There are two transformative Jewish communities in the world

Oct 07, 2010

Wondering Jew

When will apartheid greater Israel arrive?

Oct 07, 2010

Matthew Taylor


Which is it, Dershowitz?

Oct 07, 2010

Philip Weiss

While admitting that Jews are all over the media, Alan Dershowitz says that you can’t generalize about their views, at Huffpo. Emphasis mine:

Yes, there are many individual Jews in positions of influence in Hollywood, in network television, in sports and entertainment, and in many other areas of American public life. These individuals, who happen to be Jewish, do not act together in any kind of conspiratorial manner. There is no “Jewish control” of any of these areas — or of the many other areas, such as medicine, law, academia, finance — where there are large numbers of individual Jews in high positions. Many of these individuals are Jewish only in the sense that their parents or grandparents happen to be Jews. They do not live Jewish lives or support Jewish causes. They certainly do not conspire to exercise any sort of “Jewish control” over the areas in which they work. Indeed, many individual Jews who are in positions of authority are anti-Israel and critical of Jewish values.

But Dershowitz himself generalizes about Jewish attitudes in The Vanishing American Jew [emphasis mine]:

My generation of Jews saw important reasons for remaining Jewish, even if we did not always practice the ritual or completely believe in the theology. As actual or vicarious survivors of the Holocaust, of Israel’s defense against sworn enemies, and of the numerous assaults on Judaism and Zionism, we saw ourselves as having a vital– indeed, a sacred– mission: to protect embattled Jews against our external enemies. We were part of a long traditon of defending the Jewish barricades, which were always on the verge of being overrun by… the pogromists, the Nazis, the Arabs, the religiously inspired Jew-haters… and the assorted bigots and crazies who have persecuted us from the beginning of Jewish history.

P.S. I believe


that Dershowitz’s second statement actually reflects the “sacred” charge felt by Jews in powerful positions. Former CNN correspondent Linda Scherzer has said, “We, as Jews, must understand that we come with a certain bias …We believe in the Israeli narrative of history. We support the values that we as Americans, Westerners, and Jews espouse. Thus, we see news reporting through our own prism.” This blog was cut off at the New York Observer because its owner is a Zionist. The NYT’s former executive editor Max Frankel wrote, “I was much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert … Fortified by my knowledge of Israel and my friendships there, I myself wrote most of our Middle East commentaries. As more Arab than Jewish readers recognized, I wrote them from a pro-Israel perspective.” NBC’s Jeff Zucker said he didn’t want news of “jihadists raging about Palestine.” I’d sure like to meet some of those anti-Israel editors.

Full speed ahead on settlement construction!

Oct 07, 2010


and other news from Today in Palestine


Land/Property/Resource Theft and Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing    

Jerusalem eyes first new gate in Old City for 112 years (AFP)
AFP – Planners in Jerusalem are considering creating the first new “gate” into the Old City in more than 100 years, settlement watchdog Peace Now said on Wednesday.*

Jordan Valley settlement expands
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Settlers in the northern Jordan Valley settlement of Mehola began large-scale construction projects on Wednesday night, reports from the Palestine News Agency WAFA said.  Official sources told the agency that the settlers were adding new housing units in the western side of the settlement.  Governor of Tubas Marwan Tubasy said three housing units had already been added during the past week, with several concrete pouring machines seen entering and exiting the settlement.

Settlers Start Expanding Settlement Near Tubas
On Wednesday night a group of Jewish settlers started construction for the expansion of Michola settlement, in the Jordan Valleynear the central West Bank city of Tubas.

Settlers torch farmlands near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Residents of Huwwara village south of Nablus said Thursday that settlers set dozens of dunums of farm lands on fire, destroying crops.  PA official responsible for settlement-observation in the northern West Bank Ghassan Doughlas said the fields were in the At-Tira area of Huwwara village, and had destroyed some crops.  “Lighting fields on fire is a provocative act perpetrated by settlers seeking bury the peace process,” the official said, calling on representatives of the Middle East Quartet to ensure that Israel took responsibility for the actions of its settlers.

Settlers Destroy Olive trees Near Nablus
Nablus – PNN – Israeli settlers destroyed on Wednesday olive trees that belongs to Palestinian farmers from the villages of Howwara and Yanon in northern West Bank.  Villagers told local media that settlers arrived at their lands on midday and destroyed 25 olive trees after they took it olives. Ghassan Doghlas, from the settlement Watch Dep. in the Palestinian Authority, said that settlers attacks escalated this week as the olive harvest season is starting soon.

As Freeze is Cancelled, 34 Families in Two Buildings in Silwan Threatened with Expulsion
Jerusalem – Maysa Abu Ghazala – A Jerusalem municipal judge ordered the cancellation of a freeze on house razings on two six-storey buildings in the Abbasiya neighborhood of Silwan, containing 34 families. Of the 242 residents, 70% percent are children, some of whom have special needs. An urgent appeal to PM Fayad…and the work to stop the razing decision.  Lawyer Ziad Qawar said that the administration decision to raze the houses was issued at the end of 2001, but was not implemented for technical reasons. In June 2007 the municipal court agreed to freeze the razing, but the municipality issued an appeal to the central court, and at the end of the same year it was accepted. The freeze was cancelled, though the affected residents of the two buildings were not party to the procedures.

High property taxes could force Palestinians out of Occupied Jerusalem
Currently 85 per cent of Palestinian residents are in debt and many believe these high taxes will be more effective than demolition of their homes in making them move.

Israeli settlements squeezing out Christians and Muslims
THE ROUTE from Jerusalem to Bethlehem takes us through Israel’s Har Homa settlement, constructed during the 1990s on formerly forested hills incorporated into Greater Jerusalem.  More than 4,000 Israeli families dwell in stone-faced multistoried apartment blocks in this urban colony. Buildings stand wall-to-wall in solid fortress ranks. Buildings are rising at the heart of Har Homa and on its flanks, invading the Bethlehem district, populated by descendants of the world’s first Christians.

Top Israel ministers meet but settlement freeze off the menu (AFP)
AFP – Israel’s security cabinet met on Wednesday but, despite requests by several ministers, the renewal of a freeze on Jewish settlement building was not discussed, an observer at the session said.*

Ban again urges Israel to restrain settlement building in occupied Palestinian territory
6 October 2010 – In a review of global crisis flashpoints, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on Israel to restore a settlement moratorium in occupied Palestinian territory and warned that mishandling of the independence referendum in Southern Sudan could spark renewed conflict.

Israeli settlement building picks up where it left off
ARIEL, West Bank — The sound of a drill reverberating on the small street in the West Bank settlement of Ariel seems to bother few Jewish settlers here, despite its significance for international efforts to push forward on the peace process.  On Friday, Palestinian leaders will decide whether they’ll continue to participate in the U.S.-led peace talks. That decision, they said, will rest largely on how Israel moves forward with construction in the West Bank settlements.

Israel may halt new Palestinian city over ‘green concerns’ (AFP)
AFP – Israel’s hawkish environment minister, who backs continuing Jewish settlement in the West Bank, said on Wednesday he was seeking to halt construction of a new Palestinian city over “green” concerns.*

Jerusalem mayor rejects city’s partition
Sharing Israel’s capital with Palestinians would bring ‘a Trojan horse into the heart of the city’, says Nir Barkat in Washington.

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment


IOF troops break up march protesting burning of mosque
IOF used force on Wednesday to break up a demonstration by inhabitants of Beit Fajjar village, Bethlehem district, protesting Zionist settlers’ burning of their village’s mosque.

Gaza residents protest ‘video humiliation’
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Gaza City residents organized a sit-in on Thursday, demonstrating collective anger over a home video of an Israeli soldier belly dancing beside a bound and blindfolded Palestinian woman in the West Bank.  The video, which made waves on news sites and aired on Israel’s Channel 10 News, was called a “disgusting illustration of the sick mentality of the occupier,” in a Palestinian Authority statement.  Gaza Minster of Prisoners Affairs Muhammad Al-Ghoul spoke to assembled protesters, saying he believed the Israeli army would not waste an opportunity to mistreat Palestinians as long as the Arab and Islamic world remained silent about the crimes.

Demonstrating still a crime: Military night raids and arrests resume in Ni’ilin
Four people, 17 to 45 year-old, were arrested by the army in Ni’ilin tonight, in the first pre-dawn raid operation in months. The renewal of night raids and arrests may signal a return to their use as a scare tactic to quell demonstrations and the village’s struggle against the Wall and theft of their lands.  Large military forces closed in on Ni’ilin at around 2 AM tonight, just before dozens of soldiers staged a raid on the village, entering it from four sides in order to arrest residents for their alleged part in the weekly demonstrations against the Wall. Initially, no armored jeep or other vehicles were used – infantry soldiers entered the village on foot, sneaking into the sleeping village under the cover of dark like common thieves.

Weekly demonstrations: children cry as cops clash with clowns in Al Ma’asara
On Friday afternoon, around 50 protesters, including some 10 international and Israeli activists, gathered in the village of Al-Ma’sara, near Bethlehem, to demonstrate against the theft of village land by the Gush Etzion settlement block. The protest was also a commemoration of both International Peace Day and the 10th anniversary of the Second Intifada. Soldiers and border police met the demonstrators with a cord laid across the road, saying that if the protest crossed the line, the demonstration would be forcefully ended. Continuing to chant, the peaceful demonstration proceeded forward and was met with a barrage of sound grenades and tear gas thrown by the soldiers.

Antiwar Activists Refuse to Appear in Court
Some Midwest antiwar activists say they’ll refuse a federal order to testify this month before a grand jury in Chicago. The FBI served the subpoenas and raided several homes 11 days ago.

Re-trial Begins In The Case Of Rachel Corrie, Killed By Israeli Forces In ’03
On Thursday morning, the District Court of Haifa began the re-trial of a case they had concluded in March: an Israeli judge ruled that the Court should hear further evidence about Rachel Corrie who was killed by an Israeli armored bulldozer in 2003.

Solidarity group says activist denied entry to Israel

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — The Palestine Solidarity Association of Sweden said an affiliated activist entering Israel via the country’s Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday afternoon was “blackmailed” into deportation.  Niklas Berg, the Stockholm, Sweden-based project coordinator for the group, was on his way to visit programs run by the agency and funded by the Swedish development agency in Jerusalem.

Jordan, Palestinians pull out of cycling tour with Israel (AFP)
AFP – Jordanians and Palestinians have pulled out of a cycling tour with Israelis to promote environmental awareness a week after Jordan’s Islamist-dominated trade unions urged a boycott.*

The Martyrdom of Shaden al-Saleh
This video concerns Israel’s 2002 murder of a Palestinian teacher,cultural activist and neighbourhood organiser, Shaden al-Saleh. Shaden was the mother of Saed Abu Hijleh, who witnessed the murder and gives his own account here. Saed teaches political geography at Nablus’s an-Najah University, writes poetry, blogs, organises, and provides me with wonderful food and information, for which I’m very grateful. He’s a well-educated member of the Nablus middle classes. He’s also been shot in the belly and in the shoulder and has been imprisoned five times. But his suffering is not unusual. Everybody in Nablus has a story to tell. I’ve just returned from the prison, and over the next couple of weeks I aim to convey a few of the stories I heard. An example of Saed’s English-language poetry is over the fold.

Bil’in, 7/30/10, Adam Horowitz
Matthew Graber submitted this photo to the Israel Project’s “Best Shots of Israel” contest.

Iraq Burin, from Bil’in, a village of Palestine
Nestled on the peak of a mountain nearby the West Bank city of Nablus, the 1,100 residents of Iraq Burin have staged weekly unarmed protests since November 2009, as a response to land confiscation, agricultural destruction and violent attacks from Israeli settlers and soldiers.  The demonstrations came to a climax on 20 March 2010, when Israeli soldiers working with the settlers shot and killed two teenage boys from the local village, sending shock waves through the local community.  This site represents a continuous effort to tell the story of Iraq Burin by the people of Iraq Burin.

#BDS: Georgia Urged to Divest and Boycott Israel
In correspondence addressed to state legislative appropriations leadership, the officers of the Georgia Green Party today urged that “the state of Georgia sever its economic ties with the Apartheid state of Israel”, and called specifically for the end of Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange collaboration with Israeli police agencies (  Under this program, Georgia State University facilitates international travel and training between Georgia police agencies and police agencies from Israel, who enforce the Apartheid conditions in occupied Palestine. The Party warns such training would involve the sort of ‘counter-terrorism’ tactics which could only cost Georgia taxpayers expensive settlements in wrongful death and civil rights violations.

Next time I’ll get into Gaza– I’ll find a friend in Congress, Susan Johnson
Susan Johnson has failed to get into Gaza from Egypt. She is on her way home to Doylestown, Pa. This is her last dispatch from Cairo.  And here I sit in my cheap little hotel, my last hours here…..In the wee hours of the morning I’ll be in the air, headed back to the States. My emotions are up, down and everything in between. Six weeks is a long time to be away; it’s difficult to imagine being home. Saying life in Cairo is different compared to Doylestown is absurd….it’s beyond night and day.

The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian/Restriction of Movement


Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (30 September – 06 October 2010)

Zionist settlers install new outposts, IOF vehicle rams into Palestinian car
Zionist settlers in Mekhora settlement in northeast of the northern Jordan Valley started new construction works west of their settlement, eyewitnesses in Tobas district reported on Thursday.

11 children leave Gaza to Slovenia for treatment
GAZA (Ma’an) — A delegation of 17 individuals left Gaza through the Erez crossing on Thursday heading to Slovenia where they will receive treatment and training from one of Europe’s premier hospitals, organizers said.  Eleven children, three care givers and three physical therapy specialists were selected from the patients and doctors at the Families of Martyrs Care Center, program organizer Fathi Shaheen said.

Erdogan: Turkey will not stand idle in front of starving children in Gaza
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country will not remain quiet over Israeli injustice or turn its back on Gaza and its children.

The Trill of looking for internet in Gaza
Few months ago I read a statistics that 70 percent of Palestinian Gaza homes own a computer. Now I have seen many computers in Gaza, while there are few top-notch devices that expats bring in with them as they come to visit their families. I know I left my 3 year old Sony laptop to my younger brother so that he can put it to better use. The majority of Garza’s computers are really old and infested with viruses and an assortment of cookies enough to turn the cookie monster into a Godzilla. The majority of the laptops in Gaza are made in China (that way they are like the rest of of the world) smuggled from the tunnels and sold for a premium. ASUS is the most smuggled laptop and screens into the Gaza market, I guess that’s what they like in Egypt too.

Human Rights/Racism & Discrimination


Victory for Israel’s right as loyalty oath set to become law
After intense negotiations, Netanyahu loses battle over citizen’s declaration that Israel is a ‘Jewish and democratic state’.

Loyalty oath proves Israel is racist, say Israeli Arab leaders
Higher Arab Monitoring Committee sending letter to all parties involved in peacemaking to ensure that controversial amendment not fall between the cracks.

Negev school kicks out two Bedouin students, citing new enrollment policy

On September 1, hours after she had returned from her first day of school in Omer, the school called Wajdan Abu Alian’s parents to ask them not to bring her to school anymore.

Palestinian woman in Israeli army YouTube clip ‘humiliated’ (AFP)
AFP – A Palestinian woman described on Wednesday how she was “humiliated” when Israeli soldiers filmed her in detention, one of them belly dancing close to her as she stood blindfolded against a wall.*
Dancing Israeli soldier video goes viral (Reuters)
Reuters – Two years after it was posted on YouTube, a video that appears to show an Israeli soldier dancing around a blindfolded and bound Palestinian woman detainee has gone viral on the Internet.*

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

Israeli Police Given Protection for Killing,  Mel Frykberg
SHUAFAT, Occupied East Jerusalem – A peaceful morning is interrupted by the sounds of an Israeli helicopter circling overhead – often a sign of trouble on the ground. Later Sunday the news broke: a Palestinian man was shot dead in the village of Issawiya by Israeli paramilitary border police as he tried to enter Israel in search of work.  A father of five, 38-year-old Ezzidine al-Kawazba from Hebron, became the latest Palestinian casualty to die at the hands of the Israeli security forces in disputed circumstances. The policeman who shot al-Kawazba alleged that his weapon went off “accidentally” and that he “didn’t mean to kill the laborer.”



Army Bombards Gaza, Five Wounded
Palestinian medical sources reported that five Palestinians were wounded on Thursday at dawn after the Israeli air force carried out several airstrikes targeting different areas in the Gaza Strip.

Airstrikes reported in central Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli warplanes fired on multiple sites in the central Gaza Strip early Thursday, witnesses said.  There were no immediate reports of injury.  Airstrikes targeted security installations in northern and western Gaza City as well as a residential area in western Gaza.  Smoke was seen rising over the city as ambulances rushed to the bombing sites. Our correspondent described a scene of panic and fear among residents in the vicinity of the blasts.  A Health Ministry spokesman said there were no civilian casualties.  An Israeli military spokeswoman said the army had no immediate comment.  The attack came a few hours after an army spokesman said a homemade projectile landed in the western Negev causing no injuries or damage.

Zionist settlers wreak havoc in two villages near Nablus
Zionist settlers attacked olive groves in Yanun village east of Nablus city and wreaked havoc in the process intentionally breaking trees and stealing olive crops, local sources said.

Shooting Children ‘Will Continue’ In Gaza’s Buffer Zone, Palestine Monitor
New research from Defence for Children International (DCI) shows that Gazan children are routinely fired upon if they stray too close to the border fence. They have documented 10 cases since May, of which six took place beyond Israel’s stated exclusion zone of 300m. Many more are expected in the coming weeks.  Khaled I, 16, used to collect gravel in the industrial zone by the fence. On July 31, 600m from the border, he was shot in the thigh with a 250mm calibre bullet that hit an artery and hospitalised him for 15 days. “They (Israeli soldiers) saw us every day and knew very well we were gravel collectors”, Khalid told DCI. He says he will not return to work, even though “gravel collection is good because construction materials are banned from entering Gaza”.



Four residents wounded and one detained on Ramallah-Nablus road
Wednesday morning, four residents were wounded while an Israeli military vehicle was persuing and harrassing their car on the road between Ramallah and Nablus.

Troops Kidnap 12 Palestinians In West Bank
Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Thursday at dawn twelve Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank.

Israeli police kidnap mosque imam and another man in Nazareth
The Israeli police kidnapped on Wednesday two Palestinian citizens in Nazareth city, including the imam of Shihabuddin mosque, on allegations of supporting alleged terror groups, illegal unionizing.

Israeli court extends teacher’s detention
TUBAS (Ma’an) – An Israeli court extended the detention of a Tubas schoolteacher on Thursday, the Tubas Prisoners Society reported. Mahmoud Abu Al-Tayyeb was detained without cause on Tuesday at Ramon prison when he visited his brother Younis, a lifetime prisoner at the facility, the society said.  Abu Al-Tayyeb had traveled to southern Israel with a permit for the visit.  Israeli prison authority officials confirmed the detention, saying he was detained by police from the prison, but could not comment on the charges Abu At-Tayyeb was wanted on.  The detainees’ society called for the school teacher’s release.

Mother, son speak after Jerusalem interrogations
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Testimonials from the recently released wife and son of a Jerusalem Islamic Jihad leader indicate that the evidence used to detain the two was based on records from a confiscated phone and conjecture.  The detention of Jihad, 17, and Lina Quos, 40, the wife and son of Islamic Jihad leader Naser Qous, came 28 September at the high school and home of the family. It followed nearly a week of clashes between Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem and Israeli forces.

Haneyya confers with Red Cross team on Palestinian prisoners
Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya conferred with a delegation of the Red Cross on the latter’s activities in the Palestinian lands and the Israeli ban on visits to prisoners.



Israel army: Projectile strikes Negev
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A projectile fired from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel late Wednesday, the Israeli army said.  An Israeli military spokesman told Ma’an that the projectile landed inside Israel but close to the border with Gaza.  There were no reports of damage or injury.  Israeli news reports said a second projectile landed inside Gaza.

Israel’s Arab Helpers


P.A Forces Arrest Former Detainee
On Thursday The Palestinian Security Forces of the Fateh-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, arrested Omar Barghouthi, 55, a former political prisoner held by Israel for more than ten years, and the brother of the longest held Palestinian detainee in an Israeli prison.

Islamic Jihad charges PA with life of prisoner
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Islamic Jihad sent a statement to the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday, saying it held the government solely responsible for the life of its captured leader., Khader Adnanm, detained by PA forces on Wednesday, was cited in a warning delivered by 12 Gaza factions sent to the PA that security officers must halt harassment and politically motivated arrests., Islamic Jihad elaborated saying Adnan’s health had deteriorated in PA custody, and called for a qualified medic to visit and test him, and for the official to be transferred to a hospital for treatment., The statement was prompted, Islamic Jihad officials said, by the second consecutive refusal of prison officials to allow an independent commission to visit the leader.

Fayyad’s gov’t names Jihad ‘banned organization’
The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine says Fayyad’s government in the West Bank has officially labeled the Jihad movement a “banned organization”.

Fatah: Statements from Gaza aim to sabotage unity talks
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Fatah accused Hamas leaders in Gaza of attempting to sabotage ongoing unity talks on Tuesday by releasing statements “aimed at increasing tension and blowing off efforts to arrive at unity,” a statement issued by a party spokesman read.  Ahmad Asaf said charges of collaboration launched at Fatah by Hamas leader Salah Al-Bardawil sought to “thwart conciliation efforts, which has been escalated after setting a new date [for the two factions to meet].”  He added: “Do these accusations create the right atmosphere, relieve and remove grudges, to bring success to conciliation?”

Hey Hussein Ibish, No It Doesn’t, Ikhras
Why do many people think if they are disliked by two opposite groups in conflict with each other, it means they must be “doing something right”?  That’s never been true, and it doesn’t stand the test of logical reasoning or argumentation.   Hussein Ibish is defending himself through this same flawed reasoning when he tweets he’s “delighted to be disliked by the Jewish far right and ultraleft AND the Arab far right and ultraleft. Must be doing something right…”

Facebook conversations of Arab leaders…

Political Developments


Netanyahu demanding Obama abide by Bush guaranties to Sharon
Yedioth Ahronoth ,an Israeli journal, reported on Thursday from Israeli political sources that prime minister, Benyamin Netanyahu is demanding that the president of the United States, Barak Obama , reiterate the guaranties which George Bush gave to the previous Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon.

Netanyahu Demands Obama To Abide by Bush Guaranties To Sharon

Palestinian sees no serious talks with Netanyahu
RAMALLAH, West Bank, Oct 7 (Reuters) – A senior Palestinian official said on Thursday he saw no hope of a serious peace process with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in some of the darkest comments to date on the U.S.-mediated talks.  Yasser Abed Rabbo’s remarks signalled deep Palestinian skepticism about the outlook for the talks, which began on Sept. 2 but have been on hold since an Israeli moratorium on new settlement building in the West Bank expired last week.

PLO denies reports of Paris meeting
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee Yasser Abed Rabbo said no meeting was planned between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Paris during October.  Abed Rabbo told Voice of Palestine Radio on Thursday afternoon that no contacts had been planned between the leaders, and would not be until agreements had been reached via the Americans.

Paris to host Abbas-Netanyahu meeting on Oct. 21
France may host a meeting between Mahmoud Abbas, Netanyahu, and Hilary Clinton in Paris on October 21.

US urges Arabs to back continued Israel-Palestinian talks (AFP)
AFP – The United States stepped up efforts Tuesday to press Arab ministers who will meet later this week to back continued Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which risk derailing over Jewish settlements.*

Assad says peace chances with Israel up in the air (Reuters)
Reuters – Western efforts to renew peace talks between Syria and Israel are focusing on finding common ground, but nothing has crystallized yet and the chances of success are unknown, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad said.*

Other News


Turkey to open trade office in Ramallah
Foreign trade minister says plan aimed at ‘improving contacts, enable Turkish investors to work better’.,7340,L-3965305,00.html

US man suspected of trying to spy for Israel
Akamai Tech employee tells undercover FBI agent he is Jewish American who wants to ‘help homeland’.,7340,L-3965793,00.html

Israeli jets stage mock raid over Gaza
Israeli warplanes have violated the Gaza Strip’s airspace, staging a mock raid over the besieged Palestinian territory, reports say.

Shameless War Criminal Livni tells UN to mind its own business over flotilla probe
Outside intervention in Israel’s right to combat terrror ‘unacceptable,’ opposition leader tells Ban Ki-moon in New York.

Israeli Druze to go on historic visit to Syria
For first time, Israel permits Druze citizens to visit holy sites in Syria. First group leaving next week, will stay for one week, meet relatives.,7340,L-3965496,00.html

Sex, yacht and videotape
Media reports on wild orgies involving Israeli-Kazakh businessman Alexander Mashkevitch on luxury vessel used by modern Turkey’s legendary founder.,7340,L-3965310,00.html

Israeli arrested after threatening to kill passengers on Qantas flight
Man allegedly tries to open emergency door while plane en-route from Australia to Hong Kong in what was described by eyewitnesses as nervous breakdown.

‘Hamas Qassams headed toward LA’
LOS ANGELES (Ma’an) — An Israeli hospital began using remnants of homemade projectiles fired from the Gaza Strip as part of a fundraising drive in the United States, organizers claimed.  Supporters of Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, southern Israel, said they brought to Los Angeles remnants of the weapons used by some Palestinian military groups based in Gaza.

Prominent International Sports Figures to Visit Palestine
Bethlehem-PNN- The Olympic Committee of Palestine (OCP) prepared to welcome the Belgian president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge, who will visit Palestine on Tuesday as part of an Olympic delegation that includes prominent international and Arab sports figures.  The OCP said Rogge will meet with President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad before he sets the foundation stone for the OCP building in Al-Ram, near Jerusalem. Rogge will also meet a delegation from al-Amary refugee camps in Ramallah and Bethlehem and host a friendly match between the Palestinian and Jordanian Olympic football teams at the Faysal al-Husayni Stadium in Al-Ram. Jibril al-Rajub, chief of the OCP, will also be in attendance.

Canadian Premiere Of Zindeeq Thrills Sold-Out Crowd
Toronto – PNN – Last night, the Toronto Palestine Film Festival (TPFF) filled the AGO Cinema for the sold-out screening of the Canadian Premiere of Zindeeq. In attendance was writer, director and producer Michel Khleifi who is considered to be one of the founders of contemporary Palestinian cinema. Khleifi, originally from Nazareth and residing in Belgium, has directed several award winning films including Fertile Memory, Wedding in Galilee and Route 181.  Zindeeq, stars renown actor and filmmaker Mohammad Bakri, who plays an expat filmmaker who returns to Palestine to film witness accounts of the 1948 Nakba (expulsion).

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest


Why Mahmoud Abbas is so committed to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks (The Christian Science Monitor)
The Christian Science Monitor – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is now in political limbo after having staked his career on the questionable proposition that a viable Palestinian state can be achieved through negotiations with Israel.*

‘Recognition’: Lieberman Speaks for All of Israel, Jonathan Cook – Nazareth
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, has insisted from the launch of the current peace talks that the Palestinians set no preconditions, while making his own precondition the centrepiece of negotiations. Netanyahu has said talks are futile unless the Palestinians and their leader, Mahmoud Abbas, first recognise Israel as a Jewish state. “I recognised the Palestinians’ right to self-definition, so they must do the same for the Jewish people,” he told American Jewish leaders recently.

Netanyahu`s Freeze Scam, Henry Siegman
Palestinians have made a concession to Israel that is unprecedented: in 1988 the PLO agreed formally to recognize the legitimacy of Israeli sovereignty within the 1967 armistice border, an area that includes fully half the territory that, as indicated above, had been recognized as the legitimate patrimony of Palestinian Arabs in the UN Partition Plan. This reduced the Palestinians` territory from 43 to 22 percent of Palestine while enlarging Israel`s territory from 56 to 78 percent.

Why Obama caved (Israeli ambassador Michael Oren is his Democratic fundraising tool), Philip Weiss
The Israel 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.

Mearsheimer: ‘Israel, with the help of the lobby, is effectively committing national suicide’
John Mearsheimer, professor of political science at the University of Chicago and co-author, along with Stephen Walt, of ‘The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy ,’ spoke with IPS about the Israel lobby.  Cléa Thouin, Assistant Editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies, asked Mearsheimer about the state of the Lobby and the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.  Transcripts:… The Summer 2010 issue of the Journal features two articles related to the lobby, as well as a special document published by J Street, a new lobby group that advocates for a two-state solution:…  This interview took place on September 28, 2010 and is the third installment of Palestine Studies TV.

The hallowed Israeli kibbutz– No Palestinians accepted,  Philip Weiss

Two weeks ago, Jeff Halper, the human rights activist, drove me south through the West Bank and I asked him about the blessed kibbutzes of my childhood memory, the Jewish agricultural cooperatives that were transforming Jewish identity and making the desert bloom; and he exploded the myth with a simple truth: Palestinians were not welcome to join kibbutzes, in fact kibbutzes played a role in ethnically cleansing Palestine.

‘When history speaks’ for Israel in the Times it leaves out the Palestinians, Adam Horowitz
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…

What the Washington Post Doesn’t Tell You About Dennis Ross, Alex Kane
The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler has a piece today looking at the prominent role that Dennis Ross has played in the Obama administration’s dealings with Israel, and reports that Ross “primarily worked” on a “package of incentives that the Obama administration is offering Netanyahu to extend a settlement moratorium by 60 days to keep nascent peace talks with the Palestinians on track.”    But there’s a whole lot of crucial history and context about Ross that goes unmentioned which would show that Ross is an unabashed pro-Israel partisan.Here’s some of the ways Kessler describes Ross:  he is a “crucial, behind-the-scenes conduit between the White House and the Israeli government…[he] has provided an element that had been missing from the bilateral relationship, which has been rocky since Obama took office.”  What’s missing?

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

MJ Rosenberg: The Lobby’s Shame
Reading David Grossman’s To The End Of The Land J Street is lambasted for accepting support from George Soros while the “pro-Israel” lobby is never called upon to account for supporting policies that have produced so much grief and mourning in Israel.  I won’t reveal the plot. It’s fiction but, as is well-known, Grossman’s 20 year-old son, Uri, was killed during the 2006 war in Lebanon. I am not giving anything away when I say that this would not be the same book if Uri had come home from that war. The book is heartbreaking for so many reasons. Any book on the mortality of children is going to be. But this one is also heartbreaking because it is suffused with hopelessness. Israel is depicted as a place living with an intolerable situation – war, followed by more war – that will never end.

Laws of the Street Reign in East Jerusalem Neighborhood, Michael Khaled for MIFTAH
Living in Jerusalem has been a rollercoaster. On one hand, its extraordinary history and status can make anyone’s time here surreal. On the other, since it’s the geographical and emotional center of the conflict, people have become hardened and suspicious., Palestinian-Arab neighborhoods exhibit this perhaps the worst of all, since every aspect of the city’s supposedly legitimate system seems to be against the Palestinians living there creating a vacuum of authority. Some of the avenues of oppression include tenuous residency status, evictions, house demolitions, lack of basic services like trash collection or land registry, discriminatory zoning, police brutality, and settler harassment. With no avenue to voice their concerns to the ‘proper’ authorities, the only vehicle to establish order is an array of social customs and the influence of strong arms who enforce them.

Israel in America: Obama’s Dance of Death, Eric Walberg
Obama has just lost his close friend and chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who is making the unusual transition from national to municipal politics. He is also losing his closest adviser, David Axelrod, (pragmatist Emanuel described their difference as prose versus poetry) and his mentor and director of the National Economic Council, Larry Summers.  Why are Obama’s three closest advisers — all Jewish — leaving? There is no pat answer. Axelrod is no friend of Summers, having suggested in an email the latter would be more comfortable in the “cafeteria at Goldman Sachs”. He claims he is homesick. Obama’s Keynesianism probably finally got to Summers, who prefers tax cuts. Emanuel, a former congressman, a talented ballet dancer, son of an Irgun terrorist, and an Israeli soldier during the first Gulf war against Iraq, leads us to the real answer.

Will the West Tell Israel to Abandon Occupation?, George S. Hishmeh – Washington, D.C.
Forty years ago this month,  the Arab world was mourning in an unprecedented numbers the unexpected death on September 28 of a great Arab hero, Gamal Abdel Nasser, the president of Egypt, and subsequently the abandonment of his much-desired dream of Arab unity. Few Arabs still talk about this squandered opportunity, or the short-lived union between Egypt and Syria, and more significantly, hardly any think that mergers among the 22-member Arab League are possible in the foreseeable future. In fact, Sudan may even be divided in the near future as a result of the upcoming referendum.

New Face, Same Imperialism, Tariq Ali
There was no fundamental break in foreign policy between the Bush and Obama regimes. The strategic goals and imperatives of the US imperium remain the same, as do its principal theatres and means of operation.

Birth of the National Security State, Philip Giraldi
Three elements are necessary for the creation of a National Security State. First, there must be a narrative that can be sold to the public justifying the transformation. Second, a system of laws and regulations must be created that enable the state to act with impunity and also to protect the government from challenges to its authority. Third, technology must be harnessed to enable the state to surreptitiously monitor and control the activities of its citizens.

The American Propaganda Machine
Americans tend to believe that American lives are more valuable than the lives of other people. When Americans are killed we never stop talking about it. It, literally, goes down in the history books. But when we kill innocent women and children in other countries we simply say, “Oops, sorry ’bout that,” then expect the people to forget about it.

Chas Freeman book: Buy it on Amazon!, Helena Cobban

The paperback version of Amb. Chas Freeman’s book, America’s Misadventures in the Middle East, is now available for purchase through Amazon. The paperback, hardcover, and e-book versions of the book will all be available through other sales channels in the near future. But for now, you can be the first on your block to order Amb. Freeman’s fabulous book, which is an author-curated compilation of his essays—many of them previously unpublished—on U.S. policy in the Middle East from 1990 through 2010.

Lebanon (and Ahmadinejad’s visit…)    


Lebanese Shiite ministers to boycott cabinet session excluding ” false witnesses” issue
BEIRUT, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) — Shiite ministers allied with the Amal Movement, a main ally of the Hezbollah, said Wednesday they will boycott any future cabinet session that do not discuss “false witnesses” over the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.  The three ministers allied with the Amal Movement told reporters following a cabinet session that they will not attend any session that do not discuss the “false witnesses” issue, while the two ministers allied with the Hezbollah did not announce a similar step.

Israel pressures Lebanon to cancel Ahmadinejad visit
With Mahmoud Ahmadinejad due in Beirut next Wednesday for a two-day state visit to Lebanon, his first since he became President in 2005, Israel has already stepped up its military presence along the Lebanese border.

Ahmadinejad may travel by helicopter to south with Sleiman – report
BEIRUT: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might be transported by helicopter to South Lebanon along with his Lebanese counterpart Michel Sleiman, a well-informed source told the Central News Agency on Wednesday. Ahmadinejad is expected to visit Lebanon on October 13, for a two-day official visit on the invitation of Sleiman.

U.S. concerned by Ahmadinejad’s fastball
The State Department is not pleased with the plans of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit southern Lebanon and throw rocks at Israeli soldiers along the border. “I don’t normally recommend travel arrangements for President Ahmadinejad. We certainly would hope that Iran would play a constructive role in the region. Throwing stones, whether they are literal or figurative — I would not consider constructive,” Crowley said. “We did say to Lebanese officials, you know, [Iran] is a country that is actively undermining your government.”,0

UN urges caution over the release of Sayyed files
BEIRUT: The United Nations’ legal council has requested extreme care be taken when disclosing Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) files pertaining to former head of General Security Major General Jamil al-Sayyed, files made public on Tuesday revealed.

UNIFIL denies banning farmers from olive harvest
BEIRUT: The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reportedly banned Mays al-Jabal locals on Wednesday from harvesting their olives after an Israeli patrol threatened the farmers with arms. Members of the UNIFIL Nepalese battalion were said to have prohibited a number of olive field cultivators in the south Lebanon village of Mays al-Jabal form picking olives.

‘Regional strategy needed’ for non-registered refugees
BEIRUT: An immediate regional solution is needed to solve the growing problem of non-registered Palestinian refugees, experts said on Wednesday. Regional authorities on the Palestinian issue gathered at an inaugural session of a two-day conference “Undocumented Palestinians: A Common Regional Plight.”

Who’s Afraid of a False Witness?
Compared to what Hizbullah is facing, the false witness issue is small potatoes. Nasrallah is allegedly staring down an STL indictment built on five years of in-depth investigation, interviews, and forensic evidence. What does he do in response? He goes on the offensive a few months in advance, and one-ups the U.N. with a three-part TV special featuring Israeli satellite footage and confessions from convicted espionage artists. Nasrallah could handle the false witness thing in his sleep. Meanwhile, Hariri seems to be asleep.

New York Times on Hizbullah: more errors and mistakes, As`ad Abukhalil
Cambanis has done good reporting in the past, but there are major errors in today’s piece on Hizbullah.  “According to Hassan Nasrallah, the group’s leader, Hezbollah has increased its missile stocks to 40,000…”  I mean, this is a major mistake because Nasrallah is known to repeatedly make the point in many speeches, that he would never ever confirm or deny a certain figure regarding the missile capability of Hizbullah.  So Nasrallah certainly never gave any figures and I wonder how can one make such an allegation when the record is straight here.  And then this:  “Its operatives roam strategic towns…”  I like the word “operatives.”  Who are those operatives?  Those operatives are in fact residents of the those villages themselves.  Western media use the same language about Hizbullah in South Lebanon that they had used before about the PLO forgetting that Hizbullah members and fighters are part of the population landscape and not some “alien” force (of course, i never regard it PLO in Lebanon as an alien force and gave them the right to roam and operate as they wished notwithstanding my fierce opposition to the thuggery and criminality that characterized the behavior of some PLO organizations, namely As-Sa`iqah, Fath, Arab Liberation Front, etc).  To be fair the point is made by someone later in the article.  And then this:  “Several independent Lebanese military analysts, who do not support Hezbollah, say they have seen evidence that Hezbollah has armed, trained and expanded…”  Anyone who says that they have seen “evidence” are lying; Hizbullah is way too secretive to show the “evidence.”   And this one is pure invention or fabrication:  “Now, however, Hezbollah leaders have declared that they will find it difficult to stand aside if Israel or the United States bombs Iran’s nuclear facilities.”   This is outright false and some party leaders have in fat said that they would not be party to such a conflict.



Wednesday: 2 Iraqis Killed, 1 Wounded
At least two Iraqis were killed and one more was wounded in new attacks. Although violence was light, other news stories took the headlines as American officials publicly spoke against one particular political alliance that could help end the power vacuum in Baghdad.

Iraq: Gunmen kill 2 civilians in Mosul
Two civilians were killed Wednesday in two separate incidents in western Mosul, a police source said.

Iraq PM, US diplomat meet over government formation (AFP)
AFP – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met a senior US diplomat on Wednesday over the country’s ongoing political stalemate, which has seen no new government formed since March elections, his office said.*

Iraqi-American Seeks To Restore ‘Garden Of Eden’
Biblical scholars believe that the wetlands in southern Iraq are the site of the Garden of Eden. In the 1990s Saddam Hussein drained the area by diverting its waters in order to punish the people living in the region for backing an uprising against his regime. Nearly two decades later, engineer Azzam, an Iraqi-American and founder of Nature Iraq, returned to the region to help restore this land — in the middle of a war. Host Michel Martin speaks with Alwash about the project.

U.S. and other world news


US attack kills 5 people in Pakistan
According to Pakistani security officials, two others were also wounded after a US drone fired two missiles on a house in the town of Mir Ali in the North Waziristan on Wednesday.

US apologizes for killing Pakistani soldiers
The US ambassador to Pakistan has apologized for a recent helicopter attack that killed Pakistani soldiers near the Afghan border.

Iraq War Veteran Who Rescued Wounded Children in 2007 Apache Attack Describes Emotional Toll of Witnessing Infamous Killings
Iraq war veteran Ethan McCord was one of three US soldiers who were on the ground during the Apache helicopter assault on 12 civilians in Baghdad in 2007 that was captured in a video released by WikiLeaks. McCord is seen on the video carrying one of the wounded children in his arms to get medical help.

Ex-senator: US manipulating United Nations Security Council
The reason why Washington can carryout non-UN-sanctioned cross-border attacks on Pakistan with impunity is that “the UN Security Council by large is manipulated by the United States. There is no question about it,” Gravel told Press TV on Wednesday.

Miss. judge jails attorney for not reciting pledge
A Mississippi judge ordered an attorney to spend several hours in jail Wednesday after the attorney chose not to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in court.  The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported that Chancery Judge Talmadge Littlejohn told a court audience to rise and say the pledge. People in the courtroom said Danny Lampley of Oxford stood but did not say the words. Records show Lampley was booked into the Lee County jail at 9:40 a.m. and released about 2:30 p.m. on the judge’s orders.

Growing ties between Turkey, China, Iran worry Israel and U.S.
Turkey held military drill with China, after canceling with Israel; cooperation also reflected in weapons deals, with Iran buying from China mainly missile technology.

Human Rights Watch:  Walls at Every Turn
This 97-page report describes how workers become trapped in exploitative or abusive employment then face criminal penalties for leaving a job without the employer’s permission. Government authorities arrest workers reported as “absconding” and in most cases deport them from Kuwait – even if they have been abused and seek redress.

Human Rights Watch: Kuwait: For Abused Domestic Workers, Nowhere to Turn
(Kuwait City) – Domestic workers in Kuwait who try to escape abusive employers face criminal charges for “absconding” and are unable to change jobs without their employer’s permission, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

Tutu retires from public life
South African Nobel laureate “makes way for a new generation of leaders” as he steps down on his 79th birthday.

Jordan rejects TV jamming charge
Ministry of Information in Amman denies that Jordan was behind disrupting Al Jazeera’s 2010 World Cup broadcast signals.

Vatican synod mulls Middle East Christian exodus (Reuters)
Reuters – With Christianity dwindling in its Middle Eastern birthplace, Pope Benedict has convened Catholic bishops from the region to debate how to save its minority communities and promote harmony with their Muslim neighbors.*

WP: Dennis Ross is Netanyahu’s man in the White House

Oct 07, 2010

Philip Weiss

Here’s a shocking/obvious story (my emotional terrain alas) from yesterday’s Washington Post by hardworking Glenn Kessler about how Dennis Ross is now the “back channel” between Obama and Netanyahu.

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.

What’s missing from this piece is the context: Dennis Ross is the former chairman of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute of Israel, which opposes assimilation and intermarriage; he is a former leader of the Israel lobby who has argued that it does not exist, and he is now installed in the Obama administration in a crucial role, and why? Because he has great authority in the Jewish community, that’s why. Because his presence says to the conservative and wealthy Jewish community, Obama won’t sell us out. No wonder this guy has survived from Republican to Democratic administrations, his constituency transcends party. No wonder that MJ Rosenberg has written that Netanyahu is more powerful than Obama.

Question for the Washington Post: Is there any pro-Arab counterpart to Dennis Ross? Of course not. Shouldn’t your article have pointed this out?

The piece would also have profited from the statement Kessler himself has reported, made by Netanyahu a few years ago, “America is a thing you can move very easily.” And why can it be so easily moved? Because of money, I’m afraid, because of the lobby. Which of course cannot be named. (New rule of journalism, don’t follow the money.) Kessler:


Sources in both the United States and Israel said that Ross has provided an element that had been missing from the bilateral relationship, which has been rocky since Obama took office. 

Israeli officials have long preferred to bypass the State Department and peace envoys, and deal directly with a senior official in the White House. Former officials from Bill Clinton’s and George W. Bush’s administrations said the Israelis think that the White House ultimately makes foreign policy and are convinced that the State Department is too pro-Arab.

…Netanyahu “was looking for such a channel at first and couldn’t find one,” a person close to the administration said. 

Ross’s role became more pronounced after Obama shifted course this year and decided to improve his relationship with Netanyahu.

“Very few players are involved,” said an Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The prime minister has said it is crucial that we do this in a discreet and quiet fashion.”


Jailbreak: Rep Donna Edwards raises money by championing human rights in Gaza


Oct 07, 2010

Philip Weiss

New is a lobby against the Israel lobby, and Donna Edwards, the great Maryland congressperson, is appearing at a fundraising event that the group is sponsoring, on Oct. 16, at the Sheraton Washington North Hotel in Beltsville, MD. 1-3. Maybe J Street will join up? From the press release, which is all about the occupation and Palestinian human rights:


Please join New Policy PAC at its reception for Congresswoman Donna Edwards on October 16, 2010.

Congresswoman Edwards will tell us about her work to end the occupation in Israel/Palestine. She has worked tirelessly for peace in the Middle East. 

Congresswoman Edwards has been one of 25 members of Congress to vote against H. Res. 34 “recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself” during Israel’s Gaza invasion of 2008/2009 that left 1400 Gazans dead in the span of three weeks. She has cosigned a letter by McDermott/Ellison highlighting the devastating effect of Israel’s blockade on the occupied Palestinian Gaza Strip. Moreover, she has personally visited Gaza in early 2009. 

Congresswoman Edwards has been a true friend of Palestinians and their quest for peace and justice.

She voted against H. Res. 867 calling on President Obama to “stop any further consideration” of the UN commsioned Goldstone Report documenting war crimes during Israel’s invasion of Gaza in 2008/2009. In short, Congresswoman Edwards’ record has been among the best in Congress, consistently pushing to end the Israeli occupation. In fact, she is ranked #2 on’s Congressional Score Card.

If you do not live in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area, please support Edwards’ campaign by making a donation now.

Or send a check to New Policy PAC, PO Box 73526, Washington, DC 20056. is a lobby working with members of Congress to enact legislation to end the Gaza siege, freeze Jewish settlements and establish a Palestinian State alongside Israel. also supports establishing a secular democratic state in all of Israel-Palestine. 

New Policy PAC, a sister organization of, fundraises for campaigns of members of Congress who support our mission. The New Policy family believes that ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not only vital to regional peace but important for the easing of Muslim-American tensions around the world. Please forward this invitation to all family and friends. We must support members of Congress who stand for justice and peace!


The hallowed Israeli kibbutz– No Palestinians accepted


Oct 07, 2010

Philip Weiss

Two weeks ago, Jeff Halper, the human rights activist, drove me south through the West Bank and I asked him about the blessed kibbutzes of my childhood memory, the Jewish agricultural cooperatives that were transforming Jewish identity and making the desert bloom; and he exploded the myth with a simple truth: Palestinians were not welcome to join kibbutzes, in fact kibbutzes played a role in ethnically cleansing Palestine.

In the video above, Halper tells a disgusting story about the Palestinian who wanted to join the kibbutz he had worked for for many years. It’s in the first couple minutes.

As you listen to this story, remember that Palestinians make up 20 percent of Israeli society. They don’t get drafted, they can’t join kibbutzes, and their political parties are barred from the room, even by Labor, when ruling coalitions are formed, in favor of rightwing Jewish parties. So Israel is much like the South during the time of segregation; and as Yonatan Shapira told an American audience some weeks ago, Palestinians can’t found new towns inside Israel, even as Jews have founded hundreds of new towns since 1948. Did you know that? I sure didn’t.

Also, watch this video to see the geography of the colonies in the occupied West Bank. We’re driving to Hebron, south from Jerusalem. We’re passing Efrat, the “Scarsdale of the West Bank.” Now and then the videographer manages to capture the scene. The video ends with a crushing revelation about Israelis depriving Palestinians of water for some of the richest farmland in the Judean hills.

And watch it too for, starting at 4 minutes or so, Halper’s memories of his rabbinical school buddies. They’re all rabbis now. And you’d think that they’d have him in to their synagogues, to learn about the oppressive occupation that is taking place in the name of all Jews, right?

(Now let me amend, and say that Halper transformed my myth of the kibbutz. I honor Jewish collective awareness; and I can still think of the kibbutz as a hallowed artifact in Jewish history– on the path to discovering the Other we oppressed. The late Tony Judt had this very awakening on his kibbutz back in the 60s.)

Next time I’ll get into Gaza– I’ll find a friend in Congress

Oct 07, 2010

Susan Johnson

Susan Johnson has failed to get into Gaza from Egypt. She is on her way home to Doylestown, Pa. This is her last dispatch from Cairo.

And here I sit in my cheap little hotel, my last hours here…..In the wee hours of the morning I’ll be in the air, headed back to the States. My emotions are up, down and everything in between. Six weeks is a long time to be away; it’s difficult to imagine being home. Saying life in Cairo is different compared to Doylestown is absurd….it’s beyond night and day.

Sunday, September 26 was memorable. I finally surrendered to the fact I wouldn’t be going to Gaza. The hurt and disappointment weren’t as overwhelming as anticipated. The handwriting had been on the wall, which I’d seen but ignored. Accepting reality wasn’t difficult….. well that’s not true….It was, is, and will probably always  be difficult. It’s not knocked me flat out on the floor, yet, which is good. 

I’ve avoided being a tourist in Egypt…not certain why…perhaps somehow seeing the sights would be betraying Gaza and my focus on going there. That may sound silly but that’s the way my mind works. I put Egypt’s history and fantastic sights in a box, locked it and hid it in the back of my mind. Rarely did I think about the Pyramids unless someone asked what I thought of them. When they heard my reply they quickly remembered they had an appointment and took off.

Well… Susan was reluctantly becoming a tourist.


We began mapping out my week of touring; which was actually exciting and fun. The hotel’s driver would take me where ever I wanted to go….we even talked about driving to the Rafah Border Crossing so I could take pictures. The pyramids and Sphinx were scheduled for Wednesday; Thursday I was taking the “City Tour” old Cairo, the Bazaar. Islamic City, Saturday was set aside for Alexandria. That left me Sunday and Monday to add on sites.

Monday was for shopping. I look for Fair Trade handcrafts; it’s nice to know the artisans are receiving their fair share of the profits and not being exploited.The taxi left me in front of an old building…once again it was French and in need of repair. Fair Trade Egypt was on the second floor….which is called the first floor…I just can’t figure that out. Inside the marble entry, grand stairs, landings and staircases maintained  their elegance. The shop met with my expectations; I easily purchased small gifts for everyone on my list in less than an hour.

I was going to a coffee shop around the corner; as I stepped from the landing to the grand stairs I missed the first step…..and began to fall… I couldn’t grab the railing on the right…realized I’d begin tumbling like a roll-y-poll-y until I hit the entrance….began running toward the left… body leaning about a step and a half ahead of my feet…trying to catch up with my body was hopeless…..I noticed an old man slowly walking up the stairs….right in my path…..tried avoiding him, with no luck….the impact slowed me down….the final steps I spent twirling along the wall…..just as I thought, “damn, I made it with out falling flat on my face” …..I missed the last two steps…falling…hitting the marble entry….flat on the left side of my face.

It must have been pretty spectacular. A crowd had gathered and continued to expand onto the sidewalk outside. I saw the old man laying flat on his back, moaning loudly….he had people helping him…I kept asking them to get ice for the back of the head….no one got ice, I realize they probably didn’t understand me. I knew I needed a hospital…wanted a taxi…someone called an ambulance….refused the stretcher, I won…refused to lie down on the stretcher in the ambulance, I won but lost…the ride was awful and I almost threw up.

The hospital was probably used as a movie set for Humphrey Bogart….very old, in need of repair.. Calling the building and emergency treatment area outdated is an understatement. A very nice doctor put 18 stitches on my face next to my left eye…. telling me I’m going to have a very bad scar. He wanted to have me stay in the hospital overnight; I declined. Repeatedly I told him my left foot hurt…he felt it, pressed here and there and said he didn’t think it was broken. I returned Wednesday morning because the foot was swollen and very painful….again, he didn’t think it was broken but had it x-rayed. It’s broken and now in a cast…it’s bright orange…my crutches are grey.  

My sightseeing plans were ditched. I’ve spent the past ten days sleeping and thinking. Thinking about Gaza…how next time I will do everything right…no mistakes…do more research….be better prepared…..I’ll find a friend in Congress….I’ll be allowed in next time. Disappointments? There have been many. The new camera has no photos of children drawing, flying kites, telling their stories, smiling. There are no new drawings for “A Child’s View from Gaza”….I have made arrangements for more but it will take time; I’ll need to be patient. My Arabic remains nonexistent….I was sure the children would teach me all the words I need to know. I haven’t met Mona El Farra or Talal….God that makes me so sad.

I would have learned so much. Not seeing Gaza, the beautiful Gaza … beaches and the sea; beautiful in spite of the fact they’re polluted. Donkey carts clopping along the streets. Camels walking along the beach….I was going to ride a camel or at least have my picture taken on one. Following up on houses and buildings that were in ruins last year..

‘Forward’: J Street weathers attack, still has access

Oct 07, 2010

Philip Weiss

Two weeks ago neocons launched an attack on J Street by publishing the unsurprising revelation that the alternative Jewish lobby had gotten money from George Soros. The Washington Times declared that the Obama administration was distancing itself from J Street– on the basis of a comment by the one Jewish Republican congressman– and Jeffrey Goldberg said that AIPAC had won and J Street had lost. While the critics were right that J Street had been less than forthcoming about its Soros connection when it started, the political matter of the attack was pointed out by Daniel Luban, who said that the critics are supporting endless Israeli expansion. And Luban wondered, where is the liberal Jewish support for ending the colonization process? J Street and Americans for Peace Now have been fairly lonely on that front, inside the mainstream American Jewish community.

Not surprisingly, it turns out that J Street is still alive and kicking. From the Forward:


Early signs suggest that damage-control efforts are paying off. Doors on Capitol Hill and in the administration remain open, and according to J Street officials and political insiders, [Jeremy] Ben-Ami’s leadership of the group has not been challenged.

…“I told our team, I am not Gandhi and I am not Rahm; I’m somewhere in the middle,” Ben-Ami recalled in an October 5 interview with the Forward.

Ben-Ami took full responsibility for not revealing in public the fact that Soros has been providing funds to J Street. He issued a statement carrying this message as the press and right-wing blogs were already in a frenzy of criticism against the group, some predicting that the Soros affair would mark the beginning of J Street’s demise, or at least the end of the Ben-Ami era.

But most observers now agree that neither scenario is likely to materialize.

“People see it as an aberration, not as a pattern,” said Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, referring to Ben-Ami’s post-Soros image in political circles. “Usually you get one free pass for things like this.” Saperstein, who was also involved in initial talks that led to the creation of J Street, said he did not sense any concerns on Capitol Hill or in the administration about dealing with Ben-Ami or with J Street.

Scientific paper shows that Israeli attacks merely perpetuate violence

Oct 07, 2010

Philip Weiss

An important new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences uses statistical data on violent attacks during the Second Intifadah to show that violence breeds violence in Israel and Palestine. It reminds me of Ari Fleischer’s boast to a Cincinnati synagogue, during the 2004 campaign, that he had never used the words “cycle of violence” while he was Bush’s mouthpiece. No, all the Israeli violence was good violence. Reuters covers the paper here.

Excerpts from the authors’ statement– scroll down to Nancy Kanwisher’s interpretation of the data, underlining the simple idea, No justice, no peace. Emphases mine:

Author Johannes Haushofer: ““We find that when one side attacks the other, they directly inflict a certain additional number of fatalities or rocket attacks on their own people, because they can expect that the other side will retaliate. For example, when Israeli forces kill 5 Palestinians, they automatically increase the probability that Israelis will die from Palestinian attacks on the following day by 50%.”

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, overturns earlier findings which had suggested that only Palestinian attacks lead to retaliation, while Israeli attacks did not.


“The previous evidence suggested that Israeli attacks were often responses to Palestinian aggression, whereas this did not appear to be true for Palestinian attacks,” says Anat Biletzki, a professor of philosophy at Tel Aviv and Quinnipiaq Universities, and former head of BT’selem, an Israeli human rights organization that collects the data that were used in the study. “This implied that the conflict was one-sided, with Palestinians attacking Israel, and the Israeli army merely responding to this aggression. Our findings suggest that the situation is more balanced than that.”

More from the statement:

The study appears as a new series of peace talks between Israel and Palestine appears bound for failure. The team analyzed a large dataset of killings and rocket attacks in the Second Intifada between Israel and Palestine, spanning the years 2000-2008…

“”Psychologists have long known that people tend to understand their own behavior in terms of the external situation they find themselves in, but another person’s behavior in terms of that person’s inherent character,” says Nancy Kanwisher, a professor of neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the senior author of the study. “This cognitive bias may exacerbate blind spots on both sides of the conflict. Thus, Israelis tend to think of themselves as victims who merely respond to external violence, without appreciating their own causal role in provoking those acts of violence. As Israel’s primary ally, Americans should be working to help Israelis understand how their own actions – seizure of Palestinian land, deprivation of basic human rights of Palestinians, etc. – perpetuate the conflict, and hence how ending those provocative acts will be essential to ending the conflict.”

More broadly, the team say their goal was to infuse facts and hard evidence into the public debate around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Our motivation in doing this analysis was to cut through the rhetoric, prejudice and ideology that dominates the discussion, and instead bring the focus back on hard evidence and a sober, detached understanding of the facts,” says Haushofer.

 In John Mearsheimer’s latest, he says that in the future Israel “will” be an apartheid state, and “will” be a greater Israel, “and when that happens, we’ll be on the road to a binational state.” [quotes paraphrased]

My question for Mearsheimer: when will that date arrive? What more does Israel have to do to oppress the Palestinians for you to declare it is an apartheid state? How much more land must Israel ethnically cleanse, confiscate, and colonize for you to declare that Greater Israel is here, now? Mearsheimer’s predictions of an eternal future condition – “we’re on the road to apartheid” – ironically sound like the neverending road to the two-state solution.

Why can’t we all just wake up and call a spade a spade?

The other day Weiss responded to a piece in Commentary by Daniel Gordis that said that if Iran got the bomb, Israel would cease to represent a transformation of Jewish history. Weiss said America represents that transformation. One of the more substantive comments was from Wondering Jew, a regular commenter who often takes issue with views on this site.

History is a genie that cannot be put back into the bottle by Mister Gordis or by Phil Weiss.

There are at this time two relevant Jewish transformative communities: Israel and America.

A balanced reading of the history of the years 1920 to 1945 reveals that had America not closed its gates to a trickle, the Jewish population of I/P would not have multiplied from 85,000 in 1920 to 400,000 in 1939, thus achieving the critical mass to build a state-to-be including a military force. Obviously the years 1939 to 1945 cannot be erased from the history books either and the nearly universal Jewish empathy for the state born in 1948 (including Jerome Slater, but not Norman Finkelstein’s mother) cannot be erased either.

Mutually Assured Destruction is not an assuring prospect no matter the sanity of one’s foe and particularly when apocalypse plays a role in their theology. Still an attack by Israel on Iran would be unwise and a type of admission that the ingathering of the exiles was a mistake.

There are in fact two relevant Jewish communities of transformation and they are both America and Israel. America was the destination of choice of the overwhelming majority of Jews exiting Europe in the years 1882 to 1920 and remained the destination of choice even when it was no longer a possible destination because of American immigration rules. If there had been no Israel to lobby Congress about, the sole purpose of the American Jewish community would have been the elimination of prejudice and quotas, which was more or less achieved by the year 1968 or so. And the sole purpose of most American Jews would have been to change their name from Bernie Schwartz to Tony Curtis and marry Janet Leigh and sing White Christmas.

But history did not deliver only one transformative experience for the Jewish people, but two, including Israel, where a Jewish language was reborn and is spoken, and where people don’t need to use Google to find out what an etrog is (a common saying in Israel when someone needs to be handled with great delicacy involves the word “etrog” and even those who wouldn’t think of shaking the palm and citron, know what it is.)

So there is no neat dichotomy of either/or regarding the two communities of America and Israel.

(As far as Europe: Europe only exists today as the beacon of tolerance and atheism and nonmilitarism as a result of the umbrella/occupation that was provided/imposed by the United States, so even if there is now a growing community of Jews in Berlin, that is a tribute to America.

(At least half the world is still sufficiently focused on nationalism so that the internationalism of Europe, which is a facade which will crumble as the numbers of nonwhites increase to the levels that are approaching in America, will prove to be a source of humor sometime in the next 90 years. So the dreams of the 60’s of nationalism as a thing of the past is still a dream and not only to Zionist Jews and Arabs and Persians, which covers most of the Middle East.)

A smaller Jewish community in Israel would not be such a terrible thing if not for the demographic battle. And even a reduced Jewish community in Israel would represent a historic milestone of transformation that occurred in the last century. It is a Jewish community with a much more diverse color content (including “Mizrachi” Jews) than the American community, much more aware of words like “etrog” and speaking Hebrew and celebrating Jewish holidays if only as the days when the banks are closed. Obviously Jerusalem is much more relevant to Jewish tradition than Brooklyn or Miami or Brookline.

The battle/struggle with the Palestinians is not near to solution and that struggle with the Palestinians is the worthy purpose of this blog, (even though I feel that the outlook of this blog is dangerously naive ). But to label American Jewry as the sole transformative Jewish community is beyond the scope of this blog and truly an overstatement combined with a cavalier attitude towards history and Jewish tradition.

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