December 31, 2004
Anyway, the Jewish Chronicle. ran a headline, "Settlers step up protests", in its last edition of this year today. The article is about the Gaza settlers' protest against Sharon's Gaza evacuation plan. Apparently the settlers have now stopped wearing the stars of David they wore, to compare being withdrawn from occupied territory to being herded into concentration camps, after public protests against them. So the article starts with a climb down rather than a step up. But now they are using posters showing "Jews being shoved into cattle trucks on their way to Auschwitz. "Never again!!!" read a caption in large letters."
Wonderful! I remember when "Never again" was the slogan of
There's an error in the review that has the Irgun's "Shlomo Ben Yosef........ killing women and children". Actually he failed to kill women and children when his grenade failed to detonate, as a former Betar member was happy to point out in the next edition. And that could have been an end to it but for Avi Shlaim's eye for historical detail:
In the piece she wrote about suicide bombers (LRB, 4 November) Jacqueline Rose applied one standard to all terrorists, Arab and Jewish. Avril Mailer challenges Rose’s facts about Shlomo Ben Yosef, the right-wing Jewish militant who was sentenced to death by the British in Palestine in 1938 (Letters, 16 December). Mailer’s overall agenda is to suggest that the Jews wanted peace and did not condone the killing of Arab civilians. She also claims that Rose’s paragraph about Ben Yosef migrated to websites with an anti-Jewish agenda. ‘In the age of the internet,’ she writes, ‘there is a particular responsibility to set the record straight.’ The purpose of this letter is precisely that – to set the record straight.
Mailer tells us that no one was injured or killed in the incident in question: ‘Guns were fired in the air, and if there was a grenade, it was not detonated.’ The facts are as follows. Shlomo Ben Yosef was a member of Betar, the ultra-nationalist youth movement whose goal was a Jewish state on both banks of the Jordan river. On 21 April 1938, after several weeks of planning, he and two of his colleagues from the Irgun (Etzel) ambushed an Arab bus at a bend on a mountain road near Safad. They had a hand-grenade, a gun and a pistol. Their plan was to destroy the engine so that the bus would fall off the side of the road and all the passengers would be killed. When the bus approached, they fired at it (not in the air, as Mailer has it) but the grenade lobbed by Ben Yosef did not detonate. The bus with its screaming and terrified passengers drove on. The three attackers were put on trial and convicted on three main charges. One of them was consigned to a lunatic asylum. Ben Yosef and the other attacker were sentenced to death by hanging. As the verdict was announced, the two men stood up and shouted at the top of their voices: ‘Long live the Kingdom of Israel on both banks of the Jordan!’ In right-wing circles in which the killing of Arabs was glorified, Ben Yosef became a cult figure.
Mailer is right to point out that the context for this incident was the 1936-38 Arab revolt in which a large number of Jews were ambushed and murdered. But the Arab revolt itself was a desperate response to the Zionist takeover of Palestine with British support. In every other respect, her account is selective or wrong. That the operation was botched does not make it any less reprehensible. It is the intention that counts and the intention was to murder a busload of innocent Arab civilians. And this was only one in a long series of terrorist attacks mounted by the Irgun and the Stern Gang on Arab buses and marketplaces.
St Antony’s College, Oxford
Please follow the links above for the full article and all the letters, except this one. Otherwise I get Zionists complaining that I've been economical with the truth. Some Zionists seem to think that they're the only people who know how a mouse and links work.
"Doubts about the artefacts emerged after Israeli police began to hear rumours of an Egyptian craftsman living in Israel who would boast of his part in the forgeries while drinking in Tel Aviv."
So it's Egypt's fault.
December 30, 2004
"In sharp contrast to conventional wisdom, Israel's wealthiest prime minister is not one of the has-beens. It's not Ehud Barak who makes millions consulting and running the lecture circuit and who built a luxury home in Kfar Shmariyahu. Nor is it former prime minister, Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close associate of some of the world's wealthiest Jews and who has advised several local technology companies.
Actually, it is the present premier, Ariel Sharon - the farmer from Kfar Malal - who is the wealthiest prime minister to serve Israel ever. According to an appraisal ordered by Haaretz, Sharon's primary asset, Sycamore Ranch, is now worth $11.3 million or a cool NIS 50 million. The value of the farm has risen virtually miraculously since the early 1970s, when he paid only $500,000 for it."
Apparently "people will always pay more for the home where the prime minister used to live." I wonder how much Hitler's bunker is worth.
December 29, 2004
"Recently, the queer and mainstream press have reported on three Palestinian gay men who say that they were severely abused and humiliated by Palestinian police. One of the young men reportedly escaped the police, only to be threatened by his own family. They have been living underground in Israel for the last several years, and now Israel is deporting them back to Palestine, where they fear being killed as suspected collaborators."
Now read on...
"Protest poet Shmuel Yerushalmi was investigated Sunday evening by the Shin-Bet security service following the publication of his poem "They shall not break Tali down," in support of pro-Palestinian activist Tali Fahima, charged earlier during the day with several security offenses." How insecure is Israel that a poem can threaten its security?
" 'Conspiracy theorist' is becoming the stock put-down levelled at anyone who dissents from what the establishment wants the public to believe. Shortly after 9/11, the BBC reported that Bin Laden 'received security training from the CIA itself, according to Middle Eastern analyst Hazhir Teimourian'. John Sheldon (Letters, December 28) has been a bit slow off the mark to scotch this one. Could it be that the 'theory' is actually a fact?
December 28, 2004
Morris estimates that between 2,000 and 3,000 Arabs fled their homes during this phase of the Arab initiated fighting.
Can you please read what Mr. Morris wrote?
You're talking about . . .
Please read what he wrote?
If I have the whole book I will find for you if you want to take time.
Can you read the sentence?
I'm looking at page 256 of Benny Morris book, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict.
He is referring to phase two now same one as you. Go ahead.
"Altogether about 200,000 to 300,000 Arabs fled their homes".
There is a big difference between 2,000 and 3,000 and 200,000 and 300,000. You could check this many times, Mr. Dershowitz. But you are really going to have to pay the $10,000. I hope you allow me to earmark it for Jenin. I would like to give it to Jenin."
Anyway, please go read the whole transcript. Trust me, it's hysterical.
Amazingly a Zionist recently told me that there was only one inaccuracy in the book that Finkelstein exposed but Finkelstein goes on to expose more within the same programme. Further, that that error (about the number fleeing) favoured the Palestinian account. Now this is a wild coincidence because Dershowitz says the same. But of course it doesn't favour the Palestinian argument to minimise the number of refugees.
I must say that it saddens me that if you want to be a successful (ie, well paid) lawyer, or even an academic you'd be better advised to emulate Dershowitz. But if it's truth you're after I'd follow Finkelstein.
Forward. clearly takes the view that if AIPAC gets hurt, the entire Jewish community gets hurt. Maybe there will be a lesson ultimately for Jews to be more questioning of Zionism in future.
"With senior officials at America's top pro-Israel organization facing the specter of federal indictments, staffers at other groups are beginning to waver in their support and are warning that the mounting legal scandal could damage the political credibility of the entire Jewish community."
Israeli agents in Iraq
"According to a report in the Jerusalem Post earlier this week, Franklin agreed this summer to cooperate with the FBI in a set-up operation. Citing government sources, the report said Franklin was asked by the FBI to tell Rosen and Weissman a false tale: He had learned that Israeli agents in northern Iraq were being targeted by Iran and that they urged the Aipac officials to ring the alarm bells with the Bush administration.
Instead, according to the Jerusalem Post, Rosen and Weissman relayed the information to their Israeli contacts."
Other Jewish groups
Certain Jewish leaders, such as ADL's Abraham Foxman and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, are urging patience before jumping in with or away from AIPAC.
So, let's be patient and see what happens. On second thoughts, I think I'll stay away from AIPAC.
December 27, 2004
"The 50 adults and more than 100 children at Pe'at Sadeh will settle in Mavki'im, an ailing smallholders' co-operative near the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. With government assistance, they plan to rebuild their greenhouses and continue growing tomatoes, peppers and other salads for export to Europe." Does this mean that Europe has been colluding in the occupation?
Eric Silver goes on to point out that "Mavki'im was founded half a century ago by Holocaust survivors from Hungary. Most of them are now over 70 and their children have moved away." I'm not sure why he mentions that except to maybe wonder what holocaust survivors will make of being joined by a group of armed fascist activists wearing stars of David to suggest that their removal from Gaza is Nazi policy. Anyway Eric Silver doesn't get into that so I won't.
It clearly illustrates Israel's cavalier approach to the fate of Arab Jewry, it also shows Nasser's penchant for the kind of macho gesture politics that drew him into the war in 1967 that most significant players in the Israeli government of the time have now admitted was yet another of Israel's wars "of choice".
Now read on...
In July 1954 Egypt was plagued by a series of bomb outrages directed mainly against American and British property in Cairo and Alexandria. It was generally assumed that they were the work of the Moslem Brothers, then the most dangerous challenge to the still uncertain authority of Colonel (later President) Nasser and his two-year-old revolution. Nasser was negotiating with Britain over the evacuation of its giant military bases in the Suez Canal Zone, and, the Moslem Brothers, as zealous nationalists, were vigorously opposed to any Egyptian compromises.
It therefore came as a shock to world, and particularly Jewish opinion, when on 5 October the Egyptian Minister of the Interior, Zakaria Muhieddin, announced the break-up of a thirteen-man Israeli sabotage network. An 'anti-Semitic' frame-up was suspected.
Indignation increased when, on 11 December, the group was brought to trial. In the Israeli parliament, Prime Minister Moshe Sharett denounced the 'wicked plot hatched in Alexandria ... the show trial which is being organized there against a group of Jews who have fallen victims to false accusations and from who mit seems attempts are being made to extract confessions of imaginary crimes, by threats and torture ...'49 The trade union newspaper Davar observed that the Egyptian regime 'seems to take its inspiration from the Nazis' and lamented the 'deterioration in the status of Egyptian Jews in general'.50 For Haaretz the trial 'proved that the Egyptian rulers do not hesitate to invent the most fantastic accusations if it suits them'; it added that 'in the present state of affairs in Egypt the junta certainly needs some diversions'.51 And the next day the Jerusalem Post carried this headline: 'Egypt Show Trial Arouses Israel, Sharett Tells House. Sees Inquisition Practices Revived.'
The trial established that the bombings had indeed been carried out by an Israeli espionage and terrorist network. This was headed by Colonel Avraharn Dar --alias John Darling-- and a core of professionals who had set themselves up in Egypt under various guises. They had recruited a number of Egyptian Jews; one of them was a young woman, Marcelle Ninio, who worked in the offices of a British company. Naturally, the eventual exposure of such an organization was not going to improve the lot of the vast majority of Egyptian Jews who wanted no-thing to do with Zionism. There were still at least 50,000 Jews in Egypt; there had been something over 60,000 in 1947, more than half of whom were actually foreign nationals. During the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948, the populace had some times vented its frustration against them, and some were killed in mob violence or by terrorist bombs. In spite of this, and of the revolutionary upheaval which followed four years later, few Jews-including the foreign nationals-left the country, and fewer still went to Israel. A Jewish journalist insisted: 'We, Egyptian Jews, feel secure in our homeland,
The welfare of Oriental Jewry in their various homelands was, as we have seen, Israel's last concern. And in July 1954 it had other worries. It was feeling isolated and insecure. Its Western friends-let alone the rest of the world-were unhappy about its aggressive behaviour. The US Assistant Secretary of State advised it to 'drop the attitude of the conqueror'.53 More alarming was the rapprochement under way between Egypt, on the one hand, and the United States and Britain on the other. President Eisenhower had urged Britain to give up her giant military base in the Suez Canal Zone; Bengurion had failed to dissuade her. It was to sabotage this rapprochement that the head of Israeli intelligence, Colonel Benyamin Givli, ordered his Egyptian intelligence ring to strike.
Givli's boss, Defence Minister Pinhas Lavon, and the Prime Minister, Moshe Sharett, knew nothing of the operation. For Givli was a member of a powerful Defence Ministry clique which often acted independently, or in outright defiance, of the cabinet. They were proteges of Bengurion and, although 'The Old Man' had left the Premiership for Sde Boker, his Negev desert retreat, a few months before, he was able, through them, to perpetuate the hardline 'activist' policies in which he believed. On Givli's instructions, the Egyptian network was to plant bombs in American and British cultural centres, British-owned cinemas and Egyptian public buildings. The Western powers, it was hoped, would conclude that there was fierce internal opposition to the rapprochement and that Nasser's young r6gime,faced with this challenge, was not one in which they could place much confidence.54 Mysterious violence might therefore persuade both London and Washington that British troops should remain astride the Canal; the world had not forgotten Black Saturday, 28 January 1951, in the last year of King Farouk's reign, when mobs rampaged through downtown Cairo, setting fire to foreign-owned hotels and shops, in which scores of people, including thirteen Britons, died.
The first bomb went off, on 2 July, in the Alexandria post office. On 11 July, the Anglo-Egyptian Suez negotiations, which had been blocked for nine months, got under way again. The next day the Israeli embassy in London was assured that, up on the British evacuation from Suez, stock-piled arms would not be handed over to the Egyptians. But the Defence Ministry activists were unconvinced. On 14 July their agents, in clandestine radio contact with Tel Aviv, fire-bombed US Information Service libraries in Cairo and Alexandria. That same day, a phosphorous bomb exploded prematurely in the pocket of one Philip Natanson, nearly burning him alive, as he was about to enter the British-owned Rio cinema in Alexandria. His arrest and subsequent confession led to the break-up of the whole ring-but not before the completion of another cycle of clandestine action and diplomatic failure. On 15 July President Eisenhower assured the Egyptians that 'simultaneously' with the signing of a Suez agreement the United States would enter into 'firm commitments' for economic aid to strengthen their armed forces.55 On 23 July --anniversary of the 1952 revolution-- the Israeli agents still at large had a final fling; they started fires in two Cairo cinemas, in the central post office and the railway station. On the same day, Britain announced that the War Secretary, Antony Head, was going to Cairo. And on 27 July he and the Egyptians initiated the 'Heads of Agreement' on the terms of Britain's evacuation.
The trial lasted from 11 December to 3 January. Not all the culprits were there, because Colonel Dar and an Israeli colleague managed to escape, and the third Israeli, Hungarian-born Max Bennett, committed suicide; but those who were present all pleaded guilty. Most of them, including Marcelle Ninio, were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment. But Dr Musa Lieto Marzuk, a Tunisian-born citizen of France who was a surgeon at the Jewish Hospital in Cairo, and Samuel Azar, an engineering professor from Alexandria, were condemned to death. In spite of representations from France, Britain and the United States the two men were hanged. Politically, it would have been very difficult for Nasser to spare them, for only seven weeks before six Moslem Brothers had been executed for complicity in an attempt on his life. Nevertheless Israel reacted with grief and anger. So did some Western Jews. Marzuk and Azar 'died the death of martyrs', said Sharett on the same day in the Knesset, whose members stood in silent tribute. Israel went into official mourning the following day. Beersheba and Ramat Gan named streets after the executed men. Israeli delegates to the Egyptian-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commission refused to attend its meeting, declaring that they would not sit down with representatives of the Cairo junta. In New York there were bomb threats against the Egyptian consulate and a sniper fired four shots into its fourth-floor window.56
This whole episode, which was to poison Israeli political life for a decade and more, came to be known as the 'Lavon Affair', for it had been established in the Cairo trial that Lavon, as Minister of Defence, had approved the campaign of sabotage. At least so the available evidence made it appear. But in Israel, Lavon had asked Moshe Sharett for a secret inquiry into a matter about which the cabinet knew nothing. Benyamin Givli, the intelligence chief, claimed that the so-called 'security operation' had been authorized by Lavon himself. Two other Bengurion proteges, Moshe Dayan and Shimon Peres, testified against Lavon. Lavon denounced Givli's papers as forgeries and demanded the resignation of all three men. Instead, Sharett ordered Lavon himself to resign and invited Bengurion to come out of retirement and take over the Defence Ministry. It was a triumphant comeback for the 'activist' philosophy whose excesses both Sharett and Lavon had tried to modify. It was con-summated, a week later, by an unprovoked raid on Gaza, which left thirty-nine Egyptians dead and led to the Suez War of 1956.57
When the truth about the Lavon Affair came to light, six years after the event, it confirmed that there had been a frame-up-not, however, by the Egyptians, but by Bengurion and his young proteges. Exposure was fortuitous. Giving evidence in a forgery trial in September 1960, a witness divulged on passant that he had seen the faked signature of Lavon on a document relating to a 1954 'security mishap'.58 Bengurion immediately announced that the three-year statute of limitations prohibited the opening of the case. But Lavon, now head of the powerful Histradut Trade Union Federation, seized upon this opportunity to demand an inquiry. Bengurion did everything in his power to stop it, but his cabinet overruled him. The investigation revealed that the security operation' had been planned behind Lavon's back. His signature had been forged, and the bombing had actually begun long before his approval --which he withheld-- had been sought. He was a scapegoat pure and simple. On Christmas Day 1960,the Israeli cabinet unanimously exonerated him of all guilt in the 'disastrous security adventure in Egypt'; the Attorney General had, in the meantime, found 'conclusive evidence of forgeries as well as false testimony in an earlier inquiry'.59 Bengurion was enraged. He issued an ultimatum to the ruling Labour party to remove Lavon, stormed out of a cabinet meeting and resigned. In what one trade unionist described as 'an immoral and unjust submission to dictatorship', his diehard supporters in the Histradut swung the vote in favour i)f accepting Lavon's resignation. Lavon, however, won a moral victory over the man who twice forced him from office. In the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, students demonstrated in his favour. They carried placards reading: 'Bengurion Go to Sde Boker, Take Dayan and Peres with You. We do Not Accept Leaders with Elastic Consciences.'60 The affair rocked the ruling establishment, split public opinion, forced new elections and contributed largely to Bengurion's eventual disappearance from public life.
But Lavon was not the only real victim. There were also those misguided Egyptian Jews who paid with their lives or long terms of imprisonment. It is true that when, in 1968, Marcelle Ninio and her colleagues were exchanged for Egyptian' prisoners in Israel, they received a heroes' welcome. True, too, that when Miss Ninio got married Prime Minister Golda Meir, Defence Minister Dayan and Chief of Staff General Bar Lev all attended the wedding and Dayan told the bride 'the Six-Day War was success enough that it led to your freedom'. However, after spending fourteen years in an Egyptian prison, the former terrorists did not share the leadership's enthusiasm. When Ninio and two of her colleagues appeared on Israel television a few years later, they all expressed the belief that the reason why they were not released earlier was because Israel made little effort to get them out. 'Maybe they didn't want us to come back,' said Robert Dassa. 'There was so much intrigue in Israel. We were instruments in the hands of the Egyptians and of others ... and what is more painful after all that we went through is that this continues to be so.' In Ninio's opinion, 'the government didn't want to spoil its relations with the United States and didn't want the embarrassment of admitting it was behind our action'.
But the real victims were the great mass of Egyptian Jewry. Episodes like the Lavon Affair tended to identify them, in the mind of ordinary Egyptians, with the Zionist movement. When, in 1956, Israeli invaded and occupied Sinai, feeling ran high against them. The government, playing into the Zionist hands, began ordering Jews to leave the country. Belatedly, reluctantly, 21,000 left in the following year; more were expelled later, and others, their livelihood gone, had nothing to stay for. But precious few went to Israel.
49. Jerusalem Post, 12 December 1954.
5O. 13 December 1954.
51. 13 December 1954.
52. Berger, op. cit., p. 14.
53. love, Kennett, Suez: The Twice-Fought War, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1969, P. 71.
54. Ibid., p . 73.
55. Ibid., p. 74.
56. Love, op. cit., P. 77.
57. See p. 198.
58. New York Times, 10 February 1961.
60. Jewish Chronicle, London, 17 February 1971
"Israel's slaughter of civilians in this terrible 10-day offensive - 206 by last night - has been so cavalier, so ferocious, that not a Lebanese [barring Phalangists] will forgive this massacre. There had been the ambulance attacked on Saturday, the sisters killed in Yohmor the day before, the 2-year-old girl decapitated by an Israeli missile four days ago. And earlier yesterday, the Israelis had slaughtered a family of 12 - the youngest was a four- day-old baby - when Israeli helicopter pilots fired missiles into their home."
Ian Black should stick to diplomacy, he's certainly very diplomatic where Israel's interests are concerned.
Let's hope that George Monbiot is not going to be too submissive to the spirit of the festive season and turn the other cheek to his critic, the US chargé d'Affaires David Johnson, whose defence of US foreign policy is rhetorical and propagandist (Letters, December 24).
To invoke the September 11 atrocities every time the Bush administration embarks on a new military adventure does not pass the test of reason or credibility. The US administration, with all its resources, has failed to establish a link between Iraq and al-Qaida. And as for the US's dubious liaisons, Johnson's choice of the second-in-command in al-Qaida as a reliable source of information on whether Bin Laden was once an ally of the US or not smacks of irony. While the US's backing of Saddam during the Iraq-Iran war is well documented and can hardly be denied.
David Johnson seems to be ignorant of recent US history. Zbigniew Brzezinski, who had been the national security adviser to Jimmy Carter, admitted in 1998 that the US began giving military aid to the mujahideen six months before the Russians moved into Afghanistan, done precisely to entice them in and give "the USSR its Vietnam war".
Johnson also seems to be unaware of the 1994 US Senate report that lists the chemical weapons and military technology that US corporations were given permission (and encouraged) by the US government to sell to Saddam between 1985 and 1990. Maybe he should speak to Donald Rumsfeld, who was then the front man negotiating these deals.
Here, Tariq Ali argues a similar point about American support (via Zbigniew Brzezinski) for mujahedeen in Afghanistan.
December 26, 2004
December 25, 2004
Veteran leader Yasser Arafat, who died in November, had been barred from the event over his alleged terror links." Not through sheer vindictiveness and a desire to humiliate the Palestinian leadership or anything like that. Barring Arafat from Bethlehem really helped reduce the violence after all.
December 24, 2004
These are selected quotes from Ha'aretz.
"The Arab mentality is made of "a sense of being a victim," "pathological anti-Semitism," and "a tendency to live in a world of illusions," said Prof. Rafi Israeli, a lecturer in Middle Eastern studies at Hebrew University [!!!], on the witness stand yesterday, adding that the Arabs neglect sanitation in their communities. "Most of the Arab villages are dirtier, physically - it's a fact," he [the professor]said."
"The defense initially requested that Israeli's testimony be rejected, claiming the professor is identified with the extreme right - but his testimony was heard."
"During cross-examination yesterday, Israeli was asked to respond to questions on a number of issues concerning his viewpoint on the Arabs in Israel, Islam in general, and the sketch he offered of the nature of "the Arab mentality.""
"The Islamic Movement and its defense team expressed shock and outrage at the choice of Israeli as a witness for the prosecution. "It's a shame and a disgrace," said attorney Feldman, noting he would be taking the matter up with the attorney general "to see if he stands behind this testimony.""
Perhaps the good (or nutty) professor was just frustrated at Israel having no partners for peace.
See jazzman's take on this. He turns the whole thing around and asks what the outcry might be if these same things were said about Jews in a trial in an Arab state.
Ha'aretz removes a lot of stuff from it's site after a time so if you can't find the article on Ha'aretz go here.
Germany keeping Jews out
Jews from eastern Europe seeking to live in Germany will now have to pass certain tests of usefulness and assimilibility to German society in future. The last time I heard of Jews not being allowed to live in Germany they were Russian Jews who had gone, first to Israel and then to Germany. At Israel's request they were handcuffed and put on a plane for the armed ghetto. The JC. doesn't mention that shameful episode.
Galloway judge to preside over Board of Deputies/Interpal libel case
Judge Eady has allowed the Board of Deputies of British "Jews" to run with "qualified privilege" as a defence against Interpal's libel action on account of the Board accusing Interpal of raising money for terrorist activity. The trial will be by jury. Judge Eady was the judge in the Galloway v Telegraph case. Let's hope he didn't find for Galloway so that he could do a Hutton on a Muslim charity in favour of a Zionist organisation masquerading as a generalist representative Jewish group.
December 23, 2004
"It was a crass unhistorical work that purported to be historical. I would not myself have banned it, but I would have asked the Royal Court give the audience a short, truthful account of the relevant historical events [but not like this.]"
Here's Ken Loach's response:
The truth about Perdition
Thursday December 23, 2004
Your so-called experts who attacked Perdition. repeat the lies that were told when the play was first produced and then censored by the Royal Court in 1987 (Can censorship ever be justified? December 22).
As its first director, I can say that the essential story the play tells - of collaboration of some Zionists with the Nazis in Budapest in 1944 - was not challenged and stands as historical fact. Minute details were rigorously pursued. The torrent of misinformation about Jim Allen's play came from those who objected to the political critique of Zionism and the consequent dispossession of the Palestinians. Max Stafford-Clark, then director at the Court and responsible for the play's censorship, now says that the charge of antisemitism was "bandied about" (Theatre community defends 'courageous Birmingham Rep, December 21). He doesn't have the decency to say that this was unfounded.
The writer Eric Fried, many of whose family were murdered by the Nazis, wrote: "I am envious I have not written [this play] myself ... To accuse the play of faking history or anti-Jewish bias is monstrous. Perdition should be staged wherever possible."
The charge of antisemitism is the time-honoured way to deflect anti-Zionist arguments. The play has been successfully produced at least three times since Stafford-Clark's climbdown. The Rep should have stuck to its guns with Behzti. Let's hope another theatre understands the principle at stake.
December 22, 2004
So armed fascist activists are like the victims of fascism. If this gets sympathy from the Israeli public then perhaps the Palestinians should try wearing Stars of David too.
December 21, 2004
"First of all, we have to use the government travel card to get rooms or airline tickets or rental cars. Instead of a convenience for people without the means of paying out of pocket and getting reimbursed, it is a strictly enforced rule. You cannot file your travel voucher without dispersing part of the payment directly to Bank of America unless you have your commander's signature. The kicker is that you are required to pay your bill on time no matter what. You could have used the card in a hotel in Germany on your way to a 6 month tour in a foxhole in Pakistan but if you don't find a way to pay your bill when the Bank of America says you have to pay your bill, they will charge you $29 a month until that bill is paid. It doesn't matter if there is absolutely no possible way for you to pay your bill, you could be a POW and they wouldn't care; if you don't pay the bill, you're getting charged. And keep in mind you don't have the option of not using the card. Moreover, they are absolutely unwilling to waive that $29/month fee and even if it isn't your fault, you'll have to pay it and the government will not reimburse you for that fee. So the government forces you to use the card, the government may put you in a position to not be able to pay the card thus incurring the fee, and the government will not reimburse you for the fee that they made you incur. It's aggrevating. Of course, my philosophy is, screw that, I'm going to use my own credit card if at all possible."
December 20, 2004
This says it all about what the "Riyadh Triad" (three pro-democracy activists jailed since March for calling for a constitutional monarchy) are up against:
"Several people, including journalists and relatives of the trio, were arrested and detained, and the trial proceeded behind closed doors.
The trio’s lead attorney, Abdulrahman Al-Lahem, was also absent—he had been arrested and jailed a few weeks earlier for his criticism of judicial practices."
Three guys are such a threat to Saudi Arabia, journalists, lawyers and spectators had to be arrested. Truly the Kingdom is built on sand.
December 19, 2004
"No country's textbooks have been subjected to as much close scrutiny as the Palestinian. The findings? It turns out that the original allegations were based on Egyptian or Jordanian textbooks and incorrect translations. Time and again, independently of each other, researchers find no incitement to hatred in the Palestinian textbooks."
For a contrast with Israeli books for children see Anti-zionist notes.
December 18, 2004
December 17, 2004
Conspicuous by its absence from any reports of the intimidation of Jews on campus over the question of Palestine, is any evidence. Ultimately, what Danny Stone, the UJS and the JC seem to be saying is that any criticism of Israel is unpleasant for people who support Israel. This, as they all know, is not all Jews and being the butt of political argument is not intimidation.
December 16, 2004
"Nicky Blackburn, a freelance journalist......said "I don't agree with settlements. I think they are wrong. I love living here because it is such a warm community. It's a great place to bring up children. But if we had known we were going to find ourselves in a settlement we would never have come." But bulldozers have already began to flatten the land for the new community, named Nof Hasharon." [How appropriate].
December 15, 2004
December 14, 2004
December 13, 2004
December 12, 2004
"Towards the end of the British Mandate and during the 1948 war, some Bedouin joined the Jewish forces, believing that the Jewish state would be generous to them. They were wrong, but after the establishment of Israel many of them continued to volunteer for the Israeli army and serving on the front lines; volunteering is considered by some Bedouin to be part of their "blood-pact" with the State of Israel.
Whereas the Negev Bedouin do not express any identification with Israel, the northern Bedouin identify with it in big numbers. This is manifested, primarily, in the extent of volunteering for the Israeli army. Despite this, the Bedouin in the North (like their brothers in the South) are not rewarded with a much friendly attitude, and continue to suffer from severe economic hardships. Even those who serve in the army suffer face the same discrimination as the other Arabs in Israel.
There are observers who predict a coming Bedouin Intifada. , as Israel's Ha'aretz. newspaper characterized it recently.
Asked if this is possible, Muhammad Zeidan, head of the Arab Human Rights Association said, "The Bedouin are peaceful, but they are human beings. I don't think they have a choice, they are being pushed to do this."
What adds to the complication is the Israeli government's plan for the Gaza Strip withdrawal, a plan that if carried out will likely mean new Jewish settlements in the Negev and the North, adding to development pressures in the Bedouin towns and villages."
Five soldiers have been killed in a Palestinian attack involving a tunnel bomb and firearms. One Palestinian was killed in the gun battle. The Israelis really seem to believe that their army is invulnerable in spite of many signs to the contrary; the flight from Lebanon being a case in point. So an attack like this is far more shocking than an attack on a civilian target. I don't know why armed Palestinian groups don't confine themselves to attacks like these. Look at the history. According to Israel Shahak, Egypt has killed more Israeli soldiers than any other other state or movement has and Egypt got back what it lost to Israel. Ok, this was a kind of Nazi-Soviet pact from the Israeli viewpoint, securing one flank in order to attack another: Lebanon. But even now Sharon is trying to shmooze Egypt into security co-operation. And look what happened with Lebanon. Israel won the battle there in 1982. Swept in, killed maybe 20,000 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians and stayed for a further 18 years before being forced to retreat on account of unacceptably high losses to the Israeli army. So we have two examples of Israeli withdrawals from occupied territory both of which involved the killing of many Israeli soldiers before Israel withdrew.
Zionists kid themselves about the life or death security implications of this or that piece of land but they usually come around in the end. When the Brits redrew the map of Palestine, including the establishment of Transjordan and the setting of the current Israel/Lebanon border, Chaim Weizman said that the Zionist movement would never accept a definition of Palestine (he called it Palestine in those days) that didn't include the south of Lebanon up to the Litani River. This was largely forgotten until Moshe Dayan brought it up again in the 1955 thus:
"The only thing that is necessary [in Lebanon] is to find an officer, even just a Major. We should either win his heart or buy him with money, to make him agree to declare himself the savior of the Maronite population. Then the Israeli army will enter Lebanon, will occupy the necessary territory, and will create a Christian regime which will ally itself with Israel. The territory from the Litani [River] southward will be totally annexed to Israel and everything will be all right."
This was also forgotten and I don't recall it being mentioned when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. Whatever, Israel is now out of Lebanon having accepted what Chaim Weizman could "never accept". Similarly when Israel attacked Egypt in 1956 they said they could never withdraw form Sharm el-Sheik because of their vital security concerns. US President Eisenhower had other ideas telling them that no occupying power could dictate terms. They withdrew until a later US administration gave them the green light to attack Egypt et al. in 1967. Again when they came round to negotiating their Nazi-Soviet style pact with Egypt they tried to hang on to Sharm. They were out of there in time to embark on the Lebanon genocide of 1982 which became a graveyard for Israeli soldiers together with the Palestinian and Lebanese victims of "Operation Peace for Galilee".
My point here is that, as unpleasant as all forms of violence are, Israel only yields to violence against, indeed the killing of, its soldiers; never the killing of its civilians. This Zionist mentality needs more than casual blog treatment but I believe it is connected to their militaristic and inhumane ideology which Ariel Sharon once said is "not about what Israel can do for Jews but what Jews can do for Israel".
Here are some quotes from AMW. I can't juxtapose concomitant myths because the Zionists haven't actually gone into any detail, possibly because no-one ever asks them to prove their point.
"It was Israel that broke off the negotiations, and the committee headed by former US Senator George Mitchell found no evidence to back the Israeli claim that the Palestinian Authority had planned or launched the Intifada."
Barak's "generous" offer
* no territorial contiguity for the Palestinian state,
* no control of its external borders,
* limited control of its own water resources, and
* no full Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory as required by international law.
In addition, the Barak plan would have :
* included continued Israeli military control over large segments of the West Bank, including almost all of the Jordan Valley;
* codified the right of Israeli forces to be deployed in the Palestinian state at short notice;
* meant the continued presence of fortified Israeli settlements and Jewish-only roads in the heart of the Palestinian state; and
* required nearly 4 million Palestinian refugees to relinquish their fundamental human rights in exchange for compensation to be paid not by Israel but by the "international community."
Barak himself wrote in a New York Times Op-ed on 24 May 2001 that his vision was for
"a gradual process of establishing secure, defensible borders, demarcated so as to encompass more than 80 percent of the Jewish settlers in several settlement blocs over about 15 percent of Judea and Samaria, and to ensure a wide security zone in the Jordan Valley."
I'm no mathmetician but 100% of the occupied territories less 15% makes, not Dennis Ross's 97% but 85%.
Just an aside here, this is the most irritating thing about people, particularly in the mainstream media, who are so accepting of Zionist mythology when the truth is nearly always in the public domain and often from the mouths or pens of Zionists themselves.
Anyway to continue for people who can't work the arithmetic:
"In other words, if Barak intended to keep 15 percent of "Judea and Samaria" (the West Bank), he could not have offered the Palestinians more than 85 percent.
No one can seriously talk about Israel being willing to end its settlement policy if 80 percent of its settlers would have remained in place.".......
"Robert Malley who was Clinton's special assistant for Arab-Israeli affairs, participated in the Camp David negotiations. In an important article entitled "Fictions About the Failure At Camp David " published in the New York Times on July 8, 2001, Malley added his own, insider's challenge to the Camp David myth. Not only did he agree that Barak's offer was far from ideal, but made the additional point that Arafat had made far more concessions than anyone gave him credit for. Malley wrote:
"Many have come to believe that the Palestinians' rejection of the Camp David ideas exposed an underlying rejection of Israel's right to exist. But consider the facts: The Palestinians were arguing for the creation of a Palestinian state based on the June 4, 1967, borders, living alongside Israel. They accepted the notion of Israeli annexation of West Bank territory to accommodate settlement blocs. They accepted the principle of Israeli sovereignty over the Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem -- neighborhoods that were not part of Israel before the Six Day War in 1967. And, while they insisted on recognition of the refugees' right of return, they agreed that it should be implemented in a manner that protected Israel's demographic and security interests by limiting the number of returnees. No other Arab party that has negotiated with Israel -- not Anwar el-Sadat's Egypt, not King Hussein's Jordan, let alone Hafez al-Assad's Syria -- ever came close to even considering such compromises."
Malley rightly concluded that, "If peace is to be achieved, the parties cannot afford to tolerate the growing acceptance of these myths as reality."
Now this is strange. Why on earth did Clinton appoint some people to attend the talks who were not in thrall to Zionist goals? I mean this Malley chap flatly contradicts Dennis Ross. Why did he put Ross and Malley in the same team? I think it was because he needed Dennis Ross to establish what was acceptable from a Zionist point of view and Malley to report back on the actual truth. Since leaving office Clinton has run with the Ross version but then he was prosecuted for perjury so maybe the truth isn't so important to him. Ok the perjury was over sex but what's more important, geopolitics or sex?
Anyway, back on track:
"On 19 December 2000, six months after Camp David, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators returned to Washington and continued with negotiations. These negotiations were based on a set of proposals by President Clinton which went beyond Barak's offer of July 2000, but still fell short of minimum Palestinian expecations. Nevertheless, the Palestinians went on with the talks."...
"In January 2001, the talks moved to Taba, Egypt, where they reportedly continued to make progress. They broke off at the end of January, and were due to resume but Barak canceled a planned meeting with Arafat. Shortly thereafter, Barak lost the election to Ariel Sharon, and the talks have never resumed."
So where is the blow-by-blow refutation of the above in a Zionist source and why would anyone prefer to believe AIPAC's Dennis Ross?
December 11, 2004
"The term "Semite" was invented by European philologists in the 18th century to distinguish languages from one another by grouping them into "families" descended from one "mother" tongue to which they are all related....."
"The defensive claim made by some that Arabs cannot be "anti-Semitic" because they are "Semites" is equally erroneous and facile. First, I should state that I do not believe that anyone is a "Semite" any more than I believe anyone is an "Aryan", and I do not believe that Arabs or Jews should proudly declare that they are "Semites" because European racists classified them as such. But if the history of European Christian anti-Semitism is mostly a history targeting Jews as objects of discrimination and exclusion, the history of European Orientalism and colonialism is the one that targeted Arabs and Muslims, among many others. This does not mean that Arabs are not considered Semites by European racialist and philological classifications; they indeed are. Nor does this mean that much of the hatred of Arabs today is not derived from a prior anti- Semitism that targeted Jews. Indeed it is. The history of European Orientalism is one that is fully complicit with anti-Semitism from which it derives many of its representations of ancient and modern Arabs and of ancient Hebrews and modern Jews. As Edward Said demonstrated a quarter of a century ago in his classic Orientalism, "what has not been sufficiently stressed in histories of modern anti-Semitism has been the legitimation of such atavistic designations by Orientalism, and... the way this academic and intellectual legitimation has persisted right through the modern age in discussions of Islam, the Arabs, or the Near Orient." Said added: "The transference of popular anti-Semitic animus from a Jewish to an Arab target was made smoothly, since the figure was essentially the same." In the context of the 1973 War, Said commented that Arabs came to be represented in the West as having "clearly 'Semitic' features: sharply hooked noses, the evil moustachioed leer on their faces, were obvious reminders (to a largely non- Semitic population) that 'Semites' were at the bottom of all 'our' troubles."
"....Zionism, ... adopted wholesale anti-Semitic ideologies, would also call Jews "Semites" and would begin to consider Jews as Semites racially from the late 19th century to the present......"
"....a large and disproportionate number of the purveyors of anti- Arab racism in today's United States and Israel as well as in Western Europe are Jews. But there is also a disproportionate number of Jews among those who defend Arabs and Muslims against Euro- American and Israeli racism and anti-Semitism. The majority, however, of those who hate Arabs and Muslims in the West remain European and American Christians."
"While holocaust denial in the West is indeed one of the strongest manifestations of anti-Semitism, most Arabs who deny the holocaust deny it for political not racist reasons. This point is even conceded by the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim Orientalist Bernard Lewis. Their denial is based on the false Zionist claim that the holocaust justifies Zionist colonialism. The Zionist claim is as follows: Since Jews were the victims of the holocaust, then they have the right to colonise Palestine and establish a Jewish colonial-settler state there. Those Arabs who deny the holocaust accept the Zionist logic as correct. Since these deniers reject the right of Zionists to colonise Palestine, the only argument left to them is to deny that the holocaust ever took place, which, to their thinking, robs Zionism of its allegedly "moral" argument. But the fact that Jews were massacred does not give Zionists the right to steal someone else's homeland and to massacre the Palestinian people. The oppression of a people does not endow it with rights to oppress others. If those Arab deniers refuse to accept the criminal Zionist logic that justifies the murder and oppression of the Palestinians by appealing to the holocaust, then these deniers would no longer need to make such spurious arguments. All those in the Arab world who deny the Jewish holocaust are in my opinion Zionists."
"......While the nakba. and the holocaust are not equivalent in any sense, the logic of denying them is indeed the same....."
"....If anti-Semites posited Jews as the purveyors of corruption, as financier bankers who control the world, as violent communist subversives, and as poisoners of Christian wells, the Arab and the Muslim today are seen as in control of the oil market and therefore of the global financial market, the purveyors of hatred and corruption of civilised Christian and Jewish societies, as violent terrorists, and as possible mass murderers, not with some Semitic Jewish poison but with Semitic Arab nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons (which are nowhere to be found). Thus Michael Moore feels vindicated in telling us in his recent film, Fahrenheit 9/11, about the portion of the American economy controlled by Saudi money while neglecting to mention the much, much larger American share of the Saudi economy. Anti- Semitism is alive and well today worldwide and its major victims are Arabs and Muslims and no longer Jews. The fight should indeed be against all anti-Semitism no matter who the object of its oppression is, Arab or Jew."
Joseph Massad teaches modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University in New York. but not for much longer if the Zionists have their way.
Archbishop of Canterbury defends Israel
Inside the paper there is a report from Simon Rocker. that Dr Rowan Williams has warned Christians not to challenge Israel's right to exist. Apparently "the suggestion that Israel does not have a right to exist because it is not good enough is a dangerous one". So what's he saying? Is he saying that Israel is not good enough to exist but Christians must not say so? Is he saying that Israel is not good enough but must continue to exist even though it's not good enough? Or is he saying that Israel, an apartheid state based on colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing, is good enough for him and his fellow Christians? If so what kind of Christians did he have in mind: Christian Phalangists?
JC. in denial
Last week the JC. reported on the conference "Resisting Israeli Apartheid - Strategies and Principles" at SOAS. As I reported, they were far more even handed in their report than The Guardian's. sorry effort. It wasn't to last. This week the JC. reporter Gaby Wine. is aghast that, "the keynote speaker was poet Tom Paulin, who at one point alleged that an Israeli army general has said that military operations in the West Bank should be like those in the Warsaw Ghetto". And that this caused Union of Jewish Students (not an interest group for Jewish students in general but a specifically Zionist group) leader Danny Stone to complain that "I could not believe that in a room of 300 students and academics, no one challenged the comparison with Nazis." Now, as far as the report goes, Tom Paulin was simply saying what the Israeli daily Ha'aretz had reported when covering the re-occupation of the refugee camps. Why didn't the JC. say so? What could anyone challenge here? If Danny Stone was there, why didn't he object to Tom Paulin making a simple statement of fact? I'm sure that even the Jewish Chronicle. reported the Israeli commander's "Warsaw Ghetto" speech at the time (though I could be wrong). So what's happening here? Is the JC. deliberately misleading its readers? Or is it agreeing a party line with a readership it assumes to be overwhelmingly Zionist? Whatever it is, an Israeli commander called on his troops to study the Nazi liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto. Yes, this is horrifying, but to express horror, not at the fact that the commander could say such a thing, but the fact that anyone should report on such a thing, represents a state of denial so characteristic of the Zionist movement.
"there are no humanitarian workers working inside the city. When the first of Fallujah's refugees are allowed to return on Christmas Eve, they will be funnelled through five checkpoints. Each will have their fingerprints taken, along with DNA samples and retina scans. Residents will be issued with badges with their home addresses on them, and it will be an offence not to wear it at all times. No civilian vehicles will be allowed in the city in an effort to thwart suicide bombers. One idea floated by the US is for all males in Fallujah be compelled to join work battalions in which they will be paid to clear rubble and rebuild houses."
December 10, 2004
December 08, 2004
And what about the soldiers? They should be Rumsfeld's constituency. He knows them. But he didn't know they were "pissed", as they say, at running round the desert in vulnerable vehicles. So, known unknowns again. Two lots of known unknowns for the man who invented the expression specially to describe what America (and the UK) were getting into in Iraq.
"There is something faulty about this logic. The documents did not publish themselves and the mode of their presentation was wholly under the control of The Daily Telegraph. The argument may have some superficial attraction. On the other hand, it is a little ironic that while the newspaper was, understandably., praising Mr Blair’s "superlative" detective work, and claiming that its scoop had led the news, it should also be seeking to distance itself from the consequences of the publication to the world at large."
So the closest the judge came to praising David Blair was to say that his "disingenuous" employers "understandably, praise[d] him". In other words he didn't praise him at all. But it gets worse. The judge looks into what the Telegraph. might have done to establish whether or not the documents it published were genuine. And the relevant passage in the judgment:
"Did the Defendant take any steps to verify the contents of the
Baghdad documents, in so far as they related to the Claimant,
by reference to independent sources of information, such as the
governments of the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia, Mr
Fawaz Zureikat, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the
Home Office or intelligence sources, before publishing the
articles complained of?"
And it continues (eventually): "No one on the Defendants’ behalf
suggests that they did make such enquiries."
Now given that David Blair found the documents, should it not have fallen to him to at least try to establish their veracity? Anyway, according to Mr Justice Eady this rudimentary check wasn't undertaken and taking the judgment in total it appears that the failure to try to prove whether the documents were genuine was, among other things, an aggravating factor leading to such a high level of damages.
In fairness to David Aaronovitch I should point out that the judge did praise David Blair as a witness:
"Like the other witnesses in the case, Mr Blair seemed to me to be impressive and straightforward in his evidence. I have no doubt that he believed the documents he found were genuine and that they gave rise to legitimate questions – at least requiring the attention of serious investigative journalists."
but, in that, he was, as the judge said "[l]ike the other witnesses in the case".
but, of course, that isn't what David Aaronovitch said.
Another aggravating factor that Aaronovitch doesn't. lie about, because he doesn't mention it, is the fact that The Telegraph's. barrister - James Price QC - falsely attributed a written statement to George Galloway that he had referred to Barbara Amiel as Conrad Black's "Jewish. wife". Here's the relevant passage:
"One aspect of aggravation was the unfortunate attribution in cross-examination of anti-semitism. I am quite prepared to accept that it was a slip, in the heat of the moment, and that it was not intended to be put forward as part of the Defendants' case. It is necessary for me to consider exactly how it came about. Mr Price wished to refer to a fund-raising letter written by Mr Galloway for the purposes of obtaining support in these proceedings. In it he suggested that he had been attacked by The Daily Telegraph. because of his views on the Middle East in general and the Palestinian cause in particular. Wisely or unwisely, he referred to Lord Black (formerly proprietor of The Daily Telegraph) and his wife Barbara Amiel as being among Mr Sharon’s most vociferous supporters. Mr Price wished to put this document to him in the course of cross-examination. Before he did so, and I believe when it was not actually in front of him, he somewhat unguardedly said that Mr Galloway had referred to Barbara Amiel’s hostility towards him being due to the fact that she was Jewish. The document, of course, said no such thing."
Now here I have to say that the judge was being very charitable to James Price QC given the way The Telegraph. hurls bogus allegations of anti-semitism around sometimes.
Anyway, please read the whole judgment. I'm no lawyer and I would welcome any alternative view to my own. Here it is in html.
December 07, 2004
December 06, 2004
December 05, 2004
December 04, 2004
"Mr Ambassador, I believe that your government and its Iraqi surrogates are waging two wars in Iraq. One war is against the Iraqi people, and it has claimed an estimated 100,000 lives. The other is a war on witnesses."
Further into the article it is said that Danny Stone of the UJS has "attended a meeting with the university to ask for extra security to ensure the safety of Jewish students on campus".* No mention here of why Jewish. students need extra security just because a conference is taking place. There's a clear implication here, by the UJS and by Polly Curtis, that conferences criticising Israel's apartheid system are a threat to Jews. Now it is not being over-cynical to suggest that if people attending the conference are attacked by members or supporters of the UJS, the UJS will have got it's "concern" in first. Let's face it, Zionists are masters of the pre-emptive strike.
*In a report on the same event, even the Jewish Chronicle. doesn't suggest that it is Jewish students being threatened. On the contrary the JC. reports that it is the SOAS Principal - Professor Colin Bundy - who has been threatened for allowing the conference to go ahead. The JC. hit the streets yesterday. How did Polly Curtis miss this? Did she do it deliberately? Also the JC. refers to Tom Paulin (who should be addressing the conference) "advocating the killing of American settlers whereas Polly Curtis refers to him "saying that Jewish settlers "should be shot dead"". This could, of course, lead readers to the impression that Tom Paulin has a problem with the Jewishness of the settlers and not their priveleged colonial settler status. Of course it's possible that Polly Curtis is ignorant of her subject but it all looks deliberately misleading, particularly when compared to the Jewish Chronicle's. report on the same event.
December 03, 2004
December 02, 2004
It's funny I can't find the name of the journalist responsible for the libel anywhere in today's coverage. Let me word associate here. Lies...war....Iraq....more lies....libel....Telegraph.....more lies still.....Blair. That's it. His name was Blair.