January 31, 2005

Fahima back to jail

According to Ha'aretz:

Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein ruled Sunday afternoon that pro-Palestinian activist Tali Fahima will remain in custody until the end of legal procedings against her.

In other words she'll go to jail until she's put in jail.

Annointing the occupation

Here's an interesting article on the elections in Iraq. It's by Salim Lone, who worked for the UN in Iraq before his boss was killed there in a bombing. The whole article's worth a read but try this if you;re in a hurry:

The millions of Iraqis, as well as the UN electoral team and the Iraqi election commission staff, who did participate in the process despite the grave risk, deserve our respect. But it was a risk taken in vain. The election was illegitimate, and cannot resolve the rampant insecurity resulting from the occupation. The only way to stop the destruction of Iraq is to end the occupation and enfranchise the Sunnis, who are leading the resistance because they see the US as systematically excluding them from the role they deserve to play in Iraq.

Lenni Brenner on Zionism and the holocaust

Goodness me, learning all the time. According to this article by Lenni Brenner, Sharon came from a Jabotinsky loving family, joined Labour then Likud, and now he's with (though not in) Labour again. I always thought he had a Labour background and joined (indeed founded) Likud thereby showing that left and right zionists are both as bad as each other. It now turns out, they're twice as bad as each other.

Anyway the article details Lenni Brenner's response to an article by Moshe Arens, in the New York Sun, seeking to rehabilitate the Zionist revisionists of holocaust Europe. The article by Arens is in the link above.

Moshe Arens' 4/18 "Warsaw Ghetto - The Debt of Truth" condemns the refusal of the Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa, the Socialist-Zionist, Stalinist and Bundist underground, to unite with Betar's Zydowski Zwiazek Wojskowi in their final battle. "ZOB considered Betar to be a semi-fascist movement."

He blames this on "fratricidal animosity ... between the Socialist Zionist parties and the Revisionist Zionist Party, headed by Zeev Jabotinsky." But all ideologies, Jewish or gentile, saw classic Revisionism as fascist.

Jabotinsky loved pre-Mussolini Italy and condemned him as a "head buffalo." However, he grasped that Britain wasn't going to set up a Zionist state, and wished for Rome as a substitute Mandatory. In New York's 4/11/35 Jewish Daily Bulletin, he implored readers to stop using "'Fascism' as a cuss word." It was

"the official doctrine of ... one of those countries where Jews enjoy full equality.... It is very unwise to insist on antagonizing one of them by turning to abuse a term and an idea which is so highly cherished." Indeed, "the Permanent Mandates Commission which supervises Palestinian affairs has an Italian chairman .... Responsible leaders ought to take care."

The 3/36 issue of Revisionism's L'Idea Sionistica reported the establishment of a Betar squadron at Mussolini's naval academy:

A triple chant ordered by the squad's commanding officer -- 'Viva L'Italia!, Viva IL Re!, Viva IL Duce!' resounded .... This year there are 49 cadets .... The majority are university students and 30 of them belong to the GUF. (Gioventù Universitaria Fascista - University Fascist Youth- LB)

London's 6/12/36 World Jewry reported an interview with Wolfgang von Weisl, Revisionism's financial director: "He, personally, was a supporter of Fascism, and he rejoiced at the victory of Fascist Italy in Abyssinia as a triumph of the White races against the Black."

Mussolini became Hitler's ally against the left in Spain and expelled his Betar fans. But as late as 1/40, Ha Dagel, their Harbin magazine, had photos of them on stage with Japanese, puppet Manchukuo and Zionist flags:

"The Third Congress of the Jewish Communities of the Far East welcomes the Great Empire of the Rising Sun's aspiration for the establishment of peace and a new order in East Asia .... The Third Congress ... calls on the Jewry of the Far East to actively participate in establishing the new order and in building East Asia, guided by the principle of struggle against the Comintern, in close collaboration with all nations."

Each ZOB constituent must be held accountable for its role in the 1930s and holocaust. But in 1943 they faced military defeat, with or without the ZZW, at the hands of Hitler, self-proclaimed disciple of Mussolini and Fascism. Historians will forgive them for refusing to sully their defense of Jewish honor, by accepting as comrades, adherents of their murderers' ideology.

Lenni Brenneris the author of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, and the editor of
51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis
. He has also just edited
Jefferson & Madison On Separation of Church and State: Writings on Religion and
(Barricade Books). He can be reached at BrennerL21@aol.com.

Israel steals land

I know this is like a "Pope is Catholic" story but it's the strange means that Israel uses to steal the land that make it newsworthy now. This latest land grab in and around East Jerusalem shows all that's wrong with Zionism in the modern world: the ethnic cleansing, the colonial settlement, the apartheid laws and the ridiculous pretence that Israel is a society ruled by law. This of course invokes the law relating to the bizarre notion of "present absentees". And it is an update on a decision taken secretly by the Israeli cabinet back in the summer.

Update: see this Comment from someone called Eurosabra.
This measure has been reversed, 1/31, by order of the Attorney General's office. Are you going to carry THAT as an item as well, or are you just going to let the world--or at least your readers--continue to think that the Absentee Property Law has been extended to East Jerusalem as well?
See headheeb.blogmosis.com for reports on the intra-Israeli bureaucratic jockeying on this as well.

Personally I'm not sure if Israel is so obedient to its own laws that confiscations won't happen but we shall see.

January 30, 2005

The trouble with anti-semitism

There is a report in The Observer. online today that says that "anti-Jewish attacks [in the UK are] at a record level". The report draws on statistics gathered by the Community Security Trust (CST), a subsidiary of the so-called Board of Deputies of British Jews. On the basis of the same statistics the Jewish Chronicle. headed its article simply "UK anti-Semitic incidents rise". Nothing about records being broken or anything like that. Also, the JC, unlike The Observer, draws attention to a report published in Israel which reports more assaults on Jews in the UK but less incidents overall. The CST has refused to confirm any figures for 2004 as, "before releasing the figures for any year, the CST has to carry out rigorous checks on the data".

I have yet to see any detailed breakdown of the Israeli figures or for any CST figures for 2004. The CST uses nine categories of incident:

1.Extreme violence
3.Damage and Desecration
5.Abusive behaviour
7.Info Collection
9.Suspicious behaviour

Unfortunately the CST doesn't offer any definition of its categories. For example, surely there must be scope for double counting when the first five categories are all criminal of themselves and yet there is a separate category called "Criminal". And what is "Info Collection"? And as for "Suspicious behaviour", how does someone behave suspiciously anti-semitically without behaving actually anti-semitically?

The problem here is that the CST is part of the Zionist movement and, therefore, we have to view everything they say with, at best, scepticism. The fact that they are being so coy with the 2004 figures merely compounds the suspicion that they are not being cautious with their data, but cautious with their spin. They want to stop criticism of Israel, but if they link reports on Israel to an increase in anti-semitism they undermine Zionism's first justification: that it is a bulwark against anti-semitism. If they say that it has nothing to do with Israel then people will happily continue to berate the last of the colonial settler states. So let's just see what they come up with.

US hypocrisy

Here's a good letter in today's Observer.

President Bush's 'freedom and democracy' rhetoric appears to have found a gullible listener in David Aaronovitch (Comment, last week). American governments of both parties have routinely supported convenient tyrants, using such rhetoric. They have not hesitated to overthrow democratic regimes (generally described as dangerously leftist) and install reactionary dictators (generally described as 'preparing for free elections').

Genuinely free elections have often been seen as too dangerous, as when President Eisenhower in an unguarded moment said flatly that Vietnamese elections promised at Geneva had not been held as everyone knew that Ho Chi Minh would score a landslide.

Archbishop Romero pleaded with President Carter to stop supplying weapons to the Salvadoran death squads; days later he was shot down at the altar.

The US embassy in Honduras was headquarters for the war which President Reagan pursued against the elected Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Ambassador/Proconsul John Negroponte will now fly the flag of 'freedom' over the largest embassy in the world, in Baghdad.
Jeremy Scanlon
Lapworth Warwickshire

There's also an article on the ISM's Tom Hurndall here.

January 29, 2005

Sharon has a dream

Jazzman accuses Sharon of fraud as he (Sharon that is) called up (or threw up) that infamous lie that Martin Luther King had denounced anti-zionists as anti-semites. He might just as well have accused me of fraud. I claim to be an "anti-zionist...browsing the media" and, with all the media coverage of Zionists exploiting the holocaust, I didn't notice it.

Pecking order pursued beyond the mass graves

The Jewish Chronicle, this week, has a lot on the holocaust as one might expect. Apparently there was a row between "Cardiff Jews" and the Cardiff United Nations Association. The UNA was going to hold an event titled "Commemoration of Armenian Holocaust (90th anniversary) and the Jewish Holocaust (60th anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation)". Well that was too much for Rabbi Mordechai Wollenberg of the Cardiff United Synagogue who got them to reverse the title "placing the Shoah first". Now I object to the use of the word "holocaust" to describe other genocidal campaigns and I've said why that is in previous posts. I also object to the expression "Jewish holocaust" since it was not only Jews who perished in, what, I agree, should be called theholocaust.

General Assembly hears Israeli anthem for the first time

Much is made of Hatikvah being sung at the UN General Assembly in honour of the victims of the holocaust. Very strange considering that most holocaust victims would never have heard that song, nor understood its words if they did.

Wistrich off balance

Another article has Robert Wistrich complaining that "it is becoming increasingly difficult to even discuss the Shoah without balancing it by appropriate references to Palestine".

Lord Steel angers Liverpool Zionists

Lord Steel invoked the holocaust to call for sanctions against Israel because the Palestinians "find themselves hemmed in by barbed wire and their very existence threatened".

Sharansky likens Palestinian society to Nazi Germany

Sharansky has said that "the PA should pursue a policy of zero-tolerance of any and all displays of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in Palestinian media". Now if there is anti-semitism in the Palestinian media then this is to be deplored, but if Sharansky can't tell the difference between anti-semitism and anti-zionism how can he expect better from people his government clearly believes are a lower form of life?

If MEMRI serves, or if it serves MEMRI

I was just surfing the internet when I stumbled on this absurd article from the Tehran Times, gleefully reproduced in maybe 8 Zionist sites including, of course, MEMRI.

The article, headed "Lies of the Holocaust Industry", is so mealy mouthed it's hard to draw specific claims from it that are not undermined within the article itself. For example the writer, Hossein Amiri, says:

No one is trying to ignore the suffering of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis, but the suffering of a religious/ethnic group should not cause the world to forget the suffering of another nation or allow those who suffered persecution to do the same injustice to another nation.

Now as a soundbite to reject the notion of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine being in any way, a just recompense on account of six million Jews being murdered by the Nazis, that may have been fair enough. But Amiri is. trying to ignore "the suffering of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis", thus:

After the end of the war in 1945, the Allies along with Zionist leaders began formulating strange conceptions about the killing of Jews at Nazi camps which a modern man can hardly accept. By conjuring up images of gas chambers, they are attempting to convey the idea that the Jews have undergone indescribable torture and that the world’s conscience should be awakened to this issue so that the Jews are not subjected to injustice again.

And this:

The revisionist historians have proven in two decades of study that if Hitler had carried out a systematic program to eradicate the Jews, it would have taken more time than the six years that the war lasted. They have also proven that such an act of ethnic cleansing through the use of the poison gas Zyklon-B, as the Zionists claim, was not possible at the time.

"Revionist historians" is an expression that puts a respectable veneer on that ragbag of wacky flat-earth society eccentrics and neo-Nazis we call holocaust deniers. There are too many of these around it's true but it's mostly the Zionists who give them the publicity they definitely don't deserve. But then Amiri drifts into full-blown libel territory when he lumps Norman Finkestein in with the deniers, so:

Norman J. Finkelstein, a Jewish professor at New York University critical of Zionist policies, has called the claim [that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis] the "Holocaust Industry", which is only meant to boost support for the government of Israel.

This is far worse than oversimplification. It's a lie. No, it's worse than a lie. Finkestein's only assertion about claims made by the "holocaust industry" about the holocaust itself, is not that the numbers killed have been exaggerated, but that the number, reproductive capacity and longevity of the survivors, has been exaggerated. Professor Finkelstein argues that this exaggeration of the number of survivors comes close to holocaust denial as the more survivors there were, the lower the number killed. And this exaggeration is used to extort money from European states and companies. He does say that the holocaust is used to deflect criticism from Israel and he argues against holocaust uniqueness claims, but nowhere does he suggest that the holocaust involved any less killing of Jews than other reputable historians do, nor does he question the methods used.

What I find so bewildering about the mentality underlying this article is that it is so politically, and indeed logically, infantile. The writer correctly states that the holocaust does not justify the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, he then goes on to minimise the holocaust thereby giving ammunition to the Zionist movement. In other words, he serves MEMRI.

Selective amnesia

Remember this.

January 28, 2005

Disengagement causes disaster says Rabbi

(With thanks to Roland)
The former Chief Rabbi of Israel has said that the tsunami disaster was god's punishment for the "disengagement plan".

The [Babylonian] Talmud [the tractate of Berachot]says that when God is angry at the nations of the world for not aiding Israel - they want to evacuate, to disengage, to interfere in our affairs, He claps his hands, causing an earthquake.

Boos against Melanie Phillips

Well the debate has now taken place on the proposition "Zionism today is the real enemy of the Jews" and the motion was carried by 355 to 320. I thought that this didn't tell us much about the debate as the anti-Zionists may have been more motivated to attend. But Intelligence Squared, very helpfully, took audience polls before and after the debate. Before the debate, for and against were very evenly matched at 30.6% and 30.4% respectively and the don't knows stood at 39%. After the debate the don't knows were reduced to 5.5%,for stood at 49.7% and against at 44.8% So the Zionists and the anti-Zionists were both quite persuasive on the night. But the antis clinched it. The online vote was a tad different with the Zionists getting 97.2% and the antis getting 2.5%. The curious feature of the online poll, to my mind anyway, is that the don't knows got 0.3%. Why would someone bother to vote "don't know" in an online poll?

Anyway, according to the Jewish Chronicle. Melanie Phillips, speaking against the motion, indeed saying that "this is a profoundly anti-Jewish motion, a prejudice based on a set of calumnies". She was booed. Tellingly, another opponent of the motion, Professor Shlomo Ben Ari, in contrast to Phillips, "was given a respectful hearing".

January 27, 2005

Holocaust legacy

Obviously all the papers are covering Holocaust Memorial Day today, The Independent. apparently more so than others. They have block quotes from 17 people. I don't know how they chose them and I certainly don't know why they chose Ariel Sharon. For all we hear of Holocaust uniqueness, it's remarkable that everyone they speak to uses the holocaust as a link to current issues.

Top of the list is the discredited Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, who speaks of the mutation of anti-semitism into "something else". Amos Oz's contribution is enigmatic:

There is a rise of fanaticism: Islamic, Jewish, European. It's American fundamentalism.

Maybe there's a typo in there.

For Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, the legacy of the holocaust is "the human rights framework enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration."

For Ariel Sharon, the legacy of the holocaust is to justify every Israeli atrocity.

The Allies knew of the annihilation of the Jews and did nothing. Israel learnt that we can trust no one but ourselves. This phenomenon - of Jews defending themselves and fighting back - is an anathema [to] the new anti-Semites. Legitimate steps of self-defence which Israel takes in its war against Palestinian terror - actions which any sovereign state is obligated to undertake - are presented by those who hate Israel as aggressive, Nazi-like steps.

Irene Kahn, Secretary general of Amnesty International, suggests that the war on terror and the scepticism about American motives have made humanity vulnerable:

There are countless failures to learn from Auschwitz evident in the modern world. We have failed to build a community of shared security and vulnerability. America's war on terror has polarised groups across the Arab world. The atrocities in Sudan show that, in the face of mass crimes against humanity, the international community is unable to find a mechanism to protect people.

Something I feel is missing from all the comment is whether the holocaust could have happened without the war. I'm not saying that it couldn't but it is an argument I've heard before and I really don't know. All I'm saying is that I'm surprised it hasn't been said with all the coverage there's been.

Genocide memorial day?

Here are extracts from a letter by the Muslim Council of Britain responding to quite a disingenuous attack on it by the Guardian. yesterday.

The view held by the MCB since the inception of Holocaust Memorial Day in 2001 is that the subtext of the memorial day - 'Never Again' - is diluted by the exclusive nature of the event....

.....Not to acknowledge current and recent genocides would be to undermine the benefits of remembrance, deprecate lessons learnt from the Nazi Holocaust and call into question our commitment to prevent current and future inhumanity. The Nazi Holocaust began with a hatred of an entire people because of their religion and ethnic identity. To reflect a more tolerant and inclusive Britain, we believe that Holocaust Memorial Day ought to be renamed "Genocide Memorial Day" to make no distinction between genocides undertaken against people of other religions and ethnicity.

The memorial day would in our opinion be better served by covering the ongoing mass killings and human rights abuses in our world, and thus make the cry 'Never Again' real for all people who suffer, even now. We must do more than just reflect on the past. We must be able to recognise when similar abuses occur in our own time.

Guantanamo four released without charge

But don't worry, Charles Clarke is thinking out loud of ways to round them up, tag them, keep them under house arrest, etc, etc. Charles Clarke has even told us that they are dangerous.

January 26, 2005

Jewish paranoia?

How I hate that expression. I remember people saying it over perfectly legitimate grievances about anti-semitism. But now look. I stumbled on this webring. I think it's a webring. It's dedicated to "truth in the Middle East" and it contains the kind of right-wing racist extremism that gives the internet a bad name. See this:

Israel, Taiwan and the Thirteen Colonies

It doesn't matter who is president, the U.S.will always take the other side against Israel because that's where their interest lies; and other essays

This webring contains many many similar sites. Not for the squeamish.

"Released" from Guantanamo

The Guardian has a Q & A session on the Guantanamo Four. They were released from Guantanamo yesterday only to be arrested on the way home to the UK. Apparently there are five more UK resident detainees at Guantanamo, who the UK government refuses to represent, as if their handling of previous cases constitutes representation.

Will British residents still held in Guantánamo receive help from our government?

There are at least five other long-term residents who do not have UK passports being held at Guantánamo Bay. At least two have British wives and children. The UK government says the men's countries of birth must help them.

January 25, 2005

Zionism - Past, Present & Future

Event Description:
Organised by Arab Media Watch, the Council for Arab-British Understanding, Pluto Books and the LSE Palestine Society.

Date: 01/02/2005

Start Time: 7:00 PM
Ending Time: 8:30 PM

Venue: Room D602, St Clement's Building, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE.

Free entry, all welcome.

Events over the last few years have re-focused attention on the nature of Zionism. Demographic trends and Israeli practices, most notably settlement expansion and barrier construction, have called into question the viability of the two-state solution and, thus, Zionism itself. Furthermore, the refusenik movement against Israeli involvement in the occupied territories, while welcome, has brought about the myth that Zionism was a benevolent movement until Israel's expansion in 1967.

To discuss Zionism's past, present and future, we are proud to feature two prominent authors of recent books on the subject, published by Pluto Books, which will be sold at a 20% discount at the event:

John Rose is author of "The Myths of Zionism", and teaches Sociology at Southwark College and London Metropolitan University. Rose was a student at the London School of Economics during the great radical upheaval of the late 1960s. He arrived as a Zionist in 1966 and left in 1969 as a committed pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist. Why? "Simple," he says, "I heard the Arab case for the first time and it was, and remains, unanswerable."

Norton Mezvinsky is co-author, with the late Israel Shahak, of "Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel", and is a Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University. He has been appointed a University Professor by the Connecticut State University Board of Trustees (in the more than 150-year history of this university, only six University Professors have been appointed). He has published extensively and lectured in many parts of the world on various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Zionism, US policy in the Middle East and religious fundamentalisms. He is currently writing a book on Christian Zionism.

Chair: Sharif Hikmat Nashashibi, Arab Media Watch chairman

For further information, please contact:

AMW: info@arabmediawatch.com, 07956 455 528

Muslims. muesli and media

There has been a worrying increase in anti-Jewish physical attacks in the UK from 2003 into 2004. Also there has been a spate of such attacks on frummers. in London's Stamford Hill area just recently. These latter, we are told, have been carried out by black and Asian youths giving Nazi salutes and chanting things like Zeig Heil. These are, of course, cause for concern and an explanation needs to be found, the attacks have to be stopped and the attackers need to be pursued. So into the fray steps the Israeli government.

According to David Weinberg, at Natan Sharansky's office, "most acts of anti-semitism in Britain were carried out by Arabs or Muslims" and it's The Guardian,The Independent. and the BBC who have "created a climate that encouraged such attacks". In the case of the BBC:

He singled out the coverage of the Israeli army assault on Jenin refugee camp in 2002, in which 58 Palestinians were killed, mostly armed men.

Now what are the thought processes behind a Guardian. -reader attack on a Jewish target? Do they read the Guardian, put down their muesli, swap their sandals for a pair of boots and then go and attack a Jewish target? Or are Guardian. and Independent. readers more thoughtful than that? Do they watch BBC reports on Jenin, where the Israeli Chief of Staff casually announced that his troops had killed over two hundred Palestinians, then wait until over two years have elapsed and then go out and attack some Jewish targets?

As I have already said, these attacks are cause for concern and action but would it help to silence those precious few reports that actually shine a light on Israel rather than the usual siding with Israel or muddying the waters. I think it would probably hurt more than help.

Present absentees and absent absentees

Azmi Bishara spoke about this issue on Sunday at SOAS. I didn't realise that it was current news. Of course I accept that it's a current issue. It appears that we are into another round of Israeli land theft, not this time on account of the barrier, but on account of Israel designating Jerusalem its legitimate (ie to Israel, undisputed) territory. I'll return to this issue shortly.

January 24, 2005


Another response to Jack S.Cohen's assertion that only first generation refugees should be allowed to return to Palestine.

Palestinian refugees

Sir: Like Jack S Cohen (Letters, 21 January) I deeply wish for Middle East peace. I take no side in the conflict; I do however find repulsive Mr Cohen's assertion that only Palestinian refugees who were born in Palestinian territory should be repatriated. The great influx of Jewish people into the region did not consist of people who had been born there, and yet they still claimed it was their homeland. On what grounds should people's immediate links with the land be rebuffed, as Mr Cohen would have it, when an ancient claim was given the firm backing of the West?

Shifnal, Shropshire

January 23, 2005

They've got balls those Arab guys

Well at the time of writing they have. But, if a certain Russian-Israeli journalist has his way, they won't have them for long. According to Ha'aretz, Marian Belenki, the threat of castration should force Arabs (the article says Israeli Arabs) to leave the country. In the Russian Israeli newspaper Novosti, he also advocated other ways to decrease the Arab birthrate. The editor of Novosti has apologised for the "grave mistake":

However, what is even more surprising than the fact that the piece got published, is that the paper did not receive any responses from readers or public representatives of the Russian community. It should be noted that the paper is one of two leading dailies of the Russian community in Israel.

This reminds me of when Sharansky first arrived in Israel from the Soviet Union, non-SWP member, poet and story teller, Michael Rosen, said that the Palestinians said "Hey Sharansky, what about our freedom?" to which Sharansky replied "sorry I took it all".

Shalom! Sharon

Speaking at the first Hebrew language day, Sharon said: 'I don't understand why Israeli broadcasting networks call themselves foreign names like 'Hot' and 'Yes', and how that half-breed creature 'yalla, bye' was created instead of the beautiful word 'shalom'.'

The above quote is from an Observer. article about the importation of non-Hebrew words into everyday Israeli speech. Sharon says peace is a lovely word. Pity he doesn't think it's a lovely idea. Also see how "Hot" and "Yes" are foreign names, whereas "Yalla, bye" is a half-breed creature. I wonder what expression Sharon uses to describe the wholesale ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. As far as I know he isn't an on-the-record advocate of this, but what word does he use when it's discussed with his colleagues who do support it? They tend to call it by the English word "transfer". There is a Hebrew word for transfer; it's ha'avara. I always thought that they avoided the use of this word because ha'avara was the name of the agreement between the Jewish Agency and Nazi Germany and so it carries an air of shame. Others have argued that, because transfer is an English word, it sounds more respectable.

How Iran will fight back

Here's an article that will presumably fascinate military anoraks. It details how Iran might respond to a US invasion. What caught my eye here was the fact that the writer believes that Iran might target Gulf and other states that accommodate the US command structure or otherwise facilitate a US invasion.

Still we shouldn't get too worried, Britain's Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, has said that "we won't back war with Iran". This is the same Jack Straw who said in December 2002 that the chance of a US/UK invasion of Iraq was 60% against. And the same Jack Straw who, when the Iraq Survey Group found no weapons of mass destruction, said that the group's report "highlights the nature of the threat from Saddam in terms of his intentions and capabilities in even starker terms than we have seen before". So we can all rest easy.

January 22, 2005


Let's see. If the world now is operating according to Bush's pre-emptive philosophy, wouldn't Iran be justified in pre-emptively striking the US?

This is a comment I found on the American Leftist blog. It's in response to a post on Seymour Hersh's suggestion that America may be considering an invasion of Iran.

Actually I don't think Iran is entitled to a pre-emptive strike against America. Under the Bush Doctrine (ok let's pretend it was his idea) you can only pre-emptively attack a country if it definitely has no weapons of mass destruction.

Stop the War Coalition (UK)

There's so much untrustworthy information in the newspapers these days about the Stop the War coalition. Just lately it seems they haven't been selective enough in condemning the killings of civilians. Apparently in spite of possibly over 100,000 civilian deaths, the Stop the War coalition leadership wasn't quick enough to condemn the grisly killing of one man. Anyway, for what it's worth, I'm linking here (click the headline) to the STWC website so that people can see their position on all of this. Also you can update yourselves on coming events.

What's prompted this is an article in today's Independent. that, to my mind, tilts heavily in favour of the war party. The sad thing here is that the Indie was one of three national newspapers to oppose the war as a matter of editorial policy.

Blogs shmogs

We're having a discussion, in the comments to an earlier post, about how many anti-Zionist or pro-Palestinian, or Zionist or pro-Israel blogs there might be.

I've looked up various expressions and looked at how many sites google says it has found. And then I've had a quick look at the list of sites offered.

Starting with pro-Palestinian blog. Click on the link, the yield is 5 sites. Three are the same "pro-Palestinian blog" and two are the same pro-Zionist blog belonging to one Oliver Kamm.

So let's try Palestinian blog. The find is 279. A quick glance down the first page shows that some of these are pro-Zionist and a couple simply refer to Palestinian blogs. In fact one site seems to be engaged in the same exercise that I am here engaged in. I should point out here that I'm in a hurry now because I want to go and see Leon Rosselson at the Cellar Upstairs tonight and I'm not sure how to get there.

So how about Palestine blog. We get 417. Now we're getting somewhere. A look down the first ten sites seems to indicate that these are pro-Palestinian blogs.

So now let's return to anti-Zionist blog. The result, we are told, is 224 sites, only 14 of which are shown. I think this means that the other "sites" are just the same sites with pages that mention anti-Zionist. No this is where we see what an inexact science we are studying. Or the fact that google as a tool is not up to the job at hand. The first two blogs to come up are both Jews sans frontieres. The rest mention Jews sans frontieres. So what has happened to Peace Palestine and anti-Zionist notes? And how about semitism? I don't know. Google, the new god, works in mysterious ways.

But let's now look for Israel blog. Sheesh, 16,100. But what does it tell us? The first is Aron's Israel Peace Blog which, as far as I can tell, comes very close to anti-Zionism. The rest of the first ten appear to be pro-Israel. Now I've had a bit of a look at other pages it seems that the overwhelming majority of the sites listed are indeed pro-Israel.

So, what do we know? No more than when we started. It does look to me that there are more pro-Zionist blogs than anti but I can't be sure. I mean there could be a blog called something like "One Democratic Secular State of Palestine from the River to the Sea" and it might never register as a pro-Palestinian blog. And yet it could register in a search for "Israel blogs".

This, of course, has been a search for blogs specialising in some way, on the question of Israel/Palestine. There are more generalist blogs that will adopt a certain position on the same question. As far as that goes, many blogger.com blogs have a "next blog" facility in the top right corner. This is a random blogger.com blog finder. When I have used it it seemed to me that there was a proliferation of pro-Bush sites in the run up to the US presidential elections. I'm not doing it now but I reckon there are many more right wing pro-war and pro-Israel blogs out there than anti. Also, the question that started the discussion off in the first place was why there is a disproportionate focus on Israel/Palestine from the left of the political spectrum than from the right. That's something I intend to look into, but not right now.

Understanding torture

Tony Greenstein on Charles Clarke turning a blind eye to torture.

So, Charles Clarke is going to seek "memorandums of understanding" with Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan that they will not torture or execute their citizens on their return (Clarke pins hopes on deportation, January 20)? But all of these states already have laws forbidding torture. Indeed, there is no state in the world which has a law permitting torture. Why should any "memorandum of understanding" regarding torture be worth the paper it is written on, if the rulers of these states already allow their own laws to be breached? Wouldn't it be more honest if Clarke were to admit that in order to escape the embarrassment of the House of Lords judgment, he is happy to turn a blind eye to what happens afterwards?
Tony Greenstein

Frankly, I've got no special reason for posting this except that when I first started to ask questions about Zionism I was greeted with anger. I really was only asking questions at the time because I wanted to believe that Zionism was a good thing. Then one day I saw a leaflet setting out some of the crimes of Zionism against the Palestinians and details of Zionist disruption of anti-Zionist meetings in London. The leaflet was signed off by Tony Greenstein. It was like liberation at the time. It's not so exciting now, but I like to offer him a hat-tip when I get the excuse. I think his dad (if he's still alive) is an orthodox rabbi and a Zionist and his brother is a West Bank settler, so you've got to admire the guy's motivation, if you don't approve of Zionism that is.

January 21, 2005

UJS allegations open to question

In a letter to the Jewish Chronicle, the Open University (OU) has defended itself against allegations, by the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), that there was "anti-Semitic material on its website" and that the OU was "slow and generally unhelpful in dealing with this issue".

The UJS, for those who don't know, is a Zionist organisation with representation at the World Zionist Congress.

In his letter, Derek Prior of the OU points out that the complaints the UJS's Danny Stone was referring to were made "19 months ago and concerned a closed e-conference" and that a "small amount of offensive anti-Semitic material was removed by the moderator and disciplinary action was taken against the perpetrators."

Then, apparently, Danny Stone "submitted a list of demands....including an insistence that the university's student conference moderator undertake additional training from from the UJS [!] and that we meet the National Union of Students racism (sic) co-ordinator." The OU refused. But cop this for anti-semitic material:

"In the original list of so-called. [my emphasis], anti-Semitic material...a great deal of the comment concerned discussion of the government of Israel's policy on Palestine." This, it seems, is what the UJS was trying to prevent.

Derek Prior rounds off by saying:

The OU has no tolerance of religious or racist abuse and deplores the comments that were removed from this particular conference, but defends freedom of conscience and speech. The university has sent a full dossier to the Commons Home Affairs Committee to correct inaccuracies in the UJS report.

So let's just see.

Assault on UNRWA

From a letter to today's Independent:

One way that Secretary Rice could facilitate a settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict would be to stop US payments to UNWRA, the peculiar UN agency that perpetuates the conflict.

A few months ago I mentioned that Israel may seek UNRWA's withdrawal from Gaza. I got the notion partly from Uri Avnery and partly from Israel's false accusation that an UNRWA ambulance was used for terrorist purposes. Well now a Hebrew University professor, Jack Cohen,(quoted above) has called for the American withdrawal of funding from UNRWA. Given that UNRWA is a major source of housing, healthcare, education and jobs, where would this leave Gaza? And how conducive would its withdrawal be to peace? Perhaps "one way that Secretary Rice could facilitate a settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict would be to stop US payments" to Israel.

American Samizstats

Michael Miller celebrates "Four more years" with the publication of the war president's most memorable achievement to date in graphical form.

What elections?

Iraqi exiles appeal or free elections in Iraq.

Millions of Iraqis, under siege in many parts of their homeland, will be disenfranchised. While boycotting this undemocratic exercise, we strongly condemn all forms of violence against Iraqis participating in it. We, as exiles, are confident that the vast majority of Iraqis, at home and abroad, shall unite to end the US-led occupation and establish democracy, whatever their stance on participation.

Sami Ramadani, Haifa Zangana, Prof Kamal Majid, Tahrir Numan, Dr Imad Khaddur, iMundher Adhami, and 14 others.

The end has become the means

So said Norman Finkelstein, referring to Zionist militarism. (thanks to Montag) This says it all about the Zionist mentality. The Zionists were so intent on a Jewish state they didn't, it seems, think through what it actually meant. Yes, many acknowledged, early on, that the project would involve ethnic cleansing. Some admitted that anti-semitism would have to get worse before the Jews would be ready for idea. So it was clear to the leaders anyway that Zionism was relying on Jews being downtrodden and that people would be displaced in order to establish Jewish statehood. What seems not to have occurred to them is that the displaced and those who identify with them, would resist and that repression would be required. They also don't seem to have taken into account that Jews are not a nation. Jews come from many countries and cultures and speak many different laguages. What could forge such a society into a nation? Well, there was the establishment of reconstituted Hebrew as a language. PE teachers invented and taught "Israeli dancing" back in the 1920s. Music was copied from Greece; a "respectable" non-Muslim country, close to Palestine. The food is sometimes Yiddisher, sometimes Turkish or Arab. The latter two never acknowledged, the former one, only grudgingly so. Suppose these linguistic and cultural innovations into Jewish life were not enough to establish a nation. What makes a people gel? I remember we had to write an essay in English language class titled "Nothing unites people like a common enemy". It was reading for this that I discovered that Moshe Dayan had justified Israel's relentless aggression by reference to maintaining a "high degree of tension in the country".

So what means has Israel deployed to attain its end as a Jewish State in Palestine? What means could it use but military ones to expel the majority of Palestinians? And the same means towards any expellees who tried to return and military punishment against those states and/or communites who would harbour those who entertain the dream of return. And the end? Established Jewish nationhood? By way of a reconstituted language and some borrowed/stolen cultural trappings? Israeli society has some cohesion its true; but what is it based on? It appears to be based on the common enmity of those it dispossessed and those among whom, the expelled Palestinians now live. Israel is a Modern Hebrew speaking military base. The end has become the means. Or is it the other way around?

January 20, 2005

Israel: an apartheid state?

It should be cause for comfort that Zionists still deny that Israel is an apartheid state. They have just enough decency to know that their segregationist state is repugnant but not enough integrity to admit it.

The link above is to The Palestine Monitor's article on Israel's apartheid system and laws. I said in the previous post that it has become fashionable for Zionists to say that one can criticise Israel without being labelled anti-semitic, well it has always been the fashion to say that Israel's racism is the same as any other country's. This isn't true. It is true that all states have racists but it is not true to say that all states are racist states. Israel is a racist state. Zionists like to say that Israel is for Jews as France is for the French. But France defines the French as the people of France. The Jews are clearly not the people of Israel and many Israelis are not Jews.

Zionists make great play of the fact that Arabs can and do become MKs (members of the Israeli parliament/knesset) but they cannot campaign for racial or religiousuequality as this would undermine the "Jewish character" of the state.

Political participation

Palestinians' right to run for elections to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, are also limited by their acceptance of the notion of the Jewish state. These limits are expressed in the Law of Political Parties (1992) and, in particular, the amendment of section7 A(1) of the Basic Law: The Knesset, which prevents candidates from participating in the elections if their platform suggests the "denial of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people". Under this section a party platform that challenges the Jewish character of the state, i.e., that challenges Zionist ideology and praxis by calling for full and complete equality between Jews and Arabs in a state for all its citizens, can be disqualified, as such non-Zionist lists have been in the past. The law prohibits Palestinian citizens from mounting a political challenge to the state's Zionist identity in a legal forum, the Knesset*.

Of course, Zionists know all of this. They have heard it a million times before; but their refusal to acknowledge it means that it must be repeated again and again.

*This can work against the extreme right in Israel. Kach, the organisation founded by the American "rabbi" Meir Kahane, was banned for being embarrassingly, openly. racist. The ban was supposedly on the grounds of Kach's racism but when you consider, for example, the presence of Moledet (the transfer party), in Israeli cabinets, you get to realise that it's Kach's openness about Zionist racism that was a problem for the powers that be in (and outside of) Israel.

Just what is the Zionist "left" for?

It's become quite fashionable in Zionist circles to say that criticism of the State of Israel is permissible. This is usually tacked on to the notion that the last of the colonial settler states is a democracy and that criticism is allowed in a democracy. And here's an immediate problem. How meaningful can any criticism of Israel be when it comes from people who say that a country that denies the majority community the right to even live there, let alone vote there, is a democracy? There have been many analyses of Zionist "leftist" positions. This is the latest that I have seen and it doesn't simply criticise the Zionist left, it seeks to expose the motive behind its dubious brand of politics.

In general, the most important function of the Zionist "pro-Palestinians" is to enforce two boundaries in the discourse:
1) the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state;
2) the illegitimacy of violence against Israelis.

The first of these boundaries seeks to legitimise or ignore the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the Zionist movement in order to establish Israel as a state for Jews with a Jewish majority. The second seeks to legitimise the massive use of force against Palestinians. So that's what the Zionist left is for.

This needs to be exposed. Much has been written about anti-semitism rearing its head on the left and even in Jewish leftist circles but very little is said about the more than passing flirtation of some leftist groups with Zionism.

Faking it for Israel

Life really is unfair sometimes. Last month there were widespread reports of a team of archeologists faking ancient artefacts of particular interest to Jews and Christians. They included an ivory pomegranate said to date from King Solomon's temple and a ossuary said to contain the bones of Jesus's brother James. When the fakes were exposed I posted that the fakers were like Alan Dershowitz and Joan Peters, only with a shovel and some paint. I wrote to The Guardian saying that no-one should be surprised at the over-eagerness of Zionists to believe such flagrant falsehood regarding Jewish history in Palestine. They didn't publish it but now, three weeks down the line, they have published this article by Rachel Shabi making exactly the same point as I did at the time. Better late than never I suppose.

January 19, 2005

Useful resources

American taskforce on Palestine.

Abu Mazen: Puppet or scarecrow

Here's a very readable article by Ron Hacohen (hat-tip Mooser). Entitled The Threat of Peace, the article describes how Israel, so used to portraying itself as an innocent victim, really is becoming a victim, of its own success.

Anyway, Arafat is now dead, we got what we wanted, and we are not happy.

On the contrary. Together with Arafat, Israel buried its best excuse for perpetuating the occupation. How long can you blame the dead for terrorism? How long can you refuse to negotiate with the dead, to meet with him face to face? Not very long. More than two months after Arafat's death, even anemic Europe understands: "the 'Arafat excuse' no longer exists" (Jean Asselborn, president of the European Union Council of Ministers, Ha'aretz, Jan. 18, 2005). And what is worse: the Palestinians have now got a new leader who was elected democratically (goodbye to "ruthless dictator"), and, on top of all that, a leader who consistently and openly – in English and in Arabic – renounces the armed struggle against the occupation. On the other hand, Abu Mazen still demands complete Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian lands, and an independent Palestinian state. This, of course, is in total harmony with international law, with UN Security Council resolutions, even with President's Bush Road Map: in short, it is totally unacceptable for Israel.

And then:

Israel can live with only two kinds of Palestinian leaders. It can live with a puppet who accepts Israel's sovereignty over the Palestinian territories (we may give him some "autonomy" in return), who is ready to give up 60 percent of the West Bank for Israeli settlements and apartheid walls (we may temporarily remove a checkpoint or two in return), who is willing to forget the Palestinian refugees (we may not insist on his conversion to Judaism in return). Israel has made several attempts to find or tame such a Palestinian poodle, but so far failed.

Alternatively, Israel can live with a fanatic, terrorist Palestinian scarecrow, with a murderous, uncompromising hardliner. The settlers often say it aloud: we prefer the Islamic Jihad, who want to throw us all to the sea. It is very easy to deal with such a leader, both nationally and internationally.

So, where to now?

Impact of the UN and International Law on Israel

The link is to a speech given by a Dr. Pieter H.F. Bekker to the Peace Palace at the Hague on 6/11/2004 about the International Court of Justice's advisory opinion against Israel's segregation barrier. Dr Bekker claims to have had no prior knowledge of the Israel/Palestine nor a specific stance on it. That makes his damning indictment of Israel all the more fascinating:

In stark contrast to what Israel has claimed, and the media have reported, the ICJ case was not about Israel’s right to protect itself through a fence, or barrier, or wall, which it is entitled to do as a sovereign state. Rather, the case was about the course, or the route, of the Wall, running for 99% outside recognized Israeli borders and inside Palestinian territory. For this reason, the Wall is an illegal measure purportedly to protect Israelis against suicide bombings. Those suicide bombings rightly were condemned, in no uncertain terms, in not one but two paragraphs of Palestine’s written statement to the ICJ, and again during Palestine’s oral intervention before the Court.

January 18, 2005

Azmi Bishara in London

Azmi Bishara will be participating in a talk at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) this coming Sunday 23/1/2005. He's a member of the Israeli parliament and a very accomplished academic. Well worth seeing.

January 17, 2005

Bread and Roses

This Ken Loach film was made in 2000 so it must have done the rounds already. I caught it tonight in the East End at "an evening with Ken Loach" and I'm glad I did. If you haven't seen it, try to; it's very powerful, passionate stuff. Just to say what the story's about would spoil it, so I won't.

January 16, 2005

Sacked for this

It was Waterstones wot dunnit.

Ariel Sharon stole my bag

At Tel Aviv airport I face tough questioning: who am I here to meet? Where am I staying? Before I left London I was told that in the past two years, 85 Palestinian Authority guests have mysteriously 'lost' their luggage here after saying they were visiting the West Bank or Gaza.

Sure enough, my suitcase disappears, along with all the bags belonging to a group of guests of the Palestinian Women's Union. Their luggage materialises that evening. Mine doesn't.

Interesting article in the Mail on Sunday today. Lauren Booth, Tony Blair's sister-in-law, went to Palestine to cover the election and :

go beyond those cliched images...urchins throwing stones at tanks; fatigue-wearing, baby-killing extremists; women in traditional dress wailing over dead children; and Arabic men shouting in broken English. It's an image that has never fared well in the West.

It's mostly very informative about how the Palestinians live now under occupation, but there is no history to it and I am certain that the Zionist movement will encourage and co-ordinate a massive response around the lack of context even though the context is as damning of Zionism as this microcosm of the current situation is. She mentioned the collective punishment aspect of the checkpoints and closures and the apartheid nature of Israel's governance of Jerusalem.

I must say that it's a pity she went and spoiled things a bit by finishing with the words:

I would like to bring my family here so they can meet these generous, clever people.

Patronising or what, eh? Still it is the Mail on Sunday. Peter Hitchens and Melanie Phillips must be turning in their graves, or wherever it is the undead turn these days.

Blog index

Just stumbled on this blog index. Ok, it keeps appearing as a referrer on my tracker. It's a listing of political blogs by a Richard Kimber of Keele University and an all round useful starting point for political science resources. In fact the guy even invites submissions to update his site with information on events. elections, results, blogs and so on.

Tories too left wing? No problem, join Labour

Robert Jackson, MP for Wantage in Oxfordshire has defected from the Conservative Party to the neo-Conservative Party, because, it seems, the Tories are too left wing. He said that he had left the Tories because he couldn't support their stance against tuition fees, Europe and he felt that they had "wobbled" on the war against Iraq, a war that he and the Observer call an "intervention".

Tony Blair said he was 'delighted' by the MP's decision. 'He is a decent, fair-minded and dedicated public servant, respected across the House of Commons, who will be warmly welcomed by Labour MPs and members,' the PM said.

I'm not sure if this is true of all Labour MPs and members but it is a very sad and accurate comment on New Labour that a Tory can so easily cross the floor and on the specifics cited by the man himself. He truly is saying that Labour are now to the right of the Tories. This probably explains the collapse in Tory support in recent opinion polls.

January 15, 2005

The £20 challenge

No this isn't another of my silly offers to readers to find an example of The Daily Telegraph's anti-Israel bias or a self-hating pro-Palestinian editorial in the Jewish Chronicle. It's a debate titled "Zionism Today Is The Real Enemy of The Jews". The debate will take place at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7. The entrance to the debates is on Exhibition Road. Doors are open from 6:00pm, the debates start at 6:45pm and end by 8:30pm. Nearest tube: South Kensington (Circle, District and Piccadilly lines).

Speakers for the motion:

* Professor Jacqueline Rose Writer and presenter of "Dangerous Liaison - Israel and America", Channel 4 (2002) and author of "The Question of Zion" (Spring 2005).

* Professor Avi Shlaim Professor of International Relations and Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford, and author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World'.

* Amira Hass Correspondent of Ha’aretz Daily in the occupied territories, living for the last 10 years in Ramallah. She is the author of "Reporting from Ramallah".

Speakers against the motion:

* Melanie Phillips Daily Mail columnist, panellist on Radio 4's The Moral Maze and author.

* Shlomo Ben-Ami Former Israel Foreign Minister during the last phase of the peace negotiations. He has written extensively on Israeli affairs, and has just completed a book on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

* Professor Raphael Israeli Professor of Islamic, Middle Eastern and Chinese history at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The £20 pound challenge would have been for the lucky winner/s to find the £20 entrance fee for such an illustrious gathering. Unfortunately the challenge is already null and void for....."THIS DEBATE IS SOLD OUT".

Ok, so here's a ten pound challenge. Does anyone know where the back door is?

False headline "substantially accurate and fair": The Guardian

The Guardian's readers' editor, Ian Mayes, has admitted that "[t]he use of the word "crossfire" in the" headline "Seven children die in crossfire as Israelis target suspected militants" was "misplaced". Too bad then, that in his first paragraph he asserts that "The Guardian report, although not unflawed, was, in my opinion, substantially accurate and fair."

You can't Hari a Murray

But you can try apparently. Johann Hari, together with many a pro-war "leftist", uses up much ink wondering why all Cretans are liars. Here he is asking why the left doesn't condemn one murder when he doesn't condemn tens of thousands. And here is Stop the War Chair, Andy Murray's response:

Sir: Johann Hari falsifies the position of the Stop the War Coalition in relation to the recent brutal murder of Hadi Salih. We condemn this killing and its perpetrators, whoever they are. The Coalition has never adopted a resolution or issued a statement as outlined by Mr Hari, and we have repeatedly denounced the murder of civilians. Also, we did our best to ensure that the Iraqi trade union speaker invited to the European Social Forum was able to be heard, and publicly criticised those who disrupted his meeting.

We differ from Hari in two respects. Firstly, we condemn all civilian deaths in Iraq, including those tens of thousands which are the responsibility of the occupying forces he supports. And we recognise the right of Iraqis to resist that unlawful occupation, which is at the root of violence in Iraq and is the consequence of the war which Hari promoted. It is time those like him faced up to their own responsibility for the situation in Iraq, rather than smearing the millions who marched for peace with the Stop the War Coalition.

Chair, Stop the War Coalition
London WC1

Meretz USA = Likud Israel

Many thanks to JS for sending me final proof that there is no such thing as the Zionist left. This link is to Meretz USA's website. See the latest edition of their periodical and how they support Ariel Sharon's "punishment...for the Palestinians", their pretence at believing AIPAC's Dennis Ross and their feigned ignorance of Alan Dershowitz's plagiarism and other dishonesty.

JS sent me a wonderful quote to sum up why the Zionists engage in this barrage of dishonest propaganda:

It's called the grey fallacy. One person says white, another says black, and outside observers assume gray is the truth. The assumption of grey is sloppy, lazy thinking. The fact that one person takes a position that is diametrically opposed to the truth does not then skew reality so the truth is no longer the truth. The truth is still the truth.

The truth is still the truth.

Arms bizarre

A bit of a conflict of interest.

January 14, 2005

Colonial Hitler goes native

Whilst the discomfiture of the royals is entertainment for us ordinary folk, let's condemn them for the right reasons:

I find it disconcerting that the "outraged", and presumably anti-racist, media commentators seem to have focused on a single theme when denouncing Harry's odious choice of outfit (Royal family caught up in Nazi row, January 13). As an African Briton, I am appalled that both princes attended a party themed "native and colonial".

Ideologically there is very little difference from the party being themed "Aboriginal and Australian" or, of course, "Jewish and Nazi". The fact that Prince William chose to parody African people in what has been described as a Tarzanesque "lion and leopard" outfit is equally as contemptible as Harry wearing the uniform of the German Afrika Korps which brutally murdered thousands of African people belonging to the Herero and Bondelswarts tribes in Namibia in 1904-06.
Toyin Agbetu
The Ligali Organisation

January 12, 2005


and compare.

Palestinian WMD?

I was sent this by someone called Flutie54 and I was asked why I don't post it to my blog. Well click above and read the weirdest article. It's written by Louis Rene Beres, who, it's hard to believe got his Phd from Princeton in 1971.

Here's how he kicks off:

Today we think of Fallujah as the site of ongoing battles between courageous American forces and assorted enemy fighters.

I don't know anything of the readership of the Jewish Press but when we. think of Fallujah we. tend to think of a city that has been destroyed by American aerial bombardment.

And still in the first paragraph:

But back on the last day of March of this year, Fallujah was briefly known for the manifestly unheroic behavior of its Arab/Islamic combatants. Then it was the place where Islamic insurgents openly dramatized their long-cherished practice of desecrating the dead.

Obviously the Phd who wrote this didn't know about the Israeli desecration of corpses back in November 2004 or he would have mentioned it. Anyway to continue:

The March 31 Iraqi atrocities against American civilians stemmed from the same cultural mindset as Palestinian atrocities against Israelis. Moreover, Iraqi suicide bombers have learned a great deal from their Palestinian cousins. Witnessing that Palestinian crimes against humanity have led both Israel and the United States to move closer toward accepting the creation of a Palestinian state, certain Iraqis can now conclude quite rationally that mutilating Americans is far more than a convenient way to let off steam. It is also a purposeful way to end the U.S. "occupation" and to reinstall a genocidal regime.

"Cultural mindset", now there's an expression. Palestinians and Iraqis have a "cultural mindset" that predisposes them to using suicide bombing as tactic. Why then was it not until 1994 that any Palestinian carried out a suicide bombing? The Phd chappie doesn't ask. The answer, known to most observers of the Palestine situation, is that the American GP, Baruch Goldstein, carried out the first suicide attack in Palestine in 1993 and Hamas retaliated in kind. And how did the word "occupation" find itself between quotes? What is the American presence in Iraq? Tourism?

And that's not all:

As the events in Fallujah essentially reproduced those in Ramallah, so too would a state of "Palestine" quickly resemble and export the chaotic conditions of present-day Iraq.

Let's see if I've understood this. An unoccupied Ramallah would resemble "occupied" Iraq. So Palestinians being ruled by Palestinians would be like Iraqis being ruled by Americans. Who is this guy? Oh yes, I remember, he's a Phd from Princeton. But there's still more.

Moreover, as a fully sovereign state unencumbered by any outside military forces, its predictable preparations for new spasms of war and terror would proceed with utterly no constraint or inhibition. In time, "Palestine" would surely become the launching point for direct WMD attacks upon neighboring Israel and, indirectly, for WMD terror against certain parts of Europe and the United States.

This guy's racing ahead. Palestine with WMD. Of course Palestine has WMD on its soil. It's just not the "fully sovereign state" of Palestine that controls them. It's the US dependent state of Israel that owns and controls them, as much as one can control over 40 year old nuclear weapons facilities designed for a 25 year lifespan.

And on:

Everywhere in the Arab/Islamic world, the post-Holocaust concentration of Jews in Israel is taken as decisive proof of Allah`s plan for another Jewish genocide. Ironically, for this world, the state created to prevent a second Holocaust has been allowed only to make further Jewish annihilation distinctly practicable.

Finally our Doctor of Philsophy has accidentally got something right, albeit on the back of something wrong. The state of Israel was not established "to prevent a second Holocaust". The idea of a Jewish state predated the holocaust by five to six decades and the imperialist supporters of the Zionist project were none too concerned about genocidal campaigns against other peoples. But it is true, that the concentration of millions of Jews in one contiguous area does make a holocaust possible, particularly when WMD with a lifespan of 25 years have been there for over 40 years.

January 11, 2005

The trials (or not) of Tali Fahima, by Roland Rance

This is an article published in the latest copy of Socialist Resistance. In it, Roland Rance asks what kind of the threat Tali Fahima poses to the State of Israel.

Tali, who voted for Sharon at the last election, has no history of involvement with protest groups or anti-occupation activity. However, with the intensification of the Palestinian Intifada, she did the almost unthinkable in Israel. Instead of accepting the daily propaganda lies about Arab blood lust, she decided to find out for herself why so many Palestinians were willing to sacrifice their lives in order to strike a blow at Israel. So she phoned Zakiriya Zbeidi., commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin, to ask him. This conversation led to the first of several visits to Jenin, where she was astonished to be accepted as an honoured guest, and began to see the Palestinians as a people struggling against oppression, rather than the inhuman and unreasoning mass they were portrayed as in the Israeli media.

January 10, 2005

A vote for peace?

Abu Mazen has won the Palestinian Authority elections and, already, Bush has invited him over. Why doesn't Abu Mazen invite Bush over to Ramallah, or Jenin, or Rafah?

Race or class?

Now I'm looking at an article by Daphna Baram on one of the refusenik sites. It's about Tali Fahima's incarceration without trial, in Israel, for meeting with a Palestinian militant in Jenin. Daphna Baram suggests that Fahima wouldn't be in such trouble if she was a middle class Ashkenazi Jew, but she's working class and from Morocco. And so she went to jail.

Al Jazeera pulls cartoons under US pressure

I wanted to blog the Jewish Press site tonight because someone called Flutie54 sent me an interesting article from there. But the site's down for some reason. Curiously, Little Green Footballs is also down. I found that out from LGF Watch. Quite a useful blog for those who want to know what they are are saying but don't want to cut through acres of inane comments from, what seems to be, a bunch of racist adolescents.

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, Al-Jazeera. They ran two slightly animated cartoons on their website. The first showed the World Trade Centre's twin towers being destroyed only to rise again as two petrol (that's gasoline) pumps marked IRAQ. The second shows Latinos going for their green cards into a subway and when they come out the other side they are US soldiers being killed in Iraq. Pretty poignant stuff but the fact that Al Jazeera pulled them under US orders won't do much for their reputation. The journalist covering the story, in my link anyway, is John R.Bradley who I know nothing about.

January 09, 2005

"Problems" in Palestinian poll

In addition to stopping Mustapha Barghouti from campaigning, particularly in East Jerusalem, the Israelis have stopped many Palestinians from voting in East Jerusalem. In an eloquent testimony to the sheer arrogance of the Zionist project, the harrasment of would-be Palestinian voters has taken place in front of the monitor, former US President Carter. Clearly, "the only democracy in the Middle East" is determined to hold on to its self-styled monopoly.

From the Beeb:

Voting is said to be brisk in Gaza and the West Bank, but in Jerusalem hundreds of voters were turned away from an Israeli-run polling station.

Former US President Jimmy Carter, who was monitoring the poll at the station, said he was unhappy with the incident.

Equally clearly, Israel wants Abbas, and not Barghouti, to win the Presidency of the PA.

Am I doing something Right?

I must say I am very pleased that my blog has been nominated "Progressive Blog of the Week" by American Samizdat. I noticed I was getting a few hits from amsam.org. At round about the same time (ie this week), a tracker told me that I was getting lots of hits, in fact most of my referrer hits, from the Sensual Liberation Army, which is a porn blog. Then I noticed a couple of hits from a news and porn aggregator called Web Nymph. Porn and news? Yup, that's what it is.

January 08, 2005

Bush's Kafkaesque Orwellianisms

Somewhere in the United States government is the person who came up with the idea of fusing the wail of an infant with the incessant meow from a cat food commercial so as to torment detainees at Guantanamo. Detainees were also subjected to popular songs by the likes of Eminem and Rage Against the Machine. What Liberace would have done to an observant Muslim, I can only imagine, but it is a mad genius who realized that ordinary American culture can, with repeated exposure, be nearly lethal. God help us all.

Here's a guy, Richard Cohen, writing in the Daily Camera (would you believe?) about how, when George W.Bush abuses the language, he doesn't just do it accidentally. For example,

calling suicidal terrorists "cowards," naming a constriction of civil liberties the Patriot Act and, of course, wringing all meaning from the word "torture."

And here's how he closes:

The Bush administration has fused Orwell with Kafka in the same way someone fused the cry of an infant with that of a cat from the Meow Mix television commercial. The upshot is Gonzales, ticketed maybe for the Supreme Court because he winked at torture and yessed the president. He's Kafka's man, Orwell's boy and Bush's pussycat. Know him for his roar.


Exit strategy

"Sir: There is currently a lot of discussion and debate in the media about the similarity between the war in Vietnam, and the war in Iraq. This is of course utter nonsense. George Bush had a plan to get out of Vietnam...

Bracknell, Berkshire"

Refusenik movement

My refusenik banner just moved. It moved from 1,391 to 1,392. I clicked the banner to find out more and couldn't find who the latest refuser was. So I clicked on another button and found the article linked above. It discusses a speech by the Jewish philosopher, Yesha’ayahu Leibowitz. He is credited with coining the term "Judeo-Nazi" to describe the ideology gripping Israel in the wake of the 1967 war. In this speech, he again raises the comparison of Israel with the Nazis, this time referring to the physical. courage of some German soldiers in WWII, in spite of the morally repugnant cause they were serving. The courage being lauded in this article, by Daphna Baram, is that of those who have the courage to refuse to serve morally repugnant causes.

Anti-semitism report out

There was so much fanfare for the US State Department's proposed "Global anti-semitism report" that when it came out it was such a damp squib no-one (bar some real die hard specialists) seemed to notice. This appeared on The Arabist Network on Wednesday 5/1/2005. The Arabist is opposed to

[s]ingling out anti-Semitism as a special form of racism.......if only because it dissociates it from racism and makes it something "special" — something that will fuel the arguments of the anti-Semites. Highlighting anti-Semitism like this also exaggerates the phenomenon. In the case of the Arab world, where anti-Semitism is admittedly rife and occasionally gets violent, as it did in Morocco in 2003 or in Tunisia in 2002, it will compound a common misperception that anti-Semitism is the biggest form of discrimination taking place.

The same site then goes on to relate the various discriminations going on within Egypt that don't receive special attention from the US State Department.

Alliance & Leicester blank

Lord Gilmour, Victoria Brittain and Jeremy Corbyn are less than happy about the Palestine Solidarity Campaign being blanked by the Alliance and Leicester.

A&L owes Palestinian campaign group an explanation for closing bank account
By Victoria Brittain, Jeremy Corbyn and Ian Gilmour
Published: January 8 2005 02:00 | Last updated: January 8 2005 02:00

From Lord Gilmour of Craigmillar, Victoria Brittain and Jeremy Corbyn MP.

Sir, We are patrons of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, a voluntary organisation established in 1982 to seek justice for the Palestinians. Since 1996 we have held a bank account with the Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank. Our account has always been in credit and we have never had any query or complaint from the bank concerning its conduct or our business.

In July 2004 we received a letter out of the blue from the bank giving us 30 days' notice to close the account. The only reason offered was that the bank was "no longer able to provide banking facilities to certain clubs and societies". We wrote back protesting, asking for an explanation for this abrupt action and for the bank to let us know which other clubs and societies had been treated similarly.

We claimed nearly £4,000 compensation of which half represented the out-of-pocket expenses for notifying our members and subscribers (some 2,750), stationery, printing and postage. The bank replied: "On this occasion we reserve our right not to disclose our reasons." It declined to comment on the status of other people's accounts and refused any compensation. The only concession was to extend our notice period from 30 to 60 days.

We took our complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (the Ombudsman). We wrote: "We feel we have been treated with contempt by the bank and that we deserve an explanation for why this action is being taken . . . we cannot understand why a bank which claims to wish to advance good community relations should behave with such utter lack of regard towards an organisation which is committed to seeking international justice and human rights and is based on cross-faith co-operation (we have Muslim, Christian and Jewish members as well as members of no religion)".

The Ombudsman's terse response was that " . . . your complaint does not appear to be one we could deal with because it is solely about the firm's legitimate use of its commercial judgment". Although the Ombudsman said it could deal with "maladministration" and "improper discrimination", its refusal to intervene in our case shows how supine a regulatory body it is.

The Alliance & Leicester claims to be "the UK's most customer-focused financial services organisation - bar none" and that "earning and retaining the trust and confidence of our customers must be a high priority for us". In its business relationships it says it seeks "fair dealing and high standards of business integrity". These claims ring hollow when set against the experience we have suffered at the hands of the bank.

As no credible, indeed any, explanation has been offered by the bank for the manner in which we have been treated, the inevitable suspicion is that the bank has succumbed to political pressure. Be this as it may, we believe the public deserves to be enlightened on how one of the country's leading high street banks chooses to operate and on the cavalier way in which the Ombudsman interprets its remit in handling complaints.

Ian Gilmour, Victoria Brittain, Jeremy Corbyn, Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, London WC1N 3XX

Jews against Melanie Phillips

Last week I couldn't bear to read Melanie Phillips's article, headed "Vital questions of "right" and wrong", in the Jewish Chronicle, claiming that Judaism is neo-conservatism at prayer. So it's nice to see an angry response to her rantings in this week's JC. In fact seeing the response made it possible for me to read the (not so) original article without panicking about the lack of counter argument:

Like Melanie Phillips, I, too, gave a talk at Limmud on the subject of American neo-conservatives, and I would like to ask her the following questions:

What is "extremely moral" about the neo-cons' support for right-wing dictatorships in central and South America during the 1970s and 1980s for the illegal Iran-Contra affair, and for apartheid in South Africa?

What is "Jewish" about their alliance with the religious right and its project to Christianise America? And, from what Jewish sources do they derive their uncritical and unequivocal backing for the abolition of abortion?

So, according to Melanie Phillips, "neo-conservatism is a quintessentially Jewish project".
Funnily enough, I had never realised that redistributing wealth form the poor to the rich, energetically destroying the environment and refusing to accept the rule of law both at home and abroad were so integral to Judaism.
I'd always thought that rabbinic hostility to violence and oppression should lead Jews to oppose empire rather than celebrate it, and that the notion of tzedakah as justice should lead us to give to those in need rather than cut their benefits on the grounds of "encouraging enterprise".

Does Melanie Phillips really think that intelligent people can accept that the neo-cons are the "front-line" in the defence of Jewish and western values?
The novelist Sara Paretsky, writing this week in the Guardian, relates how her late grandmother escaped from the pogroms of Eastern Europe in in 1911 to settle in the USA to "come home" to freedom.
Now, as Sara Paretsky observes, opinion, in the once so-admired land of freedom, views such practices as imprisonment without trial as a necessary price to pay for protection against terrorism. This echoes the view that teh torture of Jews, Communists and others was a "necessary price" to pay for moving Germany in a better direction.

Unfortunately, none of the published letters addressed her point that secular humanism is essentially anti-Zionist, which, of course, it is. Here's Melanie:

How much worse is the situation today now that secular humanism - along with its offshoot, post-modernism - has shown that its vision of the kingdon of heaven on earth unfortunately does not include the existence of a Jewish national home.

No takers on that one.

January 07, 2005

Pink'un on Palestine

The pink'un shows itself to be pinker than the neo-con Blair on the question of Palestine.

This is from the Financial Times's. editorial for today:

Palestinian reform is only part of the equation. The heavy emphasis placed on responsible Palestinian government by leaders such as George W. Bush and Tony Blair has raised questions in Palestinian minds about their and the Sharon government's longer term intentions. Put another way, the Bush administration has put pressure only on the Palestinians - much the weaker party in the dispute - while, as the Washington-based Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy points out, encouraging Mr Sharon and his allies "to believe they will not need to make major concessions on the West Bank".

An Islamist writes

Azzam Tamimi in The Guardian. I often agree with Dr Tamimi's diagnosis but never his Islamist prognosis.

This weekend the Palestinians are to be given the right to elect a new leader, they say, for a change. However, if peace-making is to be resumed and if Israel is to agree to talk to the Palestinians, they can only choose Mahmoud Abbas - hence the international pressure to eliminate the popular Marwan Barghouti from the race. The fact that many Palestinians do not see Abbas as representative of their aspirations or willing to defend their rights does not matter to Israel or its western allies. Nor is it of any concern to the US and the EU that Hamas has increasingly strong support among Palestinians (as highlighted by their recent performance in municipal elections); they still will not talk to its representatives. It is fully acceptable for Israelis to elect whomever they deem fit to lead them, even a war criminal like Ariel Sharon. No Arab people are allowed the same luxury.

January 06, 2005

The shame of it!

I must confess to feeling a sense of shame that I had no idea until just now that, Riziq Ziad Musleh, a campaign worker for Mustapha Barghouti was murdered a week ago by the Israeli army. (thanks Jazzman) He was engaged in the deadly business of putting up posters for the Barghouti campaign. In fairness the mainstream media has been taken up with news of the tsunami, but they took time out to express their horror at Mahmoud Abbas's denunciation of the "Zionist enemy" when Israel murdered seven other youngsters. I have now googled the name, Riziq Ziad Musleh, and a mere 17 sites came up. All were Palestinian or campaign sites. That means that officially, the day Riziq Ziad Musleh was killed, was a day of calm in occupied Palestine.

Al-Aqsa victory

Well a victory for the Friends of Al-Aqsa anyway.

After a traumatic 2 weeks, supporters of Friends of Al-Aqsa will be pleased to hear that the Royal Bank of Scotland has apologised and withdrawn its demand to close the bank accounts of Friends of Al-Aqsa and its chairman.

This was the result of a letter-writing, emailing and blogging campaign on behalf of the "Friends" by various groups and individuals and just goes to show what a little activism can achieve.

January 05, 2005

You too can be a war criminal

but hurry, it's already oversubscribed.


As reported below, the Israeli army killed seven Palestinian youngsters in a strawberry field yesterday. Most news outlets have focused on Abu Mazen's verbal response in calling Israel the "Zionist enemy". The Guardian. , via Cobal Urquhart, decided to firm up on Israel's hasty excuse for the murders. Accordiing to Urquhart, the youngsters, aged 11 to 17, were "killed in crossfire". I have looked up - "zionist enemy" "abu mazen" - on google news and many English language news sites have picked up on the story. At the time of writing this, not one, not British, not American, not Israeli, refers to "crossfire". No reporter, it seems, will stoop as low as The Guardian. in covering up for what was an Israeli massacre.

January 04, 2005

Zionists' friend denounces Zionist enemy

The Israeli army killed 7 Palestinian youngsters, aged 11 to 17, today as they picked strawberries in a field. Palestinian Authority presidential candidate, Mahmoud Abbas/Abu Mazen, Israel's favourite candidate, denounced the actions of the "Zionist enemy".

I first caught this on UK Channel 4 news and I couldn't help noticing how the reporters were more shocked at the language used by Abu Mazen than by the Israeli army killing children. But then, of course, Abu Mazen denouncing Israel is a rarity; the Israeli army killing children is a common occurrence.

We were treated to the usual excuse for the child killing:

Lieutenant Avi Levy, the area army commander, gave a guarded apology. "If we hit innocent Palestinians, I’m sorry for that," he said. "You have to remember that the (militant) groups fire from the cover of these heavily populated civilian areas."

So that's alright then....except that this "populated civilian area" was a strawberry field.

He's only joking, isn't he?

Letter to The Guardian, making light, I hope, of the rights of diaspora Jews to vote in Israeli elections.

If the Palestinian diaspora are to be allowed to vote in the Palestinian elections, which I would support (Letters, January 3), perhaps it is time we Jews in the diaspora, whom the Israeli government keeps purporting to represent, should have a vote in Israeli elections.
Michael Ellman

The bad news here is that I have heard rumours that the World Zionist Organisation wants to set up some kind of worldwide Jewish parliament. Let's hope that's just a joke as well.

January 03, 2005

Palestine democracy campaign

Two letters in the Guardian. highlighting the political indivisibility of the Palestinian people. One signed by Joe Bord Research fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge, Prof Musa Budeiri, Birzeit University, Palestine, Nur Masalha, University of Surrey and Martha Mundy, London School of Economics. The other by Prof Hilary Rose and Prof Steven Rose London.

The first complains that:

Although they are an integral part of the Palestinian people, the millions of refugees in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the wider diaspora are not to vote in the presidential, legislative or local elections for "technical reasons".
[but see a response to this by Roland Rance]

The second complains of:

reports of the continued harassment by the Israeli Defence [sic] Force of candidates other than the west's favoured Mahmoud Abbas in the Palestinian presidential elections. These were capped by the announcement that the Ariel Sharon government was effectively going to disenfranchise the 120,000 Palestinian citizens living in Jerusalem.

Palestine banking scandal

The Royal Bank of Scotland has joined the Alliance and Leicester in victimising supporters of the Palestinian cause and, by extension, the Palestinian people.

Two British organisations set up to help the Palestinian people have had their bank accounts abruptly closed without explanation, the Guardian has learned. Neither is proscribed by the government, and both claim that their targeting is political.

The groups, Friends of Al-Aqsa (FoAA) [Royal Bank of Scotland] and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign [Alliance and Leicester], have been asked to find alternative banking arrangements, even though neither appears on watch lists held by the Home Office or the Bank of England. The head of FoAA has also had his personal and business accounts closed.....

This sabotage by the banks is proving extremely costly to the two groups:

The PSC has written to its members asking them to transfer their standing orders, but so far only half have done so.

FoAA estimates that it will cost more than £10,000 in lost subscriptions and reprinting costs.

For complaints to the Alliance and Leicester go here.

For complaints to the Royal Bank of Scotland go here.

January 02, 2005

Observe these!

The link above is to three letters in today's Observer. , two of which debunk Martin Gilbert's comparison of Churchill and Roosevelt with Blair and Bush and the other, which really caught my eye, tackles his muddying of the waters over the history of Palestine.

In his potted history of events surrounding the establishment of the state of Israel in May 1948, Martin Gilbert makes some crucial omissions.

When the UN voted to partition Palestine it awarded 55 per cent of the land to 30 per cent of the population - the Jewish population. The area to be under Jewish control was itself 50 per cent Arab. In the same month of the UN vote, November 1947, Britain declared that it was leaving Palestine. Immediately the Zionists began ethnically cleansing the Arabs from the Jewish areas and moved to secure land beyond the UN-allocated boundaries.

By the time Britain left and the Arab states mobilised, around 300,000 Palestinian Arabs were already refugees.

I agree with Martin Gilbert that there were failures of Arab leadership, not least the fact that Jordan was collaborating with Israel, but to suggest that Israel's conduct was above reproach at that time is, at best, economical with the truth.

Mark Elf
Dagenham Essex

On the same letters page there's this one expressing shock at New Labour jumping into bed with the far-right Opus Dei :


Apropos Catholic 'secret society' gains power foothold by Jamie Doward (News, last week): as a member of the Labour Party I am alarmed by the fact that our erstwhile Home Secretary saw fit to carry on a close relationship with the editor of such a Tory mouthpiece as the Spectator and that a formerly Tory millionaire is appointed to lead our general election campaign for a third term.

Nevertheless, I was shocked to read that the recently appointed Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, is a member of, or 'even merely in touch with' such a far right organization as Opus Dei. If you think the 'far right' adjective too strong, Google Opus Dei. You will find out that it is against stem cell research, women's right to choose whether to have an abortion, and contraception, but for faith-based schools, hierarchy and unquestioning obedience to the leader of the organization. It also has a track record for politically promoting its semi-fascist aims.
Balazs L Gyorffy
Cotham Branch of Bristol West CLP