Saturday 26 December 2009

Anti-siege committee calls on Egypt to allow "life line 3" convoy to reach Gaza


[ 25/12/2009 - 09:24 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- The government committee to break the siege in Gaza called on the Egyptian government to facilitate the entry of "life line 3" convoy into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing.
The committee said, in a statement on Friday, that the convoy which consists of about 250 vehicles loaded with aid and 300 sympathisers lead by prominent British politician George Galloway, was supposed to reach Gaza on 27 December to coincide with the anniversary of the Israeli war on Gaza last year, but Egyptian measures are likely to delay the convoy.

The convoy is trying to cross from the Jordanian port of Aqaba to the Egyptian port of Nuweiba, but Egypt refuses to allow the convoy through this port insisting that the convoy uses al-Arish port, knowing fully well that there are no shipping lanes between Aqaba and Arish.

The leaders of the convoy said they were ready to go to al-Arish overland if the Egyptian government insists on this formality.

The committee expressed concern at the Egyptian measures to hamper the arrival of the aid to Gaza which has been under Israeli siege for the past four years and called on the Egyptian government to lift the siege instead of participating in it by building the "wall of death."

Uprooted Palestinian




Churches want answers from PM after

senior Tory levels accusation

against aid group they support

December 19, 2009

"It's a horrible charge to make, and to do it with so little thought cheapens the reality of anti-Semitism in the world," says Bruce Gregersen, United Church spokesperson.
The United Church of Canada and other Canadian churches are demanding Prime Minister Stephen Harper explain why one of his cabinet ministers accused them of being anti-Semitic.
The United, Catholic and Anglican churches are part of KAIROS, an aid group that was shocked to hear Immigration Minister Jason Kenney say its funding was lifted as part of the Conservatives' effort to cut off anti-Semitic organizations.
"It's a horrible charge to make, and to do it with so little thought cheapens the reality of anti-Semitism in the world and diminishes the very careful attention that it deserves," said United Church spokesperson Bruce Gregersen. "We're quite disappointed in the government on this.
"The policies of KAIROS have all been approved by the collective board of KAIROS, so in a sense what Mr. Kenney is doing is accusing Canadian churches of being anti-Semitic and I think that's really unfortunate," Gregersen said in an interview.
Sam Carrière, director of communications for the Anglican Church of Canada, said the church supports a statement released Friday by KAIROS, which condemned Kenney's remarks as false and warned the Harper government against letting politics dominate Ottawa's foreign aid priorities.
Besides the United and Anglican churches, Toronto-based KAIROS's members include the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Mennonite Central Committee ~ Canada.
Working with 21 partner organizations around the world, KAIROS sponsors projects promoting social and economic justice in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
Canada's development community appeared stunned after Kenney, in a speech in Jerusalem, cited Ottawa's decision to end 35 years of funding for KAIROS as an example of the Conservatives' push to cut funding for anti-Semitic groups.
KAIROS was "defunded," Kenney said, because it took a leadership role in "the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign" against Israel.
"Minister Kenney's charge against KAIROS is false," the group said in its public response.
KAIROS has raised questions about Israeli government policies but rejected the idea of a national boycott against Israel two years ago, its executives pointed out.
"To label KAIROS's criticism of Israeli government actions as `anti-Semitic' silences dissent and honours no one," the statement said. "KAIROS has a clear position of support for the legitimate right of the Israeli people to a safe and secure state."
After its request for $7 million in funding over four years was turned down last month, International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda told KAIROS it was because the group did not fit the government's priorities of food security, helping youths and economic growth.
The Toronto-based group Friday called on Ottawa to restore its funding and explain the discrepancy between Oda's and Kenney's comments.
"Minister Kenney's statement, in a highly charged environment, raises very disturbing questions about the integrity of Canadian development aid decisions," KAIROS said.
Oda and Kenney were not available for interviews Friday. Alykhan Velshi, Kenney's director of communications, explained the decision by citing several non-government sources of information on Middle East political issues going back to 2006 that were critical of KAIROS's activities.
Gerry Barr, president of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, said Kenney's remarks have compromised the integrity of the Canadian International Development Agency's entire foreign aid funding operation.
"Any aid manager will now be looking two or three times to see what is on the table and wondering what is underneath," he said.
Liberal and New Democrat MPs said Oda should be brought before a House of Commons committee to explain the KAIROS decision.
"There needs to be a larger discussion about CIDA's decision-making than merely what's happened to KAIROS, but KAIROS would be the classic example," said the Liberals' John McKay.
Based on KAIROS's experience, McKay said, a non-governmental organization "could be absolutely welded to the 'priorities' of the government as stated by Minister Oda, but if you fall outside of the government's particular dictum of political correctness, you're toast."


$7 million muzzling shocker ~ Canadian government cuts off funds for church group it calls anti-Semitic

by Cecilie Surasky

Despite a 35-year collaboration, the Canadian church group KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, “one of Canada’s most respected and important charitable organizations,” was stunned when their likely routine 7 million dollar request for the human rights program was denied by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

But they were even more surprised when they discovered why: although the group’s board had made public their opposition to sanctions and boycotts against Israel 2 years earlier, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in a speech he gave this week in Israel charged the group with being anti-Semitic for “taking a leadership role in the boycott.”

Kenney, speaking at the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, said they were “defunding” groups as part of their new “zero-tolerance” approach to anti-Semitism. (Read the full text of his speech here
. )
In his speech, Kenney included in a list of acts of anti-Semitism, like the spray-painting of swastikas on a Canadian Holocaust memorial, the spray-painting of the phrase “Stop the Israeli genocide in Gaza”.
Anti-human rights/Israel lobby group NGO Monitor built an extensive dossier on KAIROS– which represents Canada’s Mennonites, the Anglican, United and Catholic Churches and does work in some of the poorest regions of the world.
Kairos came under fire for co-sponsoring, along with 50 other groups, an international Sabeel conference in 2005 on morally responsible investment. (Sabeel is “an ecumenical grassroots liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians,” and Jewish Voice for Peace frequently co-sponsors Sabeel conferences here in the United States.)
In this comprehensive and thoughtful 2008 strategy paper on using “economic advocacy measures… to advance peace between Palestinians and Israelis, ” KAIROS said:
KAIROS affirms the desire of the Israeli people for a secure homeland, recognizing the long, terrible and continuing history of anti-Semitism, and the vital role of Israel to Jewish people around the world. KAIROS also recognizes the great suffering of the Palestinian people, many of whom live as refugees in surrounding countries, and others who have lived under Occupation for 40 years, and affirms their right to a secure and viable homeland. KAIROS calls for an end to the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Territories and for two secure states based on the June 4, 1967 borders.
They also explicitly rejected “sanctions against Israel” and “a boycott of products from Israel.” But in line with the universal recognition of the illegality of settlements, they did also advocate for things like:
limiting the geographical applicability of Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement to within the 1967 borders of the State of Israel; and
enforcing a certification of origin for goods coming from settlements in the Occupied Palestinians Territories;
and, almost identical to the Presbyterian Church USA’s strategy:
That where KAIROS members opt to pursue shareholder action respecting Canadian companies doing business in Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories (that are contributing directly or indirectly to violence, occupation or other human rights abuses in the region), shareholder action shall move through several stages, from dialogue with senior company management to filing shareholder proposals and, as a last resort, divestment.
So, after so much thoughtful and sensitive delving into ways to responsibly use economic pressure and investment, what did they get for their troubles? Charges of anti-Semitism.

(At Jewish Voice for Peace, where we have devised a similarly nuanced approach to economic pressure that works for us, choosing to focus on companies that profit from the occupation, or groups that fund settlements, we’ve seen from day one how pro-occupation groups purposefully and immediately ignore the facts, and raise the urgent flag of anti-Semitism as a strategy to kill virtually any resistance activity that goes beyond nicely asking the Israeli government to stop violating international law. Ironically, as they deny more and more people the right to boycott settlement goods only, they leave them with no choice but to boycott all Israeli products. )
“It’s a horrible charge to make, and to do it with so little thought cheapens the reality of anti-Semitism in the world and diminishes the very careful attention that it deserves,” said United Church spokesperson Bruce Gregersen. “We’re quite disappointed in the government on this.
“The policies of KAIROS have all been approved by the collective board of KAIROS, so in a sense what Mr. Kenney is doing is accusing Canadian churches of being anti-Semitic and I think that’s really unfortunate,”
KAIROS director Mary Corkery told the Anglican Journal
“We do criticize actions of the Israeli government and we do support an independent, viable Palestinian state, so we have criticized the settlements, the barrier wall, the occupation of the West Bank, yes, but that can not be associated with anti-Semitism.”
Corkery said that Kairos had also heard from a number of Jewish people who objected to Kenney’s association of anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel. “They may not agree with us, but they don’t want that. That doesn’t honour anybody,” said Corkery.
KAIROS claims they were confused with a document that was recently released by Christian Palestinian leaders called Kairos Palestine, 2009: A Moment of Truth, which states “We see boycott and disinvestment as tools of justice, peace and security,” endorsing BDS as a form of solidarity for international faith-based organizations. Canada’s KAIROS has nothing to do with this statement.
The Liberal party believes KAIROS “was censured for joining seven religious denominations in speaking out against Conservative policies on climate change, overseas mining operations, aboriginal rights, immigration and international trade.”
We’ll give KAIROS the last word from their December 18 press statement:
Minister Kenney’s charge against KAIROS is false. KAIROS did not lead this campaign. In 2007, KAIROS took a public position opposing sanctions and a boycott of Israel.
A recently released document, Kairos Palestine, 2009: A Moment of Truth, is not a document of KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. Kairos is a Greek word meaning “God’s time” and is commonly used by Christian groups.
A Minister of the Crown says that his government decided, for what is a highly political reason, to cut funds for a proposal developed in consultation with and approved by CIDA.
Canadians need the truth.
Two points must be made: criticism of Israel does not constitute anti-Semitism; and CIDA was developed to fund international aid and not to serve political agendas.
Minister Kenney’s statement, in a highly charged environment, raises very disturbing questions about the integrity of Canadian development aid decisions. If aid decisions are based on political rumour rather than on due diligence, development criteria and CIDA’s own evaluation process then this is a matter of grave concern for the entire international development sector ~ and for the Canadian people who pay for this aid.
Many non-governmental organizations have proposals before CIDA that have been on Minister Oda’s desk for months. Others are about to apply for funding. How can they possibly trust this decision-making process in the future?
In the past two weeks, Canadians from across the country have called for the restoration of CIDA funding to KAIROS.
People working for human rights are the true victims of the funding cut to KAIROS. This decision cuts funding for a new legal clinic in the Congo to help women who have been raped in the brutal conflict there. The 5,000 members of the Women’s Popular Organization in Colombia will lose funding for life-saving protection against rampant human rights abuses in their country.
To label KAIROS criticism of Israeli government actions as “anti-Semitic” silences dissent and honours no one. KAIROS has a clear position of support for the legitimate right of the Israeli people to a safe and secure state.
Actually, KAIROS, a third point needs to be made. It is true that there will always be some who harbor anti-Jewish hatred, like the vicious anti-Semite David Duke, who opportunistically join the Palestinian liberation movement and who should be opposed at every turn. (I’d argue that the entire Christian Zionist right is built on an anti-Semitic doctrine which wants to see Jews either incinerated or converted.)
But the fact remains that there is absolutely nothing inherently anti-Semitic about BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions.) As Israeli professor Neve Gordon said, he supports it as a way to save Israel from itself. Further, it follows in a long and extraordinary tradition of nonviolent resistance to injustice, no matter where it occurs.
KAIROS has posted this list of seven ways you can help. Read it and act.

KAIROS Canada member churches speak out against Kenney's 'anti-Semitic' charges.

Scott Tribe
Scott's DiaTribes

As I was hoping they’d do, the member churches that belong to KAIROS Canada are starting to push back against the federal Conservatives and Jason Kenney for his remarks that KAIROS Canada was stopped CIDA funding due to the organization being anti-Semitic or anti-Israel:
The United Church of Canada and other Canadian churches are demanding Prime Minister Stephen Harper explain why one of his cabinet ministers accused them of being anti-Semitic.
The United, Catholic and Anglican churches are part of KAIROS, an aid group that was shocked to hear Immigration Minister Jason Kenney say its funding was lifted as part of the Conservatives’ effort to cut off anti-Semitic organizations.
“It’s a horrible charge to make, and to do it with so little thought cheapens the reality of anti-Semitism in the world and diminishes the very careful attention that it deserves,” said United Church spokesperson Bruce Gregersen. “We’re quite disappointed in the government on this. The policies of KAIROS have all been approved by the collective board of KAIROS, so in a sense what Mr. Kenney is doing is accusing Canadian churches of being anti-Semitic and I think that’s really unfortunate,” Gregersen said in an interview.
Sam Carrière, director of communications for the Anglican Church of Canada, said the church supports a statement released Friday by KAIROS, which condemned Kenney’s remarks as false and warned the Harper government against letting politics dominate Ottawa’s foreign aid priorities.
Besides the United and Anglican churches, Toronto-based KAIROS’s members include the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Mennonite Central Committee ~ Canada.
Working with 21 partner organizations around the world, KAIROS sponsors projects promoting social and economic justice in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
Opposition MP’s are also suggesting that government officials need to be brought before a House of Commons Committee to explain this KAIROS Canada funding cut decision, as well as the rather large discrepancy between Minister Kenney’s and Minister Oda’s explanations, but I believe the member churches and a potentially big voting block of parishioners ticked off at this will be ultimately the organizations with the most influence to change the Conservative government’s mind on this wrong decision, based on Kenney’s wrong information.
Remember, the member Christian churches are the 7 largest denominations in Canada. There’s a lot more of them out there then there are of Charles McVety’s little ultra right-wing religious group that has denounced KAIROS Canada (and by extension its member churches) as being “leftist ideologues”.
Posted by Noor al Haqiqa at 12:45 PM  

Uprooted Palestinian

Turkish parliamentarians: Egyptian steel wall, new weapon to kill Palestinians

Turkish parliamentarians: Egyptian steel wall, new weapon to kill Palestinians

[ 25/12/2009 - 08:45 PM ]

ISTANBUL, (PIC)-- Turkish parliamentarians and politicians criticised the steel wall being built by Egypt on its border with the Gaza Strip describing it as a new killing tool to be used against the Palestinians.

The vice-chairman of the Saadet Party, Muhamad Patuk, said in a statement to al-Alam satellite channel on Thursday: "It is difficult to see the Palestinian people facing new pressures from the Egyptian side which is building a steel wall on its border with the Gaza Strip, to help the occupation in turning the strip into an open air prison where Palestinians will face even more oppression."

For his part, Ansar Yagit, member of the national defence and security in the Turkish parliament, said that the wall being built by Egypt on its border with the Gaza Strip is a new tool for killing the Palestinian people which makes all Muslims sad and prompts the question as to why Egypt is building this wall at a time the Palestinians are reeling under a murderous Zionist siege.

Hamdan: Egyptian steel wall, additional tier to the siege on Gaza

[ 25/12/2009 - 08:17 PM ]

BEIRUT, (PIC)-- The Hamas representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, said on Thursday that the building by Egypt of a steel wall at its border with the Gaza Strip constitutes another tier of the siege.

In a press statement, Hamdan said that there were still contacts taking place between Hamas and Egypt and expressed hope that through Egypt the siege will be broken not reinforced.

He, however, did not hide Palestinian concern regarding the building of the steel wall saying that it sends a negative message to the Palestinian people as an a tightening of the siege and a probable signal of a new Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip, adding that Hamas has conveyed these fears to the Egyptian government.

On whether Hamas will ask Saudi Arabia to intervene and ask for a halt of the building of the wall, Hamdan said that Saudi Arabia has always played an important role in Arab issues in general and the Palestinian issue in particular and that he hopes that Saudi Arabia supports the lifting of the siege.

He stressed that Hamas was not dealing with the situation as if there was a crisis with Egypt.
Uprooted Palestinian

Friday 25 December 2009

Britain’s Jews in crisis over national loyalty, identity and Israel By Redress Information & Analysi

Whistleblowers say top Zionist institutions in unprecedented crisis

Britain’s leading Jewish institutions are facing their worst crisis in living memory as their loyalty to the United Kingdom and support for basic universal principles of human rights and common decency come under growing scrutiny.

In recent weeks Redress Information & Analysis has has been approached by a number of existing and former employees and volunteers of prominent Jewish bodies, all pointing to an acute internal crisis within their institutions.

Breaking ranks

The first to make contact with us were two whistleblowers from the Board of Deputies of British Jews. They explained to us the nature and scope of the crisis gripping Britain’s top Jewish institutions and offered to put us in contact with people in the Office of the Chief Rabbi and the Jewish Chronicle newspaper. We took up the offer.

Naturally, we were curious as to why our interlocutors chose or were willing to talk to Redress Information & Analysis rather than voice their concerns to a national media outlet such as the Guardian, the Independent or the BBC. All said that they were worried that their names would be leaked back to their institutions or published in the press and that, as a result, they would be sacked or ostracized by their Jewish relatives and friends. Some feared the possibility of “moles” in the national media, or people in these media who have “special relations” with the Jewish institutions, doing the leaking.

We have gone to extraordinary lengths to corroborate the identity of our contacts and can confirm that they are all genuine – that they are who they said they are and that they work, or have worked, for the institutions they said they worked for.

Our contacts agreed for us to publish their concerns and to quote them but strictly on condition of anonymity. Consequently, we have undertaken not to publish their names, gender or the dates on which we made contact with them, although, to emphasize once again, their identity and the Jewish institutions for which they currently work or have recently worked have been verified beyond any doubt.

Our Jewish contacts expressed common concerns, focusing on questions about their identity and loyalty to Britain – the country of their birth – and on the attitude of their institutions towards the State of Israel, especially in the wake of the Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip in 2008-09, in which Israel killed 1,400 Palestinians, injured more than 5,000 and wreaked carnage and destruction on the 1.5 million inhabitants of the Strip.

Board of Deputies of British Jews – under “unbearable pressure”

Our contacts at the Board of Deputies of British Jews described the crisis ripping through Britain’s Jewish institutions in stark terms. One said:
Our support for Israel, especially its attack on Gaza in 2008-09, is creating ruptures in the wider Jewish community in Britain and placing institutions such as ours under unbearable pressure. The fact that the Board of Deputies’ support for Israel is couched in relatively anodyne terms and in a superficially impartial context no longer works. The wider Jewish community, and the general public at large, are beginning to see through this.

For the first time in my memory, we are being pressed by British Jews to answer questions that have always been in the backs of our minds but which we can no longer brush aside. Are we British or are we Israelis? If we are British, then is it not incumbent upon us to question, as the wider British public is questioning, the policies and behaviour of the State of Israel without harbouring any feelings of disloyalty – because our loyalty is to the UK and not to Israel?
Our second contact at the Board of Deputies of British Jews added:
Israel purports to speak on behalf of us as Jews. Many in our community are telling us that we therefore have a special responsibility – more so than Britons of other faiths or those of no faith – to condemn Israel’s violations of human rights and common decency when dealing with the Palestinians. Many others are saying that we should say explicitly and unequivocally – both as individuals and through our community institutions – that our loyalty is to Britain first, second, third and fourth ad infinitum, that we have no special loyalty or allegiance to Israel and that, for us, Israel is just another country, like France, Italy or Spain.

They say that we should distance ourselves from Israel and be the first to condemn its policies and actions towards the Palestinian people. A small but growing minority – a minority that is growing exponentially, I hasten to add – tell us that we should go further and take the lead in calling for the boycott of Israel until it implements all United Nations resolutions, including Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967, and until it begins to behave as a civilized and responsible member of the international community.

But I would say that the question of our allegiance is the one that is the most serious and damaging in the long term. It does not help in this regard when some of our Jewish ministers, such as the foreign secretary, David Miliband, and the Foreign Office minister, Ivan Lewis, are either openly pro-Israel or are seen to be supporters of Israel. This casts doubt on the loyalty of all of us to Britain, our country.

Office of the Chief Rabbi – “living in a time warp”

According to our contact at the Office of the Chief Rabbi, the problems facing Jewish institutions in Britain have been compounded by the failure of these institutions to adapt in the light of international developments and a sea-change in British public opinion. The contact said that this failure applied to the Office of the Chief Rabbi as much as to any other Jewish organization in the UK. In the contact’s own words:
The Office of the Chief Rabbi, the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Chronicle and many other Jewish organizations up and down the country – at universities, for instance – are living in a time warp, as if today were 1948 or the eve of the 1967 war.

The world has changed, and the information the community has available to it shows that we Jews are not in peril – on the contrary, Jews in the UK and throughout Europe are prospering like never before. Anti-Semitism – by which I mean racist, anti-Jewish feeling – has all but vanished. In fact, it is the Muslims, not the Jews, who are bearing the brunt of racism in Europe. Islamophobia, spurred on by neo-Nazi parties and neo-conservatives, is what we Jews, as members of a wider multi-cultural community, should be fighting against.

In fact, I would say that thanks to an abundance of reliable information now available on the internet, even those who live in a time warp are living a fiction in a time warp built on myths. Israel was never in danger from its impotent but bombastic neighbours: we saw this in 1956, when it invaded Egypt together with Britain and France, and we saw it again in 1967, which we now know was being planned for by Israeli leaders ever since the 1956 fiasco.

Yet, our community leaders, including – I am sorry to say – the Office of the Chief Rabbi, would never publicly acknowledge this. I have no idea what they think or believe in private, in their own conscience, between themselves and God, but I cannot imagine any intelligent, well-educated and open-minded person not recognizing matters as they are. And if they are conscious of reality but act differently, what does that make them? I think I’ll leave you to answer that question.

It pains me to say this but our self-appointed leaders, including the Chief Rabbi, have built our community institutions on foundations that are more appropriate to 1930s Germany than the Europe of the 21st century. You cannot have healthy institutions based on a make-believe world of fear and distrust of everyone and everything that is not Jewish. If we Jews are to have Jewish institutions per se, then these institutions should have as their primary objectives community cohesion, including full integration into our wider society, British society. We cannot – and should not want to – live in a ghetto. Our focus should be on our own country, the UK, not on promoting, speaking on behalf of, answering or apologizing for Israel.

As far as Israel is concerned, our approach should be no different than that of any other British organization, be it Amnesty International, a trade union or a professional association. In other words, we should condemn it when it is in the wrong and we should praise it when it does the right thing. In other words, our approach should be based entirely on merit. Unfortunately, I see no signs of this happening any time soon.

The Jewish Chronicle – “engaging in subterfuge”

Our whistleblower at the Jewish Chronicle gave a damning assessment of the internal crisis engulfing the UK’s Jewish institutions, as reflected in the Chronicle, Britain’s top Zionist newspaper and Israeli mouthpiece.

According to the whistleblower, the newspaper is “in denial” and “sticking its head in the sand” in response to the changes in UK public opinion, especially following Israel’s onslaught on Gaza. Echoing some of the views expressed by our source at the Office of the Chief Rabbi, our contact at the Jewish Chronicle said that, instead of acknowledging the changing reality around it and adapting accordingly, the paper’s management has “gone in the opposite direction and is “engaging in subterfuge”. However, our contact says, this “isn’t washing and it won’t wash”.

According to our whistleblower, the Jewish Chronicle is making a conscious effort to brand itself as a moderate newspaper that is focused on the affairs of Britain’s 280,000 Jews and in tune with mainstream British public opinion. However, our whistleblower says, in reality it is “embracing the neo-conservative agenda on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, lock, stock and barrel”, and its primary concern is “to be on-message with Israeli foreign policy, whatever Israeli government is in power – Likud, Kadima, Labour or some abominable ultra-far-right party”.

Our whistleblower was especially scathing about the Jewish Chronicle’s editor, Stephen Pollard, describing him as “uncharismatic, myopic and an inarticulate and clumsy spokesman” who has “bought a one-way ticket to a parallel universe”. The whistleblower said that Mr Pollard “is so detached from reality and so out of touch with British public opinion that the notion that anyone with just an average intelligence might see right through what he’s doing could not even cross his mind”.

According to our whistleblower, the idea of breaking with tradition and recruiting Martin Bright in September 2009 as the Jewish Chronicle’s first-ever non-Jewish chief political editor was Mr Pollard’s “master-plan for creating an image of the Jewish Chronicle as a mainstream newspaper and to boost its circulation, which currently stands at just over 30,400 for the UK and the Republic of Ireland – slightly more than your average local newspaper rag”.

Shortly after his appointment Mr Bright told the Independent: "The idea is to broaden the scope of their [the Jewish Chronicle’s] political coverage. It would be fair to say that they want to move the political coverage away from the more parochial approach they have had in the past and rather than saying 'What will interest our Jewish readers?' they are saying that what interests readers will be what interests anyone in politics."

But, our whistleblower says, Mr Pollard “picked the wrong goy” [gentile] because “not only is Martin Bright a media has-been, but he’s also a card carrying neo-conservative with strident views against Muslims and a strong affinity to Israel and, therefore, would carry little credibility with the wider newspaper-reading public”.

Martin Bright’s career has followed a trajectory that has taken him from the national to the fringe media. After a steady rise between 1993 and 2005, which saw him move from a minor BBC magazine to the Guardian (national, circulation: 430,000), the Observer (national, circulation: 500,000) and the New Statesman (national, circulation: 30,000), where he was appointed political editor, in 2009 Mr Bright left the magazine under a cloud, amid speculation that his strong support for Israel, especially after the slaughter in Gaza, was too much for it to stomach. His career prospects then took a dive when, in September 2009, he joined the Jewish Chronicle (fringe, circulation: 30,400) as chief political editor.

A self-proclaimed leftist, Mr Bright subscribes to a broadly neo-conservative agenda on Islam and the "war on terror", and believes that opposition to Israeli policies and actions “on the left was only explicable as anti-Semitism”. He is the author of a pamphlet for the right-wing think-tank Policy Exchange in which he attacked UK government dialogue with Muslims, a pamphlet that was warmly praised by the leading US neo-conservative Richard Perle. His friends include Observer columnist Nick Cohen who infamously declared after meeting Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz for drinks at the Mayfair nightclub Annabel's: "I was in the presence of a politician committed to extending human freedom." Since his appointment at the Jewish Chronicle, Mr Bright has begun writing for the website of the right-wing Spectator.

Our contact at the Jewish Chronicle said:
As a strategy for extending the scope of the Jewish Chronicle’s appeal, the choice of Martin Bright as our chief political editor just underlines how out of touch with the real world Stephen Pollard is. It isn’t just a question of Martin’s neo-conservative and Israel baggage – and the circumstances under which he left the News Statesman – but what about the rest of the Jewish Chronicle’s coverage?

Take a look at some of our commentators and columnists. The average British reader would take one glance and say “What a rogues gallery!” You have Tzipi Livni, that broken record Melanie Phillips and, worse of all, Geoffrey Aldeman. For God’ sake, Geoffrey Alderman is one of our regular columnist, believe it or not! For a newspaper that’s struggling to keep its readers, the choice of Geoffrey Alderman is a damn strange one, but that’s Stephen Pollard for you.
Alderman believes that Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are legal, even though they are universally acknowledged as illegal under international law.

Moreover, in an article published in the Jewish Chronicle, he said that Islam was founded "in part, on an explicit anti-Jewish discourse".

Most controversially, in early 2009 Alderman argued that according to Jewish religious law, it was "entirely legitimate to kill" every Palestinian in Gaza who voted for Hamas.

For our whistleblower at the Jewish Chronicle, the fact that Mr Alderman was still a regular columnist for the newspaper after making these comments was not just “bad, bad public relations”, but was “scandalous and outrageous, morally and politically”. The whistleblower said:
Geoffrey Alderman spits out stuff that not even the British National Party, Combat-18 and the Ku Klux Klan would dare say these days.

Just imagine what would have happened if a British Muslim columnist said that it was fine to kill Israelis who voted for a government that slaughters Palestinian civilians. The whole country, from Westminster to the media, from the tabloids to the so-called “quality papers” to the BBC and ITN, would be up in arms with condemnations day and night, day after day for weeks on end. Politicians and others would be calling for prosecutions, Stephen Pollard would be rushing from one TV studio to another bellowing “anti-Semitism”.

But here we go, Alderman in effect condoning the murder of innocent civilians and he still writes for the Jewish Chronicle. What a way to appeal to the broader public! What morality!
All of our whistleblowers, some of whom are not quoted here but who nevertheless gave us an invaluable insight into the Jewish institutions to which they are affiliated, said that their experience in their institutions had been life-changing, in that it had altered their views of Britain’s Jewish “leaders”, Israel and the Palestinian cause in a most profound way.

Abbas's militia arrest Palestinians suspected of attack on Jewish settler


[ 25/12/2009 - 07:26 PM ]

NABLUS, (PIC)-- Abbas's militia arrested on Thursday evening a number of Palestinians at the Bathan roadblock north of Nablus suspecting them of being involved in an attack on a Jewish settler, according to local sources.

The group of youth set a vehicle on fire near the roadblock prompting the militia to suspect that the vehicle was used in the attack on the settler.

The sources added that the militia is investigating the possibility of the torched vehicle being used on the attack on the settler who lived in the settlement of Shavi Shamron.

The sources also said that the militia arrested the owner of the vehicle and was interrogating him.

There were tens of attacks mounted by extremist Jewish settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank in general. Abbas's militiamen were never seen trying to protect Palestinians against those attacks.

Uprooted Palestinian

Campaign accuses the international community of conspiring against Gaza


[ 25/12/2009 - 06:06 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Palestinian anti-siege campaign has accused Friday the international community of participating in the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip as it remained silent all this time while 1.5 million people living there were being starved for more than three years.

In a statement it issued in this regard, the campaign stressed that the best response to the unsolicited international passiveness was to hold hundreds of popular rallies across the world that would draw hundreds of thousands of participants.

The campaign also called for intensifying the boycott campaign against the Israeli occupation that “practices all forms of racism against our Palestinian people”, and denying them the simplest human rights.

Furthermore, the campaign noted that the report of more than 16 NGOs in Europe, including the amnesty international and the Oxfam among other groups proves that the international conscience has started to wake up after decades of silence.

It also welcomed that call of Richard Falk on all concerned parties, particularly the countries that supports the Zionist entity, to completely implement the recommendations of Goldstone, and to end the siege on Gaza.

“It is about time for the international civil society groups to raise their voice louder and to put more pressure on their governments to abide by the international laws and the principles of democracy and human rights”, the campaign underscored, stressing that silence on the part of the international community was no longer acceptable.

Uprooted Palestinian

Egyptian steel barrier claims its first Palestinian victim in Rafah

[ 25/12/2009 - 05:41 PM ]
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Egyptian steel barrier which Egypt is building along its borders with the besieged Gaza Strip had killed a Palestinian man in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah after a tunnel collapsed over him due to the Egyptian excavation, Palestinian security sources revealed.

According to medical sources in the city’s Abu Yousef Al-Najjar hospital, the lifeless body of Palestinian citizen Salah Alwan, in his forties, was pulled out of the tunnel’s rubble.

Owners of tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt borders revealed they couldn’t anymore operate after pieces of the Egyptian steel wall destroyed many of the tunnels in Al-Salam suburb in Rafah city.

According to them, the tunnels were the only way for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to survive after the Israeli occupation sealed off all the crossing points with the Strip, and Egypt closed the vital Rafah crossing point in the south, which is the only gateway for the Strip’s inhabitants to pass to the rest of the globe.

Few weeks ago, the Egyptian government started the construction of the wall along its borders with the Gaza Strip and goes nearly 30m meters below the ground amidst wide condemnation from local and international human rights and legal organization.

For the past 40 months, Egypt rejected and still is rejecting persisting calls from human rights and legal groups to lift the siege on Gaza and to open the Rafah port for humanitarian reasons.

Uprooted Palestinian

George Galloway makes a plea to Mubarak of Egypt to Open the Rafah Crossing and let the Convoy Through.

An Alternative Route By Mahjoob


Press TV Report on Viva Palestine – George Galloway makes a plea to Mubarak of Egypt to open the Rafah Crossing and let the convoy through. Minor blockage en route to Amman, Jordan alleviated. Aired 24th December 2009


Message sent by Lynn Free Gaza Wilson to the members of the Global Help Initiative for Palestine

The Egyptian Foreign Minister said on Egyptian TV Channel 2, that neither the Gaza Freedom March nor persons accompanying the Viva Palestina convoy would be allowed to enter Gaza. The Foreign Minister’s comments confirmed statements made to Ann Wright and Tighe Barry of the Gaza Freedom March steering committee during their meeting this afternoon with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director of the Office of Palestinian Affairs Hisham Seif-Eldin and officer Ahmed Azzam. Barry and Wright went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss the December 20 disapproval of the entry into Gaza by the Gaza Freedom March.

Mr. Sief-Eldin said that Egyptian embassies in Europe and North America had received a large number emails and phone calls since the announcement of the disapproval. He was visibly upset by what he described as the “tone” of some of the emails received and forwarded to him by Egyptian embassies in Europe and North America and said that emails contained threats to Egyptian interests by tourist boycotts and personal attacks and derogatory language toward staff members. He said the position of the security and intelligence services of Egypt in disapproving transiting the Rafah border crossing had “hardened.”
Sief-Eldin said that the permit we had requested to hold an orientation meeting on December 27 at 7pm at the Holy Family complex was cancelled and that the permit for a press conference at the Pyramisa Hotel on December 27 would not be approved. At the meeting we presented a written request to hold a conference on Gaza for delegates only on December 28 and 29 either at the American University Cairo or at hotel. Mr. Azzad said the Foreign Ministry would forward the request to the security agency but did not believe it would be acted on in a timely manner. The conference would be considered a “political” conference and would have to be approved by the Office of the Prime Minister.

Sief-Eldin in the strongest terms said security services would not permit gatherings with signs or banners. He said that no group would be permitted to travel to al Arish or Rafah. He said we should tell the 1360 delegates to “not come to Egypt” unless they were going to do only tourist things. He said that in a change from yesterday, the Viva Palestina convoy has not heeded the Government of Egypt’s decision on where the convoy should enter Egypt and none of their delegates will be allow to enter Gaza, but the vehicles will enter eventually through a checkpoint in Israel.

We asked again why the Government of Egypt did not make its refusal decision early in the five months process that the Gaza Freedom March has been coordinating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a decision that would have notified delegates not to spend thousands of dollars on airfare to get to Egypt. Seif-Eldin responded that the government makes its decision on its own time schedule, not on the time schedule of others. He ended by saying that in Egypt, things are not done in the same manner as in the United States or Europe. The security services will not permit demonstrations or protests and will deal with them quickly.

Details after clicking on  “Read more”.


8.15am 24Dec09
Egypt has officially denied entry on the ground that convoy needs Israel’s permission to cross at Rafah.  The ferry also refused the convoy of trucks to board for the crossing.  Viva Palestina now stuck in Jordan.

Reception for Viva Palestina in Jordan
Reception for Viva Palestina in Jordan


Egypt allows Viva Palestina to enter Gaza on 27 December 2009.  The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told Gaza Freedom March organizers on 23 December that the decision had been made to alter its policy because of the “humanitarian assistance” nature of Viva Palestina.


Since the Gaza Freedom March is also bringing in humanitarian assistance items valued at tens of thousands of dollars and the border is now considered safe, Gaza Freedom March will make a formal request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs  that the Government of Egypt reconsider the request of the Gaza Freedom March for entry of its 1360 delegates from 42 countries into Gaza through the Rafah crossing on December 27.

Marchers and their friends have been flooding Egyptian embassies throughout the world with calls and emails. Embassies throughout Europe, the United States and Canada have told callers that they have been flooded with telephone calls from persons asking that the Gaza Freedom March be allowed into Gaza. Members of the Canadian, German, Swiss, French, Greek and Filipino Parliaments have written letters, as well as the Irish Minister of Defense, asking the Egyptian government to allow the march to proceed.
The Gaza Freedom March has families of three generations, doctors, lawyers, diplomats, 100 students, an interfaith group that includes rabbis, priests and imams, a women’s delegation, a Jewish contingent, a veterans group and Palestinians born overseas who have never seen their families in Gaza.
We have large delegations from the U.S., France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Greece, Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands and Japan. We also have delegations from Sweden, Turkey, India, Ireland, Switzerland, Jordan, Morocco, Denmark, Lebanon, Austria, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Tunisia, Algeria, Philippines, South Korea, Bahrain, Bosnia, Israel, New Zealand, Slovenia, Saudi Arabia, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Indonesia, Libya, Mexico, Mauritius, Romania and Serbia.

PLEASE SIGN URGENT PETITION supporting Australian contingent.


Contact your local consulate here:
Contact the Palestine Division in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cairo
Ahmed Azzam, tel +202-25749682 Email:

Egyptian Embassy in Canberra, Australia
His Excellency Omar Metwally
Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Australia
1 Darwin Ave, Yarralumla ACT 2600
Tel: (00612) 6273 4437 – 6273 4438  Fax: (00612) 6273 4279
Source: Australians for palestine

December 25, 2009 - Posted by Elias
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has informed the Gaza Freedom march Steering Committee that the Rafah border will be closed over the coming weeks, into January.  While no delegation entering Gaza in the past 12 months has ever received a final OK before arriving at the Rafah border, public and political pressure changed the Egyptian Government’s position and they were each allowed through.  Egyptian embassies and missions all over the world must hear from you over the next crucial days with a clear message: Let the international delegation enter Gaza and let the Gaza Freedom March proceed.
Uprooted Palestinian



December 25, 2009 at 9:08 am (Cartoons, Gaza, Israel, Palestine, War Crimes)

Image by Silvis Rivers

No words necessary to describe the horrors….

Uprooted Palestinian

First the Party, Then the Pooper

First the Party, Then the Pooper

Life in Lebanon



Surely we should all have known better.  It was just too good to last. It seemed to some Americans in Lebanon that nearly all the Lebanese and their political leaders were ready to try to more of less work together for the good of the country.  Many even seemed to be getting excited about Christmas.   Several of the diverse sects’ zaim’s (leaders) were  seen on TV enjoying attending public lightings of Christmas trees, praising the new unity government and some humming their favorite holiday tunes during family visits to places like the crowded Beirut and City Malls.

The new prime minister Saad Hariri admitted that he relished presiding over the ceremony for the lighting of the ‘national’ Christmas Tree in Downtown Beirut this week and was inspired by fond memories of his student days at Georgetown University when he liked to walk over behind the White House and watch the US President pull the switch and see the huge tree light up to a chorus of “ohs” and “ahs” from kids and their relatives.

The ceremony here was almost the same and it seems to this outsider that the Lebanese have way more relatives than we in America do or at least they get together more often.  Given all the electricity problems Lebanon’s population has to endure, with daily power black outs ranging from three hours per day in the more posh Hamra district to more than 12 hours of daily cuts in some areas like the Palestinian refugee camps and sometimes no power at all for days up north in Tripoli, Akkar and over east in the Bekaa Valley, some gathered at the huge tree waiting for Saad to pull the switch joked that it would be a real miracle if all those trails of tangled wires actually worked. Just as one Saudi student was overheard explaining to his English girlfriend that even in Wahabist Saudi Arabia, it is ok to wish western visitors ‘Merry Christmas’, the giant tree lit up brilliantly, as Saad pulled the switch and he and the crowd beamed with child-like delight.

The ‘peace on earth good will towards men’ spirit also seemed to permeate politics.  By an historic vote of 122 to 1, the new ‘unity’ Parliament voted its confidence in the new ‘unity’ government.  The question of Hezbollah arms was generally believed to have finally been put to rest with Article 6 of the Cabinet’s Policy Declaration, which accepted them as necessary and  legitimate. Meanwhile, nimble minds discussed various formulae to unite the National Lebanese Resistance military prowess with the Lebanese Army in order for Lebanon to finally have a real defense force able to end 60 years of Israeli attacks. Signs of unity, pride and hope were popping up all over.

President Michel Suleiman returned from candid talks with President Obama where he reportedly gave his hosts a realistic assessment of Lebanon’s politics, explain that  Hezbollah was an equal partner in the government and should be engaged with by Washington. Lebanon’s problems, he told his hosts,  included the continuing Israeli occupation of Lebanese territory, and its daily violations of UNSCR 1701 as well as serial threats of attack. The Lebanese President also informed President Obama, NSC Director James Jones and US Envoy George Mitchell` that UNSCR 1559, regarding decommissioning militia arms was fulfilled as far as Lebanon was concerned. He implied that it should be scrapped. Suleiman is too smart to believe that any US administration will give Lebanon weapons that will deter Israeli attacks but he asked for some and Washington agreed to meet with Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr next year to talk more about the subject. Congressional sources reported that President Suleiman was shown a lot of respect and appreciation for the positions he took and gave their full support for the national dialogue.

Regarding Hezbollah possessing weapons, one US Senate Foreign Relations Committee source reported that several Congressional analysts she has spoken to  agree with the recent statement of MP Mohammad Raad that “Hezbollah agrees that the state must take the responsibility for defending its people but when the state is incapable, it is the duty of every Lebanese to help build a strong and just state that can equip its army to face up to Israeli violations."

Regarding Suleiman’s visit to Washington, Raad stressed that "everything the President said in Washington should have been said."

Things seemed to be going well for Lebanon this Christmas season.  However, no sooner had the tree lighting crowd dispersed than the atmosphere literally changed and the following days brought sustained heavy rains and flooding with many Lebanese stuck in flooded homes and cars with heavy thunder and lightning.  Some are blaming the foul weather on global warming.  Others on the return of Jeffrey Feltman, the Assistant Secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, who last month announced from Washington that  US officials, are staying away from Lebanon lest they be blamed for trying to interfere in Lebanon’s internal affairs by choosing its new government.

It did appear that the scowling Jeffrey Feltman appeared to ride in on the dark clouds, via the airwaves to frighten little children with his patented threats of old. As though he had never been absent from Lebanon, Jeffrey tried his best to stir up the now quiet Lebanese political pot.  First he announced on Al-Jazeera TV on 12/16/09 that “Hezbollah endangers the Lebanese people and does not comply with international resolutions and exerts its power in areas where the government has no control.”  Critics quickly countered by asking Feltman about the more than 60 UN resolutions that Israel has ignored, more than half with US diplomatic cover, including the UNSCR 1701. Concerning Hezbollah “exerting power in areas where the government has no control” analysts point out that Hezbollah asserts its power in Parliament and the Cabinet which is exactly the seat of government control.

Then Feltman insisted that the Lebanese army assert the government’s authority over all the country’s territory, adding that Hezbollah exercises power in areas where the government has no control.  He also stated that his country respects the independence sovereignty, and non-interference in Lebanese affairs and accepts the right of the Lebanese to freely elect their representatives to the parliament.  However, he added,” the US will not have contacts with Hezbollah or any party that does.”

Feltman also dredged up the old, discredited bromide that his country’s animosity with Hezbollah dates back to the 1980s, when, according to him, “Hezbollah killed a number of US citizens in Lebanon”.  Some saw this as a desperation smear by Feltman since former CIA agent Robert Baer, who led the three year CIA investigation of that charge, and others who have thoroughly and repeatedly investigated events of the early 1980’s, before Hezbollah was even coherently organized or released its public “Open Letter” in 1985, found no probative evidence to link Hezbollah to acts targeting American civilians or even its military. Various acts were carried out by more than a dozen newly formed secretive militias during this period.  The only thing some of these groups had in common was their goal to expel the occupying Israeli forces and those who were alarming, supporting and assisting in their killing of Lebanese civilians.

According to Lebanese human rights ambassador Ali Khalil, “If Feltman has proof of Hezbollah involvement in the killing of Americans nearly 30 years ago let him come clean as hold a news conference and present his evidence. Otherwise he must immediately apologize to Hezbollah and to the people of Lebanon.   Feltman should understand that nobody in Lebanon has to engage in wild speculation about the US role in arming Israeli to kill thousands and thousands of Lebanese, for the past 30 years until today.  The facts are clear, available and well documented.  Where are his?”

Some expected Feltman to also bring up the discredited “Ohmygod, Hezbollah will create an Islamic Republic in Lebanon and Hezbollah believes in the Wilayat al Faqih Guardianship of the Jurists!” scare tactics. Those charges were reserved for Feltman’s friend, the anti-Resistance MP Dori Chamoun, who minutes after Feltman spoke, announced them during an interview with Al Massira magazine, adding that Hezbollah “is politically immature.” When asked by the interviewer what that meant, MP Chamoun declined comment.

In an interview with OTV on 12/16/09, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun asked Feltman, “How do Hezbollah’s weapons pose a threat to [the US] if we are defending our nation?” Aoun added that he does not trust Washington, because “it has sacrificed us too many times...Hezbollah’s weapons will be kept until Palestinians return [to their country].”  Aoun, reiterated that he is against Palestinian naturalization in Lebanon currently being pushed by the US and Israel.

Another reason Jeffrey Feltman has resurfaced is the rumored withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Lebanese village of Ghajar.

Feltman promised almost exactly one year ago that he had a Christmas present for the then Lebanese Prime Minister, Fuad Sinoria. The Christmas present was that Israel would be forced by Washington to withdraw from the Lebanese village of Ghajar before the New Year.  There was one catch.  Sinioria, a leader of the March 14   US-Saudi team, had to himself figure out how to assure that March 14, the US team got full credit for Israel’s withdrawal from Ghajar and to prevent Hezbollah from getting the credit by the Lebanese public. That, Feltman explained, would ruin the then approaching June election results.

The same applies this Christmas.  As it stands now Feltman is concerned because most Lebanese believe that Israel would not leave Ghajar were it not for Hezbollah pressure which is the only reason Israel is still not occupying nearly 600 villages in Lebanon today.

Meanwhile, life in Israeli-occupied Ghajar deteriorates.  Najib al-Khatib, spokesman for the population and their municipal council, explained “The services offered to the Northern section of the village on the basis of the Blue Line, will officially remain in Israel’s hands. However, the people are not getting the basic services today, let alone when the village is actually divided into small sections.” In statements to, Al-Khatib pointed to the refusal of the fire department, ambulances and the phone and electricity companies to enter the Northern section of the village, under the pretext that it was “outside the border,” adding: “Last month, an ambulance refused to enter this section, which entailed the death of four-year old Hayat Jaber.” Moreover, the population in the Northern section cannot bury its dead until after the deceased is brought to the Israeli checkpoint at the entrance of the village to get the authorization of the police. “They are depriving the people of a decent living and preventing us from dying with dignity. Imagine that the family of the deceased has to wait with the corpse in the street for long hours, until the Israeli officer arrives, checks the identity of the deceased and writes the burial authorization.”

Al Khatib reported that UNIFIL wants Israel out before its current commander,  Claudio Graziano, departs next month.

Israel could easily be pressured by the White House to leave Ghajar, just as Feltman offered Fuad Siniora last Christmas. But Feltman still has no assurance that Hezbollah will not get the credit when Israel leaves and he must find a solution. And so the Israelis remain in Ghajar, life worsens for the Lebanese under its occupation, and Feltman ponders.

Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and can be reached at

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian