Monday, April 30, 2012

Fun with ‘Sarah AB’ (Brown Sauce)!

Her Fragrance has another hooter up. Over at the ‘leftish’ equivalent of the EDL’s newsletter, a well meaning but obviously not-too-smart Palestinian by the name of Mahmoud Jabari has been wheeled out. Mahmoud has qualities that the Brown Sauce appreciates in brownish Gentiles, you see. Not only is he dumb enough to understand that six says in Israeli detention for doing N-O-T-H-I-N-G was hunky dory because ”it was a tricky situation” but more usefully he "is most certainly willing to criticise many Palestinian actions in the strongest terms”.

Funnily enough, criticising many Israeli actions in the strongest terms is decidedly off the menu of that dog’s dinner called ‘Harry’s Place’ (hurry up, Harry and cram some more racism in!)

As always, more hilarity is provided by Harry’s sewage-like appendages, the ‘comments’ thread. High up ‘Dvar Dea’ (an Israeli Zionist, no doubt, going by his blog) who proclaims unflinchingly: “I’ve listened to him. I am not convinced he means to do well. I will continue to listen to him” (I guess the latter’s comforting). Not one of the Tribe, Dvar?

Sarah, how do you sleep at night, surely it can’t just be the Horlicks? Share that secret recipe with all those insomniacs out there and truly do some good for once!

Oh, little update, chimes in uberharryite, the ‘liberal’ Gene Zitver, in the comments:

Thanks for that, Sarah. Mahmoud is a very impressive young man. I hope some of his attitude reflects that of other young Palestinians and seeps into the Palestinian political leadership.

It’s a sad sign of the times that some here doubt his sincerity.
About Israel's wonderfully fascistoid leadership? Mum. 

Continuum: Israel 1948 to 2012

I’ve always believed Israel’s path from 1948 to today is essentially one long uninterrupted landgrab. Gideon Levy articulates it better than I ever could.

Nothing has changed in Israel since 1948 The attitude of the state and its institutions to this act of theft in Samaria sends a single, clear message to Israelis and the world: We will never stop this crushing, ultranationalist melody - then as now, in 1948 and in 2012.

By Gideon Levy (Ha'aretz)

After we are done being appropriately and understandably shocked by the Ulpana neighborhood affair, by the cabinet's scandalous conduct, the absolute impotence of its attorney general and the unthinkable position of the State Attorney's Office, which volunteered its services in support of breaking the law; after we have finished reeling from the depiction of land swindlers as "normative people" and from the undermining of the High Court of Justice, we must ask: How is this anything other than business as usual in the State of Israel? 

The generation of 1948 is disappearing, but its spirit has never diminished. In 1948, new immigrants were brought straight from the ships into abandoned Palestinian homes with pots of food still simmering in the kitchen, and no one asked too many questions. In 2012, the Israeli government is trying to whitewash the theft of Palestinian lands, all the while scorning the law. A single straight line - a single, perpetual mode of conduct - runs from 1948 to 2012: Palestinian property is ownerless, always abandoned property, even when this is demonstrably not the case, and Israeli Jews are free to do whatever they want with it. It was catch-as-catch-can with regard to Palestinian property in 1948, and it's catch-as-catch-can in 2012, in a never-ending game. Now, as then, the arrogation is authorized and sanctioned. Now, as then, a crime is a crime.

Still, there is a difference between 1948 and 2012. The expulsion and flight of the Palestinians, the usurpation of property and the prevention of the refugees' return in 1948 were the result of Israel's War of Independence. But 64 years later, the state is nearly a superpower, it holds sovereignty, yet it continues to wield control using the same corrupt means, as if it were still battling for its independence. What was arguably unavoidable in 1948 is nothing more than the gratification of the land lust of a group of powerful Israelis whose greed has the backing of the state. What was arguably a war crime then is now a violation and distortion of the laws of the state. What was at the time accepted by most of the world's nations is today accepted by none.

Back then, the state claimed various and sundry legal justifications such as "absentee property," and even the grotesque word pairing "present absentees" (nokhehim nifkadim ); now the talk is of "state lands" and "survey lands" - preposterous when the subject is occupied land. To this we can add the grabbing of private land and its transfer to settlers merely because they managed to cleverly take control of it. In the Israeli Wild East, as in the American Wild West.

In between, the state also expropriated thousands of dunams of Arab land - always Arab land - over the years, using various pretexts. In Israel circa 2012, when Jews go to live in the Negev it is "pioneering," "making the desert bloom." Bedouin settlements, even on their own land, is considered "appropriation," "a national threat." What has changed?

Nothing has changed since 1948. The expulsions and ethnic cleansings of 1948 would have been forgiven and forgotten had they ended then, in 1948. But 1948 is here, between the buildings of Ulpana in Beit El and the Jordan Valley, which Israel seeks to cleanse, slowly and gradually. Thus it is impossible to forgive and forget the sins of 1948. Were Israel to declare today: Injustice was done, it was the result of a war waged by the Arabs, but since then the state has done everything possible to end the injustice and perhaps also to atone for it, because then only a few people thought to question its legitimacy. But when the constant appropriation of dunam after (privately owned ) dunam never ceases, when messianic faith dictates that Jews have the exclusive right to this land, the international delegitimization campaign against Israel is understandable.

The homes of Ulpana themselves, more than all the hostile editorials, flotillas and "flytillas," are the hothouse of Israel's delegitimization. The attitude of the state and its institutions to this act of theft in Samaria sends a single, clear message to Israelis and the world: We will never stop this crushing, ultranationalist melody - then as now, in 1948 and in 2012.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

PC Plod comes to the defence of plucky little Israel!

Or as Levi9909 (Jews sans Frontieres) put it: “Seen a Palestine Flag? Call the police!” See this little story from Inside Left

I wouldn't normally blog about work related stuff, but since this video [see below – it’s hilarious] has achieved mini-viral status I thought I'd let people know the story behind it.

After the Israeli air attacks on Gaza in December 2008 / January 2009 the people at my workplace all agreed that we should use our window on Fawcett Road to show our outrage - and our solidarity with the Palestinian people. In the grand scheme of things it's not exactly the greatest act of resistance, but no matter how small a gesture, it felt that we were at least doing something.  

The window remained unchanged from the picture above until May 2010 when Israeli commandos boarded a flotilla of ships carrying aid to Palestine, gunning down nine activists in the process. At that point we added the words "ISRAEL = TERROR STATE" at the bottom of the window display. It wasn't long before we had a visit from the local Community Wardens - old bill wannabes - demanding to know when we planned on removing the protest as they feared it might be contentious. We explained, patiently and at great length, that this was a legitimate political comment, proven by recent Israeli actions. We assured them that it was in no way a comment on a particular faith and pointed out that a number of us had spent years actively fighting racism and fascism in the city. Not surprisingly we refused to remove either the flags or the words from the window.

By September we were visited by another police officer - the one in the video - who opened his "little chat" with the fantastic "I have to acknowledge that my knowledge of this is... quite limited"! Indeed. Perhaps this explains why he didn't feel like sticking around to debate the issue. His comment that they had received two complaints, "One from a Jewish woman, and one from a member of the public" was as absurd as it was, I believe, untrue. Can you be a Jewish woman and not a member of the public?

The whole sorry saga came to a head last year when two uniformed officers came to our door, threatening us with arrest unless we took down the 'offensive' material. They claimed that we were in contravention of section 4a of the 1986 Public Order Act - intentionally causing alarm, distress and harassment (racially aggravated). We shut the door in their face, saying that we would think about it. As the two officers stood outside talking about how they would "break the door down" (because, they said, "the offence is on the inside"), we contacted the local Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and got some legal advice. Eventually the case was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service who said that there was no case! According to the sergeant in charge of the 'investigation' they had received a complaint from a local (unnamed) councillor who objected to our window! The funniest part was that the sergeant seemed thoroughly pissed off that he was being played by a politician.

Nobody has ever knocked our door to complain about the window, though plenty of people have stopped to have their picture taken next to it. On one occasion a young man asked me to come outside and talk to his family about what had motivated us to demonstrate in such a way. He was origianlly from the West Bank, though had come to the UK to study in London. For the first time he had managed to get his family across to this country and they had, on a whim, driven to Portsmouth, just to see the sea. As we talked I looked at his mother, tears rolling down her face. In her seventies she had travelled thousands of miles from home and here, in the middle of wherever, was a flag proudly proclaiming solidarity with the Palestinians. It was an immensely moving experience.

It says a lot that, despite support from successive American administrations, the wider international community and the right wing media, Zionists feel so threatened by a single protest in a single window in sleepy Portsmouth. To this day we still get the occasional visit from the police trying to throw their weight around. But the protest remains. FREE PALESTINE!