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Total number of comments: 44 (since 2011-10-27 19:23:40)

Am passionate about the Palestinians seeing a fare end to their dilema

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  • 'NYT' casts Israelis as victims of Palestinians who complain bitterly about oppression
    • Maybe the NYTs is taking the current play book strategy of the French government' in its efforts to ban performances by the comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, accused by officialdom of anti-semitic incitement and deriding the Holocaust. It has worked like a charm.....

  • Stop the Nonsense: Nobody is proposing a boycott of 'the Jews'
  • Former AIPAC official warns against US 'retreat' from Israel's 'permanent reality'-- conflict
    • The British had no fear of opening challenging the Israeli lobby nor its past usage of white phosphorous ( definitely a chemical weapon) during their own Parliamentary debate.....

  • American teacher denied entry to Palestine calls on Obama to address Israel's Jim Crow policies
    • Given that this brave young woman is a Palestinian American marks her for harassment by the Israeli authorities. A background check would have confirm Nour Joudah’s heritage. Could she have been singled out for her participation in campaigns thought to be too pro-Palestinian during her academic career in the US which a simple Google search would indicate? Or is her case simply a random selection done to intimidate a teacher responsible for young Palestinian minds in what have become intentional acts where the goal is to create a publicized spectacle with the intention of discouraging protest and encouraging quiescence. The more attention these cases receive, the more embarrassing Israeli policy becomes….
      Keep up the good fight Nour Joudah. Your case is far from being unique….

  • Israeli claims of West Bank 'terror cells' fly from Jerusalem to D.C. and back again
    • Elections are over in done with and the governing coalition is falling into place tidily. I would argue that these simultaneous panic buttons are being pushed in coordination with President Obama’s visit scheduled for next week , nor would I be surprised if a few false flag explosions took place here and there along with free fire by the IDF at protesting Palestinians. The Netanyahu will round up the usual “Hezbollah linked perpetrators (sic)”, then turn to Obama with that steely look, and exclaim, “You see what a dangerous neighborhood the Jewish people live in”. Back in Washington, the Lobby friendlies will clap, cheer and ramp up the bomb bomb Iran chorus another notch or two….

  • Israeli strike on Syria followed violations of Lebanon's airspace and movement of missile defense system to north
    • According to Al Jazeera's guest analyst Michael Eisenstadt in Washington, there were two airstrikes; one on a convoy suspeced of transporting weapons and another on the Jamraya scientific research facility outside Damascus ..If true, it would clarify conflicting reports.....
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  • Neocons, wearing jackboots, are suddenly on the defensive over Hagel
    • ......"Iran more than any other single issue is at the core of the opposition to Hagel, and that issue is closely linked to the question of the extent to which the US should be allied with the aggressive policies of the Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toward Iran, as well as other issues, such as the settlements and a Palestinian state. And Iran has been among the policy differences Hagel has had over the years with the strongly pro-Israel organizations that are trying to influence US policy, the most politically powerful one being, of course, AIPAC. While still a senator, Hagel spoke out against using military force against Iran, was more circumspect about imposing sanctions, and refused to sign some of the more robust letters that AIPAC circulated on Capitol Hill, an extra-legislative way of trying to impose policy. The most vocal opponent to Hagel is Bill Kristol, an architect of the neocon policy that led to the Iraq war. Kristol set the tone for the opposition to Hagel by equating his criticism of some Israeli policies to “a record of consistent hostility to Israel,” and his caution about a possible military strike on Iran as “anti-Israel-pro-appeasement-of-Iran.” Hagel has been labeled “anti-Israel” by his opponents, and even “anti-semitic,” a monstrous and preposterous charge."

      The opponents of Hagel weren’t content to fight his nomination in the Senate, where they were expected to lose, so they have tried something different, with long-term significance to the power of the presidency. They have been attempting to dissuade the President from nominating Hagel, which he was on the verge of doing before this fight broke out. These forces counted on Obama’s caution, his oft-displayed lack of stomach for a fight, and set out to convince him that Hagel was “controversial”—that if he were nominated there would be a difficult set of confirmation hearings, so it wasn’t worth it.

      In Washington it’s quite simple to get someone labeled “controversial.” All it takes is an attack by a prominent person, followed up by similar arguments by allies; throw in a couple of senators whom the press loves because they make controversial statements—John McCain has been the reigning champ for years—and, voila! someone is seen to have “a lot of opposition.” In the absence of a statement of support by the president, some elected politicians hide under their desks. Before you knew it the word in Washington was that Hagel was controversial and his nomination faced strong opposition.
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  • 'NYT' equates Palestinian suicide-bombers to CT school-killer
  • Updated: Report: Obama will travel to Israel
  • Israel rejects truce and escalates fighting in Gaza with assassination of Hamas leader; 10 killed, 90 wounded in Israeli attacks
  • Blacklist: 4 Israel critics have now been purged from Democratic Party-linked orgs
    • More under belly dirt...
      "Anti-Islam groups in America have provided financial support to Dutch politician Geert Wilders, an anti-immigration campaigner who is seeking re-election to the Dutch parliament this week"
      .... And who might that be? Noneother than Daniel Pipes and his sidekick David Horowitz
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  • Iran/Palestine (keep your eye on the ball)
  • New report documents 'war crime of pillage' by BDS target Ahava
    • An important 2007 essay by Professor Neve Gordon succeeds in
      clarifying the stealing of natural resources out from under the Palestinians feet…

      link to

      By the colonisation principle I mean a form of government whereby the
      coloniser attempts to manage the lives of the colonised inhabitants while
      exploiting the captured territory’s resources. Colonial powers do not
      conquer for the sake of imposing administrative rule on the indigenous
      population, but they end up managing the conquered inhabitants in order to
      facilitate the extraction of resources….. The colonisation principle thus incorporates some type of separation principle, which one might call the first separation principle. Levi Eshkol,
      Israel’s prime minister in 1967, clearly articulated this separation principle
      during a Labor Party meeting that took place three months after the war and
      in which he discussed the consequences of Israel’s military victory. He turned
      to Golda Meir, who was then the party’s general secretary, and said: ‘I
      understand . . . you covet the dowry, but not the bride’. The dowry was the
      land that Israel occupied in June 1967, and the bride was the Palestinian

      If one reads the eight different Oslo agreements the Israelis and
      Palestinians signed over the years, not as part of a peace process (ie the
      way they were presented to the public), but rather as texts that depict the
      modification or replacement of existing controlling technologies, in an
      attempt to outsource responsibility for the occupied population to a
      Palestinian Authority (PA), the strategy Israel adopted becomes clear.
      Instead of reaching a settlement about the withdrawal of Israeli power, the
      Oslo agreements actually stipulated, in unambiguous language, how Israel’s
      power would be reorganised in three distinct spheres—the civil institutions,
      the economy and law enforcement. In exchange for providing Israel an array
      of services, Israel offered the fledgling PA some sort of truncated sovereignty
      over the occupied people, while it, in turn, continued to control most of the
      occupied land. The overarching logic informing the different agreements is
      straightforward: transfer all responsibilities relating to the management of
      the population to the Palestinians themselves while preserving control of
      Palestinian space.

      The partition of space and the reorganisation of power were intricately
      tied. Oslo divided the West Bank into Areas A, B and C, as well as H1 and
      H2 in Hebron and Yellow and White Areas in Gaza.35 Areas A, B and C
      determined the distribution of power in the West Bank by creating internal
      boundaries. These boundaries produced a series of new ‘insides’ and
      ‘outsides’ within the Occupied Territories, each one with its own specific
      laws and regulations. While in all three areas the PA assumed full
      responsibility over the civil institutions, in Area A, which in 1995 amounted

      The partition of space and the reorganisation of power were intricately
      tied. Oslo divided the West Bank into Areas A, B and C, as well as H1 and
      H2 in Hebron and Yellow and White Areas in Gaza.35 Areas A, B and C
      determined the distribution of power in the West Bank by creating internal
      boundaries. These boundaries produced a series of new ‘insides’ and
      ‘outsides’ within the Occupied Territories, each one with its own specific
      laws and regulations. While in all three areas the PA assumed full
      responsibility over the civil institutions, in Area A, which in 1995 amounted to 3% of the West Bank’s land and 26% of its population, the PA was given
      full responsibility for maintaining law and order. In Area B, which amounted
      to 24% of the land and 70% of the population, the PA was handed
      responsibility for public order, but Israel maintained overriding responsibility
      for security and in Area C, which comprised 73% of the land and 4%
      of the population, Israel retained full responsibility for security and public
      order as well as for civil issues relating to territory (planning and zoning,
      archaeology, etc). Thus in 1995 the PA was responsible for managing all of
      the Palestinian inhabitants, but had full control of only 3% of the West
      Bank’s land (ie the cities Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Ramallah,
      Bethlehem and Jericho). By 2000, following a series of agreements, the
      18%, Area B 22% and Area C 64%.36 Area A was divided into 11 separate
      clusters, Area B was made up of 120 clusters, while the 64% that constituted
      Area C was contiguous. The areas in which the Palestinians had full control
      were like an archipelago of sorts, while the areas controlled by Israel were strategic corridors that interrupted the territorial contiguity of the West Bank. Thus the division of space within the Occupied Territories not only determined the distribution of certain powers, but also allowed Israel to maintain the distinction between the Palestinian population and their land.

      Wittingly or unwittingly the specific organisation of space and the transfer
      of authority over civil institutions to the PA reflects the beginning of a
      transformation from the principle of colonisation to the principle of
      separation, where the latter does not mean the termination of control but
      rather its alteration from a system based on managing the lives of the
      occupied inhabitants to a system which is no longer interested in the lives of
      the Palestinian residents. Consequently Israel no longer provides any kind of
      ‘account’ of the conditions under which the Palestinians are living. One
      important manifestation of this change is that the Israeli Bureau of Statistics
      has stopped monitoring any development pertaining to the Palestinian
      population in the Occupied Territories. Another manifestation involves
      Israel’s relation to the law. If up until September 2000 Israel controlled the
      occupied inhabitants primarily through the application of multiple legal
      frameworks—including, to be sure, the enforcement of draconian laws that
      both legalised the incarceration of thousands of political prisoners and
      permitted deportations, house demolitions, torture, extended curfews and
      other forms of collective punishment—one of the most striking characteristics
      of the second intifada, alongside the separation principle, is the
      extensive suspension of the law.

  • Must Read -- Medea Benjamin's Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control
    • (First source is from an article by Ashley Goetz March 04, 2008 for written the Saint Paul Minnesota Daily)

    • Israel has been involved in drone technology from the beginnings of IAF research and development to the whiz and blur of their deployment as a "preemptive" measure to kill "terrorists" before the said terrorists take action. From 2008:

      Israel is at the forefront of the drone technology that is increasingly being used in hotspots around the world. The unmanned craft provide a deadly and cost-effective alternative for armies to target enemies, without risking their own pilots' lives and reducing civilian casualties in heavily populated areas.
      They are guided by remote control from the ground. Because of their small size and relatively low speed, their low-yield missiles can be aimed precisely. The use of drones is shrouded in secrecy, and Israeli defense officials refuse to comment publicly on whether they are being used in airstrikes in Gaza. However, Israeli officers in private conversations have confirmed use of the weapons.
      link to

      Droes have been easily sold to Congress and the Pentagon, because they do not put troops in harm’s way:

      UAVs are ideal systems to support the emerging joint character and the asymmetric nature of warfare.”17 Unmanned systems can operate in environments contaminated by chemical, biological, or radioactive agents. They can also operate in other environments denied to manned systems, such as altitudes both lower and higher than those typically traversed by manned aircraft. The long endurance of some RPAs and UAVs provides sustained support for more efficient time-critical targeting and other missions requiring greater persistence than that provided by manned aircraft or passing space systems.18 Small UAVs provide a unique capability to get close to a target and provide the “bird’s eye view.” Their small size, quiet propulsion systems, and ability to feed information directly to Battlefield Airmen enhance the combat effectiveness of our forces. ...

      However, the legal issue of drone use remains a thorny one in international law, but here too Israel led the way with a High Court ruling in 2006 condoning “targeted killing” as a legal means of self defense
      link to
      From targeted assassinations by helicopter gunship pilots to missiles fired from an unmanned drone was unfortunately an easy hop skip and jump…
      For a brief history of done use:
      link to

  • Trapped
    • After 10 annual trips to Israel/Palestine, my own feelings dovetail with those of Philip Weiss and yet I keep hoping for a miraculous change to the status quo. Despite the spring protests in Tel Aviv focused on Jewish economic inequality, the government has fulfilled its promise of providing security to average Israelis. The Palestinians are sequestrated behind what it really is, a “Separation barrier” (Mikhshol HaHafrada) and not a security barrier, controlled by a internal police force trained by the Americans and inhibited from moving freely by ID controls at hundreds of check points. Jeff Halper uses the term “warehousing” and borrowing from Niaomi Kline’s concept of “corralling surplus humanity” he elaborates further:
      Warehousing is permanent. Apartheid recognizes that there is another side. With warehousing it’s like prison. There is no other side. There is us, and then there are these people that we control, they have no rights, they have no identity, they’re inmates. It’s not political, it’s permanent, static. Apartheid you can resist. The whole brilliance of warehousing is that you can’t resist because you’re a prisoner……Prisoners can rise up in the prison yards but prison guards have all the rights in the world to put them down. That’s what Israel has come to. They are terrorists and we have the right to put them down. In a sense Israel has succeeded with the international community, and the US especially, in taking out of this situation the political. It’s now solely an issue of security, just like in prisons. It’s another concept that does not have any legal reference today but we’d like to put that in because warehousing is not only in Israel. Warehousing exists all over the capitalist world. Two-thirds of the people have been warehoused….. I’m saying that Palestine is a microcosm of what’s happening around the world. (link to
      Like the Egyptians, Tunisians Bahrainis, Palestinians desire basic human freedoms and a fair say in shaping their own destiny. As Israel’s has complete control of media and messaging, even the passive resistance efforts are met with IDF retaliation and the BDS campaign portrayed in a negative light.
      Halper’s conclusion to his May2, 2012 interview with British Ceasefire Magazine gives encouragement to the disheartened, including myself:
      There is [cause for optimism]; simply because the present situation is completely unsustainable. It is no longer a localised issue. It impacts the global system and is so disruptive that we know it isn’t going to last forever. “Collapse with agency” (the PA) is something we should put into the equation, and that will happen sometime in the near future. We must organize and create stronger relationships with the young Palestinian leadership. Our role is to hasten the end of occupation, but the problem is not ‘67, it’s ‘48….So we mustn’t just talk about occupation, we must end the oppression, the Apartheid system. We need to hasten its end, truly make it unsustainable through our organizing with churches, trade unions, the UN. The BDS campaign is very good because it keeps people involved at a local level. We have to continue to keep the issue alive and eventually Israel will lose the moral war……

  • NY Times 'confirms' Hezbollah/Iran connection to Bulgaria attack by quoting unnamed American 'officials'
    • The next thing you know, “unnamed official” will be dredging up the story of Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who attempted to assassinate Pope Jean Paul II as “proof” of the Bulgarian hotbed/haven for “international terrorism”…..

  • 7 dead in terrorist attack in Bulgaria
    • Gareth Porter wrote a piece for the nation and found Hezbollah's link to the Buenos Aires bombing more than "inconclusive".....
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    • I find the timing of the bombing more than coincidental. Could this attack on young Israeli tourists in a fairly obscure place in Bulgaria be the " 1914 Sarajevo moment" the warmongers have been waiting for? And if Israel does carry out a retaliatory move, what will the Iranians do? My heart goes out to the families of the victims, ordinary people on holiday.....

  • Israeli gov't study declares West Bank not occupied, Earth flat
    • ...."The impasse of the Israeli settlement enterprise revolves around territorial claims
      derived from interpretations of its legal underpinning, political interests and social
      constructions anchored in mythical and symbolic claims often contravening accepted
      legal standards. The resulting blurriness of the legality and the pretexts for settlement
      construction are, according to Newman, best understood through the lens of territorial
      claims and the settlements are, effectively, multifold manifestations of claims to
      territory deployed as strategies of legitimisation with varying intensity and success.
      These multifold manifestations consist of territory seen as: 1) an economic resource
      (access to more/better agriculture, water, the construction of new ‘neighbourhoods’
      pertaining to a mercantilist strategy); 2) a strategic asset (purportedly optimising
      security requirements and military strategic options and to employ ‘realities on the
      ground’ as point of departure in bilateral negotiations); 3) a demographic container
      (a container of people through which the state attempts to transform sovereignty
      de jure into de facto control encompassed in the dual dimensions of the conflict, the
      territorial control and demographic superiority) and, entering the scene of territorial
      symbolism; 4) territory as historic and religious homeland (attachment to territory
      based on identification of symbols and signs in the landscape, in the case of the West
      Bank and East Jerusalem epitomised in the use of the biblical term ‘Judea and Samaria’
      or as expressed in the Israeli Declaration of Independence: ‘Eretz Israel’26 (literally
      meaning ‘Greater Israel’ referring to the entire West Bank and, in some versions,
      even including part of other states of the region such as Jordan and Egypt). Lastly;
      5) territory as an exclusive entity (the exclusive claim to land through which others
      peoples’/nations’ claims to the territory are delegitimised and alienated).27 More
      concretely in relation to the settlement enterprise, Israel’s main argumentative pillar
      has evolved around a mixture of Jewish history, security and autonomy ……
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    • Interesting interview of Israeli lawyer Talia Sasson who elaborates on legal questions surrounding the settlement policy:
      link to

  • Sam Harris, uncovered
    • Sam Harris got a lot of media attention as an advocate of “rational thought” during the last year of Christopher Hitchens’s battle with cancer. Both were purveyors of the idea that science and scientific minds were an anecdote to the emotionalism of the Teabaggers and Religious Right’s mindless acceptance of Creationism. An atheist friend of mind thought Harris the next best thing to buttered bread and sent one of his hour long screeds for me to watch, one of the ones filled with slides of lots of angry Muslims without any contextual information and for all I know, maybe they had a right to be angry. Nonetheless, it is shocking that Harris has such a wide following mainly due to debates with credible intellectuals and religious leaders, many of whom he makes look ridiculous and thereby discredits them in a show of arrogant browbeating and disparagement….

  • Latest demographic threat: 43 million Arabs on Facebook
    • Indeed, it’s the availability of articles, essays, journalism, reporting think-tank documents and ever increasing Youtube clips and television network footage. An important point one author mentions is annotated in a footnote which leads to an elaboration from another author quoting a different source verifying the same material. Furthermore, since the neoconservative public relations Iraq War disaster, perhaps the public at large are more likely to be mistrustful of what passes for the truth when it comes from the mouths of media icons such as Richard Ross, Shimon Peres, David Aaron Miller or Niall Ferguson. The hasbara talking points, formally issued to American Zionist bloggers several years ago, have bypassed their shelf life end date, but continued to be bandied forth ad nauseam. The no nonsense Facebook generation is more than Arab demographics its everybody…..

  • Who knew! Hummus and falafel are 'Israeli foods'
    • Nice riff on chickpeas Taxi....!!!!

    • The chickpea (Cicer arietinum) (also ceci bean, garbanzo bean, chana, sanagalu Indian pea, Bengal gram). Its seeds are high in protein and it is one of the earliest cultivated vegetables; 7,500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East. Domesticated chickpeas have been found in the aceramic levels of Jericho along with Cayönü in Turkey and in Neolithic pottery at Hacilar, Turkey. Early Neolithic peoples cultivated and ate variations of chickpea dishes, but it was the Roman Imperium which spread the sowing and harvesting of this variety of pulse throughout the Mediterranean basin territories it ruled over as a source of food (soups, bread, flour)high in protein (meat spoiled easily) for billeted troops beyond supply lines and because the plant’s water demands was minimal. It is the most heat and drought-resistant crop and is suitable for production in low moisture and fertility soils. India, Pakistan and Turkey are the top leaders in chickpea production.( link to
      In Israel, chickpea is the main pulse crop and is grown on about 7 500 ha across the country, from the Negev in the south to the Galilee in the north, with average yields of 2-4 T ha. Chickpea in Israel is mainly cooked and mashed into a paste (hummus) or deep-fried into falafel balls, both favorite dishes in the Israeli kitchen.( Influence of Sowing Date on Yields of Fresh-harvested Chickpea
      The” chickpea war” is ongoing, with local restaurant owners in various middle eastern cities claiming to offer the best humus and falafel, and disparaging similar Israeli claims….. (link to

  • How do we make Zionism 101 an everyday reality? Yeah, how?
    • "3.Develop a “great books” list that makes up the core of Zionist thinking. Disenchanted with university courses on Zionism and Israel? Craft your own and use the democratizing power of the Internet to disseminate them. (Hell, start a virtual reading club.)"
      I wonder what the top ten books would be....?????

  • 'New York Review of Books' calls it 'apartheid' and prepares Americans for the end of the Jewish state
    • David Shulman writes, ""The new cabinet will continue to entrench the occupation and to legalize the massive theft of Palestinian lands while loudly complaining that the Palestinians are responsible for the collapse of negotiations." And of course in view of Israeli front page news manipulations, subversions and reverse psychology this is likely to come to pass over time. However, under the cover of an attack on Iran (as all options still remain on the table) the fate of thousands of Palestinians could get a lot worse should the Jewish state begin to accuse them collectively of being potential fifth column. Notwithstanding unsubstantiated evidence and/or false flag attacks, the Jewish state will finally have the ideal excuse to initiate the long dreamed of “Transfer process” in a final step to rid Eretz Israel of its unwanted inhabitants…..Has anybody else had this nightmare…????

  • Rep. Pitts in damage control mode following call for Arafat-Sharon negotiations
    • Or it could be that Representative Pitts is marching, albeit with great confusion, in tune with the information AIPAC’s junior lobbyists are telling him…..

  • Tail has stopped wagging, so dog can stop talking about war with Iran
    • Perhaps Yuval Diskin's recent statement that Benjamin Netanyahu had a latent "messianic complex" frightened the more rational minds in Washington. The article appeared in Ha’aretz (link to "I don't believe in either the prime minister or the defense minister. I don't believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings") and made the front page of the Huffington Post ( Yuval Diskin said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak – who have been saber-rattling for months – have their judgment clouded by "messianic feelings" and should not be trusted to lead policy on Iran.....) link to
      Messianism is the belief in a messiah, a savior or redeemer. For decades, the Jewish intelligentsia has fought a long hard public relations campaign to vilify Muslims and largely succeeded. The state of the world is seen as hopelessly flawed and unmanageable (primarily due to radical Islam, Communism’s convenient replacement) far beyond normal human powers of correction, and intervention through a specially chosen and divinely supported human is deemed necessary. Jews received benevolent treatment in ancient Persia (as the Vetran’s Today article points out), until the 16th Century Savavids and late 19th century Qajars. Both later day kingdoms initiated pogroms on par with those of the Russian Tsars.
      Plucky little Israel as a country, claims to have defeated its Arab neighbors in 1948 and again in 1967 by way of tactical military and intelligence superiority, still has a strange inferiority complex even though it’s nuclear stockpile and vast compendium of weapons and surveillance technology are cutting edge.
      This being said, imagine the consequences of an Israeli total eradication of the remnants of the ancient Persian Empire. Does Netanyahu’s messianic obsession ( with the support of the Lubavitcher Rebbe,now deceased link to with Iranian nuclear capabilities have roots in the annals of history?

  • How to win friends and influence people -- to bomb Iran
    • ...Yes the Oded Yinon stategy for Israel
      link to
      mentioned in the French overview of the current situation in Syria
      link to

    • Actuall, there may be more to this than meets the eye. Ever since Azerbaidjan gained its statehood status after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, strong cultural, economic and regional links have tied it to Iran. Religious affinities have encouraged the process. The Muslim population is approximately 85% Shi'a and 15% Sunni; differences traditionally have not been defined sharply. Most Shias are adherents of orthodox Ithna Ashari school of Shi'a Islam (twelver). But very recently, relations between Iran and its neighbor have soured significantly over allegations that the Azeri government provided assistance to Israel in the attacks and deaths of several of their nuclear scientists. One must question the timely convenience of such a rift between two regional entities, once so friendly, in light of the ongoing hysterical call to bomb Iran’s nuclear plants….
      "Someone counts on using the Iranian Azerbaijanis against the Islamic republic. However, these attempts have had and will have little success. The Azeri factor in Iran became a state issue. The Iranian Azeris simply have no reasons for any serious discontent. The spiritual leader of the Islamic Republic is their representative. Moreover, half of the Iran's elite is Azerbaijanis who strongly support the leadership of their country....."

      link to

  • Latest expulsion from the occupied territories: 55 Harvard students
    • As we retreated, an officer pushed several students toward the bus. They seized identification from Palestinians traveling with us, and placed Shireen and the bus driver under arrest. We were told we would be taken to a nearby checkpoint to be searched. Two officers boarded the bus as the police vehicles escorted us to the checkpoint. When asked why we were being detained, one responded, “I don’t know,” and later refused to answer. At the checkpoint, Shireen was driven from the premises and later released. No Harvard students were searched or arrested.
      Harvard Crimson op-ed piece
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  • MSM jailbreak: Chris Hayes devotes 2 hours to conflict with panel of 2 Zionists and 2 Palestinians
    • Perhaps Chris Hayes had the blinders lifted on a trip to Israel and the West Bank with a group of American journalists on a trip sponsored by the New America Foundation during the summer of 2010. He wrote a heartfelt article for The Nation, filled with his personal impressions. There is something about an eye witness encounter that really changes how one responds to the accusations and rhetoric of pro-Zionist commentary after a confrontation with facts on the ground.
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  • The end of the 'two-state solution' is the beginning of a more just future
    • As Jeff Halper notes, time is of critical importance in devising a solution to the Israel/Palestine problem. Indeed at the current rate of settler expansion there will be very little territory left to negotiate a two state solution and life under one unitary government is filled with thorns. This leaves a sort of federated entity, the shape of which remains to be seen. The Israeli demands would be such to crush it before finishing the mission statement.
      Lately I have found myself getting exceedingly cross as the awareness of Israeli injustice has never been as high and growing. Many hopeful people bought in to Oslo, convinced that President Clinton’s Whitehouse lawn extravaganza would solve the conflict, eventually iron out all the snags and because of blind optimism, many advocates for an equitable solution sat on the sidelines. Of course life for the Palestinians only got worse as the bombs went off and the Wall went up. The American tragedy of September 11 was pie in the sky for counter terrorism in all its shapes and forms coopting as it did a Cold War attitude towards Muslims.
      It is imperative that the American public wakes up. Thanks to campus action, paneled discussions, outspoken activists, trips to Israel, questioning church congregations, and an instant electronic news feed, more Americans are coming around which gives me some hope. Jamil Toubbeh has posted an interesting, albeit somewhat disheartening article on the Palestine Chronicle website “Obsession with Israel: Variegated Trojan Horse” calibrating many of the abysmal potholes in the rough road ahead.
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  • Would you buy a used metaphor from this warmonger? (Niall Ferguson's 'creative destruction' echoes Rice's 'birth-pangs')
    • Niall Ferguson is a nervy sort of Brit who still regrets the end of the British Empire’s civilizing mission. He has taken it upon himself in the circles of punditry, to endorse the United States’ necessity to fill the gap and be the new “enlightened” beacon of civilization”. This stance did not exactly endear him to Pankaj Mishra whose demeaning review of Ferguson’s “Civilization: The West and the Rest” in the London Review of Books (November 3, 2011) struck a blow to the man’s ego. A rancorous flow of commentary ensued in the Review’s pages that spilled over onto the pages of The Guardian and beyond, culminating in the threat of a law suit on Ferguson’s part.
      It seems to have been a bluff as there has been no further word of pending legal action that I am aware of…
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  • Israel is trying to hook us into a war with Iran-- Matthews and Baer speculate
    • Most likely, Chris Mathews is playing coy because he doesn't want to get slammed as anti-Semetic if and when the higher-ups make that call in response to complaints by "offended viewers". Nothing could be worse for one of CNN's star hosts than to be put on "probation" during an election year.... Stop squabbling....The Iran escalation is serious......

  • Tariq Ali and Oliver Stone to discuss 'On History' in NYC
  • A Jewish voice left silent: Trying to articulate 'The Levantine Option'
    • As with food, scholarship and literature, the same kind of overriding Ashkenazi dominance is prevalent in music where Klezmer has obfuscated the rich contribution of Sephardic Jews in both instrumental and lyric traditions. For this, one must salute the initiative among others, of Spanish early music icon Jordi Savall and his wife Montserrat Figueras. Following in the footsteps of Spanish soprano Victoria de los Angeles, who was the first mainstream classical artist to record Sephardic repertory, specifically, two songs in her 1962 release, “Spanish Song of the Renaissance”, Savall’s ensemble Hespérion XX et XXI (since 2001) has provided enthusiasts with a selection of early music by Ladino composers and lyricists, often anonymous, and made them come alive to modern listeners….

  • Expendables of a waning empire
    • As the military tactician he was, Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) recognized the importance of strategic overview. If you really want to dominate anything, it pays to hold the
      high ground… and hang on to it. ). From a military perspective, domination boiled down to one simple thing: keeping the heights. In Chapter 17 he states, “. First, every height may be regarded as an obstacle to approach; secondly, although the range is not perceptibly greater in shooting down from a height, yet, all geometrical relations being taken into consideration, we have a better chance of hitting than in the opposite case; thirdly, an elevation gives a better command of view. How all these advantages unite themselves together in battle we are not concerned with here; we collect the sum total of the advantages which tactics derives from elevation of position and combine them in one whole which we regard as the first strategic advantage.”

      The Israelis recognized the importance of “the heights” as a means of defense early on and used to their advantage. When it came to settlement building Ariel Sharon superseded the Allon Plan with one of his own whereby new construction would be built on the tops of ridges in a double parallel. Aerial surveillance soon became an adjunct to watching over a restive Palestinian population. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Syrian missile batteries in Lebanon caused heavy damage to Israeli fighter jets. As a result, Israel developed the first modern UAV. for real-time surveillance, electronic warfare and decoys. The images and radar decoying provided by these UAVs helped Israel to completely neutralize the Syrian air defenses at the start of the 1982 Lebanon War, resulting in no pilots downed
      The earliest “extra-judicial killing” from the air were carried out by Israeli helicopter gunships firing missiles. But then on July 22, 2002, in what was referred to by Sharon as "one of our greatest successes," Israel ascended another rung in the ladder of escalation aerial warfare , using a one-ton bomb dropped from an F-16 fighter jet to kill Salah Shihada, the leader and founder of Hamas' military wing, killing fifteen civilians, including nine children . The IDF was exempt from combat operations on the ground.
      The United States has a long history in the development of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) dating back to WWII. Precursors of today’s models were widely used in the by the US military in Kosovo and Bosnia Herzegovina for surveillance purposes. The first extra judicial killing in a foreign country came in 2002, a suspected al-Qaeda operative Qaed Salim Sinanal-Harethi, who was allegedly involved in killing 17 US sailors on the USS Cole, was killed in a drone attack while traveling in a car with six other people in Yemen.

      Although astronomically expensive to produce at first, drone technology has come way down in cost. It is touted as a lifesaving innovation as the collateral damage on the ground is “contained” and Western troops spared unnecessary death and casualties. The plans for bigger more sophisticated RPAs and UAVs is ongoing at a rapid pace. Although the Gorgon Stare is reported to have serious glitches, U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (Darpa) Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance – Imaging System (ARGUS-IS) is in the pipeline. Rest assured that futures drone technology will be on the market before myriad of legal quandaries are codified into an acceptable human rights doctrine. In view of the unlawful and growing number of civilian deaths and the undeniable blowback they cause, we have no choice but to demand a freeze on drone technology.

  • Two revealing headlines
  • Now he tells us (Jeffrey Goldberg says 'many' American Jews regard occupation as 'moral disaster')
    • On a deeper level, Israel’s campaign of acceptable “Jewishness” interfered with the very core values of the modern American family: the freedom to choose one’s life partner beyond the confines of religion, a choice based on affinities, the ability to compromise, shared life goals and mutual respect. Of course Judaism might and does play an important role in personal selection of one’s spouse, but not exclusively. That the State should decide, that the religious apparatus on which the State has built its identity should interfere with the institution of marriage went beyond the pale for many American Jews as does the Haredim treatment of women
      Furthermore, the prohibition to marry “ undesirable persons” or outsiders, or condemn parents for instilling in their children a liberal worldview which values the universality of all customs and friendships goes against the grain of American egalitarianism and equality, already in short supply in the United States….

  • Welcome Annie Robbins as Writer at Large
  • A point for the Israel lobby theory, from Panetta
    • Pamela, I have wondered about this too. What is it that Israel holds over Washington's head that makes an American dissenting view impossible? Isn't it true that the Israeli tech industry is the security gate-keeper at many US airports and has provided spyware/software to the Pentagon and intelligence gathering branches of the government...???

  • The case for invading Iran
    • Don't forget Norman Podhoretz's cold war rant "The Case for Bombing Iran
      I hope and pray that President Bush will do it. " in the May 30, 2007 issue of Commentary Magazine

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