August 29, 2012

IMEU radio discussion with Rachel Corrie's parents


On Tuesday morning local time, an Israeli court dismissed a civil suit filed against the government by the parents of American peace activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer while trying to prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes in Gaza in 2003. The suit accused the State of Israel of being responsible for the 23-year-old’s death and of failing to conduct a proper investigation, the latter charge supported by the US Ambassador to Israel, who was recently quoted saying that Israel’s efforts to investigate Rachel’s death weren’t credible. Following the verdict, the Corrie family and human rights advocates criticized the decision, which the Corries’ lawyer said they were considering appealing.

Join us as we discuss the verdict with Cindy and Craig Corrie, and what comes next in their seven-year long legal struggle to find answers in their daughter’s death. Corrie family lawyer Hussein Abu Hussein may also join the call if his schedule allows.
WHEN: Wednesday, August 29, 2012, at 11:30 AM ET.
Cindy and Craig Corrie, Rachel’s parents and founders of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.
QUESTIONS may be posed live via telephone by pressing 1 during the call to be placed in the queue, by live chat on the press briefing Web page, or via Twitter by including @theIMEU in your tweet with your question.

IF YOU MISS THE CALL, the discussion will be archived at the link above or you can find it by visiting the IMEU at
CONTACT: For quick access to sources in the US, Israel, and Palestine, for this and other developing stories contact Chris at (202) 903-3271, or Samer at (202) 615-2393 or For a Palestine-based IMEU representative contact Diana at +972-547-559-734, or Vivien at +972-597-220-838 or
* * * * * *


In addition to the many unarmed Palestinian demonstrators injured or killed while protesting against the theft of their land and resources by Israel, a number of internationals, including Americans, have been seriously wounded or killed by Israeli forces while participating in or covering nonviolent protests. The following is a partial list of nonviolent foreign activists and others who have been seriously injured or killed by Israeli forces in recent years.

May 15, 2011 - 22-year-old Palestinian-American student Munib Masri is shot in the back with live ammunition by Israeli soldiers along the Lebanon border while he participates in a march to mark the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba, the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes during the establishment of Israel. The bullet destroys Masri's left kidney and spleen and broke apart in his spine. He remains in a wheelchair.

May 1, 2011 – 60-year-old American citizen Sandra Quintano suffers two broken wrists and a laceration to her head after being assaulted by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village of Izbet al-Tabib during a peaceful demonstration against the construction of Israel’s wall, which will cut off villagers' access to their land.

June 2010 - At a demonstration at the Qalandiya checkpoint in the occupied West Bank in 2010, 21-year-old American artist and student Emily Henochowicz is hit in the face by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli border police. The force of the impact fractures her jaw and orbital bone and causes the loss of her left eye.

May 2010 – American citizen Furkan Dogan is shot and killed by Israeli commandos who forcibly commandeer the boat he’s traveling on in international waters as part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Dogan is shot multiple times in his leg, foot, back, and twice to the head. A United Nations investigation concludes that he and five of the other victims have been shot “execution-style” at close range, finding that Furkan had been shot in the face after “lying on the deck in a conscious or semi-conscious, state for some time.”

March 2009 - Oakland native and nonviolent International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist Tristan Anderson is shot in the face with a high-velocity tear-gas canister by Israeli forces while participating in a demonstration against a section of the wall Israel is building on land belonging to the town of Ni’lin in the occupied West Bank. Anderson suffers multiple fractures to his skull, a severe injury to the frontal lobe of his brain, and a collapsed eye socket, causing him to lose sight in his right eye. He spends more than a year in a Tel Aviv hospital recovering before returning to the US, where he continues to suffer the effects of his injury and is confined to a wheelchair.

May 2003 - British cameraman James Miler is shot and killed by Israeli troops while filming in Gaza. According to witnesses, there is no other shooting or violenct activity in the area at the time Miller is killed.

April 11, 2003 - A week after American ISM member Brian Avery is shot in the face and seriously wounded by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, British ISM member Tom Hurndall is shot in the head by Israeli soldiers in Gaza while he attempts to help a group of Palestinian children to safety after Israeli soldiers began shooting in the vicinity. After nearly a year in a coma, Hurndall dies in January 2004. Following pressure from the British government and Hurndall's family, the Israeli army laid charges of manslaughter against a soldier who confessed to the shooting. However critics says the soldier, who is a Bedouin Arab, is a scapegoat for a series of violent attacks on foreign activists by Israeli soldiers.

April 5, 2003 – American citizen and ISM volunteer Brian Avery is shot in the face by Israeli soldiers in the city of Jenin in the West Bank. Lucky to survive, Avery undergoes a series of facial reconstruction surgeries and suffers severe facial scarring. After initially refusing to investigate the incident, the Israeli government subsequently agrees to an out of court settlement paying Avery $175,000.

March 16, 2003 - 23-year-old Washington State native and ISM volunteer Rachel Corrie is run over and killed by an Israeli military bulldozer while trying to prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes in the town of Rafah in Gaza.

August 28, 2012

Divest from Caterpillar call follows bogus verdict in Rachel Corrie case

Just got this email from We Divest:
August 28, 2012

Press Contact:
Alissa Wise, National Coordinator, We Divest Campaign

Human Rights Advocates Intensify Call for Divestment as Israeli Court Fails to Provide Justice in Killing of American Peace Activist 

The We Divest Campaign, a national coalition demanding pension fund giant TIAA-CREF divest from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, is intensifying its call for divestment from Caterpillar Inc. in the wake of an Israeli court ruling today siding with the government in the civil court case brought by the Corrie family. The case alleged that the State of Israel was responsible for the killing of 23-year-old American peace activist Rachel Corrie, who was crushed to death by a Caterpillar bulldozer as she attempted to use nonviolent civil disobedience to stop the destruction of Palestinian homes by the Israeli army in Gaza in March 2003. The court’s decision followed an Israeli investigation that the US ambassador to Israel recently criticized as lacking credibility.

In a series of actions timed to coincide with the issuing of the verdict, human rights advocates in cities across the US will protest in front of local TIAA-CREF offices this week and deliver a letter urging trustees to divest fully from Caterpillar and other companies that profit from Israeli human rights abuses in the occupied Palestinian territories. The We Divest Campaign is supported by the Corrie family and the Rachel Corrie Foundation.

“At the time of her death, Rachel was trying to prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes by Caterpillar bulldozers,” said Riham Barghouti, a member of the We Divest National Coordinating Committee. “Israel’s illegal policy of destroying Palestinian homes in the occupied territories, sometimes extending to entire villages, remains as urgent an issue today as it was when Rachel was killed. In Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and Hebron Hills, Palestinians continue to live with the daily threat of their homes and property being confiscated or demolished by Israeli authorities. If TIAA-CREF trustees want to live up to their motto of investing ‘for the greater good,’ they must stop profiting from companies such as Caterpillar that are enabling Israel to carry out such gross human rights violations.”

While TIAA-CREF recently dropped $72 million worth of Caterpillar shares from its social choice funds, following the lead of ethical investment ratings agency MSCI, which downgraded Caterpillar in February in part over concerns about the use of the company’s products by the Israeli military, it continues to invest over $1 billion in Caterpillar through its general fund. 


The We Divest Campaign is a national coalition initiated byJewish Voice for Peace in July 2010 and includes the American Friends Service CommitteeAdalah-NY,Grassroots International, the US Palestinian Community Network, and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
 Nothing to add

August 25, 2012

Guardian repeals banana skin

I didn't think anything about this Joshua Treviño guy when Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada ran a post denouncing The Guardian's dishonesty in changing an announcement from the appointment of Treviño as a "correspondent" in its "US editorial team" to a mere "commentator" in its "commentary team" whilst The Guardian was demanding a retraction and apology from Abunimah for reporting the original announcement correctly. I didn't think that much about it when Tony Greenstein ran several posts denouncing the appointment.

It looked to me that The Guardian had just overstepped it a tad in trying to balance out some of its leftish types with a rightist.  After all they've had David Aaronovitch and Julie Burchill on the books before and they still have Nick Cohen at The Observer.  

But really the guy was completely off of my radar and then a fairly regular JSF commenter called Mooser said, off topic at the time, "The Guardian just hired Josh Trevino? Is that possible?" I simply replied with what I knew, "Apparently but they've already downgraded him from editorial to commentary."

Now I just noticed Mondoweiss reporting that Treviño has been ditched altogether by The Guardian.  The stated reason is that he failed to declare an interest when he wrote this Cif piece.

The Guardian keeps slipping on these banana skins but the way they've handled this one has been so shabby Charlie Pottins is asking, "Guardian does the right thing but is it the right way?" Actually, if you read nothing else about this whole sorry saga, read Charlie's post at Random Pottins.  It's a very handy round-up.

August 23, 2012

Pot calls kettle an apartheid state

I've just seen this in the Jerusalem Post:
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon late Wednesday hit back against South Africa over its decision to mandate special labels on products coming from settlements, saying the decision proves the country is still an apartheid state.
"The changes that took place in South Africa over the years did not yield a truly fundamental change," Ayalon said. "South Africa remains an apartheid state."
 Pots, kettles, etc.

August 21, 2012

Antony Lerman says "Enough already!" in The Guardian and Mike Marqusee says "Enough already!" to The Guardian

Two very different issues only related by my own perception.

Antony Lerman is saying, "Enough already!" to the Jewish establishment in the UK and not for the first time.  He has an article today in  the Guardian's Comment is Free section on line titled,  The abuse of dissenting Jews is shameful.
The Jewish establishment in the UK – which includes the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, the Zionist Federation and numerous private groupings of the great and the good – is highly experienced at this. I saw it happen in the 1980s when communal leaders sought to make life impossible for the small but highly active radical Jewish Socialists' Group. And I became a target for such treatment myself when I was appointed head of the influential Jewish Policy Research (JPR) thinktank for a second time in 2005, an experience I recall in my book The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist.
By then I had served the community professionally for 26 years. A Zionist for decades, I was one no longer. But I wished passionately that Israel would become a democratic state for all its citizens, end the occupation, recognise the Palestinians' right of return, and acknowledge that Israel's establishment in 1948 was a Nakba, a catastrophe, for the Palestinians. I had no intention of using JPR as a platform for advocating these views but rather made one of my principal aims creating space for Jewish critical thinking and debate about how Jews should relate to Israel, to its policies towards Palestinians and to the serious impact of its actions on European Jews. I believed that only through open and civil discussion of these issues could the necessary change in diaspora Jewish opinion occur.
I looked for the "article history" which used to be a feature of The Guardian's on line articles but they no longer have it so I don't know if the article appeared in print.  It made me think of a complaint Mike Marqusee made recently about how The Guardian exploits journalists by relegating their articles to Comment is free.  Here's Mike on
I submitted the article (below), on the tension between the Olympic packaging and the reality of sports, to the Guardian Comment page, hoping that some of it at least would find its way into print. The editors liked the piece and asked me to cut it down to the appropriate length, which I was happy to do. Then, without consulting with me, they stuck it on the Cif website (not the print edition) under the crass and inapposite headline “Spare us the jingoistic Olympic hype.
Inevitably readers responded to the headline rather than the article, and within hours there were hundreds of angry posts abusing me for being a killjoy and / or ‘anti-British’. The abuse is what you get for contributing anything contentious to Cif and it goes with the territory. But in this case it was made even more pointless than usual by the way the Guardian packaged the article.
Of course, this is only a minor irritation. Editors reserve the right to write headlines and I accept that, though I do think they have an obligation to write headlines that reflect accurately the content and tone of the articles.
There is however a more important issue involved, which is the Cif website and how it treats contributors in general.
Some time ago I resolved not to contribute articles to Cif (as opposed to the print edition) because the rate of pay was so insulting and so injurious to journalism. Many contributors are not paid at all and those who are, including me, receive £90 for 800-1200 words, a small fraction of the minimum NUJ rate, and not remotely a reflection of the labour, skill, research, and accumulated expertise involved in creating the article. I know that for many free-lance writers, including myself, £90 is not to be sneezed at, but the long term cost to our dignity and our craft is just too high. We all want our writings to be circulated as widely as possible, but the Guardian is exploiting that desire to secure virtually cost-free copy. This copy is then used to attract readers and generate revenues for the Guardian, none of which trickles back to the contributors.
If free-lancers enjoyed the slightest degree of industrial muscle, the Cif scam would have been busted long before now. All I can say to my NUJ comrades on the Guardian staff is that you shouldn’t be letting this happen.
There are, of course, other issues with Cif.

PS, In his article, Antony Lerman mentions but modestly doesn't link to his book, The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist.

August 18, 2012

Olympic retro?

I enjoyed this when I read it in The Week today.  It's a letter to The Guardian having a little reminisce about the old days of the USSR at the Olympics:
Every four years the former soi-disant Stalinist teacher of Soviet politics in me rises to the surface and I tot up how the old Soviet Union would have done in the Olympic medals table (Report, 13 August). This year I made it 47 golds won by the Russian Federation and the former Soviet republics, putting them at the top of the table, one ahead of the capitalist-imperialist United States (with its Nato lackeys far behind), and a massive nine ahead of deviationist China.
Robert O'Farrell
Shepton Mallet, Somerset
I guessed it wasn't from Andy Newman of Socialist Unity.

August 17, 2012

Liberating Palestine by exposing anti-zionist zionists?

The expression "anti-zionist zionist" was first coined by a zionist, the late Steve Cohen. Like much of what Steve Cohen had to say, the expression was designed to muddy the waters as to what zionism actually is.  Here's a taste:
I am an anti-Zionist because Zionism is racist
I am a Zionist because Zionism is anti-racist
Zionism is racist because it oppresses, depresses, represses and suppresses the Palestinians
Zionism is anti-racist because it is a response by Jews to the oppression, depression, repression and suppression of anti-semitism
That last line is a bit like saying that nazism is anti-imperialist because it was a response to the Treaty of Versailles but I just wanted to show who it was that seems to originally have coined the term.

Gilad Atzmon subsequently took the expression and applied it to Jews who claim to be anti-zionist in that they (we) oppose the existence of the State of Israel as a state specially for Jews and who therefore support the Palestinians' right of return.  In spite of chopping and changing what he (that is Atzmon) means by his plagiarised saying, he does apply it to Jews who are opposed to racism and in particular he claims that Jews, regardless of where they stand on Palestine, are zionists if they object to anti-Jewish racism, aka, antisemitism and often he seems to apply the term to all Jews.

Now I noticed a chap called Martin Iqbal (aka nit2am on twitter) using the expression "anti-zionist zionist" on the deLiberation website which was co-founded by Gilad Atzmon though Atzmon has now left it presumably on the grounds of irreconcilable similarities.  So let's have a little look at how Martin Iqbal uses the term "'anti-zionist' zionist":
The selective morality of ‘anti-Zionist’ Zionists (self-professed anti-Zionists who harbour certain Zionist viewpoints) says that Palestinians must languish in refugee camps merely because it would be ‘immoral’ to re-settle Israelis who live on stolen land. This is all while Israel proves its capability to resettle its own citizens when it colonises vast swathes of the West Bank and East Jerusalem......
This writer [Martin Iqbal] has recently spent time working with Israeli ‘anti-Zionists’ taking part in activism in solidarity with Palestinians in Occupied Palestine. Opposition to enacting the Right of Return is prevalent in these ‘anti-Zionist’ circles, making them decidedly Zionist, regardless of their protestations to the contrary.
When I first saw this article on deLiberation it concerned me that the goal posts had been moved. Atzmon had reduced the expression "zionism" to meaninglessness by falsely accusing anti-zionist Jews of being zionists simply for identifying or being identified as Jews or at least for opposing racism against Jews.  Martin Iqbal was now saying that anti-zionist zionists opposed the Palestinians' right of return. I wouldn't want to comment on the deLiberation site but when I saw Martin's post on his own blog, Empire Strikes Black, I also saw that Max Ajl, of Jewbonics, had commented asking for clarification of why Martin Iqbal appeared to have changed the meaning of the expression, "anti-zionist zionist" and suggesting that it was actually Gilad Atzmon's coinage.  This is how Martin responded:
I used the term 'anti-Zionist Zionists' because the people I refer to (who I've been speaking to and working with lately) claim to be opposed to the Zionist project, but there are key aspects of the Zionist project that they are not willing to oppose. I've cleared the wording of the article up and added some text to clarify it.
You seem to be talking about a different matter, over-analysing the terminology I'm using. I am not alluding to the specific "Zionist anti-Zionists" coinage of which you speak. If you read the article now it should be clear. I've no interest in getting into pedantic debates about semantics.
So Martin claims to be talking about something completely different from Atzmon's usage of the expression "anti-zionist zionist".  He also, wrongly, claims that the question is about semantics.

I put this to Martin in a few comments.  Here's one:
Max is right that the term as copied by Atzmon (most of Atzmon's formulations are copied from elsewhere and often from zionist sources) means a Jew who opposes the entirety of the zionist project and who therefore supports the right of return. Martin appears to want to make the charge, anti-zionist zionist, stick by factoring in Israeli Jews who oppose the right of return but that was never what was meant by anti-zionist zionist and he has failed a couple of times now to name anyone or any group he is accusing of claiming to be anti-zionist whilst opposing the right of return.
Also, in spite of his [Martin Iqbal's] claim to have "cleared the wording of the article up and added some text to clarify it" the article still reads as if there are identifiable people who claim to be anti-zionist whilst supporting one of zionism's central tenets, ie the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. 

That must certainly be the view of readers since the Jews routinely smeared as being zionists on that site (where this article is cross-posted) all support the right of return and the abolition of the State of Israel as a state for the world's Jews. 

So Martin, please name any person or group who you say call themselves anti-zionist whilst opposing the right of return or stop dog-whistling and do the decent thing by rewriting the article as something about the shortcomings of the so-called two state solution.
Martin got decidedly tetchy, repeating claims of semantic arguments, pedantry, grammar policing, trolling and resorting to homophobic and racist put-downs.

I don't know how many times I have to say this to make you understand. You either have nothing better to do, or this article really struck a chord with you. And I suspect it struck a chord with you not because you are so deeply concerned about semantic inconsistencies, rather you just want to defend the tribe. And perhaps you have been to 'Israel' and perhaps you have spoken to these types of people, you just want to convince the world that they don't exist. You clearly have a hard-on for Gilad Atzmon - go and write him an angry letter. You've made your point, your rants are falling on deaf ears now.
But Martin wasn't done yet. Here's another of his comments:
Okay, khalas? Can we move on now? Perhaps you would like to answer my question to you. I would say that you are a paradigmatic example of an ‘anti-Zionist’ who is also decidedly Zionist, because you perpetuate myths that are crucial tenets of Zionism. You’re terrified of challenging these lies – these are red lines that you will not cross. Aside from token denunciations of Islamophobia, which is just about as far as you’re willing to go, I’ll have more respect for you when you talk about Israel’s central role in 9/11 on your ‘anti-Zionist’ blog. Or, if you have the courage to tackle the popular narrative of the ‘holocaust’ – Israel’s most important founding myth – then you can claim to call yourself an ‘anti-Zionist’. Why do you, a self-professed 'anti-Zionist', remain utterly silent on these issues, which are the most damaging and dangerous Zionist myths that exist?

For all my "rants" were "falling on deaf ears now" Martin decided to pay Jews sans frontieres a visit and to email me.  The email and his comment stated pretty much the same thing as that last comment and offered, possibly inadvertently, some explanation of what he meant by the clunky oxymoron, anti-zionist zionist:
Dear Mark,

It seems that you don't want to discuss this in a public forum, which
I completely understand, but perhaps you would like to comment via

As you are aware I submitted a comment to your blog, and I'm sure you
will not be approving it.

While we're discussing 'anti-Zionists' who are indeed closet Zionists,
it seems fitting to discuss your 'anti-Zionist' blog.

Why do you, a self-professed anti-Zionist, refuse to discuss Israel's
central role in the 9/11 false flag attacks?

Why do you refuse to tackle the popular narrative of the ‘holocaust’ –
Israel’s most important founding myth?

You are a paradigmatic example of an ‘anti-Zionist’ who is indeed
Zionist, because you perpetuate the myths that are crucial tenets of
Zionism. You’re terrified of challenging these lies – red lines that
you will not cross.

Aside from token denunciations of Islamophobia, which is just about as
far as you’re willing to go, you dare not challenge these dogmas.

You'll be able to rightfully call yourself an anti-Zionist when you
courageously tackle these issues rather than shrinking from them in
such a cowardly manner.

As long as you perpetuate Zionist propaganda and myths and skirt
around these issues, you have no right whatsoever to call yourself an

It's supremely ironic that you of all people - a bona fide
'anti-Zionist' Zionist - spent so much time heckling on my blog about
this issue.

To be perfectly honest, I do not expect you to reply and address this
issue, because you've proved that you are afraid of discussing it.  I
would love to be proven wrong.
Actually I did want to challenge some of his views publicly or privately and I truly want to know how people like Martin Iqbal believe that denying the holocaust and promoting 9/11 conspiracy theories helps the Palestinian cause.  I am a bit of a "no platform for racists" merchant but when racism is couched in coded language and the dishonesty is flagrant enough to expose, it can be a useful exercise to do just that, expose it.  Here's my reply:

You appear to be in the throes of a temper tantrum. I hope my delay in replying hasn't made you worse but you said I was reluctant to discuss "this" in a public forum when it's you who appears to have deleted all the comments to your post on "anti-zionist zionists".  This is strange because my comments abided by the rules of your blog set out as follows:  Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam. When I recapture the comments I think I can establish that it was you that was not nice, you that failed to keep it clean and you that strayed off topic and in quite a big way too.

Anyway, let's deal with your points blow by blow.

1. I am not aware that you have commented to my blog. There is no pending comment from you.  This is another reason I suspect a temper tantrum on your part. You seem to make hasty claims and then regret them.  Anyway, by all means send in a comment and I'll deal with it as appropriate but please remember your own rules:  Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam. I'd add to that that you must refrain from racism, sexism and homophobia since one of your comments to me was definitely racist and had clear homophobic overtones.

2. If I thought that 9/11 had any bearing on Israel's legitimacy one way or another I would discuss it but since Israel has no right to exist whoever is responsible for 9/11, I see no point.

3. The holocaust crops up from time to time on my blog and it has been widely discussed but since most of the imperial powers (all bar the Soviet Union) already supported zionism by the end of WWI the events of WWII are, like 9/11, irrelevant to Israel's lack of legitimacy.  And anyway, the holocaust cannot be considered a founding anything of Israel since Israel and the zionist movement didn't start deploying it as a propaganda and ideological weapon until the early 1960s.

4.  You don't know what the word "paradigmatic" means nor how pretentious and silly using it makes you sound and if I don't discuss these issues how can I perpetuate people's current (mis)understanding of them? Again, the holocaust and 9/11 have no impact one way or another on Israel's legitimacy or lack of.  I think that deals with four of your paragraphs.

5. I wasn't heckling you on your blog; you are over-sensitive to legitimate criticism and inquiry. When I sort the cache out I'll remind you of the things you said and the things I said.  Both Max Ajl and I were trying to point out to you that the expression "anti-zionist zionist" is used by Atzmon against Jews who support the right of return.  You claimed you were applying it to different people altogether but from this email it appears you use it in the same way as he does but throw in a pack of lies about people you claim to know whose names you have forgotten who oppose the right of return.  Your email proves that Max and I were right to treat your bogus claim with scepticism but then so did your contributions to the comment thread which you have so conveniently mislaid.

6. You say you would love to be wrong. I know you love to be wrong but you don't seem to like to be exposed for being wrong.

7. Just a general point, you mention courage and cowardice here and there. I don't think either term applies to blogging and commenting.  Just more silliness on your part. Try not to be so dramatic.

I think that covers everything.  I'll give you a shout when I sort the cache out unless you want to be really "courageous" (just honourable really) and restore and reopen the comments yourself.

Finally, I think I might like to do a post on your post, the comments and this correspondence. Would it be ok with you if I publish your email?


Mark Elf

Jews sans frontieres
I then found his comment in the spam and emailed him accordingly:

Hey Martin

Great news! I found your comment to my blog.  Somehow it ended up in the
spam filter which I have never checked before and I only found it today by

The comment was of course way off topic but you managed to avoid sexual and
homophobic insults so I approved it..

Anyway, as I said in my earlier email and in my reply to your comment on my
blog, I intend to do a post about this "anti-zionist zionist" business.
In the meantime if you scroll down you will see I have recaptured all the
comments that disappeared from your "anti-zionist zionist" post. It'll
probably take a little bit of work because they seem to be in the wrong order and
the ones from google cache need formatting but perhaps you could replace
the old comments and reopen the comments for further discussion.

There is another thing. I saw on your blog that you claim the Israeli
attack on the USS Liberty to be a false flag op intended to draw the USA
into a nuclear attack on the USSR.  Since it is so well documented that it was Israel that
carried out the attack and was admitted to by Israel close to the time it
happened do you have a link to support your allegation of a false flag
operation together with the motive you allege? I tried commenting but I
don't know if my comments are blocked or if you have started moderating.
So, we now have three possibilities for these issues you claim to be eager
to discuss. We have email, your blog and my blog.

Cheers then

Mark Elf
Jews sans frontieres

Back came Martin:
Hi Mark,

Your spam filter blocks short comments with no links, and you've been
blogging for years but haven't checked your spam filter once?  Kinda
likely.  I don't really think my comment got stuck in your spam
filter; you chose not to approve it, and I subsequently removed your
comments from my blog, and you didn't want to look like a hypocrite so
my comment "got stuck in your spam filter".

If you want to know the source for the information on the Liberty
affair, read this book:
Cheers yourself,
Now I got tetchy:
You are a joke.
You deleted all of the comments from your post on "anti-zionist zionists", not just mine. I have no problem with how I appear to a serial fantasist like yourself and I have no motive for lying.
I have approved your comment now and I have sent you all of the comments you deleted. Even if I refused to approve your comment it wouldn't be hypocritical. My comments to your blog conformed to the rule of being on topic. Your comment was totally off topic. But since your comment is now approved, you are beefing about nothing.
Something you need to consider about yourself is that not only do you make false or unprovable allegations you then supply supposed motives for whatever it is you are alleging. It's silly and tiresome but such is the wacky world of the conspiracy theorist.
I then checked the source for his USS Liberty claim and emailed him again:

Here's what you wrote in your post titled, On History and Intellectual Courage:
Most Americans have not even heard about the Liberty – a false flag attack designed to draw the USA into nuclear war with Soviet Russia. 

Here's the blurb from the book you claim to have got your information from:
The USS Liberty was attacked by unmarked planes and torpedo boats in international waters during the Six Day War between Israel and the Arab States. The attack on the surveillance ship lasted 75 minutes -- 34 men died and 172 were injured. Initially it was thought that either Egypt or the U.S.S.R. was responsible, but astonishingly Israel, the U.S.'s closest ally, said that the planes and boats belonged to them, and that they mistook the ship for an Egyptian vessel -- despite the prominently displayed Stars and Stripes.

Now there is much to be sceptical about with the Israeli claims and with the US acceptance of them but those, like myself, who believe Israel's attack to have been deliberate narrow the motive down to two possibilities, 1. that Israel thought the US was helping Egypt and Syria to co-ordinate their defence.  2. that the people on board the Liberty were recording the commission of war crimes by Israel in that Israel was killing its Egyptian POWs.  I think that's the most plausible explanation but I could be wrong.  You appear to be only person who is saying that Israel carried out the attack to make it look like a Soviet attack.  Perhaps you'd like to reword that post like you did with the "anti-zionist zionists" post. Or perhaps you keep getting things wrong deliberately especially as even the blurb itself claims that Israel claimed responsibility for the attack.


Mark Elf
I know I shouldn't bother trying to discuss anything with a racist, whether antisemitic or zionist or both.  They never argue in good faith as the discussion with Martin Iqbal has shown.  But as I said before coded language does need to be challenged and sometimes this can only be done by asking questions directly.

I have detailed three areas where Martin Iqbal is claiming that spreading a certain version of events could completely change the discourse and the public perception of Palestine.  They are, the holocaust, 9/11 and the USS Liberty.  With the holocaust he doesn't actually say what he is disputing apart from the "myth" or the "narrative" or perhaps the "paradigm".  And he certainly doesn't explain how the holocaust helped zionism win the support of the major imperial powers prior to World War II.  With 9/11, I'm not sure of the details, but he claims that Israel played a central role and that the commonly held view of what happened and who did it somehow amounts to a "founding myth" of a state that was founded over 50 years before 9/11.  He has also flagrantly lied about the USS Liberty and it is not clear what he thinks can be gained for the Palestinian cause by repeating and spreading that lie.  Surely the truth was bad enough for Israel.

Martin Iqbal claims modestly that his position amounts to "intellectual courage" and I suppose making himself look so silly does require some kind of courage but he really only wants to dog-whistle to the existing believers.  What is it they say?  For those who believe no explanation is necessary, for those who don't believe, no explanation is possible.  How convenient for Martin Iqbal.  He never has to explain anything and if he is asked to, in the name of "intellectual courage", he will simply delete or ban the comments.

August 12, 2012

Be racist, sexist and imperialist but don't be political

Many thanks to a correspondent who sent me this report from ABC:

Here's a write up of the same story:

San Francisco's Municipal Transportation Agency has a policy against political ads on its buses, but an ad being displayed now comes pretty close. The ad says, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad."

James Ashburn was surprised when he saw his bus roll up with the ad on the side. "It really struck me as an inappropriate ad to be on a city bus," he said. Ashburn took a picture of the ad and sent it to ABC7 News via uReport. He thought the ad crossed a line. "No matter what side you're on, you should not describe your opponent as a savage," he said.

The pro-Israel ad was purchased by the American Freedom Defense Initiative run by Pamela Geller. "The reason I wanted to run these ads was to counter the anti-Israel ads that were running in various cities across the country in New York, in D.C., on San Francisco BART," she said. If you don't remember any anti-Israel ads on BART, that's understandable. It has been a year since an ad ran calling on the U.S. to cut military aid to Israel. "It was a fallacious and dangerous message and it had to be countered with the truth," Geller said.

The truth being in the eye of the beholder, ABC7 News showed the ad to Muslim's going into Friday prayers at a San Francisco mosque. Adam Kennard called it propaganda. Ted Oriqat pointed out that the ad distorts the meaning of jihad. "Jihad, it doesn't mean killing people or anything like that," he said. And Oriqat is correct. Jihad means "struggle" and is frequently used as in "striving towards the way of God."

The bus message didn't sit very well with the city system in New York. They refused to run them and Gellen took the transit authority to court. "And interestingly enough, the day that I won, was the day that San Francisco approved my ads that are currently running on your buses," Geller said.

A coincidence? Not according to Muni's spokesman Paul Rose. "In this specific case, litigation was brought to this organization and the transit agency lost," he told ABC7 News. So, the buses with the signs will continue to roll for at least the next four weeks. "If I had my way, they'd be in every city in the United States of America and if I can get the funding, that's exactly what's going to happen," Geller says.

Asked how this particular ad is not considered political in light of Muni's no-politics policy, Rose struggled to answer. However, the legal action and the fact that the New York MTA has already lost in court have had an impact.

(Copyright ©2012 KGO-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
Further comment is unnecessary but I don't know anything about the company which made the report. The logo at the start of the clip said ABC 13 but then, in the clip, reference was made to an ABC 7 but since "All Rights [are] reserved" I thought I'd better say something nice about them. It was a good report, very good, considering..... Oh, and there's a comment space with 2 comments from zionists so far.

August 11, 2012

Yekaterina Samutsevich's (Pussy Riot) closing statement at their "trial:" A manifesto against Putin's old new Russia

During the closing statement, the defendant is expected to repent or express regret for her deeds, or to enumerate attenuating circumstances. In my case, as in the case of my colleagues in the group, this is completely unnecessary. Instead, I want to express my views about the causes of what has happened with us.

 The fact that Christ the Savior Cathedral had become a significant symbol in the political strategy of our powers that be was already clear to many thinking people when Vladimir Putin’s former [KGB] colleague Kirill Gundyaev took over as head of the Russian Orthodox Church. After this happened, Christ the Savior Cathedral began to be used openly as a flashy setting for the politics of the security services, which are the main source of power [in Russia].

Why did Putin feel the need to exploit the Orthodox religion and its aesthetics? After all, he could have employed his own, far more secular tools of power—for example, national corporations, or his menacing police system, or his own obedient judiciary system. It may be that the tough, failed policies of Putin’s government, the incident with the submarine Kursk, the bombings of civilians in broad daylight, and other unpleasant moments in his political career forced him to ponder the fact that it was high time to resign; otherwise, the citizens of Russia would help him do this. Apparently, it was then that he felt the need for more convincing, transcendental guarantees of his long tenure at the helm. It was here that the need arose to make use of the aesthetics of the Orthodox religion, historically associated with the heyday of Imperial Russia, where power came not from earthly manifestations such as democratic elections and civil society, but from God Himself.

How did he succeed in doing this? After all, we still have a secular state, and shouldn’t any intersection of the religious and political spheres be dealt with severely by our vigilant and critically minded society? Here, apparently, the authorities took advantage of a certain deficit of Orthodox aesthetics in Soviet times, when the Orthodox religion had the aura of a lost history, of something crushed and damaged by the Soviet totalitarian regime, and was thus an opposition culture. The authorities decided to appropriate this historical effect of loss and present their new political project to restore Russia’s lost spiritual values, a project which has little to do with a genuine concern for preservation of Russian Orthodoxy’s history and culture.

It was also fairly logical that the Russian Orthodox Church, which has long had a mystical connection with power, emerged as this project’s principal executor in the media. Moreover, it was also agreed that the Russian Orthodox Church, unlike the Soviet era, when the church opposed, above all, the crudeness of the authorities towards history itself, should also confront all baleful manifestations of contemporary mass culture, with its concept of diversity and tolerance.

Implementing this thoroughly interesting political project has required considerable quantities of professional lighting and video equipment, air time on national TV channels for hours-long live broadcasts, and numerous background shoots for morally and ethically edifying news stories, where in fact the Patriarch’s well-constructed speeches would be pronounced, helping the faithful make the right political choice during the election campaign, a difficult time for Putin. Moreover, all shooting has to take place continuously; the necessary images must sink into the memory and be constantly updated, to create the impression of something natural, constant and compulsory.

Our sudden musical appearance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior with the song “Mother of God, Drive Putin Out” violated the integrity of this media image, generated and maintained by the authorities for so long, and revealed its falsity. In our performance we dared, without the Patriarch’s blessing, to combine the visual image of Orthodox culture and protest culture, suggesting to smart people that Orthodox culture belongs not only to the Russian Orthodox Church, the Patriarch and Putin, that it might also take the side of civic rebellion and protest in Russia.

Perhaps such an unpleasant large-scale effect from our media intrusion into the cathedral was a surprise to the authorities themselves. First they tried to present our performance as the prank of heartless militant atheists. But they made a huge blunder, since by this time we were already known as an anti-Putin feminist punk band that carried out their media raids on the country’s major political symbols.

In the end, considering all the irreversible political and symbolic losses caused by our innocent creativity, the authorities decided to protect the public from us and our nonconformist thinking. Thus ended our complicated punk adventure in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

I now have mixed feelings about this trial. On the one hand, we now expect a guilty verdict. Compared to the judicial machine, we are nobodies, and we have lost. On the other hand, we have won. Now the whole world sees that the criminal case against us has been fabricated. The system cannot conceal the repressive nature of this trial. Once again, Russia looks different in the eyes of the world from the way Putin tries to present it at daily international meetings. All the steps toward a state governed by the rule of law that he promised have obviously not been made. And his statement that the court in our case will be objective and make a fair decision is another deception of the entire country and the international community. That is all. Thank you.

From Chtodelat News


August 05, 2012

Israel plans a new humanitarian disaster

And it's not against the Palestinians this time.  Here's Ha'aretz on how and where Israel intends to deal with African migrants:
The detention compound being built in the south for African migrants will accommodate up to 30,000 people, despite Defense Ministry statements that it would house 12,400, an Interior Ministry protocol shows......
The High Court of Justice denied on Thursday a petition filed by the civil rights group Bimkom Planners for Planning Rights against the project's exemption from certain planning regulations. The court also denied the NGO's request for an injunction to stop the work. 
Nir Shalev of Bimkom contended the planned tent town and detention facilities would create "awful living conditions. I hope the Knesset or the courts will grasp this and stop the imminent humanitarian disaster."
That's strange because it seems the State of Israel actively encourages people from abroad to go there and live.

August 04, 2012

Hasbara not working says UK's ambassador to Israel

The Jewish Chronicle and The Guardian are both reporting how the British ambassador to the State of Israel, Matthew Gould, has expressed concern over Israel going down in the estimation of the British public and politicians:

Harriet Sherwood at The Guardian alludes to Gould's mention of hasbara:

"Anyone who cares about Israel's standing in the world should be concerned about the erosion of popular support."
The shift was a result of Israeli government policies, Gould said, suggesting that it could not be countered or obscured by hasbara. The Hebrew word for explanation refers to efforts by the Israeli government and its supporters to promote a pro-Israel agenda and challenge what it sees as negative media coverage.
It's interesting that he mentioned that Israel uses hasbara to "obscure" what is going on but he did, in some way, pay tribute to hasbara:
"Israelis might wake up in 10 years' time and find out that the level of understanding in the international community has suddenly changed, and that patience for continuing the status quo has reduced," he said.
Imagine.  It could take ten years before enough people start, just start, to wise up to the true nature of the State of Israel for Israelis to be concerned.  Hasbara is starting to fail but it's had a remarkable innings.

August 02, 2012

Romney on the Jews and their money-making culture

I know everyone has heard about Mitt Romney's speech in Israel just the other day but here's Jon Stewart's take on the thing as reported in The Raw Story:

On his show Tuesday night, Daily Show host Jon Stewart mocked Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s latest series of gaffes.
While Romney was in Israel, the Republican candidate remarked at a fundraising event that the Israelis were more economically successful than the Palestinians because of their culture.
“Romney appears to be saying that the Palestinians are purely the architects of their own poverty, or, if you prefer to look at the converse, that Jews are culturally some money-making motherfuckers,” Stewart joked.

Romney also said Israel was prosperous thanks to the “hand of providence.”
“Again, Romney appears to be saying while Palestinian despair has its roots in their culture, God is also holding them down,” Stewart noted. “Or, if you prefer to look at the converse, Israel’s economic progress is evidence of the hand of providence — going to assume that all the horrible shit that happened to the Jews prior to that was the hand of providence’s middle finger.”
Watch video, via Mediaite, below:
I don't know how the video clip will come out but if you can't see it here go to The Raw Story site.