Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem
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Puncture his heart

Apr 06, 2011

Philip Weiss

The Forward has published a lengthy report speculating on the cause of Richard Goldstone’s reconsideration of his landmark report. Written by Claudia Braude, Gal Beckerman and Larry Cohler-Esses, the piece turns on a May 2010 meeting in South Africa:

The meeting, an official parlay between Goldstone and top officials of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, had an impact on Goldstone like nothing they had ever seen before, the participants said.

“Debating face to face with the community really shook him,” recalled David Saks, one of 10 senior board officals who attended. “When he saw the extent of the anger and he couldn’t answer the accusations against him… I think he realized he was wrong.”

Avrom Krengel, chairman of the South African Zionist Federation, who aggressively critiqued Goldstone’s report at the meeting with him last May, said: “It’s interesting with Goldstone. He’s not an assimilated Jew. He very much regards himself as, and wants to be, part of the community. That always came into play. He’s not a Finkelstein or Chomsky.”…

Krengel’s presentation at the May meeting seemed designed to puncture by turns both Goldstone’s intellectual defenses and his heart. Krengel and other board members told Goldstone his findings that Israeli soldiers had committed war crimes had made it impossible for young South African Jewish émigrés who served in the Israeli army to return home for visits.

“Goldstone said this was not supposed to affect them,” Krengel related. “I showed him where the report cites with approval the implementation of universal jurisdiction, and mentioned the dossier handed to the NPA [the South African National Prosecuting Authority],” urging it to investigate South Africans in the IDF accused of war crimes.

“Your request that countries prosecute Israeli soldiers under universal jurisdiction principles will prevent thousands of Jews from visiting their parents and grandparents in certain countries and force their absence from family celebrations,” Krengel told Goldstone in his formal statement.

“I think the meeting with the Fed made a difference,” Saks said. “It was a heavy meeting. They went in very hard against him. There were no smiling handshakes afterwards. Avrom’s opening statement was pretty merciless.”

The meeting in South Africa came on the heels of Goldstone’s 11th hour decision to attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah — a decision he took only after threats were withdrawn by prominent community members to protest outside the synagogue.

Tell that to Ben-Gurion

Apr 06, 2011

Philip Weiss

At Reuters:

Asked by lawmakers about a possible Palestinian move for U.N. recognition of an independent Palestinian state, [U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan] Rice said “you can pass a resolution but that does not a viable state create.”

“A viable state can only be established through direct negotiations between the parties,” she said.

From Michael Ratner’s facebook page:

Does not she know that …Israel was created through a General Assembly Resolution? Perhaps it’s not a state.

Headline and idea from Jeremiah Haber.

‘Youtube’ silences a boycott video

Apr 06, 2011

Philip Weiss

Click on that video and you will see a silent movie, a flashmob forming in Grand Central Terminal, New York, on March 26.

But originally it was a talkie. Adalah-NY posted it last week on youtube, activists celebrating Palestinian Land Day with a parody of the song “Don’t Stop Believin.'” Five days later the video was removed, supposedly for copyright infringement.

But as Hannah Mermelstein notes, “There are countless other parodies of the same song on YouTube that have not been removed.  I fear this is simply another example of the silencing of voices for justice in Palestine.”

And hey, I’m no lawyer, but isn’t parody covered by the fair use doctrine?

Here is the account from Adalah-NY:

After receiving over 30,000 views in just two days, a video of New York human rights activists commemorating Palestinian Land Day by calling on Americans to boycott Israel was taken down on the evening of April 1st by YouTube. Today, Adalah-NY posted a silent version of the video on YouTube. In the video, originally posted on March 30, more than 30 dancers accompanied by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra surprised crowds at New York’s bustling Grand Central Terminal with an unannounced song and dance.

Reposted silent flash mob video:

The flash mob started with a handful of people and within a minute saw dozens more singing and dancing to a parody of the tune of “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey. “Don’t stop boycottin’,” they sang, “Think when you’re shopping.” They called out companies benefiting from Israeli occupation, and celebrated Roger Waters, Gil Scott Heron, and Elvis Costello, who are among the many artists to have heeded the Palestinian civil society call to boycott Israel until it complies with international law.

On April 1, Adalah-NY discovered that YouTube had taken the video down after receiving a claim of copyright infringement. Hannah Mermelstein from Adalah-NY commented, “The Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement is growing in influence and power as evidenced by the popularity of our video. We are dismayed that our video has been removed from YouTube and are working to make it available again. We fear that this is but another example of attempts to silence calls for justice and Palestinian rights. But the BDS movement to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against Palestinians will not be silenced.”

In January, YouTube removed a Saint Louis Boycott Motorola Flash Mob video that parodied the Beyonce/Lady Gaga song “Telephone” as the video reached 35,000 views. As was the case with the Saint Louis flash mob video, there are tens of parody versions of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” currently posted on YouTube. In another attempt to silence efforts at shedding light on Israeli crimes, in March, a number of groups and the Israeli government attempted to prevent the screening of “Miral,” a film about Palestinian women living under Israeli military occupation, at the United Nations in New York.

The Global BDS Day of Action on Land Day is part of the growing international movement calling for a boycott of Israel until it respects the basic rights of Palestinians living under occupation, within Israel, and in exile. The Palestinian-led BDS movement is a moral, nonviolent campaign for human rights modeled on the worldwide boycott movement that helped to bring an end to apartheid in South Africa.

Progress among Jewish progressives: ‘Dissent’ comes out for boycott of settlement products

Apr 06, 2011

Philip Weiss

This is an important piece. Dov Waxman and Mairav Zonszein come out for targeted boycott of settlement products in the legendary Dissent Magazine. A year or so back Michael Walzer, the editor of Dissent, said that American Jews must start a campaign against the settlers, and he is putting his money where his mouth is, unlike so many others who came out against the settlements. Though it does raise the question of when Dissent, which describes itself as a magazine “of the left” and nowhere in its About page describes its Jewish affinities, will grant a platform to those affected by the occupation, Palestinians, even leftwing Palestinians, to state their views of boycott and the likelihood of a two-state solution in the next 63 years. But I will shut up. Dissent is as Jewish as neoconservatism is– it grew out of the Jewish intellectual community– and this piece is to be applauded as an important statement inside the Jewish community. And as Omar Barghouti said to me once, If you want to boycott an egg, we would like you to boycott the egg! Waxman and Zonszein:

WHAT, THEN, are progressive American Jews to do? If the peace process is a waste of time, and BDS is unfair and unhelpful, is there another alternative? Indeed there is: a selective boycott against settlement products, not Israeli products or people in general. This is already being practiced by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and several Israeli peace organizations, such as Gush Shalom and the Coalition of Women for Peace, both of which actively advocate the boycott of settlement products and companies that profit from operating in the West Bank. Left-wing American-Jewish groups like the New Israel Fund and Meretz USA have also recently expressed support for such a boycott.

A boycott of settlement goods is aimed at anything that is produced in the occupied territories, not just goods actually made in Israeli settlements. This includes a wide variety of agricultural produce (such as fruits and flowers) and manufactured goods (such as plastics, textiles, cosmetics, food, and wine) that are made in factories located in large Israeli industrial zones within the occupied territories. While most of these products are purchased locally by Israelis and Palestinians, some are exported abroad (Israeli wine from the West Bank and Golan Heights and skin-care products from the Dead Sea inside the West Bank, for example, have a large international market). Although it would target only a small fraction of the goods Israel exports—an estimated 2 or 3 percent—a boycott of these goods still has an economic impact. In particular, by penalizing Israeli companies now operating in the territories, a boycott of their goods encourages them to relocate their production inside the Green Line, as some have reportedly already done due to the boycott. In practice, however, it can be difficult to boycott only goods produced in the territories, since they are not clearly labeled and companies operating in the territories are permitted to have marketing addresses within Israel. A labeling campaign, such as the one that has been conducted in Europe in recent years, is one remedy for this.

A more focused and limited boycott of products made in West Bank settlements has many advantages. It combines BDS’ appeal of direct consumer activism with commitment to a two-state solution as the only acceptable outcome to the conflict. It underlines the fact the settlements are not in Israel, and hence that boycotting their products is not the same as boycotting Israeli goods produced inside the Green Line. While it will certainly not hit Israeli pockets in the way that across-the-board BDS intends to do, it will not alienate Israelis in the same way either. It also has a much greater chance of gaining broad support among Americans and Europeans, who are unwilling to boycott and sanction Israel as a state.

Whether growing numbers of progressive American Jews support this “third way,” however, depends on their willingness to reject the hard line against all boycotts taken by Israel and much of the American-Jewish establishment. Major American-Jewish organizations frequently depict any boycott, however limited, as being anti-Israel, if not anti-Semitic. The Knesset recently passed the first reading of a bill to impose a hefty fine on Israeli citizens and a ten-year ban on entering the country against foreign nationals who call for or engage in any type of boycott against Israel, including its settlements in the West Bank. But these pressure tactics are unlikely to succeed if Israel continues its settlement activity and the peace process remains all but dead. As long as Israel’s occupation drags on, boycotts of one form or another are bound to grow.

Obama enters the land of lies

Apr 06, 2011

Philip Weiss

I’m catching up with a lot of good stuff from my week of traveling. Here’s David Bromwich at Huffpo, against the Libya intervention (which yes I supported):

It seems then that a long train of earlier commitments in Libya was set in motion as soon as the Egyptian uprising began. “Kinetic military action” is the term of art for a policy whose content perhaps no single person is in full possession of.

Yet one thing is clear, thanks to Mazzetti and Schmitt. “Several weeks ago, President Obama signed a secret finding authorizing the CIA to provide arms and other support to Libyan rebels.” It is said that the arms have not yet been sent; but the timing is interesting. The order was signed just about the moment that President Obama was lauding the triumph of non-violence in Egypt. The Timesreporters wisely let the serial flat reiterations of “no comment” from leading officials speak for themselves.

The upshot is this. An event that we Americans were led to believe was an autonomous rising on the model of Egypt turns out to have been deeply compromised from the start, and compromised by American meddling. And the president himself, far from having been balked in mid-decision because he is a man of skeptical and hesitant mind, took a long time to decide because he was face to face with a moment such as John Kennedy recognized at the brink of the Bay of Pigs invasion, whose 50th anniversary the U.S. will mark on April 17. After three days of ill-fated support for the anti-Castro rebels, President Kennedy drew back from that disaster. Eventually, he made a public apology to the country.

All the external parties are in Libya for different reasons. Things could not have gotten this far without the CIA. But the president was also heeding pressure from Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron; and what those European leaders wanted was the assurance of oil contracts for Europe. Italy, meanwhile, is fearful of an influx of refugees. All these things President Obama knew, but he was careful to mention none when he spoke to the nation on Monday….

Many things President Obama said on Monday [March 28] were wishful. The affirmation that NATO “has taken command” was wishful. So, too, was the picture of the United States “for generations” as a unique force for justice and courageous sacrifice, in a world otherwise populated by the tyrannous, the craven, the selfish, and the weak. Many other things Obama said were half true: the suggestion for example that the consideration at the front of his mind when he gave his speech was the safety of American jets and American ships far beyond the reach of Libyan gunnery. But we have now, in this baffling administration, passed out of the twilight of ambiguity. We have entered the land of lies. It is a region where many comments add up to no comment, and where every partial truth must be parsed for legalistic reservations folded into fugitive turns of grammar.

For now, the president is committed to two propositions. Muammar Gaddafi must go. And — as if this went hand in hand with the first — major involvement by the U.S. in Libya will last for days not weeks. He has also promised there will be no “boots on the ground”. (Or does this, too, compass a mental reservation? Does it mean to exclude only official U.S. armed forces boots?)

Delusions of grandeur, which have always been the lower layer of President Obama’s wishful commandments, were made more perilous in this case by delusions of convenience. The president likes things clean. But there is nothing clean about what we are doing in Libya.

Jerusalem planning committee approves 942 new apartments in West Bank settlement

Apr 06, 2011


Israel expedites vote on hundreds of new homes beyond Green Line
Haaretz 6 Apr — Proposal to construct 942 housing units in Gilo was approved Monday by the building and planning committee; according to standard procedure, the district committee would have waited months before bringing the matter to its own agenda.
EU approval of East Jerusalem settlement expansion is deeply disappointing
Haaretz 6 Apr — European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said on Wednesday that she was “deeply disappointed” by Israel’s approval of new settlement building in East Jerusalem. “The actions taken by the Israeli Government contravene repeated and urgent calls by the international community, including the Quartet, and run counter to achieving a peaceful solution that will preserve Israel’s security and realize the Palestinians’ right to statehood,” Ashton said in a statement released on Wednesday.

And more news from Today in Palestine:

Despite house arrest, Jerusalem activist will fight for Silwan / Jillian Kestler-D’Amours
EI 5 Apr — Palestinian activist Jawad Siyam has been under house arrest for nearly three months after being accused of attacking a Palestinian neighbor in the occupied East Jerusalem village of Silwan. The Director of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, Siyam categorically denies the allegation. He says that the real reason he has been targeted is because of his political activities and resistance to the take-over of Silwan by right-wing Israeli settler organizations.
Israel inaugurates new road linking Kiryat Arba settlement with Hebron’s Old City
6 Apr — Israel inaugurated a renovated road linking the settlement of Kiryat Arba with the Ibrahimi Mosque/Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron’s Old City. Israel to confiscate some 4500 dunams of land for the construction, which runs through Palestinian villages. Residents begin planning for legal, public fight … A special inauguration ceremony was held in the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday, 5 April, opening the first part of a renovated road connecting the settlement of Kiryat Arba to the Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs.  Yisrael Katz, the current Israeli Minister of Transport traveled to the site for the ceremony. “The asphalt has an ideology,” he said. “No power on earth that can freeze the relationship between Israel and [?its fore-]fathers.”
Israeli forces raid north Jordan Valley villages
TUBAS (Ma‘an) — The Israeli army and police raided villages in the northern Jordan Valley near Tubas on Wednesday morning, seizing tractors from farmers in the area. Israeli forces and armored vehicles entered homes in a number of villages in the Tubas district and captured several tractors from residents, a villager whose tractor was seized told Ma‘an. Local witnesses said Israeli soldiers took the tractors to the nearby settlement of Mechola.
Report: Settler vineyard bulldozed
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 6 Apr — Israeli forces bulldozed 80 dunams of grapes planted by settlers on land belonging to the Palestinian village of Susiya in the southern West Bank Wednesday morning. Landowner Jamil Hoshieh told Ma‘an a settler from the nearby illegal settlement Suseya, Moyshele Deutsch, took the land four years ago, and planted a vineyard. Hoshieh petitioned Israeli courts to retrieve the land, and a year later the Supreme Court ruled in their favor. [and now the settlers will take it out on the Palestinians….]
Settlement to pay NIS 750,000 for shooting death of Palestinian
Haaretz 6 Apr — Shooting incident in 2003 happened when Palestinian man was shot and killed by settlement’s security officer when he was relieving himself near greenhouses of the settlement.

Shoot ’em up, Biblical style: West Bank settlers commission video games
6 Apr — Israeli settlers on the West Bank have discovered a new way of getting their message across: Violent shoot ’em ups based on the Six Day War and Biblical history.
Violence / Attacks
Medics: 4 wounded in Israeli strikes on Gaza
GAZA CITY (AFP) 6 Apr — Israeli aircraft attacked two targets in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, wounding four people, Palestinian medics and witnesses said. They said the targets were a group of militants and a plastics factory, both east of Gaza City. All of the wounded were at the factory, they added. A Ma‘an correspondent said two of those injured were women, and that one of them was pregnant. An Israeli military spokeswoman told AFP that aircraft hit “two terror tunnels,” a phrase the army uses to refer to tunnels being prepared by Gaza militants to launch cross-border raids.
Israeli version:
IAF targets Gaza terror tunnels; 4 injured
Ynet 6 Apr — .. Palestinian sources said that the strike took place in the vicinity of Jabal Rees, a neighborhood east of Gaza City. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said the strike followed recent rocket fire at Israel: Tuesday saw a Qassam rocket fired at the Eshkol Regional Council, causing no harm … The Palestinians also reported multiple drone sightings in the area overnight. According to some reports, the strikes targeted a terrorist cell and an explosives lathe mill.,7340,L-4052830,00.html
Israel plans to resume assassination campaigns / Saleh Naami
Al Ahram 4 Apr — The Israeli army awaits the improvement of weather conditions to resume its assassinations operations targeted at leaders and activists affiliated with Hamas military wing. In a report published by the Hebrew version of Ynet Monday, a military commentator, Ron Bin Yeshay, said that the resumption of assassinations comes in an effort to excursive deterrence in confronting Palestinian factions two years after the bloody war launched on the Gaza Strip. Bin Yeshay, indicated that the decision to take these operations to the next level was made recently in a small ministerial meeting presided over by Benjamin Netanyahu. Also at the meeting were leaders of Israel’s security organs.
Orthodox IDF soldiers accused of abusing Palestinian prisoners
Haaretz 6 Apr — A military criminal investigation team’s discovery of pictures and videos of Palestinian prisoners tied up and abused by members of the Nahal Haredi Brigade unit leads to the indictment of four soldiers.
IDF to tighten policy of probes into civilian West Bank deaths
Haaretz 6 Apr — According to the new policy, incidents in which a Palestinian civilian is killed by IDF fire will be brought to the army’s criminal investigation division for immediate investigation, unless the deaths occurred within the realm of an “operation of clearly combative nature.” [quite a loophole]
IOF soldiers detain 3 West Bankers, detainee rushed to hospital
WEST BANK, (PIC) 6 Apr — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up three Palestinians in the West Bank districts of Ramallah and Jenin at dawn Wednesday, Hebrew paper Yediot Ahronot reported. It quoted military sources on its website as saying that two “wanted” Palestinians were arrested in Ramallah. Local sources said that IOF troops stormed the Hashemiya village west of Jenin and arrested a Palestinian youth after searching his family home and questioning his relatives.
Meanwhile, family of Mohammed Samara said that the IOF carried their son from Megiddo jail to Ramle prison hospital after his health condition seriously deteriorated. They said that Samara could no longer stand on his feet, adding that his relatives are deprived of visiting him. Samara, from Brukin village, Salfit, has been held in Israeli custody for four years
Israeli soldiers abduct three residents from Hebron
IMEMC 6 Apr — The Israeli military abducted, on Wednesday morning, three Palestinians from the town of Hebron … Furthermore, The Israeli army erected military checkpoints at the entrances of towns including Beit ‘Awwa, Yatta, Halhoul, Doura, Beit Kahil and al-Fawwar Refugee Camp, stopping vehicles to search the identity of passengers. A witness reported that a number of Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian lands in Khirbat Janba, east of Yatta, under the protection of Israeli military personnel and the forces of the Israeli border guards.
Three Hamas militants in West Bank charged with plotting to abduct IDF soldier
Haaretz 6 Apr — …The three suspects, two of them residents of Ramallah and the other from the nearby village of Kafr Bidu, were arrested about two months ago. A gag order was slapped on the case until after the indictment was filed at an Israeli military court on Wednesday.
Palestinian detainees return from Egypt
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Apr — Thirteen Palestinians released from Egyptian jails returned to Gaza Tuesday afternoon. Among them was notorious smuggler Muhammad Ash-Shaer, known in Gaza as “king of the tunnels” and “Al-Far,” (the mouse), who was detained over a year ago by Egypt, local sources said. The men were deported from the country via the Rafah crossing into Gaza … One marked for release did not arrive in Gaza for unknown reasons … According to human rights groups, 19 Palestinians remain in Egyptian prisons.
Israel keeps the longest-serving political prisoner in the world
Palestine, (Pal Telegraph) 4 Apr — The Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC) said Sunday that Nael Barghouti, who on Monday begins 34 years in Israeli prisons, is considered the longest serving political prisoner in the world. Barghouti was arrested on April 4, 1978 and was sentenced to life in prison for his anti-Israeli occupation activity at that time.
Charges against Gaza engineer show the Strip is still occupied / Yossi Gurvitz
972mag 5 Apr — Israel has kidnapped, apparently with the Ukrainian authorities turning a blind eye, a Gazan engineer named Dirar Abu Sisi … The GSS claims Abu Sisi provided Hamas with weapons technology and developed rockets, missiles and mortar shells for it. Which is where it all turns to farce. Abu Sisi, who is not an Israeli citizen, is charged with violations of Israeli law, which has no standing either in the Gaza Strip or in Ukraine, where he was kidnapped. Specifically (Hebrew), the charges are: Membership in a terror organization (residing outside the borders of Israel), contact with a foreign agent (again, this law is invalid in Gaza), conspiracy to commit crimes (likewise), an attempted murder (likewise), and manufacturing of arms. The last charge is particularly twisted. As far as the Israeli authorities are concerned, the manufacture of any weapon – including the anti-tank rockets Abu Sisi allegedly developed – is a felony. In the hugely asymmetrical armed struggle between the Israelis and the Palestinians, a Palestinian who produces weapons is ipso facto a criminal. Once again, Israel plays at its favorite double game: When it wants to, the struggle with the Palestinians is a war, which allows it to use the laws of war; when the mood fits her, it is crime suppression. Enemy fighters are never considered to be soldiers, when they are caught; they are always criminals.
Sole Gaza crossing closed
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Apr — Israeli authorities closed Wednesday the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza, Palestinian officials said. Israeli officials said the crossing will be closed for the day due to “security reasons”, Palestinian crossings liaison official Raed Fattouh noted.  Kerem Shalom, in the southern Gaza Strip, is the sole operating crossing point following the closure of the northern Karni bulk goods terminal on March 2, the closure of the dedicated fuel transfer point in 2010, and the closure of the commercial goods and pedestrian crossing at Sufa in 2008.
Israel bans 700 goods from entering Gaza / Saleh Naami
Al Ahram 5 Apr — …Palestinian crossings official Raed Fattouh, who coordinates entry of goods between Israel and Gaza, said that Israeli authorities are prohibiting the passage of at least 700 goods into Gaza. In a press statement Wednesday morning, Fattouh made clear that the Israeli Occupation Forces are preventing 50 per cent of Gaza imports to pass due to excuses that are unsubstantiated and unconvincing.
Water treatment plant opens in Gaza
[with photos] MEMO 5 Apr — The Palestinian International Red Cross Foundation has funded the establishment of a water treatment plant in the Gaza Strip. Built in Rafah at the southern end of the Strip, the plant provides fresh water for around 17,000 residents in the area; the project has been competed in cooperation with the local Municipality.
From Gaza …. voices from the Strip / Saphia Shone
ReliefWeb 6 Apr — During my first week in Gaza, I attended a performance put on by the performing arts and drama club of the Qattan Center for the Child … Nine-year old Rashid was introducing the play and spoke English very well. He asked me if I liked Gaza. When I told him yes, he seemed shocked. “But we have a lot of problems here,” he said. Some children in an English class I teach explained it even better. “It’s not that we don’t like Gaza, but the [Israeli] F16’s are not nice.” Growing up with the burdens of occupation, war and siege, children in Gaza are deprived of an innocent childhood.
Palestinian children demand international protection
IMEMC 6 Apr — Hundreds of children in the Gaza Strip participated in a Tuesday event organized by the Palestinian Ministry of Sports and Education – The General Administration of Children’s Affairs, demanding the international community to provide them with the needed protection against the ongoing Israeli violations. The children started their procession at the Al Saraya Street in the center of Gaza City, and marched towards the Legislative Council building. They carried Palestinian flags and posters demanding their rights to a healthy childhood and protection from physical and psychological harm.
War crimes / Goldstone report
Killing activists on Gaza Freedom Flotilla was inevitable: journalists
MEMO 5 Apr — The shooting and killing of peace activists on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla almost a year ago was inevitable claim two Israeli journalists who have revealed the contents of secret documents detailing Israeli plans for attacking the ships. According to Dan Margalit and Ronen Bergman, the head of Israel’s Southern Command, General Yoav Galant, had warned more than a year ago of the consequences of trying to seize the flotilla of ships taking humanitarian aid to the besieged territory.
Video: Samouni family members say attack was not accidental
Ken O’Keefe responds
to Richard Goldstone’s assertion in the Washington Post that Israel’s January 2009 attack on the al-Samouni family, killing 29, was an accident by interviewing several members of the extended family in Gaza, and asking, Was it an accident? The piece includes graphic video from Cast Lead showing children with bullet wounds to the chest. Some excerpts: Amal Atiah Samouni:They entered our home and shot us, the kids. They shot my brother Ahmed twice in the chest and he died the next day. This could not be an accident
Judge Goldstone to Associated Press: The Goldstone Report stands as written / Jerry Haber
6 Apr — After two days of misrepresentations in the press, and after a conversation between the judge and Minister of Interior Eli Yishai that was grossly misunderstood by the latter, Judge Goldstone had to break the silence that he had decreed on himself since the publication of his Washington Post Op-Ed and speak with an Associated Press reporter: “As appears from the Washington Post article, information subsequent to publication of the report did meet with the view that one correction should be made with regard to intentionality on the part of Israel,” the judge said. “Further information as a result of domestic investigations could lead to further reconsideration, but as presently advised I have no reason to believe any part of the report needs to be reconsidered at this time.” To sum up how things stand now:
The Gaza stain remains on Israel’s war record / Kenneth Roth
Guardian 5 Apr — The Netanyahu government is doing everything it can to interpret a recent Washington Post op-ed article by Justice Richard Goldstone as vindication of Israel’s conduct in the 2008-09 Gaza conflict. It is nothing of the sort. Israel’s reluctance to confront that reality finds a parallel in its refusal to date to conduct credible investigations into the serious violations of the laws of war that it committed in Gaza. The Goldstone article does not relieve it of the obligation to pursue those investigations.
Israeli campaign to avoid accountability for Gaza war crimes must be rejected
Amnesty Int’l UK 5 Apr — Recent Israeli government calls for the UN to retract the 2009 report of its Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict are a cynical attempt to avoid accountability for war crimes and deny both Palestinian and Israeli victims of the 2008-2009 conflict the justice and reparations they deserve, Amnesty International said today. Statements by leading Israeli politicians that Israel’s conduct in the 22-day conflict in Gaza and southern Israel has been vindicated, following the publication of a Washington Post opinion piece by Justice Richard Goldstone on 1 April 2011, are based on a deliberate misinterpretation of Justice Goldstone’s comments.
J Street lauds Goldstone for retracting claims of Israel’s Gaza war crimes
Haaretz 4 Apr — The dovish Jewish-American lobby J Street on Monday lauded South African Judge Richard Goldstone’s op-ed in The Washington Post I which he voiced regret about blaming Israel for the intentional targeting of civilians in the report he authored on the Gaza war. “J Street welcomes Judge Richard Goldstone’s op-ed in The Washington Post this weekend and his conclusion, based on evidence from Israel’s investigations into allegations of misconduct in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, that ‘civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy’,” J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement.
Israel to launch quiet diplomatic campaign in wake of Goldstone retraction
Haaretz 6 Apr — Foreign Ministry proposes that Israel initially seek to lobby the UN to adopt the Goldstone op-ed as an official position paper, or as an appendage to the original Goldstone report.

The murder of Juliano Mer-Khamis
Mer-Khamis and binational resistance movement / Amira Hass
Haaretz 6 Apr — Through his life and his body, Juliano Mer-Khamis embodied the possibility of a binational resistance movement … Juliano was lucky. He was born Palestinian and Jewish, Jewish and Palestinian. This angry man was beset by conflicting yet complementary identities. He was the long shadow of an imagined binational community from the 1950s. Like a Peter Pan who refuses to grow up, Juliano embodied the potential of a shared life (ta‘ayush in Arabic ) while striving for equality. The son of a Jewish mother and a Palestinian father, he was born to two cultures, and chose to live in both. He saw no need to explain.
Interview with the late Juliano Mer-Khamis: “We are freedom fighters”
EI 5 Apr — Maryam Monalisa Gharavi reflects on Mer-Khamis’ art and excerpts from a previously unpublished interview she did with the artist in 2006.
Israel leaving investigation of Mer Khamis murder to PA
Haaretz 6 Apr — Israel is leaving the investigation of Mer-Khamis’ death to the Palestinian Authority, even though he has Israeli citizenship, Israeli security officials said yesterday. The sources said the Shin Bet security service would be receiving regular updates from the Palestinian authorities, particularly since the PA has already begun investigating and since it does not appear that Mer-Khamis was killed because of his Israeli citizenship
[Really? See in this article from yesterday: “Also on Tuesday morning Israeli troops invaded Jenin refugee camp and raided the Freedom Theatre. Freedom Theatre Founder Juliano Mer-Khamis was shot dead near his home in Jenin on Monday afternoon. Witnesses told local media that troops stormed the theater in early hours of Tuesday morning, searched it, and took documents and photos form the site. Soldiers also searched nearby homes…”]

Abu Zuhri: Suspect in murder of Juliano Mer-Khamis affiliated with Fatah
GAZA, (PIC) 6 Apr — Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, affirmed that the suspect in murdering Juliano Mer-Khamis was affiliated with Fatah and had nothing to do with Hamas as claimed by West Bank security apparatuses. Security apparatuses loyal to de facto Palestinian president and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas apprehended Mujahid Qaneiri on suspicion of killing Mer-Khamis, a director, actor, and the manager of the Huriyya (freedom) theater in Jenin, a few days ago. Well-informed sources told the PIC that Qaneiri is known for his affiliation with Fatah faction and its armed wing the Aqsa Brigades.
Itamar murders
Itamar video says settlement had night and day perimeter surveillance
Mondoweiss 5 Apr by Annie — Check out this video from the Friends of Itamar posted December 23, 2010, promoting emigration to the settlement. We are introduced to the “Control center” in the West Bank settlement. At 7:55 the narrator describes the video surveillance system (camera zooms in on a tower) attached to the alarm system: “Camera surveillance system instantly monitored even at night” … “the surveillance sensors signal a alert of a potential terrorist trying to break thru and the exact location of the infiltration is fed to the computers and the remote control camera is zoomed in to the exact location to track the terrorist” Was this system operational on March 11, the night of the murders?

32% of Palestinian support settlement attack
JERUSALEM (AP) 6 Apr — A team of Israeli and Palestinian pollsters says a third of Palestinians surveyed said they supported an attack last month that saw five members of an Israeli family stabbed to death in their home in a West Bank settlement … Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the attack “despicable, immoral and inhuman.” The poll found 63 percent opposed the attack and 32 percent backed it.
Politics / Diplomacy / International relations
US committed to ending anti-Israel bias on UN council, envoy says
AP 6 Apr — U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice defends America’s membership on Human Rights Council, declaring: U.S. retreat would embolden nations that unfairly ostracize Israel.

Israel may send Qassam victims abroad
Ynet 6 Apr — Goldstone’s regret over Gaza report sparks idea for delegation of injured kids, adults to engage in PR at UN headquarters,7340,L-4052852,00.html
Sudan: Israel behind airstrike
Ynet 6 Apr — Khartoum’s FM says country has proof Israel carried out mysterious air raid near Port Sudan, which left two dead; stresses reason remains unknown. Israeli Foreign Ministry, IDF remain tight-lipped …The foreign minister added that the two men killed were civilians, whose identities have yet to be verified. Israel, he said, “Has been blaming Sudan for aiding Islamist groups. That is not true…”
Khartoum alleges that this is the second mysterious shelling on Sudanese soil: In January 2009, a convoy of arms smugglers was hit by an unidentified aircraft in Sudan’s eastern Red Sea. January’s strike was also attributed to Israel.,7340,L-4053036,00.html
Abbas meets Ramallah hunger strikers
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Apr — President Mahmoud Abbas held a meeting Sunday with youth from the March 15 movement protesting for an end to the national division, informed sources told Ma‘an. Abbas updated the protesters on efforts by his Fatah-led Palestinian Authority to reconcile with Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, sources said.
Lieberman heads to Germany in bid to block Gaza flotilla
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC) 6 Ap — Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman headed out to Germany on Wednesday for an official visit calling for European action to thwart the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla 2 due to travel to the Gaza Strip mid-May to break Israel’s economic siege on the region. Lieberman is set to meet with his German and Italian counterparts Guido Westerwelle and Franco Frattini, respectively, as they are both present in the capital Berlin, and would like to emphasize the need for western countries to stop naval rescue missions to the Gaza Strip, Israeli Radio reported.
Report: Bibi wants discount on German submarine
Reuters 6 Apr — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who travels to Germany on Wednesday, will lobby Berlin to sell Israel a sixth naval submarine at deep discount, an official said.,7340,L-4052987,00.html
Prince Felipe of Spain to visit Israel
Ynet 6 Apr — The heir to the Spanish throne, Prince Felipe and his wife Letizia will visit Israel next week. The royal couple’s official visit will begin Sunday. The two will also visit the Palestinian Authority.,7340,L-4052994,00.html
Other news
Israel begins witchhunt against Palestinian educators, pupils who honored Land Day
6 Apr — Israel launched a witch hunt against Palestinian educators and pupils who commemorated Land Day by participating in the community’s declared strike. Education Ministry supervisors visited Palestinian schools on Land Day and schools were ordered to send lists of teachers absent that day.
West Bank/Gaza: Stop harassing journalists
Ramallah (HRW) 6 Apr — Severe harassment by Palestinian Authority and Hamas security forces targeting Palestinian journalists in the West Bank and Gaza has had a pronounced chilling effect on freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch said today. In a new report, Human Rights Watch called on Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza to hold their security forces to account for systematic, severe abuses and urged foreign donors to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to condition aid to security forces on concrete accountability measures. The 35-page report, “No News is Good News: Abuses Against Journalists by Palestinian Security Forces,” documents cases in which security forces tortured, beat, and arbitrarily detained journalists, confiscated their equipment, and barred them from leaving the West Bank and Gaza.
IMF: Palestinian institutions ready for state
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Apr — Palestinian financial institutions are ready for statehood, an International Monetary Fund report praising Palestinian fiscal reform said Tuesday.
Report claims that Dahlan supplied Gaddafi with Israeli weapons
MEMO 4 Apr — A report in the Algerian newspaper Al-Shuruq claims that the former Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan was one of a number of Palestinians “involved in a deal to supply weapons from Israel to Muammar Gaddafi”. The secret deal was facilitated using a ship which sailed from Greece. The source for the information was Libyan dissident Omar El-Khadraoui.
The art of transporting Picasso to West Bank
JERUSALEM (AP) 5 Apr — A Palestinian art academy is preparing to spruce itself up for a famous guest: a $7 million Pablo Picasso masterpiece that would be the first displayed in the West Bank. But simply arranging the painting’s journey remains a far more difficult work in progress over complications such as finding reliable transport and clearing Israeli checkpoints. The more than a year of negotiations and planning — drawing in the Israeli military, Palestinian curators and Dutch museum officials — highlight the obstacles for even ordinary commerce or movement within the West Bank or through the few openings in the separation barrier with Israel.
Café culture blooms in West Bank’s Ramallah / Mohammed Assadi
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) 6 Apr — While Paris’s Left Bank is famous for its fine restaurants and bustling cafés, Palestine’s West Bank is not. But that might be about to change. The hilly city of Ramallah, which lies just to the north of Jerusalem, has undergone a massive boom in recent years on the back of Western donor support, with new smart eateries and bars mushrooming alongside a plethora of pristine office blocks. Latest data says Ramallah and the adjacent town of Al-Bireh that it has utterly engulfed have more than 120 coffee shops and some 300 restaurants, with 50 new diners opening in 2010 alone.
Tuesday: 7 Iraqis killed, 16 wounded
At least seven Iraqis were killed and 16 others were wounded on a fairly quiet day. Meanwhile, the environment ministry said Iraq is home to a quarter of Iraq’s landmines, many of them dating to the 1960s. Karbala is just one area that islittered with them. A bombing at a car dealership near the Syrian border in Baajthree dead and seven wounded. In Baghdad, a sticky bomb wounded a provincial council member. A pair of bombs killed two people and wounded six more in northern Baghdad. In Mosul, gunmen killed a jeweler and police found a body. A bombing in Amara left two wounded.
USA: U-turn on trial forum for 9/11 suspects betrays human rights
Amnesty Int’l 5 Apr — …The Obama administration’s attempts to bring the accused to trial before ordinary civilian courts have been blocked by Congress, which has sought to further entrench a legal doctrine of pervasive and perpetual “war” as the primary basis for US counter-terrorism efforts. “The announcement that the USA will again resort to military tribunals to try individuals accused of terrorism, when civilian courts could clearly be used, is a betrayal of international fair trial standards,” [said] Rob Freer, Amnesty International’s US researcher. “It will send a signal to other governments that the USA is willing to ignore human rights standards when it finds them inconvenient, making this a victory only for the politics of fear..
Chicago: Arab and Muslim candidates defeated in nearly every race where there was a contest
6 Apr — Even though many of the candidates had the backing of local political leaders, organizations and the dominant political parties, most of the Arab and Muslim candidates who ran for office were defeated. The only victors were those who were running in uncontested races. Only a few, non-Arab Muslims, were elected in areas where Muslims have held public office. In those cases, only one received among the highest votes of the winning candidates, while in almost every other uncontested race, the Arab and Muslim candidates received the lowest-vote victories.
Charlie Sheen’s loss is ACLU’s gain
5 Apr — The American Civil Liberties Union has unveiled a new Times Square electronic ad that urges viewers to think about — and resist — anti-Muslim sentiment in the current heated environment. The 520-square-foot, full-motion, full-color ad, located on the north side of 42nd St. between 7th and 8th Aves., runs up to 36 times a day from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.

‘LRB’ wasn’t cut off by UK Arts Council; it didn’t apply for funds

Apr 06, 2011

Philip Weiss

The other day I ran a post in which a rightwing blogger named Ruth King took a scalp, saying that a campaign by pro-Israel forces in England had ended national Arts Council funding for the London Review of Books. LRB spokesperson Nicholas Spice says it ain’t so:

The London Review of Books will not receive National Portfolio Funding from the Arts Council after March 2012 because it did not apply for any. It makes more sense for us to continue our long relationship with the Arts Council under the auspices of ‘Grants for the Arts’, a different funding pot.

Apologies to LRB, I wish I’d waited to hear from them before giving a platform to a rightwinger, though I have to admit King’s claim fit my view of how the world works.

Chris Matthews tees up issue of religious money in our politics

Apr 06, 2011

Philip Weiss

Chris Matthew talked about Mitt Romney last night, with Jon Alter and Susan Milligan, and said that the Massachusetts Republican was in the Republican race for a long time. Why?

“This is about table stakes.” Meaning, he has money. “If you look at the LDS [Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints] money, the Mormon money. That tremendous fraternity and sorority– people that trust him out of a common background.”

Yes and why did Obama fold on the settlements initiative, Chris? Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who is no piker said that it was because Jews got mad at him.

Oh but it’s fine to talk about Mormons. I’d point out that on NPR they do a lot of coverage of the Book of Mormon on Broadway, a play that mocks the religion. While David Zellnik’s fabulous play Ariel Sharon Hovers Between Life and Death and Dreams of Theodore Herzl, which is critical of Zionism, can’t seem to get produced on the big stage it deserves. Everything’s broken. Why?

Goldstone to AP: ‘I have no reason to believe any part of the report needs to be reconsidered at this time’

Apr 06, 2011

Adam Horowitz

Richard Goldstone has finally broken his silence over his Washington Post op-ed. He granted an interview to the AP to rebut the erroneous report that we picked up on yesterday saying he was considering trying to nullify the report within the UN. From the AP:

South African jurist Richard Goldstone said Tuesday that he did not plan to seek nullification of his highly critical U.N. report on Israel’s 2008-2009 offensive in the Gaza Strip and asserted that claims to the contrary by Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai were false. . .

In an interview with The Associated Press, Goldstone said that Yishai had called him on Monday to thank him for an op-ed piece published Friday in The Washington Post in which the judge wrote that new information had come to light that made him rethink his central conclusions.

Goldstone said, however, that he never discussed the report with Yishai in the telephone conversation. Israeli leaders have called for the report to be retracted since it was issued in 2009.

“There was absolutely no discussion about the Goldstone report on the call,” the jurist said in a telephone interview from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

Goldstone said he thanked Yishai for calling and “stated that my concern was to work for truth, justice and human rights.”

Goldstone also added that aside from the one point he made in his op-ed, the Goldstone Report stands as written:

“As appears from the Washington Post article, information subsequent to publication of the report did meet with the view that one correction should be made with regard to intentionality on the part of Israel,” the judge said. “Further information as a result of domestic investigations could lead to further reconsideration, but as presently advised I have no reason to believe any part of the report needs to be reconsidered at this time.”

Jerry Haber responds to the interview over at the Magnes Zionist:

To sum up how things stand now:

Judge Goldstone stands behind a report that found Israel guilty of war crimes. After two years he has not changed his mind on that charge.

Judge Goldstone stands behind a report that found Israel guilty of intentionally targeting civilian infrastructure. After two years he has not changed his mind on that charge.

Judge Goldstone stands behind a report that called upon Israel to launch a public judicial inquiry. Two years later he still makes that call.

Judge Goldstone is less inclined to believe, based on IDF investigations, that Israel was guilty of the crime against humanity of intentionally targeting civilians as a matter of policy, based on the evidence presented in the report. He is willing to consider the alternatives that faulty intelligence plus bad judgment was responsible for the al-Samouni family bombing, and that this deliberate attack may indeed be a war crime, should the commanding officer be found to have been negligent.

Judge Goldstone has not expressed regret, apology, nor has he recanted the report. On the contrary he has “no reason to believe that any part of the report need be reconsidered at this time.”

He wrote an op-ed with a conciliatory tone. He now has an invitation to visit Israel. Let’s hope he comes.

Richard Goldstone and ‘the rendezvous of victory’

Apr 06, 2011

Norman Finkelstein

OR Books is publishing a revised and updated edition of Norman Finkelstein’s book on Israel’s invasion of Gaza, ‘This time we went too far.’ Below is an excerpt that ended the first edition, and still seems relevant in light of the ongoing controversy over Richard’s Goldstone’s Washington Post op-ed. Finklestein adds:

The new paperback edition is not only a revised but also a vastly expanded version of the hardback. The original edition was 200 pages, this edition is 350 pages. I have updated it to include an analysis of all the Israeli reports and investigations up until January of this year. It also contains the only analysis in any language of the Israeli Turkel Commission report on what happened on the Mavi Marmara. The paperback is based on many thousands of pages of human rights reports and testimonies of Israeli soldiers and statements of Israeli officials. It is the only comprehensive study in any language of what happened in Gaza during and after the invasion.

The challenge now is to preserve the integrity of the historical record on what happened in Gaza against those who are exploiting Goldstone’s recantation to whitewash the Israeli massacre in Gaza and pave the way for yet another round of death and destruction.

ThisTimeRevisedFlatThe Gaza invasion accelerated the dissolution of blanket Jewish support for Israel. Because this reflexive Jewish support has historically blocked the path to peace, the prospects for a just and lasting resolution of the conflict are better now than ever before. The foundations for such a settlement are the universal, consensual, legal principles ratified in annual U.N. General Assembly resolutions, the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, and the standards of respected human rights organizations. Were Israel to abide by these principles a resolution of the conflict would be immediately within reach.

But Israel must also be held accountable for its crimes in Gaza. For those in Gaza who lost loved ones, homes, and livelihoods, such a reckoning is elementary justice, which it would be immoral to deny them. A criminal proceeding would probably also put a brake on a military juggernaut manifestly out of control. However, insofar as it is humanly possible, the execution of justice should be free of rancor and vindictiveness, free of the Schadenfreude that instinctively attends the humbling of an arrogant and ruthless foe. It should not be lost from sight that the ultimate goal is—or ought to be—a settlement enabling both parties, everyone, to live proud, productive, and peaceful lives.

Gandhi called his doctrine of nonviolent resistance satyagraha, which he translated as “hold on to the truth.” Herewith is our challenge: to hold on to the truth that what Israel has done to the Palestinians is wrong and indefensible; to hold on to the truth that Israel’s refusal, backed by the U.S., to respect international law and the considered opinion of humankind is the sole obstacle to putting an end, finally, to their suffering. We can reach our goal if we hold on to the truth, and if, as the African-American spiritual put it with cognate wisdom, we keep our eyes on the prize, and hold on. That is, if we keep remembering what the struggle—the prize—is all about: not theoretical fad or intellectual provocation, not holier-than- thou radical posturing, but—however humdrum, however prosaic, by comparison—helping free the Palestinian people from their bondage. And then to hold on, to be ready for sacrifice and for the long haul but also, and especially, to be humble in the knowledge that for those of us living in North America and Europe, the burdens pale next to those borne daily by the people of Palestine.

The Caribbean poet Aimé Césaire once wrote, “There’s room for everyone at the rendezvous of victory.” Late in life, when his political horizons broadened, Edward Said often quoted this line. We should make it our credo as well. We want to nurture a movement, not hatch a cult. The victory to which we aspire is inclusive, not exclusive; it is not at anyone’s expense. It is to be victorious without vanquishing. No one is a loser, and we all are gainers if together we stand by truth and justice. “I am not anti-English; I am not anti-British; I am not anti-any government,” Gandhi insisted, “but I am anti-untruth—anti-humbug, and anti-injustice.” Shouldn’t we also say that we are not anti-Jewish, anti-Israel, or, for that matter, anti-Zionist? The prize to which our eyes should be riveted is human rights, human dignity, and human equality. What, really, is the point of the ideological litmus test: Are you now or have you ever been a Zionist? A criterion of membership that would exclude a Richard Goldstone from our ranks is transparently counterproductive. Shouldn’t we use a vocabulary and points of reference that register and resonate with the public conscience and the Jewish conscience, winning over the decent many while isolating the diehard few? Shouldn’t we instead be asking: Are you for or against ethnic cleansing, for or against discriminatory laws, for or against house demolitions, for or against Jews-only roads and Jews-only settlements, for or against torture, for or against massacres? And if the answers come, against, against, and against, shouldn’t we then say: Keep your ideology, whatever it might be—there’s room for everyone at the rendezvous of victory?

The terrible death and destruction Israel visited on the people of Gaza cannot be undone. Their suffering can however be vindicated. Let us seize on the hope born of their martyrdom, redouble our commitment to a just peace, and then let us meet, all of us, sooner not later, at the rendezvous of victory.

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