Monday, July 31, 2006


Poll on Lebanese Support for Hizbullah

I meant to get this item from the Beirut Center for Research and Information on the blog sooner but got sidetracked. See the poll results table here (at bottom). The poll was also reported in Daily Star of Lebanon here .
Poll finds support for Hizbullah's retaliation
Opinions diverge on sectarian lines - but not completely
Saturday, July 29, 2006

Editor's note: In an attempt to gauge the mood of the country after nearly two weeks of Israel's latest assault on Lebanon, the Beirut Center for Research and Information queried 800 citizens regarding Hizbullah's July 12 capture of two Israeli soldiers, the resistance's military operations against Israel and the American position on the crisis. Respondents were also asked to assess the Lebanese government's performance on the diplomatic front and its handling of relief efforts. This survey was conducted by Lebanese statistician Abdo Saad between July 24 and July 26 according to confessional and regional distribution, including the opinion of the displaced in the regions of emigration.

The survey consisted of direct questions concerning respondents' position regarding Hizbullah's role in the conflict.

The answers to the first question showed a relatively high level of support for Hizbullah's capture of two Israeli soldiers, contrasting the positions of some local political forces' condemnation of the operation. Such support was based on a belief that Israel and the US intended to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1559 by force, regardless of whether Hizbullah carried out the July 12 raid.

Moreover, the results show the majority of Lebanese believe the only way to liberate Lebanese detainees in Israeli prisons is through the capture of Israeli soldiers and a prisoner swap, as was the case in 2000.

The survey showed near-identical numbers as an earlier survey, published by As-Safir on March 2. That survey showed 70.9 percent support for Hizbullah operations to capture Israeli soldiers.

However, while 59 percent of the Druze community in March supported such operations, only 40 percent now express such support.

Christian support for capture operations rose from 48 percent to 55 percent, due likely to the Free Patriotic Movement's memorandum of understanding signed with Hizbullah.

The survey showed 87 percent support for Hizbullah's retaliatory attacks on northern Israel . Such a high level of support must be attributed to Hizbullah's political and military performance, in addition to a national consensus identifying Israel as Lebanon 's main enemy.

The survey suggests that Hizbullah's military performance has bolstered confidence in the resistance's abilities as 63 percent of respondents expected a Hizbullah victory over Israel .

The survey showed that a large majority of Lebanese do not consider the US to be an honest mediator (89.5 percent). A similar survey conducted by the Beirut Center for Research and Information published in As-Safir on January 31 showed 38.2 percent support for the US role in Lebanon. This drop is due to the close political cooperation between the US and Israel .

Meanwhile, the majority of respondents were unsatisfied with their government's performance on the diplomatic level (64.3 percent) and relief efforts (54 percent).

However, the rates varied according to sect, as 82.1 percent of Shiites polled and 64.8 percent of Sunnis polled said they were dissatisfied with the government, while 50.1 percent of Druze polled and 61.9 percent of Christians polled said the government had done a good job with humanitarian relief.
See also Chomsky, Free Arab Voice On Hizbullah

Last revised: 9/21/06

Sunday, July 30, 2006


More Info on 7/28 Seattle Shootings

Victims: Pam Waechter, 58, an assistant director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, dead. Five other Federation employees wounded. Waechter was born in Minnesota to a Lutheran family and converted to Judaism.

Suspect: Naveed Haq, was born in the U.S. to a Muslim Pakistani family.

Apparent Motives:
Amy Wasser-Simpson, the federation's vice president, told the Seattle Times that Haq got past security at the building and shouted, "I'm a Muslim American; I'm angry at Israel," before he began shooting.
Witnesses in the building said Haq identified himself as an American Muslim upset about America’s presence in Iraq and the current Israel-Lebanon conflict.

Citing a statement of probable cause, The Associated Press reported that Haq had told a 911 dispatcher, "These are Jews and I’m tired of getting pushed around and our people getting pushed around by the situation in the Middle East."
"He said 'I am a Muslim American, angry at Israel,' before opening fire on everyone," Meislin-Dietrich said.
Fighting has raged in the Middle East since Hezbollah, a Shiite group based in Lebanon, went into Israel [sic] and kidnapped [sic] two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others. Israel retaliated by striking targets in Lebanon and has sent troops into the southern part of the country. Since the conflict began, more than 400 have been killed in Lebanon and more than 50 soldiers and civilians have been killed in Israel.
Around 2,000 people gathered Sunday, July 23, at Luther Burbank Park, to strong support for Israel in the current showdown on the Lebanon-Israeli border. Despite the late-afternoon heat in the mid-90s, regional supporters came en masse, committed to America's "sister-nation," said one speaker. American and Israeli flags hung in trees, were stapled to the amphitheater stage walls, were stuck in people's hair, their hats, baby strollers and on their dogs.

"Shalom'' was the most-heard greeting. The orderly demonstration included speeches by religious leaders and politicians, placards and mitzvahs -- prayers for the soldiers were inside "Tefillin" prayer boxes strapped on Jewish men's arms. Many men wore yarmulkes and tzitzit (fringe-strings) attached to sacred garments to show respect for the commandments; and young people wore Hebrew-lettered tee-shirts or insignias of various Jewish groups.

Some signs read: "1,300 Israelis wounded and the world is quiet! . . . Be Strong and Resolute . . . . .More $$$ for Israel -- (and from a dissenter) No more $$$ for Israel . . .Wherever We Stand, We Stand Tall . . . I Love Israel -- I Want Peace.''

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle organized the event and garnered 40 other sponsors of Jewish organizations, synagogues and businesses.

Robin Boehler, board chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, said she was "moved by how many came to support the state of Israel" despite people's different opinions on the crisis. She talked of the visceral connection to Israel and its people and how the nation "has the right to protect and defend herself. . . The international community must not be silent or shelter terrorists . . . and that we long for peace and enduring security for everyone in the Middle East and must have the safe return of kidnapped Israeli soldiers."
Background on the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle:

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle was established 1926. Our mission, here at the Jewish Federation is to ensure Jewish survival and enhance the quality of Jewish life locally, in Israel and worldwide.

In support of our Mission, we believe that:

  • The continuity of Jewish faith is paramount.
  • The centrality of Israel in Jewish life is essential.
  • Every Jew is responsible, one for the other, and therefore we must strive to meet the basic human needs of the community.
  • It is incumbent upon us to respect diversity among our people.
Partnership 2000/Israel Advocacy
The Israel and Overseas programming aspect focuses on hasbarah activities, exchanges and missions. By forging a relationship with Kiryat Malachi and Hof Ashkelon in Israel through a program called Partnership 2000, they strive to enhance interpersonal relationships between Seattle and Israel. Participating in Partnership 2000 is the best way that they can strengthen the bond between Israel and the Diaspora. In addition, they are working to bring more Israeli culture to Seattle in cooperation with other parts of the Jewish community.
IDF Soldiers in Seattle
We have the unique opportunity to meet with IDF soldiers from our Partnership 2000 communities of Kiryat Malachi & Hof Ashkelon. Come and hear their stories. Join Lieutenant First Class Michal Cohen and Lieutenant First Class Ayal Sulamani ...
The Annual Community Campaign is the cornerstone of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. The programs and services our network of agencies provides in Seattle, Israel and around the world are contingent upon its success. Every year, we raise millions of dollars from thousands of people through face-to-face meetings, telephone solicitations, fundraising events and informal gatherings in volunteers' homes. Young singles, businessmen and women, grandparents, college students, day school children and many recipients of our services participate in the Federation's annual Community Campaign in an effort to support the people and programs, here and overseas, that need us.

Of the funds raised through the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle's Community Campaign 65% are allocated to local agencies and organizations and the balance is given to national and overseas agencies. These funds help nurture and educate our children, maintain and strengthen family life, bring comfort and care to the elderly, sustain our partnership with the people of Israel and reinforce our connection to Jews at risk around the world.
Volunteers in Service for Israel helps send volunteers from the Pacific Northwest on a two-or-three week program working in non-combat bases with the IDF and at hospitals. For more information contact:
  1. Amiram Barkat and Agencies. "Woman killed, five others wounded in shooting at Seattle Jewish Federation." Ha'aretz. July 30, 2010.
  2. Associated Press. "Suspect Described As Quiet Loner." KOMO 4 TV. July 29, 2006.
  3. Nancy Gould-Hilliard. "2,000 rally for Israel." MercerIsland Reporter. July 27, 2006. Partially archived at
  4. Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.
  5. Phuong Cat Le, Brad Wong, John Iwasaki And Amy Rolph. "Six shot, one killed at Seattle Jewish federation Five hurt." Seattle PI. July 29, 2006.
  6. Joel Magalnick. "Seattle Jewish community still reeling after shooting spree at the federation." JTA.
  7. Cara Solomon. "Woman killed was a leader in Jewish community here." Seattle Times July 29, 2006.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Seattle Shootings

There are interesting comment debates going on at Infoshop News and the Seattle Indymedia Center concerning the shooting at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Jewish Racism in Israel

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.You probably thought this was going to be about Jewish racism against Arabs, right? Well, it's not, not exactly. Below is an excerpt from "Another Act in the Mizrahi-Palestinian Tragedy" by Reuven Abarjel and Smadar Lavie (The Electronic Intifada, July 24, 2006).
When the cannons roar, the Mizrahi communities fall silent. Like servants before the master, the Mizrahim habitually comply. They are the generations flowing from the Jews who were in Palestine from time immemorial, as well as descendants of those brought here from the Arab World and other non-European countries during the previous century. They are the local hosts for those fleeing the New European anti-Semitism. Mizrahim provide the demographic majority on whose civic docility the Eurocentric Israeli regime rests. Mizrahim have been the Jewish labor turning the cogs of the European-Zionist colonial project ever since its inception, with the Yemeni-Jewish labor migration of 1882. Mizrahim freed Zionism from its total dependency on indigenous Palestinian labor. Mizrahim were the Zionists' "natural laborers," employed in near-slavery conditions. In order for Mizrahim to work with efficacy, the Zionist hegemonic patriarchy ruptured Mizrahi extended families. For themselves, they used the appellation "ideological laborers," and went on to found Israel's socialist-liberal Left. It is this very Left that is now fighting yet another self-righteous Israeli war. The Zionist movement's leadership has always conducted itself, in front of the Mizrahim, the Palestinians, and the citizens of the Arab World, through the tools of occupation, oppression and humiliation. Yet Mizrahi communities keep silent. Along the way, the US-European minority has co-opted the Mizrahi moral, economic and cultural power to resist.

Israel has always compartmentalized its occupation into different categories, as if Gaza, the West Bank, the Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the Palestinian Diaspora were not all consequences of the 1948 Nakba and 1967 Naqsa. Yet even such a divisive strategy has failed to diminish the legitimacy of the Palestinian struggle for a homeland. Despite the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, this strategy has nevertheless resulted in an almost across-the-board refusal of the Arab body of citizenry to normalize Israel into the region. The Ashkenazi leadership has repeatedly evoked the image that Israel is a European villa, planted in the midst of the regional jungle, from Bible times to the present day.

Mizrahi communities are intricately positioned along the Israel/Palestine divide as a result of the hegemonic sophistication of the Ashkenazim. Historically, under Menachem Begin, it was the Right who offered the Mizrahim a political home of sorts by not forcing them to secularize in imitation of the Labor party regime. Mizrahim are situated between the rock of economic-cultural oppression caused by the US-European capitalist Israeli rule, and the hard place of Palestine's war of independence. Zionism was superimposed on Mizrahi communities, yet they welcomed it with open arms. Many still believe in its deceitful vision of an integrationalist inter-racial utopia, even though they are systematically excluded from the centers of power due to Zionism's intra-Jewish racism. ...
See also "Reflections By An ARAB JEW" by Ella Habiba Shohat. Here's an excerpt:
Intellectual discourse in the West highlights a Judeo-Christian tradition, yet rarely acknowledges the Judeo-Muslim culture of the Middle East, of North Africa, or of pre-Expulsion Spain (1492) and of the European parts of the Ottoman Empire. The Jewish experience in the Muslim world has often been portrayed as an unending nightmare of oppression and humiliation.

Although I in no way want to idealize that experience--there were occasional tensions, discriminations, even violence--on the whole, we lived quite comfortably within Muslim societies.

Our history simply cannot be discussed in European Jewish terminology. As Iraqi Jews, while retaining a communal identity, we were generally well integrated and indigenous to the country, forming an inseparable part of its social and cultural life. Thoroughly Arabized, we used Arabic even in hymns and religious ceremonies. The liberal and secular trends of the 20th century engendered an even stronger association of Iraqi Jews and Arab culture, which brought Jews into an extremely active arena in public and cultural life. Prominent Jewish writers, poets and scholars played a vital role in Arab culture, distinguishing themselves in Arabic speaking theater, in music, as singers, composers, and players of traditional instruments.

In Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Tunisia, Jews became members of legislatures, of municipal councils, of the judiciary, and even occupied high economic positions. (The finance minister of Iraq in the '40s was Ishak Sasson, and in Egypt, Jamas Sanua--higher positions, ironically, than those our community had generally achieved within the Jewish state until the 1990s!)

The same historical process that dispossessed Palestinians of their property, lands and national-political rights, was linked to the dispossession of Middle Eastern and North African Jews of their property, lands, and rootedness in Muslim countries. As refugees, or mass immigrants (depending on one's political perspective), we were forced to leave everything behind and give up our Iraqi passports. The same process also affected our uprootedness or ambiguous positioning within Israel itself, where we have been systematically discriminated against by institutions that deployed their energies and material to the consistent advantage of European Jews and to the consistent disadvantage of Oriental Jews. Even our physiognomies betray us, leading to internalized colonialism or physical misperception. Sephardic Oriental women often dye their dark hair blond, while the men have more than once been arrested or beaten when mistaken for Palestinians. What for Ashkenazi immigrants from Russian and Poland was a social aliya (literally "ascent") was for Oriental Sephardic Jews a yerida ("descent").
See also: Israeli Ambassador: We're White Europeans

Labels: , , ,


Day 1,225 of the Iraq War ...

From the Pasadena Weekly's The image cannot be displayed because it contains errors.

As of Tuesday, day 1,225 of the Iraq War…

  • 2,561 American soldiers have been reported killed, according to the US Department of Defense. Associated Press, however, reported Monday that the minimum number of American casualties in Iraq is 2,567.
  • 18,988 soldiers have been reported wounded in action.*
  • 39,284 is the minimum number of civilians killed in Iraq.
  • $298.6 billion in taxpayer funds have been spent on the war.
  • $144.4 million is Pasadena taxpayers’ share; $3.1 billion is Los Angeles’.

Since the last Count [7/6/06]…

  • 8 more American soldiers have been reported killed.
  • 161 more Iraqi civilians have been reported killed.
  • 100 civilians were killed each day on average during May and June, the first two months of Iraq’s new US-backed government, according to Reuters. While Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki denied the possibility of an impending civil war, an unnamed Iraqi official said, “If this is not civil war … then I don’t know what is.”
  • 14,000 Iraqis have died since January, CNN reported last week.
  • 66 is the minimum number of civilians killed Sunday by three separate car bombs, according to the Washington Post.
  • 2 out of 5 Iraqis recently interviewed stated they had lost family members or friends to insurgent violence, according to a survey released by Reuters Monday.

“They did [their job] honorably, they did it admirably,” said the attorney for one of three soldiers being tried for the deaths of three Iraqi men during a May mission. “If they did want to kill these men, they could have and been within the rules of engagement.” According to AP, the soldiers testified that they “were under orders to ‘kill all military age males.’”

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan…

  • 314 American soldiers have been reported killed.*
  • 825 have been reported wounded in action.*
  • 800 people have been killed since the middle of May, AP reported Monday.
  • 35 vehicles carried "hundreds" of Taliban soldiers to a government building where they killed 3 police officers and injured 7 on Monday, according to reports by AP and the Washington Post.

COUNTDOWN: 832 days remain until the 2008 presidential election.


Labels: , ,


Battle Over Bolton Could Be Decided by Jewish Support

John Bolton, a "Defender of Israel" and recess appointee to the post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations is back in the news. According to "Battle Over Bolton Could Be Decided by Jewish Support" by Randy Hall (July 27, 2006) of
Increased support from the Jewish community might make the difference between last year's Senate decision not to confirm John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and this year's debate on the nomination, the head of a Jewish organization told Cybercast News Service.

"I believe almost every Republican will be supporting" Bolton in the Senate, and "you're going to have a surprising number of Democrats supporting him because of his record" of "courage, intelligence and eloquence," said Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).

The image cannot be displayed because it contains errors.Bolton is "a man who does what he believes no matter what the consequences are for himself politically, and that's really rare," Klein noted. "This man looks at what's good for our country and what's good to reflect his principles."

In addition, "the organizational Jewish leaders I've spoken to have all spoken positively to me about Bolton" because "he's shown to be an outstanding public servant both for America and those who care about strong U.S.-Israel relations," he stated.

That support could be critical if Senate Democrats decide -- as they did last year -- to filibuster Bolton's nomination. To obtain the 60 votes necessary to end debate through a cloture resolution, the 55 Republicans would need the help of at least five other senators.

Klein told Cybercast News Service that such support might come from states where the status of Israel is a significant issue, including New York, where "important friends" of Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton told him the senators are "seriously reconsidering" their position on Bolton.

"If they came out against him, I would be somewhat surprised," Klein said of Schumer and Clinton, who were outspoken in their opposition to Bolton last year but have remained silent on the nomination so far this year. "I think there's a reasonable chance they might support him this time around."

However, "with politics, you never know," he added.

Along with the ZOA, other Jewish groups endorsing Bolton so far this year include the Republican Jewish Congress and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.
In "Republican Jews urge Bolton confirmation," the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, quoting from a July 24, 2006, press relase, reports:
The Republican Jewish Coalition urged the U.S. Senate to confirm John Bolton as U.N. ambassador.

"Ambassador Bolton has expressed President Bush's unwavering support of Israel in a time of crisis," the coalition said in a statement Monday.

"He has vetoed Security Council resolutions which condemned Israel and excused the terrorists Israel is fighting against."
Here, back in December 08, 2005 , according to ZOA president Morton Klein, is why Bolton was recognized as a "Defender of Israel:"
Ambassador Bolton’s recent efforts on the Netanya bombing and Hezbollah follow a long, principled record of support for Israel . He has been very active in recent weeks attempting to trim the wastage of the U.N. budget on propaganda efforts on behalf of the Palestinians through U.N. bodies paid for, among others, by the American taxpayer, such as the UN Division for Palestinian Rights, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices in the Occupied Territories.

It is also vital to mention in this context that it was Ambassador Bolton who piloted through the U.N. the rescission of the infamous "Zionism is Racism" resolution in 1991, something he proudly describes as a "highlight of my career" and one that removed "the greatest stain on the U.N.’s reputation."
If Bolton is confirmed then it will be an impressive achievement for mainstream American Jews, a group that represents only 2% of the U.S. population. Here is a reflection on the influence of Jews in American society from an anti-immigration article by Dr. Stephen M. Steinlight of the Center for Immigration Studies:
... American-Jewish leadership is experiencing profound vertigo as it seeks to chart a course through circumstances that appear logical only to a schizophrenic.

On one hand, they’re leaders of a community that feels a sense of belonging unknown in the history of Diaspora Jewry. America’s Jews have attained success and acceptance beyond their forebear’s fondest dreams. They’re influential far beyond their miniscule percentage of the population. They wield significant political power and cultural influence. Nearly half the money spent in Democratic Party presidential primaries comes from Jewish contributors. In recent years, Jewish presence at the highest levels of government has become routine. A majority of Clinton’s cabinet members were Jews. Jewish advisors play key roles in the Bush administration’s national security, foreign and military affairs. Had Gore become President, an Orthodox Jew would have been a heartbeat away from the nation’s highest office. If John Kerry is elected the next President, he will be the country’s first chief executive with Jewish roots.

Among the best-known indices of its success, 10 percent of the U.S. Senate is Jewish, as is a majority of the presidents at Ivy League universities, and faculties and student bodies at elite colleges and universities are typically 30 to 40 percent Jewish. Jews form a high percentage within the learned professions and among writers, nationally syndicated journalists, and publishers of some of the nation’s leading newspapers and periodicals, and as creators and disseminators of high and popular culture. They play the predominant role in Hollywood, and thus shape much of our self-definition as Americans. Jews also hold key positions within many leading financial institutions, especially within investment banking and the brokerage industry.
See also "Israel's Man at the UN" by Tom Barry of the International Relations Center (July 26, 2006).

Labels: , , , ,


Beyond Chutzpah: A Brief, 'Didactic' Review

Reviewed: Norman G. Finkelstein. Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.

Beyond Chutzpah is the much-awaited latest book by Norman G. Finkelstein. In his Introduction, Finkelstein tells us:
The purpose of Beyond Chutzpah is to lift the veil of contrived controversy shrouding the Israel-Palestine conflict. I am convinced that anyone confronting the undistorted record will recognize the injustice Palestinians have suffered. I hope this book will also provide impetus for readers to act on the basis of truth so that, together, we can achieve a just and lasting peace in Israel and Palestine.
In the first part of the book—"The Not-So-New 'New Anti-Semitism' "—Finkelstein reveals how deserved criticism of Israel is periodically stymied by an outbreak of "new anti-Semitism" which just so happens to coincide "with renewed international pressures on Israel to withdraw from occupied Arab territories in exchange for recognition from neighboring Arab states." Among the current round of fear mongers he identifies are Abraham Foxman (Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism (2003)) and Phyllis Chesler (The New Anti-Semitism (2003)). Finkelstein demonstrates that, "What's currently called the new anti-Semitism actually incorporates three main components: (1) exaggeration and fabrication, (2) mislabeling legitimate criticism of Israeli policy, and (3) the unjustified yet predictable spillover from criticism of Israel to Jews generally."

In the category of exaggeration and fabrication, Finkelstein notes that the reception of his earlier book, The Holocaust Industry, was cited as evidence of anti-Semitism. In its 2000-2001 survey, Antisemitism Worldwide, the Israeli Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism ominously observed: "Finkelstein's book ... [was] enthusiastically welcomed, especially in Germany." Apparently, unobserved by the Roth Institute, is that, among others, the dean of Holocaust studies, Raul Hilberg, praised The Holocaust Industry as an important "breakthrough"—"carefully" researched and with "trustworthy" conclusions.

Echoing similar remarks from The Holocaust Industry, Finkelstein closes the first part of Beyond Chutzpah with a potent charge that, perhaps, only the son of Holocaust survivors would dare make:
As already noted, Jewish elites in the United States have enjoyed enormous prosperity. From this combination of economic and political power has sprung, unsurprisingly, a mindset of Jewish superiority. Wrapping themselves in the mantle of The Holocaust ["an ideological representation of the [actual] Nazi holocaust"], these Jewish elites pretend—and, in their own solipsistic universe, perhaps imagine themselves—to be victims, dismissing any and all criticism as manifestations of "anti-Semitism." And, from this lethal brew of formidable power, chauvinistic arrogance, feigned (or imagined) victimhood, and Holocaust-immunity to criticism has sprung a terrifying recklessness and ruthlessness on the part of American Jewish elites. Alongside Israel, they are the main fomenters of anti-Semitism in the world today.
In the second, larger part of Beyond Chutzpah—"The Greatest Tale Ever Sold"—Finkelstein rebuts, in considerable detail, numerous claims made by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz in his best-selling book, The Case for Israel. Finkelstein exposes Dershowitz's reliance upon misinterpreted, non-existent, and discredited sources.

For instance, Dershowitz, citing a September 6, 1999, decision, claims, "the Israeli Supreme Court outlawed the use of all physical pressure in eliciting information from potential terrorists." Yet, as Finkelstein points out, a year before the publication of Case, Dershowitz, "referring to the same court decision ... acknowledged that it did not absolutely prohibit torture." After quoting the contradictory passage from Dershowitz, Finkelstein also quotes the opinion of the plaintiffs in the case—the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI)—regarding the 1999 decision: "The Court avoided the position of international law that rejects torture ... and creat[ed] an opening both for the existence of torture in practice, and lending legal and ethical legitimacy to this deplorable crime." The title of PCATI's 2003 followup report speaks for itself: BACK TO A ROUTINE OF TORTURE Torture and Ill-treatment of Palestinian Detainees during Arrest, Detention and Interrogation September 2001–April 2003.

In 1948, Zionist paramilitary fighters from the Irgun and LEHI murdered over 100 unarmed Arab men, women, and children in the village of Deir Yassin. Later that year, in the New York Times prominent American Jews, including Hannah Arendt and Albert Einstein, cited the Deir Yassin massacre in a letter protesting the US visit of former Irgun commander and future Israeli Prime Minster Menachem Begin as evidence of his and his party's—the Freedom (Herut) party (forerunner to the Likud party)—"fascist" and "terrorist" politics and actions.

In Case, Dershowitz claims that "Deir Yassin stands out in the history of Arab-Jewish conflict in Palestine precisely because it was so unusual and so out of character for the Jews." He calls the massacre an "isolated although tragic and inexcusable blemish on Israeli paramilitary actions." Against this, Finkelstein quotes multiple passages from the noted Israeli historian and Zionist apologist Benny Morris—whom Dershowitz also quotes—to the effect that " 'Jewish atrocities' were 'far more widespread than the old histories have let on' " and " 'Jewish atrocities against Arabs . . . were generally unconnected to or lacked any previous direct, Arab provocation.' "Of course, Palestinians have long known about Zionist-perpetrated massacres and other atrocities—if we'd only listen.

Perhaps the best-known part of Finkelstein's attack on Case is Dershowitz's reliance upon and plagiarism of Joan Peters' now discredited book, From Time Immemorial. Not long after its publication in 1984, Peters' book received a scathing review in the New York Review of Books from Yehoshua Porath, professor of Middle East History at Hebrew University. Concluding, he wrote:
I am reluctant to bore the reader and myself with further examples of Mrs. Peters's highly tendentious use—or neglect—of the available source material. Much more important is her misunderstanding of basic historical processes ... Everyone familiar with the writing of the extreme nationalists of Zeev Jabotinsky's Revisionist party ... would immediately recognize the tired and discredited arguments in Mrs. Peters's book. I had mistakenly thought them long forgotten. It is a pity that they have been given new life.
In any event, the book—endorsed on the dust jacket by a number of Jewish 'luminaries'—was generally well received in the U.S. and went to become a national bestseller. In his doctoral dissertation on Zionism, Finkelstein cut his scholarly teeth by exposing Peters' "colossal hoax"—a verdict later upheld by "Baruch Kimmerling (of the Hebrew University) and Joel S. Migdal, in their authoritative study, Palestinians: The Making of a People."

In a detailed appendix, including tables and facsimiles of the advance uncorrected proofs of Case, Finkelstein shows how Dershowitz "appropriates large swaths" from Peters' book. One interesting example, albeit minor in comparison to the others Finkelstein documents, was exposed on a nationally broadcast debate between the two antagonists. In two places in Case, Dershowitz uses the term "turnspeak," attributing it in the book solely to George Orwell's 1984. Yet, Orwell never used the clunky term, which was in fact coined by none other than Joan Peters. It is the charge of plagiarism that prompted Dershowitz's campaign to suppress the publication and promotion of Finkelstein's book. Dershowitz claims he has been libeled; yet, the famous trial lawyer refuses to file suit against Finkelstein. Ostensibly, he does not want to give Finkelstein undeserved attention.

All in all, Finkelstein's book is a powerful refutation of The Case for Israel and a powerful corrective to the distorted record of the Israel-Palestine conflict. People who've never known or believed anything but the dominant Zionist narrative would do well to read Beyond Chutzpah and then, as the author hopes, "act on the basis of truth."

Labels: , ,


Hedy Epstein Nominated for Honorary Membership in Veterans for Peace

Photo Collage of Hedy EspteinThe following is an edited version of Michelle J. Kinnucan's nomination of Hedy Epstein as an honorary member of Veterans for Peace.

I met Hedy about two years ago when she came to speak at a local church about Israel-Palestine. Since that time we have become friends and my admiration for Hedy has only grown as I've learned more about her past and her ongoing work for justice and peace.

Hedy Epstein was born in 1924 in Germany and was eight years old when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933. Hedy's parents tried to leave Germany as a family, but were unsuccessful, due to emigration restrictions in various countries around the world. Finally, her parents found a way out for her. In May 1939, Hedy went to England on a children's transport. She never saw her parents and other family members again; they died in Nazi concentration camps.

Many other people died or suffered losses such as Hedy's. Her experiences could have changed Hedy into a mean, racist, and vindictive person. As the scholar Norman Finkelstein--himself, the son of Nazi holocaust survivors--wrote in The Holocaust Industry: "The Holocaust has proven to be an indispensable ideological weapon. Through its deployment, [Israel] one of the world's most formidable military powers, with a horrendous human rights record, has cast itself as a 'victim' state ..." (p. 3, 2nd ed.).

Not only has Hedy refused to be caught up in the "Holocaust Industry," she has set herself against the crimes committed under its cover and learned a different, better lesson than some. As Hedy wrote to the VFP Board of Directors last year:
I am a Jewish survivor of the Nazi Holocaust. As such I know how it feels to be made a pariah in my own homeland. I know what it is like to have my family and neighbors reduced to second-class citizenship (and as of 9/1935, even deprived of citizenship), because we were not of the right religion or ethnicity. And, sadly, I also know what it is like to have family and friends imprisoned and killed for these reasons, and to have to flee to avoid the same fate myself.

The phrase 'Never Again' - the motto of Holocaust survivors - should be about protecting every person from ethnic cleansing and genocide. Unfortunately, the Arab Palestinians have not been afforded these protections. Today, Israel comprises 78% of historic Palestine, and occupies militarily the other 22%. Millions of Palestinians are refugees who are not permitted to return to their homes.

I have visited Palestine in 2003 and 2004 and saw with my own eyes the impact of the military occupation of Palestine, the cost in human lives and the suffering. Yes, Israeli Jews have suffered, too, but, by far, Palestinians have born the brunt of a worthy dream - a safe place for Jews - which became a catastrophe or al-Naqba, as it is called in Arabic, for Palestinians.
As Hedy says in the Academy Award-winning documentary film, Into the Arms of Strangers: "I certainly do my share of remembering but remembering also has to have a present and future perspective. You can't just stop at remembering. I don't think I ever made a conscious decision to devote myself to human rights and social justice issues. Someone helped me. I can't pay back or thank some of the people who helped me but I can do something for other people."

And so she has, Hedy is on her way to Palestine for the fourth time this Saturday (7/29) with the Presbyterian Congressional Accompaniment Project. Although I know Hedy through her Israel-Palestine work she has worked on many other issues including fair housing, abortion rights, immigration rights, and antiwar activities. As a peace delegate, Hedy journeyed to Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Cambodia in 1989.

Hedy is also an accomplished writer and public speaker. Her autobiography was published in May 1999 by Unrast-Verlag. The book, titled Erinnern ist nicht genug: Autobiographie von Hedy Epstein (Remembering Is Not Enough: The Autobiography of Hedy Epstein), is available in German. She began speaking to audiences in 1970. Her topics include her Nazi Holocaust experiences, her work at the Nuremberg Medical Trial, and related subjects. She has spoken in the US, Germany, and Austria to audiences of schoolchildren, college students, and adults. In addition, she has appeared on several radio and television shows as a guest. She is a member of the Speakers Bureau of the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center.

I hope you will agree with me that Veterans for Peace would do well in granting an honorary membership to Hedy Epstein.

See also:

Labels: , ,


The One-Million Bulb Swap-Out

Here's an interesting campaign by Environmental Defense to get people to fight global warming by switching from regular light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs. They say:
Why Switch?

What costs less than two grande lattes, saves you a bunch of money and helps save the planet?

Compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • They screw into ordinary light sockets.
  • They give the same light as traditional bulbs.
Replace one 100-watt bulb with a just-as-bright 30-watt compact fluorescent, and cut more than 1,300 pounds of the global warming pollutant carbon dioxide over the life of the bulb. Swap out two bulbs to lower your household emissions by more than a ton!

It's that easy!
Don't forget, though, compact fluorescent bulbs like other fluorescent lights contain mercury, which is a toxic substance and an environmental hazard. Don't just throw them in the garbage when they burn out. Read what Treehugger has to say about mercury in CFLs versus incandescent bulbs here.

Labels: , ,


Against the Death Machine: A Victory in Ireland

Excerpt from "Not Guilty. The Pitstop Ploughshares All Acquitted on All Charges" on Indymedia Ireland, July 25, 2006:
The verdict was given at aproximately 11.50 a.m. this morning at this significant trial in The Four Courts. Since their action on the 3rd February 2003 the five defendants have waited three years for todays verdict, under onerous bail conditions, with two other trials collapsing. In a statement released immediately after the verdict the Pitstop Ploughshares said:

"The jury is the conscience of the community chosen randomly from Irish society. The conscience of the community has spoken. The government has no popular mandate in providing the civilian Shannon airport to service the US war machine in it's illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

"In 1996 in Liverpool the Jury acquittal of the four 'ploughshares' women contributed to the end of arms exports to the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia and the independence of East Timor.

"The decision of this jury should be a message to London, Washington DC and the Dail that Ireland wants no part in waging war on the people of Iraq. Refuelling of US warplanes at Shannon Airport should cease immediately. " - Ciaron, Damien, Karen, Deirdre and Nuin.
Here's what they were on trial for:
In the early hours of Monday 3 February 2003, five members of the pacifist Catholic Worker Movement cut their way into Shannon Airport, Ireland. The peace activists poured human blood on the runway that has been servicing U.S. military flights, troop and munition deployments to U.S. military bases in Kuwait and Qatar.

They constructed a shrine on the runway to Iraqi children killed and threatened by U.S./British bombardment and sanctions. The shrine consisted of copies of the Bible and Quran, rosary and muslim prayer beads, flowers, photographs of Iraqi children and Brigid's crosses. They then began to take up the runway, working on its edge with a mallet.

The activists approached the hanger housing a US Navy plane under repair. They painted ''Pit stop of death'' on the hanger's roller door, and began the dismantling of the hanger. They then entered the hanger to disarm the repaired US warplane. The plane in question according to Ciaron was the same plane as Mary Kelly hit with a hatchet in the recent past. They then prayed together.
Here are the first four paragraphs of the July 27, 2006, article " 'We'll use people power to shut down Shannon' " by Mary Regan in the Irish Examiner:
ANTI-WAR protesters are plotting to trespass at Shannon Airport, occupy a runway and blockade American air craft carrying troops to Iraq.

The warning, to "demilitarise" or shut down the airport through non-violent measures, came yesterday.

One of the five activists, acquitted this week on charges of causing an estimated €2 million worth of damage to a United States Navy aircraft three years ago, said every effort would be made to close down the airport through "people power".

Ciaron O'Reilly, 46, said: "We're going to analyse how many people it will take to close down Shannon Airport until it's demilitarised. In doing that we'll be in discussion with student groups, human rights peace groups, environmental groups and community groups, to see — in the tradition of Martin Luther King and Ghandi — if we can initiate a process of non-violent direct action and close the airport down until it's demilitarised."

Labels: , , , ,


Salman Abu Sitta on al Nakba

Below is an excerpt from the speech "Back to Roots" given by Salman Abu Sitta, Ph.D., founder and president of the Palestine Land Society, at Al-Awda’s recent 4th International Convention. Read the full text here.
It is often said in the standard Israeli narrative that, at the end of the Mandate, the Palestinians refused to accept the Partition Plan of Palestine, while the Jews accepted it. This narrative deliberately omits and distorts key facts.

How can the Palestinians accept to give away sovereignty over 54% of their country to Jewish European immigrants who controlled only 5.5% of Palestine, many of whom had just waded into their shores under the cover of darkness from a smuggler’s ship?

In the would-be Jewish state, 457 Palestinian towns and villages suddenly found themselves under the rule of foreign immigrants. The Palestinians comprised about half of the total population of this new state.

They did not like it. Neither did Ben Gurion, for different reasons. In 1948, Ben Gurion proceeded to expel his Palestinian citizens even before Israel was declared and he went on, not only to conquer 54%, but 78% of Palestine and expel its population. Al Nakba was born.

Zionists, now called Israelis, conquered 774 Palestinian towns and villages, depopulated totally 675 of them, while 99 remained under brutal military rule for 16 years to be replaced by second class citizen status.

It was the largest planned and foreign-supported ethnic cleaning in modern history.

Never before in modern history has a foreign minority descended upon the national majority of a country as in Palestine, depopulated its inhabitants, confiscated its land, property and records in the largest land robbery since WW II, destroyed its historical and religious landscape and obliterated its identity and history and called this crime as a victory for civilization and a divine intervention.

These who missed al Nakba of 1948 can see it re-enacted every day on their TV screens, albeit in different forms and under different pretexts.

Today the Palestinian population is about 10 million (9.650). Two thirds are refugees, the largest ratio among any people in the world. If you add those displaced in 1967, fully three quarters of the Palestinians are deprived of the normal human right to live at home. The remainder live under Israeli occupation, the longest and most brutal occupation in modern times.


Thirty-One Gaza Children Killed in Israeli Offensive in Thirty-One Days

According to a July 26, 2006, press release by Defence for Children International, "the following children have been killed by Israeli military actions in Gaza since 26 June 2006:"

1. Anwar Isma'el Atallah, 12 years old
2. Saleh Sleman Al Jemasi, 16 years old
3. Ruwan Fareed Hajjaj, 5 years old
4. Khalid Nidal Abed Al Karim Wahbeh, 1 year old
5. Mahfouth Farid Nasseer, 15 years old
6. Ahmad Ghaleb Abu Amshah, 16 years old
7. Ahmed Fathi Odah Shabat, 16 years old
8. Waleed Mahmoud Al Zinati, 12 years old
9. Salah Adeen Hammad Abu Maktuma, 17 years old
10. Ibrahim Ali Khatoush, 15 years old
11. Mahmoud Muhammad Al Asar, 15 years old
12. Ibrahim Ali Al Nabaheen, 15 years old
13. Ahmad Abdil Mina'm Abu Hajaj, 16 years old
14. Nasrallah Nabil Abu Selmieh, 5 years old
15. Aya Nabil Abu Selmieh, 7 years old
16. Iman Nabil Abu Selmieh, 11 years old
17. Yahya Nabil Abu Selmieh, 9 years old
18. Huda Nabil Abu Selmieh, 13 years old
19. Basma Nabil Abu Selmieh, 15 years old
20. Sumaia Nabil Abu Selmieh, 16 years old
21. Raji Omar Deif Alla, 16 years old
22. Muhanna Sa'ed Mesleh, 16 years old
23. Ahmad Rawhee Abdo, 13 years old
24. Ali Kamil Al Najar, 13 years old
25. Fadwa Faisel al 'Urouqi, 13 years old
26. Mohammad Awad Muhra, 17 years old
27. Khitam Muhammad Tayeh, 11 years old
28. Nadee Habib Al Ataar, 11 years old
29. Saleh Ibrahim Nasser, 13 years old
30. Bashir Abdullah Awad Abu Thaher, 12 years old
31. Sabrine Naser Habib, 3 years old

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Belfast Telegraph: Which Countries Back An Immediate Mideast Ceasefire?

From the Belfast Telegraph editorial, "Middle East Crisis: Who backs an immediate ceasefire?" with a nod to Empires Fall:

As a humanitarian disaster looms, Britain and the US are left exposed by refusing to endorse the UN's demand for an end to hostilities.


jews sans frontieres: "How Jews can lie abroad for Israel"

Below is the first part of a recent post by Levi9909 at the jews sans frontieres blog. It quotes from the article, "Every Jew is an Ambassador for Israel" by Rabbi Aron Moss. For more information on hasbara see my July 24, 2006, post.
How Jews can lie abroad for Israel
This is terrible, ok, terribly funny in parts. It's that zionist hasbara* thingy again. It's in Arutz Sheva and its about putting the case for Israel.

Question of the Week

"I am the only Jew in my office so I face a daily barrage of questions about Israel's actions in Lebanon. I don't know who appointed me as Israel's spokesman and I am not armed with the answers. Can you help?"


At times like this, every Jew becomes an ambassador for Israel. Even if you don't agree with everything Israel does, any decent person must stand up for Israel's right to self-defense.

We can leave the military and political issues to the experts, but we should all be clear on the moral questions raised by this war. Let's look at a few of the most commonly asked questions.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Chomsky, Free Arab Voice On Hizbullah

The editorial board of the Free Arab Voice web site recently issued a "Declaration in support of the Arab Resistance in Lebanon" (excerpts below). Thinking about and researching the declaration and Hizbullah, I ended up on a Hizbullah web site where I was a bit surprised to find the text of a May 19, 2006, Daily Star (Lebanon) article on Noam Chomsky's remarks to the press in Beirut. The article is by Jim Quilty and entitled "Hizbullah is a Lebanese phenomenon & the resistance should keep their weapons." I wasn't able to verify the article on the Daily Star web site but the information in the article was corroborated here, here, and here.

Below are some excerpts from the article that mention Hizbullah; I have mostly deleted Chomsky's remarks on Iran, opportunism, tactical questions, etc. I could not resist leaving in his biting comment on "the nature of the political class." I have not edited the non-standard usage of quotation marks around Israel, Israeli, etc. and don't know if they appeared in the original Daily Star article or were added later.
After interviewing Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, Chomsky's told the press the resistance should keep their weapons.

"In an ideal situation all militias should be disarmed," he told The Daily Star. "Unfortunately Lebanon isn't Luxembourg. Since 1978 there have been four invasions from "Israel" - meaning a U.S.-"Israeli" invasion since "Israel" can't invade with out U.S. permission - and plenty of bombings and other terrorism. That happens to be where Lebanon is.

"There's only one deterrent to another U.S.-"Israeli" attack and that's the threat of guerrilla warfare. If anybody can think of a better alternative I'd be happy to hear it. It'd be nice if the Lebanese Army offered a deterrent but it doesn't.

"There is an alternative, namely a credible international agreement to prevent aggression. But who would guarantee it? The EU cannot and will not.
"If the U.S. and "Israel" decide ... there's a group here that supports Hamas, say. In that reality Lebanon has two choices: either eliminate any deterrent to another "Israeli"-U.S. invasion or else have the credible threat of guerrilla warfare which is what drove "Israel" out in the first place."

Chomsky characterizes his critique of U.S. policy as straightforward institutional analysis. States act on interests, not friendship. "People in Lebanon who think that John Bolton wanted Syria out of Lebanon because he likes the Lebanese are dreaming," he says, a view contrary to local narratives of last spring's "Cedar Revolution".
"When it came to ["Israel's" 1982 Lebanon invasion] the U.S. had a policy: they supported it. When that became an embarrassment on the international scene, they changed policy and called it off and tried to settle it their own way. As long as Lebanon remains more or less orderly and it's not harming any major U.S. interests there probably is no policy, at least none that I can think of."

Given Hizbullah's rhetoric against "Israel" - and the fact that the disarming of all militias (aka Hizbullah's military wing) was appended to UN Security Council Resolution 1559 - one would think the Party of God is the exception to the rule of U.S. indifference.

"America and Jordan talk about 'the Shiite Crescent' but Hizbullah is irrelevant to that," Chomsky says. "Hizbullah doesn't have any oil. It's a Lebanese phenomenon. It won its position primarily by driving the "Israelis" out. It has its own interests and its own concerns - which it's up to Lebanon to figure out.

"If Hizbullah were to accept U.S. policies, they could run Lebanon as far as the U.S. cares. Is Hizbullah a more extreme fundamentalist organization than the people who run Saudi Arabia?

"In fact, the U.S. has always strongly supported Islamic fundamentalism. It created the jihadis after all, in the 1980s. It supported Zia al-Huq when he was turning Pakistan into an Islamic fundamentalist state. The Reagan administration pretended that Pakistan wasn't developing nuclear weapons.

"It's just not an issue. The U.S. is ecumenical."

Chomsky followed last Spring's "Independence Uprising" and is aware many activists felt betrayed by their political leadership, but he resists dispensing advice.

"People shouldn't be surprised to be betrayed by the political class," he says. "It's in the nature of the political class, any power grouping for that matter."
Excerpts from the "Declaration in support of the Arab Resistance in Lebanon:"
To every Arab Nationalist, to every Muslim, to every supporter of the Resistance against imperialist and/or Zionist aggression, to every supporter of justice and freedom:

The enemy's aim to divide and conquer will succeed if we do not unite behind the legitimate Resistance of groups like Hizb'ullah in Lebanon. We cannot afford to think in terms of 'regions' or of sectarian interests. We must unite to support EVERY strike against foreign occupation and foreign aggression against the Arab Nation.

Any one who attempts to argue that Hizb'ullah is nothing more than a Lebanese Shi'a organisation might as well give active support to the Zionists. Any one who attempts to argue that Hizb'ullah is the instigator of unprovoked aggression here has his/her head in the sand and is in danger of finding a new world map when he/she finally takes a look at the world.
A fact that evidently has escaped notice in the West is that the earliest Zionists in the 19th century had a plan to invade Lebanon and incorporate the entire South of Lebanon in what they purported to define as 'Greater Israel'. This early ambition was reiterated in the 1950s, long before the 'Grapes of Wrath' invasion by the Zionist entity. People have the unqualified right to resist against a foreign invasion and no amount of strictly 'humanitarian relief' will protect the Lebanese people from Zionist ambitions.
The history of this region is steeped in acts of Zionist aggression and Hizb'ullah's actions are no more than legitimate acts of self-defence against a foreign militarised imperialist entity that never has abandoned its plans for total domination of the region.

Under the spurious guise of 'eternal victim', the Zionists once again are attempting to distort the facts.
This is a situation in which every Arab should be involved. In that sense, it does concern Syria but no more than it concerns any one in any part of or with any ties to the Arab Nation in general. It would be a grave error for any one to pretend otherwise.

This is not a conflict only for the Shi'a, although every Shi'a should support Hizb'ullah's actions. This is not a conflict only for Muslims, although every Muslim should support this Resistance. This is a conflict in which every Muslim, every Christian, every secularist, every Arab and every individual anywhere who believes in justice must support Hizb'ullah's Resistance.

The people of Iraq are struggling under the yoke of foreign Occupation and oppression and a puppet government that only concerns itself with its own selfish and sectarian interests. The people of Palestine are struggling under the burden of foreign Occupation and a continuing programme of dispossession and genocide. The people of the Arab Nation from sea to sea are struggling under the corrupt rule of leaders who bow to U.S./Zionist propaganda and foreign interests daily. The aim of the U.S. alliance ultimately is the destruction of every vestige of strength and independence in the Arab Nation. The Zionist entity was the foreign seed of destruction that was allowed by the West to take root in the heart of the Arab Nation for the sole purpose of weakening it. Will the Arab Nation continue to ignore the parasite that devours it from within?

'Democracy' in the U.S./Zionist lexicon signifies any group that works together to facilitate U.S./Zionist economic and political goals. If any organisation or leader anywhere in the world, however democratic in fact, opposes U.S./Zionist economic and political goals it conveniently will be labelled a 'terrorist' leader or group, making it obvious that 'democracy' is a meaningless term in this context.
The Arab Nation needed a boost of morale and Hizb'ullah has provided it. Every true Arab Nationalist must be heartened by the thought of any Arab Resistance group with the courage and steadfastness to oppose the Zionists in this fashion. When the majority of Arab leaders either have been bribed or intimidated not into mere silence but into actual betrayal of the cause of the Arab Nation, it becomes vital for every Arab voice to be raised in support of the Resistance.

In Gaza, Shaima al-Quqa, daughter of martyr Al-Abd Al-Quqa, announced the formation of special armed brigades of female human bombs and declared that the women of Palestine 'take upon ourselves before Allah to do what the sleeping leaders and armies of the Arab Nations have failed to do. We are carrying arms alongside the fighters and embarking on the path of the Resistance and the Jihad.'

May the entire Arab Nation take note of their courage and may it inspire an awakening to Resistance among other women and men alike!

Labels: , , ,

Monday, July 24, 2006


Jewish Leaders Mobilize to Keep the Blood Flowing

From a July 21, 2006, article in The Forward--"a legendary name in American journalism and a revered institution in American Jewish life"--entitled "Bush Urged To Give Israel More Time for Attacks: Groups Launch Lobbying Blitz In Washington" by Ori Nir:
WASHINGTON — Bucking calls in the international community for a cease-fire in the Middle East, Jewish organizations launched a major lobbying offensive in the nation's capital this week to give Israel more time to deal a decisive blow to Islamist militants in Lebanon and Gaza.

With the civilian death toll in Lebanon surpassing 200 early in the week, international calls were increasing for a cease-fire and the deployment of an international force to Lebanon, and the United States signaled that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would arrive in the region Sunday. Israeli military officials, however, were saying that they would need up to two more weeks to decimate Hezbollah's operational capabilities.

In an effort to head off calls in Washington for a quick cease-fire, some officials with Jewish groups have spent the past few days urging policymakers to make sure that Israel is given ample time and freedom of action to inflict as much damage as possible on Hezbollah's infrastructure in southern Lebanon.

About 50 leaders of the Jewish community from across the country were scheduled to meet Thursday with Bush administration officials and congressional leaders. Pro-Israel advocates said that they would be asking the administration to slap more sanctions on Syria and to push the European Union to follow America's lead by labeling Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

In a particularly unusual move, one top Jewish communal leader, Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman, visited the Saudi ambassador in Washington, Prince Turki al-Faisal, to thank him for his country's condemnation of Hezbollah for igniting the crisis by launching a cross-border raid against Israel and abducting two of its soldiers.

"We told the ambassador that this could be a new moment in the relationship, that the neighborhood is changing because the threats that face the Jewish people are also facing moderate Arab states," Foxman said. ...

Many Jewish organizations, including the ADL, were also praising President Bush for repeatedly defending Israel's right to defend itself. But their most important goal appeared to be to keep America from shutting down Israel's military operations prematurely.
Jewish communities in several major American cities — including New York, Washington, Miami, St. Louis, Detroit, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia — have organized rallies in support of Israel. Jewish activists are also scheduling meetings with diplomats stationed in foreign embassies in Washington and consulates across America to encourage foreign governments to support Israel's campaigns against Hamas and Hezbollah.

Two organizations, the Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America, called for a nationwide night of prayer and Torah study July 19. ...

Jewish communal leaders expressed particular appreciation for the administration's early public support of Israel's position that it was pointless to push for a cease-fire before Hezbollah was significantly weakened.
Jewish groups said that they were quite happy with the response of several Arab countries, namely Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah last week endorsed an official Saudi statement blaming Hezbollah — which strongly benefits from Iranian financial and military support — for the deterioration across the Israeli-Lebanese border. ...
See also "Evangelical Christians plead for Israel" from BBC News.


California Green Challenges Sen. Feinstein on Israel's War on Arabs

The Green Party of California's U.S. Senate candidate, Todd Chretien, showed up at a pro-Israel rally in San Francisco on Sunday and offered "an alternative to Sen. Feinstein’s cheering of the Israeli military." Chretien's remarks at the rally were reported yesterday in an article, "Responses to a rally for Israel are split: Sen. Feinstein says nation 'fighting for its very existence' " in one of the Bay area's two main newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle:
The Hezbollah and Hamas attacks on Israel were on military forces, with very specific aims -- that is, prisoner exchanges," said Todd Chretien, a 37-year-old Oakland writer and activist running for U.S. Senate. "Instead, Israel has put into motion a pre-existing plan to reconquer Gaza, to destroy Hamas person by person, and to unleash the danger of a regionwide war in the Middle East."

Chretien described Hezbollah as a legitimate, organic movement of resistance to Israeli occupation and oppression rather than a terrorist group.
Below is the scathing press release issued by Chretien on Friday:
Sen. Feinstein Leads Rally to Cheer on Israeli War
Friday, July 21, 2006

For Immediate Release


Green Party Press Conference to Denounce Sen. Feinstein’s Support for Israeli War
Sunday, July 23 at 11am
Justin Herman Plaza (at the foot of Market Street)
Contact: 510-590-6073

On Sunday, July 23, Sen. Dianne Feinstein will lead a noon rally in San Francisco supporting the Israeli invasion of Gaza and Lebanon. (

Green Party candidate Todd Chretien will be there, joined by members of the Palestinian and Arab community and Bay Area anti-war activists, to offer an alternative to Sen. Feinstein’s cheering of the Israeli military.

“Sen. Feinstein’s decision to lead the pro-Israel rally called by Jewish Community Relations Council is despicable. At least she is consistent. She has voted to send tens of billions of dollars in military equipment to Israel and now she supports the use of those F-16’s to murder children in Gaza and Lebanon,” said Chretien.

Chretien derided Sen. Feinstein’s claims that Israel is acting in “self-defense.”

“Over the last 18 months, Hamas has maintained a ceasefire with Israel. Just since January, Israel has assassinated more than 50 Hamas leaders and killed over 100 civilians. Hamas then captured one Israeli soldier, hoping to exchange him for some of the 9,000 Palestinians Israel has kidnapped,” explained Chretien. “On the other hand, Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and offered to exchange them for illegally held Lebanese prisoners. Israeli used this as an excuse to launch a pre-existing plan to destroy Lebanon and massacre civilians.”

Chretien noted that Sen. Feinstein was not alone amongst supposed “anti-war” Democrats who are cheering on Israel.

“Sen. Clinton led a pro-Israel rally in New York. Sen. Feingold holds the same position. If anything, the Democratic Party leadership is more fervently pro-war when in comes to Israel than President Bush,” stated Chretien. “If you support destroying Beirut, then vote for Sen. Feinstein. But if you want peace and justice in the Middle East, then you should vote for me in November and join me at the August 12 protests sponsored by the National Council of Arab Americans in San Francisco and Los Angeles against the U.S. and Israeli wars. We need to show the Arab world that not all Americans are blinded by greed and racism like President Bush and Sen. Feinstein.”

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Hasbara--The Zionist War on Truth

From the article, "Israel calls up media 'reserves' " by Gil Hoffman in the July 17, 2006, Jerusalem Post:
But [Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's media adviser Assaf] Shariv and [Israeli Foreign Ministry's deputy-director general for media and public affairs Gideon] Meir said that Israel was winning the international battle for public opinion.

"We take the job of explaining our position to the world very seriously and we are doing exactly what we need to do," Shariv said. "The foreign press can't complain that they don't have anyone to speak to."

Shariv said that Israelis have been interviewed by the foreign press four times as much as spokespeople for the Palestinians and Lebanese. As proof of Israel's success, he also cited a poll of Sky News viewers that found that 80 percent believe that Israel's attacks on Lebanon were justified.

"We have never had it so good," Meir said. "The hasbara effort is a well-oiled machine."
Hasbara is the Hebrew name for pro-Israel propaganda. To learn more about hasbara go to:
Jonathan Cook has a good article on the Israeli media war, in general, and the JPost article cited above, in particular, entitled "The Human Shields of Nazareth" at Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His book, Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State, is published by Pluto Press.

See also: "Initiative: Talkback offensive in support of Israel" by Moran Zelikovich in the Israeli Here's the lead paragraph:
In light of anti-Israel demonstrations worldwide, pro-Israeli organization launches international campaign titled "Take three minutes." Students, activists abroad who speak foreign languages to be called to join 'talkback war' on global websites, aimed at swaying public opinion, fighting de-legitimization of Israel's operation in Lebanon

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Israeli Group Peace [sic] Now Shows "Solidarity"

But it's not with the tens of thousands of Lebanese civilians killed, wounded, or displaced by Israel's attacks as it engages in the "legitimate defense of boarders [sic]." Peace Now claims to be "the largest extra-parliamentary movement in Israel, the country’s oldest peace movement and the only peace group to have a broad public base. " Turns out, they're Jewish supremacists like most Israelis.

Note to so-called Peace Now: The apartheid state you live in is not legitimate and neither is 'defending' it. If you want peace then end your government's occupation of Arab lands, including the illegally annexed Golan Heights and East Jerusalem; let millions of Palestinians refugees return to their homes; and stop treating Arab and other non-Jewish citizens of Israel as second-class citizens.
Peace Now Mission to the North
Erez Hacker 16/07/2006

Last weekend a group of Peace Now activists traveled to the north in order to show solidarity with the residents suffering the barrage of missile attacks. Peace Now activists visit was aimed at sending a message that the state of Israel has the right to respond to attacks on its sovereign soil carried out from entities beyond its internationally recognized boarders.

For the past 30 years Peace Now has called upon Israel to return to internationally recognized boarders in its conflict with the Palestinians and was at the forefront of the public pressure to encourage the withdrawal from Lebanon. It is within this background that Peace Now feels our message of legitimate defense of boarders is to be heard.

The activists were hosted in Kibbutz Gonen in the northern Galilee, where they toured areas that had suffered missile attacked and met with representatives of the residents including Meir Levi, the chairperson of the village and kibbutz tourist organization in the Galilee and Golan. In addition the group also met Aaron Valanci the city mayor for the Galilee and Golan. Valnaci welcomed the mission and hoped that it would set a precedent for other groups and organisations to also visit the area in these difficult times.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Israeli kids send gifts w/love to Lebanese kids

Slightly edited from an email by Michael Shahin:

Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 21:46:13 -0700
Subject: [tupocc] Israeli kids send gifts w/love to Lebanese kids, Lebanese kids receive them

Israeli children sends gifts to Lebanese children:

Caption: Israeli girls write messages on a shell at a heavy artillery position near Kiryat Shmona, in northern Israel, next to the Lebanese border, Monday, July 17, 2006. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Lebanese children receive them:

This is ZIONISM, This is the ZIONIST REGIME "ISRAEL, This is what it means to be a "SUPPORTER OF ISRAEL"...Please distribute these pictures around to all your lists, it is time people see the ugly face of Zionism and its product the genocidal Zionist regime ("Israel").


Chicago Professor Fired for Allowing Questions about Judaism and Islam

From a July 17th article on the International Middle East Media Center about the firing of Douglas Giles by Roosevelt University in Chicago:
In these phone calls, she, as department chair, told me to change my World Religions curriculum to exclude certain opinions and facts: Students should not be allowed to ask whatever questions they want in class. Nothing should be mentioned in class, textbooks, or examinations that could possibly open up Judaism to criticism, especially any mention in any context of Zionism. Nothing related to Palestinians or Islamic beliefs about Jerusalem should be mentioned. Discussion of Zionism or the Palestinian issue was "disrespectful to any Jews in the class"

I replied that those restrictions would lead to a biased class. She then made a series of disparaging comments about Palestinians concluding with the following: "I hear you even allowed a Muslim to speak in class." "Yes, of course, I allowed all students to speak, regardless of their religion!" "You shouldn't! What disturbs me is that you act like the Palestinians have a side in this. They don't have a side! They are ANIMALS (emphasis hers) ! They strap bombs to their bodies and blow up women and children! They are NOT CIVILIZED! (emphasis hers)"


Quotable: Woe!

Epigraph to the 2005 film, The Dying Gaul:
Woe to him who seeks to please rather than to appall!
This comes from Father Mapple's sermon in Melville's Moby Dick, chapter 9. Here it is with a small bit more of the sermon:
Woe to him who seeks to please rather than to appal! Woe to him whose good name is more to him than goodness! Woe to him who, in this world, courts not dishonor!

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, July 15, 2006


The Zionist Attack on the Green Party

On Nov. 21, 2005, the Green Party of the United States passed Resolution 190 by a vote of 55-7. The resolution states, in part: "The Green Party of the United States (GPUS) publicly calls for divestment from and boycott of the State of Israel until such time as the full individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people are realized."

Below are several excerpts that reveal how Zionists view Resolution 190 and the struggle to rescind it—it is not merely a struggle over strategy—the integrity, principles, and values of the Green Party are at stake. As revealed below, the Zionist fifth column in the Green Party is led by Gary Acheatel, Audrey Clement, Lorna Salzman, and Marakay Rogers.
"Hate Goes Green" by Roz Rothstein.
FrontPageMagazine. January 9, 2006.

... Israel isn't green enough for the Green Party of the US.

On Nov 21, the group betrayed its own mission to support environment-friendly nations and joined the anti-Israel campaign.

... It is not surprising that the Greens are misinformed. Like other divestment resolutions, the Green Party vote was railroaded through by a small, but vocal and radical faction of the party's leadership, led by Palestinian-American activist Mohammed Abed from the party's Wisconsin chapter. Abed is a tireless activist and propagandist who is at the forefront of the vehemently anti-Israel Al-Awda Palestinian Right to Return Coalition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and of the university's student-run Divest From Israel Campaign.

... Veteran Green Party member Laurna Salzman said the organization's new anti-Israel stance, "provides cover not only for anti-Semites but for radical Islamists and Palestine apologists and makes a mockery of the (Green Party's) own professed nonviolence position." In Salzman's view, the Greens should not be exploiting their activist network for a specific, narrow and partisan political agenda.

... Some groups have already mobilized, urging the Greens to rescind their misguided resolution. The international group that I work for, StandWithUs, has an online petition that already has thousands of signatures from people around the world.

Hopefully, the Greens will take heed, come to their senses and revoke this resolution which makes a mockery of every value they claim to represent.

Ashland Jew joins Green Party to defend Israel" by Hal Klopper.
Jewish Review. January 15, 2006.

The Green Party's recent call for divestment from and boycott of Israel prompted major Jewish organizations to issue statements condemning the party's resolution.

For Gary Acheatel of Ashland, however, that didn't go far enough. So, he joined the Green Party.

... Acheatel's new membership is a calculated move that seems unusual only on the surface. Dig just a bit deeper, and his unconventional reasoning sounds not only plausible but necessary.

... Employing a circle-within-a-circle strategy, Acheatel has now joined the Greens for one reason: to create a groundswell of member activism to reverse the party's anti-Israel resolution.

... Acheatel was born and raised in Beverly Hills. His parents were armchair Zionists. He studied at UCLA and UC-Santa Cruz. He made aliyah in 1980, served in the Israel Defense Forces, and lived on Kibbutz Eilot in the Negev.

Six years later he returned to the States and eventually settled in Ashland. Married, with a 10-year-old daughter, he's now, at 52, a senior vice president for Morgan Stanley.

... Though the Green Party bills itself as the third largest political faction in the United States, membership totals just over 300,000 people.

Armed with those statistics, many pro-Israel individuals and organizations use a strategy of ignoring the Greens in hopes that the issue will disappear.

Acheatel believes this is a strategy that cannot be risked. "It's my contention that America's political leadership is very favorable toward Israel," he said, "but that eventually it will cave in without the widespread support of the population. So, Israel's PR efforts need shoring up in order to maintain that support."

He cited Ashland's extremely liberal reputation as an example. "Flabbergasted" that nobody was reacting to the many anti-Israel letters to the editor in the Ashland Daily Tidings, he joined a local Media Watch Team--now with 18 members--to counter the anti-Israel diatribes and help create a pro-Israel advocacy group. This effort has contributed to reducing considerably the volume of anti-Israel rhetoric in Ashland's op-ed pages.

... Acheatel is encouraging others to join the cause. His new organization, Advocates For Israel, (, is being set in motion to: * Provide a centralized Web site to educate the public about the extent of both pro-Israel and anti-Israel activity. * Maintain a guide for establishing community-based chapters dedicated to Israel advocacy. * Coordinate local activism to engage in effective pro-Israel PR campaigns. * Provide templates for people to craft and publish letters-to-the-editor in local newspapers. * Establish a national speakers' bureau of experts to speak about Israel's history, politics, society and innovations. * Serve as a resource center to link the Jewish and general public to myriad Israeli accomplishments and initiatives in the arts, science, agriculture, business and technology.

Is the Green Party anti-Zionist? Not necessarily. True, its Israel boycott resolution was co-sponsored by "Palestinian refugee" and Wisconsin party member Mohammed Abed, who wrote, "Israel's treatment of Palestinians--those who are Israeli citizens as well as those in the territories--is comparable in many ways to South African apartheid." ...

[DVFP Notes: On the similarities between Israeli apartheid and South African apartheid see Desmond Tutu, the Palestine Solidarity Committee of South Africa, and Uri Davis]

Green Jews campaign against party's Israel divestment resolution" by Ron Kampeas.
JTA. February 23, 2006.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 (JTA) Audrey Clement biked across night-darkened bridges and through driving winter rain to make her point: Her party--the Green Party--made a fundamental mistake in a resolution calling for divestment from Israel.

She waited patiently for the DC-Statehood-Green Party to wade through its monthly agenda items of procedural items, reports on efforts to revive schools and libraries in afflicted areas of Washington and a lengthy discussion on making the Web site accessible to all members.

Then she rose and launched her critique of a resolution that calls for total divestment from Israel for its alleged abuses of Palestinians: "What I am addressing is what I believe is subliminal anti-Semitism," she said.

... Her appearance--and a debate now raging throughout the party's rank and file--was the result of a hard-driven campaign by Gary Acheatel, a banker in Portland, Ore., launched not long after the Green Party passed the resolution in November.

Acheatel said the resolution was the final straw in what he said was Israel's diminishing profile on the left. He joined the Greens and started contacting the delegates who voted against Resolution 190 losing a lopsided 55-7 vote.

Acheatel said one national Jewish group rebuffed him because the Greens are on the fringe of American political life. The party has diminished substantially in status since Ralph Nader's run for the presidency in 2000. They were not a factor in the last elections, and the party currently has slightly more than 300,000 registered voters.

"I don't believe the Greens to be so inconsequential," Acheatel countered. "Its candidates are invited to debates and merit coverage in the mainstream press. This enables the party to exercise an influence beyond its numbers."

Acheatel contacted Lorna Salzman, a veteran Green Party activist from New York City and they launched the "Let 190 Go" campaign, headquartered on the Web at It has made some inroads.

In addition to Clement's appearance in Washington, a number of Jewish veterans of the party are appealing for the resolution to be rescinded, including former candidates such as Stanley Aronowitz of New York, and Marakay Rogers, a candidate for governor of Pennsylvania.

... National Jewish groups are playing a role too. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs organized a conference call on the issue for about 15 Jewish community relations councils, and the Anti-Defamation League distributed material to Green Party delegates.

... "I am concerned by the anti-Semitic undertones of the proposal, Nikolas Schiller, an officer of the Washington branch, said after listening to Clement's presentation. "I agree with the more global aspects of an alternative that would take a range of nations to task.

"Story fans flames of Green Party dissent over Israel divestment resolution" by Deborah Moon Seldner.
Jewish Review. March 1, 2006.

A Jan. 15 article in the Jewish Review by special writer Hal Klopper apparently has ignited "a raging fire" within the U.S. Green Party over its recent Israel divestment and boycott resolution, according to both a Green Party founder and the party newcomer who was the subject of the Review article.

... "You (the Jewish Review) stirred things up to where it's a raging fire within the party where it was dormant before you ran that article," said Gary Acheatel, the subject of the Jan. 15 article, which is available on the World Wide Web ( "That news story was a catalyst."

Lorna Salzman, who founded the New York Green Party in 1984 and was a candidate to be the Green Party's presidential nominee in 2004, has taken an active role in combating the resolution. She said she is fanning the flames within the party while Acheatel is finding allies in the Jewish community to help rescind the resolution.

She agreed with Acheatel that debate within the party has heated up. "It's been very noticeable in the past two weeks," she said in a telephone interview with the Jewish Review on Feb. 14.

... Acheatel said his primary focus now is finding Zionists within the Green Party who are willing to bring the issue to their state parties.

... But Acheatel said he sees the Greens' divestment resolution as a cancer on the tip of your finger. "You're thankful it's there and not on your lungs, but it's still cancer," he said.

... [Lorna Salzman] said she is further appalled by the Green Party's acquiescence to an outside special interest and the lack of grassroots democracy in passing the resolution.

"The pressure for this clearly came from outside Muslim groups," said Salzman.

... [Acheatel] said the [Anti-Defamation League] recently mailed fact packets on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to the entire Green Party national committee. The committee also has been taken to task by two of the party's prominent members. In a joint letter to the Green Party national committee, a past and a present Green Party gubernatorial candidate took the committee for task for passing a resolution that "violates our (Green Party) Ten Key Values by failing to condemn violence on both sides, and by failing to observe the principle of grassroots democracy when it approved the resolution without a broad discussion within the state parties and without soliciting dissenting views."

... Acheatel said he is optimistic the resolution will be rescinded. He said he hopes that one state will sponsor a resolution to rescind 190 within the next couple months. If not, both Acheatel and Salzman said they are gearing up to address the issue at the Green Party's next national meeting in Tucson in July.

Green Party revisits policy."
Jewish Review
. July 1, 2006.

The June 17 meeting of the Pacific Green Party of Oregon revisited the national party's Resolution 190, which calls for a boycott of Israel and divestment from corporations conducting business there.

The revisit came with two local resolutions, one reaffirming and one consensus resolution that attempted to find common ground of those opposed to 190. Both failed.

Coordinating committee member Arthur Cvar and four other party members co-sponsored the failed reaffirmation attempt while Jewish Green members Allen Drescher and Gary Acheatel from Ashland joined another coordinating committee member, George Huthcinson in co-sponsoring the 'consensus' resolution.

In addition to the Pacific Green Party's failure to affirm 190 it also decided to establish a new committee to develop a comprehensive and universally acceptable policy for peace in the Middle East, demonstrating the party's understanding of the need for a peaceful solution. Perhaps the climax of the meeting occurred when Green Party gubernatorial candidate, Joe Keeting voiced his strong opposition to the controversial 190 debate.

Since the coordinating committee was asked in May to address Resolution 190, there has been significant anger and dissent at both the state and national level. Much of the reaction is due to concern that the outcome of the resolution will have an adverse effect on Green Party candidates in the November elections. Lorna Salzman, however, a past Green Party presidential candidate from NY, commended the committee's effort to broaden the debate to the membership at large, which according to Salzman failed to occur in most states prior to 190's passage last Novemeber. Also noteworthy, Hamas won the Palestinian election subsequent to 190's passing. Further conversation about the resolution likely will take place at the Green Party national convention July 17-25 in Tucson, Ariz.

Labels: , , , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?