Blocking Israeli cargo in the US of A
Posted: 20 Jun 2010

How the times are changing. There is anger and passion in the air in the most important country in the world when it comes to the Middle East:
This just in:

In Oakland, California an Israeli ship was blocked by protesters for the first time in history. 700-1000 protesters blocked three different gates at 5:30 A.M. keeping dockworkers from unloading the Israeli cargo.
ILWU members refused to cross picketline – citing “health & safety” provisions of their contract. Management demanded “instant arbitration.” The arbitrator took a look at the picketlines at each gate to the SSA Terminal and ruled that ILWU members were justified in refusing to cross.
All dockworkers were sent home with full pay.

Killing civilians in Colombia for hard, US-provided cash
Posted: 20 Jun 2010

Beware any rogue nation that is warmly embraced by Washington in its “war on drugs”:

Many men have been disappearing – only for families to find out the army had shot them
When Luz Marina Bernal’s 26-year old son went missing in February 2008, she immediately raised the alarm. Fair Leonardo Porras Bernal had a mental age of nine, could not read or write, and never strayed too far from his home in Soacha, a gritty satellite town of Bogotá, the capital of Colombia.
“He would never go off on his own. He would only go out with someone from the family. We searched hospitals, refuges, jails and filed a missing person report with the police, but there was no news until that August,” remembers Ms Bernal.
The news, when it came, stunned her. Fair Leonardo was dead, and had been buried in a common grave hundreds of kilometres away in the far north of the country. The army said they had killed him during combat with a group of guerrillas just four days after he went missing.
For Ms Bernal, it made no sense. How had her mentally disabled son transformed himself into a uniformed, armed guerrilla ready to take on South America’s most battle-hardened military, just four days after suddenly disappearing from home?
She discovered her case was not an isolated one. Men, mainly poor youths, were disappearing from Soacha, only for families to later find out they had been shot dead by the army, which claimed they were narco-terrorists – the term Colombian authorities use for the country’s Marxist guerrillas.
All their families insist the dead men had no previous involvement with any of Colombia’s illegal armed groups. Their outcry at the details of their children’s deaths sparked a broader investigation into what are now referred to as “false positive” deaths, in which investigators suspect military personnel murdered civilians and claimed they were guerrillas killed in combat in order to win bonuses of up to €1,500.
The “false positive” scandal threatens to stain the legacy of Álvaro Uribe, Colombia’s outgoing president and the man considered by many to have saved the country from the anarchy that threatened to turn it into a failed state at the start of the decade.

How an Israeli should back the World Cup
Posted: 20 Jun 2010

Tell me this is a piece of satire in the Jerusalem Post but I fear it is not:

After the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 49 years in riveting fashion on Wednesday, and with the Lakers-Celtics series wrapping up soon in the NBA Finals, soccer’s World Cup tournament that begins Friday in South Africa will be the focus of the sporting world for the next month.
Israelis are known as rabid soccer fans, even though the country’s national team has only made the tournament once – in 1970 – and even then scored only one goal.
Headlines here that have been dominated recently by sanctions on Iran and the Gaza flotilla are now expected to be devoted to conflicts on the playing field.
But as Israelis, when times are as tough for the Jewish state internationally as they are now, which of the 32 teams that made the tournament can you support?
First of all, in this semi-satirical overview, the good news: The Turks, whose Islamic fundamentalist wannabe martyrs tried to kill Israeli soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara last Monday, did not make the tournament. The sanctimonious Swedes and Norwegians thankfully won’t be there, either.
Since it’s easier to decide who to root against than whom to cheer, let’s start with the teams that no self-respecting Israeli can support.
Brazil, in cooperation with the Turks, initiated a proposal that could have facilitated the nuclearization of Iran, voted with the Turks against Wednesday’s UN sanctions, and recently treated visiting Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad like a king.
Five Israelis were attacked in Madrid on Monday, and Israeli gays were told to stay away from the city’s gay pride parade. So, no support for Spain.
South Korea downgraded this week’s visit to the country by President Shimon Peres, and the protests against him were particularly nasty – so it’s out, too.
Israelis won’t be cheering for North Korea, which built a Syrian nuclear facility, or Algeria, for obvious reasons. Germany remains Iran’s largest-trading partner, and a massive 20-billion-euro Swiss gas deal with Iran should prevent Israelis from backing Switzerland, which hosts the notoriously anti-Israel UN Human Rights Council.
There are many reasons not to root for England; from its attempt to prosecute opposition leader Tzipi Livni, its deputy prime minister’s support for banning weapons sales to Israel, it being the home of Israel boycotter Elvis Costello, and its recent expulsion of a Mossad official due to his alleged role in facilitating the use of British passports to kill a mega-terrorist.
Australia also expelled a Mossad official for the same reason. Nearby New Zealand suspended high-level relations with Israel after the Mossad allegedly misused its passports in 2004, and last month outlawed kosher ritual slaughtering of animals.
Honduras has a large Palestinian population. Paraguay sheltered many Nazis, including Joseph Mengele, after the Holocaust. The Ivory Coast is 60% Muslim.
France, Japan, Portugal and Greece are known for outbreaks of anti-Semitism, and – a genuine soccer-related grievance – the Greek team finished ahead of Israel’s in their qualifying group, ending Israel’s World Cup hopes. Some Israelis will never forgive the Uruguayan team for defeating Israel’s World Cup team 40 years ago.
In the aftermath of the flotilla raid, South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel for consultations, so any Israeli who considered backing the home team of Human Rights Council Gaza report author Richard Goldstone will hold back.
Besides South Africa, World Cup countries that voted for the council’s decision to authorize a probe of the raid included Argentina (whose coach Diego Maradona has made anti-Israel statements), Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Mexico, Nigeria, Slovenia and Uruguay, so Israelis cannot support their teams, either.
But the real test of friendship with Israel was the Human Rights Council’s vote to endorse the Goldstone commission report. Six of those same countries voted against Israel, with Mexico, Slovenia and Uruguay abstaining, along with World Cup teams Cameroon, Japan and South Korea. France and the UK declined to vote. Slovakia voted against the Goldstone report, but abstained on the flotilla vote.
The only World Cup countries that voted in Israel’s favor on both key issues were the United States, Italy and the Netherlands.
The Dutch government elected this week is expected to be more pro-Israel than its predecessor, just like the Italian government is.
But Italian president Silvio Berlusconi compared Gazans to Holocaust victims on a recent trip to Ramallah.
So that leaves the United States and the Netherlands, and Denmark and Serbia, which are not on the council and protected their Jews during the Holocaust, as possible countries to support. Given Serbia’s dubious human rights record and ties to Iran, that leaves just three.  
Still, Israel Radio analyst Hanan Crystal, who is an expert on both Israeli politics and soccer, said the days of Israelis deciding what team to support based on the geopolitical situation are long gone. He said Israelis once backed France when it was the Jewish state’s main benefactor, and rooted for Western European teams against Eastern European team during the Cold War, but it doesn’t work that way anymore.  
“Israelis root for a variety of teams for many reasons, and politics is no longer one of them,” Crystal said. “I think that means we have matured.”

Seeing refugees as the threat
Posted: 20 Jun 2010

The era of arrogance and intolerance in the West is growing. A desire to ignore the world’s problems and punish those simply wanting a better life:

Only two years after its last revision, the Swiss Asylum Act is about to be ‘reformed’ again. The changes include a gag order on political activism for asylum-seekers and a modification of the concept of a refugee.
Ever since Switzerland adopted the Asylum Act in 1981, it has constantly been tightened, largely at the expense of the refugees, as in most European countries.
In 2007 and 2008, Switzerland implemented a harshly criticised reform of the Asylum Act. Soon after, in spring 2008, Justice Minister Eveline Widmer- Schlumpf announced new measures to “reduce the attractiveness of Switzerland as a target country for asylum-seekers.”
The latest reform proposals have now passed the consultation procedures and have been submitted to parliament for approval.

Don’t show them anything their government does
Posted: 20 Jun 2010

Most Israelis have no idea about life in the West Bank; the casual brutality and the grinding occupation.
The point is that most don’t want to know.
Do they care about this?

On Monday, June 21, I am to appear before the Knesset Education Committee and the Minister of Education, Mr. Gideon Saar, following my unequivocal words to my students, condemning the 43 year-old occupation and rule over the life of the Palestinian people.
A school principal should have a clear and unequivocal moral position about any subject and issue on the agenda of Israeli society. A principal is not an educational clerk. A principal must have, for example, something to say about the deportation of the children of migrant workers, trafficking in women, the separation fence, the withdrawal from Gaza, minimum wage law, settlers attacking Palestinian villagers to exact a `price tag`, the removal of Arabs from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, the siege on Gaza, corruption in government, or the relations of religion and state.
It is the duty of a school principal to take a stand and to defend it if necessary. A principal can not rest content with nodding and mumbling when students ask questions about the conflicts in Israeli society. The one who gives evasive answers is a hollow person, not worthy of being called an educator. Being an educator means to uphold a set of universal and national values which deserve to be part of the state`s symbols.
Being at the storm center of controversy, I was recently obliged to introduce for discussion at our school a spectrum of opinion for and against our presence in the Occupied Territories, and I must admit that this was very difficult for me. When I believe that our country does not respect International Law and its own laws, nor does it have proper regard for human rights – I frankly find it hard to admit into the school representatives of views which support the status quo. Since the expulsion from Paradise it is our duty to distinguish right from wrong. It is my duty to point out the wrong, and to strongly condemn it.

Or this?

Israeli troops have been accused of stealing from activists arrested in the assault on the Gaza flotilla after confiscated debit cards belonging to activists were subsequently used.
In their raid of 31 May, the Israeli army stormed the boats on the flotilla and, as well as money and goods destined for the Palestinian relief effort in Gaza, the bulk of which have yet to be returned, took away most of the personal possessions of the activists when taking them into custody.
Individual soldiers appear to have used confiscated debit cards to buy items such as iPod accessories, while mobile phones seized from activists have also been used for calls.
Ebrahim Musaji, 23, of Gloucester, has a bank statement showing his debit card was used in an Israeli vending machine for a purchase costing him 82p on 9 June.
It was then used on a Dutch website, www.thisipod.com, twice on 10 June: once for amounts equivalent to £42.42 and then for £37.83. And a Californian activist, Kathy Sheetz, has alleged that she has been charged more than $1,000 in transactions from vending machines in Israel since 6 June.

What AIPAC would like the world to think
Posted: 20 Jun 2010

This what America’s leading Zionist lobby, AIPAC, sends to the media; a racist video depicting all Arabs as terrorists.
Yes, AIPAC represents Jews (and again, this is a Latma production, courtesy of the Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick, the genius behind “We Con The World”):

Abusing friends and making new enemies (Israel delivers again)
Posted: 20 Jun 2010

German Development Aid Minister Dirk Niebel on being refused entry to Gaza to inspect a German-sponsored sewage plant:

Sometimes the Israeli government does not make it easy for its friends to explain why it behaves the way it does.

We should rule the airwaves
Posted: 19 Jun 2010

Israel’s culture of victimhood – the whole world hates us and we’ll do everything to convince them that we’re arrogant – continues with this revealing encounter at the UN recently.
Israel’s PR strategy is so shambolic and useless, one wonders if it’s been designed by a bar-mitzvah student on crack:

The Israeli government butted heads Thursday with the U.N. Correspondent’s Association, protesting the group’s decision to organize a press viewing of a film shot by a passenger on the aid ship Mavi Marmara as it was raided by Israeli commandos. Israel claimed it was prohibited from showing its own film version of events and making a statement at the press conference.
But the U.N. press club’s president, Giampaolo Pioli, shot back hours later with a letter saying that Israel’s spokeswoman, Mirit Cohen, turned down an offer to show Israel’s film, presumably because she did not want to answer questions from the press attending the event.  “Allow us to remind you that it was you who turned down our offer to present your Israeli film,” Pioli wrote. The press club also released an email exchange between Pioli and Cohen as corroborating evidence.

See: www.antonyloewenstein.com

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