Archive | February 8th, 2012

Ken Works in Mysterious Ways, Doesn’t He?


.by Mary Shepard on Monday, 31 October 2011 at 13:34.

To follow up on what I’d posted a few days ago on my wall about two people in Alexandria who put me in danger, first of all I want to let everybody know I’m OK, but most of all that I am quite imperfect and very capable of bad judgment and making big mistakes. I said some things in confidence to someone I believed was a friend and sister in Islam, but it turned out that she was not a friend or sister at all, and although I should not have said what I said, I don’t believe it justified having my safety or my life jeopardized. I am grateful for the mercy of God and for the help I received from the most unexpected sources.

A few weeks ago while in Alexandria and riding the tram to work, I had my wallet stolen out of my shoulder bag. I had about 400 EGP, my passport and my New York State ID in the wallet. The thief, a woman (I was riding the women-only tram car) is welcome to the damned wallet (a very nice old 1960’s eel skin wallet) and the money, but losing my passport is something no one wants to happen, since it’s a big expense and a hassle to deal with. There are no US embassy services in Alexandria except for 2 days at the end of every month, and you have to email them and request an appointment.

I’d been working at a very small private English language training center in Alexandria since arriving in Egypt at the end of June, run by an American man who has been in Egypt for 3 years and is married to an Egyptian woman. Most of what I did was teach conversation classes, vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation to Egyptian English teachers and doctors. I also taught preparation classes for the SAT test and the IELTS. In July, I made very good money, teaching 2 to 4 classes a day except for having Fridays off. During the month of Ramadan, which was in August this year, my boss had decided to close the school and take a vacation. I spent the month relaxing in Miami, a part of Alexandria located on the Mediterranean Sea, where I’d rented a flat. Because the school was closed for Ramadan, I made no money that month.

When I returned to work in September, my boss told me that he had spent 5,000 EGP of the school’s money on a vacation for himself and his family, and that if the school didn’t receive any new contracts for work, it would have to close by the end of the month. He said that he wanted to form a partnership with Teachers Without Borders, that he had been talking with someone from that organization about it, but that it would be necessary for him to go to Azerbaijan as a volunteer teacher for 3 months, and that he expected me to run his struggling school for him while he was away. He said if I didn’t agree to do it, he would simply close the school and fire me.

Of course, I was extremely upset. I was getting over the flu, feeling very tired. Recently I’d given up my flat in Miami because it was too expensive (and a woman who came from the UK to teach at the school changed her mind after 2 days and went home) and was staying with an American woman, a Muslim revert like myself who was married to an Egyptian doctor, and whom I was introduced to by a mutual friend on Facebook. We seemed to have become good friends, and I stayed in her home for 2 weeks until the landlord said I had to leave – Egypt is under emergency law, and her husband did not report to the authorities that I was staying in their flat, and their landlord was trying to avoid problems. When that happened, I went to stay with my boss and his wife and son.

This is where I made my first mistake, and I am very sorry I made it. One morning I was feeling very overwhelmed and angry at my boss after he had told me the night before about all the work, studying and preparations I would have to make to be able to teach ALL the classes and handle ALL the responsibility of the school, and I was also aware that he hadn’t paid me for my work for the month of September. It was now October, I felt very angry over the situation, and I was crying when my American friend came online on Facebook. Trusting her to keep my confidence, I said some things about my boss out of anger. I am sorry I said them, but I also trusted this woman, who seemed to care very much about me, and I had spent 2 weeks in her home, sleeping in her guest room, playing with her son, and when I was sick her husband gave me medication. I loved her; she and her family had been so good to me and I was so glad to have an American friend in Alexandria.

A couple of days later, he ended my employment at his school and paid me only 165 EGP for all the work I did, including many hours of internet research which he asked me to do, to find materials online that he could use for a book he said he was writing. He had me return my keys, saying he’d decided to close the school, and that I could find work easily in Cairo. The last day I was in Alexandria was a Saturday; he went to work in the morning and I stayed behind, since I didn’t have a job anymore. In the afternoon he returned to the flat with a train ticket for me to Cairo, saying he’d gotten word from the embassy that if I went to Cairo straight away, someone would meet me at the train station and take care of everything. (What an idiot I was – the embassy is closed on weekends). I hurriedly packed up my things, he took me to the train station, and just as I was getting on the train he handed me a large white envelope, which he said contained my teaching certification (I had taken the 120 hour international TOEFL course in September), a letter of recommendation, and the money he still owed me. On the outside of the envelope he had written a phone number for the US embassy, telling me to call the number when I arrived in Cairo and someone would come to the train station and pick me up. Oh God was I stupid.

When I got off the train in Cairo, it was dark. I called the number on the outside of the envelope and got a recording. I called my boss and found he’d blocked my phone number. I opened the envelope and found nothing inside but a blank sheet of paper and a printed copy of the chat I’d had with the American woman whom I had trusted and thought was my friend. My boss had, in effect, dumped me in a strange city, after dark, and knowing I had no money. And he knew that I can’t speak Arabic.

I called everyone I know in Cairo, and one man helped me, an older gentleman who operates a big commercial banana farm. He was busy at the farm but called one of his friends, asking them to pick me up at the train station and to give me a place to stay. The friend, a man named Gamal, came in his battered old car, bringing along his wife and six children. They took me to their home, a flat on the top floor of a building in a very poor area of Cairo. There were huge piles of garbage everywhere, goats and camels were for sale on the side of the road, and half-starved cats wandered through the rubbish. After climbing so many stairs that I thought I’d get a nosebleed, I entered their home, a tiny three-room flat containing mostly beds for everyone to sleep on and Islamic books in Arabic. In the bathroom there was a shower, and a toilet that was nothing more than a hole in the floor. You flushed it by pouring a bucket of water into it.

There were six kids – 4 boys and 2 girls, the oldest being a 12 year old boy, Abdhallah. He was learning English in school and sometimes liked to read my English Quran. He would also recite Quran for me in Arabic. The youngest child was a sickly little boy named Bilal, whom I think was about 2 years old although it was hard to know because he couldn’t walk, and his body was very small and thin. Gamal’s nephew, who came the next day to interpret for his uncle, told me the little boy suffered from a disease that weakened his bones and kept him from growing normally.

Gamal’s nephew, Mohammed, was fairly fluent in English, and he explained that the family were very devout Muslims, and that they were happy to help me in hopes that Allah would reward them for it. They shared their small amount of food with me, and they insisted that if there was anything I wanted or needed, they would get it for me. Of course, I took nothing; it was very hard for me to accept even what they were giving me, but even more than that, I was amazed by their faith and their trust in me. They didn’t know me, or anything about me – I could have been a bad person who would harm them or their children – but every night they gave me a place to sleep, made me a cup of tea, and one Friday after praying at the mosque, they took me to the Mall of Arabia, where they apparently wanted to buy me anything I wanted, although I kept saying, “laa, laa, shukran, shukran,” and shaking my head.

After I’d stayed with this family for about 10 days, I was taken to another part of Cairo to stay with a very friendly and charming woman named Ayat, and her young son. She actually gave me her flat to use while she went elsewhere with her son at night to stay with friends. She bought me food, introduced me to her friends, and like Gamal’s family she gave me her trust. Americans don’t do this; if you knock on their doors they either will not answer, or will shut the door in your face. They are so afraid of each other that they don’t even know who their neighbors are. And even the rich ones hold on so tightly to what they have; they would never consider doing what the poorest Muslim family would do for a stranger. In fact, Americans will even put a limit on how much they will help someone in their own family.

Then Sheikh Hisham came to visit me. He is a local celebrity and has appeared on Cairo television to talk about Islam and social issues. He and his family also spent several years living in the US before recently returning to Egypt. He talked with me for a long time, wanting to know about me, my life, and what help he could give me. Then I went to stay in his house, which is close to Tahrir Square and very close to Mohammed Ali mosque, and I met his family and had a big dinner. His daughter shared her bedroom with me, and we talked a long time before we went to sleep.

Gamal and his family had taken me to the US embassy already, where I spoke to two very unhelpful people who refused to give me any help at all. Like robots, they both said that I needed to come back with $135 and they would issue me a new passport. However, they were interested in what my ex-boss did to me, especially in knowing that he was not paying taxes to the IRS while making money in Egypt, so they will be contacting the Internal Revenue Service. Next year, when he tries to renew his US passport, my ex-boss will run into a problem with the US government.

What I wanted to let people know by writing this is that Ken O’Keefe has some very unbalanced friends. Unfortunately, I promised not to tell anyone how I came to know that these people were behind what happened to me, but it was a relief to know why. I trust my source, I have known this person a long time, and so when they told me these two Americans were “gunning” for me, and that they had planned something, I took it seriously. The woman in Alexandria, along with another person, saw an opportunity to “get” me for my public criticism of O’Keefe (what he always refers to as “attacking” him). I am one of the infamous “3 Marys” he is always accusing of trying to sabotage his so-called humanitarian work. Some of Ken’s friends had tried to jeopardize my safety in Jordan by posting on Facebook that I was a CIA agent; this is the same group of people who have done this to me in Cairo. I take total responsibility for my stupidity. However, there is no justification for putting anyone’s safety in jeopardy, especially when my ongoing concern has been for how O’Keefe accounts for donations. If people want to worship him, or believe he is some kind of holy hero, that is their choice; but if O’Keefe is such a good and saintly person, why won’t he show what he has done with the money people have given him? That is all I have ever asked.

When I said the bad things about my former boss, I said them in anger and would have never said anything publicly. I was merely venting, and after the anger had passed, I’d thought about what he wanted me to do, decided to try to do my best, and I had told him this. If he had approached me and asked me about it, I would have told him honestly about what I’d said and why I’d said it, but instead, he reacted by allowing Ken’s friend to use him to try to harm me. He involved himself in a plot when clearly, it is always better to talk directly with the person you are angry with. This is a lesson for both of us. One thing is for certain – I absolutely did not say anything or do anything to justify being dumped at the Cairo train station with no money, no teaching certificate, and to deliberately lie to me and mislead me about getting help from the embassy.

I am OK now. The Sheikh’s sister has given me a nice flat to live in, and when I start working again I will begin paying rent. They have replaced my laptop battery charger (which got lost somewhere in the Cairo train station), bought food for my kitchen, and will take me to the embassy tomorrow to finally get my passport (another very good friend here, someone I have known for several years, has sent the $135 fee), and then I will get a new Egyptian visa. Alhamdulillah for everything, for people who have given me so much love and support, and for the mercy of Allah. The Egyptian people are great; they are fine Muslim people with generous hearts, and I am honored to have them as my brothers and sisters.

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Mary Woodward Shall I say, “Allah ahkbar”? You are so lucky that when a door gets slammed in your face, another one opens. With your travails, I hope the time is soon arriving that you will find your home, Mary.

31 October 2011 at 13:51 · LikeUnlike.Mary Shepard I hope so too, Miri. I’m way, way past tired. I also find it very ironic that in Egypt, I would not have problems from Egyptians, but from Americans. It’s a shame. It’s also a shame that a Muslim woman would put a sister in harm’s way for the sake of Ken O’Keefe. There’s just something very sick about this.
31 October 2011 at 13:53 · LikeUnlike · 1.Mary Woodward Do you have this note “public”? If not, you might consider opening it up.

I’ve helped strangers, many times, but I’ve always drawn the line at bringing them into my home (too many horror stories, Stateside); I’ve also felt that this i…s a moral failing, on my part, though.

Good luck. You’re in my prayers, and so are the kind souls who have helped you.

As for your former boss, despite whatever you had said in anger, his actions were *evil*, a word I almost never use, because it has no wiggle room for the complexities of us mere mortals.See more
31 October 2011 at 13:59 · LikeUnlike · 1.Rose Whipple By the hand of God and those wonderful people, my Mom is now safe! I am so relieved! I love how you wrote this, I felt as if I was there with you through all that. You are such a strong person I love you ♥

31 October 2011 at 15:05 · LikeUnlike · 3.Mary Shepard I didn’t make the note public because I don’t want one of those stupid Facebook wars. There is a third person involved whom I cannot name, and they have some mutual friends with me. Right now, I’m being super cautious. Rose, one of these da…ys I will tell you about everything that I experienced in the past 15 months, beginning when I went to Houston. It’s been damn interesting, and I’ve learned a lot. My friend Mary Woodward (on this thread) is one of the biggest reasons I’ve been able to get through the hardest times. I’ve never had such a great friend in my whole life as my friend “Miri”, and I couldn’t love her more if she were a flesh and blood sister. But I’ve also met the most extraordinary people in the most unusual circumstances. I’m one very grateful woman, and this time in my life has been nothing less than amazing. 🙂 As we Muslims say, “alhamdulillah for everything!”See more

31 October 2011 at 17:54 · LikeUnlike · 2.Mohammed Majdi Aljamal dear sis, Allah never leave us alone, remember God in Prosperity he remembers you in the time of need, this is how thing work. as for ken i believe that the Samuni project actually was his tool to show people that here is your money, and a …propaganda for his campaign that is damn obvious but still those who have clear minds realizes that “what the tuck the money he had is enough to make a damn theme park not some swings an a couple of trees plus the whole bull he shows on the net” and that is the truthSee more

1 November 2011 at 06:29 · LikeUnlike · 1.Mary Shepard The problem is that he created a personality cult, and some of these cult members aren’t the most mentally healthy people in the world. Ken can do no wrong; questioning anything he does makes you an enemy who must be stopped. These nutcas…es who live their lives through Ken see anyone who doesn’t share their love for him as “zionist agents.” What bullshit, this isn’t a movie, it’s real life. It sure looks like he took money; all he has to do is show what he did with it, and I’ve got no problem with him, even though I can’t stand him personally.See more

1 November 2011 at 17:45 · LikeUnlike.Mohammed Majdi Aljamal even if he show that might be attempt not to redeem his sorry ass but to avoid further fuss in addition that he need to keep the trust flame lit in the hearts of his slaves and fans. just a filthy trick to stop any attempt to debate or crit…icize him. besides, if he was innocent then why he get so fuckin aggresive and start callin names and saying that is mossad and this is CIA this is pointless. if i have a missunderstanding with u then i discuss it with u personally or prove u r wrong somehow. the most extreme thing i might do is to make a hint or clame that u might the one who wanna steal money and u try to distract people’s eyes off u and direct them toward u this is what happens usually . but htis man is so sick in addition that he hide something filthy that makes his sop damn paranoid and start to expel some of his close circle like miss coco and many many moreSee more
2 November 2011 at 15:17 · LikeUnlike.Mary Shepard Cate Myles just posted as her status the following: At 10am Yesterday morning Ken Okeefe was arrested at one of his homes (he has

more than 1)..He was arrested in Wimbledon and has been charged with several offences in regards to stealin…g from Gaza..He is on bail until April next year while the investigation continues..Let this be a warning to anyone else who thinks Gaza is an easy target !!His bail conditions include not contacting or posting about witnesses or getting third parties to harass witness. MashAllah all xxSee more
2 November 2011 at 20:05 · LikeUnlike · 1.Mohammed Majdi Aljamal ya that is what i’m talkin about

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Khader Adnan, Palestinian political prisoner, near death after 53 days of hunger strike

Khader Adnan, 33, is on the 53rd day of his hunger strike and he has entered the fatal high-risk stage of starvation, where he is risking cardiac arrest and the inevitable shutting-down of major organs. The graduate student has been held without charge or trial since his detention on Dec. 17, and subjected to weeks of interrogation sessions and humiliation, his hands tied behind his back on a chair with a crooked back, causing extreme pain to his back. Adnan’s pregnant wife and two daughters visited him Feb. 7. She said his physical condition is horrifying, his clothes haven’t been changed, he hasn’t showered since his arrest, and his teeth and face are blotched.

(For more information see

Visit the Web site of Addameer (Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association) or read below. *

Have you heard about Israel’s horrible treatment of this prisoner or Israel’s routine use of arbitrary administrative detention in your newspaper or TV news? Why not?



    WHAT: Peaceful Silent Demonstration in solidarity with political prisoner Khader Adnan who has been on Hunger Strike in Israeli Prison for 53 days. WHEN: Feb, 8, 2012 at 5:00 PM WHERE: Dupont Circle, meeting by the fountain WHAT TO BRING: Wear Black and Bring a Blindfold
  2. Organize a protest outside your local Israeli Embassy or consulate.
  3. Call and demand the release of Khader Adnan, who has not been charged with any crime but instead is being held under Administrative Detention. Call the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC (202) 364-5500.
  4. Call the office of Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs (202) 647-7209. Demand that Jeffrey Feltman bring this issue urgently to his counterparts in Israel and raise the question of Khader Adnan’s administrative detention.
  5. Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that Khader Adnan be released immediately and that his administrative detention not be renewed:Post your local actions to the Khader Adnan facebook page.
    • Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit
      Military Judge Advocate General
      6 David Elazar Street
      Tel Aviv
      Fax: +972 3 608 0366+972 3 569 4526
    • Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi
      OC Central Command
      Nehemia Base,
      Central Command
      Neveh Yaacov,
      Fax: 011 972 2 530 5741
    • Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak
      Ministry of Defense
      37 Kaplan Street,
      Tel Aviv
      Fax: 011 972 3 691 6940 / 696 2757


Date of Birth: March 24,1978
Place of residence: Arraba, Jenin
Marital status: Married with two daughters. His wife is five months pregnant with a third child.
Occupation: Baker and Master’s student in Economics at Birzeit University
Date of arrest: Dec. 17 2011
Place of detention: Ramleh prison hospital
Number of administrative detention orders: 1
Expected end of current detention order: May 8,2012

Khader Adnan entered his 52nd  day of hunger strike and speaking strike in protest of his administrative detention. His health is rapidly deteriorating and he is refusing treatment until he is released.


Khader was arrested on 17 December 2011, when Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) raided his home outside Jenin at 3:30 am. Before entering his house, soldiers used the driver that takes Khader’s father to the vegetable market, Mohammad Mustafa, as a human shield by forcing him to knock on the door of the house and call out Khader’s name while blindfolded. A huge force of soldiers then entered the house shouting. Recognizing Khader immediately, they grabbed him violently in front of his two young daughters and ailing mother.

The soldiers blindfolded him and tied his hands behind his back using plastic shackles before leading him out of his house and taking him to a military jeep. Khader was then thrown on his back and the soldiers began slapping him in the face and kicking his legs. They kept him lying on his back until they reached Dutan settlement, beating him on the head throughout the 10-minute drive. When they reached the settlement, Khader was pushed aggressively out of the jeep. Because of the blindfold, Khader did not see the wall right in front of him and smashed into it, causing injuries to his face.


Though he was arrested at 3:30 in the morning, Khader was kept shackled until 8:30 am, at which point he was transferred to Megiddo prison. On his first day under arrest, Khader began a hunger strike in protest of his detention. The following morning, he was taken to Al-Jalameh interrogation center. Upon arriving to Al-Jalameh, Khader was given a medical exam, where he informed prison doctors of his injuries and told them that he suffered from a gastric illness and disc problems in his back. Instead of being treated, he was taken to interrogation immediately.

Four interrogators began to insult and humiliate him, especially using abusive language about his wife, sister, children and mother. On the first day of interrogation, he answered general questions despite the continuous spate of insults. After the first session, however, Khader stopped responding and began a speaking strike because of the interrogators’ use of increasingly graphic language. Interrogation sessions continued every day for the next ten days, excluding Mondays.

On his fourth day of interrogation, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) sentenced him in his cell to seven days of isolation due to his hunger strike. In order to further punish him without being required to go to court, the IPS also banned him from family visits for three months, revealing a pre-intention to keep him in detention upon completion of his interrogation. Khader was placed in an isolation cell in a section of the prison shared with Israeli criminal prisoners. On one occasion, a force of soldiers raided his cell in the middle of the night and strip-searched him. While in the isolation period, Khader continued to be under interrogation daily.

Each day, Khader was subjected to two three-hour interrogation sessions. Throughout the interrogation sessions, his hands were tied behind his back on a chair with a crooked back, causing extreme pain to his back. Khader notes that the interrogators would leave him sitting alone in the room for half an hour or more. Khader also suffered from additional ill-treatment. During the second week of interrogation, one interrogator pulled his beard so hard that it caused his hair to rip off. The same interrogator also took dirt from the bottom of his shoe and rubbed it on Khader’s mustache as a means of humiliation.

On Friday evening 30 December 2011, Khader was transferred to Ramleh prison hospital because of his deteriorating health from his hunger strike. He was placed in isolation in the hospital, where he was subject to cold conditions and cockroaches throughout his cell. He has refused any medical examinations since 25 December, which was one week after he stopped eating and speaking. The prison director came to speak to Khader in order to intimidate him further and soldiers closed the upper part of his cell’s door to block any air circulation, commenting that they would “break him” eventually.

On 8 January 2012, Khader was issued a four-month administrative detention order. As with all other administrative detainees, Khader’s detention is based on secret information collected by Israeli authorities and available to the military judge but not to the detainee or his lawyer. This practice violates international humanitarian law, which permits some limited use of administrative detention in emergency situations, but requires that the authorities follow basic rules for detention, including a fair hearing at which the detainee can challenge the reasons for his or her detention. These minimum rules of due process have been clearly violated in Khader’s case, leaving him without any legitimate means to defend himself. At the hearing in Ofer military court, Khader was threatened by members of the Nahshon, a special intervention unit of the IPS known for being particularly brutal in their treatment of prisoners, who told Khader that his head should be exploded.

Although his interrogation period has ended, Khader remains under hunger strike for multiple stated reasons: he considers his detention a violation of his rights and identity;  he rejects the ill-treatment he suffered at the hands of the soldiers, interrogators, and Nahshon Unit; and he refuses to accept the unjust system of administrative detention. Khader currently suffers from overall fatigue and dizziness and is refusing to add any vitamins or salt to his water. The doctor in the hospital has threatened to give him nutrition by force if he continues to resist medical treatment. He is watched at all times through cameras in his cell and if he does not move at night, soldiers knock on his door violently.


This arrest is Khader’s eighth detention by Israeli authorities. He previously spent a total of six years in Israeli prison, mainly under administrative detention. In 2005, he launched a hunger strike that lasted for 12 days in protest of being held in isolation in Kfar Yuna.


TARGETTING IRAN: The Dogs of War are off the Leash


Israel to the US: ‘We’ll Give You the War, You Give Us the Cannon Fodder”

By Tom Burghardt

Global Research

In meeting rooms in London, Tel Aviv and Washington the dice have been thrown: snake eyes.

Flashback, 1963: When John F. Kennedy decided not to escalate the soon-to-be disastrous Vietnam war and issued National Security Action Memorandum 263 (NSAM 263), he signed his death warrant.

Scarcely six weeks after vowing to pull all American forces out of South Vietnam by 1965, Kennedy was dead, the target of an “executive action” orchestrated by the CIA, a coup d’état on behalf of America’s corporatist masters–the military-industrial cabal of hardline cold warriors who stood to lose billions if Kennedy lived.

That sweet little deal to “win” the war in Southeast Asia cost some two million Vietnamese lives, 58,000 dead Americans and precipitated an economic crisis which dealt a death blow to post-World War II prosperity and launched the United States on its inexorable glide path towards becoming a failed state.

Flash forward to 2012: We have Barack Obama in the White House; a fraudster who promised “hope and change” and instead led his wilfully blind constituents into embracing the third term of a George W. Bush administration.

Comparing Obama with Kennedy one can only conclude: They don’t make bourgeois politicians like they used to!

Following on from a decades-long drive to transform the Gulf into an “American lake” (under provisions of the so-called “Carter Doctrine,” another “peace loving” Democrat), the coming war with Iran is a transparent scheme to ensure U.S. hegemony over the vast petroleum resources of Central Asia and the Middle East–to the detriment of their geopolitical rivals.

U.S. and NATO naval forces on high alert threaten the free flow of oil in the Persian Gulf, the life’s blood of the global capitalist economy.

A war will lead to an oil price spike as Iranian, but perhaps also Saudi and GCC oil is removed in one fell swoop from the market, thereby setting-off a chain reaction that will exacerbate the West’s economic decline–to the benefit of financial jackals waiting in the wings who will gobble up what remains of America and Europe’s publicly-owned assets at fire sale prices in a desperate move to stave off the crisis.

Currently, Iran is ringed with military bases. American, British and Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles keep silent watch. Aircraft carrier battle groups carry out provocative maneuvers. U.S. and Israeli drones routinely overfly Iranian territory. Scientists are murdered in orchestrated terror attacks. Defense installations are bombed.

Economic sanctions, universally recognized as a prelude to war, strangle the Iranian people and their economy, all in the quixotic hope of inducing (coercing) “regime change” in Tehran.

The U.S. media, reprising their role during the run-up to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, are chock-a-block with scare stories that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are preparing to carry out terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States.

Indeed, the Shiite regime “may have” given “new freedoms” to Sunni Salafist extremists, including members of the “management council” of the Afghan-Arab database of disposable Western intelligence assets also known as “Al Qaeda” detained in Iran and “may have provided some material aid to the terrorist group,” if an account published last week by The Wall Street Journal can be believed, which of course it can’t.

Meanwhile, the CIA and Mossad recruit, train and then unleash Salafist terrorists such as Jundallah or Saddam Hussein’s former henchmen, the cultic Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) for terror ops, just as they did in Libya when former Al Qaeda “emir,” the MI6 asset Abdelhakim Belhaj was appointed chief of Tripoli’s Revolutionary Military Council.

And what “evidence” did U.S. officials offer for these dastardly Iranian plots to murder us all in our beds? Why the now-discredited FBI fable which had a failed Texas used-car dealer, Manssor Arbabsiar, and a still-unnamed DEA snitch posing as or actually a member of the notorious Zetas narcotrafficking cartel, plotting to murder the Saudi ambassador by blowing up a tony Georgetown restaurant, that’s what!

Former CIA chief Leon Panetta, who replaced Robert Gates, also a former CIA chief, now helms the Defense Department.

Corporate media in Europe and America report that Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, have tried to “cool” the Israeli’s ardor for a preemptive strike and deny that the U.S. is preparing for war.

This too, is a carefully contrived disinformation campaign.

In a syndicated column for The Washington Post, war hawk David Ignatius wrote Thursday that “Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June–before Iran enters what Israelis described as a ‘zone of immunity’ to commence building a nuclear bomb.”

According to Ignatius, “the administration appears to favor staying out of the conflict unless Iran hits U.S. assets, which would trigger a strong U.S. response,” and that Washington’s alleged disapproval of an Israeli first strike “might open a breach like the one in 1956, when President Dwight Eisenhower condemned an Israeli-European attack on the Suez Canal.”

Ignatius’ unnamed “senior administration official,” since identified as Panetta, “caution that Tehran shouldn’t misunderstand: The United States has a 60-year commitment to Israeli security, and if Israel’s population centers were hit, the United States could feel obligated to come to Israel’s defense.”

In other words, should America’s “stationary aircraft carrier in the Middle East” launch a sneak-attack on Iran, hitting their civilian nuclear and defense installations, thereby inflicting “collateral damage,” i.e., the wanton slaughter of innocent Iranian citizens, if Tehran has the temerity to defend itself and strike back, the full military might of the imperialist godfather will be brought to bear.

Inter Press Service reported Wednesday that JCS Chairman Dempsey, “told Israeli leaders Jan. 20 that the United States would not participate in a war against Iran begun by Israel without prior agreement from Washington, according to accounts from well-placed senior military officers.”

According to journalist Gareth Porter, “Dempsey’s warning, conveyed to both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, represents the strongest move yet by President Barack Obama to deter an Israeli attack and ensure that the United States is not caught up in a regional conflagration with Iran.”

Claiming that “Obama still appears reluctant to break publicly and explicitly with Israel over its threat of military aggression against Iran, even in the absence of evidence Iran has decided to build a nuclear weapon,” Porter alleges that “the message carried by Dempsey was the first explicit statement to the Netanyahu government that the United States would not defend Israel if it attacked Iran unilaterally.”

Holding onto the thinnest of reeds, Porter writes that Panetta “had given a clear hint” of the U.S. position “in an interview on ‘Face the Nation’ Jan. 8 that the Obama administration would not help defend Israel in a war against Iran that Israel had initiated.”

When asked by CBS host Bob Schieffer, who pressed the issue of a unilateral Israeli attack, Panetta said, “If the Israelis made that decision, we would have to be prepared to protect our forces in that situation. And that’s what we’d be concerned about.”

What are we to make of these claims?

If their purpose was to force Israel to rethink their attack plans, it clearly isn’t working. If however, Panetta’s remarks were meant to disarm domestic opponents of U.S. war plans, then mission accomplished!

“Speaking at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center’s annual conference,” The Christian Science Monitor reported that “Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak compared the current standoff with Iran to the ‘fateful’ period before the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, when Israel launched a preemptive strike against Egypt.”

“The temperature is rising in Israel,” Iran analyst Meir Javedanfar told the Monitor. “He says that if the defense minister sees the current period as similar to the run-up to the [1967] Six-Day War, ‘that gives credibility to those who think Israel is going to launch an attack’.”

In a follow-up piece published Saturday by IPS, Porter now suggests that Panetta’s leak to Ignatius “had a different objective,” namely that the “White House was taking advantage of the current crisis atmosphere over that Israeli threat and even seeking to make it more urgent in order to put pressure on Iran to make diplomatic concessions to the United States and its allies on its nuclear programme in the coming months.”

Indeed, the “Panetta leak makes it less likely that either Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Iranian strategists will take seriously Obama’s effort to keep the United States out of a war initiated by an Israeli attack.”

Moreover, Panetta’s leak to The Washington Post “seriously undercut the message carried to the Israelis by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, last month that the United States would not come to Israel’s defence if it launched a unilateral attack on Iran.”

Although there is trepidation amongst military planners in Tel Aviv and Washington should Israeli officials opt for a preemptive attack on Iran–and a retaliatory counterstrike by the Islamic Republic would have devastating effects on both Israel’s civilian population and U.S./NATO military forces in the Persian Gulf and beyond–should such disastrous orders be given, it is a certainty that Washington would follow suit.

This in fact, is what the Israeli leadership is banking on and, contrary to sanctioned leaks to media conduits like Ignatius, is fully in keeping with Washington’s strategy of employing Israel as a cats’ paw to “drag” the United States into a war with Iran.

As the World Socialist Web Site points out, “any differences between the US and Israel are purely tactical.”

“Washington could of course use its considerable influence to veto an attack by Israel, which is heavily dependent on the US, diplomatically, economically and militarily,” leftist critic Peter Symonds writes.

Ignatius’ column however, “makes no mention of this possibility. In effect, the Obama administration appears to be giving Israel a tacit green light for an illegal, unprovoked attack on Iran, and threatening its own military action if Iran retaliates.”

Indeed, the right-wing Israeli publication Debkafile reported Saturday that while Panetta “has been outspoken about a possible Israeli offensive against Iran taking place as of April … no US source is leveling on the far more extensive American, Saudi, British, French and Gulf states’ preparations going forward for an offensive against the Islamic Republic.”

Accordingly, Debkafile’s “military sources” (read high-placed intelligence and military officials favoring an attack) “report a steady flow of many thousands of US troops for some weeks to two strategic islands within reach of Iran, Oman’s Masirah just south of the Strait of Hormuz and Socotra, between Yemen and the Horn of Africa.”

Debkafile also noted that “the Saudis this week wound up their own intensive preparations for war. Large forces are now deployed around Saudi oil fields, pipelines and export facilities in the eastern provinces opposite the Persian Gulf, backed by anti-missile Patriot PAC-3 batteries. American, British and French fighter-bombers have been landing at Saudi air bases to safeguard the capital, Riyadh.”

And with the Pentagon speeding-up arms sales to repressive Gulf monarchies and Saudi royals (with tens of billions in profits flowing into the coffers of American and European death merchants), the stage is now set for a bloody military confrontation.

On the so-called diplomatic front, as “useful idiots” and “accessories before the fact” in the drive towards war, the shameful part played by the International Atomic Energy Agency must be underscored.

Despite, or more likely because Iran’s top leadership have expressed their willingness to reopen stalled talks over their civilian nuclear program and have taken steps to do so, the United States and NATO are stepping-up their propaganda offensive, with the IAEA playing a leading role.

Indeed, The New York Times reported Sunday that “American and European officials said Friday that a mission by international nuclear inspectors to Tehran this week had failed to address their key concerns, indicating that Iran’s leaders believe they can resist pressure to open up the nation’s nuclear program.”

Times’ stenographers Robert F. Worth and David E. Sanger averred that an unnamed “senior American official described the session between the agency and Iranian nuclear officials as ‘foot-dragging at best and a disaster at worst’.”

Why is the onus solely placed on Iranian negotiators?

Because “members of the I.A.E.A. delegation were told that they could not have access to Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an academic who is widely believed to be in charge of important elements of the suspected weaponization program, and that they could not visit a military site where the agency’s report suggested key experiments on weapons technology might have been carried out.”

What Worth and Sanger fail to mention in their report is that Iranian officials asserted that before Roshan’s murder he “had talked to IAEA inspectors, a fact which ‘indicates that these UN agencies may have played a role in leaking information on Iran’s nuclear facilities and scientists’,” Russia Today reported at the time.

Protesting the killing before the UN Security Council last month, Iranian deputy UN ambassador Eshagh Al Habib said there was “‘high suspicion’ that, in order to prepare the murder, terrorist circles used intelligence obtained from UN bodies.”

According to the deputy ambassador’s charge, “this included interviews with Iranian nuclear scientists carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the sanction list of the Security Council,” RT disclosed.

Sound far-fetched, the product of Iranian “conspiracy theories”? Better think again!

As former UNSCOM Iraq weapons’ inspector Scott Ritter revealed in his 2005 book, Iraq Confidential, “The issue of uncovering incriminating documentation suddenly took on a higher priority, and the CIA, supported by activist elements within the Department of State, pushed for more direct involvement in the operations of UNSCOM and the IAEA. For the first time, the darkest warriors in the CIA’s covert army, the Operations Planning Cell (OPC), were getting actively involved in preparing intelligence for UNSCOM’s use.”

According to Ritter, “The secret warriors of the CIA were accustomed to plying their trade in the shadows, far away from prying eyes. UNSCOM inspections, however, were carried out in full view of the Iraqi government, representing the antithesis of covert action. The existence of the OPC, as with any CIA affiliation with UNSCOM, was a carefully guarded secret. Officially, therefore, all OPC personnel were presented to UNSCOM as State Department ‘experts’.”

In light of past practices by the CIA, or for that matter the IAEA itself, Iranian fears that their scientists are being set-up for liquidation are fully justified.

Indeed, the “cautious” U.S. Secretary of Defense, former CIA chief Leon Panetta, speaking at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday, echoed Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s claim that Israel would need to “consider taking action” should nuclear inspections and sanctions fail.

“My view is that right now the most important thing is to keep the international community unified in keeping that pressure on, to try to convince Iran that they shouldn’t develop a nuclear weapon, that they should join the international family of nations and that they should operate by the rules that we all operate by,” Panetta asserted. “But I have to tell you, if they don’t, we have all options on the table, and we’ll be prepared to respond if we have to.”

One of those “options,” passed by the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Friday were demands made to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, or SWIFT.

“The new Senate package,” Reuters reported, “seeks to target foreign banks that handle transactions for Iran’s national oil and tanker companies, and for the first time, extends the reach of Iran-related sanctions to foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies.”

The new legislation would target SWIFT with wide-ranging penalties if they failed to exclude sanctioned Iranian banks from the international system.

The bill now goes to the full Senate “where the likelihood of passage is considered strong,” The New York Timesreported.

With the Orwellian title, the “Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Human Rights Act” Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) said that “Iran can end its suppression of its own people, come clean on its nuclear program, suspend enrichment and stop supporting terrorist activities around the globe. Or it can continue to face sustained, intensifying multilateral economic and diplomatic pressure deepening its international isolation.”

Now if only Senator Johnson offered similar demands on America’s Israeli allies who possess upwards of 200 nuclear weapons, refuse to join the international nonproliferation regime and carry out worldwide terrorist attacks with impunity, perhaps then diplomacy would operate on a level playing field!

SWIFT officials were quick to cave to U.S. pressure. “SWIFT fully understands and appreciates the gravity of the situation,” Reuters disclosed.

In its statement, “SWIFT said it is working with officials and central banks to find ‘the right multilateral legal framework’ to ‘expedite’ a response to the issues.”

“This is a complex situation, and SWIFT needs to ensure that it takes into consideration the implications to the functioning of the broader global financial payments system, as well as the continued flow of humanitarian payments to the Iranian people,” the organization said.

Needless to say, a boycott of Iranian financial institutions by SWIFT would be catastrophic to Iran’s economy, a provocation fully intended as a step towards war.

As the World Socialist Web Site noted, “if Israel does attack Iran, it will not simply be ‘a surgical strike’ that destroys Iran’s key nuclear facilities. Any Iranian retaliation will be used by the US as a pretext for a massive air war aimed at destroying the country’s military and infrastructure. As a result, any conflict carries a real danger of becoming a regional war that could embroil the major powers.”

Despite the evident madness of countenancing an Iran attack, political calculations by capitalist elites during a critical election year in the United States, with “conservative” and “liberal” factions angling for advantage by currying favor with the powerful Zionist and U.S. defense lobbies, Israel’s unambiguous message to the White House is: “We’ll give you the war, you give us the cannon fodder.”

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Alan Dershowitz on Tuba


By Gilad Atzmon

“Dershowitz is not only a remarkable liar and slanderer, but also an extreme opponent of elementary civil rights” Noam Chomsky

The following is an analytical yet amusing glimpse into the deceitful and psychological  nature of  Zionist propaganda as manifested by arch Zionist Alan Dershowitz.

Dershowitz wrote last week“in a recent post, Atzmon said that he would be willing to play alongside David Duke. What a duet!”

This little insignificant anecdote brought a smile to my face because in my text I was actually positively considering joining a new healing musical adventure along together with Alan Dershowitz on tuba and David Duke on trumpet.

Here are my words, “I really do not understand why Alan Dershowitz believes himself to be morally superior to Duke.  Dershowitz is a Zionist Jewish supremacist, he is a world leading advocate of a racist and expansionist ideology, namely Zionism. And yet, I wouldn’t say NO to an invitation for a musical gathering along together with Dershowitz on tuba and Duke playing the trumpet, just because I believe that music brings people together.”

The text is plainly clear. There is no room for misinterpretation. It was not a ‘duet’ which I was willing to join but actually a ‘trio’ that would include Alan Dershowitz alongside David Duke. Dershowitz lied again. Instead of just politely declining and admitting that he is ‘no good’ on tuba, he followed once again his falsehearted tactics-first he put words in my mouth and then interpreted the words he himself invented.  “But that’s exactly where Atzmon belongs,” wrote Dershowitz  – “in the company of neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, homophobes, misogynists, sexists and other bigots.”

If Dershowitz was an intellectual, which he isn’t or an artist which he certainly isn’t, one could have argued that this kind of behaviour suggests that the elder Zionist may live in a cute phantasmic solipsistic universe. If Dershowitz wasn’t aware of his deceitful actions, he could have been classified as a psychopath. But I actually, tend to believe that there is a certain level of awareness behind Dershowitz actions. And the conclusion is, indeed, very concerning, we are dealing with an inherently dishonest person, a ‘remarkable liar’, as Noam Chomsky describes him along together many other intellectual and humanists who have reached the same conclusion.

But why is he lying? Why is he doing it so often? Can he get away with it? Clearly not anymore, yet he wouldn’t stop. At this stage he cannot stop.

In The Wandering Who I attempt to grasp the ideological, intellectual and emotional  apparatus at the core of Jewish identity politics. I try to analyse the deceitful operative mode that is, unfortunately, symptomatic to Zionist campaigners, Israeli Hasbara but also to very many anti Zionist Zionists (AZZ). The book is basically an attempt to grasp the ideological continuum between the Dershowitzes of this world and their collaborators within the Palestinian solidarity movement and beyond.

It is pretty obvious that Dershowitz lies continuously because, like the Israeli Mossad, he hopes to win his Hasbara wars ‘by way of deception’.

Dershowitz lies compulsively because Zionism, which he advocates, is inherently deceitful. Dershowitz lies consciously because Zionism, which he supports enthusiastically, is also consciously impervious to ‘Truth, Justice and Peace’- Zionism strives on a continual conflict, it is based on a falsehood (the invention of the Jewish people and their homecoming) and it is also a racially driven ethnic cleansing philosophy fuelled by expansionism.

But there is obviously a deeper psychoanalytical layer here. When Dershowitz claims to detest ‘bigots’ and ‘Nazis’, he may as well admit a certain amount of self-loathing. In The Wandering Who, I elaborate on the work of Austrian philosopher Otto Weininger who cleverly pointed out that “we hate qualities (in others) to which we approximate”. If Weininger is correct, we have a good reason to believe that Dershowitz probably hates bigots and neo Nazis because he may recognise such qualities in himself. In Freudian terms, he simply projects.

Such a reading, however, would assume a certain amount of guilt at the core of  Dershowitz’ psychology. But guilt as such must be driven by an elementary amount of ethical awareness. Sadly enough, there is no evidence of such awareness in Dershowitz’ conduct.

Weininger contended that his insight into self-loathing explains why the most profound  ‘anti Semites’ are very often Jews. They fight ‘the Jew’ in themselves. I would add here that self-hatred may as well be the highest possible form of Jewish universal ethical awareness.  It is no surprise then that the greatest Jewish humanists (Jesus, Spinoza and Marx) were all self-haters.  Dershowitz could do with a tinge of self mockery or even a drop of self-loathing. Such an approach could heal his soul and even amend his reputation.   Dershowitz  wouldn’t even have to work too hard. The man can easily find in himself every and each possible aspect of Zionist ugliness.   

The Passion of Dershowitz

In recent years I have detected some fragility in Dershowitz conduct and it leads me to believe that the elder Zionist doesn’t really feel great about himself. Rather occasionally the man contradicts his own statements. On the one hand he would repeat himself insisting that Atzmon is insignificant intellectually politically and even musically, on the other hand he is doing little in his life but fighting Atzmon and Atzmon’s endorsers. Last week Dershowitz invited himself to the Manhattan Friends Seminary to lecture on the ‘dangers of the sort of anti-Semitic hatred spewed by Atzmon.’ Surely, Atzmon  must be important enough then.

Contradictions are pretty revealing. They point to a cognitive dissonance. It seems as if Dershowitz’ universe is shaken. He clearly finds it hard to cope with it all both emotionally and intellectually.

I have recently even detected an element of desperation in Dershowitz behaviour. The Zionist fanatic is aware of himself becoming a laughable cliché. Like a 12th grade student, he is now pushed to furnish and validate his lies and spin campaigns with some pseudo academic formality. Though he would quote out of context, consciously cherry picking isolated anecdotes with a clear attempt to attribute a misleading meaning to people and ideas, he would also provide a meticulous bibliographical reference hoping that no one would ever really check and review the texts he clearly distorted. Dershowitz is desperate to convey an image of an appropriate academic formalism to cover for the lack of integrity and content.

I have noticed that many Zionist as well as AZZ operators are using the exact same tactics. Inherently dishonest people  tend to believe that formality can be grasped as intellectual integrity.  I don’t have a doubt that Dershowitz, Zionists and AZZ ‘got away’ with this tactic for a while, however, once you buy yourself a reputation of a ‘remarkable liar’, the image of formality may even make you look more foolish and mischievous than what you are for real.

Such an operation doesn’t reflect greatly on Dershowitz or any other Hasbara operators. But it certainly exposes a volatile mental state. In the case of Dershowitz what we see is a clear discrepancy between what he claims or wishes to be and what he happens to be for real. This discrepancy between the phantasy of ‘academicism’ or ‘formality’ and the reality of being known as a ‘remarkable liar’ is at the heart of Dershowitz’ and Zionist  neurosis. But this neurosis is also symptomatic to different forms of Jewish identity politics and even contemporary Left thinking. If ‘unconsciousness is the discourse of the other’ as French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan suggests,  then Dershowitz, AZZ  and the Left are tormented by the possibility of their real truth being exposed. For the Left it is its emerging detachment and irrelevance reflected by the victorious rise of Islam as the leading and probably only anti imperial liberating force. For the AZZ it is the the growing awareness of its Jewish left disingenuous tribal role within the solidarity movement. For Dershowitz it is the exhausting and tormenting recognition that actually, it is him and his relentless actions that gives Jews bad name.   

I initially thought that Dershowitz would benefit from playing tuba under my direct supervision. Music is the embodiment of truth and beauty and it also has a clear therapeutic value. I thought that devotion to aesthetics would elevate the suffering man and his spirit high above his tribal loyalty. I also thought that Dershowitz would benefit from sharing a musical platform with David Duke. It is not a secret that Duke bought himself very many enemies along the years but as far as I am aware, no one has ever called him a ‘remarkable Liar’. I thought that after a while alongside Duke, Dershowitz may learn to state his Judeo-centric truth in a clear and honest manner.

Being a devoted humanist I do not have any plan to give up on brother Dershowitz. He knows that he will join the band eventually. If it isn’t the tuba, we can always provide him with a bagpipe. After all, the man is full of hot air.

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The War on Truth: Research on the Holocaust can End your Career


By Jim Fetzer

As a student of the history and the philosophy of science, I have been dumbfounded to discover that ISIS, a prominent journal in the history of science, has published a review of a book on astronomers that was edited by T. Hockey, THE BIOGRAPHICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ASTRONOMERS, by N. M. Swerdlow, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago (ISIS 101:1 (2010), pp. 197-8), in which he assails Nicholas Kollerstrom, Ph.D., an historian of science and scholar whom I admire, on the alleged ground of anti-Semitism.

While Kollerstrom has conducted scientific research on the Holocaust related to the use of zyklon gas to exterminate inmates, it has nothing to do with his contributions to THE BIOGRAPHICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA, where his entries on John Couch Adams, John Flamsteed and even Issac Newton are completely independent of research related to the Holocaust. The only reason for introducing it at all, therefore, has to have been to fashion an ad hominem attack on Kollerstrom, a gross abuse of Swerdlow’s role as a the author of a review, which ISIS should not have accepted for publication.

Even if he disagreed with Kollerstrom about the Holocaust, those views ought not have been cited or used to attack him. They had nothing to do with his research on the astronomers whose entries he authored, which included one on Newton, which reflected great confidence by Hockey in Nicholas. It is as if Swerdlow had intended to demonstrate to the world his ruthless dedication to the extermination of any vestiges of (what he considers to be) anti-Semitism. Astonishingly, he not only adopts the extreme measure of discouraging any library from purchasing the encyclopedia but outrageously suggests that the book itself should be pulped!

So Swerdlow not only commits the ad hominem fallacy by discounting Kollerstrom’s research on astronomers because of his interest in questions about the Holocaust, a point that should have been apparent to ISIS, but he practices an extreme form of guilt by association by condemning the entire contents of this volume on that basis, which means that he compounds one fallacy by committing another—and it is one that, from the perspective of intellectual history, actually appears to be even more egregious as a form of group punishment for the sins of one of its contributors.

A scholar of astronomy and student of the Holocaust

Having spent 35 years teaching students to avoid fallacies of this kind and having an extensive background as the founding editor of MINDS AND MACHINES, of which I was the sole editor for ten years, and having spent another decade as an associate editor of SYNTHESE, which is devoted to methodology, epistemology and philosophy of science, I was shocked that a journal of the stature of ISIS should have permitted this offense to have occurred, which not only taints Kollerstrom but stains the journal itself.


The charge of “anti-Semitism”, alas, has often been used to impugn the character of anyone who conducts research on issues that may adversely affect the interests of Israel and its Zionist allies, which I, as the Founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, have repeatedly encountered as a consequence of discoveries that implicate the Mossad as having a role in 9/11. I have published about this myself, “Is 9/11 research ‘anti-Semitic’?”  While Nick has made no such charge, the evidence supports it.

Significantly, Kollerstrom has conducted rather extensive research on 7/7, including publishing TERROR ON THE TUBE (revised and expanded, 2011), which exposes the role of government agents or of those acting on its behalf to arrange for the terrorist acts that were attributed to four young Muslim men, who appear to have been used as patsies, when the circumstances of the case—including missing a train that would have brought them to London—made it physically impossible for them to be present.

TERROR ON THE TUBE, 3rd edition (2011)

This case has been brilliantly exposed by John Anthony Hill, who is also known as “Muad’Dib”, in his DVD, “7/7 Ripple Effect”, which I recommend to everyone who cares about 7/7. We live in a world, alas, where governments lie more than they speak the truth and spend much of the national treasury promoting initiatives, such as wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that are inimical to the interests of their citizens, squandering enormous resources both financial and personal for the benefit of corporations and their profits.

Because it is extremely difficult to expose government complicity in atrocities of this kind, I have greatly admired Muad’Dib and Nicholas Kollerstrom for their dedication to exposing falsehoods and revealing truths about these events, which has included featuring them both as guests on “The Real Deal”, an internet radio program I host, where those interviews can be found in its archives, and as the authors of or the subjects of blogs at

Swerdlow’s actions are so unwarranted by any reasonable professional standard that I personally suspect that they were deliberately contrived to punish Nick for research not only on the Holocaust but on 7/7 as well. I therefore volunteered to compose a letter to ISIS, in which I explained why I believed Swerdlow’s assault was completely unjustifiable and deserved to be remedied. Nick and I discussed my letter in some detail, which the journal accepted and published in ISIS 102:1 (2011) as follows:

Re: ISIS 101:1 (2010), pp. 197-198

Dear Editor,

During a recent visit to the UK, I met the scholar, Nicholas Kollerstrom, whom I have previously interviewed on “The Real Deal”, an internet radio program I host, about 7/7, his book, TERROR ON THE TUBE (2009), and aspects of 9/11 and other atrocities.

He has been a productive author with multiple books, including ASTROCHEMISTRY (1984), THE EUREKA EFFECT (1996), and NEWTON’S FORGOTTEN LUNAR THEORY (2000). For a fine collection of his articles, visit

Nick is one of the few academicians I know who has the courage, the mentality, and the integrity to assume the role of a public intellectual, not only relative to 7/7 and 9/11 but also by pursuing scientific questions concerning the history of the Holocaust.

Reading N. M. Swerdlow’s revisew of Thomas Hockey, ed., THE BIOGRAPHICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ASTRONOMERS, I was taken aback to find a discussion in ISIS that commits fallacies I spent 35 years teaching freshmen and sophomores to avoid.

Nearly 30% of this review is devoted to a slashing “ad hominem” attack on Nick Kollerstrom! After cursory remarks about Nick’s entries, Swerdlow makes a variety of allegations that are either false or completely irrelevant to the essays in question.

Nick, for example, is an historian of astrology, not an astrologer. With N. Campion, he has co-edited GALILEO’S ASTROLOGY (2003), perhaps the definitive work on the subject, which is relevant to his essays but Swerdlow does not deign to acknowledge.

He also has a (perfectly legitimate) intellectual interest in horoscopes, which he has pursued, as well as in the factual accuracy of the (widely embraced) history of the Holocaust, both of which Swerdlow either exaggerates or grossly distorts.

Neither these interests of his nor his conclusions that 9/11 and 7/7 were “false flag” ops in which elements of the US and UK governments were complicit, however, has any place in a review of his essays in a collection of biographical studies of astronomers!

Laws against expressing doubts about the Holocaust, in my view, are simply absurd. If you believe in the Holocaust, as I do, then it should be apparent that serious research will lead to its vindication and, if it does not, we are all entitled to know. Truth is paramount.

Something that stuns me, moreover, is that, unless Swerdlow has studied 9/11 and 7/7, he cannot possibly know that Nick is wrong! Having done quite extensive study of 9/11 and considerable on 7/7 and it is obvious to me that, on the contrary, about both, Nick is right.

The very idea that the reviewer should single out Kollerstrom because of his research on matters unrelated to the essays he authored and discourage other scholars and libraries from purchasing the book on that basis “crosses the line”! It smacks of burning books.

Nick and I discussed the matter and agreed that it would be preferable for me to speak on his behalf, since a letter from him might be interpreted as self-serving. As another scholar who has devoted himself to issues of this kind, I have been glad to address this matter.

Swerdlow has conducted an unprofessional and unwarranted vendetta for which he owes the profession an apology. We should be standing in support of those few among us who have the strength, integrity and courage to investigate the controversial issues of our time.

James H. Fetzer, Ph.D.
McKnight Professor Emeritus
University of Minnesota Duluth

The editor of ISIS, Bernard Lightman, apparently felt that Swerdlow deserved another opportunity to wield his axe, which he pursued with relish. Swerdlow asserted that he saw no reason to modify his position, suggesting that Nicholas regarded Auschwitz, for example, as a very hospitable environment, where Zyclon-B was used as a disinfectant rather than as a method of extermination. While he has concluded that there were certain amenities at Auschwitz, which he has discussed, without having studied the evidence, how can Swerdlow be so certain that he is right and that Nick, who has actually been studying it, is wrong?

N. M. Swerdlow, reviewer extraordinaire

Strikingly, Swerdlow compounds his assault with a counterpart attack on me for research I have done on the death of President John F. Kennedy and for editing a collection of studies on 9/11, which he presents in as unsympathetic a fashion as possible. This attack is even more revealing than his assault on Kollerstrom, since I organized a research group in 1992 consisting of the most highly qualified experts and scholars to investigate the death of JFK, which, I am confident, he himself has never studied.

These have included a world-authority on the human brain who was also an expert on wound ballistics; a Ph.D. in physics who is also an M.D. and board certified in radiation oncology; a physician who was present when JFK was brought to Parkland Hospital and, two days later, was responsible for the care of his alleged assassin; a legendary photo and film analyst; and another Ph.D. in physics with a specialization in electromagnetism, the properties of light and of images of moving objects.

I have chaired or co-chaired four national conferences on the subject, published three books by experts on different aspects of the case, and produced a 4.5 hour documentary about the assassination. I have made hundreds and hundreds of presentations and interviews, including lectures at Cambridge, Harvard and Yale. Indeed, my background with respect to 9/11 is comparable, where I edited the first book from Scholars, THE 9/11 CONSPIRACY (2007), organized its first conference in Madison, Wisconsin, and produced its first DVD, “The Science and Politics of 9/11”.

In lieu of reasoned arguments, Swerdlow appeals to popular sentiments by taking for granted that widely-held beliefs must be true and that views at variance with them have to be mistaken. Thus, unless you have actually studied the evidence, it might be difficult to appreciate that there are more than fifteen indications that JFK was set up by the Secret Service, where he appears to have been taken out by the CIA/military/anti-Castro Cubans/local law enforcement, where the FBI covered it up and LBJ and J. Edgar Hoover were principals with financing from Texas oil men. For an overview, see my “Dealey Plaza Revisited: What Happened to JFK?”, which I presented at a national conference featuring Theodore Sorenson as the keynote speaker and was introduced by Judge John Tunheim, who had served as the head of the ARRB.

Those familiar with the history of the UK, however, might be less surprised than Americans, since Shakespeare would have had little to write about were it not for plots against the kings of England. But there were technical aspects to the cover up, where JFK’s X-rays were altered to conceal a massive blow-out to the back of his head, another brain was substituted for the original, and the home movies of the assassination were revised to conceal that the driver brought the limo to a halt to make sure that he was killed. See, for example, studies by David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., John P. Costella, Ph.D., and me archived at

Others who would like some reassurance about the quality of our work should follow this link to multiple reviews of MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA (2000) and to access the Preface and the Prologue as well as endorsements by Michael Parenti, Ph.D., Cyril Wecht, M.D., J.D., Michael L. Kurtz, Ph.D., and from PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, among others. Of special importance is the review by George Costello, J.D., THE FEDERAL LAWYER (May 2001), pp. 52-56. This journal (formerly: THE FEDERAL BAR NEWS AND JOURNAL) is a publication for attorneys who work for the federal government, who practice before federal agencies, or who appear before federal courts.

Relying upon his correspondence with Bernard Lightman, the Editor-in-Chief of ISIS, Nicholas had formed the rather strong impression that he would be given the chance to respond to Swerdlow’s reply to my letter. He therefore drafted a response that ran exactly the same number of words as Swerdlow’s second bite of the apple, which was 470. It was therefore a bitter disappointment when Lightman declined him the opportunity to set the record straight, a nice example of his adding insult to injury.

On the basis of an article by Nicholas relating to the controversy over the now-obligatory visits to Auschwitz by UK schoolchildren — archived at — Swerdlow claims that Kollerstrom asserts “that Auschwitz was a pleasant place for its guests”! But while he does report that there were various amenities for the inmates, including a swimming pool and orchestras, he restricts himself to features he has been able to establish rather than the atmosphere. This suggests ISIS should have refereed his review more vigorously. As Nick has remarked to me, the accounts we have from Auschwitz tend to be fairly dire.

Suppose that Kollerstrom were wrong about his conclusions based upon his research. Does an historian of science deserve to be ostracized for advancing opinions that are at variance with prevailing views? Nick’s article also cites significant differences on the question of how many may have died there. Is that question also ruled out as a subject for historical research? Shouldn’t we discover if popular views are more than political myths? Surely Lightman ought to have published the following letter, which Nick submitted to him, as the final word in this nasty and unprofessional exchange:

Bernard Lightman, Editor

Letters to the Editor, Isis WORD COUNT: 470

Dear Editor,

There is something deeply ironic about a journal devoted to the history of science publishing an attack upon me for conducting scientific research on one of the greatest atrocities of the 20th C. As Professor Fetzer observed in his letter, what do we have to fear from research on the Holocaust? If it was real, then its reality will be confirmed; and if it was not, then surely we all deserve to know.

N. M. Swerdlow falsely asserts, ‘[Kollerstrom] defends Nazis and condemns their victims and supports his claims by links to strident Jew-hating websites’. If true, that would be a hate crime. For the sake of the integrity of ISIS, if he cannot substantiate this allegation, ISIS should demand an apology and retraction. Outrageous distortions not only discredit him as a source but also tarnish your reputation for accuracy and truth as a professional publication.

While I have authored TERROR ON THE TUBE about the July 7 London bombings, currently in its 3d edition, anyone who reads it will know that I make no such claim as that the event was “the work of ‘international Zionism’”. Swerdlow is advancing criticisms he cannot sustain, which should never have appeared here–defaming both my book and its publisher.

Swerdlow declares that, “a line has been crossed that should never be crossed”. But how can that apply to scientific research about an historical controversy without begging the question? I have an interest in the several investigations of residual iron-cyanide in the walls of Auschwitz labour-camp buildings, which carry residues of how and where zyklon (granular cyanide) was used sixty years ago. But this is a scientific question that can only be addressed by conducting scientific research.

In his second attack, Swerdlow also asserts I have “nothing original” to say. But I have actually established the ‘control’ values for the normal background levels of ferro-cyanide found in kitchens, dormitories and such, of the German labour-camps by synthesising the two sets of Leuchter and Rudolf cyanide values on the basis of objective measurements of insoluble iron cyanide.

Nothing could be less original than using the phrase, “Holocaust denier”, to bash the reputation and standing of those of us who believe controversial events are those we most need to address. He alleges I contend “Auschwitz was a pleasant place for its guests”! But who in the world could believe so insane an idea? Only someone willing to distort research could try to pin this on me.

Like Fetzer, I am an historical revisionist, who cares about the truth and getting it right, especially concerning monumental events, such as the death of JFK and reality of the Holocaust. But that is precisely what the study of history is all about, where efforts like ours to insure the record is factual rather than fictional deserve praise, not condemnation.

Nicholas Kollerstrom

Perhaps most importantly in relation to this decision, Nicholas had written to Bernie Lightman on May 27, 2011, “to request that you ask Swerdlow [quite specifically] which are the ‘strident Jew-hating websites’ which he reckons I link to: I believe this is hate-crime which your Journal has accused me of, as defined by 2010 European Union legislation.” And the Editor-in-Chief of ISIS, replied to his request as follows:

“I did not tell you that you would be able to reply to Swerdlow’s reply to Professor Fetzer. I told you that the journal’s policy was that there could be one reply to a review (you chose to have Fetzer reply for you) and then that the reviewer was given the opportunity to respond. The matter then comes to a close. That is the policy and I will not deviate from it. Regards, Bernie Lightman”

Since ISIS has facilitated the publication of what appears to qualify as a hate-crime under European Union legislation, surely ISIS had an obligation that justified going beyond its normal policies. In my opinion, this decision by Bernard Lightman was an astounding affront to every member of the profession, whose ability to respond to allegations that should never have been allowed into print were thus circumvented. Given the new venom injected by Swerdlow in his reply to my letter, even if under ordinary conditions one reply would have been enough, a second was justified here.

For the sake of comparison, the Editors-in-Chief of SYNTHESE committed a blunder by adding a preface to a special issue of the journal, “Evolution and Its Rivals”, as a consequence of pressure imposed upon them by proponents of Intelligent Design, in which they expressed concerns for “the tone” of one of the contributions. Their act created an academic scandal that was discussed intensely across a broad spectrum of forums, where nearly 500 scholars endorsed a boycott of the journal or called for a formal apology and retraction of their preface, many calling for their resignations.

Those who may stand in disbelief that a matter so relatively trivial compared to the repeated abuse of an historian of science by a prominent journal that is devoted to the history of science should visit some of the blogs and other venues in which it has been discussed, which range from Brian Leiter’s influential philosophy blog to The New York Times. Since the offense that ISIS facilitated in the first instance was compounded by the second, I am at a loss as to how a professional society could accept these actions without a formal protest. Under these circumstances, I believe that Bernard Lightman ought to resign.

THE BIOGRAPHICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ASTRONOMERS, of course, is a collaborative academic publication from Springer, one of the world’s leading publishers of technical and scientific journals and books, which has an enormous number of contributions from a very large number of contributors, where its Table of Contents is simply staggering.   Swerdlow faults the volume for having a few entries of which he does not approve. But that appears to be highly selective on his part and a very cheap shot.

These are not issues about which the authors are remotely likely to be unqualified. Swerdlow’s review—even apart from his attack on Nick—appears to be suspect on its face. And how could anyone in their right mind allow Swerdlow’s suggestions that libraries not purchase the volume and that it ought to be pulped to stand without vigorous protest, even if one of the contributors has an interest in research on subjects that some—perhaps even most!—may disapprove? What kind of standard is that? How is that being fair to the contributors, the editors, or the publisher? That is a disgrace.

There are some 1,550 entries in the encyclopedia, which were authored by 430 scholars, of whom Nick Kollerstrom is only one, under the supervision of an Editor-in-Chief and a team of six associate editors. I would be willing to conjecture that a significant proportion of them may well have vices of their own, such as addictions to alcohol, pornography, adultery, S&M, or who-knows-what other practices of which public disapproval may be widespread. Should those authors be ferreted out and have their entries abolished, too? No, let’s just pulp the whole book!

I am reminded here of the occasion on which I first became involved in serious research on the assassination of JFK. It was in mid-1993 and I was lying in bed, drinking a cup of coffee and reading the paper, when my wife came in and said, “You won’t believe this!”, while turning on the TV. The image appeared of a distinguished man in standing behind a lecture with the logo of the American Medical Association, who was denigrating every serious student of the assassination from Mark Lane and Robert Groden to David Lifton and Charles Crenshaw.

He was especially caustic in attacking Oliver Stone’s “JFK”, which offers the most comprehensive, accurate, and complete depiction of what actually happened in Dealey Plaza on 22 November 1963 ever presented to the American people through the mass media. The person turned out to be George Lundberg, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the AMA. I was stunned that someone of his stature would appear to be abusing the journal for political purposes and citing interviews with the autopsy pathologists as though they were science. That convinced me that perhaps some of us with special backgrounds and abilities should become involved.

Swerdlow’s abuse of his position has similarly convinced me that, once again, if those in positions of authority are abusing them for political purposes, some of us who might not otherwise have become involved in questions of this kind also have an obligation to pursue them. The issues involved are as important as they could be for the defense of academic freedom and freedom of inquiry, especially about controversial historical events. If the Holocaust is a reality, as I believe, then responsible research should confirm it; and if it is not, we are all entitled to know.

Perhaps the ultimate irony concerns the ethics of Swerdlow’s review. The essence of morality is treating other persons with respect. But by recommending that the other contributors, the editors, and the press should be punished for the perceived sins of one of the contributors, he is promoting the practice of collective punishment, contrary to the laws of war and the Geneva Conventions. It was even condemned by the Nuremberg Tribunal in the prosecution of Nazi war crimes. In his zeal to condemn Kollerstrom for pursuing research on the Holocaust, therefore, Swerdlow has gone off of the deep end and committed an intellectual offense that is arguably even worse, which thereby exposes the immoral core of his own position.

The Egyptian goddess, Isis, after whom the journal is named, was long worshiped as the matron of nature and of magic. She has been described as the friend of slaves and sinners, by some accounts, which makes her name all the more appropriate here. In my opinion, Nicholas Kollerstrom was savaged by N. M. Swerdlow, not for offenses against the history of science, but for transgressing boundaries that are intended to protect sacred myths from refutation. In Swerdlow’s view, Kollerstrom deserved to be pilloried, not for his entries in an encyclopedia about astronomers, but for doing something that is forbidden–conducting scientific research on the Holocaust. And not even the Editor-in-Chief of ISIS has been willing to grant him a fair shake.

Posted in PoliticsComments Off on The War on Truth: Research on the Holocaust can End your Career



WATCH: Video shows French woman wounded by IDF grenade in West Bank protest

Israel Defense Forces claimed woman wounded by rock thrown by protesters in village of Nabi Saleh, while Palestinian sources said she was hit by grenade; IDF says incident now under investigation.

By Gili Cohen and Nir Hasson


Protesters from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh released video footage on Saturday showing that the French woman wounded during the weekly protest on Friday was hit by an Israel Defense Forces gas grenade .

Palestinian sources reported on Friday that the French citizen was seriously wounded on Friday after being hit by a gas grenade. According to the reports, the grenade was fired at a demonstration by IDF forces. The French woman was taken to the hospital.

Nabi Saleh - AP - December 2, 2011

An Israeli border policeman fires tear gas at Palestinian protesters during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah, Friday, Dec. 2, 2011.

Photo by: AP


The IDF spokesperson published a statement on Friday, however, saying that the woman was wounded by rocks that were thrown by other protesters.

“A border police officer and a French citizen were lightly wounded by rocks that were thrown at them during a disturbance of the peace,” the statement said. 

The Border Police also responded, saying that “according to the reports in our possession, the injury of the [French] citizen was the result of rock throwing carried out by the residents of the village during a violent disturbance of the peace against security forces. A border patrol medical team gave first aid to the injured woman and aided in her evacuation.”

The video,released on Saturday, shows a group of demonstrators shouting slogans at IDF soldiers, and then backing away from the soldiers as they approach the group. When they have their backs turned to the soldiers, a gas grenade is fired toward them, wounding the French activist in the neck.


Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


         * Both sides are wrong in the ‘Israel Firsters’ debate

Both sides are wrong in the ‘Israel Firsters’ debate

Feb 03, 2012

Jamie Stern-Weiner

Is it antisemitic to accuse someone of being an “Israel firster”? For the past few weeks some of the most prominent American liberal commentators and Jeffrey Goldberg have been shouting at each other about this, after former AIPAC-er Josh Block orchestrated a smear campaign against two liberal think-tanks on the basis that writers associated with them had made use of the phrase. The political agenda behind the attacks was transparent: both the targeted organisations – the Center for American Progress (CAP) and Media Matters (MM) – have been prominent in pushing against US support for Israel’s occupation and against an attack on Iran. But it provoked a minor split among liberal commentators, some of whom reacted by defending CAP and MM, and some of whom agreed that the phrase ‘Israel Firster’ is indeed “toxic”.

The debate, which has now simmered down, is interesting mainly for what it reveals about where liberal American discourse on Israel is currently at, and where it might be going.

First, it is another indication of Israel’s long-term secular decline in popularity among US liberals generally, and American Jews in particular. The fact that the debate is even happening indicates how far the ideological terrain has shifted. Fifteen years ago mainstream columnists would not have criticised Israel, and if they did would not have used the term “Israel Firsters” to do so, and if they had would not have been defended by other mainstream commentators. Times have changed.

The initial reaction to Block’s smear further illustrates the point: usual suspects aside, it went nowhere. Even Lanny Davis, Block’s business partner and himself a frequent apologist for Israel’s occupation, criticised it, while two other prominent Washington think tanks threatened to sever ties with him, and Block was forced to stage a partial climbdown. Glenn Greenwald is right to note that “the only reason this has become such a problem for Block is because he made the over-reaching mistake of targeting an organization that is extremely well-connected”. But more significant is that an establishment liberal organisation like CAP took such a critical line on Israel in the first place.

I say ‘initial’ reaction because, while MM dismissed the smears, CAP does appear to have censored its writers’ criticism of Israel in the wake of the incident. This is presumably due mainly to CAP’s association with the Democratic Party, which has an eye on the election and on Republican efforts to cast the Obama administration as hostile to Israel and/or Jews. But it also reflects the fact that even if criticism of Israel’s occupation can no longer be credibly dismissed as ‘antisemitic’, “Israel Firster”, with its resemblance to the charge of “dual loyalty” that has long dogged Jews, is more difficult to defend. A tactical corollary is that those commentators wishing to push back against attempts to police the discourse on Israel-Palestine ought not, perhaps, make their stand here.

Second, the debate prompts the question: is the spectre of “dual loyalty” being revived? This would be a significant development if so. Jews have historically been haunted by accusations of disloyalty, and American Jews have in the past been particularly careful to proclaim their loyalty to the US rather than Israel. Israel, in claiming to act in the name of Jews worldwide, threatened to give canards about Jewish ‘dual loyalty’ credibility, and as a result most American Jews for many decades distanced themselves from it. Norman Finkelstein’s forthcoming book documents that before Israel became an American ‘strategic asset’ by crushing Nasser in 1967, most American Jewish elites – including those who advocated most vociferously for a US-Israeli alliance after ’67 – were indifferent or actively hostile to it. More generally, “[fearful] of the ‘dual loyalty’ charge”, American Jews have “drawn away from Israel whenever bilateral relations at the state level have been tenuous and drawn closer when they have overlapped”.

If the current low-level grumbling among American elites about Israel’s service or lack thereof to US interests escalates – and it may not – anti-Israel and anti-occupation sentiment could well be increasingly articulated in the language of ‘national interests’, and criticism of those who support US backing of Israel’s occupation could increasingly take the form of accusations of dual loyalty or disloyalty to the US. This could in turn reinforce the abandonment of Israel by American Jews that is already underway.

On the substantive issue in dispute – the legitimacy of the phrase “Israel Firster” – both sides are wrong. Glenn Greenwald, MJ Rosenberg, Phil Weiss and Andrew Sullivan are correct to argue that there is nothing in principle antisemitic about accusing individuals of placing “Israel’s” interests above “American” ones. Nor is it “gross” to point out that the American media’s go-to guy on Israel-Palestine, Jeffrey Goldberg, served as a prison guard in the Israeli army. Amusingly, Goldberg now denies he was a prison guard, insisting that he was merely a “military policeman” and “counsellor” who took care of “the culinary, hygiene and medical needs of the prisoners”. This is odd because in his memoir Goldberg explicitly says that he wasn’t, whatever his formal job title, merely a counsellor:

“I was a ‘prisoner counselor,’ a job title that did not accurately reflect my duties in the related fields of discipline and punishment…”  [Prisoners, p. 28]

Which seems fair enough, since counsellors don’t generally assist in the abuse of prisoners, as Goldberg admits he did. Goldberg’s strange denial appears to have convinced Ackerman, at least, which is encouraging insofar as it suggests that people who say they like Jeffrey Goldberg have never read Jeffrey Goldberg.

More importantly, if it is the case that people increasingly perceive US policy towards Israel to be a decisively shaped by de facto agents of the Israeli state, the issue should be subject to honest and frank debate. Silencing the above-ground conversation is likely to promote the less savoury lines of discussion within it.

All that said, “Israel Firsters” rhetoric is seriously problematic:

–  It is not, contra Greenwald and Sullivan, “plainly true” that many prominent apologists for Israel are “Israel Firsters”. As noted above, virtually all of these supposedly principled devotees of the Jewish state were completely silent on or else actively critical of Israel before it became a ‘strategic asset’ of the US establishment. As Finkelstein observes, after ’67 Israel also effectively became “a ‘strategic asset’ of American Jews”:

“[joining] the Zionist club was a prudent career move for Jewish communal leaders who could then play the role of key interlocutors between the U.S. and its strategic asset.   Israel’s alleged existential vulnerability served as a useful pretext for politically ambitious Jews to champion American military power on which Israel’s survival supposedly hinged.”

Charging these “Me Firsters” with principled loyalty to Israel drastically overestimates them. The record suggests that they are, as a rule, in it squarely for themselves. This confusion is significant, for example because a more realistic appreciation of the interests driving the Israel lobby and its sympathisers would draw attention to the ways in which support for Israeli militarism benefits and speaks to elite interests in the US, rather than just in Israel.

–  The use of “Israel Firster”, while not necessarily antisemitic, is not innocuous either. Accusations of “Israel Firster” do imply some ugly politics. “Israel Firster” is, after all, being opposed implicitly to “US Firster”, with the tacit assumption that it is a Bad Thing to support a “foreign” state or people over one’s “own”. But why should that be so? If I am moved by images of famine in Somalia and decide to vote, in Britain, according to who I think would do the most to alleviate the effects and causes of that famine, am I being “dually loyal”? More to the point, if I am, is that a bad thing? It is particularly strange that liberals, who tend to take very seriously the idea that there are universal moral principles whose value transcends the claims of any particular state, would treat “dual loyalty” as a serious criticism.

I suspect Greenwald would reply that he rarely uses the term “Israel Firster”, that his aim in this debate is to defend its legitimacy against accusations of antisemitism rather than to positively endorse it, and that when he does use it, it is either as a rhetorical device to highlight others’ hypocrisy or as a normatively neutral description, rather than a criticism. In his case, this is generally true. But if we look at the emerging discourse more broadly, “Israel Firster” is typically used as a pejorative, which implies a set of assumptions that Sullivan, despite his dislike of the phrase, encapsulates quite well:

“[when] an American sides with a foreign government against his own president in a foreign country, what does one call that? Apart, that is, from disgusting.”

The use of the term “Israel Firster” reflects a broader trend which chooses to frame opposition to Israeli policies, and US support for them, in terms of defending or protecting US “national interests”, and which appears increasingly disposed to criticising apologists for Israeli occupation on the grounds that they are being disloyal to these “national interests”, rather than on the grounds that they are enabling a profound injustice. I suspect that this in turn reflects an influx of liberals into the solidarity movement – in this sense the watering down and degeneration of the latter might well be a consequence of its own success – and a desire by some activists to align the movement, in an attempt to gain political influence, with those American elites who are concerned that Israel’s occupation is harming US imperial interests (cf. Walt and Mearsheimer).

In either case, the strategy is dangerous. First, it relies on the gap among US elites over the wisdom of support for Israeli occupation widening, which may not happen to a sufficient degree. Second, its effect is to essentially whitewash the former. And third, it risks abandoning a principled opposition to Israel’s occupation grounded in broadly appealing progressive values – it is wrong to demolish people’s houses; it is wrong to torture children; it is wrong to shell schools and hospitals with white phosphorus; it is wrong to violently prevent a people from exercising self-determination in violation of international law; etc . – in favour of a critique based on parochial, unappealing and potentially quite vicious insinuations about people’s – mainly Jews’ – “loyalty”. This isn’t antisemitism. But it isn’t the way to win the struggle, and nor should it be how we’d want to win it.

This post originally appeared in the New Left Project.


Archbishop Desmond Tutu endorses PennBDS conference

Feb 03, 2012 

 Adam Horowitz


Also see, from earlier today, Phan Nguyen’s post – When Desmond Tutu got the ‘Penn BDS’ treatment


Dershowitz justifies war on Iran (and Iraq? again?)– and Mort Zuckerman rides shotgun– in fresh attacks on BDS conference

Feb 03, 2012 

 Alex Kane

Alan Dershowitz at UPENN last night (Photo: Stephanie Nam/Daily Pennsylvanian)

The Israel apologists are out in full force as the Penn BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) conference kicks off tonight. The usual suspects (plus a Philadelphia Daily News columnist) are employing the same tired smears to discredit the BDS movement.

Alan Dershowitz delivered a speech to “a full house” which garnered “applause throughout the talk,” the Daily Pennsylvanian reports.  The university paper also reports:

The Chair of the Penn Board of Trustees, David Cohen, introduced the event with a message on behalf of President Amy Gutmann. “We are unwavering in our support of Israel” he read. “We do not support the message or the goals of BDS…”

Penn’s Political Science and Philosophy, Politics and Economics departments, Penn Democrats and College Republicans were among the other sponsors of the event.

For more on David Cohen and his role at NBC, see Phil Weiss’ post here.

Here’s some of what Dershowitz said last night in his Jewish Federations-sponsored speech (taken from notes that are imperfect, so these aren’t direct quotes):

–Israel needs to send more women and people of color to make its case.

–Professors at the University of Pennsylvania who support BDS are complicit with evil.

–Protecting Israel is one of the great human rights issues of the 21st century.

–(During the audience Q and A): Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein hate America. They hate liberalism. They hate Western values. Make it clear that people who love liberty love Israel.

–Attacking Iran would not be preemptive, it would be reactive. Iran is already engaging in war with Israel. It has armed Hezbollah, Hamas….Israel has a right to attack.

–2 state solution would require a military presence in Jordan Valley in case there’s an incursion from Iraq. Iraq is becoming Iran. They take their orders from Iran.

–(In response to an audience member asking how to respond to an Arab student who says, you support gay rights but you took my land):

The land which is now Israel was barren land…Israeli policy was to never throw indigenous Arabs off the land. Israel’s birth certificate is cleaner than almost any modern country’s birth certificate. It was established legally. You can complain about America or Canada or Australia or New Zealand. Israel was much more humane.

–Palestinians have been on the wrong side of every war. They wanted to establish a concentration camp in Nablus [in the context of World War Two].

(To get a sense of Dershowitz’s support for torture and violence, read Max Blumenthal’s Op-Ed in the Daily Pennsylvanian.)

But Dershowitz’s rhetoric is nothing compared to the hysterical editorial printed by the New York Daily News today, surely reflecting owner and right-wing Israel supporter Mort Zuckerman’s line on BDS:

The University of Pennsylvania, one of America’s most respected bastions of higher education, plays host on Friday to the start of an odious conference destined to pulse with anti-Semitism.

Penn ought to be ashamed.

Called the National BDS Conference, the event is dedicated to undermining the very existence of Israel on the libel that the country is an illegitimate “occupation” and guilty of subjecting Palestinians to “apartheid” akin to how South Africa so brutally oppressed blacks…

In America, dangerous and reprehensible speech is best met with the truth. Spoken loud and clear. Spoken directly to the forces of hate. So if you’re near Philly and can spare the time, trek down to the BDS conference and tell them just how wrong they are.

And finally, Stu Bykofsky, who once wrote “ONE MONTH from The Anniversary, I’m thinking another 9/11 would help America,” pens this column:

One week after Holocaust Remembrance Day, the carnival of hate known as the National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Conference arrives at the University of Pennsylvania today, its clown car stocked with lies, half-lies, white lies and bald-faced lies, playing to the ignorant.

It gets no sympathy from Penn, which rejects its theme. Penn believes in free speech, as does Israel, the target of the hate fest. Free speech, and most human rights embedded in Western societies, are absent in Arab states.

That is the truth, which is poison to BDS, which immorally equates Israel with white-dominated South Africa, and even Nazi Germany. That’s what follows when you ally yourself with those who deny the Holocaust.

When Jeffrey Goldberg employed similar rhetoric, likening the BDS movement with Nazi Germany, this is what I wrote:

Goldberg, and others like him, are guilty of conflating Israel with Judaism, and Jews with Israelis. The BDS movement is not an economic boycott directed against Jews; it is a boycott movement directed against the State of Israel, which labels itself the Jewish State, because of its flagrant violations of international law and its continued occupation of Palestinian land. As Alisa Solomon, co-editor of Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, told me in 2009, “it’s a very dubious and dangerous collapse when ‘Jew’ and ‘Israel’ are conflated. Anti-Semites do it a lot, and unfortunately, powers of the Israeli state do it as well.”

Invoking Nazi Germany’s policy of boycotting Jewish-owned businesses as a way to smear the BDS movement is a cheap trick that has no merit. Nazi Germany instituted a blanket boycott, with no end in sight, that was directed at a persecuted minority just because of their religious faith. The BDS movement is targeting a state, asking Israel to comply with their obligations under international law, because of their unjust and oppressive policies towards the Palestinian people. There are many Jewish organizations that support the movement, including inside Israel.

This is nothing less than a full-scale campaign to tar the BDS movement as anti-Semitic and akin to Nazi Germany. I’ll leave you with Omar Barghouti’s eloquent response in the UPENN student paper, which Adam Horowitz highlighted earlier:

As to the venomous and patently false anti-Semitism smear thrown recklessly and maliciously at BDS activists in an explicit attempt to bully them into silence, it is increasingly seen today as a weapon of intellectual terror that is employed to stifle debate and free speech when the subject is Israel’s occupation and apartheid or the generous U.S. support for both. This time around, though, with the BDS movement’s solid human rights and international law credentials and track record, the anti-Semitism smear is hardly working.

BDS is categorically opposed to all forms of racism, including Islamophobia, anti-black racism and anti-Semitism. Anchored in international law and universal principles of human rights, BDS calls for equal rights for all humans, without discrimination. This universalist commitment has enabled BDS to spread in recent years at a spectacular rate within the mainstream of western societies, achieving one success after another, in the economic, academic and cultural boycott spheres. Israel is conceding that it is losing the battle for hearts and minds not just in Europe but also on U.S. campuses. Thus the panic, the vilification and the bullying attempts to crush the BDS conference at Penn.


Alumni donor threats and more Nazi analogies as the world awaits Penn BDS conference

Feb 03, 2012

 Philip Weiss


I went to the last BDS conference at Hampshire College in Massachusetts and nobody paid any attention to us. But this weekend! Holy moly! Isn’t this an utter fulfillment of the Gandhi law of activism: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win….

I’m reading the Daily Pennsylvanian. Props to these great college journos (Jeffrey Goldberg first inked his quill there, o ye ambitious young wretches) for their coverage. First the bad news then the bad news–

Donor threats reported by Sarah Smith in the Daily Pennsylvanian. This was inevitable. It happened with Walt and Mearsheimer at Harvard.

“I think there’s a lot of major donors that have threatened or plan to withhold significant financial support from Penn as a result of this,” said an alumni donor who wished to remain anonymous to maintain his relationship with the administration.

Alumni have been calling and emailing the administration expressing opposition to the conference, he said….

“I ultimately don’t particularly understand why Amy Gutmann and the trustees agreed to hold this conference and are essentially hiding behind a veil of protecting free speech and free expression,” he added.

1996 College graduate Aaron Ross has been working with fellow alumni to spread his discontent with the administration’s decision.

“Certainly in the short term this would affect [donation] decisions,” he said.

“That’s unfair because we haven’t done anything wrong,” said College sophomore Jacob Minter, a PennBDS member. “All we’re doing is standing up for human rights.”

You go, Minter! You’re building character through this ordeal.

Now here’s David Cohen, chairman of the Penn board of trustees, writing with Penn President Amy Gutmann to deplore BDS.

This conference is not a University sponsored or promoted event.

The stated purpose of BDS is to advocate for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel. We want to be absolutely clear on this point: the University has repeatedly, consistently and forcefully expressed our adamant opposition to this agenda. Simply stated, we fundamentally disagree with the position taken by Penn BDS.

Who is David Cohen?  He led off for Dershowitz last night at the anti-BDS conference conference (I told you they’re paying attention!), and he is the executive vice president of Comcast, which owns NBC and MSNBC. Cohen raised $1.2 million for Obama in one night last summer, and has been a fierce supporter of Israel. Hark, Chris Matthews– your boss is in the Israel lobby!

Here is some more incitement– to follow Professor Ruben Gur’s nutty piece that describes Jews who support BDS as “kapos.” Prameet Kumar of the Daily Pennsylvanian reports on a flyer being handed out outside the Dershowitz talk last night at Penn:

The flyer, apparently printed and distributed by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, compares some Penn professors’ support of the BDS movement to the actions of Nazi Germany.

23715 perhaps the upenn professorsf

Yet another Nazi scare, in a letter from Yali Elkin, ’97 graduate of Penn:

If ever there was a time for leaders of our academic institutions to unite and stare down bigotry, racism and intolerance, surely this is it. As a History major at Penn, one of the many things I learned was the tragic cascade of repercussions from silence and neutrality in the face of such malevolence. As Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel lamented, “we learn from History that we do not learn from History.” Indeed, if Martin Niemoller’s famous words don’t resonate here and now, when will they?

You didn’t see the Holocaust reference? I’m no dummy, I got Wikipedia: Martin Niemoller is the former Nazi who recanted and warned that the Nazis were coming for the Jews first, then you later…

OK, had enough? Here’s part of a beautiful letter to the Daily Pennsylvanian by Judith Beck, a ’64 alum who praises the boycott divestment movement for noble reasons.

the BDS movement, which is international in scope, is a nonviolent attempt to address the inequities that exist between Israelis and Palestinians. Inequities that continue to obstruct the process to peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine. When Palestinians have their water turned on only once every fourteen days, as they do in Hebron in the occupied Palestinian territories while the residents of the illegal Israeli settlement immediately above have water 24/7 and swimming pools, it is hard to see how that is equal coexistence.

As one who is old enough to have been a young woman involved in the civil rights movement in this country and then to have had the privilege of working for the anti-apartheid boycott and divestment movement for black South Africans, it is indeed troubling to see that my own alma mater faculty is resorting to the same hateful discourse that so obstructed the goals of both of those morally imperative actions.

Judith, you made my day. I can show this to my mom to explain why I’m in Philadelphia this weekend. So can Minter. We’re not going away.


Sullivan says passionate American supporters of Israel create a ‘problem,’ conflating interests

Feb 03, 2012

Phil Weiss and Annie Robbins


A reader asked Andrew Sullivan why he decided to weigh into the Israel firster debate.

He says that some American supporters of Israel are so passionate and defensive that it’s a “problem” of conflating interests. 

“There comes a point at which that passion leads to a view where there can never be any distinction between American interests and Israeli interests.” When in fact there are thousands of miles between the U.S. and Israel. Israel is a liability, an albatross, Sullivan says.

“Israeli government is clearly orchestrating and is in close contact with a whole bunch of people, range of people inside the U.S. to make their case…” Sullivan wants to cut out the Israel firster language but he addresses the crucial question here: When Sheldon Adelson says that it was unfortunate that he wore an American uniform and not an Israeli uniform, then we are seeing an attachment to Israel on the part of an American political player that is obscuring American interests. (Hard to see why, given his understanding, Israel firster is not legitimate political rhetoric.)


Spanish gov’t builds solar renewable-energy project for Palestinian village — now slated for destruction
Feb 03, 2012


and other news from Today in Palestine:

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement

Jerusalem political activist ordered out of West Bank for seven months
IMEMC 1 Feb — After interrogating him at a Police station in occupied Jerusalem, on Tuesday, the Israeli Police issued an order forcing Palestinian activist and intellectual, Rasem Obeidat, to remain in his residential area in Jerusalem for seven months. He will not be allowed out of Jerusalem, and will only be allowed into certain areas in the city.
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IOA serves demolition notices in Al-Khalil village
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 1 Feb — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) served demolition notices to owners of 14 houses in Daheria village to the south of Al-Khalil on Tuesday. Bajes Al-Tal, in charge of popular committees in the village, said that the targeted houses were in the eastern area of the village. He said that the IOA claimed that the building of those houses was made without permit, noting that the village was in area C in which Israel enjoys full control. Tal said that most of those houses were inhabited by many Palestinians while some of them were still under construction.
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Israel plans to demolish solar panels in village near Hebron
MEMO 1 Feb — The Israeli occupation authorities have issued notice of their intention to demolish a renewable energy project which generates electricity and represents the only source of lighting for the houses in a Palestinian village near Hebron in the occupied West Bank. The people of Al-Mnazel received the demolition notice advising of Israel’s plans to destroy the solar panels which provide them with electricity. The project was established a couple of years ago with funds from the Spanish government … Mr. Al-Jabour added that the Israeli occupation authorities have also given Khalil Al-Nwaja’, who lives in Al-Mnazel, notice that his home will be demolished. The tents and caravans, claim the Israelis, do not have a licence.
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Israel tells Palestinian farmers it plans to seize their land
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 1 Feb – The Israeli military authorities informed Palestinian farmers from Nahalin, a village west of the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, that it plans to expropriate more than 430 dunums of their land and gave them 45 days to file an objection, Osama Shakarneh, head of the Nahalin village council, said Wednesday. He said the farmers found notices on their land put there by the Israeli authorities informing them that they should leave their land and remove everything on it because the land will soon be expropriated. The notices, he said, gave the farmers 45 days to file a complaint at Ofer military camp, near Ramallah, or else the army would evict them and force them to pay costs of their eviction.
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Silwan residents get more demolition orders
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 1 Feb – Israeli authorities Wednesday handed several Palestinians in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan notices to demolish their houses under the pretext of building without permit, according to a local activist. Fakhri Abu Diab, head of the Committee for the Defense of Silwan, said that Israeli police accompanied by staff from the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem handed several Palestinian homeowners in Bir Ayyoub and al-Bustan areas of Silwan demolition orders to their houses. He said the Israelis used insults and provoked the residents when handing them the demolition orders.
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US criticizes Israel plan to subsidize West Bank settlement construction
AP 31 Jan — Comments by top State Department official come after Netanyahu cabinet announces plan to encourage immigration into 557 ‘national priority’ settlements, which reportedly include 70 in the West Bank  — …the full list …reportedly includes 70 settlements, most of them deep inside the West Bank in areas that Israel would likely have to evacuate to make way for a Palestinian state. The incentives, according to the Prime Minister’s office, are “meant to encourage positive migration to these communities.”
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Arab town, both Israeli and Palestinian, divided by shopping
Haaretz 1 Feb — Bartaa, straddling the Green Line, has brought together Palestinians and Israelis in a de facto economic free zone, but with some unable to cash in, the village is still split.
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Woman hurt in settler attack near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — A 60-year-old woman was seriously injured Wednesday after Israeli settlers threw rocks at her car near the illegal Yitzhar settlement, a PA official said. Maysar Majeed, from Sarra village west of Nablus, suffered a head injury and was taken to Rafidea Hospital
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All Israeli schools can now join West Bank ‘heritage’ tours, education minister says
Haaretz 1 Feb — The controversial program has until now been part of the Jerusalem school curriculum, but Education Minister Sa’ar says response has been high and schools are interested in bringing students to see Hebron … “The response to this these tours has so far been high, and has been carried out by choice by the interested schools,” Sa’ar told the Knesset. “A Jewish community has existed in Hebron for so many years, even when the people of Israel were all in exile. According to our faith, Jews will always live in Hebron. We must not allow this illusion to be created among Arabs that it will ever be possible to uproot Jews from Hebron.” 
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400 Israelis enter Nablus village overnight
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Hundreds of Israelis entered the northern West Bank village of Awarta overnight Tuesday escorted by Israeli soldiers. Head of Awarta village council Sami Awwad told Ma‘an several buses of Israelis and a large force of soldiers arrived in the village at around 11 p.m. and stayed until 5 a.m … They visited two sites Jews believe to be the tombs of biblical figures Eleazar and Itamar, the army official said. The Muslim shrines of the Seventy Sheikhs, Uzayr and the Mufadel are located in Awarta.
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Key settlement outpost slated for evacuation
RAMALLAH (IRIN) 1 Feb — Israel’s High Court of Justice has ordered Israeli settlers in the Migron outpost in the West Bank to leave by March 31 in response to a 2006 petition filed by seven Palestinian landowners and Israeli pressure group Peace Now.  “The prime minister is trying to implement the court’s decision peacefully,” by reaching an agreement with the Migron settlers which would include moving them from their homes to new housing on adjacent Israeli “state land”, Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told IRIN. According to the court’s ruling of Aug. 2, 2011, the outpost is on privately-owned Palestinian land.
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Violence / Incursions by Israeli forces

IDF leaves behind soldier in West Bank village after operation, witnesses say
Haaretz 1 Feb — The Israel Defense Forces accidentally left behind a soldier Wednesday night after an operation in a West Bank village near Ramallah, eyewitnesses said. According to Palestinian residents of Budrus, IDF forces entered the village with five vehicles, rousing local residents. The vehicles left after several minutes, leaving behind a soldier. One villager told Haaretz that the soldier was frightened and asked two elders to assist him in leaving the village. The elders accompanied him to the separation fence, in an attempt to avoid a confrontation with some of the village youth, where they were met by the soldier’s officer, along with two other soldiers.
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Israeli forces attack memorial march
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Israeli forces on Tuesday fired tear gas and sound grenades at a memorial march in Beit Ummar near Hebron. Residents of Beit Ummar held the march to mark the first anniversary of the death of local teenager Yousef Ikhleil, who was shot dead by Jewish settlers. The march was organized by the local popular committee, which demanded Ikheil’s killer be brought to justice. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and sound bombs and attacked marchers with rifle butts, witnesses said.
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Palestinians, Israeli officers hurt in Jerusalem clash
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Palestinian youths sustained injuries overnight in a confrontation with Israeli soldiers and police officers in al-Isawiya in occupied East Jerusalem, a Ma‘an reporter said. One young man sustained serious injuries, witnesses said. Confrontations began Tuesday afternoon in the center of al-Isawiya after Israeli forces broke into the home of Ayyoub Ubeid and detained him under the pretext that he hurled stones at Israeli soldiers in the town.
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Left behind at the scene of the crime: Israel wages war on Bil‘in
30 Jan — Weeks ago, Wedad Yassin traveled back to Ein Yabrud, a village near Ramallah in the West Bank, to visit her family and to experience Palestine’s rich cultural heritage. Her intention had been to tour through the Al-Khalil district, Ramallah, Bil‘in, and Jerusalem. However, she was denied entry to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, Yassin explored Bil‘in, site of the weekly demonstrations against Israel’s apartheid wall, and came across this jam‘iyya or association dedicated to “enhancing and reviving Palestinian culture along with documenting Israeli crimes”. Included is a series of photographs from Yassin’s visit to this center. Each of the shells, bullet casings, and projectiles featured in these images were collected over time by the members of this jam’iyya after they were used against unarmed protesters during the demonstrations in Bil‘in. Israeli forces continue to use live ammunition, rubber bullets, and USA-made tear gas canisters against the Bil‘in activists on a regular basis and have designated the area a military zone to allow soldiers to treat the civilians as hostile combatants.
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Israeli forces arrest Palestinian, raid Hebron
PNN 1 Feb — Israeli forces arrested on Wednesday, a Palestinian after they attacked his house in Hebron city, south of the West Bank. They have also strengthened the military checkpoints and have increased their raids around the governorate …Israeli soldiers set up a military checkpoint at the entrance of al-Fawar Refugee camp south of Hebron and erected military checkpoints at the entrances of Edthna village west of Hebron and Samou’ village in the south. They stopped the vehicles, searched them and checked the IDs. In Tarqumiyah village, west of Hebron, Israeli police put several military checkpoints at the village’s entrance, and issued fines to the Palestinian vehicles.
The Israeli Army transferred [transformed?] some of the Palestinians’ houses to military barracks in the southern area of Hebron. They took the houses of Musleh Abu Subeih and A’aref Wazouz in the close area of Tal’it Abu Haded. Some of the Israeli soldiers occupied Palestinians’ houses; using their roofs to set up military equipment to observe the surrounding area.
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Refugees intend to take up UNRWA schools to pressure it to rebuild their homes
GAZA (PIC) 1 Feb — Angry Palestinian citizens threatened to occupy the UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip if this UN organization failed to reconstruct their homes it had demolished eight years ago in refugee camps and kept promising to rebuild them since then. The refugees staged protests outside UN offices in Gaza city and Nuseirat refugee camp demanding the refugee agency to hasten to rebuild their homes and not to reduce its humanitarian services. For his part, UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna stated that this issue is a major priority for UNRWA, which has made contacts with the Israeli authorities to allow in construction materials for the homes of these citizens.
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Gaza electricity company calls for new measures to end crisis
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — The director of a state-run electricity company in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday called for new initiatives to end the energy crisis in the coastal enclave. Maher Ayesh made the comments during a meeting organized by the Hamas run company entitled “Ending the electricity crisis requires agreement.” Israel continues to supply the Gaza Strip with water and 70 percent of its electrical power, the rest being supplied by neighboring Egypt or local power plants.
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6 projectiles fired at southern Israel
TEL AVIV (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Six projectiles were fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday with no reported injuries. The projectiles landed in the Shaar Hanegev regional council at around 9 p.m., Israeli news site Ynet reported.
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Six more misconceptions about Gaza
Gisha for AIC 1 Feb — In a previous post, we attempted to delineate some of the common misconceptions or simplifications about Gaza, which, broadly speaking, are heard most often in Israel. This week, we’d like to list a few more that usually come at us from abroad.
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Political detention

IDF arrests Palestinian prisoner released in Shalit swap
Haaretz 31 Jan — Mamun Ismyail Salame Stut’s arrest makes him the first released prisoner to be recaptured since the prisoner swap; according to an IDF spokesperson, Stut was arrested for being a security threat
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Hamas leader ‘detained in Jenin’
JENIN (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Israeli forces on Tuesday detained a Hamas leader from Jenin in the northern West Bank, locals said. Muhammad as-Sayyed, a lecturer at Al-Quds Open University, was detained during a dawn raid on his home. Locals said several homes in the neighborhood were also raided. As-Sayyed, 50, has poor health and is almost blind, locals added.
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Detainees join hunger strike to support Jihad leader
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Islamic Jihad detainees in Israeli prisons on Wednesday went on hunger strike in solidarity with Jihad leader Khader Adnan, prisoners’ relatives said. Adnan was hospitalized on Tuesday after 45 days on hunger strike in protest over his treatment by Israeli prison authorities and his detention without charge. On Tuesday he started to refuse liquids after Israel banned a visit from his lawyer … Earlier Wednesday, Jihad leader Ahmad al-Mudalal criticized the UN chief’s silence on the issue, noting that Ban frequently demanded the release of Gilad Shalit during the Israeli soldier’s captivity in Gaza.
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Israel ‘detains 85 people’ in Hebron in January
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Israeli forces detained 85 people from towns, villages and refugee camps in the Hebron district in January, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Institute said Wednesday. Soldiers raided homes in the southern West Bank district, often accompanied by dogs, head of the institute Amjad al-Najjar said in a statement. People were ordered out of their homes during the night despite freezing temperatures and heavy rainfall, and parents were beaten in front of their children, al-Najjar said … The 85 detentions included 11 people suffering chronic diseases and 11 children, the institute said … Since 1967, Israel has detained more than 750,000 Palestinians, including women and children, Palestinian Authority reports say. Around 40 percent of Pa





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‘Pornographic’ Purim costumes cause uproar


World International Zionist Organization (WIZO) says children’s costumes “scandalous.”

ed note–let’s just contextualize this a bit…Purim is the yearly celebration within the Jewish community of the events as recounted in the book of Esther. Esther, a young Jewess, serves as part of the Persian king’s harem as one of his concubines. She finally ‘works’ her way to the top to become his wife after which time she uses her powers of ’feminine persuasion’ to convince her very powerful husband to have his own prime minister Haman killed, along with his 12 sons and following this, the Jews of Persia go on a rampage and kill 75,000 innocent Persian people…

In other words, the entire story of Esther is one featuring the purchasing power of a woman’s sexuality. Dare we go so far as to say, the point of the story as far as young girls are concerned is that if they ‘apply themselves’ in just the right way, good things will come to the Jewish people. Therefore, for any rational person watching all this ‘concern’ for these sexualized Purim costumes, it is obvious to see that what we are dealing with here is a very conflicted people. On one hand they are CELEBRATING a young Jewess’ sexual exploits and on the other are saying ‘EEEEWWWWW….SUCH DISPLAYS OF FEMALE SEXUALITY ARE SENDING THE WRONG MESSAGE’.

The point here is that when it comes to dealing with those of the non-Gentile persuasion, there is no consistency to them except in the sense of them being pulled in every direction possible and therefore their capability of embracing any conceivable form of irrationality and double-mindedness.

Calling a series of overtly sexy Purim costumes that appear in a recently distributed catalogue for children “scandalous,” World International Zionist Organization (WIZO) chairwoman Gila Oshrat urged parents on Monday to boycott companies that sell such outfits.

Oshrat said the costumes, which are featured in the 2012 Purim catalogue of retailer Shoshi Zohar, not only dictate to women to present themselves as sex objects but also send a negative message to young girls that this is how women should behave.

A final Purim thought

She urged parents to consider a social and economic boycott of companies that produce such outfits, which are displayed prominently in most children’s toyshops at this time of the year.

“We have seen that the nation does have economic power and maybe it is time for parents to speak out about this,” said Oshrat.

“With only these kind of costumes available to women, it leaves them with little choice but to wear a near-pornographic outfit,” continued Oshrat.

She said WIZO had raised similar concerns last year about a line of Purim costumes sold by another retailer.

“There is no need for a nurse costume to consist of a short mini-skirt and fishnet stockings,” said Oshrat. “Why do all costumes, whether they are professional or an animal, need to be sexy?” “Is this the message that we want to send our children?” Oshrat asked.

The catalogue was distributed for free last weekend in national newspapers and is readily available in toy stores and shopping malls throughout the country.

It features 23 colorful pages of costumes for babies, young children and teenagers and seven pages of adult costumes. Of the adult costumes, the majority display various professions, animals or television characters and almost all include fishnet stockings, microscopic skirts and revealing tops.

One of the costumes, described in the catalogue as a “sexy cat,” includes a bondage mask and whip, while the “sexy policewoman” includes a latex bodice and handcuffs.

“This should not be the way we educate our children,” said Oshrat. “These kinds of sexist ads increase attacks against women and portray us as cheap.”

WIZO runs an annual campaign against television and newspaper advertisements that are deemed sexist or degrading to women. Each year, the organization awards a mock prize to the commercial it finds the most offensive.

In response to the claims that images and costumes in her catalogue were bordering on pornographic, Shoshi Zohar said that her range of costumes provide something for both secular and religious communities.

She said that this year she had made every effort to select costumes that were modest and less revealing than in the past. One half-page of the catalogue does display “religious” costumes, but only for children.

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ANTI-SEMITE ZIO-NAZI: ‘Death to Christians’ sprayed on Jerusalem monastery


 A Jerusalem monastery, built on the spot where tradition holds the tree from which Jesus’s cross was made, was defaced with graffiti bearing the hallmarks of Zio-Nazi extremists on Tuesday.

“Death to Christians” was daubed in Hebrew on the outer walls of the Monastery of the Cross, an 11th-century fortress-like holy site situated in a valley overlooked by Zio-Nazi parliament.

Zio-Nazi Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the words “Price Tag” were also painted overnight by the vandals, who damaged two cars parked outside the monastery in the rare attack on a Christian shrine in Jerusalem.

The slogan, used by Zio-Nazi settlers in vandalism attacks on Mosques and Palestinian homes in the West Bank, refers to the retribution they say they will exact for any attempt by the Zio-Nazi government to curb settlement in the territory.

“I am a priest and I forgive,” Father Claudio of the monastery, which is administered by the Greek Orthodox church.

Zio-Nazi Rosenfeld said police had opened an investigation.

In December, Zio-Nazi extremists torched a mosque in Jerusalem and sprayed the Star of David, “price tag,” “Muhammad is a pig” and “A good Arab is a dead Arab” in Hebrew on the ancient building’s walls.

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IsraHell: Teen jailed for one year over assaulting Arab youths



Nazareth District Judge convicts youth, 17, of assaulting Arab teens, hitting them with a car while yelling out: ‘Die you Arab’; Judge: This behavior can lead only to conviction.

ed note–this Jewish ‘youth’ as he is described, TRIED TO KILL 3 ‘Ayrabs’, first with his car and then with a knife and did so because this is what his Jeudaic religion COMMANDS. Note that the incident is not described as attempted murder, but rather as ‘assault’ and you can be rest assured that the ONLY reason he got the light sentence he did was because of the internet and the fact that outrages such as this are not as easy to keep quiet as they have been in years past.


An Israeli teen was sentenced to a year in prison on Sunday for hitting Arab youths with a car and stabbing them over what the court said was racist motivations.

According to the court’s ruling, the defendant, who was 17 at the time of the incident, along with a friend, assaulted Arab teens from the village of Hamaam. At first, the defendant and a peer attempted to run over two of the boys with a car, hitting and wounding one of them.

Later, the defendant exited the car holding a knife, and attempted to stab the youth he had failed to run over. He then returned to the car with his friend, chasing down a third Arab teen, 15, and knocked him over.

With the Arab youth lying on the ground, the defendant got out of the car holding a knife, with his friend holding a club, proceeding to stab the youth in his left thigh, as his friend hits him over the head with a club, and as the two yell: “Die you Arab.”

Despite the fact that the assaulted teen begged for his life and asked the two to stop striking him, the two continued the assault, seriously wounding his ear. He was later evacuated to Poriya Hospital in Tiberias and transferred to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center.

The defendant refused to admit to the crimes attributed to him and did not cooperate with social services.

On Sunday, Nazareth District Court convicted the defendant of aggravated assault and injury, negligent sabotage, and possession of a knife, with presiding judge Asher Kola saying that all of the crimes were committed “in the most ugly manner, as the defendant makes matter worse by calling out ‘die you Arab’ at the 15-year-old victim.”

“This kind of behavior should lead only to conviction,” Kola wrote in his ruling, adding that the actions attributed to the youth necessitated a conviction so “that he and others will be deterred from performing such acts.”

Judge Kola added that it was hard to release oneself from the feeling that the grave series of offences “was committed over a bona fide racist motivation,” adding that, while the defendant was only 17 at the time, “making him a minor, “he was not a real minor in a way that would disrupt normative judgment.”

The judge added that he did take certain facts under consideration in his sentencing, such as the fact that the defendant was a minor, that his family had just experienced a tragedy with the passing of his older brother in a car accident, as well as the grave medical condition of the defendant’s mother.

In addition, Kola said he feared sending the defendant to a lengthy incarceration could lead him further down the path of crime.

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