Saturday, December 21, 2013

Arab League rejects U.S. proposal in Mideast deal

A general view shows the meeting of the Arab League Foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital Cairo on December 21, 2013. AFP PHOTO / HASSAN MOHAMED
A general view shows the meeting of the Arab League Foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital Cairo on December 21, 2013. AFP PHOTO / HASSAN MOHAMED

CAIRO: The Arab League says it rejects a continued Israeli troop presence on the eastern border of a future state of Palestine, a proposal Palestinians say was floated by the U.S. earlier this month.
Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said Saturday no peace deal would work with Israeli presence in a Palestinian state.
Palestinian officials said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry proposed Israel control Palestine's future border with Jordan for at least 10 years to address Israeli concerns about a potential influx of militants and weapons.

John Kerry’s framework proposal sets the stage for the ‘Gazafication’ of the West Bank / Jonathan Cook

Mondoweiss 19 Dec — …In recent days PA spokesmen have accused Kerry of “appeasement” and of failing to be “a neutral mediator”. The criticism looks more than justified. Under cover of a vision for peace, the US secretary of state is offering an Israeli security plan at the expense of meaningful Palestinian statehood.That is not entirely surprising given that the plan was drafted by John Allen, a general formerly in command of US forces in Afghanistan, who has spent months quietly liaising with Israeli counterparts. The main sticking point is the Jordan Valley, an area that was expected to comprise nearly a quarter of a future Palestinian state. Allen has indulged an Israeli demand that it be allowed to continue a long-term “military presence” in the Jordan Valley, of at least 10 years. Not only this but, according to a memo sent by Abbas to Obama, which the Haaretz newspaper revealed this week, the US plan would condition an eventual Israeli withdrawal on the Palestinians meeting a “test of implementation.” Abbas rightfully believes that this would give Israel an effective veto on ever leaving the Jordan Valley. That is a big retreat from Washington’s earlier commitment, made at the Annapolis talks of 2007, that no Israeli soldiers would be stationed in the West Bank following an agreement. Security guarantees were to be provided instead by Nato troops, under US command. The new proposal should be a deal-breaker. The valley is a vital resource for the Palestinians, one they have been effectively stripped of for decades by Israel’s exaggerated “security needs”. The Jordan Valley offers the only land border in the West Bank that would be potentially under Palestinian control. It is one of the few remaining undeveloped areas, making it a possible site to which hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees could return. And its lands are fertile and warm all year round, making it highly productive and a likely engine for the Palestinian economy. According to Allen’s plan, Israel’s security also requires that Palestinian security forces be only lightly armed, that Israel has control over the airspace and all borders, and that the US install spying technology – euphemistically called “early warning systems” – throughout the West Bank. In other words, the US vision of a Palestinian state looks remarkably like the model Israel has already implemented in Gaza.
Read more

Pope’s plans for Bethlehem (instead of Jerusalem) Mass disappoint Israel

Ynet 19 Dec by Itamar Eichner — Catholic pontiff’s truncated trip dashes hope of believers expecting papal-led Mass in Jerusalem. Israeli officials ask Vatican to reconsider holding service only in Bethlehem
Read more

PA ready for reconciliation with Hamas ‘at any price’

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — A senior PLO official said Thursday that the Palestinian Authority was ready for reconciliation with Hamas “at any price,” signaling a new openness to engage with its rival party amid deadlocked peace talks with Israel. “We are ready for reconciliation tomorrow,”
Read more

We refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, says ex-Palestinian negotiator (as you should)

Haaretz 20 Dec by Amira Hass — Shtayyeh stated that the Israeli insistence on Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is a new demand that was not raised in the initial talks and interim agreements between the Palestinians and the Israelis. According to Shtayyeh the declaration of Israel as a Jewish state implies the prevention of Palestinian refugees from returning to their homeland, opening the door to the expulsion of Palestinian citizens of Israel from their homes and the imposition of the Jewish narrative on the history of this country, thereby rejecting the Christian and Muslim narratives. Shtayyeh told Haaretz that there is a fundamental difference between “a state for the Jews” and a “Jewish state.”
Read more

Native American Studies group joins Israel boycott

Inside Higher Ed 18 Dec — The elected council for the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association has unanimously opted to support the academic boycott of Israel, making it the third U.S.-based scholarly association, after the Association for Asian American Studies and the American Studies Association, to do so.
Read more

Israeli soldiers raid Qalqiliya, kill Palestinian ‘in cold blood’

QALQILIYA (Ma‘an)— In the second killing of its kind in less than 24 hours early Thursday, Israeli forces raided a northern West Bank neighborhood and shot a Palestinian man dead. Witnesses said Israeli soldiers raided a neighborhood in the center of Qalqiliya and opened fire at 28-year-old Saleh Samir Abd al-Rahman Yasin, leaving him to bleed to death. The soldiers shot Yasin “in cold blood,” locals said.
Read more

Israel rejects American request to freeze settlement activities

Israeli Settlement - File
IMEMC —. The White House stated that the issue is of a great concern to the Palestinians, and could lead to toppling direct political talks between Tel Aviv and Ramallah. Talking to the Likud party conference on Wednesday evening, Netanyahu said that his administration is “committed to building and expanding settlements”, and that Tel Aviv “will not be pressured into halting its settlement activities”. “We are building, and working in full gear”, he stated, “We will build and develop, everywhere, including in the settlements.
Read more

Revealed from archive: Israel’s secret plan to resettle Arab refugees in foreign countries

Haaretz 19 Dec by Arik Ariel — Plans drawn up during the 1950s and ’60s had one overriding goal: to preserve the demographic status quo by resettling the 1948 Arab refugees far away from the country — …In the summer of 1961, the skies above Jerusalem darkened when it emerged that the Kennedy administration was determined to find a solution for the approximately one million refugees who were crowded into camps from Syria and Lebanon in the north, as far as Jordan, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the south. ‏(The exact number of refugees, and the question of who should be classified as a refugee, remained a constant subject of controversy.) It would be a mistake, though, to think that the catalyst for Washington’s new initiative was the refugees’ wretched and pitiful condition, the Middle East conflict or the Cold War. It was, in fact, Congress that set the initiative in motion by urging the State Department to find a solution for the problem. What provoked Congress to become involved was the burgeoning amount of aid provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, in the form of food, education and health − and the fact that the American taxpayer was underwriting 70 percent of UNRWA’s budget…
The largest and most comprehensive plan, involving the transfer of thousands of Christian Arabs from Galilee to Argentina and Brazil, was given the secret codename “Operation Yohanan,” … In the spring of 1950, the director of the Foreign Ministry’s international institutions department, Yehezkel Gordon, suggested that Israel consider settling Arab refugees in Somalia and Libya, to take the place of the 17,000 to 18,000 Jews who had immigrated to Israel from Cyrenaica and Tripoli … In the first half of the 1960s, the Foreign Ministry continued to examine plans to encourage the emigration of Arab refugees from the Middle East to Europe, particularly to France and Germany … Israel’s efforts to find overseas locations in which to settle Arab refugees continued even after the Six-Day War of 1967. In the end, though, these efforts failed.
Read more

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"Damn Hippie!"

Pope Marx

141949 600 Pope Marx cartoons

Boycott momentum rattles Israel By Ramzy Baroud

"The intellectual dishonesty of Israel's supporters is appalling. But in some odd way, also understandable. How else could they respond to the massively growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign?

When a non-violent campaign - empowered by thousands of committed civil society activists from South Africa to Sweden and most countries in between - leads a moral campaign to isolate and hold into account an Apartheid country like Israel, all that the supporters of the latter can do is spread lies and misinformation."

Reflections of an Arab Jew / Ella Habiba Shohat

Ella Habiba Shohat
Bint Jbeil — I am an Arab Jew. Or, more specifically, an Iraqi Israeli woman living, writing and teaching in the U.S. Most members of my family were born and raised in Baghdad, and now live in Iraq, Israel, the U.S., England, and Holland. When my grandmother first encountered Israeli society in the '50s, she was convinced that the people who looked, spoke and ate so differently--the European Jews--were actually European Christians. Jewishness for her generation was inextricably associated with Middle Easterness. My grandmother, who still lives in Israel and still communicates largely in Arabic, had to be taught to speak of "us" as Jews and "them" as Arabs. For Middle Easterners, the operating distinction had always been "Muslim," "Jew," and "Christian," not Arab versus Jew. The assumption was that "Arabness" referred to a common shared culture and language, albeit with religious differences.
Read more

Congress triples budget request to Israel

If Americans Knew 13 Dec by Alison Weir
"It’s been a great week for Israel in the US Congress this week. But not for the American taxpayer. While many Americans are gearing up for the Christmas holidays and trying to earn the money to buy their children presents, and while the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits surged, Congress voted yet more money to Israel. It also passed two other measures pushed by the Israel lobby. Almost none of this was reported by US mainstream media. The budget committees of both the Senate and the House released a budget on December 10th included $284 million for U.S.-Israeli “joint defense” — in fact, primarily for defense systems in Israel. These defense systems are aimed at shielding Israel from perceived threats in the region. For context, rockets from Gaza have killed some 29 Israelis in just over a decade, during which time Israeli forces killed approximately 4,000 Gazans. Congress is virtually assured to pass the budget. This money is on top of the $3.1 billion in military aid the U.S. gives Israel every year. It is also triple the already-generous $96 million the Obama administration had requested for the programs."
Read more

Boycott activists celebrate as Ahava quits South Africa
Electronic Intifada 13 Dec by Asa Winstanley — An Israeli cosmetics company based in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank has been forced out of South Africa after a sustained boycott campaign. The news about Ahava was revealed yesterday by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.”
Read more

Video: A Palestinian family lives in a cave after the occupation demolished his house

“As you see since the occupation demolished my house I live in this cave, I do not have another place to live. I have renovated as much as I can but the rain goes through. Today in the morning there was a huge collapse out of the cave. Because it is very dangerous I had to send my daughters to my father and brother. Every moment could collapse here….”
Read more

New UK drone ‘field tested’ on captive Palestinians

Mamoun al-Dam: killed by an Israeli drone
Electronic Intifada 13 Dec by Ali Abunimah —
“Joint venture” 
– The “new Watchkeeper drone being developed for the UK military is based on a model that Israel has ‘field tested’ in attacks on Gaza which left many Palestinians dead, including children,” War on Want warns in a statement accompanying the report. The UK Ministry of Defense awarded a $1.6 billion contract for the drone to a joint venture between Israeli arms company Elbit and Thales UK. The Watchkeeper is based closely on Elbit’s Hermes 450 model, which Israel has used extensively in Gaza."
Read more

Monday, December 16, 2013

ASA (American Studies Association) members vote 2-1 for academic boycott of Israel

"The ASA National Council thanks all who took seriously the task of debating and discussing the resolution.  As the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history, the Association’s mission includes the ongoing study and discussion of pressing issues faced by the US and the world. As part of that process and in keeping with the ASA’s commitment to academic freedom, we are thus pleased to announce plans to bring Israeli and Palestinian academics to the 2014 national convention in Los Angeles."

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Middle East under snow

Middle East under snow – in pictures
Taken through the windshield of a car, this picture shows Lebanese drivers rushing to help others stuck in the middle of the main Beirut-Damascus highway during a snow storm near the mountain village of Mdeirej 
Middle East under snow – in pictures 
Palestinian worshipers walk near the Dome of the Rock at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem following a snowstorm. The hilltop city of Jerusalem was paralysed by its fiercest snowstorm in years, with its mayor enlisting the army to help stranded motorists. Main roads into the Holy City, which climb around 795 metres (2,600 feet) above sea level were closed and police appealed to drivers not to attempt the journey
 Middle East under snow – in pictures 
An Ultra Orthodox Jew is seen walking in the snow at the Western Wall compound in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Middle East under snow – in pictures 
A Syrian child stands in the snow in a refugee camp in the town of Arsal in the Lebanese Bekaa valley. Thousands of Syrian refugees living in makeshift camps in Lebanon were weathered a winter storm that brought snow, rain and freezing temperatures to the country 
 Middle East under snow – in pictures 
A Syrian youth draws a heart in the snow on a car in Damascus

 A powerful winter storm sweeping the eastern Mediterranean this week is causing mayhem across the region and inflicting extra misery on Syrians convulsed in civil war and refugees who have fled the fighting. The storm, named Alexa, is expected to last until Saturday, bringing more snow, rain and freezing temperatures to large swaths of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories
More photos (The Guardian)

Internal splintering of Syrian rebel groups leads U.S., U.K. to suspend aid

"The U.S. and Britain cut off non-lethal aid to Western-backed rebels in Northern Syria after Islamist insurgents seized weapons warehouses in near the Turkish border. Gwen Ifill gets reaction to the decision from Syrian opposition activist Murhaf Jouejati and Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma."

Why Palestine should seek justice at the International Criminal Court

By Bill Van Esveld (Senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch.)
For almost a year, since obtaining upgraded status at the UN, the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah has had a chance to open the door to justice for serious international crimes committed on Palestinian territory.

They could seize this chance to deter future abuses tomorrow by giving the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction.

Palestine first lodged a declaration seeking ICC jurisdiction in late January 2009, after the devastating 22-day Gaza conflict that started the month before. In April 2012 the then-ICC prosecutor stopped considering Palestine's declaration, stating that he couldn't decide whether Palestine was a "state," a necessary condition for jurisdiction.
Read more

Israel opens dam drowning Gaza!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_454/ximage.jpg.pagespeed.ic.pQfvILFjga.jpg

Israel 'opens dams' flooding Gaza Strip near Deir al Balah

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Gaza government's Disaster Response Committee announced late Friday that Israeli authorities had opened up dams just east of the Gaza Strip, flooding numerous residential areas in nearby villages within the coastal territory.

Committee chairman Yasser Shanti said in a press conference that Israeli authorities had opened up dams just to the east of the border with the Gaza Strip earlier in the day.

In one of the coldest conditions in memory Israel refuses to distribute extra blankets to Palestinian prisoners

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli prison administration refused a request from the Palestinian Authority to allow extra blankets and clothes for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails during the recent storm, the PA prisoners' affairs minister said on Sunday.
Issa Qaraqe told Ma'an that despite coordination between the PA, the Red Cross, and the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Israeli administration of Ofer prison refused to allow hundreds of blankets prepared by the PA to be distributed to inmates.

McDonald’s Closing All Restaurants In Bolivia As Nation Rejects Fast Food

"McDonald’s happy image and its golden arches aren’t the gateway to bliss in Bolivia. This South American country isn’t falling for the barrage of advertising and fast food cooking methods that so easily engulf countries like the United States. Bolivians simply don’t trust food prepared in such little time. The quick and easy, mass production method of fast food actually turns Bolivians off altogether. Sixty percent of Bolivians are an indigenous population who generally don’t find it worth their health or money to step foot in a McDonald’s. Despite its economically friendly fast food prices, McDonald’s couldn’t coax enough of the indigenous population of Bolivia to eat their BigMacs, McNuggets or McRibs."

Caroling New Yorkers Protest Israeli Settlement-builder, as Israel Boycott Grows

New York, NY, December 14, 2013 – As snow fell on the New York area Saturday afternoon, 40 human rights advocates gathered on Manhattan’s upscale Madison Avenue in front of the Leviev Diamond store and sang parody holiday carols protesting diamond magnate Lev Leviev’s construction of Israeli settlements. Many holiday shoppers, bundled against the cold, paused to listen to the carolers and appeared surprised but pleased by their human rights message. The protest came days after popular mobilizations against an Israeli government plan to displace tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel contributed to the plan’s cancellation, and amidst growing global recognition of the efficacy of the international boycott movement.

Toxic 'e-waste' dumped in poor nations, says United Nations

Millions of tonnes of old electronic goods illegally exported to developing countries, as people dump luxury items
Tablets and other electronic goods bought this Christmas are destined to create a flood of 'e-waste'. Photograph: Anthony Upton/Rex Features
Millions of mobile phones, laptops, tablets, toys, digital cameras and other electronic devices bought this Christmas are destined to create a flood of dangerous "e-waste" that is being dumped illegally in developing countries, the UN has warned.

Attack on Wedding Convoy One of the Worst in History of Drone War in Yemen

Victims killed in drone strike on wedding convoy.
A drone strike by the United States, which targeted a wedding convoy, reportedly killed anywhere from ten to seventeen people and injured as many as thirty individuals.
Most of the people killed were civilians, which makes the attack one of the worst in Yemen since the US began to launch drone strikes against people the government believes are senior operatives of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or militants, who are members of “associated forces” the government thinks it can link to al Qaeda.

The first time in 112 years...

Snow at the Giza Pyramids.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Destroyed life of Syrian children

Sebastiano Tomada—SIPA USA
March 27, 2013. Ahmed, the 7 year old son of a FSA fighter, stands in front of a barricade,
 were he assists his FSA comrades in the neighborhood of Salahadeen, one of Aleppo's front lines.

Haaretz: Israel inches closer to 'tipping point' of South Africa-style boycott campaign

 Analogies with apartheid regime in the wake of Mandela’s death could accelerate efforts to ostracize Israel - especially if John Kerry’s peace process collapses.

Boycott Israel flyers on the streets of Paris
Boycott Israel flyers on the streets of Paris Photo by Dreamstime
Chemi Shalev (Haaretz)
 This has happened in recent days: The Dutch water company
 Vitens severed its ties with Israeli counterpart Mekorot; Canada’s
 largest Protestant church decided to boycott three Israeli companies;
 the Romanian government refused to send any more construction workers;
 and American Studies Association academics are voting on a measure
 to sever links with Israeli universities. Coming so shortly after the Israeli
 government effectively succumbed to a boycott of settlements in order to
 be eligible for the EU’s Horizon 2020 scientific cooperation agreement,
 it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and
 Sanctions) movement is picking up speed. And the writing on the wall,
 if anyone missed it, only got clearer and sharper in the wake of the death
 of Nelson Mandela.
Read more 

"Your Greed is hurting the economy!"

Nick Anderson cartoon

Another blow to Israeli ethnic cleansers

Sheikh Sayah At-Toury arrested for the crime of "trespassing" on his own land is released
 Another blow to the dispossession and oppression plan: The Beer Sheva district court just ruled that Sheikh Saya is free to return to his village, his land, and his family in Al-Arakib! The district court stated that the release conditions that the police tried to impose on him and that prevented him from returning to his village, are null and void, and there was no reason to keep him in detention. What this means is that the arrest of Sheikh Sayah At-Toury for the crime of "trespassing" was a false arrest, a blackmail attempt aimed at keeping him from his land.

Victory! Prawer Plan to ethnic cleanse the Naqab (Negev) Bedouins cancelled!

Architect of the proposal told a Knesset committee earlier this week that he had never received community support for the proposal, despite claims to the contrary. 

Umm al-Hiran
Umm al-Hiran. The government has decided to raze the Bedouin village in the Negev to make way for a new Jewish community.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government has decided to drop the current draft of a controversial bill to resettle nearly 30,000 Bedouin living in the Negev into already recognized villages, the former minister overseeing the plan said on Thursday.
Benny Begin, an architect of the Begin-Prawer Plan, told a press conference that Netanyahu had accepted his recommendation to halt progress on the bill. It is not clear whether the billl has been shelved or just temporarily postponed.
He also accused critics of the plan of exploiting the proposal for their own benefit. "Right, left, Arabs and Jews joined hands – while exploiting the plight of many Bedouin – to heat things up for political gain," he said. "We've done our best, but sometimes you need to recognize reality."
During the drafting of the legislation, Begin said, more than 1,000 Bedouin were heard, and as a result changes in the bill were introduced. "I myself met with 600 of them… We didn't just hear them out, we listened to them attentively," he said, adding that some viewed his willingness to engage with the Bedouin community as excessive.
The possibility of the bill being shelved emerged three days ago, after Begin denied claims that community leaders had accepted the proposal – a key defense used by the government in advancing the plan.
Read more

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

After attending Mandela’s memorial, Knesset member’s blood rejected in gov’t drive because she is African

  Knesset member Pnina Tamano-Shat
Israel's first Ethiopian-born Knesset member Pnina Tamano-Shata traveled to South Africa to pay homage to Nelson Mandela. But when she returned and tried to donate blood, she was told that she was barred from doing so because she had "the special kind of Jewish-Ethiopian blood.”

Why Palestine Should Seek Justice at the International Criminal Court

"Why isn't Palestine playing ball in The Hague? Those responsible for rocket launches from Gaza targeting Israeli population centers could be held criminally responsible at the ICC, but that should not deter the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah from seeking the court’s jurisdiction, since it has stated that it is against such attacks. The main reason, current and former Palestinian officials say, is that Israel has threatened unspecified retaliation if it seeks the court’s jurisdiction, and the US has reinforced the threat. As a former Palestinian legal adviser told me, "The US said to us clearly, conveying Israel’s position, 'Don't touch it.'" US Secretary of State John Kerry said during his Senate confirmation hearings that the US was "very, very strongly against" any "effort to take Israel for instance … to the ICC.""

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hanan Ashrawi urges NBC to halt drama series set in East Jerusalem

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- PLO official Hanan Ashrawi on Tuesday called on US network NBC to halt production of a drama series due to be filmed in East Jerusalem.
The upcoming drama 'DIG' is an action-adventure series set to be filmed entirely in Jerusalem. It was developed by Keshet Media Group, an Israeli media company, and will consist of six episodes due to be aired in 2014.
"Such a production will legitimize the annexation of Jerusalem and the destruction of the authenticity and character of the occupied city," Ashrawi said.
Read More

Kerry back to Israel as Palestinians warn of negotiations 'failure'

US Secretary of State John Kerry delivers the keynote address at the
Saban Forum in Washington on Dec. 7, 2013 
The announcement came after Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top official with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), on Monday said that Kerry's ideas on the future configuration of security arrangements which were presented to the Palestinian leadership last week, had provoked a "real crisis".
"These ideas will drive Kerry's efforts to an impasse and to total failure because he is treating our issues with a high degree of indifference," he told AFP. 
The proposals focus on security arrangements in the Jordan Valley which runs down the eastern flank of the West Bank, with commentators saying it would allow Israel to maintain a long-term military presence there

Monday, December 9, 2013

New book refutes the notion that Jerusalem suffered from sectarianism before Israel's foundation.

“This book undermines the notion of a sectarian and backward Jerusalem through a living testimony,” says Professor Salim Tamari of The Storyteller of Jerusalem, the newly-translated diaries of Palestinian musician Wasif Jawhariyyeh. Normal life in the city captured by these contemporary documents includes Muslims, Christians and Jews routinely celebrating one another’s religious holidays."

Israel lobbyists finally concede that EU has ditched anti-Semitism "definition"

Ben White (Electronic Intifada)
Pro-Israel groups this week have finally admitted what had been clear for some time: that a European Union body’s “working definition” of anti-Semitism is dead in the water.
At the end of October, I blogged for The Electronic Intifada on a BBC Trust decision that revealed how the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) had removed a document outlining the “working definition” from its website. The definition had contended that describing the foundation of Israel as a “racist endeavor” was tantamount to anti-Semitism.
Read more

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters backs American Studies Association Israel boycott vote

Roger Waters performs The Wall Live in Barcelona, 2011.
Roger Waters performs The Wall Live in Barcelona, 2011.
Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, a prominent supporter of the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel, sent this message to members of the American Studies Association (ASA), who are currently voting in an online referendum on a resolution to endorse a boycott of Israeli institutions:
An Open Letter To All of You In The American Studies Association
I have been reading with growing interest about the American Studies Association’s up coming vote on their resolution to endorse an academic boycott on Israel.
I am just a simple musician, but I have been advocating a cultural boycott of Israel since 2007. I have no words to express my profound support for all of you in the academic world.
Your stand is fundamentally important because it is acknowledged that you can not only feel, but think as well. Steven Hawking’s refusal to go to Israel was a huge statement. We await your vote with bated breath.
Read more

Sunday, December 8, 2013

‘The Israeli sniper shot my son as if he hunted a bird’

Wajih Wajdi Al-Ramahi, 14, killed by Israeli sniper December 7, 2013 Ramallah, Palestine
An Israeli sniper killed a child yesterday. Wajih Wajdi Al-Ramahi,
14 was shot in the back by while walking in front of a school in
 Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah. Thousands of mourners 
 turned out for his funeral is today.

Juan Cole: United States and Israel opposed Mandela, supported Apartheid

"The attempt to make Nelson Mandela respectable is an ongoing effort of Western government spokesmen and the Western media.
He wasn’t respectable in the business circles of twentieth-century New York or Atlanta, or inside the Beltway of Washington, D.C. He wasn’t respectable for many of the allies of the United States in the Cold War, including Britain and Israel.
I visited Soweto in 2012 and went to Mandela’s old house. It was a moving experience. I don’t want him to be reduced to a commercialized icon on this day of all days.
We should remember that for much of the West in the Cold War, South Africa’s thriving capitalist economy was what was important. Its resources were important. Its government, solely staffed by Afrikaners and solely for Afrikaners, was seen as a counter-weight to Soviet and Communist influence in Africa. Washington in the 1980s obsessed about Cuba’s relationship to Angola (yes)."

The lies they weave

'Israeli troops shoot Palestinian teen in back near Ramallah'

Witnesses, Israeli army offer contradictory stories about whether clashes were taking place, but neither suggest the boy took part in any violence. The teen, Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi, is pronounced dead at a Ramallah hospital.
Israeli forces reportedly shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy as he stood outside of a school in the al-Jalazoun refugee camp Saturday afternoon.
Residents of the camp, which is located in between Ramallah and the Israeli settlement of Beit El, told Maan news agency that Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi was standing outside of the camp’s school when he was shot in the back with live ammunition.
According to AFP, al-Ramahi was the 26th Palestinian to be killed by the Israeli army since the start of 2013.

“Al-Qaeda’s Governance Strategy in Raqqa,” by Chris Looney

  • The ar-Raqqa executions ~ Confirmation of the Islamic State in Iraq and as-Sham
    “Every 15 minutes someone poured water on me, electrocuted me, kicked me, and then walked out,” says one activist in an interview with CNN.
  • “They beat me with a rifle and with their hands when they arrested me,” says another in a conversation with BBC. “And they threw a wheel on my back so I couldn’t move.

    The ar-Raqqa executions ~ Confirmation of the
    Islamic State in Iraq and as-Sham
"Such is the situation in Raqqa, a city in northeastern Syria with approximately one million inhabitants now under control of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the most powerful Al Qaeda (AQ) affiliate currently operating in Syria.
Since ISIS came to power in May, its abuse of Raqqa’s citizens has been well documented. It has begun to enforce its extreme interpretation of Islam upon the city’s residents, forcing women to “cover their beauty,” banning tobacco products, and brutally repressing dissident voices."

Dick Cheney Didn't Regret His Vote Against Freeing Nelson Mandela, Maintained He Was A 'Terrorist'

The Huffington Post
 In 1986, Nelson Mandela -- the former president of South Africa who died Thursday at the age of 95 -- was serving the 23rd year of what would ultimately be a 27-year prison sentence. The Western world was finally acknowledging the true horrors of Apartheid, a system of racial segregation that denied basic rights to blacks -- including citizenship and the right to vote -- and brutally oppressed a generation of South Africans fighting for equality.
In the U.S. Congress, lawmakers were ready to show their opposition to the South African regime with the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, a bill that called for tough sanctions and travel restrictions on the nation and its leaders, and for the repeal of apartheid laws and release of political prisoners like Mandela, then leader of the African National Congress (ANC).

Better Six Billion ($) than 6 Trillion! Bibi and Bandar Badger Obama

Franklin Lamb (Counterpunch)
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, along with certain Arab League countries, plus Turkey and Israel, have this past week reportedly committed themselves to raising nearly $6 billion to “beef up” the just hatched seven member Islamic Front (IF) in Syria. These ‘ best friends of America” want the Obama Administration to sign onto a scheme to oust the Syrian government by funding, arming, training, and facilitating movement and generally choreographing fighters of the Islamic Front.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

EU anti-racism agency says it can't define anti-Semitism

'We are not aware of any official definition,' says European Union Fundamental Rights Agency."
The European Union’s agency for combating racism dropped its definition for anti-Semitism and now is unable to define the term, an agency spokeswoman said

Landmark study finds Israeli control in occupied territories ‘a breach of the prohibition of apartheid’

"Israel is clearly in military occupation of the OPT. At the same time, elements of the occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law. What are the legal consequences of a regime of prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid for the occupied people, the Occupying Power and third States?"

Is Obama Changing Tack on Syria?

John Glaser (
The Obama administration’s fumbling policy on Syria turned out better than it might have this past fall when unprecedented public and international opposition to a punitive U.S. strike against the Assad regime staved off another reckless U.S. war in the Middle East. The Obama administration was embarrassed and one-upped by Russia’s diplomatic solution, and that’s much better than war.

BDS victory: American Studies Association endorses Boycott of Israel

"It is resolved that the American Studies Association (ASA) endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.  It is also resolved that the ASA supports the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel-Palestine and in support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement."