February 28, 2009

Birmingham City Council scrubs Gaza mural

Look at this:

Birmingham City Council has scrubbed it according to this Daily Mail article:
His award-winning graffiti was praised by South Bank Show judges for 'creating messages of peace, unity and hope'.

But it seems police saw Birmingham-born artist Mohammed Ali's work rather differently, after they removed one of his murals, apparently for fear it would trigger racial violence.

Last night, Mr Ali accused officers of 'wanton censorship' after they removed the mural, which protested against Israeli attacks in Gaza.

Police allegedly told the elderly Muslim woman who owned the property where the 'Free Gaza' mural was displayed that it could even trigger a petrol bomb attack on her home, leaving her 'scared stiff', according to her family.

Mr Ali, 30, won the Arts Council's diversity award at the ITV South Bank Show awards last month, and his work has been compared to the paramilitary murals in Northern Ireland, which have become tourist attractions, drawing in coachloads of visitors.
"His work has been compared to the paramilitary murals in Northern Ireland". Ah, now I see.

The fact that this has made it to the Daily Mail is news in itself. The Daily Mail is a conservative, I mean Conservative, newspaper in the UK and usually pro-Israel. Mr Ali has done very well.

Comments are back

The chaps at JS-Kit/Haloscan have restored the comments facility:
Update 2: Full Services Restored

Full services have been restored. The outage lasted about 13 hours.

Here’s a breakdown of what happened.

  • Due to a number of reasons (Founder leaving with some broken promises, legacy software etc) Haloscan still runs on old hardware that has been patched and maintained as best as possible by our team
  • Out of respect for Haloscan users who love the simple system, we aborted plans to migrate Haloscan users to JS-Kit until JS-Kit was able to mimick Haloscan 100%. The result has been a longer than expected migration process - so the upgrade to the faster, more feature rich JS-Kit system is long overdue.
  • We have 4 database servers for Haloscan
  • Master server had a hard drive failure
  • Normally this should have only stopped new comments from being written to the system, but the legacy code could not cope and resulted in a full failure (Both read AND write);
  • Read access (I.e. comments appearing on blogs, but no ability to add new comments) was fixed by our engineer Oleg within ~1 hour.
  • We’ve been working in parallel on multiple tracks on a Plan A (Rebuilding the Server) and Plan B (Setting up EC2 replica) to get things up and running as fast as possible.
  • In the process we also promoted one of the remaining replicas to master (and setup remaining to slave)
  • From this moment forward Haloscan was back up and running
  • In general two replicas are enough for service to run as expected
  • We’ve got old the master server rebuilt with new drives and will add it as another replica within a day or two

In order to avoid this occuring again, we are going to redouble our efforts to migrate users to the JS-Kit service. We hope that we can minimise changes to our beloved Haloscan, but change is inevitable and, at this point, a welcome relief from the older system for both users and our system admins!

Thank you all for your patience. I have been communicating with you all day via Twitter, Blogger and Email and I’d like to thank you for being gentle with me (for the most part hah).

Founder leaving with broken promises? Hmm?

February 27, 2009

Haloscan outage

We now have an update on Haloscan's own blog, now authored by the new owners of Haloscan, JS-Kit. There message is pretty much the same as mine in the previous post:
Haloscan outage Posted: February 27th, 2009 | Author: Chris Saad | Filed under: Service Changes | Tags: , |

Haloscan is currently experiencing some server difficulties. I want to assure you that we are aware of the problem and are hard working to fix it.

Users may experience problems loading, submitting or moderating comments with Haloscan during this period.

Please rest assured your comments are still safe and secure on our system.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

More information to come.

Update 1: Users can now view comments, but can not add or edit comments. This will take up to 24 hours to restore.

Apologies to those who are still awaiting moderation.

Ok, well, not exactly no comment

Hmm, it appears you can see comments that were approved up to a certain time today but no new comments are being accepted for the time being. It looks like there is a problem with haloscan that they are solving bit by bit.

No comment!

Sorry all, but the Haloscan comments facility is down. We've been getting literally thousands of hits today from Rense and What Really Happened? so, who knows? maybe it's a conspiracy! Anyway, I'm sure they'll be restored in due course but in the meantime, I don't want to resort to blogger's own comment facility so if you really want to comment while your idea is still fresh please click in the email link below and email the author of the post you want to comment on. If you would like the comment posted when service is restored, that can be arranged, no promises mind.


British city twins with Gaza City

I heard this on the Channel 4 tv news a few hours but I have been looking for something to link to on it. I googled "Gaza City" and all the articles were on the proposal, even the articles which post-dated the tv report. Finally I found one on the BBC:
Worcester backs Gaza twinning bid
A UK city council says it wants to twin with Gaza as a "humanitarian gesture"
Here's what City Councillor, Alan Amos, had to say:
"We are linking with the people, reaching out to these women and children and men who have been through so much."
I had to cut through a lot of article to get to that quote. The rest seems to be hostile questioning about the Council's support for terrorism. Go see.

February 26, 2009

Waltzing with Adolf

One of the pleasures of writing against Zionism is that I get sent some smelly stuff from people who assume you must share their bigotry if you oppose Israel.

So this time I got a publication called World View News Service edited by someone called Umm Yakoub (who might be as far as I know the nom de plumme of an Aryan *** or even a Hasbara agent.)

Said Umm Yakoub sent to her readership an article from the lovable "The New Sturmer," a work of another mystery man who claims to be a "patriotic Norse" who defends "the right of people to learn the real truth about their racial kindred" and sells copies of "Mein Kampf".

The article is about about the firebombing of Dresden. The firebombing of Dresden was a terrible crime, but that doesn't prevent the author for packing his article with enough brown stuff to fill a manhole. The most interesting tidbit is the opinion of our author on resistance.
While the governments and the successors of these war-time governments are still combing the geriatric wards of the Allied countries for German soldiers and their comrades-in- arms who might or might not have shot some Jewish Marxist saboteur fleeing a concentration camp, or returning fire against those who attacked them from behind bushes, rocks and bridge embankments wearing civilian clothes, think about the crime of Dresden.
So, Umm Yakoub thinks that the Arab right of resistance can best be defended by recycling bigoted articles urging sympathy to occupation soldiers shooting resisting partisans or political activists who fled a concentration camp. See, the Hizbullah deputy Ali Ammar who dared to compare his party's resistance to the (mostly communist) resistance to the Nazis in France got it all wrong. It's the poor occupation soldiers who are the real victims!

Go figure.

February 25, 2009

Support Solidarity with Palestinians in Canada

In Canada the struggle intensifies. On the one hand great resolutions supporting Palestinians rights have passed. On the other hand, Zionist forces are intensifying their pressure to silence Palestinian solidarity work, including threats to students, denial of academic facilities and more.


Find below:
* Text of the two historic resolutions;
* Concrete ways to show your support.

Toronto, February 23, 2009 - The Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) congratulates CUPE-Ontario’s University Workers Coordinating Committee (OUWCC) conference in Windsor for passing a historic resolution in support of the Palestinian civil society call for an academic institutional boycott of Israel. The resolution calls for education and research into institutional
links between Israeli and Canadian Universities that serve to perpetuate apartheid.

An additional emergency resolution was adopted by the OUWCC to protest the violation of free speech and forms of bureaucratic repression that are increasingly targeting Palestine-solidarity organizations and student advocates at several University campuses in Ontario.

Both motions are enormously important as they offer concrete support for academic freedom in Palestine and in Canada. As expected, supporters of Israeli apartheid and militarism are incensed by these resolutions.

Despite the mounting campaign of intimidation launched by pro-apartheid organizations and individuals against CUPE Ontario as a response to these resolutions - including death threats against CUPE Ontario members and their families - the union has stood firm in its commitment to freedom of expression and international solidarity.

Now it is time to show your support for CUPE! Here’s how:

(1) Please send letters of support to CUPE ON president Sid Ryan and the OUWCC committee Chair, Janice Folk-Dawson to cupeont@web.net or fax to 416 299 3480 thanking them for their strong stand in support of Palestinian Human rights (see form letter below for a template you can use to write these letters, though we always like to see people use their creativity and write their own!).

(2) Write to your local paper in support of CUPE-Ontario’s position. You can use Google News to track the story:

Also be sure to post online comments in support of CUPE-Ontario wherever the opportunity arises.

(3) Familiarize yourself with the resolutions pasted below and with CUPE-Ontario’s positions. Forward this message and the following link to co-workers, colleagues, friends, allies, partners, relatives, family, and community members: http://www.cupe.on.ca/doc.php?subject_id=152&lang=en and urge them to write in support of CUPE-Ontario.

(4) Write to the administrations of Carleton University (see bottom for contact information ), York University and the University of Toronto to register your disagreement with their systematic silencing of pro-Palestinian, pro-human-rights and anti-apartheid voices in Ontario. For specific information on the Free Speech Campaign, visit CAIA.


Dear Sid and Janice:

I am writing to express my gratitude to the both of you for the incredibly important position you’ve taken in support of human rights in the Middle East. I am especially thankful that you have done so in support of academic freedom for Palestinians and their supporters in both Israel/Palestine and here in Canada as well.

As you know, the Palestinian people are facing an unprecedented attack on their ability to learn and teach. In short, their fundamental rights to education are being violated on a daily basis by Israel’s racist apartheid regime. By affiliating to the Right to Education Campaign, CUPE-Ontario has taken an important step forward in ensuring that Palestinian children have hope for the future – that perhaps someday soon they will be able to go to school without fear of checkpoints, arrests, beatings, or worse.

Furthermore, Israeli academic institutions are often complicit in the oppression of Palestinians. They are deeply integrated into Israel’s military-industrial complex and in the production of studies central to the perpetuation of apartheid over Palestinians. It is important to recognize that brave voices within Israel –both Jewish and Palestinian – have supported the call for a boycott. This is because these voices, those most committed to peace in the region, understand that war and occupation will not end until the institutions complicit in violations of international law are held to account.

Once again, I would like to applaud you for taking the lead in promoting a peaceful way forward in ensuring that justice in the region is achieved. CUPE-Ontario does not stand alone, as the recent global wave of actions in support of the Palestinian campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid demonstrates. Keep up the amazing work. Millions are standing with you.





The OUWCC will:
1. Affiliate to the RIGHT TO EDUCATION campaign at Birzeit University to defend the right of Palestinian students to have access to education and educational institutions in the Palestinian territory, and seek to raise awareness about the issues facing Palestinian education, students and
teachers under Israeli military occupation, and further that it will encourage member locals to affiliate to the Right to Education campaign

2. Encourage its member locals to hold public forums to discuss an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions, and

3. Ask campus representatives to work with locals to investigate both research and investment links between Ontario Universities and the state of Israel's military, and

4. Mobilize campus allies to pressure universities from engaging in acts of cooperation that assist and aid military research at the institutional level with Israeli universities;

5. Work with campus and community allies to pressure Ontario universities to refuse collaborations, corporate partnerships and investments that would benefit, either directly or indirectly, military research or the Israeli state military;

6. Request funding and support from CUPE Ontario to conduct an education campaign on the academic boycott, coordinate education sessions and assist in the implementation of resolution 50 as passed in 2006

Because, in response to a call from Palestinian civil society and trade unions, CUPE Ontario's Resolution 50 (in 2006) calls upon the Union and its locals to support boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) of the state of Israel, so long as that state continues to occupy Palestinian
territory and refuses to respect and uphold international law and covenants, and

Because the latest Israeli attack on Gaza killed over 1300 people, wounded thousands, and destroyed hospitals, schools, roads, power plants, sewage and water infrastructure, and thousands of civilian homes, and as a direct consequence of the attacks by the Israeli military, the Gazan education system has been unable to function, and

Because Israel's direct bombing of universities and schools and its years-long blockade forbidding educational supplies, fuel and other basic necessities, or movement of people including students and teachers, has brought about the collapse of the education system in Gaza, and Because
all three major Palestinian trade union federations are signatories of the Palestinian Civil Society for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions call including: The General Union of Palestinian Workers, PGFTU, and the Federation of Independent Unions.


Because campus administrators have taken actions that seek to limit free speech and repress public discussions and campus dialogue about the occupation of Palestine.

Because students, staff and faculty members have been threatened with punitive measures for speaking out or organizing events against the state of Israel and have placed obstacles that prevent/limit public debate on campus.

The OUWCC shall;

1. Issue a public statement about our support for free speech on campus and the right of students and campus workers to speak out and organize events that support Palestine and bring awareness to the occupation.

2. Locals of the OUWCC be encouraged to write letters to the administrations of Carleton, Ottawa, York and the University of Toronto to protest the silencing and repression of public debate on campus.

Criticism of Jacobson spills over to the Guardian

Jacobson's ludicrous hasbara effort appeared, as is usually the case, in the Independent. There were several letters criticising what he had written and there were some letters ignoring what he had actually written in order to support him. Well you couldn't support what he actually wrote now, could you? They seem to have stopped the, ahem, "debate" now.

Well here's Jacqueline Rose in Comment is free in the Guardian. Sadly Israel's critics are getting thinner on the ground since Matt Seaton took over and decided to look to David T from Harrys Place as an adviser on what's antisemitic and what's not. So let's make the most of these hasbara antidotes when they appear:
In his critique of Caryl Churchill's Seven Jewish Children in the Independent last week, Howard Jabobson laments what he describes as the "unreasoning", "deranged", "hysteria" and "virulence" he sees as currently directed against Israel. It is indeed a time to be sober, but his piece offers no such antidote to unreason. In fact, quite the opposite.

First of all, Jacobson and other critics of the play seem to me to have misread its fundamental nature. Seven Jewish Children is not a diatribe. Instead, it offers a set of voices in pained dialogue with each other about how to tell a child an unbearable history. Its central refrain is "Tell her", "Don't tell her". It therefore stages for its audience the vexed question of how adults, in the very words they use, can best fulfil their responsibilities towards the next generation at a time of historical crisis. What story should be told? War hardens language as well as hearts. In this context, to allow the speakers such anguished uncertainty is a gift. In its final scene – which is shocking, as Churchill herself describes it – the crude rhetoric of war has won. This is a tragedy.

The question then becomes: how did a people who can fairly claim to be among the most persecuted, if not the most persecuted, in history come to be the violent oppressors of another people? Hence the journey of the play from the Holocaust to Gaza – three of its seven scenes are set in Europe – as well as the title, Seven Jewish, as opposed to Seven Israeli, Children, to which critics have also objected. The point is to make us think about how trauma transmutes itself into ruthless self-defence. To suggest that this is what has happened to the Israeli people is not antisemitic. It was Primo Levi who described, in his novel The Truce, the Palestinians as the "Jews of the Jews". Jacobson is out of tune with some of Israel's most revered writers who do not hesitate to make the link between the founding of Israel and past persecution of the Jews. Thus S Yizhar, in his famous 1948 short story, Khirbet Khizeh, depicts an Israeli soldier in the process of evacuating an Arab village, suddenly struck with the analogy between the Palestinian predicament and the exile of his forefathers: "Our nation's protest to the world: exile! … What had we perpetrated here today?" Yizhar is hardly, to use Jabobson's words, "punishing Jews with their own grief", or "cancelling out all debts of guilt and sorrow". He is warning the new nation of the perils of what it is doing to the Palestinians, a reality of which Gaza is merely the most recent, devastating instance.

Repeatedly, Jacobson selects lines from the play as if they self-evidently supported his case. But how can a line like this one – "Tell her it's the land God gave us" – be antisemitic, when David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, stated more than once, "The Bible is our Mandate"? Or, to take another example: "Tell her we're the iron fist now," when it was early Zionist Vladimir Jabotinsky who coined the concept of the "iron wall" to convey the idea that the new Jewish nation should be invincible in order to force the Arabs into submission. Unusual for acknowledging the inherent violence of Zionism, Jabotinsky has been the inspiration for Begin, Netanyahu, Sharon and Olmert. Even some of the most provocative statements in the last scene: "Tell her they don't understand anything but violence," or "Tell her you can't believe what you see on television" are routinely made by Israeli politicians – the last by Mark Regev, Olmert's spokesman, during the Gaza offensive when questioned about Palestinian casualties by Jon Snow.

Jacobson asks for balance. First of all, despite his insistence to the contrary, critics of Israel's actions in Gaza, among whom I count myself, have clearly condemned the Hamas rocket attacks on the civilian population of Israel. Nor have critics of Israel, Jewish and non-Jewish, hesitated to criticise Palestinian politics, as he also implies they have, or indeed hesitated to call for understanding between the two peoples. The late Edward Said would be the most obvious example. Nevertheless, Jacobson seems to be living in an unreal political world. How balanced, for example, is this comment: "Was not the original withdrawal from Gaza and the dismantling of the rightly despised settlements a sufficient signal of peaceful intent, and a sufficient opportunity for it to be reciprocated?' The answer to this rhetorical question must surely be no. Here, a few facts might be in order. In the year following the pull-out of 8,000 settlers from Gaza, 12,000 new settlers were moved into the West Bank. In August 2004, Sharon's senior adviser, Dov Weisglass, stated unequivocally that the objective was to "freeze the political process" and "prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state".

At moments, it is hard to know what Jacobson knows and what he doesn't know (to rephrase one of his objections to Churchill). He cites Ben-Gurion's declaration that Arab rights "must be guarded and honoured punctiliously" with no allusion whatsoever to the discrimination towards its own Arab citizens that has characterised Israel since its birth. Nor when he refers to the expulsion of Jews from East Jerusalem, does he mention the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948 (half of whom had left before a single shot was fired in the 1948 war), not to speak of the occupation, which has now lasted more than twice as long as the period between 1967 and the founding of the state.
If you've got a strong stomach you can listen to Jacqueline Rose debating some of these issues with Geoffrey Alderman on BBC Radio 4.

February 24, 2009

Stopping Israel in the name of the law?

Frank Fisher, the moderator of Just Peace UK, has just sent a link to this Morning Star to the list:
PALESTINIAN human rights campaigners launched a legal challenge against the government on Tuesday over an alleged "flagrant" breach of international law in relation to Israel.

Al-Haq, a human rights organisation based in the West Bank, lodged legal papers at the High Court in London calling for a judicial review into new Labour's actions towards Israel.

The group said that the government was in "flagrant and continuing" breach of international law in a number of areas, including its record on arms trading with Israel.

It has alleged that, given Israel's actions in Gaza, Britain should comply with international obligations not to render "aid or assistance" to Israel.

Phil Shiner, the solicitor representing al-Haq, said outside the High Court: "It is al-Haq's position that, if the UK were to meet its international obligations now, Palestinian lives and limbs in Gaza would be saved and there would be a much greater chance of accountability for Israel's actions and a change in the policies of all key players so that nothing like it can ever again befall the Palestinian people."

The group also received support from sister campaign organisations.

Veteran peace campaigner Bruce Kent, who is vice-president of Pax Christi, joined a protest outside the High Court.

"This government is complicit in arms sales to Israel, some of which have been used to commit war crimes," he said.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign general secretary Betty Hunter added: "The British government is continuing to trade in arms with Israel despite the illegality of the occupation and we feel that we really must make a protest to say they should not be supporting aggression against the captive Palestinian people."

Let's just see if the courts jump through the same hoops to defend Israel as the politicians do.

Shoe trials continue

I got an email on this but the link to the Ma'an News Agency didn't work at first so I googled shoes israeli amsterdam and see for yourself what I got. 910,000 sites might actually not be the number of reports of shoes being thrown at Israelis in Amsterdam but top of the list at the time of writing is the Jerusalem Post report:
Ron Edelheit was about to begin a speech on the Gaza war to a gathering of Dutch Jews in Amsterdam on Sunday when he counted four shoes hurtling toward him.

"Two of them hit me," he said, both on the legs. He spoke to The Jerusalem Post by phone on Monday from The Hague, where he had just finished pressing charges against the three "youngsters" who assaulted him.

Edelheit, who holds both Israeli and Dutch citizenship, travels to Holland about once a year to visit his mother, a resident of The Hague.

As a reservist in the IDF Spokesman's Unit, he was asked by the Women's International Zionist Organization to speak at a gathering of its members and affiliates in Amsterdam. It was at that event that he was attacked.

From the beginning, Edelheit's speaking engagement - which was intended to be a simple affair and in which he had participated in the past - was troubled by pro-Palestinian activists in Holland. Their threatening letters and phone calls succeeded in having the event canceled at its first location.

When it was rescheduled for the Apollo hotel in Amsterdam, not even a significant police presence outside the venue could protect Edelheit. The three youths who assaulted him, all of them ethnically Dutch in appearance, simply paid the entry fee and walked into the engagement.

Israeli soldier goes to the Hague? Now that is courageous.

Revisiting Israeli Science Day

I didn't really take any notice of what it was which triggered the letter spinning Israel's attacks on UN schools and the invasion of Jenin back in 2002. I just stumbled on this letter to the Guardian by accident:
Museums should cancel these Israel Days of Science

Quite extraordinarily, the Science Museum in London and the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry have both been made available (on 3 and 5 March respectively) for an event called "Israel Day of Science". The museums argue they are not sponsoring the event, but have merely hired out their premises. This subtle distinction is unlikely to be appreciated by the many thousands of all ages and faiths who have repeatedly taken to the streets round the country to protest against Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

The event is promoted by the Zionist Federation and is designed to showcase the scientific achievements of seven Israeli universities. But all of these are complicit in the Israeli occupation and in the policies and weaponry so recently deployed to such disastrous effect in Gaza. To take just one example, Tel Aviv University, in its most recent annual review, states that "the Israel ministry of defence is currently funding 55 projects at TAU", which "is playing a major role in enhancing Israel's security capabilities and military edge". The head of TAU's security studies programme was a former director of the R&D directorate of the Israel ministry of defence. He holds the rank of major-general in the Israel Defence Forces and is a member of the Knesset.

Israel Day of Science is aimed particularly at sixth-form students, who can be expected to come in parties from schools across the country. What reaction can be expected from the many young people, already disaffected from science, who will associate the science museums with this Israeli public relations exercise? The event is being billed as a celebration of science. In fact it is an attempted celebration of Israel.

In the immediate aftermath of the indiscriminate slaughter and attempted annihilation of all the infrastructure of organised society in Gaza, how can this "celebration" be allowed to borrow some respectability from the use of these distinguished institutions? The museums should cancel these unseemly events.
Charles Jencks
Architect, Historian, Writer
Mairead Maguire
Nobel Peace Laureate
Dr Ian Gibson MP
Mermber of Parliament
Walter Hain RIBA
Ahdaf Soueif
Prof R.S.MacKay FRS
Director of Mathematical Interdisciplinary Research,
Mathematics Institute, University of Warwick
Victoria Brittain
Reem Kelani
Dr Jenny Tonge
House of Lords
Lindsey German
Convenor of Stop the War Coalition
Karl Sabbagh
Prof Steven Rose
Life Sciences, Open University
Sabah Al-Mukhtar
President, Arab Lawyers Association (UK)
John Rose
College lecturer/ Middle East author
Prof Jonathan Rosenhead
Operational Research, London School of Economics
Dr Monica Wusteman
Research Scientist (retired)
Prof Jules Townshend
Politics and Philosophy, Manchester Metropolitan University
Mike Cushman
Management, London School of Economics
Dr. Sue Blackwell
Linguistics, University of Birmingham
Professor Mohamed El - Gomati
Department of Electronics University of York
Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky
Film and Media Studies, University of East London
Prof. Daphne Hampson
Theology, University of St Andrews
Prof Peter Hallward
Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex University
Prof Janet Watson
Arabic Linguistics, University of Salford
Prof Patrick Williams
Nottingham Trent University
Prof Hilary Rose
Emeritus Professor of Social Policy, University of Bradford
Prof David Seddon
University of East Anglia
Prof. Adah Kay
City University, London
Prof David Wield
Open University
Prof Mona Baker
Translation Studies, University of Manchester
Prof Myriam Salama-Carr
University of Salford
Prof Gabriel Alexander Khoury
Imperial College London and Padua University Italy
Prof. David Mond
Mathematics Institute, Warwick University
Prof David E Pegg
Biology Department University of York
Professor Tariq Modood, MBE, AcSS
Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy, Director, University of Bristol
Prof Frank Land
Information Systems and Innovations, LSE
Prof Ailsa Land
Operational Research, London School of Economics
Prof Hans Haenlein, RIBA, MBE
Architecture, University of Reading
Prof Wolfgang Deckers
University of Richmond
Prof Malcolm Povey
Food Physics, University of Leeds
Prof Sol Picciotto
Law, Lancaster University
Prof James Dickens
Arabic, School of Languages, University of Salford
Prof David Elworthy
Mathematics, University of Warwick
Prof Roger Iredale
International education, University of Manchester
Prof Jim Al-Khalili
Professor of Physics, and of Public Engagement in Science, University of Surrey
Prof Colin Green
Northwick Park Institute for Medical Research
Prof Haim Bresheeth
Cultural Studies, University of East London
Prof Uri Davis
Al Quds University, Jerusalem
Prof Martha Mundy
Anthropology, London School of Economics
Prof Paulette Pierson Mathy
hon. Prof. ULB, Brussels
Prof Randa Farah
Anthropology, University of Western Ontario
Prof. Anthony C. Alessandrini
Kingsborough Community Coll-City University of New York
Dr Derek Wall
Visiting tutor, Goldsmiths College
Lesley McGorrigan
Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds
William Edmondson
Computer Sciences, University of Birmingham
Miranda Pennell
Senior Lecturer, Laban Institute
Dr. Judit Druks
University College London
Stephie Fehr
Research Officer, European Law and Legal Studies
University of Leeds
Antony Bolton
Student, Architecture, University of Westminster
Dr T Jacoby
Development Policy and Management,
The University of Manchester
Marilyn Clarke
Imperial College
Dr Keith Hammond
Philosophy, Education, University of Glasgow.
Tamara Kayali
Cambridge University
Dr Chris Roberts
Community Based Medicine
University of Manchester
John Airs
Hon Research Fellow, Liverpool University
Janet Green
Unison Equalities Officer London Metropolitan University
Chris Warnes
Cambridge University
Muhammad Rajah
Manchester University
Paul Kelemen
Manchester University
Dr.Bob Brecher
Centre for Applied Philosophy University of Brighton
Liz Lindsay
retired Science Lecturer, College of NW London
Dr Michael Loughlin
Applied Philosophy, Manchester Metropolitan University
Laleh Khalili
Dr. David Kidner
Psychology, Nottingham Trent University
Dr Miriam Muller
Medieval History, University of Birmingham
Philip Gilligan
Senior Lecturer, University of Bradford
Dr Rumy Hasan
Senior Lecturer, SPRU University of Sussex
John Porter
IT Services, University of Strathclyde
Shahid Bux
PhD Candidate, University of St Andrews
Inma Alvarez
Lecturer, Open University
Pat Sanchez
SL for languages (retired) Hopwood Hall College of Further Education
Jenna Delich
Lecturer, Sheffield College.
Carmen Perea-Gohar
Humanities Department, Imperial College
John Trapp
Lecturer, Open University
Francesca Viceconti
Tutor, History of Art
Zohair M. Abu Shaban
Post-graduate Student, London
Jessica Wheeler
Darwin College, University of Cambridge
Paul Reynolds
Edge Hill University
Sami Soud
Student, Imperial College
Ausaf Farooqi
Doctoral student, University of Cambridge
Dr. Saladin Meckled-Garcia
Lecturer, Human Rights, University College London
Ali S Afana
Graduate student, Birmingham
Dr Helen Colley
Manchester Metropolitan University
Dr Bucker Dangor
Emeritus Reader Imperial College
Dr. John Baxter
History and Social Policy, Sheffield College
Dr Les Levidow
Senior Research Fellow, Open University
Dr Ghada Karmi
Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter
Tareq Hussain
Post-graduate student, Imperial College
Judy Hicks
Faculty of Health and Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University
Mark Shuttleworth
Imperial College
Josep Perez Prior
Lecturer, Imperial College
Dr Ramez J Ghazoul
Manchester Business School and University of Mosul (retd)
John Angliss
Alan Cooper
European College of Business and Management, London
Christine Vie
Manchester Metropolitan University
Sarah Gartland
Lecturer, Roehampton University
Michelle Dumont
University of Cambridge
Mara Benetti
Imperial College
Dr Graham Dyer
Economics, SOAS; President SOAS UCU
Doug Holton
Stranmillis University College
Dr Gabriella Saldanha
University of Birmingham
Tom Heydeman
Microbial biochemistry, University of Reading (retd.)
Bernard Kilroy
Open University tutor (retd)
Shabana Basheer
Masters student and Palestine Solidarity Society Edinburgh University
Samia al Botmeh
Birzeit University Jerusalem and SOAS
Christina Purcell
Graduate Business School, Manchester Metropolitan University
Ammar Waraich
Medical student, Imperial College
Bob Askew
Economics, Manchester Metropolitan University
Dr Claude Baesens
Associate Professor, Mathematics, University of Warwick
Abdul Pathan
Manchester University
Robbie Georgiou
Geography and Development Studies, University of Sussex
Maureen McWilliams
Sociology, Sheffield Hallam University
Syed Choudhury
Student, Queen Mary College London
Irene Calis
Doctoral student, LSE
Dr Juan Lalaguna
Spanish and Translation Studies, Imperial College
Benjamin Jones
College of North East London; UCU
Leila Day-Khan
Postgraduate student, University of London
Zoe Mars
Retd Academic Secretary, Institute of Development Studies, Univ of Sussex
Chris Wright
Administration, Central Library, Imperial College
Dr John Chalcraft
History and Politics of Empire / Imperialism. London School of Economics
Lee Freeman
Film Studies, University of Hull
Philip Marfleet
Reader in Refugee Studies, University of East London
Jenny Hardacre
Faculty of Arts, Anglia Ruskin University
Tom Hickey
Principal Lecturer in Philosophy and Politics, University of Brighton
Dr Derek Summerfield
Psychiatrist, Maudesley Hospital
Dr Jorge Diaz-Cintas
Imperial College
Yael Kahn
Islington Friends of Yibna
Faisal Fazal
Senior Production Executive, EuroDirect, Leeds
David Polden
London CND
David Ward
Maha Rahwanji
Brent Adult and Community Education Service
Abe Hayeem RIBA
Chair, Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine
Rosamine Hayeem
Dr Chris Burns
Steve Fox
Beatriz Maturana
Architects for Peace
Michael Goulden RIBA
Tony Greenstein
Brighton & Hove Trades Council
Dr Brian Robinson
Retired psychiatrist, UK NHS
Averil Parkinson
Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Alex Trapp
Student Nurse
Deborah Fink
Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods
John Murray
Dr Kay Phillips
National chair of Respect
Anne Gwynne
Anne Key
Dr Mikael Grut
Eric Austen
Community Mediator
Dr Emile Haddad
Sara Wood
Stop The War Coalition
Paul Brown
University and College Union
Dr M Asif
Dr Murray Goulden
Energy Technology Institute, Loughborough
Neil Griffin
Tom Patton
Retired teacher and Methodist minister
Dr Pat McIntyre
Mark Krantz
Convener, Greater Manchester Stop the War Coalition
Ruth Tenne
Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Andrew J Silvera
Dr Berenice Kreel
Retired paediatrician
Rev Hazel Barkham
Robert Shearer FRCS
Urological surgeon (retd)
Kevin Davis
Easton Cowboys FC
Anne Wright
Writer and translator
Christopher Coppock
Local government ecologist
Dr Harmke Hamminga
Saira Waheed
Deloitte MCS
Owen Holland
Ex-St Catherine's College Cambridge
Michael Bailey
Stella Maris
Dr Abdel A El-Hassan
Martin O'Shea RIBA
Sylvia Cohen
Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Birgit Schoer MSc FGS
Environmental scientist
Faisal Kahn RIBA
Asif Khan MRTPI
Kelvin Bland RIBA
Saleha Sayeed
General Teaching Council of England
Saadia Siddiqui
General Teaching Council of England
Muhammed Nusrat Alam Khan
Institute of Civil Engineers
Judith Joy
Ex-tutor, Occupational Therapy, York St John University
Maureen Frost
Dorset Palestine-Israel Peace Group
John Nunn
Science teacher
Diana Binstead
Retired teacher
Chris Somes-Charlton
The Miktab Limited
Idwal Morgan
Member, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Nelly Takla-Wright
Deputy Gen-Sec, Assn of Professionals in Education and Childrens Trusts
Martin Shirley
South Somerset Peace Group
Stanley Walinets
Retired Courts Officer, Wansdworth Social Services
Jeffrey Anderson BSc
Grassington and District Peace Group
Fahima Sahabdeen
Sue Fraser
Retired teacher, NUT member
Jenny Morgan
Yahya Abbas
Transport Engineer, TfL
Kevin Connor
Taxi driver
James Goddard MBE
Elizabeth Gordon
Consultant surgeon
Consultant, Epsom and St Helier University Hospital Trust
Damian McCarthy
Marina Grut
Dance teacher, choreographer, author
Najib Al-Hakimi
Community Development Manager, Liverpool Arabic Centre
Elaine Fishwick
Liverpool Arabic Centre
Christine Hashim
Liverpool Arabic Centre
Dylan Kearon
Liverpool Arabic Centre
William Kearon
Liverpool Arabic Centre
Patrick Kearon
Liverpool Arabic Centre
Lynda Hicks
Liverpool Arabic Centre
Geoffrey Hicks
Liverpool Arabic Centre
Gordon Turner
Dr Martin Birnstingl MS FRCS
retired consultant surgeon, St Bartholomew's Hospital London and Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital London (both University of London)
Ian Cruchley
Rubeina Nazneen Miah
Gill Lee
Nasar Iqbal
Elinor Chohan
Anwar ul-Haq
Zeagham Ahmad
Sylvia Finzi
Mark Brett
Rushna Choudhury
Salle Dare
Peter Dwyer
Mary Bedforth
Caroline Hope
Janet Trapp
Patricia Smith
Camilla Littleweed
Tricia Atherton
Nadira Choudhury
June Bradbury
Amanda Sebestyen
Ian Murdoch
Miss I Naushahi
Richard Stainton
Kay Manasseh
Sharen Green
Sophia Manzoor
Janette Gluckstein
Deborah Davies
Bryan Davies
Paul Bryson
Mrs Bryson
Mark Chesworth
Brendan O'Rourke
Belinda Burke
Adrian Boutel
Jackie Williams
Jim Peters
Daniel Russell
Janet Sturge
Iftikhar Awan
Rose Reeve
Phelim Mac Cafferty
Masood Hussain
Javaid Shafi
M. Mohebi
Mohammad Kamaali
Sylvia Madden
John Severs
Mrs Alice Severs
Salima Begum
Abdul Azeem
Fobitho Shoril
Muhammad Bilal
Patricia Goddard
Barbara Loveluck
Elaine Bowen
Eleanor Kilroy
Elizabeth Wardle
Ian Cuthbertson
Lesley Docksey
Nael Habboush
Cylla Lynch
David Marchesi
Shaheed Iqbal
Ayesha Sabat
Mohammed Amin
Gabrielle Williams
Dave Ives
Tirza Waisel
Ajmal Masroor
Gail Waldman
N. Siddiqi
Bouran Irfa
Jawad Qasrawi
Fatima Mahmoud
Sonia Omar
Sonali Bhattacharyya
Mrs Penny Leigh-Brown
Sandra Smidt
Ann Needham
Simon Penfound
Lubna Chowdhary
Nick Higgins
Faz Ryder
Mr Richard Haddad
Nadja Grairi
Sabrina Abdelhak
Helen Marks
Piyara Begum
Sue Elworthy
Saiqa Ali
Carol Pearman
Lorna Low
Barbara Cookson
Felix Mindham
Jane Jones
Gill Francis
Rajen Yadav
Jill Woodward
Rosamund Hobson
Ijaz Sawar
Howell John
Barbara Bradby
Julia Kostic
Amin Bhaloda
Chick Mc Kain
Mabrouk Maamri
Zain Patel
John Hilley
Aisha Shaheed
Wilf Forrow
Mark Stroud
Ziad Makhzoum
Nael Habboush
Mahmooda Khan
Laiba Khan
Hana Khan
Fahad Khan
Nazish Khan
Hilda Meers
Ted Clement-Evans
Mrs Maureen Harris
Lisa Jones
David Davis
Martin Davidson
Antonia House
Jeremy Hawthorn
Kursheda Ismoilzoda
Jim McGinley
Mr P Rowbotham
Anton Shammas
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Dr. Dennis Kortheuer
Department of History California State University, Long Beach
Patrick Wolfe
Research Fellow, La Trobe University
Dr. John Docker
Australian National University
Dina Jacir
Hampshire College, Amhurst Ma
Dr Ned Curthoys
Research Fellow, Australian National University
RG Davis
University of California Davis
Dr Outi Paloposki
University of Helsinki
Michael Inger
University lecturer
Shaun Joseph
PhD student, University of Rhode Island
Dr. Ib Abildgaard Jacobsen
Consultant physician, Odense University Hospital
Annette Klepzig
Pax Christi, Germany
Dr Souheil Mouhammad
Senior IT Consultant, France
Ronan Nolan
Mechanical engineer, Ireland
Samira Shehadeh
Edith Cacciatore
Carol Yost
Human Resources Administration, City of New York
Malgorzata Juszczak
MSc in Biotechnology Agricultural University of Poznan, Poland

Wow! See those names?

Israeli Apartheid Week in London


SOAS Palestine Society & LSE SU Palestine Society Present:

Israeli Apartheid Week

28th February-6th March 2009

Day 1:

From South Africa to Palestine - The Struggle Continues

Speakers: Ronnie Kasrils & Tariq Ali

Chair: Victoria Brittain

Ronnie Kasrils is a South African politician and supporter of the Palestinian cause for justice and national self-determination. He was Minister for Intelligence Services from 2004 to September 2008. He has been a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC) since 1987 as well as a member of the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party (SACP) since December 1986.

Tariq Ali is a novelist, historian, political campaigner and one of New Left Review's editors. He published many articles and books, among them The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power (Scribner 2008), The Clash of Fundamentalisms (Verso 2003), Bush in Babylon (Verso 2003) and many others.
Victoria Brittain is the former associate foreign editor of the Guardian, a journalist and a research associate at the London School of Economics. She co-author the book Enemy Combatant: A British Muslim's Journey to Guantanamo and Back (2006). Her previous books include Hidden Lives, Hidden Deaths: South Africa's Crippling of a Continent (1988) and Death of Dignity: Angola's Civil War (1997)

Saturday 28th February
6pm, SOAS, Brunei Gallery

* £2 donation will be appreciated.

Day 2:
No Crimes in Gaza

Speaker: Eyal Weizman

Chair: Eyal Sivan

Eyal Weizman is the director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His books include Hollow Land (Verso Books, 2007), A Civilian Occupation (Verso Books, 2003), the series Territories 1,2 and 3, Yellow Rhythms and many articles in journals, magazines and edited books.

Eyal Sivan is a London based Film-maker, producer, essayist and Reader in Media production at the school of social sciences, media and cultural studies at the University of East London (UEL). Sivan directed more then 10 worldwide awarded feature-length political documentaries and produced many others. Among Sivan's films: Izkor, Slaves of Memory (1991) The Specialist (1999) Route 181 fragments of a journey in Palestine-Israel, (2003) I Love You all (2004).

Monday 2nd March
6pm, SOAS, KLT

Day 3:

The Wounds of Gaza

Speakers: Dr Ghassan Abu Sitta & Dr Swee Chai Ang

Chair: Izzat Darwazeh

Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah is a Plastic, Reconstructive and Craniofacial surgeon at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. He worked in Palestine during the first and second Intifada. He also treated wounded civilians in South Lebanon and in Iraq (1991).

Dr Swee Chai Ang is a consultant of the upper limb Orthopaedic surgeon at Barts (St. Bartholomews Hospital). She volunteered as an orthopaedic surgeon to treat war victims in Beirut and witnessed the Sabra and Shatila massacres, later to return to Shatilla during the Camp Wars. She recorded her experiences in her book From Beirut to Jerusalem.

Izzat Darwazeh is a professor of engineering at University College London. Has been living in the UK for 25 years and was one of the founders of Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the late 80's. He is Palestinian, born in Syria and lived in Syria, Jordan and the UK.

Tuesday 3nd March
6pm, LSE, Room G108 (20 Kingsway)

Day 4:

Zionism, Jews and History

Speaker: Mike Marqusee

Followed by:

Between oppression and empowerment: The Palestinian Citizens of Israel

Speaker: Nimer Sultany

Chair: Selma James

Nimer Sultany is a Palestinian citizen of Israel and currently a doctoral candidate at Harvard Law School. He has worked as a human rights lawyer in the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and as the head of the political monitoring project at Mada al-Carmel (the Arab centre for applied social research).
Mike Marqusee is a writer, journalist and political activist. He is the authors of If I am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew (Verso 2008) as well as other books about Muhammad Ali, Bob Dylan and global cricket.

Selma James is a strategist, critical thinker, women's rights and anti-racist campaigner and author; and colleague & partner of Marxist, historian and sportswriter CLR James. She is a founder member of the UK branch of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network. Ms James lectures in the UK, US and other countries and has worked with the Venezuelan Revolution since 2002.

Wednesday 4th March
6pm, LSE, Room D202 (Clement House)

Day 5:

Towards Palestinian Unity

Speaker: Hussam Khader (TBC)

Chair: Izzat Darwazeh

Hussam Khader is an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and a member of Fatah. He has long been known as a fierce defender of the separation of powers, the basic rights concerning freedom of speech and freedom of press, the struggle against corruption in the Palestinian Authority and the strengthening of NGOs and other civilian institutions. He was imprisoned by Israel on March 2003 by Israel and was released in August 2008.

Izzat Darwazeh is a professor of engineering at University College London. Has been living in the UK for 25 years and was one of the founders of Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the late 80's. He is Palestinian, born in Syria and lived in Syria, Jordan and the UK.

Thursday 5th March
6pm, SOAS, KLT

Day 6:
The American and British Media and the aggression on Gaza


Asa'd AbuKhalil & Sharif Nashashibi

Chair: Dina Matar

As'ad AbuKhalil, is a professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus and visiting professor at UC, Berkeley. He served as free-lance Middle East consultant for NBC News and ABC News. He is hosting the website "angryarab.blogspot.com", a source on politics, war, the Middle East, Arab poetry and art.

Sharif Hikmat Nashashibi is the co-founder and chairman of Arab Media Watch, non-profit organisation that strives for objective coverage of Arab issues in the British media. He has worked and trained at Dow Jones Newswires, Reuters, the UN Development Programme in Palestine, the Middle East Broadcasting Centre, and the Middle East Economic Survey in Cyprus. Sharif is a regular contributor to the Guardian, and presents the programme Middle East Today on Press TV every Saturday.

Dina Matar is a lecturer in Arab media and political communication in the Centre for Media and Film Studies in SOAS.
Friday 6th March
6pm, SOAS, KLT

About Israeli Apartheid Week

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is taking place in more than 40 cities across the globe (the number of cities is growing daily). IAW has been held in the UK since 2006. Its activities have taken place in academic institutions located in selected strategic British centers of political and cultural power including London, Oxford and Cambridge. IAW events have contributed to mainstreaming solidarity with Palestine, pushing forth the discussion of Israeli apartheid at the heart of the British intellectual establishment. Every year the week features a list of high profile speakers providing first rate analysis about the realities of the Palestinian cause. It also includes a variety of activities ranging from popular film showings to local musical concerts. IAW activities are typically filled to capacity and they have been attended by several thousand people since their launch in the UK, serving as popular spaces of discussion and dissemination of Palestinian solidarity literature. This year, IAW occurs in the wake of Israel's barbaric assault against the people of Gaza. Lectures, films, and actions will make the point that these latest massacres further confirm the true nature of Israeli Apartheid. IAW 2009 will continue to build and strengthen the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement at a global level. It will moreover provide a venue for educating future British leaders about the realities of the Palestinian situation and to mobilize for Palestine in leading centers of learning in the UK. Last but not least, IAW helps showcase Palestinian solidarity in the media, attracting significant public attention each year. A Jerusalem Post article published on January 30, 2009 noted "the event's growing popularity."

For more information: www.apartheidweek.org

February 23, 2009

Will Obama ask or even tell Israel to stop the ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem?

That seems to be the question according to this AFP report:
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) — The Palestinian Authority urged the US president on Monday to press Israel to scrap a plan to raze almost 90 homes in annexed Arab east Jerusalem.

"We call on President Barack Obama to intervene personally to have this project stopped," said Yasser Abed Rabbo, one of the main aides of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

The Palestinian owners of 88 houses in the Silwan neighbourhood have received eviction notices saying that the structures will be destroyed because they were built or expanded without the necessary permits. The move would affect about 1,500 people.

"It is a massacre that Israel will commit in this Holy City," Abed Rabbo told a news conference, calling for "urgent Arab and international action to halt this dangerous project."

He said some of the houses affected by the orders had been built before Israel captured east Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War.
So what's Obama going to do here then?

Another liar exposed

See (the Guardian) for yourselves:
Smoke screen over assault on Gaza

Clive Margolis (Letters, 18 February) provides a smoke screen analogous to that produced by white phosphorus munitions. Both our letter opposing Israel science days at UK museums, and the facts of Israel's assault on Gaza, are misrepresented. The signatories were not "a few academics". They were 381 strong, of which two out of three are everything from schoolteacher to taxi driver.

He throws doubt on the bombing of a UN school by Israel. This issue was authoritatively dealt with by Channel 4 News on 5 and 6 February. More than one UN school was damaged by Israeli fire. On 6 January 43 civilians in the street just outside one school were killed by Israeli mortars. On 17 January at another UN school just 800 yards away, children sheltering there were killed and injured in a multiple strike by airburst white phosphorus shells, as well as a conventional artillery shell. This incident was vividly captured on video. Using white phosphorus in this way is a war crime.

Mr Margolis says we can't accuse a country of war crimes until it has been found guilty in a court of law. Usually, however, the accusation comes before the verdict. Israel's offences against a population they kept prisoner have been seen by and shocked the world. Its universities help to provide the weapons, design the policies and supply the justifications. Our museums should be ashamed to give them house room.
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead
London School of Economics

here's the offending letter.

February 22, 2009

World Wide Web wises up to antisemitism smear. The answer? Censor the World Wide Web

Many thanks to Gene in the comments for linking this Glenn Greenwald article in Salon denouncing the increasingly used antisemitism smear. It's one of those articles where I struggle to find a chunk to act as a soundbite for the whole thing. So here's a big old chunk of it:

The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg -- in a paragraph he entitles "Where the Left and Right Always Seem to Agree" -- writes (emphasis added):

Joseph Epstein's excellent essay in The Wall Street Journal about I.J. Singer's The Brothers Ashkenazi . . . contains this penetrating observation: "Politics taught I.J. the bitter lesson that, however much the extreme left and the extreme right might disagree, the one common ground upon which they met comfortably was anti-Semitism." This is an evergreen phenomenon, unfortunately. We see the brown-red coalition aligned against Israel in Europe, of course, and, in less dramatic, but still disturbing fashion, we [sic] The American Conservative, Pat Buchanan's paleo-con magazine, featuring the writings of doctrinaire leftists on Buchanan's least-favorite country, the one he recently compared to Nazi Germany. The Buchananites have even recruited Jews to do their Israel-bashing for them. This particular development falls in the category of shocking yet not exactly surprising.

His link to "Israel-bashing" in the penultimate sentence -- as in: "The Buchananites have even recruited Jews to do their Israel-bashing for them" -- is to an article I wrote for the January 26, 2009, issue of The American Conservative, an article in which I documented and criticized the lack of any disagreement or genuine debate in the U.S. Congress over America's ongoing, one-sided support for Israel generally and for Israel's attack on Gaza specifically.

As an initial matter, the rank guilt by association technique Goldberg employs here is not only painfully transparent but also factually false. Pat Buchanan has had no involvement with the publication or editing of that magazine for many years. But why let facts get in the way of rabid attempts at character assassination?

And even if Buchanan were still involved with that magazine, which he isn't, it's intellectual dishonesty of the lowliest kind to toss around epithets based on Buchanan's views aimed at anyone and everyone who writes for that journal, regardless of what they write. They publish writers as diverse as Andrew Bacevich, James Pinkerton, Philip Weiss, Dainel Larison, and Rod Dreher. Pat Buchanan spends his day opining on virtually every MSNBC program that exists; are all MSNBC commentators and hosts responsible for Buchanan's views? Is it now fair to blame all Atlantic writers for Goldberg's 2002-2003 extreme dishonesty in spewing blatant propaganda and outright falsehoods in order to persuade the American public to support the attack on Iraq? This is all just Smear Tactics 101.

More notably, what Goldberg is doing here in unusually unconcealed (though otherwise characteristic) fashion is relying on the most standard, by-now-clichéd debate-suppressive tactic of neoconservative Israel-fanatics in the U.S. Anyone who criticizes the actions of the Israeli Government will, for that reason alone, have "anti-Semite" tossed in their vicinity and attached to their name (just as those who criticized the actions of the Bush administration -- say, for attacking Iraq -- were branded "anti-American"). Any American citizen who argues that we are acting counter-productively with our unquestioning, full-scale support for Israel -- the use of American money, arms and diplomatic tools to enable anything the Israeli Government does -- is guilty of the crime of "Israel-bashing" and is condemned as being "anti-Israel" (or, worse still, will have the phrase "Sheikh Hassan" disgustingly placed before their name by Goldberg and his friends). These rancid equations are too familiar to require any elaboration or refutation.

But what is worth noting -- and celebrating -- is that a significant and palpable change has occurred. Whereas these smear tactics once inspired fear in many people, now they just inspire pity. They no longer work. Very few Americans are going to refrain from expressing their views on American policy towards Israel out of fear that the Jeffrey Goldbergs of the world are going to screech "anti-Semitism" at them. Neocons are far too discredited and their policies far too self-evidently destructive for them to intimidate anyone out of questioning their orthodoxies. Now, watching neocons recklessly spew their bitter little epithets in lieu of (and in order to suppress) debate is like watching an old, dying dragon sadly trying to breathe mighty fire from its mouth but collapsing in a debilitating coughing fit instead -- or is like watching a disgraced, post-censure Joe McCarthy in 1956 stand in an empty Senate chamber and rail against hidden Communists. Nobody cares.

So what to do about this recalcitrance? After all, the zionists have the traditional media mostly sewn up, though they have lost their monopoly of late. But the web is a different story. Nick Cohen was right that blogs are the punk rock of the media. They give ordinary bods the opportunity to challenge the dinosaurs in writing.

So what are the zios gonna do about that?

Well there was a conference about how to stop criticism of Israel. Hang on, what was it called? Ah yes, The London Conference on Combatting Antisemitism and at the end of their triumph of getting more than half a dozen people to take them seriously they issued a declaration that Dr Hirsh feels should take pride of place on the home page of the Engage site.

Now, what's this about the web?
30. Governments should take appropriate and necessary action to prevent the broadcast of antisemitic programmes on satellite television channels, and to apply pressure on the host broadcast nation to take action to prevent the transmission of antisemitic programmes;

31. The OSCE should seek ways to coordinate the response of member states to combat the use of the internet to promote incitement to hatred;

32. Law enforcement authorities should use domestic “hate crime”, “incitement to hatred” and other legislation as well as other means to mitigate and, where permissible, to prosecute “Hate on the Internet” where racist and antisemitic content is hosted, published and written;

33. An international task force of Internet specialists comprised of parliamentarians and experts should be established to create common metrics to measure antisemitism and other manifestations of hate online and to develop policy recommendations and practical instruments for Governments and international frameworks to tackle these problems.

And what are they calling antisemitism? I cheekily saved that surprise.
29. Media Regulatory Bodies should utilise the EUMC ‘Working Definition of antisemitism’ to inform media standards;
And let's remind ourselves of what the EUMC says is antisemitic. It says that it's antisemitic to claim that there should not be a state specifically for Jews. It says that it's antisemitic to call Israel a "racist endeavour" in spite of the ethnic cleansing and segregationist laws without which, Israel wouldn't exist. It further says that it is antisemitic to accuse Israel of behaving like the nazis or of being an apartheid state. Finally it says it is not antisemitic to criticise Israel as long as you criticise other states for the same thing or things. That's very clever because no other state openly mobilises foreigners to come and live their whilst denying that right to people who actually come from there. Also, the stupid working definition has already disallowed criticising Israel for things that other states have been criticised, boycotted, sanctioned and even invaded for.

And Engage wants that to be the yardstick when it comes to censoring the web.

Now that was posted on Friday and there are only 3 comments on it, one of which proves the point that I am making. See this:
Point 1 in the declaration appears to equate ‘political actors who engage in hate against jews’ and those who ‘target the State of Israel as a jewish collectivity’. As Israel is a jewish state, presumably anyone who strongly criticises the State of Israel or advocates any kind of action against the State of Israel could be interpreted as ‘targetting the State of Israel as a jewish collectivity’. This phrase appears to offer indefinitely wide scope for suppressing any form of criticism of and action against the State of Israel, including legitimate criticism and actions motivated by concerns for human rights and international law, not by any form of racism or antisemitism.

Point 6 in the declaration includes in its definition of antisemitism ‘the singling out of Israel for discriminatory treatment in the international arena’ - would this include the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement?

Has this person (called Never again for humanity, presumably as distinct from Never again for Jews only) never seen Engage before? Of course it offers "indefinitely wide scope for suppressing any form of criticism of and action against the State of Israel, including legitimate criticism and actions motivated by concerns for human rights and international law, not by any form of racism or antisemitism". That's the point. Or was the guy just making the obvious point more obvious? Or was he joking even? But since Dr Hirsh posted the post and since he allowed the question through, and it's rare for him to allow something that embarrases him through, when and what is he going to answer?

But Hirsh is claiming that he wants "antisemitism" banned from the web. He has openly accused this blog of being antisemitic, though both he and his partner have posted here before and he has used the antisemitism smear as an excuse to ban a comment that linked back here. Of course he only made his false allegation since I exposed his "Alf Green" persona but logically Hirsh is seeking to have blogs like this one banned from the World Wide Web. Thankfully people are wise to this nonsense but then, with regard to Israel, the gulf is widening between what people want and what governments do, so who knows what might happen. I'd better get backing up.

DAM again

This is for anyone irked by a too small clip of DAM's Born Here in the previous post on Israeli Apartheid Week 2009. Here's the whole thing:
They have an album out just lately. Details here.

I'd only heard Fight the Power by Public Enemy in Spike Lee's Do the right thing. But I stumbled on the video last night. It's not a million miles in style and substance from DAM's Born Here.
See the beginning, the March on Washington 1963? That would be a major difference between Fight the Power and Born Here. The March on Washington was when there was a Civil Rights Bill before Congress and the march was supposedly to persuade Congress to pass it. But the establishment commandeered the march and watered down its demands, which is why the Public Enemy chap denounces it as "nonsense". The big difference between the two videos then would be that America has abolished the formality of its segregation but it hasn't abolished racism. Israel on the other hand, has yet to abolish its formal segregationist system.

Israeli Apartheid Week 2009

The fifth Israeli Apartheid Week is coming soon:
The Fifth Annual Israeli Apartheid Week March 1 - 8, 2009

Mark your calendars - the 5th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week will take place across the globe from March 1-8, 2009!

First launched in Toronto in 2005, IAW has grown to become one of the most important global events in the Palestine solidarity calendar. Last year, more than 25 cities around the world participated in the week's activities, which also commemorated 60 years since the expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homes and land in 1947-1948. IAW 2008 was launched with a live broadcast from the South African township of Soweto by Palestinian leader and former member of the Israeli Knesset, Azmi Bishara.

This year, IAW occurs in the wake of Israel's barbaric assault against the people of Gaza. Lectures, films, and actions will make the point that these latest massacres further confirm the true nature of Israeli Apartheid. IAW 2009 will continue to build and strengthen the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement at a global level.

There are many Israeli Apartheid Week events taking place around the world:
Abu Dis * Arhus * Atlanta * Barcelona * Berkeley * Bethlehem * Birzeit * Boston * Chicago * Copenhagen * Edinburgh * Edmonton * Fredericton * Greensboro * Halifax * Hamilton * Hebron * Jenin * Jericho * Johannesburg * Kingston * Kristiansand * London (UK) * Madrid * Mallorca * Malmo * Manchester * Montréal * Nablus * New York City * Oakland * Oslo * Ottawa * Oxford * Peterborough * Pisa * Puebla * Qalqilya * Salfit * San Francisco * Toronto * Tulkarem *Vancouver * Washington * Waterloo

Churchill fights back

No not Ward or Winston but Caryl. She is the writer of the play Seven Jewish Children. She was on the wrong end of Jacobson's smear tactics the other day, Wednesday I think. Well she has a letter in the Indie just below the ones I dealt with in the post below this one. You don't have to return to Jacobson's piece to know what she's talking about. Look, it stands alone:
Howard Jacobson (Opinion, 18 February) writes as if there’s something new about describing critics of Israel as anti-Semitic. But it’s the usual tactic. We are not going to agree about politics. Where he sees the benevolent withdrawal of Israel from Gaza, I see more than 1,000 Palestinians killed by Israel since the withdrawal, before the recent attacks. But we should be able to disagree without accusations of anti-Semitism, which lead to a pantomime of, “Oh yes you are”, “Oh no I’m not”, to distract attention from Israel.

My play, Seven Jewish Children, to which Howard Jacobson referred, shows the difficulty of explaining violence to children. In the early scenes, it is violence against Jewish people; by the end, it is the violence in Gaza.

It covers many years in 10 minutes and is, of course, an incomplete history. It leaves out a great deal that is favourable to Israel and a great deal that is unfavourable. It shows people being persecuted, some of them going to a homeland (where others have been displaced) and the defensiveness of their threatened position, leading to further violence.

Howard Jacobson seems to see the play from a very particular perspective so that everything is twisted. The characters are “covert and deceitful”, they are constructing a “parallel hell” to Hitler’s Europe, they are “monsters who kill babies by design”. I don’t recognise the play from that description.

Throughout the play, families try to protect children. Finally, one of the parents explodes, saying, “No, stop preventing her from knowing what’s on the TV news”. His outburst is meant, in a small way, to shock during a shocking situation. Is it worse than a picture of Israelis dancing for joy as smoke rises over Gaza? Or the text of Rabbi Shloyo Aviner’s booklet distributed to soldiers saying cruelty is sometimes a good attribute?

Then we have “chosen people”. Some people are now uncomfortable with a phrase that can seem to suggest racial superiority. But George W Bush, speaking to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel, talked about “the homeland of the chosen people” without anyone suggesting he was accusing Israelis of racism or was anti-Semitic. Some supporters of Israel still use it with enthusiasm.

Finally, the blood libel. I find it extraordinary that, because the play talks about the killing of children in Gaza, I am accused of reviving the medieval blood libel that Jews killed Christian children and consumed their blood. The character is not “rejoicing in the murder of little children”. He sees dead children on television and feels numb and defiant in his relief that his own child is safe. He believes that what has happened is justified as self-defence. Howard Jacobson may agree. I don’t, but it doesn’t make either of them a monster, or me anti-Semitic.

If one of the main pieces of evidence for the rise of anti-Semitism is this play, I don’t think there’s much to worry about. If it’s really on the increase, then we should all stand up against it. But calling political opponents anti-Semitic just confuses the issue.

When people attack English Jews in the street saying, “This is for Gaza”, they are making a terrible mistake, confusing the people who bombed Gaza with Jews in general. When Howard Jacobson confuses those who criticise Israel with anti-Semites, he is making the same mistake. Unless he’s doing it on purpose.

Caryl Churchill

Royal Court Theatre, London SW1

How do we turn this into real action, boycott, divestment and sanctions, against the racist war criminals of the State of Israel?

February 21, 2009

The Jacobson "debate"

Honestly, what a word to describe a dispute involving Howard Jacobson. Debate indeed. More letters to the Independent in response to Jacobson's hasbara by smear. Like Dr Hirsh at Engage, Jacobson is becoming quite an asset for the anti-zionist movement. Having said that, even Engage isn't defending him now. Perhaps they'll wait until memories have receded as to what he actually said. Then it'll suddenly become antisemitic to criticise Howard Jacobson. Anyway, let's have a look:
Like beauty, or so it seems, anti-Semitism lies in the eye of the beholder, and Howard Jacobson is determined to see it everywhere. His attempt to associate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism and the shades of Nazism is misplaced. The distinguished Jewish scholar, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, introduced the term “Judeo-Nazism” after the Six-Day War, an event he described as having destroyed the “moral infra-structure” of the Jewish state, predicting that, “continued occupation and oppression of the Palestinians must eventually lead to a fully fledged fascist regime inside Israel”, a prediction we are perilously close to witnessing.

Despite what Jacobson may claim, criticism of Israel is essential, for, as the social critic Isaac Deutscher said, “The ‘friends of Israel’ have in fact abetted Israel in a ruinous course”. For such apologists and religious zealots there is never a case to answer, however intolerable the actions; rather, as Avigdor Liebermann recently put it, they should despise the “weakness of the Gentiles”. Israel’s Jews have become, in Deutscher’s memorable phrase, “the Prussians of the Middle East”.

Though Jacobson makes much of the betrayal of the Holocaust, it was Israel’s Premier, Menachem Begin, who showed willing to manipulate its memory in using the analogy of the Warsaw ghetto to justify the bombing of Beirut, that the Jews would be victims no longer. And therein lies the problem: Jews were expurgating their victimhood, but against the wrong people, a people who (at first) were not their enemies, but were driven to be.

It is time for Israel and Zionists to show moral maturity and less incendiary defensiveness, to respond to justified criticism honestly rather than by continuously invoking monsters of the past or, as does Jacobson, with tawdry canards of evasive exculpation.

Dominic Kirkham


Cripes! See that?? "tawdry canards of evasive exculpation". I wish I could use words like that. They say so much but with not too much toner. Hirsh likes to invoke Deutscher, as one of the earlier converts from trotskyism to zionism, to justify Israel by playing the holocaust card. What you might call an ad hominem defence. Nice to see that same card thrown back. Maybe they should dis-card it now.

Ok, the next one:
Howard Jacobson is extremely, and may I suggest wilfully, confused. He accuses those of us who have protested about the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians of anti-Semitism. Our protest has always been aimed at the state of Israel and the Zionist ideology it rests on.

On our side, there is no confusion about Israel being a “Jewish state”. We do not see the vast wall separating Palestinians from their families and land as Jewish. Nor did we blame the dropping of thousands of cluster bombs on Lebanon as Jewish. Nor do we see the illegal occupation of the West Bank as Jewish. Nor did we decry the recent massacre of Gazans as Jewish. Nor do we see the blockading and starving of Gaza as being inherently Jewish.

All these atrocities belong to the Israeli state, and our protests are aimed at the perpetrators and their supporters here, of which the current government is the most culpable.

Howard Jacobson insists on saying that Israel is a “Jewish state”. If he was right, anti-Semitism would be highly logical and difficult to deny. If war, terror and illegal occupation occur because the perpetrators are Jews rather than Zionists, then the victims would be perfectly correct in hating their tormentors for being Jews.

Thankfully, the victims see things a little more clearly than Howard Jacobson, who, perversely, sees Israel as the victim. So here is another reason to hate Israel: they cause anti-Semitism and then blame it on us.

John Westmoreland

Doncaster, South Yorkshire

Great stuff. Now to something a little shorter and simpler but pretty much amounting to the same thing:
Here we go again; criticise Israel and we are immediately accused of anti-Semitism. Presumably, the only way in which we could not be accused of it would be to remain silent. But why should Israel be subject to preferential treatment among the countries of the world ?

Mr Jacobson should grow up (or stop being disingenuous). Israel’s attack on Gaza was extreme so it elicited an extreme response.

James Stevenson

Godalming, Surrey

"Here we go again". They are so on the ropes. I wonder what Jacobson thought he would achieve. Of course his editor will be pleased that Jacobson drew so much response but credibility is still important for a newspaper. It's not of paramount importance or Jacobson and other resident zionists in the media couldn't survive there but there must be some boundaries, mustn't there?

There are two token letters supporting Jacobson but they don't deal with what he or others have said. Look at this one:
Most of the responses to Howard Jacobson’s article serve to demonstrate how right he is. He is "accused" of supporting Israel and therefore being “one-sided”.
No he isn't. He is being accused of playing the antisemitism card against people that criticise Israel and he did say that criticism of Israel over Gaza is antisemitic. There is no mention of that in either of the letters supporting him. But then in a western society you can't support Israel by reference to the truth and you can't support Israel's supporters in an honest way either, unless you just feel sorry for them.

I wonder if the "debate" will continue on Monday.