Major Australian newspaper calls for stronger Jewish criticism of Israel
Posted: 03 Jun 2010

A pretty remarkable editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald, clear, correct and being proven right in the Middle East by events. Blind support for Israel is causing its death. Discuss:

In seeking to reassert forcefully its blockade of Gaza, Israel has succeeded only in calling its action even more into question. And each new ramification of its action in boarding the pro-Palestinian protest vessels attempting to run the blockade serves only to undermine its case further.
The Herald has covered the protest from the start. Running the blockade was clearly a political act in the guise of a humanitarian one – provocative and dangerous, but nonetheless legitimate.
The Israeli government was informed, through its ambassador to Australia, that the Herald journalist Paul McGeough and photographer Kate Geraghty would be with the flotilla. The two were detained along with the protesters on board the boats. That was predictable, given the confusion of the night-time interception in which nine protesters lost their lives. But what followed was not.
Once their identities were known, instead of being allowed to carry on with their professional activities, the two had their equipment confiscated and despite legal action pending in the Supreme Court of Israel against the legality of the country’s action on the high seas, they were deported yesterday morning to Turkey. They signed notes assenting to deportation: in the circumstances they had little choice.
The government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which routinely thumbs its nose at international opinion, clearly treats Israeli law and due process – and the freedom of the media to cover events in the region – in a similarly high-handed manner. No doubt its mailed-fist approach to protests which push the Palestinian cause will win it support among parts of the Israeli population; other Israelis, though, will view with dismay their country’s gradual descent from the democratic ideals with which it was founded, in which the shooting of protesters is only the latest stage. Israel’s allies are right to urge a full inquiry into the assault on the vessels. It would be a first step to reasserting Israel’s great claim that it is the only democratic country in its region.
We believe that it is time for Jews of the diaspora to question Israel’s actions. For too long the spectrum of Jewish opinion outside Israel has been narrowed on Middle Eastern questions to a compulsory, unquestioning support for the Israeli government of the day, no matter what. A few brave individuals challenge this orthodoxy – to their cost. No similar constraints exist in Israel itself, where debate even now is robust about the rights and wrongs of intercepting the blockade-runners, and broader issues of Palestinian rights. Not the least reason for the domestic criticism is that Israel’s excessive response has now guaranteed the Gaza blockade protest will have imitators, all of them confidently expecting the Israelis to repeat their initial blunder.

This is the level of “debate” on US TV over Gaza
Posted: 03 Jun 2010

Former mayor of New York Ed Koch and writer Jeremy Scahill discuss Gaza and the flotilla. It’s a parallel universe on American TV with blind Zionist supporters using the same language over and over again (terrorism, Jew-hatred, terrorism, Hamas killers, terrorism):

Is the world ready for pro-Hamas Zionist propaganda?
Posted: 03 Jun 2010 05:20 PM PDT

Latma is a right-wing Israeli website showing how rabid Zionism equals hatred of Arabs.
It therefore makes sense that their latest effort on the Gaza flotilla is typically tasteless and ignorant. Welcome to pro-settler “humour”:

Hey US students, ignore the oldies and take a stand on Palestine
Posted: 03 Jun 2010

The divestment campaign against Israel on the UC Berkeley campus continues but the movement is spreading like wildfire. Growing numbers of young Americans won’t simply hope and pray that Barack Obama acts and are instead taking actions into their own hands. Such as this week:

The Resolutions
Resolution #1: We, the student body of The Evergreen State College, call on The Evergreen State College Foundation to instate a socially responsible investment policy. To this end, we ask them to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestine. As members of the Evergreen community, we stand with conscientious Palestinians, Israelis, and other international figures such as South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu to endorse the non-violent tactic of boycott, divestment, and sanctions for a peaceful and just resolution to the Israel/Palestine conflict. Do you support this resolution?
Passed by 79.5% of the student vote!

Resolution #2: In 2003, Evergreen student Rachel Corrie was killed by a weaponized Caterpillar bulldozer while non-violently protecting the home of a Palestinian family in Rafah, Palestine. Numerous Palestinian civilians have been killed by militarized Caterpillar bulldozers, as well. Caterpillar, Inc. knowingly sells bulldozers to Israel for military purposes in violation of international law and the US Arms Export Control Act, despite on-going pressure from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that they desist. Their equipment is used to demolish Palestinian homes, wells, olive trees, orchards, farmland, and other infrastructure as well as to build Israel’s Annexation Wall, which was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004. Therefore, we, the student body, demand that The Evergreen State College declare a CAT-Free Campus and instate the following policies:

  1. Refuse to allow Caterpillar equipment to be used for maintenance and upkeep of campus facilities.
  2. Include stipulations in all construction agreements that no Caterpillar equipment will be used for any contracted services with the college.

These policies will remain in effect until Caterpillar, Inc. ends its complicity in human rights violations. Do you support this resolution?
Passed by 71.8% of the student vote!

The final Student Union resolution:
Whereas the passage by student vote of the Divestment and CAT-free Campus Resolutions demonstrates an unambiguous mandate; andWhereas the Geoduck Student Union is the elected representative of the student body;
We, the Geoduck Student Union, demand:

That The Evergreen State College and The Evergreen State College Foundation instate a socially responsible investment policy and to this end divest from companies that profit off of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. This divestment policy will remain in effect until such time as Israel abides by all applicable international law and ceases to illegally occupy and blockade the indigenous Palestinian land of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
And that The Evergreen State College declare a CAT-Free Campus and instate the following policies:
Refuse to allow Caterpillar equipment to be used for maintenance and upkeep of campus facilities.
Include stipulations in all construction agreements that no Caterpillar equipment be used for any contracted services with the college.
These policies will remain in effect until Caterpillar, Inc. ends its complicity in human rights violations.
The GSU stands with conscientious Palestinians, Israelis, and other international figures such as South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu to endorse the non-violent tactic of boycott, divestment, and sanctions for a peaceful and just resolution to the Israel/Palestine conflict.
By the beginning of the academic year 2010-2011 we insist on full disclosure of all corporations, including those held through mutual funds, in which The Evergreen State College Foundation and The Evergreen State College are invested.
Further we insist that the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors make public a plan of action for divestment from companies that profit from the occupation of Palestine. In addition, we insist that The Evergreen State College initiates the above CAT-Free Campus policies.
We join with campuses around the world in building a movement for human rights and dignity by working to end the occupation of Palestine. We look to other campuses to join us in our common effort for justice and peace in the Middle East.

How to make friends and influence people, Halliburton style
Posted: 03 Jun 2010

Democracy, American style:

As Congress investigated its role in the doomed Deep Horizon oil rig, Halliburton donated $17,000 to candidates running for federal office, giving money to several lawmakers on committees that have launched inquiries into the massive spill.
The Texas-based oil giant’s political action committee made 14 contributions during the month of May, according to a federal campaign report filed Wednesday — 13 to Republicans and one to a Democrat. It was the busiest donation month for Halliburton’s PAC since September 2008.
Of the 10 current members of Congress who got money from Halliburton in May, seven are on committees with oversight of the oil spill and its aftermath.

The Aussie Zionist lobby remembers its job
Posted: 03 Jun 2010

Israel is facing global criticism, so of course the Australian Jewish News focuses on poor, little Jewish students on campus who may be forced to see photos of dead Palestinians in Gaza. Tough times for the Zionist community:

An escalation in tension around Australian university campuses is expected after the Gaza flotilla raid this week.
Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) vice-chairman Glen Falkenstein warned students need to be aware and report any incidents.
“If a student is harassed or intimidated on campus, then we encourage them to contact their campus AUJS president or their equity and diversity unit.”
Falkenstein said there has already been increased activity on campus.
Meanwhile, in order to best confront verbal attacks or hostile conversations over the flotilla crisis, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has emailed background information and interview transcripts to community members.
The information provides legal background, indicating that “Israel is currently in a state of armed conflict with Hamas” and as such “maritime blockades are a legitimate and recognised measure under international law”.
Israel exercised its right to enforce its blockade after passengers on the boats provided “clear intention to violate the blockade by means of written and oral statements”.
They have also circulated transcripts of official Knesset press responses from Israeli Government spokespeople.

With heads in the sand and nowhere to go but down
Posted: 03 Jun 2010

After the Gaza flotilla massacre, at least some of the American mainstream are actually reporting on the reality in Gaza itself. People may not be starving there but they’re living without dignity and humanity. A breeding ground for terrorism.
There is certainly some Zionist self-criticism (here and here) that clearly outlines the utterly futile Gaza siege and actions on the high seas. Sabotaging the Jewish state with the eyes wide open.
Former New York Times correspondent in Gaza, Taghreed El-Khodary, says that Hamas has only been strengthened by the siege and the flotilla disaster.
Both former US ambassador Edward Peck and Sydney Morning Herald reporter, Paul McGeough – detained in Israel for a few days and now released to Turkey – both recall moments of terror when Israeli commandoes stormed the ships at sea and terrorised the activists (and some photos of the raids have been saved by an Australian photographer).
But not to worry, here’s a very mainstream Israeli view of Arabs and Western criticisms against the Jewish state:

The Arab culture of lies guarantees that they will remain mired in a cesspool of misery, inadequacy, and failure.
And so, the Gaza-bound thugs got nowhere close to the Strip. Soon they will be swept aside and forgotten in the Mideastern maelstrom, as bigger news take over. As to the Arab and Muslim world, just like the Gaza flotilla, it will continue to sail nowhere, caught between the waves of its own miserable lies.

ABC Triple J Hack on Israel and the Gaza flotilla
Posted: 03 Jun 2010

I was interviewed yesterday on ABC Triple J Hack – the daily current affairs program – on the siege of Gaza, life in the Strip and the need to allow Palestinians there to live normal lives:

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

“Cats smuggling semtex in their fur for Hamas”
Posted: 02 Jun 2010

More, please (thank you, Mark Steel):

It’s time the Israeli government’s PR team made the most of its talents, and became available for hire. Then whenever a nutcase marched into a shopping mall in somewhere like Wisconsin and gunned down a selection of passers-by, they could be on hand to tell the world’s press “The gunman regrets the loss of life but did all he could to avoid violence.” Then various governments would issue statements saying “All we know is a man went berserk with an AK 47, and next to him there’s a pile of corpses, so until we know the facts we can’t pass judgement on what took place.”
To strengthen their case the Israelis have released a photo of the weapons they found on board, (which amount to some knives and tools and wooden sticks) that the naive might think you’d expect to find on any ship, but the more astute will recognise as exactly what you’d carry if you were planning to defeat the Israeli army. It’s an armoury smaller than you’d find in the average toolshed in a garden in Cirencester, which goes to show the Israelis had better destroy Cirencester quickly as an essential act of self-defence.
It’s a shame they weren’t more imaginative, as they could have said “We also discovered a deadly barometer, a ship’s compass, which could not only be frisbeed at someone’s head but even had markings to help the assailant know which direction he was throwing it, and a set of binoculars that could easily be converted into a ray-gun.”
That would be as logical as the statement from the Israeli PM’s spokesman – “We made every possible effort to avoid this incident.” Because the one tiny thing they forgot to do to avoid this incident was not send in armed militia from helicopters in the middle of the night and shoot people. I must be a natural at this sort of technique because I often go all day without climbing off a helicopter and shooting people, and I’m not even making every possible effort. Politicians and commentators worldwide repeat a version of this line. They’re aware a nation has sent its militia to confront people carrying provisions for the desperate, in the process shooting several of them dead, and yet they angrily blame the dead ones. One typical headline yesterday read “Activists got what they wanted – confrontation.” It’s an attitude so deranged it deserves to be registered as a psychosis, something like “Reverse Slaughter Victim Confusion Syndrome”.
Israel and its supporters claim that Viva Palestina, made up of people who collect the donated food, cement and items for providing basic amenities such as toilets, and transport them to Gaza, wanted the violence all along. Because presumably they must have been thinking “Hezbollah couldn’t beat them, but that’s because unlike us they didn’t have a ballcock and several boxes of plum tomatoes”.
One article told us the flotilla was full of “Thugs spoiling for a confrontation”, and then accused them of being “Less about aid and more about PR. Indeed, on board was Swedish novelist Henning Mankell.” So were they thugs or about PR? Did they have a thugs’ section and a PR quarter, or did they all muck in, the novelist diverting the soldiers with his characterisation while the thugs attacked them with a lethal spirit level?
But some defenders of Israel are so blind to what happens in front of them there’s nothing at all they wouldn’t jump to defend. Israel could blow up a cats home and within five minutes they’d be yelling “How do we know the cats weren’t smuggling semtex in their fur for Hamas?”
If this incident had been carried about by Iran, or anyone we were trying to portray as an enemy, so much condemnation would have been spewed out it would have created a vast cloud of outrage that airlines would be unable to fly through.
But as it’s Israel, most governments offer a few diplomatic words that blame no one, but accept the deaths are “regrettable”. They might as well have picked any random word from the dictionary, so the news would tell us “William Hague described the deaths as ‘hexagonal’”, and a statement from the US senate said “It’s all very confusing. In future let’s hope they make every effort to avoid a similar incident.”

The quick flotilla round-up (aka Israel has lost it)
Posted: 02 Jun 2010

Zionist groups in the US wish Barack Obama was more supportive and remain disappointed that the American President hasn’t invaded Turkey.
Israel’s Deputy UN Ambassador says whatever his government tells him to say.
Israel’s President Shimon Peres – the best friend apartheid South Africa could ever havesays that the Israeli soldiers were “humane”. Yes, the ones who killed the peace activists.
Israel claims that a hardcore group of Turkish jihadists were willing to sacrifice their lives in the pursuit of harming Israel and helping Gaza.
The American Zionist lobby is furious that Israel hadn’t given them more information and warning about their actions on the high seas. They need to know when innocent civilians will be murdered and how to spin it:

“There’s a lot of anger about the hasbara [public diplomacy], how it was handled,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “Why did it take so long to get the films [of the ship-board violence] out? It appears [the soldiers] weren’t prepared for what they found, even though they knew what they were going to find.”
The Jewish community supports Israel, Hoenlein said. “People see the overkill against Israel, the biased reporting. Of course, every time the UN gets involved, Jews automatically [turn] against it.”
But, he lamented on Tuesday, “We’re only now coming to terms with the facts.” And that’s a shame, because “the facts make the case for Israel.”

see: www.antonyloewenstein.com

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