By paying up without caveat, donors in effect relieve Israel of its obligations under international law. As the occupying power, Israel must deliver assistance and services to the Palestinian population. As high contracting parties to the Geneva conventions, the donors are obliged to ensure Israel's compliance with the law. None of this has happened. Instead, international aid has rendered the occupation cost-free. It has even enriched Israel's economy: according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, for every dollar produced in the occupied territories, 45 cents flows back to Israel.She also claims that the kidnapping of aid workers is explained by the politics of aid distribution. This is also the theme of an article by Said Ghazali in today's Independent.[pay per view!]
December 31, 2005
* Chapter 1: Jewish Fundamentalism within Jewish Society
* Chapter 2: The Rise of the Haredim in Israel
* Chapter 3: The Two Main Haredi Groups
* Chapter 4: The National Religious Party and the Religious Settlers
* Chapter 5: The Nature of the Gush Emunim Settlements
* Chapter 6: The Real Significance of Baruch Goldstein
* Chapter 7: The Religious Background of Rabin's Assassination
* Note on Bibliography and Related Matters
December 29, 2005
It is an image that resists any attempt to throw it into the denial pile: the specter of Jews surviving the Holocaust only to go hungry in Israel.I'm sure that according to Norman Finkelstein, the Holocaust Industry had raised, not just millions but billions. Where is it all?
If it has done nothing else, the current election campaign has focused the public's radar on social problems which have gone unaddressed for years.
Every day, it seems, the human needs of unheralded Israelis come to light in a shocking new way. The case in point Thursday was the finding that some 40 percent of Holocaust survivors in Israel are living below the poverty line.
There are nearly 400,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel, the nation with the largest population of survivors anywhere. Moreover, the medical and thus the financial needs of the population are growing, as even the youngest of the survivors are now well over 60.
The problem is particularly acute for about 170,000 who moved to Israel from the former Soviet Union over the past decade, and are now living in poverty. They are entitled neither to the monthly pensions sent other surviviors by the governments of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, nor the pensions supplied by Israeli and international Jewish organizations.
All of them arrived past the age of 65, and many are living alone in a nation whose inner workings are difficult to contend with even for the native-born and the young.
The Knesset has allocated millions to the fund, but much more assistance is urgently needed. The survivors may still have a few things to their name, but time is not one of them.
December 28, 2005
Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, has been trying to expose the government's complicity with the Uzbek regime in obtaining information through the use of torture. Two documents in particular are being suppressed, because the FCO has instructed Mr Murray not to include them in his new book and to hand over all copies - fortunately, however, they have already made their way into the public domain by some means. And I, of course, have received no instructions from any official. Here they are:Well, there one is. The other one is here.
This movie could easily have been a paid Israeli advertisement for its killing machine. In fact, it could be a recruitment movie for Israeli killing squads. I mean that. In fact, it is a celebretary movie of Israeli murder of Palestinians. Israel killing is always moral, and always careful, and always on target.....On victims and perpetrators:
the movie was based on a book that took the Israeli account as it was delivered. But the book was honest and more accurate at least on one count: in the book by George Jonas titled Vengeance (only Israelis are entitled to vengeance as you know, the more violent the better as far as some US movie audiences are concerned), the killers did not express regret or second-thoughts. None. In the book but not in the movie, the killers, according to Jonas, had "absolutely no qualms about anything they did." How could Spielberg miss that.........
The first victim of the movie was Wa’il Zu`aytir, and I knew his niece; I went to school with Abu Hasan Salamah’s son--he was younger; and I knew the street and building where the three PLO leaders were massacred in Beirut. And let me tell you that NONE of the five people mentioned here had anything to do with Munich--but more on that later. NONE. But why should this movie, a Spielberg’s movie for potato’s sake, bother with facts, especially if they come in the way of a smooth pro-Israeli narrative?The small picture and the big picture:
It can be argued that the Palestinian attackers risked the lives of the hostages by taking them hostages, even if they did not intend to kill them. That is true. This is like hijacking: the hijackers, any hijackers, are responsible, and should be held responsible for whatever endangerment to the lives and health of victims. That is true. But it is also true that the State of Israel has taken a nation as a hostage, and has been endangering the lives of Palestinians since the inception of the state of Israel. This is why it is all a question of who is retaliating against whom?Israelis human, Palestinians sub-human:
we had to see the head Israeli killer with his child: you need to see him as a human being. Do you know that not a single Palestinian in the movie appeared unarmed?As I said I'll have to see the film. But please read the whole post at The Angry Arab News Service. It's none to easy on the eye as there are no paragraphs in a long piece but it's worth persevering with. Also, so far the post has generated 459 comments.
December 27, 2005
If the Palestinian Arabs were constant in their antipathy toward Zionism, this did not usually take the form of hostility to Jewish immigration. Yapp points out that "From 1923 to 1926, a period when many Jews entered Palestine, the country was quiet. In 1929, at a time when Jewish immigration was at an all time low, the most serious riots until that time occurred." Often, the immediate cause of hostility to the arriving Jews was the disappropriation of fellaheen, while a more generalised hostility to Zionism had developed among Palestinians, and particularly in the Arab press. The opposition to Zionism was not delimited by class, but different layers of Palestinian society responded to it differently.That Lenin must have got some good books for Christmas.
Rashid Khalidi, in his efforts to demonstrate that there was a coherent Palestinian identity long before the Zionists’ comprehensive victory in 1948, discloses that most of those who sold their land to the Zionists prior to 1948 were non-Palestinian absentee landlords for whom it was no more than a mere economic transaction. However, David Hirst points out that a large number of Palestinian political leaders did sell their land to the Zionists and were met with no more than verbal abuse – often hypocritical abuse at that, since many of those who waxed indignant about it had indulged in the practise themselves.
Further, as Khalidi acknowledges, there was a clear class dimension involved in the land sales, which intersected with the national dimension: the fellaheen were least inclined to sell their land to the Zionists, while large landowners were most inclined to do so. Class was also an important dimension in the relationship between Arab and Jewish workers: if the Arab antipathy to Zionism and the anti-Arab practises of the Histradut (Zionist trade union) weren’t enough to prevent solidarity where it might otherwise have taken place, the generally privileged position of migrant Jews in the economy made it even more improbable. And if it is true, as Khalidi suggests, that most of those who sold their land to Zionists were non-Palestinian, it is also true that many of those who joined in Palestinian uprisings, especially in 1936, were non-Palestinians. The inspiration for the uprising derived, to some extent, from similar disturbances in Egypt and Syria, and there was considerable popular pressure on the semi-autonomous governments of those countries to support the Palestinian struggle.
Palestinian nationalism was both contiguous with and often surpassed by Arab nationalism. Nevertheless, the refusal of large numbers of the domestic elite to sell their land to Zionists was an important element binding the emerging political leadership with the masses of peasant workers. And it adverted to the increasingly widespread recognition that Palestine would be a separate national state, formalised at the Third Arab Congress at Haifa in 1920. If it was the fellaheen who initiated and drove the anti-British and anti-Zionist insurgency, the notable families and elites that made up the more conservative Arab leadership were if nothing else obliged by pressure to remonstrate with the British rulers in militant language.
we have developed an almost infinite capacity to forget our own atrocities.I wonder if they'll get any letters over that Buchenwald line. Let's just see.
Atrocities? Which atrocities? When a Turkish writer uses that word, everyone in Turkey knows what he is talking about, even if they deny it vehemently. But most British people will stare at you blankly. So let me give you two examples, both of which are as well documented as the Armenian genocide.
In his book Late Victorian Holocausts, published in 2001, Mike Davis tells the story of famines that killed between 12 and 29 million Indians. These people were, he demonstrates, murdered by British state policy. When an El Niño drought destituted the farmers of the Deccan plateau in 1876 there was a net surplus of rice and wheat in India. But the viceroy, Lord Lytton, insisted that nothing should prevent its export to England. In 1877 and 1878, at the height of the famine, grain merchants exported a record 6.4m hundredweight of wheat. As the peasants began to starve, officials were ordered "to discourage relief works in every possible way". The Anti-Charitable Contributions Act of 1877 prohibited "at the pain of imprisonment private relief donations that potentially interfered with the market fixing of grain prices". The only relief permitted in most districts was hard labour, from which anyone in an advanced state of starvation was turned away. In the labour camps, the workers were given less food than inmates of Buchenwald. In 1877, monthly mortality in the camps equated to an annual death rate of 94%.
On Sunday morning of last week Mahmoud Shawara, a laborer, mounted his mule and set out from his home in the village of Nuaman to look for work in the neighboring village of Umm Touba. At about 9 A.M., he was arrested by a Border Police unit that detains workers who do not have an entry permit to Israel every morning.
The Border Police ordered Shawara to get into their jeep. He refused. He did not want to leave his mule unattended. At 9:30 his brother saw him for the last time, healthy and sound. At 4 P.M. a resident of Umm Touba named Mohammed Hamadan noticed a mule galloping toward the village and dragging something behind it. From a distance, Hamadan thought it might be scrap metal. As the mule came closer, Hamadan saw that it was dragging an injured, battered man. The mule, he says, was galloping down the slope and looked frightened. He stopped the animal and then discovered that the person being dragged across the ground was Mahmoud Shawara, from the neighboring village, whom he knew well. Shawara`s left hand was roped to the mule`s neck. He was unconscious and barely breathing. His skull and face were smashed on the left side and blood was pouring from him. He managed to utter a few broken, unclear words or parts of words and then stopped breathing.
December 25, 2005
A British UN project manager shot by an Israeli sniper was unlawfully killed, a UK inquest has concluded.This killing of a British UN worker by Israel has been treated as an official secret by the government and I don't recall anything on the broadcast news about it. I checked some UK ex-broadsheets for news of this and only the Times seems to cover it. The Telegraph, Guardian and Independent have all ignored it, unless, like me, they missed it first time round.
Iain Hook, 54, of Felixstowe, Suffolk, was in a UN compound in Jenin when he was shot in November 2002.
On Friday, jurors unanimously agreed Mr Hook, who was born in Essex, had been the victim of a "deliberate" killing.
No child in the Bethlehem area is unaffected by the psychological trauma of war - bedwetting, nightmares, reluctance to sleep alone, aggression and withdrawal, are all too common afflictions here. These are, after all, the children whose infancy has coincided with the intifada. But those, like Eyal, near the worst conflict points, are the most troubled.The article explains what various donations can achieve:
* £25 pays for a teacher to attend a trauma counselling course to help children cope with the effects of war.And where they can be made:
* £77 buys all the training materials and equipment needed to train a teacher in the West Bank for a year.
* £100 equips a kindergarten in the West Bank with essential play and learning materials.
December 24, 2005
On December 19, the EU’s foreign policy Chief Javier Solana stated, “All the political parties have the right to be part of the elections, but there is a certain code of conduct that has to be accepted by everybody.” He continued, “It's very difficult that parties who do not condemn violence ... can be partners for the future.” Solana later warned that if the Palestinian Authority (PA) let Hamas run in the parliamentary elections, the EU could cut tens of millions of dollars of funding to the PA.The article goes on to ask why the condemnation is restricted to Hamas and not extended to the occupiers.
December 23, 2005
The trustees of Interpal, the UK-registered Palestinian relief charity, have today (22/12/2005) concluded a successful out-of-court settlement of libel proceedings brought against the Board of Deputies of British Jews over allegations published on the Board's website in September 2003....Part of the deal is that the Board of Deputies has to carry the following apology on its home page for 28 days starting from yesterday.
.....the Board thereafter spent over two years attempting to defend that description...
The precise terms of the settlement are to remain confidential at the insistence of the Board of Deputies.
The Board of Deputies and the UK-registered charity Interpal announce that they have reached an out-of-court settlement of libel proceedings relating to an item published by the Board on this website in September 2003. In the item, we referred to "terrorist organisations such as Hamas and Interpal". We would like to make it clear that we should not have described Interpal in this way and we regret the upset and distress our item caused.The case would have been heard by Judge Eady with a jury. Judge Eady presided over the Galloway v Telegraph Group case.
December 22, 2005
Israel has significantly escalated its campaign against Hamas's participation in next month's Palestinian legislative elections by threatening to prevent voters going to the polls in East Jerusalem.Though
Senior Israeli officials were at pains last night to stress that no final decision had been taken on balloting in East Jerusalem, while acknowledging a strong possibility that the threat would be implemented.The strong showing of Hamas in elections, and even in opinion polls has had zionists mostly in America justifying the killing of Palestinian civilians but this appears to be yet another example of the Israeli government putting the so-called Palestinian Authority in an impossible situation where they have to move against Hamas in order to prove themselves to Israel and yet if they do move against Hamas the PA will be weakened in the eyes of many Palestinians and Hamas will be strengthened.
But Israel is allowed to say who can and who cannot run in elections because it's the "only democracy in the Middle East."
December 21, 2005
He said the movie, which recounts the murder of 11 Israeli athletes by the Palestinian group Black September at the 1972 Munich Olympics, portrays that tragedy as an act of "brutal terrorism" with no humanizing of the perpetrators.The article continues
But Foxman - who pointed out that, unlike him, many of the critics hadn't seen the movie - said the Israelis are portrayed in human termsSo that's alright then.
December 19, 2005
For twenty years the Jewish Israeli journalist Israel Shamir has been living a double life as a Swede called Jöran Jermas. Official files show Shamir’s own picture and Siberian place and date of birth (11 June 1947) on the Swedish man’s passport. It’s not another of Israel (Adam) Shamir’s many pen names; it’s a completely different identity. None of this appears in the résumée promoted on his website as The Shamir Legend: so where does legend end and mythology begin?The article itself is by Manfred Ropschitz who is a journalist and broadcaster based in the UK. He's an anti-Zionist Jew, the son of a Polish Holocaust survivor and an active supporter of Palestinian rights since the late 1970’s.
He ends the article by posing the most apposite question:
One puzzle has been solved, but questions remain: "Who is "Israel Shamir"? Is he "Jöran Jermas"? Or are they both fictional? What about his other aliases, "Vassili Krasevsky" and "Robert David" (inter alia?)? More important still, whoever he is, what's his game?"Actually there is another question - do his many acolytes and defenders know of his double life?
Hat-tip Charlie Pottins.
The prime minister is extremely overweight, and doctors are recommending that he go on a diet. And, they say, he should get some rest.Now on the "no-rest-for-the-wicked" principle I might have to run with the headline Ariel Sharon dead at 78. We'll just have to wait and see.
December 18, 2005
If Alan Rickman's The Winter Guest stroked my face softly, My Name is Rachel Corrie, at the Royal Court Theatre, London, slapped it hard with the gauntlet he threw down, as Rachel crashed into my life swishing her ChapStick and with a fire in her belly. Asked what he'd say if Rachel, the 23-year-old American peace protester killed by an Israel bulldozer in the Gaza Strip on 16 March 2003, came back, Rickman told an interviewer: 'She isn't coming back; that's the point.' I saw the play twice: he was wrong. He brought her back for everyone who walked out into Sloane Square knowing she'd just challenged us to change our world.I don't know if I mentioned in an earlier post that when I went to see the play at the Royal Court, Ruby Wax sat in the row in front of me. She had previously withdrawn from a Zionist Federation bash following protests so perhaps she was/is on the turn against zionism or, at least, the occupation. So perhaps Rachel Corrie is still reaching people.
39, housing consultant, West Yorkshire
December 16, 2005
It is grotesque to imply, as Roland Rance does (Letters, December 15), that there is a moral equivalence between the Holocaust and the Naqba - as if extermination camps were to be found dotted around Israel. Tens of millions of refugees were created during the postwar period, only the Palestinian problem remains to be resolved. Israel of course bears considerable moral responsibility but a settlement is surely only possible after peace has been established.Now as a commentor to my previous post said Sidney Jacobs's " claim .... is only possible to make because of the truncated version of his letter the Guardian published."
Compare this to the treatment of Noam Chomsky and these little "mistakes" are starting to look deliberate. Someone suggested somewhere that Jonathan Freedland would be appalled by all this but having read his own misrepresentation of Finkelstein, I'm not so sure.
December 15, 2005
Holocaust denial is not respectable and in many countries it is even illegal. But denial of the naqba - the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948 - is all-too prevalent. As Freedland concludes: "The days of denial must end."And here's what Roland actually wrote:
Jews Against Zionism
Dear EditorThe editing wasn't censorship as such since other letters make similar points.
It is of course right to criticise Iranian President Ahmadinejad's holocaustdenial (The sickness bequeathed by the west to the Muslim world, Guardian 14 December 2005). The systematic murder by the nazi regime of millions of European Jews, and the attempt to eliminate the Jews from Europe, was a historic crime of immense dimensions, which should not be minimised or ignored. To do so actually plays into the hands of Israel's apologists. As Palestinian-American academic Joseph Massad noted in Al-Ahram last year, "All those in the Arab world who deny the Jewish holocaust are in my opinion Zionists".
Jonathan Freedland, however, ignores Ahmadinejad's corollary: "If we suppose it is true, our question for the Europeans is: is the killing of innocent Jewish people by Hitler the reason for their support to the occupiers of Jerusalem? If the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe -- like in Germany, Austria or other countries -- to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe. You offer part of Europe and we will support it."
The Palestinian people should not be punished for the crimes of European racists. Holocaust denial is not respectable, and in many countries it is even illegal. But denial of the naqba -- the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948 -- is all-too prevalent. As Freedland concludes, "the days of denial must end".
Jews Against Zionism
December 12, 2005
I don't think anti-Zionism is ant-semitic. Never have done. You might even say that some of my best friends are anti-Zionists. But I do think that making up conspiracy theories about shadowy cabals of Zionists out to control the world; using language like 'cockroaches', 'parasites' etc to describe Zionists, is a re-treading of archetypal anti-semitic doscourse, with the word Zionist inserted where Jew used to be.Now as it happens I thought that Linda was referring to MPAC but she wasn't, she was referring to some stuff at the Durban conference. Anyway, here's my response.
Are you referring to MPACUK? If so I don't think they actually make up conspiracy theories though many of them seem to believe a few and the imagery they have used whilst offensive to those of us who are well versed in European history is not so to those who are mostly first generation Brits (I believe from Pakistan). Rather than getting in their faces and accusing them of being "racist scum" I think a bit of engagement is quite helpful. Of course the zionists' propensity for exaggerating and fabricating anti-semitic incidents is no help here. And when the best that zionists can offer to explain America's largely uncritical diplomatic, military and financial support for Israel is to say that "Israel is the only democracy in the middle east" or even refer to the holocaust, then conspiracy theorists have an open field and the fact that zionists can get meetings banned with one phone call because of religious "intolerance" or some such has the same effect.I referred above to inaccuracy in the Harry's Place or Engage write ups. In one of them (maybe both) it is said that the only counter-argument to the panel came from the Harry's Place people and a heckler (that is three in total) and yet the first person to speak complained of MPAC's "parochialism" in only addressing Muslims and the second one complained that the MPAC speaker was "patronising". Also, as I said above, the speakers didn't all agree with each other. In particular Stephen Marks was critical of Alan Hart's book, which I would describe, from what little I have read, as rather eccentric.
I see from Harry's Place that people who think that ethnic cleansing is perfectly acceptable if the perpetrators are Jewish think that dehumanising imagery makes for "racist scum" if the subjects are zionists or Jews. This isn't mere hypocrisy, it's a deliberate distraction.
I think Stephen Marks got it right when he paraphrased The Life of Brian - he's (some MPAC chap) not anti-semitic, he's a very silly boy.
The Harry's Place (I'm not accusing you [that's Linda Grant] of being a Harry's Placer but it makes similar reading to Nick Cohen's ridiculous "anti-semitism" article and comments http://www.nickcohen.net/?p=13) and to the Engage site) contributors at the meeting castigated MPAC for having two anti-semitic articles one of which linked to David Duke. I actually phoned the woman who posted it and she had clearly never even heard of David Duke, she simply copied and pasted what, in her naivete, she believed was a straightforward anti-zionist article that someone had sent to her. They removed the offending articles and for that they were accused of dishonesty. It was said at the meeting (I think by me) that they had apologised for the offending pieces and that they had removed them because they were wrong but, feeling they were on a roll, one of the Harry's Placers then accused them of anti-semitism for referring to Cameron's victory as "Likud wins" as anti-semitic when it was just plain silly (as Stephen Marks said at the meeting to the embarrassment of the MPAC speaker). The "Likud Wins" headline was based on celebrations at the Conservative Friends of Israel for Cameron's victory.
I think at a time when Muslims are being told by ministers that they can expect disproportionate police attention and that a man can be shot several times in the head for looking like he might be a Muslim, principled anti-racists should be engaging with Muslims rather than waiting for them to put this or that foot wrong and then sneering at them and denouncing them when they do. I feel that, at the time of writing, MPAC can be engaged with and I hope I'm not wrong. Zionists, of course, will hope that I am wrong and they will actually want a Muslim group to be anti-semitic to justify the racist rule that zionists themselves support.
Incidentally, out of the three speakers, Stephen Marks got the most applause for his insights into history, his criticisms of the Alan Hart book and for his criticisms of some of MPAC's articles, in particular the propensity for conspiracy theories and grotesque imagery.
UPDATE: see this post on Indigo Jo Blogs
And surely, the most important concern for a "Public Affairs Committee" is its own public affairs; if they cannot look after their own, how can they look after anyone else's? One might remember the collapse of Sophie Rhys-Jones' PR career after she told Mazhar Mahmood (in his fake-sheikh persona) what she thought of a whole load of royals and other public figures. I have never believed that MPAC are a racist or malicious organisation, but the nuances of anti-Zionist versus anti-Semite will be lost on any observer who reads continual accusations of Zionist conspiracies whenever the author experiences some difficulty or other. Unless you have evidence that there is a Jewish conspiracy, don't talk of one! And "evidence" does not mean that something did not go your way! You need to understand your audience, and in this country the audience may well be sympathetic to Palestinian rights issues, but they also know that conspiracy theories commonly emanate from malicious or unhinged people, and commonly results in one's argument being dismissed out of hand as the howlings of a moonbat. This is, in fact, how MPACUK are viewed by a fair number of observers at the moment.
Meantime have a look at these: Harry's Place, Engage and MPAC UK.
December 11, 2005
Moustache Pete: Israel's New Labor CommissarDavid Shasha is an interesting chap. He is enormously critical of Israel and yet he is no anti-zionist and he even finds the Chief Rabbi, Jonothan Sacks, an enlightened man. A man of catholic (well almost) tastes.
By: Steven Plaut
The recent victory of Amir Peretz as head of Israel's Labor Party has exposed the fault lines in the Sephardic community here in America. For so many years Sephardim have moved to the Right and have adopted a racism and reactionary posture that mirrors what they have been taught by their Ashkenazi overlords.
In most cases, Sephardim march to Ashkenazi drummer and will even attack with no mercy those Sephardim, such as the present writer, whose perspective seeks Sephardi liberation and self-empowerment.
Amir Peretz truly understands the problems that Sephardim face a lot better than Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu - or even Steven Plaut.
Mr. Plaut, amazingly a professor at an Israeli university, spouts the sort of racist drivel that is standard in the bottom-of-the-barrel world of The Jewish Press. What is even more amazing is that many Sephardim who read his arrogant and racist and deeply ignorant tripe will follow the argument and willingly demonize one of the first truly Sephardic leaders in Israel - a state that has done more to degrade the Sephardim and their cultural traditions than any entity in our long and illustrious history.
The article recapitulates many of the racist tropes of the hoary Zionist discourse: The authoritarian and barbaric Sephardi; the lazy Negro; the Sephardi as ignoramus; the Sephardi as hopelessly out of touch with what it truly means to be JEWISH.
That none of this racist drivel is actually true is not important - the key to this form of Ashkenazi discourse has always been to demonize Sephardi leaders by any means necessary while hiding behind the protective flag of Ashkenazi supremacy.
Plaut is effectively the equivalent of David Duke or some neo-Nazi in his rejection of Sephardic humanity and the legitimacy of a Moroccan to lead Israel.
That this vicious article will be rubber-stamped and forwarded by many Sephardim is a sign that we have lost any sense of who we are and what we stand for. We have simply become Ashkenazim and should understand what it has led - and what it will continue to lead - to. A people with no pride in who they are will be filled with the ignorance and dysfunctionalism that now plagues the Sephardim.
December 09, 2005
I was surprised to read that the Chief Rabbi has asked Christian Aid if he may vet potentially controversial statements on the Middle East.Here's the issue that prompted the above response.
I know little about Christian Aid, but it will certainly have a legitimate concern for what happens in Bethlehem. A recent Early Day Motion in the Commons referred to "the devastating impact" the combined eff-ect of the separation barrier and roadblocks was having on the city.
Bethlehem’s economy has been all but ruined, families divided and land seized. Is Christian Aid to know about such things and remain silent?
Admirable as it is that Christian Aid is anxious not to offend the Jewish community none of us can ever tolerate gratuitous offence, it is not clear from what the Chief Rabbi would consider offensive in this context. A criticism of Israeli injustice might be accurate and honest. Our shame would be if we were to think the criticism more offensive than the behaviour that provoked it.
December 07, 2005
December 03, 2005
the boat had entered prohibited waters and ignored an order to stop, and when the Israeli forces fired warning shots in the air, Palestinians on the boat fired on the navy ship. The navy said its vessel was then also fired on from the shore.According to a Palestinian source:
the Palestinian killed in the incident had been on a fishing trip. Palestinian security sources maintained that the boat had been in an area where fishing was permitted, and that the navy fired on the boat and on another boat without provocation.Ahh, the miracle of Israel's survival in a sea of hatred.
"Child of Bethelehem" Christmas 2004 appeal, featuring a seven-year-old Palestinian girl wounded by an IDF [Orwellian for Israeli army] bullet, which the Board of Deputies condemned as "completely unbalanced" and demonstrating an obsession with Israel.How dare Christians have an obsession with the Holy Land? Anyway, if you want to ask Christian Aid for further details of this collaboration with the supporters of racist war criminals you can write to Christian Aid here.
December 01, 2005
People want to know what I, a Jewish guy, think about Israel.Not under Israel's racist laws they don't.
I want to make something clear. I live in New York. I am from New York. I do not have a right and do not want a right to "return" to Israel. I never was there. I want to skip all the arguments about whether or not today's Jews descend from the people of the Old Testament. I don't care if I do or I don't. It doesn't matter nor should it.
The territory that is known to many as Palestine had been peopled by Arabic speaking folks for centuries, mainly they were Muslims, many were Christians, and a few of them Jewish too. Most of those people were kicked out of their lands and homes in 1948 by people like David Ben Gurion and Ariel Sharon and more were expelled in 1967. They are the ones who have a right to return, not me.
In his statement to reporters at his Tel Aviv office, Peres said that the current political set-up could not lead to Mideast peace, and a new team was needed.See this piece in antiwar.com titled The UN from Qana to Jenin to see what we can expect from the continued Sharon-Peres axis.
"I believe the most qualified person to head this coalition, based on the test of experience, is Arik Sharon," he said, referring to Sharon by his nickname.
November 30, 2005
The 3,000 or so residents of Bir al Mshash are distinctly unmoved by the prospect of Israeli elections next March. The villagers, who like all their fellow Bedouin in the Negev desert are Israeli citizens, many of whom serve in the Israeli army, normally vote Labour. "I don't want to vote for any party now," says Ibrahim Abu Speyt, 48. "I want to boycott the elections."So why are they being moved?
The reason isn't hard to find. Two weeks ago, a 50-year-old problem came to a head for Bir al Mshash. Israeli police and ministry of interior officials arrived to put formal notices on 12 houses slated for demolition in what the villagers believe is the first of a multi-stage operation in which they will be moved off the land they regard as having been theirs since Ottoman times.
much of the Negev has long been earmarked for development for and by Jewish immigrants; more than 40 years ago the Israeli military leader and politician Moshe Dayan summed up with clarity the "sharp transition" he envisaged: "We must turn the Bedouin into urban labourers ... It means that the Bedouin will no longer live on his land with his flocks but will become an urbanite who comes home in the afternoon and puts his slippers on. His children will get used to a father who wears pants, without a dagger, and who does not pick out their nits in public. They will go to school, their hair combed and parted. This will be a revolution, but it can be achieved in two generations. Not by coercion but with direction from the state. This reality that is known as the Bedouin will disappear."Ah, but Moshe Dayan is dead now. The zionists are crowing that Israel has moved to the left. This ethnic cleansing of Israelis. shows how far Israel has moved to the left.
According to the logic that has been guiding attorneys general (Elyakim Rubinstein and Menachem Mazuz) for several years now, Arab MKs are not allowed to do what journalists, arms dealers and exporters are allowed to do - namely, maintain contact with "an enemy country." At present, MK Azmi Bishara is being tried for visiting Syria and Lebanon, and making declarations considered to be incitement there, according to the prosecution. Moreover, Mazuz is considering filing an indictment for "entry to an enemy country" against MK Ahmed Tibi, and inviting MK Taleb al-Sana, who recently visited Damascus, to a police investigation.So much for democracy but what about peace?
A country that claims that it is pursuing peace not only should not punish such activity, but should welcome it and encourage any contact among the nations. The attorney general and the Shin Bet should stop the campaign against the Arab MKs, cancel the lawsuit against Azmi Bishara, and refrain in the future from indicting any MK who travels in similar circumstances, in the context of fulfilling his public mission.It's lucky that Israel now has a centrist Prime Minister.
November 29, 2005
I was surprised last week when I saw your picture in Ha'aretz (November 15, 2005), which was taken near the Wall, just outside of our town. I know that many Palestinians would have loved to welcome you in their homes in Bethlehem, but you did not come to visit us. Perhaps you simply did not have time to stop by and greet us, the people who would be the other half of any agreement which would allow Israel to live in security and peace. Or perhaps while you had Bethlehem in the background of the publicity photos, you had certain of your constituents in New York in the forefront of your mind. In one month s time you will be singing O Little Town of Bethlehem. I wonder how you will sing it this year, having declared your support for transforming our little town into a big, open-air prison, leaving no green space for our children to play or our olive trees to grow?Of course by the time Hilary sings her carols the little town will have got a bit littler.
Confronted by a demoralized army on the battlefield and by growing opposition at home, in 1969 the Nixon administration started withdrawing most of its troops in order to facilitate what it called the "Vietnamization" of the country. The rest of America's forces were pulled out after Secretary of State Henry Kissinger negotiated a "peace settlement" with Hanoi. As the troops withdrew, they left most of their equipment to the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam — which just two years later, after the fall of Saigon, lost all of it to the communists.It's a remarkable article and it goes into a lot of detail about how difficult the essential withdrawal will be, right down to the fact that if the retreat is too hasty much costly, too costly, equipment will fall into the hands of the resistance.
Clearly this is not a pleasant model to follow, but no other alternative appears in sight.
simply abandoning equipment or handing it over to the Iraqis, as was done in Vietnam, is simply not an option. And even if it were, the new Iraqi army is by all accounts much weaker, less skilled, less cohesive and less loyal to its government than even the South Vietnamese army was. For all intents and purposes, Washington might just as well hand over its weapons directly to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.Ok, that's enough cuts on the war itself. Let's skip to the end:
For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men. If convicted, they'll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.Ahh, I love a happy ending.
Tip: JS Narins
November 28, 2005
UK PREMIERE SCREENING OF "CYCLE OF PEACE"For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday 5th December 2005 7.00pm
The Old Cinema, 309 Regent Street, London W1
(Nearest tube: Oxford Circus)
Narrated by acclaimed actress Julie Christie, this feature length film follows the amazing story of the "Peace Cycle".
In the summer of 2004, twenty five cyclists of various nationalities and faiths embarked on an epic 2,700 mile bike ride from London to Jerusalem in the name of justice and peace.
The film captures the emotional six week journey through 44 major cities in Europe and the West Bank – from the torrential thunderstorms in France and over the daunting Alps, across the length of Italy and the scorched hills of Greece, through the blistering heat of the Jordan valley and finally ....to an astonishing reception by the Palestinian people!
The decision to maintain the disciplinary proceedures against Barbara Plett and even to go as far as to establish a commission of inquiry into the way the BBC covers the Palestine question (BBC bias complaint upheld, November 26) is one of many manifestations of the grotesque phase we have all reached in this troublsome part of the world.There's another letter "balancing" out the first but I don't want to reproduce it here. You'll have to go here. If you want to know what all the fuss about Plett was for then go here or if you want to see more about the BBC's grovelling to the racist war criminals of Israel then go here.
Had it not been for Ms Plett's balanced and informative reports, it would have been difficult to distinguish between the BBC coverage of the occupied territories and that of the Israeli Broadcasting Authority. Ms Platt admirably tried for many months to "balance" a simple imbalanced reality: of Israeli occupation and Palestinian victimisation. The atrocities on the ground - the killing of children and women and the blowing up of houses - warranted an emotional response as it is, and it was only natural that once, and only once, this would show in her reports (as many BBC reporters allowed themselves a show of emotion when reporting the deaths of George Best or Princess Diana). Only outside pressure could have produced such an ill-thought procedure and action.
As for the inquiry commission, one can save taxpayers' money. The cable companies in Israel come now and then under official pressure for allowing free access to international TV news stations. They would like to remove CNN and al-Jazeera. There are no complaints in Israel about Fox news (representing the US neoconservative point of view) and the BBC. The BBC is indeed a pro-Israeli news agency and is going to remain so if its directors silence the professional reporting of Barbara Plett.
November 27, 2005
Picture a necrotic, sinister, burned-out wasteland -- a vast, dull mound of rubble punctuated by moments of bleak emptiness and, occasionally, smoking. Those of you whose imaginations alighted instantly on the Late Christopher Hitchens have only yourselves to blame, for I was referring to Fallujah.And here's how it finishes: .
The sort of degraded, hallucinatory nonsense that this poetaster of genocide exudes these days ought not to be exposed to daylight, never mind offered up as intellectual sustenance for a class of powerful men. Hitchens can't change, of course, and he will just have to live with the thought of what a hideous figure he has become. Or, more probably, die with it, perhaps suffocating on the impacted faecal matter that is perpetually welling up inside him. Let's just say that when that tumescent cadaver finally explodes, the left should be grateful to think of what new friends he will surprise.And the intervening 5,221 words are worth a read too.
Interesting that Sharon's new party Kadima means "forward" in Hebrew.This of course represents a counter-argument against what appears to be a concerted drive in the UK media to portray Sharon as a born-again peacemaker.
In Arabic Kadima means "old" and in colloquial Palestinian the word "Kadima" is commonly used to describe an old joke. Coming back from Jordan last week, the general feeling, also reflected in the Arabic press, is that Sharon's new party and political games will result in no change or, if anything, a change to the worse. A summary of such feelings is in a recent cartoon by the leading Arab cartoonist Hajjaj.
November 24, 2005
Al Jazeera staff have organised a symbolic gathering outside their offices both inYes do that. Check back for pictures and updates.
and around the world on Thursday 24th of November 2005 at 2pm Doha time (GMT+3). Doha
Check back for pictures and updates.
We will bedemanding that the truth aboutDaily Mirror report to be revealed and that the Britsh and American governments set the record straight about the revelation made in the paper. If you haven't heard yet, President Bush discussed bombing Al Jazeera's Headquarters in
I don't think it's surprising that Al-Jazeera carried the story in a neutral way. It's true that if, for example, CNN, were to be targetted in this way, they would get pretty frenzied. Thats because everyone would know that if something like this was exposed, it wouldn't happen again. That's not the case for Arab journalists. The US has been killing reporting staff from Al Jazeera for years now (as well as getting its allies to trump up charges against them and have them locked up) and the extent of global concern has been restricted to a few peripheral documentries late at night.The Guardian seems to be pursuing this story more than other UK papers, on its front page and in its editorial column.
Of course if US public opinion moves (which it is in the process of doing of course) there might be a change. For the moment however Al Jazeera know that they are targets and they don't want more of their staff murdered. Hence the neutral careful reporting.
Thats the world we live in. Thats what the President of the United States and his vice President of torture represent in the world today. If you're an Arab journalist and you disagree they kill you. If you're a western journalist they just go through your tax returns. The North-South divide.
November 23, 2005
Under the front-page headline "Bush plot to bomb his ally", the Daily Mirror reported that the US president last year planned to attack the Arabic television station al-Jazeera, which has its headquarters in Doha, the capital of Qatar, where US and British bombers were based.The most detail I could find on this is in the South African Dispatch online.
In April 2003, an al-Jazeera journalist died when its Baghdad office was struck during a US bombing campaign. Nabil Khoury, a US State Department spokesperson said the strike was a mistake.Enduring freedom indeed.
In November 2002, al-Jazeera's office in Kabul, Afghanistan, was destroyed by a US missile. None of the crew was at the office at the time. US officials said they believed the target was a terrorist site and did not know it was Al-Jazeera's office.
Peter Kilfoyle, former defence minister in Blair's government, called for the document to be made public. "I think they ought to clarify what exactly happened on this occasion," he said.
"If it was the case that President Bush wanted to bomb al-Jazeera in what is after all a friendly country, it speaks volumes and it raises questions about subsequent attacks that took place on the press that wasn't embedded with coalition forces."
November 22, 2005
these elements in the Holocaust Industry’s juggling act are identified...:The book's still worth reading in full.
* The Holocaust uniqueness thesis, which states that Nazi genocide and the death of six million Jews cannot be compared to other mass slaughters. This sacralization of the Holocaust, with the “never again” mantra morphing into “if ever again; not us alone” mentality, allows Israel to function as a “crazy state” (a term of art within the international relations literature suggesting how Israel can blackmail the international community with promises of cataclysmic violence if crossed or denied military or diplomatic support) as the only country in the region possessing the nuclear weapons capable of destroying the region and most of the world;
* Zionism equal Judaism. In fact, Zionism suppressed diversity of expression among Jews in the wake of the Holocaust;
* Anti-Semitism is irrational and eternal—consequently there can never be a justifiable expression of animus toward Zionist Jews, no matter how reprehensible are Israeli actions;
* Zionist Jews can not be condemned because everything Jews do, according to philo-Semitic doctrine, is beyond reproach;
* To reproach Zionist Jews in their support of Israel is to traffic in anti-Semitic stereotypes;
* Israel, as the homeland of the Jewish people (although many Jews refuse to allow Israel to speak in their name), is always justified in what it does—no matter how horrific the consequences may be for others;
* Israel is a democracy even though its right of return only applies to Jews and is governed by racist landholding laws;
* Israeli occupation of the West Bank, and until recently, Gaza, were justified by security measures and apparent biblical warrant—despite being in contravention of international law, particularly U.N. Resolution 242, which requires Israel to withdraw to the June 1967 Green Line, along with minor territorial adjustments;
* Despite the uniform judgments of human rights organizations that Israel employs torture against Palestinian detainees, uses illegal detention, and the illegal demolition of Palestinian homes in occupied territory, Israel’s apologists undermine international law because it does not conform to Israel’s or the United States’ wishes for the Middle East region;
* Israel can be described as a model democracy because it maintains respect for the rule of law which no other country facing similar threats has.
November 21, 2005
Likud officials said the new party would be a "true centrist party, from every perspective: political, economic and social."Sharon the centrist? Wonderful!
November 20, 2005
The academic boycott has been controversial to say the least - and the debate has been deeply felt, acrimonious and, occasionally, bordering on the threatening. In Birmingham, a significant proportion of the audience appeared to have come to voice their opposition to Pappe himself, as opposed to the boycott or any other issue. Another smaller group, including myself, came with serious suspicions about the project of Engage. Although both speakers presented thoughtful if controversial accounts of their positions, I am not so sure that the audience felt that we were engaged in a debate.And on the debate itself:
Hirsch stated clearly that he opposed the occupation of Palestine and supported the rights of Palestinians - but that he did not agree with the tactic of boycott, which he considered to be counterproductive and playing into the hands of anti-semites. Pappe spoke of the atrocities against Palestinians that he had witnessed and the reasons why he believed that only the pressure of international sanctions could change opinion in Israel.I just don't think debate with supporters of a triad of moral and political impairments, ie, Israel with its colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and racist laws is possible. They lie, they distort and they attack individuals. That's it. The discussion needs to be on how to expose Israel for what it is and how to establish boycotts as a means of isolating Israel.
However, although it would seem that there was some common ground politically between these two positions, the discussion from the floor was not about how best to support Palestinians. A large number of contributions attacked Ilan Pappe for suggesting that Palestinians were suffering and needing support - because, it was alleged, this was a one-sided and violent view. Pro-Palestinian speakers felt they had to answer the allegation of anti-semitism - understandably, as that was how the debate was set up. One member of the audience expressed his regret that the discussion could not be conducted in a manner more in keeping with the dialogic traditions of Judaic scholarship. I clapped him - but not many others did.
UPDATE: I have to hand it to David Hirsh for posting Brian Robinson's report on the Birmingam debate.
At the very end, after Pappe's really quite brilliant - and emotionally highly appropriate, no dry ivory tower detached academic he - summing up (he spoke last) I'd felt he'd been given such an unfair time of it that I stood up from my seat in the 5th row and shouted out "Bravo Ilan"!) ... I went up to the platform afterwards - cos I've corresponded with both of them on and off for some time. I told David Hirsh that I thought these were appallingly difficult human problems, reminding both him and Ilan how difficult I'd found it to make up my mind on the concept of boycotting academia, but having thought a lot more about it, I was now definitely on Pappe's side ... He laughed and said that I'd be back in his camp in 2 months. But I really don't think he's right. I don't like being harrangued, I don't like false accusations of antisemitism (they act as smokescreen apologetics, they're exaggerated opportunistically, they're counterproductive) and I don't like ad hominem slurs.But please read the whole piece in full. Go here and scroll down.
We have been trying to train the Iraqis in human rights. We’ve set up conferences for the Iraqis on human rights with all the NGOs. We’ve been trying our very best to get human rights into the Iraqi psyche. We want to help them I think.She thinks? She's not sure. But anyway, have a look at the Tomb, especially the first comment where a guy doesn't see what's so racist about requiring British occupation forces to drum human rights into the "Iraqi psyche".
"We cannot forget that when Hitler came to power in 1933, one of the first things that he did was ban gay organizations," Yoffie said. "Yes, we can disagree about gay marriage. But there is no excuse for hateful rhetoric that fuels the hellfires of anti-gay bigotry."It's nice that anyone would come out against the increasing Christianisation of the American state but this is the second time, that I know of, that a Jewish American leader has come out against the conflation of religion and politics in America whilst refraining from criticising the Judaisation of Palestine. I've had a quick read about Rabbi Yoffie and he seems to be a bit anti-occupation but he happily describes Israel as a democracy in a way in which he would never describe America if America was subject to the same kind of rule that Palestine, ok Israel, now is.
November 19, 2005
David Aaronovitch (JC, November 11) denies being Islamophobic and asserts that our organisation consists of “idiots” who have never read his work. Actually, we’ve been avid readers for years. For instance, back in 2003 Mr Aaronovitch cited the example of Muslim women in hijab as people who engender “my greatest feelings of discomfort” (Guardian, June 17, 2003).More later, or more likely, tomorrow.
There were more than undertones of Islamophobia in his opposition to the socialist-Muslim anti-war alliance. He calls anti-war campaigner and Muslim convert Yvonne Ridley “the woman who liked the burka so much she bought the religion,” sarcastically stereotyping the whole religion with practices enforced by the Taliban (Guardian, June 5, 2004).
Mr Aaronovitch’s anti-Islamic prejudice can be demonstrated by contrasting his response to the Iranian earthquake with his reaction to the New Orleans hurricane. He asserts that the American authorities are probably doing lots that the media can’t see and the disaster “only tells us how vulnerable we are” (Times, September 3, 2005) — whereas the Bam earthquake tells us how incompetent and corrupt the Iranians are (Guardian, December 30, 2003).
We agree with Mr Aaronovitch that “what I have said and written speaks for itself.” Need we go on?
Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK
November 17, 2005
MPs yesterday launched an all-party inquiry into anti-semitism amid fears that incidents have reached record levels.Actually the police disputed the idea of a rise to that level, saying that the figure had been fairly constant but that the Community Security Trust had not maintained the figures as accurately as the police had in the years prior to 2004. Then we have to consider the fact that anti-zionist slogans are considered anti-semitic by zionists and we might also like to consider the fact that Ken Livingstone's run in with Olver Finegold of the Evening Standard will have been recorded as an anti-semitic incident. Actually we will also have to bear in mind that both Rod Liddle and Melanie Philips have both gone on record to say that anti-capitalism is displaced anti-semitism.
So with this ever-widening definition of anti-semitism, our MPs should be quite busy for a while.
The committee requires written submissions by December 30. A report will be published next spring.I shouldn't prejudge but I bet the report is complete nonsense.
Principal among these was a statement by Ms Brockes that in referring to atrocities committed at Srebrenica during the Bosnian war he had placed the word "massacre" in quotation marks. This suggested, particularly when taken with other comments by Ms Brockes, that Prof Chomsky considered the word inappropriate or that he had denied that there had been a massacre. Prof Chomsky has been obliged to point out that he has never said or believed any such thing. The Guardian has no evidence whatsoever to the contrary and retracts the statement with an unreserved apology to Prof Chomsky.Now then, now then, but look it gets worse:
The headline used on the interview, about which Prof Chomsky also complained, added to the misleading impression given by the treatment of the word massacre. It read: Q: Do you regret supporting those who say the Srebrenica massacre was exaggerated? A: My only regret is that I didn't do it strongly enough.Wowee!
No question in that form was put to Prof Chomsky
Now here's a tricky bit:
Ms Brockes's misrepresentation of Prof Chomsky's views on Srebrenica stemmed from her misunderstanding of his support for Ms Johnstone. Neither Prof Chomsky nor Ms Johnstone have ever denied the fact of the massacre.So hang on a sec. She misunderstood Ms Johnstone and Chomsky's support for Johnstone and felt that what she believed of Chomsky and Johnstone gave her carte blanche to fake interview questions and answers.
And here's another tricky bit:
Prof Chomsky has also objected to the juxtaposition of a letter from him, published two days after the interview appeared, with a letter from a survivor of Omarska. While he has every sympathy with the writer, Prof Chomsky believes that publication was designed to undermine his position, and addressed a part of the interview which was false.Well the Guardian has now removed the interview from the Guardian Unlimited website but not the two letters, though it no longer juxtaposes them. It also still carries an article by Norman Johnson that draws quite heavily on the Brockes "interview", that's as in, it was so not an interview.
November 16, 2005
PSC and BRICUPPlease note the disclaimer by Pappe's name.
Palestine Israel; Peace or Apartheid?
Wednesday 16 November 2005, 5:30pm
Room 101, University of London Union Malet Street London
Dr Ilan Pappe, University of Haifa (in a personal capacity)
Betty Hunter, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK
Dr Nur Masalha, University of Surrey
Organised by BRICUP and PSC
Dr Pappe and Dr Masalha are two of the world’s most prolific historians of Palestine-Israel: between them they have authored and edited over 25 books (in English, Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish and Italian).
Dr Pappe’s books include: Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1948-51 (1988); Jordan in the Middle East (1994); The Making of the Arab-Israel Conflict, 1947-51 (1994); The Israel/Palestine Question (Rewriting Histories) (1999); A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples (2004).
Dr Masalha’s books include: Expulsion of the Palestinians (1992); Is Israel the State of All its Citizens and Refugees? (1993); A Land Without a People (1997); Imperial Israel and the Palestinians (2000); The Politics of Denial (2003); Catastrophe Remembered: Palestine, Israel and the Internal Refugees, Essays in Memory of Edward W. Said (2005).
November 15, 2005
Regarding the myth, Nabulsi feels that only the negative aspects took root.
The myth instead gave rise to Ariel Sharon, as the Israeli public felt only a Sharon could deal with that mythical monster Arafat. It gave the neoconservative hawks in the US administration the opportunity to redesign the Middle East in harmony with the views of their ally Israel, and for the British government to absolve themselves from doing anything whatsoever. Instead they watched, some cheering, while a democratically elected leader was imprisoned for years and slowly killed, without apparently feeling any moral queasiness or shame. This myth made all that possible. Arafat the obstacle.She believes that a positive myth will replace the negative one:
What of the alternative myth of Arafat - the one that will eventually triumph in the history books? The one that will include just a fraction of the epic stories about him that most Palestinians grew up with? Arafat, for all his flaws and mistakes, stood for a just peace, based on a historic compromise. He believed in international law, in a two-state solution based on implementing UN resolution 242, and for a just settlement for refugees, the main victims of this conflict. His legitimacy came from more than the fact that he was democratically elected: he performed a historic purpose in the life of Palestinians, a purpose as yet unfulfilled. By representing his people's general will and collective spirit, he symbolised the absent state's sovereign institutions.Ha'aretz reports that the Palestinians are seeking a UN inquiry into Arafat's death, arguing that he was poisoned by Israel.
November 14, 2005
Clinton's version of this story is not new or incontrovertible, as other participants have argued that Israel's offer at Camp David in 2000 was neither as generous or as final has been painted. But then there is Arafat's response to Sharon's subsequent provocation: a second intifada that destroyed Oslo in a bloody welter of Palestinian suicide bombings and "targeted killings" by Israel. Yet this blame game works both ways: why does the US refuse to pressure Israel, even for its own good? Does Israel really expect to be able to maintain its biggest settlements in the West Bank, isolate Jerusalem and reduce a future Palestinian state to unviable and disconnected Bantustans?Not only that, it is refuted by Barak himself.
On the eve of his departure for the summit, Barak announced five "Red Lines", which he would not cross under any circumstances. Among them: Israeli sovereignty over the entire city of Jerusalem, No return to the 1967 border, Keeping 80% of the settlers were they are, No return of a single� refugee to Israel. Afterwards he softened some of these stands, but not enough to come anywhere near an agreement.Anyway the Guardian then goes and spoils it by invoking Dennis Ross, a former CEO of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Bill Clinton's, hardly impartial, special envoy to the "peace" process, thus:
And Dennis Ross, a veteran American negotiator, is right to say that Washington needs to do more. Condoleezza Rice has not yet managed to correct the impression that George Bush will always acquiesce in whatever new facts Sharon has created on the ground.Now Bill Clinton could have used this occasion simply to praise his chaver, Rabin, in general terms, but he chose to lie for Barak instead. It doesn't bode well for any change in direction of American Middle East policy any time soon.
November 13, 2005
It says something about the stubbornness of Jerusalem's coffee drinkers that Starbucks has, not for want of trying, totally failed to penetrate the city. Howard Schulz, chairman of that most global of companies, is well known for his passionately pro-Israel views. But this has cut no ice with Israelis in Jewish West Jerusalem. In the past 15 years or so - after a long, bleak period when Nescafé and a muddy concoction that constituted the Israeli version of Turkish coffee were all that was available - the city has spawned an excellent home-grown espresso bar culture. In a short stretch of Emek Refaim, the main street of the German colony, there are half a dozen first-rate cafés, each with its own distinctive character. Clients frequently spend the entire morning there working on their laptops. One, Aroma, is even open on Saturdays, when it is always packed. (My favourite in East Jerusalem is the elegant El Dorado, which gives you a chocolate with your Arabic coffee or espresso and where the orange juice is always freshly squeezed.) Who needs Starbucks?Who needs Starbucks indeed?
November 11, 2005
Dave G (rendered daveg on Haloscan)
His focus on the "peace thing" this is very interesting, and refreshing.And Hulkagaard quoting the Jerusalem Post:
But Peretz's image was not only due to his background. Over the years, he had become a divisive figure. His outspoken views were a factor, not only on matters such as minimum wages and privatization, but also on security issues. He positioned himself at the most radical edge of Labor, supporting a Palestinian state 20 years ago, when it was still a dirty word.And I suppose his proposed "disengagement" from Sharon's government is still more cause for a little optimism.
20 years ago -- not bad.
November 10, 2005
Here's Yediot Ahranot in an article headed A Moroccan to head Labor?:
The truth must told: Our Ashkenazi brothers in the Labor Party can't stomach the thought that a dark-skinned Moroccan, with a thick mustache to boot, could possibly lead the party.Isn't it wonderful that a mainstream, right of centre Israeli paper, can be so in tune with the issue that is racism within Israeli Jewish society?
But don't expect much to change. Here's Ha'aretz:
The new Labor chairman emphasized this move is a direct continuation of Rabin's political heritage: "I came today to make a vow to Rabin, once again, that I intend to do everything I can to continue his way, I intend to do everything I can so that [Rabin's] assassin would know he failed to murder peace."Uh oh. Cue the third intifada.
In the biggest reverse for a government on a whipped vote since James Callaghan's administration, Mr Blair was defeated comprehensively by 322 to 291, with 49 Labour backbenchers, including 11 former ministers, defying a three-line whip. Thirteen others abstainedEven the Unioists, hardly noted for taking a principled stand against repression, deserted Tony Blair:
Mr Blair's position weakened during the day when he discovered that the nine Democratic Unionist MPs were going to vote against the government, angry at a separate bill published yesterday giving an amnesty for terrorist on the run in Northern Ireland. The forecast revolt of Conservative dissidents evaporated, leaving Mr Blair hoping that his basic appeal to loyalty would save him. But the rebellion spread beyond the usual suspects.A couple of years ago, Richard Ingrams in the Observer, said that Blair will manufacture an excuse to resign to appear as a man of principle before the lies surrounding the war on Iraq catch up on him. Perhaps this 90 day detention proposal is that excuse. Here's hoping.
November 09, 2005
Limor Livnat has been threatening to sue Ha'aretz for its reporting on this issue: "Haaretz will have to have a long conversation with my lawyers," the minister warned in an interview yesterday with Israel Radio. She said that she had nothing to do with the leap in Education Ministry allocations to Livnat senior's association.There are also allegations regarding her dealings with her husband's company. So naches. all round!
"Do you know what Haaretz's headline says? `Minister Livnat signed an amendment.' Did I sign an amendment? I don't sign amendments. Ministers don't make amendments," she asserted, accusing Haaretz reporter Ayelet Fishbein of "personal persecution."
However, a look in the Israel Official Gazette (Reshumot) of July 30, 2002, and on the Justice Ministry Web site shows that Livnat did indeed sign the amendment that enabled a quadrupling of the financial support for her mother's association.
November 06, 2005
Before the handshake on the White House lawn, before the Nobel Prize and before the murder, when Palestinians were asked about Rabin, this is what they remember: One thinks of his hands, scarred by soldiers' beatings; another remembers a friend who flitted between life and death in the hospital for 12 days, after he was beaten by soldiers who caught him drawing a slogan on a wall during a curfew. Yet another remembers the Al-Amari refugee camp; during the first intifada, all its young men were hopping on crutches or were in casts because they had thrown stones at soldiers, who in turn chased after them and carried out Rabin's order.Telling it how it is.