Thursday, April 30, 2009

Zionutzi racism at its worst

This week's prize for the vilest abuse of the term anti-Semitism, as well as display of anti-Palestinian sentiment, must go to Hagai Segal in a unparalleled piece of open, mainstream racism, titled 'Why should they get a state?' Warning: contains also a good dollop of ahistorical nonsense.

I'll be damned if I reprint this whole piece of filth, so I'll select-quote (some emph. added). The sub heading:

Modern Palestinian demand for state stems from anti-Semitic desire to harass Jews

Slightly further down:

Yeshayahu Leibowitz once ruled that even a kitchen table is allowed to present itself as a people, and the Palestinians jumped on the bandwagon of this simplistic criterion.

The title of the latter part of the essay:
Anti-Semitic trick

The explication:
But in fact, it’s not so odd. The demand for the establishment of a Palestinian state, speaking of the recent Durban II conference, is another type of anti-Semitic trick against us.

The Palestinians claim to have lived here for many generations, yet they remembered to present their desire for self-determination only when we returned here from the Diaspora. They didn’t speak about two states for two peoples when the Jordanians ruled Judea and Samaria and when the Egyptians took over Gaza. They also said nothing when Damascus referred to Palestine as southern Syria.

Finally, the kicker:
Their modern demand for independence stems from a desire to harass us. Should Obama suddenly proposes not to have any state here – neither ours nor theirs – they may be sympathetic to the idea. Try it and you’ll see.

I believe it was Gideon Levy who wrote (paraphrasing from memory): 'if what is being said today about Muslims would be said about Jews all hell would break loose'. And still this filth by a Racist Zionist makes it into the mainstream Zionist press...

Mad Mel Phlips: Being an Insult to Intelligence

Melanie Phillips, Wicked Witch of British Zionism, MMR nut, Far Right whackjob and general truth inverter has once again excelled in brute stupidity, this time with a ringing endorsement of the notoriously faux-science of Intelligent Design. In her latest brainfart, tauntingly titled 'Creating an Insult to Intelligence', she writes (yep, this is going to be a short post):
Whatever the ramifications of the specific school textbooks under scrutiny in the Kitzmiller/Dover case, the fact is that Intelligent Design not only does not come out of Creationism but stands against it. This is because Creationism comes out of religion while Intelligent Design comes out of science. Creationism, whose proponents are Bible literalists, is a specific doctrine which holds that the earth was literally created in six days. Intelligent Design, whose proponents are mainly scientists, holds that the complexity of science suggests that there must have been a governing intelligence behind the origin of matter, which could not have developed spontaneously from nothing.

This is not even worth refuting and I'll just reprint some of the comments. Here's the otherwise not particularly lucid David T. (from Eustonite and Harry's Place infamy):
Oh Melanie, please, not again!

Look, I will fight tooth and nail to protect the religious - and other intellectual and cultural - freedoms.

However, can we please keep theology, and this defence of religious sentiment dressed up as science, out of biology lessons.

PS: If Humphries believes something is reasonable, it almost certainly isn't.

I now see the light! Hallelueuh! In the World War over religion, between the allies of Modernity and the axis of Mediaevelism Melanie Phillips is actually on the same side as the Iranian Mullahs, the Saudi princes and the Taleban.

Donkey Kong:
This is truly comic - I'm not sure how to frame this ignorance into words - the Invisible Pink Unicorn is far more compelling approach to framing the nature of matter. Simply priceless: there are some things money can't buy, but for true ignorance in science, there's Melanie Phillips.

Please lady, can't you take a hint?

AIPAC policy conference to push Iran bills


WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Cherry blossoms have withered off the trees, Easter eggs have rolled off the White House lawn and now it's time for two more Washington springtime perennials: An Iran sanctions bill is about to roll off the congressional presses, and thousands of AIPAC lobbyists are about to tumble out of buses to make sure it passes.

Just in time for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual policy forum next week, U.S. Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) introduced a major new Iran sanctions bill. In addition to Kyl, Bayh and Lieberman, who caucuses with the Democrats, nine other Republicans and 11 Democrats signed on as co-sponsors, Capitol Hill sources said.

Similar legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and the House leadership is backing a bill that would facilitate divestment from Iran. The latter, modeled on a bill drafted by President Obama as a U.S. senator, is due for consideration this week by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The bills come just weeks after the Democratic House leadership wrote Obama that Iran's nuclear potential "must be dealt with on an urgent basis."


It's no coincidence that the bills, which are strongly backed by AIPAC, are "dropping" into Congress for consideration this week; having 6,000 conference-goers press for their passage next Tuesday is bound to give them a turbo boost.

Thwarting Iran's nuclear ambitions has been a principal focus of AIPAC for nearly two decades, and the sense now in Israel is that the Islamic Republic might achieve the capability of producing highly enriched uranium before year's end. The government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, like its predecessors, has made it clear that containing Iran is its top priority.

There had been hopes that Netanyahu would attend the policy conference and meet with Obama the same week. That's not going to happen -- Netanyahu will be represented instead by President Shimon Peres -- in part because of unresolved tensions between the two governments over Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

God, Gays and Guns, Guns, Guns...

Repelling a Marxist dictatorship:

Israeli Intelligence Operations Target U.S. Congressional Leaders

By Richard Silverstein - Tikun Olam

Thanks to a confidential source, I’ll be lifting the veil, in this post, on Israeli intelligence gathering regarding members of Congress from the Midwest. Before I do, I want to make clear that what I’m about to describe is not espionage and doesn’t even involve the Mossad, which does operate here in the U.S. This is just run of the mill intelligence gathering. But what makes this especially interesting is that despite the fact that the individuals below are doing nothing illegal, the tone and contents of their remarks are so objectionable, that one wonders what one would find if one knew what the Mossad was up to here.

My source informs me that last month, Israeli diplomats in Jerusalem, Chicago and Washington participated in a conference call to review the status of relationships with the Midwest’s members of Congress. The senior diplomat from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminded participants that the purpose of getting to know these elected officials was to advance Israel’s agenda in Congress. In other words, Israel pursues a diplomatic strategy in this country that involves overt lobbying for Israel’s interests.

I’m not conversant with how other foreign governments handle such activity via their embassies and consulates, but I’d venture to say that if the average American knew that not only were various Israel lobby groups like the Israel Project, Aipac, Stand With Us, and many others advancing a pro-Israel political agenda, but a foreign embassy was doing so not only on its own, but in close collaboration with these domestic Jewish groups–that such campaigning would raise a red flag in the eyes of many.

I repeat something I wrote last night. I detest the accusation of dual loyalty and find it a despicable canard. But in truth, Israel’s government seems only too happy to place U.S. Jews in such a position that this charge becomes credible. And American Jewish groups and leaders are willing participants.

During the meeting, the senior representative from the Washington D.C. embassy emphasized how important the efforts of the Chicago consulate would be because the president hails from the city, as does the new chair of the Conference of Presidents, and Aipac’s incoming president.

In general, Israeli diplomats are most interested in members of Congress who serve on the intelligence, defense, foreign affairs and appropriations committees since those deal with issues of most concern to Israel. This explains peripherally, why they would devote so much time and attention to cultivating Jane Harman, since she stood to become chair of the House intelligence committee if Pelosi had agreed to retain her on the committee (which she didn’t).

The Israeli officials involved in the conference call displayed a combination of chutzpah and arrogance in evaluating their Congressional targets. My informant indicates they were annoyed at their inability to gain access to Sen. Russell Feingold despite the fact that his sister is a rabbi and has visited Israel. Note that a trip to Israel in their view is like a tetanus inoculation bestowing excellent pro-Israel health and antibodies against pro-Arab propaganda.

When a meeting participant described Rep. David Obey as not a great friend of Israel and borderline hostile, the D.C. embassy representative reminded his staff that they could schedule meetings with staff when Congress members are not available (which presumably would positively influence their boss).

There is a strong underlying theme of Iran as playing an important role in the Israeli diplomatic agenda here in the U.S. During the meeting, the Israelis noted that Sen. John Thune introduced anti-Iran legislation in the last session and that Rep. Mark Kirk planned to introduce new punitive legislation targeting that country. It was approvingly noted that Sen. Sam Brownback planned a conference that would exert economic pressure on Iran. The D.C. embassy planned to follow up with him to encourage his plans. At a separate meeting with a member of Sen. Carl Levin’s staff, an Israeli diplomat marveled that every word she said about Iran was committed to paper in order to share Israel’s views with the senator.

Sen. Clare McCaskill was a particular focus of the meeting because she is a confidant of the president and a member of the armed services and homeland security committees. Staff were instructed to establish close relations with McCaskill and her staff. Another Missouri legislator, Russ Carnahan, received no such royal treatment. He was viewed, like Obey, as not friendly to Israel. Why? Because during a meeting with him, he highlighted to the Israeli representative his sympathy for the poor people of Gaza. The reason for this sympathy in the eyes of the Israelis? The legislator was poisoned by information from the Arab lobby.

Once again we can see the close coordination between the Israeli government and local Jewish leaders, when one of the participants in the diplomatic review reminds the others that members of the St. Louis Jewish community conveyed their “expectations” to Carnahan and reminded him on which side his bread was buttered. It appears that the local community and embassy serve as one-two knockout punches in the face of hostile targets like Carnahan.

During the conference call, participants noted a problematic relationship with two Minnesota representatives, Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum. Though they called Ellison, a Muslim, “not anti-Israel,” they noted he was quite attentive to the Arab lobby. Clearly they were keeping a close eye on Ellison’s schedule as they knew he was receiving an UNWRA briefing that very day about conditions in Gaza. Another Israeli piped up rather ominously that the congressmember was receiving such briefings frequently.

Later in the meeting, the Israelis noted with displeasure that Ellison has teamed up with Washington State Rep. Brian Baird (the two visited Gaza together around the time that John Kerry took a separate trip there–the two Congressional visits served to highlight the horrible conditions under which Gazans lived in the aftermath of the war last winter).

At another point in the meeting, in discussing a new Indiana representative, Andre Carson who. like Ellison is Muslim, they appeared to play “good Muslim, bad Muslim.” Carson, they noted, hasn’t yet taken any “radical” positions and therefore might serve as a counter-weight to “bad Muslim” Ellison.

This is how the Israelis play the game. They’re kicking ass and taking names as the saying goes. They’ll skirt right up to the edge of impropriety and even go over it if they feel they can. The only way to rein them in is by revelations such as the Jane Harman story or the Aipac Two spying scandal. These incidents chasten them for a time–till they are emboldened once again (remember Jonathan Pollard and the Israeli pledge never to engage in domestic U.S. spying?).
The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. In the case of Israel’s domestic intelligence gathering, this is doubly true.

Very closely related and also by Richard Silverstein:

Jewish Leader Colludes With Israeli Embassy in Monitoring House Member ‘Hostile’ to Israel

Breaking News: Y-net News writes about Right of Return!

Source (Hebrew)

Via Monoweiss.

Amaya Galili has a piece in Hebrew on the spiritual urgency of commemorating the Nakba, on Yedioth Aharonoth. Charles Kamen has made a translation that includes the following sane passages:

Learning about the nakba gives me back a central part of my being, one that has been erased from Israeli identity, from our surroundings, from Israeli education and memory. Learning about the nakba allows me to live here with open eyes, and develop a different set of future relationships in the country, a future of mutual recognition and reconciliation between all those connected to this place.

Accepting responsibility for the nakba and its ongoing consequences obligates me to ask hard questions about the establishment of Israeli society, particularly about how we live today. I want to accept responsibility, to correct this reality, to change it. Not say, “There’s no choice. This is how we’ve survived for 61 years, and that’s how we’ll keep surviving.” It’s not enough for me just to “survive.” I want to live in a society that is aware of its past, and uses it to build a future that can include all the inhabitants of the country and all its refugees.

Recognizing and implementing the right of return are necessary conditions for creating that future. The refugees’ right of return is both individual and collective. Return does not mean more injustice and the expulsion of the country’s Jewish inhabitants. As has occurred elsewhere in the world, ways can be found to implement the return of the refugees without expelling the country’s current residents.

I is positively flabbered, flabbered, I tell thee!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Uri Avnery: Can Two Walk Together?

Gush Shalom - Uri Avnery


[...] There is a recurrent need for a present, actual enemy, a “Second Hitler”, who arouses all the latent fears lurking in the Jewish soul. Once it was Gamal Abd-al-Nasser, the “Egyptian Tyrant”. Then Yasser Arafat played this role. Nowadays there is Hamas, but that is hardly sufficient. No way to convince anyone that Hamas could possibly annihilate Israel.

Ahmadinejad is the ideal candidate. He is a consistent Holocaust denier. He declares that the “Zionist entity” must disappear from the map. He is working on the production of a nuclear bomb. This is serious – a few nuclear bombs on Israeli population centers can indeed wipe out Israel.

So we have a “Second Hitler”, who is planning a ”Second Holocaust”. Against him, all the Jews of the world can unite. What would we do without him?

THE PUTATIVE Iranian nuclear bomb fulfills another very important role. It is serving now as an instrument for the obliteration of the Palestinian problem.

Next month Netanyahu will present himself at the White House. That might turn out to be a fateful meeting. President Barack Obama may demand a clear commitment to start a peace process that will lead towards the creation of the Palestinian state. Netanyahu will make a desperate effort to avoid this, since peace would mean the evacuation of the settlements. If he agreed to this, his coalition would fall apart.

What to do? Thank God for the Iranian bomb! It constitutes an existential threat against Israel. It is self-evident that the Israeli Prime Minister should not be bothered with bagatelles like peace with the Palestinians when the Iranian nuclear sword is dangling above his head!

Netanyahu’s predecessors also used this ploy. Whenever somebody raises the matter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and demands that our government start real negotiations, freeze the settlements, dismantle the outposts, release prisoners, end the blockade on the population of the Gaza Strip, remove the roadblocks – the Iranian bomb appears ex machina. No time to think about anything else. The bomb heads our agenda. The bomb is our agenda.

There is a lot of irony in this. Iran has never been the least bit interested in the plight of the Palestinians. Ahmadinejad, too, doesn’t give a damn. Like all other Middle East governments he uses the Palestinian cause to further his own interests. Now he wants to penetrate the Sunni Arab world in order to turn Iran into the dominant regional power. For this purpose, he raises the banner of the Palestinian resistance. But for the time being, he has only succeeded in pushing the Sunni Arab regimes into the arms of Israel.

AHMADINEJAD’S MOST enthusiastic fans sit in the Ministry of Defense in Tel-Aviv. What would they do without him?

Every year, the struggle over the defense budget breaks out anew. This year, with the economic crisis, the debate will be even more acrimonious. Little Israel maintains one of the largest and most expensive military establishments in the world. Relative to the GNP (gross national product), we easily trump the United States, not to mention Europe.

Must one ask why? Israel is surrounded by enemies who are plotting to destroy us! True, Egypt is now the most loyal collaborator of Israel, Iraq has quit the game for the time being, Syria has long since ceased to be a threat. Jordan is humble, the Palestinian Authority dances to our tune. It is hard to justify a giant defense budget for fighting little Hizbullah and tiny Hamas.

But there is Iran, thank God. And there is the fearsome Iranian bomb. Here you have an honest to God existential danger. Our Air Force declares that it is ready to take off any day – no, any minute - and eradicate all the many Iranian nuclear installations.

For that they need money, lots of money. They need the most advanced airplanes in the world, each of which costs many, many millions. They need suitable equipment for reaching the targets and fulfilling the task. That is more important than education, health or welfare. After all, the Iranian bomb will kill all of us – including the children, the sick and the underprivileged. (The tycoons may perhaps succeed in getting out in time.)

The budget will be approved, but the flyers will not fly. It is not clear whether such an attack is at all feasible. Neither is it clear if it would significantly postpone the production of the bomb. But it is clear that such an attack is not possible politically: it cannot be executed without the express confirmation of the US, and there is no chance that this will be forthcoming. The attack would almost automatically cause the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, through which all the Gulf oil is shipped. That would be catastrophic, especially during a world-wide economic crisis, when a huge rise in the price of oil can cripple the already weakened economies. No, our valiant pilots will have to content themselves with bombing residential neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip.

IT COULD be argued: if Ahmadinejad behaves like a Mossad agent, Avigdor Lieberman behaves like an agent of Iranian intelligence.

I don’t say so, God forbid. I really don’t want to be sued for libel.

But Lieberman’s behavior is indeed – how to put it – slightly bizarre.

True, for a moment he looked like a winner. After he sent Hosny Mubarak to hell, the Israeli media reported that the most important Egyptian minister had met with him, shaken his hand and invited him to Egypt. Perhaps he wanted to show him around the Aswan dam, which Lieberman once wanted to bomb. But the next day a furious Mubarak reacted by denying the story and declaring that Lieberman will not be allowed to set foot on Egyptian soil.

In the meantime, an important newspaper in Russia published an interview with Lieberman, in which he asserted that “the US will accept all our decisions.” Meaning: we rule America, Obama will do as we tell him.

Such talk will not increase Israel’s popularity in the White House, to say the least. Especially just now, after it was disclosed that the Israeli Lobby, AIPAC, has asked a congresswoman to intervene in favor of two American Jews indicted for spying for Israel. In return, AIPAC promised to get the Congresswoman appointed as chairwoman of a very important committee. How? Simple: AIPAC will tell the majority leader of the House that if she does not comply, a Jewish billionaire will stop contributing to her election fund. Not a very savory disclosure.

In brief, the Iranian Ahmadinejad and the Israeli Lieberman are Siamese twins. The one needs the other. Lieberman rides on the Iranian bomb, Ahmadinejad rides on Israeli threats.

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” asked the prophet Amos (3:3). The answer is: Yes, indeed. These two can very well walk hand in hand without agreeing on anything.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Roger Cohen get's it wrong - slightly

Roger Cohen - The New York Times

Clinton’s Mideast Pirouette

The sparring between the United States and Israel has begun, and that’s a good thing. Israel’s interests are not served by an uncritical American administration. The Jewish state emerged less secure and less loved from Washington’s post-9/11 Israel-can-do-no-wrong policy.

The criticism of the center-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come from an unlikely source: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She’s transitioned with aplomb from the calculation of her interests that she made as a senator from New York to a cool assessment of U.S. interests. These do not always coincide with Israel’s.

I hear that Clinton was shocked by what she saw on her visit last month to the West Bank. This is not surprising. The transition from Israel’s first-world hustle-bustle to the donkeys, carts and idle people beyond the separation wall is brutal. If Clinton cares about one thing, it’s human suffering.

In fact, you don’t so much drive into the Palestinian territories these days as sink into them. Everything, except the Jewish settlers’ cars on fenced settlers-only highways, slows down. The buzz of business gives way to the clunking of hammers.

The whole desolate West Bank scene is punctuated with garrison-like settlements on hilltops. If you’re looking for a primer on colonialism, this is not a bad place to start.

Most Israelis never see this, unless they’re in the army. Clinton witnessed it. She was, I understand, troubled by the humiliation around her.

Now, she has warned Netanyahu to get off “the sidelines” with respect to Palestinian peace efforts. Remember that the Israeli prime minister and his right-wing Likud party have still not accepted even the theory of a two-state solution.


Roger, I love you and I want to have your babies but "If Clinton cares about one thing, it’s human suffering."???? Flattery will get you nowhere with this arrivist politician...

Heed voices calling for justice for Palestinians

Huwaida Arraf:

When village residents gather weekly to protest, they use various creative methods of nonviolent resistance, including carrying mirrors up to the soldiers to show them "the face of occupation" or dressing as various politicians and wearing blindfolds to symbolize the world's blind eye to their struggle. The Israeli military meets them and their Israeli and international supporters with tear gas, grenades, and bullets.

Eyewitness accounts and a YouTube video of Bassem's killing attest to the fact that Bassem was not engaged in any kind of violent action when a soldier decided to fire a high-velocity tear gas canister — designed to be shot in the air or from a great distance — directly at his chest, fatally wounding him. In fact, just before he was shot, Bassem is heard calling to soldiers to stop shooting as a woman had been injured. Far too often, Israel tries to silence dissent by using disproportionate and sometimes lethal force against demonstrators.

Phil Weiss' response: When Americans [ask], Where is the Palestinian Gandhi, the best answer is: Wait, why put the onus on someone else; where is your own protest movement? If something is so unjust that it requires a Gandhi, then why are you tolerating your country's support for it.

Absolutely, Phil...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Zionista Fashionista turned Fascista?

This is merely a little bit of schadenfreude at the fate of a ridiculous blogger, Pamela Geller from Atlas Shrugs, who seem to have gotten herself in too deep with some Eurofascists. No big surprise there: Pampams is a great fan of Geert 'the Qu'ran = Mein Kampf' Wilders of unfit Fitna fame and of Paul Belien, Flemish imbecile and bossyboots at The Brussels Journal (look it up, I don't want to catch anything).

Robert Spencer (Jihadwatch) is in it too.

They're now both denying any involvement but Charles Johnson is on the case.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Another anti-Semitic Cartoon?

Over at SimplyJews I found this little gem in relation to the cartoon above:

Republican Tea Party organizers of Ron Paul supporters' faction using a clearly anti-Semitic flyer:

Followed by a bit of conspiratorial stuff about Paul (I hardly know this guy, to be honest) and how some 'Nazis' and 'communists' apparently endorse him, little is made to clarify the point that this flyer is somehow anti-Semitic. I placed a comment explaining why in my honest opinion there is nothing anti-Semitic about this cartoon but Snotty (sorry, Snoopy the Goon) deleted it without fanfare (another Eustonite who like his buddy Terry Glavin has no problem suppressing opinion that counters theirs when it comes to Israel and Zionism).

Let me first state that I can't read the caption (but it's reasonable to assume that Snotty can't either).

The imagery however is clearly satirical aggrandisement of the financial relationship between the US and Israel (the latter which has in the past, present and will continue for the next ten years at least to receive $ 3,000,000,000 in aid from the US) and the inescapable truth that at least some of that money is a constant source of Palestinian suffering.

This cartoon is critical of Israel and Zionism but not anti-Semitic.

I can only guess that Ron Paul is a fiscal Conservative and is advocating cutting aid to Israel and thus reduce the amount of American tax payers money used to rain misery on an oppressed and stateless people. For this stance, Ron Paul gets my approval, regardless of any other opinion he may hold.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sometimes evil is good for the Zionists

By Yossi Sarid - Ha'aretz

"And the Holy One Blessed Be He rescues us from their hands," cited the president once again at the memorial service.

"From their hands" - but also from our own hands, he rescues us from ourselves, from our disgraceful behavior. After all, without Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - a wicked and confused putz - and disgusting types like him, the international community, including our friends and allies, would have long since evicted us from the stolen lands on the other side of the Green Line. The world is tired of the never-ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Were it not for the fact that Ahmadinejad opens his big, ugly mouth at every opportunity, he would not have forced the best-governed nations to unite around a gluttonous country that refuses to release its prey; had he not ridiculed the United Nations and its Human Rights Conference in Geneva, he would not have provided the speeches of Jerusalem and Birkenau with such a wealth of lofty cliches.
It's not at all bad to live in a world of evil. Evil purifies and excuses other evil, and sometimes evil is good for the Jews.

On this very day, April 24, the Armenians are commemorating the 94th anniversary of their genocide. Although Shimon Peres this week forbade the "nation that went through the Holocaust" to close their eyes to evil governments, the Armenians feel that Israel has closed its eyes to their disaster and blocked its ears to their cries. And only recently, only when Turkey condemned our evil deeds in Gaza, did one local general warn that if they didn't shut up immediately, we would open up its past.

That is the method: If our sins are scarlet, they are still white as snow compared to the sins of Turkey; everything in life, and in death, is relative.

A slightly better world would have demanded that we mend our ways, and we would have done so. We've been lucky, and it's an evil world that is coming to us with complaints, which we reject by giving it the finger, and asking, who gave you the right? First take care of yourselves, and who do you think you are anyway?

Even the "leading national newspaper" this week probed the question in a special edition: Is the Israel Defense Forces really the most moral army in the world. It probed, and immediately discovered that while the IDF may not be without flaws, compared to other armies it is entirely true blue and white; the theory of relativity works.

They say of Raful (Rafael Eitan) that at the end of the Yom Kippur War he hosted a delegation of United States congressmen on a fact-finding mission. They visited the Golan Heights and looked out over Quneitra. One guest asked with fear and trepidation whether all this destruction was absolutely necessary.

Raful let him have it: "And what did you do to the Indians?" he asked. At that the members of the delegation stopped asking questions. We have to learn from Raful, that's exactly how Israel has to explain itself, without stuttering.

About a month from now the prime minister will go to Washington for a first meeting in the White House. When Barack Obama only begins to harass him, Netanyahu has to hit him between the eyes: And what did you do to the blacks? That will be the knockout line.

That's my advice. Let him hit Obama where it hurts, by bringing up his wife Michelle's mother. Then the president will fall silent, and we probably won't hear from him for another two terms at least.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Israel's Apartheid worse than South Africa's?

From the South African Muslim scholar Farid Esack: Open Letter, 2009

My dear Palestinian brothers and sisters, I have come to your land and I have recognized shades of my own. My land was once one where some people imagined that they could build their security on the insecurity of others. They claimed that their lighter skin and European origins gave them the right to dispossess those of a darker skin who lived in the land for thousands of years. I come from a land where a group of people, the Afrikaners, were genuinely hurt by the British. The British despised them and placed many of them into concentration camps. Nearly a sixth of their population perished.

Then the Afrikaners said, ‘Never again!’. And they meant that never again will harm come unto them with no regard to how their own humanity was tied to that of others. In their hurt they developed an understanding of being’s God chosen people destined to inhabit a Promised Land. And thus they occupied the land, other people’s land, and they built their security on the insecurity of black people. Later they united with the children of their former enemies – now called “the English”. The new allies, known simply as ‘whites’, pitted themselves against the blacks who were forced to pay the terrible price of dispossession, exploitation and marginalization as a result of a combination of white racism, Afrikaner fears and ideas of chosenness. And, of course, there was the ancient crime of simple greed.
I come from Apartheid South Africa.

Arriving in your land, the land of Palestine, the sense of deja vu is inescapable. I am struck by the similarities. In some ways, all of us are the children of our histories. Yet, we may also choose to be struck by the stories of others. Perhaps this ability is what is called morality. We cannot always act upon what we see but we always have the freedom to see and to be moved.

I come from a land where people braved onslaughts of bulldozers, bullets, machine guns, and teargas for the sake of freedom. We resisted at a time when it was not fashionable. And now that we have been liberated everyone declares that they were always on our side. It’s a bit like Europe after the Second World War. During the war only a few people resisted. After the war not a single supporter of the Nazis could be found and the vast majority claimed that they always supported the resistance to the Nazis.

I am astonished at how ordinarily decent people whose hearts are otherwise “in the right place” beat about the bush when it comes to Israel and the dispossession and suffering of the Palestinians. And now I wonder about the nature of “decency.” Do “objectivity,” “moderation,” and seeing “both sides” not have limits? Is moderation in matters of clear injustice really a virtue? Do both parties deserve an “equal hearing” in a situation of domestic violence – wherein a woman is beaten up by a male who was abused by his father some time ago – because “he,” too, is a “victim?”

We call upon the world to act now against the dispossession of the Palestinians. We must end the daily humiliation at checkpoints, the disgrace of an Apartheid Wall that cuts people off from their land, livelihood, and history, and act against the torture, detention without trial, and targeted killings of those who dare to resist. Our humanity demands that we who recognize evil in its own time act against it even when it is “unsexy” to do so. Such recognition and action truly benefits our higher selves. We act in the face of oppression, dispossession, or occupation so that our own humanity may not be diminished by our silence when some part of the human family is being demeaned. If something lessens your worth as a human being, then it lessens mine as well. To act in your defense is really to act in defense of my “self” – whether my higher present self or my vulnerable future self.

Morality is about the capacity to be moved by interests beyond one’s own ethnic group, religious community, or nation. When one’s view of the world and dealings with others are entirely shaped by self-centredness – whether in the name of religion, survival, security, or ethnicity – then it is really only a matter of time before one also becomes a victim. While invoking ”real life” or realpolitik as values themselves, human beings mostly act in their own self–interest even as they seek to deploy a more ethically based logic in doing so. Thus, while it is oil or strategic advantage that you are after, you may invoke the principle of spreading democracy, or you may justify your exploitation of slavery with the comforting rationalization that the black victims of the system might have died of starvation if they had been left in Africa. Being truly human – a mensch – is something different. It is about the capacity to transcend narrow interests and to understand how a deepening of humanness is linked to the good of others. When apartness is elevated to dogma and ideology, when apartness is enforced through the law and its agencies, this is called Apartheid. When certain people are privileged simply because they are born in certain ethnic group and use these privileges to dispossess and discriminate others then this is called Apartheid. Regardless of how genuine the trauma that gave birth to it and regardless of the religious depth of the exclusivist beliefs underpinning it all, it is called Apartheid. How we respond to our own trauma and to the indifference or culpability of the world never justifies traumatizing others or an indifference to theirs. Apartness then not only becomes a foundation for ignorance of the other with whom one shares a common space. It also becomes a basis for denying the suffering and humiliation that the other undergoes.

We do not deny the trauma that the oppressors experienced at any stage in their individual or collective lives; we simply reject the notion that others should become victims as a result of it. We reject the manipulation of that suffering for expansionist political and territorial purposes. We resent having to pay the price of dispossession because an imperialist power requires a reliable ally in this part of the world.

As South Africans, speaking up about the life or death for the Palestinian people is also about salvaging our own dream of a moral society that will not be complicit in the suffering of other people. There are, of course, other instances of oppression, dispossession, and marginalization in the world. Yet, none of these are as immediately recognizable to us who lived under, survived, and overcame Apartheid. Indeed, for those of us who lived under South African Apartheid and fought for liberation from it and everything that it represented, Palestine reflects in many ways the unfinished business of our own struggle.

Thus I and numerous others who were involved in the struggle against Apartheid have come here and we have witnessed a place that in some ways reminds us of what we have suffered through. Archbishop Desmond Tutu is of course correct when he speaks about how witnessing the conditions of the Palestinians “reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa.... I say why are our memories so short? Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation?" But yet in more ways than one, here in your land, we are seeing something far more brutal, relentless and inhuman than what we have ever seen under Apartheid. In some ways, my brothers and sisters, I am embarrassed that you have to resort to using a word that was earlier on used specifically for our situation in order to draw attention to yours.

White South Africa did of course seek to control Blacks. However it never tried to deny Black people their very existences or to wish them away completely as we see here. We have not experienced military occupation without any rights for the occupied. We were spared the barbaric and diverse forms of collective punishment in the forms of house demolitions, the destruction of orchards belonging to relatives of suspected freedom fighters, or the physical transfer of these relatives themselves. South Africa’s apartheid courts never legitimized torture. White South Africans were never given a carte blanche to humiliate Black South Africans as the Settlers here seem to have. The craziest Apartheid zealots would never have dreamt of something as macabre as this Wall. The Apartheid police never used kids as shields in any of their operations. Nor did the apartheid army ever use gunships and bombs against largely civilian targets. In South Africa the Whites were a stable community and after centuries simply had to come to terms with Black people. (Even if it were only because of their economic dependence on Black people.) The Zionist idea of Israel as the place for the ingathering for all the Jews – old and new, converts, reverts and reborn is a deeply problematic one. In such a case there is no sense of compulsion to reach out to your neighbour. The idea seems to be to get rid of the old neighbours – ethnic cleansing - and to bring in new ones all the time.

We as South Africans resisting Apartheid understood the invaluable role of international solidarity in ending centuries of oppression. Today we have no choice but to make our contribution to the struggle of the Palestinians for freedom. We do so with the full awareness that your freedom will also contribute to the freedom of many Jews to be fully human in the same way that the end of Apartheid also signaled the liberation of White people in South Africa. At the height of our own liberation struggle, we never ceased to remind our people that our struggle for liberation is also for the liberation of white people. Apartheid diminished the humanity of White people in the same way that gender injustice diminishes the humanity of males. The humanity of the oppressor is reclaimed through liberation and Israel is no exception in this regard. At public rallies during the South African liberation struggle the public speaker of the occasion would often call out: “An injury to one?!” and the crowd would respond: “Is an injury to all!” We understood that in a rather limited way at that time. Perhaps we are destined to always understand this in a limited way. What we do know is that an injury to the Palestinian people is an injury to all. An injury inflicted on others invariably comes back to haunt the aggressors; it is not possible to tear at another’s skin and not to have one’s own humanity simultaneously diminished in the process. In the face of this monstrosity, the Apartheid Wall, we offer an alternative: Solidarity with the people of Palestine. We pledge our determination to walk with you in your struggle to overcome separation, to conquer injustice and to put end to greed, division and exploitation.

We have seen our yesterday’s oppressed – both in Apartheid South Africa and in Israel today – can become today’s oppressors. Thus we stand by you in your vision to create a society wherein everyone, regardless of their ethnicity, or religion shall be equal and live in freedom.

We continue to draw strength from the words of Nelson Mandela, the father of our nation and hero of the Palestinian people. In 1964 he was found guilty on charges of treason and faced the death penalty. He turned to the judges and said: “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Farid Esack, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Words are not enough...

By Gideon Levy

Lord have mercy: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has relinquished for the moment his demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as "a Jewish state" as a condition for negotiations. He has deigned to postpone the demand until future stages. Listen up, world: Perhaps, just perhaps, Netanyahu will also see fit to utter the forbidden phrase "two states for two peoples."

The slogan of yesterday's illegitimate radical left will be heard publicly in Washington from the mouth of Israel's most right-wing prime minister ever, and everyone will sing the praises of the historic turnaround. The diplomatic process will again take wing and the expectations will soar. Peace is just around the corner.

Once again the diplomatic arena has become a playground of words. This will be said and that will be declared and the other will be proclaimed. This is a guarantee of another foregone failure.

Whether or not Netanyahu says two states, nothing will change. The Americans will rejoice, the Europeans will be thrilled, the Israeli right will wax wrathful, commentators will again write with pathos about how the dream of the greater land of Israel has been shelved - and the occupation will flourish.

The Jewish settlements in the territories will also continue to metastasize. After all, most Israelis, and at least two prime ministers and two leaders of the opposition, already said yes to the formula for peace long ago, and nothing has happened.

No less contemptible are the word games over the desired recognition of Israel: For a generation now we have been amusing ourselves with them. The silly game should have ended 16 years ago, and we are still at it. In September of 1993, Yasser Arafat promised prime minister Yitzhak Rabin that the Palestine Liberation Organization would recognize Israel; three years later, in April 1996, the Palestinian National Council convened and ratified the recognition.

The barrage of words demanding a change in the charter should have stopped right away, but the Israeli longing for recognition was not satisfied. Two years later, in December 1998, U.S. president Bill Clinton went all the way to Gaza and there, at a formal session of the Palestinian National Council, no less than 12 terrible clauses were deleted from the Palestinian Charter (phooey on it) and along with them, another 16 sub-clauses.

Huge rejoicing. Council member Jawad al-Tibi from Gaza said that he had voted with his feet, not only his hand. At that time the prime minister was none other than Netanyahu, the same Netanyahu who is again trying to squeeze out another unnecessary recognition. After the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state there will no doubt come the demand to recognize Saturday as its day of rest, and after that perhaps also a demand for Palestinian recognition of the law prohibiting the display of leaven during Passover.

But we aren't talking about having fun here, rather about fateful issues. Only those who want to prevent progress are engaging in these vanities of recognition, and only a country with especially limp self-confidence needs recognition of its national character at all.

Is it conceivable that France would demand recognition as a French state? Or Italy as an Italian state? And from whom are we demanding the recognition? From those who have been groaning under the boots of the occupation for more than 40 years now.

In the meantime, one begins to fear that another promising American president, perhaps the most promising of all, is about to fall into the honey trap of words and formulas. This president should be told now is not a time for words. Their time has passed. No more peace plan and - heavens forefend - not another outline; not negotiations, not a formula and not a summit.

All the plans are in a drawer, waiting for their day. Now is the time for deeds.

The only recognition that is needed now is Israel's recognition of the Palestinians as human beings. If this is obtained, all the rest will be relatively easy. The day will come when Israelis and Palestinians will not understand how they shed blood for so many years and why, but this day is further off than ever.

Now the time has come for the test of actions. Instead of wasting precious time on formulas, we need to take steps. Instead of dithering over verbiage, we need to make changes on the ground.
Twenty evacuated settlements are worth more than a thousand peace formulas, and 2,000 released prisoners will move the sides forward more than 10,000 words.

If only Israel agrees to implement what it has agreed to, from the release of prisoners to a freeze on settlements, it will be possible to come to the Palestinians with demands.

To paraphrase David Ben-Gurion, it is necessary to tell the president of the United States now that it doesn't matter what the Jews say, it matters what they do.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Leave the Nazis dead and buried

By Antony Loewenstein:

I generally agree with the comments by Muzzlewatch about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech in Geneva. Much of the talk was actually historically accurate and presented uncomfortable truths for the West and IsraelIran itself. in particular, but his Holocaust denial, aggression and defending of human rights was all a sick joke when one knows the reality in Iran itself.

My enemy’s enemy is not my friend.

However, do we seriously need this?

A day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s vicious anti-Israel speech at the UN racism conference in Geneva, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin warned of the dangers he posed in a letter to world parliamentarians, calling Ahmadinejad the second Adolph Hitler.

“This morning, in contrast to Remembrance Days of past years, we, the citizens of Israel, Jews all around the world and every man of conscience faced a new reality that we believed would never reoccur. A reality we had thought was no longer possible in a world that had experienced the horrors of the Second World War,” read the letter.

“73 years after the Berlin Olympics, yesterday the world witnessed the return of Adolf Hitler,” it continued. “This time he has a beard and speaks Persian. But the words are the same words and the aspirations are the same aspirations and the determination to find the weapons to achieve those aspirations is the same menacing determination. Unfortunately, just as at that shameful Olympic event, the world has again given him a platform.”

When will the Zionists let Hitler stay dead? Arafat was Hitler. Bin Laden was Hitler. Hamas and Hizbollah are Nazis. Now Ahmadinejad is Hitler.

Israel has cried wolf far too many times.

Mondoweiss has it right:

Should Israel be the only country discussed in an international anti-racism conference? No. (And this was never the case anyway.) Should Israel definitely be discussed in an international anti-racism conference? Yes!

Fun with kinetic energy: the lethality of thrown stones

In the aftermath of the death of Bassam Ibrahim Abu Rahmah, Israel supporting blogs and threads are full of claims that stones thrown by Palestinians (even though it appears no stones were thrown here anyway) can be lethal. This post serves to elucidate why this is unlikely by means of some elementary physics. All throughout I'll asssume (somewhat unrealistically) that there is no loss of energy due to air or wind resistance ('drag').

Other, more persistent Hasbarists like to make their argument even more disingenuous by adding that 'stones thrown from vantage points are even worse' (as if Palestinian demonstrators are ever allowed to take up such vantage points). For that reason I'll treat the general case of a manually launched projectile, launched from a vantage point (i.e. a point somewhat elevated with respect to the position of the target). I'll assume the vantage point to be higher than the target by h (m).

First some basics. An Olympian javelin thrower reaches typically an initial (at launch) javelin velocity of 30 m/s, with an 800 g (0.8 kg) javelin and of course the typical run-up to the throw. He transfers about 400 J(oules) of kinetic energy to the javelin. These are of course the very best ‘throwers’ in the entire world.

1. Speed of the projectile without vantage height:

This can be calculated as follows: the
Kinetic Energy Ek of a moving body with speed (velocity) v (m/s) and mass m (kg) is:

Ek = 1/2 m v2

In the case of the javelin thrower: 1/2 x 0.8 x (30)2 = 360 J (Joules)

To estimate the launch velocity v' for heavier javelins, using the above we can deduce that the launch velocity of the heavier projectile will be v’ = v √(m/m’) with v the speed of the lighter object and √(m/m’) the square root () of the ratio m/m’ of the lighter mass (m) to the heavier mass (m’).

For a javelin of 1.6 kg, v’ = 30 x √(1/2) = 21.2 m/s, for a javelin of 3.2 kg, v’ = 30 x √(1/4) = 30 x 1/2 = 15 m/s, etc etc.

The launch velocity thus tails off quickly with increasing weight of the projectile, all other things being more or less equal of course.

And with decreased launch velocity comes also decreased range (easy to prove because independent of weight).

Heavier hand-thrown projectiles are thus no more lethal than lighter ones, unless used at point blank.

2. Added speed and energy of the projectile with vantage height:

The additional energy of a projectile launched from a vantage point is also easy to calculate.

Assume the vantage point is at height h (m, respective to target), then the object has added Potential Energy (Epot) equal to m x g x h, with m, mass (kg) and g = 9.81 m/s2 (gravitational acceleration due to free fall).

So Epot = m g h

This Potential Energy is converted into Kinetic Energy during fall, so that:

1/2 m vadd2 = m g h

and imparts extra speed equal to vadd = √(2 x g x h).

For javelins launched from 10 m vantage would increase speed by 14 m/s. For higher vantage points h' multiply with the height ratio of h’/h.

The total speed a projectile thrown by our Olympian would achieve is thus:

v = √(720/m) + √(2 g h)

or approximated: v = √(720/m) + √(20 h) (m/s)

And the total Kinetic Energy at impact:

Ek = 360 + m g h (J)

A small side note needs to be made here. It can be proved easily (but that's outside the scope of this post) that whether the thrower launches the projectile up in the air, somewhat downwards of even vertically at the target, these conclusions remain entirely valid. The type of throw will of course affect that angle of incidence at which the target is hit but not the speed or total energy.

Readers unfamiliar with the Physics concept of Work will nonetheless intuitively understand that energy of a projectile and its lethality are closely linked, with higher energy projectiles being more lethal than lower energy ones.

Let's take a fairly large rock, of say 2 kg, thrown from a vantage point of 10 m and thrown by an Olympian javelin thrower. This projectile would reach a speed of 33 m/s and a total energy of 560 J.

Let's put that into perspective: that kind of energy could be delivered (as heat) by a 7 kW (7,000 W or 7,000 J/s) commercial microwave oven in about 560 J/7,000 J/s = 0.08 seconds!

Alternatively, if we converted that energy into heat to make a cup of coffee (by heating water from room temperature to 100 DC), we'd make a hot drink... of less than 2 ml (make mine an espresso!)

Still believe manually thrown, unassisted rocks or stones are lethal weapons? Ask yourself why armies around the world don't go around throwing rocks at each other any more. So until Hamas develops the Rocket Propelled Smart Rock the AOF is fairly safe at Palestinian demos...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Scandal, Intrigue, Espionage, AIPAC, Israel...

This could be a seriously big Israel Lobby story.

By Jeff Stein, CQ SpyTalk Columnist

Wiretap Recorded Rep. Harman Promising to Intervene for AIPAC

Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.

Harman was recorded saying she would “waddle into” the AIPAC case “if you think it’ll make a difference,” according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.

In exchange for Harman’s help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.

Seemingly wary of what she had just agreed to, according to an official who read the NSA transcript, Harman hung up after saying, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”
Harman declined to discuss the wiretap allegations, instead issuing an angry denial through a spokesman.

“These claims are an outrageous and recycled canard, and have no basis in fact,” Harman said in a prepared statement. “I never engaged in any such activity. Those who are peddling these false accusations should be ashamed of themselves.”

It’s true that allegations of pro-Israel lobbyists trying to help Harman get the chairmanship of the intelligence panel by lobbying and raising money for Pelosi aren’t new.

They were widely reported in 2006, along with allegations that the FBI launched an investigation of Harman that was eventually dropped for a “lack of evidence.”

What is new is that Harman is said to have been picked up on a court-approved NSA tap directed at alleged Israel covert action operations in Washington.

And that, contrary to reports that the Harman investigation was dropped for “lack of evidence,” it was Alberto R. Gonzales, President Bush’s top counsel and then attorney general, who intervened to stop the Harman probe.

Why? Because, according to three top former national security officials, Gonzales wanted Harman to be able to help defend the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about break in The New York Times and engulf the White House.

As for there being “no evidence” to support the FBI probe, a source with first-hand knowledge of the wiretaps called that “bull****.”

“I read those transcripts,” said the source, who like other former national security officials familiar with the transcript discussed it only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of domestic NSA eavesdropping.

Learn more. You know you want to...

Clayton Swisher on the death of Bassam Ibrahim Abu Rahmah

US media hardly cover it or covers it badly.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

'Israel could have made peace with Hamas under Yassin'

From this extraordinary Ha'aretz piece:

[big snip]

He [Dr. Zvi Sela, a former senior police officer and a psychological consultant at present] held two-hour weekly meetings over a three-year period with Sheikh Ahmed Yassin when the Hamas founder was incarcerated in Israel.

"It was riveting," he says, adding, "There was no terrorist attack or abduction in those years that was not planned, managed and commanded from within the prisons. That is where the senior figures were, including Sheikh Yassin. He was paralyzed in the legs and arms, and was capable only of moving his head, but he was a very powerful figure. He exercised tremendous control over what went on in the prison and outside, too."

Adding that this was a turbulent period of terror attacks, Sela explains that his goal in the encounters was "to collect information about the Palestinian cells and organizations, to thwart the attacks outside. In that capacity I met with Yassin. We held him in Hadarim Prison [near Netanya] on the third floor in harsh conditions. We gave him a very hard time. He was not allowed visits and we kept him tightly locked up for almost five years. He was held in a narrow room where the temperature was 45 degrees [Celsius] in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. His blankets were dirty and smelled. That's how he lived. I found him to be a very smart man, and also very decent. We engaged in a war of minds. We knew that after every battle between us someone would die, either on my side or on his side."

What did you talk about?

Sela: "Business - intelligence. When the biggest adversaries sit down to talk face to face, it's a different ball game. I always told him, 'Stop blowing up buses, stop murdering women and children.' He replied: 'Tzvika, listen, we had good teachers: You established a state thanks to your military power. The dead I take from you are for the sake of establishing a state, but you are killing women and children for the sake of the occupation. You already have a state. You are dirty and hypocritical. I have no interest in destroying you - all I want is a state."

So the father of the Hamas movement told you he recognized the State of Israel?

"Yes. He was smart and brave. Cruel, but credible. He gave his life in the war for the freedom of his people. I tend to think that if we had tried for an agreement with him, we would have succeeded. He thought the reason the Israelis were dealing with [then PLO leader] Yasser Arafat is that they were very smart, because we knew we would get nowhere with him. In his opinion, Arafat was thoroughly corrupt."

Did your conversations produce anything concrete? Did he ever provide you with vital intelligence?

"After I held conversations with him for two years, the powers-that-be told me: 'Go to Yassin and ask for the body of the missing Israeli soldier Ilan Sa'adon. In return Israel is ready to release him.' Yassin knew where the body was. He told me, 'There is no Jew in the world who knows about my grandchildren, my children, my yearning for freedom. You, Zvika, are the only one who knows the truth about how I live and how much I want freedom. But to offer me freedom in exchange for a body is humiliating. I will give you the body because you are asking, I understand the family's pain, but promise me you will not release me in return for it. Promise me that if I die in prison, you will be sure to tell my family how much I loved them, how much I dreamed of being able to smell their scent.'"

Until now it was thought that the information about the location of Sa'adon's body came from Arafat.

"That is not true."

The doctor then goes on with some more extraordinary revelations that cast doubt on at least part of Samir Kuntar's guilt:
You also met with Samir Kuntar of the Palestine Liberation Front, who murdered members of the Haran family in Nahariya and was released as part of the deal with Hezbollah that brought back the bodies of the two abducted soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.

"We turned Kuntar into God-knows-what - the murderer of Danny Haran and his daughter, Einat. The man who smashed in the girl's head. That's nonsense. A story. A fairy tale. He told me he didn't do it and I believe him. I investigated the event within the framework of the next book I am writing, about hostage-taking incidents. As far as I am concerned, it was no more than a newspaper report. I sat with him; he was very intelligent. He was a squad commander at 17. He told me that his motive for infiltrating Nahariya was to take hostages. He said [his organization] knew that would both humiliate Israel and get them media publicity.

"He told me: 'If I had wanted to kill Danny and his daughter, I would have shot them in the house. I took them to the boat because I wanted hostages. I had no interest in hurting them. After I got them into the boat, wild gunfire started and I went back to help my squad on the shore. Danny, the father, kept shouting, "Stop firing, you crazy people." He and his daughter were found shot in the boat. I was on a small rise, shooting at your forces, and the boat was 20 meters away in the water, with Danny and the girl.'"

So you say that Kuntar did not murder Haran and his daughter?

"That is what he says, and in my opinion there is support for the fact that they were killed by fire from the Israeli rescue forces. You can accuse him all you like, but it was obviously the rescue forces that opened fire. There were all kinds of legends about Kuntar. People also said that he would return to being a terrorist [after his release]. Nonsense. He told me then explicitly that he would not go back to terrorism, that he was too old to execute operations - and that's also clear. For the same reason, I see no problem in releasing terrorists with blood on their hands in return for [kidnapped soldier] Gilad Shalit. I get the feeling the country is waiting for his body.

"It is clear to me," Sela continues, "that there are some battles you have to back away from. There is no reason to kill that kid, to wait for his body. One way or the other, we will not come out the victors in the Shalit story. From my experience, most of the terrorists that we release do not return to terrorist activity. And the prisoners we are quarreling over in connection with Shalit's release do not constitute a strategic threat to Israel - only a blow to the ego of our leaders."

Ibrahim Abu Rahmah: lethal teargas fire

I saw a much longer and clearer clip on Al Jazeera last night. Up to the incident at least, this demonstration was completely non-violent. I don't know about the aftermath.

More information on the incident from Mondo:

The ISM notes that Abu Rahmeh is the 18th Palestinian killed by the Israel military while protesting the Wall. Here is a list. Although such a needless death is a tragedy at any age, please note how young some of those killed have been:

February 26th, 2004:
Muhammad Fadel Hashem Rian, age 25 and Zakaria Mahmoud ‘Eid Salem, age 28
Shot dead during a demonstration against the wall in Biddu.

February 26th, 2004:
Abdal Rahman Abu ‘Eid, age 17
Died of a heart attack after teargas projectiles were shot into his home during a demonstration against the wall in Biddu.

February 26th, 2004:
Muhammad Da’ud Saleh Badwan, age 21
Shot during a demonstration against the wall in Biddu. Muhammad died of his wounds on March 3rd 2004.

April 16th, 2004:
Hussein Mahmoud ‘Awad ‘Alian, age 17
Shot dead during a demonstration against the wall in Betunya.

April 18th, 2004:
Diaa’ A-Din ‘Abd al-Karim Ibrahim Abu ‘Eid, age 23
Shot dead during a demonstration against the wall in Biddu.

February 26th, 2004:
Abdal Rahman Abu ‘Eid, age 17
Died of a heart attack after teargas projectiles were shot into his home during a demonstration against the wall in Biddu.

February 26th, 2004:
Muhammad Da’ud Saleh Badwan, age 21
Shot during a demonstration against the wall in Biddu. Muhammad died of his wounds on March 3rd 2004.

April 16th, 2004:
Hussein Mahmoud ‘Awad ‘Alian, age 17
Shot dead during a demonstration against the wall in Betunya.

April 18th, 2004:
Diaa’ A-Din ‘Abd al-Karim Ibrahim Abu ‘Eid, age 23
Shot dead during a demonstration against the wall in Biddu.

April 18th, 2004:
Islam Hashem Rizik Zhahran, age 14
Shot during a demonstration against the wall in Deir Abu Mash’al. Islam died of his wounds April 28th.

February 15th, 2005:
‘Alaa’ Muhammad ‘Abd a-Rahman Khalil, age 14
Shot dead while throwing stones at an Israeli vehicle driven by private security guards near the wall in Betunya.

May 4th, 2005:
Jamal Jaber Ibrahim ‘Asi, age 15 and U’dai Mufid Mahmoud ‘Asi, age 14
Shot dead during a demonstration against the wall in Beit Liqya.

February 2nd, 2007:
Taha Muhammad Subhi al-Quljawi, age 16
Shot dead when he and two friends tried to cut the razor wire portion of the wall in the Qalandiya Refugee Camp. He was wounded in the thigh and died from loss of blood after remaining a long time in the field without being treated.

March 28th, 2007:
Muhammad Elias Mahmoud ‘Aweideh, age 15
Shot dead during a demonstration against the wall in Um a-Sharayet - Samiramis.

March 2nd, 2008:
Mahmoud Muhammad Ahmad Masalmeh, age 15
Shot when trying to cut the razor wire portion of the wall in Beit Awwa.

July 29th, 2008:
Ahmed Husan Youssef Mousa, age 10
Killed while he and several friends tried to remove coils of razor wire from land belonging to the village.

July 30th, 2008:
Youssef Ahmed Younes Amirah, age 17
Shot in the head with rubber coated bullets during a demonstration against the wall in Ni’lin. Youssef died of his wounds August 4th 2008.

December 28th, 2009:
Arafat Khawaja, age 22
Shot in the back with live ammunition in Ni’lin during a demonstration against Israel’s assault on Gaza.

December 28th, 2009:
Mohammad Khawaja, age 20:
Shot in the head with live ammunition during a demonstration in Ni’lin against Israel’s assault on Gaza. Mohammad died in the hospital on December 31st 2009.

Terry Glavin censors comments...

I have to get this off my chest, but I'll try to keep it short.

It's very rare for any of my comments to get deleted and I've only had this happen when commenting on extremist, ultra Far Right blogs. Which made getting deleted by an alleged centre Leftist an altogether more puzzling experience...

So who's Terry Glavin? Glavin's a Canadian writer, journalist and blogger (and signatory to the Euseless Manifestette) who recently shot to microfame by means of l'affaire Galloway, i.e. the latter being banned from Canada on 'security [cough!] grounds'. Terry spun a sophist's tale, along the lines of 'actually, Galloway was never banned; he just chose not to try and enter Canada'. Which is like saying that a black man who does not to enter a shop that has a 'No Blacks' sign wasn't effectively banned, he just 'chose not to enter'.

Terry believes Galloway's a fascist and opposes his trips to Gaza (Viva Palestina) on the grounds that Galloway supports a 'death cult' (Hamas). Never mind the fact that Galloway at every possible public event (as well as on his weekly TV shows 'Comment' and 'The Real Deal') clearly states that he doesn't support Hamas, that he wouldn't have voted for them (if he was Palestinian) but that there was no one else to hand over the Viva Palestina aid to.

Terry's piece of sophistry regarding the Canadian ban of Galloway went viral in the British Eustonite blogosphere, which is how I got to know about it and Terry's existence.

Cutting to the chase, here's the thread where Terry Glavin censored me.

I have the complete thread (deletions included) by means of cascaded email notifications (proof provided to anyone who asks politely).

The 9.05 AM comment of mine that was deleted read as follows:

Nice of the US et al to "pledge" millions worth of aid but it seems on the spending side all is not kosher:

Which explains why Clinton warned Israel against obstructing the flow of aid:

"US warns Israel about not allowing aid and pasta into Gaza. Sanctions to follow?"


Israel continues to block humanitarian aid from entering Gaza (April 15)

But thank the Lawd that US financial support for project Israel still reaches the Zionists unimpeded. By the billion... All to fight the 'death cult'.

And my response to "Vildechaye" at 12.44 PM was as follows:


"I find it more flabbergasting that anyone on the Left can support clerical fascism a la Hamas and Hezbollah"

Destroy both. Obliterate them. Kill or imprison each and every one of them. You have my blessing. Now we'll have peace, yes?

Of course not. If Israel wanted peace it would have stopped settlement activity a long, long time ago. Does settlement activity in any way, shape or form increase Israel's security? Of course not. So why does she do it? Because Israel hates Palestinians? No. BECAUSE, it wants to colonise all of Palestine, or at least as much as it can possibly get away with.

Of course there is no power differential at play here: the fact that Israel
has enough power/military might to do whatever she pleases has nothing to do with the fact she can colonise to her hearts content, right? Vildechai, if the Palestinians had less than a fifth of Israeli military capability, this conflict would have been over decades ago: it would have ended in a stalemate, mutual recognition and Israel along pre-1967 borders.

BTW, I'm not a Hamas or Hesbollah supporter, contrary to your hasty conclusions.

People like you love to forget that Hamas is a relatively recent player in this conflict and that the PLO recognised Israel and renounced violence. What did they get in return for that?

"But hey, you actually no a Jew who disagrees with the ban, so everything you say must be true."

Straw man. I used the Canadian Jewess and Mr Weinstein merely as examples. Do you deny that Canadian Zionists must be mightily pleased that such a well-known adversary of Zionism was barred from Canada? Do you really believe that such decisions are taken in a political void?

And BTW, there were plenty of Canadian Jewish protests at Israel's actions against Gaza too...

Watch this being deleted too.

I'm asking anyone, regardless of where they stand on the I-P quagmire: were these comments offensive or off-topic? Were they 'grafitti'? Do they 'lower the tone' (he asserted that in another one of his own 'no soup for you' comments, which he later deleted)? And what's with the soup?

Worth noting also that commenter "Vildechaye" (who is blogless, but I did slightly misspell his handle in my response) had in an earlier thread of Terry (another tirade against Galloway) urged him to delete my comments 'because he [me] is dangerously off the rails'. To his credit, at that time Terry declined the invitation and left the comments in place. Not so this time...

Terry Glavin is an unashamed Israel-Firster, positively obsessed with anti-Semitism (to a point where I assume there's a case of Semitophilia in there) and that's the only reason why he deleted these comments. 'No dissent please, I support Israel until Kingdom Comes'.

For a signatory to a Manifesto that claims: "But we are not zealots. For we embrace also the values of free enquiry, open dialogue and creative doubt, of care in judgement and a sense of the intractabilities of the world. We stand against all claims to a total — unquestionable or unquestioning — truth.", that (your deleting my bona fide comments) Terry, that is a bit rich.

So I'll only say this once, Terry: fuck you!