Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Democracy" crumbles - Zoabi is disqualified

I have mentioned Hanin Zoabi before, once after seeing her speak at the University of Chicago and more recently when she was part of a discussion at a cafe in Tel Aviv. She doesn't hesitate to speak the truth to power - power being the Israeli Knesset of which she has been a member and in which she was the target of an attempted assault by another member.

But now, according to an article in The Guardian newspaper, she is being disqualified from running again for her Knesset seat.

It has been claimed that Voltaire said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it", but whoever actually said it expressed the foundation of democracy, a system which Israel claims to follow but which it has never possessed. Democracy is not the representation of a select group, but of all who live under it. Israelis who live in settlements are still full Israeli citizens and a powerful force in the Knesset without living in Israel. The Palestinians who are displaced to provide room for the settlers are unrepresented. Zoabi represented the small and deliberately limited number of Arab Israelis who are kept politically powerless without hope of gaining enough seats to have a say in what happens to them. So goes the decline of the state as another voice of dissent is now removed from office.

The good in this is that another part of the makeup crumbles away from the benign face that Israel wants the world to see. Extremism continues its relentless rise and with it the end of the state for only the select comes closer. Colonialism is an anachronism and with its end in Israel it will follow other unmourned things such as slavery into history.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

roof tapping and leaflets - you were warned!

The following is an account from Gaza by Johnny Barber, who reports for counterpunch. I have edited his original piece for brevity and inserted some links for those interested in verifying what is related. I decided to use this article because in one place it describes several things that I have heard about from other sources and pulls together the dire situation of being a Palestinian in Gaza. It does not, of course, get into the difficulties of the Palestinians in the West Bank who, though not under fire from F16's or gunboats from time to time, have to deal with settler assaults, ground water theft and the onerous checkpoints.

From Johnny Barber:
The Israeli Defense Forces insist they protect civilians in Gaza, only targeting terrorists. They have several methods to protect innocent civilians. One method is to call the civilians on the phone, another method is to drop leaflets telling them to flee for their lives, as an attack is imminent. During the latest offensive, Israeli dropped leaflets in the rural areas telling people to flee to the city. In Gaza City, leaflets were dropped warning people to flee to the rural areas. A new, ingenious method they use to protect civilians is to drop ‘loud, non-lethal bombs’ on a home as a warning for the inhabitants as to what will come. They even have a name for this warning. They call it ‘roof tapping’. Then anywhere from 3 minutes to 20 minutes pass before they bomb the house from F-16’s. These bombs are a very large and very lethal. The homes I have seen today have been completely flattened, and the houses around the target are also rendered uninhabitable.

The ‘non-lethal bombs’ penetrate rooftops and can travel through 4 stories. Children or other civilians sitting under these bombs lose limbs, suffer head trauma, shrapnel wounds, and other injuries. The idea behind these warnings is that inhabitants will flee their homes once they are warned. If elders, small children, newborns, or disabled people are in the home, this can be a difficult endeavor. If a child suffers an amputation, fleeing will take a little more precious time. But lets ignore these complications as they just muddy the waters. I am amazed at the generosity of the

After the most recent ceasefire agreement, it was stated that farmers would be able to reach their lands in the buffer zone (see my note on this below - CB). The farmers were thrilled that they would be able to farm on the 300-meter (about 1/4 mile) swath of land known here in Gaza as the no go zone, because if they dared try to access this land they were immediately targeted by Israeli snipers.

On Wednesday we accompanied farmers to the buffer zone in Johr el Deek. It was amazing! We walked right up to the razor wire barrier! We watched as 2 Israeli jeeps approached the fence. I was smiling as they got out of their jeeps, but my smile was erased as they lifted their weapons and fired toward us. Of course, they didn’t shoot us, the ceasefire was in effect for an entire week! I was confused though, as they lobbed tear gas canisters at us, and continued firing over our heads as we retreated. Perhaps the soldiers were as confused as I was about the details of the agreement. After all, unfettered access to the land is a little vague. Perhaps the farmers misunderstood.

The fishermen faced a similar dilemma. After the ceasefire was announced, the fishermen were told that Israel, would allow the fishermen to fish in Gazan waters up to 6 nautical miles from the shore. This was double, the limit that has been in effect for the past 6 years. The fishermen were happy. They would have an opportunity to provide for their families, though the Oslo Accords stated fishermen would have access to 20 nautical miles of the sea back in 1993

The fishermen I spoke with said they had access to the 6-mile limit for two days. Then, Wednesday, exactly one week after the ceasefire agreement, numerous fishing boats, in waters from 3 nautical miles to 6 nautical miles came under heavy attack by the Israeli Navy. One boat was sunk, 3 boats had their engines destroyed by gunfire, one trawler was confiscated and 9 fishermen were arrested.  The Israeli officers made sure the fishermen stripped and jumped into the sea before they sunk the boat. (Over the past few years, B’Tselem has collected dozens of testimonies from fisherman apprehended via the dangerous and humiliating “swimming procedure”: fishermen were compelled to undress at gunpoint and swim from their boat to a navy craft, regardless of weather conditions - CB)

The fishermen received no warnings. Of course everyone realizes that cell phones don’t work so far from shore and dropping leaflets would be impractical as most of the leaflets would fall into the water. And even I know ‘roof tapping’ at sea would be way too dangerous, as the possibility of harming the civilian fishermen would be high.

The best approach is to simply start firing from hundreds of meters away as the gunboats accelerate toward the fishing trawlers. This gives the fishermen at least 3 minutes to pull up their nets and escape back to port. I am not certain what changed on the third day for these fishermen, but few fish were caught.

We also visited the homes of children who were killed. One was 9-year old Fares al-Basyouni, killed in his home as he slept. Shrapnel that penetrated the wall decapitated Fares. His father described the horrific scene. ‘We didn’t hear the bombs. We woke to the sound of windows shattering and the house shaking. The house was full of smoke. My daughters and sons were screaming as I moved from room to room to find them.’ Fare’s lifeless torso landed on top of his 14-year old brother, who ran screaming from the house into the night.

Didn’t they receive the warnings? Hassan’s cousin Mohammed confirmed leaflets fell from the sky 20 minutes after the attack. So, you see, they were warned.
NOTE: from the B'Tselem website regarding the no-go zone: 

A 2010 report by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) maintains that, in practice, the areas to which Palestinian access was restricted and where any person was at high risk of injury encompassed 62.6 square kilometers and ranged from 500 to 1,500 meters from the fence. These areas comprise 17% of the total area of the Gaza Strip and some 35% of its farmland. Ninety-five percent of the areas with restricted access were cultivated farmland.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

the problem is the State of Israel

Here, reproduced in full because you never know when web documents will disappear, is an article by Eamonn McCann in the Belfast Telegraph published November 22, 2012 after the latest assault on Gaza.

How destruction of Gaza was planned over six decades ago

By Eamonn McCann
Thursday, 22 November 2012

It was written “Imagine that not so long ago, in any given country you are familiar with, half of the entire population had been forcibly expelled within a year, half of its villages and towns wiped out, leaving behind only rubble and stones.

Imagine now the possibility that somehow this act will never make it into the history books and that all diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict that erupted in that country will totally sideline, if not ignore, this catastrophic event.

“Imagine, that is, trying to understand what’s happening between Israel and Gaza today without taking into account how the conflict began.”

The quote is from the introduction to Ilan Pappe’s ‘The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine’. Pappe, a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa until 2007, is currently a professor at the University of Essex and director of its European Centre for Palestine Studies. He is foremost among Israeli ‘New Historians’ who, since the publication in the 1980s of Israeli and British documents from the period, have radically rewritten the history of the Jewish State’s foundation and the flight of 700,000 Palestinians from its territory.

Pappe argues that the exodus was not a mere by-product of terror and chaos but the result of a deliberate strategy designed to facilitate the consolidation and expansion of the new Jewish State. The key document which he and others cite is Plan Dalet (Dalet is the Hebrew letter D).

Plan Dalet was drafted and distributed to leaders of the Hagannah in March 1948. Its formal adoption reflected the transformation of the clandestine organisation into the core element of a regular army. The drafting “commission” included about a dozen military and political leaders under the chairmanship of Israel’s “founding father” and first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

Four months earlier, in November 1947, the UN General Assembly had voted to divide Palestine into a Jewish State covering 56% of the territory and a Palestinian State on 42% — with the remaining 2%, Jerusalem, designated an “internationalised zone”. The scheme was plainly unfair to the Palestinians. But, backed by the US, the Soviet Union and the other major powers, it was handed down as the consensus view of what’s now called “the international community”.

However, it is clear from the material which has subsequently become available that Zionist leaders of the time saw the UN plan not as a compromise settlement but as a stepping-stone towards their objective of a state based on Jewish religious identity to include all of the “Land of Israel” — the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem as well the territory allocated to Israel. Which meant clearing the Palestinians out.
Pappe quotes Ben Gurion on December 3, 1947: “They can either be mass arrested or expelled; it is better to expel them.”

It is a striking aspect of contemporary accounts that Zionist military leaders were more open and honest about their intentions than diplomacy might have dictated. Hagannah commander Yigael Yadin told other Zionist groups in January 1948 to give over with the rhetoric about “retaliation”: “This is not what we are doing: this is an offensive and we need to initiate preemptive strikes; no need for a village to attack us (first)”.
Plan Dalet, then, represented not a new path but the codification and strengthening of a practice already well under way. Anyone wanting to inform their own views of the rights and wrongs of what’s afoot in Gaza today should read Plan Dalet. An English-language text is easily accessible on the internet. The Plan does not call for massacre in so many words. And it can be read (although some of us regard this as rather implausible) as a contingency plan rather than an order for immediate implementation.

Nevertheless, the strategy is clearly outlined and describes with chilling accuracy what, in the event, was about to unfold.

Under the heading, ‘Mounting operations against enemy population centres located inside or near our defensive system in order to prevent them from being used as bases by an active armed force,’ the Plan calls for the “destruction of villages (setting fire to, blowing up, and planting mines in the debris), especially those population centres which are difficult to control continuously” (Who might be the target of mines buried in the debris of previous attack?) .Under ‘Mounting search and control operations’, the Plan recommends “encirclement of the village and conducting a search inside it.In the event of resistance, the armed force must be destroyed and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state”.

It all happened back then exactly as Planned. It’s happened since, again and again and again and again.
It is happening in Gaza today. The problem does not have to do with “ancient hatreds”, with the belligerence of this side or that or both, or with something wicked in Judaism or Islam or both. The problem is the state of Israel.

Friday, November 16, 2012

another attack on Gaza

Yesterday I marched in a demonstration against the current Israeli attack on Gaza. Predictably, the New York Times as usual describes the event as if it were a result of rocket attacks that simply came out of nowhere. The truth is quite different as Glenn Greenwald mentions as follows:
I (Greenwald) will recommend several outstanding, truly must-read pieces written by others over the last 24 hours in lieu of my own reciting of the various arguments. Begin with this article by Yousef Munayyer in the Daily Beast setting the crucial context for the rocket attacks from Gaza; then read this Daily Beast news-breaking account from Gershon Baskin, who details how the provocations from the Israelis were geared toward disrupting an imminent peace deal with Hamas ("The assassination of Jaabari was a pre-emptive strike against the possibility of a long term ceasefire"); also vital is this time-line of events leading up to the rocket attacks from Gaza, with ample documentation from Ali Abunimah...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Al Jazeera program from Tel Aviv cafe

I am glad to say I have seen Hanin Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset (where another member, Anastasia Michaeli, came very close to assaulting her before being physically restrained), speak here in Chicago. She is passionately devoted to the cause of equality between Jews and Palestinians in Israel.

Al Jazeera has produced the following video, done in a Tel Aviv cafe, that brings together Zoabi with a group of Jewish Israelis and the mayor of a settlement in the West Bank (who claims his settlement to be part of Israel). The discussion is worth watching as it reveals the variety of views in play. Professor Shlomo Sand is a participant, about whose book I have blogged in the past.

I should add that I cannot get Al Jazeera on my cable TV service because the provider, Comcast, refuses to carry it. This is the case in much of the United States.

Thanks to Jews sans frontieres, the program came to my attention.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

disillusionment from the Israel of "Exodus"

The 1960 movie Exodus with Paul Newman, is a perfect example of cinematic propaganda. I fell for it and so did many other Americans, including Justin Raimando, who has written a post at Anti-War dot com that perfectly encapsulates the entire course of thinking from early infatuation through Exodus up to complete disillusionment under the light of reality. I strongly urge you to read the entire post, but here are some excerpts...

...(the imagery from Exodus) ...burned itself into my brain, and, like many Americans, Jews and non-Jews alike, I felt a bond with the Israeli people that could almost be called spiritual. Today, however – almost fifty years later – I have quite a different view of the Jewish state. Not even the musical score written by Ferrante and Teicher can erase the reality of a nation that systematically oppresses its Palestinian helots, a ruthless Sparta armed to the teeth (courtesy of my tax dollars) that is now engaged in a propaganda campaign designed to drag the United States into yet another unnecessary and horrifically destructive war in the Middle East...

Speaking of Avigdor Lieberman, who has now formed a joint party with PM Netanyahu:

...Lieberman was a member of the Likud youth group while studying international relations and political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was known for brawling with rival Arab student groups. According to Ha’aretz, at one point he was a member of the extremist Kach party of Rabbi Meir Kahane, now banned as a terrorist organization in Israel and listed as such by the US State Department. He denies this, but the only manner in which his views differ from the virulently racist and nationalist Kahanists is his relative secularism: for example, he wants the state-subsidized Haredim (Orthodox religious scholars) to be conscripted into the army, like everyone else.

Lieberman rose quickly through the ranks of Likud, eventually becoming Netanyahu’s chief of staff, but split to form his own party when the Wye River memorandum granting Palestinians some basic rights was signed by his boss..
After mentioning the recent survey of Israelis that shows a large number acknowledging apartheid and endorsing it, Raimondo concludes...

The Israel of today is not the Israel of "Exodus." It is not the Israel of the democratic egalitarian Labor tradition, symbolized by the kibbutz: it is, in fact, no longer the only democracy in the region – it is, instead, an increasingly tribalist and anti-democratic state, a militaristic society dominated by ethnic and religious exclusivism, and a dangerously expansionist one to boot.

In championing Israel’s cause, Mitt Romney and his Republican cohorts continually refer to our alliance with the Jewish state as reflective of American values, contrasting this with the "realist" view which subordinates values to interests. This may have been true in the early days of the Zionist enterprise, but it is far from true today: indeed, Israel is taking a path which can only end in the dark abyss of tribalism, religious fundamentalism – and war.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Romney/Obama, the pro-Israel twins

Here is a letter I have just submitted to my Senators and Congresswoman after hearing the final presidential debate.

Senator Durbin - the last presidential debate was an embarrassing contest over who could fawn the most over Israel. I bring your attention to the following just published information from the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on a survey of Israeli public opinion: "The majority of the Jewish public, 59 percent, wants preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries. Almost half the Jews, 49 percent, want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab ones; 42 percent don't want to live in the same building with Arabs and 42 percent don't want their children in the same class with Arab children."

Is this the kind of society any American should support? It is not one that any American would tolerate here. So much has been done to eliminate this kind of segregation through the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King would turn in his grave to hear Romney and Obama effuse over Israel...and you play your part in this hypocritical support of a colony that vigorously throws out the indigenous people, a shameful display for the Congress of a nation that supposedly supports liberty and justice for all. I call upon you to courageously alter your usual pro-Israel vote when the next of the unending parade of resolutions supporting the ethnic cleansing government of that state, a state for one ethic group only, comes before you. To do otherwise is a slap in the face to all the heroic efforts of the past 50 years for civil rights in the United States and will assure the continuing decline of American prestige worldwide.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

thoughts upon reaching two years

I have been writing this blog for two years now. What do I see after carefully following events in Israel for all this time? The future is clear - there will be one state for all of the people of the region. It won't happen tomorrow or in ten years but it will arrive. The reason is that Jews worldwide will, out of disgust, repudiate Israel, coming to see it as a blot on the history of Judaism, while over the same period, Palestinians will continue to exhibit the fact that they are not inferior beings but fully equal to the Israelis in their humanity. This change in world Jewish opinion will continue to build from each new generation. The old will not change. The world, already fed up with Israeli behavior, will not turn away from the pressure it places on the Jewish State to become a real democracy.

 With regard to the United States, there are two possibilities. I foresee President Obama re-elected and, in his second term, becoming less compliant to the wishes of the right in Israel and the Israel lobby in the U.S. With nothing to lose politically, he can work for liberty and justice for all. If he is not re-elected, the cast of bad characters from the G. W. Bush years will return in force under Romney and the situation in Israel will become more outrageous, resulting in further revulsion that will have an impact on U.S. politics. In either case, Israel's position will sink in the eyes of Americans.

There will not be a U.S. war with Iran and, illustrative of the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, so also will there not be an Israeli attack on Iran. The insane idea of war on Iran will pass as does a fever, with the acknowledgement that Prime Minister Netanyahu went over the line in direct appeals in the United States presidential election. This is not to say that war did not come very close, but, fortunately, the United States did not take the bait.

The arrogance of Israeli settlers and the violent treatment of Palestinians will continue for some time. Rightists in the U.S. will continue to move to the settlements to indulge in the mistreatment. Wealthy American Zionists will continue their effort to indoctrinate American Jewish youth with the Birthright program. Palestinian voices in the United States wlll find more receptive audiences even in synagogues as the mythology of the foundation of Israel erodes under the spotlight of historical truth.

The successful eviction of Native-Americans by the United States will not be repeated in the occupied territories. Jewish ultra-orthodox in Israel will put forth more irrational demands and be seen as the same as extremists of any religion - to be resisted politically so that religious views are rendered impotent in government.

The force of logic, the powerful evidence of science will wean rational people away from religious fundamentalism. In sum, Zionism will play out as the tragedy it was bound to be as it has followed the course laid out by its founders. That's no cause for regret. I'm optimistic. But an Israel for all won't happen tomorrow. There's still work to do and news to be spread.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

US Presidential candidate gets Israel policy just right

No, I'm not talking about Obama or Romney, one of whom will likely continue his submissive-to-Israel policy and the other who will go off the deep end with his good buddy Bibi Netanyahu.

I'm talking about Dr. Jill Stein, who is running for president under the Green Party. Though she is Jewish, from her campaign website I found the following policy statement...

Jill Stein, the first Jewish contender for the presidency of the United States of America, called today for the international community to heed the findings of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine and to take immediate steps to ensure that Israel comply with its responsibilities according to international human rights law. Specifically, Dr. Stein reiterated that as president, she would require Israel, as well as other nations, to uphold international law and human rights as a condition for further U.S. aid. In particular, this would require Israel to end human rights abuses, and respect the rights of Palestinians and other peoples living under Israeli rule.

The Green Party of the United States has long been a leader in standing up for the rights of all peoples living under military rule and racial apartheid, and the Palestinian people are no exception,” said Dr. Stein. “I am proud that our party platform reflects our universal and consistent commitment to human rights.”
This is simply common sense, consistent with principles that were fundamental to the political thinking of the founders of the United States - and to the Enlightenment that preceded them.

Had you ever heard of Ms. Stein? Do you think she has a prayer of getting even 2% of the vote? This is proof of how far off the track America has gone. Of course, Ms. Stein is not allowed to participate in the presidential "debate". This is because the Presidential Debate Commission, funded with corporate money, is a tool of the two major parties and is happy to allow them to dictate terms for the debate. For a devastating description of how this came to be, please watch author George Farah explain, starting at 3:30 in on Democracy Now's coverage of the debate.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Palestinians in the United Nations: US says no

Of all the hypocritical nonsense put out by the United States, nothing is as absurd as the determination of a country that promotes representation, democracy and equal rights to be determined to gag any Palestinian representation in the United Nations.

The Guardian newspaper has published a story on the latest efforts by the world's most powerful country to suppress the people who are among the most powerless.

Please read U.S. Warns European Governments Against Supporting Palestinians at the U.N.

As the whole world knows, the demand for "Peace Talks" has been a long-standing method for Israel to buy time for it to further expand into the West Bank. It is a cover for ethnic cleansing.

From the article:

A US memorandum, seen by the Guardian, said Palestinian statehood "can only be achieved via direct negotiations with the Israelis" and urged European governments "to support [American] efforts" to block the bid. The message was communicated by officials to representatives of European governments at the UN general assembly (UNGA) in New York last week.

It is the same old tactic at work as tiny Israel continues to direct the foreign policy of the obedient Goliath, the United States.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

interactive map of the West Bank and Gaza

B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights, has published an interactive map of the West Bank and Gaza that is dense with information for those who seek an understanding of the intricate layout of areas that have come about over the years of occupation. Where are areas A, B and C? Where is the Green Line, how about East Jerusalem and the settlements? News stories and videos are featured as well, so you can see where something happened and then read in detail about the event.

The map has so much information that it can be difficult to read unless you zoom in. A very wide view will have place-names over-lapping. To see Gaza, you will need to move the map from the initial view that shows only the West Bank. What you see here is only a screen-grab. Follow the link above.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

junkets to Israel - by reporters too

A little over a year ago I wrote about the trips taken to Israel by my own Illinois State Senator, Jeff Schoenberg funded by the Jewish United Fund and provided a copy of the letter I wrote to him to which there has been no reply.

The JUF trips are only the tip of the iceberg - there are many pro-Israel organizations doing the same thing and one of the biggest is the American Israel Education Fund (AIEF), a "charitable" 501(c)3 group almost entirely funded by the lobbying group, AIPAC, as a way to get around the rules set by Congress in 2007 specifically to prevent lobbying groups from sponsoring junkets.

An excellent account of the issue can be found in Nathan Guttman's article in the Jewish Daily Forward, Laughs Aside, Junkets Raise Serious Issues. He reveals that reporters are taken on these propaganda trips as well...
AIEF takes more than just members of Congress on trips to Israel; it takes journalists, too, on a regular basis. Discussing the latest Sea of Galilee events, Chris Matthews host of MSNBC’s“Hardball,” said on August 20: “I’ve been there a number of times, a trip sponsored by a pro-Israel group, Jewish group, very educational trips. They show you a lot about the geography of the land and the situation they’re facing with the Palestinians.”

MSNBC did not return several calls requesting comment on Matthews’ participation in these trips and the network’s policy on joining press junkets.

A spokesman for AIEF would not provide details on the number of reporters hosted by the group in Israel, but there are estimates based on reports of participants indicating that dozens of journalists have participated in pro-Israel junkets throughout the years.
Is it any wonder Americans have a one-sided view of what is happening in Israel and the territories it occupies?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

segregated roads - different license plates

You likely know that there are roads in the West Bank which are allowed only to Israelis. These are modern highways, built with U.S. funding. There are others that Palestinians may use with restrictions and finally there are roads that any Palestinian may use which are not well maintained and often are dirt.

The system works, for Israelis, because Palestinians are forced to use a different license plate.

It sounds complicated and it is; a daily complication for Palestinians. It's useful to see the whole thing on a map. My fuzzy reproduction below doesn't allow you to read the legend, so view the map full size to appreciate the benefit the apartheid road system can bring to one people at the expense of another.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ma'ale Adumim: stolen trees, stolen water, stolen land

Phil Weiss, creator of the Mondoweiss blog, recently visited Israel and toured the settlement of Ma'ale Adumim with Jeff Halper of ICAHD.

In this video, Jeff points out the ancient Palestinian olive trees that were uprooted and planted here as landscaping, a fountain that endlessly splashes some of the 85% of West Bank water that the settlements have appropriated, and Ace Hardware doing business on stolen land.

Americans can and do go to live in such places as this, claiming them as an ancient homeland. Nowhere to be seen in this video are the former Arab residents of this land, long since removed.

You can get the back story from B'Tselem in their 2009 publication, The Hidden Agenda: The Establishment and Expansion Plans of Ma'ale Adummim and their Human Rights Ramifications

Friday, August 3, 2012

Illinois automatic Israel bond purchases continue

As I have mentioned in the past, each year the Illinois State Board of Investments makes a purchase of $12 million in Israel State debt. This automatic purchasing began when Illinois State Senator Jeff Schoenberg, a strong supporter of Israel, got legislation passed that allows Illinois to purchase foreign debt.

Since that time, with the exception of a couple of early years when one or two other countries had debt purchased by Illinois to give the appearance of impartiality, Israel's $12 million from Illinois has stood alone as a single foreign debt line item in a list of well over 100 other items all of which are U.S. government or agency debt.

2012 will be no exception.

Here is my letter to each member of the 9 member Illinois State Board of Investment...

Dear (board member's name):

As you know, the rule of law is vital to the functioning of society. We in Illinois and the United States are expected to obey the law. So it is with countries. The U.S. repeatedly calls upon other countries to uphold the law.

At the end of World War Two, in an effort to prevent the seizure of territory by conflict and the moving of the citizenry of the conqueror onto such land as Germany had done, the 4th Geneva Convention outlawed the practice.

You, as a member of the Illinois State Board of Investment are in a position where you can and do choose to invest in a country that flagrantly violates the law of the 4th Geneva Convention to which the United States is a signatory. Israeli settlements are that violation.

In a story filed by reporter Chaim Levinson on July 31 in the Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, was a story under this headline: “Israeli Government Spent 1.1 billion (in Israeli currency) on Settlements in 2011”

This year, in a continuing series since Senator Jeff Schoenberg, a supporter of Israel, made it possible through legislation, Illinoisans, most of them unaware, have been supporting Israel with their tax money through the decision of the investment board to buy Israel debt and that of no other country.

Though there are many countries that meet the qualifications for the investment of Illinois funds, the fact that Israel alone is the beneficiary makes it clear that the return on investment is not the primary reason for this essentially automatic annual purchase of $12 million that appears as a line item each year. I doubt that any annual discussion of this beyond the perfunctory takes place; the idea that it is a good thing to do going unquestioned.

I want to strongly urge you to reconsider this automatic purchasing because there is no restriction on how Israel may use money obtained from Illinois. The consequences are grave for hundreds of thousands who you do not see and do not hear from, people who have no Illinois State Senator to plead their case before you make your decision.

Last week in the New York Times, Member of the Israeli Knesset, Dani Dayan wrote an opinion piece stating that the settlements are here to stay and everyone should get over it, an echo of Germany’s assertion that conquered Eastern Europe was “living room” for Germans to use. Your actions make Dayan’s stance possible. End the purchase of Israeli debt by Illinois. You owe it to the rule of law.

Clif Brown

Monday, July 30, 2012

Romney in Jerusalem

Rabbi Brant Rosen has an excellent blog, Shalom Rav, where he presents his courageous views that all is not right with Israel. As with all first rate blogs, the comments are moderated and well worth reading. In a recent post, he received a comment that mentioned Mitt Romney's "spectacular" appearance in Israel to which I replied at length. I reproduce both here.

Commenter Steve says:
Most American Jews feel a great affinity towards Israel.  They vehemently disagree with Rabbi Rosen’s position that Israel should be voted away.

American Jews believe that Hamas and Hezbollah are Iran backed terrorist groups and that the PA is run by crack pot thieves.  And, now that Syria is in turmoil and the Sinai border is no longer quiet, any kind of land for peace is to risky and dangerous and would be considered insane.

Under the current circumstance the smart thing to do is to make sure a single Israeli State is solidified on the ground so that there is not a chance that Israel could be voted away.   This State of course included the annexation of Judea &  Sameria.  There most likely will be an unarmed Palestinian enclave in Judea and Sameria.

My guess is also that Barak Obama announces the movement of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.  I think he will do this to try to one up Mitt Romney after Romney’s spectacular performance in Israel.
I responded

Steve:   Romney in Israel is indeed a spectacle, good in that it shows blatant pandering that makes no attempt to conceal itself. See the Haaretz article by Barak Ravid titled “In Jerusalem Speech, it was Romney’s Voice but Netanyahu’s Words”. Add a fund raiser closed to the press. What did Romney say to that audience that we Americans should not hear? How would it be possible for him to go any further than what he has said in public? That our supine president is lustily attacked as not complaint enough and an enemy of Israel is absolutely frightening to this American. There is no contact with reality.

That many American Jews feel an affinity for Israel is no reason by itself for America to support Israel in whatever it does, nor is it relevant that Israelis are fearful of their armed opponents. There are many countries that have supporters in the US and whose residents fear their neighbors. And what of it?

It is one thing to have a domestic lobby calling all the shots (pun intended), silencing all Congressional debate, such as is the case with the NRA. It is quite another for a tiny state on the other side of the world to do so. The behavior of the Congress, particularly the House, as a troupe of trained seals for Israel would be hilarious if it were not so terrifying. As Romney speaks, some in Congress are busy trying to get a resolution supporting the ludicrous Levy report.

Romney’s remarks in Jerusalem say that Israel is in charge of US foreign policy regarding the Jewish State, that Israel should feel free to do as it wishes with no limitations, whether it be starting a war with Iran, considering the capital Jerusalem, but most of all in continuing the ethnic cleansing which doesn’t even bear mentioning by Romney because it would upset those who can exert power and influence in American politics. If it can be ignored on the beaches of Tel Aviv, it can be ignored in the States.

I know of no example in history where such a tiny political entity as Israel has had the power of such a titan as the US on call. Vietnam has 10 times the population and 16 times the area of Israel, yet LBJ could call Vietnam “a piddling piss-ant country” From where does Israel come from that it dictates to the United States?

Liberty and justice for all has no meaning when Israel scoffs at the rights of the Palestinians but is unconditionally supported in a way that even a state of the union could never hope to expect from the federal government.

My fervent hope is that Americans will see and hear the Romney “spectacular” and be revolted by what it says about how a foreign power can leverage domestic support. Romney stands out as the very embodiment of the 1% that runs the U.S. at the expense of the 99% that are supposed to have a say. Romney’s words in Israel announce to the world convincingly what has long been suspected: U.S. democracy is a facade that can be manipulated by the few at the expense of the many.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Kobi Richter's trenchant Israel attack analysis

Today the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published an interview with Israeli Air Force veteran Kobi Richter who perfectly analyzes the folly of a pre-emptive attack by Israel on Iran. Here are Richter's points against an attack.

1) An attack will, if anything, only delay the debut of an Iranian nuclear bomb. “The choice is not between their bomb and us bombing them,” Richter replies. “The choice is between an Iranian bomb with no Israeli strike at date X, or an Iranian bomb after an Israeli strike at date X + 3.

2) An attack will cement Iranian determination to proceed with developing a nuclear bomb for it will be proven that it needs it to deter Israeli attack. Iran will not want a single bomb but many to offset the current Israeli nuclear advantage (just as was the case with the US/USSR faceoff). "“So the end result will be that, precisely because we attack Iran, the danger of an Iranian nuclear bomb falling in Gush Dan sooner or later will have gone up dramatically"

3) The economic cost to Israel of building a defense against nuclear attack will be affordable.

4) Israel, after attacking Iran, will be seen as a loose cannon, an unpredictable actor that will lash out at any and all under the second holocaust mentality. The world "will stop viewing us as a sane and enlightened nation whose survival it is morally committed to forever defend...Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt − which today are our covert and undeclared allies in the struggle against Iran, will not be able to ignore the brutal action carried out by the ‘infidels.’ Like it or not, they will be pushed into Islamic solidarity with Iran, against us."

The interviewer then says to Richter, "basically you’re saying that nuclearization is coming. Iran will go nuclear and the Middle East will go nuclear. What absolutely mustn’t happen is for this nuclearization to occur in wake of an Israeli attack. All the Israeli attack will do is make the nuclear Middle East a lot more dangerous for Israel than it would have been without it."

“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” Richter replies. “Posing the question as bomb versus bombing is misleading. The choice is between nuclearization that can be contained and nuclearization that cannot be contained. Following an Israeli strike, the nuclear Middle East will be unstable. Israel will not be able to handle it. And since it will also become a detested pariah state, it will not enjoy Western support, its economy will be burdened with an impossible defense budget and it will have great trouble sustaining this situation for long. The chances of its surviving the coming decades will be dramatically reduced.”

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Israel - born in confiscations

Adalah, "The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel", states that only 3 to 3.5% of the land within Israel (not the occupied territories taken in 1967) is owned by Arabs today, whereas in 1948, 48% of the same land was held by Arabs. Adalah has come out with an interactive map showing how land was appropriated by Israel in the early years of that state; two Israeli laws making it possible.

The Absentees' Property Law of 1950 confiscated all the land owned, possessed or used by the Arab refugees.

The Land Acquisition Law of 1953 confiscated 1.2 to 1.3 million dunams (a dunam is 1/4 acre) taken from 349 towns and villages.

The interactive map breaks down the area into districts which, when clicked, will expand to show the towns and villages affected. Take a look.

"The Story of Israel", which I put in quotes to indicate it is propaganda that Israel wishes the world to believe and which most Americans have swallowed whole, would have us think that the land was largely empty and undeveloped, waiting for Zionists to take up residence and ownership to the detriment of no one. The actual history tells us that the land was taken by any and all means and is still being taken from the indigenous people who live on it. Whether it is Israel "proper" or "within the Green Line" or in the "Occupied Territories" the process is essentially the same - theft - the only difference being when it was done and the specific tactics used to achieve it.

One vividly documented example is available at my posting on Canada Park. I strongly urge you to view the 1991 Canadian Broadcasting Company video there or directly on Google Video.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

South African and Israeli apartheid compared

As you know, comments on internet sites are often worthless, particularly if there is no moderator. But they can be very illuminating. The site Mondoweiss usually has worthwhile comment threads from thoughtful people that serve to expand upon the articles from which they are inspired.

Below is a comment from Mondoweiss reader Krauss who makes distinctions between what the whites of South Africa were about in the days of apartheid in that country and what the Israelis are about today in Palestine...

The Afrikaaners knew that they could never expel the blacks because there would be no labor, no economy and ultimately no state.

Therefore the goal was always (to suppress) them, (while) appeasing them sufficiently to quell the most obvious reasons for rebellion.

This is also why they created the bantustans, because giving local chiefs the illusion of power and letting them squabble over small patches of land allows people to get greedy and think of themselves first and foremost.
Still, all this required the building of hospitals, schools, roads and bridges. The apartheid system actually invested in the black, native population... True, the investments were kept at a minimum but it was nonetheless far more than Israel does.

Israel doesn’t try to improve life at all. It actively brutalizes the native population, steals their farms, their water, kills their cattle, lets the settlers run wild and plague and torment the farmers while the IDF soldiers watch (or even join in, laughing).

This is a slow-motion ethnic cleansing which is different from apartheid South Africa. That’s why the freedom fighters who fought apartheid have said time and again that what is happening in Palestine is worse than what went on in South Africa, as bad as it was.

Apartheid is the most vaguely proximate term available but it even it does not capture the full brutality of the Jewish state towards it’s non-Jewish population in the West Bank.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

the holocaust mentality on display

Those in power, who daily oppress and try to expel as many Palestinians as they can, appeal to the world’s sympathy by claiming that those who who have no power want to throw them out. It confirms that Israel doesn’t exist in the real world.

The flag of Israel and the uniforms worn by the IDF should all have a flame icon to stand for the holocaust, because a major idea in the state and its supporters since WWII has been that it is impossible for Jews to be oppressors by virtue of the fact that they were so terribly oppressed. No other oppression can compare, no other oppression deserves the name. Jews have a unique right conferred by way of a colossal wrong.

But it’s pure delusion, as is all nationalism. When those who hold the delusion voice appeals based on it, the absurdity comes through loud and clear. Why did so many Slavs have to die a few decades ago? Because Germany needed living room, wasn’t it obvious? To the Germans it was.

Here is the mindset on display by Jonathan Tobin of Commentary magazine in a debate with Ali Abunimah on Democracy Now...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Palestinian Authority beats up Palestinians

You may hear from time to time about demands from Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to stop US funds from going to the Palestinian Authority. Her latest effort to do so was ignored by the U.S. State Department.

While this might seem like a positive thing, keeping money going to a downtrodden group, the PA is far from representative of the Palestinians and, in fact, is mainly a police force tasked with keeping down Palestinian dissent - holding a lid on any demonstrations that might displease the Israelis and the Americans who provide money. Currently, the PA is cracking down on those many Palestinians who realize the so-called Peace Process is dead and wish everyone to stop pretending that it isn't.

Here is an excerpt from an article on the mistreatment of Palestinians by the PA, written by Eoin O'Ceallaigh, who participated in the demonstrations described...

On Saturday, 30 June, approximately 1,000 people gathered in al-Manara square in Ramallah to protest the Palestinian Authority’s invitation to Shaul Mofaz, Israel’s deputy prime minister and an indicted war criminal, and demanding an end to negotiations with Israel.

The protest was swiftly and violently repressed by plain-clothed mukhabarat (secret police) thugs, with PA police coordination. The repression took the form of mukhabarat and police beating people with batons and metal chains, sexually assaulting and spitting in the face of female protestors, kidnapping and beating several people, including journalists, in police stations. Many were treated in the hospital for their injuries.
The following day there was another large protest in al-Manara Square. This time the target of anger was not only the PA’s commitment to “negotiations” with Israel, which have benefited nobody other than the colonizing power, but now the PA “security” forces who had violently beaten and humiliated people the day before.

As the march arrived outside the taxi station on al-Irsal street, the police again attacked the demonstration, this time with far more violence than the previous day. There were scenes of chaos as police thugs tore into the crowd, lashing out at anyone within range, beating people on the heads with EU-supplied batons. Mukhabarat again dragged protesters from the crowd, where at least one person was taken to a police station and beaten, before being released for treatment at the hospital...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

kids in prison without bail

This graphic may be a little difficult to read here on the blog. The text reads:
Israel arrests up to 700 Palestinian children each year. Up to 94% (of these) are held in pretrial detention without bail.

The graphic is from the Institute for Middle East Understanding. Further information on the issue of children being arrested is provided in an article from the British newspaper, The Guardian. The lead paragraph of the article says:
A belief that every Palestinian child is a potential terrorist may be leading to a "spiral of injustice" and breaches of international law in Israel's treatment of child detainees in military custody, a delegation of eminent British lawyers has concluded in an independent report backed by the Foreign Office.
Mondoweiss' Annie Robbins goes into great detail on this issue, revealing that the United Kingdom is taking action against Israel over it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Heaven's Field - let it spread

Heavens Field- a farm of cooperation in a sea of conflict.

"The land doesn't belong to us, we belong to the land."

From the Heaven's Field website (where you can see a video of the site):

Israel/Palestine often sparks images of violence and conflict but there are also Palestinians and Jews dreaming and realizing a different future. Whatever political  agreements may be reached- we know that our future on this land is together and its upon us to start working within our communities for a better future. Where we make space for each other- Heavens Field is exactly a space like that- a farm where we recognize and embody that this land is ultimately neither of ours;  our design and farming on the land reflects our understanding of each other as long-term neighbors: perma-culture.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Nurit Peled-Elhanan with powerful truths

There are many powerful Israeli voices who see the cost of what their nation has done, none more incisive than that of Nurit Peled-Elhanan, who I have mentioned before. An excerpt from a speech she gave I have put below. Her book, Palestine in Israeli Schoolbooks: Ideology and Propaganda in Education will be published next week.

As everyone knows today, the 1967 war was not a war of no choice. It was a bolting from the corral by young generals, hot-blooded colts who had sprouted and grown up in the Zionist ghetto and learned to dream of conquest. They trained and trained until they could do so no longer and then took advantage of a moment of stupidity on the part of the neighbours to breach every obstacle, to cast off all restraints and to conquer and expand and destroy joyfully, with intoxicated senses, with a feeling of omnipotent supremacy but without any plan for the future, without any thought for the day after and the millions of human beings who became subjects overnight. In order to justify the devastation and the destruction, the official mythologists were mobilized to affix a scriptural verse to every profane killing and an entire nation was swept into the stream of plunder and exploitation, surpassing themselves every year, because the Jewish genius, from the moment it was enlisted for the task of ruin and devastation, destruction and killing, has not stopped taking out ever more patents.

Today, when the Occupation is beginning to show its effect on the quality of life of the ruling nation, they are rising up and demanding social justice. But social justice too is classified. Social justice is for residents of this ghetto, not of that ghetto. Residents of that ghetto will only spoil our social justice if we include them in our demands, if we give them a forum, if we let their voices be heard in demand of what is theirs. Because that ghetto is there for security reasons and its residents are not victims of injustice and racism but are a security problem, each and every one of them. And when they are killed it is not from racism but from political considerations and we donן¿½t get involved in politics. Therefore that movement for social justice, the failure of which was written on the wall upon its inception, is the most spectacular product of the Israeli education system.

Woe to us that the criminals of the Occupation today are our children, woe to us that we have so succumbed to racism, that we have thus permitted the apartheid criminals to occupy our spirits and to cut us off from everything that is human, from everything that is just, from everything that is peace and quiet, good neighbourliness, love of humanity, mercifulness and compassion, in order to achieve their base objectives. The spirits of the hunger-striking prisoners in their cramped cells are breathing freedom and liberty, and our spirit is oppressed and expiring.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

willful blindness - Obama honors Peres

In this picture that appeared on the front page of the New York Times, President Obama bestows the Medal of Freedom upon Israeli President Shimon Peres. According to Wikipedia, the Medal of Freedom "recognizes those individuals who have made 'an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors'"

Israel is probably the single greatest threat to the national security of the United States because of the way it can direct U.S. foreign policy in Palestine, making America a hypocrite when it pretends to stand for liberty and justice for all. Far from contributing to peace, Israel is a warrior state that has used its power to take from the helpless and continues to do so at this moment.

Peres is quoted, "Accepting the award, Mr. Peres told Mr. Obama that he was 'honoring the pioneers who built homes on barren mountains, on shifting sands...fighters who sacrificed their lives for their country.'" This is simply not the truth, only a reiteration of the longstanding claim by Zionists that Palestine was empty when European Jews arrived in a place that was "their land" only in mythology. As for "pioneers", they are still around, doing the same thing, but now they are called settlers. They shoot Palestinians, burn Palestinian olive trees and beat up Palestinian farmers in their fields while the Israeli army stands by, if it doesn't help with the oppression.

The awarding of the medal is pure politics as Obama plays for the American Jewish vote in the upcoming presidential election. It is testimony to the power and wealth of Zionists in the United States. For the U.S. citizen, there is no difference between Obama and Romney, the Republican candidate for president. Both cannot say or do enough to please the Israel lobby in the U.S.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Weiss on Jews in the print media

While reading comments on a blog, I came across a reference to a post that Phil Weiss made on his blog Mondoweiss (a must read blog) back in 2008 about Jews in the positions of influence in the media. The whole thing is worth reading but here are some excerpts...

I’ve worked in print journalism for more than 30 my experience, Jews have made up the majority of the important positions in the publications I worked for, a majority of the writers I’ve known at these places, and the majority of the owners who have paid me...I think it shows that Jews make up a significant proportion of power positions in media, half, if not more. 

In New York, I have worked for a dozen magazines. Most of my editors have been Jewish. Both my book publishers were Jewish. At one point at one publishing house, the editor, his boss, and her boss were all Jewish, and so was the lawyer vetting the work—I remember her saying she would never travel to Malaysia because of the anti-Semitic Prime minister. Oh--and the assistant editor was half-Jewish.

As former CNN correspondent Linda Scherzer has said, "We, as Jews, must understand that we come with a certain bias ...We believe in the Israeli narrative of history.

The result is that Americans are not getting the full story re Israel/Palestine. Slater says this dramatically in his paper--that the Times has deprived American leadership of reporting on the moral/political crisis that Israel is undergoing, one that Haaretz has covered unstintingly...Ilan Pappe has marveled in his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, that the Nakba is all but unmentioned in the U.S.--while Haaretz has sought at times to document it, for instance a former officer saying in 2004 that if he had not helped to destroy 200 villages in southern Israel in '48, there would be another million Palestinians in Israel. To repeat Scherzer's admission: "We believe in the Israeli narrative of history..." 
As I mention in my video, Twin Tragedies, there are Jews in every aspect of American life because they have been successful and are fully integrated into American society. As Weiss says, Jews have their own prejudices as do all of us, but when those prejudices are in position to block what others see, read and hear it has a highly distorting effect on American opinion.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

the holocaust means never having to say you're sorry

What follows is in excerpt from Bradley Burston's excellent opinion peace in Haaretz - The Holocaust Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

"Why can't this Israel bring itself to apologize? Why is apology equated with surrender, a potentially fatal sign of weakness, an offering up of the neck to the executioner? 

As early as 2009, scholar and former American Jewish Congress executive director Henry Siegman may have pointed to a root cause. 

In an opinion piece in The New York Times, Siegman quoted Yitzhak Rabin's 1992 inaugural address, in which the late prime minister declared that because Israel was militarily powerful and neither friendless nor at risk, Israelis should stop thinking and acting like victims. 

Nonetheless, Siegman argued, "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s message that the whole world is against Israel and that Israelis are at risk of another Holocaust … is unfortunately still a more comforting message for too many Israelis." 

In a phrase that rankled many, myself included, Siegman declared that "The Israeli reaction to serious peacemaking efforts is nothing less than pathological — the consequence of an inability to adjust to the Jewish people’s reentry into history with a state of their own following 2,000 years of powerlessness and victimhood."
After looking anew at a subsequent exchange of views, I have come to realize that Henry Siegman was right, and that his take on Israeli pathology has everything to do with the apology issue as well. 

Whether it be relations with Turkey or Palestinians wronged by the occupation, or Africans subjected to violence and to racist incitement by public officials, Israel has put the world firmly on notice: The Holocaust means never having to say you're sorry."

Saturday, June 2, 2012

the Israelification of US policy

Israel acts unilaterally and pre-emptively. If the Israeli administration thinks something is amiss, it doesn't wait for confirmation or agreement with any other country. From the invasion of Lebanon to leaving Gaza, to the attack on the Gaza flotilla, what makes Israeli action right is that the Israeli administration says it is right. The truth is what Israel says it is, including the history of the country that it teaches in schools that has little relation to the actual documented history of the country.

Does this sound anything like the invasion of Iraq? Does it sound anything like the denial that waterboarding was torture? Israel defines words as well - calling Palestinians terrorists routinely.

Now we find out that President Obama operates under the idea that anyone in close physical proximity to a drone target is a "militant" by definition and not a civilian or innocent. This was clearly stated in the excellent NYT article on our Warrior Professor President this week.

Here is Stephen Colbert on the subject of drone strikes and "militants"

This new lexicon is in pure emulation of Israel. As Glenn Greenwald has documented, AP and the Washington Post are eagerly following the administration definition of "militant" in their reporting of drone strikes.

In addition, the Obama administration promotes fear to enable its disregard of the protection of individual rights of Americans. As Prime Minister Netanyahu knows, fearful people are complaint and willingly submit to what a fearless and free people will not. That's why Bibi endlessly invokes the threat of a second holocaust and beats the drums for war against Iran. No matter how powerful it may be, Israel is always the innocent victim and America since 9/11 has followed this self-portrayal religiously. Is it any wonder that Netanyahu said at the time that 9/11 was a good thing for Israel?

Our country apes a pariah state yet expects admiration and respect.

And of the two countries - America and Israel, who really is running U.S. policy in the Middle East? In a NYT article on cyber-warfare against Iran, it's said that the US fully supported it out of fear that if it did not, Israel would attack Iran militarily:

 "...Mr. Obama concluded that when it came to stopping Iran, the United States had no other choice.If Olympic Games (the cyber warfare effort) failed, he told aides, there would be no time for sanctions and diplomacy with Iran to work. Israel could carry out a conventional military attack, prompting a conflict that could spread throughout the region."

Think about this - the US is pressured into going ahead with a very dangerous precedent that invites cyber-retaliation because it fears that its tiny "ally" will launch an attack with weapons that we have supplied to it and paid for!

I could go on but I will end with the militarization of the U.S. in emulation of Israel, a state of warrior citizens always attacking in a large or small way. Checkpoints are everywhere in the occupied territories and the U.S. is busily constructing checkpoints in cyberspace that will be looking into the affairs of every citizen. Military affairs trump every other aspect of Israeli life and so it is becoming in the States where the hatred of government is suspended when it comes to funding of and deployment of weaponry.