Tuesday, March 29, 2011

March 30 is Land Day

Here is a succinct explanation of Land Day from an email I received from Chicagoans Against Apartheid in Palestine...

March 30th, is Palestinian Land Day. It has been commemorated since 1976, when the Israeli military shot and killed six young Palestinian citizens of Israel and wounded a hundred others as they were protesting the confiscation of their land for "security and settlement purposes." It is now an international day of action marking continuing Palestinian resistance to Israel's ongoing illegal and unjust land expropriation, colonization, occupation, military attacks and apartheid.
Chicagoans Against Apartheid in Palestine (CAAP) will take an action to mark this day tomorrow (Wednesday) with leafleting at Dearborn/Adams (Federal Plaza) from 4:30 to 5:30. If you would like to join with us for this, please do, or let us know if you are interested in working with CAAP on other actions.
We must oppose the Israeli apartheid by (1) supporting efforts to break the siege of Gaza, and the continuing Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people of Gaza (2) opposing U.S. government aid to Israel (the most to any country in the world, at $3 billion a year), and (3) boycotting, divesting from, and sanctioning Israel (BDS). There is an international BDS campaign to boycott Israeli goods and services, divest from Israel, and put sanctions on it. This includes boycotting Israeli bonds and the role the Jewish National Fund plays in the segregation of the land by the Israeli government.

Within Israel, Land Day is marked by protests in Lod

Monday, March 28, 2011

Gideon Levy - "I was brainwashed"

Gideon Levy is a Haaretz columnist, a journalist who, like most Israelis, spent his youth with the firm conviction that Israel is exactly as it portrays itself to the world, exactly the way it presents itself in the classrooms in Israeli schools.

In later life he saw the truth of the occupied territories and he began his long standing policy of telling Israelis the truth, whether or not they want to hear it.

He says he would love to live in a country where everyone has equal rights, the one-state solution, but he sees no chance of this happening. He also sees no chance for the two-state solution since Israel has, with its settlers, made this impossible.

Listen to this 30 minute interview of Levy by Alison Weir of the Council for the National Interest and If Americans Knew, another in the series Jerusalem Calling that if have edited for CNI.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

so many dead children, unnoticed

An indication of the slanted nature of reporting in the United States about Israel is the huge disparity in news about Israeli deaths vs Palestinian deaths.

A recent example is the murder of the settler family in the Itamar settlement. This awful crime took five people and was very widely reported on in the U.S., but over the years there have been several times more Palestinian deaths than Israeli deaths (more than 10 to 1) and most go unnoticed in the U.S. for four reasons.

1) There is nowhere near the number of people in the U.S. that identify with Palestinians as there are people who identify with Israelis

2) There are essentially no Palestinians in the U.S. media whereas there are very many Zionists who are concerned with protecting the image of Israel more than with letting readers/viewers know about killings by Israel's army, police and settlers.

3) Palestinian deaths are routine, even the deaths of their children. News that is routine is not considered worthy of much attention.

4) It is a theme of Israeli propaganda that the country is in constant danger and the victim of unrelenting and eternal hatred. Israeli deaths can be used to dramatically reinforce this propaganda in order to support continuing American funding of Israel as a garrison state. Israel wants no sympathy for the real underdogs, preferring to place itself in that position for U.S. consumption.

With these points in mind, I recommend a visit to Remember These Children because it offers a stark way to see the large number of Palestinian children killed by year and month between 2000 and 2011. Simply pick a year at the very top of the page, then scroll down to see Palestinian children killed (a common occurrance) compared with Israeli children killed (a rarity) listed by month within that year.

Totals for 2000 to date

124 Israeli children killed
1457 Palestinian children killed

Monday, March 21, 2011

Jeff Blankfort and media censorship

Though most Americans may consider their press free and the Internet is truly providing a way to go to sources for news, it has long been a fact, and continues to be, that mainstream media news about Israel is highly selective and much doesn't make it to the pages of the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Washington Post - let alone regional newspapers and the major TV networks.

If you don't believe it, you can check out the excellent media analysis site at If Americans Knew, the work of Alison Weir, who has devoted the last ten years of her life to documentation of the gaping hole between what happens in the Middle East and what Americans are allowed to read or view about it.

I have an audio interview for you that Weir gave to Jeffrey Blankfort, an American non-Zionist Jew who, in his own right, has had much experience with Zionist censorship over the years. Please listen as he and Alison relate their experiences with censorship (about 30 minutes).

This interview is another in the Jersalem Calling series that I have been editing for brevity, produced by the Council for the National Interest.

By the way, did you know Fox News personality Wolf Blitzer was formerly a writer for AIPAC, the number one Zionist lobbying organization in the United States? You do know, I hope, that his boss, Rupert Murdoch, is also a dedicated Zionist and major supporter of Israel. This should make you think twice about what you see on Fox News.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Libya and Israel

To my representative and senators in Congress -

Libya was stopped in its tracks due to the decision of the UN to employ a no fly zone. The UN has also voted, with the sole exception of the United States, against the over 40 year settlement project of Israel. It is only the U.S. Congress and U.S. foreign aid that stands in the way of an immediate end to the awful theft of land and deprivation of human rights that is happening at this moment in the West Bank and Gaza. For the sake of the national security of our country, subject to the rage created by our unthinking support of the longest occupation in modern history, stop your automatic support of Israel and think of America first.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Micha Kurz, a former IDF soldier, speaks out

I have been editing the archives of the online radio program Jerusalem Calling, a production of the Council for the National Interest (CNI), an organization that began shortly after the ousting of Illinois Rep. Paul Findlay by Dick Durbin, (now one of Illinois' two senators along with Israel cheerleader Mark Kirk) with the aid of the Israel lobby. Findlay decided to alert the nation to the power of the lobby with CNI. Though he is now retired, the organization continues his mission of spreading the word.

I'm doing my part to help by taking the one hour Jerusalem Calling programs and removing all commercial content while at the same time making folks sound a bit better by removing "you know", "ahhhhhh", "ummmmmmm", "like I said", etc. to make the shows tighter. This process results in a program of just over 30 minutes of solid talk in MP3 format.

Jerusalem Calling aired each week from the fall of 2009 well into 2010 and is a remarkable record of notable voices involved in working to expose the power of the Israel lobby and make up for the lack of coverage of what Israel is doing by major media outlets in the United States. Unfortunately, money ran out and the show came to an end, but not before a great record of important voices was made.

Micha (MEE-kuh) Kurz is a native Israeli, born in Jerusalem. He served in the IDF and was repulsed by what he saw, founding a group of like minded IDF vets called Breaking the Silence. His descriptions of the situation are well worth hearing.

In this program, he is interviewed by Jewish American author and activist Anna Baltzer.

Who spends 30 minutes doing anything these days? I think you will find this half hour worthwhile, I've edited it so that none of your time will be wasted.

Jerusalem Calling with Micha Kurz first aired October 22, 2009

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

the killing of settler families, then and now

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz published a story, Why Did Israel Release Bloody Images of the Slain Family in Itamar ?

In response, I posted the following comment, which was published...

Let's go back to a murdered American settler family, scalped and left in the smoldering ruins of their homestead on Indian land. If on-site photography were possible in 1860, would the U.S. government have put the pictures on display?

If it did so, it would have whipped up hatred for the Indians by white Americans back east, convincing them that Manifest Destiny was right and that Indians were nothing but barbarians to be destroyed.

But as we look back with the wisdom of 160 years, would it have made the awful project of eviction of the Indians under which the murders occurred justifiable? No, it wouldn't.

Ethic cleansing is wrong, then and now. The murder of an American family beyond the frontier and the murder of the Israeli family in a settlement in the occupied territories are repugnant regardless of any resulting publicity. But they are irrelevant to the morality of the ethnic cleansing projects under which they took place.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

James Moran and Elik Elhanan have guts

(see below for suggested specific timing for viewing this video)

James Moran is a Congressman from Virginia, a Democrat who courageously made it possible for a hearing in the Rayburn Office Building to take place March 8th on the situation in the occupied territories and Israel. I suspect Mr. Moran can expect to get a number of calls complaining about this and it is a sad comment on the situation regarding Israel in Congress that this minimal act might be the subject of criticism.

Using OpenCongress, my favorite site for background checks on members of the House and Senate, I found the following entry on James Moran under the heading "Jewish remarks" (interesting that this should be a heading in itself). The text says...(comments in parentheses are mine)

Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq he told an antiwar audience in Reston, Virginia on March 3, 2003, that "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this. The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going, and I think they should."(Isn't this a fact? It is documented in Mearsheimer and Walt's The Israel Lobby)

This remark proved controversial. Writing in the December 22, 2003 edition of The Nation, Letty Cottin Pogrebin charged that "Representative James Moran of Virginia stirred up another incendiary canard-Jewish influence-by attributing America's war with Iraq to 'the strong support of the Jewish community.'"

On November 13, 2007, during Moran's Town Hall on "Is Iran Next?", he said that a piece of legislation that he led, attempting to control the development of bunker buster nuclear weapons, was headed off by lobbyists at the last minute before passage. When pressed by a questioner for the name of the lobbyist, he said "AIPAC." He went on a great length to say that AIPAC (notice the need to do everything but apologize to AIPAC) was playing by the rules and doing its job effectively in our system, and he did not question their right to do so. It was clear that he did not want this to be taken as an anti-Jewish remark. The context for bringing up the topic was administration preparation for war with Iran.

Elik Elhanan has an even greater share of guts because he is a veteran of the IDF who came to his senses and now testifies (as he did at the March 8th hearing) against the policies of Israel regarding the Palestinians. He is a member of Combatants for Peace, an Israeli group with a nice graphic showing two people walking toward each other while throwing away their weapons. He gives a powerful account of the premier position of the military in Israel and how he came to see reality. First, go to 15:00 in the video to hear Elik (el-EEK) introduced and his description of the militaristic basis of Israeli society. Then, skip to 40:30 in the video to hear Elik respond to the question "how did you get out of that paradigm (of militarism), was there a moment when you came to your realization?"

Laila el Haddad is also worth hearing but she is more widely known while Elik may be unknown to readers of this blog, as he was to me before watching this video.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

anti-Semitism, the Dual Purpose Slam

My last post was about the failure to count Jews in the tally of Congress by religion by the New York Times. For this I was accused of coming "dangerously close" to anti-Semitism.

Right now, in Israel, a Palestinian family in East Jerusalem is being ordered to open their residence so that Jewish Israelis may move in. The subtitle is Authorities expected to force Palestinian family to evacuate house after 11-year court battle leans in favor of American millionaire and settler patron.

Though I haven't read the current issue of the New York Times, I would be willing to bet this story from Jerusalem will not be mentioned in it, or any other American newspaper.

There could be no better occasion to look at the function of anti-Semitism. I have touched on it before here and here, but today I want to address its dual purpose of diverting attention from the real thing, the racism in Israel, while at the same time gagging those who speak against Israel in the United States. In fact, the word has become so over-used for this dual purpose that you should use it as a flag to read deeper when you see it mentioned. Read deeper because you may well find that within the story, there is a very good lead worth following on legitimate criticism of Israel and the accused may well be a responsible party worth finding out about.

I'll call this dual-use of the word anti-Semitism the Dual Purpose Slam (DPS) for short.

To use DPS is like throwing peanut butter - some of it is bound to stick to the target and it takes a while to wash it off. Nowhere is this more effectively used than in defense either of Israel itself or of those who support Israel.

If there is anyone who holds a copyright on the word, it is Abe Foxman, a man who has built an empire from a word - the mighty Anti-Defamation League, a well funded organization that sets itself up as the finger-pointer in chief to call out anti-Semites in the United States. It looks like it is spreading out into "bullying" these days from the look of the website. Could any organization appear to be more benign?

For an excellent look at Foxman, please view the movie Defamation, made by a native Israeli who sets out to find out why anti-Semitism is constantly used in the Israeli press yet he has never encountered it. Coming to the U.S. to interview Foxman, he has a difficult time substantiating any of the cases of anti-Semitism he is given by the ADL, though he finds it in other places. This is a must-see movie.

The red herring function of DPS is to keep the Jew in the mind of Americans as the eternal victim worthy of the benefit of the doubt, while in far off tiny Israel, deliberate expulsion of Arabs, never to be seen as victims but only as terrorists, presumed aggressive and guilty, can proceed without interruption. Arabs, like Jews are Semites so the bald fact is that the most virulent form of anti-Semitism is being practiced by Jews on another group of Semites, on a massive scale, picking up momentum and actively supported by the United States.

So we have suppression of any and all discussion of Jews that is not flattering and fawning in the United States, while at the same time Jews as Israelis perform the ungliest project of anti-Semitism in the world today.

My post on the failure to list the number of Jews in Congress is a perfect example of this in action. Jews are members of a religion, just as are Catholics and Protestants and Muslims, but unlike Catholics and Protestants they are not mentioned. If they are not mentioned they are not noticed. If they are not noticed then what they may do in Congress will be more likely to pass un-noticed. To draw up a list of Jews is, thanks to thorough schooling on the Holocaust in America, to think of Nazis taking identities for shipment to the death camps! You can see how this works - it's a fool-proof cover that relies of images in the head completely pushing facts off the stage.

Jews in the United States may not be mentioned as a group - any attempt to do so will result in protests, perfectly reasonable, that Jews are not a monolithic group but just Americans like the rest of us and should not be characterized as holding any one view.

That's true! But in Israel, we have a group of Jews who ARE together in pushing an odious project of ethnic-cleansing and a major financial support for that effort along with a significant support in Jews making aliyah to join in the settlement project come from the United States.

So the perfect cover is achieved. You have a large group that is heterogeneous but that contains a dedicated (to the point of fanaticism) sub-group within it that can definitely be characterized as supporting everything that Americans should detest and reject.

It is the project of Abe Foxman and others who use the DPS (Dual Purpose Slam) to take advantage of this mixing of the Israel-first folks with the general group to protect the Israel-first folks.

Think of it as paint.

You have many cans of paint, most are filled with white or off-white paint. But there are also some cans of coal-black paint. Mix all the paint together. That coal-black paint is still in there but the mix looks pretty much white. Someone says, "there's black paint in there!" and you respond with outrage - "BLACK PAINT! Why any fool can see that this paint is white!"

Now here is the critical difference in my paint analogy from the American Jews it represents. There is no way the black paint can come out of the mix. American Jews who are wholeheartedly racist, filled with hate and eager to see the eviction of Palestinians from Palestine can easily come out of America, go to Israel, become Israelis with dual citizenship and be kicking out Palestinians with a matter of weeks. Or they can remain in America funding Israel or calling out supporters of the Palestinians as anti-Semitic.

Do you see how this works? It's truly a marvel, works only for the Jews and is a direct result of Holocaust education. It's an invisible force-field.

The ultimate irony is that Jews in America will only be fully American when they can no longer use this invisible shield, yet Holocaust education is a deliberate attempt to keep the shield up - keeping Jews a people apart.

Many American Jews are revolted by Israel claiming to represent them and are acting to make the distinction between Judaism and Israel very clear, but, though growing in number, they are still a minority. They have a majority of American Jews working against them by doing all they can to support Israel.

I fully support the former group of Jews and oppose the latter. The Jewish group conducting a racist experiment in the Middle East will ultimately collapse, I hope in the way that South Africa did, with the acceptance of the futility of the effort rather than through violence.

In the meantime - I encourage all Americans, Jewish or not, to deny support to the state of Israel, because what it stand for is un-American.

It is sustained only because of American support and the Dual Purpose Slam of anti-Semitism in the United States is Goliath - on Israel's side.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Catholics counted, Protestants counted but not Jews?

Today in the New York Times there was an article that broke down the membership of the U.S. House and Senate into demographic groups...the number of men and women, age groups, etc.

What struck me was that in the "religion" category only Catholics and Protestants were mentioned, not Jews (there is only one Muslim, so that omission is understandable). As a result, 47 of the members of the House/Senate were missing in the religion tally.

This was too much for me. The Jewish members of the House and Senate are uniformly cheerleaders for Israel with absolutely no countering presence. I wrote the following comment on the article to the NYT. No other comments mentioned this omission.
There is a glaring oversight (in this article) - 47 members are unaccounted for in the tally for religion and Jews are not mentioned. Why is the change in Protestants and Catholics of interest but not of Jews? In light of the fact that Israeli settlements and that country's flouting of international law and the actions of the UN is front and center as a cause of the isolation of our country in the world and an incitement to attacks against us - and that the loudest voices for Israel in Congress are Jewish (Lieberman, Kantor, Schumer, Harman, etc.) Judaism should certainly be listed as a religion because it would be interesting as an indication of change in the strength of the Israel lobby. Can anyone name a single Jewish member of Congress who is not a supporter of Israel? The only Jewish candidate that fits that description, as far as I know, was Marcy Winograd who was defeated by Jane Harman. Since there is only one Muslim in Congress, it's understandable that that religion is not mentioned.

The foregoing is doubly important in that a House investigation of Muslim extremism is about to begin where there is but one Muslim in Congress to temper an examination by Congressmen and women who have shown themselves not just indifferent, but hostile to the Palestinians, giving approval to any and all actions of the Israeli government. Congress has yet to have even the most cursory investigation of the power of Israel to direct U.S. foreign policy regarding that country and its neighbors. Even the attack on the USS Liberty was hushed up. I, for one, want my Congress back from the Israel lobby. It's something all Americans should desire.
My comment has not been published.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

the natives are restless

After the release of the Wikileaks "Palestinan Papers", the following had to come...

copied from Ali Abunimah


We the Palestinian People

Find you have failed to keep your oath to represent the Palestinians


Suspend and terminate the Oslo Accords
Dissolve the Palestinian Authority – Abbas must resign
End the Blockade of Gaza
End all security arrangements with Israel
Release all Palestinian political prisoners from Palestinian jails
Unify the resistance – Build a national platform upon which to coalesce Palestinian political parties and formations in their resistance to apartheid, colonialism and ethnic cleansing

Notice of termination served on February 28, 2011 4:00-6:00 p.m.

at the General Delegation of the PLO Mission to the U.S.

1320 18th Street, NW - Washington, D.C.

Issued by the United States Palestinian Community Network-DC