Burston on the Jewishness of Israel

Nov 04, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Yesterday I did a post on the crisis of liberal Zionists, and quoted visiting Israeli journalist Bradley Burston, Haaretz columnist, who spoke at Richard Silverstein’s synagogue in Seattle. Burston then sent a note to Silverstein and copied me. Here tis:

I certainly appreciate what you said about not sugarcoating Israeli reality for Diaspora audiences, though I don’t believe that’s what I was doing during that talk at the shul. I may see reality differently than you do, and I may be politically situated to your right, but I was telling them what I honestly think, for good or ill. 

One point that may be something of a misunderstanding: This is the word for word of what I said on the subject of Muslim and Jewish states:

“There is a name for the hard leftist who accepts the rights of Muslims to have formally Islamic nations, but rejects the right of Jews to have a state of their own – any state in any part of the Holy Land, no matter how democratic and respectful of minority rights: Anti-Semite.”

That is to say, I believe that it is a totally valid position to oppose the idea of any state holding one religion to be specifically and explicitly the religion of that state. But to say that it’s okay for Muslims and not okay for Jews, rubs me the wrong way, and I believe it to be bigotry. If I wasn’t clear in my talk, I hope I’ve been so now. I certainly do not believe you to be an anti-Semite in any sense whatsoever. Moreover, I’m in complete agreement with many of the points you made. Examples:

“I do support an Israel that has a Jewish identity, just as I support an Israel that has a Muslim and Christian identity for those religious groups. I do not support an Israel which affirms Judaism as its sole or primary national religion to the exclusion or detriment of others.”

Agree absolutely.

“If Israel is to be a true democracy it must not favor one religion over others.  It must treat religions equally.  That does not mean that Judaism or Jewishness will be disrespected or ignored or subordinated.  But it means that this particular religion will take its place as one of several religions practiced by the nation’s citizens.”

Again, agree absolutely.

Yes Feingold was fantastic and courageous and independent. But

Nov 04, 2010

Philip Weiss

Matthew Rothschild at Progressive is crushed by Russ Feingold’s defeat. So am I. I always loved Feingold. But.

Now Feingold leaves with his dignity and his principles intact. I didn’t agree with Russ Feingold on everything. He was too much of a deficit hawk for me. And his reflexive defense of Israeli government policies toward the Palestinians was at odds with his otherwise stellar human rights record.

But he was a fantastic Senator.

You won’t find a smarter, more diligent, more independent, more courageous person in that chamber.

He was the reincarnation of Fighting Bob La Follette, but with shorter hair.

He was the only Senator to vote against the USA Patriot Act, and his speech against it could have come right out of La Follette’s mouth.

Said Feingold: “There is no doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be easier to catch the terrorists. . . . But that wouldn’t be a country in which we would want to live, and it wouldn’t be a country for which we could, in good conscience, ask our young people to fight and die. In short, that country wouldn’t be America.”

Right. And w

A tale of two ghettos

Nov 04, 2010

Adam Horowitz


The images above are raising some hackles, especially the comparison between the Warsaw ghetto and Gaza today. They are from the current issue of Adbusters magazine, which had 3,500 copies taken off the racks of Shoppers Drug Mart, Canada’s largest drugstore chain, after the CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Bernie M. Farber, called them anti-Semitic in the National Post. From Farber’s article Anti-Semitism on your magazine rack–courtesy of Adbusters:

In the current edition, Adbusters offers its readers a one page “photo essay” — Truthbombs on Israeli TV — that makes comparisons between the situation that Palestinians are experiencing in Gaza and what the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto experienced under the Nazis. There are pictures of people fighting fires in Gaza … and people fighting fires in the Warsaw Ghetto. There are pictures of people injured in the Warsaw Ghetto … and of people injured in Gaza. There are pictures of people smuggling food into the Warsaw Ghetto … and of people smuggling goods into Gaza. It’s truly a tour de force of investigative journalism.

The argument is obscene, and continues the disgusting tradition of some supporters of the Palestinian cause to turn Jews into Nazis and Palestinians into Jews. In so doing, these propagandists not only demonize Israelis (i. e., Jews), but minimize the murderous extent and intent of Naziism’s genocidal project. In other words, such vile analogies become a form of Holocaust minimilization.

Thankfully, Kalle Lasn, the editor of Adbusters, has had a chance to respond. It’s worth reading his piece, A tale of two ghettoes, at length:

Here is the story from the Adbusters viewpoint.

In October 1939, the German Wehrmacht reached the city of Warsaw, and over the following months, the Jewish population was forced into a small section of the city called “the Jewish quarter.” The situation inside the ghetto was unbearable: Nazis controlled the movement of goods, basic utilities and even food. Each person was allotted a starvation diet of 250 calories per day.

Acts of rebellion were brutally suppressed. When two German soldiers were killed in a local restaurant, 106 men in the ghetto were shot in reprisal. Arrests and random executions were common. In April 1940, the ghetto was walled off on all sides.

Services such as hospitals and schools were derelict, relying on an ever-decreasing stream of supplies allotted by the Nazis. For a while, the supplies were supplemented by goods smuggled in through tunnels, but such services were eventually forced to close.

A resistance movement was organized during the Soviet advance, but it was brutally defeated and the Warsaw ghetto was razed to the ground.

In September 2005, Israel dismantled its settlements in Gaza and withdrew its troops after 38 years of military occupation. For Israel, this marked an end to their occupation. For Palestinians confined in Gaza, however, the occupation had simply progressed into a new phase: the ghetto. The year 2005 marked the establishment of Gaza as an open air prison.

Israel controls the movement of all goods, including food and basic necessities, in and out of the Gaza strip. A study done by Johns Hopkins University in 2002 found that 17% of children aged 6-59 months suffer from chronic malnutrition, and almost half of women and children are anemic. Thirteen percent of children under five are stunted.

Israel controls all of Gaza’s borders and airspace. The long ocean border, once a viable source of income for Gazans through trade and fishing, is now strictly controlled. Humanitarian missions are turned away with lethal force.

Israel responds to every Palestinian provocation with disproportionate force. The Israeli response to the murder of three civilians by Palestinian rockets in 2008 was the wide-scale destruction of Gaza, the use of white-phosphorus munitions in the area of a UN school and the killing of over 1,000 civilians.

Comparing events today with events in Nazi-occupied Europe must never be done lightly. When events are so serious as to lend themselves to such comparisons, however, there is a moral imperative to speak up.

Though the stated goal of Israel has never been the complete destruction of the Palestinian people, many of the tactics and policies supported by the state of Israel are deeply troubling and worthy of an open public discussion.

Last week, in a move to silence criticism of Israeli policies, the Canadian Jewish Congress labelled Adbusters — and anyone who makes the above historical analogy — anti-Semitic. The CJC has lobbied Shoppers Drug Mart not to carry Adbusters. Three-thousand-five-hundred copies of Adbusters will no longer be sold at Shoppers Drug Mart’s 515 Canadian stores.

The Canadian Jewish Congress is not a representative voice of the full spectrum of Jewish perspectives. Last year, prominent Jewish Canadians including Naomi Klein, Ursula Franklin and Anton Kuerti signed an open letter criticizing the CJC’s use of “fear tactics” and condemning the “false charges of anti-Semitism against … groups and people exercising their democratic right to freedom of speech and association regarding legitimate criticism of the State of Israel.”

If you think that publishing side-by-side images of the Gaza and Warsaw ghettos is a valid expression of free speech, email the Canadian Jewish Congress and tell them to back off. And next time you walk by a Shoppers Drug Mart, go in and ask the manager to put Adbusters back on its shelves. In Canada, we should be free to choose from a diversity of viewpoints and decide for ourselves what is anti-Semitic and what is a legitimate critique of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

Here is another piece that ran in Adbusters that raises a similar critique:

neveragain _1_

The real Yitzhak Rabin

Nov 04, 2010

Alex Kane 

Today marks the fifteenth anniversary of when former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli extremist for Rabin’s signing of the Oslo Accords with Yasir Arafat. With the anniversary comes the obligatory mourning of Rabin as a “man of peace,” as the Israeli leader who, had he survived, might have been the one who brought lasting peace to Israel and Palestine.

While that’s the conventional wisdom of Rabin, it’s based on a total erasure of his sordid role in the Israeli military establishment as well as a fundamental misreading of what the Oslo accords were intended to do. The only way that wisdom holds is if you shut out Palestinian views of Rabin, which is what happens in U.S. media and political discourse.

Former President Bill Clinton’s Op-Ed in today’s New York Times is emblematic of the narrative about Rabin in the United States. Clinton says Rabin had a “vision for freedom, tolerance, cooperation, security and peace”; that had he lived, “I am confident a new era of enduring partnership and economic prosperity would have emerged”; and that the “the cause for which Yitzhak Rabin gave his life” was “building a shared future in which our common humanity is more important than our interesting differences.”

The reality of Rabin is that he was a key player in the expulsion of tens of thousands of Palestinians during the 1947-49 war that led to Israel’s founding, which Palestinians refer to as al-Nakba, or the Catastrophe. During the First Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, Rabin infamously gave orders to “break the bones” of Palestinians participating in the uprising against the then-twenty year old Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. And the Oslo accords were never really about peace; it was a successful attempt to “subcontract” the occupation out to the newly formed Palestinian Authority, as Israeli professor Neve Gordon puts it in his excellent book Israel’s Occupation.

In The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Ilan Pappe writes:

Israel’s ‘peace’ axioms were re-articulated during the days of Yitzhak Rabin, the same Yitzhak Rabin who, as a young officer, had taken an active part in the 1948 cleansing but who had now been elected as prime minister on a platform that promised the resumption of the peace effort. Rabin’s death – he was assassinated by one of his own people on 4 November 1995 came too soon for anyone to assess how much he had really changed from his 1948 days: as recently as 1987, as minister of defence, he had ordered his troops to break the bones of Palestinians who confronted his tanks with stones in the first Intifada; he had deported hundreds of Palestinians as prime minister prior to the Oslo Agreement, and he had pushed for the 1994 Oslo B agreement that effectively caged the Palestinians in the West Bank into several Bantustans.

Ha’aretz columnist Amira Hass gave voice to what Palestinians think of Rabin in this article:

Before the handshake on the White House lawn, before the Nobel Prize and before the murder, when Palestinians were asked about Rabin, this is what they remember: One thinks of his hands, scarred by soldiers’ beatings; another remembers a friend who flitted between life and death in the hospital for 12 days, after he was beaten by soldiers who caught him drawing a slogan on a wall during a curfew. Yet another remembers the Al-Amari refugee camp; during the first intifada, all its young men were hopping on crutches or were in casts because they had thrown stones at soldiers, who in turn chased after them and carried out Rabin’s order.

As for the goals of the Oslo accords, here’s what Gordon writes:

The Oslo process was, to a large extent, the result of Israel’s failure to crush the intifada, and Israel’s major goal in the process was to find a way of managing the Palestinian population while continuing to hold on to their land. As Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, and several others pointed out from the outset, Oslo was not an instrument of decolonization but rather a framework that changed the means of Israel’s control in order to perpetuate the occupation. It constituted a move from direct military rule over the Palestinians in the OT to a more indirect or neocolonial form of domination.

And what has the creation of the Palestinian Authority, perhaps the most lasting legacy of the tenure of Rabin, brought to the Palestinian people? Collaboration with Israel and repression of dissent.

Let’s save the lauding of Rabin as a “man of peace” for someone who is really working towards peace and justice in Israel and Palestine.

This post originally appeared on Alex Kane’s blog.  Follow him on Twitter here, and donate here to help send him to Israel/Palestine.

Neocons didn’t gain traction with Jewish voters. Hmmm

Nov 04, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Eli Clifton at Lobelog says that Bill Kristol and his neocon outfit, the Emergency Committee for Israel, had little traction in the midterm election; and that Jews continue to vote Democratic, and Iran and Israel are not big issues for them:

Hawkish astroturf groups such as the Emergency Committee for Israel did their best to make the Iranian “existential threat” an issue in yesterday’s midterm elections.  ECI— which has derived plenty of negative attention in the blogosphere for its links (first mentioned here) to the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI)—did achieve moderate success last night in winning three out of the five House and Senate races where it endorsed candidates. However a closer look at a poll of Jewish voters indicates that neither Iran nor Israel played a significant role in how they voted.

A new poll commissioned by J Street—an organization which identifies as “for pro-Israel, pro peace Americans”—showed that Jews continued to vote overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates by a 66 to 31 percent margin. In a list of issues, Iran ranked as least important. Israel was identified as the most important issue by only seven-percent of respondents. Issues such as the economy, health care and government spending polled as the most important issues for Jewish voters.

Message to Obama, you have freedom to take a stand on settlements etc. I admit I’m not entirely persuaded for a simple reason: The issues of Iran and Israel are not politicized, they are not part of our democratic process. Show me the candidate who is running against giving aid to Israel. Show me the candidate who says, as so many realists do, we can live with a nuclear Iran. And then show me how Jewish voters in that district vote. I think that Jews are very conservative on these questions, and have not been put to the test because no candidate steps out of line and allows the issue to become an issue. Look at Kristol’s target Joe Sestak’s positions on Israel; they’re not far from AIPAC’s. The flap over Donna Edwards gaining the endorsement of, which wants to consider talking about a one-state solution; and J Street’s insistence that Edwards is a two-state gal merely demonstrates the orthodoxy here. If everyone’s on your side, why would you ever vote on those issues?

Or as Philip Giraldi says at

Numerous commentators have noted the complete lack of any debate over foreign policy in the run up to congressional midterm elections, a curious omission for a country that is at war in at least two places overseas with prospects for more.

Thank you sir, may I have another humiliation? Israel blocks Qureia’s entry to Jordan

Nov 04, 2010


And more news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing

Jewish settlers annex Palestinian land south of Nablus
Jewish settlers from Eli settlement south of Nablus started to bulldoze Palestinian land near their settlement on Thursday without prior notice, eyewitnesses reported.
Israel razes two Palestinian homes in Ara
Israeli bulldozers razed two Palestinian homes in Ara village, in the Triangle area occupied since 1948, at the pretext of lack of construction permits.
3 Nov. 2010, Serious suspicion that settlers torched two vehicles in the village of Qusra, in the northern West Bank
On the night of 13-14 October 2010, two vehicles were set aflame in Qusra, a village in the northern West Bank.  Security-camera footage obtained by B’Tselem raises a serious suspicion that the arson was carried out by settlers in the framework of “price tag” actions aimed against Palestinians and Palestinian property.
Israel orders Bethlehem quarry closed
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Israeli Civil Administration forces entered a stone quarry south of Bethlehem on Wednesday and ordered work in the facility to cease immediately.  The quarry, harvesting stone from the hills near Beit Fajjar, is owned by Hisham Dirieh, who said that officials handed him papers mandating the closure on the grounds that it was operating illegally in an area under Israeli administration.
More questions about the settler attack on church in Jerusalem
A group of extremist Israeli settlers attacked and set fire to an old Christian church in Jerusalem (Al Quds) on Friday night, 30th October. The church itself was built more than a hundred years ago and has housed Christian worshippers in the Holy city of Al Quds for decades.  For the leaders of the Church, Friday night’s attack was indicative of the slow but steady destruction of Al Quds itself; once a city of diverse religious beliefs and practices. Zakaria Al-Mashriqi, one of these Leaders of the Church spoke of the attack as a “sinful crime” and stated in a press conference that the destruction of the Church was in line with the attempts by the Israeli army, the settler force and the Israeli government to expel Palestinians from the Holy city.
IOA deliberately sabotages tourism in eastern Jerusalem
Jerusalemite merchants accused the Israeli occupation authority (IOA)of deliberately sabotaging tourism in eastern Jerusalem especially the Old City through directing tourists to Jewish areas.
Israel suspends cooperation with UNESCO over tomb dispute (AFP)
AFP – Israel suspended cooperation with UNESCO on Wednesday to protest at the cultural organisation’s description of the tomb of the biblical matriarch Rachel, near Bethlehem in the West Bank, as a mosque.*
Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Court to hear first settlements case
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The first case of smuggling goods from settlements into West Bank shops was filed in a Bethlehem court Wednesday, in a move that will test a new Palestinian Authority law prohibiting the sale of such products.  Although customs officers have patrolled West Bank shops and detained several people since the law went into effect over the summer, the case of the Bethlehem merchant will be the first to see the inside of a courtroom.
Intimidation Continues in Susiya as Peace Activists Are Arrested, Palestine Monitor
Two activists from the Jewish-Arab equality group Ta’ayush were arrested while assisting olive farmers in Susiya village on Saturday. The harvest had been interrupted by Israeli soldiers who claimed the land was disputed, although Israeli government-issued aerial maps showed it to be Palestinian.
British Foreign Secretary Meets with Palestinian Activists in a Show of Solidarity, Joseph Dana
William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, met with leading Palestinian grassroots organizers this afternoon in an unequivocal show of support in face of ongoing Israeli repression. This is a clear message that parts of the international community are aware of the grassroots non-violent work against the occupation among sectors of Palestinian society. Israeli officials expressed dismay at the meeting but did not file an official complaint with the British government.
UK foreign minister handed letter from Jerusalemite officials facing exile
A Jerusalemite delegation handed on Wednesday visiting British foreign minister William Hague a letter from the Palestinian officials threatened with expulsion from their native city.
BDS Week Of Action Planned In Cambridge, UK
By Polly Basak – Cambridge, UK – The Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) in the UK has organized a number of events to coincide with the national Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) week of action against Israel which starts on Saturday 6 November.  Since the Gaza invasion in 2008, which resulted in the death of 1,400 Palestinians and the recent flotilla attack where nine peace activists were killed in international waters, support for the BDS movement in the UK has strengthened and grown.
Is Lev Leviev out of the settlement building business?, Adam Horowitz
Adalah-NY is claiming victory in helping to force Israeli industrialist Lev Leviev out of the settlement construction business. Adalah has been campaigning for years against Leviev, including some very creative protests outside his flagship Manhattan boutique. From an Adalah-NY press release…
Settlement Builder Africa-Israel Faces Trouble on Two Fronts,  Alex Kane
First a boycott campaign, and now a lawsuit.  Africa-Israel, an investment company which is implicated in the construction of illegal settlements on Palestinian land, has announced that it will no longer be “involved in Israeli settlement projects and that it has no plans for future settlement activities,” according to the New York group Adalah, which works on the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.  The announcement follows a three-year boycott campaign against Lev Leviev, the Israeli billionaire and chairman of Africa-Israel, and companies that he is involved in.  Leviev is still involved with “settlement construction through other companies like Leader Management and Development,” as Ethan Heitner, an activist with Adalah-NY, noted in the group’s press release.
Help judge the International Israeli Apartheid Short Film Contest!
All are invited, by “Stop the Wall” and “” to participate in online judging of short films about Israeli apartheid. Voting is open from October 28 through December 15, 2010. See the contest’s long list of sponsors and endorsers, including the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
‘Israeli Occupation Awareness Week’ comes to Brandeis, Adam Horowitz
Next week at Brandeis University, Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace will be co-hosting Israeli Occupation Awareness Week. From November 8th to November 12th, BSJP and JVP will be bringing an array of exciting speakers, including Professor Noam Chomsky, in order to raise awareness about the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
No loyalty to apartheid, Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
On October 10, 2010, the Israeli government proposed a bill obligating non-Jewish naturalized citizens to swear loyalty to a “Jewish and democratic state.” The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) deplores this attempt to demand recognition of Israel as a Jewish state – a state whose existence is premised on the removal of the indigenous people of Palestine.
‘Albuquerque Journal’ runs column by pro-Palestinian activist calling on Jewish groups to have open debate, Philip Weiss
I look for cracks in the wall, and here is one. The Albuquerque Journal has published a column by Danya Mustafa responding forcefully to local Jewish groups’ efforts to prevent Ali Abunimah from speaking at the University of New Mexico this weekend. Mustafa is a freshman who leads a coalition at the school; her column was co-signed by Margaret Leicester, a UNM graduate student, and Richard Forer, a community activist.
If you will it…, Michael Levin
I had a mighty hard time, but I’m on my way, to Canaan land; and if you don’t go, please don’t hinder me, Philip Weiss
This is the great Mahalia Jackson, gone but with us in spirit, adapted to the Gaza flotilla and uploaded yesterday. Beautiful. Notice the honor granted to Islamic prayer at 1:50; I had to pray so hard, I’m on my way. Thanks to Norman Finkelstein.
ADL seeks to submarine Gaza boat fundraiser at Rutgers, Philip Weiss
This is important. Tomorrow night at Rutgers, the New Jersey state university, Palestinian solidarity groups are exercising their right to assembly and free speech by gathering to raise money for the US boat to Gaza— which seeks to aid the 1.5 million people living in an open-air prison, with few political rights. The ADL is smearing the event as an aid to terrorism, inside a public university. Below is reporting from the north Jersey newspaper, followed by the flyer for the event.
Israeli Abuse of Palestinian Children
Palestinians building child torture case against Israel
Ramallah: The Palestinian National Authority is in the final stages of preparing files, especially those relating to child prisoners, to approach the International Court of Justice in The Hague with a solid case against Israel.  A total of 300 Palestinian children are currently in Israeli jails. “The Palestinian child prisoners are tortured the moment they are detained by the Israeli Army which starts beating them up in the vehicles in which they are arrested,” said Eisa Qaraqei, the Palestinian Minister of Detainees Affairs.
No Comment: Soldiers And Settlers Abuse A Palestinian Child
PNN – Hebron – The following is a video released on YouTube documenting Israeli soldiers and settlers abusing a Palestinian child in Hebron, southern West Bank.
Israel Police to Target Stone-throwers’ Parents
In a bid to quell the growing number of minors stoning Israelis in Jerusalem neighborhoods, Israel Police have announced they will soon start holding accountable parents of the suspects.  According to Israel Police, they plan to make parents of the suspected perpetrators pay deposits of up to 5,000 shekels, ($1,400) that become fines if the minor is convicted.
Violations Bulletin – Issue 2 – October 2010
DCI-Palestine’s monthly bulletin on child rights violations.
Restriction of Movement

Israel blocks Qureia’s entry to Jordan
Soldiers manning Allenby Bridge crossing tell former Palestinian PM and his wife they can pass only by bus; security officials say decision related to anti-Israel comments.,7340,L-3979450,00.html
Israel blocking Palestinian officials from using main Jordan crossing
Only Palestinian President Abbas and Palestinian PM Fayyad will be allowed to use the Allenby Bridge; nevertheless, former PM Qureia attempts to cross.
Siege/Other Rights Violations/Humanitarian Issues

Colussus: the giant Gazan prison
The blockade imposed on Gaza is a powerful psychological device aimed at wringing concessions from Gazans and Hamas.  Gaza “the giant open prison” are not the words of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president. Nor were they scripted by Hamas’ Khaled Mishaal or Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas. They belong to David Cameron, the young and charismatic British prime minister.
Adhan Banned at Hebron’s Al-Ibrahimi Mosque 54 Times in One Month
The Muslim call to prayer (Adhan) was prohibited by the Israeli authorities at Hebron’s Al-Ibrahimi Mosque for 54 times, during the month of October, the Middle East Monitor reported.
UPDATE: International Children’s Conference ”Protective Environment – Active Participation”
Under the auspices of the Prime Minister, Dr. Salam Fayyad, Defence for Children International – Palestine Section, in cooperation with DCI International Executive Council and DCI – International Secretariat – Geneva, is conducting its international child conference:
Racism and Discrimination

‘We didn’t come to Safed to steal anyone’s home’
Elderly resident of northern city receives threats following his intention to rent out apartment to Bedouins; Arab female students afraid to go out after dark for fear of being attacked.,7340,L-3978981,00.html
Israeli deputy mayor sacked for racism against Arabs
Oren Milstein fired after publicly objecting to Arabs living in the city of Carmiel.
Israel to discuss loyalty oath bill Sunday
HAIFA, Israel (Ma’an) — A controversial bill demanding new citizens of Israel declare their loyalty to a “Jewish state” will come up for discussion on Sunday, a move being decried by Palestinian minority groups.  Palestinian rights organization in Israel Adallah issued a statement on Thursday, saying the bill “joins the large number of bills currently pending which target the rights of the Arab minority in Israel, and indicates the serious efforts of the coalition to work against them.”
Violence & Aggression

Israel claims assassination in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israel’s military claimed the assassination of a Gaza fighter hours after the 27-year-old was killed by an explosion that destroyed a car he was driving.  The military, which initially declined to comment, said Muhammad Jamal Nimnim was a senior leader in the Salafist military group Jaish Al-Islam (Army of Islam) and had been “personally involved in directing several terror attacks against Israeli targets in recent years.”
Israel hints it cleared killing of Gaza Islamist with Washington
IDF confirms assassinating Army of Islam operative Mohammed Nimnim, killed earlier Wednesday when his car exploded in Gaza City.
Gaza killing marks return of Israeli targeted assassinations
Israel claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s killing in Gaza of a Palestinian militant from a splinter group that Hamas is trying to rein in.
Army Invades Central Gaza
Israeli soldiers, supported by a number of armored vehicles and tanks, invaded on Wednesday evening an area east of al-Boreij refugee camp in central Gaza.

Army Invades Central Gaza

3 Nov. ’10: Firing at workers near the Gaza perimiter fence
Over the past year, B’Tselem has documented eleven cases in which soldiers fired at and wounded Palestinian civilians working in areas near the perimeter fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. In these eleven cases, the gunfire struck civilians who, because of the lack of jobs in the Strip, were compelled to earn a living by collecting building materials for recycling. The lack of jobs has grown since Operation Cast Lead and following the continuing siege on the Strip.

IOF kidnap two brothers of prisoner in PA jails in Al-Khalil
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed Wednesday evening the house of a prisoner in Fatah’s jails in the West Bank called Bajis Amro and kidnapped two of his brothers.
Army Kidnaps Eight Palestinians In The West Bank
Israeli troops detained on Thursday at dawn eight Palestinian citizens in the West Bank allegedly wanted for ‘security violations’.

Army Kidnaps Eight Palestinians In The West Bank

Israeli army seizes 4 brothers in raid
TULKAREM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces seized four men, all brothers, during a raid on their home in the West Bank village of Kur, south of Tulkarem, early Wednesday, local officials said.  Village council head Jalal Al-Jayousi said Israeli soldiers in several armored vehicles entered the village at 3 a.m., firing flares and stun grenades. The soldiers raided and searched several houses, most of them on the western side of the village.
IOA detains Palestinian recently released after serving 25-year sentence
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) held Omar Al-Barghouthi in administrative detention for six months, his family members said on Thursday.
Israeli court sentences Gaza man
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Beersheba court sentenced a Gaza man to six and a half years in Israeli custody on Wednesday, the Center for the Study of Detainees in Gaza said.  Tareq Abed Rabbo, from the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, was born in 1976. He was detained in March, accused of affiliation to Islamic Jihad. The center said in a statement that Abed Rabbo was charged with “resiting the occupation.”
Israel’s Arab Helpers

Egypt shuts down tunnels along Gaza border
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Egyptian security forces took over 16 tunnels and quantities of smuggled goods on Thursday.  During the operation, a suspected Egyptian smuggler was seized in possession of weapons in the Rafah border area, officials said.  Intelligence officials said iron and food were among the supplies seized en route to the besieged coastal enclave.
Egyptian authorities restrict travel of Gaza poet
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Egyptian authorities prevented a Gaza poet from traveling to a poetry competition in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.  Suleiman Al-Hazeen, from An-Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip district of Deir Al-Balah, was accepted to be one of 7,000 contestants in the “Prince of Poets” competition hosted by the Gulf state.
Egyptian authorities denied 17 Viva Palestina convoy activists to enter Gaza
Cairo, November 4, (Pal Telegraph – IMRA) Egyptian authorities refused to allow 17 activists from the Viva Palestina  convoy to enter the Gaza Strip. Those denied entry included Viva Palestina leader George Galloway, several activists who had been aboard the Mavi Marmara, Muslim Brotherhood activists, and participants in the confrontation with Egypt’s security forces in January 2010.
Abbas accuses Iran of trying to sabotage Mideast peace
In interview with Kuwait newspaper, Palestinian leader also says he may ask U.S. to help draft framework agreement for permanent settlement if peace talks stay stalled.
War Crimes/Criminals past and present

Britain Caves To Israeli Pressure; Agrees To Revoke ‘universal Jurisdiction’ Law
In his visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories this week, British Foreign Secretary William Hague reported being ‘ambushed’ by Israeli officials who cancelled a high-level security briefing with Hague in response to a British threat to arrest an Israeli official for war crimes.

Britain Caves To Israeli Pressure; Agrees To Revoke ‘universal Jurisdiction’ Law

Israel ambushes Hague over arrest warrants
Israel and Britain moved last night to limit the damage of an Israeli diplomatic ambush that threatened to overshadow the first official visit to the Middle East by William Hague, the Foreign Secretary.
Britain working to change arrest law, Hague says
JERUSALEM (DPA) — The British government is working to change a law which has seen Israeli officials threatened with lawsuits in Britain, visiting British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in Ramallah Wednesday.  “We will soon be putting a proposal to change the law,” he told a joint news conference with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Kufur Qasim Massacre: The Triumph of Memory, Seraj Assi
On October 29, 1956, the Israel Border Police (Magav) announced a sudden curfew on the village of Kufur Qasim located on the Israeli side of the Green Line. Colonel Yiskhar Shadmi, then the Brigade Commander of Israel’s Central District, gathered the border patrol battalion commanders and instructed them to shot and kill anyone found outside his or her place during the curfew, including women and children. When asked what to do with those workers who were unaware of the curfew, he replied with the cynical Arabic term “Allah Yirhamhu (May God have mercy on him).
Political “Developments”

Hamas accuses Abbas of trying to fail reconciliation
GAZA, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) — Islamic Hamas movement accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday of trying to hinder national reconciliation.  The accusation followed Abbas’ remarks that security control in the Palestinian territories can not be shared with Hamas. Abbas statements “meant to ruin Damascus meeting” next week, in which Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah party will discuss inter- reconciliation, especially the security issue, Hamas Spokesman Ayman Taha told Xinhua.
PA: Israel punishing our leaders
After Israeli soldiers’ refusal to let former Palestinian PM Qureia into Jordan with his car, telling him to take bus, Palestinian Authority spokesman says officials being punished for political positions in peace talks.,7340,L-3979698,00.html
Abbas: US trying to restart peace talks
MANAMA, Bahrain (Ma’an) — Continuous efforts have been made by US mediators to bring stalled peace talks back on track, President Mahmoud Abbas told the Kuwait News Agency KUNA on Wednesday.  As PA officials insist that the midterm elections – which took seats in the nation’s congress away from President Barack Obama’s Democratic party – will not harm the process, Abbas said officials from all parties involved were continuing efforts.
Abbas aide: Palestinians don’t expect change in US Mideast policy
TEL AVIV, Israel (DPA) — A senior aide to President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday he did not expect the outcome of the US mid-term congressional elections to affect the Middle East peace process.  “We will continue to work with the US administration as before,” Yasser Abed Rabbo told Voice of Palestine Radio from Kuwait, where he was traveling with Abbas.
Clinton: U.S. working non-stop to advance Mideast peace process
U.S. Secretary of State confirms plans to meet Netanyahu in Washington, says Obama administration believes Palestinians and Israelis will find a way.
Israel takes aim at Palestinian ‘incitement’ (AP)
AP – Israel announced Wednesday it will officially monitor “incitement” by the Palestinians, taking aim at what it says are widespread provocations against the Jewish state that undermine efforts to reach Mideast peace.*
Netanyahu says will meet Hillary Clinton during U.S. visit (Reuters)
Reuters – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he would meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a U.S. visit next week in addition to previously announced talks with Vice President Joe Biden.*
PM: Palestinians not ready for peace
During debate titled ‘The world against Israel – how the Netanyahu administration isolated Israel in the international arena,’ PM says, ‘Rejecting Israel’s right to exist doesn’t advance reconciliation.’ MK Bar-On: Bold decision required.,7340,L-3979196,00.html
US Midterm Elections and the Middle East Peace Process
The outcome of Tuesday’s midterm elections in the United States marked the Republican party’s victory in the House of Representatives with a majority of at least 62 seats gained. No change is expected by Palestinians on the status of Palestine in the current peace negotiations.
Other News

U.S. Jews not turning their backs on Israel, says Jewish Agency’s Sharansky
Jewish Agency chairman says reality on the ground contradict abstract points made by pundits.
Forbes ranks Netanyahu as 24th most powerful person in the world
Chinese President Hu Jintao tops the Forbes magazine list; Netanyahu called ‘the biggest menace to Iran’s nuclear ambitions’.

Ramallah’s Olive Press, Palestine Monitor
The olive harvest is the definitive Mediterranean tradition. From the Pyrennes to the Atlases, Tunis to Athens, Jerusalem to Damascus, farmers and families are climbing trees and filling sacks in their grey-green groves. But before these kilos can be poured on pasta, heated to fry, or soaked in bread, the olives must go to a press.  Palestine Monitor visited Ramallah’s downtown olive press to see how the season’s harvest gets from the raw to the extra virgin.
Palestinian Artists Featured at Poetry International 2010
Renowned Palestinian-American poet Suheir Hammad will be performing with the newly formed Tashweesh for Poetry International 2010 at the Southbank Centre this Friday in London. She told me that audiences can expect the event to be “fresh, live, alive.” I caught up with Hammad briefly between rehearsals today. Here’s what she had to say.
Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest

signs of the demise, As’ad Abukhalil
There are signs that Israel’s years are numbered.  They became clear to me in 2006 when a bunch of youngsters in South Lebanon humiliated the arrogant army of Israel.  People from South Lebanon were most impressed hearing the cries and screams of retreating Israeli soldiers around Marun Ar-Ras.  But for me the signs are seen also in the clumsiness and comical nature of Israel propaganda.  I never thought I would live to watch Israeli propaganda mimic Ba`thist propaganda.  These are signs that one relishes from a historical perspective.  There are those who are worried about the new Israeli (and US) insistence that Arabs and others recognize the permanent Jewish character of the state.  Are you kidding? This is another sign of demise.  It shows actual panic regarding the inevitable future and the demographic trend.  What will Israel do 50 years from now when the Jews in the “holy land” are outnumbered by Arabs?  No pledge of Jewishness of state would preserve the racist state of Israel.  Don’t get me wrong: I don’t believe that Israel will be around at the time.  Then, you will most likely land in George Habash International Airport (formerly known as Ben Gurion Airport).  I already now discuss plans of visit to Palestine after its liberation.  I know what I would do there.
VIDEO The History of America’s Unconditional Support for Israel, Lawrence Davidson
Lawrence Davidson spoke on Palestine Studies TV (video and transcript) about American Presidents and pro-Israel foreign policy. His article, “Truman the Politician & the Establishment of Israel” showed how a “strong domestic Zionist lobby” interacted with President Harry Truman’s “wants and needs in order to influence his decision making.”
It aint over till AIPAC is skiing in Utah, and other thoughts on the lobby from Lawrence Davidson
Did you notice what a divisive election we just had in the U.S. and there wasn’t a peep about our Middle East policy? Here’s an interesting interview at the Institute for Palestine Studies with Lawrence Davidson, a professor of history in Pennsylvania, in which he argues that American policy in the Middle East is entirely-lobby-driven. Davidson is author of a piece on Truman and the establishment of the state of Israel, and he sees the Israel lobby as a growing force in American political life from the 1920s and 30s, when the Congress bought the lobby line and the executive dismissed it– and then Truman came to power. Interviewer is Clea Thouin.
Haaretz op-ed: Peace requires that Jews realize the Holocaust was a self-inflicted tragedy, Yaniv Reich
OK, that headline is deliberately and falsely sensationalistic in order to grab your attention.  Unfortunately, I believe Moshe Arens’ motivation for making an extremely similar statement about the Nakba reflects a far more insidious objective than simple attention grabbing.  A couple days ago, Haaretz published a revolting verbal attack on what was probably the most consequential moment in Palestinian history.
Arab Bishops Leading the Way, George S. Hishmeh – Washington, D.C.
A recent meeting in Vatican of some 200 Catholic bishops, mainly from the Arab world, will very likely go down in history for adopting the strongest condemnation by Christian church leaders of present-day Israeli policies and actions.  At the same time, it will be remembered for their call on all Christians, Muslims and Jews in the Middle East, where Muslims are the majority, to work together to end the  heart-wrenching bloody turmoil as a result of  the Palestinian-Israeli conflict  that has plagued the region for more than six decades and led to the emigration of tens of thousands, especially Christians.
Ramallah is Great, but it`s Not Jerusalem, Joharah Baker
As Ramallah blooms, Palestinian east Jerusalem inversely declines and there is not much the Palestinians are or can do about it. It is no secret that Israel has, for years, been systematically isolating Jerusalem from its West Bank surroundings in an attempt to sever ties between what they deem as their united capital and Palestinian aspirations to make it their own. As a result, the city has been physically separated from Ramallah (and Bethlehem) by airtight checkpoints and the separation wall, which keeps West Bankers almost completely out.
The Unquenchable Spirit of Resistance in Gaza, Tapani Lausti
It is hard to finish reading this book without tears in one’s eyes. Mohammed Baroud’s life story, as told by his son Ramzy, encapsulates the tragedy of the Palestinians in general and the Gazans in particular. It is a story of the amazing resilience of people whose life and dreams have been shattered for decades, with much of the world watching with indifference or incomprehension.
Imperialism, Islamophobia, and Torture, Adam Hudson
During the Nuremberg Trials, the chief American prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, famously stated[i]: “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” America has a long history of war and its accumulated evils. It began as thirteen small colonies that sat along the Atlantic coast. In over a century, the United States expanded all the way to the Pacific Ocean – from sea to shining sea. The process was not pretty. It involved the genocide of the native Americans and the enslavement of millions of black Africans whose free labor was needed to fuel the American capitalist economy.

Hizbullah strength growing, warns Israeli spy chief
BEIRUT: Hizbullah is growing stronger and could take over all of Lebanon in “a few hours,” the head of the Israeli Military Intelligence, Amos Yaldin, said Tuesday in a farewell address to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, according. to media reports.
Hezbollah Condemns Ban’s Report: Israeli-US Landmarks Clear
03/11/2010 Hezbollah vehemently condemned on Wednesday UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s stance in his fourteenth report over resolution 1701, in which he held the Lebanese army the responsibility for the Oddaiseh incident.  In a statement released by Hezbollah media relations, the Resistance party said that Ban’s stance was completed biased for the Zionist enemy, adding that, however, it was not surprising from the part of the top UN official.
US Gives Additional $10 Million to STL
03/11/2010 Day after another, the so-called Special Tribunal for Lebanon proves to be politicized more and more…  After the United States was reportedly interfering in the work of the “independent” tribunal and pressing its Prosecutor to accelerate the timing of the issuance of its final verdict, Washington officially and proudly announced on Monday it has decided to give an additional $10 billion to the tribunal, without any explanation.  “Efforts to discredit, hinder, or influence the tribunal’s work must not be tolerated,” US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said in a statement.  Rice said the tribunal can “help deter further violence and put an end to a tragic era of impunity for political assassinations in Lebanon.”  “Until Lebanon is able to achieve this, it will be very difficult to secure the peace and stability that all Lebanese citizens deserve,” Rice said.

Iraq: Rocket blows up in police vehicle, kills 4 (AP)
AP – A rocket confiscated by authorities blew up in the back of a police pickup truck in northern Iraq on Thursday, killing four people. Police and hospital officials also said two people died in a roadside bomb explosion west of Baghdad.*
Wednesday: 3 Iraqis Killed, 8 Wounded
At least three Iraqis were killed and eight more were wounded in light violence; however, the Islamic State of Iraq vowed to continue targeting Iraqi Christians. Also, the Iraqi Interior Ministery inspector general admitted that a “magic wand” used to detect explosives is completely useless, but Interior Minister Jawad Bolani continues to defend its use.
At least 113 killed in series of Baghdad attacks
Seventeen car bombs and other blasts shook the city at sunset in one of the bloodiest days this year.
‘Rivers of blood’: Al-Qaida in Iraq vows more attacks on Christians
The group said in a statement posted late Tuesday on militant websites, “All Christian centers, organizations and institutions, leaders and followers are legitimate targets for the muhajedeen (holy warriors) wherever they can reach them.”
After Baghdad bombings, Iraqis have harsh words for security forces
‘The politicians are fighting each other instead of the terrorists,’ says a Baghdad shopkeeper, reflecting widespread doubt the government will prevent further Baghdad bombings.
Baghdad reels from blasts to public spots
Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is understood to have ordered an investigation into the security breaches which preceded a series of bombings in Baghdad on Tuesday. Al-Maliki spent part of Wednesday visiting victims of the attacks, which struck mainly Shia districts of the Iraqi capital. At least 64 people were killed and hundreds injured in 16 separate incidents. Rawya Rageh reports.
Allawi to lead Iraq’s opposition
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, whose bloc won the most votes in the country’s general election, says he will quit power-sharing talks to lead the opposition.
IRAQ: Christians consider their future after deadly attack
BAGHDAD Thursday, November 04, 2010 (IRIN) – The latest attack on 31 October on Iraq’s dwindling Christian community, which left 58 people dead, and warnings by al-Qaeda that more killings will follow, is raising questions about the future of one of the oldest Christian congregations in the Middle East.
Baghdad school system struggling as pupils resume studies (AFP)
AFP – Discarded drinks cans and plastic bags litter the halls of al-Mamuniyeh state school in Baghdad where, despite over a billion dollars of US spending on Iraqi education, children squeeze into dim, crowded classrooms, often without books or electricity.*
U.S. and other world news

Attack on Wikileaks unites Congress
Despite talk of historic elections and change, expect business as usual from the nation’s capitol when it comes to rampant American militarism.
WikiLeaks urges U.S. to fully examine abuses
GENEVA, Nov 4 (Reuters) – The founder of WikiLeaks called on the United States on Thursday to fully examine abuses by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanstan and to halt its “aggressive investigation” into his whistle-blowing organisation.  Julian Assange said WikiLeaks would release thousands of documents this year concerning not only the United States, but other countries including Russia and Lebanon.
How will the Republican-controlled House affect U.S.-Israel ties?
Republicans are expected to take a tougher stance on Iran and put pressure on Obama administration to be easier on Israel.
Days after election victory: ‘Tea Party’ coming to Israel
Newly elected senator for Florida, republican Marco Rubio will arrive in Israel on Sunday; Pro-Israel AIPAC lobby expresses satisfaction with election results.,7340,L-3979390,00.html
U.S. midterms: AIPAC lauds re-election of pro-Israel stalwarts
Pro-Israel group hails success for supporters on both sides of the political divide, as well as election of three new Jewish members of Congress; polls shows 66 percent of U.S. Jews voted Democrat.
Bush claims he was a ‘dissenting voice’ on Iraq
georgewbush Bush claims he was a dissenting voice on IraqFormer President George W. Bush says he was a “dissenting voice” on the decision to invade Iraq because he “didn’t want to use force” but ran out of options.  “I was a dissenting voice. I didn’t want to use force,” Bush told NBC’s Matt Lauer in his first interview promoting his new memoir, “Decision Points.”  “I mean force is the last option for a President,” he continued, according to an NBC News transcript e-mailed to Raw Story. “And I think it’s clear in the book that I gave diplomacy every chance to work. And I will also tell you the world’s better off without somehow in power. And so are 25 million Iraqis.”
Bush: Kanye West calling me a racist ‘the worst moment’ of my presidency
In an interview slated to be broadcast next Monday at 8pm ET, former President George W. Bush will say that criticism by Kanye West — in which the then-president was dubbed a “racist” — was the “worst moment” of his presidency.  “I didn’t appreciate it then,” Bush says. “I don’t appreciate it now. It’s one thing to say, “I don’t appreciate the way he’s handled his business.” It’s another thing to say, “This man’s a racist.” I resent it, it’s not true, and it was one of the most disgusting moments in my Presidency.”
Army ‘might need to intervene in Yemen’
The new head of the Armed Forces has refused to rule out military intervention in Yemen to stamp out the growing threat from al-Qaeda terrorists based there.
US Attack Kills 8 People In Pakistan
According to Pakistani security officials, an unmanned American plane fired two missiles at a vehicle in the North Waziristan Agency. The vehicle was destroyed completely, leaving five people dead. Hours later, another attack killed three people in the same region.
NATO choppers violate Pakistani airspace
The gunship helicopters came 600 meters inside Pakistani borders, and after flying in the area for 10 minutes they retreated to Afghanistan, the channel reported. daily times monitor.
US Republicans to target Afghan withdrawal timetable
Republican Representative Buck McKeon, who was all but certain to be the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, signalled that the party would ensure that US forces have the “time” to achieve their goals.
US to spend $511 million to expand Kabul embassy
Over the last two years, the U.S. has signed contracts to expand American diplomatic facilities in Kabul and consulates in Mazar-e Sharif and Herat provinces that total $790 million, he said. The figure includes the embassy expansion, which should be completed by June 2014.
4 “militants”, 2 children killed in Afghanistan’s Helmand province
Four “Taliban militants” and two children were killed Wednesday in Nad Ali district of Afghanistan’s volatile southern Helmand province when the insurgents clashed with security forces troops, provincial administration spokesman Daud Ahmadi said.
Russia starts arms shipments to Afghanistan
Russia has started shipping small arms to Afghanistan’s police forces. The first of the 16 planned cargo planes loaded with Russian weapons and ammunition landed on Tuesday in the capital Kabul.
Afghan election body in fraud probe
Candidates call for September election to be scrapped amid claims Independent Election Commission was involved in fraud.
Any hope I had in the ballot box bringing change in Afghanistan is gone
If Karzai’s re-election was a fraud, Obama’s surge of troops brought just more violence. For Afghans he’s the ‘second Bush’.
West using woman’s stoning case as ‘pressure’ – Tehran
TEHRAN: Tehran accused the West of trying to pressure it over the case of an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning, as a judiciary official said she was in “perfect health” and her case still being reviewed. “They [Western nations] have become so shameless that they have turned the case of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, who has committed crime and treason.
Revolutionary Guards criticize Ahmadinejad
TEHRAN: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has come under unprecedented criticism from the Revolutionary Guards, the elite military force usually considered his staunch supporter.
Election fraud fears raised ahead of Jordan vote
AMMAN, Jordan (DPA) — Jordan’s state-funded human rights watchdog said Thursday it was concerned about new methods of “vote buying” and other election fraud tactics ahead of next week’s polls.  “Such recurrent political and social pressures which seek to affect the fairness of the polling process do not live up to the internationally-approved criteria,” the National Centre for Human Rights said in a statement.
Protests as Egypt candidates barred
Government preliminarily denies 57 Muslim Brotherhood candidates from running in polls amid claims of a crackdown.
Egypt Muslim leaders denounce Qaeda threat to Copts (AFP)
AFP – An Al-Qaeda threat to Egypt’s Coptic Christians has met with growing condemnation from Muslim figureheads and the press in Egypt, which said it was an attack on national unity.*
Coptic pope says God turned Qaeda threat to ‘good’ (AFP/File)
AFP/File – The head of Egypt’s Coptic church said on Wednesday that an Al-Qaeda threat against Copts had inadvertently turned to “good” by creating sympathy for his church.*
Arab world faces worsening water crisis – report
BEIRUT, Nov 4 (Reuters) – The Arab world, one of the driest regions on the planet, will tip into severe water scarcity as early as 2015, a report issued on Thursday predicts.  By then, Arabs will have to survive on less than 500 cubic metres of water a year each, or below a tenth of the world average of more than 6,000 cubic metres per capita, said the report by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED).  “The Arab world is already living a water crisis that will only get worse with inaction,” the report says, adding per capita supply has plunged to only a quarter of its 1960 level.
Islam in the West

Case raises France veil ban issues
The case of a Frenchwoman on trial for attacking an Arab tourist wearing full-face veil raises questions over new law.
France wading into uncharted waters over veil ban
An elderly Frenchwoman has been on trial for allegedly attacking an Arab tourist, claiming she was outraged by the woman’s full-face veil. The incident in February occurred the same time the government of Nicolas Sarkozy was pushing to outlaw the full-face veil, worn by fewer than 2,000 women in France. Prosecutors have asked for the Frenchwoman to be fined and given a suspended jail sentence. Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland reports from Paris on how the case is highlighting potential problems once the veil ban is implemented next year. (Nov 04, 2010)
Bill Maher’s Anti-Muslim Fixation, M.J. Rosenberg
I know Bill Maher hates religion.  But it doesn’t take much watching of his show to see that there is only one religion in which he combines his fate for the faith with hate for its adherents: Islam.  Long before Islamophobia (actually Islamo-hatred) became the rage during the “Ground Zero Mosque” episode, Maher’s contempt for Muslims has been right out there. Check out his latest, covered here by Zaid Jilani at “Think Progress,” in which Maher expressed his fear that Muslim babies are taking over Europe. It’s ugly and embarrassing — embarrassing in that he is so utterly out of touch that he thinks that his admirers, liberals, share his bigotry toward Muslims.
I feel relieved. I mean, the danger of Shari`ah was looming over Oklahoma
“Oklahoma on Tuesday approved a ballot measure blocking judges from considering Islamic or international law when making a ruling.  Nearly 70 percent of voters in the state cast ballots approving the measure.
Lauren Booth: Conversion to Islam has made my life less materialistic, Philip Weiss
Lauren Booth, a pro-Palestinian activist who is the sister-in-law of Tony Blair, recently shocked the English establishment by converting to Islam. She wrote about her conversion yesterday in the Guardian. I’m not into organized religion generally, but this is interesting, and serves to humanize Muslims and de-otherize them.

‘Israeli Occupation Awareness Week’ comes to Brandeis

Nov 04, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

From a press release:

Brandeis University, America’s only non-sectarian Jewish University, has long been a hotbed of controversy on matters related to the conflict in Israel-Palestine. In contrast to conventional wisdom, the student body does not fall lock step in line with AIPAC, the ADL, and other un-nuanced approaches to the State of Israel and the Palestinian people. We do not support the increasingly racist policies of the State of Israel towards its own citizens, nor do we support the occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

We are young Jews, Muslims and Christians: Palestinians, Israelis, Americans, Europeans and others. We envision Israel and Palestine as a place of justice, and we hold Israel accountable for its military occupation. Peace can proceed when all Palestinians reclaim their rights to free movement, land water, a home, a fair trial, cultural preservation, national identity and democratic representation.

You can read the full press release after the jump:

Next week at Brandeis University, Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace will be co-hosting Israeli Occupation Awareness Week. From November 8th to November 12th, BSJP and JVP will be bringing an array of exciting speakers, including Professor Noam Chomsky, in order to raise awareness about the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
On Monday, Elisha Baskin, an Israeli, and Emily Schick, an American, will discuss their roles as activists against the occupation in Palestine. In addition the film “Slingshot Hip-Hop” will be shown.
On Tuesday afternoon, a Palestinian farmer Daoud Nassar will speak in opposition to the growing Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In the evening, Alice Rothchild, from American Jews for a Just Peace, will lead a discussion on the Jewish Community’s role in supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
On Wednesday, Diana Buttu, a former negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization, will discuss legal perspectives on the occupation.
On Thursday afternoon, we will screen two movies from the Boston Palestine Film Festival, “To Shoot an Elephant,” and “East Side Story.” After this film screening will be the keynote speaker of the week, Professor Noam Chomsky who will discuss the escalating policies of apartheid and his new book, Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians.
Brandeis University, America’s only non-sectarian Jewish University, has long been a hotbed of controversy on matters related to the conflict in Israel-Palestine. In contrast to conventional wisdom, the student body does not fall lock step in line with AIPAC, the ADL, and other un-nuanced approaches to the State of Israel and the Palestinian people. We do not support the increasingly racist policies of the State of Israel towards its own citizens, nor do we support the occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
We are young Jews, Muslims and Christians: Palestinians, Israelis, Americans, Europeans and others. We envision Israel and Palestine as a place of justice, and we hold Israel accountable for its military occupation. Peace can proceed when all Palestinians reclaim their rights to free movement, land water, a home, a fair trial, cultural preservation, national identity and democratic representation.
For more information contact:
Jon Sussman
[email protected]
Liza Behrendt
[email protected]
Noam Shuster

[email protected]

Bill Clinton slightly tweaks Netanyahu, goes on to say very little

Nov 04, 2010

Philip Weiss


Rabin was assassinated 15 years ago today. Bill Clinton is on the NYT op-ed page with a piece called, “Finish Rabin’s Work,” saying it is time to cut the two-state deal we all know everyone agreed on. A reader writes, “The only really interesting part is the indirect pop at Netanyahu (and Peres) when he says Rabin would have worked out a comprehensive deal within three years [of 1995] had he lived. Clinton presumably cleared this with Hillary Clinton.  It’s probably not a big deal, but perhaps it’s a warning to Netanyahu that he better get with the negotiations. I doubt it, but it’s one possible interpretation.  Clinton really was angered by Netanyahu. I don’t know if it’s entirely accurate to say Abbas approved a plan based on the Clinton parameters of 2001.”   Also, 15 years is a long time. Per Clinton:

The end of his life overlapped with the emergence of the most interdependent age in human history, the explosion of the Internet and the era of globalization. We are linked in so many ways that we cannot get away from each other…. Therefore, each in our own way, we must all take up the cause for which Yitzhak Rabin gave his life: building a shared future in which our common humanity is more important than our interesting differences.

FYI, it was on this basis that the late Tony Judt urged one democratic state. Seven years ago. Time flies.

If you will it . . .

Nov 04, 2010

Michael Levin 

To learn more visit

No loyalty to apartheid

Nov 04, 2010

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

On October 10, 2010, the Israeli government proposed a bill obligating non-Jewish naturalized citizens to swear loyalty to a “Jewish and democratic state.” The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) deplores this attempt to demand recognition of Israel as a Jewish state – a state whose existence is premised on the removal of the indigenous people of Palestine.

In response to this bill, members of the Zionist “Left” in Israel issued a “declaration of independence from fascism.” Announced at a rally in Tel Aviv, the Middle East’s most ethnically cleansed city (indigenous population: four percent), the declaration asserts that the proposed law “violates [Israel’s] basic commitment to the principles of equality, civil liberty and sincere aspiration for peace — principles upon which the State of Israel was founded.”

The Zionist “Left” is distancing itself from this policy, but the proposed oath is entirely consistent with Israel’s racist foundations and continued ethnic cleansing – all of which the Zionist “Left” has played a central role in perpetrating and whitewashing.

In the 1930s, as the Zionist state was forming, the Histadrut and other Labor Zionist institutions campaigned to dispossess Arab peasants and workers, while helping crush the resulting 1936 Arab rebellion.

In 1947-1948, under the leadership of David Ben Gurion, Labor Zionism – the dominant force in the Zionist “Left” – also directed the Nakba (catastrophe), which established the “Jewish state” by terrorizing and expelling at least eighty percent of the indigenous Palestinian population.

In the following decades, “Left” Zionism imposed domestic apartheid, made apartheid South Africa Israel’s closest ally, and led or supported every Israeli war of domination — most recently in Lebanon and Gaza. Under Labor governments, Israeli settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank exploded in number.*

Today, “Left” Zionists, no less than their right-wing counterparts, view Palestinians as a “demographic threat” to Jewish supremacy. Like the “Right,” they insist that Palestinians ratify their own unequal status by recognizing 1948 Palestine (“Israel”) as a “Jewish state.” Ironically, this Zionist racism, violence and apartheid serve to deliver a segregation of Jews that parallels traditional European anti-Semitism.

The problem, then, is not alleged betrayal of Israeli “principles” at the hands of right-wing “extremists,” but Zionism itself — both “Left” and “Right.” For Israeli Jews who reject Israel’s racist foundations, we stand with you.

We ask others not only to join us in opposing the loyalty oath, but to reject the Zionist principles upon which it rests. Concretely, that means supporting Palestinian demands for an end to military occupation, implementation of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their land, and equal rights for all throughout Palestine.

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