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.