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Friday, July 31, 2009

United for freedom and universal justice

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Omar Barghouti and Sid Shniad, The Electronic Intifada, 31 July 2009

For several decades, the world has watched in frustration as the crisis in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories deepened. Confused by the details of what is alleged to be a highly complicated situation and loathe to be attacked for criticizing Israel lest they be vilified as anti-Semites, people who would otherwise be expected to play an active role in striving for an end to Israel's occupation, colonization and system of discrimination, in accordance with international law have chosen to focus their attention elsewhere.

In recent years, however, this state of affairs has begun to change dramatically as a growing number of activists and intellectuals -- including members of the Jewish communities in the West, who could once be counted upon by Israel to be either unquestioning supporters or silent in their acquiescence to its actions -- have begun to find their voice on this matter.

The fact that Israel's decades-old oppression of the indigenous people of Palestine defies the fundamental notions of justice and respect of the rule of law has informed this gradual transformation of people of conscience advocating social justice everywhere. The most recent scenes of Israeli jets and heavy armor mounting savage attacks on defenseless civilian populations first in Lebanon in 2006, and then in Gaza at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 -- compounded a growing perception among international civil society of Israel as a pariah state that is flouting international law and basic human rights with utter impunity.

There is a growing understanding of the fundamental issues that drive the crisis: the occupation of Palestinian land by Zionist Jews claiming a right to do so by virtue of an alleged historical-Biblical entitlement; the expulsion of masses of Palestinians from their homeland -- first by Zionist militias and, later, the state of Israel -- at the time of Israel's establishment; the legalized and institutionalized discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel; and the ongoing military occupation and colonization of Palestinian and other Arab lands conquered in 1967.

As a result, a long-overdue determination has arisen in the ranks of civil society around the world, a determination to take concrete steps to generate tactics and strategies to bring a satisfactory resolution to this ongoing crisis by addressing its root causes. One of the most important manifestations of this new determination is the rise of an international movement endorsing the nonviolent, morally-consistent, universalist strategy of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel to compel it to comply with international law and human rights principles. The struggle against apartheid in South Africa was one of the key inspirations behind this fast spreading movement.

As expected, the prevailing Zionist response to this development has been a vitriolic denunciation of the individuals and organizations involved and a sustained attempt to bully them into silence. This usually involves an ascription of anti-Semitism as the motive for such action. In April of this year, however, when Independent Jewish Voices Canada joined the growing number of organizations endorsing BDS to promote a just peace based on international law, the Zionist establishment chose to ignore the development -- presumably because the fact that it was Jews endorsing the strategy strongly challenged the false notion of a monolithic Jewish voice in support of Zionism and Israel. From the Zionists' perspective, engaging IJV on the subject would focus increased attention on the underlying substantive issues and neutralize their most powerful tools: brow beating and intimidation.

Unfortunately for Israel's unquestioning supporters, however, the support for BDS continues to grow. It has recently surfaced that, consistent with its long tradition of engaging on matters of social justice, the United Church of Canada (UCC) plans to debate its own version of a BDS resolution at its national conference, set for Kelowna, British Columbia in August. As expected, Zionist organizations have aimed their big guns at the UCC, attributing all sorts of vile motives to it for even considering such a resolution. We appeal to the UCC to ignore the thinly-veiled smear campaign and to join this global movement in the pursuit of sustainable peace based on freedom, equality and universal justice.

Omar Barghouti is a founding member of the >Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). Sid Shniad is a co-chair of Independent Jewish Voices Canada.

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Gilad Atzmon introducing Ziauddin Sardar - The Erasure of Islam

Gilad on July 31st, 2009 at 13:49:

@uprooted palestinian -

We are on the same page, the next Q is how to bring others to read that very page..

Sukran a million for the reference on your site…

Reply - Quote


Originally Posted By uprooted palestinian

Referance on my site is a step on the long way to let them read and understand that very page,
Million welcome..

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Erasure of Islam

By Gilad Atzmon • Jul 31st, 2009 at 12:11 • Category: Analysis, Culture and Heritage, Gilad Atzmon, Gilad's Choice, Newswire, Opinions and Letters, Our Authors, Religion, Zionism


After a decade of elaboration on Jewish ideology and identity I came to a conclusion that Jewish identity, politics and ideology can be grasped as different manifestations of ‘self love’. The Zionist loves himself being strong and crude (Sabra), the Jewish leftist loves himself being a ‘humanist’ and ‘tolerant’, yet, for some reason, he prefers to operate in ‘Jews only’ cells (Bund, Jews for Palestine, Jews for Peace, Jews against Zionism, etc.). It took me some years to gather that Jewish ideology, politics and identity is not just surrender to self-affection, it is also driven by resentment towards others. It would be correct to argue for instance that the Zionist mantra could be interpreted as “love yourself as much as you hate your neighbour”. Other forms of Jewish ideologies may be slightly lighter on hatred but, generally speaking, they all resemble one another in their positive tendency towards segregation.


Enlightenment that is there to praise ‘freedom’, ‘liberty’, ‘reason’ and ‘liberal thought’ is not very different from Jewish ideology once put into political practice. In reality, it is just another form of a self-centred supremacist method of separation between the ‘chosen’ (labelled as progressive) and the ‘inferior’ (labelled as reactionary).


Enlightenment is anthropocentric in its essence, for it regards humans as the ‘universe’s most important entity’. Those who follow enlightenment ideology are basically different breeds of self -lovers. We are basically referring to humans who love themselves for being rational and liberated. We are referring to humans who are convinced that they are at the core of the essence of our cosmos. Bearing that in mind, we may be entitled to regard the last two centuries of Western conflicts as futile battles between different kinds of ‘self lovers’.


Enlightenment was there to invent a dichotomy between the progressive (the enlightened) and the reactionary (the other). Enlightenment thinkers “worked hard to provide a rational justification for colonisation.” Since it is the spirit of Enlightenment that happens to be the driving force behind neo-conservative thought, dogmatic interventionalist secularism and ruthless technology, it would be intelligible to argue that if we want to save ourselves and our planet, we better be courageous enough to face our Enlightenment driven self-affectionate ideologies. It is the Enlightened who puts humanity at risk whether it is nuking other humans, whether it is carpet bombardment, whether it is mass killing in the name of collectivisation, whether it is our ecological disaster and global warming or even killing in the name of democracy or liberation. For some devastating reason, it is always an Enlightened ideology behind all these well orchestrated genocides and human-inflicted tsunamis.


The following article by Ziauddin Sardar is a philosophical attempt to identify the conflict between Islam and lethal Western ideology. Sardar is a leading British intellectual. Some regard him also as a leading Muslim critic of Islam. In the following paper Sardar successfully challenges the notion of the clash of civilizations from the perspective of the other. GA


What Enlightenment?

It may have been good for Europe, but for the rest of the world in general, and Islam in particular, the Enlightenment was a disaster. Despite their stand for freedom and liberty, reason and liberal thought, Enlightenment thinkers saw the non-West as irrational and inferior, morally decadent and fit only for colonisation. This legacy is not only with us but is positively thriving in the guise of neo-conservative thought, dogmatic secularism and scientism.


For key Enlightenment thinkers, such as Voltaire, de Montesquieu, Volney and Pascal, Europe occupied a special place: it was to be the destiny of humanity, construed as Western man. They worked hard to provide a rational justification for colonisation. They rationalised the medieval images, anxieties and fear of Islam and its Prophet – so evident in the sections devoted to Muhammad in Pascal’s Pensées – and presented them as evidence for the innate inferiority of Islam. They deliberately suppressed the Muslim contribution to science and learning and severed all intellectual links between Islam and Europe. Their Eurocentricism thus further locked Islam into an exclusive confrontation with the West, which continues to this day.


For thirteen and fourteenth century thinkers of Christendom, such as Roger Bacon and John Wycliff, Islam was simply a pagan, enemy Empire. To their credit, the Enlightenment thinkers saw Islam as a civilisation. But it was a civilisation grounded in a backward society and inferior political institutions and religious beliefs at its core. In Mohammad and Fanaticism, Voltaire denounced Islam in harsh and hostile terms. Later, in the Essai sur les moeurs, he was a little more restrained, but the judgement did not change. He still saw Islam as an embodiment of fanaticism, anti-humanism, irrationalism, and the violent will to power. But despite this, Muslims did have a few positive aspects. They could move towards greater tolerance thanks largely to Islam’s loose sexual standards, which made it akin to a natural religion. While Jesus was good, Christians had become intolerant. But Muslims were tolerant despite their evil Prophet. Positive development in one case, negative in another. This is how Voltaire reconciled his deep seated prejudices about Islam and Muslims with reason.


For all their sabre-rattling against religion, Enlightenment thinkers saw Christianity as the standard of civilised behaviour and norm of all religion. In effect, they further naturalised the natural law theory of medieval Christianity which had always been vague in the sense of never precisely defined, yet also highly specific in being a universalising of Christian norms as the standard for human behaviour. Islam remained the antithesis to Christianity. Thus, in Les Ruines, Volney announced that “Mohammad succeeded in building a political and theological empire at the expense of those of Moses and Jesus’ vicars.” Or, in the scene where he has an imam speaking about “the law of Mohammad”, “God has established Mohammad as his minister on earth; he has handed over the world to him to subdue with the sabre those who refuse to believe in his law.” Volney described Muhammad as the “apostle of a merciful God who preaches nothing but murder and carnage,” the spirit of intolerance and exclusiveness that “shocks every notion of justice”. While Christianity might be irrational, Volney declared that it was gentle and compassionate but Islam had a contempt for science – a truly bizarre claim since Volney himself, and all his fellow Enlightenment thinkers, learnt most of their science and philosophy from such names as al-Frabi, Ibn Sina and ibn Rushd.


While the Enlightenment may have been concerned with reason, its champions were not too worried about truth when it came to Islam. They not only shamelessly plagiarised philosophy, science and learning from Islam, but the very hallmark of Enlightenment, liberal humanism, has its origins in Islam. It is based on the adab movement of classical Islam, which was concerned with the etiquette of being human. Islam developed a sophisticated system of teaching law and humanism that involved not just institutions such as the university, with its faculties of law, theology, medicine and natural philosophy, but also an elaborate method of instruction including work-study courses, a curriculum that included grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history, medicine, and moral philosophy, and mechanisms for the formation of a humanist culture such as academic associations, literary circles, clubs and other coteries that sustain intellectuals and the literati. The adab literature and institutions were, in fact, what enlightenment was all about in Islam. One cannot have a revolt on behalf of reason in Islam because reason is central to its worldview: reason is the other side of revelation and the Qur’an presents both as “signs of God”. A Muslim society cannot function without either. While Muslims can hardly be exonerated for the decline of reason and learning in Muslim civilisation, it was colonialism that as deliberate policy destroyed adab culture in Muslim societies.


But Enlightenment Europe swallowed the adab system, including textbooks, en masse. However, since it was a product of an inferior culture and civilisation its origins had to be shrouded. Thus, classical Arabic had to be replaced with another classical language, Latin. This was followed by a systematic expunging of all traces of the influence of Islamic thought on Europe. From the days of Voltaire right up to 1980, thanks largely to the efforts of Enlightenment scholars, it was a general western axiom that Islam had produced nothing of worth in philosophy, science and learning.


The Enlightenment legacy that Islam and Europe have nothing in common, that Islam is only a darker shadow of the West, that liberal secularism is the destiny of all human cultures, is much in evidence in our newspapers and television, literature and scholarship, as well as in our politics and foreign policies. It is the bedrock of Francis Fukuyama’s “End of History” hypothesis, Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilisation” thesis, and the neo-conservative “Project for the New American Century”. Voltaire’s Bastards, to use the title of John Ralston Saul’s brilliant 1992 book, are busy rationalizing torture, military interventions, and western supremacy, and demonising Islam and Muslims. The Enlightenment may have been big on reason but it was, as Saul shows so convincingly, bereft of both meaning and morality.


Forgive me if I don’t stand up and salute the Enlightenment.


Ziauddin Sardar is the author of Balti Britain: A Journey Through the British Asian Experience (Granta)


Source: http://www.philosophypress.co.uk/?p=288


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Gilad Atzmon is a jazz musician, composer, producer and writer.

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Canadian newspaper coverage of Israel/Palestine


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By Karin Brothers
July 30, 2009

Attempts to challenge the biased coverage of Canadian newspapers on the Israel/Palestine issue through the Ontario Press Council (OPC) have been disappointing.

Public understanding about the realities facing Palestinians is stymied by mainstream media coverage that ranges from biased, to deceptive, to outright fabrication.

Academics such as Prof. Greg Philo of the University of Glasgow, co-author of Bad News from Israel and Prof. Sut Jally, Prof. of Communications at the University of Massachusetts, have studied the strong connection between media coverage of the Israel/Palestine issue and misunderstanding of this issue among the public.

Philo, who studied BBC TV viewers, found that more people thought that Palestinians occupy Israel than the reverse; the more they watched TV, the more confused they tended to be.

Jally noted in his film Peace Propaganda and the Promised Land that from 58 to 63% of his students typically thought that Palestinians occupy Israel; only 22% knew that it is Israel that occupies Palestinian territory!

Both professors noted the lack of context to news from Israel/Palestine as well as consistent bias against Palestinians.

The web site If Americans Knew documents this bias in their own study of The New York Times newsprint coverage, a methodology that the Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation (NECEF) duplicated in its own study of Canadian print media.

The OPC is supposed to monitor the accuracy of its members' news coverage if readers file formal complaints against a given newspaper.

Canadian national newspapers, The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star are OPC members; the National Post is not.

But official complaints presented to the OPC in 2006 and 2007 produced disappointing results.

Two complaints about a 2006 Globe and Mail editorial were taken up by the OPC. Despite their conclusions that acknowledged the editorial's misrepresentation, the OPC "dismissed with reservations" the two complaints.

A complaint against The Toronto Star was presented in May, 2007 after The Star reported that Hamas, rather than Israel, had broken a ceasefire.

Excerpts of the official complaint to the OPC on May 1, 2007 follow:

" ... The breaking of the ceasefire: Despite the Israeli killing of over 150 Palestinians since the November 2006 ceasefire, it was still considered in effect on April 22nd, when the Israeli military killed nine Palestinians including two children.

“Israeli forces also wounded 18 civilians including two children, a journalist, four women and four international human rights activists. The Star ran no headlines about Israel's shocking breaches, which caused Hamas to declare that the ceasefire was off (and shoot off three of their crude, homemade rockets toward Israel; one of which ended up in the sea and two in empty fields). The Foreign Editor surmised that there may have been "no space" to cover this story.

“While the killing of nine Palestinians and the wounding of 18 didn't make The Star's headlines, the firing off of harmless Palestinian rockets did, with the April 27th headline "Israel losing patience after Palestinian militants fire rockets from Gaza".

“On Friday, April 27th, Israeli forces shot a number of peace activists at a nonviolent protest at the illegal Israeli wall at Bil'in, including the Irish Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maquire. This went unreported in The Star.

“While the shooting of the Irish Nobel Peace Laureate didn't make The Star's news, unverifiable advice to Hamas did on Monday, April 30th; The Star ran the headline about a web posting addressed to Hamas: "Israel: Al Qaeda urges Hamas to fight with "bombs and fire":" continuing: "An Al Qaeda recruiter called on the Islamist Hamas group to fight Israel .... days after militants launched rockets into southern Israel breaking a ceasefire... in a video posted on a web site used by militant groups.

“Reality checks:

1) The Star cannot verify that "Al Qaeda" posted this on a commonly-used web site: anyone could have,

2) Hamas is not a "group", it is a political party that was elected with the support of both Christian and Muslim communities and includes at least one Christian legislator,

3) This is The Star's second reporting of the Palestinian response to the Sunday slaughter,

4) Hamas did not break the ceasefire; they declared it ended after Israel's slaughter of the nine Palestinians. Israel broke the ceasefire by killing nine people, and

5) Why is anyone's advice to Hamas (or to anyone else) news? The Star's purpose seems to have been to try to create a connection in people's minds between Al Qaeda and Hamas.

“The Star's responses to my complaints have been unacceptable. When their switchboard gave me the "Foreign Editor's desk", I was immediately hung up on with the words: ‘We can't please everyone.’

“The actual foreign editor I spoke to later surmised that there might have been a lack of space for more important articles, which is doubtful, as situations less dire and less important received generous coverage.

“The Star’s public editor had no response other than to ask me to write a letter to the editor, which was not published.

I believe that The Star's selective reporting, along with misrepresenting facts, is damaging enough to the public understanding of a critically significant situation to warrant a formal complaint.”

The Foreign editor of the Toronto Star, Martin Regg Cohen later responded to the complaint when the OPC forwarded it to the Star.

While claiming that The Star's coverage was "fair and balanced," he implicitly acknowledged the misrepresentation of the period documented, but defended it on the grounds that other papers such as the Globe and Mail were also negligent; The Star's long-term record was better than that lapse; other news from the Middle East also requires space; and that the complainant underrated the danger to Israelis of the Palestinians' Kassam rockets.

When the long term coverage of the Star was then challenged as the main problem, Cohen "advised" the OPC that it "does not plan to respond to the [charge of the long term coverage]!”

The OPC declined to adjudicate that complaint on the grounds that "there are so many incidents in Israel and the Palestinian territories (note: not "occupied") that it would be almost impossible to reach a rational decision on whether the Star is providing irresponsible and intentionally deceptive coverage on the Palestinian situation. There may be a variety of reasons why the newspaper did not cover a particular incident but it would be presumptuous of the Council to try to rule that such incidents are a reflection of a deliberate policy.”

Despite pointing out that the OPC's constitution instructs it to deal with the conduct of the press, not the intent of the of conduct, the OPC confirmed in a March 2008 meeting that they would refuse to pursue any complaints about this coverage.

The result of the OPC's refusal to challenge misstatements of fact, non-coverage of significant events, stories of highly questionable provenance, and extreme bias in covering the Israeli/ Palestine issue, leads to the conclusion that the OPC will do whatever it can to avoid embarrassing a member paper.

It is thus apparent that there is virtually no accountability in our newspapers' coverage of the Israeli/ Palestine issue.

Karin Brothers is a freelance writer based in Toronto.

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Report: Lieberman Accuses Chavez of Ties to ‘Radical Islamists’


Report: Lieberman Accuses Chavez of Ties to ‘Radical Islamists’

31/07/2009 Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of cooperating with "radical branches" of Islam and of anti-Semitism, according to media reports Thursday in Colombia.

"I will not speak about intelligence specifics, but we have enough to be concerned about the collaboration between radical branches of Islam and Hugo Chavez," Lieberman told the El Tiempo newspaper at the conclusion of a 10-day South American visit which included stops in Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Colombia.

Lieberman also accused Chavez of anti-Semitism for his comments on Saturday in which he warned that the United States was converting Washington's key ally Colombia into the "Israel of Latin America" by setting up a military platform there from which to "attack" its neighbors.

Such allegations, Lieberman warned, represent "xenophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Israelism. It is not a new phenomenon, and it is regrettable that it exists in the 21st century after the Holocaust: terrorism against the people of Israel, and the use of such anti-Semitic language."

He also told El Espectador newspaper that the resumption of diplomatic ties - severed by Caracas in January after Israel's Gaza Strip aggression - rested in part on a Chavez apology. Lieberman said he saw "no reason" to communicate with Chavez while he maintains "relations with Iran, with Hezbollah and with Hamas."

Ex-Israeli spymaster wanted Ahmadinejad dispatched

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PressTV
Thu, 30 Jul 2009 17:28:37 GMT

A former Mossad director opposed to the assassination of world leaders says the case of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is different.

Meir Amit, who died in July at the age of 88, shared some of "his fears for the future of the Middle East" in an interview published by The Media Line.

Amit, who directed some of the most notorious Mossad operations while he was the organization's chief, said he viewed Iran's nuclear activities as a path leading to World War III.

“I look at the situation as World War III,” he said.

“Namely, all the Muslims, all over the world, are united. Unfortunately, the Western world is not united. Russia is not cooperating, China is not cooperating. Israel is just a small thing in the picture. We have to look at that as a global war and act accordingly," Amit added.

He went on to talk about his familiarity with the political structure of Iran, explaining that he had been sent on special missions to the country in the 1960's while Israel maintained ties with Iranian leaders.

"At that time we had very good relations with Iran. I was meeting the Shah once a month. We were sitting and chatting and appraising the situation," Amit said.

The former Mossad chief added that while he did not advocate the assassination of political figures, he believed otherwise in the case of the Iranian president.

"Personally I am against assassinating leaders and all my life I was against it when I was head of Mossad. But Ahmadinejad has crossed the line. With all he is doing on the nuclear front, saying Israel should be wiped off the map and arranging a conference on the Holocaust where he said it never happened. From my point of view, he is somebody who shouldn't be with us," Amit said.

The remarks were disclosed as earlier, Iran's former intelligence minster Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje'i said Israel, in collaboration with Iranian terrorist groups, planned to assassinate President Ahmadinejad.

"The Zionist regime had met with the MKO on the sidelines of the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting in Egypt and in Paris to assassinate Mr. Ahmadinejad," Mohseni-Ejeie was quoted by Fars News Agency as saying earlier in July.

The terrorist group had, however, set conditions for carrying out the assassination, the minister added. "They had asked that the US and the West remove their name from their blacklists."


Media institutes condemn re-arrest of journalist Sabri in W. Bank

Media institutes condemn re-arrest of journalist Sabri in W. Bank

[ 31/07/2009 - 04:00 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Palestinian Institute for communication and development has strongly condemned Thursday the PA security forces for arresting Palestinian journalist Mustafa Sabri three days after he was released from jail.

After three days from his release from the jails of the infamous PA preventive security apparatus in Qalqilia city, Sabri was kidnapped again but this time at the hands of the PA military intelligence for unknown reasons, the institution revealed in a statement it issued Thursday and a copy of which was obtained by the PIC.

"It is clear that they (PA security apparatuses in the West Bank) are practicing the abhorred rotating door policy that had prevailed in the past but the Palestinian people thought it had gone forever", the institution pointed out.

According to the institution, the re-arrest of Sabri constitutes strong blow to the Palestinian Judiciary system in the West Bank and belies claims of the illegitimate prime minister there Salam Fayyad that his "government" was implementing orders of the courts.

The high court had ordered the immediate release of Sabri 45 days ago, but the PA security forces refused to carry out the order and retained the man in jail before their comrades in the PA military intelligence arbitrarily rounded him again a couple of days ago.

Furthermore, the institution explained that "It is either the PA security forces in the West Bank take the law into their hand and pay no attention to the orders of the courts, or they practice the rotating door policy based on political instructions which the institution strongly rejects".

In this concern, the institution called on Fayyad to immediately release all detained journalists, on top of them Sabri, to stop arresting media men, and not to violate freedom of media and freedom of journalists anymore.

The institute also urged the family of Sabri to go to the high court again to get a new order to release their son, stressing that PA jails should be cleared of political detainees and prisoners of conscience, describing the journalists as "horsemen of the fourth authority".

NAZI" Analogy OK To Use

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After all the recent attempts and calls of Anti-Semitism for using the word "Nazi" in any analogy of the Zionist Rogue State's actions, today we see the "Nazi Analogy" AND "Zionist Blood Libel", both on the new "Anti-Semitism" list, being used by non-other than Jews in Israel. So, will they be arrested for Anti-Semitism should this legislation come into effect? Report:
Israel riots expose tension between orthodox Jews, state

Latest Jerusalem riots show rare unity among Jewish extremists in battling 'Nazi' Israeli authorities.

"Zionist blood libel!" blare hundreds of posters pasted on walls lining the streets of Jerusalem's reclusive Jewish ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood of Mea Shearim.

Prominent rabbis called for a mass mobilisation in protest at what they consider to be profaning the Sabbath, and for three straight weekends police clashed with thousands of stone- and nappy-throwing Haredim in and around Mea Shearim, bastion of the ultra-Orthodox community.
Sorry, the image of Israeli police being pelted with dirty diapers/Nappys is priceless, more:

"The Zionist-Hadassah-police axis of evil is in the process of vilifying us. An organised blood libel!" screams one of the hundreds of posters on the walls known as Pashkevils which present rabbinical decisions to the faithful.

The Orthodox Jewish community makes up about one third of Jerusalem's entire 750,000-strong population.

"The police and the media are using the same methods used by the Nazis to show that the Haredim are violent and evil," according to Yosef, a 26-year-old Haredi who refused to give his full name. more here

Divisions within Fatah looming as members in Rafah refuse to attend congress


Divisions within Fatah looming as members in Rafah refuse to attend congress

[ 31/07/2009 - 03:54 PM ]

RAFAH, (PIC)-- As Fatah faction prepares to hold its sixth congress after 20 years of unexplained delays, members of Fatah faction in Rafah district announced they will boycott the conference due to "grave" legal violations in scrutinizing and selecting members.

Munther Al-Bardaweel of Fatah in Rafah district explained in a written statement received by the PIC that the boycott decision was taken after an emergency meeting was held in Rafah to discuss the legal violations and the wrong mechanism in nominating candidates for the faction's central committee and for the revolutionary council.

He said that his group decided to write an a letter to the higher frameworks in the Movement to clarify a number of points regarding membership of the conference, describing the amendments on the membership as "irrational" and unacceptable.

Moreover, Bardaweel pointed out that those amendments were done behind the back of Fatah members in the districts, adding that many of qualified and honorable leaders in Fatah faction in Rafah were ignored and marginalized.

MP Ashraf Juma'a of Fatah faction in Rafah said that the decision was necessary to voice out our stand regarding this issue, stressing that at the end of the day the sixth congress won't succeed without the participation of Fatah members from the Gaza Strip.

Furthermore, while Fatah leaders from Gaza such as Dr. Nabil Shaath insist that the Fatah conference should not be held without the attendance of representatives from the Gaza Strip, a current in the Fatah movement want to go ahead with the conference regardless.

Hamas calls for Palestinian-Lebanese talks

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[ 31/07/2009 - 11:18 AM ]

BEIRUT, (PIC)-- Hamas has called for Palestinian-Lebanese talks to lay down the foundation of a strategy that protects the interests of both the Palestinian and the Lebanese people in the face of the prevailing challenges in the region.

The suggestion was made during a visit by a Hamas delegation headed by head of the movement's political department in Beirut Ra'fat Morrah to Lebanese MPs Dr. Walid al-Khuri and Hajj Ali Ammar.

The Hamas delegation discussed with the MPs the Palestinian-Lebanese relations and called for developing those relations on the basis of respecting the Lebanese laws and the security of Lebanese society and on the basis of granting Palestinian refugees in Lebanon human and social rights as well.

Hamas stressed that the aim should be to present a vision that reflects the interests of both peoples and takes into account confronting schemes that would result in Palestinians and Lebanese people paying a high price for unless they have a united vision on the strategic dimensions of their relations.

Amnesty urged to reject "tainted" funds from Leonard Cohen concert

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Open letter, PACBI, 31 July 2009


The following open letter was sent to Amnesty International USA by the The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) on 30 July 2009.

In May, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) called on singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen to heed the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Israel and avoid complicity with Israel's violations of international law by cancelling his planned September concert in Israel, particularly in view of Israel's war crimes in Gaza earlier this year. Sadly, according to a 28 July article in the Jerusalem Post, Amnesty International USA has agreed to cooperate with Cohen in dealing with Israel on the basis of business as usual. Amnesty International USA will serve as sponsor of a new fund that will whitewash the money raised at Cohen's concert in Israel by using it to finance programs for "peace." Being one of the world's strongest proponents of human rights and international law, you shall thus be subverting a non-violent, effective effort by Palestinian and international civil society to end Israel's violations of international law and human rights principles. We call on you to be true to your values and immediately withdraw support for Leonard Cohen's ill-conceived concert in Israel.

The Jerusalem Post report indicates that Cohen and his public relations staff, having been criticized for trying to normalize Israel's occupation and apartheid, are trying to whitewash the concert in Israel by using Amnesty International USA's good name. According to the article, "All of the net proceeds from Leonard Cohen's 24 September concert at Ramat Gan Stadium will be earmarked for a newly established fund to benefit Israeli and Palestinian organizations that are working toward conciliation," and the fund will be "sponsored by Amnesty." Curt Goering, the senior deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA, told the Jerusalem Post that, "We saw this as an exciting opportunity with potential to recognize, support and pay tribute to the Israelis and Palestinians who have been working for peace and human rights amid a difficult environment and insurmountable odds. I see our participation as complementary to what we do, even though this initiative is different from Amnesty's ongoing work."

Why we are calling on Amnesty to withdraw from the project

By supporting Cohen's concert in Israel, Amnesty International is actively undermining a particularly successful effort by Palestinian and international civil society to end Israel's occupation and other violations of international law and human rights principles. We find this position by Amnesty particularly frustrating and puzzling given your call for an arms embargo against Israel following its atrocities in Gaza earlier this year, which your organization described as constituting war crimes.

Accepting funds from the proceeds of Cohen's concert in Israel is the equivalent of Amnesty accepting funds from a concert in Sun City in apartheid South Africa. Profits earned through violations of human rights and international law are tainted and should not be accepted by any morally consistent human rights organization, particularly when this money is intended to be used to whitewash the very violations behind those profits.

Furthermore, your Israeli partners in this venture actively hinder efforts to achieve a just peace. The Peres Center for Peace, with its multi-million dollar annual budget and fifteen million dollar building, is listed incongruously by the Jerusalem Post as both a beneficiary of the fund and a member of the new fund's board of trustees. The Peres Center has been denounced by leading Palestinian civil society organizations for promoting joint Palestinian-Israeli projects that are "neither effective in bringing about reconciliation, nor desirable" and that enhance "Israeli institutional reputation and legitimacy, without restoring justice to Palestinians, in the face of continued Israeli Government violations of international law and fundamental Palestinian human rights, including breaches of the Geneva Conventions." A columnist in Israel's daily newspaper Haaretz called the Peres Center patronizing and colonial, explaining that "Efforts are being made to train the Palestinian population to accept its inferiority and prepare it to survive under the arbitrary constraints imposed by Israel, to guarantee the ethnic superiority of the Jews."

Your other indirect partner in this project, according to the Jerusalem Post, is Israel Discount Bank, a key sponsor of the Cohen concert. Who Profits, a project of Israel's Coalition of Women for Peace, reports that the Israel Discount Bank has branches in the settlements of Beitar Illit and Maale Adumim, has financed construction in the settlements of Har Homa, Beitar llit and Maale Adumim, and is a major shareholder in a factory in a settlement. Amnesty hardly needs any reminder that all Israeli colonial settlements built on occupied Palestinian territory are not only illegal under international law but are considered war crimes in the Fourth Geneva Convention. Your intention to indirectly partner with a bank that profits from the occupation and to oversee a fund that uses some of that legally and morally stained money contradicts Amnesty's founding principles and commitment to human rights.

The latest attempt by the Cohen team to find an alternative Palestinian fig leaf has also failed. The only Palestinian organization falsely reported in the Jerusalem Post article as being a partner in this project, the Palestinian Happy Child Center, has confirmed that it is not taking part. There is no Palestinian organization participating in this whitewash.

Background on the boycott

With the international community failing to take action to stop Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people, and inspired by the international boycott movement that helped bring an end to apartheid in South Africa, Palestinian civil society has launched calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, including an academic and cultural boycott of Israel. Endorsed by nearly sixty Palestinian cultural and civil society organizations and inspired by the South African anti-apartheid boycotts, PACBI calls on "the international community to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel's occupation, colonization and system of apartheid." These Palestinian calls have inspired a growing international boycott movement which gained added momentum following Israel's assault on Gaza last winter.

In April, the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) and over 100 Israelis called on Leonard Cohen to cancel his planned September concert in Israel. Protests against Cohen's plans to play in Israel were then held at Cohen's concerts in New York, Boston, Ottawa and Belfast, among other cities. Feeling the rising heat of the protests, Cohen tried to schedule a small concert in Ramallah to "balance" his concert in Israel. However, Palestinians rejected the Ramallah concert. The Palestinian group that was supposed to host the Ramallah event cancelled its invitation to Cohen after realizing the adverse effects this would have on the boycott movement, which is widely supported by Palestinians. Reflecting the general mood in Palestinian society against any claimed symmetry between the occupying power and the people under occupation, a 12 July PACBI statement explained, "Ramallah will not receive Cohen as long as he is intent on whitewashing Israel's colonial apartheid regime by performing in Israel. PACBI has always rejected any attempt to 'balance' concerts or other artistic events in Israel -- conscious acts of complicity in Israel's violation of international law and human rights -- with token events in the occupied Palestinian territory."

For all the above reasons, we strongly urge you to distance Amnesty International from this discredited project and its tainted money.

Signed:

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), Adalah-NY: The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East, American Jews for a Just Peace (US), Boycott from Within (Israel), British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Jews Against the Occupation-NYC, New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel (NYCBI), Palestine Solidarity Campaign (UK), US Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel.

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Fighting Back

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Since I am known as a holocaust “denier”, now and then I am approached by high school students who want to write a paper on the holocaust.. I give these students the direst of warnings. This is what I say: “Don’t touch this subject. The holocaust is the foundation of the state of Israel. The Jews will not sit idly by to have that foundation undermined or even scrutinized. You are starting your productive life. Have a care!” But nevertheless I always pull revisionist material together for them. May they learn!

My mother told me about a lecture on old age. The lecturer told the audience that he can’t say anything good about getting old. I disagree. I found in old age an exhilarating liberation. Having to make a living makes cowards of us all. Well, I made my living. I was reticent while my children were still under my roof. My children are independent. I no longer seek the approbation of my fellow men. If the present German government consisting of scum and traitors would give me the Bundesverdienstkreuz which is so coveted by members of DANK (Deutsch/Amerikanischer Nationaler Kongress) I would feel dishonored.

Acquaintances have told me: “Chris watch out, the Jews are going to get you.” My reply is: “Die I must. The Iraqi and the Palestinian young men and women sacrifice their young lives. Why should I have such a care about my old life?” I scare off the young from joining our fight. They have too much to lose. This fight is the task of us old timers. But how can we fight back with such limited resources at our disposal? Here are a few pointers! I welcome additional suggestions.

1. Write letters to the editor of your news-paper and to organizations. If your letter is rejected it is at least read by one, the rejecter.

2. Place revisionist books into your library. Don’t take no for an answer! I had to go to the library board to get the first book accepted, the Leuchter Report. This is what I said: “The M. Public Library has a shelf full of Holocaust books. Without the revisionist books, a more apt name for M. Public Library would be M Public Indoctrination Center.” These are the books which I was able to place: The Hoax of the Twentieth Century/ Butz; The Auschwitz Myth/Staeglich; The Ball Report/ Ball; Forged War Crimes Malign the German Nation/Walendy; Is the Diary of Anne Frank Genuine?/Faurisson; Did Six Million Really Die?/Kulaszka; The Forced War/Hoggan; Adolf Hitler, the Unknown Artist/Price; Look to Germany the Heart of Europe/McClatchie; Stalin’s War of Extermination/Hoffmann; Flashpoint (Kristallnacht)/Weckert; Setting the Record Straight/Zundel; Reality Check/Miller.

3. Check out your Junior and Senior High School libraries. The librarian of the Junior High School was pleasant and accommodating. The librarian and the principal of the Senior High School denied me access. A call to the superintendent opened the doors. Since these two schools did not purchase, or accept from me revisionist books I decided to run for school board.

4. Run for a local office, major, alderman, school board etc. Running for office gives you a free forum. We revisionists have common sense, that is why we are revisionists. This common sense will stand you in good stead when you have to expound on the problems facing the community. I started to run for school board in l995 and I have run every year since then. I am a former teacher and therefore have a good idea how our schools should be run. The refusal of revisionist books by our two high schools is not the only issue I bring up, but it is always an issue. I do not know if I will every win a seat on the board (voter fraud is a problem). But the publicity is free.

5. Go to holocaust lectures and challenge. I am like Ferdinand the Bull. I would rather sniff flowers than fight. But I make myself go into the “arena,” and I force myself to speak out. Needless to say you have to be well versed in revisionist literature. Knowledge of the truth is our weapon. About three years ago I signed up for a mini holocaust lecture series. Since the professor knew I would be there he brought in a psychiatrist who gave a fifteen minute lecture. The subject was denial. “Why do we deny? We deny because we do not want to accept a negative self image.” My reply to the psychiatrist was short: “I do not deny the holocaust. Denial belongs to the realm of emotions. I refute the holocaust, and that has to do with logic.” The psychiatrist had nothing more to say.

6. In Wisconsin we have Public Access TV to which I bring revisionist videos. After they have been returned, I wait for a month and bring them back.

I would feel ashamed if I would not use the weapons which have been forged with such tremendous sacrifices by men like Ernst Zundel, Robert Faurisson, Wilhelm Staeglich etc. And let us remember, we are not just fighting for the good name of Germany. We, revisionists are the true American patriots. Truth, justice, patriotism go hand in hand. Let us fight while we still may.

Gaza Genocide Was "Necessary and Proportionate"


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As the world watched in shock and horror at the Gaza holocaust, those in Israel's Alternate Universe say the response to the small periodic homemade rockets was "necessary and proportionate". So, using White phosphorus, DIME missiles, unmanned drones and tanks to wipe out hospitals, schools, mosques, 1400 civilians and 400 children, was "necessary and proportionate".
An Israeli government report has said that the Israeli military campaign in Gaza earlier this year was "necessary and proportionate".

According to the United Nations, the Israeli military campaign left more than 50,000 homes, 800 industrial properties and 200 schools damaged or destroyed, as well as 39 mosques and two churches.

The UN Human Rights Council has appointed former South African judge Richard Goldstone to investigate whether war crimes were committed during the conflict.

Israel has declined to co-operate, accusing the UN Human Rights Council of bias against it.

Allegations persist against the Israeli military about killings of unarmed civilians, the use of civilians as human shields and indiscriminate destruction of property. source

Thursday, July 30, 2009

KYSIA: The Right of Resistance

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July 28, 2009

by Ramzy Kysia
Counterpunch
27 July 2009

from album Hopes makes Miraceles2



“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” - Desmond Tutu



We live in an era defined by its brutality. Our challenge is whether to accept this - or to take the risks necessary to transform our world commons in beloved community.

A year ago this August, forty-four ordinary people from seventeen different countries sailed to Gaza in two, small wooden boats. We did what the world would not do - we broke through the siege of Gaza. Over the last year the Free Gaza Movement has organized seven more voyages, successfully arriving to Gaza on five separate occasions. Ours remain the only international ships to reach the Gaza Strip in over forty-two years.

In the Middle-East, the struggle for justice is an uncertain endeavour in the best of times. On all sides human rights workers are beset with difficulties and distress. The Arab states are tyrannies, their peoples subject to secret police, arbitrary arrest, torture, and oppression. Within their societies, the Arab world is equally fractured by ethnic and class tensions, poverty, and political stagnation. From the outside, from the West, the Middle-East faces both open and covert acts of intimidation, intervention, economic destabilization, and even war, invasion, and mass killings.

Standing astride all these troubles, blocking near every attempt at progress in the region are the twin colossi of big oil and Israel. Seldom have a people been cursed with burdens more bitter, more devastating, and seemingly more intransigent than have the Arabs with oil and Israel.

Nowhere is this truer today than in Gaza. In 1999, British Gas discovered huge natural gas fields, worth billions of dollars, in Palestinian territorial waters off the coast of Gaza. Israel has already built a horizontal pipeline to siphon off gas from at least one of these fields. If there is an unspoken reason for the siege of Gaza - this is it.

Israel maintains effective control of all points of entry and exit to Gaza, as well as de facto control of Gaza’s revenues and economy. As such, and despite the closure of settlements in Gaza in 2005, Israel remains an occupying power in Gaza as in the rest of Palestine. As an occupying power, Israel is responsible for the well-being of the people it occupies and cannot legally impose a blockade, particularly one the collectively punishes the entire population of Gaza. These are clear crimes and the Israeli government and military should be prosecuted for them.

For the last three and a half years the Israeli siege has become increasingly ruthless. Less than twenty percent of normal trade is allowed into Gaza today. The siege has caused the local economy to collapse, leading to steep increases in unemployment, poverty and childhood malnutrition rates.

Because of Israel’s siege there is little fuel to run Gaza’s power plant - so electricity is scarce and intermittent. Without electricity, water and sanitation systems do not function. On March 27, 2008 two elderly women in their 70s, a teenage girl, and two babies were killed by a flood of sewage in Umm Naser. Last year alone, well over 16 billion litres of raw sewage had to be dumped in the sea, turning the Mediterranean into a toilet and creating a public health disaster.

Gaza is a tiny coastal plain, barely twenty-five miles long by four to seven miles wide. It does not have the ability to independently support the one and a half million human beings who live in one of the most densely populated places on the planet. Two-thirds of Gaza’s people are refugees, driven out of historical Palestine during Israel’s founding war in 1948. Over half the population are children.

Israel has a long history of violence against Palestinian children. A few examples: In December 2004, the IDF shot and killed seven-year old Rana Siyam. Earlier that year, nine-year old Raghda Alassar was shot and killed in her school while she was taking an English test. Thirteen-year old Iman al-Hams was shot seventeen times by the IDF as she was walking home after class in Gaza. An Israeli captain went up to her corpse and shot her again in the head – "dead-checking" the schoolgirl. The IDF prosecuted him, but not for murder. He was charged with "illegal use of his weapon," and - despite admitting that he emptied his entire magazine into a little girl - he was found "not guilty."

Over the summer of 2006, the IDF killed three-year old Bara Habib, three-year old Rajaa Abu Shaban, six-year old Rawan Hajjah, nine-year old Aya Salmeya, and over thirty-five other children just in Gaza alone. On January 16th, 2007, the IDF killed ten-year old Abir Aramin, the daughter of a Palestinian peace activist, as she was walking home from school. These are only a handful of cases. The Israeli human rights organization B'tselem estimates that over 900 Palestinian children were killed by the Israeli military between 2000 and 2008.

Israel has already recreated the worst aspects of the Warsaw Ghetto in Gaza - transforming this small strip of land into the world’s largest open-air prison, and the humanitarian condition of the one and a half million men, women, and children illegally incarcerated in Gaza is now at its worst point in the last forty-two years of Israeli occupation.

But there are darker histories waiting to be reborn. The simple and terrifying truth is that Israel is pushing the world on a path towards genocide. We are all en route to the slow-drip destruction of the Palestinian people. This reality must be forcefully confronted and fully overcome before it’s too late.

It's now been more than six months since the end of Israel's latest assault on the Gaza Strip, which led to the killing of over 1,400 Palestinians, and the people of Gaza are still living in rubble. Israel's hermetic closure has created a man-made and deliberately-sustained humanitarian catastrophe. The continuing failure of the international community to enforce its own laws and protect the people of Gaza demands that we as private citizens directly intervene to take action commensurate with the crisis. We must act because our governments refuse to do so.

Regardless of Israeli threats or intimidation, Free Gaza volunteers intend to continue sailing unarmed boats to Gaza. Now more than ever – we need the people of the world to join with us.

The siege of Gaza only serves to strengthen authoritarian structures on all sides of this conflict, entrenching centralized control, rallying people against a common enemy. The isolation of Gaza reinforces a belief that the world has forgotten Palestine, and little cares how Palestinians are forced to live or even whether they live or die.

In contrast, civil resistance and citizens’ action movements are not only aimed against the injustices that we face - they are also strategies for social change. Nonviolent resistance empowers everyone with the knowledge that any among us can reach out, organize, and act to change the entire world. Time and again, history demonstrates that even the greatest of tyrannies can crumble to the ground when confronted with an organized and determined resistance.

Join us, whether in whole or in part. Join the Free Gaza Movement, the International Solidarity Movement, and the BDS Movement. Join us and other campaigns in the struggle for justice for Palestine. We need volunteers to do research and writing, web updates, translation, graphic design, local organizing in their communities, and much more.

Become part of the resistance.

We are often told that resistance is either unwarranted or impossible. Liberal apologists for Israel, such as Thomas Friedman, are constantly demanding that Palestinians lay down their arms, all the while exhorting Israelis to pick them up in ever increasing acts of violence and degradation.

When faced with violence in our world, our elites tell us that we have two - and only two - choices: capitulate to the violence, or go to war. Of course, which of these two choices is the right and proper course of action depends on who you are. Faced with Palestinian violence, Israelis must, rightly and properly, go to war. Faced with Israeli violence, Palestinians must, rightly and properly, capitulate. In Tel Aviv and Washington D.C. this is called “moral clarity:” the supposed necessity of pursuing Israeli security through deliberately creating massive insecurity among Palestinians. This is lunacy.

But even mainstream “peace” movements in the West try to delegitimize resistance by calling on both Palestinians and Israelis to renounce overt acts of violence, equating Palestinians who commit suicide bombings with Israelis who send F-16s, D9 military bulldozers, and Apache attack helicopters to level entire neighborhoods.

The problem is that the usually random and individual acts of violence by Palestinians against Israelis are not equal to the myriad structural oppressions and cruelties imposed on Palestinians through Israeli government policies. No Palestinian fighter jets bomb Israeli cities - because Palestine has no fighter jets. No Palestinian bulldozers demolish Israeli homes - because Palestine has no military bulldozers. No Palestinian soldiers invade Israeli neighbourhoods, terrorizing the populace - because there is no Palestinian army. The conflict in Palestine is a war of Israeli state terror against a largely unarmed and defenceless civilian population.

Even immoral and self-defeating acts of violence against Israeli civilians (such as some suicide bombings are) cannot be equated with the daily humiliations, terror, and death that Israel inflicts on Palestinians by deliberate policy. Contrary to its presentation in the mainstream media, this conflict is neither a righteous war against evil Arab terrorists, nor a religious or ethnic dispute between two opposing and equally self-justified groups of people. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is the struggle of two irreconcilable and unequal causes: the struggle of an oppressed people for freedom, justice, and self-determination against their oppressors’ struggle to maintain (and even expand) their domination. Under these circumstances resistance is not only a right - it's a moral imperative.

This is not to say that any and all acts of resistance are acceptable. Clearly they are not. But it grows tedious to continually hear well-meaning, but otherwise clueless, Westerners try to equate the two sides of this conflict. I am past tired of hearing white people passively whine, or shrilly demand, “Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?”

With respect, just because some people have chosen to remain ignorant of the long and deep history of Palestinian nonviolent resistance - from the 1936 Boycott to Bil’in today - does not mean that it does not exist. The Free Gaza Movement struggles in solidarity with an already vibrant Palestinian civil resistance.

Similarly, the other criticism of resistance - that it is futile - is equally mistaken. There is a widespread delusion among many that Israel and the Israeli lobby are simply too powerful to be challenged, let alone defeated. This is not the case.

On June 30th 2009 Israeli Occupation Forces forcibly boarded one of our boats, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, and kidnapped 21 human rights workers and journalists who were on their way to deliver much needed humanitarian and reconstruction supplies to besieged Gaza, including Nobel peace prize laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. They were held in jail for a week before being deported.

Though we were stopped on this particular voyage, it was not a “failure.” In the month after our boat was hijacked, over 100,000 news stories, essays, blog entries, action alerts, and radio and television segments were made on Israel’s violent response to our mission. It’s true that the ordeal of our 21 volunteers pales in comparison to the 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli prisons. The seizure of our small cargo of 3 tons of medical aid and reconstruction kits is insignificant in light of the $4 billion (USD) of aid promised to Gaza - aid that has not and will not be delivered because of the Israeli blockade.

But that too misses the point. By choosing to violently confront and kidnap unarmed human rights workers on a mission of mercy, Israel publicly demonstrated both the illegality and the absurdity of the Gaza siege. The siege is abjectly not about “security.” No one could possibly have believed that our small boat was a physical threat to Israel,

This public demonstration of the siege’s illegality resulted in record action at the governmental level as well. Both the Irish and Greek governments formally intervened to protect their citizens and property. Despite having no diplomatic relationship and refusing to recognize the legitimacy of Israel's government - the King of Bahrain personally & successfully intervened to force Israel to immediately release the five Bahraini human rights workers kidnapped from the SPIRIT. The British parliament held a formal debate on the issue, and even the U.S. State Department was forced to hold a national conference call on for family and friends of the kidnap victims, as well as for Arab-American civil rights groups.

This was unprecedented, but it’s not enough.

The Free Gaza Movement started our small part in this struggle in 2006. We began on hope alone. Many thought it couldn’t be done, yet we did it. We broke through the Israeli blockade. We will sail again, and we are absolutely determined to reach the Gaza Strip on our next voyage. We intend to non-violently escalate our response. By sending a cargo ship, we will escalate the challenge to the blockade by bringing in significant amounts of banned reconstruction materials. By sending more boats on our next mission, we will significantly escalate the logistical difficulties Israel faces should they decide to violently attack us again. By sending even more parliamentarians, dignitaries, journalists, and human rights workers to accompany the boats, we will significantly escalate the political difficulties Israel faces should they decide to violently attack us again.

The journey to Gaza is dangerous. The Israeli navy rammed our flagship, the Dignity, when we attempted to deliver medical supplies to Gaza during their vicious assault in December/January. In June, they hijacked our small boat and kidnapped everyone on board. Israel has even threatened to open fire on our unarmed ships, rather than allow us to deliver humanitarian and reconstruction supplies to the people of Gaza.

But the risks we take on our voyages are insignificant compared to the risks imposed every day upon the people of Gaza.

The purpose of nonviolent direct action and civil resistance is to take risks - to put ourselves “in the way” of injustice. We take these risks well aware of what the possible consequences may be. We do so because the consequences of doing nothing are so much worse. Any time we allow ourselves to be bullied, every time we pass by an evil and ignore it - we lower our standards and allow our world to be made that much harsher and unjust for us all.

Israel can threaten our boats and passengers - we will keep coming. Israel can illegally disrupt our communications and navigation systems - we will keep coming. Israel can open fire around our boats, or attempt to ram and sink them. Israel can choose to forcibly board and highjack our boats, and abduct our volunteers.

It doesn’t matter. We will keep coming. Armed only with the love of justice, and in the rite of resistance - we will go to Gaza again and again and again, until this siege is forever shattered and the people of Gaza have free access to the rest of the world.

Ramzi Kysia is an Arab-American essayist and an organizer with the Free Gaza Movement. If you would like to support these efforts, please visit www.FreeGaza.org, or email donations[at]freegaza.org. If you would like to volunteer with Free Gaza, please send an email to volunteer[at]freegaza.org

Fatah: Don’t allow Dayton to control your convention

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By Khalid Amayreh in the West Ban



July 30, 2009

I think it would be safe to say that virtually all Palestinians, including Hamas, would like to see Fatah’s upcoming Congress succeed in rehabilitating the movement, mainly by extricating it from the quagmire of corruption, treachery and "security coordination" with Israel, the Nazi-like occupier of our homeland and tormentor of our people.

Fatah is a large movement and its role in leading Palestinian struggle against Zionist colonialism can’t be denied. But
it is also true that for many years Fatah has been metamorphosed into a "contra force" working, knowingly or unknowingly, against the national interests of the Palestinian people.

Fatah officials and spokesmen would vociferously deny such descriptions. However,
the facts speak for themselves.


The ongoing inquisition against Hamas in the West Bank , which is fully coordinated with the Israeli occupation army, serves as a clarion proof underscoring to the extent to which Fatah has deviated from its original goals.

This disgraceful de facto alliance between the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) against the forces of resistance effectively transforms the American-backed and American-funded security forces into a quisling entity, a Palestinian Judenrat.

I know the words might be harsh and painful, but truth must be told, even at the expense of upsetting and alienating many people. A painful treatment is often necessary to eradicate a malignant malady.

The original raison d’etre of Fatah had always been to liberate Palestine and enable Palestinian refugees, brutally uprooted from their ancestral homeland, to return home.

However, since the scandalous Oslo Agreement, Fatah’s main function has been redefined and re-oriented toward fighting "the enemies of peace" and "the extremists" in order to obtain a certificate of good conduct from the criminal Zionists and their western supporters and allies.

Many important but gullible Fatah leaders thought naively that Israel might award them a state in return for doing Israel ’s bidding.

However, instead of getting a Palestinian state with al-Quds as its capital, as the Olso-era mantra was constantly invoked, Israel dotted the West Bank with hundreds of malignant colonies, stepped up ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem and nearly succeeded in redefining the Palestinian cause from a struggle against foreign occupation and apartheid into a Palestinian-Palestinian conflict between Fatah and Hamas.

This scandalous Kafkaesque distortion of the Palestinian struggle wouldn’t have occurred had the free-minded Fatah leadership prevented certain thugs within the movement, who acted on America’s and Israel’s beck and call, from igniting inter-Palestinian civil war which eventually forced Hamas to oust the criminal provocateurs from the Gaza Strip.

We do hope that it is not too late for the free-minded forces within Fatah to rectify the situation and fix the immense damage done by the saboteurs and apostates who disguise themselves as Palestinian patriots while having the heart and mind of a traitor.

Today, Fatah faces a host of complicated problems endangering the very survival of the movement as a liberation movement.

First, Fatah must deal with the aftereffects of the death of Yasser Arafat who, despite all his mistakes and shortcomings, managed to preserve the cohesion of the Palestinian national movement.

Now, a new power structure has been created, a power structure that views national resistance against the Israeli occupation as anachronistic and even repugnant.

More to the point, this power structure would be willing to go to any extent to safeguard its criminal interests. Needless to say, the current police-state apparatus in the West Bank shows that the Ramallah junta and its numerous cohorts and hangers-on can’t be entrusted to deal with the national burden. They are simply too subservient to Israel and too enslaved by their own parochial interests to honestly represent the true collective conscience of the Palestinian people and its enduring struggle for freedom and Justice.

Hence, it is amply wrong for the free-minded forces within Fatah to think that the sole goal behind "security coordination" with Israel is to fight or eradicate Hamas.

In truth, the real goal is to intimidate, suppress and if necessary eliminate any opposition to any attempted liquidation of the Palestinian cause.
Therefore, the free men and women within Fatah who might be tempted to say "NO" to an imposed deal, which would perpetuate the Israeli domination over Palestinian land and life , would be crushed by the faithless soldiers of Dayton who have been brainwashed into believing that the enemy of the Palestinian people is "Hamas and the forces of resistance," not Israel.

Second, the free-minded forces within Fatah must also recognize that during the past few years a huge bureaucracy of Fatah officials, clerks, operatives, security commanders and business people whose interests and financial and economic well-being depend largely on the preservation of the status quo, namely the persistence of the master-slave relationship between Israel and the PA.

These people would fight tooth and nail to prolong or even perpetuate the present situation, namely PA subservience to and subjugation by the Israeli occupation.

One more point, it is an open secret that Fatah’s financial survival depends to a large extent on the coffers of the American-backed government of Salam Fayyad. Hence, any genuine effort by Fatah to deliver itself from the American-Israel stranglehold would be strongly resisted by the Fayyad government.

Indeed, there are those who believe that one of the main reasons for the creation of the Fayyad government is to emasculate and "domesticate" Fatah. Unfortunately, their view has been largely vindicated by events in the past few years.

This means that Fatah can’t exercise its free will, even if it wants to, as long as it remains financially dependent on the Fayyad’s government’s coffers. Which will eventually force Fatah to choose either of two choices, to coalesce into the PA government structure and kiss all pretensions about resistance good by, or be financially independent in order to be politically free and able to resist Israeli dictates.

In the final analysis,
you can’t say "No" to the hands that feed you.

Fatah should devote itself to ending the rift with Hamas as soon as possible mainly by purging its ranks of Israel’s agents, and, sadly, they are many.


Fatah should realize that it alone can’t attain the goals of liberation and independence. This is why
one of the central goals of the Fatah convention should be to mend relations with Hamas and restore Palestinian national unity

It is simply unacceptable and scandalous for a liberation movement to have some of its leaders telling Israeli occupation army commanders that "We are allies, and our goals are the same, and our common enemy is Hamas." Some years ago, those uttering such words would have met a harsh fate.

This is why such people shouldn’t stay in their jobs, let alone in Fatah, for one minute.

In the final analysis, the real contradiction is between us, the Palestinian people, and Israel , the Nazi-like occupier of our country, not among ourselves. This is what every Palestinian, including every member of Fatah, ought to understand.

Israel and Nazi Germany, Tweedldee and Tweedldum

Israel and Nazi Germany, Tweedldee and Tweedldum

By Khalid Amayreh

Israeli Fascism

Israeli Fascism

Avigdor Lieberman, the brashly-racist foreign minister of the Apartheid Israeli state, reportedly recently ordered Zionist embassies around the world to circulate a 1941 photo showing the former Mufti of Jerusalem Hajj Amin Husseini meeting with German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Lieberman hopes that the picture would help counter growing international pressure on the Zionist regime to stop ethnic-cleansing measures against the Palestinians, especially in occupied Jerusalem .

The release of the picture is widely viewed as a desperate feat by the widely-reviled Lieberman to make a difference as a foreign minister.

Lieberman has been largely boycotted by the international community, mainly due to his radical and expressly racist views.

Given his pariah status around the world, the Israeli government went as far as asking other Israeli officials, such as Defence Minister Ehud Barak, to carry out the Foreign Minister’s functions, especially in talks with American and European officials.

Lieberman’s desperate act is likely to raise many eyebrows since it comes from a man whose mindset and ideological convictions differ little from those of Adolf Hitler.

Indeed, Lieberman’s infatuation with Jewish nationalism (the correct term is Jewish fascism) can be viewed as a virtual carbon copy of Hitler’s obsession with German nationalism.

Moreover, Lieberman’s brazenly racist discourse against non-Jews in general and Israel’s Palestinian population is nothing short of a later-day echo of the Aryan Nazi ideology.

Furthermore, Liberman’s strident bellicosity and pugnacity resemble to a large extent the Nazi rhetoric against Germany’s neighbours which later found expression in the invasion of Poland and occupation of large parts of Europe .

For example, Lieberman has called for dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza, blanket-bombing Palestinian streets, shopping centres, banks, and neighbourhoods for the purpose of forcing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to flee their homeland in order to make a “lebensraum” available for Jewish settlers.

He also called for drowning Palestinian political prisoners in the Dead Sea, bombing Tehran and the Aswan Dam in Egypt.

In fact, this thuggish petty criminal is the last person on earth who is morally qualified to criticize Amin Husseini for having a brief encounter with the leader of the Third Reich.

Well, does Lieberman dare to tell us how many Jewish Zionist leaders allied themselves with Hitler? Does he dare to tell us how many Jewish soldiers and officers served in the Wehrmacht, Gestapo and SS? And then what about the close relationship between the Third Reich and Jewish terrorist groups operating in Palestine , such as the Stern Gang? And what about the tacit understandings between the Zionist and Nazi leaderships according to which the Zionists accepted that hundreds of thousands of European Jews be annihilated rather than allowed to immigrate to North America?

According to the late Israeli writer and intellectual Israel Shahak, Jewish soldiers serving in the Nazi security apparatus were most feared by the local Jewish population. Shahak, a holocaust survivor himself, related that when a Jewish mother sent her son to do an errand, she taught him that he might pass through a German checkpoint but never through a Jewish-manned checkpoint.

Besides, Husseini was a man who saw his country, his ancestral homeland, being devoured by the British-backed Zionist movement, and thought, rightly or wrongly, that enlisting the support of a contemporary world power like Germany might help his people save their country and regain their freedom and independence.

Hence, one might really ask why it was perfectly acceptable for Zionists to collaborate with the Nazis in order to save Jewish lives whereas it was totally wrong for the leadership of a people facing near extermination at the hands of Zionism to behave similarly for the purpose of saving their people.

True, Hitler was a mass murderer, par excellence. But how about Jewish mass murderers, before and after Hitler?

Today, in Israel, school students complete their high school education without ever hearing the name “Genrikh Yagoda” (Genrich Grigorivc Yagoda), who is one of the greatest murderers of all time.

Yagoda diligently carried out Stalin’s collectivization orders and was responsible for the death of at least 10 million people. His Jewish deputies established and managed the genocidal Gulag system. And after Stalin no longer viewed him favourably, Yagoda was demoted and subsequently executed, and was replaced as Chief Hangman in 1936 by Yezhov, the ‘bloodthirsty dwarf’ who had a Jewish wife.

Another Russian Jew named Lazar Kaganovitch, also an aide to Stalin, was responsible for the extermination of millions of Ukrainians. During the harsh winter of 1932-33, mass starvation created by Kaganovitch reached critical levels and Ukrainians were forced to eat their pets, boots and belts, plus bark and roots. Some parents even ate infant children.

More to the point, it is really ironic in a certain sense that Zionism projects itself as an antithesis of Nazism when nearly all Nazi characters have been nearly literally copied by the Zionist leadership.

Zionism, for example, has declared all Jews a distinct ethnicity, just as the Nazis had declared all Germans a distinct ethnicity.

Both Zionism and Nazism strove to build a ‘state’ that would be ‘redeemed’ through violent purification (in the case of Nazi Germany) and ‘an Iron wall’ (in the case of Zionist Israel).

In both instances, ethnic cleansing was the main tool used to obliterate the ‘inferiors,’ the ‘water carriers and wood hewers’ in order to create ‘German-only’ settlements in Europe and ‘Jewish-only’ settlements in Palestine .

In all honesty, there are no fundamental differences between Jewish national socialism (Zionism) and German national socialism (Nazism). The Nazis preached the ‘Master Race’ to justify Nazism while Zionists adopted the ancient myth of the ‘Chosen People’ to justify Zionism.

Moreover, we can’t really ignore the absolute similarity between the Zionist ethnic conquest of Palestine and the implanting therein of ‘Jewish settlers’ at the expense of the native Palestinian Muslims and Christians, and the Nazi drive for ‘Lebensraum’ in Poland and the importation of ‘Aryans’ at the expense of the indigenous population.

Yes, there in Europe, the Nazis sought to steal the Sudetenland and here in Palestine , the Zionists are stealing the West Bank . The arguments are the same, the lies are the same and the means are nearly identical.

We need to highlight these similarities and the ‘common ground’ between Zionism and Nazism, irrespective of how many people will be upset by these comparisons. The truth is always a paramount value in itself.

The Nazi-like occupation of Palestine by Israel is not the act of a few Israeli Jews. It is not even the act of the military establishment alone. It is the collective act of a morally desensitized society that has nearly lost its humanity and succumbed to a collective psychosis that is not unlike the moral blindness that struck the German people more than sixty years ago.

In some ways, Palestinians have fared far worse than Hitler’s victims; for the Palestinian tragedy is ongoing and Palestinians, unlike Jews, who still receive compensation for losses dating back sixty years, receive no reparations for lost personal property, not even an acknowledgment from their tormenters of any responsibility for their dispossession.

Sixty years ago Zionists demolished 438 Palestinian villages and poisoned or destroyed wells to ensure that their rightful owners would not return. Today, Zionists keep on behaving more or less along the same traditions, demolishing homes, destroying farms, and narrowing people’s horizons, all with the goal of making them emigrate.

Today in every junior high school in America , students read Anne Frank, while in every high school Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night’ is requisite reading. This is the man who says brazenly that he readily identifies with Israeli crimes and that he couldn’t bring himself to say bad things about Israel.

The victims of the first Kristallnacht enjoy the world’s approbation and sympathy, while at the same time having succeeded in demonizing an entire people, for whom Kristallnacht still remains a night without end.

But, unlike the German national socialists, Jewish national socialists are falsifying history and reality to justify their crimes against humanity. The Holocaust narrative, which has been elevated to the status of a religion, allows Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, to invoke the mantra ‘Never Again’ while it sits on Arab lands stolen from Ein Karem and overlooking the unmarked graves of Palestinians massacred by Judeo-Nazi terrorists at Deir Yassin.

It is sad, really sad, that most Jews are now finding themselves in the shoes of their former oppressors, knowingly and consciously.

On August 23, 1947, nearly one year before Israel ’s birth, Harry Truman wrote the following to Eleanor Roosevelt, apparently in the wake of another Jewish atrocity in Palestine :

“I fear very much that the Jews are like all underdogs. When they get on the top they are just as intolerant and cruel as the people were to them when they were underneath. I regret this situation very much because my sympathy has always been on their side.

In light of Israel’s Nazi-like behavior in Palestine, it is difficult to view Truman’s prophetic words with indifference. In fact, it is a moral obligation of the first order to oppose Zionism with the same vigour and same determination the world demonstrated in the face of Nazism.

Source: Palestine Information Centre


Khalid Amayreh

Khalid Amayreh


About the Author: Khalid Amayreh is a Journalist living in Dura, Hebron District, West Bank, occupied Palestine . He has BA in journalism: University of Oklahoma , 1981 MA in journalism, University of Southern Illinois , 1983


July 30, 2009 Posted by Elias