Meltdown of the Macher: Abe Foxman loses it, calls Israeli interviewer a bigot and condemns the Seinfeld ‘Soup Nazi’

Oct 28, 2010

Max Blumenthal 

Anti-Defamation League National Director Abe Foxman arrived in Israel in mid-October on the heels of several controversial decisions that prompted a hail of criticism in the United States. Foxman may have hoped that while in Israel he would have been able to avoid sensitive issues like his condemnation of the construction of an Islamic community center near Ground Zero; the ADL’s honoring of right-wing media kingpin Rupert Murdoch; or the ADL’s release of a blacklist of “anti-Israel organizations.” And for most of his trip, Foxman was able to propagate his message to the Israeli public and international media without any background noise from the US.

Then the great macher agreed to an on-camera interview with David Sheen, a young writer and videographer who splits time between the center-left Israeli paper Haaretz and independent documentary projects. Sheen, an Israeli citizen who is a friend and colleague of mine, makes no secret of his strong views about issues ranging from the occupation of Palestine to animal rights. He submitted his questions to Foxman days before the interview at the request of the ADL’s press handler. But Foxman did not bother to review the questions. Instead, he walked into the interview expecting to be handled as he was by the rest of the Israeli media: gently and with a degree of deference.

This may explain why Foxman appears so shocked when Sheen confronts him with pointed questions about the ADL’s honoring of Murdoch (Foxman calls him “a media genius”) and his endorsement of the “bigoted” positions of opponents of the Park 51 mosque (Foxman claims the reporter who quoted him defending the anti-mosque crowd’s bigotry “didn’t know history from borscht”). As Sheen presents Foxman with a litany of concerns of his growing legion of detractors, who have accused him of turning the ADL into a smear machine that has nothing to do with its stated mission of promoting civil rights, Foxman furiously lashes out at his interviewer, accusing him of staging a “set up.”

On at least four occasions, Foxman threatens to end the interview, claiming the questions are “not productive” and that he has better things to do. But each time he remains in his seat and berates Sheen. As the interview progresses (or deteriorates), it is clear that Foxman has little interest in promoting the work of the ADL, or even in rebutting his critics. He is far more interested in screaming at Sheen. It is one of the strangest and most embarrassing interview performances I have seen since Sarah Palin campaigned for Vice President.

At around the 28 minute mark of the video, after Sheen has poked and prodded Foxman about the ADL’s denunciation of the animal rights group PETA –- an unusual line of questioning to be sure — Foxman suddenly launches into a forceful condemnation of the “Soup Nazi” character from the TV show Seinfeld. At this point, the interview morphs from a tense exchange into some kind of free association borscht belt comedy routine.

“If you don’t understand [the Holocaust] then you don’t learn the lessons,” Foxman remarks. “So if in New York we have a restaurant where a guy calls himself a Soup Nazi because he decides what kind of soup you’re going to eat, or buy, that’s a trivialization, you’ve learned nothing from history, and yeah, we do care, and we’ll speak out against it.” (No soup for you, Foxman!)

For the rest of the interview, Foxman and Sheen manage not to discuss a single issue of substance. Instead, Foxman rails against Sheen almost uncontrollably, accusing him of setting him up. At around 45 minutes into the video, Foxman launches into a crazed diatribe that ends with him calling Sheen (what else?) a bigot.

“’You don’t like this cup. Why don’t you like this cup? You support this camera! But what about this camera?’ That’s what you’re doing!” Foxman booms, waving his arms at every cup and camera in sight. “That’s the only thing you’re doing. And you’re selecting which cup of coffee, which camera — you’re selecting every example… You only showed your bigotry.” (No cups were harmed in the making of Sheen’s video).

Once again, Foxman declares an end to the interview. He is furious. But instead of leaving he remains in his seat and invites Sheen out for a meal. “First I want to talk to you at dinner. I want to get to know you. Then if you want to play this game before your audience, fine,” Foxman exclaims.

Before Sheen can direct his subject to the nearest TGI Friday’s, Foxman is overcome with regret for ever agreeing to the interview. He compares Sheen to the Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir, whose acclaimed documentary “Defamation” followed Foxman around the globe and ultimately exposed him and his colleagues as a bunch of goofballs hyping the issue of anti-Semitism to increase their influence and paychecks.

“I’ve made mistakes before. I participated in a movie in Israel. I made a judgment,” Foxman reflected. “I trusted him [Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir]. I took him into my heart. He screwed me. And a lot of people said don’t trust media. And in a nice way you basically did the same thing…. This was a set up, David! This was a way to embarrass what we do, to say there’s no consistency. PETA? Who gives a shit about PETA?”

Even after Foxman steps off the set, he continues to berate Sheen for supposedly being unfair. Finally, Sheen lights into Foxman for not being able to handle a few tough questions. “You know what I felt?” Sheen asks him. “You’re a professional. It’s your day job. You think all the time about these questions. You think all the time about the answers. I thought you’d be like 1, 2, 3 – like throwing cards at me. Because you hear them all the time. If you don’t hear them, maybe you’re in groupthink; maybe you’re only with people who think the same way you do.”

Sheen raises a good point here: Why couldn’t Foxman simply respond to his questions with a few punchy soundbites and walk away? Why did he throw an hour-long fit that had little to do with the ADL’s work and everything to do with his persecution complex? And has Foxman always behaved this way with journalists?

If I were a responsible member of the ADL’s board of directors who had watched Foxman’s performance, I would enter the next board meeting with some serious questions about his ability to lead. If he persists in responding to mildly adversarial or unpredictable questions like a cantankerous altecocker, or if he cannot control his temper in interviews long enough to muster a semi-coherent thought, Foxman is an organizational liability who might need to be replaced. Personally, I would prefer to see Foxman stay at the helm of the ADL for a long time, and not only because I enjoy witnessing the slow motion collapse of the sclerotic, reactionary Jewish-American establishment that he represents, but because I am a huge fan of borscht belt comedy, even of the unintentional variety.

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author based in New York City.

‘In my opinion, every Jewish town needs at least one Arab. What would happen if my refrigerator stopped working on a Saturday?’

Oct 28, 2010

Eva Smagacz

My Community Must be kept Pure

Asked David Rotem, chairman of Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee after said committee approved unanimously a law that allows communities to reject potential residents if they do not meet criteria of “suitability to the communities fundamental outlook” so that they are free to reject candidates on the grounds of age, sex, religion and socio-economic status.

I was not privileged to take part in deliberations of the Law and Justice Committee, but I can assume that between arguments forwarded was one not unlike this one

(…) this year Jewish-Israeli communities will finally be liberated from the sight and disastrous impact of these parasites. Step by step, the authorities responsible for the (…) future of Jewish-Israeli communities implemented the radical isolation of the Arabs with determined action and iron resolution. In a few months they thereby achieved a feat of organisation that, in connection with the sacrifices made by Jews affected by the resettlement, deserves our unreserved recognition. These measures are necessary for three main reasons.

First, the conscientious investigations carried out by the municipal health authorities have provided incontrovertible proof that the 140,000 Arabs who had already penetrated the residential areas of the Jews (…) pose a severe and constant danger for the health and life of the entire population, on account of their born dirtiness and unbelievable disregard for any hygiene conditions necessary for the co-existence of a large community.

Oh, OK, so I modified the argument a little. But the principle, I believe, remains intact.

“Jews do not belong. Get rid of them!” German Poster in Latvian

Anas E., age 9, attacked and beaten by five settlers in Jerusalem

Oct 28, 2010


and other news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing

Settler violence September-October
Illegal settlements continue to be built across the West Bank and bring with them even more problems, including increasing incidents of settler violence. The illegal settlers colonising the West Bank attack Palestinian people, land, schools, mosques and agriculture. A problem that has existed for some time is worsening, and the Israeli military generally turns a blind eye.
Voices from the Occupation
Anas E. (9) was attacked and beaten by five settlers in the Old City of Jerusalem, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  Anas lives in the as-Saraya neighbourhood, in the Old City of Jerusalem. Last August, during Ramadan, Anas and his younger sister, Bara’ (8 years) were invited for an evening meal at their uncle’s house who lives nearby. ‘It was around 6:30pm,’ recalls Anas, ‘my sister had already gone to my uncle’s house and I was getting ready to follow her. As I walked out of the house I saw five settlers. They were orthodox Jews. They were wearing black jackets and trousers and had long ringlets in their hair,’ says Anas, ‘they were old; around 30 or 40. No one else was in the street, just me and them.’
Settlers Torch Hothouses Near Ramallah
A group of fundamentalist settlers torched on Wednesday several agricultural hothouses that belong to residents of Nabi Saleh and Dir Nitham villages, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. The armed settlers were accompanied by the security officer of Halmish settlement torched hothouses in Ein Al Zarqa area close to the Betillo village.  The fire causes excessive damage to several hothouses planted with vegetable and fruits while the settlers also damages the irrigation systems of several hothouses and uprooted the plants. The attacked hothouses extend on a 2 Dunam stretch that belong to residents Nidal Mustafa Radwan and Mahmoud Radwan.
Settlement bus company hired to shuttle OECD Jerusalem participants
Tourism conference transportation arrangements connected to West Bank construction projects.
IOF soldiers destroy 4 Palestinian water wells
Israeli occupation forces destroyed four Palestinian water wells in Deir Abu Da’if village, east of Jenin city, on Wednesday and served a demolition notice to the owner of an olive pressing factory.
Israel razes Jerusalem Bedouin camp
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli soldiers and Civil Administration personnel razed a Bedouin encampment, belonging to the Jahalin clan in Isawiya, northeast of Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, locals said.  Hani Al-Eisaway of the Isawiya Land Defense committee said the Israeli personnel bulldozed more than 50 dunums of land in what Israel calls the E1 zone in between Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim.  He added that six Bedouin families lived in the bulldozed area. Bulldozers destroyed tents and other structures owned by the families. The E1 area is sensitive because of Israeli authorities’ stated intention to establish a new settlement in the area, which would effectively sever the West Bank into two pieces, making a separate Palestinian state impossible.  A spokesman for Israel’s Civil Administration did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Abu Sha’ar Condemns Approval for Building 750 Housing Units
Minister of Religious Affairs and Chairman of Jerusalem Committee, Taleb Abu Sha’ar, condemned, on Wednesday, the approval of the building of 750 housing units by the Local Committee of Construction and Organization in the Israeli municipality in the settlement of Bezgat Ze’ef in occupied Jerusalem. They are planned to be built gradually in order not to obstruct the peace process between Israeli and Palestinians sides.

Abu Sha’ar Condemns Approval for Building 750 Housing Units

Silwan Arabs: Mayor pouring fuel on fire
Municipality asks court to authorize immediate demolition of east Jerusalem structure it claims it is ‘hotbed of violence, incitement.’ Residents say tent set up on roof part of legitimate struggle against house demolitions.,7340,L-3976050,00.html
Hamas calls for Dismissal of UN official for scoffing at right to return
Hamas said Director of the New York Representative Office of the UN’s Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) should be dismissed over scoffing remarks he blurted out on the Palestinian refugees’ right to return.
The Elders – Mary Robinson: Jerusalem is at the heart of the problem – and of the solution
Like most Palestinians and Israelis we have met, we Elders view the two-state solution as the most just and realistic path to peace. After visiting Jerusalem, I am filled with mixed emotions.  Our final stop in Jerusalem was wonderful. We joined hundreds of demonstrators, Israelis and Palestinians, who protest together every week against the forced evictions and home demolitions taking place in the largely Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
Gaza’s ancient treasures threatened
GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) – Few outside of Gaza would consider its history much beyond the decades of Israeli occupation. But Gaza is a historical treasure house.
Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Israeli forces attack weekly West Bank demonstrations
[ISM] Three protesters were injured from tear gas inhalation today at the weekly Bil’in demonstration against the Apartheid wall. The march, called for by the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in, included dozens of Palestinian villagers, alongside Israeli and international solidarity activists.
Montreal activists launch campus boycott campaign
As a boycott, divestment and sanctions conference was convened in Montreal last week, activists launched a boycott campaign at two city universities.
Flashmob Says Israel Is Buying HP So We’re Not
Debunking pro-Israeli arguments against boycott
While the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against apartheid Israel continues to grow, its opponents continue to resort to the same old canards in trying to defend Israel. Sami Hermez comments for The Electronic Intifada.
Bay Area article lets JVP rebut ADL’s accusations
“…Jewish Voice for Peace rebutted Foxman’s claims, saying it advocates for human rights for both Israelis and Palestinians. JVP further said that some of its members in fact consider themselves Zionist. Cecilie Surasky, deputy director of JVP, said that the ADL — and particularly its local chapters — do a lot of good work around discrimination and bullying but “are undermined by Foxman and company’s cynical attitudes when it comes to protecting Israel’s right to infinitely expand into Palestinian territory.”

Meltdown of the Macher: Abe Foxman loses it, calls Israeli interviewer a bigot and condemns the Seinfeld “Soup Nazi”, Max Blumenthal
Anti-Defamation League National Director Abe Foxman arrived in Israel in mid-October on the heels of several controversial decisions that prompted a hail of criticism in the United States. Foxman may have hoped that while in Israel he would have been able to avoid sensitive issues like his strident condemnation of the construction of an Islamic community center near Ground Zero; the ADL’s honoring of right-wing media kingpin Rupert Murdoch; or the ADL’s release of a blacklist of “anti-Israel organizations.” And for most of his trip, Foxman was able to propagate his message to the Israeli public and international media without any background noise from the US.
The ADL’s ‘top ten’ list is consistent with its history of muzzling dissent on Israel at all costs, Alaa Milbes
Recently, the Anti-Defamation League came out with a statement placing Students for Justice in Palestine on its top 10 anti-Israel organizations in the United States. As ADL has a history of spying and attempting to crush pro-Palestine, anti-apartheid activists working on issues of justice and civil rights, we are honored to be on a list with prominent civil rights organizations such as the Muslim American Society and Jewish Voice for Peace among others.
Better Place to bring electric taxis to San Francisco area
Full infrastructure will consist of charge spots and battery switch stations; deployment in Israel on track for late 2011.  Following its successful Tokyo taxi pilot program, Better Place announced Wednesday that it would begin a similar program in the San Francisco-San Jose corridor in California.
Siege/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement

Haniyeh welcomes French delegation to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Wednesday that direct communication with international governments was vital.  Receiving a French delegation in Gaza to discuss human rights, Haniyeh called on the group to have solidarity with Palestinian efforts to end the occupation and establish a state with Jerusalem as its capital. The premier stressed the need to end Israel’s siege which he said had turned Gaza into a prison.
Gaza’s national income shrinks as citruses are gone
BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) — Groves full of green citrus. Gaza farmers proud of their old trees. Businessmen busy with exporting fruits to Jordan. But that was 10 years ago.  Around one kilometer before reaching the Erez crossing point between northern Gaza Strip and Israel, the vast land has been barren, although Ahmed Za’aneen, 75, still recalled the town “all in green.”  Za’aneen, better known as Abu Nabil, a resident of Beit Hanoun town adjacent to the borders between the coastal enclave and Israel, used to grow hundreds of orange and lemon trees in a land of 37 dunums (37,000 square meters).
The Gaza Tunnels: A Special Investigation
Muhammad Othman – Gaza Strip – Translation by PNN – In the network of alleyways and catacombs in the Gaza strip there lie a thousand stories of suffering—people broken by division and siege. They rely on sayings like “the ends justify the means” or “necessity is the mother of invention.” This is what defends their humanity against a bitter history. But it also explains the phenomenon of the Gaza tunnels, which some exploit to get rich quick as the government does nothing to stop them.
Palestinians Smuggle Cows into Gaza
Palestinians are using tunnels under the Egyptian-Gaza border to smuggle cows into the Gaza Strip for the upcoming Muslim festival Eid al-Adha.  Despite the fact that Israel allows 3,000 tons of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip daily, including cows, smugglers say the cows the Jewish state lets through do not meet the necessary festival requirements.  Palestinian tradition dictates the bovines must at least two years old and weigh more than 1,100 pounds.  However, it’s not cows and other foodstuffs coming through the tunnels that worry Israel.
Palestinian Children Suffer The Most Among Children Around The World
Palestinian news agency, Ma’an, reported, on Wednesday, that Dr. Hanna Issa, an expert in international law, has confirmed that Palestinian children are suffering the most among all world children.

Suffering of Palestinian Children Rated Among Highest in the World

Mental Health Treatment in Palestine: Electroshocks and Out-dated Medicine, Palestine Monitor
The World Health Organisation’s key requirements for mental health treatment include “physical security, social support networks, employment, access to education and healthcare and the opportunities for self-actualisation.” These conditions don’t exist in Palestine, where they are needed most.
Disabled Gazans to Receive Insurance Allowance from Israel After Two Years
Gaza – PNN – The Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) announced on Wednesday that it had reached an agreement with the Israeli National Insurance Institute (INII) to reinstate the transfer of funds to hundreds of disabled Gazans who were injured while working in Israel. ImageThe PMA reached the agreement after more than a year of petitioning the Israeli Supreme Court and two year after the transfer of funds had been suspended by the Bank of Israel. The Bank of Israel determined to end the payments when they decided that they no longer wanted to have dealings with banks in the Gaza Strip.  The Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Labor’s Voice and other organizations, along with the victims, submitted a petition to the Israeli Supreme court against the Bank of Israel.  In response to this, the INII informed the Court that a “mechanism has been found with the agreement of both sides.  However, technical matters remain unresolved, but we foresee that they will be solved very soon.”
More Than 10,000 Women Trafficked in Israel in Last Decade
PNN – Israeli women’s rights lawyer Ori Kadar said in the past ten years more than 10,000 women have been brought to Israel as part of “new slave trade.”  Kadar began campaigning to call attention to the phenomenon after he was shocked to see a stall inside a crowded market in Tel Aviv filled not with expensive clothes or movies, but with women for sale. He couldn’t believe the sight of young women standing like any other product, each carrying information about their age, height, weight, and “country of origin.”

Williams: Nahr al-Bared residents can return in 2011
BEIRUT: UN special coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams said Wednesday residents of the battered northern Nahr al-Bared Palestinian camp will return home in early 2011. “The good news is that very very soon – and I have seen some of the buildings myself – that very soon, early in the new year, we hope to see people begin to return to the camp,” Williams told.
Danish ambassador reiterates support for refugees
SIDON: Danish Ambassador to Lebanon Jan Top Christensen renewed Wednesday his country’s commitment to the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Christensen made his remarks while he toured south Lebanon with the aim of distributing Lego toys to children’s associations Wednesday. The ambassador visited the southern coastal city of Sidon.
Racism & Discrimination

Israeli Military’s negligence exposes schoolchildren to Israeli settler threats
On the afternoon of Monday October 25th, Palestinian schoolchildren from the villages of Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed were threatened by four adult Israeli settlers from the Havat Ma’on outpost while walking home from school. The children, aged 6-13, were walking without their normal Israeli military escort because the military had, for the second consecutive afternoon, failed to arrive to accompany the children.
Hundreds of Bedouin parents strike after school denies their kids entry
400 kids forced to choose between staying at home and commuting 17km to a different school.
Coalition Against Racism against Umm Al-Fahm march
HAIFA, Israel (Ma’an) — The Coalition Against Racism called on Israeli authorities to prevent a demonstration by extreme right-wing group “Baruch” Our Land of Israel in the Palestinian town of Umm Al-Fahm.  The High Court of Israel has approved the demonstration despite security concerns raised by Israeli police. A similar demonstration by the same group last year resulted in violent clashes.  The coalition warned that the goal of the demonstration was to incite hatred and violence toward Palestinian citizens of Israel and pointed to the event’s online announcement as evidence of that aim.
City-wide strike in Umm al-Fahm set to protest ‘police brutality, racism’
After day of riots, Arab leaders call for city-wide strike in Umm al-Fahm in protest of what they call premeditated police brutality. ‘Attack is indicator of escalating racism,’ they say.,7340,L-3976040,00.html
Rightists furious over Palestinian plans for new East Jerusalem schools
Palestinian premier Fayyad to rededicate schools renovated with PA funding.
Report: Israeli soldiers burned Quran during nighttime arrest in occupied Jayyous, Philip Weiss
Doug Whitmore of Kansas City is a former member of Christian Peacemaker Teams who served in Jayyous in the occupied West Bank. Earlier today he received the following email from a friend in Jayyous. In passing it along, he removed the young man’s name out of concern that he would suffer reprisal from the Israelis. I have corrected some spelling errors in the note.
Source: Israel offering millions of dollars to pass off African migrants
Netanyahu orders Foreign Ministry to renew contacts with African and Western states willing to accept these infiltrators, tells defense establishment to begin construction of Egypt barrier at once.
Deputy TA mayor: Yemenites are like Arabs
During meeting on plan to evacuate homes in Kerem HaTeimanim in favor of residential high-rises, Meital Lehavi says neighborhood residents very attached to their property, like Arabs,’ but later explains, ‘I’m a proud Iraqi who is familiar with Middle Eastern mentality’,7340,L-3975957,00.html
Violence & Aggression

MK Hanin Zo’by Wounded By Israeli Fire
Arab member of the Israeli Knesset, Hanin Zo’by, stated that she was hit by two rubber-coated bullets fired by the Israeli police during Wednesday clashes in Um Al Fahim Arab city, after the police violently attacked protesters who took off to the streets to counter a march by fundamentalist settlers.
Jerusalemite villagers clash with Israeli security forces
Confrontations were reported afternoon Wednesday in a number of Jerusalemite villages between Israeli occupation police and young men in the vicinity of occupied Jerusalem.
Israel shells civilian house in Gaza, shoots Gazan worker
altGaza, October 28, (Pal Telegraph) Palestinian medical sources announced today the death of a Gazan citizen East “Jabalya” after being targeted by an Israeli missile. Sources said that the Gazan citizen Jihad Sobhi Afaneh (20 years), was killed  last night by shrapnel from Israeli artillery shell that fell in eastern “Jabalia”.  A Gazan worker collecting pebbles in the northern Gaza Strip was injured due to Israeli shooting. Earlier, witnesses said an Israeli artillery shell landed abruptly on a civilian house in northern Gaza, without causing any injuries, the family was a few meters away which caused them to miraculously survive this shelling and still be alive.,-shoots-Gazan-worker.html
Israeli troops storm houses of senior Palestinian officials in Jenin
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed Thursday the homes of a number of Hamas officials in Jenin city including the houses of former Palestinian minister Wasfi Qabha and Sheikh Khaled Al-Hajj.

Troops Invade Jenin, Bethelehem
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday morning, several areas in the cities of Jenin and Bethlehem in the West Bank, broke into homes, searching several of them.


Soldiers Kidnap Seven Children In Silwan
Palestinian sources reported Wednesday that Israeli soldiers and undercover units of the Israeli army kidnapped seven children in Silwan town, south of the Al Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem. An Eyewitness said that undercover soldiers ambushed the children while heading back home from school and kidnapped them. The army did not define the reason behind the children’s arrest.  The kidnapped children are 11 – 15 years old; the youngest was released later on. The six remaining children were moved to a local Israeli police station for questioning. They are from Batn Al Hawa, Ein Al Louza, Al Ein area and Wadi Hilwa.
Israel detains 5 from Nablus area
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained five Palestinians, including four minors, from the villages of Madama and Beita in the northern West Bank district of Nablus.  Local sources identified the detained from Madama as Mujahed Abdullah Qet, 18, Akram Jebril Zyadeh, 16, Akram Issa Nassar, 16, and Muhammad Amer, 17, from Madma village and Ghaleb Fahmi Dwekat from Beita village.  An Israeli military spokesman confirmed the detentions.
Israeli army arrests 11 Palestinians in West Bank
RAMALLAH, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) — The Israeli army detained 11 Palestinians in over night raids across the West Bank, Palestinian security sources said Monday.  The sources said that Israeli army forces raided Hebron, Bethlehem, Qalqilya and Nablus, conducting house to house search and arresting 11 who were activists wanted by Israel’s security services according to Israeli media.  The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) complains that the raids, which take place almost on daily basis, undermine its efforts to enforce law.
Israeli Miltary Kidnaps Two Palestinians, Installs Blockades in Hebron
Israeli soldiers abucted, on Thursday morning, two Palestinians from the town of Beit Umar, north of Hebron, and erected a blockade at the entrance north of the city.

Israeli Miltary Kidnaps Two Palestinians, Installs Blockades in Hebron

Detainees mark decades in Israeli custody
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – The detainees center reported Wednesday that a prisoner from Tulkarem has marked 22 years in Israeli custody.  The center said in a statement that Abdul Men’em Ta’mah, 42, was detained on 27 October 1989 and sentenced to life in prison.  Hazem Ali Salem, 43, meanwhile, has marked 20 years in jail over his affiliation to Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades, the center said.
IPS offers treatment for woman prisoner in return for her isolation
The Israeli prison service (IPA) has offered medical treatment for a Palestinian woman prisoner in Damon jail in return for isolating her for three months in Ramle prison.
Abdelrazeq: There is agreement with Fatah to stop arrests in the West Bank
Hamas lawmaker Omar Abdelrazeq stated that there is agreement with Fatah to completely stop all political arrests in the West Bank immediately after the signing of any reconciliation agreement.
War Criminals

Turkish group slams Israeli praise of Gaza boat raid (AFP)
AFP – A Turkish rights group denounced Wednesday the praises showered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the naval commandos whose raid on a Gaza-bound aid boat killed nine Turks.*

PA against Hamas participation in peace process
Washington – The Palestinian Authority stated that they were against the US and EU’s attempts to persuade Hamas to join the Middle East peace talks, the Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.  “Hamas has no vision or political program,” a PA spokesman said. The PA’s announcement comes at a time when Fatah and Hamas are embarking on negotiations for reconciliation.  Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Aboul Geith and General Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman are scheduled to meet with President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday to discuss a prospect of a peace deal with Israel and the future of Hamas-Fatah relations.

Gaza: Hamas shuts down journalist union
The authorities accused the union of “inexcusable intrusion” in the internal affairs of Palestinian journalists, said IFJ. According to ANHRI, the closure follows Hamas’s raid on the union in July, when it confiscated all of its computers. “It is impossible not to conclude that Hamas authorities are targeting journalists who wish to promote solidarity and unity within the Palestinian community,” said IFJ president Jim Boumelha, who led an IFJ delegation to Palestine last month to investigate the consequences of the Israeli occupation and address freedom of movement problems for journalists.
Israel’s Arab Helpers

‘Egypt trying to convince Abbas to resume peace talks with Israel’
Egyptian source: Cairo hopes Palestinians will agree to direct negotiations in exchange for partial settlement freeze; Palestinian PM: By the next summer, we’ll create a state.
Israel to start building fence with Egypt next month
Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that construction work of the border fence with Egypt would start early November.
Political “Developments”
Netanyahu to convene forum of ministers
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Isralei Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was scheduled to convene his forum of seven ministers Wednesday to discuss the issue of American policy in the aftermath of midterm elections in the United States.  President Obama’s Democratic party is expected to lose a large number of seats in those elections.
Rivlin: Europe doing Palestinians’ work for them
Knesset speaker tells French counterpart settlements are ‘Palestinian excuse’ for refusal to negotiate, adds Abbas lacks ability to make his people compromise. Meanwhile, Fayyad promises Palestinian state by summer.,7340,L-3976293,00.html
Haniyeh: “It Is Important To Hold Direct Dialogue With Western Governments”
Ismail Haniyeh, Prime Minister of the dissolved government in Gaza, stated that it is important to hold talks and dialogue sessions with western governments so that the governments can know the stances of his government in Gaza directly instead of just hearing about them.

Haniyeh: “It Is Important To Hold Direct Dialogue With Western Governments”

Other News

Palestinians in Jordan anticipating end to legal limbo  [Ultimate Israeli chutzpah, take a look at this first sentence]
An Orwellian system that arbitrarily deprived them of citizenship may be rescinded, on the king’s orders.  Thousands of Jordanians in a citizenship limbo because of their West Bank roots may be on their way to rescue amid reports that the government is about to revise an Orwellian policy that deprived them of their passports and papers unannounced and without explanation.
Fayyad to inaugurate E. J’lem schools renovated on PA’s dime
Palestinian Prime Minster Salam Fayyad will preside over ceremonies on Tuesday at two refurbished schools in East Jerusalem. Although the visits will be held on the eastern side of the West Bank separation fence, they will likely evoke responses from rightist politicians in Israel.
Knesset softens title of motion on ‘U.S. war crimes’ to avoid altercation with Obama
The secretariat had initially accepted right-wing MK Michael Ben-Ari’s proposal as titled, but changed name in the middle of discussion upon protest from Deputy FM Ayalon.
Likud activists form their own Tea Party movement
Party’s right flank protests the peace process and the proposed freeze on settlement construction.
Israel lawmaker: Punish wrongdoers caught on film (AP)
AP – A prominent Israeli lawmaker has proposed a bill to punish soldiers who are photographed mistreating Palestinians — even if their crimes are discovered years later.*
No yarmulkes allowed in Jordan
Israelis crossing border asked to deposit yarmulkes on entering Muslim country ‘for security reasons’.,7340,L-3976092,00.html
No Bethlehem miracle as priests routed 9-1 by Palestinians (AFP)
AFP – The priests may have been hoping for a miracle when they took on the Palestinian national football team in Bethlehem but they lost 9-1 in a rout of biblical proportions.*
Hasbara of the day

Nigeria Intercepts Weapons Shipment Reportedly En-route To Gaza
Nigeria announced, Tuesday, that its secret service managed to intercept 13 containers reportedly loaded with weapons that are believed to be sent from Iran to the Hamas movement in Gaza.

Nigeria Intercepts Weapons Shipment Reportedly En-route To Gaza

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest
Why reassembling the Clinton team won’t bring Middle East peace, Stephen M. Walt
One of the silliest things ever written was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s statement that, “There are no second acts in American lives.” Fitzgerald obviously wasn’t around to witness the lives of Oliver North, Elliot Spitzer, G. Gordon Liddy, Elliott Abrams, or Madonna’s entire career. I’m even betting Tiger Woods manages a pretty successful second act after his own embarrassing melodrama.
Neoconservatives make hay in Barney Frank’s liberal district, Philip Weiss
Earlier this year Jeff Halper explained the hold of the Israel lobby when he said that Barney Frank has told him that he is against the settlement project but that he can’t go public against it unless “you bring me the names of 5000 Jews in my district that support you… If you can’t do that…. I’m not going to commit political suicide for the sake of the Palestinians… “
Ira Chernus: U.S. Can Put the Squeeze on Israel
There’s a long history of Israel giving in to U.S. pressure in the last 18 months. The administration’s efforts to push the Israelis to compromise suggest the president and his advisers would like to do more, if they felt politically safe.
A shift in epicenter of Palestinian struggle
In a country that continues to call itself “the only democracy in the Middle East,” it would appear that the days of Israel trying to present expanding segregation in the context of liberal values are over. While the legislation calling for non-Jews to declare loyalty to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state has been billed as Netanyahu’s capitulation to his coalition.
Israel’s Supreme Court and confused democracy, Yaniv Reich
Israel’s ever-dwindling defenders frequently cite the country’s judicial system as evidence of the robustness of Israeli democracy. They point, for example, to the fact that the court has prohibited the Israeli military from using civilians as human shields or has ordered the segregation wall being built in the West Bank to be rerouted in a couple specific cases. (The persistent basis on which court rulings are systematically ignored is, of course, never cited.) Or they might reference that an Israeli Arab (Salim Joubran) has been a permanent justice on the court since 2004. How could Israel be an apartheid state, the argument goes, if there is an Israeli Palestinian on the highest court in the land?
American Democracy: Pro-Israel Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Maidhc Ó Cathail
Helen Keller’s pithy observation about American democracy being little more than a choice “between Tweedledum and Tweedledee” was never more true than in the upcoming mid-term elections in the ninth congressional district of Illinois.  In a district which includes the affluent northern suburbs of Chicago along the shore of Lake Michigan, the central issue is not the two wars — or is it now three? — the country is fighting, nor is it the tanking economy, in great part caused by those debt-inducing wars. No, the burning issue here is… who cares more about Israel?

American Democracy: Pro-Israel Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Obama’s Black Site Prison, DAVE LINDORFF
A victory for the government in a federal court in New York Monday marks another slide deeper into Dick Cheney’s “dark side” for the Obama Administration., In a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which has been seeking to force the Pentagon to provide information about all captives it is holding at its huge prison facility at Bagram Airbase outside Kabul in Afghanbistan, Federal District Judge Barbara Jones of the Southern District of New York has held that the government may keep that information secret.
Medea Benjamin: Dear Jon, Sane People Protest Crazy Wars
It’s too bad that Jon Stewart is putting anti-war activists, Tea Partiers and black bloc anarchists in the same bag. And it’s sad that he’s telling his audience, many of whom are young progressive thinkers, that activism is crazy.

IDF encrypting drones after Hizbullah accessed footage
Army investigation concludes Hizbullah used footage from IDF drone to plan the 1997 attack in which 11 Israeli commandos were killed.  The IDF is in the process of encrypting its drones, defense officials said on Wednesday, amid reports that a team of military experts had concluded that Hizbullah succeeded in ambushing a navy commando force in 1997 after intercepting surveillance footage of a planned raid in Lebanon.  In what has been called the “Shayetet Disaster,” 11 commandos from the navy’s Flotilla 13 unit – known as the Shayetet – were killed in the ambush, including the commander of the force, Lt.-Col. Yossi Korakin.
‘Hariri’s Murder Paved Way for Israel to Launch Projects in Lebanon’
27/10/2010 Israeli former head of Military Intelligence Major-General Amos Yadlin said that his forces have achieved during the past four years and a half all its missions and completed various tasks in different fields.  “We reformulated a large number of Israeli Mossad cells in Lebanon and created tens of new cells to serve Israel,” he was quoted as saying. “The most important thing for us was to control the Telecoms network in Lebanon, something which benefited us even more than we expected.”  He also claimed that the Israeli enemy has rehabilitated security components in Lebanon as well as militia men who used to have relationships with Israelis since the seventies. “These men succeeded in many assassination operations against our enemies in Lebanon. They also made great achievements in besieging Hezbollah and obliging the Syrian army to withdraw from Lebanon.”
Israel Admits Hezbollah Succeeded in Capturing MK Drone Images
27/10/2010 The Zionist entity finally admitted of the accuracy of the footage shown by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah during his famous August press conference concerning the capturing of the MK drone images by the Resistance’s operation room before and following the Ansarieh operation.  Israeli daily Yedihot Ahronot quoted in this context Israeli experts as acknowledging that Hezbollah was aware of the enemy’s amphibious assault on Ansariyeh on September 5, 1997, prior to its timing.  “The capturing of the MK drone images by the Resistance’s operation room led to the foiling of the enemy’s amphibious assault on Ansariyeh on September 5, 1997,” Hezbollah Secretary General revealed during a press conference on August 8, before showing details of the Ansariyeh operation and explaining how this tactic helped the Resistance fighters foil the Israeli attempt.
Israeli Enemy Violates Lebanese Airspace Once Again
27/10/2010 An Israeli reconnaissance aircraft has entered Lebanon’s airspace, violating the country’s sovereignty, a Lebanese military statement said on Wednesday.  According to the statement, the Israeli drone entered Lebanon’s territory from the southern border city of Naqoura on Tuesday morning and hovered over the southern and eastern parts of the country for about 20 hours.  The military has also reported an Israeli helicopter dropping a star shell inside Lebanese territory.  The latest airspace violation comes only a few days after an Israeli reconnaissance aircraft patrolled the skies above West Bekaa and the town of Riak, close to the Syrian border.  Last week, twelve Israeli fighter jets entered Lebanon’s airspace and flew over several areas in southern Lebanon, including the city of Sidon.  The airspace violations, which are reported on an almost daily basis, contravene the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 1701, which ended the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006.
Lebanon sentences 32 to jail for collaborating with Israel (AFP)
AFP – A military court on Wednesday sentenced to 15 years in prison 31 Lebanese citizens and a Palestinian for collaborating with Israel and acquiring Israeli citizenship, a judicial source said.*
Crowd scuffles with UN investigators in Beirut
Women force their way into Beirut gynecology clinic, curse team of officials gathering evidence on Hariri assassination. ‘ It looked like a real battle,’ clinic manager says.,7340,L-3975987,00.html
LEBANON: Islamic hijab not welcome in Beirut offices, says frustrated job-seeker
Landing a job interview in Beirut has proved a daunting task for 21-year old Lebanese university student Lubna Mohamad.  Not because there are no jobs, but because she is veiled, she claims.  Mohamad, who sports a casual conservative look consisting of jeans, long-sleeved shirts, nail polish and an Islamic headscarf, claims she has been turned down from no less than three recent job interviews — over the phone — simply because she admits that she observes Islamic dress code.

Wednesday: 1 US Soldier, 11 Iraqis Killed; 30 Iraqis Wounded
Tariq Aziz remained the focus of news as his death sentence, considered unfair by many, could further stall the process of government formation, the number two story in Iraq today. The two topics overshadowed a return of Tony Blair to the Chilcot inquiry and a possible delay in the national census. At least 11 Iraqis were killed in new violence. Another 30 were wounded. Also, a sniper wounded a U.S. soldier in Amara, and the Dept. of Defense announced the non-combat death of a U.S. soldier three days ago in Baghdad.
Iraq attacks kill 2 policemen (AP)
AP – Officials say a suicide bomber has blown up his car outside a police checkpoint in northern Iraq, killing one policeman and injuring seven.*
U.S. troops come under attack in Iraq’s Mosul
A U.S. armored patrol came under attack as it was driving along a street in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.  Two explosive devices planted on the side of the road went off when as the patrol was driving in the Sinaa Neighborhood, an anti-U.S. garrison in Mosul.  It was not immediately known whether the explosions had caused any casualties. U.S. troops normally cordon off the areas where they are attacked and prevent journalists from entering.  In Baghdad, an explosive charge blew targeting the convoy of Planning Ministry’s Undersecretary Ali al-Allaq, close to the National Theater.  One person was killed and five people were injured, among them three of Allaq’s bodyguards. The police reported material damage to shops and buildings in the area.\2010-10-27\kurd.htm
Iraq governor suspended for alleged Baath party affiliation (AFP)
AFP – The governor of Saddam Hussein’s native province has been suspended for membership of the executed Iraqi dictator’s now outlawed Baath party, a vetting body said on Wednesday.*

WikiLeaks reportedly has at least 15,000 more pages of damning documents
The Pentagon is preparing for even more secrets to be released by the website WikiLeaks, a spokesman said Tuesday. “We believe that WikiLeaks has in its possession additional documents that may be released in the future,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said at a briefing. “They still have the 15,000 documents from Afghanistan.
How the Pentagon aims to prevent more Wikileaks releases
After the Wikileaks release of 400,000 documents on Iraq, Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn explained some of the new monitoring tools being considered.
War Should Be an Election Issue, Amy Goodman
The WikiLeaks release, dubbed “The Iraq War Logs,” has been topping the headlines in Europe. But in the U.S., it barely warranted a mention on the agenda-setting Sunday talk shows.
New York Times’ Julian Assange Profile Is ‘Slimy’ And Subservient To Pentagon, Says Glenn Greenwald
What Burns did to Julian Assange is most certainly not a “standard journalistic endeavor” for The New York Times. If anyone doubts that, please show me any article that paper has published which trashed the mental health, psyche and personality of a high-ranking American political or military official — a Senator or a General or a President or a cabinet secretary or even a prominent lobbyist — based on quotes from disgruntled associates of theirs. That is not done, and it never would be.
‘You should be ashamed’: WikiLeaks boss blasts astonished Larry King
‘It’s not right to bring in sensational and, in fact, false claims, a relatively trivial matter compared to the deaths of 109,000 people.
Pack Assange off to Guantanamo, US conservatives tell Obama
The White House and the Pentagon have failed to confront and contain the threat to national security posed by WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange who should be arrested as an “enemy combatant”, voices on the US conservative right insisted yesterday.
Pakistan & Afghanistan

US Attack Kills 7 People In Pakistan
There have now been at least 19 suspected US missile strikes in Pakistan this month, many of them in North Waziristan. There were 21 such attacks in September, nearly double the previous monthly record.
184 US Attacks Have killed 1,863 People In Pakistan Since June ’04
Statistics show a total of 53 drone attacks were carried out in Pakistan by the unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs) of US during the last year killing 709 people, mostly innocent tribesmen including women and children.
Afghan civilians killed by British forces
The Guardian newspaper obtained documents from the Ministry of Defence under the UK’s freedom of information legislation. The files show three British military units killed or wounded civilians on 21 occasions.
9 Nato Supply Vehicles Torched in Afghanistan
The incident occurred when a convoy of Nato supply vehicles was on its way from Kandahar to Herat, a police official told TOLOnews reporter on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.
Russian military could be drawn back into Afghanistan
Nato officials explore joint initiatives ahead of landmark alliance summit, which is to include President Medvedev.
No Russian soldiers in Afghanistan – Rogozin
In the Ambassador’s words, Moscow is not planning to supply Afghanistan with “cannon fodder” and “Russian soldiers will be where they are to be, that is on the territory of the Russian Federation”.
We’ve been in Afghanistan, we didn’t like it – Russia’s NATO envoy
Russia’s envoy to NATO on Wednesday dismissed reports that Russian troops could be sent back to Afghanistan two decades after the Soviet Union’s Red Army was forced out by U.S.-backed mujahedeen.
Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan Fueling the Taliban, Scott Horton
To meet their security concerns, the contractors have turned to “warlords and strongmen linked to murder, kidnapping [and] bribery.” The report also documents incidents in which contractors have tendered payments to the Taliban.
US concerned over Afghan ban of security contractors
“We’re not aware that any U.S.-funded projects have stopped operating, but without clarity our partners are making plans for the possibility they are unable to continue their work here,” said Caitlin Hayden, the U.S. Embassy spokeswoman in Kabul.
Afghan contractor deadline delayed
President Karzai expected to allow private security contractors to operate in the country until next March.
UN urge stepped-up supervision of US contractors in Afghanistan
The findings of the report by the US Senate Committee on Armed Services are consistent with that of the experts following their visit to Afghanistan last April, said Alexander Nikitin, the chairperson of the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries.
Gorbachev says coalition victory in Afghanistan ‘impossible’
LONDON: Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said it was “impossible” for coalition forces to secure victory in Afghanistan in a BBC interview broadcast Wednesday. Gorbachev, who was in charge when Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 after a war lasting nearly a decade, added that the alternative to pulling out troops was “another Vietnam”
U.S. and other world news

Report: Western Presence Fuels Yemen, Somalia Insecurity
A new report says Western security measures in Yemen and Somalia are fueling militancy because local populations see it as a form of aggression.–105446568.html
America Has Sown Chaos Across The Globe: President Assad
“Is Afghanistan stable? Is Somalia stable? Did they bring stability to Lebanon in 1983?” Assad asked, referring to U.S. intervention in Lebanon’s 15-year civil war that ended in 1990.
US blacklists Iran-linked companies
The US blacklists 37 shipping companies in Germany, Malta and Cyprus for links with Iran’s nuclear programme.
Iran, Bolivia sign agreements, call for closer relations
TEHRAN, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) — Iran and Bolivia inked five Memorandam of Understating (MoUs) here on Wednesday, on the last day of the three-day visit by Bolivian President Juan Evo Morales.  Among them, a consular agreement was signed by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Bolivian Economy Minister Luis Arce Catacora, and an initial agreement for the establishment of a joint Iranian-Bolivian bank as well as a line of credit deal was inked by Iranian Economy Minister Seyyed Shamseddin Hosseini and Catacora, local satellite Press TV reported.
Ahmadinejad scores diplomatic goal in soccer match with Morales
TEHRAN: Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on striking form when he met his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales Wednesday – on the soccer pitch for a friendly match with top Iranian players, according to local media.  The Iranian and Bolivian leaders, sporting T-shirts and shorts, played in the same team alongside Iran’s star midfielder Karim Bagheri.
UN assembly calls for end to US embargo on Cuba
The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted Tuesday for a resolution calling on the United States to end its five-decade old embargo of Cuba.
Saudi Arabian King urged to stop execution of Sri Lankan domestic worker
Amnesty International today urged the Saudi Arabian King to halt the execution of a young Sri Lankan woman who has lost her appeal against a death sentence for a murder committed when she says she was 17.  Amnesty International today urged the Saudi Arabian King to halt the execution of a young Sri Lankan woman who has lost her appeal against a death sentence for a murder committed when she says she was 17 years old.
Morocco must investigate killing of 14-year old Sahrawi at protest site
Amnesty International is calling on the Moroccan authorities to immediately investigate the fatal checkpoint shooting of a 14-year old boy outside a camp set up by Sahrawi protestors.  Amnesty International is calling on the Moroccan authorities to immediately investigate the fatal checkpoint shooting of a 14-year old boy outside a camp set up by Sahrawi protestors.
Bahrain opens Shia ‘coup’ trial
The trial of 25 Shia Muslim opposition activists opens in Bahrain, five days after a tense general election.
Obama in Arab garb: The stuff of right-wing e-mails – and one tiny shop in Yemen
A shopkeeper in Sanaa, Yemen, makes some of his money selling posters of Western leaders in traditional Arab garb and regional landscapes.
Islam in the West

Mohammed is most popular boys’ name in England
Two most common spellings of Muslim name came in at 16th and 36th place, a total of 7,549 baby boys, making it the most popular name overall in England, Wales.,7340,L-3976032,00.html
New York City Withdraws Approval, Then Re-approves, Sheepshead Bay Mosque Proposal, Alex Kane by Alex Kane
After approving a proposed mosque and Islamic community center on October 13 in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn that has faced vitriolic opposition from the Brooklyn Tea Party and a group of residents called Bay People, the New York City Department of Buildings withdrew their approval last week. And then they re-approved it October 23, according to news reports.
Tea Party leader defends call to oust lawmaker for being Muslim
A prominent member of the Tea Party movement is defending a statement he made about the Muslim representative of Minnesota’s 5th District. On Saturday, Judson Phillips, who heads the Tea Party Nation, published a column suggesting Representative Keith Ellison is unfit to serve because he is Muslim.
Tea Party Nation Founder: ‘A majority of Tea Party members…are not fans of Islam’
Tea Party members ought to “seriously consider” whether they should vote for a candidate who adheres to Islam.
From Pakistan to Paris: How The Rest Of The World Views The Tea Party
The US elections are a big story elsewhere in the world. And the Tea Party movement has not gone unnoticed in other countries.
Koch Brothers Also Funding Islamophobia, Alex Kane
The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer made waves with her piece on the Koch brothers, which described how Charles and David Koch, the owners of the multi-billion dollar Koch Industries, were “giving money to ‘educate,’ fund, and organize Tea Party protesters” in an effort to “turn their private agenda into a mass movement.”  Now, more has emerged about the Koch brothers’ agenda, and it’s not just limited to advocating for “drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation.”  An investigation by CounterPunch‘s Pam Martens has revealed that “a secretive libertarian nonprofit with ties to Charles Koch bankrolled what was widely perceived to be a fear mongering effort to throw the Presidential election to Senator John McCain in 2008.”

Israel goes to war against its own citizens

Oct 28, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

Video from the police crackdown in Umm al-Fahm yesterday against Palestinians during a right-wing Israeli march. Located near Haifa, Umm al-Fahm is a center of Palestinian life inside Israel.

Jesse Rosenfeld comments on the growing repression of Palestinian citizens of Israel for The Daily Star:

In a country that continues to call itself “the only democracy in the Middle East,” it would appear that the days of Israel trying to present expanding segregation in the context of liberal values are over.

While the legislation calling for non-Jews to declare loyalty to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state has been billed as Netanyahu’s capitulation to his coalition in order to extend a partial settlement freeze, the reality is that Israel has shifted its primary target of controlling Palestinians to its own Arab citizens.

Seemingly in tune with the political climate, days before the vote, the military’s Home Front command, police and prison services held a training operation for a scenario where Palestinian citizens of Israel rioted in response to an agreement with the Palestinian Authority that involved their transfer to a Palestinian state. Israeli radio reported the scenario involved the establishment of a hypothetical internment camp in the Galilee to process those detained in the unrest.

While now being put into action, this shift can be traced back to the last Israeli polls that ran congruently with the Gaza war. Back then, the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu leader and now foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman, described Israel’s largest threat as its “internal enemy” – meaning Arabs in Israel. At the same time, the centrist now-opposition leader of the Kadima Party, Tzipi Livni, had contended that Israel’s Palestinian citizens would need to fulfill their national aspirations in a future separate Palestinian state.

This redirection of political and security attention display both the Israeli establishment’s comfort in their ability to maintain domination in the territories occupied since1967, and desire to solidify Jewish dominance within the 1949 armistice lines.

Israeli riot police shoot tear gas during clashes in Umm al-Fahm, Israel. Hundreds of Israeli police attended the protest against a rally of ultranationalist extremist Jews in the Israeli-Arab town, using tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd. (Photo: Mozafar Najafzadeh)

More photos from Umm al-Fahm:

Israeli riot and undercover police violently arrest a Palestinian demonstrator in Umm Al-Fahm. (Photo: Mozafar Najafzadeh)

Riot police violently arrest an unarmed Palestinian youth during clashes, on October 27, 2010 in Umm al-Fahm, Israel. (Photo: Mozafar Najafzadeh)

Heilbrunn says that Israel lobby ‘crucified’ George HW Bush over settlements

Oct 28, 2010

Philip Weiss

Imagine if a non-Jewish critic of the Israel lobby used the verb in my headline. Just imagine. Wouldn’t happen. They might take away the guy’s job.

Also remember that Mike Desch reported that George H.W. Bush felt that he had lost his bid for reelection in 1992 in part because he had taken on the Israel lobby (a lesson not lost on George II, but lost on all our political journalists).

OK now go to 1:18 of the video below. Jacob Heilbrunn, student of neoconservatism, is answering a question by the entertaining Dmitri Simes, the head of the Nixon Center, which is posed around 1:10. Simes hates neocons, is a Putin apologist, has a fun, heavy accent, is I think Jewish, and somehow manages to have gotten and maintained control of the Nixon Center. Simes’s question is about the irresistible hold of neoconservatism– why no Republican president has challenged the neoconservatives.

And note that Heilbrunn opens the question up to the idea of the Israel lobby hamstringing all presidents, Republican and Democrat. Heilbrunn: 

What would the price be for a Republican president? We already see Obama actually paying a price and I think you want to focus on this issue. It really gets down to the case of Israel. Obama went against his own party to some degree–and of course has incurred  violent reactions from the neoconservatives– demanding smply not that Israel dismantle settlements, but that it freeze new construction. This has triggered an uproar. You know, George Herbert Walker got crucified when he made the same demand and tried to suspend loans to Israel in the wake of the Iraq war. And he was attacked for saying he was just one lonely guy up here, against this enormous lobby. But you know, He had to give in, George Herbert Walker was not able to hold that line. And I haven’t seen any president that’s been able to. So I think that the advantages that the neoconservatives have, it’s an organ… etc

Makhoul accepts plea deal; supporters point to the ‘continuing rush towards fascism’ in Israeli politics

Oct 28, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

Yesterday, Ameer Makhoul accepted a plea bargain in the espionage case against him. The Public Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul released the following statement:

Defense lawyers in the case of Ameer Makhoul have reached an agreement with the state prosecutors on the terms of a plea bargain in the case. In accordance with the terms of the plea bargain the most dangerous item in the original list of accusations against Ameer, that of “aiding the enemy in time of war,” was dropped. The defense lawyers pointed out that in accordance with the amended list of indictments, the information he passed to an enemy agent includes no secrets. It is the sort of information that any interested party locally or abroad can access easily. Still, the act of transferring it to a foreign agent is defined in the letter of the dry law in Israel as espionage.

Legal experts estimate that the original unamended list of accusations could have carried a jail sentence much in excess of the 7-10 years that the plea bargain specifies. This true especially in light of the current poisoned Israeli political atmosphere, the dominant anti-Arab views and the continuing rush of the right towards fascism, They also pointed to the prominence of Ameer’s international role as another factor that could negatively affect the outcome of his case. In reaching their decision, the defense team took these views into consideration as well as the known precedents in Israeli security related cases. The court will decide on the exact terms of the ruling in accordance with the negotiated plea bargain in its next session on December 5, 2010.

A large number of the members of the Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul were present in court today to show their solidarity with Ameer and to challenge the court to rise above the poisoned street mentality in his case.

Glasnost: ‘Forward’ publishes four pieces by the ‘other,’ including Palestinian-American Alia Malek

Oct 28, 2010

Philip Weiss 

I focus on Jewish identity and the Jewish community because I believe that’s where the power lies to change U.S. policy in the Middle East. Well, here is great news inside the Jewish community. The Forward newspaper allowed the estimable Samuel G. Freedman to be a guest editor of its opinion page and Freedman promptly turned the page over to four pieces by five Arab-American and Muslim writers. The voice of the “other,” as Freedman puts it (I hope that some psycho-spiritual day that word is put to rest; when it is discovered that we are all other).

Reza Aslan has a piece on how Muslims should make like Jews. And Alia Malek has a fervent call for the inclusion of more Palestinian voices in the American discourse.

I wish that Malek were not alone, that there were other Palestinian-Americans here. It seems that four of the five authors are of Muslim background, not specifically Arab background. Alas an evasion. I wish the Forward would deal more directly with the Jewish responsibility for Palestinian oppression. This is the core issue for me, Jewish complicity in the nighttime arrests and the killings of children and the destruction of Palestinian dignity, and Jewish indifference. But Freedman has struck a blow for greater openness and a continuing discussion. I look Forward to the Forward playing its part. Here is Malek’s bold lead:

As the two-state solution in Palestine/Israel continues to dissolve, there is much consternation in the national media about what Jewish Americans think of current developments. Will their support of President Obama wane if he presses Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu too strongly on settlements? What will they demand regarding Iran? What do they make of J Street and its sources of funding?

Yet there is no similar interest in what Arab Americans think about any of these issues, even though they number at least 3.5 million — a good portion of them Palestinian in origin — and are directly and indirectly impacted by what happens in the Middle East. And they are just as capable as Jewish Americans of exerting a positive influence on events in the region.

The stunning disinterest in Arab-American opinion, or its productive role in genuine peacemaking, is the result of decades of demonizing the Palestinian narrative and reducing it to an intellectually dishonest caricature of a violently anti-Semitic people squatting on the land, always rejecting peace.

Note that Malek’s wonderful book of reporting, A Country Called Amreeka, is out this week in paperback. It includes you-were-there descriptions of the power of the Israel lobby in stifling Palestinian efforts to express themselves in the U.S. historically.

Jewish organizations debate BDS in online forum

Oct 28, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

Zeek, a Jewish journal of thought and culture, has hosted a liberal Jewish exchange on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Jewish Voice for Peace speaks in favor of BDS, while the New Israel Fund speaks against. Below are two snippets of their arguments. Zeek is providing a great service in helping bring this debate out into the open, which helps illustrate the developing fault lines in American liberal Jewish thought.

First, JVP:

The BDS movement is a non-violent response to the ongoing and structural violence of Israel’s relationship to Palestinians. It is a movement that allows people all over the world to peacefully act on their values. Its emergence reflects both a strategic and moral analysis by Palestinian civil society leaders that the violence of the second intifada was leading the Palestinians nowhere. Yet Israel and the Jewish establishment in the U.S., has responded with the same level of vitriolic attack as they did to the violent resistance of the most recent intifada.

Most importantly, BDS offers us a road map that can work. BDS efforts have been employed in some of the most noble struggles in history, from sugar boycotts in protest of the slave trade in the 1700’s, to Gandhi’s boycott of British goods, the Montgomery bus boycott in our own civil rights struggle, and of course, the world-wide movement that helped end apartheid in South Africa. Israel is not just like any of these cases, but there are enough similarities to make it reasonable to think that these strategies could work.

The BDS movement grows stronger by the day. In just the last two months, for example, the Norwegian government pension fund has announced that it is divesting from several companies profiting from the occupation, and the Dutch government dis-invited a delegation of Israeli mayors because several of them were mayors of settlements. And a board member of CARE, a large international aid organization, had to resign due to his affiliation with Africa Israel, a company implicated in illegal settlement construction. In each of these cases, BDS is the chosen medium for governments and institutions to express their displeasure with Israel’s policies, because BDS is the most direct and effective way to make this point.

Now, New Israel Fund:

We see global BDS as a tactic that embodies the message that Israel cannot and will not change itself, and for that reason, we think it is inflammatory and counter-productive. We see proposals that would ban Israeli academics, no matter what their personal and political views may be, from participation in the free exchange of ideas in international conferences. We see artists and musicians, who often come bearing badly-needed messages of peace and tolerance, being urged to take Israel off their tour itineraries. We see a message that says that Israel is beyond hope of redemption, that it must be held behind a cordon sanitaire of contempt and disengagement.

And we disagree. The way to change Israel is not to divest, but to invest in Israelis and Palestinians who are struggling every day to change the status quo. From J Street and Americans for Peace Now in the U.S., to NIF and the hundreds of organizations we fund in Israel, to new NGOs working to build civil society in the occupied territories, there are hundreds of organizations and thousands of people who deserve financial support and a megaphone for their ideas and causes.

For example, NIF supports a successful weaving micro-enterprise for Bedouin women in the Negev. We seed-funded a program that allows underprivileged immigrant women to turn their cooking talents into catering businesses. After the Second Lebanon War, we funded an artists’ co-operative in the North – in a former kibbutz chicken house! – to better publicize their work and products. Our action arm SHATIL is working with an innovative program to train underemployed Palestinian Israelis for work in the high-tech sector. These are just a few programs that provide support for tangible products and employment by Israelis who desperately need economic empowerment – the list of organizations successfully engendering social change in every sector is diverse and long.

Interestingly enough, later in their article the NIF representative seems to indicate that they support the economic and cultural boycott of the settlements because “the settlements are not in Israel,” and they “represent not ‘just’ a blot on Israel as a just and decent nation, and a terrible danger to its survival.”

What is the best way to engage with ideological opponents online?

Oct 28, 2010

Maggie Sager 

I tweet about Palestine 95% of the time. The more passionate I tend to get about the subject, the more encounters I seem to have with ardent Zionists. Sometimes I can’t help but respond to their tweets; other times they seek me out of their own accord. In two specific instances, these encounters are worth highlighting because I am certain they speak to fundamental questions about our cause.

In one instance, this Zionist harped very strongly on two points. The first was that the agreement signed at the San Remo conference unequivocally gave all of Palestine to the Jews. That means there is no occupation and settlement construction isn’t illegal. While many of you have probably heard this argument before, it was new to me. It caused me to seek out the truth, and in doing so I learned just how wrong this person was. I was even compelled to write about what I’d found. The second point had to do with Ilan Pappe’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

This person alleged that Pappe’s book had been utterly discredited. What unsettled me so much about this accusation wasn’t that I automatically took this Zionist’s word for it, but rather that I hadn’t taken the time to appraise Pappe’s scholarship before taking him at his word –something that is very important when it comes to this issue, because there is such a proliferation of nonsense on the subject. Because I wanted to agree with Pappe, I didn’t do my due diligence in checking him out. Needless to say, I did this as soon as the argument ended. Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah was extremely helpful and even took the time to answer one of my emails on the subject, which I really appreciated.

In this way, the conversation was instrumental to improving my understanding of the conflict, and when someone raises such issues again, I will be more than ready to respond fully.

In another instance, a deranged Zionist made a ridiculous assertion, one so ridiculous that it isn’t even worth repeating, and one I could only respond to by laughing. She proceeded to insult me, call me a liar and a moron and then tell all of her followers that I’d attacked her character. Who knew a “haha” and a “:)” (my only responses to her, in full) were personal attacks and calling someone a “moron” wasn’t? 

I responded to her last assertion with another “:)” but the more I thought about it, the more dissatisfied with myself I became. I wondered, was that the right thing to do? What else could I have said?

And that’s what I’m really getting at…how should we engage ardent Zionists on Twitter? Should they even be engaged at all? And I believe the answer to that question lies in something deeper. We can’t craft a strategy for engaging Zionists online if we don’t know the purpose of our engagement. So what is the purpose of talking to them on Twitter? Is there one?  To an even further extent, what are we doing on Twitter at all?

I know that it is important that the Zionist narrative be adequately countered. Someone needs to be telling the truth, someone needs to speak for the oppressed, even if no one else is there to listen. Our mere existence on social networking sites, in blogs and forums, is important if only as a counterweight to the previously unchallenged Israeli propaganda machine. When people want to know the truth, they need to have somewhere to look. But is there more to it than that?

When it comes to engaging these Zionists, should one take their assertions head on? Are they worth arguing with? Or should we simply go on tweeting vigorously about our own sources, not taking the time to reply to theirs? At times I’m compelled to dismiss them with sarcasm. In one instance a Zionist accused me of propagating a “PLO version of history” to which I replied, “Yeah I hang out with the PLO a lot. Sometimes the US, UN, EU and ICJ come too. You should come! Bring the Hummus,” (the conversation was again about the illegality of settlement construction). A few people had a good laugh about that, but did it actually accomplish anything?

To summarize, what is our purpose? Are we trying to change their minds? Is the conversation for the benefit of those witnessing it rather than participating? I’d really like to know what everyone thinks about this. And if you’d really like to delve into the issue, is there anything unique about Twitter’s platform that requires a separate strategy from other social media channels, such as Facebook?

You can find maggie’s work at or follow her on Twitter @maggiesager.

Diaspora biggies kinda want a Palestinian state, fear losing the young

Oct 28, 2010

Phil Weiss 

Not sure if sending Shimon Peres to campuses will solve the problem, though…

A JTA report on the Jerusalem conference of the Jewish People Policy Institute emphasizes the importance of maintaining Israel as a touchstone of Jewish identity formation:

Noting the rise of anti-Israel sentiment in the world, [JPPI head Stuart] Eizenstat spoke of the ripple effect a negative image of Israel can have on Diaspora Jews, particularly the younger generation.

“Jewish identity is increasingly tied to Israel, and as Israel’s status improves, it will be easier for younger Jews to identify not only with Israel but Judaism,” Eizenstat said. “When its image is negative, it undercuts that.”

The gathering supported the notion that one of the best ways to fight delegitimization — described as a “battle of ideas” by Eizenstat — was for Israel and the Diaspora to do a better job of promoting the Israeli narrative.

To that end, conference leaders announced that Israeli President Shimon Peres, who was among the top-level speakers, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who addressed the gathering, was considering a tour of several college campuses in the United States.

Note that Dennis Ross used to have Eizenstat’s job. Now Dennis Ross helps form Obama’s policy toward Israel and Palestine.


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