Pot calls kettle apartheid
Posted: 05 May 2010 09:58 AM PDT

I understand the latest attacks on Richard Goldstone will involve his service as a judge in apartheid days. The Jerusalem Post has picked up an investigation by Yedioth, an assertion that Goldstone condemned blacks to their deaths in Apartheid South Africa. They’re desperate. Hasbara folks are on this one like a duck on a junebug.

Maker of ‘Budrus’ set his sights on–
Posted: 05 May 2010 09:55 AM PDT

I keep saying that the Israel lobby, whose power the lobby itself poo-poos, is a giant tower of Jewish history whose chronicles will fill library shelves one day when it’s no longer controversial. Dershowitz, Philip Roth and John Mearsheimer have all written about it.
The day approaches. The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan held its annual benefit Monday night. They served a buffet followed by discussions. One a panel (called “Lights, Camera, Social Action”) was on social action filmmaking moderated by Jane Eisner of the Forward.
The last question was what film would you make if you had unlimited funding? In other words, your dream film if money were no object. Daniel J. Chalfen, producer of the new documentary Budrus about Palestinians fighting confiscation of their lands, said he wants to make a film about the Israel lobby and its changing dynamic within American Jewry.

Now, Goldstone is trying to delegitimize US sovereignty (and maybe impose Sharia law too)
Posted: 05 May 2010 09:27 AM PDT

Brooke Goldstein speaking at the Lawfare forum at Fordham Law School last week. She’s at the neoconservative Hudson Institute. Again I challenge the reporters, follow the money. Why is Fordham bending over for this type of craziness. Wow:

It is also very important when analyzing any one incident of Lawfare, such as the Goldstone Report, to note the three main objectives that modern lawfare tactics have been attempting to achieve and the various distinct yet interconnected expressions thereof
THE FIRST OBJECTIVE (they are not listed in any particular order) is to silence and punish free speech critical of radical Islam, terrorism, or its sources of financing and to reinstate blasphemy laws especially as applied to Islam and its prophet Mohammad.
This is what I call Islamist lawfare whose goal is to impost Sha-aria law as a governing legal authority both in Muslims states and in the West and to impede the free flow of public information about the threat of Islamist terrorism thereby limiting our ability to understand it and destroy it. The effect sought is for certain parties to control public discourse and open debate on a given subject
THE SECOND OBJECTIVE of modern lawfare is to delegitimize the sovereignty of democratic states such as Israel and the United States
THE THIRD is to frustrate the ability of western democracies to defend themselves against terrorism. Here, lawfare takes the form of a complimentary legal campaign to terrorism and asymmetric warfare and seeks to denigrate society’s legitimate interest in security and self defense.
The Goldstone Report attempts to achieve both the 2nd and 3rd objectives yet there is an assortment of lawfare activities that is so numerous that it would take an entire semester in law school to detail properly, but nevertheless must be mentioned.

Frum’s rejectionism
Posted: 05 May 2010 09:05 AM PDT

Promoting the rightwing Israeli line in the Canadian press, David Frum makes what a dangerous-to-his-own side argument against the peace process. The problem is contained, let’s have peace without the process, let’s give them economic development on the West Bank and keep building settlements around Jerusalem. Oh and please don’t start any violence, you Palestinians.

It’s not a great deal for the Palestinians, obviously. Certainly not as good a deal as they would have had if they had accepted the deals on offer in 1937 or 1947 or 1968 or 2000. But they didn’t accept those offers, and they have lapsed.
As the unspoken peace takes hold, the world can hope that Palestinian prosperity and Israeli security will soothe old quarrels… the alternative to a signed peace does not have to be fighting.

Frum is saying that the iron wall policy favored by Jabotinsky—they don’t want us here, we must build defeat into them till they sue for peace– has now worked. There is no sense of international law here, and without some idea of fairness there won’t be peace. Frum has said before that the Jewish state is based in international law (League of Nations mandate, Balfour, Partition). But all those rulings also promised that Jerusalem is an international city and the land would be divided in half more or less.
After the Arab states lost the ’48 war, they demanded of the UN that Israel move back to the ’47 Partition line (half and half, more or less) but Israel refused, it wanted its expanded, ethnically-cleansed state to include the Galilee and the Negev. The UN rep Folke Bernadotte, who wanted portions of the Galilee to remain Palestinian, was assassinated in ’48 by the Stern gang, led by a future Israeli prime minister; and Bernadotte’s successor, Ralph Bunche, duly awarded the territories to the Israelis, establishing the Green Line east of all but a quarter of the land.
Bernadotte feared that there would be endless strife over the borders, and he was right. And the Palestinians and Arab states accepted that unfair division in ’88 and 2002, two dates Frum doesn’t cite.
Because they want the West Bank and East Jerusalem now too. Netanyahu says that Jerusalem has belonged to the Jews for 3000 years, but Bernadotte, Herzl and others sought the internationalization of the city. The Peel commission, which Frum cites above, would have established a huge international zone from Bethlehem and Jerusalem to the great Arab city of Jaffa on the coast.
Frum’s assertion that the offer has lapsed is in essence the statement, We have the hammer, you don’t, and now we have as much of the West Bank as we need, and the Palestinians are reduced to fragments. The only principle here is essentially imperialist: the U.S. is on our side. 
If Frum were lecturing me like that I’d dig in my heels and imagine ways to foil him. I would think just what Palestinians are always accused of thinking: let’s wait them out, let Israel swallow all the land and find it ungovernable, and then demand democracy, a state of all its citizens.
The struggle against apartheid that Olmert and Barak have both predicted is upon us. I never understood why these guys didn’t push for two states to save Israel. I imagine in Frum’s case it is feelings of Jewish supremacy and Holocaust apprehension that drive his madness. And his ideas have had power, here and in Israel, which is why the two-state solution is widely thought to be dead.

Dual loyalty is truly a problem
Posted: 05 May 2010 08:29 AM PDT

Have you heard all the talking heads on Chris Matthews and elsewhere saying it’s time for Muslim Americans and Latinos to assimilate to the American way of life? I know, it is an issue, especially when our drones are killing Muslim civilians. Well, some affection for a foreign country is completely kosher. From Politico. Make sure you read the last paragraph.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)… plans to introduce a bill that would amend a decades-old law aimed at yanking citizenship from U.S. citizens who fight for a foreign military.
“I’m now putting together legislation to amend that to [specify that] any individual American citizen who is found to be involved in a foreign terrorist organization, as defined by the Department of State, would be deprived of their citizenship rights,” Lieberman said Tuesday.
Such a law would potentially cover terror suspect Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-born American citizen charged in connection with the attempted car bombing in New York City’s Times Square. He was apprehended Monday night at the city’s John F. Kennedy airport after he boarded a flight to Dubai.
“If you have joined an enemy of the United States in attacking the United States and trying to kill Americans, I think you sacrifice your rights of citizenship,” Lieberman said.
There is one exception to the existing law: Americans are allowed to serve in the Israel Defense Forces without losing their citizenship.

UN’s Ging calls on west to break the Gaza siege
Posted: 05 May 2010 08:05 AM PDT

From Middle East Monitor:

Israeli sources have confirmed that Israel will make an official request to the United Nations for clarification of how an official representative of the United Nations could call for European countries to send ships to Gaza without authorization and prior coordination with Israel.
John Ging, the Director of Operations of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), has called upon the international community to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sending ships loaded with desperately-needed supplies to the beleaguered territory.
In an interview with a Norwegian newspaper, Mr. Ging said, “The international community must take responsibility on this issue and embrace practical ways to break the siege, because it is possible to break it.”
In urging the world to send ships to the shores of Gaza, he added, “We believe that Israel will not intercept these vessels because the sea is open, and human rights organizations have been successful in similar previous operations proving that breaking the siege of Gaza is possible.”

From the BBC, a report on documents in an Israeli court case brought by the human-rights org Gisha that reveal Israel’s policy re the blockade:

In one document, Israel describes the import curbs as “a central pillar in the armed conflict with Hamas”.
It also confirms estimates were made of how many calories Gazans need, but says these were not used for policy-making…
Gisha’s director, Sari Bashi, says she is no security expert, “but preventing children from receiving toys, preventing manufacturers from getting raw materials – I don’t see how that’s responsive to Israeli security needs.”And she says that some of the prohibitions appear to be absurdly arbitrary: “I certainly don’t understand why cinnamon is permitted, but coriander is forbidden. Is there something more dangerous about coriander? Is coriander more critical to Gaza’s economy than cinnamon? This is a policy that appears to make no sense.”

In Jewish family, diaspora gets to be the enabler
Posted: 05 May 2010 07:11 AM PDT

At that Columbia University event the other night, Charney Bromberg began his speech with a personal statement: “I start from a different point of view… I’m not a classical Zionist, I’m a Zionist because I have family in Israel. I love them. Their well being is important to me.”
I found this important and moving. I always say that I dodged the Zionist bullet because it just wasn’t part of my family culture. My mom’s best friend emigrated there, and that made a difference, but we didn’t visit; and we surely didn’t have family there. My family are not communitarians; they’re academic, offbeat. I was never implicated in the Zionist enterprise and I’m grateful for that. 
A couple times I’ve asked Jewish journalists about their family connections to Israel and they haven’t answered me. I think these connections are legion–and may even have propelled some journalists to be journalists. One big editor has family living in a settlement; I learned about it at a party, he asked me not to publish his name.
Lila Abu-Lughod and Ali Abunimah had family who were expelled during the Nakba. They tell you this; it obviously helps to form their views too, they’re open about it.
I wish Jewish journalists would follow Bromberg’s lead and be open about their connections.  
And what should follow? I can’t blame Charney Bromberg for feeling solidarity with Israelis because of that connection. What I do blame the Diaspora for is again and again deferring to their Israeli connections on critical questions, for saying, who am I to tell them not to blockade Gaza, they live there, I don’t! Deferring to a psychosis of insecurity bred of the Holocaust and a Likudnik policy of endless war.
People always talk about dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. It’s an absurd process that would replace granting freedom to Palestinians. There should be open dialogue within the Jewish community. It should be between the Diaspora liberal Jews like Bromberg who put his life on the line during the civil rights movement and the Israeli Jews who call upon the American Jews to man the turrets of the Israel lobby and help them destroy Palestinian civil rights.

when will this occupation be televised?
Posted: 04 May 2010 07:23 PM PDT

When will we ever see this kind of argument in the American press? Not for a while, because the lobby is still holding the line within the discourse. Haim Saban cares more about the LA Times than Haaretz. Here is the great Amira Hass, explaining to Israeli readers that the occupation has corrupted the Israeli establishment, that it’s not just houses in East Jerusalem we’re talking about, but the bureaucracy and elites, that have been entrapped by the philosophy of Jewish expansion. (And what does this blinded nationalism remind you of?). Hass:

[The order] prohibits Palestinians from building toilets, digging reservoirs to collect rainwater or connecting to the electricity grid in more than half of the occupied territory.
The soldiers have internalized the philosophy, and they take it home with them, to Israel. Meanwhile, in the West Bank, the prohibition against hooking up to electricity sabotages Palestinian children’s ability to learn. Neither the cessation of construction in the settlements nor the proximity talks, starting today, will prevent this act of sabotage against children’s education that the Israeli apparatus carries out as a matter of course.
Actually, not an apparatus, but a gigantic factory. Not one assembly line but many.
Behind one such assembly line are the planners. They are architectural geniuses, graduates of the best schools in Israel, who invented mazes like the dual, separate road networks for Palestinians and Israelis ‏(particularly Jews‏), or the separation fence/wall that excels at disconnecting crowded neighborhoods from their lands, their past and their future…
Graduates of Israeli law schools, in the reserves or the career army, are conscripted in order to make it clear to the natives that resistance is painful; they send them to prison and levy heavy fines. Then, they export the philosophy of oppression to civil courts and college classrooms in Tel Aviv.
Behind the assembly lines are representatives of the entire people of Zion, hundreds of thousands of civilians and soldiers. Each of them has a personal interest in the continuation of the apparatus, even if that interest is wrapped in national or security cellophane. Netanyahu is not the only one responsible. He alone cannot stop the huge pilotless plane.

Goldstone after bar mitzvah: I reached out to Netanyahu
Posted: 04 May 2010 01:23 PM PDT

Judge Richard Goldstone spoke to South African Jewish leaders today, a few days after his grandson’s bar mitzvah:

My family and I are delighted that I was able to attend the bar mitzvah on Saturday and that it was such a joyous and meaningful occasion. I am deeply grateful to Rabbi Suchard, the members of the committee and the congregation at Sandton Synagogue for having made this possible.
Without more, allow me to turn to the Gaza Report that has caused so much anger in this and other Jewish communities. …
I have spent much of my professional life in the cause of international criminal justice. It would have been hypocritical for me to continue to speak out against violations of international law and impunity for war crimes around the world but remain silent when it came to Israel simply because I am Jewish.
The State of Israel was established in 1948 by the United Nations acting on the principles of international law. It should not be surprising that Israel has always committed itself to being bound by the norms and practices of international law.
I have always assumed that Israel would wish to be judged by the highest standards of international law. One of the cardinal norms, accepted by Israel, is that of “distinction”, the requirement that there be proportionality between a military goal and civilian casualties caused in achieving that goal.
This was the first occasion on which the UN Human Rights Council was prepared to consider military operations between Israel and the militant organizations from all perspectives and offer Israel the opportunity of telling her story to a United Nations inquiry.
I also anticipated that this might herald the start of a new approach by the Human Rights Council to adopt an appropriate policy in which all similar human rights valuations around the world receive equal attention. But sadly for everyone, the Israeli Government squandered that opportunity.
That did not prevent the Mission from finding that serious war crimes appeared to have been committed by Hamas and other militant groups operating from Gaza. That finding was also accepted by the UN General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the European Parliament. The right of Israel to act in self-defense was also not questioned by the Report.
The letters that passed between me and both Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli Ambassador to Geneva are attached to the Gaza Report and tell the story most openly of my desire for Israeli cooperation and the concerns of Israel with regard to cooperating with our Mission.
That Israel refused to cooperate meant that we had to do the best we could with the information we were able to gather. I only wish that the energy that the Government of Israel and its supporters had put into discrediting the Report had been invested in cooperating with our Mission.
It is obvious but must be stated: Had Israel provided us with credible information to respond to the allegations we received they would have been given appropriate consideration and could potentially have influenced our findings. That was unfortunately not forthcoming. We cannot undo the past.


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