Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


Dennis Ross announces he is leaving the Obama administration in December

Nov 10, 2011

Philip Weiss

Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross, the man who personifies the failed peace process over five administrations, the man dubbed “Israel’s lawyer” and, by Abe Foxman, an “advocate” for Israel, the former chairman of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute– is reported to be packing his bags. From the Times, tweeted and at the site: “Dennis B. Ross, Envoy to Hot Spots, Will Leave Administration in December, Official Says.”

Mark Landler’s story:

Dennis B. Ross, a seasoned diplomat who has been one of President Obama’s most influential advisers on Iran, the Middle East peace process and the political upheaval in the Arab world, will leave the White House in December, a senior administration official said on Thursday.

Mr. Ross, who announced his departure at a lunch with Jewish leaders, told White House officials that he promised his wife he would leave the government after two years.

The secret of Ross’s method, per Aaron David Miller:

Dennis, like myself, had an inherent tendency to see the world of Arab-Israeli politics first from Israel’s vantage point rather than that of the Palestinians… his own strong Jewish identity and his commitment to Israel’s security combined with something else: a deep conviction that if you couldn’t gain Israel’s confidence, you had zero chance of erecting any kind of peace process. And to Dennis, achieving this goal required a degree of coordination with the Israelis…

Huh. No wonder there’s no Palestinian state!

And here’s a bit of wisdom about Egypt from Ross’s last book, Myths, Illusions and Peace(2009), with David Makovsky:

One thing is certain: in a place like Egypt change was not going to come rapidly or easily…. Reform efforts require a serious commitment and a thought-out strategy. They must embody more than short-term pressures and rhetorical flourishes.

Update: ABC News has a statement from Ross:

After nearly three years of serving in the Administration, I am going to be leaving to return to private life. I do so with mixed feelings. It has been an honor to work in the Obama Administration and to serve this President, particularly during a period of unprecedented change in the broader Middle East. Obviously, there is still work to do but I promised my wife I would return to government for only two years and we both agreed it is time to act on my promise. I am grateful to President Obama for having given me the opportunity once again to work on a wide array of Middle Eastern issues and challenges and to support his efforts to promote peace in the region.

‘Occupy the Occupiers’ disrupts Birthright Israel event

Nov 10, 2011

Adam Horowitz

From a Young, Jewish and Proud press release on the first “Occupy the Occupiers” protest:

A group of 10 young Jews with YJP: the young adult wing of Jewish Voice for Peace issued their new declaration “Occupy the Occupiers: a Jewish Call to Action” in novel form last night. Using the “human microphone” or “people’s microphone” made famous by the Occupy Wall Street protests they interrupted a Birthright Israel Next-sponsored event. The event featured CEO Steven Pease, and was called “The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement,” part of Birthright Israel’s Next’s “Wall St.” series. Pease was addressing the question of “Why Jews are disproportionately high achievers?”

The young Jews used the human microphone, one person saying a short phrase and others repeating back, to read a site-specific version of their declaration which calls for young Jews to take similar actions wherever the “1%” of their own community gathers. The disruption will be broadcast on Occupy Wall Street’s video stream. Afterwards, protesters stayed outside to continue reading their declaration and share stories of their experiences of what they saw as Birthright’s dishonest presentations of Israel. Their numbers more than doubled as passers by joined them. Later that night, via twitter, Birthright Israel offered to “dialogue” with the protesters. Birthright Israel was previously the target of a Young, Jewish, and Proud spoof email offering a fictional “Birthright for All” trip that included Palestinians.

Noting the incongruity of inviting a CEO representing the “1%” while Occupy Wall Street rages a few miles away, participant Carolyn Klaasen noted “For weeks now, I have been proudly protesting at Occupy Wall Street with other Jews and celebrating Jewish holidays in Zuccotti Park. I feel that such actions are far more in line with Jewish tradition than this event, which lifted up as a model of ‘success’ people like illegal settlement builder Lev Leviev who profit from exploitation of others. That is part of the problem we’re protesting in the Occupy movement.”

Liza Behrendt, participant, adds “Birthright is a symptom of a larger structural problem in the Jewish institutional world in which our version of the 1%, a handful of wealthy donors including people like the Schustermans or Sheldon Adelson, is able to dictate the social and political agenda of the 99%. That’s because Jewish institutions are so dependent on the 1% for funds.

In the case of Birthright, hundreds of millions of private and now Israeli public dollars are being spent on free propaganda trips for predominantly middle and upper class American Jews while urgent needs in the United States and Israel go unmet. At the same time, within the dominant Jewish institutions, like Hillel, critical thinking about israel is not only discouraged but actively suppressed.”

Kiera Feldman, one of the ‘Occupy the Occupiers’ activists, sets the scene in a post for Waging Nonviolence:

I did my best to smell and look expensive, like someone who would normally come out on a Monday night to hear “venture capitalist and turn-around CEO Steven Pease,” author of a 622-page book called The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement. The program began with a complimentary light dinner, then the talk: “Why Jews are Disproportionately High Achievers.” This was the first in a series of Wall Street-oriented events hosted at Birthright Israel’s alumni headquarters, a loft on West 13th Street with exposed brick walls and tasteful track lighting.

Inside my free copy of The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement—Birthright, flush with the cash of Wall Street bajillionaires like Michael Steinhardt, is very big on free—I found tables with statistics: 21% of Ivy League students are Jews, 11% of senators, 40% of NBA team owners, 31% of Forbes’ 400, 24% of Fortune‘s “25 Most Powerful People in Business,” 72% of “25 Real Estate Fortunes Among Forbes 400,” 23% of all Nobel prizes, and on and on. In every arena you could think of, Pease extolled “disproportionate Jewish achievement.”

The last time I’d been in that loft was early 2010, for a pre-trip Birthright orientation. (I wrote about my subsequent trip in The Nation.) But this time, I came with ten young Jews—a minyan—to Occupy Birthright. To liberate Birthright by repurposing its space.

It turns out that the human microphone is a powerful disruptive tool. Last Thursday, for instance, teachers in Chicago rather awesomely Occupied Scott Walker. “Mic check!” they yelled, times two, and proceeded to shut down a fancy breakfast.

“Watch out for the microphone,” Steven Pease told me as I stepped over the cable, en route to the food table. He is a kindly gray-haired man, with a pair of glasses perched atop his head. “Aren’t Jews very accomplished at everything?” I goaded him on. “I thought we were the best at not tripping.” He smiled and answered, “Basketball, the Olympics—very good.” This man apparently cannot be satirized.

I wanted to know who these people sitting around me were, what kind of jobs they work, how they feel about the occupiers laying claim to public spaces and shaping them for their own purposes. But then my friend and co-interrupter Max interrupted my schmooze plans, pointing out the chapter in Pease’s tome devoted to glorifying Lev Leviev, the blood diamond billionaire and settlement construction impresario. Leviev was once a major Birthright donor.

Read her entire piece here.

Wexler on the warpath: Opening volleys of major push for Iran war by liberal Zionists and hawks?

Nov 10, 2011

Scott McConnell

Robert Wexler, former Florida congressman and a key Obama ally on Israel/Palestine issues, was one of the speakers at a Churches for Middle East Peace dinner last night. Wexler is a liberal Zionist, who (correctly) sees Israel’s long term interest in a two state solution, and has taken a lot of flack for defending Obama from attack by the Zionist right. But last night he was terrifying.

wexler netanyahu1
wexler and netanyahu (Photo: S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace)

He began by saying he didn’t want to spend much time talking about the troubled peace process, about which there was little new to say, but Iran. What followed was a “Oh how it pains me to conclude this” analysis about how the US (not Israel) must launch a military attack on Iran, due to the progress Teheran has made in its nuclear program. Only then, Wexler said, in a line eerily evocative of the the neocons’ “road to Jerusalem runs through Baghdad” line of 2002, will Israel feel secure enough to make peace with the Palestinians. Obama faces the choice of going down in history as the president who was on watch while Iran acquired nuclear weapons, or being the one who stopped it. An Iranian bomb would unleash all kinds of unknowable dangers in the Middle East, but the consequences of the US attack on Iran are knowable. Much as it pained him to say this (channeling the classic Israel “shoot and cry” trope) American military action is the most rational course. He closed by calling explicitly for “regime change” in Teheran.

None of this went over very well with our group. One former ambassador asked a pointed question about whether the Grand Bargain was possible, and when Wexler said it had been tried, the questioner pointed to the Obama administration’s dismissive reaction to the Turkey/Brazil initiative on Iran’s nuclear program. I asked, “While I agreed that the consequences of a nuclear Iran are unknowable, could he please tell us the consequences of a US attack, since he claimed they are knowable.” He didn’t answer, pontificating for three minutes on “what if they got the bomb” and then saying American military planning could game out the consequences of a US attack. One sentence.

A couple of thoughts. First Wexler made not even passing mention of a possible Israeli strike– he seems to know that Israel by itself doesn’t have the capacity to end Iran’s nuclear program or do very much more than damage Iran and stir up hatreds that will last generations. So this has to be an American operation. Secondly, he is a major liberal Democratic foreign policy figure, and Obama seems to rely upon him. It’s the first time I’ve seen a representative of this group call explicitly for American attack on Iran.

At my table, the feeling was that we were witnessing the opening volleys of a major new push for war, by liberal Zionists and liberal hawks. By supporting Obama on two states (not that it has made the slightest difference) Wexler has positioned himself as a necessary ally of the administration, so if he defected because of Obama’s reluctance to launch a war, it might be seen as politically damaging. I would like to think that Wexler has no influence in the Obama White House, but I don’t believe that. And he wants another American war on a Muslim country, consequences be dammed. His position is exactly the same as Richard Perle’s.

IAEA report is a dud, and ‘Moon of Alabama’ busted it wide open with “Nanodiamonds”

Nov 10, 2011


(Important: breaking update below)

Anybody else notice the big sucking sound in reaction to the endlessly uber hyped IAEA report? I knew it, I just knew it. Humping their fear mongering and cramming it down our collective throats the week before the report was due was because they had nothing. Because the only time they’d get away with it was before the report came out, so they ran with it hook line and sinker.  Russia and China immediately said ‘No’ to more sanctions, and virtually nothing ‘diplomats‘ and western ‘officials‘ (Elliott and Ross?) said panned out in the report, which was basically old nothing news.  The IAEA report was a Dud With Little Consequences For Iran and everybody knows it too. Here’s CSM being somewhat polite about it:

Prior to the report’s release, speculation mounted in Israel and Washington that new revelations might prompt military strikes to prevent Iran from acquiring a weapon. Instead, experts say, much of the information is years old, inconclusive – and perhaps not entirely real.


Among several technical points, Kelley notes the report’s discussion of Iran’s “exploding bridge-wire detonators,” or EBWs. The IAEA report said it recognizes that “there exist non-nuclear applications, albeit few,” and point to a likely weapons connection for Iran.

“The Agency is wrong. There are lots of applications for EBWs,” says Kelley. “To be wrong on this point, and then to try to misdirect opinion shows a bias towards their desired outcome…. That is unprofessional.”

Color me shocked. China? Russia? phff..blew it off. Tough sanctions? Forget about it.

The scare mongering narrative rapidly started crumbling after b. at Moon of Alabama publishedOn “Nuclear Iran” Allegations: Nanodiamonds Ain’t Nuclear Bombs quickly followed by The Scary “R265 generator” Is Just Old Stuff.

In a Guardian story Julian Borger today confirms at least some part of yesterday’s analysis here and now points out the relation of nanodiamonds to Danilenko. Funny how that didn’t occur in Borger’s piece yesterday or any earlier pieces by him. He claims to have known Danielenko’s name since 2009 but only today, after I published on it, he mentions nanodiamonds. Doesn’t he know how to use Google or did he keep that information from his readers only to weasel it out now?

Yesterday b. published  The IAEA Confirms My Nanodiamond Analysis .

You might be wondering what Nanodiamonds are all about.

Dr. Vyacheslav Danilenko is a well known Ukrainian (“former Soviet”) scientist. But his specialties are not “weapon” or “nuclear” science, indeed there seems to be nothing to support that claim, but the production of nanodiamonds via detonations (ppt). According to the history of detonation nanodiamonds he describes in chapter 10 of Ultrananocrystalline Diamond – Synthesis, Properties, and Applications (pdf) he has worked in that field since 1962, invented new methods used in the process and is related with Alit, an Ukrainian company that produces nanodiamonds.

This is a detonation tank to create nanodiamonds, not a nuclear device.

Very small diamonds are useful for many purposes, like polishing optics or PC hard disks. That is why, for example, Drexel University in Philadelphia invited Danilenko for a talk at its Nanotechnology Institute:

On January 29, the AJ Drexel Nanotechnology Institute sponsored a Nanodiamond Lecture, “Nanodiamonds: Reactor Design and Synthesis,” by noted Ukrainian scientist Dr. Vyacheslav Danilenko. Dr. Danilenko was among the first to demonstrate detonation synthesis of diamonds and has more than 30 years experience in the design of reactors for the synthesis of nanodiamonds.

Some years ago Iran launched a big Nano Technology Initiative which includes Iranianresearch on detonation nanodiamonds (pdf). Iran is officially planning to produce them on industrial scale. It holds regular international conferences and invites experts on nanotechnology from all over the world. It is quite likely that famous international scientists in that field, like Dr. Danilenko, have been invited, gave talks in Iran and cooperate with its scientists.

I recommend following the link and reading the rest of b.’s research including the many embedded links not included here.

Others have observed,  “it is noteworthy that “nanodiamonds” do not appear in any of the reports from Reuters, BBC (where you will find a lovely graphic on an implosion trigger), the Washington Post or the New York Times.. All it took for is for one astute blogger to spell it out for us.

Yesterday the Guardian finally linked to b.’s Nanodiamond analysis.

Thanks b.

Update: My Nanodiamonds Analysis Starts to Kill The IAEA’s Case

Gareth Porter of Inter Press Service added some bits to my analysis in a piece published yesterday.

Now even more confirmation is coming in. Via The Hindu:

The Soviet scientist was not named in the IAEA report but the Kommersant daily easily identified him as Vyacheslav Danilenko, a pioneer in developing the technology of producing nanodiamonds by explosion. Nanodiamonds are used in the manufacture of lubricants and rubber.

Contacted by the newspaper, the 76-year-old scientist, now retired, refused to discuss his work in Iran, saying only: “I’m not a nuclear physicist and I’m not a father of Iran’s nuclear programme.”

His former colleague confirmed Mr. Danilenko’s words. Vladimir Padalko, head of a company producing nanodiamonds, said experts from the IAEA and the U.S. State Department had interviewed him several times about Mr. Danilenko’s work in Iran.

“I explained to them that nanodiamonds have nothing to do with nuclear weapons,” Mr. Padalko told Kommersant.

Reuters also covers the Kommersant piece.

More at the link!

Likud MK Danon: Destroy Gaza neighborhoods for every rocket fired

Nov 10, 2011

Alex Kane

likud mk danny danon’s facebook page, november 10, 2011 (screenshot via  +972 mag’s ami kaufman)

Ami Kaufman of +972 Magazine highlights this disgusting message from Danny Danon, a Likud Party member of the Israeli Knesset:

I am currently in Ashkelon to witness the security problem facing the city specifically in neighborhoods with new Olim and have come to two main conclusions. Firstly, we must do everything we can to ensure the safety of all residents with an emphasis on areas with new immigrants who greatly lack protection, and more importantly, to deal with Hamas leaders in Gaza, and for every missile that falls in our southern towns, we retaliate by deleting a neighborhood in Gaza

It is disturbing to hear such a blunt call for collective punishment and the wholesale destruction of civilian life in Gaza from a politician with power in Israel. Unfortunately, it is no surprise–a similar mentality was behind Israel’s conduct during Operation Cast Lead.

Danon’s call echoes what former combatants in the Israeli army told the UK-based Channel 4early this year:

24-year-old tank commander Ohad remembers being told the night before the operation that the entry into Gaza was to be “disproportionate”. Once into Gaza, he says his orders were unambiguous:

“The order was very clear that if a car came within 200 metres of me I could simply shoot at it. Shoot a shell at it.”

Some of the most disputed claims about the operation centre around firing at family homes and mosques.

Ohad also says: “We needed to cleanse the neighbourhoods, the buildings, the area. It sounds really terrible to say “cleanse”, but those were the orders….I don’t want to make a mistake with the words.”

Danon is only vocalizing what has long been the Israeli establishment’s mentality towards the people of Gaza.

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist and blogger based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

Aloni: Goldstone legitimizes apartheid in Israel/Palestine

Nov 10, 2011

Adam Horowitz

Udi Aloni has a strong and moving response to Richard Goldstone’s Op-Ed “Israel and the Apartheid Slander”:

The fact is that there is today a single political and geographic space between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The whole area has been under Israeli sovereignty and control for the past 44 years. The skies, seas, borders, water rights, the judicial system as well as military and civic government are all controlled by Israel. Palestinians have municipal rule; not sovereignty.

Goldstone’s article inadvertently exemplifies the racist strategy of continued Jewish-Israeli control by means of violent maintenance of a demographic majority and the breaking of the Arab-Palestinian nation into pieces. There are 6 million Jews and almost as many Palestinians living today in this space. While the Jews live as one people tightly linked to world Jewry, and any Jew can become an Israeli citizen at any time, the Palestinians are broken into five separate pieces that cannot function as a people: There are approximately 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, 1.5 million Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship, 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, 300,000 residents of Jerusalem, and finally the Palestinian Diaspora scattered throughout the world that Israel does not allow to return.

Judge Goldstone is, in fact, legitimizing apartheid. He describes the current condition as a precursor for a future two states. That utopian vision of an always yet-to-come future enables the ongoing cruelty of apartheid. Some examples: 1) Half a million Israelis have settled in the area that was conquered in 1967. The lands these settlers occupy have been robbed from Palestinians, simply because of their ethnicity, and have been transferred to Jews simply because of their ethnicity. These seized lands are being settled by Jews from other countries, especially the U.S., with the help of huge subsidies provided by Israeli and American taxpayers. In contrast, a Palestinian in Ramallah cannot even dream of moving back into his father’s home in Haifa or Jaffa, nor even marry an Israeli and live with her in Israel. Is that not apartheid?

The Supreme Court issued an evacuation order against Palestinian families in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah and gave their homes to Jewish families who showed proof to the titles of the homes predating 1948. Millions of Palestinian refugees, however, cannot regain land or houses on the basis of such proof.

Israel attempts to maintain a semblance of equality under the law for Jews and Palestinians inside the Green Line, but all the zoning plans and investments in infrastructure discriminate unequivocally against the Palestinian Israeli population and thus reveal an administrative apartheid that’s quite distinct from the legal apartheid reserved for Palestinians in the territories. For example, in the mixed city of Lydda there are 700 houses marked for demolition, all of them but one belong to Arab citizens of Israel. llegal Jewish houses, however, received retroactive approval.

Israeli law separates Palestinians into fictitious subcategories. By annexing eastern Jerusalem, Israel applies Israeli law on the physical territory but not on its Palestinian inhabitants, thus creating a new class of “citizens” lacking the right to vote. Even departing their house for a certain period of time can serve as the basis for the state to revoke their already crippled citizenship status and their right to live in Jerusalem. These examples show that a clear policy exists to maintain a Jewish majority, a policy whose execution involves the systematic abuse of fundamental civil rights.

Goldstone claims that the theoretical two-state solution to come provides the legal justification not to consider the Israeli regime as practicing apartheid. Yet the state of Israel created and continues to develop the settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for 500,000 Jews, and only for Jews, while not building for the Palestinians from the refugee camps and elsewhere. This is sufficient to call this Israeli practice a form of apartheid.

A couple of years ago I approached my ardently Zionist mom, a woman who carried a weapon for the Jewish community of Jerusalem in 1948, and asked her a simple question: “Mom, is all this apartheid?”

With the sigh of a betrayed lover she indicated that, yes, this is apartheid. My heart broke.

Be sure to read the whole thing. The beginning of the piece describes Aloni’s own personal history of coming to terms with Israeli society, including his own family’s role in the Palestinian dispossession:

As a youngster embedded in a humanistic Zionist ideology I was unaware that my father’s daily business for the state consisted of, among other things, appropriating land from Palestinians who had been living on it for generations and granting it to Jewish newcomers. Only a strong ideology can explain the degree of blindness necessary to avoid recognizing that my father was implementing agrarian apartheid policies – and long before the occupation of 1967.

Aloni deals with all this and more in his new book, What Does a Jew Want?: On Binationalism and Other Specters. Read an excerpt here.

‘International week against the Apartheid Wall’ seeks to rally the ‘global 99%’

Nov 10, 2011

Anna Baltzer

Anna Baltzer with Occupy Movement participantsUS Campaign National Organizer Anna Baltzer with #Occupy protesters

On October 25th at Oakland City Hall, barricades and riot police had replaced the hundreds of committed activists who had inhabited Oscar Grant Plaza since Occupy Oakland began. Helicopters swarmed above. The atmosphere was tense and thick with teargas. Earlier that day, Scott Olsen, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, had been shot in the head with a projectile and hospitalized.

Oakland native Tristan Anderson met a similar fate in 2009 when the Israeli military shot him in the head with a U.S.-made high-velocity tear gas canister while he nonviolently protested Israel’s Apartheid Wall in the West Bank village of Ni’lin. Bassem Abu Rahmah was fatally wounded the following year when the Israeli army fired a tear gas canister at his chest as he protested the wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in. His sister Jawaher died in January after inhaling U.S.-made tear gas, which the Israeli military fired aggressively during a protest against the wall, which still annexes huge swaths of Bil’in’s land.

The connections between the struggles of Palestinians and the #Occupy movement are unmistakable: the spotlight on privilege and inequality, the mass imprisonment, the police repression, and the people’s steadfastness. As the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) wrote in a statement of unity with the “global 99%”:

Our aspirations overlap; our struggles converge. Our oppressors, whether greedy corporations or military occupations, are united in profiting from wars, pillage, environmental destruction, repression and impoverishment. We must unite in our common quest for freedoms, equal rights, social and economic justice, environmental sanity, and world peace.

The 9th Annual International Week against the Apartheid Wall is November 9 – 16, 2011. What will you do to nonviolently bring down systems of oppression both here at home and in support of Palestinians struggling to bring down the Apartheid Wall?

The Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign is calling on people around the world to “Stand with the Palestinian popular resistance” and pressure our “governments, institutions and corporations to stop their support of Israeli apartheid” by organizing in four key areas. Below are ideas and resources for you to take action in your community.

Awareness-raising campaigns about the Wall and settlements

Action idea: Construct a “mock wall” on your campus, at your local city occupation, or elsewhere to educate passersby about the effects of Israel’s Apartheid Wall and the connections between oppression of Palestinians and racist border practices targeting immigrants in the United States. Click here to see the new Mock Wall Campaign Toolkitcreated by students at the University of Arizona and Brown University.

Awareness-raising campaigns on Israel’s repression of Palestinian popular resistance

Action idea: On November 15th, activists from the March 15th Palestinian Youth Movement will attempt to board segregated Jewish-only settler buses bound for Jerusalem as an act of civil disobedience. Worldwide activists are mobilizing to shine a light on Israel’s repressive tactics and show solidarity for Palestinian popular resistance. Click here to sign up for information and a toolkit developed by coalition member group Jewish Voice for Peace to help local groups put together unique and exciting local actions in solidarity with the Palestinian Freedom Riders on November 15th.

Boycott and divestment campaigns against companies building the Apartheid Wall

Action idea: Hold a teach-in about boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) at your nearest city occupation, spotlighting Elbit Systems, an Israeli weapons manufacturer, which produces the surveillance equipment and unmanned vehicles that monitor both theIsraeli Apartheid Wall and the U.S./Mexico border. Click here to download member group Grassroots International’s fact sheet about Elbit’s involvement in Israel’s oppressive policies targeting Palestinians and racist practices on the U.S.-Mexico border. Get TIAA-CREF to divest from Elbit and other corporations profiting from Israeli occupation by joining the growing “We Divest” Campaign.

To help build your case for local BDS campaigns, check out our BDS FAQs here.

Consider also distributing the BNC’s moving statement of solidarity with the #Occupy movement. Click here to download the two-page handout.

Support the Palestinian call for a comprehensive and mandatory military embargo on Israel

Action Idea: Join our organizing campaign to end military aid to Israel by signing up to receive an organizing packet in the mail with fliers, fact sheets, postcards, and petitions. With this packet, you’ll have everything you’ll need to educate and organize people at your local #Occupy or other community event to end $30 billion in tax-payer funded weapons to Israel and redirect that money to unmet needs here at home.

Please email your planned events and actions to Mallory at Stop the Wall [email protected]. You can also read the call to action and find excellent resources on the Apartheid Wall here.

The night after Scott was shot, thousands of activists reclaimed Oakland’s public spaces for “the 99%” by breaking down the fences with which the city government had encircled the plaza, as Palestinians continue to struggle to tear down Israel’s Apartheid Wall to reclaim their land and destinies.

As we struggle for justice here at home, let us remember that everyday Palestinians struggling under occupation are part of “the 99%.” Join the International Week against the Apartheid Wall!

Anna Baltzer is the National Organizer of US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation where is iscrossposted.

‘The New York Insular Times’ publishes a tome on Shalit

Nov 10, 2011

Helena Cobban

The New York Times Magazine this weekend features a huge article (11 internet pages; how do I count the words?) on the deal to free Gilad Shalit, titled, “Gilad Shalit and the Rising Price of an Israeli Life.” The piece is by Ronen Bergman, a political and military analyst for the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. Its editor is also named: Joel Lovell. Helena Cobban sent out the following note to friends by email and gave us permission to post it.

And when will the NYT magazine be running a piece of comparable length about the plight of any one of the thousands of Palestinian families whose sons (and, until recently, daughters) were torn from them by their Israeli captors… and the anguished decisions that Palestinian leaders have to make regarding them, etc etc?

I can understand Ronen Bergman, an Israeli, being completely self-regarding in the purview of his piece. What is far less comprehensible to me is that the editors of the NYT mag, an American publication that is supposed to provide news and commentary for all its (mainly American, mainly NYC) readers, still thinking today that publishing only these long, incredibly self-regarding and insular accounts of Israelis talking to themselves is a good way to present the “whole” story.

Actually, the moral dilemmas that Palestinians at all levels have to deal with are far harsher and more wrenching, and far more deeply freighted with matters of universal, existential relevance than any faced by Israel’s pampered and multiply privileged Jewish citizens. How can a Palestinian in the OPTs, whether a community leader or just a regular person, live a life that is both as normal as possible and as ethical as possible? But even without going into these dilemmas too deeply, just the plain human stories of the travails that these families– especially the families of the prisoners– face makes for compelling reading and listening…

But no, the NYT isn’t listening.  It prefers to stay locked inside the Israeli-side-only bubble.

Red State/Blue State

Nov 10, 2011

Adam Horowitz

Interesting infographic on the recent UNESCO vote from Visual

unesco vote

Israel-Egypt pipeline bombed for the 7th time in opposition to natural gas deal

Nov 10, 2011


Blast hits Israel-Egypt gas pipeline for 7th time
Saboteurs blew up gas pipeline running between Egypt, Israel and Jordan on northern Sinai using remote controlled explosives, forcing it to shut down once more.

And more news from Today in Palestine:

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of Movement

New Israeli-Palestinian land dispute rises as Dead Sea water levels drop

The retreat of the Dead Sea is a problem not only for environmentalists, but for the Civil Administration’s legal experts who must establish who owns the land uncovered by the receding coastline.

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Israel postpones demolition of illegal outpost, as settlers score major victory

At first the state argued that it was conducting negotiations with the residents of the outposts to evacuate them willingly, which never happened.

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French document: Ma’ale Adumim part of ‘Occupied Palestine’

Resident of city near Jerusalem finds ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory’ listed under state of residence on his temporary French passport; FM to demand French gov’t to revise wording.
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Rabbi Yosef to Netanyahu: Don’t raze outposts

Shas’ spiritual leader meets settler leaders, promises to support their efforts to prevent outpost evictions.
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The head cartographer at the Arab Studies Association has told Palestine Radio that Israel’s occupation authorities are working to a strategy that will give occupied Jerusalem a Jewish majority. Khalil Al Tafkaji, the head of maps at the Association, said that this is being done to make it impossible for East Jerusalem to be the capital of an independent state of Palestine.

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Israel’s vandalism of Palestinian heritage, Abe Hayeem

Amongst the fallout of Palestine’s admission as a member state, Israel’s warning that it “will now reconsider its cooperation with UNESCO” is the biggest irony.

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Mordechai Vanunu deserves freedom from Israel 
Israel has until Sunday to respond on the nuclear whistleblower’s bid to leave the country. It’s time to stop punishing him. Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli whistleblower who served 18 years in prison for revealing details of Israel’s nuclear weapons programme, should find out whether or not he has been – as he hopes – stripped of his citizenship. As part of his bid to be allowed to leave Israel, he has applied to have his citizenship revoked as should, by law, happen to anyone convicted of treason, as he has been. He would then seek to be allowed finally to leave the country.

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Israeli Violence Against Palestinians

IOF troops try to storm Eisaweyyah in Jerusalem

IOF troops tried on Wednesday evening to storm the Eisaweyyah suburb in occupied Jerusalem, but local youth confronted the invading troops by throwing stones.

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Political Detainees / Interrogation & Harassment of Activists

Child Prisoners

The imprisonment of Palestinian children is a common feature of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. Defence for Children International (DCI) estimates that since 2000 around 7,500 Palestinian children have been prosecuted by Israeli military courts. Many expected the 164 children (aged 12-17) being held by Israel to be among the 1,000+ Palestinians released in exchange for Gilad Shalit; they weren’t. Most (62%) have been detained for “stone throwing”. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.”

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Israeli Navy Kidnaps Three Fishermen
The Israeli Navy arrested, on Thursday at dawn, three Palestinian fishermen, from the same family, west of the Fishermen Port, in Gaza.

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DFLP leaders stopped at Allenby Bridge

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine says three of its leaders were prevented from crossing into Jordan from the West Bank over the holiday. Ramzi Rabbah, Ibrahim Abu Hajla, and Muhammad Salameh were prevented from crossing the Allenby Bridge with no explanation, the DFLP said in a statement condemning the measures as “collective punishment.”

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Israeli Army Sets Checkpoints Surrounding Nablus, Arrests Young Man
The Israeli Army kidnapped a 25-year-old Palestinian resident, on Tuesday morning, en-route to Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank, after having searched him, the Ma’an News Agency reported. Soldiers installs several roadblocks around the Nablus district.
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