November 30, 2006

Watch Human Rights Watch

Whose human rights does Human Rights Watch watch out for? I ask because Norman Finkelstein has an article in Counterpunch that demolishes the credibility of HRW by comparing the way they treat Israeli and Palestinian actions. Here's the start:
Even by the grim standards of Gaza, the past five months have been cruel ones.

Some four hundred Palestinians, mostly unarmed civilians, have been killed during Israeli attacks. (Four Israeli soldiers and two civilians have been killed.) Israel has sealed off Gaza from the outside world while the international community has imposed brutal sanctions, ravaging Gaza's already impoverished economy.
Here's the finish:
HRW executive director Kenneth Roth "commended" Israel during its last invasion for warning people in south Lebanon to flee--before turning it into a moonscape, slaughtering the old, infirm and poor left behind. It would seem that Palestinian leaders and people, too, merit some recognition for embracing the tactics of Gandhi and King in a last desperate bid to save themselves from annihilation

Email HRW Middle East director Sarah Leah - and HRW executive director Kenneth
The bits in the middle are worth a look at too.

November 29, 2006

Netanyahu, the next PM?

It looks like Binyamin Netanyahu could be the next Prime Minister of Israel according to AngusReid. And this in spite of being questioned by police over the funding of opinion polls on his own behalf by way of the public purse:
The Likud party maintains a large advantage in Israel, according to a poll by Teleseker published in Maariv. The results suggest Likud, led by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would secure 29 seats in the next election to the Knesset.

The governing Kadima party of prime minister Ehud Olmert would finish second with 18 mandates, followed by Israel Our Home under Avigdor Lieberman with 14 seats, the Labour party of Amir Peretz with 12 mandates, and the International Organization of Torah-observant Sephardic Jews (Shas) with 10 seats.

In March, Israeli voters renewed the Knesset. Kadima, founded by former prime minister Ariel Sharon and led by Olmert, secured 29 seats. Labour, the Retired People’s Party (Gil) and Shas joined Kadima in a coalition. Last month, the Israeli cabinet approved the addition of Israel Our Home to the government. Olmert’s coalition now has the support of 78 of the Knesset’s 120 members.

Yesterday, Netanyahu was questioned by the International Fraud Investigation Unit over alleged wrongdoing in connection with public opinion polls. The Likud leader issued a statement, claiming he paid for the surveys—conducted on his behalf by former Education Ministry employee Yaakov Katz—out of his own pocket.
Could this be described as lurching to the right? The only difference between Israeli governments seems to be what they say rather than what they do.

November 28, 2006

Save the Children....from Israel

I just googled "Israel" and down the right margin there's an ad for Save the Children. Following the link, the page carries the neutral headline, Crisis in middle east. The page first appeared back in September 2006 but if they are still paying google to carry it as a margin ad then I guess the issue is still current so cop this:
The end of the war has not meant the end of suffering for children. Unexploded bombs are a real and present danger for children. Towards the end of the war some 4,000 explosive items were dropped daily on southern Lebanon; with a failure rate estimated by the mine action group to be at least 10%. These included cluster bombs, which have a much higher failure rate.

Often brightly coloured and the size of drinks cans, children can mistake these deadly weapons for toys or pick them up for souvenirs. Unexploded bombs are expected to be found under destroyed buildings. As families clear the rubble – often with the help of children – further casualties are expected.

The risk of accidents for children is now very high. Villages that have been flattened by intense bombings have become a highly dangerous environment for children to live and play in. This increased risk of physical injury is at a time when health centres are struggling with shortages of medicines, fuel and water, which increases the threat to children’s safety even more.
There's also a link to a page that shows what Save the Children is doing to protect children from these racist war criminals of the State of Israel.

Palestine fragments

Here's an article from Ben White in the Palestine Chronicle titled Fragmenting Palestine and Palestinians:
Before leaving for Palestine earlier in the summer, a friend of mine gave me a postcard by a Palestinian artist that expressed, he said, the fact that “the situation in the Middle East always seems to get worse, never better”. Sadly, three months in Palestine seemed to confirm this grim reality, as with each passing day, the occupation’s grip becomes tighter and ‘Palestine’ gets smaller. As 2006 begins to draw to a close it is useful to take a step back from the daily horrors in Gaza or the arrest raids in the West Bank, to assess three broad Israeli strategies vis à vis the Palestinians, and how they might be resisted.
About the Palestine Chronicle is here.

November 27, 2006

It seems like only yesterday that Israel owned up to arming Iran

Hell it was only yesterday! Well 20 years ago yesterday. It was on 26th November 1986 that the then Israeli Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, owned up to Israel's arms dealing to Iran in what became known as the Iran-Contra Affair. This is from the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs:
In September, when the Israeli government radio accused Iranian troops of training Lebanese Shiite guerrillas for attacks on the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army, and said that Iranians themselves might also have been among those who attacked Israeli positions in Lebanon, the US media reported those charges in great detail. None found the time or space, however, to note how ironic it was for Israel to complain about Iranian military activities.

Iran might have been hard put to continue its costly six-year-old war with Iraq—not to mention simultaneously stirring up followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini in Lebanon—if Israel had not been willing to sell the Khomeini government great quantities of the weapons Iran desperately needed to keep its army in the field. That is only one of the anomalies of Israel's booming arms trade. US law and US policy also come in for some stretching and twisting.

Over the course of the Gulf war, Iran's quest for weapons has become legendary, with many countries and hordes of private arms dealers eager to conclude arms deals and reap the premium commissions Iran offers. Israel, with standing access to the same models of US-made arms upon which the Shah based Iran's arsenal, and with its desire to build up an indigenous arms industry, has led the pack. The London Observer estimated that Israel's arms sales to Iran total $500 million annually.
The WRMEA is well worth a regular look at. I should try it some time.

The Dershowitz letters

I haven't looked at Norman Finkelstein's site for a while but a friend of mine told me that the Dershowitz letters saga has hotted up again. This is where Alan Dershowitz has denied that he tried to get Finkelstein's book, Beyond Chutzpah, banned from publication:
In a Jerusalem Post column attacking Ben-Gurion University professor Neve Gordon, Alan Dershowitz wrote this:

A case in point is Dr. Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University , who has defamed so many people, as well as the nation of Israel . He also recently defamed me by saying that I had tried to prevent the publication of Norman Finkelstein's latest anti-Zionist screed, Beyond Chutzpah. In fact, as I specifically wrote in my letters to Finkelstein's publishers - as Gordon knew, because I released the letters - "I have no interest in censoring or suppressing Finkelstein’s freedom of expression." ( 8 November 2006)

It is simple to resolve definitively whether Dershowitz attempted to suppress publication of my book. Dershowitz alleges that he has "released the letters" he wrote my publisher. Not quite. He has never released the letters his lawyers at Cravath, Swaine & Moore wrote my publisher. He has never released the letter he wrote Governor Schwarzenegger. Readers interested in learning the truth should request these letters from Dershowitz: If what he's saying is true, Dershowitz has nothing to hide.

Please cc my web site a copy of your letter and his reply (if any).

That's cc Finkelstein's site, not mine.

November 26, 2006

Israel laid land mines in Lebanon

Not content with cluster bombs it now appears that Israel laid land mines in Lebanon in the summer war it lost:
A U.N. agency said Saturday that Israel laid mines in Lebanon during this summer's war between the Jewish state and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah group - the first time Israel has been accused of planting mines during the latest fighting.

The report by the U.N. Mine Action Coordination Center follows its investigation of a land mine explosion Friday that wounded two European disposal experts and a Lebanese medic.

Later Saturday, the agency reported that a British demining expert was injured in a separate blast while trying to clear mines from the same area where Friday's explosion occurred. The deminer, who worked for the British-based land mine clearing company BACTEC, had to have his foot amputated.
I'm sure the UK government will protest strenuously about this.

November 25, 2006

Asghar Bukhari didn't bankroll Irving

Here we go again. Muslims are yet again being told to be all seeing and all knowing when it comes to what offends Jews. This in spite of a concerted confusion campaign by zionist groups and publicists to blur the distinction between antisemitism and anti-zionism. Here's an article from last weeks Observer where it is said, correctly, that Asghar Bukhari of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, "sent funds" to the holocaust denier, David Irving. The lurid headline made it look as if Asghar had some influence there and it's only deep into the article that we discover that the events described took place 6 years ago and the "funds" were sixty quid. They were kind enough to give space to Asghar's rueful explanation:
'I had a lot of sympathy for anyone who opposed Israel,' Bukhari told The Observer said. 'I wrote letters to anyone who was tough against the Israelis - David Irving, Paul Findley, the PLO."I don't feel I have done anything wrong, to be honest. At the time I was of the belief he [Irving] was anti-Zionist, being smeared for nothing more then being anti-Zionist.

'The pro-Israeli lobby often accused people of anti-Semitism and smear tactics against groups and individuals is well known. I condemn anti-Semitism as strongly as I condemn Zionism (in my opinion they are both racist ideologies). I also believe that anyone who denies the Holocaust is wrong (I don't think they should be put behind bars for it though).'
Now MPACUK has run an explanatory piece by Asghar Bukhari:
From a Muslim perspective, without any real understanding of the complexities of anti – Semitism (which is the majority of Muslims in the world including the UK, including myself at that time and to even some extent now), we saw the whole issue as a pretty simple equation: Jewish people had robbed Palestinian people of their land, not content with that, they massacred them, oppressed them brutally, and even went so far as murdering their children. Then anyone who spoke out against these Jews and what they were doing was silenced by being smeared as anti Semitic.

That’s the understanding I myself had when I was growing up. It’s pretty much correct and true, the problem was my total ignorance of the situation. I know it sounds hard to believe, but I didn’t think any Jews supported the Palestinians, just like I would have choked to hear any Muslim standing up for Israel. Why would they support us?

I wasn’t an activist I was just a kid growing up in the streets, with other Muslim kids.
Read the whole thing here.

November 24, 2006

Israel fears International Criminal Court

From the Guardian a piece on those who fear the establishment of an International Criminal Court with teeth:
Israel... fears prosecutions over its behaviour in occupied Palestinian territories - such as the incident in which 18 Gazan civilians were killed by shelling this month.
Of course Israel fears such a court. So do other states. So why is Israel different? Israel exists on the on-going basis of the crimes that would bring it before such a court. Without those crimes Israel would, and therefore should, cease to exist.

November 23, 2006

Iraq war was Israel's war

Well that, according to Yahoo news, is what Olmert is saying.
The Iraq war was a boon for Israel's security, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Wednesday, voicing fresh endorsement for a Bush administration sapped by the unpopularity at home of its Middle East policies.
So lots of Iraqis dead, lots of Americans and Brits dead too but it's good for Jews! Wonderful!

Gilad Atzmon: liar, racist, buffoon

Sorry to go on but the Socialist Workers Party's antisemitic friend, Gilad Atzmon, seems to have gone all quiet here. Having either used his wife or her name to threaten to sue for being called antisemitic or racist he came here in his own name to deny having posted under another name and he then named my blog in Counterpunch yesterday as being a manifestation of Jewish exclusivity or supremacy on a par with the State of Israel.

The guy's a complete schmock but what on earth is the SWP doing with him? Why don't their grass roots members speak out like they did last year? Has Atzmon improved? Or has the SWP deteriorated? It's looking like the latter.

November 22, 2006

Lenni Brenner in the Jewish Chronicle and in full

Here's a letter from Lenni Brenner to the Jewish Chronicle. I have put in bold the bits that the Jewish Chronicle left out:
Your 10/11 article re January performances of Perdition, Jim Allen's 1987 play about Zionist collaboration with the Nazis in 1944 Hungary, says that it was "inspired" by my book, "Zionism in the Age of the Dictators," and that I've challenged historian David Cesarani to "a discussion about the play's Zionist-Nazi relations."

I now learn from your journal that he scorns the proposed debate as a "publicity stunt."

Indeed such an event would command attention, but to his "Becoming Eichmann." Perdition is already one of the most discussed plays in British history.

I hoped to confront Cesarani because pressure from Britain's Zionist establishment, and from him, with his "Report" on Perdition, got the Royal Court Upstairs Theatre to refuse to allow the play, already in rehearsal, to go on.

Their scheme backfired, as he confessed in your July 3, 1987 issue:

"Personal representations coincided with the threat of a mass protest outside the theatre, the combined effect of which made it seem as if pressure were being applied." As far as the public was concerned, it looked as if the theatre "had been bullied into censoring the play."

I hoped that he repented. Becoming Eichmann's paper jacket says that "Cesarani shows how Eichmann unexpectedly developed into the Reich's 'expert' on Jewish matters and reveals his initially cordial working relationship with Zionist Jews in Germany."

He admits that Eichmann went to Palestine in 1937 as the guest of Labor Zionist Fievel Polkes, "a Haganah agent," who "was prepared to offer help to Germany to extend its influence in the region if it facilitated an exodus of Jews to a Jewish national home." (p. 53)

It was a hop, skip and jump from Polkes to Reszo Kasztner, the real life 1944 Labor Zionist villain of Perdition. In a 1954-55 libel trial, he was declared guilty of collaboration by an Israeli judge who later tried Eichmann. Israel's Labor Zionist high court reversed the decision, but admitted that he wrongfully sent an exonerating statement on behalf of a war criminal to the Nuremberg courts. Except that who but a collaborator would do that?

In 2007 Cesarani still can't admit that he was wrong denouncing Perdition in 1987. So I'll have to debate an empty chair. That's OK. The 1987 public saw him and the Zionists as denying them the right to see the play and make up their own minds as to whether or not Zionists collaborated with Hitler. In 2007, the public will go to the play and accompanying lecture, in large part because of Zionist ranting against it, see the chair, and conclude that he knows that no one can defend Zionism's role in Hungary.

Lenni Brenner,
New York City
The JC letter is here.

November 20, 2006

Jews sans frontieres hosts Gilad Atzmon!

This is terrible! First the Socialist Workers Party hosted the known antisemite, Gilad Atzmon, and lied to their supporters to justify what they had done, then Scottish Palestine Solidarity announced a talk by him titled ""Zionist" Control, and now Jews sans frontieres has hosted comments from Gilad Atzmon. I know JSF leaves the moderator switched off sometimes but surely the owner wouldn't allow a known Jew-baiter to post comments there. Well no I wouldn't as a rule allow it but Gilad Atzmon is nothing if not dishonest and so he used a false name, a woman's name, Yocheved. I think he's also been masquerading as a Palestinian calling himself "Afif." I accidentally deleted some comments today and when a friend told me that "Yocheved" is most likely Atzmon I wrote to him to get him to post his latest comment again. That was yesterday evening and he still hasn't replied. It's not like him to ignore emails. Now Gilad Atzmon's not shy so why didn't he use his own name to post comments here instead of acting like Alf Green of Engage?

There is of course a large element of hypocrisy here. Look at this line in a comment by Yocheved:
Moreover, as you may notice even the Jewish Socialist refrain now from overtly calling him (Atzmon) a racist or an Anti Semite. I tell you why, they are simply afraid. They know that he can take them to court and win.
So Yocheved Atzmon, let me be clear, Gilad Atzmon is a hardcore anti-Jewish racist, that is, an antisemite, and a lying hypocrite to boot. See you in court Yocheved.

Just as an aside here. I got the link to SPSC from the Engage site. Engage says in its post that the Atzmon's proposed talk is "entitled not entirely ambiguously "Zionist Control"." This is one of those half-truths that is at least tantamount to a lie. The talk is sub-titled "The Gatekeepers of the Pro-Palestine Discourse." This looks likely to be an attack on Jewish anti-zionists. In fact it is likely to be a smear against Jewish anti-zionists by accusing them of a form of racism. Funny how Engage didn't mention that but it's not just the use of bogus ID to post comments that gives Engage something in common with Gilad Atzmon.

November 18, 2006

Meron on Grossman

This Grossman speech has taken on a life of its own. Now Meron Benvenisti has a piece in Ha'aretz about it. My posts are getting too long. I used to do short and pithy. Now I'm posting several sides of A4. I'm trying to select a paragraph from the article that conveys the maudlin pretentiousness of Grossman's "left" zionist speech. I know, I'll assume that people have read the speech already. Here's a good paragraph:
All this wailing, so stylish among the jabbering classes, comes in the wake of the last war. Not the hasty slide itself into an unnecessary war, not the brutal use of force against civilians, is the cause of the "deep crisis." Rather, it is the "failures of the management of the war." In this, the left joins those lamenting the loss of deterrent capability and those who call for a removal of the shame of the failure and those responsible for it, and to prepare Israel for the next round of battles.
You'd better read the whole the whole thing.

Atzmon in his own words

Gilad Atzmon has said that Jews against zionism represents a powerful lobby undermining him because of his stand against Israel. This is a lie as he knows. The first anyone knew that he was antisemitic was when he published the following article attacking Jews against Zionism. He has the article on his own site but I couldn't find it because it is missing from the index. I had assumed that he had deleted the article altogether to spare the blushes of his friends at the Socialist Workers Party and to pose as a victim but one of his accolytes found it where I couldn't, on google. I still think it's significant that it's easier to find on the site of Atzmon's Svengali, Israel Shamir but who knows? Anyway, here it is:
The Protocols of the Elders of London

a document compiled by Gilad Atzmon

In a very small segregated cyber shtetl[1] somewhere in the north-west side of yahoo ( ), a tiny cell of so-called ‘liberal’ Jews meets in the wee small hours. Night after night they are trying to save the Palestinian people from those who devote their lives to the Palestinian cause. There is one man who they really detest; his name is Israel Shamir ( ). An ex-Jew, Shamir is a very civil and peaceful man and probably is the sharpest critical voice of ‘Jewish power’ and Zionist ideology.

Among Israel Shamir’s many sins, he is a member in the Board of Advisors of DYR (Deir Yassin Remembered, an organisation founded with the purpose of commemorating the victims of the Deir Yassin massacre). DYR is engaged in promoting reconciliation between Arabs and Jews. The liberal Zionist cell, as we are going to read, cannot really take it. They demand the cleansing of Shamir. They insist upon ruining his intellectual career or at the very least, his reputation. They would use any possible manipulative strategy to have him thrown out of DYR, which is the first step towards sending him beyond the pale.

The following extracts are available on-line (for the time being) at Just Peace UK’s official cyber shtetl: .

The extracts reveal a horrifying image of modern Jewish secular intolerance. It is a glimpse into the abusive, assertive and violent world of Zionist lobbying. It is a glance into the milieu of the people who try to determine the correctness of other people’s world views. When reading these extracts, just bear in mind that the authors behind them regard themselves as the forefront of Jewish moral thinking and universal humanism.

Let’s let them introduce themselves

We shall start with what is the authentic voice of the Marxist Tony Greenstein. Greenstein suggests that “anti-Zionist Jews, maybe under the banner of Return or JAZ, should sign an open letter to the PLO/PSC etc. insisting that they categorically repudiate Shamir and all his works and calling on Deir Yassin Remembered to break its links. What is important is that those Jews who sign are seen, without any qualification or equivocation, to be opposed to Zionism root and branch AND opposed to Shamir”. (Tony Greenstein)

Reading those lines by Greenstein, I wonder whether I am allowed to guess that ‘anti-Zionist Jews’ are basically a bunch of ‘Just Peace UK’ (a left Zionist group). If this is the case we should never take JAZ seriously again. If this is the case, Jews Against Zionism are operating as undercover Zionist agents. If true, and I still suspect it, it is very disappointing but not really surprising.

Orna Neumann doesn’t like Shamir either, but unlike Greenstein who pleas for the help of his brothers, Neumann expects the Arab world to fight her Zionist wars. Neumann stresses that they (the cyber shtetl Just Peace UK) should “ask the Arab Media Watch and Affif and the PSC (Palestinian Solidarity Campaign) to denounce him (Shamir)”. (Orna Neumann)

I may get it wrong here but when she mentions ‘Afiff’ she is probably referring to none other than Afiff Safieh, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK. The fact that Neumann uses informal language calling Ambassador Safieh by his first name is in itself slightly unusual. Is Ambassador Safieh her close friend? Is he an active member in this Liberal Zionist cell? I am sure he isn’t. For those who don’t know, Afiff Safieh is the supreme Palestinian diplomatic representative to the UK. It seems as if Elder Neumann is trying to portray an image as if some informal trading is possible with the ambassador. As if the ambassador is a Zionist collaborator. Having had the honour of watching Ambassador Safieh speak on behalf of the Palestinian people, having seen him and his wife sitting in front row seats at the DYR event. I am pretty confident that Neumann was searching for support in the very wrong place.

Roland Rance, a revolutionary socialist and an alleged devoted peace lover isn’t far better. Like Neumann, Rance refers to the ambassador, applying similar informal language, but then, unlike Neumann, Rance doesn’t ask Ambassador Safieh to intervene, he gives him orders. See for yourself:

”So we should not ask people like Afif and PSC to denounce Shamir because of his anti-Jewish rantings; we should insist that they join us in rejecting his whole approach as an obstacle to any progressive political strategy”. (Roland Rance)

Sometimes I ask myself what Rance and his elder friends mean when they say ‘progressive political strategy’, Surely they mean silencing the voices of their political and ideological foes. I find myself wondering what is so progressive about silencing other people?

Apparently, some of the cell members are slightly more intellectually developed than others. For instance, Stephen Marks, is no doubt a strategically concerned one:

”I think” he maintains, that “the approach should come from a broad range of people, so Shamir cannot muddy the waters by claiming it is 'the jews' who are after him. The fact is that the zionists have been 'crying wolf' over antisemitism for so long that some people who have not read his material will be vulnerable to the argument that attacks on him are simply a reprise of the old Zionist chorus”. (Stephen Marks)

Marks confesses here that Shamir is an internal Jewish problem but he insists upon finding a way to present Shamir as a threat to the world. But let us confront some facts here. It is the ‘liberal’ Jews who attack Shamir. Admittedly those left Jews are quoting two Palestinian writers (Ali Abunimah and Hussein Ibish) who denounced Shamir a while ago and yet I have never come across an orchestrated Palestinian campaign against Shamir. If anything, it is the other way around. Shamir is repeatedly praised by Palestinians and many of their supporters. From time to time you may come across an eloquent critique of Shamir’s ideas. At other times, he is considered as an opinionist and treated as such. If anything, it proves beyond doubt that the Palestinian solidarity campaign expands and becomes more and more colourful. This is probably something that we miss in the protocols of the Elders of London. When I was collecting these extracts I found out that not ‘many’ Palestinians are engaged in any dialogue within their cyber shtetl. If to be accurate, as a matter of fact I didn’t find a single Arab that might hypothetically save their honour.

G-D Save the Queen

Ladies and gentleman, I assume that by now you are ready to meet the Queen of the shtetl, Lady Deborah Maccoby. As we are going to see, Queen Maccoby is concerned not only with the Palestinians, in fact she tries to save the Christian world from regression. At the end of the day, to be a Shtetl Queen is a great responsibility.

“ …the problem is that DYR has now become mixed up with anti-Semitic regressive Christian ideas and is being exploited as a means of demonising Jews and is seen not just as a symbol of massive injustice – acknowledgement of which can lead to reconciliation - but of a kind of cosmic sin. I know most of the people at the commemoration will not have seen it as such” (Deborah Maccoby)

Being myself an active participant at the DYR event I cannot recall any ‘anti Semitic regressive Christian ideas’. But if to be honest, I do not know what ‘Christian regressive ideas’ are. Does Maccoby refer here to the old accusation of Jews being Christ’s killers? Maybe, but then, surely she should know that it has nothing to do with regressive Christianity; it is rather a historical narrative. However, in the DYR event no one blamed the Jews for killing Christ. If anything, it was the Zionists who were blamed for cleansing the Palestinian people as well as ‘killing them’. But may I stress at this point that Maccoby’s suggestion is in itself an outrageous insult to Christianity and Christian people. She really wants us to believe that Christianity is a shaky and fragile spiritual compound of dark beliefs, she wants us to think that it is she and her disciples who can save the Church from regression.

But we are not finished yet, it isn’t only Christianity that must be saved, it is the foul Goyim who need saviours. Please show your respect to the ‘gentile soul expert’ Brian Robinson. Following the great tradition of Jewish analysts, Brian enlightens his fellows with some deep insights into the gentile psyche.

“If much of what Shamir writes strikes deep chords within people, let's say people whose primary motivation for involvement in this issue is an unacknowledged, and denied, antisemitism, then in attacking Shamir's writings we're attacking that hidden - but probably deeply cherished – part of those people's personalities. And they'll muster all the narcissistic defences they can - denial, projection (It's not us, it's you lot).

And maybe they've got us in a double bind - if we win the argument we lose it, and the better we win, the worse we lose ...” (Brian Robinson)

Funnily enough, Robinson is right, you can never win, you can only lose..

As one might guess, so far the battle against Shamir is far from being a great success, DYR’s Board of directors ignored the outrageous demand to spit Shamir out. And so did the Palestinian Ambassador and all the other respectable supporters of the Palestinian struggle. The DYR event was an astonishing spiritual gathering. Many Palestinians performed and many others attended. Amongst the audience and the performers you could find people from every religious group, class and ethnic origin. The Palestinian Ambassador honoured the event while sitting in the first row. Everyone was there except Deborah Maccoby and her clan of liberal Zionists.

Facing the apocalyptic aspects of the ensuing catastrophe, Orna Neumann is already getting ready for the worst case scenario:

“Has anyone seen his publication the Flowers of Galilee (Shamir’s book)?” she asks and then continues, “Hitler also started from words....”. For Neumann, Shamir is the new Hitler, he is no longer just an ordinary anti Semite. He is now just about to liquidate the entire Jewish people. Ask yourself why? Like Hitler, Shamir wrote a book. Undoubtedly, she puts her very strong logical skills to the service of the cause; let me tell you, dear Neumann, not only did he write a book (more than one), he has a small moustache.

London Underground

Confronting a clear defeat, Queen Maccoby and Goyim-expert Robinson have realised that the smear campaign was found to be counter effective; they have decided to go under.

“Just Peace UK list is at the end” Maccoby wrote “with all our messages on it (including this one!) Which means we should continue these discussions off line”. (Deborah Maccoby)

If this coded message isn’t clear enough, Robinson is here to help:

”Deborah, you have a good point about continuing the discussion, but how? One way is to establish a small email group -- I suppose to join such a group needs a central person to co-ordinate e-addresses - yourself??

As we can clearly see, the liberal Jews of North West Yahoo are withdrawing back to the ghetto practicing their old exclusive tactics. May I suggest something? What about the Israeli embassy in London, surely, they must have a secure concealed room, they would be happy to help you all. This is exactly what they are there for.

[1] Schtetl – a small provincial and traditional Jewish townlet as existed until the 20th century in Poland and Ukraine.
Atzmon has claimed that he was "attacked" by Tony Greenstein because of his association with Israel Shamir. The fact is that Atzmon attacked Greenstein et al because of their dissociation from Shamir. This article by Atzmon on Israel Shamir's site shows that Atzmon is both a liar and a racist. It's late here now so I'll have to return to this with some clarifications. I will just ask that readers trust me, that Atzmon is primarily an attention seeking buffoon who has invoked antisemitism to draw attention to himself and he has lied about the animosity between himself and the Jewish anti-Zionists he has chosen to attack.

Now this Atzmon business has already been too much of a distraction. Just when the zionists had so overused the antisemitism smear as to make it almost meaningless Atzmon, the SWP and Scottish Palestine Solidarity have given it a new lease of life and many of us who would truly gladly see Israel, as a zionist state, wiped from the map will have to start from scratch explaining our principled and honest anti-racist position.

November 17, 2006

Israel, a project of dispossession

Here's a comment by Ahdaf Soueif in the Guardian that looks like a response to David Grossman's recent speech at the memorial for limb smasher, Yitzhak Rabin, but is sub-titled, Israel's liberal intellectuals lament the malaise that grips their country - but refuse to face up to the ethnicide at the heart of it. :
The secret rotting at the core of the state of Israel is its refusal to admit that the Zionist project in Palestine - to create a state based on the dispossession of the non-Jewish inhabitants of the land - was never noble: the land it coveted was the home of another people, and the fathers of the Israeli nation killed, terrorised and displaced them to turn the project into actuality. But the Palestinian nation lives on - visibly and noisily and everywhere. To make its own denial stick, Israel has to deny and suppress Palestinian history. To impose its design on Palestine, it has to somehow make the Palestinians disappear. "Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill"; and so the ethnicide continues. The new deputy prime minister, Avigdor Lieberman, plots against the Palestinians within Israel. The Israeli army kills and terrorises the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Zionists and their friends are desperate to silence the voices of and for Palestine. Meanwhile, Israel insists it is civilised, decent, peaceable - a light unto nations. How can a society caught in such delusion thrive? And how can people living within the Zionist project as privileged Jewish citizens bewail their embattled lot or be puzzled by it? Liberal Israelis of the left should heed another couple of lines from the bard: "Glamis hath murder'd sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more; Macbeth shall sleep no more."
Ahdaf Soueif can be contacted at

November 16, 2006

Where did Palestinian childhood go?

I posted a video on Palestinian childhood a couple of posts ago and it seems to have disappeared. Anyway, here's the link:

An open letter from Jewish Socialists to Scottish Palestine Solidarity

I read recently that Scottish Palestine Solidarity is hosting Gilad Atzmon. Here's an open letter from the Jewish Socialist Group to the Scottish PSC protesting what they are doing:

Dear Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign,
The terrible situation of the Palestinians today,
especially in Gaza, demands the broadest possible
unity by those who wish to challenge oppression,
racism and human rights abuses. Those who disrupt that
unity, or make pro-Palestinian activity vulnerable to
charges of antisemitism cannot be friends of the
Palestinian people.

Against this background, the Jewish Socialists’ Group
strongly oppose Scottish PSC’s invitation to Gilad
Atzmon to speak and perform on November 22 at an event
called “Zionist control”. Apart from the SWP, which
has inexplicably invited Atzmon to its annual Marxism
events, and to a book launch at its Bookmarks shop
(which was picketed by “Jews Against Zionism and other
anti-racists), Atzmon is shunned by other progressive,
pro-Palestinian organisations. They completely reject
his statements - regurgitating world Jewish conspiracy
theories and diminishing the crimes of Nazism - which
have been widely denounced as antisemitic.

Atzmon’s outbursts have been a gift to Zionist
journalists, providing them with an opportunity to
discredit and smear those who support Palestinian
rights and justice for the Palestinian people.

If you are not familiar with the views of the person
you have invited, here are some examples from his
article "On antisemitism" December 2003 on his own
website ( and reprinted in

"We must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish
people are trying to control the world very
seriously…American Jewry makes any debate on whether
the 'Protocols of the elders of Zion' are an authentic
document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews
do try to control the world, by proxy."

“Israel's behaviour throws some light on the
persecution of Jews throughout history."

In 2005 Atzmon approvingly distributed Paul Eisen’s
essay “Holocaust Wars” which the Socialist Unity
website described as “a full-blooded exposition of
Holocaust denial material and a tribute to notorious
neo-Nazi Ernst Zundel.” Atzmon said he had only
“slight differences” with Eisen’s article.

In 2006 he wrote an article called “Beyond comparison”
for Al-Jazeerah (August 12) about Israel and Nazism:

“Nazis were indeed proper expansionists, they were
trying to take towns and land intact…unlike the Nazis
who had respect for other national movements including
Zionism, Israel has zero respect for anyone including
its next door neighbours. The Israeli behavior should
be realised as the ultimate vulgar biblical barbarism
on the verge of cannibalism.

“While Nazism was a nationalist expansionist movement
with extensive yet limited ambitions, the Jewish State
and its Zionist lobbies are trying to revive the
spirit of a global crusade in the name of a bizarre
religious war.

“It is about time to … say it all loudly... We have to
admit that Israel is the ultimate evil rather than
Nazi Germany”.

Since the early 1980s the Jewish Socialists’ Group has
worked closely with Palestinian organisations and
solidarity campaigns and more recently with Jews for
Justice for Palestinians, Just Peace UK and European
Jews for a Just Peace in the struggle against
occupation and for equality and self-determination for
Palestinians. We have challenged Jewish communal
“leaders” when they denounce opponents of Israel as
antisemitic and Jewish opponents of Zionism as

At the same time we remain vigilant about antisemitism
and other forms of racism. We agree entirely with the
Britain’s former PLO representative, Afif Safieh, who
frequently told pro-Palestinian demonstrations and
meetings that antisemitism was an enemy of the
Palestinians as well as the Jews.

As Jewish socialists and outspoken opponents of
Zionism, racism and fascism, we cannot understand how
it benefits the Palestinian struggle to invite and
promote an individual who speaks as Atzmon does,
regardless of his origins. The Palestine Solidarity
Campaign has long had a clause in its aims to oppose
antisemitism and all forms of racism. We cannot
understand why SPSC seem intent on exposing the
pro-Palestinian movement to charges of antisemitism.

We appeal to Scottish PSC to rescind the invitation
and we appeal to Palestinian organisations and
solidarity organisations to make their views on this
known to Scottish PSC.


David Rosenberg
(on behalf of the National Committee of the Jewish
Socialists’ Group)
JSG BM3725 London WC1N 3XX
I'm not a member of the JSG myself but I'd say they've hit the spot this time.

November 14, 2006

False propaganda?

This is a bizarre speech from Tony Blair. He is saying that, among other things, the question of Palestine needs to be addressed, indeed solved, in order to facilitate an Anglo-American withdrawal from Iraq. See this from the Guardian:
"A major part of the answer to Iraq lies not in Iraq itself, but outside it, in the whole region where the same forces are at work, where the extremism flourishes with a propaganda that may be - indeed is - totally false, but is none the less attractive to much of the Arab street."

He argued: "We should start with Israel-Palestine. That is the core. We should then make progress on Lebanon. We should unite all Arab and Muslim voices behind a push for peace in those countries, but also in Iraq."
So what false propaganda is this serial fantasist referring to? What false propaganda is so powerful that it can mobilise people against some of the most powerful forces on earth? I'm not sure if Reverend Blair addresses that one.

November 13, 2006

Palestinian childhood

Confronting Bin Laden's fan club

Here's an article from Peter Preston in the Guardian in which he derides the British secret service chief for describing specific terrorist threats, suspiciously specific in numerical terms, as lasting for "a generation." Here:
You have to work a little to crack the Da Eliza code. Most headline writers, last week, stopped at the MI5 chief's flurry of oddly precise figures: 30 petrifying plots pending, 200 terrorist groupings identified, 1,600 dodgy individuals under surveillance. And even when you got beyond such chill statistics, there were still red herrings swimming around. "It's difficult to argue that there are not worse problems facing us, for example climate change," she suddenly announced halfway through her timber-shivering lecture. Espionage boss demands more loft insulation? Where's the blood-stained brick road to Jerusalem there?

But then she began talking about "the roots of terrorism" and the coding grew more transparent. The threat posed by Bin Laden and followers, she said, "is serious, is growing and will, I believe, be with us for a generation".

There's the crucial word: generation. When you talk about a "generation" you're broadly defining a set of people born around the same time, men and women who share the same broad tastes and influences. Their generation games can last for 10 years or 20. The term can embrace baby boomers and MTV addicts, see generation X turn to generation Y. But it is as long - and as useless - as a piece of string at telling us when a taste for nightmares will end, or how "sustained campaigns" of fear can be brought to a close.

Does Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller truly believe that the cult of Osama is some passing, youthful fad that will one day be gone, like David Cassidy's fan club? Will it somehow be swept away by new boy bands or iPods? Not exactly, it seems. We must all stand up for our core values, "equality, freedom, justice and tolerance", she says. We must therefore confront "the powerful narrative that weaves together conflicts from across the globe, presenting the west's response to varied and complex issues, from longstanding disputes such as Israel/Palestine and Kashmir to more recent events, as evidence of an across-the-board determination to undermine and humiliate Islam worldwide".
Recalling an earlier post, I'm not sure that the British or wider European public has the collective stomach for all this terrorist chasing without addressing root causes.

November 12, 2006

America vetoes UN resolution on Gaza

America, via it's ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, has used its UN Security Council veto to insulate Israel from formal condemnation of its atrocities in Gaza.
Britain abstained, France and Russia voted in favour, but America refused to allow the United Nations to condemn the Israelis after Wednesday's mistaken rocket strike on Beit Hanoun, which killed 19 civilians
Hardly news now, is it? but I suppose it is worth a mention that:
Although the resolution was modified by Qatar to include condemnation of rocket attacks into Israel, Mr Bolton described it as "in many places biased against Israel and politically motivated".
Goodness gracious! A UN resolution "politically motivated." These zionists don't even have to make sense any more.

November 11, 2006

Now Ynet supports the blood libel

Look at this. Ynet, the online version of Yediot Ahranot, an Israeli mainstream paper, is reporting on Israel's killing of children. Before I post a snippet I had better direct you to Anthony Julius's chilling work "On Blood Libels." It's about how Jews have been falsely accused of killing children for annual ritual purposes in the past. Now that Israel has turned the killing of children into a daily ritual, the "blood libel" schtick is supposed to be useful in stifling criticism of what Israel is actually doing by conflating present truths with past fantasies.

Ok, you've read your Anthony Julius? Yes? Good. Now I can post from this mainstream Israeli newspaper:
Nineteen Palestinian children have been killed in the past 10 days, making November already the second deadliest month of the year for young people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNICEF said Friday.

The UN children's Fund said 17 have been killed in Gaza and two in the West Bank so far in November. Only July - when 40 children were killed - was worse, the agency said.

What children and adolescents have endured the past few days will likely have a long-lasting impact," UNICEF spokesman Michael Bociurkiw said in Geneva. "They have seen family members killed and their communities destroyed.

They have been confined to their homes, in many cases without access to food, water or electricity."

Israeli artillery shells ripped through a residential neighborhood Wednesday in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, killing at least 18 people , including eight children.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said a "technical failure" meant the artillery hit the homes instead of an

orange grove, some 1,500 feet away, from which troops saw rockets fired seconds earlier.

Bociurkiw estimated that more than 300 children have been injured this month by Israeli attacks. For the year, he said 116 Palestinian children have been killed, compared with only 52 last year.
Anthony Julius, where are you? Even child killers are entitled to legal representation.

Independent Gaza?

This is the front page of the Independent today.

Don't forget to read Anthony Julius's complete load of tosh - On Blood Libels - at, where else? the Engage site. It's important that you read that stuff so that you know that you are allowed to say that Israel kills children but you will be accused of antisemitism if you do.

Is Perdition an insult?

Here's an article from today's (well, yesterday's) Jewish Chronicle on the proposed showing of the play Perdition which is based on a chapter from Lenni Brenner's book Zionism in the Age of the Dictators:
Anti-Zionist play an ‘insult’
By Racehel Fletcher
PLANS for Scottish performances of a play about Zionist collaboration with the Nazis in the week of Holocaust Memorial Day have been condemned by local Jewish leaders as “a deliberate insult to all who perished.”

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign intends to stage “Perdition,” by the late Jim Allen, in Edinburgh and Glasgow, declaring that “the only way to pay tribute to the Holocaust is to understand what actually happened and what lessons we can learn from it.”

However, Scottish Council of Jewish Communities director Ephraim Borowski accused the SPSC of “aligning itself with Iran, Hamas and Hizbollah, whose leaders are on record as seeking to wipe Israel, and indeed all Jews, off the face of the earth.

“The thesis [of ‘Perdition’] is that those threatened with annihilation by the Nazis deserve condemnation for saving themselves and their families.”

Mr Borowski added that “any true supporter of peace and co-existence in the Middle East should honour the memories of victims of extremism.”

“Perdition” was inspired by a chapter in American author Lenni Brenner’s book, “Zionism in the Age of Dictators.” Mr Brenner is expected to attend a performance of the play and has invited Jewish historian Professor David Cesarani to a discussion about the play’s Zionist-Nazi relations. Professor Cesarani dismissed the move as a “publicity stunt.”

SPSC’s chairman Mick Napier rejected claims of insensitivity, arguing: “The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians cannot be understood without looking at the collapse of European civilisation in the 40s.”
Now if Holocaust Memorial Day is about understanding the holocaust, why do certain people who support the day, reject the idea of telling people about an example of zionist collaboration with the nazis? I wonder if such people want people to understand the general principles at all.

November 09, 2006

Moron Grossman

Woops, sorry, I meant to say "more on Grossman." Ok that was childish so sorry again. Anyway, what I am trying to say is that there are more letters in the Guardian on David Grossman's ghastly speech to, well, I'm not sure who to but Linda Grant says that there were 100,000 people there "by the way." Here's one of the letters:
Less than 48 hours after David Grossman stood up in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square to denounce the "hollow leadership" of Israel (A state of missed opportunities, G2, November 7), its actual leaders, the Israel defence force, kills 18 Palestinians in their beds. By all accounts, that adds up to 71 killed in one week. Maybe prime minister Ehud Olmert and defence minister Amir Peretz should give way to Avigdor Lieberman, the ethnic-cleansing deputy prime minister, and Dan Halutz, chief of staff and specialist in ham-fisted overkill, to finish the job, in Lieberman's words, "surgically". This has all the signs, not of an error, but a misguided policy.

Like many diaspora Jews, I am both ashamed and enraged at these actions. Instead of bombing the Palestinians into defiance, why can't Israel just talk?
Michael Kustow
And another:
David Grossman seeks to expose the moral degradation of Israeli governments, but succeeds also in exposing the infantile romanticism of the Zionist left. He describes the creation of Israel as a "political, national and human miracle", but for a much larger number of people - the inhabitants of Palestine who were expelled or killed, and their descendants still living in exile or under military occupation - it was a catastrophe. And while we can all sympathise with his grief over the death of his son, a tank commander in the invasion of Lebanon, some of us have seen these same tanks in action against Palestinian children armed only with slingshots.
Stephen Williams
There are others but those were my faves.

Linda Grant has now been joined, actually I think that might be rejoined by someone in the Engage comments. Here's a reminder of what she had to say about the gruesome prospect of this "left" zionist, Grossman, being on the sharp end of a boycott of Israel:
And this is the man the cultural boycotters want to silence . . . There were 100,000 people in the audience, by the way.
And the rejoinder:
Since Grossman supported the criminally disproportionate attack on Lebanon, he has no moral standing. He also misrepresents the position of Hamas which is that if Israel withdraws to the pre 1967 borders they will guarantee peace for a generation. Negotiations are irrelevant because all Israel has to do is obey UN resolutions and international law.
Let's be clear about who it is Linda Grant wants to save from a boycott, a left zionist who supported the war on Lebanon until it became clear that Israel couldn't win.

Again I say that the zionist smearsite, Engage, is a friend to the anti-zionist movement.

Quick! Call Anthony Julius!

This is a job for Anthony Julius. Now the Chicago Tribune is giving vent to the notorious blood libel*:
BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip -- In the alley among the shell-damaged houses there were pools of blood and children's shoes.

Stunned men sat against the pockmarked walls, speechless, and a throng of grieving women overflowed from a nearby house.

A barrage of Israeli artillery shells that crashed into a crowded neighborhood killed at least 18 people in this town early Wednesday, eight of them children, and wounded dozens more, most from the same extended family. It was the highest number of Palestinian civilians killed in a single strike since fighting erupted between Israelis and Palestinians six years ago.
According to Engage, it's very important to read Anthony Julius's essay on the blood libel before accusing Israel of killing children. I wonder if Joel Greenberg of the Trib follows Engage.

I'm guessing there are many people who don't know what the blood libel against Jews was. It was the allegation that Jews killed children for their blood to make unleavened bread for the passover. It has nothing to do with the fact that Israel routinely kills children but it is now used to scare people away from stating that irrefutable fact. Of course these tactics will more likely cause antisemitism than stop it but why should the zionists at Engage worry about that?

November 08, 2006

Israelis tortured?

I noticed this speech by David Grossman - an Israeli writer - on the Engage site yesterday and I didn't think much about it. They'd got it from Ha'aretz. I noticed there was one comment by Linda Grant (I'll return to that). But someone emailed me today to say that there were two letters in today's Guardian slagging Mr Grossman and so I read the whole maudlin speech. One of the letters deals with this little chunk:
Appeal to the Palestinian people.......

Look at them, just once, not through a rifle's sights and not through a road block. You will see a people no less tortured than we are. A conquered, persecuted, hopeless people. Of course, the Palestinians are also guilty of the dead end that we've reached. Of course they bear part of the blame for the failure of the peace process. But look at them for a moment in a different way, not just at their extremists, not just at those who have an alliance of mutual interest with our own extremists. Look at the great majority of this wretched nation, whose fate is bound up with ours, like it or not.
This was part of a "where did Israel go wrong" sort of article and the first letter addresses that:
Having read David Grossman's speech (What happened to my beautiful Israel, G2, November 7), I can't help but ask: what happened to my beautiful Palestine? No one will doubt the sincerity of Mr Grossman's desire to see peace between Israelis and Palestinians, especially after the tragic loss of his son in the recent Israeli attack on Lebanon. A tragic loss that echoes on a daily basis within every Palestinian home in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Gaza Strip. We all mourn and we all suffer.

But, Mr Grossman must also know that the cause of this spiral is not Hamas or the Palestinian resistance, or the suicide bombers. The cause is the illegal and inhuman occupation of Palestinian land. Israel has it in its grasp to simply abide by international law and all UN resolutions calling for an end to its occupation, and to allow the Palestinians to live in freedom and dignity. My beautiful Palestine will then join hands with his beautiful Israel to show the world what two great people can achieve, if mutual respect and value for human life are upheld. Only then, can the death of Mr Grossman's son and the sons of Palestinian mothers and fathers be honoured.
Antoine Raffoul
Raffoul Darrer Architects, London
I prefer this one though:
David Grossman refers to Palestinians as "a people no less tortured than we are". With the possible exception of the occasional supposed liberal Jewish commentator, there are of course no longer any actual tortured Jews, whether we are talking about bodies or souls. There are, however, countless Palestinians being actually tortured by the occupiers of their country.
Shihab Nuaimi
But the funniest comment of all wasn't in the Guardian, it was on the Engage site by Linda Grant:
And this is the man the cultural boycotters want to silence . . . There were 100,000 people in the audience, by the way.

Now what is she trying to say? Imagine, if a full blown cultural boycott was in place we may have missed a zionist likening the suffering of the Palestinians to that of the Israelis. Terrible thing!

I've said before that Engage will help the boycott movement more than hurt it.

Israel's trail of death in Gaza

This is a report from the Guardian this morning:
Hours after the Israeli military pulled out of the town of Beit Hanoun yesterday morning, Talal Nasr was at the cemetery to search for a spot to bury the body of his 13-year-old daughter.

It was the first time for six days that any of the town's residents had been allowed out of their homes, the duration of Israel's biggest military operation in the Gaza Strip for months. The streets quickly filled and many headed out to mourn and bury their dead.
Also I just got this snippet from an Arab Media Watch email:
Since the Israeli "redeployment" from Gaza on August 20, 2005, Israeli
occupation troops killed 694 Palestinians and wounded four thousand.
It's good to know that Israel can withdraw from occupied territory and still defend itself.

November 05, 2006

Harry's Place saves my reputation!

Thanks to Reverend Lovejoy and one or two others, the zionist Harry's Place website has deleted some comments from a recent post on Saddam Hussein after someone used the name Mark Elf to post the following comment:
You lot will be gloating about this like all zionists. Those of us with a consistent anti-imperialist position remember that Saddam did great things, like hanging zionist spies in central Baghdad in 1969 - he was vice-President at the time, but was the man at any rate. He showed that to confront zionism you've got to have the bollocks to do it. Now he's paying for that with his life because the zionists who run the court have decided that's what has to happen. And now the zionists will trigger a civil war in Iraq. Meaning that instead of confronting zionism and driving out the zionists, Arabs and Muslims will be fighting each other, which is what the zionists want. And while they're doing that, zionists will further consolidate their hold on the globe. You lot are a bunch of zionists. I hate zionists, I really do. Every sentence I've written here contains a negative reference to zionists or zionism. The day is coming when zionism will be overthrown.
Posted by Mark Elf at November 5, 2006 01:55 PM
Google the name Mark Elf and you will see that there is an American jazz guitarist with the same name as me but I know I didn't post the comment and I doubt if he did. It took just five minutes for this chap John B no.2 to notice the comment wasn't very me-like.
Surely the HP moderators will remove the above libel comment. Of course its real author is not Mark Elf.
Posted by John B no2 at November 5, 2006 02:00 PM
Anyway, they did eventually but not before Reverend Lovejoy posted the following:
What would Mark Elf need to sue for libel? Proof that his reputation had been damaged.

Well he's certainly gone down in my estimation
Posted by Reverend Lovejoy at November 5, 2006 02:14 PM
which at the time of writing is still in place.

Thanks for that Reverend. You're a saint sir!

November 04, 2006

Ariel Sharon is unwell

It's true. According to the Guardian, he's taken a turn for the worse.

At last someone hates Borat

Sometimes I feel hopelessly out of step. I was in a gym changing room recently and Borat was on the tv and people (keep fit types) were gathered round the box laughing while Borat spoke about transvestites at an award event. The thing that first troubled me about this Borat character was his suggestion that antisemitism is common currency in Kazakhstan. His stupid "throw the Jew into the well" song, sung to an audience of supposed rednecks in the American south would have been many English speakers first introduction to an emerging former Soviet state and people. Now Tony Karon of the Rootless Cosmopolitan site has weighed in with a post on what he sees as Borat's racism:
Most of the discussion about Borat and anti-Semitism misses the point. The ADL wonders if he’s not playing a dangerous game since “not everyone will get the joke.” But they may be missing the point: The prejudice that Borat is promoting is not against Jews, it’s against Kazakhs, branding them with one of the most toxic slurs in Western discourse — the charge of anti-Semitism.
A few weeks ago one of Sacha Baron-Cohen's (ie Borat's) writers wrote about antisemitism at the Edinburgh festival in the Times. I can't be bothered to dig it up now but it was yet another tiresome "don't even go there" sort of piece. The Jews are untouchable for political critique and humour. The Kazakhs or anyone else however, they're fair game.

Thankfully, Tony Karon is not alone. The Jewish Chronicle makes a very different point from that made by Tony Karon, arguing that "Borat fatigue" is starting to set in already. Good thing, I'd say.

Neo-cons repent...almost

Here's a Guardian article headed Neocons turn on Bush for incompetence over Iraq war. A few named "neo-cons" are quoted as changing their minds about the Iraq invasion. But look at their reasoning:
Mr Perle, a member of the influential Defence Policy Board that advised the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, in the run-up to the war, is as outspoken in denouncing the conduct of the war as he was once bullish on the invasion. He blamed "dysfunction" in the Bush administration for the present quagmire.

"The decisions did not get made that should have been. They didn't get made in a timely fashion, and the differences were argued out endlessly," Mr Perle told Vanity Fair, according to early excerpts of the article. "At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible."

Asked if he would still have pushed for war knowing what he knows now, Mr Perle, a leading hawk in the Reagan administration, said: "I think if I had been delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said, 'Should we go into Iraq?', I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists'."
And what about the chap who said that the war on Iraq would be a "cakewalk?"
Kenneth Adelman, another Reagan era hawk who sat on the Defence Policy Board until last year, drew attention with a 2002 commentary in the Washington Post predicting that liberating Iraq would be a "cakewalk".

He now says he hugely overestimated the abilities of the Bush team. "I just presumed that what I considered to be the most competent national security team since Truman was indeed going to be competent," Mr Adelman said.

"They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the postwar era. Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional."

He too takes back his public urging for military action, in light of the administration's performance. "I guess that's what I would have said: that Bush's arguments are absolutely right, but you know what, you just have to put them in the drawer marked 'can't do'. And that's very different from 'let's go'."

Mr Adelman, a senior Reagan adviser at cold war summits with Mikhail Gorbachev, expressed particular disappointment in Mr Rumsfeld, who he described as a particular friend. "I'm crushed by his performance," he said. "Did he change, or were we wrong in the past? Or is it that he was never really challenged before? I don't know. He certainly fooled me."

Mr Adelman said the guiding principle behind neoconservatism, "the idea of using our power for moral good in the world", had been killed off for a generation at least. After Iraq, he told Vanity Fair, "it's not going to sell".
Did you se that? "the idea of using our power for moral good in the world?" Leave aside the relentless aggression called for by this imperialistic idea. How does he square "moral good in the world" for the neo-cons' support for Israel?

Haifa's own goal?

Many thanks to Joe90 for this little gem.
Play interrupted last night, between the Gers and Haifa, when a protester ran onto the pitch and tried to handcuff themselves to Haifa's goalpost
BBC report

Watching someone get huckled by the powers of the state made the visiting Haifa supporters feel right at home!
More on the doings from Osama (mc)Saeed's blog

November 03, 2006

Good news from Israel at last....

Just in from Isakofsky.
Not all Israelis are gun-totin nasties colonising the West Bank. The soft Zionists are right after all. Some are good, clean baby-lovin, baby-huggin good guys. And the good news is that they're coming! Yes, the Israelis are coming to a digital TV set near you. If you've got a baby, going to have a baby, or even fancy having a baby, now's your chance to do it, Israeli-style, care of baby TV. And the especially good news is that they don't do black or brown babies, like those shmoozey liberal US shows like the old Sesame Street and even Playhouse Disney. No, Israeli Baby TV doesn't go there.
Now why would that be...?

Israel's Ministry for Silly Ministries

Richard Kuper has just posted an article by Azmi Bishara to the Just Peace UK list. It's in al-Ahram and it's about Israel's political system which brings Bishara to this comment on the new Ministry for Strategic Threats:
Only in Israel could such a thing be created. This is a country that has not yet appointed a minister of social affairs, but after coalition negotiations now has a Ministry of Strategic Threats. Perhaps in the future we will see the Security Fears Ministry, the Demographic Threat Ministry, the Non-Recognition of Israel Ministry, the World Is Against Us Ministry, the Chosen People Ministry, or the Ministry of Greater Israel.
I thought they had all those already.

Blood libel in Ha'aretz?

Before reading anything about the State of Israel killing yet another small child you had better read this article about "blood libel" on the Engage website by Anthony Julius. I mention this because Ha'aretz has now reported that Israel killed a four year old Palestinian boy in Gaza this morning, or rather that he died from wounds sustained last night.
Gaza hospital officials said early Friday that a four-year-old boy had died of wounds sustained Thursday by IDF shelling during the operation.
The piece had originally appeared as:
A 4-year-old boy and 40-year-old woman were among four Palestinian civilians killed Friday during an Israel Defense Forces operation in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanun, Palestinian sources said.
That was removed together with any reference to a 4 year old being killed by Israel's moral army. Perhaps they were fearful of the "blood libel" charge. Or perhaps they were just checking the story. Well now the piece has reappeared as above and so they have presumably got confirmation of this latest child killing by the State of Israel. When the story had disappeared altogether I did a google search for "4 year old boy" killed israel. It yielded 19,000 sites. That doesn't of itself mean anything. Many of the sites could have been about 4 year old Israelis being killed but the first site to appear was the New York Times from 1989 with a headline 4-Year-Old Boy Killed In Clash in West Bank.
A 4-year-old Palestinian boy was shot to death in the West Bank today during a clash between demonstrators and the Israeli police, Arabs and the army said.

Palestinians identified the boy as Amjad Nasser, from the village of Kufr Kad, near Jenin. Officials at Jenin hospital said the boy died from a gunshot wound in the chest. A military officer said the army was investigating the incident after ''a policeman was forced to fire his gun during a stone-throwing demonstration in Kufr Kad.''
I'm sure this killing of children by the most moral army in the world and the most powerful army in the Middle East has been going on since way before 1989 but nowadays Israel can't always rely on the sympathetic press that it used to get in those days. So now we have a leading lawyer writing a hopelessly irrelevant article (or is it a book? I haven't actually read it) on a false allegation that used to be levelled at Jews in medieval times and feudal societies in the hope that it will be conflated with a truthful allegation that the State of Israel kills children. Those zionists, what a bunch!

Bush more dangerous than Kim and Ahmadinejad: international survey

The British public often surprises me with its poll returns of world affairs. Remember 60% believed Israel to be the biggest threat to peace in the world back in 2000? Well see this Guardian report today:
America is now seen as a threat to world peace by its closest neighbours and allies, according to an international survey of public opinion published today that reveals just how far the country's reputation has fallen among former supporters since the invasion of Iraq.

Carried out as US voters prepare to go to the polls next week in an election dominated by the war, the research also shows that British voters see George Bush as a greater danger to world peace than either the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, or the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Both countries were once cited by the US president as part of an "axis of evil", but it is Mr Bush who now alarms voters in countries with traditionally strong links to the US.
It's nice to know that the people can rise above the propaganda. I wonder if the rise of the internet has affected how people get their information. We've certainly come a long way from the days when "it was the Sun wot won it!"

November 02, 2006

Jews against zionism

There's been a bit of a ding-dong on the Just Peace list lately. It was over whether a campaign against the occupation could work with zionists, even Engageniks, in tow. I think the consensus was that it could happen with zionists but not Engageniks. Anyway, someone suggested that the list had been taken over by Jews against zionism (JAZ) so one of the moderators had to straighten the person out as they say in the mafia. If you can follow the thread from here you're a better person than me but I just wanted an excuse to post this pretty pic of our banner.

November 01, 2006

Perdition is back

The classic play the zionists tried to ban is showing soon in Scotland. See this from Lenni Brenner:
I'm going to Scotland, 1/21-27/07. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign is presenting performances of Perdition, a play by the late Jim Allen. He based his play on a chapter in my book, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators. Now I'll accompany it with lectures and documents.

In 1987, Cesarani and Martin Gilbert, another historian, were instrumental in getting London's Royal Court Upstairs theater to stop rehearsals of the play on the grounds that it was it was biased against Zionism, anti-Semitic, etc. Allen & I then debated Gilbert and a leader of the British Zionist movement on nationwide TV, after enormous publicity generated by the closing down of the play. Cesarani later admitted, in London's Jewish Chronicle, that the British public felt that the Zionists had deprived them of their right to see the play and make up their own minds about its merits. Subsequently the play was produced on several occasions with praise from important critics. And now Ken Loach, Perdition's director for Allen in 1987, has won the top film prize at Cannes.

Naturally I'll discuss Cesarani's role, then, and his present book which, among other things, deals with relations between Eichmann and Reszö Kasztner, the Zionist who Allen denounced as a collaborator. But I propose that Cesarani and I go further and debate the factual merits of Perdition and the larger question of Zionist/Nazi relations.

We could debate in Scotland or his home city, London, either during my stay in Scotland or immediately before or after 1/21-27. And we can look for a TV or radio show that will carry the event.

I'm an author making a proposal to a fellow author. We all want publicity for our books. If he accepts my challenge, win, lose or draw, the wide British public will know about Becoming Eichmann.
It took me a while to get my head around the dates. It's from 21st January 2007 to 27th January 2007. I might go up there for that. Lenni Brenner's certainly worth a listen to.... and a read of.

Freedom Theatre Appeal

Here's something Michael Rosen (aka Isakofsky) is guesting on soon. He made a comment about it here yesterday and I said I'd do a post on it last night but BT intervened and crashed for the night.






ARNA'S CHILDREN THEATRE IN JENIN is rising again in Jenin's refugee camp: a haven for them to explore, play, learn and express theselves.

The Freedon Theatre, started in 1993, was founded from the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize Award to an Israeli teacher, Arna Mer Khamis, for her work with children in Jenin.

The original was destroyed in 2002 during the Israeli incursion into Jenin.

Since then, the needs of the children of Jenin have not diminished, and Arna's son Juliano, along with an international board of artists, writers and activists, re-opened the theatre on a temporay site in February 2006.

To establishs the theatre on a permanent basis the British Shalom-Salaam Trust (BSST) aims to raise at least £30,000 for this.

To help raise the funds needed BSST will present an afternoon of POERTY, MUSIC AND MAGIC at The Shaw Theatre.

Guest Performers include:

Mike Rosen (Poet)

Adrian Mitchell (Poet)

Kaye Umansky (Poet)

Ann Jungman (story teller)

Ian Saville (magician)

We would like to thank you in advance for your support of THE FREEDOM THEATRE

'There can be few theatrical enterprises in the world more inspiring or more necessary than The Freedom Theatre. I supprt it whole heartedly and with great admiration' Nicholas Hythner



PO BOX 46081
W9 2ZF


For further information email:

Adults £12.00
Children £8.00

Even Engage is promoting this one.