Sunday, July 31, 2005
Umkahlil, YOU GO GIRL!!
Where the Arab and Muslim Community will Stand on 24 September and the absolutely brilliant deconstruction by our beloved umkahlil in UFPJ's Ted Glick to Palestinians: Accept our gentleman's agreement.
Not to be missed are the photographs she finds that let us see the Light Unto Nations spreading its sunshine.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Vatican to Israel: “We take no lessons from you”
Translated by Mary Rizzo from one of Italy’s major national newspapers, La Repubblica.
Vatican City – 29 July 2005
The Holy See does not accept lessons from Sharon’s government, and even less still when they are based upon lies. The reaction of the Vatican to the threats of the Israeli government to promote “other steps” to influence the political line of the new Pope regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was extremely harsh. “The indefensible self-serving accusations launched against Pope Benedict XVI for not having mentioned the terrorist attack of Netanya of 12 July following Sunday’s Angelus”, affirm a note from the Press Office of the Vatican, “should be evident to those who had made them”. The Vatican letter continues, “Perhaps even this has been designed to shift the attention on the claimed silences of Pope John Paul II on the terror strikes against Israel in the past, inventing even that the government of Israel has in the past intervened repeatedly at the Holy See, requesting that the new Pope change his orientation.”
The bitter escalation, the use of terms such as “indefensible”, “self-serving”, “inventing”, “pitiful surprise”, demonstrate that the text is the fruit of an impulse directed by the Secretary of State with the personal placet of Benedict XVI. Ratzinger does not accept intimidations, not even under the form of a Israeli threat to freeze negotiations on the fiscal regime of the Catholic foundations in the holy land, and especially it will not permit that Sharon is attempting to put a wedge between himself and the policies of John Paul II and even less permissible, between himself and a faithful collaborator of popes such as Cardinal Sodano.
Benedict XVI decided to archive the episode of the personal attack launched against himself last Monday. “The case is closed”, Vatican spokesman Navarro Valles was instructed to declare. But in the Israeli newspaper, Jerusalem Post, the head of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Israel, Nimrod Barkan, (the same who had made a convocation of the Vatican) doubled the dose the next day with explosive affirmations:
“Non condemning the terrorism in Israel has been the policy of the Vatican for years. Now that there is a new pope, we decided to face the question.” Barkan added that if the official protest did not give the expected results, “we will have to evaluate other steps”.
From here, the pope’s decision to react. The Vatican declaration puts in evidence how John Paul II had systematically condemned every terrorist act, then making note how if in certain cases the Vatican could not denounce them it was because “at times they were followed immediately by Israeli actions that were not always compatible with the norms of international law”. Denouncing the terrorist strikes and keeping silent on the unjust repressions was impossible.
“Even in recognising the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,” the letter continues, “His Holy Father (Wojtyla) had repeatedly stigmatised with unequivocal words the inadmissibility of violent methods that, through terrorist acts perpetrated against the civilian population of Israel, had impeded initiatives of peace that had been undertaken by wise political forces both of the Israeli and Palestinian people”. It was likewise clearly stated that the position of John Paul II was for the right of Israel to “live in security and peace”.
And here, we come to another stab against Sharon’s collaborators: “The affirmations contrary to historical truth can be an advantage only to those who intend upon fomenting animosity and contrasts, and certainly, is of no use in bettering the situation”. Lastly, the public announcement: just as Sharon’s government does not let anyone else dictate to them the words they must use, “so the Holy See as well will not accept lessons and directives from any other authority regarding the content of its declarations.”
Asia News published an interview with a high level Israeli Franciscan expert on legal relationships between the Catholic Church and Israel on the matter which is of extreme interest, even if it is at moments creepy. Here is an excerpt. Eliminate the rhetoric and propaganda from the surface and something insightful remains to be discovered anyway.
You say that the attacks on the Popes are the work of minor functionaries, contrary to the stated policy of the Head of the Government. Is this possible?
Of course it is. The Prime Minister has been completely preoccupied these days with his extremely important official visit to the President of France, with the controversies and drama surrounding the impending Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, with the Attorney General's decision to prosecute his son... and I am certain that in no manner could he have been informed of the shocking misbehaviour of some minor functionaries in the Foreign Ministry, who have been trying to demolish one of the most important sectors in the international relations of the State of Israel. What the Premier will do now, whether he will take the initiative in trying to repair the damage, or give cover to the officials, remains to be seen. Past evidence is that Mr. Sharon has understood very well the importance of the relationship with the Catholic Church. This is shown by his promises to Washington about the negotiations, as well as by his earlier decision, also encouraged by President Bush (as well as by the whole Christian world) to cancel his predecessor's (Barak's) decision to build a mosque precisely in front of the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. Mr Sharon has a chance to isolate the offending officials and to rescue the good name of the State of Israel.
Friday, July 29, 2005
peacepalestine documents - new articles!
About Noam Chomsky, Reflections by Benjamin Merhav is an interesting commentary asking why Noam Chomsky, for all of his indubitable qualities, fails in several very important watershed issues for any "Left" group that supports Palestinian solidarity. He has become the "Left Guru", as Merhav states, even though there are some serious issues to consider which would disqualify him for being a model to emulate. Some quotes:
"So you would think that a person like Noam Chomsky, who claims to be anti-fascist and anti-imperialist, would condemn zionism, and the zionist apartheid regime of Israel, but he has not, and he never wrote a single sentence which condemns zionism or the zionist apartheid regime of Israel."
"However, the most obvious zionist orientation of Chomsky can be seen in his attitude to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Thus, for example, his treacherous support for the "Geneva Accord" has been exposed last year by Noah Cohen, in his article, Noam Chomsky and "Left" Apologetics for Injustice in Palestine, (www.ifamericansknew.org) as follows:
"Chomsky's concept of "realism" has a striking resemblance to the colonial discourse of "manifest destiny": Good or bad, right or wrong - so the argument goes - these are the facts on the ground; this is the way of history. In the name of this "realism," activists and intellectuals in the international community have simultaneously asserted themselves as pro-Palestinian, and yet taken it upon themselves to concede every fundamental right to which the Palestinian people lay claim.
In pointing to the Geneva Accords as a legitimate compromise, Chomsky concedes all of the following rights on their behalf:
the right to reclaim sovereignty over the land stolen from them in 1948;
the right of refugees even to return to this land;
the right to reclaim the most densely settled land in the West Bank;
the right to freedom of movement within the new Palestinian "state" (since the West Bank settlements - to be declared permanently a part of "Israel" - cut that territory into isolated cantons, and these cantons are in turn separated from Gaza);
the right to full sovereignty over borders and airspace; the right to maintain an independent military capable of self-defense;
the right to full control of resources.
In general, this means that the "best possible compromise," that promises to "lead to something better," requires first that Palestinians officially concede all of the material conditions on which the right to self-determination depends. It's hard to see how these concessions could possibly lead to "something better." "
Lastly, Ran HaCohen's The Seeds of Fascism, as published in the Palestine Chronicle, is placed here in its entirety. A brief excerpt:
"I believe it was Kierkegaard who once said you can learn a lot about a person from the one thing that makes him serious. By the same token, you can learn so much about a society from the one thing that makes it take to the street. The fact that no atrocity ever made Israeli society, taken as a whole, protest the way the settlers do now, is disgraceful evidence for the complete moral bankruptcy of the Jewish state."
Important comments on URGENT Gaza Appeal
On this blog, I posted the full text of the Urgent Appeal regarding what might happen once the Israeli army begins the unilateral disengagement. Some discussion of it took place in the venues I sent it to, the Alef list, particularly. At a certain point, the persons with whom I had been discussing decided to commence the discussion in Hebrew, even after a request on my part to not exclude anyone who did not know this language, myself included.
It was out of that discussion that a counter appeal was created by Michael Warschawski. Here is Jeff Blankfort's comment on that which he sent to his mailing list.
Earlier this month, I sent out an Urgent Appeal from Ilan Pappe, Uri Davis, and Tamar Yaron, warning that Ariel Sharon was planning on using the forthcoming "withdrawal" from Gaza as an excuse for an all out attack on the Palestinians in Gaza in response to their continued resistance to the Israeli occupation which will continue oppress their Palestinian brethren in the West Bank, an attack that will be more brutal than anything that they or we have yet seen..
In this response, Michael (Mikado) Warschawski, argues that the trio have got it wrong and that the Gaza "disengagement" is designed to solidify Israel's hold on the West Bank and to weaken international pressure opposing it. He raises a number of points here that were not covered in the Urgent Appeal, but none, I am sure, that either Pappe, Davis, or Yaron would disagree with. It is a matter of what should be emphasized in the immediate future, and that is the likelihood of a massive attack by Israel on Gaza in the not too distant future, a threat that is very real and immediate.
What weakens Warschawski's position is
(1) that he seems to consider the threat of a secondary nature and
(2) what he urges the "anti-occupation forces" to do instead
"Locally—the priority of the anti-occupation forces should be to denounce and to fight against the settlement policy, and the new Israeli consensus in support of the annexation of the ‘settlement blocs.’ Internationally, to demand from the international community institutions—the UN, the EU, the Quartet, the governments etc.—to impose on Israel an immediate and total freeze on settlements activities, including the wall and the bypass roads, and to establish, under the hospices of the UN, an International Settlements Freeze Watch, mandated to implement this freeze."
Given the limited size and general impotence of "the anti-occupation forces," both in Israel and world-wide, these demands have as much chance of being implemented in the real world as do the placards that have been carried for years by Palestine solidarity activists that demand the same thing. It might be as good a time as any, to stop using such slogans as "end the occupation," which implies a static situation and describe the situation for what it is and has been for years,ethnic cleansing. "End the Ethnic Cleansing" and "No War on Gaza!" would be more appropriate demands, regardless of the size of our ranks.
The appeal by Michael Warschawski
Wrong Analysis, Wrong Initiative
By Michael (Mikado) Warschawski
A few days ago, I received through my email, a new political statement initiated by well-known figures of the Israeli anti-colonial movement. The fact that one of the signators was Ilan Pappe made me almost sign the statement without reading it. For Ilan is, in my eyes, one of the most clever progressive Israeli intellectuals, with whom, in the recent years, I have had very few, if any, disagreements. Fortunately, I got a phone call from a friend, asking my opinion about the statement, which she considered very problematic. Before answering her, I had to read it more carefully.
I did, and decided not to sign, because this statement is doubly a mistake: both in its analysis and in its practical implications.
In the statement titled “Raising the Alarm—What May Come After Evacuation of Jewish Settlers From the Gaza Strip,” one can read: “We believe that one primary, unstated motive for the determination of the government of the State of Israel to get the Jewish settlers of the Qatif (Katif) settlement block out of the Gaza Strip may be to keep them out of harm’s way when the Israeli government and military possibly trigger an intensified mass attack on the approximately one and a half million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, of whom about half are 1948 Palestine refugees. The scenario could be similar to what has already happened in the past—a tactic that Ariel Sharon has used many times in his military career—i.e., utilizing provocation in order to launch massive attacks.”
Wrong: the reason for the evacuation of a few thousands settlers from the Gaza Strip is to help in creating a “Gazastan,” part of the old Sharon plan of “cantonization of the occupied territories.” The unilateral redeployment from Gaza is part of a broader and extremely coherent political project, the objectives of which are well summarized by Yehudith Harel and Yaakov Manor, in their answer to the above mentioned statement:
“[…] 1) To improve positions and shorten the border […] i.e. a tactical military redeployment;
2) To weaken international pressure, and to obtain international green light for the perpetuation of the Israeli control of the settlements blocs, and the lands which are on western side of the wall;
3) To strengthen among the Israeli public the idea that there is no partner for negotiation […].
4) To make a joke of the Palestinian Authority institutions;
5) To create a trauma among the Israeli public, by pretending that the redeployment from Gaza is the maximum of compromise possible with the Palestinians, and that any additional compromise will provoke a terrible civil war;
6) […] To continue the construction of the wall and settlements in the West Bank […]”
These are the objectives of Ariel Sharon’s redeployment plan, and definitely not to massacre thousands of Palestinians. Identifying the political objectives of our enemies is of crucial importance, if indeed we want to understand the politics we are denouncing and trying to struggle against. Will the planned redeployment be implemented? No one can guarantee it, but Sharon is definitely interested in doing it, for the above mentioned reasons.
Will it include military repression and even massacres of Palestinian civilians? Unfortunately, it cannot be excluded, and one should be extremely vigilant threats coming from the Israeli senior officers and to every move of the Israeli occupation forces, before, during and after the unilateral redeployment. Our main task, however, is not to “warn against the worse scenario,” but to identify what the Israeli government intends to realize under the smokescreen of the unilateral redeployment. is intended to remain hidden, i.e. accelerating the colonization of the West Bank and cantonizing the Palestinians behind the Wall.
Locally—the priority of the anti-occupation forces should be to denounce and to fight against the settlement policy, and the new Israeli consensus in support of the annexation of the ‘settlement blocs.’ Internationally, to demand from the international community institutions—the UN, the EU, the Quartet, the governments etc.—to impose on Israel an immediate and total freeze on settlements activities, including the wall and the bypass roads, and to establish, under the hospices of the UN, an International Settlements Freeze Watch, mandated to implement this freeze.
This is the only answer to Sharon’s long-term political plan, and definitely not to highlight brutal threats of a military general or a politician, aimed to terrorize the Palestinian people as well as to divert our attention from the strategic goals of the Israeli establishment.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Zaki Boulos - Why should Palestinians keep what they cannot defend?
To have and to hold
"Why should Palestinians keep what they cannot defend?"
This is a question I do not hear being asked. I have never been told this, by a Palestinian or otherwise. With little engagement it becomes clear that though this question is simple, its answer is not so straightforward. Indeed, I doubt anyone, these days in particular, will even indulge such a question. But let us say you, the reader, have decided to entertain my fancy...
Well, that you have reached this far in the text, is quite a remarkable achievement in itself, and the reader will note that the writer, that's me, or should say *I*, have accepted your generous spell to follow me through this, what I hope to be, a literal expedition into what I consider to be, a fundamental issue. (I'm so full of it, but hell we're a having fun in a serious way.)
To say that Palestinians, or indeed the Arab nations collectively, can stand up to Israel is quite a thing to write, and even harder to believe. Israelis are patently stronger than the Palestinians. Israelis are not in a position to make any concessions, and generally this is the case. This makes sense. Israel's behaviour is completely natural.
But if this is the case, then the answer to the question is easy. There is absolutely no reason for Palestinians to keep what they cannot defend.
"The Conflict" for dummies:
Palestinians have a land.
Zionists want a land.
Palestinians are weak.
Zionists are strong.
Zionists terrorise Palestinians.
Zionists take Palestinian land.
Zionists have a land, Israel.
Palestinians want their land back.
Palestinians try to take their land back.
Israelis defeat Palestinians.
(last 2 lines: repeat ad nauseum)
So why should Zionists give Palestine back?
Fairness you say? Well, let me say something about fairness. Fairness, like justice, or any other sense of social balance, is only as good as the people that practice it. This is one item about fairness. Please allow me to further retort, I have asked many Palestinians, over a number of years, "What would you do were the roles reversed, ie, the Palestinians were the strong party, and the Israelis the weak?" A typical reply would be, "I would do nothing." or, "Same as the Israelis." No real shocking news, but it does tell us something about fairness, or at the very least, Palestinian fairness.
I would hope that were the roles reversed I would see the wrongdoings of my fellow Palestinians and act on my sense of humanity. I may even impose an exile upon myself. I cannot imagine how such an act would affect my life, but I do know it would require a tremendous amount of effort, courage, and self-belief to exercise this act. Assume that I were in this position, and I did fulfil my stand against my country. I stood by my principles with humility, in a dignified, peaceful manner. Does this make me a fair person? It would make me a non-participant, thereby lessoning the blow. I have left the land I was born into because I realised this is not my land. My grandparents had come to this land with a dream. They, along with my parents, fulfilled this dream. I was born here from the fruits of their labour. They work hard to defend what they have, and they aren't just gonna give up their homes, for anyone. I too learned to defend my land. I embraced my inheritance, bathed in her glories. I was home. Now I am homeless. Walking away from my homeland was tough, but the emotional turmoil lay in the rejection of my family and my friends. Not only am I washing my hands of my country, I am telling my loved ones they are wrong, everything they believe is wrong. This said, does this make me a fair person? And let us say, for argument's sake, I am fair. What of my fairness?
No, fairness is obsolete here, the question still stands. Why should Palestinians keep what they cannot defend? On a similar note, I wonder if the USA would have much to say in our world were it not for its defence arsenal. The US knows the answer to this question. This is why the US defence budget could feed Africa ten times over. The question still fucking stands!
Why should Palestinians keep what they cannot defend? Any Israeli knows the answer to this question. This is why the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) can take out any army in the region; one army at a time, or all at once.
Palestinians seem to struggle with this question. Is it because it represents that which we fear the most? Rightly or wrongly this question imposes itself.
Many people would confuse this question by injecting morality into the question. This question is a rational question. Its words are chosen carefully. I am not sure what to make of this question. It seems defunct. Israel is going to finish the wall, and that'll be the end of the story. This is really strange. Israel is clearly defined by its enemies. Israel becomes harder to define without enemies. Does this mean it is our personal struggles that define us as individuals? It does not matter, the question still stands.
But, I have to admit, there is something suspicious about the question. The question itself is legitimate. It has been posed, it is understood, its implications are messy, but it would be a mistake to put the question on trial.
I would like to put myself on trial for posing the question. Well guess what? It worked out, I deliberated and the jury found me innocent of asking the question.
There was one misdemeanour, the jury has deemed me innocent, the trial is over, the judge passed the sentence and beat his hammer. The court, as does the jury, wants an account for this misdemeanour. This slap on the wrist came in the form of a question. The question is optional, and I do not have to answer it. So, you see the absurdity of this court. A court of fools put me under the microscope, and what a lens! I was prosecuted for asking a question, and then set free, only to find myself under the lens once more for a question that was posed (and thrown out) during trial.
In good faith, however, I offered to answer this question posed by the jury during the trial. The judge had deemed the jury's question out of context and therefore I did not have to answer it. I had declined to answer. The question that had been posed by several of the jurors, who still remain opposed to the judge's ruling, had been burning them up inside throughout the trial. I saw it in their eyes. Inspecting me for clues, relentlessly scrutinising me with their eyes, studying my body language for answers. Why? Why did he do it? Why did he ask the question? Their perplexions ebbed and flowed, recycling their frustrations, as their endless out-of-court arguments echoed throughout the chambers.
Needless to say, I had plenty of time to think about this question, but I did not really accredit it as I should have. I did not give it much thought during the trial; observing the jurors was far more exciting than the trial itself. They were gonna make up their own minds anyway, it was out of my hands. So why fret? Why cooperate needlessly? The judge gave the options, I picked one, the easiest one, I declined to answer. This question seems really important to these jurors, and since they let me go free, I figure, "at least oblige them with some kind of answer," and even though I have not the foggiest of what I will say, at least an answer will appease their mental and emotional involvement with this case. Who am I to stand in the way of healing someone? Setting them free? Bringing some kind of closure, and bearing the fruits of spreading kindness? It's amazing how well people respond to a smile.
And whilst I am rambling on about wotnot, the jury is on its knees, "Please, please, tell us why!" I turn
to my jurors, smiling, "I am sorry about this, but you know me better than that." Okay, I'll stop avoiding the question. Why do I ask this question? Right? Alright. Collectively, the jury is nodding furiously, "Answer the question damn it! Damn you to hell!"
Well stop talking and cluttering the airwaves with your obsessive ranting...
Fine, you done now? Look, alright! I don't know why I asked the question. It is a strange question because it seems to be saying something about my perception. Indeed, this is the context. And what is equally valid is how this question is being perceived. To ask me why I would pose such a question is also to say you are trying to understand my view so that you may justify/adjust your view, ie, your perception. This could mean you are not sure on how to answer this question due to its content, as opposed to its form, and you may be interested in whatever I have to say, anything. Asking me why I am posing this question could be little more
than a reflexive jerk. So where is this nowhere text going? I am rolling around in my ego, bothered, but still wallowing in my shit, step into my sty.
Let us suppose that the reason for asking this question is legitimate, that most would agree, "Yes, that's a fine question to ask, well done, have a degree." We can take this assumption and build a civilisation with it, great. "The universe is this way up fool! See? I have this assumption upon my person. You are savages without this assumption." Some might say.
This is true, I have yet to answer the bleeding question. In time. Now there's a convenient concept, time. Please, when instructed to, "Show me time." Don't raise your watch and wave your arm around in the air like a crazed baboon, or worse, actually take your watch off and dangle it in front of me, dancing around like an apprentice jester. I'm getting a little weary of this reaction. I am hoping this one paragraph might save me some time. Sunsets and sunrises would still happen without the concept of time. The earth rotating around its own axis, much like arms rotating around a clock, does not tell us time exists.
Oh, darn, the question. O lo, this question. I am on my hands and knees Mr Bird. Please Mr Davis, shed some light on my soul so that I may sing again. Mr Coltrane, mercy, I beg of you, one more hymn for the depths of my existence. My selfishness, corruption, knows no bounds. Even long after your departure sir, I still want more. Spoilt beyond recognition. I demand more in a sad and undignified manner. As though I had the permission to address you directly. Such lack of respect, self-respect. When will I learn?
Been quite quiet lately. Tense. I let things get to me. Things that are out of my control. It's like worrying about the weather. Crazy shit. I have to remind myself that I was never in control, there's no such thing as control. I don't think manipulating a situation to your advantage constitutes control. Sure, it is a way of controlling events. I do not think many will disagree there, but this is not what I mean by control. Driving a car, controlling it, is not what I mean. The feeling of being manipulated, being controlled. It is an uneasy, creepy sensation which provokes deep reactions. It eats away at your insides like a hungry virus, spreading its affects, breaching boundaries of behaviour. Fear is diligent, worrisome, troublesome. Fear is the pathway for these viruses that evade our sensibilities, and corrupt us from within. Indeed, it is more aggressive than stated. The nature of this virus is such that the host corrupts itself. The virus exploits the host's vulnerabilities by turning the host onto itself using emotional disruptors and by monitoring the hosts interactions with its environment. A fully infected host is said to be "fully conditioned", or simply "conditioned". The conditioning process varies from host to host. The virus spreads when a host is fully conditioned. Fully conditioned hosts use the virus's techniques to transfer the virus from one host to the next. The fully conditioned host attempts to condition or infect a fresh host until the fresh host is in a receptive state. The state of reception varies from host to host. This virus is psychological, but can manifest itself physically in a fully conditioned host; again, these physical manifestations vary from host to host. This virus is hostile, and difficult to detect, simply because it transmutes across a variety of species. More generally, the virus moves across any medium an infected host interacts with. Whether the virus can transfer successfully from an infected host, depends entirely on the nature of the interaction between the infected host and the candidate host, and the nature of the candidate host. As far was we can make out, this virus is psychological, however, we are at a loss as to how to begin analysis on the nature of this virus because it is extremely versatile, rendering our scientific techniques outmoded at every turn. This has something to do with the way the virus behaves with respect to its host. The virus's only apparent motive is to transfer. The virus seems to associate its existence with the existence of others, and the interplay on a host level.
The one known, or accepted theory, is that the virus requires its host to be in some kind of fearful state. The fear produced by the host nurtures the virus, even mild confusion will suffice.
It's amazing how much procrastination can occur in answering, or facing, a single issue.
I have yet to answer the question. The truth is there is no need to answer the question. It is not in our hands. Until Palestinians learn to defend themselves in the same way as Zionists learnt to use (and later, abuse) the system, there will be no change to the status quo, and Palestinians might as well kiss Palestine goodbye. Personally, I will never consent to Israel. And though I am biased, Israel and the global Zionist movement are clearly at fault. I am at fault for hiding behind these words. And if there is a cure for this Zionist disease that has infected and ravaged my land, culling people's lives in its wake, it is the notion of my returning to Palestine. For as long as there is a single Palestinian standing, Palestine remains intact.
There is now a human tragedy unfolding before us. For even if the Israelis woke up from their Zionist spell, and admitted that they were wrong and wanted to make genuine amends with the entire Palestine community (globally), acknowledging Palestinian rights to their land. We have a major problem.
There is a community in this world that wants a land of its own. It wants to be a religion-based country with its own recognised sovereignty, and the peoples of this community want to govern themselves with their own set of values in accordance with their own cultural space. This is not unreasonable, especially if this community is not really represented anywhere. This community now has a land of its own, at the expense of dispossessing another. So for the other to return, this community will be landless again. One solution is for the returning peoples to fully integrate, pull resources, and build the country afresh, together. But this still has a problem. The returning peoples, and the current occupants, do not want the same thing. For each is a
community that wants to govern itself. Some re-integration would be possible.
But the reality still remains.
The Zionist Jews want a land of their own, and they want Palestine.
Well, they've got it.
So, why should Palestinians keep what they cannot defend?
Thursday 28 July 2005.
Jeff Blankfort vs Mitchell Plitnick - On the Israel Lobby
The entire article by Jeff Blankfort can be read at the new site using this link. ENJOY!
A small excerpt from an important discussion:
While American Jews as individuals have other issues that they support, the organized Jewish establishment has only one issue and that is Israel. They may differ over various Israeli policies but they are united in their desire to main strong US financial and military support for Israel.
Further, when it comes to Congress, the biggest reason AIPAC is so successful is that there is no serious opposition. Elected officials see no political capital to be gained by voting against the wishes of the many constituents they hear from favoring unconditional support of Israeli policies and who enclose checks along with their comments.
It's not that they don't believe that other voters would agree with them if they voted against the wishes of the pro-occupation lobby; it's that they see no evidence that they would gain votes and support, while they are getting a message that voting against AIPAC's wishes will cost votes and support.
There is opposition, such as the Council for the National Interest, made up of former victims of the lobby such as ex- Congressmen Findley and McCloskey, and former State Dept. diplomats but since JVP's view, promulgated most notably by Professors Noam Chomsky and Stephen Zunes dominates "the left," it gets no support from the progressive movement and, predictably, is frequently, and unfairly accused of being "anti-Semitic."
Gilad Atzmon - Blair the Camera Man
“Until we get rid of this complete nonsense of trying to build some equivalence between what we are doing helping Iraqis and Afghans build their democracy and these people going and deliberately killing people for the sake of it, we are not going to confront this ideology in the way that it needs to be confronted.” - Tony Blair (Guardian article).
Tony Blair is an advanced political thinker. Following his articulate analysis, terrorists are killing people for the ‘sake of it’. The soldiers that he made certain the Great Britain sent to far off lands, on the other hand, kill only because Blair and Britain want to help Arabs and Afghanis to ‘build their democracy’. Come on Tony, do we look that stupid?
Determining what the political message of Blair is all about leaves us with two options. He either is an intellectually limited being or alternatively, he deliberately produces the most idiotic simplistic messages under the assumption that the British public is stupid enough to accept everything he says. He probably thinks to himself: if it works for Bush in America it very well may work for me in Britain.
Blair repeatedly speaks about the evil ideology behind terrorist acts, but he fails to share with us what that ideology is. In fact, he tells us that those evil beings ‘deliberately kill people for the sake of it’. But then, if this is the case, it isn’t ideology but rather sheer bloodthirstiness. Let me assure you, Blair isn’t very innovative here. Anglo-Americans traditionally have presented their enemy as being savage, barbarian, and bloodthirsty primitives. They did it with the Native American Indians, they did it with Germans already since WWI and now they are doing it with Arab nationalists. This is very much a general common tactic used by colonialists and supremacist polemicists. But then one would expect that at the dawn of the 21st century, a prominent ‘liberal democrat’ leader would leave this old rhetorical formula behind. Let’s face it; Blair is neither a democrat nor a liberal. In fact he is a devoted servant of hard capitalism and brutal colonialism.
Blair is determined to be victorious over terror. His philosophy is simple: if terror is bad all we have to do is to kill the terrorists by means of military intervention. Apparently, it is the Israelis who invented this kindergarten philosophy. At the time it had a catchy name; they called it ‘War Against Terror’. For the Israelis it was a local war with a conflicting nationalist movement. Thanks to the fully Zionised Blair and Bush, this local conflict is now expanding rapidly into a global crisis or even a world war.
But then, we may want to review the tactics Blair is there to offer. How can we really fight a faceless, anonymous enemy? It is very simple, we merely attach a face to the faceless.
In terms of CCTV (closed circuit TV), Britain is a leading European nation. No country in the continent has more CCTV cameras per capita. If the data are to be believed, apparently every British inhabitant just in the course of going about his business, is captured around 300 times a day by the many cameras around. Unsurprisingly, the Metropolitan Police was very quick to release the photos of the alleged ‘suicide terrorists’. Three days after the 7/7 attack we saw them entering Luton station carrying massive rucksacks. Less than 24 hours after the second London attack the Metropolitan Police released the photos of the four suspected bombers.
No doubt, modernity and technology are a great advantage. But we should not stop there; we must capitalise on our technological superiority and put it to the use of society at large. We must place many more cameras. They should be in every home, in every bedroom, in every restaurant, in every public toilet. We can then, just minutes after the next attack, be able to see the suspected terrorists eating, shitting, fucking, picking their noses or even picking other people’s noses. It will look great on TV and it will even look better on a tabloid newspaper. This must be Blair’s prophecy for the Western world: more cameras, more identity cards, in short, more control.
Apparently, we love photographic images. Living in the scientific and technological society we call our own, we are obsessed with ‘evidence’. We love terror to be pornographic. We can sit for days watching Boeing airplanes getting chewed by the Twin Towers. We love explicit images and we want more of them. We want to see the body, the face, and the eyes of evil. But surely we do miss something. We can’t read the minds. Those alleged suicidal demons remain a mystery. We have more and more evidence but we have less and less comprehension. In fact, Blair’s empty rhetoric proves how little some of us do understand. Twenty days after 7/7 London attack we still don’t have a clue what really happened there. Who was behind it and why did it happen? All we get from Blair is empty rhetoric coupled with pictures of olive skinned faces.
We’d better accept it once and for all; photos or any other positive evidence won’t get us anywhere. Surely, it is not going to prevent the next attack from happening. Religiously motivated terror is ideological, a term completely foreign to Blair and his followers. Millions of sporadic bits of fragmented evidence won’t bring us any closer to an ideological understanding. Ideology and evidence are two different and distinct categories.
To quote Mark Jurgesmeyer: “one person’s ‘suicide terrorist’ is another person’s ‘freedom fighter’. For those who fail to realise, suicidal war is the ultimate form of freedom fighting. The martyr is never alone. He is always supported by a community.” Jacques Lacan, the legendary French psychoanalyst, taught us that ‘unconsciousness is the discourse of the other’. He is probably right. Suicidal attack is better grasped in terms of a fatal exchange between a protagonist and more than a few discourses. In other words, the suicide bomber leaves behind an image of sacrifice. This image is planted forever within the discourse of his supportive community as well as within the community of the victims. In a word, suicidal terror is a form of communication. Clearly, Blair fails miserably in understanding this form of communication, but as it seems, the majority of British people are more than willing to listen, and hopefully to comprehend.
According to several UK polls, most Britons do realise that the recent London attacks are the outcome of Blair’s grave policies in the Middle East. Seemingly, they understand better than their Prime Minister what the message of terror is all about.
Martyrdom is the outcome of a community which has been humiliated and oppressed. Unfortunately, and it is hard to admit, we are the oppressors in this story. In fact, martyrdom is a message addressed to each of us. It is about time we try to confront this message. If we want to confront suicidal terror, we are obligated to attempt to understand it. We must learn what really motivates young people to sacrifice their lives. If we want to challenge it, first we must recognise and respect it. As long as we have locked ourselves within a scientific technological discourse we will never be able to get to the bottom of this emerging problem. Millions of CCTV cameras won’t let us into other people’s minds. Three million cameras won’t help us to grasp the extent of the humiliation that leads human beings to take other people’s lives as well as their own. If we want to tackle those who are determined to kill us, we must look in the mirror first. Blair’s rhetoric is all about stopping us from doing just that.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Hiroshima Day in Vienna
The Viennese Peace Movement and the Hiroshima Group Vienna will again organise the annual manifestation 2005 in commemoration of the victims of the first atomic bombs on 6 August in Vienna, St. Stephan's Square.
This year we will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the atomic raid of the two Japanese Cities.
The lesson from Hiroshima and Nagasaki is of greater relevance than ever: a world free from nuclear weapons and war. But despite the protest of millions of people war is waged in Afghanistan, in Iraq, the Middle East and elsewhere and people in all the war afflicted regions are severely suffering. On the other hand, research and development on new and above all employable nuclear weapons (mini-nukes, as described in the recent US military doctrine) are carried on. The nuclear arsenals of the so called new nuclear weapons states like India and Pakistan are threatening the world to the same extent as the stockpiles of the "old" ones or the"non-declared". Into this picture the failed Review-Conference on the NPT (New York, May 05) fits perfectly in.
We must say clearly: There is no alternative to the abolition of all nuclear weapons. Prominent and well-known voices all over the world are alerting public opinion to the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs, "dirty bombs") by terrorists but also to the threat of resuming nuclear testing by the nuclear powers and the threat of use of nuclear weapons in doctrines like that of the pre-emptive strike.
Therefore, our common endeavour for a world without nuclear weapons and without war is more needed than ever before. For this reason, we are kindly asking you to send us your MESSAGE OF SUPPORT for this very important event on 6th of August (Hiroshima-Day). We expect your kind message not later than the end of July.
All the incoming messages will be collected in our webpage http://www.hiroshima.at and presented publicly at the manifestation inVienna.
Your kind message is a very valuable help in our common effort: a world without nuclear weapons and without war.
Voluntary members of the Peacebureau
What is behind terrorism? from Sherif el Sebai
Sherif El Sebai has a very interesting blog Salem(e)lik (In Italian). I’m taking the liberty of translating a segment of one of his latest interventions, "Fallaci: il Dio Buono e il Dio infanticida". This article is also available in French on his site.
“… Military strategy though, as it is normal that it should be so, is accompanied by a hammering and constant propaganda commissioned by those lobbies that have every interest in removing the attention of their own citizens from problems of daily life, and they can’t wait to justify their own political line. Even if it is a failure seeing that it is essentially set up to enrich some multinationals in which it is the principal investor.
The uncomfortable truth is that these lobbies, Ms Fallaci, and together with them various minor versions that are turning up every day through the national newspapers, want to hide to the general public that there is no such thing as terrorism that is born out of nothing. And therefore, there can not even be a terrorism that is born from a “senseless” hatred of the West, of its civilisation and values. To put it briefly, there is no such thing as a terrorism that is aggressive as an end in itself, because terrorism is nothing more than a method that part of a specific social reality uses in order to obtain a political result. The truth is that terrorists do not attack because they are “jealous of the Twin Towers” or of the “Western metropolis’s”: all it takes is for a quick look in some Arab cities to assure oneself of this. They don’t care one way or the other about how Westerners dress and what their TV stations propose at two o’clock in the morning.
And they don’t attack because they want to “destroy the West or conquer or convert it to Islam”, even if their pompous rhetoric seems to sound that way to non-experts. The terrorism of Al Qaeda is not at all a religious terrorism, even if it is tied into religion: it is a political terrorism, with methodologies and finalities that are plainly geo-strategic and economic.
Al Qaeda does not kill the English, the Spanish or the Americans because they are “Christians”, even if it makes rhetorical use of the term “infidels” (the Egyptian ambassador whose throat was cut, with wife and daughters wearing veils, had been in fact also defined as ambassador “of the infidels”).
Why, according to the perverse logic of Al Qaeda, are citizens who have decided with their free vote to support governments that have brought about and maintained politics considered unjust not only by those fanatics that – in a barbaric and unacceptable way – have self-assumed the duty of “defending” and “vindicating” their communities, but even a large part of the public opinion of the Middle East, Christian Arabs included. The terrorists aim at overthrowing the Middle Eastern governments sustained by the West, especially in countries rendered unstable – and therefore substantially made “appetising” and “accessible” – to Western military intervention, such as in Iraq, or to reinstate fundamentalist governments that had previously existed, such as in Afghanistan.
Until they have reached their goal, the attacks will continue because they are functional to their image of themselves as “vengeful heroes” for the Arab masses, continually put to the stress and pain of photograms of the victims of American bombs or of torture perpetrated by Western soldiers. Islamic terrorism, with great banality, models itself after all of the terrorist movements that have political demands, while conserving the religious rhetoric that is functional for justifying – always according to the extremist point of view – certain actions before the Middle Eastern populations who are, essentially, populations that are religious believers and sensitive to the calls of their religion. But these populations are also driven by serious situations of social, political and economic deprivation, which as lasted a long time both in the Middle East as in Europe, where the integration of the Muslim community is – differently from the United States – substantially a failure. It is certainly not for the fault of Islam or of the Muslims themselves, but for the fault of the European governments who have ghettoised the Muslim communities, inducing some of its members to follow the fundamentalists who rather accept them with open arms, notwithstanding the sentences and useless requests of extradition advanced by their countries of origin. Fundamentalists who have been coddled and pampered and not, as some would have us believe, in the name of democracy and the freedom of thought, but to exercise ulterior pressure on the Arab world, which is already wrung through and through by Western military threats, by embargos, by social conflicts between the rich who are always more rich and the poor who are always more poor, from the demographic explosion, to unemployment and illiteracy."
War is business
Israel produces and sells weapons like it’s nobody’s business. An excerpt from Global Security.org gives us an indication of this industry, much of it state run, but a lot of it private as well.
"There are approximately 150 defense firms in Israel, with combined revenues of an estimated $3.5 billion. The three largest entities are the government-owned IAI, IMI and the Rafael Arms Development Authority, all of which produce a wide range of conventional arms and advanced defense electronics. The medium-sized privately owned companies include Elbit Systems and the Tadiran Group, which focus mainly on defense electronics. The smaller firms produce a narrower range of products. In all, the industry employs close to 50,000 people, all of whom share a commitment to high levels of research and development and the ability to make use of the IDF's combat experience.
Israel's defense exports are coordinated and regulated through SIBAT - the Foreign Defense Assistance and Defense Export Organization - which is run by the Ministry of Defense. SIBAT's tasks include licensing all defense exports as well as marketing products developed for the IDF, from electronic components to missile boats and tanks. Each year, SIBAT publishes a defense sales directory, an authoritative guide to what the industry has to offer."
Remember, the Israelis make sure that the Palestinian Kassam missiles end up on the TV news. Palestine doesn't have a regular army, nor an industry and it seems their only production is the short range Kassam 3, going no further than 10 Km. Israel is always expressing their terror over the Syrian Scuds, and now, the paranoia that Iran is developing long range missiles….Seeing that they are a threat militarily to their neighbours and to the rest of the world with their own arsenal and sales seems to be the height of chutzpah.
Don't they think about how it might feel to be one of Israel's neighbours? With that stockpile and arsenal of every kind of weapon or technological spying device known to humanity right there, breathing down their necks?
Monday, July 18, 2005
A word about speaking “for” Palestinians
A recent piece published in Counterpunch by Amina Mire argues against “speaking in the name of others”. I would agree. It is wrong to speak in the name of others, and that is precisely the core of the problem of the so-called Palestinian Solidarity Movement, and why I protested against the silencing of a Hebrew speaking Palestinian who promotes the Right of Return and equality for all in historical Palestine. A multiplicity of voices is an asset to activism, yet the central protagonist remains the Palestinian people, and nothing in my paper inferred the contrary. If there are those promoting an agenda that is not that of the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people, they should be exposed and the needle should point back in the right direction.
Yet, in Ms Mire’s piece, there is a great misconception which I feel it is important to dispel. The Counterpunch article she criticises never once promotes the substitution of “European based activists” for the voices of the Palestinians. Rather, it emphasises that the demands of the Palestinian people, at least, those which can be considered to be the most widely held, must remain in the forefront and at the centre of the issue, removing from the focus of discourse side issues which tend to isolate segments of non-Palestinian activists into “philo-Semite” and “anti-Semite”, where the reference is entirely as Jews as the only Semitic people: issues which are not central to the Palestinian struggle or demands, but fulfil a different agenda.
In Ms Mire’s paper against “European based activists” expressing the voice of the Palestinian people, there are several enormous misleading notions which are apparent in a reading of her piece. The author sent the article to me several weeks ago, and I responded, articulating the particular situation of the Palestinian struggle. I can assume that she may or may not know specifics of the ethnic diaspora she is part of, and perhaps of other African liberation movements, but the information I provided her about the background of this particular liberation struggle, and why it is so difficult to create a unified movement were not considered by her, as her published paper shows no adaptation with knowledge of a historical situation she is not immersed in. The colossal comparative errors made are not compensated by indignant expressions as to the appropriateness of those not “ethnically” the same being able to articulate the demands of a certain group. I find it significant that in my 26 years of public pro-Palestinian activism, on college campuses, in political movements, in cultural centres, in associations and now as a blogger about Palestine, not a single Palestinian has ever told me that my voice was inappropriate, or that I was undermining their discourse or stuffing it with any ostensible personal agenda. I also do not understand what the connection any of Ms Mire’s discourse of linguistic normative in American academia is to this issue, nor of the importance of the “proper accident”. I too am a non native speaker in the country I live in, and this is all part of any linguistic adaptation, as Terracini or any scholar of language substitution can inform us. It does not necessarily imply any accompanying political baggage.
I then may surmise that if this issue is misunderstood by a writer who comments upon the appropriateness of Whites (or assumed thus, as Ms Mire never inquired as to my ethnic composition, but merely assumed) actively engaging in liberation struggle discourse together with oppressed populations, generally comprised of non-Whites (or minority groups, if this simplifies discourse, considering White as the normative), imagine what confusion there is for those in the general public. I will try to clarify this problematic situation by illustrating some specific elements of the Palestine liberation struggle. True advocacy is not over-riding the voice of the people that one is focussing upon, and in the case of the Palestinians, certainly there was never in my writing, implicitly or explicitly, an inference that the Palestinians were somewhat lacking in inherent capacity. It is evident that my esteem for the Palestinians rather blinds me at times to some valid points their opponents might make. If anything, I fault by the opposite. Nor is it the insistence that Europeans have some vision that the Palestinians should adopt. This again cannot be found in my writing, unless it is advocating the need to find a system of information like the pro-Israel camp dreams up, such as The Israel Project. There is no inference, and the author fails to even find any, that I promote some imperial moral authority. It is a "vibe" she picked up…. Where this vibe is picked up from is anyone’s guess, and certainly unless she finds it and can articulate and demonstrate it clearly, it doesn’t exist except in her own sensibility.
Nor is it compensation for a White Man’s Burden, but rather the recognition of Palestinian particularity and engaging in discourse with an undeniably fragmented Palestinian population, and the lack of resonance of the Palestinian voice in the public sphere. One may ask why it is fragmented, and dispelling the myth of a “Palestinian nation”, or a mass block is essential. The technique that Jews have used to unite interests has not been adopted by the Palestinians, and the situation is not analogous. The mass media often depicts this group of people by using stereotypes, including many negative ones. At times, they are subjects to be pitied, and they are depicted in ways that do not articulate the true nature of their societies, and the living conditions of Palestinian people.
The reality is that the Palestinians are an extremely varied and inhomogeneous group. They are not united by a single faith, as there are Muslims, ranging from secular to moderate to fundamentalist. There are Christians, including Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant. They also have different points of political reference and indeed, different bodies of control and authority. They live under different regimes. Even if the PLO has claimed that it is the sole representative of the Palestinian people, the reality seems to be somewhat different, as they certainly have not bothered to involve the diaspora population in the electoral process.
Another major obstacle to classifying in a simple nutshell the Palestinian people is the fact that they are divided in the same historical Palestine. Some live under Israeli occupation and complete control, others are semi-independent with the Palestinian Authority governing them, others still are Israeli citizens. They are further divided into those living in historical Palestine, and those in the diaspora. Can we consider equivalent the situations of a refugee, an exile, a student, a professional, a labourer, someone who descends from Palestine but has no personal experience of it? Where to find a common thread in all of this has never been easy.
Yet, Ms Mire claims that political identity is secondary to human identity and the rights which follow. No one can deny that a political identity, as a citizen of a State is one of the great achievements of liberation struggles, and it signifies self determination, as well as the more fundamental principle of protection. Without this identification, those living in limbo will continue to lack the protection that they need, and therefore, any rights they may demand will not be recognised.
Anyone who works on campaigns for Palestinian questions eventually finds himself faced with the reality of the situation. Far from being an easily classified people, since there is not even territorial integrity, nor is there a temporal unification in the moment of the displacement, one finds that Palestinians themselves generally organise themselves into an identity of their town of origin, and not in any more inclusive way. This has been problematic especially in Europe, where the territorial diffusion is far more vast and individuals lose touch with their native land and brethren. In Italy, a case I am involved in, not even the Palestinian representative is aware of how many Palestinians there are with residency in Italy, much less those not legally registered. In this way, they remain outside of political issues such as voting registration, an example of which we saw for the diaspora Iraqi vote.
An issue many activists continually face, especially those who promote a full Right of Return and a One State solution, rather than an independent Palestinian State alongside the Jewish State of Israel, is the matter of Palestinians who are citizens of Israel. They are considered to be a dangerous “fifth column” which threatens the Jewish Character of the Zionist State. They are in addition, politically and socially disjointed from their fellow Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories or further still, in foreign refugee camps. This greatly complicates the issue of defining the precise needs and demands of the entire Palestinian people, and what their aspirations are. These people, far from being a marginal issue, are extremely important. If a Palestinian State should develop, what will be the fate of these men, women and children? Will their second class citizenship in Israel beside a Palestinian State cause them to seek to remove the status of ethnic minority and hasten the abandonment of their homes and satisfy the will of those Israelis who see them as an internal enemy to be transferred or in some way convinced to leave? Are they still a concern? I think they are every bit as vital to discourse as “displaced” Palestinians without real political referents of any sort.
Is it sufficient to insist that Israel reforms itself to grant full equality to the minority groups who are citizens? Or is this outside activism work? This variable of these people is not seen as most as “counting” in the struggle for Palestinian liberation. But considering these individuals as subjects of discourse is essential.
An enormous stumbling block to progress is the disjointedness of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement, by whatever name it calls itself. Some in it think it is sufficient to stop IDF violence as well as the Palestinian Intifada. There are those calling for non-violence and shoving Ghandi down the throats of Palestinians, as if the concept of peaceful coexistence was alien especially to them and that if they just been more compassionate and used non-violent instruments, rather than the means of resistance they have used, which are fraught with violence, things would have been resolved years ago. There are others who think ending the occupation and implementing the Roadmap of the Quartet is the ticket. Others think that unilateral disengagement from Gaza is a progressive move and they demonstrate in support of Sharon as leftists. This is the organised Israeli Jewish left. You may note, Palestinians are not really involved in any of these movements or trends.
Then, there is the more militant aspect of Palestine liberation solidarity, which is what I endorse, as well as some of the groups I am part of, Al-Awda primarily. We support resistance. We endorse the common call to full Right of Return. The Right of Return, as difficult as it might be for Israelis to swallow, is the single idea that the entire population of Palestinians, within Israel, in the diaspora, in refugee camps… all agree upon. It is their right, recognised by international law. That is the one idea that anyone who supports the struggle of the Palestinian people is obligated to endorse, if they want the Palestinian voice to be the guiding one. We must accept it, promote it, work towards its implementation. Rather than make Palestinian demands “subaltern”, they are central.
Some Palestinian groups, lead basically by Palestinians themselves, do not want to isolate anyone who sympathises with the plight of their people, and therefore accept anyone who offers some support. They encourage a “large Church”, a “wide umbrella”. They accept that those in solidarity with their cause spend energy to promote the Geneva Initiative, which makes the Right of Return moot. I don’t understand this concept, because it reduces the one absolutely essential element of the liberation struggle into an optional. The strength of the Palestinian struggle is that it upholds the principles of international law and demands rights which are inalienable and universal. There is political expediency behind this, apparently. But groups which have the ROR on the platform are indeed recognising the necessity to get this issue back on the table. This may spell more fragmentation in the “movement”, but it may bring about the militant determination to not undermine the essential rights of the Palestinians, and be more effective in awakening the distracted and uninformed global public to what the demands of the Palestinians actually are. To get the issue of the Right of Return in public discourse as a demand that is the core of the issue is vital, and this is what Palestinians ask of those who are working shoulder to shoulder with them.
There is a cost to this, though. This means openly discussing the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, settling old issues and presenting them to a public that prefers not to know. It is here that activists of a less militant stripe have much difficulty. This is the major reason many “moderate” groups and individuals do not want to push the issue, even if many of them already reject the Jewish majority status of Israel in favour of a secular democracy. It may have to do with guilt associated with the inculcation of pro-Israel ideas, especially from childhood religious or educational indoctrination. Many people believe the way forward is never looking back. If those who support Israel look back two millennia, making all of us look back just sixty years isn’t such a bad idea after all. Many of us see it as an absolute necessity.
There is a follow up to the original issue of the Gag Artists who would have Gilad Atzmon banned from the SWP event. He appeared to a full house, and presented together with Palestinian artists a dramatic presentation and a speech which is available for reading here.
Joh Domingo - Shock & Awe in London
It seems that there are no limits to Muslim skullduggery; Islam manufactures an endless stream of people willing to annihilate themselves and those in close proximity to them. The evidence mounts in a never-ending daily spiral of attacks; against all and sundry; as if the self-immolation bug and an irrepressible urge to kill their fellow human beings have infected Muslims. It is as if nothing can explain it, not even the moderate Muslims that risk physical injury to themselves in their efforts to denounce the evident craziness, and their contortions to explain the ‘distortions’ that give rise to the phenomena, and apportion blame to the occasional misfit that Islam produces.
Exactly what is being distorted is never actually explained. What a host of Islamic leaders, and non-Islamic leaders, seem to suggest is that something mysterious is afoot: there are teachings within Islam that can be twisted in such a manner as to give rise to a cult that slaughters people, for no reason other than to terrorize them. The distorterers know no bounds, and apparently rationalize the killing of Muslim and non-Muslim alike, believers and unbelievers, in a nihilistic campaign to rid themselves, and those they kill, of oppression. What makes it worse is that the distorterers have apparently mastered the art of mass hypnosis; inducing a trance-like state is fellow Muslims that cause them to slip into a state of denial, disclaiming what is patently obvious: Muslims are killing themselves and in the process mass-murdering countless others, in a daily barrage that offends the senses, and banishes religious ethics and morality. What can explain it, and why the lame excuses from the Muslim community?
The answer is quite simple; Muslims, like all communities, are subject to bias, and filter the information into digestible chunks. They are hardwired to separate the issues, and recognize legitimate activity from illegitimate activity. More importantly, they do not believe the reports coming at them in an endless stream. It is like watching a movie about cowboys and Indians, when you are a Native American living in a White Man’s world. You instinctively reject the bull made for the bigoted audience, and events assume a surreal quality because what is being portrayed, and the characters, is so alien to anything you have ever known. Muslims instinctively know that the truth is not what it seems; and believe fervently that it will come out in the end. Quite clearly Islam produces its share of misfits, but the scale and number of incidents are beyond belief, and are an indication that something else is afoot; especially in Iraq.
I am a born Muslim, and have lived amongst, and known Muslims all my life. I have known all kinds: Devout, atheist Muslim, agnostic Muslim, Fanatical Muslim; but by far the majority of Muslims I have known are what I would call nominal Muslims; they believe, but restrict the practice of religion to the barest necessary to still call themselves Muslim. They are cultural Muslims; brought up within the traditions of Islam, most with a strong Islamic education, but unable, or unwilling, to diligently practice the strict tenets of their religion. I count myself as being a member of the latter. There were periods where I was more devout than other periods, but in the main, I have adhered to a mere cultural practice of my religion. Never once, in all my fifty years on in this world, has anyone suggested that I was not a Muslim, and never once have I heard of anyone being excommunicated from Islam for non-adherence to the tenets of Islam.
I have heard reports of communities who practice an austere form of Islam, and who enforce the tenets of Islam, but have discounted the reports in their entirety because they usually stem from non-Islamic sources who more often than not, do not understand what the tenets of Islam are. They are five: Prayer, Fasting, Zakaat (Charity), Shahada (the belief in one God), and Haj (Pilgrimage). Wearing of Hijab, prohibiting Women from participating fully in society, Circumcision, Female genital Mutilation, Shariah,, military Jihad and any of the hodge-podge of issues that form the bulk of Western reportage on Islam are cultural/political/social CHOICES made by the various Islamic communities around the world. They are not what makes one a Muslim. The single tenet that makes one a Muslim is the belief in one God. Whether one diligently practices the other four tenets of Islam is a matter of personal devotion. No Islamic authority can enforce them, and I have never heard of it being enforced except for some dubious reports coming out of Taliban Afghanistan prior to 9/11. Every Muslim understands this; almost no non-Muslim I have met understands it. There is no compulsion in Islam.
The proponents of the distortion theory are short on examples of what exactly is being distorted. There is no shortage of anti-Islamic material that give multiple staccato-like examples of passages from the Quran that purport to represent teachings that justify the slaughter of innocents. No Muslim interprets these passages this way, not even the most fanatical and radical practitioners of the religion; it is simply not a credible assertion that any Muslim takes seriously, although its credibility has enormous currency amongst non-Muslims. Most Muslims, when presented with ‘evidence’ that the high priests of ‘Radical Islam’; Osama Bin Laden, uses such justification, either decline to enter into discussion about it; since it leads inevitably into a discussion about ‘Conspiracy Theories’, if one is at least skeptical about the myth surrounding this man; or indulge in mealy-mouthed denouncements that such teachings go against the teachings of Islam, if one wholeheartedly swallows the western interpretations of events.
It is time ‘Moderate Muslims’ tell the truth: we don’t believe your stories, are suspicious of your motives, and it is time you substantiated in an open and transparent way, the assertions you have been making about Islam, Muslims, and the actions of Islamic radical misfits whose activities have upset you so. Logic dictates that a rapprochement between the West and Islamic societies is in order, if offense has been created by the activities of the ‘radical elements’ in Islamic societies, since it is Muslims who bear the brunt of purported Western efforts to counter the effects of radical Islamic revolution.
But such an effort hinges on honesty from all parties. It is inconceivable for a Muslim to accept that Muslims are targeting Mosques, even the mosques of Shi’ites, as is happening with monotonous regularity in Iraq. Even Iraqi Shi’ites are skeptical about these claims. These events fortify our suspicions that something else is afoot. Any insurgent guerilla army relies on the (at least tacit) support of the population. Without it, they are doomed. No Muslim, whether Sunni or Shia, would support a group that targets mosques; to believe otherwise is to believe in the most preposterous conspiracy theory of them all. Likewise, while attempts have been made to justify suicide bombing on Islamic grounds in Palestine, and in particular the use of that tactic by the Islamist party Hamas, these tactics have in no way been endorsed by Islamic Jurist, either Shia or Sunni. The oppression of the Palestinians by Israel has been so revolting, that Muslims have declined to pass judgement on the Palestinians for their transgressions. This has been used as evidence that Muslims support Suicide bombing, but nothing could be further from the truth. Muslims have suspended judgement on the matter, in the face of the desperation of the Palestinian people. Until Muslim can offer some relief, they do not have the moral authority to preach to the Palestinian people. It has become a matter between them and God.
The recent events on 7/7/05 in London bear all the hallmarks of fueling the seemingly never-ending jihad against Muslim communities in the Middle East and elsewhere. In response to the fusillade of invective being directed against the Muslim community and the religion of Islam in the West in the wake of the Bombings in London, Muslim community leaders have been at pains to distance their religion and their communities from these acts. Such an act can legitimately be described as ‘terrorism’. However, in doing so they have inevitably given currency to the idea that Islam, at least in an ideological manner, has provided the basis upon which the perpetrators have justified their actions. They have done so in the face of seemingly overwhelming evidence, as reported by the mass media that Muslims were indeed responsible for these acts, and that they knowingly destroyed the calm, and the lives of the victims. It is hard to discern the facts, only to speculate and run the risk of being perceived to be rationalizing terrorism. They cannot be blamed for acting preemptively, in the face of a real threat their communities are facing; but such statements could have a worse, longer-term effect: It cements the perception in the wider Western community that Islam does indeed bear a fundamental guilt for violent acts against western societies - A perception that seems almost impossible to counter.
Far from it being an open and shut case, appearances can be deceptive. An event like this is never as clear-cut as it first seems, and theories abound, most of them conspiracy theories. But it is obvious that a conspiracy exists by a segment within Western society to milk this event to generate as much hatred against Muslims in general as possible. They are confident that the obvious perpetrators come from within the Muslim community - That a terrorist act like this would generate the usual suspect. It is not inconceivable that since such an outcome is predictable, a Muslim perpetrator would have been conscious of it and that it would be a factor that would weigh on his/their mind. We are being asked to discard the effect such knowledge would have had on their intentions. We are also being asked to accept that the certitude Islam would be blamed does not occur to those that manufactured lies that has directly led to the slaughter London two-thousand fold in Iraq, and exacted London two-hundred fold in dead American military flesh. It is beyond comprehension that this possibility is not being seriously discussed, let alone being examined by the authorities investigating the bombings.
But process is being inverted, and the only certainty seems to be that Islam has somehow been ‘distorted’, the effect of which is that a group of Muslim misfits have killed a lot of people. But statistics would show that it is the husband/wife that killed the spouse, not the intruder. Most law enforcement personnel are trained to have the closest family member at the top of the suspect list. That the spouse should be the first to be investigated and ruled out as a suspect before the investigation is to proceed any further. Has it been ruled out that any maverick, homegrown quasi-official group is not responsible for the bombings? Has it been ruled out that the suspected bombers are not in fact victims of the bombs? It may be wishful thinking, but it would be nice to know procedure is being followed before we go racing around defending Islam, which should not be on the suspect list in the first place.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
URGENT!! ALL EYES ON GAZA DISENGAGEMENT
What May Come After the Evacuation of Jewish Settlers from the Gaza Strip
A Warning from Israel
By URI DAVIS, ILAN PAPPE, and TAMAR YARON
We feel that it is urgent and necessary to raise the alarm regarding what may come during and after evacuation of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip occupied by Israel in 1967, in the event that the evacuation is implemented.
We held back on getting this statement published and circulated, seeking additional feedback from our peers. The publication in Ha'aretz (22 June 2005) quoting statements by General (Reserves) Eival Giladi, the head of the Coordination and Strategy team of the Prime Minister's Office, motivated us not to delay publication and circulation any further. Confirming our worst fears, General (Res.) Eival Giladi went on record in print and on television to the effect that "Israel will act in a very resolute manner in order to prevent terror attacks and [militant] fire while the disengagement is being implemented" and that "If pinpoint response proves insufficient, we may have to use weaponry that causes major collateral damage, including helicopters and planes, with mounting danger to surrounding people."
We believe that one primary, unstated motive for the determination of the government of the State of Israel to get the Jewish settlers of the Qatif (Katif) settlement block out of the Gaza Strip may be to keep them out of harm's way when the Israeli government and military possibly trigger an intensified mass attack on the approximately one and a half million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, of whom about half are 1948 Palestine refugees.
The scenario could be similar to what has already happened in the past - a tactic that Ariel Sharon has used many times in his military career - i.e., utilizing provocation in order to launch massive attacks.
Following this pattern, we believe that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz are considering to utilize provocation for vicious attacks in the near future on the approximately one and a half million Palestinian inhabitants of the Gaza Strip: a possible combination of intensified state terror and mass killing. The Israeli army is not likely to risk the kind of casualties to its soldiers that would be involved in employing ground troops on a large scale in the Gaza Strip. With General Dan Halutz as Chief of Staff they don't need to. It was General Dan Halutz, in his capacity as Commander of the Israeli Air Force, who authorized the bombing of a civilian Gaza City quarter with a bomb weighing one ton, and then went on record as saying that he sleeps well and that the only thing he feels when dropping a bomb is a slight bump of the aircraft.
The initiators of this alarm have been active for many decades in the defence of human rights inside the State of Israel and beyond. We do not have the academic evidence to support our feeling, but given past behavior, ideological leanings and current media spin initiated by the Israeli government and military, we believe that the designs of the State of Israel are clear, and we submit that our educated intuition with matters pertaining to the defence of human rights has been more often correct than otherwise.
We urge all those who share the concern above to add their names to ours and urgently give this alarm as wide a circulation as possible.
Circulating and publishing this text may constitute a significant factor in deterring the Israeli government, thus protecting the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip from this very possible catastrophe and contributing to prevent yet more war crimes from occurring.
Please sign, circulate, and publish this alarm without delay!
Please send notification of your signature to Tamar Yaron firstname.lastname@example.org
WE WOULD ALSO APPRECIATE RECEIVING NOTIFICATION IF THE ALARM WAS PUBLISHED IN ANY MEDIA AND/OR IF IT WAS SENT TO A GROUP DISTRIBUTION LIST.
Uri Davis, Sakhnin, email@example.com , Ilan Pappe, Tiv'on, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Tamar Yaron, Kibbutz Hazorea, email@example.com
Friday, July 15, 2005
1001 Lies about Gilad Atzmon
Sadly, those of us engaged in exposing the crimes of Zionism are often victims of smear campaigns. It is more or less an "occupational hazard" to which sooner or later, one develops a thick skin. We basically ignore it and get on with our business. In the past two months, I have witnessed and been object of a bi-directional smear campaign against Gilad Atzmon and his supporters which has overstepped the usual limits. The typical opponents have been at it, with their Frontpage News articles, their pseudo "progressive" conservative rants on forums where basically anonymous ill-mouthed narcissists defend the cause of Zionism and rant against Muslims, and the usual Zionist mouthpieces creating faulty cut and paste bits taken from various internet sources publishing op-eds in newspapers.
Yet, a small group of "anti-Zionist Jews" had been the most virulent in these attacks. Some of it dragging people of the most limpid records into it and smearing them violently. I myself, have been victim to their aggressions, mainly verbal, but also in an aborted attempt of the leader of Jews Against Zionism to throw me out of Just Peace UK, a discussion group, by creating ad hoc an ad hominem poll, smearing me as a Holocaust Denier Apologist, when my record of anti fascist activity is on public record and probably has been more effective than anything he has done.
Why all of this? Because myself and others have defended Gilad Atzmon. Who is he? In my opinion, he is one of the most honest, effective, sincere and creative voices speaking against Zionist crimes. His alignment with the Palestinian people is total. He has dedicated his work, his art, his life and his energy to listening to them, spreading their message, and doing anything he can to make people aware of their situation. He also knows a thing or two about Zionism and Israel. He was raised in Israel, inculcated in its mindset and aware of its doctrine. He was a soldier for Israel when he lived there, but dusting the dirt off his shoes, he is now a soldier for Palestine. Being a soldier, he is not going to abandon the battlefield.
He is a victim of this as other illustrious fighters have been, those who condemn the manipulative uses of the Holocaust Industry, such as Norman Finkelstein, or those who expose the work of the Zionist Lobby and the mass media such as Jeff Blankfort and those of "If Americans Knew", or those who report from Zionist Israel, such as Ilan Pappe, Amira Hass or Gideon Levy. With few or no exceptions, they are people raised in the Jewish faith or at least in Jewish cultural environments. They are targetted where it is no longer Politically Correct to keep on targetting Palestinians and Arabs.
Atzmon knows what Zionism is, and how it has been so effective. The one mechanism it has always used has been THE LIE. It is so simple to understand how Palestinians have lost their land and freedom because so many people believed the lies. That is why, exposing the lies is important. And without further ado: the current status of lies against Gilad Atzmon.
A Glimpse Into the World of Zionist Ugliness
For more than ten years I have been writing about Israel, Zionism and Jewish identity. I am engaged in a process of deconstruction and critique of different Jewish texts, ideas, politics and practice. My intent is aiming towards some deeper realisation of what Zionism is. In my opinion, Zionism is one of the most dangerous political movements. It is a global operation that threatens world peace on a daily basis.
I am delighted to say that my views are well distributed. My books are translated into 17 languages, my papers are highly circulated as well. I contribute regularly to many left magazines both in the printed media as well as online ones. And yet, I have never seen an argumentative piece against any of my writings. No one has ever dared challenge my philosophical ideas. Instead of doing that, they label me. They call me names, they misquote me, they lie and they are very quick to believe their own lies. In other words, based on their responses, they are Zionists and they behave like ones.
This page is dedicated to my bitterest opponents. It is an open list of the different labels that have been attached to my name. Each label is followed by my comment. This page is glimpse into the world of Zionist ugliness.
Atzmon the Self-Hating Jew - I recently won the Jewish Chronicle’s ‘Self-Hating Jew Weekly Award’ (The Jewish Chronicle 24/6/2005 Diary column, Simon Round).
My comment: If there is a political Jew within me, I do indeed fight him to the bitter end. But then, rather than viewing such a battle as a symptom of a pathological mental state, I tend to regard it as a healthy progressive dialectic procedure.
Atzmon the Racist - This is a statement published in various places. Mark Elf, a 3rd category Jew who has his own blog is totally convinced that I am ‘deeply racist and Anti-Semitic’ . This very idea was repeated lately by David Aaronovitch, another fellow Zionist journalist who specialises in collecting broken bits of information from London’s Jewish web sites.
My comment: There is not a single racist remark in any of my political writings or in my performances. I do not refer to any form of biological determinism. I have never written about race or referred to it whatsoever. Moreover, I have never supported any form of discrimination against Jews or anyone else. If anything, I support total equality. I would admit though that my fictional characters are often enough racist to the bone, but it is exactly their racism which I ridicule.
Atzmon the Anti-Semite - rather often I am accused by left Jews of being an Anti-Semite.
My comment: I am an anti Zionist and oppose the Zionist mindset. I look at questions of Jewish identity and I do question the ties between a Jewish world view and Zionism. I refute totally that I am anti-Semite. In fact I also believe that the current concept of an Anti-Semitism is meaningless.
Once the Zionists had managed to establish their Jewish state, any form of anti Jewish sentiments should be comprehended either as a private case of xenophobia or as a political retaliation to Israeli/Zionist atrocities. In other words, the title Anti-Semite became an ‘empty signifier, i.e. a signifier with a vague, highly variable, unspecifiable or non-existent signified. It is an empty verbal utterance that exists merely to serve a political cause (very much like Blair’s WMD and Bush’s Axis of Evil). Because Anti-Semite is an empty signifier, no one actually can be an Anti-Semite and this includes me of course. In short, you are either a racist which I am not or have an ideological disagreement with Zionism, which I have.
Atzmon the Holocaust Denier - In a letter to Bookmarks, a Socialist bookshop in London, Tony Greenstein, a British Jewish ethnic activist, as well as a 3rd category man, stated that he called for a picket against the bookshop during my appearance. In the official position letter he labeled me as the 'Holocaust Denier Gilad Atzmon'.
My comment: 3rd category Jews love the Holocaust, therefore, some of them spend a lot of time searching for its deniers. Greenstein is no doubt a Holocaust denier hunter. Anyhow, on the same day, after being warned that such an accusation against me may cause him some legal complication, Greenstein caved in and dropped the 'Holocaust denier' accusation. Greenstein presents himself as a Jewish Marxist. I don’t know whether he understands Marxist dialectics, clearly he understands the language of materialism. Once it was down to his pocket, he was very quick to retreat.
Anyhow, such an accusation is very unusual, considering the clear fact that there is not even a single reference to Holocaust denial in any of my writings. I must assume that it is a label that is used by people of the 3rd category as a Zionist-shield. Zionists do insist on preventing any discussion of the topic beyond the standard narrative. Seemingly, the 3rd category Jewish Marxists do operate as a Zionist fig leaf.
Saying that, I must admit that I have many doubts concerning the Zionist Holocaust narrative. Being familiar with many of the discrepancies within the forcefully imposed narrative, being fully familiar with the devastating tale of the extensive collaboration between the Nazis and the Zionists before and throughout the Second World War, I know pretty well that the official Holocaust narrative is there to conceal rather than to reveal any truth. But it isn’t only a historical matter. It is evident that the Holocaust raises an ethical question. Considering the scale of the post Holocaust Jewish trauma we must question how is it that people who suffered so much (Jews) can inflict so much pain on other people (Palestinians).
I may even take it one step further. Since the Palestinians are the last victims of Hitler, we aren't able to isolate the Holocaust narrative from the Palestinian cause. The natives of Palestine bear the consequences of the Jewish disastrous history. However, I really want to believe that Palestinians will be liberated before the Holocaust narrative drifts and settles as a reasonable historical account. Clearly we aren’t there at the moment.
Atzmon the Holocaust Denier Apologist - Roland Rance, another proper 3rd category Jewish Marxist came with a novel solution. Rather than calling me a 'Holocaust denier', which is a little sticky legally, he went for the mild version, ‘a holocaust denier apologist’.
My Comment: For those who didn’t read my latest book, it is in fact all about Roland Rance and his crypto Zionist brothers. Some Jews cannot live without Hitler. This applies mainly to the left Jews. While the right wing Zionist decided to live by their sword, the modern Jewish leftist, the one who abandoned God, the one who saw the fall of Stalinist Moscow, is searching for essentiality. For Rance, Greenstein, Elf and others, the Holocaust is the new Jewish religion. For a while I have been asking myself whether they are going to drop the Chicken soup out of their diet and adopt some alternative gulag's dishes instead. As we know, Jewish cuisine bears some significant historic symbolism. The 'maza' is a reminder of the endless march in the desert, the 'fish head' is there to encourage some supremacist thinking ('we shall all be in the head rather than in the tail'), the 'falafel' stands for the colonization of Palestine, etc.
Atzmon the non-racist Anti-Semite - I've come across this bizarre label lately.
My comment: This is basically a contradiction in terms (a non-racist racist). I thought that this contradictory title should be presented just to prove that the Zionist's smear world goes far beyond any recognized logical pattern. In the Zionist world 'A and no A' is a valid possibility.
Atzmon the Communist - While the 3rd category Jewish Marxists accuse me of being a right wing racist, their right wing brothers refer to me as 'the red communist'.
My Comment: Although I am sympathetic to Marxist ideology, I argue that material and colonial discourse is far too limited to enlighten the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I am searching for answers in other places rather than mere working class politics.
Atzmon, Proponent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion - I am occasionally accused by right and left Jews for counting on the old Tsarist forgery.
My comment: In fact it is the other way around. I argue that the Protocols are completely irrelevant. Zionist lobbies all over the world are manifestly engaged in global politics and international murderous tactics. It isn’t solely the Palestinians who are victims of Zionist logic. All throughout its history, Zionism was supporting the most malicious Colonial Forces. This is the essence of political Zionism, i.e. whatever is good for the Jews is good.
A few months ago I exposed some extracts of an inner Zionist elder cell in North West Yahoo If you want to learn how they operate just follow the above link.
Atzmon the Endorser of the Burning of Synagogues – I was accused of suggesting at the London School of Oriental and African Studies that burning synagogues is a rational act.
My comment: If there was any truth in such an accusation, I would be sitting behind bars for inciting a racial crime. Needless to say, I wasn’t even approached by the Metropolitan Police. Anyhow, the following is my comment to the Observer about the event:
‘By no means did I justify any form of violence against Jews, Jewish interests or any innocent people. In the School of Oriental and African Studies we were debating the question of rationality of anti-semitism. I claimed that since Israel presents itself as the 'state of the Jewish people', and bearing in mind the atrocities committed by the Jewish state against the Palestinians, any form of anti-Jewish activity may be seen as political retaliation. This does not make it right’. (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,1468961,00.html).
Atzmon the Propagator of the Myth of Jews being Christ killers.
My comment: Jews being Christ killers isn’t a myth. It is rather a historical and a theological narrative. Whether it is true or not isn’t my concern. However, I do question the similarities between the ‘Passion of Christ’ and the passion of the Palestinian people. I do question as well how come Jews feel offended when associated with a crime committed by their ancestors two thousand years ago. I question the repeated Jewish tendency to crucify their messengers. They did it to Christ, to Spinoza, to Chomsky, these days to Finkelstein and Shamir. There is a well maintained Jewish web site dedicated to ‘those who hate themselves’ and must be nailed to the wood. Pay them a visit and judge for yourself.
Atzmon the nutcase, Atzmon the crackpot, Atzmon the loose screw, Atzmon the loose cannon, Atzmon can’t play the Sax, Atzmon and Atzmon and Atzmon and....
My comment: I must have hit a nerve there. I struck a chord and I will strike again and again. More than anything else, I am a Jazz musician.