Dorothy Online Newsletter


Dear Friends,

What difficult times these.  I don’t know any more than you do whether or not the US , England , and Israel will actually attack Iran , but from the media it seems very likely.  Well, England (see today’s Guardian ) and the US–their populations, at least– don ’t need more wars, but they are at a distance that makes it unlikely that they will be hit if Iran fights back (as surely it will), though undoubtedly some of their soldiers will be killed and injured.   This, however, doesn’t seem to bother the elected officials of these countries.  But if Israeli leaders go for it , then they really care nothing for the lives of their citizens–Jewish or other— for it is highly unlikely that Iran will not fight Israel with every ounce of power it has.   Bloody mess, it will be.  No need to discuss one vs two states here.  The war, if it happens, will decide that issue, more or less. 


But since all this is still speculation—albeit the war drums keep drumming louder—let’s talk about today’s 7 items.


The first item, published in the New York Times 2 days ago, is maddening and depressing at the same time—maddening because of what it says, and depressing because of who says it—no less than Richard Goldstone.   He argues that Israel is not an apartheid state, and does it badly.  For one thing, he confuses means for ends.  For another, he in the 6th paragraph quotes the 1998 Rome statute definition of apartheid, which begins with the words “Inhumane acts.”  Goldstein does not explain what he believes these words mean—but I wonder if he considers home demolitions by the thousands  ‘inhumane acts’—and these not only in the West Bank and Gaza but also for Palestinians with Israeli citizenship.  In any event, quite a number of others have responded to him.  Item 2 is one of these.  Some time back I wrote a response to an argument similar to Goldstein’s , if it interests you.  I find Goldstein’s argument depressing because it is so immature, coming from a person of his stature.


Item 3 made me feel really good momentarily— Amira Hass tells the Palestinian leaders not to resume negotiations with Israel .  I was so delighted that I shot off a note to Amira to tell her.  Of course she is absolutely right.  Ever since negotiations began Israel has increasingly expanded and colonized.  The Palestinians have thus lost much of the 22% of historic Palestine that they hoped to have.   Not that it makes any difference to the world , which refuses to sanction Israel for anything.  But neither is it wise for the Palestinians to continue to pursue a policy that is absolutely not in their interest.  I don’t mean to tell them what to do.   It is their future.  But I think that Hass’s advice is sound.


And this is particularly so in light of Netanyahu’s plans to expand, stating in item 4 that “ It is Israel ’s right and obligation to build in Jerusalem .”  So far as I can see, this is his attitude and policy towards the entire West Bank .  Well, build then.  And sooner than we thought would happen we’ll have a single state.  Of course at first it will be a Jewish state.  But since it will have as many Palestinians as Jews, it will eventually become a state for all its citizens, I hope.  Not a binational state, because then we’ll solve nothing.  But a secular state for all its citizens would be a dream for me come true.  Meanwhile, the ‘great powers’ are all once again waving  their fingers at Netanyahu, “Nu! Nu! Nu!, bad boy,”  which only goes to show that they believe in the policy of  doing nothing that will bring Israel to its knees.


In item 5 MJ Rosenberg enlarges on “The UNESCO Mess.”


Item 6 is a short video about “the battle for babies.”  Yes, it does have to do with Isra-Palestine.  Indeed it does. Enjoy.


Item 7 is “Today in Palestine .”  Do at the least glance through the summaries, tough as it is to swallow the information they furnish.


And, lest I forget, 2 ships with about 20 passengers aboard, are on their way to Gaza .  The Israeli navy plans to stop them, as usual.  The TV report about the ships stated that even if they do not arrive in Gaza , they will keep the situation in Gaza alive by attracting media attention.  We’ll see tomorrow whether or not they are right.  Wishing them luck.


Finally, please, please, let us all hope that war stays far from our doorsteps.




1.  New York Times

October 31, 2011


Israel and the Apartheid Slander




THE Palestinian Authority’s request for full United Nations membership has put hope for any two-state solution under increasing pressure. The need for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians has never been greater. So it is important to separate legitimate criticism of Israel from assaults that aim to isolate, demonize and delegitimize it.


One particularly pernicious and enduring canard that is surfacing again is that Israel pursues “apartheid” policies. In Cape Town starting on Saturday, a London-based nongovernmental organization called the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will hold a “hearing” on whether Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid. It is not a “tribunal.” The “evidence” is going to be one-sided and the members of the “jury” are critics whose harsh views of Israel are well known.


While “apartheid” can have broader meaning, its use is meant to evoke the situation in pre-1994 South Africa . It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel , calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.


I know all too well the cruelty of South Africa’s abhorrent apartheid system, under which human beings characterized as black had no rights to vote, hold political office, use “white” toilets or beaches, marry whites, live in whites-only areas or even be there without a “pass.” Blacks critically injured in car accidents were left to bleed to death if there was no “black” ambulance to rush them to a “black” hospital. “White” hospitals were prohibited from saving their lives.


In assessing the accusation that Israel pursues apartheid policies, which are by definition primarily about race or ethnicity, it is important first to distinguish between the situations in Israel , where Arabs are citizens, and in West Bank areas that remain under Israeli control in the absence of a peace agreement.


In Israel , there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute: “Inhumane acts … committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” Israeli Arabs — 20 percent of Israel ’s population — vote, have political parties and representatives in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on its Supreme Court. Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment.


To be sure, there is more de facto separation between Jewish and Arab populations than Israelis should accept. Much of it is chosen by the communities themselves. Some results from discrimination. But it is not apartheid, which consciously enshrines separation as an ideal. In Israel , equal rights are the law, the aspiration and the ideal; inequities are often successfully challenged in court.


The situation in the West Bank is more complex. But here too there is no intent to maintain “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.” This is a critical distinction, even if Israel acts oppressively toward Palestinians there. South Africa ’s enforced racial separation was intended to permanently benefit the white minority, to the detriment of other races. By contrast, Israel has agreed in concept to the existence of a Palestinian state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank, and is calling for the Palestinians to negotiate the parameters.


But until there is a two-state peace, or at least as long as Israel’s citizens remain under threat of attacks from the West Bank and Gaza, Israel will see roadblocks and similar measures as necessary for self-defense, even as Palestinians feel oppressed. As things stand, attacks from one side are met by counterattacks from the other. And the deep disputes, claims and counterclaims are only hardened when the offensive analogy of “apartheid” is invoked.


Those seeking to promote the myth of Israeli apartheid often point to clashes between heavily armed Israeli soldiers and stone-throwing Palestinians in the West Bank, or the building of what they call an “apartheid wall” and disparate treatment on West Bank roads. While such images may appear to invite a superficial comparison, it is disingenuous to use them to distort the reality. The security barrier was built to stop unrelenting terrorist attacks; while it has inflicted great hardship in places, the Israeli Supreme Court has ordered the state in many cases to reroute it to minimize unreasonable hardship. Road restrictions get more intrusive after violent attacks and are ameliorated when the threat is reduced.


Of course, the Palestinian people have national aspirations and human rights that all must respect. But those who conflate the situations in Israel and the West Bank and liken both to the old South Africa do a disservice to all who hope for justice and peace.


Jewish-Arab relations in Israel and the West Bank cannot be simplified to a narrative of Jewish discrimination. There is hostility and suspicion on both sides. Israel , unique among democracies, has been in a state of war with many of its neighbors who refuse to accept its existence. Even some Israeli Arabs, because they are citizens of Israel , have at times come under suspicion from other Arabs as a result of that longstanding enmity.


The mutual recognition and protection of the human dignity of all people is indispensable to bringing an end to hatred and anger. The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony.


Richard J. Goldstone , a former justice of the South African Constitutional Court , led the United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict of 2008-9.

2.  Al Jazeera Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Goldstone’s ‘apartheid’ denial sparks strife  

The author of the Gaza War report erroneously argues that Israel does not practice apartheid.


[See also the longer commentary regarding this Goldstone editorial by Philip Weiss and Adma  Horowitz in ]



Judge Richard Goldstone courted controversy by dismissing claims that Israel practices “apartheid” [EPA]


After his famous article earlier this year on Gaza , Judge Richard Goldstone has written a new op-ed, this time seeking to defend Israel against charges of apartheid.


There are numerous problems with Goldstone’s piece, but I want to highlight two important errors. First, Goldstone – like others who attack the applicability of the term “apartheid” – wants to focus on differences between the old regime in South Africa and what is happening in Israel/Palestine. Note that he does this even while observing that apartheid “can have broader meaning”, and acknowledging its inclusion in the 1998 Rome Statute.


As South African legal scholar John Dugard wrote in his foreword to my book Israeli Apartheid : A Beginner’s Guide, no one is saying the two situations “are exactly the same”. Rather, there are “certain similarities” as well as “differences”: “It is Israel ‘s own version of a system that has been universally condemned”.


Goldstone would appear not to have read studies by the likes of South Africa ‘s Human Sciences Research Council and others, who conclude that Israel is practicing a form of apartheid. The term has been used by the likes of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Jimmy Carter , and Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem.


Goldstone’s second major error is to omit core Israeli policies, particularly relating to the mass expulsions of 1948 and the subsequent land regime built on expropriation and ethno-religious discrimination. By law, Palestinian refugees are forbidden from returning, their property confiscated – the act of dispossession that enabled a Jewish majority to be created in the first place.


As an advisor on Arab affairs to PM Menachem Begin put it: “If we needed this land, we confiscated it from the Arabs. We had to create a Jewish state in this country, and we did”. Within the “Green Line”, the average Arab community had lost between 65 and 75 per cent of its land by the mid-1970s. Across Israel , hundreds of Jewish communities permit or deny entry according to “social suitability”. Goldstone’s claim that there is merely “de facto separation” rings hollow.


Successive Israeli governments have pursued policies of “Judaisation” in areas of the country where it is deemed there are “too many” non-Jews, i.e. Palestinian citizens. The current Housing Minister has called it a “national duty” to “prevent the spread” of Palestinians. In the Negev , there is a plan to forcibly relocate some 30,000 Bedouin citizens, a population group President Shimon Peres described as a “demographic threat”. A racialised discourse about birth rates is commonplace: In 1998, the mayor of Jerusalem , Ehud Olmert, told reporters that “it’s a matter of concern when the non-Jewish population rises a lot faster than the Jewish population”.


The other side of the story


“If we needed this land, we confiscated it from the Arabs. We had to create a Jewish state in this country, and we did.”


– Former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin


Startlingly, Goldstone does not mention even once Israel ‘s illegal settlements in the West Bank, a network of colonies at the heart of apartheid policies vis-à-vis land usage, freedom of movement, transport links, military courts, water usage, and the Wall (not an exhaustive list). This military occupation has been going on for 44 years, 70 per cent of Israel ‘s total history.


A reality routinely condemned by the UN and major human rights organisations as against international law and discriminatory by design is, for Goldstone, all about “self-defence”. Human Rights Watch has described Israel ‘s “two-tier system” where Palestinians face “systematic discrimination merely because of their race, ethnicity and national origin” – discrimination that Amnesty International says “is the dominant feature of Israel ‘s settlement policy”.


As Israeli professor Oren Yiftachel has put it, “a credible analysis of the Israeli regime … cannot conclude that Israel is a democracy”. Goldstone’s op-ed was not about “credible analysis”, but hackneyed hasbara talking points.


Instructively, Goldstone began his piece by expressing his concern that “hope for any two-state solution [is] under increasing pressure”. Indeed, a one-state solution is increasingly discussed – and this worries the defenders of Jewish privilege in Palestine/Israel, for whom the implementation of international norms and human rights constitutes a “threat”.


Coincidentally, the idea that “equality means national suicide” has an historical echo: Those were the words of South Africa ‘s prime minister in 1953, speaking some 40 years before internal and external resistance silenced the apologists for apartheid. This same process of struggle and hope is the best chance for “peace and harmony” in Palestine/Israel, not denial and delusion.


Ben White is a freelance journalist and writer, specialising in Palestine and Israel . His first book, Israeli Apartheid : A Beginner’s Guide, was published by Pluto Press in 2009, receiving praise from the likes of Desmond Tutu, Nur Masalha and Ghada Karmi.


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Source: Al Jazeera 

3.  Haaretz

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Palestinians must say no to negotiations with Israel

Diplomatic moves in the United Nations, no matter how refreshingly daring, are not enough.


By Amira Hass


Now that Palestine has been recognized by the United Nations’ cultural organization, UNESCO, it will be no more of a non-state and no less occupied than it was before. Its citizens will be no less unfree than they are today, no less under the yoke of Israeli foreign rule. But their civil disobedience versus Israel , the United States and the Quartet raises the hope that the Palestinians will not return to the negotiating table – because negotiations have become an obstacle to the decolonization process, the essential condition for peace.


The Palestinians’ application for membership in the United Nations was welcomed, even by critics of the Palestinian Authority, because it was understood as the close, albeit belated, of an overly long chapter. This was the chapter in which the Palestinian leadership, in exchange for dubious guarantees and slivers of privilege for a small group, took part in a charade of negotiations, while in reality, the area intended for the realization of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination kept being reduced and fragmented. This chapter exposed the fact that the parties in Israel ‘s various coalition governments disagree on only one thing : the number and size of the Palestinian Bantustans in Israel ‘s master plan.


Ordinary Palestinians understood the application to the United Nations as an act that creates new rules of the game. Therefore, many supporters of the move wake up in the morning with trepidation: Have the steamroller tactics of the European Union and the United States worked? Have PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his eternal negotiators returned to the same sterile table, when it is clear that Israel has no intention of changing its master plan?


The extent to which the term “peace negotiations” has been prostituted can be gleaned from a remark by the EU’s envoy to the Quartet, Helga Schmid. On October 26, in a last-ditch attempt by the Quartet to stop the Palestinians from applying to UNESCO, she said – according to sources in Ramallah – that the application for membership is like construction in the settlements : a provocation. It is not enough that the EU countries are not punishing Israel for building the settlements (Ma’aleh Adumim or Givat Assaf, all are equally felonious ); now the EU envoy is creating symmetry between years of violence by the occupying overlord and legitimate defense of the occupied.


Indeed, the Oslo Accords created false symmetry between the occupier/colonizer and the occupied/colonized. This symmetry denied the Palestinians an important asset in negotiations for their independence: recognition in principle of Israeli and international responsibility for having wronged the Palestinians and robbed them of their homeland and rights.


But Western countries, first and foremost the United States , did not even uphold this symmetry. At most, they scolded Israel while bolstering its international economic and political status, demonstrating that occupation pays. But they punished, and continue to punish, the Palestinians as if they were the aggressors.


The Quartet, in a conditioned neo-colonialist reflex, threatened that the big boss would stop contributing to UNESCO: Shame on you, natives, it’s your fault. It is a threat that grates on the ears, so unlike the music emerging from Occupy Wall Street and its like-minded movements.


But diplomatic moves in the United Nations, no matter how refreshingly daring, are not enough. Hints that the Palestinian Authority could be dismantled are also not enough to make clear that the pyromaniacs in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are putting both Palestinian and Israeli wellbeing at risk, if not the wellbeing of many others in and beyond this region.


There is no substitute for the strategy of popular resistance, in which there are no distinguished VIPs watching from the sidelines (and also no more Qassam rockets or other methods that target civilians, which have proven their practical and moral worthlessness ). But not returning to negotiations is an essential step in order to disrupt the routine of dispossession, to which the Quartet is a partner.


4.  Haaretz

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Netanyahu: It is Israel ‘s right and obligation to build in Jerusalem

PM says Israel must continue to develop Jerusalem , asserts construction there is Israel ‘s basic right and not simply a punishment to Palestinians.


By Jonathan Lis

Tags : Benjamin Netanyahu Jerusalem Israel settlements


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that construction in Jerusalem is Israel ‘s right and obligation, referring to his recent decision to accelerate settlement building in response to the Palestinians’ newly granted UNESCO membership.


“We will continue developing Jerusalem , its neighborhoods, and people,” Netanyahu said during a special Knesset session. “This is our right and obligation – not as punishment to the Palestinians but as our basic right.”


On Tuesday, Netanyahu and his forum of eight senior ministers decided to initiate a new wave of settlement construction in the West Bank, as part of a wider set of sanctions Israel decided to impose on the Palestinian Authority after it was accepted to UNESCO as a member on Monday.


Netanyahu’s office said Tuesday that the construction of 2,000 housing units planned in East Jerusalem , Gush Etzion, and Ma’aleh Adumim should be expedited.


The eight senior ministers also decided to suspend the transfer of tax money which Israel has collected for the Palestinian Authority in October. The money, which amounts to more than NIS 300 million, was supposed to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority before the Eid al-Adha holiday, when the money was to be used to pay the salaries of policemen and clerks of the Palestinian Authority.


A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responded to the decision on Tuesday, saying that Israel had decided “to speed up the destruction of the peace process ” by deciding to accelerate the construction of settlements on land where the Palestinians aim to found an independent state.


Nabil Abu Rdainah also described as “inhumane” Israel ‘s decision to temporarily halt transfers of funds to the Palestinian Authority.


On Monday, UNESCO accepted the Palestinian Authority as a full member of the organization.


In response, the U.S. decided to cut off funding to the UN cultural body. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday that since the vote triggered a long-standing congressional restriction on funding to UN bodies that recognize Palestine as a state before an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is reached.

5.  Al Jazeerz Tuesday, November 1, 2011


The UNESCO mess  

The Obama Administration says there will be further cutoffs if other UN agencies follow suit in recognising Palestine .


MJ Rosenberg Last Modified: 01 Nov 2011 09:15



Palestine became the newest member of UNESCO, the UN’s cultural body, after a vote  [EPA]


It was bound to happen sooner or later. At some point, both the president and Congress would be faced with a clear choice between US national interests and the demands made by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his powerful Washington lobby.


In the larger sense, it happens all the time. US policy toward the Palestinians endangers our interests throughout the Muslim world, including – first and foremost – our civilian and military personnel in the Middle East , as well as our strategic and economic interests.


But usually, as is the case with some Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights like the Gaza blockade, the situation is not completely clear-cut. The Palestinians charge illegality under international law; the Israelis cite a different law.


And the US can (and invariably does) say nothing, or it takes the side of the Israelis. The entire world expects that from the United States by now and understands precisely why we operate that way. It understands that Israel is an important friend whose security we would never jeopardise.


They understand quite clearly that it is our absurd system of campaign funding that dictates that we follow Israel ‘s lead on defending the occupation and preventing Palestinians from achieving any kind of recognition or sovereignty. The US always chooses Netanyahu’s interests over the rights of the Palestinians.


Watershed vote


However, Monday’s United Nations vote to admit Palestine into the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) presented US policymakers with a watershed choice. US interests and the Israeli government’s desires are directly pitted against each other.


To put it simply, Israel expected the United States to quit UNESCO and any other international agency that admits Palestine to membership. Hard US interests would dictate that we not even consider such a move.


This is not a question of US interests vs Israeli interests, which is why I refer to the Israeli government’s desires. Israel opposes UNESCO membership for Palestine as part and parcel of its policy to deny recognition of Palestine in any forum until Israel grants permission. It’s pure symbolism.


But for the United States , the implication of the policy of withdrawing from an important UN agency because its members recognise Palestine affects our national security in very direct ways.


It is happening because, under pressure from Israel and its lobby, the United States Congress in the 1990s passed legislation requiring the United States to not contribute to any UN entity that admits Palestine as a member.


According to former Senator Tim Wirth (D-CO) at issue are two laws from the early 1990s that prohibit the United States from providing financial contributions to any United Nations entity that admits Palestine as a member. The laws are strict: if Palestine is admitted to a UN agency, the United States must stop paying its membership dues. The restrictions provide no authority for the president to waive these prohibitions even if it is in the national interest to do so.


With a clear majority of countries around the world prepared to back Palestinian ambitions at the United Nations, the United States is poised to lose its leverage over several UN bodies that advance American interests and promote our ideal.


As Wirth explains, UNESCO “leads global efforts to bring clean water to the poor, promotes educational and curriculum building in the developing world, and manages a tsunami early warning system in the Pacific, among other important tasks. This critical work would be jeopardized if UNESCO’s top funder stops paying its bills.”


Political fallout


According to Politico Jonathan Allen, the funding cut would have a damaging effect on “American tech companies – such as Apple, Google and Microsoft – and movie studios that use UNESCO to open markets in the developing world and rely upon an associated entity, the World Intellectual Property Organization, to police international disputes over music, movies and software.”


Potentially, the damage can be much, much worse if Palestine seeks and gains recognition from such other critical UN entities as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).


The IAEA is the agency that the US government has relied on to restrain nuclear weapon development (and proliferation) by Iran , North Korea , and others. The WHO works with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to protect us from potential pandemics like the avian flu.


No matter. Pursuant to the congressional ban, if the Palestinians join any of these entities, the US stops its funding and is, essentially, out.


Thanks to a powerful lobby, the United States would not have a seat at the table when critical matters of life and death are discussed.


Unfortunately, at this point, it appears that both the White House and Congress will put Israel ‘s demands above US interests of the most fundamental kind.


In fact, within hours of the vote today, the Obama administration announced that it is cutting off funding to UNESCO – cutoffs that, no doubt, will be followed if other UN agencies follow suit.


Truth be told, the Obama administration has no choice. The law gives the president no discretion about withdrawing aid if a UN agency recognizes Palestine . In fact, AIPAC made sure that the traditional “national security” waiver was not included in the law.


That means that President Obama is in a box, although Congress could, if it chooses, vote to waive the provisions of the law.


But that would mean putting US national interests above pleasing campaign donors. When was the last time that happened?


MJ Rosenberg is a senior foreign policy fellow at Media Matters Action Network. The above article first appeared in Foreign Policy Matters, a part of the Media Matters Action Network.


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.


6. Nov2.11 video the battle for babies   forwarded by Ruth


7.  Today in Palestine for November 1, 2011–11–02



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