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Getting in, and getting out, of Palestine

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In late March and early April 2019 I traveled to Jordan and the West Bank (Palestine) with two colleagues, Sonia Dettman and S. Komarovsky, first to attend the Lancet Palestine Health Alliance conference in Amman and then to explore and better understand the lives of refugees and the workings of UNRWA, with a focus on the status of refugee health. This is the final essay in the series.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Traveling while Palestine

The night is filled with the anxiety that any interaction with Israeli security triggers; we are leaving for the Allenby Bridge crossing from Jordan into Israel/Palestine at 6:30 am.  Of course daylight savings time starts in the middle of the night, so we lose an hour and the call to prayer occurs three times starting at 4:30ish, probably because it is Friday. I am awake almost hourly checking to be sure I have not slept through the alarm, which I have never done in my life. The death toll in the occupied territories is rising. Gazans are preparing for the year anniversary of the Great March of Return on Land Day tomorrow. Israeli reservists are being called up. Netanyahu is facing the election in a few weeks and I worry he thinks he needs a war. The Palestinian Authority is once again out of money and has cut salaries in half because the “Zionist entity” refuses to release its taxes. Welcome to Israel.

We leave all of our suspicious material on Palestine, human rights, and any evidence of an interest in justice in an extra bag in Amman to retrieve on our return, and arrive at Allenby Bridge at 7:30 am. The Jordanian officials sip tea, smoke cigarettes, poke and prod their computer, and hand stamp forms back and forth without any sense of urgency.  Exit fees are paid, children squirm, and we wait for enough people to arrive to fill a bus. Finally, with just enough low-level chaos to cause a rise in blood pressure, we are on our way, after the Jordanian official calls out each of our names and hands us our passports.  I am sure that violates some HIPPA type rule about privacy, but what do I know about international relations?

The landscape drifts into military installations and desert as we approach the rushing brown stream that was once the mighty Jordan. More stop and go and we cross the bridge into the hands of Israeli security. Blue and white flags flutter. Guard towers are covered with camouflage netting, plainclothes men wander back and forth with fingers on the triggers of their automatic weapons. I flunk the metal detector due to my new and improved knees and go sit. And sit.  A man repeatedly talks into his shirt. Finally a woman takes me in for a vigorous pat down and sweep of the metal detector which reveals that my knees (and my boots) actually contain metal.  (Like I said.)

I am reunited with my passport and wait in the chaotic, uneasy crowd for the luggage to emerge from the x-ray screening. At passport control I am asked why am I here? (Visiting a friend in Tel Aviv). Why did I come from Jordan? (Medical conference).  Am I a doctor? Am I Jewish? (Yes.) Israeli? Any Israeli relatives?

A brief wave-through by the Palestinian Authority and three hours from start to finish, into the hands of hungry service (pronounce ser-vees) drivers. This is all an upgrade since my last visit, but still qualifies as a third world experience. We need to catch a bus to Jericho which requires buying a ticket.  As we try to board the bus, we discover we need to pay a luggage fee as well. (Who knew?) Back to the little ticket man where he tries to scam me out of 39 shekels by making me pay for the tickets again.  I explain, calmly, not so calmly. A lovely man says it all in Arabic. Ticket man yells, I yell. He grabs my tickets. I reach into his glass booth, grab my tickets and my money and run to the bus. (Welcome to occupation and shattered nerves.)

From Jericho, after another encounter with the PA, passport screening, papers stamped and passed from official to official, luggage unceremoniously removed and then returned, we head north to Nablus to visit old friends. The service does not leave for a half an hour, until all the seats are full. As I gaze out the window, I am flooded with emotion. Massive Israeli date palm plantations and carpets of green vegetation sweep by. The distant hills are hazy, the sand hills massive and stark.  We pass a sign for Na’ama herbs (Israeli), more stark desert, and purple-blue mountains in the distance. The signage is in Hebrew, Arabic, and English (the Arabic being a transliteration of the Hebrew), but only Israeli settlements are identified and Palestinian towns are geographically invisible.

More bursts of wildflowers. I am told the tiny yellow blossoms are called Yasmeen. The landscape is striking, large milk-chocolate chunks of rocks, Israeli vineyards covered in netting, goats munching on the lush vegetation. The Judean Hills are in their peak greenery as our ears pop and we wind north. Blankets of purple flowers, signs to the Jewish settlement of Ariel, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv/Yafo. Past rocky terraces and a massive industrial park and the settlement of Ma’ale Efrayim, and the Palestinian village of Osarin, as we hurtle along route 60 to Nablus. Huwara checkpoint, a jumbled shadow of its former major military installation, with two IDF soldiers, lolling about, fingers on their triggers. We pass through a town, shops, sides of goat and sheep hanging on hooks, and finally into Nablus, a sprawling city surrounded by hills and military installations.

After a warm and loving visit and an immense amount of good food (including melt-in-your-mouth cheesy kanafe), we head south in a taxi (this being Friday when everyone goes home and travel is challenging) to Bethlehem and Aida Camp. A bird flutters low on the highway and I hear a thud. The driver winces. My heart sinks. The scenery tells a story if you know how to read the language.  We pass charming villages, a mosque in Madama with a golden dome and a tall thin white minaret. Tura winery (Israeli obviously). Caravans, (of Jewish settlers) on hilltops and signs for settlements. We see an IDF jeep with a group of soldiers facing a cluster of Palestinian boys crouching in a ditch. Over two hours we encounter five more IDF jeeps, each time the cab driver says, “Israel, very dangerous, very dangerous.”   Two more wineries (Gua’ot, Psagot) on occupied land. Palestinian mega mansions and wide swaths of Jewish settlements spilling down hillsides. A Palestinian quarry. A large red sign warns travelers on the roads to unnamed Palestinian villages, “This road leads to a Palestinian village.  The entrance for Israeli citizens is dangerous.”

Gradually there is more concrete separation wall marching across the landscape, tall concrete slabs, concrete topped by a wall of wire fencing, on the right, then the left, then both sides. In Hizma the concrete is right up against the highway. The road dips under a bypass road. A little boy tends sheep next to two IDF soldiers and a jeep. The settlement of Ma’ale Adumim totally dominates the landscape, covering the crest of miles of hills. A large key is mounted at the Azaria rotary, dead cars are piled in the strip between lanes, garbage and poverty is everywhere. We pass signs to Al Quds University (in Jerusalem) and then enter Wadi Al Jeer, a major vertiginous highway built by USAID, also called the Container Road. Also thought to be US funding for an apartheid road. We pass the container checkpoint with guard towers and soldiers, pass a Palestinian Authority soldier, and into cluttered and charming Beit Sahour, Bethlehem and nearby Aida Camp.

Outside the camp we have a planning meeting at a recently opened bar, Rewired, which throbs with music and hip young people drinking wine, beer, and signature cocktails. This is new. And now I would really love to fall asleep, but every few minutes an Israeli jet screeches across the sky and dogs howl as if protesting the military occupation of their land.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Getting out

I have finally succumbed to the level of exhaust, perfumed cleaning products, and cigarette smoke in these parts and I am actually wheezing (bought an asthma inhaler for 15 NIS (about $4)) and now laryngitis has set in and I can barely talk.  Perhaps the Mossad is gripping my vocal cords.

At 10:30 am we leave our welcoming hosts in Doha, the neighborhood next to Aida Camp.  Although we already had breakfast, we are offered fried eggs as the taxi pulls up, Allah forbid we might go hungry.  At 11:30 we arrive at Allenby Bridge and begin the tedious dance of the vehicles. We wait until our driver finds another taxi with yellow plates that allows us to go directly to the Israeli checkpoint and skip the Palestinian Authority, not that they have much authority at these borders anyway. Then we get on line. There are two lanes as far as I can understand, one for trucks (there is a steady stream of large trucks, especially cement mixers) and one for the rest of us. We inch along behind tour buses and yellow plate cars and taxis.  Other tour buses are parked in a lot near the checkpoint and periodically the soldier/traffic director stops our line and invites a tour bus or two to cut ahead for the 20-minute-long screen, mirrors under the bus, various doors open. Did I mention the tour buses are all empty and it is getting hotter and hotter, this being the Jordan Valley?

Alice Rothchild

Our taxi driver is getting agitated, he steps outside to smoke a cigarette, talk with other fellow sufferers, and plot his strategy. He gets inside, abruptly backs up and gets into another lane. A cement truck backs away, a grey van, “Allenby Serves,” cuts ahead, maybe VIP? Cars with some sort of business designation also jump the line and don’t seem to get checked. We move closer to the checkpoint, then soldier/traffic director makes us back up to let another empty tour bus in line. Truck after dusty, sandy truck passes us in the left lane. A military vehicle covered in metal grills and is driven by a female IDF soldier scoots by.

At 12:10 pm we reach the vehicle and passport check. The girl soldier with the bullet proof vest actually asks, “Do you have any weapons?” Really??? And we are on our way to the next hurdle. The taxi zooms through striking desert hills and wildly-sculpted mountains with a thin fuzz of greenery here and there until we arrive at a terminal building for Israeli passport control.  We pay something like 166 shekels, get some pieces of paper, and get on another line.

A very large crowd of folks from India arrive just before us (maybe pilgrimage to Baha’i temple in Haifa?) so the room is suddenly filled with men and women and a collection of wiggling children and babies in brightly-colored long dresses and tunics, red, blue, orange, green patterns, full skirts and scarfs. The men wear white skull caps.

When I finally get to passport control the older Ashkenazi officer looks at me with a smile and with a contemptuous colonial shrug says “Indians.” He might as well have muttered, savages.

I smile back and sail through the checkpoint (deeply appalled but masked in my white Jewish privilege), track down my luggage and get into the bus.  At 1:05 pm the bus pulls out of the military camp and into Jordan.

We pass some Jordanian security five minutes later and at 1:15 two Jordanian security guys board the bus and collect all of our passports. Two Israelis are told to get off, something about needing a visa. The bus moves past the checkpoint and we pass a man in a sand yellow truck with a large weapon mounted on the roof. We travel through desert, collections of houses, and date palms and arrive at Jordanian passport control at 1:25. It takes 35 more minutes to work our way through the various lines and windows and then we are off to Amman. Two-and-a-half hours, not bad given the possibilities.

My traveling companion with the smart phone tells me Jewish settlers just shot to death a young man at Huwara checkpoint in Nablus and the soldiers let him bleed to death as they watched.  It was filmed by folks who are sure to upload it to the internet should you want to watch the gory details.  Another youth was injured but survived. The settlers allege the youth had a knife, although they have proven to be a deeply unreliable source of information when it comes to knives. There are somethings that are so unspeakably haram that it is hard to write without a moment of deep silence and horror. I think about the two young men who undoubtedly have experienced a life filled with Israeli military aggression and may or may not have felt defeated and hopeless enough to take revenge on the people who have tortured them. I think about the grieving mother, the enraged father, the traumatized brothers and sisters, another life lost to Israeli occupation, and the audacious fascistic brutality of the settlers who steal Palestinian land and kill Palestinians with impunity.

Hours later we enter Queen Alia Airport and breeze through all the levels of security, ticket lines, passport control, X-rays. No one is rude or brusque, no one takes me aside to interrogate me, no one wants to unwrap my halvah to check it for explosives.  The whole experience is remarkably civilized and a striking contrast to Ben-Gurion airport where two years ago after harassing me for working in Gaza (“Why Gaza? There are starving children in Africa, you know”), they took my computer for an hour “for security.”  Then they confiscated my husband’s entire suitcase “for security,” leaving him to stuff his belongings in a blue plastic bag as he headed home. How that kind of behavior is related to keeping Israel safe is utterly unclear to me and it doesn’t do much for their shrinking reputation as the villa in the jungle, a little piece of civilized Europe in the savage Middle East.

Alice Rothchild

Alice Rothchild is a physician, author, and filmmaker who has focused her interest in human rights and social justice on the Israel/Palestine conflict since 1997. She practiced ob-gyn for almost 40 years. Until her retirement she served as Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harvard Medical School. She writes and lectures widely, is the author of Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience, On the Brink: Israel and Palestine on the Eve of the 2014 Gaza Invasion, and Condition Critical: Life and Death in Israel/Palestine. She directed a documentary film, Voices Across the Divide and is active in Jewish Voice for Peace. Follow her at @alicerothchild

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18 Responses

  1. LiberatePalestine on June 18, 2019, 1:20 pm

    I was harassed at the Palestinian border for having in my possession an Arabic dictionary, an Arabic–French bilingual copy of some stories from One Thousand and One Nights, and a few pages of my own handwritten notes in Arabic (I was learning the language on my own).

    Like Rothchild, I experienced nothing of the kind on the way to or from Ægypt or Jordan. On the contrary, I sailed through with minimal formalities, and noöne interrogated me about religious identity or language or anything else of consequence. Arranging onward transportation was also simple and straightforward, and I didn’t see a single murder, machine gun, apartheid wall, or sign warning of an allegedly dangerous ethnic group.

    • Misterioso on June 19, 2019, 12:57 pm

      LiberatePalestine, et al

      Breaking news!!
      Off topic, but given the close relationship between Bibi, Trump and MBS, most relevant:

      “U.N. investigator calls for probing Saudi officials in Khashoggi killing”

      Washington Post, June 19/19, By Carol Morello and Karim Fahim

      “A special U.N. investigator on Wednesday called for further investigation of high-level Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

      “Agnes Callamard, a human rights expert who is a special rapporteur for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, released a 101-page report on her months-long inquiry into Khashoggi’s death at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

      “The report provides new, grisly details of Khashoggi’s death that Callamard gleaned from listening to audio provided by Turkish authorities. The audio captured Saudi agents discussing the dismemberment of Khashoggi’s body before he arrived at the consulate, as well as his killing, the report said.

      “Callamard said the culpability for Khashoggi’s killing extends beyond the 11 Saudis who are on trial in a closed-door judicial proceeding in Saudi Arabia. She called it an extrajudicial killing, possibly involving torture, for which the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible, and she said Saudi authorities had participated in the destruction of evidence.

      “Although Callamard said she found no ‘smoking gun’ incriminating the crown prince himself, she said he had played an essential role in a campaign of repressing dissidents and almost certainly knew that a criminal mission targeting Khashoggi was being planned. She said there was ‘credible evidence’ that he was in some way responsible for Khashoggi’s murder.

      “’Evidence points to the 15-person mission to execute Mr. Khashoggi requiring significant government coordination, resources and finances,’ she wrote. ‘While the Saudi government claims that these resources were put in place by Ahmed Asiri, every expert consulted finds it inconceivable that an operation of this scale could be implemented without the Crown Prince being aware, at a minimum, that some sort of mission of a criminal nature, directed at Mr. Khashoggi, was being launched.’

      “Asiri, Saudi Arabia’s former deputy head of intelligence, is one of two senior Saudi officials implicated by the kingdom’s prosecutors in the killing, and the only senior official on trial.

      “Callamard’s account of Khashoggi’s death is the most definitive to date, even though her inquiry was hampered by Saudi Arabia’s refusal to allow her to visit the kingdom to conduct interviews. The United States has so far avoided apportioning blame, saying it is still learning details.

      “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump have deplored the killing of Khashoggi, who was a contributing columnist for The Washington Post in the year before his death. But they have said the relationship with Saudi Arabia, a key ally in the administration’s campaign against Iran, is too important to be sidetracked by a single incident.”

  2. Nathan on June 19, 2019, 7:39 am

    Alice Rothchild tells us that an “older Ashkenazi officer” looked at her “with a smile and with a contemptuous colonial shrug”. It is a bit puzzling why it was relevant to tell us that the officer is Ashkenazi. Who cares? But even more puzzling is how Dr Rothchild understands that a shrug is “colonial” (and “contemptuous”). I’ve never seen that kind of shrug before, so I wonder how she differentiates between a non-colonial shrug and a colonial one. I was wondering if just perhaps Dr Rothchild has given herself permission to decide what someone else has on his mind. I’ve been practicing shrugging in front of the mirror while thinking all kinds of different thoughts, but all the shrugs just look the same to me.

    Another one of the incredible interpretations in Alice Rothchild’s article is when she mentions that an Israeli jet screeched across the sky: “…dogs howl as if protesting the military occupation of their land”. Maybe she missed the signals that the dogs were giving her. Maybe the howling was meant to tell her: “wow, isn’t that cool”. Or, maybe, the dogs were howling because dogs howl when they hear loud noises. Anyway, since it was important to tell us that the officer was Ashkenazi, now I’d like to know what kind of dogs were howling.

    “The Palestinian Authority is once again out of money and has cut salaries in half because the ‘Zionist entity’ refuses to release its taxes”. No, Dr Rothchild, the “Zionist entity” has passed over the tax money already a few times, but the PA returns the money. It would be okay to protest the fact that the Israeli government deducts a sum of money from the taxes it collects for the PA, but it is false to claim that Israel refuses to release the taxes. The PA doesn’t agree to have the sum of money it pays to the families of prisoners (and of those killed in attacks against Israelis) deducted, and so it refuses to accept any of the taxes. You might agree or disagree with the PA’s policy, but in honest reporting one should tell the readers the whole story (even in an anti-Israel publication).

    Speaking of honest reporting, we learn that “laryngitis has set in”, and one of the possible causes is a conspiracy (“[p]erhaps the Mossad is gripping my vocal cords”). Yes, I suppose that could be a possible explanation. It certainly fits into the general style of Dr Rothschild’s writing in which shrugging, barking (and now losing your voice) are literary tools meant to present a political agenda.

    “Hours later we enter Queen Alia Airport… No one is rude or brusque, no one takes me aside to interrogate me, no one wants to unwrap my halvah to check it for explosives”. What an amazing insight! I never would have imagined all by myself that a border control in a conflict situation would be more difficult and unpleasant than a border control in the absence of a conflict situation.

    • Misterioso on June 19, 2019, 9:33 am

      Just so much blather.

      BTW, Ms. Rothchild may well have referred to the officer as “Ashkenazi” to emphasize the fact that contrary to Zionist mythology/propaganda, recent meticulous DNA analysis** has proven conclusively that he and his kind, the illegal/brutal occupiers and ethnic cleansers of foreign origin, e.g., from Poland and Russia, have no genetic connection to the biblical Hebrews whereas including their ancestors, the indigenous Palestinian Arabs have lived continuously between the River and the Sea for about 15,000 years.

      ** Front. Genet.,
      21 June 2017 –

      “The Origins of Ashkenaz, Ashkenazic Jews, and Yiddish”

      “Recent genetic samples from bones found in Palestine dating to the Epipaleolithic (20000-10500 BCE) showed remarkable resemblance to modern day Palestinians.

      “Overall, the combined results are in a strong agreement with the predictions of the Irano-Turko-Slavic hypothesis (Table 1) and rule out an ancient Levantine origin for AJs [Ashkenazi Jews], which is predominant among modern-day Levantine populations (e.g., Bedouins and Palestinians).”

    • oldgeezer on June 19, 2019, 9:47 am


      You, the least of anyone who frequents this site have no grounds to complain about mind reading as you constantly imput motives and real agenda scenarios on those you disagree with.

      ” refuses to release its taxes”

      That’s a more accurate way to say it than to call it a deduction. I’d call it extortion or theft. Israel is saying do as we tell you or we take your money.

      The tax revenues are 100% the property of the PA and 0% of Israel’s. A deduction would be a legitimate withholding or reduction in the tax funds. Say for example that Israel was allowed to retain 2% for the administrative effort of collecting on the PA’s behalf.

      There is no legitimate basis for the deduction. Additionally there are potential legal repercussions for accepting partial payments.

      Yet again Israel is acting like a criminal organization. No surprise there at all. It’s the core of it’s political system.

      On the bright side it also provides additional evidence that Israel is running an apartheid system under it’s control

      • Nathan on June 19, 2019, 8:52 pm

        So, oldgeezer, since you are claiming that there are “potential legal repercussions for accepting partial payments”, I take it that you understand that it’s not the ‘Zionist entity’ that is refusing to release the taxes collected for the PA. It’s the PA that refuses to accept “partial payments”. It’s quite rare that someone here agrees with me, but that’s nearly the same to what I claimed: “The PA doesn’t agree to have the sum of money it pays to the families of prisoners (and of those killed in attacks against Israelis) deducted, and so it refuses to accept any of the taxes”.

        What about the other strange claims of Dr Rothchild? Do you think that the Mossad might have caused her laryngitis? Do you think that she has the ability to discern between a “colonial” shrugging of the shoulders and a simple “gee-I-don’t-know” shrugging of the shoulders?

        It seems to me that the only important aspect of an article published in Mondoweiss is that the article must be anti-Israel. Incorrect facts or silly descriptions are not important at all.

        And perhaps you have an opinion as to why Dr Rothchild felt it necessary to tell us that the officer is Ashkenazi? Does it make a difference to her who were the great-grandparents of the Israelis? If so, her problem is well beyond pretending that she understands the intention of howling dogs.

      • oldgeezer on June 19, 2019, 9:59 pm

        ” I take it that you understand that it’s not the ‘Zionist entity’ that is refusing to release the taxes ”

        You’re smoking way too much. It is indeed the rogue and criminal state of Israel which is refusing to release the money which is not it’s money but money belonging to the PA.

        You can’t rationally spin it any other way.

        Release is such a nice sounding word. Let’s be honest here, Israel stole the money. It’s not theirs.

        “What about the other strange claims of Dr Rothchild? ”

        What about them?

  3. Ossinev on June 19, 2019, 7:39 am

    “How that kind of behavior is related to keeping Israel safe is utterly unclear to me and it doesn’t do much for their shrinking reputation as the villa in the jungle, a little piece of civilized Europe in the savage Middle East”

    Simples. Just routine getting their own back on those 1930`s Germans. Oh and those nasty Romans as well.

    • Misterioso on June 19, 2019, 9:38 am

      @Ossinev, et al


      “New Zealand government website erases Israel from map, replaces it with Palestine”
      RT Question More, June 18/19

      “New Zealand’s immigration website deleted a fact sheet about Palestine from its website after it caused outrage for identifying Israel as Palestine on a map.

      “The government website published the map as part of a fact sheet about Palestinian immigrants in New Zealand, showing Israel highlighted in blue and marked as ‘Palestine’. The West Bank is not included in the highlighted area.

      “The Israel Institute of New Zealand called on the immigration minister to ‘immediately apologize for the offending image and confirm that it does not reflect government policy.’ It also called for an investigation.

      “The institute’s director, Ashley Church, described the map as ‘incredibly offensive and the equivalent of New Zealand Immigration displaying a map of the UK which removed Scotland and Wales and referred to the entirety of the British Isles as England,’ the Jewish News reports.

      “The map notes East Jerusalem as the ‘designated capital’ of the Palestinian state, which the Institute took issue with. The document also refers to the ‘massive repression of Palestinians’ caused by Israel during the Second Intifada, and points to Israel’s economic sanctions and blockade on Gaza.

      “Ironically, New Zealand is a country that’s often left off maps. Ikea was forced to apologize in February after it sold a map that was missing New Zealand. The tourism board even launched a #GetNZontheMap campaign last year, featuring Prime Minister Jacinda Arden.”

      • LiberatePalestine on June 19, 2019, 12:33 pm

        → The government website published the map as part of a fact sheet about Palestinian immigrants in New Zealand, showing Israel highlighted in blue and marked as ‘Palestine’. The West Bank is not included in the highlighted area.

        The only error was to omit the West Bank from Palestine.

        → The institute’s director, Ashley Church, described the map as ‘incredibly offensive and the equivalent of New Zealand Immigration displaying a map of the UK which removed Scotland and Wales and referred to the entirety of the British Isles as England,’ the Jewish News reports.

        Noöne claims that Scotland and Wales are part of England. But labelling Palestine as Palestine is correct even in the opinion of the founders of Zionism, who constantly spoke and wrote of Palestine by its correct name. The lamentable presence of an odious European settler-colonial entity practising apartheid with the help of its imperialist backers does not change the fact that the territory is correctly called Palestine.

      • RoHa on June 19, 2019, 11:34 pm

        Americans regularly use “England” to refer to the UK.

        I was a bit surprised when, in Skyfall, Bond was taking a word association test and responded to “country” with “England”. Bond fans know, and that film emphasised, that James Bond comes from a more than normally ghastly part of Scotland.

      • LiberatePalestine on June 20, 2019, 9:29 am

        → Americans regularly use “England” to refer to the UK.

        Yes, just as they regularly used «Russia» to refer to the Soviet Union (of which Russia was only one of fifteen constituent republics). They are not noted for their knowledge of geography, history, or the world beyond the television screen.

      • echinococcus on June 20, 2019, 11:07 am


        Not only Americans, any of the admittedly not so many nations I know do use “England” for what’s today the UK and “Russia” for what was the Soviet Union. Except, of course, among the politically correct, the pretentious and those who find that saying a mouthful instead of a simple, historically established word is elegant. The continuing popular usage shows a keen understanding of what’s really behind the dog and pony show; it is a good usage and I am not changing it. Let the Anglophones care…

      • LiberatePalestine on June 20, 2019, 12:54 pm

        You won’t find much favour with Scots by referring to their country as part of «England», nor with Azeris for referring to their country as part of «Russia».

      • echinococcus on June 21, 2019, 2:39 am


        Of course only those who like plain unvarnished statements of truth do like it. So where is Scottish sovereignty? As for Azerbaijan, “Russia” was right once, now it’s a dependency or appendage of others.

  4. Elizabeth Block on June 19, 2019, 9:44 am

    “Tura winery (Israeli obviously). Two more wineries (Gua’ot, Psagot) on occupied land. ”

    And probably their wine is labelled “Made in Israel.” In Canada, there is a legal action going on to make them label them correctly – though if they have to do that, they probably won’t bother to sell them in Canada. Es tut mir leid, as we say in Brooklyn – “I’m sorry for your troubles” – the words are Yiddish and German, the sarcasm is Yiddish.

    • LiberatePalestine on June 19, 2019, 12:37 pm

      Palestinians produce wine, some of it reportedly quite good, but it is not available in Canada. By contrast, wine from Israëli settlers in Palestine and Syria is readily available in Canada.

  5. Ossinev on June 19, 2019, 11:42 am

    “The Israel Institute of New Zealand called on the immigration minister to ‘immediately apologize for the offending image and confirm that it does not reflect government policy.’ It also called for an investigation.

    “The institute’s director, Ashley Church, described the map as ‘incredibly offensive and the equivalent of New Zealand Immigration displaying a map of the UK which removed Scotland and Wales and referred to the entirety of the British Isles as England,’ the Jewish News reports.”

    Happy to be corrected and told that he is not the Ashley Church referred to but another Ashley Church but a basic Google search shows an Ashley Cameron Church:
    No mention of a role on the Israel Institute of New Zealand but appears to have a background in Property Consultation , and in politics as a failed Parliamentary candidate and as a local councillor attracting”strong support and strong opposition for his views”.

    If it is indeed the same Ashley Church he seems to have mutated overnight into a Ziostooge – handsomely Benjaminised no doubt.
    If it is indeed him here he is in Zio action:

    Don`t you just love the “independent” preface when these Fascist clowns describe their “think tanks”. And don`t you just love the way the featured Ziobot can casually refer to Jeremy Corbyn as “a blatant anti -Semite” knowing that if he is questioned about these and other ugly unfounded Ziosmears he can simply dismiss the questionner as being “anti – Semitic”.

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