Running women are a danger to the House of Saud
Posted: 13 May 2010 06:00 PM PDT

Saudi Arabia bans women from jogging down a street allegedly for reasons of safety.
Sure thing.
Just another day in a US-backed dictatorship.

Authors have a social responsibility not to take money from occupiers
Posted: 13 May 2010 04:07 PM PDT

The role of writers isn’t to prop up unsavoury regimes or refuse to speak out when occupation is occuring down the road.
Take a bow for failure, Ms Atwood:

Margaret Atwood peeks at the busy schedule for her first visit to Israel: She’s set to receive a prestigious prize, meet with Israeli and Palestinian bird enthusiasts, and talk to specialists in Mideast water shortages.
As a vice president of human-rights group International PEN, the Canadian novelist is making a statement just by being in the Jewish state. Palestinian groups urged her not to accept the $1 million Dan David Prize for literature, which she shared with Indian author Amitav Ghosh, or to visit Israel for last night’s award ceremony.
“We don’t do cultural boycotts,” Atwood said in an interview before the ceremony at Tel Aviv University. “I would be throwing overboard the thousands of writers around the world who are in prison, censored, exiled and murdered for what they have published.”
Countering jet lag with coffee, Atwood sat down in a book- lined private lounge in a Tel Aviv hotel to discuss artists, writing, the Mideast conflict and the region’s lack of water.
Ackerman: You were urged to refuse this prize. Your response was that a cultural boycott can be dangerous. Can you elaborate?
Atwood: Why do these things happen to artists? It’s easy. Artists don’t have armies. What they do is nuanced, by which I mean it is about human beings, not about propaganda positions. They are going to offend someone no matter what they do. They are easy targets. They have names but no armies.

Isolation is Israel’s new middle name
Posted: 13 May 2010 02:00 PM PDT

Hagai El-Ad, an Israeli human rights activist and executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), writes in Foreign Policy (under the headline: To Be Or Not To Be A Pariah State) that the Jewish nation has a choice and it seems to have made it already:

[Benjamin] Netanyahu confuses (perhaps intentionally) the legitimacy of his government’s particular policies with the very legitimacy of Israel’s existence — but the two are not equivalent. Criticizing specific government policies that violate human rights and civil liberties is a far cry from questioning a country’s core legitimacy; secondly, instead of addressing the real policy issues that are the basis for his loss of legitimacy, he is treating the matter as a PR problem, to be solved by going after those who dare point out his government’s shortcomings.
Netanyahu cannot secure international acceptance for his policies. This is unsurprising given the measures that his government is taking to further sustain the 43-year-old occupation — one that Netanyahu shows no signs of ending — and given that he came into office following the erosion of Israeli adherence to international law and norms witnessed during Operation Cast Lead. True, the current government did not create the occupation nor was it in power during OperationCast Lead; yet, it is under thisa credible independent Israeli investigation into Operation Cast Lead — something previous Israeli governments did after past military operations; the ongoing blockade on Gaza, collectively punishing a million and a half human beings and depriving them of basic needs; the arrests of leaders of the emerging nonviolent Palestinian campaign against the occupation; the removal of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem; segregated roads (pdf) and separate legal systems for Palestinians and settlers in the occupied West Bank multiply; and the abysmal record for holding settlers accountable for acts of violence. government’s watch that the following policies have been enacted or perpetuated: the insistence on not undertaking
The list could go on and on with examples of policies and actions that are indeed incompatible with democratic practices. Such actions are expressions of self-evident injustice, violate international human rights standards, and in many cases also defy Israel’s own laws. They also cause great suffering to many. ACRI and other human rights actors are clear in their commitment to speak out against these injustices and to continue stating the obvious: without an end to the occupation there will not be respect for humanrights.

CNN shows Palestinians as human beings
Posted: 13 May 2010 05:23 AM PDT

The kind of story that all-too-rarely appears in the Western press, humanising Palestinians as not just terrorists. And dying to leave, albeit briefly, their West Bank prison. Well done, CNN:

Is there any way to get rid of these pesky Israeli Arabs?
Posted: 13 May 2010 05:12 AM PDT

Gideon Levy in Haaretz on what most Israeli Jews would like to happen to the Arab minority:

The truth is, more than anything, we would like them to disappear, though not their hummus restaurants. A second choice would be to have them all crowd into their cities and villages – not to say their ghettos. There they’ll soon be standing on top of each other, some unemployed through no fault of their own, outcast and discriminated against. They’ll raise the Israeli flag, preferably two, and sing about the Jewish soul yearning from the national anthem – anything less would be considered a transgression.

What will Israel do when Dersh passes on?
Posted: 13 May 2010 12:22 AM PDT

Rabbi Brant Rosen is a sane American who knows exactly where the Jewish state is going (namely off a cliff with its eyes open).
He tackles one of Israel’s leading global backers, Alan Dershowitz, a man the Zionist Diaspora seems to love because he’s so strongly “pro-Israel” but they really would defend this?
Back to Rosen:

I’ve noticed an interesting pattern in Alan Dershowitz’s recent HuffPo columns.
On April 21 he smeared Jeremy Ben Ami and the pro-peace, pro-Israel lobbying group J Street, putting words in Ben Ami’s mouth and saying that J Street has “gone over to the dark side.”
On May 4 it was Rabbi Michael Lerner, a leading figure of the American Jewish left, and editor of Tikkun Magazine. Dershowitz accused Tikkun of “McCarthyism,” disregarded the recent attack on Lerner’s home, and characterized Lerner’s criticism of Israeli policy as “blood libel.”
In between the two, Dershowitz lambasted Judge Richard Goldstone, the highly regarded international jurist who prepared a UN report on Israel’s Gaza War. He labeled the report as “evil” and attacked me and a group of American rabbis for having the temerity to find merit in Goldstone’s work – we are “bigoted,” apparently, and “ignorant,” and are – yes – leveling a “blood libel” against the Israeli government. Most recently, Dershowitz hit a new low when he went on Israeli television and compared Judge Goldstone to Dr. Joseph Mengele.
When a Jew starts to accuse rabbis of blood libel; when an American shouts “McCarthyism” at an American magazine editor whose life is dedicated to dialogue; when a professional, highly experienced lawyer accuses a world-renown jurist of “evil,” equating him with the Nazi “Angel of Death,” and uses Star Wars terminology against a legitimate, widely-supported political lobbying group – well, it adds up, and it indicates one thing: Desperation.
Alan Dershowitz, and many of Jewish America’s leading conservative lights, have seen the writing on the wall, and it frightens them. Their brand of Jewish chauvinism is fading from the world, and they are justifiably frightened that a different approach to both Israel and Jewish life is taking hold among American Jews.

As long as Israel remains an American obsession, things will decline badly
Posted: 13 May 2010 12:09 AM PDT

Josh Landis @ Foreign Policy thinks that Russia is looking at the Middle East with added interest and I wonder why:

So long as America’s No. 1 foreign-policy goal in the region is to hurt Iran and help Israel, Russia will be drawn back into the region and a new Cold War will take shape. Washington’s failure to realign relations with Iran and Syria dooms it to repeat its past. But this time Israel will be more of a millstone around its neck as it thumbs it’s nose at international law and human rights. China also presents a new and potent challenge.

Americans murdering Afghans, says Seymour Hersh
Posted: 12 May 2010 11:52 PM PDT

The journalist who helped break the story that detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were being tortured by their US jailers told an audience at a journalism conference last month that American soldiers are now executing prisoners in Afghanistan.
New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh also revealed that the Bush Administration had developed advanced plans for a military strike on Iran.
At the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Geneva, Hersh criticized President Barack Obama, and alleged that US forces are engaged in “battlefield executions.”
“I’ll tell you right now, one of the great tragedies of my country is that Mr. Obama is looking the other way, because equally horrible things are happening to prisoners, to those we capture in Afghanistan,” Hersh said. “They’re being executed on the battlefield. It’s unbelievable stuff going on there that doesn’t necessarily get reported. Things don’t change.:
“What they’ve done in the field now is, they tell the troops, you have to make a determination within a day or two or so whether or not the prisoners you have, the detainees, are Taliban,” Hersh added. “You must extract whatever tactical intelligence you can get, as opposed to strategic, long-range intelligence, immediately. And if you cannot conclude they’re Taliban, you must turn them free.
“What it means is, and I’ve been told this anecdotally by five or six different people, battlefield executions are taking place,” he continued. “Well, if they can’t prove they’re Taliban, bam. If we don’t do it ourselves, we turn them over to the nearby Afghan troops and by the time we walk three feet the bullets are flying. And that’s going on now.”
The video of Hersh was uploaded to Michael Moore’s YouTube account Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Hersh has a long history as an investigative journalist and worked for many years at The New York Times. In 1969, he broke the story of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.

It’s the racism, stupid
Posted: 12 May 2010 11:47 PM PDT

A necessary history lesson for anybody who wants to forget the reasons South Africa and Israel were once good friends:

In October 1985, as it happens, the editor of [Israel’s biggest newspaper] Yediot Ahronoth’s weekend magazine, Aharon Shamir, came to South Africa to meet with a mid-level Foreign Ministry functionary. When the bureaucrat complained that South Africa was being denounced everywhere as undemocratic but could not risk giving blacks the vote, Shamir advised: “Give the blacks the vote very slowly. See how it works. Bit by bit. If you see that your bit by bit approach is not working, change it. But make the world believe you are sincere. You have to be hypocritical to survive.”

Welcome to New Zealand
Posted: 12 May 2010 11:32 PM PDT

Downtown Auckland, 13 May:

See: www.antonyloewenstein.com

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