Friday, August 31, 2007


Frederick Douglass on War & Christianity

Below are two excerpts from Frederick Douglass' 1846 speech "My Opposition to War". The second, I think, is especially powerful.
Some people contend that they can fight in love. I have heard individuals say they could go to war in love. Yes, this foul reproach has been brought upon Christianity, and ministers have been heard to say that they could go to war in love. This was answered very well by an advocate of peace in the United States, and I am happy to inform the, good people here that advocates of peace are multiplying in the United States. (Cheers.) An advocate of peace was arguing this question with a , brother who was a minister of the gospel. The minister was against it; in fact, they were both ministers. He was asked, 'If he believed Christianity was a religion of love? If the spirit of Christ breathed love?' He admitted it—he said, 'God is love.' 'Then,' said the other, 'all that dwell in him should dwell in love.' This he admitted at once. 'Then we should do nothing but what can be done in entire consistency with love?' Of course this must be granted. 'Well,' said he, 'can you go to war in love?' 'Oh! yes.' (Laughter and cheers.) 'Can you kill an enemy in love?' 'Oh! yes. I can conceive of circumstances when I should be bound by love to kill him.' 'What, throw bomb-shells, shoot cannon, use the sword in love?' 'Yes.' 'Well,' said my good friend, 'if you can do all these things in love, what can you do in hate?' (Laughter and cheers.)

I believe, if there is one thing more than another that has brought a reproach upon the Christian religion, it is the spirit of war. Why, a little while ago, in the Congress of the United States, a member arose and proposed the appropriation of a large sum to the support of the chaplaincy in the navy. Our Congress is made up of various materials; among the number there is an infidel, the son of Robert Owen. That infidel, Mr. Owen, rose in his place at once, and opposed the proposition to support the chaplaincy; and on what ground, do you suppose? He did it, he said, on patriotic grounds. He was opposed to the introduction of the Scriptures in the navy, for, he said, 'If the principles of Christianity, if the doctrines inculcated in the New Testament are carried out in the lives of our soldiers, they would do the very opposite to that for which we enlist them in the service. (Cheers.) Instead of shooting their enemies, they would love them; instead of butchering them, they would bind up their wounds; instead of blowing them into atoms, they would seek to preserve their lives.' He added, 'I am utterly and unequivocally opposed to any support being given to the chaplaincy—they would preach the doctrines of the New Testament.' What a stain, what a blot: an infidel rising up and rebuking ministers claiming to be ministers of the God of love; rebuking them for their delinquency, and preaching a higher Christianity than those to whom he has been accustomed to look! (Cheers.)

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Sunday, August 26, 2007


UMichigan Press Caves, Protects Zionism

In "State Censorship: Handala & Hasbara," I wrote: "Hasbara, dear readers, is about more than spreading pro-Zionist propaganda, it is also about suppressing and distorting anti-Zionist speech and ideas." Well, the Zionists of StandWithUs-Michigan are trying to show us all just how much a small group of determined racists can accomplish on that front.

The University of Michigan Press is an arm of the state-funded University of Michigan (UM) and the US distributor of books published by Pluto Press. The UM Press web site describes Pluto as follows:
Pluto Press, established in 1970, is one of the UK's leading independent publishers. Pluto Press is committed to publishing the best in critical writing across the social sciences and humanities.

Pluto authors include Noam Chomsky, Sheila Rowbotham, Pierre Bourdieu, Jean Baudrillard, Frantz Fanon, Hal Foster, Augusto Boal, Susan George, Israel Shahak, Antonio Gramsci, John Pilger, Manning Marable, Edward S. Herman and bell hooks.
But StandWithUs-Michigan doesn't like the offerings of Pluto Press and they don't like one book in particular. They say (links in the quote below are mine--VFPDissident):
Anti-Israel author Joel Kovel's 2007 publication "Overcoming Zionism" is distributed in the United States exclusively by University of Michigan Press. The book is a polemic against Israel, condemning Jewish support for the state and blaming Israel for nearly every wrong, real or perceived, in the entire Middle East. Kovel's Israel is the very definition of imperialistic and malicious in its systematic oppression of a morally neutral "Palestine." The book itself is dedicated to Rachel Corrie, "may she live in glory." ...

Overcoming Zionism is a wholly unscholarly propaganda text, a rambling negation of every aspect of Israeli society, and a near complete restatement of Israel's history. It is published by the radical left Pluto Press of London, England
Concerning Pluto, they claim:
Hundreds of anti-West, anti-American and anti-Israel Propaganda Texts Reach US Exclusively Via University of Michigan Press ...

'Pluto Press is clearly a publisher comfortable with its radical left label and agenda,' said Jonathan Harris, director of StandWithUs-Michigan. 'That is their perogative [sic]. The shocking thing is that a university press has chosen this one publisher to disseminate to its American readers. This one publisher, with numerous titles of pure bias and propaganda, rates that sort of endorsement from the University of Michigan? Is this the "important scholarly research" that now rates mass distribution by the University of Michigan? It is quite shocking.'
Although StandWithUs-Michigan doesn't openly call for censorship, it is clear from their site that they want the UM to pull the plug on Kovel and Pluto because they express truths and ideas that Zionists can't stand. The sad part is that they apparently have had some success. When their call to pressure UM Press Director Phil Pochoda and UM President Mary Sue Coleman went out on August 13th, the link to the description for Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine on the UM Press web site still worked but it doesn't any more (see before and after).

Moreover, here is an e-mail message dated August 24th and reportedly from Pochoda to Kovel:

Because it is a distributed title for Pluto Press, no one at UMP had read Overcoming Zionism prior to the Stand/With/Us diatribe. I and others read it after that assault, and had fully expected to gear up for, at least, a free speech defense. Though I had no trouble with the one-state solution your book proposes nor with a Zionist critique, per se-- we had, after all, proudly and successfully published Virginia Tilley -- I (and faculty members I asked to read the book, as well) were apalled [sic] by your reckless, viscious [sic], and unmodulated attack on Zionism and all Zionists. For us, the issue raised by the book is not free speech but hate speech. Perhaps such vituperative and aggressive rhetoric works for the barricades, but it cannot be countenanced or underwritten by the university or the university press, even in this peripheral, distributed capacity.

Even worse for me, as a result of your book, the university is in the process of reassessing our relation as a whole to Pluto (and that has been a four year relationship that I have cherished, both personally and professionally). While that review goes on (and I am only marginally involved), we have ceased shipping Overcoming Zionism.

Phil Pochoda
University of Michigan Press
There are a few interesting things about this message. First, to his credit, Pochoda sees the StandWithUs-Michigan campaign for what it is--a "diatribe" and an "assault" on truth and intellectual freedom. Unfortunately, it is clear that Pochoda has a stunted notion of what qualifies for a "free speech defense"--strong attacks on Zionism and Zionists don't make the grade. Neither do "vituperative and aggressive rhetoric" (see "On Propriety, Power, and Social Protest"). I haven't read Overcoming Zionism but I've spoken with friends who have and are acquainted with Kovel and I've also read some of his other work; Pochoda's bald characterization of Kovel's book as "hate speech" strikes me as absurd. Interestingly, the whole process has been taken over by someone in a higher pay grade--"I am only marginally involved," says Director Pochoda. His statement "we have ceased shipping Overcoming Zionism" explains why the book description no longer appears on the UM Press web site.

So, folks you now know to buy Overcoming Zionism and other fine titles by Pluto Press. I have a couple of titles on my bookshelf and I highly recommend Pluto. And let's be sure to tell Phil Pochoda and Mary Sue Coleman to stand up for intellectual freedom and against Zionist thought control by continuing to sell Overcoming Zionism and Pluto Press books. Here's the contact info:

Phil Pochoda, Director
University of Michigan Press
839 Greene Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-3209
Phone: (734) 764-4388
Fax: (734) 615-1540

Mary Sue Coleman, President
University of Michigan
2074 Fleming Administration Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1340
Phone: (734) 764-6270
Fax: (734) 936-3529

See also:

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Friday, August 24, 2007


Too Arab-looking for Israel

I've written two previous posts about European/Ashkenazi Jewish racism against Mizrahi Jews here and here. The photo at right is of Israeli pop singer, Liel Kolet. Kolet is a Mizrahi Jew who was a contender for representing the Jewish apartheid state in the Eurovision song contest this spring. However, Israeli broadcaster Anastasia Michaeli Samuelson reportedly told fellow contest judges, apparently referring to Kolet, that "Israel should avoid choosing a performer with an 'Arab look' " (Nathan Burstein, "Teapacks fails to push button in Eurovision semifinals", Jerusalem Post, 13 May 2007). And that they did. Kolet was not selected and a group with a rather lower average melanin endowment went to Helsinki instead. Of course, none of them should be there in any case as their appearance violates the growing cultural boycott of Israel.

Update: The following paragraphs are from a 2009 profile of Samuelson (Netty C. Gross, "Israel's Politician as Super Woman", Jewish Daily Forward, 15 July 2009):
In 2007, while serving as a panelist on the committee to select Israel's representative to the Eurovision Song Contest, she was quoted by the news Web site Ynet as referring in seemingly negative racial terms to contestant Liel Kolet, a Jewish pop singer then contending for a Eurovision spot. Israel, Michaeli said, according to Ynet, shouldn’t be represented by a singer who "looks Arab."

"We should select people who can represent us on more than the artistic level. ... We should also consider how they would represent the country," Ynet quoted her as saying. "I am looking at this competition from a Zionist point of view."
Last revised: 22 April 2012 (expanded reference and content re: remark of Samuelson and found working hyperlink; added info from 2009 Forward article)

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Podhoretz Predicts US Attack on Iran

The video clip below is just three months old and comes originally from Israeli state television via Mosaic (the interview on that site starts at 21:12). In it the powerful neocon and editor of Commentary Norman Podhoretz advocates and predicts a US attack on Iran before Bush leaves office.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007


Yes, A Blog Post About Circumcision

If you think about circumcision--male genital mutilation--at all, then you probably won't think about it the same way after watching the two videos below. I've been thinking it about in the context of barbaric cultural and religious practices. And before you buy into the rubbish about the medical benefits of circumcision in HIV prevention, be sure to read "The Use of Male Circumcision to Prevent HIV Infection" by Doctors Opposing Circumcision.

See also: Cut That Baby, Take That Cash

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Saturday, August 18, 2007


State Censorship: Handala & Hasbara

Above is a mural proposed for one of the walls of the student union at San Francisco State University (SFSU). This image is of the uncensored version. You see, "only an hour and a half after" the Student Center Governing Board approved the General Union of Palestine Students' (GUPS) design, university president Robert A. Corrigan blocked the mural and "placed an indefinite moratorium on all future artwork" on the building. As GUPS explains:
You [Corrigan] claimed that the mural is "conflict centered", represents a "culture of violence", and that you "won't allow hatred towards Jews on these walls." You have given no evidence to justify these claims, only pointing to the mural's portrayal of Handala and a Palestinian house key with 'Al-Awda' (the return) written in Arabic calligraphy.
Of course, freedom of expression and the struggle against oppression are such core components of Jewish culture that the Jewish community rose up nearly as one in howls of protest over this blatant state censorship. Even though many Jews were disturbed by the imagery they realize that no one's freedom of expression is safe unless everyone's freedom of expression is safe and that freedom means nothing if it doesn't safeguard speech that some find offensive. NOT!

In fact, the mainstream Jewish community apparently backed this state censorship to the hilt and is likely responsible in no small measure for Corrigan's distorted, philo-Zionist reaction. Rabbi Doug Kahn, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, called the key and Handala (above Edward Said's left shoulder in the mural)--both well known symbols of the Palestinian right of return--"blatantly offensive symbols" and "praised Corrigan" for his censorship. San Francisco Hillel director Alon Shalev "was irked by the presence of Handala, a Palestinian cartoon character symbolizing violent resistance [sic] to Israel". Hasbara, dear readers, is about more than spreading pro-Zionist propaganda, it is also about suppressing and distorting anti-Zionist speech and ideas.

Now, after more than two years of struggle for simple freedom of expression, the SFSU GUPS chapter has apparently been beaten into submission and agreed to a version of the mural sans Handala and key. Shalev says, "We feel the moderates within the Palestinian movement are the ones who have won and that's a good sign for us." He's right about that "good sign for us" bit, suppressing the symbols and the very idea of the Palestinian right of return is a key Zionist goal and that is exactly why so many faux peace activists, especially Jews, will shed gallons of crocodile tears over "the occupation" (1967, but not 1948) but will barely, if at all, mention the Palestinian right of return. Millions of exiled Arabs returning to their homes and land in Israel would seriously disrupt the violent, racist project of Jewish supremacy--the primary goal of the phony and unjust "two-state solution."

Thanks to blogger Um Khalil for the tip on this story. Norman Finkelstein's site has a page that explains the symbolism of the imagery of the original mural (see bottom half of page here).

See also "Handala Banned Again"

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Thursday, August 02, 2007


Hasbara & SlimVirgin on Wikipedia

Last May, I told you about the paid fellowships for hasbara operatives to further Zionize Wikipedia. Well, from Ohmy News via the Pan-African News Wire comes a recent article by Ludwig De Braeckeleer entitled "Wikipedia and the Intelligence Services." I have confirmed most of what De Braeckeleer writes about the Entebbe article, although the editing ban has now been lifted. Jayjg, Beit Or, and Nadav1 are three veteran Zionist editors who were active in suppressing material embarassing to supporters of Israel. Agha Nader made a valiant effort but in the end these thugs beat her down. The De Braeckeleer article then goes on to identify infamous editor SlimVirgin, another Zionist, as the pseudonym of Linda Mack, who is also identified as an operative of Britain's MI5 intelligence service and apparently worked to place the blame for the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 bombing on Libya. Okay, that's probably more than you cared to know but read the article and follow some the links in this post if I've piqued your curiosity.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Defend Wilkerson Update

Here's an update from the Committee to Defend Catherine Wilkerson via the group's announcement list. It's been slightly reformatted for readability.
First, apologies for getting this update out rather late. Preparing this report was delayed by the unexpected death of Dr. Wilkerson's father last Friday. You can read the obituary for James Arthur Creamer at <>.

A hearing was held on July 24th on Dr. Wilkerson's motions to dismiss and for an evidentially hearing. Judge Pollard-Hines ruled against Dr. Wilkerson on both motions and trial was set for October 4, 2007. Although we had hoped for a different outcome, this result was not unexpected and Dr. Wilkerson, her attorneys, and Committee members remain undaunted in their efforts to secure justice and support freedom of expression. In her ruling, the judge left open the possibility that dismissal might be appropriate after evidence is presented at trial and Dr. Wilkerson's attorneys are preparing a defense, including expert testimony, aimed at that very outcome. Defense attorneys will also present evidence about the retaliatory nature of the charges against Dr. Wilkerson; this was bolstered by discrepancies in the remarks of the prosecutor at the recent hearing.

*On the Radio*

Dr. Wilkerson was interviewed by Robert Larson on LUCI radio in late June and that interview is now available online at <>. Also, defense attorney Buck Davis has been asked to speak about Dr Wilkerson's case on an upcoming edition of "Law and Disorder" which airs at 10 AM EDT on Pacifica radio station WBAI 99.5 FM on Mondays. We'll let you know when the recorded interview is available online.

*Keep those Calls and Letters Coming*

Just under two weeks ago we asked you to please call and write to Washtenaw County Prosecutor Brian L. Mackie to ask him to drop the charges against Dr. Wilkerson. Thanks to everyone who has done that and if you haven't gotten around to it yet then it's not too late to do it now. The case number is DR5-07-137 SM. Mr. Mackie's office phone number is 734-222-6620. For your convenience, we have prepared a sample letter below that people can use or alter as they wish.
Your Address
City, State, Zip

Today's Date

Brian L. Mackie,
Washtenaw County Prosecutor
P.O. Box 8645
Ann Arbor, MI 48107

Subj: Case DR5-07-137

Dear Mr. Mackie:

I am writing to urge you to drop your office's charges against Catherine Wilkerson, MD. The police record shows that Dr. Wilkerson did nothing except issue verbal medical directions and necessary criticisms to police and emergency medical personnel regarding the treatment of an arrestee who had become a patient in her care, as acknowledged by University of Michigan police officer West.

During Mr. Blaine Coleman's arrest, there were two instances when Dr. Wilkerson determined that the actions of police or emergency medical personnel placed Coleman in a life-threatening situation. As a physician and a conscientious human being, Dr. Wilkerson had an obligation to protest and advise. No good purpose can be served by prosecuting a medical doctor for doing her duty and nonviolently exercising her First Amendment rights. Please drop the charges.

Your signature
Your Name
It is NO CRIME to protest against warmongers. It is NO CRIME to complain about police brutality. It is NO CRIME to complain about dangerous medical malpractice. Dr. Catherine Wilkerson will fight back. Will you stand with her?

Committee to Defend Catherine Wilkerson

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Quotable: Dahl on the Supreme Court

Americans are inclined to believe that the Supreme Court is the deus ex machina that regularly saves American democracy from itself. This view is difficult to support by the actual decisions of the Court. ... there is not a single case in the history of this nation where the Supreme Court has struck down national legislation designed to curtail, rather than to expand, the key prerequisites to popular equality and popular sovereignty.

Source: A Preface to Democratic Theory by Robert A. Dahl (Chicago & London: Univ. of Chicago Pr., 1956) pp. 58-59.

Elsewhere on page 59, Dahl lists the "key prerequisites to popular equality and popular sovereignty" as "the right to vote, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press."

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