August 31, 2005

Israel: Jews can't be terrorists

From the Israeli defence ministry via the BBC
Families of Israeli Arabs shot dead on a bus in Galilee are not considered terrorism victims because their killer was Jewish
If they were victims of terrorism then their dependants could receive pensions as a result of their love ones' deaths. An Arab member of the Israeli parliament is seeking an amendment to the law which at present states that "only attacks by enemies of Israel are considered terrorism." Now there's a dilemma for Israel. If they change the law to include the victims of Jewish terrorists, how will they distinguish between Jewish terrorists and Israeli soldiers?

August 29, 2005

Retaliate first?

Here are two curious reports from the BBC website. In the first, Israel kills five Palestinians in a raid on Tulkarm in the West Bank. According to Israel, the five were wanted in connection with suicide bombings. Further down the report we see that according to Reuters, Palestinian witnesses said that three of those killed were unarmed teenagers and that only two of the five were armed; one from Al-Aqsa Martyrs and one from Islamic Jihad. Funny how the BBC prefers to take its cue from a state that has murdered one of its staff in preference to a prestigious news organisation, but it gets curiouser. The latest report expresses the bewilderment of the Israeli press at the fact that there was a suicide bombing yesterday. Now the first report has Islamic Jihad threatening revenge for Thursday's Israeli raid. None of the Israeli papers quoted by the Beeb in the later report mention the Israeli raid at all. Again the BBC has taken its cue from Israel. Now in my last post on the Muslim Council of Britain I had a comment from the Muslim Anarchist describing the MCB as "useless". It's pro-zionist reporting like this from the BBC that's in danger of giving the MCB a good name.

August 28, 2005

Arise Sir Iqbal

I first became aware of some rumblings on the part of Muslims over an edition of BBC's Panarama about the Muslim Council of Britain a couple of weeks ago when the Observer ran a story on its front page (and editorial) on 14/8/2005. It worried me when the editorial said:
It is not right that the Muslim Council of Britain, a group that boycotts a ceremony to honour the multi-faith victims. of the Holocaust and often supports hardline views that are far from universally accepted by all Muslims, should monopolise that function [of community representation].
"Multi-faith victims?" That's interesting. Zionist propaganda has it that the only holocaust victims worthy of note were the Jewish victims. Ask most people to define the holocaust and I am sure they would say something like it being when the nazis killed 6 million Jews. I don't think most people see the holocaust, or its commemoration, as being "multi-faith". Are there any Hollywood movies dealing with Roma, gay, communist or slav experiences during the holocaust? At a zionist demonstration back in 2002, Peter Mandelson told the Trafalgar Square faithful that Israel exists because of the holocaust. No gypsy or Jehovah's Witness state exists because of the holocaust. And if Israel exists because of the holocaust and the holocaust is "multi-faith" why is Israel a Jewish state and not a "multi-faith" state? It's particularly annoying that when Israel reopened its holocaust museum, the Guardian reported that
The exhibition for the first time also acknowledges other victims of the Nazis, such as Gypsies and homosexuals, who were ignored in the old museum, established in 1957.
But in spite of that "painful concession"
The Nobel prize laureate and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, told those assembled that the Holocaust was not about man's inhumanity to man, but man's inhumanity to Jews.
And just in case anyone thought that even the zionists would never stoop so low as to use the holocaust for propaganda purposes
Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, said the museum was a testament to the need for Israel to exist.
Now since the Guardian is the sister paper of the Observer, how did an Observer leader writer not notice, in just one fairly recent article, that the zionists clearly see the holocaust as a purely Jewish affair? Bizarre isn't it?

Now to Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the head of the Muslim Council of Britain and the MCB's media secretary, Inayat Bunglawala. I was going to avoid a post on this because it was covered quite ably on the Lenin's Tomb blog, here and here. But then I bought Friday's Jewish Chronicle and I am still shocked with the shrill expressions of delight appearing in this zionist rag at the discomfiture of Sir Iqbal Sacranie over the kind of disrespectful grilling to which the known liar, the Chief Rabbi Jonothan Sacks, will never be subjected in our zionist controlled media. First up was a page 2 opinion piece by Jenni Frazer headed MCB Chief wilts under grilling
By turns looking sick and slick Sacranie writhed and wriggled on Ware's hook
Then there was Alex Brummer, the City Editor of the formerly nazi, now zionist (see if you can spot the difference), Daily Mail. His article is headed The BBC has done the country a favour. Maybe, but which country? This article is truly absurd. Brummer denounces the MCB's boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day and emulates the Observer editorial thus
All the victims of the Holocaust, including gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled, Catholic priests - and no doubt some Muslims - were properly memorialised, and not just Jews.
But then he went and put his foot in it by lauding Rod Liddle's denunciation of Sacranie's "anti-semitism".
Liddle notes that critics of Israel's policies are usually at pains to point out they are not being anti-Semitic, merely anti-Zionist. It is not the Jews they are against, just the Zionists.

If that is the case, Liddle argues, why on earth would they be uncomfortable spending a few moments remembering the six million people murdered by the Nazis?
"Six million people"? Didn't Brummer say that "gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled, Catholic priests - and no doubt some Muslims - were properly memorialised, and not just Jews." But the six million figure is only ever used to state the approximate number of Jews. The fact is that the MCB sees, as so many of us do, the memorialisation of the holocaust as being a specifically Jewish affair because the zionists have promoted and used it as such, and that for the purpose of zionist propaganda.

Anyway, unfortunately there's more. Next we have the editorial headed, simply, Panoramic view which concluded that
This Panorama should be compulsory viewing for the bright sparks at the Home Office who chose to appoint Mr Bunglawala to a task force to tackle extremism among young Muslims - a move as sadly laughable as accusing the BBC of a pro-Israel bias
It's still not over, there's still a letter that begins
Thank heavens for last week's Panorama [enough said]
Well, almost enough because finally we have Daniel Finkelstein (no relation of Norman I hope) on the MCB's boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day and their suggestion of zionist control of the media
It's astonishing that they still can't see that that attendance would have been a matter of simple human decency. It wasn't about Israel....I think this incident, while small in itself, is terribly revealing. The MCB, which is regarded by most non-Muslims as the community's leadership, has put its name to an absurd conspiracy theory alleging Zionist control of the media.
So there we have it. The holocaust is always promoted (even by zionists) as a multi-faith affair and to suggest that decades of zionist propaganda emanating from the mainstream media amounts to zionist control is an insane conspiracy theory that only a, well, Muslim would believe.

August 25, 2005

Has anyone read The Case for Israel?

Here's a comment to an earlier post
someone has just lent me a copy of "The case for Israel". I didn’t want to buy it. I have browsed through it and it looks just ridiculous. I have literally read about three sentences. One of them is "I have never heard a mere critic of Israel called anti-Semitic". I don’t know what to make of this. Maybe he mixes with extraordinarily unusual Zionists, but I think its likely he’s not telling the truth. My experience is that many (most?) Zionists do this at the drop of a hat. It has even made indirectly on this blog.
anyway, I'm expecting to have an amusing and irritating time reading it. Maybe Finkelstein is right and Dershowitz hasn’t written or even read the book. But I cant imagine it has take Finkelstein too much effort to demolish most of this shoddy bit of polemic. Unfortunately, I think many people will have read it and believed it.
Has anyone read it?
Not me, that's for sure.

I got Jacqueline Rose's The Question of Zion the other day and, maybe I'm too shallow, but I'm finding it kind of pretentious and possibly Judeo-centric.

August 24, 2005

Iraqi Kurdish "leadership" and Israel

See Lenin's Tomb for details. The comments are worth a look at too.

What 99.5%?

Here's Ha'aretz's Amira Hass in an article titled The other 99.5%. All media focus has been on Gaza and the "painful concession" made by its Jewish former population. Here Amira Hass considers the concessionnaires. It wasn't immediately clear from the title what she meant by 99.5%, either the Palestinian population of Gaza who have been completely ignored this past fortnight or the rest of Palestine itself. It becomes clear when a Jewish tourist asks her if it was possible "that the Israelis ..... are unaware of the injustice they have caused here"
the question was like a breath of fresh air. Here was a Jew who was voicing his opinion on the fate of 1,300,000 people, while the entire world appeared to be focused on every one of the 8,000 Jews who are moving house. Here was a Jew who was moved by what have become dry numbers - 1,719 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip from the end of September 2000 until today; and according to various estimates, some two-thirds of them were unarmed and were not killed in battles or during the course of attempts to attack a military position or a settlement.

Based on figures from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, of those killed, 379 were children under the age of 18; 236 were younger than 16; 96 were women; and 102 were the objectives of targeted liquidations during the course of which the Israel Defense Forces also killed another 95 individuals who, according to the military too, were "innocent bystanders."
She then quickly returns to typical Israeli wonderment at the true grit of the 0.5%
What talent it takes to live for 35 years in a flourishing park and splendid villas just 20 meters from overcrowded, suffocated refugee camps. What talent it takes to turn on the sprinklers on the lawns, while just across the way, 20,000 other people are dependent on the distribution of drinking water in tankers; to know that you deserve it, that your government will pave magnificent roads for you and neglect (prior to Oslo, before 1994) to the point of destruction the Palestinian infrastructure. What skill it takes to step out of your well-cared-for greenhouse and walk unmoved past 60-year-old fruit-bearing date trees that are uprooted for you, roads that are blocked for you, homes that are demolished for you, the children who are shelled from helicopters and tanks and buried alongside you, for the sake of the safety of your children and the preservation of your super-rights.

For the sake of about half a percent of the population of the Gaza Strip, a Jewish half-percent, the lives of the remaining 99.5 percent were totally disrupted and destroyed - worthy of wonderment indeed. And also amazing is how most of the other Israelis, who did not go themselves to settle the homeland, suffered this reality and did not demand that their government put an end to it - before the Qassams.
This is vintage Hass now. No wonder so many Israelis hate her. Go read the rest (click on the headline above) and, if you've a strong stomach, look at the comments.

August 23, 2005

Beyond Chutzpah updated update

It appears that Barnes and Noble have relented on their decision to scrap an event for the release of Norman Finkelstein's book Beyond Chutzpah. (Hat-tip David). Here's what Finkelstein had to say about it
GOOD NEWS! Barnes and Noble has agreed to reschedule the store event for Beyond Chutzpah. Finkelstein wishes to thank everyone who expressed support, and B&N for respecting the opinions of its customers.
Good news indeed.

But no so good from Harvard Bookstore - not sure if the commenter (should that be commentor?) who posted this on 17/5 is the same David as above but hat-tip David anyway.
Dear _____,

Thank you for your note relating to Professor Norman Finkelstein and his book Beyond Chutzpah. Our intention here is to clarify the situation to which Professor Finkelstein refers on his website and clear up what we believe are mistaken assumptions stemming from that posting.

Harvard Book Store was contacted by University of California Press in late April and asked to host an event with Professor Finkelstein. We corresponded with the Press regarding the book, and discussed holding an event on September 29th. However, by late May, the controversy between Professor Finkelstein and Professor Alan Dershowitz had taken on a distinctly personal cast. After seeing via the press that both men’s books had become inseparable from the charges each was making about the other, and reluctant to put Harvard Book Store in the middle of a personal feud, we informed University of California Press that we had decided not to sponsor an event. We then worked with them to find another Boston-area venue, without success.

Harvard Book Store supports Professor Finkelstein’s right to free speech. Over the years, we have carried seven of his books. Our order for Beyond Chutzpah was placed in January 2005, when the University of California Press announced its publication. That order stands and we will continue to carry Professor Finkelstein’s books.

The decision not to host Professor Finkelstein was made solely by the staff at Harvard Book Store. We have not been contacted by Professor Dershowitz, by anyone acting on his behalf, or by Harvard University, in any way relating to Professor Finkelstein. Harvard Book Store is an independent bookseller, unaffiliated with Harvard University.

Harvard Book Store’s devotion to an exchange of ideas is undiluted. We choose not to hold an event with either of these two scholars at this time, because we feel that the personal nature of their feud has overshadowed the real intellectual and political debate at the heart of their books. This fall, we will feature a display of books on the breadth of dialogue about the relationship between Israel and Palestine--both Beyond Chutzpah and The Case for Peace will be included in this display.

If you are from an organization that is interested in sponsoring an event with Professor Finkelstein, please contact Alexandra Dahne, Publicity Director of the University of California Press at

Thank you again for contacting us. We hope we’ve answered some of your concerns and questions about this difficult decision. We regret that we are not able to respond individually to each of you.

Frank Kramer, Owner
Harvard Book Store

August 21, 2005

Cindy Sheehan

I thought I ought to take a look at the case of Cindy Sheehan and the article linked above in the New York Times.

Cindy Sheehan, the bereaved mother of Casey Sheehan, a 24 year old American soldier killed in Iraq, has come under attack from the usual right-wing forces for camping outside the Bush residence in Crawford, Texas by way of an anti-war protest. One bright spark at the New York Times has called the attack "Swift boating".
Once Ms. Sheehan could no longer be ignored, the Swift Boating began. Character assassination is the Karl Rove tactic of choice, eagerly mimicked by his media surrogates, whenever the White House is confronted by a critic who challenges it on matters of war. The Swift Boating is especially vicious if the critic has more battle scars than a president who connived to serve stateside and a vice president who had "other priorities" during Vietnam.
The article, if it's to be believed, points to a collapse in support for the Iraq war among the American public. It's also a resumé of the various victims of Bush smears over the reasoning behind and the conduct of the war
But this time the Swift Boating failed, utterly, and that failure is yet another revealing historical marker in this summer's collapse of political support for the Iraq war.

When the Bush mob attacks critics like Ms. Sheehan, its highest priority is to change the subject. If we talk about Richard Clarke's character, then we stop talking about the administration's pre-9/11 inattentiveness to terrorism. If Thomas Wilson is trashed as an insubordinate plant of the "liberal media," we forget the Pentagon's abysmal failure to give our troops adequate armor (a failure that persists today, eight months after he spoke up). If we focus on Joseph Wilson's wife, we lose the big picture of how the administration twisted intelligence to gin up the threat of Saddam's nonexistent W.M.D.'s.

The hope this time was that we'd change the subject to Cindy Sheehan's "wacko" rhetoric and the opportunistic left-wing groups that have attached themselves to her like barnacles. That way we would forget about her dead son. But if much of the 24/7 media has taken the bait, much of the public has not.
There's more on why the "sliming" [yuk] of Cindy Sheehan hasn't been working.
The public knows that what matters this time is Casey Sheehan's story, not the mother who symbolizes it. Cindy Sheehan's bashers, you'll notice, almost never tell her son's story. They are afraid to go there because this young man's life and death encapsulate not just the noble intentions of those who went to fight this war but also the hubris, incompetence and recklessness of those who gave the marching orders.
so the generalised smears haven't been working. So now what? Have you guessed? Accuse her of anti-semitism that's what. Here's what Cindy Sheehan is alleged to have written, though I gather there is some controversy about that
Am I emotional? Yes, my first born was murdered. Am I angry? Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel. Am I stupid? No, I know full-well that my son, my family, this nation, and this world were betrayed by George Bush who was influenced by the neo-con PNAC agenda after 9/11. We were told that we were attacked on 9/11 because the terrorists hate our freedoms and democracy...not for the real reason, because the Arab-Muslims who attacked us hate our middle-eastern foreign policy. That hasn't changed since America invaded and occupied fact it has gotten worse.
Well the right-wing blogs are apoplectic, as are Christopher Hitchens and David Horowitz. On one blog someone wondered why the MSM (mainstream media) hadn't picked up on this "Cindy is anti-semitic" business. I must say I was surprised that Frank Rich didn't mention it. Also if you google "cindy sheehan" "anti-semitism" you get lots of blogs and fringe type sites but not much mainstream.

Update - I have just received an email purporting to come from Cindy Sheehan. She says that she didn't write the "offending" email. Hmm. And while I'm here, Bat sent this link to Information Clearing House where Alexander Cockburn "incidentally also blows six shades of shit out of Hitchens" on the subject of Cindy Sheehan.
Christopher Hitchens attacked Cindy Sheehan, of course. Called her a LaRouchie! Why? No reason given. He obviously reckons "LaRouchie" is one of those let-her-deny-it slurs, like "anti-Semite". Let's suppose Hitchens was writing in similarly nasty terms about Hitchens. He'd probably remember that in 1999 Edward Jay Epstein publicly recalled a dinner in the Royalton Hotel in New York where Epstein said Hitchens had doubted the Holocaust was quite what it's cracked up to be. In Epstein's memory Hitchens belittled the idea that six million Jews died, said the number was much less.

So, under Hitchens' rules of polemical engagement, was does that make Hitchens? A holocaust denier, a guy who has Faurisson and David Irving's books under his pillow. A Jew hater, or--if you believe his sudden discovery (privately denied by his own brother on at least one occasion) at a mature age that his mother was Jewish--a Jewish self-hater. Of course Hitchens revels in Cindy Sheehan's denial that she said in an email that her son died in a war for Israel. Hitchens writes that this denial makes her "a shifty fantasist". What would Hitchens, who's an on-the-record admirer ("a great historian") of the work of Nazi chronicler David Irving say about Hitchens' shifty denial of Epstein's recollection? What fun he would have with the witnesses the panic-stricken Hitchens, well aware that "holocaust denier" is not part of the resume of a Vanity Fair columnist, hastily mustered for his defense, a woman and a man present at that famous dinner in the Royalton. One his close friend, Anna Wintour, the present editor of Vogue and the other, Brian McNally, a longtime friend and business associate.

What a truly disgusting sack of shit Hitchens is. A guy who called Sid Blumenthal one of his best friends and then tried to have him thrown into prison for perjury; a guy who waited till his friend Edward Said was on his death bed before attacking him in the Atlantic Monthly; a guy who knows perfectly well the role Israel plays in US policy but who does not scruple to flail Cindy Sheehan as a LaRouchie and anti-Semite because, maybe, she dared mention the word Israel.

Next year Jerusalem?

The Telegraph reports on how George Bush's new appointment to the UN (together with "Jewish groups") has protested about a UN group promoting withdrawal from the rest of the occupied territories in the wake of the so-called disengagement.
Jewish groups reacted with fury to banners, mugs, bumper stickers and T-shirts bearing the slogan "Today Gaza, Tomorrow the West Bank and Jerusalem" which bore the UN Development Programme logo.

Israelis view the slogan, and particularly the reference to Jerusalem, as an aspiration to destroy the Jewish state. [then why didn't they say "tomorrow Tel Aviv"?]
And what about the Jewish groups who claim to want Israel out of the occupied territories? Apparently the Anti-defamation league got in on the act as well, with Abe Foxman saying that it was
inappropriate for the UNDP, as an impartial global development organisation, to fund such a political and provocative message
Without getting into how a UN group echoing many a UN resolution by way of stickers and mugs etc is provocative, what on earth is the head of a group founded to protect Jews from defamation doing linking Jews in general with the occupation? Perhaps this is why some people call the ADL, the Anti-definition league.

Synagogue sweep?

I just got this report, linked in the headline, from one of my regular American correspondents.
During the Gaza "disengagement" saga — Jon Stewart calls it "The Jew Carry Show" — a lot of people are showing their true colors. But as the strange sight of fanatical young acidic Jews fighting other Jews proves, the color orange, for one, means different things in different contexts.[actually in the UK and Ireland orange stands for hard right wing sectarian bigotry as well]
So what is "the Jew Carry Show"? Is it like "supermarket sweep" only where the contestants are Israeli soldiers rushing through synagogues and carrying out as many Jews as they can in the time alloted and amid as much media hype as can be mustered? I must check.

Also posted to Lenin's Tomb

August 20, 2005

Beyond Chutzpah updates

Here are some updates I missed to the ongoing saga of Norman Finkelstein's demolition of serial liar Alan Dershowitz, Beyond Chutzpah. First up is a review in Publishers' Weekly which is worth posting in full
Finkelstein, a political science professor and author of The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, has conducted a rancorous public feud with Harvard Law professor and pro-Israel stalwart Alan Dershowitz over the latter's The Case for Israel, and here expands his arguments into a vigorous polemic on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The first part of the book examines what he feels is a growing tendency of pro-Israel commentators to use spurious charges of anti-Semitism to deflect and discredit legitimate criticism of Israel. The second, much longer, part is a line-by-line debunking of The Case for Israel, which he compares to Communist apologetics for Stalinist Russia. Rebutting Dershowitz's claims about Israel's "superb" human rights record, Finkelstein cites human rights organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Israeli group B'Tselem to document Israeli abuses in the occupied territories, including killings of Palestinian civilians, torture of Palestinian prisoners and home demolitions. Lengthy appendices flesh out his explosive assertion that Dershowitz plagiarized the historical research and interpretations (but not the actual phrasing) of Joan Peters's From Time Immemorial. The Middle East conflict rarely inspires calm discussion, and Finkelstein duly pillories his opponents as perpetrators of "hoax" and "fraud" who lack "ordinary moral values" and whose behavior resembles anti-Semitic stereotypes. Inflammatory rhetoric aside, he does raise serious questions about the veracity, scholarly methods and fairness of Dershowitz and others. More important, he presents a wealth of evidence on the human rights situation in the occupied territories, so often ignored in American debate on these issues. Exhaustively researched and meticulously-if intemperately-argued, Finkelstein's book is a formidable challenge to the conventional wisdom on the Middle East.
Note the accusation of "inflammatory rhetoric.......intemperately argued". This is the most accurate criticism one can level at Finkelstein. No one so far seems to have successfully argued against the facts presented by Finkelstein.

The same day that this appeared Gary Younge had an article on the Finkelstein-Dershowitz dispute in the Guardian. I read it at the time and found it extremely disappointing. Younge tries desperately to toe a "six of one-half a dozen of the other" line and occasionally drifts into supporting Dershowitz in preference to Finkelstein
Finkelstein billed his book as "an exposé of the corruption of scholarship on the Israel-Palestine conflict," but essentially it is an attack on Dershowitz in general and his bestselling book, The Case for Israel, in particular, which Finkelstein describes as "among the most spectacular academic frauds ever published on the Israel-Palestine conflict."
This is unfair. Finkelstein's method is to draw attention to a general state of affairs in academia by using a specific case as a foil. In the run-up to the Holocaust Industry, to demonstrate the worthlessness of some, indeed much, holocaust scholarship, Finkelstein (together with Ruth Bettina Birn) use Daniel Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners in this way. In the Holocaust Industry itself, Peter Novick's work comes under scrutiny. Similarly, to demonstrate the poverty of true knowledge of the Middle East in America, Finkelstein exposes the fraudster Alan Dershowitz as part of portrayal of a general state of affairs in American Middle East scholarship.

The latest (on 15/8/2005) has "Dershowitz in super panic mode". Finkelstein presents a statement by Alan Dershowitz and then in a couple of lines exposes the sheer hypocrisy and dishonesty of the man. Dershowitz's statement begins thus:
Norman Finkelstein, and his publisher University of California Press (UCP), have undertaken a systematic media attack on me in order to generate publicity for an anachronistic and irrelevant book that would otherwise receive little or no attention.
And ends with
I will not debate Finkelstein. I have a longstanding policy against debating Holocaust deniers, revisionists, trivializers or minimizers. Nor is a serious debate about Israel possible with someone who acknowledges that he knows “very little” about that country. I will be happy to debate any legitimate experts from Amnesty International or any other human rights organization. Indeed, I have a debate scheduled with Noam Chomsky about these issues in the fall.
To which Finkelstein replies
Alan Dershowitz dismisses Beyond Chutzpah as “anachronistic,” “unlikely to be [of] much interest,” “uninteresting,” and “irrelevant.” It is a wonder, then, that he invested so much effort to suppress publication of it. Dershowitz denies this. There’s a simple way to determine who’s telling the truth. He should make available for public inspection the full correspondence beginning with his first letters to New Press in April 2004 and including the correspondence written on Cravath, Swaine and Moore letterhead. I would agree to post this correspondence on my website without comment.

Dershowitz says he won’t debate me because he claims that I am a Holocaust denier. Instead he will debate Noam Chomsky. These two statements pose problems:

(1) Dershowitz never cites a single statement of mine documenting that I am a Holocaust denier. I have written two books on the Nazi holocaust. The first, A Nation on Trial (co-authored with Ruth Bettina Birn), received glowing praise from the world’s leading authorities on the Nazi holocaust, including Raul Hilberg, Christopher Browning, and Istvan Deak, and was named a “notable book of the year” by the New York Times Sunday Book Review. The second, The Holocaust Industry, was blurbed by Hilberg, the undisputed dean of Nazi holocaust historians. Referring explicitly to my findings on Holocaust compensation, which Dershowitz finds so distasteful, Hilberg wrote: "He is a well-trained political scientist, has the ability to do the research, did it carefully, and has come up with the right results. I am by no means the only one who, in the coming months or years, will totally agree with Finkelstein's breakthrough";

(2) For many years Dershowitz has pilloried Professor Chomsky for Holocaust denial. To cite the most recent examples, in The Case for Israel, he deplores "Chomsky’s flirtation with Holocaust denial," and in his new book, The Case for Peace, he deplores Chomsky for "supporting, praising and working with Holocaust deniers."

It would appear that Dershowitz’s avowed reasons for refusing to publicly debate me are spurious. I suspect readers will have no trouble figuring out his real reason.
Yet another round to Finkelstein methinks.

August 19, 2005

Emperor Sharon's new clothes

I had an email from Earl today suggesting I read the article linked in the above headline. I was going to start (in fact I did start) by saying that I was pleased that at last someone has noticed that the armed fascist activists of the zionist settler movement protest just a little too much and that Sharon is attracting just a bit too much credit for their "plight". But that wouldn't be fair to Umkahlil who had both Sharon and the settlers' number yesterday.
Sharon's Big Show winds down replete with grand finale, teenagers making a last stand on the top of synagogues in the colonies "Neve Dekalim" and "Kfar Darom." For hours upon end of "breaking news" CNN has shown soldiers and police carrying them gingerly to the buses, unlike the treatment afforded non-violent Palestinian protestors from Bil'in, who have been killed, tear gassed at close range, and infiltrated by IOF soldiers employing violence for a pretext, as if the IOF ever needed one, for shooting protestors.
The article linked in the headline above is by Ron Hacohen on and is headed "Stop your sobbing". He talks of the cost of the settlers to Israelis generally because more police are needed to give the settlers kid-glove treatment in addition to the police required to beat up and arrest anti-wall protesters that Israel is now witnessing a massive increase in burglaries.
The entire Israeli police force is in and around Gaza. Except for a few units left over to break the bones of the peaceful anti-wall demonstrators in Bil'in, the Israeli forces are all in the South. The Masters of the State are struggling with the Masters of the Land, and we, common Israelis, have to live with rising criminality. Thank you, dear settlers.
In the Guardian too it has been noticed that "reporting" on the settler withdrawal saga has been a tad maudlin. Here's Jonathan Steele, in a comment titled "The settlers' retreat was the theatre of the cynical", contrasting the media and military treatment of settlers and Palestinians
As many as 13,350 Palestinians were made homeless in the Gaza Strip in the first 10 months of last year by Israel's giant armour-plated Caterpillar bulldozers - a total that easily exceeds the 8,500 leaving Israeli settlements this week. In Rafah alone, according to figures from the UN relief agency Unrwa, the rate of house demolitions rose from 15 per month in 2002 to 77 per month between January and October 2004.
Steele goes on to discuss what most of the media has studiously avoided and that is what the Israelis have in mind for the West Bank in the wake of the so-called disengagement
Israel's worst practices from Gaza are likely to be transferred to the West Bank now. Controls over freedoms in the West Bank have been tightened relentlessly in recent years. More roads were closed. More checkpoints sprang up. Walls and fences were extended, in defiance of the international court of justice's ruling that they are illegal. However, even with this creeping oppression, life in the West Bank is not yet as constricted as it was for those in Gaza.

That will probably change. Sharon - one of whose nicknames, appropriately, is Bulldozer - wants to expand the West Bank settlements and demolish more Palestinian homes around Jerusalem. Unless his strategy of unilateralism is blocked, evictions may reach Rafah-like proportions.
So just one article telling us what the whole of the media knows.

Death of a slave in Lebanon

I turned to the Angry Arab news service because it got a mention in the Guardian this morning in connection with the "disengagement". What I saw shocked me and had nothing to do with Gaza or Israel. Below a picture of a Sri Lankan servant the Angry Arab certainly earns his title:
This is a victim that will not be mentioned in Lebanese news bulletin, and her death will go unnoticed. Not even an investigation is warranted because the victim is a poor maid from Sri Lanka: her name for the record is Sushal Rosky (b. 1987), and she killed herself by hanging early morning yesterday. The lousy Hariri rag (Al-Mustaqbal) even mocked her death: they said that her love of her country has killed her...........
.............This image will stay with me. And if US media are not busy covering the "anguish" of Israeli occupation soldiers and the "suffering" of Israeli colonial settlers, will they find the time to cover her death?
The piece referred to in the Guardian is here.

August 18, 2005

Sharon's moment of truth

Also posted to Lenin's Tomb

With "disengagement" finally under way amid the predictable fanfare from western media and equally predictable demonstrations of just how "painful" this "concession" is , this is a consideration of what kind of Palestine Ariel Sharon is offering to the Palestinians.

The Gaza Strip comprises 360 square kilometres of land with a population of about 1.4 million Palestinians and 7,500 Jewish settlers. It is mostly desert and much of the arable land is reserved, at present, for Jewish use only. 75% of its Arab population live below the poverty line and 13% suffer from malnutrition. It has no natural freshwater resources and no control over its telecommunications. It was occupied, together with the West Bank, by Israel during the six days war of June 1967 and has been occupied ever since. It is no stranger to Palestinian resistance or Israeli war crimes. During the ethnic cleansing campaign (1947-1949) that brought Israel into existence with its Jewish majority, Gaza [with an influx of Palestinian refugees] became one of the most densely populated places on earth. Israel emerged from that war controlling 78% of what was Palestine.

Gaza and Ariel Sharon have been well acquainted since the 1950s when Ariel Sharon led "reprisal" raids against Palestinian villages that brought shame even to Israeli leaders. Foreign Minister Moshe Sharrett referred to one of Sharon’s atrocities as a "stain [that] would stick to us and not be washed away for many years". Clearly he underestimated the strength of Zionist propaganda in the mass media.

During one of Ariel Sharon’s visits to the White House, President George W. Bush described him as a "man of peace". Leaving aside the fact that Bush often can’t tell one world leader from another, it is possible that he was responding to Ariel Sharon’s stated willingness to make "painful concessions" on the "roadmap" to peace with the Palestinians. To those familiar with Sharon’s history, the description "man of peace" wasn’t one that sprang to mind. Apart from the bloody and disproportionate "reprisals" mentioned above, he was the architect of the Lebanon war that began in 1982 with the slaughter of perhaps 20,000 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians in a matter of weeks. The Israeli Supreme Court declared Sharon "unfit for office" because of his culpability in some particularly gruesome atrocities by Israel’s Lebanese allies in the refugee camps of Shatila and Sabra. Whenever there have been peaceful overtures by Arab states or the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Sharon’s response has always been, at best, dismissive and usually downright hostile. He has had more Palestinians killed, for example, since the PLO accepted Israel’s right to exist on 78% of Palestine than when their demand was for a "democratic secular state" or the "destruction of Israel" as the Zionists prefer to call it. In 1981, the Rabat plan, whereby the Arab states agreed to normalise relations with Israel in return for Israel withdrawing to its pre-1967 boundaries, was described by Sharon as "a declaration of war". And the recent Saudi peace plan, much the same as Rabat, is now gathering dust.

In addition to the war crimes Sharon has always had a reputation for being dishonest with his political masters. His first patron, David Ben Gurion, recorded in his diary (29/1/1960) that "if he could wean himself from the habit of lying he could be an exemplary military leader." Later, in 1982 he lied to Menachem Begin about his aims in the Lebanon war. He lied to the Kahane Commission (Supreme Court), he lost a libel action against the Israeli liberal daily Ha’aretz and now he tells of painful concessions for peace.

So what does the proposed Gaza withdrawal consist of? We have seen what Gaza itself consists of. It has almost nothing and what it does have has been commandeered by illegal colonial settlers or is provided by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The settlers will, if the plan goes ahead, be withdrawn. Settlers have been known to kill civilians (as recently as yesterday) so this could bring some comfort to the Gazan population. However, if the withdrawal goes ahead, might Israel press for UNRWA to be withdrawn? UNRWA provides housing, healthcare, education, but above all, jobs. This isn’t mere speculation. Last year, Sharon accused an UNRWA ambulance team of loading a Qassam (home made) missile on to an ambulance. He was too hasty in his accusation. Israeli intelligence didn’t have time to doctor their photographic "evidence" and the accusation was exposed as another lie when the "missile" turned out to be a stretcher. But looking at American websites and other media, many commentators have happily run with the Qassam story. This does not simply expose Palestinian ambulances to Israeli attacks. Israel has attacked medical facilities without "pretext" before. It is to undermine the authority and credibility of the Agency in order to hinder all of its work. Taken with the mass campaign of political assassinations, Sharon is creating a Gaza with no viable economy or polity.

Sharon has said that his withdrawal plan is a part of Bush’s much vaunted "road map" to peace and Palestinian statehood. This is curious since his most trusted adviser, Dov Weisglass, is on record as saying that "the significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process, and when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda". So the idea of following the road map is yet another lie by Sharon, though Weisglass was forced to withdraw his prepared statement.

But how painful is this particular concession? In a way, it represents a step back by Sharon. True, the Jewish population of Gaza is hardly a significant factor as a proportion of Israel’s population as a whole, and indeed of the settler population itself, and Sharon has always said that "Zionism is not about what Israel can do for Jews but what Jews can do for Israel." But his party, the Likud, still sings the anthem Shtei Gadot with its expansionist lyric "one side of the Jordan is ours and so is the other". So relinquishing land, any land, is always painful. The outcry from the far-right, including comparisons of Sharon with Hitler (this on account of his treatment of Jews rather than Palestinians) isn’t just choreography, though that is part of it. But the Israel-free Gaza will be so enfeebled and dependent many Palestinians will have to leave as they have done for decades now. The ethnic cleansing that Israel has failed to fully achieve by war, they have tried to make up for by economic stealth and this will surely continue in an "independent" Gaza. If large sections of the population leave, it is likely that only the most militant would remain. If this happens it wouldn’t take much for Sharon or a successor to manufacture a pretext for reoccupation.

Some commentators are perplexed over the support that Sharon is now garnering from the Zionist "left" for his plan. This is because they fail to see that Zionism doesn’t really have a left. Traditionally, the Likud wanted Jewish rule over Palestine and the Palestinians if needs be. Ethnic cleansing was never an essential part of their policy. They were happy to go the "way of (apartheid) South Africa". This never suited the left. The call for "transfer" (the expulsion of all of the Arabs from all of Palestine) was always a Labourite demand. The strict segregation engendered by the barrier is also a Labourite idea. The fact is that Sharon has a Labour Zionist background and he has made no significant departures from that throughout his career.

So with massive military strength, a reduction in Palestinian attacks, a Palestinian leadership either dead or brought to its knees, the uncritical support of an American President (and Congress and any credible Presidential hopeful) and no viable alternative government of Israel, why is Sharon withdrawing from Gaza? When the disengagement plan was first discussed, Sharon’s extreme right critics argued that he was rewarding the Palestinians. His words in an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth (Israel’s most popular daily newspaper) are informative. Of unilateral disengagement from Gaza he said that "this should be seen as a punishment and not a reward for the Palestinians".

For once, he might just have been telling the truth.

This article is a slight update of one first published in October 2004 by Ireland's Sunday Business Post.

August 16, 2005

Apartheid within these walls

This Amara Hass article in Ha'aretz (10/8/2005) shows how Israel's apartheid system operates, not just between Israel "proper" and the occupied territories but how it discriminates between Jews and Arabs within Israel itself and even within its prison walls. Thanks to Treeplanter.
the murderer Ami Popper, who has the blood of seven Arab laborers on his hands: his life sentence was reduced to 40 years, he was permitted to marry, have conjugal visits, bring five children into the world, visit them, go on furlough and phone home daily. Security prisoners who are Israeli citizens and residents of Jerusalem cannot make use of the public pay phone, are not permitted to go on leave with their families, not even when a parent or other relative is dying or has died, are allotted fewer hours than criminal inmates for walking in the prison yard, their family visits take place behind iron grates and plastic and glass divisions, and they are forbidden even to hug their children and touch their wives.
Hass gives many more examples of such discrimination so please read the article in full.

August 15, 2005

No to shooting, yes to looting

Many thanks to Oscar for this and to Mooser for this.

In the first selection carries the story of how, in the Gaza pull-out, Israeli soldiers are not allowed to simply kill the settlers as they would kill recalcitrant, or even docile, Palestinians.
Normally we would storm a house killing everyone inside, whereas here we have to storm the house and keep everyone alive.....It’s not an easy job.
In the second, Ha'aretz reports on how two groups of Israeli soldiers have been caught looting the houses of settlers in Gaza.

Case 1
Two infantry soldiers were caught Sunday night as they were attempting to steal equipment from homes in the settlement.
Case 2
In another incident, a Channel 10 television crew captured three soldiers from the Engineering Corps on film as they were carrying a refrigerator from another home in Pe'at Sadeh.

The army is attempting to trace the three suspected soldiers.
Bet they find them quicker than if the victims were Palestinian.

Jews sans frontieres?

What on earth is this? I've just stumbled on a site called which lists "Jewish links". One page is called Jews sans frontieres and has a link to here but it doesn't accredit the name or anything. So do we have anyone out there who can explain this to me?


August 14, 2005

Talk about "beyond chutzpah"

Under the heading "THE BLACKLISTING BEGINS" Norman Finkelstein's website reports of the withdrawal of two invitations for him to launch his book at leading bookstores in America. As is the professor's way, he wants people of goodwill to complain to the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the Barnes and Noble outlet in New York. The site also points out that Barnes and Noble will be hosting an event for exposed plagiarist, Alan Dershowitz's book, The Case for Peace.

As is his way, Professor Finkelstein would like people to register their protest at these decisions by writing to the following people:

Harvard Bookstore - 1256 Mass Ave, Cambridge MA 02138 -,,

Barnes and Noble, 122 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
Donna Cobb,
Jeff Penque

August 13, 2005

Katus - who she?

On the last night at Broadstairs Folk Festival I saw and heard a wonderful singer-songwriter called Katus (as in Cat Tush). She was performing solo (by way of a change apparently). She has a curious voice and interesting lyrics. I promised her that I'd do a post and a link if she let me have two of her cds for a tenner instead of one for a tenner. She has four downloads available here. Give them a listen and maybe buy the cds. Now I have to do the link.

I'm back from my hols now so normal service should be resumed soon.

August 08, 2005

Death becomes him

Because I'm on holiday I completely missed the Independent's front page when I posted below. The sub-heading to the article by Robin Cook reads as follows:
We would have made more progress against terrorism if we had brought peace to Palestine rather than war to Iraq.
We'll be reading about his feet of clay soon enough so we should perhaps make the most if this reverence for the time being.

Robin Cook dies

I know this is yesterday's news and Robin Cook was a fairly mainstream New Labourite but when Robin Cook resigned from the cabinet over the war on Iraq he delivered a speech that was one of those "you could forgive him anything" moments. Click here for the full text of the resignation speech which showed that, whilst he may not have been a man of the highest integrity, he certainly had a lot more than the sorry bunch who rule us.
Iraq probably has no weapons of mass destruction in the commonly understood sense of the term - namely a credible device capable of being delivered against a strategic city target.
And on Israel:
I have heard it said that Iraq has had not months but 12 years in which to complete disarmament, and that our patience is exhausted.

Yet it is more than 30 years since resolution 242 called on Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories.

We do not express the same impatience with the persistent refusal of Israel to comply.
The Independent is reporting this morning that a "return to Cabinet role for Cook was on the cards" but with quotes like the above two there must be many in the cabinet who are glad that such a return is no longer on the cards.

August 05, 2005

Broadstairs Folk Week

Off to Broadstairs for Folk Week tomorrow. It's the 40th anniversary. There might not be many, if any, posts here but we'll see.

August 04, 2005

Goldstein chai!

Echoes of Baruch Goldstein here as a West Bank settler kills four "Israeli" Arabs on a bus and the other passengers beat the attacker to death. The attacker was said to be a member of Kach. The link in the headline is to Science Daily which I'd never heard of before. Their original report said three dead whereas Reuters put the figure at 4. And Ha'aretz details the security failures that allowed the attack to happen.

Ken's third way

Get out of Iraq is Ken's third way to make us safer, second is respect Muslims and first is support the police. It's amazing how this genie of linkage of the war on Iraq with the London bombings got out so quickly. Do you remember when they first happened on 7/7. There was a rush to dig up all the old chestnuts about pure evil, and hating our way of life and on and on. And it seems like only yesterday that Hazel Blears was conflating "explaining" with "excusing". Hell! It was only yesterday.

Britain and Israel's bomb

Amazing story on how Britain helped Israel develop nuclear weapons in spite od America's then opposition. If you're quick you can still see the Newsnight that broadcast the details last night.
Robert McNamara, President John F Kennedy's defence secretary, has told Newsnight he is "astonished" at the revelation that Britain kept this secret from America.
Hard to imagine a time when Britain was more pro-Israel than America. It's also hard to imagine who in the West could possibly act as an honest broker in any talks between zionists and Arabs given the collaboration between the West and zionism over the best part of a century.

Anyway, hurry hurry. Go to the Newsnight website and follow the links to a fascinating report on Newsnight which will be available until 22.30 today, London time. (Hat-tip Montag)

August 03, 2005

Boycott Israel update

Here's a good letter in today's Independent calling on the EU to boycott Israel:
EU should cut trade ties with Israel
Sir: It is now more than a year since the advisory ruling of the International Court of Justice that the construction by Israel of the separation wall in the occupied West Bank is illegal in international law and should cease forthwith. It ruled that those portions of the wall built on Palestinian land should be torn down and reparations made by Israel to those whose lives had been harmed by it. It also stated that all States party to the Geneva Convention are under an obligation to ensure compliance by Israel. On 20 July 2004, the UN General Assembly in emergency session passed a resolution by 150 votes to six accepting the advisory ruling. Those voting for the resolution included the UK and other European states.

I note that Israel has ignored the ruling and the UN vote, continues to build the wall and expand its settlements in the West Bank, also declared illegal by the ICJ in the same ruling, and that no attempts appear to have been made by the UK or other European governments to ensure Israel's compliance. Israel enjoys substantial trading advantages with Europe under the EU-Israel Association Agreement, an essential condition of which is that Israel maintains "respect for human rights". This condition is clearly being violated, and I believe that Europe should now suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement.


He's not wrong you know.

Top Tory joins the majority

Well, Dominic Grieve, the shadow Attorney General, hasn't actually joined New Labour. That would be the "parliamentary majority". No he has done something more democratic than that. He has joined the majority of British, and now American, people in saying that the London bombings were "wholly explicable".
The Tory leadership distanced itself from Dominic Grieve, the shadow Attorney General, after he said the link between the Iraq war and the terror campaign could not be ignored.
In response to this the Home Office minister, Hazel Blears, resorted to typical new Labourite disingenuousness
Asked if she agreed with Mr Grieve, Ms Blears said: "No, I don't. I think people can fundamentally disagree with policy issues, with foreign policy ... but I don't see any justification for people blowing themselves up and murdering hundreds of other people."
No one seems to have followed up with the most obvious question at this point: "who said anything about "justification"?"

Fancy a chat?

I've recently posted a chat facility. It's down on the right hand side of the page. I don't know how long it will last. I had some kind of blog linker for a while where people could put their own links and it got taken over by porn, casinos and dodgy zionist/pro-war blogs. So give it a whirl and if you're a blogger, look at other offers from NeoWorx.

Jihad for Israel?

No not that bunch of loons in their orange tee-shirts and orange star badges. This is about an Islamic Jihad leader suggesting that IJ might join the Palestinian Authority and recognise Israel.
"Israel forces us to react. If Israel stops the assassinations and arrests, we will observe the hudna," he said, adding that if a young Palestinian were to approach him and tell him he was on his way to carry out a suicide attack, he would try to dissuade him.

In his first interview with an Israeli news outlet, Abu Qassam said his organization might recognize the State of Israel.*
His take on Arafat and Mazen is quite interesting too
"Arafat believed in armed struggle and was not afraid of civil war. Abu Mazen does not believe in armed struggle and opposed civil war. We are with Arafat on the matter of the armed struggle, and with Abu Mazen in the desire to prevent civil war," he said.
I've probably said elsewhere that when an Arab League summit in Rabat in 1981 offered to recognise Israel in return for Israel's withdrawal from the occupied territories, Israel called it a declaration of war. Let's see how they greet this dangerous de-escalation.

*In the Hebrew edition of Ha'aretz the recognition of Israel is linked to withdrawal from the west bank and Jerusalem.
"I support the Hodna [truce] .the Hodna will open a new political routes... the Islamic Jihad is based on religion and Koran, on spreading the islamic justice every where. But the Islamic Jihad also gave, more then once, a chance to Hodna and negotiation with the PA and Egypt. we stopped the attacks and israel continued with the killings and the arrests. the Islamic Jihad will accept a palestinian state in the west bank and gaza strip, on the '67 borders, on the condition that it will be a state like any other state, with freedom of movements on land, air and sea, jerusalem its capital, and most important - return of all the refuges". when asked where the refuges should return to, Abu Kassam answered: "first, lets agree upon the principle. if israel will be ready for such a solution, the Islamic Jihad will be ready for a solution more then israel"
Thanks to Ron Cohen of Just Peace.