Saturday, August 29, 2009

Washington is incapable of being fair and balanced

The Israel Lobby co-author Steve Walt argues that the US needs to understand that its message is getting confused for many good reasons (killing civilians is always so messy):

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, has reportedly penned a “searing critique” of efforts to improve U.S. relations with the Muslim world via “strategic communication.” According to the New York Times, Mullen argues that “we need to worry a lot less about how to communicate our actions and much more about what our actions communicate.”

Sounds right to me. Like most great powers, and especially dominant ones, the United States tends to believe that its motives are pure, that its noble aims are apparent to all, and that other peoples ought to be grateful for its self-less assistance. (Never mind that U.S. foreign policy is mostly driven by perceived self-interest, even if we don’t like to admit it to ourselves). If people overseas are mad at us, this must be due to a some sort of misunderstanding. If we just explained it to them a little better, they would support whatever it is we are doing, even if it involves reorganizing their way of life, helping select who runs their country, supporting various allies even when they are mis-behaving, or sending Predators or cruise missiles from afar to blow up suspected terrorist sites on their soil. And if anti-Americanism isn’t just a misunderstanding, it is because some misguided people “hate our values.” Whatever it is, it’s never our fault.

H/T Anthony Loewenstein

Friday, August 28, 2009

Israel - Palestine: a short reading list

By Ira Glunts - Mondoweiss

Israel’s Border Wars by Benny Morris, covers the seven-year period after the 1948 War, when the Jewish State fought to keep thousands of mostly unarmed Palestinians from returning to their homes and lands. The book also documents the war between the newly formed Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the nascent Palestinian armed resistance movement then based in neighboring Jordan and Egypt. Border Wars is meticulously researched, using documents from government archives to present a most powerful argument refuting the myth of the of the IDF as "the world’s most moral army." This book is particular meaningful to me, since it was instrumental in opening the eyes of this American Jew who once volunteered for a summer with the IDF. Do not allow Morris’s recent political writings to dissuade you from reading this. You will not see Morris the right-wing polemicist here, I promise. It will make you wonder about what happened to him.

Walid Khalidi, a notable Palestinian historian and academic, was born in Jerusalem in 1925. He taught at Oxford, Harvard and the American University of Beirut. Professor Khalidi created All That Remains, a large format book of over 600 pages, with the assistance of 30 researchers. The volume is a compendium of information on more than 400 Palestinian villages that were destroyed or abandoned as a result of the 1948 War (al-Nakba). All That Remains contains photographs and descriptions of how these sites appeared in the early 90s, when the book was first published. It is a haunting and memorable document which was the inspiration for

Tom Segev is my favorite Israeli historian. One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate is a history of the Jews, Palestinians and the British, in Mandate Palestine. The book employs diaries, letters, and memoirs of citizens not usually included in strictly political or military histories, to enhance this complex story of the early years of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Among the fascinating portraits which run through this history are those of Khalil al-Sakakini, the Palestinian educator and writer, and the British soldier and religious Zionist (later to be Israeli icon) Charles Orde Wingate. As in all of Segev’s books, the historical realities are presented in a nuanced, complex and original manner that humanizes the many protagonists.

Lords of the Land by the Ha’aretz journalist Akiva Eldar and the Israeli historian Idith Zertal is the only comprehensive history of the Israeli settler movement. It is an indispensable tome for anyone who wanting to understand how Israel could move half a million settlers into the West Bank in violation of international and often Israeli law. It documents the clandestine complicity of Israeli politicians such as Simon Peres and Yigal Allon who are not generally associated with the settlers.

Once Upon A Country is the autobiography of Sari Nusseibeh, a scion of an elite clan who can trace his family roots in Jerusalem back to the Middle Ages. Nusseibeh is an Oxford-educated academic who presently serves as the President of al-Quds University. He has spent a lifetime involved in Palestinian politics and been associated with such notable political figures as Yasser Arafat, Faisal Husseini and Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad). This book provides an interesting personal perspective on 40 years of conflict with Israel, as well as a fascinating glimpse into Jerusalem upper class society.

The Israel Lobby by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt is probably the best-known work included here. It is essential reading for those who want to understand why it is so difficult for the United States government to act in a rational manner when dealing with the Jewish state. It is not ignorant, misinformed or anti-Semitic as many of Professor Walt’s colleagues at Harvard so vociferously and ludicrously proclaimed, thus proving the authors’ main claim: There are some powerful people in the U.S. who will do or say anything to promote Israeli interests. This courageous book has changed the American discourse about Israel in a significant way.

And speaking of the Israel lobby, I would like to mention Risa Miller’s debut novel Welcome To Heavenly Heights, which is a fictional glorification of the settler movement. It won a PEN award, was reviewed widely, including in The New York Times, and was praised on the covers by the well-regarded writers Elinor Lipman and James Carroll. All this despite the fact that Heavenly Heights is a not very well-written disjointed collection of a number of short sketches previous published separately in a magazine. This racist novel which idealizes the HebronIsrael. Even though this work of hyper-Zionist hate fiction is an outlier on this list, I include it since the book never received the notoriety and derision it richly deserves. settlers, presents rebuilding the temple on the current site of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosques as a noble idea. The book was lauded as a moving and sensitive portrayal of religious American Jews seeking fulfillment in

Hillel Cohen has written a damning book detailing the use of the Israeli security forces to suppress the civil liberties and cultural expression of citizens of Palestinian descent who the state thinks of as a potential fifth column and a security risk. Good Arabs describes the deep penetration of intelligence agencies into Palestinian society and its extensive use of Palestinian collaborators to intimidate and control the Arab population. Although the book is mostly about the military government imposed upon the Palestinian citizens of Israel until 1966, it contains much material relevant to the present-day. It is a real eye-opener.

Notes on availability: Good Arabs is due to be available in English translation in January 10, 2010. All the other books are in print and easily available except for Israel’s Border Wars. It is out-of-print and sold at exorbitant prices on the used book sites. However, the book can be readily obtained via the interlibrary loan service at any library. Used copies of Heavenly Heights are being sold at for one cent which in some sense, reflects its value. Risa Miller’s second book is due out in January. It is difficult to imagine how she will follow her "remarkable" debut.

List of the Books in the Order Mentioned
With Titles Linked to Amazon*

Israel’s Border Wars, 1949-1956: Arab Infiltration, Israeli Retaliation, and the Countdown to the Suez War, Morris, Benny, Oxford, 1997, 488 pps., Soft cover.

All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948, Khalidi, Walid, editor, Institute for Palestinian Studies, 2006, reprint of the 1992 hardcover edition, 636 pps., Soft cover. Available in English and Arabic at the for $46 or at for $49.

One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate, Segev, Tom, Holt Paperbacks, 2001, (trans. from Hebrew) 624 pps, Soft cover.

Lords of the Land: The War Over Israel’s Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007, Eldar, Akiva and Zertal, Idith, Nation Books, 2009, reprint ed., (trans. from Hebrew) 576 pps., Soft cover.

Once Upon A Country: A Palestinian Life, Nusseibeh, Sari, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2007, 542 pps., Hardcover.

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, Mearsheimer, John and Walt, Stephen, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008, 496 pps., Soft cover.

Welcome to Heavenly Heights, Miller, Risa, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2004, 240 pps. Soft cover. (Award winning pro-settler literature.)

Good Arabs: The Israeli Security Agencies and the Israeli Arabs, 1948-1967, University of California, Cohen, Hillel, Due out Jan. 2010, (trans. from Hebrew) 272 pps., Hardcover.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Zionist Pioneer Renounces Zionism

Article by Helena Cobban.

And hat tip to umkahlil.

I just learned, from an open letter published by Uri Avnery, that [Dov] Yermiya, recently renounced the ideology and practice of Zionism with these stirring words:

“I, a 95 year old Sabra (native born Israeli Jew), who has plowed its fields, planted trees, built a house and fathered sons, grandsons and great-grandsons, and also shed his blood in the battle for the founding of the State of Israel,

“Declare herewith that I renounce my belief in the Zionism which has failed, that I shall not be loyal to the Jewish fascist state and its mad visions, that I shall not sing anymore its nationalist anthem, that I shall stand at attention only on the days of mourning for those fallen on both sides in the wars, and that I look with a broken heart at an Israel that is committing suicide and at the three generations of offspring that I have bred and raised in it.

“... for 42 years, Israel turned what should have been Palestine into a giant detention camp, and is holding a whole people captive under an oppressive and cruel regime, with the sole aim of taking away their country, come what may!!!

“”The IDF eagerly suppresses their efforts at rebellion, with the active assistance of the settlement thugs, by the brutal means of a sophisticated Apartheid and a choking blockade, inhuman harassment of the sick and of women in labor, the destruction of their economy and the theft of their best land and water.

“Over all this there is waving the black flag of the frightening contempt for the life and blood of the Palestinians. Israel will never be forgiven for the terrible toll of blood spilt, and especially the blood of children, in hair-raising quantities... “

Follows then a less interesting part in which Uri Avnery, Zionist and long standing peace activist, tries to dissuade Dov from going all the way, but he's having none of it.

And then there's Yermiya's better known letter to Ehud Barak:

In it, Yermiya was returning to Defense Minister Barak the invitation he had been sent to attend a ceremony to honor all veterans of Israel's 1948 "War of Independence".

He wrote,

“As a veteran of the 1948 war, who was already wounded in face to face combat two weeks before the Declaration of the State, I feel obliged herewith to return the invitation to you, as Minister of Defence. I do so regretfully but see this as my duty.

“I consider you, Ehud Barak, as one of the top military commanders and prominent political leaders who were responsible for converting the army from ‘the Israeli Defence Force’ to an army of occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people and defender of the criminal settlements in their country.

“40 years of occupation have utterly corrupted the Israeli army and all strata of Israeli society.They are both characterized by the nationalist 'east wind' [the east wind brings the chamsin and locusts] which blows and kindles conflagrations of endless wars, which threaten our people and land with the third and final destruction. Your share in the responsibility for all this is enormous, and therefore I return your invitation to you, without thanks...”

Amerisraeli gets Hitler salute at Healthcare meeting...

Now this is the sort of post that could get me into trouble on multiple fronts but just having come back from a (blog) debate [cough!] on American health care reform (and having a bad taste in my mouth to remind me) I can't help but posting this clip.

The Amerisraeli makes a case for universal health care based on his Israeli experience and some nutter woman shouts 'Heil Hitler!' Later she asks if he has anything to say (he was making his case rather splendidly up to then) and claims he 'should be the most against Obama' (no prizes for guessing why). And after claiming he paid $8,000 for 2 hours in emergency, she makes out he's a crybaby! Not newsworthy but priceless nonetheless...

Another clip from 'People not places'

It really makes you wonder how many Israelis were raised like Ora and her parents. My educated guess would be that the numbers run in the hundreds of thousands, if not more... I certainly run into them often enough: folks that claim the Palestinians don't exist, that there was no Naqba, that all of Israel's problems are really due to generic Arab anti-Semitism, that there is no Palestinians resistance, only the desire to 'kill Jews', that there is no occupation, only liberation of Jewish lands...


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bil'in Habibti

Watch, among other things, the 'security wall/fence' snake deep into Palestinian territory:

More useful info on this from Adam Horowitz.

Seth Freedman on Nilin in CiF:

After four days of curfew, the village of Nilin is not a pretty sight. Torched cars lie strewn on the sides of the road, bedroom windows sport gaping bullet holes, and debris is scattered the length and breadth of the town: evidence of the brutality meted out indiscriminately by the army against the locals.

As I followed the trail of destruction, the tales of woe grew ever darker and ever more indicting of the Israel Defence Force's cruelty. "Look what they did to me!" screamed an elderly grandmother, hoisting up her robes to display the raw wounds inflicted by soldiers who had thrown her against a stone wall during a raid. She began sobbing as she recounted the events of earlier in the week, utterly bewildered as to how she had come to be mistreated so.

Upstairs, her middle-aged son clutched his two children to his side as he recounted the night the troops burst into his home.

"Imagine what it does to your son and daughter when they see you beaten by a soldier," Hillal Khawaja said flatly. He showed us the wreckage of a room that had borne the brunt of the military's ire: computers ripped from their sockets, beds smashed and furniture overturned, nothing had been spared the wrath of the marauding infantry.

Further up the road, a family pointed out the scorched linoleum in their kitchen and the shattered glass of their windows, the result of a random bullet and grenade attack launched by passing jeeps. "We were inches away from where the shells landed," said the father of the house, as his children looked on timidly. "If we had been any closer, we'd have had no chance."

Three residents weren't so lucky. The trio were hit with live fire during the incursion. All are still in hospital with the bullets still lodged inside them; one entered a man's spine, and it will be a miracle if he can walk again after surgery.

The psychological trauma is just as bad, with parents talking of children terrified to sleep in their family homes, convinced that the soldiers will come back, and turn their lives into teargas- and bullet-filled nightmares once more. However, one local activist, Hindi Mesleh, says: "Israel has occupied us for 60 years, and still we resist; four days more isn't going to stop us." He has been instrumental in the campaign against the construction of the separation wall through Nilin's land, and scoffs at the idea that the army can ever bring a halt to the villagers' protests.

More here.

Stephen Pollard’s Strange View of Antisemitism

From the oftentimes wonderfully anarchic Jewdas site comes this sharp bit of analysis of a particular form of anti-Semitism:

Stephen Pollard has a rather strange piece in the Daily Telegraph. In a surprising and misconceived attempt to defend (!) Polish MEP Michal Kaminski from accusations of anti-Semitism, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle ends up making this rather bizarre point in the very final paragraph:

“Far from being an anti-Semite, Mr Kaminski is about as pro-Israeli an MEP as exists.”

Eh? Why on earth does he suddenly refer to Israel here? Is he really so naive that he thinks supporters of Israel can’t be anti-Semitic at the same time? If so, I would point him in the direction of the pro-Israeli, but nonetheless anti-Semitic, BNP. As Ruth Smeed, of the Board of Deputies, has said:

“The BNP website is now one of the most Zionist on the web – it goes further than any of the mainstream parties in its support of Israel and at the same time demonises Islam and the Muslim world.”

Or, perhaps, is he implicitly arguing that being pro-Israeli is now a litmust test for being a philo-Semite, rather than an anti-Semite? If so, he is treading down a dangerous path. Critics of Israel are often accused of blurring the line between Israelis and Jews, of conflating Zionism and Judaism, but, as I have often argued, it is Israel’s supporters across the world who often do so – and do so in such a brazen and shameless manner.

I, for example, am a supporter, admirer and friend of the Jews but a longstanding critic of Israel. Mr Kaminski, on the other hand, seems to be a supporter of Israel but a longstanding opponent of the Jews. Does Mr Pollard get the difference?

No, he doesn't but then Zionism has often not been very discerning on who lends it support...

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Protocols of the Elders of Los Angeles...

Allow me a short intermission from anti-Zionism and a little spoof indulgence based on one of the grossest comments I've read on the Interwebs in a long, long time, made by (the aptly named?) 'Farmer John':

"But then again, putting the heterosexual community at risk is the only way homosexuals can count on their continued funding of research into a cure [for AIDS]."

John (leader of the resistance, speaking from a Safe House deep inside the Gay Community, no relation to Farmer): So the plan is to have as much unprotected anal sex as possible, infect, get infected, go forth and multiply, as it were...

Richard: But... that's a recipe for collective suicide!

John: Richard, Richard, Richard: you've gotta see the bigger picture, man. If we infect half the US population with AIDS, ALL medical research funding will be redirected to AIDS research and three months from now we'll all get a curing jab. A bit of pneumonia or Kaposi syndrome is well worth the Cause, don't you think?

Adam: But me and Steve are happy together, monogamous and not too keen on bumming...

John: It's a different ballgame now, you and Stevie's gonna have to unlearn everything you know about AIDS so far: be as promiscuous as you can, fuck everything on two legs that breathes, no protection, anal only and don't forget bisexuals and desperate heteros. And DON'T forget to have fun with the MILITARY either, if we could break in there, we're gonna be home and dry even quicker: even the Evangelicals would be clamouring for a cure for 'our boys'... Think of it as 'Don't ask, just sodomise'...

Some American Conservatives say the darnest things...

People not places...

Watch it to the end...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Frozen by the Talks on Freezing...

Gideon Levy:

He came into office amid much hoopla. The Cairo speech ignited half the globe. Making settlements the top priority gave rise to the hope that, finally, a statesman is sitting in the White House who understands that the root of all evil is the occupation, and that the root of the occupation’s evil is the settlements. From Cairo, it seemed possible to take off. The sky was the limit.

Then the administration fell into the trap set by Israel and is showing no signs of recovery. A settlement freeze, something that should have been understood by a prime minister who speaks with such bluster about two states – a peripheral matter that Israel committed to in the road map – has suddenly turned into a central issue. Special envoy George Mitchell is wasting his time and prestige with petty haggling. A half-year freeze or a full year? What about the 2,500 apartment units already under construction? And what about natural growth? And kindergartens?

Perhaps they will reach a compromise and agree on nine months, not including natural growth though allowing completion of apartments already under construction. A grand accomplishment.

Jerusalem has imposed its will on Washington. Once again we are at the starting point – dealing with trifles from which it is impossible to make the big leap over the great divide.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Zionist-style Truth Inversion on a Grand Scale...

From Michael Freund, in the J'Post, comes this little gem: Fundamentally Freund: Why the Left should support settlements

Take, for example, veteran columnist Thomas Friedman, who wrote in The New York Times (August 1) that Israel had "misled" and even "manipulated" Washington for the past 40 years on the issue of settlements in Judea and Samaria. Israel's leaders, he warned, need to realize that "they have a real problem with America on settlements," which Friedman believes stand in the way of real progress toward peace.

Such claims are hardly new, of course. If only the Jewish state would stop expanding settlements, we have constantly been told, the chances of resuming talks would brighten.

And if Israel would just cease its policy of "confiscating" additional Palestinian land, it would pave the way for a viable two-state solution to bring about an end to the century-old conflict, the Left frequently asserts.

Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.

Indeed, if the Left would put aside its slogans for a moment and consider the present situation rationally and cogently, it would realize that much of its heated rhetoric about settlements is entirely misplaced. For it is precisely the continued expansion of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria which provides the best chance for achieving a long-term, viable peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Yes, you read that correctly. More settlements can actually mean more peace, and for that reason the Left should switch gears and support them.

THE LOGIC is really quite simple. For the past 16 years, ever since the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords, the Palestinians have refused to conclude a final deal. Feeling that they have all the time in the world at their disposal, they are in no rush to ink a lasting agreement. Instead, they can sit on the sidelines and watch as the international community directs its ire at Israel and tries to compel it to make even more far-reaching concessions.

That is a recipe for failure, which is exactly what it has produced thus far. In any negotiations of consequence, when one side feels it has nothing to lose - and everything to gain - by dragging out talks, that is just what it will do.

Therefore, anyone who really wants to see a resumption of talks should cheer when the Israeli bulldozers rev up their engines, because that is the most effective way of disabusing the Palestinians of the notion that time is on their side.

Their leadership needs to be made to understand that their dilly-dallying comes at a very tangible price, because the longer they wait, the more territory they will "lose" as the Israeli presence in the areas is strengthened and reinforced.

Now, don't get me wrong - I personally believe Israel should expand Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria because of our divine-given right to these areas. And I do not want Israel to give up control over any part of our ancestral patrimony, nor do I believe the Palestinians are truly interested in peace with us.

Peace by settlement building... I'm lost for words... But let no one claim some Zionists don't want peace: they do... but entirely on their terms!

Free Ezra Nawi!

Via email alert from

This is not the first time that I stand trial for my beliefs. But it is the first time that they will probably be able to stop me.

I always knew that many people silently supported me, and that if I ever got into trouble they would stand behind me. This moment has come.

I have been harassed and targeted throughout the years, because I embody three elements which provoke bigotry in the Israeli society: I am a homosexual, I am a Mizrahi Jew, and I devote all my time to fighting for the human rights of Arab Palestinians.

I am a simple person. I did what my heart told me to do. Looking back, I know that what my friends and I have done is changing the harsh reality of the occupation in the whole area of south Hebron. I feel that now the Israeli authorities are punishing me on a personal level.

I would like to believe that my personal adversity will inspire and motivate individuals to actively oppose the occupation.

Thank you.

Ezra Nawi

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's the Occupation, Stupid...

With all this talk/non-talk about settlement freezes, natural growth, Jerkowitz' 'Hamas = Nazis' flap and other largely non-issues, it's easy to lose track of the bigger picture: the one that shows Israel maintaining a brutal and illegal military occupation of Palestinian territory for over fourty years now. A reminder that Israel can do what it wants there:


The Israeli military kidnapped on Wednesday four Palestinian civilians during pre dawn invasions targeting a number of villages near the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

Local sources said that Israeli troops stormed and searched homes in the villages of Barta'a Al shrkyia, Arraba abd Zaboba all located near Jenin city. Witnesses said that troops took the four men and left.

The Israeli military radio announced that the four men were taken to military detention camps for questioning.

AOF in the West Bank (2008)

And here's a letter to the Boston Globe from a writer who gets it:

Dear Editor:

It is a measure of the both the blindness and weakness of Israeli leaders that there is such an uproar about, and so little tolerance for, critical comments regarding Israeli policy made by the popular Israeli consul general Nadav Tamir. It is also distressing that when the Globe reporter looked for a "dissonant voice" in the Boston Jewish community, he chose the rightwing blog, which is often filled with hateful rants about anyone to the left of Avigdor Lieberman. There is in fact another "dissonant voice" which has long been troubled by the mainstream Jewish community’s insistence in defending Israeli policy in the face of international as well as Israeli and Palestinian concerns about the impact of occupation and repeated human rights violations.

A few years ago, I heard Tamir state in contradiction to numerous UN, WHO, and international reports, "There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza." I could only wonder if he actually believed that statement or whether lying with impunity has become a national policy as well. Israel’s relations with the US are not strained by bad PR, but rather by continued settlement growth in the West Bank and Jerusalem, a brutal occupation, and a crushing blockade of Gaza that can no longer be hidden.

Alice Rothchild

H/T Mondoweiss.

Friday, August 07, 2009

With legislators like these...

Ever wondered how we end up generally with such an inordinate amount of bad laws? Blame the lawmakers... here's one:


The top Republican on the US House of Representatives' foreign affairs committee said Thursday she will visit Israel next week in a show of support for the US ally against "violent extremists."

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida will meet with top Israeli government officials including President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, her office said in a statement.

"The United States and Israel must continue to work together to forge even closer ties as we face the mutual threats posed by violent extremists and the regimes which support them," she said in the statement, which listed no meetings with any Palestinian officials.

Ros-Lehtinen will visit the Western Wall and visit the southern Israeli city of Sderot, which has borne the brunt of rocket fire from Palestinian Islamist fighters in nearby Gaza.

Ooo-ur, AFP! "Palestinian Islamist fighters"? Not 'teggogists'?

"Sderot reminds us that the threat posed by violent Islamists and their state sponsors is all too real, and that we must defend freedom against those who would destroy it," Ros-Lehtinen said.

No, it doesn't, dear: the violent Islamists haven't the slightest inclination to strike at my hometown of Bridlington to 'destroy freedom' but they do strike Sderot for a reason. Here we go again: a silly woman, here in the persona of a Floridian 'lawmaker', who lumps all Global Jihadists together. Thus in Ileana's fog-brain, the victims in Sderot are up there with the victims of 9/11 and al Qaeda. Dearest, it's not hard to see: Hamas et al have nothing to do with fuckwits like bin Laden and other Global Jihadists. Whatever you may think of the Palestinian struggle and its methods, they have no connection to the global War on (of?) Terror whatsoever. Theirs is not a struggle against freedom but a struggle for freedom: THEIR freedom...

Upon returning to Jerusalem, the lawmaker was to meet with survivors of suicide bombings and other attacks in Israel, according to the statement.


Ros-Lehtinen was also to attend a special showing of the film "The Third Jihad," which has drawn angry criticisms from US Muslim groups, and attend a presentation "illustrating violent anti-Israel propaganda in Palestinian media."

Sigh... with lawmakers like these...

H/T Mondoweiss.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Israeli Poll: on Democracy, Settlements and Arabs

From Ynet News.

The Israeli public believes in freedom of expression as a general value, but for the most part refuses to allow harsh criticism to be expressed against the state. 74% support “Freedom of expression for everyone, regardless of their opinions.” However, 58% agree that “political speech should not be permitted to express harsh criticism of the state of Israel.” This is a significant increase as compared to 48% in 2003.

Growing support for denying Arabs' rights

53% of the Jewish public supports encouraging Arabs to emigrate from Israel. 77% of immigrants support this idea, compared with 47% of the veteran public. 33% of veteran Jews are accepting of the inclusion of Arab parties in the government, by comparison with 23% of immigrants.

Only 27% of respondents objected to the statement that there should be “a Jewish majority in decisions relating to the fate of the country,” by comparison with 2003, when 38% objected to this statement. These figures indicate relatively broad support for decreasing the political rights of Israel’s Arab minority.

54% of the general public (Jews and Arabs) agrees that “only citizens who are loyal to the state are entitled to benefit from civil rights” (56% of the veterans, 67% of immigrants and 30% of the Arabs). 38% of the entire Jewish public believe that Jewish citizens should have more rights than non-Jewish citizens (43% of the veterans hold this belief, versus 23% of immigrants). In addition, 41% of veteran Jews are of the opinion that “Israeli Arabs face greater discrimination than Jewish Israelis,” compared to 28% of immigrants holding this view.

FSU immigrants more hawkish

The use of violence: 33% of immigrants from the FSU think that political violence is legitimate, as compared to 35% of Israeli Arabs and 22% of veteran Israelis. Among the general public, the greatest legitimacy is given to the use of political violence by young people aged 18 to 30, at 27%.

Evacuating settlements: 48% of Israelis are not prepared to evacuate any settlements within the framework of a permanent agreement; 37% are prepared for the evacuation of isolated settlements; and 15% are prepared to evacuate all the settlements over the green line.

The position of the immigrants from the FSU is more hawkish than that of the general Jewish public: 64% are not prepared for settlements to be evacuated in the framework of a permanent agreement; 30% are prepared for the evacuation of isolated settlements; and 6% are prepared to evacuate all the settlements.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Scrap OfCom...

Oh dear, the Nanny State's 'Guardians of objectivity', OfCom, are at it again, this time in defense of the poor, defenseless Usurper State and its British Zionist sycophants. Harry's Place for instance, a vipers nest of arch-Zionists and Galloway bashers (and thus hardly a beacon of objectivity or balance an sich) are expressing delight at Press TV getting their wrist slapped by OfCom, in HP's post 'OfCom Upholds Complaints against Press TV' (I'm not linking, look it up if you're bothered):

Press TV - specifically episodes of George Galloway’s programmes Comment and The Real Deal - were found in breach of Ofcom Rules 5.11 and 5.12 dealing with impartiality and balance.

The issue - or rather the complaints received against the station and Galloway’s programmes - were summarised thus:

Complainants considered that these four programmes (“the Programmes”), variously: failed to put both sides of the argument in relation to the situation in Gaza; constituted Iranian propaganda; and that George Galloway in particular did not conduct a balanced discussion on the issue of Gaza.

It is a requirement in legislation that Ofcom must take particular account of the need to ensure due impartiality is preserved when dealing with major matters of political controversy.

In summary, Ofcom considered that within the Programmes overall, there was not an appropriately wide range of significant views included and that the views that were included that were contrary to the opinion of the presenter, were not given due weight. As a consequence, Ofcom considered the Programmes to have breached Rules 5.11 and 5.12 of the Code.

Ofcom recognises that limits to editorial freedom exist partly to ensure compliance with Section 5 of the Code, and in particular the requirement to ensure due impartiality when dealing with matters of major political or industrial controversy or major matters relating to current public policy. However, Ofcom also recognises that there may be a number of ways that broadcasters can ensure that an appropriately wide range of significant views are included in a programme and given due weight.

In carrying out its duties, Ofcom recognises that there is not, and should not be, any prohibition on broadcasters discussing controversial subjects2. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict understandably raises extremely strong views and emotions from all sides. It is right that broadcasters are able to reflect such opinions within its programmes. There must be a place for such programming which gives air to highly opinionated and vocal reaction on issues of such importance. However, in order to comply with the Code, broadcasters must ensure that, when discussing matters of major political or industrial controversy or a major matter relating to current public policy, a real range of significant views are included in a programme. Further, in such cases, when presenting any significant alternative view, it must be given due weight and consideration.

I imagine the OfCom report to blather on like that for some more, in that 'yeah but, no but', 'on the other hand', 'however' etc jargon, so typical of whimpish public broadcasting 'safeguarding' Mandarin NewSpeak. Brits aren't mature enough to make up their own minds, apparently, and need to be held by the hand throughout the delicate process of possibly concluding somefink. Even more so if that somefink is related to the 'highly complex issue of I-P'...

Most of the Potters comments on the post in question don't exceed the Brown Sauce's usual jingoism (specifically when it comes to Israel related posts), here's one by EdwardT:

The OFCOM report Brett cites at the end of his post is well worth reading. It is excellent. It shows how Galloway operates.

Shows how Galloway operates? Howzat, Edward? Galloway is anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian. Now we can't have that now, can we? Not 'balanced'. Bad Galloway for having an opinion... Tut tut tut...

But one commenter, Mike, hits the nail rather right on the head:

“broadcasters must ensure that, when discussing matters of major political or industrial controversy or a major matter relating to current public policy, a real range of significant views are included in a programme.”

That’s a ridiculous situation. So every programme about the Iraq war should also include Lindsey German?

Every programme about evolution should include the ’significant views’ of creationists?

The BNP should take part in every debate about immigration?

Be careful what you wish for.

Of course no bugger picks up on it, yet Mike hits on the crux of the matter. Should, for any viewpoint presented, a counter-viewpoint be put forward also? What about programmes about the Holocaust? David Irving a must-attendee? Programmes on homophobia: don't forget to invite some notable defenders of homophobia now, balance needed, remember?

And who will judge the 'deciders'? And accredited body above OfCom, to ensure ITS 'impartiality'? An infinite tower of turtles, each scrutinising each other's 'objectivity'?

This country has enough libel and anti-defamation laws as it is, combined with a rich media landscape, to give anyone who feels aggrieved by 'lack of objectivity' plenty of right to reply, without OfCom sticking its long nose into public affairs.

As regards 'Iranian propaganda', by rights we should be able to hear raucous laughter emanating from Tehran at this Western own goal (is it just me or is the West really getting good at 'scoring' this way?)

The Iranian regime, rightly or wrongly, likes nothing better than to poke fun at one of the West's most Holy Issues, Freedom of Speech and here we have one man, for expressing his opinion (he stresses that it is HIS opinion and that he speaks for no one but himself all the time) who gets slammed with the accusation of 'Iranian propaganda'. OfCom sees no problem with that? Of course they do, they just don't care...

No, let the OfCommers be scrapped, save a lot of valuable British taxpayers money (£50 k a pop, I'm guessing) and let HP and their opponents slug it out among themselves, happy like pigs in mud...

Hanoun Family evicted from East J'sem Home

I must have watched this heart-wrenching segment on AlJazeera several times with growing disbelief (despite the fate of the Hanoun family having previously been widely publicised already) last night.

After it (not shown in the clip) a rather thuggish looking such-and-such-a-body from the Jerusalem Municipality came out to explain this was all really much ado about nothing: J'sem is now an undivided city and Jews and Arabs alike have the right to live wherever they want. If true, will someone please explain to me why the Jewish settlers that now occupy the Hanoun's house had to choose a building where the Hanouns had been living for sixty years (and having the deeds to prove it too) and not somewhere else to their liking?

I hate to invoke the Nazi analogy but this is thuggery and Naziesque behaviour and a firm middle finger to Obama, Mitchell and the rest of the condemning world... Israel, shame, shame, shame on you, once again...

Update: More on the evictions here:

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Candid Friedman...

Tom Friedman in the NYT [emph. is mine]:

Here’s what Israelis need to understand: President Obama is not some outlier when it comes to Israel. His call for a settlements freeze reflects attitudes that have been building in America for a long time. For the last 40 years, a succession of Israeli governments has misled, manipulated or persuaded naïve U.S. presidents that since Israel was negotiating to give up significant territory, there was no need to fight over “insignificant” settlements on some territory. Behind this charade, Israeli settlers bit off more and more of the West Bank, creating a huge moral, security and economic burden for Israel and its friends.

As Bradley Burston, a columnist for Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, put it last week: “The settlement movement has cost Israel some $100 billion. ... The double standard which for decades has favored settlers with inexpensive housing, heavily subsidized social services, and blind-eye building permits has long been accompanied by a kid-gloves approach regarding settler violence against Palestinians and their property. ... Settlers and settlement planners have covertly bent and distorted zoning procedures, military directives, and government decrees in order to boost settlement, block Palestinian construction, agriculture, and access to employment, and effectively neutralize measures intended to foster Israeli-Palestinian peace progress.”

For years, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the pro-Israel lobby, rather than urging Israel to halt this corrosive process, used their influence to mindlessly protect Israel from U.S. pressure on this issue and to dissuade American officials and diplomats from speaking out against settlements. Everyone in Washington knows this, and a lot of people — people who care about Israel — are sick of it.

The Times’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Ethan Bronner, captured the we-are-untouchable arrogance of the settlers last week when he quoted Rabbi Yigael Shandorfi, leader of a religious academy at the settlement of Nahliel, calling Mr. Obama in a speech “that Arab they call a president.”

So if Mr. Obama has bluntly pressed for a settlements freeze, he is, in fact, reflecting a broad sentiment in Congress, the Pentagon and among many Americans, Jews included. Haaretz quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as calling two Obama aides pushing the freeze “self-hating Jews.” Bibi’s spokesman denies he said that. I hope he didn’t. When you have to trot that one out, you’re really, really out of ammo.