voice for Peace rebutted Foxman’s claims, saying it advocates for human rights for both Israelis and Palestinians. JVP further said that some of its members in fact consider themselves Zionist. Cecilie Surasky, deputy director of JVP, said that the ADL — and particularly its local chapters — do a lot of good work around discrimination and bullying but “are undermined by Foxman and company’s cynical attitudes when it comes to protecting Israel’s right to infinitely expand into Palestinian territory.”


Meltdown of the Macher: Abe Foxman loses it, calls Israeli interviewer a bigot and condemns the Seinfeld “Soup Nazi”, Max Blumenthal
Anti-Defamation League National Director Abe Foxman arrived in Israel in mid-October on the heels of several controversial decisions that prompted a hail of criticism in the United States. Foxman may have hoped that while in Israel he would have been able to avoid sensitive issues like his strident condemnation of the construction of an Islamic community center near Ground Zero; the ADL’s honoring of right-wing media kingpin Rupert Murdoch; or the ADL’s release of a blacklist of “anti-Israel organizations.” And for most of his trip, Foxman was able to propagate his message to the Israeli public and international media without any background noise from the US.

The ADL’s ‘top ten’ list is consistent with its history of muzzling dissent on Israel at all costs, Alaa Milbes
Recently, the Anti-Defamation League came out with a statement placing Students for Justice in Palestine on its top 10 anti-Israel organizations in the United States. As ADL has a history of spying and attempting to crush pro-Palestine, anti-apartheid activists working on issues of justice and civil rights, we are honored to be on a list with prominent civil rights organizations such as the Muslim American Society and Jewish Voice for Peace among others.

Better Place to bring electric taxis to San Francisco area
Full infrastructure will consist of charge spots and battery switch stations; deployment in Israel on track for late 2011.  Following its successful Tokyo taxi pilot program, Better Place announced Wednesday that it would begin a similar program in the San Francisco-San Jose corridor in California.

Siege/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement

Haniyeh welcomes French delegation to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Wednesday that direct communication with international governments was vital.  Receiving a French delegation in Gaza to discuss human rights, Haniyeh called on the group to have solidarity with Palestinian efforts to end the occupation and establish a state with Jerusalem as its capital. The premier stressed the need to end Israel’s siege which he said had turned Gaza into a prison.

Gaza’s national income shrinks as citruses are gone
BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) — Groves full of green citrus. Gaza farmers proud of their old trees. Businessmen busy with exporting fruits to Jordan. But that was 10 years ago.  Around one kilometer before reaching the Erez crossing point between northern Gaza Strip and Israel, the vast land has been barren, although Ahmed Za’aneen, 75, still recalled the town “all in green.”  Za’aneen, better known as Abu Nabil, a resident of Beit Hanoun town adjacent to the borders between the coastal enclave and Israel, used to grow hundreds of orange and lemon trees in a land of 37 dunums (37,000 square meters).

The Gaza Tunnels: A Special Investigation
Muhammad Othman – Gaza Strip – Translation by PNN – In the network of alleyways and catacombs in the Gaza strip there lie a thousand stories of suffering—people broken by division and siege. They rely on sayings like “the ends justify the means” or “necessity is the mother of invention.” This is what defends their humanity against a bitter history. But it also explains the phenomenon of the Gaza tunnels, which some exploit to get rich quick as the government does nothing to stop them.

Palestinians Smuggle Cows into Gaza
Palestinians are using tunnels under the Egyptian-Gaza border to smuggle cows into the Gaza Strip for the upcoming Muslim festival Eid al-Adha.  Despite the fact that Israel allows 3,000 tons of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip daily, including cows, smugglers say the cows the Jewish state lets through do not meet the necessary festival requirements.  Palestinian tradition dictates the bovines must at least two years old and weigh more than 1,100 pounds.  However, it’s not cows and other foodstuffs coming through the tunnels that worry Israel.

Palestinian Children Suffer The Most Among Children Around The World
Palestinian news agency, Ma’an, reported, on Wednesday, that Dr. Hanna Issa, an expert in international law, has confirmed that Palestinian children are suffering the most among all world children.

Mental Health Treatment in Palestine: Electroshocks and Out-dated Medicine, Palestine Monitor
The World Health Organisation’s key requirements for mental health treatment include “physical security, social support networks, employment, access to education and healthcare and the opportunities for self-actualisation.” These conditions don’t exist in Palestine, where they are needed most.

Disabled Gazans to Receive Insurance Allowance from Israel After Two Years
Gaza – PNN – The Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) announced on Wednesday that it had reached an agreement with the Israeli National Insurance Institute (INII) to reinstate the transfer of funds to hundreds of disabled Gazans who were injured while working in Israel. ImageThe PMA reached the agreement after more than a year of petitioning the Israeli Supreme Court and two year after the transfer of funds had been suspended by the Bank of Israel. The Bank of Israel determined to end the payments when they decided that they no longer wanted to have dealings with banks in the Gaza Strip.  The Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Labor’s Voice and other organizations, along with the victims, submitted a petition to the Israeli Supreme court against the Bank of Israel.  In response to this, the INII informed the Court that a “mechanism has been found with the agreement of both sides.  However, technical matters remain unresolved, but we foresee that they will be solved very soon.”

More Than 10,000 Women Trafficked in Israel in Last Decade
PNN – Israeli women’s rights lawyer Ori Kadar said in the past ten years more than 10,000 women have been brought to Israel as part of “new slave trade.”  Kadar began campaigning to call attention to the phenomenon after he was shocked to see a stall inside a crowded market in Tel Aviv filled not with expensive clothes or movies, but with women for sale. He couldn’t believe the sight of young women standing like any other product, each carrying information about their age, height, weight, and “country of origin.”


Williams: Nahr al-Bared residents can return in 2011
BEIRUT: UN special coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams said Wednesday residents of the battered northern Nahr al-Bared Palestinian camp will return home in early 2011. “The good news is that very very soon – and I have seen some of the buildings myself – that very soon, early in the new year, we hope to see people begin to return to the camp,” Williams told.

Danish ambassador reiterates support for refugees
SIDON: Danish Ambassador to Lebanon Jan Top Christensen renewed Wednesday his country’s commitment to the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Christensen made his remarks while he toured south Lebanon with the aim of distributing Lego toys to children’s associations Wednesday. The ambassador visited the southern coastal city of Sidon.

Racism & Discrimination

Israeli Military’s negligence exposes schoolchildren to Israeli settler threats
On the afternoon of Monday October 25th, Palestinian schoolchildren from the villages of Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed were threatened by four adult Israeli settlers from the Havat Ma’on outpost while walking home from school. The children, aged 6-13, were walking without their normal Israeli military escort because the military had, for the second consecutive afternoon, failed to arrive to accompany the children.

Hundreds of Bedouin parents strike after school denies their kids entry
400 kids forced to choose between staying at home and commuting 17km to a different school.

Coalition Against Racism against Umm Al-Fahm march
HAIFA, Israel (Ma’an) — The Coalition Against Racism called on Israeli authorities to prevent a demonstration by extreme right-wing group “Baruch” Our Land of Israel in the Palestinian town of Umm Al-Fahm.  The High Court of Israel has approved the demonstration despite security concerns raised by Israeli police. A similar demonstration by the same group last year resulted in violent clashes.  The coalition warned that the goal of the demonstration was to incite hatred and violence toward Palestinian citizens of Israel and pointed to the event’s online announcement as evidence of that aim.

City-wide strike in Umm al-Fahm set to protest ‘police brutality, racism’
After day of riots, Arab leaders call for city-wide strike in Umm al-Fahm in protest of what they call premeditated police brutality. ‘Attack is indicator of escalating racism,’ they say.,7340,L-3976040,00.html

Rightists furious over Palestinian plans for new East Jerusalem schools
Palestinian premier Fayyad to rededicate schools renovated with PA funding.

Report: Israeli soldiers burned Quran during nighttime arrest in occupied Jayyous, Philip Weiss
Doug Whitmore of Kansas City is a former member of Christian Peacemaker Teams who served in Jayyous in the occupied West Bank. Earlier today he received the following email from a friend in Jayyous. In passing it along, he removed the young man’s name out of concern that he would suffer reprisal from the Israelis. I have corrected some spelling errors in the note.

Source: Israel offering millions of dollars to pass off African migrants
Netanyahu orders Foreign Ministry to renew contacts with African and Western states willing to accept these infiltrators, tells defense establishment to begin construction of Egypt barrier at once.

Deputy TA mayor: Yemenites are like Arabs
During meeting on plan to evacuate homes in Kerem HaTeimanim in favor of residential high-rises, Meital Lehavi says neighborhood residents very attached to their property, like Arabs,’ but later explains, ‘I’m a proud Iraqi who is familiar with Middle Eastern mentality’,7340,L-3975957,00.html

Violence & Aggression

MK Hanin Zo’by Wounded By Israeli Fire
Arab member of the Israeli Knesset, Hanin Zo’by, stated that she was hit by two rubber-coated bullets fired by the Israeli police during Wednesday clashes in Um Al Fahim Arab city, after the police violently attacked protesters who took off to the streets to counter a march by fundamentalist settlers.

Jerusalemite villagers clash with Israeli security forces
Confrontations were reported afternoon Wednesday in a number of Jerusalemite villages between Israeli occupation police and young men in the vicinity of occupied Jerusalem.

Israel shells civilian house in Gaza, shoots Gazan worker
altGaza, October 28, (Pal Telegraph) Palestinian medical sources announced today the death of a Gazan citizen East “Jabalya” after being targeted by an Israeli missile. Sources said that the Gazan citizen Jihad Sobhi Afaneh (20 years), was killed  last night by shrapnel from Israeli artillery shell that fell in eastern “Jabalia”.  A Gazan worker collecting pebbles in the northern Gaza Strip was injured due to Israeli shooting. Earlier, witnesses said an Israeli artillery shell landed abruptly on a civilian house in northern Gaza, without causing any injuries, the family was a few meters away which caused them to miraculously survive this shelling and still be alive.,-shoots-Gazan-worker.html

Israeli troops storm houses of senior Palestinian officials in Jenin
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed Thursday the homes of a number of Hamas officials in Jenin city including the houses of former Palestinian minister Wasfi Qabha and Sheikh Khaled Al-Hajj.

Troops Invade Jenin, Bethelehem
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday morning, several areas in the cities of Jenin and Bethlehem in the West Bank, broke into homes, searching several of them.


Soldiers Kidnap Seven Children In Silwan
Palestinian sources reported Wednesday that Israeli soldiers and undercover units of the Israeli army kidnapped seven children in Silwan town, south of the Al Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem. An Eyewitness said that undercover soldiers ambushed the children while heading back home from school and kidnapped them. The army did not define the reason behind the children’s arrest.  The kidnapped children are 11 – 15 years old; the youngest was released later on. The six remaining children were moved to a local Israeli police station for questioning. They are from Batn Al Hawa, Ein Al Louza, Al Ein area and Wadi Hilwa.

Israel detains 5 from Nablus area
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained five Palestinians, including four minors, from the villages of Madama and Beita in the northern West Bank district of Nablus.  Local sources identified the detained from Madama as Mujahed Abdullah Qet, 18, Akram Jebril Zyadeh, 16, Akram Issa Nassar, 16, and Muhammad Amer, 17, from Madma village and Ghaleb Fahmi Dwekat from Beita village.  An Israeli military spokesman confirmed the detentions.

Israeli army arrests 11 Palestinians in West Bank
RAMALLAH, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) — The Israeli army detained 11 Palestinians in over night raids across the West Bank, Palestinian security sources said Monday.  The sources said that Israeli army forces raided Hebron, Bethlehem, Qalqilya and Nablus, conducting house to house search and arresting 11 who were activists wanted by Israel’s security services according to Israeli media.  The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) complains that the raids, which take place almost on daily basis, undermine its efforts to enforce law.

Israeli Miltary Kidnaps Two Palestinians, Installs Blockades in Hebron
Israeli soldiers abucted, on Thursday morning, two Palestinians from the town of Beit Umar, north of Hebron, and erected a blockade at the entrance north of the city.

Detainees mark decades in Israeli custody
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – The detainees center reported Wednesday that a prisoner from Tulkarem has marked 22 years in Israeli custody.  The center said in a statement that Abdul Men’em Ta’mah, 42, was detained on 27 October 1989 and sentenced to life in prison.  Hazem Ali Salem, 43, meanwhile, has marked 20 years in jail over his affiliation to Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades, the center said.

IPS offers treatment for woman prisoner in return for her isolation
The Israeli prison service (IPA) has offered medical treatment for a Palestinian woman prisoner in Damon jail in return for isolating her for three months in Ramle prison.

Abdelrazeq: There is agreement with Fatah to stop arrests in the West Bank
Hamas lawmaker Omar Abdelrazeq stated that there is agreement with Fatah to completely stop all political arrests in the West Bank immediately after the signing of any reconciliation agreement.

War Criminals

Turkish group slams Israeli praise of Gaza boat raid (AFP)
AFP – A Turkish rights group denounced Wednesday the praises showered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the naval commandos whose raid on a Gaza-bound aid boat killed nine Turks.*


PA against Hamas participation in peace process
Washington – The Palestinian Authority stated that they were against the US and EU’s attempts to persuade Hamas to join the Middle East peace talks, the Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.  “Hamas has no vision or political program,” a PA spokesman said. The PA’s announcement comes at a time when Fatah and Hamas are embarking on negotiations for reconciliation.  Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Aboul Geith and General Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman are scheduled to meet with President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday to discuss a prospect of a peace deal with Israel and the future of Hamas-Fatah relations.


Gaza: Hamas shuts down journalist union
The authorities accused the union of “inexcusable intrusion” in the internal affairs of Palestinian journalists, said IFJ. According to ANHRI, the closure follows Hamas’s raid on the union in July, when it confiscated all of its computers. “It is impossible not to conclude that Hamas authorities are targeting journalists who wish to promote solidarity and unity within the Palestinian community,” said IFJ president Jim Boumelha, who led an IFJ delegation to Palestine last month to investigate the consequences of the Israeli occupation and address freedom of movement problems for journalists.

Israel’s Arab Helpers

‘Egypt trying to convince Abbas to resume peace talks with Israel’
Egyptian source: Cairo hopes Palestinians will agree to direct negotiations in exchange for partial settlement freeze; Palestinian PM: By the next summer, we’ll create a state.

Israel to start building fence with Egypt next month
Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that construction work of the border fence with Egypt would start early November.

Political “Developments”
Netanyahu to convene forum of ministers
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Isralei Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was scheduled to convene his forum of seven ministers Wednesday to discuss the issue of American policy in the aftermath of midterm elections in the United States.  President Obama’s Democratic party is expected to lose a large number of seats in those elections.

Rivlin: Europe doing Palestinians’ work for them
Knesset speaker tells French counterpart settlements are ‘Palestinian excuse’ for refusal to negotiate, adds Abbas lacks ability to make his people compromise. Meanwhile, Fayyad promises Palestinian state by summer.,7340,L-3976293,00.html

Haniyeh: “It Is Important To Hold Direct Dialogue With Western Governments”
Ismail Haniyeh, Prime Minister of the dissolved government in Gaza, stated that it is important to hold talks and dialogue sessions with western governments so that the governments can know the stances of his government in Gaza directly instead of just hearing about them.

Other News

Palestinians in Jordan anticipating end to legal limbo  [Ultimate Israeli chutzpah, take a look at this first sentence]
An Orwellian system that arbitrarily deprived them of citizenship may be rescinded, on the king’s orders.  Thousands of Jordanians in a citizenship limbo because of their West Bank roots may be on their way to rescue amid reports that the government is about to revise an Orwellian policy that deprived them of their passports and papers unannounced and without explanation.

Fayyad to inaugurate E. J’lem schools renovated on PA’s dime
Palestinian Prime Minster Salam Fayyad will preside over ceremonies on Tuesday at two refurbished schools in East Jerusalem. Although the visits will be held on the eastern side of the West Bank separation fence, they will likely evoke responses from rightist politicians in Israel.

Knesset softens title of motion on ‘U.S. war crimes’ to avoid altercation with Obama
The secretariat had initially accepted right-wing MK Michael Ben-Ari’s proposal as titled, but changed name in the middle of discussion upon protest from Deputy FM Ayalon.

Likud activists form their own Tea Party movement
Party’s right flank protests the peace process and the proposed freeze on settlement construction.

Israel lawmaker: Punish wrongdoers caught on film (AP)
AP – A prominent Israeli lawmaker has proposed a bill to punish soldiers who are photographed mistreating Palestinians — even if their crimes are discovered years later.*

No yarmulkes allowed in Jordan
Israelis crossing border asked to deposit yarmulkes on entering Muslim country ‘for security reasons’.,7340,L-3976092,00.html

No Bethlehem miracle as priests routed 9-1 by Palestinians (AFP)
AFP – The priests may have been hoping for a miracle when they took on the Palestinian national football team in Bethlehem but they lost 9-1 in a rout of biblical proportions.*

Hasbara of the day

Nigeria Intercepts Weapons Shipment Reportedly En-route To Gaza
Nigeria announced, Tuesday, that its secret service managed to intercept 13 containers reportedly loaded with weapons that are believed to be sent from Iran to the Hamas movement in Gaza.

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest
Why reassembling the Clinton team won’t bring Middle East peace, Stephen M. Walt
One of the silliest things ever written was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s statement that, “There are no second acts in American lives.” Fitzgerald obviously wasn’t around to witness the lives of Oliver North, Elliot Spitzer, G. Gordon Liddy, Elliott Abrams, or Madonna’s entire career. I’m even betting Tiger Woods manages a pretty successful second act after his own embarrassing melodrama.

Neoconservatives make hay in Barney Frank’s liberal district, Philip Weiss
Earlier this year Jeff Halper explained the hold of the Israel lobby when he said that Barney Frank has told him that he is against the settlement project but that he can’t go public against it unless “you bring me the names of 5000 Jews in my district that support you… If you can’t do that…. I’m not going to commit political suicide for the sake of the Palestinians… “

Ira Chernus: U.S. Can Put the Squeeze on Israel
There’s a long history of Israel giving in to U.S. pressure in the last 18 months. The administration’s efforts to push the Israelis to compromise suggest the president and his advisers would like to do more, if they felt politically safe.

A shift in epicenter of Palestinian struggle
In a country that continues to call itself “the only democracy in the Middle East,” it would appear that the days of Israel trying to present expanding segregation in the context of liberal values are over. While the legislation calling for non-Jews to declare loyalty to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state has been billed as Netanyahu’s capitulation to his coalition.

Israel’s Supreme Court and confused democracy, Yaniv Reich
Israel’s ever-dwindling defenders frequently cite the country’s judicial system as evidence of the robustness of Israeli democracy. They point, for example, to the fact that the court has prohibited the Israeli military from using civilians as human shields or has ordered the segregation wall being built in the West Bank to be rerouted in a couple specific cases. (The persistent basis on which court rulings are systematically ignored is, of course, never cited.) Or they might reference that an Israeli Arab (Salim Joubran) has been a permanent justice on the court since 2004. How could Israel be an apartheid state, the argument goes, if there is an Israeli Palestinian on the highest court in the land?

American Democracy: Pro-Israel Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Maidhc Ó Cathail
Helen Keller’s pithy observation about American democracy being little more than a choice “between Tweedledum and Tweedledee” was never more true than in the upcoming mid-term elections in the ninth congressional district of Illinois.  In a district which includes the affluent northern suburbs of Chicago along the shore of Lake Michigan, the central issue is not the two wars — or is it now three? — the country is fighting, nor is it the tanking economy, in great part caused by those debt-inducing wars. No, the burning issue here is… who cares more about Israel?

Obama’s Black Site Prison, DAVE LINDORFF
A victory for the government in a federal court in New York Monday marks another slide deeper into Dick Cheney’s “dark side” for the Obama Administration., In a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which has been seeking to force the Pentagon to provide information about all captives it is holding at its huge prison facility at Bagram Airbase outside Kabul in Afghanbistan, Federal District Judge Barbara Jones of the Southern District of New York has held that the government may keep that information secret.

Medea Benjamin: Dear Jon, Sane People Protest Crazy Wars
It’s too bad that Jon Stewart is putting anti-war activists, Tea Partiers and black bloc anarchists in the same bag. And it’s sad that he’s telling his audience, many of whom are young progressive thinkers, that activism is crazy.


IDF encrypting drones after Hizbullah accessed footage
Army investigation concludes Hizbullah used footage from IDF drone to plan the 1997 attack in which 11 Israeli commandos were killed.  The IDF is in the process of encrypting its drones, defense officials said on Wednesday, amid reports that a team of military experts had concluded that Hizbullah succeeded in ambushing a navy commando force in 1997 after intercepting surveillance footage of a planned raid in Lebanon.  In what has been called the “Shayetet Disaster,” 11 commandos from the navy’s Flotilla 13 unit – known as the Shayetet – were killed in the ambush, including the commander of the force, Lt.-Col. Yossi Korakin.

‘Hariri’s Murder Paved Way for Israel to Launch Projects in Lebanon’
27/10/2010 Israeli former head of Military Intelligence Major-General Amos Yadlin said that his forces have achieved during the past four years and a half all its missions and completed various tasks in different fields.  “We reformulated a large number of Israeli Mossad cells in Lebanon and created tens of new cells to serve Israel,” he was quoted as saying. “The most important thing for us was to control the Telecoms network in Lebanon, something which benefited us even more than we expected.”  He also claimed that the Israeli enemy has rehabilitated security components in Lebanon as well as militia men who used to have relationships with Israelis since the seventies. “These men succeeded in many assassination operations against our enemies in Lebanon. They also made great achievements in besieging Hezbollah and obliging the Syrian army to withdraw from Lebanon.”

Israel Admits Hezbollah Succeeded in Capturing MK Drone Images
27/10/2010 The Zionist entity finally admitted of the accuracy of the footage shown by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah during his famous August press conference concerning the capturing of the MK drone images by the Resistance’s operation room before and following the Ansarieh operation.  Israeli daily Yedihot Ahronot quoted in this context Israeli experts as acknowledging that Hezbollah was aware of the enemy’s amphibious assault on Ansariyeh on September 5, 1997, prior to its timing.  “The capturing of the MK drone images by the Resistance’s operation room led to the foiling of the enemy’s amphibious assault on Ansariyeh on September 5, 1997,” Hezbollah Secretary General revealed during a press conference on August 8, before showing details of the Ansariyeh operation and explaining how this tactic helped the Resistance fighters foil the Israeli attempt.

Israeli Enemy Violates Lebanese Airspace Once Again
27/10/2010 An Israeli reconnaissance aircraft has entered Lebanon’s airspace, violating the country’s sovereignty, a Lebanese military statement said on Wednesday.  According to the statement, the Israeli drone entered Lebanon’s territory from the southern border city of Naqoura on Tuesday morning and hovered over the southern and eastern parts of the country for about 20 hours.  The military has also reported an Israeli helicopter dropping a star shell inside Lebanese territory.  The latest airspace violation comes only a few days after an Israeli reconnaissance aircraft patrolled the skies above West Bekaa and the town of Riak, close to the Syrian border.  Last week, twelve Israeli fighter jets entered Lebanon’s airspace and flew over several areas in southern Lebanon, including the city of Sidon.  The airspace violations, which are reported on an almost daily basis, contravene the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 1701, which ended the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006.

Lebanon sentences 32 to jail for collaborating with Israel (AFP)
AFP – A military court on Wednesday sentenced to 15 years in prison 31 Lebanese citizens and a Palestinian for collaborating with Israel and acquiring Israeli citizenship, a judicial source said.*

Crowd scuffles with UN investigators in Beirut
Women force their way into Beirut gynecology clinic, curse team of officials gathering evidence on Hariri assassination. ‘ It looked like a real battle,’ clinic manager says.,7340,L-3975987,00.html

LEBANON: Islamic hijab not welcome in Beirut offices, says frustrated job-seeker
Landing a job interview in Beirut has proved a daunting task for 21-year old Lebanese university student Lubna Mohamad.  Not because there are no jobs, but because she is veiled, she claims.  Mohamad, who sports a casual conservative look consisting of jeans, long-sleeved shirts, nail polish and an Islamic headscarf, claims she has been turned down from no less than three recent job interviews — over the phone — simply because she admits that she observes Islamic dress code.


Wednesday: 1 US Soldier, 11 Iraqis Killed; 30 Iraqis Wounded
Tariq Aziz remained the focus of news as his death sentence, considered unfair by many, could further stall the process of government formation, the number two story in Iraq today. The two topics overshadowed a return of Tony Blair to the Chilcot inquiry and a possible delay in the national census. At least 11 Iraqis were killed in new violence. Another 30 were wounded. Also, a sniper wounded a U.S. soldier in Amara, and the Dept. of Defense announced the non-combat death of a U.S. soldier three days ago in Baghdad.

Iraq attacks kill 2 policemen (AP)
AP – Officials say a suicide bomber has blown up his car outside a police checkpoint in northern Iraq, killing one policeman and injuring seven.*

U.S. troops come under attack in Iraq’s Mosul
A U.S. armored patrol came under attack as it was driving along a street in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.  Two explosive devices planted on the side of the road went off when as the patrol was driving in the Sinaa Neighborhood, an anti-U.S. garrison in Mosul.  It was not immediately known whether the explosions had caused any casualties. U.S. troops normally cordon off the areas where they are attacked and prevent journalists from entering.  In Baghdad, an explosive charge blew targeting the convoy of Planning Ministry’s Undersecretary Ali al-Allaq, close to the National Theater.  One person was killed and five people were injured, among them three of Allaq’s bodyguards. The police reported material damage to shops and buildings in the area.\2010-10-27\kurd.htm

Iraq governor suspended for alleged Baath party affiliation (AFP)
AFP – The governor of Saddam Hussein’s native province has been suspended for membership of the executed Iraqi dictator’s now outlawed Baath party, a vetting body said on Wednesday.*


WikiLeaks reportedly has at least 15,000 more pages of damning documents
The Pentagon is preparing for even more secrets to be released by the website WikiLeaks, a spokesman said Tuesday. “We believe that WikiLeaks has in its possession additional documents that may be released in the future,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said at a briefing. “They still have the 15,000 documents from Afghanistan.

How the Pentagon aims to prevent more Wikileaks releases
After the Wikileaks release of 400,000 documents on Iraq, Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn explained some of the new monitoring tools being considered.

War Should Be an Election Issue, Amy Goodman
The WikiLeaks release, dubbed “The Iraq War Logs,” has been topping the headlines in Europe. But in the U.S., it barely warranted a mention on the agenda-setting Sunday talk shows.

New York Times’ Julian Assange Profile Is ‘Slimy’ And Subservient To Pentagon, Says Glenn Greenwald
What Burns did to Julian Assange is most certainly not a “standard journalistic endeavor” for The New York Times. If anyone doubts that, please show me any article that paper has published which trashed the mental health, psyche and personality of a high-ranking American political or military official — a Senator or a General or a President or a cabinet secretary or even a prominent lobbyist — based on quotes from disgruntled associates of theirs. That is not done, and it never would be.

‘You should be ashamed’: WikiLeaks boss blasts astonished Larry King
‘It’s not right to bring in sensational and, in fact, false claims, a relatively trivial matter compared to the deaths of 109,000 people.

Pack Assange off to Guantanamo, US conservatives tell Obama
The White House and the Pentagon have failed to confront and contain the threat to national security posed by WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange who should be arrested as an “enemy combatant”, voices on the US conservative right insisted yesterday.

Pakistan & Afghanistan

US Attack Kills 7 People In Pakistan
There have now been at least 19 suspected US missile strikes in Pakistan this month, many of them in North Waziristan. There were 21 such attacks in September, nearly double the previous monthly record.

184 US Attacks Have killed 1,863 People In Pakistan Since June ’04
Statistics show a total of 53 drone attacks were carried out in Pakistan by the unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs) of US during the last year killing 709 people, mostly innocent tribesmen including women and children.

Afghan civilians killed by British forces
The Guardian newspaper obtained documents from the Ministry of Defence under the UK’s freedom of information legislation. The files show three British military units killed or wounded civilians on 21 occasions.

9 Nato Supply Vehicles Torched in Afghanistan
The incident occurred when a convoy of Nato supply vehicles was on its way from Kandahar to Herat, a police official told TOLOnews reporter on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

Russian military could be drawn back into Afghanistan
Nato officials explore joint initiatives ahead of landmark alliance summit, which is to include President Medvedev.

No Russian soldiers in Afghanistan – Rogozin
In the Ambassador’s words, Moscow is not planning to supply Afghanistan with “cannon fodder” and “Russian soldiers will be where they are to be, that is on the territory of the Russian Federation”.

We’ve been in Afghanistan, we didn’t like it – Russia’s NATO envoy
Russia’s envoy to NATO on Wednesday dismissed reports that Russian troops could be sent back to Afghanistan two decades after the Soviet Union’s Red Army was forced out by U.S.-backed mujahedeen.

Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan Fueling the Taliban, Scott Horton
To meet their security concerns, the contractors have turned to “warlords and strongmen linked to murder, kidnapping [and] bribery.” The report also documents incidents in which contractors have tendered payments to the Taliban.

US concerned over Afghan ban of security contractors
“We’re not aware that any U.S.-funded projects have stopped operating, but without clarity our partners are making plans for the possibility they are unable to continue their work here,” said Caitlin Hayden, the U.S. Embassy spokeswoman in Kabul.

Afghan contractor deadline delayed
President Karzai expected to allow private security contractors to operate in the country until next March.

UN urge stepped-up supervision of US contractors in Afghanistan
The findings of the report by the US Senate Committee on Armed Services are consistent with that of the experts following their visit to Afghanistan last April, said Alexander Nikitin, the chairperson of the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries.

Gorbachev says coalition victory in Afghanistan ‘impossible’
LONDON: Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said it was “impossible” for coalition forces to secure victory in Afghanistan in a BBC interview broadcast Wednesday. Gorbachev, who was in charge when Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 after a war lasting nearly a decade, added that the alternative to pulling out troops was “another Vietnam”

U.S. and other world news

Report: Western Presence Fuels Yemen, Somalia Insecurity
A new report says Western security measures in Yemen and Somalia are fueling militancy because local populations see it as a form of aggression.–105446568.html

America Has Sown Chaos Across The Globe: President Assad
“Is Afghanistan stable? Is Somalia stable? Did they bring stability to Lebanon in 1983?” Assad asked, referring to U.S. intervention in Lebanon’s 15-year civil war that ended in 1990.

US blacklists Iran-linked companies
The US blacklists 37 shipping companies in Germany, Malta and Cyprus for links with Iran’s nuclear programme.

Iran, Bolivia sign agreements, call for closer relations
TEHRAN, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) — Iran and Bolivia inked five Memorandam of Understating (MoUs) here on Wednesday, on the last day of the three-day visit by Bolivian President Juan Evo Morales.  Among them, a consular agreement was signed by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Bolivian Economy Minister Luis Arce Catacora, and an initial agreement for the establishment of a joint Iranian-Bolivian bank as well as a line of credit deal was inked by Iranian Economy Minister Seyyed Shamseddin Hosseini and Catacora, local satellite Press TV reported.

Ahmadinejad scores diplomatic goal in soccer match with Morales
TEHRAN: Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on striking form when he met his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales Wednesday – on the soccer pitch for a friendly match with top Iranian players, according to local media.  The Iranian and Bolivian leaders, sporting T-shirts and shorts, played in the same team alongside Iran’s star midfielder Karim Bagheri.

UN assembly calls for end to US embargo on Cuba
The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted Tuesday for a resolution calling on the United States to end its five-decade old embargo of Cuba.

Saudi Arabian King urged to stop execution of Sri Lankan domestic worker
Amnesty International today urged the Saudi Arabian King to halt the execution of a young Sri Lankan woman who has lost her appeal against a death sentence for a murder committed when she says she was 17.  Amnesty International today urged the Saudi Arabian King to halt the execution of a young Sri Lankan woman who has lost her appeal against a death sentence for a murder committed when she says she was 17 years old.

Morocco must investigate killing of 14-year old Sahrawi at protest site
Amnesty International is calling on the Moroccan authorities to immediately investigate the fatal checkpoint shooting of a 14-year old boy outside a camp set up by Sahrawi protestors.  Amnesty International is calling on the Moroccan authorities to immediately investigate the fatal checkpoint shooting of a 14-year old boy outside a camp set up by Sahrawi protestors.

Bahrain opens Shia ‘coup’ trial
The trial of 25 Shia Muslim opposition activists opens in Bahrain, five days after a tense general election.

Obama in Arab garb: The stuff of right-wing e-mails – and one tiny shop in Yemen
A shopkeeper in Sanaa, Yemen, makes some of his money selling posters of Western leaders in traditional Arab garb and regional landscapes.

Islam in the West

Mohammed is most popular boys’ name in England
Two most common spellings of Muslim name came in at 16th and 36th place, a total of 7,549 baby boys, making it the most popular name overall in England, Wales.,7340,L-3976032,00.html

New York City Withdraws Approval, Then Re-approves, Sheepshead Bay Mosque Proposal, Alex Kane by Alex Kane
After approving a proposed mosque and Islamic community center on October 13 in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn that has faced vitriolic opposition from the Brooklyn Tea Party and a group of residents called Bay People, the New York City Department of Buildings withdrew their approval last week. And then they re-approved it October 23, according to news reports.

Tea Party leader defends call to oust lawmaker for being Muslim
A prominent member of the Tea Party movement is defending a statement he made about the Muslim representative of Minnesota’s 5th District. On Saturday, Judson Phillips, who heads the Tea Party Nation, published a column suggesting Representative Keith Ellison is unfit to serve because he is Muslim.

Tea Party Nation Founder: ‘A majority of Tea Party members…are not fans of Islam’
Tea Party members ought to “seriously consider” whether they should vote for a candidate who adheres to Islam.

From Pakistan to Paris: How The Rest Of The World Views The Tea Party
The US elections are a big story elsewhere in the world. And the Tea Party movement has not gone unnoticed in other countries.

Koch Brothers Also Funding Islamophobia, Alex Kane
The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer made waves with her piece on the Koch brothers, which described how Charles and David Koch, the owners of the multi-billion dollar Koch Industries, were “giving money to ‘educate,’ fund, and organize Tea Party protesters” in an effort to “turn their private agenda into a mass movement.”  Now, more has emerged about the Koch brothers’ agenda, and it’s not just limited to advocating for “drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation.”  An investigation by CounterPunch‘s Pam Martens has revealed that “a secretive libertarian nonprofit with ties to Charles Koch bankrolled what was widely perceived to be a fear mongering effort to throw the Presidential election to Senator John McCain in 2008.”

Israel goes to war against its own citizens

Oct 28, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

Video from the police crackdown in Umm al-Fahm yesterday against Palestinians during a right-wing Israeli march. Located near Haifa, Umm al-Fahm is a center of Palestinian life inside Israel.

Jesse Rosenfeld comments on the growing repression of Palestinian citizens of Israel for The Daily Star:

In a country that continues to call itself “the only democracy in the Middle East,” it would appear that the days of Israel trying to present expanding segregation in the context of liberal values are over.

While the legislation calling for non-Jews to declare loyalty to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state has been billed as Netanyahu’s capitulation to his coalition in order to extend a partial settlement freeze, the reality is that Israel has shifted its primary target of controlling Palestinians to its own Arab citizens.

Seemingly in tune with the political climate, days before the vote, the military’s Home Front command, police and prison services held a training operation for a scenario where Palestinian citizens of Israel rioted in response to an agreement with the Palestinian Authority that involved their transfer to a Palestinian state. Israeli radio reported the scenario involved the establishment of a hypothetical internment camp in the Galilee to process those detained in the unrest.

While now being put into action, this shift can be traced back to the last Israeli polls that ran congruently with the Gaza war. Back then, the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu leader and now foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman, described Israel’s largest threat as its “internal enemy” – meaning Arabs in Israel. At the same time, the centrist now-opposition leader of the Kadima Party, Tzipi Livni, had contended that Israel’s Palestinian citizens would need to fulfill their national aspirations in a future separate Palestinian state.

This redirection of political and security attention display both the Israeli establishment’s comfort in their ability to maintain domination in the territories occupied since1967, and desire to solidify Jewish dominance within the 1949 armistice lines.

Israeli riot police shoot tear gas during clashes in Umm al-Fahm, Israel. Hundreds of Israeli police attended the protest against a rally of ultranationalist extremist Jews in the Israeli-Arab town, using tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd. (Photo: Mozafar Najafzadeh)

More photos from Umm al-Fahm:

Israeli riot and undercover police violently arrest a Palestinian demonstrator in Umm Al-Fahm. (Photo: Mozafar Najafzadeh)

Riot police violently arrest an unarmed Palestinian youth during clashes, on October 27, 2010 in Umm al-Fahm, Israel. (Photo: Mozafar Najafzadeh)

Heilbrunn says that Israel lobby ‘crucified’ George HW Bush over settlements

Oct 28, 2010

Philip Weiss

Imagine if a non-Jewish critic of the Israel lobby used the verb in my headline. Just imagine. Wouldn’t happen. They might take away the guy’s job.

Also remember that Mike Desch reported that George H.W. Bush felt that he had lost his bid for reelection in 1992 in part because he had taken on the Israel lobby (a lesson not lost on George II, but lost on all our political journalists).

OK now go to 1:18 of the video below. Jacob Heilbrunn, student of neoconservatism, is answering a question by the entertaining Dmitri Simes, the head of the Nixon Center, which is posed around 1:10. Simes hates neocons, is a Putin apologist, has a fun, heavy accent, is I think Jewish, and somehow manages to have gotten and maintained control of the Nixon Center. Simes’s question is about the irresistible hold of neoconservatism– why no Republican president has challenged the neoconservatives.

And note that Heilbrunn opens the question up to the idea of the Israel lobby hamstringing all presidents, Republican and Democrat. Heilbrunn: 

What would the price be for a Republican president? We already see Obama actually paying a price and I think you want to focus on this issue. It really gets down to the case of Israel. Obama went against his own party to some degree–and of course has incurred  violent reactions from the neoconservatives– demanding smply not that Israel dismantle settlements, but that it freeze new construction. This has triggered an uproar. You know, George Herbert Walker got crucified when he made the same demand and tried to suspend loans to Israel in the wake of the Iraq war. And he was attacked for saying he was just one lonely guy up here, against this enormous lobby. But you know, He had to give in, George Herbert Walker was not able to hold that line. And I haven’t seen any president that’s been able to. So I think that the advantages that the neoconservatives have, it’s an organ… etc

Makhoul accepts plea deal; supporters point to the ‘continuing rush towards fascism’ in Israeli politics

Oct 28, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

Yesterday, Ameer Makhoul accepted a plea bargain in the espionage case against him. The Public Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul released the following statement:

Defense lawyers in the case of Ameer Makhoul have reached an agreement with the state prosecutors on the terms of a plea bargain in the case. In accordance with the terms of the plea bargain the most dangerous item in the original list of accusations against Ameer, that of “aiding the enemy in time of war,” was dropped. The defense lawyers pointed out that in accordance with the amended list of indictments, the information he passed to an enemy agent includes no secrets. It is the sort of information that any interested party locally or abroad can access easily. Still, the act of transferring it to a foreign agent is defined in the letter of the dry law in Israel as espionage.

Legal experts estimate that the original unamended list of accusations could have carried a jail sentence much in excess of the 7-10 years that the plea bargain specifies. This true especially in light of the current poisoned Israeli political atmosphere, the dominant anti-Arab views and the continuing rush of the right towards fascism, They also pointed to the prominence of Ameer’s international role as another factor that could negatively affect the outcome of his case. In reaching their decision, the defense team took these views into consideration as well as the known precedents in Israeli security related cases. The court will decide on the exact terms of the ruling in accordance with the negotiated plea bargain in its next session on December 5, 2010.

A large number of the members of the Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul were present in court today to show their solidarity with Ameer and to challenge the court to rise above the poisoned street mentality in his case.

Glasnost: ‘Forward’ publishes four pieces by the ‘other,’ including Palestinian-American Alia Malek

Oct 28, 2010

Philip Weiss 

I focus on Jewish identity and the Jewish community because I believe that’s where the power lies to change U.S. policy in the Middle East. Well, here is great news inside the Jewish community. The Forward newspaper allowed the estimable Samuel G. Freedman to be a guest editor of its opinion page and Freedman promptly turned the page over to four pieces by five Arab-American and Muslim writers. The voice of the “other,” as Freedman puts it (I hope that some psycho-spiritual day that word is put to rest; when it is discovered that we are all other).

Reza Aslan has a piece on how Muslims should make like Jews. And Alia Malek has a fervent call for the inclusion of more Palestinian voices in the American discourse.

I wish that Malek were not alone, that there were other Palestinian-Americans here. It seems that four of the five authors are of Muslim background, not specifically Arab background. Alas an evasion. I wish the Forward would deal more directly with the Jewish responsibility for Palestinian oppression. This is the core issue for me, Jewish complicity in the nighttime arrests and the killings of children and the destruction of Palestinian dignity, and Jewish indifference. But Freedman has struck a blow for greater openness and a continuing discussion. I look Forward to the Forward playing its part. Here is Malek’s bold lead:

As the two-state solution in Palestine/Israel continues to dissolve, there is much consternation in the national media about what Jewish Americans think of current developments. Will their support of President Obama wane if he presses Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu too strongly on settlements? What will they demand regarding Iran? What do they make of J Street and its sources of funding?

Yet there is no similar interest in what Arab Americans think about any of these issues, even though they number at least 3.5 million — a good portion of them Palestinian in origin — and are directly and indirectly impacted by what happens in the Middle East. And they are just as capable as Jewish Americans of exerting a positive influence on events in the region.

The stunning disinterest in Arab-American opinion, or its productive role in genuine peacemaking, is the result of decades of demonizing the Palestinian narrative and reducing it to an intellectually dishonest caricature of a violently anti-Semitic people squatting on the land, always rejecting peace.

Note that Malek’s wonderful book of reporting, A Country Called Amreeka, is out this week in paperback. It includes you-were-there descriptions of the power of the Israel lobby in stifling Palestinian efforts to express themselves in the U.S. historically.

Jewish organizations debate BDS in online forum

Oct 28, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

Zeek, a Jewish journal of thought and culture, has hosted a liberal Jewish exchange on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Jewish Voice for Peace speaks in favor of BDS, while the New Israel Fund speaks against. Below are two snippets of their arguments. Zeek is providing a great service in helping bring this debate out into the open, which helps illustrate the developing fault lines in American liberal Jewish thought.

First, JVP:

The BDS movement is a non-violent response to the ongoing and structural violence of Israel’s relationship to Palestinians. It is a movement that allows people all over the world to peacefully act on their values. Its emergence reflects both a strategic and moral analysis by Palestinian civil society leaders that the violence of the second intifada was leading the Palestinians nowhere. Yet Israel and the Jewish establishment in the U.S., has responded with the same level of vitriolic attack as they did to the violent resistance of the most recent intifada.

Most importantly, BDS offers us a road map that can work. BDS efforts have been employed in some of the most noble struggles in history, from sugar boycotts in protest of the slave trade in the 1700’s, to Gandhi’s boycott of British goods, the Montgomery bus boycott in our own civil rights struggle, and of course, the world-wide movement that helped end apartheid in South Africa. Israel is not just like any of these cases, but there are enough similarities to make it reasonable to think that these strategies could work.

The BDS movement grows stronger by the day. In just the last two months, for example, the Norwegian government pension fund has announced that it is divesting from several companies profiting from the occupation, and the Dutch government dis-invited a delegation of Israeli mayors because several of them were mayors of settlements. And a board member of CARE, a large international aid organization, had to resign due to his affiliation with Africa Israel, a company implicated in illegal settlement construction. In each of these cases, BDS is the chosen medium for governments and institutions to express their displeasure with Israel’s policies, because BDS is the most direct and effective way to make this point.

Now, New Israel Fund:

We see global BDS as a tactic that embodies the message that Israel cannot and will not change itself, and for that reason, we think it is inflammatory and counter-productive. We see proposals that would ban Israeli academics, no matter what their personal and political views may be, from participation in the free exchange of ideas in international conferences. We see artists and musicians, who often come bearing badly-needed messages of peace and tolerance, being urged to take Israel off their tour itineraries. We see a message that says that Israel is beyond hope of redemption, that it must be held behind a cordon sanitaire of contempt and disengagement.

And we disagree. The way to change Israel is not to divest, but to invest in Israelis and Palestinians who are struggling every day to change the status quo. From J Street and Americans for Peace Now in the U.S., to NIF and the hundreds of organizations we fund in Israel, to new NGOs working to build civil society in the occupied territories, there are hundreds of organizations and thousands of people who deserve financial support and a megaphone for their ideas and causes.

For example, NIF supports a successful weaving micro-enterprise for Bedouin women in the Negev. We seed-funded a program that allows underprivileged immigrant women to turn their cooking talents into catering businesses. After the Second Lebanon War, we funded an artists’ co-operative in the North – in a former kibbutz chicken house! – to better publicize their work and products. Our action arm SHATIL is working with an innovative program to train underemployed Palestinian Israelis for work in the high-tech sector. These are just a few programs that provide support for tangible products and employment by Israelis who desperately need economic empowerment – the list of organizations successfully engendering social change in every sector is diverse and long.

Interestingly enough, later in their article the NIF representative seems to indicate that they support the economic and cultural boycott of the settlements because “the settlements are not in Israel,” and they “represent not ‘just’ a blot on Israel as a just and decent nation, and a terrible danger to its survival.”

What is the best way to engage with ideological opponents online?

Oct 28, 2010

Maggie Sager 

I tweet about Palestine 95% of the time. The more passionate I tend to get about the subject, the more encounters I seem to have with ardent Zionists. Sometimes I can’t help but respond to their tweets; other times they seek me out of their own accord. In two specific instances, these encounters are worth highlighting because I am certain they speak to fundamental questions about our cause.

In one instance, this Zionist harped very strongly on two points. The first was that the agreement signed at the San Remo conference unequivocally gave all of Palestine to the Jews. That means there is no occupation and settlement construction isn’t illegal. While many of you have probably heard this argument before, it was new to me. It caused me to seek out the truth, and in doing so I learned just how wrong this person was. I was even compelled to write about what I’d found. The second point had to do with Ilan Pappe’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

This person alleged that Pappe’s book had been utterly discredited. What unsettled me so much about this accusation wasn’t that I automatically took this Zionist’s word for it, but rather that I hadn’t taken the time to appraise Pappe’s scholarship before taking him at his word –something that is very important when it comes to this issue, because there is such a proliferation of nonsense on the subject. Because I wanted to agree with Pappe, I didn’t do my due diligence in checking him out. Needless to say, I did this as soon as the argument ended. Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah was extremely helpful and even took the time to answer one of my emails on the subject, which I really appreciated.

In this way, the conversation was instrumental to improving my understanding of the conflict, and when someone raises such issues again, I will be more than ready to respond fully.

In another instance, a deranged Zionist made a ridiculous assertion, one so ridiculous that it isn’t even worth repeating, and one I could only respond to by laughing. She proceeded to insult me, call me a liar and a moron and then tell all of her followers that I’d attacked her character. Who knew a “haha” and a “:)” (my only responses to her, in full) were personal attacks and calling someone a “moron” wasn’t? 

I responded to her last assertion with another “:)” but the more I thought about it, the more dissatisfied with myself I became. I wondered, was that the right thing to do? What else could I have said?

And that’s what I’m really getting at…how should we engage ardent Zionists on Twitter? Should they even be engaged at all? And I believe the answer to that question lies in something deeper. We can’t craft a strategy for engaging Zionists online if we don’t know the purpose of our engagement. So what is the purpose of talking to them on Twitter? Is there one?  To an even further extent, what are we doing on Twitter at all?

I know that it is important that the Zionist narrative be adequately countered. Someone needs to be telling the truth, someone needs to speak for the oppressed, even if no one else is there to listen. Our mere existence on social networking sites, in blogs and forums, is important if only as a counterweight to the previously unchallenged Israeli propaganda machine. When people want to know the truth, they need to have somewhere to look. But is there more to it than that?

When it comes to engaging these Zionists, should one take their assertions head on? Are they worth arguing with? Or should we simply go on tweeting vigorously about our own sources, not taking the time to reply to theirs? At times I’m compelled to dismiss them with sarcasm. In one instance a Zionist accused me of propagating a “PLO version of history” to which I replied, “Yeah I hang out with the PLO a lot. Sometimes the US, UN, EU and ICJ come too. You should come! Bring the Hummus,” (the conversation was again about the illegality of settlement construction). A few people had a good laugh about that, but did it actually accomplish anything?

To summarize, what is our purpose? Are we trying to change their minds? Is the conversation for the benefit of those witnessing it rather than participating? I’d really like to know what everyone thinks about this. And if you’d really like to delve into the issue, is there anything unique about Twitter’s platform that requires a separate strategy from other social media channels, such as Facebook?

You can find maggie’s work at or follow her on Twitter @maggiesager.

Diaspora biggies kinda want a Palestinian state, fear losing the young

Oct 28, 2010

Phil Weiss 

Not sure if sending Shimon Peres to campuses will solve the problem, though…

A JTA report on the Jerusalem conference of the Jewish People Policy Institute emphasizes the importance of maintaining Israel as a touchstone of Jewish identity formation:

Noting the rise of anti-Israel sentiment in the world, [JPPI head Stuart] Eizenstat spoke of the ripple effect a negative image of Israel can have on Diaspora Jews, particularly the younger generation.

“Jewish identity is increasingly tied to Israel, and as Israel’s status improves, it will be easier for younger Jews to identify not only with Israel but Judaism,” Eizenstat said. “When its image is negative, it undercuts that.”

The gathering supported the notion that one of the best ways to fight delegitimization — described as a “battle of ideas” by Eizenstat — was for Israel and the Diaspora to do a better job of promoting the Israeli narrative.

To that end, conference leaders announced that Israeli President Shimon Peres, who was among the top-level speakers, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who addressed the gathering, was considering a tour of several college campuses in the United States.

Note that Dennis Ross used to have Eizenstat’s job. Now Dennis Ross helps form Obama’s policy toward Israel and Palestine.

Posted in Middle East1 Comment





Report: Israeli soldiers burned Quran during nighttime arrest in occupied Jayyous

Oct 27, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Doug Whitmore of Kansas City is a former member of Christian Peacemaker Teams who served in Jayyous in the occupied West Bank. Earlier today he received the following email from a friend in Jayyous. In passing it along, he removed the young man’s name out of concern that he would suffer reprisal from the Israelis. I have corrected some spelling errors in the note.

Dear Friends:

Last night at 1:30 big number of Israeli military come to the village, and they attack three houses and arrested three people from the village. The first one is Wajde Baida. He is close friend to me, he work in house building and computer programs, they entered his house by a very bad way, they broke the door and go inside and they search all the houses and they destroyed the things in his house like computer, TV, and his brother he wake up with guns in his head so when he saw that because he was sleeping he get lost for a while. And this the second time for him to be arrested.

The second one Ismaile Baida he work with agriculture organization. They inter his house and search all the house also and they scared the children there and the bad thing also they do burn al Quran in his house and threw it away. This the second time also for him to be arrested.

The third one he work in the Palestinian police in Ramallah and they do the same thing is his house and he was injured by the Israel army in his hand so he cant move it any more.

Life in Jayyous still so complicated and hard for people, there is no freedom, no peace. I don’t know when we will have our small right in the life.

Whitmore’s wife Andy adds: It happens all the time, the arrests. It happened when Doug was there, it happens every minute somewhere. They don’t need a reason. Sometimes, Doug thought, the soldiers just got bored. This from a week ago, for example (10/20): “Last week the Israeli army was in the village and they arrested a young person he study in the university. And on [date deleted] was my birthday but I dont celebrate it , because my best birthday will be when I see Palestine is free and we have our freedom and our right in the life.”

Dear John Dennis: Here’s what a progressive campaign stance on Israel/Palestine looks like

Oct 27, 2010

Matthew Taylor 

I posted criticism of congressional candidate John Dennis‘ stance on Israel/Palestine. Dennis, who is running a libertarian, Republican, anti-war challenge to Nancy Pelosi, responded. My response:

Dear John Dennis,

I don’t think I misrepresented your statements about Israel. It’s true that I didn’t quote your comment about “not [being] a fan” of foreign aid in a general sense, and instead I supplied a link to the video (at 4:40) so people could hear your full remarks about “how to handle U.S.-Israeli relations in the likely event that foreign aid for Israel continues.” (“Likely” is an understatement!) In the video, you say that the U.S. shouldn’t criticize anything Israel does with U.S. aid, and you say that Israel should be able to build unlimited settlements/colonies without U.S. criticism.

You said you wanted to clarify, and you wish I’d asked you to do so. Fair enough. Here are my questions:

1. In the “likely event” that the U.S. continues to supply military aid to Israel as you say, what would Israel have to do with our military aid to merit criticism? How about stealing and ethnically cleansing Palestinian land, building illegal colonies, violating the Geneva Conventions, committing war crimes, violating the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, and/or building U.S.-funded roads only Jewish colonizers are allowed to drive on? Israel has done all of those actions with U.S. support for decades. I’d be happy to provide sources/references to verify these facts.

2. What is your position on the Gaza war of ’08-09 in which Israel killed hundreds of civilians, including more than 300 children? Why should the U.S. not criticize Israel for using U.S.-supplied arms to oppress and dispossess the Palestinian people? What makes Israel so special that it doesn’t deserve criticism for using U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons to commit horrific, illegal crimes against a civilian population?

3. You say you “would like for nothing more than the people in the Middle East to live in peace.” Great, I’m glad you want to see it happen. But what kind of peace are we driving toward — the peace that results from Israel conquering Palestinian land and crushing all resistance, or the peace of equality and coexistence? I hope you support the latter. While you say you are for peace, you also say the U.S. shouldn’t criticize Israeli settlements. The settlements (colonies) are the primary engine Israel uses to steal Palestinian land, and thereby make any kind of equitable peace impossible. How do you reconcile your desire for peace with not criticizing Israel’s settlements/colonies, or are you open to taking a new position in opposition to the settlements?

4. You might say, “I want peace but that’s not the U.S.’ job.” Have you heard that U.S. military experts have stated that an acceptable outcome on Israel/Palestine is a vital national security interest, given that U.S. support for Israel’s project of conquest has endangered American lives? Further, Osama bin Laden stated in one of his tapes (assuming the tapes are authentic) that 9/11 was partially motivated by U.S. support for Israel’s project of conquest. Given this pressing national security interest, what would you have the U.S. do to bring about an acceptable outcome?

5. Do you favor equality between Israelis and Palestinians, as a principle? Many Israeli and American politicians favor Israeli Jewish ethnic/racial/religious superiority over Palestinians, as a principle.

6. In the video of your remarks, you complimented Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu (Bibi) as a tough, smart guy who’s committed to peace. Are you aware of the following three facts about this tough guy: a) Bibi bragged about destroying the Oslo Process in a private conversation with settlers that was recently made public, b) In the same private conversation, Bibi bragged about how easy it is to manipulate and control U.S. foreign policy to favor Israel, c) Bibi has blessed the construction of illegal, land-stealing colonies/settlements, both during the so-called settlement freeze (not an actual freeze, it turns out) and now that the so-called freeze is over. Do you maintain your support for Bibi in light of these facts?

John, you are running on an anti-war platform, embraced by progressives. I don’t want my remarks to be pure armchair challenges. I want to help you to develop an effective policy. Here’s a shorthand suggestion for a progressive policy on Israel/Palestine:

A) If U.S. aid continues to Israel, then it should not be in the form of military aid, but instead should fund programs that promote equality, reconciliation, healing, integration, and so on between Israelis and Palestinians, with equality being the most important principle;

B) Similarly, no military aid of any kind should be available to Israel until and unless Israel agrees to abide by international law, relevant U.N. resolutions, and all U.S. laws governing arms exports (although A above is far preferable);

C) The U.S. should immediately remove itself as the mediator between Israelis and Palestinians given the U.S. track record of favoring Israel and “being Israel’s lawyer”, and request that a truly neutral third party be the mediator (I’m a professional mediator, and absolutely neutrality is rule number one);

D) The U.S. should take responsibility for the fact that its past military aid has contributed substantially to the dispossession of the Palestinian people, and make amends for this in both word and deed, including material reparations;

E) As a national security imperative, and also because it’s the right thing to do, the U.S. should apply massive pressure to Israel to achieve a just, equitable, agreeable-to-all parties resolution based on the fundamental principle of equality.

Final question: Do you agree with points A-E, and will you make them part of your new and revised platform toward Israel/Palestine? If not, why not?

Hoping you will take a progressive stance on this deeply important matter!

I greatly appreciate your thoughtful engagement with this deeply important matter. 

P.S. – The fact that you aren’t willing to guarantee Israel that the U.S. would go to war on its behalf is positive, although a small step toward a truly progressive policy.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Matthew A. Taylor, Jewish, American, Taxpayer

Goldberg regrets his story linking Saddam to al-Qaeda but says ‘everybody’ got it wrong

Oct 27, 2010

Philip Weiss 

The Jewish Journal’s Danielle Berrin interviews the most powerful Jewish journalist in America. Nay, the world! First the bullying excerpt, then the excerpt where he bullies the world. Emphases mine. Commenters will supply the subtext:

Goldberg was raised in an assimilated middle-class home in a mixed neighborhood on Long Island. Both of his parents were teachers and union loyalists, inculcating their son with left-leaning liberal politics but not much in the way of a religious education. Instead, Goldberg forged his Jewish identity in response to some schoolyard anti-Semitism whose traumas left him longing for the so-called muscle Judaism represented by Zionism.

As a teenager, he voraciously consumed Zionist literature by Theodor Herzl, Max Nordau and Vladimir Jabotinsky, and chose to go to a socialist Zionist camp in the Catskills, where summer games like “Warsaw Ghetto Uprising” and “Siege of Jerusalem” were imbued with historic seriousness.

Following his parents’ divorce and an aimless year at the University of Pennsylvania, Goldberg moved to Israel, where he remained for the next several years, living on a kibbutz and serving in the army. Guarding Palestinian prisoners — many of whom were terrorists or would-be terrorists — might have bolstered his hawkish side….

…a 2002 piece he wrote for The New Yorker, in which he claimed to have found evidence linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda…. was widely interpreted as an endorsement for the Iraq war, which, on some level, Goldberg regrets. He now admits having been wrong about Hussein’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction “like everybody else…”

Thanks to Jeff Blankfort. P.S. When will the New Yorker express its regrets for delivering the slop? Don’t hold your breath. P.P.S. I went to public schools in gritty sections of Baltimore a few years before Goldberg in middle-class L.I. I experienced some schoolyard anti-Semitism. Remind me– some day I must show you the scars and relate the traumas.

Sheikh Jarrah activists confront Jerusalem mayor over the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Silwan

Oct 27, 2010

Adam Horowitz

The ADL’s ‘top ten’ list is consistent with its history of muzzling dissent on Israel at all costs

Oct 27, 2010

Alaa Milbes 

Recently, the Anti-Defamation League came out with a statement placing Students for Justice in Palestine on its top 10 anti-Israel organizations in the United States. As ADL has a history of spying and attempting to crush pro-Palestine, anti-apartheid activists working on issues of justice and civil rights, we are honored to be on a list with prominent civil rights organizations such as the Muslim American Society and Jewish Voice for Peace among others.The ADL was established in 1913 as a response to anti-Jewish bigotry in the United States. In 1993, the San Francisco police raided an ADL office after discovering a police officer had provided the organization with information on American citizens supporting the Palestinian cause and those opposing South African apartheid. The ADL’s Roy Bullock, an undercover investigator, held records consisting of information on 77 Arab organizations and nearly 647 leftist and anti-apartheid organizations.

Rather than being a civil rights organization that defends the rights of Jews and other minorities, the ADL has a reputation for stifling debate regarding Israel’s “Jewish” democracy. The top 10 list simply reinforces this concern. The ADL blindly supports the Israeli government in its endeavors, including many that flagrantly discriminate against Palestinians.

Domineering moves, including blacklists, are increasingly viewed by peace advocates as badges of honor. Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, expressed her pleasure at being targeted: “We’re growing, we’re very organized and we’re effective…There was something perversely pleasing about being included on the ADL list.”

“The status quo crowd knows that its power is waning as American Jews have come to the understanding that defending the occupation is no act of friendship to Israel. It is precisely the opposite and that those who are first to call others “anti-Israel” have helped perpetuate policies that would be Israel’s undoing. The lobby is terrified. And so it resorts to McCarthyism, which historically is the last resort of those who are losing. It didn’t work for Joe McCarthy. It won’t work for them.”

In fact, the ADL has created a reputation for itself, as a criticizer of highly respected human rights workers, scholars and political figures. The ADL even went after Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the esteemed South African anti-apartheid campaigner, when he was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to head a fact-finding mission to Gaza. Astonishingly, the organization even criticized Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress in the 1980s because of Israel’s close friendship with apartheid South Africa.

In its blind and staunch support of Israel, the ADL has found itself increasingly defending the indefensible. Organizational support for some discriminated-against minority groups does not exonerate the ADL for its heavy-handed defense of the Israeli state as a “Jewish and democratic state.” The hypocrisy of such a position is obvious. The ADL would never, thankfully, support the United States as a white and Christian state nor have the temerity to then call such a construction a democracy. Yet this is precisely what it asks for Israel.

Just days ago, Rupert Murdoch was honored by the ADL for his supposed support of Israel and commitment to fighting anti-Semitism. Yet by honoring the CEO of News Corp, parent company of Fox News, the ADL is fairly openly supporting demagogues such as Glenn Beck who is given plenty of space to promote hate against various peoples, including immigrants and Palestinians.

Having emerged from the Western colonial era, save in Palestine, university students look to the example of predecessors who fought South African apartheid and Jim Crow discrimination in the American South. In both instances, student movements were a main driving force in ending racist governing structures.

The ADL knows SJP’s potential to end a racist and colonial system enforced on the Palestinian people. Placement on the “top 10 list” is only a sign that student movements have the potential to change government policies. Our opposition to Israeli policy continues to resonate with people around the world who are shocked and dismayed at Israel’s ongoing flouting of international law and the right of Palestinians to freedom and fundamental human rights. The ADL’s discriminatory take on Israel/Palestine is entirely antiquated; the outlook of students with SJP who promote equal rights for Palestinians and Jews in the region surely represents the future.

Alaa Milbes is a graduate student at Columbia University in the department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African studies, and she is a member of Students for Justice in Palestine.


Abu Ben Tzahali

Oct 27, 2010

Ira Glunts 

Abu Ben Tzahali (may our tribe release!)
Awoke one day from a deep nap of peace,
And saw, within the daylight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a desert in bloom,
An Editor writing in a book of gold:

Exceeding success made Ben Tzahali bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?” The Vision raised its head,
And with a look so fit and grand
Answered, “The names who too much love the Land.”

And is mine one?” said Abu. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the Vision. Abu spoke more low,
But cheerily still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write my son who beats up grown men.”

The Vision wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whose love of Land were stressed,
And, lo! Ben Tzahali’s name led all the rest!
Dedicated to Ethan Bronner and Bill Keller of The New York Times.

An open letter to Hebrew University

Oct 27, 2010

Zehra Hirji 

It has been brought to my attention that Professor Maya Kahanoff was recently let go from The Rothberg International School at Hebrew University on the grounds of her personal politics; it was made clear that her lifetime of knowledge on peace and understanding were no longer welcome at your university.

As a student who was also made to feel unwelcome at The Hebrew University, I find this news incredibly painful, as Maya Kahanoff was a source of inspiration to everyone who met her; she personally touched me and completely transformed my educational experience at your institution. As someone stereotyped as the enemy, a Muslim of Arab descent, I came to Hebrew University to defy this image and to seek genuine understanding and friendship across the divide.

The Hebrew University has a reputation as one of the foremost institutions in the world on international law and intellectual thought, and was founded on the ideals of progressivism by such brilliant minds such as Albert Einstein and other great leaders. However, instead of encountering this vision of intelligence and greatness, I was met with professors who likened Arabs to animals and stripped them of their humanity.

I was met with professors who claimed that genetics and DNA were responsible for making Arabs violent and other traces of racism that I did not even realize were still prevalent in “academic” discourse today.

While these professors destroyed the last traces of my faith in humanity, it was upon meeting Professor Maya Kahanoff in her peacebuilding seminar that I realized my decision to attend The Hebrew University was the right one, that mutual respect and understanding truly were attainable, that my faith in humanity could be restored, and that education is the answer for achieving peace. The Hebrew University could in fact live up to its foundational vision.

Maya Kahanoff is the living embodiment of tolerance. She was my teacher at the exact moment when she was celebrating her daughter’s induction into the Israeli Defense Forces. As a proud mother, with a daughter in the army, Maya was making the utmost sacrifice to the politics of her nation. But as a teacher, she eloquently preached understanding and tolerance: a daily struggle for the soul of her nation.

It was Maya Kahanoff who pointed out to me, that nowhere in the world were there more peace activists than in Israel, and nowhere in the world were there more citizens advocating on behalf of the rights of their alleged enemy. It was Maya Kahanoff who helped me understand that even in the most intractable of conflicts hope in our shared humanity should never be retracted. And while those other racist and hurtful professors continue to spew their hateful speech at your institution, it was Maya Kahanoff that was fired.

I simply cannot articulate in words how devastating this news is and the loss that will be incurred by all future students seeking knowledge at The Hebrew University. The solution to this conflict, if ever there was one, will begin and end with education. The role of Hebrew University in stifling this avenue to peace will be a mark of shame for the rest of its history, severely undermining the principles upon which it was founded. I cannot begin to express my grief and my sorrow for the loss in which your university has self-inflicted.


Zehra Hirji

The Rothberg International School 2009
Harvard University 2010

Zehra Hirji blogs at Where in the World is Zehra

Israeli siege kept baby girl from leukemia treatment

Oct 27, 2010


and other news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing

UN envoy demands Israel act against settler attacks
UN Mieast peace coordinator ‘appalled at acts of destruction of olive trees and farmlands, desecration of mosques and violence against civilians’.

Jewish settlement construction increases, report says
An Israeli human rights group says that building illegal Jewish settlements on Palestinian land has increased four-fold since the partial freeze on new building ended last month.  Nearly half a million Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They are held to be illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.  Many of those who help to build the settlements are Palestinian labourers who say they cannot get such well-paid jobs elsewhere.

Demolitions Continue in ‘Aissawiya, Provoking Popular Anger
Jerusalem – PNN – Widespread demolitions continued in the occupied central Jerusalem neighborhood of ‘Aissawiya as bulldozers followed Israeli soldiers from house to house and popular rage spread. A Wafa reporter in Jerusalem said the demolitions covered the districts of Barkiyat, Mu’rshat, and Istinadiya and affected the following citizens: Sheikh Riyad, ‘Aissawiya, Ra’ed Abu Riyala, Issa Saleh Khalil Nasir, Ziad Issa Nasir, Mazen Issa Nasir, Isma’il Issa Nasir, Issa Muhammad Nasir, Samir Nasir, and Issa Naisir.  Ra’ed Abu Riyala al-‘Assawoui, a member of the Fatah Organizational Committee and one of the landowners, said the soldiers told him they had issued a demolition notice a month ago. He said this was a flimsy argument that soldiers used every time they removed Palestinians from their lands.

Israeli Soldiers Confiscate Heavy Equipment During Invasion of Beit Fajjar
Kamel Hamash, head of the local council, confirmed on Wednesday morning, that a number of Israeli army soldiers confiscated a bulldozer and other equipment belonging to a citizen from the region of Khelat Heja, near Beit Fajjar, east of Bethlehem.

Israel expands West Bank settlement
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israel is expanding a settlement in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, Ma’an has learned.  Shvut Rachel Alt. 804, part of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council, was built on Palestinian land in the Jalud village.  The village’s total area is some 16,000 dunums. Settlers have confiscated about 80 percent of the land to expand six settlements, residents say.

Report: 99 per cent of separation wall built on ’67 occupied land
Arab League warns the separation wall will devour fertile farmland in Qalqiliya, within framework of systematic plan to take control of Palestine’s most fertile and strategically important lands.

Two sides of the Wall in Bil’in, Hamde Abu Rahme
I went on a tour to photograph the Apartheid Wall that was built on the territory of the Palestinian village of Bil’in, located in the West Bank.  After a ruling of the highest Israeli Court, the path of which the first wall had been built had to be changed and now the Israel has to build a new wall: the new wall is a set of concrete cubes ranging in length up to eight meters tall. The old wall was an electric fence with barbed wire which would send an electric shock at the slightest touch. This first wall was set up by Israel on Palestinian land and has been extremely dangerous (in some cases deadly), not only to human beings but also to animals and other wildlife. Many animals lost their lives after running into the fence and being instantly electrocuted.

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Palestinian Political Prisoner Ameer Makhoul to the World Education Forum Palestine
Brothers and sisters in the Palestinian National Committee of the World Education Forum My greetings and yearning to you all, First, I send you my warmest greetings and appreciation for all your efforts in preparation for the World Education Forum in Palestine. It is an honor for Palestine to host this forum, accompanied by such notable international mobilization and solidarity. However, it is also an honor for the World Education forum to be hosted by Palestine.

Demonstrators call for expelling Israeli ambassador from Jordan
AMMAN, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) — Dozens of Jordanians on Tuesday staged sit-ins near the Israeli embassy in Amman, calling for annulling the peace treaty with Israel.  During the sit-in, which took place near Al Kaluti Mosque, demonstrators called for expelling the Israeli ambassador and urged people to boycott Israeli products.  “The Wadi Araba Peace treaty represents a recognition of Israel, ” Secretary General of the Islamic Action Front (IAF) Hamzah Mansour said during the demonstration organized by the Jordanian Higher Executive Committee for Defending the Homeland and Confronting Normalization.

Jerusalem Activists Confront Mayor Nir Barkat, Joseph Dana
Nir Barkat, the secular and dangerous mayor of Jerusalem, was forced to confront direct action protest during a recent art gala in Jerusalem. Jerusalem activists from the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement confronted the mayor with questions regarding his policy of ethnic cleansing in Silwan and Shiekh Jarrah. In the following video of the event, Barkat’s smug reaction is not as surprising as the utter silence of those citizens attending the art gala around him. The silence of Jerusalem’s residents to the policy of discrimination, racism and occupation to Palestinian citizens of the city is shocking.

Tutu begs singers to call off Israel tour
Desmond Tutu has urged the Cape Town Opera to call off its tour of Israel “until both Israeli and Palestinian opera lovers have equal opportunity and unfettered access to performances”.

No Justice, No Chickpeas: Philly activists go ‘Gaga’ to spread hummus boycott, Adam Horowitz
Philly BDS, a coalition of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian, and Arab organizations, recently initiated a boycott campaign against Sabra and Tribe hummus products because of their connection to human rights abuses of Palestinians.  Coalition member Hannah Schwarzschild explains:  As a customer and a Jew, I hope that Fresh Grocer will heed the concerns of it’s community members and consider ceasing to distribute these products. Not only would this a be a huge step toward supporting the human rights of Palestinians and working for a more just and peaceful Middle East, it would also serve to educate the community about the power of our consumer choices.”

#BDS: Presbyterian Mission Network Joins BDS Movement
Presbyterian Mission Network Joins BDS Movement, Calls for Boycotts on goods from Illegal Israeli Settlements.  CHICAGO, October 25—In response to a call to action from the Christians of the Holy Land, The Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) [PC(USA)] voted at its annual meeting to join the international boycott of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

8th Week against the Apartheid Wall, November 9 – 16 2010
Sep 1, 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.

Technion: Structures of Oppression
Why McGill & Concordia Universities must sever their links with Technion University October 2010 report download full document Photo: Window in Palestinian home smashed by Israeli military bullet. McGill and Concordia universities maintain bi-lateral exchange programs with the Technion University in Israel.

Who Profits? – Financing the Israeli Occupation
Israeli banks provide the financial infrastructure for all activities of companies, governmental agencies and individuals in the continuing occupation of Palestine and the Syrian Golan Heights. The services provided by the banks support and sustain these activities. Additionally, as this report shows, it is evident that the banks are well aware of the types and whereabouts of the activity that is being carried out with their financial assistance.

How Much Money is Needed to Stop the BDS Movement?, Alex Kane
$6 million dollars:  enough to combat a largely grassroots, bottom-up and growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel?  That’s what the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs are hoping.

Siege/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement/Racism & Discrimination
Israeli Siege Kept Baby Girl From Leukemia Treatment
Nasma Abu Lasheen died on 16 October, 2010 from treatable leukemia, 155 kilometres from adequate medical facilities. She had spent most of her two years sick, ferried around Gaza and Israel between blood tests, treatments and doctors in six different hospitals.  Her family had celebrated her second birthday in Gaza City, waiting on permission from Israel to continue the chemical treatment. By the time it came, Nasma was too weak to move. Her tragedy is the story of hospitals, doctors, clinics and medicine under siege.

Open Gaza’s gates,  Amira Hass
When residents from Hebron, Nazareth and foreign countries travel to the Khan Yunis coast, or visit a cultural center north of the Al-Shatti refugee camp, their illusions about the wonders of the religious-totalitarian regime will evaporate.

Negev councilor cuts off 4,000 Bedouin’s water supply
The water was turned back on Tuesday afternoon, by order of the Be’er Sheva District Court, pending a hearing set for tomorrow

Israel lifts study ban for 5 jailed students
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Lawyers for Palestinian detainees at an Israeli prison said Tuesday that five prisoners will be allowed to complete university studies, after they were initially banned.  Twenty other prisoners will not be allowed to continue studying. They were prevented from completing coursework on “security” grounds, according to a statement from the detainees center.

Gazans missing out on school
In Gaza, 40,000 students have been unable to start school this year because there are not enough buildings to accomodate them. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency says the Palestinian territory needs at least 100 new schools but there is simply not enough construction material available because of Israel’s blockade of the territory. Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba reports from Gaza. [October 27, 2010]

Al-Awda Launches New Palestinian Childrens’s Rights Campaign
Ramallah – PNN – Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, just launched a new program that will focus on Palestinian children’s rights that have been detained by Israel, as well as advocate for the immediate release of the children.  Al-Awda is an American non-profit organization that has mainly worked for the Palestinian right to return.  According to their website they are “a broad-based, non-partisan, democratic and charitable organization of grassroots activist and students committed to comprehensive public education of the rights of all Palestinian refugees to return to their property in accordance with International Law.”

Knesset committee approves controversial bill allowing towns to reject residents
Israeli Arab MKs al-Sana and Tibi walk out on committee discussion, calling it a ‘criminal law’ aiming to prevent Arabs from joining Israeli towns.

Arabs: Jaffa housing benefits for reservists ‘discriminatory’
Residents of Jaffa’s Ajami neighborhood angered by apartment benefits for reserve soldiers, claim housing shortage for local residents not addressed,7340,L-3975377,00.html

Settler network promotes racist comics to bring Meir Kahane to a new generation of Israelis, Adam Horowitz
The following comic celebrating the life of Meir Kahane appeared last week on an Israeli website called the Israel News Network, which is associated with Arutz Sheva and the settler movement. Kahane was the founder of the fascist Jewish Defense League and the Kach movement, which was barred in Israel for promoting racism, and his ideology has been influential in Israel where he was a longtime proponent of forcing Palestinian citizens of Israel out of the country. The comic has been translated byDena Shunra.

Violence & Aggression

Israeli Occupation Gunboats Attack Palestinain Fishermen in Gaza
In Wednesday at dawn, Israeli gunboats opened fire at fishing boats off the shoreline in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Police Car Kills Palestinian Child
Israeli sources reported that on Tuesday night, a Palestinian boy from the town of Yatta, south of Hebron, was killed by an Israeli police car that ran over him in the town of Ashdod, in the southern part of Israel.

IOF soldiers open indiscriminate fire at Husan homes
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) mounting six armored vehicles on Tuesday afternoon stormed the village of Husan, west of Bethlehem, and fired rubber bullets and gas bombs at citizens’ homes.

Report: Islamic Jihad man killed in Gaza
Palestinians say al-Quds Brigades member, 29, hit by IDF tank shell. Earlier, mortar shell explodes in western Negev; no injuries reported.,7340,L-3975779,00.html

Clashes erupt at Israel march
Violence between police and Palestinian-Israeli protesters angered by a march by a right-wing Jewish group.

In photos: Aftermath of an Israeli raid
The daughter of one of three Palestinians detained by Israeli forces in Qalqiliya on Monday morning holds up a copy of a Qur’an, which the family says troops burned after raiding the family home. An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma’an that neither the Civil Administration nor the army had received a complaint about the burning of the Muslim holy book, but confirmed two detentions in the northern West Bank district.


Israeli Army Ransacks Homes; Detains Palestinians in Nablus
The Palestinian News Agency Ma’an, reported on Wednesday that the Israeli army detained five Palestinians from the villages of Madama and Beta in the southern part of Nablus.

Israeli court mulls jail time for Fatah official
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli court on Wednesday delayed the sentencing of a Fatah official accused of violating a ban on entering the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.  The lawyer for Jerusalem affairs chief Hatem Abdel Qader asked for the session to be delayed after prosecutors demanded the official’s imprisonment. Jawad Boulous said the decision would be unprecedented, and would signal a personal vendetta against Abdel Qader.

War Criminals

Israeli flotilla probe ‘a sham’, Sherine Tadros
Turkel Schmerkel. For the past few days I’ve had the delightful task of hanging around the Yitzhak Rabin Guest House in West Jerusalem. I was covering the latest round of questioning by (Israeli) judges, appointed by the (Israeli) government to examine the legality of their deadly raid on the Gaza-bound aid ship last May. The inquiry is called the Turkel Commission, named after retired Justice Turkel – the big chief.  Now, I could tell you how, at various points, I saw every member of the panel fall asleep during the testimonies.

Israel’s Arab Helpers

Hamas: PA arrests 7 West Bank supporters
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Hamas said on Wednesday that Palestinian Authority security forces arrested seven of the movement’s members in the West Bank.  Hamas said in a statement that PA forces continued what they called a campaign of arrests against the group, detaining members in the Jericho, Nablus, Jerusalem and Tubas districts.

Political Developments

Erekat: Settlers have Israeli authorities’ full cooperation
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat “strongly condemned” on Wednesday a flood of raw sewage that destroyed a Palestinian olive grove in the near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, which Israeli settlers are suspected of perpetrating.  Residents in the village of Deir Al-Hatab said 660 olive trees were poisoned by the sewage by runoff from a factory in the illegal Elon Moreh settlement on Tuesday.

UN backs Palestinians plans for statehood by August
“All int’l players now in agreement that the Palestinians ready for statehood at any point in the near future,” UN official Serry tells Fayyad.
Israel sees no movement in talks with Palestinians until after U.S. midterms
JERUSALEM, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) — Contacts between Israel and the Palestinians will not resume until after the U.S. congressional elections in November, sources in Israeli prime minister’s office said Tuesday.  Meanwhile, contacts between Israel and the United States over the possibility of renewing talks continue, against a backdrop of an American demand that Israel freeze settlement construction for an additional two months.

Israel says prisoner exchange talks ongoing
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Talks between Israel and Hamas over the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for an Israeli soldier are ongoing, a spokesman for Israeli President Shimon Peres said Tuesday.  Ofer Gendelman told Ma’an radio that the position of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government had not changed, but contacts with Hamas and behind-the-scenes phone calls were continuing in hopes of reaching a deal.  

Hamas denies talks ongoing over Shalit deal
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Hamas rebuffed comments Tuesday evening by an Israeli official that talks to secure a captured Israeli soldier in exchange for Palestinian prisoners were ongoing.  Hamas leader Salah Al-Bardawil told Ma’an the reports were “totally untrue” and that Israel’s comments were meant to “reassure the Israelis that they are working to release Gilad Shalit.”

In West Bank, Hamas beaten down, but not out (Reuters)
Reuters – For more than three years, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has tried to crush the Islamist movement Hamas.*

Other News

Report: Israel planned explosion at Iranian missile site
An explosion that killed 18 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on October 12 was ordered by the Mossad, French newspaper Le Figaro suggested on Monday.

Police on high alert in Arab town Umm al-Fahm ahead of extreme rightist march
Marchers to wave Israeli flags and march near Islamic Movement offices in the city to protest the participation of a prominent leader of the movement in last May’s Gaza-bound flotilla.

Kahane supporters: We’ll destroy ‘Ishmael state’
During memorial service on 20th anniversary of Kach leader’s death, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel says, ‘If Ishmael state is established – we will destroy it. Suspected ‘Jewish terrorist’ Haim Pearlman also participates. His wife declares: ‘Kahane’ is not a dirty word,7340,L-3975518,00.html

Israeli Arab eyes plea bargain over Hezbollah spying charges
Political activist Ameer Makhoul seeks to avoid heavy jail sentence for espionage by admitting to lesser charges.

Shin Bet grills Haaretz reporter Uri Blau over leaked IDF papers
Blau, who returned to Israel from London this week, spends nearly 10 hours at police’s International Investigations headquarters.

Sabah Denies Ayalon’s Criticism: Vatican Meeting Was Not “Hijacked”
Jerusalem – PNN – Latin Patriarch Michel Sabah of Jerusalem rebuffed criticism by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon that a recent meeting of bishops in the Vatican had been “hijacked by enemies of the Jewish state.”  Latin Patriarch Michel Sabah of Jerusalem.   Ayalon’s statement continued that his government was “disappointed that the Synod had turned into a forum for launching political attacks on Israel and Arab propaganda.”  Sabah defended the meeting, telling Al-Quds newspaper that, “The meeting was for all bishops in the Middle East to look at the needs of Palestinians and the political, social, and economic conditions they live under. The group looked at the relationship between Christianity and Islam and we found what we needed to do.”

Poll: Abbas enjoys support of young Palestinians
Bethlehem, West Bank – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party counts on the support of many young Palestinians in the West Bank, according to an opinion poll published Tuesday.  If elections were held today, nearly 40 per cent of young Palestinians would vote for the secular-leaning Fatah, compared to under 10 per cent for its rival Hamas, a radical Islamist movement.  The poll conducted by the Bethlehem-based Palestinian Centre for Research and Cultural Dialogue (PCRD), with Germany’s Hanns Seidel Foundation, questioned 1,000 Palestinians aged 18 to 30 in the West Bank earlier this month.

Will the Academy give an Oscar to a notorious anti-Semite?
Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences intends to award iconic French-Swiss filmmaker Jean Luc Godard with an honorary Oscar.  [What earned him the anti-Semitic smear is his pro-Palestinian film, “The Palestinians” and his famous aversion to Hollywood and its inner workings..He also said things (in his very typical un- PC manner) that some Jews in the cinema industry, understandably may have disliked, but to label him anti-Semitic is quite a stretch..]

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest

Will Fatah choose reconciliation or collaboration?
Clashes between the main Palestinian movements Hamas and Fatah date back to the late 1980s when Hamas was officially founded and the early 1990s when Fatah took control of the Palestinian Authority, newly established under the 1993 Oslo accords. Raja Abdulhaq comments.

It’s not Netanyahu who’s paralyzed, it’s Obama, Philip Weiss
Ari Shavit did a piece in Haaretz last week asking, What is paralyzing Netanyahu? Why isn’t he acting, when the Arab peace initiative is about to expire and Europe is turning its back on Israel, and Obama wants him to act… David Bromwich’s smart response:  Netanyahu is not “paralyzed,” merely waiting. For what? The American election result. If the Republicans win a convincing majority, he’ll give up all pretense of listening to Obama. If the Democrats hold on to a majority, he will continue the pretense with a degree more responsiveness, for a few months. By then, the posturing for 2012 will have begun, and the pressure of popular and bought opinion against Obama’s negotiations will increase. Since the president did so little when he had a majority and personal popularity to use as leverage, Netanyahu trusts he won’t do more when the majority is narrow or non-existent and popular opinion has swung against him.

News Analysis: What does Netanyahu’s new plan imply?
JERUSALEM, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is preparing to launch a new plan to restart negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), according to reports by the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv.  The plan will consist of two stages: a total freeze on construction in Jewish settlements on the West Bank for three months, followed by a partial or controlled freeze for an additional nine months.  The goal of the new plan is to restart peace talks with the Palestinians that came to an end in early October after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to continue negotiations citing Israel’s refusal to freeze settlement construction.

Kramer says that the Persian Gulf is ‘as crucial to American security as Lake Michigan’, Philip Weiss
Can you trust someone’s judgment if every time they talk about the Middle East they refer to it as “the Levant?” I don’t think so. Sandbox author Martin Kramer is not just pretentious, but scary and Israel-centric. Here he is interviewed by fellow neoc Michael Totten arguing that the only way to achieve peace in Israel and Palestine is to take out Iran. Of course once we do that, there’ll be some other threat that arises and comes first.

Kufur Qassim, Rachel Corrie and premeditated forgetfulness, Hatim Kanaaneh
Hussain Abu-Hussain, the Corries’ lawyer, thought his was a depressing profession. I sought to cheer him up by pointing out the dismal case of the oncology specialty in medicine. It didn’t seem to work; he had spent the whole day trying in vain to trick witnesses of the murder of the late ISM volunteer into telling the truth. But the relevant portions of those witnesses’ memory were hermitically sealed behind an impermeable wall of forgetfulness. Limited in my scope of knowledge and understanding to the field of medicine, I am intrigued by the mystery of what effective mind-altering drugs the Israeli Defense Forces have at their disposal to wipe out selective segments of their soldiers’ recall and to effect such precise lacuna of brain damage.

Israel is Relieved Not to be The Only War Criminal, Gideon Levy
The voice of joy, the voice of rejoicing is heard in Israel: The Americans and British have also committed for war crimes, not only us.

How Do Fascists Creep into Power?, Lillian Rosengarten
Uri Avneri’s always powerful observations raise the most profound question. How can it happen, the lure of Fascism that oozes into the fabric of societies with the promise of a better life? There are always those who are not vulnerable to the language of temptation, the racist rhetoric that tears a society apart. These heroes become freedom fighters. An example is Hans Lebrecht, my father’s first cousin who was an active resistance fighter in World War 11, a noted Communist activist and supporter and writer for Gush Shalom. He was my mentor and beloved friend. Now in his 90’s he resides at Kibbutz Beit-Oren. I cannot visit him for I am not allowed to return to Israel because I have dissented against their injustice to Palestinians. Here is a still timely quote from “JewishFriends of Palestine Gateway, by Hans.

In the End, Only One Way to See It, Michael Khaled for MIFTAH
I came to the Holy Land thinking I could find some type of middle ground and lodge myself there. As a Palestinian-American, I am equipped with the knowledge, cultural awareness and communication skills to show a Western audience the unvarnished truth behind the conflict. I try not to get emotionally involved with the political issues and “stay above” the fray. As a trained journalist, that is what I was taught.  Yet I recently watched a Palestinian friend get into a political discussion with an Israeli security guard on the way to the dorms at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. My friend is a fiery artist from the north with Israeli citizenship, and the guard, an imposing Sephardic Jew of Moroccan descent.

The Remaining Option for the Palestinians, George S. Hishmeh – Washington, D.C.
Over 70 years ago, agitating European Zionist leaders were offered by Britain, who then ruled Palestine, about 20 percent of the Arab country to establish a state there, a partition they accepted in principle but then demanded more land. This offer was made behind Palestinians backs.  Ten years later, the United Nations approved the partition plan which gave Palestinian Jews 55 percent of the country, although they hardly owned five percent of the land, while the Palestinian Arabs would retain 45 percent. The Palestinians, backed by the Arab states, rejected the plan and resolved to win it back.

The political line of Israeli papers (a reader’s guide)
Maariv and Yedioth Ahronoth showing the same headline (photo: yossi gurvitz)Newspapers in Israel have always been of great importance. One of the first things early Zionists did in Palestine was to create their own Hebrew papers. Every major political faction had its own publication, usually a national daily. Even today, with the decline of printed journalism, papers are still widely read, especially among opinion makers.  The Hebrew papers raise issues and frame political questions; Knesset members often quote news items and op-eds during Knesset debates, and Knesset committees conduct debates on issues exposed by the printed media. It is worth noting that Israel has never had strong local daily papers, so the printed media always tended to deal with national questions of diplomacy, politics and security, and less with local issues such as crime and local policies. So if you want to understand Israeli society and Israeli politics, you need to understand Hebrew printed media.

An Apartheid Distinction
I was at the border, a British national with an Arab name on my way into Palestine-Israel. The Jordanians were suspicious but not at all intimidating. It felt more like an unexpected cup of tea with an avuncular officer (which it was) than an interrogation. I learnt about Abu Tariq’s children and he learned about my reasons for crossing, my travels, and my career. He noted everything down before shaking my hand.  The bus through no-man’s land was full of Palestinian-Israelis, descendants of the remnant not driven out in 1948 – those the Israelis call ‘Arab-Israelis’, as if they were recent immigrants from Kuwait or Algeria. The sun bubbled the box of our bus. It was airless and sweaty inside.

Gaza, Mohammed and My Mother – Book Review,  Elana Golden
My Father was a Freedom Fighter is a page-turner though I read it in small bites, the way you would eat a rich chocolate cake. It is a great read not only for those interested in the Israel/Palestine conflict but for anyone who loves books about family, courage, hope and resilience. For while clearly illustrating the trajectory of the long and complex history of the conflict – My Father was a Freedom Fighter tells a story of survival that is beyond this particular conflict. It is a personal story told through the keen eye of Ramzy Baroud, it reads like a novel, and is universal in its tone, its humanity, its psychology.

The Chosen Peoples – Book Review,  Jim Miles
A work on studying chosen peoples needs to be approached with some kind of trepidation when one knows that they themselves are not chosen. If for nothing else, it is impossible to rationally argue against faith in biblical ‘chosenness.’ However, if one accepts the underlying premise that other people believe in their being chosen then the idea of chosenness can be worked with. This appears to be what the authors of this new book “The Chosen Peoples” attempt to examine.

Ashcroft’s Immunity and the Obama Administration, LAWRENCE DAVIDSON
One of the cases the Supreme Court of the United States will take up in its 2011 session is Ashcroft vs. al-Kidd. John Ashcroft was the Attorney General under President George Bush Jr. In that capacity he appears to have knowingly violated the U.S. Constitution (as well as periodically forced his employees to listen to his horrendous singing voice). Abdullah al-Kidd is a Muslim American citizen who Ashcroft illegally ordered detained through the illicit use of a material witness warrant. Kidd was one of 70 detained in this manner. He was picked up at Dulles International Airport after the FBI lied to a judge in order to get the warrant for his seizure. Al-Kidd was subsequently held for long periods in a security cell where the lights never went out.


Debkafile: Riyadh Pressing PM Saad Hariri to Step Down
26/10/2010 In a sudden U-turn, Saudi Arabia has called on Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to step down to pave the way for a pro-Syrian government, Israeli military intelligence website Debkafile reported.  The Saudis demanded Monday for Hariri to immediately step down and make way for an administration dominated by pro-Syrian ministers and Hezbollah, Debkafile quoted its Middle East and Beirut sources as saying.  The resignation call comes days after Hariri told US Deputy Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman that he was under Saudi pressure to leave office and that he was about to give into the Saudi king’s demand, the Israeli site noted.  Debkafile’s sources, however, predicted that a pro-Syrian PM in Lebanon would annul the Special Tribunal for Lebanpn and blame the killing of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri on Israel – which would ignite a war between Lebanon and Israel.  Meanwhile, sources close to Hariri denied to pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat that he has any plans to resign or withdraw from office, stressing that such step would result in a “critical power vacuum.”  The sources, who spoke to the Arab daily on the condition of anonymity, stressed that Hariri “does not regret any positive step he has taken towards Syria because he has done so in the belief in joint Syrian – Lebanese relations.” The source added that Hariri “believes that what he has begun is correct and he will continue with this and not back away from it, and if this does stop – as is the case now – he will learn lessons from this.

Aoun: STL’s Objective is Undermining Stability, Not Maintaining Justice
Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun on Tuesday noted that “the objective of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is undermining stability rather than maintaining justice,” adding that “the evidence is that many heads of state had died here (in Lebanon) before” with the United States remaining idle about their cases.
After the weekly meeting of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc held in Rabiyeh, Aoun stressed that “the issue of the Judicial Council is clear, and everyone knows that the murder of ex-PM Rafik Hariri had been referred to the Judicial Council since the beginning.”

Lebanon’s Palestinian Civil Rights Campaign moves into the Christian heartland
Even though not even one work permit has been issued to one Palestinian in Lebanon since the August 17, 2010 “right to work” law passed in Parliament and even though Palestinians are still forbidden from owning a home, the cause of Palestine Civil Rights in Lebanon endures.  Leila El-Ali, executive director of Najdeh, a Palestinian advocacy group that has long campaigned for civil rights for refugees in Lebanon is pleased that the new law has at least provoked real debate among Lebanese about the plight of Palestinian refugees but agrees that it will have no impact on the ground.   “All of the professions – doctors, lawyers, engineers, pharmacists, academia – will remain closed to Palestinians,” she says. “There is no syndicate here that will admit Palestinian members. And to actually be allowed to work legally in other jobs, the new law says you need specific guarantees from your employer – things that in the end


Tuesday: 20 Iraqis Killed, 32 Wounded
At least 20 Iraqis were killed and 32 more were wounded in a series of attacks in the north. Among them was a jewelry heist in Kirkuk. Meanwhile, Tariq Aziz has been sentenced to death for his role in “persecuting Shi’ites” during the Saddam era.

Gunmen kill eight in Iraq gold market attack
BAGHDAD, Oct 26 (Reuters) – At least eight people were killed, including five policemen, when gunmen attacked a goldsmiths’ market in the northern Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk on Tuesday, police and hospital sources said.  Police said there were clashes between the armed men and security forces. Twelve people were wounded, including two policemen.

Baghdad bombs kill 3 in scattered violence (AP)
AP – A bomb blast Wednesday near a Sunni religious organization killed two security guards, police and hospital officials said.*

IRAQ: No work forces refugees into risky return
MADRID Wednesday, October 27, 2010 (IRIN) – It takes courage – or desperation – for an Iraqi refugee to return home, given the levels of violence in the country. But unable to support their families abroad, some are taking that decision.

Vatican urges Iraq to halt Aziz execution (AP)
AP – The Vatican has urged Iraq to not carry out the death sentence meted out to former Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz and says it may intervene diplomatically to try to halt it.*

Tariq Aziz: a political life in pictures
Saddam Hussein’s former deputy has been sentenced to death by hanging by Iraq’s high tribunal over his role in the persecution of Shia parties.

Tariq Aziz and Iraq’s most-wanted deck of cards: where are the aces and kings now?
Top Saddam Hussein aide Tariq Aziz, sentenced to hang Tuesday, was one of 55 people featured in the notorious decks of playing cards handed out to American forces when they invaded Iraq. The cards featured the most-wanted members of Sadaam’s government. Aziz’s sentencing warrants a look at where those aces and kings are today.

Iraq calls time on Saddam’s sidekick
Former Iraqi deputy premier Tariq Aziz once said he would rather die than go to an American prison. On Tuesday, the “international face” of Saddam Hussein’s regime was sentenced to death over persecution of Islamic parties. Nuri al-Maliki, on the brink of sealing a deal to give him another four years as prime minister, apparently feels confident enough to act on something he has long dreamt of: revenge against Aziz. – Sami Moubayed

THE ROVING EYE : Aziz’s story will remain untold
Maliki and his Shi’ite Da’wa party had a score to settle with Aziz, and they will believe justice has now been done. Everyone else loses badly because Aziz is arguably the only person on Earth who could tell the real story, bit by juicy bit, about the rolling, decades-long American dirty game in Iraq. – Pepe Escobar


‘US troops beheaded Iraqi detainee’
American forces decapitated an Iraqi last year on the order of their higher-up, show recently-exposed US military documents.

US: Enemies searching WikiLeaks Iraq papers (AP)
AP – The Pentagon’s No. 2 official says that U.S. enemies already are mining data released this week in a trove of Iraq war documents for ways to harm the American military.*

WikiLeaks has more US war files, Pentagon says
WASHINGTON, Oct 26 (Reuters) – WikiLeaks, which already has made public nearly 500,000 classified U.S. files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has more U.S. documents for possible release than it has stated, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.  The massive WikiLeaks disclosures of leaked documents have been the largest in U.S. military history, and Pentagon officials are saying that more files may follow.  The whistle-blowing organization has publicly acknowledged it has some 15,000 more documents on the war in Afghanistan that it has threatened to release, along with an Afghanistan video file, the Pentagon noted.

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange on Iraq War Logs, “Tabloid Journalism” and Why WikiLeaks Is “Under Siege”
In an extended interview, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange discusses the release of nearly 400,000 classified US military records on the war in Iraq, the biggest intelligence leak in US history. The disclosure provides a trove of new evidence on the number of civilian casualties, violence, torture and suffering that has befallen Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion. While the Obama administration is defending the US military’s record in Iraq, the allegations in the documents have sparked worldwide condemnation. Assange also confirmed that threats by the Pentagon would not stop WikiLeaks from releasing additional military documents related to the war in Afghanistan.

The Wikileaks release of the Iraq War Logs on Friday has rightly aroused great interest. There has been excellent coverage in English by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (apparently sort of a British version of ProPublica in the US), Aljazeera, and the Guardian. The New York Times also had coverage, some of which was useful, but, as so often with the Times, their presentation was too influenced by official US military perspectives.  Much of the attention has focused upon reports of over 1,000 incidents of torture and detainee abuse by Iraqi government soldiers and police witnessed or reported to US troops. Rather than investigate or take action against Iraqi torturers, US troops were ordered to turn a blind eye to these abuses. In addition to ignoring the torture by Iraqi forces, the US was further complicit in that US forces knowingly turned over prisoners to Iraqi units known and expected to torture.  The United Nations Special Rapporteur for Torture has called upon the US to investigate these torture claims. The British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has also called for an investigation.

U.S. and other world news

Tea Party backing Candidate Who Allegedly Shot Unarmed Iraqis 60 Times
A Tea Party-backed candidate who allegedly murdered two unarmed Iraqis could win a seat in the House of Representatives.

Anti-war protester hurls shoes at ex-Australian prime minister John Howard on live TV
‘That’s for the Iraqi dead!’ Mr Gray shouted as he flung the shoes during the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s live Q&A programme. The shoes missed their target and Mr Gray was escorted from the studio.

Convicted Student Adnan Mirza Maintains Innocence in Latest Case of Alleged FBI Entrapment
Adnan Mirza, a Pakistani citizen who came to the United States on a student visa, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison without parole after being convicted of conspiring to provide material support to the Taliban and for unlawfully possessing firearms. While federal officials hailed the verdict, Adnan’s friends and supporters say he is innocent and that he was set up and framed by an undercover FBI informant. We spoke to Adnan last week, one day before his sentencing.

UK interrogation training manuals on detainees: ‘Get them naked’
British military manuals leaked to The Guardian and used to train interrogators in techniques involving humiliation, disorientation, exhaustion and fear may violate international laws. The training manuals describe a number of interrogation techniques used to “pressure” detainees. Some of these techniques include enforced nakedness, sensory deprivation, humiliating cavity searches, and stress positions.

Stryker unit sought to defend killing at heart of Afghan murder probe
Three days after they killed an Afghan cleric named Mullah Adahdad, members of a U.S. Army platoon returned to his village. Tribal elders had complained to Army officers that the cleric had been unarmed and that the May 2 shooting was a setup.

Whitman Would Only Appoint Judges Who Support The Death Penalty
Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman would not appoint judges who oppose the death penalty, her campaign spokeswoman said Monday.  The capital-punishment litmus test comes as Whitman, who is trailing in the polls despite spending more than $140 million of her own money on her campaign, sought to gain an edge with time running out before election day.

Emir of Qatar: ‘The US should re-engage with Iran’
Israelis “have the most dangerous weapons,” Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani claims interview; says US can’t use Qatari base to attack Iran.

Human Rights Watch:  Saudi Arabia: Stop Execution of Domestic Worker
(New York) – King Abdullah and Interior Minister Prince Naif should halt the execution of Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan domestic worker convicted of killing a child in her care when she was 17, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi Arabia is one of only three countries worldwide known to have executed individuals in the past two years for crimes committed when they were children.

Acclaimed Indian Author Arundhati Roy Faces Arrest for Questioning India’s Claim on Kashmir
The award-winning Indian author Arundhati Roy is facing possible arrest in India on sedition charges after publicly advocating for Kashmir independence and challenging India’s claim that Kashmir is an “integral part of India.” If charged and convicted of sedition, Roy could face up to life in prison.

Arundhati Roy Responds to Threat of Arrest for Sedition
Kashmir, Oct. 26—I write this from Srinagar, Kashmir. This morning’s papers say that I may be arrested on charges of sedition for what I have said at recent public meetings on Kashmir. I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I, as well as other commentators have written and said for years. Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice. I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves I visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore; for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways and who are now learning to live in the terror of what is becoming a police state.

Egypt opposition members arrested
Scores of Muslim Brotherhood members detained in Alexandria for placing “inappropriate” posters ahead of November poll.

Anti-Muslim Sentiment Not Limited to Europe, Alex Kane
The Washington Post reports on how “anti-Muslim feelings” are “propel[ling] [the] right wing in Europe.”  When will we see similar stories coming out about the U.S.?  The Tea Party is a right-wing movement that has come into prominence, in part, by stoking fear of Muslims and the non-existent “creeping sharia” law that is about to be imposed on the United States.

A Mosque Grows in Brooklyn, Alex Kane
When a mosque and Islamic community center in Sheepshead Bay were formally proposed in the summer of 2009, the estimated 200 Muslim families living in the south Brooklyn neighborhood greeted the news happily. For many years, they’ve had to travel to mosques in Bensonhurst, Canarsie and Bay Ridge.  But the proposed three-story project at 2812 Voorhies Ave., which was approved Oct. 13 by the Department of Buildings, is now facing a storm of opposition, some of it from outside the community.  The main opposition group, a group of local residents called Bay People Inc., has mobilized since the beginning of this year to oppose the mosque for a number of reasons, including concerns over increased traffic, parking problems, noise and property values.

Noah Feldman says that those who seek to bring ‘pure justice’ to negotiations stand in the way of peace

Oct 27, 2010

Philip Weiss 

The other day Ibn Tufayl reported on a debate at Harvard Law School over the two-state solution or the one-state solution between eminent profs, Noah Feldman and Duncan Kennedy. A student who attended the debate and wishes to remain anonymous fills in:

During the Q & A, Kennedy stated what he wanted: above all, above talk of one-state versus two-state solutions, he wanted a sustained American Boycott and Divestment movement. Feldman responded with a claim that the BD(S) movement would be counter-productive, targeting and marginalizing those within Israel proper–e.g., Israeli intelligentsia–most sympathetic to Kennedy’s own claims.

Kennedy responded that the BD[S] movement was meant to sway American leaders first and foremost. And then for the first time he invoked the apartheid analogy, and alluded to a few specific ways in which apartheid is the case in Israel and Palestine today.

Feldman bristled. Almost jumping in on Kennedy, he responded with something like the following: he very much doesn’t like this analogy for the following reason, it shifts the attention from the facts on the ground and realistic policymaking to vaguer theoretical questions about the legitimacy of applying certain analogies, indeed, of applying analogies at all. The idealists– and this was one of his themes, the uselessness of bringing ideas of “pure justice” to the negotiations– who invoke the apartheid analogy aim to distract those of us interested in moving-on and installing peace as immediately as possible. In other words, in Feldman’s opinion, those who invoke “apartheid” vis-a-vis the issue are not really taking the issue seriously; the analogy is for those who “do not want to get anything done.”

My correspondent, who found Feldman to be “sly,” says that this is a rough re-creation of the gist of the disagreement, and anyone should feel free to correct him, including of course the principals. 

Cambridge debate on Israel is undermined by wily neocon (is that redundant?)

Oct 27, 2010

Philip Weiss 

An interesting PR battle over Israel in England is related by a friend:

Cambridge University’s Union Society held a debate last week with the motion “This House Believes that Israel is a Rogue State.” Because of the public relations stakes, the Israeli embassy actually dispatched two men to argue Israel’s side in the debate.

But bizarrely, the team of 3 arguing for the motion included, alongside Tony Blair’s sister-in-law, a neoconservative student who used his time to argue in defense of Israel. The student in question, Gabriel Latner, said that he had volunteered in the Israeli army, and he had lately interned with the hardcore neo-con think tank, Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The debate worked out for Latner: the motion was defeated, 57 to 43 percent.

Some days later, the debate was reported on Ynet as “an important PR achievement in what could be considered one of Europe’s main anti-Israeli strongholds.” Ynet continued: 

Due to the preeminence of the hosting institution, the Israeli embassy in London decided to send representatives Ran Gidor, the embassy’s political advisor and a Cambridge graduate, and Shiraz Maher, a former radical Islamist that has become an enthusiastic Israel supporter.

The opposing side was represented by journalist and publicist Lauren Booth, the sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair….

The event took a sharp turn when a few students from the pro-Palestinian camp raised pro-Israeli arguments during the discussion. One of them told the audience that Israel gives political asylum to Darfuri refugees, while Egypt shoots them as they try to infiltrate the border, and that the Jewish State initiates internal probes over international violation, also noting Israel’s liberal policies vis-à-vis gay and lesbian rights. The student then pointed at Gidor and said, “Could you imagine China, Iran or even Britain sending a top diplomat to a discussion that defines Israel as a rogue state?”…

Israel’s Ambassador to London Ron Prosor said … that Israel will continue to dispatch representatives to any event that attempts to tarnish Israel’s reputation.

The PR victory claim is echoed by the Cambridge University Israel Society: “Unsurprisingly, much of the debate focused on Israel being an exceptional state. Israel’s commitment to political democracy and judicial accountability were frequently highlighted.”

Questions: Who arranged for Latner to speak for those proposing the motion? Did the Cambridge Union debating society compromise its impartiality by allowing itself to be used?

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on MONDOWEISS ONLINE NEWSLETTER



Jonathan Cook reports that at a demonstration yesterday when right-wing fascists marched through the Galilee town of Umm el-Fahm, Israeli riot police shot rubber bullets at Haneen Zoabi. Calling the bullets “rubber” can be misleading. A “rubber” bullet nearly blinded Matan Cohen. “Rubber” bullets regularly kill people when they impact the head, because of their concussive force. Zoabi reported that police snipers deliberately targeted her, aiming for her neck and back as she sought cover.

That is not a joke; it’s theoretically an assassination attempt against one of the most articulate, composed, and compelling Palestinian leaders in ’48. Nor would it be a novelty: Israeli security forces during the First Intifada regularly sought to decapitate the leadership, assassinating Khalil Ibrahim al-Wazir in Tunis, repeatedly arresting the heads of the Unified National Leadership. Why Zoabi?

Because she can’t be jailed arbitrarily, and aware of what happened to Azmi Bishara, she won’t slip up (in a context in which slipping up means exercising her rights as an MK in a racist state). It will cause immense uproar to strip her of citizenship, and doing so could probably only occur in the context of a general purge. And why else?

She says things like this: “We do not want to throw Jews into the sea. We are not against Jews. We are against Israeli policies and the definition of Israel as a Jewish state…I have a vision of our rights as indigenous people. We didn’t migrate to Israel; it is Israel that migrated to us.” What will they do if this woman’s views get circulated in the American press?

Technorati Tags: Azmi Bishara, First Intifada, Gaza, Haneen Zoabi, Palestine, Zionism

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Posted in PoliticsComments Off on MURDER ATTEMPT ON HANEEN ZOABI?



Dear all,

What a result! The notorious Birmingham spy camera scheme is to be scrapped. After 6 months of campaigning and around 30 media interviews. Here’s my last one – right after the Chief Constable admitted defeat and agreed to take the cameras down:

Many thanks to: Corinna Ferguson at Liberty, Paul Lewis at the Guardian, local councillors and MPs, the members of the Independent Advisory Group and all the supporters and campaigners who worked tirelessly to bring this about.

Steve Jolly.!/group.php?gid=119180531441911

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