June 30, 2010

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid to march in Toronto Pride

Quick item this. I read it first on Dr Dawg's Blawg, under a little list headed The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:
The good: Toronto Pride, no doubt with the assistance of considerable pressure, reverses itself: Queers Against Israeli Apartheid will be permitted to march after all. And Jonathan Kay is having a hissy-fit, which is also good.
The post is dated 24/6/2010 but I only got the Jewish Telegraphic Agency's take on the affair today. Maybe it took them this long (nearly a week) to co-ordinate this spontaneous outpouring of condemnation that the JTA reports under the headline:Gay pride parade used ruse to include anti-Israel group, critics charge. A ruse? What ruse?
Canadian Jewish organizations are saying they will not back down after an unexpected policy reversal that will allow an anti-Israel group to participate in this year's Toronto gay pride parade.

Organizers of the annual parade, one of the largest events on Canada's cultural calendar, backtracked this month from an earlier decision that had banned a group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from marching in the parade under that name. Critics said the reversal was part of a ruse designed to secure some $120,000 in city funding.

Parade officials, responding to pressure from Jewish groups and several municipal politicians, including candidates for mayor, said in May that they were "disallowing" the controversial group from using the phrase "Israeli apartheid" in the July 4 parade. Officials said the anti-Israel group could march under another banner, such as "Queers in Favor of a Free Palestine."
Ah the old, we're all for a, ahem, "Free Palestine" ruse. But what do we want Palestine to be free of?

And there's the rub.

Check out the rest of the article. I'm still not quite sure who is being accused of the ruse and what the ruse actually was. Was it Queers Against Israeli Apartheid or the Pride organisers?

June 29, 2010

Palestinian boycott of settlement goods made in Palestine but not all of Palestine

There's a selective boycott going on in the West Bank. Palestinian shops are rejecting goods made in Jewish West Bank settlements whilst accepting goods from the largest of the colonial settlements in Palestine: Israel. Here's The Guardian:
Israeli factories based in settlements on the West Bank have been forced to cut back production as a growing Palestinian boycott movement begins to take effect.

The boycott, endorsed by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, was given further momentum this week when a campaign to clear supermarket shelves of produce originating in settlements was rolled out in Ramallah.

"The objective is to ensure the Palestinian market is free of Israeli settlement produce by the end of this year," the Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, said at the launch of the Store to Store campaign at the Alameen supermarket.

A team of volunteers will inspect 66,000 stores across the West Bank in the coming weeks, awarding certificates and window stickers to those free of settlement produce.

After a period of grace, shopkeepers retaining such produce in their stores could be liable to a fine of more than £9,000 or up to five years in prison under a law already passed but not yet enforced by the Palestinian legislative council.

"This is the daily expression of rejection of the occupation," Fayyad said. "It will help ensure that the Palestinian economy is self-sufficient. There will not be a store in Palestine which cannot carry our stickers."

The pro-boycott campaigners are careful to draw a distinction between produce from West Bank settlements, which are illegal under international law, and produce originating from within Israel. The latter will continue to be sold in Palestinian shops.

The campaign has been attacked by Israeli politicians, businesses and commentators. "The Palestinians are opposing economic peace and are taking steps that in the end hurt themselves," the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said last month.

It's good to know that Netanyahu cares so much about the Palestinians.

Israel's romantic terrorism

Just an everyday tale in The Raw Story of the sheer hypocrisy of coverage of Palestine in the US media:
A little-noticed comment in a New York Times interview with Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni has critics arguing that it shows the media has a "double standard" when it comes to terrorism.

In an interview published Tuesday, Livni, the leader of Israel's centrist Kadima party, boasted that her parents, both members of the Zionist militant group Irgun in the 1940s, were the first couple to be married in the newly-formed state of Israel.

"Both of them were in the Irgun," Livni said. "They were freedom fighters, and they met while boarding a British train. When the British Mandate was here, they robbed a train to get the money in order to buy weapons."

To which New York Times reporter Deborah Solomon responded: "It was a more romantic era."

"I've met interviewer Deborah Solomon -- smart lady," writes Philip Weiss, who brought attention to the comment on his blog. "I wonder whether she was inoculated, as I was, by Zionism, and to what degree. This is typically one-sided."

But it's not just one-sided:
Matt Duss at ThinkProgress goes even further than Weiss in his criticism of the Times' portrayal of Irgun.

"What’s amazing here is not only does Solomon neglect to challenge Livni’s characterization of her parents’ membership in a terrorist group as 'freedom fight[ing],' Solomon herself volunteers further assistance in the whitewash," he opines.

Meanwhile, Ben White has a piece on the al Jazeera website on a looming confrontation between the State of Israel and its Arab "minority". I mention this now because Ben reports, among other things, on how hard it is for Arab MPs (MKs) to be heard in the parliament of the only democracy in the middle east.

June 26, 2010

Johnny Don't B Rotten!

News just in of a facebook page about John Lydon scabbing on BDS. Apparently John Lydon, aka former Sex Pistol, Johnny Rotten, is taking the shekel and playing Tel Aviv at the end of August. The facebook page is headed:
Johnny Rotten you ain’t no human being if u play the Israeli fascist regime
And the text is:
Johnny Rotten, you ain’t no human being if u play the Israeli fascist regime. It will "make you a moron" and you will have "no future".
John Lydon, "Don’t be told about what you want" and "Don’t be told about what you need" by the Israeli regime.
You "wanna go to new belsen" – Gaza is only 30 miles from Tel Aviv.
You "wanna see some history" - search for the remains of the destroyed Palestinian villages hidden under new Israeli woods. Have you heard of the Nakba?
Do you now want a "holiday in the sun" and ignore the flotilla massacre?
The new "berlin wall" is too high for "looking over the wall" and it is hundreds of miles longer.
Are you "gonna go over the berlin wall" in the West Bank?
Do you "understand this thing they do"?
The Israeli checkpoints might let you "go over and over the berlin wall", but they won’t let Palestinians.
You might "ask for sunshine", but if Israel is not stopped it would give us "world war iii".
It is not just about playing to your fans:
The Israeli state will see you playing as support for the Israeli regime.
Even those Israelis who are not your fans will celebrate your endorsement of their regime.
Cancel your Israeli gig and heed the Palestinian call for boycott.
The Israeli media is pleased with the Lydon visit:
Not all rock artists have proven susceptible to the boycott pressure. Public Image Limited singer John Lydon refused to cancel his July gig in Israel. Israeli newspapers reported that the former Johnny Rotten had confirmed he’d play in Tel Aviv and that he castigated those bands that canceled for making enemies out of their fans.
As it happens, it might be the current rotten Johnny that has made enemies of his former fans.

June 25, 2010

Lebanon and Israel: compare and contrast

Here's a Cif piece from yesterday by Palestinian-American freelance journo, Ahmed Moor. Israel's friends are often citing the oppression of Palestinians et al by Arab states without considering the fact that Israel's existence is predicated on the oppression of the Palestinians. In his article, Moor sets out a key difference in the mistreatment of Palestinians in, in this case, Lebanon, when compared to others.
The vast majority of the 400,000 Palestinian refugees (10% of the population in Lebanon) who were born and raised in Lebanon do not have anything approaching the privilege I do. Today, Lebanon is the most hostile country to Palestinian refugees after Israel. They are second-class citizens here, but they are not the only ones.

Foreign guest workers also have a notoriously hard time in Lebanese society. Racism is so widespread (see Nesrine Malik's recent Cif article) that African and Asian guest workers are openly barred from attending the beaches where Lebanese people frolic. And that's saying nothing of the often inhumane working conditions they are subjected to on a daily basis.

There is an anti-Syrian current, as well. I remember encountering a barking dog while hiking somewhere in the northern part of the country. The owner rushed up and quieted the animal, remarking to me: "See how quickly he calmed down when I told him you're not Syrian."

The difference, of course, is that the Syrians, Ethiopians, Filipinos and others have consular support and countries to return to (although that is a serious problem for many guest workers, who are functionally indentured servants). The Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have no such recourse.

Of course, the main difference between Lebanon and Israel, Lebanon being a legitimate state, Israel being an illegitimate one, is no excuse for Lebanon's sectarian structure nor its racist behaviour.

June 24, 2010

Israel played the holocaust card for passport

I used to think that Israel's playing of the holocaust card was all about emotion but there's money to be had as Norman Finkelstein points out in the Holocaust Industry and now it turns out there are passports to be had. While the world's attention has been diverted by the flotilla and the World Cup, the case of the murder of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai has rumbled on with one country after another expelling this or that Israeli diplomat/Mossad agent.

Well in Germany events have taken a twist given the way in which the German authorities believe the Israelis acquired a German passport. Here's Der Spiegel:
The day the Mossad operation on German soil began was a clear, sunny Sunday in late March 2009. Alexander Verin, who holds an Israeli passport, had an appointment with an attorney in Cologne to discuss naturalization. Verin was accompanied by a man named Michael Bodenheimer, who claimed that he was an Israeli of German descent. Bodenheimer wanted to apply for a German passport, but Verin, who had made the appointment, was doing most of the talking.

The two men explained that Bodenheimer's father Hans had emigrated to Israel to escape Nazi persecution. As proof, the Israelis showed the attorney what they claimed was the parents' marriage certificate, as well as a passport. In such cases, which number around 3,000 a year, Article 116 of Germany's constitution provides for a relatively straightforward naturalization procedure.
The two Israelis were staying in a Cologne hotel. Bodenheimer would later rent an apartment on a run-down street in Cologne's Eigelstein neighborhood, in a nondescript, sand-colored apartment building with a pizza takeout restaurant on the ground floor, near the railroad station. It was the perfect, cheap apartment for someone who didn't want to be noticed.

On June 16, 2009, the attorney submitted the naturalization application to a registry office in Cologne. A German passport was issued in the name of Michael Bodenheimer two days later. It looked like a routine procedure.

But it was everything but routine when the passport was used in January in connection with the murder of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.
I remember thinking at the time of the killing of al-Mabhouh that the Israelis were happy to implicate so many of their allies in the killing and nothing would come of it. In fact, I thought that the elements of the job that looked botched were as deliberate as the killing itself but now Poland has made an arrest that could be deeply embarrassing for Israel:
on June 4, 2010, Polish police arrested a man at Warsaw airport who German investigators believed was Alexander Verin. He now goes by the name Uri Brodsky, at least according to the passport he was carrying. German federal prosecutors had issued an arrest warrant for the man, who they believe is an agent, on the basis of suspected involvement in intelligence activities on German soil and helping to obtain documents illegally. It is possible that his real name is neither Verin nor Brodsky.

What is clear, however, is that the arrest has triggered a crisis in Israel that has sparked questions within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet, cast a shadow on German-Israeli relations and could in fact turn into a serious political test of the relationship between the two countries. It is the first arrest worldwide that is directly related to the Dubai murder. German officials in Berlin are outraged that the Mossad apparently obtained a genuine German passport under false pretenses that involved -- of all things -- a fake story of Nazi persecution.

If the Polish government extradites the Israeli to Germany, he could face up to five years in prison. It would deal a major blow to German-Israeli relations if a German court, under the eyes of the world's media, sent a Jewish agent to prison because he worked for the Mossad.
And now there will all sorts of wrangling with senior Israeli politicians going on record to say how their man must be sprung from Polish or German authorities but:
German law forbids foreign intelligence services from conducting unauthorized operations on German soil, and it does not provide an exception for the Mossad. The Israelis did not request German permission to conduct the operation in question, because the Germans would never have permitted the use of a passport to facilitate a murder. And once a case has been opened in a constitutional democracy like Germany, the wheels of justice start turning.
I don't think the sheer arrogance of Israel's operations in the international arena can be divorced from their zionist ideology but they seem to be getting more accident prone lately and their allies are losing patience with them.

June 22, 2010

Ha'aretz: Only a boycott will persuade Israel

From Ha'aretz, June 22:

Only a boycott will persuade Israel

by Ayala Shani & Ofer Neiman

“Israel won’t change unless the status quo has a downside” – these words were written by journalist Tony Karon, a Jew from South Africa. This sentence reflects the rationale behind the broad BDS campaign – which includes sanctions, institutional boycott, and divestment – which has begun trickling down into public consciousness in Israel. Instead of a defensive, self-righteous response along the general lines of “the whole world is against us”, it would be best to learn the facts about the campaign and peer into the collective mirror, which reflects grievous and systematic violations of human rights and international law.

The current movement originally started with a call to action issued in 2005, signed by more than 170 organizations from Palestinian society: citizens of Israel, refugees in exile, and Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and in Gaza. The call to action was published in Hebrew, too, and citizens of Israel are requested to express their support of it. It is for this purpose that the Israeli group “Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from within” was founded.

The BDS movement that has developed in response to the Palestinian call to action does not have any formal, focal leadership. Regular citizens around the world, including many Jews, initiate activities and take part in them. The goal of the movement is to demonstrate to Israel the international community’s disgust and rejection of its actions, so that Israel will act for the immediate termination of the occupation, for the end of discrimination against the Arab citizens of Israel, and for recognition of the refugees’ right of return, as phrased in United Nations Decision 194. Elements of the oppression which the movement wishes to put an end to match the legal definition of the crime of apartheid – systematic and institutionalized racial separation, as practiced in old South Africa.

The movement does not promote any specific political solution (one state or two, the return of any particular number of refugees), but rather, strives to change in a nonviolent way the balance of power that makes it possible for Israel’s governments to violently withhold the basic rights of millions of people, and to renounce their accountability with unfounded statements (“the Arabs are to blame for the refugee problem”, “the settlements are legal”, “there is no siege upon Gaza”.)

It will be stressed here that the boycott is not a personal boycott on Israelis but rather, a boycott of official Israeli institutions and of events taking place under their auspices. Thus, for example, there is no call to deny an Israeli researcher her right to lecture abroad. There is a call to avoid holding international conferences in universities in Israel which proudly proclaim their contacts with the military establishment.

Is Israel being singled out? As was true about white South Africa, the world is justly sensitive to situations where a population that has civil rights determines the fate of a population which has neither civil rights nor the right to vote. Fairness is not always a feature of international relations, but Israel enjoys many international privileges, such as membership in the OECD. The citizens of China, where grievous human rights abuses take place, have never been given the opportunity to express a lack of confidence in the government that forcibly suppressed the student demonstrations in 1989. In contrast, the citizens of Israel cast their votes again and again for parties (including Kadima and the Labor Party) and governments under whose administration settlements are built, people are tortured and arrested for years with no trial, unarmed citizens are shot, and land and water resources are plundered.

Many people around the world ask, therefore, whether there is good reason for a normalization with Israel. Port workers in Sweden and Norway, countries which have historically been very sympathetic to Israel, refuse to unload Israeli container ships. Artists wonder why they must perform here and enhance the sense of “business as usual” when the very fact of their performance will be portrayed as support of Israel’s policy.

A deep-reaching public discussion is needed at this time, not only about the question of whether the boycott is or is not justified but about Israel’s policy. Many Israelis acknowledge the heinous acts being done in our name, under our very noses. It is appropriate for an effective and nonviolent campaign against these actions should have their support.

The authors are active in the Israeli group: “Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from within.”

This article was originally published in Hebrew in Haaretz Online, June 22 2010.

Translated from Hebrew by Dena Bugel-Shunra, of Shunra Media.

UPDATE: Here's evidence of the persuasive power of BDS, in particular cultural boycott. The Jewlicious blog, whose founder is involved in Birthright and is to the right of the spectrum, runs an article on how deeply concert cancellations are penetrating the Israeli consciousness. It even has some pro-BDS quotes, certainly a first for a Jewlicious post: Cultural Boycott? Recent Cancellations by International Musicians Spur Debate in Israeli Public:

Yoana Gonen, from the Coalition of Women for Peace, voiced her support of the international musicians’ decisions to cancel due to Israel’s current political situation. “I hope that the BDS movement will succeed [...] If this international momentum is lost, maybe we all will be doomed to more decades of occupation, siege, poverty, bombings and separation,” wrote Gonen in a Facebook note that evoked massive feedback. “And maybe, [we] should all take a deep breath and stop blaming the artists who refuse to come here and the activists who wrote to them [...] and start crossing [our] fingers in hopes that this movement will succeed.”

Other publications have supported the cancellations as well as raised hope for a change in the political atmosphere within the Israeli public. A piece by Rogel Alpher, published in newspaper Ha’ir Tel Aviv was named, “The Pixies and Elvis Costello are right. We are the problem.” Alpher wrote, “Cultural terrorism? I’m for it […] it finally stimulates political thought that has disappeared from the Israeli public for too long, it takes out the apathy that has taken us over […] Cultural terrorism is a good thing: nobody dies from it. It’s effective. It works […] until now, leftists didn’t go out into the streets to demonstrate, to act […] now leftists will rise to fight for their right to be part of this world…”

International law and the colonisation of Palestine

I've been trying to condense my thoughts about a book I read recently titled, From Coexistence to Conquest: International Law and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1891-1949 and now I don't have to because I've just read a review that I couldn't have put better myself. It's in Electronic Intifada:

Zionism, it was proclaimed in the First Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897, "aims at the creation of a home for the Jewish people in Palestine to be secured by public law." The choice of the words "public law" was a compromise between the delegates representing different streams of political Zionism. As David Vital explained in The Origins of Zionism, one branch of Zionism wanted to explicitly refer to the "law of nations," while the other was willing to make do with "law" only (364-370).

Law, or to be more precise, international law, has always been central to political Zionism. After all, international law reflects the aggregation of the agreements, opinions and interests of those who decide what the law is. There is little doubt that when the Zionist Congress met in 1897, the law was what the imperial powers decided was law. In order to create a new political entity, one needed the recognition of those powers, and the recognition of the law to gain legitimacy. Hence the centrality of law to the Israeli-Arab conflict. Yet at the same time, most of the Palestinian arguments and demands are based on international law. This leaves a lot of ambiguity about what the law is, its interpretation and how it interacts with other historical events and political realities. Victor Kattan's new book From Coexistence to Conquest attempts to clear up this ambiguity.
The full review is here. And here's the Amazon comments section. And here's the front cover:

June 19, 2010

The lobby in Canada

The Israel lobby in Canada is as nasty as it is anywhere if the case of Canadian MP, Libby Davies, is anything to go by. They are not content with hassling people who have made comments condemning this or that atrocity by the racist war criminals of the State of Israel, they have to get in people's faces now, ask them what they think of something or other and then go nuclear when they get an honest response. See this from Straight.com:
Vancouver East MP Libby Davies got bushwacked by a pro-Israel activist posing as a neutral – if not pro-Palestinian – blogger. After a rally for the Palestinians criticizing Israel’s deadly assault on the aid flotilla, a man approached Libby asking for an interview. As she always does, because she never hides her views, she complied. He immediately set her up with what he called a “background question.” He asked when the occupation began, 1948 or 1967.

Libby hesitated then said 1948. She made the point that the date was not important – that whatever the date the occupation was the longest in the world – and far too long.

The next day the interview appeared on YouTube. But in 24 hours it had gone nowhere – just 28 views. Then the most vociferous supporter of Israel in the NDP caucus, Thomas Mulcair, got wind of it and it escalated out of control. He went on a relentless campaign to punish Libby. The spin he helped create was that if Libby believed the occupation began in 1948 then she, ipso facto, believes that Israel has no right to exist. Libby has always gone to great lengths to make it clear that she supports Israel’s right to exist and the two-state solution endorsed by the NDP. But suddenly Jack Layton was in full-panic mode. He apologized to the Israeli ambassador. He hung Libby out to dry. He forced her to issue a public apology.

Apology? For what?

Some have criticized Libby’s statement as evidence that she does not know the history of the occupation which most mainstream commentators date from 1967 – when Israel militarily occupied the West bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights. But Libby’s problem was not that she didn’t know enough. She knew too much.
Sadly, she did indeed apologise and the lobby seems now to have gone into a feed frenzy. Her apology is here but she has many supporters in the comments that show people are far more focused on the truth that she told than the backtracking and apology.

I'm grateful to Dawg's Blawg for linking to us here at JSF. If I hadn't tracked a couple of hits from there today I wouldn't have picked up this story.

Don't mention the flotilla

The Israeli government has asked that its supporters from various zionist parties in occupied Palestine refrain from copycat flotilla exercises aimed at discrediting the Turkish government. See this in the Jerusalem Post:
A group of Israeli left-wing activists who were angry about the Turkish attacks on IDF soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara two weeks ago decided Monday to cancel the flotilla that they were planning to Cyprus to protest the Turkish occupation of the island’s northern half.

The Jerusalem Post reported exclusively on June 5 about the planned flotilla, which was to be led by former MK Alex Goldfarb (Tzomet, Yi’ud) and Modi’in Meretz activist Pinhas Har-Zahav.
Of course, the segregationism and ethnic cleansing supported by all zionist parties isn't everyone's idea of left wing but I said this is from the Jerusalem Post. But why would the Israeli government want to call a halt to a hasbara by deed action?
Israeli government officials persuaded the activists to cancel the voyage, because they were worried that the media attention would remind international media of the Gaza flotilla when most of the world’s attention had shifted to other issues like the British Petroleum spill and the World Cup.

“The publicity we already received did its part in reminding the world [that the Turks are occupiers],” one of the organizers of the flotilla said. “Personally it’s depressing for me that we didn’t get to go. But the government officials we spoke to were professionals, and they told us that doing it now was not right for the state, so we listened to them.”
Spoken like a true left wing activist, a left wing zionist activist, ie, in plain English, an extreme right wing activist.

June 17, 2010

BDS: a moral strategy

This is from the Israeli Occupation Archive by Stéphane Hessel, "diplomat, former ambassador, French resistance fighter and BCRA agent. Born German, he obtained French nationality in 1937". It is an article decrying the inaction and even connivance of western governments with regard to Israel's criminality and suggesting what can be done about that. It's BDS, of course!
The Freedom Flotilla brings to mind the kind of civil society solidarity initiatives which brought an end to segregation laws in the US and apartheid in South Africa, an analogy impossible to ignore. Like the apartheid regime of South Africa, Israel’s reaction has been to label this non-violent act an “intentional provocation.” As in the case of South Africa, the call for international solidarity, in the form of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) came from an overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society unions and organizations in 2005, and is being embraced by citizens of conscience and social movements worldwide. The BDS initiative calls for effectively isolating Israel, its complicit business, academic and cultural institutions, as well as companies profiting from its human rights violations and illegal policies, as long as these policies continue.

I believe that the BDS initiative is a moral strategy which has demonstrated its potential for success. Most recently, German Deutsche Bank became the latest of several European financial institutions and major pension funds to divest from Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems. Last week, two main Italian supermarket chains announced a boycott of produce from illegal Israeli settlements. Last month, performers Elvis Costello and Gil Scott-Heron cancelled appearances in Israel. Reminiscent of the South African anti-apartheid popular struggle, the current generation of students across university campuses is actively calling upon their administrations to adopt divestment policies.
I don't want to get overconfident but the movement against Israel is growing and growing, as is the gulf between governments and governed in western countries.

June 15, 2010

Melanie Phillips on Melanie Phillips

Well almost. This is a send up in The Guardian by John Crace of Melanie Phillips's latest book, World Turned Upside Down. I wasn't sure if she really had written the book and given it that title since the title is the same as that of a Leon Rosselson song covered by both Chumbawamba and Billy Bragg but here's the piece in the Guardian:
This book arose from a sense of perplexity that almost everyone in the world thought I was clinically mad. Everywhere I looked there were people who believed boarding a humanitarian aid convoy in international waters and murdering nine people was a little bit naughty. So I did what I've always done as a columnist for the Daily Mail; go where my bigotry leads.

Conspiracy theories abound in public life. Almost all of them are based on myth. The simple fact is that global warming is a lie created by politically correct liberals who are holding the universe to ransom. The reality is that not a single glacier has melted in Israel over the last 50 years. Likewise, green activists try to claim the teeny oil-spill in the Gulf of Mexico is an environmental disaster. How much oil has been washed up on the beaches of Eilat? None.

The legitimacy of the war in Iraq has been similarly subverted. Hard-line Trotskyists say we were led into the war on a lie. This is not the case. After Saddam Hussein was toppled, Mossad found huge caches of nuclear weapons in bunkers throughout the country. Understandably, Mossad chose not to go public with this because, as a responsible government agency, it didn't want to worry anyone unduly.

Not that anyone has ever thanked Israel for this act of global compassion. But this is symptomatic of the way Israel is misrepresented. It is often suggested the Palestinians have an equal right to Israeli lands. This is demonstrably false. If you follow the Old Testament family tree from Adam to Abraham, you can see God gave the country to the Jews. Indeed, it is a mark of Israel's tolerance that it allows some so-called Palestinians to live in the Gaza slums. And how do the Palestinians repay Israel? By throwing stones. How dare the world complain if Israel responds proportionately by returning the Palestinians to the Stone Age where they belong?

These falsehoods are presented as unchallengeable truths; in fact, they are anti-Semitic leftwing ideologies based on twisted evidence. We now live in a world of moral relativism where to believe in scientific inquiry or to be gay or a Muslim is socially acceptable. How can any right thinking person go along with this new age of Reason? The Enlightenment has a lot to answer for. Surely it must be apparent to even Richard Dawkins that he couldn't have written the God Delusion without God's help? Though obviously not the Muslim God because he doesn't exist.

Secularism is the curse of modern life. If everyone went to Synagogue to thank the Intelligent Designer there would be no more conflict. Instead there is a global coalition of Muslims, environmentalists and vegetarians whose sole purpose is to destroy the state of Israel. The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre – co-ordinated by Osama bin Laden and George Monbiot – was nothing less than a dry run for a ram raid on the Burger King in central Tel Aviv.

Anti-Zionists claim the neocons are in the pockets of the Jews. Nonsense. Reason naturally aligns itself with reason. That is why no reasonable person can possibly be a Muslim. Many of the central tenets of Islam run contrary to Judaism and since Judaism is correct in every respect, ergo it must be irrational to be nice to Muslims. Yet such is our topsy-turvy world it is the Jews who get demonised for trying to do everyone a favour by preventing the Palestinians from becoming a recognised terrorist state.

The anti-Semitic lies proliferate at a terrifying speed. The most pernicious is that Israel has no sense of humour. What's not to laugh about Mossad agents flying in to Dubai and taking out an Arab? All I can say is thank God there are still some fearless media outlets, such as Fox News and the Daily Mail, who are prepared to stand up for the truth. Hey? What's with the strait-jacket? Where are you taking me?

Digested read, digested: Black is white.

June 14, 2010

Israel's internal inquiry insults intelligence

No surprises there, I know. According to The Guardian, Israel's inquiry into the flotilla attack has the backing of Barack Obama. That of itself should show how useless it is going to be to those of us who want the truth out. But it gets worse.

Richard Silverstein in Tikkun Olam draws attention to what he calls a "searing editorial" in Ha'aretz bemoaning the fact that the head of the inquiry is actually opposed to its existence:
Netanyahu's panel will have no powers, not even those of a government probe, and its proposed chairman does not believe in such a panel. In an interview to Army Radio, Tirkel said there is no choice but to establish a state committee of inquiry. He opposed bringing in foreign observers and made clear that he is not a devotee of drawing conclusions about individuals and dismissing those responsible for failures. When a Haaretz reporter confronted Tirkel about these remarks, the former justice evaded the question saying, "I don't remember what I said."

The disagreements that erupted at the week's end between Netanyahu and his deputy, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon, over the question of whether Ya'alon was updated in time about the action underscored the suspicion of serious faults in the decision-making process with regard to the flotilla. Instead of being part of the whitewash, Tirkel, whose dodging of his earlier statements does him no honor, should return his mandate to the prime minister and demand that Netanyahu establish a government committee of inquiry with real powers.
But even a searing Ha'aretz editorial doesn't convey the fully farcical nature of the inquiry.

The Guardian reports that Obama is happy and that's that. It mentions the international observers who are intended to soft-soap world opinion but says nothing of their backgrounds.

The observers are Lord (David) Trimble, former Ulster Unionist Party leader, and Ken Watkin, a former Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Armed Forces.

So what about Trimble? Here's the BBC:
David Trimble recently joined an international "Friends of Israel" group set up by Dore Gold, a close associate of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
And what about Watkin? Here's his Wikipedia entry:
Ken Watkin was implicated in the Canadian Afghan detainee issue, in which several detainees arrested by the Canadian Forces went missing or were tortured following their transfer to the Afghan National Police and National Directorate of Security. According to a report in the Toronto Star, while acting as the Judge Advocate General, Ken Watkin advised the Canadian Forces command that they could be "criminally negligent" for transferring detainees to a risk of torture in Afghan hands. Mr. Watkin refused to answer questions when called to testify in Canada's House of Commons about whether he was directed to authorize the transfers or had knowledge of Canadian diplomatic reports of torture, and claimed that solicitor-client privilege owed to the Government of Canada prevented him answering the House's questions.
Yup, these are just the people you'd want to observe an inquiry established by the State of Israel to look into the international legal aspects of an attack by Israel on a boat in international waters.

Dana International goes nationalist after Spanish & Turkish gigs nixed

According to a Hebrew-language newsite Mako.co.il June 9, Israeli chanteuse Dana International was livid after the recent cancellation of gigs in Spain and Turkey. International had been scheduled to perform at the European pride festival in Madrid. Then Israeli commandos slaughtered nine Turkish activists in the assault on the Turkish seige of Gaza-breaking aid ship Mavi Marmara, prompting global revulsion, protests, and stepped-up BDS activity:

"After what has happened, and as human rights campaigners, it seemed barbaric to us to have them taking part," Antonio Poveda, president of Spain's Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals, told the British daily The Guardian. "We don't just defend our own little patch."

Poveda told the French news agency AFP that because Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai had not condemned the attack, the invitation would be withdrawn. The float was sponsored by the Tel Aviv municipality. (JTA, June 14)

Incensed by the cancellations, International decided to rally round the troops. From Mako (Google translation a bit rough):

"Dana was offended, angry Dana, Dana did not shut up"

Performances by Dana International in Spain and Turkey were eliminated, but is not going to shut up. Tomorrow she will stand for an interview with foreign media print shirt wearing a symbol of the IDF, in solidarity

"The army soldiers are above everything."

"Dana is very offended, Dana angry, the first time she encountered such a thing," says Shai Kerem, personal administration of Dana International, after her impressions in Turkey and Spain were set months in advance were canceled, apparently due to the situation of Israel's new community International.
"Dana was supposed to appear in Spain at the Pride Parade which is very disappointing," adds Kerem. "We must not forget that this is also an economic injury, and of course a professional hit, and emotionally. She then appeared there before, then suddenly not? This is an unpleasant feeling and hope that murky cloud will disappear and so the following performances."

I can tell you that it will not pass in silence," [said Kerem]. "Tomorrow arrives a Dutch television crew to do a story about the night life of Tel Aviv and Israel, yes it happens now. Dana, who always goes with her truth, will stand for an interview tomorrow with a special T-shirt printed with the IDF logo and she will be photographed with that. To say that as far as she is concerned the Israeli army is beyond all political debate. The soldiers and the army are doing the work for all of us and they are beyond all controversies. "

Unfortunately I haven't been able to locate a picture of International in her IDF shirt. Given the rising global outrage at Israel's behaviour, such a sartorial choice may not have been the best PR move, lest she find herself getting further cancellations. But it reflects the rising wave of jingoism amongst Israelis, 91% of whom favor military interdiction of the impending further seige-breaking flotillas. International's taking part in Israeli government-sponsored gaywashing of Israel's repression of Palestinians made her a legit boycott target.

Further reflections on what happened in Madrid from Ali Abunimah can be seen at his blog. See also this Oct 1, 2009 article on a Palestinian queer activist in Ha'aretz, "'Stop using Palestinian gays to whitewash Israel's image."

And check out Palestinian Queers for BDS

In San Francisco, Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT) are battling more gaywashing:

Israeli Government Out of Our Film Festival!

For the first time since 2007, the Israeli Consulate is a sponsor of the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival. Queer communities have been targeted by the "Brand Israel" campaign as a receptive audience, and a useful cloak for Israel's oppressive policies. But we are not so desperate for acceptance that we will ally ourselves with racists and murderers.

Picket opening night
Thursday June 17, 6 p.m.
Castro Theater, San Francisco

And in Toronto, LGBT leading activists are now in "open revolt" against the organizers of that city's pride events, after the organizers succumbed to pressure to bar Queers United Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) from participating in the parade, because of their use of the phrase "Israeli apartheid."Muzzlewatch has the latest as of June 11.

Lastly, if anyone should come across that picture of International in her IDF T-Shirt, I'd be much obliged. & if anyone can clear up the Hebrew Google Translate above, that'd be fabulous.

UPDATE: 6/20 Thanks to an Israeli reader, we now have evidence that Dana did not disappoint. In a recent appearance on "Israeli Idol," as one of the judges, Ms. National indeed appeared proudly sporting an IDF t-shirt. Here's a couple screenshots:

Click on the right-hand pic to enlarge, and "Israeli Defense Forces" in English can be clearly seen under the Hebrew letters for IDF (Zadik, Hey, Lamed, aka, "Tsahal") on Dana's shirt.

The hasbara outfit "Israel 21c," which describes itself as a " nonpolitical, nonprofit organization that informs Americans about 21st century Israel, its people, its institutions and its contributions to global society," and has partnered with the Israeli Foreign Ministry and with AIPAC, reported June 10 that International is taking part in an all-Israeli "rock against the boycott" concert:

In a column she wrote in today’s Yediot Aharonot, Dana expressed regret at the cancellations, both her own and those of the foreign artists who bailed, and said that music and politics should not be mixed.

She added, however, that there’s enough major talent in Israel without any help from abroad, and jumped aboard a planned gala concert later this month at Park Hayarkon or Rabin Square initiated by the Culture Ministry and featuring the country’s top performers to specifically prove that point.

International's comment about how music and politics shouldn't mix brings to mind Elton John telling his Israeli audience that musicians "don't cherry-pick our conscience" while playing his boycott-busting concert there recently, as noted by David Hirsh of the anti-boycott Engage site. Apparently playing Sun City during S. Africa's apartheid regime and performing at the recent wedding of the homophobic, racist blowhard Rush Limbaugh (for a million bucks) didn't prick Elton's conscience either, if that's any consolation to Hirsh.

June 13, 2010

Go 'way from my window....

Well well. I'd better point out that Bob Dylan, the man who gave us the song, Neighbourhood Bully, is not, as far as I know, boycotting Israel. But his unofficial fansite, Dylanchords is boycotting Israel. Here's a little slice of Ha'aretz:
One of the largest fan sites dedicated to Bob Dylan songs, dylanchords, has recently blocked Israeli IP users access over the Israel Defense Forces' raid on the Gaza –bound Freedom Flotilla two weeks ago.

Israelis who wish to learn how to strum the Dylan song "The times they are a' changing," will have to look elsewhere, as the webpage redirects Israeli web users to the webmaster's blog.
The Ha'aretz piece concludes with a little round up of recent cancellations in the wake of Israel's attack on the flotilla.
Last week, veteran American rock band Pixies canceled their upcoming concert in Israel, the organizers of a festival in which the band was to participate.

The announcement followed recent concert cancellations by the Klaxons and the Gorillaz Sound System in the wake of Israel's raid of the Gaza flotilla.
I wonder if the times are a'changing.

What a difference 2 days make

Abbas: We demand an end to Gaza siege; entire world stands with us, Ha'aretz, June 10

Abbas to Obama: I'm against lifting the Gaza naval blockade, Ha'aretz, June 12

June 12, 2010

Humaniterrorists and the return to wherever

Here's an interesting and funny clip which I can neither download nor embed but I can link to it here. It's the Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert hosting Israeli Ambassador to the USA, Michael Oren. It's not great all the way through but the ending is well worth the wait. You could even say that the end justifies the means.

Many thanks to Michael T in the comments for sending the link.

June 11, 2010

Jews against Jews for justice at sea

Here's today's front page story from the Jewish Chronicle:
Community representatives have reacted with outrage to the news that an all-Jewish flotilla of anti-Israel campaigners is planning to sail to Gaza next month, pledging to break the blockade.

The flotilla, to be captained by the British sailor, Glyn Secker of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, will sail under the auspices of European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP), an umbrella organisation of groups from 10 countries,

Mr Secker said it would show that "not all Jews support Israel" and would "say emphatically: not in our name".

The JC clearly doesn't like the idea that Jews acting against Israel keeping the Palestinians "on a diet" are in any way representative of Jews in general, hence "community representatives have reacted with outrage to.....an all-Jewish flotilla of anti-Israel campaigners".

June 10, 2010

Criminalising BDS?

Actually this report isn't so much about criminalising boycott, divestment and sanctions as making it/them (?) illegal by civil means. This is from Jewish Voices for Peace project, Israel: The only democracy in the Middle East?
What is Israel’s reaction to the growing nonviolent movement of boycott, divestment, and sanctions? Well criminalize it, of course!

We just learned new bill has been introduced in the Israeli Knesset by 25 Knesset members, that would criminalize all BDS activities or even BDS advocacy inside or outside Israel. You can find info about this in English here and with more detail in Hebrew here.

The proposed bill would target those that initiate, encourage, or provide assistance or information about boycotts against Israel.

Israeli citizens or residents of Israel could be sued by whoever was harmed by the boycott and would have to pay up to 30,000 shekels in restitution and an additional amount according to the harm established by the Israeli courts.
This provision would endanger the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace, New Profile, Boycott from Within, among others.

Those that are neither citizens nor residents of Israel would lose the ability of entering Israel for at least ten years and would be forbidden from economic activity in Israel (holding an account in an Israeli bank, owning Israeli stocks, land, or any other good that requires registration.)
It is not clear whether this provision would apply also to entry into the West Bank, although Prof. Noam Chomsky’s denial of entry may be a sign of things to come.

A group in a foreign country would also be forbidden from economic activism in Israel. This would apply tothe Palestinian Authority as well.
In the case of the PA, Israel would freeze transfer of money it owes and would use it to pay restitution to those harmed in Israel.

So Israel is mostly delegating the defence of zionist rule in occupied Palestine to individuals and corporations, unlike Scottish prosecutors who really did try to criminalise anti-racist activity.

Israel sets up "objective" inquiry into flotilla attack

Ynet is the online expression of the Israeli daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronoth. That's Hebrew for "who's the idiot?" No, it's not really. It means "latest news". It's a tabloid in shape, size and style preferring "drama and human interest over sophisticated analysis". Having said that, even though it wasn't me that actually said that, I had thought that since going on line, the paper did seem to be going for the analysis one associates more with Ha'aretz. I put that down to the fact that with an international market for its English translation, Yediot Ahronoth, would have to seek a certain credibility. But I was wrong.

Anyway, this report says that the chief of the Israeli army has asked a retired major-general, Giora Eiland, to head the inquiry by a panel. In fairness, the inquiry is only about "operational issues", like presumably, did they shoot enough people quickly enough? did they move quickly enough to confiscate cameras and phones? that sort of thing but:
The move is somewhat exceptional, since the IDF is usually satisfied with internal inquests conducted by the units heading various operations.
Now that tells a tale in itself but see this:
Military sources said the purpose of the panel's work it to provide objective conclusions by professional who were not a part of the operation and therefore cannot be affected by the results.

This objectivity, added the sources, would allow the panel to draw a wider range of conclusions, which may shed a different light on the events.
Different from the ludicrous idea that élite Israeli commandos were subjected to "a brutal ambush at sea"?

If Israel does not wish to be demonized..

...perhaps it should stop behaving demonically?

Jordan Valley families given 10 days to leave homes

Published Monday 07/06/2010 (updated) 08/06/2010 15:51

Tubas – Ma'an – Israeli army delivered eviction orders to five Palestinian families in two Tubas-area villages in the Jordan Valley, giving families ten days to evacuate their lands after declaring the area a "closed military zone."

The move, described as "devastating" to the families by head of the Atuf village council Abdallah Bisharat, would see more than 50 Palestinians made homeless and deprived of their livelihoods.

"The lands the families are being evicted from have been inhabited by the farming and herding groups for many years, they are the pastoral lands from which hundreds of residents make their livings. The Israeli order to evacuate means a total destruction of the social fabric," Bisharat said.

The move came only days after settlers established an illegal outpost in the area, following which military guards told locals that they would no longer be permitted to get drinking water from a well nearby the outpost.
"We were told to get water from the other villages and collect it in tanks," Bisharat said.

Since Sunday, patrols of Israeli forces were sighted in the villages, "breaking into people's homes around the clock" as one resident described, and delivering notices that families must evacuate because the area is a "closed military zone."

An Israeli military spokesman said the area had been declared a closed zone before the homes were built. Both the Civil Administration and the army said the orders were given because the homes were built without a permit and inside a fire zone.

Bisharat appealed to President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Slam Fayyad to intervene and prevent the eviction of the families.

Those targeted by the orders were identified as:

Jum’ah Kahder Fayyad Bani Audah

Iyad Mustafa Abed Ar-Razeq

Mohammad Khader Fayyad Bani Audah

Mustafa Abed Ar-Razeq Saleh

Abdallah Husein Abdallah Bisharat

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Israel's Civil Administration delivered 26 "stop work" orders to Palestinian families living in Area C, including 11 houses in Yatma village and seven residential tents in the Qawawis area of Hebron as well as others near Bethlehem. The remaining structures included an animal shelter, a water cistern, six restrooms and an extension to a house.

Now,according to the Free Dictionary,

"Demonic" can mean "befitting a demon" -- a bit tautological -- or "fiendish." the definition can also be: motivated by a spiritual force or genius; inspired.

Now, I could definitely see calling a process in which Jewish settlers settle illegally (by Israeli law, no less,) on Palestinian land, have the army come in and protect them while they steal that land and help drive out the natives, and obtain orders that those 50 Palestinians must be driven from their homes and land that sustains them, in 10 days, approved by the army, to be a fiendish endeavor. I'd say thus that this Jewish supremacist cleansing of a Palestinian village to be correctly labeled "demonic." I could be wrong of course, but it think the onus is on the other side to explain why such behaviour is not "demonic."

h/t Jibril

June 09, 2010

So this is what winning feels like

It was the picture on the front of the Sunday Tribune (A broadsheet Sunday paper, circulation about 200,000, no great previous interest in Palestine) that signaled the goodies in store inside. The picture - unfortunately not on the website - was of the previous day’s IPSC demo of about 2000 in Dublin.

It was more than being on the front page; for the first time it portrayed an IPSC march entirely positively. With a caption 'the sign of peace', the picture focussed on flotilla survivor Fintan Lane giving the peace sign, surrounded by an attractive mélange of people – Arab and white Irish marching together. Normally, any pictures at our demos manage to portray angry Arab men shouting. The photo was echoed in the Irish Sunday Times which hewed to the ‘attractive girl holding a placard’ format, rather than the ‘multicultural Ireland coming together for a purpose’ image of the Tribune. Either way it was a demonstration portrayed positively, something that the media very, very rarely do.

Inside though was what amazed. You had sympathetic article after sympathetic article (to underline matters, the colours used for the headline of the main article were the Palestinian ones) about the flotilla and Gaza. Even the article entitled ‘Israel fights two wars: against Hamas and against bad PR’ turned out to be a description of Israel’s repression of Palestinians and its ruthless PR war. There was even an article sympathetically talking about the IPSC and our ongoing boycott work, outlining our campaigns, describing the goods and companies to target.

That wasn’t the best though. That was the editorial. Entitled ‘A boycott of Israeli goods is now necessary’, it praised Palestinian activists and unequivocally called for a boycott. It's the first mainstream paper to come out in favour of boycotting Israel. Read it, and enjoy the feeling that finally, we’re starting to win.

The IPSC is in a unique position now. We’ve been working round the clock on media, lobbying, organising over the last ten days, and it’s paying off. Politicians listen to us, unions work with us, the press reports what we say. We know that we’ll be slipping back somewhat in the future – the Israeli backlash will start, people will lose interest and we also know the massive gap between action and words. At the same time, it feels like a complete sea change in attitudes – not just impatience and annoyance with Israel (which was always there) but proper support for the boycott campaign and for Palestinians. Those people who were killed abroad the Mavi Marmara - it’s a small consolation, but consolation nonetheless - didn’t die in vain.

June 08, 2010

Raytheon rerun?

Almost two years ago we, well David Landy, reported that the Raytheon 9 are Free!!!!!!!!!!!!! after "9 activists....trashed the Raytheon building in Derry because Israel used Raytheon weapons in the Lebanon war." Well there appears to be a rerun on in Brighton in Sussex in the UK. Here's The Guardian:
Activists claim they were legally justified in causing £180,000 damage to an arms factory as they were seeking to stop what they believed were Israeli war crimes in Gaza, a court heard today.

Eight activists were accused of conspiring to damage the factory in Sussex at the opening of their trial. All but one are arguing a defence of lawful excuse – that they "decommissioned" the factory to prevent civilians being killed by the Israeli military. They wanted to prevent arms being made there and sold to the Israeli air force.

They admit breaking into the factory in January last year, three weeks into the Israeli offensive against Gaza. The death toll from the offensive, called Operation Cast Lead, is disputed, although one Israeli human rights group estimates that 1,300 Palestinians died, many of them civilians. A United Nations investigation by former South African judge Richard Goldstone concluded last September that Israel, which launched the offensive in response to Palestinian rocket attacks, had committed war crimes by deliberately attacking civilians and firing white phosphorus shells.

The defence of committing an offence to prevent a more serious crime has been used on a number of occasions by peace and climate change activists.

Today Stephen Shay, counsel for the prosecution, told Hove crown court that five activists broke into the Brighton factory, owned by EDO MBM Technology, at night. "There is no issue between the prosecution and seven of the defendants that there was a plan to cause damage at the factory and that each of the seven was party to the plan," he said.

"Five … trespassers gave video-taped interviews prior to the incident stating their intent to cause damage to and 'smash up' EDO. This footage was posted on to a website known as Indymedia shortly after their arrest."

Four of the defendants read statements to police after they were arrested, accusing the EDO factory of aiding and abetting the "unlawful killing" and "slaughter" of Palestinians. They told police they believed that they had not acted illegally, Judge George Bathurst-Norman heard.

The eight who deny they conspired to cause criminal damage are Elijah Smith, 42, on remand in Lewes jail; Robert Nicholls, 52, Tom Woodhead, 25, Harvey Tadman, 44, and Ornella Saibene, 50, all of Bristol, and Rosa Bellamy, 23, Simon Levin, 35, and Chris Osmond, 29, all of Brighton.

Bellamy denies she was part of the alleged conspiracy. She, along with Levin and Osmond, were arrested outside the factory. The jury heard that Levin sent 77 texts shortly after the break-in, saying: "edo's getting trashed don't know who but I love them xxx." Equipment, including furniture, computers, and doors, was damaged. "War criminals" was painted on a wall.

Campaigners have for six years been seeking to close down the factory, which is the target of regular protests.

The trial continues and is due to last seven weeks.
Great timing, no?

June 06, 2010


From Ynet, June 6:
Pixies call off Israel gig over Navy raid
American rock band, scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, says 'events beyond all our control have conspired against us'

American rock band the Pixies, which was scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv this Wednesday, has called off its concert following the deadly Navy raid on a Gaza-bound vessel and the international criticism sparked by the incident.

The concert's producers in Israel received the following message from the band's management on Sunday morning: "The decision was not reached easily, and we all know well the Israeli fans have been waiting for this visit for far too long.

"We'd like to extend our deepest apologies to the fans, but events beyond all our control have conspired against us. We can only hope for better days, in which we will finally present the long awaited visit of the Pixies in Israel."

Tickets for the concert will be refunded at the points of purchase as of 9 am on Monday.

June 05, 2010

Israel's piracy update

I've never known the hasbara machine to suffer such a major malfunction. Antony Lerman in yesterday's Comment is free suggests that Israel had it all its own way on the day it killed nine activists in international waters but so many facts are speaking for themselves that even zionist domination of the media cannot help Israel's battered image.

Martin Rowson in The Guardian has really summed up what most people must surely think of Israel now and possibly for some time now:

And of course, it's not just an image problem. In killing nine people from a country whose rulers have been allied with Israel, Israel has behaved more like the nazis than it has in its treatment of the Palestinians. The nazis too were so racist they held even their allies in eastern Europe in contempt. That's what Israel's attitude to Turkey reminds me of. For Tony Greenstein, who has told a few people off for likening Israel to the nazis before now, Mark Regev is what reminds him of the nazi propaganda effort. So we have Israel's ethno-religious supremacy, its relentless militarism, its racist contempt even for allies and its increasingly ludicrous propaganda and still the moderators at Comment is free will delete comments that make the obvious comparison of Israel to the nazis.

Rachel Corrie's alma mater urges divestment from Israel

This is from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:
(JTA) -- The student body of Rachel Corrie's alma mater voted to urge the college to divest from companies that supply equipment to Israel's military.

The student body at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. passed two resolutions. The first, which passed with nearly 80 percent of the vote, "calls for The Evergreen State College Foundation to divest from companies that profit from Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine, as part of instituting a socially responsible investment policy." The second resolution, which passed with nearly 72 percent of the vote, "calls on the College to ban the use of Caterpillar, Inc. equipment from campus."

Student divestment bills did not pass in recent months at the University of California, San Diego and the University of California, Berkeley. At those universities, however, the bills were voted on by the student governments, whereas the Evergreen bill was voted on by the entire student body. In any case, the vote does not carry any actual authority; it merely urges the college do divest.

A Caterpillar bulldozer ran over and killed Corrie in 2003 in Gaza as she blocked a Palestinian house set for demolition with her body.
But what did Israel say?
Israeli authorities said the killing was accidental.
But no one believes them.

June 04, 2010

Has Israel tried to crush Rachel Corrie again?

Oh how they try. The Daily Telegraph, (aka the Torygraph), once the most pro-zio newspaper in the UK, is running a report that Israel has sabotaged communications systems on the Rachel Corrie ship bound for Gaza.
The cargo ship, laden with building supplies, cement, medical and educational equipment and wheelchairs as well as Irish and Malaysian activists, set off on Saturday despite warnings from Israel that it would halt any attempt to break the blockade.

On Monday nine people were killed when Israeli commandos boarded the Turkish-registered Mavi Marmara, which was part of a flotilla of six ships attempting to dock at Gaza.

Named after a 23-year-old American activist who was crushed to death by a bulldozer during a protest in Gaza in 2003, the Rachel Corrie was nearing the coast when the systems went down.

Those on board include Mairead Corrigan Maguire, the Nobel Peace laureate and founder of the Northern Ireland Peace People and Denis Halliday, a retired Irish diplomat who was once United Nations assistant secretary-general.

Audrey Bomse of the Free Gaza Movement said: “The situation is we lost all contact with the boat.

“We assume this was sabotage by the Israelis.”

She went on: “As a result of these threats, we're going to pull Rachel Corrie into a port, add more high-profile people on board, and insist that journalists from around the world also come with us.

“We're hoping communications get turned back on so we can inform them of the decision.”

It is thought organisers are considering sending another boat alongside the Rachel Corrie if communications are not restored.
So will Israel try to crush Rachel Corrie again? Their star will fall further if they do.....and if they don't.

Israel's falling star

Mike Marqusee's site is a mine of info on various subjects and he's always a good read on Palestine. Yesterday he published a piece on how Israel has gone down in the estimation of even its most supine friends in the UK parliament and why he believes that that has happened:
Wednesday’s Commons debate on Gaza was a remarkable illustration of just how weak Israel’s position has become in this country, as in others. Hague’s statement was probably more forceful than David Milliband’s would have been were he still Foreign Secretary. But it was strongly criticised as not going far enough by at least twenty MPs from nearly every party in the House. Defence of Israel was left to the DUP; even Louise Ellman and Denis Macshane, committed defenders of Israel, could not bring themselves to challenge the consensus that the assault on the Gaza flotilla was an outrage (they confined themselves to attacks on Hamas). The legion of MPs who’ve enjoyed expenses paid visits to Israel were silent.

Following Milliband’s strained effort to establish some significant difference between himself and Hague, more substantive responses came form Jeremy Corbyn, Caroline Lucas and others who called for sanctions against Israel. They pointed out that Israel had ignored international condemnation on numerous previous occasions, and that it was the failure of governments to move beyond condemnation that had led the Israelis to believe they could act against the Gaza boats with impunity.
Just an aside here, a noticeable feature of the return to power of the official right are some significant moves to the left. Various right wing policies of the outgoing Labour government have been ditched by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition. And see in the quote above how it was two Labour MPs who tried to defend Israel's latest disgrace by distraction rather than by reference to the atrocity itself.

Anyway, what has made Israel's star fall so far in the eyes of its natural supporters?
A major factor in the shift is of course the sheer indefensibility of Israeli behaviour. But that would not be perceived as it now is had it not been for the long-term, patient, grass roots campaigning by pro-Palestinian activists, who come from a wide range of political, religious and ethnic backgrounds. It is the international solidarity movement that has put sanctions on the agenda. It is the international solidarity movement that has ensured the blockade of Gaza has not been forgotten; pressure on Israel to end the blockade is now growing because actions taken by that movement have forced it on to governments’ agendas. The bravery and sacrifices of the people on the boats, along with so many others in previous actions, has made a huge difference. Without it, public awareness and debate would be entirely other than it currently is. Those who have advised a sotto voce approach to Israel have been proved wrong. In contrast, huge credit belongs to those who have forced the issue – from the volunteers on the aid boats to the students at Berkeley California who waged a determined campaign for disinvestment in deficne of a wave of insult and misrepresentation. Those who have persisted, often at considerable personal cost, in challenging the complacency and indifference of others are the reason why Israel is now in the dock as it has never been before. This Saturday’s demonstrations in London and elsewhere will show that their ranks are swelling.
But what was Israel playing at?
Had the intention merely been to stop the boats reaching Gaza, than entirely different tactics would have been employed. It is not an accident that the attack took place in international waters. That was part of the message the Israelis wanted to send: that they can reach out and punish their enemies even outside their own jurisdiction, that they regard supporters of the Palestinians, from whatever country, as fair game. It was meant to be a warning to the rest of us, but it has backfired. Far from being intimidated, activists will now redouble their campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions. And they are likely to meet a more sympathetic response than ever.
So is this the beginning of the end for Israel? I'm sure there's life in the old dog yet but this does seem to be a turning point.