Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
The demonstration was incredible. There were approximately 15 thousand people, nearly all Arab youth, broken informally and fraternally into sections that were more religious in chanting and signs or more secular-political in their chanting and signs. There were also mass sections of the demo made up exclusively of young women, whose chants tended towards the secular-political. I wandered through the crowd and witnessed the first arrest of many that happened through the march of a young man carrying a Hamas flag. Because Hamas is illegal and classified under the terrorism act, it is illegal to hold a Hamas flag in Germany. It is also (inexplicably) illegal to hold a sign or chant anything to the order of "God is God, there is only one God". The police had interpreters on hand to read Arabic signs for these messages and listen in on chants. ...
The police were a constant presence over every inch of the demo. Although the march stretched for five or six blocks, the police were visible on the sidewalk every inch of the way on both sides of the street; but their presence was most of the time ridiculous. The only time they could make arrests to charge Hamas flag carrying youth with terrorism was when someone was isolated. It was clear that they would pick out anyone who touched a Hamas flag to try to get them later when they were walking outside of a tight throng of marchers. At one such arrest when I was in the surge of the crowd that rushed forward to protest the arrest, I saw a woman who I had been walking alongside (with who looked like her elderly mother and her child in stroller), pull two oranges out of her bag and throw them over the heads of the demonstrators at the police line while shouting "Allah Akbar!" ...
In this case I was also struck by the absurdity of the "left" attitude that I noticed and that was also reported to me by the leftist Palestine solidarity activists I met that many leftists are not comfortable in marches like this one because "Allah Akbar!" is said too often and too broadly. In the context of this march, it is clear to me that "Allah Akbar" is simultaneously a religious statement and a statement of resistance. Especially given the borderline criminalized character of the Islamic faith in Germany, such religious statements take on an even greater meaning / signification of resistance against Zionism in specific and colonialism and imperialism in general. ...
It's been my observation that the left in Germany is divided on the question of Palestine, with the majority of the pro-Palestine section of that divide fairly paralyzed by apologia against accusations of anti-semitism. The result is that they are silent in practice and absent from demonstrations like today's. This is a tremendous failing. As I mentioned, the vast majority of this demo was made up of Arab youth who I found to be open to statements from the left in support of Palestine.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Writing from Gaza (5 Jan 09), Safa Joudeh says:
Israel has come into our homes, is fighting us in our streets and is expressing its brutality against us in full force. ...The New York Times reports (5 Jan 09) that the support extends to the West Bank, which is in the grip of the traitorous Fatah faction:
All Palestinian factions have united and are out facing the enemy, using all of their military capabilities that they collectively have. Although these capabilities are incomparable to the military strength exerted by Israel, yet it has made us more certain than ever that Palestinians will fight to the very end to protect their own. It has shown us that resistance, courage and love are an integral part of the Palestinian identity that will never change despite all the hardships we endure. It has given us a moral boost, which comes at a time when we need it most.
The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades of The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the al-Quds Brigades of the Islamic Jihad movement, The Izzedin al-Qassam brigades of Hamas, the Salah al-Din Brigades of the Popular Resistance Committees, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades of Fatah have all come together as one united front and at a high, almost affirmed risk of peril, are out protecting our streets and our homes, ready to die if that means preventing the death of one more helpless child. We are united and we have accepted our fate recurrently, but the people of Gaza -- almost 80 percent of them refugees -- will not be massacred and displaced yet again by people from the outside guided by tyranny and greed.
In a series of interviews, people here [in Nablus] said they were enraged by the photographs and television images of the Palestinian dead in Hamas-controlled Gaza, which they consider part of themselves.The Jerusalem Post, covering the same story (5 Jan 09), reports:
They said that support for Hamas would grow as this conflict went on, and that they were intimidated by the Palestinian security forces of Mr. Abbas and his appointed prime minister, Salam Fayyad — forces subsidized by the United States and trained by Jordan — which have cracked down on a series of demonstrations and banned the showing of the Hamas flag. ...
On Monday afternoon, for example, a march of several hundred students from Birzeit University outside Ramallah toward the nearby Atarot checkpoint was broken up by Palestinian security forces wielding clubs. The students wanted to confront Israeli soldiers at Atarot, and the security forces wanted to prevent the confrontation.Last Friday, security forces broke up larger demonstrations in Hebron and Ramallah, arresting Hamas supporters, confiscating Hamas flags and ripping up placards with pro-Hamas slogans. For the first time in memory, the Palestinian police used tear gas against their own people.
The Palestinian Authority Police has proven capable of quelling violent protests and maintaining law and order in the West Bank during Israel's military offensive against Hamas in Gaza, Israeli security officials said Sunday.In "The West Bank: We're all Hamas now - supporters of Fatah unite behind enemy," Ben Lynfield writes (9 Jan 09) in The Independent (UK):
"The Palestinian police have succeeded in dealing with the demonstrations in the West Bank over the last week," Judea and Samaria Police spokesman Ch.-Supt. Danny Poleg said.
The PA police, which recently received training from the Americans, had largely been able to contain violent protests in Palestinian-controlled cities, so they didn't spill over into Israeli-controlled areas, Poleg said."They are under the same high alert as we are," he said.
On the instructions of PA President Mahmoud Abbas,the Fatah-controlled security forces have banned pro-Hamas demonstrations.
Hamas supporters in the West Bank said the PA's security forces threatened to arrest them if they raised Hamas flags or chanted slogans in favor of the Islamist movement. ...
"Our security forces have instructions to use an iron fist against anyone who incites and expresses support for Hamas," the [senior PA official in Ramallah] official said.
Palestinian Authority security forces are keeping a tight lid on protests, preventing confrontations with Israeli troops and arresting anyone raising Hamas banners at rallies. But displays of identification with the beleaguered Gazans are everywhere. Nine-year-old green-kerchiefed girl Scouts, their foreheads marked with the word Gaza in red ink, were among those who marched through the main al-Manara square in a protest. They held up pictures of bandaged toddlers, and dozens of demonstrators chanted, "With blood and spirit, we will redeem you, O Gaza".The Daily News of Egypt reports (29 Dec 09): "On Monday between 4,000–5,000 demonstrators carrying Hamas flags chanted 'We are all Hamas' ..." The display of a sign saying "We are Hamas" on the streets of London has set the teeth of quislings and Zionists alike to gnashing. In Vancouver, BC, a Zionist spying on anti-Israel protests "was shocked," shocked, I tell you, at what happened there. Adam Carroll of the Canada-Israel Committee says:
I've probably gone to more anti-Israel protests than most anti-Israel protesters, because I go to them for my job just to keep tabs on what's happening, ... I don't think I've ever been to one as radical and as vicious as the one I went to yesterday. There was a bile in the air that I'd never, never seen before. There's always been "Free, free Palestine" and some of the more benign chants, but "Viva, viva intifada", you know, and those sorts of armed resistance calls, no. Those are new. For me, anyway. And hearing individuals chanting "We are all Hamas" and things along those lines was a bit unsettling.I'll bet it was unsettling, Adam, that people momentarily threw off the mental shackles to make solidarity with the popular, democratic resistance movement known as Hamas, even though it has been incessantly drilled into our heads that Hamas are "terrorists"--Koran-toting (gasp!) terrorists at that. Maybe, we'll wake up and realize the real problem is the Jewish and Christian terrorists and their enablers and they kill a lot more people.
- On Fatah's treachery, "Hamas gaining sympathy as onslaught continues" by Khalid Amayreh on the web site of The Palestinian Information Center.
- "We must adjust our distorted image of Hamas" in The Times (UK)
- "Hamas Flag Flies in Berlin"
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Fall From Grace is truly an inside look at Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC). Filmmaker K. Ryan Jones went inside the church and the Phelps family homes over an extended period to make the documentary. In closing scenes, or maybe it's in the extras, the Phelps family watches and approves of an early cut of the film. That's because not only does Jones showcase the church's repressive, legalistic Old Testament views on human sexuality and their protests against gays, America, and, generally, anyone who doesn't embrace their theology but he also respectfully shows the Phelps clan as real human beings in family settings.
Moreover, Jones also documents how WBC members have been attacked by the many self-righteous liberal and conservative hypocrites whose tolerance of freedom of speech extends only to those with whom they agree. On more than one occasion this has involved actual physical violence against the family or the threat thereof. The Showtime trailer does a good job showcasing how Jones has chosen to represent the family.
The music video below demonstrates that this band of happy haters (and that's a word I am generally loathe to apply because it is so often misused but it is a word the WBC embraces) also has a certain perverse sense of humor. Here is the Westboro Baptist Church (featuring Jonny B) singing "God Hates the World".
See also: "God Bless Fred Phelps"
Monday, January 05, 2009
Do a Google search on the phrase "we love death" and you will get more than 37,000 hits, many of them describing a purportedly essential feature of Islam. But consider that it is primarily Christian nations that have the world's largest nuclear and conventional arsenals. Further, the predominantly Christian United States has likely been responsible for the violent and other premature deaths of more people than any other country in the last sixty years--including half-a-million children under the age of five in Iraq during the 1990s.
In the last seven years, the predominantly Christian US has invaded and occupied two predominantly Muslim countries: Afghanistan and Iraq at the cost of more than a million dead Afghanis and Iraqis. Over the last sixty years, the predominantly Christian US has been the most important backer of Israel which displaced the predominantly Muslim Palestinian people and continues to visit murder and mayhem upon them. The Christian President-elect Barack Obama has spoken openly about attacking another predominantly Muslim country, Pakistan.
In "The Spirit of Disobedience," Curtis White eloquently ties these threads together:
In the end, evangelical Christianity conspires with technical and economic rationalism. In the end, they both require a commitment to "duty" that masks unspeakable violence and injustice. In the end, the Muslim whose legs are being reduced to pulp by his American tormentor doesn't care if he's being murdered because he is despised by Christians or because he is an impediment to economic rationality. He understands far better than we do how the two become one at the end of the torturer's rod. The Predator missile, product of American scientific ingenuity, that homes in on his head is both self-righteously and arrogantly evangelical and meanly pragmatic. It is the empire that the rest of the world reads in George Bush's smirk. As John Ruskin understood 150 years ago, "The only question (determined mostly by fraud in peace, and force in war) is, Who is to die, and how?"So, just who is it that demonstrably loves death, even if it is not articulated clearly? An American and/or Christian culture of death is abundantly evident. But what got me thinking about this subject was part of a post on the ZionistsOut blog about the head of the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor. It says:
If we live in a "culture of death," as Pope John Paul II put it, it is a culture that is made possible by the advocates of both Reason and Revelation. In the opposition of Reason to Revelation, death cannot lose. Ours is a culture in which death has taken refuge in a legality that is supported by both reasonable liberals and Christian conservatives. Our exploitation of humans as "workers" is legal and somehow, weird and perverse though it may seem, generally acknowledged as part of our heritage of freedom, and virtually the entire political spectrum falls over itself to praise it. When Wal-Mart pays its employees impoverishing wages without adequate health or retirement benefits, we justify it out of respect for Wal-Mart's "freedom," its "reasonable" need to make itself "competitive," and because what it does is legal. As George Whalin, president of Retail Management Consultants, put it, "They don't have a responsibility to society to pay a higher wage than the law says you have to pay." Similarly, our use of the most fantastically destructive military power is also legal and also somehow a part of our heritage of "protecting freedom," no matter how obscene and destructive its excesses. The grotesque violence of video games and Hollywood movies, doing God knows what to the "individual morality" of teenagers, is legal and somehow now a protected part of our freedom of expression. Even, as the more thoughtful anti-abortionists complain with some justice, the legality of abortion at times covers over an attitude toward human life that subjects life to the low logic of efficiency and convenience. The idea of abortion as a minor "medical procedure" becomes Orwellian in its intense determination not to "know what we do." Or, perhaps most destructively, the legality of property rights condemns nature itself to annihilation even as we call it the freedom to pursue personal happiness and prosperity through the ownership of private property. This legality formalizes and empowers our famous "unalienable right" to property (especially that most peculiar form of private property known as the corporation), the exercise of which will profoundly alienate those on whom this right is inflicted: workers, children, foreign enemies, and animals. In its most extreme and universal form, our constitutional rights are reducible to the right not to have to love our neighbor. The irony is that the more energetically we pursue our individual, socially isolated right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," the deader the social and natural worlds become.
The new JFGAA Executive Director is David Shtulman, a dual US-Israeli citizen, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) veteran, and, in all likelihood, a current IOF reservist. ... in his weekly shabbat message--wittily entitled "The New Year Enters with a Bang!"--Herr Shtulman refers to the Israeli attacks as an "Israeli counter-attack on Hamas."One other example of a Muslim claiming a love of death is, perhaps, more credible than the claims attributed to al-Qaeda in 2004. A 2001 story by the Telegraph (UK) quotes a veteran Afghan fighter:
Shtulman next pulls a predictable role reversal of the Judaic culture of death with the unsourced claim: "Hamas has often responded with the mantra, 'We will win because we love death and Israel loves life.' " If Hamas uses this "mantra" frequently then it is pretty strange that it is not attributed to Hamas in the New York Times even once. In fact, in searches using two different databases, the phrase "we love death" turns up in the NYT archives only three times between 1851 and the present. The "mantra" never made it onto the news pages of the NYT.
In two instances, it appears in editorials by Jewish neoconservative pundit David Brooks. In March 2004, Brooks attributed it to Al Qaeda and by September of that year he had expanded it to the "fringes of the Muslim world." The third instance, was just five days before Brooks' second invocation of the "mantra." At the invitation of the NYT "Op-Ed page," in his proposed "conclusion to President Bush's [2004 RNC] address," former Bush I speech writer Daniel McGroarty attributed the phrase "to the statement the terrorists released to claim responsibility for the carnage ... in Madrid."
Terrorism: A Documentary and Reference Guide by Burns and Peterson (Greenwood, 2005), which includes Hamas, has only one documented reference to terrorists loving death and that is a statement attributed to "al-Qaeda in Europe" in connection with the Madrid bombings. It says: "You love life and we love death." There are two problems, though.
First, this is one of at least two statements claiming responsibility for the 2004 Madrid bombings. The apparently first alleged claim of responsibility by al-Qaeda does not say anything about loving death. It was discredited by the pro-Israel group, MEMRI. More importantly, a "two-year investigation into the attacks has found no evidence that al-Qa'ida helped plan, finance or carry out the bombings, or even knew about them in advance," which would indicate that both of the claims of responsibility are fabrications.
It is plausible that Shtulman's claim began as an Israeli false flag operation to smear Islam (see also the "Gil Affair" and "Israeli Psyops Against EU and US"). If that is the case, then it is awfully helpful to have someone to discredit the competing claim of responsibility. In this case the guy doing the discrediting, author of the MEMRI analysis, was Yigal Carmon, an IOF Colonel who served at least twenty years (1968-88) in the Israeli intelligence service. In sum, there is nothing credible linking Shtulman's "mantra" to Hamas. But since when have supporters of Israel ever cared about the truth?
Maulana Inyadullah, who began fighting the Soviet invasion in 1982 at the age of 16, declared that his fellow Afghans relish the prospect of an American attack.But only an idiot or a liar would read this as a broad cultural embrace of death or a statement of theological principle. Rather, it is not a desire to die but an express willingness to do so, if need be, in the service of home and hearth with a good dose of braggadocio mixed in for good measure.
"War is our best hobby. The sound of guns firing is like music for us. We cannot live without war. We have no other way except jihad," he said. ...
Mr Inyadullah, 35, said: "The Americans would be easier to defeat than the Russians. The Americans lead lavish lives and they are afraid of death. We are not afraid of death. The Americans love Pepsi Cola, we love death."
A willingness to die is similarly expected of American combat troops. And if Americans put greater stress on killing the enemy then, perhaps, it is simply because they ruthlessly put a premium on killing others and because the commanders know overcoming the normal human aversion to kill is the more difficult task unless, perhaps, you live in America where we are programmed to kill.
The willingness to sacrifice oneself, even in battle, is more humane and noble than the willingness to kill. As Jesus Christ said, "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." But this is an ethos that Christianity turned against centuries ago when it joined with the Roman Empire--the very empire that carried out the death sentence of Jesus. The "Constantinian moment" marks the key point in the transformation of the cross from a symbol of love, self-sacrifice, and hope into a symbol of death, empire, and greed. In the wake of this transformation came forced conversions, the Crusades, the Inquisition and the like. Whatever lip service they may pay to the older, nobler meanings, it is clear that for most Americans (and their victims) the deeper, lived reality is that the cross is a symbol of death and devout American Christians are largely "guilty bystanders," if not active participants, in the crimes of empire.
- "Judaism's Culture of Death"
- "Ralph Peters on Pax Americana & American Culture"
- "The 'General Eisenhower Warned Us' Hoax"
- Women Leaders in Muslim & Christian States
Saturday, January 03, 2009
The preferred but failed tool was the Israeli "truce," which Israel, not Hamas, broke. It is aptly described by Ali Abunimah:
Under an Israeli-style truce, Palestinians have the right to remain silent while Israel starves them, kills them and continues to violently colonize their land. Israel has not only banned food and medicine to sustain Palestinian bodies in Gaza but it is also intent on starving minds: due to the blockade, there is not even ink, paper and glue to print textbooks for schoolchildren.They want to break Hamas but the international sanctions and "truce" failed to accomplish that purpose and, so, the Jewish state attacked. I'll make a prediction now: If the Israelis succeed in seriously damaging Hamas then look for them to ferry armed Fatah collaborators from the West Bank into Gaza to "mop-up"--read kill, torture, and imprison Hamas supporters--and to run Gaza for Jews.
As John Ging, the head of operations of the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), told The Electronic Intifada in November: "there was five months of a ceasefire in the last couple of months, where the people of Gaza did not benefit; they did not have any restoration of a dignified existence. We in fact at the UN, our supplies were also restricted during the period of the ceasefire, to the point where we were left in a very vulnerable and precarious position and with a few days of closure we ran out of food."
That is an Israeli truce. Any response to Israeli attacks -- whether peaceful protests against the apartheid wall in Bilin and Nilin in the West Bank is met with bullets and bombs. There are no rockets launched at Israel from the West Bank, and yet Israel's attacks, killings, land theft, settler pogroms and kidnappings never ceased for one single day during the truce. The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah has acceded to all of Israel's demands, even assembling "security forces" to fight the resistance on Israel's behalf. None of that has spared a single Palestinian or her property or livelihood from Israel's relentless violent colonization.
Victory to the Palestinian People
Victory to Hamas
Why do MY dues support Nat'l Headquarters people who can't find an hour to put together a statement CONDEMMING and OPPOSING Zionist War Criminals who seize private homes, olive & date orchards, aquifyers, and the best beachfront property, facing the setting sun, on the entire Mediterainean, while these same Zionist War Criminals enforce Collective Punishment (of 1.5 million people in Gaza, an open air prison), Ethnic Cleansing (since 1948), Walled Apartheid (separating farms and orchards from their rightful owners), illegal imprisonment (nearly 11,000 Palestinians, jailed for being Palestinians), Targeted Assassinations (with F-16's, Apache Helicopters, Predator Drones, etc., armed and paid for with MY tax dollar), and other sick & cruel Israeli State Policies. At least hail Kucinich on Collective Punishment.
Why can't our National PAID staff find an hour to do what 99% of the VFP membership does, ALL the time? FREE VOLUNTEER WORK !
Why can't our National PAID staff find an hour to condemn 61 years of U.N. violations, by Israel?
Why can't our National PAID staff find an hour to condemn the "2 State Solution", conveniently used by Zionists to further their THEFT of private homes, olive & date orchards, aquifyers, and the best beachfront property, facing the setting sun, on the entire Mediterainean, while these same Zionist War Criminals enforce Collective Punishment (of 1.5 million people in Gaza, an open air prison), Ethnic Cleansing (since 1948), Walled Apartheid (separating farms and orchards from their rightful owners), illegal imprisonment (nearly 11,000 Palestinians, jailed for being Palestinians), Targeted Assassinations (with F-16's, Apache Helicopters, Predator Drones, etc., armed and paid for with MY tax dollar), and other sick & cruel Israeli State Policies. WHY?
Oh...My Bad... I forgot... Zionist Embeds have totally confused our "low information" VFP members by pointing to MLK & Gandhi, and by saying that the Palestinians should submit to total humiliation and degradation, and be glad that their lives and families are trashed by the Zionists, as they prevent the Gaza export taxes, medications, medical supplies, cooking oil, and food from International sources to get past the Israeli "Check Points". Then saying VFP should maintain MLK / Gandhi ideals, and DO NOTHING about Israeli bloodthirsty THEFT & MURDER.
Hell, IMHO, VFP Zionist embeds with tortuous legal arguments are also WAR CRIMINALS. Why are they so powerful, in VFP circles? Do we REALLY need their contributions that bad? (answer me personally-although Dave Cline put me on Chapter-Contacts, I've been removed since Dave died)
How in hell can VFP Zionist apologists say to the Palestinians: "lay down in the mud, get shit upon, get indiscriminately murdered and maimed, while you wait for another MLK and/or Gandhi to magically appear". WTF? It ain't gonna happen any time soon.
Zionists don't seem to care that their air strikes rival Guernica, Hiroshima, Dresden, or our generation's "Shock & Awe"
Zionists don't seem to care that they are giving credence to the SLURS contained in the "Protocals of the Learned Elders of Zion"
Hell, the Zionists, after denying the veracity of "Protocals of the Learned Elders of Zion" for the last 125 years, now seem to embrace the Urban Legend of the "Protocals of the Learned Elders of Zion"
The Torah says "An EYE for an EYE",
"420 PAIRS of EYES, for an EYE"
The first thing scores of informed VFP observers of this planets' sorry state need to do is form a new VFP LIST, and take Dr Jack Dresser's Minneapolis-Bloomington proposal, and hone it, educate our "low info" brothers and sisters in VFP, then RE-SUBMIT it, at our College Park, Maryland Convention, the summer of 2009.
Nothing is worse than our National membership being on the same page as George Bush (43 & 41), Condi Rice, NeoCons, and sick Zionists, everywhere.
FREE PALESTINE !
The ONE STATE, DEMOCRATIC solution...