Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Stephen Zunes : How the state Assembly tries to limit what I can teach

"I look at how the California State Assembly has tried to limit what I can teach, declaring that acknowledging the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israeli forces in 1947-49 constitutes "anti-Semitic discourse" which should "not be tolerated in the classroom.

Blasphemy in Secular France

 The campaign by the French government, mass media and influential organizations to silence the Franco-Cameroonese humorist Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala continues to expose a radical split in perception within the French population. The official “mobilization” against the standup comedian, first called for by Interior Minister Manuel Valls at a ruling Socialist Party gathering last summer, portrays the entertainer as a dangerous anti-Semitic rabble rouser, whose “quenelle”* gesture is interpreted as a “Nazi salute in reverse”. For his fans and supporters, those accusations are false and absurd. The most significant result of the Dieudonné uproar so far is probably the dawning realization, among more and more people, that the “Shoah”, or Holocaust, functions as the semi-official State Religion of France.
On RTL television last January 10, the well-known nonconformist commentator Eric Zemmour (who happens to be Jewish) observed that it was “grotesque and ridiculous” to associate Dieudonné with the Third Reich. Zemmour described Dieudonné as a product of the French left’s multiculturalism. “It’s the left that has taught us since May ’68 that it is prohibited to prohibit, that we must shock the bourgeois. It is the left that has turned the Shoah into the supreme religion of the Republic…”
Read more

Friday, January 24, 2014

NY Mayor tells AIPAC: ‘Part of my job description is to be a defender of Israel’

"The progressive NY mayor can take on the wealthy and fight racism, but he pandered to the Israel lobby group AIPAC last night behind closed doors. de Blasio called for a boycott of Saudi Airlines and a continuation of the “transcendent” partnership between Cornell and an Israeli university in NY. And he said his job description was to defend Israel. “You have a friend and an ally at City Hall… When you need me to stand by you in Washington or anywhere, I will answer the call and I will answer it happily, because that’s my job.”"

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Joshua Landis analysis: Why Syria's Assad enters Geneva talks in a position of strength

His army is stronger, his allies are more committed and regime's capacity for brutality has kept it in charge
Syrian troops celebrate as they take the village of Haydariya on May 13 as part of a push to cut supply lines to their opponents.

Syrian troops celebrate as they take the village of Haydariya last May as part of a push to cut supply lines to their opponents in the strategic Qusayr area of Homs province.

The regime's resilience is based, first and foremost, on the Syrian army. Without its loyalty, Assad would likely have fallen as quickly as Tunisia's President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak did in 2011. But while many soldiers and officers did join the rebellion, most did so as individuals; few entire units defected, and no entire divisions did. Structurally, the military held together, and it was able to replenish its ranks through intensive recruitment among the Alawite minority, where many are loyal to the regime and still more live in mortal fear of sectarian retribution at the hands of the Sunni-led armed rebellion. The same factors allowed the military to expand its capabilities through the paramilitary Popular Committees, often called shabiha. And it has also been able to enlist the support in critical battles of units of the Shia Hezbollah militia from neighboring Lebanon, whose leaders recognize that their own military fortunes depend on maintaining the resupply lines that the Assad regime has long provided.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

SodaStream Boycott

The Interfaith Boycott Coalition is asking socially conscious people everywhere to join the call to boycott SodaStream
  Who’s behind this US boycott?

The Interfaith Boycott Coalition is a group of individuals from faith-based organizations and institutions who share a common goal of bringing justice to the Palestinians

Scarlett Johansson supports apartheid

Monday, January 20, 2014

Palestinian/Israeli legislator Ahmad Tibi: Why I walked out on Stephen Harper's speech

Ahmad Tibi
"We are 20 per cent of the population, we are suffering discrimination," Tibi told Solomon.
"That democracy of Israel is a selective democracy, ethnic democracy. Canada is a democracy and people are equal without relation to their ethnic background. Here, there's a problem with that," he said.
Tibi is a deputy speaker of Knesset and leader of the Arab Movement for Change, or Ta'al.
Canada's foreign policy toward Israel is "biased, non-balanced, and that's why Canada has a very marginal role in the Middle East," Tibi said.
He and colleague Abu Arar walked out, Tibi said, "to say that we are very much unsatisfied with the remarks and the policy of Prime Minister Harper. It is very diplomatic. It's a protest which is legitimate in any parliament."
Read more 
Video (Arabic) Tibi to Harper: "You are a Likudnic. You're place is on Likud's benchs"

Palestinian children displaying traditional embroidery

Photo Samar Bader

Electronic Intifada: New York Post’s lies about UN and Palestinians in Yarmouk camp

The New York Post tabloid is notorious for its virulent anti-Palestinian editorializing.
Part of its regular schtick is also bashing the UN, claiming that the world body is biased against Israel.
The simple, undeniable reality is this: dozens of countries have faced UN sanctions, or even UN-approved invasions for one transgression or another.
But never once in its history has the UN imposed sanctions on Israel, despite decades of unchecked violations of UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions and other well-documented crimes against the people of Palestine and other countries.
Read more

The 50 Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel

There are more than 50 Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel in all areas of life, including their rights to political participation, access to land, education, state budget resources, and criminal procedures. Some of the laws also violate the rights of Palestinians living in the 1967 OPT and Palestinian refugees.

You can also see Adalah's Brief on Discriminatory Laws and Bills Since 2009, and compiled Pending Discriminatory Bills in the 19th Israeli Knesset.
This database collects text, analyses, and legal action for present and proposed discriminatory laws in Israel and the OPT. Please explore:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

One Democratic Secular State for all its citizens in Israel and Palestine


As Israel and the US squabble and talks grind to a halt, PLO could come out fighting for its people

Five things the PLO could do now

They could now withdraw from the Oslo package and end their role as a “Palestine Authority”: administrators and security intermediary for Israel’s military rule in the West Bank.
They should fully back the BDS call and lobby for international sanctions against Israel until it meets its obligations respects international law. Doors will surely open to them in countries that voted for their UN upgrade, and in blocs like the EU and the huge South American Mercosur bloc who are already considering cutting Israel out of some trade, financial, academic and cultural deals.  
They could take practical measures to enable and support the grassroots actions against the Wall, for prisoners’ freedom, for freedom of movement, and against the lawless vandalism and land-grab of the Israeli state and its aggressive settlers: couldn’t their well-equipped police be deployed to defend the lands, buildings and crops against the marauding settlers and the army’s bulldozers, and to defend the shepherds of the Jordan valley against those who steal their water? And isn’t it time they opened up their prisons and released all political activists?
At the UN they should press for its Year of Palestine Solidarity to have real teeth, and to take serious measures to enforce the rulings in UN Resolutions 181, 194 and 242 that required Israel as a UN member to accord equal rights to all its citizens, to allow return of the excluded refugee population, and to end its military rule over the West Bank.
Their remit since Oslo has shrunk down from the entire Palestinian people, to just those under occupation. They could start to reverse that by leading a call for an emergency food airlift to the besieged Yarmuk camp in Syria where Palestinians are dying of hunger. And they could go on to ensure that the ruling bodies are truly representative by holding global elections and including delegates from far and wide.

Year four: The seasons turn on the Arab Spring

Revolution, counter-revolution and counter counter-revolution. 

"The promise of the Arab revolution was - and remains - a break with repressive authoritarian and totalitarian regimes to pave the way towards an era of freedom, dignity and prosperity," writes the author [Reuters]
 Marwan Bishara
Inasmuch as a revolution is a break with history, the Arab peoples' revolution broke with history three years ago this December. But inasmuch as a revolution is an evolutionary process, the revolution has entered its 4th year.
The Arab revolution is a long time in the coming. It has been incredibly shocking, largely unpredictable but hardly surprising. There is no point, therefore, in trying retroactively to figure out why or how it was missed.
And while the Arabs share a common political history, geography and culture, the multiple uprisings that started in Tunisia and made their way through Egypt to other parts of the Arab world, while diverse, are, in fact, part and parcel of one Arab revolution and one mega Arab spectacle. Nonetheless, each Arab country has acted and reacted according to its own particularity and circumstances, defined mostly by the nature of the relationship between regime, society and state.
In retrospect, the revolutionary wave which swept through Tunisia and Egypt was breathtaking but also "too good to be true". Democratic revolutions require radical, mostly painful changes to succeed, the undoing of old structures and institutions, reining in the old regimes' bloated and unchecked power, and unseating their resourceful benefactors.
This revolution, in all likelihood, was going to face a stubborn counter-revolution. In fact, one indicator of the democratic nature of the Arab revolution was its allowing for old powerful and conservative forces to compete fairly, overcoming old habits and archaic politics.True that revolutions open the way for the emergence of new forces to represent and fulfil people's aspirations, yet, these forces take time and effort to organise into democratic parties with comprehensive agendas.
And inasmuch as the revolution dominated the first year, counter-revolution, in all its forms, has made a comeback in the second phase. Today we are witnessing the rise of new forms of counter counter-revolution. Some are peaceful, others violent and if left unchecked, will further destabilise the region.
Read more

Friday, January 17, 2014

Academy drops ‘territories’ in Palestine reference

Adam Bakri in “Omar.” The drama, set amid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign picture on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. After hearing the news of his latest nomination, director Hany Abu-Assad said Thursday that having the academy refer to his entry as being from Palestine was a step in the right direction.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Thursday’s Oscar nominations had some new language in the foreign language category: Nominee “Omar” was described as being from “Palestine,” a reference the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has carefully avoided in the past.
“Omar,” a drama set amid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was directed by Hany Abu-Assad, whose 2005 thriller “Paradise Now” was also nominated in the foreign language category. But after a tussle with the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles, the academy chose to refer to the film as a product of the “Palestinian Territories” or “Palestinian Authority,” rather than simply “Palestine.”
Read more

AIPAC Struggling As Media Starts Reporting: M.J Rosenberg

"A lobby is a night flower. It thrives in the dark and dies in the sun."
 "Exposure is never good news for the lobby, which is why it operates behind closed doors. And successfully.  It has managed to create a situation where any American can say or write anything about the United States and its leaders but not about Israel. You won't lose your job if you write that President Obama was born in Kenya or is a secret terrorist, but suggest that Netanyahu is a stinker and you are in serious trouble. This is perverse.
 Back in September 1982, I began a four year stint as a senior staffer at AIPAC. My  politics have obviously evolved since then. I left that job still in synch with AIPAC's worldview and on good terms with the place. In fact, I continued fundraising for the organization after I left. I didn't come around to seeing AIPAC as an enemy of peace until years later.

Racism is in the DNA of Zionism

Help overturn my deportation and 10-year ban from Israel

 Hi, I'm Gary. I am a 23 year old student and long-standing activist for human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
 On the 9th of January 2014 I was traveling to Israel for a 9-day visit to engage with Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups and some key sector organizations within the Israeli and Palestinian peace movement. The purpose of my visit was to engage with the civil society of both communities, meet with Palestinian and Israeli activists and officials in the hope of discussing a variety of projects, with a particular emphasis on Northern Ireland’s transition from armed conflict to political process.

Unfortunately Israeli immigration officials put me through a horrendous ordeal which ended in my deportation and landed me with a 10-year ban from the country.

After taking advice and seeing the public support for my case I have subsequently decided to take legal action through the Israeli courts in order to seek some justice by getting the deportation and ban over turned.

Things your money would be better spent on that could aid you in acting in solidarity with Palestine more than funding Gary Spedding’s white male entitlement driven arrogance-fest:

1. A book. something written by June Jordan or Haifa Zangana or Alice Walker or Nadje al Ali. 
2. legal fees after yourself or others are arrested at a JNF demonstration to drag the JNF through the courts.
 3. a visa for a Palestinian student to come over to do a speaker tour.
 4. coffee for yourself and a comrade after a meeting, so that you establish relationships with the people you’ll be working with, so that you feel safe and comfortable with people that you trust. 
5. internet in your flat so that you can tweet important hashtags, share articles, read articles, have skype meetings, watch documentaries and then post 1500 work critiques of those documentaries on your facebook in the hope of a few likes.
 6. materials for awareness raising, to advertise events for awareness raising. 
7. resources for campaigning.
 8. paint for banners. 
9. bread and humus so you have the energy to go to a meeting.
10. a cinema ticket to a film screening you’re going to with your PalSoc.
 11. a film screening that you’ll go to on your own, so that you can have some down time. 
12. heating in your flat. 
13. the bus on the way back from work. 
14. a ticket to a different city to go to a conference. 
15. a curry with people from the conference that you’ve only ever spoken to on the internet before.
16. a plane ticket to Palestine, to meet people and hear stories and see things, so that you can go back home to where you live and organise, spread awareness, pressure your government, show solidarity. 
17. sponsoring someone else to go to Palestine if they are not in a position to fund themselves. 
18. a keffiyeh from the last keffiyeh factory in Palestine- to be worn only with knowledge and understanding of the cultural and political implication, importance and meaning that the keffiyeh has for Palestinians and Arabs in general, out of solidarity not fashion. 
19. a newspaper so that you can read their obituary of Sharon and complain about it’s whitewashing of war crimes, pass it on and have others complain.  
20. something you really enjoy doing, to avoid burnout.
21. donations to support the legal processes of Palestinian activists. 
22. sponsoring an olive tree being planted in Palestine. 
23. a bus ticket to see an art exhibition of arab women’s art, that challenges orientalist, patriarchal and paternalistic narratives.
24. tickets to see someone speak about Palestine.
25. pretty much anything other than donating to the JNF

Global Terrorism and Saudi Arabia: Bandar’s Terror Network: James Petras

"Bandar bin Sultan has transformed Saudi Arabia from an inward-looking, tribal based regime totally dependent on US military power for its survival, to a major regional center of a vast terror network, an active financial backer of rightwing military dictatorships (Egypt) and client regimes (Yemen) and military interventor in the Gulf region (Bahrain)." "Dozens of Islamic armed gangs in Syria competed for Saudi arms and funds. Training bases with US and European instructors and Saudi financing were established in Jordan, Pakistan and Turkey. Bandar financed the major ‘rebel’ Islamic terrorist armed group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, for cross border operations.

US media largely ignores world; citizens remain insular: Antony Loewenstein

"The role of corporate media is to serve powerful business interest and advertisers; serving the public good ain’t really a serious consideration. New data from the US is both disturbing and unsurprising and shows even more reason why alternative and indy media must grow in power."

Iraq’s Bloody Day: 115 Killed, 145 Wounded

"At least 115 people were killed and 145 more were wounded in a continuing bomb spree in Baghdad and ongoing clashes in Anbar province. Several cities near the capital were also targeted today.
Iraqi forces in Anbar province retook Saqlawiya this morning. An oil tanker was blown up on a bridge near there yesterday, killing three soldiers. Gunmen also took over the town and forced police to hand over weapons. Security forces then launched an airstrike. At least 11 insurgents were killed. In Garma, six soldiers were wounded when a booby-trapped building collapsed around them."

Israel Lobby Thwarted in Iran Sanctions Bid for Now

"In what looks to be a clear victory – at least for now – for President Barack Obama, a major effort by the Israel lobby and its most powerful constituent, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), to pass a new sanctions bill against Iran has stalled in the U.S. Senate.
While the legislation, the “Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013,” had gathered 59 co-sponsors in the 100-member upper chamber by last week, opposition to it among Democrats appears to have mounted in recent days.
That opposition apparently prompted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who controls the floor calendar, to back away from a previous commitment to permit a vote on the measure some time over the next few weeks. As a result, AIPAC is now reportedly hoping to get the bill through the Republican-dominated House of Representatives."

“Politicians are cowards” on Israel, says prominent Australian scholar

Stuart Rees (Neerav Bhatt/Flickr)

 Samah Sabawi
 The prominent Australian academic and ethicist Stuart Rees has been targeted by Zionist lobby groups over his calls for a boycott of Israel.
Rees, professor emeritus at the University of Sydney, was awarded the Order of Australia in 2005 for his services to international relations, among other awards recognizing his work.
During 2013, Shurat HaDin, a group of lawyers with close ties to the Israeli government and security services, threatened to sue him.
In a formal complaint, the group alleged that calls for a boycott of Israel made by Rees and Jake Lynch, his colleague at the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) at the University of Sydney, violated the Australian Racial Discrimination Act.
Although Shurat HaDin does not appear to have acted on its threats against Rees, it has gone ahead with legal action against Lynch.
Refusing to be silenced, Rees has remained active in supporting Palestinian human rights.

Palestinian film ‘Omar’ nominated for the Oscars in the Foreign Language Film category

"Nominations for the 2014 Academy Awards were announced this morning and as has become somewhat of a common occurrence there was good news for Palestine. Following 5 Broken Cameras‘s nomination last year in the Feature Documentary category, Hany Abu-Assad’s Omar will represent Palestine in the Foreign Language Film category this year up against films from Belgium, Italy, Denmark and Cambodia."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Algeria''s oldest man dies at age 130

ALGIERS, Jan 12 (KUNA) -- Algeria's oldest man Mubarak Muammar Rahmani died Sunday at the age of 130 after suffering from stomach illness.
According to the state news agency (APS), Rahmani was born in 1884 in Al Oued Province, south of Algiers, near the Algerian-Libyan borders.
Rahmani entered the hospital for the first time in his life just two years ago. He had married three times and had nearly 100 grandsons and granddaughters.
He witnessed the first and second world wars, the Algerian revolution against the French occupation, the global economic crisis of 1929, Arab defeat in 1948 in Palestine, the joy of Algeria's independence in 1962 and different times of prosperity and hardship in Algeria.

EU Parliament rejects to hold minutes silence for Sharon

BRUSSELS, Jan 13 (KUNA) -- President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, Monday rejected a call to hold a minute's silence in the memory of Ariel Sharon, the ex-Israeli Prime Minister who died on Saturday aged 85 after eight years in a coma and was buried today.
"I will not allow the minute's silence. No, there is no minute's silence," he told the full house of the European Parliament in its first session this year in the French city of Strasbourg.
Dutch MEP Laurence Stassen who belongs to the extreme-right Party for Freedom had called for the one minute silence for Sharon.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Juan Cole: Top Ten Ways Ariel Sharon Ruined Israel and the Middle East

Arik Scheinerman, who became Ariel Sharon, was from a Russian family that emigrated to Palestine at a time when Palestinians had been deprived of the right to set immigration policy into their own country. He would go on powerfully to shape the lives of most people in Israel and the Middle East, and not for the good.
1. By killing 63 civilians including women and children in his Unit 101 raid on Qibya in 1953 Ariel Sharon announced that in his vision, Israel would continue the tactics pioneered by 1940s terrorist groups such as the Stern Gang, of deploying terror in hopes of forcing Arab neighbors to accept Israel. (The hopes were forlorn.) Israeli foreign minister Moshe Sharett, complained bitterly that the raid exposed Israel before the world “as a gang of bloodsuckers, capable of mass murder.”
2. Sharon in late spring 1967 threatened to make a military coup if the civilian government of then prime minister Levi Eshkol declined to go to war against Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser. The pressure from hawks like Sharon and Moshe Dayan worked, even though Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin thought it a bad idea and almost had a nervous breakdown over it. But although Abdel Nasser was talking belligerently, some 100,000 of his best troops were tied down in Yemen. Moreover, his Soviet patrons told him that if he fired the first shot in any engagement with Israel, he was on his own and would forfeit Moscow’s help. Abdel Nasser was in no position to attack Israel in 1967, and he did not. Sharon, Dayan and other hawks took advantage of his blowhard speeches to launch an aggressive war that led to Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula.

The architecture of Ariel Sharon

Sharon leaves behind a legacy of construction and destruction that has shaped today's Israel and Palestine.

(Eyal Weizman is an architect, professor and director of the Forensic Architecture (www.forensic-architecture.org) project at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London)
Sharon had grown to view the armed conflict with the Palestinians as an urban problem, and the rapid expansion of Palestinian cities and refugee camps as something that Israeli occupation forces would later call "the jihad of building". In 1970s he was given the task to "pacify" resistance in the refugee camps of Gaza. Sharon ordered military bulldozers to carve a grid of roads wide enough for tanks to be able to drive through the dense fabric of three of Gaza's largest camps - Jabalya, Rafah and Shati - destroying nearly one thousand homes. The new routes created smaller neighbourhoods, each of which could be isolated by infantry units.
Sharon's architecture involved not only destruction but also construction. The other major projects he undertook, besides the destruction of the camps, was an attempt to "pacify" the refugees by constructing and forcefully relocating a few thousand of them into Israeli-style social housing blocks next to major Palestinian cities. A few pilot projects were built north of Gaza, but these housing units themselves became centres of resistance. The project was abandoned and the housing largely since demolished in Israeli incursions.

Atrocities & Bantustans: The Legacy of Ariel Sharon

"During more than a half century in the Israeli military and politics, Ariel Sharon became a figure reviled by Palestinians, the Arab world, much of the international community, and even by many Israelis. He was responsible for numerous atrocities and war crimes, including the killing of tens of thousands of Palestinian, Lebanese, and other civilians, destroying thousands of Palestinian homes, and the theft and colonization of massive amounts of occupied Palestinian land. Although some revisionists and Sharon supporters claim that he had turned over a new leaf and was prepared to make painful concessions towards peace with the Palestinians prior to suffering a massive stroke and falling into a coma in January 2006, the facts lead to a very different conclusion.

The following fact sheet provides an overview of Sharon’s war crimes and crimes against humanity, which continue to have a devastating impact on both the victims of his actions and the chances for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.http://imeu.net/news/article0024783.shtml"

Obama Appoints Bank of Israel Governor to The Federal Reserve

"This week, President Obama named Stanley Fischer, former governor of the Bank of Israel, to serve as vice chairman Friday of the U.S. Federal Reserve board.  The president named Lael Brainard, one of his top economic advisers, to serve as a governor of the fed and nominated Jerome Powell to a second term, According to UPI.

"Stanley Fischer brings decades of leadership and expertise from various roles, including serving at the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of Israel," Obama said. "He is widely acknowledged as one of the world's leading and most experienced economic policy minds and I'm grateful he has agreed to take on this new role and I am confident that he and Janet Yellen will make a great team.""

Neocons Who Brought You The Iraq War Endorse AIPAC’s Iran Bill

by Jim Lobe
The neoconservative Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), the successor organization of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), has just published another open letter (reproduced below) to Congressional leaders that implicitly endorses what I have called the “Kirk-Menendez Wag the Dog Act of 2013,” known officially as the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 (S. 1881). I say implicitly, because it doesn’t come right out and urge support for the specific bill, which AIPAC and the Israel lobby, for which AIPAC is the vanguard, are flogging as hard as they possibly can. But the intention is pretty clear.

Ben White: Fragmenting Palestinian land

"To understand why Israel's policy towards severing ties between Gaza and the West Bank became more formalised and political post-disengagement, it is necessary to recall the reasons for this strategic redeployment in the first place.

First, the withdrawal was aimed at freezing the peace process, preventing Palestinian statehood. In the words of a senior adviser to then prime minister Ariel Sharon, disengagement from Gaza supplied "the amount of formaldehyde that's necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians".

The second strategic aim was to consolidate the colonisation of the West Bank. Sharon told the Knesset that "whoever wishes to preserve the large Israeli settlement blocs under our control forever ... must support the disengagement plan". Taking settlers out of Gaza, he affirmed, meant that Israel could focus its "efforts" on areas like "Greater Jerusalem" and the "settlement blocs".

This is the context in which to understand how Israel has sought to tear up the Oslo commitment to keeping Gaza and the West Bank as "one territorial unit"."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A washing machine named MSM

Carlos Latuf

Sharon toons

Relatives of the victims of the Sabra and Shatilla massacre carry candles on the 18th anniversary of the massacre, September 15, 2000.
"Ariel Sharon died without facing justice for his role in the massacres of hundreds and perhaps thousands of civilians by Lebanese militias in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982. The killings constituted war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Sharon also escaped accountability for other alleged abuses, such as his role expanding settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, prosecutable as a war crime. Sharon ordered the removal of all Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip and from four West Bank settlements in 2005, but the overall number of settlers in occupied territory increased significantly during his term as prime minister.
“It’s a shame that Sharon has gone to his grave without facing justice for his role in Sabra and Shatilla and other abuses,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “His passing is another grim reminder that years of virtual impunity for rights abuses have done nothing to bring Israeli-Palestinian peace any closer.”"

Friday, January 10, 2014

Israel boycott growing “much faster” than South Africa campaign, says Omar Barghouti

Omar Barghouti (Intal/Flickr)

“BDS is a grassroots movement. We do not expect presidents of universities in the United States – who are closer to CEOs than to real presidents in an academic sense,” to endorse it, Barghouti said.
“Their main function is fundraising and they see BDS as hurting their fundraising and thus the automatic support for Israel right or wrong plus the omission of Palestinians, including Palestinian academic freedom.”
“We rely on the fast-growing movement among academics, among students on campus. Israel is very aware and so are we about the growth of BDS on US campuses. So the fact that they gathered eighty presidents of universities to defend Israel and attack the BDS movement is no surprise to us because most of those presidents were against divestment from South Africa. The tide changed.”
Read more

Thursday, January 9, 2014

This fascinating chart shows how Middle Easterners think women should dress

"Veiling can be controversial in the Middle East. Views on it vary widely among and within countries, reflecting both the diversity of opinion in the region on how women should dress and the larger forces driving that debate. The range is really driven home by this chart, assembled by the Pew Research Center, showing how people in seven Mideastern countries answered a question posed by a University of Michigan study: Which of these six styles of dress is most appropriate for women?"
Data source: University of Michigan (Pew Research)
Data source: University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (Pew Research)

David Cronin: The immense cruelty of Ariel Sharon

David Cronin: (The Electronic Intifada)
If it wasn’t for a brief encounter with Ariel Sharon, I may never have become a Palestine solidarity activist.
It was towards the end of 2001. I was among a number of reporters accompanying a European Union “peace mission” to the Middle East. On a Sunday afternoon, we waited for Sharon, then Israel’s prime minister, to give a press conference in Jerusalem’s King David Hotel.
When Sharon eventually appeared, I was struck by how venomous he was. My memory has — naturally enough — faded a little in the interim. But I’m fairly sure that there was a smirk on his face as he spoke of how Palestinians sometimes blew themselves up.
The gist of his lengthy monologue was that all resistance to the Israeli occupation amounted to “terrorism.” He seemed to be rejoicing in Palestinian suffering.

ISIS Claims Jihad Project in ‘Grave Danger’

Rebel fighters inspect a mortar in the northeastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor on December 31, 2013.(Photo: AFP - Ahmad Aboud).
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) believes that foreign intelligence agencies have brought Islamist factions and the Free Syrian Army together in Syria to fight it.

Lebanon’s Saudi Jihadis in a League of Their Own

Dozens of Saudi members of al-Qaeda are incarcerated in Lebanon, while dozens of others who came to Lebanon to “liberate it from its infidel regime” and establish an Islamic state, have been killed in the country. Saudi jihadis in Lebanon have been accused of involvement in many incidents, from the assassination of Rafik Hariri to fighting in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp.

It snoed tudae..globall warmeng=hox!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

So, did you see the malls in Gaza?

Daniella Peled
A clothing store in Gaza.
It must be comforting for right-wing agitprop trolls to picture Gaza as a seaside holiday camp bursting with glitzy malls.
"So did you see the malls?" That was one of the first questions an Israeli asked me, half-an-hour or so after leaving Gaza, as I sat having coffee in the service station near Yad Mordechai last week.
Ah, the Gaza malls. That phenomenon beloved of right-wing bloggers and the hasbara machine, who like to report glitzy openings in the beleaguered Gaza Strip, beach volleyball matches and shops bursting with fine foods. According to this trope, Gaza is more akin to a seaside holiday camp than a vast open-air prison.
I was sorry to disappoint my questioner. Obviously, I didn't see the most famous - or rather notorious mall – the one the Israel Defense Forces used as to illustrate a blog post (which was then quickly edited) from last August which sneered at the supposed humanitarian crisis in Gaza. That one was actually in Kuala Lumpur.

Jewish settlers caught and beaten after trespassing in Palestinian village

 Settlers injured during the Kfar Kursa incident on Tuesday. - Photo: Zachariah, Rabbis for Human RIghts
AP Palestinian surrounding Israeli settlers near
 "Nablus, January 7, 2013. Photo by AP
In the early afternoon, the Esh Kodesh settlers, some of whom were activists known to the police, arrived at the village of Kfar Kusra. The infiltrators, who were masked and wore gloves, were apprehended by the security detail of about 30 villagers, who surrounded them and began to beat them.

The incident lasted for about an hour. The settlers, who did not have telephones with them, could not request help. Eventually, the Kfar Kusra villagers handed them over to the Palestinian security services, who transferred them to the Israel Defense Forces. "

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

BDS: Largest Dutch pension fund boycotts Israeli banks over settlement ties

Construction site in the West Bank settlement of Modiin Illit.
PGGM says settlement construction in the West Bank poses a problem from the standpoint of international law. Photo by AP
The Netherlands' largest pension fund management company has decided to withdraw all its investments from Israel’s five largest banks because they have branches in the West Bank and/or are involved in financing construction in the settlements.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Political inexperience harmed Arab uprisings

Talal Salman (A-Safir)
 "The successive uprisings witnessed by most Arab countries have revealed that the people there had been living “outside of politics.” The people were taken by surprise when the tyrannies collapsed under street pressure before the revolutionaries had a chance to establish a leadership, political parties, organizations and unions, and form a solid “national front” with a solid structure that could assume responsibility for the transitional phase and start rebuilding the state.

The old regimes were spawned by military coups camouflaged by slogans stolen from political organizations with a history of struggle. The old regimes claimed to be revolutionary and exploited the people’s yearning for freedom, progress, and affirmation of national identity.

Sometimes, those regimes formed their own parties from old parties (which were never real parties), as in Egypt under presidents Anwar Sadat or Hosni Mubarak. The regimes attracted some historically prestigious parties that had renounced coups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, into an ambiguous relationship. That relationship would not be a “partnership” but rather a kind of subordination in return for a cessation of harassment, with a reward of a few parliamentary seats in a parliament that would be either “appointed” or arising from fake elections."

Human Rights Watch: Children killed by Israeli soldiers “hiding” near schools.

Doctors surround the body of Samir Awad, 16, fatally shot by Israeli soldiers “hiding” near his school as he “tried to run away,” in January 2013.
(Issam Rimawi / APA images)
 At least twice in 2013, Israeli occupation forces ambushed, shot and killed Palestinian children near schools in the occupied West Bank for no apparent reason, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says in a 5 January release.
“No evidence has been presented by the Israeli authorities that a 15-year-old boy fatally shot in the back by Israeli soldiers near his school on 9 December 2013 posed any threat to life that would justify such a killing,” HRW states.

Crushed to death: Palestinian man dies at overcrowded West Bank checkpoint

Ephraim/Taybeh checkpoint, West Bank, Occupied Palestine (photo:David Heap/EAPPI)

Witnesses told Ma’an that 59-year-old Adel Muhammad Yakoub from the northern West Bank village of Balaa died as a result of extreme overcrowding inside the Ephraim/Taybeh checkpoint.
They highlighted that some 10,000 Palestinian workers cross through the checkpoint every day and that inspection procedures at the checkpoint go very slowly causing dangerous levels of overcrowding inside the checkpoint.
The victim left behind a wife and seven children, aged 11-16. He is reported to have suffered from heart disease.

From the archive of a Zionist commander in 1948..Massacres detailed

 Yossef Vashitz was a senior advisor of Arab affairs to Mapam, whose major military force, the Palmach, were the commando units of the Zionist military effort in 1948. His private collection include this half page – undated - translated here, which just give a short list of atrocities committed in 1948 (mostly in October to November that year during operation Hiram) in the upper Galilee.

Here it is:
Safsaf –caught 52 men, tied them one to the other, dug a hole and shot them. While they were sill alive, women came and pleaded for their lives. Found 6 bodies of old men, all and all 61 bodies. Three rape cases. One by a Mizrachi Jew from Jaffa of a 14 years old girl. 4 men shot and killed. From The one they cut by knife his fingers to take his ring.
Jish – 400 inhabitants. A women embracing a child - both dead. 4 women and 11 soldiers dead.
The Logistic Unit.
They wipe everything. The Kibbutzim rob everything. Kefar Giladi [robbed] five flower lorries.

Ein Zitun, the logistic went wild…tore women earlobes to take the ear rings. In Birim – the same sight and one dead man for no reason.
Sasa. Murders; especially of old men.
Ilabun – 1000 people, the army received surrender, slaughtered [animals], food, and then the expulsion from the village began by shooting. Thirty people died. The order was to expel the villages. Rumours of it across the border.
Saliha – ninety two, men, old men women and children [died] when a house was blown on them.
Mashhat – the village wanted to surrender already in the days of Qawqji, he revenged, now we.

(Ilan Pappe translation)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Is Assad Really a Master Strategist?

 Russ Wellen (Foreign Policy in Focus)
With recent events in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad seems to have pulled off two coups. In November, NBC’s Richard Engel described the more obvious of the two.
In exchange for destroying the poison gas and the factories that make it – a process that’s almost impossible to verify — there would be no U.S. military strike. Assad would get to stay in power and continue his war with “conventional weapons,” including artillery and Scud missile attacks on civilian areas, napalm dropped on schools, and starving the opposition into submission. Even more shocking is that Assad has weathered the crisis appearing to the world as reasonable, rational and ready to compromise.  
I’m not entirely convinced that I buy the other coup, though. See what you think of the explanation by Annia Ciezadlo in the New Republic and respond in the comments section to this post. Miss Ciezadlo writes of Assad (emphasis added):
Calmly and deliberately, he has painted a picture that in the beginning was not completely accurate: The demonstrators, he said, were jihadists who would bring Afghanistan-type chaos to the country. Then he sat back and waited for it to become true. … And if a series of well-timed massacres by the regime would provoke outrage in the West, Assad also knew that images of carnage would cause Gulf states to arm the Islamist opposition and escalate the sectarian warfare. This was his strategy: to make intervention so unpalatable that the international community would take no steps to alter the course of the conflict. “These jihadists who have come in, largely courtesy of private Gulf money, these are his enemies of choice,” says Frederic C. Hof, the Obama administration’s former envoy to the Syrian opposition and currently a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

Poor Saudi Arabia Unhappy With US Foreign Policy

John Glaser
"The bottom line: the Saudis are actively competing with Iran for influence throughout the Middle East. That’s why the Saudis have the most at stake from any easing of sanctions on Iran, any normalization of relations with the West, or any nuclear breakthrough that gives Iran the ultimate security bargaining chip. The Saudis have reaped the benefits of an economically weak Iran — and they are not prepared to relinquish that advantage. Ultimately, any deal that exchanges Iranian economic security for delays in Iran’s nuclear program is a fundamental problem for Saudi Arabia — as is any failed deal that allows sanctions to unravel.."

Beached whale meets end

Ariel Sharon's 'life in danger' as condition deteriorates
 Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma for eight years, was in a critical condition on Thursday, clinging to life after a decline in the functioning of various bodily organs, his doctors said.

Justin Raimondo: Demand An Unconditional Pardon for Edward Snowden

His personal fate prefigures our future

"In a rational world, there would be no question about the moral and legal status of the man responsible for exposing this treason to the Constitution: he would be hailed as a hero by every sector of society, from the political class to the working class, and given the Congressional Medal of Honor. In our sorry, sinful world, however, Edward Snowden is on the lam, charged with two counts of violating the WWI-era Espionage Act and one count of stealing "government property." Facing at least thirty years in prison, probably much more, he has been forced to seek asylum in Russia, of all places: condemned, as the New York Times put it in an editorial calling for leniency in his case, to “a life of looking over his shoulder.http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2014/01/02/demand-an-unconditional-pardon-for-edward-snowden/"

Al-Qaeda Seizes Parts of Two Major Iraqi Cities

Already facing a growing revolt among protesters in Sunni-dominated Western Iraq, the Maliki government has an even bigger problem tonight, as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) has used that unrest as cover for raids into two major cities in Anbar Province and has captured parts of each.
The AQI incursion began in Ramadi, where Prime Minister Maliki ordered a violent crackdown on protesters Monday, and quickly spread, along with the protests, into neighboring Fallujah.
Iraqi military sources now say that AQI controls more than half of Fallujah and a portion of Ramadi, and their fighters have set up checkpoints in those areas and declared them part of the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” which also includes their territorial possessions in northwest Syria.
Read more

Israel’s Red Herring: A Military Presence in the Jordan Valley

John Glaser, January 02, 2014
"I’ve predicted failure for Secretary of State John Kerry’s push for peace negotiations and a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One of the (many) reasons past efforts to “broker” a deal have failed is because Israel makes a handful of demands that are beyond the pale and obviously unacceptable to the Palestinians, thus triggering a break-up in talks.
One of the demands Israel is making this time around is that any final agreement allows for a permanent Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley, an area constituting some 20% of the West Bank. Understandably, the Palestinians reject this, since “it is impossible to say that an occupation has ended when the occupying army is still there,” writes Mitchell Plitnick."
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‘Foreign Policy’ runs piece on Zionist terrorism in ’40s, noting US and British support networks

Calder Walton's book cover
Philip Weiss (Mondoweiss) 
"As World War II came to a close, MI5 received a stream of intelligence reports warning that the Irgun and the Stern Gang were not just planning violence in the Mandate of Palestine, but were also plotting to launch attacks inside Britain. In… the spring and summer of 1946, coinciding with a sharp escalation of anti-British violence in Palestine, MI5 received apparently reliable reports from SIME that the Irgun and the Stern Gang were planning to send five terrorist “cells” to London, “to work on IRA lines.” To use their own words, the terrorists intended to “beat the dog in his own kennel.” The SIME reports were derived from the interrogation of captured Irgun and Stern Gang fighters, from local police agents in Palestine, and from liaisons with official Zionist political groups like the Jewish Agency. They stated that among the targets for assassination were Britain’s foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, who was regarded as the main obstacle to the establishment of a Jewish state in the Middle East, and the prime minister himself. MI5′s new director-general, Sir Percy Sillitoe, was so alarmed that in August 1946 he personally briefed the prime minister on the situation, warning him that an assassination campaign in Britain had to be considered a real possibility, and that his own name was known to be on a Stern Gang hit list. …"
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