Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


The occupation is extreme
Jul 05, 2012
Estee Chandler
For the past couple of weeks I have been reading articles and letters written by leaders of Jewish organizations and activists urging the US Presbyterian Church not to vote to divest from three companies that profit off of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Tuesday, after a long debate, committee 15 of the Church’s General Assembly voted in favor of a motion calling for divestment from those companies. Today the entire plenary is expected to vote on the matter.
It is specifically when I read articles and letters that argue against using any form of boycotts, divestment campaigns or calls on our government for sanctions (i.e. BDS) from people who are opposed to Israel’s continued policy of growing settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, that I am perplexed. It is when I hear those who are genuinely concerned with Israel’s future and democratic character refer to the non violent BDS movement as a threat to resolving the conflict, I have to shake my head in wonder. I am sure they are aware of Israel’s Prime Minister recently announcing the building of hundreds of new homes in a Jewish only settlement in the West Bank. In my opinion, that is what should be labeled as a “Threat to Conflict Resolution,” not friends making decisions of conscience about where they invest their retirement funds.
When I see the Global BDS movement characterized as extreme or as using extreme rhetoric, it truly gives me pause. It does so because what I read from many who are opposed to the use of these non violent tools of political dissent is the characterization that those of us engaged in BDS are “anti-Israel,” “self hating Jews,” and trying to “delegitimize the state of Israel.”
In my opinion, THAT is extreme rhetoric.
I don’t consider those who choose not to purchase goods produced in Jewish only settlements built on Palestinian land which has been occupied by the Israeli military forces since 1967 in violation of international law to be extreme. Nor do I consider those who decide not to invest and profit from the gains of companies which willingly and defiantly choose to enrich themselves off of the demolition of people’s homes or other human suffering to be extreme.
Do you?
Would you choose to make money off of an investment in a company which knowingly supplies the equipment used to violate the human rights of people by destroying the homes of over 24,000 Palestinian families? In my opinion, 24,000 homeless Palestinian families is extreme.
Let’s face it, in our modern global economy where we choose as individuals and communities to spend our money and where we choose NOT to are among our strongest political tools. Frankly, I think threatening people’s freedom to make those decisions based on personal values is extreme. Threatening a friendship or an alliance if someone makes a decision about what they buy (or don’t) or where they invest their money (or don’t) is extreme. It is not how I was taught true friends treat each other.
Yes, this week the Presbyterian Church is once again considering divesting from companies that directly profit off of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands and people. After years of engaging with the those companies unsuccessfully, they will vote once again on whether or not to apply their stated values to their investments. As an activist, a proud Jewish American, the daughter of a proud Israeli father and one to whom the future of Israel and Palestine matters greatly, I am hoping they will follow their hearts and apply their values to their investment choices. But if they don’t, it won’t affect my friendships with Presbyterians one bit.

Presbyterians reject divestment, endorse ‘positive investment’ by 369-290 vote; settlement product boycott vote tomorrow
Jul 05, 2012
Mondo staff
Live video from your Android device on Ustream
BREAKING: By two votes, 333 to 331, the Presbyterian Church of the USA voted tonight not to adopt a motion to divest from 3 companies doing business in the Israeli occupation.
The church’s General Assembly voted instead to adopt a minority report that calls for investment in the occupied Palestinian territories. This proposal was approved by a 369-290 vote.
The are other overtures regarding Israel/Palestine that will be considered tomorrow, including a call to boycott Israeli settlement goods.
The Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) issued the following statement:

The Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is disappointed to announce that today the plenary session of the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) failed to support a motion to divest church holdings from three companies (Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions) that profit from non-peaceful pursuits in the occupied Palestinian territories.
“It appears that church commissioners were swayed by a fear that divestment would cause irreparable harm to Jewish-Christian relations,” said Rev. Katherine Cunningham, IPMN Vice-Moderator. “In reality, the divestment motion was supported by a broad alliance of Jews, Christians, and others who believe that nonviolent means such as divestment are an effective way to pressure the Israeli government into abiding by international law and respecting Palestinian human rights.”
In failing to pass the motion, church commissioners disregarded many years of diligent work by the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI), which recommended divestment after making repeated, fruitless attempts at constructive engagement with the companies in question, as well as an overwhelming vote in support of divestment earlier this week by the General Assembly’s Committee on Middle East and Peacemaking Issues.
Despite today’s outcome, the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) will continue its efforts to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians and to help bring peace and justice to Israelis and Palestinians alike.

This afternoon promises a defining moment in Pittsburgh, when the US Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly votes on whether to divest from three companies that do business in the Israeli occupation. Here are updates via Twitter and we’re liveblogging the assembly, keeping you updated on developments. 

(8:30 PM EST) Ellison says dialogue has hit roadblocks: Brian Ellison, the Executive Director-elect of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, just wrapped up his remarks to the general assembly. A theme that ran through them: all three companies–HP, Caterpillar and Motorola–have not engaged in substantive dialogue with the church. Ellison was also quite clear on how the three companies’ products are used destructively by the Israeli army.
(7:47 PM EST) Committee on Middle East Peacemaking plenary resumes. Divestment will be voted on in this session. Moderator Joe Baca opens the discussion, “What we offer to this general assembly… is that relationships will not be broken, but that nations will be healed.”
(5:20 PM EST) Anti-Defamation League calls JVP involvement in divestment resolution ‘disturbing’: Jewish Voice for Peace is doing something right. The ADL attacks the organization in a blog post today, calling it “disturbing” that JVP has “aggressively lobbied” for divestment. An excerpt:

It is clear that JVP believes it has a very critical role to play in the domestic anti-Israel agenda: JVP promotes itself as representing the views of American Jews and can be seen as trying to provide cover against claims that the Presbyterian divestment initiatives are anti-Semitic. Nobody should be fooled. JVP is a fringe organization with its own anti-Israel agenda.

(4:25 PM EST) Divestment bashing bands together pro-Israel groups Earlier this week theJewish Chronicle reported pro-Israel mainstream institutions thanked the Presbyterian Church for their anti-divestment united front, including the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and their BDS bashing project, the Israel Action Network:

‘Our shared goal is furthering peace, and we believe that the divestment initiative does not further peace because it is a judgment, an oversimplification, against one side in the conflict,’ Rabbi Noam Marans, director of interreligious and intergroup relations at the American Jewish Committee, told the committee. ‘That is how most American Jews understand this initiative and they hope the church will join with the many in the American Jewish community who believe that the only path to peace is a return to negotiations without preconditions, so the conflict can be resolved mutually by the parties to the conflict. That will happen not by outside judgments, such as divestment, but rather by a renewed commitment to peace by Israelis and Palestinians, and, indeed, through the historic interfaith connection and dialogue between Presbyterians and Jews which I — we all — cherish.’
Read more: A letter signed by 1,500 rabbis, representing a range of political and denominational affiliations, urging the church to reject the divestment resolutions, was sent to the PC (USA) prior to the General Assembly. Likewise, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Israel Action Network amassed signatures of over 22,000 Jews to a ‘Letter of Hope,’ also urging the church to reject divestment.
Rabbi Alvin K. Berkun, a past president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, and rabbi emeritus of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Congregation, also addressed the committee, pointing out the significance in having the Jewish community so united on any given issue.
‘I want to thank you,’ he told the Presbyterian committee members. ‘Every two years, you bring the Jewish community together.’

(3:40 PM EST) Anti-divestment rabbi upsets delegates: A rabbi advocating against the measure to divest at the Presbyterian church upset some delegates at an interfaith “greeting” this morning. While a small group of people applauded the rabbi’s remarks, a divestment activist told me that people were upset about an interfaith service being used to push an agenda. Brian Ellison, Executive Director-elect of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, tweeted earlier today:

Can scarcely believe the disrespectful use of an interfaith greeting to lobby on an issue pending in today’s business. #ga220
— Brian Ellison (@Ptsbrian) July 5, 2012

(3:15 PM EST) Plitnick on Americans for Peace Now: ‘Wrong’ on Divestment Mitchell Plitnick, former Director of the US Office of B’Tselem, has a strong post on why the liberal Zionist group Americans for Peace Now’s opposition to divestment is wrong. An excerpt:

The most important point that APN gets wrong here is their characterization of PC(USA)’s initiative. It specifically distinguishes between Israel and the West Bank and clearly targets corporations for doing business which helps sustain Israel’s “objectionable” policies, not for doing business with Israel. The published rationale for the resolution, which can be seen here, explains precisely why Hewlett-Packard, Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar have been chosen for divestment, and those rationales are all isolated to the occupation.

(3:10 PM EST) More from WAPO: Israel lobby keeps the church invested in occupation In addition to Rev. Gradye Parsons’ op-ed, today the Washington Post also hinted at the strong-arm rhetoric of the pro-Israel lobby in this AP wire article:

The Rev. Walt Davis, of the Israel Palestine Mission Network, a pro-Palestinian Presbyterian group, argued the denomination would have divested years ago from the companies under church’s own socially responsible investment guidelines ‘were it not for the Israel lobby.’
‘They said first that it’s anti-Semitic, then that it’s anti-Israel, then that it delegitimizes Israel. It’s none of those,’ Davis said. ‘It’’s us being true to our values.’

(2:50 PM EST) There are other relevant overtures being considered at the Presbyterian General Assembly today as well. In addition to voting on whether to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard, the Presbyterians will also be voting on whether to boycott settlement goods. Anna Baltzer sent a report from the Committee 15 proceedings on Tuesday:

When an overture on boycotting Ahava and Hadiklaim (two settlement products) came to the floor, the committee immediately amended it to be even stronger — to boycott *all* Israeli products coming from settlements! Then, they replaced language condemning the production and sale of settlement products to “Call[ing] upon all nations to prohibit the import of products made by enterprises in Israeli settlements on Palestinian land” and promptly passed it!

You can see the amended overture here.
(2:15 PM EST) Just alerted that the divestment discussion has been pushed back from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM. This can push the vote to 6:30, or later after the dinner break.
(1:43 PM EST) On Tuesday The Rev. Gradye Parsons, the stated clerk of the Presbyterian General Assembly, explained the church’s divestment process, and thinking, in a guest blog post for theWashington Post:

This week, the denomination is holding its 220th General Assembly in Pittsburgh. The General Assembly will vote on a recommendation by its committee for socially responsible investment (MRTI) to divest of its stock in three companies “until they have ceased profiting from non-peaceful activities in Israel-Palestine.”
In 2006, the 217th General Assembly approved a statement urging the “…financial investments of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), as they pertain to Israel, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, be invested in only peaceful pursuits.” The assembly has identified specific practices that it deems to be roadblocks to a just peace in Israel-Palestine.
Companies are asked to “refrain from allowing their products or services to support:” violent acts by Israelis or Palestinians; construction and maintenance of settlements or Israeli-only roads in occupied Palestinian territory; the military occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel; and construction of the Separation Barrier beyond the 1967 “Green Line” to include Palestinian land.
After initially identifying five corporations involved in the above practices and six years of corporate engagement and dialogue, the MRTI has recommended divesting from three of the companies that we believe profit from non-peaceful activities – CaterpillarMotorola Solutions, and Hewlett-Packard.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s investing agencies hold stock in companies that do business in Israel and Palestine, including for example IntelOracleCoca-ColaProcter & GambleIBM,MicrosoftMcDonald’s and American Express. The MRTI’s dialogue has been focused, as the General Assembly has repeatedly directed, on companies it feels are engaged, in particular, in roadblocks to peace, profiting from non-peaceful pursuits in Israel-Palestine. Therefore, the General Assembly is not, nor has it ever been, asked to divest from all companies doing business in Israel and/or Palestine.
The recommendation to divest comes out of a strong faithfulness to the principles of socially responsible investing and a deep commitment to peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians alike.

(1:30 PM EST) Retweet from Rae Abileah of Rabbi David Mivasair on the staunch position of liberal Zionists against any divestment from companies profiting from the occupation:

Question for @jstreetdotorg – You are against settlements but for supporting settlement products. How does that work? #ChurchDivest
— Rae Abileah (@raeabileah) July 4, 2012

(12:03 PM EST), Israeli feminist organization comes out in support: Jewish Voice for Peace, which has been hard at work organizing around the Presbyterian divestment vote, posts this message of support from the Israeli organization Coalition of Women for Peace:

We at the Coalition of Women for Peace, Israeli citizens who are Muslim, Christian and Jewish grassroots activists, would like to thank you for considering your investments in companies that are part of the Israeli occupation industry. We express our support for the recommendation of the committee for socially responsible investment (MRTI) to divest from three companies and hope that this recommendation will be adopted by the Presbyterian Church General Assembly.
CWP began researching the economy of the occupation in an effort to uncover less known economic mechanisms and interests that sustain it. Our findings confirm the involvement of companies and investors in illegal policies, including violations of international law and specifically human rights violations.
The vote today will send a strong message against investment in the settlement industry, the security apparatus and the exploitation of labor and natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. CWP and other Israeli organizations are determined to continue our work despite tremendous pressure from the government and the right wing to stop our activities. Your vote for divestment today is an important contribution to our struggle, and to the cause of peace and a just resolution of the conflict.

JVP also has an important petition supporting divestment and encouraging Presbyterians to “vote your conscience on divestment from corporations profiting from the Occupation.”
The schedule for today, from Sydney Levy of Jewish Voice for Peace:

The report of the Middle East Peacemaking Committee–including overtures on divestment, boycotts, Iran, and Syria–will start at 3 pm EDT.
The main items will be:
15-11 ( (divestment, which passed committee 36 yes, 11 no, 1 abstain)
15-10 ( (engagement, which passed committee 36 yes, 8 no, 1 abstain)
15-02 ( (boycott settlement goods, which passed committee 36 yes, 6 no, 1 abstain)
Note that 15-11 comes also with a ‘minority report’ (against divestment, signed by 6 of the 8 Commissioners who voted no on 15-11). Commissioners will have to choose between the majority report (for divestment) and the minority report (against divestment).
Note that 15-10 was originally an anti-divestment overture which called for investment in Palestine instead of divestment. The overture is no longer against divestment (because the Committee voted to divest AND engage rather than engage BUT NOT divest), but the non-binding rationale for the overture remains as originally written (against divestment). For that reason, the overture comes with amended text at the top explaining that the will of the Committee is to be for divestment.

‘Misguided by Palestinian Christians’ Excellent coverage in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette of the strains in the committee discussion Tuesday that voted to send the resolution to the general assembly. Note the warnings from Jewish orgs of rupturing relations. Also, note the rabbi’s claim that “Palestinian Christians” are misguiding the Presybterians…

To fellow committee members, Simone Adams of Atlanta recounted crying at the foot of a cross during a visit to Terezin Concentration Camp in the Czech Republic last year. She said the visit made her question what cruelty had allowed the Holocaust to pass and how Jews could now inflict suffering on their Palestinian neighbors.
“How could someone who has been through something like that in any way or form try even in the slightest way to put somebody else through that?” she asked.
Opponents of divestment said that such a step would rupture close relations with American Jews and asked that the church continue to engage with the companies in question.
“For Jewish people, for hundreds of years economic leverage has been used against them,” said Kenneth Page of Grand Canyon Presbytery. “If we do this it will break relations.”
Rabbi Alvin Berkun, rabbi emeritus of Tree of Life Congregation in Squirrel Hill, expressed dismay that the committee had ignored outreach from Jewish congregations largely united against divestment.
“They’ve allowed themselves to be misguided by Palestinian Christians,” he said.
Rae Abileah of Jewish Voice for Peace voiced concern that pressure from Jewish leaders would convince Presbyterians not to follow their conscience in the plenary session vote, but said she was heartened that the church was taking steps to bring its investments into line with its values.
“It aligned the words of the church which opposes illegal occupation with the actions of the church,” she said.

‘Momentous stand’ A good piece at a Presbyterian publication, “Long simmering divestment issue may come to a boil at 220th GA:”

For eight years, while some other denominations have brought divestment to an up-or-down vote, the PC(USA) has pondered it and prodded companies to prevent non-peaceful uses of their wares.
Now those charged with shaping proposals on the issue are asking the 220th General Assembly to take a momentous stand — one likely to elicit passionate responses within the church, in the Middle East and among the Jewish and Palestinian communities in the United States….
Brian Ellison, a pastor from Kansas City, Mo., who chairs the MRTI, has stressed the limited nature of the divestment proposal.
“We are not recommending a boycott of Israel” or any divestment step that goes beyond the three targeted companies, Ellison said in February.
Some Christian leaders have called for aggressive use of divestment against Israel. Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said divestment had a big impact on apartheid South Africa and could have a similar decisive effect in Israel-Palestine.
So far, the PC(USA)’s approach to divestment has remained cautious and incremental.

Dust-sized speck of polonium is lethal
Jul 05, 2012
Philip Weiss
There are plans to exhume Arafat’s body to investigate the polonium-poisoning assertion from a Swiss lab:

The Palestinian Authority agreed on Wednesday to the exhumation of Yasser Arafat’s body afternew allegations that he was poisoned with the radioactive element polonium-210 in 2004.

Ali Abunimah reports that Josh Block, the Israel lobbyist linked to AIPAC, is tweeting “junk” rumors that Arafat was gay and died of AIDS:

While Israel markets itself as the most gay-friendly country in the world, its PR hacks are busy reviving homophobic rumors that Arafat was a gay “sexual deviant” who died of AIDS due to his promiscuity.

Paul Woodward reports on the effects of Polonium poisoning.

Following Al Jazeera‘s report that Yasser Arafat may have been killed by polonium poisoning, I thought it was worth reviewing some of the scientific literature on this subject.
In the World Journal of Nuclear Medicine 2007, Vol 6, Number 2, p. 102-106Alan C Perkins, Professor of Medical Physics at the University of Nottingham, describes the effects on ingesting polonium-210:
“Human data on the biological effects of Po-210 are limited (2,3). There are a few recorded events implicating the toxic nature of polonium poisoning starting with the death of Nobus Yamada in 1927 after working with polonium in Marie Curie’s lab. Irene Curie died of leukaemia in 1956. During World War II Dr Robert Fink of the University of Rochester gave Po-210 water to a patient with myeloid leukaemia and 4 others as part of a medical experiment. The cancer patient died the other 5 individuals survived. In the years following the Second World War physicist Dror Sedah working with Po-210 on Israel’s nuclear program reported widespread contamination on everything he touched in his lab and his home. One of his students subsequently died of leukaemia. There is one reported case of a Russian male worker who accidentally inhaled an aerosol estimated to contain approximately 530MBq of Po-210. The total retention was estimated as being approximately 100MBq, with 13.3MBq in the lungs,4.5MBq in the kidneys and 21MBq in the liver. At the time of admission to hospital 2 to 3 days after ingestion the patient had a fever and severe vomiting, but no diarrhea. He died after 13 days. Anyone receiving such doses would show symptoms of acute radiation sickness syndrome with bone marrow failure. About 5% of Po-210 reaching the blood will be deposited in the bones. Subsequent damage to the liver and kidneys will contribute to death from multiple organ failure. Remedial medical treatment strategies are considered to be unsuccessful within a few hours of ingestion, once significant amounts of Po-210 have entered the blood stream and deposited in tissues.
“Weight for weight Po-210 is a million times more toxic than hydrogen cyanide. A microgram, (no larger than a speck of dust), would deliver a fatal dose of radiation. The maximum safe body burden of Po-210 is only seven picograms. Following ingestion Po-210 has a biological half-life of 50 days. Approximately 10% is absorbed from the gut into the blood. Once within the bloodstream it is rapidly deposited in major organs and tissues including the liver, kidneys and bone marrow as well as the skin and hair follicles (Figure 2). Approximately 5% is deposited in bone. The intense alpha radiation within these tissues results in massive destruction of cells, leading to a rapid decline in health. Animal studies have shown that 0.1-0.3GBq or greater of Po-210 absorbed into the blood of an adult male is likely to be fatal within 1 month (2). This corresponds to ingestion of 1-3GBq or greater assuming 10% gastrointestinal absorption to blood. Remedial medical treatments are considered unhelpful within a few hours following ingestion!”

Exile and the Prophetic: The beach mezuzah
Jul 05, 2012
Marc H. Ellis
This is part one of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss.
Jewish – a concept I have struggled with my entire life. As in – what does it mean to be Jewish? Of course this is a perennial question in Jewish history. It’s never solved once and for all. Each generation responds. Each generation’s response is – their answer. What is ours?
After the Holocaust, the question arose again. Extreme times heighten the “what does it mean to be Jewish” question. Now there is another after, as in after Israel – and what Israel has done and is doing to the Palestinian people.
In Cape Canaveral, I hoped to put this question behind me for a while. After all, everyone needs some time to rest, especially after a harrowing year of fighting against the powers-that-be. But then on my first walk to the beach, I notice that the last house on the street has a huge mezuzah affixed to the door. Later I learned the home is owned by local congregation. The Rabbi stays there on weekends.
Or so it seems. As far as I can tell there isn’t a synagogue in town. The closest synagogues are in Melbourne and Orlando, at least 30 some miles away. But, strangely enough, there is a Jews for Jesus storefront just a few blocks from where I am staying. I pass by it on the way to the grocery store.
The Mezuzah was part of my childhood. Wherever I have lived I affix them to my doorposts. But to be honest, when I see one now – and right on my way to the beach! – I feel a sense of pain. As if violence is about to come my way. I don’t know the rabbi who stays there so it may be unfair, but in my own experience a mezuzah on the door often means that the occupant of the home is an Israel Firster. Most Israel Firsters don’t want the likes of me around. (This, of course, doesn’t mean that Israel Firsters knows anything about Israel. It is the idea of Israel that is the point. No doubt, it makes undying loyalty easier too.)
What happens when a religious symbol of such importance becomes a sign of violence against you – or at least when that is your first thought when the symbol appears? As if the mezuzah is following you!
Perhaps it’s like the Cross for my Christian friends – a sign of historical contradiction. Or what Palestinians feel when they see Jewish sacred symbols. I would think that they experience what I do when I see a Cross. It seems logical since the Cross became a sign of our oppression and things Jewish are signs of Palestinian oppression.
Speaking of Jews for Jesus, I’ve noticed such a strong antipathy toward these “wayward” Jews that blinds our own waywardness. Perhaps this is purposeful. We deflect outward what we don’t want to see within.
Where I lived previously, the local congregations would get up in arms when Jews for Jesus came to town. Voices were raised. On the Israel front, though, whatever was done to Palestinians was alright, even necessary. Arabs in general were included in this “necessary.” I often wondered if their voices would be as loud if Israel dropped a nuclear bomb on Cairo – or, more immediately, Tehran. I wondered but my wonderment was rhetorical. I knew the answer.
That’s how far we Jews have come. What an arrival! After the Holocaust, we needed power. Now we have it. What do we do with it? Want more power. Has power healed the trauma of the Holocaust? Not at all. The trauma festers. Meanwhile Jewish dissenters are confused and often abused by those who wield power in the Jewish community. So much so that the Mezuzah on the door has become a sign of contradiction. To others. To ourselves.

Burston calls for ‘quiet revolution’– give Palestinians the vote
Jul 05, 2012
Philip Weiss
Lots of folks have sent along this piece by Bradley Burston in Haaretz on the death of Shamir, saying it was Zionism itself that was buried with the late prime minister. “Let it go.” This is an important piece because it shows that if Jews and Israelis show the courage to echo Tony Judt and Ali Abunimah and endorse simple ideas, I’m for democracy, for one person/one vote, for the right of consent over the government that controls a person’s life, well, we might actually get past all the fears and bring about a “quiet revolution” in Israel and Palestine.

There was never room for a Palestine in the Zionism of Greater Israel, nor in the Zionism of this government. There was room for one absolute value, and it was not democracy.

“It is permitted to liberate a people even against its will, or against the will of the majority,” Shamir once said, referring to the decision of his pre-state Lehi underground to fight and use terrorism against British authorities even if Ben-Gurion and the majority of the Jewish leadership were opposed.

“When we fought for freedom, for the establishment of a Jewish state, we didn’t send a questionnaire to the Jewish nation asking if it wanted a Jewish state.”

It’s time we began thinking like Shamir. When you believe in democracy, you should continue to believe in, and work toward and fight for democracy, whether the majority does or not. Even if in this Israel, proponents of democracy have become something of an underground.

“Zionism is a revolutionary process,” Shamir said. “And in a revolution you must be ready not to think too much about sentiments or human weaknesses….”

Speaking solely for myself, a person who has long embraced the label of Zionist, the revolution’s over. Time to try a new direction, maybe a new label as well. Something like a Democratic Israelist. Accent on the democratic.

Time, in the current reality, to think in the mode of quiet revolution. Time to think seriously about what democracy really means. Time to think seriously, for example, about what it would mean to give the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem the vote.

With Shamir as its spiritual guide, this Israel cannot allow the Palestinians independence, cannot allow them building permits, cannot allow them freedom of movement, appeal, due process.

We should call our own bluff. We should give them the vote. Right after we declare the university in Ariel. Then we’ll finally see if we can afford our own brand of independence.

(Though notice: no Gaza. And isn’t my headline sadly shocking: a revolution to urge that people get the vote! P.S. Burston is an American, too. Some time I got to figure out this transnational identity stuff).

Mother dies at roadblock after visiting her son in prison
Jul 05, 2012

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid
Israeli occupation forces confiscate Palestinian land to establish military position
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 4 July — Israeli occupation forces informed citizens near Dhaheriya village, south of Al-Khalil, that the army intends to confiscate two dunums of land to establish a military outpost.
link to
Israeli plan to confiscate Mount of ‘Gerizim’
NABLUS (PIC) 5 July — The Israeli occupation government decided to convert Mount of “Gerizim” in Nablus to a garden and a nature reserve run by the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority and the Israel Antiquities Authority in an attempt to confiscate it. Palestinian sources considered this measure as a new Israeli assault and piracy to take control over Palestinian heritage in total violation to the International conventions that protect the cultural heritage during occupation,
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Israel issues eviction orders to Palestinians near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM, July 4 (WAFA) – Four Palestinians from the village of Housan, west of Bethlehem, received Israeli army eviction orders from their land adjacent to the settlement of Bitar Illit, according to local sources. One of the land owners said he found eviction notices in his land. He expressed fear that Israel intends to seize the land to expand the settlement.
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Settlers seize land in northern Jordan Valley
RAMALLAH, July 4 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers from Rotem settlement in north of the Jordan Valley Wednesday seized Palestinian land around the settlement for expansion purposes, according to head of Al-Maleh village council Aref Daraghmeh. He said settlers silently took over land to place new caravans and add rooms to the existing buildings without previous announcement of land confiscation or of building bids. They had also fenced a nearby hilltop and confiscated it, he said. Daraghmeh said the land taken by settlers is considered among the richest agricultural land in the area.
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Israeli settlements ‘jeopardising’ Palestinian prosperity
BBC 5 July — The economic potential of Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank is being jeopardised by Israeli settlement activity, a report by the UK charity Oxfam says. The study suggests Palestinians could generate an extra £1bn ($1.5bn) a year if restrictions to their use of land, water and movements were removed. It says Palestinians can use only 6% of the land, while settlers control 86%.
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Israeli group ‘cleanses’ the Umayyad Palace in new move to re-write Old City’s history
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 5 July — Israeli volunteers commenced a large-scale clearing operation of the Umayyad Palace near the south-western corner of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City on 28 June. The operation, billed as a “cleansing of the holy places”, was conducted under the auspices of Israeli authorities, who claim that the remains of the Umayyad Palace complex, built as the Jerusalem seat of the Umayyad caliph of the Islamic dynasty, is in fact part of the Jewish Temple Mount.
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IOA bulldozers raze Palestinian house in Aisawiya
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 3 July — Bulldozers of the Israeli-controlled municipality of Jerusalem razed to the ground a Palestinian house at the entrance to Aisawiye village in occupied Jerusalem on Monday. Eyewitnesses told the PIC that the municipality team, escorted by a large number of policemen, destroyed the house that also included a shop for sanitary ware.
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Israeli police evict Palestinian shops from Damascus Gate of Old City
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 5 July — Israeli police, in coordination with the Jerusalem Municipality are evicting Palestinian clothing shops in Damascus Gate, the main eastern entrance to the Old City. Eyewitnesses state that a huge force of armed police, border guards and special units blocked off adjacent roads and raided the shops, confiscating their wares. Witnesses also said that Israeli forces preventing shop owners from accessing their work place, refusing to answer questions about the eviction.
Armed forces occupied the walls of the Old City and the roofs of nearby houses, ensuring that the incident was not filmed. The shops belong to the Al-Syuri, Abu Ermele, Ja’bari and Salaime families. The raid was reportedly approved by the High Court in February 2010 and represents a wider plan by the city Municipality to diminish Palestinian residence, commerce and history in the Old City.
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Dozens of soldiers and settlers break into Aqsa Mosque
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 2 July — Dozens of Israeli soldiers and settlers stormed the Aqsa mosque on Monday in three groups and strolled inside its plazas. The Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage (AFEH) said that one of the Israeli officers walked beside workers, who were busy with repair works inside the Aqsa, and took photos of them. It said in a press release that the Israeli occupation authority had no right whatsoever to interfere in the affairs of the Aqsa mosque, which is the sole responsibility of the Awqaf department … The Hebrew media have lately launched a campaign against the Awqaf for its maintenance works in the Dome of the Rock.
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Aqsa Foundation: Secret excavations are still underway in Al-Maghariba ramp
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 2 July — The Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage said t

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