Monday, August 30, 2010

This too is Zionism: Part umpteen

Exhibit n:

Shas 'spiritual' leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on Palestinians and Abbas:

Yosef had said during his weekly Shabbat sermon that the Palestinians, namely Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, should perish from the world. Yosef, a founder of the Shas Party, also described Palestinians as evil, bitter enemies of Israel.

"All these evil people should perish from this world ... God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians," Yosef had said.

The 89-year-old is a respected religious scholar but is also known for vitriolic comments about Arabs, secular Jews, liberals, women and gays, among others.

Exhibit n + 1:

An innocent murderer:

An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday.

The soldier, who has only been identified as "Captain R", was charged with relatively minor offences for the killing of Iman al-Hams who was shot 17 times as she ventured near an Israeli army post near Rafah refugee camp in Gaza a year ago.

The manner of Iman's killing, and the revelation of a tape recording in which the captain is warned that she was just a child who was "scared to death", made the shooting one of the most controversial since the Palestinian intifada erupted five years ago even though hundreds of other children have also died.

After the verdict, Iman's father, Samir al-Hams, said the army never intended to hold the soldier accountable.

"They did not charge him with Iman's murder, only with small offences, and now they say he is innocent of those even though he shot my daughter so many times," he said. "This was the cold-blooded murder of a girl. The soldier murdered her once and the court has murdered her again. What is the message? They are telling their soldiers to kill Palestinian children."

The military court cleared the soldier of illegal use of his weapon, conduct unbecoming an officer and perverting the course of justice by asking soldiers under his command to alter their accounts of the incident.

Capt R's lawyers argued that the "confirmation of the kill" after a suspect is shot was a standard Israeli military practice to eliminate terrorist threats.

Following the verdict, Capt R burst into tears, turned to the public benches and said: "I told you I was innocent."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pat Condell: endorsed by Pamela Geller...

Pat Condell, the British expert on knownothingism of the New Atheism and darling of American Atheists (I write this as an atheist), has his latest videofart displayed prominently by Pamela Geller. Pampams is basically the Ground Zero of... erm... the "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy.

It's a bit like being praised by David Duke, of course. Well done Pat! Nice one mate!

And still it looks as if Pat's Big Break in the US is about as forthcoming as his little break here in the UK, where the Chuckle Brothers appear still to out rival Condell.

More Pamelisms...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Andrew Klavan: Does Islam Suck?

A day after the stabbing of a Muslim cab driver in NY City, I receive a subscription email from Pajama TV:

Andrew Klavan: Does Islam Suck?

A group would like to build a mosque near Ground Zero. Andrew has a few reasonable questions for our muslim friends. He hopes he can get them answered before some jihadi psycopath [sic] murders us all. Click here.

The link is to a video I need to register to view. Thanks but no thanks! I don't know who 'Andrew Klavan' is and I'm not sure I want to know either...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hoffman gets shopped, apologises...

The standing joke of British Zionism, BZF's Most Annoying Twit Jonathan Hoffman eats a bit of humble pie on occasion of the BZF/EDL 'joint' demo:

On my Jewish Chronicle blog I described a photograph taken on 14 August 2010 at the pro-Ahava demonstration as "fraudulent". I also wrote "That photo was Photoshopped' -- and it is bloody obvious that it was 'Photoshopped' I do not discuss but I do identify lies and fraudulent Photoshopped photos."

These statements were entirely without foundation and I had made no attempt to check their accuracy. I accept that the photo was absolutely genuine and had not been tampered with in any way. The photographer, David Hoffman, is a well known and respected photojournalist and I apologise to him unreservedly for my hasty and unfounded comments and for the distress and embarrassment caused.

..."entirely without foundation": a bit like Twitty himself.

Internet killed Israeli PR. Internet killed Israeli PR. Maybe. All together now: Ooh... Ohoh... Oooh

We are the Mavi Marmara...
You are the sloppy Hasbara...

H/T 'mostly harmless', a commenter at Richard Millett's, for Hoffie's latest omelet/face experience.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pro-Israel, anti-Mosque: what's new?

Excellent stuff on Mondo by Jeff Klein on the controversy that thanks to Pamela Geller risks setting the US alight and US Muslims fearing for their existence...

Haven’t we seen this movie before? Yes, in Boston, and with nearly the same cast of characters. The fight against the Roxbury Mosque and Cultural CenterIslamic Society of Boston (ISB) was framed as a battle against “Muslim extremists” and “terror supporters.” In reality (as court documents showed) the campaign was organized by activists with the far-right pro-Israel David Project and CAMERA, spearheaded by founder Charles Jacobs, who now heads a front group with the Orwellian name “Americans for Peace and Tolerance.” Later, the story was picked up and promoted by the Murdoch-owned Boston Herald and the local Fox TV affiliate. When the ISB eventually sued its attackers for defamation, the defendants were represented by an attorney who was also a leader of New England AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee). planned by the

Likewise, the New York Islamic Community Center project in lower Manhattan was uncontroversial until it began to be labeled falsely as “the Ground Zero Mosque” and was vilified by right-wing bloggers with a pro-Israel agenda. Although the media has reported on the way the Right has used anti-Muslim bigotry to stir up racist outrage against the Islamic Center, there has been little notice of the Israel connection. Jihad Watch founder Robert Spencer and Atlas ShruggedBoston. Geller is a regular commentator on the far-right Israeli radio network Arutz Sheva. Together they created a front-group to promote the anti-Muslim crusade called Stop Islamization of America. The campaign of slander against the “Ground Zero Mosque” was first mainstreamed in the Murdoch-owned New York Post and has been trumpeted relentlessly by Fox News, as well as by Neocon operatives like Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney. blogger Pamela Geller, who led the charge, are active in the same circles as the pro-Israel extremists in

Why? Because promoting a “culture-clash” between the “West” and Islam is seen as a way to bolster support for Israel and to sustain a permanent US “War on Terror.”

As early as September 12, 2001 the New York Times reported:

Israeli leaders, who have chafed at occasional American criticism of their measures against Palestinians, said the day's attacks would awaken the United States to the threat of global terrorism.

Asked tonight what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, ''It's very good.'' Then he edited himself: ''Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.'' He predicted that the attack would ''strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we've experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.''

In an appearance late tonight, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon repeatedly placed Israel on the same ground as the United States, calling the assault an attack on ''our common values'' and declaring, ''I believe together we can defeat these forces of evil.''

When the Roxbury Mosque was under attack in Boston my organization, Dorchester People for Peace, and other progressives took a stand in its defense. DPP sponsored a well-attended public forum on the topic in 2006. Since then, we have worked closely with our local Muslim friends – many of whom are US-born African-Americans with deep ties to our community. Although the current furor is over a proposed Mosque in New York, the issues are much the same. Islamophobia continues to be a racist tool of the war-promoting Right and the most extremist sectors of the Israel Lobby. Anti-war and anti-racist organizations cannot remain indifferent.

Jeff Klein is retired president of a local union at the Mass Water Resources Authority, where he worked for many years as a machinist in the Deer Island facility. He is active these days with Dorchester People for Peace, a local anti-war organization.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

EDL and BZF: Brothers in arms?

The controversy about BNP/EDL support for Zionism smolders on. Initially denying that the EDL (New! Now with Jewish section!) even supported Israel, it's now clear that they most certainly do support Israel and Zionism but also that there's possible collusion between the British Zionist Federation (annoying twit Jonathan Hoffman's outfit) and the EDL Tony Greenstein has details with some juicy pix. Enjoy:

I know Harold Wilson once said that a week is a long time in politics and 10 weeks must seem like an eternity, but one would have thought that one's principles might last a little longer. But then again, demonisation of Muslims and the Palestinians and unqualified defence of Israel, right or wrong, are the only principles that Jonathan Hoffman, esteemed co-Chairman of the Zionist Federation, holds to.

On 3rd June Jonathan Hoffman was spluttering with outrage on this blog at the accusation that he had co-organised a demonstration with the English Defence League. And naturally I gave him enough rope to hang himself with. Indeed in the interests of fairness I amended the article as there was no proof that it had actually been jointly organised by the Zionist Federation and the EDL. This was the Zionist demonstration in support of the murder of 9 activists aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Hoffman was emphatic. In particular he denied telling reporter that ‘‘there was no proof of any link with the BNP.’’ On the contrary, he wrote that: That is wrong. I never said that. I said that there was crossover between the EDL and BNP and that therefore the EDL were not welcome.’

In so far as there was a ‘crossover’ between the BNP and EDL he wouldn’t work with the latter.’ Presumably if the EDL had just confined themselves to attacking Muslims, and didn’t have any links with the BNP, they would be kosher. In response to my accusations Hoffman was clear:

Nowhere have I done that. It was just ‘Another despicable ad hominem lie’ and it would appear that I have it in for JH personally!

Well there is a very good article by Shaul Adar in Ha'aretz entitled What are Israeli flags and Jewish activists doing at demonstrations sponsored by the English Defence League?’ It is a very good question, and one that Jonathan Hoffman, Co-Chairman of the Zionist Federation, has been doing his best not to answer these past few months. The Ha'aretz article is subtitled: Call it a struggle against a common foe: Islam. Or a journey into the heart of darkness. Or perhaps further proof that Europe is starting to lose its mind again.’

It’s not that I haven’t tried to get Hoffman to answer a few questions about the EDL. I ran articles on the EDL attack on a Birmingham PSC stall, on the Zionist Federation counter-demonstration with the EDL outside the Israeli Embassy in June, where EDL members took part alongside their Zionist comrades, as well as more general articles and a report on Harrow where the EDL were repulsed.

I was even threatened with a libel action by Hoffman.

‘This is a Lie.’ he wrote on my blog. ‘Not the first one. You will take it down now. I shall be speaking to a lawyer.’
Jonathan Hoffman3 June 2010 11:24

Well surprise surprise. At the regular picket of Ahava, the Israeli shop in Covent Garden which sells stolen ‘beauty’ products from the Dead Sea today, what do we find? Not only a joint Zionist Federation demonstration but Hoffman and the leader of EDL’s Jewish Division skipping down the road together and all but holding hands!

As John Junor used to say 'You couldn't make it up. Pass the sick bag Alice.' Once again we see Zionists and outright racists holding hands against the common foe.

And to be fair, because I always try to be fair, Jonathan Hoffman in his comments, apart from the ritual abuse 'Commissar Greenstein' and 'communist paradise' doesn't at all deny that he demonstrated ALONGSIDE the EDL. So now it's quite clear, Jonathan Hoffman, Co-Chairman of the Zionist Federation in Britain is perfectly happy to demonstrate with fascists and racists. And far from trying to stop him I welcome this fact! It proves everything we've been saying.

Indeed so little has he to say that Roberta Moore of EDL's Jewish i.e. Zionist Division tries to give him an alibi. Apparently 'the EDL Jewish Division imposed our presence upon them, and they had no choice.' All I can say is that the pictures don't lie. Hoffman seems positively ecstatic that Roberta is demonstrating alongside him. He doesn't look imposed upon or henpecked to me!!

Tony Greenstein

Monday, August 09, 2010


From Promised Land blog, H/T Loewenstein.

Women in the footsteps of Ilana Hammerman: not obeying illegal and immoral laws

On Friday, July 23rd, a dozen Jewish women, a dozen Palestinian women, one baby, and three Palestinian children took a trip from the West Bank in six private cars. We crossed several checkpoints, drove to Israel’s coastal plain, and toured Tel-Aviv and Jaffa together. We ate in a restaurant, swam in the sea, and played on the beach. We ended our day in Jerusalem. Most of our Palestinian guests had never seen the sea. Most had not, in their entire lives, prayed at their sacred places: they looked upon them longingly from the heights of Mount Scopus.

None of our guests had an entry permit from the Israeli authorities. We are announcing here publicly that we deliberately violated the Law of Entry into Israel. We did this in the footsteps of Ilana Hammerman, after the state lodged a complaint against her with the Israeli police. She had written an article published in Haaretz on May 7th reporting on a similar excursion.

We cannot assent to the legality of the “Entry into Israel Law”, which allows every Israeli and every Jew to move freely in all regions between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River while depriving Palestinians of this same right. They are not permitted free movement within the occupied territories nor are they allowed to enter the towns and cities across the green line, where their families, nation, and traditions are deeply rooted.

They and we, all ordinary citizens, took this step with a clear and resolute mind. In this way we were privileged to experience one of the most beautiful and moving days of our lives, to meet and befriend our brave Palestinian neighbors, and together with them, to be free women, if only for one day.

We did not go with “terrorists” or enemies, but with human beings. The authorities separate us from these women with fences and roadblocks, laws and regulations, often claimed to protect our safety. In fact, the barriers are only designed to perpetuate mutual enmity and the control of Palestinian land seized illegally in contravention of international laws and the values of justice and humanity.

It is not we who are violating the law: the State of Israel has been violating it for decades. It is not we—women with a democratic conscience—who have transgressed: the State of Israel is transgressing, spinning us all into the void.

Henry David Thoreau, in his famous essay “Civil Disobedience” (1845) wrote:
“…when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is the fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army.”

Listen to these words, see how aptly they describe our situation here and now —and do as we have done.

Signed (in alphabetical order): Annelien Kisch, Ramat Hasharon; Daphne Banai, Tel Aviv; Esti Tsal, Jaffa; Ilana Hammerman, Jerusalem; Irit Gal, Jerusalem; Klil Zisapel, Tel Aviv; Michal Pundak Sagie, Herzlia; Nitza Aminov, Jerusalem; Ofra Yeshua-Lyth, Tel Aviv; Roni Eilat, Kfar Sava; Ronit Marian-Kadishay, Ramat Hasharon; Ruti Kantor, Tel Aviv

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Miscegenation 101: When Chelsea met Marc...

According to Phil Weiss (himself a miscegenist!), Israel is angry. About Chelsea Clinton, the Shiksa marrying Marc Mezvinsky of the Jewish faith. And the compromise mishmash religious ceremony to celebrate the young couple's love and commitment.

A joyous occasion one would think but not to Ha'aretz' Israel Harel.

Interestingly Harel starts of with a useful reminder of antisemitism in pre-WW II US of A but then rapidly descends into a kvetch that could easily be attributed to a BNPer had it been said about the intermarriage between a 'true Briton' (cough!) and [insert miscegenation choice here].

For many Jews, Mezvinsky's acceptance into the bosom of this high-toned WASP family seems to set the final seal on the sociological process that the Jews, and especially Reform Jews, have undergone in America. From now on, the fantasy goes, we are all Mezvinskys.

What fantasy? What's particularly noteworthy or 'fantastic' about a couple crossing cultural lines in the 21th Century?

On the other side, for those who have been fearfully following the process of assimilation and disappearance that the Jewish people has undergone in America, and on other continents, this "culminating event" poured salt on open wounds. Some 90 percent of young Jews, according to recent polls, do not rule out marriage with a non-Jew. And the results are easy to see: Due to intermarriage, the number of Jews in the United States has fallen by more than a quarter since the 1960s.

So 90 % percent of Jews don't feel racist about whom they might share their lives with? And this is what? Bad news? Only to a blatant racist...

On the other hand, there are a growing number of kippa-wearing Jews on American campuses. And this development evidently does not stem only from the growing strength of the Orthodox movement and its increasing interest in academic studies (a trend also observable in Israel ). Rather, there is a demonstrative element to this behavior, an element of protest. The message is that the Jewish people and Jewish civilization are alive and well, and will continue to exist despite assimilation.

On the other hand... Yes, on the other hand the increasing popularity as "an element of protest" of the antiquated belief system called 'religion' (of whatever kind) appears to be applauded. Welcome to Invert-O-World!

Finally a bit of good old chest beating nationalism:

We do not owe our national identity, and certainly not our religious identity, to America; the Jews have contributed no less, and perhaps even more, to America than America has contributed to the Jews.

Let me be snidy about it: has American Jewry contributed about 107 billion dollars to America, in the same way that America has poured that amount of money into the Jewish state, since its inception in 1948? Now with added bonus of 200 million dollars for 'Iron Dome'?

There's some more, but I won't bore you with it...

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Half agreeing with Jeffrey Goldberg?

Is it possible I'm even half agreeing with the Forward's generally risible twit called Jeffrey Goldberg? Here are some snippets from a piece on the Oliver Stone flapette:

Stone said a whole lot more that you could call stupid, sloppy and even anti-American, but that has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. Feel free to agree or disagree, but don’t toss around the term “anti-Semitic” unless the person actually hates Jews, otherwise the term loses its credibility and a very important taboo collapses.

'Anti-American' (usually reserved for foreigners), 'un-American' (mostly for real John Wayne's), 'self-hating Jew', it's all in the same bag if you ask me, yet Jeff manages not to condemn Stone as a 'self-loathing half-Jew' (for this Jeff'll pay a price in certain quarters, no doubt...)

After the first apology failed to placate his critics, Stone tried again to make himself heard, in a July 28 open letter to the ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman. “I am half-Jewish and therefore personally repelled by anti-Semitism,” he wrote, “but moreover, I consider it an important part of my life’s work to call attention to the atrocities caused by racist and fascist regimes and policies.” He added that it was “wrong of me to say that Israel or the pro-Israel lobby is to blame for America’s flawed foreign policy. Of course that’s not true and I apologize that my inappropriately glib remark has played into that negative stereotype.” He said that if he criticized American or Israeli policy in the future, he would “be more careful and precise with my words.”

Foxman promptly declared that Stone “now understands the issues and where he was wrong, and this puts an end to the matter” (which in turn prompted some online commenters to call Foxman Stone’s “toadie” and “hired hack”).

Hmm... shouldn't be hard to find some real pillar biting Zio bloggers that will now call Jeff... a "toadie" and "hired hack"...

Yet by the time Stone sent his second apology, billionaire producer Haim Saban and super-agent Ari Emanuel had already both called on Leslie Moonves, president of CBS, which owns Showtime, to cancel “Secret History.”

Few seemed to notice the irony: Two of the most powerful men in Hollywood, both Jewish, urging a third power player, also Jewish, to punish Stone for suggesting that Jews dominate the media. The bottom line: Stone’s comment that Jewish influence in the media stifles open discussion brought the media crashing down on his head.

But then, we are a wounded people.

But Jeff did spot the irony and for that I salute him.

A wounded people? A people with a contemporary mythology based on real but past wounds, but no more...

Thursday, August 05, 2010

When the Lebanese Army is not the Lebanese Army anymore...

Well, at least not the Lebanese Army of yesteryear. Not the boys who looked pretty in creaseless uniforms but wouldn't fire a shot if their very lives depended on it. There were of course reasons for the LA's legendary ineffectiveness, mostly rooted in Lebanon intrinsic ethnic/religious divisions. But Lebanon seems to be getting it together nowadays. And recently the LA did what it did what it's supposed to do in a rather pointless skirmish with the AOF who must have believed hell hath frozen over when the LA, without involvement of Hizb'allah, defended Lebanese territory. Gideon Levy tells it much better than I could ever do:

And now that we've recited ad nauseum the explanations of Israel Defense Forces propaganda for what happened Tuesday at the northern border, the facts should also be looked at.

On Tuesday morning, Israel requested "coordination" with UNIFIL to carry out another "exposing" operation on the border fence. UNIFIL asked the IDF to postpone the operation, because its commander is abroad. The IDF didn't care. UNIFIL won't stop us.

At noon the tree-cutters set out. The Lebanese and UNIFIL soldiers shouted at them to stop. In Lebanon they say their soldiers also fired warning shots in the air. If they did, it didn't stop the IDF.

The tree branches were cut and blood was shed on both sides of the border. Shed in vain.

True, Israel maintains that the area across the fence is its territory, and UNIFIL officially confirmed that yesterday. But a fence is a fence: In Gaza it's enough to get near the fence for us to shoot to kill. In the West Bank the fence's route bears no resemblance to the Green Line, and still Palestinians are forbidden from crossing it.

In Lebanon we made different rules: the fence is just a fence, we're allowed to cross it and do whatever we like on the other side, sometimes in sovereign Lebanese territory. We can routinely fly in Lebanese airspace and sometimes invade as well.

This area was under Israeli occupation for 18 years, without us ever acknowledging it. It was an occupation no less brutal than the one in the territories, but whitewashed well. "The security zone," we called it. So now, as well, we can do what we like.

But suddenly there was a change. How did our analysts put it? Recently there's been "abnormal firing" at Israeli aircraft. After all, order must be maintained: We're allowed to fly in Lebanese airspace, they are not permitted to shoot.

But Tuesday's incident, which was blown out of proportion here as if it were cause for a war that only the famed Israeli "restraint" prevented, should be seen in its wider context. For months now the drums of war have been beating here again. Rat-a-tat, danger, Scuds from Syria, war in the north.

No one asks why and wherefore, it's just that summer's here, and with it our usual threats of war. But a UN report published this week held Israel fully responsible for creating this dangerous tension.

In this overheated atmosphere the IDF should have been careful when lighting its matches. UNIFIL requests a delay of an operation? The area is explosive? The work should have been postponed. Maybe the Lebanese Army is more determined now to protect its country's sovereignty - that is not only its right, but its duty - and a Lebanese commander who sees the IDF operating across the fence might give an order to shoot, even unjustifiably.

Who better than the IDF knows the pattern of shooting at any real or imagined violation? Just ask the soldiers at the separation fence or guarding Gaza. But Israel arrogantly dismissed UNIFIL's request for a delay.

It's the same arrogance behind the demand that the U.S. and France stop arming the Lebanese military. Only our military is allowed to build up arms. After years in which Israel demanded that the Lebanese Army take responsibility for what is happening in southern Lebanon, it is now doing so and we've changed our tune. Why? Because it stopped behaving like Israel's subcontractor and is starting to act like the army of a sovereign state.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Israel's lurch to the Right - Part Umpteen

Every time you think the country can't get much more to the Right, they seem to manage it effortlessly. Here's Daphna Baram on the current state of play:

The most widely mentioned text in Israel over the last few weeks has been the famous quotation by Pastor Martin Niemöller from 1946, which begins: "First they came for the Communists".

Cited by journalists, politicians and academics, or by commenting readers on websites (known in Hebrew as "the talkbackists"), the quotation serves to communicate one idea: the increasing persecution of Palestinian citizens has led to verbal threats against Jewish radical left activists, and is now directed at proposed laws against Zionist-left activists, university professors, journalists, artists and others. The warning from the quotation is clear: "Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me."

Naturally, a shrill self-righteous choir castigates those who seem to compare Israel to the Germany of 1933-1945. But actually nobody does. The critics merely imply that the present crisis is showing something disturbingly reminiscent of, say, Germany in 1927. Democratic institutions are still functioning, there is still a chance of salvaging something of value, but bad winds are blowing.

The use of Niemöller's emotive words reflects the increasingly bitter national debate around loyalty and patriotism. The populist language of bigoted media consumers ("how come they let this Commie/Arab/traitor speak on radio/television/university") is now pervading official legislative bills, pending parliamentary approval and with a reasonable chance of turning into law.

The influential foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, whose 15 Knesset members cement the coalition government, is in the process of upgrading his successful election slogan, "no citizenship without loyalty". He demands that the Kadima "centre" party acquiesce to his "loyalty bill", as a precondition for its admission into the coalition government. The bill would coerce all citizens to declare allegiance to the state of Israel as a "Jewish and democratic" state.

Many rightwing Israelis see the "patriotism oath" not only as a potential weapon against the Palestinian citizens, but also as an instrument to settle the scores with those pesky lefties. They echo the new-ish and vociferous movement, Im Tirtzu ("if you will it"), which is espousing the persecution of dissenting academics in the universities, where "anti-Zionist tendencies thrive and the Zionists are being silenced".

The movement directs most of its venom at university lecturers who support the academic, or economic, boycott of Israeli academic institutes or of Israeli products in general. They propose a new bill that would enable the prosecution of anyone who advocates the boycott, and allow those who feel aggravated by his/her behaviour to sue for up to 30,000 ILS ( £5,000).

This neo-McCarthyism extends itself to artists. A group of mayors last year vowed to stop singers and musicians who dodged military service on medical or other grounds from performing in their cities. Different celebrity figures, mainly models and athletes, are being named and shamed on similar counts. In a discussion in the Knesset's economy committee on Monday, MKs from the right called for a ban on government funding of non-patriotic cinema products. MK Carmel Shama (Likud) referred to successful director Scandar Copti – who co-directed the internationally acclaimed and Academy award nominated film, Ajami – as a terrorist. "I want any director who wants to make a film in Israel to sign a statement stating he is not against Israel," Shama said.

Several racist bills are awaiting a vote – among them a law to change all signposts of villages and towns into Hebrew names" (hence denying their Arab names), and another specifying a year in prison for anybody who voices objection to Israel's nature as a Jewish or democratic state.

This spirit of xenophobia, and the hunt for traitors and backstabbers, naturally increases the already alarming levels of racism in Israel. The demand for proof of loyalty is no longer confined to the Palestinian citizens, but directed at the Jewish ones, too. This new racism is widening its scope. Palestinians, as well as anything Arab or Muslim, are still targets, but the shockwaves have now spread towards Sudanese refugees, who crossed the border from Egypt and are portrayed by much of the media as "criminal elements".

Other non-Jews, such as working immigrants suffer too. Liberal Israelis often enjoy the idea that the existence of working immigrants in Israel epitomises the country's "multicultural" nature without the price tag of sharing the land with the Palestinians. The working immigrants from Africa, China, the Balkans and South America were allowed in during the early 1990s to relieve Israel of its dependence on Palestinian labour. This, in turn, enables policies of permanent curfews and closures over the West Bank and Gaza. However, the current atmosphere marks anybody who is not Jewish as a prospective enemy.

This xenophobia is closely related to Israel's sense of siege. The international outrage invoked by the multiple attacks on Lebanon and later on Gaza, and the global shock over the flotilla fiasco, left Israelis feeling more isolated and misunderstood than ever. The various boycott movements are beginning to sting.'

The reaction in Israel is painfully predictable: Europe is full of Nazis, antisemites, and antisemitic Arabs; the Turks are radical Shia, partners of Iran and friends of all things evil; Barak Obama is a dangerous communist and a black Arab, and so on.

British prime minister David Cameron has volunteered himself unwittingly for the role of the latest baddy in Israel. Surely only a lack of experience could have led him to the conclusion that a place like Gaza – which is surrounded by a wall with watchtowers in it, encircled by tanks, and out of which no one is allowed to exit and very few are allowed to enter – could be described as a prison camp. Ambassador Ron "pressure" Prosor was sent to tell him off.

This picture of panic and racism should not obfuscate another voice now emerging within Israeli discourse as a growing undercurrent; one that is not longer confined to Palestinians and "radical leftie" circles, and is gradually penetrating the hearts and minds of average left-leaning Jewish-Israelis. It is the voice of middle-class Israeli liberals, mostly Zionists, who feel that the hour is very dark indeed.

The smear campaign against the radical left and Palestinian citizens has created huge waves, threatening to wash away the honourable professors of the Hebrew university, and the level-headed law-abiding senior citizens of the New Israel Fund and similar mainstream liberal organisations. In the process, quite a few of them are now suggesting that maybe a boycott, which they originally tended to object to, is the only way to make Israel change direction.

This gradual transformation has failed to embrace centrist liberals and other members of the Zionist centre-left, the lackeys of the rightwing witchhunters. Mati David, a Labour Party activist, published in the liberal Haa'retz newspaper an article risibly entitled "I Accuse!" (after Emile Zola's famous "J'accuse!"). David attacked the Israeli universities for nurturing anti-Zionist activities and tolerating "incitement against Israel and the Israeli Defence Army" in defiance of "obligatory normative patriotism", and called to stop public funding of those who "champion the so-called rights of our enemies".

Popular professor of political science Shlomo Aveneri argued in Haaretz that there is nothing wrong with demanding such loyalty, and that other states in the world, the UK among them, compel new citizens to swear allegiance to the country and its "constitutional principles". However, he suggested a milder wording which includes acceptance of the "legitimacy of the state of Israel", a wording which in fact implies the state's nature as "a Jewish state" without making it explicit.

These are mere examples, but level-headed Israelis can no longer pretend to be studying the horizon when Palestinian citizens and their parliamentary representatives are being smeared and bullied by the state and its agents, or when members of the non-Zionist fringes of the Israeli left are attacked by police in Bil'in, demonstrating alongside Palestinians. The very right to have an opinion and a voice is now under grave threat.

Monday, August 02, 2010

This too is Zionism...

Los Angeles Times. H/T a commenter at JsF.

One night before the Arab League met in Cairo on Thursday, where Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he could not return to direct negotiations with Israel because of continuing Jewish settlement activities in Jerusalem, Jewish settlers seized a building in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.

While most of the 40 Palestinian residents of the building were attending a wedding celebration, a group of settlers guarded by Israeli police broke down doors inside the two-floor building and moved into the fully furnished rooms.

Only one member of the Qirrish family, longtime inhabitants of the site, was in his room and was not evicted. The elderly man telephoned the rest of his family and told them what had occurred. The family rushed back to find the police blocking the entrance. Family members spent the night sitting on chairs outside the building, waiting to seek legal help in the morning.

The building had been purchased by the Jewish settler group Ateret Cohanim, a religious organization whose agenda is settling Jews inside the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem, from its original Palestinian owners, who moved to the U.S. in the late 1970s. The new owners soon attempted to evict the Qirrish family, who contested the eviction in court and won an order allowing them to remain while paying rent to Ateret Cohanim.

The settler group attempted a second time, in 2000, to get a court eviction order after older members of the Qirrish family had died.

The Qirrish descendants who continued to live in the same building again contested the eviction; the court ruled in their favor. Since then, the family had been residing in the house, said Munnawar Qirrish. “I have been living in this house for 42 years,” she said while waiting for the police to allow her to reenter the building.

The day after the home was seized, a magistrate court ordered that residents be allowed to return to the building. But that did not occur immediately, and family members continued to wait outside the building Thursday.

“My husband is 67 years old, and he needs his medicine, which is inside the house," Munnawar Qirrish said. "I cannot even enter the house to get the medicine. All my personal belongings are inside and I do not know what the settlers are doing to them. I do not know if they are sleeping in my bed or what they are doing inside.”

-- Maher Abukhater in Jerusalem

DAM: 'Born here'...

Repeated last night on Jeera's Playlist, a Palestinian rap band worth remembering. Good video too: