April 30, 2005

Dershowitz delays demolition?

A small diary column report in the Guardian's Saturday Review section seems to be saying that plagiarist and serial liar, Alan Dershowitz has delayed the release of Norman Finkelstein's latest offering, Beyond Chutzpah. This is rather strange because in one letter to Finkelstein's site, a Heinz Bartesch says that he purchased two copies. Perhaps he ordered them on-line. Anyway here's the article, which I found just a little bit sneery:
Norman G Finkelstein is no stranger to controversy, and he is stirring it up again. In The Holocaust Industry (2000) he argued that Jews should not elevate the Holocaust as in some way sacred, should not elevate their suffering above the suffering of others, should be careful about participating in a "memory" industry; in A Nation on Trial, he and Ruth Bettina Birn challenged, in detail, Daniel Goldhagen's bestseller Hitler's Willing Executioners. Now he has written Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, which is, according to Finkelstein's comprehensive official website, "a meticulously researched expose of the corruption of scholarship on the Israel-Palestine conflict."

This time Finkelstein has in his sights Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and his bestseller The Case for Israel. Dershowitz has hired lawyers. And "he's been sending us some letters," says Lynne Withey, director of University of California Press, which is to publish the book in the US. "He's not too happy about this, as you can imagine." The book was meant to appear this spring, but is delayed until August. They're doing "a lot of copyediting". And factchecking? Yes. And they have decided not to publish it in England themselves, as they feel the book, which has "major sales potential in Europe", should be taken on by a UK publisher. As yet, there are no takers.
There will be.

Finkelstein's a fair minded chap I think. He has torn Dershowitz apart on a few occasions now and Dershowitz has found it all so upsetting he has formed "The Committee to Expose Norman Finkelstein’s Close Connections to Neo-Nazism, Holocaust Denial, and His "Big Lie" of an "International Jewish Conspiracy"". What impresses me about Finkelstein, apart from his meticulousness and courage, is his granting of a platform to such a lying toad as Dershowitz.

April 28, 2005

Blair's first lie!

The Liverpool Daily Post carries the shock news that, unlike everyone else in the whole world, Blair has never told a lie. Well, that's what Blair said anyway and he wouldn't lie. "Look," it's just not his way.
Mr Blair hit back in an interview for Adam Boulton of Sky News: "I have never told a lie. No. I don't intend to go telling lies to people. I did not lie over Iraq."
There we have it.

What the Attorney General said

The Attorney General's advice has now been published. According to the Independent, the Blair was still lying about it when it hit the streets. Here are a few snatches from the report:
A key question is whether there is in truth a need for an assessment of whether Iraq's conduct constitutes a failure to take the final opportunity or has constituted a failure fully to cooperate within the meaning of OP4 such that the basis of the cease-fire is destroyed. If an assessment is needed of that situation, it would be for the Council to make it....

In other words, we would need to be able to demonstrate hard evidence of non-compliance and non-cooperation....

you will need to consider very carefully whether the evidence of non-cooperation and non- compliance by Iraq is sufficiently compelling to justify the conclusion that Iraq has failed to take its final opportunity....

But a "reasonable case" does not mean that if the matter ever came before a court I would be confident that the court would agree with the view....

OPs 4 and 12 do requ1re a further Council decision in order to revive the authorisation in resolution 678....
And finally
If we fail to achieve the adoption of a second resolution we would need to consider urgently at that stage the strength of our legal case in the light of circumstances at the time.
Cue Jack Straw on BBC Radio 4 arguing how the legal advice is an unequivocal statement in favour of the legality of the war on Iraq.

April 26, 2005

"Give Blair a bloody nose"

This is a wonderful statement by the defecting prominent Labour MP, Brian Sedgemore. Here are some cuts but the whole thing's good.
His scorn for liberal Britain is surprising for one who had an expensive liberal education and who entered politics as an aspirant liberal lawyer, an ardent member of CND and a standard-bearer for the left.

People such as myself should have realised the writing was on the wall when a Labour government twice tried to abolish trial by jury. From there, it was a short step for Blair (but a huge step for the rest of us) to get suppliant backbench Labour MPs to vote for an unlawful war, the setting up of a gulag at Belmarsh for foreigners and deprivation of liberty through "control orders" and "pass laws" for British citizens....

The stomach-turning lies on Iraq were followed by the attempt to use the politics of fear to drive through Parliament a deeply authoritarian set of law and order measures....

I'm renouncing Tony Blair, the Devil, New Labour and all their works. I don't do this lightly. I know that some of my friends will be angry, and I will be rubbished by the New Labour spin machine. Mad Dog [John] Reid will be set on me. John Prescott will say, "Brian? Brian who?"

But I can let them into a secret. I am not alone. A small group of us - all MPs who are standing down - decided we would leave the Labour Party immediately after the election. Among the MPs, there are 150 who loathe Mr Blair, 50 more who have grave doubts about him and a further 200 who love him. They are sometimes called the Clones or the Stepford Wives.....

Those who listen to the Today programme know that most modern politicians would rather plead the fifth amendment than directly answer even the simplest of questions....

The problem with Tony Blair is that he tells big porkies as easily as he tells little porkies, whether it is watching Jackie Milburn play football, or being certain of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

He drags in the hapless Attorney General to back him up on the legality of the war. Lord Goldsmith says he was not leant on. The Attorney General can protest his innocence until the end of time, and people won't believe him, and neither do I.

But Blair is shameless. He used to act at school and he uses that talent now; every time he speaks, for example, at the death of Diana, Princess of Wales you can hear someone saying, "Cue broken voice, quivering lips, dropped shoulder, tear in left eye".[my favourite bit].....

Blair showed his contempt for the law by appointing an unholy trinity of home secretaries who have been deeply flawed:

Jack Straw was simply not up to the job. David Blunkett saw himself as some sort of deified demi-god, issuing new commandments on a daily basis for the six o'clock news.

And then there's poor Charlie Clarke, a bit of a chump preaching the politics of fear who was dealt a cruel hand by Blunkett over the Terrorism Act.

He is keeping very quiet during this election campaign for some reason. Charles was the housing chairman in Hackney when I was the MP and to describe him as bloody useless would be to heap high praise on him. [another fave]........

Some say I should have stayed for things to change under Gordon Brown. The "Iron Chancellor" has a massive intellect but no backbone. He stayed carefully away from the difficult issues:- the nature of parliamentary democracy; the illegal war; the denial of trial by jury; Belmarsh, the control orders and pass laws.

And John Prescott - the defender of the left - has done a Faustian deal with the Devil for the price of a cup of tea and a pat on the back from Tony......

Is it any wonder I urge everyone from the centre and left in British politics to give Blair a bloody nose at the election and to vote Liberal Democrat to ensure the tawdry New Labour project is dead?
But how long will such an outspoken man be able to stay in a party with Charles Kennedy and Menzies Campbell, two careerists who haven't the guts to call Blair a liar when we all know that that is just what he is?

UK Election: the ones to watch in order of importance

Here's a fairly useful website detailing constituencies, runners and riders and how they faired last time round.

DAGENHAM
Michael White (C)
*Jonathan Cruddas (Lab)
James Kempton (LD)
Lawrence Rustem (BNP)
Gerard Batten (UKIP)
2001: Lab maj 8,693 (31.52%) - Turnout 27,580 (46.48%)
Cruddas (Lab) 15,784 (57.23%); White (C) 7,091 (25.71%); Gee-Turner
(LD) 2,820 (10.22%); Hill (BNP) 1,378 (5.00%); Hamilton (Soc All) 262
(0.95%); Siggins (Soc Lab) 245 (0.89%)

Ok that's not really one to watch. It's more one to look away from. I was just looking for some sympathy because it's my constituency. What a choice huh?

BETHNAL GREEN & BOW
Shahagir Bakth Faruk (C)
*Oona King (Lab)
Syed Nurul Islam Dulu (LD)
John Foster (Green)
Ejiro Etefia (AFC)
Celia Pugh (Ind)
+George Galloway (Respect)
2001: Lab maj 10,057 (26.18%) - Turnout 38,414 (48.51%)
King (Lab) 19,380 (50.45%); Faruk (C) 9,323 (24.27%); Ludlow (LD)
5,946 (15.48%); Bragga (Green) 1,666 (4.34%); Davidson (BNP) 1,211
(3.15%); Delderfield (NBP) 888 (2.31%)

You can tell by the allegations of anti-semitism being hurled around, especially at Respect, that Labour are seriously rattled over this one.

SEDGEFIELD
Grp Capt Al Lockwood (C)
*Tony Blair (Lab)
Robert Browne (LD)
Jonathan Cockburn (BMG)
Berony Abraham (Ind Abraham)
John Barker (Ind Barker)
Julian Brennan (Ind Brennan)
Helen John (Ind John)
Reg Keys (Ind Keys)
Mark Farrell (NF)
Boney Maroney (Loony)
Terry Pattinson (Senior)
William Brown (UKIP)
Cherri Gilham (UKPP)
Fiona Luckhurst-Matthews (Veritas)
2001: Lab maj 17,713 (44.00%) - Turnout 40,258 (62.01%)
Blair (Lab) 26,110 (64.86%); Carswell (C) 8,397 (20.86%); Duffield
(LD) 3,624 (9.00%); Spence (UKIP) 974 (2.42%); Gibson (Soc Lab) 518
(1.29%); Driver (R & R Loony) 375 (0.93%); John (WFLOE) 260 (0.65%)

Lot of candidates for Blair's, for the time being, constituency. Now Blair will probably win this one but there is some serious money going on Reg Keys.
A vote for Blair is a vote for Bush. What a splendid signal the voters of Sedgefield could send the world if they elected Reg Keys.
That quote was from Richard Dawkins in Saturday's Independent, four days before Brian Sedgemore dropped his bombshell.

April 25, 2005

Zionists against democracy

I've been looking around the net and the campaign against the AUT on account of its Israel boycott is getting quite bitter. Perhaps I'm naive but zionists are calling on people to resign from the union over this. There have even been resignations from the union already, and it surprises me. I can understand the campaign of media lies, distortions and character attacks and I expected it. Look at the Jerusalem Post article linked above. It accuses the AUT of deliberately holding the conference at Passover to exclude Jews. But after all this talk of freedom, justice, democracy and learning, people are leaving a democratic association because they disagree with a majority decision. I'm thinking of the conference before this one when the boycott motion was defeated; I don't remember any anti-zionists leaving the union over it. They argued their points honestly and openly and then accepted a democratic result; then and now.

Sue Blackwell responds

From today's Guardian.

Michael Kustow (Letters, April 23) challenges my description of Israel as "an illegitimate state" (Report, April 22). How can any state be legitimate that is founded on ethnic cleansing (which Kustow accepts took place)? I would have said the same about apartheid South Africa. I look forward to a Holy Land in which people of all races and religions have equal status under an inclusive constitution - like South Africa today.
Sue Blackwell
Birmingham

Under the same heading, Battle of the boycott, Lord (aka Melvyn) Bragg has a letter with a gratuitous reference to "unremitting threats from Arab states that they will destroy Israel." Which Arab states are threatening to destroy Israel? He ends up telling us that the boycott is "dangerous and misguided." No wonder he got a peerage from Blair.

April 24, 2005

David Aaronovitch on Sue Blackwell!

Yuk!!! Sorry Sue, it's a terrifying image, I know. But in today's Observer. Aaronovitch has produced a vintage piece of garbage about the AUT boycott of two (watch this space) Israeli universities, inspired, of course, by Sue Blackwell. In that any Aaronovitch article on the Middle East promises nothing but tosh, this lives up to its promise, but in that it is titled "Why Israel will always be vilified" it doesn't measure up at all. It doesn't explain why, even in Aaronovitch's hallowed opinion, Israel will always be vilified. Citing the boycott as one example of "intelligent people behaving in a futile way," Aaronovitch sets out to "prove" his point.

First up Aaronovitch takes a personal swipe at Sue Blackwell for using the boycott motion to make herself feel better. He then says that the boycott will be counter-productive because it will make zionists pro-American or even insular. He doesn't know of the divestment campaigns going on in America right now it seems. It will reduce Europe's influence on Israel he says. What influence? you may ask.

Time for another personal swipe at Blackwell. Apparently (and I don't know if it's true) she's a former "Christian fundamentalist turned revolutionary socialist." This is bad. This is terrible. Is he objecting to Christian fundamentalism? He can't be can he? Bible thumpers are Israel's main supporters in America, numerically anyway. Or is being a revolutionary socialist bad? This would make most of the ANC's old guard (including, I think, Mandela) bad. Or is he objecting to turning? Can't be that either. Aaronovitch is more famous for turning from being a reactionary communist to being an equally reactionary New Labourite than anything else. So what's his point? He doesn't say. Within the same paragraph he tries the old "you shouldn't be looking" routine. You know the one. Why don't you look at human rights abuses elsewhere? But human rights abuses elsewhere are condemned more frequently in the media than Israel's abuses and the boycott acts as an exposé for those who see Israel as Aaronovitch portrays it: a plucky beleaguered "normal" state, surrounded by enemies.

He then names a few human rights abusers before criticising the characterisation of Israel as an apartheid state thus:
This is a genuinely, grade-A stupid argument, whether it emanates from the lips of Professor Steven Rose or the more sacred ones of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In itself, Israel is not anything like South Africa, where a majority was denied all political and civic rights on the grounds of race. What is analogous, however, is Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories, which bears comparison with South Africa's occupation of Namibia or, some might say, Serbia's occupation of Kosovo.
This is completely wrong. Israel did not become an apartheid state with the occupation, it became an apartheid state when it was established as a state that grants superior rights to Jews from anywhere than it does for non-Jews who come from there. To take the view that Israel's system of legally enforced race discrination is not apartheid is to mistake apartheid for minority rule. A system of law that grants priveledges to one ethno-religious group over others is an apartheid system. But to ignore the fact that the Palestinians are a minority under Israeli rule thanks to the zionist movement's ethnic cleansing of most Palestinians from their land is a working definition of chutzpah. I should point out here that Moshe Machover (www.kibush.org.il) has said that calling Israel an apartheid state is dangerous because it underestimates Israel's capacity and desire for ethnic cleansing. But anyway,
So the object of those wanting peace and justice in the Middle East is to bring about an end to that occupation, and enable the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state. It is to persuade both sides that such a settlement is practical and to persuade both sides to make the difficult sacrifices that are necessary. It is to build confidence between Jews and Palestinians, and to strengthen, always, the hand of the peacemakers.
He's missing something out here. He mentions sacrifices but doesn't say what they should be. He also hasn't mentioned the Palestinians' right to return though in previous articles he has equated their abandonment of this right as equating to the racist war criminals giving up their settlements. Note here that the recognition accorded to Israel by the UN in 1948 (I think) was conditional on Israel allowing the refugees to return. Note also that the freestanding General Assembly resolution 194, reaffirmed every year since it was passed, calls on Israel to allow the refugees to return to their land. Now read on
Unless, of course, you don't believe that Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state at all within any borders. And this, as it happens, seems to be the view of Sue Blackwell, who describes Israel as 'an illegitimate state'. Unlike the United Nations, she does not believe it should have been set up and she would rather it disappeared. As she pointed out in 2003 to a previous AUT council: 'From its very inception, the state of Israel has attracted international condemnation for violating the human rights of the Palestinian people and making war on its neighbours.' Or, to put it even more bluntly, everything is all the fault of the Israelis.
See the chutzpah there. I'm not a fan of the UN but Aaronovitch wants the Palestinians to give up their right of return in exchange for peace and a Palestinian state. The UN, according to itself, wants the Palestinians to have the right to return. When people suggest that the UN erred in recognising the state of Israel, this, to Aaronovitch is a terrible thing, but when zionists, the state of Israel and the great Aaronovitch insist that Palestinians give up one of the most basic of human rights, this is "the object of those wanting peace and justice. in the Middle East."(my italics) I can understand how bludgeoning a whole people into submission might be seen as a kind of peace, as in the absence of war, but justice? The acceptance of Israel's right to benefit from an ethnic cleansing campaign and to maintain an apartheid state is not justice, it is victory for racist war criminals and Aaronovitch surely knows it.

After some more mealy mouthed nonsense, Aaronovitch ends up with an even sillier swipe at Sue Blackwell than the previous ones. But go read the whole article and be thankful that Aaronivitch is "turning" from a reactionary Guardianista to an even more reactionary Murdochite at the Times.

April 23, 2005

"Blinkered, irresponsible and dangerous"

But that's enough about the Board of Deputies. Well it's actually their considered response to the success of the Association of University Teachers vote to sever links with Haifa and Bar-Ilan universities, and to consider a boycott of a third. The boycott vote is a tribute to the hard and courageous work of Sue Blackwell and all of those who have promoted the idea of boycotting the last of the colonial settler states for some years now.

As the time approached for the debate and vote, the Guardian. newspaper did its disingenuous best to undermine the case for the boycott and promote the interests of the racist war criminals of the state of Israel. It has editorialised that we shouldn't call Israel an apartheid state lest we offend the racist rulers. Today, the first quote in their article on what is a major victory for the anti-zionist cause, came from Britain's leading zionist organisation. The article, penned by three journalists, refers to the illegal, Jews only, settlement of Ariel in the West Bank, as "disputed". Conal Urquhart was one of the three but you would know that without reading his byline.

The Israeli ambassador to the UK compared the boycott to the nazi boycott of Jews at German universities in the 1930s. Danny Stone, the leader of the UK's World Zionist Congress students' wing, misleadingly known as the Union of Jewish Students, "urged the government to establish an inquiry into extremism on campuses - among students and staff."

But the most annoying passage in the article is this:
The Guardian understands that Jewish academics had been in contact with the AUT executive, and had received assurances that the Israeli position would be put forward and the executive would push for dialogue rather than a boycott.
Now, there can't be anyone at the Guardian. who doesn't know that there are many Jews, including academics, calling for and supporting various boycotts of the state of Israel. This reference to Jewish academics, whilst it panders to zionists, is actually an insult to all of those Jews who condemn all forms of racism and racist oppression. I'm not sure how many that amounts to but I like to think that we are not a dying breed.

April 21, 2005

More on the boycott

Here are two letters to the Guardian supporting the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
In Israel's universities, less than 1% of tenured full-time staff are Palestinian citizens of Israel, none of them women. About 3% are female Mizrahi (Jews who immigrated to Israel from Africa and Asia), and 5.5% Mizrahi males. For every four Ashkenazi (Israeli Jews of European descent) who are college graduates, there is only one Mizrahi and near zero Palestinians.

Israel's academics perpetrate and benefit from the systematic discrimination against Israel's 70% non-European majority (48% Mizrahim and 22% Palestinian). Israel's Ashkenazi "post-Zionist" professors, brandishing their progressive politics as they use Mizrahim and Palestinians for grantsmanship and as career advancement tools, are just the cynical tip of this apartheid iceberg.
Dr Smadar Lavie
Tel Aviv

I am astounded an army of academics has written to oppose the proposed boycott. The Israeli state practises apartheid policies that are codified in law, including legalised torture, and continues to systematically colonise Palestinian territory occupied by conquest. There is a deliberate programme of impoverishment and state terrorism against the Palestinians. Only days ago three teenagers were killed by Israeli soldiers after they went to retrieve their football in a "no-go area" in Gaza. Where were the protests then?
Surfraz Yousaf
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
The Guardian actually published eight letters on the subject, four in favour of the boycott and four against. One, shock horror, accused the sponsors of the boycott of anti-semitism.

April 20, 2005

Joseph Massad: All zionists are shmocks

I ought to point out from the start that Massad didn't actually say that but a zionist has accused him of saying "that the word "Zion" means "penis" and that therefore zionism is a macho movement." The allegation has now done the rounds of the New York media and, of course, the internet. I just put "zion means penis" into google and 38 sites came up:

1.New York Sun
2.Jihadwatch
3.Israel Insider
4.Campus Watch
5.Little Green Footballs
6.David Project - of which more later

Only the seventh site on the list has Massad's denial of what was a preposterous claim. This is therefore a classic example of what, I think, Juan Cole has called a "googlesmear."

Anyway the "zionists are shmocks" (that's a good idea for a UN resolution) thing is just one of the allegations against Joseph Massad, a Palestinian professor in the Middle East and Asian Language and Cultures (MEALAC) department at Columbia University.

The campaign against Massad involves a lot of detail but to cut to the chase (as Americans say) various zionist individuals and organisations are trying to tilt academia in favour of Israel and that means campaigning against anyone who criticises Israel or its zionist ideology. It began with disruptive zionist students in his class and ran the gamut from tabloid allegations, through mayoral and, even Congressional statements, ADL petitions, a film, and now Massad has had to stand before an ad hoc committee hearing at his own college.

For all the allegations against him there are only two of his former students in the film that is the main body of "evidence" for the committee. They are Noah Liben and Deena Shanker.

Here's Noah
As for Noah Liben, who appears in the film according to newspaper accounts (I have not seen the film), he was indeed a student in my Palestinian and Israeli Politics and Societies course in the spring of 2001. Noah seems to have forgotten the incident he cites. During a lecture about Israeli state racism against Asian and African Jews, Noah defended
these practices on the basis that Asian and African Jews were underdeveloped and lacked Jewish culture, which the Ashkenazi State operatives were teaching them. When I explained to him that, as the assigned readings clarified, these were racist policies, he insisted that these Jews needed to be modernized and the Ashkenazim were helping them by civilizing them. Many students gasped. He asked me if I understood his point. I informed him that I did not. Noah seems not to have done his reading during the week on gender and Zionism. One of the assigned readings by Israeli scholar and feminist Simona Sharoni spoke of how in Hebrew the word "zayin" means both penis and weapon in a discussion of Israeli militarized masculinity. Noah, seemingly not having read the assigned material, mistook the pronunciation of "zayin" as "Zion," pronounced in Hebrew "tziyon."
Ok, so Noah's a prick. What about Deena?
As for the claims made by Deena Shanker, whose story suddenly appeared in a report in the New York Sun after my posted statement dismantled the false claims made by Liben and Schoenfeld, her claims are also outright lies.

In her New York Sun account, Ms. Shanker stated that she asked me "if it is true that Israel gives prior warning before launching strikes in Palestinian Arab territories" "That provoked him to start screaming, "If you're going to deny the atrocities being committed against the Palestinians then you could leave the class," Ms. Shanker said…She said she was "shocked" by his reaction, and that Mr. Massad “usually answered civilly along the lines of, "No, you're wrong." She said Mr. Massad compared Israelis to Nazis during lectures in class.

Shanker later told the New York Times a different story: "She said that Professor Massad sometimes ridiculed her questions and during one class exchange yelled at her to get out. (She stayed.) 'People in the class were like blown away,' she said." Her account to the Jerusalem Post was also inconsistent with the other two accounts:

'If you're going to deny the atrocities being committed against the Palestinian people then you can get out of my classroom!' Massad shouted, according to Shanker's account…Shanker was shocked…"Sometimes teachers and professors yell at students - it
happens - but this was not like anything I've ever experienced. He was not treating me like a student," she said… Shanker said she had grown accustomed to Massad's antagonism toward Israel, but the professor's rage at her for speaking up was frightening… 'I felt - I wouldn't say 'intimidated' was the right word - I would say: humiliated, violated, scared. This was very overt and explicit."

Deena Shanker is lying in all three versions of her story. I have never asked her or any student to leave my class no matter what question they asked. In fact, I never asked any of my students to leave class for any reason. I have no visual memory of Deena Shanker who never came to office hours or spoke with me after class. The incident she describes has never taken place.
Joseph Massad has been pilloried beyond most people's endurance. The ease with which he refutes his detractors demonstrates the weakness of their case but it says nothing of the campaign of intimidation he has had to suffer for trying to relate a critical history of both zionism and Palestinian nationalism. For that, please read the whole statement.

More lies from Dershowitz

This is an article by a Regan Boychuk on Electronic Intifada. Like Finkelstein in interviews, articles and, forthcoming, a book, Boychuk exposes Dershowitz, beyond question, as a liar. In an earlier post I linked to a download of a recording of Dershowitz "debating" with Norman Finkelstein. Well actually, Dershowitz was shouting Finkelstein down while Finkelstein totally exposed him as a liar and a plagiarist. Well, among the many lies told by Dershowitz, most of which Finkelstein didn't have time (or volume) to deal with, he said that Israel doesn't use torture and that the Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PACTI) admitted to him that they only used the word "torture" in their name because it got them media attention. He didn't explain why they needed attention or what the basis of their campaign was if it wasn't against torture. But Boychuk reports that Dershowitz was still telling the same lie as recently as March this year:
In the course of arguing that Israeli authorities no longer torture Palestinians, Dershowitz claimed he had a long conversation with the Israeli human rights organization, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), in which PCATI not only conceded that there was no longer any torture for them to investigate, but that they had decided not to change their name because it "helped them attract media attention"
Now I would have immediately smelled a rat here because torture by Israel doesn't get any media attention and of course only an idiot would believe anything that Dershowitz says. But Boychuk's intrepid and he decided to check his claim, first on the PACTI website - www.stoptorture.org.il - and then by phoning the group itself. Then reverting to Dershowitz and then back to PACTI. The exchanges are worth quoting at length.
"Dershowitz's claim that he had long conversations with PCATI and that we reported that there is no longer any torture in Israel," I was told by PCATI's Orah Maggen, "is totally false. We never met with him or spoke with him directly. I did meet him at the Knesset (Israel's parliament) when he spoke at the Law and Constitution Committee [but] I, and representatives of other human rights NGOs challenged most of what he said about torture, the role of human rights NGOs and other issues."

When I reported PCATI's denial to Professor Dershowitz, he replied: "During my conversation at the Knesset I asked the representative of the committee [Orah Maggen] why they kept their name, despite their acknowledgement that torture was no longer a significant issue? She responded - I remember clear as day - as follows: 'You have no idea how difficult it is to get attention to any human rights issues in this country. Maintaining our organizational name, with the word torture, is essential to getting needed attention.' I had an extensive argument with her about that tactic, focusing especially on the international implications and the misleading nature of the name outside of the country. I am certain she remembers the conversation because it was quite heated. It also took place in front of numerous witnesses."

When I emailed PCATI Dershowitz's "clear as day" recollection, Ms. Maggen replied that it is true that there was a heated exchange with others present, but "All other statements made by Professor Dershowitz are blatantly false and utterly preposterous. Neither I nor any other representative of PCATI acknowledged, claimed or in any way stated that torture is no longer a significant issue. On the contrary, it is our claim that the systematic and large-scale torture and ill treatment of Palestinian detainees and prisoners continues to this day."

She further stated that, "Neither I nor any other representative of PCATI ever stated that we kept our name to 'get attention' for any reason whatsoever. Considering the fact that torture is still widespread and that PCATI has its hands full struggling against the torture and ill treatment of Palestinian detainees (and others) by Israeli authorities, the claim regarding statements we supposedly made about our organization's name is totally absurd."
Sometimes it's demoralising seeing an outrageous liar in the public eye time and again trotting out the same old lies but then when an articulate challenger exposes those lies its very satisfying. Personally, I'm looking forward to Finkelstein's Beyond Chuztpah, which I imagine will have a thing or two to say about Dershowitz.

Academics against apartheid

Two Palestinians respond to yesterday's call by several zionist academics to oppose the boycott of Israeli academia:
Israeli academic institutions are all implicated in their state's racist and colonial policies by providing the practical and ideological support necessary for the maintenance of the occupation. For example, they provide consultancy services to the military and security establishment and sponsor research that justifies ethnic cleansing, extra-judicial killings, racial segregation and land expropriation. No Israeli university body has publicly censured academics producing racist work under the guise of scholarship.
Omar Barghouti
Lisa Taraki

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Bir Zeit
While the Guardian itself produces one of its more disingenuous editorial comments opposing the boycott:
Singling out Israel raises other questions. AUT members are not proposing, after all, to boycott universities in North Korea, Zimbabwe or Sudan, where the government has been accused of perpetrating genocide against its own people. None of which is to deny that Israel is responsible for ongoing human rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, an abiding feature of a 37-year occupation which has distorted Israel's life and stained its reputation.
The Guardian knows that without apartheid Israel wouldn't exist, in fact, look at their final paragraph.
Supporters of boycotts often argue that Israel should be treated like apartheid South Africa. That is a controversial parallel which many Israelis see as delegitimating their state. Friends of the Palestinians should question whether this kind of boycott is not a blunt instrument that is unlikely to serve their cause well.
Zionists are fond of the word "delegitimise", or in the Guardian's case, "delegitimating". It suggests that a state based on colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and apartheid laws had some legitimacy to start with. It didn't and liberal opinion should support the boycott.

April 19, 2005

Academics for apartheid

There are three letters, in today's Guardian, about the proposed boycott of Israeli academia. Two are against the boycott whilst the other one seems to be for it, though frankly, I couldn't really tell since it was couched in extremely cautious terms. There are lots of names to the three letters. I notice Professor Geoffrey Alderman put his name to an anti-boycott one saying that "Neither party in this tragic dispute has a monopoly on suffering or injustice." I've never seen Alderman saying anything like that before. In fact the last time I saw him in print in the Guardian he was promoting one of the more recent zionist myths about the ethnic cleansing of 800,000 Jews from Arab states. David Cesarani is so against the boycott, though like Sharon, he's against the occupation, that he signed both anti-boycott letters.

Then there's the article that I have linked in the headline. It quotes from one of the anti-boycott letters thus
Does anybody suggest that American physicists should be excluded from the academic community if they do not repudiate Guantánamo Bay?
Well no, nobody does. But then does the USA exist on the sole basis of Guantanamo Bay as Israel exists on the basis of apartheid laws? No to that one too.

April 18, 2005

Settlers versus the State

Here's Daphna Baram on the prospects for a settler war on Israeli soldiers.
Israelis are good at enduring civilian loses, but they have zero tolerance for attacks on soldiers. When the first settler shoots the first soldier, the settlement project may be over and done with.
What about when they shot and killed the old soldier, Rabin?

April 17, 2005

Poet prejudices proceedings

Here's a curious article by Richard Ingram's in today's Observer. It starts off ridiculing David Blunkett's poetry (yes, he's a poet now). And ends up exposing the court proceedings of the "ricin conspirators."

'Too much I read of that which I have written and if not written wished I had.' I quote from a newly published poem entitled 'Echo' from the pen of the former Education Secretary and Home Secretary, David Blunkett. The editor of Poetry Review, Ms Fiona Sampson, has explained: 'It is obviously written by someone who is visually impaired because it is about the sound of words.' To any readers who may have been puzzling over what exactly Blunkett was trying to say, Ms Sampson's explanation may come as a welcome aid. Others may unkindly conclude that if Blunkett was a disastrous Home Secretary, then he is an even worse poet. We had yet another reminder of Blunkett's blundering methods in the report of the Kamel Bourgass trial last week when it emerged that the judge hearing the case had written to the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, complaining about ministers prejudicing the trial. This followed a public statement by Blunkett claiming that 'al-Qaeda is seen to be and will be demonstrated through our courts to be actually on our doorstep and threatening our lives', a comment which, if it had been made by a newspaper, could well have led to an action for contempt of court, but is apparently permissible in a Home Secretary and amateur poet. As it happens, Blunkett's comment as far as Bourgass is concerned was not only prejudicial but inaccurate, most experts by now being of the opinion that Bourgass was a bit of a loony who posed no real terrorist threat, let alone proving the link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, as was claimed by the likes of Tony Blair and Colin Powell."
I think that, over this case, seven other men have spent over a year in prison on trumped up charges of some conspiracy or other. The fact that they were found not guilty doesn't seem to have made much of a splash in the newspapers. The fact that the "conspirators" had no ricin hasn't struck anyone in the mainstream media as a bit odd given the trumpeting of the "proof" of an al-Qaida presence in the UK by so many ministers.

The main coverage has focused on the fact that the one man found guilty of anything (murdering a police officer) was a failed asylum seeker. When it hasn't focused on that it has been suggesting that "terror" legislation isn't tight enough. The idea of such legislation is supposed to be to prevent terrorism, not put innocent people away and then on show trial to justify the war in Iraq. There must be more thorough coverage of this case in the serious media but I haven't seen it yet.

Self-praise? A disclaimer

I just tracked back a hit I got from Dogpile where someone had looked up "anti zionist blog sites". The first on a list of 67 was mine, which I'm quite chuffed about. What I'm not so chuffed about is the blurb under the heading "Jews sans frontieres." It's a direct link to my site but it says, as if it is a paragraph from my site:
Mark Elf's iconoclastic anti-Zionist blog. He scans the media like no one else, debunking propaganda and explicating the other Jewish perspective.
I've noticed the same thing around google before but I hadn't noticed that it looked as if it was culled from here. I've got two problems with this: first, it looks like I write it about myself and second, it's not true. I don't scan the media like no other. I check my email, read a couple of papers, listen to Radio 4, watch a tiny bit of telly, look at some blogs and other sites and I think that's it. I do, to be fair, try to debunk propaganda, but as for "explicating the. other Jewish perspective", a) I'm not sure what explicating means in the context (or at all) and I'm sure there are more than just two Jewish perspectives, for it is written, "two Jews, three. perspectives. So how did the description get there? That's a puzzle.

Lavon affair remembered by Israel for a change

This is the intro by David Shasha to a Yediot Ahranaot article on the honouring by Israel of the surviving members of the Lavon affair group.
For those of you not familiar with the so-called Lavon Affair - one of the most egregious scandals in the history of Israel - the recent honors accorded to its participants should force us to look back at the matter. The Lavon Affair was concocted by a person named Benyamin Givli in the Israeli Defense Department which was led by Pinchas Lavon. The basic idea was to compromise Egypt by bombing public locations such as movie theaters in order to create the suspicion that Nasser was seeking to harm Westerners. The affair was botched and the spies found out and brought to trial. The Lavon Affair, along with the Mas'ouda Shemtov Synagogue bombings in Iraq, have long been used as proof that the Israelis were intent on using subterfuge in the Arab world to compromise the Arabs and to force out the Jews who lived in those countries. It is unfortunate that these covert operations are not known to Western Jews. In our own Sephardic communities such matters are completely ignored. The two standard sources on the events are Ian Black and Benny Morris' Israel's Secret Wars and Shabtai Teveth's Ben Gurion's Spy. A more controversial and contested approach has been taken in Naeim Giladi's Ben Gurion's Scandals.
The full article is reproduced in Sephardic Heritage Update, published by David Shasha.

Lenin versus Nick Cohen

I read Nick Cohen's diatribe against Respect this morning and found so many allegations against Respect that I was sure they had refuted over the last week or so but I couldn;t really put my finger on them because I don't follow Respect that closely. Instead I waited for Lenin to turn in his Tomb.
Working by connotation rather than denotation - as per usual - Cohen avers that in the fight for the East End:
[T]here's a whiff of old hatreds in the air. Oona King, the Labour candidate, is getting fed up with Respect supporters bringing up her Jewish mother, although she says it makes a change from the British National Party bringing up her black father.
This charge has been repeated often enough, but with what cause? What evidence does King present to justify these ridiculous claims? Nil. King remarked that it was Respect "canvassers" who had told people not to vote King on account of her Jewish background, which would be disgusting if true. Sadly for her, Respect had not started canvassing in Bethnal Green & Bow when King made her remarks. Moreover, there is ample evidence to show that King has no particular respect for the truth, at least in this campaign. Here she is hoping the campaign doesn't get too dirty , here she is libelling her opponent and paying an out of court settlement, and here she is repeating the libel . When she was caught encouraging postal voters to send their ballot papers to her campaign headquarters, she claimed that "We are working to an agreed set of rules we have had for decades" , despite the fact that the laws allowing anyone to apply for postal voting were introduced in 2000.
Still go read the man himself as I couldn;t be bothered to html-ise the links he helpfully provides.

GUPS versus Zionism and Bolshevism?

I'm a bit stung by the pamphlet that is said to have appeared on a GUPS (General Union of Palestinian Students) stall at an NUS event. I have read the content on the net but I haven't seen the pamphlet itself. I don't know if carrying the pamphlet was an easy to make mistake, a malicious act by someone at GUPS with an agenda that undermines anti-zionism, if it was placed on their stall by a non-member to embarrass GUPS or if they are just a plain a sloppy, stupid or malicious group. A Palestinian friend of mine told me that GUPS is virtually defunct nowadays anyway and it's certainly true that no-one from the group has come forward to disown, apologise for or explain the presence of the pamphlet on a GUPS stall at an NUS event.

I said in an earlier post that the text read like Israel Shamir but it actually bears quite an uncanny resemblance to Winston Churchill's infamous anti-semitic article for the Illustrated Sunday Herald back in 1920. The main difference is that Churchill writes approvingly of zionism as a positive and useful Jewish conspiracy whereas communism is a menacing Jewish conspiracy "as malevolent as Christianity was benevolent." Churchill also has some kind, if essentialistic and downright obscurantist, words about Jews as if "this mystic and mysterious race had been chosen for the supreme manifestations, both of the divine and the diabolical." The pamphlet, which is anonymous as far as I know, also, after some ridiculous and nasty anti-semitic outpourings ends on a conciliatory note, distancing Judaism from zionism but rather feebly when you consider that the buffoon who wrote it states, gratuitously and wrongly, that Lenin himself was a Jew.

The context for my writing this is that the pamphlet was referred to in a Guardian article (and in the Jewish Chronicle) by a Luciana Berger as part of her explanation as to why she, and two other zionist activists felt that they had to resign from the NUS National Executive Committee. The article itself contains far more innuendo than verifiable fact and the reference to the offending pamphlet, as clumsily as it was made (Ms Berger refers to it as the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion") is just about the only significant verifiable fact in it. That is, it can either be confirmed or denied. If the former applies then GUPS should either explain or apologise; if the latter then we can simply put this down to yet more zionist deceit and move on.

April 16, 2005

Liddle's war on Muslims II

From the Spectator. Rod Liddle suggests that postal vote fraud is most likely in Labour consituencies with Muslim councillors and lots of Muslim voters. Well he's right about the potential for fraud in a currently Labour constituency with lots of Muslim voters. Oona King is a Labour MP for Bethnal Green and she has invited people to send her. their postal votes so that she. can forward them tot he Town Hall for the count. She has lots of Muslim voters in her constituency. The problem for the Liddle "argument" (for which read "racist slur") is that not many Muslims are expected to vote for Oona King. There's another problem for Liddle in that, whilst the politics of the last electoral atrocity points a finger at some Muslims, the last one before that, that I know of, involved the use of multiple identities "based" at a yeshiva in Hackney. I don't draw any essentialist points from that though. Only the lowest form of racist scumbag would do such a thing.

Jews against Michael Howard

Obviously there are lots of Jews against Michael Howard but, according to the Independent, this one, Federico Mazandarani, aged 51, got to confront the man himself on a radio phone-in.
"Every time Mr Howard opens his mouth and talks about foreigners who are invading this country in the words that he does ... he is making life impossible for us," said Mr Mazandarani.

"Every time Michael Howard speaks about immigration, I get abused on the streets by the general public. This issue has absolutely been the bane of my life in this country for 32 years. I'm sick and tired of having politicians inflating this issue."
This is quite poignant for me as the man is from Forest Gate which is where I was born and where my grandmother lived from the 1930s until she died. The area, like much of London's east end, was largely Jewish until about the 1950s or maybe the 60s. When my nan was dying of cancer a few of years ago I was staying at her place one night to look after her. I went to the newsagent to get a JC at 8 o'clock on a Friday morning. The guy said he had sold out. He only stocked one copy and the man who bought it always came in at seven.

Outsiders?

Jonathan Freedland here is wringing his hands about an egg-throwing attack on a group of Jews mourning the dead of a V2 bombing of an east end (of London) tenement block. Freedland was there to witness the attack and revisited the area a few days later. Curiously it's the first time I have seen it said that the attack wasn't simply on Oona King or even on her at all. She said that the objects were aimed at her but missed. There were hints from certain quarters, that Respect was responsible. Freedland interviewed two locals about the incident.
"And it's nothing to do with Iraq or Palestine or anything to do with religion," he said.

Instead, Syed explained, the area was overcrowded and rundown. "There's a lot of aggression." The result is that when the police show up they get pelted. If even a resident drives in with a newly clean car, he'll get "egged". Here was a group of outsiders, so they got the treatment too. His friend Bokkar Ali added: "They're just kids having a laugh. They do it to everyone."

Except the culprits did not look like kids; most seemed to be in their late teens or 20s. And there's the testimony of Aminur Rahman, 18, who told me: "There's a lot of hatred towards the Jewish. We've got hatred towards them." He knew Sunday's group were Jewish because of the skullcaps and he knew the story of the 1945 bomb. So was it wrong to attack people who were grieving? "It was wrong in a way, but I think they deserved it because they came into a Muslim community."


As a commenter to this post (before I edited it) said, Freedland is genuinely trying to get to the bottom of what happened, rather than using it as a baton with which to beat Muslims and/or Respect. He's to be thanked for putting the sorry matter into some kind of perspective.

April 15, 2005

Anti-semitism on Iranian TV: Jewish MP speaks out

Here's part of a speech to the Iranian Majlis (Parliament) but its sole Jewish member.

"Insulting Jews and attributing untrue materials to them in TV programs during the past 12 years have not only hurt the feelings of the Jews, but also led to a wave of migration of them," Maurice Motamed, the only Jewish member in the Majlis, told an open parliament session.....

Motamed was echoed by Majlis Speaker Gholamali Haddad Adel who said he would notify the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) to respect the rights of religious minorities in its programs.

"I noticed the same thing when the programs were being broadcast and I believe you are right," Adel told Motamed.

Protocols fraud: a leaflet, a pamphlet or a book?

The above link is to an article in the Guardian by a Luciana Berger who claims that she had no choice to resign from the National Union of Students' National Executive Committee "because of a continued apathy within the National Union of Students to Jewish student suffering." She claims that it was a "natural step" to join the Union of Jewish Students when she started at Uni. I joined the Jewish Society (as it was then known) when I attended Uni but I wouldn't call it a "natural step". Also I didn't know that the UJS had two seats on the World Zionist Congress, which means it's not simply Jewish, but specifically zionist.

Anyway, I won't get into her various allegations just now but I did notice the following:
A leaflet was readily available on the GUPS stalls at the conference for two days. The text was the typical anti-semitic work; the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Once again, complaints were met with unacceptable delays and silence.

Many people claim that being anti-Israel/Zionist isn't being anti-semitic. But why does hatred of Israel lead them to turn a blind eye to the Protocols on a GUPS pamphlet?
Now the Protocols is an anti-Semitic fraud, incidentally commissioned, as far as is known, by the Tsarist secret police chief Count von Plehve. Just to irritate certain people I want to point out that von Plehve became a true friend and ally of the founder of the World Zionist Organisation, Theodor Herzl, after the latter presented his splendid wheeze to wean Jews off of radicalism and rid Russia of them. That was, of course, zionism. Anyway, I digress. The Protocols purported to detail the minutes of a meeting of Jewish conspirators. It is a book like Mein Kampf in that it is far more talked about than read and I certainly haven't read it. I do however know that it is a book. Not a leaflet or a pamphlet as per Luciana Berger's piece. So how did this happen? How did the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) manage to cram a book into a leaflet or a pamphlet or, according to Berger, both? Look out for the Guardian's Corrections and Clarifications and keep looking. They rarely correct or clarify in such a way as to embarrass the zionist movement.

Update - according to this message board a GUPS stall bore an anti-semitic pamphlet for three days. Having read it, it reads like an Israel Shamir style rant, except his English is usually good. I'd say GUPS has got some explaining to do but I don't think this pamphlet is typical of their output. Already there's a ruckus going on at leftist e-groups and the message board I have linked to so let's hope GUPS clarifies the situation.

White flag, or maybe a camera, is a threat to Israel

Now I know it's not news for Israel to get away with murder, even when the victims are non-Palestinian but this is news. According to the Independent.
The British government formally protested to Israel after the army officer who opened fire when the film-maker James Miller was shot dead in Gaza two years ago was acquitted of disciplinary charges.
Apparently Britain has asked questions about the murder, by an Israeli soldier, of UNRWA's Iain Hook, but I have heard no word of a formal complaint. I was told that questions were asked in Parliament about the latter case and that there were ministerial answers in Hansard (the parliamentary transcripts) on 8/4/2005 (that's 4/8 if your American).

Perhaps Israel will set up "reconstructions" of the various murders and get them filmed by "independent" German film companies as with the case of Mohammed al-Durra. Or perhaps they won't bother, after all, what's one more murder to Israel?

April 14, 2005

Vote Respect 2005?

If only it were that simple. Here in Dagenham there's a challenge from the BNP to consider. I don't think they can win a seat but they have to be defeated convincingly at the polls. My own guy, Jon Cruddas, hardly deserves to win, having supported the war, but I don't see an alternative in my manor. Not so Bethnal Green where George Galloway has a real chance of causing a serious upset.

Talking of the BNP, there seem to be a few fascist-type parties running this time around. There's Veritas, UKIP, English Democrats, the DUP and the BNP that I know of. Who knows? There may be more.

I wish I could say vote this or vote that but all I can think to do is vote carefully.

Barak's generous offer revisited

A couple of days ago former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, was given space in the Guardian to set out his vision for Middle East peace.
The Palestinians, for their part, are expected to acknowledge that Israel will remain predominantly Jewish and that the major blocs of settlements will not be removed.
Here's a response:
"No Israeli government can, should or needs to remove the major settlement blocs." Not Ariel Sharon, but Ehud Barak (Trust is built on realities, April 12). No wonder the still unpublished 2000 Taba peace map led nowhere.
Joseph Palley
Richmond, Surrey

April 13, 2005

Freedland on Finkelstein contd.

Freedland starts his piece with personal jibes at Norman Finkelstein.
Perhaps he thought the sky would fall in. Perhaps Norman Finkelstein imagined his "explosive" new polemic, The Holocaust Industry, serialised in the Guardian, would drive the Jewish world crazy with fury. Maybe he is a little disappointed that, in Britain at least, that hasn't happened yet.
Or perhaps he thought fellow Jews would be concerned about the exploitation of Jewish suffering.
Finkelstein likes to cast himself as the brave prophet, nobly confronting his wayward people with a truth only he dare tell, his claims are not nearly as shocking to Jews as he would like to imagine.
Two days later Jay Rayner wrote in the Observer
'His approach is totally destructive,' says Greville Janner, chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust. 'I find it revolting.' Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress in New York, agrees. 'I believe he is pathetic. I simply don't accept him as a researcher.'
Why didn't they tell Jonathan?

Freedland then tells us that Finkelstein's claims are nothing new. This "nothing new" method of debate avoidance is level pegging with "anti-semitism" as a favoured zionist tactic.

Thoughtful Jews have been questioning for a while the wisdom of making the Holocaust the centre of Jewish identity. Peter Novick's landmark book, The Holocaust in American Life, makes this case far more powerfully than Finkelstein. He offers a moving plea for today's Jews to define themselves as a people with a rich, vibrant culture - rather than as a ghost-nation, a walking version of the corpses of Auschwitz and Treblinka.
The problem here is that Finkelstein's book is largely a direct critique of Novick's book.
The initial stimulus for this book was Peter Novick's seminal study, The Holocaust in American Life, which I reviewed for a British literary journal. In these pages the critical dialogue I entered in with Novick is broadened; hence, the extensive number of references to his study.
So Freedland either didn't read the book and is lying by pretending he did or he did read the book and is lying when he pretends to believe that Finkelstein isn't aware of Novick's work. Next up, Freedland claims to have asked Finkelstein "why he reserved his most scathing language for his fellow Jews - much harsher than any words he had for the Nazis themselves."
"If I was writing a book about the Nazis, I'm sure I'd use scathing language about them," he said, rather feebly.
I'd have expected Finkelstein to point out that he wasn't being scathing about his fellow. Jews, but about Jews, or indeed anyone else, who exploit the holocaust and its survivors. Then, as if to place himself above the usual pack of zionist smear merchants:
It is perhaps too easy to write off a critic like Finkelstein as a self-hating Jew, but it is striking to hear someone who appears to have nothing but contempt for his own people.
If only Finkelstein had read the book he would know what Jay Rayner, who does seem to have read the book, knows:
As Finkelstein gleefully recounts, he became the target of abuse and hate mail. At one point in The Holocaust Industry he even quotes a letter from Leon Wieseltier, influential literary editor of the US magazine New Republic, to his publisher. "You don't know who Finkelstein is," Wieseltier wrote. "He's poison, he's a disgusting self-hating Jew, he's something you find under a rock."
Isn;t it funny the way an attack on zionists and crooks becomes contempt for ones own people whilst a truly venemous attack on Finkelstein is not worthy of mention. But where Freedland really scrapes the barrel is with direct comparisons of Finkelstein, the son of holocaust survivors, to David Irving, the world's leading holocaust denier.
Like Irving, Finkelstein sees Jews as the authors of their own suffering.
This is truly despicable. Certainly, Finkelstein points out that the actions of Jewsih leaders in America could have a negative impact on Jews in Germany, say, or Switzerland, but to suggest he is saying that Jews generally are responsible for anti-semitism is simply untrue. But wait, Freedland can stoop lower still:
He claims that Jews have made up stories of persecution and that there are too many survivors to be true - another Irving favourite.
Finkelstein has pointed out that in order to get more money, the main players in the holocaust industry have exaggerated the number of survivors and that they are supporting holocaust denier arguments by so doing. For example, in the documentary, locals in the capital of Belarus put the number of holocaust survivors there at under 400. The "Claims Conference" puts the figure at 32,000. Finkelstein says that the former number is correct and that if 32,000 survivors are around now then at least five times as many must have survived the holocaust than actually did. He goes on to point out, what these holocaust industrialists don't seem to realise, and that is the fact that if you inflate the number of survivors, you deflate the number of dead. Irving has picked up on this and is saying the "Claims Conference" figures are correct and that this proves that not many Jews died in the holocaust. This doesn't bother the "hucksters and hoaxers" of the holocaust industry any more than it bothers Freedland. It does, however, bother Finkelstein which is why he goes to the trouble of exposing the fraud that has been going on for some time now while zionists like Freedland smear him for his efforts.

Finally Freedland loses the plot completely by likening Finkelstein to the nazis
Finkelstein sees the Jews as either villains or victims - and that, I fear, takes him closer to the people who created the Holocaust than to those who suffered in it.
In an argument full of the most outrageous lies you wouldn't expect any better at the last but I must point out that at no point in the book, the Holocaust Industry, does Finkelstein convey the impression that he believes Jews in general to be "villains or victims".

As I'm a sucker for a happy ending here's a response to Freedland's pack of lies by Finkestein's publisher.

April 12, 2005

When Freedland reviewed Finkelstein

I'm just putting a marker on this so I remember to revisit it tomorrow. I was just looking to see if the Guardian. reviewed the documentary, the Final Insult, which was based on Norman Finkelstein's book The Holocaust Industry. I found quite a devious attack on Finkelstein by Jonathan Freedland titled An enemy of the people.

April 11, 2005

Oona King pelted at Jewish WWII memorial service

Eggs and vegetables were thrown at Bethnal Green Labour MP Oona King yesterday.
Oona King was attacked as she joined mourners in her Bethnal Green and Bow constituency in the East End to commemorate 60 years since the Hughes Mansions disaster, when 134 mostly Jewish people were killed by the last V2 missile to land on London.
The report doesn't say who was responsible or why it happened. Oona King is under fire for supporting the war on Iraq even though she has a largely Muslim constituency but she is also on record as comparing Gaza under Israeli rule to the Warsaw Ghetto under the nazis.

April 10, 2005

Anti-zionist Reform Rabbi

This is an article in another JC. The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle. It's about a Reform Rabbi, Wolfgang Hamburger, who rejects zionism partly on the basis of his own personal experience, which includes being a board member of the anti-zionist American Council on Judaism
"Zionism? It's wonderful... But not for everybody."
"I don't understand opposition to Israel from a Reform perspective. This isn't like the Orthodox, who oppose a secular state. What is the harm in Zionism?"
"None, but I didn't feel like being a Zionist."
"Why? Is there any religious aspect of it for you?
"No. Zionism may have religious aspects, but for me there were all kinds of 'interesting' rules. You know these rules - the body must be buried facing the right direction so the soul shouldn't get lost along the way..." He waved his hand dismissively.
"People equate all Jews with Israelis. Sometimes my Gentile friends want me to defend, say, Sharon's policies. As if I had a vote."...

"My personal feeling was, this was long ago, that Jews should be at home wherever they lived. I thought Judaism, as a religion, could be transportable. It could be the spiritual home for Jews wherever they wanted to be."
"Rather be than tied to a specific set of borders?"
In the intro to the article Rabbi Hamburger's delivery is likened to a borsch belt comedian. See him say "Zionism. It's wonderful!" Who said Americans can't do irony?

Tony Greenstein uncut

I posted the published version of a letter from Tony Greenstein to the Guardian. which was a response to a rather shabby history lesson by messrs Cesarani and Longerich. I thought I detected bad editing and this was confirmed for me in a comment to the post. Anyway here's the letter in full:
David Cesarani and Peter Longerich ask, concerning the film Downfall, [Guardian 7th April, ‘The Massaging of History’] whether the main thesis of the film, that the German’s were also victims of Nazism and the war, is becoming "a new form of German nationalism." The answer to this is that it will only become so if historians persist in putting forward a sanitised version of German history whereby all the German people, regardless of class, are held responsible for the rise of Naziism.

Downfall may be written from a right-wing, nationalist perspective, but there can be no doubting that the majority of Germans, were also victims of German fascism. Indeed to deny this is to accept the Nazi’s own racial categorisation of peoples as a single political and social whole.

The Germans were not collectively guilty for Naziism and the Holocaust, any more than the Spanish were collectively guilty for Franco, the Italians for Mussolini, the Chileans for Pinochet or indeed the British for Blair and Thatcher.

Messrs Cesarani and Longerich should acquaint themselves with some facts. The first concentration camp at Dachau was for the internment and murder of German communists and social democrats. The first victims of poison gas were not Jewish, they were the physically and mentally handicapped.

Electorally the Nazis never gained a majority of the popular vote. Indeed between July and November 1932, they actually lost 2 million votes. In the last free elections, in November 1932, the Communists (KPD) and Social-Democrats (SPD) received 13.2 million, mainly working-class votes, one and a half million more than the Nazis. And it was the working class and its organisations, prime among them the trade unions, which suffered from the Nazis. It was the German Right, not the German people, who put Hitler in power.

And there is of course another category of Germans who suffered under Naziism - German Jews. The central tenet of the Nazi’s Nuremberg Laws, that the Jews were not German, should never be accepted.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Greenstein
I'm curious as to why Tony uses "yours sincerely". I was taught that you write "sincerely" when you have named the recipient and "faithfully" when you haven't. No doubt lots of zionists will accuse him of a serious inaccuracy for that.

April 09, 2005

Download Democracy Now! Debate

I just nicked the above download from Norman Finkelstein's website. Quite a find! Back in December a zionist commented on this blog that, in the Democracy Now! debate with Alan Dershowitz, Norman Finkelstein behaved like a two year old. There are a few mechanisms of debate avoidance that zionists use. Accusing their opponents of childishness is one. It's a way the zionists have of pretending to have an answer to the unanswerable case against Israel. They put up an "argument" when they have none. Some clearly don;t even care how ridiculous they make themselves look. That latter point would make an interesting study in itself.

But anyway, in the instance I'm referring to I think the guy even posted a link to the transcript of the debate that shows that Finkelstein was behaving in a quite gentlemanly way and that Dershowitz was using all sorts of verbal trickery and rudeness to undermine Finkelstein. Well reading a transcript will tell you what words have been spoken but a recordiing, of course, demonstrates how they were spoken. What the recording reveals is that through all of Dershowitz's lengthy turns to speak, Finkelstein did not interrupt any. Through Finkelstein's turns, Dershowitz interrupted every one and succeeded in suppressing much of what Finkelstein was trying to say. But never mind. By the end of the debate Dershowitz stood totally exposed as a liar and a plagiarist. Please right click the headline above, save the file and have a listen. If you have any problems with the download, go here.

Holocaust Industry - the movie

You've heard about it. You may have even read it. Well, now you can see the movie. "The Final Insult" is to be broadcast on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom at 8:00 p.m. on 11 April 2005. The Jewish Chronicle has it that
One of the strongest attacks [on the holocaust industry] was from controversial US academic Norman Finkelstein...He said "there is something grotesquely repellant about using the suffering of European Jews in a shakedown racket."
Finkelstein's site says that
The Holocaust Industry, will be the subject of an hour-long documentary ("The Final Insult") to be broadcast on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom.
So is he the star or does he just have a walk-on part? Stay tuned.

Biogeographical ancestry?

Here's an article on why we should ditch the concept of race altogether:
cultural and biologistic concepts of race and culture are inextricably intermingled. Perhaps this is why race-relations legislation is a conceptual mess, falling uneasily between social, political and folk constructions of biological race.

Thus it bans hate speech against Jews as a race but not against Muslims, as they are defined as a religion. Racist groups such as the BNP play by the changed rules of the game; they no longer oppose their children going to school with Pakistanis on the grounds of racial inferiority, but object to Muslims, as they are of a different "culture".
Now there must be many zionists who recognise that last point.

German Jews are German too

I'm only posting this letter from today's Guardian because I know the guy who wrote it. It looks badly edited to me.
The first concentration camp at Dachau was for Germans - communists and social democrats, who had gained one and a half million more votes than Hitler in the last free elections. It was the German right, not the people, who put Hitler in power. And, of course, another category of Germans suffered - German Jews. The central tenet of the Nuremberg laws, that Jews were not German, should never be accepted.
Tony Greenstein
Brighton
Of course, Israel's Law of "Return" bears more than a passing similarity to the Nuremberg Laws.

April 08, 2005

Nazi hunters hunt for Ken

From the Jewish Chronicle (subscription only).

Just when you thought that the zionist movement couldn't trivialise the holocaust any more than they have done, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles has decided to launch a campaign against Ken Livingstone for his nazi-guard jibe at Jewish reporter, Oliver Finegold. The Wiesenthal Centre used to track down racist war criminals and have them brought to justice. Now it harrasses and bullies the opponents of racist war criminals.

The Jewish Chronicle. also reports that the Mayor of Los Angeles, James Hahn, has written to the United States Conference of Mayors:
Mayor Livingstone will not be accorded any official welcome in the City of Los Angeles [and] I urge my fellow mayors to do the same.
The LA Mayor appears to have support from the Miami-Dade County Mayor and a resolution urging Livingstone to apologise (it doesn't say who to) is being presented to the Chicago City Council. Putting things into some kind of perspective, Jewish News reports that
a spokesman for Livingstone said: "The Mayor has not been "disinvited" to any city, nor has he any plans to visit Los Angeles."
So there! Los Angeles, Miami and Chicage are totally isolated from Ken Livingstone.

My name is Rachel Corrie

My Name Is Rachel Corrie is at the Royal Court, Sloane Square, London SW1 until April 30. Box office: 020-7565 5000.

April 07, 2005

Threat to al-Aqsa more serious than threat to Sharon

Ha'aretzreports that Kahanists are intent on destroying al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. This is a greater threat than the threat on Sharon's life by the same settlers because
The source defined the chances of the threat against the mount being actualized as greater than the threat to the prime minister's life, where the security risk remains stable ... largely because of the difficulty of protecting the mount.
Plus, no-one would miss Sharon whereas plenty would miss al-Aqsa.

April 05, 2005

Academic smart boycott of Israel

After a few blunders the academic boycott is getting smart:
The new boycott motion contains a clause to exclude "conscientious Israeli academics and intellectuals opposed to their state's colonial and racist policies".

Palestinian academics have also issued a call for an international boycott of Israel.

Sue Blackwell, a lecturer at Birmingham University and one of the authors of the motion, said: "We are now better organised. One of the reasons we didn't win last time was that there was no clear public call from Palestinians for the boycott. Now we have that, in writing."

April 04, 2005

Dr Jennifer Tonge: No regrets

Extract from "MPs Uncovered" in today's Guardian
Dr Jennifer Tonge

Liberal Democrat, Richmond Park
Ask Aristotle about Dr Jennifer Tonge

My proudest achievement since the 2001 general election:
Highlighting the plight of the Palestinians under occupation by Israel, by making a speech expressing empathy for suicide bombers - looking for the cause of terrorism.
For that she was sacked as a front-bencher by Charles Kennedy.

April 03, 2005

The failures of Kofi Annan or of the UN?

Here's a curious article in the Observer. Written by former UN human rights lawyer, Kenneth Cain, it berates Kofi Annan for allowing various abuses by UN troops and officials and for allowing genocidal campaigns to occur under his watch. There's a bit of an "all Cretans are liars" element to it when Cain accuses the left of standing idly by and leaving condemnation of the UN to American hard right whilst telling us that he (Cain) is a leftist himself. I think, to be fair, the left has never had much time for the UN. It was the UN that partitioned Palestine thereby inviting the zionist movement to carry out one of the first ethnic cleansing campaigns of the post-holocaust era. Also the major imperialist powers have a veto over anything the UN does. When many people who would ordinarily support an American war were anxious that America was becoming lawless even by its own appalling standards they looked for a second UN resolution to support the war on Iraq. And this is troubling for leftists; the fact that something bewilderingly wrong can actually be made OK by the imprimatur of the UN.

But Cain goes further than just criticising leftist inactivity on the question of UN incompetence and corruption.
I am co-author of a book critical of Annan's peacekeeping legacy, Emergency Sex (and Other Desperate Measures): True Stories from a War Zone . My co-author, Dr Andrew Thomson, penned a line that drove the UN leadership to fire him. Lamenting UN negligence in failing Bosnian Muslims whom it had promised to protect in its 'safe area' of Srebrenica - where 8,000 men were slaughtered - Thomson wrote: 'If blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers show up in your town or village and offer to protect you, run. Or else get weapons. Your lives are worth so much less than theirs.'

Our book is often criticised by fellow travellers on the left because we hold Annan and the UN accountable.
I don't know what he means by fellow travellers. It's an expression that usually means people who run with a party without joining but in this instance, the party is the. left and he doesn't name any fellow travellers or leftist groups. If only the left had a kind of rabbinate or papacy that could set up a list of official leftists. Couldn't be done, one lot would split away and set up a provisional list.

Anyway that's not the only issue I have. Look at some of these criticisms, specifically, of Kofi Annan.
Next to these tributes is another installation - a reproduction of the infamous fax by the UN Force Commander, General Romeo Dallaire, imploring the then head of UN peacekeeping, Kofi Annan, for authority to defend Rwandan civilians - many of whom had taken refuge in UN compounds under implicit and sometimes explicit promises of protection.

Here, too, is Annan's faxed response - ordering Dallaire to defend only the UN's image of impartiality, forbidding him to protect desperate civilians waiting to die. Next, it details the withdrawal of UN troops, even while blood flowed and the assassins reigned, leaving 800,000 Rwandans to their fate.
Next to these tributes is another installation - a reproduction of the infamous fax by the UN Force Commander, General Romeo Dallaire, imploring the then head of UN peacekeeping, Kofi Annan, for authority to defend Rwandan civilians - many of whom had taken refuge in UN compounds under implicit and sometimes explicit promises of protection.

Here, too, is Annan's faxed response - ordering Dallaire to defend only the UN's image of impartiality, forbidding him to protect desperate civilians waiting to die. Next, it details the withdrawal of UN troops, even while blood flowed and the assassins reigned, leaving 800,000 Rwandans to their fate
Away from Rwanda:
His own legions have raped and pillaged. In two present scandals, over the oil-for-food programme in Iraq, and sex-for-food in Congo, Annan was personally aware of malfeasance among his staff, but again responded with passivity.
We then get details of the sheer corruption of a UN chief administration officer (CAO) in Liberia:
the new CAO tapped our phones, paid locals to spy for him and threatened to send home anyone who opposed him, all to facilitate his own quest for a 15 per cent kickback on everything we purchased.

The worst part was watching him try to coerce as many of his young 'local staff' to sleep with him as possible....

I was the human rights lawyer and these girls would come to my office in tears asking for help. I wrote memo after memo of complaint to my chain of command, but no one did anything. I even confronted the CAO personally. To no effect. When I visited the UN human resources office in New York to complain personally, they laughed at my naive outrage: 'It happens all the time in the field,' they said. 'There's nothing we can do.'

In the meantime, a quarter of a million Liberians died, and warring factions committed war crimes. And the UN did - nothing. Just as it was simultaneously doing nothing, more infamously, in Rwanda and Bosnia.

Before I met him in Liberia, that CAO, Krishna Gowandan, had been knocking around West Africa for years in various UN jobs, always mired in corruption, never disciplined, always promoted and reassigned - a pattern all too familiar at the UN - during which time the head of personnel was Kofi Annan....

The bodies burn today in Darfur - and the women are raped - amid the sound of silence from Annan. How many genocides, the prevention of which is the UN's very raison d'être, will we endure before the left is moved to criticise Annan?
Ok there are parts where this article is more critical of an unnamed left than it is of Annan. But there's more:
As head of peacekeeping then, and as secretary-general now, Annan's power to effect any change on the ground, our critics remind us, is constrained by the interests of the Security Council (the US and France didn't want to intervene in Rwanda, the French again in Bosnia, and China and Russia now in Darfur). Therefore it's unrealistic to argue that Annan should risk his job by exhorting his Security Council bosses to do the right thing in the face of genocide.
And then, whilst the writer wants Annan removed
Annan is not personally corrupt or incompetent. But the UN cannot have failed more catastrophically when the stakes have been highest. If he does not lose his job for that, then for what? And if not now, when?
So the guy doesn't want Annan in post though he says that he is neither corrupt nor incompetent. If he is neither corrupt nor incompetent then turning a blind eye to genocide and syphoning money from key projects is what the UN is for. Within three years of its establishment, the UN was encouraging the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in breach of its own charter and doing so by partitioning Palestine...in breach of its own charter. Why should anyone expect any different to Kofi Annan's corrupt and incompetent way of handling UN business.

Rafah's traumatised children

This is an Observer article on the way children in Rafah are suffering under the Israeli occupation:
Worst affected are those who have seen relatives or friends killed in front of them, but children are also traumatised by shooting, night raids, demolitions and other people's stress. 'In the long term, the trauma will grow with the child and becomes part of the personality,' says Abu Hein. 'The disease matures with them.'

Another belated April fool

Look at this letter from nine comedians and actors. Actually, as you'll see, they're all comedians now:
We were all opposed to the government's military intervention in Iraq. Though, obviously, we welcome the fall of Saddam, the emergence of democracy in Iraq, alongside other signs of change and progress in the Middle East, we continue to believe military action was the wrong decision.

We do not question the Prime Minister's integrity: we question the decision he reached. However, we also acknowledge that general elections are not decided on one issue alone, and that the country must take into account many factors in choosing its government.

On that basis, despite our firmly held views on Iraq, we strongly support the re-election of a Labour government.

We believe they are the party that can most be trusted to manage the economy, improve public services, deal with crime and continue to make social change for the better.

We believe Britain is a better and fairer country than it was in 1997 and that the country needs to keep going in the same direction of modernisation and investment.

We are alarmed at the prospect of a return to a Tory government that cannot be trusted on the economy or with public services, which has a regressive attitude to social issues and which would not match Labour's commitment to great causes such as Africa, climate change and peace in the Middle East.

We have all at various times, principally over Iraq, been angry with Tony Blair but at the next election the country will be faced with a choice - between him or Michael Howard - as Prime Minister. When the election finally comes, we will be supporting Tony Blair and encouraging people to vote Labour.
Tracy Brabin
Jo Brand
Michelle Collins
Brian Cox
Diarmud Gavin
Prunella Scales
Timothy West
Rebecca Wheatley
Richard Wilson
This is becoming the big integrity question. Any literate person who doesn't question Blair's integrity, puts a question mark over their own own integrity or is simply being a comedian.

April 02, 2005

Aren't bananas kosher?

There's a very sad story on the front page of the Jewish Chronicle. (Subscription required) this weekend. It's about a woman who converted to orthodox Judaism in Israel in 1990 under the auspices of the Sephardi Beth Din. (Rabbinical court) who is not allowed to send her son to the Jews' Free School because her conversion is not recognised by the UK's Beth Din. Why it's not recognised is a long story and I'm not sure I understand it myself but what struck me was her statement to the JC.
I am shocked and upset at what the Beth Din has decided. I and my family are accepted as Jews in Israel, my son went to a Jewish school in Israel and my husband served in the army. Yet when we want to send out son to a Jewish school here, we are told we are not Jewish. How can we be Jewish in one country and not in another? It's not some banana republic. This is a ridiculous situation and we will do everything we can to get them to change their minds.
I always thought bananas were kosher.

Also in the JC

Jewish boys arrested for racial abuse of Muslim woman

I think this is a case involving 3 teenagers harrassing a Muslim woman for a couple of years now. Police had said there was nothing they could do but, according to the JC, video evidence has made the arrests possible.

MPAC targets Jack Straw

Apparently the Muslim Public Affairs Committee has been "attempting to unseat [Jack Straw]....by claiming he is "ideologocally driven to support Israel."" MPAC should know Straw better than to accuse of him being "ideologically driven" to do anything. That would suggest that he has principles and he has none. When the UK wanted some kind of Iranian support for the war on Iraq, Straw penned an article for the occasionally anti-semitic Tehran Times "sympathising" with the plight of Arabs in what he called, once only, "Palestine". This, of course, caused a furore in Israel. Since then he has got back on the zionist track, only ever making reference to Israeli deaths in the intifada. I remember when about 200 Israelis had been killed he said that every Israeli knew someone who had been killed by terrorists. At the time this would have meant that every Israeli who got killed by Palestinians, knew about 30,000 people. He made no reference at all to the fact that far more Palestinians had been killed and that every Palestinian is suffering from the struggle with Israel whereas a recent survey put "terrorism" fourth on a list of Israelis' concerns, behind, crime, the economy and road accidents.

The article goes on to say that Oona King is also in MPAC's sights, suggesting that "the black-Jewish MP" has "perceived sympathy for Israel." Actually, it's her support for the war wot dunnit. Oona King is on record as comparing Israel's governance of Gaza to the nazis' governance of the Warsaw ghetto.

The JC. does employ a lot of sheer deviousness in its support for Israel so it's hard to know what is true and what is not. I can only hope that MPAC wouldn't be so witless as to target Jack Straw and Oona King on account of them being Jews. Again I say, that to accuse Jack Straw of being "ideologically driven" is a compliment that the abject opportunist doesn't deserve.

And pigs might fly

Oliver Letwin tells Conservative Friends of Israel that "he looked forward to a time when there would be no need for organisations such as the CFI" because one day "Israel's...case would no longer be in question." I didn't know that annihilating the Palestinians was Tory policy.

Iain Hook

As reported in the Socialist Worker, the Foreign Office has rejected a BBC request to hand over information about Israel's shooting of the unarmed Iain Hook in Jenin. The reason they offer is informative. "Officials argued that releasing the information could damage Britain's relations "with another state." It doesn't say which state. I like to think it's America and not Israel but that's just me. The JC. then goes on to give the Israeli army's version of events without any suggestion that their version is hotly disputed by the UN and witnesses. The article even says that his phone, that is the phone that he was using at the time an Israeli soldier shot him in the back, was mistaken for a gun. The inquest is being conducted by Ipswich coroner, Dr Peter Dean.

Hitler knew details of the holocaust

This might look like a pope is catholic kind of a story but it has long been said that Hitler, whilst wanting the eradication of the Jews from Europe (and presumably the world), didn't actually order or have detailed knowledge of the holocaust. David Irving is particularly fond of this one. Of course many organising criminals in governments and on the streets, don't have detailed knowledge of crimes committed on their behalf. Look at Ariel Sharon, who is said to have ordered or allowed the massacres at Shatila and Sabra with a wave of his hand. Anyway, thanks to a book on Hitler (The Hitler Book ), compiled for Stalin, it appears that he knew it all, from the strategy to the operations.

Still more on anti-semitism

"The leader of Germany's Jewish community has warned of a rampant anti-Semitism in academic and intellectual circles." He also says that he receives a lot of anti-semitic emails from people who often give their names and addresses. Apparently, 25 complaints have been made against people who sign such letters. We'll see how the complaints get on in due course but it must be said that the article is dominated by the allegation of academic and intellectual anti-semitism and yet not one example is given.

Stupid article by David Aaronovitch

David Aaronovitch writes of how he turned down an offer to be the JC's. editor. He sites as one reason the fact that he is "not Jewish enough," before traipsing off into a barely coherent ramble about why he's "not Jewish enough." He then gets to another reason which gave him his headline Preaching to the converted is no fun. Why then am I hearing rumours that this pro-war zionist is going to work for Rupert Murdoch's Times.?

Leap of faith?

This is a welcome article in the Guardian. by John Rose today, about the possibilities for a post-zionist future in the Middle East. The piece that struck me was this quote about Baghdadi Jews in the Jewish Chronicle. in 1949.
On the whole, Islamic tolerance has enabled Baghdadi Jews to flourish as a centre of learning and commerce. They and their kind would like to stay.
Now the Jewish Chronicle. moved from being the "organ of British Jewry" to becoming a zionist newspaper in 1913. That quote is clearly non-zionist. Without access to their archives I can only wonder as to the context. Watch this space.

Professor Massad changes course

I got this post from the excellent Umkahlil blog. I wish I'd found it in time for April Fools Day:

Professor Massad Unveils New Course Offering . . . Ahlan Wasahlan Ya Israel
Professor Joseph Massad of Columbia University, seeking to assuage the sensibilities of his Zionist students and Project David auditers, revealed today the syllabus for his revised course, formerly The Politics of Israel and Palestine. Seeking a new beginning Massad's class sports a new moniker, Ahlan Wa sahlan Ya Israel, Welcome to Israel.

Massad will definitively show that there is no such thing as a Palestinian.
According to Massad, the first week of the course will focus on how those steely Sabras 'made the desert bloom,' thus compelling Arabs to swarm the 'land without a people for a people without a land.'

'We Arabs have TWENTY-EIGHT countries that we can live in,' Massad sagely proffers. With the zealotry of a reformed Arab, Massad continues, 'I will show that even though we'd only been in Palestine for twenty years before Israel's Independence Day, we probably could have stayed if we hadn't listened to the Nazi sympathizing Mufti who told us all to leave.' Massad says that the course, which he plans to enhance with a showing of Exodus, will also show how tiny Israel put down hoardes of invading Arab armies in 1948, again in 1967, and how Arabs eschewed many offers of the olive branch.

For one unit, special emphasis will be given to the 'Arab' mind. 'I am particularly excited about this part,' enthused Massad. On board for guest speakers are Raphael Patai, author of the seminal Arab Mind, and the Professor's new friends, Middle East experts Daniel Pipes, Bernard Lewis, and to provide a little ethnic diversity, Joseph Farah of worldnetdaily.

Friday nights Professor Massad will provide Israeli specialities: hummus and falafel

Expectations: Students will be assessed on the following:

Essay Why do all Arabs lie?

Multiple Choice: Golda Meir, the great Israeli leader once said, 'I can forgive the Arabs for killing our children, but I can't forgive them for forcing us to kill their children.'

Why do the Arabs wanna give Golda such grief? a. they hate their kids b.they use their children as shields because they're cowards c. they hate Jews because they're Jews d. they're not like us e. all of the above

Ahlan Wa Sahlan Ya Israel
Instructor: Profesor Joseph Massad
Required Readings:
The New Republic
The New York Sun
Little Green Footballs
TheFrontPage
NROnline
William Safire
Charles Krauthammer
Mona Charen
israpundit
George Will
worldnetdaily
Commentary
What no Israeli music or traditional Israeli folk dancing?

More on Iain Hook

I got a hit from someone looking up "Iain Hook" on Google. Tracking back, I found the site linked above. It carries a very simple statement from the UN Relief and Works Agency - UNWRA:
Our preliminary findings into the circumstances surrounding the death of Iain Hook in Jenin don't agree with the statement made by the Israeli military that firing had been coming out of the UNRWA compound in Jenin.
It is quite clear to UNRWA at this stage that such a report of live fire from the compound is totally incredible.
I posted earlier that the UK government is participating in the Israeli cover-up of this murder of a British citizen.

April 01, 2005

Anti-semitism at Columbia? Preposterous!

The campaign against Joseph Massad et al. has hit the buffers for the time-being as the panel set up to investigate claims of intimidation of Jewish (read zionist) students rejected the complaints against him. That, of course, doesn't mean that the zionist campaign off-campus won't continue but Columbia's president, Lee Bollinger, has stuck his neck out to say that "it was "preposterous" to say the school is anti-Semitic or has a hostile climate for Jewish students." The investigating panel did throw one scrap to the zionist movement:
the five-member panel did identify one instance in which a professor "exceeded commonly accepted bounds" of behavior when he angrily implied a student should leave his classroom after she defended Israel's conduct toward Palestinians.
Now how intimidated could a defender of ethnic cleansing feel?

Will the next Pope be a Zionist?

I found this article on the Jewish Telegraphic Agency website. It's a horrible piece and goes to show the sheer inhumanity of some religious types. The headline is Potential pope favors Jewish presence in Israel. We're off to a flying start. For centuries no-one objected to a Jewish presence in Israel (or Palestine as it used to be called). Then it gets more explicitly zionist.
A potential successor to Pope John Paul II spoke out strongly in favor of the Jewish claim to Israel.
Ok, still a bit mealy-mouthed. What does this Jewish claim amount to? Armed sovereignty of Jews over non-Jews?
Archbishop of Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn also rejected the notion that European Christian support for Israel stems from guilt over the Holocaust.
No serious observer ever thought it did stem from guilt. It's imperialism stupid!
"Only once in human history did God take a country as an inheritance and give it to his chosen people," Schoenborn said Wednesday in an address at Jerusalem's Hebrew University.
So god prefers Jews and a Jewish state must accord Jews preferential treatment under its apartheid laws because if god was a legal system that's what he would do. And who are godly Catholics to argue with god?
A Palestinian priest challenged Schoenborn's claim that Christians should celebrate the Jewish return to Israel, but Schoenborn responded that while the Arab-Israeli conflict is a matter of international law, the Jewish presence in Israel dates back to the Bible.
Meaning what exactly? Well, this guy is 58. If he becomes pope his pontificacy could last 30, or even 50 years. Perhaps we should welcome this, after all he'll have plenty of time to explain his deliberately meaningless and racist drivel. We shouldn't be too surprised at this. I remember back in the 1980s when apartheid South Africa was embarked on one of its subterfuges to hide apartheid behind some kind of tricameral parliament where whites would rule supreme and "coloured" would have some kind of bogus representation. Blacks were excluded still and the ANC called for a boycott. While the election campaign was on, the pope was in a plane crossing southern Africa. The story goes that the plane developed difficulties near to Mozambique. Instead of landing in Mozambique the papal plane landed in the land of apartheid. Whilst in South Africa, the pope said that it would be a sin to boycott the elections. So our man Christoph might get to follow in a fine apartheid supporting papal tradition.