Friday, June 27, 2014

Tzvia Thier speaks, we all need to listen

A lifelong Zionist and Israeli, her eyes opened by her children, moves to the U.S. and, all alone, leaflets passing Americans hoping to inform them about Israel and why they should stop supporting it. This is powerful.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Allan Brownfeld: battles over Zionism inside Jewish organizations

Here is another outstanding 15 minute video from the National Summit to Re-assess the U.S.-Israel Special Relationship held in Washington D.C. early this year. Allan Brownfeld consistently writes outstanding articles for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

After describing how Zionism was a minority view in Judaism until after WW2, Brownfeld goes on to describe the hypocrisy of America supporting a state for a single religious group. He also tells of the prohibition by the Hillel (campus Jewish group) of any speakers who are anti-Zionist. He finishes be describing his optimism about the future in this way:

"Among young people there is a great belief in freedom of speech, in freedom of debate, and a desire that moral values treating each individual with human dignity be applied everywhere, in Palestine, in Israel as well as in our own country. So I think Zionism within the Jewish community is in retreat."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

unprecedented Israel forum in DC

I have mentioned the indefatigable Alison Weir several times on this blog. She was once a small town newspaper reporter who (like me) became curious about the relationship between the United States and Israel after contemplating the fact that Israel always seems to come out a winner while defying official U.S. foreign policy, while criticism of that country is never heard on Capitol Hill. Alison has long been involved with the Council for the National Interest and she has her own website If Americans Knew that graphically details the lopsided reporting about Israel in the United States.

Along with many other intrepid explorers of the "special relationship" she has just participated in the unprecedented National Summit to Reassess the U.S. - Israel Special Relationship, a day long event held in Washington DC at the National Press Club. It featured outstanding authors who have published books looking into every detail of the history of Israel with regard to the United States.

The entire event was broadcast and recorded by CSPAN and the panels are all available to be seen. I've just viewed the panel "History: How did the special relationship come to be?" with lead-off presenter Stephen Walt (shown below) co-author with John Mearsheimer of "The Israel Lobby", the book that broke the ice regarding the lobby, with the unremarkable idea that the interests of United States and Israel are not identical.

Please watch. I promise you will be impressed and educated.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Knesset members throw a fit over the facts

Some members of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, were so outraged when hearing the president of the European Parliament ask them about Palestinians being allowed only 1/3 the water that Israelis use, that they shouted at him and stormed out.

Yet he was talking about facts. The question is: do the MK (Ministers of the Knesset) actually know the reality of life under occupation, of which water deprivation is but one part?

Here is what the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz (an excellent paper, I might add) has to say about the topic under the title, "Just How Much Do Palestinians Rely on Israel for Water?".

"Israelis - including those in the settlements - use three times as much water a day in their households as West Bank Palestinians do. That is just one aspect of the large discrepancy between Israelis and Palestinians in access, development and use of water resources -- a discrepancy that has only increased since the signing of the Oslo Accords.
Some 113,000 Palestinians in the West Bank, in some 70 villages and communities, are still not connected to the water network and are dependent on water transported in tanker trucks, which raises the price significantly. In many of these communities, which are extremely poor, the families are forced to spend up to 40 percent of their income on this basic commodity. In these communities in Area C (under exclusive Israeli control) the average water consumption per day is about 20 liters per capita. Often a pipe of Israel’s Mekorot water company that reaches the settlements runs nearby, but the Palestinians are not allowed to connect to it.
In most areas of the West Bank the water supply in the summer is sporadic, with municipalities required to stagger the water supply between neighborhoods. In various cities, especially in the southern West Bank, there is no running water in houses for weeks and even months at a time. Consequently, according to estimates of international aid organizations, almost a million Palestinians do not reach the minimal average daily usage of 60 liters, set by the World Health Organization. On average Palestinians use 73 liters of water a day -- just a third the amount consumed by Israelis.
The Oslo Accords determined that the water system in the Gaza Strip would be independent and self-contained, separate from the rest of Israel and the territories. That system relies only on the aquifer within Gaza’s borders without taking into account population growth. That is why the Gaza Strip suffers from accumulated overpumping of water and a drop in the level of the groundwater. Some 90 percent of the water used in Gaza is not fit for drinking because of salinity and the infiltration of sewage.
The Oslo Accords left full control of the water sources in the West Bank in Israel’s hands. The agreement was intended to allow the Palestinians to expand their water system by drilling independent wells. According to it, the Palestinian Authority is permitted to produce 118 million cubic meters of water a year from the water sources in the West Bank -- based on a calculation of Palestinian water usage from 20 years ago. Israel is allowed to use 483 million cubic meters a year.
But since 1995, instead of the Palestinians increasing the amount of water they produce, the figure actually dropped by 20 million cubic meters a year, to just 86.9 million, according to the Palestinian Water Authority. The reasons for this include: drought, dried up springs, Israel’s refusal to allow the rehabilitation of agricultural wells, and the fact that new drilling does not compensate for the old wells used when the area was under Jordanian control."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sharon is dead, here's an obit

Ariel Sharon has died after a years-long period of being in a coma.

I have noticed that in speaking of him, world leaders have taken care to limit the praise to such things as "loved his country" and "a leader of his people" while avoiding placing him outside of Israel in the company of any recognized world leaders such as those who are speaking of him. They don't want his company, not surprisingly, since his record is one of destruction and suffering for many. History indicts him and only the sway of powerful money brings even the faint praise he has received.

The best obituary comes from Max Blumenthal, author of the fact-filled book, Goliath. Please read it for the truth about Ariel Sharon.

Friday, December 6, 2013

a real memorial for the holocaust

Today, Friday the 6 of December, 2013, the Wall Street Journal features a front page story by Naftali Bendavid on the passing of the last of the holocaust survivors and how this puts the memory of the event at risk, a truly outlandish claim that called for a response, which I reproduce here...

Mr. Bendavid:

I have read your article on the last of the holocaust survivors dying of old age.

There is absolutely no danger the holocaust will be forgotten – there are dozens of holocaust memorials in the United States and in my state of Illinois it is a legal requirement that public school students be taught about the holocaust before they reach high school. Mention of the holocaust is frequent in the U.S. media.

A long term and current tragedy made possible by the holocaust is rarely, if ever, mentioned and that is the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and their more than 65 year abuse by the state of Israel, the foundation of which was made possible by leveraging the horror of the holocaust to deflect criticism of Jews who, as Israelis, deny equality to Arabs in Palestine.

The Knesset approved plan to evict tens of thousands of Bedouin (Israeli citizens!) from the Negev, forcing them into concentration towns while opening their lands up to Jews-only settlement is something I believe would horrify the great majority of those who were lost in the holocaust. I haven’t read about this in the WSJ. Nor have I read about the Nakba, the horrible expulsion of Arabs in 1947-48 that literally laid the groundwork for The Jewish State.

The promised land for Jews, as for any other ethnic group, is the United States, where we attempt to practice liberty and justice for all. In Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu continually raises the specter of a “second holocaust” to excuse whatever he chooses to do in the name of the defense of Jews. For Israel, no non-Jews need apply for citizenship, a direct refutation of all the United States claims to hold dear.

I don’t know about you, but the Jews I know have no fears whatsoever of intolerance in the U.S. and, as is evident to all, there is no profession or occupation or way of life in America that is denied to Jews. Quite the contrary, it is the very success of Jews in the United States that provides the wealth and democratic participation that provides the clout of the Israel Lobby in Congress, protecting Israel from every UN sanction, including the incredible veto by the U.S. of its own policy against Israeli settlements in the UN last year.

To be faithful to those who perished in the holocaust, the correct course of action is to bring to public attention the fact that there are Jews behaving badly in the Middle East, rapidly approaching in Israel the kind of state that made the holocaust possible. Read Max Blumenthal’s “Goliath” for evidence. When Israel is held responsible for its ethnic-cleansing project, the project of Zionism from the start, only then will the holocaust be honored as it should be.

When innocent people are victims, as was the case in the holocaust, it in no way entitles those who claim them for relations, the Israelis, to victimize innocents anew. There is no more shameful evidence that the lesson of the holocaust has not been learned than the behavior of the State of Israel as I write. Benjamin Netanyahu’s tongue should burn as he leads yet another party through Yad Vachem.

Clif Brown

Sunday, November 10, 2013

John Kerry finally speaks honestly

A friend of mine on FB gave notice of a story in the Israel Times about the remarks of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Israeli PM Netanyahu that floored me. What he said, in an interview on an Israeli TV station, is so candid and truthful, in such contrast to the continual empty statements about the "peace process" that it gives me hope exasperation in Washington is finally reaching the breaking point.

Interestingly, I saw nothing from the US media about this.

The headline: "FRUSTRATED KERRY'S PEACE CRITIQUE A HEAVY SLAP IN NETANYAHU'S FACE - A patently bitter secretary of state asks why Israel keeps taking Palestinian land and why the Israeli public doesn't seem to care about it."

Of course any American who follows events in Israel knows quite well the answer to Kerry's lament - it is because the United States continues to support Netanyahu and his policies with lots of money, weapons and never-ending supportive resolutions in Congress driven by the Israel lobby with its tremendously wealthy supporters who make lavish campaign donations.

An excerpt (boldface mine):

"In an extremely unusual joint interview with Israel’s Channel 2 and the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, a very frustrated Kerry basically blamed the Israeli government for stealing the Palestinians’ land and the Israeli public for living in bubble that prevents them from caring much about it. If that wasn’t enough, he railed against the untenability of the Israel Defense Forces staying “perpetually” in the West Bank. In warning that a violent Palestinian leadership might supplant Mahmoud Abbas if there was not sufficient progress at the peace table, he appeared to come perilously close to empathizing with potential Palestinian aggression against Israel.
“If we do not resolve the issues between Palestinians and Israelis,” Kerry warned early in the interview, “if we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel [and an] increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel.
“If we do not resolve the question of settlements,” he continued more dramatically, “and the question of who lives where and how and what rights they have; if we don’t end the presence of Israeli soldiers perpetually within the West Bank, then there will be an increasing feeling that if we cannot get peace with a leadership that is committed to non-violence, you may wind up with leadership that is committed to violence.”
He later elaborated, expressing apparently growing dismay over continued Israeli settlement expansion: “How, if you say you’re working for peace and you want peace, and a Palestine that is a whole Palestine that belongs to the people who live there, how can you say we’re planning to build in a place that will eventually be Palestine? So it sends a message that perhaps you’re not really serious.” That was a critique that will have resonated widely among those many Israelis, and critics from outside, who have long argued that Israel should limit any settlement building to areas it envisages seeking to retain in a permanent accord."