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Total number of comments: 238 (since 2011-10-27 19:23:40)

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

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  • On eve of University of California honor, Bill Maher defends anti-Muslim hate speech in Vanity Fair interview
    • What is Zionism? Zionism is the idea that the Jews have a homeland in historic Palestine, in the ancient land of Canaan. That's spiritual Zionism. Practical political Zionism means that the Jews have more right to be on this land, and then they must be a Jewish majority on this land. How do you do that in a place that was never empty, in a place that, first of all, was already home to competing national movements, that was already engaged in very rich and ancient culture, both from the Ottoman Empire and the Arab invasions, and was--this place is the crossroads of human migration. How do you come to this place, which is in the middle, between Asia, Europe, and Africa, and you say, no more, here's our walls, and we're building a wall with Syria and Lebanon and Jordan and Egypt, and no one but Jews can get in? As I'm sure you know, there's no immigration to Israel unless you're a Jew. You can't immigrate, you can't come in. It's a state for Jews and only Jews, and we will eventually get rid of anyone who is not a Jew. That is political Zionism today. ............................

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  • You don't have to suffer alone . . . the CIA is here for you
    • Yes Lysias, very early on some people (myself included) expected as much. Israel, America's prime ally in the Middle East has been torturing its anti-colonial recalcitrant population for years, and in broad daylight without any more condemnation other than "this policy is not helpful.....for ongoing peace negotiations." To the list of copied procedures adopted by the US, we could add verbal "euphemism" or the Kafkaesque distortion of language; the condemnation, maltreatment and imprisonment without trial of human beings excluded from the body politic, the dissolution of families under duress, and intimidation of Human Rights organizations as well as journalist and whistleblowers....

      All these tactics are efforts to silence through fear, even the best of people, to go quietly into the dark night.....

  • Liberal Zionists seek to strip Naftali Bennett of freedom to travel in hope of saving two-state solution
    • "A nascent group of well-known academics is calling on the U.S. government and European Union to impose personal sanctions on four prominent Israelis “who lead efforts to insure permanent Israeli occupation of the West Bank and to annex all or parts of it unilaterally in violation of international law.......Scholars for Israel and Palestine (SIP) a group that describes itself as “pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, pro-peace” is asking the U.S. and EU governments to impose visa restrictions and to freeze the foreign assets of Economy Minister and Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett, Housing Minister Uri Ariel, Likud MK Moshe Feiglin and Ze’ev “Zambish” Hever, a former Jewish Underground member who heads the Amana organization, which oversees the settlement enterprise, including illegal outposts."

      Apart from being an almost "random" act of designating naughty poster boys, if the move get AIPAC/Congressional attention, it may also galvanize the Knesset's fervent right wing and ardent settlers into heedless acts of reprisal.

      I can't believe that these Scholars for Israel and Palestine (SIP) people still hold out hopes for a negotiated settlement while condemning BDS, to date the main act of leverage that has both American and Israeli Jews rattled to the core.....

      "“This would provide a way of mobilizing votes against blanket boycotts but equally against the attempts to make the occupation irreversible,” Shafir said. “It would allow us to find a place in the middle and remain distinguished from but remain part of the ongoing dialogue in a productive way that is protective of Israel’s ties with the U.S., the world and liberal intellectuals.”

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  • We're all anti-American now
  • Israel has no answer to BDS, Barghouti tells packed hall at Columbia
  • AIPAC seeks to blow up negotiations between Iran and US
    • Cyberspace has a few Robin Hoods.....
      Report: Iranian hackers launched massive cyber attack on Adelson's casino.
      According to Bloomberg, the attack caused an estimated $40 million in damages to the Las Vegas Sands Corp.

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  • A defensive Netanyahu announces elections hours after firing opposition members Lapid and Livni
  • It's always been a holy war
    • Former President Shimon Peres has said that the law would “destroy Israel’s democratic status at home and abroad.” Netanyahu has insisted that he merely wants to require all Israel schools “to teach the history, culture, and customs of the Jewish people.” In fact, he clearly sees a conflict between democratic standards and Jewish national privileges, which, in his view, needs to be resolved in favor of the latter. The judiciary—governed by democratic standards, and unconstrained by a legally binding national purpose—is his real target. His unstated argument is that the courts advance an abstract concept of citizenship, which, unchecked, will erode the concept of Jewish national self-determination. “The judiciary, which recognizes Israel’s democratic side, will also have to recognize that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people,” he said, in a statement about the bill, at a recent cabinet meeting.

      If this law were, as Netanyahu mostly seems to want the public to believe, only about collective rights, it would be superfluous, irritating to the Arab minority, perhaps, but not inconsistent with democratic norms—and not even preëmptive of confederal relations with a future Palestine. Democracies everywhere protect their distinct national cultures and languages. The point is, however, that this new law is not really about conserving collective cultural rights, but rather about confirming individual legal privileges. Israel’s democratic freedoms are real, to be sure, but they coëxist with legalized inequalities between Jews and Arabs........this bill is about writing into the law old Zionist provisions that have morphed into racist and theocratic practices. It will make judicial correctives nearly impossible.

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  • Israel has always been crazy
    • From recent events it would appear that "inter-cultural horizons" are narrowing drastically in Israel, folding back upon themselves into a restricted Talmudic/Zionist moralism. The religious nationalists have seized the day (almost) and we can see the idea of a true democratic country fading before the eyes of the world in real time. I should think those people who think of themselves as open-minded pluralists/multiculturalists might contemplate fleeing like rats would a sinking ship, if given the opportunity.

      How bad does the situation have to get before even those brave dissenting voices loose courage and walk away.....???????

  • Like an unrequited lover, 'NYT' confesses itself heartbroken over Israel's (latest) betrayal of democracy
  • Debunking Netanyahu's propaganda on Jerusalem
  • Palestinian students fear for their lives during attack on train car in Jerusalem
    • Karen Armstrong:

      ...... nationalism is hardly rational. But you know, we need mythology in our lives, because that’s what we are. I agree, we should be as rational as we possibly can, especially when we’re dealing with the fates of our own populations and the fates of other peoples. But we don’t, ever. There are always the stories, the myths we tell ourselves, that enable us to inject some kind of ultimate significance, however hard we try to be rational.

      We’re haunted by terrible fears and paranoias. We’re frightened beings. When people are afraid, fear takes over and brings out all kind of irrationality. So, yes, we’re constantly striving to be rational, but we’re not wholly rational beings. Purging isn’t an answer, I think. When you say “purging,” I have visions of some of the catastrophes of the 20th century in which we tried to purge people, and I don’t like that kind of language.

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  • First they came for the Palestinians . . .
    • Annie Robbins.....wonderful and pertinent cartoon!! Thank you for reminding us the importance of brave dissenting voices who protest in the face of unlawful discrimination and harassment wrought by single minded governments......

  • Defend Palestine supporters from NY college president's anti-Semitism slander
    • .....My my...You don't say......!!!!

      Under his leadership, John Jay has been transformed into a senior college offering a rigorous undergraduate liberal arts program with new majors in Economics, Philosophy, Global History, Law and Society, Political Science, English and Gender Studies. The College expanded its Graduate Programs and is poised to launch John Jay Online. Since his appointment in 2004, President Travis has increased baccalaureate freshman enrollment by 58% and expanded full time faculty from 338 to 421. Over that time, John Jay College’s external funding for faculty research has tripled. President Travis also launched the College’s first capital campaign for $50 million, which will meet its goal ahead of schedule. Since 2005 Travis has served as a member of The Committee on Law and Justice of the National Research Council and was named Chair of that Committee in 2012. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Urban Institute......

      And for someone who penned several books about the reinsertion of "juvenile delinquents " back into society one would think he would have more compassion. But affiliation with the NYPD and its targeting of Muslims, might have killed that......

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  • Israeli police ransack homes of 40 Palestinians during al-Shaludi home demolition
  • Netanyahu's 'battle for Jerusalem' can't end well for any of us
    • Precisely from such a society is one permitted to demand some attention to the Palestinian blood that is also spilled in vain; some understanding of the other side’s pain, or even a measure of empathy, which in Israel is considered treason.

      But this doesn’t happen. Aside from exceptional murders and hate crimes by individuals, there is total apathy — and the obtuseness is frightening. Killings (we dare not say murders) by soldiers and policemen will never shock Israel. The propaganda machine will whitewash everything, and the media will be its mouthpiece. No one will demand condemnations. No one will express shock. Few will even consider that the pain is the same pain, that murder is murder.

      How many Israelis are willing to give a thought to the parents of Yousef Shawamreh, the boy who went out to pick wild greens and was killed by an army sniper? Why is it exaggerating to be upset by, or at least give some attention to, the killing of Khalil Anati, a 10-year-old boy from the Al-Fawar refugee camp?

      Why can’t we identify with the pain of bereaved father Abd al-Wahab Hammad, whose son was killed in Silwad, or with the Al-Qatari family from the Al-Amari refugee camp, two members of which were killed by soldiers within a month? Why do we reserve our horror for the synagogue and not consider these killings disturbing?

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    • ...."You are overstating it because you insist on always putting the worst spin on everything. There have been at least four terrorist attacks in Jerusalem in last couple of weeks......"

      Yes these attacks are indeed heinous, but how many attacks against Palestinians have been reported with Israeli "hasbara spin" or not reported at all...???? Then of course, there is the unacknowledged "back story" behind such acts of desperation......

    • So sorry for the unintentional double post....these things happen.

      Your right about Begin Seafoid. From his lofty perch in government, he started the ball rolling and now we have an avalanche.....

    • Today we have an unprecedented convergence of Mitel Europa political Zionism with radical religion-driven settler Zionism, a melding of epic proportions……

      At the beginning of July 1967, David Ben-Gurion spoke at Beit Berl, the “think tank” of the Israeli Labor party. He had about him the air of a prophet who had walked out of his tent to die, but had paused on this last journey to tell truths which the less farsighted could not see and which only a man possessed by the spirit would dare tell. He warned his listeners against the euphoria that had swept the Jewish world in the aftermath of the Six Day War. Ben-Gurion insisted that all of the territories that had been captured had to be given back, very quickly, for holding on to them would distort, and might ultimately destroy, the Jewish state. He made only one exception of consequence: the Israelis should not relinquish control of the whole of Jerusalem. Ben-Gurion’s most striking assertion that night was that he did not expect immediate peace with the Arabs; for its own inner health, he said, Israel needed only to give back the territories very soon in return for a workable set of armistice arrangements.

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    • Today we have an unprecedented convergence of Mitel Europa political Zionism with radical religion-driven settler Zionism, a melding of epic proportions……
      At the beginning of July 1967, David Ben-Gurion spoke at Beit Berl, the “think tank” of the Israeli Labor party. He had about him the air of a prophet who had walked out of his tent to die, but had paused on this last journey to tell truths which the less farsighted could not see and which only a man possessed by the spirit would dare tell. He warned his listeners against the euphoria that had swept the Jewish world in the aftermath of the Six Day War. Ben-Gurion insisted that all of the territories that had been captured had to be given back, very quickly, for holding on to them would distort, and might ultimately destroy, the Jewish state. He made only one exception of consequence: the Israelis should not relinquish control of the whole of Jerusalem. Ben-Gurion’s most striking assertion that night was that he did not expect immediate peace with the Arabs; for its own inner health, he said, Israel needed only to give back the territories very soon in return for a workable set of armistice arrangements.

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  • Israel sows despair and senseless violence
    • In a press conference immediately after the synagogue attack, Netanyahu made a U-turn on early elections, instead inviting opposition parties — those representing Palestinian citizens of Israel exempted — to join a national unity government. While Labor and the more dovish Meretz rejected the invitation out of hand, the parochial but pragmatic ultra-Orthodox parties are considering it. Even if expanding his coalition doesn’t buy Netanyahu much time, it could provide some buffer against pressure from the opponents whose challenge is most threatening: his coalition partners on the right.

      Until now, the hawks in his coalition have demanded more of what Netanyahu was already doing, such as expanding settlements and blasting Gaza. But on Jerusalem, they seek a qualitative change, looking to alter the delicate status quo in the city, especially regarding the Temple Mount. Pressure on Netanyahu from right-wing nationalist groups to expand Jewish access to the Temple Mount, home to Al-Aqsa mosque, has begun to lend an increasingly religious character to what was hitherto a primarily national conflict — just as religious violence is spiking across the Middle East.

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  • Palestinians who targeted Jerusalem synagogue have sights set on U.S. -- Israeli propaganda
    • The body, which was sent to Jerusalem for an autopsy, was that of a West Bank man who had no permit to enter Israel, according to a police statement cited by Israel's public radio.

      yes, this is definitely suspicious. Apparently the "authorities" are more concerned at his illegality than the fact hat he is dead...

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    • A Palestinian pathologist said the report published by the Israeli police speculating that the Palestinian bus driver, Hasan Yousef Rammouni, hanged himself to death is inconsistent with autopsy findings that indicate he was murdered, and did not commit suicide.

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  • Netanyahu announces return of controversial punitive home demolitions widely viewed as collective punishment
    • As tensions seethe in Jerusalem the Israeli government has resurrected polices from the Intifada-era including punitive home demolitions as a measure of deterrence against attacks on its citizens......

      My, did "punitive home demolitions EVER stop.... or are we talking about a new "intensity factor" publically in order to "prepare" the international community for an up-tick in these abhorrent abuses???

  • Video: Routine exchange on a bus reveals racism embedded within Jewish Israeli society
    • Guardian video reveals Palestinian youngster's intimate knowledge of Settler takeover in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem and the hostile response of a group of brainwashed (American) tourists....6 minutes of Palestinians' reality......

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  • What is the vision of Jews who want to replace Al Aqsa mosque with temple?
    • All the razzle dazzle "democratic principles" jargon coming out of the mouths of those interviewed... logical as many of ultra Zionists seem to have grown up in multicultural north America.

      But can some one shed some light on the WHY and HOW they became so single mindedly obsessed? It's as if evil deed Baruch Goldstein, an American doctor spawned a new generation with one aim in mind! Why from the States? Why from Canada?

  • Root cause of current crisis is Israeli government effort since 1967 to transform East Jerusalem into a Jewish city
    • Zionism’s basic mistake in the eyes of religious extremists going back to Rabbi Kook the elder followed by Kook the younger and protégés, has been its attempt to bring Jewish Israelis back into the community of ordinary nations in the eyes of the world after 1948….one people among the peoples of the world and to grant its (Jewish) citizens legal, economic, medical and educational opportunities available to civilized democracies. After 1948, Palestinians in Israel remained trapped off stage and those in the West bank under Jordanian tutelage. But beginning in 1973, certain elements of the religious community (Gush Emunim) advocated “Torah isolationism” as they saw it essential in preserving the uniqueness of the people and the State and a legitimate means of upholding a recalcitrant stand when it came to accusations of breaches in international law.
      Today the right wing is fearful. The Jewish people remain in a situation in which formal peace with the Arabs will bring about forced “assimilation” of parts of the nation with the “Muslim Other”. The religious zealots almost see the state of war as the hand of divine supervision in order to preserve “apartness” out of reasons of moral and physical safety. The “wholeness of the People is preserved” under the guise of violent chaos, while more and more of the Land of Israel is corralled in an act of Redemption.

  • David Brooks's romance of community
    • But underlying this debate is a profoundly painful process that many liberal Jews, both in Israel and the Diaspora, are undergoing: They feel like let-down lovers. They wonder, what place can they give in their emotional lives and their identity to an Israel that does not correspond to their core values of universal human rights? Can they remain attached to a country that violates these principles, primarily through an occupation that has now lasted for two-thirds of Israel’s history?

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  • Al Aqsa mosque is closed off for first time in 47 years as tensions flare
    • Under mounting religious tension (and housing takeovers in adjacent Silwan) there was bound to be "an Incident" which has more to do with steady disenfranchisement of traditional Waqf oversight of Muslim Holy places and displacement of Palestinians than outright "ethnic hatred" of Israelis;

      With East Jerusalem already smoldering, it emerged this week that the Israeli parliament is to consider a bill that could set the region ablaze. The measure would lift limitations on Jews visiting the al-Aqsa mosque compound, the most sensitive site in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      Details of the measure have yet to be published. But one possibility is that it will overturn a prohibition in Israeli law on Jews praying at the site, ending also a rabbinical injunction against such activities. Other reports, however, suggested it would extend visiting times for Jews, possibly by forcing the Islamic authorities to divide the site and create a dedicated area for Jewish visitors.

      The bill that apparently has the backing of the Eli Ben Dahan - Israeli politican, Rabbi and the deputy religious services minister - would create arrangements similar to those already in place in Hebron where there are security procedures and restrictions on times of worship.

      Jewish settlers posing as tourists have been visiting al Aqsa in ever larger numbers. During the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot this month, hundreds of such “tourists” were escorted by armed police on to the esplanade, triggering a furious response from Muslim worshippers.

      Jordan, which is officially responsible for the site, protested to Israel. The Jordanian ambassador to Palestine, Khalid al-Shawabka, told Maan TV that "the al-Aqsa mosque and Jerusalem are red lines”.

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    • ....with the restriction of " Muslim men over 50"........

    • So who are the Temple Mount Faithful and what do associated Rabbis believe.....????

      Though the arrests may suggest otherwise, the Temple Mount Faithful movement has recently made a giant leap towards the mainstream. Just last year, their activists were firmly planted in the far-right messianic fringes of Orthodox Judaism and were shunned by most religious Jews. This has ceased to be the case [2012] was also the first time activists for repealing the ban on Jewish ritual on the Temple Mount have managed to translate their predominantly theological campaign into a concrete political program. MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) has tabled a bill, and MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) made a public statement, both calling for changing the legal status of the Temple Mount for the first time since 1967, the year Israel occupied the Old City of Jerusalem and barred Jews from entering the compound, as well as allocating prayer times for Jews. One of the main impediments to changing the status quo at Temple Mount has been the stern halakhic ban on Jews visiting the site, for reasons of religious purity. But that prohibition has worn off in recent years, as more and more Zionist rabbis have permitted visits to the site, and even gone themselves.

      "The messianic tension surrounding the Temple Mount could ferment Jerusalem and the whole region," warns Dr. Gadi Gvaryahu, among the founders of the Tag Meir forum, which is acting against religious extremism. "The attempts by the 'price tag' people to mount to Temple Mount and pray there, together with acts of arson and vandalism of mosques, might end up in some fanatic group damaging the mosques on Temple Mount, in a similar manner to the Jewish underground that operated in the 1980s," he said.

      Yehuda Glick, spokesman for the Temple movements’ coalition, says his goal for[2013] is for "Jews to become part of the scenery at Temple Mount." But the Rosh Hashanah cards the joint staff sent to their followers spell out a far more radical aspiration: "May this be a year of redemption… A year in which the disgrace is lifted from us, a year in which the Temple is rebuilt and the Kingdom of Judah takes back the reins."

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    • Tomorrow (Friday) will be telling.......

      The Fatah movement in Jerusalem called for a day of rage against Israeli authorities on Friday following the killing of Mutaz Hijazi, in what many have compared to an extrajudicial assassination by Israeli security forces.

      Shot on the rooftop of his family home, Hijazi was still alive when Israeli soldiers entered the premises. Eyewitnesses say that instead of arresting him, the soldiers dropped a water tank on his injured body, killing him, and later stole his body from a Red Crescent ambulance that tried to take him away.

      The secretary-general of the Fatah movement in Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, told Ma'an that the killing Mutaz Hijazi without giving him a chance to defend himself and without definitive proof that he was responsible for the shooting, was an "act of terrorism" by Israel.

      "Israeli crimes are systematically increasing to target Jerusalem through killing, detentions, assaults, demolishing houses, and preventing worshipers from praying inside the compounds of the Al-Aqsa mosque [ although Israeli authorities on Thursday evening decided to reopen Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound after ordering its closure and following Arab and US calls for Muslim worshippers to be allowed in].."

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  • 'Chickenshit' attack enrages Netanyahu and lobby, but will it stir voters against Obama?
    • So Israeli papers, reporting the anonymous comments Wednesday morning, had to settle on something less evocative than “chickenshit.” The consensus translation that emerged among major news sources was “pachdan,” or coward. Haaretz did a little better, using “pachdan aluv,” or “lowly coward.”

      As any poultry farmer can attest, none of these are chickenshit. “Coward” lacks the crude, sandlot insult quality that “chickenshit” conveys. “Coward” is what you’d call someone before a duel. “Chickenshit” is what you’d call someone before a bar fight.

      To compensate, Israeli news articles put the word, in English, in their articles, such that “chickenshit” is clearly visible in the opening paragraph, running counter to the Hebrew text.

      A friend of mine suggested that Israeli reporters could have avoided all this by translating the phrase to Hebrew literally: “Hara shel tarnegolim.” Of course, that’s also not quite Hebrew: “Hara” is a swear word in Arabic.

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    • "The Swedish government needs to understand that relations in the Middle East are more complicated than a piece of furniture from IKEA that you assemble at home, and should act with responsibility and sensitivity," Lieberman added.

      Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom responded to Lieberman's IKEA comment. "I will be happy to send Israel FM Lieberman an IKEA flat pack to assemble. He'll see it requires a partner, cooperation and a good manual," she said.

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  • Sh*tstirring Jeffrey Goldberg dumps diplomatic sh*tstorm with 'chickensh*t' quote
  • US-Israel relationship is still 'strong and formidable,' says State Dep't
    • ....Although the chickensh°°t storm is a welcome distraction in dire times , Max B. does seem to be concerned.....

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    • Al Jazeera debate, which took place in September 2008 on US/Israeli relations and the settlement issue. That was 6 years ago. How telling it is that absolutely nothing has changed....

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    • The reality is that Netanyahu is afraid to build because he fears international sanctions, but is also afraid to admit he isn’t building because he fears the wrath of the settlers and wants to hold his coalition together. Everything else is just spin and slogans. ......

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    • MS. PSAKI:....actions of the Israeli Government, including settlements, where we have deep concerns about some of the steps the government is taking. We express those, but it does not mean that we don’t have a strong and formidable relationship that continues...... they’ve been reports. We’re certainly deeply concerned by the reports. We are engaging at the highest levels with the Israeli Government from our Embassy on the ground to get [more information...???] if Israel wants to see – wants to live in a peaceful society, they need to take steps to reduce tensions and to avoid steps that are going to be incompatible with peace. -

      QUESTION: If you’re talking about people in the Israeli Government or Israeli politicians who are not in favor of a two-state solution, presumably these are the people who are pushing for new settlement activity. Is that your understanding, that the consequence of that then is that they get what they want, which is they – there is no two-state solution? -......I don’t understand how you expect to change Israel’s behavior as it relates to settlements if all you’re prepared to do is to verbally criticize it and not impose any consequence on it when the very people who are doing it – you’re saying the consequence is they don’t get a two-state solution. Well, that’s exactly what the people who are pushing the settlements want. -

      I am afraid that the Obama Administration is totally clueless about what is actually taking place in Isreal proper as well as across the West Bank when it comes to settlements, the Israeli police, IDF battalions, the impications of the rightwing Knesset and the the serious tilt to the right of the High Court (As Scalia and Co have gone out of their way to back business, Supreme Court Justice Asher Grunis and fellow Justices backs settlers); The very compostion of the 33rd Knesset with its majority pro-Zionist coalition, speaks for itself.

      Jeffery Goldberg's is off key when he says that the Obama and Co. see , “Netanyahu as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, “Aspergery” chickensh°°°°t, and a national leader who acts as though he is mayor of Jerusalem, which is to say, a no-vision small-time[r] link to

      However, they do recognize that he worries mainly about pleasing the hardest core of his political constituency....”And herein lies the very worrisome danger. Not onlyhave Palestinians been the victims of settler rampages, violernce and hate crimes in th months after Operation Protective Edge, Netanyahu has realized the threat to his future ambitions, by the far-right economy minister, Naftali Bennett, who said that his party would destabilise Netayanhu’s governing coalition unless he “unfroze” settlement building......
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      In Israel, the standard decoupling civil and military society has been heavily undermined. The disinterst of secular youth to serve in the military after compulsary service has meant that ideologically motivated soldiers have been deployed in increasing numbers to "protect their homeland," primarily in disputed Judea and Samaria, the future Palesinian State. Many of these soldiers have honed their combat skills since infancy in the Territorial Defense battalions, serve in units of the Kfir Brigades and are guided by rabbis as part of their institutional connection to the yeshivot and mechinot home bases. Furthermore, the boundaries between the soldiers, who are there to enforce law and order, and the citizens, namely the settlers, who were supposed to respect the authority of the soldiers, have become one and the same.
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  • Israeli committee to consider plans to build first city for Palestinian citizens in country's history
    • Oh my!! I should think this next new "Big Idea" falls distinctly into the redundancy category or are the Israelis in competition with Palestinian multi-million dollar business tycoon Bashar Masri whose plans for economic powerhouse Rawabi with all the luxury trimmings of Doha in the West Bank seen as too local an initiative, catering as it is supposed to do, to those Ramallah elitists....???? Or maybe Rawabi, once acclaimed by the likes of Der Spiegel has been thwarted into oblivion by the Occupation...???

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  • UCLA Hillel partners with PR firm to fight BDS movement
    • The ADL joins the fray:

      Student groups seeking to isolate and delegitimize Israel, to stifle dialogue and control the message about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have organized activities on college and university campuses for several years.

      These efforts polarize campuses, inflame existing tensions and intimidate students. In light of the previous academic year’s significant anti-Israel activity and the organized anti-Israel reactions to this summer’s conflict between Hamas and Israel, the 2014-15 school year will likely be marked by another escalation in anti-Israel actions and events.

      So far in this academic year, there have been 75 anti-Israel events scheduled to take place on U.S. campuses. During the same time period last year, there were only 35 of those events scheduled, marking a 114% increase in the number of those events scheduled to take place this year.

      Student groups that constitute today’s anti-Israel movement hurl a multitude of hateful accusations against Israel, falsely claiming that Israel is guilty of apartheid, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and a number of other war crimes in an effort to demonize Israel by portraying it as the embodiment of the world’s true evils

      This summer was preceded by an especially tense period on college campuses during the 2013-14 academic year, when student groups hosted at least 374 anti-Israel events, about 40% of which focused on how to effectively initiate Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns on campus. Additionally, there were at least 57 events sponsored by university academic departments over the past two academic years that presented an extremely one-sided view of the conflict. This represented an increase from years past. Additionally, at 15 colleges, student groups submitted divestment resolutions to their student governments. While most of these resolutions were unsuccessful, they contributed to an antagonistic environment for some on campus.

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  • Resistance is our duty, too
    • Not much Optimism from Jeff Halper either......

      Israel is in the process of finalizing its Judaization of Jerusalem. There is no more Palestinian East Jerusalem. It's buried under the weight of settlements and Israeli highways. Israelis are moving in just freely into Palestinian neighborhoods and taking them over. And in a sense, then, what was resistance to try to get a Palestinian state or try to resolve the problem is simply there is no resistance because there's no political process. And so it's all declined into just lashing out, you know, the driving of cars and killing people by trains. [incompr.] there's nothing else to do if you're a Palestinian but just to lash out or be solemn and stay at home and watch your home being taken or being demolished.

      And on the Israeli side as well, the attack on Gaza this summer, the everyday killing of Palestinians in Jerusalem, in the West Bank, everywhere, is also indicative of the fact that the violence on the Israeli side is disconnected from anything political. In other words, we're in a stage where Israel says, no more [two-state] solution, it's over, and you either live with us and submit or you get out or you die. That's really the Israeli message, so that I think on both sides the violence is increasing, but it's increasing with no political context whatsoever.

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  • Thousands attend funeral for Palestinian-American child killed by Israeli army
    • Not much has changed since Henry Siegman wrote this review (LRB) back ion 2008.....

      [Israel]has violent sociopathic elements. What is unusual about the last four decades in Israel is that many destructive individuals have found a haven, complete with ideological legitimation, within the settlement enterprise. Here, in places like Chavat Maon, Itamar, Tapuach and Hebron, they have, in effect, unfettered freedom to terrorise the local Palestinian population; to attack, shoot, injure, sometimes kill – all in the name of the alleged sanctity of the land and of the Jews’ exclusive right to it.

      …...”As long as the state serves the goals of the settlements, they support it. But the moment a contrary decision is made – on territorial withdrawals or evacuation of outposts – this camp allows itself to break the law … This is not the passing caprice of a few teens, but the metamorphosis of an entire camp from a centre of constructive activity to a centre of subversion.”
      Since 1967, the IDF has transformed itself into the army of the settlers, to which abused Palestinians cannot turn for protection. The settler leadership’s close ties with government power-brokers mean that they can make or break the careers of the IDF’s most senior officers.

      While the IDF, with the help of Shin Bet, is somehow able to locate almost every potential Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank and seems to be aware of their most intimate conversations, they don’t often appear able to locate Jewish settlers who have attacked innocent Palestinians, destroyed their homes and farms, or murdered them.

      The contrast with the courts’ treatment of settlers is striking. Pinchas Wallerstein, one of the most prominent settler leaders, fired at an Arab youth whom he saw burning a tyre on the road. The boy, whom he shot in the back, died. Wallerstein was sentenced to perform public service. The judge, Ezra Hadaiya, quoted the rabbinic admonition that ‘one should not judge one’s fellow until one is in his place.’ In 1982, a settler, Nissan Ishegoyev, fired his Uzi machine-gun into an alley from which Palestinian children were throwing stones, and killed a 13-year-old boy. His punishment was three months’ public service. Between 1988 and 1992, the violent deaths of 48 Palestinians were recorded in the Occupied Territories. In only 12 of these cases were indictments filed against the Israeli suspects; of these, only one resulted in a murder conviction; another ended in a conviction for manslaughter, and six resulted in convictions for causing death through negligence. The defendant who was convicted of murder, for which the maximum punishment is 20 years in prison, was sentenced to three years.

      What makes the situation particularly frightening is that the senior leaders of the IDF are increasingly settlers in the religious-nationalist camp. Many of them are under the sway of settler rabbis, who, like their jihadi counterparts, provide religious rulings – fatwas, in effect – inciting their followers even to murder

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  • 'Village on the volcano' is latest effort to change the subject from the occupation
  • The Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ passes divestment resolution
    • An [outspoken] Connecticut church [internally] initiated a resolution, adopted by the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ last week, to encourage churches to divest from companies which it characterizes as profiting in that manner. And Bruce Shipman appears to agree:
      “This action is an important gesture to protest the occupation of the West Bank.”

      By approving the resolution at its annual meeting last Friday, the Connecticut Conference becomes the fifth conference of the United Church of Christ nationwide to adopt a resolution calling for divestments, said Rev. Steven Jungkeit of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. The United Church of Christ's General Synod is slated to consider the resolution this summer.

      The resolution prompted The Anti-Defamation League of Connecticut to issue a press release Tuesday that expressed its disappointment.
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  • Anti-semitism charge is increasingly being leveled against Israel's mainstream critics
    • Pro-Israel advocacy is as old or older than the State of Israel. Official Israel concocts ever newer ways to push the hasbara agenda. It carves up various markets (minorities, evangelicals, gays, etc.) and tailors specific branding messages to each one that’s designed to leverage maximum support. It devotes hundreds of millions (from government and private funds) to this venture.

      One aspect of this project that’s less well known and deserves more exposure is outreach to Muslim and Christian communities. Yes, you read that right: Muslim. I’m referring to Muslims in the Diaspora, specifically the U.S. The Shalom Hartman Institute, a modern Orthodox think tank devoted to the study of Jewish religion and its impact on Israeli society, created a Muslim Leadership Initiative. It invited a group of prominent Muslim-American intellectuals, analysts, religious and media figures to study Israeli politics, Zionism and history.

      The classes they attended were coordinated by Yossi Klein HaLevi, an Israeli-American journalist who once was affiliated with the JDL and a follower of Meir Kahane. Now Klein HaLevi has parlayed his former radical past into a selling point for a book he wrote on the subject, Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist. He projects an image of someone who’s turned a new leaf and now is a wiser and older centrist, when this is anything but the case. Like many former JDL leaders, the rhetoric has become more polished, violence has been eschewed (at overt violence), and the rough ideological edges have been smoothed. But the basic ideas are the same: Jewish supermacism, support for Israeli ultra-nationalism, denial of Palestinian rights, etc.
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  • Settlers in Jerusalem tear down family's Islamic banners, give them to a dog
    • There’s obviously an answer explaining the errors in the price tag graffiti: either the miscreants are illiterate; or they’re Americans (or Russians) whose Hebrew is faulty. This proves one thing: they know how to kill Palestinians, but not how to write a Hebrew sentence.

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  • As Kerry scrambles to prevent Palestinian action at UN, Israeli govt makes clear it will never accept Palestinian state
    • Tea Party congressman: Hamas terrorists might infect themselves with Ebola and sneak into U.S.

      (Right-wing South Carolina congressman takes Ebola fear-mongering to an even wackier level.)

      It would almost be funny if we could sincerely believe that a considerable number of Congressman Joe Wilson's constituents along with other TeaParty/ Right Wing Conservative types will probably consider his announcement gospel truth......

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    • Diana Buttu, a former legal adviser for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas believes the so-called "two-state solution" will not resolve the Palestine-Israel conflict, citing Israel's ongoing construction of Jewish-only settlements on Arab land.

      "The two-state solution died a long time ago," Diana Butto, a Palestinian-Canadian national, told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview. She said that a glance at a map of Palestine and the numerous Jewish-only settlements that have been built there made it clear to anyone that a "two-state" solution to the conflict was no longer viable.

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  • Israel's Dead Soul: Steven Salaita's critical scholarship explains his dismissal from the University of Illinois
  • How Israel relies on Islamophobia
  • Israel wields 'significant US domestic power' to foil peace process -- NY Review of Books
    • Israeli "lobbying isn't confined to the United States.....

      Two weeks after 'Operation Protective Edge' began, a letter by 24 medical professionals was published in medical journal The Lancet, "denouncing" the attack on Gaza. The co-signatories cited the Israeli army's tactics and their impact on the Palestinian population, and the political context in which the assault was taking place. Readers were invited to add their own signatures, and 20,000 did so in just one week (the names are no longer displayed due to concern "about several threatening statements to those signatories, which have recently been posted on social media.)"

      The backlash was severe. The Israeli government led calls for the letter to be removed from the journal's website, as Health Minister Yael German attacked the "one-sided and political" text. "Israel did not go to war to kill," she said, even as Gaza was being pummelled by airstrikes and artillery fire. Health Ministry Director-General Arnon Afek slammed the letter as "a radical, one-sided scandal, which borders on a blood libel", and promised: "We will launch a harsh protest against the journal."

      Soon a petition was drawn up, declaring a boycott of the Lancet until Richard Horton was dismissed from his position as Editor. Threatening the Lancet and its publisher Elsevier with "various options" including a wider boycott and cancellation of subscriptions, the petition concluded by claiming that the medical journal was "indirectly supporting terrorist organizations.


  • In the last days of 'Operation Protective Edge' Israel focused on its final goal -- the destruction of Gaza's professional class
  • British Parliament to vote on recognition of Palestinian state on Monday
    • Israel may not be as economically sound as it pretends to be. Does Parliament and the "City" see the writing on the wall..???

      This fiscal crisis that the government is seeing is because the defense budget grows exponentially and it grows every year, and every additional round of violence and additional attack against Gaza gives the army another excuse to demand more money. And the only way that the government stays in power is by scaring the people, by calling on additional threats, mentioning how further threats could threaten the public, and there is no choice for people but to accept a reduction in their standard of living in order to finance the growing costs of security. People are not really willing to take that sacrifice, and there is a large number of Israelis who are leaving the country, especially educated Israelis, skilled workers, who are leaving and finding jobs elsewhere. The government knows that they cannot cut welfare and cannot cut public services with no end. At some point, the society begins to crack and collapse. And that's why they're going with this privatization plan at full speed, just in hoping that they can make some quick cash by selling these companies. But they can only do it once. You can't sell a company again and again.

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  • Jewish groups stand up against media lies about Muslims and police surveillance of Muslims
  • Wiesel lauds settlers for 'strengthening the Jewish presence in Jerusalem' -- and expelling Palestinians
    • Well, what Bill Maher said is a perfect example of what I call liberal Islamophobia, which is to take up liberal themes, such as human rights, women's rights, the rights of gays and lesbians, the right to free speech, and so on and makes a case of the so-called Muslim world, like it is one big monolith in which these rights are uniformly denied to people, and then proceeds to equate, in essence, the politics of ISIS with the politics of the 1.5 billion people who practice Islam.
      …..The narrative that gets constructed in the West and that Bill Maher and people like that are echoing is the clash of civilizations rhetoric, which was coined by Bernard Lewis and then popularized by Samuel Huntington.[It] is the idea that in the post-Cold War period, conflict would no longer be political, it will be cultural, and that there were seven or eight civilizations, each with their own uniqueness --the West and the Islamic world and so on--and that they are bound to conflict with each other….[during]the course of the Cold War, when it was clear that the secular nationalists, (Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt or Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran), couldn't be co-opted to serve the U.S.'s interests in the region, the key policy from 1958 on with the Eisenhower doctrine was to create an Islamic bulwark to act as a counter to secular nationalism…..In fact, the language that they used in the State Department is that they wanted the Saudi monarch to be an Islamic Pope and to use the legitimacy of being the guardians of Mecca and Medina to actually push people away from secularism. And Saudi Arabia had a very systematic program of Islamization, whether it was distributing Qurans for free, whether it was giving tons of petrodollars for setting up madrasas all over. Not just in the Middle East, but even in Pakistan they set up schools and colleges and send their preachers there and so forth. And the end result is the mujahideen, is al-Qaeda.

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  • White House is now in open spat with Netanyahu over his 'American values' lecture
    • Givat Hamatos is the first planned neighborhood to be built across the Green Line since the construction of the neighborhood of Har Homah in 1997 (during the first Netanyahu administration). It completes the divide between Bethlehem and East Jerusalem and prevents any possibility of a significant diplomatic arrangement regarding the Arab Jerusalem neighborhoods of Beit Tzafafa and Sharafat.

      Lt. Col. (res.) Shaul Arieli, who was head of the Peace Administration in the Barak government and one of the formulators of the Geneva Initiative, told Al-Monitor this week, “Givat Hamatos is another stage in the historic Israeli plan to create an urban Jewish ring around Arab Jerusalem and to disrupt the natural Palestinian urban continuum along the mountain top. To the north, the ring cutting off Ramallah from East Jerusalem was completed with the construction of the neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo. Givat Hamatos will do the same thing by bridging over the divide between Har Homah and Giloh.”

      According to Arieli, absent any possibility of maintaining a spatial continuum between their future capital and their metropolitan area, the Palestinians will demand that any arrangement for the joint administration of Jerusalem and the granting of special international status to the historic Jerusalem Holy Basin is applied to the whole city. According to all forecasts, this will turn Jerusalem within a decade into a city with an Arab majority and will produce hundreds of flash points, destabilizing the city and threatening the entire arrangement.

      In the face of these realities, Netanyahu presents his own “facts” and chastises the US administration for not doing its homework. He says that Givat Hamatos, like the Silwan neighborhood abutting the Old City walls, is an inseparable part of unified Jerusalem and Israel’s sovereign territory. The fact is that Israel is the only country that recognizes the annexation to Jerusalem of 70 square kilometers (27 square miles) of West Bank land captured in June of 1967 and the legality of the Jewish neighborhoods built across the Green Line. Netanyahu also claims, “Arabs in Jerusalem freely buy apartments, and nobody says that is forbidden.” In a meeting with journalists in his New York hotel, the prime minister added, “There must not be discrimination — not of Jews and not of Arabs.”

      In complete contradiction to the prime minister’s claim, not only is land in west Jerusalem out of bounds for Arab residents of East Jerusalem (only several hundred Palestinians have been granted Israeli citizenship), the 280,000 Palestinians there have no access to “national lands” even in areas that were under Jordanian control until 1967 and expropriated to build Israeli neighborhoods on some 35% of the area of East Jerusalem. The State of Israel sells real estate solely to Jews (93% of the land in Israel is “national land”). Article 19 of the Israel Land Administration’s land lease contract, which came into force on Sept. 1, 2013, clearly states that a foreign national cannot lease (not to mention gain title) national lands unless he obtains permission by virtue of his entitlement to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return.

      And after all is said and done, and even as the world continues to wag its finger at Israel, it’s business as usual for the settlers as they make their way with heads held high from Har Homah to Givat Hamatos, from Sheikh Jarrah to Silwan.

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  • Netanyahu's 'poison' -- latest settlement will distance Israel's closest allies, State Dep't warns
    • It's the moment for a TIMELY rebranding of the Jewish State...!!!!

      Activists seek to rebrand Israel as 'JSIL'

      Twitter users compare Israel to ISIL, renaming it the 'Jewish State of Israel in the Levant'.....

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    • Video

      US President Barack Obama has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Washington's deep concerns over an Israeli plan to build 2,600 new settler homes in East Jerusalem.

      Obama raised the development in face-to-face talks in the Oval Office on Wednesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

      "The United States is deeply concerned by reports the Israeli government has moved forward" with planning for settlements in a "sensitive area" of East Jerusalem, Earnest said.

      Earnest said Israel would send a "very troubling message" by following through with the settlement project, and in noticeably blunt language said that the step was contrary to Israel's stated goal of negotiating a permanent final status agreement with the Palestinians.

      "This development will only draw condemnation from the international community, [and] distance Israel from even its closest allies," Earnest said.

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  • 'Ethnic cleansing for a better world' -- Richard Cohen says Palestinians brought the Nakba on themselves
    • ....and then there were the Mizrahi Jews that were considered "not advanced" and dealt with in a kind of misbegotten internal ethnic cleansing as Jonathan Cook's recent post confirms.

      In the 1950s, waves of new immigrants swept into Israel. To the dismay of the country’s Ashkenazi leaders (those originating from Europe and the US), the great majority were from Arab countries. Levi Eshkol, a later prime minister, expressed a common sentiment when he called them “human rubbish”. Israel, deprived of “good-quality” Jews, was being forced to bring to its shores Arab Jews, seen as just as primitive and dirty as the Palestinians whom Israel had recently succeeded in ethnically cleansing.

      Into this deeply racist atmosphere stepped Dr Chaim Sheba, a eugenicist, who believed that the Arabs Jews were bringing along with them diseases that threatened the Ashkenazi Jews. His obsession was ringworm, an innocuous childhood disease that affects the scalp. He went to the US, collected old military X-ray equipment and zapped tens of thousands of these children’s heads with potentially lethal doses of radiation. The survivors tell of their horrifying experiences during and after the treatment, and of the brothers and sisters they lost at a young age.
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    • Looking for an "edgy symbol/jingo/cartoon with punch.....

    • Much of the grim and murky circumstances of the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the late 1940s have gradually been exposed over time. One aspect – rarely researched or deeply discussed – is the internment of thousands of Palestinian civilians within at least 22 Zionist-run concentration and labor camps that existed from 1948 to 1955. Now more is known about the contours of this historical crime, due to the comprehensive research by renowned Palestinian historian Salman Abu Sitta and founding member of the Palestinian resource center BADIL Terry Rempel.

      The facts are these.

      The study – to be published in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Palestine Studies – relies on almost 500 pages of International Committee of the Red Cross's (ICRC) reports written during the 1948 war, that were declassified and made available to the public in 1996, and accidentally discovered by one of the authors in 1999.
      The establishment of concentration and labor camps occurred after the unilateral declaration of Israel's statehood on May 1948.

      Prior to that event, the number of Palestinian captives in Zionist hands were quite low, because, as the study states, “the Zionist leadership concluded early on that forcible expulsion of the civilian population was the only way to establish a Jewish state in Palestine with a large enough Jewish majority to be 'viable'.” In other words, for the Zionist strategists, prisoners were a burden in the beginning phases of the ethnic cleansing.

      Those calculations changed with the declaration of the Israeli state and the involvement of the armies of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Transjordan, after much of the ethnic cleansing had occurred. From that moment, “the Israeli forces began taking prisoners, both regular Arab soldiers (for eventual exchange), and – selectively – able-bodied Palestinian non-combatant civilians.”

      The first camp was Ijlil, which was about 13 km northeast of Jaffa, on the site of the destroyed Palestinian village Ijlil al-Qibiliyya, emptied of its inhabitants in early April. Ijlil was predominately made up of tents, housing hundreds and hundreds of prisoners, categorized as POWs by the Israelis, surrounded by barbed wire fences, watchtowers, and a gate with guards.
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  • Over 250 anthropologists join the call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions
    • Is it pure coincidence that more than one of the targeted professors are on AMCHA's list...????

      However, now 40 of America’s leading Jewish studies professors, including Hasia Diner of New York University and Robert Alter of the University of California, Berkeley, have signed a statement calling AMCHA’s actions “deplorable” and a threat to academic freedom. Bernard Avishai, a business professor who splits his time between Dartmouth College and Hebrew University and who has written extensively on Jewish matters, also signed the statement, which said, “We find it regrettable that AMCHA, so intent on combating the boycott of Israel, has launched a boycott initiative of its own.”

      The Jewish studies professors say their worries go beyond AMCHA’s list of Middle East professors.

      AMCHA, which means ‘your people’ in Hebrew, was founded in 2012. It investigates and monitors anti-Semitism on more than 300 campuses across America. In the past couple of months, AMCHA has joined other Jewish advocacy groups to call on Congress to withhold federal funds from Middle Eastern studies programs that show an anti-Israeli bias. In , AMCHA published a 100-page report claiming rampant anti-Israel bias and anti-Semitic activity during the past three years at UCLA’s Center for Near Eastern Studies.

      Among the professors on AMCHA’s list are the following directors of programs that receive federal funding: Lila Abu-Lughod director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University; Miriam Cooke, director of the Middle East Studies Center at Duke University; Osama Abi-Mershed, chair of the Middle East and North Africa program at Georgetown University; and Sondra Hale and Gabriel Piterberg co-directors of the Center for Near Eastern Studies Septemberat UCLA.

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  • Netanyahu at the United Nations: Hamas, Iran, ISIS and 100 cheering Israelis
  • The Greater Gaza Plan: Is Israel trying to force Palestinians into Sinai?
    • 28/01/08 "Haaretz " -- --

      London - Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger has been quoted as calling for Gazans to be transferred to the Sinai Peninsula, to a Palestinian state which he said could be constructed for them in the desert.
      According to Metzger, the plan would be to "take all the poor people from Gaza to move them to a wonderful new modern country with trains buses cars, like in Arizona - we are now in a generation where you can take a desert and build a city. This will be a solution for the poor people - they will have a nice county (sic), and we shall have our country and we shall live in peace."
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  • Modi and Netanyahu's NY bromance
    • LAST MONTH, in his first interview as prime minister, Narendra Modi told the CNN news show host Fareed Zakaria the blandest of truths: “Indian Muslims will live for India, they will die for India—they will not want anything bad for India.” Predictably, expectations from Modi on this score are so low that this made headlines. The pre-recorded interview left out an obvious follow-up question (somehow Modi’s interviewers always skip the obvious follow-ups): Your public life has largely been spent in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (Militant Nationalist Hindu Organization), to which you continue to owe allegiance—how do you respond to Muslims who are understandably alarmed by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s recent claim that India is a Hindu nation?

      the RSS does draw great satisfaction from Modi’s electoral victory, tending to see it as an affirmation of the logic that drives their view of India. The BJP has failed to garner support from Christians and Muslims, but it has effectively consolidated a “Hindu” vote cutting across caste. It is in this context that Modi’s rhetoric, which has been so endlessly and so pointlessly analysed, must be understood.

      Hindutva (India's Hindu cultural legacy), allows Modi to speak to Indians of inclusiveness without spelling out that Muslims and Christians are less than equal by definition. Exclusion is built into the term, and his record in Gujarat bears this out, as do his party’s first few months in power in Delhi. Only those commentators who have tried to project their own longings for an Indian inclusivity onto him have missed noting this consistency.

      Modi has spoken often about working within the Constitution—but as the prime minister he cannot do otherwise. While he may draw his legitimacy from constitutional values, he draws his core political support from the idea of Hindutva. These are not compatible ideas. Modi may talk of Indian Muslims dying for the country; he could never claim that they would die for Hindutva.

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  • Netanyahu heads to New York to ‘refute all the lies’ and praise ‘the most moral army in the world’
  • A catalog of impunity
  • Israel carries out extrajudicial killing of two Palestinians suspected in Israeli youths kidnapping
    • Here is the official statement announcing the murders:

      [Israeli censorship] permits us to announce that after a joint intelligence operation of the Shabak, in collaboration with the IDF and Border Police, the hiding place of Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aysha, two residents of Hebron who carried out the kidnapping and murder of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Sher, and Eyal Yifrah, was located. There was an attempt to detain the suspects as a result of which there was an exchange of fire in the course of which the suspects were hit.

      Note the use of the euphemism “hit.” They don’t even want to acknowledge they were killed. My Israeli source called it a ‘targeted killing.’ He says the force intended to liquidate them. It hardly mattered whether they fought back or surrendered.

      Hebron’s Palestinian governor confirmed that the suspects were executed:

      “It’s clear now the two martyrs, al-Kawasme and Abu Aysha, were assassinated this morning during a military operation in the Hebron University area. We condemn this crime, this assassination, as deliberate and premeditated murder,” he said.

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  • Israeli refuseniks expose Occupation’s dark underbelly
    • "The implication of these revelations is disturbing. The success of Israel’s near half-century of occupation depends on a vast machinery of surveillance and intimidation, while large numbers of Israelis benefit directly or indirectly from industrial-scale oppression....."

      A statement that underlines an almost identical moral relativism that has resulted from fear mongering by leadership and taken up by the echo chamber of the media. Thus torture, intimidation, repeated thunderous comments about inevitable annihilation if "protective measures" are not taken has cowed and silenced Jewish consciousness and is reflected in a mirror image to that of most Americans.

      How in heavens name can this be undone.....????

  • Will the WCC finally break the interfaith ecumenical deal?
    • The days of taking evangelical support for Israel for granted are over. As they are increasingly confronted with an evangelical-friendly, anti-Israel narrative, more and more of these Christians are turning against the Jewish state.[1]

      There is troubling precedent for such an about-face. At one time—prior to the 1967 war— the mainline Protestant denominations were among Israel's most reliable American supporters. Israel's opponents, therefore, targeted these denominations with mainline-friendly, anti-Israel messages. There are still many mainline Protestants who support Israel today. But to the extent the mainline denominations act corporately in connection with the Jewish state, it is to divest from it. And it is from Israel—not Iran—that they seek to divest.

      In a similar fashion, Palestinian Christians and their American sympathizers are successfully promoting a narrative aimed at reaching the rising generation of evangelicals and turning them against Israel. As a result, more leaders of this generation are moving toward neutrality in the conflict while others are becoming outspoken critics of Israel. Questioning Christian support for the Jewish state is fast becoming a key way for the millennials to demonstrate their Christian compassion and political independence. In short, this population is in play.
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  • Gaza and the American awakening
    • It’s the colonialism they hate, not Jews
      Most Europeans do not doubt the Jews’ right to an independent state, but they vehemently object to a reality in which we are keeping masses of people under occupation and consciously trampling their basic rights.
      Over time, there has been increasing hatred of Israel’s refusal to recognize the Palestinians’ equal right to a state of their own. This is how the failure of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace talks are being understood. The Israeli right sees the Jews as the sole masters of the land. However, this use of naked force is arousing disgust in the Western world. The notion that the entire land belongs to the Jews and they are, therefore, allowed to steal the Palestinians’ lands and annex East Jerusalem, along with other large swaths of the West Bank, is indicative of the behavior of a nation of masters – and in our time this is totally unacceptable.
      The West’s political elite is not speaking out openly against Israeli colonialism, for fear of encouraging the anti-Semitic monster. But at the universities and in the schools, in the media and on social networks, they are already saying this explicitly: It is untenable that the Jewish past serve as a justification for cruelty in the Palestinian present.

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  • Gaza ceasefire proving once again to be part of the ‘occupation game’
    • International and Israeli reports revealed that, since the start of this month, the Israeli government has implemented a unilateral scheme to impose full sovereignty over the occupied Palestinian land taking advantage of international silence to destroy any chances for a settlement in the region.

      The PLO's report said that Israel steals the West Bank's natural resources, especially in area C depriving the Palestinians of $3.5 billion annually while it also imposes restrictions on Palestinian construction there.

      The report pointed to the significant increase in the Israeli settlements on Palestinian land by 240 per cent mainly in the settlements of Beitar Illit, Modi'in Illit and Immanuel. It noted that the Israeli land authority sold 2,300 housing units in the settlements established in the West Bank this year registering an increase of 866 per cent compared to the same period last year.

      The report addressed the Israeli official political and ideological discourse saying it spreads irresponsible incitement and propaganda that explicitly reflects its rejection of the peaceful settlement with the Palestinians.

      The department stressed in its report that these data and indicators confirm the serious collapse of the two-state solution.
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  • 'NYT' finds a model relationship for Palestinians and Israelis: collaborator and his handler
    • Mosab Hassan Yousef is not the first. Walid Shoebat, a former Hamas militant, converted to Christianity in 1994…He has been an outstanding Daniel Pipes recruit for years and was all over the Talk Shows after 9/11 and during the lead up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, denouncing Muslim extremism in Islamophobic terms.
      I think there was a need for a younger more appealing new face….

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  • On the use of provocative analogies (Nazism, fascism)
  • Yale Jewish center to hold 'intellectual' panel on storm over ousted priest's comments-- without inviting the priest
    • A Jewish man has been hounded out of his home in an Orthodox community by a campaign of hate after condemning violence by Israel in Gaza. An angry mob of up to 30 people is understood to have massed outside his home in a Jewish part of Salford, Broughton Park, during three nights of rage in Manchester.s home was pelted with eggs and his car vandalised with spray paint during three nights of victimisation.

      On another occasion, the man was beaten up by an unknown attacker apparently motivated by his critical stance on military action by Israel.

      According to neighbours in Curzon Road, the attacks were a case of Jew-on-Jew violence. One woman said: "I have never known a situation where the Jewish community turned on each other."
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    • Fortunately a follow up opinion speaks out in Reverend shipman's defense....

      ’ll never forget seeing former Boston Bishop Thomas Shaw in his flowing clerical robes join protesters at the Israeli Embassy calling for an end to oppression of Palestinians. Excitement swept through the crowd, and the Bishop’s presence lent credibility to the gathering that could not be ignored. Bishop Shaw had been to the Holy Land and seen the situation there. He refused to be silent.

      Rev. Bruce Shipman, former priest-in-charge at Yale Episcopal Church, has also been to the Holy Land and witnessed the demolished homes, segregated roads and uprooted orchards. He met with Jews who are working to end the occupation, and with Christians who have called on churches to oppose the injustice. Recently, he penned a three-sentence letter to the New York Times suggesting that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians may be one cause of rising anti-Semitism, which we all condemn. Days later, he resigned his position at Yale.

      Rev. Shipman has broken no law except the unwritten law that forbids questioning Israel. There is a big difference between criticizing a country’s policies and maligning its people. Denying this stifles debate. This courageous priest has upheld Episcopal tradition in standing for the oppressed. His suggestion was simply that we take a close look at ourselves, the “patrons of Israel,” in evaluating the causes of violence and anti-Semitism.

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  • Photo-cartoon making Tutu into Hitler is published then taken down by South African Jewish paper
    • An Orthodox Jewish man who spoke out against Israel’s bombing of Gaza has fled his home after it was vandalised twice and he was assaulted.

      Downstairs windows at the property in Curzon Road, Higher Broughton, Salford, were smashed, eggs thrown at the property and graffiti daubed on the door and window sill.

      The victim’s car was sprayed with red paint.

      Police say they are treating the attacks as hate crimes.

      The man is understood to have moved out of the terraced property after being targeted by a mob of up to 30 people.

      The victim had expressed his views in the local community and also on King Street, in Manchester city centre, which has been the scene of protests by pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli groups.

      The man’s home now has a To Let sign up and the downstairs windows are still boarded up, with eggshells on the doorstep.

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  • Israel surveils and blackmails gay Palestinians to make them informants
    • .....It's the bulk number of 40 all at once which is considered remarkable (They were given a "dishonorable discharge" and made persona non grata). Refusniks and soldiers from Breaking the Silence denounce Israeli military actions in dribbles, one here one there. This is considered a large group from a "prestigious army intelligence unit" to boot...

    • In the largest act of conscientious objection in Israel in more than a decade, more than 40 reservists and veterans of a prestigious army intelligence unit have declared that they refuse further military service because they reject being “tools” of Israeli control over the occupied territories.

      We declare that we refuse to take part in actions against Palestinians and refuse to continue serving as tools in deepening the military control over the occupied territories,” wrote reservists of Unit 8200, many of them still active reservists, which is believed to operate one of the largest listening bases in the world, in a letter to army chief of staff Lt. Gen Benny Gantz and published in Israeli media today.

      “There is no distinction between Palestinians who are and are not involved in violence,” they wrote. “Information that is collected harms innocent people. It is used for political persecution and to create divisions within Palestinian society by recruiting collaborators and driving parts of Palestinian society against itself. Intelligence allows for the continued control over millions of people through thorough and intrusive supervision and invasion of most areas of life.”

      “Any such case, in which you ‘fish out’ an innocent person from whom information might be squeezed or who could be recruited as a collaborator was like striking gold for us”. Another reservist recounted how to boost morale, commanders of unit 8200 would play for the troops intercepted conversations of Palestinian couples arguing or of Palestinians having phone sex. ’’Sex talk was considered entertainment. Phone sex was always considered a hit.” the soldier recalled.
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  • J Street can't tie Israel's latest 'illegal land grab' to cutting US aid
    • Michael Ratner, President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York and Chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. states:
      I realized there's one more crime or series of crimes that continues and that Israel constantly renews or engages in those crimes again and again. As I said earlier, the Geneva Conventions and statutes of the International Criminal Court prohibit the transfer of the occupying power's civilians--in other words, Israelis--into the occupied territories. And that is what Israel has been engaged in since 1967. There's perhaps 500,000 Israelis living in Jerusalem, East Jerusalem, and the occupied territories of the West Bank. It's a continuing violation to remove your citizens occupying our citizens into those territories, and therefore it's a continuing war crime. And as I said earlier, they're continuing to build housing and move more people in. So there's a war crime that the ICC could look at if the Palestine Authority joined the court, because that war crime will last a very long time, I'm afraid. The transfer would be investigated, indictments of many high Israeli officials past and present could follow.
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  • Giving up on the system: Leading Israeli human rights groups reject army request to file investigations on crimes in Gaza
    • The Committee of Independent Experts' findings on alleged war crimes during Operation Cast Lead may be indicative of how the next round of inquiry will go:

      Israel’s domestic investigations are rife with conflicts of interest and a lack of oversight that render them inadequate mechanisms for accountability. In addition to the glaring examples of ludicrous findings, there are several structural issues worth mentioning. Chief among them is the fact that Israeli authorities have refused to investigate the whole operation, as mandated by international legal standards, choosing instead to only examine the conduct of individual soldiers. In doing so, Israeli authorities fail to investigate its command level policy-based decisions including, but not limited to, its rules of engagement as well as its use of excessively harmful weapons in lieu of lesser harmful alternatives, like white phosphorous.

      Additionally, by placing primary responsibility on the Military Advocate General (MAG), who himself may be subject for criminal prosecution for providing legal counsel to the IDF during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli investigation lacks independence and impartiality. From the outset, the MAG has affirmed that ‘[t]hroughout the fighting in Gaza, the IDF operated in accordance with international law,’ thereby absolving himself as well as the command level decision-makers of any wrong doing before the initiation of investigations.

      Finally, Israel’s system is too heavily reliant on operational debriefings, which are not intended to provide effective judicial remedy to victims but instead to enhance military operations. During its Twelfth Session, the Human Rights Council recognized that “a tool designed for the review of performance and to learn lessons can hardly be effective and impartial investigation mechanism that should be instituted after every military operation where allegations of serious violations have been made.”
      link to

    • 41. The Human Rights Council Fact Finding Mission (FFM) Committee of Independent Experts further noted that notwithstanding the built-in structural guarantees to ensure Israel's (Military Advocate General) MAG’s independence, his dual responsibilities as legal advisor to the Chief of Staff and other military authorities, and his role as supervisor of criminal investigations within the military, raise concerns in the present context given allegations in the FFM report that those who designed, planned, ordered, and oversaw Operation Cast Lead in Gaza were complicit in international humanitarian law and international human rights law violations. It is notable that the MAG himself, in his testimony to the Turkel Commission, pointed out that the military investigations system he heads is not a viable mechanism to investigate and assess high-level policy decisions. When questioned by commission members about his “dual hat” and whether his position at the apex of legal advisory and prosecutorial power can present a conflict of interest under certain circumstances, he stated that “the mechanism is calibrated for the inspection of individual incidents, complaints of war crimes in individual incidents (…). This is not a mechanism for policy. True, it is not suitable for this.” Therefore, the Committee remains of the view that an independent public commission – and not the MAG’s office – is the appropriate mechanism for carrying out an independent and impartial analysis, as called for in the FFM report, into allegations that high-level decision-making related to the Gaza conflict violated international law.

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  • Guess who's invited to Open Hillel's first conference? Students for Justice in Palestine
    • Denying Palestinians Their Humanity
      A Response to Elie Wiesel

      I read your statement about Palestinians, which appeared in The New York Times on August 4th. I cannot help feeling that your attack against Hamas and stunning accusations of child sacrifice are really an attack, carefully veiled but unmistakable, against all Palestinians, their children included. As a child of Holocaust survivors—both my parents survived Auschwitz—I am appalled by your anti-Palestinian position, one I know you have long held. I have always wanted to ask you, why? What crime have Palestinians committed in your eyes? Exposing Israel as an occupier and themselves as its nearly defenseless victims? Resisting a near half century of oppression imposed by Jews and through such resistance forcing us as a people to confront our lost innocence (to which you so tenaciously cling)?
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  • Israel and the law -- the views of three international jurists
    • I am very glad that Mondoweiss is covering the "Israeli Law" angle of the Occupation as it is the unseen scaffold by way of a thousand mendacious cuts and skewered decisions behind the entire Zionist enterprise to discount, disenfranchise, and destroy normalcy in Palestinian life......

    • In 1979, a group of Palestinian farmers filed a petition with Israel’s High Court of Justice, claiming their land was being illegally expropriated by Jewish settlers. The farmers were not Israeli citizens, and the settlers appeared to have acted with the state’s support; indeed, army helicopters had escorted them to the land—a hilltop near Nablus—bringing along generators and water tanks. The High Court of Justice nevertheless ordered the outpost dismantled. “The decision of the court… proved that ‘there was justice’ in Jerusalem and that Israel was indeed ruled by Law,” exulted one Israeli columnist.

      But the frustration of the settlers did not last very long. As revealed in The Law in These Parts, an engrossing new Israeli documentary making its American debut at the Sundance Film Festival, just hours after the ruling was handed down, Ariel Sharon, a keen supporter of the settlement project who was then Israel’s Minister of Agriculture, organized a meeting to discuss how to circumvent it. Alexander Ramati, then a legal advisor to the West Bank military command, raised his hand to tell Sharon about an Ottoman concept known as “Mawat land.” The Ottomans, who had controlled Palestine until World War I, had used the term to designate land far enough from any neighboring village that a crowing rooster perched on its edge could not be heard. Under Ottoman law, if such land was not cultivated for three years it was “mawat”—dead —and reverted to the empire. “With or without your rooster, be at my office at 8:00 in the morning,” Sharon told Ramati, who was soon crisscrossing the West Bank in the cockpit of a helicopter, identifying tens of thousands of uninhabited acres that could be labeled “state land” and made available to settlers, notwithstanding the Geneva Convention’s prohibition on moving civilians into occupied territory. In the years that followed, a string of new settlements was built on this territory, eventually prompting another challenge before the Israeli High Court. This time, the Court denied the challenge, ruling that settlement construction was permissible while Israel served as the temporary custodian of the territory. This provided a legal basis for land expropriation that has since enabled hundreds of thousands of Israelis to relocate to the West Bank.
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  • Three-sentence letter to the 'NYT' results in Yale chaplain's resignation
    • @Just

      I don't know without a doubt what Reverend Shipman sermonized from his episcopal pulpit at Yale, but given the NYTs piece and the similar editorial in The Day, the Gaza tragedy was very much on his mind......

      (missing link)
      New Haven Register 10/17/13

      Demonstration of unity was inspiring

      I was inspired by the “I Wage Peace Walk” in New Haven this past Sunday afternoon. As a participant and co-sponsor, I want to thank Bruce Barrett and the many others who organized this event, not least the four “combatants for peace” who came to New Haven from Israel/Palestine to witness to the possibility of peace and reconciliation in that wartorn land. The three representatives of Judaism, Christianity and Islam — Rabbi Joshua Ratner, Father David Cobb and Imam Hafiz Abdul Hannan — spoke to the crowd with words of hope. All three invited everyone to “walk with us and work with us today and every day, waging peace and healing for all Americans, all Israelis, all Palestinians, and all people; for our children, and for the children of New Haven, Israel, Palestine and the children of the world.”

      Symbols matter. Vision matters. This united witness was a blessing and a reminder of how things might be, how things ought to be, in the Holy Land as peace talks there resume with the goal of establishing a viable Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel.

      — The Rev. Bruce M. Shipman, The Episcopal Church at Yale New Haven

    • @Just
      "I have not heard that these good men preached their Palestinian activism from their pulpits"

      How WRONG you are....!!!

      Shipman has a long history of service to the Diocese of Connecticut, in the parishes of Westport and Roxbury for 26 years before moving to Groton and taking early retirement to reflect on the state of the world, the church, and his own soul in this time of war and profound change in the Episcopal Church. Retirement lasted eleven months, followed by an invitation to Ivoryton, where he served four years.
      His second “retirement” lasted less than a year, when he accepted a call to be Vicar at the Church of the Holy Advent in Clinton, where he served from 2006-2011, after which the Rev. Canon Peter Larom (Class of 1972) was called as Rector.
      Demonstration of Unity was Inspiring
      link to
      Reverend Shipman has been an unwavering advocate of The Tree of Life Community which has been operating in South Eastern CT since 2004 as an ecumenical forum to promote understanding of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The list of invited speakers to the autumn TOL conferences is long and impressive The Conference(s) has been converted into a multi-venue event lasting several days in 6 to 8 locations including Boston and New York. Spring trips to Israel Palestine are also an annual event with participants attending daily meetings with activists on the front lines of protest and non-violent actions across the West Bank.. Reverened Shipman has been an active participant on at least one these journeys.
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      The result of Shipman’s heartfelt beliefs has been virulent hate mail….
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  • Israeli officer tosses Palestinian shepherds from their land so settlers don't have to hear Arabic
    • Since all Israel's negative moves against Palestinians has to do with "National Security, how does the fabric of (linguistic ) intactness qualifies as such...unless of course the exclusion of the shepherds will eventually fall under the guise of "present absentee proprietors" and qualify for automatic seizure by the IDF/Civil Administraion....

  • Israel has three years to end the occupation -- Abbas
    • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday accused Hamas of running a “shadow government” in the Gaza Strip and said that the unity government between Hamas and the PLO must assert its authority in the besieged coastal enclave. Speaking to a group of Egyptian journalists and scholars in Cairo on the first day of a three-day visit, Abbas said that the Palestinian Authority “would not accept the situation in Gaza to continue as it is now and in this shape.”

      “There are 27 undersecretaries of ministries who are running the Gaza Strip, and the national consensus government cannot do anything on the ground,” Abbas said, referring to the officials of the former Hamas government who continue to maintain power in Gaza despite an April agreement that led to a government of national reconciliation between PLO and Hamas.
      The statements came after a presidential guards commander told Ma’an that Palestinian Authority forces were preparing to begin staffing the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, currently maintained by Hamas.

      A senior commander who spoke on condition of anonymity told Ma’an Saturday that PA presidential guards had already prepared a list of officers to take charge of security arrangements at the terminal and at the Philadelphi Corridor along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

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    • Bad idea....more of "divide and conquer" with the "Assassination Plot" business, and stall for more "land grab" during the three year wait-and-see period....

  • Gaza benefit at Yale was moved off-campus due to backlash against priest's letter to NYT
    • Monday's Gaza benefit concert and vigil featuring violinist Michael Dabrowski went on at Bethesda Lutheran in New Haven last Monday, despite Yale's cancellation in response to Bruce Shipman's letter to the New York Times linking anti-semitism to Israeli policy.

      Since the vigil, Bruce was pushed to resign his position as a Yale Chaplin by the Executive Council of the Board of Directors.

  • British pol is beaten by man in Israeli army t-shirt, and the chattering classes are silent
    • In his first TV interview after release from hospital, British MP George Galloway told RT he is surprised by the lack of condemnation from other UK politicians of the brutal attack on him. The assault by a pro-Israeli man left Galloway in much pain.

      Galloway, 60, was brutally beaten in Notting Hill, London last Friday allegedly for his views on the conflict in Gaza.

      “It’s very painful to walk, to move, even to speak because I sustained a dislocated jaw, quite bad head injuries, and very badly cracked ribs,” he said.

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  • Although focus has been on Gaza, Israel's plan for the West Bank is still in place
    • Robert Fisk weighs in.....
      It was instructive to learn the Israeli-Jewish Etzion council regarded this larceny as punishment for the murder of three Israeli teenagers in June. “The goal of the murders of those three youths was to sow fear among us, to disrupt our daily lives and to call into doubt our right [sic] to the land,” the Etzion council announced. “Our response is to strengthen settlement.” This must be the first time that land in “Palestine” has been acquired not through excuses about security or land deeds – or on God’s personal authority – but out of revenge.....
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    • Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled plans to build 2,500 settlement units in Jerusalem due to international pressure, according to local media reports.

      Israeli officials told Walla! Netanyahu stopped the construction of new settlement homes primarily due to fear of an “international crisis”, after the US had urged him not to follow through with the plan.

      The housing units had been announced after the 12 June abduction of three Israeli settler teens, who were later found dead near Hebron. 1,500 units were to be built in south Jerusalem and a further 1,000 in West Bank settlements.

      “The national status after Operation Protective Edge is explosive and complicated,” an unnamed officials told Walla!. “Israel needs to act carefully and not initiate new crises that will be added to unavoidable crises created by the operation,” they added.

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  • The Palestinian message to Israel: Deal with us justly. Or disappear
    • Thank you Walid for the clarification and correct numbers!! My point was of course, Israeli refusal to undertake any steps in negotiations with Hamas at a time when it might have given the Hamas victory....
      The leaders of Israel’s current government claim that no peace process is possible with a Hamas-led Palestinian government. But some of the best-informed observers of the Israeli– Palestinian conflict believe that no lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible without Hamas’s to

    • Mahmoud Abbas’s still does not extend much beyond Ramallah, hence the push for a “Unity Government”. Hamas has been, not only the effective ruler of Gaza, but the only political party that received a democratic mandate for its rule from the Palestinian electorate in the 2006 election that rejected Fatah.
      The Oslo accords declared Gaza to be an inseparable part of Palestine, and obliged Israel to provide an unobstructed territorial connection linking Gaza to the West Bank. That provision was reinforced by a formal Israeli-Palestinian agreement (the Agreement on Movement and Access) in 2005 for the free movement of people and goods between these two areas, brokered by James Wolfensohn, then secretary of state Condoleezza Rice’s special envoy for Gaza disengagement, an obligation Israel violated even before the ink on the document dried. Hamas was denied its electoral mandate and excluded from the West Bank because Fatah had conspired with Israel’s government and the Bush administration to carry out a putsch by Mohammed Dahlan’s militia forces in Gaza , a putsch pre-empted by Hamas
      Until now, Hamas could never be engaged by Israel, or by the US, as long as it adhered to a charter that is racist and anti-Semitic, and explicitly commits the organization to the violent expulsion of Jews within Israel’s internationally recognized pre-1967 borders. While the government of Israel does not have a charter promising the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and the confiscation of their land, it has been doing exactly that – regularly and systematically. These confiscations and expulsions began even before Hamas existed, yet no one in the West demanded Israel be quarantined, or even that it be denied continued massive American financial and military assistance.
      At the heart of Hamas’ grievances is the double standard that Israel, the US and Europe apply to the entire range of issues the peace talks are intended to resolve. Hamas’ leadership maintains that what distinguishes its movement from Fatah is its refusal to swallow this hypocrisy. It insists on absolute reciprocity, especially with respect to the Quartet’s three conditions for removing the political quarantine against it. These conditions require Hamas to recognize the State of Israel, accept all previous agreements with Israel, and renounce violence. Yet these three obligations – every one of them – have been regularly ignored and violated by Netanyahu and preceding Israeli governments.

      Henry Siegman: link to

      We shall see if things will change in the( near) future…..

  • Yale Protestant chaplain says Americans must curb Israel so as to curb anti-Semitism
    • Yes Mooser, the concert was indeed rescheduled to Bethesda Lutheran Church
      450 Whitney Avenue in New Haven, CT. The Tree of Life community has been operating in South Eastern CT since 2004 as an ecumenical forum to promote understanding of the Israel/Palestinian conflict. The list of invited speakers for the November conferences is long and impressive and now held in seven to eight locations . Spring trips to Israel/Palestine are also a yearly event with daily meetings with activists on the front lines of protest and non-violent actions across the West Bank. Bruce Shipman has been an unwavering advocate for the community's activity!!!


      Due to much unfavorable publicity surrounding my letter of August 26 to the New York Times, the board of the Episcopal Church at Yale has decided that it would be best to cancel the STAND WITH GAZA concert scheduled for Labor Day evening. It is of course a disappointment to me personally and to all who looked forward to this worthy event, but it is our expectation that checks for the Ahli Hospital in Gaza will continue to come in. The money they generate will be given to American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem for transmission to the hospital.

      Bruce M. Shipman, Chaplain
      The Episcopal Church at Yale
      August 28, 2014

    • Anti-Israelism, not anti-Semitism, voiced in Europe

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    • As far back as August 2010, well after the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead had demolished Gaza, Hamas made it clear that its charter – like the PLO’s charter which Arafat famously dismissed in 1989 as “caduque” (obsolete, expired) well before it was formally annulled – no longer represented Hamas’ ideology. Its various proposals for a long-term hudna (ceasefire) with Israel, if it were to agree to a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders, clearly contradict its charter’s mqin points. A more direct repudiation of the charter’s anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic diatribe came from Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, in an interview conducted by the Jordanian Arabic-language newspaper Al-Sabeel in July (translated into English by the Afro-Middle East Centre in South Africa).
      Meshal was asked whether Hamas’ resistance was directed “against Zionists as Jews or as occupiers.” Meshal replied, “resistance and military confrontation with the Israelis was caused by occupation, aggression, and crimes committed against the Palestinian people, not because of differences in religion or belief.” He said that although “religion is a cornerstone to our lives ... we do not make of religion a force for engendering hatred, nor a cause or a pretext for harming or assaulting others, or grabbing what is not ours, or encroaching on the rights of others” – referring, of course, to the Israeli settlers’ invocation of the Bible to justify the theft of Palestinian land in the West Bank.
      Contrast this to the declarations of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a former Chief Rabbi of Israel and the leader of the most important Orthodox political party in Israel, during a Sabbath sermon from about the same time: “Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from the world. God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians.” In a previous sermon in 2001, he told his followers: “It is forbidden to be merciful to [the Arabs]. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.” Not a single member of Israel’s cabinet condemned Rabbi Ovadia Yosef for these pronouncements.
      Henry Siegman: link to

      Often we forget that anti-semitism and “islamophobia” are hand-in-glove reactions by both communities. The Bush Neocons ensconced in their think-tanks
      began a concerted effort to demonize Muslims across the globe prior to and during the Afghan campaign with all of the damagingly negative racial/religious epithets we have learned by heart and many still believe. More of the same for the duration of the War in Iraq, with the added horrors of Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay. In the United States proper, Islam was denigrated and Muslims expulsed after 9/11 and now we have ample evidence of ongoing racial profiling of Muslims by police departments across the country. Speaking as a European, these events and the incomparable “ in-your-face-violence” foisted on Palestinians, and particularly those residing in Gaza has been behind the slurs and hostility toward Jewish communities, particularly those in France and Belgium…..

  • Israel's information iron dome
    • Asa Kasher reponded when asked whether the IDF should be guided in its operations in Gaza by the concept that there should be zero tolerance for endangering the lives of soldiers…. "The soldiers' lives are endangered by virtue of their very presence in Gaza, by virtue of the fact that we send them to an area where there are enemy snipers and explosives set to go off in areas where the IDF is present. Sending a soldier there to fight terrorists is justified, but why should I force him to endanger himself much more than that so that the terrorist's neighbor isn't killed? I don't have an answer for that. From the standpoint of the state of Israel, the neighbor is much less important. I owe the soldier more. If it's between the soldier and the terrorist's neighbor, the priority is the soldier. Any country would do the same." The decision regarding the magnitude of force used to protect the lives of the soldiers is up to the commander in the field. "The commander must be skilled in gauging the appropriate use of force," Kasher said.
      link to
      In recent weeks, both Israelis and foreigners following the Gaza massacre have begun hearing of IDF massacres and mass executions in a Gaza neighborhood called Khuza’a. Idan Landau, one of Israel’s finest moral and political bloggers writes about the village:….Khuza’a is a village in the southern portion of Gaza, east of Khan Younis, 500 meters from the border. On the opposite side of the fence is Kibbutz Nir Oz. In the village are 10,000 residents (some say 14,000) who earn their living primarily from agriculture.
      It was. There was a village. There were residents. Now, everything is a shambles. Courtesy of the IDF. The State of Israel erased this place off the face of the earth. Tens, if not hundreds of the residents lie buried underneath the rubble. Now there is quiet in Khuza’a. The silence of death.
      What happened here? It is the kind of place and the kind of incident that may be studied for years. We may hear that…a lone Israeli soldier went mad and started murdering prisoners. It could be that members of an Israeli army unit at the center of the fighting decided to take out their rage on those they captured. There may be many theories. All I can tell you is what I saw and heard at the scene this day.
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      Who was the overall commander who executed this abomination? Who was the Butcher of Khuza’a? His name will be familiar to anyone who’s been reading this blog lately. And now let it be immortalized forever in the pages of infamy: Col. Ofer Winter. The same who ordered his soldiers to fight a holy war against the Philistine/Palestinian defiler’s of the Israeli God. The same one who ordered one of his unit leaders to execute Lt. Hadar Goldin by throwing a hand grenade and firing indiscriminately into the tunnel into which he’d been dragged. The same one who ordered carpet bombing of Rafah that murdered 150 Palestinians in a matter of hours. The same one who refused to allow his troops to hear a female Israeli musical performer because Orthodox Jews believe a woman’s voice infatuates men. Let this man (if he may be graced by that term) be forever known as the Butcher of Khuza’a.
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  • Ceasefire deal after weeks of fighting in Gaza promises easing of blockade
    • By Sunday night, Palestinian officials were denouncing the bombardment of Shujaiya as a “massacre” while international pressure mounted on the Israeli government to explain the heavy casualty toll being inflicted on Gaza civilians. The IDF told the press that Shujaiya had been a “fortress for Hamas terrorists” and reiterated that while Israel had “warned civilians” to evacuate, “Hamas ordered them to stay. Hamas put them in the line of fire.” The only possible reason for doing that is to kill a lot of people in as short a period of time as possible. ... It’s not mowing the lawn, it’s removing the topsoil,” said a senior US official
      Kerry’s hot-microphone comments reflect the shock among U.S. observers at the scale and lethality of the Israeli bombardment.
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  • Israel's decades-long effort to turn the word 'terrorism' into an ideological weapon
    • Netanyahu is following closely in the footsteps of Ariel Sharon, now elevated by hagiographers to a Minister of Defense who put Israel first in the face of global terrorism…..
      The Israeli Kahan commission (28 September 1982 - 8 February 1983) of enquiry into the Sabra and Shatila massacre provided absolute proof that Israeli soldiers saw the massacre taking place. The evidence of a Lieutenant Avi Grabovsky was crucial. He was an Israeli deputy tank commander and reported what he saw to his higher command. "Don't interfere," the senior officer said. Ever afterwards, Israeli embassies around the world would claim that the commission held Sharon only indirectly responsible for the massacre. It was untrue. The last page of the official Israeli report held Sharon "personally responsible". It was years later that the Israeli-trained Phalangist commander, Elie Hobeika, now working for the Syrians, agreed to turn state's evidence against Sharon - now the Israeli Prime Minister - at a Brussels court. The day after the Israeli attorney general declared Sharon's defence a "state" matter, Hobeika was killed by a massive car bomb in east Beirut. Israel denied responsibility. US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld traveled to Brussels and quietly threatened to withdraw Nato headquarters from Belgium if the country maintained its laws to punish war criminals from foreign nations. Within months, George W Bush had declared Sharon "a man of peace". It was all over
      Sharon voted against the peace treaty with Egypt in 1979. He voted against a withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 1985. He opposed Israel's participation in the Madrid peace conference in 1991. He opposed the Knesset plenum vote on the Oslo agreement in 1993. He abstained on a vote for peace with Jordan in 1994. He voted against the Hebron agreement in 1997. He condemned the manner of Israel's retreat from Lebanon in 2000. By 2002, he had built 34 new Jewish colonies on Palestinian land. …….It was he who claimed that the preposterous Yasser Arafat was a Palestinian bin Laden. He it was who as Israeli foreign minister opposed Nato's war in Kosovo, inveighing against "Islamic terror" in Kosovo. "The moment that Israel expresses's likely to be the next victim.
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  • Our new look
    • Although the new format is aesthetically pleasing,miss the "old chronology listings" and the cut and the former paste feature...Now is seems necessary to "formulate a response" in Word and then paste....

  • 'NYT' journey to Israel/Palestine to be led by Israeli 'expert' who called on countrymen to 'kill and kill' Palestinians
  • Rolling in underground tunnels
    • ....Given the considerable sums that the "tunnel economy" generated, one has to suspect that "under-the-table-commercial-activity" might have indeed existed with southern Israel, although I have not found any affirmative verification to this. Given that the tunnel trade was a tightly controlled in an effort to circumvent the Israeli siege, acknowledged trading with the enemy might have been viewed as treason, a crime punishable by death as we have just seen....

      "Once in control of the commercial tunnels, the Hamas government set about formalizing the smuggling economy through regulation. In the wake of Operation Cast Lead, the Interior Ministry established the Tunnel Affairs Commission (TAC) to act as the regulatory authority for commercial activities. Among its first acts was to issue a list of blacklisted imports, including weapons, alcohol, and tramadol, a painkiller much used in Gaza. In response to public concern at a rising toll of tunnel casualties, particularly of child workers, the TAC issued guidelines intended to ensure safe working conditions. Over time, it fenced off the site and stationed some three hundred black-clad internal-security personnel at entry points to spot-check the documentation of persons entering and leaving the zone. Tunnel openings were patrolled on motorbike. The TAC introduced a tunnel-licensing system to prevent construction in areas deemed of national security (particularly near border fortifications where outside observation was feared, or in areas reserved for factional tunneling) and to regulate oversupply. Investors seeking clearance to build a new tunnel were required to provide proof of land ownership or notarized proof of authorization of the right to use the land. The TAC also intervened to arbitrate disputes between merchants and tunnel operators, and monitored the market for instances of sharp inflation or evidence of hoarding and price-fixing, particularly of fuel. Traders and consumers alike said they welcomed the price stabilization and removal of petty traders selling gasoline from the roadsides."

      link to
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      The scale of the Gaza-Egypt tunnel exploit and the role tunnels played in the revival and maintenance of the economy made them an absolute necessity!!

  • Mr. Netanyahu, what is your endgame?
    • ...Invading Gaza at the present time not ....
      he topic of the army’s briefing was the challenge of reoccupying Gaza and disarming Hamas. Numerous figures on the right, including senior Cabinet ministers Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett, have insisted for weeks that Israel should aim to conquer the district rather than negotiate a cease-fire that leaves Hamas in place.

      They’ve gotten broad support from lawmakers in Netanyahu’s own Likud. Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon have resisted the demand at the army’s urging.

      The army’s PowerPoint briefing indicated that conquering Gaza, with its estimated 20,000 gunmen and tens of thousands of weapons, would take at least five years and leave hundreds of Israeli soldiers and thousands of Palestinian civilians dead. It would lead to prolonged rioting in the West Bank and among Israeli Arabs, and would probably rupture Israel’s peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt, the generals reportedly said.

      After taking over, Israel would face violent chaos for several more years until the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet get an intelligence network in place and stabilize Israeli rule. Soldiers would face a high risk of kidnapping throughout.

      According to news accounts, several ministers grilled the generals afterward, claiming that the PowerPoint presentation grossly exaggerated the difficulties. They claimed the army was trying to bully the ministers into rejecting an invasion and accepting a cease-fire that leaves Hamas in place. The generals reportedly shot back that they were merely presenting hard intelligence.

      Netanyahu finally asked for a straw vote. Nobody voted to invade. In the weeks since, however, Cabinet members Lieberman, Bennett and Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan of Likud have repeatedly criticized Netanyahu and urged reoccupying Gaza and crushing Hamas.

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  • 'NYT' op-ed calls on Jews to abandon liberal Zionism and push for equal rights
    • From an encouraging Ynet op-ed:
      Hamas is not a terror organization. It's easier for us to call it that because the classification dwarfs it and aggrandizes us, and allows us to treat it as a pest that must be eliminated, rather than a political player that must be taken into account when examining the balance of power and fear in our neighborhood.
      It was easier for us to think this is a summer camp for martyrs, with a few hot-tempered Imams and some monstrous engineer, and that if we could only get rid of them, things would be better. We were wrong. We were also wrong in Lebanon when we failed to properly identify the cumulative power of the Palestinian organizations. This mistake marked the beginning of our sinking into the Lebanese quicksand. Are we going to be stupid enough to have to repeat this mistake?
      The governments of Israel throughout the years, our senior analysts, the best of our generals and whoever else, all flooded the public discourse with talk of a "terror organization" to the point that we became too blind to see.

      Firstly, we did not realize what we were doing when we encouraged the separation between the West Bank and Gaza Strip in order to weaken the PLO, and got a far worse foe. Secondly, we did not realize that the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, to the point of hearing maniacal laughter emanating from the rubble of Gaza at the sight of rockets rolling down the road in Tel Aviv.
      Thirdly, we failed in understanding Hamas' own reality - because you don't have to understand a terror organization, just eradicate it - and so we failed to understand the deep despair that is the very basis of Islamic fundamentalism, or the ideology that sanctifies a bloody dream over human life, the willingness to suffer lengthy periods of shortage and a hard siege for faith, and the choice of the promised future in paradise over the future you could build with your own two hands in this world.
      Years of a lack of understanding cannot be covered by any Iron Dome, and all the accurate military intelligence is worth nothing unless it comes with the understanding of what our target is. And this target can't be to eradicate, crush or eliminate. On the other hand, it also can't be to negotiate, because we allegedly don't negotiate with terrorists. Then again, it also can't be to rely on a mix of tangled international interventions that are as fragile as a spider's web.
      During this pointless round of fighting, this government must realize it was wrong, learn from its mistakes and urgently change its tune before all of its symbols of sovereignty are damaged in this struggle and before it becomes clear that it has failed in its primary and most important mission: to guarantee that we can maintain normal everyday life here. Sort of........
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  • Democratic Party leader echoes Netanyahu's new theme: Hamas equals ISIS
    • @Kay24.......Lost the PR War, I wish, but sadly untrue.

      By using his oldest trick again, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the International Commission of Inquiry on the occupation's war crimes in Gaza by using the narrative of the victim to justify and explain the most recent bout of Israeli aggression and hostility. During the final moments of his meeting in Tel Aviv with the Andrew Cuomo, the governor of the state of New York, Netanyahu criticised the Human Rights Council's decision to form a committee to look into the crimes against humanity that have been committed in the Gaza Strip. In response to the HRC's decision, Netanyahu said, "The Council's [decision] grants legitimacy to terrorist organisations such as Hamas and ISIS rather than doing what is right by examining Hamas' attacks on Israeli citizens and its exploitation of Palestinians as human shields..."
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    • Egypt's Al-Mesryoon newspaper reported on Wednesday quoting a statement by Hamas's senior leader Al-Zahar that was broadcast by Al-Aqsa, a television channel close to Hamas, as saying: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu making a connection between Hamas and the Islamic State is a deception, which aims to incite the world against Hamas....He further stated, "Hamas is a national resistance movement and its aim is to liberate Palestine."
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  • Israeli ship heads out of Oakland - again - after five days of extraordinary protest
    • In the aftermath of the "Missilegate" fiasco, the Wall Street Journal has mentioned that "US leaders believe that Israel's actions throughout the military operation in Gaza, especially the actions of Netanyahu and the Minister of Defense, were very reckless" and that Israeli leaders cannot be trusted. What this means is that many believe that Netanyahu was pulling strings and using his leverage in the White House and the American Congress to manipulate the US government, John Kerry and the US ambassador in Israel.
      But best of all:
      Even the US Postal Service (USPS) has taken a number of undeclared punitive actions against Israel as the Hebrew Reuters' page reported that the USPS allegedly refuses to send packages and letters to Israel because of the nature of the current security situation post-Gaza offensive. According to the websites, the USPS has received many complaints all across America for refusing to send letters and parcels to Israel.......
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  • 'Lesson: The Jews will defend themselves even if it means killing children'
    • Should we be surprised at Israel's disproportionate use of force and the erasure of entire neighborhoods in Gaza....????
      In a 2008 interview with GOC Northern Command Gadi Eisenkot, and articles written by two senior reserve officers have indicated that the IDF will continue to give first priority to firepower, even if the targets it chooses are different than those chosen in previous conflicts. Eisenkot presented his "Dahiyah Doctrine," under which the IDF would expand its destructive power beyond what it demonstrated two years ago against the Beirut suburb of Dahiyah, considered a Hezbollah stronghold.
      "We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective, these are military bases," he said. "This isn't a suggestion. This is a plan that has already been authorized."
      Colonel (Res.) Gabriel Siboni recently authored a report through Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies backed Eisenkot's statements at the time.
      The answer to rocket and missile threats from Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, he believes, is "a disproportionate strike at the heart of the enemy's weak spot, in which efforts to hurt launch capability are secondary. As soon as the conflict breaks out, the IDF will have to operate in a rapid, determined, powerful and disproportionate way against the enemy's actions."
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    • Israel is slowly pushing the boundaries of existing law in an explicit attempt to reshape it. This is an affront to the international humanitarian legal order, which is intended to protect civilians in times of war by minimizing their suffering. Israel's attempts have proven successful in the realm of public relations, as evidenced by President Obama's uncritical support of Israel's recent onslaughts of Gaza as an exercise in the right of self-defense. Since international law lacks a hierarchal enforcement authority, its meaning and scope is highly contingent on the prerogative of states, especially the most powerful ones. The implications of this shift are therefore palpable and dangerous.

      To justify its use of force in the OPT as consistent with the right of self-defense, Israel has cited UN Security Council Resolution 1368 (2001)and UN Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001). These two resolutions were passed in direct response to the Al-Qaeda attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001. They affirm that those terrorist acts amount to threats to international peace and security and therefore trigger Article 51 of the UN Charter permitting the use of force in self-defense. Israel has therefore deliberately characterized all acts of Palestinian violence - including those directed exclusively at legitimate military targets - as terrorist acts. Secondly it frames those acts as amounting to armed attacks that trigger the right of self-defense under Article 51 irrespective of the West Bank and Gaza's status as Occupied Territory.

      The Israeli Government stated its position clearly in the 2006 HCJ case challenging the legality of the policy of targeted killing (Public Committee against Torture in Israel et al v. Government of Israel). The State argued that, notwithstanding existing legal debate, "there can be no doubt that the assault of terrorism against Israel fits the definition of an armed attack," effectively permitting Israel to use military force against those entities.Therefore, Israeli officials claim that the laws of war can apply to "both occupied territory and to territory which is not occupied, as long as armed conflict is taking place on it" and that the permissible use of force is not limited to law enforcement operations. The HCJ has affirmed this argument in at least three of its decisions:Public Committee Against Torture in Israel et al v. Government of Israel, Hamdan v. Southern Military Commander, and Physicians for Human Rights v. The IDF Commander in Gaza. These rulings sanction the government's position that it is engaged in an international armed conflict and, therefore, that its use of force is not restricted by the laws of occupation. The Israeli judiciary effectively authorizes the State to use police force to control the lives of Palestinians (e.g., through ongoing arrests, prosecutions, checkpoints) and military force to pummel their resistance to occupation.

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  • Weapons fired in Ferguson come from companies supplying Israel, Bahrain and Egypt
    • Proven Effective: Crowd Control Weapons in the Occupied Palestinian TerritoriesThe report focuses on three types of weapons as case studies: tear gas canisters, produced and marketed by Combined Systems (CSI) and M.R. Hunter; "the Scream", manufactured by Electro-Optics Research & Development (EORD) and Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD); and "the Skunk", manufactured by Odortec, with the supporting companies: MAN Group and Beit Alpha Technologies (B.A.T). The report highlights the harmful consequences of these weapons, including their potentially lethal effects. The occupied Palestinian territories are being used as a lab for testing new weapons for civil oppression on humans, in order to label them as “proven effective” for marketing abroad.
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    • The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) is at the heart of American-Israeli law enforcement collaboration. JINSA is a Jerusalem and Washington DC-based think tank known for stridently neoconservative policy positions on Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians and its brinkmanship with Iran. The group’s board of directors boasts a Who’s Who of neocon ideologues. Two former JINSA advisors who have also consulted for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Douglas Feith and Richard Perle, went on to serve in the Department of Defense under President George W. Bush, playing influential roles in the push to invade and occupy Iraq. Through its Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP), JINSA claims to have arranged Israeli-led training sessions for over 9000 American law enforcement officials at the federal, state and municipal level. “The Israelis changed the way we do business regarding homeland security in New Jersey,” Richard Fuentes, the NJ State Police Superintendent, said after attending a 2004 JINSA-sponsored Israel trip and a subsequent JINSA conference alongside 435 other law enforcement officers.
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    • The Israelification of America’s security apparatus, recently unleashed in full force against the Occupy Wall Street Movement, has taken place at every level of law enforcement, and in areas that have yet to be exposed. The phenomenon has been documented in bits and pieces, through occasional news reports that typically highlight Israel’s national security prowess without examining the problematic nature of working with a country accused of grave human rights abuses. But it has never been the subject of a national discussion. And collaboration between American and Israeli cops is just the tip of the iceberg.
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  • With ceasefire set to expire, Palestinians aim to lift the siege while Israel wants to turn 'Gaza into Ramallah'
    • Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, ordered his army to attack targets in Gaza, and recalled from Cairo negotiators who were involved in indirect talks with Palestinians on a permanent ceasefire.

      "In response to Hamas's violation of the truce, the prime minister and defence minister have ordered the IDF [Israeli army] to once more attack terror sites in the Gaza Strip," a government official said.
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  • Gruesome tales surface of Israeli massacres against families in Gaza's Shujaiya neighborhood
    • "Five years after the presentation of the Goldstone Report, there is no real accountability and the recommendations remain unimplemented. Neither Israel nor the Gaza authorities have taken any meaningful measures for accountability for gross violations resulting in killing of civilians, deliberate targeting and destruction of UN buildings and other places protected under the Geneva Conventions, and destruction of civilian infrastructure in Gaza. As far as Israel is concerned, the record shows its contempt for real accountability in the manner it has dealt with incidents during the 2009 offensive, about which the Mission had given findings of serious human rights and humanitarian law violations."
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  • 5 micro incidents of hope
    • Farther afield and as Noam Chomsky has observed.....
      But as the U.S. government backpedals to reconcile its unconditional support of Israel with basic principles of human rights and Europe waffles, one region stands out in its opposition to the siege of Gaza: Latin America. Leaders from across the region have condemned the Israel Defense Forces’ attacks on Gaza as excessive and unfair. “I think what’s happening in the Gaza Strip is dangerous,” Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff told the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo. “I don’t think it’s genocide, but I think it’s a massacre.”
      Chile, currently a member of the U.N. Security Council, stated that the Israeli government “does not respect the fundamental norms of international humanitarian law.”
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  • The catastrophe inflicted on Gaza--and the costs to Israel's standing
    • Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter to the Jewish communities thanking them for being "a source of great strength for the people of Israel" over the past two months. He acknowledged in the letter that "this has been a difficult period for Jews around the world, as many of you face increasingly virulent and sometimes violent manifestations of antisemitism".

      While the most severe incidents have been in Europe, there has been violence and abuse in many countries around the world.

      In the US, where antisemitic incidents have been less prevalent, the Gaza crisis has played out mainly in the media and in various Jewish movements, where the largely liberal community has been thrashing out its dilemmas. In addition, some of the more prominent figures criticising Israel's actions, such as comedian Jon Stewart, are Jewish.

      While there have been large rallies in support of Israel in many US cities, there have also been reports of pro-BDS Jewish groups attracting more members.

      Groups such as J Street have tried a middle path, expressing shock over the dead civilians in Gaza, supporting Secretary of State John Kerry's faltering attempts to reach a ceasefire, while recognising Israel's right to defend itself.

      This round of fighting seems to have left in its wake a divided and uncertain Jewish landscape in America.

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    • n a letter recently sent out by the Ministry of Agriculture to Israeli dairy and livestock producers, Israeli farmers were told to start separating out their products that come from beyond the Green Line ahead of the European Union's boycott of dairy, poultry, eggs and meat that come from the West Bank and Golan Heights. The separated products will then not be sent to the European Union.

      The EU's ban is designated for products from the West Bank and Golan Heights, but would technically include certain parts of Jerusalem, though no Israeli goods are produced there anymore.

      In accordance with instructions from the Foreign and Finance ministries, the letter goes on to state that farmers must present the ministry with a list of farms over the Green Line from which they receive raw materials that are combined with materials from multiple farms. This is being done in order to separate end products, such as powdered milk, that could include materials from both farms over the Green Line and farms within the EU's definition of Israel.

      Currently, products sold in the European Union that come from over the Green Line carry a label, but are not banned outright.

      The European Union agreed to the Green Line poultry, egg, meat and dairy ban on February 17 of this year. The ban is supposed to go into effect on September 1.

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    • The evidence of atrocities is mounting. One of the defining horrors of this attack has beenthe targeting of family homes – close to 1,000 homes have been destroyed or severely damaged by Israeli airstrikes. Reporting on the issue, the Associated Press said that the Israeli military did not respond to repeated requests "to explain in detail why even one of [the homes] was targeted". Earlier on in the operation, Israeli NGO B'Tselem noted how the Israel military itself had "acknowledged" conducting attacks that were "illegally aimed at homes that were not military targets". A senior officer, commenting on the bombing of a senior al-Qassam Brigades figure's house, said: "You call it a home, we call it a command centre and a military post for all intents and purposes". As Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard put it, the Israeli military's "combat doctrine...redefines what constitutes a legitimate target for attack" so that it includes "houses belonging to Hamas commanders and operatives" (it should be noted homes have also been hit lacking even this 'link').
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  • Israel and its advocates have a new target in sight: Head of UN inquiry William Schabas
    • U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today slammed the United Nations for appointing William Schabas as head of the U.N Gaza Commission and urged the United States to defund and withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council if Schabas is not removed.

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    • UN Watch sounded the alarm: Mr Schabas has a long record of statements attacking Israel and defending the Iranian regime.

      Specifically, we cited his recent participation in a mock trial of alleged Israeli war crimes, in which he said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was "my favourite" to put "in the dock of the International Criminal Court".

      Not the mass murderers of Syria, Iraq, Sudan. His one favourite: Mr Netanyahu. How could someone openly express his dream of indicting a particular individual - and the next day claim to be his impartial judge?
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  • Israeli soldiers carved Stars of David in homes in Gaza, report Blumenthal and Cohen
    • “The recent fighting has resulted in substantial direct damage to Gaza’s 17,000 hectares of croplands as well as much of its agricultural infrastructure, including greenhouses, irrigation systems, animal farms, fodder stocks and fishing boats,” the statement continued.

      The report added that Gaza had lost half of its poultry in the attack, “either due to direct hits on their shelters or lack of water, feed or care resulting from access restrictions.”

      Losses among Gaza’s crucial fishing sector, meanwhile, were estimated at 234.6 tons, or about 9.3 percent of the yearly catch.

      According to the organization, although Gaza imports most of its food needs, around 28,600 people in Gaza rely on farming (19,000 people), livestock raising (6,000) and fishing (3,600) for their livelihoods.

      “Under the most recent ceasefire many farmers and herders are now able to access their lands, however resumption of food production faces serious obstacles given the damages sustained and shortages of water, electricity, inputs and financial resources, as well as ongoing uncertainty regarding the possible resumption of military activities”, said Ciro Fiorillo, head of the FAO office in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
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  • Liberal Zionism has lost its refuge-- a plausible two-state solution
    • Haaretz talked to Israel Prize laureate and renowned scholar Zeev Sternhell about his fears for the collapse of Israeli democracy.

      Of all the phenomena you’ve encountered here, which do you find ugliest?

      “What we’ve seen here in the past few weeks is absolute conformism on the part of most of Israel’s intellectuals. They’ve just followed the herd. By intellectuals I mean professors and journalists. The intellectual bankruptcy of the mass media in this war is total. It’s not easy to go against the herd, you can easily be trampled. But the role of the intellectual and the journalist is not to applaud the government. Democracy crumbles when the intellectuals, the educated classes, toe the line of the thugs or look at them with a smile. People here say, ‘It’s not so terrible, it’s nothing like fascism – we have free elections and parties and a parliament.’ Yet, we reached a crisis in this war, in which, without anyone asking them to do so, all kinds of university bodies are suddenly demanding that the entire academic community roll back its criticism.”

      Do you think it’s due to fear?

      “Fear of the authorities, fear of possible budgetary sanctions and fear of pressure from the street. The personification of shame and disgrace occurred when the dean of the law faculty of Bar-Ilan University threatened sanctions against one of his colleagues because the latter added a couple of sentences to an announcement about exam dates in which he expressed sorrow at the killing and loss of life on both sides. To grieve for the loss of life on both sides is already a subversive act, treason. We are arriving at a situation of purely formal democracy, which keeps sinking to ever lower levels.”

      When will we cross the line in which democracy implodes?

      “Democracy rarely falls in a revolution. Not in Italy, not in Germany and not in France with the Vichy regime – which is a crucial thing, because France was a democratic country that fell into the hands of the right wing with the support of the vast majority of the population. It was not the fall of France that generated this ideology. It was the result of a gradual process in which an extreme nationalist ideology took shape, a radical approach that perceives the nation as an organic body. Like a tree on which human individuals are the leaves and the branches – in other words, people exist only thanks to the tree. The nation is a living body.

      “In Israel, the religious factor strengthens the national singularity. It’s not a matter of belief, but of identity; religion bolsters your distinctive identity. It’s essential to understand that without this radical nationalism there is no fascism. I also distinguish between fascism and Nazism, because fascism does not necessarily carry a race doctrine. Let me put it in no uncertain terms: Fascism is a war against enlightenment and against universal values; Nazism was a war against the human race.”

      Do you see a negation of universal values in Israel and a war against enlightenment in recent years?

      “It cries out to heaven. Israel is an extraordinary laboratory in which one sees the gradual erosion of enlightenment values, namely the universal values I mentioned. You see the negation, which always existed on the fringes, slowly impinging, until one day it dominates the center.”
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  • The Walzer Problem
    • MHughes976....The issue covered in the article is "the targeting of civilians" and "Just War" theory in the aftermath of "Operation Cast Lead". It was a time when much of the civilized world war appalled at Israeli impunity , the numbers of dead Palestinians, the infrastructure damage done by missiles and bombs and the dubious claims of "the use of human shields". Walzer and the world seem to have moved on since then, thanks to the ongoing and successful demonization of Arabs/Palestinians/ Muslims campaign.....

    • Michael Walzer seems to have adopted a much harder line than that voiced in the article co-authored with Avishai Margalit in their article, "Israel: Civilians&Combattants" (NYR May 14, 2009) concluding

      "This is the guideline we advocate: Conduct your war in the presence of noncombatants on the other side with the same care as if your citizens were the noncombatants"

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