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Total number of comments: 82 (since 2010-04-22 16:11:18)

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  • Australia opposed Palestinian UN bid because foreign policy was 'subcontracted to Jewish donors' -- report
    • Hi Phil,
      Bob Carr is actually the ex-Foreign Minister for Australia under the Gillard government (so not an ex-Foreign Minister for Britain/UK). He is a member of the Labor Right faction of the Australian Labor Party, the same party as former Australian Prime Ministers, Gillard and Rudd (Gillard is supposedly a member of the Left faction and Rudd was not in either faction, one of the things that contributed to his political demise).

      Prior to becoming Australian Foreign Minister, Carr had been the New South Wales (NSW) State Premier for 10 years from 1995 until 2005.

      The 7.30 program on the ABC (Australian Broadcast Corporation) -one of Australia's public broadcaster did an interview with him where he discuss in detail his criticism of the Israel lobby (see link below)

      The ABC had also run a online report on their website of his criticisms last night (Australian time) which carried the headline: Bob Carr lashes out at Melbourne 'pro-Israel lobby'. However, the headline has now changed and the online report now covers a range of issues, not just his criticism of the Melbourne Israel lobby. It also has an embedded video with the 7.30 Report interview.

      The current version of the article on the ABC website now gives much more space and weight to the response from the Israel lobby, than the original version did (unfortunately, I can't find a cache copy of the original article).

      As a result, it is better to watch/listen to the video embedded in the page as it contains his full comments on the issue of the Israel lobby, which had originally been given more prominence in the first version of the report.

      link to abc.net.au

  • Using secret travel ban, Israel prepares to deport activist Adam Shapiro preventing him from being at the birth of his first child
    • A similar thing happened with a German activist friend of mine. One of my friend's parents was born in Israel but immigrated to Germany. My friend only had German citizenship and passport. Israel had on several occasions attempted to deport my friend due to pro-Palestine solidarity activism. But because Israel has registered my friend technically as an Israeli citizen as a result of the parent's citizenship, they have at the last minute had to stop the deportations. When they tried to also prevent my friend entering Israel, they eventually had to allow entry for the same reason.

  • Brooklyn College president: 'There is no academic obligation to present' a pro-Israel perspective at boycott event
    • I have to agree. While it is terrific Gould has stood strong on the free speech/academic freedom issue over the SJP BDS forum, but she has also included a paragraph in her new statement fawning over Israel, defending the school (and her) engagement with Israeli apartheid and declaring how she and the school don't support BDS. That in my opinion is "F'd" as you note. Its not covering all bases it is capitulation to the Zionists - basically she has actually undermined her stance on academic freedom for the school by declaring allegiance to Israel as a way to try defend their co-sponsoring of the SJP event. Basically, it is implying that in order for schools to be able to able to have nominal "free speech"/ "academic freedom", they must also declare publicly their allegiance to Israel in order to stop interference from politicians and Zionists etc.

  • A bad day in Nabi Saleh
    • People can also keep up to date with what is happening in Nabi Saleh and support the village's struggle by joining the Nabi Saleh Solidarity Facebook page link to facebook.com
      and/or by visiting the Nabi Saleh Solidarity website/web blog link to nabisalehsolidarity.wordpress.com

    • Thanks Phil for the article. I just wanted to offer one small correct regarding the opening line of your article re the two girls who were photographed in August trying to stop the arrest of Nariman, only one of the two girls was her daughter (A'hd). The two girls are actually cousins. The second girl is the daughter of Naji Tamimi who like Bassem Tamimi also spent a year in prison for the "crime" of organising non-violent demonstrations in Nabi Saleh against the occupation.

  • Norr responds to Ash: Who is trying to get the solidarity movement back on track and who is merely fanning the flames of division?
    • @Cliff - seriously WTF are you talking about? Your whole post made absolutely no sense!

    • American: I never mentioned the FG movement or its management. I was refering to the broader Palestine solidarity movement and pointing out that Greta Berlin's post brought to the surface issues that have been ignored by some for to long in the Palestine solidarity movement.

      As with most social justice movements, the Palestine solidarity movement is a decentralised one and people come it with different levels of political consciousness and understanding. This is perfectly fine, as there should be inclusive and there should be room in the movement for a diversity ideas. However, if you are serious about building a SOLIDARITY movement with AN OPPRESSED PEOPLE (ie. the Palestinians in this case), then the absolute first rule should be DO NO HARM to their cause. Normalising the inclusion of ideas which reek of bigotry, racism, prejudice and conspiracy theories does nothing to aid the Palestinian cause, instead it harms it immensely.

      Everyone makes mistakes and many people, including myself would have been perfectly happy to accept Greta's explanation if she had not changed her story about what happened at least 8 times and if she had actually posted screen shots relating to the mistaken post. If she wanted to protect people's privacy, she could have easily have redacted the names of the people in the group. However, it now has become clear that within these groups, which Greta has played an active role, there has been a systematic refusal to address posts, comments and material that promote not only anti-Jewish bigotry, but also racism and anti-Semitism.

      As Bekah Wolf demonstrates in her article posted here on Mondoweiss, the "Our Land" Facebook group is rife with this sort of crap and Greta along with the other moderators failed to nip it in the bud link to mondoweiss.net ). Instead, Greta and the other moderators allowed such comments to be normalised as acceptable.

      This is the real issue here - the normalisation and acceptance within in some sectors of the movement of this sort of bigotry. And it is an issue that Gabriel Ash spells out quite clearly and which Henry Norr completely ignores in his response to him.

      Now that this sort of bigotry and condoning of it has been widely exposed and people are demanding that Greta and others who have condoned this sort of behaviour be accountable for their behaviour, Greta and her supporters including Norr, you and many others are blaming those who have taken a principled stand against bigotry in the movement.

      This has become "so big" an issue precisely because it is a very real issue which needs to be dealt with. And as painful as all of this has been for the entire movement, it is far better that it has finally all come out in the open and clarity can be achieved about what sort of movement we are building and what sort of politicals and principles should guide the Palestine solidarity movement.

      As far as I am concerned, we need to take a very clear and absolutely strong stance against the normalisation of bigotry in the movement, as Ali Abunimah and more than 100 Palestinians have noted in their statement.

      Perhaps if Greta, Henry Norr and others put their egos in check, they may actually recognise they are in fact underming the Palestine solidarity movement. However, instead it appears fairly clear that they would rather allow their egos to run rampant and make it all about themselves and not the movement or the Palestinian struggle.

    • Today Mondoweiss has published an article by Bekah Wolf, one of the founders of the Palestine Solidarity Project based in Beit Ommar in Occupied Hebron. The article is called "If only it was just one tweet: One activist’s experience in the ‘Our Land’ Facebook group" - I suggest Norr and those supporting him and Greta Berlin go and read it. link to mondoweiss.net

      As Bekah notes: "While I am personally disappointed in Greta the stakes here are much higher than one person's lack of judgement. This moment is a challenge to the Palestine solidarity movement and for us to define the movement we want to be, and the rhetoric and ideas we are willing to embrace".

      AND she then goes on to explain in length:

      "Several people, particularly Palestinians in Palestine, have criticized the amount of attention Greta and her tweet have gotten. Some have criticized her for making this about her and drawing attention away from the people who are actually suffering. Others have criticized those in the movement who have tried to hold Greta accountable. What people seem to be missing, however, are two key reasons why we cannot tolerate this rhetoric in our movement.

      First, as a movement based on universal principles of human rights, freedom, and dignity, we should not allow any bigotry, racism, Islamophobia or anti-Semitism in our midst. This was a point eloquently made in recent days in a statement signed by more than 100 Palestinian activists, academics and cultural workers.

      Secondly, there are some utilitarian reasons why we should avoid this kind of rhetoric. Every time a Palestine solidarity activist takes on the issue of Holocaust and its connections to Zionism, every time they conflate Judaism with Zionism, they are making an inherently Zionist argument. The horrific historical reality of the Holocaust does not, and never can, trivialize or justify the dispossession and suffering of the Palestinian people. But Greta and others, by insisting on making such topics a primary concern are tacitly conceding a key Zionist claim that the legitimacy of Zionism and its past and present deeds in Palestine stems from the Holocaust.

      As an anti-Zionist Jew who has been active in Palestine for 10 years, Greta Berlin's statements and the content of “Our Land” not only offend me, but they have damaged my ability to combat Zionist rhetoric by claiming that I cannot be both religiously Jewish and anti-Zionist. Zionists routinely argue that to be Jewish is to be Zionist and the kind of rhetoric displayed on “Our Land” concedes this important point and supports this fundamental Zionist claim. In addition, this episode regarding Berlin’s tweet has damaged our movement as a whole and has shown deep short-sightedness by opening us up to attack and dismissal by Zionists who are desperately trying to paint us as a movement as anti-Semitic. Palestinians have not asked the solidarity movement to concern itself with notions of Jewish identity, authenticity, and the Holocaust, but to offer active and effective solidarity in restoring their rights in their country"

    • What Henry Norr and far to many commentators om Mondoweiss seemed to have missed either by accident or deliberately is the fact that within the movement there are some real issues at stake which Greta Berlin's tweet has brought to the surface.

      Unfortunately, as Gabriel Ash notes there are among some in the movement (albeit a minority) who promote the mistaken idea that in the name of “inclusion” and “diversity” we need to accommodate dodgy ideas, bigotry (including anti-Jewish chauvanism, which may not necessarily be anti-semitism but does come very close to it) and frankly nutcase conspiracy theories. Such ideas, however, do harm to our movement and the Palestinian cause.

      However, in his response to Gabriel Ash, Henry Norr completely ignores this issue.

      Instead, there is a refusal by some to recognise that this is an issue within the movement (and I would place Henry Norr and his supporters in this category, along with Greta Berlin and her supporters) and that it is one that needs to be dealt with. Instead, people want to bury their head in the sand and pretend it nots a problem and that to allow it to continue causes harm to the movement and the Palestinian cause.

      Yes, there is a power struggle going on in the movement at the moment - a struggle to determine what politics the movement should promote and support.

      Do we allow the movement to normalise ideas which reek of conspiracy theories, bigotry, chauvinism and yes, even racism or do we support and build a movement which unequivocally opposes such things and build a movement based on the principles of decolonisation, anti-racism and an opposition to all forms of bigotry.

      Unfortunately, Greta Berlin and those supporters (including Henry Norr) have failed to step back, clear their heads and put their egos in check. They have lost sight of the fact that this movement is NOT ABOUT THEM, that it is about the Palestinians people and THEIR struggle.

      They seem to have forgotten that the first 'rule' of this movement should always be to DO NO HARM to the Palestinian struggle.

      Its time for Greta and co. to put their egos in check and recognise that it is them who are harming the movement and the Palestinian cause, not people such as Gabriel Ash and Ali Abunimah who have consistently taken a principled and correct political stand on these issues.

  • No room for racism in a movement working for equality and freedom
    • What a load of baloney, Keith. It has nothing to do with a 'turf war'. It has to have the guts and the principles to oppose all forms of bigotry and racism, regardless of who pushing them. Atzmon is a racist, a bigot and an out and out anti-semite. Gabriel Ash and others like him should be applauded for standing up and being counted and opposing Atzmon's crap. Atzmon is NOT a friend of the Palestinian solidarity movement or the Palestinian struggle and he should be opposed at every single turn.

    • Colin, what hypocritical and not a little ridiculous is your claim that the comments here are somehow a true reflection of how everyone within the broader movement feels about this issue. I work with many Palestinians and non-Palestinians who are very active in the Palestine solidarity movement and they, like me, all support the same sort of position taken by Phil, Adam and Mondoweiss. The only difference is that they clearly don't have the time to sit on the internet for hours to make repeated comments defending the indefensible. And if you think 18 posts in any way represents a scientifica analysis of the real feeling about this issue in the broader movement then you clearly have no idea of how legitimate scientific assessments and surveys are conducted.

  • Norman Finkelstein slams the BDS movement calling it 'a cult'
    • Opps, I should have said, while I am in agreement with the majority of Maath's article, I do disagree with the last paragraph, where Maath argues that BDS is not a Palestinian organisation. I think Maath makes two mistakes here - firstly BDS is not an organisation, its a specific tactic use by people involved in a specific campaign. Secondly, while it is true the movement is premised predominately on international solidarity, it does not mean it is not Palestinian led.

    • Maath Musleh from Palestine Youth Voice in Ramallah have posted the following response to the Finkelstein interview. I think they make a lot of valid points.

      In Response to Norman Finkelstein Interview
      February 15, 2012
      link to palestineyouthvoice.wordpress.com

      Imperial College London conducted an interview with Norman Finkelstein on the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. I used to listen to Mr. Finkelstein in admiration. It could be because he had a pro-Palestinian stands. But I think most importantly is because he gave facts as is, straight forward. Nonetheless, I believe he tripped when he started advocating for a certain political solution.

      In a lecture in University of London last year, he gave a lecture advocating for a 2-states solution, claiming it has a Palestinian consensus. I have no clue how did he decide that. Nonetheless, in the Q & A I asked him a clear question: since there is no consensus on a 2-state solution or a 1 state solution, isn’t it just fair to advocate for what holds a consensus; namely, the right of return? He didn’t answer my question, and went on talking about a 1state and 2states solutions. He has marginalized the right of return in his lecture.

      In his interview in February 9, Mr. Finkelstein have continued marginalizing the right of return. He said: “If you are serious about building a mass movement, you cannot go beyond what the public is ready to accept.” Which public does he mean? The Palestinian public? Well we are not ready to accept a solution that undermines our rights. The international community? well they accepted the massacre in Gaza, on flotilla, hundreds of thousands of arrests, oppression, dozens of massacres in the past 64 years. Not doing anything about it is accepting it. Also, they are not part of the conflict. They do not get a vote in this. It does not affect every aspect of their lives. It’s our dreams, hopes, lives on stake here. Or is it the Israeli public? The Israeli public that accepted Gaza massacre, dozens of massacre in the past years, displacement of Palestinians, building of settlements, and many more oppression.

      Mr. Finkelstein criticized BDS movement of being picky about the law. He says that the law is clear. “It is also correct that Israel is a state,” he said. “If you want to use the law as a weapon to reach the public opinion you cannot be selective about the law.” UN Resolution 273 (III) admission of Israel to membership in the United Nations recalls “its resolutions of 29 November 1947 and 11 December 1948” as the basis of accepting Israel as a state. The membership of the State of Israel in the UN is dependent on their respect to resolution 194 and the right of return. UN Resolution 194 (III) article 11 states that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes…should be permitted to do so”. This is also part of the law that you wish to be selective about. He criticizes the BDS movement of being selective about the law for calling for the implementation of a UN resolution! Unfortunately, he joined the new trend of using the expression of “a just resolution for the refugee question based on resolution 194″. This is a deceiving expression. The just resolution is to implement resolution 194. There is already an international consensus, expressed in resolution 194, on how should the refugee question be solved.

      Norman says: “There is nothing anywhere in the international consensus for resolving the conflict that says anything about the minority inside Israel, the Palestinian Arab minority.” This statement is completely false. More than 18 percent of the Palestinians with Israeli citizenship are refugees. Thus, they are encompassed in UN resolution 194. Also, the United Nations recognised the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) as the representative of the Palestinian people and granted it an observer membership in resolutions 3236 and 3237. The PLO recognises the Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship as Palestinians. Thus, they are part of every resolution or agreement that the PLO signs or accepts. Nonetheless, if Mahmoud Abbas manages to replace the PLO’s representation by the suggested State of Palestine in his UNBid, then those Palestinians will be excluded. But not yet!

      Norman Finkelstein argues if it is reasonable to implement the right of return on the basis of what is more convenient for the Zionist movement, not on the basis of implementing the law. It is okay to talk about laws that does not threat the existence of the state of Israel. I have not heard a bigger fuss on the existence of a political system or state as there is on the existence of the State of Israel. The Soviet Union disappeared and it is alright. Yugoslavia was dismantled and life is seen much better. The state of East Germany and West Germany merged into a one country. Mainly, the communist state of East Germany does not exist any more, so this makes life perfect! When a political system becomes more important than a human right, then our humanity is doomed.

      On a last note, I must agree with Norman that if the BDS should focus on mobilising their people if they are a Palestinian organisation. Nonetheless, it is just the fact that BDS is not really a Palestinian organisation. It is mainly led by international activists. And we still need a pure Palestinian movement to mobilise the Palestinian public. Norman is right, Palestinians should not be telling the International community what to do to support us. But we would appreciate it if no one tell us what solution should we accept. We want our full rights. That is not a crime, that is not being illogical. It is simply being determined.

    • This is video is unsurprising – a split with Finkelstein has always been on the cards because his still retains a liberal Zionist position. It has been clear for the last two/three years that the split was becoming more imminent - particularly since the March for Gaza in Cairo in 2009 when a number of Palestinian civil society leaders challenged sent a letter to the campaign and Finkelstein was not happy about what they had to say and pulled out. It was clear when Finkelstein withdraw from the march, he became very disaffected by the leadership of BDS campaign – which is why I would argue he is using the terms “cult” and disparaging the movement leaders, solidarity activists who are involved in the campaign and achievements.

      Interestingly enough Finkelstein claims later in the video (around 19 mins in) that he actually supports BDS – but it is clearly he doesn’t. Not only does he state specifically at around 30 mins that he thinks its a waste of time and refuses to be part of it, he also makes it clear he doesn’t support the campaign calling the campaign a cult and disparaging not only the leaders of the movement but all the thousands upon thousands of activists around the world who support it.

      What is interesting is that he claims that he will not be “anyone’s fool” but he clearly thinks that the thousands and thousands of activists around the world who support BDS are indeed dupes and fools. His comments make it clear that while supports some of the tactics but he doesn’t support the campaign politically.

      Finkelstein’s political criticisms (as opposed to his pejorative and ad hominem attack) in this video basically mirror exactly the arguments put forward by both Leftwing and Rightwing Zionists. For example, he repeats the Zionist hasbara argument that BDS singles out Israel and ignores other human rights abuses. As Ben White noted in his excellent article he wrote recently which explains BDS: “Well, yes, it does: the Palestinians have not been dispossessed or occupied by Guatemala. Those making the point would not dream of accusing Tibetan activists of ‘singling out’ China, or tell campaigners against child slavery to go focus on something else. In fact, this objection implies that Palestinians as a people are uniquely prohibited from resisting their oppression and seeking allies in their struggle”.

      What Finkelstein doesn’t get about BDS is that it is not only a tactical campaign but it is also a symbolic and educative campaign. Ben White, notes this also in his article, saying that there are four main reasons why BDS is necessary: (1) the reality of Israel’s ongoing occupation and apartheid policies; (2) Israeli impunity and the failure of the international community to hold Israel accountable for its violation of international law; (3) its educative component, which raise awareness about facts on the ground; and (4) it empowers people to take action.

      The problem with Finkelstein’s analysis is that it lacks a dialectical understanding of how to build a social movement – Finkelstein completely ignores the fact that things can change and develop, instead he thinks things are set in stone from 20 years ago which is not the case.

      In relation to his final comments about how the solidarity movement should operate he is correct to say that the solidarity movement in each country needs to make its own judgement on how to conduct the solidarity struggle. However, it needs to be pointed out that the BDS campaign doesn't tell anyone in the solidarity movement how they should act. BDS is just one tactic among many available to the solidarity movement, it has specific goals and tactics. People can choose to join it or not.

      If folks in the solidarity movement don’t want to support the BDS campaign they don’t have too and they can continue to carry out Palestine solidarity work as they see fit - no one is stopping them.

      However, many of us decided to join the BDS campaign because we actually think it is the best tactic and it can make a difference. It is a campaign we have freely chosen to join, which already has established tactics so I think its perfectly reasonable that say that when one joins an established campaign with established tactics, then we should be expect to be asked to abide political parameters that have been set out for the campaign. It doesn't mean we can't contribute and come up with different ideas and ways of carrying out those tactics.

  • Mustafa Tamimi has died
    • How about the 1400 Palestinians killed in Gaza in 2008/2009, the majority of whom were civilians, including 350 children. Oh yeah, thats right you Zionists don't like to talk about these murders or the fact that these murders were not an isolated case by Israel or that Israel has repeatedly carried out mass murders of Palestinians for decades.

  • Che's definition of activism
    • Sorry Sin Nombre but Che's story shows precisely the importance of ideology and politics - it is what liberated millions of Cubans from a brutal US backed dictator, who murdered tens of thousands of Cubans, who turned Cuba into a playground for the rich at the expense of the ordinary people.

      Che's ideology and politics, along with those of Fidel's and the rest of the July 26 Movement, is why Cuba now has a free health care system, one which deploys more doctors around the world than the World Health Organisation, one which has given hundreds of scholarships to not only poor Black American students to become doctors but to thousands of poor students from through out Latin America (and if it wasn't for the Cuban medical system one of my friends would not be alive today).

      Che's ideology and politics is why Cuba has a free education system and a higher literacy rate than the USA.

      None of this, along with many other things, would have occurred if it wasn't for the ideology and politics that Che fought for, along with the rest of the July 26 movement.

    • Hi Dan, I would dispute your assertion that the concept of a "vanguard" means that being "beholden to one sort of supreme leader". Lenin's concept of the "vanguard", in its simplest terms, simply referred to the most ideologically advanced class conscious elements of the working class. He believed that it was necessary to build a party which included the most advanced elements of the working class (ie. the vanguard) in order to advance the struggle for socialism. Lenin argued that it was necessary to build "combat party" made up of the most advance elements of the working class, which could actively combat ideologically and organisationally the bourgeois who already had many parties of their own who advanced their class interests. If you are interested in understanding Lenin's ideas around this better, the best book on this subject in my opinion is Paul Le Blanc's book, "Lenin and the Revolutionary Party".

  • See the children's drawings that terrified the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council and the Jewish Federation of the East Bay
    • Can I suggest that everyone who is on twitter and other social networking media post a link to both this Mondoweiss article, as well as a link to the MECA page on Facebook with photos of the children's drawings as a concrete way of challenging the censorship of San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council and the Jewish Federation of the East Bay thus making their "victory" in shutting down the exhibition a very hallow one.

      Linkdto MECA page on FB: link to facebook.com

  • A representation of Israeli soldiers
    • What a load of BS dimadok. As I said in a previous response to you, I have spent extensive time in Nabi Saleh and also lived in the WB for a year. The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) make ABSOLUTELY NO distinction betweeen "legitimate protest and violence". I have participated in numerous demonstrations in Nabi Saleh and this is what happens: Palestinians villagers, Israeli activsts and internationals gather in the village square. We then would march out of the square onto the mains street. The only "weapon" carried by our marches would be our voices - we would chant and sing as we marched out of the square. Within two or three minutes of us marching (if that), the IOF would open fire on the demonstration with teargas, rubber bullets and on numerous occassion live ammunition. And while it is true that the IOF and other Israeli Occupation units have operating procedures which supposedly prevent them from firing live ammunition unless they are in immediate danger, these orders are regularly and actively ignored by the IOF and the Border Police (and this is a well documented fact).

      As for you silly question as to why are both IOF units and Border Police deployed, this is standard operating procedure (for someone who claims to be all knowing about the IOF, it shows how ignorant you actually are). The Border Police is regularly used to suppliment the IOF and are used to repress and suppress non-violent Palestinian demonstrations on a regular basis. In addition, while the IOF have the power to arrest and detain Palestinians, they do not have the power to arrest either international or Israeli activists, this can only be done by the Border Police (the IOF are allowed to detain Israelis and Internationals but for them to charged and officially arrested this must be done by the Border Police). This is just one example of the apartheid system which exists in the West Bank - Palestinians are subject to Israeli military law, while Israelis citizens (including settlers and anti-occupation activists) and internationals are subject to Israeli civil law.

      Your attempt to try and obscure what happens in Nabi Saleh and elsewhere by babbling on about whether or not the units used are Border Police or IOF is just that - an attempt to obscure and deflect from the violence and repression used by both sets of Israeli Occupation Forces. They may have slightly different operationg procedures (which are regularly and actively ignored in practice by both the IOF and the Border Police) but it does not change what the role of both groups are in relation to the Occupation and the Palestinian people. Their role is to enforce the occupation and to repress and oppress the Palestinian population. Their role is to try and crush Palestinian non-violent resistance and to ensure that the occupation continues and Israel's control of the WB and other occupied territories continues.

    • Dimadok, I could write a book about your complete and utter ignornace about what happens in Nabi Saleh and Palestine. I have lived in the Occupied West Bank for a year and visit there regularly. Over the last year and half , whenever I have been in Palestine, I have spent extensive time in Nabi Saleh - I know the village well and am friends with many of the families. I have been to many of the demonstrations and the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) like clockwork open fire with live ammunition against non-violent protestors, including Israeli citizens. You are correct to say that the IOF are only suppose ot open fire using live ammunition when they are in immediate danger, BUT, this rule of operation is regularly ignored by the IOF (not just in Nabi Saleh but elsewhere and is well documented by Israeli and international human rights organisations). I also been in demonstrations at Bil'in where the IOF were behind the fence, facing absolutely no threat of danger and they have fired on us with live ammunition.
      The only violence that takes place in Nabi Saleh is that instigated by the IOF. Every single demonstration I went to in the village would start with us marching peacefully down the main street. Within seconds of us marching the IOF would start firing teargas, rubber bullets and yes, on many occassions, live ammunition.

  • Unsafe, unfair, unreasonable Hitchens
    • Seriously Richard?! Thanks for demonstrating that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. There is no such thing as "permanent membership" of the PA, according to Palestinian Basic Law (which functions as the temporary constitution for the Palestinian Authority)

      The PA is supposedly interim administrative body (ie. its NOT a REAL government, its an interim administrative body which exists under occupation). The PA's work is suppose to be directed by elected officers from the Palestinian Legislative Council. So under Palestinian Basic Law, it has no "permanent membership" positions or offices as you claim.

      However, since 2007, the PLC has been inoperable and the Palestinian constitution (ie. Basic Law) has been for-all-intense and purpose been suspended due to Abbas/Fatah's coup against the democratically elected leadership of the PA, which was Hamas. While Palestinian Basic Law gave Abbas the right, as the elected president, to impose emergency laws and form an emergency government, he was suppose to go back to the PLC within a month for an extension of such emergency rule. According to Article 110 of the Basic Law, a state of emergency may only exist for 30 days and may only be extended if the president gains approval from two-thirds of the Palestinian Legislative Council. This NEVER happened.

      So now we have a PA which is being run by completely unelected bureacrats who were appointed by Abbas, the so-called "president" of Palestine whose mandate no longer exists. This is because both his and Fayyad's democratically elected mandate has well and truly expired according to Palestinian Basic Law.

      The PA as it exists now only has "permanent membership" because it is a puppet of the US and Israel and is run by quislings who are in no way accountable to the Palestinian people, with all of this being in inviolation of Palestinian Basic Law.

  • US flotilla passengers begin fast at US Embassy in Athens
    • Richard, the flotilla has ALREADY SUCCEEDED! As Huwaida Arraf pointed out in the video interview that Phil and Adam posted up, the primary purpose of ALL the flotilla's has been political not humanitarian, although they carry humanitarian aid. The primary purpose of the flotilla's is to shine a spotlight on Israel's illegal blockade of Gaza and its human rights abuses and the current flotilla has succeeded brilliantly at doing this. It is totally irrelevant at this stage whether the flotilla actually sails or not because the political goal of the flotilla is being achieved even with the ships sitting in port in Greece. Israel's "strategy" of trying intimidate and sabotage has resulted in wide media coverage of the flotilla and its goals. The majority of the coverage internationally has been positive and has focused on Israel's bully tactics and on Israel's blockade and human rights abuses. This has been pointed out by a range of Israeli and non-Israeli journalists, including Amira Hass, Larry Defner and Joseph Dana and others. Israel may have won the "battle" but it is fighting a losing "war" on many fronts, including the PR front and the boycott front.

      And the blockade is NOT totally dependent on Hamas policies and behaviour. This is an excuse made by Israeli and its apologists such as yourself. Israel has held Gaza under seige since 1967 and a blockade of Gaza was already effectively in place long before Hamas won th 2006 elections.

      As for whether Hamas has recognised Israel or not. It has recognised that Israel "exists", it just does not recognise its "right" to exist - a big difference.

      Recognising Israel's "right" to exist means recognising that Israel had the "right" to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people, to steal their land and the "right" to destroy Palestinian society. (see: link to csmonitor.com ) No Palestinian worth their salt, whether Hamas or not, will accept this. It also means, as Joseph Massad points out, recognising Israel's "right" to be racist. (see: link to weekly.ahram.org.eg )

  • Update: US Boat to Gaza returns to port after being stopped by Greek Coast Guard
    • LOL, sorry eee but its you and your ilk who are delusional. You live in your little Zionist bubble and scream delegitimisation but the reality is that the only ones delegitimising Israel is Israel and Zionists like yourself. As Huwaida Arraf points outs, in the interview Phil and Adam posted up, civil disobedience (which is what the flotilla is about) aims to provoke the oppressor into showing his/her true colours to the world, to highlight their aggression and abuses. And Israel has gladly obliged. Ghandi was absolutely write when he said: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Sorry darlin', but you and your beloved Israel have lost!

    • Poor eee - you, Netanyahu and all your fellow Zionists out there just don't get it do you! The Flotilla and the activists have ALREADY WON!

      The primary aim of the flotillas is not to take aid to Gaza but to raise awareness about the illegality of Israel's blockade and to highlight Israel's human rights abuses. The Israeli government's belligerent and bellicose strategy to try and stop or sabotage the flotilla has simply shone an even bigger the spotlight on the flotilla then they ever would have got in the first place. The coverage in both mainstream and alternative media of the flotilla has been overwhelmingly postive and Israel has been shown up to be a bully and liar and a several human rights abuser.

      And as for the money, I would eat my hat if any of the flotilla participants thought they had wasted their money. This is because unlike you, they understand that the primary aim of the flotilla is to shine a light on Israel's illegal blockade and human rights abuse and as I said, the Israeli government has helped them get more coverage then they could ever hoped.

  • 'We will boycott Israel' --a cappella flashmob in Brisbane
  • Bassem Tamimi to judge: 'Land theft and tree burning are not just. Your military laws are not legitimate. Our peaceful protest is just'
    • International activists working in solidarity with the people of Nabi Saleh have established an english language solidarity blog and an english language solidarity page on facebook for the village and to help raise awareness about both their struggle and the struggle of the Palestinian people against Israeli occupation and apartheid.

      You join the facebook page here: link to facebook.com

      You can check out the web/blog here: http://nabisalehsolidarity.wordpress.com

  • 'Is this is what the most moral army in the world does!?': An American student describes being shot by the Israeli military during a peaceful demonstration
    • Hi Christopher, I hope you are doing okay. As someone who has regularly attended the Nabi Saleh demonstrations, I agree with you that the force use by the Israeli military is extremely excessive, even by the standard used normally by Israeli occupation forces against unarmed non-violent demonstrators.

      Tamimi Press have posted a longer video of the demonstration which shows the full extent of the violence used by the Israeli occupation forces this week:
      link to youtube.com

      At least 25 unarmed non-violent protestors were injured. One Palestinian women in her 50s who was beaten up so badly, she was evacuated from the Salfeet Hospital to the bigger and more advanced Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus. A 25 year-old American demonstrator suffered a serious head injury [Christopher] and an Israeli activist was diagnosed with two open fractures in his hand. Both were injured by tear-gas projectiles shot directly at them from short range, in violation of the Israeli Army’s open fire regulations. Four protesters were arrested in Nabi Saleh, including two Palestinian women.

      People can follow and support the non-violent struggle of the people of An Nabi Saleh by joining their solidarity facebook page at: link to facebook.com

      Or by visiting the Nabi Saleh Solidarity blog: link to nabisalehsolidarity.wordpress.com

  • A story of the most powerful army in the Middle East chasing 18 cows.
    • This one of my favourite stories of resistance from the 1st intifada. I first heard about it in 2004 when I attended an activist training session in Beit Sahour. One of the leaders of the Beit Sahour struggle recounted the town's non-violent civil resistance, which included the dairy farm (along with refusal to pay Israeli taxes and the boycotting of other Israeli goods). He told us that in relation to the photographs that the film mentions were taken by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), apparently when they couldn't find the cows at the farm, the IOF went door to door looking for the cows, showing the photographs of the cows and demanding to know where they were!!!

  • 'I won't have children unless this country is free'... We hear you, sister
    • A new english language solidarity website and facebook page has been set up by international solidarity activists who are working with the people of An Nabi Saleh.

      Website: link to nabisalehsolidarity.wordpress.com

      Facebook: link to facebook.com

      Our aim in creating the website/blog is to provide solidarity with people of An Nabi Saleh and their non-violent struggle. Through the site, we will be working with Palestinian activists from An Nabi Saleh to provide english language updates, news and information on the village and their struggle, as well as action alerts on how you can stand in solidarity with both An Nabi Saleh and the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination, freedom, justice and human rights.

      If you want to be kept updated you can subscribe to the website and you will be notified every time a new article, post or video is uploaded to the website.

  • Helen Thomas will cover Move Over AIPAC conference, doesn't want to speak at it
    • While I admire a lot of the work Code Pink has done in the past, this is not the first time in relation to Palestine solidarity work they have jumped in feet first, made unilateral decisions and divided the movement.

      They did the exact same thing during the Gaza Freedom March, when a number of their members without consulting other solidarity groups or the majority of protestors, struck a deal with Mubarak's wife, Suzanne. The "deal" allowed just 100 protestors out of the 1400 protestors to enter Gaza.

      The majority of protestors were outraged that Code Pink did this (and in my opinion, I think the majority were right to be outraged by Code Pink's behaviour). Rather than respecting the unity of the FGM, Code Pink undermined it and they played into the hands of the Mubarak government who simultaneous portrayed itself as being benevolent, while portraying the 100 to be chosen as "good" protestors and the 1200 other protestors as "bad". It resulted in protests against Code Pink and the blockading of the buses which were scheduled to take the chosen 100 into Gaza. In the end only 86 or so people went. Here's Phil's account of what happened at the time: link to mondoweiss.net

      Code Pink, if they are going to do coalition and movement work, clearly need to learn how to work as part of a coalition - they obviously need to learn how to consult and engage democratically in consensus decision making rather than making unilateral decisions which may end up undermining solidarity movements.

  • She was a Christian Zionist, right up to her first checkpoint
    • Oh please, take your racism and bigotry somewhere else.

      Israel is not a paradise for gays or women - Israel's former president has just been jailed after years and years of raping women. There are regular reports in the Israeli media of women being sexually assault and abused in the Israeli military. Of course, lets not forget that trend in Israel where Jewish women must sit at the back of the bus, are not allowed to lead prayer at the Western Wall or the decree amongst the more religiously fundamentalist Zionists that women are not allowed to stand for public office or sing in public. (link to members.tripod.com )

      Also Palestinian did not walk into the Gay and Lesbian drop-in-centre in Tel Aviv and shoot it up, killing two people and injuring dozens more simply because they were gay. And Palestinians are not amongst the Jewish fundamentalists in Israel who regularly demonstrate against the Pride Parade.

      As Palestinian gay rights activist noted in an interview in Haaretz in 2009 ""It´s really pathetic that the Israeli state has nothing besides gay rights to promote their liberal image ... Ridiculous, and in a sense hilarious, because there are no gay rights in Israel. There are specific court cases that, when won, allowed certain individuals for instance to adopt a child. What is worth noting is that these decisions are case-specific, in the sense that they are made for this specific case, for this specific child and for these two mothers. You cannot build a human rights campaign on court cases that are not ratified."

      Maikey, like many other gay and lesbian Palestinians refuse to allow their struggle to be coopted by Zionists like piotr stating in the Haaretz article "I refuse to be a part of your campaign ... Stop speaking in my name and using me for a cause you never supported in the first place. If you want to do me a favour, then stop bombing my friends, end your occupation, and leave me to rebuild my community. I'm aware that my society has a long way to go in terms of human rights and social issues, but it's my responsibility, not yours."
      link to haaretz.com

      And if you want to talk about barbarism, lets talk about the fact Israeli murdered 1400 Palestinians, including more than 300 children in a 3 week period. And that this three week period came on top of more than 70 years of Zionist barbarism and killing of Palestinian - including the Zionist terror attacks against Palestinian buses in the 1930s, Zionist terror attacks such as the King David Hotel bombing killing Jews, Palestinians and British, the Zionist bombing of the Patria which killed hundreds of Jews, Jewish terror gang bombings of Palestinian market places in the 30s and 40s, the use of book and letter bombs by Zionist terror gangs, car bombings by Zionist terror gangs in the 1980s against Palestinian villages, Zionist terror bombs being placed at Palestinian girls school in the 1990s set for explosion as children were arriving at school.

  • A response to the killers of Vittorio Arrigoni (and to my family)
    • Pam, thank you. As a fellow international, I absolutely and resolutely agree with you when you write that "they will never turn on me. And if I am ever in danger, they will have my back. They may not always be able to protect me from the criminal elements that are present everywhere, but I know they would lay down their lives for mine".

    • Yes, Pam, you wouldn't to discredit yourself with Zionists now would you! After all, they have repeatedly proven themselves to be open mind folk. And, of course, the Israeli state has never, ever, ever, ever, ever carried out covert assassinations or kidnappings or such things... well except for when they kidnapped Mordecai Vanunu and that Gazan Engineer fella, you know Dirar Abu Sisi or when the stole some passports from their supposed allies to assassinate a guy in a Dubai hotel or that time when they tried to assassinate Khalid Meshal in Jordan and all those times in Gaza and the West Bank. And they have never, ever, ever, ever, ever used collaborators to do their bidding... well except maybe during the lead up to the Nakba when they used Palestinian collaborators to gather information on the Palestinian villages and perhaps during Israel's military regime from 1948 to 1966 which they imposed on Palestinians in Israel. And maybe during the 43 years of Israel's occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem. You know Hillel Cohen has actually written to books on Israel's use of Palestinian collaborators, but hey what would he know! Ater all his research is only based on Israeli defence archives.

  • Australian city that voted for boycott is warned that its action will cost it $4 million
    • Yes, unfortunately, the slander and misinformation campaign was massive. The Australian, Australia's only national newspaper is a rightwing, pro-Zionist rag. Last year, in an editorial, it called for the destruction of the Greens, so this campaign against BDS has to been seen in this light. Yes, the campaign ran by The Australian was definitely anti-BDS but in many ways it was more about wedging the Greens. Having said that, while the Zionists and Israeli apologists are gloating about the Marrickville Council backdown, Palestine solidarity activists are upbeat and positive. Yes, its a set back but BDS is definitely not over in Australia. This is because we understand that the BDS campaign is much more than a single successful motion at a local council (as good as that maybe). The campaign against BDS in Marrickville has galvanised a lot of grassroot support in the community (both in Sydney and in other parts of the country). Sydney activists are now gearing up for a year long campaign on BDS, while activists in other parts of the country continue to the campaigns in their cities. The both the Sydney and the national campaign in Austrlia is actually stronger after the media campaign ran by the Murdoch press - more people know about BDS and many more people have now joined the campaign for Palestinian human rights, justice and self-determination.

  • International Solidarity Movement committed to staying in Gaza following Arrigoni murder
    • Ellen, from what I understand Vik was actually a fan of Che Guevara (which is one of the reasons, his ISM colleagues thought it was appropriate to include the quote about Che). I think its actually inappropriate for you to try and impose your opinion of Che onto Vik and his memory. You may not hold Che in high regard but many do, including it seems Vittorio.

      I would also point out that the vast majority of Palestinians view Che Guevara with great admiration and respect. I lived in the Occupied West Bank for a year and I return there regularly each year and its is exceedingly common to see posters of Che in Palestinian homes, in Palestinian institutions/offices, community centres and even women's centres. The reason for this is because the vast majority of Palestinians view Che as a freedom fighter (which he was). They see Che and Cuba, very differently from the way Che and Cuba is portrayed by the West.

      This is because both Che and the Revolutionary Cuban government stood in solidarity with the Palestinians since the beginning of the Cuban revolution. In the 1960s both Che and Fidel during a visit to Egypt expressed support for the Palestinian right to self-determination. In 1965, Cuba welcomed the formation and formerly recognized the PLO as a representative of the Palestinian people (something no other country was to do for decades). In the late 60s and 70s, Cuba assisted the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation by training PLO fighters (this included providing them with military training).

      In 1973, Cuba formerly broke ties with Israel in a show of support for the Palestinian people. In 1974, Arafat visited Cuba and was warmly welcomed (at a time when very few countries in the world recognized the PLO or Arafat as anything but a "terrorist").

      In 1975 Cuba was one of several countries which sponsored the UN General Assembly resolution 3379 which condemned Zionism as a form of racism. At the time it was the only Latin American country to support the resolution. The resolution was overturned in 1991, but Cuba continued to support the struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination. Taking a lead from Cuba, Hugo Chavez has also become an outspoken supporter of the Palestinian people and its quite common to also see posters of Chavez throughout the Occupied West Bank.

    • I agree Woody, the quote is quite appropriate. In addition, it is also quite clear that his closet colleagues in the ISM would not have used the quote if they thought Vik would not have approved.

  • Activist Vittorio Arrigoni's body said to be found in Gaza
    • The ISM in the West Bank have just confirmed that their Gaza members have identified the body of Vittario. Such horrible and sad news.

  • Ironically, only a Jewish filmmaker is allowed to tell Palestinian story in US, say Schnabel and Weinstein
    • While it is outrageous that Israel is trying to stop the showing of Miral at the UN, I have to say personally I hated the film.

      There are far more better films on Palestine than this very insipid and annoying film (either made by Palestinians or with Palestinian casts). Abu-Assad's Paradise Now is definitely one of the best, along with Private (an Italian made film with Mohammed Bakri playing the lead role), Anne Marie Jacir's Salt of This Sea, Sulieman's Divine Intervention, Michel Khelif's Tale of Three Jewels, just to name just a few.

      Not only is Miral highly insipid, most of the characters are not "three dimensional" as Schnabel claims, instead the vast majority of them are fairly cardboard. The film's eulogising of the Oslo Accords made me want to throw up and I found it quite annoying they actually got some of the factual stuff wrong. All in all, I think the Electronic Intifada review of the film was pretty spot on: link to electronicintifada.net

  • NYU group cancels event set to feature Israeli Navy Seal who attacked the Mavi Marmara
    • Richard - again - the only people who stopped this "navy seal" from being heard was the ORGANISERS of the meeting, not the protesters. The ORGANISERS cancelled the meeting, not the protesters, so if you are going to complain about anyone undermining democracy and the ability of people to be heard, complain about the organisers not the protesters.

      You, Richard, like so many other Zionists and other conservatives love to pay lip service to free speech, the right to dissent and civil disobedience. However the moment someone, who you disagree with, wants to actually put it into action - to express their free speech and to express their right to dissent - you cry foul. As I said, the only people stopping this fellow being heard were the organisers, not the protesters. IT WAS THE ORGANISERS CHOICE TO CANCEL thus they silenced the speaker NOT the protesters.

      As for the massacre - yes, I have made an INFORMED conclusion about the massacre - I saw the footage shot on the boat by the protesters, I saw the footage doctored by the Israeli military, I read the testimonies of participants and the so-called "navy seals" (I don't need to hear this particular "navy seal" to get that information as the testimony of numerous Israeli "navy seals" were splashed all over the Israeli media and through the Israeli state media releases at the time). I have also spoken to several of the participants on the flotilla (one of whom was shot by the Israeli "navy seals") and I have read the whitewashed report on the incident carried out by the Israeli state.

    • Richard, in a democracy, even a liberal one (and aren't you a liberal?), people are allowed to organise dissent against things they disagree with. This is because civil disobedience has long been is a central part of liberal democratic values since the 17th/18th century.

      The protest called in reponse to this meeting was in the tradition of civil disobedience. It did not call for the cancellation of the meeting. Instead, it called for a protest to be held OUTSIDE the building where the meeting was to be held to voice non-violent dissent at the invitation of a "navy seal" who took part in the massacre of 9 innocent people on the Mavi Marmara.

      And if you want to state things in the "name of democracy", how about stating this fact - that the speaker at this meeting participated in, in the most brutal way possible, the violation of democratic rights and freedom of speech of 9 innocent people by murdering them in the middle of the night (or did you conveniently forget that?)

      The only people who stopped this "navy seal" being heard were the organisers of the meeting, who made the CHOICE themselves to cancel the meeting. This choice was their choice, so stop playing the typical Zionist victim by trying to shift the blame onto the protesters who acted well within the liberal democratic framework developed over the last 400 or so years.

  • New poster focuses on Palestinian political prisoners
    • This poster is appalling. Its like comparing apples and oranges.

      Firstly, Shalit is a prisoner of war not a political prisoner. The more 11,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails are political prisoners.

      Secondly, the imprisonment of one Israeli soldier captured while he was serving in a colonising army, which is carrying out a brutal and belligerent occupation takes up half the poster, while the imprisonment of thousands of Palestinian prisoners, the majority of whom are civilians, is squeezed into the the bottom half.

      Thirdly, there are more than 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners, not 7,000.

  • New tourism law shows the more the Israeli narrative gets challenged, the greater need there is to enforce it
    • Its racist and its also ignores the fact that many of these sites such as Rachel's Tomb don't just have religious significance to Jews, but also to Christians and Muslims as well. Rachel's Tomb, along with the sites in Nablus and Ramallah are also located in Occupied Palestinian Territory, not "Israel".

  • 150 American actors, writers, directors and artists support Israeli actors' settlement boycott
  • The settler killings-- morality and effectiveness
    • David, while I agree with you that you have the right to express our opinon and do not need to earn the right to do so, I still find your article very problematic.

      While I believe the killing of anyone is a horrendous thing and is a tragedy for their families and their loved ones (whether they be Palestinian or Israeli), I am also opposed to the attempts by writers such as yourself to draw an equal sign between the violence of an oppressor and the violence of the oppressed people.

      While certainly, it can be debated whether or not these shootings will advance or detract from the Palestinian struggle for independence, you are very wrong to try and draw an equal sign between the violence prepetrated on the Palestinians by the Israeli state and their settler stormtroopers and the violence of a people born out of resistance to brutal and repressive occupation and 60 years of ethnic cleansing. They are not equal and never will be and as a result you can not apply a "one size fits all" morality, as you attempt to do.

      In attempting to apply this "one-size fits all" morality, you ignore the fact (either by accident or by design) that colonialism has no morality. Instead, as Frantz Fanon, who was active in the Algerian struggle for self-determination and decolonisation, wrote in The Wretched of the Earth : "colonialism is not a thinking machine, nor a body endowed with reasoning faculties. It is violence in its natural state".

      Every single day the Palestinians, as a colonised people face violence and as Fanon writes for the colonised's "morality is very concrete" - because "All the native has seen in his country is that they can freely arrest him, beat him, starve him: and no professor of ethics, no priest has ever come to be beaten in his place, nor to share their bread with them. As far as the native is concerned, morality is very concrete; it is to silence the settler’s defiance, to break his flaunting violence – in a word, to put him out of the picture".

      Unfortunately, you ignore this and instead proceed to give Palestinians a lecture in abstractions.

      In particular I found most patronising your argument that "People sympathize with those who are victimized by intolerable crimes; why at this point did the gunmen shift that sympathy from Palestinians to Israelis? In the absence of violence, Israel must be forced to explain, in ever more shrill and transparently dishonest ways, why a few people the world over who believe they have an ancient connection to this strip of land have superior rights to it over those who have lived there for centuries".

      Firstly, there is no "absence of violence", every single day violence is experience by the Palestinians but is ignored by the colonialiser and their allies. Secondly you seem to be basically telling the Palestinians that they should sit quite and accept that violence which is perpetrated against them every single day, while others (who in your own words sit in comfort and security and have never experienced the brutality of the colonial machine) sit around the "green blaize table" (as Fanon argues) and discussing non-violence.

      As Fanon notes, the intellectual who argues for universal abstractions in relation to the issues of violence and the colonised is following the footsteps of the coloniser but doesn't realise it because he/she is permeated by colonialism and all its ways of thinking. Unfortunately, David, your article and your advocation of a "one-size fits all morality" is very much permeated with abstractions and colonialism and all its ways of thinking.

    • Richard, if you read my post again you will see that I start off by stating that Geneva Convention recognises the right of armed struggle. The Geneva Convention/s are key conventions on which international law is based.

      Three sets of Protocols have been added to the Geneva Convention. The 1977 1977 Additional Protocol I to the Geneva convention of 1949 (Act 1 C4), re-arms this and declares that as a last resort armed struggle can be used as a method of exercising the right of self determination.
      So yes, international law gives the right to armed struggle against an occupier.
      The UN General Assembly resolution, while not binding, are based on international law as outlined by the Geneva Conventions.

      As for your assertion that Israel is carrying out an "temporary occupation" - how typically Zionist of you Richard - only Zionists like yourself would call a 43 year old occupation "temporary".

      As for the right of a "temporary ccupying state to maintain order in the region", the right to maintain order, does not negate the right of people to armed struggle against occupation (in fact in international law, the right of the occupied people takes precedence over the rights of the occupier) and neither does it give the occupier the right to carry out transfer of citizens, the right to demolish houses or to carry out arbitary arrest, extra-judicial assassinations and restriction of the freedom of movement, all of which Israel carries out daily.

      Not wanting to speak for anyone else, the reason I oppose the US as "mediator" is because the US is not a neutral mediator. Instead, it has vested interests in supporting the Israeli state, in order to further US interests in the region.

      As for negotiation - there has been "negotations" going on for since 1993, Richard. And what have these "negotiations" got the Palestinians - more occupation, more illegal colonies being built by Israel, more theft of Palestinian land, resources and water, more repression, more house demolitioins, more restrictions of movement. And you wonder why so many Palestinians and their supporters think "negotiation" and the "peace process" are nothing except pure fakery.

    • Yes, Richard, an under international law an occupied people have the right to armed struggle. The 1949 additional protocols to the Geneva Convention (which Israel is a signatory too) allows for the right to guerilla warfare, particularly by an occupied people.

      In 1960, UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) recognised the rights of the colonised people (ie. Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples). In articles 1 and 2 states:
      1. The subjection of a peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and cooperation.
      2. All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

      The UN has subsequently passed a range of resolutions support the right of an occupied people to armed struggle against alien occupation
      eg: UN General Assembly resolution 37/43 (3/12/1982): "reaffirming the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples against foreign occupation by all
      available means, including armed struggle... [The United Nations]
      Affirms the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to resist the
      ...Israeli occupation by all available means in order to free its land and be able to exercise its right of self-determination".

      eg: UN Gen Assembly resolution A/RES/46/51 9 December 1991
      makes a distinction between terrorism and armed struggle and reaffirms the "inalienable right to self-determination and
      independence of all peoples under colonial and racist regimes and other forms of alien domination and foreign occupation, and upholding the legitimacy of their struggle, in particular the struggle of national liberation movements ..."

  • First Hollywood film with Palestinian-American lead comes to NY (Please help)
    • Salt of the Sea is a wonderful film. My friend Saleh is the male lead in the film and is absolutely wonderful, as is Suhair Hammad. If you are in New York, please take the time to see the film, you will not regret it!

  • An American writer sees the Occupation for the first time
    • Regarding Kricorian comment that she didn’t know which was worse, to get used to it or to make a joke about it. Having lived in the Occupied West Bank for a year and spent months there on other occassions, my experience is that people (both Palestinians or internationals) don't necessarily "get use to it" it in the sense that they become complacent or loss their outrage. Instead, they learn to cope with it (as horrid as this sounds) because if they don't they would just go crazy. Most Palestinians in Palestine have a wicked black sense of humour. The occupation forces you to develop a sense of the absurd and ridiculous in order to cope (Elia Sulieman's movies, especially Divine Intervention, captures this perfectly). This, however, doesn't mean you loss your anger and your horror but when you experience (as is the case for the Palestinians) or witness (as is the case for Internationals) the every day horrors of the occupation you need to be able to cope with it and one way of doing that is by making jokes about it.

  • Solidarity with Palestinians, yes-- but why not solidarity with Jews?
    • Hi Sam, why is the job or role of the Palestinians "to teach the Israelis how to overcome, their fear, how to be free, how to be just, and all that stuff"? This to me buys into the Zionist narrative, as it casts Zionists as the "eternal victim" and absolves them from being responsible for their actions, aggression and human rights abuses against the Palestinians. It also buys into the Zionist tactic by focusing the narrative on the supposed "needs" of the oppressor and occupier (ie. Israel), rather than on the needs of the oppressed and occupied (ie. the Palestinians).

  • Global flotilla hits NY chocolate shop
    • A few months ago an relatively new activist in the Palestine solidarity group I am involved with wanted to respond to an article in a local paper about Max Brenner and emailed me to ask if I could provide him with more information about the BDS call to boycott Max Brenner. This is a slightly abridged version of the email I sent him (our group has since produced a flyer on Max Brenner and our members have done semi-regular leafletings outside one or two of the local outlets in our city):

      Max Brenner (the chocolatier) was born in Isarel and started his company there. He then sold his company to the Strauss Group a few years back. The Strauss Group is 100% Israeli owned company. Max Brenner Chocolates, therefore, as a company is 100% Israeli.

      See Strauss group brand page: link to strauss-group.com

      The relevance of Max Brenner Chocolates in relation to the BDS campaign is more significant than it just being an Israeli company.

      If you have a look at the Strauss Group website, their website proudly notes that the Strauss Group also provides confectionary/care packagees to Israeli Defence Force soldiers in the field (the IDF is also known by Palestinians and those opposed to Israel's occupation of Palestine as the IOF - the Israeli Occupation Forces).

      If you read their Community Involvement speile, under the section In the Field with Soldiers, they say the following:

      In The Field With Soldiers link to strauss-group.com

      "Our connection with soldiers goes as far back as the country, and even further. We see a mission and need to continue to provide our soldiers with support, to enhance their quality of life and service conditions, and sweeten their special moments. We have adopted the Golani reconnaissance platoon for over 30 years and provide them with an ongoing variety of food products for their training or missions, and provide personal care packages for each soldier that completes the path. We have also adopted the Southern Shualei Shimshon troops from the Givati platoon with the goal of improving their service conditions and being there at the front to spoil them with our best products".

      **

      It should be noted that the Golani brigade is the main brigade active in what is known as Israeli's Southern Theatre (ie. Gaza), as well as in the Occupied West Bank, near Jenin. See: link to en.wikipedia.org (I know wiki is not the best source, but a simple search of Israel's english language newspapers, Haaretz and Jerusalem Post, will backup the main point I am making is that they are one of the main brigades active in Gaza)

      It should also be noted that the Golani Brigade were one of the active Israeli brigades who took part in Israeli war against Gaza in Dec 2008 - January 2009.

      Three of their soldiers were killed as a result of "friendly fire" during the war (in total 11 Israelis were killed during the war compared to 1400 Palestinians. Of the 11 Israelis killed, the majority were soldiers active in the war theatre and were killed by Israeli fire, not Palestinian fire. In contrast, 2/3 of the Palestinains killed were civilians, including between 300 - 400 children see:link to pchrgaza.org )

      The other Israeli Military platoon/brigade that the Strauss Group gives "care packages" too is the Givati Platoon which is also active in Israel's Southern Theatre (ie. Gaza) and again were one of the main Israeli military brigades active on the ground inside Gaza during the recent Gaza War. See: link to en.wikipedia.org

      The Givati Brigade were also active in Operation Hot Winter in 2008, which resulted in more than 110 Palestinians being killed by Israel in less than a week (and 250 injured).

      A report issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) on 17 April 2008 noted in part :
      (see link to internal-displacement.org)

      "During the ‘Hot Winter’ incursion, 34 children lost a parent. Twenty-one homes were completely destroyed, leaving 147 people homeless. Eighty-eight homes were severely or partially damaged, affecting an additional 616 people. The Gaza Strip is especially vulnerable because it has suffered from years of economic restrictions imposed since the Israeli disengagement in 2005 and increased after Hamas won the 2006 elections. Most recently, Israel put in place new restrictions on the movement of goods and people to and from Gaza after Hamas seized power in June 2007".

      As a result of the Givati and Golani's miltary activity in the Occupied Territories (both the Occupied West Bank and Occupied Gaza), there is a direct link between Strauss Group/Max Brenner (while Israel withdraw from Gaza in 2005, they continue to control the land, sea and air entries, thus under international law, Israel is still seen as an occupying power. Gaza is viewed as the worlds biggest 'open air prison' with 1.5 million people blockaded by Israel)

      **
      For me, the fact that the Strauss Group provides the Golani and Givati with "care packages" in the field for their training and missions (ie. missions into Gaza and other military operation), which results in the murder of thousands of Palestinian civilians, is not only appalling but quite sickening.

      This is why there has been a call by the BDS groups for a boycott of Max Brenner. see: link to bdsmovement.net

  • 'Amnesty International' contradicts Benny Morris
    • It possibly a little late to add this (sorry not had access to a computer for the last 18 hours or so): According to the Haaretz report cited by Richard Witty re the changes to the IOF's rules of engagement:

      "The IDF realized following the Gaza offensive that due to the Strip's size, civilians have fewer places to run to".

      Wow! So apparently the IOF, those innocent little petals, had absolutely no inkling what-so-ever, that if you placed a small region, with a high population density under total siege, blockading the land, sea and air access and then carpet bombed the place, people would have nowhere to run.

      Now under the new rules of engagement, instead of dropping leaflets telling them to leave their homes because the IOF was about to drop bombs on them, they will now do the Palestinians the courtesy of firing off some "warning" shells to let them know they are about to come and blow up their homes and murder their families.

      link to haaretz.com

  • A tree burns in Palestine
    • Speaking of pogroms:

      Settlers intend to vandalize mosques, defense officials learn (May, 2010) link to haaretz.com

      Fire damages mosque near West Bank city of Nablus (Libban al-Sharqia, Nablus district, May, 2010)
      link to haaretz.com

      Mosque vandalized as settlers attack Palestinian village (Huwwara, Nablus district, April 2010)
      link to haaretz.com

      Settler rabbi arrested over West Bank mosque arson (Jan 2010)
      link to haaretz.com

      Settler Pogrom in Yasuf, Mosque Burned with Quran
      (Yasuf, Salfit district, Dec, 2009)
      link to richardsilverstein.com

      Settlers burn Koran in mosque attack as reprisal for Israel's freeze on expansion (same attack as the one reported by Tikun Olam) link to timesonline.co.uk

      Olmert condemns settler 'pogrom' (Hebron, Dec, 2008)
      link to news.bbc.co.uk

      Israeli police probing 'pogrom'
      (Asira al Qabliya - Nablus district, Sept 2008)
      link to news.bbc.co.uk

      Desecrating graves and morality
      (Kifl Hares, Salfit district, June 2007)
      link to haaretz.com

      Pogrom:
      Cambridge Dictionary - pogrom: an act of organized cruel behaviour or killing which is done to a large group of people because of their race or religion

      Collins Dictionary - pogrom: an organized persecution and massacre

    • Speaking of pogroms:

      Settlers intend to vandalize mosques, defense officials learn (May, 2010) link to haaretz.com

      Fire damages mosque near West Bank city of Nablus
      (Libban al-Sharqia, Nablus district, May, 2010)
      link to haaretz.com

      Mosque vandalized as settlers attack Palestinian village
      (Huwwara, Nablus district, April 2010)
      link to haaretz.com

      Settler rabbi arrested over West Bank mosque arson (Jan 2010)
      link to haaretz.com

      Settler Pogrom in Yasuf, Mosque Burned with Quran
      (Yasuf, Salfit district, Dec, 2009)
      link to richardsilverstein.com

      Settlers burn Koran in mosque attack as reprisal for Israel's freeze on expansion (same attack as the one reported by Tikun Olam)
      link to timesonline.co.uk

      Olmert condemns settler 'pogrom'
      (Hebron, Dec, 2008)
      link to news.bbc.co.uk

      Israeli police probing 'pogrom'
      (Asira al Qabliya - Nablus district, Sept 2008)
      link to news.bbc.co.uk

      Desecrating graves and morality
      (Kifl Hares, Salfit district, June 2007)
      link to haaretz.com

      Pogrom:
      Cambridge Dictionary - pogrom: an act of organized cruel behaviour or killing which is done to a large group of people because of their race or religion

      Collins Dictionary - pogrom: an organized persecution and massacre

  • Dershowitz falsely suggests that Chomsky is against the existence of Israel
    • As Shafiq points out Dershowitz attempts to paint the Zionists as being ever so "reasonable" asking the Zionists in the audience if they would "accept a Palestinian state, a non-terrorist state, a demilitarized state living side by side in peace with Israel.” According to Netanyahu in his Bar Ilan speech, a demilitarised Palestinian state would be one "without an army, without control of its airspace, and with effective security measures to prevent weapons smuggling into the territory; real monitoring, and not what occurs in Gaza today. And obviously, the Palestinians will not be able to forge military pacts.”

      Of course, the Zionists in the audience would accept that, it would be a complete vassel state, as Shafiq points out, and there is nothing "reasonable" about that.

      Dershowitz also conveniently glosses over (in order to point score) why it was that the pro-Palestinians activists in the audience may not have supported his example of "a non-settlement, non-expansionist, peaceful state living side by side.”

      There are any number of reasons why they may not have done so but three come immediately to mind:
      (1) Dershowitz's example completely fails to address the issue of the right of return for the Palestinian refugees; (2) it also ignores the issue of "democracy" inside the Israeli state and the fact that Palestinian living inside Israel would continue to live under a regime which actively relegates them to second class citizen status; and (3) it ignores the fact that the relationship between Israel and a "demilitarised" Palestinian state would continue to be a neo-colonial and oppressive one, even if the Israel ceased its settlement expansions.

      As the old saying goes "the devil is in the detail" and there is nothing "reasonable" about conveniently ignoring all these very important details/issues in order to create a straw argument to try and discredit your opposition.

  • Benny Morris suggests Israel had a military aim in destruction of 31,000 Gaza chickens
    • Yes, how "humourless" of Norman Finkelstein was it to not find funny the death of 1400 Palestinian - including 300 children - after all that sort of thing is a laugh riot! How "humourless" was it of him to not find if funny widespread bombing Palestinian civilian infrastructure and the destruction of the Palestinians source of livelihoods (ie. their factories, their chicken farms etc). And how could he not find the bombing of hospitals funny! How creepy of him!

      And how typically Zionist of Rachel to attack Finkelstein personally ("he is a bit unhinged") rather than addressing his arguments. Finkelstein was correct to take Morris and the moderator to task for fillabusting. Throughout the majority of the debate, Finkelstein allowed Morris to speak without talking over him. Morris, however, repeatedly spoke over Finkelstein not allowing his points to be heard. So if anyone came off bad in this it was Morris not Finkelstein.

      Finkelstein was correct to take Morris to task about his writings, particularly the issue of "transfer" (ie. ethnic cleansing) as this is the core of the conflict. Morris admits this happened but then tries to blame the Palestinians for opposing it and like a good Zionist claims "victimhood" for the Zionists and blames the Palestinians for resisting ethnic cleansing (how dare they!!)

      In his interview in Haaretz with Ari Shavit in 2004, Morris is even more explict in doing this - throught the first half of the article he discuss in detail the issue of transfer and ethnic cleansing, going as far as saying, Ben Gurion did not go far enough. But then, without a blink of an eye or any sense of irony (or shame for that matter), goes onto ignore this as the reason why Palestinians might be upset with Zionists. Instead, Morris claims victimhood again for the Zionists and argues that the reason Palestinians are hostile to Israel is because they are culturally predisposed too it!

      On the issue of right of return, Morris states he supports the Clinton Parameters but then conveniently ignores the fact the Paramaters do not rule out the right of return for Palestinian refugees and it does not rule out that Palestinian refugees could in fact return to live inside of Israel (even in a two state solution). It does recognise the issue is a difficult one and Israel's opposition too it but it does not rule out right of return as Morris seems to be implying in this debate.
      link to peacelobby.org

  • Israel reportedly denied Noam Chomsky entry to West Bank
    • Ah Julian, if only you had the intellect and integrity of the American clown maybe the world would be a better place!

    • Ever heard of a little thing called "freedom of expression", Norman?

      I do believe the American constitution makes some reference too it... but alas, Israel doesn't have a constitution so that's probably why you seem to be so confused about the concept and how it relates to the practice of liberal democracy in modern-nation states around the world.

  • An Israeli on Nakba Day: 'Our humanity is bound up with your right to return'
    • More Zionist myth and propaganda. The Zionists had already gone to war - in the 6 months before May 48, the Zionist terror gangs were carrying out bombings of Palestinian market places and villages. In Jan 48, the Zionists bombed the Semiramis hotel killing 24 people, in April 48 they attacked Deir Yassin murdering over 100 people and used the attack as way to terrorise the rest of the population.

      And why should they have accepted the partition. Would you accept someone coming into your home and say sorry buddy but 100 years ago or a 1000 years ago, xxx group of people use to live here and now they want your house and you have to leave or you have to give them half of your house. Would you do it? I doubt it very much, so why should the Palestinians have been expected too do the same.

      As Jabotinsky noted in the Iron Wall in 1923:

      "My readers have a general idea of the history of colonisation in other countries. I suggest that they consider all the precedents with which they are acquainted, and see whether there is one solitary instance of any colonisation being carried on with the consent of the native population. There is no such precedent.

      The native populations, civilised or uncivilised, have always stubbornly resisted the colonists, irrespective of whether they were civilised or savage.

      And it made no difference whatever whether the colonists behaved decently or not. The companions of Cortez and Pizzaro or ( as some people will remind us ) our own ancestors under Joshua Ben Nun, behaved like brigands; but the Pilgrim Fathers, the first real pioneers of North America, were people of the highest morality, who did not want to do harm to anyone, least of all to the Red Indians, and they honestly believed that there was room enough in the prairies both for the Paleface and the Redskin. Yet the native population fought with the same ferocity against the good colonists as against the bad".

      He goes onto note that this is equally true of the Palestinians and that they feel instinctively love for their homeland just as the Siouz and Aztecs did.

      Jabotinksy notes (and maybe you should take heed of these words Julian) "To imagine, as our Arabophiles do, that they will voluntarily consent to the realisation of Zionism, in return for the moral and material conveniences which the Jewish colonist brings with him, is a childish notion, which has at bottom a kind of contempt for the Arab people; it means that they despise the Arab race, which they regard as a corrupt mob that can be bought and sold, and are willing to give up their fatherland for a good railway system.

      Every native population, civilised or not, regards its lands as its national home, of which it is the sole master, and it wants to retain that mastery always; it will refuse to admit not only new masters but, even new partners or collaborators".

  • Israeli soldiers drag, beat and kick Israeli woman
    • Earlier in the year, the women in the village were quite strong in the demonstrations. However, many of them were beaten badly by the Israeli military, arrested and detained in Halamish colony. Here they were strip searched, beaten. The Israeli Occuption Forces have also regularly fired teargas into the homes of villagers, in one incident there was up to 20 women and children sheltering in a house - the IOF fired teargas into the house through windows on three sides of the house. The children, including ones as young as 3 or 4 years had evacuated through a window from the second floor as they were overcome by the tear gas.

  • If it was all about oil, we'd have boots on the ground in Venezuela...
    • opps, just to clarify that - they tried to put "boots on the ground" via their lackies in the Venezuelan ruling class and their lackies in the Venezuelan military. William Blum outlines the role of the US in the 2002 coup
      link to killinghope.org

    • Idrees writes: "The US covets resources in many places but that does not automatically translate into imperial aggression. Otherwise won't we have boots on Venezuelan ground by now? No one has challenged US authority and prestige more strongly and more consistently than Hugo Chavez"

      Ummm, did he miss the fact that in April 2002, the USA aided and back a coup against Chavez? The coup failed after two days, but it doesn't change the fact that the US decided to go after Chavez and try to put "boots on the ground".

  • Omar Barghouti in Rome
    • Rachel, perhaps you should actually take the time to educate yourself about the BDS campaign and how it relates to Palestinians inside '48 (Israel), rather making smart alec comments which simply end up revealing your ignorance.
      link to pacbi.org

      "Palestinians, like any people under apartheid or colonial rule, have insisted on their rights, including their right to education, even if the only venues available were apartheid or colonial institutions. Nelson Mandela studied law at the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, one of the most notorious apartheid institutes then. Similarly, leaders of the anti-colonial resistance movement in India and Egypt, among many other countries, received their education at British universities at the height of the colonial era.

      PACBI has always made a distinction between the forms and range of academic boycott it urges the world to adopt and what Palestinians themselves can implement. The former have a moral choice to boycott Israeli universities in order to hold them accountable for their shameful, multifaceted complicity in perpetuating the occupation and racist policies of the state; the latter are often left with no choice but to use the services of the oppressive state, to which they pay taxes".

  • Stop gaywashing the occupation
    • Firstly, please drop the charade of pretending that homophobia does not exist in Israel. Over the last few years, the Pride Parade has been repeatedly attacked and LGBTI activists have been threatened and physically attacked. There have been protest staged against the holding of the Pride Parade and in 2005, it was actually cancelled due to the threats.

      Last year, in August, a gun man walked into a LGBTI community centre and shot it up, killing two people - a 24 year old and a 17 year old and wounded 15 others. The shooting resulted in the "outing" of many of the young people in the centre, who were not out to their friends or families. Many of these young people were ostracised by their families as a result.

      Nobody is defending homophobia. However, as Haneen Maikey notes, there is an attempt by Zionists at the moment to coopt the Palestinian queer community's struggle against homophobia to whitewash Israel's image and apartheid policies.

      Haneen Maikey and other Palestinian LGBTI people refuse to be part of this, as they are quite aware that those Zionists who are bleating on about it have never supported their struggle and don't give a toss about Palestinian Queers, all they are interested in is using this issue to try white wash Israel's image.

      As she states in the article: "Stop speaking in my name and using me for a cause you never supported in the first place. If you want to do me a favour, then stop bombing my friends, end your occupation, and leave me to rebuild my community. I'm aware that my society has a long way to go in terms of human rights and social issues, but it's my responsibility, not yours."

  • Atwood and Ghosh shrug off BDS, saying the sword is mightier than the pen
    • And what about the tens of thousands of persecuted, oppressed and occupied Palestinian writers that Atwood chooses not to represent? Her statement is not strong, it's nothing less than a cope out hiding behind a flourish of abstract ideas and rhetoric.

      As Desmond Tutu once pointed out, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor". Atwood's speech reveals that she has shamefully and cowardly choosen the side of the oppressor over the oppressed by laying claim to supposed "neutrality".

  • Israel doesn't get it yet--but they sure are hearing
    • Yes, lets do that Shamir - Shall we do a quick round up?

      1924. Haganah order the assassinton of Israel de Haan for his anti-Zionist activities.

      1937–1939 The Etzel (Irgun) carry out a concerted terrorist campaign against Palestinians civilians, resulting in more than 250 Palestinians being murdered by Zionist terrorists.

      Nov 1944, the Lehi (aka as the Stern Gang) assassinte Lord Moyne in Egypt.

      1944 & 1945 Zionist terror gangs assassinate so-called Jewish "collaborators" within their own ranks and in the Mandate administration.

      July 26, 1946 Jewish terrorist militias bomb the King David Hotel killing 91 people, including 17 Jews, 28 Brits, 41 Palestinians and 5 other nationalities.

      1946 The Etzel bombs the British Embassy in Rome

      1947 The Etzel kidnap and murder two British sergents, hanging them from trees and attaching explosive devices to their bodies in order to kill those who arrive to take down the bodies (one person was seriously injured by the bomb)

      1946 & 1947 Zionist terror gangs attack Palestinian civilians, throwing pipe bombs in market places and carrying out other attacks.
      January 5–6, 1948 Zionist terrorist gangs bomb Semiramis Hotel bombing killing 24 people.

      Israel terror gangs and militia carry out at least 24 massacre (according to Israeli Zionist historian, Benny Morris) during Plan Dalet in 1948 (including Dier Yassin which happened a month before any supposed "Arab invasion")

      In 1948, Lehi (Stern Gang) assassinate UN mediator, Count Bernadotte (the man who had secured the release of more than 30,000 people from concentration camps in Europe, including thousands of Jews).

      In the 1970s and 1980s, the settler "Jewish Underground" planned series of bus bombings targeting 5 Palestinian bus, in order to kill Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. However, they were caught by Israeli security forces at the last minute, but recieved little more than a slap on the wrist for their planned terrorism.

      They did, however, "successfully" carryout a series of car bombings which resulted in the 3 Palestinan mayors in the Occupied Palestinian Territories resulting in serious injury including loss of limbs (two lost both their legs, one lost on leg).

      In 1983, they also carried out an attack on an Islamic college in Hebron, murdering three Palestinian students and wounding 33 others. The murders were hailed as heroes by the settler movement.

      In 1984, the attempted to blow up the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

      In the 1994, Israeli settler, Baruch Goldstein (and follower of the racist Israeli rabbi, Meir Kahane) murdered 29 Palestinians who were praying in the tomb of the Patriaches (and injured 100 more). Both Goldstein and his action is celebrated by Jewish settlers and the extremist religious right.

      In 2002, Jewish settlers (also followers of Meir Kahane) attempted to plant a bomb at a Palestinians girls school in East Jeruslaem. By sheer accident they were caught by the police (they forgot something and did a u-turn to go back to get it and were arrest by the police for the U-turn who then discovered they had planted the bomb).

      Israel and the US list two Jewish groups as terrorist - with these being Kach (established by Meir Kahane) and Kahane Chai (established by his son). While the groups are nominally banned and listed as terrorist organisations, former members of the groups are still active and operate under different organisational names and are still allowed to operate freely in Israel by the Israeli security forces.

  • Jewish charity blacklists and the Israel question
    • LOL, you are funny Julian! :D Your argument is proven to be incorrect, so you resort to throwing mud and innuendo. Always the last resort of those who can't make hard cold concrete facts suit their arguments! But please do keep it up, Zionist arrogance is such a great boon to the Palestine solidarity movement. As I said, people are not stupid, they can see through it and can tell the difference between mud throwing and actual facts.

      Oh and nice side step of my question by the way! Never one to let sleeping dog's lie, so I will ask again ... are you saying, Julian, that just because someone is a born in Saudi Arabia or holds Saudi citizenship or is Muslim, that by virtue of this alone they can not be an advocate for human rights, either in their own country or other countries? Yes or No? If your answer is no, then you should have absolutely no problem with HRW. But if your answer is yes, well then as I pointed out Julian, such an attitude is called racism.

    • Julian, as HRW notes they do not accept funding from ANY government, let alone the Saudi Arabian one.

      Instead as HRW notes "Human Rights Watch staffers made presentations on our work to two private audiences in Saudi Arabia in May 2009 (as well as to audiences in Amman and Beirut). These were receptions in private homes, hosted by people who were interested in Human Rights Watch and who invited other guests to learn more about us. Among the guests at one of those receptions were the deputy head of the Human Rights Commission of Saudi Arabia and a member of the Shura Council, a government-appointed consultative body. Neither of these individuals was solicited for funds, nor would Human Rights Watch ever accept funds from such officials, in any country. Government officials are, of course, important interlocutors for our advocacy on Saudi human rights" policy. see: link to hrw.org

      If HRW does not accept government funding from any country, including Saudi Arabia, what then is your problem Julian?

      Are you saying that just because someone is a born in Saudi Arabia or holds Saudi citizenship or is Muslim, that by virtue of this alone they can not be an advocate for human rights, either in their own country or other countries? In case you weren't aware, Julian, an attitude such as this is called racism.

      This would be the same as saying that all individual Israelis or individual Jews are all human rights abuses because of the human rights abuses carried out by the Israeli state. This would be an outrageous and inaccurate thing to say about Jews and its no less inaccurate, racist and bigotted to say it about any other ethnic grouping, nationality or religion.

      In relation to the pro-Zionist groups in the US trying to implement a ban on Jewish donations to groups they have deemed to be anti-Israel, personally, I think its great. It will work to expose the intolerance, arrogance and McCarthyism of these Zionists groups. It will drive a wedge between them and more liberal Jews and it will add to the campaign to delink Zionism from Judaism. All of these things can only be a good thing.

      In addition, rather than strengthening support for Israel, it will backfire in their faces. I am always constantly amused by the arrogance of Zionists, who caught up in their own Zionist hasbara, fail to see how their arrogance and intolerance is one of the greatest assets the Palestinians have in the struggle for justice and self-determination. Just as the arrogant and intolerant attempt by Zionists to ban Goldstone from his grandson's Bar Mitzvah backfired in their faces, so will this.

      Finally, the difference between the witchhunt being carried out by these Zionist groups in the US (and in Israel) and the Palestinian initiated BDS campaign is that BDS is solidly based on the upholding of human rights and international standards of law. This McCarthyite witchhunt being carried out by Zionist groups, however, is not. Instead, this is a campaign which seeks to defend Israel's so-called "right" to be racist and to continue carrying out human right abuses and to stand above international law and not be held accountable for its warcrimes, human rights abuses and apartheid policies.

      People are not stupid, Julian, they can tell the difference between political basis for the two campaigns!

  • Dog wags tail (against the Israel lobby theory)
    • Hi Bob, I think you are being very simplistic. No one said that Israeli and US interests had to be in complete syncronicity at all times and in every given instance.

      And as for the arguments being made here, I think your argument can only be made by ignoring large swaths of history about US foreign policy engagement around the world.

    • kalithea, I find your post quite astounding. Just because Mayer does not ascribe to "the lobby is all powerful" hypothesis, you engage in an ad hominem attack and accuse him of paying "lipservice" to the Palestinian struggle.

      At no stage does Maher, in either of his articles, dismiss "the lobby" or racist nature of Zionism. What he does do, however, is question the hypothesis that "the lobby" is all powerful and decides US imperialist policy. There are many, many dedicated Palestine solidarity activists around the world, who agree with Maher's position (myself included). Are you going to accuse all of us of paying "lip service" to the Palestinian struggle.

      If US imperialist interests did not intersect with the interest of the lobby or the Israeli state, the US would not be supporting it in the way that it does. This is the argument Maher is making and it is a legitimate one. Ad hominem attacks such as yours are do nothing to bring clarity to the discussion and debate at hand.

  • Tristan Anderson deserves justice
    • Sumud, I could not agree with you more that the terrorists killing with impunity are in fact the Israeli Occupation Forces.

      In fact, in relation to death as a result of "terror acts", in May 2008, Haaretz carried an small article marking Israel's "Independence Day", which stated that since May 1948, a total of 1,634 Israeli civilians had been killed and another 14,000 injured in "terror acts".
      ( see: link to haaretz.com )

      What the Haaretz article didn't mention, however, was that in a 7.5 year period (one-eighth of the 60 year period cited in the Haaretz article for Israeli civilian deaths) more than twice as many Palestinian civilians had been killed in 'terror acts' carried out by the Israeli state or that just under twice as many Palestinian civilians (compared to Israeli civilians) had been injured by such acts of terror in that short 7.5 year period.

      According to 2008 figures from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) since the beginning of the Al Aqsa Intifada in September 2000 until March 4, 2008 (a period of 7.5 years) the number of Palestinian civilians killed is 3615. PCHR's figures reveal that 25,650 Palestinian civilians have been wounded in this 7.5 year period.

      The Israeli human rights organisation, BTselem carried very similar figures for the same period.

  • Boston Science Museum promotion of Israeli technology is angrily disrupted
    • Hi Elliot, in my opinion, the point of actions such as this one is not to convince the hardcore Israel supporters who come to these events. In all likelyhood their minds will never ever be changed.

      Actions like this are important for other reasons - firstly, its part of a bigger whole -ie. its part of a bigger international solidarity movement for Palestine world wide. Actions, big and/or small, in support of the Palestinian struggle show that the movement is growing. This does give inspiration to other activists involved in the movement (both locally and world wide) - as the old saying going: "a victory for one is a victory for all"! In addition, it also lets supporters of Israel's apartheid policies and human rights abuse know, that the movement is growing and as another old activist slogan goes that "the whole world is watching" and that Israel can no longer can act with impunity. And finally and by no means least, as many Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories have told many internationals, such solidarity actions give them hope and strength, as it lets them know that they have the support and solidarity of people worldwide in their struggle for justice and self-determination.

      Congratulations to all those involved in the action, it was fanastic! I will certainly be sending the video around to all my networks, both locally and internationally!

  • Where Sullivan gets it wrong: there already is a non-violent Palestinian movement
    • Richard, you are speaking in abstractions. It all well and good for you, someone not living under the brutal heal of a military occupation every single day of your life to philosophise about what is and what isn't "violence". The Palestinians ENDURE violence every single day of their lives, it is not an abstraction for them, its a real, every day thing - watching their family members brutally beaten, they chidlren kidnapped in the middle of the night and their loved ones shot or bombed. This is violence that is real, not abstract, and its something you should thank your lucky stars you will probably never have to endure.

      Abstract arguments such as the one you are promoting do nothing except to work to absolve the real agressors and the real perpetrators of violence and state-sanction terrorism by attempting to sheet blame on to their victims (ie. the Palestinians).

      The demonstrations are non-violent and peaceful. Despite this, they are regularly attacked by the Israeli Occupation Forces.

      It should be pointed out that there has been numerous docomented cases of the Israeli secret police also seeding the demonstration with agent provocatuers, who pretend they are Palestinians and throw stones (one such occassion is well documented in the documentary, Bilin Habibti, by Israeli film maker, Shai Carmeli Pollak - the film clearly shows the unmasking of one such undercover agent, who was posing as a Palestinian and start to throw stones. In response to this, a Bilin village leader approach the undercover agent to ask him to stop. The agent provocatuer whose cover is blown, then attacks the non-violent Palestinian activist -along with other under cover cops - and then arrests the Palestinian demonstrators who tried to stop the undercover agents from throwing the stones).

      The violence is at the hands of the Israeli military not at the hands of the Palestinians.

    • Rachel have you ever been to Bilin? I somehow doubt it... well I have, many times and I have participated in the non-violent demonstrations many, many times. As I noted in my post in response to Richard Witty, almost every time without fail, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) carry out unprovoked attacks against the unarmed and non-violent protesters. The IOF then issue outright lies to the media accusing the Palestinians of being violent and attacking them.

      Secondly, your attitude is utterly condescending and colonialist. The Palestinians are quite capable of leading their own non-violent struggle and they have been doing so since Zionist colonisation first began well over a 100 years ago. The Palestinian struggle for self-determination has been overwhelmingly non-violent. And when it has turned violent it has only been because of the violence perpetrated against them by Zionists. As I noted earlier, there is absolutely no comparison between the violence carried out by an oppressor, who has the fourth strongest military in the world, armed to the teeth with the latest high tech gear and give carte blanc to carryout state sanctioned terrorism and a few rag-tag boys or young men who might throw a few stones to defend their homes, land and villages against said military might.

      And if you want to see the "real" violence in the Occupied West Bank (other than the Israeli military violence) then look to the violence of the illegal Israeli settlers who attack unarmed Palestinian villages, burn their crops, poison their stock and shot at their homes, with impunity as the majority of times the Israel Occupation Forces will either stand by and ignore what the settlers are doing or will intervene and protect the illegal settlers.

    • Richard, there is a difference between the violence of an oppressor and the violence of an oppressed person resisting the violence of an oppressor.

      If an armed mugger mugged you in the street or an armed burglar broke into your home and you defended yourself, your home, your family from the armed attacker by force, would you define what you did as being "violence"? I very much doubt it. Instead you would probably justifying it saying you were defending yourself from armed attacker who visited violence on you. Well this is exactly what is happening in Palestine. If and when Palestinians use stones at demonstrations its because they are being attacked by armed military thugs, who fire on them without provocation or invade their villages, schools, homes and attack their families.

      I have spent a lot of time in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and have attended many, many of the non-violent demonstrations and almost every time without fail, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) carry out unprovoked attacks against the unarmed and non-violent protesters. The IOF then issue outright lies to the media accusing the Palestinians of being violent and attacking them. And then when they on occassion finally get caught in their lies, as they did recently with the killing of the four young boys/men from the villages of Awarta and Iraq Burin, what happens to them? For murdering four people all the commanders of the units and the soliders get is a "you've been naughty" citation on their service records and that it...

      There is absolutely NO comparison between the violence carried out by the 4th strongest military force in the world, who is armed to the teeth with the latest weaponry and carries out state sanction terrorism against an entire people and a few rag-tag young boys and men with a handful stones trying to defend their homes, land and villages against such military force.

  • 'Special relationship' has only threatened the 'stable flow of oil'
    • opps, apols for the typos in the first and last paras - that should have been "is spot on", not "in spot on" and it should have been "insistence" not "instance".

    • I guess, I am going to be a dissenting vioce here :) I think Stephen Maher's article on Electronic Intifida in spot on. Firstly, Maher's article is not an attack, per se, on Mearsheimer and Walt, as Idrees Ahmad hysterically claims. Maher mentions them once in passing, but overall speaks in general about the proponents of concept of the "lobby" position and then attempts to dissect their arguments and explain why he thinks they are wrong.

      I also find it interesting that Idrees Ahmad also calls this an "embarassing episode" and then basically demands that EI shouldn't put for this point of view forward. The debate regarding "lobby vs US imperialist interest" has been one which has been going on for many years and is one which continues today. Why shouldn't EI run articles that support the position Maher has put forward?

      Personally, I agree with Maher's arguments that the primary reason the USA supports Israel is because it suits US imperialist interests. Interestingly enough Idrees Ahmad in his rebuttal of Maher does not address at all the central thesis made by Maher about US imperialist interest in other areas of the world (he cites examples, such as Latin America and Indonesia).

      As Maher notes: "A central claim of the 'Israel lobby' thesis is that the 'lobby', however defined, overwhelmingly shapes US policy towards the Middle East. Thus, if the argument were true, its proponents would have to demonstrate that there is something qualitatively unique about US policy towards the Middle East compared with that in other regions of the world. Yet upon careful analysis, we find little difference between the purported distortions caused by the lobby and what is frequently referred to as the "national interest," governed by the same concentrations of domestic power that drive US foreign policy elsewhere."

      Maher then goes onto note that "There are states all around the world that perform similar services to Washington as Israel, projecting US power in their respective regions, whose crimes in advancing Washington's goals are overtly supported and shielded from international condemnation".

      Idrees Ahmad has not addressed this argument at all and unless his does then his instance that the lobby is all powerful is not convincing and neither is his rebuttal of Maher.

  • Israel's democratic values: Punish human rights organizations, not war criminals
    • The Promised Land blog carries a translation of the Ma'ariv's article on th bill (I think was the first paper to cover the bill).

      According to the Ma'ariv article the bill has the support "the former director of the GSS, MK Avi Dichter, former deputy GSS director MK Gidon Ezra, Chairman of the State Audit Committee MK Yoel Hasson, MK Ronit Tirosh, MK Otniel Schneller, MK Yaakov Edri, MK Moshe Matlon, MK Ophir Akunis, MK Tzippi Hotovely, MK Uri Orbach, MK Zvulun Orlev and others".

      Im Tirtzu has congratulated the MKs for introducing the bill.

  • Is the binational state becoming a realist argument?
    • Fayyad may have engendered legitimacy in the eyes of US imperialism and the Israeli state and some Zionists, but please don't confuse that for creating legitimacy in the eyes of Palestinians. Many Palestinians, both in Palestine and in exile, are opposed to what Fayyad is doing.

      On February 13, Haaretz rang an article which quoted Professor Sari Nusseibeh, president of Jerusalem’s Al Quds University, disputing the developing PA-Israeli-US promoted myth that Fayyad is a Palestinian “Ben Gurion”. Nusseibeh noted that Fayyad’s policies have done little to build an independent Palestinian state but also done little to challenge Israel’s control of the occupied West Bank, stating “the PA should shut its offices and demand Israel annex the territories and give civil rights to the Palestinians”.

      Other Palestinian political analysts and commentators in Palestine have made similiar comments and if you speak to Palestinians on the ground many feel the same way.

      Increasingly, Palestinian writers (in Palestine and in exile) have been point out that Fayyad's policies are leading to nothing except "normalistation" of the Occupation.

  • Nobel Laureates: 'We are all peace makers, and we believe that no amount of dialogue without economic pressure can motivate Israel to change'
    • eee, its called "solidarity" with the oppressed. The Palestinian Unfied Call specifically calls for "international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era". Most Palestine solidarity activists I know and have worked with in the US (and around the world), are in fact active in other social justice campaigns (and in the US this does, include the campaign against the laws in Arizona) - it is only Zionists who try to make out that they aren't.

    • Why is it "maximalist" to for Palestinians to point out that Israel is the THEIR oppressor and occupier? Are you seriously trying to tell me that Israel is not carrying out an occupation of Palestinian territory and the Palestinian people? Why is it "maximalist" for Palestinians to say they want the occupation to stop and they are going to campaign in a non-violent way, utilising a human rights approach based on international law? Why is it "maximalist" to expect Israel to abide by international law? Are you seriously saying that Israel is ABOVE international law and should not be expected to abide by international law and that it has a RIGHT to carry out human rights abuses? Because this basically what you are saying by claiming that Palestinians pointing out that Israel is an occupier is "bludgeoning Israel". You are basically saying that Palestinians have no right to point out that Israel is carrying out human rights abuses, is occupying Palestinian territory and people and that they have no right to campaign non-violently to get these abuses and Israel's occupation to end.

    • What eee and other Zionists like him conveniently choose to ignore is that BDS is a Palestinian led initiative which seeks to fight for self-determination through non-violent direct action and is a campaign which came directly out of the Palestinian people’s experience of Israeli occupation, apartheid and racism.

      It is a not a ‘generic’ campaign for broad human rights started by non-Palestinians (although it does adopt a human rights based approach). Instead it is a specific campaign, developed by Palestinian civil society against THEIR oppressors and occupiers (ie. the Israeli state).

      Given this is the political context of the campaign (ie. that it's a Palestinian initiated campaign, not a "generic" campaign started by non-Palestinians) why would it target any other country? It would make absolutely no sense at all. Just as Black South Africans called for BDS against their oppressors, so are the Palestinians calling for BDS against their oppressors (ie. Israel). This is why the PALESTINIAN Unified Call for BDS does not call for the targeting of other countries - it is specifically targeted at the nation which is oppressing them (ie. Israel). Really, eee, its not that hard to understand.

  • Video footage shows Israel firing on nonviolent protest in Gaza
    • The "no-man's land" that eee touts has been instigated illegally by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Palestinian agricultural land within the Gaza strip. The Palestinian farmers have every right to access their land.

      The protest was a non-violent protest of unarmed farmers. eee tries to justify the IOF shooting by implying that the unarmed farmers could be armed. Of course this is nothing but an attempt at hasbara to justify the Israeli military's illegal actions. Neither eee or the IOF who fired on the farmers had any proof that the farmers were carrying weapons. Under IOF operational orders, IOF soliders are not allowed to fire on anyone unless they the soliders are in immediate danger. The protestors were in no way endangering the IOF soliders and thus the solider's actions were not only illegal under international law but also in breach of Israeli military operation orders.

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