November 30, 2007

Israel most likely to use nuclear weapons: Kissinger

Here's a Ha'aretz article on Nixon's fears over a nuclear armed middle east and the hold Israel appears to have on America with regard to arms supplies from the latter to the former. This is most of the article:
"The Israelis, who are one of the few peoples whose survival is genuinely threatened, are probably more likely than almost any other country to actually use their nuclear weapons," Henry Kissinger, who served as President Richard Nixon's national security adviser, warned in a July 19, 1969 memorandum.

The U.S. National Archives on Wednesday released documents from the Nixon Presidential Library, according to the Times report. By law, classified documents are to be reviewed for possible release after 25 years.

The memoranda reveal the dilemmas with which the administration wrestled vis-a-vis Israel's nuclear weapons program, long considered to be a sore point in the U.S.-Israel alliance.

Moreover, it showed concern on the part of Kissinger that Israel may have systematically stolen material from the U.S. for its nuclear development.

"This is one program on which the Israelis have persistently deceived us," Kissinger wrote, "and may even have stolen from us."

"There is circumstantial evidence that some fissionable material available for Israel's weapons development was illegally obtained from the United States about 1965," Kissinger wrote, dismissing inspections as a possible solution since, "we could never cover all conceivable Israeli hiding places."

Kissinger even suggested possibly withholding the sale of Phantom fighter jets to Israel as a way of compelling Jerusalem to yield on the nuclear issue, the Times said.

"Israel will not take us seriously on the nuclear issue unless they believe we are prepared to withhold something they very much need," Kissinger wrote.

"On the other hand, if we withhold the Phantoms and they make this fact public in the United States, enormous political pressure will be mounted on us," the former national security adviser wrote. "We will be in an indefensible position if we cannot state why we are withholding the planes. Yet if we explain our position publicly, we will be the ones to make Israel's possession of nuclear weapons public with all the international consequences this entails."
Ok, let's round up. Israel has nuclear weapons and may have even stolen stuff for those weapons from America. America wants to find out if this is so, so it wants to inspect Israel's facilities. It could force Israel to allow an inspection by withholding Phantom jets but this would cause "enormous political pressure." Who from? It's that non-existent Israel lobby again.

Of course this will be grist to the mill of those who support, without question, Mearsheimer and Walt's Israel lobby thesis. I prefer Finkesltein's take myself.

Speaking of libel and zionists....

We must be on a roll here. I can't quite get my head around this case (or these cases). It appears that an ultra-zionist tried to silence a critic of herself and Israel by way of a bogus libel action. Check out Tikun Olam, you might understand it all better than me. I gather a mazel tov's in order for this Richard Silverstein chap.

November 29, 2007

Murdoch funds Friends of Bir Zeit and all thanks to Aaro and Mikey

Like me, David Aaronovitch moderates the comments on his site. So if a zionist feels like libelling an anti-zionist on the Aaro-site, Aaro himself has to take responsibility, especially if the person being libelled is a lawyer like say, Tony Greenstein. I remember seeing something by this Michael Ezra chap in the comments to a ludicrous article by Aaro "about" Jewish anti-zionists and how we don't like our parents. Really, he wrote that. "Mikey" (for it is he) said something about Tony intimidating Jewish students for 30 years. Aaro obviously thought that that was a fair enough comment so he moderated it through. Well Tony wasn't having that. If you're quick you can see Aaronovitch's apology on his own Times site. If you're not so quick or you don't want to give the Times or Aaro your clicks you can see this screen grab here:

And if you click on the image you can even read what it says. And if you can't do that, here's what it actually says:

Tony Greenstein

At the beginning of July, an item was posted on my weblog which stated that Tony Greenstein had been "intimidating" or "harassing Jews’ at NUS conferences for 30 years. Tony Greenstein believed that this accused him of committing an offence of incitement to racial hatred under s.3A of the Race Relations Act 1976 and that it also implied that he is anti-Semitic.

While Tony Greenstein and I have had our differences, notably at NUS conferences, neither I nor The Times meant to suggest that he has been breaking the law for thirty years or that he is anti-Semitic. Our apologies for any embarrassment caused.

And that's not all. Apparently they're making a donation to the charity of Tony's choice which happens to be Friends of Bir Zeit Uni.

I do love a happy ending. But what about me? Aaronovitch said my dad's a zionist. Really, he said that, or something like that.

November 27, 2007

What next for Gaza?

Here's a cartoon from Latuff. It went up on one of his three blogs on 5/11/2007. He's a very good cartoonist, courageous even. I don't suppose he's very ambitious.

I mean his stuff is hardly going to turn up on the pages of the mainstream media on either side of the Atlantic.

Israelis return what they stole from Palestinians

Don't get too excited, it's only a couple of Israeli soldiers returning money and jewellery they stole from a couple of Palestinians, a woman and her son. Here's Ynet:
While searching a Palestinian woman's house in the northern West Bank village of Silat Ad-Daher, soldiers stole property but returned it when the woman complained to their officer. The woman, Ibtisam Rahal, claims that the soldiers also "swiped" an additional amount of money from her son's room. In light of the event, human rights group B'Tselem appealed to the chief military prosecutor to initiate a criminal investigation.

One morning towards the end of October, an IDF force entered Rahal's house in Silat Ad-Daher, following standard protocol by gathering her family members in one room and conducting a search of the premises. "The soldiers grabbed my son Iyad and I yelled at them to let him go," Rahal said to Ynet. "When they yelled back that I should keep quiet, I noticed that some of the soldiers had entered my bedroom. I asked them to let met go in as well to take out my money and gold jewelry."

According to Rahal, the soldiers told her they were searching for weapons and not money or jewelry. She asked them three times for permission to enter the room, but they refused each time. "From the living room I saw one of the soldiers leave my bedroom holding a bag I keep my money in. My daughter and sister-in-law also saw the soldier with my bag."

At this point, Rahal began screaming and demanding her money. "The soldiers replied that they weren't thieves and one of them even tried to gag me," she said.

Officer returns property

When Rahal asked to speak with the officer in charge, one of the soldiers removed his mask and inquired as to her problem. "I told him what I had seen and he left the house for the jeep and came back with the bag containing the entire sum, around 3,000 Jordanian Dinars (over $4,500 US) and a gold necklace."

Rahal was pleased to see the amount returned, but, as she tells it, she did not see the soldiers enter the room belonging to her married son Iyad who also resides in the house. She told Ynet that the soldiers "swiped" 2,500 Dinars (about $3,500 US) from his room and took her son to be questioned. According to Rahal, it was only luck that the soldiers missed his wife's gold jewelry, hidden in another bag.

Legal Appeal

According to Palestinians, stories of soldiers s
tealing property while conducting house-sweeps in the territories often reach media outlets and human rights organizations, but that Rahal is lucky in that stolen property is rarely returned to its rightful owners.
You can say that again.

Shin Bet recruitment video

Ha'aretz has this short article on how a young man died of cancer alone while Shin Bit tried to recruit his father as a collaborator at the Erez crossing the father and son already had permission to cross.
Camal Abu-Taha was detained at the Erez crossing despite being granted permission to accompany his son, a cancer patient, out of Gaza.

While the Shin Bet held Abu-Taha and tried to get him to collaborate with them in getting another prisoner to talk, his son died of his illness on his own.
A fuller item appears on the new Ha' TV on the same web page.

November 25, 2007

Keys to peace in Palestine

Here's a kind of human interest story about a Palestinians refugee family forced to flee Palestine to Lebanon in, I'm guessing, 1949. I got this from the Institute for Middle East Understanding:
AIN AL-HILWEH, Lebanon (Reuters) - The portrait of Hussein Saleh al-Me'ari holding a slim iron key and the legend "We will return" hangs on a wall with peeling paint in a tiny room at the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon.

His 45-year-old son, Salah, was born and later married in the camp. Salah's four children and extended family live in a few cramped rooms in the sprawling, decrepit camp which is Lebanon's largest and houses about 70,000 Palestinian refugees.

There is no immediate prospect for any of them to return to the family home in what is now Israel, even as Israelis and Palestinians prepare to meet in the United States next week for talks on a Palestinian state.

Yet Salah still keeps 18 carefully folded, yellowing pages of land documents that show his father and grandfather own 67 hectares (170 acres) of land in the small Palestinian village of Akbarah, near Safed town north of the Sea of Galilee.

Salah's grandfather and father fled along with hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war in which the state of Israel was created.

"It was winter. A rainy and bitter cold day in February. The Arab armies told them just two weeks or 15 days and we'll bring you back," Salah said nostalgically in the room where his father Hussein died in January.

Hussein's traditional Arab headdress and black cloak hang next to his portrait and a black-and-white photograph of Salah's grandfather, Saleh. Three copper coffee pots that Saleh used in Akbarah occupy the corner of the poorly furnished room.

"The 15 days have become 60 years," Salah said.
Interesting that Jewish settlers haven't taken over their homes. Why can't they return then? Ok, many of the houses have been demolished, but the land, who lives on the land now? Internal refugees. Are they so intolerant? Have they been consulted?

Anyway, the full article is available at Reuters.


What in G-d's name is this I've just found on Sabbah's blog? The Anglosphere and everything it represents has come under attack from the Archbishop of Canterbury of all people. Look:

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the United States wields its power in a way that is worse than Britain during its imperial heyday.

Rowan Williams claimed that America’s attempt to intervene overseas by “clearing the decks” with a “quick burst of violent action” had led to “the worst of all worlds”.

In a wide-ranging interview with a British Muslim magazine, the Anglican leader linked criticism of the United States to one of his most pessimistic declarations about the state of western civilisation.

He said the crisis was caused not just by America’s actions but also by its misguided sense of its own mission. He poured scorn on the “chosen nation myth of America, meaning that what happens in America is very much at the heart of God’s purpose for humanity”… Read on!

As it happens it's quite a remarkable article. Sabbah's blog got it from the Sunday Times who in turn got it from an interview "Muslim lifestyle magazine," Emel.

He sticks the boot into the USA a good bit:
He urged it to launch a “generous and intelligent programme of aid directed to the societies that have been ravaged; a check on the economic exploitation of defeated territories; a demilitarisation of their presence”.
"Exploitation of defeated territories?" He's not so clever though. Territories don't have to be defeated to be exploited.

But then the Archbishop really goes and spoils it with his critique of American imperialism:
He contrasted it unfavourably with how the British Empire governed India. “It is one thing to take over a territory and then pour energy and resources into administering it and normalising it. Rightly or wrongly, that’s what the British Empire did — in India, for example.
Ah well, stiff upper lip, what? But he does let our little chunk of the Anglosphere of a little lightly.

Hollywood to "flatter" Israel

Like it never did that before. Here's an article in the Jerusalem Post about how some agent, David Lonner, wants Hollywood to show Israel in a favourable light by way of a "trip he has organized for a distinguished delegation of film-industry elite." Now see when it all began:
Lonner, who has always felt a strong connection to Israel since he celebrated his bar-mitzva here, organized the first such trip last year, in the wake of the Second Lebanon War.
Now Israel's image certainly needed a few Hollywood style favours then.
"In the Hollywood community, there's a sense of apathy about Israel, more out of ignorance than anything else. I wanted to raise the awareness of the people I work with of what Israel really is. And in a very selfish way, there's nothing I like better than spending time in Israel," he says. "I got to bring over the greatest group of people. I wanted them to have more of a human experience than a political experience."
Funny bloke. He's Jewish, Israel has a racist law allowing him to become a citizen whilst denying that right to most non-Jewish natives and yet he feels he has to contrive a "birthright trip" (yes, he said that) in order to go there. Let's face it, most Jews, even, maybe especially, zionists, would rather live in Hollywood than Israel but read on.
Producer Nina Jacobson, who as head of Buena Vista Pictures oversaw such movies as the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and The Chronicles of Narnia, called the trip, "Israel on speed," referring to the packed five-day schedule, but said that she had learned a lot and hoped to return with her children. Both she and Lonner said that they felt many of their colleagues were simply afraid to visit and they hoped they would be able to present a more flattering image of this country once they return to Los Angeles.
Did you follow the flattering link? Did you see the definition:
  1. To compliment excessively and often insincerely, especially in order to win favor.
  2. To please or gratify the vanity of: "What really flatters a man is that you think him worth flattering" (George Bernard Shaw).
    1. To portray favorably: a photograph that flatters its subject.
    2. To show off becomingly or advantageously.

I suppose we should commend Ms Jacobon's honesty in calling on Hollywood to be dishonest for Israel. She is saying that she wants Hollywood to tell it, not how it is, but in a way that favours Israel in terms of image.

But David Lonner wants Israeli film to get a wider audience, of course, under false pretences. Look:
Lonner is excited by "the transformation of Israeli film" and how filmmakers have focused on "the humanistic experience. That's the thrust of how Israeli filmmakers have recalibrated their craft and put Israeli cinema where it can be noticed on a more global scale."
What "humanistic experience" is to be had in a land ruled by war criminals and a segregationist ideology?

Ach, enough of this. What is there to do for the racist war criminals of the State of Israel that Hollywood hasn't already done?

November 21, 2007

Palestine protestors' press prize

I've spent over half an hour thinking up that headline and it's not even any good, I know. I'll do anything for a bit of alliteration. Anyway, what am I talking about? Well, it's this Leviev picket thing. Thirty protestors picketed the opening of the Leviev jewellery store in New York a few days ago and then repeated the effort yesterday (or maybe the day before). No big deal really except this has now made it into the mainstream press and the jewellery trade press. Here's the New York Post:
SUSAN Sarandon will cross a picket line - if there are diamonds on the other side. The actress waded through a throng of picketers to get to a cocktail party for the Leviev jewelry store launch on Madison Avenue this week. A group carrying Palestinian flags was on the sidewalk protesting the Finesse Diamond Corp., which provides gems to Leviev, and Leviev's construction of "illegal West Bank settlements." They were shouting, "You're glitz, you're glam, you're building on Palestinian land" and "Occupation is a drag, just say no to your gift bag." Our source reports that Sarandon went in and "tried not to notice the yells outside."
Now I didn't get that reference to Susan Sarandon crossing a picket line for diamonds, as if she wouldn't cross one for anything else. The coverage of the picket in the National Jeweler Network clarified that one for me:
A grand-opening celebration for the new Leviev store was held on Nov. 13, and stars including actresses Isabella Rossellini and Susan Sarandon, who is known for her political activism, attended.
Ah, now I see. She supports oppressed people as long as the oppressors aren't Israel.

The pickets and the coverage have force the Leviev company on to a hilarious defensive. Look:
Leviev President and Chief Operating Officer Thierry Chaunu said the protests have "nothing to do with his company" and referred further questions to public relations firm Edelman.

A representative from Edelman was not immediately available for comment.
In a follow up article in the same National Jeweler Network, there is more detail on the protest itself:
In a loud and eye-catching protest, about 40 people, lead by the group Adalah-NY, sung and danced outside, chanting "you sparkle, you shine, but settlements are still a crime," and "how fancy, how pretty, Leviev out of New York City."

The protest included "dancing cardboard diamonds," which told the tale of "gems of injustice."

Protestors also handed passing pedestrians gift bags containing soil from Palestine and a thank-you note that stated: "Dear valued customer, with every purchase you make from LEVIEV New York, you help Lev Leviev to seize a handful of Palestinian land in order to build more illegal Israeli settlements."

According to the group, Leviev is involved in the construction of five illegal settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank.

In addition, the group claims that Leviev and New York residential real estate developer Shaya Boymelgreen are pushing lower- and middle-income residents out of New York. The group alleges that construction problems plague these developments, and that the projects utilize underpaid, non-union workers in hazardous conditions.
And from the company?
In a statement obtained on Wednesday by National Jeweler, Leviev and the LLG Companies called the protests "politically motivated."
You're zionists funding war crimes, of course the protests are politically motivated you schmocks! But there's more:
"Those who have personally attacked the group or its founder are not aware of the extensive humanitarian work of the group, including building schools, orphanages and fostering economic development in communities around the world. The LLG Companies are committed to—and have been recognized for—philanthropic work in communities in which they operate."
Who else would describe the funding, indeed the committing, of war crimes, philanthropy?

November 20, 2007

Trumped up charges?

Well well well, it seems that Scottish Palestine Solidarity has been dabbling with the ancient "you-own-a-hotel-chain" libel. Here's the SPSC report from their home page:
As part of international actions against the apartheid wall, on Sat 10 November Scottish PSC protested outside the Caledonian Hotel after reports confirmed the sale of the hotel to an Israeli consortium operating as the Caledonian Operating Company.
Well following what must have been a successful picket SPSC received a letter from lawyers acting for the World Zionist Organisation. Woops! Did I say World Zionist Organisation? It looks like I did. I mean of course The Caledonian Operating Company Limited. Anyway, the letter says:
Further to your protest over the weekend opposite the Caledonian Hilton in Edinburgh and your proposed subsequent protest, we write to you on behalf of our client The Caledonian Operating Company Limited (the "Company"), which is owner of the Caledonian Hilton Edinburgh Hotel (the "Hotel"), to inform you that the Company is incorporated in England and Wales and has no Israeli shareholders.
It goes on to say,
Your protest outside the Hotel accompanied by the type of allegations as circulated in your leaflets are incredibly damaging to the Hotel's reputation and its business. We believe that you may have engaged in this campaign under a false assumption that the Hotel was bought by an Israeli property group. There were some newspaper reports suggesting this to be the case. In fact the deal never happened and the Hotel was bought, as we say above, by our client. For the moment, we are prepared to assume that our client's business has been included in your campaign by mistake.
The letter goes on to ask SPSC to confirm that they will refrain from further protest, remove the Hotel's name from their literature and remove references to the Hotel from their website. It also mentions, threateningly in my opinion, that SPSC is responsible for what it publishes. Now pending SPSC's reply, the Company "will reserve their rights under the law and will refrain from taking any legal action" and looks "forward to hearing from" SPSC "as a matter of urgency."

Well back comes SPSC with this reply:
To: Mishcon de Reya
Summit House
12 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4QD

17 November 2007

Dear Sirs

We are in receipt of your email of 13.11.07, written on behalf of The Caledonian Operating Company Limited. We have indeed alleged to the general public, and customers at the Edinburgh Caledonian Hotel, that this city-centre hotel is Israeli-owned.

The Israeli authorities have announced that they are going to demolish Fasayil Primary School in the Jordan Valley on November 29th, a little school which many people in Edinburgh have contributed to. We see no reason why Israelis should be allowed to build a property portfolio anywhere while they are demolishing property across Palestine, indeed demolishing Palestine.

The acquisition of the Caledonian Hotel by an Israeli consortium was anticipated in the Scotsman of August 9th this year. The full completion of the sale was widely reported in the specialist hotel industry press the following day (10.08.07) and the Edinburgh Evening News confirmed the sale with a piece beginning, “The sale of one of the Capital's most prestigious hotels has been completed...[to]... a consortium of Israeli investors...”(11.08.07). Six days
later Caterer and Hotelkeeper again confirmed that the new owners were Israeli (16.08.07).

So you can see that we are surprised by your assertion that your “client The Caledonian Operating Company Limited...which is the owner of The Caledonian Hilton Edinburgh Hotel...has no Israeli shareholders.” This claim appears three months after the uncontested reports of an Israeli purchase of the hotel, and follows our first day of protest outside the Hotel.

You claim in your letter to us that labelling the hotel as Israeli-owned (“the type of allegations as circulated in your leaflets”) is “incredibly damaging to the hotel and its business.” We concede that this is so, and are, therefore, doubly perplexed as to why your client felt no inclination over a period of three months to clean up its image by responding to the string of press stories asserting such Israeli ownership.

You can see our problem. When the Israeli authorities lie so brazenly about their crimes, even about the murder of British citizens such as Tom Hurndall and James Millar, and as the image of the Israeli brand sinks so low in the eyes of the public, it is obvious that Israeli businessmen have an interest in concealing their ownership of businesses that could fall within the ambit of the growing boycott movement.

Our scepticism is reinforced by the knowledge that one of your own company’s senior partners is a Zionist fanatic, Anthony Julius, a ludicrous labeller of opponents of Israeli crimes as ‘anti-Semites’. He is an exponent of a vile political creed whose advocates planned and executed the ethnic cleansing of most of Palestine, and are spreading their apartheid system throughout all the areas they have conquered. This being so, you must expect our Campaign to view your letter with deep mistrust. Since we are committed to universal human rights, we are compelled to see your racist Senior Partner as untrustworthy, and as casting a baleful shadow on your company as a whole.

Should we hear that even one of the journalists who reported the original story admits that their reporting was inaccurate and untrue, and that they will issue the necessary corrections to the effect that The Caledonian Operating Company Limited is not Israeli-owned, we will promptly reconsider our position. In the meantime we will proceed on the basis of the information which is unchallenged in the public domain and regret that we cannot yet comply with your

Yours faithfully

Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
I love the idea that for it to be known or believed that the owner of a hotel is Israeli is "incredibly damaging." I wonder if whoever wrote the letter from Mishcon de Reya ran it by Anthony Julius before sending it out.

November 19, 2007

Something rotten at Indymedia UK?

I had a bit of run in recently with an antisemitic but anonymous emailer calling themselves "Free the peeps." They accused me and several others of "working as a group" to bully Indymedia UK over the publication of an article in which Gilad Atzmon seeks to justify the holocaust. I ran a post on that. Yes I'm also sick of him but I thought, "at last! the SWP will have to ditch him now." After all, they wrongly kept Finkelstein at arms length over the Holocaust Industry and they, even worse, pulled the rug from under Lenni Brenner over Perdition in the week of holocaust memorial day. But nope. Even Lenin, who a couple of years ago personally tried, with China Mieville and James Meadway, to persuade the SWP leadership to ditch Atzmon, came here and defended the Party over its betrayal of its anti-racist principles and its Jewish and anti-racist associates and of course its lack of consistency over neo-nazi ballerinas and neo-nazi saxophonists. Or do they just favour Israelis over Brits?

Anyway, this FTP character assured those of us who s/he was emailing that the email was "off list." Well apparently it wasn't off list at all. It even found its way on to this FTP's own blog. Now the blog is very hard to follow if you're not a message board follower but this page seems to be the first. Apart from this FTP seeming to pretend that my email to him or her was something other than a response to their own antisemitic email to me, the thing that struck me most was this:
To comment you have to register. This is to prevent anonymous trolls and to encourage everyone to take responsibility for what they say, and how they say it.
This is a non-gender specific person who was named by their parents or by deed poll, Free the peeps? Or is it an anonymous troll who refuses to take responsibility for what they write, how they write and who they write to? So, curiosity aroused, I went to check out Indymedia UK to see how it's run.

This is its self description:
The Indymedia UK website provides an interactive platform for reports from the struggles for a world based on freedom, cooperation, justice and solidarity, and against environmental degradation, neoliberal exploitation, racism and patriarchy. The reports cover a wide range of issues and social movements - from neighbourhood campaigns to grassroots mobilisations, from critical analysis to direct action.

The content of the Indymedia UK website is created through a system of open publishing: anyone can upload a written, audio and video report or a picture directly to the site through an openly accessible web interface. Through this system of 'Direct Media', Indymedia erodes the dividing line between reporters and reported, between active producers and passive audience: people are enabled to speak for themselves. At bigger actions, Indymedia UK volunteers extend this participatory model by establishing 'Public Access Terminals' on the streets, and facilitating direct access to the technical equipment that enables participants to upload to the website.
And this is how this can appear as part of an article in its own right under the heading "the middle class SWP":
This sickening freak surely has more pressing worries given that his maggot freak show the swp - is about to part company with paki lover galloway.
That was an "article" about Alex Callinicos of the SWP. And how does it get there? It's an open site. 12 hours and 7 complaints after it was posted, "Free the peeps" and his or her fellow moderators decided that it was indeed racist and so they decided to "hide" it. And what does "hide" it mean. It means giving it a grey background with the word "HIDDEN" shot through it. In other words, hidden means....not hidden at all and our clever and classless and free peeps can get back to the serious matter of deciding whether or not justifying the holocaust a la Atzmon is racist or not.

Meanwhile, on a fairly similar site, the Peoples Voice, Tony Greenstein responds to one of the antisemitic Atzmonettes.

Anyway, as I said, there is something rotten at Indymedia UK that I think has to do with their open site policy and lack of political coherence together with the fact that racists of various stripes are masquerading as leftists or disclaiming their racism with those infamous words "I am not a racist but..." That and the sheer incompetence of the Indymedia UK moderators that has one of them anonymously harassing correspondents (and, in my case, non-correspondents) while the rest try to decide whether or not justifying the holocaust is racist and taking twelve hours through six complaints, to discuss the description of George Galloway as a "paki lover" before highlighting it in grey. And they are cyber-Britain's hope for the revolution. Something is rotten at Indymedia UK.

A man of wealth and taste?

Here's a nice portrait of that Leviev guy, star of the earlier post, Diamonds are for yesha:

The painter is Michael Khundiashvili and he seems to specialise in rather flattering kitsch for wealthy or powerful clientele though, from his site, he does do some biblical stuff. In this Leviev portrait he seems to have combined the two.

November 15, 2007

Diamonds are for yesha

Lev Leviev, one of Israel's leading personal funders of the settlement enterprise in the West Bank, got quite a shock the other night at the opening of his Madison Avenue store in New York City. In addition to the invited glitterati, Palestine solidarity activists also turned out in force to give Leviev the kind of exposure he can't have wanted. Here's New York's indymedia on the story:
Over 100 well-dressed, well-heeled New Yorkers attending the invitation-only opening of diamond mogul Lev Leviev’s Madison Avenue jewelry store this evening appeared stunned and aghast to find their evening derailed by a noisy protest against Leviev’s construction of illegal West Bank settlements. Gala attendees set down their champagne glasses and gathered by windows to view the signs and Palestinian flags, and hear protesters’ chants.

30 New York City human rights activists chanted, “You’re glitz, you’re glam, you're stealing Palestinian land.”, and “All your diamonds cannot hide, your support for Apartheid.” Protesters called on New York City’s upscale residents to boycott Leviev’s diamonds. Disconcerted attendees hastily exited to their limousines to loud chants of, “Occupation is a drag, just say no to your gift bag.”

Lev Leviev is one of Israel’s richest men. He built his enormous fortune trading in diamonds with Apartheid-era South Africa. His company now buys diamonds from the repressive Angolan government. Leviev uses profits from diamond sales to fuel the conflict in Palestine and Israel by funding the construction of suburban developments for Israeli settlers on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, undermining the prospects for Middle East peace, and threatening farmers' ability to survive and remain in their homes. Leviev’s diamonds are “conflict diamonds” in a broad sense of the term, funding repression in Angola and violations of international law in Palestine.

Leviev and his former US partner Shaya Boymlegreen have also angered New Yorkers with their abusive local developments schemes. Leviev has invested $1 billion in real estate in New York City over the last year. In New York City, Leviev and Boymelgreen have employed underpaid, non-union workers in hazardous conditions and violated housing codes to construct luxury apartments that displace low-income and moderate-income residents in Brooklyn, provoking local branches of the Laborer's International Union and ACORN to launch a campaign against these abuses ( Brooklynites remain concerned that Leviev and Boymelgreen are key developers in the planned Gowanus Village project.

Leviev’s real estate empire in Israel is building homes for Israelis in the West Bank settlements of Mattityahu East and Zufim, according to Gadi Algazi in the August, 2006 Le Monde Diplomatique, and in Maale Adumim and Har Homa, according to The Jerusalem Post. He has also built homes in the settlement of Ariel. All the settlements in which Leviev has built homes seize vital Palestinian water and agricultural resources and carve the West Bank into disconnected Bantustans, destroying hopes for a viable Palestinian state. All Israeli settlements built in the Occupied Palestinian Territories violate international law.
This story has also been picked up by Jewish media in America such as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Forward.

Forward had this to say in its article with regard to the protest and an Chabad event attended by Leviev:
A source close to Leviev said that the protesters were scapegoating the diamond merchant simply because he is an Israeli citizen. The controversies went unmentioned at the Chabad event — and they were also omitted from a lengthy recent story about Leviev in The New York Times Magazine.
All the news they see fit to print.

November 14, 2007

"Israeli" Arabs?

Here's a curious editorial in Ha'aretz. It's about an invitation by the State of Israel to Israel's Arabs to volunteer for service in its war criminal army. I'm assuming this is a recent development because of how the editorial is introduced:
Opposition to young Arabs volunteering for national service unfortunately unites all Arab MKs. An Arab rap group has composed a song protesting the possibility, rallies have been held, signs have been posted, and MK Jamal Zahalka has said he will consider anyone who volunteers a "leper." One can understand the refusal to cooperate with an establishment that has discriminated against Arabs since the inception of the state. But those who sincerely want to promote equality between Jewish and Arab citizens cannot support such an isolationist attitude.
I think it will take a little bit more than inviting Israel's Arabs to kill their Gaza, West Bank and Jerusalem compatriots to establish racial equality among the various people of Israel. Here are some examples, in the same editorial, of the state racism that needs to be overcome:
It is difficult to be an Arab in a state that earmarks Jewish National Fund land only for Jews, where residential communities deny Arabs the right to join them, where the Knesset legislates a citizenship law that prevents family unification between Israeli Arabs and their Palestinian spouses.
It then makes a very curious suggestion:
But all who value equality must demand more Israelization of the Arabs.
By having them join an army that routinely kills Arab children? Still, read the whole thing. I must have missed something.

November 10, 2007

One state conference in London

London, 17/18 Nov 2007

The Brunei Gallery – SOAS – University of London

Fees: £30 (includes lunches, coffee, tea and biscuits)

£20 Concession (includes lunches, coffee, tea and biscuits)

Please send cheque payable to ONE STATE GROUP

Please post your cheque with attached note of email address to

C/O SOAS Palestine Society

Thornhaugh Street

London WC1H 0XG

Or book by email

Organised by London One State Group and SOAS Palestine Society

Conference Program

Saturday, 17th of November 2007

9:00-9:30 AM Registration SOAS Brunei Gallery, Lobby

9:30-9:45 AM Opening Statement SOAS Brunei Gallery

Nur Masalha, Reader in Religion and Politics and Director of the Centre for Religion and History and of the Holy Land Research Project at Saint Mary’s College, University of Surrey (UK)

PANEL I: Why one state?

9:45-11:45 AM

Chair: Ghada Karmi, University of Exeter, Author of In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story (2002) and Married to another Man: Israel’s Dilemma in Palestine (2007)

The historical roots of the One State idea

Ilan Pappe, University of Exeter, Author of The Modern Middle East (2005) and The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006)

A matter of immediate urgency, not a distant utopia

Joseph Massad, Columbia University, Author of The Persistence of the

Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism an the Palestinians (2006) and Desiring Arabs (2007)

The state of the One-State Idea

Ali Abunimah, Co-founder of Electronic Intifada, Author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse (2006)

Coffee Break

11:45-12:00 AM

PANEL II: Mapping the geopolitical landscape: past, present and future

12:00-13:30 PM

Chair: Haim Bresheeth, University of East London, Chair of Media and Cultural Studies

Leaving the Cake Whole

Ghazi Falah, University of Akron, Ohio, Co-editor of Geographies of Muslim Women: Gender, Religion, and Space (2005) and Author of Galilee and the Judaization Plans (in Arabic, 1993)

Local politics: the one state and the Palestinians

As'ad Ghanem, University of Haifa, Author of The Palestinian-Arab Minority in Israel, 1948-2000: A Political Study (2001) and The Palestinian Regime: A “Partial Democracy” (2002)

With an eye to the future

Leila Farsakh, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Author of Palestinian Labor Migration to Israel: Labor, Land and Occupation (2005)

Lunch Break

13:30-14:30 PM

PANEL III (Presentations): Land, Citizenship, and Identity: Rethinking the nation-state

14:30-16:00 PM

Chair: Leila Farsakh

This panel provides a platform for internal debate on the desired institutional and constitutional formation of the state which is commonly dichotomized into the bi-national model on one side and multicultural democracy on the other.

Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva, Author of The Censor, the Editor, and the Text: The Catholic Church and the Shaping of the Jewish Canon in the Sixteenth Century (2007)

Nadim Rouhana, George Mason University, Author of Palestinian Citizens in an Ethnic Jewish State: Identities in Conflict (1997)

Omar Barghouti, Political Activist, Co-founder of the Palestinian Campaign for Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

Tikva Honig-Parnass, Political Activist, Co-author of Between the Lines: Readings on Israel, the Palestinians, and the U.S. “War on Terror” (2007)

Coffee Break

16:00-16:15 PM

PANEL III (Discussion): Land, Citizenship, and Identity: Rethinking the nation-state

16:15-18:00 PM

Chair: Leila Farsakh

Sunday, 17th of November 2007

PANEL IV: Looking at the past, rethinking the future

10:30-12:30 PM

Chair: Ali Abunimah

Drawing lessons >from the case of South Africa

Louise Bethlehem, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Co-editor of South Africa in the Global Imaginary (2005) and Violence and Non-Violence in Africa (2007)

Northern Ireland: power sharing in a divided society

Kathleen O’Connell, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

From Lebanon

Gilbert Achcar, SOAS, Co-author of Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007) and The 33-Day War: Israel’s War on Hezbollah in Lebanon and its Consequences (2007), Author of The Clash of Barbarisms: The Making of the New World Disorder (2006)

IndiaPakistan: the partition

Sumantra Bose, London School of Economics, Author of Kashmir: The Roots of Conflict, Paths to Peace (2003) and Contested Lands: Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia,Cyprus and Sri Lanka (2007)


Lunch Break

12:30-13:30 PM

PANEL V: One state from within civil society social movements, and grassroot activism

13:30-16:00 PM

Chair: Omar Barghouti

The lived experience and stories of the invited activists will portray the current public mood in regards to the One-State option, and point at both the difficulties and the opportunities for promoting this line of thought among the various social movements and civil society organizations that are operating within the different communities. This mosaic of personal accounts and observations will provide the foundation for the following discussion about 'the way forward'.

Haidar Eid, Al-Quds University Gaza, Co-founder of One-State Group in Gaza

Eitan Bronstein, Political Activist, Director Zochorot (“Remebering”), Tel Aviv-Jaffa

Eyal Sivan, University of East London, Film Director of The Specialist (1999) and Route 181: Fragments of a Journey in Palestine-Israel (2004)

Yousef Faker el Deen, Political Activist, Founder of Al-Jaras Al-Awda (“Bells of Return”), Syria

Rajaa Omari, Political Activist, Founder of Natrinkum (“We are waiting for you”), Haifa

Coffee Break

16:00-16:15 PM

PANEL VI: The way forward


A roundtable with several participants of the conference will discuss the necessary immediate actions required for advancing the discussion about alternatives to the two-state paradigm, and for developing the One-State idea into a meaningful political agenda.

General Information

Fees: £30 (includes lunches, coffee, tea and biscuits)

£20 Concession (includes lunches, coffee, tea and biscuits)

Location: SOAS Brunei Gallery

Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square

London, WC1H 0XG

Contact Info: +44(0)77 33 235 760

Web Site:

The event is hosted by the London Middle East Institute (LMEI)

SOAS Palestine Society
Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square, London