Thursday, January 31, 2008
Amira Hass - Finally, a popular uprising
The fall of the Rafah wall was a fitting combination of planning and the precise reading of the social and political map by the Hamas government, mixed with a mass response to the dictates of the overlord, Israel.
Quite a few people in Rafah knew that "anonymous figures" had secretly been destabilizing the foundations of the wall for several months, so that it would be possible to knock it down easily when the time came - but the secret didn't leak. The hundreds of people who began leaving Palestinian Rafah right after the wall was breached did so despite the risk, and the precedent of the Egyptians shooting at those who infiltrate through the border.
The leadership and public of Gaza, as two elements of the occupied people, were partners in the courageous and necessary step of breaking the Israeli rules of the game. The breach of the wall is a clear manifestation of the conception and temperament of a popular resistance among the Palestinian people, which for various reasons, were dormant in recent years.
The Palestine Liberation Organization is concerned, and rightly so, that the collapse of the wall will provide Israel with an additional excuse to finalize the separation of Gaza from the West Bank. There is nothing new in this tendency: The Israeli siege of Gaza has been developing radually and persistently since 1991, and intensified during the Oslo years. But the PLO leadership then did not have the necessary creativity to lay down in time a practical challenge to Israel's consistent, destructive and strangling policy of restricting Palestinian freedom of movement.
No wonder. Then, like today, Israel worked to heap privileges on senior Palestinian Authority officials and their associates, granting them some freedom of movement. The officials publicly condemned the restrictions on the movement of the general public, while submissively accepting their privileges. Therefore, their political imagination was unable to provide practical plans of action against the separation of Gaza from the West Bank, and against the reality of incarceration faced by the majority of their people.
The chance of using the achievement of having breached the wall as a way of moving forward and developing the tactics of a popular struggle is hampered by two primary obstacles. One is what's called the "armed struggle" - such as rocket fire from Gaza targeting Israeli towns, or a suicide bombing in Israel. The Palestinian mantra that an occupied nation has the right "to fight using all means" rings hollow, since what's at stake is not a right, but the effectiveness of the struggle.
It has been proven that through popular disobedience, the Palestinians manage to break the Israeli rules of the game and bring their concerns back to the centre of global attention - as well as intensifying criticism of Israel. The "armed struggle," especially when it is aimed at civilians, achieves the opposite: It presents the Palestinians as the aggressor, not as the occupied party under attack, thereby weakening their global standing.
If the Gaza government does not want to lose the momentum of the wall's fall, it must not make do with just having its own militants desist from firing Qassams: it must make it clear to other organizations that they are hindering a successful move of resistance.
The second obstacle is the Ramallah government's entrenched refusal to speak with Hamas. These are, after all, two quasi governments whose legality is questionable from the perspective of the Palestinian Authority's basic law. But both represent the same occupied people and the same tract of land subject to an accelerated process of colonization - and that overcomes all legal quibbling. Mahmoud Abbas met with Ehud Olmert without preconditions during the same weekend when Israel imposed the cruelest siege yet on Gaza, but Abbas can't speak to Ismail Haniyeh without the Hamas leader accepting his preconditions?
This boycott contributes to the severance that Israel works so diligently to intensify. The longer the delay in direct talks between the two leaderships over practical ways of lifting the siege of Gaza, the greater the concern that indeed, as Hamas officials argue, the Ramallah government listens to the United States and to Israel - but not to the will of its own people.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Culture cannot save Israel, Shabtai and more on the Turin Israel Extravaganza
Thank you for your letter.
I do not believe that a State that maintains an occupation, committing on a daily basis crimes against civilians, deserves to be invited to any kind of cultural week. That is, it is anti-cultural; it is a barbarian act masked as culture in the most cynical way. It manifests support for Israel, and even to France that sustains the occupation. And I do not want to participate.
7 December, 2007
Culture - Aharon Shabtai
The mark of Cain won't sprout
at the head of a child
I think that for you to have expressed your hasty negative judgment on the proposal of boycotting of the International Book Fair of Turin this year, which has decided to choose as its guest of honour the State of Israel in the year that marks the 60th since its birth, you could and should have used less banal and more convincing arguments. Your fine distinction between the (just) boycott of Apartheid South Africa and the (wrong) boycott of Apartheid Israel is of a subtlety that is even somewhat dangerous to interpret. You write, with a particularly insufferable tone, that “with the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the State of Israel, the Palestinian question inevitably reopens”. In reality, the Palestinian question has been open for 60 years and has never been closed. The State of Palestine, which itself was foreseen by the UN in December 1947, never saw the light of day, not even on that minuscule 22% in which the Palestinian population has been rounded up into after the Nakba, that is, the Catastrophe, that is, the ethnic cleansing of 1948. And it is really strange that you, in order to justify these 60 years of oppression, occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing bring in Stalin, notorious organiser of Gulags. It is just as strange that you cite the fact that in the Warsaw Ghetto the last Jews who were the protagonists of a heroic armed resistance (that right to resistance that the cowardly and hypocritical European governments deny to the Palestinians who are occupied militarily and who have been mistreated for decades by Israel), sung the Internationale before being massacred. Those heroes, certainly, would have had nothing whatsoever to do with a State, the State of Israel, that for more than 60 years denies every kind of right to the Palestinian people, that forces them to undergo cruel incarceration in a ghetto and constant genocide. Not in their names, please! Hence, there is nothing to celebrate: next 15 May will be a sad and tragic date, it is the sign of a historical failure and a catastrophe that unfolds day after day. It is with a heavy heart that I write this to you, deeply troubled by your brief article and, I add, aware that the newspaper you edit is one of the very few non-embedded voices and that through your correspondents from Palestine, it is able to still communicate that tragic truth without compromise, taking the side of the victims and not of the persecutors no matter what ethnic group or religion they belong to.
Parma 24 January 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Adib S Kawar - Open Letter to Barak Obama
We Palestinians, whether in Palestine that was occupied in 1948, or Palestine that was occupied in 1967 and in our diaspora/Ashatat counting now over ten million uprooted people, were shocked and saddened to read your letter addressed to Mr. Khalilzad, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. We were shocked and astonished that you, especially as a U.S. citizen of African roots, would not have remembered the stance of the Zionist state of Israel during the uprising/Intifadah of the non-white people in South Africa. Those men and women, who are a part of the indigenous population of the continent where your roots are still deep in its soil, were not supported in their struggle by Israel. In fact, this rogue state was one of the very few countries in the world to ally itself and supply the apartheid colonizing establishment in South Africa with all its requirements of arms and weapons to maintain its apartheid regime, so that it could fight and subjugate the revolting citizens of the colony, who only sought to obtain equal rights in the place of their birth.
Mr. Senator Obama, how is it possible that a personality of your status, caliber and intelligence has missed to read, see and hear the news of how Palestinians in occupied Palestine are treated like slaves if not animals, which is by far worse than the way enslaved Africans were treated for centuries by the American colonizers? Did you read, hear or see how those Palestinians are tortured and dehumanized on the over 750 checkpoints and crossings all over the occupied West Bank of Palestine? Did you hear, read or see how barbaric Zionist colonizers are still stealing more and more Palestinian land to build more Zionist colonies over what remained unoccupied and un-stolen of Palestinian Arab land, and how these wild racist colonialists are cutting down millions of centuries’ old olive trees, razing thousands of acres of farmland, demolishing thousands of residential, office and industrial buildings and leaving thousands of people living in the open air or tents in the heat of the summer or the freezing cold of the winter? We doubt that you don't have the courage to admit that you have heard, seen or read about the apartheid wall that Zionists unashamedly call "security wall" while the main reason is to steal more land in the 22% left of Palestine unoccupied in 1948, and let's not forget the stealing of fresh water resources to be used by Zionist colonialists to be pumped back out of their sewage system as filth and flooded over the fields of the poor Palestinians who have not been colonized yet?! And you turned your face away pretending not to have seen, heard or read about all that and many and many other war crimes the Zionist state of Israel that had been denying Palestinian Arabs to exercise their Right of Return to their stolen homes and land!!!!
It would be a shame if a man of your caliber and status does deny seeing, hearing and reading all about these atrocities against a people that belongs to the human race in the twentieth century, only because he might gain the blessings of the Zionist Israeli lobby, to be elected as president of the United States, while knowing well that those who control the possibilities and means shall put all the barriers and checkpoints in your way to deprive you of this pleasure.
Palestinian resistance, by international legal rules, is accorded every right to use any means to regain all their rights in their land and as human beings, and live in a democratic, free and sovereign state.
Adib S. Kawar
An uprooted Palestinian Arab still living as a refugee for the last 60 years
ZOG Report: Obama: Israel was forced to close Gaza
Turin Book Fair "Israel Guest of Honour", and the debate begins!
By Valentino Parlato (from il manifesto, 24/01/08)
The International Book Fair will be held in Turin next May (from the 8th to the 12th) but it is already arousing quarrels and polemics that have concerned even our tenacious and tolerant group. The fair is being held in the 60th anniversary of Israel’s foundation and therefore, quite inevitably, the Palestinian question gets resumed.
After World War II and the massacre of the Jews, it was necessary to recognize their right to have a territory and a state of their own. Even Stalin was in favour of the foundation of Israel while Great Britain, a fact of not minor importance, was against it. And it’s my personal memory to insist that the Arab world wouldn’t have accepted a Jewish state, it favoured great manifestations of resistance: in Tripoli (where I lived at that time) a violent and blooddy anti-Jewish pogrom took place in a complicit indifference of the British military authorities.
Today’s polemics regard this Book Fair, one that gives Israel a place of honour with the risk of a literary legitimization of its policies. Let me say first that I have no position in principle against the boycott, since it was more than fair to endorse it against the racist white South Africans. But there’s boycott and boycott and therefore I’m completely against boycotting this Book Fair (books must be always respected) and against boycotting Israel. The Israelis, who after all are still Jews, no matter how many wrongs as they have done against the Palestinians, can by no means be compared with the racist South Africans and moreover, there’s a point that we can’t forget and, by no means a small one, that there is the historical persecution of the Jewish people, there are the ghettos and the concentration camps.
At this point is useful recalling what I was told in an interview to il manifesto with Rome’s Chief Rabbi. In the Warsaw Ghetto, the last song the Jews sung was the Internationale (translator’s note, Communist anthem). And then they were slaughtered by the Germans.
Hence let’s take advantage of this International Book Fair of Turin to talk, to criticize Israel’s policies, to uphold the Palestinians’ rights who, in those territories, seem to have turned into the new Jews. Let’s talk and argue with each other, but let’s tell the boycott to go to hell. Not only because the Israelis are Jews and not Afrikaaners, but also because the boycott is mute. It’s a no without any arguments. Next May in Turin there are going to be Jewish writers of high stature and we must talk, reason, argue and defend the Palestinian people’s rights along with them. I’m aware of the ancestral fears of Israel’s people. I’m aware of their fear, I was told by a good Israeli ambassador in Rome, of being the target of renewed crusades. I think I can understand, but Israel must be more Jewish with the Palestinians. It must consider them as close relatives. But just because of all this, the boycott serves only to be detrimental the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Translated by Diego Traversa and revised by Mary Rizzo
By Diego Traversa
It seemed to me a very simplistic and dogmatic article, overflowing to the brim with hypocrisy and a “feel-good” sentiment. But, of course, it’s still January, the Day of Holocaust Memory is upon us so naturally all of us must acknowledge how important it is to be philo-Jewish, all of us to kneel down humbly and to make amends for the horrors of the past. And, since I am here, I am going to take advantage of the opportunity myself, to absolve my duty and publicly ask pardon from all Jews: forgive us for what our people did to you and forgive me if I had a grandfather who was a convinced Fascist.
Having said this, let’s go back to dig through the lines of the article by Valentino Parlato, authoritative and legendary voice of il manifesto.
His comments on the upcoming Book Fair of Turin seem to me at the very least pointless and contradictory.
In the first place, it is not true that it was necessary to give a state to the Jews and further, neither is it true that Stalin was in agreement: his was mere political shrewdness, oriented at extending the Russian dominion towards the Mediterranean. This is indeed true in that Russia radically changed its politics by becoming fiercely anti-Zionist, just to show how much Stalin had the Jewish people close to heart!
Friday, January 25, 2008
Gilad Atzmon - Two Jewish Jokes (and a Hain in the Middle)
"Moishe, have you lost your mind? Why are you reading an Arab newspaper?" Moishe replied, "I used to read the Jewish newspaper, but what did I find? Jews being persecuted, Israel being attacked, Jews disappearing through assimilation and intermarriage, Jews living in poverty. So I switched to the Arab newspaper. Now what do I find? Jews own all the banks, Jews control the media, Jews are all rich and powerful, Jews rule the world. The news is so much better!"
Truth must be said, Moishe, is telling the truth here. The Jewish press in Britain is panicking lately and they have good reason, too. While the British papers are filling their mouths with water hiding the real story behind the huge Labour donation sleaze, the UK Jewish press is overwhelmingly concerned with the unveiling saga. We have already learned about Lord ‘cash machine’ Levy who acted as ‘No 1 Labour fund raiser’. We have learned recently about David Abrahams who donated his money to the party by proxy. Both Levy and Abrahams were overwhelmingly active at the time Britain was taken into an illegal war by the Labour government. David Abrahams already admitted in an interview to the Jewish Chronicle that he donated money by proxy to “to quell conspiracy fears”.
Interestingly enough, the ‘Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 ’ introduces some clear regulations concerning donation to political parties in Britain. According to the 2000 Act, donators have to report donations worth more than £1,000 from permitted donors (individuals on the UK electoral register, or UK-registered companies) and donations worth more than £200 from unidentified or impermissible donors. The 2000 act is there to protect Britain’s political world from being subject to any criminal or foreign interests. The act is there to protect Britain from conspiracy or anything that may even look like a conspiracy.
Levy and Abrahams were prominent activists in the ‘Labour Friends of Israel’ and ‘Jewish Labour’. They both operate as Israeli lobbyists. It is more than possible that their interests as openly rabid Zionists do not exactly match the British interests. I am not here to suggest that this is indeed the case. However, Abrahams’s confession to the JC is there to suggest that at least Abrahams himself thought that his donation to the Labour party could be interpreted as a conspiracy.
Yesterday, Peter Hain, a senior British Cabinet minister resigned. Once again following a row over political donations and guess what, once again it is Zionist donators who put money into his campaign by proxy.
Hain, who served as Work and Pensions Secretary said he was leaving to clear his name after electoral authorities referred questions to the police about the funding of his unsuccessful campaign to become deputy Labor Party leader. Clearly, the British press avoids questioning the identity of the donators, and more crucially there is the disturbing question: what was it that they tried to buy? But as Moishe confesses in the joke above, Jewish newspapers are there to spread the depressive news.
Last week Jewish Chronicle’s report on the Hain affair is indeed very revealing yet concerning.
“International diamond broker Willie Nagel, 83 — one of two Jewish benefactors to Mr Hain’s campaign through the Progressive Policies Forum — told the JC he had donated and loaned money to PPF and had “no objection that this money [had been] used to support Peter Hain’s campaign”.
Seemingly, Mr. Nagel changes league quite easily. As much as was happy to donate to Labour candidates in power, he was delighted to donate to the Tories at the time when they ran this country.
Here is the JC report:
“Mr Nagel, a member of St John’s Wood Synagogue, was also known to be close to the Conservatives during the premierships of Baroness Thatcher and John Major. He reportedly donated to Mr Major’s Huntingdon constituency, giving rise to reports in the media that he had attempted to interest the then-prime minister in Israeli-made unmanned aircraft at a time when the UK maintained an arms embargo on Israel.”
Clearly, Mr Nagel operates here as a foreign lobbyist for Israeli interests and even military interests. As much as Peter Hain was happy to receive Mr Nagel’s money, it does raise big questions as to whether Mr. Nagel was a ‘permissible’ donator. Though, he is a UK citizen, he clearly represent some foreign interests.
The JC continues. Mr Nagel “has been a vice-chairman of Israel Bonds UK, and played a major role in the Balfour Diamond Jubilee Trust and the British Overseas Trade Group for Israel. He is also a life-long supporter of both the Labour and Conservative Friends of Israel and appears regularly in the JC “Guest List” pages alongside leading Israeli and communal figures.”
Clearly Mr Nagel was there to buy Israeli interests and it is NO coincidence that Peter Hain ‘forgot’ to report of his voluntary contribution. I ask myself whether there are many donators in this country who openly send money to the two rival parties. I guess the answer is no. There are not many, there are just very few.
However, Mr Hain’s other benefactor is another prominent Zionist named Isaac Kaye. Mr Kaye is a South African-born multi-millionaire who was known for his support of the South African Apartheid regime.
Mr Kaye, 78 year old a man with dubious past “is the former chairman of Norton Healthcare, which was investigated by police looking into an alleged £400 million price-rigging of pharmaceuticals sold to the NHS.” Mr Kaye is obviously a rabid Zionist and a major Israeli Lobbyist. Again the JC report that Mr Kaye “has backed the Community Security Trust, UJIA and other Jewish and pro-Israel organisations. He is on the board of Bicom, the Britain-Israel Communications and Research Centre, and is a governor and major benefactor of the Hebrew University, where he has endowed the Kaye Research Awards.”
Interestingly enough, the Tories here do not do much to expose the identity of the Labour proxy donators. The reason is simple, they are backed by the very same people. We have read about Mr Nagel swinging between the two parties. Recently Parliament's sleaze watchdog has launched an inquiry into complaints made against shadow chancellor George Osborne. Mr Osborne allegedly received money from some of the wealthiest people in Britain, including banking heiress Lady Serena Rothschild, believed to have donated £190,000 to Mr Osborne.
Moishe is correct, the JC report is very concerning. The truth of Israeli lobbying in Britain is totally revealed in the Jewish Chronicle paper, God bless them. Interestingly enough, the British press wouldn’t touch the crux of the matter yet.
From Moishe’s point of view, the Guardian and the Independent are not a major concern for the time being. This might be the biggest asset of Britain and its tolerant culture. However, bearing in mind the genocide in Iraq, Britain has been led into its most devastating colonial phase ever by the Labour party. At a certain stage the question will be raised and it won’t be too long before the names Levy, Abrahams, Kaye, Nagel and a few others to pop up. This is very depressing and may even be very worrying as far as Moishe is concerned. I understand Moishe’s concerns and even feel for him.
However, since we have launched this article with Moishe’s joke it would be rather appropriate to end it with just another very short one,
A Jewish Telegram:
‘Begin worrying, details to follow.’
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Nahida Izzat - Two poems for the beloved people of Gaza
Beloved people of Gaza
Treasured people of Palestine
Teachers of courage and dignity
Archetype of humanity
Allow me to kneel down
And wash your feet with my tears
Kiss your blessed hands
And sprinkle your beautiful faces with musk and roses
While we sat pondering like fools
Talking much and doing less
Going round and round in circles
Thinking how to help
What to offer you to relief some of your pain
Full of surprises, you come out to our rescue, to soothe our agony
You present us with the most precious gifts
Lessons in bravery
Steadfastness, patience, perseverance, defiance, resilience
Optimism against all odds
Creativity in the face of utter oblivion
You’ve demonstrated that you are the free ones … we are the captives
You chose resistance over subjugation
You decided not to be enslaved
Not even to superpowers
Would we ever learn from you?
I Believe in Miracles
You can break my bones
My free spirit is invincible
You can cause me the loss of sight
The light of my insight
You’ll never take away
In the shadows of darkness
Lies the corpse of your might
You can destroy my house
The windows of my hope,
You cannot break
The pillars of my faith
You can never shake
You can threaten me
With weapons of death
And mass destruction
Implanting fear in my heart
You cannot achieve
Nor can you cut off
My divine connection
With a missile
You can tear my body apart
My soul however
Is out of your reach
And is forever intact
You claimed victory in six days!
Victorious are those
With a dignified gaze
Facing tanks with tender flesh
And only with stones,
The F16 fighter blaze
You can never defeat my will to be
Because my power that you cannot explain
Grows from within the roots of my pain
You depend on the United States
For wealth and war supply
My infinite strength stems from
My creator, the One most high
Nahida is the author of many poems, prose and articles. Her site is http://poetryforpalestine.spaces.live.com/
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Razan al Ghazzawi - Very Important Rockets
"More Muslim mendacity. If children were indeed starving, why are there no photos of their swollen bellies?"
According to this logic, one can argue that since there are no photos of the Holocaust Gas chambers in which the Jews were collectively massacred by the Nazis, then one could surmise that the Gas chambers didn't exist.
To get back to my point, the argument to oppose the Israeli apartheid policies on the Gazans and Palestinians in general shouldn’t be through counting/demonstrating dead children and women or even to focus merely on the inhumane situations in which the Palestinians are living, but the argument should address the "apartheid racist logic" that produced such inhumane practices. My problem is not "bringing up" the victims in the Gaza blockade coverage but rather making it "the" argument to oppose Israel as a counter argument. Death, shortage of fuel, food and medicine are only the "visible" practices of an Israeli apartheid state, they're not "the" problem of this state and hence they shouldn’t be our rhetoric and our defense against Israel.
It seems that we have the right to "speak", so loudly, against Israel when we have a picture of a child dying that without this child, we wouldn’t have a case against Israel's inhumane blockade of Gaza.
The Arab rhetoric should renew its arguments, that again, are bombastic and not strategically analytical in reading their own realities in relation to the enemy or in reading the enemy's strategy that constantly presents itself as a "prior" party in the "Palestinian-Israeli struggle." The thing that would damage the core of the Palestinian cause when readers would support us merely as sympathizers with the dead children and not as supporters to Palestinians' right to live securely and equally to the Israeli citizen.
Having said that, I have something to say about the Israeli right of self-defense against Qassam rockets.
Before assuming there is an opponent struggle taking place between the Israelis and Palestinians, one should agree then that the two parties, equally, have the basic right to live peacefully and securely, and accordingly have the right of self-defense. But when Israel, supported by the UN, US and Europe, keep prioritizing the Israeli citizens at the expense of the Palestinian citizens, one should not adhere to the term "Israel-Palestine struggle" since it suggests adversaries. In "Israel-Palestine struggle" there is one party -Israel- who has the right to have a life, hence the right of self-defense, and for that right, it has the right to control the other party's right to live peacefully: it decides on behalf of the Gazans how they should live: "not easily", and block their access to fuel, food and medicine and arbitrary night-raid their homes on their heads.
This Israeli right to live and right of self-defense is embedded in every single report, with or against Israel’s complete closure of Gaza Strip:
“We all understand the security problems and the need to respond to that but collective punishment of the people of Gaza is not, we believe, the appropriate way to do that,” said John Holmes.
So while the world agrees on Israelis right to live securely, the world is sympathizing with Gazans lack of fuel, food and medicine. i.e., lack of life.
With Israel the rhetoric is about its safety and its right to exist and for that it has the right to defend this very existence and life, but with the Palestinians, the rhetoric comes as the right to eat, to have hospitals and the right to be warm in winter.
Palestinians don’t have the right to have a life, nor the right to exist, and certainly not the right to defend themselves, Palestinians are not equal to Israelis, they're inferior. They have the right to be merely fed. While the Israelis are always remembered, the dying Gazans are just now remembered.
Again, the world does prioritize Israelis as they support the Gazans now.
And the Arabs celebrate this utterly biased stand with the Israeli right to be secure when their mere opposition to the siege is dealt on humanitarian basis while they should be arguing for the Palestinians’ right to live equally as the Israelis, securely and peacefully, not just in regards with their basic needs to survive.
Furthermore, all the reports seem to be embeddedly convinced that Israel’s siege on Gaza is a "reaction" to Qassam rockets when they recognize Israel's right to self-defense but shifts its attention to Gazans humanitarian rights. I find this rhetoric as apologetic to Israel’s terrorist policies with the Palestinians: linkage, between Qassam rockets and Israel’s two years siege on Gaza is dealt with on one level, as if the damage on both sides are similar. Let's take a look at Gaza's damages from the siege:
68 Patients killed by Israeli Occupation due to Closure!
1562 patients in need of treatment outside Gaza Strip
322 patients are in serious danger and in need of urgent treatment
22 money holistic are suspended from work due to the siege
107 class of basic medicines are depleted from Gaza Strip
97 sorts of medicines on the verge of depletion
136 medical instrument are stopped or our of order
6 months, Gaza with closed crossings and borders
160 thousand workers are out of work
3000 fishermen become out of work due to siege
$370 millions are the costs of stalled construction projects
$14 million are the wastage of strawberry and flowers season
4500 strawberry farmers become out of work
470 cancer patients are likely to die
And on the Israeli side:
Homemade rockets have killed in a most updated report 12 Israelis including three children, according to Israeli Defence Forces.
Yoram Schweitzer of Tel Aviv's Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies comments:
"Qassams are very primitive missiles and their main effect on Israelis in the area is psychological torment - a kind of Chinese water torture."
So I wonder how can psychological insecurities be considered parallel to Palestinian damages mentioned above, and how can two years of siege is considered as a reaction to these primitive rockets? Hence the linkage that is meant to be apologetic to war crimes committed on civilians to maintain security not to the lives of Israelis, but to their psychological situation.
I find the argument in B’Tselem report on the closure of Gaza Strip situation stands in its own to unfolding the truth behind the Israeli siege on Gaza:
"Israeli authorities often exploit security threats in order to advance prohibited political interests under the guise of security."
Indeed, Sderot is inhabited by "Mizrachi" Jews and not by Azhkenazis, some of the inhabitants feel insecure not only from the Qassam rockets but by the racist Israeli government:
"The worst part of all this isn't the rocket fire - it's the fact that the government just doesn't care," said a Sderot settler.
Why is Israel targeting Hamas now? This is where my amateur analysis ends.
Rafah! A Victory of the Palestinian People
Rafah. A great victory of the Palestinian people. That cursed wall has been broken. The Palestinian people have demonstrated, once again, to never be resigned to their fate or defeated. No one can close them in a cage or a prison. The struggle of the Palestinians deserves all of our support, all of our respect and the trust that they merit.
Rafah. Una grande vittoria del popolo palestinese
Quel maledetto muro è stato rotto. Il popolo palestinese ha dimostrato, ancora una volta, di non essere mai rassegnato nè sconfitto. Nessuno può chiuderlo dentro una gabbia o una prigione. La lotta dei palestinesi merita ancora tutto il sostegno, il rispetto e la fiducia che gli sono dovuti
VEDI FOTO CLICCANDO QUI
Domenica 3 febbraio, ore 10.30 riunione nazionale
della Campagna "2008 anno della Palestina"
Roma, via Giolitti 231
Omar Barghouti - Never Aganist!! European Collusion in Israel's Slow Genocide
By freezing fuel and electric power supplies to Gaza, Israel, the occupying power, is essentially guaranteeing that "clean" water -- only by name, as Gaza's water is perhaps the most polluted in the whole region, after decades of Israeli theft and abuse -- will not be pumped out and properly distributed to homes and institutions; hospitals will not be able to function adequately, leading to the eventual death of many, particularly the most vulnerable; whatever factories that are still working despite the siege will now be forced to close, pushing the already extremely high unemployment rate even higher; sewage treatment will come to a halt, further polluting Gaza's precious little water supply; academic institutions and schools will not be able to provide their usual services; and the lives of all civilians will be severely disrupted, if not irreversibly damaged. And Europe is apathetically watching.
Princeton academic Richard Falk considered Israel's siege a "prelude to genocide," even before this latest crime of altogether cutting off energy supplies. Now, Israel's crimes in Gaza can accurately be categorized as acts of genocide, albeit slow. According to Article II of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the term is defined as:
"[A]ny of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; ..."
Clearly, Israel's hermetic siege of Gaza, designed to kill, cause serious bodily and mental harm, and deliberately inflict conditions of life calculated to bring about partial and gradual physical destruction, qualifies as an act of genocide, if not all-out genocide yet. And the EU is suspiciously silent.
But why accuse Europe, in particular, of collusion in this crime when almost the entire international community is not lifting a finger, and the UN's obsequious Secretary-General, who surpassed all his predecessors in obedience to the US government, is pathetically paying only lip service? In addition, what of the US government itself, Israel's most generous sponsor that is directly implicated in the current siege, especially after President George W. Bush, on his recent visit, gave a hardly subtle green light to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to ravage Gaza?
Why not blame the Palestinians' quiet Arab brethren, particularly Egypt -- the only country that can immediately break the siege by reopening the Rafah crossing and supplying through it the necessary fuel, electric power and emergency supplies? And finally, why not blame the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, whose subservient and visionless leader openly boasted in a press conference its "complete agreement" with Bush on all matters of substance?
After Israel, the US is, without a doubt, the guiltiest party in the current crime. Under the influence of a fundamentalist, militaristic, neo-conservative ideology that has taken over its helms of power and an omnipotent Zionist lobby that is unparalleled in its sway, the US is in a category by itself. It goes without saying that the PA, the UN, as well as Arab and international governments maintaining business as usual with Israel should all be held accountable for acquiescing, whether directly or indirectly, to Israel's crimes against humanity in Gaza. It is also true that each one of the above bears the legal and moral responsibility to intervene and apply whatever necessary pressure to stop the crime before thousands perish. But the EU commands a unique position in all this. It is not only silent and apathetic; in most European countries Israel and Israeli institutions are currently welcomed and sought after with unprecedented warmth, generosity and deference in all fields -- economic, cultural, academic, athletic, etc. For instance, Israel was invited as the guest of honor to a major book fair in Turin, Italy. Israeli government-funded films are featuring in film festivals all over the continent. Israeli products, from avocados and oranges to hi-tech security systems, are flooding European markets like never before. Israeli academic institutions are enjoying a special, very lucrative, association agreement with the relevant organs in the EU. Israeli dance groups, singing bands and orchestras are invited to European tours and festivals as if Israel were not only a normal, but in effect a most favored, member of the so-called "civilized" world. Official Europe's once lackluster embrace of Israel has turned into an intense, open and enigmatic love affair.
If Europe thinks it can thus repent for its Holocaust against its own Jewish population, it is in fact shamefully and consciously facilitating the committal of fresh acts of genocide against the people of Palestine. But Palestinians, it appears, do not count for much, as we are viewed not only by Israel, but also by its good old "white" sponsors and allies as lesser, or relative, humans. The continent that invented modern genocide and was responsible for massacring in the last two centuries more human beings, mostly "relative humans," than all other continents put together is covering up crimes that are reminiscent in quality, though certainly not in quantity, of its own heinous crimes against humanity.
In no other international affair, perhaps, can the European establishment be accused of being as detached from and indifferent to its own public opinion. While calls for boycotting Israel as an apartheid state are slowly but consistently spreading among European civil society organizations and trade unions, drawing disturbing parallels to the boycott of South African apartheid, European governments are finding it difficult to distinguish themselves from the overtly complicit US position vis-a-vis Israel. Even European clichés of condemnation and "expressing deep concern" have become rarer than ever nowadays. Moreover, Israel's relentless and defiant violation of Europe's own human rights laws and conditions are ignored whenever anyone questions whether Israel should continue to benefit from its magnanimous association agreement with the EU despite its military occupation, colonization and horrific record of human rights abuse against its Palestinian victims. If this is not complicity, what is?
Morality aside, sinking Gaza into a sea of darkness, poverty, death and despair cannot bode well for Europe. By actively propping up an environment conducive to the rise of fanaticism and desperate violence near its borders, Europe is foolishly inviting havoc to its doorstep. Instead of heeding -- or at least seriously considering -- calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel, adopted by virtually the entire spectrum of Palestinian civil society, it may soon have to reckon with uncontainable forces of irrational and indiscriminate violence and its resulting chaos.
It seems European elites are currently determined never to oppose Israel, no matter what crimes it commits. It is as if the bellowing -- and increasingly hypocritical -- slogan upheld by Jewish survivors of European genocide, "Never Again!", is now espoused by European elites with one difference: the two letter, 's' and 't', are added at the end.
Omar Barghouti is an independent Palestinian political analyst and founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (www.PACBI.org)
In Spanish On Rebelion: http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=62211
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Badil to the Human Rights Council - A Call for Sanctions
Sixth special sesssion, 23 January 2008
Written statement submitted by Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, a non-governmental organization in special consultative status
Badil calls on states to undertake sanctions against Israel and prosecute Israeli officials responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes in the OPT
As part of its historical policy to change the demographic composition and impose a Jewish majority in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Israel forcibly displaces Palestinians from their homes and lands and subjects them to imprisonment and other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law.
In addition to the well-documented Israeli-induced humanitarian crisis in the occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank, Israeli officials and the Israeli High Court are guilty and have abetted serious war crimes, such as collective punishment, indiscriminate and intentional attacks against the civilian population, and torture and inhuman treatment. These officials and the Court are guilty of persecution because they have intentionally and severly deprived Palestinians on ground of nationality of their fundamental rights in violation of international law.
Throughout Israel and the OPT, the Israeli government is also guilty of the crime of apartheid because it imposes an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination against the Palestinian people and has the intention to maintain that regime.
Badil stresses that the Palestinian people need accountability and to see those guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity prosecuted and punished. Badil urges all members of the international community to undertake measures of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the governement of Israel until it complies with international law.
Badil recommends to:
1. Urge state members of the UN to take measures such as economic sanctions and diplomatic boycott against Israel for its breach of international law and non-implementation of UN Resolutions, as well as the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on The Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
2. Undertake a study on the applicability of the crimes of apartheid and population transfer to Israel's actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel.
Ingrid Jaradat Gassner
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Mohammed Omer - So Many Tragedies in So Little Time
Where to start…, what to talk about…? The crippling electricity shortages, affecting hospitals as well as civilians? The air strikes & on-going, daily bombings by the Israeli army, their indiscriminate targeting of civilians and police stations…? Israel ’s non-accidental, enforced starvation of 1.5 million people by closing off ALL borders and not allowing in even UN aid, let alone basic medicinal, food, and construction needs…?
Shortages of fuel have re-surfaced in Gaza : most of Gaza has no electricity and even more importantly, the shortage of medicine in Palestinian hospitals continues to increase, with the Ministry of Health reporting a looming humanitarian catastrophe.
Or should I begin with the bomb which just hit a wedding close to the Ministry of Interior building in Gaza City , with 15 apartment buildings within the bomb’s target range? One woman was killed and 47 others were injured –mostly children and women who had been inside their homes or playing on the street!! Scenes of children injured, bleeding and crying just moments after they had been enjoying a wedding celebration in a Gaza wedding hall…a horrific sight likely to go without mention of that in most news sources.
The injured were evacuated to Al Shifa hospital, where it was then hard to find enough beds and blankets for them, with children crammed three to four on a bed due to overcrowding.
Earlier Friday, Israel closed its border with the Gaza Strip to all traffic in what officials say is response to cross-border rocket fire, preventing even UN humanitarian supplies from getting in. The decision came after Israel vowed to broaden its military campaign against Gaza militants who have fired more than 110 home made rockets at southern Israel in the last three days resulting in the injury of two Israelis.
In contrast, 19 Palestinians were killed in one day last Wednesday during another Israeli attack, this one targeting the eastern part of Gaza City .
These are the latest attacks, but not the only: since the visit of US president and ‘peacemaker’, George Bush, within only 74 hours, Israel has killed 37 people and injured more than 90. Those numbers, which could again go up at any minute, were confirmed by Khaled Radi, the Ministry of Health spokesman in Gaza . Radi also said that Israel is using internationally illegal weapons, which makes it impossible for people to identify the bodies of their relatives as they have been destroyed to unrecognizable ends.
Among the tens killed were a 13 year old boy and his father and uncle, killed in what Israel claims was “a mistake”. Another Israeli attack killed a mother, Maryam Al Rahel, and her son, Mohammed, who were on a donkey cart when an Israeli warplane bombed them. Their bodies, like so many others, were rendered into small pieces of flesh, scattered everywhere!
An Even Blacker Night!
I and some journalist colleagues went to offer condolences to a journalist friend of ours for the death of his cousin as a result of medicine shortages on Wednesday. While on the way, there was a lot of shooting going on, from funerals and demonstrations. Later, as we were starting to drive off from our parking spot, Mohammed, another journalist, suggested waiting for a moment. But as others preferred to not wait around, we eventually left.
After we had gone just a few minutes down the road, we learned that the place where our car had been parked had just been bombed, targeting and killing two Palestinians, injuring another three. “It could have been us who were killed,” one of the journalists said to me. I answered: “Thanks to God, it wasn’t. But this is so sad; it must be terrible for their families, with children left behind and no one now to support them.”
Update on Killings
As predicted, the death toll has risen since I began this report: another two have been killed in northern Gaza , and another 4 badly injured. Israeli Ministry spokesman, Shlomo Dror says that: “It's unacceptable that people in Sderot are living in fear every day and people in the Gaza Strip are living life as usual.”
And I wonder, what exactly does he consider “life as usual”? For if he means it is normal that over 35 civilians should be killed in 4 days, an entire population should be on the verge of starvation and should be forced to shiver through winter nights without electricity or sufficient blankets, that hospitals and medical centers should be forced to shut down or operate at sub-par capability and without needed medicine, food, blankets, and even space,…the list goes on…well then yes, we are living life as usual.
"The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything." Albert Einstein
Friday, January 18, 2008
Gilad Atzmon - "Public Lapidation" round one
It all started when a site that specialises in texts known as “Holocaust Denial” linked to an Iranian paper that reported that the German Lawyer Sylvia Stolz, who acted as attorney for Ernst Zundel and has been sentenced to serve three and a half years in prison for doing so, quoted me in her defence.
According to the Iranian paper "Stolz has reportedly read a newspaper article to the court about the appearance of world renowned Israeli artist, Gilad Atzmon in Bochum." http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=38848§ionid=351020604
In order to set things straight, I have to mention that the newspaper item read by Mrs Stolz was highly misleading. It was not at all representative of what I had said. At the time, this was immediately pointed out by the Festival organiser who invited me and moderated the meeting. Indeed, the organiser felt that the paper misrepresented almost everything possible.
This is the text of the letter he had written to the newspaper.
“Dear editorial staff of Ruhr Nachrichten,
I usually do not write letters to the editors and as an organizer I can live with bad critics. However, as the subject is rather delicate, I felt I had to comment the article containing big mistakes as regards content and strongly falsifying Gilad Atzmon’s political tendency.
Firstly, concerning the big mistakes:
“According to him the true enemy was not Hitler but Stalin”. You have left out an important piece of information, notably whose enemy Stalin had been. Atzmon argued that America’s true enemy had not been Hitler but Stalin. As long as Hitler had communism under control, America did not believe it to be necessary to get involved in the war. Atzmon uses the same argument for all wars led by the USA until the present time. Atzmon also refers to Hitler as a criminal. Atzmon neither denies nor plays down the Holocaust.
The following statement is wrong, too: “[…] the Germans [should] stop feeling guilty and responsible”. In fact, Atzmon encourages the present generation of Germans not to feel guilty any longer but he does not deny the Germans’ responsibility in general. On the contrary, he believes the Germans to be extremely vigilant today concerning any kind of potential racist or fascist tendencies.
Regarding the discussion about the number of murdered Jews during the Holocaust, it is very difficult to resume the contents of this debate with only a few sentences. Atzmon criticises that publicly doubting the number of 6 million is being penalized, while even the Holocaust museum Yad Vashem itself mentions various studies that state numbers of 5.1 million or even 5.29 or 5.5 million. Atzmon emphasises that this abstract number has become a kind of fetish, as if the Holocaust were more harmless if there had been only half of the number of murdered Jews. Atzmon does not accuse Bush, Blair and Sharon of being criminals of war in order to minimise Hitler’s own crimes of war.
Surely, the language barrier posed a problem during the discussion last Sunday. Suddenly, an audience that mainly expected to attend a concert preceded by a reading, was confronted by a political discussion. Had we known this beforehand, we would have organised a professional bilingual interpreter’s service for the evening.
We were aware of the fact that Gilad Atzmon’s novels are provoking and up to a certain extent such a provocation was intended. He criticised harshly Israel’s politics and shows that due to this historical victimhood, the United Nations mostly tolerate Israel’s racist and nationalist action towards the Palestinians and that criticism is nipped in the bud with the allegation of anti-Semitism.
It is true, that the ambiance after the discussion was not very favourable to the concert. We ourselves had several discussions in the lobby of the concert hall with members of the public who wanted to leave the event. Two of the women who had left returned however later and continued to speak with Gilad after the concert in a small group. This discussion was far less controversial than the momentarily heated one before the concert. They all said goodbye heartily and shook hands.
Maybe it would have made sense if Thorsten Hoops had seized the occasion to verify the ideas he got during the discussion. Such delicate subjects demand greater care from journalists than writing about a concert, which one can certainly resume in a competent way even if one does not stay until the very end.”
In the Bochum event I shared with my audience my usual critique of the common WW2 narrative as well as my different reading of the Holocaust as a meaningful event rather than a mere legal account.
My detailed take on the issues can be found in the following links:
Rearranging the 20th Century: Allegro Non Troppo
Rearranging the 20th Century: Deceptive Cadence
Interview: It Ain’t Necessarily So
What I find very interesting is to discover how this news made the rounds. It seems that on a few leftist lists and on a rabid settler’s site, this news item based on falsity, bad translation and distortion of facts is the “hot” topic of the day. It seems that a few anti-Zionist Jews and some radicals who steal land from Palestinians are sharing their tactic today. They are circulating the news from a site that specialises in what they call Holocaust Denial. It’s a site I don’t read, and won’t even link to, but they obviously do and have. Yes, the rabid Zionists such as Arutzsheva, Seven Plaut and the Jewish anti-Zionists Tony Greenstein and Shraga Elam count on a denial site when it comes to me. I wonder if they suddenly trust Neo Nazis and Holocaust deniers as serious, trustworthy truth-tellers and legitimate sources of information. I wonder how they feel just having demonstrated what kind of navigation they engage in. Since they take the report in the Holocaust Denial site as correct, truthful and precise, how do they know that this site’s account on other things is categorically false? Where do they draw the line, if they draw one? It is probably just too much to expect Zionists (whether they know themselves to be or not) to be consistent. Once again we happen to learn that intellectual integrity is not a common trait amongst Jewish ethnic activists whether they are settlers or leftist cyber stalkers.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
No Hain, No Gain: More UK Sleaze Scandals for Israel
"I also believe in a society based upon the principles of mutual co-operation and mutual aid, not one reliant on personal greed in which affluent elites grow still more powerful and rich, whilst the weakest go to the wall, hence our socialist commitment to spreading wealth and ownership more evenly and our belief in high quality public services which we must all be prepared to fund through fair taxation. And also our policies for combating world poverty through record levels of international development assistance and providing debt relief for the poorest countries.
Our socialist vision is of a Britain that stands for justice, freedom and morality both at home and abroad."
Peacepalestine receives many documents to be published. This author is unfamiliar to me, but I thought the document interesting enough to publish.
Personal Greed and Political Ambition in the Shadow of Friends for Israel
By Anton Shalom Chertoff
How much more can the British electorate swallow? Once again the Labour party is caught in a donation scandal, and guess what, yet again it is Zionist benefactors who have been exposed trying to buy some dubious favors by proxy. While British journalists are muted by political correctness and mumble politely about the logistics of party-politics funding, an unmentionable truth is emerging into the public forum, a truth that is fast becoming as undeniable as the Holocaust: all these donators are Zionists and they are all attempting to exploit the British parliamentary system to profit the Jewish state of Israel. They realize their conduct is immoral and illegal so they hide their identities, employ proxy donators and in the most recent incident, fabricate an entire company so that they may channel funds without public scrutiny. And these are just the ones we know about.
We had more or less two weeks or so without learning about a prominent Jew trying to buy a state, a war or a politician but alas, the same story is unfolding upon us again. The plot is so familiar it’s verging on being boring.
This time it is Labour Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Peter Hain who is accused of sleaze. Apparently, Hain failed to report who financed his failed campaign for the Labour deputy leadership to the tune of ₤103,000. I am sure that you have guessed already, Hain’s main backers are no others than two hardcore Zionists of the worst order.
Peter Hain, now 57, first caught the public eye in the late 1960s as a young radical opponent of apartheid in South Africa. Hain’s reputation as an anti apartheid activist lasted for more than three decades. Not anymore however, Hain has now been exposed sleeping with the devil. He was receiving money from no other than Isaac Kaye, a former supporter of the National Party in apartheid-era South Africa. Like proxy donator Abrahams, Kaye is a major investor in Israel and used a sophisticated tactic to hide his identity; a ‘think tank’ of reputed left-wing persuasion entitled the ‘Progressive Policy Forum’ which was established for the sole purpose of concealing the identity of Kaye and his cohorts.
While debate in Britain centers on how ethically malleable and reprehensible Mr Hain must be to accept such a gift, Andreas Whittam Smith of the Independent yesterday suggested that the criminal inquiry into the donation scandal “must start with the business donors”. It is indeed all about the backers and that which they try to buy. Whittam Smith then referred to Issac Kaye’s involvement in a suspected £400 fraud against the NHS and to his participation in the “gifts of influence” scandal in South Africa during the 1980’s. However, this relatively courageous journalist falls short of revealing the most devastating crux of the matter; Issac Kaye is a proud Zionist campaigner.
Indeed Kaye wasn’t the only one to donate money to Hain. Willie Nagel, 82, a prominent diamond broker has a long history of backing politicians regardless of their ideological league. A decade ago, the chameleon millionaire Nagel sent £2,000 to John Major. He was then invited to join the PM in a trade mission in Israel and Jordan. According to the Independent, Nagel attempted to interest John Major in an unmanned aircraft developed in Israel, even though there was an arms embargo regarding Israeli equipment at the time.
Seemingly, Whittam Smith is well informed about Hain’s affairs. Clearly Whittam Smith knows enough about how the Israeli Lobby is currently operating in Britain, sending money to parties and blatantly ignoring the UK donation laws. Whittam Smith is courageous enough to suggest that the inquiry into the donation scandal “must start with the business donors”. Yet, Whittham Smith falls short of pointing at the continuum established between Nagel, Kaye, Lord Levy, Abrahams, Mendelsohn and the Labour Friends of Israel. He wouldn’t stand up and ask what is it that these proud Zionist are trying to buy.
Levy, Medehlsson, Abrhams, Nagel, Kaye and others are prominent, successful people. They are far from being stupid. I wondered yesterday while reading the Guardian cover of the topic what they think to themselves. Surely they realise that their criminal conduct can be exposed, surely they realise how badly it can all reflect on British Jews. The only answer I could come up with was that these prominent Zionists must believe the Goyim around them are stupid. But are they stupid? Not at all, yet no one can stand up and say, “Enough is enough”. No one in the British media is willing to stand trial in a kangaroo court. As I write this, yet another debacle is unfolding regarding the Tory shadow chancellor George Osborn and his acceptance of various funds including ₤200,000 gift from Lady Serena Rothschild. I ask myself how many scandals will it take before the unmentionable question is finally asked?
Within a politically correct Liberal discourse dominated by Holocaust memorial and a severe dollop of post-colonial guilt, no one in Britain can stand up and say the obvious. Unfortunately, if issues in Iraq are not resolved soon and the Brits will land at their next ‘post colonial’ regret phase, they will once again have to identify their crimes against humanity. They will no doubt remember the ‘Levy’s and the ‘Abrahams’s that financed warmonger Blair. They will remember who rallied for the war, who legalized the war and they will reflect on that dubious ‘think tank’ that preaches murderous interventionism in the name of democracy and liberalism.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Some Human Beings are More Human than Others
by Mary Rizzo
This blog recently has had some attention from Tony Greenstein. Taking a detour from his general direction of activism (sic) which boils down to exclusively attacking a growing list of other Pro-Palestinian activists - posting the same article that has been proven to be a misrepresentation consisting of a series of out-of-context quotes and insinuations about Gilad Atzmon - he’s using the same method, wallpapering every spot he can think of with his rantings using an identical post (to get the most mileage out of it, I suppose) that my blog is an Anti-Semitic sewer because it had this:
“Under a title ‘Peacepalestine Offers Prisoner Exchange’ are four photographs of Ariel Sharon, Gilad Shalit, David Hirsh and myself, with what presumably are supposed to be wanted posters bearing our names, photographs, the title ‘human being’ (presumably this is disputed) and then, in reverse video the word ‘JEW’. All that is missing is the yellow star, but I’m sure Rizzo will manage to find a graphic artist up to the task.”
He then emphasizes that this is “clearly racist and anti-Semitic”.
Well, finally Tony Greenstein and I can partially agree on something. Gilad Atzmon and I have been stressing for years now that asking people to take action or to influence them by merit of some ethnically-based criterion is simply a racist way of thinking and operating, and Tony finally admits as much. If we are people, it shouldn’t matter one iota what group we are born or raised into. Ideologies are mindsets that are not "genetically instilled" and can be adopted or cast off or used at will. We can’t accept an objective ethnic belonging that carries no merit or defect as such, as an ethical device or even a way to persuade people. Ideologies matter, ethnic belonging does not. Belonging to one group or another should be irrelevant when trying to persude people of the value of an argument and influence their opinions. We should move beyond the stage of focussing on a person according to race, sex, religion, nationality or political leaning, and listen to their arguments.
It is too bad that Tony feels the need to continually insist on telling us that he was “The only Jewish speaker” at this meeting or that. Gosh, I didn’t know that there is a census made of the ethnic or religious belonging of the people who speak at meetings and that Tony was privy to that information. He also believes that Jews have special sensitivity to racism. “Jews, of all people, should be the first to oppose racism, whoever the victims and the perpetrators,” he says. While at the same time, he knows how (presumably all) Blacks must feel about it, refering to one of his interlocutors, so that he can be easily identified, apparently, as “a Black Sudanese guy”: “But again Black people have better understanding of racism than white ex-councillors”. (Following this logic, if the white ex-councillors are Jewish, they should be the first to oppose the racism, but other whites certainly are lacking in this moral characteristic.) If one were to judge the way he writes, it seems he does indeed think in racial stereotypes and categories and can’t resist mentioning it as if it were the normal thing to do. Yet, on the other hand, he insists that race does not exist, er… rather, it is a political construct. “Just to be clear. Zionism isn't based on a race, nor is German anti-Semitism for the simple reason there are no such things as race. Race is a political construct.” (Alef message 5 January, 2008) Whether or not there is such a thing as race seems to be a matter of debate for geneticists, and we’ve all seen acceptable arguments from both sides of the debate. Tony is extremely “ethnically aware”, and this is absolutely crystal clear in almost every intervention he has on internet. One might say that it borders on an obsession. Whites, Blacks, Jews, Non-Jews, hardly a single thing he has written escapes this ethnic (or racial, if you like) labeling, complete with a categorical judgment of the sensitivity each group must have to racism issues a priori of their personal experiences. What DOES seem interesting is the fact that when TONY stresses his ethnicity, in his worldview, it’s a good and positive thing. When OTHER people do it, as the Shalit campaigners do, or those who spoof it, as Peacepalestine has done, it’s clearly racist and anti-Semitic. I wish he would make up his mind one way or the other.
I agree that the campaign for Gilad Shalit is clearly racist, but it is far from being anti-Semitic. They will have to presumably find someone to paste in that Yellow Star as Tony suggests, not because the campaign is anti-Semitic, but because it represents to perfection the Jewish Victim role, the only way we are supposed to feel about Jews, especially Israeli ones. To justify what Israel does, we have to know they are clearly victims of some irrational hatred based on the simple fact that they are Jews in an Arab world hostile to their very existence. The Yellow Star would be an apt symbol of the victim paradigm that we should never forget or place into any context, no matter what. Jews are and will be the eternal victim, and you better get the idea that they act only out of reasons of defense. Being victims, we have to empathise with their plight in all instances.
The identifying label of the righteous victim is used to influence people and suspend any other kind of rational thinking or judgment. The innocent victim status is used in the Shalit campaign to instill an idea that goes against reality. We have to suspend our judgment on the role that he fulfilled. We have to think that a soldier who was in an Occupation army, in occupied territory AS an occupier, not a journalist or excursionist, there to render the lives of the people under Occupation a hell on earth and endanger their very safety with his presence, was just an innocent child who needs to be returned to his worried parents. He has become the centre of a “humanitarian” campaign that has very little to do with humanity, despite the text one can read on the banner.
This campaign has been going on for a while. Anyone who has seen even one blog by Israel supporters has bumped into it. It’s really hard to remain indifferent to. Indeed, the graphic artists felt it NECESSARY to point out that Shalit is a Human being. Oh, yes, and a Jew as well. Generally, members of Homo Sapiens Sapiens ARE considered to be Human beings and we don’t need to be told, even though the pictures of Shalit bring more the idea of a lost puppy to mind.
And we all know that if Shalit was an IDF member, well, he could have been nothing other than Jewish. Tony was shocked at the horrible sort of racist labeling. As a matter of fact, he thought it was something I dreamed up myself and not a parody. He was unaware of this campaign. Where has he been hiding? The amount of posts he leaves around would indicate that he’s online a hell of a lot of hours in a day. A legitimate question to ask is what precisely does he do other than post his own repetitious text? He claims that he fights Zionism, but he has NEVER seen a Zionist site or blog since the day of the campaign??? That is longer than a year. How can one fight the enemy if one does not even know what the enemy is up to? Or maybe he’s seen it, but is pretending righteous indignation in order to influence people who may not be familiar with the propaganda tools of Zionism so that they come to think of my blog in the same jaundiced way he does. He obviously detests it, because it exposes his endless smear and silencing campaigns against Gilad Atzmon. Yet, to call it a rightwing blog with an anti-Semitic and conspiracist agenda is really pushing it. Apparently, he may need to convince himself more than he does others. And with the three-person following he has, he has to work harder on it, apparently.
But, leaving aside this provincial matter for the moment, I shall return to the issue of humanity and the Gilad Shalit campaign. I had the good fortune of working for several years in a major advertising agency as a copy editor and then copywriter. Our clients would show us their new product and we would have to come up with an appropriate campaign. The first thing one has to do is to “frame the target”. You have to know who you are trying to convince, and you have to use a language that will appeal to them on even a subconscious level. You have to reach them, then you have to influence them. Later, they will become an additional and correlated (not to mention cost-free) advertising element, by driving around on your motorcycle (in the case of the campaigns I managed).
Bringing that knowledge to the Shalit campaign, we see this: our target probably is NOT the group or individuals that hold Shalit. Most likely, they would not be overly sensitive to the fact that he is a Jew, or at least, this would not be the aspect of his being that would influence them the most. Perhaps those who created the campaign feel that those holding him in captivity are unaware that he is a human, so they have to spell it out, but I tend to believe that since the advert is in English and in Hebrew, our target is the Zio-blogosphere. So, the banner gets picked up and distributed on sites where people go who support Israel or at least aren’t blatantly or even latently pro-Palestinian. I have never seen the banner on a single pro-Palestinian site. Correct me, someone, if I am wrong and it is posted on some site of the sort.
The language then, has got to appeal to the crowd that follows the Zio-blogosphere. It is “normal” for them, I guess, to believe racial profiling is acceptable. If you are a Jew, anyway, and you are a Jew who is doing it, however. I doubt they would be convinced that Tony is right and that it is anti-Semitic. If I were still in advertising and worked on this campaign, I am pretty sure they would like the Yellow Star, though, and should consider integrating it into future versions of the campaign (all campaigns require a refresher in order to remain effective).
Now, what is the most interesting aspect of the entire campaign, attempting to appeal to the humanitarian aspect of the crisis, is we see just how the people who support this campaign think. Take a look at http://giladshalit.blogspot.com/ and see that there is a poll asking the following question:
Poll: One Year On. What should the Israeli Government do?
What action should the Israeli Government take now that Hamas has clear control of Gaza and it has been 1 year since Gilad Shalit was been kidnapped
Negotiate with Hamas
Negotiate with Hamas, release as many prisoners as it takes
Hold the Hamas Leadership directly accountable
Hold the Leadership accountable and give them one final deadline before military action
Hold Leadership accountable, give deadline for military action and total cessation of all Israeli supplied electricty and Water.
Well, how do you think that the public answered as of today's date?
Let me show you the results:
What action should the Israeli Government take now that Hamas has clear control of Gaza and it has been 1 year since Gilad Shalit has been kidnapped
Negotiate with Hamas 18% 127
Negotiate with Hamas, release as many prisoners as it takes 14% 97
Hold the Hamas Leadership directly accountable 10% 72
Hold the Leadership accountable and give them another final deadline before military action 10% 73
Hold Leadership accountable, give deadline for military action and total cessation of all Israeli supplied electricty and Water. 47% 327
total votes: 696
More than half of them (58%) demand that there be military action taken (raids, presumably resulting in deaths of innocent civilians, as is often the case), and a whopping 47% call for total cessation of Israeli-supplied electricty (sic) and Water. (As if it comes from someplace else).
What would the result of such a call be? It isn’t too hard to comprehend, given that Israel has already begun the cessation of supply to the people they keep confined in Gaza. It means treating human beings like their lives are expendable, and actually turning a deaf ear as one hears their cries that they are dying. I would hope that people who care about Shalit would think before they push a little button to state their opinion, and consider that it is very inhumane to cut off basic utilities services of the people who you have made depend on them. It is a form of torture and duress. It certainly is how a complete sadist would operate. Animals in a zoo are treated better than that.
Are the people who are so concerned to show the world that the IDF soldier captured while he was in operative duty is a Human being (oh, and a Jew too), able to even see or feel that the more than one million men, women and children in Gaza are Human beings as well? Or does the fact that there are no longer any Jews in Gaza mean that genocide and collective punishment is acceptable? Was the last human removed from Gaza with the unilateral withdrawal?
But, I don’t know why any of this surprises me. We all have heard that the reason for the breakout of the so-called Second Lebanon War was the capture of two IDF soldiers and the killing of eight in the border zone between Lebanon and Israel. This is the Israeli Government version of the war. Therefore, untold death and devastation is a normal and acceptable price to pay for the lives of a Human being (and Jew) wearing an IDF uniform? We know how many innocent Human beings were killed in the war Israel started. This is the page of the Israeli deaths, and this is a listing of all the casualties. Take a look at it carefully. The civilian casualties are 1,233+ (the plus meaning countless and unknown numbers of those whose death was not immediate, and we can probably add a great deal more to this list, given the situation of utter devastation that Israel created in Lebanon. The civilian wounded tops 5,089 people. The military deaths are 438 - 888+ (given the variable reports) and more than 512 wounded. The situation of devastation caused over one million people (human beings, as far as I know) to have been temporarily made into refugees, “with an unknown number of missing civilians in the south”, as was stated in several articles referenced but no longer available in an online version. It is important to mention that the southern zone of Lebanon, a residential area, was cluster bombed, meaning, the resettlement of humans is quite unlikely, due to the remote possibilities of returning to a land that has been wilfully disseminated with unconventional (and illegal, even in an activity as unholy as war) weapons that will bring about devastation for years to come. These weapons were dropped there precisely for that inhumane purpose by the Israeli army.
So, are we to deduce from all of this that you are only a Human being if you wear an IDF uniform? Or if you are a Jew? Is calling for carnage and devastation to other Human beings a proper response to the capture of a soldier? Judging by the “humanitarian” mode of thinking by those who support the Free Gilad Shalit campaign, I think we can come to some of our own conclusions.
One thing is clear, and that is that we are anaesthetized into thinking that if it is a Jewish activist, campaigning as such, calling for action, be it to “fight anti-Semitism”, “bring down Zionism” or to collectively punish millions of non-Jews (non-Humans?) it is something “normal”. It is indeed not something normal, and it is about time we started to stop expecting people to think in pre-masticated ways, expecting them to assume that a Jew certainly should know better or act in a way that is beyond judgment. This is a call for the end, once and for all, of ethnically based campaigning. It’s just another aspect of racist campaigning, and it treats us all like we are racists and need to be told what is right and what is wrong.