Saturday 20 February 2010

Israel Goes Rogue

From identity theft to war crimes – is there anything the Israelis won't do?

by Justin Raimondo, February 19, 2010
When is the world going to finally decide Israel has gone too far – and do something about it?

When Israel invaded and retained the occupied territories, imposing a regime that resembles the old South African apartheid system, the world looked the other way – after all, beleaguered Israel was fighting for its survival, and, besides that, peace talks were underway. The daily grinding down of the Palestinians could be accepted as a temporary and even necessary evil as long as there was some sort of vague When it began to look like peace might be just a pipedream, and the Israelis continued sponsoring invasive "settlements" to cement their conquest, the world looked the other way. After all, everybody knew Netanyahu had to deal with an increasingly right-wing Israeli electorate, and his government could fall apart at any moment: no one expected President Obama to get tough with Tel Aviv anyway, and so no one was too surprised when the US caved on the settlements issue. 

The bombing and continued blockade of Gaza, the barbaric invasions of Lebanon, and the continuing refusal to correct the widespread human rights violations documented in the Goldstone report – all of this has darkened Israel’s image considerably, even among its staunch supporters. On account of this record, Israel is now widely considered a "rogue" nation, at least outside the US. One of the major reasons for this shift in perception has to do with the wide-ranging activities of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service.

With a fearsome reputation for ruthlessness second only to the old KGB, the Israeli intelligence services are known for their boldness and their buccaneering tactics. This was once a public relations advantage: their raid on Entebbe was made into a successful movie for a reason. From rescuing hostages, however, the Mossad has lately gone in for assassinations on foreign soil, most recently in Dubai, where they offed Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

This is nothing new for the Israelis: picking off their enemies on foreign soil is a longtime favorite sport of the Mossad. The innovation that’s got Israel’s allies in an uproar, however, is a relatively new weapon in the Mossad’s arsenal: identity theft. As the Telegraph reports:

"Ministers are understood to be furious that an alleged hit squad which murdered a Hamas leader in Dubai last month cloned the passports of six unsuspecting Britons, who are now living in fear of reprisals.
"Israel, which has not denied involvement in the murder, had previously promised that Mossad, its secret intelligence service, would never use British passports to help its agents carry out covert operations."

The six are all British citizens living in Israel, where the Mossad had full access to their essential documents: they simply cloned the passports and sent their agents into Dubai. There the Israelis reportedly assembled quite a contingent, as many as 18, enough to qualify the effort as a full-scale military operation. In effect, the Israelis carried out a mini-invasion of Dubai, a fact not lost on the Emirate authorities.

Interpol has posted the photos of the eleven (so far) known suspects, and issued a statement, including the following:

"Since INTERPOL has reason to believe that the suspects linked to this murder have stolen the identities of real people, the Red Notices specify that the names used were aliases used to commit murder. INTERPOL has officially made public the photos and the names fraudulently used on the passports in order to limit the ability of accused murderers from traveling freely using the same false passports."

If any institution embodies that vague abstraction  known as "the international community," then surely it is Interpol, which coordinates the capture of transnational criminal gangs – sex traffickers, drug lords, and, yes, Mossad assassins. That they see Israel’s intelligence agency as an obstacle in their task of limiting "the ability of accused murderers from traveling freely" speaks volumes about the degree to which Israel has truly crossed the line.

This isn’t exactly an innovation on the part of the Israelis: in New Zealand, you’ll recall, they had a large-scale passport "farm" in operation a few years ago. Their agents would identify someone completely disabled, or otherwise unlikely to travel abroad, and – unbeknownst to the victim — apply for a passport in their name. When discovered, the Israelis denied everything, but the cops had the goods and the trial of the Israeli spies was front page news for weeks. The New Zealanders all but broke off diplomatic relations with Israel over the matter, and the Israelis, while never admitting anything, made apologetic noises while the issue – mostly ignored by the Western media outside New Zealand — faded into obscurity.

Now it has arisen once again, but this time in a far more serious context: this isn’t inconsequential-albeit-lovely New Zealand but Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, and possibly other Western nations who have had their passport systems violated. However, the worst of it is that the Mossad has apparently taken to "farming" the passports of Israelis who hold dual citizenships. According to Ha’aretz: "Five Israelis who hold dual citizenship in Britain and Germany and whose names were on some of the passports denied any connection with the Dubai death."

If Israel’s intelligence services are now "farming" the passports of those numerous Israelis who hold dual citizenship, then the passport system – the key to maintaining security in the age of terrorism – is no longer reliable or even functional. Israel is a multi-national "nation," one created by a state-sponsored effort to get people the world over to move there, and many retain citizenship in their country of origin. The US doesn’t compile statistics on dual citizenship, but the number who hold dual Israeli and US citizenship is substantial: they are now all at risk of having their identities stolen by a covert army of assassins.

There’s just one way to solve this growing problem, and that is to ban all dual citizenship, and ask Americans to choose. Yes, there’s a Supreme Court decision standing in the way, but if it requires a constitutional amendment, then so be it. At a time when maintaining the integrity of our passport system is key to preventing terrorist attacks on our territory and against our citizens abroad, it’s worth taking the trouble to patch up this gaping hole in our national security.

That Israel has gone this far in its international campaign of murder and intimidation ought to motivate the civilized nations of the world to unite in protest. The government of Dubai is petitioning to have the head of the Mossad arrested for murder, and, come to think of it, issuing a warrant might not be such a bad idea. With a foreign minister who is the Israeli equivalent of David Duke, and a foreign policy that owes much to the Klingons, Israel, which is veering off into Asiatic despotism, needs to be pulled back toward the West. The way to do that is not to offer the Jewish state unconditional support, no matter how potty and self-destructive its policies may be, but to offer the kind of "tough love" that can bring it back into the Western orbit.

We can’t afford to look away anymore: Israel has massively compromised the security of international travel, and has brought this on itself. Now is the time for the US and other Western countries to rein in their client state gone rogue – before it’s too late.
River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

Israel’s coming war

War is in Israel's nature; indeed, it is its essence, writes Galal Nassar

For quite a while it seemed that the Israelis were preparing to go to war. Not only did they engage in highly publicised military manoeuvres, but they also issued political threats at the highest level. As brinkmanship prevailed, Israeli so-called doves vied with hawks in issuing hardline statements. Left-wing Defence Minister Ehud Barak seemed just as belligerent as right-wing Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, with Binyamin Netanyahu seeming like a moderate in comparison.
Israel's belligerence commanded regional and international attention as Israeli media continued to feed the frenzy. Analysts spared no time speculating about war, and some envisioned alternative scenarios for the conflict. Commentators offered their opinion on the time and venue of battle. Some said it was going to be in weeks or months. Others, citing remarks by Chief of Staff General Gabi Ashkenazi during recent manoeuvres in the Negev, said perhaps two years.
In the midst of this maddening bravado, one has to keep in mind that Israel lives by the sword. Israel is an entity that is born out of war and survives on war. It should come as no surprise that Israel would want war. Such is the destiny of our region. As long as this fabricated product of imperialism remains a curse in its midst, war is a haunting possibility.
Still, let's contemplate a number of relevant facts:
First, Israel is not going to wage a war unless it has a chance of winning quickly and with minimum losses. This is because Israel, being a vulnerable, fabricated and alien entity in the region, is haunted by an abiding feeling of insecurity. Because of its demographic vulnerability, Israel fears that it may cease to exist. Israel was implanted by iron and fire in the bosom of a region that doesn't accept it. This is why it is afraid to lose even one war. You can tell from the torrent of studies that the Israelis prepare on that subject, as well as the endless conferences held on war, such as the one that took place in Herzliya. Since its creation, Israel has been talking endlessly about war. After every war, the Israelis form committees to look into all aspects of failure. Such committees were held after the 1973 War and the 2006 war in Lebanon.
Secondly, Israel doesn't go to war before getting permission from the country that sponsors it and forever protects its expansionist drive and violations of international law. And American consent often means European consent. This has always been the case.

In the light of the above points, which no Israeli would contest, one has to assess the seriousness of Israel's highly publicised threats. The Israelis are always eager to learn from the outcome of their wars against the Arabs, and have learned a thing or two from their previous two wars on Lebanon and Gaza. Therefore, they surely know that their superior war machine gives no guarantee of victory. Also they know that once a war starts, it may not end as quickly as they wish. They know, too, that they cannot keep war away from their areas and that they cannot keep their casualties to a minimum.

These are the lessons that the Israelis have learned the hard way through battles with groups that pay no attention to the balance of power, and whose inferior resources are more than compensated for by their superior determination. The Lebanese and Palestinian resistance groups have performed so well in recent wars that many researchers in occupied Palestine are now looking into the strengths of resistance groups and "resistance countries", the latter being reference for Syria and Iran. The Lebanon and Gaza wars have reinforced the culture of Arab resistance in general and may entice other countries in the region to rethink their positions.

What I am saying here is that Israel will have to think long and hard before waging another war. Reacting to Lieberman's recent threats, Syrian officials said that any future war would not spare Israeli dwelling places and cities. Their reaction, firm and fast as it was, is perhaps why the Israelis toned down their statements of late. In fact, Netanyahu has tried to rein in Lieberman's bullishness and arrogance, and Barak has somewhat backpedalled.

How about Israel's guardian and protector, the US? Few would dispute the fact that debt-ridden and war- exhausted America is in no mood for a third war in the region, not with Iraq and Afghanistan still flaring up. The US fears defeat in Afghanistan as it continues with its endless war on an invisible enemy named terrorism. The cost of these wars, coinciding with a grinding economic crisis, is taking its toll on the US. Recently, US Vice-President Joe Biden said that the US deficit was a threat to national security. Biden was appalled at the $1.6 billion trade deficit and the $3.8 billion budget deficit, and the $12.4 public deficit.
Also recently, China reacted to Washington's intention to supply Taiwan with state-of-the-art weaponry with harsh words. The Chinese were also outspoken in their protests regarding Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama on 16 February. There is a reason for that. China holds huge amounts of US government bonds, and if it starts selling these bonds in the international market, the Americans could be in trouble. China's international clout is increasing, and the Americans know they cannot run the show alone for long.

Some people believe that Israel's warmongering is a product of US concern over Iran's nuclear programme. The US, we know, wants to create a missile shield in four Gulf States: Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. But had the US thought it beneficial to attack Iran at a time when it has two wars going on in the vicinity it would have done so already. Iran can influence the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran also controls the flow of oil in the Straits of Hormuz. Also, Israel will certainly be hit by Iranian missiles if Iran is attacked, for Iran doesn't make a distinction between the US and Israel. Besides, Arab resistance groups are likely to react to any attack on Iran.

Therefore, the Americans cannot allow Israel to start a war that may get out of hand. The Americans know from their experience in Iraq and Afghanistan that wars are easier to start than to end.

A few months ago, US ships landed at the coast of occupied Palestine to unload troops and sophisticated weapons destined for military drills in the Negev. At the time, analysts talked about war for a while, then forgot all about it. Israel's threats of war are a customary phenomenon in Israel. It is a by-product of the partisan rivalry between Israel's hawks and doves, although it is hard sometimes to tell the difference between the two. As for the deployment of Patriot missiles in the Gulf, this is just America's way of making a quick buck to alleviate its financial woes.

War is not a walk in the park, neither for America nor Israel. But one mustn't forget that Israel is a military establishment created in war and modelled on perpetual war. Israel has been born and raised in the lap of imperialism, and this imperialism still sponsors it to this day. In other words, Israel cannot live, thrive, or survive without the very act that brought it to life: war.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

Some Straight Thinking About Iran


by Philip Giraldi (source:
Thursday, February 18, 2010
The Annual Threat Assessment overview was released by the office of the Director of National Intelligence on February 2nd.  A forty-seven page unclassified version includes a page and a half on Iran’s proliferation threat.  It raises legitimate concerns about Iran’s doubling of its number of operating centrifuges (while conceding that as many as half might not be working) and regarding what it describes as the secret nuclear facility near Qom.  Apart from that, it supports the conclusions of the December 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) which concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program and had not made the political decision to start it up again.

One would think it would be good news that the Iranian nuclear program has not really advanced since 2007, but something strange is happening.  The Obama Administration has intensified pressure on Iran with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denouncing what she sees as the Iranian government’s increased militarization.  The mainstream media, meanwhile, has not reported the conclusions of the Annual Threat Assessment while there has been instead considerable commentary about how Iran is moving closer to having a nuclear weapon together with calls for harsh sanctions.  The Washington Times and Newsweek are also reporting that the US intelligence community will soon finish a second NIE on Iran that will revise the conclusions of the December 2007 document.  If their information is correct, the forthcoming NIE will emphasize that Iran is moving towards the point where it will have all the technical requirements in place to put together a nuclear weapon if the country’s political leadership decides to proceed.  This is a spin that is somewhat different than the Annual Threat Assessment, which is presumably written by the same analysts using the same information. 

Admittedly, as the political go-ahead might never be given, all the intelligence really suggests is that Iran could soon join a large number of other countries that have the technical capability to make a nuclear weapon.  Of those countries there are some – mostly in Europe — that clearly have no interest in nuclear weapons development while others could move rapidly into a weapon program if their circumstances seem to demand it.  Iran is far from unique.  Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia all have the technological resources to develop nuclear weapons on an expedited basis if they found themselves threatened.

So the Annual Threat Assessment and the possibly forthcoming NIE would really only confirm the 2007 NIE’s judgment that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon, does not appear to have an in-place weapons program, and is still several years away from having a nuclear device even if the political decision is made to proceed.  If there is a new NIE it will not really change anything, but there is clearly a political agenda playing out that is driving the process.  One might even suggest that the timing is somewhat reminiscent of the infamous 2002 “slam dunk” Iraq NIE that falsely made the case for war by hyping phony evidence of weapons of mass destruction.  In this case, the conclusions are not as important as the report’s appearance at a crucial time when negotiations between Tehran and the West have broken down and Washington is pushing hard to pressure Iran.  The surfacing of a new assessment that is already being spun to heighten the threat will inevitably increase concerns about a possible Iranian weapons program and provide ammunition to those who are seeking a more assertive US policy.  By its very existence, the new NIE will also provide a measure of credibility for the Obama administration, which has relentlessly been making the case that Iran is intent on acquiring a nuclear weapon, a conclusion that is not supported by the available intelligence.

That the drive to punish Iran has been supported in Congress and the media is perhaps no coincidence, suggesting that the effort is being coordinated by those who want war.  At the end of January, by an overwhelming voice vote, the US Senate joined the House of Representatives in passing a resolution demanding sanctions on Iran’s energy imports.  A joint resolution that will go to President Obama is currently being crafted and is expected soon.  The resolution could well give Obama the political cover he needs to advocate even more draconian measures against Iran and its rulers.  From the Iranian viewpoint, it is pretty much a declaration of war.

Why is Iran the target of so much rage even though it has not threatened the United States or any vital American interest?  Influence over Congress and the media from Israel and its friends is surely a large part of the answer.  How else can one explain the different treatment afforded Iran and North Korea given Pyongyang’s open development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles?  Unlike North Korea, Iran continues to be a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its nuclear sites are inspected by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency.  Iran is a developing country with a small economy and tiny defense budget and it has not invaded a neighbor since the eighteenth century.  It does not even have the resources to refine its own oil for home consumption and must import the gasoline it uses.  If the proposed Congressional sanctions are fully implemented the country’s economy will grind to a halt, but the damage does not stop there.  Iran deals with many European and Asian companies in its energy industry, all of which would be sanctioned by the US if they do not break off relations.  They might not like that and might well take commensurate steps against the United States.  Ultimately, the United States Navy might have to enforce the sanctions.  What would happen when a Chinese or Russian ship is stopped on the high seas?  Did the US Congress really think about what it was doing and what the consequences of sanctions might be?

And the irony is that the United States has a problem with Iran that has largely been manufactured in Washington and in Tel Aviv.  Even though Tehran does not actually threaten the US, Washington has been supporting terrorists and separatists who have killed hundreds of people inside Iran.  Israel, which has its own secret nuclear arsenal, claims to be threatened if Iran develops even the ability to concentrate its uranium referred to as “mastering the enrichment cycle,” a point of view that has also been adopted by Washington.  The White House has made repeated threats that the military option for dealing with Tehran is “on the table” while Israel has been even more explicit in its threats to attack.  Meanwhile, the US mainstream media is united in its desire to come to grips with the Mullahs.

It is no wonder that Iran feels threatened, because it is.  To be sure, Iran is no role model for good governance but a desire to deal with the country fairly and realistically is not an endorsement of the regime in power.  Iran is engaged diplomatically and through surrogates in the entire Persian Gulf region and central Asia, supporting its friends and seeking to undermine its enemies.  But that does not make it different than any of its neighbors and the United States, all of which play the same game.  The bottom line is that the US has been interfering in Iran since 1978 and even before if one goes back to the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadeq by the CIA in 1953.  The interference has accomplished nothing and has only created a poisonous relationship that Barack Obama has done little to improve.  Indeed, Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s harsh rhetoric suggests that when it comes to Iran the Democrats are more hardline than George W. Bush.

Imagine for a moment what might happen if Washington were to adopt a serious foreign policy based on the US national interest.  That would mean strict non-interventionism in troubled regions like the Middle East where the US has everything to lose and little to gain.  It would be the real change promised by Obama if Washington were to admit that it is not threatened by Tehran and were to declare that it will not interfere in Iran’s politics. It could further announce that it no longer has a military option on the table, and that it will not permit Israeli overflight of Iraq to attack Iran.  Iran’s leaders just might decide that they don’t really need their own “option on the table” which has been the threat that they might seek to develop a nuclear weapon.  And an Iran that feels more secure might well be willing to take some risks itself to defuse tension with its neighbors and Washington.  In 2003 Iran offered to negotiate all outstanding differences with the United States, an offer that was turned down by the Bush White House.

So the big question about Iran is not whether or not it has the knowledge and resources to build an atom bomb.  It does or will soon.  The real issue is whether the United States is actually threatened by that knowledge and what should be done in terms of positive policies to discourage an expanded nuclear program.  The United States should first of all recognize that, as the world’s only superpower, it controls the playing field.  It is up to Washington to take the first steps to defuse the crisis that is building by offering Tehran the security guarantees that might undercut the influence of those in its government who seek a nuclear weapon deterrent.  Punishing Iran is no solution.  It will not work, closes the door to diplomacy, and will only make the worst case scenario that much more likely.  Opening the door to a rapprochement by eliminating the threatening language coming out of Washington and creating incentives for cooperation is a far better course of action.

River to Sea
 Uprooted Palestinian

Israeli agent claims MI6 knew about 'fake passports & hit in Dubai'...

Via Friday-Lunch-Club

Daily Mail/ here

MI6 was tipped off that Israeli agents were going to carry out an 'overseas operation' using fake British passports, it was claimed last night.
A member of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, said the Foreign Office was also told hours before a Hamas terrorist chief was assassinated in Dubai.......the claim from a credible source that the Government had some prior knowledge of the abuse of UK passports will strengthen calls for ministers to come clean about what they knew and when.

A British security source who met the Mossad agent, and has a track record of providing reliable information, told the Daily Mail: 'This is a serving member of Israeli intelligence.....

The security source said that the tip-off was not a request for permission to use British passports but more a 'courtesy call' to let the security services know 'a situation' might blow up.

The Mossad man said Israeli intelligence chiefs understand British authorities will have to 'slap them on the wrist' and added: 'The British government has to be seen to be going through the motions.'

The Israeli's claims contradict Foreign Office assertions that the UK knew nothing of the affair until shortly before the Dubai authorities went public over the assassination earlier this week..."

Posted by G, Z, or B at 7:01 AM

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Uprooted Palestinian

EU: Funds for Gaza fuel reached PA

[ 20/02/2010 - 10:06 AM ]

BRUSSELS, (PIC)-- The European Union (EU) has denied slashing funds allocated for financing the fuel purchases necessary to operate the Gaza power station, affirming that the funds were paid to the PA in Ramallah in full.

The European campaign to lift the siege on Gaza said on Saturday that it received official messages from EU officials, including foreign ministers, in reply to its inquiry about halting the financing of the fuel.

It said that the official messages clearly stated that the EU did not reduce the amount of funds or halt them but rather the PA in Ramallah last November asked that the money be deposited with it and asked the EU to leave it to Ramallah to decide where to spend those funds according to priorities.

The European officials, who appeared upset over smearing the EU image in the media in this regard, said that they would discuss the issue with Ramallah.

The campaign, for its part, criticized the exploitation of humanitarian needs of one and a half million Palestinians in political wrangling, especially when it could lead to the loss of hundreds of lives topped by the patients.

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Uprooted Palestinian

Sheikh Qassem: Resistance Won’t Be Shaken by Criticism

20/02/2010 Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said that “the Resistance will not be affected by statements of critics because it represents a majority of the Lebanese,” according to a statement issued by Hezbollah on Friday.

Numerous Lebanese political figures criticized Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech on Tuesday during leader martyrs’ commemoration. Sheikh Qassem praised the role of the Resistance, saying it achieved many victories and achievements.

Sheikh Qassem vowed to those who want to know the future of Hezbollah’s resistance "to make it stronger and stronger until Israel fails to just think of attacking Lebanon."

The Resistance will strengthen until the Israeli enemy no longer contemplates attacking Lebanon, he added. According to Sheikh Qassem, a balanced national defense strategy requires calm dialogue sessions instead of critical statements to the media. "If some want to discuss the defensive strategy through media outlets, we tell them that we will hear their screaming without answering them."

"A reasonable defensive strategy requires calm sessions rather than 'acrobatic' media statements," he added.

He warned that European passport holders could pose a danger to Lebanon, referring to the 11 Israeli agents—six of them holding British passports, three Irish, one French, and one German—believed by the Dubai police to have assassinated top Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Special measures to protect the Lebanese people should be taken as long as Israelis could sneak in Lebanon by using European passports, his eminence said.

River to Sea
Uprooted Palestinian



February 20, 2010 at 10:31 am (Activism, Democracy, Extremism, Free Speech, Hasbara, Israel, zionist harassment)

Perhaps after you watch this YouCrap video you will know why a group like the New Israel Fund exists in the first place…. someone has to be around to counter this type of propaganda.

Also read THIS Ynet report to see what the zionists are saying about the NIF….

“The Brightest Spot in Israeli Democracy”

As many of you now know, the New Israel Fund is under attack from those seeking to weaken Israel’s democratic foundation by equating the legitimate and necessary work of human rights groups with disloyalty to Israel.

The scurrilous campaign falsely accuses NIF of working to weaken Israel by supporting human rights, and personally demonizes NIF president and former Deputy Knesset Speaker Naomi Chazan, in a manner many commentators have likened to historic anti-Semitic propaganda. The comprehensive media campaign, which began three weeks ago with an exclusive article in Ma’ariv and a spate of advertisements in major Israeli dailies grotesquely caricaturing Professor Chazan with a horn on her head, was designed by the architect of the anti-disengagement settler organizations and is being spearheaded by Im Tirtzu, a right wing organization with strong ties and shared funding with extreme branches of the settler movement.

While we were shocked by the virulence of the accusations, we were not surprised by the attack itself. It is part and parcel of an extraordinarily heavy-handed backlash against democratic values that has become all too evident in the last year. The real agenda is to de-legitimize the New Israel Fund, shut down the human rights organizations we fund, and marginalize the progressive values for which we stand as “anti-Israel.”

Regular readers of NIF News understand this attack as the latest in what appears to be a coordinated attempt to stifle dissent. The arrest of the executive director of our flagship grantee, ACRI, at a peaceful demonstration…the interrogation of the director of the Reform Movement’s Israel Religious Action Center for her role in leading egalitarian women’s prayers at the Western Wall…violent attacks on Israeli judges …threatened Knesset legislation requiring loyalty oaths and other measures targeted to the Arab minority and progressive organizations in general…the list unfortunately goes on.

The actual “research report” produced to tie NIF to the Goldstone report has now been thoroughly debunked by us and the media (e.g. Forward and JTA.) Timed to capitalize on the Israeli public’s anger at Goldstone, the report erroneously reported that more than 90% of the Goldstone negative allegations about the IDF were sourced to Israeli human rights groups supported by NIF. In reality, less than 14% of the report’s citations were attributed to groups funded by NIF, and the vast majority of Goldstone’s most controversial conclusions originated in official statements by the Israeli military and political leadership. (A new source-by-source report under preparation by NIF-Israel indicates that NIF-funded groups actually provided less than 2% of the Goldstone material on Gaza.) And our funding for these organizations comprises less than 10% of our overall grant-making. But because these human rights groups work on the most complicated and sensitive issues in Israel, they attract more than their share of controversy.

The truth is that the New Israel Fund supports Israel’s most reputable and internationally-respected human rights groups. These groups fulfilled their mission by carefully monitoring and reporting on the Gaza operation – and provided reports that have been utilized by the IDF, the Goldstone Commission, and others. In turn, it is the task of an independent inquiry to assess these reports and put them in context. Indeed, these human rights groups were also among the first to declare the need for an independent Israeli inquiry into the events of Gaza.

Many leaders of the Jewish community, in Israel, the U.S., and elsewhere around the world, have spoken out against the defamation of the New Israel Fund. A proposed Knesset inquiry into NIF and the organizations it supports was defeated, thanks in no small measure to hundreds if not thousands of NIF supporters who contacted the Prime Minister’s office in Israel. Israeli leaders across the political spectrum voiced opposition to the idea of a political witch-hunt against progressive civil society, although the original sponsor and his political allies have publicly vowed to continue his attempts in the Knesset.

What We Will Do…and What You Can Do to Help

Even before the specific attack on NIF, we committed ourselves to new initiatives in Israel on the issues of highest concern, including human rights, anti-racism and defending democracy against those who conflate self-examination and social justice with Israel’s real enemies. We will need your support to expand what have become critically important programs, and initiate new ones.

As you may know, the New Israel Fund has never spent resources on “building its brand” – every dollar not spent on basic operations goes to fund positive social change in Israel. But now, we hope you will share our alarm at the bold attempts by authoritarian extremists, in government and out, who publicly declare the need to stifle criticism, muzzle and defund organizations critical of various aspects of Israeli society, and even outlaw legitimate expressions of speech and conscience.

And so we will not be silent.

As columnist Gershom Goremberg recently wrote:

“So the fight here isn’t over funding. It’s about free speech. For several decades, the brightest spot in Israeli democracy has been the growth of groups independent of the government and political parties that promote civil rights and social equality…The New Israel Fund has helped these and many other groups financially. In the process, it has given liberal Diaspora Jews a way to contribute to Israel’s future — without schizophrenically acting as liberals at home and jingoists in Israel.”

In the coming days and weeks, we will ask the supporters of the New Israel Fund to speak up and speak out – in your synagogues and temples, in the pages of your local newspapers, at your Hillel, on blogs, Twitter and Facebook. We will ask that you educate and recruit your friends and family to understand the issues at stake in Israel, bring these concerns to your communities and participate in building the Israel we all know to be possible.

For thirty years, NIF has founded and funded progressive civil society in Israel. We and our organizations are proud of our accomplishments and we will not yield to those who confuse building a better and society with anti-Zionism and other inflammatory catch-phrases. And with your help, we will continue and succeed in building the Israel of which we all can be proud.


An opinion from one of the few ‘voices of sanity’ left at the Jerusalem Post…..
Counterpoint: Im Tirzu’s witch hunt continues


While one may legitimately disagree with some of the organizations in Israel that NIF supports, it is well known for its aid to some of the most creative, progressive and socially-minded NGOs in the country.

Most stories in the news have a brief shelf-life. Even the tragedy in Haiti has faded from the world’s consciousness after dominating the media for a number of weeks. But there are other events that drag on, including those that at first glance seem insignificant. In Israel, we are experts at flogging a dead horse, belaboring a particular news item ad nauseam. Such is the lingering coverage of the radical right-wing Im Tirzu’s frontal assault on the New Israel Fund (NIF) and its director, Dr. Naomi Chazan.

Indeed, Im Tirzu is guaranteeing that the story be kept alive as they now have produced inflammatory billboards: “Exposure: Naomi ‘Goldstone’ Chazan’s NIF stands behind the Goldstone Report,” thus inciting a vicious atmosphere. Further breathing life into the issue is the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee setting up a sub-committee to examine how foreign foundations sponsor Israeli organizations. Kadima’s Otniel Schneller, former secretary-general of the Yesha Council and former deputy speaker of the Knesset, has announced that he is working to reach a broad consensus to probe the conduct of NIF and its Israeli grantees.

As the founding chairperson of Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), I can categorically state that RHR might never have gotten off the ground if it were not for the funding it received from NIF at the incipient stages of the organization’s formation. I am proud of the work of RHR and grateful for NIF’s continued support.

With the dismissal of Dr. Chazan as a columnist for The Jerusalem Post earlier this month, I am caught in a dilemma. I understand the reason for the termination of her column. It’s difficult to imagine any newspaper extending a free hand to one of its writers who, at the same time, is suing it. However, the Post, along with Yediot Aharonot and Maariv, do need to answer for printing an advertisement with classic anti-Semitic overtones, like the one that demonized Dr. Chazan.

I have written for the Post for more than 25 years; for the past four years, I have written a bi-weekly column in the Magazine, switching every other week with Dr. Chazan, my ideological colleague. Some of the articles I pen are acutely critical of Israel. At no time has anything I’ve written ever been censored. Given the fact that the Post’s international readership is so wide, what I write can certainly be used as political fodder for Israel’s detractors.

NOT ONLY do I identify with Naomi Chazan, but also with the goals of NIF. She and NIF have become the foci of Im Tirzu’s witch hunt, which has made the bogus allegation that NIF is actively involved in undermining the Jewish state. Im Tirzu would have us believe that Israeli NGOs funded by NIF supplied 92% of the negative accounts of Israel in the Goldstone Report. Regarding RHR, I know for a fact that this is a libelous assertion.

Im Tirzu has not provided any credible evidence to support its outrageous assertion; but history has shown, particularly for us Jews, that the bigger the lie, repeated often and loud enough, the more it becomes believable. Sadly, the present government provides fertile ground for the organization’s accusations. Fearful of a possible revolution of Im Tirzu’s sympathetic ministers like Lieberman, Yishai, Landau and a host of other xenophobic characters in the government, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has remained embarrassingly silent. As for Labor Party representatives in the coalition, they have said nothing. Once again, they have proven to be a spineless pack of hypocrites willing to violate any and all principles to maintain their cabinet seats.

The hypocrisy extends to Ronen Shoval, the force behind Im Tirzu. He questions NIF’s funding process; who gives to NIF; and which Israeli NGOs receive moneys from it. He sees no contradiction with Reverend John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI) donating $100,000 to Im Tirzu. This is the same John Hagee who has frequent anti-Semitic outbursts: Hitler carried out the will of God to return the Jews to Israel in accordance with the biblical promise. . . The Holocaust took place because Jews rebelled and renounced their true God. Their disobedient behavior is the reason for anti-Semitism and the persecution Jews have suffered throughout the ages.

Apparently, this does not disturb Shoval who told Haaretz last week: “We are not financially well off enough to say ‘no’ to money, even if the source doesn’t perfectly match our own personal views.” That logic should apply to NIF. While one may legitimately disagree with some of the organizations in Israel that NIF supports, it is well known for its aid to some of the most creative, progressive and socially-minded NGOs in the country; many of which have become essential watchdogs to protect Israel’s democratic values, not to mention its support of environmental projects, minority rights, immigration, religious pluralism and the economically deprived.

Im Tirtzu has succeeded in wreaking havoc, creating a snowball effect, whereby NIF and Naomi Chazan felt compelled to bring a legal suit against The Jerusalem Post, which in turn forced the Post to let her go. It is simply unfair that the Post’s editor David Horovitz – who did not even see the ad before it appeared in the paper, and for whom I have great respect – should have been compromised.

Im Tirzu has placed not only the Post, but also other Israeli and Diaspora institutions between a rock and a hard place. Using innuendo and intimidation, the organization threatens the basic tenets of democracy.

Protesting by stopping to write makes good sense. Yet, I refuse to capitulate to Im Tirzu’s ongoing bullying. As long as the Post allows me editorial freedom, I will continue to express critical opinions on the social, political and religious dynamics in Israel when I deem it necessary. I can only hope that those within our government, as well as within the Diaspora Jewish community, will stand up to Im Tirzu’s continuing witch hunt so they do not fall victim to Pastor Martin Niemrs warning about the silence of German intellectuals during Word War II:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the trade-unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade-unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

The writer is a Reform rabbi, author, lecturer and ongoing contributor to

The Jerusalem Post Magazine.

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President Assad: Peace Requires “Will” Something Israel Lacks

20/02/2010 In a meeting with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon on Friday Syrian President Bashar Assad said peace requires will – something that the Israeli is lacking. The president stressed that European countries should take up an active role in the region and force “Israel” to commit to a peaceful path.

He also reiterated the need for Turkish mediation in the so-called peace talks and stressed the importance of France's support in the matter. Syrian news agency SANA reported that the two discussed regional affairs in their Damascus meeting, which included the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Assad stressed that the so-called peace process must be based on international resolutions.

The French prime minister expressed his country's desire to improve ties between Paris and Damascus, as well as between Syria and the European Union. He added that coordination between France and Syria should continue, as said this would help find solutions to the region's problems. The two also discussed signing an economic cooperation treaty.

Earlier this week Assad met with US Under Secretary of State William Burns in Damascus. The White House announced that the meeting was meant to boost dialogue and "all aspects" of Washington-Damascus relations, which have been strained.

This month also saw the Syrian president speak with a more assertive tone against the Israeli enemy. In a meeting with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri earlier this month, Assad stressed that his country would stand by Lebanon "in the event of an Israeli attack it could find itself up against."

The official Syrian news agency SANA reported that the two discussed "Israel's repeated threats against the region's countries and Israel's extremism which threatens to foil chances of peace, by igniting the region with wars and leading it into the unknown."
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The Placeman Cometh: New IAEA Chief Stokes Iran War Fever for the Bush-Obama Regime

Via intifada Voice

Chris Floyd

Amano of Japan new IAEA Chief

20 Feb 2010

In an astounding development, the brand-new director of the International Atomic Energy Agency — who was narrowly elected to the post a few months ago with the strong, one might say insistent, backing of the United States — has just issued his very first report on Iran’s nuclear program. And guess what the new, American-backed director said? Go on, you’ll never guess.

Give up? Well, hold on to your hats — the American-backed director, Yukiya Amano, has “broken with the more cautious style of his predecessor, Mohamed ElBaradei” — you know, the man who was right about Iraq’s lack of a nuclear weapons program — to suggest (sans proof, of course) that there might be “possible military dimensions” to Iran’s nuclear program, which just happens to be the most internationally inspected and regulated nuclear power program in history.

That’s right; coming just days after Hillary Clinton’s fresh bout of fear-mongering about Iran, the American-backed Amano echoed the talking points of the Bush-Obama Administration. (Should we not finally just give the proper name to the “continuity” of our militarist-corporatist rulership?) The Bush-Obama regime has continually proclaimed its unshakable belief that Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons. So unshakable is this belief that nothing on earth can alter it — not Iran’s willingness to send its uranium to other countries for enrichment, and not the acknowledgment by the White House itself that Iran lacks the technical capability of enriching uranium even to a level far below that needed for weaponization.

But yes, it is true that any nuclear program might have “possible military dimensions” somewhere down the line. That indeed is not outside the realm of possibility. Which means, of course, that the United States and its allies and clients are fully justified in taking any action against Iran they please. Because the Bush-Obama Administration — indeed, the entire American political and media elite — now operate entirely on Dick Cheney’s “One Percent Doctrine,” which was delineated by journalist Ron Suskind. As we noted here awhile back:

As Suskind notes, it was Cheney who enunciated the certifiably paranoid principle that governs the regime’s behavior: If there is even a one-percent chance that some state or group might do serious harm to the United States, then America must respond as if that threat were a certainty — with full force, pre-emptively, disregarding any law or institution that might hinder what Bush likes to call the “path of action.” Facts and truth are unimportant; the only thing that matters is the projection of unchallengeable power: “It’s not about our analysis, or finding a preponderance of evidence,” said Cheney. “It’s about our response.”

And make no mistake. Despite the frequent Kabuki-like displays of conflict between the current managers of the Bush-Obama regime and Dick Cheney, they remain united on the essential principles of the modern American state: projecting dominance and protecting the rich. Indeed, one reason why American politics today seems so bitter and vitriolic and personal is because there are no real policy disagreements anymore — and hence, no real politics. There are only two corrupt factions of imperial courtiers squabbling over the perks and spoils of office. They follow the same policies, feed at the same trough; there is nothing of substance left for them to fight about. And so they spend their time in ever-more frenzied bouts of blaming each other for the disastrous results of the foul and evil principles they both embrace so avidly.

Clinton’s blackly comic blather — denouncing Iran’s lack of democracy while praising Saudi Arabia and Egypt — has been regarded in some quarters as a “shift” in U.S. policy, a move away from the “engagement” with Iran that Barack Obama has supposedly been undertaking. But as Stephen Kinzer notes, this “engagement” has been a transparent and sinister falsehood from the word go:

Hillary Clinton’s sudden volley of shots at Iran marks the end of an engagement policy that never really began. She wants to convince the world that the regime in Tehran is opposed to serious talks with the west. That may be true, but we’ll probably never know because in fact, no one has offered such talks. …

Whether the increasingly splintered regime in Iran would or could respond to a serious offer of negotiations is highly uncertain. What is clear, though, is that the regime has not been offered this option. The Obama administration, like its predecessor, has made clear that it is interested in negotiating only one thing: curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme. No country, however, would agree to negotiate only on the question that an adversary singles out, without the chance to bring up others that it considers equally urgent. …

A more promising approach would be to tell Iran what President Nixon told China 35 years ago: if you agree to consider all of our complaints, we will consider all of yours. Clinton has made clear that the US will make no such offer. Instead it clings to the decades-old American policy toward Iran: make demands of the regime, threaten it, pressure it, sanction it, seek to isolate it, and hope for some vaguely defined positive result.

And in a powerful article at, Peter Casey details both Barack Obama’s long-standing bellicosity toward Iran — and what’s more, his administration’s move beyond Cheney’s One-Percent Doctrine, which, as Casey notes, did require at least the barest modicum of evidence, manufactured or otherwise:

Since the turn of the year, the U.S. has been deploying the heavy machinery needed to put war plans against Iran into action. In January, the Obama administration forced several Gulf countries to agree to install American ballistic-missile defense emplacements on their soil. At the same time, the Pentagon announced a new “first line” of defense in the Persian Gulf, reinforcing the U.S. Navy’s already considerable armada in the region with Aegis cruisers equipped with advanced radar and anti-missile systems. Moreover, under Obama, the plans for missile-shield systems Bush crammed down on Poland and the Czech Republic, which triggered furious protests from Russia, have been modified to concentrate on potential medium and short-range missile attacks from Iran. More recently, the Romanian government reportedly has agreed to accept U.S. anti-missile batteries on its territory to thwart theoretical Iranian rockets. …

A lot of this recent effort looks and sounds similar to the run-up to Bush-Cheney’s Iraq invasion. There is, however, a profound difference in the current administration’s targeting of Iran. It is essentially following Cheney’s model for preventive war – with one exception: It has dispensed with relying on any tangible facts to “make the case” for war. Instead, it has made the Iranian leadership’s intent the decisive factor.

Bush-Cheney lowered the bar for starting war by adopting the doctrine that in a “post-9/11 world,” preventive war is not only permissible but morally imperative. Cheney’s innovation lay in arguing that “failure to act” was inherently the greater risk, even if the likelihood of terrorist or other attack was trifling. … Cheney’s “1 percent solution,” however, had an Achilles heel. It required the putative existence of actual, physical fact. The possibility that WMDs may exist may be small – but it still must exist. But the drawback to any plan based on assertion of fact is the possibility of refutation – maybe not in time to prevent a horror show, but sooner or later. In other words, under the Cheney Doctrine, the casus is subject to falsification, even long after the belli has broken out. Which is, of course, exactly what happened in Iraq.

The Cheney Doctrine’s very low bar for war was bad enough. Obama and his own neoconnish coterie of advisers, however, are tossing away the bar altogether. … Obama’s advisers also learned from Cheney’s mistakes. Picking up on Iran where Bush-Cheney left off, the Obama hawks are not about to try to justify war based on testable factual claims – or any fact-based claims whatsoever. If the Obama/Netanyahu war factions get their war, they will do so based on the article of faith that “we cannot allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.” To ensure that objective, they have concluded, Iran cannot be permitted to achieve the technological and manufacturing capability to build a bomb. Thus, a plan for war is being built on inherently unverifiable beliefs about what the leadership – more likely, some later leadership – of Iran might decide to do in the future with knowledge, skills, equipment, and infrastructure it has yet to acquire. Under the Cheney Doctrine, the U.S. needed to strike if there was a 1 percent risk that Iraq actually had WMDs. In contrast, the Obama-Netanyahu Doctrine permits military aggression if there is any chance that Iran someday may have the ability to create a nuclear weapon and might then decide to actually make one.

… Obama himself best illustrated this sort of reasoning at a news conference Feb. 9, discussing Iran’s alleged “rejection” of an offer by the U.S. and its Western allies to convert some low-enriched uranium in Iran’s possession into medical isotopes, requiring enrichment to a level just short of weapons-grade. He said: “That indicates to us that, despite their posturing that their nuclear power is only for civilian use, that they in fact continue to pursue a course that would lead to weaponization. And that is not acceptable to the international community, not just to the United States.” But virtually any step by Iran to develop nuclear capabilities with is own science and resources could lead to “weaponization.” Obama here simply imputes a malicious intent – building the “case for war” based on analysis no better than palm reading.

Now the Bush-Obama administration has inserted its own man at the top of IAEA — and suddenly the Agency has reversed years of a cautious, evidence-based approach in favor of, yes, palm-reading about what Iran might eventually do someday under optimal conditions that do not exist today and will not exist for the foreseeable future, if ever.

As I wrote here in 2008, following yet another scaremongering “scandal” about Iran’s enrichment activities:

There is literally nothing that Iran can do – or not do – to divert the American elite’s desire to strike at their land and bring it under domination. And apparently there is nothing that anyone in America with any power or a major platform will do to stop it either.

As I have noted over and over, including here, just a few weeks ago: “No one has laid out the case against attacking Iran with more depth, power, eloquence and persistence than Arthur Silber. What’s more, Silber has offered practical steps that even those obsessed with retaining their ’serious’ and ‘politically savvy” cred could employ.’ (For just one example, see this piece, whose title says it all: “So Iran Gets Nukes. So What?”)

But, as noted above, no one has followed up on Silber’s suggestions, or on anything remotely like them. And so the Kabuki dance of death in the imperial court goes on — now aided, appropriately enough, by the Japanese placeman installed at the IAEA by the Bush-Obama Administration.


Chris Floyd is an American journalist and author best known for his blog of political news and commentary, Empire Burlesque. Since 2000, Floyd has worked as a freelance journalist and as a writer and researcher for Oxford University. He is also the Chief Editor of Atlantic Free Press.

February 20, 2010 Posted by Elias NEWS & POLITICS , , , , , , , , , No Comments Yet

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Three Palestinians wounded in IOF incursion, Palestinian woman detained in WB

[ 20/02/2010 - 09:20 AM ]

KHAN YOUNIS, (PIC)-- Three Palestinians were wounded on Saturday morning when Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided east of Qarara, Khan Younis district south of the Gaza Strip, local and medical sources said.

They told the PIC reporter that a number of IOF tanks advanced 300 meters into the area amidst violent artillery and machinegun fire wounding three citizens who were later hospitalized.

The sources pointed out that the incursion followed clashes with resistance fighters who monitored the infiltration of a special IOF force in the area and engaged the intruders as sounds of explosions and shelling were heard.

They said that the IOF gunships were taking part in the clash using their machineguns.

Meanwhile, the IOF troops detained a Palestinian woman in Al-Khalil on Saturday at the pretext that she attacked an Israeli settler.

Local sources said that the soldiers claimed that she stabbed the settler but would not identify her.

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Occupation 101

Via Intifada Voice

more about “Occupation 101“, posted with vodpod
A thought-provoking and powerful documentary film on the current and historical root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unlike any other film ever produced on the conflict — ‘Occupation 101′ presents a comprehensive analysis of the facts and hidden truths surrounding the never ending controversy and dispels many of its long-perceived myths and misconceptions.
February 19, 2010 Posted by Elias | NEWS & POLITICS | , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments Yet
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