Joy to the world, David Broder says Obama can rejuvenate the economy by going to war with Iran

Oct 31, 2010

Philip Weiss 

“The war recovery?” by David Broder in the Washington Post. Is this a Zionist trojan horse?

Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran’s ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.

I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected. But the nation will rally around Obama because Iran is the greatest threat to the world in the young century. If he can confront this threat and contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, he will have made the world safer and may be regarded as one of the most successful presidents in history.

Israel arrests Palestinian children at 3 in the morning

Oct 31, 2010


and other news from Today in Palestine:


Settlers / Land, property, resource and heritage theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Child labour in Jordan Valley settlements
At 5am each day, Nabeel wakes and goes to work. He leaves his house on foot, joining friends and colleagues as young as 10, on their way to the illegal settlement of Tomer. He is 13 years old, living in the Jordan Valley village of Al Fassayil. For Nabeel there is no other choice. — Child labour is a serious problem in the Jordan valley. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics found more than 7,000 children between five and 17 were working there in 2008, the highest concentration in the Palestinian Territories. That figure has risen since. The statistics don’t tell the full story, as there is no data for many of the children working secretly in settlements.

Jewish settlers seize Palestinian home by force
AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Jewish settlers seized the house of Palestinian citizen Fayez Al-Salayme in the Baqa’a village, east of Al-Khalil [Hebron], by force and expelled him and his family out of it. Local sources on Saturday said that the settlers beat up Salayme, who is carried to hospital for treatment. The Israeli occupation forces, meanwhile, stormed three villages in Al-Khalil district and a refugee camp in the city.  Meanwhile, Jewish settlers in Salfit robbed shops owned by a Palestinian in Hares village, west of Salfit, local sources reported. They said that the settlers broke the locks and robbed the shops on the main road of the village near the settlement of Ar’il [Ariel?].
Israel slams ‘absurd’ UNESCO decision on Jerusalem, West Bank holy sites
UNESCO board adopted last week five proposals initiated by Arab member states regarding sites which are considered holy to both Jews and Muslims … The UNESCO executive board also expressed “deep concern” over “ongoing Israeli excavations and archaeological works” at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s walled, historic Old City.
PM insists Rachel’s Tomb is heritage site
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to a UNESCO decision by which Rachel’s Tomb is located on the grounds of a mosque and that Israel should remove it, as well as the Cave of Patriarchs, from its list of heritage sites … The prime minister also stressed in his message the difference between Israel and its neighbors. “The State of Israel, in contrast to its neighbors, will continue to maintain freedom of worship for all religions at these sites, as well as their preservation for posterity,” the statement said.,7340,L-3976770,00.html
Church officials say arson behind Jerusalem fire
Israeli settlers were initially accused of carrying out the torching of a church building in Jerusalem on Friday evening, destroying the interior of what was until 1948 the Palestine Bible College … While witnesses from the nearby Bikur Holim Hospital later said the fire was the result of an accident, pointing to candles from the church setting the blaze, a church official told Ma’an that they remained unsure of the cause.
Extremist settlers burn Jerusalem church
…Zachariah al-Mashriqi , one of the leaders of the church, condemned the crime and said it was intended to destabilize relations between the religious groups. He said the attack should be seen in the context of others by extremist settlers as a way of baiting Palestinians …The church was built in 1897 and housed the Palestinian Bible College until 1948, when most parishioners fled the old city during the Nakba. Al-Mashriqi explained that the information he received indicated that extremist settlers broke several back windows and threw Molotov cocktails into the first floor of the church.

As stonethrowing escalates, Israeli police round up Arab children in E. Jerusalem (CSM)
Jerusalem — Amid rising Israeli-Arab tensions, Israeli police are waging a crackdown on Palestinian youths — many not yet teenagers — in East Jerusalem’s most volatile neighborhood, Silwan … The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) argued … “From the complaints reaching us it should be emphasized that at least some of the arrests [by undercover forces] were carried out without any disturbance or stonethrowing beforehand and that the children were at the entrance to their homes or in the adjacent roads and alleys that serve as their playground … Residents and human rights groups confirm arrests are sometimes conducted at 3 or 4 a.m., with a large force surrounding the child’s house.
Video: ‘Israel hogging Gaza water sources’
Many Palestinians are forced to purchase bottled water for their daily needs, as water coming from their taps has run dry, a Press TV correspondent reported on Thursday. The Gaza aquifer is the only source of water for residents of Gaza. Reports show that 90 percent of its water is not suitable for human consumption due to high levels of nitrate and salinity.
Former US consul warns against Israel’s policy in Jerusalem
Washington- Former U.S. Consul in Jerusalem and President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace FMEP, Philip Wilcox, warned against Israel’s policy to change the Arab identity of East Jerusalem which it had adopted since its occupation of the city in 1967.
Clever settler hasbara:
Settlers: Arabs, leftists staged ‘price tag’ act
The photos, taken by members of the Tazpit Unit, were shot on Palestinian land Friday, near the Neveh Tzuf settlement. The images allegedly show Palestinians and left-wing activists cutting down Palestinian olive trees using an electric saw.,7340,L-3976976,00.html
Activism / Solidarity / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
Israeli army shuts down anti-wall rallies
…An Israeli army spokesman said soldiers used riot dispersal mechanisms at simultaneous protests in Ni’lin and Dir Nizam near Ramallah, and Umm Salamuna near Bethlehem. In Al Ma’sara, near Bethlehem, soldiers prevented demonstrators reaching the construction site of the wall, firing tear gas canisters and sound grenades to force protesters back to the village. Rally organizers said four demonstrators were hit by rubber-coated steel bullets, and a foreign national was detained …
A wedding was being celebrated in the village, and the party joined the protest. However the bride was prevented from reaching the wedding as Israeli forces installed checkpoints and barbed wire at village entrances.
US activists urge State Dept to call for release of jailed activist
Press release, Adalah-NY, 29 October 2010 — Representatives from four US human rights groups met with State Department officials on Friday, 22 October and delivered a letter addressed to Secretary of State Clinton signed by more than 5,000 individuals. The letter calls for the US government to demand that Israel free Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a leading Palestinian nonviolent protest organizer.
US Palestinians converging to help shape homeland’s future / Andrew Dalack
This weekend in Chicago, the second Popular Conference for Arabs and Palestinians in the US ( promises to continue to push our movement forward. After more than six decades of colonization, forced dispossession, home demolitions, occupation and apartheid, Palestinians remain steadfast in their refutation of the Israeli assertion that “The old will die, and the young will soon forget.” Students, youth, elders, women, men, professionals, artists and workers will convene in order to continue to build strong institutions that represent all Palestinian and Arab social sectors.
JVP: Caterpillar has stopped selling bulldozers to Israel … for now
A suspension of the sale of bulldozers is what we have been asking Caterpillar for over seven years now. This is a great win, but this is no time to let off the pressure. Caterpillar and the U.S. government have neither confirmed nor denied the news. And news reports describe the company’s move as a temporary decision only. To urge the U.S. government to make this policy permanent, please sign the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s petition to President Obama to continue this new policy.
Take action: Help stop delivery of CAT bulldozers to Israel
We have a small window of opportunity to cut off Israel’s supply of Caterpillar bulldozers before the Obama Administration allows the deliveries to resume. Earlier this week, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported that Caterpillar is withholding delivery of tens of D9 bulldozers-valued at $50 million-to the Israeli military. The report speculated that this”sounds like an American military sanction.”  For a Jerusalem Post report about this, click here. This comes in the midst of a civil trial in Israel brought by Cindy and Craig Corrie
Cape Town Opera: Don’t help Israel whitewash its crimes
The following open letter to the Cape Town Opera was issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel on 25 October 2010: Dear members of the Cape Town Opera, We at the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), have recently learned of your scheduled performance in Israel on 12 November 2010 … Your performance is especially disturbing considering the history of the “Porgy and Bess” production.
Egypt working with Road to Hope convoy: Groups still en route to Gaza
Ellie Merton wrote, “The convoy is in the border area of Libya, near Tobruk, staying in temporary accommodation until our very kind hosts can get enough hotel rooms together in Tobruk…” According to information released later in the day by, the Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman, Hossam Zakithe, said authorities will facilitate the road convoy through the port of Al-Arish, through the air and sea, and confirmed its refusal to receive the convoy by road. reports that the organizers of the convoy intend to board vessels today in the port of Benghazi, heading to the Gaza Strip. Updates:
The Zionist Organization of America’s effort to criminalize campus activism through federal civil rights legislation / Cecilie Surasky
Under the leadership of Mort Klein, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is celebrating its success in its efforts to expand federal anti-bullying guidelines stipulated under the US Civil Rights Act of 1964 … Klein is shamelessly trafficking in the language of bigotry and anti-discrimination in an effort to criminalize campus human rights activism in favor of justice and peace in Palestine and Israel. It’s hard to imagine a more reprehensible manipulation of the legacy of civil rights struggle.
Israeli army detains 3 at Nablus checkpoint
Israeli soldiers detained three Palestinians suspected of possessing weapons at a checkpoint near Nablus on Friday, witnesses said. The Huwwara checkpoint was closed in both directions following the incident, locals said. An Israeli military spokeswoman was not aware of the incident.
500 Palestinian workers detained in October
RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Israeli occupation police and border guards detained 500 Palestinian workers in the current month of October including 20 women for working in 1948 occupied Palestine without permits. A statement for the Palestinian trade union in the West Bank said that 20 of those workers were held in custody for interrogation while 50 were sentenced to 3 to 6 months in jail. It added that heavy fines were leveled against the rest before deporting them back to the West Bank.
Hamas: PA targeting An-Najah University
Officials within the Hamas movement accused the Palestinian Authority security services on Saturday of detaining two party supporters for political reasons … The two detained were allegedly from Ramallah and Nablus, with the latter said to be a student at the An-Najah National University in the city. The arrests could not be independently verified by Ma’an. The same Hamas statement said 20 party members and affiliates attending or teaching at An-Najah University in Nablus remain in PA custody.
On the inside: Gaza’s prison for collaborators
Inmates have surprising amount of leeway in a maximum security jail they built themselves, writes Jason Koutsoukis in Gaza City … With the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and the US-based Human Rights Watch in the past noting serial human rights abuses inside detention facilities in Gaza, Suleiman is quick to absolve his own institution of such practices. ”We do not practice any torture here,” he says. ”That takes place at the interrogation centre, before people are convicted.”
Siege / Restriction of movement / Denial of rights
IOA blocks travel of Palestinian MPs
RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) on Saturday blocked the travel of MPs Mohammed Al-Tal and Mohammed Abu Juhaisha who were heading to Saudi Arabia to perform Haj (pilgrimage). Tal told the PIC reporter that he was forced back home from the King Hussien Bridge linking the occupied West Bank to Jordan after Israeli soldiers held his diplomatic passport and that of his wife for hours before telling them that they are banned from travel outside the West Bank for whatsoever reason and ordered them to return home. The IOA had informed Abu Juhaisha of the same ban earlier on Saturday
Gaza pilgrims to travel to Mecca next week
A senior official at the Palestinian embassy in Egypt said Friday that the transfer of Gaza pilgrims to Saudi Arabia would begin on 3 November as the Hajj journey starts for tens of thousands of Muslims … According to officials, permits for Gaza pilgrims were facilitated by Egyptian Interior Ministry staff, and all expectations were that the trip for the Hajj travelers would go smoothly. In 2008 … no pilgrims from Gaza were able to make the pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam,
Rafah remains open for travel
The Rafah crossing was poised to enter its sixth month of continuous operation as officials announced the passage of another 170 Palestinians into Egypt on Saturday. Opened on 1 June, the day after Israel boarded a Turkish aid ship carrying supplies to the blockaded coastal enclave and killed 9 passengers, the crossing has seen 106,116 passengers travel through the terminal in both directions, officials said.  [misleading, since it’s not the case that just anyone can go through at will]
The Gaza tunnels aren’t just for imports / Hani Almadhoun
Remember the tunnels in Gaza, the ones Palestinians smugglers used to bring in goods that Israel has deemed “contraband”. Many of those tunnels are now seeing slow traffic as there are a lot more goods allowed in Gaza. We have the courageous people who boarded the Turkish flotilla to alleviate the Israeli siege on Gaza. The more goods Israel allow into Gaza, the more out of luck those smugglers have as they cannot compete with above ground goods. Get this, the tunnels are now bringing goods out of Gaza into Egypt, not the other way around. You read that right, Palestinians tunnel operators are now exporting goods to the Egyptian side.
Aiming at the siege / Saleh An-Naami
While a new aid convoy has reached Gaza, the Israeli siege on the beleaguered Strip appears as firm as ever … As tears streamed down her face, Sufayer explained that she travelled with her son, her son-in-law and nine other Jordanian women to demonstrate their solidarity with those under siege in Gaza. “I have tried several times to come to Gaza, but I was unsuccessful,” she stated. “The occupation was an obstacle, as were the border closures and blockade.” … Despite the fact that Lifeline 5 reached Gaza, an end to the blockade remains out of sight. Lifting the siege would require the support of the Palestinian Authority and Arab capitals, and there is no sign that this will happen soon.
Israel: 2 projectiles fired from Gaza
Two projectiles fired from Gaza landed in southern Israel on Saturday, an Israeli army spokesman said. The projectiles landed in Kerem Shalom in the northwestern Negev, and no damage or injuries were reported, the spokesman said. So far, no faction in Gaza has claimed the launches.
Hamas: Anyone firing rockets from Gaza at Israel is a rebel
Top Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar says Islamist group agreed to truce with Israel following Gaza war and violations of the truce could result in anarchy.
Hamas says projectile launchers mutineers
…”Why do they criticize us for respecting what we agreed on along with Fatah and other factions?” Zahhar asked, referring to a post-Gaza war agreement between factions to halt the flow of projectiles toward Israel. Zahhar said he considered those who continued to launch projectiles toward Israel as committing mutiny against their factions, and criticized the militants who he said failed to claim the acts. “Do they expect us to applaud someone who commits mutiny against his faction. Opening the door for mutiny will result in chaos. Some [of the] factions [currently firing projectiles] did not fire one single shot during the war, and now they want to propagandize,” he added.
War crimes
Israel gets off scot-free again / Maggie Sager
Yesterday the Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli foreign ministry has successfully thwarted an attempted meeting between the signatories of the Geneva Convention which would have convened in Switzerland. According to the article, foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman was motivated to block the meeting because it “could have resulted in a public statement that Israel has violated the charter during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip during 2009.” The article also credits Lieberman with “preventing the establishment of the victim’s compensation fund of those injured in Cast Lead, which was decided by the UN Human Rights Council.” (What a fantastic human being)
Palestine: Hague to make first visit to Israel, but not Gaza
29 Oct London, (IRNA): Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague is due to make his first official visit to Israel next week, but he will not go to Gaza. Details of the visit have yet to be announced, but according to the Jewish Chronicle, top of the agenda for Israel will be the UK’s delay in amending the principle of universal jurisdiction so Israeli leaders can visit the UK without fear of arrest for war crimes.
Israel’s Arab helpers
Fayyad: Don’t blame Israelis for settler terrorism
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Saturday condemned an arson attack on a Jerusalem church a day earlier, but said Israelis could not be held responsible for settler terrorism.
El Awaisi/Mughal aid mission to Gaza blocked at Egypt
Two activists taking part on an overland aid mission to Gaza have been delayed by the Egyptian authorities refusing them entry to the country … Ali’s brother Khalid said on Thursday night the entire mission has been stopped in its tracks.
Egyptian security kills Sudanese migrant
Egyptian security shot dead a Sudanese migrant on Friday, reportedly fleeing toward the Israeli border, sources said.
Racism / Discrimination
Segregation of Jews and Arabs in 2010 Israel is almost absolute / Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu
For those of us who live here, it is something we take for granted. But visitors from abroad cannot believe their eyes: segregated education, segregated businesses, separate entertainment venues, different languages, separate political parties … and of course, segregated housing.
Introducing ethnic segregation: the Q’aadan curse / Yossi Gurvitz
How and why Zionist discrimination against non-Jews is made legal … Yesterday, the Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset approved (Hebrew) a new bill, whose unofficial name says it all: “Q’aadan bypass bill”. According to the bill,  settlements with less than 500 families may create sorting committees; the latter may prevent a candidate from living there if he “does not fit the criteria of the settlement’s character”. They will become, in law as well as in effect, segregated communities. What are the criteria? Certainly you can guess some of them  by yourselves … Update: According to ‘Adalla, the law center dealing with discrimination against Israeli Palestinians, should the bill pass, 81% of public lands will be denied (Hebrew) to Israeli Palestinians.
Minister back segregated housing
Housing minister says ultra-Orthodox sector will take over secular neighborhoods if haredi cities not planned. ‘I wouldn’t let my kids meet with secular youth,’ he notes,7340,L-3976199,00.html
Arab students attacked in Safed
29 Oct – Some 20 youngsters from Safed attacked several Arab students who live in an apartment in the town’s center last weekend. Nobody was hurt. The police arrested three suspects in the assault, including one border policeman. The attack is seen as a reflection of the rising tension over the growth in the Arab population in Safed, mostly students at Safed College who are residing in the city …
A week without racism / Adam Keller
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Safed, published a ruling forbidding residents to sell or rent their homes to Arabs. And Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Spiritual Leader of the Shas Party, tends to the same position. Not that the distinguished rabbis are racists, God forbid. Of course not. The Rabbis just checked and found that under Jewish religious law, Jews may not sell or rent their homes to non-Jews. And rabbis are constrained, of course, to maintain the Jewish religious law.
Politics / Diplomacy
‘Netanyahu offered Palestinian state on temporary borders’
Senior Palestinian source tells Al-Hayat newspaper prime minister drafted plan to maintain control of more than 40% of West Bank territory in transition period, postpone Jerusalem, refugee issues to future negotiations,7340,L-3976919,00.html
Hamas: There was no meeting with Israel
Senior Hamas leader Ayman Taha on Friday denied news reports claiming that Hamas leaders met with Israeli officials in one of the Gulf States … Taha called the news “completely false,” during an interview with Ma’an later in the day, adding that “Our attitude towards negotiations with the occupation has not changed; we still disagree with the negotiations the PLO is leading whether they are direct or indirect.”
Israeli pressures eliminate Turkey from presidency of EMPA
RABAT, (PIC)– Israel used political pressures to eliminate Turkey’s representative from the presidency of the Euro-Mediterranean parliamentary assembly’s conference held in Morocco and have its deputy speaker of the Knesset Majalli Wahbi appointed as a deputy president of the conference, according to Hebrew website NFC
Turkey policy paper: Israel’s actions threaten Mideast
Ankara’s National Security Council names Israel as central threat to Turkey’s security for first time since 1949, fails to mention Iran, Syria.
Other news
Tens of thousands join Jihad rally in Gaza
Tens of thousands of Palestinians joined a mass rally in Gaza City on Friday to mark the anniversary of the founding of the Islamic Jihad movement, and the death of its founder.
Nigeria: Shipper confirms weapons came from Iran (AP)
LAGOS, Nigeria  — A weapons cache containing artillery rockets seized by Nigerian security agents at the West African nation’s busiest port originally came from Iran, an international shipping company said Saturday … Israeli military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were unauthorized to discuss the matter with journalists, said Thursday that it appeared Iran hoped to smuggle the weapons into the Gaza Strip … However, there remain more questions than answers about the Israeli claims. To reach Gaza, the weapons would first need to be trucked across Nigeria into Chad, Sudan and ultimately through Egypt. It also remains unclear why the shipper wanted to try to re-export the weapons to Gambia, a tiny sliver of nation carved out inside of Senegal.
Gaza’s donkeys under threat from tuk-tuks
…Through decades of conflict, poverty and instability in Gaza, the donkey has proved to be an ever-dependable means of getting about. When there were fuel shortages the donkey was there. When the importing of new cars was banned because of Israel’s blockade the donkey was there. But the Gazan donkey is facing troubled times … The traders and farmers are blaming one thing … The tuk-tuk is the new kid on the block in Gaza. It is basically a motorbike with a cart attached.
Egyptian author protests Hebrew translation of novel
Best-selling Egyptian novelist Alaa al-Aswany accuses the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information of ‘intellectual theft’ for translating his book ‘The Yacoubian Building.’
Italy urged to stop mass expulsions
29 Oct – Amnesty International is calling on the Italian authorities to investigate urgently whether 68 people rescued at sea and then forcibly returned to Egypt within 48 hours were given the opportunity to apply for international protection. The 68 people were on board a boat carrying 131 people in all that was intercepted on 26 October 2010 by the Italian authorities near the coast of Sicily. According to an initial statement made by senior law enforcement official those on board identified themselves as Palestinians.
Northern Israel Arabs riot after car accident
Northern Israel residents stone paramedics after accident between car, bus; police called to scene — Tensions have been high in the Wadi Ara region in northern Israel, after local residents clashed with police and rioted Wednesday to protest a rightist march in the town of Umm al-Fahm. The march, organized by 25 rightist activists demanding that Israel’s Islamic Movement be outlawed, prompted anger among Arab residents, who prepared a rude welcome for the marchers.,7340,L-3976946,00.html
Political analyst: Egyptian officials informed of next Israeli strike on Gaza
Political analyst Mustafa Al Sawaf told the PIC Saturday that he was informed by sources who accompanied a visit by Egyptian officials to the PA headquarters in Ramallah last Thursday that Egyptian intelligence minister Omar Sulaiman told Abbas that Netanyahu’s security consultant, who visited Cairo a few days back, informed Egypt that Israel will carry out a military strike on the Gaza Strip before the year’s end.
Analysis / Opinion / Human interest
‘New York Times’ is clueless / Philip Weiss
…NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and executive editor Bill Keller and other editors visited a West Bank settlement two days ago as guests of Yesha, a settlers’ organization…I wonder–in good faith– what the Times brass is doing in the West Bank; are they going to report on it? Well, then–oh my, this is like visiting Selma with Bull Connor– why did they go at the behest of a group and leader, Dani Dayan, that have pushed for illegal colonization? Why not with Jeff Halper or some anti-settlement group? Why not with the modern day Martin Luther Kings who are fighting Jim Crow and need oxygen to continue this noble battle?
‘NYT’ catches a clue / Philip Weiss
Maybe The New York Times learned something by going to Ariel on the settlers’ red carpet? Its editorial today strikes a new, important tone: it blames Netanyahu for the deadlock in the Middle East and says that the Palestinians and the international community are justly running out of patience. No mention of the Israel lobby; but a description of the backbends it produces in American leaders:
A show of Palestinian business resilience / Sam Bahour
In the upcoming Palestinian information and communication technology (ICT) sector’s premier annual public event, EXPOTECH Technology Week 2010, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will most likely cut a ribbon … The real story, however, will be embedded in the exhibition’s booths, in the people who are struggling to survive under a brutal and prolonged Israeli military occupation while keeping their eye on the prize: building an information technology sector that has the potential to be a pillar of a future Palestinian state while in the meantime providing sustenance under the distress of occupation. This exhibition is not about growth; it is about survival.
Three cheers for Israel’s right / Carlo Strenger
It is the great achievement of Israel’s right to have made Israel’s fears utterly unbelievable to the world. Its other great achievement is that it has managed to confuse a large part of Israel’s constituency. It is therefore of the essence to celebrate this immortal achievement, because Israel’s right is about to score a further, valuable victory: After 62 years, Israel may soon cease to be a democracy, and finally be a Jewish state without excuses.
Bread and the circus / Uri Avnery
…NO DOUBT, the big corruption scandals help the media – and the public at large – to push aside the central problems of our existence: the occupation, the elimination of the chances for peace, the enlargement of the settlements, the continuing blockade of Gaza, the racist laws against the Arab minority in Israel proper, all the dangers connected with the ongoing 130-year-old conflict between us and the Palestinians. The public does not want to hear about this. It wants all these matters to disappear from its sight, so as to be left to enjoy life. This is a national exercise of escapism.
A shared story offers hope to Israel / Daphna Baram
A row over a textbook that tells both sides of Israeli-Palestinian history shows a shift in some Israelis’ thinking – but not others’ … Interestingly, no Israeli administration bothered itself with active Nakba denial in the past, when Israelis were united under the Zionist hegemonic narrative that argued simply that “the Arabs just left”. But the fact that over the last 10 years “Nakba” has become a household term among Israelis – regardless of their political conviction – prompted a governmental red alert.
The olive groves where peaceful solidarity grows / Seth Freeman
While some Israelis are vandalising West Bank farms, others are volunteering to help the harvest [true, but at the rate the destruction by settlers is going, there won’t be any harvests to help]
Exclusive excerpt from the important new book A Country Called Amreeka: U.S. History Retold through Arab-American Lives by Alia Malek
We are excited to share the following excerpt from A Country Called Amreeka: U.S. History Retold Through Arab-American Lives by Alia Malek. The book provides a necessary, and long overdue, service by inserting the Arab-American experience into the American narrative of the last 50 years. This passage tells the story of Omar Dajani’s arrival at Northwestern University after growing up in Tyler, TX, his introduction to campus, and identity, politics during the outbreak of the first intifada, and his process of coming to understand his own history and culture.
Friday: 27 Iraqis killed, 76 wounded
A deadly blast shattered an otherwise quiet day in Iraq, where at least 27 Iraqis were killed and 76 more were wounded, almost all of them in Balad Ruz. To the south a possibly accidental chlorine gas explosion brought back memories of the chlorine attacks that marked the height of the sectarian violence several years ago.
Iraq frees five linked to Qaeda in Kirkuk kidnap swap (AFP)
Iraqi police released five jailed women linked to Al-Qaeda in exchange for two kidnapped Kurdish sisters to curb violence in the ethnically divided city of Kirkuk, an anti-terrorism official told AFP on Friday.
Local Iraqi governments oppose Baghdad gas deals
The oil ministry’s auction of three natural gas fields this week have been angrily opposed by all the governorates in which they are located, with provincial officials threatening legal action against Baghdad and warning that they will refuse to cooperate with the developers.
Other Mideast
UN decries Hezbollah boycott call
International community and Hariri allies condemn group’s call for boycott of tribunal investigating former PM’s death.
EU: Iran ready to restart nuclear talks with major powers (Reuters)
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton receives letter from Iran nuclear chief agreeing to meet with the six major powers at any time after Nov. 10 … In Tehran, Iran’s Press TV confirmed the letter and referred to previously stated conditions such as “clarification on Israel’s ambiguous nuclear program”.
Yemeni forces make bomb-plot arrest
Female suspect held in Sanaa a day after parcels containing explosive material sparked global security alert.
Yemen packages may signal Al Qaeda franchise is amateurish
The Yemen packages found on UPS and FedEx flights yesterday came shortly after Al Qaeda in Yemen published a jihadist magazine emphasizing the importance of targeting Americans.
Yemen clamps down after parcel bomb plot (Reuters)
SANAA, Oct 30 – Yemeni security forces set up checkpoints across Sanaa on Saturday, searching vehicles and carrying out identity checks after the discovery of a parcel bomb plot originating in Yemen … Suspicion has fallen on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which operates out of Yemen and claimed responsibility for a failed plot to blow up a U.S. plane over Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009. The latest bomb plot will further heighten security concerns about the unstable Arab state, seen by the West as the home of al Qaeda’s most inventive and audacious affiliate.
A fractured Yemen frustrates US efforts to weaken Al Qaeda there (LA Times)
The country’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, needs foreign support to defeat militants, but competing clans, rebellions and corruption make it difficult to satisfy Western interests.,0,2115597.story
Headscarf challenge to Turkish secularism
Tanks paraded in Ankara on Friday and politicians gathered at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to mark the 87th anniversary of the republic he founded. But the drama lay elsewhere: in guessing who would attend and who would shun the reception marking the occasion at the presidential palace. Abdullah Gul, Turkey’s president, has forced a change in the rituals of Republic Day by holding a single official reception, at which women wearing the Islamic headscarf – including his wife, Hayrunnisa – will be present.
The Western myth of Arab men / Khaled Diab
Some in the west struggle to believe in the existence of secular, modern Arab men who do not oppress women
U.S and other world news
Child soldiers ‘no bar’ for US aid
In a brief and little-noticed announcement on Monday, the White House said President Barack Obama had decided to exempt Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan and Yemen from the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008, which prohibits funding for foreign governments’ militaries if they recruit or use child soldiers. On Thursday, Foreign Policy magazine posted online a nine-page memo from Obama to Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, that linked the continuation of funding to US counterterrorism efforts in some of those countries.Obama administration decides to continue funding to Chad, Yemen, Sudan and DRC though they use children in armed forces.
Khadr ‘scared’ of jail rape threat
A young Canadian held in Guantanamo Bay has spoken about his fears after his US captors threatened him with gang rape and death while quizzing him over his suspected involvement with al-Qaeda. Omar Khadr told a US military tribunal, which is due to sentence him after he admitted killing an US soldier in Afghanistan, that his interrogators told him about another prisoner who had been transferred to a facility that held “big black guys” because he had lied to authorities.
Bogus elections good enough for Afghans / Ann Jones
Mahbouba Seraj, a female candidate in the last Afghan election, has given an eyewitness account of just how blatantly rigged that exercise was. But a facade of democracy in Afghanistan is enough to satisfy most Western observers, even as it mocks the dreams of the people
Morocco expels Al Jazeera over irresponsible reporting (dpa)
Too much focus on separatists, not enough focus on development cited as reasons for losing accreditation.
Al Jazeera slams Morocco curbs
Reporters without Borders (RSF) voiced surprise at the Moroccan curbs. “It’s a very surprising decision from the government, especially because there was no legal background. It’s just a very administrative and political decision,” Vincent Brossel of Reporters without Borders told Al Jazeera from Paris. He said that RSF “suspect that this decision is linked to the way your channel has been covering different issues, especially the Western Sahara, and I think it’s mainly because you open your microphone to all sides, and not only the government’s side”.
Islam in the West
Hip Muslim Moms group undone by D.C. Metro bomb plot
When Esraa Bani’s phone started ringing Wednesday with news reporters on the line, she had no idea that an Ashburn man named Farooque Ahmed had been arrested for plotting to blow up Metrorail stations in Northern Virginia, or that such a story could have anything to do with her.
Let Tower Hamlets’ new mayor prove his detractors wrong / Dave Hill
The New York blogger Pamela Geller, who believes America is being infiltrated by Muslim extremists, recently denounced Lutfur Rahman, the newly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets in east London, as a “vile Islamic supremacist”.
France firm on burqa ban despite bin Laden threat
France stands by its law banning burqa-like Muslim veils despite a threatening new message from al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday.,7340,L-3976743,00.html

‘Haaretz’s desperate cry for help– ‘South Africa is here’

Oct 31, 2010

Philip Weiss 

When I first moved outside the city, I had a neighbor who was a drunk. I liked the guy a lot. He was funny and smart. He helped me with home improvement stuff, and I watched him die before my eyes. Another neighbor told me that Jim couldn’t leave a party so long as there was an unfinished keg there. As the years went by he got laid off and got filthier and scruffier. He’d buy a case in the afternoon. No one did anything. It was just like what Sherwood Anderson wrote about in Winesburg Ohio. This guy was going down the tube and no one lifted a finger. Maybe a couple people reached out, but mostly we just watched. He died in his early 50s.

This is what’s happening in Jewish life right now. Israel is committing suicide and the American Jewish community goes around telling the goyim what a vibrant democracy it is. In Israel they’re desperate, the people of conscience. From Haaretz:

South Africa is already here

The government is trying to build a protected autonomy for the Jewish majority and a stunted autonomy for the Arab minority.

By Zvi Bar’el

‘NPR’ gives Avigdor Lieberman a pass, as always

Oct 31, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Yesterday my wife and I contributed to the New York public radio pledge drive. I do it because I listen to NPR a lot, and because I often trash NPR on this site. You got to pay the piper.

Then last night I was working on the new bathroom and I put the radio on a bench and listened to Gal Beckerman talking about his book “When They Come for Us We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry” (reviewed on our site by Matthew Phillips). Beckerman was interviewed for 8 minutes by Guy Raz. I was in agony.

You’d think that after 25 years there might be some distance from the struggle to save Soviet Jewry. You’d think that when the name Avigdor Lieberman comes into a conversation– as someone who was saved from being a persecuted minority in the FSU– there would be some mention of his own efforts to transfer Palestinians who were born in Israel out of Israel? What kind of minority rights do Palestinians have? Then this:

Persecution of Jews in the Soviet Union started with a policy Joseph Stalin initiated in 1937. [Per Beckerman] Every Soviet citizen was required to carry an internal passport and under “nationality,” Jews were required to list “Jewish.”

Well the country many of them were going to, Israel, also requires Jews to have “Jewish” as “nationality” in their passports. What has that type of distinction done to minority rights in Israel?

I have no idea what kind of Zionist Gal Beckerman is. But he spoke admiringly of the “desperate” Zionists inside the Soviet Union, and their plot to hijack a plane to dramatize their cause, and lamented that they were sentenced to death even though they didn’t pull off the hijacking. (Can we apply that standard to the Yemenite plotters?) Desperation. You might think that Raz would have paused to contrast the million-times-honored Jewish law of return that grants a Ukrainian the right to Palestinian land, and the never-honored right of return that was supposed to allow Palestinians to regain property stolen from them, which has fostered desperation of its own…

The worst part was about Scoop Jackson. Henry Jackson the Washington Democratic Senator and gateway drug to the Establishment’s addiction to neoconservatism. Why did Jackson take up the cause? Raz asked, and then Beckerman responded by invoking principle. 

Beckerman says Jackson’s interest in the movement was triggered in August 1972 when the Soviets started to let out some Jews, but was requiring them to pay a “diploma tax” for education they had received from the Soviet state. This bothered Jackson especially because, at the same time, they were involved with the U.S. in trade talks and seeking so-called “preferred trading status.”

“Henry Jackson said, ‘You know what, no. If they want these things — these goodies from the U.S. — they have to do something as well. And what we want from them in exchange is for them to change something about their internal policy that’s making Soviet Jews in particular suffer,’ ” Beckerman says.

Over the next decade, those sentiments had a profound influence on American foreign policy.

Could it have had anything to do with Jackson’s presidential ambitions? Could it have had anything to do with the role of the Israel lobby in our politics? I wonder how many other people were also persecuted by the Soviet Union…

‘I shared my father’s belief that Arabic is the loveliest language in the world’

Oct 31, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Wadad Makdisi Cortas was a pioneering Lebanese educator. She wrote the memoir, A World I Loved: The Story of an Arab Woman, in the 1960s in Arabic then translated it into English. Her daughter Mariam Said pushed for the book’s publication, a year ago. I’m going to be quoting it in days and weeks to come for two reasons, it is beautifully written, and it offers a window on how the Palestinian issue convulsed Arab society in the 1930s and onward, even the most privileged families. The book allows others to understand how Arabs looked on Zionism. But it’s the weekend, and here’s a non-political passage:

The older I grew the more I shared my father’s belief that Arabic is the loveliest language in the world. Throughout our childhood he had missed no opportunity to encourage in us this passion for the word… He was fond of chants and poems and would hum verses to himself almost automatically, in a monotonous tone that had the effect of drilling these same verses into our heads. Now, from time to time, I recall one fo them:

The days unveil what is not known,

and messengers come with news untold;

Unknown the future and the past;

unknown to you the hidden scroll.

As a youth I didn’t appreciate these verses as much as I would as the years moved on. I savor them now. The line he hummed when my brothers were quarrelsome:

Your brother, your brother, keep him close;

Unarmed through life a brotherless man.

The lines his old friend in Baghdad wrote while in financial distress:

I have known all the pleasures of life–

the dearest is well-being,

I have know all the bitterness of life–

the hardest is obligation to others,

I have carried iron and stone–

the heaviest is debt.

The lines he hummed so frequently they were like air:

We dwell in many homes on earth, the dearest is the place of birth.

Oslo mayor joins protest against illegal Israeli wall

Oct 31, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Dr. Rateb Abu Rahmah of the Bil’in popular committee sent this note Friday after the demonstration:

Today’s demonstration in Bil’in against the Apartheid wall, organized by the Popular Committee of Bil’in, was joined by many local residents, Israeli activists as well as many internationals. As the group moved peacefully towards the Apartheid wall, they chanted to “Freedom to all Palestinian Political Prisoners”. Demonstrators carrying the Palestinian flag crossed through a gate to confront the awaiting soldiers with a simple question, “What are you doing here?”

When the soldiers eventually got tired of the presence of people demanding access to the agricultural lands belonging to Bil’in farmers, they began firing tear gas. The hot gas canisters ignited fires in the dry olive orchards, which residents hurried to extinguish to protect the trees from damage. For a while it was possible to avoid the tear gas, but eventually it became so excessive that the demonstrators had to retreat to the village.

It is a victory for the people every time they mobilize, without guns, to demand justice – an end to a racist wall that separates them from their ancestral lands and from the possibility of living peacefully with Israel. After the demonstration ended, the Israeli Army attacked Bil’in Village by firing tear gas and sound grenades into the village as well as directly in front of residential homes which lead to the people (locals, Israeli’s and Internationals) confronting the Army for over 30 minutes.

At today’s demonstration in Bilin, Iyad Burnat, Head of the Popular Committee Against the Wall along with two members of Popular Committee, Basel Mansor and Sameer Bornat, welcomed two representatives from Norway who joined in with the non-violent demonstration along with other internationals and Palestinians against the illegal Apartheid wall. They were Stine Renate Haheim, a Member of Parliament and Torunn Kanutte Husvik the Mayor of Oslo both members of the Norwegian Labour party.

For over 6 years the residents of Bilin along with internationals have been demonstrating against the illegal wall, with many injuries, arrests and the deaths of some non-violent protesters. For more information check:

My sabbath is the weekend

Oct 31, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Today on Krista Tippett’s show about religion, she had poohbahs of three major religions on stage, and Rabbi Jonathan Sacks of England told a story about how great Sabbath is and said that the sabbath is hallowed by all three religions. Giant applause.

I know how fabulous the sabbath is in West Jerusalem. You love it when life shuts down. And I spent months in Tonga, where they have the Christian sabbath, and life shuts down there for a day too. The sweetness of the sabbath, as a friend of mine once wrote.

I was lamenting the absence of a Sabbath in modern secular American culture when it struck me that we have our version of the Sabbath, the weekend. In Sabbath cultures, they only get one day off. In America, we get two days off, and though life doesn’t shut down, it certainly slows to a crawl.

Sacks’s story is nostalgic. The problem with Sabbath is that if you have a diverse and open society, you can’t celebrate all three Sabbaths, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Society would shut down. Certainly our weekend reflects a mingling of Jewish and Christian tradition, accommodating the two major participants in the meritocratic society. Maybe it’s an improvement. Maybe we should stop lamenting the attenuation of certain religious traditions (the ones that gave us priestly child abuse and self-centered Zionism) and respect the evolved traditions of our own culture.

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