Obama’s zero results in the Muslim world
Posted: 19 Jun 2010

Commenting on a new Pew study that outlines growing Arab anger towards Barack Obama, Andrew Sullivan signals a win for the Zionist lobby and Israel’s right-wing; singing all the way over the cliff:

The Arab world, for reasons both ugly and realistic, was waiting to see if Obama could actually wrest free of the pro-Israel lobby and put real pressure in Israel. And they saw that, while a great deal has indeed shifted in the domestic contours of this debate, AIPAC’s control of the Congress and US foreign policy remains impressive. When Netanyahu stared down Obama last year and Obama retreated, the impact of the Cairo speech was neutralized. And that, remember was Netanyahu’s and Cheney’s strategy all along: to destroy the Obama moment’s potential to shift the US back to a more balanced position in the Middle East.
This struggle isn’t over, of course. And those who score cheap early victories over Obama tend to discover the power of a long game. But one reason the Muslim world has lost confidence in Obama is because they have every reason to. On the core issues – especially the acceleration of the colonization of the West Bank – nothing has changed. Which is what AIPAC wants, and why AIPAC is, in my view, working against the broader security interests of Israel’s most important ally.

Newsflash: Israeli vision for permanent occupation
Posted: 19 Jun 2010

Danny Ayalon, deputy foreign minister to Israel’s Avigdor Lieberman and resident clown, has a vision for the Middle East. Gather around, children, it’s compelling and breathlessly reported by the Murdoch press:

In an interview with The Weekend Australian, Ayalon accused Saudi Arabia of funding a campaign to delegitimise Israel and drew on the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia as models to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
His views are important as it will not be the Left in Israel – or what is left of it – that determines any peace agreement.
In Israel, it has often been those on the Right who have delivered deals as the public has become suspicious that the Left gives up land and leaves the country less secure. It took Ariel Sharon to convince Israelis to withdraw from Gaza and many say only a leader of the Right could evacuate settlements in the West Bank.
Israel’s boundaries are ill-defined. Its eastern border, which joins the disputed West Bank, is not a formal border but an armistice line. “So I think it makes sense that if we do a whole new architecture in the Middle East, creating indeed a new state which never existed, a Palestinian state, it would be right to redraw the borders,” Ayalon says.
“And when you redraw the borders, of course, you have to take into account the geography and also the demography. We don’t want to create Balkanisation here. Indeed, we do want to have stable nation-states – an Israeli nation-state, which is mostly Jewish, and a Palestinian nation-state, which is mostly Arab.”
Ayalon says 80 per cent of Jewish settlers are on 8 per cent of the West Bank.
“So the solution is very obvious,” he says. “We incorporate this 8 per cent and we give them some swap. I think it would make sense that the 8 per cent – let’s say that they get in return – would be on par with the land that we incorporate into Israel, which would be also heavily populated, and by this I think you would really create two countries, which would be more homogeneous and would be more harmonious with themselves. And we see this as the trend internationally – to actually break down countries to homogenous elements.”

Get that? West Bank settlements will never stop. It’s the Jewish right to build there forever. A viable Palestinian state is impossible under these circumstances which is of course the point. Such arrogance will be severely tempered with growing international isolation.

Racial profiling is normal
Posted: 19 Jun 2010

Daily discrimination against Arabs in Israel is so normal it’s barely noticed by anybody and rarely criticised. The price of maintaining a Jewish majority state, of course:

Here is a story known to only some of the citizens of Israel. A few weeks ago a 43-year-old lecturer in sociology at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who serves as a member of the prestigious academic journal Sociology, packed a suitcase and went to Ben-Gurion International Airport. From there he was supposed to take off for the journal’s annual editorial board meeting in London. He stood in line, showed his passport and his ticket and was immediately directed to a separate line.
The lecturer, whose name is Nabil Khattab and who lives in Beit Safafa, was not surprised. He says he accepts with understanding the lengthy security check, including the opening of his suitcases and rummaging in his carry-ons and laptop computer. He even accepts the detailed questioning (Where is he going? With whom will he meet? Where is the invitation? Who is the person who invited him? Give names of people. Are there representatives of enemy countries there? Who? ), though the connection between that and the security of the flight is not clear to him.
In recent years the security check has become a severe and exhausting hassle, which reaches its climax in the side room. The person being investigated is taken to the room and there he undergoes a thorough body check – head hair, ears, neck, armpits, every centimeter down to the soles of his feet, including private parts. Even this humiliating check Khattab accepts submissively.
This time, however, the examiner probed the lower part of his body with a cloth-covered stick and began to insert it under Khattab’s trousers.
“That was already intolerable,” he said. “I couldn’t keep quiet. With the greatest possible restraint I asked the examiner to stop. This has no connection to security, I said to him. If there is a suspicion that I am carrying explosives or metal on my body – let me go through the metal detector and if the machine beeps I will come back for examination.”
The examiner replied that if he did not agree to the examination with the stick he would not be allowed to board the plane. Khattab explained that he represents The Hebrew University on an important academic journal and that he cannot be absent from the meeting.
In vain. Angry and insulted, he took his suitcase and left. Ten minutes later, Khattab changed his mind but when he tried to go back to the side room he was told that because he had left the passenger terminal he would have to go through the whole check again, from the beginning. When he finally reached the room the examiner demanded he remove his trousers. “I will take them off only if they demand this of all passengers,” he said, and went home.
His wife persuaded him not to give in. He found a seat on the next flight to London, paid the difference and went back to the airport. The check was completed relatively quickly and included a body check. Without a stick.

Rupert shows his loving side for Palestine
Posted: 19 Jun 2010

This is grand. Check the headline in this story in yesterday’s Murdoch Australian:

Weekend Australian helps sick Gaza baby

Yes, the Murdoch empire has spent years caring deeply about the Palestinian people and not backing every single Israeli onslaught against the West Bank and Gaza.

What’s the connection between Jewish settlements and Angola?
Posted: 19 Jun 2010

Israeli businessmen and West Bank settlement builder billionaire Lev Leviev has long been targeted by activists for assisting in colonisation. His businesses have been boycotted and rightly so.
And his glorious work continues, according to the front page of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal on blood diamonds in Angola:

The war’s end led to a surge in diamond production, as large mining companies dusted off old claims and launched new operations. Among the players are Odebrecht SA of Brazil, Russia’s state-owned Alrosa; and a company controlled by Israeli diamond magnate Lev Leviev, all of which operate in joint ventures with the government diamond company Endiama.
At one such illegal mine, an hour’s motorcycle ride over trails outside of Cafunfo, a Dantesque scene unfolds. Perhaps 500 young men are clambering over a vast pit dug deep into the red earth. They’ve been at it for a year now, and figure they have months to go until they hit a vein of gravel they believe will contain diamonds. Their tools are rudimentary—pikes and shovels—and the work is backbreaking, alleviated only by the homegrown marijuana many smoke and the small sachets of alcohol that can be had everywhere for a dollar.
They live on the site in homemade tents and work in shifts. To support themselves, they say, they make agreements with buyers, especially the West Africans, to split the take.

Washington loves BP and the feeling is mutual
Posted: 19 Jun 2010

A helpful explanation of America’s reliance on BP in its never-ending “war on terror” and foreign wars in the Middle East.

How many Diaspora Jews are fighting in the IDF?
Posted: 19 Jun 2010

Non-Israeli Jews signing up for the Israeli army brings a multitude of potential problems, not least the rules of engagement by foreigners fighting in a rabble army and managing an illegal occupation on Palestinian land. How many Australians have signed up? An investigation that must come soon:

It used to be the kibbutz and its images of fruit picking and communal living that attracted streams of Jewish volunteers to Israel. Now many are looking for a different kind of service, one involving pre-dawn starts, a dose of boot camp and the very real possibility of some frontline action.
A new organisation is actively recruiting scores of non-Israeli Jews, many of them American, to serve in the Israeli army as it faces threats on multiple fronts in a region largely hostile towards it.
“We feel that Israel is fighting for its life,” said Jay Schultz, the executive director of Aish Malach, a new Israeli body set up to help foreigners enlist. For many, he said, “this is the right thing at the right time”.
While their peers may be easing into university life or setting off on their world travels, Israel’s foreign hopefuls are more likely to be wriggling through muddy streams or jumping over walls.
A rigorous six-week boot camp weeds out those not completely committed to a year of military service. Aish Malach is putting its first intake of 20 youngsters through their paces this month before placing them in selected units. Once in, the recruits could be deployed to frontline combat units guarding Israel’s volatile borders or to the occupied West Bank, where Israeli troops are often violently pitted against Palestinian civilians.
“They [the army] will send them where they need them. If they say ‘Go to Rwanda’, you go to Rwanda. If they say, ‘Go to the border of Lebanon, you go to the border of Lebanon’,” said Mr Schultz.

Cairo hearts Washington and murders its own citizens
Posted: 18 Jun 2010

What America gets with a few billion dollars of aid every year:

Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the death of Khaled Mohammed Said, a 28-year-old human rights activist who is widely alleged to have been beaten to death by police in Alexandria on 6 June, and calls for an independent and transparent enquiry.
The prosecutor-general’s decision on 16 June to order a new autopsy is a positive move but is not enough. There are two very different versions of Said’s death and only an independent investigation will serve to shed light on this tragedy.
“Said probably lost his life for denouncing police corruption,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Courageous bloggers and netizens often expose police abuses online although they are risking reprisals. The authorities do not however take sufficiently firm measures to put a stop to the violence.”
The press freedom organisation added: “The impunity must stop. The authorities cannot keep using the state of emergency law to block the demands for justice. The international community must put pressure on the government in order to ensure that Said’s presumed murderers are tried and punished without delay.”
An Internet café owner said Said was beaten to death in the street after being arrested inside the café by two plain-clothes policemen. According to his family and local human rights organisations, he was killed after posting a video online that showed police sharing the profits after a drug deal.

What is at stake over the Wikileaks marvel
Posted: 18 Jun 2010

A stunning essay by Salon’s Glenn Greenwald on the mysterious ongoing case of Wikileaks, the supposed military whistle-blower and media coverage of the scandal.
It’s no wonder Washington is so keen to silence dissenters within the ranks.

With Irwin gone, Australian parliament is totally pro-Israel
Posted: 18 Jun 2010

One of the Australian parliamentarians brave enough to actually understand Palestinian rights is departing Labor MP Julie Irwin.
In a completely ignored farewell speech this week, Irwin discussed “Israeli propaganda” after the Gaza flotilla massacre. She demanded the Jewish state accept international law or face isolation.
Note the Labor minister Craig Emerson’s shameful disassociation on behalf of the government at the conclusion of the adjournment debate.

See: www.antonyloewenstein.com


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