Saturday, 30 October 2010


29. Oct, 2010
by William A. Cook
“I keep reading between the lies” (Goodman Ace)

Rupert Murdoch’s recent speech before the ADL gathering at their dinner gala opened with this flattering observation, “You have championed equal treatment for all races and creeds.” What he omitted from that statement is the ADL’s treatment of the Palestinian people under Abraham Foxman, its national director, who “…uses high-mindedness and unfounded anti-Semitism hysteria as cover for backing Jewish supremacy and the right of Israelis over Arabs, including by occupation and belligerently enforced apartheid” (Steven Lendman, Socio-Economic History Blog).
Murdoch omits a needed clause at the end of that statement: “except for the Palestinian people and their beliefs and their rights under international law.” Indeed, Lendman’s article refutes virtually every one of Murdoch’s claims, laying bare the truth behind Murdoch’s talk: see nothing, hear nothing, speak nothing against Israel or suffer the condemnation that comes with the label “Anti-Semite.”
“We live in a world where there is an ongoing war against the Jews,” intones Murdoch as he castigates all peoples as inherently discriminating against Jews everywhere.

“Ongoing war against Jews” not “a rising tide of valid criticism against the Zionist controlled state of Israel with its current government’s defiance of the United Nations’ reports on crimes against humanity as published by the Goldstone Report, Amnesty International, the International Red Cross, the HRC report on the attack on the Marmara in May, and most recently the UNHRC by Dr. Richard Falk, the UN Representative for the Palestinian people.” No, Murdoch euphemistically conjures up a “war” against Jews, a suffering, weak, victimized people at the mercy of the world’s hate.

But there is no war; there is criticism, valid, righteous criticism that decries the wanton havoc inflicted on the Lebanese with Israel’s invasion of that nation in the fall of 2006; valid, righteous criticism that watched in horror the devastation of the defenseless people of Gaza at Christmastime in 2008/9 as their homes, schools, mosques, food, water, and gas supplies lay devastated under the bombs and missiles dropped upon them from the skies; valid, righteous, humane criticism that lamented the deaths of children and mothers and the old and infirm who had no place to run or hide encircled as they were by the Israeli war machine; valid, righteous, and incredulous criticism of the brutal attack against the humanitarian aid workers on board the Marmara as it made its way to help these very people yet found themselves guilty of interfering somehow with Israeli security as they brought a modicum of relief to a blasted people.

None of these people hated the Jews; indeed, Jews joined those criticizing the government’s overbearing slaughter of the innocent including those who joined with me in the aborted ‘Boat Brigade” that was to follow the Marmara to Gaza in June. How convenient to stamp “hate” on all, that by that condemnation they must be silenced.

Not content with such slander against innocent people indignant at the unconscionable brutality of the Israeli war machine, Murdoch chooses to slide silently by the horrific massacres inflicted on the people of Palestine during the Nakba, insisting that Israel suffered decades of “straightforward” military force by those attempting to “overrun Israel.”

He should read the reality of those days as described by Dr. Ilan Pappe in his work, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. This was the beginning of the genocide against the Palestinians as recorded in The Plight of the Palestinians recently published by Palgrave Macmillan that continues to this day.

“Then came phase two: terrorism.

Terrorists targeted Israelis both home and abroad—from the massacre of Israeli athletes at Munich to the second intifada,” continues Murdoch, forgetting to mention Israel’s terrorism against its neighbor Jordan that elicited this response by the UN:

“The United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 228 unanimously deploring “the loss of life and heavy damage to property resulting from the action of the Government of Israel on 13 November 1966″, censuring “Israel for this large-scale military action in violation of the United Nations Charter and of the General Armistice Agreement between Israel and Jordan” and emphasizing “to Israel that actions of military reprisal cannot be tolerated and that, if they are repeated, the Security Council will have to consider further and more effective steps as envisaged in the Charter to ensure against the repetition of such acts”(Six Day War, Wikipedia);

Click the Picture

Nor did he mention the terrorism Israel perpetrated against the Palestinians in Beirut in 1982 where they watched the unfolding massacre of 3000 as their personally equipped allies, the Phalanges, mauled and raped and killed the abandoned Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, enjoying the slaughter so much they kept the skies alight throughout the night so their savage friends might not interrupt their savage servility.

Instead of providing actions taken by Israel against its neighbors that gave rise to retaliatory actions, Murdoch decries how the world has risen to attack innocent Israel as though none suffer at the hands of Israel’s ruthless war machine.

Listen to Murdoch’s rant against the world: “the war has entered a new phase…a soft war to delegitimize Israel…the battleground is everywhere…to make Israel a pariah.” All media, all multinational organizations, all NGOs have joined forces as armies of terrorists to inflict WW III on Israel that stands alone against the forces of evil.


To rid the middle east of Israel.


By spreading anti-Semitism throughout the world.


Polite society in the form of “progressive intellectual communities.” Indeed, Murdoch bemoans “…anti-Semitism today enjoys support at both the highest and lowest reaches of European society—from its most elite politicians to its largely Muslim ghettoes.”

Where is this obvious?

In Norway where the government forbids a German shipbuilder from using its waters to test a submarine being built for Israel; In Britain and Spain who boycott an OECD tourism meeting in Jerusalem; In the Netherlands where there is a reported increase in anti-Semitic incidents; and in the European poll that listed Israel ahead of Iran and North Korea as the greatest threats to world peace.

Given the veto power of the United States in the UN, a veto that has prevented any action on any resolution that has condemned Israel’s illegal and/or inhumane policies and military actions against Palestinians and its neighbors over a period of 63 years, the actions listed by Murdoch by European nations are but modest reflections of the frustration that exists throughout the world about the impunity this rogue state enjoys precisely because America “stands united in full support of Israel” regardless of its merciless behavior toward its neighbors in the mid-east. Yet Murdoch is afraid that the United States might be weakening in that support, one of the prime reasons for giving this talk before the ADL.

“Some believe that if America wants to gain credibility in the Muslim world and advance the cause of peace, Washington needs to put some distance between itself and Israel. My view is the opposite.”

For some totally unexplainable reason, Murdoch seems to think that a continuation of 63 years of force—of land confiscation, of theft of Palestinian aquifers, of home demolitions, of imprisonment of thousands without due rights, of abolition of civil rights, of humiliation and disrespect that comes with hundreds of checkpoints, soldiers who mock and deride civilians, who are indifferent to the suffering of a mother about to give birth as she is prevented from getting to a hospital, of the psychological pain a child endures, a pain that lasts a lifetime, when the soldiers break down the door and force the father to the wall incapable of protecting his family from such ruthlessness, of life lived behind a wall, a wall that testifies to the fear that Murdoch expresses in his talk to the ADL, a pathological fear imbedded in his very soul, and a wall that imprisons the youth of Palestine who grow to manhood locked behind concrete and steel and watch towers and guns—such is the view that Murdoch brings to Americans if peace is to be achieved in Israel.

One cannot but think that something is amiss here.

Murdoch sees only through his own eyes, and he sees fear, a fear that has infected his entire being, a toxic residue of hate against the world brought on by ingesting every day another dose of Abraham Foxman’s diatribes against the world.

 Perhaps it would be worthwhile to look through the eyes of the world that Murdoch condemns.

Norman Finklestein makes the point in his book, This Time We’ve Gone too Far: he cites the yearly resolutions of the UNGA that have condemned Israel for not returning to a legal position regarding its neighbor, Palestine.

Yearly, the US and Israel stand alone against the world as the people of the world view the catastrophe that is the occupied territories; recently, the world condemned Israel for its wanton destruction of Lebanon, and again only the US and Israel saw this action as justified yet Israel suffered no consequences for this illegal invasion of its neighbor; following the Christmas invasion of Gaza, the world rose against Israel’s inhumane behavior and only Israel and the US stood in support of that merciless destruction condemning the Goldstone Report and preventing justice form being exercised; then came the flotilla of mercy to Gaza and Israel and the United States alone in all the world refused to comply with the UNHRC recommendations or permit international investigations from determining truth. And so it goes.

There must not and will not be criticism of Israel because that is by virtue of the name of the state, a Jewish state, damnation of the Jews.

How convenient. Thus does Murdoch erect his own wall of fear around the people of the world should they dare to find fault with the government of Israel. He hides truth thereby behind slanders and lies, seeing all behavior through his own eyes instead of viewing truth as it is seen by his neighbors who suffer the wrath of Israel. Should he take that black veil off his eyes might he not see neighbors capable of love and joy, desiring to live in peace in a homeland large enough to accommodate them, and willing to share the resources of Palestine equitably that all might live a fruitful life.

William A. Cook is Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California.
His most recent book, The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction is now available at Macmillan publishing or through Amazon and other book sellers.
See Also

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Shallah: PA's insistence on its talks option may liquidate the Palestinian cause

[ 30/10/2010 - 10:28 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Secretary-general of the Islamic Jihad Movement Ramadan Shallah warned that the Palestinian Authority's insistence on adopting the option of peace talks with Israeli occupation would eventually lead to the liquidation of the Palestinian cause and the recognition of Israel's right to exist as a natural part of the region.

Shallah made his remarks in a ceremony held Friday afternoon on the 23rd inception anniversary of his Movement and the 15th death anniversary of late Fathi Al-Shakaki, the founder of Islamic Jihad.

The Islamic Jihad official pointed in his speech to the suspicious remarks made by PA leaders regarding their intention to recognize the Jewish state and warned of another calamity that could befall the Palestinian people as a result of the antinational positions of the PA.

"Today, we are sounding the alarm and warning of a third Nakba (catastrophe) that might result from the insistence on the approach of negotiations with the enemy and the belief that there is no other option but the negotiations," he said.

"Palestine is not the issue of the Palestinian people alone, and Israel is not a threat to Palestine and its people, but the Zionist project threatens the entire [Arab] nation," the official added.

Promise to accept our terms and I promise to accept our terms
"If anyone thinks he will turn his back to Palestine in order to save himself, he will be delusional because if Palestine is gone and Israel remains in the heart of the nation, no one will survive the flood of the Zio-American project aimed at dominating the region and the world."

For his part, member of Islamic Jihad's political bureau Mohamed Al-Hindi called in his speech on the PA to reorient the compass and declare the failure of its peace talks with the Israeli occupation.

"We are acutely aware that this useless process called peace constitutes a cover for all evils and a cover for waiving Jerusalem and losing the entire land of Palestine," Hindi emphasized.

He also criticized the PA for saying that recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is a matter of indifference to the Palestinian people, affirming that this recognition would affect more than six million Palestinian refugees in the diaspora and one and half million others inside the 1948 occupied lands.

The Islamic Jihad official also slammed the US hegemony over the world and its persistence in killing thousands of civilians all over the globe in the name of democracy.

"The world which is ruled by the US is merciless and heartless and we say to this world, 'you have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan and threaten to kill millions in Sudan, while you are afraid that some of your crimes get leaked to the media so as not to pose a threat to your soldiers," the official said.

"We understand that your mission in Palestine is to ensure Israel's security and this means killing and displacing us. You are accomplices in the blockade, [Israel's] crimes and the Judaization of our holy places, and Israel commits its war crimes on your behalf. You are a gang without values and your democracy is stained with the blood of martyrs in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Palestine, but we will extract our rights in our own way," he added.

Senior Hamas official Khalil Hayya, who attended the ceremony, also highlighted the importance of resisting the Israeli occupation as the only option to liberate Palestine and urged Fatah to have the genuine will to achieve reconciliation in order to strengthen the internal front in the face of the occupation.

500 Palestinian workers detained in October

[ 30/10/2010 - 10:15 AM ]

RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation police and border guards detained 500 Palestinian workers in the current month of October including 20 women for working in 1948 occupied Palestine without permits.

A statement for the Palestinian trade union in the West Bank said that 20 of those workers were held in custody for interrogation while 50 were sentenced to 3 to 6 months in jail.

It added that heavy fines were leveled against the rest before deporting them back to the West Bank.

West Bank laborers seeking sustenance for their families venture into the 1948 occupied lands seeking jobs and are always harassed and persecuted by the Israeli security forces.

 Prisoners at Nafha prison go on hunger strike
Palestinian female captive on hunger strike for the third day running

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Ankara Policy Paper: "Israel threatens to Turkey and regional stability...since 1949"

Via Friday Lunch Club

"...The Channel 10 report on Saturday, citing Turkish media outlets, said Turkey's National Security Council rectified an amendment to Ankara's central policy paper, nicknamed the "secret constitution," defining Israel as "a central threat to Turkey.... The region's instability stems from Israeli actions and policy, which could lead to an arms race in the Middle East," the paper outlining Turkey's foreign and home policy for the next five years said, adding that those actions posed "a major threat on Turkey." Channel 10 also said Turkish media dubbed the amendment "historic," as it represented the first time Israel had been seen as a threat to Turkey since 1949. The document fails to mention Iran or Syria as outside threats, apparently as a result of Ankara's recently improved relations with both states. ..."
Posted by G, Z, or B at 10:26 AM

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Mishaal: Resistance will rise again in the West Bank

[ 30/10/2010 - 08:29 AM ]

DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Head of Hamas's political bureau Khaled Mishaal stated Friday that the resistance is the only way for the liberation of occupied Jerusalem, the return of refugees, and the establishment of the Palestinian state, and it will rise up against the Israeli occupation soon in the West Bank.

In a ceremony organized by Al-Quds international institution in Damascus, Mishaal stressed that hunting and disarming resistance fighters, renouncing armed activities against the occupation, and relying on the peace talks with Israel will never lead to freedom and a Palestinian state.

The Hamas official also addressed "illusion seekers" as he described the Palestinian Authority's negotiators by saying that the resistance is the only solution and without it the Palestinian rights will be all gone.

"There would be no liberation, Jerusalem, the right of return or a Palestinian state without resistance," he emphasized.

"I am saying to the makers of the international conspiracy, who sent us Dayton, you have built up a heap of illusions, but they are like a passing summer cloud and Al-Qassam [Brigades] of the West Bank will rise again to repeat the resistance epic that will restore Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque," the Hamas leader added.

"We will be tolerating the sons of our nation [from Fatah] even those who are besieging, turning their backs on, and conspiring against us; we will be patient with them because they will find out they are chasing a mirage and that Obama has let them down," he underscored.

"Let us respond to the international impotence and the Zionist arrogance with the resistance program. Jerusalem will remain our political destination for victory and liberation. As Makkah is the direction of worship, Jerusalem is the direction of resistance," Mishaal concluded his speech addressing the Arab leaders.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

New Ethics: Refusal to Violate Privacies… Pure Intimidation!

The era of ethics and values seems to have ended…


Of course, it’s not a harsh conclusion. It’s even more logical than anything else when some politicians, including those who claim to protect the human being in the world, simply don’t hesitate to “justify” and “defend” the violations of all privacies…

They want the Truth??
International investigators are free to do whatever they want in Lebanon. They can enter a gynecology clinic in the southern suburb of Beirut and demand the archives of a number of patients. They can ask for the files of all students in Lebanese private and official universities. They can demand the archives of Telecoms data. They can collect data that go beyond an investigation into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

That’s it. International investigators are free to do whatever they want under the slogan of searching for truth. Lebanese should simply surrender to such status-quo and refrain from saying anything. Otherwise, they would be accused of committing intimidation and terrorization.

Video Click the Picture
On Thursday, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah was clear against the flagrant violations made by the international investigators. “We have reached a sensitive and very dangerous point, which is related to our honor and dignity, the thing that requires us to have a different stance,” Sayyed Nasrallah said. His eminence acknowledged that the Resistance party has been aware that the international tribunal was violating everything in Lebanon, and that they have been collecting information about Hezbollah that go beyond the goal of serving the investigation.

“What does the probe need our women's medical files for?” Sayyed Nasrallah wondered. Sayyed Nasrallah then addressed all Lebanese officials, ministers, lawmakers, judges and citizens. “Who among you accepts the idea of someone taking a look at the gynecology files of a mother, a sister or a daughter?” his eminence asked them. “Let the noble one who accepts such a thing tell us,” his eminence said, adding that this is unethical. “We have religious and moral values, not to mention that we've been told by more than one side that this thing is illegal.”

Yet, some politicians didn’t hesitate to respond…

For instance, the Future movement’s parliamentary bloc didn’t understand the relation between ethics and the visit by international investigators to a female clinic. In a statement it released after a meeting it held under Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the bloc innocently claimed that the international investigators headed to the medical clinic in order to acquire information on telephone numbers, and not medical records, which was stipulated in a statement by Dr. Iman Sharara herself.

That’s it. The investigators only wanted phone numbers. So, there’s no need to panic and raise issues of ethics and norms. It seems to be convincing.

What’s more convincing is the statement made by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, the head of an organization “believed” to be the defender of all human beings in the world.

"The secretary general is deeply concerned by recent statements and events related to the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)," said a spokesman for the UN leader in a statement released late Thursday.

"Acts of interference and intimidation are unacceptable," Ban, who simply ignored all aggressions of simple human rights, said of events such as an “attack” on two tribunal investigators in Beirut on Wednesday and Hezbollah's call for a boycott.

The spokesman highlighted that the tribunal was set up at the request of the Lebanese government and has a UN Security Council mandate. Ban called it "an important tool to uncover the truth and end impunity."

"The secretary general calls on all parties to refrain from interfering in its work, which proceeds in accordance with the legal principles and standards applied by all international tribunals, and from prejudging its outcome," said the spokesman.

Ban also stressed that "it is imperative that the Special Tribunal carry out its work safely and securely."

Nothing is alarming. In Lebanon, Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea wasn’t embarrassed by the visit of the investigators to a female clinic. Instead of asking the sensitive question whether the truth was hidden in the file of some patient, Geagea was satisfied: this means the investigation committee is assuming its duties, he proudly claimed.

It became more than evident that talking about values and ethics in such an environment is just a big lie…
The Office of the Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on Friday stressed that the UN investigators did not breach "ethical, religious and humanitarian norms" during their recent visit to a gynecology clinic in Beirut Southern Suburbs.

"Statements in relation to the recent attack against staff of the STL alleging that the investigators examined gynecologist's patient records in breach of ethical, religious and humanitarian norms are false," STL Prosecutor Danielle Bellemare's office said in a press release.

"As the medical doctor interviewed by representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor confirmed in her media interviews, the investigators were not seeking any medical information from her," the OTP went on to say. "Moreover, she had canceled all her appointments for that morning, so that no women would be inconvenienced by the investigators' visit," the OTP noted.

It claimed that the process leading to the visit was handled professionally and in accordance with legal safeguards. "The visit had been approved by the Lebanese authorities. The investigators were accompanied by members of the judicial police and the army. The doctor had received approval from the Beirut Order of Physicians to meet with the OTP investigators, and had agreed to the meeting," Bellemare's office clarified.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

German intelligence disappointed at Netanyahu's management of Shalit file

[ 30/10/2010 - 07:44 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The German intelligence is disappointed at the way Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu was managing the negotiations over the prisoners exchange deal with Palestinian resistance, a Hebrew daily reported.

Yediot Ahronot quoted German sources on Friday as saying that the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit would not be released soon, and the news reports in Israel about progress in his file were not correct. They said that rather the contrary is true.

The sources said that only a miracle could bring Shalit back home soon.

The paper noted that German intelligence officials were severely critical of Netanyahu after the talks came to a halt by the start of this year, adding that his acts led to the current deadlock in the issue.

The sources said that apparently Netanyahu did not do enough to convince his mini cabinet over achieving progress in the issue and probably he was "satisfied" with his actions in a bid to attain internal interests.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

US activists urge State Dept to call for release of jailed activist

Press release, Adalah-NY, 29 October 2010

Abdallah Abu Rahmah being arrested by Israeli soldiers at demonstration in Bilin in 2005. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)
The following edited press release was issued by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel on 26 October 2010:

Representatives from four US human rights groups met with State Department officials on Friday, 22 October and delivered a letter addressed to Secretary of State Clinton signed by more than 5,000 individuals. The letter calls for the US government to demand that Israel free Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a leading Palestinian nonviolent protest organizer. Abu Rahmah, from the West Bank village of Bilin, was sentenced on 11 October in Israeli military court to one year in prison for his part in organizing Bilin's five-year campaign of civil disobedience to Israel's construction of a fence and settlements on village land in violation of international law. Abu Rahmah's conviction has been denounced by the UK Foreign Office, the EU, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, B'Tselem and South African anti-apartheid leader Desmond Tutu.

Rob Mosrie, Executive Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, said "Israel's arrest of nonviolent activists like Abdallah Abu Rahmah mocks President Obama's call in his Cairo speech for Palestinians to use only nonviolent means to gain their freedom. What kind of message does it send to a community when their nonviolent leadership is jailed?"

The letter delivered to the State Department and addressed to Hillary Clinton was signed by 35 organizations and 5,270 individuals and written before Abdallah Abu Rahmah's 11 October sentencing. The letter noted that in July 2010 in Krakow at a meeting of the intergovernmental group Community of Democracies, Secretary of State Clinton saluted "civil society activists around the world who have recently been harassed, censored, cut off from funding, arrested, prosecuted, even killed," and called for coordinated international efforts to defend them. The letter to Clinton continued, "Abdallah Abu Rahmah is one of these activists who, in pursuit of human rights, has been unjustly imprisoned."

Representatives from Adalah-NY, CodePink, Jewish Voice for Peace and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation stressed to State Department officials that, in the next two weeks, the Israeli government is expected to appeal to lengthen Abu Rahmah's one year sentence. Last week, an Israeli military court extended the sentence for another Bilin protester, Adeeb Abu Rahmah, from one year to 18 months in response to an Israeli government appeal.

Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace explained, "In an effort to crush the growing movement of unarmed Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation, Israel has imprisoned Abdallah Abu Rahmah, and other protest organizers from Bilin and the neighboring village of Nilin, charging them with 'incitement' and organizing 'illegal protests' under draconian Israeli military orders that have not been used since the first intifada and that effectively outlaw freedom of expression and peaceful protest."

Human Rights Watch called Abdallah Abu Rahmah's conviction "the unjust result of an unfair trial," noting that he was convicted of inciting stone throwing based on statements of arrested children who had no legal representation, said they were coerced by their Israeli interrogators into making the accusations and retracted them in court. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem all criticized the 1967 Israeli military order 101 under which Abdallah Abu Rahmah was convicted for its extremely broad definition of incitement -- "attempting to ... influence public opinion in the area in a way that may disturb the public peace or public order" -- and its requirement for a permit for any gathering of ten persons or more listening to a speech or walking for purposes that can be interpreted as political. Though the Israeli military generally films the demonstrations in Bilin, the Israeli military did not present a single piece of video evidence linking Abdallah Abu Rahmah with incitement or violence.

The Israeli military began the latest wave of protest arrests around September 2009, also arresting protest organizers and boycott activists Mohammad Othman and Jamal Juma' of the Palestinian organization Stop the Wall. After being held for a period without access to their lawyers and without charges, both Othman and Juma' were released after three and a half months and four weeks, respectively. Twenty Palestinians have been killed in protests against the wall since 2004, including one individual from Bilin and five from Nilin. Seventy-nine protesters from Bilin have been arrested since 2004, and 116 protesters from Nilin have been arrested since May 2008.

During protests the Israeli military has killed two US citizens, Rachel Corrie and Furkan Dogan, and seriously injured two others, Tristan Anderson and Emily Henochowicz.

Israel angry over UNESCO description of West Bank holy site

Israel angrily condemned Friday a series of decisions by UNESCO regarding historic sites in the occupied West Bank and in Jerusalem, saying they were politically biased moves, dpa reported.

Israel angry over UNESCO description of West Bank holy siteThe board of the UN's cultural organization, in its biannual session which ended last week, adopted five proposals initiated by Arab member states regarding sites which are considered holy to both Jews and Muslims.

One of them, in what Israelis charged was a first, used an allegedly politically motivated title to describe a site just outside the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, which is holy to Jews and Muslim.

According to some traditions the site contains the tomb of the Biblical matriarch Rachel.

Referring to the structure as the "Bilal bin Rabah Mosque/Rachel's Tomb" in its statement, the UNESCO board voted 44 to one, with 12 abstentions, to reaffirm the site was "an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territories and that any unilateral action by the Israeli authorities is to be considered a violation of international law."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this year sparked Arab anger when he included holy sites in the occupied West Bank in a list of Israeli and Jewish national heritage sites which his government wants to renovate.

Rachel's Tomb was on that list, prompting Arab member states, including Jordan, to push for the UNESCO executive board decisions.

Israelis charged that Rachel's Tomb was traditionally referred to also by Muslims as such in Arabic, as "Qubat Rachel," although the structure also traditionally included a Muslim prayer house adjacent to a Muslim cemetery.

They charge that the name "Bilal bin Rabah Mosque" only came into use following Arab-Israeli riots in 1996 and was coined by Palestinians for political reasons.

Israel Army Radio Friday quoted a Foreign Ministry statement as charging the statement used "crudely politically deceptive" language and that this distorted and sidestepped the body's cultural mission.

A spokesman also called the UNESCO decision "shameful" and charged it "reeked of political bias."

The UNESCO executive board also expressed "deep concern" over "ongoing Israeli excavations and archaeological works" at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's walled, historic Old City.

The Israel Hayom daily quoted Israel's Western Wall and Holy Sites Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz as charging that the international body "responsible for heritage has turned heritage into politics" and was "distorting history."

Prisoners at Nafha prison go on hunger strike - Palestinian female captive on hunger strike for the third day running

Prisoners at Nafha prison go on hunger strike

[ 29/10/2010 - 09:33 PM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Palestinian captives in the Nafha desert jail went on hunger strike to protest the campaign of harassment by the occupation prison authority against them, the latest incident of the campaign was last Saturday when all prison wards were raided and the prisoners were assaulted.

Head of the Mandela Foundation that caters for Palestinian captives, Buthaina Duqmaq, said after visiting the jail that an atmosphere of anger is prevailing amongst the prisoners as a result of the surprise raids and searches carried out by the prison administration at all times, day or night.

Captives told the lawyer that during these surprise raids and searches prisoners are taken out of their rooms and searched, rooms are ransacked, prisoners' belongings are damaged and even copies of the Quran are opened and searched.

Duqmaq further said that on her visit to the jail on Friday the prison administration carried out a search despite the captives' protests.

Duqmaq further reported that the prison administration moved the two Hamas leaders, Yahya al-Senwar and Muhammad Dukhan to Eshel prison and said that Dukhan was brought from Hadarim to Nafha prison two weeks ago, adding that Muhammad Nayfa Abu Rabiaa was also moved to the Nafha desert prison.

Palestinian female captive on hunger strike for the third day running

[ 29/10/2010 - 08:54 PM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Mandela Foundation that caters for Palestinian captives said that Lanan Abu Ghalma who is detained at Hasharon prison has started a hunger strike three days ago to protest the prison's administration refusal to unite her with her sister Tagrid who is detained in another Israeli occupation jail.

Head of the foundation, lawyer Buthaina Duqmaq, said in a statement on Friday that Nada Derbas, another Palestinian female captive, went on hunger strike in solidarity with Lanan.

Daqmaq further called on local and international human rights organisation to pressure the Israeli occupation to release the two sisters Lanan and Tagrid Abu Ghalma.

Lanan was arrested last April and placed under administrative detention and a heavy fine was imposed on her sister Tagrid on top of her detention.

Lanan was one of twenty Palestinian female captives freed in October 2009 in return for a two and a half minute video of Gilad Shalit in which he appeared to be fit and well both mentally and physically.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Cape Town Opera: Don't help Israel whitewash its crimes

open letter, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, 29 October 2010

The following open letter to the Cape Town Opera was issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel on 25 October 2010:

Dear members of the Cape Town Opera,

We at the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), have recently learned of your scheduled performance in Israel on 12 November 2010. As you may know, in 2004, inspired by the triumphant cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa, and supported by key Palestinian unions and cultural groups, PACBI issued a call for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel ("Call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel"). We wish, in our letter to you, to stress the importance of this Palestinian call, and underscore the reasons for the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. We trust you will listen as we take our cue from your struggles and experiences in South Africa against oppression and injustice.

The 2004 Palestinian call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel appealed to international artists to refuse to perform in Israel or participate in events that serve to equate the occupier and the occupied and thus promote the continuation of injustice ("Palestinian civil society call"). Following this, in 2005, Palestinian civil society called for an all-encompassing boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign based on the principles of human rights, justice, freedom and equality . The BDS movement is asking artists to heed our call until "Israel withdraws from all the lands occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; removes all its colonies in those lands; agrees to United Nations resolutions relevant to the restitution of Palestinian refugees rights; and dismantles its system of apartheid" (see "About the campaign"). In light of our call, your upcoming performance would violate the appeal of the Palestinian BDS movement which urges people of conscience throughout the world to isolate Israel until it ends its colonial and apartheid oppression of the Palestinian people, as was done to the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Your performance is especially disturbing considering the history of the "Porgy and Bess" production. In one of its initial tours in Washington, DC in 1936, the opera singer and actor Todd Duncan "led the cast in an ultimately successful protest against the National Theatre's segregation policy, resulting in the first time an integrated audience attended a performance at the National Theatre" ("Cape Town's Porgy and Bess opens the Israeli opera season," Midnight East blog, 20 October 2010). Ironically, this rich history will be lost on your audience as neither the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, nor the Palestinian refugees in the Diaspora will be allowed to attend your show.

Important, too, is the very nature of this opera as carrying a social and political message, whether it is racial, as some critics claim, or a reminder of policies of segregation. Such a message is further evidence that opera, and culture more broadly, do not rise above politics but are deeply embedded within it. That the subject of your opera carries political overtones should alert you to the fact that performing it in Israel, in this climate of persistent oppression and racist subjugation, would effectively serve to cover up Israel's crimes against the Palestinians. Some of Israel 's violations of international law and Palestinian rights that you would be turning a blind eye to are:

  • Its brutal and unlawful military occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip. Israel restricts Palestinians' freedom of movement and of speech; blocks access to lands, health care, and education; imprisons Palestinian leaders and human rights activists without charge or trial; and inflicts, on a daily basis, humiliation and violence at the more than 600 military checkpoints and roadblocks strangling the West Bank. All the while, Israel continues to build its illegal wall on Palestinian land and to support the ever-expanding network of illegal, Jewish-only settlements that divide the West Bank into Bantustans.
  • Its growing system of apartheid towards the Palestinian citizens of Israel, with laws and policies that deny Palestinian citizens the rights that their Jewish counterparts enjoy. These laws and policies affect education, land ownership, housing, employment, marriage and all other aspects of people's daily lives.
  • Its denial of the internationally-recognized right of return for Palestinian refugees who were ethnically cleansed in 1948 in the process of forming an exclusivist Jewish state. Israel also continues to expel people from their homes in Jerusalem and the Naqab (Negev). Today, there are more than 7 million refugees, still struggling for their right to return to their homes, like all refugees around the world.
  • Its illegal and criminal siege of Gaza. As part of this siege, Israel has prevented not only various types of medicines, candles, books, crayons, clothing, shoes, blankets, pasta, tea, coffee and chocolate, but also musical instruments from reaching the 1.5 million Palestinians incarcerated in the world's largest open-air prison.

Can you entertain such a state with a clear conscience?

Israel uses artists, musicians and other cultural workers as part of a campaign to Brand Israel, a campaign that has been launched by the Israeli government and promoted by institutions throughout the country and abroad in order to whitewash Israel's violations of international law and project a false image of normalcy. But after Israel's war of aggression against Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, which left 1,400 Palestinians dead, predominantly civilians, and led the UN Goldstone report to declare that Israel had committed war crimes, and after the flotilla massacre, many international artists have refused to conduct business as usual with a country that places itself above international standards. Elvis Costello, Gil Scott Heron, Carlos Santana, Devendra Banhart and the Pixies are but a few of the artists who have refused to perform in Israel in the past year. In his decision not to play, Devendra Banhart said:

"Unfortunately, we tried to make it clear that we were coming to share a human and not a political message but it seems that we are being used to support views that are not our own" ("Folk singer Devendra Banhart cancels Israel shows," Ynet, 16 June 2010).

The call for BDS has also been supported by prominent and devoted anti-racist activists around the world, from South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu to best-selling African-American author Alice Walker. Your own Archbishop Tutu recently noted in a historic statement unequivocally supporting the Palestinian boycott campaign against Israel:

"I never tire of speaking about the very deep distress in my visits to the Holy Land; they remind me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like we did when young white police officers prevented us from moving about. My heart aches. I say, 'Why are our memories so short?' Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their own previous humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon? ... When we say 'Never again!' do we mean 'Never again!' or do we mean 'Never again to us!'?" ("Israeli ties: a chance to do the right thing," The Times, 26 September 2010).

If you remain unconvinced because of claims that a cultural boycott of Israel may infringe on freedom of expression and cultural exchange, then we recall for you the judicious words of Enuga S. Reddy, director of the United Nations Center against Apartheid, who in 1984 responded to a similar criticism voiced against the cultural boycott of South Africa by saying:

"It is rather strange, to say the least, that the South African regime which denies all freedoms ... to the African majority ... should become a defender of the freedom of artists and sportsmen of the world. We have a list of people who have performed in South Africa because of ignorance of the situation or the lure of money or unconcern over racism. They need to be persuaded to stop entertaining apartheid, to stop profiting from apartheid money and to stop serving the propaganda purposes of the apartheid regime" (see 12 Positions on Cultural Sanctions," Theatre Communications Group).

We understand that your director, Angelo Gobbato, continued to defy the anti-apartheid boycotts, believing that there was another way. But you know now the effectiveness of your own boycott movements and the need for international solidarity. It is your solidarity with the Palestinian people against Israel's repression that we ask for now. We hope you will grant us that.

"Lying Points" Puppet Talk

kenny's sideshow

The Bush memoir "Decision Points" will hopefully fade into the past as the last gasp chance of a lying puppet failing to re-create his legacy.

Bush's infamous photo sums up his life regarding the American people.

 George Orwell warned us .....

The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.  

All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.

He said he initially thought that one of the hijacked flights, United Airlines Flight 93 that came down in Pennsylvania, had been shot down on his orders. 

 Bush didn't give orders, he took them and became the face of everything that is wrong with this country.

Will this Flight 93 video be included in the presidential library archives?

Posted by kenny's sideshow at 9:23 AM
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Bring me the head of Silvino Herrera

Via Redress

US Marine Lt Remmington
Silvino Herrera's head, 1930
By Daniel Patrick Welch

30 October 2010

Against the background of the leaking of the USA’s secret Iraq war crimes files by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, Daniel Patrick Welch peers beneath the West's self-proclaimed cultural and moral superiority in the face of atrocities against innocent people all over the world.

"When we peel away all the layers of burning flesh, all the carefully constructed fiction of human progress and benefits of science and technology, we must face a reality perhaps even more grim. There simply is no 'us versus them'. The side claiming to represent progress has done more and done worse, using as low-tech and brutal methods as any on either side of the technological and cultural divide." (Daniel Patrick Welch)

They behead – we do it with smart bombs. There is, of course, an ugly truth to this recently minted axiom: the horror of state terrorism is that the overwhelming machinery of death in the hands of all-powerful governments far outweighs individual atrocities by madmen, small groups and non-state entities. While, with their beheadings and murders of innocents, the heathen thugs and killers may indeed be barbarians, it is almost impossible to accomplish with their amateur methods the slaughter of half a million children, as did the Anglo-American/UN sanctions in Iraq.

This is the same reasoning that puts the lie to the sanitized concept of war and destruction which makes the self-satisfied "West" so smug and confident of its moral superiority. There is an underlying, and often overt, racism which allows so-called "modern" warmakers and their electorates to tolerate the huge disparities in casualties that have come to define modern conflict. In virtually every case, the brutal repression of movements that strive for greater human freedom, workers' rights and a life worth living is ignored, while the "atrocities" of those trying to resist are seen as backward and evidence of cultural and moral inferiority.

However, one problem is not just that the disparity in terror torpedoes the moral superiority argument. It is true that the 20th century was indeed a most horrific one, unbeknownst to most lay observers: at its dawn, 90 per cent of war dead were combatants and 10 per cent non-combatants. By its end, the ratio was reversed, making it the most deadly and, arguably, least "advanced" century in human history. True also, the machinery of war, with its amoral measurements in "kilomorts", its chemistry of napalm designed to stick to human skin and burn, its phosphorous and gas, its cluster munitions – not to mention the almost surreal evil of neutron bomb technology, which are meant to kill people while leaving buildings intact – shows that the actual brutality of burning flesh and exploding body parts is in no way less barbaric than other methods. The United States gets no props from the rest of the "civilized" world for instituting the pain-free technology of lethal injection to a practice most governments consider a barbarous anachronism.

When we peel away all the layers of burning flesh, all the carefully-constructed fiction of human progress and benefits of science and technology, we must face a reality perhaps even more grim. It is not merely us standing cynically by, wringing our hands while they hack each other to death with machetes, as when almost a million Tutsis died in Rwanda. There simply is no "us versus them". The side claiming to represent progress, the "march of history" and the fulfilment of the human desire for freedom and self-rule, has done more and done worse, using as low-tech and brutal methods as any on either side of the technological and cultural divide. There is a famous photo, not of Nick Berg, not of John the Baptist, but of Silvino, one of the lieutenants in Augusto Sandino's resistance army. Rather, it is a photo of Sr Herrera's head held triumphantly aloft by a US Marine, a conquering hero of the few and the proud. It turns out we behead, too.

US Marine Lt Remmington holding Silvino Herrera's head, 1930

When I was in Nicaragua, I heard testimony of the victims of Somoza's National Guard, women with their breasts cut off, left alive and maimed on purpose to terrorize their families. Resistance fighters and their supporters and trade unionists killed with their genitals cut off and stuffed in their mouths. Victims forced at gunpoint to swallow a button on a string while laughing guardsmen kept trying to pull it up. Like all the henchmen throughout Latin America, these murderers, nun-rapists, "deplaners" (who simply pushed terror victims out of a moving plane to their unacknowledged deaths), clown-killers and assorted scum received training and backing from the CIA, the Pentagon and the dreaded School of the Americas. As Franklin D. Roosevelt, hero of the US mainstream left, once bragged: "Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a-bitch." It turns out we do all that other stuff, too.

Likewise, I had mostly considered the shot of triumphant soldiers standing atop a pile of bones of the conquered dead to be mainly a cartoon representation. Wrong again – the only such true photo I have ever seen was of US soldiers in the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century, when over a half million Filipinos were slaughtered in the successful attempt to secure the islands for the American empire. The scene is repeated ad nauseum in US history, in murderous rampages across our own continent from sea to shining sea, through Central America, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Despite George Bush's audacity and isolation, there is absolutely nothing new about Iraq. Conquest, pacification, occupation and the transfer of "sovereignty" to a puppet government is the textbook modus operandi. The only phase yet to be completed is the few decades in which the world is supposed to forget the origins of the dictatorship, after which US forces return to suppress rebellion or resistance movements and install democracy, as if the cycle had no beginning.

In this context, it is almost unbearable to hear the shallow, mind-deadening "debate" between Democrats and Republicans about "how to handle" Iraq, not to mention the infrastructure of organized theft that transfers trillions of dollars from South to North, from workers to capital, from poor to rich, from brown to white. To my mind, there are three crises – allowing for some consolidation and overlap – which surpass all else in their urgency today. They can be summarized as empire (by which we include Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Venezuela, Colombia and the rest), WalMart and the crushing of labour, with its attendant rape of the national treasury and the healthcare system, and the prison state, whereby incarceration is abetting and supplanting vote suppression, the Klan and slavery as the new racist ideology.

These are, of course, big problems. They are, however, exploding problems, and ones which threaten the very existence of humankind (combined with the rapacious consumerism which holds the lot together). Just the kind of all-encompassing issues one might foolishly expect a national election campaign to address. This huge history, soaked with blood and death for the benefit of profit and oligarchy, is completely unconcerned with the party hacks nibbling at its corners, unthreatened by the sorry excuse for "ideology" and "values" espoused by the political and economic system it nurtured and generated. Self-delusional, feel-good bromides about the "greatness of America" and a wilful suppression and misrepresentation of our history will seal the deal, and we will plummet headlong into the looming environmental catastrophe that is waiting to engulf us all.

As a young pupil celebrating America's bicentennial, I remember being paraded in a choral production called "Our Country 'tis of thee". One lyric still sticks in my mind and in my craw, sung by our chorus of mind-controlled, ignorant, chirpy sixth graders:

There's a peaceful sky in my backyard

Far away from fear and doubt

But the whole wide world is my hometown

And I've gotta help my neighbour out

There's a peaceful sky in my backyard

Far away from a far off land

But the whole wide world is my hometown

When freedom needs a helping hand

Thinking about it today still makes my skin crawl with embarrassment and self-loathing, even though I was only 11 years old. Sort of like a post-traumatic lapse for a former cult member. Lack of self-doubt combined with ignorance of one's history is perhaps the most dangerous combination known to humankind. Torture at Abu Ghraib is not the tip of the iceberg; it is simply the latest link in the chain. Facing that history head on, with the disillusionment, fear and doubt that rationality and honesty implies, is the sobering task of those who would resist the current onslaught. It is the first step in a long, long road to sanity, and it is not a comfortable one. As Rosa Luxembourg famously remarked, "it will always be the most revolutionary act to say the truth out loud".
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian