INDEX (stories follow)
ZIONISM = RACISM
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Well, with the seemingly heartening news that Egypt’s military government was opening the Rafah crossing, Israel’s defenders could briefly claim that even the Siege was over! This was absurd on the face of it, as Larry Derfner points out, because these same defneders had been claiming for years that the Siege was necessary to deprive terrorists of their coriander.
Well, the opening was pretty narrow from the beginning, according to Gaza Mom blogger Laila El-Haddad back on May 31 in Mondoweiss. And now, courtesy of Democracy Now! the crossing was officially closed.
MK Benyamin Ben Eliezer, quoth the raven, “BDS”
Usually in mainstream Israeli political discourse, BDS is the “love” that dare not speak its name. If the Knesset is seeking to pass a law to criminalize references to the Nakba, all the more so references to the terrible act of ‘delegitimization’ (what an ugly, ungainly word) that is BDS. It’s simply treif in polite political discourse. Which is why comments made this week in the Knesset by Labor MK Benyamin Ben Eliezer in retort to Bibi Netanyayhu’s triumphalizing about his recent hero’s welcome in Washington, DC, are all the more shocking.
Ben Elizezer, a former IDF commander and defense minister, wasn’t shy about telling this emperor he had no clothes:
“Listen, Bibi,” MK Benjamin Ben-Eliezer growled, “I congratulate you on your hug from Congress, but it will not take us off the path to confrontation. Our situation in Europe is very bad. President Obama said everything we wanted him to say. Now you have to announce that Israel will vote for a Palestinian state in the UN this September … As a former industry and trade minister, I tell you: The markets are closing. We will suffer a devastating economic blow.”
I asked Ben-Eliezer how Netanyahu, who likes him, reacted to his tough talk. “He nodded his head,” Ben-Eliezer said.
While Bibi’s supporters may respond that this is much ado about nothing as Israel’s economy seems to be chugging along just fine, it is true that markets are closing just as Ben Elizer said. And they will continue to close. Israel’s multi-national conglomerates which depend on international markets will gradually see those markets become hostile to them as Israel continues to defy the international community regarding the Occupation. Eventually, Israel will find itself in a situation like that of South Africa.
What Israelis–who sometimes remind me of teenagers by tending to see themselves as invincible–don’t realize is that they, like Blanche DuBois, depend on the kindness of strangers. That is, Israeli companies market themselves to the world and the success of the export economy is what powers the engine of Israeli growth. What Israelis further don’t realize, is that while Israeli products are useful and even important in some fields, the world can survive without them. There is no Google or Facebook or even Microsoft among Israeli companies. The world economy will not come to an end if there is a massive international boycott of Israeli companies or products.
So Fuad is warning Israel that come September, when Palestine is recognized by the General Assembly, and Obama’s friendly veto in the Security Council is for naught, and Palestine begins to clamor for sanctions against Israel because it retains the territory of a fellow UN member, the body will eventually have to act. It may not happen immediately. It may even take months or a year. But eventually, sanctions will take hold as a viable political concept regardless of how Israel acts to defend itself or repeal the assault.
The former Israeli trade minister is the proverbial canary in the coal mine. He’s warning Bibi & Co. what’s ahead as they maintain the same posture of rejectionism and intransigence which have stood them in such good stead till now. It won’t be so easy down the road. There will be a price to pay just as South African paid a price. Unfortunately, I don’t see an Israeli deKlerk waiting in the wings to rescue Israel from pariah status and being blackballed among the nations.
If we wait another three years, and Meir Dagan continues speaking truth to power, then perhaps he has the pragmatism. But three years is a long time in the Middle East and in Israeli politics, an eternity.
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Far rightwing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin (“Bibi”) Netanyahu of the Likud Party has attempted to sidestep making peace with the Palestinians by using the magician’s favorite tactic of misdirection– of trying to get the audience to look somewhere else while the trick is being performed. Netanyahu’s ploy is to endeavor to shift attention to Iran while his government brazenly steals ever more land from the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories (theft which is illegal in international law, not to mention contrary to Commandment no. 8 in the series of Ten).
Netanyahu’s prestidigitation has not gone well. The Arab Spring has taken the world’s mind off Iran. The power struggle between Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been decisively lost by an increasingly diminished Ahmadinejad, putting paid to earlier charges that the president had made a military coup against the Leader with the help of feckless Revolutionary Guards.
But the Iran meme has crashed and burned inside Israel on two other scores, as well. First, Netanyahu appears to have forced out Meir Dagan, the head of the Israeli spying agency Mossad, whose departure coincided with that of the chief of staff, the head of domestic intelligence, and other key security officials. Dagan, having become a civilian, promptly went public, lambasting Netanyahu for refusing to make peace with the Palestinians while it was still possible.
Dagan went on to accuse Netanyahu and his Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, of grossly exaggerating the threat from Iran, calling a strike on that country “stupid idea that offers no advantage.” He warned that it would provoke another rocket attack on Israel by Lebanon’s Hizbullah, and perhaps by Syria as well– i.e. it could lead to a regional conflagration.
The back story that has emerged in the Israeli press is that Barak, who is a notorious war-monger and adventurist, had gotten Netanyahu’s ear and pressed for a military strike on Iran. Dagan and all the other major security officials stood against this foolhardy plan, and managed to derail it. But Dagan is said to be concerned that virtually all the level heads have gone out of office together, and that Netanyahu and Barak may now be in a position to revive their crazy plan of attacking Iran. Moreover, they may want to attack in September, as a way of creating a crisis that will overshadow Palestinian plans to seek membership in the United Nations.
Dagan and other high Israeli security officials appear to believe that Iran has no present nuclear weapons program. That is what Military Intelligence Director, Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi, has told the Israeli parliament. Kochavi thinks it unlikely that Iran would start up a military nuclear program. In other words, Israeli military intelligence holds the same position as Seymour Hersh. (Of course, one piece of hypocrisy here is that Israel has hundreds of nuclear warheads itself). In the Obama administration’s pillorying of Hersh, it never came up that Dagan and Kochavi concur with him! (Iran has a civilian nuclear enrichment program, which is being inspected by the IAEA, but a civilian program is different from a military one; there is no evidence for the latter, though sometimes Iranian officials occasionally talk big. Iran probably wants what is called ‘nuclear latency,’ the ability to build a bomb in short order, as deterrence against attack, but probably does not want an actual bomb, which it considers contrary to Islamic law).
Netanyahu’s Iran gambit has been further damaged by the revelation that the Israeli Ofer Brothers company has been sanctioned by the US Department of the Treasury for trading with Iran! They seem to have sold Iran an oil tanker through the United Arab Emirates. No one has jumped up and down more loudly about the need to slap economic sanctions on Iran than the Israeli government, but now it emerges that Israeli economic concerns put profits first.
So to sum up: The former head of Mossad thinks that Netanyahu and Barak are terminally flaky; he and other high officials think Iran has no nuclear weapons program; he thinks an Israeli attack on Iran was and would be “the stupidest thing I have ever heard;” and he and other now-retired security officials think that the 2002 peace agreement offered Israel by the Arab League is the country’s last best chance for integration into the Middle East and security for Israeli citizens. The Likud Party has consistently pissed all over the 2002 Saudi-led Arab League initiative and has preferred unilaterally to annex Palestinian territory instead. (That unilateral Israeli policy is why it is so ridiculous for President Obama to condemn the Palestinians for ‘unilaterally’ seeking UN membership– that and the oddness of characterizing a UN General Assembly vote by 193 nations as ‘unilateral.’)
In other words, ex-Mossad chief Meir Dagan’s positions on Israel and Iran and the flakiness of Netanyahu in these regards are the same as those of Juan Cole, who has been pilloried by the American Likud for taking them.
The USG Open Source Center translated the following radio reports from Hebrew on the Ofer affair:
‘ Israel: Aides Warn of Ofer Affair ‘Strategic Damage’; Dagan: Coverage ‘Exaggerated’
Israel — OSC Summary
Tuesday, May 31, 2011…
The Israeli media on 30-31 May report on the latest developments in the wake of the US State Department’s announcement that sanctions had been imposed on the Ofer Brothers Group and Tanker Pacific because of their commercial dealings with Iran…
Affair Checked With Americans; PM Aides Warn of ‘Big Strategic Damage’ to Israel
State-funded but independent Jerusalem Voice of Israel Network B in Hebrew reports at 0500 GMT on 31 May: “The Defense Ministry has in recent days checked the entire Ofer Brothers affair with the Americans. The American department dealing with the affair stated that there is no security connection to the Israeli Defense Ministry, our army affairs correspondent Karmela Menashe reports.
“Aides in the prime minister’s bureau claim that anybody insinuating that the Ofer Brothers were issued permits to operate in Iran should reveal them to the public. According to these aides, this affair might evolve into a big strategic damage to Israel. A senior diplomatic source said that Israel has no mechanism to check non-military deals and that it serious lags behind other countries in this respect, our political correspondent Shmu’el Tal reports.” Ofer Brothers: Netanyahu ‘Has Thrown Us to the Dogs’; Central Bank Checking
Tel Aviv IDF Radio in Hebrew at 0500 GMT says: “Sources in Ofer Brothers are furious with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who yesterday claimed yesterday that Israel was in no way connected to the anchoring of ships in Iran. One source said: The state used us more than once for national purposes, but now Netanyahu has thrown us to the dogs.
“Our economic affairs correspondent Yona Levzov reported this morning that in parallel with the Defense Ministry’s check, the Bank of Israel is also looking into the suspicions against the Ofer Brothers that one of their companies traded with Iran. If the check by the central bank yields suspicions of a violation of Israeli law, the Ofer Brothers may have to sell their shares in Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot.”
Maariv’s Ben Caspit is not someone I ever quote. In fact, normally if Caspit says something, I believe the opposite. That goes back to the nasty smears he levelled against Shammai Leibowitz when he was a human rights fellow of the New Israel Fund and studying law at Georgetown. Caspit orchestrated a whispering campaign with the connivance of anonymous Israeli intelligence sources to cause Shammai to lose a State Department job teaching diplomats being posted to Israel about Israeli society.
But today, Caspit is on to something I’ve already reported here. He’s noticed Bibi’s smear campaign against Meir Dagan and juxtaposed it with Bibi’s fulsome praise for the former spymaster on his retirement a mere matter of months ago. When was Bibi lying and when was he telling the truth, Caspit asks? And if Dagan has lost his mind as Bibi or his acolytes have anonymously complained to various news sources, then why did Bibi employ him throughout his tenure as PM as Mossad chief. Did Bibi just discover Dagan’s mental defects now that the latter has challenged his judgment regarding Iran?
Another important point Caspit raises is the legitimacy of Dagan’s criticism. Being a right-wing partisan, Caspit finds himself believing that no intelligence operative has a right to air any policy matters publicly. But even he concedes that this may the exception, the event that happens “once in a generation” that forces you to break all the normal rules. This may be the one time when the public has a right to know because we’re speaking of the fate of this public should there be a war. Thus Dagan may see himself as carrying out a “fateful historic mission on behalf of the nation.” In fact, the former Mossad boss sees the prospect of war with Iran as an existential threat to Israel. Which is infinitely ironic considering that Bibi is the one who inveighs against the “existential threat” posed by Iran.
And the words Dagan uses to describe Bibi’s war plans are so strong they can’t be printed in Caspit’s newspaper. That’s how powerful his views are.
Like Oren, Caspit describes a foursome including Dagan, Ashkenazi, Diskin and Amos Yadlin (Oren didn’t mention Yadlin specifically, but did mention IDF commander Gadi Eisenkrot as in this camp as well) all opposed to war with Iran. They are opposed by Bibi and Barak. This is a battle of epic proportions. A battle which will seal the fate of individual Israelis and Iranians and the political fate of all those engaged in it. That’s why the stakes are so high.
As the Maariv journalist tells it, the anti-war camp is especially alarmed by Barak. They view Bibi is weak and light-weight, a virtual rubber stamp for Barak.
The Maariv reporter has clearly read Amir Oren’s Haaretz column, in which the latter imagines a commission of inquiry to examine the errors of the fictional 2011 Israeli attack on Iran. Caspit too imagines a similar inquiry except in this one Ehud Barak is the judge and not the accused. Barak demands of Dagan: “why didn’t you do something while you had the power? If you disagreed so strongly why didn’t you try to stop it?” This, Caspit imagines, is the scenario Dagan is trying to avert with his vocal opposition to Netanyahu Iran policy.
Thanks to Ira Glunts for alerting me to this story. The title is also partly derived from a phrase of Ira’s. He’swritten his own (different) take on it at Mondoweiss.
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“Listen, Bibi,” MK Benjamin [Fuad] Ben-Eliezer (Labor ) growled, “I congratulate you on your hug from Congress, but it will not take us off the path to confrontation. Our situation in Europe is very bad. President Obama said everything we wanted him to say. Now you have to announce that Israel will vote for a Palestinian state in the UN this September … As a former industry and trade minister, I tell you: The markets are closing. We will suffer a devastating economic blow.”
& from May 15, from the Israeli tech business publication Calcalist, as translated by the Alternative Information Center:
“We are quickly turning into South Africa” noted Idan Ofer to the Israeli paper Calcalist, a prominent Israeli player in international ventures and future technologies. “The economic damage in the wake of boycott and sanctions will be felt by every family in Israel. The top percentiles, members of the middle class and first and foremost the distressed classes,” he added.
Together with Yaakov Peri, the former head of Israel’s General Security Services (GSS) and Dani Gilerman, the former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Ofer initiated the meeting of some 80 of Israel’s most prominent businessmen.
“Global business provide us with heightened senses and in recent months we are experiencing signs of substantial erosion in the legitimacy of the state of Israel, stated Ofer. “If in the past the community of business people tended to desist from taking a position in relation to the political process, today’s situation obligates us to act in defence of the Israeli economy. In an age in which exports represent almost 50% of the gross domestic product, damage to Israel’s international position will immediately endanger jobs and households in Israel.” Therefore, said Ofer, “we must act with all the means at our disposal to call on the government of Israel to initiate a political initiative that will prevent any possibility of the imposition of a boycott on Israel.”
Dani Gillerman, the former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, said “the morning after the expected recognition of a Palestinian state, a dramatic and painful process of South Africanisation of the state of Israel will commence. The economic quiet existing today in Israel is illusionary, and is very likely to explode immediately following the declaration. I continue even today to receive messages from senior Palestinian officials that the Palestinian side prefers a peace agreement over a unilateral move. Therefore, the (Israeli) prime minister must initiate a real political process which will allow this, and prevent a catastrophe from an Israeli perspective.”
Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock on Star Trek, speaks out as a Jewish American in favor of a two-state solution and a divided Jerusalem.
‘ “I reach out to you as someone who is troubled to see the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians continue apparently without an end in sight.
“In fact, there is an end in sight. It’s known as the two-state solution–a secure, democratic Israel as the Jewish State alongside an independent Palestinian state. Even Israel’s nationalist Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, has come to see this as the shape of the future. The problem is how to reach that end point. It’s something we should be concerned about–not only as world citizens, but as Americans.
“You might recall the episode in the original Star Trek series called, Let That Be Your Last Battlefield. Two men, half black, half white, are the last survivors of their peoples who have been at war with each other for thousands of years, yet the Enterprise crew could find no differences separating these two raging men.
“But the antagonists were keenly aware of their differences–one man was white on the right side, the other was black on the right side. And they were prepared to battle to the death to defend the memory of their people who died from the atrocities committed by the other.
“The story was a myth, of course, and by invoking it I don’t mean to belittle the very real issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians. What I do mean to suggest is that the time for recriminations is over. Assigning blame over all other priorities is self-defeating. Myth can be a snare. The two sides need our help to evade the snare and search for a way to compromise.
“The Middle East is only getting more tumultuous. The upheavals throughout the region show that what happens in the Middle East can’t help but affect us in the United States. This year, we’ve seen oil prices rise sharply and America become involved militarily in Libya. The cost to American lives and our economy continues to rise at a time when unemployment and deficits are sapping our country’s strength.” ‘
Relevant is this video of Nimoy speaking on the Jewish values in Star Trek:
The episode “Let that be your Last Battlefield” is here
77.5 percent of the land in the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea has been taken over by Israel, which has prevented Palestinians from building on or using the land or remaining there. Twelve percent of the area has been allocated for settlements, including the entire northern shore of the Dead Sea. Israel’s policy has cut up the Palestinian spatial sphere and isolated Palestinian communities in the area. More on the topic
The Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea area contains the largest land reserves in the West Bank. The area covers 1.6 million dunams, which constitute 28.8 percent of the West Bank. Sixty-five thousand Palestinians, live in 29 communities, and an estimated additional 15,000 Palestinians reside in dozens of small Beduin communities. Some 9,400 settlers live in the 37 settlements (including seven outposts) in the area.
Israel has instituted in this area a regime that intensively exploits its resources, to an extent greater than elsewhere in the West Bank, and which demonstrates its intention: de facto annexation of the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea area to the State of Israel.
Mohammed Salem is about 30 years old. He lives in Umm-Al-Kheir, in a home inherited from his late father right next to the fence of the Carmel settlement (sometimes spelled “Karmel”; see picture on right in original post).
In 2005, when Carmel built an expansion neighborhood, Mohammed was beaten by settlers involved in the construction. Since this assault, he has suffered from post-traumatic stress (PTSD). He has stopped functioning, fears and runs away from any stranger, and even from some family members.
Mohammed’s home, one of the few still standing in that part of Umm-Al-Kheir – a village suffering continual destruction from the Occupation authorities – does not have a restroom. Therefore, residents must perform their bodily functions outdoors. On Wednesday, May 25 2011, while Mohammed was outside for that reason, he was harrangued by settlers yelling, cursing and making threats. These new, government-backed residents living in fully-connected homes have had enough with this ongoing sanitation problem placed not far from their doorstep.
This story crosses paths with another story: about two years ago, Ta’ayush activist Ezra Nawi initiated a campaign to build outhouses at Umm-Al-Kheir. Shortly after work commenced, Carmel settlers complained to the Occupation’s “Civil Administration” about the travesty of restrooms being built for their neighbors. The “Administration” quickly geared into action, its men arriving on site, confiscating materials and posting work-stoppage order signs on those structures already standing. This government action has caused a European organization that provided most of the funding, to pull out of the project. In particular, Mohammed’s outhouse had never been completed; the floor was laid out, but the walls and ceiling are still missing (see pictures).
In these days, in view of the plight of Mohammed and his family, we intend to resume Ezra’s initiative, completing that one outhouse and building a second one in the same part of Umm-Al-Kheir. Cost is estimated at NIS 4,000. For details, feel free to contact Ehud Krinis: ksehud “at” gmail.
We hope that this time around, the good citizens of Carmel will allow the residents of Umm-Al-Kheir to complete the construction, and thus resolve the sanitary problem that is so irritating to them.
[ A note from Assaf
Ehud sent me this story with the title mentioning Shavuot, a Jewish holiday taking place right now, from Tuesday night through Thursday. He did not explain why the reference, but here is one possible explanation:
On Shavuot, we read the Biblical Book of Ruth. Ruth was a foreigner – a Moabite woman brought to Bethlehem, Judea, by her Israelite husband. The husband died young, and Ruth was free to return home. However, she decided to stay in Bethlehem and help her aging mother-in-law Naomi who had no surviving children. They lived in poverty subsisting on aid. Then, the wealthy landowner Boaz got to know her, fell in love and they lived happily ever after. King David is said to be descended from them.
The settlers of Carmel, observant Jews sitting in Judea, no doubt read the story today. They also spend – as is the custom – all night in Tikkun studying and discussing the ancient scriptures and their moral lessons.
All the while, they are willfully blind to the plain fact that they are playing a lead role in a twisted parody on the story of Ruth. Like Ruth, Mohammed and his fellow villagers are Gaerim – non-Jews in a territory controlled by Jews. Unlike Ruth, the villagers have lived there long before the Jews came. Like Boaz, the settlers are wealthy. However, unlike him their wealth has no legitimacy save in their own blinded eyes. The government robbed the land from the locals, handed it over to them – and they, supposedly moral and observant, couldn’t care less. They believe in a different law for Jews and for non-Jews, rather than in treating Gaerim with justice.
Finally, unlike Boaz who opened his heart to the foreign woman and went through all the legalistic moves, some of them unpleasant, in order to make her his lawful wife rather than exploit her as a mistress – the Carmel settlers manipulate and control a “law” enforcement apparatus, the “Civil Administration”, whose chief purpose is to keep non-Jews discriminated, humiliated and robbed of their rights and property. In short, the Book of Ruth is about individuals doing the right thing under difficult circumstances imposed on them. The settlers and the Israeli government, by contrast, impose themselves on the locals, and insist on continuing to do the wrong thing at every turn, as long as they can get away with it.
The settlers assauge their doubtlessly unclean conscience, by occasional acts of charity – all the while complaining about their neighbors’ unsanitary ways and low morals.
Happy Shavuot. Please help end this disgrace to Judaism and to Jews everywhere, before our lifetime is over.]
Hamas sources have published an account of Dirar Abusisi’s condition (Arabic) which alleges that he has been tortured by the Shabak in Eshel Prison and that he suffers from untreated kidney stones. Among the claims made in the online article, which was published after visits to him in prison by Hamas’ minister for prisoner affairs, are that his interrogators threatened to kill his wife and six children if he did not offer the information they wanted. He was also subject to sleep deprivation. The prisoner told his visitors that he was suffering from several diseases and his health is deteriorating. He suffers from “heart and gall bladder, and kidney problems, along with pain in cartilage in his back and stomach problems. He also suffers from pain in his left eye,” and says that the prison administration does not give him painkillers. Doctors Without Borders visited him too in prison and found him to be suffering from kidney stones with the prison administration refusing to treat his condition properly. He is currently kept in solitary confinement. All of these, if true, are grave violations of international law and constitute torture under such statutes.
Notably, the Izzeldin military wing has included a short English language summary of the article on its website. All of which could mean a number of things. For those most conspiracy minded, it could mean that Abusisi isaffiliated with Hamas as his indictment claims (though not necessarily that he was a rocket engineer as claimed). Or it could mean that Hamas, which is rumored to be close to a deal for the freedom of Gilad Shalit, is notifying the Israelis that it plans to demand the release of Abusisi as part of the overall deal. Or it could mean that Hamas is publicizing the prisoner’s plight as a humanitarian gesture to his family.
If Hamas is now demanding Abusisi’s release as part of the Shalit deal it might mean, as I wrote, he’s affiliated with Hamas, or it might mean that Abusisi is such a high level Palestinian detainee and that circumstances of his kidnapping were so egregious for Palestinians, that his freedom is a high priority for them.
If the claims that he may be included in a prisoner exchange are true, it’s possible that one of the reasons he was kidnapped was to use his as a bargaining chip in the Shalit negotiations. Though it seems exceedingly odd to me, it’s possible the Mossad figured that if it kidnapped and detained a major figure maintaining Gaza’s infrastructure and held him “for ransom” as it were, that it would motivate Hamas more to do a deal for Shalit. One thing I’ve learned in reporting on Israeli intelligence matters is that even the most outlandish assumptions about their thinking can be true.
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Today, brings news that Dirar Abusisi’s academic advisors in Ukraine have further dented the Israeli chargesagainst him which claim that he led an undercover life as Hamas’ chief rocket designer in Gaza. The two professors who supervised his actual research on electrical power plants have both said neither of them had any involvement with rocket technology as the indictment claims and that neither taught at the military school which Israeli intelligence claimed schooled him to become Hamas’ Rocket King. In fact, the school doesn’t exist. When asked to explain the discrepancies by Haaretz the prosecutor spoke eloquently: No comment. Speaks volumes, no?
Former professors of a Palestinian engineer captured in Ukraine and sent to Israel to face charges that he built missiles for the militant group Hamas, have refuted allegations in his indictment that he was taught weapons systems during his university studies.
…Konstantin Petrovich Vlasov told The Associated Press that Abu Sisi was his doctoral student in civilian electricity systems at the Kharkiv National Academy of Municipal Services in the mid-1990s, but denies he was taught about weapons.
…Vlasov, an expert in civilian electrical and mineral processing systems, said he had no connection to the military, never sent any of his students to a military academy and has never even seen a missile.
“This is all lies, there isn’t a single word of truth in it,” Vlasov, 80, said in a telephone interview. ”I have never lectured at any military academy and never had anything to do with anything military. I have only seen missiles on TV.”
Vlasov initially supervised Abu Sisi’s doctoral work, then moved to the Russian city of St. Petersburg and handed AbuSisi over to another professor at the academy, Filipp Govorov.
Abu Sisi’s dissertation on the use of transformers in city electricity grids, viewed by the AP at Ukraine’s national library, lists Govorov as Abu Sisi’s Ph.D. adviser.
Govorov also dismissed the charges against Abu Sisi.
“They said that he allegedly dealt with rockets, but what we did had nothing to do with it,” Govorov told the AP.
I reported this here weeks ago and it’s good to hear Abusisi’s faculty advisors confirm it. Now, let the Mossad disprove what these teachers claim by displaying photos of them standing next to missiles or of their classroom blackboards filled with calculations about rocket fuel and navigation systems. They should be able to provide such evidence if the story they’ve concocted has any validity.
The AP story also repeats a fact first reported here that the main professor accused in the indictment isn’t even named properly. It entirely omits his last name using instead his patronymic (father’s name). It would be as if someone called me “Richard son of John.” Who could tell who this was? Again, very sloppy work by the intelligence goons who patched this story together.
The accused/victim’s lawyer, Tal Linoy, has revived an interesting theory explaining the Mossad’s pursuit and rendition of Abusisi, one that we heard quite a bit earlier in the history of the case. It was a theory expounded by Israeli reporters never offering any other proof than the rumor they heard, likely from an intelligence official. The story goes that Abusisi, through his affiliations with Hamas, somehow had privileged information about the whereabouts of Gilad Shalit. We never heard any substantiation for this belief and it was never raised in the indictment.
But if the Mossad did believe Abusisi knew something about Shalit this would explain the extraordinary lengths it went to kidnap and render him from Ukraine to Israel. It’s this part of the kidnapping I’ve never understood:
Abu Sisi’s Israeli lawyer, Tal Linoy, says he believes Israeli authorities detained Abu Sisi based on an erroneous tip that he had information about the whereabouts of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by the Gaza militant group Hamas nearly five years ago.
After that proved wrong, the government is now trying to save face, the lawyer said; he provided no evidence for his theory.
“I think they took him by mistake,” Linoy said. “Now this fire needs to be put out, because … the image of the state, the government and Israeli special services is at stake. They needed to dig something up.”
I was tickled by all the naysayers and doubters who wrote comments here accepting at face value the claims of the State about the victim. Of course, the argument went, it justified kidnapping him if he was the mastermind behind all those rockets hitting Sderot. But, I replied, what if he wasn’t? And he isn’t.
I knew the charges to be false based on my own research. The professors’ statement hammers even more nails into the coffin of the prosecution.
As I reported earlier, the Israeli indictment is a tissue of lies which Dirar’s brother, Yousef, told me he concocted under the duress of interrogation. The reason why the story is full of discrepancies and invetions is that Dirar created a fiction that would satisfy his interrogators. Apparently, the investigators didn’t bother to do even the remotest due diligence to verify the “facts” Dirar offered them. That’s why Israel put out such an embarrasssing legal document. But only embarrassing to those of us who know better. Israeli intelligence operatives apparently aren’t so easily embarrassed.
I wondered why the professors haven’t made such a statement before this until I thought that they teach at state-affiliated educational institutions, which could make their positions untenable if they brooked the authorities. Given that very senior Ukrainian ministers and intelligence officers have been implicated in this affair, it can’t have been easy for these professors to come forward.
Both Israel and Ukraine will face international demands for accountability in this matter. If the prosecution is shown to be false and Israel is shown to be covering up its original error it will redound to both nations disfavor. There will be legal cases brought and demands for compensation just as Turkey has brought against Israel for the Mavi Marmara disaster. From the looks of it, both countries may be paying for their egregious behavior for years to come. Ukraine stands the most to lose since it is a signatory to European treaties which cover such illegalities as its agents and officials engaged in. But Israel will not get off easily either.
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James Joyce wrote A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Tonight I’m writing a portrait of a judge as an old racist.
Some readers develop an allergic reaction when I write posts like the one I’m about to. All I can say is if Israel’s highest professional leadership didn’t believe these things and Israeli journalists didn’t think they were worth publishing then I wouldn’t have a story to write myself. So rather than complain that I always write about such stories, I’d suggest that Israel’s judiciary develop an ethics code that disciplines judges who so clearly disqualify themselves from sitting on the bench and deciding cases fairly. While the judge in this case is retired you can be sure that the views expressed informed his attitudes and decisions when he was on the bench. He is still a respected public figure who served as chief judge of the military court of appeals and as a judge for the chief of staff. He also serves on the advisory committee of a far right wing Zionist “think tank,” the Institute for Zionist Strategies. Another key leader of the Institute is Max Singer, co-founder of the Hudson Institute, who I’ve written about here.
A website called Patriotic Israel, which appears to be a settler-supported media outlet profiles Judge Uri Shtruzman, who wants readers of this august publication to understand “the truth” as he sees it (doesn’t it remind you of Jack Nicholson in , when he says: “The truth? You want the truth? You can’t HANDLE the truth!”). I do so love it when right wing Israeli nationalists say emphatically that they want us to know “the truth” about Arabs or about the Israeli-Arab conflict. It’s always of course the truth as THEY see it. Which of course is their opinion, their reading of history and an amalgation of facts mixed with opinion–but definitely not the truth.
Judge Shtruzman, a Likud loyalist who, in a 2005 Haaretz article, called for IDF soldiers to refuse orders to evacuate settlements (imagine a judge in the military court system approves of behavior that in any other society would be called mutiny), inveighs in this interview against the “dangerous naivete” of some Israelis and recommends that Israel speak “the truth” to the nations of the world. That truth means among other things rejecting the notion that it is possible to make possible with the Arab nations. This notion is naive in the extreme, since the truth is that no peace can be made in “this generation or the next” because the Arab nation is “not ready to accept us.” That’s because the values of Muslims lag behind those of the rest of the peoples of the world. Apparently the good judge missed the memo about the Saudi peace initiative, now ten years old, which called for precisely what Shturzman says is impossible. What he really means is that peace is not possible on settlers’ terms, and therefore it’s not possible at all.
Part of the reason for this Arab intransigence lies in the fact that the Arab world is mired in “the same situation that held sway in Europe hundreds of years ago” in which religious wars were the rule of the day. Now, Europe has come to the point that it upholds the values of nationalism alongside other values [than religious fanaticism]. Today, Shturzman says:
Israel is destroying itself for the sake of European values of human rights the aspiration to democracy for all. According to such ideas, equality for all human beings is the order of the day, including a demand that we embrace even those seeking to prey upon us, because they too have a right to life and to eat [!].
The judge finds there are essential differences between Jews and Muslims. While Jews attempted to integrate into the societies in which they settled in the Diaspora (he seems to have missed the whole Zionism thing, which rejected precisely this notion that Jews could integrate as minorities within Diaspora lands), Muslims in the non-Muslim Diaspora seek to have their culture, laws and religion dominate [the societies in which they live]. He sees the same phenomenon occuring in the Knesset, with Muslim MKs acting in the interests of themeselves and against the interests of the State and the Jewish people.
The Muslim MKs are members of a people which seeks to destroy the State of Israel, and the idea that they seek the best for Israel because it seeks to do well by them is a dangerous notion that we must recognize as such. If we do not, Judge Shtruzman says, our end will be like that of Yugoslavia after Tito died. In other words, someone has to impose some order on this mess otherwise the ‘uppity niggers’ will get the notion that they’re equal to us and will destroy this country just like the Muslims did, Yugoslavia.
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The real scandal surrounding Anthony Weiner is that he is bigoted against Palestinians and has misused his position in Congress to support punitive policies against them. Americans appear to be bored by policy, titillated by private peccadilloes. But it is the policies that are important. Mahatma Gandhi was once kicked out of a brothel in South Africa. No one judges him by his lapses. Weiner, in contrast to Gandhi, has not worked for peace but has rather given knee-jerk support to the worst policies of the most far rightwing parties in Israel toward Palestinians. A social liberal in American terms, Weiner is so blinded by his allegiance to Israel and so studied in his ignorance of the Middle East that he has played a uniformly sinister role in that aspect of foreign policy. If he were replaced by, say, an up an up-and-coming Dominican-American politician from Queens who had some sympathy with Arabs, that would be all to the good.
1. Called for Columbia University professor Joseph Massad to be fired for being critical of Israel; Weiner thus spearheaded a new McCarthyism.
2. On the Israeli attack, in international waters, on the Mavi Marmara relief ship, Weiner sputtered: “”If you want to instigate a conflict with the Israeli navy it isn’t hard to do. They were offered alternatives. Instead they chose to sail into the teeth of an internationally recognized blockade.” The blockade of Gaza civilians is a breach of international law; it is not internationally recognized and has on the contrary been condemned by almost every nation and human rights organization.
3. Alleged that the New York Times is anti-Israel: “Amnesty International in particular, has always had bias against Israel, and frankly I would argue that in many cases, the New York Times has, as well.”
4. Alleged that the Palestine Liberation Organization is still listed by the US as a terrorist organization. It was dropped from the list over 2 decades ago.
5. Tried to bar the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations from New York.
6. Alleged that Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestine Authority, is not the head of the PLO. He is.
7. Refused to condemn the use by Israel of cluster bombs on the civilian farms of south Lebanon in 2006.
8. Alleged that the Israeli army does not occupy the West Bank and that there is no Israeli Army presence in the West Bank.
9. Called Israel’s war on Gaza a “humane” war. 400 children were killed.
10. Voted for Iraq War authorization in 2002, before later turning against the war.
Mitchell Plitnick has an argument here about why Syria should stay out of Palestinian protests. It’s an interesting case though I am happy to see the larger issue of the Palestinian refugee diaspora raised, I agree that Syria is a deeply flawed messenger, given its current brutal crackdown on its own demonstrators.
The New York Times coverage of the “Naksa” (a word I am embarrassed to admit I just learned this year” seems to support Plitnick’s point, as it claims that “only Syrians” protested after Lebanon cracked down on protests at its border. This ignores the protests accross Palestinian land, the list I received included Gaza, Qalandia (video below) , and a Lebanese refugee camp, but CNN did not mention them. The Winnipeg Free Press’s Israel correspondent called it “Syria confronts Israel alone.” This certainly makes it sound like Syria’s actions are overshadowing the daily