August 31, 2006

Engage considers honesty

I'm sure the feeling will pass but Engage is having a little flirtation with honesty. First Engage posted an article rubbishing (or at least seeking to rubbish) the allegation that Israel had bombed two Red Cross ambulances. I posted the Australian report proving that Israel had indeed bombed two ambulances in Lebanon. Deborah Maccoby then posted some links to the Australian on to the Engage comments. They had acquired such an appalling reputation for filtering their critics and allowing their supporters to simply hurl ad hominem abuse at the precious few critics they allowed through that they now allow Deborah to post at will it seems. The silly thing goes and takes them up on it! But I digress. David Hirsh has now updated the original post to include the main link on my earlier post (and the first link on Deborah's comment). In the interests of "balance" he has also provided links to Melanie Phillips's site, presumably (I haven't looked) on the same subject.

Linda Grant too has got in on he act, for act is what it is, and she is urging all to "wait-and-see" what a full investigation comes up with. She also placed a comment under the same post as Deborah had. It's here:
People will believe what they want to believe, according to the beliefs they already hold. You may think that 'the IDF is the most moral army in the world' or that Hizbollah are 'a people's resistance movement fighting to overcome occupation.' Either way, you're willingly swallowing propaganda and those who do are in for a disappointing let-down.
So does Linda believe one of these? This tallies with an earlier stated position of Linda Grant's that she learned from Amoz Oz, "there is no objective truth." How convenient for zionists. Let's look at those two statements again:
the IDF is the most moral army in the world
Hizbollah are 'a people's resistance movement fighting to overcome occupation.'
But whilst many clearly want to believe that the Israeli army (even "IDF" is a lie) is the most moral army in the world, no one truly believes it. No one. Now Hizbullah arose from among the people and the ashes of Israeli occupied south Lebanon. Drawing support from local people they resisted Israeli occupation and the recent war was triggered by Hizbullah's solidarity action in capturing two Israeli soldiers. People don't just believe this because they want to but because it is so. There are many people who desperately don't want to believe it. But who are they going to believe, their own zionist propagandists or their own eyes?

Mission accomplished?

Here's George Galloway in today's Guardian, firming up on a few issues surrounding Israel losing the war in Lebanon:
As the smoke clears from the battlefield of the 34-day war in Lebanon, it would be a mistake to count the cost only in fallen masonry and fresh graves. All is changed, changed utterly, by the defeat that the whole of Israel is now debating, from the cabinet through the lively press to the embittered reservists at the falafel stall. Practically the only person in the world who claims Israel won the war is George Bush - and we all know his definition of the words "mission accomplished".
Here's the rest and there's a comment facility.

August 30, 2006

Israel's surgical strikes have Engage on a Downer

I already said that the bombardment of Lebanon caught the whole of the zionist movement with its collective hand in the till when, with one voice, they all supported Israel's slaughter of Lebanese civilians and destruction of civilian infrastructure. Engage was a classic example of pretend leftists going all out to support these racist war criminals.

So the headline. Private Eye ran a cartoon of an ambulance or maybe a hospital having been bombed by Israel. The caption read "surgical strike." Well Engage recently ran the above picture of a bombed ambulance with a link to an article, on a lunatic zionist website called Zombietime, that claims that Israel didn't bomb the ambulance in the picture. It's very hard to know if the Engage buffoon-in-chief, David Hirsh, really fell for the Zombietime lie or if he knew it was a lie when he posted it. What happened to expose Zombietime was that the Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, like Engage these days, will say anything to defend the racist war criminals of the State of Israel and to smear their opponents so he ran with the Zombietime denial. So Mr Downer denounced the Australian media for reporting that Israel had bombed ambulances. His source for the denial was Zombietime. This had the Australian demonstrating what Downer said they should have done before running the story and this is what it came up with:
Downer finds the blog to be a compelling condemnation of the foreign media's competence and ideological stance in Lebanon. Key planks of's allegations are that a missile would not cause the type of damage done to Ambulance 782; rust around the damaged roof showed the damage was done some time prior; neither driver was seriously injured; Shalin's injuries seemed to heal miraculously; and the Israeli apology was merely a matter of course.

I was in Tyre on the night of the attack and investigated the incident closely the next day. On July 24, with photographer Stewart Innes, we spoke to Qassem Shalin, who was recovering from a minor wound to his chin that nurses had bandaged to stop it from turning septic. We also visited Ahmed Mohammed Fawaz, whose lower left leg had been amputated and whose severe burns ironically had saved his life by sealing blood vessels and arteries. His son writhed in pain nearby, his stomach riddled with shrapnel and the rear of his scalp opened up.

We inspected both ambulances, whose mangled roofs were not rusting at the time. By the time the photos used on the blog site were taken, rust had appeared. But this is entirely normal in Lebanon's sultry summer climate, where humidity on the coast does not drop below 70per cent.

Downer's spokesman, Tony Parkinson, said on Tuesday: "Those (website) pictures do not show an ambulance that has been struck by a missile nor do they sustain the argument the ambulance was struck by a missile."

He is wrong. The damage done was consistent with ruined cars and vans that I saw elsewhere in Lebanon and earlier in Gaza, which had been hit by a missile fired from a drone. The Israeli-made drones have many types of missiles, but the most regularly used has a small warhead designed for use in urban areas. It aims not to kill anyone outside a small zone and rarely leaves a calling card outside its target.

Downer and Parkinson should know this. The Australian Government last year signed a deal to buy drones from Israel. They would surely have come with a buyer's guide.

The small warhead partly explains the driver's lack of serious wounds. But more telling is the fact that Shalin was lifting the rear ramp of the ambulance when the missile hit. His colleague was stepping into the side door. The concussion wave from the missile easily dispersed through the open spaces. Shalin was protected as he fell under the ramp. The other driver was blown out the side door.

Working in the Lebanese Red Cross operations room in Beirut the night the ambulances were hit was field manager George Kettaneh. "Every ambulance that moved in Lebanon I had to know about," he said. "I received phone calls from the ambulance drivers and it took us one hour to negotiate a ceasefire through the ICRC."

The man doing their bidding for them was Antoine Bieler, the field co-ordinator for the ICRC who yesterday confirmed to Media that he had negotiated a ceasefire with the Israeli Defence Force. "Yes absolutely, that happened," he said from Beirut. The ICRC in Geneva later said there was nothing to support Downer's claim that the events of that night were an anti-Israeli hoax.

I returned to Tyre on Saturday to speak again to Qassem Shalin and inspect the damaged ambulances. "Everything I said happened that night did happen," he said. "There was not a sound in the sky before the explosions. And after that there was a battle for the next hour. We hid in a building nearby convinced we were going to die. It was only when George (Kettaneh) called me that we could leave safely."

The events of July 23 and the reporting that followed was newsworthy and important. The ICRC has documented two other occasions when Lebanese ambulances were hit during the war and to report the incidents does not reflect anti-Israeli bias. The blog site's attempts to create a smokescreen around a shameful truth fail on tests of scrutiny that Downer was happy to overlook.

Beyond serious dispute? Only if you want to believe it, Minister.
Or Doctor, in David Hirsh's case.

UPDATE - Whilst writing this post I see that Deborah Maccoby has now posted the links to the Australian to the comments on the Engage site. Will Dr Hirsh do the decent thing and post the links with the article or will he ignore them? I'm not taking bets on this, I'm just asking.

These are the links:,20867,20310772-2702,00.html,20867,20307128-7582,00.html,20867,20308892-7583,00.html

Good lord! Janner assaulted

Here's an article from the UK's Mail on Sunday, shortened in Ha'aretz, about how two British lords came to blows over Israel's Lebanon bombardment.
Lord Janner attacked by fellow peer in row over Lebanon war

By Assaf Uni, Haaretz Correspondent and Agencies

LONDON - Lord Janner, a senior member of Britain's Jewish community, was physically assaulted last week by a fellow peer during a furious row over Israel's policy in Lebanon, sources at the House of Lords confirmed to Haaretz yesterday.

Lord Bramall, 82, attacked Lord Janner after making what witnesses claim were a series of "anti-Israel" comments.

Lord Janner, 78, a veteran campaigner for Holocaust victims, was said to feel "wronged and seriously offended" after the attack.

Currently on a visit to Israel, he told Haaretz, however, that he had accepted the apology of Lord Bramall and the he now viewed the matter as closed.

A senior source at the House of Lords said: "There was no anti-Semitic remark but the comments by Bramall were anti-Israel. It took place in one of the rooms close to the Lords chamber and it got out of hand. It ended with Bramall hitting Janner. Those who witnessed the row were extremely shocked by his behavior."

Eton-educated Lord Bramall served in the occupation of Japan.

He was later on Lord Mountbatten's staff and became a full general in 1976. He served as chief of the Defence Staff during the 1982 Falklands War and sits as a cross-bencher.

No action has been taken by the Lords authorities and Lord Janner has made no complaint.

"Lord Bramall has apologized, and, as far as I'm concerned, the matter is now closed. I'm sorry, I'm saying nothing more," he said last night.
As a comment to the Mail on Sunday article said, even at that age, "boys will be boys."

August 29, 2006

Herzl's blood and soil?

Here's a report from Ha'aretz about plans to bury the remains of Theodor Herzl's children in Israel. I never even considered whether he had children. The potted accounts of their lives are quite interesting:
Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar smoothed the way to the plan's implementation two months ago, when he authorized bringing to Israel the remains of Herzl's son Hans to Israel, although he had converted to Christianity and committed suicide.

In his will, Herzl expressed the wish that the Jewish nation would bring his remains to Israel and bury his parents, sister and children beside him there. Herzl's coffin was buried on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on August 1949.

His eldest daughter, Paulina, died destitute in 1930 in Bordeaux, after the World Zionist Organization rejected her requests for financial support. A day later, her brother, Hans, committed suicide on her grave and was buried in the same coffin. In a letter to his second sister, Trude, before his death, Hans asked that his remains would be brought to Israel for burial beside his father. Trude perished in the Holocaust and her burial place is unknown.

In April 2001 Dr. Ariel Feldstein wrote about Herzl's children in Haaretz's Magazine. His research indicated that the Zionist establishment had acted to conceal the embarrassing affair and tried to erase Herzl's children's memory.
It's a curious way of ingathering the "exiles."

August 28, 2006

Racist at a peace rally?

The zionist smearsite, Engage, has run a story from the Brighton local, The Argus, saying how police swamped an anti-war demo searching for a racist and seeking to allay fears of antisemitism on the part of the local Jewish community. Here's the story:
Hunt for racists at peace protest

POLICE did not release details of a violent racist attack at a peace rally because they feared publicity would prevent them catching the culprits, it was claimed today.

Officers were accused of wasting resources by sending up to 100 officers to marshal a demonstration in Hove last Saturday involving just 150 people.

But Chief Supt Kevin Moore said the presence was a response to complaints of violence, disorder and anti-semitism at a rally in July.

A Jewish man has told The Argus he was attacked by a baying mob and branded a terrorist during the demonstration on the seafront near Palmeira Square last month against the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hezbolah. Chief Supt Moore said: "We received a number of complaints by residents of Palmeira Square who declared themselves to be Jewish, who felt intimidated and felt some aspects of the July protest were racist and anti-semitic.

"We did not release details of the attack because we planned to take the victim to the march on Saturday to see if he could point out the culprits."

He was accompanied by two police officers but did not recognise anyone.

It also emerged an anti-semitic banner depicting a Jewish Star of David and a swastika was seized from an eight-year-old girl at Saturday's march.

But protest organisers say they are insulted at Chief Supt Moore's claim that the demonstration was an attempt to provoke and incite what he described as a large Jewish population in the area.

Organiser Glenn Williams said: "I am shocked at that.

"There was no racism or anti-semitism on either march to my knowledge.

"If there was then I would be deeply concerned and certainly would condemn it. But I simply do not believe it happened.

"This is a diversion tactic by the police because they simply got it wrong."

A 24-year-old half-Jewish doorman says he was attacked at the protest in July.

He says he was driving along Kingsway with his girlfriend, also 24, when he had to stop because the protest had spilled into the road.

He said: "Somebody clocked I was wearing a Jewish symbol on my necklace.

"All of a sudden, a crowd of people had surrounded the car and were shouting anti-Jewish chants.

"Somebody stuck a banner through the car window and I had to struggle to fight them off.

"They were calling me a terrorist and Jewish scum and insulting my family.

"They were pushing and kicking the car and caused £400 damage to the bodywork.

"This abuse was racist and highly personal and deeply offended me.

"It's not what I expected from a peace protest.
Tony Greenstein tried to post this comment on the Engage site but apparently the moderators felt that it didn't "contribute to the debate"
This is however worrying because it shows how elements of the State are prepared to use 'anti-Semitism', which I've long argued has become the 'anti-racism' of the Right in order to attack democratic protest and the left.
Tony Greenstein was one of the organisers of the march and Charlie Pottins (Random Pottins) posted this to the Just Peace list on Tony's behalf:
Anyone who bought the Argus today will have seen in the letters column an attack by Chief Supt. Kevin Moore on the organisers, including myself, of last Saturday's demonstration over Lebanon. In it he accuses us of having been motivated by anti-Semitism for choosing to march from Palmeira Square!

If Moore had any knowledge of the area concerned he would, of course, know that Palmeira Square is situated in the heart of Brighton and Hove's Arab community as a walk down that part of Western Road would demonstrate. It is doubtful that Palmeira Square contains any higher concentration of Jews than other areas of Brighton and Hove but in any case it is irrelevant. Many Jews marched on both marches because many many Jews are equally horrified by what Israel did in Lebanon on the pretext of the capture of 2 of its soldiers (having itself held Lebanese hostages for years).

The excuse for the Police's swamping of the march was what was termed a 'serious' racist attack on someone who is Jewish. We always thought this was fishy because there was no attempt by Police to ask people at the demo for information concerning this assault. In fact the 'assault' was nothing of the kind. I and others witnessed someone described in the Argus today as 'half-Jewish' (!) shouting out at an obviously Arab demonstrator 'terrorist'. If anything this was racist abuse, but no doubt the pig ignorant Moore wouldn't understand why. The person so abused became angry and in a confrontation with the motorist, which was why Idemonstrators pulled him off before there was any violence. But if Moore is so concerned about racial violence he might now start investigating the murder of Jay Abatan, whose murderers are still free thanks to the negligence and racism of Brighton Police.

It would appear that the Argus didn't bother to check the letter first, or assumed that if it came from a senior Police officer it must be ok. In fact the letter is highly libellous and I've given Chief Supt. Moore 28 days to respond before proceedings are issued in the High Court for defamation. As a Jewish member of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which helped organise the march, the accusation is outrageous. Made even more so because the only Jewish person assaulted was me, by Moore's own officers!
To be continued...

August 26, 2006

The end of the zionist dream?

Israel has just fought yet another war "for its survival." The crucial difference this time is that it lost. So now we have proof for even the most willfully stupid that when Israel claims to be fighting for its survival it is doing no such thing. Now here's an article by Nadim Shehadi in Ha'aretz suggesting that the way in which Israel fights and endangers its citizens means that it is actually a failed state:
What is the logic that will emerge from this war? If Israel can exist only by destroying the neighborhood, then it's time to declare it a failed state. The Zionist dream has turned into a nightmare and is not viable. If the future holds more of the same, then the time has come to reconsider the whole project. Every state has a duty to defend its citizens, but also it has a duty to provide them with security and the two are different. The prospects are for more destruction, fanaticism, violence and hatred. No unilateral separation can isolate Israel from this, nor can the region or the world live with the consequences. This seems to be the only choice, and Israel must do itself and others a favor and go away.
Now read on.

August 25, 2006

Jewish Socialist in the Jewish Chronicle

David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist Group has a letter in the Jewish Chronicle today worrying out loud about the impact of Linda Grant withdrawing from the British Shalom Salaam Trust and Jews for Justice for Palestinians. Here's Linda Grant's letter in last week's JC:

Last year Norman Geras and I removed our names from the list of signatories to Jews for Justice for Palestinians. I remained as a patron of its charitable arm, the British Shalom Salaam Trust in respect of the work it was doing. Having read JfJfP's statement on the Hizbollah-Israel war, I have now asked for my name to be removed as a patron of BSST.
The mere fact that this zionist fiction writer had to ask for her name to be removed should set alarm bells ringing about the nature of the Trust but here's comrade Rosenberg:
Good grief [I think they meant "good riddance!"]

So Linda Grant uses your letters page to announce to the world that she no longer wants to be a patron of the British Shalom Salaam Trust in protest at a statement by Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JFJFP).

Gosh! What will the trust and, JFJFP or the Palestinian people in general do without Linda Grant's support?

Will they ever recover?

Er, yes, I think they might.

David Rosenberg
I must say I find this whole Lebanon debacle fascinating. At first it smoked out just about the whole of the zionist movement who rushed to support Israel. AB Yehoshua, David Grossman and Amos Oz all went on record to support the onslaught before seeing it go pear-shaped and then very publicly changed their independent minds. But it's more complex in the diaspora so other zionist "peaceniks" are having to distance themselves from this or that "peace" group because they feel a need to be counted with their more openly zionist cohorts during Israel's time of "trial" (if only).

What happened here is the zionist belief in Israel's invincibility kicked in and the zionists expected a quick victory followed by a relentless campaign of media lies justifying Israel's atrocities. I was surprised by the lack of media campaigning for Israel while the bombardment was on but it's often the case that zionist media campaigns only kick in after the events they misrepresent. This happened with Barak's generous offer. It even happened in 1967. But this time Israel lost the war. It's hard now for zionists to know which lie to tell. Remember the first one they tried was about the "existential threat" to Israel. They shouldn't have led with such an implausible lie really because Israel lost and yet it still exists. So now they need new lies. Meanwhile, those outside Israel who support Jewish supremacy in Palestine have to risk alienating their cohorts in the openly zionist movement by continuing a pretence of peace-seeking. Or they have to jump back to the overt zionist camp. Linda Grant has chosen the latter course. At least it's honest.

August 24, 2006

Israel rejects Amnesty International report

Well fancy that! Israel has rejected the idea that it committed war crimes in Lebanon. This flatly contradicts an Amnesty International report.
The 20-page report, the first comprehensive one issued by the human rights organization on the subject of the recent war, accused Israel of "indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks" which displaced one quarter of the civilian population.

The report alleges that "Israel's destruction of thousands of homes, and strikes on numerous bridges and roads as well as water and fuel storage plants, was an integral part of Israel's military strategy in Lebanon, rather than "collateral damage‚ resulting from the lawful targeting of military objectives."

That strategy, in Amnesty's assessment of Israeli official statements, was carried out in part in order to turn civilians against Hizbullah. The report noted that any Hizbullah use of civilians as a means of shielding their activities constituted a war crime. But, it said, "under international law such use does not release the opposing party from its obligations towards the protection of the civilian population." It calculated that more than 1,000 civilians died, some 7,000 strikes had been carried out by the Israeli Air Force, 15,000 residences had been destroyed and at least two hospitals wiped out.
Every time Israel kills children or other civilians some zionist or other claims that they were used as human shields. Now the idea of a human shield is that the other side will hold their fire so as not to kill the human shield. Since its inception, Israel has had no compunction about killing children so who is there in the whole of the Arab world who thinks to use a child, or any civilian, as a human shield?

Dershowitz's deceptions

A new low in depravity?

No not a description of Israel's latest assault on Palestinians or Lebanon but Chomsky's description of Alan Dershowitz's grotesque smears against Norman Finkelstein's mother; his late mother.
The incident demonstrated conclusively that Dershowitz is not only a remarkable liar and slanderer, but also an extreme opponent of elementary civil rights. That is crystal clear from the correspondence, reproduced below. Dershowitz flew into a fury over the exposure, and ever since has produced a series of hysterical tirades and lies concerning some entity in his fantasy world named "Chomsky," who lives on "planet Chomsky." That is his standard style when he is exposed, reaching truly grotesque levels in his efforts to discredit Norman Finkelstein (and even his mother, probably a new low in depravity) after Finkelstein's meticulous documentation of Dershowitz's astonishing lies in his vulgar apologetics for Israeli crimes (Beyond Chutzpah).
Read the whole thing on Finkelstein's site here.

This latest spat follows publication and circulation of a letter signed by Chomsky, Finkelstein and several others, protesting Israel's recent conduct in Gaza.

August 23, 2006

Meanwhile, in Gaza.....

This article by Amira Hass in Ha'aretz is actually titled Nasrallah didn't mean to and is ostensibly about Hizbullah's rockets killing Israeli Arabs. But it soon becomes a very different narrative:
During the past month, Hezbollah's Katyushas killed 18 Israeli Arabs among the 41 Israeli civilians who died in the war. Clearly, Hassan Nasrallah didn't mean to kill them. But as someone who knows that many Arabs live in northern Israel, and as someone who knows that the launchers for his inaccurate Katyushas cannot choose the target they will hit - the fact that it was unintended is meaningless.

More than anyone, Israelis should understand Nasrallah's claims that this was "unintended," identify with the primacy he attaches to the "unintendedness" relative to the fatal results, and identify with the disjunction he creates between the rationale that is inherent in the war machine he has built and his subjective will. "We didn't mean to" is a mantra that is frequently recited in Israel when there is a discussion of the number of civilians - among them many children - who are killed by the Israel Defense Forces. To this, the claim that "they" (Hezbollah and the Palestinians) cynically exploit civilians by locating themselves among them and firing from their midst is automatically added.

This claim is made by citizens of a state who know very well where to turn off Ibn Gvirol Street in Tel Aviv to get to the security-military complex that is located in the heart of their civilian city; this claim is repeated by the parents of armed soldiers who bring their weapons home on weekends, and is recited by soldiers whose bases are adjacent to Jewish settlements in the West Bank and who have shelled civilian Palestinian neighborhoods from positions and tanks that have been stationed inside civilian settlements.
Ok, she points up the sheer hypocrisy of zionists in condemning the modus operandi of "the other." That said, the most startling items in the article, for me anyway, are the grim statistics of death in Gaza.
IDF soldiers have killed 44 children in Gaza since June 28, when the failed campaign to release abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit began. That is 44 children out of the 188 people the IDF has killed in Gaza - civilians and armed men, most of whom had embarked on a doomed fight against the invading tanks. The last three who were killed, on Monday, were three farmers from Beit Hanoun who were hit by an IDF shell - about as precise as a Hezbollah Katyusha - instead of the rocket launcher it had been intended to hit.
She then rounds off by demonstrating the various ways in which Israel is choking off the possibility of Palestinian self-determination in Palestine itself.

August 21, 2006

Observe these!

I'm only just back from holiday and so my posting is still a bit sporadic. The Observer had an absurd editorial last week suggesting that Muslims generally and islamists in particular had no case against the west back in 1993. They even said that it was a lie to suggest otherwise. More, they even go so far as to imply that Bill Clinton was an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians back then:
British and American foreign policy was focused not on the Islamic world, but on the unstable transition of former communist countries to democracy. Twice during the Nineties, Nato launched military interventions in the Balkans, both aimed at protecting Muslim populations in Bosnia and Kosovo. What Middle East policy there was focused on diplomatic efforts, led by President Clinton, to negotiate lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Well thankfully they have just enough integrity to publish letters countering their selective memory of events between the west and the middle east:
The premise underlying your editorial ('These ludicrous lies about the West and Islam', last week) is wrong. Saying that the February 1993 plot to bomb the World Trade Centre could not have been 'a response to Western actions overseas' because it took place when Western policies in the Middle East were uncontroversial leaves out the 1991 Gulf War.

In fact the terrorism of the early Nineties was closely related to Western policy, and American encouragement to armed Islamists in the war against the Soviet-backed Afghan regime in the Eighties. The military infrastructure and contacts created then provided a vehicle for the extremists to campaign against the West's military presence in the Gulf during and after the 1991 war. Their opposition was fuelled by the effects of Western policy, with more than 500,000 Iraqis dying through the effects of Western-orchestrated sanctions against Iraq in the first two years after the war.

Nor is it true that the West was busy negotiating an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement. By February 2003 the Madrid peace process, initiated in 1991, was going nowhere. The US had shown itself unprepared to exert the degree of pressure on Israel which could have brought results.
Tim Niblock
Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter

Your editorial fails to mention Palestine. The car bomb in New York took place in 1993, after the misery and injustice of the Palestinian people had continued for more than 50 years. I am deeply ashamed that the West has allowed this to go on.
Joan Machin

In what idiosyncratic way do you apply the epithet 'bogus' to the 'sense of victimisation' of the Palestinians, deprived of their country to assuage Europe's guilt at the Holocaust and subjected to Israeli oppression; or of the Iraqis, bombed, beaten, raped and murdered by their 'liberators'?
Robin Seager

If it is a 'ludicrous lie', as your editorial claims, to suggest a connection between 'Western actions overseas' and anti-Western violence, surely consistency would compel you to deride any claim that the recent Israeli slaughter of Lebanese children was somehow linked to Hizbollah's actions in northern Israel? Your argument that Western interventions cannot possibly be grounds for Muslim grievance because some of them have helped Muslims is truly ludicrous. You might as well argue that Israel should embrace Palestinian suicide bombers because Palestinians have helped to build their so-called security fence.
Aran Lewis
London SW17
I should say here that I think the idea that the imperialist powers felt any sense of guilt over the holocaust is as absurd as the editorial and to suggest that the west's support for the on-going torture of the Palestinians is related to that guilt is even more absurd. Who but a racist would suggest that the on-going torture of millions of people is somehow morally superior, less guilty, than the killing of millions? Anyway, they published a couple of letters supporting their position but it's good to see them publishing such cutting demolitions of so ridiculous an editorial in what passes for a newspaper of record.

August 20, 2006

Israel covers its tracks

Here's a report from the Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (KRC). I got it from Just Peace but it has its own site here.
Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (KRC) branch in the South of Lebanon was totally destroyed by the Israeli bombings.

We report the distressful information from our team that went to the South of Lebanon to Der Seryan Village to check on the Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (KRC) branch. We knew that the center was hit by the Israeli bombings.

The clinic, the pharmacy, the computers, the sewing machines used for training seminars of the female ex-detainees..etc...nothing survived.

It is not a surprise. The Israelis make their glory upon killing and destroying civilians, babies and all symbols of life!
Khiam was the notorious torture centre run, nominally anyway, by Israel's allies in the South Lebanon Army. After the liberation of Lebanon from Israel and collapse of the SLA, Khiam became a monument to the victims of torture and a campaign against the use of torture. No wonder Israel wanted it buried deeply in rubble.

August 18, 2006

Bedouin, Druze and Hizbullah in joint operations against Israel

According to the Jewish Daily Forward patriotic dope-smoking Israelis are trying to thwart the efforts of Hizbullah by boycotting Lebanese hash in favour of home-grown.
Hashish, or oil resin from marijuana plants, is one of the primary recreational drugs available in Israel. It’s smoked in much the same way that marijuana is, and because the marijuana available in Israel is generally of a low quality, hashish is the preferred choice of most of the country’s pot smokers.

And it’s being smuggled in by Hezbollah.

“A Persian-backed terrorist organization is the primary supplier of hashish to the Israeli market today,” activist and Jerusalem resident Dan Sieradski said on his blog, “And this is why, with a heavy heart, I am officially boycotting hashish, effective immediately.”

According to an Israeli police report, Lebanon is the number-one source of hashish in the country. (Coming in at number two, Israeli backpackers returning from India.) Historically, Israeli Arabs, Bedouins and Druze nomads have been the middle men in Israel’s drug trade, smuggling hashish, cocaine and other drugs across the Israeli-Lebanese border. Since Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, however, Hezbollah has seized control of the smuggling operation, and the Islamic militant group continues to control the drug trade — and profit off all transactions made.
This report appeared on 11/8/2006. I don't know how successful the boycott call was but it doesn't seem to have hindered Hizbullah in achieving a spectacular result against the most powerful army in the Middle East.

August 16, 2006

Another Jewdas do

I nearly missed this. Jewdas are having another simcha, or simcheh if you prefer:
Summer's here and jewdas is heading to the giant mikvah that is the sea. There'll be music, dancing, fire juggling and the opportunity to lay tefillin. we guarantee nothing apart from a plentiful supply of jewish singles.

So give it a whirl.

One million Jews, one opinion?

This article in the Mercury News was posted to the Just Peace list recently. It's by a Lebanese Jew, Henri Picciotto, who is more than a little put out that voices of Jewish dissent are not being adequately represented with regard to the Israeli bombardment of his country.
There is a saying "two Jews, three opinions." Now we are told "1 million Jews, one opinion."

In fact, our community is profoundly divided:

• Hundreds, if not thousands, of Jews all over the country have demonstrated to demand an end to the bombing of Gaza and Lebanon. In one of these demonstrations, 17 Jewish protesters were arrested in an act of civil disobedience.

• In the past few days, thousands of Jews have signed a petition demanding that the United States intervene to stop the wanton killing of Lebanese civilians by the Israeli war machine.

• Jewish organizations that sponsor such demonstrations and petitions, such as Jewish Voice for Peace (on whose board I serve), are experiencing exponential growth. Jews are looking for ways to express their outrage at the actions of the Israeli government, and of the blind support accorded by the Jewish establishment in this country.

We are appalled by the Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israeli cities, just as we were the earlier attacks by Israel on Lebanese cities. We mourn the loss of Israeli, Palestinian and Lebanese lives equally. We are outraged by the destruction of Lebanese airports, roads and bridges, the bombing of homes and private cars, the killing of children, and the other horrors visited by the Israelis on their neighbors.

It is this kind of past Israeli behavior that gave birth to both Hamas and Hezbollah, organizations that have strengthened immeasurably in recent weeks. Israeli intransigence has made Israel a pariah state, and is the biggest enemy of all the people of the Middle East -- Arabs and Israelis alike.
OI don't like blanket denunciations of the violence "on both sides" as if they are equal but I agree with the general tenor of the article.

I go on holiday, Israel loses a war

I should go on holiday more often. Here's Israel's own take on its heroic efforts against the Lebanese people:
Critics from right and left were fortified by a Globes Smith poll showing, remarkably given the degree to which the army is embedded in Israeli society, that 52 per cent of electors believed the Israel Defence Forces had been unsuccessful in its Lebanon offensive as opposed to 44 per cent who believed it did well.
But then here's a view that says it ain't over.

Palestine event at Trinity

There's going to be an even ton Palestine at Trinity College, University of Dublin:

Date : 12-3 September 2006

Venue : Trinity College Dublin , IIIS Seminar Room, C6.002, Level 6, Arts Building . Conference Organisers: Dr Ronit Lentin , Department of Sociology/Coordinator IIIS Global Networks research group David Landy, Department of Sociology, Global Networks IIIS & Dr Karen Fricker, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, IIIS
1. Conference Overview

This conference aims to theorise what the late Edward Said called ‘the question of Palestine ' in the context of globalisation. An inter-disciplinary group of Palestinian, Israeli, British, American and Irish scholars will explore and debate the ways in which the Palestinian experience of being governed under a ‘state of exception' may be theorised as paradigmatic for new forms of global governance. The state of exception is characterised, among other things, by the law being suspended in the ‘military order' issued by the executive arm of government, often bypassing the legislature.

More details here.

August 13, 2006

Exterminate the Shi'ites?

Here's an interview with Gilbert Achcar that appears on Lenin's Tomb. It's a long enough piece. That's how Lenin likes them. The bit that leapt out at me was this:
Do you think that sending UN forces may settle the Lebanese crisis?

“Peace must be negotiated together with all the actors of the conflict, including Hezbollah that demands of Israel to release political prisoners and to return the last portion of occupied Lebanese territory. To the Lebanese Shiite community, today Hezbollah is tantamount to what the PLO used to be to the Palestinians.

Many observers have stressed that, unlike 1967 when Israel managed to defeat three Arab armies in 6 days, things are going on quite differently now.

The resistance in Lebanon is supported by the Shiite population, that Israel, in order to be victorious, would have to exterminate, and this is the reason why the majority forces within the broad coalition that rules Lebanon have always ruled out the use of force. The UN intervention would be helpful only if it guaranteed everyone’s interests, not if it would be a fig leaf to NATO’s.”
The interviewee has expressed anxiety about some poor, clumsy or mischievous translations of this interview into English that have appeared on the 'net. The translation carried at the Tomb is the only one authorised by the writer.

Shock news! Israel defies UN and kills lots of people

I found this on line earlier from The Age.
An Israeli air strike killed at least four civilians in a south Lebanon village on Saturday, as the UN Security Council urged an immediate end to fighting.

Medical sources said the raid targeted a pick-up truck in the village of Kharayeb. Several people were killed and others wounded in an earlier strike on the village of Rshaf, security sources said.

The Israeli army says it has launched a widescale offensive in south Lebanon, despite a UN resolution calling for a halt to the month-long fighting.
So finally the UN has passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire and Israel takes it as a cue for stil more attscks on civilians.

August 12, 2006

Hizbullah's intelligent use of violence

Here's a useful article in the London Review of Books. It's Charles Glass on the ability of Hizbullah to evolve with events. In the article he gets a good hit on the idea that Hizbullah is simply an arm of Syria or a leg of Iran. He also points out why Israel wants so desperately to defeat Hizbullah:
Like Israel’s previous enemies, Hizbullah relies on the weapons of the weak: car bombs, ambushes, occasional flurries of small rockets and suicide bombers. The difference is that it uses them intelligently, in conjunction with an uncompromising political programme. Against Israel’s thousand dead on the Lebanese field, Hizbullah gave up 1276 ‘martyrs’. That is the closest any Arab group has ever come to parity in casualties with Israel. The PLO usually lost hundreds of dead commandos to Israel’s tens, and Hamas has seen most of its leaders assassinated and thousands of its cadres captured with little to show for it. Hizbullah’s achievement, perhaps ironically for a religious party headed by men in turbans, is that it belongs to the modern age. It videotaped its ambushes of Israeli convoys for broadcast the same evening. It captured Israeli soldiers and made Israel give up hundreds of prisoners to get them back. It used stage-set cardboard boulders that blew up when Israeli patrols passed. It flew drones over Israel to take reconnaissance photographs – just as the Israelis did in Lebanon. It had a website that was short on traditional Arab bombast and long on facts. If Israelis had faced an enemy like Hizbullah in 1948, the outcome of its War of Independence might have been different. Israel, whose military respect Hizbullah, is well aware of this.

That is why, having failed to eliminate Hizbullah while it occupied Lebanon, Israel is trying to destroy it now. Hizbullah’s unpardonable sin in Israel’s view is its military success. Israel may portray Hizbullah as the cat’s-paw of Syria and Iran, but its support base is Lebanese. Moreover, it does one thing that Syria and Iran do not: it fights for the Palestinians. On 12 July Hizbullah attacked an Israeli army unit, capturing two soldiers. It said it would negotiate indirectly to exchange them for Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in Israel, as it has done in the past. It made clear that its attack was in support of the Palestinians under siege in Gaza after the capture of another Israeli soldier a week earlier. The whole Arab world had remained silent when Israel reoccupied the Gaza settlements and bombed the territory. Hizbullah’s response humiliated the Arab regimes, most of which condemned its actions, as much as it humiliated Israel. No one need have been surprised. Hizbullah has a long history of supporting the Palestinians. Many of its original fighters were trained by the PLO in the 1970s when the Shias had no militias of their own. Hizbullah risked the anger of Syria in 1986 when it sided against another Shia group which was attacking Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut. Hizbullah has never abandoned the Palestinian cause. Its capture last month of the two Israeli soldiers sent a message to Israel that it could not attack Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank without expecting a reaction.
To be continued I'm sure.

August 11, 2006

Yitzhak Laor on the difference between us and them

This is Yitzhak Laor in the London Review of Books wondering, among other things how the regional super power in the Middle East manages to present itself to itself and to others as the plucky little David of Jewish folklore.
As soon as the facts of the Bint Jbeil ambush, which ended with relatively high Israeli casualties (eight soldiers died there), became public, the press and television in Israel began marginalising any opinion that was critical of the war. The media also fell back on the kitsch to which Israelis grow accustomed from childhood: the most menacing army in the region is described here as if it is David against an Arab Goliath. Yet the Jewish Goliath has sent Lebanon back 20 years, and Israelis themselves even further: we now appear to be a lynch-mob culture, glued to our televisions, incited by a premier whose ‘leadership’ is being launched and legitimised with rivers of fire and destruction on both sides of the border. Mass psychology works best when you can pinpoint an institution or a phenomenon with which large numbers of people identify. Israelis identify with the IDF, and even after the deaths of many Lebanese children in Qana, they think that stopping the war without scoring a definitive victory would amount to defeat. This logic reveals our national psychosis, and it derives from our over-identification with Israeli military thinking.
In all the excitement of the past month I missed this vital statistic contained in a throwaway (bracketed) line in Laor's article:
(In July it [the Israeli army] killed 176 Palestinians, most of them from the same area in Gaza, in a ‘policing’ operation that included the destruction of houses and infrastructure.)
Israel is engaged in slaughter on two fronts. I knew this, I just somehow forgot to count the Palestinians.

Broadstairs folk week

Right, I'm off on me hols until Saturday 19th. I can only post from the local library so I'm guessing that rules out the weekend.

August 10, 2006

Zionists are not nazis - er - ok?

This is very powerful stuff that I just got from Roland Rance. The link is here.


We Are Not Nazis

Conversation fragments with A.Y.: an Israeli Jew responds to the Lebanon Atrocities.

Sami Shalom Chetrit

Jul. 2006

Write it, write it down, black on white,

To all the Arabs, and the Arab-lovers,

And the bleeding heart traitors,

Let's make one thing clear, first of all,

Before you open your mouths

With comparisons and self-loathing,

We are not Nazis!

And there is only one Holocaust,

There never was and never will be another.
There is no dispute! Period.

What's that?

What do you want from me?

What is this picture?

You want me to cry?


Go on,

It's not even a massacre.

One child?!

One child -- compared one and a half million children!?

What's wrong with you, are you twisted?

Or are you trying to make me laugh,

So you can say "what an evil man,"

But I'm not crazy, I have a heart,

I am not laughing, nor crying,

But I am mad!

You, and everyone who is behind this,

Are you writing? Write this:

It is a vicious attempt to tar the People of Israel with a broad brush,

But it won't help you!

We're not Nazis!

We are the victims,

Any child can see that,

Even today,

And write this down again:

There was only one Holocaust,

There never was and never will be another.

It really breaks your heart,
But I don't lose my head like you do.

More pictures of children? All right,

How many more children? Two more? Three? Four?

Fifty? Take a hundred children, just for the arithmetic,

To shut you up once and for all,

What are a hundred -- compared to a million? And I'm rounding it up, for you.

One hundred don't make you a Nazi; neither do one thousand,

And all in self defense -- we're not murderers, I want to make that clear!

Don't turn it upside down

With all kinds of comparisons --

We're not killing anybody,

Were fighting for our lives.

Write, how come you're smiling, write this:

You can't say it,

We're not Nazis,

And there is only one Holocaust,

There never was and never will be another,

Never Again! Never Again!

We won't let you!


So, what do you want now? Get off my back.

What are you trying to do, shock me?

Where did all those pictures come from, anyhow?

Who's the crazy person who stands around photographing dead children?

Do they have no heart? Beasts.

And where are the parents, huh? Tell me, where are the parents

Of all those dead kids? Before you open up your traps

Show me where in the Holocaust you had Jewish terrorist parents,

Or parents who load up their children's minds

With shit and blind hate?

Show me.

Oh, you're making me laugh. You call that hate?

Aren't you an intellectual?

Innocent girls sleeping for a week in bomb shelters,

And because of who, huh? Not because their parents,

Because of what? Write this: just because they're Jewish.

And show me any hate here? They're just letting off a little steam, so what?

Get off my back you war monger

And before you open your trap and start all the junk,

Write this for the thousandth time:

There is only one Holocaust,

There never was and never will be another.

I've said my piece.

If you don't like it --

Go drink up the sea in Gaza.

Or in Beirut.


From Hebrew: Dena Shunra

Sami Shalom Chetrit is a teacher, poet, scholar of society and culture in Israel, and an activist for peace and justice. He edits the Mizrahi Portal, Kedma. Chetrit's recent books include The Mizrahi Struggle in Israel: 1948 - 2003 (Am Oved), and Poems in Ashdodian (Andalus).

Looking at the images it surprises me that anyone still thinks it might be worthwhile comparing Israel to the nazis. Surely such atrocities warrant condemnation no matter what else we compare them too.

Proud self-hating Jew

Here's a response, in today's Independent, to the 2,000 years of suffering school of Jewish "thought" :
Sir: As a Jew (albeit a non-practising one) I am increasingly fed up with hearing about "2,000 years of persecution" culminating in the Holocaust (letters, passim), as if we are the only people on earth who have ever suffered, or that that somehow exempts us from conventional morality.

Other peoples have endured persecution for just as long and were killed in even greater numbers. Seventy million Chinese died under Mao's purges, 20 million Russians met a similar fate under Stalin; in America the legal segregation of blacks only recently ended, while in the Czech republic and elsewhere gypsies continue to be persecuted as they have been for centuries. As members of the world community, Jews (and Israel) must have no greater nor lesser standing than anyone else, and must be held to the same standards of behaviour.

Horrific as the Holocaust was, it occurred over two generations ago, and while it must never be forgotten, it is now time to relegate it to the past, where it belongs, so that it can no longer be used as justification for the dubious treatment of others. In so many cases the continuance of hatreds from the past is responsible for the conflicts of the present; witness the Shiite/Sunni split, which can be traced back 14 centuries.

And lest I be accused of being a "self-hating Jew", I am proud of my Jewish heritage; it is Israel's callous treatment of the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples that shames me.


I don't think that last paragraph will get him off the hook somehow. Here's a piece from a Guardian article detailing Maureen Lipman's view of Jews who criticise Israel.
Maureen Lipman, the actor and Guardian columnist, said she was contemptuous of "self-despising" British Jews who signed a petition by the Jews for Justice for Palestinians group this summer criticising Israeli government policy.
You criticise a state and it means you despise yourself? What kind of ideology would inspire such an inhuman notion?

August 09, 2006

The self-contradictory voice of the zionist "left"

I just found this on Engage. It's actually from Ha'aretz and it's Yossi Beilin jumping through hoops to defend the zionist project from a "left" perspective.
We have a deep belief in the right of the Jewish people to a democratic and secure state, which has a stable Jewish majority: the state of the Jewish people and all of its citizens.
Even Engage has had to allow a comment questioning how a state can be Jewish and democratic, a state with a "stable Jewish majority" and "for all its citizens." The only way this circle could be squared would be to strip all non-Jews of citizenship or expel them all or both. And this is the zionist left?

Israelis expelled from Fiji

I just got this from Ynet.
3 Israelis evicted from paradise

Three Israelis told by Fijian immigration officer that they cannot enter country for mistreating Palestinians during military service

Itamar Eichner

Three Israeli backpackers were evicted from Fiji after a Muslim immigration officer ruled that they had humiliated Palestinians during their military service in the territories.

The three – Amit Ronen, Eldar Avracohen, and Nimrod Lahav – left Israel in February for a tour in Australia.

In July they decided to spend a week in Fiji. On July 13 they arrived at Fiji airport where a surprise awaited them.

"We gave our passports to the officer, and when she saw we are Israelis she asked for ID cards. We told her we don't understand why we need ID cards and she responded shouting: 'You know very well how to ask Palestinians for IDs and humiliate them for three years."

That's what Avracohen wrote in a complaint letter he sent to Israel's Ambassador to Australia Nati Tamir.

The three were held at Fiji airport for six hours and officials rebuked their pleas to be allowed to make a phone call.

Armed policemen took them to a cell at the airport where they spent the night before being sent back to Australia.

"I don't look like a terrorist and there is no reason to point a gun at me," Nimrod Lahav wrote in a letter to ambassador Tamir.

Avracohen wrote that the incident was the most humiliating experience he had ever gone through.

The Foreign Ministry said the matter is being dealt with.

Is it true that only Muslims go to paradise?

August 08, 2006

JSF on C4

C4 website that is. David Rosenberg has written an informative article on the Channel 4 website. It wouldn't ordinarily be a big deal to me but I get a mention so it's the most insightful article I've seen in a long long time.
Across the Atlantic, alternative Jewish voices are establishing themselves through bloggers such as, Jewish Atheist and Lawrence of Cyberia. Here in Britain, Mark Elf publishes an anti-Zionist blog – Jews sans frontiers.

The most exciting and innovative development, though, is jewdas a new website satirising the most conformist elements that 'protect' the community from realising its place in modern, multi-ethnic, multidimensional British society.
Ok he spelt "frontiers" in English and he posits the absurd notion that Jewdas is somehow more exciting than Jews sans frontieres. But give the lad a chance. He does have a good yiddisher background.

Blaming Hizbullah

Another day, another way to spell Hizbullah. Here's George Monbiot in the Guardian looking into the immediate cause of the "crisis."
Whatever we think of Israel's assault on Lebanon, all of us seem to agree about one fact: that it was a response, however disproportionate, to an unprovoked attack by Hizbullah. I repeated this "fact" in my last column, when I wrote that "Hizbullah fired the first shots". This being so, the Israeli government's supporters ask peaceniks like me, what would you have done? It's an important question. But its premise, I have now discovered, is flawed.

Since Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000, there have been hundreds of violations of the "blue line" between the two countries. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) reports that Israeli aircraft crossed the line "on an almost daily basis" between 2001 and 2003, and "persistently" until 2006. These incursions "caused great concern to the civilian population, particularly low-altitude flights that break the sound barrier over populated areas". On some occasions, Hizbullah tried to shoot them down with anti-aircraft guns.

In October 2000, the Israel Defence Forces shot at unarmed Palestinian demonstrators on the border, killing three and wounding 20. In response, Hizbullah crossed the line and kidnapped three Israeli soldiers. On several occasions, Hizbullah fired missiles and mortar rounds at IDF positions, and the IDF responded with heavy artillery and sometimes aerial bombardment. Incidents like this killed three Israelis and three Lebanese in 2003; one Israeli soldier and two Hizbullah fighters in 2005; and two Lebanese people and three Israeli soldiers in February 2006. Rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israel several times in 2004, 2005 and 2006, on some occasions by Hizbullah. But, the UN records, "none of the incidents resulted in a military escalation".
Still some "peaceniks" are happy to turn into war-niks for Israel's sake. Follow the link and see the "Peace" Now letter.

August 07, 2006


A letter in the Independent on Saturday really irritated me:
Sir: Peter Slessenger/ Schlesinger (letter, 2 August) does not seem to consider how many of the "too many to count" relatives of his who were murdered in the Holocaust might have survived had the state of Israel existed in 1939.


Such clever rhetoric, I thought, there's no answer to that. But lo! Today there are two answers to that:
Sir: Dr Tom Weinberger (letter, 4 August) wonders how many Jews would have survived the war if the state of Israel had existed in 1939.

One wonders, too, what sort of state it would have been. According to a columnist in the Ha'aretz newspaper in early 1983, Yitzhak Shamir and the Stern Gang approached the Nazis in 1941 with an offer to form a Jewish state "on a national and totalitarian basis, which would establish relations with the German Reich and help protect its interests in the Middle East".

Not surprising - any nation dedicated to the interests of one ethnic or religious group will inevitably find affinities with another.



Sir: Had Israel existed in 1939, Hitler's view of Jews could have been entirely different. Indeed, he would probably have been able to embrace Zionists as fellow racists and recruit them for his crusade against Soviet Communism.


Good stuff!

Chavez: Israel's holocaust

According to an AP report in the Seattle Post Intelligencer Hugo Chavez is describing Israel's assault on Lebanon, in particular, the killing of children, a "new holocaust."
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday renewed his criticism of Israel's military offensive in Lebanon, calling it a "new Holocaust."

Chavez's comments in his weekly radio and TV broadcast came three days after he said he was recalling Venezuela's top diplomat to Israel to express his government's indignation over Israeli attacks in Lebanon and its actions toward Palestinians.

"Israel has gone mad," Chavez said.

"They are massacring children, and no one knows how many are buried," he added, accusing Israel of being guilty of a "new Holocaust" and the "terrorist" U.S. government of complicity.
Holocaust? It's easy to say but not so easy to imagine. Bad analogy I'd say but I think his heart's in the right place.

August 06, 2006

A question of Israel

The Australian journalist Antony Lowenstein has finally had his book, My Israel Question, published. Here are a couple of blurbs:
'I can think of few books about Israel and Palestine, written by an Australian, as important as Antony Loewenstein's brave j'accuse. In challenging the propagandists to give up their addiction, he is a truth-teller bar none.' --John Pilger.

'This is one of the best treatises which presents in the most lucid way possible why anti-Zionism can not be equated with anti-Semitism. Interweaving personal trips, most valuable information and clear analysis, My Israel Question will serve as an essential guide for those who dare to criticise Zionist wrongdoing in the past and Israeli policies in the present, without being deterred by false allegations of Anti-Semitism.' --Dr Ilan Pappe, Senior Lecturer at the University of Haifa, Israel, and author of A History of Modern Palestine

The case for boycotting Israel by Virginia Tilley

Here's an article I found via the increasingly shrill and ludicrous Engage site. It's by Virginia Tilley and it's titled Israel's Racial Ideology: The Case for Boycotting Israel. It's an interesting comment on Engage that as Israel is more open about the war crimes, without which it wouldn't exist, the more Engage pulls out the stops to smear Israel's opponents and to defend Israel from the opprobrium it deserves. Anyway, here's a chunk of Virginia Tilley's article:
The Zionist worldview is an even more complete system. All historical and geographic details are provided to create a total mythical world, in which Jews have rights to the land and Palestinians have none. It is a fully realized construction, like those Hebraized maps carefully drawn by the Zionist movement in the 1930s to erase the ancient Arabic landscape and substitute Hebrew biblical references. It is also very resilient. The "new historians" have exposed the cherished national historical narrative of 1948 and 1967 as a load of fictions, but the same fictions are still reproduced by state agencies to assure Israeli and diaspora Jews of their innocence and the righteousness of their cause. The vast majority of Israelis therefore remain comfortable in their Truman Show and even see any external pressure or criticism as substantiating it. We need no more graphic evidence of that campaign's success than the overwhelming support among Israeli Jews for the present catastrophic assault on Lebanon, reflecting their sincere beliefs that nuclear-power Israel is actually under existential threat by a guerrilla group lobbing katyushas across the border. Staggering to observers, that belief is both sobering and instructive.

To force people steeped in such a worldview to rethink their notions, their historical myths, and their own best interests requires two efforts:

(1) Serious external pressure: here, a full boycott that undermines Israel's capacity to sustain the economic standards its citizens and corporations expect, and which they associate with their own progressive self-image; and

(2) clear and unwavering commitment to the boycott's goal, which--in Israel as in South Africa--must be full equality, dignity, safety, and welfare of everyone in the land, including Palestinians, whose ancestral culture arose there, and the Jewish population, which has built a national society there.

That combination is essential. Nothing else will work. Diplomacy, threats, pleading, the "peace process," mediation, all will be useless until external pressure brings Israel's entire Jewish population to undertake the very difficult task of rethinking their world. This pressure requires the full range of boycotts, sanctions, and divestment that the world can employ. (South African intellectual Steven Friedman has observed wryly that the way to bring down any established settler-colonial regime is to make it choose between profits and identity. Profits, he says, will win every time.)
The article also appears on Counterpunch.

August 05, 2006

National Demonstration for Lebanon and Palestine

•Unconditional ceasefire now
•Stop Israel's attacks on Lebanon and Gaza
•End Tony Blair's support for Bush's wars

Join the national demonstration

Saturday 5 August: Assemble 12 Noon

Speakers Corner, Hyde Park, London

March to Parliament Square for rally

George Bush and Tony Blair insist the carnage must continue. The rest of the world says it must stop. Support this demonstration. Encourage everyone you know to join us.

Stop the War coalition - download leaflet here.

August 04, 2006

"What peace did Hizbullah shatter?"

This article by Anders Strindberg appeared a few days ago in the Christian Science Monitor. There's a good demolition of recent zionist myth-making and questions that go to the heart of the zionist project itself.
Since its withdrawal of occupation forces from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Israel has violated the United Nations-monitored "blue line" on an almost daily basis, according to UN reports. Hizbullah's military doctrine, articulated in the early 1990s, states that it will fire Katyusha rockets into Israel only in response to Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians or Hizbullah's leadership; this indeed has been the pattern.

In the process of its violations, Israel has terrorized the general population, destroyed private property, and killed numerous civilians. This past February, for instance, 15-year-old shepherd Yusuf Rahil was killed by unprovoked Israeli cross-border fire as he tended his flock in southern Lebanon. Israel has assassinated its enemies in the streets of Lebanese cities and continues to occupy Lebanon's Shebaa Farms area, while refusing to hand over the maps of mine fields that continue to kill and cripple civilians in southern Lebanon more than six years after the war supposedly ended. What peace did Hizbullah shatter?

Hizbullah's capture of the soldiers took place in the context of this ongoing conflict, which in turn is fundamentally shaped by realities in the Palestinian territories. To the vexation of Israel and its allies, Hizbullah - easily the most popular political movement in the Middle East - unflinchingly stands with the Palestinians.

Since June 25, when Palestinian fighters captured one Israeli soldier and demanded a prisoner exchange, Israel has killed more than 140 Palestinians. Like the Lebanese situation, that flare-up was detached from its wider context and was said to be "manufactured" by the enemies of Israel; more nonsense proffered in order to distract from the apparently unthinkable reality that it is the manner in which Israel was created, and the ideological premises that have sustained it for almost 60 years, that are the core of the entire Arab-Israeli conflict.

Once the Arabs had rejected the UN's right to give away their land and to force them to pay the price for European pogroms and the Holocaust, the creation of Israel in 1948 was made possible only by ethnic cleansing and annexation. This is historical fact and has been documented by Israeli historians, such as Benny Morris. Yet Israel continues to contend that it had nothing to do with the Palestinian exodus, and consequently has no moral duty to offer redress.

For six decades the Palestinian refugees have been refused their right to return home because they are of the wrong race. "Israel must remain a Jewish state," is an almost sacral mantra across the Western political spectrum. It means, in practice, that Israel is accorded the right to be an ethnocracy at the expense of the refugees and their descendants, now close to 5 million.

Is it not understandable that Israel's ethnic preoccupation profoundly offends not only Palestinians, but many of their Arab brethren? Yet rather than demanding that Israel acknowledge its foundational wrongs as a first step toward equality and coexistence, the Western world blithely insists that each and all must recognize Israel's right to exist at the Palestinians' expense.
The writer also explains succinctly the persistence of both Palestinian resistance and zionist oppression
The Palestinians are the Indians who refuse to live on the reservation; the Negroes who refuse to sit in the back of the bus.
Something he does miss is the zionist ambition of incorporating or at least controlling the south of Lebanon but overall the article is well worth a read.

National Demonstration for Lebanon and Palestine - final call

Well almost final:

•Unconditional ceasefire now
•Stop Israel's attacks on Lebanon and Gaza
•End Tony Blair's support for Bush's wars

Join the national demonstration

Saturday 5 August: Assemble 12 Noon

Speakers Corner, Hyde Park, London

March to Parliament Square for rally

George Bush and Tony Blair insist the carnage must continue. The rest of the world says it must stop. Support this demonstration. Encourage everyone you know to join us.

Stop the War coalition - download leaflet here.

Middle Eastern Jews against zionism?

Here's a post from the World War IV report on Middle Eastern Jews condemning Israel's most recent atrocities.
Indigenous Middle Eastern Jewry, from Lebanon, Morocco, and Iran, have issued recent condemnations of the Israeli assaults on Lebanon and Palestine.
Now read on.

August 03, 2006

Glasgow synagogue attacked

Osama Saeed carries this item on the daubing of the name HIZBOLLAH outside a Glasgow synagogue. Osama is critical of the daubing, as he is of Kenneth Collins, President of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, for defending Israel's crimes.
Everybody totally regrets the loss of life, and I hate the term ‘collateral damage’, but Israel has the right to defend itself. It’s regrettable but mistakes can be made. Rockets are still being fired into northern Israel
Supporting Israel is bad enough but repeating exposed lies is just shameless. Still, Yusuf Smith has an interesting take on the synagogue daubing:
How likely do you think it is that a Muslim would spray the word "Hezbollah" on the floor, where everyone walks with their dirty shoes?
It's a good question.

Boycott Israel updates

Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign has scored some recent successes. An Israeli cricket tour of Scotland is being denounced by the campaign and the first game has been cancelled. Also Edinburgh Film Festival has returned a donation to the Israeli Embassy on account of Israel's war crimes in Lebanon.

On the cancelled cricket match, Osama Saeed is quoted as saying:
This is fabulous news, though we would wish that the decision had been taken earlier by the organisers on the grounds of principle rather than practicality. There’s a war taking place at the moment, with Israel as the aggressor, and it’s insensitive for them to being playing cricket in Glasgow at the moment. We hope that the same decision will be taken on the weekend matches.
More on his blog here.

Save the children from Israel

I just googled "Israel." Top of the sites, above google news, is Save the Children.

Quite an eloquent statement on Israel's war effort.

Something to demonstrate about.

Israel's changing war aims

This is a perceptive article by Ze'ev Sternhell in today's Ha'aretz. Titled The most unsuccessful war, the writer points out that the more unsuccessful the war has been the more desperate the excuses for it have become.
No situation can continue to exist for long without an ideological reason. That's how when once it was clear that it was not achieving its aims, an unsuccessful military campaign was upgraded with the wave of a magic wand to the level of a war of survival. When everyone understood that a moral reason had to be found both for the dimensions of the destruction sowed in Lebanon and the killing of the civilian population there, and for the Israeli dead and wounded (nobody is even talking about the exposure of the entire civilian population in the North of Israel to enemy fire while people are kept in disgraceful conditions in bomb shelters), a war of survival was invented, which by nature must be long and exhausting.
There's a brief pandering to the Israeli army's "heroic" past:
The Six-Day War and Yom Kippur War were wars of survival, and through them the IDF was revealed in all its greatness. The present war is the most unsuccessful we have ever had; it is much worse than the first Lebanon War, which at least was properly prepared, and in which, with the exception of gaining control over the Beirut-Damascus highway, the army more or less achieved its goals as determined by then-defense minister Ariel Sharon.
And by way of that, the writer stumbles on where this war hasn't been like previous efforts by Israel. '67 and '73 weren't wars of survival but in 1967 the aim was clear and 1973 was truly defensive even if it was an occupation that was being defended. This time around Israel's aims are, like its justifications (never the same thing), unclear. They flit from reason to reason to unreason.
It is frightening to think that those who decided to embark on the present war did not even dream of its outcome and its destructive consequences in almost every possible realm, of the political and psychological damage, the serious blow to the government's credibility, and yes -- the killing of children in vain. The cynicism being demonstrated by government spokesmen, official and otherwise, including several military correspondents, in the face of the disaster suffered by the Lebanese, amazes even someone who has long since lost many of his youthful illusions.
What is perplexing about this is that Israel must have planned so massive an attack on Lebanon and yet they seem not to have a clear idea of what they want to achieve. It seems that death and destruction have become their own reasons for death and destruction.

Worth demonstrating against?

August 02, 2006

What kind of rocket can be fired from a house?

I just got this from Norman Finkelstein's site. He got it from the Irish Times. It's not entirely critical of Israel but it does ask an important question.
IDF spokespeople are maintaining that Hizbullah had been mounting missile attacks on Israeli territory from Qana in recent days. The IDF has claimed it targeted the three-storey house in Qana at 1.30am local time in the belief it contained a Hizbullah "asset".

Any investigation into the targeting of this house will have to consider precisely what kind of Hizbullah "asset" could possibly have been hidden in a modest, low-rise building among the narrow streets of a village such as Qana.

The type of missiles being fired by Hizbullah at Israeli cities cannot be fired from within houses, mosques, hospitals or even UN facilities as has been suggested by the IDF. Due to the massive "back-blast" caused by the rocket launchers of these missiles, they can only be fired from open ground. To fire them from within a building would result in the instant death of the missile crew and probable destruction of the missile before launch. Most of the missiles are truck-mounted and are fired - on open ground - from the backs of flat-bedded trucks or larger four-wheel-drive vehicles.

When fired, these missiles generate an enormous flare of light, heat and sound energy - a heat and light signature which is readily detected by IDF target-acquisition systems. Accurate retaliatory fire can be directed at Hizbullah launch sites by IDF aircraft and ground artillery in seconds. Such a reaction would be considered by international military norms to be proportionate and within the general "rules of engagement".

In these circumstances, having fired their missiles, Hizbullah tends to disperse as rapidly as possible. It is unlikely that a flat-bedded truck with a multilaunch rocket-system mounted on it could be easily and rapidly hidden in a village as small as Qana. Nor is it likely that such a truck-mounted weapon or four-wheel-drive vehicle could easily be hidden in a house such as the one targeted by the IDF yesterday.

The pattern and circumstances of the attack are sinister. With no telltale scorch marks from a Hizbullah missile launch visible near the destroyed house, and with no Hizbullah fighters among the dead and injured, the question remains as to what kind of "asset" the IDF could credibly allege to have been contained within the building.

The timing of the attack, taking place as it did during a period of relative calm and not in the immediate aftermath of a Hizbullah missile launch, speaks of a punitive strike designed simply to kill members of the Shia community from which Hizbullah is drawn and receives its moral support. The targeting of unarmed Shia women and children would represent a deliberate targeting of innocent civilians for retaliatory or punitive purposes, and may well constitute a war crime.
Worth demonstrating against?

"Weakened" Hizbollah fires 190 katyushas into Israel

There are many reports on this now. This is from the Guardian:
Hizbullah today fired at least 190 rockets at Israel, striking further south than ever before as it escalated its attacks ahead of an expected major ground invasion by the Israelis.

A Khaibar-1 rocket - which Israel claims is Iranian-made - reached a record 43 miles south of the Israel-Lebanon border, and a stray rocket struck the West Bank for the first time.

Meanwhile, in a helicopter raid supported by Israeli jets, Israeli special forces made their deepest ground strike into Lebanon so far.The Israeli army claimed it had killed 10 Hizbullah guerrillas and captured five in the eastern city of Baalbek, 80 miles north of the border. Nearby air strikes killed up to 19 civilians.

Thousands of reservists, called up over the weekend, were also gathering at staging areas on the Israeli side of the border to extend the range of the offensive.

Israeli warplanes today attacked a Lebanese army base in south Lebanon, killing three soldiers.

Hundreds of Lebanese have been killed by the Israeli offensive, with reports of the total ranging from around 450 to more than 800, including as many as 290 children.

Today's Hizbullah missile attacks killed an Israeli on a bicycle near the border town of Nahariya and wounded 21 other Israelis.

The latest Israeli death brought the Israeli toll in the conflict to 55, with 19 of those casualties civilians.

The barrage of Hizbullah missiles came despite claims by Israeli leaders and generals that they had considerably weakened the group's military capabilities.
I wonder what a strengthened Hizbollah might do.

Israeli High Court permits Temple Mount Faithful to "visit" al Aqsa

This is disturbing news from Ynet:
The High Court of Justice ruled Tuesday to permit members of the Temple Mount Faithful movement to visit the Jerusalem holy site on Tisha B'Av, in the framework of an agreement the State Attorney’s Office reached with the extreme-Right Jewish group.

The Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel) Faithful Movement is an Orthodox movement, founded by Mideast Studies lecturer Gershon Salomon, which wishes to reestablish the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and re-institute the practice of ritual sacrifice.

Currently on the site of the Jewish temple, which was destroyed in 70 A.D., stand Islamic holy sites the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. In the past, members of the movement have been forbidden access to the site out of fear they would spark clashes with Muslims....

Chairman of the far-left Hadash party, MK Mohammad Barakeh, slammed the
court’s verdict.

“This is a dangerous decision made in the shadow of the cruel war Israel is fighting against two peoples – the Palestinians and the Lebanese. Such a decision is like fuel in the hands of pyromaniacs, and could ignite another blaze.”
Art Neslen had an interesting take on this on the Just Peace list:
As well as the Temple Mount devotees and Revava, the Kahanists may also be mobilising for the Temple Mount demo. I've seen several threats from fascists around Kach to destroy the Al Aqsa mosque and 'bring chaos and destruction' to the old city tomorrow.

There's no point in scaremongering, perhaps they say this kind of thing every year but tensions are extremely inflamed at the moment and the police spokesman I contacted about this last week was utterly complacent. He said that no extra police or precautionary measures would be in place on Tisha B'av. I hope they've reviewed the situation because an attack on Al Aqsa right now would be a catastrophe.
Wonderful timing!

Rabbis for war on children?

According to Ynet, Israel's settler rabbis aren't even pretending that Qana was a legitimate target in any humanistic sense.
The Yesha* Rabbinical Council announced in response to an IDF attack in Kfar Qanna that "according to Jewish law, during a time of battle and war, there is no such term as 'innocents' of the enemy."

All of the discussions on Christian morality are weakening the spirit of the army and the nation and are costing us in the blood of our soldiers and civilians," the statement said.

*Yesha - Occupied territories.
Note the way, morality becomes Christian morality. This is to silence Jewish criticism of course.

Meanwhile, in the Israeli press the Qana "story," or Israel's version anyway, is still evolving.

Zionists paying respects at Auschwitz

Here's a curious letter to the Glasgow Herald. I was sent the link by Osama Saeed. It complains of chauvinistic behaviour by young Israelis, or people with Israeli flags anyway, at Auschwitz.
Disrespectful behaviour at Auschwitz

Current Israeli aggression in Lebanon prompts me to draw the attention of your readers to a phenomenon which is creating concerns for guides and visitors to the State Museum of Auschwitz.

During the past year in particular, I have witnessed several large groups of (mainly) young visitors shouldering Israeli national flags who have made their way through the main camp and Birkenau in a manner which is less than respectful to the memories of the many victims who perished there.

These groups display a distinctly noisy and aggressive attitude and are becoming a source of embarrassment and irritation to the many museum guides who work extremely hard to present the horrors of Auschwitz in a dispassionate and balanced manner to the huge number of daily visitors from all over the world.

Given that Jewish victims considered themselves to be long-term nationals of whichever European country they inhabited prior to their tragic deportation to the Nazi death camps, I consider it inappropriate that overt displays of Israeli nationalism should be allowed to subvert that awareness.

Furthermore, these aggressive displays are disrespectful to the memories of other groups of victims such as the Roma and Sinti peoples (gipsies), Polish political prisoners and Russian POWs who also perished there. Russian POWs were the first to suffer from Nazi experiments with gassing in Auschwitz.

Not every group from Israel behaves like this. I spoke to the leader of a group of Israeli Orthodox Jews who appeared to share my concern. But it is, nonetheless, a fact that an increasing number of young Israelis appear to assume that their heritage gives them the right to destroy the reflective mood which is such an important part of any visit to Auschwitz.

It is a worrying trend that presents the Polish museum authorities – and visitors – with a problem which will have to be addressed if the museum is not to become overwhelmed with Israeli nationalist sentiment. The memory of all the victims of Auschwitz surely deserves a sensitive attitude that transcends national displays of any kind.
More zionisation of the holocaust?

August 01, 2006

National demonstration for Lebanon and Palestine

•Unconditional ceasefire now
•Stop Israel's attacks on Lebanon and Gaza
•End Tony Blair's support for Bush's wars

Join the national demonstration

Saturday 5 August: Assemble 12 Noon

Speakers Corner, Hyde Park, London

March to Parliament Square for rally

George Bush and Tony Blair insist the carnage must continue. The rest of the world says it must stop. Support this demonstration. Encourage everyone you know to join us.

Stop the War coalition - download leaflet here.