INDEX (stories follow)
We shall never forgive, we shall never forget: No to peace with Israel. No to recognition with Israel. No to negotiations with Israel.
- United Nations Begins Emergency Aid Airlifts in Somalia
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- Constituents Flood Lawmakers with Concerns on Debt Impasse
- Afghan Mayor Killed in Suicide Attack
- U.S. Soldier Convicted in Murder of Afghan Civilian
- Britain Expels Libyan Diplomats, Recognizes Rebels
- Double Bombing Kills 12, Wounds 28 in Iraq
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- Supporters: California Prisoners Have Ended Hunger Strike
- Mother of Child Killed in Hit-and-Run Sentenced to Probation
- U.S. Study Claims No Link Between 9/11 Rubble and Cancer; Treatment Not To Be Covered in Healthcare
- Attorney: Audiotape of Dominique Strauss-Kahn Accuser Misrepresented
- Democrat Rep. David Wu Resigns over Sex Allegations
DailyKos has acted to ban commenters from linking to Mondoweiss, charging me with anti-Semitism. It is a disgraceful smear and hides DailyKos’s real anxiety: it cannot deal with the issue of Palestinian human rights, any more than the Democratic Party can, and so Israel supporters are striking at me.
Their point of attack is my repeated insistence on talking about the large Jewish presence in the American establishment and the importance of Jewish money in the political process. Such an attack was inevitable, and in that sense I welcome it. For while these are delicate issues, they are important ones. I have often expressed my own discomfort with them, and yet I advance them in the discourse because as a journalist I recognize that they meet an ancient test of what is newsworthy: these issues are new, true, and important. Were they merely new and true, I would ignore these issues. But their importance has put them in my road, and I can’t shy away from discussing them, and DK’s smear gives me an opportunity to revisit my thinking.
Why is the Jewish prominence in the American establishment an important issue? For a few reasons. 1, it is a development I witnessed myself and celebrate as a Jew. When I was growing up, we were excluded from the turrets of the American system by anti-Semitism. Today that is not the case. Jews should recognize this new reality, celebrate it, and yes, allow it to affect our consciousness of our unfolding historical position in western society. 2, It deeply affects Middle East policy, which is the true source of my difference with Daily Kos; I believe you cannot talk about the Israel lobby without addressing the Jewish presence in the establishment. And following directly from that, 3, the Jewish presence is not neutral– no, sadly (and because of the Holocaust), my community has been indoctrinated with Zionism.; as J Street’s Steven Krubiner said the other night, Jewish identity education includes Loving Israel. Well, I think Zionism is a form of anachronistic nationalism that has served to oppress the Palestinians and helped lead my own country into war, and in seeking to uproot Zionism inside Jewish life, I have repeatedly pointed out that the ideological basis of Zionism is the idea that we are unsafe in the west, a claim that is patently absurd in the face of our achievement in the United States and our prominence in the establishment– which everyone knows about and accepts, but DailyKos finds it anti-Semitic even to mention.
Let me go back to 2 for a moment, the most important matter, the effect on Middle East policy. I do not think that any analysis of the American government’s “special relationship” with Israel can be very sharp if it fails to deal with the simple fact of Jewish donorship. It is the Jewish press that reported that Obama lost $10 million in donations during his May 19 “1967 lines” speech. It is neocon John Podhoretz who says that a “wildly disproportionate” part of the Democratic donor base is Jewish, and Podhoretz who said that Obama fears that he will lose half the money from Jews he got his first time running for the presidency. These fears drive policy, and they have for decades. Jimmy Carter was a one-term president in some measure because he alienated Jews by opposing settlements. The next one-termer, George H.W. Bush, tried to stop the illegal Israeli settlement project in 1991 and paid “dearly” for it in the 1992 campaign (as Donald Neff writes in Fallen Pillars). Bush himself has said that this stance hurt him in that election. Bill Clinton got 60 percent of his money from Jews, according to the New York Times, a real sign of Jewish arrival into the establishment, and he created what David Frum called the most “philosemitic” presidency in history (words that I think DK throws at me) and he reversed Bush’s opposition to the settlement policy. Both Clinton’s Supreme Court appointments were Jewish, and his Camp David negotiation team was headed by “Israel’s lawyer,” as he was called, Dennis Ross, and don’t you know it, a lousy offer was made to the Palestinians and the Palestinians were blamed for the collapse of the talks. The lesson of Bush 1’s loss was not lost on Bush 2, who installed neocons throughout his administration and did nothing to stop the disastrous colonization project. And then Barack Obama threw his friend Rashid Khalidi under the bus in the 2008 campaign, but Dennis Ross is still with us. Ater a stint as head of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute in Jerusalem, the man whom Abraham Foxman has called an “advocate” for Israel is heading Middle East policy under Obama, and if you think that is not a signal to the Jewish community, you’re thick. It is the Wall Street Journal that said that Obama’s mild demurrals about the occupation have caused “Jewish donors” to “warn” him. And it is Seymour Hersh who has said that “Jewish money” is behind the campaign to push the United States into a confrontation with Iran over nukes.
We can debate the importance of the Israel lobby and the Jewish presence inside the establishment all day long. And many people who come to this site disagree with me, and they’re free to speak out (unlike at DailyKos). But myself I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the Jewish presence in the establishment– as givers, as political actors, as talking heads– is a huge factor in America losing its way in the Middle East, and so I feel an obligation as an American journalist to address these questions.
As I said, these facts make me uncomfortable as a Jew who is aware of the painful history of anti-Semitism, but still they are important facts whose exploration is my charge; and I believe that they are important in Jewish self-recognition. And let me be clear: I have never argued that Jews should be pushed out of the establishment, or deprived of our status as the richest group by religion in the U.S. (per Pew). No, I think that elites are part of how societies work and we happen to be one, and Americans accept this. (Though yes, I have always pressed for a greater awareness that could lead to greater diversity.) We’re here and that’s great. Where the Jewish presence in the establishment is lamentable is the Jewish love affair with Zionism that has made my influential community reactionary on one of the most pressing issues of our time. It is that love affair that I am doing all I can to end, for the sake of America, for the sake of the Jews, and also, by the way, for the sake of the people who are invisible to DailyKos– the Palestinians.
from Mondoweiss by annie
The following is comment from one of my favorite bloggers attached to an important “diary” from Adalah at the popular website Daily Kos. Appropriately titled Israel: Protesters Responsible for Their Own Deaths the diary is an excellent example of some of the fine writing you will find at Daily Kos. I’d like you to read this comment before I continue.
I think (16+ / 0-)
at times we lose sight of the bigger picture and how these spats are reflective of something very instructive.
These personal antagonisms are not surprising in the least, and they reflect very accurately the larger problems of advocating for Palestinians in American political discourse.
The new meme from the pro-Israel “team” is to tar everyone who supports BDS as an anti-semite because, so they argue, BDS supports ‘boycotting Jews’.
They know this is utterly ridiculous. They know that the BDS movement is modeled after the boycott of apartheid South Africa, and it is not about boycotting one ethnicity, but about challenging a state which enforces legalized discrimination against a stateless, occupied people who have no legal rights at all and can be abused, arrested, and killed at will and have no legal recourse to challenge the state that does this. But that does not matter to them. Instead, MBNYC, Mets102 and their crew understand that at least in this place, the Palestinian struggle for human rights and equality will be instinctively supported by people once they are educated with the facts. So they must derail, they must insult, they must lie. The reason they do this is because they understand that recommended diaries like this one reach more people, and more threatening to them, reach an audience that is predisposed to political activism in the Democratic Party. Of course today there is very little difference between Democrats and Republicans vis a vis Israel, and we saw the ways that Democrats sided with the right wing Netanyahu over their own President. Those who are attacking the Palestinian equality movement are doing so because they want to control the discourse about criticism of Israel and ensure that what is a widespread view among progressives about Israeli violations of human rights does not reach a wider audience.
That’s what’s going on here. The trolling by MBNYC, the constant charges of anti-semitism, the hounding of Arab posters who articulate the Palestinian cause far more effectively than they can articulate their cause, a cause predicated on maintaining a discriminatory system–all of this done by about 15 users who understand that progressives who are educated about what Israel does to Palestinians will not support their positions and tactics and will instinctively support equal rights for Palestinians, a position soysauce advocates. Let’s be clear too: this isn’t about one vs. two states. Some people from Adalah support a two state settlement, others don’t. It’s about one group that advocates for refugees, for occupied and brutalized civilians, for legal and political equality, and another group that advocates on behalf of a state. And let’s be clear: identifying so strongly with state power, any kind of state power, is an untenable position if one claims to support human rights, because all states violate human rights, and Israel more so than most, as it maintains a 44 year illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.
So the personal attacks will keep coming. So will the anti-Arab racism, so will the trolling. But as is clear in this diary, their views and tactics are not popular here.
by sortalikenathan on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:55:30 PM PDT
Several times over the last few months I’ve been alerted by friends regarding ‘diaries’ by members of ‘Team Shalom’ at Daily Kos highly critical of Mondoweiss. Why does this matter? For our site, I don’t think it does. It’s clear some of our biggest detractors read this site avidly, including the comments that ultimately drive traffic. Team Shalom has run a campaign to have this site banned from Daily Kos (even tho I am not aware posters there link to this site with any regularity, perhaps I am wrong) and yesterday one of my friends who posts there wrote to inform me they have achieved this goal.
As anyone who reads this site knows Phil is very interested in stimulating a conversation within the American Jewish community about identity including but not limited to Israel and that ongoing wound, their conflict with Palestine. My hunch is members of Team Shalom do not want to have any conversations about Jewish identity, especially within the establishment, pertaining to Israel/Palestine and that’s why we’re seeing this pushback at Daily Kos.
I am grateful to Phil and Adam for taking on the herculean task of cracking open a much needed conversation, for I know without this conversation there will be no resolution and no way as Americans we can facilitate peace in both Palestine and Israel. An important ’09 article is an example of the kind of writing that makes this site so vital and important to the American conversation . In Liberals like to deceive themselves about Jewish power Phil challenges a concept Bernard Avishai (author of a fine book called The Hebrew Republic) repeats, “One cannot just assume that the Congress will care what Jews want”. It’s as important a conversation to have now, after the 29 standing ovations, as it was when it was written. This is exactly the kind of conversation that needs to take place across this country if we are ever going to learn how to use that power to bring peace in the middle east, which of course includes Israel and Palestine. And I am not ashamed to be part of this conversation. I will leave you now with the words of a friend and regular reader of Daily Kos, published here for the first time.
These are a bunch of liberal Jews who are basically in the bunker. Most of them won’t rec diaries about Israelis helping Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah or Hebron. They’re not fans of Dimi Reider or Joseph Dana or Amira Hass. What they are interested in is policing thought and speech, even the thought and speech of their fellow Jews who don’t agree with them. That they get to define what anti-semitism is, not other Jews on the site (and there are many other Jews who oppose their views as you know). Do these Jews get to determine what is at stake for all Jews?
Furthermore, by focusing on anti-semitism and not on the horrific suffering inflicted by Israeli policy on Palestinians, by supporting a zombie peace process designed to deliver greater and greater gains for Israel, focusing on the words typed into boxes on screens through the internet, they are taking the focus away from where it should be – on Palestinians and their actual physical, mental and emotional suffering under a policy of institutional and systemic violence by the Israeli government. But this is yet another way to drown out Palestinian voices, by making it all about one particular type of racism and pulling the curtain over the racism of the occupation. By yelling loudly enough about anti-semitism, by making advocates of Palestinians who do not condone any form of racism always having to defend themselves against charges of anti-semitism, they obscure the racism of the Israeli government, the Israeli laws and the Israeli occupation.
All they have are these tactics, since the tide is turning against them. Young Jews are questioning Israel. The Arab world has risen up in an Intifada inspired by the Palestinian intifadas to shake off their despots. Over a hundred countries have recognised Palestine and more will do so in September with the UN vote. Palestinian civil society is moving ahead with BDS and Israelis are looking at the other citizenships they can acquire, just in case. Refugees from 1948 want to go home and who cannot be sympathetic to that? That is why the liberal zionists are freaking out, that is why they are behaving this way. I say let them. They are becoming more and more ineffective every day.
Take care friend. This conversation will be here when Team Shalom is ready and we already know they are listening to every word we say. Banning us just might make that conversation come a little faster.
What does secular mean? ‘J Street’ official says American Jews ‘ideally’ want the whole ‘land of Israel’
Last Sunday night I went to hear a J Street director speak in Cape Cod, in a community with many Jews, and I kept looking around the room for ones I knew from my childhood summers. Only one—and afterward I had a fight with my mother about the issue. Which is really all I’ve asked for, a battle inside the Jewish family over Zionism. I will get to the fight with my mama before long but meantime it is important to relate what Steven Krubiner, the young well-spoken J Street man had to say. For it speaks to the backwardness of the American Jewish community on the Israel/Palestine issue and underlines a theme here, we Jews fell in love with Zionism some time ago and it will take a long time to break up the romance, and it is very hard to make any progress if the conversation is only inside the Jewish community. No, we Jews must open our ears to the likes of Ali Abunimah and John Mearsheimer and Andrew Sullivan.
Krubiner’s message was the urgency of the U.S. pushing Israel to come to the two-state solution. The only way Obama will do so is if he feels political able, and the only way he will feel that political comfort is if the Jewish community doesn’t abandon Congress and the president over the issue. So Krubiner’s talk was directed at Jews: The hour is getting late, this is an existential crisis for the Jewish state, and you must allow Obama to pressure Israel or Israel is lost.
To make headway with his presumed Jewish audience, Krubiner began in a place of love and fear. He told us that he had been taught to love Israel as part of his Jewish identity – like all other Jews, he said and reader, I did not projectile vomit—and had not even realized there was a conflict over there till his 7th grade social studies teacher was killed in a bombing in Israel, evidently in the early 90s, and this had jarred him. Then Krubiner had helped lead a tour of Jewish communities in Europe and realized there were no thriving Jewish communities, they had been wiped out, an experience that convinced him that Israel was necessary for Jews. After college he had defied his parents to move to Israel. Again, not my storyline, nor the storyline of most American Jews. Zionism calls on a conservative impulse in the Jewish soul.
Krubiner is a liberal, surely thinks of himself as a liberal, but his messaging was very conservative. As I noted earlier here, he never talked about the occupation and didn’t mention settlements until the Q-and-A. Settlements isn’t J Street’s agenda. There was a lot of unpleasant demographic talk. If we make a 6 percent land swap, the state of Israel will go to 86 percent Jewish (yes, and what about the Palestinians dealt out of Israel into a Palestinian state, on ethnic transfer terms, will they dig that?). Or: If you put a GPS device on everyone in Jerusalem and made the Palestinian dots green and the Israeli ones blue, you would find that it’s very “clean,” Jews move around in West Jerusalem and Palestinians stay in East Jerusalem.
Mr. Clean! Not for me!
Krubiner said, “Ideally, especially for American and Israeli Jews they would want… all of the land… of Israel,” from the river to the sea. But they can’t have that without either sacrificing democracy or giving up the idea of a Jewish state. And therefore because J Street is “unconditionally” for a Jewish state in Israel, we must give up the land so that the inevitable Palestinian majority will have a place to go.
The revelation in these statements is that Krubiner is doing outreach to a very conservative community. You can talk all you like about secular Jews, but American Jews believe in a way that can only be called religious (because most have never seen the West Bank) in their right to the “Land of Israel.” And so when asked about settlements, Krubiner was somewhat apologetic about J Street’s backbone moment of February, when it criticized Obama for voting against the U.N. Security Council’s resolution opposing Israeli settlements. Yes, our position didn’t play very well in the Jewish community, Krubiner said. I.e., this community is behind the times, and it is driving policy.
Now as I have pointed out earlier, Krubiner is a smart guy who gets the story. He knows that the occupation is destroying Palestinian souls, as he stated in the one-on-one by the lectern after the speech. And when a questioner asked about democracy without regard to race in Israel and Palestine, Krubiner acknowledged that democracy was a virtuous thing, but he then said that it would take a “sad rollercoaster of violence” to get us to that place. A legitimate point of view of course. Though not in itself a justification for slavery. Remember: an American rollercoaster of violence, the Civil War, is justified historically on that basis, it was worth it to end slavery.
But generally speaking, Krubiner was addressing Jewish fears. He said that the longer we wait on the two state solution, the more frustrated Palestinians will come round to the view that we can just wait the Jews out, we will be the majority in this land in a few years, and “we’ll have the whole state to ourselves.”
I don’t know about that. I am not opposed to partition, but I don’t think that Palestinians want the whole place to themselves. The one-staters in our community want a democracy for the people who were born in that place–and for the people whose grandparents were born there. By playing the fear card, I think Krubiner is trying to get Jews off their butts and energize them politically.
Why doesn’t J Street take its teachings to a non-Jewish audience and try and energize them? The reasons are several. A, the Jewish community is where the Democratic money is and J Street is playing a Washington insider game, B, If you are a Zionist, well, you don’t fully trust the goyim with your fate– so how can you work with them, it goes against the Zionist understanding… C, And how could you trust American non-Jewish liberals anyway? The non-Jewish audience as soon as they become informed will question the right of Jews to have a Jewish state in a land that is not historically ours and at a time when Jews are way safer in the west and there are Jim Crow conditions across the West Bank and a ghetto in Gaza.
On the other hand, the problem for J Street in working inside the Jewish community is, their views are to the right of Atilla the hun. You can’t even talk about settlements. Krubiner made a point of bashing the neocons, saying they had driven policy in this area, so evidently neoconservative has high negatives even for Jews. But it’s not like liberal Jews are all that much better.
I want to conclude on the secular point. We grew up thinking that we were secular Jews. That’s the big category of Jewish cultural life: east coast secular Jews. But as Krubiner proves, there is a large percentage of secular Jews who believe in a religious idea: our right to the West Bank. Ed Koch believes it, it’s why he’s savaging Obama. David Mamet believes it, he doesn’t want to give an inch. We have the right to the Land of Israel. An idea we read in a book with leather covers and God inside, for which we have no evidence. A year or so back I heard that peace processor Aaron David Miller was speaking at a synagogue in Cleveland and said we have to give up the land and the rabbi said, But God gave us that land. Joke was on Miller.
I am saying that intolerant religious attitudes on Israel/Palestine are deeply embedded in the Jewish community. So what progressive would want to move policy forward by working only in that community? It would be like trying to wage the battle for abortion back in the 80s by organizing in the Catholic church. Or waging the battle for women’s lib by organizing in the Muslim community, which tends to be very traditional. All these communities can be moved on these religious questions. But it requires an outside force.
from Mondoweiss by Philip Weiss
I’m late to this J Street poll of American Jewish opinion from two weeks back. It shows what I always say, American Jews are conservative on the Israel/Palestine issue, and they’re the wrench in the works. American Jews disapprove of Obama’s handling of the Israel/Palestine conflict, by 56-44, and don’t want a Palestinian statehood declaration.
But here’s my headline: In the J Street poll a year ago, Obama got a warm-and-fuzzy rating of 56.5, narrowly edging Netanyahu, who scored 55.8. This year Netanyahu beats out Obama, 61 to 54. So it seems that Netanyahu’s throw-down in Congress moved American Jews.
Some of the other 2011 results:
If Obama were running against Romney in 2012, you’d vote for: Obama 63%, Romney 24%.
Should the US vote for or against a Palestinian state at the U.N. in the fall? 34% for, 47% against. I am told that the Pro figure jumped to 41% for those under 40. Still, this underscores what I always say, Palestinian statelessness is an American Jewish achievement. (Obama’s voters generally are far more positive than Jews as a group toward Palestinians.)
Should Israel prevent flotilla from reaching Gaza? 78 percent say Yes.
And this is a blow against the claim that American Jews remain liberal: Do you consider yourself Conservative, Moderate, Liberal, or Progressive? Add up the #s and you get: 55 percent conservative or moderate, 45 percent liberal or progressive.
Now let me return to the warm and fuzzy ratings, to clarify them. The polled were asked to quantify their feelings for a public figure on 0-100, cold to hot. Now Obama actually got more positive/warm grades– grades over 50– than Netanyahu, by 56 percent for Obama, 44 percent for Bibi. But Obama also got way more negative/cold grades — under 50– than Netanyahu, by 34 percent to 20 percent. And this is where the change is from 2010 to 2011: Obama’s warm ratings dropped from 59% to 56% while Bibi’s negatives dropped from 22% to 20%.
from Tikun Olam-תקון עולם: Make the World a Better Place by Richard Silverstein
Dariush Rezaei-Ochbolagh: did Mossad intend to kill him and get the wrong man?
In reporting on the recent assassination of Iranian electrical engineering graduate student, Darioush Rezaeinejad, I’ve noted the possibility of the Lillehammer-like mistake by which the Mossad may’ve killed the wrong man. The reason is that at first the news media reported the victim was nuclear physicist, Dariush Rezaei-Ochbolagh. Then it reported the murdered man was Rezaeinejad. Prof. Muhammad Sahimi informs me that the general consensus is the real victim was Rezaeinejad, the PhD candidate and not Rezaei-Ochbolagh, the nuclear physicist.
Yossi Melman, one of Israel’s best known security correspondents all but declares that if they killed Rezaeinejad, they got the wrong man. It wouldn’t be the first time. The most notorious such failure of course, was during the Mossad’s liquidation campaign against the authors of the Munich massacre. They targeted a Moroccan waiter, Ahmed Bouchiki, instead of Ali Hassan Salameh, the chief of operations for Black September. Most of the assassination team was captured and tried for murder, a major blow to the agency’s reputation.
Melman notes a similar possible outcome of the Iranian hit:
…If the murdered man was an engineering student rather than a nuclear scientist, there is no doubt that it was a serious mistake. And if so, it will undermine a tactic that has been viewed as a means of “punishing” Iran and those involved in its nuclear program.
This is because it will likely force the responsible organization to either halt the assassinations entirely or suspend them for a time. The organization will have to conduct investigations to determine what went wrong, and perhaps even fire those responsible for the failure.
…The difference between success and failure in the latest killing is like the difference between the failed Mossad operations in Lillehammer and Amman [the botched assassination of Khaled Meshal] and the successful action attributed to the Mossad in Malta.
Melman apparently hasn’t taken into account that the engineering student, though not directly involved in Iran’s nuclear program, may’ve engaged in research that could be used by that program. Rezaeinejad’s PhD dissertation dealt with the development of electrical switches, one of whose uses would be to detonate a nuclear bomb. But this assassination stands apart from the previous ones in that it previously the Mossad attacked targets with senior academic status. The latest victim is a PhD student. It makes very little sense to target such a figure unless you could argue his work had such merit that it could single-handedly propel the Iranian nuclear program to full weaponization. Given the fact that Rezaeinejad’s dissertation abstract and other research were published and publicly available, that idea seems far-fetched.
All of which takes us back to the Melman suggestion that Mossad got the wrong man. The fact that their names are similar, that they did research in related fields, might infer a grave mistake like the one at Lillehammer. If this is correct, then the fact that the deed is the first assassination carried out during the tenure of the new Mossad director, Tamir Pardo, would be a major mark against him.
I’m gratified to hear the Haaretz journalist report that there are those inside Israel’s intelligence community who argue, as I have, against the efficacy of such an assassination program:
…There has been a heated debate in the inner circles of the intelligence community, and also outside it, about just how effective these assassination campaigns are and whether they achieve their goals.
…If it turns out that the wrong man was killed in Tehran, this argument will heat up again.
At most, they can delay a program, since I’m certain redundancy is built into the Iranian academic program in order to mitigate such personnel losses. And a mistake such as killing the wrong man can quickly evaporate any benefit offered. Besides, killing three or four scientists over a year or two seems like a real hit or miss proposition. How much harm can it really cause to the nuclear program? As Melman writes:
…It seems very doubtful that assassinations – even if they hit the right targets and succeed in sowing fear among the scientists – will prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Melman closes his story by noting that if Iran’s Supreme Leader wants a bomb, then that’s what he’s eventually going to get. All of which, once again, leads me to question Israel’s “strategy” if you can call it that. What is its goal? And can it achieve it using these methods?
If you want to stop Iran from getting the bomb, you can’t do it with the current tactics whether they include assassination, computer worms, sabotage, etc. The only strategy, I repeat, is negotiation. Negotiation of course is not a panacea since Iran is a wily negotiator, not one to give away its cards easily. But really there is no other choice.
from Mondoweiss by Kim Bullimore
PopoutOn July 1, the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) in Melbourne Australia held a non-violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) action in Melbourne’s CBD. The non-violent and peaceful demonstration of more than 120 people was violently attacked by the Victorian Police and 19 activists were arrested. They are now facing fines of up to $30,000.
The non-violent BDS action sought to highlight the complicity of two Israeli companies, Jericho and Max Brenner Chocolate, in Israel’s occupatoin and apartheid policies, as well as Israel’s ongoing war crimes and human rights abuses against the Palestinian people.
Jericho produces cosmetics made from minerals exploited from the Dead Sea. While Jericho profits from the Dead Sea, the Palestinian people who live on the land surrounding the Dead Sea are regularly denied access by Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian lands. Restrictions are enforced on the Palestinian people via network of apartheid and occupation policies, including military checkpoints, exclusion zones and Israeli only roads. Max Brenner Chocolate is owned the Strauss Group, one of Israel’s biggest food and beverage companies. On its website, the Strauss Group emphasises its support for the Israeli military. The Strauss Grpups provides care packages, sports and recreational equipment, books and games for soliders. Strauss boasts that it supports both the Golani and Givati Brigades of the Israeli military. Both of these brigades were heavily involved in Israel’s 2008/2009 military assault on the Gaza Strip, which resulted in more than 1300 Palestinians being killed, the majority civilian, including approximately 350 children.
The non-violent BDS action called on the public to boycott the two Israeli companies and to join the Palestinian initiated BDS campaign against Israel.
In the wake of the police attack on Palestine solidarity activists, a defence campaign has been set up in support of the 19 pro-Palestine/BDS activists and to oppose the criminalisation of pro-Palestine activism and the attack on civil liberties by the Victorian police. The campaign has issued a statement and is calling on all supporters of Palestinian rights and civil rights to endorse the statement and support the campaign in defence of the “Boycott-Israel19” (please email the campaign email address firstname.lastname@example.org).
The attack on the July 1 action marked a clear escalation in Victorian police violence against pro-Palestinian demonstrators. CAIA had held a similar action to the July 1 a month earlier on May 20 which also focused on Max Brenner Chocolate and Jericho While there was a strong police presence, the BDS action was not attacked by the police, as it was a month later. You can see the May 20 BDS action footage here:
PopoutYou can find out more about the campaign by visiting the campaign website at: www.boycottisrael19.wordpress.com.
Kim Bullimore is a volunteer with the International Women’s Peace Service in Palestine (www.iwps.info). Kim writes regularly on the Israel-Palestine conflict for the Australian newspaper, Direct Action (www.directaction.org.au) and has a blog atwww.livefromoccupiedpalestine.blogspot.com
from Mondoweiss by Adam Horowitz
PopoutLook familiar? This video was made by the YESHA Council, an Israeli settler umbrella group, in May. Gal Beckerman has a post over at the Forward about how the same filmmaker, Shlomo Blass, made an almost identical video for the Israeli Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon (Bass is also responsible for Caroline Glick’s racistWe Con the World anti-flotilla video). It’s not just the style he copied, but also the content, almost word for word.
PopoutBeckerman concludes, “Should we not be concerned when the foreign ministry of Israel is using the same propaganda as the settlers? Or should we just assume that their interests are one?”
from Mondoweiss by R. Taylor
Yesterday there were more arrests in al Walaja, the village west of Bethlehem which is being enveloped by The Wall, as people protested against the destruction of village land. Once again Dr Mazin Qumsiyeh was arrested by Israeli soldiers (for the third time), as were Sherin Al-Araj and five Israeli anti-occupation activists.
That news is bad enough but those arrested will no doubt survive. The same might not be true of al Badawi, the village’s oldest inhabitant. Al Badawi is a magnificent 5,000 year old olive tree, perhaps the oldest in the world. It stands in The Wall’s path and, according to reports from Palestinian news sources, Israeli bulldozers are edging ever closer. The fear is that this tree along with many others will be destroyed.
Al Badawi stands on the north-facing slopes of al Walaja which plunge steeply down into Wadi-el- Jundi where The Green Line follows the valley bottom and the Jerusalem to Tel Aviv railway line. On the opposite side of the valley, above the Biblical Zoo, is the site of the original village of al Walaja. In 1948 al Badawi would have been witness, in October of that year, to its conquest by Israeli troops. The inhabitants fled. Some made their way across Wadi-el-Jundi and built al Walaja again. 63 years later al Walaja’s existence is once more under threat. This time one of the world’s finest trees is threatened.
from Mondoweiss by Sydney Levy
I just read a news item this morning stating that Shireen Al-Araj—together with Mazen Qumsiyeh and 5 internationals—have been detained by Israeli soldiers in the village of Al-Walaja. Many of you may already know about Mazin because of his activism in the US or because of his activism in Palestine–by his own account, before today he had been detained by the Israeli army 10 to 12 times and arrested and charged 3 times in response to his non-violent resistance to the Wall and the Israeli occupation. Some of these incidents happened in the same village of Al-Walaja. You can read his account of one such instance here and watch him and other activists stand in front of Caterpillar bulldozers in Al-Walaja here.
I’d like to draw your attention to Shireen Al-Araj. She was detained today as she too was standing in front of a bulldozer in Al-Walaja. When my colleague Stefanie Fox and I visited Israel and Palestine last Spring we were privileged to get to know Shireen. We first met her at a panel presentation during the 6th Annual Bil’in Conference on the Palestinian Popular Struggle, where her dynamic personality and fierce determination struck us immediately and deeply. Shireen is a human rights expert, having recently returned from work in Darfur, and she is a brilliant thinker and savvy activist. She is also a resident of Al-Walaja. If I’ve repeated that name many times it is because I want you to remember it. Al-Walaja is a village in the West Bank that is trying to survive under the shadow of Israel’s Greater Jerusalem. In its bid to annex as much land as possible with as few Palestinians as possible, Israel annexed half the village to Greater Jerusalem but did not give Jerusalem residence permits to the people living there. That’s how you become an illegal foreigner in your own land. Greater Jerusalem, by the way, is not a city. It is a regional behemoth that has now swallowed about 10% of the West Bank.
Shireen lives in the other half of Al-Walaja, the half that was not annexed, the half that is destined to become a village enclosed by the Wall, with only two gates in and out.
From the backyard where she welcomed us for tea, the suffocating reality of the Wall is clear: the Wall around the settlement of Har Gilo looms on one side and plans indicate another Wall will be built within a foot or two or her backdoor, sandwiching her home directly between the two. Other homes in the village are actually surrounded on all four sides by the Wall and checkpoints. In this short clip, she talks about one local family with three children who must go through three checkpoint turnstiles to leave their home.
In discussing the encroachment of the wall, Shireen was quick to point out the central role of women in popular resistance. When the village is surrounded, she explains, men will likely have to leave town because it will be too hard for them to cross the checkpoints daily on their way to work and back home. In fact, on Closure Days–last year there were more than 60 such days in the year–no one will be able to come into or out of the village. It will be up to the women of the village to organize and resist; literally holding their ground by struggling to defend what’s left of their land.
According to news reports, Shireen has been released. But bulldozers stand ready to demolish more of her neighbors’ homes and build more of the Apartheid Wall enclosing the village. Shireen, and the other courageous women and men of Al Walaja, will continue to struggle for justice. Let’s join them.
Sydney Levy is Director of Campaigns for Jewish Voice for Peace.
We shall never forgive, we shall never forget: No to peace with Israel. No to recognition with Israel. No to negotiations with Israel.
from Mondoweiss by Philip Weiss
J Street has got a group of Israeli generals visiting Washington to lobby American officials that the ’67 lines are defensible lines.
The neocons are upset by this. Kredo of Washington Jewish Week reports: “[Noah] Pollak said… ‘It’s time for J Street to stop politicizing the U.S.-Israel relationship.'” If only. Then there’s this:
Characterizing the outcry that resulted from Obama’s remarks as “just PR,” [attorney Gilead] Sher, a colonel in the Israeli Defense Forces Reserves, said that without a viable two-state solution, Israel risks becoming an “apartheid state” or, worse, a “Jewish-Palestinian state.”
Noam Sheizaf has a post with a video of Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour breaking down in the Security Councilhere. The lines:
Why should the Palestinian people be forced to languish yet another year — or even one more day — under foreign occupation? They should not and they must not. This is the time to end the Israeli occupation. This is the time for Palestine’s independence. This is the time for Palestine and Israel to live side by side in peace and security, and this is the time for a new Middle East. We believe that the international community is ready for that, and we trust that the appropriate actions will be undertaken soon to make this a reality.
Why? Well Mr Mansour, Stewart Ain of the New York Jewish Week, tells you what Israelis are prepared to do to you if you push forward with this initiative:
“There is an undercurrent of what Israel would do if they went ahead with this,” [Gerald Steinberg, neocon and political science professor at Bar-Ilan University] said, referring to reports that the Netanyahu government was considering voiding the Oslo peace accord or annexing settlements. “I don’t think it’s serious but rather is part of the political theater going on — threat, counter-threat. It’s more directed at the Europeans and the UN than anybody else. … And the Palestinians may pull back at the last minute. It’s all part of the theater.”
Should Israel cancel the Oslo Accords, it would no longer be obligated to give the Palestinians food, fuel, water or anything, according to Mordechai Kedar, a lecturer in the Department of Arabic Studies and a researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.
“Israel could provide them whatever it wanted on an individual basis but not as a state in the making,” he said. “And they then could forget about the refugee issue and Jerusalem. They would have to live with what they had. In my view, Israel should let them create six city-states in the West Bank and Israel should stay in every area to make sure they don’t fall into the hands of Hezbollah or Hamas.”
“The minute the Palestinians go to the UN by themselves without Israel, they are abrogating the Oslo Accords, which clearly state that an agreement must be made by the two sides and that neither can go to an outside international body without the agreement of the other,” he added.
from Mondoweissby Eleanor Kilroy
I’ve watched every episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm I could get hold of, and the clip from this Season 8 episode has left me grim-faced and angry. Larry David and Jeff enthusiastically check-out a (fictional) L.A. Palestinian restaurant, ‘Al-Abbas’, famed for its chicken, and whilst praising the cuisine they set about insulting the people. Scanning a poster with the words, Freedom for Palestine, Jeff concludes “yeah, they do not like the Jews”, and as the men perv over a glamorous woman assumed to be Palestinian, Jeff remarks that “if by some chance she’s going to get over her anti-Semitism” she won’t sleep with Larry anyway. Larry’s retort is that desiring someone “who doesn’t even acknowledge your right to exist, wants your destruction” is a turn-on.
Hilarious. Offensive. Laughable.
Larry David’s right to exist in his homeland, America, seems ‘pretty, pretty’ secure. Slandering all Palestinians as anti-Semitic on an irreverent and popular TV show like this is a new low, and is an example of cultural and ethnic arrogance; it is no joke to imply that the Palestinian people’s ongoing struggle for justice poses an existential threat to privileged, Jewish men. Antony Loewenstein’s comment on the clip: “Is it possible for even liberal Jews on mainstream American TV to not frame Arabs and Palestinians as all anti-Semites? Apparently not”. Meanwhile, Haaretz is grinning like a fool at Larry’s joke that this is best place for Jews to cheat on their wives – since they would never be seen. If you side with the oppressor, you won’t be seen dead in the company of the oppressed.
“It was decided and carried out: they washed her, cut her hair, raped her and killed her,” he wrote.
After that the case became one of the state’s earliest secrets, and no more than hearsay passed between soldiers.
Now the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz has used previously classified army documents to reveal the full story of what Mr Ben-Gurion called a “horrific atrocity”.
In August 1949, an army unit stationed at Nirim in the Negev shot an Arab man and captured a Bedouin girl with him. Her name and age remain unknown, but she was probably in her mid-teens.
In the following hours she was taken from the hut and forced to shower naked in full view of the soldiers. Three of the men then raped her.
After the Sabbath meal the platoon commander, identified by Ha’aretz as a man called Moshe who had served in the British army during the second world war, proposed a vote on what should be done with her.
One option was to put her to work in the outpost’s kitchen.
Most of the 20 or so soldiers present voted for the alternative by chanting: “We want to fuck”. The commander organised a rota for groups of his men to gang rape the girl over the next three days. Moshe and one of his sergeants went first, leaving the girl unconscious. Next morning, she complicated matters by protesting about her treatment. Moshe told one of his sergeants to kill her.
She was forced into a patrol vehicle with several soldiers, two carrying shovels, and they drove off into the dunes. When the girl realised what was about to happen she tried to run, but only made it a few paces before she was shot by a Sergeant Michael.
Her body was buried in a grave less than a foot deep.
A few days later the battalion commander, Yehuda Drexler, asked Moshe if he had carried out an order to return the girl to her village.
“They killed her,” replied Moshe. “It was a shame to waste the petrol.” He was ordered to write a report. Ha’aretz has obtained a copy.
It said: “In my patrol on 12.8.49 I encountered Arabs in the territory under my command, one of them armed. I killed the armed Arab on the spot and took his weapon. I took the Arab female captive. On the first night the soldiers abused her and the next day I saw fit to remove her from the world.“” (thanks Elham)