September 12, 2010

Pete Seeger urged to withdraw support for ethnic cleansers of the JNF

I have to admit I was shocked when I first saw that Pete Seeger was lined up to play a gig for one of the organisations most responsible for the instigation and covering up of zionist ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population of Palestine. Even those artists who play gigs in Israel can usually come up with some mealy mouthed justification for their actions or they donate proceeds to some charity or other whilst appeasing the lobby. But what possible excuse can there be for raising funds for ethnic cleansing or for planting forest over the sites where ethnic cleansing has taken place?News of Pete Seeger’s betrayal was greeted at first with a stunned silence from activists though I gather some did write to him privately and, since he doesn’t use email, in hard copy.
Well now it’s all gone public according to Yahoo news:

Folk music legend Pete Seeger has been asked to abandon an upcoming concert in Israel and show his support for a Palestinian-led cultural boycott of the nation.

The singer/songwriter is billed to perform at the With Earth and Each Other: A Virtual Rally for a Better Middle East – an event organised by the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and the Jewish National Fund in November and his involvement has upset activists calling on all musicians to scrap Israeli shows.
Officials at steering human rights group Adalah New York insist they are among 40 organisations urging Seeger to change his mind about the show, and join the likes of the Pixies, Elvis Costello and Carlos Santana in boycotting concerts in Israel.
A spokesman says, “The organisations have called on Seeger to support the Palestinian-led movement for a cultural boycott of Israel, modelled on the artists’ boycott that helped end Apartheid in South Africa.

“Insist”? What’s all that about?

The letter, signed by over 40 groups, is here

September 09, 2010

Sex “as a Jew” verdict still racist

I read in The Guardian last night that the case of the Palestinian guy getting convicted of rape because he passed himself off as a Jew was the result of a plea bargain. Allegedly his real offence was a rape in the conventional sense of a man forcing someone to have sex with him.

I blogged the case here when it was first reported and even the zionists at Harry’s Place were bewildered at the obvious racism behind the verdict.
Here’s The Guardian (it’s in the print edition today apparently so it’s worth a letter if you have the time and inclination):

Fresh details have emerged in the case of a Palestinian man an Israeli court convicted of “rape by deception” after he was accused of posing as a Jewish man in order to have sex with a Jewish-Israeli woman.

The case caused international outrage when it was first reported, in July, but now an Israeli newspaper has reported that the conviction was the result of a plea bargain over a violent rape.
Ha’ir, a Tel Aviv weekly and part of the newspaper group that owns Haaretz, published extracts from the victim’s unsealed testimony. It also reported that the prosecution had agreed to the reduced charge of “rape by deception” because of the victim’s confused account and concern at facing another court appearance.
Saber Kushour, from East Jerusalem, said he had had consexual sex with the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, within minutes of meeting her on a West Jerusalem street.
He was sentenced to 18 months in prison after the Jerusalem district court ruled he was guilty of rape by deception. One of the judges said that, although the sex had been consensual, the woman involved “would not have consented if she had not believed Kushour was Jewish”.

That’s really just a taste and there is far more detail to the case than in that chunk.

The Guardian article isn’t exactly an apologetic for Israel but it is implying that there was more to be gleaned from the case than first time around. I suppose they could be saying that if the woman’s allegations are true then he deserves to be convicted of rape and that he deserves a custodial sentence. And it of course would mean that the defendant is not deserving of sympathy.
But that isn’t the take at Harry’s Place:

A translation of the article from here can be read below.

Having read the full translation:

1. This sounds like a very standard rape case. A typical rape case involves a confused social encounter, assertive sexual conduct from a man, and will often involve women who give confused and contradictory testimony, because they have been drinking or are otherwise vulnerable.

2. A case like this might be subject to some form of plea bargain in the United Kingdom – perhaps with the defendant pleading guilty to indecent assault.

3. Many cases like this end up going to trial in the United Kingdom. There is a political reluctance to plea bargain or discontinue rape trials, even when the evidence is very weak. That is one of the reasons that acquittal rates are so very high.

What makes this story different from any other case disposed of by plea bargain is that the conviction was premised upon the defendant’s acceptance of a significantly artificial “factual” basis, which was itself newsworthy – and disturbing.

Unsurprisingly, the defendant did not mention the complainant’s allegations, or the medical evidence that suggested that sex might not have been consensual. Why would he?

It is a very great pity that the world’s press – including Israel’s – did not treat this story with more caution.

I wonder whether this story will be reported further, outside Israel.

 Well I don’t know how widely reported it was first time round but the verdict was the verdict however the plea was arrived at. The guy was put away for eighteen months because it was claimed that he passed himself off as a Jew when he was actually an Arab. Does anyone at Harry’s Place really believe that in any other western country a plea bargain over an alleged violent rape could be reduced to a plea of guilty to the accusation that the accused had lied about their ethnicity or religion? Surely the racism would have to be inherent to the system in the first place.

Assuming that all the judges had to go on was the guilty plea with the passing off of an Arab as a Jew then both the guilty plea and the sentence were a racist outrage regardless of the true facts of the case. This new twist does nothing to serve the zionist cause from an anti-racist point of view. Rather it goes to show that many of them don’t seem to realise that they are racist at all.

September 08, 2010

Bibi will dare but not Blair

Ha! No sooner do we get the news that Blair won’t dare face his UK critics than news comes in that Netanyahu is to pop over here to give a keynote speech for the UK’s main hasbara outfit, BICOM – The Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre.

Here’s the Jewish Chronicle:

The JC has learned that Benjamin Netanyahu is to visit Britain in early November. The Israeli Prime Minister will meet the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and will be the keynote speaker at the annual dinner of BICOM, the Israel lobbying organisation, on 1st November.At this stage his full schedule has yet to be agreed but there are no plans yet for other communal meetings, although this may change.

I misread the piece at first and thought that Cameron was going to give the keynote speech to BICOM but that would have been too much of a give-away. As it happens, the JC reported some time after Cameron’s “Gaza as prison camp” speech, that they thought he was just playing games and that Obama had put him up to it to pressure Israel – some pressure! I’m sure this meeting with between Bibi and Cameron will be all smiles and business as usual. 

With friends like Blair’s….

Blair has cancelled another self-promo, this time scheduled for the Tate Modern art gallery. Here’s Bloomberg:

Tony Blair cancelled a reception scheduled for tonight at London’s Tate Modern Gallery to mark the publication of his memoirs after the threat of protests.

His decision marked the second public event the former prime minister has called off while promoting the book, “A Journey.” He cancelled a book-signing in London this week after he was pelted with shoes, eggs and plastic bottles in Dublin on Sept. 4 by people protesting the Iraq war. He wasn’t hurt.

“It is sad in a way because you should have the right to sign books or see your friends if you want to,” Blair told ITV’s This Morning program today. “But it was going to cause so much hassle. The people at the party tonight are friends — and some of them are not political at all.”

 If they’re friends why doesn’t he just invite them to one of his own houses rather than sully the reputation of an art gallery.

Of course, Blair being Blair, he gets even more nauseating in his self-promotion. The cancellation of the gallery do isn’t for himself you understand:

“I don’t mind going through protesters; I have lived with that all my political life,” Blair said. “But for other people it can be a bit unpleasant and frightening.”

So can you, you nasty self-serving creep.

September 07, 2010

Blair boycotts Waterstones

So should we all. Showing a rare sign of humanity Blair has finally got so disgusted with himself, he is boycotting his book signing at Waterstones in London. From The Guardian report, the MD of Waterstones isn’t a happy fellow traveller:

Waterstone’s confirmed that the scheduled book signing had been cancelled, “according to the wishes of the author”. The managing director, Dominic Myers, said: “Our job as a bookseller is to bring books to our customers, and where possible enable them to meet authors as well. It is a matter of regret that because of the likely actions of a minority, our customers are now not able to meet a three-times elected prime minister of the United Kingdom, whose book has become our fastest-selling autobiography ever.”

But there are other institutions willing to be sullied by Blair’s presence:

The Stop the War Coalition (StWC) said it was planning to protest at a launch party for Blair’s book at the Tate Modern in London tomorrow night. Lindsey German, convenor of StWC, said: “It’s a stain on the reputation of Tate Modern, to host a gathering of war criminals.”

The limited number of signed copies of A Journey will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, one copy per customer.

I hope people do boycott Waterstones for years to come and there may even be an immediate price to pay for their collusion with this low-life:

Waterstone’s is also having to cope with a number of anti-Blair protesters moving his memoirs to the crime area of their stores, after thousands joined a group entitled “Subversively move Tony Blair’s memoirs to the crime section in bookshops”.

The Facebook page, which now has almost 8,000 members, urges them to “make bookshops think twice about where they categorise our generations [sic] greatest war criminal”.

 This could run and run unless they do the decent thing and apologise.

 September 06, 2010

Hats off to Ireland, naff off to Israel

Here’s some good news for now. See this from Ireland’s main broadcaster, RTE:

The European Commission has halted a proposal to allow Israel access to potentially sensitive data on European Union citizens following concerns expressed by the Irish Government.

The concerns arose following the use of forged Irish passports in the murder of a Hamas operative, allegedly by Israeli agents.
In a surprise move this morning, the Commission said they would withdraw the application to effectively recognise Israel’s data protection standards as being on a par with those enjoyed in the EU.
According to a spokesman for the Department of Justice, the European Commission acknowledged the concerns expressed by an Irish official about the reliability of the Israeli data protection regime.

There are some technical issues around Israel’s data protection but there is a little more to it than that:

the Irish Government had raised concerns in the context of the fraudulent misuse of information on Irish passport holders for an extra judicial killing in Dubai and had articulated its anger about that on a number of occasions.

The objection, he said, was a further manifestation of this anger and protest at what had transpired in relation to, what was in essence, the stealing of data from legitimate Irish passports.
Mr Martin added, however, that he has made it consistently clear that Ireland wants good relations with Israel.
But over the past 18-24 months, he said, a series of events had happened which had put a strain on that.

So good news and bad really. That one of the economically weaker member states of the EU is standing up to Israel is a good thing but a clear majority of member states want those racist war criminals to get their hands on personal information about EU citizens. This will presumably help Israel harass anyone from the EU area who wants to assist the Palestinians in any way, be it campaigning, human rights information gathering or feeding or educating Palestinians. But there’s respite because Ireland is digging in…for now.

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