Tonight’s message has 8 items, several of them extraordinary ones.
They begin with Tony Greenstein’s report of UCU rejecting an EUMC=Zionist definition of anti-Semitism. I apologize for duplications of this piece.
Item 2 is about hearing aids. Now while this project of bringing hearing aids to Palestinians is itself praiseworthy, the first question that arose in my head after reading the piece was ‘why are hearing aids unavailable in the West Bank?’ It surely isn’t because Palestinians are less capable than Israelis of buying them from companies that make them. I wonder if the lack could possibly have anything to do with the occupation and Israel’s refusal to allow free movement of goods?
Items 3 and 4 are from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. In item 3 the PCHR calls for an investigation of the circumstances that caused serious injury to a prisoner who had to be hospitalized in intensive care due to his injuries. In item 4 the PCHR justly condemns Israel for holding government meetings in East Jerusalem!
Item 5 is ‘Today in Palestine.’ When you come to it, you will see that I ask you to pay specific attention to a certain part of it and particularly to a given event, namely the detention of a child.
Item 6 is a longish opinion piece of the first order: Joseph Massad queries, ‘Are Palestinian children less worthy,’ the implication being ‘than Israeli children?’ Indeed, all children are worthy by virtue of the fact that they are children. But apparently President Obama and others have problems in realizing this.
In item 7 Robert Fisk comes down hard on President Obama in “Who cares in the Middle East about what Obama says?”
And finally item 8 takes us to Lifta, a Palestinian village which has laid in ruins since 1948 when the Israeli army chased out its residents. Now the Israeli government wants to tear the remains down and build a luxury complex. Please watch the video as well as read the report.
Lifta is not the only village whose ruins remain, though perhaps it is the most complete one still standing. One can find ruins of Palestinian homes in present Israeli cities as Ramleh and Haifa, and find ruins of churches and mosques that Palestinians still try to use, though prohibited, in villages that they are not allowed to return to. These Palestinians are termed ‘internal refugees’ as opposed to those who were chased out of or who left what became Israel and are called ‘refugees.’ Internal refugees desire to return to their villages no less than do the refugees abroad. Please watch the video that accompanies the report about Lifta.
All the best,
1. Tony Greenstein’s Blog
Socialist, anti-Zionist, anti-racist
Monday, 30 May 2011University & College Union Rejects EUMC-Zionist Definition of Anti-Semitism
UCU Defies Threats and Blackmail
Wonderful news from UCU. The European Union Monitoring Committee Report on Anti-Semitism, which came from the American Jewish Committee, a group which opposed another Boycott in the 1930’s – the trade union & Jewish labour movement boycott of Nazi Germany – has repeatedly been used as a weapon deployed against all critics of Israel, including Jewish anti-Zionists.
It is no wonder that the Zionist Community Security Trust, presided over by Gerald Ronson, the far-right owner of Britain’s biggest private company, Heron Ltd., David Hirsch, to say nothing of the EDL supporting, Muslim hating, Harry’s Place have complained so bitterly about this rejection.
What does the EUMC actually say? That ‘antisemitism; includes:
‘Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour’
Now this is strange. Accusing the Jews of being one people was always an anti-Semitic notion. It was the anti-Semites who held that a Jew might be Polish but s/he belonged elsewhere ‘Jews to Palestine’ was their favourite slogan. The idea that Chinese, British and Argentinian Jews, all of whom speak different languages and hold to different customs, are members of the same people was a shorthand for race.
So we have the absurd position whereby a definition of anti-Semitism is itself anti-Semitic!!
The EUMC definition goes on to hold that ‘Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.’ is also anti-Semitic. But who is it who regularly makes comparisons between Israel’s actions and the Nazis if not the Zionists. When Matan Vilnai, Israel’s Deputy Defence Minister promised a ‘bigger Shoah (Holocaust)’ for the Palestinians of Gaza he was as good as his word when a few months later1,400 civilians were murdered including 400 ‘terrorist’ children. But noone accused him of anti-Semitism.
The EUMC definition wasn’t deployed against Vilnai. It was used exclusively against Palestinians and their supporters who compared Israel’s actions to that of the Nazis, in particular the Warsaw Ghetto. In Brighton this included a Police attack on a demonstration.
When retired Israeli Judge Ben-Itto stated how ‘We must learn from the Nazis’
I can’t remember the outcry about anti-Semitism. ‘Anti-Semitism’ is reserved solely for Palestinians and the victims of Israel’s barbarism, not against its perpetrators. The EUMC is merely a propaganda weapon in Israel’s arsenal. Even the hapless Richard Goldstone was accused of ‘anti-Semitism’ by Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz for his Report on the genocide in Gaza.
And the final irony of this absurd and pretentious report, beloved by cold war warriors and Zionists like Dennis McShane MP is ‘Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.’ Now who holds Jews responsible for Israel’s actions and labels those of us who are anti-Zionist Jews as ‘traitors’. Please do tell. Ah yes, those who helped formulate this report!
I can’t remember Zionists protesting when on 9th January 2009 the Jewish (read Zionist) Board of Deputies of British Jews decided to hold a demonstration in Trafalgar Square to back Israel’s War on Lebanon under the title “Community to Show Support for Israel at Trafalgar Square Rally.” Strange that. A definition that is only partially applied is not a definition but a propaganda weapon. Today the EUMC has all but been dropped such is its obvious bias.
At a time when the fascist English Defence League demonstrates alongside Zionists in support of Israel and every far right party of significance in Europe, apart from the Hungarian Jobbik Party, supports Israel and Zionism, it is clear that whatever else its purpose, the EUMC definition isn’t about anti-Semitism but defending Israel. No better supporters are there than Michel Kaminski of the Polish Justice and Freedom Party, who opposed the Polish state apologising for the massacre of hundreds of Jews in 1941 at Jedwabne, burnt alive in their synagogue and not forgetting Robert Ziles of the Latvian Freedom & Fatherland Party, which commemorates the butchers of the Latvian SS every yeaer. But the EUMC Definition of Anti-Semitism never seems to apply to these people!
Well done UCU and in particular Sue Blackwell, Mike Cushman, Tom Hickey and all the other stalwarts in Bricup who proposed this. Note how the Zionist threats that ‘Jews’ will resign now from UCU doesn’t ever seem to include anti-Zionist Jews! Zionists and racists are always welcome to resign when they can’t accept democracy.
Below is the resolution which was passed:
70 EUMC working definition of anti-semitism – National Executive Committee
Congress notes with concern that the so-called ‘EUMC working definition of antisemitism’, while not adopted by the EU or the UK government and having no official status, is being used by bodies such as the NUS and local student unions in relation to activities on campus.
Congress believes that the EUMC definition confuses criticism of Israeli government policy and actions with genuine antisemitism, and is being used to silence debate about Israel and Palestine on campus.
1. that UCU will make no use of the EUMC definition (e.g. in educating members or dealing with internal complaints)
2. that UCU will dissociate itself from the EUMC definition in any public discussion on the matter in which UCU is involved
3. that UCU will campaign for open debate on campus concerning Israel’s past history and current policy, while continuing to combat all forms of racial or religious discrimination
Posted by Tony Greenstein at 17:52 0 comments:
2. Hearing Aids [forwarded by Annelien]
One thousand and eighty children and adults from all over the West-Bank who suffer from hearing problems were presented with hearing aids in a cooperative project of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, the Sheba Hospital, Tel-Hashomer and the Starkey Foundation.
In response to a request by Professor Rafi Walden, vice-director of the Sheba Medical Center and member of the board of PHR, that PHR is willing to take upon itself to locate appropriate patients and the organization of the project in the West-Bank, the director of medical activities of PHR, Mr. Salah Hay Yihye, started to coordinate this very complex campaign. He contacted dozens of volunteers in hundreds of Palestinian villages and refugee camps in the different districts of the West-Bank. Among these volunteers were many from Mutual Help Organizations, the Palestinian Medical Relief Organization, Organizations for Rehabilitation of the Handicapped, and other Charitable Institutions. After one month of intensive field work, thousands of requests for hearing aids were received. The working group at Starkey decided that for the present project some thousand instruments could be allocated, and therefore the requests were screened by the Hearing Institute at the Ear-Nose-Throat Department of Sheba Hospital. All files were examined and the Starkey work group, in conjunction with The Sheba Staff, traveled to Tulkarem for the first phase of the project. The Palestinian Ministry of Education and the Haled Bin-Said School volunteered to host the project and the Security Forces maintained order.
The first phase: 4-6 of April, 2011 – PHR, Sheba Hospital and the group from Starkey worked at the Haled Bin-Said School in Tulkarem. During these three days patients were invited for preparatory investigation and fitting of hearing aids. 950 persons were examined by the different crews and imprints of their external ear canals were taken in order for the Starkey group to prepare the hearing instruments in the U.S.
The second phase: 24-26 of May, 2011 – Professor Rafi Walden and Salah Hay Yihyeh worked hard to free the shipment of hearing aids from customs in order to have them available in Tulkarem for the arrival of the Starkey group. Only at 8 p.m. the shipment arrived at its destination, and for hours after that, until one o’clock at night, Salah busied himself to prepare the allotment of the right instrument for the right patient. One day ahead of the campaign, the school was prepared with a waiting area and shaded seating, and examination corners for the patients. On the first day of distribution of the hearing aids some fifty persons, medical personnel and the media, arrived from the Tel-Aviv area to Tulkarem. After some delay at the checkpoint (the soldiers were not informed of the permits the delegations were issued ahead of time) we arrived at the school court. The patients were seated already in exemplary order and quiet.
The day was opened with a warm reception by the foremen of the Palestinian Authority and representatives of the Institutions and Organizations from the West-Bank who praised the campaign and those associated with the project. An especially moving moment occurred when Mr. Salah Hay Yihyeh was presented with a certificate of merit in gratitude for his untiring efforts towards the well-being of the Palestinian inhabitants during the 23 years of the existence of PHR.
The three days of fitting the hearing aids were strewn with moving moments when we saw how the faces of children and old people changed and a wide smile lit up their lips. Children, who before were reluctant and refrained from going to school, can now join their peers in class. These smiles and their emotions, and of their parents, filled us with pride and immense satisfaction. Also parents of prisoners came to tell us and thank us that they will be able to hear their children well, who until now had to shout at them across the wall separating them during their visits.
On May 26th at 18:30 this complex project was terminated – a project, the first of its kind in the West-Bank – in a moving ceremony involving Starkey, Sheba and PHR and dozens of volunteers. All expressed their intense satisfaction with this action. Our Palestinian coworkers mentioned that this campaign became the subject of the day in the territories. The Starkey group promised that they will repeat this campaign in the near future.
Date: 30 May 2011
PCHR Condemns Israeli Government’s Meeting in the Old City of Jerusalem and Its Decision to Allocate Additional Amounts of Money to Create Jewish Demographic Majority in Occupied Jerusalem
In a blatant challenge to the international community, and US President Barack Obama’s statement relating to his vision for the resolution of the Palestinian cause, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu held a government meeting on Sunday, 30 May 2011, near the Tower of David in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, where “a plan to strengthen the status of Jerusalem” as a tourist city, and as a center for scientific, development and industrial research was approved. The plan allocates US$ 100 million for this purpose over the next five years.
This meeting came on the eve of the anniversary of the June 1967 war, and the occupation and annexation of Jerusalem to Israel in violation of the international law. This action is just one of many actions by the Israeli government to ensure Jewish domination and a Jewish majority in the city. This motivation is evident because some of the funded projects will ‘renovate’ historic sites in an effort to highlight a Jewish history at the expense of any other historical narrative.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns holding the meeting of the Israeli government in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem, and also the planning and implementation of new projects that are aimed to undermine the historical nature of the city in effort to achieve a Judaization of the city. These actions constitute an insolent provocation for the whole international community. PCHR emphasizes that the failure of the international community to confront the Israeli government’s policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and the permanent impunity granted by successive US administrations, including the administration of President Obama, to these polices undoubtedly encourage Israel to continue its policies at the expense of international law and the realization of international justice for the Palestinian people.
PCHR strongly condemns all Israeli settlement activities and other arbitrary measures in occupied East Jerusalem, and:
1) Confirms that East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian Territory that was occupied by Israel on the 5thof June 1967;
2) Emphasizes that all settlement activities in occupied East Jerusalem constitute a war crime under international humanitarian law;
3) Stresses that all measures taken by the Israeli occupation authorities following the occupation of the city, the Israeli Knesset’s decision on 28 June 1967 to apply Israeli law and jurisdiction over the occupied city, its decision on 30 July 1980 which stated “all united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” and the decision to expand the boundaries of the city explicitly violate the international law and United Nations resolutions;
4) All decisions taken, plans, and policies implemented by the Israeli occupation authorities in occupied East Jerusalem will not change the legal status of the city;
5) Measures taken by the Israeli occupation authorities in Jerusalem will serve to escalate the volatile situation in the OPT.
1) PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, jointly or individually, to fulfill their legal and moral obligations to ensure respect for the Convention by Israel in the OPT, according to Article 1 of the Convention. PCHR believes that the conspiracy of silence practiced by international community encourages Israel to act as a State above the law and to perpetrate more violations of international human rights law and humanitarian law, including measures to create a Jewish demographic majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
2) PCHR calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to compel the Israeli government to stop all settlement activities in the OPT, including in occupied East Jerusalem.
3) PCHR calls upon the EU and/or Member States to activate Article 2 of the Euro-Israel Association Agreement, which sets Israel’s respect for human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the two sides. PCHR appeals to the EU Member States to stop dealing with Israeli goods and commodities, especially those produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the OPT.
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