May 31, 2007

Download this!

See this image from Engage. I just googled Israel and the third news item was headed British lecturers vote to back Israel boycott. I quickly turned to Engage, as you do when news like this breaks, and what did I see? This rather curious headline - UCU congress backs the boycott campaign and opposes the boycott - and the above button. They're a wacky crew those Engageniks but look at that button. I've always said, ok maybe not always, but I have said that Engage and in particular David Hirsh, are a liability for the zionist cause and this image shows they have their uses to people of goodwill. Right click on the image and "save." Then upload to you're own site and thank Engage for being so useful to the anti-zionist cause. Mind you it's only because I'm cynical that I'm surprised. Dr Hirsh claims to be non-zionist. From there it's only a short step to such demonising imagery as we see above.

May 27, 2007

Never in the field of human conflict.....

have so many lies been told to defend the indefensible. I was reminded of one of Churchill's most famous speeches by the headline of this Ha'aretz editorial. It refers to the onward march of the boycott Israel movement in the UK and it's titled "The Battle for Britain." It shows the zionists in a blind panic over the power of truth against the nasty racist project known as the State of Israel. The zionists' panic oozes from every line. See the opener:
Britain has become in recent years the battlefield in Israel's fight for its existence as a Jewish state.
Next up we get a taste of the forthcoming hasbara campaign. Just as an aside here. Hasbara, apparently, literally means "explanation." It has a hallowed place in the zionist ideology and project because when your main allies profess values of democracy, liberty and the rule of law, support for colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing, relentless militarism and racist laws take a little bit of explaining. Hasbara serves notice on the would be zionist activist that settling in Palestine isn't enough. You have to be prepared to lie for the war criminals you have chosen to support. So here's a bit of hasbara to be getting on with:
On Wednesday, representatives of the new British University and College Union (UCU) will be meeting in Bournemouth. On the agenda is another proposal to boycott Israel's academic institutions. These proposals have become as regular and as predictable as Qassam attacks on Sderot. The fact that studies at the Sapir Academic College in Sderot are not taking place because of the constant rocket fire from Gaza, even though the college is not in occupied territory and Gaza is no longer occupied, apparently does not bother British academia. The fact that Hamas, which controls the Palestinian Authority, does not recognize even pre-1967 Israel, and commits acts of terror against civilians, does not matter either. These nuances did not stop one boycott initiator from saying last week that justice in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is entirely on one side.
Nuances lost on Brit academics? And the nuance of Hamas's unrequited ceasefire is lost on Israel's most left wing newspaper. As is the fact that the oppression of Gaza's population by Israel has intensified since the Gaza withdrawal, as Sharon promised it would.

Ha'aretz is clearly getting desperate here. They even mention that mythical creature, the Israel left
which opposes the occupation and has been working against it for years
when it wasn't supporting "putting the Palestinians on a diet" and the sheer brutality of the attack on Lebanon's civilian population.

And it gets worse:
Over the past decade, Israel has elected governments that have expressed the desire of a majority of Israelis for a bilateral solution of two states for two peoples and a withdrawal from most of the settlements. The withdrawal from Gaza was to have been the first stage. The victory of Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel, cut off the process.
Hmm, two lies in one short paragraph. Not bad Ha'aretz. The Gaza withdrawal was Sharon's baby. He made it clear, in so many words, that the move was "a punishment for and not a reward to the Palestinians." This wasn't reported in the Israeli left Ha'aretz but in the Israeli right, Yediot Ahranot. The Israeli left in the form of the war criminal, Shimon Peres, may have spoken of "Gaza first" but Sharon's key advisor, Dov Weisglass made it clear that what the disengagers had in mind was "Gaza last." Let's revisit what he actually said:
"The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Ha'aretz.

"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. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress."
See the link. It's to Parapundit. See the link to Ha'aretz on the page you find. The Ha'aretz page has gone. Is this how this current editorial got it so wrong as to believe that Israel's Gaza withdrawal was a step on the road to peace? No, the writer of the editorial, in this Israeli left paper, is lying.

And so to lie number two: "The victory of Hamas....cut off the [peace] process." Leaving aside that there hasn't been a peace process, taking the attempts at establishing a Vichy regime in Palestine as "the process," it was Israel and Israel's allies that cut of even that bogus process when the resistance was elected instead of Israel's allies. And did the editorial writer expect readers not to notice that "most" of the settlements doesn't amount to all of the settlements and that what constitutes a settlement is itself open to interpretations that favour the settlers?

But let's see how the article ends:
The anti-Zionist winds blowing in Europe, mainly in academia and in Britain, strengthen the position that the very birth of the Jewish state was a mistake. The European hard left regards the Law of Return as the root of all evil; however, without acknowledging the Jewish character of the State of Israel, there is not even a basis for dialogue. British academia is in fact demanding that Israel democratically cease to exist as a Zionist entity, and that it be swallowed up in the non-democratic region in order to pander to the latest trend.
This one isn't as dishonest as the supporting ones. It's wrong but it shows a failure of understanding. The boycott movement clearly has many anti-zionists on board but it's mostly aimed at the occupation that Israel could end but hasn't ended. Also, whilst the Law of Return does lie at the heart of Israel's racist state structure, it is the denial of the right of return to Palestinians that is considered the villain of the piece/peace.

When a paper that brings us such courageous reporters and commentators as Amira Hass and Gideon Levy has to resort to this kind of dishonesty, zionism is truly on the ropes. Yes, it will go on for some time to come but the zionists are all out of arguments. They still have their killing capacity (see the side bar for updates) and no shame when it comes to hasbara but the edifice is built on sand.

May 26, 2007

Israel boycott gaining momentum

I'm loving all this boycott stuff. Israel is undeniably a pariah among pariahs. Yeah yeah yeah, all states abuse human rights and Israel doesn't have death camps yet and yada yada yada. But Israel wouldn't exist if it wasn't for its on-going human rights abuses. Israel exists on an open invitation for outsiders to come and enjoy more rights than insiders. But surely this is like America or Australia are? Er no actually. It's like they were; not like they are. Ok, America and Australia didn't desist from eliminating the natives until they had, er, eliminated the natives - as a political force anyway. But these are still supposed to be more enlightened times and do we really want to wait until Israel has eliminated the natives of Palestine or the wider Arab world?

Anyway here's Hilary Rose in the Education Guardian piling on the agony mostly by describing the agony felt by the Palestinians:
Faced with these brutal abuses Israeli academics, excepting a handful of brave dissenters, have remained silent - less surprising if we understand that Israeli academics serve in the military. One distinguished natural scientist explained to me that he served until he was 55. This is not discussed by Israeli academics, yet for many non-Israelis the image of the small boy terrified in his father's arms deliberately shot by the IDF is printed in our memories. Even within Israel itself, the universities, sitting on occupied Palestinian land, share institutionally in the general discrimination against Arab-Israelis (20% of the population).

In these desperate circumstances it is not surprising that South African leaders, from Ronnie Kasrils, the Jewish ex-head of the armed wing of the ANC to Bishop Desmond Tutu, declare that the sufferings of the Palestinians are worse than those of black South Africans under Apartheid. Those who know apartheid at first hand are well able to recognise a racist state. And all the blustering by the Israel lobby cannot wash this away.

The call from Palestinians for an academic and cultural boycott did not come from any political party but from Palestinian civil society itself. They saw that any claim to academic freedom and even the right to education was being destroyed. As members of civil society we have to consider such a moral and political call. Some, like the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine and the solidarity movement, have accepted the challenge. But it doesn't matter that every part of civil society responds in the same way.

What matters is that pressure is put on Israel until it complies with international law and works for a just peace. Thus British doctors are questioning the legitimacy of Israel's medical association, which condones torture; artists and filmmakers have called for a boycott, and a galaxy of international architects, including several Israelis and Palestinians, published a challenge on Thursday to Israeli architects concerning their human rights record and their professional ethics. Boycotts and such professional pressures are not fast in their effects, but like water dripping on a stone, eventually the stone wears away.
Like a cliff crumbling into the sea.

Planners for Palestine

Here's a Ynet (Yediot Ahranot) article on a petition by the UK's Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine.
In an interview with the Guardian published Saturday, a spokesperson for the group said the "complicity" of Israeli architects was "clearly unethical, immoral and contravene(s) universally recognized professional codes of conduct."

"We ask the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) to meet their professional obligations to declare their opposition to this inhuman occupation," he said.

Architect Will Alsop told Building Design magazine that he and his colleagues felt compelled to act. "This is not against Israel, it's for Palestine," he said. "I think the Palestinians are living in a prison. I'd like fellow colleagues in Israel to feel some responsibility about this shabby treatment. Architects are a fairly humanitarian lot and perhaps they could help."

The petition was harshly received by the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Its chief executive Jon Benjamin said: "What they are saying is that they have a certain view and that Israeli architects must publicly declare that to be their position as well."

Benjamin added that it would be more beneficial to "encourage the two sides to work together".

The architects' lobby is the latest in a series of petitions by British academics that have come out against Israel with severity, and even launched a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
Nice to see the Board of Deputies lecturing on what would be "more beneficial" for the Palestinians. Or am I misreading this? Do they mean that it would be "more beneficial" for the racist war criminals of the State of Israel if everyone left well alone and stopped declaring their support for the oppressed and their detestation of zionism and its works. And what's the Board of Deputies' beef anyway? Their full title is the Board of Deputies of British Jews. What do they care if people protest against racist rule in a far of place?

May 25, 2007

Kasrils ups the ante - zionism's a hundred times worse

Woah! This is some interview between Gideon Levy in Ha'aretz and Ronnie Kasrils. Get a flavour here:
"The man who greeted me when I returned to South Africa after the years of exile was Rabbi Cyril Harris ... He gave me a red skullcap with a dedication: to the freedom fighter. When I started to express criticism of Israel, I thought that the Jews would denounce Ariel Sharon, but then I found out that I was naive. I was stunned to see that the Jewish community here didn't care who was in power in Israel and how extreme the policy was against the Palestinians ... They would blindly support any government. Rabbi Harris became my enemy. He called me a fringe Jew and my response was: We were the only ones who stood up against apartheid and now we're the minority against the injustice.

"When I visited the territories I also passed through Israel and I saw the forests that cover the remnants of the Palestinian villages. As a former forestry minister, this was especially striking to me. I also went into a few settlements. It was insane. Young Americans spat on the flag that was on my car. The occupation reminds me of the darkest days of apartheid, but we never saw tanks and planes firing at a civilian population. It's a monstrousness I'd never seen before. The wall you built, the checkpoints and the roads for Jews only - it turns the stomach, even for someone who grew up under apartheid. It's a hundred times worse.
A hundred times worse. Can such a thing survive?

More opium there vicar or do you think you've had enough?

Ernie Halfdram has an interesting article over at the Bureau. It's about the slow, painfully slow, decline of religious belief in America:
The good news is that the average of 31% who believe in the most literal interpretation over nine surveys since 1991 is somewhat lower than the average of 38% over the seven surveys between 1976 and 1984, twice reaching 40%.

There is a clear negative correlation between education and superstition. Among those who never started university, 83% believe the Bible has some kind of supernatural origin, while only 13% understand its human origins. Among those who started but didn’t complete university, 81% think it’s divinely inspired, and 19% don’t. Ominously, 73% of college graduates and 68% of those with postgraduate education adopt the superstitious explanation, while only 25% and 30% of these populations respectively accept human authorship.

Perhaps the scariest revelation of all is that 36% of those with ‘no religious identification’ still believe in some kind of non human origin and 10% that the Bible is literally the word of god.
He then gets into a load of political stuff. Way beyond me that stuff.

May 24, 2007

Right of Return upheld

How can I ignore this story in the Times? A British court has ruled that the people of the Chagos Islands (Diego Garcia) should be allowed to return to the homes they were expelled from about 40 years ago:
Three judges said that the Government’s treatment of them was “a repugnant abuse of power” as families and wellwishers packed the Court of Appeal to hear the news they had awaited for 40 years.
The "repugnant abuse of power" involved the removal of the people en masse from their homes to make way for this:
Diego Garcia is now home to nearly 4,000 American military and civilian personnel and some of the most lethal weaponry in the US armoury. The nearest locals are 1,000 miles away.

B52 bombers line the apron alongside the 4,000-yard runway. Recently the Americans added four hangars for B2 Stealth bombers, their only deployment outside mainland America. During the Afghan campaign in 2001, more bombs were dropped from aircraft based on Diego Garcia than any other American facility. The bombers went into action against Iraq in 2003.
This raises an exciting prospect. If America has to abandon a military camp so that the natives can return perhaps a court could persuade it to abandon the same kind of place, Israel, for the same kind of reason, the return of the native Palestinians.

This is of course a very important decision and it seems the only possible conclusion the court could have come to, though previous courts have came to very different conclusions and there might an appeal in the offing but the parallels between this case and the case of the Palestinians are obvious for all to see. Still I bet if these islanders do return to their homes there will be zionists who argue that the right of Jews to Palestine is comparable to the rights of the Chagossians. I say this because I remember the Guardian running a letter along exactly those lines:
The name "Palestine" existed long before there were any Arabs in the area, and Jewish settlement long predates the arrival of the Arabs. "Palestine" was originally the coastal land of the Philistines, who were Greek in origin. Jews were the main occupants of the central area from about 1300BC right up to the time of the Arab conquest in the seventh century AD. Jews continued to form part of the population throughout the Middle Ages, though much depleted by Christian Crusader massacres. They maintained considerable numbers up to modern times. As a perennial element in the population they are at least as entitled to political independence as any other element, and have special rights as aboriginals.
That was Hyam Maccoby who I think was Deborah Maccoby's dad. I tried phoning her to get confirmation but she's at lunch.

But anyway, whoever he was, his letter and the fact that Guardian published it go to show the absurd lengths that zionists will go to to stake their bogus claim to Palestine.

Israel is worse than apartheid?

I often wince when people compare Israel unfavourably to other bad systems like apartheid or the nazi era. Often these things are said in a knee-jerk fashion that crumples when challenged for a blow by blow explanation. I don't mind it when people explain their position though. For example, I'd say it's ok to say that Israel is worse than nazi Germany when you consider the fact that Israel's system couldn't be inflicted on the Middle East, in particular the Palestinians, without support from powerful allies whose professed values of democracy, liberty and the rule of law are completely at odds with Israel's zionist ideology. Also there's the fact that the crimes of zionism have been committed in the cold light of day for far longer (at the time of writing 5 times as long) than the crimes of the nazis. Comparisons with apartheid in the old South Africa too have to be explained lest the zionists try to undermine the case against their racist state.

Here's South Africa's Minister for Intelligence, Ronnie Kasrils, in the Mail and Guardian, demonstrating that Israel in 2007 is worse than apartheid.
The West Bank, once 22% of historic Palestine, has shrunk to perhaps 10% to 12% of living space for its inhabitants, and is split into several fragments, including the fertile Jordan Valley, which is a security preserve for Jewish settlers and the Israeli Defence Force. Like the Gaza Strip, the West Bank is effectively a hermetically sealed prison. It is shocking to discover that certain roads are barred to Palestinians and reserved for Jewish settlers. I try in vain to recall anything quite as obscene in apartheid South Africa.
I should point out here that Kasrils ends up by arguing for, indeed demanding, a two state solution, again invoking comparisons with another sectarian/racist system:
Within a few hours I am in Northern Ireland, a guest at the swearing in of the Stormont power-sharing government of Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness.

Not even PW Botha or Ariel ­Sharon were once as extreme as Ian Paisley in his most riotous and bigoted days. Ireland was under England’s boot for 800 years, South Africa’s colonial-apartheid order lasted 350 years. The Zionist colonial-settler project stems from the 1880s. The Israeli ruling class, corrupt and with no vision, can no longer rule in the old way. The ­Palestinians are not prepared to be suppressed any longer. What is needed is Palestinian unity behind their democratically elected national government, reinforced by popular struggles of Palestinians and progressive Israelis, supported by international solidarity.

South Africa’s stated position is clear. The immediate demands are recognition of the government of national unity, the lifting of economic sanctions and blockade of the Palestinian territories, an end to the 40-year-old military occupation and resumption of negotiations for a two-state solution.
But given Kasrils's own description of what's left of the West Bank, is a two state solution viable? Indeed, was it ever?

May 23, 2007

Zionist history

There's the history of zionism and there's zionist history. They're rarely the same. Now what am I saying? That there's an article on the subject of zionist historiography in The New Yorker:
Nowhere has revisionist history played a more crucial role in the political and moral consciousness of a nation than in Israel. The state came into being in 1948, and, almost immediately, its prehistory––the origins of Zionist ideology, the behavior of the British during the Mandate period, and, critically, the relationship with the Other, the Palestinian Arabs—became matter for schoolbooks, journalism, military indoctrination, scholarship, and public rhetoric. The founding generation that had come to Palestine and then fought what it called its war of independence against Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and other hostile neighbors was now in charge of its own story. To the victor goes the narrative. As in any fledgling state, that narrative tended to be set down in the most glorious terms—history as if written by a Hebrew-speaking Parson Weems. For a while, it was as if even the most basic facts could be wished out of existence. An entire group could be made invisible. “There was no such thing as Palestinians,” Golda Meir said in 1969
It runs to five pages and frankly I haven't read them all. I'll let you know how I get (got) on with it tonight. Enjoy!

May 22, 2007

Brits get up very early in the morning to catch Israel out

Well you have to, don't you? 77 members of the UK's parliament have signed the following Early Day Motion 913:
That this House notes that the Israeli government has expressed the desire to upgrade its relations with the EU to the same level as Norway and Switzerland; further notes that this would include the ability to have free passage of goods, people and capital between the two entities; further notes that Israel remains in consistent violation of UN Security Council Resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention, has routinely prevented the free movement of Palestinian goods and people and has withheld Palestinian funds from their people; further notes that these and other grievous human rights abuses represent a clear breach of Article Two of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which calls for adherence to human rights laws; commends the International Development Select Committee's report into development assistance and the Occupied Palestinian territories, and in particular its recommendation that `the UK should urge the EU to use the Association Agreement with Israel as a lever for change and to consider suspending the Agreement until there are further improvements in access arrangements'; and urges the Government to insist that no upgrading of Israel's relations with the EU be considered until the Israeli government has brought itself into full compliance with international law, including the permanent lifting of all barriers to freedom of movement for Palestinian goods, people and capital.
Here are the MPs who voted for the motion:
Wyatt, Derek
Austin, John
Bottomley, Peter
Turner, Desmond
McCafferty, Chris
Holmes, Paul
Soames, Nicholas
Hopkins, Kelvin
McDonnell, John
Caton, Martin
Cryer, Ann
Starkey, Phyllis
Harris, Evan
Lazarowicz, Mark
Breed, Colin
Cook, Frank
Corbyn, Jeremy
Baker, Norman
Dowd, Jim
Berry, Roger
Wareing, Robert N
Ruddock, Joan
Sarwar, Mohammad
Iddon, Brian
Lepper, David
Love, Andrew
Drew, David
Goodman, Helen
Jones, Lynne
Marris, Rob
Dean, Janet
Etherington, Bill
Sanders, Adrian
Simpson, Alan
Jenkins, Brian
McDonnell, Alasdair
McKechin, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Abbott, Diane
Riordan, Linda
Hamilton, David
Anderson, Janet
McCarthy, Kerry
Singh, Marsha
Clelland, David
Galloway, George
Williams, Betty
Laws, David
Betts, Clive
Younger-Ross, Richard
Burden, Richard
Connarty, Michael
Horwood, Martin
Pugh, John
Brown, Lyn
Greenway, John
Jackson, Glenda
Gibson, Ian
Godsiff, Roger
Morgan, Julie
McGovern, Jim
Lloyd, Tony
Begg, Anne
Hemming, John
Lancaster, Mark
Illsley, Eric
Hancock, Mike
Curtis-Thomas, Claire
Lucas, Ian
Gummer, John
Bayley, Hugh
Williams, Mark
Barrett, John
Jones, Martyn
Buck, Karen
Thornberry, Emily
Owen, Albert

I notice my MP, John Cruddas, isn't on the list. I'll drop him a line and see how I get on.

Will Israel be merciful to America's ambassador?

Well well. According to Ha'aretz, America's ambassador to Israel has now apologised for his "misinformed and misleading" comments about Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a lengthy prison term for spying on America for Israel. The ambassador, Richard Jones, had said that America had been merciful in not executing him for his treason when he was pressed by Israel about releasing the man, for "humanitarian reasons."
Pollard, a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy, was convicted of selling military secrets to Israel while working at the Pentagon. He was arrested in 1985 and pleaded guilty at his trial. He is serving a life sentence in a U.S. federal prison.

The ambassador reiterated his view on Pollard and said, "I certainly do not personally believe that Mr. Pollard should have received capital punishment- I was appalled to learn that I had given that impression."

The ambassador also expressed remorse for the distress the Pollard family and friends have underwent since his arrest, according to the radio.
This is absolultely bizzarre. I can't imagine any country's ambassador apologising to a traitor or his family or the beneficiaries of their treason for saying anything, anything at all.

Perhaps when this ambassador gets recalled he can pop round to the Walker Lindh's and see how they and their boy are getting on. Or maybe he could go pay his respects to the Rosenbergs.

Bullying the Rolling Stones?

I just took a rare look at the zionist Engage website. Apparently asking the Rolling Stones to boycott Israel amounts to bullying. And suggesting that having another performer move a gig from Tel Aviv to Neve Shalom is a victory, amounts to dishonesty.
The boycott campaign wants to bully the Rolling Stones to cancel their planned concert in Israel in September. They are doing this by pretending that Israel is an “apartheid” state like the old South Africa and they ask:

"Is it too much, then, to expect conscientious artists like the Rolling Stones to similarly uphold the values of freedom, equality and justice for all by supporting the growing boycott against Israel?"

Be ready for a campaign to denounce the Stones as racists, pro apartheid, pro imperialist etc. etc. when they stand up to the boycott campaign.

When Roger Waters (ex Pink Floyd) wanted to play a gig in Israel, the boycotters tried to intimidate him, tried to make him cancel, tried to characterize him as a supporter of Israeli human rights abuses. But they failed. He went to Israel nevertheless, he played, he voiced his protest against Israeli policy, and the boycotters dishonestly tried to portray this as a victory.
Who says so? Alf Green says so. Well Alf Green is a pseudonym for an academic so lectures are his business. But lectures in integrity? Come now Alf.....

Ha'aretz also has this story here:
A Palestinian group lobbying for boycotts against Israel has urged the Rolling Stones to cancel their scheduled September performance in Israel, comparing performing in Israel to performing in apartheid South Africa and noting that the legendary rock band had supported the boycott of South Africa in the 1980s.

An open letter calling on the Rolling Stones not to appear in Israel was sent to the band by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) on Sunday.
Note how a self-declared zionist Israeli newspaper refrains from the shrill allegations levelled by the "non"-zionist, Dr David Hirsh.

Know your Palestinian refugees!

Here's a quick twenty question quiz on Palestinian refugees hosted by a blog called Bonsoir. Apparently you should be aiming for 80%. Guess how much I got. No, on second thoughts, don't.

America merciful to Israel's spy, Pollard

Ha'aretz has a curious report about how the American ambassador to Israel, Richard Jones, has shocked his hosts by saying that America has shown mercy to the American spy for Israel, Jonathan Pollard, by not executing him:
"It came out in the trial very clearly, Jonathan Pollard took money for what he did, he sold out his country," Jones said at a Bar-Ilan University conference on U.S.-Israel relations. "The fact that he wasn't executed is the mercy that Jonathan Pollard will receive."

"This is a very emotional issue in the United States," Jones said. "I know he was helping a friend but that's what makes it even more emotional for Americans, if a friend would cooperate in aiding and abetting someone who is committing treason against his own country."
Another example of how Israel's star is falling in America? Maybe, maybe not. If he stays as ambassador to Israel then yes. If he's recalled, then no.

May 21, 2007

Rolling Stones in Israel?

Deborah Fink has emailed the Just Peace list to say that there is a planned Rolling Stones gig in Israel and that the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultral Boycott of Israel is seeking endorsement of the following open uletter:
Dear Rolling Stones,

The Palestinian arts community received in disbelief media reports of your upcoming performance in Israel, at a time when Israel continues unabated with its colonial and apartheid designs to further dispossess, oppress, and ultimately ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their homeland. If the news is accurate, we strongly urge you to cancel your plans to perform in Israel until the time comes when it ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and respects fundamental human rights as well as the relevant precepts of international law concerning Palestinian rights to freedom, self-determination and equality.

Performing in Israel at this time is morally equivalent to performing in South Africa during the apartheid era. We all remember how leading Rolling Stones musicians played a prominent role in enforcing a cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa in the 1980's, and participated in recording the timeless song, Sun City, which had a singular influence on raising public awareness about apartheid and its injustices. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights Prof.
John Dugard, and South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils have repeatedly declared, Israel has created a worse system of apartheid than anything that ever existed in South Africa.

Indeed, Israel's policies throughout its illegal military occupation of Palestinian territory, which have surpassed their South African counterparts, include house demolitions; Jews-only colonies and roads; uprooting hundreds of thousands of trees; indiscriminate killings of civilians, particularly children; incessant theft of land and water resources; denying freedom of movement to millions under occupation, cutting up the occupied Palestinian territory into Bantustans, some entirely caged by walls, fences and hundreds of roadblocks. Sixty years since the Nakba, Israel's planned campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people, and 40 years into its military occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territory, Israel has consistently and relentlessly violated basic human rights and relevant precepts of
international law with utter impunity. Moreover, Israel's war of aggression against Lebanon last year caused more than one thousand civilian deaths, not to mention massive destruction to infrastructure and decimation of entire residential neighbourhoods.

The resounding failure of the international community to date in ending Israel's occupation, collective punishment, and other forms of oppression was what prompted Palestinians to appeal to international civil society to bear its moral responsibility to put an end to injustice, just as it did against apartheid South Africa. To this end, Palestinian civil society has almost unanimously called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it fully complies
with international law and recognizes the fundamental human rights of the people of Palestine. A specific call for cultural boycott of Israel was issued last year, garnering wide support. Among the many groups and institutions that have heeded the Palestinian boycott calls and started to consider or apply diverse forms of effective pressure on Israel are the Church of England; the US Presbyterian Church; a group of top British architects; the British National Union of Journalists in the UK; the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU); the South African Council of Churches; the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario; Aosdana, the Irish state-sponsored academy of artists; celebrated authors, artists and intellectuals led by John Berger; and Palme d'Or winner director Ken Loach. Is it too much, then, to expect conscientious artists like the Rolling Stones to similarly uphold the values of freedom, equality and justice for all by supporting the growing boycott against Israel?

We appeal to your moral principles and your record of standing up for human rights and human dignity. We sincerely hope that you shall cancel this ill-conceived and particularly harmful concert in Israel.


The Undersigned:
The only problem I've got here is that I can't find anything about this on the PACBI site itself. So if you have any queries about the Stones or about the boycott campaign generally email PACBI and see what they come up with. If this concert is planned and it goes ahead, the Stones could end up with the same reputation as Eric Clapton when he came out in support of a particularly nasty openly racist British politician, Enoch Powell. The bad news is that it didn't do his career any harm. Let's hope that fans are more enlightened now.

UPDATE: Thanks to W Dean in the comments for sending this link to what PACBI had to say to the Stones about their possible visit to occupied Palestine.

May 19, 2007

Green MEP for Palestine

There's a crop of letters on Palestine in today's Guardian. The one that stood out to me was from Green Member of the European Parliament, Caroline Lucas:
Your leader (May 18) is right to say the Palestinian government is in danger of becoming a fiction. What it didn't say is that by refusing to engage with it fully, the UK and EU have helped undermine it and must bear a heavy share of the responsibility. I have just returned from Gaza, where, as a member of a parliamentary delegation, I saw the crippling effects of the international economic boycott of the occupied Palestinian territories.

By refusing to recognise fully the new unity government, and by channelling aid via a temporary international mechanism rather than through the Palestinian Authority, the UK and EU are undermining the authority of Palestine's democratic institutions. This also strips us of leverage to put political pressure on Israel to transfer the tax and customs revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinians. And this after the government of national unity has agreed to all of the international community's demands: to declare a ceasefire and recognise the state of Israel and previous political agreements.

The government must normalise relations with the Palestinian Authority, and put pressure on the Israeli government to do the same, and end the occupation, to prevent the violence spiralling out of control. We can increase pressure on Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to do so by attending the march and rally taking place in London on June 9.
That would be the "Enough already!" march so be there.

May 16, 2007

Zionists direct media to Darfur

I think that's the thinly veiled message in this Guardian article by Roger Howard. The article sets out a compare and contrast between Congo and Darfur:
The UN estimates that 3 million to 4 million Congolese have been killed, compared with the estimated 200,000 civilian deaths in Darfur. A peace deal agreed in December 2002 has never been adhered to, and atrocities have been particularly well documented in the province of Kivu - carried out by paramilitary organisations with strong governmental links. In the last month alone, thousands of civilians have been killed in heavy fighting between rebel and government forces vying for control of an area north of Goma, and the UN reckons that another 50,000 have been made refugees.

How curious, then, that so much more attention has been focused on Darfur than Congo. There are no pressure groups of any note that draw attention to the Congolese situation. In the media there is barely a word.
And the key difference?
lies in the racial and ethnic composition of the perceived victims and perpetrators. In Congo, black Africans are killing other black Africans in a way that is difficult for outsiders to identify with. The turmoil there can in that sense be regarded as a narrowly African affair.

In Darfur the fighting is portrayed as a war between black Africans, rightly or wrongly regarded as the victims, and "Arabs", widely regarded as the perpetrators of the killings. In practice these neat racial categories are highly indistinct, but it is through such a prism that the conflict is generally viewed.
But that's terrible. How could the media be so racist and in whose interest is this racist perception?
In the United States and elsewhere those who have spearheaded the case for foreign intervention in Darfur are largely the people who regard the Arabs as the root cause of the Israel-Palestine dispute.
Ah! Now I get it.

Roger Howard is the author of What's Wrong with Liberal Interventionism.

May 15, 2007

Israel makes the Red Cross cross

International Herald Tribune:
JERUSALEM: The International Committee of the Red Cross, in a confidential report about Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem and surrounding areas, accuses Israel of a "general disregard" for "its obligations under international humanitarian law - and the law of occupation in particular." The committee says that Israel is using its rights as an occupying power under international law "in order to further its own interests or those of its own population to the detriment of the population of the occupied territory," which it says is "foreign to the letter and spirit of occupation law."

Israeli policies in East Jerusalem, the committee says, are "reshaping the development of the Jerusalem metropolitan area" with "far-reaching humanitarian consequences," including the isolation of Palestinians living in Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, problems of access to basic services and a "condition of artificial illegality" in which thousands of Palestinians live in Jerusalem without the ability to get permanent residency.

With the construction of the separation barrier, the establishment of an outer ring of Jewish settlements beyond the expanded municipal boundaries and the creation of a dense road network linking the different Israeli neighborhoods and settlements in and outside Jerusalem, the report concludes, Israel is consolidating "a Greater Jerusalem Envelope" that fragments Palestinian communities and severs East Jerusalem from the West Bank.

The committee recognizes that the separation barrier "was undertaken with an undeniable security aim," but adds, "The route of the West Bank barrier is also following a demographic logic, enclosing the settlement blocs around the city while excluding built-up Palestinian areas (thus creating isolated Palestinian enclaves)."
Now look at Israel's response:
Miri Eisin, spokeswoman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said that Israel respects the work of international organizations like the committee. "Our problem is that the premise they consistently present has no Israeli perspective in it, as if it's all just some legal issue. That is not balanced."
It often troubles me when zionists offer legalistic sounding justifications for their racist war criminality but what kind of state complains that legal principles are being invoked against it? Why, an illegitimate state of course. And what's this nonsense about the ICRC's lack of balance. The report says (let's see it again) "the separation barrier was undertaken with an undeniable security aim." The wall seems to be far more about land grabbing and ethnic cleansing than about security. Zionists yabber on about a fall in attacks but they fail to take into account Palestinian ceasefires and Israeli army successes. I don't mean the routine deliberate targeting and killing of children. Obviously that's a success in zionist terms. They actually sometimes capture or kill real live (or used to be live) armed people. So to say the wall has "an undeniable security aim" is beyond balanced. It's pandering to those war criminals at the same time as timidly hinting at what Israel is really seeking to achieve:
The essence of these reports is a concern, as the Europeans said, that Israel is creating facts on the ground in and around Jerusalem that mean "prospects for a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine are receding."
So Israel is seeking what it already has: a one state solution. That wouldn't be such a problem if the one state wasn't a state for the world's Jews. But it is and so it can only be a racist state, uniquely favouring, through its laws, people who don't come from there over the native population.

May 13, 2007

The number one site for yiddishkeit!

I just checked my tracker and someone came here by googling "kedassia and yom yerushalayim," only not in quotes. Guess which site came top? That's right, this one. It was on account of my post yesterday about the highest orthodox authority on kosherness threatening a restaurant with withdrawal of a kosher licence of the restarateur's support for zionist expansionism.

Ok, my site was only top out of six but, who knows? by the time you read this there could be more as news spreads that zionism is strictly not kosher. Still, hurry hurry, before it slips down the rankings.

Family disunification?

I didn't catch this when it first appeared in Ha'aretz last month. I got it from the Sephardic Heritage Update which is edited and published by an Arab Jew in New York, David Shasha. It's a nice little example of how Israel's racist law of return works in practice. Here's the whole article by Yoav Stern.
Israel has refused entry to the Muslim wife of a Jewish immigrant from Iran. The wife is currently in Turkey but could be sent back to Iran within days, where she is likely to be severely punished.

The immigrant, Puriya Hajaram on Thursday appealed to Haaretz for help in bringing his wife to Israel. "I was told before coming that I would get help here. Otherwise I wouldn't have come alone," he said.

Hajaram, 23, left Iran with his wife, R., for fear of being drafted into the Iranian army. The two crossed the border to Turkey illegally. They went to the Israeli consulate, where they were told that only Hajaram could get an entrance visa to Israel because his family lives here.

His wife remained in a cheap hotel in Istanbul waiting for a permit to join her husband.

"From the first day we left until four days ago she hasn't left the hotel. She has no passport," he said.

A few days ago she was caught by the Turkish police. Hajaram said she was arrested when she left her room to take a shower. The Turkish police now intend to deport her to Iran. "I pray and beg they don't deport her. The Torah says that if someone needs help we must help him," he said.

Officials at the Jewish Agency and Israeli consulate promised him that he would be able to send for his wife once he immigrated, he said.

He arrived eight months ago, went to an ulpan and now speaks broken Hebrew. From the moment he could, Hajaram has been trying to bring his wife to Israel. "I went back and forth to offices and in the end they wrote to me that there is a security problem. I know there is no such problem, I know my wife and her family and none of them work for the government," he said.

The Interior Ministry said that Puriya's wife was refused entry for security reasons. The Shin Bet commented that "according to the security standards, this case does not enable entry to Israel." However, "specific cases may be examined as exceptions. Each such request would be looked at in a practical way, taking account of the particular circumstances," the Shin Bet said.

Hajaram's wife intended to convert to Judaism after finding a rabbi to help her. Hajaram is about to join the IDF. "I'm going to the army to help Israel, and I ask it to help me," he said. "Jews, Muslims, all Israelis. Somebody, help us."
I have to say that I don't have much sympathy with the man here but the woman is in a terrible situation thanks to him and his desire to join "the army to help Israel." Perhaps if Ahmadinejad spent more time exposing the real crimes of Israel than he does on denying the holocaust these individual cases might not crop up. Look at the earlier post about zionist collaboration with antisemitism, in particular with the nazis. If Jews can't trust the zionist movement how can a Muslim?

ZioNazi medal?

I hate that expression, "zionazi." I'm guessing it derives from Muslims being disgruntled about the equally dodgy term, "islamo-fascist." But, for me zionism is bad enough without likening it to nazism or to anything else. In fact by invoking such expressions it's as if to say that zionism isn't bad enough unless we can liken zionists to nazis and it is plenty bad enough to condemn out of hand even though we can compare zionists to nazis in both ideological and behavioural terms.

So why the headline? Well, zionism has a long and ignominious history of collaboration with antisemitism. This collaboration is both ideological and practical. It reached its highest and most grotesque form with the rise of the nazis in Europe. This is documented by many sources. Lenni Brenner's work is possibly the best known but it has been touched on by Hannah Arendt and by Israel Shahak. It's a curious thing that in Mein Kampf Hitler claims that zionists are the worst of all Jews. That was before he was in power of course. Once he was in power he found the zionists the most amenable to his rule. In fairness to the zionists who collaborated from the outset they probably didn't predict the holocaust but once the holocaust was in progress the collaboration continued.

Israel Shahak reported a classic example of ideological collaboration in the form of Joachim Prinz's celebration of Hitler's triumph at the polls in 1933:
We want assimilation to be replaced by a new law: the declaration of belonging to the Jewish nation and Jewish race. A state built upon the principle of the purity of nation and race can only honored and respected by a Jew who declares his belonging to his own kind. Having so declared himself, he will never be capable of faulty loyalty towards a state. The state cannot want other Jews but such as declare themselves as belonging to their nation. It will not want Jewish flatterers and crawlers. It must demand of us faith and loyalty to our own interest. For only he who honors his own breed and his own blood can have an attitude of honor towards the national will of other nations.
Well it seems the nazis too found something to celebrate in the rise of zionism and in the collaboration between these two racial supremacist movements and something to commemorate in their collaboration. Here's Lenni Brenner who:
related how Kurt Tuchler, a member of the German Zionist Federation Executive, "persuaded Baron Leopold Itz Edler von Mildenstein of the SS to write a pro-Zionist piece for the Nazi press. The Baron agreed on the condition that he visited Palestine first, and two months after Hitler came to power the two men and their wives went to Palestine; von Mildenstein stayed there for six months before he returned....Von Mildenstein... wrote favorably about what he saw in the Zionist coloniesin Palestine; he also persuaded Goebbels to run the report as a massive twelve-part series in his own Der Angriff (The Assault), the leading Nazi propaganda organ (9/26-10/9/34).... To commemorate the Baron's expedition, Goebbels had a medal struck: on one side the swastika, on the other the Zionist star."
Well here's a picture of that medal:

So why the headline? It just happened to be the name of the file I was sent. Oi! the banality! Anyway, apparently, queries about the medal should go to John Sigler via

May 12, 2007

Zionism - glatt traif?

Is there such a thing as glatt traif? You see in Jewish dietry, and maybe even general, law there is kosher, which is clean or acceptable and there is traif which is unclean or unacceptable. I remember at Hebrew classes a boy being told that his tefillin weren't kosher. They're small cubes with scriptures inside and leather straps to bind them to the arm and the head. His were said not to be kosher because they weren't perfectly cubic. Something like that. My point here is that the term kosher was applied to a non-food item. It's like halal and haram for Muslims. I remember a journalist reporting that when a Palestinian woman heard of a suicide bombing that day she said "haram!" I should say that as with Islamic law some things can be neither halal nor haram or neither kosher nor traif, though some scholars say that everything must be one or the other. Anyway, glatt kosher is like super kosher. It's kosher for frummers or ultra-orthodox types.

Now when it comes to food there are supervising authorities known as kashrus or kashrut (kosherness) commissions to issue licences and guarantee the kosherness of the food. Well the main supervising authority for the frummers in the UK is called Kedassia.

According to the Jewish Chronicle,
A new kosher restaurant was told by kashrut authority Kedassia to stop supporting Israel by displaying a poster for a Yom Yerushalayim concert - or it would lose its licence.

The order was allegedly given to the Mattancherry restaurant in Golders Green, North-West London, because of the long established anti-zionism of Kedassia, the supervising authority of the charedi Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations. The restaurant serving Indian kosher food, opened last month.
What I find interesting about this appearing on the front page of the JC is that the zionists are forever making out that zionist Jews are normal mainstream Jews whether very frum, frum, slightly frum, atheist, reform or whatever. Now it appears the main arbiters of what is kosher and what is not are anti-zionist. Now it's not enough to make me go out and be religious but it does go to show that in the Jewish communities (it seems trite to speak of one community) zionism is not quite a done deal. And with some establishment voices now speaking out against Israel and growing demands for boycott, divestment and sanctions, still more Jews may start to consider whether zionism is kosher or traif and opt for the latter.

May 09, 2007

Blair's legacy will be his foreign policy

I've just been reading an article by Mike Marqusee on his website. Actually my headline's wrong because Blair didn't really have a foreign policy he could call his own. America has a foreign policy and Blair's foreign policy can be summed up with the words "yes sir, Mr President." Here's Mike Marqusee:
the most acute horror of the Blair years: British foreign policy. Britain joined the US in bombing Iraq in 1998 and Yugoslavia in 1999. It backed Russia’s assault on Chechnya in 1999 and Israel’s on Lebanon in 2006. It armed Indonesia as it attacked Aceh province in 2003 and continues to succour brutal regimes in Colombia, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan. Blair and his chancellor Brown have made much of the growth of Britain’s international aid budget – now up to a measly 0.52% of GNP - while acting in global trade forums as insistent voices for the kind of one-sided pro-corporate liberalisation that has wrecked the lives of millions in the developing world.

Finally and most damningly, Blair leaves Britain deeply embroiled in two avoidable, unjustifiable overseas wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq. He comes second only to Bush in bearing personal responsibility for the deaths of 655,000 Iraqis and the near destruction of an entire society. After the calculated lies Blair told both Parliament and the public to get Britain to make war against Iraq, the greatest regret is that he will leave office without being impeached, though there is still hope he may face an international criminal tribunal at some time in the future. In Blair’s book, of course, accountability, like the obligation to pay your taxes, only applies to those Leona Helmsley once infamously described as “the little people”. For the rich, there will always be an exemption, and Blair’s successor, whether Labour or Conservative, will work hard to make sure it stays that way.
This article also appeared in The Hindu recently.

May 07, 2007

JC III - this time it's personal

Jews sans frontieres and I got mentioned in the Jewish Chronicle on Friday. This is the third time either my blog or my name have been mentioned which just goes to show how mainstream I am. The first time my blog was mentioned but not my name. That was the first time that the JC ran its now regular column (well, corner) on what Jewish blogs are saying. The next time was when a letter of mine was published on a stupid remark by David Aaronovitch about Independent Jewish Voices. And this time both my blog and my name have appeared in the Jewish blog corner section as follows:
The British anti-Zionist blogger Mark Elf, at Jews Sans Frontieres, commented on the Guardian’s analysis of the report: “Olmert and his Defence Minister Amir Peretz have been criticised on the grounds that there was no detailed military plan before him. ‘He failed to consult others or to take into account colleagues’ reservations. He did not clearly set out the aims of the war, and the proposed goals were “not feasible”.’ So Zionists are going to have to jump through hoops to show how other countries embark on wars with unfeasible goals and no specific or detailed plans. That is, they are going to have to show which countries or movements seem to see violence as an end in itself.”
Interesting that the JC ran with that. It wasn't my best post and a chap called Justin shot the way I expressed myself down in flames pretty quickly but my point was that for the zionist ideology, violence by Jews against non-Jews is an end in itself and I find it interesting that the Jewish Chronicle would run such a statement without counter-comment.

May 06, 2007

Time for Israelis to go?

I seem to keep saying how I got the current post in an email. Well it's happened again. I got an email from someone sending a two week old article they said was by a former "nasty zionist turned anti-zionist." Wouldn't it be nice if all zionists were pre-anti-zionist?

Anyway, what prompted me to post this was a comment from a chap (I think it was a chap) who raised the issue of the impact on global warming of keeping Sharon alive. Well that got me thinking about how Israel is probably the most ideologically mobilised society on earth and that that commitment to ideology often leads to neglect of practical issues. There is also the little problem of the sheer repugnance of the ideology in whose service Israeli (and some diaspora) Jews are mobilised. You see Israel is beset with corruption in the highest places. Surely ideological commitment negates corruption. Well that can be true and you would expect it but when the ideology is as repugnant as zionism its promoters tend to be dishonest people in the first place. That is, in order to climb the greasy pole of the zionist movement you have to be morally degenerate at the outset. Having ascended the greasy pole it's only a short quick step to abusing the power that one has amassed. That's my view anyway. So now take a look at a chunk of this Ynet article by Idan Ben-Barak:
Corruption? Road accidents? Pollution? Poverty? Who cares about this nonsense? Two Qassam rockets just landed in Sderot and Ahmadinejad again made some belligerent statements. We've got action. Who has the energy to deal with the small stuff? And meanwhile, the country is crumbling in our fingers. Slowly but surely.

We already got used to it: There's no minister who isn't facing a police investigation. Every police chief comes with a scandal and every IDF chief of staff is a failure.
This guy really thinks the end is nigh for Israel and for zionism, though he doesn't get that much into zionism:
Apparently, at the end they won't be taking over us with tanks. In two or three decades there will be no need for that apparently. And if they do attack, with ballistic missiles from Iran and Syrian Scud missiles, does anyone still believe that the IDF can handle it?

After all, this is the same IDF that was unable to organize decent backpacks for every reservist in a war that we initiated on our own. The exact same IDF that has been pulverizing Hamas and Hizbullah for 20 years now – and look how nicely pulverized they are.

The Palestinians are not playing ball either. We tried a nice approach? We got terror attacks. We hit them hard? We got terror attacks. We occupied? Terror attacks. Evacuated? Terror attacks. Once upon a time we thought we might be able to finalize some kind of a deal with them so that the buses stop exploding, but today we understand it will be like this forever.
So what does he suggest?
Move abroad, while it's still possible. True, for Israelis "abroad" equals "America," but you may be surprised to hear that it's not the only option. There are several countries in this world that would be very glad to get a second-hand Israeli in good condition. Canada is one of them. So is New Zealand. There are many others.

At the end of the day, gloomy prophecies and unflattering comparisons to other countries is not what will get you to board a plane. After you debate, look into it, consult, examine the details, and do the numbers, you'll be left with one question: Do I have the guts to do it?

Leaving Israel is a risky business. Not because of the departure itself, as after all we can always go back, and many people indeed to that – but rather, because it forces you to deal with yourself. It's a process of the most in-depth self-examination, whether you like it or not.
A bit of introspection on the part of Israelis might not go amiss.

Actually I'm sure most Israeli Jews would leave if they knew they could make new lives elsewhere. In fact anti-zionists should help facilitate the relocation of those Jews who no longer wanted to be cannon fodder for a repugnant racist ideology. Perhaps we could demand that the Israeli government should let our people go. And then we would find ourselves telling our own governments to let our people stay.

Lost in translation?

I've been sent what looks like a rushed translation of an article by Neve Gordon and Ig'al Bronner that appeared in the Hebrew edition of Ha'aretz. It's about how the Israeli police get away with murdering Arabs:
It is examine a last week event that the Israeli media almost completely ignored: Judge Noam Solberg's decision in the case of the Border Police officer, Shmuel Yekhezkel, accused of killing Jerusalem resident Samir Dari, shot after a heated verbal exchange with the cops, while he was trying to get his brother released from detention.

In his decision the judge states clearly that the victim never made physical contact between with the cop, and did not endanger him in any way. The judge was convinced that Dari was leaving the scene when the cop Yehezkel ran after him and shot him in the back from a short range.....

Despite these unequivocal statements, Solberg acquitted the cop. The Judge stated that, although objectively the cop was not in danger, acted in his favor the reasonable possibility that "the accused felt subjectively a real threat to his life as a result of illegal assault."...

...according to the Mussawa center, since 2000 police, soldiers and private security personnel have killed 34 Arab Israeli citizens (i.e. 1948 Palestinians.) So far only four indictments were made, and only as a result of an intensive public campaign. So far there have been no conviction.

.....It is worthwhile reflecting on the arguments in Solberg's decision: the implied assumption is that Arabs mean danger.
Maybe it will appear in English later, who knows?

UPDATE - Well, what do you know? I have now found a report in the English edition of Ha'aretz on this case but it isn't the same article here. Maybe I should have headed this post, lost (and found) in translation.

We abuse human rights but hey.....

According to Ha'aretz, a delegation of Israeli academics is coming to the UK with a view to combatting proposals to boycott Israel coming from within the UK's academia.
"The boycott is a form of prejudice and discrimination because it unfairly singles out Israel and demonizes us," says Dr. Jonathan Rynhold, a senior lecturer in the department of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, and a member of delegation to the U.K. "We are nowhere near the worst human rights abusers in the world. We want to present a more balanced and realistic picture of Israeli academia. When they meet us, they will see we are not a bunch of fascists."
That rather depends who they bring. But on the point about human rights abuses, yes, other states abuse human rights but Israel exists solely on the basis of its human rights abuses.

On that latter point of Israel's uniqueness in the human rights abuse stakes, it calls to mind an article in Friday's Jewish Chronicle on the NUJ's Israel boycott where concern is expressed by Adrian Cohen (of Engage?), that, whilst zionists can mobilise people within unions to slow down or even overturn resolutions,
These difficulties are nothing more than the growing pains of a movement intending to demonise and isolate Israel. This movement seeks to single out Israel - as South Africa was under apartheid - as
uniquely worthy of being boycotted.
He goes on to complain that Israel is targetted, not because of what it does but because of what it is. The problem with that one is that Israel is what it does. It's a colonial settler state based on ethnic cleansing and racist laws.

Sharon awake?

This satire on the current state of the Israeli polity has been doing the rounds on the net for some time now. Apparently it began life in Hebrew and was eventually translated into English late last year. Someone posted it to the Just Peace list recently. I've written to them to find where they got it and I've googled a piece from it to see where it led. I only got two results, this and this, both of which are zionist sites. Anyway, here's the piece in full:
It is a rainy night, and we are at Tel HaShomer Hospital. Only one orderly is around. He is on night duty tonight in the room of the “sleeping” former Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. Everyone but Sharon himself knows that he is no longer the Prime Minister of Israel.

The orderly is sitting, peeling an apple; and G, the Israeli Secret Service (Shabak) agent, is nodding off.

Suddenly, all of the machines start to beep. The PM is waking up!

Sharon says, “I haven’t slept like that for a long time! Get me my strategist, Reuven Adler. I have some ideas for a new direction.”

The orderly says, “Good morning, sir. How do you feel?”

Sharon answers, “I am dying of hunger. Where am I?”

The Shabak agent continues to sleep, while the orderly explains to Sharon what had happened to him.

Sharon does not take him seriously and says, “So tonight you fooled with the PM, eh?”

The orderly says, “Sorry, sir; but you are really no longer the PM.”

After a few minutes, Sharon asks, “So who replaced me?”

The orderly answers, “Ehud Olmert.”

Sharon reacts, “Olmert? What will happen if war breaks out? He does not know how to run the army! At least, Shaul Mofaz is still there!”

The orderly answers, “Mofaz is the Minister of Transportation.”

“So who is the Defense Minister?”

The orderly says, “Peretz.”

“That old man is still alive?!” asks Sharon in wonderment.

The orderly whispers, trembling, “Not Peres. Peretz, Amir Peretz.”

“What? Are you crazy? I close my eyes for a minute, and you guys let a Labor leader take over the defense of the country? Not all the factories in Dimona are the same. Does he know that? Listen, get Omri here right away. He will fix everything.”

“Sorry, sir; Omri is on his way to jail.”

“My son in jail? For that nonsense? I can’t believe it. So get me my lawyer quickly. Get Klagsbald.”

The orderly responds, “Klagsbald is on his way to jail.”

Sharon calms down and says, “I knew I could count on Klagsbald. He will get Omri out of it.”

The orderly corrects him and says, “No, sir. Klagsbald is also on his way to serve time in jail. He was driving and not paying attention and caused an accident, unintentionally hitting a car and killing a young woman, who was on her way to an Olympic career, and her son.”

Sharon said, “So bring me Avigdor Yitzchaki. He always knows how to fix these situations.”

“Sorry, sir. Yitzchaki is under his own investigation for tax fraud. He fixed things too much this time.”

“Can’t be. I know Yitzchaki. They must be framing him. So get me the Head of Police.”

“Sorry, sir, but Karadi is under investigation for corruption.”

“Of course, he is. He is the head of police. I am sure he is in the middle of a number of investigations!”

“No, sir. This is an investigation against him!. And now he’s had to resign.”

Sharon takes a deep breath. “It can’t be. The whole justice system has been ruined! We must get them out of this. Get me the Minister of Internal Security, Tzachi Hanegbi.”

“Sir, Hanegbi has been indicted for fraud, bribery, and job fixing. He is not a minister anymore.”

“So get me the Justice Minister. Whom did Olmert appoint?”

“Chaim Ramon.”

“So get him here!”

“Sorry sir. I can’t. He resigned in the wake of accusations of sexual misconduct. At trial, he was found guilty.”

“What? So get me the President. That is still Katzav, right?”

“Sorry sir, but Katzav may be indicted for rape. Though still technically President, he has returned to his private home in Kiryat Malachi.”

“So get me the Chief of Staff, Boogie (Moshe Ayalon). Sorry, I mean Halutz, right?”

“Sir, he got into some trouble in the Lebanon War. Nothing criminal. He sold some stocks on the eve of the war. But he resigned, too.”

“Halutz? He was a young Piper pilot during the Lebanon War!”

“Sir, that would be the Second Lebanon War. It happened while you were sleeping. We lost the war, but the Prime Minister said we should be patient. Victory is coming.”

Sharon looked around his room. “Who are you? What is your position?

“I am a hospital orderly, sir.”

“OK. Do not tell anyone about this conversation.”

“You can count on me, sir.”

“I’m going back to sleep.”
It could happen.