Gaza Flotilla sails into a positive outcome
Posted: 30 May 2010
As the Israeli army approaches the Gaza Flotilla – great images, team, unarmed civilians versus Zionist soldiers in camo – it’s once again pitiful to see the ways in which Israel supporters are all about PR and spin (there’s no crisis in Gaza etc) rather than realising that this is a battle they will never win.

We’re now seeing protests about the flotilla in New York (against the Zionist supporting Max Brenner chocolate company).
Simply put, the world now knows far more about the reality in Gaza than before and about the brutish behaviour of the Israeli navy.
Here’s the livestream from the flotilla.

Murdoch really does care about deaths in Gitmo
Posted: 30 May 2010

Who says Fox News never has a serious discussion about American torture?

Perhaps Israel would like to silence Gazans permanently
Posted: 30 May 2010

The Gaza flotilla continues its merry way toward the Strip before the inevitable provocation by Israel (so much for Gaza being an independent territory when Israel says it has the right to stop the ships landing on the shore). The cost of the Israeli operation will be millions of shekels. Such money well spent.
Gideon Levy in Haaretz unloads on the latest piece of hysterical Zionist propaganda (silently cheered by most in the Diaspora, of course, because Israel must be right, Israel must be right, Israel is always right, little, poor Israel):

The Israeli propaganda machine has reached new highs its hopeless frenzy. It has distributed menus from Gaza restaurants, along with false information. It embarrassed itself by entering a futile public relations battle, which it might have been better off never starting. They want to maintain the ineffective, illegal and unethical siege on Gaza and not let the “peace flotilla” dock off the Gaza coast? There is nothing to explain, certainly not to a world that will never buy the web of explanations, lies and tactics.
Only in Israel do people still accept these tainted goods. Reminiscent of a pre-battle ritual from ancient times, the chorus cheered without asking questions. White uniformed soldiers got ready in our name. Spokesmen delivered their deceptive explanations in our name. The grotesque scene is at our expense. And virtually none of us have disturbed the performance.
The chorus has been singing songs of falsehood and lies. We are all in the chorus saying there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We are all part of the chorus claiming the occupation of Gaza has ended, and that the flotilla is a violent attack on Israeli sovereignty – the cement is for building bunkers and the convoy is being funded by the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood. The Israeli siege of Gaza will topple Hamas and free Gilad Shalit. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy, one of the most ridiculous of the propagandists, outdid himself when he unblinkingly proclaimed that the aid convoy headed toward Gaza was a violation of international law. Right. Exactly.
It’s not the siege that is illegal, but rather the flotilla. It wasn’t enough to distribute menus from Gaza restaurants through the Prime Minister’s Office, (including the highly recommended beef Stroganoff and cream of spinach soup ) and flaunt the quantities of fuel that the Israeli army spokesman says Israel is shipping in. The propaganda operation has tried to sell us and the world the idea that the occupation of Gaza is over, but in any case, Israel has legal authority to bar humanitarian aid. All one pack of lies.
Only one voice spoiled the illusory celebration a little: an Amnesty International report on the situation in Gaza. Four out of five Gaza residents need humanitarian assistance. Hundreds are waiting to the point of embarrassment to be allowed out for medical treatment, and 28 already have died. This is despite all the Israeli army spokesman’s briefings on the absence of a siege and the presence of assistance, but who cares?

Assad and Meshaal speak (and we should listen)
Posted: 29 May 2010

The idea of journalists speaking to our “enemies” happens so rarely that it’s refreshing to see the exception to the rule. Too many media hacks fear being labeled as unpatriotic. Surely blindly backing the state, any state, is unhealthy.
So, here’s Charlie Rose interviewing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and gives them the opportunity to explain the reality of the Middle East, why Hamas and Hizbollah are legitimate resistance movements and the vast importance of resolving the Palestinian issue (ending the occupation would stop resistance, argues Meshaal).
Here’s how the Israeli press reports the Assad interview:

Syrian President Bashar Assad told PBS this week that his country was not supporting Hamas and Hezbollah “out of love”.
Asked by interviewer Charlie Rose why his secular regime was supporting the Islamist movements he said, “This is one of the things that they don’t understand in the West. If I support you, that doesn’t mean I’m like you or I agree with you. That means I believe in your cause. There’s a difference.
“We support the Palestinian cause, and Hamas is working for that cause. Hezbollah is working for the Lebanese cause, so we support that cause, not Hezbollah.
When asked whether Syria was supplying Hezbollah with Scud missiles Assad said, “This is very good story by the Israelis. We told them, what evidence do you have? You are scanning the border between Syria and Lebanon 24 hours a day and you cannot catch a big missile—scud or any other? This is not realistic.
“When Israel attacked Lebanon in 2006, they didn’t know about the bunkers that they have in the south of Lebanon just few kilometers away from the Israeli forces. How could they know about the advancement that they have? These are rumors,” the Syrian president added.
“They are afraid and worried about what Hezbollah is doing. Hezbollah, like any other organization, it’s a war. When you have a war, everybody will make his position better and stronger. That’s normal,” Assad said.

And Haaretz on the Hamas interview:

Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal spoke out on Friday against American support of Israel and said that the Hamas was not against the United States but rather against its bias in favor of Israel, and stated Israel as the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East.
“We don’t have a problem whatsoever with the United States, nor with the American interests,” Meshal told U.S. broadcast journalist and acclaimed interviewer Charlie Rose. “America is a great state; it is a superpower and its right to keep its interests, but its interests shouldn’t be at the expense of others and the people of the region.”

How Palestine remains central to the Muslim world
Posted: 29 May 2010

Al-Jazeera English reports on the (mainly) Turkish contingent of the Gaza Flotilla on its way to the Strip:
In a separate but related item, Turkey’s rise as a major power is being noted across the Arab world.

A writer loathed by the Zionist establishment
Posted: 29 May 2010

My following article appears in this week’s Green Left Weekly:

American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein
Directed by David Ridgen & Nicolas Rossier
Baraka Productions
Review by Antony Loewenstein
Jewish critics of Israel are as old as the ideology itself. Zionism was regarded by most Jews in Europe as an idealistic delusion before the Second World War, but the Holocaust literally changed everything.
Providing a safe haven for Jews after the cataclysm became an increasingly appealing option. Little thought was given to the indigenous inhabitants of the land, the Palestinians, and their ties to these ancient grounds.
American writer and academic Norman Finkelstein, whose parents survived the Holocaust, is a central, modern critic of the Jewish state — loathed by the Zionist establishment for his scathing condemnation of Israel’s human rights record in the occupied territories.
American Radical documents the source of his passion and anger. Directed by David Ridgen and Nicolas Rossier, it interviews Finkelstein’s friends and foes, painting a character whose determination was forged in the shadow of Israel’s brutal war against Lebanon in 1982.
Finkelstein saw clear parallels with Nazi behaviour; the indiscriminate killing of Arab civilians reminded him of past horrors against his own people.
The allure of Finkelstein’s message isn’t hard to understand. He demands that the same standards should apply to Israel as any other democracy, especially one receiving more than $US3 billion of American aid annually.
All his books, including the latest on the Gaza conflict, This Time We Went Too Far, meticulously highlight the work of respected groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and reveal to a wider public how comprehensive the record against Israeli crimes has become.
“It is not so much that Israel’s behaviour is worse than it was before”, he writes in his new book, “but rather that the record of that behaviour has, finally, caught up with it.”
American Radical portrays a ferocious and hysterical campaign to silence the university professor; the Zionist lobby and its friends in the media almost colluded to bring him down.
Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, arguably America’s most prominent Zionist, wages a personal campaign against Finkelstein, lobbying De Paul University to deny him tenure.
The film shows Dershowitz on a personal crusade to crush Finkelstein’s professional life.
Dershowitz in recent months has taken to defaming South African Zionist judge Richard Goldstone after his devastating enquiry into Israeli and Hamas crimes during the December 2008-January 2009 Gaza conflict. Dershowitz has accused rabbis who backed the report as “rabbis for Hamas”.
He is the Zionist enforcer, part of an older generation who see support for Israel crumbling across the world, not least among liberal, American Jewry. The leading supporters of Israel in years to come will be Orthodox Jews and Christian Zionists. Such an outcome bodes ominously for the prospects of peace in the Middle East.
Finkelstein’s position on the conflict is surprisingly conventional, considering the fury directed towards him. He backs a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, and like his mentor Noam Chomsky, rejects the viability of a one-state equation.
After Chomsky’s recent rejection by Israel as he tried to enter the West Bank to lecture at Birzeit University in Ramallah, Finkelstein, who was barred entry into Israel in 2008 for 10 years, told Israeli paper Yediot that the Jewish state had “lost its grip on reality”.
Nowhere has Finkelstein ever called for the end of the Zionist entity.
American Radical is having two exclusive, Australian screenings. The Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP) and Independent Australian Jewish Voices (IAJV) have organised an event in Sydney on June 8 at 6.30pm at The Auditorium, 37 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills.
After the film there will be a discussion between journalist and academic Peter Manning, IAJV co-founder Peter Slezak and myself. Entry donations (minimum $10) will go towards CJPP’s advocacy work and Union Aid Abroad’s programs in Palestine.
The Melbourne screening on June 11 is presented by Australians for Palestine and Students for Palestine. It will be held at 6:30pm at the State Library Conference Centre, Entry 3, La Trobe Street in the city. Entry is by donation (minimum $5). After the film, academic Jeremy Salt, Palestinian writer Samah Sabawi, Peter Slezak and myself will discuss the issues raised by the film.
[Antony Loewenstein is a Sydney independent journalist, author of My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution and co-founder of Independent Australian Jewish Voices.]

See: www.antonyloewenstein.com

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