May 31, 2010

Plot sickens as the hasbara effort kicks off

The hasbara machine is running on empty but it's running all the same.

Ynet seems to be the leader with a ludicrous claim that the Israeli commandos were ambushed. I kid you not. Here's the headline: A brutal ambush at sea. Yes, they are claiming that people on boats ambushed their men in helicopters.

The Guardian is riding the two horses of being a newspaper of record whilst doing what it can for the zio war criminals. It seems to have wound down its minute by minute updates and the comments to them are closed but the bullet points to the article are now as follows:
• IDF says footage shows activists attacked troops
• Thousands protest in cities around the world
• Binyamin Netanyahu cancels White House trip
• Turkey recalls ambassador from Israel
Note how the first bullet point contains a link to a zio propaganda video but none of the other bullet points contain links at all.

The BBC is helping Israel all it can too by giving more prominence to Israeli versions of events than any others but it too has an issue with the medium of record problem.

But by and large this latest atrocity by Israel has the
hasbara brigade in open panic as a glance at the comments at Harry's Place shows.

And no one is really fooled by hasbara any more. Certainly not this guy.

Demonstrate in Downing Street now!

Stop the War and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign are calling people to Downing Street to call on the UK government and the EU to condemn Israel's latest atrocities and to sever all ties with the zionist entity:
Emergency Demonstration: Israelis kill 20 on aid flotilla to Gaza


Yet another act of Israeli barbarism as its forces storm one of the seven ships on the international flotilla taking aid to Gaza, where Israel's illegal seige is starving Palestinians of essential resources. At least 20 activists on board are reported to have been killed by Israeli forces. Please join the emergency demonstration today if you can. Publicise it as widely as possible by email, text, Facebook, Twitter etc.

See videos of Israeli assault...
Another video from Turkish televison...
For updates see...

STOP THE WAR PRESS RELEASE: Israeli terror on the high seas...

JEREMY CORBYN MP: Letter to foreign secretary William Hague...


BY LETTER TO: William Hague MP, Foreign Secretary, King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AH



LETTER TO: Nick Clegg MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Zionist disinformation campaign on the flotilla attack has probably already begun

There are some wildly disparate figures regarding the number of people who have been murdered by Israeli commandos in the attack on the flotilla bound for Gaza. According to a report on the Free Gaza site, two have been confirmed killed (but in fairness that was at 6:30 am):
(Cyprus, June 1, 2010, 6:30 am) Under darkness of night, Israeli commandoes dropped from a helicopter onto the Turkish passenger ship, Mavi Marmara, and began to shoot the moment their feet hit the deck. They fired directly into the crowd of civilians asleep. According to the live video from the ship, two have been killed, and 31 injured. Al Jazeera has just confirmed the numbers.
The Guardian is reporting that
The Israeli military says more than 10 activists have been killed after it intercepted ships carrying aid to Gaza
This later and larger figure could well be designed to wrong foot the opposition into being accused of exaggeration.

Of course, whether the stormtroopers killed two or ten or more than ten, makes no difference to their sheer criminality and their figure could turn out to be accurate as a projection but always use reports from the racist war criminals of the State of Israel with extreme caution.

UPDATE 14:45 31/05/2010: Israel Army Radio is now reporting that the Israeli army killed 15 people.

Israel kills internationals at sea

Israel has attacked the flotilla of ships bearing aid and goodwill for the besieged people of Gaza. Reports vary as to how many have been killed. BBC says two, the Telegraph says 16 and when I started writing this the Guardian and the Independent had said nothing. The Guardian now has the attack on the flotilla as top issue on its site, typically reporting what the Israeli foreign ministry says before going on to set out what the Free Gaza Movement had to say:
More than 10 people have been killed after Israeli naval commandos boarded six aid ships in a convoy heading towards the Gaza Strip.

The fleet was carrying aid to the area, which is under a naval blockade. Israeli troops were attacked with guns, knives and clubs when they boarded the ships after having given repeated warnings, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

"During the interception of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs," the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

"Additionally one of the weapons used was grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose."

The Free Gaza movement, which is behind the flotilla, is reporting a very different version of events.

"Under darkness of night, Israeli commandoes dropped from a helicopter onto the Turkish passenger ship, Mavi Marmara, and began to shoot the moment their feet hit the deck," the movement said on its website.

"They fired directly into the crowd of civilians asleep. According to the live video from the ship, two have been killed, and 31 injured. Al Jazeera has just confirmed the numbers.

In addition to the Israeli foreign ministry statement, zionists are already beginning to infest the comment space below the Guardian article.

May 29, 2010

Hate speech, the apartheid analogy and extreme moderation

I keep meaning to do posts and then I don't complete them. I wanted to write one about an article by Benjamin Pogrund on Israel's relations with South Africa during the apartheid era. Then I wanted to write one about how the Guardian's Comment is free appears to be using the stupid EUMC working definition of antisemitism to prevent certain perfectly reasonable criticisms of Israel whilst giving zionists a free rein to post anything they want to say in favour of their racist colony. Then I was reading an article in the Baltimore Jewish Times about how the organisers of the Toronto Gay pride bash were trying prevent a gay group from marching under the banner that dares speak the group's name and that is Queers Against Israeli Apartheid when I was reminded of the other two abortive posts.
So here's Benjamin Pogrund's article in The Tablet, a self-described "new read on Jewish life". His article is pretty much in the Labour good, Likud bad, tradition of soft hasbara but it does acknowledge that Labour governments and individuals were as culpable in Israel relationship with apartheid South Africa as Likud. In fact Pogrund likes to promote the idea that the relationship between the two colonial settler states was forced on Israel by Arab oil weapon diplomacy against black Africa together with the old chestnut of Arab genocidal intent. Something like that. See for yourselves anyway. I left a comment and watched for a few days while it was "awaiting moderation" while later comments were approved so I had another go as follows:
Mark Elf says: May. 23, 2010 at 8:36 pm
Has my comment from May. 22, 2010 at 4:04 pm been overlooked, only there have been four comments approved since I submitted the following:
Mark Elf says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. May. 21, 2010 at 9:16 pm
Israel Shahak wrote of Jews who support liberal causes whilst supporting zionism and suggested that they use the former as cover for the latter. Benjamin Pongrund is a classic example of the type.
Google “Smuts and Weizmann” and several sites appear demonstrating the strategic and ideological alliance between colonialism in South Africa and zionism in Palestine that go back to the turn of the 20th century.
Pogrund claims that post-67 it was “Arab oil wealth” that led to African states to be bullied into severing relations with Israel. How about the fact that post-67 Israel occupied a large chunk of Africa? The anti-apartheid activist, Pogrund, is stereotyping Arabs as oil rich and negating the idea that anyone might act against Israel on the principle that it is a colonial settler state based on ethnic cleansing and racist laws.
He also tries to make out that in 1973 Israel had come “close to defeat and annihilation”. Israel did suffer a defeat and had to return Sinai to Egypt as a result but annihilation? The anti-apartheid activist, Pogrund, is simply stereotyping Arabs as mindless killers without a cause.
Pogrund has a record of opposition to apartheid in South Africa so he has an undeserved credibility on Palestine but to describe some of his writing on Palestine as disingenuous would be a compliment to the man, certainly an understatement.
Now please moderate it through asap because I don’t see any analytical critique of the article from an anti-zionist perspective. Thanks
Now when I go to the page, the original comment is still awaiting moderation but the second one isn't! I'm guessing that the ideologically committed moderators stop monitoring after a day or so and then anything gets through until more zealous zios complain but we shall see. The comments are still open if anyone wants to have a pop and I have left another responding to a "singling out poor Israel" comment. By the way, whilst researching the Israel/South Africa relationship I stumbled on this book by Jane Hunter called Israeli Foreign Policy: Central America and South Africa which certainly belies the idea that Israel's relations with the other apartheid state only really kicked off in the seventies. Also, I was sent this wikipedia link by a friend titled, Israel and the apartheid analogy. I haven't had time to read the whole thing but I am surprised the zionists that infest wikipedia have even allowed the title but please check out the content. And so to Comment is free. A couple of weeks ago Gilbert Achcar had this piece about how Arabs relate to the holocaust. Here's a little chunk:
Most stunning of all, on 9 January 2009, at the peak of the brutal Israeli onslaught on Gaza, inhabitants of Bi'lin, another West Bank village known for standing at the forefront of the struggle against the Israeli occupation, organised a demonstration in protest, wearing striped pyjamas similar to those of Nazi concentration camp inmates. An account by the Bil'in Popular Committee states: "Protesters also wore small yellow cutouts in the shape of Gaza with the word 'Gazan' written on them to symbolise the yellow 'Jude' stars of David worn by European Jews during World War II." The BBC briefly broadcast a glance at this astounding event: a video is still available. That the message the Palestinian demonstrators conveyed was "exaggerated" is obvious (and natural); but the point is that they were identifying with the Jewish victims of Nazism and regarding the Holocaust as the highest standard of horror, rather than denying it.
This elicited the following comment from one of the zio regulars:
I'm in complete disbelief: so you are willing to use an example of blatant antisemitism -- namely the intended equation of Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza with the Nazi effort to achieve a "Final solution" -- as a proof that Holocaust denial and belittling isn't widespread in the Arab world? Whatever next? Is there no lower limit?
To which I responded:
This idea that comparing Israel to the nazis is antisemitic is completely bogus. In fact, the idea itself is antisemitic as it seeks to connect all Jews with the State of Israel.
I don't know of many comparisons of Israel to the nazis but the ones I know have come from prominent Jews and Israelis. This does not of itself preclude antisemitism but Albert Einstein compared Begin and Shamir to Hitler and Mussolini, Israel Prize winner Yeshayahu Leibowitz coined the term judeo-nazification to describe the changes in Israel following the '67 war and a former Israeli cabinet minister and holocaust survivor, the late Tommy Lapid, likened the Israeli army's demolition policy in Rafah to the nazis and of course the UK Labour zionist, Gerald Kaufman has likened Sharon et al to the nazis. Israel has an official ideology of ethno-religious supremacy, an ideologically mobilised and indoctrinated population, it is relentlessly aggressive and it underpins its ideology with a dogged belief in ancient mythology.
The only trappings of nazism that Israel lacks are the fuhrer principle and the gas chambers, but it is cutting back on liberties within the 67 boundaries and what difference does it make what method it uses in its periodic culls of those it sees as racially inferior. Comparisons of Israel to the nazis have their limitations but they are sometimes perfectly apt and certainly not essentially antisemitic.
I wrote to the "community standards" people at the Guardian to ask them why it had been deleted and I was told by a chap called James that it was hate speech on my part which, logically, means that the article itself was hate speech too but when you're dancing on strings pulled by zios the last thing you can be is consistent. But anyway, where does that lead us? Ah yes, hate speech, hate crimes, that sort of thing. In the same article as the one about Queers Against Israeli Apartheid towards the bottom there is a mini-headline - Toronto Hate Crimes Report Includes ‘Nazi,’ ‘Shikse’. Actually, there appears to be a bit of an editing error because the line isn't in bold but it is a headline and marks the start of a new article but on the same page as the QUIA (sounds like queer - clever acronym) stuff. This is further compounded by more errors that render the piece almost incoherent but it was this that reminded me of the ludicrous behaviour of the Guardian Comment is free mods. Cop this:
“Nazis” and “non-Jewish Shikse,” a pejorative for a gentile woman, are among the victims listed on the latest hate crimes report issued by Toronto Police. The report, which lists hate and bias crimes for 2009, shows an increase in “hate/bias occurrences” over the previous year from 153 to 174. Jews were the top victims, with 52 incidents, followed by LBGT (lesbians, bisexuals, gays and transgenders), with 26 incidents, and blacks, 24 incidents. Mischief, usually graffiti, followed by assault and threatening, was the most common crime. The Nazi and non-Jewish Shikse, along with “police,” each were a victim in a single incident to which police responded last year.
Who on earth is being protected by this hate crime legislation? Who can't you call nazis or police? I understand and agree that shikse is a put-down for a non-Jewish woman. But see the take of the CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress:
Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, which has long pressed for stronger hate crime laws, said those laws clearly define victim groups as falling under the headings of race, creed, color, nationality, sexual orientation “and other similar factors.” Referring to Nazis and shikses, Farber said “such groups do not fall under the victims definition of a hate crime law.” It is “almost silly to take groups out of thin air and decide to make them victims,” he told JTA. “That’s not how the law works. It makes anti-hate laws look absurd.”
The Israel lobby is going to make them even more absurd so Mr Farber really can't complain.

May 26, 2010

Irish mainstream publication supports Palestine.

Phoenix magazine, the Irish equivalent of Private Eye in Britain, but far more influential, has come out in support of Palestine in their latest issue. By this I don't mean that they have issued an editorial or article in support of Palestine, they've done more. Much, much more.

To quote from the IPSC press release:

'Thursday 20th May 2010, saw the publication of a landmark document, a 16-page full colour feature entitled Goldstone Report Feature: War Crimes in Apartheid Israel. The document features contributions from many leading anti-apartheid campaigners, trade unionists, politicians, journalists and other public figures, including Kader Asmal, Col. Desmond Travers, Minister Ciaran Cuffe and Jamal Juma.

'Coming bundled with the May 20th edition of Phoenix magazine, the booklet is notable not only for the range of it's contributers, but also for the fact that it features Irish politicians from all the Dail parties calling for sanctions against Israel - chiefly the suspension of Israel from the Euro-Med Agreement.'

To explain the names first - Kadar Asmal is famous in Ireland for heading up the anti-Apartheid campaign he later returned to South Africa to become a govt. minister, Col. Travers is an Irish member of the Goldstone commission, Ciaran Cuffe is a junior minister with the Green Party, and Jamal Juma is the head of the Stop the Wall campaign in Palestine.

The supplement was produced in close co-operation with the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) and it is significant. While most media in Ireland tend to say they're neutral while peddling a slightly pro-Israel line for fear of retaliation from the Israeli embassy, Phoenix has never hidden its support for Palestine. In almost every issue there is some exposee of government or other dealings with Israel.

This type of reporting has made the magazine unpopular (and widely-read) among the powerful in this country, so it was a considerable achievement to have representatives from all parties contribute to this IPSC supplement and to support some type of sanctions against Israel, however soft the sanctions. It shows that there is a level of broad cross-party support for Palestine and for sanctioning Israel for its war crimes. This helps move the debate in Ireland along from 'Should Israel be acting the way it is?' to 'What can we do to stop Israel acting the way it is?'. Kudos to Phoenix and all the contributors.

May 24, 2010

Look who's talking about who did what in the apartheid era

Here's a very perceptive article by Gary Younge in today's Guardian, print edition and on-line. The article arises out of the news of the full extent of Israel's dodgy dealings with the apartheid regime in South Africa but it goes on to lambast the sheer hypocrisy of the Israeli government and various zios around the world in trying to undermine the Goldstone report by drawing attention to Judge Goldstone's role as a senior judge under the apartheid regime:

On 5 January 2009 the Israeli army rounded up around 65 Palestinians (including 11 women and 11 children under the age of 14) in Gaza, several of whom were waving white flags. After handcuffing the men and stripping them to their underwear, the soldiers marched their captives 2km north to al-Atatra and ordered them to climb into three pits, each three metres high and surrounded by barbed wire. The prisoners were forced to sit in stress positions, leaning forward with their heads down, and prohibited from talking to one another. On their first day they were denied food and water. On the second and third, each was given a sip of water and a single olive. On the fourth day the women and children were released and the men were transferred to military barracks.

It was just one of the stories to emerge from the UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict conducted by the South African jurist Richard Goldstone.

I never ceases to surprise the way Israel finds ever more cruel ways to keep the Palestinians on their "diet". I wonder if some zio bureaucrat counted the calories in each olive.

Anyway, Israel's isn't happy with the report:
The Israeli government and the pro-Israel lobbies concentrated their displeasure not on the substance of Goldstone's report but the essence of his identity. Branded a "self-hating Jew", he was effectively barred from his grandson's bar mitzvah after the South African Zionist Federation threatened to picket it. The prominent US constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz has described Goldstone as a "despicable human being", "an evil, evil man", "a traitor to the Jewish people" and the UN's "token court Jew".
Well we expect that sort of thing from the lobby, especially Dershowitz but here's where the article gets interesting.
Then this month came "revelations" from an Israeli newspaper that, as a judge under the apartheid regime, Goldstone sentenced black people to death. This, according to Israel's government, discredits not only Goldstone but everything he discovered about Gaza and, by association, international criticism of the occupation. "Such a person should not be allowed to lecture a democratic state defending itself against terrorists, who are not subject to the criteria of international moral norms," argued the Knesset Speaker, Reuven Rivlin.

"Although he was involved in clear racist activity, he had no problem writing such a report," said the chairman of the Knesset's state control committee, Yoel Hasson, who called Goldstone a hypocrite. Not to be outdone, Dershowitz (a strident advocate of torture) has now likened Goldstone to the Nazi geneticist Josef Mengele.

This crude one-downmanship in identity politics has no winners and many losers....

Let's start with the most obvious. This is a cynical ploy by the Israeli government to divert attention from the findings of the UN report. Government officials have almost said as much. A foreign ministry official described the investigation by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth as "explosive PR material". Hasson claims: "Had [the Israeli foreign ministry discovered this earlier], it would have greatly helped us in our activity against the report." But the report is about Gaza, not Goldstone. Having lost control of the message, Israel is now trying to shoot the messenger.

That Israel would try to do so on the backs of black South Africans is a laughable indication of its desperation. For if Goldstone was complicit in apartheid's crimes, then Israel was far more so. Israel was South Africa's principal and most dependable arms dealer. As we learn elsewhere in the Guardian today, it even offered to sell the South African regime nuclear weapons.
Ok, we're not quite at the most interesting bit yet:
But just because the Israeli government wants to change the subject doesn't mean that we have to. Goldstone's apartheid record matters. For the left to claim it doesn't, simply because he came up with a conclusion about Gaza that they agree with, would also be cynical. Appointed senior counsel in 1976, the year of the Soweto uprising, Goldstone rose through the South African judiciary during one of apartheid's most vicious periods. While in power he ordered the execution of two black South Africans and turned down the appeals of many others.
The zios have done well here. Goldstone's past is an issue. That's the interesting bit. But just because it is an issue, doesn't suddenly make it the issue.

And not only that there is yet another issue here:
Finally, there is the insidious role that Israel has attempted to play as ideological gatekeeper for acceptable political behaviour among Jews. The attempt to tarnish any criticism of Israel, regardless of its merits, as unjust is untenable; to castigate them as un-Jewish is deplorable. "What saddens me today is that any Jew who speaks out with an independent voice, especially with the conduct of the state of Israel, is regarded as a self-hating Jew," says retired South African constitutional court justice Albie Sachs, who is also Jewish. "Why should someone be made to choose between being a Jew and having a conscience?"
Israel has shot itself in the foot badly here. It was not just another trader with the apartheid regime, it was a strategic and ideological ally. Goldstone's role in the apartheid era was reprehensible but that doesn't mean that he can't write accurate and damning reports of far more reprehensible conduct. And Israel is not the ideological gatekeeper of the Jews.

Well done, Gary Younge!

Remember when the apartheid entity and the zionist entity were two separate entities?

Well of course they were so close they were members of the same nuclear family but now, according to Chris McGreal at the Guardian we have some hard evidence:

Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state's possession of nuclear weapons.

The "top secret" minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa's defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel's defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them "in three sizes". The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that "the very existence of this agreement" was to remain secret.

The documents, uncovered by an American academic, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, in research for a book on the close relationship between the two countries, provide evidence that Israel has nuclear weapons despite its policy of "ambiguity" in neither confirming nor denying their existence.
It's no surprise that Israel would want to deny the existence of its nuclear arsenal but hopefully this find will make it harder for Israel's allies, the US, EU, UK, etc, to deny it.

May 21, 2010

Campaign Against Criminalising Communities

Here's a letter in today's Independent on the racist stereotyping of Muslims by various state agencies in the UK:

Smears and abuse of al-Qa'ida suspects

The Pakistani students accused of a terrorist plot have been spared deportation to torture, but they have been subjected to more abuse by the British state (" 'Al-Qa'ida operative' must not be deported to Pakistan, says judge", 19 May). As a present-day star chamber, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) has again accepted racist stereotyping of Muslims as terrorist threats, based partly on secret evidence which remains unknown to the accused and their defence lawyers. This character assassination is a substitute for a criminal trial, with its guaranteed procedures for testing evidence. SIAC colludes with MI5 and the Home Office in this attack on democratic rights.

Les Levidow, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), London NW5

The real Noam Chomsky?

I was just browsing the JSF blogroll, which I don't do nearly enough, and I noticed a gripe by Anthony Lowenstein titled, Why is Chomsky now warm to Ramallah’s embrace?. I had a quick read (it's only short) and followed his link to Ali Abunimah's blog, where the co-founder of Electronic Intifada expresses what he politely calls his bafflement at Chomsky's twists and turns over Palestine over the years and the, er, weeks:
I have a great deal of admiration and respect for Noam Chomsky, one of the foremost intellectuals of our time, whose work opened my eyes on a great many issues. But like many others, I have been increasingly baffled by the many inconsistencies in his views on Palestine. A few months ago, for example, I responded to his opposition to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement on Khalil Bendib's radio program Voices from the Middle East and North Africa.
After Chomsky was outrageously barred by Israel from traveling to the occupied West Bank over the weekend, I could not help but be struck by yet another glaring contradiction.
In his 17 May interview on Democracy Now he told Amy Goodman that his planned itinerary included a meeting with Salam Fayyad, the unelected US- and Israeli-backed "prime minister" of the Ramallah Palestinian Authority imposed after the US helped overthrow the Hamas-led "national unity government" that came after the 2006 election. Chomsky told Goodman:
I was going to meet with the Prime Minister [Fayyad]. Unfortunately, I couldn’t. But his office called me here in Amman this morning, and we had a long discussion.
He is pursuing policies, which, in my view, are quite sensible, policies of essentially developing facts on the ground. It’s almost—I think it’s probably a conscious imitation of the early Zionist policies, establishing facts on the ground and hoping that the political forms that follow will be determined by them. And the policies sound to me like sensible and sound ones. The question, of course, is whether—the extent to which Israel and the United States, which is a determining factor—the extent to which they’ll permit them to be implemented. But if implemented, and if, of course, Israel and the United States would terminate their systematic effort to separate Gaza from the West Bank, which is quite illegal, if that continues, yes, it could turn into a viable Palestinian state.
Really? Chomsky the great critic of US efforts to undermine democracy and impose its clients around the world is now effusively endorsing what is in effect a US-backed puppet regime? Don't take my word for it. Here's what Chomsky said about precisely the same Ramallah Palestinian Authority whose "prime minister" he now finds so "sensible" during alecture in Boston on 21 January 2009.

So where does the real Chomsky stand?

Costello's cancellation causes consternation

I'm posting this because I think the significance of Elvis Costello's Tel Aviv concert cancellation is being missed in some quarters. Also, I just read something about it by Adam Horowitz on Mondoweiss, titled What's Hebrew for Sun City? The post links to a Forward article on the growth of the BDS campaign and where the Elvis cancellation fits in the scheme of things. It's a perceptive and informative article. It sets out who the BDSrs have contacted and tried to persuade to cancel gigs in Israel, who has cancelled and who has not:
But Costello’s action is the first open endorsement of the boycott movement by an A-list artist in protest of Israel’s policies in the occupied West Bank and of its siege of Gaza. In a detailed statement, the performer argued that he could not perform in Israel because by doing so, “it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent.

“One lives in hope that music is more than mere noise, filling up idle time, whether intending to elate or lament,” Costello wrote in his statement.
There have been many cancellations of gigs proposed for Tel Aviv and many gigs have gone ahead as planned. But Costello spoke out from an A-list platform. That could be a turning point.

May 19, 2010

Islamophobia on steroids

Enough with the 9/11 conspiracy theories. We have one much better: the evil trrrsts fixing beauty pageants!!!  Or did the society of the spectacle go totally bonkers? We report, you decide.

Miss Michigan Fakih reacts after being crowned Miss USA during the 2010 Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas And you thought beauty queens' infighting was fierce. No pageant managed by The Donald would be complete without its own outbreak of culture war...

This week, Lebanese-American immigrant Rima Fakih of Michigan was crowned Miss USA — maybe the first contestant of Arab or Muslim background to win...the highest decibels have been reserved for her Muslim Arab background (though the contestant herself has spoken little about religious matters, stressing that her family observes both Muslim and Christian holidays).

Daniel Pipes, who publishes a right-leaning blog on Middle Eastern affairs, pointed to a "surprising frequency of Muslims winning beauty pageants." While allowing that "they are all attractive" — Pipes, a former board member of the U.S. Institute for Peace, posted pictures of several — he said that their victories "make me suspect an odd form of affirmative action."

Pipes didn't theorize how shadowy beauty-pageant fixers might be greasing the skids for contestants — but other political bloggers were happy to advance more heated pronouncements.

"Miss Hezbollah is now Miss USA," declared conservative radio talk show host Debbie Schlussel, saying that Fakih's relatives in Lebanon had ties to the terrorist organization based there. Schlussel also said Fakih received some financial backing from onetime Hezbollah supporter Imad Hamad — or, as Schlussel put it, Fakih's "bid for the pageant was financed by an Islamic terrorist." Suggesting the pageant was "rigged," Schlussel wrote off Fakih's victory to a "politically correct, Islamo-pandering climate."

Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin saw a conspiracy afoot, too — generic rather than Muslim-specific this time. Malkin mocked Fakih as a "gaffetastic" contestant who tripped over her gown as well as over her answer to a question about birth control — exposing Fakih's ignorance, Malkin argued, about what constitutes a "controlled substance" and what the purpose of health care is. "Looks like the Miss USA pageant didn't want to risk the wrath of the open-borders mob," Malkin said. (Yahoo News)

May 18, 2010

People of the Facebook?

It appears that members of an Israeli army elite unit may have been groomed on Facebook by way of a fake id set up by Hizbullah. Here's Der Spiegel translated. The google translation is all over the place but I have a German speaking contact who has provided me with a more coherent translation of the opening paragraphs:
The beautiful Facebook girlfriend of the Elite Soldier

by Sarah Stricker, Tel Aviv

An enchanting young woman befriends Israeli military men on Facebook – and elicits secrets from them. According to a press report, 20 elite soldiers fell into the trap. The Lebanese Shiite militia, Hizbullah, is presumably behind it.

Hizbullah is supposed to have infiltrated the elite unit with a faked Facebook profile. With the photo of a pretty young woman who logged in with an Israeli name, the Shiite militia is supposed to have built up contacts with elite soldiers and elicited secret information, This was reported by the Israeli News portal[Hebrew only]

The facebook page of Reut Zuckerman , who is lying on a sofa beaming into the camera in her profile photo went online about a year ago. The people behind the site made contact with numerous Israeli army soldiers. MySay reports that about 200 soldiers and reservists were on Zuckerman's friends list.

Zuckerman concentrated particularly on an elite unite of paratroopers. Apparently many of the men suspected that the woman was herself an Israeli soldier in a special unit. The people behind the site worked slowly to gain the confidence of the soldiers and are reported to have gained key information regarding the activities of the unit in question.

The men in the unit gave the Facebook friend names of members of the unit, jargon, secret codes, and detailed descriptions of bases . Some of the soldiers began to be suspicious only after about a year when they realized how many soldiers in the elite unit were named as her friends. The army began investigating in January....
With so many negative images of Islam and Muslims in the media it's good to see one of Islam's endearing features, the respect it accords to the people of the [face]book.

Elvis Costello cancels Israel gigs

From Elvis Costello's website:
It is after considerable contemplation that I have lately arrived at the decision that I must withdraw from the two performances scheduled in Israel on the 30th of June and the 1st of July.

One lives in hope that music is more than mere noise, filling up idle time, whether intending to elate or lament.

Then there are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent.

I must believe that the audience for the coming concerts would have contained many people who question the policies of their government on settlement and deplore conditions that visit intimidation, humiliation or much worse on Palestinian civilians in the name of national security.

I am also keenly aware of the sensitivity of these themes in the wake of so many despicable acts of violence perpetrated in the name of liberation.

Some will regard all of this an unknowable without personal experience but if these subjects are actually too grave and complex to be addressed in a concert, then it is also quite impossible to simply look the other way.

May 17, 2010

Ajami, better than the critique, worse than the praise

I finally got to see Ajami. It is a harsh and depressing film, a joint work of a Palestinian and Israeli directors Scandar Cobti and Yaron Shani, made with more than a nod to Italian neo-realism, up to the use of non-professional actors, which works very well. The story-telling is superb. The acting is minimalistic, and the low social drama, the stories of drug dealers, clandestine workers, restaurant owners and cops, never becomes melodramatic. The film depicts a claustrophobic, violent demi-monde of Palestinians living on the margins of Israeli society, a racialized criminal underworld that rings familiar in its cinematic codes replicated from a visual history that stretches from Los Olvidados to City of God

As an aside, all the interviews I read is with Copti, and the film is about Copti's neighborhood. I'm not saying that Shani's contribution is unimportant, but I'm also not clear about what it is. It seems to me therefore fair to speak about Ajami as a Palestinian film done with Israeli Jewish help. The most interesting aspect of the film is a gap between the director's expressed intention, to address and call attention to the discrimination and abuse that Palestinians suffer in Israel, and the film's almost apolitical tone, in which the facts of discrimination are noticed by tiny gestures that an international audience is likely to miss, such as Binji passing a police checkpoint by pretending to be a Jew from Bat-Yam, resulting in the feeling that one deals mostly with racialized stereotypes. On its face, Ajami is not a nationalist film. It casts no blame, and depicts all characters, Jews and non-Jews, with the same empathy to their pain and hopelessness. But the film also depicts what the ultimate victory of Zionism is, the remainder of Jaffa's Palestinians, fighting, not for rights, not for their culture or history or land, but for the survival of the fittest. Ajami is a Palestinian neighborhood the way Israel wanted a Palestinian neighborhood to be, if it had to be at all.

To understand the film's paradox, we need to ask from where does the director speak. The best clue is in the film. Copti casted himself in the role of Binji. Binji is a Palestinian who passes. He speaks Hebrew without an Arab accent and clubs in North Tel-Aviv with his Jewish girlfriend. Binji is not Cobti, and there is a limit to how much autobiographical details one can draw here. But the casting choice cannot be ignored. Binji wants to be what the "Jewish and Democratic" Israel promises its Arab citizens: "forget about your national identity, and just be a human being, a citizen." In a key scene, Binji decides to move in with his girilfriend. He describes the decision in universalist terms, as a matter of age: there comes a moment when a young man leaves his father's house and moves in with his girlfriend. Except there is no such universal moment. Moving in with girlfriend/boyfriend is a Jewish (or at most a Western) rite of passage in Israel, not a universal one. His mates understand that and accuse Binji of choosing to become a Jew. Binji doesn't get it. It is therefore hardly incidental that Binji, the one who passes as a Jew, the one who reminds the police about his civil rights, is the one who cannot handle the police abuse. He is the only one in the film who dies without being killed. He dies from an overdose of coke, metaphorically in a stupefied delirium of universal citizenship.

When Copti says he doesn't represent Israel at the Oscars, he is not merely making a personal statement; he is also explaining the meaning of his film. There is no position from which a Palestinian can speak as a "universal," non-national Israeli citizen. Ajami is also an apolitical meditation about the impossibility of being the kind of apolitical Palestinian that Israel demands its Palestinian citizens to be. Yet Cobti tries. The film is invested deeply in universality. It speaks a universal filmic language, and expresses a universalist sensibility to human pain, love and hopelessness. It could have been shot in Brazil with minimal alterations. It addresses the Israeli audience, not with a challenge of identity and racism, but with a message of common humanity, a hand extended in recognition, but also in hopeless knowledge that it cannot be recognized, because it comes from a place that doesn't exist, the place of the nationally unidentified "Israeli citizen". Palestinian critics hated the film. In contrast, the film was praised most by those, like Burston Bradley, who failed to understand that the hopelessness of the film is Israel's hopelessness. That is also the film's failure. If the film were a lesson in geometry, it would be a proof by reductio ad absurdum. Let's assume there is an Israeli civil society. Let there be a film about that society that criticizes Israel from that purely civic perspective. It can't be done. Israeli society does not exist. Q.E.D.

May 16, 2010

Boycott successes. Boycott failures.

A mixed bag from Ireland last week. First the good news – Dublin City Council has voted unanimously to boycott Veolia, the company running a tramline through East Jerusalem to connect the illegal settlements to West Jerusalem.

This isn’t, mind you, as impressive as it initially sounds – Veolia won’t be stopped running the Dublin tram system and they are still in contention for the white elephant that is the metro line through North Dublin (Metro North). Irish local government is fairly powerless and the Dublin city council vote should be seen as an advisory opinion, albeit one with democratic weight behind it.

Nevertheless the success is real. It will be difficult for Dublin City Council to do business with Veolia and we’re investigating whether the City Manager is legally able to refuse Veolia any further contracts. With this vote in our back pocket we can go to the RPA (rail procurement agency) and lobby for Veolia not to be given the Metro North project. Thus this vote serves as a strategic milestone in the ongoing IPSC campaign on Veolia.

In addition, the wider picture is that boycott has been further mainstreamed. With every faction in the city council – right, left and none of the above - voting in favour of a quite technical boycott motion, the BDS campaign has been legitimised like never before. We’re particularly pleased because this decision was made after months of hard work by the IPSC – liaising with the Palestinian BNC who sent an appeal to all councillors, chatting to those local councillors who were unsure about the motion, holding bi-monthly demos, leafleting and issuing press releases and so on. It’s satisfying to have a positive concrete outcome to this type of campaign, a milestone we can move beyond.

In being strategic and in forcing the pace as well as in winning there’s a contrast between this campaign and last week’s failure – Israeli accession to the OECD. It looks almost inevitable now that Israel will be accepted as a member of the OECD, possibly with some conditions that nobody seriously expects the apartheid state to adhere to. It was hoped that Ireland would exercise its veto in the OECD, and stop Israel from gaining the legitimacy that OECD membership gives it. Yet even though some Irish NGOs had been doing good work and quietly lobbying for months on the issue, the hopes were frankly unrealistic and perhaps should not have been raised. Were other countries to object, no doubt little Ireland would row behind them. But it was too heavy a load to expect a small bankrupt country to pull by itself.

Nevertheless in the last couple of weeks there has been some frenetic campaigning to mobilise the public to oppose Israel’s membership of the OECD – various NGOs including Trocaire (an Irish aid agency linked to the Catholic Church) urged the public to lobby the govt on the issue. Over a dozen public representatives - including ones from government parties - wrote a public letter opposing Israeli membership, there was a Labour Party demonstration on the issue.

Even the PA got involved, albeit indirectly. Sadaka, a small lobby group linked to the Palestinian Delegation in Ireland, followed in Trocaire’s footsteps and urged people to contact the government on the issue, indicating that even if the PA weren’t openly opposing Israeli accession, they were doing so privately.

Yet while IPSC joined in, circulating the Trocaire appeal and one of our own, there seemed something slightly directionless and unstrategic about all this effort. Indeed, nobody I spoke to in other organisations expected their efforts to succeed. After all, when it comes to a technical issue such as this, you can’t realistically mobilise a popular campaign in a couple of weeks that would be big enough to force a shift in government policy. This meant that the campaign, such as it was, appeared reactive, short-term and somewhat unrealistic – a case of going through the motions and laying down a marker rather than serious trying to effect change.

I don’t want this to sound too much like condemnation. Sometimes we need to go through the motions and lay down markers. Every year we stand and protest Israeli Independence Day – it’s important not to let this go by without voicing our objections. Equally it was important not to let the OECD vote pass without letting our objections be known. But we need to strategise more so as not to give the impression of being headless chickens - well-intentioned and well-informed headless chickens, mind you.

Contrasting Veolia and OECD, I find myself repeating clichés - that working on seriously on long-term campaigns of our own choice means that we can start winning the small but significant victories, something that energises us and lets us feel that victory is possible. It also creates a climate that normalises boycott. But sometimes clichés need to be repeated – especially for those who are downhearted at the OECD failure. Until we do much more of this long-term campaigning and put in the legwork which will build up that groundswell of support for BDS we can’t really hope to win the big victories like OECD. One day though - we will.

May 15, 2010

From Zochrot, an awkward request for Nakba day

A request from the Palestinian Refugees

by Eitan Bronstein

My sisters and brothers the refugees of Palestinian, today is the 15th of May, the Nakba Day, and I have one request from you; a heartfelt request from the son of occupiers, as an occupier, to those who paid the price for this occupation.

No, I do not ask for forgiveness for the occupation, or the destruction and expulsion that occurred in the Nakba of 1948. I can’t really expect forgiveness for these horrors, not in the true sense of forgiveness, the religious or spiritual sense. And since this forgiveness cannot truly take place, so can Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation occur only as a political and cultural settlement that will allow us to stop the killing and the mutual fear (and this mutuality does not mean symmetry, because it absolutely does not exist between the sides). Religious forgiveness belongs, therefore, to a different dimension, an unrealistic dimension utopian to a radical degree. This perhaps is a Platonic idea or guiding principle that guides us in the right direction that we must strive towards even if we’ll never get there.

Therefore, my request is more modest, and I hope that you could relate to it because without it I will not be able to continue to hope and to believe that it is possible to live in this land. And by “living” I mean really living, in the true sense of the word—to speak its language, to know its history, not just to conquer it, to turn it into a myth, to be afraid in and to want to be someplace else, which is not this land, when a good opportunity happens to come up, to run away to foreign lands (always in a Western direction) in every opportunity…

My request is, therefore, that you persist and will not give up your right to return. It might sound a little strange because who am I to ask of you to insist on your own rights, the basic right of people who were uprooted from their land and their homes. But despite this, despite how awkward or absurd this request may be, despite it sounds as minefield, I insist. Please, you and your children, don’t ever give up your right to return. Not (only) for yourselves but for me also. Do you understand? If you give up this right all chance for a just life in this land will be lost and I will be sentenced to the shameful life of an eternal occupier, armed from the soles of my feet to the depths of my soul and always afraid, like all colonizers. From my point of view dangerous things might happen to us, the Israelis, if it happened that you, the Palestinian refugees, give up your right to return. If that day arrives, the day where you give up your right of return, the great haters of the Jews will be able to celebrate their ultimate victory. When the Jewish Israelis’ position as conquerors and bringers of woe will be made permanent, their haters will prove that they were right when they blamed them for having a badly damaged humanity .

Our humanity is bound up with your right to return. The day we expelled you from your land you carried a part of it with you. Only when you can return we will be able to restore our humanity. It is hard for us to continue in this way, with damaged humanities. It doesn’t mean that all our humanity has left us, but, as you know, we were left mainly with vulgarity, condescension, militarism and fear. Yes, we have some beautiful things but about real humanity occupiers cannot even dream of.  Actually to dream of it may be possible. About a life in cooperation with you here in our shared land. It is a beautiful and moving dream.

In my dream I see a life in cooperation with my friends, Palestinian refugees, who have exponentially grown in numbers ever since I started to learn and teach about the Nakba. From then, many places here have ceased being (only) training grounds for the army, JNF forests, national parks, ancient Jewish towns, ancient ruins, Crusader fortresses, liberated towns, picturesque villages, empty wilderness…

Miska, Qula, Bir’im, Saffuriyya, al-Ghabisiyya, ‘Ayn Ghazal, Yaffa, Haifa, Tabaria, Ijzim, Dair Yassin, Safsaf, Ijlil, Qaqun, ‘Innaba, al-Lajjun, al-Ghubayyat, and more – Israel destroyed an entire life, an entire page of civilization, in destroying these places. For me these places have a real face, one that I met personally, and there are many refugees that are demanding their right to return to them.

When you return these empty towns and villages will be filled with people, they will be bursting with life and will stop being only a testimony for death and sad memories as they have been for 62 years. Filling up these spaces will also fill up the empty space in my own humanity.

Your right to return is my opportunity and that of all Israelis to begin restoring our humanity.

Eitan Bronstein,
Tel Aviv, May 2010 (Zochrot)

Margaret Atwood believes in dialogue, unless she is criticized, and she likes submissive natives as well

My previous post, Novelistic Scabs, criticizing Atwood and Ghosh, didn't get approved in the comments to her posting of the two's "acceptance speech" for the Dan David prize on Atwood's blog. It was deleted twice.

She does allow critical views. My post wasn't more critical than other comments she let through. It was more detailed, and rather than merely challenging them on moral grounds, it also paid close attention to how poor the logic of their arguments was. I guess that was just too painful. So much for openness to views not her own, that she so pretentiously described as her trademark and the reason for accepting the prize!

But half a million dollars can sooth a lot of wounds to a writer's ego.

Oh, by the way, she went to the West Bank. If you're interested in how one can make literary experiments, nouveau roman and poliphonic turds out of apartheid, go and read her collection of "Israelis said, Palestinians said" cliches.

There, in the Occupied West Bank, Atwood had an amazing discovery:
Nor was there an avoidance of the situation: on the contrary, people really wanted to talk about it. These people were from many areas, but self-selected, of course. (That is: There are a lot of people from extremes and semi-extremes who would not have talked to me, and certainly not freely).
Some people didn't avoid talking about the situation with a visitor who tours the West Bank and meets them in the process of explicitly pretending to be interested in the situation. Can you imagine? But what about those "from the extreme and semi-extremes." who wouldn't talk to her? Why not call them extremists, given that this is what she wants to say? How did Atwood realize that some people don't care whether she understands them? Did they refuse to meet with her? Or is it simply her projection? She doesn't say. What exactly does she mean by saying that people "from the extreme and semi-extremes" would not be speaking "freely"? What opposition between freedom and lack of it is being presented?

People from the semi-extremes are people who shun conversation, or make preconditions, or if they speak, they do not speak "freely." Presumably, their "extreme" politics gets in a way of providing Atwood with decontextualized shreds of discourse. That is, presumably, people from "extremes and semi-extremes" tend to maintain their right to speak in their own voice, to make sense and present a coherent speech rather than to become formelss material for someone's else discourse. That means they do not speak "freely." To speak freely consists on providing Atwood with cliches such as
'A war of the strong against the weak will always fail.’ ” “There are no stereotypes that fit.” “It’s like a roll that’s stuck in your throat: you can’t swallow it, you can’t cough it up.”
That is, "freedom," for Atwood, is willingness to submit, to be someone else's raw material, not to make sense but to be the object one makes sense of. To speak freely is to speak like one speaks to a therapist, hesitantly at first, but with increasing openness once one realizes "the other" is a blank stare, without any identity or content, the ideal, apolitical, neutral listener:
there was some initial tentativeness about me—where did I stand, did I have preconceptions? Being neither an Israeli, nor Jewish, nor Muslim, nor Christian, nor American, was probably facilitating.
Free speech is therefore the opposition of politics, that is of speech that is engaged in the demand of freedom. Free speech is speech free from the constraints imposed by a concern for freedom. Lack of freedom is the condition of those who insist of a measure of control of their position in the conversation. They are constrained by, made "unfree", presumably, by their claim to speak as one who is free, or as one who wants to be free; they might not even speak to her. The main opposition that structures Atwood's impression of the native is thus the one between "speaking freely" and speaking as a political Subject who demands freedom. That is, what Atwood's calls the freedom of the native, is in fact the freedom of the ethnographic visitor to control the representation of the native.

I assume that a quite a few Palestinians told her not to bother dropping by, given that she accepted a prize at Tel-Aviv University that violated the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Painful! But again, half a million dollars can sooth a lot of wounds to a writer's ego.

Is "Jewish" the name of the psychotic condition?

In his preface to Frantz Fanon's "The Wretched of the Earth", Sartre wrote that colonial "France was once the name of a country. We should take care lest it become, in 1961, the name of a neurosis." That admonition seems lost on many US Jews today, since Zionism has made "Jewish" the name of a neurosis, and maybe even the name of a psychotic condition.

Edward Said wrote:
Exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and its native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted.
This quote, attributed to the “Palestinian American literary theorist and cultural critic", Edward Said, appeared in the English Literature and Composition test taken by high school students seeking college admission. Oh the horror! The Horror! Reports the Forward:
Nearly 2 million high school students worldwide are taking Advanced Placement tests this May... But one test question citing the late Palestinian-American scholar and activist Edward Said on the theme of exile is prompting protests from some Jewish students. The English Literature and Composition test, in which the question occurs, requires students to read excerpts of poetry and prose... The passage from Said contains no reference to Palestine or Israel. But the test’s description of the late Columbia University humanities professor as a “Palestinian American literary theorist and cultural critic” has led some pro-Israel students to object that the test has been politicized.

“I was really startled to see that quote because both of the practice questions didn’t mention the writers’ nationalities,” said Ayelet Pearl, a senior at New York’s Bronx High School of Science. “For me including this one clearly had political implications.”... “I’m in a public school and most students here have the impression that Israel is the one attacking [the Palestinians],” the 17-year-old Pearl said. “To put a quote in like this subconsciously reinforces the idea that Israel’s the antagonist, the aggressor, the one in the wrong.” ... “I find it really inappropriate to put a political question like that on a test,” she said she wrote. Using this quote in the AP exam “is very reflective of the widespread use of education and testing as a platform for anti-Israel propaganda,” she told the Forward...Two nights later Pearl began an open Facebook protest group, called “Protest the 2010 AP English Literature and Composition Free Response Question...” [with] co-creator Alyssa Blumenthal, a senior at Long Beach High School in Long Beach, N.Y. ( The Forward, May 12th 2010)
As the article makes clear, the description of the writer's background sometimes appears and sometimes not, a choice mostly reflecting an assessment of the likelihood that the author would be known to a high school graduate. But for a Jewish American kid, the moniker "Palestinian" triggers an episode of delusional paranoia. The test writers must be conspiring against the Jewish people, feeding propaganda into tender minds.

Except the only brainwashed kids in this story are the Jewish ones. As Ayelet Pearl testifies, "most students here have the impression that Israel is the one attacking [the Palestinians].” Indeed! That is also the objective truth. Of course, the fact that "most students" in a US high school are aware of something that happens to be both true and disliked by the US ruling class is in itself a miracle worth celebrating.

Saying that Edward Said is "Palestinian," a fact, and also a meaningful fact for interpreting a quote of Said's construction of being Palestinian, is "political," and "anti-Israel propaganda." Like Macbeth seeing Banquo's ghost, American Jews see any reference to "Palestinians" outside CNN news, let alone in a place of authority such as a test, or a theater, etc. as the personification of their guilt. "Political," in this degraded context of an over-privileged high school student, is a synonym for "unsettling." Anything that challenge Ayelet's privilege is "political." Anything that confirms it is not. She has great parents!

The psychosis is political, in the sense that it is not merely an emotional reaction, but a complex of responses almost made to order to reinforce and authorize a genocidal plan. For, like Macbeth, Israel "hath murdered sleep." There won't be sleep as long as a single Palestinian lives, or even appears in print, or is referenced, or mentioned anywhere as Palestinian. The psychosis is anything but imaginary. Israel not only destroyed over 500 Palestinian villages, but dynamited their remains, planted forests on top of them courtesy of the Jewish National Fund's blue box, and excavated biblical sites beneath them, attacking their historical present on the land from both their past and their future. The expulsion of the Palestinians requires the erasure of the fact that Palestine existed and that "Palestinian" is a name that applies to anything and anybody. Nothing less than total disappearance and also the disappearance of that disappearance will restore the good sleep of American Jews like Ayelet Pearl, Alyssa Blumenthal and their parents.

But that won't happen. May I recommend to the upcoming literature majors of Jewish descent another "political" poem to study? Here's Bertolt Brecht:
The Unconquerable Inscription

During the war
In a cell of the Italian prison in San Carlo
Full of imprisoned soldiers, drunks and thieves
A socialist soldier, with an indelible pencil, scratched on the wall:
Long live Lenin!
High above, in the semi-dark cell, hardly visible, but
Written in large letters.
As the warders saw it, they sent for a painter with a bucket of lime.
And with a long stemmed brush he whitewashed the threatening inscription.
Since, however, with his lime, he painted over the letters only
Stood above in the cell, now in chalk:
Long live Lenin!
Next another painter daubed over the whole stretch with a broad brush
So that for hours it disappeared, but towards morning
As the lime dried, the inscription underneath was again conspicuous:
Long live Lenin!
Then dispatched the warder a bricklayer with a chisel against the inscription
And he scratched out letter by letter, one hour long
And as he was done, now colourless, but up above in the wall
But deeply carved, stood the unconquerable inscription:
Long live Lenin!
Now, said the soldier, get rid of the wall!


Sleep will return when Palestinians return to their land. Go, Ayelet, Alyssa, tell that to your psychosis burdened parents!

UPDATE: The facebook group created by our two Jewish paranoia patients is here.

May 14, 2010

From Leeds to LA, who controls the media?

I'm only asking. Well, I'm not really asking. I'm asking if it's ok to ask. According to Jak Codd, the Communications and Internal Officer of Leeds University Students' Union, the students' newspaper, Leeds Student, should not be allowed to publish the question at all. I'm sure the context had something to do with it so let's have a look:

On Friday April 30, the freedom of this paper came under threat.

The freedom of speech, from ideology, from the establishment, and from mainstream media, has upheld Leeds Student throughout its 40-year history. It is a freedom that has allowed this paper to print interviews, articles and opinions that may not be liked, are sometimes disclaimed, and frequently bring fierce debate.

Jak Codd, Communications and Internal Officer, used his perceived power as a senior member of the student executive to remove all issues of Leeds Student from the stands in the Leeds University Union. Codd believed an interview with Palestinian journalist Sameh Habeeb to be anti-Semitic. This belief surrounds a comment Habeeb made about Israeli influence on the media.

In the article, interviewer Laura MacKenzie asked Habeeb: “Do you believe mainstream news organisations to have a hidden agenda?”

He replied: “They are certainly pro-Israeli. I think you have to ask yourself who controls the media.”

Mr Habeeb’s answer is open to several interpretations: “Media control” could mean ownership, editorial stance or whether or not journalists have - or are allowed - access to events they wish to report.

The intention was to report Habeeb’s views, not comment upon them. The interview was presented in question-and-answer format. No editorial line was taken or displayed. The comment was reported verbatim. Like the scores of verbatim quotes that Leeds Student prints each issue, it was presented as just that - without editorial colour or spin, for readers to interpret for themselves. We appreciate that the understanding was not universally consistent.

Since publication, it has become apparent that the phrase “controls the media” can be very sensitive. Some perceive it to be implicitly anti-Semitic, carrying wider, more potentially offensive connotations than may be apparent at first sight or to an uninformed reader. Others saw no such nuances.
Clicking around the issue on the website of Leeds Student online, it turns out that this Jak Codd chappie isn't very popular at all except, it seems, with the World Zionist Congress affiliated Union of Jewish Students. But isn't it an extreme irony when a Jewish student, supported by a zionist student organisation, can have a newspaper pulled from the shelves because someone asked, "who controls the media?"? What a schmock!

Anyway, according to one very wealthy chap in Los Angeles, the way to help Israel is to do just that, control the media. See this gushing piece about an Israeli-American squillionaire in The New Yorker:
He remains keenly interested in the world of business, but he is most proud of his role as political power broker. His greatest concern, he says, is to protect Israel, by strengthening the United States-Israel relationship. At a conference last fall in Israel, Saban described his formula. His “three ways to be influential in American politics,” he said, were: make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets. In 2002, he contributed seven million dollars toward the cost of a new building for the Democratic National Committee—one of the largest known donations ever made to an American political party. That year, he also founded the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, in Washington, D.C. He considered buying The New Republic, but decided it wasn’t for him. He also tried to buy Time and Newsweek, but neither was available. He and his private-equity partners acquired Univision in 2007, and he has made repeated bids for the Los Angeles Times.[my emphasis, as if it was needed]
Now given that zionists are as zionists do, it is fair to say that a media that supports Israel is zionist controlled since surely the shortest definition of zionism is support for the State of Israel, which is the zionist state. So to ask, rhetorically, "who controls the media?" is really rhetorically stating a fact. I think you have to be paranoid to assume that the guy in the interview reported by Leeds Student meant that it was Jews that control the media. But if Israeli-Americans like Haim Saban go round encouraging the belief that Jews try to control media outlets so as to protect Israel, what are people supposed to think. And will Jak Codd now try to have The New Yorker pulled from the shelves.

Incidentally, once upon a time a certain Princess Michael of Kent, (yes, in the UK we have princesses called Michael) claimed that Prince Harry was being unfairly picked on over wearing a nazi uniform to a fancy dress party because of the "ownership structure" of the media which wouldn't have minded if he had worn a symbol of Stalinism rather than nazism. That was in an article in the London evening newspaper, the Evening Standard.
I blogged that back in 2005 before the newspapers all had websites you'll just have to take my word. Now it seems to me that she was saying that the UK media is owned by Jews, which btw it isn't and that Jews are partial to Stalinism. No one spoke out against that at the time but then she is a princess.

So if you want to cast aspersions on the Jews, marry a royal. If you want to say something about media support for the racist war criminals of the State of Israel, don't! Just don't!