If Britain was serious about human rights in PalestinePosted: 20 May 2010

A strong letter in the UK Guardian that puts some necessary pressure on Britain’s new Deputy Prime Minister. Speaking about “change” is politically necessary these days, but alas, what does it really bring to the people under American or British occupation?

To the British deputy prime minister:
Dear Nick Clegg,
This is a request for action speaking louder than words by the new coalition. I welcome your early commitment to the restoration of civil rights as part of the mainstream agenda for the UK. However, there is a civil rights crisis in the Middle East. Both these situations were seriously ignored by the previous Labour administration.
I appreciate that you are well aware that the humanitarian disaster occurring on a daily basis in Palestine has been brought about by the well-recognised and documented unlawful activities of the Israel state. Your article in the Guardian last December admirably exposes the iniquity of the Gaza blockade. There are of course many other examples – illegal settlements, the separation wall, the demolition of Palestinian homes, sequestration of water supplies, destruction of olive groves, etc.
The UN and other bodies have passed resolution upon resolution about these matters as well as an extremely strong judgment by the international court of justice in The Hague concerning the wall. But nothing ever happens.
As I write, a flotilla of ships convened by a collective of courageous individuals is heading towards the coast of Gaza laden with cement for the long overdue reconstruction and school books for the children. The Israeli navy regularly and illegally restricts Palestinian territorial waters and prevents lawful activity by Palestinians and the entry of humanitarian aid. It is utterly predictable, given the Israeli flagrant disregard for international law, that they will attack this flotilla.
You are now in a position to implement the policies you expressed in your article.
First: the Royal Navy (recently employed to rescue stranded airline passengers) should be on hand to prevent the Israeli navy from violating the lawful activities of European citizens.
Second: for the longer term, the UK government must fulfil its obligations as clearly set out by the international court of justice to terminate Israel’s manifold violations.
Third: your support of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine when it comes to London in November will be much appreciated. I write as a jury member of the tribunal and as someone who has participated in two missions to Palestine in the past.
Yours sincerely,
Michael Mansfield QC

A true democracy doesn’t hold suspects for weeks without a lawyerPosted: 20 May 2010

A message I continue making across my current tour in New Zealand (presently in Wellington, after sell-out events in Christchurch and Auckland) is that Israel isn’t a democracy and such untruths must be continually challenged. It was something I discussed with senior members of parliament today. Re-framing the debate.
Making the general public understand that the Jewish state is moving in a direction that in many ways makes it far easier to explain why the Western elites should seriously question its relationship with the country. Yet another reason:

Two weeks after Israel imposed a travel ban on him, Ameer Makhoul, a well-respected Palestinian leader holding Israeli citizenship, was kidnapped from his home on 6 May in the middle of the night. The persecution of Makhoul brings back memories of the South Africa apartheid regime: he has been held incommunicado and was not allowed access to his lawyer for two weeks; a court order prohibited publication of any information on the case against Makhoul for 90 days; and the so-called evidence justifying the “security charges” against Makhoul remains secret.
 During the South Africa anti-apartheid movement, similar tactics were used against those advocating for freedom and equal rights, who were accused of terrorism and having links with the Soviet Union.
The detention of Ameer Makhoul follows a wave of repression of Palestinian leaders and activists resisting the occupation in the West Bank, and he is not the only Palestinian community leader in Israel to be receiving such treatment. Internationally-renowned pharmacologist Dr. Omar Said was detained two weeks before Makhoul and a gag order was used to silence the media. Detentions and gag orders are imposed by Israel to intimidate and harass those who speak out and campaign for freedom and equal rights.

Hizbollah must be quaking in their bootsPosted: 20 May 2010 06:03 AM PDT

The US empire contributes greatly to peace and security in the Middle East:
U.S. gives some stylish new bikes to Lebanon

Norman Finkelstein documentary in MelbournePosted: 20 May 2010

ABC TV broadcast on internet freedom and anti-censorshipPosted: 19 May 2010 11:44 PM PDT

I recently debated in Sydney on the motion that governments shouldn’t censor the internet. ABC TV broadcast the discussion and our team included a robust explanation on the principles of free speech.
An edited version of the debate was broadcast tonight on ABC Radio National Big Ideas:

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now
See: www.antonyloewenstein.com

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