March 31, 2008

Israel's "generous left"

Ynet seems to have stumbled on a survey that tells us what we knew all along: that Israel's "left-wing governments" are not left-wing at all.
It is now official and scientifically sanctioned: A new study has found that left-wing governments are far better for settlers than those led by the right-wing peers. Furthermore, the study also uncovered that left-wing governments are incapable of ceding Israeli lands, and that rightist have far less political clout than commonly assumed.

The study, conducted by Professor Gideon Doron of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Political Science and Professor Maoz Rosenthal, of the Open University’s faculty of Political Science and International Relations, will be presented at an upcoming conference at Tel Aviv University entitled “40 years of Israeli Rule in the Territories and Their Impact on the State”.

The study found that where as rightist governments can make territorial concessions, left-wing governments cannot afford to take such action.
Leaving aside the Vulcan saying, "only Nixon could go to China", could it be that Israel's leftist governments are no leftists at all?

UPDATE: Following a fairly legitimate complaint from a blogging comrade, Charlie Pottins, I have moved the close quote from the word "generous" in the headline and put it to close the quotes around "generous left". I've also made a change to my opening paragraph so as to remove any suggestion that colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing, relentless expansionism and aggression are behaviours of the Israeli left. They are however behaviours of successive Israeli governments since the inception of the state and more by Labour than Likud or, so far, Kadima.

March 29, 2008

Shitty little country?

Well it was a moral statement about Israel but it's a factual statement about Gaza, because of Israel.This is from the Arab Media Internet Network
In a place just a few miles from sandy beaches and soaring sky-scrapers, white stone villas and sky-blue swimming pools, it seems the epitome of irony and injustice that over 1.5 million people would be subjected to drinking sewage-contaminated water. When there is such a fine line bordering wealth and poverty, privilege and need, how unsettling to realize that just a stones throw away, mothers and fathers must nourish their families with poison. As if the occupier could not find one more creative way to torment his victim.

The greatest outrage is that such a reality is the decided policy of the Israeli government. It is decried by the most prominent human rights and humanitarian groups throughout the world, and yet it is increasingly enhanced by Israel and shamelessly backed and justified by the US. It is indisputable that the calamity of contaminated water in the Gaza Strip is a resolute policy of the Israeli government.
So not content with starving the Palestinians, Israel wants to poison them too.

March 28, 2008

Hamas on 4

On the UK's Channel 4 tonight there is a documentary presented by Sam Kiley called Unreported World in Gaza. Sam Kiley is a curious character from my point of view. He has strong zionist leanings and yet he resigned from Rupert Murdoch's Times on the principle that it was too pro-Israel.

I've taken this detour before but here goes.
Sam Kiley actually left the Times when he
pulled off a little scoop by tracking, interviewing and photographing the unit in the Israeli army which killed Mohammed al-Durrah, the 12-year-old boy whose death was captured on film and became the iconic image of the conflict, I was asked to file the piece without mentioning the dead kid.
Now where was I? Ah yes, now Sam Kiley is in Gaza for Channel 4.
Kiley reveals that, far from collapsing in the face of the political, economic and military pressure Hamas survives - and may even be gaining in strength. The US, the UK, European Union and Israel's government have refused to negotiate with a movement they label "terrorist". But a majority of Israelis, 64 per cent, think they are wrong. As Yusef, the Hamas spokesman says: "you negotiate with your enemies - not your friends".

But as the team leave, amid rising levels of violence, the voices of moderation and the advocates of peace are increasingly drowned out in the growing clamour for war.
Worth watching, I'd say.

March 27, 2008

Death of a Palestinian?

Not exactly headline grabbing stuff as Palestinians are dying or being killed all the time. This one had more opportunities in life than most. He was Tom Kay, architect and here's a chunk of his obituary in the Guardian:
The architect Tom Kay, who has died aged 72, was a mesmerising storyteller whose life was a great story too. He was an activist - his last professional-political project was in his birthplace, Palestine; he was an adventurer who loved motorbikes and deserts and foaming rivers; he was a conscientious objector who refused to do national service in the late 1950s; and he took part, with Pat Arrowsmith, in anti-nuclear action, sitting in a concrete mixer in Swaffham, Norfolk, to oppose the building of a Thor missile base......

While in Ramallah, Tom documented, in writing, photographs and sketches, what he witnessed. His flimsy frame, camera poised, would not yield to Israeli soldiers. His reports to the western press and on the world wide web were some of the first to show Israel's wanton destructiveness, and its use of planning and architecture to control the Palestinians.
So back to the Jewish National Fund then.

Spinning for a doctor

Here's a nice send off for former presidential hopeful, Dr Ron Paul. Here's the Guardian's Geoffrey Wheatcroft wishing him well:
when the House of Representatives was recently passing another denunciation of Palestinian violence, Paul refused to support it. He abhorred all attacks on civilians, he said - but on Palestinians by Israelis as much as on Israelis by Palestinians.

"It is our continued involvement and intervention - particularly when it appears to be one-sided - that reduces the incentive for opposing sides to reach a lasting peace agreement," he said. "We must cease making proclamations involving conflicts that have nothing to do with the United States. We incur the wrath of those who feel slighted while doing very little to slow or stop the violence." It says something about US politics today that words as sane and humane as those come from an "extremist".

No doubt this excellent man's bid for the Republican nomination was by way of being a romantic gesture. But what about Ron Paul for secretary of state?
No chance, surely.

March 26, 2008

The Boston Jewish Advocate uses the N-word

Will wonders never cease? In the space often reserved for some frothing bilge from CAMERA founder Charles Jacobs, The Boston Jewish Advocate prints the word "Nakba" for the first time, in the course of this splendid op-ed by Birthright Unplugged co-founder, Hannah Mermelstein:

By Hannah Mermelstein - Wednesday March 26 2008
This land was theirs

On March 20, 1941, Yosef Weitz of the Jewish National Fund wrote: "The complete evacuation of the country from its other inhabitants and handing it over to the Jewish people is the answer."

On this day in 1948, almost two months before the first "Arab-Israeli war" technically began, the 1,125 inhabitants of the Palestinian village Umm Khalid fled a Haganah military operation. Like their brethren from more than 500 villages, they likely thought they would return to their homes within a few weeks, after the fighting blew over and new political borders were or were not drawn.

Instead, more than 6 million Palestinian people remain refugees to this day, some in refugee camps not far from their original towns, others in established communities in Europe and the US, all forbidden from returning to their homeland for one reason: they are not Jewish.

Yosef Weitz's wish was granted. In my name, and in the name of Jewish people throughout the world, an indigenous population was almost completely expelled. Village names have been removed from the map, houses blown up, and new forests planted. In Arabic, this is called the Nakba, or catastrophe. In Israel, this is called "independence."

Last month I went with a man from Umm il Fahm (a Palestinian city in Israel) to his original village of Lajun, only a few miles away. Adnan's land is now a JNF forest "belonging" to Kibbutz Megiddo.

As we walk the stone path he points to each side of the road, naming the families that used to live there: Mahamid, Mahajne, Jabrin…. The land there is not naturally rocky; the stones that we walk on are a graveyard of destroyed houses. Adnan was only six years old when the Haganah's bullets flew over his head and he and his family fled. But he remembers. He tears up as we stop at the site of his destroyed house and says, "Welcome to my home."

Adnan is an Israeli citizen, yet the land that was stolen from him has been given to a body that refuses to let him live on it. As an American Jew, I could move to Lajun/Megiddo tomorrow, gain full citizenship rights, and live on the land that Adnan's family has tended for centuries. Adnan, who lives just a few minutes away, is forbidden from doing so.

As we approach the 60th anniversary of the state of Israel, the 60th anniversary of the Nakba, let us remember Adnan. Let us remember the inhabitants of Umm Khalid. Let us remember more than 6 million people whose basic human rights have been deprived for 60 years, and let us, as Jewish people with a history of oppression and a tradition of social justice, work for the right of indigenous people to return to their land. This is our only hope for true peace and security in the region.

Hannah Mermelstein is a co-founder of Birthright Unplugged and lives in Boston, Philadelphia and Ramallah.

Celebrate this momentous occasion by dropping an appreciative line to the Advocate's editor. Doubtless he'll be getting an earful from Jacobs' fans.

Comment is free update

I haven't seen any rules about comments to Comment is free articles except to say that they close after three days and, of course, the usual stuff about personal abuse and all that. But I said yesterday that I didn't know why comments to Tony Greenstein's article, posted yesterday, were already closed. Well it appears that the moderator/s can't stay up all night monitoring the zionist trolls. See here:
This thread will shortly close for the night.
Still this little gem managed to make it through before the axe fell for the night:

So we did a bit of ethnic cleansing, but they were going to do it to us first. For them to do it to us, we had to be there. So we got there, and then began ethnically cleansing the land of those who would ethnically cleanse us on our arrival to ethnically cleanse them.

These people were unreasonable savages.

I know most of the other places have stopped their ethnic cleansing. We can't. Not just yet. We've still got work to do. We missed a bit back in 48, got control of it in 67, but we've gotta pretend to the outside world that, if we don't have swimming pools with the best views on the West Bank, we'll be pushed into the sea by the Arabs.

If only we had nukes, which we haven't, we'd be able to defend ourselves without the terrible necessity of moving our dutiful citizens, from America and Russia, into less-than-desirable neighbourhoods amongst the Arabs.

Attacks by Palestinians from the West Bank on Israeli civilians have reached such ferocity that we just have to keep taking some more land, just to show them that terrorsm doesn't pay. It's nothing to do with coveting their land (ours - god said so, and no, we don't have it in writing), it's just our way of saying "Hitler failed, and so shall you". When they stop attacking us, then we'll stop taking their land. They just keep attacking us as we take their land. They're crazy.

This is what we're dealing with.

What's the big deal about a little bit of ethnic cleansing?
But you have to cut through a lot of dross to get to that one.

I don't know what time comments reopen.

March 25, 2008

Ethnic cleansers get the royal treatment

I think I may have posted on this disgraceful event already but here it is again. The UK's royal family are hosting the Jewish National Fund at a celebration of the ethnic cleansing of Israel. Here's Tony Greenstein in today's Comment is free on the whole sorry business

The British royal family have a constitutional role greater than their private prejudices. They are seen as the representatives of British society and their invitation to the JNF will inevitably be seen as giving a royal seal of approval to the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe. Britain's role in arming the Zionist militias who fell like wolves on largely defenceless villagers, while suppressing the 1936Palestinian national uprising, is infamous enough without the monarchy celebrating the consequences of Britain's perfidy.

Not that the association between royalty and the most barbaric aspects of colonialism is anything new. Today's royals may hold gala dinners in celebration of the abolition of the slave trade and Wilberforce, but when slavery was a going concern, its most ardent supporters were royalty. Elizabeth I went into business as a partner of slave trader John Hawkins, Charles II was a major shareholder in the Royal African Company and William IV, then Duke of Clarence, spoke out strongly against the abolition of the slave trade and emancipation in the House of Lords.

With the solitary exception of Princess Diana and her campaign against landmines, the royals have been associated with the most atavistic and bloody aspects of British imperial rule. From the Indian Mutiny and the Amritsar massacre to the Hola death camp in Kenya, the royals have always been associated with militarism and empire. Prince Harry's role in Afghanistan is a continuation of this inglorious history.

In 1995 an Arab couple, the Kadans, tried to buy an apartment in Katzir. For 10 years the JNF and the Israeli Lands Authority tried to prevent the leasing of "Jewish" land to non-Jews. Eventually the supreme court
ruled that state land could not be sold to Jews only.

This caused huge embarrassment among Jews worldwide. How could Jews protest against anti-Semitism when condoning blatantly racist practices in Israel? America's Reform movement, to which most Jews adhere,
condemned the practice unequivocally.

The JNF itself, though, was anything but embarrassed. It began a campaign to reverse the court's decision and last summer a JNF Bill was introduced into the Knesset, where it was passed on the first reading by 64-16 votes. Under the headline "KKL-JNF - Trustee for the Jewish People on its Land"
it noted that:

A survey commissioned by KKL-JNF reveals that over 70% of the Jewish population in Israel opposes allocating KKL-JNF land to non-Jews, while over 80% prefer the definition of Israel as a Jewish state, rather than as the state of all its citizens.

I'm glad Tony took that detour to discuss the slave trade. I always think that that was the worst crime against humanity, worse even than the holocaust, in that it set the divisions between white Europeans and black Africans that we still grapple with today. I also think that history may one day show that the imposition of the State of Israel on the heart of the Arab world together with support for the ethnic cleansing that brought Israel its Jewish majority and support for its relentless aggression against the natives and neighbours of Palestine was the biggest crime the west committed against the third world since the slave trade. And that too for the sheer divisiveness between the colonisers and the colonised and displaced.

I just took a look at the comments to the Cif piece and the GIYUS software again seems to have gone into overdrive with zionists infesting the proceedings. The claim at the foot of the article is that comments are now closed. After the last comment it says that comments will be closed after three days but they've already closed and the piece only appeared today. What's all that about?

Inventing the Jews

There are a couple of pervasive racial myths upon which zionism is founded. One is that of exile and the other is that of the common origin of the Jewish people, though given the treatment of Jews from Arab countries and Ethiopian Jews by the Ashkenazi establishment of Israel, the myth of common origin is purely for outside rather than internal or in-group consumption.

The Magnes Zionist covered the myth of exile in a post some time ago, July last year in fact. Drawing on an article by Yisrael Yuval he makes two claims:
The first point to make is that well before the revolt against Rome in 66-70 c.e., there were Jewish communities outside Palestine, most notably in Babylonia and in Egypt, but elsewhere as well. References to the dispersal of the Jewish people throughout the civilized world are found in the book of Esther, Josephus, and Philo. There is no indication that these communities were small, satellite communities.

Second, there is no contemporary evidence – i.e., 1st and 2nd centuries c.e. – that anything like an exile took place. The Romans put down two Jewish revolts in 66-70 c.e. and in 132-135 c.e. According to Josephus, the rebels were killed, and many of the Jews died of hunger. Some prisoners were sent to Rome, and others were sold in Libya. But nowhere does Josephus speak of Jews being taken into exile. As we shall see below, there is much evidence to the contrary. There was always Jewish emigration from the Land of Israel, as the quote above from Baron indicates.
Well it has been known for some time that there have been Jewish states in places other than Palestine, apparently Yemen was Jewish twice before becoming Muslim. Now Diana Neslen has posted an article titled Shattering a 'national mythology' by Ofri Ilani to the Just Peace UK list. The article outlines the recent work of Professor Shlomo Sand, according to whom, the main origins of the celebrated Spanish Jewish community were Berber peoples.
Of all the national heroes who have arisen from among the Jewish people over the generations, fate has not been kind to Dahia al-Kahina, a leader of the Berbers in the Aures Mountains. Although she was a proud Jewess, few Israelis have ever heard the name of this warrior-queen who, in the seventh century C.E., united a number of Berber tribes and pushed back the Muslim army that invaded North Africa. It is possible that the reason for this is that al-Kahina was the daughter of a Berber tribe that had converted to Judaism, apparently several generations before she was born, sometime around the 6th century C.E.

According to the Tel Aviv University historian, Prof. Shlomo Sand, author of "Matai ve'ech humtza ha'am hayehudi?" ("When and How the Jewish People Was Invented?"; Resling, in Hebrew), the queen's tribe and other local tribes that converted to Judaism are the main sources from which Spanish Jewry sprang. This claim that the Jews of North Africa originated in indigenous tribes that became Jewish - and not in communities exiled from Jerusalem - is just one element of the far- reaching argument set forth in Sand's new book.
Of course none of this says anything as to the legitimacy or not of the modern State of Israel but it is one more nail in the coffin of a ludicrous racial mythology surrounding the Jewish identity. But please read the whole article. It covers far more ground than I have here.

Nakba celebration? Just say no!

We'll be hearing more and more about Israel's "heroic struggle" for survival in the next two months because May will see the 60th anniversary of the zionists' ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Here's a statement from across the pond:
NO TIME TO CELEBRATE: Jews Remember the Nakba
Statement and Pledge of Action

This May, Israel will mark 60 years of statehood. In cities across the U.S. and Canada, major Jewish organizations will sponsor celebrations of "Israeli Independence Day." Meanwhile, Palestinians around the world will mourn 60 years since the Nakba - Arabic for "catastrophe" - of 1948. Sixty years ago, Zionist militias destroyed over 500 Palestinian villages and made more than 800,000 Palestinian people refugees in order to create a Jewish state in a land where the majority was not Jewish. This does not deserve to be celebrated.

Today the Palestinian Nakba continues. In order to maintain Israel's artificial Jewish majority, the Israeli government has continued campaigns of ongoing displacement, violence, and occupation. Inside of the 1948 borders of Israel, Palestinian citizens are denied equal rights to Jews under the law. Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem are denied access to land, water, healthcare, and other basic resources. Palestinians throughout historic Palestine experience international isolation, economic devastation aided by the erection of a 730-kilometer wall, and continued closures and invasions including the current horrific siege of Gaza. Today there are more than 6 million Palestinian refugees around the world, all of whom are denied their internationally recognized Right of Return to their homes and land. Meanwhile, we are invited to live on that same land simply because we are Jewish. We renounce this "right" to "return" given to us by Israeli law.

In addition to 60 years of occupation and dispossession, this anniversary marks decades of creative and powerful Palestinian resistance to Israel's violence. With this statement, we support this struggle, which is so often ignored or vilified in the U.S. media.

As Jews committed to justice, we imagine an "independence" that does not depend on an ethnically or religiously exclusive state or on the displacement of indigenous people. As North American Jews, we refuse to celebrate the ongoing colonization and dispossession of Palestinian lives and communities funded by U.S. foreign aid. There has never been Jewish consensus around Israel: not in 1897, not in 1948, and not today. We reject the notion that we have been chosen to displace others. We support Palestinian people's right to return, individually and collectively, to the homes they lost in 1948 and in the violent decades since then.

In response to these historical events and a call from Palestine to mark their significance, we refuse to celebrate "Israel 60." We will take action to make our shared position clear and visible. In cities across the U.S. and Canada this year, we pledge to participate in and to support:

- Refusal to participate in Israeli Independence Day activities;
- Peaceful disruption of these events;
- Nakba commemoration events and actions organized by Palestinians and the Palestine solidarity movement;
- Incorporation of Nakba remembrance into our Passover seders;
- The movement for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions of Israel;
- Other efforts to challenge the perceived Zionist consensus among American Jews through education of Jewish and broader communities about the Nakba, about the colonial nature of Zionism, and about the history of Jewish dissent and Palestinian resistance.

As North American Jews, we stand together with Palestinians in mourning 60 years of al-Nakba and in honoring 60 years of vibrant resistance.
You can sign up for this statement here.

March 19, 2008

If only it were true

What's all this in the Jerusalem Post? It's Khaled Abu Toameh saying that the PA is calling on Palestinians to celebrate Israel's 60th anniversary by returning to their homeland, currently known as Israel. I'm guessing it's a Purim thing but here's the article in full because I can't quite believe that it's appeared in the Jerusalem Post:

PA urges Palestinians to 'return'

The Palestinian Authority is planning to mark Israel's 60th anniversary by calling on all Palestinians living abroad to converge on Israel by land, sea and air.

The plan, drawn by Ziad Abu Ein, a senior Fatah operative and Deputy Minister for Prisoners' Affairs in the Palestinian Authority, states that the Palestinians have decided to implement United Nations Resolution 194 regarding the refugees.

Article 11 of the resolution, which was passed in December 1948, says that "refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible."

The initiative is the first of its kind and is clearly aimed at embarrassing Israel during the anniversary celebrations by highlighting the issue of the "right of return" for the refugees.

Entitled "The Initiative of Return and Coexistence," the plan suggests that the PA has abandoned a two-state solution in favor of one state where all Arabs and Jews would live together.

"The Palestinians, backed by all those who believe in peace, coexistence, human rights and the UN resolutions, shall recruit all their energies and efforts to return to their homeland and live with the Jews in peace and security," the plan says.

"Fulfilling the right of return is a human, moral and legal will that can't be denied by the Jews or the international community. On the [60th] anniversary of the great suffering, the Palestinian people are determined to end this injustice."

Abu Ein's initiative, which has won the backing of many PA leaders in Ramallah, calls on all Israelis to welcome the Palestinians "who will be returning to live together with them in the land of peace."

The plan calls on the refugees to return to Israel on May 14, 2008 with their suitcases and tents so that they could settle in their former villages and towns. The refugees are also requested to carry UN flags upon their return and to be equipped with their UNRWA-issued ID cards.

The Arab countries hosting Palestinian refugees are requested to facilitate the return of the refugees by opening their borders and allowing them to march toward Israel. The plan specifically refers to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, whose governments are asked to provide logistic support to allow the refugees to carry out their mission.

Palestinian refugees living in the US, EU, Canada and Latin America are requested to use their foreign passports to fly to Ben-Gurion Airport from May 14-16. The plan calls for the Palestinians to hire dozens of boats flying UN flags that will converge on Israeli ports simultaneously.

To ensure international backing, the plan calls to invite world leaders, the UN secretary-general, journalists and legal experts from around the world to declare their support for the Palestinians' "right of return." The Palestinians, in return, would promise to practice their right peacefully and to denounce terror and violence.

Arab governments are requested to provide both financial and political backing for the initiative. The plan stresses that the Palestinians can no longer expect to achieve the "right of return" at the negotiating table with Israel. "We must take matters into our own hands," it states. "Negotiations, slogans and UN resolutions are not going to bring us our rights."

Poignant stuff and just what the doctor ordered. But whether it's a Purim thing or not how did this article work its way into the Jerusalem Post?

March 18, 2008

Israel recruits for Hamas

Many people have commented on how the western approach to Israel and the Middle East in general tends to promote support for islamist groups, not detract from it. Here's a Ha'aretz article that suggests that that take is the correct one:
Israel Defense Forces attacks in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have boosted the popularity of the Islamist group's leader Ismail Haniyeh among Palestinians in that territory and in the West Bank, according to a poll released Monday.

The survey by the West Bank-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed that if new presidential elections were held, Haniyeh would receive 47 percent of the vote compared with 46 percent for President Mahmoud Abbas of the rival Fatah faction

The figures represented a sharp strengthening of Haniyeh's popularity. He served as prime minister in the Hamas-led government Abbas dismissed after Hamas seized the Gaza Strip from Fatah in June.

But the survey also found that Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, imprisoned in Israel and seen as a possible Abbas successor, would defeat Haniyeh by a clear margin. The poll gave him 57 percent of the vote, compared to Haniyeh's 38 percent.

The center's previous poll, in December, gave Gaza-based Haniyeh just 37 percent of a potential presidential vote compared with 56 percent for Abbas, whose peace efforts with Israel are opposed by Hamas. [I remember Harry's Place was quite thrilled that Israel's policy of starving the Palestinians seemed to be working. Perhaps now they'll learn the limits of repression. Even the Warsaw Ghetto fought back eventually]

The latest poll was conducted shortly after Israel ended an offensive in the Gaza Strip in early March that killed more than 120 Palestinians, almost half of them were identified as civilians.

Israel said the operation was aimed at stopping cross-border rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

According to the survey, Hamas's breaching of the Gaza Strip's Rafah border crossing with Egypt in January also contributed to Haniyeh's popularity among Palestinians.

"These developments managed to present Hamas as successful in breaking the siege and as a victim of Israeli attacks,"
In other words the facts speak for themselves but then Israel always likes to use Hamas as an excuse to carry on killing Palestinians so perhaps, in spite of the fact Israelis will continue to get killed, Israel actually got what it wanted and was simply lying when it said it wanted to stop the rocket attacks. It may well have wanted to encourage them as an excuse for avoiding a meaningful peace process.

Way beyond chutzpah!

Israeli courts are allowing Israelis to sue the Palestinian Authority over suicide bombings. This is from AP:
Israel has cleared the way for its citizens to sue the Palestinian Authority over suicide bomb attacks, ruling that the Palestinian government does not represent a state that could avoid such suits.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry made its ruling Sunday, allowing 55 suits for damages to proceed. Since 2000, 541 people have been killed in 131 suicide bombings.

Relatives of victims of one of the bloodiest attacks, when 21 teenagers were killed in a 2001 bombing outside a Tel Aviv night spot, have been demanding the right to sue for damages. Last year the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the Foreign Ministry to decide the matter.

The ministry released a statement Sunday approving the suits. Spokesman Arye Mekel said Israel does not recognize the Palestinian Authority as a state. Usually states are immune from prosecution in the courts of another country.

A top Palestinian official rejected the decision.

Riad Malki, the Palestinian Authority foreign minister and government spokesman, said Israeli courts have no legal jurisdiction over the Palestinian Authority. He warned that the decision could undermine the peace talks.

"We had expected (the Foreign Ministry) to provide a positive atmosphere for the continuation of the peace process and negotiations," Malki said. "We regret such inclinations. We condemn them."

Now who is it that undermined the PA's ability to police its areas? Who is it denies the PA the status of statehood? Who actually polices these areas? Who provokes the attacks? Who never negotiates in good faith?

A few years ago there was a perceptive article in Yediot Ahranot noting that whoever gave the orders for the killing of Palestinian leaders, knew there was a price to pay in Israeli or maybe Jewish blood. Surely, if anyone should be sued for the consequences of Israel persistent aggression adn bad faith it should be the State of Israel.

March 16, 2008

Self-hating haikus

To celebrate Israel's anniversary and 60 years of ethnic cleansing, the UK's Jewish Chronicle is running a haiku competition. Haiku's consist of three lines, 17 syllables and the format 5, 7, 5. I'm not sure if all lines have to rhyme but the ones I've thought up all tend to rhyme the last syllable or so of each line.

Many thanks to Deborah Fink for bringing the competition to the attention of the Just Peace list.

So here are my offerings which I won't be sending to the JC though I might send them to the JPUK list. I'll walk the dogs and think about it.

Am Yisra-el Chai!
Bless'd by spirit in the sky
Too bad, Arabs die!

Chosen people rule
We ethnic cleansers are cool
Democrats, we fool

A home for the Jews
lachrymose hist'ry, our ruse
Our friends we confuse

Jewish state, hurrah!
won by war and hasbara
But natives, we bar

Israel's day, great do!
JNF meets Lizzie Two
Hacks at JC coo

JC's Israel rap!
hasbara gets royal cap
let's write some more pap

Israel's 60 years
hasbara fills people's ears
ignore Arab tears

Israel's 60 years
routed little Arab dears
and we allow queers

Israel cannot fail
emotional blackmail and
WIZO jumble sale

Hashem not Allah
Neutralise King Abdullah
Shit! it's Hizbullah

"Democratic" isle
Amid dictatorships vile
Corpses in a pile

A home for the Jews
60 years it's in the news
stifling rival views

And here are some from a friend, who's a little deeper than me:

Six million lives
the price they paid for a home
who's counting our dead

They arrived in hordes
the wandering Jew, no more
showed Arabs the door

The Israeli state
Peaceful anti-zionists

So, any more for any more?

March 15, 2008

Silly season starts early for Australia's Jews

Perhaps it's global warming or maybe I'm being a northern hemisphere chauvinist expecting Australia's silly season to coincide with the UK's but this little spat in the Australian Jewish community replicates some of the silliness we have witnessed around Jews for Justice for Palestinians in the UK and their attempts to show solidarity with the Palestinians via newspaper adverts. So what am I talking about? Here's The Australian:
A PRO-PALESTINIAN advertisement protesting against parliament's motion in support of Israel has divided members of a Jewish group critical of Israeli national policy.

Antony Loewenstein, a founder of Independent Australian Jewish Voices, was a signatory to the advertisement, published in The Australian on Wednesday, which said the 60th anniversary was a "celebration of the triumph of racism and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians". Other members of the group, including publisher Louise Adler, declined to sign.

In a strongly worded editorial, the Australian Jewish News this week condemned Mr Loewenstein, describing him as the "enfant terrible of the Australian Jewish community". "He would be well advised to leave the business of creating an alternative Jewish voice to those who at least support the existence of Israel as a viable Jewish state," it says.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief Vic Alhadeff said the advertisement caused "extreme concern" in the Jewish community, because of its "dishonesty and inflammatory language".

The advertisement also caused a stir when it emerged that names had been added to the advertisement without permission.

Peter Slezak, a founder of Independent Voices who helped gather 70 names for the advertisement, said there were only two people who had raised the concern - academic Nic Witton, who was added because of a miscommunication, and Susie Gold, who was angry to be confused with the listed Suzie Gold.

Mr Loewenstein yesterday said the editorial was a "disgrace". He had not instigated the advertisement as claimed, but had helped to gather signatures because he felt it was important to show solidarity with Palestinians who had suffered as a result of the events of 1948. He said he supported Israel's right to exist but did not believe in the idea of a Jewish state that discriminated against non-Jews.

How stupid this all is. The zionists at this Australian Jewish News are happy enough with an alternative Jewish identity just as long as it supports a state based on colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and racist laws. That's tolerant of them.

And the "dishonesty and inflammatory language"? Oh yes, it was dishonest of these ozzie anti-occupationists to run the signature of someone with a zionist namesake and one other person who they thought had consented to their name being used but hadn't. Meanwhile, is it a fact that on the day the zionists are celebrating as Israel's independence day, there were at least 300,000 Palestinian refugees as part of an ethnic cleansing campaign that gave Israel its Jewish majority? Or put another way, are zionists having a "celebration of the triumph of racism and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians"? Er yes, they are. The zionists can quibble to their hearts content and be given space in the media to so but their state is thoroughly repugnant and no words are too inflammatory to describe it's history, its structure and its behaviour towards the natives and neighbours of Palestine.

Mother of all the battles?

Latuff again:
I think he may have got the idea from here.

March 13, 2008

Two states? dream on

Here's Jonathan Cook in on the one state/two states debate. He outlines the argument against the one state solution by Uri Avnery and Michael Neumann. Uri Avnery being the leader of the one of the only zionist groups sincerely opposed to the occupation and Michael Neumann is an anti-zionist and yet he still supports the two state solution. And the reason for their rejection of the one state solution is that Israel won't allow anything less than Jewish supremacy and America won't force Israel to accept anything less.
But an alternative two-state solution requiring Israel's withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders might still not concede, for example, a Palestinian army – equipped and trained by Iran? – to guard the borders of the West Bank and Gaza. Would that count? And how likely do the campaigners for two real states think it that Israel and the US would grant that kind of sovereignty to a Palestine state?
I'm going to leave it there because I think Mr Cook has demonstrated that the supporters of the two state solution mean one state and a bit. And guess whose bit the bit would be.

Israel makes ceasefire conditional on its right to kill

According to the Guardian, Hamas have offered a ceasefire but Israel will only accept it if Hamas accepts Israel's right to keep killing Palestinians:
Hamas called for a ceasefire with Israel yesterday, demanding a "reciprocal, comprehensive and simultaneous" cessation of the conflict in Gaza and the West Bank.

Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas's administrative arm in Gaza, said the group would end violence if Israel stopped its military activity throughout the Palestinian territory, lifted the sanctions on Gaza and reopened the besieged strip's borders......

But Hamas's stipulation that Israel end its extra-judicial killings of Palestinian combatants not only in Gaza but also in the West Bank could be a deal breaker.

"Everyone who is serious about security, the Americans, the Europeans, the US and PA security, know there are dozens of cells of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and renegade Fatah groups [in the West Bank]," Regev said.
Now this could have been expressed as Israel reserving the right to respond if fired on or even to defend itself but Israel has so debased the meaning of words like "retaliate", "respond" and "defend" they have been deprived of all meaning. So now they cut through that dross and simply say, you can cease firing if you want but we're going to carry on killing.

March 12, 2008

Oz's parliamentary condemnation of Israel's ethnic cleansing

Well they condemned it outside the Australian parliament anyway. Inside the parliament both sides of the house congratulated Israel on 60 years of ethnic cleansing but outside...
There was a small group of protesters outside Parliament House in Canberra and large advertisements placed in national newspapers condemning the motion.

The signatories to the advertisement, which included members of the Labor Party and heads of unions that helped finance its campaigning in the November election that saw Rudd triumph, condemned what they said was a "celebration of the triumph of racism and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians since the al-Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948."
It appears that Kevin Rudd likes to cherry pick among the ethnically cleansed natives he feels sorry for or says sorry to.

March 11, 2008

A pictorial graph by Latuff


Sign here

Fake holocaust memoirs

Here's an article in Friday's Jewish Chronicle that explores the phenomenon of fake holocaust memoirs.
In 1997 Misha Defonseca, a Belgian writer living in Massachusetts, published Misha: A Memoir of the Holocaust Years. The book details her wartime experiences as a six-year-old Jewish child searching for her missing parents on a 1,900-mile trek through Belgium, Germany and Poland, during which she kills a Nazi officer and is given shelter by packs of wolves.

The astonishing autobiographical tale was an instant hit — translated into 18 languages and made into a French film, earning the author millions.

Just one problem: Defonseca’s story was not true. The author, who was born Monique De Wael, has now confessed that — although her parents, members of Belgium’s resistance, were killed by the Nazis — her family was not Jewish and most of the events in the supposedly factual book were made up.
The article gives two more examples of fraudulent holocaust memoirs but the interesting thing is when it asks why people would do such a thing.
So what is it about the Holocaust that attract so many of these kinds of fantasists? According to psychiatrist Raj Persaud, Defonesca was looking for a sense of belonging. Writing a piece of Holocaust-based “mis lit” — or misery lit — would have guaranteed her a place in the Jewish community.

Persaud believes that writing a far-fetched tome about traumatic events is an instant way to elicit sympathy.

He says: “The advantage of using things like the Holocaust or cancer, for example, is that they are big taboo areas. People don’t question your story. No one is going to start questioning what you really went through. To be grilled puts the other person in a very uncomfortable position. By picking on a big taboo area like the Holocaust, you’re more likely to get away with it.”

Besides, he points out, getting the sympathy vote is a good way to avoid obligations. “It’s an excuse-breeding system that helps you escape responsibilities. You can get away with stuff when life requires the rest of us to hit deadlines. This gives you a universal sick note. If you have been traumatised, by and large, people are very forgiving.”

Persaud, who is psychiatric consultant at The Bethlem Royal and Maudsley hospitals in South London, also suspects that De Wael could have been motivated by money. “Disney had an option on the film. It could have been financially very rewarding. And there is the possibility of getting legal recompense,” he says.
Garnering sympathy? getting away with things that others can't get away? and even getting money out of the holocaust? Who would stoop so low? Why am I even blogging an article like this? This blog is supposed to be about zionism and the State of Israel, not a bunch of holocaust hucksters.

Why Israel exists

Zionist apologists like using the holocaust to justify Israel's existence. The Eurocentric view of why nation-states do or should exist is something to do with a group of people with a common language, culture, territorial contiguity since time immemorial, etc. Israel's language is a modern concoction only spoken by a minority of Jews, it's culture (what culture?) too is a contrived affair and of course Israeli Jews are mostly recent arrivals to what used to be known as Palestine. And anyway Israel isn't a state for people who live there. Israel doesn't even recognise and Israeli or even an Israeli Jewish nation. It is a state, it claims, for the world's Jews, most of whom neither live there nor desire to live there. And that whilst non-Jewish people who do come from there are barred from there and non-Jewish people who are still there are victims of disadvantage stitched into Israel's laws and policies.

So what is Israel for exactly? Here's Ha'aretz with a clue:
The destruction of Iran's nuclear capabilities would be in the interest of the Arab nations in the Gulf, and it would be less embarrassing if it was done by Israel rather than the U.S., a top Kuwaiti strategist said in remarks published Sunday.

Officially Kuwait, like the other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, wants a peaceful solution to the nuclear standoff between Tehran and the West and will not allow the U.S. to use its territories for any attack on Iran.

But when asked in an interview with the daily Al-Siyassah about the consequences of an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear reactors, analyst and former government adviser Sami al-Faraj said it would not be such a bad thing.

"Honestly speaking, they would be achieving something of great strategic value for the GCC by stopping Iran's tendency for hegemony over the area," he said, adding that "nipping it in the bud by Israeli hands would be less embarrassing for us than if the Americans did it."
So to the upholding of American and European interests we can add protecting reactionary Arab regimes in the Gulf. And noting the fact that Iran is now believed not to be pursuing a nuclear weapons programme, any attack on a nuclear plant or any industrial plant in Iran would be aimed at hindering its economic development, not any military threat to other states.

March 10, 2008

German journos don't mention the war

The Israeli ambassador to Germany is pretty pleased with the German media these days, according to this Ha'aretz report:
No one mentioned the Gaza Strip. The eight senior reporters of Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Broadcasting) sat Tuesday facing Israel's ambassador to Germany, Yoram Ben-Ze'ev. They asked him about the special relationship between the two countries, the conflict with Hezbollah and Iran's nuclear program.

But the latest escalation in the Gaza Strip, in which three Israelis and more than 100 Palestinians were killed, whose shocking photographs were broadcast the world over and forced the Foreign Ministry to initiate a public relations offensive, was not mentioned in the television station's conference room near Munich.

On this issue, Germany is unusual compared with the media throughout Europe, and Ben-Ze'ev understands this........

The ambassador, who took up his post four months ago, says he does not use the term "public relations" and talks of "cooperation."
The German media cooperates with Israel. And I thought the UK media was bad.

March 09, 2008

Talk to Hamas like in the good old days

Sam Kiley, who left Murdoch's The Times newspaper in disgust at the antics of the Israel lobby and Murdoch's minions pandering to it, has an article in today's Observer (online anyway) in which he suggests that Israel should do what 64% of Israelis want it to do and talk to Hamas.
Ahmed Yusef, senior adviser to the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, (who is in hiding from Israeli attack) said Hamas wanted negotiations with Israel. Although it is committed to the destruction of the 'Zionist entity', he said 'we could put that to one side for five or 10 years and see how peace worked out'.
This is hardly an olive branch. Hamas has been labelled a terrorist organisation by the US, the UK, and most of Israel's backers. Yusef said: 'So what? Negotiations are between enemies, not friends.'
But Hamas's desire for negotiations does offer Israel a way out of Hamas's doomsday trap, and, according to a recent poll in Israel's leading daily newspaper Ha'aretz, 64 per cent of Israelis agree. They said what was until recently unthinkable - that Israel should talk to Hamas.
The interesting thing about both his suggestion and the fact that he walked out on Murdoch on principle is that pro-zionism oozes from almost every word. He's very fond of the bogus "drive the Jews into the sea" thesis and he had that tricky zionist habit of transposing cause and effect. Also, talking to Hamas isn't quite as unthinkable for the racist war criminals of the State of Israel as Kiley makes out.
Here's Jonathan Cooke:
Israel experimented with various methods of undermining the secular Palestinian nationalism of the PLO, which threatened to galvanize a general resistance to the occupation. In particular Israel established local anti-PLO militias known as the Village Leagues and later backed the Islamic fundamentalism of the Muslim Brotherhood, which would morph into Hamas.
Not so unthinkable then. Doable actually. So go on Israel, talk to Hamas, it might save lives.

Deny! Deny! Deny!

Why not? Israel always does. But, as Mike Marqusee says:
The facts of the Nakba (catastrophe) are now well documented and beyond dispute. Yet Nakba denial remains widespread, and is as vile as denial of any other historic crime.
His article titled The great catastrophe is in The Hindu magazine.

March 08, 2008

Number crunching at the "anti-Israel" Guardian

From the Guardian

Number attending funerals for 8 yeshiva students
= thousands

Number attending funerals for over 120 Palestinians = they didn't say.

There are more than ten articles in the Guardian over the last two days on the killing of these eight Jewish seminarians. A couple of Guardian hacks even had the chutzpah to say that the killings might actually imperil the peace process.

Still it's not all doom and gloom in Israel. In Tel Aviv the fashion show goes on and Linda Grant (for it is she) even manages to slip a thinly veiled reference to the holocaust, lest we forget, into an article about how an Israeli is trying to revive the name of a sixties fashion designer Ossie Clarke.

And Ehud Barak seems to have got away with calmly announcing the ethnic cleansing of thousands of Palestinians from the north of Gaza since I can't see any mention of it in the anti-Israel Guardian. Of course they have to keep that out of the media for now because when it happens they can say that Israel somehow snapped and lost its innocence over the this "carefully planned atrocity [that] strikes at Israel's spiritual heart".

March 07, 2008

Israel openly plans the ethnic cleansing of Gaza

Israel has not sunk to a new low. It always existed on the basis of ethnic cleansing. It's the western backers of Israel that have sunk to a new low when they can say or do nothing when Israel openly speaks of its plans to ethnically cleanse the north of Gaza. Anyway, here's the Jerusalem Post:
Defense Minister Ehud Barak is seeking legal approval to evacuate thousands of residents of Gaza City to locations in the south of the Strip to enable the IDF to attack terror infrastructure without hurting civilians, Channel 2 reported Wednesday evening.

The report came after the Security Cabinet decided Wednesday morning to act in an "ongoing and consistent" manner to end rocket attacks and other terrorist activity from the Gaza Strip. The cabinet held a special meeting to debate the response to ongoing rocket attacks on Ashkelon and the western Negev.
Aren't the Israelis wonderful? They want to remove thousands of people so as to avoid them getting hurt. But it was the ethnic cleansing of the same people from what we now call Israel to what we now call the Gaza strip that hurt them in the first place.

Likudnik hatemonger barred from the UK

This is a turn up for the books. According to the Jewish Chronicle, The Home Office has written to Netanyahu's deputy, Likud's Moshe Feiglin, to tell him that he can't come to the UK because:
It is considered that you are seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.

“In light of these factors, the Home Secretary is satisfied you should be excluded from the UK on the grounds that your exclusion is conducive to the public good.
In other words his racism is too overt for even a government whose Prime Minister is an honorary patron of the Jewish National Fund. The bad news is that this will be used to suggest that Feiglin's racism is somehow worse than that of the Israeli government, the Israeli state or zionism itself. And of course they'll say that they're being balanced when they ban this or that Palestinian, Arab or Muslim.

Gideon Levy explained the ploy in Ha'aretz back in August last year:
Benjamin Netanyahu has once again demonstrated he is a political virtuoso. One may even start to suspect that he invented Moshe Feiglin. Talk is one thing - "we'll uproot Feiglin" - but the result is something else: The Feiglins helped reinvent the Likud Party leader. Now Netanyahu is portrayed exactly as he wished: as a moderate leader, responsible, enlightened and level-headed, as opposed to all those Feiglins. They are "loony," and he is a statesman; they are extreme, a foreign growth, and he is the next prime minister, who will bestow peace and security on Israel. Netanyahu should be grateful to the man who enabled him to deceive the media and the public.
So let's just see how the Brits treat Netanyahu if he ever returns to power.

Shooting the witness

Shooting the Witness is an exhibition featuring the work of the late Palestinian cartoonist, Naji al-Ali, to commemorate 60 years to the Palestinian Nakba and the 20th anniversary of al-Ali’s assassination in London.

Naji al-Ali was one of the most prominent cartoonists in the Arab world. Sarcastic, poignant and perhaps too bold, al-Ali's cartoons were drawn from his experience as a Palestinian refugee from childhood and clearly reflected his political stance. Naji al-Ali had no political affiliations and the absence of slogans and dogma in his work brought both success and criticism. His bold and illustrative cartoons, widely published over the past 20-30 years, reveal the tragic state of the Middle East. The artist combined art and political satire like none other; his work sadly still rings true today.

His cartoons portrayed the bitter struggle and plight of the Palestinian people against Israeli oppression. He also campaigned against the absence of democracy and the gross inequality in the Arab world, and the widespread corruption of Arab leaders and their alliances with colonial superpowers against the interests of their people. Naji al-Ali draws a sincere critique of all sides in the conflict, and the world's complicity in the prolonged occupation of the Palestinians, in simple, mesmerizing lines. He was said to have antagonized virtually everyone in the Middle East.

During his lifetime, Naji was said to have drawn around 15,000 drawings, on average two cartoons a day. He worked for various prominent publications in the Arab world, including the Al-Safir, Al-Qabas and Al-Khalij; his work was published daily in Cairo, Beirut, Kuwait, Tunis, Abu Dhabi, London and Paris.

For the first time in London, 50 of Naji al-Ali’s original illustrations will be exhibited in Political Cartoon Gallery, located in central London, the world’s only centre dedicated to political cartoons and caricature.

The Exhibition:

Shooting the Witness exhibition will showcase 50 original art works of the late Naji al-Ali over a period of period of 6 weeks, starting from 7th March 2008. The works are thematically arranged to cover Middle Eastern political topics such as oil in the Arab world, women, political prisoners, Arab leaders and Palestinian refugees.

Venue: The Political Cartoon Gallery
The Political Cartoon Gallery is the world’s only centre dedicated to Political Cartoons and Caricature. Only at the Political Cartoon Gallery can you purchase the finest original cartoons by leading political cartoonists from both the past and the present.

Opening hours:
Monday, Wednesday & Friday: 9:30am – 5:30pm
Tuesday & Thursday: 9:30am – 7:30pm
Saturday: 11:30am – 5:30pm

32 Store Street,
London WC1E 7BS

The gallery is located in London’s West End, close to Goodge Street Station, Tottenham Court Road and only 10 minutes walk from Oxford Circus.

Tel: 0207 580 1114

Shooting the Witness
is organized in association with
Political Cartoon Society, Cartoon County and the family of Naji Al-Ali

March 06, 2008

Israeli MP threatens ethnic cleansing of Israeli Arabs

The only democracy in the Middle East is a curious thing. A couple of days ago an Israeli Jewish MP told Arab MPs that the Arabs are to be purged from Israel itself. One of the Arabs responded by calling the would be ethnic cleanser a racist. Guess who was expelled from the parliament of the only democracy in the Middle East. This is from Ha'aretz:
Tempers flared Wednesday during Knesset plenary session when National Union MK Effie Eitam told Arab MKs that "one day we will expel you from this house, and from the national home of the Jewish people."

Eitam expressed his anger at Tuesday's rally in Umm al-Fahm, where demonstrators chanted slogans calling Israel "a Zionazi state" and urging "Gaza martyrs" to carry on with their struggle.

"No sane democracy can put up with acts of treason during wartime," Eitam said. "We have to drive you out, as well as everyone else who took part in yesterday's unruly, reckless and treacherous anti-Israel diatribe."

Balad Chairman MK Jamal Zahalka heckled him in turn: "You're a madman, a miserable character, a racist," and was ejected from the debate.

Ra'am-Ta'al MK Taleb El-Sana said Eitam should be imprisoned and court-martialed for his conduct as a senior IDF officer during the first Intifada.

"He advocates the expulsion of Israeli citizens," El-Sana said. "Eitam belong in history's garbage can."

Eitam said in response that he did not call to expel the Israeli Arab community entirely, only Arab MKs and those who participated in Tuesday's rally.
A likely story, but even he only meant demonstrators and elected Arabs, how democratic is that?

March 05, 2008

A self-hater speaks

I've just tracked back a hit from the Red Star Coven blog and I'm quite chuffed to have my blog mentioned there. But enough about me. The guy does some serious surfing and also manages to take in a bit of Comment is free. I don't do much of either, but I said enough about me. He has a good quote from Mike Marqusee from yesterday's Comment is free:
Anti-Zionist Jews are not and do not claim to be any more authentic or representative than any other Jews, nor is their protest against Israel any more valid than a non-Jew's. But "If I am not for myself", then the Zionists will claim to be for me, will usurp my voice and my Jewishness. Since each Israeli atrocity is justified by the exigencies of Jewish survival, each calls forth a particular witness from anti-Zionist Jews, whose very existence contradicts the Zionist claim to speak for all Jews everywhere.
Well put! as that funny little man in Fiddler on the Roof said.

Gaza: when Iran-contra met the Bay of Pigs

I've been sent this link to Vanity Fair, yes, Vanity Fair. The person who sent it to me could barely conceal his contempt for the colonial mentality shot through the entire article in spite of it being a thorough-going exposé of Bush role in the demise of Fatah in Gaza and the rise of Hamas in Gaza.

Here's the intro:
After failing to anticipate Hamas’s victory over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election, the White House cooked up yet another scandalously covert and self-defeating Middle East debacle: part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs. With confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials, David Rose reveals how President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever.
The biggest eye-opener for me in the article was the report of a split among the notorious neo-cons or perhaps between the neo-cons and the Bush administration:
Within the Bush administration, the Palestinian policy set off a furious debate. One of its critics is David Wurmser, the avowed neoconservative, who resigned as Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief Middle East adviser in July 2007, a month after the Gaza coup.

Wurmser accuses the Bush administration of “engaging in a dirty war in an effort to provide a corrupt dictatorship [led by Abbas] with victory.” He believes that Hamas had no intention of taking Gaza until Fatah forced its hand. “It looks to me that what happened wasn’t so much a coup by Hamas but an attempted coup by Fatah that was pre-empted before it could happen,” Wurmser says.

The botched plan has rendered the dream of Middle East peace more remote than ever, but what really galls neocons such as Wurmser is the hypocrisy it exposed. “There is a stunning disconnect between the president’s call for Middle East democracy and this policy,” he says. “It directly contradicts it.”
This comes dangerously close to suggesting that some, or at least one of the, neo-cons was actually serious with that democracy malarkey.

The Vanity Fair article has been picked up by Electronic Intifada, which provides some insights of its own.

March 04, 2008

Holocaust revisionism at the BBC?

Back to Israel's "shoah" controversy because Eine Kleine Nichtmusik has a very useful post on how the BBC bent over backwards to cover for Israel over the issue:
Israel's Deputy Defence Minister threatened Gaza with a Shoah (the word generally used in Hebrew exclusively to refer to the Nazi genocide of the Jews). Or more exactly with a "bigger Shoah", implying perhaps that the inhabitants of Gaza are already suffering genocide. (Whoops.) In any case, his meaning was perfectly clear: we don't like the government you elected (in free, fair and wholly democratic elections) so we will slaughter you all. Look, we've started.

Now of course he may have said more than he meant, but when one compares the slim coverage given to his remark when compared with that given to, for example, Iran's President Ahmadinejad's call for Israel to be "wiped off the map", it's almost as though there was some kind of systematic pro-Israeli bias in the Western media. But that can't be true, because we're always being told how anti-Semitic they all are.

Now of course if there was really a systematic bias towards Israel at, say the BBC, they might have bowed to pressure to modify their reporting of the story. Their site might have changed its story to airbrush the word "holocaust" from the headline and bury it deep within the small print. But the BBC would never do that, would they?

Actually, it's even better than that: the BBC made nine revisions to the story during the day. The first corrected a typo; thereafter they progressively made more and more references to Hamas attacks on Israel, before "holocaust" was diluted to "risking disaster" and finally "invasion". Presumably the Israeli embassy just kept on ringing back until they took down the dictation correctly.
I can't think of any other explanation, can you?

March 03, 2008

Engage on zionist collaboration with antisemitism

In the previous post, indeed in a few previous posts, I mentioned how the truth seems to be at best an irrelevance at Harry's Place and at worst an inconvenience. The latest instance that I noticed was their promoting of a talk by a serial liar called Michael Ezra. Well, Engage is promoting the same talk. Is the truth irrelevant at Engage too? Never mind. They certainly seem to have an issue with logic there. See this from a post by a Mira Vogel:
In the history of the Marxist anti-Zionism, there has been has been a continual attempt to associate Zionism with antisemitism. The argument is an old one. The perverted logic is along the following lines, if someone were to say that all Jews should go and live in Palestine, there are only two possibilities, that person is either an antisemite or a Zionist. This therefore leads to the conclusion that Zionism is the mirror image of antisemitism. This logic has as much weight as the old argument 1. All cats are mortal 2. Socrates is mortal 3. Socrates is a cat. Not only do some Marxists try and associate Zionism with antisemitism via this this method but it is extended to suggest that Zionists collaborate with antisemites. One of the main arguments for this is the allegation that Rudolf Kasztner, a Zionist leader in Hungary during the Holocaust, collaborated with the Nazis.
Now I could argue about whether or not the Kasztner case is one of the "main arguments" for saying that zionism and antisemitism are bedfellows. I could say that it was actually Herzl who said that antisemites have the strongest reasons to support his fledgling zionist movement. I could point to the collaboration between himself and Von Plehve. Or how about Jabotinsky and Simon Petliura? Or the transfer agreement. I also read something somewhere about Ben Gurion's dealings with antisemitic French generals during France's suppression of resistance in Algeria, but I can't find it right now so can't point to that. But then there's Israel supplying arms to and covering up for the antisemitism of the Galtieri regime in Argentina. I could bring that up.

But no, I want to focus on Ms Vogel's bizarre logic here. Let's have a smaller chunk of the chunk above:
The perverted logic is along the following lines, if someone were to say that all Jews should go and live in Palestine, there are only two possibilities, that person is either an antisemite or a Zionist. This therefore leads to the conclusion that Zionism is the mirror image of antisemitism. This logic has as much weight as the old argument 1. All cats are mortal 2. Socrates is mortal 3. Socrates is a cat.
This is downright stupid. If a gentile politician stands up in a parliament and says "I want all Jews to go to Palestine" that politician is antisemitic. If a Jewish politician stands up in the same parliament and says "I want all Jews to go to Palestine" that is zionist. There is a clear common interest between the two and as we have seen through many episodes there is plenty of scope for collaboration. And that's without getting into the grotesqueries of the "negation of the diaspora".

By all means isolate the theory of zionist collaboration with antisemitism in order to ridicule the idea. Then take just one example out of many and play up the elements that are in dispute. But that would mean ignoring many other examples of collaboration with antisemitism and as a self-styled resource against antisemitism, I can't imagine why Engage would want to do that.

Harry's hatesite

I'm a bit late to be writing about this post on the Harry's Place site but it's so disgusting I couldn't ignore it once my attention was drawn to it. They have a few bloggers there so there have been a few posts since I saw it.

It's written by a chap called Gene and is titled, Child abuse in Gaza. It's about Israel's disgraceful and ludicrous attempts to deny that it's army killed the Palestinian child, Mohammed al Dura. The post is about a ballistics expert clearing Israel of any responsibility for the child's death. We'll leave aside the hornets' nest this opens in terms of what it all says about the film footage of the killing, and the extraordinary lengths Israel has gone to to destroy the evidence including the cement structure beside which the boy was killed. We will however take a little detour to mention the case of Sam Kiley, formerly a journo with the Times, who
pulled off a little scoop by tracking, interviewing and photographing the unit in the Israeli army which killed Mohammed al-Durrah, the 12-year-old boy whose death was captured on film and became the iconic image of the conflict, I was asked to file the piece without mentioning the dead kid.
Now why on earth would the Israel lobby want the news buried if Israel was innocent? It's not overly cynical to suggest that it's because Israel wasn't innocent. Incidentally, Sam Kiley left the Times over its pandering to the non-existent Israel lobby.

So back to HP. Not content with the sheer ghoulishness of the exercise of "proving" that Israel didn't kill a child that it definitely did kill, particularly when we consider the many children Israel has killed without any doubt or even a quibble from those who give the orders or carry them out, Gene hopes that the al Dura story will distract attention from the fact that Israel is creating many a Mohammed al Dura right now, even as we speak. See this:
I hope this news isn't completely overshadowed by the fighting in Gaza

Yes, wouldn't it be terrible if we allowed ourselves to be distracted from one person saying that Israel couldn't have killed one Palestinian child because we allowed ourselves to be mesmerised by Israel killing many more civilians including many more children, right at the time Gene was drafting his post?

Can Harry's Place stoop any lower? Don't ask. They're now promoting a talk by Michael Ezra, who regulars here will know as a serial liar, Mikey, who had David Aaronovitch apologising to Tony Greenstein for a rather unpleasant libel not too long ago. I've said before that Harry's Place is a site where truth is irrelevant but their racism is so transparent now you'd expect even Engage to distance themselves from it. But no, Engage too is promoting Mikey but that's for another post.

March 02, 2008

In Gaza the shoah goes on

Ha'aretz reports some recent scores:
At least 29 Gaza civilians, including 5 children, among dead

2 IDF soldiers, 61 Palestinians die in Gaza clashes

And here's a perceptive cartoon by Latuff:

Needless to say Latuff has been accused of holocaust denial. This cartoon is called "Shoah 2". If what is happening in Gaza is Shoah 2 then clearly Latuff is acknowledging Shoah 1. And an Israeli minister has confirmed Shoah 2.

March 01, 2008

Don't panic, Israel to use nukes not gas chambers!

Seasoned zionist watchers will know that hasbara (propaganda) has been elevated to a full blown tenet of the zionist ideology of Israel's supporters. I'm sure all, certainly most, nations have their founding myths, but Israel's are an artform, a science even, whereas other nations tend to settle for folk-lore. But this "shoah" remark by Israel's deputy defence minister, Matan Vilnai, has so sent the hasbara machine into overdrive that it seems to have crashed.

Engage very smartly swept in to demand the resignation of Vilnai for undermining the smear that comparing Israel to the nazis is antisemitic. But there had to be some zionists who would do what zionists do best, denial and projection. Here's Melanie Phillips in the Spectator complaining that to render "shoah" as "holocaust" represents the "Mother of all mistranslations
Reuters translated the Hebrew word ‘shoah’ as ‘holocaust’. But ‘shoah’ merely means disaster. In Hebrew, the word ‘shoah’ is never used to mean ‘holocaust’ or ‘genocide’ because of the acute historical resonance. The word ‘Hashoah’ alone means ‘the Holocaust’ and ‘retzach am’ means ‘genocide’. The well-known Hebrew construction used by Vilnai used merely means ‘bringing disaster on themselves’.
But of course, "ha" is simply "the". "Ha-shoah" no matter how it is rendered in Hebrew, is "the holocaust" whereas "shoah" is simply "holocaust". Needless to say, Melanie Phillips didn't give any examples of this more casual, less definite, use of "shoah".

Just as well really, for that we have to turn to the comments of the panic post on Engage or the comments to the rather more skimpy post on the more openly zionist, Simply Jews where a commenter called Noga of the Contentious Centrist blog explains the many many ways in which the word "shoah" is used in Israel:
Shoah means disaster. And it usually comes with its own special verb: "Le-hamit shoah", to bring upon someone or something a disaster. Hebrew speakers use it to describe a nuclear disaster (shoah garinit), among other usages. The Holocaust, when brought up to by Hebrew speakers is always, always, always referred to as "Ha-Shoah", THE Shoah, to differentiate from any other shoah.
Thank goodness Noga has cleared that one up. Israel intends to nuke Gaza, not gas its population. Phew!