When will Americans be informed of what is stirring in Israel?

Oct 14, 2010

Philip Weiss 

This is reportedly a Gush Shalom ad in Haaretz:

A state

That declares war

On a fifth

Of its citizens –

Can it be called “Democratic”?

A state

That persecutes

Its minority –

Can it be called “Jewish”?

Tomorrow, Saturday evening, we shall demonstrate against the racist laws. Starting at 7.00 pm from Gan Meir, Tel-Aviv.

The yearly settler festival of destroying the Palestinians’ olive trees and orchards

Oct 14, 2010


and other news from Today in Palestine

Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
Abbas pressures U.S. to aid in stopping Israel settlement building
The Palestinian president says Israel is ‘still putting obstacles’ in the path of peace talks, singles out West Bank settlement building.
Settlers Attack Olive Groves in Jub al-Theeb, East of Bethlehem
Bethlehem – PNN – Israeli settlers with the protection and support of soldiers destroyed olive groves in a farm in Jub al-Theeb, east of Bethlehem, on Wednesday morning.  Image After being stopped by a group of international solidarity workers, one settler took revenge on Thursday morning by attacking a herd of sheep.  Mubarak Zowahera, of Jub al-Theeb, told PNN this morning that the group of settlers came to cut down his olive trees near the Israeli settlement of Zibar. A group of international solidarity activists came later to survey the damage to his fields.  Then early Thursday morning, one settler attacked a herd of sheep in Zowahera’s olive grove, which had been “cut down and vandalized” the day before. This action is believed to be in response to the solidarity activists stopping the settlers’ assault. Zowahera told PNN he was working to expose the occupation policies by taking pictures of what happened and presenting them to the Israeli human rights group B’tselem.
In photos: Settlers disrupt Burin olive harvest
Settlers Harvest Palestinian Olives, Destroy Trees
Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that Jewish settlers in the northern part of the occupied West Bank are avoiding attempts by the Israeli army to stop them from harvesting and destroying Palestinian orchards, by sneaking under the cover of darkness into the lands and harvesting them before the Israeli army arrives.
Israel to demolish 22 Palestinian homes in J’lem to build park
The Israeli municipal council in occupied Jerusalem approved a plan to build a new Jewish park in place of 22 Palestinian homes to be demolished in Al-Bustan neighborhood.
Israel to confiscate 1000 dunams in West Bank
RAMALLAH: Israeli authorities on Wednesday decided to confiscate a large area of agricultural lands near the West Bank city of Nablus, a Palestinian official said.  Ghassan Daghlas, the Palestinian Authority official monitoring settlers’ activity in the northern West Bank, said that Israeli occupation authorities issued a military order to confiscate some 1,000 dunams (100 hectares) belonging to Palestinian farmers from the village of Jaloud, to the southeast of Nablus. Daghlas added that the order was signed by the commander of Israeli Army in West Bank.
Jerusalem mayor calls for new east Jerusalem plans
JERUSALEM — Jerusalem’s mayor on Wednesday called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to approve a major rezoning plan for Arab east Jerusalem, a move that could fuel tensions in the flashpoint Holy City.  Nir Barkat said the project would legalise thousands of buildings in annexed east Jerusalem that Arab residents built without Israeli municipal permission.  “Barkat called on the prime minister and his government to adopt the municipality’s new re-zoning plans for Jerusalem’s eastern neighbourhoods and reiterated his demand to halt demolition orders throughout areas under re-zoning,” Barkat’s office said in a statement.  However, at the heart of the plan is a new an archaeological park in a crumbling Arab neighbourhood just outside the walls of the Old City which has drawn widespread condemnation from Palestinians and the international community.
Zionist Parallel Universe: Jerusalem municipality turned blind eye to illegal building in Silwan
State comptroller’s report finds that the Jerusalem municipality has been lax in enforcing building codes and reining in illegal construction in Silwan.
Zionist Parallel Universe:  Illegal Arab construction ignored
Damning state comptroller’s report slams ongoing increase in number of illegal structures throughout east Jerusalem; since 2000, some 1,000 such homes are being constructed annually, report says.,7340,L-3969064,00.html
Secret Israeli Drill Simulates Riots by Arab Citizens, The Transfer Scenario, JONATHAN COOK
Israel secretly staged a training exercise last week to test its ability to quell any civil unrest that might result from a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority requiring the forcible transfer of many Arab citizens, the Israeli media has reported.  The drill was intended to evaluate the readiness of the civil defence units, police, army and prison service to contain large-scale riots by Israel’s Arab minority in response to such a deal.
Israeli security makes preparations to deport 1948 Palestinians
Israeli Internal Security Minister said security forces are gearing for all potential scenarios if a decision is passed to deport all Palestinians from 1948 occupied lands into the West Bank.
Bishops Warn About the Flight of Christians from the Middle East
Bishops meetings with a Vatican synod to discuss the immigration of Christians from the Middle East have blamed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for spurring the exodus.
Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment

Nabi Saleh Protester Jamal Yassin to Remain in Jail Despite Lack of Evidence,  Joseph Dana
Jamal Sameeh Yassin from the village of Beit Rimma was arrested more than three months ago in connection with Nabi Saleh demonstrations. He remains in jail without any evidence being presented in his trial to date.  Yassin was arrested from his home on July 13th, 2010, during a military night raid on the village of Beit Rimma, north west of Ramallah. He was arrested on charges of stone-throwing during a demonstration against illegal settlement expansion into Palestinian lands in the village of Nabi Saleh.
10 Oct. ’10: Dark shadow hangs over conviction of Bil’in anti-barrier protest leader
Abdallah Abu Rahma, to be sentenced tomorrow, was convicted based on questionable testimonies by minors.  Tomorrow, the Ofer military court will pronounce the sentence of Abdallah Abu Rahma, a prominent activist in the struggle against the Separation Barrier in the West Bank village of Bil’in. Abu Rahma, who has been under arrest since December 2009, was convicted of inciting demonstrators to throw stones and of organizing and participating in an illegal demonstration, according to Military Order 101 of 1967 that the army recently reinstated. Abu Rahma was acquitted of the charges of stone throwing and possession of arms. The latter charge pertained to used tear gas canisters that Abu Rahma kept in his home to illustrate the measures employed by the army against demonstrators
The legacy of Abdullah Abu Rahmeh and other human rights defenders
Oct 13, 2010– The Occupation has increased its violent and systematic campaign against the popular resistance and the grassroots activists, using several brutal methods which attempt to stop their actions.
Egypt grants passage to Gaza convoy
Viva Palestina aid convoy has been given the green light to sail to the port of Al-Arish and cross the border into Gaza.
Lifeline organizers: We will sail to Arish next Friday
Organizers of the lifeline 5 aid convoy to the Gaza Strip would not stay for long in the Syrian port of Latakia and would set sail to Al-Arish in Egypt next Friday.
President Obama: Negotiate on the Basis of Human Rights, International Law, and UN Resolutions
The Obama Administration reconvened under its auspices direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations on September 2.  However, the United States is not insisting on any terms of references for the negotiations, meaning that they are likely to result in similar failed negotiating efforts.  Sign the petition below to President Obama letting him know that for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to be successful, they must be based on human rights, international law, and UN resolutions.
Join the Anti-Apartheid Media Marathon to help put a stop to illegal practices of the Occupation
Oct 14, 2010– To mark this year’s Week against the Apartheid Wall from 9 – 16 November, Palestinian and international activists will again mobilize in the streets and organize a series of events across the globe. This mobilization on the ground will be complemented by a fast paced 48 hour media marathon on 12 and 13 November. We call on media to join 48 hours non-stop coverage!
London’s Jazza Sings in Tune with Palestine, Mamoon Alabbasi – London
London’s ‘Jazza Music Festival’ kicked off Tuesday with a number of artists performing free of charge to help raise aid for the occupied Palestinian territories and highlight their plight. The event offered a mix of music genres that crossed both cultural as well as generational divides, where a diverse audience enjoyed tunes from classic Arabic oud to a touch of contemporary Palestinian hip-hop passing through styles of jazz and into a melodic portrait of England’s north east.
#BDS: Green Party Candidates Urge Divestment from Israel
October 13, 2010 — Julia Willebrand, Green Party candidate for NY State Comptroller, said that if elected, she will use her position to divest the Common Retirement Fund from Israel until such time as the government of Israel complies with international law and the human rights of Palestinians.
#BDS: An Open Letter to Boycott Opponents from Olympia BDS
As community members and peace activists, we are proud that the Olympia Food Co-op has joined a rapidly growing global movement for social justice in a conflict for which we are all complicit. It is an honor to stand with Desmond Tutu and with prominent Palestinian and Israeli activists who are risking their lives to create a just peace.
Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement
Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (07– 13 October 2010)
Israel’s denial of family reunification increases Palestinians’ suffering
GAZA, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) — Having been separated for 17 years from her twin sister, Hayam Shamalakh who was only 19 when she settled in Gaza after the Oslo peace accords were signed in 1993 has been appealing to the Israeli government for family unification permits.  Hayam managed to study physiotherapy in Gaza and always hoped to visit her twin sister Amany who had moved from Egypt to Denmark. Her family, living in Diaspora since 1967, came to Gaza in 1993 and decided to illegally stay here without having Palestinian ID cards.
Violence (past and present)

Israeli Settlers Attempt to Abduct a Child in Hebron
Palestinian security sources reported to Palestine News Agency, WAFA, that a group of Israeli settlers in Hebron, on Wendesday night, attempted to abduct a child.

Israeli Settlers Attempt to Abduct a Child in Hebron

3 beaten, 1 detained in Hebron
Oct 14, 2010– HEBRON (Ma’an) — A Palestinian security source said three Palestinians were beaten by Israeli forces overnight Monday in the At-Tuwani village in the southern Hebron district.
Teen injured by Israeli fire near Gaza border
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Thursday shot at a Gaza teenager collecting rubble near the Strip’s border with Israel, medics said.  Yahia Mahmud Az-Za’aneen, from Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, was transferred to the Kamal Odwan Hospital with moderate injuries to his right leg. Medics said he was collecting aggregates near the Erez crossing.
Ten years later, no justice for October 2000 killings
Ten years since 13 Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed by the Israeli police force during nonviolent demonstrations at the outset of the second Palestinian intifada, Palestinians in Israel fear the worst is yet to come. Jillian Kestler-D’Amours reports for The Electronic Intifada.

Military court reverses minor’s release
An Israeli military court reversed Wednesday a ruling granting the release of a 12-year-old last week, keeping him in detention until legal procedures are complete, his lawyer said.
Israeli Army Detains Journalists Helping with Harvest
Israeli army detained, on Thursday afternoon, a number of journalists who participated as volunteers in harvesrting olives. Their work was organized by the Palestine Mininstry of Information in Kafir Kadom, near Qalqilia.

Israeli Army Detains Journalists Helping with Harvest

Israeli forces detain journalists in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Thursday detained a group of journalists and government employees who were helping to harvest olives in a Nablus village, a Palestinian Authority ministry said.  The PA Information Ministry organized a volunteering day for approximately 40 journalists and 20 ministry employees to help villagers in Kafr Qaddum pick olives. A ministry statement said Israeli forces surrounded the volunteers and threatened to shoot them if they moved.
Israeli Troops Arrest 16 Palestinians During Overnight And Morning Invasions
Bethlehem – PNN – Sixteen Palestinian civilians were arrested by Israeli soldiers during overnight and morning invasions in West Bank communities in Thursday.   65-year-old Palestinian farmer, As’ad Mishaqi, was arrested by Israeli troops while he was working on his land in Al Jadedah village near Jenin in the northern West Bank. Troops also searched and ransacked homes in three nearby villages on Thursday morning.  Also this morning Israeli soldiers invaded the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem and searched homes in Duheisha refugee camp. Israeli forces also invaded the city of Tubas and nearby villages, arresting two men before leaving.  In all, troops arrested 13 civilians during the overnight raids and 12 civilians in the morning.
Protest in Bethlehem to stand by detainees
Demonstrators held a sit-in Thursday in front of the Nativity Church in Bethlehem to protest the torture of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, organized by the local detainees’ center., Head of the center Abdul Fattah Khalil welcomed supporters who joined the sit-in, and called for the release of all political prisoners.

Poll: 45% Want Abbas to Dissolve PA    Thursday, 14 October 2010 09:49
Ramallah – A public opinion poll conducted by the independent Palestinian news agency Sama showed that 45% of Palestinians believe that President Mahmoud Abbas should dissolve the Palestinian National Authority (PA) in response to Israel’s decision to continue settlement building in the occupied West Bank.  30% of the poll respondents want President Abbas to resign while 25% see that he should continue on as leader of the Palestinian Authority but boycott talks with Israel.  Over 3400 have participated in the one-week survey.
PLO official’s recognition of Israel as Jewish state angers Palestinians
RAMALLAH, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) — Yasser Abed Rabbo, a Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) official’s Wednesday statement over the Palestinians’ readiness to recognize Israel as a Jewish state outraged the Palestinians.  Abbed Rabbo was quoted by the Israeli Ha’artez Daily as saying that the Palestinians would be ready to recognize Israel as a Jewish state if Israel withdraw completely from the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, including east Jerusalem.
Gaza government demands Abed Rabbo’s resignation
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Gaza government called on Thursday for the immediate resignation of a PLO official who was quoted in the press as agreeing to a conditional recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.  Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo was quoted in the Israeli daily Haaretz as saying the PLO would recognize Israel “according to the formulation of the government within the hour” if Israel agreed to 1967 borders.

IFJ condemns Hamas for attacks on press
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The International Federation of Journalists on Wednesday condemned Hamas’ Internal Security department, which closed down the office of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate in Gaza.  In a statement, the IFJ accused Hamas of “inexcusable intrusion” in the internal affairs of Palestinian journalists.
West Bank firms encounter new Hamas laws in Gaza
RAMALLAH, West Bank, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Palestinian firms in the West Bank say the Hamas group which governs the Gaza Strip is planning new business regulations that will deepen an economic and political chasm between the territories. In the last few months, West Bank-based firms have begun to rediscover the market in the Gaza Strip, home to a third of the Palestinian population, as Israel has eased restrictions on goods allowed into the territory.
Political Developments

Only smart thing they’ve done which they now deny doing…. Palestinian negotiator denies official request for border map of Israel
RAMALLAH, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) — Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath on Wednesday denied that the Palestinian leadership had officially requested from the United States and Israel a map that draws the borders of the state of Israel.  Shaath, who is also a member of President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party central committee, told Xinhua that “it is not true that we made the request” in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer to extend the settlement freeze moratorium for recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.  Earlier Israeli media reports quoted Yasser Abed Rabbo, the official in Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), as saying that he was officially authorized to apply to the U.S. and Israel and request a map for Israel.
Fatah: Netanyahu demand ‘new obstacle’ to talks
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Fatah described Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as Jewish state for the extension of a moratorium on West Bank settlement construction as a “new obstacle in reviving negotiations,” on Monday.  Party spokesman Ahmad Assaf said the condition “proves false claims by the Israeli government on the natural expansion of settlements, which it has used to resume settlement activity.”  Assaf said he “if this is the price the Netanyahu government demands for a settlement freeze, then what will be the price for the removal of all settlements on Palestinian territories or the withdrawal from East Jerusalem?”
Fatah leader says peace process has failed
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud Al-Aloul affirmed Wednesday that the Ramallah leadership has reached a conclusion that the political process based on two states has failed.  Meeting with Fatah officials in Bethlehem, Al-Aloul said the Palestinian side had exerted all possible efforts to reach an agreement with Israel, but Israel’s “racist policies” have eliminated the possibility of reaching an agreement.
PLO official: We reject Jewish state proposal
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A PLO official said Wednesday that the Ramallah-based body’s position toward recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is clear and not going to happen.  Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusuf told Ma’an that such a move would undermine the Palestinian right of return.  On Monday, Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu asked the Palestinian Authority to recognize Israel as a Jewish state in exchange for a settlement freeze extension, which was rejected.
Gaza minister: Army chief seeks more destructive war
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi’s threats to wage a “short and destructive” war on the Gaza Strip reflects his country’s intention to commit more “massacres” against Palestinians, the interior minister in Gaza said Wednesday.  “Ashkenazi is threatening to wage a short coming war to claim more lives of our people,” Hammad said during a tour of schools west of Gaza City. He was accompanied by senior figures of the ministry including spokesman Ihab Al-Ghussein.
War Crimes

ICC urged to act over flotilla raid
Lawyers of the victims of Israeli raid on Gaza-bound aid flotilla present The Hague-based court evidence over incident.
Arabs snub Turkel Committee hearing
Two Israeli Arabs slated to testify before panel probing flotilla raid fail to appear despite subpoena.,7340,L-3969075,00.html
Human rights organizations to Turkel Commission: Defense of human rights is not political
Some of the committee members focused on the political aspects of the closure, however Gisha’s representative clarified that her testimony would concern the legality of the closure and its ramifications.
Other News

Finnish foreign minister pays unusual visit to Gaza
Finland’s Alexander Stubb paid a several-hour visit to Gaza Thursday, the first European foreign minister to do so via Israel in 22 months., Adnan Abu Hasna, a spokesman of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency in the Far East (UNRWA), which hosted Stubb, told reporters he arrived from Israel and crossed into Gaza through the Israeli- controlled Erez crossing., Since Israel’s three-week war with Hamas in the winter of 2008- 2009, only selected officials – including EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon – have visited Gaza via Israel.
Woman fighting ‘kosher’ bus lines harassed over the phone
Volunteer coordinator for movement campaigning against ‘haredi coercion’ in Jerusalem says cursed by people ‘with heavy Yiddish accent’.,7340,L-3969297,00.html

Mahmoud Darwish street inaugurated in Jericho
Washington – In honor of Jericho’s 10,000th anniversary, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad unveiled Mahmoud Darwish Street on Monday, Ma’an News Agency reported Wednesday.
Book review: diary from pre-Nakba Palestine
A Young Palestinian’s Diary 1941-1945: The Life of Sami ‘Amr is an interesting departure from the growing number of Palestinian memoirs published in English. Asa Winstanley reviews for The Electronic Intifada.
‘Budrus’ on Charlie Rose, and the Israel lobby on ‘the Good Wife’, Andrea Whitmore
I’ve taken to watching Charlie Rose online since it comes on too late here in Kansas City for me to stay awake, and I hate to miss it. Night before last (October 11), the same night that Andrew Sullivan appeared, Charlie also interviewed Brazilian filmmaker Julia Bacha and Jordan’s Queen Noor about the documentary Budrus. Rose opened the segment with a trailer for the film and asked entirely respectful questions. Julia Bacha made sure to say that people are always asking about the Palestinian Gandhi, so she answers that there have always been peaceful protests on the ground, but that the mainstream media gives “very little coverage of civil society and what Palestinians and Israelis are doing together” in the struggle for justice.  It’s well worth watching.  Queen Noor and filmmaker Bacha hope for wide exposure for Budrus following last Friday’s opening in New York. The interview is at
Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest

Palestinians consider Mideast talks trump card: declaring statehood (The Christian Science Monitor)
The Christian Science Monitor – Could the Palestinians get the attention of the Israelis and the international communitys support by leapfrogging negotiations and simply declaring a state?*

Groundwork Laid for Media Narrative of Failed Peace Talks: It’s the Palestinians’ Fault, Alex Kane
With direct “peace talks” between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government headed nowhere fast after the Netanyahu government let the so-called “settlement freeze” lapse, the groundwork for the media narrative on who to blame if the “peace talks” officially break off is being laid.  Predictably, it will be, and already is, a narrative of Palestinian rejectionism versus Israeli generosity.
Palestine liberation recalls anti-apartheid tactics, responsibilities and controversies
On a full-day drive through the Jordan Valley late last month, we skirted the earth’s oldest city and the lowest inhabited point, 400 meters below sea level. For 10,000 years, people have lived along the river separating the present-day West Bank and Jordan.  Since 1967 the river has been augmented by Palestinian blood, sweat and tears, ending in the Dead Sea, from which no water flows out, it only evaporates. Conditions degenerated during Israel’s land-grab, when from a peak of more than 300,000 people living on the west side of the river, displacements shoved Palestinian refugees across to Jordan and other parts of the West Bank. The valley has fewer than 60,000 Palestinians today.
PA’s challenge to Israel: Set your borders, Ira Glunts
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has offered to recognize Israel “by whatever name it applies to itself in accordance with international law” in exchange for “a map of the borders of the state of Israel which they want us to recognize.” This according to senior Palestinian official,Yasser Abed Rabbo, in an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Boston University’s Islamophobic Pro-Israeli Conference, Steve Lendman
A personal note. I grew up in Boston from the mid-1930s – mid-1950s through college. Then after military service and summer courses at BU, out-of-town grad school followed in the fall.  It was a different time, good and bad. Eisenhower was still president. Unemployment was low. Anyone wanting work found it. Most years the economy grew during a post-WW II expansion. Inflation was low. The average new car cost $1,500, a typical home under $10,000. College was affordable. Harvard’s 1952 full year tuition was $600. Four years later it was $1,000 – for a full, two-semester year. During the period, anyone could attend evenings at $5 a course and get a Harvard degree for about $175, the way my mother did it, graduating with me in the same class, the first ever mother and son to do it.
Ali Abuninah: Let the Sun Shine In: Israel lobby tries to censor my appearance at University of New Mexico
It has come to my attention that the Jewish Federation of New Mexico and Hillel at the University of New Mexico are actively trying to censor my lecture at the University of New Mexico next month by writing to departments and professors who may co-sponsor it as they co-sponsor countless other educational events on campus. Below is a copy of a letter that has been sent to departments, signed by Sam Sokolove, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico and Sara Koplik, Director of Hillel at the University of New Mexico.
The Smell of Apartheid: Israel`s Citizenship Law
Yacov Ben Efrat – Challenge – In fact, behind this amendment there is a hidden message regarding a debate sparked some five years ago between representatives of the Arab population and the state. The conflict began when former Knesset member Azmi Bishara set up a party under the slogan “A state for all its citizens”, which opened the way for Arab parties and institutions to challenge the state and expose the structural contradiction in its self-definition as “Jewish and democratic.” This philosophical clash between the Arab minority and the state served to oil the wheels of Avigdor Lieberman, today Israel’s foreign minister, whose party won 15 seats in the last general elections with its slogan “No citizenship without loyalty.”
Can you support the Palestinians when you live on their stolen land?, Joseph Glatzer
Every time I would tell my girlfriend (she’s Palestinian) about a famous Israeli activist or writer or she would ask why they still call themselves Israeli. She tells me things like, “See. They still call themselves Israeli. When they use that word they are automatically erasing Palestine.”  I always used to argue with her over that and try to convince her that these Israelis are good people who genuinely care and want to do something. But, for the first time I think she’s right.  If you are an Israeli, even if you disagree with your government’s treatment of the Palestinians, you’re still enjoying the sweet life of privilege. You’ll still be enjoying the privileges Palestinians aren’t able to even though it’s actually their land.
From Apartheid South Africa to Palestine, PATRICK BOND
On a full-day drive through the Jordan Valley late last month, we skirted the earth’s oldest city and the lowest inhabited point, 400 meters below sea level. For 10,000 years, people have lived along the river separating the present-day West Bank and Jordan.  Since 1967 the river has been augmented by Palestinian blood, sweat and tears, ending in the Dead Sea, from which no water flows out, it only evaporates. Conditions degenerated during Israel’s land-grab, when from a peak of more than 300,000 people living on the west side of the river, displacements shoved Palestinian refugees across to Jordan and other parts of the West Bank. The valley has fewer than 60,000 Palestinians today.
A Close Look at the Pro-Israeli Lobbies inside Britain, Ershad Abubacker
The US is considered by many as the backbone of Israel and the mother of many evils in Middle East. With the presence of various pro-Israeli lobbies and pressure groups rallying around the corridors of power in Washington to press their case, they have been highly successful not only in setting the agenda in favour of Israel, but also makes sure that the Palestine voice is not heard. Many believe that this is a typical phenomenon in Washington and hence an internal issue of the United States. But the pro-Israeli lobbies are a decisive factor in most European countries and its influence is felt manifold in Britain.
The Main Question that Israel Misses,  George S. Hishmeh – Washington, D.C.
It is generally recognized that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), now a 100,000-member pro-Israeli lobbying group, has had an impressive record since the fifties in advocating pro-Israel policies mostly to Congress. But of late several key officials, all American Jews in sensitive government positions, have outpaced this lobbying group established in 1950.
The Zionist System Shows its True Face, Michael Khaled for MIFTAH
Recent headlines and editorials have been sounding the alarm on a new Israeli policy requiring non-Jewish immigrants to Israel to swear allegiance to a “Jewish and democratic” state. Commentators and academics around the world are calling the just-approved measure fascist and some even compare it to racist laws in Europe that lead up to the Holocaust. Within Israel, “liberal” Zionists are calling this a turning point at which Israel begins an inexorable march away from democracy. Though it is surely the most blatantly racist and discriminatory policy to come out of the Knesset, it is far from the first.  Yesterday I spent the afternoon wading through the bureaucratic labyrinth laid out by the Israeli Interior Ministry. Bouncing from office to office, building to building, on a strangely-hot October day, I had official after official tell me I was in the wrong place and I had to go talk to someone else. But the most foreboding aspect of the whole process was filling out the application itself before I arrived.
A Question for the British Foreign Secretary, Stuart Littlewood – London
‘Mr Hague, is it not your responsibility to keep seaways open?’  ‘The unbroken thread of Conservative Party support for Israel that has run for nearly a century from the Balfour Declaration to the present day will continue. Although it will no doubt often be tested in the years ahead, it will remain constant, unbroken, and undiminished by the passage of time.’ No prize for guessing which leading politician uttered these words.
Judt’s beautiful bloody mind, Philip Weiss
Last night the family of Tony Judt held a memorial service at NYU for the historian, who died at 62 in August, and I got a sense of Judt’s spirit from the movie excerpts that his family had picked out to play: scenes of class humiliation and lawlessness from The Bicycle Thief and 400 Blows, and the heroic climactic anti-fascist endings of Casablanca and Grand Illusion. Judt grew up humbly and got a lot of pleasure from life. He knew the difference between fighting over ideas in print and his successful social relationships. Was the world-class intellectual visible in his youth at Cambridge? No, said his cousin and classmate Jonathan Goldberg, he was into music and girls, and let that give hope to the rest of us. The family also showed Orson Welles’s cuckoo clock speech from the Third Man, and the Sanity Clause scene from Night at the Opera, and two Charlie Chaplin bits. Judt seems to have prized stoical humor over almost any other response to ill fortune. When Goldberg asked if he was going to turn religious after his diagnosis with a dread disease, ALS, he said it was too late; if he was wrong about god, he wasn’t going to vex the creator further by adding hypocrisy to his list of offenses.
Other Analysis and Op-ed

Dear Feds: End the Al-Arian Travesty of Justice
One of the most Kafkaesque post-9/11 cases is still going on. A hearing this Friday could determine whether the latest stage of the government’s legal campaign against him be dismissed or end in re-trial. The federal government has Dr. Sami Al-Arian under house arrest currently, stemming from an embarrassing, failed prosecution based on terrorism charges.
Arab League still struggles for credibility
Although the Arab League was formed in the aftermath of the League of Nations, its founding fathers vowed to avoid that world body’s mistakes. However, the weakness of Arab leaders in the face of conflicts in Kuwait, Palestine and Iraq and the failure to honor funding or political commitments suggest that unless the Arabs reform, their grouping faces an ignominious demise similar to that of the League of Nations. – Sami Moubayed (Oct 14, ’10)

Nasrallah says Iran no threat to region
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah said Wednesday that Iran is not a threat to the Arab world.  At an event honoring Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who arrived in Beirut Wednesday, Nasrallah insisted that Islam is a blessing and the Muslim world should “make use of it.”
Report: Iranian president extends Lebanon visit
BEIRUT (Ma’an) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has extended his visit to Lebanon until Friday to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the As-Safir newspaper reported Wednesday.  As Safir’s report was not repeated in any other dailies in Lebanon, and the paper is known to be closely linked to Iran and Syria, the Lebanese news agency Ya Libnan reported.  “A Lebanese-Iranian-Turkish meeting is expected to take place in Beirut to discuss the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s [pending] indictment,” As-Safir sources sources were quoted as saying.
Ahmadinejad arrives to fanfare of rose petals in Beirut’s southern suburbs
BEIRUT: President Ahmadinejad ascends the stage to the cheers of tens of thousands, a swell of noise shuddering off surrounding high rises. Every square inch of Dahiyeh’s dust-filled square is crammed with supporters.
Reports of Iranian and Aljazeera TV of Ahmadinejad trip to Lebanon : Video
Nasrallah to Ahmadinejad: ‘You are strong support for opposition’
Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a recorded speech during a Hezbollah general assembly held in honor of the Iranian leader’s visit to Lebanon.,7340,L-3969128,00.html
U.S. lawmakers: Lebanon’s embrace of Ahmadinejad may affect military aid
U.S. representatives renew opposition to transfer of $100 million in U.S. assistance to Lebanon in wake of visit by Iran President, Lebanese daily reports.
‘Ahmadinejad visit proves Lebanon has joined axis of extreme nations’
Top Israeli official says Iranian President visits Lebanon like a ‘commander inspecting his troops.’
Far-right MK: Assassinating Ahmadinejad today is like assassinating Hitler in 1939
Aryeh Eldad of National Union says Israel should seize the opportunity to kill Ahmadinejad while he is visiting Lebanon.
White House engaging in Sectarianism: Ahmadinejad visit exposes Hezbollah values (AFP)
AFP – The White House said on Wednesday that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “provocative” visit to Beirut proved that Hezbollah cared more about Iran than the people of Lebanon.*
Police racism in Lebanon
Dr. AbdelMeneem is a Sudanese community leader and refugee in Lebanon for the past 23 years+. He went on huger strike for 16 days in Sep/ Oct 2010 to demand an end to racist policies and arbitrary detention against Sudanese people and other marginalized communities in Lebanon. Throughout those 16 days, he was visited daily and hourly by certain security forces who were harassing him to stop his hunger strike and leave the strike place. Harassment and annoyances extended to visitors of the Dr. too. This is only a portion of what is happening to refugees, migrant workers, asylum seekers and other vulnerable communities.–2Yo
For Israel “war is the continuation of national suicide by other means”
I have recently referred to the Israeli nuclear weapons as “useless” and that Hezbollah would eventually be in a position to force a solution on Israel. I was then asked the following question:  Why wouldn’t Israel use nukes? Because it would guarantee a nuclear counter-response in the future? Because they wouldn’t be effective against spread out missile launchers? Also, I’d like to hear your thoughts on how a future war with Hizballah, Israel, Syria and Iran might play out? How could Hizballah get to a position in which it could “force a solution”?
Inside Story – Will Ahmadinejad use or support Lebanon?
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, is in Lebanon for his first official state visit. But why is he visiting now? Is it a visit to express support to Lebanon or a celebration of rising influence there? And why is the West so concerned?

Master and Pupil, Qifa Nabki
That’s right. Such is the mystique of Hizbullah in Lebanon that it wouldn’t be completely outlandish for someone to claim that the Iranian president’s rise was facilitated by the influence of his Lebanese allies. Nasrallah, after all, was a regional rock star while Ahmadinejad was revoking parking tickets as mayor of Tehran. (This was the gist of the discussion that followed, between me and Abbas).
Centuries-old ties anchor Ahmadinejad tour of south Lebanon
The Lebanese villages Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is visiting today were once home to Shiite scholars who shaped Iran’s emergence as a Shiite nation.

Roadside bomb in Baghdad kills 4, wounds 6 (AP)
AP – Iraqi officials say a roadside bomb has hit a senior politician’s convoy, killing four people and wounding six others, including the politician.*
Wednesday: 24 Iraqis, 7 Iranians Wounded
At least 24 Iraqis were wounded in the latest violence. No deaths were reported today, but one attack also left seven Iranians injured. Meanwhile, a Dutchman of Iraqi decent, who was found guilty of planning attacks against U.S. soldiers, had his jail sentence cut short in the Netherlands.
Return to Baghdad: Sunnis Warn of a Revived Insurgency ( – A TIME reporter meets two old Sunni contacts and discovers the bitterness that remains.*
Iraq: Treatment of Sunnis including those who or their families were in the Ba ath party
Iraqi police seize gang specialized in smuggling of girls
Iraqi police have apprehended a gang specialized in the smuggling of girls and selling them abroad.  The gang was based in the southern Province of Basra and most of the girls who had been smuggled and sold belonged to impoverished families in the city of Basra, the provincial city.  Smuggling of girls is a booming business in Iraq and the crime is as rampant as the smuggling of narcotics, antiquities and weapons that has spread widely in the country since the 2003-U.S. invasion.  “This (smuggling of girls) is a phenomenon that is totally strange and unacceptable in a traditional society like Iraq,” a security officer, who refused to be named, said.  He said this was not the only gang the policed had seized. “The gangs are after small girls. They forge their documents and facilitate their travel abroad.”\2010-10-14\kurd.htm
Breast cancer cases in Iraq in mounting numbers
Iraq’s General Health Ministry affirmed that the percentage of breast cancer cases in Iraq is still high despite awareness campaigns. For more details, click on play movie.
Other Mideast/World News

Chile miners’ rescue accomplished
All 33 workers trapped for more than two months in a collapsed mine have been lifted to safety.
Chilean Miners Rescue: This is a Rare Moment of Global Joy
Alas, the world is more often united in grief or horror by modern mass media than it is by joy or a quiet smile of satisfaction on the way to work. So today provides a rare sense of shared enjoyment. The 33 Chilean miners we feared were lost are being saved after all.
Report: Afghans allege abuse at secret US jail
Report alleges abuse of Afghan detainees at secret US detention center A report issued Thursday by a U.S. foundation details allegations of detainee abuse — some as recent as this year — from Afghans who say they were held at a secret detention center inside the main American military base in Afghanistan.
Karzai bid to placate angry Afghans
Afghan president meets villagers in Laghman province after civilians were killed in Nato raid last month.
US Kills 9 People in Pakistan
According to local media reports and sources in North Waziristan, the U.S. drones fired six missiles at a residential area in the village of Lataka in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan which borders Afghanistan.
Ex-top soldier: Iraq war ‘fiasco’ due to Rumsfeld’s ‘lies’
The US had no reason to invade Iraq in 2003, and only did so because of “a series of lies” told to the American people by the Bush administration, says Gen. Hugh Shelton, who served for four years as the US’s top military officer.  Shelton, who was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001, makes the comment in Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior, a soon-to-be-published memoir reviewed at Foreign Policy by Thomas E. Ricks.
In new memoir, Condoleezza Rice cites personal relationship with the Netanyahus
In the first of two planned volumes, ex-U.S. secretary of state describes her path to the upper echelons of the American administration while avoiding thorny issues like the Iraq war.
Carl Paladino Loses Support From New York Rabbi After Apologizing For Anti-Gay Comments
NEW YORK — An Orthodox rabbi says he’s withdrawing his endorsement of New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino because the Republican apologized for comments he made about gays.  Rabbi Yehuda Levin, who represents an umbrella organization of ultra-Orthodox clerics, accused Paladino on Wednesday of bowing to political pressure when he apologized for a speech in which he said children shouldn’t be “brainwashed” into thinking homosexuality is acceptable.
South Carolina mosque defaced with bacon slices
The FBI should investigate the defacement of a South Carolina mosque as a hate crime, according to the advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). On Sunday afternoon, someone spelled out “PIG CHUMP” using slices of bacon on a brick walkway leading up to the Florence Islamic Center.
Behind Egypt’s Deep Red Lines
For six weeks, Egypt has been sitting on top of a sectarian volcano. Protesters, men and women, have been exiting mosques following prayers almost every single Friday since the beginning of September to demand the “release” of Camillia Shehata, a Coptic priest’s wife who they believe has converted to Islam and is now incarcerated by the Coptic Orthodox Church…..
Chinese authorities must reveal whereabouts of wife of peace prize winner
Liu Xia, the wife of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, is reported to have been detained by police and forced to leave Beijing to visit her husband in prison in Liao Ning province. The Chinese authorities must immediately disclose the whereabouts of Liu Xia, the wife of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, Amnesty International said on Monday. Amid reports that she has been detained by police and forced to leave Beijing to visit her husband in Jinzhou in Liao Ning province, where he is imprisoned by the authorities, Catherine Baber Deputy Amnesty International deputy director of Asia Pacific said.

Brooklyn-Jenin: ‘The Messiah will only come the day after his arrival.’

Oct 14, 2010

Udi Aloni 

Jenin State of Emergency: Subject

I finished off my last post with a heartfelt cry to the residents of the Occupation Matrix to help Mustafa get to New York, for a film festival which could dramatically promote him, and help establish a cinema center for young Palestinians at the Jenin refugee camp.

And indeed, the best of the Matrix rose to the challenge, and two days after publication Ynet editors received a response from the Israeli army saying that Mustafa’s request to enter Jerusalem and present himself for the interview at the American embassy [sic. Wasn’t that the consulate? Having an embassy in Jerusalem would be big news.] on the 14th of the month. The permit had been transmitted to the Palestinian side of the Jenin liaison office.

But wait. That’s not the end of the story. The embassy interview was scheduled for 10 a.m., on the 15th. However, Mustafa received the longed-for permit the next day. It arrived somewhere between the 14th and the 16th, depending on who tells the story. Was it a clerk on the Israeli side, who went home early due to a head-cold? Or was it a Palestinian clerk, who didn’t think the mail was interesting enough to be opened until the next day, so why bother? We’ll never know.

A willingness was expressed for him to be permitted to enter Jerusalem for another interview scheduled for him at the consulate, on September 22nd. Only then everyone found out, to their distress, that it was the eve of a holiday, and a full closure had been imposed on the Occupied Territories. Indeed, even the best of people were not able to help against an act of God. The consulate could not offer another interview appointment in the time-frame preceding the New York Film Festival, which seemed to be fading out of reality.

In this story there was actual, true willingness on the part of the Israeli army to help Mustafa come to America (because we are all united by a hidden desire to come to one America or the other) – but all I could think of was Kafka’s immortal phrase, “The Messiah will only come the day after his arrival.” We could not find a better example to demonstrate that the iniquities of the occupation lie in the occupation itself, not in the individuals running it.

“Why the hell is it clear to everyone that a Palestinian refugee who lives under allegedly Palestinian rule cannot arrive at the U.S. embassy [consulate?] to ask for a visa only because the Jews are celebrating the festival of Sukkot, which was set up in the first place to remind the world of the fragility of the life of the refugee and the homeless?” wonders Mustafa. And all of the cannons an all of the soldiers, and all of the great and all of the wise stood, pale, and could not find the answer.

In any event, there are some angels in New York who believe that what happens in the Jenin theater of liberty is too important to leave it to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, so they are pulling strings a the U.S. embassy in Amman. Mustafa is on his way to Jordan at the moment. Maybe he will get the longed-for visa there.

So why, in fact, don’t the Americans – with all the noise they make about actually caring about the Palestinians – not open a consulate at a location where the rights-deprived subjects of your client state can get to?

We’re all keeping our fingers crossed for Mustafa. Meanwhile you can get to know him a bit better. I asked my students to describe internal family conflict in six minutes. Mustafa chose to show the meaning of a pluralist family (video above). I’m not talking about a middle-class liberal family but rather, a refugee couple who fought to raise children in Palestine – his father is a devout Muslim and his mother, a courageous fighter for women’s rights. This is the stuff he is made of: the ability to contain contrasts and allow them to coexist respectfully under a single roof.

Brooklyn State of Emergency: Citizen

An aging Italian crooner stood on a little stage on Elizabeth Street, his hair dyed and his suit fancy. He sang New York, New York to an excited audience: “If I can make it there/I can make it anywhere.”

The restaurants served cannelloni and meat balls, and the speakers echoed with the scratchy voice of an Italian entertainer. “It’s true the ‘Little Italy’ has been made even littler because of the Chinese occupier,” he opines, “but I’m only leaving when the Chinese can make ravioli like my mama did.”

He’s still talking and an orchestra of wind instruments started playing the music from the Godfather, and New York suddenly felt like an exciting, nostalgic movie about New York. The rain started dripping down, an umbrella was opened up against it, a hand reaches out to hail a yellow taxi. What better to end a scene. But the plot thickens, as plots do.

The rain gets stronger. I, having recently had surgery to remove kidney stones, had to urinate – and the taxi wasn’t coming. Anyone who has ever had kidney stones knows that you have drink and dispose of copious quantities of water. I manage to find a hidden corner for a municipal emergency, cast a bashful glance to make sure no living soul is around, and under a not-too-heavy New York rain I suddenly change from respected citizen to fragile pisser against the wall.

As soon as the zipper was open two evil-doers appeared, looking like policemen and armed from head to toe, pointing a mighty lamp at me and my member. In mythological terms, I felt like the city dog marking New York as his home territory, while the country dog steps up to speak visit him. But New York, in its usual way, insists on showing him that it belongs to no person, and gave me a sign once and for all to let me know who is the master in our years-long love-hate relationship.

I apologized with a heavy Israeli accent and explained that I had never committed a crime and that I’d never do it again. In response, they threatened that if I keep resisting they would arrest me by force. I immediately switched to a Jewish Brooklyn accent, and said, and pleaded with the humility of a Satmer Hasid: “don’t you see that I’m begging, not resisting?” I felt just like John Turturro in Miller’s Crossing, pleading for his life before being executed, waving his hands in Jewish hand motions, and immediately felt like a victim of secret anti-Semitism. I didn’t even have time to tell them about the kidney stones.

And I want to ask: what would happen if I’d have found myself in jail for 48 hours, like a friend of mine did, who didn’t have ID when pissing in public? Would I have confessed to having committed some murder I had never committed, to a police informer impersonating a prison rapist? If only I could have held it in like an adult, as the cop noted contemptuously, when he handed me the court summons.

The Democratic Dictatorship

“An emergency” is defined by the Western democracy as a situation where the sovereign regime, out of concern for maintaining the liberties and rights of the individuals composing it, denies the freedom of other individuals, or even of its own individuals.

Several intellectuals currently claim that “emergency” is not the extraordinary that proves the ordinary but that it is, rather, the essence of the Western democracy.

Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben argues, for instance, that democracy as we know it is in a constant state of emergency, where the rights of some of its residents – or in fact, of all of its residents – are always held back.

It is odd that it is Western democracy, which ascribes to itself a theory of political realism and enlightenment, ideologically functions exactly like a religious theology of “a messiah who will come someday in the future.”

What we call a democracy, nowadays, is in fact a dictatorial rule whose subjects-citizens cooperate with it voluntarily, via two false hopes which derive from religion. The first is that the person or community have been chosen by divine will. In other words, that the fury of the emergency state will skip over them and only hurt another subject (and preferably, one who is not a citizen); the other is, of course, the promise of the Utopian paradise of “the democracy that is yet to come.”

This article is from Udi Aloni’s Brooklyn-Jenin column he is writing for the Israeli website Ynet about his experience living between New York City and the Jenin refugee camp, where he is teaching a film production class. You can read the entire Brooklyn-Jenin series here. This article was translated by Dena Shunra.

Blogging for the enemy

Oct 14, 2010

Yonah Fredm 

The author has done a couple of earlier posts. First here, then here.   With this post I include my name and not just my nom de blog, wondering jew.   Weeks ago when I informed a right wing Israeli friend of mine that I had visited a West Bank settlement for a Shabbat, he commented that unlike the theatrical artists who were at that time boycotting the theater in Ariel, I apparently disagreed.  I demurred that my visit was exploratory rather than an advocacy of policy and offered that maybe the boycotters of Ariel were right.  He then asked, “If Ariel asked you to recite your old poetry at their theater would you refuse?”  

To which I answered, “No, I would ask ‘What time is the next bus?'”  I then added a reference to Amiri Baraka who when asked about sellling out had replied, “It remains to be seen how much they might offer.”   I was attracted to participating in this blog by the immediate unmoderated comments that allowed a free for all spontaneous discussion, but also the immediate gratification of the appearance of my nom de blog (first yonahred and then after the institution of some new mondoweiss policy- wondering jew) in the comments column.  Since my participation was primarily as heckler or disloyal opposition, there seemed nothing wrong with it. 

But now that editors have seen fit to invite me to post I need to come to terms with my participation.   I favor a two state solution, but as is amply demonstrated by the weighted term “demographic problem” and by the recent rightward turn of the Netanyahu-Lieberman government, my advocacy of a 2ss is vulnerable both as , insufficient to solve certain basic elements of the conflict and also vulnerable to the reality of the unlikelihood of a Palestinian- Israeli agreement. 

The purpose of this blog is to advocate some solution to the conflict that redresses all the wrongs the Palestinians have suffered, which on its face seems reasonable, unless one considers Jewish statehood to be a value and that the dangers involved in attempting to redress all the wrongs may ultimately involve by design or accident the loss of not only Jewish statehood, but also the loss of Jewish lives and the “exile” of many of the Jews currently living in Israel.   There is another question involved with this blog’s attitudes: its general attitude towards Jewish continuity. 

Although I am wifeless and childless at this late stage of my life (I am 55) I am uncle to 23, (without an evil eye), nieces and nephews, 12 of whom were birthed by my three modern Orthodox Zionist sisters and 11 of whom were fathered by my ultra Orthodox nonZionist brother.  Despite my lack of contribution to this plethora of “Be fruitful and multiply” my current residence in Israel and generally passive stance and attitude allows full participation in family celebrations and the general encouragement of continuity involved in those family celebrations.  

This blog’s advocacy of assimilation is “reasonable”: I understand the reason behind the desire to become part of the large American collective that is offered through intermarriage.  The idea of peace on earth established through the disappearance of nations, races and religions through intermarriage and assimilation is not foreign to me.  It seems slightly perverse that Jews would wish to be at the forefront of this movement given the recent physical attempt to wipe us off of this planet and also given the fact that most of the planet’s humans are not interested in the disappearance of their collective groups, Its advocacy seems freighted with possibilities of self hate. 

To combine antiZionism with anti continuity and to advocate the blog as a new basis for Jewish identity seems strange, to say the least.   So then why blog for the enemy?   1. Communication with Palestinians is valuable.  As a Jewish Zionist, they may be our enemies, but they are also our neighbors.  Communication is essential if a positive outcome is to be reached (and useful no matter what outcome is reached.)  Thus this blog is a venue for me to communicate with Palestinians.   2. I like to argue.   3. I like to see my name spelled right.  

‘The Palestinians have won’

Oct 14, 2010

Philip Weiss 

A friend in Jerusalem just told me: The Israelis won’t negotiate because they won’t give up land. They’ll fudge and fret but this time their intransigence will be made plain to the world. The world is behind the ’67 borders, and Israel can’t go near that position. The world sees that. And the Palestinians have won, it’s going to be one-state.

How long will that take? Four or five years, said my friend.

And how much blood? She sighed.

Can you support the Palestinians when you live on their stolen land?

Oct 14, 2010

Joseph Glatzer 

Every time I would tell my girlfriend (she’s Palestinian) about a famous Israeli activist or writer or she would ask why they still call themselves Israeli. She tells me things like, “See. They still call themselves Israeli. When they use that word they are automatically erasing Palestine.”

I always used to argue with her over that and try to convince her that these Israelis are good people who genuinely care and want to do something. But, for the first time I think she’s right.

If you are an Israeli, even if you disagree with your government’s treatment of the Palestinians, you’re still enjoying the sweet life of privilege. You’ll still be enjoying the privileges Palestinians aren’t able to even though it’s actually their land.

There are so many Israelis who are prominent in the media, who work hard to fight for justice for Palestinians. I don’t need to name them, you all know who they are.

But I have to ask Israelis the question: “If you feel so strongly about what is being done to the Palestinians, how can you continue to live in their stolen country?”

How can you go from a West Bank protest back to your Tel Aviv home, which very well may have belonged to a family member of your friends in the West Bank? Can you really be supporting someone when you live on the land which was violently seized from them?

If these Israeli activists truly believe what they say they should move to the occupied territories and live as a Palestinian. Give up your life of comfort and privilege in the posh neighborhoods of Tel Aviv and live in the Bethlehem ghetto with the people of Aida camp.

Drop out of Ben Gurion University and enroll in Birzeit. Trade Starbucks in Haifa for Stars and Bucks in Ramallah. Now THAT’s solidarity.

Many would say that Israeli dissidents help by staying inside Israel to fight the system from within, and that without them there there would really be no hope for Israeli society. I’ve got news for those people: there is no hope for Israeli society to change from the inside. This is the whole premise of the very popular BDS movement.

The more Israelis of conscience jump ship the quicker the whole Zionist apartheid operation will self-destruct; and the sooner the dispersed Palestinian people of the world can finally be reunited with their land and families.

I’ve been to Gaza and met a teenage boy who watched his brother get blown up in front of his eyes in the first attack of Operation Cast Lead. A year later he was still wetting himself and was unable to sleep at night due to the trauma.

I’ve seen a pregnant woman in Qalandia checkpoint fall to the ground in pain. I’ve met the loving father of a family in Aida Camp who has to beg internationals for money for new glasses. He’s going blind because Israel won’t allow him to get laser eye surgery in Israel, which is just minutes away.

I’ve been inside a home in the old city of Hebron when it was overrun with IDF troops yelling at Palestinian mothers.

I’ve met a family in Sheikh Jarrah who had their house stolen by settlers; and I’ve seen the tent they have to live in.

So, I’m out of patience. I don’t care about the feelings of the morally righteous land thieves anymore.

If you claim to support the Palestinians start calling yourself Palestinian instead of Israeli and permanently live among Palestinians under occupation.  This is the definition of solidarity.

Cold Turkey

Oct 14, 2010

Philip Weiss

Amazing that it was once controversial for Mearsheimer and Walt to write The Israel Lobby. They drove the golden spike of mental connection, and now hundreds of us journalists can fly across state lines without thinking about it. Here is Jonathan Broder, CQ Staff, writing about the ferocious response of American Jewish groups to Turkey saying a word in favor of the Gazans. Picked up by MJ Rosenberg:

American Jewish groups that make up the pro-Israel lobby are putting their muscle behind Greek-American causes on Capitol Hill, angering Turkey but reflecting new strategic shifts in the eastern Mediterranean….

Pro-Israel powerhouses such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, all of which had advocated effectively for Turkey before relations between Jerusalem and Ankara began to fray, were among the organizations that joined forces with several Greek-American groups to lobby for passage of the Cyprus resolution. Bilirakis said Jewish lawmakers and members of the pro-Greece caucus teamed up to get the resolution passed.

Quips Rosenberg: The piece “is about the new lobby position on Cyprus, a subject about which it previously showed no interest. But the new anti-Turkish position applies across the board. (The American Jewish Committee should be calling for renaming Istanbul any day now. Why not Constantinople?).”

Donna Edwards’s pro-Israel identity

Oct 14, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Good reporting by the Washington Jewish Week‘s Adam Kredo on the Donna Edwards flap we reported on yesterday. Notice the pressure on gritty tough Donna Edwards to toe the line. I think you can’t bend that lady’s mind; so t’s inevitable that we’re going to have a conversation about one state in the media, which New points out is purely a logical development. How long will it take? 

The Democratic source, who was not authorized to be interviewed, added that while Edwards has a relatively solid pro-Israel voting record — repeatedly voting in favor of foreign aid packages that benefit Israel — her participation in a fundraiser with a group viewed as far left leaves the pro-Israel community confused as to where she stands. 

“I’ve got to believe these actions don’t benefit her politically, so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt that she’s taken a principled stand and actually believes in these sort of fringe causes,” the Democratic source said. 

Edwards also has been one of J Street’s most high-profile congressional supporters — the group secured around $30,000 for her last year during a fundraising blitz — and the organization went to great lengths last week to affirm what it says is Edwards’ mainstream views on Middle East peace.

“JStreetPAC supports only candidates that are 100 percent committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to the existence of Israel as a democracy and as the homeland of the Jewish people,” J Street founder Jeremy Ben Ami said in a statement provided last week to WJW.

“Rep. Donna Edwards has repeatedly reaffirmed her commitment to both of these principles and her opposition to the concept of a ‘one-state solution’ based on a single, secular state for Israelis and Palestinians,” the statement continued, adding that “JStreetPAC disagrees fundamentally on this issue with New Policy PAC, as does Donna Edwards — that is the basis of our organization’s pro-Israel identity and the basis of our support for candidates like Donna Edwards.”

By engaging with this group, Hadar Susskind, J Street’s director of policy, added last week in an interview, Edwards has “put herself in a position where she needs to make clear that her position” on a two-state solution being the only legitimate avenue to peace “has in no way changed.” …’s executive director, Sama Adnan, defended his groups’ assessment of the Middle East peace process, saying, “Basically, we have the same positions as J Street; we just introduce the next logical step.”

Adnan, who previously has worked with the Council for the National Interest (CNI), the Arab-American Institute and Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel, said that while his organization primarily supports and lobbies for a two-state solution, “it’s getting more and more difficult to imagine.” 

He added that “if we can’t divide what is know as Eretz Yisrael” into contiguous parcels of land due to the growth of Jewish settlements, “would not be opposed to a one-state solution agreed to by the Palestinians and Israelis.”

Jewish groups seek to bar Abunimah from campus

Oct 14, 2010

Ali Abunimah 

Editors’ note: You don’t think BDS is having an effect? Here two New Mexico Jewish org officials seek to smear Ali Abunimah as an anti-Semite, and bar him from speaking, because he supports BDS, which they say is about demonizing and destroying Israel. Laughably, they say that describing Israel as a colonial project is anti-Semitic. What has happened to the intellectual tradition in Jewish life? Ali Abunimah at his blog:

It has come to my attention that the Jewish Federation of New Mexico and Hillel at the University of New Mexico are actively trying to censor my lecture at the University of New Mexico next month by writing to departments and professors who may co-sponsor it as they co-sponsor countless other educational events on campus. Below is a copy of a letter that has been sent to departments, signed by Sam Sokolove, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico and Sara Koplik, Director of Hillel at the University of New Mexico.

Typically, they throw in everything to try to defame and tar me: Hamas, Hizbullah, anti-Semitism, making Jewish students feel uncomfortable — all the usual defamatory silencing tactics to try to suppress debate and discussion about Israel’s apartheid and the alternatives that respect everyone. As they surely know, I have been an unflagging advocate of full equality and human rights for all Palestinians and Israeli Jews and others living in historic Palestine, and am guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Why do they not want students at the University of New Mexico to hear this message?

Instead of trying to censor my speech and intimidate departments from co-sponsoring it with the most lurid, false and manipulative charges, I invite them to attend and to urge students to attend and listen and ask me any questions they want.


It has come to our attention that the XXXXXXXXXX Department at UNM is co-presenting an appearance by Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada at the University of New Mexico campus on Sunday, November 7th. We are deeply troubled by the implications of the XXXXXXXXXX Department lending its support to this presentation.

As you are likely aware, Abunimah is a representative of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a global movement intent on destroying Israel and her credibility in the world. It is an adjunct to what Hamas and Hezbollah are doing frontally, and according to the Anti-Defamation League, “BDS is about the three ‘D’s: “Demonization, Deligitimization, and applying a Double Standard.”

This movement is disinterested in peace, the exchange of ideas or legitimate dialogue. Its tactics deny Israel’s cultural products; deny Israel’s emissaries the right to be heard; delegitimize the Jewish historical ties to Israel; and portray Zionism not as an expression of peoplehood, but as an extension of European colonization.

This is all anti-Semitism in its clearest, most noxious form.

Whatever your personal views are on this matter, you should be aware of two things:

  • The XXXXXXXXXXX Department’s support of this speaker sends a tacit message of support for the anti-Semitic message of BDS;

  • The department’s endorsement sends a chilling message to the Jewish students and faculty of this public institution that the legitimacy of Israel within your department is questioned.

For those who care deeply about true peace, this is not an issue of “equal time” or “balance” on behalf of the pro-Israel perspective. Nor do we oppose Abunimah’s right to speak. Rather, we oppose the patina of respectability that your sponsorship provides to the message of demonizing The Other that is part and parcel of the BDS movement.

We ask in the strongest terms that you reconsider your department’s presentation of Ali Abunimah.

Sam Sokolove
Executive Director
Jewish Federation of New Mexico

Sara Koplik, PhD.
Hillel at the University of New Mexico.

Judt’s beautiful bloody mind

Oct 14, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Last night the family of Tony Judt held a memorial service at NYU for the historian, who died at 62 in August, and I got a sense of Judt’s spirit from the movie excerpts that his family had picked out to play: scenes of class humiliation and lawlessness from The Bicycle Thief and 400 Blows, and the heroic climactic anti-fascist endings of Casablanca and Grand Illusion. Judt grew up humbly and got a lot of pleasure from life. He knew the difference between fighting over ideas in print and his successful social relationships. Was the world-class intellectual visible in his youth at Cambridge?

No, said his cousin and classmate Jonathan Goldberg, he was into music and girls, and let that give hope to the rest of us. The family also showed Orson Welles’s cuckoo clock speech from the Third Man, and the Sanity Clause scene from Night at the Opera, and two Charlie Chaplin bits. Judt seems to have prized stoical humor over almost any other response to ill fortune. When Goldberg asked if he was going to turn religious after his diagnosis with a dread disease, ALS, he said it was too late; if he was wrong about god, he wasn’t going to vex the creator further by adding hypocrisy to his list of offenses.

My friendship with Judt was very small but it was political. He encouraged writers who opposed the edifice that Zionism had created on our journalistic/military/ideological/religious landscape, and so I listened for political statements in the many august speeches in the big formal hall, packed with people in dark suits.

Robert Silvers, the editor of the New York Review of books, said that Judt had contributed more pieces to “the paper” than anyone else in the last 17 years, beginning with a piece about Vichy and the Jews. How could intellectuals blind themselves to the atrocities that were being committed right next door? Silvers remembered that piece asking. And he said this question, of intellectual and moral failure, engaged Judt throughout his labors. Silvers spoke mostly of Judt’s engagement in Jewish history. He mentioned Judt’s “feuilleton” about the relative he was named after, a woman killed in Auschwitz, and also his most famous piece, the sensational 2003 piece calling for a binational state, Israel: The Alternative, and the charges of betrayal that it brought. Silvers spoke movingly of the occupation, then walked the bold piece back in front of the establishment audience, saying that Judt had affirmed during the ensuing controversy that a “binational state” was an idea for a “utopian future” not the here and now.

This was a claim. Seven long years have passed and what has the here and now done for the Jim Crow conditions of the occupation? Nothing. Judt supported a binational state because it accorded with the choices that he had made in his life and the historical cultural changes he saw around him– the mixing of races and traditions, the safety of Jews in the west. Judt’s piece was postracial. It spoke at the start of a

world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law. The very idea of a “Jewish state”—a state in which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded—is rooted in another time and place. Israel, in short, is an anachronism.

When I heard Judt attacked for the piece in 2007, he did not describe it as utopian.

The Holocaust was several times mentioned. So were seders, and “the Jewish people,” by Judt’s college friend Goldberg, who said that he had urged Judt to arrange a funeral service at Temple Emanu-El, the big social uptown synagogue, but Judt would not hear of it. Joy in the gallery.

Goldberg was a true friend, and his speech was the most personally affecting and sincere. His grandfather Pinchas and Judt’s grandfather were brothers in the East End of London. Pinchas was pious and Judt’s grandfather was a freethinker, and these different strands persisted into the grandsons’ generation.

Goldberg went into the law, and had little to do with his cousin until 2003 when he was at an antisemitism conference for Jewish lawyers and Efraim Halevi, the former Mossad chief, said that Tony Judt should be shot for writing “Israel: The Alternative.” Goldberg went up afterward to remonstrate with Halevi that the man was his cousin. Soon the boyhood friendship was renewed, and Goldberg often twitted Judt that he could take credit for the stream of books and articles that Judt had produced since 2003 as it was only through his intervention that Judt had not accidentally fallen off the Brooklyn Bridge or the Empire State Building. Good, a Mossad joke. And I thought of who Israel kills.

Goldberg did not say a word of judgement against “Israel: The Alternative,” and evidently this unconditional love was so meaningful to Judt that he had had Goldberg at his side, along with his wife, when he got news of his death sentence from a “professor” at Columbia hospital, in September 2008.

As much as I enjoyed Goldberg, he spoke in the parochial spirit of Pinchas. He said that Judt had cared most about leaving a good name, a shem tov, in the Jewish tradition, and that he was a latter day Koestler and Arendt. Jewish Jewish!

I was thankful to Timothy Garton Ash, who grew up in the same dreary London neighborhood, Putney, in the same era as Judt, though they had not known one another as boys. While conceding diplomatically that Judt’s “Jewish identity was the deepest,” the lions would have been set on him had he contradicted that, Ash said that Judt also had strong English identity to the end, in his pragmatism, his restraint, his humor and his “bloody-mindedness, and I mean that as a compliment.” To understand their father, Ash said, he would like to take Judt’s sons some day to the Church of St Mary the Virgin in the High Street in Putney.

Where 300 years before Judt and Ash came along, Colonel Rainsborough had given a famous speech on behalf of the “Levellers” movement. Ash quoted:

..for really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he; and therefore truly, Sir, I think it’s clear, that every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government; and I do think that the poorest man in England is not bound in a strict sense to that government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under…”

It was the most moving political statement in the service. It spoke to the sweep and worldliness of Judt’s political values, his feel for democratic history. With a bloodymindedness that his timid New York friends could not fully appreciate, and the heroism of Bogart in Casablanca, he had stood up in his maturity when he was called upon, and the inequality he had denounced most strongly was the persecution of the Palestinians by Israel, a utopia he long ago stopped believing in.

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