Oren uses Yom Kippur pulpit to warn D.C. faithful to back Israel whatever it does Iran

Oren uses Yom Kippur pulpit to warn D.C. faithful to back Israel whatever it does Iran

Sep 21, 2010

Philip Weiss

I attended Yom Kippur services at Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center for Conservative Judaism. Speaking in English, the rabbi told the story of the scapegoat being sent out into the desert and said that its destination, Azarel, or the place of the demons, is used in the Israeli equivalent of “Go to hell.” “To Azarel,” Jews say in Hebrew. And isn’t it interesting, he went on, that Gaza is called Aza in Hebrew; and so Azarel begins with Gaza. So Gaza, a place where 1.5 million people live, is hell. Is that religion? Not long after, I voted with my feet.

How would I have done in Washington? Turned heckler? The Washington Jewish Week reports that Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren used the Yom Kippur service to visit several D.C. area synagogues, including one attended by new Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, to remind American Jews to support Israel no matter what it does in the near future re Iran. Reporter Debra Rubin says that Oren suggested Israel will be making a preemptive strike against Iran. Certainly this sounds belligerent. And notice the suggestion that the peace talks will fail.

“Back us in our efforts to defend ourselves from terrorist rockets. Uphold us if we have to make painful sacrifices for peace or if we decide that the terms of the proposed treaty fail to justify those sacrifices. Stand with us as we resist Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Respect the decisions we take through our democratic system and respect the risks that we, more than any other nation, take.”

The full transcript is at the link above. Oren sounds a lot like Jeffrey Goldberg. So this is the Israel lobby at work. Gosh I wish more American Jews came out to Israel, and saw how decisions are made in this polity, who is enfranchised and who is not, and then judged for themselves what a democracy it is, and how paranoia grips the Israeli soul.

Intolerant Middle Eastern religious group forces men to cover themselves

Sep 21, 2010

Philip Weiss


American men wear shorts. The right to bare our legs is not just part of our unbridled way of life, it is a symbol of the other democratic freedoms we cherish: freedom of expression and thought and of the individual pursuit of happiness. Well at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, in occupied Palestine, men are routinely forced to cover their legs before they can enter the church. Here are two of the four or five I saw the other day being forced to drape. Just imagine if this practice spreads to the United States– where there are millions of practicing Christians who venerate this church as the alleged birthplace of Jesus.


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Avigdor Lieberman wants to use the ‘peace process’ to kick Palestinians out of Israel
Sep 20, 2010 01:23 pm | Adam Horowitz


And you wonder why Palestinians (and pretty much everyone else) are pessimistic towards the peace process? Avigdor Lieberman is trying to inject his loyalty oath campaign platform into the negotiations. From Haaretz:

The question of Israel’s citizens needs to be one of the central issues on the negotiating table, in light of the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state,” Lieberman said ahead of Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. . .

“We can’t continue to ignore issues like that of Hanin Zuabi, who identifies completely with the other side,” Lieberman said, , referring to an Israeli Arab member of Knesset was stripped of her parliamentary privileges after sailing aboard a pro-Palestinian aid convoy attacked by Israel en route to the Gaza Strip.

“It’s as if someone sells you a flat and then demands that his mother-in-law continues living there,” he said. “Any Israeli you takes pride in his citizenship should be able to serve in any post, but people like Hanin Zuabi should in my opinion be Palestinian citizens elected under Hamas in Gaza.”

In response to Lieberman’s remarks, Zuabi declared: “We [Israeli Arabs] represent the only possible democratic option, while Lieberman represents apartheid and ethnic cleansing.”

“Lieberman bases his claims on a doctrine of racism, while I base mine on the principle of full equality among citizens – but both of us agree that there needs to be a discussion on the question of Palestinians in Israel and how to classify the state in any negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians,” she added.

Lieberman is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly in New York later this month. He should receive an interesting reception.

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Sep 20, 2010

Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz


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Israel allocates over $2.4 million to promote tourism in the occupied territories

Sep 20, 2010


And other news from Today in Palestine:

Land and Property Theft and Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
Clinton renews US plea on settlements with one week to go (AFP)
AFP – With one week to go before Israel’s freeze on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank expires, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton renewed Sunday a US call for it to be extended.*
Lieberman: Freeze excuse to undermine talks
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Palestinian demand for an extension to Israel’s temporary moratorium on illegal settlement construction in the West Bank was an excuse used to undermine talks, Israeli media reported Saturday.  According to the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, Lieberman told his British counterpart William Hague over the weekend that Israel could not possibly extend the moratorium past its late-September deadline, despite US insistence that it should be prolonged so direct negotiations may progress.
Abbas says won’t negotiate ‘for single day’ if freeze ends (AFP)
AFP – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Monday he will not take part in US-backed peace talks “for a single day” if Israel does not extend a freeze on settlement building at the end of the month.*
PA official: Settlers harvest Palestinian olives
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers began harvesting Palestinian olives on Monday in the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya and Nablus, a Palestinian Authority official said.  Ghassan Doughlas, who heads the PA file on northern settlement activity, said settlers brought sheets and ladders “as though they were the owners of the land” and started harvesting the olives from Palestinian land.
Settlers uproot 100 grape trees east of Hebron
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Several Israeli settlers uprooted approximately 100 grape trees in the Al-Buera village in the southern West Bank district of Hebron on Monday, owners of the grape plantation said.  The plantation belongs to Abdul Rahman Sharif Sultan, said Syfian Sultan, who estimated damages caused to reach thousands of dollars. He said settlers vandalized six dunums worth of grape trees, some as old as 15 years.
Israeli high court stops mosque’s construction
RAMALLAH: A Palestinian official on Friday said that the Israeli High Court of Justice issued an immediate stop work order against builders of Al-Huda Mosque near the West Bank refugee camp of Al-Jalazoun, to the north of Ramallah.
Yediot: NIS 9 million for settlement “tourism”, including 2 million for “City of David” in Silwan, Didi Remez
The fact that these grants will fund highly politicized and inflammatory projects is best exemplified by the NIS 2 million slated for the “City of David” project in Silwan. This East Jerusalem settlement in the guise of an “archeological park” is at the cutting edge of efforts to insert Israelis in Palestinian communities around the Old City basin.
Israel Denies Gazans Access to Their Own Land and Waters, Stephen Lendman
Throughout 43 years of occupation, Israel has waged war on Palestinians’ human rights and civil liberties, a new UN report providing more evidence that keeps mounting exponentially, adding clarity about an out-of-control rogue state operating lawlessly.
Court rules selling land to Israel is capital offense
A Palestinian court in Jerusalem ruled Thursday that selling land to Israel was a capital offense., Judge Ta’et At-Twil ruled that the act of selling – or attempting to sell – land to a foreign country was a criminal offense which could result in the death penalty., Under the instruction of general attorney Ahmad Al-Mughni, the court issued the ruling as a consolidation of the previous legal principle, a statement from the prosecution said, adding that the ruling aimed to protect the Palestinian national project to establish an independent Palestinian state.
Freeze Lieberman, Akiva Eldar
The demand to suspend settlement building is no excuse – it’s as legitimate a position as the Palestinians can have. Why should they relinquish a condition that has the support of the entire world, with the sole exception of Israel?
Contesting Past and Present at Silwan, Joel Beinin
On September 1, Elad — a Hebrew acronym for “To the City of David” — convened its eleventh annual archaeological conference at the “City of David National Park” in the Wadi Hilwa neighborhood of Silwan. Silwan, home to about 45,000 people, is one of 28 Palestinian villages incorporated into East Jerusalem and annexed by Israel after the June 1967 war. It lies in a valley situated a short walk beyond the Dung Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City. Elad, a militant, religious, settler organization, claims that Silwan is the biblical City of David mentioned in the second book of Samuel and that the Pool of Shiloah (Siloam) located there watered King Solomon’s garden.
Put the settlements in your pocket, Adam Horowitz
Americans for Peace Now have just released a neat new app for the iPhone and iPad (Android on the way) called Facts on the Ground (link to iTunes). It includes their entire settlement database and information on each settlement.
Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment
3 protestors wounded in Bil’in protest in solidarity with the prisoners of the Popular Resistance
Sep 20, 2010– During the protest the participants raised Palestinian flags and pictures of the popular resistance prisoners.
The participants wore masks representing the prisoner Abdallah Abu Rahme, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King drawing similarities between global protests from history.
Nil’in places Palestine flag on Wall: Oppression won’t stop our struggle
Sep 20, 2010– On Friday, two demonstrators were wounded and dozens suffered teargas inhalation during the weekly protest in Ni’lin village, where a hundred of demonstrators gathered for the weekly protest against the Apartheid Wall and the settlements.
Report: Syrian aid ship en-route to Gaza Strip
A Syrian aid ship has set sail toward the Gaza Strip, according to a report by Palestinian news agency Maan. The Syrian Red Crescent reported that the ship, which is scheduled to arrive at the Strip after stopping at el-Arish port in Egypt, is carrying 650 tons of humanitarian aid for the Palestinians.,7340,L-3955820,00.html
Syrian Aid Ship Arrives In Al Arish Port
Lieutenant Hisham Al Janayni, assistant-director of Al Arish Port, stated that a Syrian aid ship heading to Gaza had arrived at Al Arish Port in Egypt on Sunday evening, and that the ship will be towed to the dock in order to be emptied under the supervision of the Red Crescent before the supplies are sent to Gaza by land.
Jewish Activists Organise Boat, Ready for Voyage to Gaza 
Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP), in cooperation with members of the German Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East, have organized a boat for Gaza.
Artery Of Life 5 Arrives In Paris
Sunday September 19, 2010 – 23:17, The “Artery of Life 5” solidarity convoy heading to the Gaza Strip to deliver humanitarian supplies, arrived in Paris on Sunday, and was welcomed by hundreds of French peace activists and Palestinians living in France.
Artery Of Life Starts Its Trip From London
Sunday September 19, 2010 – 07:42, The Artery Of Life 5 solidarity flotilla had officially kicked of its trip to the Gaza Strip to deliver humanitarian supplies and challenge Israel’s 4-year old illegal siege on the coastal region.
The Importance Of The International Solidarity, Eyad Burnat
As the Nonviolence Resistance in Palestine is growing, I believe the international solidarity is one of the most important components of our struggle against the occupation.  The presence of the international supporters in Palestine is very importance especially in the nonviolent protests like those in Bil’in, Nil’in, Al Ma’ssara, and Al Nabi Saleh villages; those supporters help in deescalating the violence used by the Israeli military during those weekly actions. They are also our ambassadors to the world, they transmit the full picture of what is happening here to their home countries though there presence and cameras.
Harvard students: Peretz invitation ‘lends legitimacy and respectability to views that can only be described as abhorrent and racist’
Le Moyne students hear Finkelstein despite calls to cancel lecture, Ira Glunts
A small group of faculty members convinced Le Moyne College officials to permit Norman Finkelstein to lecture at their school, despite an organized campaign to persuade Le Moyne to cancel the event. The week before Finkelstein was scheduled to appear, a number of local Rabbis, a high ranking member of the New York State Catholic hierarchy, and other prominent community members contacted the school to request that the event be called off.
Israeli representative attempts to influence local co-op board decision, Adam Horowitz
The following press release was sent out by the Jefferson County BDS Committee:  A proposed boycott of products at a food co-op in Port Townsend prompted a visit from the Israeli Deputy Consul General for the Pacific Northwest.  Five member/owners of the Port Townsend Food Co-op presented a proposal to co-op board of directors asking the store to pull seven products from its shelves until Israel complies with U.N. decisions regarding occupied territories and lifts both the siege on Gaza and apartheid on Palestinians. Proponents of the boycott have gathered hundreds of signatures in support of the proposal.  Gideon Lustig, Israeli deputy consul general, flew from San Francisco to travel to Port Townsend, Washington, a rural town with a population of 8,000, located near the Canadian border. Lustig spoke at a public presentation arranged by “Stand With Us”, a Seattle lobbying group. Lustig also attempted to hold a secret meeting with the Food Co-op board of directors.
France’s “justice” persecutes BDS
On 29th October, representatives of CAPJPO Europpalestine, a French BDS group, are to appear in a French court in Paris, to answer charges that publishing the above video of a BDS action that took place in July 2009 at a Carrefour supermarket in Avry, constituted an “offense of incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence against a group of people on account of their belonging to the Israeli nation.”  The plaintiff, the “National Bureau of vigilance against antisemitism (because, naturally, according to antisemites and fake “vigilantes against antisemitism” alike, to speak against Israel is to attack Jews for being Jewish), is looking for opportunities to promote repression of Palestine solidarity activism, and the French state is more than happy to oblige. Europalestine was chosen out either randomly or out of convenience. As a matter of fact, the action was sponsored by a long list of organizations, including a Jewish group (IJAN) and a national political party (the New Anti-Capitalist Party), both of which it would probably be counter-productive for the Zionists to attack in court.
The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian/Restriction of Movement/Human Rights/Racism
Industrial Fuel – Needs Vs. Supply –Aug 22 –Sep 18
Goods – Needs Vs. Supply – Aug 22 – Sep 18
Israel denying PLC member access to hospital
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities are preventing a sick Palestinian lawmaker from accessing health care, a former European parliamentarian said Monday.  Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar was advised by doctors to undergo urgent brain scans more than two months ago, after tests at a Ramallah hospital revealed concerning results, former European Parliament vice president Luisa Morgantini said.

Israel to allow 20 cars into Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israel will permit the entry of private vehicles into Gaza on Monday for the first time since 2007, a Palestinian crossing official said. Raed Fattouh said 20 cars will enter the Strip, as well as oil, spare parts and rubber tires. Israel has slowly allowed the entry of car parts and oil for the first time in four years over the past week.
Gaza: The Enduring Siege
Much attention has been paid to Israel’s “easing” of its siege of Gaza in early July 2010. Palestinians in Gaza now have access to previously banned items like pasta and chocolate.
A few scenes from the occupation, Philip Weiss
I go through the Qalandiya checkpoint, the dispiriting checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem, famous for its galvanized-steel cattle chutes and gates. I am with a dozen other people lined up behind a turnstile that the guards control– they let a few people at a time into the inspection zone. A Palestinian woman is stopped at the front, and her son has been let through. He is about eight, and frightened. He can’t get his papers right and the soldier behind the glass keeps yelling at him and he keeps looking to his mother, who is locked in the turnstile. Men in line call out to let the woman through. At last she is let through to take care of her son.
* Violence/Aggression & Provocations

Medics: Gaza resident injured by Israeli fire
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A Palestinian was injured on Sunday when Israeli forces opened fire while he collected aggregate near the border area in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza, medical sources told Ma’an.  The source said Nader Ghubun, 23, was injured in his right leg during the incident and was transferred to the Kamal Adwan Hospital.
Israeli Troops Invade Bil’in And Clash With Local Youth
Bil’in – PNN – an Israeli army force invaded on Monday midday the village of Bil’in in central West Bank and clashed with local youth.  Israeli troops stormed a number of homes and tried to arrest local youth, during the search campaign, soldiers fired tear gas at local youth who responded by hurling stones at the soldiers.  At least a dozen civilians suffered effects of tear gas inhalation and were treated locally, witnesses reported.
Border guards chase Palestinian workers near Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli Border Guards patrolling the area between Jerusalem and Bethlehem chased a car of Palestinian workers on Sunday morning entering Israel by the Tsur Hadassah area, an Israeli source said.  The source said during the chase, the Israeli military vehicle hit the Palestinian car, injuring two officers. Six Palestinians were detained and the car was impounded, the source added.
Some Killing More ‘Moral’ Than Other, Mel Frykberg
Controversy is building up over a 91-year-old man, his 17-year-old grandson and a 20-year-old neighbour, all farmers, who were killed by Israeli shelling and gunfire as they tried to tend their land 700 metres from northern Gaza’s border with Israel.
IDF finally admits its three victims were civilians, David Samel
It cannot be much of a surprise to anyone with half a brain, but it’s now official. The 91-year-old Ibrahim Abu Sayed, his grandson Hossam and young family friend Ismail Abu Oda, who were blown away by Israeli tank shells in Gaza on September 12, were not terrorists after all. Even the IDF now admits it, although of course it still insists that these deaths were not the fault of the killers themselves. It was Hamas, and an imprudent, virtually suicidal gesture on the part of one of the victims, that are to blame. According to Ha’aretz: “Soldiers manning one of the IDF’s permanent lookout posts noticed three men on agricultural land at the edge of the no-go zone that the military imposes along the border fence. One of them, apparently the 21-year-old, was seen lifting a loaded rocket-propelled-grenade launcher, and seemingly aiming it at the border fence and in the general direction of an IDF patrol. The force commanders estimated the man was a terrorist preparing to fire the rocket, and an IDF tank opened fire on the group, killing all three.”
* Detainees

IOF troops detain 5 demonstrators including journalist
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) quelled on Saturday the Beit Ummar, Al-Khalil district, weekly march protesting the confiscation of the village land to build the separation wall.  [Hamas website, may not be accessible to all]
Israeli army abducts citizens from Jenin
Israeli military abducted three citizens from the villages of Jaba and Seelit Aad-Dahr, and invaded the northern West Bank city of Jenin Monday morning.

Israeli Army Abducts Citizens From Jenin

Lawyer: Detainees at Huwara prison suffer malnutrition, food poisoning
SALFIT (Ma’an) — Palestinian detainees held in Israeli detention are suffering from food poisoning and malnutrition, a human rights lawyer said Sunday. Ahmad Tubasi said the administration of Huwara detention center does not provide sufficient food, and often just an egg and yoghurt is provided. The food is often rotten, he added.
Soldiers Break Into Ramon Prison, Attack Detainees
The Ahrar Center for Detainees’ Studies And Human Rights reported that Israeli soldiers broke, on Sunday at night, into the Ramon prison and attacked dozens of detainees; clashes were reported following the attack.
* Israel’s Arab Helpers

Hamas: PA detains 20 affiliates
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Hamas accused Palestinian Authority forces of detaining 20 party affiliates across the West Bank overnight, a statement issued Monday read. The Islamist movement said the PA Preventive Security Services has “escalated” its detention campaign against party members and supporters in the West Bank since it claimed responsibility for the killing of four Israeli settlers on 31 August.
PA’s militias kidnap Hamas official Abu Eida
The Palestinian Authority’s security militias kidnapped on Sunday senior Hamas leader Wajih Abu Eida in Nablus city despite his suffering from several chronic diseases.  [Hamas website, may not be accessible to all]
Sudanese Migrant Killed, Three Wounded By Egyptian Border Police Fire
Sunday September 19, 2010 – 03:43, Egyptian medical sources reported Saturday that a Sudanese man was killed and three others were wounded by Egyptian Border Police Fire while trying tin infiltrate into Israel to seek work.
* “Peace” Talks/Political Developments

Hamas: We told U.S. in the past that we would accept Palestinian state along 1967 borders
In semi-annual report cited by Israel Radio, the militant group also says it asked the U.S. to engage in dialogue and to lift veto on reconciliation efforts with Fatah.
Obama responds to Palestinian petition
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — US President Barack Obama responded to a petition Sunday signed by Palestinians calling for an end to the Israeli occupation and support for Palestinian self-determination.  The letter was delivered to Sabri Seiydem, who coordinated the campaign, via the US Consulate in East Jerusalem. The letter was signed on behalf of the president by US Secretary of State assistant Jeffrey Feltman.
* Other News

Barak: US will supply Israel with bunker busters
Defense minister to meet with top US security officials in DC; Jerusalem believes Washington will agree to supply Israel with advanced cruise missiles, bombs designed to penetrate underground facilities.,7340,L-3956902,00.html
Olmert: US was ready to absorb 100,000 Palestinian refugees
Former prime minister also says he “wrote things as they were” in his autobiography regarding Barak’s desire to join Kadima; Defense secretary slams remarks as “pathetic, not deserving of reaction.”
Turkish president won’t meet Peres
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Monday he would not be meeting with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres in New York due to a tight schedule, Turkish media reported.  On Sunday, reports suggested the presidents would meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, marking the first official meeting between Gul and Peres since Israel raided a Turkish-flagged aid vessel in international water in May, killing nine Turkish nationals on board.
How dozens of Israeli Arab ‘espionage’ arrests ended in minor convictions
Attorney describes legal clause on contact with agents as ‘a trap’ that turns any interaction with an Arab from an enemy state into a criminal offense.
Israeli official: We’ll sell arms to Russia’s enemies
Jerusalem angered at sale of Russian cruising missiles to Syria, calls it ‘prize for extremist states’.,7340,L-3956186,00.html
Israeli universities dropped from list of top 200 in world
Haaretz learns that most Israeli universities were not on the list because they failed to respond to repeated requests for information, including on faculty and students.
Deri: Freeze made Ovadia curse Abbas
Former minister Aryeh Deri explains controversial words of Shas spiritual leader who wished death on Palestinian president, Palestinian nation. ‘He’s very sensitive,’ disgraced leader says.,7340,L-3956798,00.html
Nuclear museum to open in Beersheba
Not a word on Israel’s alleged nuclear program in center aimed at teaching kids about atomic energy.,7340,L-3956349,00.html
Arafat’s companion dies at 105
NABLUS (Ma’an) — The close friend and companion of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died on Monday at the age of 105 in his native village of Bita in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, his family announced.  Hajj Mussa Salama Jaber Duweikat fought in several battles leading up to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, including the Battle of Beit Furik.  He was detained several times by British forces in Mandatory Palestine and later by Israel. In 1999, he was barred from leaving the occupied Palestinian territories.  Duweikat is survived by 12 children and 150 grandchildren.
* Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest

Murder by way of national insanity, Hatim Kanaaneh
Here was a most capable pair of Palestinian lawyers bearing down with full force on a series of witnesses representing the best Israel could produce in its defense, formerly in the face of the intruding ISM and now to counter the petty claims of a sad family set on discrediting ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ and its valiant soldiers, members of the ‘most moral army in the world.’ I had seen and heard of innumerable cases where again and again the Israeli judicial system squeezes Palestinian defendants literally lifeless. But here I was witnessing the reverse process: Palestinians pressing proud Israelis, former and current members of Israel’s proud and mighty field units, into a state of denial, meekness, confusion and regression.
It’s not about cultural merit, Anees of Jerusalem
In yesterday’s Ha’aretz, Gideon Levy argues for the abandonment/removal of Israel’s illegal settlements from an uncommon standpoint: He lambasts the settlements, as civic/economic/aesthetic entities, for their lack of contribution to the betterment of Israeli society, and says that this ‘uselessness’ is why we need to stop the settlement project.  While I agree with much of what it says, I really don’t like this Gideon Levy piece—even though I get that he could just be trying to persuade Israeli society to oppose settlements using a new rationale. But to argue merit through cultural achievement is a rotten game. As a Palestinian, this makes me easily recall how Israelis often use the supposed cultural/industrial inferiority of “the Arabs”—How many Arab Nobel laureates are there compared to Jewish, they propose—to soothe their guilt for what Israel has done to Palestinians. (By the way I sense, through his writings, that even the leftist Israeli Uri Avnery is guilty of this.)
What Would Recognition Of A Jewish State Achieve?
The talks which only America wanted have already run aground on a seemingly trivial issue relative to the core problems of borders, settlements and Jerusalem. The inertia and outright hostility on this point speaks broadly of a lack of faith shared by both parties for this road so travelled. Resentment at being shoehorned into photo opportunities for Hillary Clinton can be divined from high level dissenting talk. Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai declared himself “very sceptical” at the outset. Palestinian Authority (PA) Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat has made plain his willingness to walk away from the table.
How Israel views its public relations problem, Adam Horowitz
This ad is currently running on Haaretz for a new website set up by the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs.
Peace Talks? What’s on TV?
ROGER COHEN – IHT – “Question: What kind of government has its prime minister and foreign minister on different planets, spans secular-Labor to rightist-religious parties, and talks of peace within a year as it calls peace impossible for generations?”
In West Bank, corruption-busting teenagers shake up local government
While Israeli-Palestinian talks aim for Palestinian statehood, a devoted band of educators is grooming the rising generation to be citizens of a vibrant democracy.
Something is Rotten in This State, Too, Joharah Baker for MIFTAH
Most people involved or interested in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are currently focused – and rightly so – on newly started up direct talks between the two parties. However, as appealing as these negotiations may seem to be and regardless of whether they fail or succeed in the end, there are other just as important issues pressing on the Palestinians right here at home. If these “pressing issues” are not solved internally, not even a peace settlement will calm the fires of dissent slowly burning within.
One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State
I think there’s a degree of wishful thinking in the positive reaction from some pro-Palestinian one-staters to recent suggestions by a few Israeli rightists that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be resolved by gradually offering citizenship of a Jewish state of Israel to some of the Palestinians of the Occupied Territories. The wishful thinking lies in the assumption that “we” are talking about one state, and “they” are talking about one state, so regardless of the differences in the details we’re all to some extent reading off the same page.I don’t think there’s any basis to that assumption at all. What the Likud’s apparent “converts” mean by the one state solution is that there will be no Palestinian state, only an expanded Jewish state encompassing Israel and the West Bank. Some of the West Bank Palestinians may be granted citizenship in the Jewish state, so long as they formally accept Zionist supremacy and don’t expect to become citizens in the sort of numbers that would make them a “demographic threat” to Zionist rule. Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip and its inhabitants can fulfill Yitzhak Rabin’s dearest wish, and sink into the sea.
Salem Music Center: 3-Year Plan
The Salem Music Center is a venture developing gradually thanks to the ongoing cooperation between its local Palestinian initiators, from the village of Salem near Nablus, the Israeli volunteers of the Villages Group, and donors from Israel and abroad (especially from Australia and the U.S).
* Lebanon

Hizbullah units successfully test new Iranian missile – report
BEIRUT: Special Hizbullah units in Iran have successfully launched and tested a new Iranian missile “Fatah 110,” according to a report by Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai. The report, which was carried by Israel’s Channel 2 and Jerusalem Post, was also posted on the website of Hizbullah’s Al-Manar television.
Hezbollah slams western-backed faction over killing of HaririBEIRUT, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) — Lebanese Shiite armed group Hezbollah slammed the western-backed Future Movement on “false witnesses” over the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.  Hezbollah’s spokesperson Ibrahim Moussawi said in a statement issued on Sunday that the Future Movement, through its recently adopted stands, is practicing a forgery operation of the largest scale in Lebanon’s modern history.  The Future Movement is also practicing “coup d’etat” against the state’s institutions from within, through exploiting them to its own total benefit and administering the country in a rather chaotic manner, he said.
Hezbollah Rejects Mustaqbal’s Sectarian Rhetoric as Shameful
18/09/2010 Suddenly and without prior notice, the sectarian rhetoric found its way in the Lebanese political scene… Despite its known sectarian color, Hezbollah backs the man who’s threatening the leader of the Sunnites in Lebanon,” Future Movement MP Ammar Houri said on Friday, in one of the most suspicious statements made so far.  The “blue” MP was commenting on the statement made by Hezbollah in which it condemned State Prosecutor Said Mirza’s request to summon former General Security Chief Jamil as-Sayyed, saying that the request was “political par excellence,” and calling on authorities to back down this judiciary decision.
Sayyed to Hariri: Criminals around You Must Be Held Accountable
18/09/2010 On Saturday, Lebanese delivered again a clear message to their state and judiciary… They believed the judicial decision to summon former General Security chief Jamil as-Sayyed following his latest press conference was illogical.  Instead of examining the accuracy of his dangerous revelations, the “judiciary” chose to “summon” him, simply because he “threatened” the state, the Prime Minister and the judiciary.  A man who was unfairly put in jail for four years in the file number one in Lebanon, the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, has no right to express himself. Perhaps, he might have no right to reject his political detention and should thank God his arbitrary arrest saw an end, after four years of injustice.
Indicted Johnny Abdo entered Lebanon secretly, and was ‘escorted’ by Saad Hariri’s ‘security contingent’…
Just a reminder: Johnny Abdo was indicted in absentia by a court in Lebanon for slandering the President, and yet he flew to Beirut a couple of weeks ago, did not go through any immigration control or else at the airport, and was escorted by Hariri’s men under the cloak of night .. Jamil Assayed is accused of attacking Lebanon’s prime minister (who is himself in absentia) …
Lebanon general decries judiciary
Former general Jamil al-Sayyed says he would respond to court summon only if Lebanon’s judiciary is ‘de-politicised.’
Aoun: We Aren’t Leading a Coup but Intellectual Revolution on Corruption
20/09/2010 Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) leader MP General Michel Aoun denied on Saturday that he, along with his allies, were carrying out a coup in the country but trying to bring back some apparatuses to the legitimacy and preserve the rights of the people. “We are carrying out an intellectual revolution against corruption,” Aoun said.  In an interview with al-Jazeera network Saturday night, Aoun added, “It is a political revolution against corruption, breaking laws and abusing human rights. We live under illegal systems that we don’t know how they were found, what their missions are or who gives them the directions.”  The FPM leader reiterated his call for forming a parliamentary investigation committee to examine the actions of Attorney General Said Mirza, Internal Security Forces (ISF) Director General Achraf Rifi, and ISF-Information Branch head Major Wissam al-Hassan, and added that he is supporting former General Security chief Jamil as-Sayyed’s case because Sayyed was falsely accused; however, “unfortunately, the false witnesses have immunity.” 
“Mustaqbal Performing Biggest Fraud Operation in Lebanon’s Modern History”
20/09/2010 Hezbollah Media Relations Officer Dr. Ibrahim Moussawi on Sunday accused the Future Movement (Mustaqbal) of “performing the biggest fraud operation in Lebanon’s modern history.”  Moussawi slammed the “latest stances voiced by some of its (Mustaqbal) leaders,” saying the movement was “staging a coup against state institutions, from the inside, through fully taking advantage of them to serve its interests and run the country as if it was a abandoned farm.”  Dr. Moussawi added, “The most dangerous thing is the acts of some of this movement’s symbols who are charging the atmospheres with sectarian tension through dragging the country into the rhetoric of sectarian strife – by classifying political stances according to sectarian basis, and by describing any stance that opposes the premier as opposition against its sect.”
State fails to secure bedouin adequate equal healthcare
BEIRUT: The nation’s 100,000 to 150,000 estimated bedouin are not receiving adequate medical access and are discriminated against by primary healthcare providers, a EU-backed project has concluded.  The lack of citizenship papers, an overall exclusion, and the near total lack of official policy planning for bedouin healthcare were the most significant problems, findings from the “Bedouin Health Project” have shown.  The three-year study, now concluding its final phase, has been jointly operated by the American University of Beirut and Oxford University and is primarily focused on assessing reproductive and child health care delivery in bedouin villages in central Bekaa.
* Iraq

Sunday: 56 Iraqis killed, 171 Wounded
Updated at 8:22 p.m. EDT, Sept. 19, 2010 An unusually quiet Saturday was followed by a very bloody Sunday in which at least 56 Iraqis were killed and 171 more were wounded. Baghdad again received most of the violence, for which a member of the Iraqi National Alliance blamed al-Qaeda and the political vacuum. Underscoring the unreliability of news accounts from Iraq since many international reporters left, a couple of the attacks that occurred yesterday went unreported until today and Mosul saw very little violence.
Iraq: Civilian shot down by gunmen fire in Mosul
A civilian man was killed by gunmen fire in eastern Mosul city on Saturday, a source from Ninewa police said.
Iraq arrests suspect responsible for recruiting suicide bombers
Joint security forces arrested a suspect responsible for recruiting Al Qaeda suicide bombers and four of his aides. An ammunition cache including explosives belts and high explosive materials was found as well during a security operation in northeastern Fallujah.
Post-U.S. invasion economic strategy ‘complete shambles’, says Iraq Central Bank official
The years since the 2003-U.S. invasion of Iraq have done more harm than good to Iraq’s economy, a senior Central Bank official says.  “One of the reasons for the failure of the economic administration in the past seven years is the misuse of the resources which the country owns,” said Mudher Saleh, the bank’s official consultant.  He said there was imbalance and mismatch in Iraq’s economy with the state in control of 80 percent of the country’s riches and other sectors the remaining 20 percent.  “This mechanism cannot achieve any economic feasibility and therefore its unproductive and doomed to failure .. it is  a complete shambles,” Saleh said.\2010-09-19\kurd.htm
Iraqi Kurds refuse to cooperate with Oil Ministry on oil exports
Iraqi Kurds have not delivered on promises to ship 100,000 barrels of oil a day to the outside world through Iraqi national pipeline network, the Oil Ministry said.  The ministry’s spokesman, Assem Jihad, said the sides had reached an agreement under which the Kurds would have pumped the volume for exports.  “The Ministry of Natural Resources in the (Kurdish) region has exhibited no sign of cooperation so far. It has not supplied us with 100,000 barrels we had agreed to be exported to the outside world,” Jihad said.  The agreement was that the proceeds from oil exports originating in the Kurdish region would go to central government coffers.\2010-09-17\kurd.htm

“New Order, Same Abuses”: Amnesty Condemns Iraq for Holding 30,000 Prisoners Without Trial
Amnesty International is condemning Iraq for holding an estimated 30,000 prisoners without trial, including 10,000 prisoners who were recently transferred from US custody. In a new report, Amnesty documents that Iraqi prisoners are being arbitrarily detained and often beaten to obtain forced confessions.
Iraqi Refugee Describes Torture, Imprisonment of Husband Who Returned to Iraq to Free Jailed Son
Rabiha al Qassab, a British Iraqi woman who lives in London, describes the harrowing story of her husband, Ramze Shihab Ahmed. Having fled in 1998 after being accused of trying to overthrow Saddam Hussein, Ramze returned to Iraq last year to get his son out of prison. He, too, was arrested and was tortured. Like 30,000 other Iraqis, he and his son are being held without charge.
Iraq finds missing artifacts in premier’s storage (AP)
AP – More than 600 ancient artifacts that were smuggled out of Iraq, recovered and lost again have been found misplaced among kitchen supplies in storage at the prime minister’s office, the antiquities minister said Monday.*
Iraq war saga: A Baghdad family cherishes good grades, dreams of an Xbox (The Christian Science Monitor)
The Christian Science Monitor – After years of study, sacrifice, and sleepless preparation, the two graduating girls of the Methboub family in Baghdad both held their breath this summer for the results.*
Syrian-Iraqi relations start to thaw
Ties between Damascus and Baghdad are warming after the deep freeze when Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki blamed Iraqi Ba’athists in Syria for last summer’s triple attacks in Baghdad. Maliki realizes he needs Syria’s support to hammer out alliances vital to his ability to retain power after indecisive elections in March. The rapprochement doesn’t mean he has been fully forgiven. – Sami Moubayed
* Iran

Ahmadinejad: Iran economy isn’t suffering from West’s sanctions
Iranian President tells American television that Iran has ‘no problem’ with sanctions, and insists that the country is actually benefiting from them.
Ahmadinejad Wants Release of Iranians Held in U.S.
New York Times 19 Sep 2010 – As a hiker held in Iran for 13 months arrived in the United States, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran said that the United States, as “a humanitarian gesture,” should now release eight Iranians.
Poll: Vast majority opposes attack on Iran
Two-thirds want US to be neutral in Israeli-Palestinian conflict Americans increasingly accept torture, survey finds Fewer than one in five Americans would support a US military strike on Iran if the Middle Eastern country continued to pursue its nuclear program in the face of international sanctions, a new poll indicates.
Jail sentence for Iran activist
Shiva Nazar Ahari sentenced to six years in prison for plotting crimes against state and waging war against God.
Journalist jailed in Iran speaks
Like two Americans who remain incarcerated in Iran on spying charges, the journalist Roxana Saberi knows what it is like to be stuck in an Iranian jail. The freelance reporter was imprisoned last year on espionage charges, but she was later released. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, Americans who say they were hikers, are still in an Iranian jail on spying charges. Sarah Shourd, a third American woman who was traveling with them, was just released. In a studio interview with Al Jazeera, Roxana Saberi discusses prison, journalism and naïveté.
Reality Check: Iran is Not a Nuclear Threat, Scott Horton
Forget the neoconservative hype. The facts show Iran is not and has not been a nuclear threat to either the United States or Israel.
* U.S. and Other World News

Army: U.S. Soldiers Killed Afghan Civilians For Sport, Dismembered Bodies
According to charging documents, the unprovoked, fatal attack on Jan. 15 was the start of a months-long shooting spree against Afghan civilians that resulted in some of the grisliest allegations against American soldiers since the U.S. invasion in 2001. Members of the platoon have been charged with dismembering and photographing corpses, as well as hoarding a skull and other human bones.
Afghans scrub fingers clean to cast extra votes
One voting station in the capital Kabul, suspected frauds included three middle-aged women who turned up to vote with the registration cards of women half their age. Three more had real voting cards but couldn’t give the names printed on them.
Inside Story – Afghanistan: Credible elections?
Votes are being counted in Afghanistan after the country held its parliamentary elections over the weekend. But do Afghanistan’s people believe in democracy?
Kuwait bans public gatherings to curb Shiite-Sunni tensions
KUWAIT CITY: The Gulf state of Kuwait on Sunday banned public gatherings in a bid to contain rising tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims over inflammatory remarks by a Shiite activist in self-imposed exile.
Bahrain revokes citizenship of top Shiite cleric
BAGHDAD — Bahrain stripped a powerful Shiite cleric with close ties to Iraq of his citizenship as authorities Monday widened a crackdown against alleged dissidents ahead of next month’s elections in the tiny Gulf nation.  The move against Ayatollah Hussein al-Najati — the Bahraini representative of Iraq’s most powerful Shiite figure — shows the increasingly hard line by the island kingdom’s Sunni leadership against the majority Shiites, who have religious and cultural ties to both Iraq and Iran.
Bedouins cry foul in Egypt
Egyptian Bedouins in the Sinai Peninsula lead a traditional lifestyle not far from the bustling holiday resorts that are being developed in south of the country. The Bedouins say that they have been increasingly marginalised from the development projects as the Egyptian government denied them their share of profits from the country’s lucrative tourism industry. They also claim that the authorities employ excessive force against them, saying that between 1,000 and 3,000 Bedouins are held in Egyptian jails. Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin reports from the Sinai Peninsula.
The oil weapon for another war, As’ad Abukhalil
Khalid kindly translated per my suggestion the article by comrade Fawwaz about the Saudi arms deal:  “Saudi Arabia has announced the “Deal of the century” to buy American “F-15s”, and around 150 Military Choppers at the time when the negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians had taken place. The timing between the two events could have been a coincidence, but it’s a coincidence that does not abandon the significant evidence of the new forming relationship between Arab Oil, Israel, and the Palestinian cause.  The United States is the biggest Arms dealer in the world, its arms Industry is the umbilical cord that feeds its economy. And the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the biggest client for the American Weaponry. Its military expenditure has reached $11.2bn in the years of 2005 and 2008. Its not confidential that the purchases of Oil producing countries of American arms, as well as operating trillions of dollars in the purchase of American Treasury Bonds like the private sector, has played an important role in reducing the commercial imbalance between Saudi and the US. Beside that, it should be added that the role of this Aero-Deal (And another Navy-Deal which could follow) would compensate a good percentage of the Trillionic’ Military Expenditure which the US has spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan & “International Terrorism”
Professor AbuKhalil: “The shift from a unipolar US world to a multipolar world is overstated”
As’ad AbuKhalil, or Angry Arab, as he is more commonly known after his blog The Angry Arab News Service is in real life, a most friendly, and forthcoming man.  The Lebanese-born author of four books on the Middle East, he is professor of Political Science at California State University, and is visiting professor at UC Berkeley.  Rather rare among American academics he is openly and adamantly critical of US foreign policy, so-called, moderate Arab regimes, such as Mubarak’s Egypt and the Kingdoms of Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and of the state of Israel. At the same time, the resistance axis is never safe from his biting criticism either.
Translation of “Arab Lobby,” As’ad Abukhalil’s appearance on Min Washington
First Bush’s Torturers — Now Obama’s Assassins
Uruknet September 19, 2010 – Many thought that the Obama White House would take a very different stance on the overt and systematic violation of human rights which had become infamous policy in the US “war on terror” under G.W. Bush. Instead, aside from a cosmetic banning of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and an unfulfilled pledge to close the notorious Guantanamo.
The “Obscenity” of Comparing Americans to “Killers and Terrorists”, Glenn Greenwald
The nature of tribalism is that one always thinks their side is better and the other side worse, and that comparisons between the two sides (or even equal application of standards to each) is deeply unfair and offensive (“moral relativism”).
Burning and Building, RICHARD PHELPS
Should a building that isn’t a mosque be built on a site that isn’t all that near to where the Twin Towers once stood? Should a pastor of a church that no-one had ever heard of until recently be allowed to burn some books that he himself can’t read, but that folk he has never met often do read? As the frenzy of the past week quietens, this is not yet another article concerning either case. For herein lies the precisely the point: what could possibly be said regarding either case that was not obvious right from the beginning? This is about propaganda and distraction.

Legendary British Author John le Carré on Why He Won’t Be Reading Tony Blair’s Iraq War-Defending Memoir
David Cornwell, the legendary British novelist who writes under the name John le Carré, joins us in London. A former British spy, his books include The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and The Constant Gardener. On the heels of the publication of British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Iraq war-defending memoir A Journey, le Carré explains why he refused to interview Blair and why he won’t be reading his memoir. [includes rush transcript]

American public opinion and the special relationship with Israel

Sep 20, 2010 

John Mearsheimer

There is no question that the United States has a relationship with Israel that has no parallel in modern history. Washington gives Israel consistent, almost unconditional diplomatic backing and more foreign aid than any other country. In other words, Israel gets this aid even when it does things that the United States opposes, like building settlements. Furthermore, Israel is rarely criticized by American officials and certainly not by anyone who aspires to high office. Recall what happened last year to Charles Freeman, who was forced to withdraw as head of the National Intelligence Council because he had criticized certain Israeli policies and questioned the merits of the special relationship.

Steve Walt and I argue that there is no good strategic or moral rationale for this special relationship, and that it is largely due to the enormous influence of the Israel lobby. Critics of our claim maintain that the extremely tight bond between the two countries is the result of the fact that most Americans feel a special attachment to Israel. The American people, so the argument goes, are so deeply committed to supporting Israel generously and unreservedly that politicians of all persuasions have no choice but to support the special relationship. 

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs has just released a major study of how the American public thinks about foreign policy. It is based on a survey of 2500 Americans, who were asked a wide variety of questions, some of which have bearing on Israel. Their answers make clear that most Americans are not deeply committed to Israel in any meaningful way. There is no love affair between the American people and Israel.

This is not to say that they are hostile to Israel, because they are not. But there is no evidence to support the claim that Americans feel a bond with Israel that is so strong that it leaves their leaders with little choice but to forge a special relationship with Israel. If anything the evidence indicates that if the American people had their way, the United States would treat Israel like a normal country, much the way it treats other democracies like Britain, Germany, India, and Japan.

Consider some of the study’s main findings:

“Contrary to the long-standing, official U.S. position, fewer than half of Americans show a readiness to defend Israel even against an unprovoked attack by a neighbor. Asked whether they would favor using U.S. troops in the event that Israel were attacked by a neighbor, only 47 percent say they would favor doing so, while 50 percent say they would oppose it …This question was also asked with a slightly different wording in surveys from 1990 to 2004 (if Arab forces invaded Israel). In none of these surveys was there majority support for an implicitly unilateral use of U.S. troops.”

Americans “also appear to be very wary of being dragged into a conflict prompted by an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. In this survey, conducted in June 2010, a clear majority of Americans (56%) say that if Israel were to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, Iran were to retaliate against Israel, and the two were to go to war, the United States should not bring its military forces into the war on the side of Israel and against Iran”

“While Americans have strongly negative feelings toward the Palestinian Authority … a strong majority of Americans (66%) prefer to ‘not take either side’ in the conflict.”

“There is some tangible worry regarding the direction of relations with Israel. Although 44 per-cent say that relations with Israel are “staying about the same,” a very high 38 percent think relations are ‘worsening,’ and only 12 percent think they are ‘improving’.”

“Americans are not in favor of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, a major sticking point in the conflict, with 62 percent saying Israel ‘should not build’ these settlements.”

Finally, only 33 percent of those surveyed feel that Israel is “very important” to the United States, while 41 percent said it was “somewhat important.” It is also worth noting that on the list of countries that were said to be “very important” to the United States, Israel ranked fifth behind China, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. Of course, all of those countries have a normal relationship with the United States, not a special relationship like the one Israel has with Washington. 

The data in the Chicago Council’s study is consistent with the data that Steve and I presented in our book and in countless public talks. The story remains the same.

The bottom line is that the lobby is largely responsible for America’s special relationship with Israel, which is harmful to both countries. Alan Dershowitz was spot on when he said, “My generation of Jews … became part of what is perhaps the most effective lobbying and fund-raising effort in the history of democracy.” 

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True talk on the Israeli siege of Gaza

Sep 20, 2010


In advance of tomorrow’s meeting of the Ad-hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) for assistance to the Palestinians, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) released a report detailing steps taken to improve Gaza’s economy pursuant to a June 20, 2010 Israeli Cabinet decision to “ease” the closure. We analyze what is true and what would be more true about the MFA report.

True: “Traffic has increased significantly. The number of trucks coordinated with the PA normally reaches the current maximum capacity of 250 trucks a day”.

More True: While the volume of trucks has increased, it was still at just 38% of demand in the last month, due to Israel’s refusal to re-open crossings it has closed since 2007.

True: “Real GDP growth in the first half of 2010 (compared to the first half of 2009) is estimated by the IMF at 9 percent for the West Bank and 16 percent for Gaza”.

More true: The IMF report points out that growth is reflected in part because the first half of 2009, which included the military operation “Cast Lead” and its aftermath, represents a very low base or point of comparison. GDP per capita for Gaza is still 40% less than it was in 1994 and has yet to recover to 2007 levels, due to an apparently ongoing Israeli policy of “economic warfare”, including a ban on exports. The IMF has noted that true and sustainable economic recovery requires lifting the ban on exports and removing remaining restrictions on entrance of raw materials.

True: “Growth in the field of construction reached more than 20% in the first quarter of 2010 (in comparison to the parallel quarter in 2009)”.

More true: The parallel quarter in 2009 included the military operation “Cast Lead”, in which buildings were still being actively destroyed by the Israeli military. Due to onerous approval requirements and limited capacity of the crossings, just 132 truckloads of cement and gravel have entered Gaza since the “easing”, even though tens of thousands are needed. The UN notes, at this rate, it would take approximately 75 years to bring in the materials needed for UNRWA’s reconstruction plan.

True: “A number of projects have already been fully implemented or are currently underway. These projects include… Delivery of containers to serve as classrooms, a UN project”.

More True: Children in UNRWA schools attend classes in the aforementioned shipping containers, because despite the “easing”, Israel has yet to approve entry of a single truckload of construction materials for the 100 new schools UNRWA has requested to build.

True: “In July … a total of 2,457 exit permits were granted [to leave the Gaza Strip]”.

More true: This is less than 1% of the number of exits in Sept. 2000, before Israel imposed tight restrictions. Israel has announced that “[the easing] does nothing to expand the criteria [for travel]”.

For Gisha’s information sheet on the changes in the closure policy since the June 2010 cabinet decision, see: Unraveling the Closure of Gaza.

For weekly information about Gaza’s crossings, see

TIAA-CREF CEO confronted on investments supporting the occupation

Sep 20, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

UMass Boston faculty, staff and students bring the issue of divestment to TIAA-CREF CEO Roger Ferguson. This is part of an ongoing campaign to get the investment fund to divest from companies that arm, and profit from, the illegal Israeli occupation.

Tomorrow – Siege Busters Ball to benefit the US boat to Gaza

Sep 20, 2010

Pamela Olson



Come one, come all to


A dance on International Day of Peace for the US BOAT TO GAZA CAMPAIGN

Tickets $20-$40 – Purchase now at the Littlefield website

All proceeds will go to support the US BOAT TO GAZA, so give as generously as you can!

Join DJ Ibrahim, DJ Vega Benetton, Marcel Cartier (Existence is Resistance), Monstah Black, Harrabic Tubman, Ismail Khalidi, Pamela Olson, Ryan Green, Daniel Maher…

…and 400 New Yorkers who will help launch the US BOAT TO GAZA, THE AUDACITY OF HOPE

(Read more about our performers here)

Dance the siege away at Littlefield in Brooklyn to free Gaza!

Tuesday, September 21st, from 8pm – whenever! Littlefield (a gorgeous performance space!) 622 Degraw St. Brooklyn, NY

(R train to Union or B, D, N, Q, 2, 3, 4, 5 to Atlantic Avenue)

Facebook url (Invite your friends!): Contact:

Israeli representative attempts to influence local co-op board decision

Sep 20, 2010

Adam Horowitz


The following press release was sent out by the Jefferson County BDS Committee:
A proposed boycott of products at a food co-op in Port Townsend prompted a visit from the Israeli Deputy Consul General for the Pacific Northwest.
Five member/owners of the Port Townsend Food Co-op presented a proposal to co-op board of directors asking the store to pull seven products from its shelves until Israel complies with U.N. decisions regarding occupied territories and lifts both the siege on Gaza and apartheid on Palestinians. Proponents of the boycott have gathered hundreds of signatures in support of the proposal.
Gideon Lustig, Israeli deputy consul general, flew from San Francisco to travel to Port Townsend, Washington, a rural town with a population of 8,000, located near the Canadian border. Lustig spoke at a public presentation arranged by “Stand With Us”, a Seattle lobbying group. Lustig also attempted to hold a secret meeting with the Food Co-op board of directors.
Sam Gibboney, the co-op board president, had agreed to a secret meeting with the consul general. The meeting was reported in a local newspaper, and prompted criticism for operating behind closed doors and violating co-op by-laws and governing policies. The board is required to hold open and transparent board meetings, unless there is a compelling reason for privacy. Gibboney has since revoked the invitation to other board members after public outcry. Gibboney will meet with the consul general in a private meeting before the consul general returns to San Francisco. That meeting is closed to the public and co-op member-owners.
“We wish that Sam Gibboney had given the same courtesy to listen to the member-owners that she was elected to represent.”, said Liz Rivera Goldstein, one of the proponents of the boycott. Recently, several educational events have been organized by both sides of the boycott issue. Gibboney has not attended any of the public forums. Only one food co-op board member has been seen at any of the recent forums and slide shows organized to educate the community about the issues of human rights violations and continued military action against civilian populations.
Tuesday, September 21, the Food Co-op board will hold a special meeting to vote on the boycott proposal. The board has invited co-op member/owners to attend and comment before the board discuses and votes upon the boycott proposal. The meeting takes place at 6 pm at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2333 San Juan Ave., in Port Townsend.

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