Posted by : Sammi Ibrahem
Chair of West Midland PSC

Dear Friends,

The 5 items below begin with Robert Fisk’s well placed sarcasm over Israel having ‘crept into the EU without anyone noticing.’  If anything, Fisk is sharper than usual.  But justifiably so.  Israel is not alone at fault for the horrible things it does.  It is nicely helped by the US, Europe, Britain, etc.  Were the rest of the world annoyed with Israel, it would not get by with the things it does.

And it does get by with murder and other evils.  So America will give Israel a boost to continue its evil ways with more money than ever before to develop its missile systems.

The third item is on a different wave length: “Honoring the Turkish Sacrifice”—very informative.

Number 4 is an appeal by Greta Berlin for money for future boats to Gaza.  Please help if you can.

The fifth item is on a totally different angle: the niece of a famous Zionist in order to wed has to prove her Jewishness, and she does not like.  Nor would you!

All the best,



1.The Independent Saturday, July 31, 2010

Israel has crept into the EU without anyone noticing

Robert Fisk

The death of five Israeli servicemen in a helicopter crash in Romania this week raised scarcely a headline.

There was a Nato-Israeli exercise in progress. Well, that’s OK then. Now imagine the death of five Hamas fighters in a helicopter crash in Romania this week. We’d still be investigating this extraordinary phenomenon. Now mark you, I’m not comparing Israel and Hamas. Israel is the country that justifiably slaughtered more than 1,300 Palestinians in Gaza 19 months ago – more than 300 of them children – while the vicious, blood-sucking and terrorist Hamas killed 13 Israelis (three of them soldiers who actually shot each other by mistake).

But there is one parallel. Judge Richard Goldstone, the eminent Jewish South African judge, decided in his 575-page UN inquiry into the Gaza bloodbath that both sides had committed war crimes – he was, of course, quite rightly called “evil” by all kinds of justifiably outraged supporters of Israel in the US, his excellent report rejected by seven EU governments – and so a question presents itself. What is Nato doing when it plays war games with an army accused of war crimes?

Or, more to the point, what on earth is the EU doing when it cosies up to the Israelis? In a remarkable, detailed – if slightly over-infuriated – book to be published in November, the indefatigable David Cronin is going to present a microscopic analysis of “our” relations with Israel. I have just finished reading the manuscript.

It leaves me breathless. As he says in his preface, “Israel has developed such strong political and economic ties to the EU over the past decade that it has become a member state of the union in all but name.” Indeed, it was Javier Solana, the grubby top dog of the EU’s foreign policy (formerly Nato secretary general), who actually said last year that “Israel, allow me to say, is a member of the European Union without being a member of the institution”.

Pardon me? Did we know this? Did we vote for this? Who allowed this to happen? Does David Cameron – now so forcefully marketing Turkish entry to the EU – agree with this? Probably yes, since he goes on calling himself a “friend of Israel” after that country produced an excellent set of forged British passports for its murderers in Dubai. As Cronin says, “the EU’s cowardice towards Israel is in stark contrast to the robust position it has taken when major atrocities have occurred in other conflicts”.

After the Russia-Georgia war in 2008, for example, the EU tasked an independent mission to find out if international law had been flouted, and demanded an international inquiry into human rights abuses after Sri Lanka’s war against the Tamil Tigers. Cronin does not duck Europe’s responsibility for the Jewish Holocaust and agrees that there will always be a “moral duty” on our governments to ensure it never happens again – though I did notice that Cameron forgot to mention the 1915 Armenian Holocaust when he was sucking up to the Turks this week.

But that’s not quite the point. In 1999, Britain’s arms sales to Israel – a country occupying the West Bank (and Gaza, too) and building illegal colonies for Jews and Jews only on Arab land – were worth £11.5m; within two years, this had almost doubled to £22.5m. This included small arms, grenade-making kits and equipment for fighter jets and tanks.

There were a few refusals after Israel used modified Centurion tanks against the Palestinians in 2002, but in 2006, the year in which Israel slaughtered another 1,300 Lebanese, almost all of them civilians, in another crusade against Hizbollah’s “world terror”, Britain granted over 200 weapons licences.

Some British equipment, of course, heads for Israel via the US. In 2002, Britain gave “head-up displays” manufactured by BAE Systems for Lockheed Martin which promptly installed them in F-16 fighter-bombers destined for Israel. The EU did not object. In the same year, it should be added, the British admitted to training 13 members of the Israeli military.

US planes transporting weapons to Israel at the time of the 2006 Lebanon war were refuelled at British airports (and, alas, it appears at Irish airports too). In the first three months of 2008, we gave licenses for another £20m of weapons for Israel – just in time for Israel’s onslaught on Gaza. Apache helicopters used against Palestinians, says Cronin, contain parts made by SPS Aerostructures in Nottinghamshire, Smiths Industries in Cheltenham, Page Aerospace in Middlesex and Meggit Avionics in Hampshire.

Need I go on? Israel, by the way, has been praised for its “logistics” help to Nato in Afghanistan – where we are annually killing even more Afghans than the Israelis usually kill Palestinians – which is not surprising since Israel military boss Gabi Ashkenazi has visited Nato headquarters in Brussels to argue for closer ties with Nato. And Cronin convincingly argues an extraordinary – almost obscenely beautiful – financial arrangement in “Palestine”. The EU funds millions of pounds’ worth of projects in Gaza. These are regularly destroyed by Israel’s American-made weaponry. So it goes like this. European taxpayers fork out for the projects.

US taxpayers fork out for the weapons which Israel uses to destroy them. Then EU taxpayers fork out for the whole lot to be rebuilt. And then US taxpayers… Well, you’ve got the point. Israel, by the way, already has an “individual co-operation programme” with Nato, locking Israel into Nato’s computer networks.

All in all, it’s good to have such a stout ally as Israel on our side, even if its army is a rabble and some of its men war criminals. Come to that, why don’t we ask Hizbollah to join Nato as well – just imagine how its guerrilla tactics would benefit our chaps in Helmand. And since Israel’s Apache helicopters often kill Lebanese civilians – a whole ambulance of women and children in 1996, for example, blown to pieces by a Boeing Hellfire AGM 114C air-to-ground missile – let’s hope the Lebanese can still send a friendly greeting to the people of Nottinghamshire, Middlesex, Hampshire and, of course, Cheltenham.


1, The Jerusalem Post Sunday, August 1, 2010

US boosts Israeli missile funding


House c’tee pushes defense program money to highest level ever.

WASHINGTON – US House appropriators have pushed funding for Israeli missile defense programs to its highest level ever, with $422.7 million now slated for 2011.

Last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense added $95.7m. to the original White House funding request for the long-range Arrow programs and medium-range David’s Sling, according to sources close to the panel. The lion’s share – $108.8m. – will go to the Arrow 3 system, which the US signed off on after some initial hesitation.


US to fully fund Arrow 3 system

Netanyahu: I welcome US public’s support

Editorial: Putting Iron Dome into perspective

In addition, the monies include $205m. pledged this spring by US President Barack Obama to the short-range Iron Dome project.

The package is more than twice as much as last year’s total, and adds up to nearly $1 billion in aid to joint US-Israel missile defense programs in the past four years.

“Chairman [Norm] Dicks, myself and all the members of the Defense Subcommittee understand how important it is to be at the cutting edge of anti-missile technology, both to safeguard our own citizens and troops, but also those citizens and troops of our allies and friends such as the people of the Jewish state of Israel,” Rep. Steve Rothman (D-New Jersey) told The Jerusalem Post on Friday.

Rothman has pushed for greater funding of joint US-Israel missile defense programs during his tenure on the committee.

“It would be political suicide for the Senate to come in with a lower number”

The funding will need to be voted on by the full House when it reconvenes in the fall, as well as approved by the Senate in its own defense appropriations bill.

That bill could be “marked up” next week but is more likely to be reviewed after the August recess. In the “mark-up session,” amendments may be offered to the bill, and the committee members would vote to accept or reject those changes.

“It would be political suicide for the Senate to come in with a lower number,” said one source close to the issue of his expectation that the Senate will agree to the totals set by the House last week. “There’s virtually zero chance that these [projects] don’t get funded at these levels.”

The funding comes at a time when the US has been under pressure to tighten its belt given the recession, with the defense budget no exception.

“Given the concern and attention that we are focusing now on every dollar we are expending on behalf of the US taxpayer for all purposes, including the defense of the United States and its allies, it is a mark of the importance of these projects that they were all funded so robustly and fully by our subcommittee,” Rothman said.

There were also concerns among some elements of the pro-Israel community that the new money for the Iron Dome project announced by Obama would come at the expense of the funding for the Arrow and David’s Sling projects, so that overall missile defense aid would not significantly increase.

The Israeli government is among those pleased by the outcome.

“The embassy of Israel deeply appreciates this latest expression of the congressional commitment to Israel’s security and to the development of systems that will enhance the defense of both Israel and the United States,” Ambassador to the US Michael Oren said.


3.Honoring the Turkish Sacrifice

By Lawrence Swaim, InFocusNews Columnist – July 31, 2010

Just a few weeks ago, on May 31st, the Israelis intercepted the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, killing at least nine people while boarding the Turkish ship Mava Marmara in international waters. That bloody tragedy changed everything, despite desperate attempts of the Israeli government and US proxies to spin the story. In fact, the propaganda of the Israelis—posturing themselves as pitiful victims, and portraying the real victims as terrorists who deserved to die—was so utterly lacking in remorse and coherence that millions around the world were shocked and disgusted.

The humanitarian items on the Marmara were mainly collected by the Insani Yardim Vakfi, or IHH, a Turkish non-governmental organization (NGO). Originally organized for relief to Bosnian Muslims after the Serbian genocide, it is active in 100 countries, and has a consultative status with the UN. Although generally referred to as “Islamist” or “Islamic” in the West, it helps people in need regardless of religion.

The IHH has been engaged in helping to rebuild Gaza’s port (as well as New Orleans after Katrina), but openly opposes Israeli apartheid—which is probably why Israel began in 2008 to refer to its members as “terrorists.” It also suggests that Israel may have deliberately used deadly force to discourage other NGOs from openly defying Israel’s system of collective punishment.

Although the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was not an official project of the Turkish government, the willingness to criticize Israel’s Gaza policy has been a defining political initiative of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. His party, the AKP, is heir to several important Islamist groupings, and has been remarkably successful in defining itself as a politically-astute, moderate Islamist party. Erdogan is strong on human rights, has more female representation in Parliament than any other party, and has brought the Kurdish parties into parliament.

But it is his courageous and unprecedented defiance of Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza that has won him the most respect—in Turkey, in other Muslim-majority countries, and among human rights activists in the West.

The Marmara tragedy gave President Obama a chance to observe that the Gaza blockade was “unsustainable,” causing the Israelis to loosen its embargo slightly. There’ll be a price for that, of course—the US will have to accept a sham investigation from Netanyahu, and US politicians will obediently parrot the Israeli line. On June 14th, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and its political allies tried to suppress a mass meeting at a church in Brooklyn featuring three survivors of the attack on the Marmara, stating that it was organized by “terrorists” and asking the State Department to prevent speakers from entering the country! (They succeeded in keeping one man out.)

The strategy of the Israel Lobby couldn’t be clearer—suppress discussion of the Flotilla killings and denounce anybody who dares to criticize them as a “terrorist.” Look for strong neo-con pressure on the Treasury and State Departments to designate the IHH as a terrorist organization.

In 1932 Albert Einstein defined the values of Judaism as a thirst for knowledge, a love of justice, and an ingrained striving for personal independence. The political class of Israel wants to throw out this magnificent tradition, and instead encourages Jews to worship the apartheid state. But the Jewish prophetic tradition will never be silenced by idolotry, religious nationalism and state violence. On June 14th, American Jews for a Just Peace (AJJP) announced that it would be the US coordinator for a ship manned solely by Jews, and that they would attempt to run Israel’s blockade of Gaza in early August. They are reportedly keeping their location secret for fear the Israelis might blow up their ship.

While others talked about injustice in Gaza, the Turks acted—and so must we all. The world must bring down Israeli apartheid just as it did apartheid in South Africa. Luckily, the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel is both non-violent and effective. A settlement of the Israel/Palestine conflict is necessary to free the world from the threat of religious war.

Support for BDS against Israel’s blockade is a good way to honor those that died on the high seas on that tragic morning of May 31st, 2010.

IFN is circulated nationally, and is the largest Muslim newspaper in the US.

Lawrence Swaim is the Executive Director of the Interfaith Freedom Foundation.  His column addresses current affairs from an American Christian and Interfaith perspective. The Interfaith Freedom Foundation can be contacted at P.O. Box 6862, Napa CA 94581, and is a public-interest nonprofit that advocates civil rights for religious minorities, and religious liberty for all.


4. From Irish Sunday, August 01, 2010

Dear Donors:

If you have followed the Freedom Flotilla, you know that we will not stop going to break Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza. Now, several initiatives have begun under the wide umbrella of the Free Gaza movement, with plans to sail a boat from the US, the UK and Northern Europe. We will help in any way we can, from setting up systems for them to teaching them how to choose passengers to helping them fund their voyages.

We intend to go back in the fall with 9 to 12 boats including three cargo ships. But our primary purpose for these voyages is to bring to the attention of the world that 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza are imprisoned with no access to their own sea, the only territory IN THE WORLD with no access to its waters.

You have donated in the past to keep us going. Now we ask you again to donate what you can. Our new PayPal account is up and running and our new bank account is open in London. If you would like to wire money into the account, please email me privately and I will give you all of the information you need.

Otherwise, you don’t have to do anything except go to On the front page on the left-hand side is our PayPal button if you are outside the U.S. You can also still donate in the US through the PayPal account on our DONATE page and through our fiscal sponsor, AET.

Please donate so that the international arm of Free Gaza can continue to help the local initiatives and continue to send boats to Gaza. This initiative has truly been a grassroots uprising, funded and supported by all of you. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for bringing to the attention of the world what Israel does to the Palestinians in Gaza and in the occupied West Bank.

Greta Berlin, Co-Founder

+33 607 374 512


5.  Haaretz Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sokolow’s niece ‘not Jewish enough’ to marry here

After being told she needed to prove the Jewishness of her maternal lineage for four generations, Hillary Rubin is questioning her decision to move to Israel.

By Raphael Ahren

Hillary Rubin felt she was living out her ancestors’ dream when she decided to move to Israel in 2006. Now she says she is being forced to leave the country to fulfill her own dream – getting married.

“Zionism runs in my family,” the Detroit native says, adding that her grandfather’s uncle was Zionist leader Nahum Sokolow.

But after filing for a wedding license and being told she needed to prove the Jewishness of her maternal lineage for four generations, she is wondering whether she made the right decision in immigrating to a Jewish state that doubts her Jewishness.

“I’m furious with this country right now,” the 29-year-old international relations student told Anglo File this week. “I’m the great-great-niece of a prominent Zionist and I am always a supporter of this country, but this really frustrated me and I can totally understand why a lot of my Anglo friends left this country.”

Rubin, who was raised in a Conservative household, produced letters from four Conservative rabbis and one Chabad rabbi attesting to her Jewishness. But the Herzliya Rabbinate said the letters were not enough and asked her to bring ketubot, or religious wedding contracts, as well as birth or death certificates of her mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother.

“It was made very clear that without ketubot and without birth certificates from four generations, I would need to go to the Beit Din [local rabbinical court],” Rubin told Anglo File this week. “I told him, time and time again, that my grandparents are Shoah survivors [and thus their ketubot no longer exist] and I was told that wasn’t his problem.”

The Herzliya Rabbinate responded that it kept to strict standards “of Moses and Israel” for affirming one’s faith.

There is no civil marriage in Israel, forcing couples to either go through a local Rabbinate or marry abroad. The Chief Rabbinate recently enacted new guidelines automatically sending marriage candidates whose parents did not wed in Israel to a local rabbinical court to determine whether they are really Jewish.

The new regulations do not specify which documents are needed to conclusively determine a person’s Jewishness. It’s likely that Rubin’s letters would not have proven sufficient for them, according to a rabbi with knowledge of the system.

Rubin fears the rabbinical court might declare her a non-Jew and thus decided to get married without the Rabbinate’s blessing. Instead, Rubin and her Johannesburg-born fiance’ Craig Glaser will tie the knot in a Conservative ceremony on a moshav in the Sharon region in two weeks. Since Conservative weddings are not recognized by the state, they plan to fly for one day to Cyprus for a civil marriage – an option used by many Israeli couples unable, or unwilling, to satisfy the Rabbinate’s demands.

The rabbinical court does not actually declare somebody a non-Jew without proof of their belonging to another religion, but Rubin would still run the risk of being left in the situation of not being officially Jewish by the state’s standards should she turn to them.

“At this point, I no longer want to play be their rules. I want to fight what they’re doing,” Rubin, who observes Shabbat and keeps kosher, said.

When Anglo File called the Rabbinate’s marriage department this week, a man who said he was its director but declined to state his name said he remembered the case. He said the couple was referred to the rabbinical court in Tel Aviv to have their Jewishness affirmed, and that before this is done he cannot let them get married. When he learned they had decided to get married in Cyprus to avoid the rabbinical court, he said nonchalantly: “Good for them. We are only marrying people according to the law of Moses and Israel.”

Rubin and her fiance’ – whose documents were accepted by the rabbinate as valid proof of Jewishness – did not even want to try to convince the rabbinical court that she is a Jew. “I can’t provide them with the documents they want.

I am the granddaughter of four Holocaust survivors, any documents my grandparents may have had from their families we don’t have anymore … Who has a death certificate from somebody who was gassed to death? These things are frustrating because my grandparents were persecuted for being Jewish, and here I am being told I’m not exactly Jewish.”

She is also concerned they might not declare her Jewish because her parents are divorced and she can no longer provide their ketuba. The facts that her parents’ get, or bill of divorce, was prepared by a Conservative rabbi and that her mother has since remarried a Catholic would further lead the rabbis to deny her their official stamp of approval, she said.

The young couple believes the consequences of going through the rabbinical court are “much worse” than not going at all.

“It’s as if one day you wake up and you’re no longer a Jew in the Jewish State but outside Israel you are still Jewish enough to be hated by most of the world,” Rubin says. “It’s a weird feeling. It’s hard enough to grasp the idea that your Judaism may not be valid but then to be told you’re not actually Jewish according to the Jewish state – it’s ostracizing.”

This story is by:

Raphael Ahren

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