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Total number of comments: 504 (since 2011-04-24 19:04:00)

Interested in finding helpful dialog on the Israeli/Palestinian conundrum since visiting Israel and the West Bank.

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  • Pamela Geller says she didn't influence killer, 'Islamic supremacists' did
    • The Geller quote is not the most outrageous thing in the story although it reminded me of the non-apology by Ruport Murdoch. (It seems right wingers are not responsible for anything.) Rep. Peter King will have another one his "hearings" on Wednesday and said this weekend's events will not dissuade him.

  • Anders Behring Breivik, a perfect product of the Axis of Islamophobia
    • I wonder if they are the same as these from a 2001 Village Voice article on so-called disintegrating bullets used by the IDF on Palestinians.

      link to ifamericansknew.org

      The high rates of crippling injuries are in large part due to the fragmenting bullets fired by M16s. The American-made Colt weapons, introduced during the Vietnam War as lightweight field rifles capable of inflicting maximum damage on the enemy, are being used increasingly by the Israel Defense Forces against civilian demonstrators. The M16 ammunition often breaks into tiny pieces after penetration, ripping up muscle and nerve and causing multiple internal injuries, much like those of the internationally banned dumdum bullets.

      Forensics experts in the United States and Europe, who agreed for this article to examine the X rays of Fouad Mahed and other wounded Palestinians, confirm repeated casualties from M16s, shotguns, and other live ammunition. These images, together with other X rays seen in West Bank and Jordanian hospitals, show a pattern some forensics specialists call a “lead snowstorm,” the fragmentation of high-velocity military ammunition, fired at civilians. Many of the wounded were hit at short range—less than 100 meters—compounding internal damage.

    • An encouraging thing I saw on AJE was a report that the attacks were bringing together native-born and immigrant Norwegians. The anti-immigrant right wing parties in Europe tried to nuance themselves from the other racist groups by showing they weren't anti-Semitic. What we see (and more importantly Europeans see) that it's not the anti-Semitism that makes these groups violent but rather the right-wing anti-immigrant racism. Now all anti-immigrant parties will be suspect and that lever used by Israel on European public opinion will be fading away. While I suspect this will affect European public opinion it will have little or no effect on American public opinion. So, the second effect will be increased isolation of the United States in foreign policy.

    • Gro Bruntland is part of a group known as "The Elders".

      http://www.theelders.org

      The intersection of "The Elders" and the I/P issue is in an area that interests Breivik greatly. Here's a recent press release of a statement signed by Bruntland:

      London, 4 June 2011

      Your Excellency,

      The far reaching changes we have seen across the Arab world in recent months have underscored the universal desire of all people for freedom and dignity; this wish is no less the case for Palestinians. At this crucial moment, we therefore call on all governments around the world to support a renewed effort to achieve a comprehensive solution based on international law and respect for basic human rights.

      The Elders have consistently called for intra-Palestinian reconciliation as an essential step towards the larger goals of ending Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and creating the right conditions for the establishment of an independent state, living in peace and security alongside Israel.

      In this regard, we welcomed the agreement signed in Cairo on 4 May between the two main Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, as a step in the right direction. However, in supporting the accord, we note that much hard work remains to be done on the ground to translate the parties’ stated willingness to cooperate into facts that will enable Palestinians to live in a democratic and free society based on the rule of law.

      By supporting Palestinian unity – including giving support to a new, non-partisan government to be established under the unity agreement, one charged with preparing for fresh elections in 2012 and rebuilding the Gaza Strip – the international community can demonstrate its practical commitment to the two-state solution.

      The policies of the past, whereby the divided parts of the intended future Palestinian state – Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem – have been progressively separated from each other, and fragmented into separate mini-cantons, should be discarded. Instead, we recommend support for a new approach, favouring a shared commitment to build a viable and contiguous Palestinian state on lands beyond the 1967 Green Line – a goal that US President Barack Obama stated on 19 May was his government’s policy.

      Looking ahead, the Elders note the stated intention of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to seek recognition of a Palestinian State by the UN General Assembly at the start of its 66th Session, in late September. Should this course be followed, we are of the view that the pursuit of recognition of a Palestinian state does not contradict the wish for a negotiated settlement of the conflict; rather, it should be supported as a means of stimulating serious negotiations. Far from being an act aimed at isolating Israel, as some have claimed, it could be a move that encourages Israel to accelerate its own wish to resolve – once and for all – the fundamental dilemmas that have dogged Israel since its founding in 1948.

      Considering the historic role of the United Nations in the creation of the State of Israel, through its passage of Resolution 181 of 29 November 1947, and bearing in mind the subsequent failure of the international community to help bring about a parallel Palestinian state on the former British Mandate territory of Palestine, as had been intended, it would be appropriate for the General Assembly and Security Council to re-assume their central responsibilities for the question.

      At the same time we, as Elders, are keenly aware that recognition by the United Nations will not alter the situation on the ground in the occupied territories. Nor will it preclude the need for intensified bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to resolve the core issues between them. These remain: borders, refugees, security, settlements, water and the status of Jerusalem.

      Without a renewed effort to achieve a peace agreement based on the well-known contours of a two-state solution, we fear the risks of a return to general violence in the region; this, in turn, could undo all the hard work undertaken so far to build a Palestinian state, while its planned future territories remain under occupation. In mid-May alone, there were unarmed protests by peaceful demonstrators on all of Israel’s four borders, as a result of which some 15 people were killed and hundreds wounded by Israeli gunfire.

      As Elders, we have already given our support to the Palestinian non-violent struggle to end the occupation and will continue to endorse this entirely legitimate course of action. The risk however is that, whoever may be responsible, violent incidents could spark a further downward cycle of bloodshed.

      At this volatile and fragile time for the region, we therefore urge the international community to come together to support Israelis and Palestinians in reaching a just and lasting agreement, brought about with the help of even-handed, and robust, mediation. We call upon all governments to take a rights-based approach to this terrible conflict and insist that future negotiations be based on respect for universal human rights and international humanitarian law.

      Our purpose in writing this letter is to help bring peace and security to the region and we stand ready to do all that we can in support of this objective.

      Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of our highest consideration and esteem.

      The Elders

      From last year:

      The Elders group of past and present world leaders, including former South African president Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, on Monday condemned as “completely inexcusable” the deadly Israeli attack on a flotilla carrying aid for Gaza.

      At least 10 people are reported to have been killed when Israeli commandos raided the boats on Monday in an operation that has drawn international condemnation.

      “The Elders have condemned the reported killing by Israeli forces of more than a dozen people who were attempting to deliver relief supplies to the Gaza Strip by sea,” the 12—member group said in a statement issued in Johannesburg, where it met over the weekend.

      The group, which was launched by Mr. Mandela on his birthday in 2007 to try to solve some of the world’s most intractable conflicts, called for a “full investigation” of the incident and urged the UN Security Council “to debate the situation with a view to mandating action to end the closure of the Gaza Strip.” “This tragic incident should draw the world’s attention to the terrible suffering of Gaza’s 1.5 million people, half of whom are children under the age of 18,” the group said.

      Israel’s three—year blockade of Gaza was not only “one of the world’s greatest human rights violations” and “illegal” under international law, it was also “counterproductive” because it empowered extremists in the Palestinian territory, they said.

      The Elders includes six Nobel peace prize winners — former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, former US president Jimmy Carter, detained Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Mr. Mandela and Tutu.

      Norway’s first female Prime Minister Gro Brundtland; former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso; former Irish president and ex—UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson; Mozambican social activist Graca Machel; Indian women’s rights activist Ela Bhatt; and Algerian veteran UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi are the other members.

      Furthermore, if Breivik merely wanted to attack former PM Bruntland why did he have so much exploding ammunition? As was stated in the article you quoted the ammunition used that is illegal in Norway and references to others in the manifesto is making the police continue to look for conspirators.

      Even if there is no other conspirator it is clear that this is an instance of stochastic terrorism. Stochastic terrorism is where you put irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric out in the public domain and wait for the "random" disturbed and/or evil person to act on it. With all the lies put out about Muslims and Christians in Israel and around Israel and the violent anti-Muslim rhetoric surrounding these lies it was only a matter of time before someone like Breivik acts on them. This is different from Tucson where the issue of stochastic terrorism was also raised in one very key point. Loughner's writing are not at all political and were clearly the signs of a madman. Breivik's are extremely political and much of what he wrote would be very difficult to distinguish from the pro-Israeli posts here. To many of us the anti-Muslim bigotry that is endemic in Israel and her supporters is a breeding ground of violence. Furthermore, what Breivik wrote does not at all come off as "crazy". If liberal Zionists want to be viewed as reasonable they need to stop the anti-Muslim bigotry now and to come clean about and distance themselves from the Hasbara posts on the Internet.

  • UN report: Israel boarded the Mavi Marmara with 'an intention to kill'
    • I couldn't find the alleged story on Hurriyet's web site. Interesting when Hurriyet publishes a story denying the Irish flotilla boat was sabotaged Hurriyet was a golden source. Reuters is saying that the report will be delayed to August 20. The story I did find on Hurriyet's web site from Sunday is if Israel doesn't apologize this week then Turkey will go to "Plan B" which includes downgrading their diplomatic relations and visiting Gaza during Ramadan. Another story I found showed the U.S. interest as follows which basically is "Please, God, make this go away."

      According to the officials, the US wants Netanyahu to back a formula that would include the following elements: an apology for “operational mishaps” in the Mavi Marmara incident that resulted in the loss of Turkish lives, a willingness to pay compensation through a fund to be set up by the Turkish government, a Turkish commitment that this ends the story and there will be no legal claims against Israel, the soldiers or officers involved and an agreement to bury the Palmer Commission report.

  • Targeted Labour gathering on Norwegian island reportedly featured gestures of Palestinian solidarity
    • Could it be possible that you or someone else have a post with evidence for and against that fjordman is Breivik?

  • The Norway massacre and the nexus of Islamophobia and right-wing Zionism
    • The obsession on anti-Semitism proved to be worse than useless and indeed harmful. The Norwegian authorities focused on violent right wing anti-Semites. But, since Breivik belonged to a right-wing philosemitic movement it was largely ignored. The key predictor here is RIGHT WING. Add to fact the adjective anti-Semitic has become a wax nose, e.g. the proposal on DailyKos that any support of BDS or quotes from this web site are prima facie anti-Semitic and should be censored. On the other hand, right wingers are easy to find and define.

      This should be a time of introspection for liberal, Jewish, Zionists. Should you align with other liberals or other Zionists? If you continue to do the latter you have been warned that right wing Christian Zionism is violent and will probably turn on you sometime in the future when the oil runs out in the Middle East. (And don't think this is limited to Europe, either.) Left Wing Christians are not the same threat not because they are by and large not Zionists but because they are not Right Wing. Many have wondered -- including myself -- why I was different from most other evangelical Christians. While the media portrays Breivik as a "fundamentalist" Christian that's not his own self-description. He describes Christianity in social and not religious terms, even asking atheist Christians to join his movement. This is why you see the Roman Catholic Sean Hannity and the Mormon Glenn Beck as Zionists. What drives them is not their brand of Christianity but their brand of politics. It's not the religion. It's the politics. I didn't fall for Zionism because I left right wing politics primarily because of the violence that is so tightly bound to right wing politics. If the lesson of the Holocaust is "never again" then the best application of that lesson is to focus on right wing groups. That's where the violence comes from.

    • I doubt that it is a Zionist plot nor do I believe Zionism per se was in the forefront of the alleged killer's mind. Having read portions of Breivik's manifesto, however, has convinced me that Hasbara revisionist history definitely has distorted his thinking. He's bought hook, line, and sinker the "clash of civilizations" narrative and is willing to spill blood for another (literal) crusade.

      I've been to Bethlehem and talked to the Christians there. They tell me they are leaving because of the occupation and not because of their Muslim neighbors. But here's the Hasbara distorted thinking:

      What has been the situation for Christians in Israel/Palestine?

      In the last census conducted by the British mandatory authorities in 1947, there were 28,000 Christians in Jerusalem. The census conducted by Israel in 1967 (after the Six Day War) showed just 11,000 Christians remaining in the city. This means that some 17,000 Christians (or 61%) left during the days of King Hussein's rule over Jerusalem. Their place was filled by Muslim Arabs from Hebron.

      During the British mandate period, Bethlehem had a Christian majority of 80%. Today, under Palestinian rule, it has a Muslim majority of 80%.

      Few Christians remain in the Palestinian-controlled parts of the West Bank. Those who can - emigrate, and there will soon be virtually no Christians in the Palestinian Authority controlled areas. The Palestinian Authority is trying to conceal the fact of massive Christian emigration from areas under its control.

      from PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS (Prime Minister's Office ) November, 1997

      As a result of unceasing persecution, the Christians are forced to behave like any oppressed minority which aims to survive. Christians in PA-controlled areas have taken to praying in secret. The wisdom of survival compels them to assess the "balance of fear", according to which they have nothing to fear from Israel but face an existential threat from the Palestinian Authority and their Muslim neighbours.

      They act accordingly: they seek to "find favour" through unending praise and adulation for the Muslim ruler together with public denunciations of the "Zionist entity."

      What is this report from the Prime Minister's office? As we will see classic Hasbara. Sabeel looked into this allegation and several reports on the alleged Christian persecution by Muslims was in their Summer 1998 magazine.

      link to sabeel.org

      "The recent reports of persecution of Palestine's Christian population gained currency after the 'leaking' of an Israeli Prime Minister's office report about the persecution of Christians in areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority."

      "The Prime Minister's report, and later articles concerning the report, also [blame] ongoing emigration of the Christian population of the West Bank and Jerusalem and the dramatic decline in their population on their poor relations with their Moslem neighbors, now represented by the Palestinian Authority. The Prime Minister's report claims that during the British Mandate period, Bethlehem had a Christian majority of 80% while today, under Palestinian rule, it has a Moslem majority of 80%. The report links this massive emigration to the untenable living conditions under the Palestinian Authority.

      "This superficial example fails to examine the catastrophic [effects] of thirty years of Israeli occupation over the Palestinian Territories. ... Bernard Sabella, Professor of Sociology at Bethlehem University and demographic expert, gives a very different interpretation of the causes of this emigration. The massive outmigration resulted from the exodus of 726,000 Palestinian refugees during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Fifty to sixty thousand Palestinian Christians, comprising 35% of all Christians in pre-1948 Mandatory Palestine, were among the refugees. ... The catastrophic condition of the Palestinian economy, particularly after redeployment and as a result of stifled trade and ongoing embargoes, has encouraged ongoing emigration among the generally better-educated Christian minority."
      The damage that can be done by paying heed to false and exaggerated reports is highlighted by local Christian leaders:

      "Local evangelical Christian pastors sent a letter to Jerry Falwell urging him to recognize the injustices done to the Palestinian people as a whole (Moslems as well as Christians) and that 'by lobbying against any further Israeli troop withdrawals from the West Bank, you are endorsing the theft of Palestinian lands and adopting the dangerous position of Israeli extremists.' ... The heads of the Christian communities in Palestine, several mayors and the heads of prominent institutions in the Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour area denounced the Israeli propaganda and declared that the allegations were false and intended 'only to encourage ethnic strife'. ... The Latin-rite Catholic Patriarchate reacted similarly. ..." [Emphasis mine]

      So where did this "report" quoted by Breivik come from?

      Given that the evidence is against any systematic policy of persecution of Christians by the PNA, who are the parties in Israel-Palestine active in spreading accounts of discrimination? Apart from the prime minister's office, there is the International
      Christian Embassy of Jerusalem, a Christian Zionist organization which lends strong support to the state of Israel. A number of evangelical Christians (notably David Ortiz - pastor of some of the converts who are in the LAW report) also join in.

      It's Zionist propaganda straight from the Israeli Prime Minister's office and his Christian Zionist allies in the United States that gave Breivik the false impression that Muslims are persecuting Christians. (As a Christian I care if the allegations are true but also as a Christian I am bound by the command to not bear false witness and to deny false accusations.) He took that false knowledge and went on his killing spree. Words have consequences.

    • Norwegian public broadcaster NRK is confirming that the manifesto was admitted to police by the suspect.

      link to translate.google.com

      TV2, writes that they have police sources as confirming that Anders Behring Breivik has confessed to having published the document and video on the Internet.

      This is no longer speculation and the information is coming from the aforementioned police.

    • Like the Unabomber he's published an over 1000-page manifesto. For example:

      The myth didn't die with the collapse of the Turkish Empire after World War I. Rather it took another form: that of the National Arab Movement, which promoted an Arab society where Christians and Muslims would live in perfect harmony. Once again, this was the fabrication of European politicians, writers and clergyman. And in the same way as the myth of the Ottoman political paradise was created to block the independence of the Balkan nations, so the Arab multi-religious fraternity was an argument to destroy the national liberation of non-Arab peoples of the Middle East (Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Maronites and Zionists.)

      And although from the beginning of this century until the 1930s, a stream of Christian refugees were fleeing massacres and genocide on the roads of Turkey, Irak and Syria, the myth continued to flourish, sustained mostly by Arab writers and clergyman. After the Israelis had succeeded in liberating their land from the laws of JIHAD and DHIMMITUDE, the myth reappeared in the form of a multi-cultural and multi-religious fraternal Palestine which had to replace the State of Israel (Cf. Arafat's 1975 UN speech). Its pernicious effects led to the destruction of the Christians in Lebanon. One might have thought that the myth would end there.

      But suddenly the recent crisis in Yugoslavia offered a new chance for its reincarnation in a multi-religious Muslim Bosnian state. What a chance! A Muslim state again in the heartland of Europe. And we know the rest, the sufferings, the miseries, the trials of the war that this myth once again brought in its wake.

      To conclude, I would like to say a few last words. The civilisation of dhimmitude does not develop all at once. It is a long process that involves many elements and a specific conditioning. It happens when peoples replace history by myths, when they fight to uphold these destructive myths, more then their own values because they are confused by having transformed lies into truth. They hold to those myths as if they were the only guarantee of their survival, when, in fact, they are the path to destruction. Terrorised by the evidence and teaching of history, those peoples preferred to destroy it rather than to face it. They replace history with childish tales, thus living in amnesia.

      You MUST see the video that was released with the manifesto an hour before the bombing happened. It's positively chilling. There's a link to the full text of the manifesto via the same link below..

      link to liveleak.com

    • Even from the get go the whole Muslim terrorist angle smelled. How could a Muslim pretend to be a policeman in lily white Norway? This story also made no sense because it was Denmark and not Norway that had the cartoons that insulted the Prophet Muhammed. Furthermore, by the time most of us were following the story the suspect was in custody. All you had to do was wait for the identity to get published and then do your research and see what kind of online trail the suspect left.

      As for the speed Alex assembled things, welcome to the 21st Century with social media and crowd sourcing and storify. I caught the link (which I published here last night) to the camp holding solidarity with the Palestinians from a Tweet from a Norwegian. The mainstream media such as the New York Times and the cable news networks may be captured to project a desired narrative but they aren't relevant anymore. There might as well not be even a camera on the talking heads as they have zero influence.

  • IDF and Ros-Lehtinen share goal: kill any chance for Palestinian state
    • What I never could understand about the liberal Zionists was their misguided obsession with the so-called Anti-Semitism of the Left. Since I lived in a Christian Zionist environment I knew the violent and virulent Islamophobia that exists on the Right. The threat to all Liberals and Moderates whether Jewish or not comes from the right wing. As we can see the right-wing Philosemitism derives from the Islamophobia and once the Muslims are ignored the Right will go right back to (violent) Anti-Semitism. All the Hasbara and the complicity of the mainstream media with its false charges of Anti-Semitism of the Left not only potentially but really incites terrorism as we saw yesterday.

    • And this is not guilt by association. Here's Breivik's own words:

      Anyway, we are not in a position where we can pick and choose our partners. That’s why we have to ensure that we influence other culturally conservatives to take our anti-racist pro-homosexual, pro-Israeli line of thought. When this direction has been taken we can take it to the next level.

      Of the three things that Breivik values which two does the people that were attacked agree with him and which one thing do they disagree with? Hmm?

      Some more background:

      link to mindweaponsinragnarok.wordpress.com

      The perpetrator was a regular poster on several Norwegian Internet media, notably the blog document.no, which is run by Hans Rustad), a former left wing journalist. Hans Rustad is Jewish, and extremely pro-Zionist, and warns against islamization, violence and other problems connected with Muslim immigration. Many regular contributors on his blog naturally more or less share his views.

      They represent an ideology where the importance of ethnicity is played down or dismissed completely, and the need for the preservation of Western cultural and democratic values is commonly used as the substitute key argument against immigration. Their rhetorics and activities are almost completely focused on Islam and Muslims; other immigrant groups such as Vietnamese, Chinese, non Muslim Africans and other groups are routinely painted as ‘harmless’, or even as ‘positive contributors to society’.

      This is the currently most popular strain of the anti-immigration movements in Europe, as represented by Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, the Danish People’s Party, the Sweden Democrats, and in Germany the so called ‘Pro-movement’, of which Pro-Cologne (Pro-Köln) is one of the most active, as well as several recently new established parties with a similar ideology . In England the EDL is connected to this ideology, together with groups such as SIOE and its local chapters, The Danish Free Press Society and their magazine Sappho, and some others. Note that the SIOE uses the slogan: ‘Racism is the lowest form of stupidity! Islamophobia is the height of common sense’.

      Their American allies are people such as Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, etc. The dedication to the Zionist cause, and their rejection of classical nationalist ideas such as the importance of ethnicity, sets them apart from the sincere nationalist parties such ad the British National Party, Front National (France), Jobbik (Hungary), and NPD (Germany – and the only clearly National Socialist inspired movement of those mentioned).

      Their heroes are mainly Jews such as German Henryk Broder, the French Zionist Bernard Henry Levy, British Melanie Philips, Bernard Lewis, to mention just a few, and many more. The Flemish Nationalists fall somewhere in between, and are mainly traditional Nationalists with no love for the US, Zionism or Israel, who are trying to adapt to a new pro-Zionist image, inspired by the success of Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party in Holland, and the Danish People’s Party in Denmark.

      Members of the pro-Zionist groups and parties often paint their non philosemitic fellow nationalists as Nazis, anti-Semites and racists, copying the rhetorics the left wing PC-brigade uses against themselves, and try to present a more polished image towards the mainstream. They are also much better connected to mainstream politicians than the traditional nationalists, and at times are supported by mainstream newspapers, such as Jyllands-Posten in Denmark, as well as by right wing Jewish groups and individuals. The mainstream press usually judges these groups more favorably then traditional nationalists, who are invariably accused of being ‘Nazis’.

    • There may be more to the Norwegian newspaper story I quoted than I originally thought.

      [The suspect, Ander Breivik], was known to be active on the internet, expressing extremist Islamophobic views on forums and criticizing immigration policies.

      He recently claimed that politics today was not about socialism vs. capitalism but nationalism vs. internationalism. He argued on a Swedish news website that the media were not critical enough about Islam and claimed that Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom in the Netherlands was the only "true" party of conservatives.

      He argued that socialism was breaking down traditions, culture, national identity and other societal structures and that this in turn made society weak and confused.

      Who is Geert Wilders and why is it relevant here for a youth camp and a Norwegian political party that were promoting the Palestinian cause and were attacked today?

      link to ynetnews.com

      Opinions may be divided over the election results, but everyone is in agreement on one issue – the relations with Israel. "The radical Right's success is good news for Israel. Wilders supports Israel and is known for his good relations with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman," said Moss, who added that if Wilders joins the government, he will likely visit the Jewish state.

      link to ynetnews.com

      Geert Wilders, who leads the right-wing Party for Freedom (PVV) in Holland, said last week he believes Jordan should be renamed Palestine. The Jordanian government responded by saying Wilders' speech was reminiscent of the Israeli right wing.

      "Jordan is Palestine," said Wilders, who heads the third-largest party in Holland. "Changing its name to Palestine will end the conflict in the Middle East and provide the Palestinians with an alternate homeland."

      Wilders added that Israel deserved a special status in the Dutch government because it was fighting for Jerusalem in its name.

      "If Jerusalem falls into the hands of the Muslims, Athens and Rome will be next. Thus, Jerusalem is the main front protecting the West. It is not a conflict over territory but rather an ideological battle, between the mentality of the liberated West and the ideology of Islamic barbarism," he said.

      "There has been an independent Palestinian state since 1946, and it is the kingdom of Jordan." Wilders also called on the Dutch government to refer to Jordan as Palestine and move its embassy to Jerusalem.

      The Saudi Al-Watan carried Jordan's response to Wilders' speech. The kingdom's embassy in Hague was outraged, and said the Dutch ambassador would soon be summoned to explain.

      Jordan's minister for media affairs and communications, Nabil Al Sharif, asked for clarifications. He described Wilders' declaration as "an echo of the voice of the Israeli Right" and "crows' screams".

      "Jordan is an independent and secure country which supports the Palestinian issue, and these imaginings of finding them an alternate homeland are nothing but the delusions of a few people," he said.

      The PVV nearly tripled its power in the last election, going from nine parliament seats to 24. The right-wing party, which has called for a ban on minarets and Muslim scarves, has been holding so far unsuccessful negotiations with the liberal Right.

    • Here's yesterday's story about the youth camp that was shot at by what we now know was a Norwegian.

      link to translate.google.com

      During the second day of Labour Youth League summer camp at Utøya got the Labour Party's young hopefuls visit by Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store.

      Together with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation correspondent Sidsel Wold and Norwegian People's Aid Kirsten Belck-Olsen, discussed the Foreign Minister of the deadlock between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

      As foreign minister arrived Utøya he was met with a demand from the AUF that Norway must recognize a Palestinian state.

      - The Palestinians must have their own state, the occupation must end, the wall must be demolished and it must happen now, said the Foreign Minister to cheers from the audience.

      Check the link for the photo.

  • The olive conversion (and what Mom said when she came to visit Palestine)
    • One of the key reasons Pamela Olson connected with the Palestinians is her rural, Oklahoma background which even a Stanford physics degree cannot drive out of you. She saw their connection with the land and their rural hospitality. While Land Day commemorates the land that was stolen in 1948 it also commemorates the deep connection the Palestinian people have with their land. The story of the Palestinian and Jewish peoples is really a story of two trees, the Levantine Olive Tree for the Palestinians and the European Pine Tree for the Jews. This book also reminds me of the Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkien with the deep, pastoral goodness of the Hobbits and the destructive, unnatural, Orcs. Let's hope the ending of this story is the same "eucatastrophe" as was found in Tolkien.

      I plan on recommending this book to my Red State, Christian Zionist, friends. Not only will it give a Paul Harvey rrrrrrest of the story to their visits to Israel it will also connect with their rural, flyover country backgrounds.

  • I have no doubt that Palestinians will be victorious, sooner than later
    • Heck, just look at what a single unarmed Marine could do against them. From the UN report on the 2010 flotilla:

      A fight ensued between passengers and the first soldiers to descend onto the top deck that resulted in at least two soldiers being pushed down onto the bridge deck below, where they were involved in struggles with groups of passengers who attempted to take their weapons. The equipment jacket of at least one soldier was removed as he was pushed over the side of the deck. A number of weapons were taken from the soldiers by passengers and thrown into the sea: one weapon, a 9-mm pistol, was unloaded by a passenger, a former U.S. Marine, in front of witnesses and then hidden in another part of the ship in an attempt to retain evidence.

      116. A number of the passengers on the top deck fought with the soldiers using their fists, sticks, metal rods and knives.69 At least one of the soldiers was stabbed with a knife or other sharp object. Witnesses informed the Mission that their objective was to subdue and disarm the soldiers so that they could not harm anyone. The Mission is satisfied on the evidence that at least two passengers on the bridge deck also used handheld catapults to propel small projectiles at the helicopters. [My note: who's the David and who's the Goliath?] The Mission has found no evidence to suggest that any of the passengers used firearms or that any firearms were taken on board the ship. Despite requests, the Mission has not received any medical records or other substantiated information from the Israeli authorities regarding any firearm injuries sustained by soldiers participating in the raid. Doctors examined the three soldiers taken below decks and no firearm injuries were noted. Further, the Mission finds that the Israeli accounts so inconsistent and contradictory with regard to evidence of alleged firearms injuries to Israeli soldiers that it has to reject it.

      Here's one of the terrible weapons the fearless IDF fought valiantly against:

      At least one of those killed was using a video camera and not involved in any of the fighting with the soldiers.

      Some more:

      As the seriousness of incidents on the outer decks became apparent, there was growing concern among some of the flotilla organisers that holding the captured Israeli soldiers may have serious implications for the security of all passengers on board.74 It was decided that the soldiers should be released and they were taken to the bow of the lower deck. Once on the bow deck two of the soldiers jumped into the sea and were picked up by Israeli boats. The third soldier did not jump and was rapidly joined by Israeli soldiers who came down from the top deck.

      Think of this. Civilians with no firearms disarmed, captured and released three special forces soldiers who fled in abject terror. Think what a modern, armed, regular army could do.

  • Message to Marty
    • He's probably hanging out with Christian Zionists. We have American creation myths (cf. the works of David Barton) for the founders just like he does for Israel. The George Washington that Marty admires is not the one of history.

  • At last, integrationists have won the great ideological struggle inside Jewish life
    • Does this sound like an unconditional promise? I see a lot of conditions.

      Leviticus 26

      “‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4 I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. 5 Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land.

      6 “‘I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove wild beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country. 7 You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. 8 Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.

      9 “‘I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. 10 You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. 11 I will put my dwelling place[a] among you, and I will not abhor you. 12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. 13 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.

      14 “‘But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, 15 and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, 16 then I will do this to you: I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it. 17 I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you.
      18 “‘If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over. 19 I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze. 20 Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of your land yield their fruit.

      21 “‘If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve. 22 I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children, destroy your cattle and make you so few in number that your roads will be deserted.

      23 “‘If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me, 24 I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over. 25 And I will bring the sword on you to avenge the breaking of the covenant. When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands. 26 When I cut off your supply of bread, ten women will be able to bake your bread in one oven, and they will dole out the bread by weight. You will eat, but you will not be satisfied.

      27 “‘If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, 28 then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. 29 You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters. 30 I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies[b] on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you. 31 I will turn your cities into ruins and lay waste your sanctuaries, and I will take no delight in the pleasing aroma of your offerings. 32 I myself will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled. 33 I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. 34 Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. 35 All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it.

      36 “‘As for those of you who are left, I will make their hearts so fearful in the lands of their enemies that the sound of a windblown leaf will put them to flight. They will run as though fleeing from the sword, and they will fall, even though no one is pursuing them. 37 They will stumble over one another as though fleeing from the sword, even though no one is pursuing them. So you will not be able to stand before your enemies. 38 You will perish among the nations; the land of your enemies will devour you. 39 Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their ancestors’ sins they will waste away.

      40 “‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors—their unfaithfulness and their hostility toward me, 41 which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees. 44 Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the LORD their God. 45 But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the LORD.’”

  • Jerome Slater responds re right of return
    • So are going to pass your version of the Snyder Act like we did in 1924 to make up for past sins?

      BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all non citizen Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States be, and they are hereby, declared to be citizens of the United States: Provided That the granting of such citizenship shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of any Indian to tribal or other property." Approved, June 2, 1924. June 2, 1924. [H. R. 6355.] [Public, No. 175.] SIXTY-EIGHTH CONGRESS. Sess. I. CHS. 233. 1924.

      This is how you avoid such an "honorific" that Mooser has given you.

  • Hasbara is in the American wallpaper-- even in well-meaning stories on public radio
    • This is the reality in Israel where Apartheid is the norm even in so-called "mixed cities" in Israel. I was asking my tour guide for a mixed city. He suggested Nazareth. He pointed to the courthouse in Nazareth Illit noting that both Jewish and Arabs are judges. He didn't mentioned that Nazareth Illit was Judaized and the mayor is trying to block any Christmas celebrations there and also was actively trying to keep the Christians from moving there. A Baptist church in Nazareth Illit cannot worship on Sunday and even when they worship on the Shabbat they can only do so in a garage in order to not "bother" the Jews there. Haifa is also marked as being mixed but there is only one truly mixed neighborhood in the whole city where Jews and non-Jews actually live side by side. Lod has its own mini separation barrier.

      When we visited the City of David in the middle of Silwan we were kept away from any Palestinians. We only had the short walk down the hill to the entrance. When we were done with the tour our bus took us away before we could interact with the village. In addition to that, the City of David is building a series of tunnels to connect with the Western Wall complex to make it such that we don't even have that short walk contaminated with a Palestinian presence. The City of David is owned by a settler's organization and is connected with Beit Yonaton which is an armed camp that has no interaction with their Palestinian neighbors. Here's when 60 Minutes visited Beit Yonaton and note the isolation:

      link to cbsnews.com

  • 100 hours in Israeli detention for trying to visit Bethlehem
  • Siegman: Israel always wanted territory not peace, and US is its 'captive'
    • I don't think you realize how precarious Israel's high tech industry is. Israel was chosen because of its low cost. This has been overtaken by locations such as Bangalore and Shanghai. Roughly ten times the engineering job openings are still in the U.S. over Israel.

      Intel's Bangalore operations are in one of the city's most sophisticated buildings, with over 200,000 square feet of office and lab space, and one of the first multi-level parking structures in the area. Originally a sales and marketing office since 1988, Intel India soon expanded due to the country's Information Technology and engineering talent pool. Now the majority of work done at Intel India is software and hardware engineering. Intel's Bangalore operations include the most Intel divisions in any country outside the United States. Employees primarily work for the Intel India Development Center (IIDC) and the sales and marketing organization.

      Since its inception in 1999, the IIDC has grown to employ more than 800 employees, all supporting its mission of delivering high-quality, cost-effective Intel solutions through technology leadership and quality engineering. The IIDC is Intel's largest non-manufacturing site internationally. It invests heavily in India's education and community development.

    • From Intel's press room:

      While Intel generates approximately three-fourths of its revenues overseas, it maintains three-fourths of its microprocessor manufacturing in the United States. This new investment commitment also allows the company to maintain its existing manufacturing employment base at these sites.

      I work as an engineer in the semiconductor industry. Worldwide manufacturing operations are designed to be flexible in order to deal with supply change disruptions. Intel would react to a threat by dropping Israel like a hot potato. Why?

      Fassberg said the Kiryat Gat plant will be Intel's second worldwide to produce the smaller, next-generation 22-nanometer chips. The first will be in the United States.

      This is the threat to the second and not first source. Intel would find a different second source and before that more of the 22nm Ivy Bridge chips will come state side.

  • An Israeli welcome
    • Thanks. I forwarded this along with Laura Durkay's experience to some people on my tour including one of our pastor's wives. We visited Christian Friends of Israel in Jerusalem on our tour and their sine qua non is to minister to Holocaust victims. You hit the nail on the head as to motivations. Yad Vashem was truly moving and the people on the trip truly wanted to make amends for the long history of anti-Semitism in the church. That care and compassion is cynically manipulated to support the evils done by the Israeli government.

      In short, the love of the Jewish people is used to produce a commensurate love of the Israeli state. My goal is to point the arrow in the opposite direction. Most of my friends don't know any Jews in the United States. This is despite the many active attempt of outreach by Jews in our community such as having a public Hanukah celebrations at the local senior center. It is truly the problem of the "hidden minority". We met as few Christians in Israel as we did Jews here.

  • The erasure of history (Israel gives go-ahead to desecration of Mamilla cemetery)
    • A little empathy can go a long away. My Israeli guide spoke with indignation about how the Jordanians desecrated the Jewish cemetery at the Mount of Olives. Take that emotion, apply it to "the other", see how they would feel, and bingo, understanding.

      The sad part of the history that gets erased showed how people got along and shared the land. Instead, a "clash of civilizations" got projected onto the history so that we have an intractable problem where no one can live together. So, not only was the land stolen but something far more precious, hope.

  • Poll says American Jews overwhelmingly oppose Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and declaration of Palestinian state
    • I have a question is this taken seriously in the Jewish community or just fringe wacko stuff? This is classic push poll.

      If reports are true that Iran has plans to place missiles in Venezuela, would you approve or disapprove of the following? “If economic and diplomatic sanctions on Venezuela do not work, we should use the American military to destroy the bases.”

      Republicans approve 53/22 and Democrats are split 37/39.

    • Pat Caddell should be ashamed of himself. This is the worst kind of push polling I've ever seen. This should be a case study in Poly Sci classes. As for what Commentary said you can tease out the info in the crosstabs. Many of the questions are bimodal based on party identification. I suspect a multi-variate analysis which controlled for Jew vs. Gentile would show that party identification trumps Jewish identity on many of these questions. There's that much difference between Republican and Democratic Jews. Those that are not bimodal are really, really leading.

      Here's the Jerusalem questions:

      Should Jerusalem remain the undivided capital of Israel or should the United States force Israel to give parts of Jerusalem, including Christian and Jewish holy sites, to the Palestinian Authority? Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel. OR, The United States should force Israel to give parts of Jerusalem, including Christian and Jewish holy sites, to the Palestinian Authority.

      Here's the re-elect question for Obama. Note how his position on right of return is misrepresented:

      Considering what President Obama has proposed for Israel just over a year before his 2012 re-election campaign - a return to the 1967 borders, dividing Jerusalem, and allowing the right of return for Palestinian Arabs to Israel - how concerned would you be about President Obama's policies towards Israel if he were re-elected and did not have to worry about another election?

      This is a completely worthless poll and the bloggers on WaPo are more than justified in panning it.

  • Emboldened by success of anti-BDS bill, right-wing parties push 'political inquisition'
    • Here's Laura Durkay's Twitter stream:

      lauradurkay Laura Durkay
      ALERT: activists from france & other countries have been prevented from boarding their planes headed to tel aviv for the #flytilla.
      7 Jul

      lauradurkay Laura Durkay
      we all got an announcement from our airline re "special boarding procedures." i think they'll try to stop us before we even get on planes
      7 Jul

      lauradurkay Laura Durkay
      so the israeli siege of gaza reaches to greece and the siege of the west bank covers the whole of europe. #flytilla
      7 Jul

      lauradurkay Laura Durkay
      checked in at london airport & thru security. not stopped yet... #airflotilla #flytilla
      8 Jul

      Then it went dark. But she's back and here's her story. I've edited the tweets to a single narrative. This is how the "only democracy in the Middle East" treats American citizens.

      salaam all! i am out of israeli prison after being detained for 4 nights and 4 days without being given any legal reason. Everyone on our flight from london was pulled aside at ben gurion passport control. the only thing i said was that i was going to bethlehem. [I was] detained 3 hrs in basement of ben gurion then 3 hrs on HOT prison bus w/bugs, no toilet, no water til we pounded on walls 2 demand it. [I was]taken to givon immigration detention center in ramla around 1115pm fri night where we were held for 4 nights & 4 days w/out charges. Men & women separated so i can only share womens' experience for now. 36 women on our cellblock: us, brit, french, belgian, german. Some were beaten/shoved/handcuffed while being arrested. no violence at prison itself, just general shitty conditions and lack of info. In our cellblock we graffitied free palestine etc all over cell walls & doors with markers or toothpaste. toothpaste took pain off doors :-) Prison conditions were fairly crappy but could have been much worse. main point is we were detained for 100 hours for NO LEGAL REASON at all. A few brave israelis had a solidarity protest outside airport for us. for saying "welcome to palestine" they were beaten & arrested. At no point during detention were we told our legal status or exactly what would happen to us. We weren't even told where we were going when we were put on prison bus. looked out windows and guessed. There were prisoners' rights written on wall at givon; we were told by guard "you're special, those rights don't apply to you". [We] had to fight for everything - phone calls, consular visits, medical treatment. woman in our cell had diarrhea, took 4 days to get a doctor. First day in prison when all consular officials visiting, cell doors open most of day & we could go out in hall & fraternize. Second day, no consular officials: locked up all day except 2 hrs in yard & 1 hr in hall. One of shittiest things: being woken up at 630am every day but still locked in & no breakfast til 8. just petty meanness. [There was] constant lies & lack of info from guards on when we could make phone calls, see lawyers etc. "later" was their favorite word. later = never. We were kept isolated from normal occupants of prison - mostly poor undocumented workers being kicked out & migrants/refugees from africa. Light swtiches were outside the cell so we worked out bootleg way to turn off lights with broom & help of cell across the way. Despite general shitty conditions, solidarity & spirit among prisoners was amazing: sharing food, clothes, toiletries & info. [There were] many different nationalities but enough spoke english and/or french that those became common languages. French & belgians in particular had big protests demanding our release and lots of media coverage. The Israeli government has been incredibly stupid on this. if they'd just let us in there would have been no story at all. Some belgians were sent to a prison in the negev that was worse than ours: link to english.aljazeera.net

  • +972 Magazine: Boycott law will affect international activists
    • Wow. Never underestimate the ability of the Likudniks of being really, really stupid. A boycott is always dicey and is susceptible to counter-boycotts and loyalty buying. Add to that 95% of Americans don't even care about this issue. But now I see tons of people calling for pulling the plug on U.S. aid to Israel. That'll leave a mark.

  • In major shift, 'Peace Now' calls for boycott of settlement goods
    • Thank you for your kind words. In the interest of full disclosure I should note that I appear to be an extremely rare bird. This has helped me relate to our Jewish friends here. Like me, they are trying to redeem and reform their community even when they are rowing very much uphill. I also relate to the slander from within your own community. As David said in Psalm 41:9: "Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me." David continues, "I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever. " More than anything else that's what I notice is the integrity here and I am honored to be in your company.

      Shalom Chaverim

    • Some people may wonder why I am so different than other evangelicals. The reason was I was looking to see how free Israel really was and which narrative was true. Back in the 1980s just after the Marine barracks bombing I talked with the missionary Ralph Winters. He had just returned from the Middle East. He told me that Israel was one of the least free countries he had ever visited and by contrast the Palestinians were much more open. When I visited Israel and the West Bank this year I found Ralph's and not the "official" narrative was true.

      The 1980s are instructive to us here. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were very opposed to any kind of sanctions for South Africa. It was civil society including Christian churches that filled the gap. Eventually our government reluctantly followed after boycotts and public awareness became more and more effective. These boycotts were not merely against the Afrikaner farmers but anything the South African government touched. At the same time Ronald Reagan was against the South African boycotts he was also against the illegal settlements in Israel as the reason there wasn't peace.

      While some of us have seen Israel as being anti-democratic for decades now even Israel's supporters are predicting more anti-democratic, even fascist, legislation. Based upon the history of boycotts, and the history of the intransigent anti-democratic nature of the state of Israel, and the failure of our government to control the illegal settlements, all boycotts, divestment, and sanctions should be directed against the state of Israel and not merely the settlers. Our government has failed us and we as civil society and people of faith must take up the mantle and cry "Freedom!".

  • Boycott law is crossroads for U.S.'s liberal Zionists
    • More progress:

      Oh, Lord. (8+ / 0-)

      It's hardly 'fascism' to give the legislature power to veto court appointments. If it were, the U.S., Britain, France and a lot of other democracies would be considered fascist.

      'Fascism' is a pretty clearly defined term. This isn't it.

      Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

      by MBNYC on Wed Jul 13, 2011 at 09:37:34 AM MDT

      MBNYC.. this is not "fascist" but.... (3+ / 0-)

      this is a step on the road to fascism. This goes beyond what exists in the U.S. due to the intent of the laws being passed.

      Despite the asinine braying of some here at Daily Kos, this is a serious issue, and it is the beginning of some very "McCarthyesque" policies being proposed by the Israeli Right. I mean if Gideon Saar (the Minister of Education), a person who wants to outlaw teaching of the Nakba thinks this law is extreme... then there is something to what is being said.

      Does this mean "ditch Israel" of course not, but, it should mean as a friend that we should say something and let the Israeli people know that they need not buy into the fear that the Right Wing is trying to foster there.

      DK4: For those times when pissing in the hummus isn't enough

      by volleyboy1 on Wed Jul 13, 2011 at 10:58:39 AM MDT

    • Please go to Troubadour's DailyKos diary now.

      link to dailykos.com

      It's getting much, much worse as Israel rushes headlong into full-scale fascism. I'm glad he's the one publishing it on DailyKos because his life experience of having his wife attacked by a Palestinian terrorist means that his motives cannot be impeached.

      Here's the new wrinkle.

      This is what an attempt at a fascist coup looks like – Likud MKs enraged by court petitions against the boycott bill are now pushing for legislation granting the Knesset a veto over Supreme Court appointments. Such a law would destroy the separation of powers in Israel

      What I hope liberal Zionists will see is when a fascist state attacks the rights of some people eventually it attacks the rights of all people. The threat to the Jewish people and to their homeland is coming from within and not without.

  • Hey liberal Zionists: Obama voters overwhelmingly support right of return
    • I don't think it's fair for the President be as far to the left as his base. He ran as a centrist and that's how he governed. I do think it's fair, however, to be the very centrist he promised to be. He promised to be an "honest broker". He has failed to do that and because he promised to be different in Cairo the reputation of our country and the resulting cynicism has hurt us internationally. I don't expect the President to be a one-stater and a full-throated right-of-return advocate like his base. I do expect him to call for full human rights in Israel and the occupied territories and also put severe pressure on the Israelis for the illegal settlements to stop and ultimately be reversed.

  • The Christian Zionism canard (1/2 of US evangelical leaders say they sympathize with both sides equally)
    • Yes, young evangelicals are increasingly pro-Palestinian. Here's a "warning" about them from a Christian Zionist:

      For some time, I have been raising the alarm that evangelical Christianity has been infiltrated by theological leftists. Among other things, this impacts our nation’s view of Israel.

      Recently, I was made aware of a movement of young evangelicals who are embracing what the British lecturer Paul Wilkinson calls “Christian Palestinianism.” Loosely, this means a Christian who supports the Palestinian Arabs, and dismisses Jewish claims to the land. Obviously, these “Millennial Generation” Christians (18-34) do not embrace Bible prophecy. Their worldview is different.

      A battle for Israel is being fought in the United States right now. Traditionally, Americans have supported the Jewish state, and the U.S. has always been one of the few friendly havens for Jews. I believe that is changing.

      Chris LaTondresse, CEO of Recovering Evangelical (recoveringevangelical.com) is such a leader. By embracing new media and technologies, they are reaching vast numbers of young people. To be perfectly frank, while many of us in the Bible prophecy community cling to old models in presenting our worldview, young people aren’t paying attention at all. They are running to the “recovering evangelicals.” Listen to what LaTondresse posted on his website:

      “Our generation’s tutors are child-soldiers in Uganda, girls rescued from sex-slavery in Thailand and homeless youth living in the crumbling remains of America’s inner-cities. Our primary classrooms are Brazilian favelas, rural villages in Kenya and bombed-out neighborhoods in Gaza. These people aren’t our causes. They’re our friends.

      “For these reasons and more, we’re turned-off when faith becomes a bludgeon used to condemn those outside of our tribe. We think the world needs fewer culture warriors and more peacemakers, reconcilers and bridge builders.”

      Of course, he is interested in building bridges with those of like-mind. I seriously doubt the young evangelicals who consider themselves centrists or left-leaning are interested in building bridges with what I’d call Bible-believing Christians. And, it is perfectly acceptable for them and Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo — mentors of a sort — to use their faith as a bludgeon against those with whom they disagree. Amazingly, McLaren is considered to be a voice of reason and a compassionate voice, at the same time he lambasts Bible-believing Christians.

      LaTondresse has been impacted by the teachings of Elias Chacour, a Palestinian Catholic from the Galilee who promotes the “Palestinian narrative” which essentially blames the Arab refugee problem on Israel. As LaTondresse claims, Chacour “loves Jesus,” but one isn’t clear if these men acknowledge that Jesus is a Jew. Certainly, the godfather of modern terrorism, the self-proclaimed leader of the Palestinian people, Yasser Arafat, absurdly identified Jesus as a Palestinian. This lie has also been peddled by such “evangelical icons” as Phillip Yancey.

      The leadership team of Recovering Evangelical, seven-strong, is comprised of college graduates — including one from Princeton Theological Seminary. One hundred years ago, Princeton was in the midst of a transformation from being a bastion of conservative scholarship, to a liberal school. That is why such wonderful teachers as Robert Dick Wilson departed Princeton. The spirit of the age was against them, and it is against us.

      Interestingly, one of Recovering Evangelical’s senior contributors, Brian Kammerzelt, currently serves on the faculty at Moody! He also taught at Wheaton, which many Christians do not realize is more liberal than conservative. He also attended Willow Creek, the seeker-friendly church in north Chicago started by Bill Hybels.

      Hybels’ wife, Lynne, has become more and more vocal about supporting the Palestinians. On her blog (lynnehybels.blogspot.com), she recently posted some comments about a sermon her husband had delivered the month following the 9/11 attacks.

      Predictably, Bill Hybels decried what he described as unfair characterizations of Muslims, by Americans. This after 19 Muslim terrorists had murdered more than 3,000 Americans. ABC’s Peter Jennings went down the same path, almost immediately holding a town-hall meeting to present Muslims as misunderstood peaceniks.

      Lynne Hybels wrote this about her husband’s message:

      “He talked about ‘hot reactors,’ people who ‘opinionate before they reflect, before they bow down and pray; who ventilate before they ask God for sober-mindedness and self-control; who indict whole races of people before they know the facts. Let’s call this what it is: not good. Not good behavior. Not good Christianity. This is Christianity gone awry.’”

      Lynne Hybels also spoke at the “Christ at the Checkpoint” International Conference, organized by Palestinians and Christians who oppose Christian Zionists. On the website (christatthecheckpoint.com), we also learn that Tony Campolo characterizes Christian Zionism as “theology that legitimates oppression.”

      Christian Zionism is a theology that legitimates oppression? That is a lie.

      These kinds of potshots and smear tactics against Christians who support Israel are growing in number. Christian Zionists, in my view, must determine to do two things:

      Read, study, and educate. Learn the arguments. Study the issues related to Israel and the Jewish people. Then use your brain to articulate these things to your circle of contacts. A word of caution: the nastiness of the proponents of “Christian Palestinianism” will be a continual problem. Yet we must engage these attacks, which are ultimately attacks on the Jewish people.
      Embrace the new technologies. Use tools like social networking, PowerPoint presentations if you speak to groups, etc. If you think you’re too old for Facebook, think again. “Tweet” on Twitter. Realize that cell phones are the new delivery systems for young people. While we are fumbling with overheard projectors and slides, our opponents are laughing, while providing the content they want young people to digest via new technology.

      Leftists will always present themselves as reasonable, compassionate, “careful thinkers.” They focus heavily on social justice issues, and love causes that would make the Pacifists’ Hall of Fame.

      Yet there is a malevolence associated with their loathing of Christian Zionists. Check it out for yourselves.

      We have work to do.

    • The highest support for Palestinians are among Evangelicals that live in MENA.

      among the Middle Eastern and North African leaders surveyed, only 14% sympathize more with Israel, while 26% favor the Palestinians and 43% sympathize equally with both sides.

      By an 86/12 majority Evangelical leaders say it is better to support local Christians than sending in foreigners. What I saw anecdotally is if the ministry does that it is much more likely to be pro-Palestinian. The Christian Zionist ministries have almost no contact with Palestinian Christians (they have some with Messianic Jews which are a much smaller group). Groups like World Vision list pages and pages of churches they partner with in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Churches in Israel are museums that have foreign caretakers. Churches in the West Bank and Gaza have indigenous congregations. Another thing is Muslims often care for Christian church buildings in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem due to respect for Jesus as a prophet (pbuh). The more evangelicals actually experience Palestinians and Israelis the more likely they are to sympathize with the Palestinians and the less likely they are to view Palestinians as monolithic Muslim terrorists.

      Evangelical leaders have a similar unfavorability for Catholics, Jews, and Eastern Orthodox: 24/25/26. Muslims clock in at 67% unfavorable and atheists at 70% unfavorable. Thus, my comments on the Christopher Hitchens thread. Evangelizing the non-religious as a top priority is more important than evangelizing Muslims by a 73/59 margin. Thus, it's very possible that American Evangelicals may revert back to their "fortress America" stand prior to WWII.

  • Col. Travers: Israel's treatment of Palestinian children shows that it does not seek peace
    • The 1993 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order was given for Donald Harman Akenson's: "God's Peoples: Covenant and Land in South Africa, Israel and Ulster"

      Seeing the similarities of the "covenental" mindset of the three groups he was optimistic for two but not the third (guess which). He said the following in 1993:

      Ireland, South Africa and Israel may seem worlds apart. But similarities among groups in these politically troubled countries help explain why they cannot maintain peace within their borders.

      The similarities also can help predict the events that lie ahead, says Donald Harman Akenson, winner of the 1993 award.

      In his 1992 book, God's Peoples: Covenant and Land in South Africa, Israel and Ulster, Akenson looks specifically at Ulster-Scots Presbyterians, Dutch Reformed Church Afrikaners and the Jews of Israel.

      The groups share some common traits, particularly a belief that God has promised them the land they struggled to get. Believing they are God's chosen people, the groups also share fear of an outside enemy, the legacy of an "exodus" experience and a concept of group purity.

      The groups have experienced similar conflict with outside forces through events such as the fraying of the Ulster covenant by the Catholic civil rights movement of 1969; the worldwide response to apartheid after 1969; and the claim of the Jews to "greater Israel" after the 1967 war.

      "By understanding the convictions of these groups, politicians can better deal with the emotionally charged issues they face," Akenson says.

      He argues that, "patience -- not confrontation -- is the key to ending such conflicts.

      Already, there are signs of a gradual dissolution of the covenental mindset in South Africa and Northern Ireland; however, the Jews in Israel had not at the time of his writing shown any signs of softening their position."

  • 'Flytilla' protest rocks the Israeli status quo in a sacred place - the airport
    • What you illustrate is the moral bankruptcy of Zionism by your silly projection. Success as measured above is merely winning rather than fighting for social justice. I recently mentioned Thomas Getman but you may have missed the relationship with Desmond Tutu and South African Apartheid. Before Mandela was out of jail Tutu commissioned Getman to go to Palestine to fight for justice there. What this shows is both men have a long view of history and don't let the daily ups and downs of tactical politics discourage them. Note this 1998 article:

      link to wrmea.com

      "I'll never forget it. It hit me in the chest like a bolt," said Tom Getman, World Vision director in Jerusalem, to an audience at the First Presbyterian Church in Seattle on Oct. 28. Getman was referring to the words spoken to him by Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa sometime in the mid-1970s in Uganda. Tutu had been thanking Getman for all he had done to support South African human rights.

      "We were standing on the beach," Getman remembered, "and Desmond was thanking me for the solidarity, for the hosting, for the prayers and for the legislation. Then Tutu said: 'Mandela will be out of jail soon. We're on our way, liberation is at hand, and if you really want to prove your bona fides, in terms of human rights, turn your eyes to the Palestinians.'"

      Shortly thereafter Tom Getman and his wife Karen began making regular trips to the Middle East and he consequently became World Vision's director and spokesperson on the big issues facing Christian charitable organizations in Israel.

      Getman is a story teller and made his presentation based on his personal experiences in the Holy Land. "Jewish hope has been dashed because the moral core has been lost," he said, describing the "deep residue of pain" in Israeli and Palestinian society, which is so apparently sociopathological and so general that "you can actually smell it and feel it," he said.

      Citing the U.S. tax deductions received by American Jews for giving to Israeli organizations, Getman said, "American Jews must stand up and say something. They must say this is evil, and we must move on."

      Getman said he once attended a conference at the South African Embassy where the American Jewish Committee was to present South Africa with an award for its progress in the area of human rights. "The irony of it was too amazing to miss," Getman said.

      With 400 American Jews at the South African Embassy, the ambassador asked if Getman would give him counsel on what he should tell this audience. So after they presented the award to Nelson Mandela for human rights work, the ambassador announced, "As long as there are human rights violations anywhere, none of us is free."

      He then introduced Tom Getman, "who is living in Palestine/Israel and working on human rights issues." Getman said that afterward many who were in the audience spoke to him about their discomfort and asked if Getman would consider taking them to see Gaza.

      Getman said it takes courage to stand up for justice, and urged his listeners to believe in "prophetic truth-telling that touches hearts before darkness takes them over." He told of a trip he made with Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) in Israel/Palestine.

      "He was the only congressman who was courageous enough to stay in an East Jerusalem hotel," Getman related, "and to resist Israeli government officials who sought to take over his schedule."

      It's a dangerous game to bring in Evangelicals like Tom and me as allies. We tend to think in right and wrong and black and white and unfortunately for you we are very, very patient. Evangelical comes from the Greek word for good news but the good news is more specific. It's good news for the poor and the imprisoned, the weak and the sick. We point to the book of Ephesians which says that Jesus brought down the "wall of enmity" between Jew and Gentile. We do not look to whether a particular political tactic succeeds or not but what is required of us by our God as put by the prophet Micah:

      He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

      Now we have people of all faiths and no faith standing up for justice in Palestine. If you think your pitiful peace of Hasbara will discourage us you underestimate our long, even eternal, view of history.

    • Exactly. It was the over-the-top rhetoric that pushed me over the edge. Think of the optics for a second. Stopping young, brown, Muslim men is one thing. White Christian Grandmas another. By the way, there's a term for arresting someone who has a political disagreement with a country, political prisoner. That's what happened when Laura Ling tried to get into North Korea. In a sense this is worse, though, because at least North Korea was trying to keep people out of their own country.

    • Here's also what the foreigners did because they HATE Israel so much. Note: irony alert for the humor impaired.

    • The English passengers were John Lynes, 83, a retired university lecturer from East Sussex; Audrey Gray, 77, a retired nurse from West Chiltington; Val Kitchen, 68, from Tonbridge; Anne Gray, 66, a retired academic from London; and Les Levidow, 61, an Open University research fellow who works in Milton Keynes.

      Does that sound like terrorists to you?

    • The Press Association is reporting the following:

      Twelve British people have been detained in Israel while making an attempt to visit the West Bank town of Bethlehem, according to campaigners.

      The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which was co-ordinating the British arm of the visit, said its chairman Mick Napier, 64, a university teacher, was amongst four Scots arrested at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport.
      The flight also included five English and three Welsh people.

      The campaign said the specific charges against them is still unclear. Around 700 people from around the world had intended to visit Bethlehem on the invitation of families there.

      Sofiah Macleod, the UK-based contact for the campaign, said: "I spoke to consular staff this morning who told me that the arrest was quite rough. They were all handcuffed and shackled and put into vans after standing around for quite a long time, and you can see from their ages that a lot of them are retired. Otherwise they`re all fine."

      She said that travel to the West Bank is theoretically open to British passport holders, unlike Gaza which is currently under Israeli blockade.
      Frank Thomas, 66, a retired statistician from Edinburgh; Ian Stewart-Hargreaves, who lives on Isle of Lewis; and Joy Cherkaoui, a community worker from Dumfries and Galloway, were also amongst the Scots.
      The English passengers were John Lynes, 83, a retired university lecturer from East Sussex; Audrey Gray, 77, a retired nurse from West Chiltington; Val Kitchen, 68, from Tonbridge; Anne Gray, 66, a retired academic from London; and Les Levidow, 61, an Open University research fellow who works in Milton Keynes.

      The three Welsh passengers were Pippa Bartolotti, 57, deputy leader of the Wales Green Party; Dee Murphy, 56, from Swansea, founder member of Swansea Palestine Community Link; and Joyce Giblin. The twelfth passenger Fiona Williams has also been identified as British, although her exact nationality is unknown.

      A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We have received reports of a number of British nationals being detained at the airport in Tel Aviv. We have a consular team at the airport who are seeking access to them to ensure that we can provide the appropriate assistance."

      Speaking of consular assistance anybody know what our Embassy is doing? I know of one American whose Twitter feed went dark on July 8 just after getting on the plane.

  • Two US flotilla activists do flytilla
    • Here's some examples of such trips. The first is in the April 2011 issue of Sojourners Magazine. (Sojourners is a progressive evangelical organization.)

      link to sojo.net

      I lay myself down in the Dead Sea waters. It's the middle of January and I’m travelling with a group led by Earth Ministry, a nonprofit based in Seattle that works in the area of faith and the environment. We're in Israel/Palestine for the usual reasons -- a pilgrimage to holy sites -- but also to learn more about the water situation.

      We travel about the countryside and through the villages. We listen to stories from Christian Palestinians, including Samuel Barhoum, an Anglican priest near Nazareth, and Sami Awad of the Holy Land Trust, a nonprofit based in Bethlehem that uses nonviolence tactics in support of Palestinian farmers. Both speak at length of going for days without water -- no water for bathing or for cooking, little for drinking -- while they can see Israeli settlements in the West Bank with swimming pools. We travel down to the Dead Sea, where we meet with Gundi Sachal, Middle East regional director for Friends of the Earth. We hear of (and see in front of us) the shrinking of the Dead Sea. Gundi confirms what we saw days before, and what I’ve also heard from Susan Koppelman, a young Jewish-American woman who works with the nonprofit initiative LifeSource in the West Bank: The Jordan River is now mostly untreated sewage, with 5 percent of its historical flow reaching the sea here. Lebanon, Syria, and Israel all cut into it. The Dead Sea drops a meter every year.

      In December 2008 Sojourners Magazine, Wesley Granberg-Michaelson hit the nail on the head:

      link to sojo.net

      These facts, relationships, and experiences need to be nurtured and built, particularly between Christian communities in the U.S. and the Middle East, in order to challenge and overturn the dominant theological and political assumptions of U.S. Christians. We em phasize today the priority of Christian-Muslim dialogue in our time, and I could not agree more. But ironically, it’s actually Christian-Christian dialogue and solidarity, between churches in the U.S. and the Middle East, that is so urgently needed, almost as a prerequisite to Christian-Muslim relations. Here’s the point: The experience of Christians struggling to witness, live, and simply survive in the Holy Land today and throughout the Middle East can transform how Christians in the U.S. respond to the effects of U.S. foreign policy in the region and to the theological expectations of Christian Zionism.

      When I talked with Christian Palestinians was when the scales fell from my eyes. So, when we give feedback on these tours we need to insist that we interact with the indigenous churches in Palestine. The way I would put it is: This is a Christian pilgrimage can we please meet our brothers and sisters there?

      Tom Getman in Sojourners Magazine also stated the same problem with so-called Holy Land tours:

      Why don't most Christian visitors to Israel and Palestine get it? How can so many tourists who see the painful impact of military occupation maintain an expansionist Israel "right or wrong" point of view?

      Four reasons are obvious:

      1) Most visitors who come to the Holy Land for the primary reason of "walking where Jesus walked" have never been victims of torture, oppression, unjust imprisonment, or physical deprivation. From their more comfortable lives, they may not be as sensitive to Jesus' marching orders in Luke 4 to "preach good news to the poor...and release to the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." This is a vacation, after all, not a "mission trip."

      2) Many who come believe in a near-heretical apocalyptic theology nurtured by the "late great" prophetic literature that declares that the secular state of Israel is the long awaited pre-messianic event.

      3) The vast majority of those who come are traveling with tour agencies or guides trained and supervised by the Israeli government. As a result Arab Muslims and Christians alike are often denigrated as violent, dirty, and criminally inclined people whose neighborhoods should be avoided.

      4) Many visitors come with fully arranged schedules and are afraid to reach out to local believers, to worship with them, or to see their reality—especially since many congregations are in the "dangerous" West Bank and Gaza Strip.

      The truth is, these visits are rarely dangerous physically, but they can cause troubling spiritual challenge to misperceptions and prejudices. When visitors observe injustice and align themselves with the poor and oppressed—when the scales come off the eyes of pilgrims—the result can be painful internal and doctrinal adjustments, but a deepened spiritual sensitivity. As one of our pilgrim friends, Rev. Katherine Kallis from Boston, said, "The experience with Palestinians sandpapered my heart. I will never be the same."

      Steve Martin at the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good said the following:

      link to newevangelicalpartnership.org

      As they say, “The first casualty of war is truth.” It is impossible to wade through all the facts and figures so hotly debated through sixty years of conflict. Go and see for yourself. Take a cab from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and see the wall. Sit in an ice cream parlor in Ramallah. Have tea in a Palestinian shop in Hebron. Walk down the streets of Beit Sahour at midnight as wedding celebrations sweep through the city. Such adventures are risky: they might force you to change your mind.

      Steve is part of NEP's speakers bureau so it's possible to get him into evangelical churches to speak on this issue. It's vitally important that whomever is involved to be on the inside. This is the kind of push back the Christian Zionists do to inoculate against people like myself (and let's be real I'm an EXTREME minority):

      link to calvarypo.org

      A new film, “With God on Our Side,” is being released this month to rebut pro-Israel Christians and persuade them to champion the Palestinian cause.

      The film’s purpose, as its producer explains, is to take American Christians off the metaphorical tourist trail of their pro-Israel stance and instead wade them into embittered Palestinian communities where their views will change.

      The makers of “With God on Our Side” want increased U.S. pressure on Israel to accommodate Palestinian demands, facilitated by reduced U.S. evangelical support for Israel. The ultimate goal is unclear, whether a Palestinian state in the West Bank ruled by Islamists like Hamas, or dismantling Israel altogether in favor of a new nation dominated by returned Palestinian “refugees.

      Finally, social media is probably our best bet over expensive trips. Young people are used to hook up over Facebook and Twitter. People like myself could be docents and get evangelical young people in touch with Palestinian Christians. I know getting to know Egyptians during the revolution over Twitter softened me up when I visited Israel. Most older evangelicals already have their minds made up. Even though the tour group had the exact same experience my reaction was unique. Young people including young evangelicals are different and we need to reach out through media that's convenient to them. Once they are engaged and are considering summer short term mission trips having them look at World Vision Jerusalem or Christian Peacemaker Teams or Palestine Summer Encounters would be a helpful suggestion.

    • You're welcome. As should be becoming more obvious the difference between Christian Zionists and Christians who are not is not theology but rather political philosophy. Politically conservative evangelicals line up on one side while progressive evangelicals on the other. So, while I was disappointed when I travelled to Israel I was not surprised. The surprise happened after I came home. Where I was was like this video of Thomas Getman in 2009:

      link to youtube.com

      So, I came here and on DailyKos to dialog and find a solution that was just both to the Jews and the Palestinians. I had out of ignorance assumed that since Jews as a group were much more progressive than evangelical Christians that the goals of groups such as Team Shalom [sic] were as they stated, particularly given what the President had said in Cairo. In part, my experience in Israel set me up because it was the friendly Hasbara and not the Hasbara that bares its teeth like in the U.S. If they had told me as a Christian I was an anti-Semite I would just take it given the millennia of anti-Semitism in Christian circles. But, when I saw them calling people like yourself an anti-Semite or a self-hating Jew it just pissed me off. Add to that the blatantly obvious censorship at DailyKos with the hit recs and the lobbying Meteor Blades to declare any information coming from here prima facie anti-Semitism.

      I see a huge generational disconnect with DailyKos and the real netroots. My college-aged daughter tells me that her peers are almost all pro-Palestinian. She was just as shocked as I was with my DailyKos experience. Is there an analogous generation gap in the Jewish community that I have found in the Christian one? Most of the people on the Christian Zionist tours appear to be going on it as part of their "bucket list".

    • The screw ups just keep rolling. As I stated previously I attended a Christian pilgrimage tour. Not only that two women from my church help organize such tours. Many of the visitors are repeats. I plan on letting them know if you travel to Israel and tell the truth you may get deported and thrown in jail. This is going to negatively effect tourism to Israel.

      One other observation is the churches in Israel are overseen by the Ministry of Tourism and most don't have congregations. On the other hand, the churches in WB and Gaza do. Many missions organizations to combat the history of the abuses of colonialism instead work with the indigenous congregations. One such evangelical organization is World Vision which provides relief around the world. By being in the Holy Land since 1975 they have been able see things first hand. See their 2010 annual report.

      link to meero.worldvision.org

      With more than four decades of military occupation in the Holy Land, World Vision’s ministry of relief, development & advocacy is needed more than ever. Dire living conditions, travel and work restrictions, illegal Israeli settlements, separation barriers, and ongoing violence make daily life extremely difficult for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.

      World Vision is dedicated to advocating for the rights for all people, and promoting the establishment of conditions for peace and a stable development environment. Our Public Engagement team seeks to tell the story of everyday Palestinians, speak out for the local Church and seek peace for all children; both Israeli and Palestinian.

      At the heart of our work are the children affected by this conflict. By working creatively, with an emphasis on non-violence, we seek to highlight the systemic injustices that are a byproduct of Israel’s occupation. These initiatives are built on the vision for a generation transformed, especially for children. In this spirit, World Vision hosts visitors from all over the world, such as international church groups, to help advocate for a just and peaceful solution to the conflict.

      World Vision continues to support and build partnerships with peacebuilding groups like the Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center, Wi’am and the Israeli Palestinian Bereaved Families’ Forum for Peace, as partners in our call for an end to violence against children.

      American and European Christians need to be able to see the appalling conditions in the WB and Gaza for themselves like I did and Israel should not make it a crime to do so. As you can see, even evangelicals can have their opinions changed. It only takes a few hours and your life is changed forever. That's what Israel is afraid of. Finally, you have Thomas Getman who has been running WV in Jerusalem for decades. See his appraisal of the situation as part of the Occupation 101 documentary if Israel blocks you from seeing for yourself.

  • Welcome to Israel
    • As you know, the Israeli IDF stop Palestinian vehicles due to a different color license plates on their cars/trucks when compared to Israeli settlers living in the West Bank. They make them pull to the side of the road for questioning, harassment & long waiting periods.

      For Israeli Jewish settlers…NO stopping from their IDF & they have roads for “Jews only”. Non-Jews cannot drive on these roads. BTW, those hundreds of settlements are for “Jews Only”. No Christians and / or Moslems can live in them.

      I noticed that too while in Israel. We were on the Highway 90 bypass road and our guide crowed, "We are now in the West Bank. Don't see any bullets flying do you? Tell you friends back home that CNN is certainly not news. They are just watching television but you were there and saw this with your own eyes." Of course, you couldn't help but miss all the road blocks and checkpoints between us and the Palestinian villages. The guide also made a big deal about how the Palestinian villages had no fences around them but the settlements did with guards on their roofs. That proved that the Palestinians were violent but not the Israelis since the Palestinians didn't need any fence to protect them from the Israelis.

      But the most unconscionable anecdote occurred at the Holocaust Museum. The guide mentioned how trees were planted honoring righteous Gentiles who had helped save Jews during the Holocaust. He then mentioned how the JNF had planted acres and acres of trees to make Israel "green". Only when I came back did I find out the real purpose of those trees, to erase the evidence of ethnic cleansing in Israel.

    • I think this is addressed to me. I am not a Christian Zionist but I know enough of them to answer your question. You are right to point to Dispensationalism as the origin of Christian Zionism. Evangelicals who are not Dispensationalist are skeptical of Zionism for reasons I will detail below. Dispensationalists separate the Old and New Testaments into dispensations and they also separate the people of God. Christians inherit eternal life while Jews inherit the land. Jesus offered salvation to the Jews but they rejected it. So, he went to the Gentiles as Plan B. Jesus also predicted in Matthew 25 that "this generation would not pass away" before the Temple was destroyed and he would return. Slight problem. He didn't return in one generation. So, the Dispensationalists put a parenthesis around the prediction. When Israel became a state in 1948 the clock started ticking again. There was a hugely popular pamphlet known as 88 reasons for the Rapture in '88 (one generation of 40 years from 1948). Take two with adding 40 years to 1967. I'm not sure what the official post-2007 answer is now.

      Evangelicals who are not Dispensationalist don't separate the Jews from the Gentiles and don't treat the nation of Israel as "special". Any promises to Jews are to them as a people and not as a nation state. Matthew 25 in their opinion had 70 AD more in view than some future time. On my trip a Dispensationalist told me we should have the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in another. A non-Dispensationalist evangelical pastor on the same trip told me the exact opposite we should NOT have a newspaper in one and a Bible in another.

    • If your tour doesn't include Bethlehem here's how you can meet real Palestinians: visit Silwan on your free day in the Old City. We had visited the City of David which is an "archeological" park of Jerusalem purportedly when David and Solomon were kings. Unlike other such parks this is not run by the government but by a settler organization. The reason why I put archeological in quotes is the methodology of salvage archeology has not been used by reputable archeologists for over a century. Refuge archeology digs tunnels rather than digging straight down in a grid. What this allows for is the false narrative that nothing has happened in Silwan for the 2000 years from the destruction of the Temple to now. Finding out that Jerusalem was somehow shared would break the spell. See http://www.alt-arch.org. Even better insist on taking their tours: link to alt-arch.org and get the real story from real, professional, archeologists rather than settlers with an axe to grind. If you cannot do than, just do the following: Exit the Dung Gate and go down the hill, presumably to go to the City of David, but keep walking and boom you're in Silwan. If you are on the "official" tour your tour bus will pick you up after going through the tunnels to keep you from meeting those nasty Palestinians. These tunnels are being extended to the Western Wall complex tunnels so even the few hundred yards of Palestinians can be avoided, too.

      The settlers that run the City of David have a settlement in Silwan known as Beit Yonatan named after the traitor, Jonathan Pollard.

      link to settlementwatcheastjerusalem.files.wordpress.com

      In the run up to Nakba this year the security forces there murdered a Palestinian teenager, Milad Ayyash.

      link to silwanic.net

      Beit Yonatan has had two separate orders from the Israeli Supreme Court to leave but they won't.

    • In Nazareth we went to Nazareth Village and had a Palestinian Christian guide. Since our Israeli guide touted Nazareth as a "mixed city" I asked the Christian Palestinian guide about the percentage of Muslims, Christians, Jews etc. (He pointed to the courthouse at Nazareth Illit and said see there are both Jewish and Arab judges there. He didn't mention what an asshole the mayor of Nazareth Illit is nor that the Arabs are largely confined to the valley that Nazareth Illit overlooks.) She then told me about the "internal displacement", aka ethnic cleansing that occurred that turned Nazareth from majority Christian to majority Muslims since the Muslims who had their villages destroyed fled to Nazareth. The Jewish military governor in 1948 refused orders since he had promised not to the previous day and did not do the same for Nazareth.

      I was in Nazareth/Cana on Land Day so I saw the peaceful demonstrations. Due the general strike that occurred that day our guide was relieved because there would be less street vendors to steal our wallets and passports. I Googled Land Day at the hotel that night and it was beginning of my awakening.

      The Bethlehem experience was surreal. I expected it to be like any other controlled border and we had our passports ready. I assumed that we would need to show them to the PA as we entered the territory they supposedly controlled. I quickly discovered the Israelis controlled everything while crossing the "prison walls". There was no security entering Bethlehem while machine gun toting IDF walked our bus leaving Bethlehem. This was supposedly for security but my experience at the Western Wall disabused me of that concept. Our pastor had a metal hip replacement and they ignored the fact that when he set off the metal detector. Of course, he was white.

    • Based on my personal experience, Israel really has no option. Unlike the Birthright trips my being on a Christian Zionist tour meant we visited Nazareth and Bethlehem, being of historical significance to Christians. The instructions we were given in our pre-trip packets when we boarded El Al didn't make sense until now. Don't get upset if they ask "strange" questions. Make sure you stress that this was organized by an Israeli travel agency and that you have an Israeli guide. Make sure that you stress that you are coming on a Christian pilgrimage tour.

      When I was questioned I was asked if we had traveled to the Middle East before. My wife's responses flustered the El Al security agent, "Does Italy count? We traveled to Italy two years ago." "Do you know anyone from the Middle East?" "We have some really nice Jewish friends at our health club. I think they are Americans, though. That's a nice ring. Are you recently engaged?" "Thank you. Please move along."

      Even though our tour told the Israeli point of view 95% of the time and the Palestinian point of view 5% of the time it was enough for me to get a sense that something was very seriously wrong with the propaganda I was hearing back here in the United States. Bethlehem was important since our Israeli minder wasn't allowed to be there and we had a Palestinian tour guide for the Church of the Nativity. The Israeli guide left it hanging to make it appear to be that he couldn't be with us because of the Palestinians rather than -- the truth -- it was the Israelis who kept him out. Our Christian Palestinian guide left us wistfully with the hope that one day he could be face-to-face with our Israeli guide.

      So, my advice to the activists tell the truth but keep your head down in the airport and don't protest there and get to Bethlehem. Obviously, if the Israelis block even that, protest away. Seeing first-hand how I was lied to all my life was what made the difference for me.

  • Naomi Klein: How climate change should affect a N. American Jew's view of Israel
    • The Mount Carmel fires from 2010 illustrates seafoid's point. From Wikipedia:

      The Mount Carmel forest fire was a deadly forest fire that started on Mount Carmel in northern Israel, just south of Haifa. The fire began at about 11:00 local time on 2 December 2010, and spread quickly, consuming much of the Mediterranean forest covering the region. The fire claimed at least 44 lives, making it the deadliest in Israeli history. The dead were mostly Israel Prison Service officer cadets, as well as three senior police officers, among them the chief of Haifa's police. More than 17,000 people were evacuated, including several villages in the vicinity of the fire, and there was considerable property and environmental damage.

      As for the causes:

      Mount Carmel contains large areas of forests, including large numbers of Aleppo pine trees, which are more easily ignited. Over the years, many fires have occurred on Mount Carmel, among them many which devastated hundreds of thousands of acres of forest. One such as that was the Mount Carmel forest fire of 1989 which destroyed about 3,200 dunams (790 acres) of forest.

      Then there's the climate change factors:

      Israel had been experiencing an unusually warm autumn and dry conditions; previous spring and summer months were also exceptionally hot. It was originally speculated that the fire was caused by the burning of an illegal garbage dump and spread due to the dry conditions and strong winds. Haifa's Mayor Yona Yahav stated that the problem was known and it was "just a matter of time until a calamity occurred".

      Israel also sees itself as blooming in the desert per the Biblical prophesy through its National Water Carrier. But the Water Carrier is contributing the precipitous drop in the level of the Dead Sea:

      link to israelnationalnews.com

      President Katsav toured the area and was shocked to learn that the Dead Sea is now standing at 417 meters below sea level. At present the water is dropping at the alarming rate of a meter each year.

      If immediate steps are not taken to remedy the situation, the mineral-rich water will drop to 440 meters below sea level by 2025, and another 25 meters by 2050, according to a report by the Ministry of National Infrastructures’ chief scientist Professor Michael Byeth.

      The reasons for the destruction, he told Katsav, are numerous and complex.

      Before the 1960’s, said the report, a drop was due to a lack of rain and a drought in the Dead Sea’s drainage basin. Since that time, however, the National Water Carrier has redirected water from the Kinneret to the rest of the country, severely reducing the flow to the Dead Sea.

      With the creation of Jordan’s Abdullah Canal, the flow to the sea slowed even more.

      Syria’s dam on the Jordan River’s main tributary, the Yarmukh River, also contributed to the drop in fresh water supply to the area.

  • Do you deny Israel's right to exist in a lowcut red dress?
    • Max Blumenthal confirmed that the actress is a staffer at Haaretz. Now here's what the UN fact finding mission described the same event dramatized by the video. First how they treated an American citizen:

      Furkan Doğan, a 19-year-old with dual Turkish and United States citizenship, was on the central area of the top deck filming with a small video camera when he was first hit with live fire. It appears that he was lying on the deck in a conscious, or semi-conscious, state for some time. In total Furkan received five bullet wounds, to the face, head, back thorax, left leg and foot. All of the entry wounds were on the back of his body, except for the face wound which entered to the right of his nose. According to forensic analysis, tattooing around the wound in his face indicates that the shot was delivered at point blank range. Furthermore, the trajectory of the wound, from bottom to top, together with a vital abrasion to the left shoulder that could be consistent with the bullet exit point, is compatible with the shot being received while he was lying on the ground on his back. The other wounds were not the result of firing in contact, near contact or close range, but it is not otherwise possible to determine the exact firing range. The wounds to the leg and foot were most likely received in a standing position.

      And the UN report confirmed the passengers were unarmed:

      The Mission has found no evidence to suggest that any of the passengers used firearms or that any firearms were taken on board the ship. Despite requests, the Mission has not received any medical records or other substantiated information from the Israeli authorities regarding any firearm injuries sustained by soldiers participating in the raid. Doctors examined the three soldiers taken below decks and no firearm injuries were noted. Further, the Mission finds that the Israeli accounts so inconsistent and contradictory with regard to evidence of alleged firearms injuries to Israeli soldiers that it has to reject it.

      The woman was so abused. Here is the reality of abuse:

      In the process of being detained, or while kneeling on the outer decks for several hours, there was physical abuse of passengers by the Israeli forces, including kicking and punching and being hit with the butts of rifles. One foreign correspondent, on board in his professional capacity, was thrown on the ground and kicked and beaten before being handcuffed. The passengers were not allowed to speak or to move and there were frequent instances of verbal abuse, including derogatory sexual remarks about the female passengers. Passengers were denied access to toilet facilities or made to wait for lengthy periods before being escorted to the toilet and then forced to use the toilet with Israeli soldiers watching and while handcuffed. Some passengers were in serious discomfort as a result, while others used makeshift receptacles, such as plastic bottles and others still were forced to urinate on themselves. The Israeli forces also employed dogs and some passengers received dog-bite wounds. Some witnesses who suffer from chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart conditions, were not provided access to their required medicines, which were taken by Israeli soldiers.

      As part of the Mission's conclusions:

      The Mission considers that several violations and offences have been committed. It is not satisfied that, in the time available, it has been able to compile a comprehensive list of all offences. However, there is clear evidence to support prosecutions of the following crimes within the terms of article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention:
      • Wilful killing;
      • Torture or inhuman treatment;
      • Wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health.

      The Mission also considers that a series of violations of Israel’s obligations under international human rights law have taken place, including:

      • Right to life (art. 6, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights);
      • Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (art. 7, International Covenant; Convention against Torture);
      • Right to liberty and security of the person and freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention (art. 9, International Covenant);
      • Right of detainees to be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person (art. 10, International Covenant);
      • Freedom of expression (art. 19, International Covenant).
      The right to an effective remedy should be guaranteed to all victims. The mission must not be understood to be saying that this is a comprehensive list by any means.

  • Why is Greece blockading Gaza?
    • I don't think we will ever know who made what deal for what although the U.S. and Canadian governments leaning on Greece appears the likeliest reason. Having said that I really believe Netanyahu stepped in it by falsely claiming credit and thereby associating support for the Israeli blockade with the "bailout". The optics are horrific. The Greek populace is angry with the Northern European banksters while their upper class has been doing en masse tax evasion for decades. I mean do your really want to reinforce the Shylock stereotype by extracting your pound of flesh for your loans? Until Netanyahu's statement Israel could have legitimately said they had nothing to do with the austerity measures and now there is an additional "condition" to stick it to the Gazans.

      A warning to Israel on being on the bank's side rather than the people's happened in Iceland yesterday. Like Greece, Iceland was under the bank's thumb but instead of austerity measures they passed a popular referendum that said they would not pay. Yesterday, Iceland declared support for unilateral Palestinian statehood and their FM was a part of a "land flotilla" entering the Rafah Crossing to discuss Palestinian reconciliation.

      link to maannews.net

      Petra news quoted Ossur Skarphedinsson as telling an Arab League official charged with Palestinian affairs that Iceland supported recognition "in view of expected changes in this regard in the future."

      He also urged Fatah and Hamas to forge a better relationship and to implement a recently signed reconciliation deal in order to move ahead with forming a new government, according to the report.

      Skarphedinsson called for lifting the blockade of Gaza and said he would soon visit the occupied territories in order to "hear from Palestinian officials how his country could support the Palestinian people." [Note: He is in Gaza as we speak.]

  • Unsafe, unfair, unreasonable Hitchens
    • I liked the Ghostbuster's Principle of never crossing the streams. Being a refugee from RightWingWorld (R) I heard the right wing variant of the arguments. When I heard the left wing variant it pegged and set on fire my BS detector. Israel the defender and friend of Judeo-Christian America got replaced by Israel the defender and friend of GLBTs.

      All my evangelical friends would be very interested to find out how gay friendly Israel is and how bullish Christopher Hitchens is on them. Cue Scanners video with Michelle Bachmann exploding head. The reason why many are pro-Israel is they hate/fear Muslims more than they hate/fear Jews but they hate/fear atheists more than both because at least Muslims and Jews are monotheists.

  • 'The Greek people don't support this'
    • Members of the flotilla who are also members of the European Parliament have been making their voices heard . From the Irish Times:

      link to irishtimes.com

      TWO SHIPS from the Gaza flotilla are still at sea in international waters and must be allowed reach their destination, a press conference in the European Parliament fronted by Irish MEP Paul Murphy was told yesterday .

      He was one of three MEPs who failed to make it to Gaza when it was alleged that the Irish boat was sabotaged by Israeli agents in Turkey and then Greece imposed a ban on boats sailing there.

      He and his MEP colleagues, Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, from Cyprus, and Nikos Chountis, from Greece, had been placed in danger by the action of the Israeli authorities, he said.

      He said it was “very unlikely” it could be proven the Israeli government had ordered the attack, which placed the life of the sailors on board the Irish ship in danger because the propellers could have damaged the hull at sea.

      Mr Chountis accused the Greek government of breaking not only international maritime law but also Greek domestic law by preventing the boats from moving in its territorial waters and said this was not the will of the Greek people but its parliament.

      The MEPs announced that they had demanded support for the flotilla in letters to the presidents of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, and European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and Baroness Catherine Ashton, who represents the EU on external relations.

      The letters outlined the case that the three MEPs, who had attempted to peacefully deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza, had been prevented from doing so by “severe acts of sabotage” against the Irish and Scandinavian boats.

      “We condemn these acts of sabotage which also infringe on the sovereignty of the states where the boats were moored and the states where the ships are registered,” said their letter.

      “We demand an independent and impartial inquiry into these acts of sabotage and we also expect a condemnation of these acts of sabotage by the Israeli authorities,” the letter added.

      “We expect you to vigorously and publicly support those demands,” it said.

      The letter said they were very concerned about the well-being of many European citizens who had peacefully engaged in the humanitarian mission of the Freedom Flotilla 11.

      “In light of these serious events, how do you intend to take up the above mentioned demands through your official and diplomatic contact with the Israeli authorities?” the letter continued.

      It asked what concrete steps they were willing to take to ensure the protection of all European citizens, including the elected representatives of the European Parliament.

      At the press conference, the MEPs announced the US captain of the US vessel who was under arrest in Greece had been released but two ships which were part of the flotilla were still at sea in international waters. One, they said, was a French vessel and the other was from Canada and they were demanding these vessels, which were carrying European citizens, should not be interfered with by the Israeli authorities.

  • US flotilla passengers begin fast at US Embassy in Athens
    • Israeli apologists has tried to scare American Christians into thinking there is religious liberty in Israel and if not at least its better than what would happen if the Palestinians were in charge. The reality is a the insistence of having a "Jewish" state creates the lack of religious liberty both for non-Jews and the wrong kind of Jews. If you visit the West Bank you discover the Christians and Muslims living in peace with each other like they have for centuries. On the other hand, Israel is a repressive regime keeping Christians in Bethlehem from visiting holy sites less than 10 miles away in Jerusalem. As I said Israel discriminates against the "wrong" kind of Jews. Messianic Jews are a persecuted minority within a minority. Unlike the false description given in Christian Zionist tours the vast majority of Christians in Israel are Arab and not Jewish. There are less than 10,000 Messianic Jews who mostly emigrated from the former Soviet Union. Here's what Yad L'Achim in concert with the Israeli Interior ministry does to them:

      link to youtube.com

      A Jewish state is the antithesis of religious liberty. America which claims to be for the principles found in the First Amendment should oppose a Jewish state because of it. It needs to be replaced by a state that protects the religious rights of Jews, Christians, Muslims, atheists, everybody in a written constitution, which Israel does not have.

    • When I visited Israel I heard a presentation by the Christian Friends of Israel, a group so pro-Israel that it shows up on some lists of the Israeli Lobby. But even they mentioned the extreme poverty of the Shoah victims. In addition to this, the anti-proselytizing laws kept them from helping the Shoah victims as much as they would have liked. So, they give them blankets (making sure they were not of enough "value" and thus breaking the law) and listen to their stories. They were so poor and so lonely that the gratitude for even this pittance was so evident.

      Many Zionists use the Shoah victims to pull on American (both Christian and Jewish) heart strings. Some do so for good motives like above but sadly for many others it's all political opportunism beginning to end.

    • The U.S. may not give a rip about its citizens but Ireland does.

      "In particular, I would expect that any interception of ships is conducted in a peaceful manner and does not endanger the safety of our citizens or other participants," [Irish FM Eamon Gilmore] said after holding talks with Israeli Ambassador to Dublin Boaz Moda on Thursday.

      The Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation grants the flag country criminal jurisdiction over terrorist acts

      1. Each State Party shall take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences set forth in article 3 when the offence is committed:

      (a) against or on board a ship flying the flag of the State at the time the offence is committed

      These acts include:

      1. Any person commits an offence if that person unlawfully and intentionally:

      (c) destroys a ship or causes damage to a ship or to its cargo which is likely to endanger the safe navigation of that ship; or

      (d) places or causes to be placed on a ship, by any means whatsoever, a device or substance which is likely to destroy that ship, or cause damage to that ship or its cargo which endangers or is likely to endanger the safe navigation of that ship;

      So, it doesn't matter what Turkey thinks rather what Ireland thinks. Any signatory to this treaty (including Israel) is required without exception to either extradite or try any of their citizens alleged to be involved with the above terrorist act.

      The State Party in the territory of which the offender or the alleged offender is found shall, in cases to which article 6 applies, if it does not extradite him, be obliged, without exception whatsoever and whether or not the offence was committed in its territory, to submit the case without delay to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution, through proceedings in accordance with the laws of that State.

    • If the Greek Coast Guard was legitimately concerned about the safety of the American passengers they could do two things:

      1. Inspect the ship to make sure the Israelis has not committed terrorist acts against it. Being concerned about the air conditioning instead showed the passengers safety was not the real issue.

      2. Inspect the ship for smuggled weapons. Confirm the same to the Israelis so that they would have no legal right to stop it traveling to the neutral coastline of Gaza and can thus give it safe passage.

      Fat chance any of the above happening.

  • Open letter to Gov. Rick Perry on the flotilla from a survivor of the USS Liberty attack
    • The sources used are easy to find on the Internet.

      link to thelibertyincident.com

      Note the dissonances with timelines constructed from first-hand witnesses.

      link to ifamericansknew.org

      The following happened after the Israelis supposedly offered help by what I will show to be a doctored timeline above at 1503:

      Doctored timeline:

      1503 1303 0903
      Israeli MTBs offered assistance by flashing light to Liberty. Assistance is declined. [USS Liberty
      Deck Log, 8 June 1967; US Naval Court of Inquiry/Exhibit 27: Chronology of Events.]

      First hand timeline:

      1515: After the order to “prepare to abandon ship” comes over the loudspeaker system, the lifeboats are lowered into the water. Israeli torpedo boats move in closer and fire on them, as well as those still on deck, making them all unusable. “I watched with horror as the floating life rafts were riddled with holes,” recalled Lieutenant Lloyd Painter, in charge of the evacuation. Said Petty Officer Rowley, who also witnessed the event: “They didn’t want anyone to live.” After destroying the life rafts, the Israeli boats departed. Next, two Israeli SA-321 Super Frelon Hornet assault helicopters carrying soldiers in battle dress circle ship several times, then depart.

      According to the timeline constructed from first-hand witnesses the offer of help happened immediately after Washington was informed of the "accident" by the Israelis. This was not at 1503 but at 1630.

      1614: American embassy relays Israeli apology to White House, Department of State, and Sixth Fleet that an unidentified “maybe Navy” ship has been erroneously attacked.

      1615: Two unidentified jets approach Liberty, then veer off.

      1630: Israeli jets and three torpedo boats return, offer assistance. Captain McGonagle refuses their help. Boats leave after 12 minutes.

      The doctored timeline cites mostly the 1967 Board of Inquiry and the IDF logs which the Chicago Tribune story I cited above refutes as lies. As for the 1967 Board of Inquiry the JAG, Captain Boston, that prepared it said the following as noted in the Moorer Report:

      [1] Captain Ward Boston, USN, JAGC, Ret, the chief Navy attorney for the 1967 U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry into the Israeli attack, has recently come forward to repudiate the Court's conclusion that the attack was "a case of mistaken identity". Captain Boston has revealed that all available evidence, in fact, pointed in exactly the opposite direction - that it was a deliberate attack on a clearly identified American ship. In his affidavit dated October 9, 2003, Captain Boston states, "Admiral Kidd and I believed with certainty that this attack, which killed 34 American sailors and injured 173 others, was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew. I am certain that the Israeli pilots that undertook the attack, as well as their superiors who had ordered the attack, were aware that the ship was American." [See Exhibit attached]. Captain Boston stated that he has personal knowledge that Admiral Kidd found the attack to be "a case of mistaken identity" in 1967 only because he was under direct orders to do so by Defense Secretary McNamara and President Johnson.

      Both major sources used for the facts have been discredited while the Israeli apologists continue slandering first-hand witnesses. The true character of Israel's online defenders has been revealed.

    • Here's what the Chicago Tribune reported in 2007:

      The transcript published by the Jerusalem Post bore scant resemblance to the one that in 1967 rolled off the teletype machine behind the sealed vault door at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, where Steve Forslund worked as an intelligence analyst for the 544th Air Reconnaissance Technical Wing, then the highest-level strategic planning office in the Air Force.

      "The ground control station stated that the target was American and for the aircraft to confirm it," Forslund recalled. "The aircraft did confirm the identity of the target as American, by the American flag.

      "The ground control station ordered the aircraft to attack and sink the target and ensure they left no survivors."

      Forslund said he clearly recalled "the obvious frustration of the controller over the inability of the pilots to sink the target quickly and completely."

      "He kept insisting the mission had to sink the target, and was frustrated with the pilots' responses that it didn't sink."

      Nor, Forslund said, was he the only member of his unit to have read the transcripts. "Everybody saw these," said Forslund, now retired after 26 years in the military.

      Forslund's recollections are supported by those of two other Air Force intelligence specialists, working in widely separate locations, who say they also saw the transcripts of the attacking Israeli pilots' communications.

      One is James Gotcher, now an attorney in California, who was then serving with the Air Force Security Service's 6924th Security Squadron, an adjunct of the NSA, at Son Tra, Vietnam.

      "It was clear that the Israeli aircraft were being vectored directly at USS Liberty," Gotcher recalled in an e-mail. "Later, around the time Liberty got off a distress call, the controllers seemed to panic and urged the aircraft to 'complete the job' and get out of there."

      Six thousand miles from Omaha, on the Mediterranean island of Crete, Air Force Capt. Richard Block was commanding an intelligence wing of more than 100 analysts and cryptologists monitoring Middle Eastern communications.

      The transcripts Block remembered seeing "were teletypes, way beyond Top Secret. Some of the pilots did not want to attack," Block said. "The pilots said, 'This is an American ship. Do you still want us to attack?'

      "And ground control came back and said, 'Yes, follow orders.'"

      Gotcher and Forslund agreed with Block that the Jerusalem Post transcript was not at all like what they remember reading.

      "There is simply no way that [the Post transcript is] the same as what I saw," Gotcher said. "More to the point, for anyone familiar with air-to-ground [communications] procedures, that simply isn't the way pilots and controllers communicate."

      Block, now a child protection caseworker in Florida, observed that "the fact that the Israeli pilots clearly identified the ship as American and asked for further instructions from ground control appears to be a missing part of that Jerusalem Post article."

      Arieh O'Sullivan, the Post reporter who made the newspaper's transcript, said the Israeli Air Force tapes he listened to contained blank spaces. He said he assumed those blank spaces occurred while Israeli pilots were conducting their strafing runs and had nothing to communicate.

      'But sir, it's an American ship!'

      Forslund, Gotcher and Block are not alone in claiming to have read transcripts of the attack that they said left no doubt the Israelis knew they were attempting to sink a U.S. Navy ship.

      Many ears were tuned to the battles being fought in and around the Sinai during the Six-Day War, including those belonging to other Arab nations with a keen interest in the outcome.

      "I had a Libyan naval captain who was listening in that day," said a retired CIA officer, who spoke on condition that he not be named discussing a clandestine informant.

      "He thought history would change its course," the CIA officer recalled. "Israel attacking the U.S. He was certain, listening in to the Israeli and American comms [communications], that it was deliberate."

      The late Dwight Porter, the American ambassador to Lebanon during the Six-Day War, told friends and family members that he had been shown English-language transcripts of Israeli pilots talking to their controllers.

      A close friend, William Chandler, the former head of the Trans-Arabian Pipe Line Co., said Porter recalled one of the pilots protesting, "But sir, it's an American ship -- I can see the flag!' To which the ground control responded, 'Never mind; hit it!'"

      Porter, who asked that his recollections not be made public while he was alive because they involved classified information, also discussed the transcripts during a lunch in 2000 at the Cosmos Club in Washington with another retired American diplomat, Andrew Kilgore, the former U.S. ambassador to Qatar.

      Kilgore recalled Porter saying that he "saw the telex, read it, and passed it right back" to the embassy official who had shown it to him. He quoted Porter as recalling that the transcript showed "Israel was attacking, and they know it's an American ship."

      Haviland Smith, a young CIA officer stationed in Beirut during the Six-Day War, said that although he never saw the transcript, he had "heard on a number of occasions exactly the story that you just told me about what that transcript contained."

      He had later been told, Smith recalled, "that ultimately all of the transcripts were deep-sixed. I was told that they were deep-sixed because the administration did not wish to embarrass the Israelis."

    • Since this is Independence Day I am positively livid. But, before I start I want to commend you and your shipmates, Signalman Meadors, for your service to your country both in the past and continuing, protecting her against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

      Here's Medal of Honor winner, Captain McGonagle's own description of the attack in a letter to then President Clinton concerning Jonathan Pollard which I excerpt from his Arlington National Cemetery web page, emphasis mine.

      link to arlingtoncemetery.net

      When the attack began about 2:00 p.m. (local time) the ship was subjected to relentless and repeated murderous fire from the attacking aircraft (which were unmarked - a violation of international law). The gun crews of the two (2) bow .50 cal. machine guns were killed during the initial strike on the ship. We could not man the starboard bridge level .50 cal. machine gun, because our life boat was burning (1) deck below and the heat did not allow anyone to approach the gun. We could not man the port bridge level .50 cal. machine gun, because two (2) 55 gallon gasoline drums were burning furiously one (1) deck below. Again the heat of the flames prevented anyone from approaching the gun. WE WERE DEFENSELESS against the onslaught of eight (8 ) or more firing passes by at least four (4) aircraft, and the strafing and launching of five (5) torpedoes by three (3) motor torpedo boats. That a larger number of casualties was not reported is a tribute to the fighting spirit of the officers, crew, civilians, and Marines, when they had nothing to defend themselves with, during our awesome hours of peril.

      USS LIBERTY (AGTR-5), a Technical Research ship was sailing legally and peacefully, in international waters in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, twelve and one-half (12.5) nautical miles from the nearest land off the coast of Sinai, during the Arab-Israeli SIX Day war, when it was attacked, without warning or provocation, by four (4) unidentified jet fighter aircraft, firing rockets, machine guns, and napalm. The ship was then strafed and torpedoed by three (3) Israeli motor torpedo boats. One (1) torpedo exploded in the Research spaces of the ship, where it caused the majority of the fatalities. The Government of Israel shortly after the attack acknowledged that their armed forces conducted the assault. The apology for the attack was accepted, but the reason for the attack as "misidentification" was never accepted by the US Government.

      Except for a few high ranking naval officers, no one has felt our pain of not knowing exactly why the ship was attacked. Over thirty-one (31) years after the attack, the crew is entitled to know the details concerning the attack by the Government of Israel and also the details of the role the US Government in the entire affair. Why were our aircraft recalled to their carriers on two (2) occasions before they reached our location to assess the situation, and what official ordered the recall after "Hot Line" communication was established with Moscow to alert Nasser that the planes were being sent to see what the condition of USS LIBERTY was? None of the planes ever reached our location. For over seventeen (17) hours we received no assistance from US forces in the Mediterranean.

      Also on the Arlington Cemetery site is a tribute by the crew of the Liberty to their Commander:

      One by one, they approached the grave to leave a single white rose, then stood ramrod straight, gazed off from the top of the cemetery's hill and snapped a crisp salute.

      Most of them were portly men, graying old sailors in baseball caps and blue jackets that read "USS Liberty . . . Remember . . . 8 June 1967." Beneath another tombstone at the bottom of the hill lay the remains of shipmates who had died that day.

      Yesterday, the faithful survivors brought their long-dead comrades at Arlington National Cemetery the body of their captain -- a reunion of seamen eternally bound by one of the most bloody and bizarre peacetime encounters in U.S. naval history.

      Captain William L. McGonagle won the Medal of Honor for valiantly commanding the USS Liberty when the American spy ship was attacked by Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats in the Mediterranean during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

      Thirty-four U.S. sailors were killed, and 171, including McGonagle, were wounded, among the crew of 300. Thirteen of the dead -- including the remains of six in the mass grave at the bottom of the hill -- were buried at Arlington.

      The Israelis later apologized. But Liberty survivors, and some former U.S. officials, believe the attack was deliberate, staged to conceal Israel's pending seizure of the Golan Heights, which occurred shortly thereafter.

      As for the "negative" reply to the call for help, the actual words used by Captain McGonagle not only gives a much less sanitized version of the events than those who put the interests of a foreign country against their own it also expresses my attitude toward the phony patriots commenting on this web site.

      Here's Third Class Petty Officer Brummett's recollection of the events:

      “After more than two hours of unremitting assault, the Israelis finally halted their attack. One of the torpedo boats approached the Liberty. This same torpedo boat crew had been circling the ship, machine-gunning anyone who stuck his head above decks, as well as the lifeboats the crew had put over the side. A torpedo boat officer asked in English over a bullhorn: ‘Do you need any help?’ The wounded commander of the Liberty, Captain William McGonagle, instructed the quartermaster to respond emphatically: “Fuck you.”

  • Impounded US boat to Gaza
    • AFP is reporting the following:

      Captain John Klusmer was arrested when the US boat Audacity of Hope -- the flagship in a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists -- attempted to leave Greek waters on Friday after Athens banned all Gaza-bound ships from setting sail.

      Klusmer was charged with a felony and ordered to appear in court on Tuesday. The US Boat to Gaza organisation said he was being held in jail in "shocking conditions" and as far as it was aware, had not yet received consular assistance.

      New York lawyer Richard Levy -- a passenger on the boat who has visited Klusmer in jail in a port town near Athens -- told enraged US activists that "he had no bed or toilet in his cell, and is receiving no food or water."

      "We've offered to pay his bail," said passenger Robert Naiman, from the Washington-based Just Foreign Policy organisation. "But we have had no indication at all that he will be allowed out of jail before Tuesday."

      The US Embassy in Athens was not available for comment.

      I'm not depressed. I'm angry. The first and fifth largest militaries can stop any small civilian effort no matter how clever they are. All that restrains them is any sense of morality. Israel's behavior is entirely expected given what happened last year. I had hoped we were above that and that the State Department would do its duty and protect American citizens overseas.

  • Haaretz: Greek move against boats was born of Netanyahu campaign for Greek financial rescue
    • There's also a link between the Mubarek regime and Israel. Note this Wikileaks.

      link to telegraph.co.uk

      The cable, from August 2008, said: "Hacham was full of praise for Soliman, however, and noted that a 'hot line' set up between the MOD and Egyptian General Intelligence Service is now in daily use.

      "Hacham noted that the Israelis believe Soliman is likely to serve as at least an interim President if Mubarak dies or is incapacitated." The Tel Aviv diplomats added: "We defer to Embassy Cairo for analysis of Egyptian succession scenarios, but there is no question that Israel is most comfortable with the prospect of Omar Soliman."

      Most of you will remember Suleiman as our go to guy for outsourced torture, err extraordinary rendition.

      link to abcnews.go.com

      "As chief of the Mukhabarat, or General Intelligence Directorate," said John Sifton, who authored the 2007 Human Rights Watch report on torture conducted by Egypt's other intelligence agency, SSI, Suleiman oversaw joint intelligence operations with the CIA and other Arab countries "which featured illegal renditions and tortures of dozens of detainees."

      According to British journalist Stephen Grey, author of "Ghost Plane," a book about the CIA's rendition program, Suleiman agreed in 1995 to let the U.S. secretly transfer suspects to Egypt for questioning. Under "extraordinary rendition," terror suspects can be taken to third countries and interrogated without oversight by the U.S. criminal justice system.

    • What I find amazing is Israel thinks the rest of the World is as stupid as the Tea Party. This Spring Link TV ran a number of documentaries as part of their fund raising. One of them was on the Tea Party. They showed a "training" on trying to manipulate online boards. The description on the show is not materially different in what we see here and on the Daily KOS.

      You may recall Daily KOS got egg on its face for saying Anthony Weiner's Twitter account was hacked. Given former Rep. Weiner's strange non-denial denial on Rachel Maddow and a timeline that wasn't a smoking gun made me be more circumspect and wait for the facts to roll in. Here the timeline is much more suspicious where the trolls did not have the self-control to wait for the account to be hacked. And the non-denial denial was the Israeli Consul on Democracy Now yesterday. There he would not deny the terrorist attacks on two ships and nor did he guarantee safe conduct for the Democracy Now! journalists and wrongly portrayed the ban as for local media only.

      What we see here is the real Net Roots in action unlike the faux one. It's international, young, technically savvy, and controlled by no government or corporation. The attempts to influence by the paid trolls is just as clownish and transparent as were the paid trolls of the Mubarek regime.

      The dark side parallel is also there with respect to state-sponsored terrorism. The Seventh Day newspaper showed evidence from documents captured from Egyptian security that the Interior Ministry was behind the Two Saints church bombing trying to foment strife between the Christians and the Muslims. Problem is the Christians didn't buy it just like the Christians don't buy it in Palestine. El Adly tried in vain to use the "terrorist threat" to thwart the protests in Cairo on the Sunday prior to January 25th revolution starting.

      “The information we had before the attack led us to detain the group and seize weapons, ammunition and documents related to Al-Qaeda as well as maps of places of worship in Upper Egypt and Alexandria in their possession,” he said.

      Sound familiar?

      Regardless of who is behind it the requirement that Greece do Israel's bidding as a condition for an economic bailout looks like just another instances of the Shock Doctrine. Just like there has been a new synthesis between labor and progressive activists on other topics we should pursue one for the Palestinians. Labor was a key component in the Egyptian revolution going the way it did.

      Welcome to the 21st Century, Israel. The old "public diplomacy" doesn't work so well, does it?

  • Update: US Boat to Gaza returns to port after being stopped by Greek Coast Guard
    • I'm talking about the relationship between the Greek people and their government. Combine the austerity measures blamed on the IMF and anti-Jewish popular feeling may not be all that far behind. In other words, money cannot be spent on the Greek people but for Israel that's OK. The mistake Israel is making politically is blindly doing whatever Israel asks may be de easy politically in the U.S. but support for the September vote in Europe will most likely erode because of this and the acts of terrorism done in Greek sovereign territory and on Irish-flagged ships. Note as of 2009 Israel is treaty-bound to cooperate on investigation and prosecution of those guilty of the terrorist acts and to extradite them to the countries on which the ships are flagged.

    • Everybody's asking the wrong question here. How much is the Greek Government spending at the behest of the Israelis? Wasn't there just a couple days of general strikes because of the draconian austerity measures? If anybody is wasting money it's the Greeks.

    • Ma'an is reporting the Greek Coast Guard left after checking the air conditioning! Got make sure the Americans are cool and comfy.

  • Senate unanimously opposes Palestinian push for statehood (AIPAC wants you to know)
    • The U.S. military is definitely seeing that the Senate and the so-called liberal media are giving them a collective middle finger. See the following story in military.com.

      link to military.com

      In addition to the Senate resolution above, military.com is reporting that Republican Senator Kirk wants to send U.S. special ops in.

      In a report drafted following a visit to Israel in early June, Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., says the United States should "make available all necessary special operations and naval support to the Israeli Navy to effectively disable flotilla vessels before they can pose a threat to Israeli coastal security or put Israeli lives at risk."

      Of course the optics of Seal Team 6 killing the following American "terrorists" would be just awful:

      "Veterans slated to sail aboard the U.S.-flagged flotilla vessel include Ann Wright, a retired Army colonel turned State Department Foreign Service officer who resigned from her job in 2003 in protest of the U.S. invasion of Iraq; Ray McGovern, a former Army officer and CIA analyst who prepared daily security briefings for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush; Ken Mayers, a former Marine intelligence officer who served with NSA detachments in Vietnam before taking a Reserve commission in 1966 and retiring as a major in 1978; and Joe Meadors, a former Navy signalman aboard the USS Liberty, which Israel attempted to sink during the Six Day War in 1967."

      Signalman Meadors told military.com the following:

      "In 1967 the U.S. Navy was forbidden to come to the assistance of the USS Liberty when the ship was under attack by the IDF," Meadors wrote in an email to Military.com. "Now Sen. Kirk wants the US Navy to move from clearing the way for the IDF to attack a US Navy ship … to actively intervening on behalf of the IDF by taking up arms against American citizens engaged in a humanitarian effort.

      "Sen. Kirk wants the U.S. Navy to move from condoning war crimes committed against Americans to actually committing them," he added.

      Meadors was on last year's flotilla and last year military.com reported the following:

      Ennes told Military.com that Meadors was well aware of the risks of taking part in the Gaza flotilla, based on his experience in 1967. Ennis said Meadors knew there was a "great likelihood that this band of lunatics [the Israelis] might have killed everyone in the flotilla without hesitation or remorse."

      Israeli naval and air forces torpedoed, bombed and strafed Liberty. Israel, then at war with several Arab countries, claimed it mistook the American ship for an Egyptian vessel. Liberty survivors and others, including a former head of the CIA and a Navy JAG officer who advised the Navy board of inquiry that investigated the attack, claimed the attack was deliberate.

  • Irish flotilla ship will not sail to Gaza due to extensive sabotage
    • On January 6, 2009 Israel signed the "Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation" which is an anti-terrorism treaty that states:

      1. Any person commits an offence if that person unlawfully and intentionally:

      (d) places or causes to be placed on a ship, by any means whatsoever, a device or substance which is likely to destroy that ship, or cause damage to that ship or its cargo which endangers or is likely to endanger the safe navigation of that ship; or
      ----

      1. Each State Party shall take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences set forth in article 3 when the offence is committed:

      (a) against or on board a ship flying the flag of the State at the time the offence is committed; or

      ---
      States Parties shall co-operate in the prevention of the offences set forth in article 3, particularly by:

      (a) taking all practicable measures to prevent preparations in their respective territories for the commission of those offences within or outside their territories;

  • WikiLeaks document on Gaza blockade puts Israel’s flotilla hasbara to shame
    • there’s no way jon or any of the other ziobots on dkos represent all jews, not even all zionists. at all. they just position themselves as being in some ‘moderating’ or ‘moderate’ voice and they are anything but, many are inciters, manipulating bloviators. they just cannot stand the power this site has and they are jealous.

      What helped is I have progressive Jewish friends in real life. So, I knew the real story before going to DK. In fact, I was taken aback of how unrepresentative DK is of even Jewish opinion. One woman I know gets Israeli and Palestinian girls and sends them to summer camps in the Colorado mountains. A recent comment she told me I would like to run past you. She said a lot of the problem is this issue is so male dominated. I noticed that there was more female activists recently in the Arab Spring and the positive influence that has had. Is this also true in the Jewish community?

    • Thanks for the background. הסברה is its own worst enemy. People like Jon are moving not only progressive Jewish eyeballs here but also progressive Christian ones like myself. I would call it laughably incompetent except that it can cause real anti-Semitism. If Jon represents all Jewish opinion vis-a-vis Israel and people like myself who have seen first-hand how evil the Israeli government is then we improperly conclude that all Jews are complicit in it. That's why you and Phil are the antidote to anti-Semitism. You honor both the Jewish and Progressive traditions.

      שלום חברים

    • I did an experiment and Googled "American Jewish ambassadors in Europe". Top 5 hits:

      1. RadioIslam
      2. Mondoweiss.net
      3. European Union of Jewish Students
      4. Wikipedia
      5. Georgetown University

      This Googling meme is pure BS.

    • As you know I was looking for a common phrase between this site and a site that will go unmentioned (you know what it is). Volleyboy claimed to start his slander of this site because he allegedly Googled and found a person who posted both here and on the unmentionable site. As you are aware, I was lied to by a couple of Kossacks but I was chastised and I apologized since they weren't Team Shalom members.

      This time, however, I took Team Shalom members at their word that this was truly a commonality. I knew I should have punched through and caught the thread. Having done so this morning I discovered (surprise surprise) I was lied to yet again but this time by Team Shalom. Fool me once...

      So, my apologies. Sorry. I left the right to get away from all the lying. Guess I need to remain vigilant irrespective of the context.

    • Plan B. Have the UN declare the currency of Gaza and the West Bank be U.S. dollars. That's the de facto currency in Israel anyway. Then Israel couldn't play their "diet" games.

    • Why cannot Israel operate in their own best interest? Case in point:

      "The GOIs monetary policy towards Gaza is consistent with its declaration that Gaza is a "hostile entity." Some observers have told Emboffs that political pressure arising from the issue of captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, may have influenced high-level Israeli officials to tighten their stance on monetary policy (see ref &A8). However, this has not been raised or confirmed by any high-level GOI contacts. The GOI position on cash to Gaza has remained negative since the Knessets declaration that it was a hostile entity."

      In other words, the Bush State Department thought Israel was being irrational. What does the tightening imply?

      "The PA contends that Hamas, ability to pay its workers, salaries each month combined with the inability of the PA to do so causes further deterioration in support for PA/Fatah relative to Hamas (reftel &I8)."

      Then there's this:

      "*** **** (strictly protect), a high-ranking official in the Israeli security establishment, commented to Econcouns in October that at least 1.8 billion shekels are currently unaccounted for in Gaza."

      The USG recommends not putting Gaza on a diet:

      "In the meantime, we believe the USG should continue to encourage the Israelis to approve as much funding as possible each month, consistent with our mutual political/security objectives in Gaza."

      The effect of all this particularly now that:

      1. Gaza has twice the unemployment of the Great Depression.
      2. Gaza is operating in a all cash economy that is:
      3. Mostly underground
      4. Private sector growth is nil because of the diet resulting in:
      5. What economic growth there is in Hamas patronage jobs
      6. The unity deal has elections coming up this Fall

      Guess who's going to win? If there was a plan to benefit Hamas as much as possible this is it. The Obama State Department needs to re-iterate the Bush State Department. Again:

      "In the meantime, we believe the USG should continue to encourage the Israelis to approve as much funding as possible each month, consistent with our mutual political/security objectives in Gaza."

  • Sabotage on the Aegean: Propeller mysteriously cut on flotilla ship
  • Bachmann takes it to the mat-- US and Israel are 'two sides of the same coin'
    • Rich Cizik used to be a policy analyst for the National Association of Evangelicals. He now runs a blog called Uncommon Voices. Here's part of that commentary:

      link to newevangelicalpartnership.org

      Visitors to the region will also note a significant feature: a wall that roughly follows the outline of the Palestinian lands. This wall is a blast-proof concrete structure that closely resembles the Berlin wall in its form. It is 25 feet high in most places and is dotted with menacing-looking guard towers along its length. When traveling to Bethlehem, one of the Palestinian cities most frequented by pilgrims and tourists, one has the impression of entering a prison.

      While the Israeli government claims that this wall is necessary to prevent terrorist attacks (and has, no doubt, prevented some such attacks), its true purpose can be observed from various rooftops that overlook its outline. The wall separates resources from those who rightfully control them. In Beit Jala one can clearly observe that a large olive grove is separated from its owners by the Wall. Further north a map reveals areas where the Wall dips deep inside Palestinian lands, placing precious aquifers within easy access to Israel. Conservative estimates hold that 80% of Palestinian water is controlled by Israel; what Israel does not need, it sells back to the Palestinians at greatly inflated prices. It is also common for Israel to turn off the water flow to Palestinian cities for weeks at a time. It is hard to conceive of access to water as anything other than a basic human right.

      Palestinian leaders can often be heard saying that if one wants to build a fence on his property, than he has the right to do so. Their complaint is heard when they say, “But please build your fence on your own property, not your neighbor’s!” Equally strange in Israeli logic is the placement of the settlements behind the wall. It is perhaps the equivalent of not only building a fence on your neighbor’s property, but then building your living room in your neighbor’s front yard.

      Make no mistake: Israeli settlements — these huge, hill-covering cities — are built behind the wall that is constructed ostensibly for the sake of Israeli security. If Israelis seek to live in peace without the threat of bombs and rockets falling on their homes, why would they build communities deep inside the territory of their enemies, fencing themselves in behind a 25-foot-high concrete wall?

      It is this that makes Netanyahu’s response to Obama’s speech so incredulous. Netanyahu panned Obama’s policy, remarking that returning to the 1967 borders would create an Israel that was “indefensible.” What is indefensible is the notion that security can be perpetuated by occupying cities that do not belong to you, by building walls that steal aquifers, and by building cities inside your enemy’s territory.

      You can explain to your evangelical friends that evangelicals like myself have their views radically change when we do the following:

      As they say, “The first casualty of war is truth.” It is impossible to wade through all the facts and figures so hotly debated through sixty years of conflict. Go and see for yourself. Take a cab from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and see the wall. Sit in an ice cream parlor in Ramallah. Have tea in a Palestinian shop in Hebron. Walk down the streets of Beit Sahour at midnight as wedding celebrations sweep through the city. Such adventures are risky: they might force you to change your mind.

      Evangelicals who actually meet their Christian counterparts have their views change even if that amount of time is short. For evangelical relief ministries such as World Vision it involves laboring side by side with the indigenous churches both on the West Bank and in Gaza.

      Before I start with a quote from their President, note that the director of Jerusalem World Vision, Tom Getman, was specifically asked by Desmond Tutu to look into the Palestinian's plight BEFORE Nelson Mandela was released from prison. South Africa's work was done but Palestine's was just beginning.

      link to wrmea.com

      "I'll never forget it. It hit me in the chest like a bolt," said Tom Getman, World Vision director in Jerusalem, to an audience at the First Presbyterian Church in Seattle on Oct. 28. Getman was referring to the words spoken to him by Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa sometime in the mid-1970s in Uganda. Tutu had been thanking Getman for all he had done to support South African human rights.

      "We were standing on the beach," Getman remembered, "and Desmond was thanking me for the solidarity, for the hosting, for the prayers and for the legislation. Then Tutu said: 'Mandela will be out of jail soon. We're on our way, liberation is at hand, and if you really want to prove your bona fides, in terms of human rights, turn your eyes to the Palestinians.'"

      Tom Getman is one of the powerful witnesses in the Occupation 101 video:
      link to youtube.com

      See this for more background on Tom:
      link to youtube.com
      link to youtube.com

      Here's the director of World Vision when he visited Palestine.

      link to worldvision.org

      Recently, I had a similar adjustment to my belief system when I met a remarkable community of Christians living in another land. These people are suffering great persecution. They must carry I.D. cards with them at all times. Their license plates must be a certain color. They can be imprisoned without cause. They cannot vote or travel freely. Their land can be confiscated, their homes bulldozed without warning or compensation. They are denied even the most basic human rights, not because they are Christian, but because they are Palestinian.

      I was shocked by what I saw as I traveled to Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank a few months ago with 12 pastors from the United States. We worshiped with Palestinian believers and even stayed in their homes, listening to their stories of suffering and injustice. They asked, “Why don’t our Christian brothers and sisters in America care about us?”

      I found this hard to answer. I said, “Most do not know that these things are happening, or that Palestinian Christians are suffering. Most of us support Israel without question because of past atrocities against Jews and because of our interpretation of biblical prophecies about Israel.”

      Although only a small percentage of Palestinians are Christians, they help us see that human rights abuses are wrong, no matter who – Christian or Muslim – is injured by them. The United States has denounced such abuses in other contexts, such as South African apartheid and the persecution of Muslims in Kosovo. But the Palestinians’ plight has been consistently overlooked as our government has steadfastly supported Israel. We must not look the other way when our friends violate basic human rights, letting the ends justify the means.

      Please pardon my wordiness but I wanted to get you some tools to talk with your evangelical friends from someone on the inside. I also want to show that the existence of people like Michelle Bachmann should not dissuade you from trying to reach out to your evangelical friends.

    • There are only minor differences between the Birthright tours described in The Nation magazine article mentioned here and the Christian Zionist tour I was on down to the same travel agencies and Israeli-trained tour guides. Being Christian, however, meant you really couldn't skip Nazareth or Bethlehem. There we met Christian Palestinians like your wife's family. It was from the Christians in Nazareth I found out about the ethnic cleansing in '48 and the internally displaced Palestinians inside of Israel. From the Christians in Bethlehem I found out that the Christians and Muslims get along and the exodus of them was caused by the Israeli occupation and not their Muslim neighbors.

      Because of who runs this site much of the focus has been on the behavior of Jews. The behavior of American and European Christians is also reprehensible. The following quote should cause us to hang our head in shame:

      "We are no longer expecting support from Church leaders around the world."

      We end up being a cause of the conflict and not its solution. We try to convert the Jews and Muslims and throw under the bus those who are already Christians. All because our brothers and sisters happen to be brown. Shame on us. God help us if all that is bad about Christianity as exemplified by Michelle Bachmann gains even more power.

    • I love how she as knowledgable about economics as she is about history and foreign policy.

      link to realclearpolitics.com

      Obamacare is the crown jewel of socialism but a Kibbutz is not?

      If anyone here goes on a Christian Zionist trip make sure you don't just go to a Kibbutz like Rep. Bachmann but rather insist on going to Nazareth and Bethlehem and that you talk to indigenous Christians. I did and it opened my eyes to the truth.

      This is what you will hear. Note this recent letter by indigenous Christians to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

      link to kairospalestine.ps

      Kairos Palestine is deeply troubled by your recent comments regarding the situation of Christians in the Middle East in general and more particularly those related to the Palestinian Christians, as it was aired on the June 14 broadcast of the BBC news programme “The World at One.”

      Your inaccurate and erroneous remarks cite Muslim extremism as the greatest threat facing Christians in Palestine, and the primary reason for our emigration. Your statements about Bethlehem are particularly faulty and offensive especially when you say that the movement of Muslims into the Bethlehem area, where space is limited, is forcing Christians to leave.

      Equally shocking is how Your Grace managed, diplomatically –instead of being prophetic, as one would expect you to be, not to mention the Israeli occupation, the separation wall, Israel confiscation of Palestinian land, its policies that violate freedom of movement and worship (Palestinians in Bethlehem cannot, for instance, go to Jerusalem), or its brutal crackdowns on nonviolent protests as one of the major reasons that push not only Christians to emigrate, but also many other Palestinians.

      We were hoping that Your Grace would have a different voice than the one in mass media and other right wing political parties, which exploit our sufferings to fuel some islamophobic tendencies and negative images about Islam. Indeed, this is what the Israeli occupation persistently tries to do. It demonizes Islam in a way that deflects blame from the repression levied by the state itself. We are concerned that your comments are serving the same purpose.

      We were deeply saddened by your declarations because we know that Your Grace is well informed about the situation in the Holy Land, and you know very well that in the Bethlehem area alone there are 19 illegal Israeli settlements (such as nearby Har Homa built on Jabal Abu Ghneim) and the wall that have devoured Christian lands and put Bethlehem in a chokehold. You know well that only 13% of Bethlehem area is available for Palestinian use and the wall isolates 25% or the Bethlehem area’s agricultural land. Not to mention the situation of Christians in Jerusalem, which you know very well, since you should have received reports from the Anglican Bishop in the City whose residency permit was denied by the occupying power. We can go on and on, but it is no longer important...

      We are no longer expecting support from Church leaders around the world. Our Hope, Faith and Love come from elsewhere. However, at the same time, we request you and every leader, especially church leaders, not to use us and our cause for your own purposes. We are so thankful to Your Grace for the “International Conference on Christians in the Holy Land” that you are holding in your Palace in July, but we feel it will be useless, not to say harmful to us, indigenous Christians in the land of the Holy One, if the outcome will be in the same spirit as your interview.

      Since Your Grace did not meet or consult with any Palestinian Christians during your recent visit here, we are wondering why would you be suddenly interested to speak on our behalf? This troubles us. Palestinian Christians are fully capable of expressing their situation without needing anyone to interpret what they mean; we are happy to meet directly with church leaders and, in solidarity, discuss our reality and what can be done to transform it.

      Finally, we would like to remind Your Grace that Christian Palestinians need advocates for the truth. It is the truth, and only the truth, that will lead to peace and justice in our home.

  • Open letter to Gaddafi supporter Cynthia McKinney from disappointed Palestinians
    • I loved the polar opposite reactions to you in different fora. Did the person you know in RL chew you out like he promised?

    • I noticed how you were treated by DK. Juan Cole as martyr under the Bush Administration is OK but a critique of Anthony Weiner on policy not so much. That got your tip jar HRed and republished as a "troll" diary. The usual DK treatment on this topic can be found here when Bill Weinberg was consistent unlike others you critiqued above. (It's nice to know that the self-appointed gate keepers at DK treat Bill, you, and me identically and it is strangely comforting.)

      link to dailykos.com

  • Most Israelis don't see Jordan Valley as occupied
    • This is done through the so-called National Water Carrier. The pipe is so big you can walk in it standing up. So much water was diverted the Dead Sea split in two. Over the last 20 years the level of the Dead Sea dropped 25m.

    • It's the latter. Via Google translate:

      According to a survey by Dalia Shiinldin new wave studies show that 63.5% of the Jewish population believe the valley is sovereign Israeli territory, while 19% admitted that they do not know what position. Only 17.7% could answer the valley is part of the territories are not Israel's sovereignty.

      It's even worse than reported since only 18% knew the right answer. Funny, when we were traveling down Highway 90 and passed the checkpoint our guide gleefully said we were in the West Bank and see how peaceful it is. Of course, I didn't find out about Area C and bypass roads until I came home. As an Israeli I could see how it feels like Israel when they vacation at the Dead Sea resorts since there are none of those pesky Palestinians to be seen. Since they are not allowed in the "West Bank" but can travel on the bypass roads, ergo the Jordan Valley is not the "West Bank". This reveals the real purpose of the walls, make the Palestinians invisible. This in turn makes for no ethical dilemmas caused by those pesky facts and allows for a more comforting narrative that a great evil is not being done in their name. This is why names are important in constructing fantasy narratives. Judea and Samaria connotes Jewish ownership while the West Bank is the west bank of what river?

  • What do you do when Netroots is just not that into you?
    • I got it by visiting Israel and discovering I was lied to by the entire American corporate media, not just Fox News. Even with the facts blatantly in front of the people on my tour they didn't/couldn't see it. I chalked it up to the fact I was on a Christian Zionist tour and this was another Republican/Fox News blind spot. Coming back my Democratic activist neighbor, my daughter who goes to CU Boulder, and even my progressive Jewish friends were all very much pro-Palestinian and in my daughter's case all her friends were too.

      Jared Polis at NN yesterday was trying to show how the 2012 campaigns were run by progressives. Ra ra. Jared's district includes Boulder, BTW. He contrasted how we are different than the Republicans focusing on domestic issues but not a peep on I/P. This is even though, again, pretty much all the CU students in his district are pro-P. One thing he brought up was the netroots as an ATM for the Democratic Party -- ka-ching! My daughter has used the city of Boulder as a metaphor for the Democratic Party a guilty white city that's expensive to live in but has many homeless people in it. If you are a rich, white Progressive like Jared everything's fine, but if you work for a living or a person of color or a student, forget it.

      Now back to DK. I noticed that those of us who were concerned by climate change were just ignored. Still, I was completely unprepared for the outright hostility to the pro-P progressive majority. This hostility is driven by only half a dozen handles. They subscribe to pro-P diarists like myself and lie in weight to place negative comments. Some of these subscribers only HR other people's comments. And it's not just them. Not only the subscriber is HRing the comments but also the whole gang. It's clear that this is a concerted rear guard action.

      There are many subjects on DK where there are large differences of opinions. While it can get rowdy the outright unpleasantness of the I/P topic is different and it achieves its desired effect of keeping most people away. Van Jones got it exactly right yesterday when he analyzed the Tea Party. The "base" crowd sourced what they cared about and Republican candidates had zero flexibility in denying them. There is literally zero force the progressive base has on the Democratic party and on DK whether they be pro-P, labor, or the environment. The Democratic Party is just as captured by its monied interests as the Republicans are by the Koch brothers.

      I would be completely depressed except the Arab Spring taught us the power of decentralized social media. Even dictators who control countries for decades cannot stop it. DK and NN are irrelevant if all they do is say we need to link our causes to the OFA meta-brand. They have to earn those links if they don't want another 2010-style debacle at the polls. I'm seeing the start of the end run around the Democratic establishment and only see it accelerating in the future.

    • Annie, the example I gave is not the best since it came from a relative newbie who had an axe to grind against Anthony Wiener. The following is a better and more on topic one from the Adalah group on the Arab Spring panel at NN. Note the thread hijacking by the usual suspects. Good low UID pro P folks on DK include soysauce, weasel, and unspeakable who is the diarist below.

      link to dailykos.com

    • Not all the Zionists on DK are like this, though. Sure you got the stalkers and group donut droppers like on this diary:

      link to dailykos.com

      But on the other side of the coin you have people like Troubadour.

      link to dailykos.com

      Troubadour has stood up for proponents of Palestinian rights on DK against the abusers. This is especially amazing given his life story. Troubadour's wife was attacked by a Palestinian terrorist in 2002. He wrote a book about how he went and sought out the family of his wife's attacker. In order to find a publisher he needed to find a platform but he refused to go on 60 Minutes because of what it would do to his wife.

      He's a very powerful writer. Here's a recent example on DK:

      A solution? Dialogue. Human interaction. Confronting the narratives, the stories, and the humanity of the "other." Not as the only solution, to be sure, for societal transformation must be matched by political boldness at the state level. But a solution, nevertheless.

      We know this works. Psychologically. Sociologically. For hate, for conflict driven by hate, is fueled, by and large, by an ignorance of the other, by a lack of understanding the other.

      We know this works. We know that this is one of the single most effective ways in which to counter the cultural hatreds and prejudices that swirl in our midst.

      A study entitled “Psychological Correlates of Support for Compromise: A Polling Study of Jewish-Israeli Attitudes Toward Solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” by Ifat Maoz and Clark McCauley reveals that those Israelis and Palestinians who had met someone on the other side, who knew someone on the other side, were exponentially more likely to support compromised peace. Were far more likely to empathize with the other such that they desired a future in which both sides could thrive. Just by meeting someone. By knowing someone.

      This is why one of my goals, as a writer, is to tell the narratives of both my people and of my "enemy," of the Palestinians. For these encounters with the other, with stories of the other, have as much impact toward solving intractable conflicts as any large-scale political solution.

      And the irony: all this has been precipitated by my personal encounter with Palestinian terror, by the violent product of hate on the other side when my wife was bombed by a Hamas militant.It has been precipitated by my subsequent meeting with the terrorist's family, seeking to understand how this could have happened, seeking to understand them, to know their suffering, to transform the pain into something else.

      Anybody here that could help him get his book published?

    • I have a college-aged daughter and she had no idea what it's like at DK. All her friends are pro-Palestinian and never occurred to her that the position was at all controversial on the left. If you want a modern example of what even a mild engagement looks like check out my attempt at rapprochement today:

      link to dailykos.com

  • Obama is driving a wedge with settlements, in the American polity
    • Since when is Netanyahu PM in the United States? Back in Israel Netanyahu got a huge bump from the conflict.

      link to jpost.com

      "The Dialog poll found that 50 percent of Israelis were satisfied with Netanyahu’s performance as prime minister, compared to just 38% who said so two months ago at the height of a scandal over Netanyahu’s overseas travels.

      Asked who was more fit to be prime minister, 49% said Netanyahu and 31% said Kadima head Tzipi Livni.

      When compared with Labor chairmanship candidate Amram Mitzna, Netanyahu had the support of 59% and Mitzna just 20%."

      Note the difference between the English and Hebrew editions of Haaretz:
      link to jpost.com

      The English edition elaborated near a picture of Obama that “69% say Obama is fair and friendly.”

      The English edition of the newspaper contained no graphics distributing the actual numbers, either online or in print. The newspaper’s Hebrew edition, however, included a graphic indicating that just 18% of respondents considered Obama “friendly” toward Israel, 3 percentage points fewer than the 21% who called the US president “hostile” to the Jewish state. Ten percent did not know, and 51% defined Obama’s approach to Israel using the Hebrew word “inyani,” which can be translated as matter-of-fact or businesslike but not as fair.

      A Jerusalem Post poll said this:

      "Just 9 percent of Jewish Israelis think US President Barack Obama’s administration is more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian, according to a Smith Research poll taken this week on behalf of The Jerusalem Post.

      Forty-eight percent said that the Obama presidency favored the Palestinian side, 30% said his administration was neutral and 13% chose not to express an opinion for the survey, which has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points."

      link to i2.cdn.turner.com
      A CNN poll showed the 44% of the American people believed was an ally and 38% that it was friendly. In 2001, the numbers were 32% and 40%. What Netanyahu on our soil did is not what an ally would do. American sympathies for Israel vs. the Palestinians are at 67%/16%, a record high since 1988.

      I don't know what that Democratic analyst was smoking but I want some. The J Street crowd may show great indignation about how President Obama is treated by the Republicans vis-a-vis Israel but their refusal to be more critical of Israel contributes to undermining him. Living in a more red-state area I've seen the PM's visit help undercut what positive effect that killing bin Laden would have and get right back to the scary, black, Kenyan, Unamerican, Muslim meme.

  • Is the lobby's influence significant and pernicious?
    • And these brave critics get dismissed as self-hating Jews. I will remember that most critics of Israel are Jewish and so will you but I fear most people won't. Thus my fear of a new wave of extreme anti-Semitism will come to pass. I'm not being a concern troll but really concerned.

      We need to remember that the non-Jewish critics of Israel and the Jewish critics are both an extreme minority. While Christian denominations are all the rage here they're not in Israel because they're so few Christians. Thus, they just think of each others as Christians or just Palestinians. The same should be here. We're here to advocate human rights and it shouldn't be relevant whether we are Jewish or not.

      The problem is that Jewish critics of Israel have the most credibility due to the anti-Semitism problem. Thus, the hammer comes down harder on the Jews because they need to be shut up by the powers that be. The question of who is the larger slice of a small pie is not relevant. The non-Jews should have the Jew's back and vice versa. The non-Palestinian should have the Palestinian's back and vice versa. Myself being neither Jewish or Palestinian I try to have both.

    • I wouldn't call the Israeli Lobby Jewish because a significant part of the support of the lobby comes from people who merely hate Muslims more than they hate Jews. In other contexts such as the Tea Party they use the word banker as code for Jew. This is why you have people like Glenn Beck who condemn George Soros one week and travel to Jerusalem the next.

      The pernicious effect of the Israel Lobby is two-fold. One its fact-free and history-free nature destroys American credibility worldwide. It also reinforces anti-Semitic stereotypes. The former is a danger because Israel might be a liability to our "empire" and we will treat them like the Romans did to their Israeli client in 70 CE. The latter is a danger not only because it causes anti-Semitism directly but more importantly it makes it impossible to distinguish Jewish friends from foes since both are critical of Israeli policy and Israeli historical revisionism. Even on this site, Jews scratch their heads wondering if commenters crossed some red line. Or, there is silence because non-Jewish critics of the Israeli Lobby self-censor for fear of being accused of anti-Semitism. This gives Jews the wrong impression because all they hear is the noisy anti-Semites.

      In the end, Jewish Americans should oppose the Israel Lobby because it is not in their best interest either as Jews or Americans. The lobby is strong not because it's rich but rather because it has effectively cultivated America's natural affection for the Jews. (The book American Grace which took a sociological view of religion and politics stated that as a group Jews are the best liked religious group in the U.S.) The Israel Lobby not only courts Congress but also public opinion, particularly Jewish public opinion. If America sees Jews being skeptical of the lobby perhaps they will take a second look. Until that happens no Congressman will dare cross them because their polls say it's political suicide.

  • Then the song changed
    • The World has changed with the Internet now. We can all see truth for what it is. What today looked like:

      link to j.mp

      link to flickr.com

      link to flickr.com

      link to demotix.com

      Here's how the Jerusalem Post described it. (Note the "pleasant" description of the Sheikh Jerrah activists.)

      The main route of the parade began in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood near the Shepherd Hotel. Thousands of participants thronged down Highway 1, waving flags and chanting “Am Yisrael Chai.”

      Some participants chose to march into the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood on a parade route determined in cooperation with the police.

      “This is what it needs to be,” City Councilor David Hadari (NRP-National Union) said of the decision to hold the main march inside Sheikh Jarrah.

      “We need to celebrate and live and settle in every part of Jerusalem.

      “I’m happy all the youth came here to celebrate our sovereignty in this area,” Hadari said, adding that he was working to expand the Jewish presence in Sheikh Jarrah.

      Hadari said he was working with organizations who had already secured ownership of dozens of properties around the Shimon Hatzadik tomb, and that Jewish families would move into the neighborhood in as little as two years.

      Even within Sheikh Jarrah, most of the march was peaceful, with ecstatic groups of young people cheering, singing and breaking into spontaneous dance.

      Arab residents watched warily from the sides. “This year is much worse than other years,” said 37-year-old Sheikh Jarrah resident Samir, who watched the parade from his friend’s flower shop. “It sends a clear message.

      Look at them, they’re celebrating...it’s a provocation. Why are they doing it in an Arab neighborhood?” he asked as a truck went by with a band of yeshiva students playing “Zeh Hamakom Sheli” (This is my place).

      Samir said that in previous years, there had been small groups of young people who had marched around the neighborhood, but that this year was larger than any he could remember.

      He added that Sheikh Jarrah residents did not know that the parade would be held inside their neighborhood until they saw police setting up barricades in the morning.

      “There will be more problems, there will never be peace,” Samir said.

      “They just came to make trouble, they scream ‘death to Arabs!’ and ‘Arabs are trash!’” The highest point of tension inside Sheikh Jarrah was at the tomb of Shimon Hatzadik, where 50 left-wing protesters, who demonstrated without a permit, faced off against 50 right-wing protesters while Jewish music blared from the speakers of the yeshiva next to the tomb. Police tried to separate the two groups.

      Dozens of right-wing teenagers surrounded an Arab house after they said one of the children spat on them, and started hitting left-wing protesters who stood in front of the house with flag poles.

      MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union), denounced the left-wing protesters as “racist anarchists.”

      “These racist Jews are fighting against Jews, and they should go home,” he told The Jerusalem Post.

      Ben-Ari accused the left-wing activists of inciting the Arab residents and slammed the police for being too lenient with them.

      In a separate incident, a marcher entered a mosque in Sheikh Jarrah with an Israeli flag and was arrested by police forces. The marcher was taken into custody for interrogation along with three others.

      After the incident, Arab children climbed on top of the roof of a tall building next to the mosque and raised five Palestinian flags, prompting raucous boos from the thousands of demonstrators below.

      Five marchers were arrested near the Damascus Gate for allegedly attempting to assault Arabs while calling out nationalistic slogans. A woman was also arrested in the area for yelling anti-Semitic epithets at marchers passing by.

      Border police arrested seven people for throwing stones at police forces in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Wednesday, as well. The suspects were taken into custody for interrogation.

      Increased patrols of police, border police and volunteers were put in place in the capital until the conclusion of events on Wednesday.

      The Flag March has taken place annually since 1976, as traditionally thousands of people marched from the city center down Rehov Yaffo to the Kotel.

      This year, the municipality refused to halt the light rail tests for the parade, forcing Am K’Lavia (Nation Like a Lion), the parade organizers, to take the case to the Supreme Court. Ultimately, the parade was rerouted to begin in Sheikh Jarrah and end at the Kotel.

      “This is not about the march making a controversial statement,” Meir Indor, an activist with Am K’Lavia and one of the parade organizers, told the Post before the parade. He said the route was decided as a “technical issue” due to the light rail, but that the parade organizers laughed when they saw how the parade would be rerouted.

      “After all the protests from the anarchists, it’s time to show for once who this city really belongs to,” he said, referring to the weekly protests in the area by the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement.

      link to silwanic.net

  • A (half-hearted) defense of the Congressional Democrats
    • The Samson option? Is that what they named their nuclear program?

      "When they stood him among the pillars, Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “Sovereign LORD, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. **Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.**"

      Oh. my. God.

  • Netanyahu says 'all men are created equal' message on Lincoln Mem'l is a Jewish concept
    • Annie, I'm an evangelical Christian so I know my Bible well. The comments about the Bible being used to justify slavery are on target. (I wouldn't blame the Jews too much here, though. To really turn it up to eleven needs Americans.) Much of what is good in Christianity was inherited from Judaism. But, when Constantine made it the state religion the fish and the lamb became the cross and the sword. Not surprisingly Christian anti-Semitism really took off at that point. If the Team Shalom folks put the anti-Semitism label on European and American Christians it wouldn't be so bad. But, instead they universalize to Christian and Muslim Arabs that are largely innocent of our sins.

      What struck me being around rightwing evangelicals is how similar the revisionist history of the Religious Right in creating a Christian America is with the Zionists and a Jewish Israel. They get along well because they share magical thinking. Unfortunately, the rest of us have to live in the mess that creates in the real world.

    • Annie, the quote reminds me what an young Egyptian said in Tahrir Square turning George W. Bush's famous lines on its head:

      "We don't hate you because we hate your freedom we hate you because you hate ours."

    • In 1784 Patrick Henry offered a bill Establishing a Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion in the Virginia state legislature. 1n 1785 James Madison led the opposition to Henry’s bill and wrote his Memorial and Remonstrance to help turn public sentiment against it. That same year Madison wrote a letter James Monroe identifying sources of support for Henry’s bill:

      "The Episcopal clergy are generally for it. . . . The Presbyterians seem as ready to set up an establishment which would take them in as they were to pull one down which shut them out. The Baptists, however, standing firm by their avowed principle of the complete separation of church and state, declared it to be "repugnant to the spirit of the Gospel for the Legislature thus to proceed in matters of religion, that no human laws ought to be established for the purpose." (James Madison, Writings, II, 183-191.)

      Madison and his Baptist allies were successful in defeating Henry’s bill and in passing Thomas Jefferson’s Act for Establishing Religious Freedom.

      Where did the Baptists get this? From their founder Roger Williams. A century later, Thomas Jefferson -- being a savvy politician -- quoted back their founder's words "wall of separation".

      “The church of the Jews under the Old Testament in the type and the church of the Christians under the New Testament in the antitype were both separate from the world; and when they have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the candlestick, and made his garden a wilderness.” -- Perry Miller, Roger Williams: His Contribution to the American Tradition. Atheneum, 1962, p. 98.

      So far from Madison using the OT to apply to the government he wanted strict separation and included in his draft of the First Amendment to apply the same principle to the individual states in addition to the national government.

      I do find it ironic that a revisionist historian on Israel is on the show of a revisionist historian of the United States. Both argue for a Christian U.S. and a Jewish Israel when a secular U.S. and Israel is the best for both Jews and Christians.

    • “Some of the founding fathers of the United States said that the language of the United States should be Hebrew”

      Actually many of the founders wanted more classical training as expressed by Attic Greek and Latin than the Biblical languages such as Koine Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew.

      Jefferson specifically had this attitude.

      "Jefferson was thus expressing the view of the mainstream of the Enlightenment, that all men could attain equal place in society, but the "entrance fee" was that they should adopt the ways and the outlook of the "enlightened." Jefferson did not consider that a Yiddish-speaking Jew who knew the Talmud was equal in usefulness to society with a classically trained thinker like himself."
      -- Arthur Hertzburg, The Jews in America, p. 87

      "Jefferson said in an April 12, 1817 letter to Joseph Delaplaine, "I was educated at William and Mary college in Williamsburg. I read Greek, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, and English of course, with something of it's radix the Anglo-Saxon." In addition to the languages he lists, there is some evidence that Jefferson was attempting German.[3]

      Jefferson had dictionaries, vocabularies, and grammars in a number of other languages in his library. These included Arabic, Gaelic, and Welsh, amongst others. However, without confirmation from Jefferson himself, the most we can assume is that he was "dabbling" in these languages, and never achieved a notable degree of fluency."
      -- link to monticello.org

      So, Jefferson did not speak or read Hebrew but he appeared to dabble in Arabic! So, is Netanyahu going to give credit to the Arabs for founding this country? I think not.

    • Since we are talking about Lincoln we need to look at the post-Civil War constitutional amendments that addressed the evils of slavery. Here's a key clause from our 14th Amendment:

      All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

      What I have never understood is why we as a country support a Jewish nation as being the same as our traditions and heritage given from the 14th Amendment on forward we have been a nation of land and not of blood. There has been a movement amongst the right wing of our country to get rid of the 14th Amendment's citizenship clause. So instead of going after brown Muslim people we go after brown Christian people.

    • Netanyahu needs to read his Torah more closely. The liberty proclaimed in Leviticus was the year of Jubilee. The purpose in Levitcus 25 is as follows:

      “‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers. Throughout the land that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.

      ...

      But if they do not acquire the means to repay, what was sold will remain in the possession of the buyer until the Year of Jubilee. It will be returned in the Jubilee, and they can then go back to their property. "

      Mr. Netanyahu the fifty years are up. Time to proclaim liberty and return the land.

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