August 28, 2010

Hoffman and Pollard: a JC double act

I blogged about the grovelling apology from the Zionist Federation's Jonathan Hoffman. Well now, Stephen Pollard and The Spectator have had to run a remarkable apology to Islam Expo for libellous comments made over two years ago.

For details of the Jonathan Hoffman saga I recommend Charlie Pottins's blog, Random Pottins, but let's have his apology again because it says it all about Jonathan Hoffman and zionist "debating" tactics in general:
On my Jewish Chronicle blog I described a photograph taken on 14 August 2010 at the pro-Ahava demonstration as "fraudulent". I also wrote "That photo was 'Photoshopped' -- and it is bloody obvious that it was 'Photoshopped' I do not discuss but I do identify lies and fraudulent Photoshopped photos."

These statements were entirely without foundation and I had made no attempt to check their accuracy. I accept that the photo was absolutely genuine and had not been tampered with in any way. The photographer, David Hoffman, is a well known and respected photojournalist and I apologise to him unreservedly for my hasty and unfounded comments and for the distress and embarrassment caused.
Got it? Hoffman simply lied about a photo of himself at a demonstration apparently enjoying the company of an activist with the fascist English Defence League.

Ok, now let's see the apology over an article headed "Demos and Genocide" which appears on the front of the latest edition of The Spectator today:
Stephen Pollard and the Spectator apologise for the unintended and false suggestion in a blog published on 15 July 2008 that Islam Expo Limited is a fascist party dedicated to genocide which organised a conference with a racist and genocidal programme. We accept that Islam Expo's purpose is to provide a neutral and broad-based platform for debate on issues relating to Muslims and Islam.
Now how on earth can you suggest that an organisation "is a fascist party dedicated to genocide which organised a conference with a racist and genocidal programme" without actually intending to?

First up we have a prominent official of the Zionist Federation with a Jewish Chronicle hosted blog flagrantly lying about a photograph and then we have the Jewish Chronicle's editor unintentionally accusing a Muslim group of fascism, racism and genocidal intentions? Was it a typo while he was trying to describe an Israeli party perhaps? Sadly, unlike the Hoffman apology, Pollard hasn't been forced to repeat the libel and then to self-expose its falsehood but see this from the Middle East monitor website:
the Spectator and Mr Pollard have undertaken never to repeat the allegations complained of and agreed to pay damages to compensate us for the damage done to our reputation by the article. They have also agreed to pay our legal costs.

Litigation was not and is not our preferred option and we prefer to deal with everyone on an open and amicable basis. However, when false and serious allegations are published that seek to discredit and damage the reputation of Islam Expo, and the publishers refuse to apologise, then we have no option but to take legal action. We are delighted with the eventual outcome in this matter.

We hope that in future third parties intending to write about us will attend our future events which remain, as ever, open and welcoming to all, and be fair and objective in their comments.
That seems to be suggesting that Pollard didn't even attend the event that formed the basis of his allegations. But what's this? I just googled "Demos and Genocide" hoping to find the offending piece. Of course I couldn't find it but I did stumble on this from Liberal Conspiracy:
It’s also worth noting that Stephen Pollard referred to material first published on the Harry’s Place blog in that post.
And our liberal conspirators helpfully link to the judgement in the case so we can see what exactly Stephen Pollard wrote in The Spectator.

August 25, 2010

Jonathan Hoffman: an apology

Many thanks to an anonymous contributor calling themselves "zionist thug" in the comments to an earlier post for drawing my attention to this astonishing apology by Jonathan Hoffman, a Co-Vice Chair of the UK's Zionist Federation, in his Jewish Chronicle hosted blog:
On my Jewish Chronicle blog I described a photograph taken on 14 August 2010 at the pro-Ahava demonstration as "fraudulent". I also wrote "That photo was 'Photoshopped' -- and it is bloody obvious that it was 'Photoshopped' I do not discuss but I do identify lies and fraudulent Photoshopped photos."

These statements were entirely without foundation and I had made no attempt to check their accuracy. I accept that the photo was absolutely genuine and had not been tampered with in any way. The photographer, David Hoffman, is a well known and respected photojournalist and I apologise to him unreservedly for my hasty and unfounded comments and for the distress and embarrassment caused.
Now what photograph would that be? Could it be the one that appears quite prominently on Tony Greenstein's blog? This one:

Or are there other pictures that the Co-Vice Chair of the Zionist Federation takes issue with?

Guess who's coming to dinner

There's yet another conference, supposedly on antisemitism, at Yale at the mo'. It started a couple of days ago and finishes today. It's called Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity.

Follow the link and have a look at the programme. It includes a "gala dinner" and a star studded cast of right-wing Israel advocates.

Shaul Maggid, blogging at The Forward, is none too happy about its right-wing tilt:
While the title of the Yale conference “Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity” implies a broad spectrum, when one peruses the paper titles, antisemitism in the Muslim world predominates. The first plenary session has papers entitled, “Arab and Islamic Antisemitism Today,” “Conspiracy Theories, Antisemitism, an Jews in Turkey Today,” “The Jihad Flotilla to Gaza: Provocative – Antisemitic – Not Humanitarian,” “ and “Nazi Propaganda to the Arab World and its After Effects in Postwar Militant Islam.” While all worthy topics, one gets the idea. Of approximately 91 papers (I exclude keynote addresses), at least 23 are explicitly about Arab or Muslim Antisemitism, 3 are explicitly about Christian Antisemitism, 6 are about the Holocaust, and 3 are about self-hating Jews (all included in a panel called “Self-Hatred and Contemporary Antisemitism” - the title of the panel is itself worthy of a panel). The others are about antisemitism in other parts of the world, are more theoretically oriented, or have titles that are too non-descript to define.
I wonder where Dr.David Hirsh's (yep, that's the one) speech fits into these categories. He is billed thus:
• Dr. David Hirsh, Goldsmiths College, University of London: “Struggles Over the Boundaries of Legitimate Discourse: Antisemitism and Bad-Faith Allegations”
This seems to fit with Dr Hirsh's claim that allegations (I think he means any allegation) of bad faith accusations of antisemitism are themselves antisemitic. It wasn't always the case with him but he's obviously still evolving.

Other speeches at the conference include the following:
Keynote: Itamar Marcus, Director, Palestinian Media Watch: “The Central Role of Palestinian Antisemitism in Creating the Palestinian Identity” and

• Professor Phyllis Chesler, City University of New York: “The History and Psychological Roots of Antisemitism Among Feminists, their Gradual Stalinization and Palestinianization”
Philip Weiss notes that the conference appears to be an attack on "Palestinian identity, ’self-hating’ Jews, and anyone who criticizes Israel". In other words he is doing exactly what Dr Hirsh is going to be speechifying against. He is accusing the conference of bad faith. He is also disturbed that this conference bears the imprimatur and presumably some funding from Yale itself, not the Israel advocacy community.

I don't find that so strange; bang out of order but not strange. What I do find very strange is that Dr Hirsh hasn't mentioned his role in this conference anywhere on the Engage website. He usually announces his attendance at these things and gives a report back afterwards. Perhaps he didn't want to spoil the surprise for when he reports back.

Jews against Zionism?


London Conference 1100-1730 Saturday 4th September 2010

Jews and Palestine:

Our role in the solidarity movement

The global campaign to support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is gathering pace, forming the focus for a broad-based solidarity movement.

Many Jews are actively involved but we lack a clear sense of our specific contribution to Palestinian liberation.

Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG) invites all Jews who share this concern to join us from 11.00 to 17.30 on Saturday September 4 at

The Magdalen Centre, St Mary's Church

Eversholt Street, London NW1 1BN (close to Euston station)

Panel discussion with:

Haim Bresheeth, filmmaker, Chair of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of East London, member of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP)

Antony Lerman, former director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research

Moshe Machover, founding member of the Israeli socialist organization MATZPEN, mathematician and professor emeritus, Kings College London

Mike Marqusee, activist and writer. Latest book:
If I Am Not For Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew

Workshop sessions and plenary on themes including:

- Making Jewish solidarity with Palestine more prominent, more effective, more coordinated

- Clarifying the strategic objectives of BDS and the broader movement

- Considering our role in shifting opinion within the UK Jewish community

- Understanding and combating the Israel lobby

- Dealing with attempts to define BDS/Palestine solidarity as anti-Semitic

- Defining how our understanding of Zionism influences solidarity strategies

- Reviewing current organisations, Jewish and otherwise

- Planning effective structures for the future

Booking essential. To reserve your place email your name and details

Contribution payable on the day: £3 minimum per person (Refreshments provided)

Location map:

August 24, 2010

Lying abroad for Israel

Ron Prosor had an yet another article in the Guardian yesterday. You can guess what it said from some of today's responses:
Ron Prosor's defence of Israel's continued blockade of Gaza (Before we talk to Hamas, August 20) is deeply flawed. Based on research published by The Lancet-Palestinian Health Alliance – a group of health scientists from the occupied Palestinian territory, the UK, US, Norway, France and Canada – several statements by the Israeli ambassador need immediate correction.

Gaza is not a terrorist enclave. It is a vigorous community of 1.4 million people struggling to exist under what the UN still considers to be occupation by Israel. Operation Cast Lead did not target "terrorist infrastructure". On a visit to Gaza that I made in March this year, with colleagues from the UK, I witnessed the results of indiscriminate bombing of residential communities across the Strip, as well as the results of civilian casualties. These civilian attacks have left families rebuilding homes out of the debris left by the bombing with their bare hands, thanks to the ban on transporting building materials into Gaza.

Gaza is not "a golden opportunity tragically missed". The people of Gaza are experiencing continued declines in child health, unchecked burdens of chronic disease, shortages of life-saving medical supplies and equipment, and the dramatic erosion of mental health. These unprecedented hardships are a direct consequence of Israel's disregard for the health and security of people who they, as occupiers, have a legal duty to protect.

Hamas has not "directed every resource to enslaving its people while attacking" Israel. Readers should make up their own minds by visiting Gaza for themselves. What I have seen during my visits is a dignified people who are anxious about the future of their children, seek the best care they can for friends and relatives, and look for work that will sustain their families. In the classrooms I visited, there was no incitement against Israel. Instead, there was pride in being Palestinian, a plea for the facts of their lives to be told against the propaganda that Prosor repeats.

On one issue, Mr Prosor and I agree. Many Israelis are sceptical and do fear for their futures. But this is largely because it suits politicians to manufacture the scepticism and fear that destroy hopes for peace and justice. If the full truth about the health of people living in the occupied Palestinian territory was more widely known, the international community would no longer tolerate Israel's apparent indifference.

Dr Richard Horton

Editor, The Lancet

• It is simply not worth commenting on most of the vitriol written by the Israeli ambassador. Those parliamentarians who visited Gaza and talked to Hamas leaders in Damascus have formed a very different view of the situation, and know that there will be no peace process unless Hamas is included in negotiations.

What is worth commenting upon, however, is his assertion that "Gaza was a golden opportunity tragically missed". A much greater missed opportunity was the creation of Israel itself. The gift of land, backed by support from the US in particular, was a chance for Israel's new citizens to create a land of milk and honey for all the people of Palestine, living in peace and prosperity. With their policies of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, together with harassment and ethnic cleansing of the remaining Palestinians, the Zionists have squandered that chance.

Jenny Tonge

Lib Dem, House of Lords

What did he say again?

August 21, 2010

Israel's London embassy promotes PSC event

I wasn't sure if it was a hoax or not but this report appeared in a Jerusalem Post blog by an Isi Leibler:
A number of British Jews wrote to me complaining bitterly that the Israeli London Embassy was promoting a tour by Haaretz journalist Gidon Levy.

For those who are unaware, Levy is regarded as one of the most extreme and outspoken of the Israeli anti-Zionist journalists, notorious for demonizing Israel and supporting the most anti-Israeli groups. He repeatedly brackets Israeli behavior with that of the Nazis, accuses Israel of practicing apartheid and committing war crimes, and defines himself as anti-Zionist. He accuses Meretz, Peace Now and others on the far left in Israel of lacking the courage to open "the 1948 file."

So when I was informed that the embassy was promoting his visit, which was under the auspices of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign I refused to believe it, and requested evidence substantiating such an accusation.

I subsequently received the following transcript, which I was informed had been issued by Michael Brodsky, the director of public affairs at the London Embassy.

Gideon Levy from Haaretz will be in conversation with Jon Snow at 8.15pm on Tuesday 24th August and it will be taking place at Amnesty International UK's Human RightsAction Centre.

Attendance to the event is free but needs to be pre-registered.

The event is presented by Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Palestine Solidarity Campaign & Verso.

Here is a link to further information.

Michael Brodsky

Director of Public Affairs Department"

My initial instinct was that the e-mail was a hoax and I urged my informant to obtain further clarification from the embassy.

I was then informed that Brodsky had indeed released the communication, justifying it on the grounds that it was being directed "to a small group of Jewish activists in order to inform them about an anti-Israeli event taking place in London."

That makes sense. The Israeli embassy writes to zionist activists to mobilise them against a talk which might fall short of flattering towards Israel.

But what's this?
Yet according to Zalmi Unsdorfer, Chairman of Herut UK, the e-mail was distributed to people who were neither "activists" nor in a position to organize a protest. Unsdorfer sent a formal protest to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Under the auspices of our current ambassador, the UK Israel embassy has established a reputation for being one of the most effective Israeli embassies in the world. Ambassador Ron Prosor is articulate, courageous and has earned the respect of friend and foe alike.

But there is little doubt that there is something wrong with the management of the embassy if a communication of this nature can be dispatched on the embassy e-mail network.

Even if the public affairs director had good intentions, for an embassy to dispatch such a communication reflects an abysmal lack of judgment and sensitivity. We are surely entitled to expect a greater level of sophistication and professionalism from Israeli representatives occupying such sensitive roles.

So who is on the Israeli embassy email network that has to be shielded from the knowledge that Gideon Levy is appearing in London? And why was the missive supposed to be for "a small group of Jewish activists" only?

August 19, 2010

Gideon Levy speaking in Scotland

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy speaking in Dundee from Robert Stewart on Vimeo.

Depressing stuff from the Israeli journo. Hat tip: Palestine Video vlog

Blair and his stupid* book

There were reports the other day that Tony Blair is donating all of the proceeds of his book, The Journey, to the British Legion, which is a charity for retired British soldiers. There has been all sorts of speculation as to what his motive in making the donation was, most of which zoom in on his ego. Here are a little crop of letters from yesterday's Independent:
Despite suggestions to the contrary, it is rather doubtful that Tony Blair has decided to donate the earnings from his book to appease his "guilty conscience". As we saw recently at the Chilcot inquiry, he has expressed no regret for joining Bush and Cheney in invading Iraq, and equally he has given no indication that he feels any remorse for the uncounted death-toll and wanton destruction of Iraq as a direct result of his participation in "removing Saddam Hussein".

Within his own pious, self-righteous world it is far more likely that he sees it as simply his duty as a "good Christian" to donate this bonus income to a charity which caters for those who have been injured in the line of duty, in particular during his watch as Prime Minister: no blame, no remorse and no regrets.

And as for those who may see his donation as a cynical way of generating book sales, the answer is quite simple. Rather than buy the book and stroke the smug ego, simply donate an equivalent amount to the Royal British Legion and bypass the middle man.

Peter Coghlan

Broadstone, Dorset

There is a precedent for Mr Blair's charitable decision.

After the Second World War, Barnes Wallis, designer of the Dam Busters' "bouncing bomb", initially declined to apply for a monetary award from the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors. According to his biographer he subsequently changed his mind after hearing a sermon based on II Samuel 23, verses 14-17:

"And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.

"And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate! And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well at Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David; nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord.

"And he said, be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives?"

Following this, Wallis applied for, and was eventually awarded, an amount which he then used to establish a charitable foundation for the education of children of RAF personnel.

Same principle, different circumstance, different motivation?

Philip Bell

Mayfield, east sussex

On hearing of Blair's generous donation to the British Legion I was reminded of the line from Bob Dylan's "Masters of War": "All the money you've made will never buy back your soul."

Pat Sheerin

London SW18

I have never supported the British involvement in the war in Iraq, but I think that Mr Blair has by his personal donation succeeded in drawing attention to the duty we now owe to the armed forces that have paid so high a price for this war. Certainly the Royal British Legion needs the £4m that Mr Blair has donated from the royalties to be expected from his forthcoming book.

As a former prime minister he will be aware of the magnitude of our duty of care to those who will be physically and mentally impaired for the rest of their days. We shall need a great deal more than £4m to fulfil this duty. Perhaps we can all follow Mr Blair's initiative. And the House of Commons itself, having sanctioned the war, ought to be the first to do so. After all, it tamely and uncritically followed him to war.

Gerald Morgan

Lydbrook, Gloucestershire

Cynics, honestly!

*In case anyone asks, I haven't actually read the book but I like to use the word "stupid" as a substitute for the f-word which I don't like to use in blog posts - family blog and all that....

August 15, 2010

Ben Gurion saves the remnant but which remnant?

Why are both Israel and Germany withholding papers relating to the Eichmann case from public view? I don't know. But Shraga Elam thinks he knows and maybe he does.

Eradicating Arabs from the Entity: the finishing touches

What does the zionist infested media here say if Israel goes ahead with the finishing touches to the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians? According to Gideon Levy in Ha'aretz, we may be about to find out:
Day and night they hear that they are a 'demographic threat' or a 'fifth column,' that the Negev and Galil must be 'Judaized,' that they must be expelled from their lands. Now they hear that the Knesset must be purified of their representatives, as well.

It's likely to happen. In a society whose institutional defenses of democracy have started to deteriorate, nothing is safe any more. One day, perhaps we will no longer have Arab MKs, or at least none that represent their constituents. And on that day, Arab Israelis will know that their exclusion from their state has become total and complete.

And what do the inciters believe will replace Hadash, United Arab List - Ta'al, and Balad? And who will replace Barakeh, Zuabi and Tibi? What will replace the speeches, difficult and bitter as they are, from the Knesset podium? The campaign trails and assemblies? The public protest that is for the most part law-abiding?

You know the answer very well. The answer is frightening and dangerous.
And it has all happened before.

Ethnically cleansing the dead

The destruction of an ancient Muslim cemetery by Israel has been going on for decades but the latest round of desecration is possibly the most outrageous when you consider why it is happening:
Yesterday, the day before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began, at 2:30 in the morning, workers sent by the Israeli authorities, protected by dozens of police, destroyed the tombstones in the last portion of the Mamilla cemetery, an historic Muslim burial ground with graves going back to the 7th Century, hitherto left untouched. The government of Israel has always been fully cognizant of the sanctity and historic significance of the site. Already in 1948, when control of the cemetery reverted to Israel, the Israeli Religious Affairs Ministry recognized Mamilla “to be one of the most prominent Muslim cemeteries, where seventy thousand Muslim warriors of [Saladin’s] armies are interred along with many Muslim scholars. Israel will always know to protect and respect this site.” For all that, and despite (proper) Israeli outrage when Jewish cemeteries are desecrated anywhere in the world, the dismantlement of the Mamilla cemetery has been systematic. In the 1960s “Independence Park” was built over a portion of it; subsequently an urban road was built through it, major electrical cables were laid over graves and a parking lot constructed over yet another piece. Now some 1,500 Muslim graves have been cleared in several nighttime operations to make way for…..a $100 million Museum of Tolerance and Human Dignity, a project of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. (Ironically, Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Wiesenthal Center’s Director, appeared on Fox News to express his opposition to the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero in Manhattan, because the site of the 9/11 attack “is a cemetery.”)
Such tolerance!

August 12, 2010

Irish artists sign cultural boycott pledge - your turn now

I’ve just come back from. Temple Bar. Usually a reserve in central Dublin where we herd tourists, this lunchtime it was taken over by Irish artists who support Palestine. Meeting House Square, a cultural nexus in the city centre, was donated by the managers of Temple Bar Properties as the site where the Irish artists’ boycott of Israel was launched.

So far, over 150 Irish artists – writers, musicians, directors, actors, and actual well…artists – have signed the pledge to respect the boycott of Israel called by Palestinian civil society. Actual pledge and full list of signatories as of yesterday here. Over a dozen have added their names since

In terms of names, we seem to have just about everyone in the Irish traditional music world – Christy Moore, Kila band members, Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny and more. We also have, or rather Palestine also has the writer Seamus Deane, singer Damien Dempsey, actress Sinead Cusack, artist Bobby Ballagh and director Bob Quinn among others. And that’s just with the launch. We expect many more to sign over the coming weeks and months.

Palestine solidarity work isn’t usually noted for the joyfulness of the actions we organise. But this was a truly joyful event for everyone who turned up. About twenty of the signatories participated in the launch (photos to follow) with several of them performing, including Kila member, Eoin Dillon doing a duet with Lebanese-born jazz musician, Sami Moukkadem. The composer Raymond Deane, whose brainchild it was and who did so much work on encouraging folks to sign, was the compere for the launch. He quoted the PACBI endorsement of the event that noted that Israel uses visiting artists for propaganda just as apartheid South Africa did, and these artists have simply said they will not be used to bolster up an apartheid state.

The idea behind the pledge was that we were a bit tired chasing after artists who have already agreed to play Israel and trying to get them to change their minds. Thinking about it, this is the hardest category of artists to affect. It’s much easier to take pre-emptive action by asking artists to sign the pledge. By creating a solid bank of ethical artists we are building something that will have an effect on all artists who are offered money to break the boycott and play apartheid

So folks, it’s up to you now to do something similar in your countries. We expect more Irish artists will sign this pledge, but if we simply take the figure of 150 and the relative population sizes, the equivalent is about 2,000 British artists or 10,000 American ones. Ar aghaidh libh!

August 08, 2010

Self hater?

Israeli airport officials harassed an American of Lebanese descent recently. According to YNET:
Prof. Donna Shalala, who served as the US Secretary of Health and Human Services for eight years under Clinton and is currently the president of the University of Miami, was held for two-and-a-half hours at Ben Gurion Airport during which she underwent a humiliating security debriefing because of her Arab last name – all this despite the fact that her hosts notified the airport ahead of time that she is a VIP.....

When Shalala arrived at the airport, she was not recognized as a VIP and was even afforded what she claims to be "special" treatment because of her Arab last name. She claims she was held for two-and-a-half hours during which she was asked invasive and humiliating personal questions. Despite the delay, she managed to board the flight to the US. Officials who spoke with her said she was deeply offended by the treatment she received.
Deeply offended huh? So what's this in the Miami Herald:
Shalala, 69, was "delayed by questions and a full luggage search that lasted almost three hours, but she didn't miss her plane," said Margot Winick, a University of Miami spokeswoman, in an email.

Shalala was asked personal questions for about two hours, the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

Shalala was unavailable Saturday morning and university spokespersons declined to comment in detail on the incident, but released a statement from the president:

"While I was inconvenienced, Israel's security and the security of travelers is far more important," said Shalala, who is of Lebanese decent. "I have been going in and out of Israel for many years and expect to visit again."
So what happened at the university between her being "deeply offended" and her expecting "to visit again"?

August 07, 2010

Jewish Chronicle: all the news that's fit to omit

You'd think a Jewish woman losing an eye when she was shot with a tear gas canister would be news in the Jewish Chronicle but curiously the editor thought that the news was only fit to delete. Check this out from Tony Greenstein's blog:
Dear Mr Pollard,[Editor of the Jewish Chronicle]

Below is a link to a story I blogged about an ordinary American Jewish student, Emily Honochowicz, who lost an eye peacefully protesting at a checkpoint in Jerusalem, the same day as the Mavi Marmara. A tear gas canister having been shot directly at her.

I realise that the habits of editing tabloid newspapers die hard but isn't it time you covered not just this but the more general drift towards a police state in Israel? The attacks on secular Arab MK Haneen Zoabi, no supporter of Hamas, a liberated woman but clearly not the type that Israel's knee-jerk supporters like, being the object of virulent abuse in the Knesset.

Instead of being an echo chamber to Jonathan Hoffman isn't it about time you actually started reporting the more uncomfortable facts? When people look back this period of the Jewish Chronicle will come to be seen as one of its darkest and least glorious chapters.


Tony Greenstein
Back came the intrepid journalist's reply:
Dear Mr Greenstein,

Thank you for your email, which will make a fine addition to my 'delete' folder.
Stephen Pollard

Sent from my iPhone so please reply to
So spake the editor of the oldest Jewish newspaper in the world.

ADL denounced by CNN anchor

Well this could be a career decision by a courageous CNN anchor, Fareed Zakaria.

I don't think any of us has written about the breathtaking hypocrisy of the misnamed Anti-Defamation League in opposing the construction of a mosque and Muslim community centre a good two blocks away from where the World Trade Centre once stood. Well, just quickly, there has been a proposal to construct a mosque about two blocks or so away from "ground zero". Lots of Tea Bag Types, or whatever they're called, have opposed the project that they are calling the "ground zero mosque". And the ADL has lent its weight to what is a nasty islamophobic campaign smearing all Muslims as having been involved in the twin towers attack known as 9//11. Here's the statement from the ADL:
Ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right," the ADL said in a statement. "In our judgment, building an Islamic center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain — unnecessarily — and that is not right.
Now, the ADL give awards for this and that and this Farood Zakaria got the Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize. The what? Never mind what. It was a prize that this Farood Zakaria got and now he's returning it. This is from the Huffington Post:
Five years ago, the ADL honored me with its Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize," Zakaria writes in next week's Newsweek. "I was thrilled to get the award from an organization that I had long admired. But I cannot in good conscience keep it anymore. I have returned both the handsome plaque and the $10,000 honorarium that came with it. I urge the ADL to reverse its decision. Admitting an error is a small price to pay to regain a reputation.
This guy writes for Newsweek and is a CNN anchor. I hope we won't be placing ex- in front of those job titles he currently still has. Mind you, how did he ever admire the ADL?

But he is a plucky chap. Foxman is on the case:
"I am not only saddened but stunned and somewhat speechless by your decision to return the ADL Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize, you accepted in 2005," ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in a letter to Zakaria. "As someone I greatly respect for engaging in discussion and dialogue with an open mind I would have expected you to reach out to me before coming to judgment."

Foxman added that the League "did not oppose the right for an Islamic Center or a mosque to be built" but rather "[made] an appeal based solely on the issues of location and sensitivity."
But the plucky chap responded:
Does Foxman believe that bigotry is OK if people think they're victims? Does the anguish of Palestinians, then, entitle them to be anti-Semitic?
Of course not! According to Foxman, the Palestinians don't even have the right to be anguished.

August 05, 2010

Lebanese army no longer working for Israel

Gideon Levy has an informative piece in Ha'aretz today about the sheer hypocrisy of Israel's dealings with the natives and neighbours of Palestine:
And now that we've recited ad nauseum the explanations of Israel Defense Forces propaganda for what happened Tuesday at the northern border, the facts should also be looked at.

On Tuesday morning, Israel requested "coordination" with UNIFIL to carry out another "exposing" operation on the border fence. UNIFIL asked the IDF to postpone the operation, because its commander is abroad. The IDF didn't care. UNIFIL won't stop us.

At noon the tree-cutters set out. The Lebanese and UNIFIL soldiers shouted at them to stop. In Lebanon they say their soldiers also fired warning shots in the air. If they did, it didn't stop the IDF.

The tree branches were cut and blood was shed on both sides of the border. Shed in vain.

True, Israel maintains that the area across the fence is its territory, and UNIFIL officially confirmed that yesterday. But a fence is a fence: In Gaza it's enough to get near the fence for us to shoot to kill. In the West Bank the fence's route bears no resemblance to the Green Line, and still Palestinians are forbidden from crossing it.

In Lebanon we made different rules: the fence is just a fence, we're allowed to cross it and do whatever we like on the other side, sometimes in sovereign Lebanese territory. We can routinely fly in Lebanese airspace and sometimes invade as well.

This area was under Israeli occupation for 18 years, without us ever acknowledging it. It was an occupation no less brutal than the one in the territories, but whitewashed well. "The security zone," we called it. So now, as well, we can do what we like.

But suddenly there was a change. How did our analysts put it? Recently there's been "abnormal firing" at Israeli aircraft. After all, order must be maintained: We're allowed to fly in Lebanese airspace, they are not permitted to shoot.

But Tuesday's incident, which was blown out of proportion here as if it were cause for a war that only the famed Israeli "restraint" prevented, should be seen in its wider context. For months now the drums of war have been beating here again. Rat-a-tat, danger, Scuds from Syria, war in the north.

No one asks why and wherefore, it's just that summer's here, and with it our usual threats of war. But a UN report published this week held Israel fully responsible for creating this dangerous tension.

In this overheated atmosphere the IDF should have been careful when lighting its matches. UNIFIL requests a delay of an operation? The area is explosive? The work should have been postponed. Maybe the Lebanese Army is more determined now to protect its country's sovereignty - that is not only its right, but its duty - and a Lebanese commander who sees the IDF operating across the fence might give an order to shoot, even unjustifiably.

Who better than the IDF knows the pattern of shooting at any real or imagined violation? Just ask the soldiers at the separation fence or guarding Gaza. But Israel arrogantly dismissed UNIFIL's request for a delay.

It's the same arrogance behind the demand that the U.S. and France stop arming the Lebanese military. Only our military is allowed to build up arms. After years in which Israel demanded that the Lebanese Army take responsibility for what is happening in southern Lebanon, it is now doing so and we've changed our tune. Why? Because it stopped behaving like Israel's subcontractor and is starting to act like the army of a sovereign state.
Fisk also has an interesting take on the events of Tuesday just gone, in today's Independent.

That Israeli flotilla inquiry in full

Mark Steel has a very funny comment piece in The Independent today. It's about these inquiries that get held into the circumstances surrounding wars and attacks on civilians and deals mostly with Israel's ridiculous inquiry into its attack on the Gaza flotilla but also mentions Israel's stated intention to co-operate with the UN inquiry on the same thing. I'll just post the last paragraph here but the whole thing is well worth a read:
bit by bit Israel is finding it has to answer for itself publicly, and the old excuses are not so easily accepted. From now on they'll have to put a bit more thought into their bollocks, which has got to be for the good.
I don't know. I presume that if Israel is truly co-operating with a UN inquiry then it has been rigged in their favour much like its own inquiry.

August 02, 2010

Nakba 2010?

Well not really. The nakba that began in 1947 if not earlier, is still continuing that's all. See this article on the recent eviction of Bedouin from the Negev on Max Blumenthal's site:
On July 26, Israeli police demolished 45 buildings in the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Arakib, razing the entire village to the ground to make way for a Jewish National Fund forest. The destruction was part of a larger project to force the Bedouin community of the Negev away from their ancestral lands and into seven Indian reservation-style communities the Israeli government has constructed for them. The land will then be open for Jewish settlers, including young couples in the army and those who may someday be evacuated from the West Bank after a peace treaty is signed. For now, the Israeli government intends to uproot as many villages as possible and erase them from the map by establishing “facts on the ground” in the form of JNF forests. (See video of of al-Arakib’s demolition here).

Arab Negev News publisher Ata Abu Madyam supplied me with a series of photos he took of the civilians in action. They depicted Israeli high school students who appeared to have volunteered as members of the Israeli police civilian guard (I am working on identifying some participants by name). Prior to the demolitions, the student volunteers were sent into the villagers’ homes to extract their furniture and belongings. A number of villagers including Madyam told me the volunteers smashed windows and mirrors in their homes and defaced family photographs with crude drawings. Then they lounged around on the furniture of al-Arakib residents in plain site of the owners. Finally, according to Matyam, the volunteers celebrated while bulldozers destroyed the homes.

“What we learned from the summer camp of destruction,” Madyam remarked, “is that Israeli youth are not being educated on democracy, they are being raised on racism.” (The cover of the latest issue of Madyam’s Arab Negev News features a photo of Palestinians being expelled to Jordan in 1948 juxtaposed with a photo of a family fleeing al-Arakib last week. The headline reads, “Nakba 2010.”)

Still at least the JNF is making the desert green again...

August 01, 2010

Israel questions its right to exist

This is interesting. Ha'aretz reports that Israel is keeping documents under wraps that have already been hidden for 50 years.
The material was not accessible to the public previously, and the new regulations merely put a retroactive stamp of legality on the closure of the archives, which until now was sealed illegally. The state archivist warned that some of the classified materials "has implications over [Israel's] adherence to international law."

His words suggest that the state will be seen as an outlaw if the past deeds of the security and intelligence services are made public. But his explanations are not reasonable. Israel, which this year celebrated its 62nd birthday, can and must confront the less than heroic chapters in its past and reveal them to the public and for historical study. The public has a right to know about the decisions made by the state's founders, even if they involved violations of human rights, covering up crimes or harassing political opponents by security means. The country is mature and strong enough to absorb the criticism that could arise if, for example, previously unpublished testimonies are discovered about the events at Deir Yassin.

This is easy for Ha'aretz to say but we're just getting through the queazy feeling Israel gave its allies over the flotilla. Do they really want the wider world to see an Israeli imprimatur on the truth of its questionable legality?

Obama: Abbas must talk while Israel expands

I've read in a couple of places now that Obama has written to Abbas telling him that he has to attend talks with Israel so as to make it look like there's a peace process processing. Apparently this will legitimise the conquest of the bits of Palestine that haven't already been conquered by zionists. Let's see what the Daily Telegraph says about this:
After months of placing the onus on Israel to lay the groundwork for new negotiations, Mr Obama's decision to change tack represents a desperate bid to salvage the long-stalled peace process from total collapse.

In a letter delivered to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, two weeks ago, the US president said he expected objections to direct talks to be dropped by early August, according to a version leaked to the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat.

According to the 16-point missive, Mr Abbas's compliance would lead to renewed American support for Palestinian statehood, while resistance would result in painful consequences.

"Obama will regard any rejection of his proposal to move to direct talks as absolutely unacceptable," the letter read. "Such rejection will have consequences, in the form of a loss of trust in President Abbas and the Palestinian side. There will also be other effects on US-Palestinian relations."

Given that Israel has carte blanche to build in occupied territory and to slaughter Palestinian civilians the mind boggles as to what the Americans are actually threatening.