Saturday, February 27, 2010

Amnesty, Eric Who, Brown Sauce, Jonathan Hoffman and Nick Cohen...

Over at Harry's Place (a post by 'Gene', titled 'Eric Lee campaigns for AI board; says “Amnesty has lost its way”' of February 27th 2010, 5:11 pm) they're up in arms about Amnesty International's 'antisemitism' (if using their parlance they won't call a spade a spade then I will).

Eric Lee (Eric Who?) who incidentally [cough!] also runs for election to the board of AI explains it all here.

Eric's one of those faux-liberals who's all for exposing injustices in the world... as long as those injustices aren't committed by the Zionist Entity.

Now go back and have a look at Eric Lee's (thus far sparsely populated) blogroll (well, 'categories' list): it features Jonathan Hoffman (co-Vice chair of the British Zionist Federation) and Nick Cohen, Eustonite Zionist par excellence (not to mention David Aaronovitch and Christopher Hitchens).

From an article (that had previously appeared in CiFWatch) by Hoffman posted on Lee's site:

The good – no, wonderful – news is that Eric Lee wants to change things at Amnesty by standing for election to the Amnesty International UK Section Board.

And from the only article in the category 'Nick Cohen' in an article by... Nick Cohen:

Once men and women suffering at the hands of evil corporations like Megagreed could have turned to Amnesty International for help. Our heroine has been punished for speaking out, she is being denied the basic right to legal representation, surely Amnesty will act as a court of final appeal and give her a hearing? But our heroine can’t turn to Amnesty because in this instance Amnesty International IS the evil corporation.

So no conflict of interest here then: in the name of 'impartiality on Zionism' Lee seeks election to the board of AI and has the support of at least two avowed Zionists... Just when you think British Zionism can't get any more brain dead, they manage spendidly to do just that.

Support my campaign: 'Eric Lee for tea boy of the British Zionist Federation!'


The plot thickens: turns out Eric Lee is an Israeli who served in the IDF...

And then some: Eric Lee's support for Operation Cast Lead in an article on... Engage!

Don't worry Lee, if you're looking for support from Zionists, all this will stand you in very good stead!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Exodus from Malmo?

In a piece by 'Marcus' at Harry's Place (titled 'Exodus', February 23rd 2010, 9:23 pm but I don't link to the Brown Sauce) the contributor starts off with the contentious 'Jews are the canary in the coal mine' cliché before linking to a Torygraph piece on hate-crimes committed against Swedish Jews in aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, a piece that's worth reading.

A couple of paragraphs merit scrutiny though:
Malmo's Jews, however, do not just point the finger at bigoted Muslims and their fellow racists in the country's Neo-Nazi fringe. They also accuse Ilmar Reepalu, the Left-wing mayor who has been in power for 15 years, of failing to protect them.

Mr Reepalu, who is blamed for lax policing, is at the centre of a growing controversy for saying that what the Jews perceive as naked anti-Semitism is in fact just a sad, but understandable consequence of Israeli policy in the Middle East.

While his views are far from unusual on the European liberal-left, which is often accused of a pro-Palestinian bias, his Jewish critics say they encourage young Muslim hotheads to abuse and harass them.

It would be really interesting to see what Mayor Reepalu's precise words actually were. Does understanding that unacceptable attacks on Swedish Jews are at least in part ill-conceived 'revenge' hate-crimes following Israel's disproportionate attacks on Gaza in any way also imply that he condones such attacks? That saying what is the blindingly obvious somehow encourages these hotheads to carry out such crimes? It seems rather likely that Reepalu's likely accompanying condemnation of these incidents is being carefully left out of this report.

It then carries on with:
The future looks so bleak that by one estimate, around 30 Jewish families have already left for Stockholm, England or Israel, and more are preparing to go.

Hate crimes, mainly directed against Jews, doubled last year with Malmo's police recording 79 incidents and admitting that far more probably went unreported. As of yet, no direct attacks on people have been recorded but many Jews believe it is only a matter of time in the current climate.

In a city of 265,000 inhabitants, 79 reported antisemitic incidents, none of which direct attacks on people, in a year hardly sounds excessive to me or justifying of an 'exodus'.

Regarding their choice of exile to Britain or Israel (or Stockholm), according to Melanie Phillips the former really is the New Weimar, so perhaps not the best of choices. And in the latter they can become part of a reality that is indeed feeding some antisemitism: the antisemitism that caused them to seek exile in the first place...

Finally, how's this for nailing your colours to the mast:
For many of Malmo's white Swedish population, meanwhile, the racial problems are bewildering after years of liberal immigration policies.

They just can't help themselves, can they? 'Multiculturalism' needs to given a short stab, that same 'multiculturalism' that hosts also said Swedish Jews...

As always with Harry's Place, the Kommentariat provides most of the comic relief. In the top spot, badnewswade, with:
Fucking hell.

What is it with these fucking liberals? Now they’re running around being concerned about the civil rights of the EDL, from what I can gather. They just seem to want to stick up for bullies.
As has been said here before, this is essentially anhiallationism [sic] – drive the Jews out of the country and into Israel, then collaberate [sic] with the people who want to destroy Israel.


I haven't heard about 'liberals being concerned about the civil rights of the EDL', so I won't comment on that. But Wade's got bad news: those critical of Zionism have in place an 'annihilationist' ploy, involving driving Jews into exile in Israel (never mind Stockholm or Britain, Wade) and colluding with those who want to destroy Israel. Neither Mad Mel Phlipps nor Eichmann could have come up with such a dastardly simple yet effective plan... Fucking hell, Wade!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Superfluous Young Muslim Men

Electronic Intifada:

A fellow at Harvard University's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Martin Kramer, has called for "the West" to take measures to curb the births of Palestinians, a proposal that appears to meet the international legal definition of a call for genocide.

Kramer, who is also a fellow at the influential Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), made the call early this month in a speech at Israel's Herzliya conference, a video of which is posted on his blog ("Superfluous young men," 7 February 2010).

In the speech Kramer rejected common views that Islamist "radicalization" is caused by US policies such as support for Israel, or propping up despotic dictatorships, and stated that it was inherent in the demography of Muslim societies such as Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip. Too many children, he argued, leads to too many "superfluous young men" who then become violent radicals.

Kramer proposed that the number of Palestinian children born in the Gaza Strip should be deliberately curbed, and alleged that this would "happen faster if the West stops providing pro-natal subsidies to Palestinians with refugee status."

Due to the Israeli blockade, the vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza are now dependent on UN food aid. Neither the UN, nor any other agencies, provide Palestinians with specifically "pro-natal subsidies." Kramer appeared to be equating any humanitarian assistance at all with inducement for Palestinians to reproduce.

He added, "Israel's present sanctions on Gaza have a political aim -- undermine the Hamas regime -- but if they also break Gaza's runaway population growth, and there is some evidence that they have, that might begin to crack the culture of martyrdom which demands a constant supply of superfluous young men." This, he claimed, would be treating the issue of Islamic radicalization "at its root."

The 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, created in the wake of the Nazi holocaust, defines genocide to include measures "intended to prevent births within" a specific "national, ethnic, racial or religious group."

The Weatherhead Center at Harvard describes itself as "the largest international research center within Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences." In addition to his positions at Harvard and WINEP, Kramer is "president-designate" of Shalem College in Jerusalem, a far-right Zionist institution that aspires to be the "College of the Jewish People."

Pro-Israel speakers from the United States often participate in the the Herzliya conference, an influential annual gathering of Israel's political and military establishment. This year's conference was also addressed by The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and, in a first for a Palestinian official, by Salam Fayyad, appointed prime minister of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.

Kramer's call to prevent Palestinian births reflects a long-standing Israeli and Zionist concern about a so-called "demographic threat" to Israel, as Palestinians are on the verge of outnumbering Israeli Jews within Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories combined.

Such extreme racist views have been aired at the Herzliya conference in the past. In 2003, for example, Dr. Yitzhak Ravid, an Israeli government armaments expert, called on Israel to "implement a stringent policy of family planning in relation to its Muslim population," a reference to the 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Israel's latest PR: 'we don't ride camels'

Shit you couldn't make up if they paid you for it: to try and heal Israel's seriously tarnished image, Israeli citizens are now being asked to sing their country's praises when going abroad:

Rather than focusing on the passions surrounding the Israeli-Arab conflict, the campaign suggests — with a touch of humor — that people abroad believe that camels are a leading form of transportation in Israel, or that Israelis like to barbecue outside because they have no gas or electricity at home.

But foreign attitudes toward the country would seem to have little to do with any perception that Israel is primitive — the country's high-tech sector and military are widely recognized as among the world's most advanced — and far more to do with the intractable complexities of the Mideast conflict.

Israel is still suffering the fallout from its punishing military operation in Gazawar crimes accusations from a United Nations commission. And the new campaign kicked off precisely as Israel's Mossad was accused of killing a Hamas operative in Dubai, suggesting another way Israeli citizens might be serving their government abroad. last winter, including

Anat Weinstein-Berkovits, a spokesman for the newly created government ministry behind the project, said the goal is to urge Israelis to "tell about the beautiful Israel you know."

At least one Israeli gets it:

Dan Caspi, a communications professor at Ben Gurion University, said Israelis genuinely love their country and defend its actions abroad, even if they criticize those same actions bitterly at home.

But Caspi said the campaign is still unlikely to be effective.

He noted that after Israel captured territories from Egypt, Syria and Jordan in the 1967 Mideast War, Israel's then prime minister, Levi Eshkol, is reputed to have summoned international experts and asked them how to improve Israel's suddenly complicated image. They consulted for days and then gave Eshkol one recommendation: Get out of the territories.

Little, Caspi said, has changed since then.

"The government would be better advised to first put its house in order," he said.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Shooting fish in a barrel...

The Guardian:

The Israeli media marked the one-year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, the war on Gaza, almost as a celebration. The operation is recognised almost unanimously in Israel as a military triumph, a combat victory over one of Israel's deadliest enemies: Hamas.

As combat soldiers of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), we have serious doubts about this conclusion, primarily because hardly any combat against Hamas took place during the operation. As soon as the operation started, Hamas went underground.

Most casualties were inflicted on Palestinians by air strikes, artillery fire, and snipers from afar. Combat victory? Shooting fish in a barrel is more like it. Operation Cast Lead consisted essentially of bombing one of the most crowded places on earth, striking civilian targets such as homes, schools and mosques, and ultimately leaving a trail of more than 1,300 casualties, mostly civilians, over 300 of whom were children. As soldiers of the IDF reserves, we bow our heads in shame against this hideous attack on a civilian population.

As for the goals of the operation, these too are questionable. Allegedly, operation Cast Lead was intended to stop the firing of missiles by Hamas. But the Qassam missile problem had been solved before the operation started. The ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel in place from 19 June 2008 had resulted in a drastic reduction of missiles fired from Gaza from a few hundreds per month to about a dozen for a period of five months. It was Israel that never lived up to its end of the bargain to end the siege of Gaza, breached the ceasefire in November 2008 by attacking targets in the Strip, essentially ignored Hamas's proposal to renew the ceasefire, and eventually began operation Cast Lead a few weeks later.

The true goal of this operation was different from the one announced by Israeli officials. The real objective was not to stop the Qassams but to overthrow the Hamas government. As such, the operation failed. Hamas in Gaza is stronger than ever.

A year after this brutal war, a change of strategy is needed. Israel should commence immediate talks with Hamas, negotiating not only a ceasefire but also the "core issues" to be part of an end-of-conflict agreement. An open dialogue with Hamas is clearly in Israel's interest.

First, because Hamas was democratically elected in Gaza and has won the trust and respect of a significant part of the Palestinian people, anyone hoping to resolve this conflict will eventually need to bargain with the group.

Second, Hamas has proven capable of delivering peace and quiet to the citizens of southern Israel. As demonstrated before, Hamas has a strong hold on all organisations acting in Gaza and can enforce a truce.

Third, a prisoner exchange deal is our only chance to bring back the abducted IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit. In return, Israel will release hundreds of Hamas prisoners, out of the 8,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. Such a deal can have a pacifying influence on public opinion both in Israel and in Palestine and can be an important step towards reconciliation between the two peoples.

Hamas is currently Israel's enemy, but peace is made with enemies, not with friends. Hamas is also a powerful, pragmatic and well organised movement, possibly a future partner with whom Israel can "cut a deal". A reluctance to recognise Hamas as the party in charge in Gaza is a strategy that failed and needs to be replaced. A nation that is truly looking for peace cannot afford to ignore its partners.

• Arik Diamant and David Zonsheine are the founders of Courage to Refuse, a movement of Israeli reserve soldiers who refuse to serve in the occupied territories. In November 2009 they launched an initiative calling Israel to open a dialogue with Hamas

Saturday, February 13, 2010

As promoted yesterday on Press TV's 'Remember Palestine' segment, a new US activist website about Palestine (or what's left of it) has sprung into existence, so without further ado, here is Clearly a work in progress it's one of many sources of information that should help Americans see Israel for what it is and how their tax dollars are being squandered (to the tune of about USD 3 Billion per year!) to support a military Occupation and Apartheid system of oppression of a People that has a fairer claim on indigenousness than the people at whose hands they suffer.

And in this context it's useful to remind Americans of an older, more complete resource of the Israel/Palestine conflict, the aptly named If Americans Knew website.

And here's Norman Finkelstein on his new book on Gaza, This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion:

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Only Democracy...

Email alert from Jewish Voice for Peace:

Midnight arrests. Defamation of human rights organizations. Expulsion of journalists. Human rights demonstrations broken up with violence. Censored films. Confiscated laptops.

That's just a fraction of the reality on the ground in Israel/Palestine that stands in contrast to the official story about 'the only democracy in the Middle East.'

That's the story we hear when AIPAC tries to justify the billions of dollars in military aid Israel receives. That's the story many of us grew up with.

But something is happening in Israel. The success of the Palestinian nonviolent resistance movement has led to a crackdown on Palestinians and those who support them that is unlike anything we've seen before.

In fact, on a recent trip to Israel/Palestine, activists on the ground who we work with said they needed our help. They said: "Please help us get the word out. The crackdown is growing worse by the day, yet most of what happens is invisible to the media, policymakers, and individuals. We need you to make these stories visible so we can work together to stop what's happening."

That's why we're launching The Only Democracy?
today. Jewish Voice for Peace members wanted there to be one place where anyone in the world who cares about the struggle for equality and democracy in Israel/Palestine could read about and support the true heroes of today. The recent attacks by the right-wing group Im Tirtzu on the New Israel Fund are merely the tip of the iceberg.

Visit The Only Democracy? and read about incidents, many from just the last few days:

If you appreciate this effort and want to help - share your favorite stories using Facebook, Twitter, and by emailing them to friends and lists. And of course, by forwarding this message.

Thank you,

Jesse, Cecilie, Rebecca, Carol, Stefanie, Sydney and the rest of JVP

PS: You can make a tax deductible contribution to support The Only Democracy?

Bonus video:

The world over, give a kid a gun, two stripes and some 'authority' and it turns into a fascist slimeball (video from B'Selem - H/T Jewbonics):

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The High Life and Low Life in Palestine...

Tunnel youth in Gaza:

Hat tip and approx. transcript of the Hebrew captions: Jewbonics.

Meanwhile, about 50 miles away (Tel Aviv) Israel's modern sirens living la vida loca:

Monday, February 08, 2010

The PLOisation of Hamas...

The Oppressors/Occupiers (Israel/US/West) 'we don't talk to terrorists' stance on Hamas, enforced by its collective punishment of, and devastating consequences for the people and infrastructure of Gaza, continues unabated, even though the Islamic Resistance movement has accepted the establishment of a Palestinian State on 1967 borders (including E.J'sem) for about three years now. Khaled Meshal stated that again as publicly as can be in early May in an interview with one of the largest newspapers in the world.

Ismail Haniyeh early February 2010:

Democratically-elected Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh says Israel must recognize the rights of the Palestinian people before asking for recognition.

"They have to recognize us first, the right of the Palestinian people, we are the victims. Hamas supports the establishment of a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders," Haniyeh said on Wednesday.

Palestinians want their future state based on borders before the Israeli occupation of June 1967, as recognized by the international community, with its capital in East Jerusalem (Al-Quds), said the senior Hamas member.

Haniyeh also pointed out that the Islamic Resistance Movement is ready for dialogue with the international community, including the United States and the European Union.

"Hamas is ready for dialogue with the world, international community, the US, the Middle East Quartet and the Europeans," he said.

Haniyeh said he was determined to "establish Palestinian reconciliation and to have fair elections... in all Palestinian homes, including Jerusalem (Al-Quds)."

What more excuses do the Oppressors/Occupiers and their aiders/abettors have to continue the siege of Gaza and to refuse to enter into dialogue with Hamas? Cynics would argue that Israel and her backers are more interested in the status quo: conflict management rather than conflict resolution; peace process rather than actual peace...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The apartheid will end when Israelis have to face its cost

Tony Karon in The nation.

The former US president Jimmy Carter set off a firestorm in 2006 when he said that Israel would have to choose between maintaining an apartheid occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and a two-state peace agreement with the Palestinians. That Mr Carter brokered Israel’s most important peace treaty with an Arab country was immaterial; he was branded an enemy of Israel, an anti-Semite and even a Holocaust-denier.

Israel’s friends in the US reacted out of instinct, knowing that an association with apartheid – South Africa’s erstwhile system of racial oppression – would bring international condemnation and isolation. But there was no word of protest from that quarter last week when Israel’s defence minister said what Mr Carter had. “If, and as long as between the Jordan (River) and the (Mediterranean) Sea there is only one political entity, named Israel, it will end up being either non-Jewish or non-democratic,” warned Ehud Barak, speaking at Israel’s annual Herzliya security conference. “If the Palestinians vote in elections it is a binational state and if they don’t vote it is an apartheid state.”

Which, of course, is exactly what Mr Carter was arguing. The former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert warned in November 2007 that without a two-state solution, Israel would “face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights”, which it would be unable to win because American Jews would not support a state that denies voting rights to all of its subjects.

Mr Olmert and Mr Barak, of course, raised the spectre of “apartheid” to remind Israelis that they could face international isolation if they remain indifferent to the fate of the Palestinians. Sometimes, such warnings from Israelis come as if attached to a demographic time-bomb – the idea that once Palestinians become a majority of the population between the Jordan River and the sea, Israel will be left in an apartheid situation. But apartheid is a qualitative, not a quantitative notion: it’s the denial of basic democratic rights to a whole category of people, regardless of their numerical strength, that defines apartheid.
While it may have been couched as a warning about the future, Mr Barak’s statement was actually a confession of the present state of affairs: one state has controlled the territory between the Jordan and the Mediterranean since 1967, and that state denies the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza the right to vote for the government that rules them. That is the essence of apartheid.

The rubric of “occupation” actually serves as a convenient fiction for Israel because it suggests a temporary condition. But at home, the Israelis have stopped pretending that their presence in the West Bank is temporary. They plan to keep major settlement blocs, illegal under the rules of occupation as defined by the Geneva Convention, in the Jordan Valley, East Jerusalem and so on. For Israelis, there is no distinction in lifestyle or access between living in the West Bank and living inside Israel’s 1967 borders – the settlements are now little more than an extension of Israeli suburbia.

Equally fictitious is the notion that there is a “peace” in the works that will change the situation. Israel’s leaders are not prepared to offer a credible Palestinian state, and they are under no pressure, domestically or internationally, to do so. Israeli public opinion has soured on the need for peace with the Palestinians, bottled up in Gaza and behind a security wall in the West Bank. Why risk provoking a civil war with militant settlers who are the backbone of the Israeli army and threaten violence to hang onto the West Bank? In the old days, Yitzhak Rabin would say that Israel would “pursue peace as if terror did not exist and fight terror as if peace did not exist”. For today’s Israelis, why pursue peace if terror has been contained?

By opening the peace process (but never concluding it) Israel found itself increasingly integrated in a global society with Europe and the US. It’s football teams play in European leagues; its supermodels grace the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition; its hi-tech entrepreneurs are key players in the digital marketplace. Most Israelis never see Palestinians, except during stints in the military. The “demographic” threat is an abstraction.

It should come as little surprise that Israelis are cool towards Mr Obama’s peace effort: Israel’s cost-benefit analysis weighs against pursuing a peace agreement that carries risk. There are no consequences for maintaining the status quo. Unless Mr Obama and others can change that cost-benefit analysis, they’re wasting their time.

It wasn’t a moral epiphany that prompted Rabin to embrace the Oslo peace process; it was his reading of the geopolitical situation at the end of the Gulf War, and the assumption that Israel could not rely on unconditional US support. But Mr Sharon and Mr Netanyahu subsequently proved that Israel can, in fact, count on US support without concluding a two-state peace – it simply must go through the motions of a “peace process”.

The apartheid fear for Israeli leaders is not of the moral turpitude of maintaining such a system – which they already do – it’s a fear of this being recognised for what it is.

Mr Barak’s recent confession came in the same week that South Africa celebrated the 20th anniversary of its former president FW de Klerk’s announcement that he would free Nelson Mandela and negotiate a political settlement. Like Rabin, de Klerk was motivated by a strategic calculus. Sanctions were beginning to bite, and with the Cold War all but over the US government made clear that they would not come to de Klerk’s aid. Maintaining apartheid would leave the regime isolated and increasingly impoverished. The cost of maintaining the status quo offset the risks of heading down the uncertain road of peace.

The Israelis are not going to dismantle what Mr Barak has essentially admitted is an apartheid system unless the consequences of maintaining it become prohibitive. As long as they can count on unconditional support in the West, the Israelis will go through the motions but maintain the status quo.

The optimist might even read Mr Barak’s “apartheid” admission as a cry for help: certainly, those Israeli leaders serious about a two-state solution are unlikely to make any headway unless they can demonstrate to their own people that the cost of maintaining the status quo have become too high. But they can only do this if Mr Obama shows Israelis the consequences.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Israeli McCarthyism, circa 2010

Hagai El-Ad in Coteret:

The deliberations in the Knesset yesterday (February 3 2010) breathed new life into Joseph McCarthy’s legacy. After a week of incitement against the New Israel Fund (NIF) and its human rights grantees, the nonsense reached parliament. And as if carefully reading the instructions for would-be new McCarthys (“McCarthysm is the politically motivated practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence”), here’s how Israel’s parliament deliberated with the upmost seriousness the “Data transfer for the Goldstone Report by the NIF and lefty organizations”. The discussion did not only demonstrate utter disregard to facts, it actually defied common sense. Here’s an eclectic tasting-menu from yet another day in the ongoing project of dismantling Israel’s democracy [cough! My edit].

MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi – New National Religious Party) begun with a short introduction to the concept of treason: “My friends the members of the Knesset. Treason was defined as a crime so to prevent soldiers and civilians from providing ammunition to the enemy to destroy Israel. That’s treason… The Goldstone Report, I think, is the harshest report issued by the UN against Israel, and Israel, in my opinion, wall to wall, is trying to undermine the report, refute the lies, the libel presented there. And we realize that we are fighting against a report that threatens us as much as war. Is nothing less than war. It gives legitimacy to fuel Israel’s worst enemies to fight us. And if there’s a premium mitzvah, it’s the commandment to undermine and erase the Goldstone Report. But what do we discover? That within us, among citizens of our country, from [Israeli] organizations, they feed, provide, give information, help falsification of facts, a huge amount, an amazing percentage, to support the Goldstone Report. So you ask me – does it constitute treason according to criminal law? Probably not. You ask me if it constitutes moral treason? Yes and yes.”

MK Danny Danon (Likud) presented the concept of truth: “The question is very simple and we will know the answer within a few months. If these organizations did not give false information to the Goldstone Report – then all the fuss is for nothing. I’d be wasting precious time of the Israeli Knesset. But if they indeed passed false information to Israel’s enemies – if they fed them false data – we need to say: enough.”

This suggests the following philosophical question: what is a worse crime – feeding one’s enemies with false data, or with real one? Or, putting the sarcasm aside for a moment: how is MK Danon going to find out if the questions raised with regard to the IDF’s conduct during Cast Lead are true or false, if there won’t be any credible investigation into Cast Lead?

MK Chaim Amsellem (Shas) seemed terrified, while continuing to demonize: “Jewish and Israeli people, with a clear agenda that is very specific, their voice sounds constantly, on all channels… they get a stage everywhere, are professors at universities, serve in public bodies; each report they publish and every fragment of a press release that they issue receives disproportional headlines and becomes the talk of the day – without almost having anything to really discuss.” Terrifying indeed! Perhaps these dangerous individuals should somehow be silenced? But it gets even more terrifying. Something truly sinister is lurking in the dark, but the courageous defenders of Israel will soon expose it. Read on.

Environment Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) seemed reassuring with his kind words, that there’s no suspicion of anti-Semitism involved: “I do not mean, in any case, at least in my eyes, to go to each and every donor to the NIF and say: you are actually a partner to anti-Semitism and to deliberately harming Israel”. Thank you minister! But – then again – one can never be too careful, right? It might be anti-Semitism after all: “We need to make sure that there’s no campaign of concealment, that under the guise of social programming for human rights they are actually acting in an anti-Semitic campaign to deny the right to self-determination of the Jewish people.”

So: is it anti-Semitism or not? Erdan helps us solve the dilemma: “Those organizations, companies and friends, are part of the global campaign of radical, extremist Islam, in its fight against the free West…” One has to wonder – is Erdan the new local prophet of neoconservatism?

MK Nissim Zeev (Shas) demonstrated copywriting skills when renaming NIF the “New Ishmael Fund”. MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) demonstrated talent in his rebuttal of this never ending nonsense: “You can perform a nation-wide rectoscopy to everyone you wish.”

MK Arie Eldad (Ihud Leumi), a physician who opted not to discuss proctology in his remarks, wrapped things up by bringing us back to our key original theme, treason: “I want to explain to you why we need to submit this topic to the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee — since this is a health issue. There’s the issue of noise. The hierarchy of noises I know begins with a birdsong, chamber orchestra, rock band, to the sound of a Merkava tank. The next level of noise is that produced in these Knesset chambers when catching the Arabs and the Israeli left performing treason.”

MK Eldad seemed to be rejoicing in the sound of catching those lefty, Arab traitors. I was hearing noises too – but found no reason for joy. Catching traitors? I don’t think so. The sounds I was hearing were those of Senator Joseph McCarthy grinning at us from the past, rising from his grave. The noises of the undoing of a democracy.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Kangaroo hopping around with an empty pouch...

George Mitchell, if he had an ounce of integrity, would resign and spill the beans on the 'Israeli - Palestinian peace process' by stating openly that nothing good can come of it in its current (and almost eternal) guise. How can the US and thus Mitchell, be an honest broker in the 'peace process' when that country is and has been Israel's staunchest ally for about four decades now and is contributing constantly to the already gigantic power differential between the 'negotiating partners'? Mitchell, inadvertently perhaps (but he's not stupid either), really just helps sustaining Israel's addiction to the 'process' and the Occupation.

Mitchell, if he wanted to do the right thing, would commit political suicide and tell the world what it doesn't want to hear: that without outside help the best (and really only) thing the Palestinians can do is show steadfastedness, hang in there for dear life and resists Israel's 'slow transfer' policies. But until someone comes to their rescue, the Zionist Colonial machine will continue to rule over all of Palestine and will continue to build, brick by brick, settlement by settlement, Greater Israel.

Mitchell, of whom many expected far too much on the grounds of his success in N. Ireland (a situation that's comparable to I/P is some respects but completely incomparable in others) has essentially become one of Zionism's collaborators.

Here's Uri Avnery about the Kangaroo Mitchell:

He hops here and he hops there. Hops to Jerusalem and hops to Ramallah, Damascus, Beirut, Amman (but, God forbid, not to Gaza, because somebody may not like it). Hops, hops, but doesn’t take anything out of his pouch, because the pouch is empty.

So why does he do it? After all, he could stay at home, raise roses or play with his grandchildren.

This compulsive traveling reveals a grain of chutzpah. If he has nothing to offer, why waste the time of politicians and media people? Why burn airplane fuel and damage the environment?

THE DECLARED aim of Mitchell is to “get the peace process going again”. How? “Get the two sides to return to the negotiating table”.

There is a naïve American belief that all the problems of the world could be solved if only the parties would sit down at the table and talk. When reasonable people talk to each other, they will eventually arrive at a solution.

The trouble with this is that the people responsible for the fate of nations are not, in general, reasonable people. They are politicians with passions and prejudices and constituencies, who are driven by the mood of the masses. When one is dealing with a 130-year old conflict, the naïve belief in the value of talk borders on folly.

Decades of experience indicate that negotiations are useless if one of the parties is not interested in an agreement. Worse: negotiations can actually cause damage when one of the parties uses them to waste time while creating a false impression of progress towards peace.

In our conflict, peace negotiations have become a substitute for peace, a means to obstruct peace. They are an instrument used by successive Israeli governments to gain time – time to enlarge the settlements and entrench the occupation.

(In an interview with Haaretz published yesterday, Ehud Barak accused the “left” in general, and Gush Shalom and Peace Now in particular, of not supporting Netanyahu’s call for negotiations. He got close to accusing us of treason.)

Anyone who now proposes negotiations “without prior conditions” is collaborating with the Netanyahu-Barak-Lieberman government in a ploy to sabotage the chances of peace. Indeed, Mitchell has become – perhaps unwittingly – such a collaborator. When he exerts pressure on Mahmoud Abbas “to come back to the negotiating table”, he is playing the game of Netanyahu, who presents himself as the great peace-lover. Abbas is being pictured as a man who has “climbed a high tree and doesn’t know how to get down again”. There is no occupation, no ongoing settlement activity, no Judaization of East Jerusalem. The only problem is to get a ladder. A ladder for Abbas!

All this for what? What is the kangaroo hopping for? It’s all to help Obama, who is thirsting for a political achievement like a man in the desert thirsting for water. The start of negotiations, however meaningless, would be presented as a great diplomatic success.

THE OTHER day, Obama himself made a rare gesture: the President of the United States of America declared publicly that he had made a mistake and apologized for it. He admitted that he had not properly understood the difficulties involved in the restarting of the peace process.

Everybody praised the President. Such a courageous leader! Such nobility!

To which I would add: And such chutzpah!

Here comes the most powerful leader in the world and says: I was wrong. I did not understand. I have failed. For a whole year I have not achieved any progress at all towards a solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Look how honest I am! Look how ready I am to admit mistakes!

That is chutzpah. That is chutzpah, because a whole year was lost due to this “mistake”, a whole year in which 1.5 million human beings in Gaza, men, women and children, have been suffering utter destitution, many of them without sufficient food, many of them without shelter in the cold and in rain. A whole year in which more than a hundred Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem were demolished while new Jewish housing projects sprang up at a crazy pace. A whole year in which settlements in the West Bank were enlarged, apartheid roads were built and pogroms, under the “price tag” slogan, were carried out.

So, with all due respect, Mr. President, the word “mistake” hardly suffices.