A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter


    When BDS became the necessary default position for human rights

    Posted: 15 Nov 2011

    One day, and soon, this message will move from the alternative world to the mainstream and anybody defending Israeli behaviour will be shunned as extreme and bigoted:

    Professor Norman Finkelstein stormed UK campuses in the week to November 11, lecturing to packed auditoriums in London, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham on How to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict.

    His main message was that since Israeli settlement, occupation and denial of rights to Palestinian refugees are all acknowledged as illegal under international law,  the campaign on these points is as good as won.

    He said that Tzipi Livni, when serving as Israel’s foreign minister,  had declared: 

    “I’m a lawyer – and I’m against the law, international law in particular.”

    She had good reason for saying that because under international law “Israel loses, on Jerusalem, on the West Bank and Gaza, on settlements and right of return for refugees,” said Finkelstein.

    The relevance of this to the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) was teased out in discussion between Finkelstein and Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, chair of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) on Friday afternoon, Nov 11, at UCL.

    Hands up who wants to make money from the downtrodden?

    Posted: 15 Nov 2011

    How our capitalist system is increasingly ordered (and sold to the highest bidder):

    Late last month, a national backlash forced Bank of America to abandon its plan to charge customers $5 a month to use their debit cards. But Huffington Post reports that the corporation has quietly been mining other sources of fees, preying on its most vulnerable customers to rake in millions in revenue:

    Shawana Busby does not seem like the sort of customer who would be at the center of a major bank’s business plan. Out of work for much of the last three years, she depends upon a $264-a-week unemployment check from the state of South Carolina. But the state has contracted with Bank of America to administer its unemployment benefits, and Busby has frequently found herself incurring bank fees to get her money.

    To withdraw her benefits, Busby, 33, uses a Bank of America prepaid debit card on which the state deposits her funds…Busby visits the ATMs in her area and begrudgingly accepts the fees, which reach as high as five dollars per transaction. She estimates that she has paid at least $350 in fees to tap her unemployment benefits. […]

    In short, the same banks whose speculation delivered a financial crisis that has destroyed millions of jobs have figured out how to turn widespread unemployment into a profit center: The larger the number of people who are out of work and dependent upon the state for sustenance, the greater the potential gains through administering their benefits.

    Millions of jobless Americans like Busby have little choice but to rely on the bank’s prepaid debit cards to collect their monthly benefits. Forty-one states have contracted with Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and other banks to provide access to public benefits, allowing them to collect unlimited fees, both from the unemployed and state governments. South Carolina, for instance, pays Bank of America a fee for each transfer it facilitates on a debit card, and for handling direct deposit of unemployment benefits.

    Why Herman Cain should be US President and talk about Libya 24/7

    Posted: 15 Nov 2011

    With the Free Syria Army

    Posted: 14 Nov 2011

    When BDS became the necessary default position for human rights

  • Hands up who wants to make money from the downtrodden?

  • Why Herman Cain should be US President and talk about Libya 24/7

  • With the Free Syria Army

  • Silenced voices in Iran speak out

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