‘Death to the Arabs’ is graffiti in Jewish holy site in occupied E. Jerusalem

Oct 06, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Writes a friend: This is the tomb of Simon the Righteous, the one near the houses stolen by the settlers in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem [the neighborhood that the Obama administration did nothing to stop house evictions in]. To be precise, the “Tomb” site contains two caves, one of them called “Simon the Righteous’ Cave”, where he is believed to have been buried, and the the other, where the graffiti was shot, is called “The Small Sanhedrin Cave”, and 23 members of the Sanhedrin are believed to have been buried there.

Notice that property in this neighborhood of occupied Jerusalem was bought up by local and foreign Jewish investors some years ago.

‘When history speaks’ for Israel in the Times it leaves out the Palestinians

Oct 06, 2010

Remi Brulin 

Rémi Brulin, an adjunct professor at New York University who is completing his dissertation entitled “The US Discourse on Terrorism Since 1945, and how The New York Times has Covered the Issue of Terrorism” (more here), sent us the following in response an article that ran in the New York Times Travel section last Sunday – When History Speaks in Israel:

The article in question is “When History Speaks in Israel,” and is one of the starkest examples of a complete erasure of the Palestinian from the history of the region that I have seen in a long time. I actually did a word search of the article and the word “Palestinian” doesn’t appear once! It is very much reminiscent of old claims that the Palestinian people “don’t exist,” that Israel was ” a land without a people for a people without a land”, etc…

Just read the lede:

CHAIM KAHANOVICH, an 18-year-old Polish Jew, caught his first brown glimpse of the Holy Land from the deck of a steamer in November 1924. He would never leave. Dark-haired, short and solid, Chaim brought with him a teenager’s blazing passion and an ideologue’s stubborn commitment to a cause. The long, slow journey had taken him from Warsaw by train to the Black Sea port of Constanta, then by ship through the Bosporus Straits and across the Mediterranean to Palestine. There at last, rising like the back of an ox from the blue water of Haifa Bay, was the sere ridge of Mount Carmel — the Promised Land.

From his boyhood study of Torah, Chaim would have known that Carmel was the place where the prophet Elijah faced down the pagan priests of Baal and fled the wrath of Queen Jezebel. But he had not come to Palestine to study Torah. He and his comrades were called halutzim — pioneers — and they had made aliyah (literally the ascent) to the Holy Land to plow the soil, plant grapevines and citrus groves, raise chickens, tomatoes and children, and to found a new nation.

I know the details of Chaim’s life and circumstances because he and his wife, Sonia, were relatives of mine (my maternal grandfather was their first cousin), and I recently went to Israel with my oldest daughter, Emily, for the first time to retrace their journeys and uncover what I could about our family’s story — a story of immigration shared by thousands of others. What made this trip especially inspiring was that I was able to cover so much of Israeli history: in this ancient but recently conceived nation, the founders lived just a generation ago. It’s as if the children and grandchildren of Washington, Jefferson and Adams were around to give interviews and point out historical sights.

I am usually quite critical of the New York Times in its coverage of many issues that have to do with foreign policy, but even for the Times this is particularly obscene.

I was shocked by this article especially because, with my class at NYU, I am currently using Sandy Tolan’s The Lemon Tree, the premise of which is precisely that so many Israelis ignore everything about their past, and especially about the fact that Palestinians lived for generations in those villages that became Israeli villages in 1948.

I was shocked also by this article because I had just read Johann Hari’s great interview of Gideon Levy in the Independent. The following passage especially stood out:

He was fourteen during the Six Day War, and soon after his parents took him to see the newly conquered Occupied Territories. “We were so proud going to see Rachel’s Tomb [in Bethlehem] and we just didn’t see the Palestinians. We looked right through them, like they were invisible,” he says. “It had always been like that. We were passing as children so many ruins [of Palestinian villages that had been ethnically cleansed in 1948]. We never asked: ‘Who lived in this house? Where is he now? He must be alive. He must be somewhere.’ It was part of the landscape, like a tree, like a river.

Goldberg’s Goldstone smear

Oct 06, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Jeffrey Goldberg’s recent attack on J Street included a swipe at Justice Richard Goldstone. Emphasis mine:

J Street helped arrange visits by Judge Richard Goldstone, the South African jurist appointed by the U.N. to investigate the most recent conflict in Gaza, to Capitol Hill. Goldstone’s work, heavily reliant on Hamas for uncorroborated information, has been condemned on both the left and the right…. 

This is a serious charge, and a chestnut of the Israel lobby. Last year AIPAC said that the Goldstone investigation was “rigged.” Alan Dershowitz elaborated: the report “could have been drafted by Hamas extremists” and members of the fact-finding mission “were accompanied on their investigations in Gaza by actual Hamas activists who showed them only what they wanted them to see.”

Goldstone specifically refuted the charge in an interview with Bill Moyers in October 2009:

BILL MOYERS: What were your standards of evidence, as you conducted these discussions, investigations and hearings in Gaza?

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well, we spoke to well over 100 witnesses. We didn’t, obviously, take at face value everything we were told.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, one criticism was that those witnesses were supplied by Hamas militants.

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Well, in fact, that’s not correct. We made our own inquiries, and we decided who we would see. We weren’t given a list by Hamas or anybody else. We chose incidents, 36 out of as I say, could have been hundreds. But we chose the people we wanted to see, and certainly, there was no Hamas presence anywhere near the vicinity of where we saw people. There were malicious statements to the effect that they were, but I can give you every assurance that it didn’t happen. And I can assure you that if it did happen, I wouldn’t have been prepared to continue to operate under those situations. I would have insisted that they leave. And if I couldn’t achieve that, I would have abandoned the investigation.

So Goldberg is calling Goldstone a liar.

Goldstone’s description of his methods is borne out by a reading of his report. You will find that while the UN Human Rights Council mission interviewed Hamas officials on such issues as the character of the police force that was devastated by Israeli attacks, the mission relied overwhelmingly in its investigation on interviews of scores of Palestinian individuals (including for instance, the Fatah father whose 13 and 18-year-old sons were killed by an Israeli mortar). It also refers to many reports of non-governmental organizations, from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society to B’Tselem to Human Rights Watch to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. There are extensive quotes from, say, Eyad el Sarraj of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, and Sara Roy of Harvard, and Breaking the Silence’s Israeli soldier testimonies about their actions in Gaza.

Even the report’s finding that it could not credit or discredit Israel’s allegation that Palestinian militants fired from alongside Al Quds Hospital before Israelis destroyed that hospital– Goldstone didn’t base that conclusion on interviews with Hamas, but on interviews with doctors and other witnesses.

I don’t see any “uncorroborated information” that comes from Hamas.

Furthermore, the Goldstone report goes after Hamas. It accuses the military wing of Hamas of likely war crimes in its attacks on southern Israeli towns. And it accused Hamas of human rights violations:

[S]ecurity services under the control of the Gaza authorities [Hamas in Goldstone’s definition] carried out extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests, detentions and ill-treatment of people, in particular political opponents, which constitute serious violations of the human rights to life, to liberty and security of the person, to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, to be protected against arbitrary arrest and detention, to a fair and impartial legal proceeding; and to freedom of opinion and expression, including freedom to hold opinions without interference.

So I wonder. What facts support Goldberg’s damaging assertion?

Mearsheimer: ‘Israel, with the help of the lobby, is effectively committing national suicide’

Oct 06, 2010

Adam Horowitz

Cléa Thouin, assistant editor for the Journal of Palestine Studies, interviews John Mearsheimer on “The State of the Israel Lobby and Obama“:

Obama’s toast. Time for the Europeans to step in

Oct 06, 2010

Gil Maguire 

Gil Maguire posts at the Irish Moses blog:

President Obama’s apparent inability or unwillingness to force Israel to continue its partial settlement freeze has become an embarrassment. Since the U.S. has proved incapable of being an honest broker and standing up to the Israelis, it should withdraw from the negotiation process and defer to the Europeans who appear ready to take on the responsibility of working toward achieving a fair and reasonable resolution to the Israeli-Arab conflict over Palestine.

It has become clear that President Obama is incapable of standing up to Israel and its right-wing Likud lobby in this country. While the President has talked the talk of taking strong action to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and gave a strong speech in Cairo indicating how he intended to work hard to ensure that the Palestinians finally get the state long-promised them, when faced with the difficulty of walking the walk of such a challenging policy, the President has repeatedly tripped, skipped, and now is crawling, humbled, in the opposite direction.

His first stumble occurred early in his administration when he failed to support his nomination of former U.S. Ambassador Charles Freemen to the post of intelligence czar when he was challenged and smeared by the Israeli lobby. That was a bad sign. Ambassador Freeman was an excellent choice and his views on Israel, while critical, were mainstream. Unquestioning admiration of Israel should not be a mandatory qualification for holding office in this country. Nonetheless, Israel’s veto caused Ambassador Freeman to withdraw, with little or no support or objection from the Obama administration.

The second stumble occurred after President Obama had quite properly insisted that all illegal settlement building by the Israelis stop, immediately and entirely. This long-overdue action predictably caused an uproar in the Israeli lobby and in Congress, the dependable right arm of the lobby. Instead of standing his ground, the President backed down after the Israelis offered a partial and leaky farce of a 10 month moratorium on illegal settlement building which excluded East Jerusalem and 3000 already approved building permits for West Bank illegal settlements.

The final and most embarrassing stumble occurred this past week when Prime Minister Netanyahu refused repeated administration requests to extend the partial freeze of illegal settlement building for even a few months to allow negotiations with the Palestinians to proceed. Instead of using all the power available to a U.S. president to force Netanyahu to extend the freeze, Mr. Obama instead decided to bribe Mr. Netanyahu with a huge package of diplomatic, political and U.S.-funded additional military equipment commitments to Israel. So far, that ludicrously one-sided bride has been rejected by Mr. Netanyahu.

It seems clear that the U.S., for whatever reasons, has proved incapable of having any positive influence on the Israelis toward achieving a fair and reasonable settlement with the Palestinians, and that our vital national security interests will continue to suffer great harm as a result. Since President Obama has not proved willing to or capable of standing up to the Israelis and the Israeli lobby in this country, the U.S. needs to withdraw from this charade and defer to our allies in Europe, including the Quartet powers, to resolve this conflict.

The Europeans, who appear increasingly frustrated by President Obama’s dilatory conduct, are much closer to the problem, not, or at least less influenced by the Israeli lobby, and likely less intimidated by Israel than is the U.S. and its current president. Moreover, European leaders and diplomats have said repeatedly and emphatically that Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem portions of Palestine are illegal. U.S. officials typically use terms like “unhelpful” when describing Israeli settlement activity.

Perhaps not coincidentally, President Sarkozy of France, in a press conference this week with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, indicated that Europe needs to take an active role in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Europe’s top diplomat, Baroness Catherine Ashton, the European Unions High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Policy, and Vice President of the European Council, has spent the last two weeks consulting with U.S. and international diplomats at the UN in New York. She is now in discussions with Israeli and Palestinian leaders after consulting with US Special Envoy George Mitchell and Quartet Envoy Tony Blair. It seems likely she will attempt to have Europe play a much bigger role in resolving this conflict.

European nations, including those on its periphery like Turkey, are showing greater independence in criticizing and even sanctioning Israel for its illegal, oppressive conduct toward the Palestinians. For instance, Norway just informed Israel that it will no longer have access to Norwegian naval bases and Norwegian offshore waters for testing Dolphin-class submarines being built for it in Germany. That is a very harsh step showing clear displeasure with Israeli conduct.

Turkey, led by its articulate Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, has also staked an independent position very critical of Israel’s illegal conduct toward the Palestinians and has imposed severe sanctions on Israel for its conduct in Gaza and in the Gaza Flotilla incident. Turkey has also been pushing for greater international involvement in the Israel-Palestinian direct talks.

Speaking last Tuesday at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, Davutoglu stressed Turkey’s desire for greater involvement in Middle East issues. During a question and answer period after his speech, Davutoglu described Gaza as an open air prison for 1.5 million Palestinians. He said that more international involvement was needed to achieve the two state solution.

He stressed the illegality of Israeli settlements under international law and pointed out that bargaining for a temporary freeze on an activity that was already illegal made no sense. Finally, he said the Palestinian issue was affecting the entire world and that solidarity from the international community was needed to impose the two state solution based on the 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem, and that an end of the road was needed, not a road map. He concluded by saying that while Turkey’s vision was peace, peace would not be attainable so long as some countries have more rights than other countries, alluding to U.S. favoritism toward Israel at the expense of Palestinian rights.

A few weeks ago, former U.S. Ambassador Charles Freeman was invited to give a talk to European leaders and diplomats in Norway entitled: Americas Faltering Search for Peace in the Middle East: Openings for Others? He too stressed that solving the Israeli-Palestinian issue is a vital national security interest of the U.S. and its allies. More importantly, he said that the U.S. was incapable of resolving the conflict and that, “Only a peace process that is protected from Israel’s ability to manipulate American politics can succeed”. He suggested greater European involvement coupled with enforcement of the rule of law and sanctions for violations of international laws by the Israelis as the best means for achieving a lasting settlement fair to both Israelis and Palestinians.

Deferring to the Europeans on the Israeli-Palestinian issue would have several advantages for the U.S., and for the negotiation process: It would reduce the political pressure of this issue on the U.S. and the Obama administration. It would undermine the ability of Israel and its U.S. lobby to manipulate and control the issue through its excessive influence on the U.S. mainstream media and Congress. It would put Israel in a much weaker, much more visible political position, where its immoral and illegal conduct toward the Palestinians would be exposed to daily critical scrutiny. European actions aimed at stopping and sanctioning illegal actions and conduct by Israel would not be threatened by U.S. veto power as is currently the case with United Nations efforts to sanction Israel.

It would allow the Europeans to use their much greater economic leverage against Israel whose trade with Europe is almost double what it is with the U.S. Israel’s import trade with Europe is three and a half times larger than its import trade from the U.S. Finally, the much higher Muslim population in European countries will provide a counterweight to Israeli propaganda, and provide more balanced political pressure on European politicians who will hear the outrage expressed by their Muslim constituents about illegal and oppressive conduct by the Israelis in their continued occupation of the Palestinians.

It is regrettable that Ambassador Freeman did not get the support he deserved from President Obama when his appointment was opposed by the Israeli lobby. If he had been part of the Obama administration he might have convinced the president and his other advisors that a strong backbone is needed to conduct an effective foreign policy, and that minor, third tier states like Israel, should not be allowed to hinder the vital national security interests of the United States.

The U.S. needs to escape from its captive role as the enabler of Israel’s illegal and immoral conduct toward the Palestinians. We don’t need to be Israel’s eternal lap dog; it’s embarrassing, humiliating, and profoundly immoral for us to play this contemptible role. Let Israel deal with a new team of honest broker mediators, the Europeans. We can then watch contentedly from the sidelines and lick our paws.

The Jews sang ‘We are not afraid’ as 8 Israeli warships surrounded their little boat

Oct 06, 2010

Edith Lutz 

Edith Lutz was one of two women on the Jewish boat to Gaza, intercepted last week. Here is an excerpt of her diary entry in an Israeli jail, before she was deported earlier this week.

I’m writing from my dirty prison cell. I do not know what kind of prison, where the prison is located. Givat what? I didn’t repeat my question to the drivers, lo ichpat li, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I write down what happened as soon as possible in order to save as much as possible from the images, words and impressions before they get lost or inaccurate in my memory.

I’m sitting on a dirty broken plastic chair, staring at the lattice of the big blue iron door from where loud noises are coming. Go on writing, don’t get disturbed. But there is still the rocking from the waves and a strange tiredness. Lie down on your bed, rest a while. Rest and write, rest and write.

I’m looking for the lines that I scrawled down during the last hours on board the ship. Here they are: 

Tuesday morning. We are entering Gaza waters.

Bad news: the toilet doesn’t function any more. And I haven’t been there since yesterday. The men are fastening the banners and hoisting the sail. The peace flags! We have to hurry, they’re coming. „They are coming“ were the last words in the diary of a German resistance fighter before he was taken to his execution. I feel we are not going to die.

I was calm and confident. Some agitation, yes, we had to get the flags up swiftly.

Itamar [Shapira] suggests to bundle them. Lillian and I protest, they have to be hoisted up, one by one. Glyn, Lillian and I connect them to the ropes. We run out of strings, how to fasten the rest of the flags? We look into every corner, into our bags for more strings and we succeed. They’re all up now, all 42 flags with 84 doves and more than a hundred names of people who wanted to accompany us. The boat looks beautiful! An old used-up vessel blossoming many-coloured in the calm blue waters. [Reporters] Vish [Vishvanath] and Eli [Osherov] are circling round the boat in the dinghy to take pictures. Everybody is fascinated.

9.30 One navy boat appears at the horizon in the north. We put our life-vests on and get seated backboard with our personal belongings and a bottle of water. The two media guys are going to the left and right respectively to document the events that are awaiting us. I’m sitting beside the engine room. Glyn explains to me how to switch the motor off, in order to be ready if he tells me to do so.

10.00 A second boat sighted, doesn’t seem to move, maybe waiting for us.

10.30 Lillian is coming from the obstructed loo. Nervousness affects the bladder. “Geh du auch Pipi machen!“

Lillian speaks the Hessian dialect of her parents, she had to leave Germany as an 18-months-old. It’s easier for the men. Securing balance with one hand in another man’s they can pee overboard.

10.45 War ships are coming towards us. Somebody shouts „Eight ships“. They’re swiftly coming closer. I can discern their faces, young faces, some handsome. I try to study them. Unrest is growing around me. Reuven is coming over to me to sit down in the shadow. The sun is too hot on the side that the soldiers are approching rapidly. Itamar is standing there talking to them. He is speaking the prepared words in Hebrew and English. I hear him saying, „We are peace activists“. Reuven ( who is now sitting on the engine room) is shouting „Ivrit, ivrit“. He tries to talk to the soldiers, shouting, he’s lost his calmness.

I see Lillian getting uncomfortable and ask Yonatan to change places with her, so she can sit on my left. We hook arms as was settled. I do not hook arms with Reuven [Moskovitz], because he is going to play the harmonica. I wonder if he will be able to. His hurt soul can only shout. „Nobody is listening to him“, observes Lillian.

Nor have they listened to Itamar. The soldiers were performing like robots. They did not seem to be able to listen. Shema Israel.

Yonatan signals to Reuven, to play the harmonica, but I realize, Reuven is no more able to. So I start singing We shall overcome, with Yonatan, Lillian and others joining me. We get to the second stanza,“We are not afraid, we are not afraid“.

There is a beautiful Hebrew song, „The whole world is but a small bridge and the main thing is, ha-ikar, lo l-fached, not to be afraid. 

Lillian cries, „Look what they are doing to poor Glyn!“.

Lillian could not believe her eyes. „It’s a dream, a bad dream, it’s not reality“, she said to me later when we were sitting in the police car.

They are roughly pushing Glyn from the helm into the cabin. I cannot see what is happening to him from my position.

While I tried to calm Reuven I watched something unbelievable. I see Itamar lying bent on the floor of the opposite warship, in restraint. „Handcuffed“, I should write, as he was, but in the image that occured to me, the image of the „kelbl oifn furl“, he appeared „gebundn mit a shtrik“. 

And I watched something even more cruel. I suddenly hear a penetrating cry and see Yonatan on the floor opposite to me writhing in pain. What is happening?

This was quite unexplicable. Later, when the atmosphere cooled down, I asked Rami [Elhanan] and he explained to me that Yonatan received electroshocks. I didn’t even know such macabre things existed in the army (though I know them from my former experience as a nurse in psychiatry).

Reuven is getting distraught when he sees his harmonicas spread on the floor, surrounded by heavy soldiers’ boots. He cannot sit any more, he has to get up. I can’t keep him back. I am worried that his emotion will inflame the atmosphere and lead to violence. I therefore address the soldier standing next to him: „He’s nervous, he’s a Holocaust survivor“.

Maybe silly naive words, but they brought about a turning point in the atmosphere. The helpless-looking young soldier nods, when our eyes meet. A slight touch of a timeless meeting.

Reuven is collecting the scattered harmonicas into a plastic bag. He sits down beside Rami and is soon calming down. Rami and I exchange relieved glances. Rami, a quiet character with a solid body, has a soothing effect on all of us.

Another soldier asks me, „Would you not rather sit inside?“ „No“, I reply, „I have to watch what is going on. I have to look into your faces, to assure myself that you are human beings. Isn’t it crazy that we are afraid of each other?“ This soldier, he too, nods (did I hear a „yes“?) and I see his face changing from a rigid expression to a more relaxed one.

I’m looking around the boat, trying to retain the incredible image, the tremendous display of force: eight warships, some with cannon balls, approximately 7-10 soldiers on each boat, our backboard crowded with around seven soldiers besides us (where only five passengers were allowed to sit), and a mighty warship in the distance – to encounter nine peaceful activists.

What madness! If people in Germany, the EU and the US would only know that they are also financially attributing to this insanity! (And to much much worse atrocities!) Where are the true friends to take Israel – sick from the Holocaust and hundreds of years of suffering – by the hand, guide her to the mirror and tell her to take off that insane nasty cruel mask; help her to be Israel ha-jaffa.

Bil’in, 7/30/10

Oct 06, 2010

Adam Horowitz 


Matthew Graber submitted this photo to the Israel Project’s “Best Shots of Israel” contest.

Gaza siege kills one-month-old Palestinian infant Mo’taz Hani Abu Nada

Oct 06, 2010


And more news from Today in Palestine:

Land/Property/Resource Theft and Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
10 days after settlement freeze expires, 350 new units under construction
West Bank settlers satisfied with the momentum; council chair: Building proceeding normally, not at a heightened pace.
Settlers damage trees after harvesting olives, locals say
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers damaged 16 olives trees belonging to residents in the Nablus region on Wednesday after harvesting the olives and depriving several families of their income source, the village council chief said.  Rashed Mazar, Yanun village chief, told Ma’an that residents saw settlers from the Gideonim outpost in the Itamar settlement leave nearby agricultural lands in a jeep, towing a wagon filled with olive leaves behind it.
Palestinians accuse Israel of judaizing East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) — Senior Palestinian officials on Tuesday strongly accused Israel of putting the final touches of judaizing east Jerusalem for declaring the whole city as the unified capital of Israel, warning that this would escalate tensions between the two feuds.  The Palestinian accusation came after the Jerusalem authorities ‘ approval of a plan to make changes to the Wailing Wall, which is called by Palestinians as al-Buraq wall, west of al-Aqsa Mosque, including digging tunnels and building Jewish synagogues and police stations near the holy site.
Report: Israeli minister threatens PA development
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan threatened on Tuesday to do his utmost to prevent construction of the new Palestinian city of Rawabi if his demands weren’t met, an Israeli newspaper reported.  The Jerusalem Post, an English-language Israeli daily, reported Wednesday that Erdan, during a visit to the planned site near Ramallah, said he had demanded that the developer offer solutions for potential environmental problems.
Replanting The Saffa Valley,  Palestine Monitor
In Palestine, planting trees has become a courageous act of resistance against the ever-encroaching settlements on Palestinian agricultural land. On Sunday, 3 October, farmers and international activists joined together to launch the Palestine Solidarity Project’s campaign to replant the Saffa Valley. For the first two months of the project they will prepare the land for planting trees in the winter.
Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment
Ma’asara Demonstration 1.10.10 Israeli Army attacks clowns and kids
Trial in killing of American activist Rachel Corrie resumes in Israeli court
Haifa, Israel – The Haifa District Court will resume hearings on Thursday, October 7 in the civil lawsuit filed by Rachel Corrie’s family against the State of Israel for her unlawful killing in Rafah, Gaza.  Rachel Corrie, an American student activist and human rights defender from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death on March 16, 2003, by a Caterpillar D9R bulldozer while nonviolently protesting Palestinian home demolitions with fellow members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).
Chicago faith leaders issue statement in support of activists targeted by the FBI
Chicago anti-war and international solidarity activists whose homes were raided by the FBI last month publicly declared their decision to resist government intimidation and harassment today in Chicago.  The Chicago activists decided to invoke their Fifth Amendment right not to testify in front of a Grand jury investigation.  This morning the peace and solidarity activists were surrounded by a diverse community of Chicagoans who stood outside the Federal Court building to send a clear message that FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas will not silence dissent and peace activism in the United States.  Stephanie Weiner, one of the subpoenaed activists, said to the press in Chicago, “We believe we have been targeted because of what we say and who we know. This sets a dangerous precedent and endangers the rights of every person. It goes beyond this corner and those subpoenaed.”
Israel deports nobel peace laureate
RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) – Irish Nobel Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire was deported from Israel Tuesday after spending more than a week in detention at Tel Aviv Airport as she attempted to fight the deportation order.
Egypt sends positive indicators to allow Lifeline (5) into Gaza Strip
Organizers of the Lifeline (5) convoy have received positive indicators from the Egyptian government that the caravan could cross into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing point.
Sailing To Gaza – excerpt from a personal diary, Edith Lutz
I`m writing from my dirty prison cell. I do not know what kind of prison, where the prison is located. Givat what? I didn`t repeat my question to the drivers, lo ichpat li, it doesn`t really matter. What matters is that I write down what happened as soon as possible in order to save as much as possible from the images, words and impressions before they get lost or inaccurate in my memory.  I`m sitting on a dirty broken plastic chair, staring at the lattice of the big blue iron door from where loud noises are coming. Go on writing, don`t get disturbed. But there is still the rocking from the waves and a strange tiredness. Lie down on your bed, rest a while. Rest and write, rest and write.  I`m looking for the lines that I scrawled down during the last hours on board the ship.
Iyad Burnat – Bil’in Model of Wall Resistance
In the Occupied Palestinian West Bank, a 770 km Separation Wall weaves in and out of Palestinian towns and villages separating Palestinians from their homes and land.  The construction of this wall by Israel isolates 29 Palestinian towns (area of 216,567 dunums or 54,141 Acres) from the West Bank and leaves them on the Israeli side of the wall.  Within the West Bank remain 138 villages with an area of 554,370 dunums unable to access the towns that are on the other side of the Wall. The construction of this Separation wall is set to illegally isolate and fragment 12.6% of the total area of the West Bank, or 5,661 sq. kilometers of Palestinian land.
Chicago group brings campaign to end US aid to Israel to transit riders, Adam Horowitz
Beginning yesterday, the Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine has posted signs like the one above in Chicago Transit Authority “el cars” for the next month.
The latest entries for the Israel Project photo contest, Adam Horowitz
We’re helping to collect photos for the Israel Project’s ‘Best Shots of Israel’ contest. Here are some more entries.
The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian/Restriction of Movement/Human Rights/Racism
Israeli Siege Claims the Life Of Gaza Infant
Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported, Tuesday, that a 30-day old infant died due to sharp shortages in medical supplies and medical equipment in Gaza Strip hospitals, induced by the siege imposed by Israel.

Israeli Siege Claims the Life Of Gaza Infant

Israel is now punishing Palestinians shamelessly, Amira Hass
What is delaying treatment of a 47-year-old Palestinian woman, if not punishment of someone who opposes her foreign rulers?
UN suspends food distribution in Gaza schools
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The UN World Food Programme is carrying out tests on fortified date bars and milk following reports of stomach problems among students at three WFP-supported Gaza schools.  A number of children were taken to hospital last week, but they were later released, the Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip said.  While the cause of the symptoms is not yet confirmed — the ministry suspects improper storage conditions — distribution of WFP school snacks in Gaza has been put on hold pending lab tests by food safety experts, the UN agency said Tuesday.
Humiliating Israeli video condemned
Clip of an Israeli soldier humiliating a female prisoner called illustrative of “sick mentality of occupier”.
PFLP urges family of filmed detainee to sue Israeli army
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine urged the family of the woman filmed blindfolded and handcuffed by an Israeli soldier as his colleague danced around her to file suit against the Israeli army.  The PFLP said in a statement Wednesday that a legal suit was necessary to prosecute the Israeli soldiers involved in the filming and to “expose these disgraceful practices.”  The video surfaced on YouTube on Monday, after controversy following the release of pictures by a former Israeli soldier on a social networking site showing her near blindfolded Palestinians. The photos prompted Israeli rights groups to release similar pictures showing soldiers humiliating Palestinians.  The party called on the media to shed more light on Israeli soldiers’ conduct.
Olympics chief vows to aid Palestinian athletes
Jacques Rogge, during visit to West Bank, expresses concern over ‘obstacles’ facing Palestinian athletes, urges Israel to grant them free movement regardless of politics.
Hammad: Israel tried to decoy students into working as spies
Minister of interior Fathi Hammad stated Tuesday that the Israeli occupation made failed attempts to lure students into working as informers against the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip.
A Failing Grade for East Jerusalem Schools, Ir Amin
The opening of the school year provides an annual opportunity to turn the public gaze, if only briefly, from the boiling political arena to the education system — both for its successes and its failures.  While the media spot lights will be trained on the minister of education, the president, other senior officials, the festivites at various schools around the country, and opinionated panelists debating on the status of teachers in Israel, the most neglected and marginalized sector in the jurisdiction of the Israeli education system will continue to remain outside the circle of discourse. None of these panelists, presumably, will refer to the fact that in East Jerusalem, more than half the children within the ages of compulsory education cannot matriculate into the public school system. Although they are entitled by law to free compulsory education, but in East Jerusalem the law is not the law, education is not education, and there are certainly no free rides.
Towards accountability: John Dugard interviewed
Last month, Professor John Dugard, former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, chaired a meeting on universal Jurisdiction in the Hague. Adri Nieuwhof interviewed Dugard about means of bringing Israel to account for its human rights violations, particularly the legal mechanism of universal jurisdiction.
Featured photojournalist: Muhammed Muheisen
Muhammed Muheisen is an Associated Press staff photographer based in Jerusalem. He joined the AP in 2001, covering the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel, then moved to international assignments in 2003. In this set he documents the lives of children living in refugee camps in the West Bank
Confiscating Childhood in the Occupied Territories, AHMAD BARQAWI
Thirteen is the age for a lot of things; it carries a certain significance for every boy that reaches that age with all the promises that life has to offer; it’s a time when boys get their first bike, enjoy their favorite video games, make it into the school’s football squad, it’s a time when boys begin to marvel at and appreciate the mysteries of life pre-adulthood, and for some; it’s even a time when they experience their first innocent crush; but if you’re a thirteen year old boy in occupied Palestine; you’re placed under house arrest by the Israeli authorities.
Junk Food: Israel’s Weapon of Mass Destruction in Gaza
If this research on the effects of junk food is accurate, then Israel’s decision to allow junk food into Gaza, whether knowingly or unknowingly, will be incredibly destructive on the health and well-being of the Palestinian people in Gaza. If Israel officials are purposely allowing junk food into Gaza for this reason, then the junk food should be viewed for what it really is– a weapon of mass of destruction.
Gazans battle tomato moths
Farmers in the Gaza Strip are battling an army of moths. The insects are threatening the Palestinian territory’s tomato crop that earns the impoverished area more than $60 million a year. The problem is so bad that the Israeli government has allowed traps to be especially brought into Gaza to capture as many as possible. Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston reports from Gaza.

1 injured in arrest raid on Hebron village
HEBRON (Ma’an) — One Palestinian was injured during a detention campaign by Israeli forces in the Hebron village of Adh-Dhahiriya on Tuesday morning, witnesses said.  Witnesses said 14 Palestinians were detained during the raid after Israeli forces stormed homes, and deployed riot dispersal means, including tear gas and sound grenades. The injured was identified as Talal Azban.
Reactions to Mosque Arson

US condemns mosque arson
Washington issues official censure of Beit Fajar mosque vandalism, calls for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. West Bank village still reeling from incident; PA, Jordan offer assistance in rebuilding torched prayer house.,7340,L-3964782,00.html

IOF rounded up 700 Palestinians in Al-Khalil this year
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained 700 Palestinians in Al-Khalil district since the start of 2010 until end of September, a report by the Palestinian prisoner’s association said.
Israel detains Islamic Jihad leader
NABLUS (Ma’an) — A prominent Islamic Jihad leader was detained at a flying checkpoint south of Nablus on Monday night, relatives said.  Umm Malik, wife the political leader Yousif Al-Arif, said her husband was on his way home from a visit to the Jalud village, where a prisoner had just been released and received by his family. “Before he reached the Huwwara checkpoint, an Israeli flying checkpoint stopped his car for inspection and he was taken out of the vehicle and transported to a second location,” she told Ma’an.
Brother of lifetime prisoner detained at Ramon prison
TUBAS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces at Ramon prison detained the brother of a lifetime prisoner on Monday as the young man visited his relative, the Tubas Prisoners Society reported.  Mahmoud Abu At-Tayyeb traveled to the southern Israel prison with a permit to visit his brother Younis, the society reported, and was detained without cause from the facility.

Israel’s Arab Helpers    

Hamas: PA forces detain 8 West Bank affiliates
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Hamas accused Palestinian Authority security forces of detaining eight affiliates of the Islamist movement in the West Bank and summoning dozens, a statement issued Wednesday read.  Hamas said the detentions were carried out in the central district of Ramallah, the southern district of Hebron and the northern district of Qalqiliya.  On Tuesday, the Islamist movement called on Fatah to end “recklessness in cooperation with Israel, which contradicts with the concept of reconciliation,” after three party members were charged with causing the death of three PA security officers in Qalqiliya in June 2009.
Palestinians hand 20-year sentence to Hamas fighter (AFP)
AFP – The Western-backed Palestinian Authority has sentenced a Hamas fighter to 20 years in prison over a deadly 2009 shootout with Palestinian police, a court official said Tuesday.*
Can Palestinian police get respect through soccer clinics?
The West Bank police force has embarked on a community outreach campaign, organizing soccer clinics, town meetings, and antidrug information chats for kids. Will it bolster respect for the much-maligned police?

Bahar calls on Fatah to dissolve Fayyad government
Dr. Ahmed Bahar has called on Fatah faction to adopt a courageous decision and dissolve the illegitimate government of Salam Fayyad in the West Bank.
Hamas: The PA’s violations against our cadres make reconciliation impossible
Hamas said it is concerned about the violations committed against its cadres in the West Bank, saying this situation does not provide the appropriate conditions necessary for the reconciliation.
Bardawil: Fatah courts paid off by Israel
Hamas leader Salah Bardawil said trials against Hamas supporters in Fatah authority courts are unlawful and reflect the extent of Fatah’s cooperation with Israel.

Hamas threatens attack on Palestinian Authority officials
Despite efforts toward Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, Hamas spokesperson says group will strike PA officials if they continue to arrest Hamas members.
Political Developments

Rival Palestinian factions ‘to meet October 20’ (AFP)
AFP – The bitterly divided Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas plan to hold a second round of reconciliation talks in Syria on October 20, a senior Gaza-based Hamas official said on Tuesday.*
No mention of settlement freeze at Israel cabinet meeting
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — During its weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, the Israeli prime minister and his seven top ministers did not discuss extending a temporary moratorium on settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories, Israeli media reported., Contrary to prior reports, the ministers only discussed Israel’s preparation for flotillas to Gaza, and the work of the UN’s Turkel committee examining a prior aid flotilla that came under deadly naval fire in May, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office announced, according to Ynet, an Israeli news site.
Livni: Netanyahu wasted two years before talking with PA
Speaking at Harvard University, Kadima leader says ending conflict with the Palestinians is a clear Israeli interest, not a favor to the United States.
Bill Clinton: Mideast peace would undercut terror (AP)
AP – Former U.S. President Bill Clinton says solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would take away much of the impetus for terrorism around the world.*
Report: King Abdullah meets Israeli minister
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — King Abdullah of Jordan reportedly hosted Israeli Welfare Minister Yitzhak Herzog in his palace Tuesday.  “The coming period is a moment of historic opportunity, which coming generations will judge today’s leaders by,” Abdullah said.  “Therefore, we must not miss it,” he added, according to the Israeli news site Ynet.
Egypt ‘doing everything’ to save peace talks
Speaking at a ceremony marking Yom Kippur War Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says Israel, PA cannot afford to miss another chance for peace.,7340,L-3964720,00.html
‘Jordan postpones appointing ambassador to Israel’
King Abudllah is reportedly waiting for the results of peace talks; Jordanian peace negotiator: Israel torpedoed talks at their outset.
Other News

Turkel summons Arab-Israelis who took part in Gaza flotilla
Head of Arab Monitoring Committee, Rahat resident who were aboard Turkish ship during command raid in late May to testify before inquiry commission.,7340,L-3965133,00.html
New US consulate to open in west Jerusalem
US plans to maintain a strong presence in the eastern part of the capital, despite moving bulk of services to Arnona neighborhood.
Settlers threaten riots over synagogue sealing
Radical right gearing to fight decision to seal illegally built synagogue at Ma’ale Shomron settlement; warn they will stage protests, burn tires, set Palestinian farmland ablaze and block roads.,7340,L-3964742,00.html
West Bank summer camps indoctrinate settler children in Arab deportation
PNN Exclusive -Israeli Channel 2 broadcasted a report on summer camps for settler’s children in the West Bank, focusing on building settlements and singing religious songs., ImageOne of the administrators of the camp said, “We are instituting the idea of settlements in Judea and Samaria to increase focus on building in them. The youth learn in this camp the importance of settlements and the hard work and number of hours that go into building them in the Land of Israel.”
Army and Shin Bet to step in after second Lod murder
Mayor’s efforts are ineffectual because of tense relations with Arab community; Public Security Minister steps in with plan to collect illegal weapons.
‘Talansky celebrated Sharon stroke: The country’s mine!’
Witness in corruption case claims US businessman rejoiced when former PM fell into a coma, said “I bet on the right guy!” after giving Olmert money.
Court rules gay partners are not couples under Inheritance Law
Association for Civil Rights in Israel: Ruling pushes legal field back decades, represents discrimination against same-sex couples.
Would-be historic performance of Israeli orchestra at Wagner Festival canceled
Event was planned as an act of reconciliation between the Wagner family, which has a Nazi past, and Israel, where the conductor’s music was opposed and often boycotted.
Want a child? Replace your wig
Rabbi advises woman trying to conceive for almost three years to remove ‘immodest’ wig. Shortly afterwards, she becomes pregnant.,7340,L-3954236,00.html
Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest

Human Rights Watch: Yes, War Does Have Rules
In Haifa earlier this month, an Israeli colonel identified as “Yossi A.” said repeatedly that “in a war zone there are no civilians.” The colonel, who drafted operating regulations for military bulldozers, was testifying in a civil trial about the death of Rachel Corrie, an American activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2003.
Gideon Levy in NYC: Israel is ‘the only occupier in history that’s completely convinced of its own present ongoing victimhood’, Ahmed Moor
I was fortunate enough to see Gideon Levy speak on Tuesday at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. The discussion was organized to promote his new book, The Punishment of Gaza, which covers Israel’s policy and actions there from 2005 to 2009. While Levy told a number of tortured anecdotes about encounters with Palestinians, the talk was mostly about Israelis which I appreciated. I think Levy understood that many of us in the audience were aware of the situation in Gaza and Palestine more generally.
Israel Needs to Stop Playing the Victim, Joharah Baker for MIFTAH
The Palestinians are constantly being accused of “playing the victim,” an unflattering role by any standards. Many Palestinians would agree that we do not want to be portrayed as the victim so as not to delegitimize our argument or weaken our point. Not that we don’t have ample reason to call ourselves victims in the face of Israel’s oppressive occupying machine. However, putting yourself in this category necessarily means you are accepting a much weaker starting point than your opponent, a position that begs sympathy rather than rational and valid support.
Dennis Ross acts as a key channel between White House and Israeli government
Dennis Ross, a longtime Middle East expert, has emerged as a crucial, behind-the-scenes conduit between the White House and the Israeli government, working closely with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s private attorney – and also Defense Minister Ehud Barak – to discreetly smooth out differences and disputes between the two governments.
Obama faces humiliation over Middle East talks
The consequences of failure will be serious for the US president; for the region and the wider world, they are potentially disastrous.
Controlling the narrative in Israel and Palestine
This is quite possibly the most important piece of writing by a Western observer. It covers the widest territory of arguments possible and examines the various narratives brilliantly. The author was on the Mavi Marmara, and his words are stones. (ed.) Take a helicopter-view of history and the bludgeon of reality emerges.
How to raise a Jewish child: Step 1. Get Israeli flag; Step 2. Wrap child; Step 3. Repeat, Adam Horowitz
Cecilie Surasky sent along the following brochure with the note: “This was given to me by a friend, it’s from a major Bay Area Jewish Community Center (JCC). As a parent of a JCC kid myself, I’m interested in a class about raising Jewish children. Apparently it’s quite simple – just wrap them in an Israeli flag. Also note, the workshop description doesn’t even mention Israel.”  Guess it’s sorta implicit.
Has Employment Become a Condition for Marriage?
Nablus – PNN –Exclusive – Samir prepared as a young boy for a just life in his thirties. He worked as a teacher in a secondary school in Nablus and moved into a new apartment after years of renting.  Married for six years, Samir says of his apartment, “It’s like a dream that this has come so far. I had two choices: to marry and live as a renter, or to delay marriage until I built a house or bought an apartment. I did the math and I figured that since I was nearing thirty, building an apartment would require years I didn’t have, so I cooperated with my wife to rent this apartment.”

President Sleiman: Israel Can’t Protest Ahmadinejad Visit
05/10/2010 Lebanese President Michel Sleiman said during Monday’s meeting with cabinet that Israel does not have the right to object to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s upcoming visit to Lebanon.  President Sleiman said receiving heads of states is part of every nation’s right to exercise its sovereignty and Israel has no authority to challenge Lebanon’s sovereign privileges, IRNA reported.  The Iranian president is scheduled to arrive in Lebanon on October 13th to visit southern Lebanese villages of Bint Jbeil and Maroun al-Ras, near the Lebanese border with occupied Palestine.  The Iranian chief executive will hold talks with senior Lebanese officials, including President Sleiman and Prime Minister Saad Hariri during his two-day visit to Lebanon. He is also scheduled to meet with Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.  Tel Aviv has been trying to pressure Beirut into canceling President Ahmadinejad’s visit. Last week, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Ban at UN headquarters that Tel Aviv was “extremely worried” about the Iranian president’s visit.  An article published last week in Israeli daily Ha’aretz had suggested that Israel could kidnap President Ahmadinejad when he visits Lebanon.
Najjar won’t act on Syria warrants unless laws obeyed
BEIRUT: Lebanon is set to disregard alleged arrest warrants issued by Syria against prominent Lebanese officials and figures close to Prime Minister Saad Hariri, since Lebanese judicial authorities were not informed of them officially by their Syrian counterparts.
Hezbollah, Syria seek to discredit Hariri tribunal (AP)
AP – Hezbollah and its ally Syria are mounting a campaign to undermine the U.N. tribunal investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri by raising doubts about the court’s neutrality ahead of indictments expected to accuse members of the Shiite militant group in the killing.*
Nasrallah, Indonesian leader discuss Muslim unity
BEIRUT: Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah received Saeed Akil Seraj, head of the Indonesian Islamic organization Nahdatu al-Olamaa, on Tuesday to discuss current affairs in the Muslim world. The two figures met in the presence of several Lebanese Muslim experts and discussed current affairs affecting the Muslim community in Indonesia, Lebanon and Palestine.
Syrian troops fire on suspected border smugglers
BEIRUT: Units of the Syrian cavalry fired gunshots on smugglers trying to cross the border river of Nahr al-Kabir on Tuesday. The units opened fired at a number of smugglers trying to cross the river, which separates Lebanon from Syria, between the Lebanese village of Rimah and the Syrian village of Bahlawaniya, but no casualties were recorded.
Will Hezbollah defeat Israel (again!) in the coming war?, Franklin Lamb
On a clear day you can see Akka, Palestine from my favorite Lebanese village, Maron al Ras, where more than a few analysts here conjecture that the next and 6th aggression by Israel against Lebanon will begin.  On any day, but particularly since 9/21/10, you can also see beefed up Zionist military patrols, assorted electronic listening posts, sundry spy devices, new Raytheon produced surveillance equipment, two new supposedly camouflaged cinder block one room shacks with Zionist soldiers peering out menacingly while talking on their, Hezbollah monitored, cell phones to girlfriends, mothers, pals and their HQ’s. They frequently glare from widows heavily screened to keep out stones that tourists on the Lebanon side of the ‘blue line’ regularly throw at them when UNIFIL guys
aren’t paying attention or shoo them away.

Tuesday: 9 Iraqis Killed, 7 Wounded
At least nine Iraqis were killed and seven more were wounded in light violence. Meanwhile, the United States wants to help Iraq reorganize its civil service into a decentralized entity that will give more authority to provincial governments.
Assassination attempt against Al Maliki thwarted
A cleaning worker thwarted a major assassination attempt against Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki and a number of security chiefs during a visit to Diyala administration building in summer 2007, Al Qaeda former leader in Diyala Abu Omar Al Azzawi told Alsumaria News.
More journalists killed in Iraq than in 2009: IPI (AFP)
AFP – More journalists have been killed in Iraq so far this year than in all of 2009, press watchdog IPI said Tuesday in a statement.*
Syria’s Assad, Shiite leader call for Iraq unity govt (AFP)
AFP – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a joint call on Tuesday with visiting Iraqi Shiite leader Ammar al-Hakim for a national unity government to be formed in Iraq.*
UN health agency, Iraq studying birth defects (AFP)
AFP – The World Health Organisation and Iraqi authorities are carrying out a survey of birth defects in Iraq following media reports of abnormal patterns in Fallujah, a WHO spokeswoman said on Tuesday.*
Iraqi politics: Breakthrough or another breakdown?, Jane Arraf
A flurry of proposals has led to considerable movement in Iraq’s seven-month political deadlock, but neither Iraqi nor U.S. officials are counting on an imminent announcement ending Iraq’s epic struggle to form a government.
Iraq a house divided
Seven months after parliamentary polls hailed as a harbinger of democracy in the region, Iraq is still without a functioning government. Breaking this deadlock requires a delicate balancing of sectarian and political interests, as well as the blessing of regional players like Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. – Sami Moubayed
Iraqi Christians flee homeland even as war fades (Reuters)
Reuters – Bassam Hermiz has slashed prices to clear his stock of electrical appliances, close his shop and join many thousands of other Iraqi Christians abroad.*
U.S. and other world news

More Nato trucks burnt in Pakistan
At least eight trucks are set on fire and one driver killed in the Pakistani city of Quetta, police officials say.
US Bases Abroad Trigger Suicide Terrorism: Are There Other Options?
Can it be that American military bases abroad, usually thought of as “stabilizers” in tough neighborhoods, are really the primary cause of radical terrorism against the US and its allies? That is what Robert Pape and James K. Feldman compellingly argue in their new book released this week titled Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It.
Late soldier’s letters tell of rapes at camp
Capt. Nichola Goddard, who in 2006 became the first female Canadian combat death, wrote to her husband that women working at bases in Afghanistan were often victims of sexual harassment or assault, and that in one week there had been six rapes at her camp.
Riz Khan – Secret CIA prisons
As Poland expands its investigation into a secret CIA prison on its soil, can the victims of extraordinary rendition who were held without charge ever get justice and will the CIA be held to account?

Want To Know If The FBI Is Tracking You? Look For One Of These
This past August, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that placing tracking devices underneath cars isn’t actually a breach of the Fourth Amendment, so long as law enforcement officials think someone is a criminal.
Prosecuting border activists for leaving water for migrants is unjust
238 people died along the Arizona-Mexico border this past year.
The (latest) Muslim-baiting ad of the season, An Ohio Republican falsely suggests in a new ad that his black (and Christian) Democratic opponent is Muslim Video, Justin Elliott
Looks like the latest Muslim-baiting ad of the season is here, this time in the Ohio state treasurer’s race.  Republican Josh Mandel released an ad that ostensibly targets Democrat incumbent treasurer Kevin Boyce’s ethics. But, as you’ll see, there’s also a claim (of questionable accuracy) made about a mosque. And the ad references a lobbyist linked to Boyce who goes by Noure Alo. But in the ad, Alo’s full name —  Mohammed Noure Alo — is used, Barack Hussein Obama-style.
Disneyland in veil compromise
Disneyland, the renowned theme park in the Californian city of Anaheim, has allowed a Muslim employee to wear a specially designed headscarf in a compromise after initially prohibiting her veil. Noor Abdallah sought the legal assistance of an attorney after she was told she could not wear the hijab at work because the Disney dress code does not allow for religious apparel of any kind. Abdallah, although not fully satisfied with the compromise, says the scarf approved by Disney is a “good first step” in letting her dress in compliance with her beliefs.
Ahmadinejad warns the U.S. against military attack on Iran
“The U.S. first started a psychological war in the form of financial sanctions in order to weaken our country and is blatant enough even to threaten us that the military attack option was still on the agenda,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech in the northern Iranian city of Gorgan.
Sanctions begin to compound Iran’s severe economic problems
TEHRAN – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government, already faced with growing opposition from competing political forces within Iran, is confronting new pressure brought on by severe economic problems, including some triggered by international sanctions.
Erdogan: First Turkish satellite to be launched in 2012
The satellite will ease Turkey’s reliance on U.S. intelligence in its operations against the separatist Kurdistan workers Party (PKK).
US firm assists in jamming probe
Maryland company pinpoints location of interference with Al Jazeera Sports’ broadcast of the football World Cup.
FEATURE-Islamic beauty: Can halal cosmetics outgrow their niche?
* Lack of unified certification body may restrict growth
* Beauty worth $500 mln of $2 trln global halal market
* Taps into wider trend for ethical beauty products

2 poems for Gaza

Oct 06, 2010

Lillian Rosengarten 

Today we are running two pieces from the two women aboard the Jewish boat to Gaza, who were deported by Israel in recent days. Here is Lillian Rosengarten, of New York:

On Sunday September 26, 2010, we were finally together for the first time on our small catamaran boat “Irene” I was quickly aware of the kindness and generosity of spirit from the crew and passengers, all Jews.  We were five Israelis, one German, one American and our British captain Glyn. Together we were united with a common desire to reach Gaza and offer our support as Jews to our Palestinian brothers and sisters under siege. We wanted to let them know there are Jews who want to help and that the Zionism we see within the Jewish government is a harsh distortion of Judaism which betrays the sorrow and suffering of Jews under the Nazis. 

It is because I am a Jew and have a dream of a different Israel  that I must speak out against the cruelty bestowed upon the Palestinian population. I strongly believe Jews have a moral obligation to not oppress their  neighbors as they were once oppressed. They must attempt to understand the suffering perpetuated on them. 

A friend reminded me of this timely poem by  W H Auden:

“ September 1, 1939
Now I and the public know
What all school children learn
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.”

I leave you with a short poem written on our journey.
You have risen from
Ashes of the holocaust
To become your own enemy.
We weep for you.
You should have learned so well
Man’s inhumanity to man
Is hell.
We are your brothers and sisters too.

Why Obama caved (Israeli ambassador Michael Oren is his Democratic fundraising tool)

Oct 06, 2010

Philip Weiss 

The Israeli lobby is deeply enmeshed in the Democratic Party, as we frequently note here, for financial reasons. Consider Mark Gilbert of Boca Raton, FL, the deputy national finance chair of the Democratic Party. He loves Israel, his wife Nancy runs tours to Israel. Barack Obama has praised Mark and Nancy Gilbert as “dear friends.” Gilbert raised $500,000 for Obama last time around and has privileged access to White House policy makers.

Lately Alex Cockburn picked up the following fundraising letter written by the Gilberts that reflects the usual complete confusion about national identity that Zionists have– they seem to regard Michael Oren as a political prophet. And note that they are raising money for Obama by quoting a foreign ambassador, Michael Oren, and praising a rightwing leader, Netanyahu. Notice that there is not a word about illegal colonies or Palestinian national aspirations (Jewish prejudice at work), and contempt for the suffering people of Gaza. Emphasis mine:

‘Dear Friends,

“Under the radar” is not what we’re used to in the Jewish community.

We demand it big and bold and we need it loud and clear.  (and- that is A. O. K.! )

But- when work is done quietly and not with SCREAMING headlines, we sometimes miss it.

Silly us!  WAKE UP EVERYONE…. It’s a new (Jewish) year ! And our President and his team (and YES, our CONGRESS) have done, are doing and WILL continue to do extraordinary work in connection with America’s best friend: the State of Israel.

 At the Israeli Ambassador’s residence on Monday, the annual Rosh Ha Shanah (Jewish New Year for our non-Jewish friends on this email) reception guest list included national and international Jewish organization leaders; elegantly dressed Foreign Ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps, a host of Rabbis from across the religious spectrum ; famous authors, renown professors and magnificently decorated military personnel from several countries including at least one  U.S. 3-star General (Dayton). 

We were invited because my husband Mark is the National Deputy Finance Chairman of the Democratic party, I’m the owner of an Israel tour company and have been heavily involved in tourism to Israel for 15 years and probably- and most importantly- because our daughter was Ambassador Oren’s student at Yale.

Thank You, President Obama!

Ambassador Oren and his wonderful wife Sally warmly received each guest -then stood before the assembled crowd in what was the best stump speech for President Obama that I have heard from any world leader (and yes, Ambassador Oren speaks FOR Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel!). Without a note, Ambassador Oren outlined the brilliant accomplishments and strong support of Israel demonstrated by the Obama Administration in LESS THAN 2 YEARS!  Oren invoked our President’s name, time and time again: (please memorize these bullet points and tell everyone you know!)

  • President Obama has led the global effort to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

  • President Obama’s leadership (and coaxing) has produced an international coalition that INCLUDES China and Russia who have implemented unprecedented sanctions against Iran, which, according to conversations at the Monday reception, appear to have caught Iran off-guard

  • President Obama and his team are spending more time on this issue than almost any other issue facing our country today

  • President Obama and our Congress have provided Israel with every cent (and then some) of foreign assistance requested by Israel

  • President Obama has restored Israel’s QME (qualitative military edge) which had been neglected for the last 8 years

  • President Obama is the FIRST American leader to say – in an Arab country (Egypt)  that the Arab world must recognize Israel as a JEWISH state and in a support of Israel’s legitimacy to affirm the –quote- “unshakeable “ bond between the USA & Israel

  • President Obama & team played a critical role in leading a UNANIMOUS vote to include Israel in the OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation & Development). The vote was  31-0 admitting Israel to this prestigious organization

  • President Obama has dispatched leaders of the Joint Chiefs to Israel not once, but four times already in his less-than-2-years in office ( before that the Joint chiefs had not been in Israel for YEARS (not once during the ‘last’ administration)

  • The Obama administration has integrated US missile technology into Israel’s expanding missile shield. NO OTHER AMERICAN PRESIDENT HAS DONE THIS. 

  • The Obama administration continues to fund development of ARROW-3,  Israel’s advanced long-rage, high-altitude system for countering Iranian ballistic missiles

  • President Obama asked Congress for $205 million dollars for Israel’s IRON DOME rocket defense system (which will reduce incoming rocket threats from Hizbullah in the north and Hamas in the south…) – this request is IN ADDITION TO the $3 BILLION budgetary request for Israel’s security assistance!

  • And my personal under-the-radar item; the Obama team’s clever input to re-wording the Gaza blockade language which not only garnered international support for Israel (and a promise not to condemn Israel if Gd forbid there is another flotilla incident) BUT effectively thwarted several pending flotillas in Mediterranean and Persian Gulf ports… that simply became the boats-to-nowhere!

  • And last, but surely not least, (and listed in this basic order by Ambass. Oren) the Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiators are sitting as we speak at a table together – talking.  Who knows what the result will be….but talking is the only way to get anywhere. And it is a giant step in a positive direction.

This email is too long already and I hope you have gotten this far, but you must realize that the list of bullet points above is extraordinary.


And all accomplished by the Obama team and the current congress- in less than two years in office.

Looking ahead to 5771, may you and your families be blessed with a beautiful year, filled with good health, good times and ….peace.

With warm regards from our house to yours,


Nancy & Mark Gilbert.’

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