Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Petition: Lift Travel Restrictions on Palestinian Journalist!!
SIGN THE PETITION To: Israeli and Palestinian Authorities - Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh, who lives in the West Bank, has been invited to attend a media conference in Germany. As required, he set about to request all of the necessary travel documents, including a visa that needs to be granted from the German representative office in Ramallah. After routine questioning regarding his political affiliations, it was not only determined that he was not a member of any party, nor formally associated with any organisation, but it was clear that he had never been arrested or detained by Israeli authorities. Mr Amayreh was granted an entry visa to Germany. However, the Israeli military authorities have refused to give him a permit to leave the West Bank. No Palestinian can travel abroad without receiving such a permit beforehand, otherwise he or she would be turned back once arriving at the Israeli-controlled border terminal at the Allenby Bridge.
Mr Amayreh then went to his local District Coordination Office in Dura, where he was informed that his information was forwarded to the Shin Bet (General Security Services) of the Israeli government. Then two days later, the GSS informed the Palestinian office that Amayreh was “barred from leaving the West Bank for security reasons.” No further explanation was given.
His fortune in obtaining the required travel permission did not change as he applied to the Civil Administration Headquarters in Hebron, a metallic pen holding persons seeking the mandatory permission even to go to East Jerusalem for medical treatment, where it is not unusual to find them huddled and waiting their turn for ten or more hours, under the watchful eye of Israeli military watchtowers.
The Palestinian Civil Affairs Coordination Office in the West Bank was also unable to mediate on his behalf, as they too are entirely dependent upon the decisions, without clarification, evidence or justification, made by the Israeli Security division.
There is indeed no justification for the violation of this man’s civil and human rights, and along with him, the rights of all others who are denied freedom of movement with no justification whatsoever. The Occupation authorities, while they have no sovereignty over citizens of the Palestinian Authority, dictate what must be done with those citizens and the world seems to consider the violation of their rights acceptable and normal praxis. These people are not pawns on a chessboard, but are individuals who seek the basic liberties that all democracies are obligated to provide for their people. The Palestinian Authority does not exercise its duty of guaranteeing civil liberties to its own citizens, and treats them as if they shall be subject to the whims of the Occupier.
We ask for the immediate revision of the decision regarding Mr Amayreh, so that he is granted the documents necessary for him to exercise his freedom of movement allowing him to continue to provide for himself and his family in the work that he is employed in, as well as for the Palestinian Authority to assume a position that sets the freedoms of its citizens as a priority that is greater than the perceived “security” risks declared by the agency of the State of Israel.http://www.petitiononline.com/k1h2a3l4/petition.html
El periodista palestino Khalid Amayreh, que vive en Cisjordania, ha sido invitado a asistir a una conferencia de medios en Alemania. Según la reglamentación, se le solicitaron todos los documentos necesarios, incluyendo una visa que necesita le sea concedida por la oficina de la representación alemana en Ramallah. Después de un interrogatorio rutinario relacionado con su filiación política, no solamente se determinó que no era miembro de partidos políticos, ni que estaba asociado formalmente a alguna organización, sino que fue evidente que nunca había sido arrestado ni detenido por las autoridades israelíes. Se le concedió al Sr. Amayreh una visa de ingreso a Alemania. Sin embargo, las autoridades militares israelíes se han opuesto a concederle un permiso para salir de Cisjordania. Ningún palestino puede viajar al extranjero sin recibir tal permiso con antelación, de otra manera sería devuelto una vez que llegue a la terminal de frontera controlada por los israelíes en el Puente Allenby.
Después, el Sr. Amayreh fue a su Oficina de Coordinación de Distrito local en Dura, donde fue informado que sus datos personales habían sido enviados a la Shin Bet (Servicios de Seguridad General o GSS por sus siglas en inglés) del gobierno israelí. Luego de dos días, los GSS le informaron a la oficina palestina que Amayreh tenía “prohibido salir de Cisjordania por razones de seguridad.” No le dieron detalles adicionales.
Su suerte para obtener el permiso de viaje requerido no cambió cuando solicitó el permiso en las Oficinas Centrales de la Administración Civil en Hebrón, un corral metálico para detener a las personas que buscan el permiso para ir a Jerusalén Este por tratamiento médico, donde no es raro encontrarlos amontonados y esperando su turno durante diez horas o más, bajo la mirada observadora de las torres de vigilancia militares israelíes.
La Oficina de Coordinación de Asuntos Civiles palestinos en Cisjordania tampoco pudo mediar en su representación, dado que son totalmente dependientes de las decisiones, sin aclaraciones, evidencias o justificaciones, realizadas por la división de seguridad israelí.
De hecho, no existe justificación para la violación de los derechos civiles y humanos de este hombre, y junto con él, de los derechos de las demás personas a quienes les es negada su libertad de tránsito sin ninguna justificación en absoluto. Aunque las autoridades de ocupación no tienen soberanía sobre los ciudadanos de la Autoridad Palestina, dictan qué debe hacerse con esos ciudadanos y el mundo parece considerar que la violación de sus derechos es una práctica aceptable y normal. Estas personas no son peones en un tablero de ajedrez, sino individuos que luchan por sus libertades básicas, mismas que toda democracia está obligada a garantizarle a su pueblo. La Autoridad Palestina no ejerce su deber de garantizar libertades civiles a sus propios ciudadanos, y los trata como si estuviesen sujetos a los caprichos del ocupante.
Solicitamos la inmediata revisión de la decisión relacionada con el Sr. Amayreh, de manera que le sean concedidos los documentos necesarios para que ejerza su libertad de tránsito y pueda continuar desempeñando su trabajo para abastecerse él mismo y su familia, así como también que la Autoridad Palestina asuma una posición que le brinde la libertad a sus ciudadanos como una prioridad mayor a los riesgos de “seguridad” percibidos y declarados por la agencia del estado de Israel.
À: Les autorités israeliennes et palestines
Invité à une conférence en Allemagne, le journaliste palestinien Khalid Amayreh s’est vu octroyer un visa d’entrée en Allemagne par les autorités consulaires allemandes à Ramallah mais les autorités israéliennes lui ont refusé le visa de sortie de Cisjordanie. Cette pétition s’adresse aux autorités israéliennes et palestiniennes pour qu’elles permettent à Khalid Amayreh d’exercer sa liberté de mouvement.
Bien à vous,
SEE ALSO: Finkelstein and Me
Labels: activism, call to action, human rights violations, Israel, journalism, occupation, Palestine, Zionism
Friday, May 16, 2008
See you at the Palestine Think Tank!
Make sure you bookmark it and visit it! Not only has it had great success with readers, many articles have been reprinted in sites such as Dissident Voice, Online Journal, AMIN, Mid East Online, Norman Finkelstein, The People's Voice, Redress, Rense, Al Jazeerah info, Rebelion, Alternet and quite a few more.
Will be back to add more content here, as you can always check out 890 archived articles, visit the links, and find new articles that even PTT won't carry.
Labels: activism, good news, journalism, Palestine
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry: Lies are Truth
I do suggest, for those who, like myself, find some pleasure in reading nonsense to subscribe to their newsletter or to read it on their site. It is just about as absurd a thing one can find to read. The trouble with it is: it’s taken seriously by the Big Mass Media and a lot of the dispatch services never verify any of the information that is released. If you wonder just why everyone is so wrong about Israel and Palestine, look no further.
On 7 May, this was their press release. I will deconstruct it. Their original in Israeli Blue.
Behind the Headlines: Hamas holding civilian population in Gaza hostage.
How’s that for a shock headline? It is as if the people of Gaza are in a concentration camp and kept hostage. Well, they are, of course, but it’s not Hamas who has locked them in and thrown away the keys, but this does not matter. Israel KNOWS that people are going to notice sooner or later that Gaza has become the place on earth where the greatest number of people are confined and held hostage, but passing the stick to
Hamas is going to resolve any nasty questions about who is keeping them prisoner.
By seizing the fuel, food, and medical supplies that Israel is transferring to the Gaza Strip, and using the supplies itself, the Hamas terror organization is basically holding the civilian population of Gaza hostage.
Ah, so all of these wonderful things have been delivered by generous Israel to Gaza? No one has seen any of it, so it must be the bad guys of Hamas who have diverted all of it and probably are storing everything in warehouses, or selling it on the black market. The crossings have all been closed, but no one should become aware of the fact, unless they wonder how a million and a half people can get by without replacement of the material that is consumed. Naturally, it’s not a good idea to indicate to people that a blockade has been made in order to break the resistance of these people, which at least are classified as civilians by the people who bomb them indiscriminately when it suits them. But for Israel, all that material has arrived, in fact, Israel itself is transferring it to the Gaza Strip! But since things have a material presence, they don’t just disappear, the culprit for these enormous quantities of goods simply NOT BEING THERE has got to be the bad guys. Hamas can’t let anyone see all the truckloads of material, including fuel, that Israel is donating. Seizing it for political purposes, so they can justify the uprising. Well, of course, none of that is true. Since the siege started last fall, nothing has entered into the Gaza Strip, and very little has gotten out. The population is indeed being held hostage, but Israel is doing a three card shuffle – blame it on Hamas (repeat as well that they are a ‘terror organization’ so that it’s easier to insert in a copy and paste journalist report.
Then, we get a flaming headline:
A Jerusalem Post report, on the 29th of April, ( ) states that Hamas stole 60,000 liters of fuel from the civilian population of Gaza. This was confirmed by the head of the Palestinian Authority’s gas agency, who added that Hamas gunmen had raided the Palestinian side of the Nahal Oz fuel terminal, stealing at least 60,000 liters of fuel meant for the Gaza power station, for use in their own vehicles.
Of course, this quote is in quite a few papers, all of them stating that Mohahed Salama stated as such to Israeli Radio. I’ve been unable to find any other source to confirm this. As a matter of fact, Israel doesn’t like to quote him when he stated something much more sinister:
Mojahed Salama, head of the PA Petrol Agency in Gaza, said that fuel imports Sunday showed a 40 to 50 percent reduction in diesel and benzene supplies and a 12 percent reduction in fuel for Gaza’s power plant. “We sent the supplying company the same daily requests, but they said they were sorry and that because of the new imposed sanctions they could only send us a reduced quantity”, Salama told Reuters. A spokesman for Dor Alon, the Israeli energy company that supplies Gaza, said the company had “received instructions” from the Defense Ministry and was “acting according to those instructions”.
So, who is stealing fuel from the civilian population? Ask the Israeli Defence Ministry all about their instructions.
Of course, these international reports are very worrying if one takes them by the soundbites provided by Israel. Take the London Independent report:
The London Independent reports on the artificial crisis caused by Hamas, which even caused the UN to suspend food aid to 650,000 refugees in the Gaza Strip after running out of fuel for its delivery vehicles. An emergency tanker sent to the Nahal Oz terminal was turned back by demonstrators, and was forced to return empty. EU condemns Hamas actions which lead to further suffering of the Palestinian population.
Now, that sounds really awful. But, if someone actually did read the article they would find these quotes:
Both sides agree that storage tanks on the Gaza side of the terminal are full, with stocks of up to 1 million litres of fuel. But Mahmoud Khozendar, the distributors’ vice-chairman, said that was only enough to meet three or four hours’ demand. They needed at least 10 times as much as Israel was prepared to deliver.
And this quote from the same article:
Last night Hamas proposed a six-month cease-fire with Israel, saying the Gaza Palestinian group would stop firing rockets into the Jewish state if Israel lifts its blockade of the coastal strip at the same time, Egypt’s state run Mena news agency reported.
The report came after a day of closed-door meetings between Egypt’s powerful intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who has been mediating between Hamas and Israel, and Hamas’ strongman, Mahmoud Zahar.
Under the international boycott imposed after Hamas seized Gaza by force last June, Israel’s declared policy has been to allow in enough fuel, food and medical supplies to keep people alive, but not enough for them to live well.
So, even the best article that Israel propaganda experts could fine from an independent source point out something that doesn’t make Israel look too wonderful:
Namely, Hamas has offered a cease-fire of the Qassam Rockets (which at any rate cause limited damage). It is willing to come to a solution to have the blockade lifted. Evidently, while this is what Israel claims is behind the blockade, when action is taken to do so, they refuse to accept it and blame Hamas of being terrorists and depriving their own people of things they need to live. Ah, but remember, Israel admits it will KEEP PEOPLE ALIVE, at some level of survival, but they are going to have to suffer. Sounds like Auschwitz to me.
On 24 April, the Presidency of the EU stated that Hamas activities were obstructing and even preventing humanitarian work by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
This is terrible news. Let’s see what else is on that press statement by the EU:
…the Presidency urges regular and unrestricted delivery of fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip in order not to aggravate further the humanitarian crisis there. The Presidency reiterates the EU’s call on all parties to work urgently for the controlled re-opening of the crossings in and out of Gaza for both humanitarian reasons and commercial flows.
In other words, they are calling on Israel to put an end to their policies and to urgently act so as not to aggravate the humanitarian crisis that everyone knows is in full swing.
But let’s conclude this press release.
Hamas nationalizing fuel supplies meant for the civilian populationIn another report, Nissim Keinan of Israel’s Second Radio channel reported on 4 May that Hamas was in fact holding the civilian population hostage.
Who is this reporter? I never heard of him, but he’s very famous in Israel. Here is something to give us an idea of who our source is:
Nissim Keinan, nationally famous for his Voice of Israel broadcasts from the Sderot and Gaza regions, told Arutz-7 the IDF Gaza offensive accomplished a “drop in the ocean” of what needs to be done.
Nissim Keinan is the voice heard several times a day on national radio, reporting from the south on Kassam rockets in Sderot, terrorist activity from within Gaza, and nearly everything else that goes on in that area of the country.
Speaking with Arutz-7´s Hebrew newsmagazine on Monday, Keinan said, “Yes, it was a successful operation, but it appears that the terrorist activity will simply revert right away to the way it was before. We’re talking about looking for a needle in a haystack - because Beit Hanoun, where the offensive took place, is just a small town of 30,000 people; but what about Beit Lahiya and all its terrorists? And what about Jebalya, and the entire area of the Shati refugee camp, and the Khan Yunis area, and Dir el-Balach - I mean, the entire place is swarming with terrorists. Just because you took care of one place and confiscated weapons and ammunitions, it still doesn’t mean that you´ve achieved the goals.”
“In any event,” Keinan continued without stopping, “it´s strange to hear the army talk of such great successes, when really it was just a routine operation. They moved the Kassam launchers southward, true - but you can fire Kassams from the south too, you know, and they also fire them from the north. Yes, the accuracy of the firing has been impaired, but they were never accurate; they just shoot and it hits wherever it hits.”
The Summer Rain Offensive was a Drop in the Ocean of what needs to be done? So, Keinan thinks that 197 civilians and 48 children killed by the IDF is a good and positive thing? Sounds again, a hell of a lot like Auschwitz to me. So, I leave you to speculate on his final words here:
He stated that Hamas has nationalized all the fuel supplies transferred by Israel for the civilian population, and for operation of the electricity plant, and is using it solely for its own purposes. In addition, food sent by the donor countries is allocated in accordance with Hamas instructions. Of the thousands of tons of grains, food and fuel that were transferred, none was able to reach the civilian population.
All of a sudden, he cares about the civilian population of Gaza? And I am Santa Claus.
See also Israel has what you like! Hasbara Instructions
Labels: absolute madness, Gaza, hasbara, human rights violations, Israel, Israeli politicians, journalism, occupation, Palestine, Palestinian politicians, Zionism
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Gilad Atzmon - Anatomy of a Conditionally Unresolved Conflict
In Hegelian terms, recognition is accomplished by directing oneself towards non-being, that is, towards another desire, another emptiness, another ‘I’. It is something that can never be fully accomplished. "The man who desires a thing humanly acts not so much to possess the thing as to make another recognise his right. It is only desire of such recognition, it is only the action that flows from such desire, that creates, realizes and reveals a human, non biological I." (Kojeve A., Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, 1947, Cornell Univ. Press, 1993, p. 40). Following this Hegelian line of thinking, we can deduce that in order to develop self-consciousness, one must face the other. While the biological entity will fight for its biological continuity, a human being fights for recognition.
In order to understand the practical implications of this idea, let us turn to the 'Master-Slave Dialectic'. The Master is called the Master because he strives to prove his superiority over nature and over the slave who is forced to recognize him as a master.
At first glance, it looks as if the master has reached the peak of human existence but as we shall see, this is not the case. As has just been stated, it is recognition that humans fight for. The master is recognised by the slave as a master but the slave's recognition has little value. The master wants to be recognised by another man, but a slave is not a man. The master wants recognition by a master, but another master cannot allow another superior human being in his world. "In short, the master never succeeds in realising his end, the end for which he risks his very life." So the master faces a dead-end. But what about the slave? The slave is in the process of transforming himself since, unlike the master who cannot go any further, the slave has everything to aspire to. The slave is at the vanguard of the transformation of the social conditions in which he lives. The slave is the embodiment of history. He is the essence of progress.
A Lesson in Mastery
Let us now try to apply the Hegelian Master-Slave Dialectic to the notion of Jewish ‘chosenness’ and exclusivity. While the Hegelian 'Master' risks his biological existence to become a master, the newborn Jewish infant risks his foreskin. The chosen infant is born into the realm of mastery and excellence without (yet) excelling at anything. The other awards the chosen baby his prestigious status without the requirement of facing any process of recognition. And in fact, the ‘chosen’ title is given to Jews by themselves (allegedly God) rather than by others.
If, for instance, we try to analyse the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the Hegelian mechanism of recognition, we realise the impossibility of any dialogue between the two parties. While it is more than clear that the Palestinian people are fighting for recognition, which they declare at every possible opportunity, the Israelis avoid the whole recognition issue altogether. They are convinced that they are already fully recognised in the first place. They know who they are - they are born masters who happen to live on their ‘promised land’. Israelis refuse to join the dialectic 'meaning transformation' game and instead divert all their intellectual, political and military efforts into demolishing any sense of Palestinian recognition. The battle for Israeli society is to suppress any Palestinian symbol or desire, whether material, spiritual or cultural.
Strangely enough, the Palestinians are managing quite well in their fight for recognition. More and more people out there are now beginning to understand the just nature of the Palestinian cause and the level of inhumanity entangled with the entire concept of Zionism and Jewish politics in general. More and more people out there find the Palestinian people and their spokesmen very easy to empathise with. Even the Hamas who were despised by most Western political institutions are now managing to get their message across. The Israelis, on the other hand, are falling behind in such manoeuvres. The average Western listener finds them almost impossible to sympathise with. While a Palestinian will call you to share his pain and misery, talking straight to your heart, the Israeli spokesman will demand that you to accept his views. He will insist on selling you a ready-made fantastic historical narrative; a repetitive tale that starts somewhere around Biblical Abraham, continues with a series of Holocausts and leads eventually towards more current bloodshed. It seems as if the Israelis, the masters, always present the same faceless story. Can Abraham and the Holocaust justify Israeli inhuman behaviour in Gaza? Not really, and the reason is simple, Abraham and the Holocaust and historical narratives in general do not evoke genuine emotional feelings. And indeed, the Jewish political world is so desperate to maintain its narrative that the last Holocaust has now been transformed into a legal narrative. The message is as follows: “beware, if you doubt my narrative you will end up behind bars.” This is obviously an act of desperation.
Following Hegel, we learn that recognition is a dynamic process; it is a type of understanding that grows in you. While the Palestinians will use all their available, yet limited, resources to make you look at their faces, in their eyes, to carry you into a dynamic process of mutual recognition, the Israelis would expect you to accept their narrative blindly. They would expect you to turn a blind eye to the clear fact that as far as the Middle East is concerned Israel is an aggressor like no other. Israel is an occupying regional super power, a tiny State heavily engaged in exploring different nuclear, biological and chemical arsenals. It is a racially orientated apartheid state that bullies and abuses its minorities on a daily basis. Yes, the Israelis and their supportive Jewish lobbies around the world want you to ignore these facts. They insist upon being the victims, they want you to approve their inhuman policies referring to Jews endless suffering.
How is it that Jewish politics has become aggressive like no other? It is simply the fact that from a Jewish political perspective, there is ‘no other’. The so-called other for them is nothing but a vehicle rather than an equal human subject. Israeli foreign affairs and Jewish political activity should be comprehended in the light of a severe lack of a 'recognition mechanism'. Israeli and Jewish politics, left right and centre, is grounded on locking and fixing of meaning. They would refuse to regard history as a flux, as a dynamic process, as a journey towards 'oneself' or self-realisation. Israel and Israelis view themselves as if they are external to history. They do not progress toward self-realisation because they have a given, fixed identity to maintain. Once they encounter a complex situation with the surrounding world, they would then create a model that adapts the external world into their chauvinist self-loving value system. This is what Neo-conservatism is all about; this is what the fantasmic yet sickening newly emerging Judeo-Christian discourse is all about.
As sad as it may sound, people who are not trained to recognise the other are unable to let them be recognised. The Jewish tribal mindset: left, centre and right, sets Jews aside of humanity. It does not equip the followers of the tribal mindset with the mental mechanism needed to recognise the other. Why should they do it? They have done so well for many years without having to do so. Lacking a notion of an other, indeed transcends one far beyond any recognised form of true humanist thought. It takes one far beyond ethical thinking or moral awareness.
Instead of morality, every debate is reduced into a mere political struggle with some concrete material and practical achievements to aim for.
Hegel may throw some further light on the entire saga. If indeed one becomes aware of oneself via the other, then the ‘Chosen subject’ is self-aware to start with. He is born into mastery. Accordingly, Israelis are not practicing any form of dialogue with the surrounding human environment since they are born masters. In order to be fair to the Israelis, I have to admit that their lack of a recognition mechanism has nothing to do with their anti-Palestinian feelings. As a matter of fact, they cannot even recognise each other - Israel and Israelis have a long history of discrimination against its own people (Jews of non-European descent such as Sephardim Jews are discriminated against by the Jewish elite, those of Western descent). But are progressive Jews any different? Not really. Like the Israelis and similar to any other form of tribal chauvinist ideology, they are continuously withdrawing into self-centred segregated discourse that has very little to engage or grab the interest of anyone besides themselves. Consequently, like the Israelis who surround themselves with walls, the Jewish progressive cells have already set themselves into cyber ghettos that are becoming increasingly hostile to the rest of humanity and those who supposed to be their comrades.
If one cannot establish relationships with one's neighbour based upon recognition of the other, there must be another way of establishing a dialogue. If one cannot form a dialogue based upon empathy with the other and the rights of the other, one must pursue another mode of communication. It seems as if the alternative 'chosen' dialogical method reduces any form of communication into a materialistic language. Almost any form of human activity, including love and aesthetic pleasure, can be reduced to a material value. The Chosen political activists are well practised in using this method of communication.
Recently the Israeli ultra-Zionist author A B Yehoshua has managed to upset many American Jewish Ethnic leaders at the American Jewish Committee conference by saying: “You [Jews in the Diaspora] are changing jackets … you are changing countries like changing jackets.” Indeed, Yehoshua came under a lot of pressure following his remark, he was very quick to regret his statement. However, Yehoshua’s insight, while far from being original, is rather painfully truthful.
It is quite apparent that some politically orientated Diaspora Jews are engaged in an extremely fruitful dialogue with any possible core of hegemony. Yehoshoua’s criticism was fairly spot on. Following Yehoshua, once it is clear that a new country is becoming a leading world super power, it won’t take long before a wave of liberated assimilated Jews would try to infiltrate into its governing elite. “If China ever became the world’s foremost super power,” he warned, “American Jews would migrate there to assimilate rather than in the US.” (http://www.amin.org/eng/uncat/2006/june/june30-1.html).
A decade ago, at the peak of the legal battle between major Jewish institutions and the Swiss Bank, Norman Finkelstein stood up and said that very little remains of the Jewish Holocaust apart from various industrial forms of financial bargaining for compensation. According to Finkelstein, it was all about profit-making. Without any criticism intended by me about financial compensation, it appears as if some people are quick to translate their pain into gold. (It is important to mention that pain as well as being transformed into gold, can be transformed into other values such as moral or aesthetic ones). However, the possibility of transforming pain and blood into cash stands at the heart of the Israeli false dream - that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially the refugee problem, is resolvable. Now we know where this assumption originates. The Israelis, as well as Jewish leading institutions, are fully convinced that if they were happy to come to a financial settlement with the Germans (or the Swiss for the matter), the Palestinians would be equally happy to sell their lands and dignity. How do the Israelis arrive at such a strange conviction? Because they must know better than the Palestinians what the Palestinians really want. How? Because the Israelis are brilliant, they are the Chosen People. Moreover, the chosen subject doesn’t even try to engage with the human in the other. Sixty years after the Nakba, the mass the expulsion of the indigenous Palestinians, the vast majority of Israelis and world Jewry do not even start to acknowledge the Palestinian cause, let alone do they show any form of empathy.
When you talk to Israelis about the conflict, one of their most frequently used arguments is the following: "When we (the Jews) came here (to Palestine), they (the Arabs) had nothing. Now they have electricity, work, cars, health services, etc." This is obviously a failure to recognise the other. It is typical of the chauvinist colonialist to impose one’s own value system on the other. In other words, the Israelis expect the Palestinians to share the importance they attach to the acquisition of material wealth. “Why should the other share my values? Because I know what is good. Why do I know what is Good? Because I am the best.” This arrogant and completely materialistic approach obviously lies at the heart of the Israeli vision of peace. The Israeli military calls it ‘the stick and the carrot’. Seemingly, when referring to Palestinians they actually have rabbits in their minds. But, as bizarre or even tragic as it may sound, the Israeli born, ultra-left Mazpen movement was not categorically different. They obviously had some revolutionary dreams of secularisation for the Arab world. They obviously knew what was good for the Arabs. Why did they know? Shall I let you guess? Because they were exclusively and chauvinistically clever. They were the Marxists of the chosen type. Hence, I wasn’t overwhelmingly surprised that as time went by, the legendary ‘revolutionary’ Mazpen and the despised neo-conservatism actually united into a single catastrophic message: “We know better what is good for you than you yourselves do.”
Both Zionists and Jewish leftists have a "New Middle East dream". In Peres’s old fantasy the region turns into a financial paradise in which Israel would stand at the very centre. The Palestinians (as well as other Arab States) would supply Israeli industries (representing the West) with the low cost labour they need. In turn, they, the Arabs, would earn money and spend it buying Israeli (Western) goods. In the Judeo progressive dream the Arabs leaves Islam behind, they become Marxist cosmopolitan progressives (East European Jews) and join the journey towards a world revolution. As much as Peres’s dream is sad, the Judeo Marxist version is almost funny.
As it seems, within the Zionist dream, Israel would establish a dual coexistence in the region where the Palestinian people would be the eternal slaves and the Israelis their masters. Within the Judeo progressive cosmopolitan dream, Red Palestine will establish a dual coexistence in the region where the Palestinian people would be the eternal slaves of a remote Euro-centric ideology. If there is a big categorical difference between the two Judeo centric ideologies, I just fail to see it.
However, according to Hegel, it is the slave that moves history forward. It is the slave that struggles towards his freedom. It is the slave who transforms himself and it is the master who eventually vanishes. Following Hegel, we have good reason to believe that the future of the region belongs to the Palestinians, the Iraqis and nation Islam in general. One way of explaining why Israel ignores this understanding of history relates to the conditional detachment of the exclusive 'chosen' state of mind.
Welcome to Cuckoo land
Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian doctor who lives and works in the occupied West Bank, referred to Israel as "trying to be David and Goliath at the same time" (Dr. Barghouti was speaking at a debate at the House of Commons, 22 Nov. 2000). According to Dr. Barghouti, this is impossible. He also claimed that "Israel is probably the only State that bombs a territory it occupies." He found this very strange and even bizarre. Is it really strange to be David and Goliath simultaneously? Is it really strange to destroy your own property? Not if you are insane. The lack of mirroring (again, seeing oneself through the other) can lead people, as well as nations, into strange dark corners. The lack of a framework which would allow you to discern your own image through the other, the lack of a corrective mechanism, appears to be a very dangerous state of affairs.
The first generation of Israeli leaders (Ben-Gurion, Eshkol, Meir, Peres, Begin) grew up in the Diaspora, mainly in Eastern Europe. Being a Jew living in a non-Jewish environment forces one to develop a sharpened self-awareness and imposes a certain kind of mirroring. Moreover, early Zionism is slightly more developed than other forms of Jewish tribal politics for the simple reason that Zionism is there to transform the Jews into ‘people like other people’. Such a realisation involves a certain amount of necessary mirroring. However, this was not enough to restrain Israeli aggressive acts (e.g., Deir-Yassin, Nakba, Kafer Kasem, the '67 war, etc.) but it was more than enough to teach them a lesson in diplomacy. Since 1996, young leaders who were born there have led Israel into the state of ‘chosenness’ (Rabin, Netanyahu, Sharon, Barak, Olmert). Whilst in their earlier years they were imbued with an intense traditional Jewish anxiety, as they grew up this was overtaken by the legacy of the 1967 ‘miracle’, an event that turned some of the ‘chosen’ ideologies into a messianic extravaganza. This fixation with absolute power exacerbated by Jewish anxiety coupled with ignorance of the 'other' leads to epidemic collective schizophrenia, both of mood and action; a severe loss of contact with reality that gives way to the use of excessive force. The recent “Second Lebanon War” was an obvious example for that matter. Israel retaliates with machine guns in response to children throwing stones, with artillery and missiles against civilian targets following a sporadic uprising, and with a total war to a minor border incident. This behaviour should not be explained by using political, materialist or sociological analytical tools. Much greater understanding could be gained by situating the conflict within a philosophical framework, which allows a better understanding of the origins of paranoia and schizophrenia.
The Israeli Prime Minister, representing both 'David and Goliath', can talk about the vulnerability of Israel, Jewish pain and Jewish misery in one breath and about launching a massive military offensive against the whole region in the next. Such behaviour can only be explained by seeing it as a form of mental illness. The funny/sad side of it is that most Israelis do not even realise that something is going terribly wrong. Being a born master leads to the absence of a 'recognition mechanism'. Inevitably it leads toward blindness. This lack of a recognition mechanism results in a split psyche, being both 'David and Goliath' at one and the same time. It seems that neither Israel nor Israelis can any longer be partners in any meaningful dialogue.
Labels: Atzmon, hasbara, holocaust, Israel, jewish identity politics, philosophy, Zionism
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Anti-Zionist = Zionist (if you are Tony Greenstein!)
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2008 16:49:24 -0700 (PDT)
From: tony greenstein email@example.com
After the long celebration of "The Invention of the Jewish People" (in which I take side with Prof. Sand), perhaps now is the time to investigate "the Invention of the Palestinian Peoplehood". I believe that a very short research will discover that it was invented by the British occupation authorities right after WWI. Since the Philistines were absorbed by the Judeans during the kingdom of David (according to the Biblical myth, of course), there was nothing like "a Palestinian People", until the 20th century.
ironically Yedidya is quite right. But for the Zionists there would have been no Palestinian people. It was the British Mandate and the Zionist settlement project which created this people who would otherwise be living in Southern Syria, Arabia or whatever.
And folks, he adds this, because I complained that what he said was Zionist information:
Maybe Mary would like to explain why it is 'Zionist propaganda'. Or does she merely want to echo Jacob that the Palestinians as a nation have existed for 3,000 years? Nations are political and historical formations and the Palestinian nation or people came into existence as a result of Zionist colonisation of Palestine. There was no specific territorial entity called Palestine within the Ottoman Empire and the people within what is now known as Palestine/Israel saw themselves as part of the Arab nation and even Syrians rather than as Palestinians. Being Palestinian is a specific historical category, it isn't something fixed for all time and the temptation to write back into history from what has transpired should be resisted.
Mary responds: Tony, you used the word People. Or have you forgotten so quickly by trying to move the mirrors around? The Palestinians were a people since the time they inhabited that land, that is, as long as humanly possible, and if you don't seem to get it, read the comment by Ismail that I left on your blog. No, I'll reprint it here so that everyone can understand how mad you are and how clearly absorbed into the Zionist narrative you are that you don't even notice that you dismiss millions of humans and their belonging.
I find this unbelievable.
Where is the Palestinian state, that the zionists kindly provided to us? And who was living in Palestine [the land of Canaan] since history began, and long before the Hebrew tribes came to the Land of Canaan as invaders, and were driven out by other invaders, the Romans? Palestine has been invaded by scores of foreign invaders including the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Hebrew tribes, the Romans, the Turks and the British. Invaders come and go and have no right to conquered land anymore than the Romans to England which they conquered for hundreds of years.
There are many honourable Israelis and Jews who knew the historic facts and had the integrity to speak out. I met and knew the late Israel Shahak in 1970, when we were both invited speakers at St. Andrews University in Scotland, on the subject of Palestine and zionism. When I asked him how did he get involved in this conflict, he told me hoerrifying experiences he witnessed the Israeli forces subjecting Palestinian university students to, in Ramallah, which are horrible to relate here. He described their activites to what the Nazis did to Jews in Belsen, where he was held. He said after what he saw in Ramallah, he vowed ro fight Zionism to his dying days, and he did that. He was a man of unique honour who deserve to be acclaimed by all those who care about humanity and justice.
As to this outrageous statement you quoted, I'll let the late Jewish Professor Maxime Rodinson, who was Professor of History at The Sorbonne University in Paris, who stated in his book Israel and the Arabs, 1968: " The Arab population of Palestine was native in all the senses of the word and their roots in Palestine can be traced back at least forty centuries."
If that statement, you quoted, truly expresses the sentiments of Tony Greenstein, then I know where I stand in relation to this controversy, that I got involved in unknowingly.
I trust you do not think that, I hope...
Interestingly, I see the name of Zalman Amit included below. What is his role in this?
He lives in our neighbourhood in Nova Scotia and he is a good man and a friend of ours.
Thank you, Mary. I am simply bewildered, and I will leave it that. May be, I should ask Tony Greenstein if this statement represents his views.
Labels: absolute madness, activism, gatekeeping, Palestine, Zionism
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Weapons used by Israel against Lebanon
Three expert witnesses gave scientific testimony about the weapons that were used by Israel against Lebanon in the war that lasted 33 days, as well as the effects these armaments had on people and objects. Lebanese nuclear physicist and expert in nuclear radiation measurements, Mohammed Ali Kobeissi, Italian Geneticist Paola Manduca and British Work Psychologist and independent weapons researcher Dai Williams each presented the results of their research, complete with corroborating data.
Dr. Kobeissi premised his testimony with these words, “I am a scientist that was part of the scientific committee to investigate the state of things after the war. I don’t play politics and I keep the committee out of the declarations, but I know what I witnessed and the results of the research and I am here, speaking in my own name and assume full responsibility for what I say. I am not under the influence of any organization to declare anything but the facts.”
The scientist was called to measure data in various places, but one in particular, the Khaim crater, showed measurements of uranium in the bottom of the crater fourteen times higher than the measurements on the edges. One of the first things he made clear that his independent testing needed to be verified in another laboratory so that his results could be confirmed. It was the necessary to send samples out of Lebanon for testing, since no other laboratory in Lebanon had the equipment necessary to measure the data. “We had to bring samples out, using soil samples and urine samples.
"In its turn, and upon the request of the Lebanese Government, UNEP used something that is called a “smear”, which is a collection of dust samples. These smear samples were brought by UNEP to the research laboratories of the Swiss Army and they are connected to those of the NATO. To take samples, you have to be clever, because dust can be anything. What is relevant as far as weapons go is a specific type of dust which might be uranium dust or not.
"Because uranium is the most dense metal of them all, at certain temperatures it is able to melt everything that it is in contact with and it actually serves as a guide, transforming everything around it to dust." Kobeissi collected two kilograms of soil material from a crater at Jallahieh, which was likely to have been hit by a bomb with a Uranium head, given the damage. "Our soil samples and urine samples were sent to Harwell Laboratory in the UK for uranium measurements."
Kobeissi had made some of his own measurements, including testing the water that collected in one of the craters, and he had gathered enough information to be quite sure that this crater was indeed caused by the use of unconventional weapons, precisely those missiles with depleted uranium heads.
When the report by UNEP came back from Switzerland and was published, he was very shocked at the results. “I read the report and what I was reading was poetry, not science! It was very descriptive regarding the case of uranium. The numbers obtained from the smear dust were far too small, compared to the analysis and measurements I made on the soil samples.” At this moment in the testimony, the scientist shook his head and perhaps recalled the thoughts he had at the time, looking at the devastation caused by the missile, “I pity the founding fathers of America that today this country is lead by Bush. To make weapons like this and use them against civilians and their homes is something I cannot come to terms with.” Later, Dr Williams would explain with more precision what these weapons were intended to do, but for the time being, we listened to a scientific presentation that was almost like the telling of a moral fable.
“(Bernard) Kuchner came to Lebanon after the war and it happen he was visiting the town of Khiam. To convince himself he went down with me to this crater, because in a war that is conducted in inhabited zones where people are going to hopefully return to live, dirty bombs can’t be used. There are reasons for it, it will bring damage to the land and people for who knows how long. When I told Kuchner that dirty bombs were used, he said, ‘Impossible!’ but as soon as he saw the crater with radiation and he was witnessing that, what did he say? 'Well, C’est la guerre’.”
This kind of disregard for the impact of the bombs being used in southern Lebanon, and the possibility that they contained radiation, was indicative of much of the attitude of the international community when it was mentioned that these weapons were utilised. The physicist explained that a bit of uranium is present in nature anyway, but beyond a certain level, it is extremely dangerous. Uranium is used to increase the power of thermonuclear missiles. Few nations have the capacity to produce these weapons, and as a matter of fact, the largest weapons used in the war were American made. In order to extract the uranium for these weapons, a process is carried out which results in the creation of another toxic substance that is known as Depleted Uranium. “This is the dirty bomb. It is the result of the trash that comes out of making other bombs or for nuclear use and it is disposed of generally by being used in other weapons. America gives or sells this trash to others, and the others use it against their enemies.”
The next expert witness explained the effects of the unconventional weapons. Dr Paola Manduca is a Geneticist specialised in the effects on the human body of these new weapons, and in the past had also investigated the wounds from other victims of Israeli weapons, the people of Gaza. “Weapons of this sort do not distinguish between their victims. They are aimed at an area and those who are in that area are subject to the effects, whether they are military, civilian, adults or children. In this way, since these new weapons strike indiscriminately, we can also think that they have an ideological use. They leave wounds that are different than any kind we are used to. When the body is subject to the old kind of traditional weapons, the material that harms the body has an entry place, a bullet wound, cuts and abrasions that come from objects that are in disintegration, or foreign bodies that one can identify and possibly extract. In the case of these weapons, there are simply entrance holes in the body, internal damage, but no exit wound and no presence of shrapnel either. The wounds we have here are invisible wounds that give no clear answers to what they are. They cause dramatic effects on the body, spots, burns, incapacity for muscles to react, pain and so forth, but they do not have a clear cause, there is no specific ‘entry point’ at times and the variation of types of wounds on a single individual is also great. These wounds do not indicate how they can be treated. Psychologically, this is another effective weapon against whoever might be in an area where weapons like this are used.”
She showed us many photos of the kinds of effects by these ‘new’ weapons, which she nominated as ‘experimental’ ones. “They represent a new development in the strategy of war.” Some of them are thermobaric, which means that they explode and reach high temperatures. DIME, Dense Inert Metal weapons cause extreme and intense heat which can be localised even to certain parts of the body. She showed pictures where one side of the torso was scorched and charred, and the other was unharmed. The damage from these bombs includes alteration of the DNA and reproductive damage, in addition to the severe tissue damage and deformation as from burning. “Then there are the bombs using Depleted Uranium but not only. There are bombs with Enriched Uranium. These weapons are deadly even though the period it takes to bring about their full effects is not yet known. They are still ‘experimental’ weapons, and therefore, not permitted to be used by international rules of war.” She showed examples of the effects of cluster bombs, white phosphorus, the use of microwaves and the bombs that were responsible for the damage of the crater that Dr Kobeissi had focused much of his specific presentation on, the Bunker Buster.
“There has been lack of institutional response to the wounds that the victims had. As if they were simply caught in the crossfire of a standard battle. But this is not what happened to them. From within their homes and in shelters they were exposed to these weapons and their wounds are inexplicable, if not by deducing that Israel had used unconventional weapons that penetrated in ways that normal weapons are incapable of doing. I saw bodies covered with black powder, a kind of dust that darkens the bodies and when tested, the skin is tested as positive for the presence of iron. While some people were being evacuated from Bint Jbeil and Tyre, they were wounded, and I examined them. It is clear that they were exposed to unconventional weapons and it was a mystery as to the precise nature of these weapons. Three of the more seriously wounded people in this attack were brought to Israeli hospitals for treatment. They spent one month in the hospital.” When asked what the clinical reports were following the admission and treatment, Dr Manduca told us that they came back with no clinical reports whatsoever. “Whether or not any serious clinical investigation took place is unknown to me or to those in Lebanon. The fact is, that one may not obtain information from Israel. Whatever secret weapon was used against these people, we will never get information from anyone in the country that used it. Doctor or not.”
The third expert witness, Dr Dai Williams, stated that he was only going to make statements that could be backed by evidence, and he wished to qualify any interpretation he might make as being supported by scientific and photographic evidence. All of it, however, pointed to his conclusion that Israel had indeed made use of illegal weapons in the war.
“One has to understand what a weapon is used for. There are certain weapons used for specific purposes. In fact, weapons are developed according to the aim that is defined by the military strategy of the conflict. Arms control legislation is ten years behind technology. I have been researching uranium weapons since 1999, focusing on the aspects of health and safety, and all of these weapons, since they are not allowed by any country as legal and acceptable weapons, are all classified as ‘secret weapons’. Not only are there uranium weapons, which are guided bombs having a warhead that is considered to be a ‘magic metal’ for its destructive capacities, but there are many other kinds of secret weapons; pressure waves, vacuum bombs and a combination of the two, weapons using depleted uranium, including a one ton bomb with a US patent dating from 1947, and high temperature bombs.”
Dr Williams described in great detail the Bunker Buster, which is a bomb that has a specific explosion pattern and devastating results. Both of these were documented by a series of photographs and by testing the soil and water in the craters which occupied the space where buildings previously stood. “There is a military reason to use a Bunker Buster. It is because the military aim is to penetrate deeply into that space. In the case of southern Lebanon, they were certain that Hezbollah was located under the buildings and that there were stocks of WMDs or missiles, or else, they wanted to kill the people who were down that low, in the most sheltered part of the buildings, which the Israeli strategists claimed were Hezbollah militants. These bombs are not ordinary bombs. In fact, they are so large that only several places have the capacity to produce them, including the US. These are guided bombs produced in the US, which travelled via the UK and arrived in Israel to be used.”
The Bunker Buster has a particular explosion pattern which Dr Williams called a ‘blast profile’. First there is an intense explosion and fire, followed by a subsequent explosion generally creating a great amount of dust. He showed photographs where it was clear that two distinct explosions with visibly different characteristics were used on some targets. “Then there are thermobaric weapons that use heat and cause physical wounds that actually show exposure to different kinds of temperatures that are registered on a single body. There are ‘flash burns’ where one side of the body is burnt, as Dr Manduca had already said. An unknown number of different kinds of weapons were used in these 33 days of war, and the estimates range from 50 to 100 varieties of weapons. On the 11th of August I went to the Human Rights Council, because the wounds that I had seen caused me to wonder about the nature of the weapons and I asked them to investigate not only the illegal weapons, but also to investigate the use of uranium weapons such as the Spike or Hellfire Missiles. What is important in these cases is to investigate the targets and I have to say that the International forces worked very quickly to clean most of the sites. In fact, what this did was remove much of the evidence that is needed to do a proper investigation of the sites. I asked for tests to be carried out not only on depleted uranium, but also uranium. The UN Environmental commission did not take the reports into account that I had carried out on the terrain, where I had evidence of uranium far above normal levels. As a matter of fact, and this is what is so sad, the tests that were carried out used unsound methods and only one site was tested. The site was declared ‘clean’ and therefore, the case was closed as far as they were concerned.”
Dr Williams stressed the fact that there was no doubt that Israel had used weapons containing uranium. One of the ways of measuring the material that remains after a bombardment is to measure the chemical composition of the dust. A colleague of Dr Williams, Dr Chris Busby, had suggested that the best automatic dust collecting device is an automotive filter, so a filter that was in immediate proximity of a bombardment was sent for analysis. It was from a semi-destroyed ambulance that was bombed at Khaim. “There was a small amount of low enriched uranium in it. It is unusual to have uranium in dust, and this was definitely the consequence of a bombardment with bombs containing uranium. The quantity was enough to be an absolute fingerprint, small but legally sufficient. It was present in two of the locations that I tested, in Beirut and Khaim.” 200 samples underwent Gamma testing in Geneva. “It is logical that they came up with the wrong analysis, because they used the wrong test. This is not the appropriate test to analyse the presence of depleted uranium. Mass Spectroscopy should have been used.” He also showed the results of tests analysing samples of human urine of the people who were in the vicinity of the bombing there and the concentrations of uranium were high.
Robert Fisk published the report made by Dr Williams, and it received a very negative reaction from the UN and Israel. “There was some collaboration with the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program) scientists and Achem Steiner, but so much misinformation started to circulate that the inquiry was actually forced to be stopped.” The conclusions drawn from that by Dr Williams are unequivocal: “There are still the effects of the dirty bombs that were used on Lebanese soil and there are consequences of this that unfortunately we will not know as long as we do not continue investigation. One thing is certain, new arms control discussions are needed. Weapons are being used against people without any kind of control or adequate safety measures. We don’t know all the harmful side effects that can still be triggered, and this also reflects upon a negligence of the Lebanese government in not doing anything to investigate.”
>When asked for more details by the Lebanese barristers present, he mentioned that these weapons produce a fine dust that has the consistency of pepper. Since the heat is so great, most of it goes straight up, but then it gets blown by the wind very far away and it can spread. In some areas it is concentrated. “Most of the bombs used in the war were conventional ones, and the amount of unconventional weapons used in Lebanon is very small when compared to those used in Iraq or Afghanistan. But, the problem is that radiation is forever, even if in very small amounts. There was not adequate human or environmental testing done, and the damage was indiscriminate and permanent in some cases.” He suggested that there was the possibility of a variety of bombs being used, containing both enriched uranium and depleted uranium, and that perhaps the sites had themselves been cleaned or altered between various moments of testing. He also pointed to the variation in the results (between the determination that the bombs used depleted uranium or enriched uranium) as being explained in the hypothesis that at least two bombs were dropped on each site. He indicated that once enriched uranium is burnt, it becomes indistinguishable from uranium present in nature – but of extreme rarity – and test results can be politically charged by stating that these things are not the result of bombs, or even that the machines used to test were not properly cleaned, something quite absurd to state about a laboratory with the reputation of Harwell.
After his talk, I had the opportunity to speak with Dr Williams. Being a psychologist, he is very concerned with the emotional or psychological impact of communication, and we spoke at length about the importance of the ‘human filter’ when listening to this kind of information. Actually, to the profane in material, the difference between a conventional and unconventional weapon is marginal, if the result is destruction. Yet, Dr Williams mentioned that there is an element that makes informing about these weapons complicated, and that is the will to inform tempered by the desire to not cause undue stress and worry. “These bombs can cause damage in the future, since they operate at a genetic level. This means we don’t know what effects there are going to be, and this can cause a level of alarm that, in the end, is psychologically just as critical. Where does one draw the line about saying the possible effects and assuring people that perhaps things are not as bad as we fear? How do we inform without creating panic? Not getting any information about the weapons leaves us in that condition. As scientists and investigators, we are not even allowed to make any genuine conclusions because we are denied the possibility of having a scientific response.”
If this is indeed the case, the Israeli war against Lebanon had as its most damaging and pervasive weapon the psychological one of fear, fear that would remain intact for generations.
Labels: absolute madness, Bruxelles Tribunal, Israel, Lebanon, military, war, war crimes
Friday, March 28, 2008
technical improvements underway
I'll be back as soon as the wiring is done, estimates vary, but don't worry, Pepa will be back on line!
In the meantime, will be busy working on some editorial projects, so I salute all the faithful readers and ask them to visit all the great sites on the sidebar.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Khalid Amayreh - The Vatican must show goodwill toward Muslims
The problem, of course, doesn’t lie in the conversion itself. People after all should be free to choose their faith and way of life without coercion. The Quran itself declares that “let there be no compulsion in religion.” The way Muslims ought to relate to disbelievers is engraved in Sura (or chapter) 9 of Islam’s holy scriptures, which reads:
Say : O ye that reject Faith!
I worship not that which ye worship,
Nor will ye worship that which I worship.
And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship,
Nor will ye worship that which I worship.
To you be your Way, and to me mine.
But the problem lies in the vindictive atmosphere surrounding the conversion ceremony, including the anti-Islamic allusions and insinuations.
Magdi Allam, who an Israel newspaper once called a “Muslim Zionist” admitted that he had always been a nominal Muslim, that he had never really practiced Islam and never prayed in his life. Yet, we have been told ad nauseam by a wantonly ignorant or dishonest Western media that Allam was “a prominent Muslim.”
Well, the truth is that he was neither Muslim nor prominent. How could a person who praises and glorifies Israel’s genocidal crimes against his fellow human beings (Christian and Muslims alike) be a man of faith? Morality, honesty and candor are the ultimate signs of faith, characters that Allam conspicuously lacks.
So, it is highly doubtful that a man who believes Zionism represents true righteousness and genuine civility will be a righteous individual, let alone a good Catholic.
In the context of his baptism at the hands of the Pope of the Vatican, Allam made a series of provocative lies against Islam.
The man who had written a book titled “Long Live Israel” was quoted as saying that “the root of evil is innate in an Islam that is physiologically violent and historically conflictual."
This is a cardinal mendacity, because all religions, ideologies, and isms are by definition “conflictual.” Indeed, in order for an idea, any idea, to be un-conflictual, it has to be completely “morally neutral” between good and evil. Christianity itself was conflictual from day one.
In Matthew 10-34-39, Jesus is quoted as saying that:
"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it."
In the Gospel of Thomas 16, (SV), Jesus said:
"Perhaps people think that I have come to cast peace upon the world. They do not know that I have come to cast conflicts upon the earth: fire, sword, war. For there will be five in a house: there'll be three against two and two against three, father against son and son against father, and they will stand alone."
The above shows beyond doubt that Allam doesn’t know what he is talking about when he faults Islam for being “historically conflictual.”
As to the issue of violence, Allam is being equally ignorant of historical facts, because if a religion is to be judged solely by the behavior of its followers, then Christianity stands out as the main candidate for being the most violent religion under the sun.
Let us consider some of the following historical facts pertaining to the relationship between Christianity and violence. In the past century alone, Western “Christians” killed more than a hundred million people, mostly other Christians. In just two essentially ‘Christian' World Wars, as many as 70 million people were killed. Indeed, the numerous crusades, holocausts, pogroms, inquisitions, gulags and ethnic cleansings that the White man committed in the name of Jesus make Muslim violence and wars look utterly negligible in comparison.
In the Middle Ages, Catholics spread death, terror and havoc through Europe, Asia Minor and the Levant. The Franks not only slaughtered Muslims and Jews en masse, but targeted their Orthodox coreligionists, destroying and desecrating their churches, murdering their priests and raping their women.
In North America, South America and Australia the White man murdered millions in the name of Christ and Manifest Destiny.
To be sure, Muslims, too, indulged in violence, including unjustified violence. However, stigmatizing Islam with this calumny, as if the hands of Catholics and other western Christians were clean, constitutes a pornographic deviation from historical truth and honesty.
Samuel P. Huntington is one of the West’s most prominent contemporary intellectuals. He argued that “the west won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.”
“Westerners,” he said, “often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”
One Vatican official, Cardinal Giovanni, told an Italian newspaper following the conversion ceremony that “conversion is a private matter, a personal thing and we hope that the baptism will not be interpreted negatively by Muslims.”
Well, one might give Giovanni the benefit of the doubt were it not for the purposefully high profile the Vatican gave this conversion. In the final analysis, the Vatican can’t hope for good relations with Muslims and at the same time continue to incite hatred and racism against a religion that has as many as 15 hundred million followers, including millions of Europeans and hundreds of thousands of Italians.
Millions of erstwhile Christians converted to Islam in Europe and North America in recent years. However, unlike the Vatican, the Muslim religious authorities have chosen not to turn every conversion into a trial of Christianity.
Finally, it is imperative to remember that Muslims and Christians are neighbors and compatriots all over the world. This fact alone, which is not going to disappear, necessitates that each community be sensitive to the sensibilities and feelings of the other.
Mutual respect, we are told, is the essence of religious faith.
I add a comment below:
To read excellent opinion pieces in Italian on Allam, see Sherif's blog. To add my own commentary, I want to mention that 4 and a half years ago, Allam came to my town to promote his book on Saddam Hussein (which had as bibilographical references nothing more than Allam's own articles and pages were dedicated to the style of moustache and hair colouring of Saddam...) and one of the conclusions he came to was that the War never would really have happened if people had not protested for "peace". He said that this gave Saddam the false confidence that he could win, and that the war then became inevitable. In essence, protesters were blamed for fanning the flames of war. Also at that presentation, two Palestinians who tried to speak had the microphone taken from them before they could even finish their question. As soon as they said negative comments about Israel, the "security" force ran to them and shut them up. There were about 20 people who protested this, and we were asked to leave. The host of the event, who is a bookseller and who knows me later apologised to me for it but said that there were strict rules set by Allam and his own bodyguards that they did not want any agitators. The list of topics that would not be addressed were Palestine and Israel and when these words came out, the security staff were ordered to remove the microphones. The fact that calling most of us sitting there agitators because we protested the war is evidence of the kind of person Allam is.
Labels: hasbara, Islam, Israel, Italy, journalism
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Families of Victims of the Lebanon War Testify
At the Bruxelles Tribunal, several people represented the victims of the war. It was very interesting to note how different these people were from one another, judging by the type of presentation they wanted to share with us. Yet, at the moment of questioning by the lawyers and judges, they all came to the same conclusions about their experiences.
The first witness was a gentleman named Mohammed Shokr. The story of his family was an incredible odyssey of seeking refuge in a moment when the family was being reunited after much time spent far from one another. His family lives in Belgium and what should have been a simple family holiday when the grandparents and aunts and uncles could spend time with the children living in Europe became a nightmare of death and total devastation. They were in the village of El Nabi Chit, near Baalbeck in the Northern area, and when the bombing started to be frequent, thought that it would be a good idea to leave and go to their house near the Beirut Airport. Belgium had already asked her citizens to leave Lebanon entirely, but this possibility, as the days passed, was growing ever more remote. When they arrived in Beirut, they were once again victims of shelling, and the decision was made to go to a Christian village where a family member lived. “We thought this would be the safest place after our other homes had been shelled.”
Mr Shokr is a man who demonstrates a very direct kind of character. He knew that he assumed the responsibility for the safety of his extended family, and what was very sad was seeing that he realised that even the most reasonable and wise choices were turning out to be foiled by what Israel had decided to dish out. This man represented not only a pater familias, but by listening to his testimony, I could feel that his situation was a macroscopic example of the impossible search for refuge in a country that was targeted as a whole, with every inch of Lebanon being a potential front.
“We were looking for shelter, but on the road we could see that there were no military targets anywhere, just things that served people were bombed. Things such as petrol stations, bridges, roads. It was like being in a trap.” And, the worst trap of them all turned out to be the home in the Christian village in the south. “All of a sudden, the sky was raining nails and rockets.” The family sought protection in the deepest part of the house, underneath the staircase, yet that too was disastrous. “We didn’t know that American bombs can go everywhere.” As a matter of fact, Mr Shokr brought fragments that he took from within the house. They were large bits of rockets and fragments of shrapnel. “This bomb was an American present signed by Israeli children and sent to our children in Lebanon.”
It is apparent that bombs that penetrate and do not simply explode (as later in the day and the following morning we were able to witness three presentations on the weapons potential) and break apart what they are hitting. These bombs dig deeply and then erupt in their full force, and they are considered to be unconventional weapons. The meaning of this, I will explore in the articles that explain more fully the weapons used in the Israeli war against Lebanon, yet generally, they are weapons that are differentiated from those that are “recognised”. They may differ in the materials used and in the effects that are different from traditional weapons. Often their impact is unpredictable and very often they violate standard rules of war by their force that is not proportional to the type of target they are used against. When Mr Shokr was asked if they were unconventional weapons he answered with clarity and wisdom, “We are civilians. We don’t know the difference between what is conventional and what is not. If a bomb comes inside your home, you know that this is wrong. Morally, we also know that if one is capable of killing one person can kill a group of people or kill everyone.”
He wrote a book on the destruction of Baalbek and El Nabi Chit which told of the tragedies of his hometown. He summed up the situation of his own family in this way, “We had to decide to run, and then to start running. We took the car at night, without any lights because we understood that we would be moving targets. Then we had to keep running, seeking shelter. When there is fear, you run, but you may never find the shelter, no matter where run.”
A second witness was Hassan Al-Akhrass, a citizen of Canada whose flight was to leave for Lebanon allowing him to join his family the day before all flights had been cancelled. This spared him his own life, but tragically, it did nothing to save the others precious to him as they were crushed under the rubble of their own home in Aytaroun, destroyed by Israeli bombs. He lost 12 family members in the war, including his father, his uncle, his cousin and his wife and four small children and their grandmother. Other family members were wounded. He decided to bring photos of his loved ones in happier moments, days before their lives were taken. There were pictures of them by the sea, babies in the arms of their mother, children being cuddled by their grandparents, beautiful smiling faces that no longer exist if not in the memories of this man, and whose story he put on a DVD called “In the Line of Fire”. In the composition here, we see some of the victims. To spare older family members the grief of learning the fate of their loved ones, it was decided to not reveal the news of the deaths to those who might not be able to handle such pain. Frequent questions about the family’s whereabouts could not be kept unanswered forever, and that compounded the sense of helplessness. “My real hope is that there will be justice for them.” Looking at the innocent faces of these people, and considering the tragedy of the loss of their lives, it is the least that we should expect, and all of us owe them this much.
Labels: Bruxelles Tribunal, Israel, Lebanon, war, war crimes
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Shraga, My Karma ran over your Dogma: spoiling your smear campaign with honesty
So, he went to his Buddy Shraga to do the work. "There's Gilad's and Uri Avnery's translator there, a Gush Shalom member... Oh! There's Hajo Meyer, the writer who also was a survivor of Auschwitz. THEY MUST BE REMOVED!"
So, Shraga decided to go to work. For days he circulated misleading emails suggesting I was a Judeophobe affiliated with Nazi sites! (Remember, he actually circulates from them, but for some reason he can't see that his pulpit is quite a few metres too low). Scaring his first two victims sufficiently, they were sure that they had not signed any Neo-Nazi or Anti-Semitic petition! In fact, they had not, they signed the petition that was in support of Gilad Atzmon and Mary Rizzo.
I insisted again that I knew that Hajo had signed it and not only that, he had stated on phone to another person that he had signed it and stood by that. I mentioned this, so Shraga started sending a series of ever more aggressive emails to an ever-growing list of persons, as if the gang bullying could somehow make lies turn into truth.
But I have forgotten totally. I'm 80 - so it is normal that the memory in this age is not the best for things 5 weeks ago ....
But I see that there are persons, blocks, internetsides I don't know. Please delete my name from this petition, from all the blocks or internetsides - I don't want any trouble.
This is my last word in this issue - please no more emails. There will be no more an answer to it. I have to do more important things than this unpleasant disbute.
And... It doesn't end there. There is indeed a conclusion to this second round of Public Lapidation. The other signatory that he has so far targeted....
the text below starting with ‘dear friends’ is fully mine. I wrote it and I send it to Adib S. Kawar of Palestinesomoud. I signed the petition which you find attached. It was sent to me by my friend Guenter Schenk. There is not one word in it which I regret. When you find my name under any other text, that can only be stolen or faked.
Hajo G. Meyer
For me, as a survivor of 10 month of Auschwitz, one thing is clear, there is a fundamental flaw in Zionism. At least in the form in which it expresses itself in political reality. It has not accepted one of the fundamental truths of the Enlightenment: the essential and fundamental equivalence of all human beings.
Therefore, due to this fundamental flaw, political Zionism in its present form will eventually perish. Unfortunately, you the Palestinians will have to mobilise a lot of somoud. So far, you have been able to show that you can do it. Don’t despair, the enlightened world is with you.
Dr Hajo G. Meyer, Heiloo, the Netherlands
Don't hold your breath!
Labels: activism, Atzmon, gatekeeping