January 31, 2011

Go Mubarak! Tel Aviv awaits!

Keep following the Angry Arab News Service for updates of events in Egypt. As'ad AbuKhalil, for it is he, has an eager following of informants throughout the Middle East tipping him off with all sorts of useful info. See this demonstration in Egypt:




Here is a translation from a comment below the youtube video:
 Obviously, this is the best I can translate it. It doesn't rhyme like it does in Arabic, lol. "Leave, leave, Mubarak. Tel Aviv is waiting for you. Gamal, tell your father, the Egyptian people hate you. We've had enough. They've raised the price of sugar and oil. They've wrecked our homes. Raise your voice, people of Egypt. We can't even find beans."
Of course Tel Aviv wants Mubarak to remain in Egypt as surely as it wants dictatorial rule maintained in Saudi and Jordan.

Heed Mubarak says Israel

Geddit! Oh never mind.  The point here is that the "only democracy in the Middle East", erm Israel, is calling on its American and European allies to support the Cairo killer for the sake of "stability" in the Middle East.  See Ha'aretz
Israel called on the United States and a number of European countries over the weekend to curb their criticism of President Hosni Mubarak to preserve stability in the region. 
Jerusalem seeks to convince its allies that it is in the West's interest to maintain the stability of the Egyptian regime. The diplomatic measures came after statements in Western capitals implying that the United States and European Union supported Mubarak's ouster.

So the west wants him gone but its plucky little ally to the east of Egypt wants him to remain.  It gets better.  Netanyahu knows how embarrassing his senior colleagues can be so they have been ordered not to discuss Egypt publicly at all. I mean what can anyone in the Israeli government say that would help Mubarak?
Israeli officials are keeping a low profile on the events in Egypt, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even ordering cabinet members to avoid commenting publicly on the issue.
But then true to Israeli form what they won't do openly they openly do, er, covertly:
Senior Israeli officials, however, said that on Saturday night the Foreign Ministry issued a directive to around a dozen key embassies in the United States, Canada, China, Russia and several European countries. The ambassadors were told to stress to their host countries the importance of Egypt's stability. In a special cable, they were told to get this word out as soon as possible.
I should have thought that the overthrow of Mubarak would have implications for Gaza but that doesn't appear to be Israel's key concern:
"The Americans and the Europeans are being pulled along by public opinion and aren't considering their genuine interests," one senior Israeli official said. "Even if they are critical of Mubarak they have to make their friends feel that they're not alone. Jordan and Saudi Arabia see the reactions in the West, how everyone is abandoning Mubarak, and this will have very serious implications."
So this is bigger than Gaza. As "the only democracy in the Middle East" denies democracy and the means of sustenance to the people in Gaza it shows that it also wants democracy denied to all people everywhere. Israelis mustn't say what they think, European and American public opinion should be ignored and the dictatorships of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia must be maintained. And why? Because "the only democracy in the Middle East" says so, that's why.

Harry's Place and Engage quietly agree to disagree on an "antisemitic" incident

Here's a thing I've only just noticed.  Harry's Place and Engage are usually very quick to smear critics of Israel as being antisemitic.  The latter, Engage, can usually be relied on to haul up obscure instances of antisemitism when Israel is behaving particularly badly.  But now there have been allegations of antisemitism on student demonstrations from three mainstream media outlets, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail and Sky News and Engage hasn't said a word.  Harry's Place has run a post on it where they saw fit to post a comment as an update thus:
I was at this protest today and I heard 2, yes, two people chanting this [antisemitic abuse]. And, guess what, the two men chanting this were of Asian descent, they were not white. 
The comment goes on to complain that The Daily Mail hadn't mentioned that the offending remarks were made by Asians and not whites and that
about 20 or so people started chanting “no, no, no to racists” at these men.
Ok, so Harry's Place has made a balls up suggesting that The Daily Mail should be racially profiling those it smears but still you would expect a self-styled "anti-racist campaign against antisemitism", such as Engage claims to be, to express concern about these allegations of antisemitism against student protesters against the education cuts in the UK. If the allegations were true you'd expect Engage to report on them and denounce the perpetrators. If false, they might be concerned enough to denounce those using the false allegation of antisemitism in order to deflect criticism of the government over the education cuts.

But of course there is a problem here. Harry's Place is one of the few blogs reporting and supporting the rightist allegations against the students. It turns out that the main activists in the march that drew the false allegations were from the so-called Alliance for Workers Liberty. The AWL are mostly a zionist group masquerading as trotskyists in order to more effectively deploy the antisemitism smear against anti-zionists. To do this effectively they have to get involved in causes that have no direct bearing on Palestine. So there they are getting involved with the students when the right decides that the antisemitism smear might be useful to help the UK government with its little difficulty over the cuts. So now the AWL is in the role reversing position of having to denounce false allegations of antisemitism. So now we have Harry's Place accusing AWL activists of antisemitism when usually HP. the AWL and Engage sing from the same smear sheet. So where is Engage on this?  Does it denounce imaginary antisemitism as it so often does or does it denounce the imaginers?  My bet is that they will continue to ignore the whole thing.

But Harry's Place and the Alliance for Workers Liberty have surpassed even themselves.  For years they have cheapened the allegation of antisemitism.  Now, with Engage's silence on this latest issue, they have bankrupted it.  Well done those three!

January 30, 2011

Aaron Porter a "tory too": statement of fact or rhyming slang?

The bogus allegation of antisemitism turns up in the unlikeliest of places.  The latest case is that of student protests against, among other things, the National Union of Students' president, Aaron Porter.  The Daily Mail is reporting that
 The national president of the NUS pulled out of speaking at a student fees rally after being surrounded by demonstrators calling for his resignation and shouting anti-Semitic insults at him. 

They went on:
One photographer reported chants of ‘Tory Jew scum’ directed at Mr Porter, who is facing calls to step down as NUS president by members of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, who claim he has ‘lost the confidence of the movement’.
Unfortunately, whilst I am sure the unnamed photographer will have wished they had a movie camera, they could only could only snap stills. They don't prove anything so it's pointless pasting them here.

Sky news ran the "antisemitic abuse" story too. They did produce a film clip of the event but there is no antisemitic abuse in the film nor does the reporter on film mention any antisemitism.


The allegation is in the write up only:
But Aaron Porter, the president of the National Union of Students, had to be given a police escort after he too became a target.
Demonstrators had surrounded him, chanting anti-Semitic insults and calling for him to resign as he attended the rally.
Still, we have a youtube video of the event. Let's have a see and a listen:

From what I can hear the guy is being accused of being a "Tory too" and at one point someone says "I want to hit you with my shoe". The Guardian report appears to tally with what I heard on the video clip:
Some of the protestors in Manchester turned on Porter – who had been due to speak at a rally in the city – calling him a "Tory too". Porter had previously been calling for unity in the student movement, which has fractured as opinions differ over how best to conduct the demos and sit-ins being organised around the country against the cuts and fee increases.
So does anyone have any evidence for these allegations of antisemitism or has the meaning of antisemitism morphed (yet again) from anti-Jewish to anti-racist to anti-establishment?

Army protects demonstrators from police in Egypt

From Christian Science Monitor:

January 29, 2011

Israel severs diplomatic relations with Egypt

Well something like that. El Al has flown the families of diplomats out of the capital. Here's the Jerusalem Post:
The Foreign Ministry on Saturday commissioned a special flight to bring home the families of diplomats stationed in Cairo amidst the anti-government protests taking place in Egypt, Israel Radio reported.

In addition to the family members of the diplomats, some forty other Israelis who had been residing in Egypt were brought home on the flight for fear of their safety.

Israel is the first country to evacuate citizens from Egypt.
According to the Angry Arab News Service,
"i just drove by what used to be the israeli embassy in cairo. it's now completely empty, the staff has fled. there is no longer an israeli flag hanging in cairo or anywhere else in egypt."
This means that Jordan is the only Arab country where the Israeli flag still flies.

Palestinians stage occupation in London

See this report from The Guardian website, but not the print edition:
The offices of the Palestinian ambassador to the UK have been occupied by a group of students who are demanding new Palestinian national council elections.
At 1pm today, around a dozen Palestinian students from a number of British universities arrived at the Palestinian general delegation to the UK in Hammersmith, west London.
Although they had made an appointment to see the ambassador, Professor Manuel Hassassian, they arrived in large numbers and with computers and banners.
A spokesman for the students said they had been moved to stage a peaceful sit-in by the release of leaked Palestinian papers over the last few days.
"The documents confirmed what we had known all along — that they are out of touch with the people," the spokesman said.
As well as calling for new elections, the students — from Oxford, SOAS, LSE, City and Westminster universities — are demanding a more inclusive political process that reflects and engages all Palestinians.
"We are ready to stay as long as necessary until our message has been received and understood," he said.
The ambassador, whose office has been occupied, has asked the students to leave the room but has told them they are welcome to remain in the building.
"They told me they wanted to hold a sit-in in my office. I told them: 'You're welcome. This is your embassy. This is your home'," he said.
Hassassian also said he had agreed to pass their demands on to the Palestinian government, but needed his office back if he was to relay them.
"We are being very hospitable and we hope that they respect our hospitality," he said.
Two Metropolitan police officers entered the embassy a little after 4pm, and chatted to the ambassador and protesters.
I only stumbled on this just now. They need to publicise these things more.

January 27, 2011

From Tunisia to Egypt

More on McEwan and the Jerusalem Prize

My friend Roland Rance had a good letter in The Guardian the other day:
Sarah Ludford (Letters, 24 January) is living in a fantasy world if she believes "having Ian McEwan in town talking to a bunch of intellectuals … may cause [the Israeli] government some discomfort".
The huge majority of Israeli intellectuals, who accept the occupation and its consequences, will not wish to discuss McEwan's critical views with him. Nor will the small minority who take a consistent stand against oppression, and support the cultural boycott of Israel.
That leaves McEwan's moral equivalents, the equivocating fence-sitters. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday they will criticise the occupation, while on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday they will justify Israel's wars. But on Sunday they may find time to commiserate with McEwan on the harsh plight of liberal intellectuals.
Roland Rance
London
Most letters I have seen tend to criticise what appears to be a self-serving decision to collect a Jerusalem Prize. Here's another from some Israelis who support BDS:
As Israeli citizens who support the boycott, divestment and sanctions call on Israel, we believe that if Ian McEwan accepts the Jerusalem prize next month in Jerusalem (Letters, 26 January), it will make him a collaborator with Israel's worst human rights offenders and its "business as usual" policy. The Jerusalem prize is awarded by the Israeli establishment, which is keen on branding Israel in general, and Jerusalem in particular, as beacons of enlightenment and democracy. In reality, Ian McEwan will be playing into the hands of and shaking hands with cynical politicians who are trying to whitewash their systematic human rights violations. Specifically, he will be legitimising the actions of Jerusalem's racist mayor, Nir Barkat, who pursues and defends the expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem, in order for them to be occupied by Jewish settlers. If McEwan "opposes illegal Israeli settlements", how can he accept the accolades of the people who are responsible for that abomination?



Mr McEwan's hiding behind the acceptance of the prize by others is an example of an unprincipled approach. Furthermore, his attempt to imply that the boycott movement is against cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians is refuted by our joint political activities. As responsible Israeli citizens, we are working together with Palestinians to achieve justice for Palestinians, and a future for all of us. We urge Ian McEwan to take a stand for human rights and justice and turn down the prize.
Ronnie Barkan, Ofra Ben-Artzi, Joesph Dana, Professor Rachel Giora, Neta Golan, Iris Hefets, Shir Hever, Eytan Lerner, Dr Anat Matar, Rela Mazali, Ofer Neiman, Jonathan Stanczak
Jerusalem, Israel
As it happens it turns out that Ian McEwan has form when it comes to supporting islamophobes.

January 25, 2011

Nothing to Bragg about?

Wowee!  Melvyn Bragg has a letter in today's Guardian opposing a boycott of the State of Israel.  See this:
Despite my admiration for John Berger, I think that he and his friends are wrong to take Ian McEwan to task for accepting the Jerusalem prize (Letters, 24 January). I can see no value in such boycotts. Academic and intellectual freedom is surely too important to be checked by politics.

Melvyn Bragg
London
Now see this excerpt from the letter he is criticising:
Israel has illegally occupied East Jerusalem since 1967. The Arab residents of what ought to be the capital of a Palestinian state are instead subjected to house demolition, routine humiliation at checkpoints, and arrest and/or expulsion for peacefully demonstrating against these injustices. Considering also the continuing illegal settlements in the West Bank, the siege of Gaza, the detention of Palestinian children, and the murder of nine aid workers on the Mavi Marmara, and the Jerusalem prize – awarded to writers whose work explores the theme of "individual freedom in society" – is a cruel joke and a propaganda tool for the Israeli state.
From Melvyn Bragg's letter you might think that, whilst he is opposed to Israel because of "continuing illegal settlements in the West Bank, the siege of Gaza, the detention of Palestinian children, and the murder of nine aid workers on the Mavi Marmara", he is against boycotts in principle. But from an earlier letter of Bragg's to the Guardian back in 2005 we can see that Lord Bragg doesn't actually do principle:
I write to express dismay and opposition to the decision taken by the AUT to sever links with Haifa and Bar-Ilan universities.

This boycott fails to recognise the continuous democratic processes and discussions within Israel, where brave voices are constantly raised against the actions in Palestine; it glides over the effects of the barbaric suicide attacks on the streets of Israel and the unremitting threats from Arab states that they will destroy Israel
So he doesn't want a boycott of Israel because he likes Israel. What is interesting is that now he can't bring himself to list those things he likes about Israel any more. Either that or the Guardian's letters editor decided that any Israel apologetics would spoil the message.

January 22, 2011

Racists insult Macy Gray, Macy Gray insults anti-racists

This is rather sad.  I posted Macy Gray's apparently earnest attempt to sound out her fans as to whether she should boycott Israel or not.  She had already agreed to two dates there in February so I assume there was money on the table.  By the time I looked at her facebook page there were well over 7,000 comments, most of which seemed to be imploring her to support the boycott.  Well, according to YNET, Macy Gray made up her mind a few days ago to commit to performing for racist war criminals and to insult those people trying to persuade her to support the boycott.
After posting a Facebook status asking her fans for their opinion on whether she should go ahead with two planned concerts in Tel Aviv, and later confirming she would in fact be performing, Macy Gray is now dealing with the backlash from her decision.

Gray confirmed that she and her band would be coming to Israel as planned on her Twitter account Wednesday night stating: "Dear Israel fans. Me and the band will be there in 20 days. Can't wait. See you then. Peace."
All very strange that she allowed comment to continue into several thousand postings on facebook without using facebook to announce that she is taking the racist shilling but there's more.  Since racists are paying the piper they also get to call the tune or at least the lyric: 
It appeared that Gray was taken aback by the aggressive tone of some of the posts. In response to a poster claiming to be "passionately Palestinian" she wrote: "See I'm willing to listen - really listen - but some of you so called boycotters are just assholes."
Apparently it doesn't take an asshole to write this.

BITCH: Macy Gray Calls Israel “Disgusting,” “Apartheid” State

Poor old Macy couldn't have known what she was getting into when she invited fans to comment on the boycott but her decision to go ahead and play for apartheid and to insult its opponents has been taken knowingly and with a will. I can only assume that she is leaving her decision off of her facebook page because people have to click that they "like" her before they can comment. Now thousands of people who she has described as "assholes" are on record "liking" her, ironically so that they can say that they don't like what she is doing in collaborating with the racist war criminals of the State of Israel.

Still, twenty days to go....

January 21, 2011

Macy Gray asks facebook fans whether she should boycott Israel

This is in the Jewish Chronicle:
American singer Macy Gray has gone on Facebook to ask her fans whether she should give in to the demands of anti-Israel boycotters.

Ms Gray, who is set to perform two shows in Tel Aviv next month, has been the target of an online campaign to encourage her to cancel the tour.
More than 470 people have responded to a question by the singer, known for the hit “I try” on what she should do.
Ms Gray wrote to her Facebook fans “I'm getting a lot of letters from activists urging / begging me to boycott by NOT performing in protest of Apartheid against the Palestinians.
She added that while she did not agree with the actions of the Israeli government, she wanted to play.
“I gotta lotta fans there I don’t want to cancel on.
“And I don’t know how my NOT going changes anything.”
It's an interesting fact that if you follow the facebook link in the article you will find that the Jewish Chronicle report is accurate. Now there's a good reason to at least consider a boycott of Israel. It seems to focus the minds of its reporters and editor more than other issues around Palestine.

But do follow the link and think of what can be said to Ms Gray to get her behind the boycott of the last of the colonial settler states.

January 17, 2011

Melanie Phillips on....?

I'm not sure what she's on but watch this:



Sheesh

Many thanks to J/PDF in the comments for posting this from the Chicago Boyz blog. The Chicago Boyz also like this.

January 14, 2011

Beyond Satire. Captain Israel fights the snake of BDS

This is surreal. JVP’s Muzzlewatch has an article on Stand With Us’s latest production. The right-wing Zionist group, Stand With Us has recently produced a children’s magazine which Muzzlewatch correctly points out is racist. Unabashedly in-your-face racist. Muzzlewatch focuses on the figure of the BDS-serpent which Captain Israel slays in issue 2 (no, I’m not making this up) and the serpent’s resemblance to traditional antisemitic portrayal of the Jewish menace. In their words:

Where on earth did they get the inspiration to portray the Palestinian and international human rights groups that support the BDS movement as a big, fanged, serpent? As vermin? And then I remembered I had seen it in different (Genesis inspired) anti-Semitic propaganda about ‘conniving’ Jews, and thought, why not just call them all “cockroaches” and get it over with?

The cockroach reference indexes both Nazi language and the word that former Israeli PM, Yitzhak Shamir used to describe Palestinians. Strong, insightful analysis, complete with said antisemitic cartoons. Myself, though I was more caught with the figure of Captain Israel, because when I saw him, there was an immediate click in my brain. I had seen this person before. The brilliant American-Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley had already portrayed him in a series of cartoons as Israel Man. The resemblance is almost too perfect to be coincidental. What was for Valley a way of satirising Zionism has moved beyond satire. It is now an approved way of portraying Zionism.

Muzzlewatch makes the point that ‘Perfect, shining Captain Israel needs a diseased, less than human “other” to give him his all-man mojo’. For Valley that ‘other’ was Diaspora Boy, the Zionist diaspora Jew whose pronouncements against his loathsome self have become self-fulfilling prophecies. For the Los Angeles based Stand With Us, such criticism is too close for comfort, much as they revere the Israeli muscle Jew ideology first propounded by (need it be said) a diaspora Zionist who never moved to Israel/Palestine, Max Nordau.

Whenever Valley’s cartoon’s appears, he is of course accused of being a kapo nazi self-hating rat, somewhat proving his point about Zionists excoriating diaspora Jews, even (especially?) when they too are diaspora Jews. More ‘thoughtful’ critiques said that his cartoon wasn’t funny since the satire was too crude, too extreme. It seems now that it’s no longer funny, since it’s no longer satire.


January 12, 2011

SOAS Palestine Society 7th Annual Conference

PAST IS PRESENT: SETTLER COLONIALISM IN PALESTINE

7th Annual Conference

5- 6 March | Brunei Gallery | School of Oriental and African Studies – London

organised by
SOAS Palestine Society

and hosted by the
London Middle East Institute 


For over a century, Zionism has subjected Palestine and Palestinians to a structural and violent form of destruction, dispossession, land appropriation, and erasure in the pursuit of a new colonial Israeli society. Too often, this Palestine ‘Question’ has been framed as unique; a national, religious, and/or liberation struggle with little semblance to colonial conflicts elsewhere. The two-day conference, Past is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine, seeks to reclaim settler colonialism as the central paradigm from which to understand Palestine. It asks: what are the socio-political, economic and spatial processes and mechanisms of settler colonialism in Palestine, and what are the logics underpinning it? By unearthing the histories and geographies of the Palestinian experience of settler colonialism, this conference does not only chart possibilities for understanding Palestine within comparative settler colonial analyses. Rather, it also seeks to break open frameworks binding Palestine, re-align the Palestinian movement within a universal history of decolonisation, and imagine new possibilities for Palestinian resistance, solidarity and common struggle.



Day One: Saturday, 5th March 2011

Registration and Refreshments: 9.00-9.30

Opening and Keynote: 9.30-10.15


Hassan Hakimian – London Middle East Institute

Not Another Racism: Zionism, a Logic of Elimination
Patrick Wolfe – La Trobe University



Session One – Empire, Settler Colonialism and Zionism: 10.45-12.15


Chair: Nelida Fuccaro – School of Oriental and African Studies

Playing the Zionist Card: The British Empire and the Middle East
John Newsinger – Bath Spa University

Literature of Settler Societies: Albert Camus, S. Yizhar, and Amos Oz
Gabriel Piterberg – University of California, Los Angeles

The Settler Colonialism Paradigm and its History in Revolutionary Palestinian Resistance Literature: Poetry and Politics
Naseer Aruri – University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Refreshments: 12.15-12.30


Session Two – Zionism Destroys to Replace: 12.30-14.00

Chair: Laleh Khalili – School of Oriental and African Studies

The Palestinian Labour Market and the Politics of Zionist Settler Colonialism
Gershon Shafir – University of California, San Diego

The Erasure of the Native
Ilan Pappe – University of Exeter

The Second Phase of the Settler Colonial Conquest of Palestine: The 1967 Allon Plan and the Search for a Zionist ‘Settlement’
Gilbert Achcar – School of Oriental and African Studies

Lunch: 14.00-14.45

Session Three – Zionism Controls the Native: 14.45-16.15

Chair: Ruba Salih – School of Oriental and African Studies

Chronicles of a Cultural Destruction: The Appropriation of Palestinian Knowledge during the 1948 War
Gish Amit – Ben-Gurion University

Indigenous Citizens and the Contradictions of Status amongst Palestinians in Israel
As’ad Ghanem – Ibn Khaldun, The Arab Association for Research and Development

Frontier Wars and Robotic Colonisation
Eyal Weizman – Goldsmiths College

Refreshments: 16.15-16.30

Session Four – A Political Economy of Settler Colonialism: 16.30-18.00

Chair: Elisa van Waeyenberge – School of Oriental and African Studies

A ‘Bad Lot’? Palestinian Businessmen and the British Colonial State
Sherene Seikaly – American University of Cairo

The Exploitation of the Palestinian Economy by Israel
Shir Hever – Alternative Information Center

Palestinian Capitalism, Regional Accumulation Processes and Implications for Liberation Strategy
Adam Hanieh – School of Oriental and African Studies



Day Two: Sunday 6th March 2011

Registration and Refreshments: 10.30-11.00

Keynote: 11.00-12.00

Letter from Gaza: On Colonialism, Capitalism and Resistance
Rabah Mohanna – Palestinian Legislative Council, Gaza

Session Five – Indigenous Life and the Reverberations of Settler Colonialism: 12.00-13.30

Chair: Lori Allen - University of Cambridge

Counterfeit Citizenship: On the Politics of Property in Nahr El-Bared
Monika Halkort – Queen’s University, Belfast

Ethnic Cleansing in the Naqab: The Razings of the Bedouin Village of
Al-‘Araqib

Mansour Nsasra – University of Exeter

Policing, Self-Policing and Indigenous Collaboration
Mouin Rabbani – Institute of Palestine Studies

Lunch: 13.30-14.30

Session Six – Overcoming Zionism, Dismantling Settler Colonialism: 14.30-16.00

Chair: Jan Jananayagam – Tamils Against Genocide

Decolonising Settler Colonialisms
Lorenzo Veracini – Swinburne University of Technology

The Power and Pitfalls of a Support Movement: Campaigning Against the Jewish National Fund
Selma James – International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Towards Common Liberation
Mezna Qato – University of Oxford

Refreshments: 16.00-16.15



Roundtable – Unsettling (Settler) Colonialism: 16.15-18.15




Tickets
Please note SEATS ARE LIMITED – book in advance
Price: £30 (£20 concessions, and £40 organisations) – all tickets include lunch and refreshments

To buy your tickets
Online – www.soaspalsoc.org
By cheque: Send cheques payable to SOAS Palestine Society with attached note of email address to: SOAS Palestine Society, Thornhaugh Street, London, WC1H 0XG

Location

SOAS Brunei Gallery
Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square
London, WC1H 0XG

Contact
palestineconference@gmail.com
www.soaspalsoc.org

January 09, 2011

Six of one half a dozen of the other

Channel 4 has been showing some people from Jewish and Muslim backgrounds talking about their take on the State of Israel's relations with the Palestinians.

The overall context is somewhat mystified by the ridiculous title, Can Jews and Muslims ever find peace?. But it's not too bad. There appears to be equal weight given to zionist and anti-zionist opinions.

So what is the Jewish Chronicle's beef about a "biased Mideast film"?
Last week, seven 90-second films entitled Can Jews and Muslims ever find peace? aired as part of the 4Thought series. It is broadcast every day on Channel 4 in the evening and is also covered on the Channel 4's website.

The episodes included clips from Christian student and "friend of Israel" Sam Hailes, Muslim musician Kareem Dennis, and Roberta Moore, head of the English Defence League's Jewish division.

Other participants were Muslim interfaith worker Suna Umair, Israeli Jew Yael Kahn, Jewish performance artist Danny Raphael, and Muslim convert Paul Salahuddin Armstrong.
Ok, from what I have seen this is a fairly accurate description. I know, that's surprising for the Jewish Chronicle. But what's this?
Channel 4 has received six complaints in total, three claiming the programmes were pro-Palestinian and the rest accusing them of being pro-Israel.
Ok, so views have been presented for and against the State of Israel and complaints are also running at fifty-fifty, albeit on a low turnout. So what's this got to do with the Community Security Trust and the Board of Deputies?
Mark Gardner, of the Community Security Trust, said: "It is appalling that Channel 4 would broadcast these highly provocative views over more representative and less extreme views."

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies, said: "This programme has a fantastic opportunity to inform and educate the public on a wide variety of issues, and one would expect Channel 4 to ensure that they offer balanced debate instead of skewed narrative."
In the film views are presented this way and that way in equal measure. Complaints too are running at fifty-fifty. That's "skewed"? Sometimes I think zionists don't like equality.

January 04, 2011

January 03, 2011

Holocaust survivors denounce the rise of fascism in Israel

I've always thought of zionism being very like fascism. The violence alone puts it in the same ball park but the racism is becoming more open these days. Even the UK's Daily Telegraph is taking notice:
Until this month, the shadowy Lehava organisation was best known for issuing an eccentric demand in March urging Bar Refaeli, an Israelimodel, not to marry Leonardo DiCaprio, the American actor, because he is a gentile.
But in recent weeks it has taken on a more sinister hue by spearheading a series of actions that included a rally in the coastal city of Bat Yam to denounce Jews who rent their homes to Arabs.
In the broader political spectrum, Lehava may represent a tiny minority of malcontents but there is growing unease in Israel after the message about renting homes was effectively endorsed by 300 rabbis.
The rabbis, some of them of senior rank, signed up to an edict issued last month that declared: "It is forbidden in the Torah to sell a house or a field in the land of Israel to a foreigner."
With its undertones reminiscent of 1930s Berlin, where Jews were relegated to second-class status and denied the right to rent German-owned properties, the pronouncement has appalled Holocaust survivors.
Of course, you can't expect the Telegraph to expose the whole shebang of Israel's racism, just those it can pass off as fringe:
Lehava has caused widespread concern by concentrating its attention on Israel's Arab minority, which makes up 20 per cent of the population. Israeli politicians, including Benjamin Netanyahu,
the prime minister, as well as a large number of rabbis have denounced the edict.


Yet Israel's reputation of tolerance and inclusion towards its Arab minority has been tarnished. Chanting "death to the Arabs", a group of ultraorthodox Jews threw bottles and stones at a block of flats housing Arab students in the northern town of Safed. Elsewhere in the country, there have been several reported cases of Jewish gangs, one of them consisting of teenage girls, beating up Arabs on the street.

Mr Flug, who said many fellow survivors of the Holocaust had called him to express their anxiety, appealed to the Israeli government to take action against the rabbis. "Can you imagine what would happen if a Jew in Germany or Switzerland or Britain wanted to rent an apartment and neighbours or the mayor said no?" he said. "You must stop this kind of thing when it begins."
Gideon Levy in Ha'aretz has no such qualms:
This was the year we finally came out of the closet - no more saccharine phrases and hollow talk about justice and equality, no more flowery and superficial words about peace and two states. This year the truth was heard in public, echoing loud and clear from one end of the country to the other, worrisome and depressing.
But he's right. Israel's racism, its aims and objectives are out in the open now.

Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign has sent out an email calling for increased BDS activism in 2011 but no doubt the hasbara brigade will be increasing their activism too.

January 02, 2011

Mondo awards

See this from Mondoweiss:


This is Entry 22 in the Mondo Awards end-of-year Inspire-us contest. The author is secretary of Americans AGAINST Apartheid UK
We would like to nominate our personal hero, Deborah Fink, a UK activist (as well as a talented soprano and cabaret artist) from London, a dynamo of activism who has inspired me, as well as many other people in the Palestine solidarity movement here in the UK.