Al-Manar Documentary’s Bombshell: Imam Khamenei Has Lebanese Origins

March 4, 2020

Summarized and Translated by Mohammad Salami

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, has Lebanese origins, the first episode of the documentary about the first 50 years of the Imam’s life revealed.

The episode presented a detailed research about Imam Khamenei’s pedigree since Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), showing how his ancestry’s general nature is religious, theological and political, which provided him with the personal capabilities needed to be a leader.

Researching a person’s lineage does not aim at knowing the names of his ancestors, but at highlighting their achievements which convey to him the inner energy and refines his personality, according to the documentary.

Imam Khamenei is the 38th grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and his ancestors belong to Quraysh tribe in the Arab peninsula, the documentary added.

The forefathers of Imam Khamenei moved to Persia because it was a safe haven which protected them from the persecution of Imam Khamenei, according to the documentary that added the 12 Shia Imams used to order their followers, especially the clerics, to dwell in Iran.

The documentary pointed out that Imam Khamenei’s ancestors mainly lived in Arak city, adding that Mir Sayyed Mohammad Al-Madaeini (his 28th grandfather) moved from the Arab peninsula to Arak where he was a prominent religious leader around 1000 years ago before he was killed by the Abbasids.

According to the documentary, Sayyed Ahmad bin Sayyed Mohammad was Imam Khameni’s 27th grandfather who lived in Hazawe city before he was killed by the Abbasids as he was an influential cleric.

Imam Khamenei’s direct grandfather is Sayyed Hussein Tafrishi (1844-1907), according to the documentary which noted that Sayyed Tafrishi lived in Khameneh town near Tabriz where the locals are Azerbaijani and speak Turkish (which explains why Imam Khamenei speaks Turkish).

“Sayyed Tafrishi, who used to lead the prayers at a mosque in Tabriz, supported the constitutional revolution against the Qajar Shah, forcing him to change the ruling system from absolute royalty to constitutional royalty which allows establishing a democratically elected parliament.”

According to the documentary, Imam Khameni’s family rebelled against the Shah move of signing an agreement with the United Kingdom, granting the British side extensive powers in Iran.

“Sayyed Jawad Khamenei, the Supreme Leader’s father, studied theology in the Iraqi city of Al-Najaf before he moved to the Iranian city of Mashhad in 1931 where the Holy Shrine of Imam Ali bin Moussa Al-Rida is.”

“Locals in Tabriz gave Sayyed Jawad the surname “Khameni” in reference to Khameneh town from which he came.”

“Imam Sayyed Ali Khameni was born in Mashhad in 1939 and kept there till the Islamic Revolution emerged victorious  in 1979. His eminence used also to lead the prayers at Siddiqin Mosque in the city.”

The documentary mentioned that in 1925 Shah Rida Bahlawi dethroned the last Qajar Shah and seized power, banning Hijab and the male religious uniform.

“Sayyed Jawad Khamenei rebelled against the Shah and organized political congregations, which exposed him to an 8-year exile.”

Sayyed Jawad’s first wife, from whom he had three daughters, died when he was in his thirties; consequently, his eminence got married to the daughter of Ayatollah Al-Najaf Abadi Al-Mirdamadi, Khadija.

Ayatollah Abadi is almost the 3oth grandson of the 6th Shia Imam Jaafar Al-Sadek and one of the grandsons of Sayyed Ali Hussein Al-Karaki  who descends from the town of Al-Karak in Lebanon’s Bekaa.

This means that Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei has been proved to have Lebanese origins, according to the documentary.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

From Lebanon to Afghanistan, Sayyed Abbas: the Leader, the Fighter, the Martyr


Sayyed Abbas al-Moussawi with familyHistory of the Islamic Resistance of Lebanon proves that great leaders of Hezbollah had spared nothing for the sake of their cause. Neither did they save their time nor their money, sons and souls.

Examples are many, and sacrifices are much more. The most prominent were Sheikh Ragheb Harb, the late Secretary General Sayyed Abbas al-Moussawi, the military chief Hajj Imad Moughnieh, the military leader Hajj Hassan al-Laqqis and several others.

“We cherish these models and we are proud of them, because we seek either victory or martyrdom,” Yasser, the older son of Sayyed Moussawi, said in an interview with Al-Manar website.

“It is unfair that such leaders would die in bed and not in the battlefield and confrontation,” he added.

Born in 1952, Sayyed Moussawi was raised in a conservative family where he was taught the importance of the Arab causes, and the Palestinian cause at the forefront.

Sayyed Abbas al-MoussawiWhen he became teen, he chose to specialize in religious studies and subscribed for that purpose at the Hawza of Imam Moussa al-Sadr in the Lebanese southern city of Tyre. At the age of 16, he wore the cleric dress and travelled to Iraq to be the student of Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohamad Baqir al-Sadr, an influential cleric, philosopher, political leader, and founder of the Da’wa Party of Iraq, who was killed later by the tyrant Saddam Hussein.

Sayyed Abbas spent nine years studying theology in the Najaf Hawza, and returned to Lebanon in 1978 to serve his community, and established the Hawza of Imam Mahdi (as) in the eastern city of Baalbe. In 1979, he founded the Gathering of Muslim Scholars as a first attempt to unite the different Muslim sects in Lebanon.

The Leader

Following the victory of Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979, and blessed by the great Iranian leader Imam Ruhollah al-Khomeini, Sayyed Moussawi launched the armed resistance against the Zionist invasion to Lebanon in 1982 as the enemy troops reached Beirut city.

His eminence not only dedicated his time and stayed in the Lebanese capital in order to plan for military operations against the Zionist aggression, but also intensified the operations in the occupied territories of Beirut and down to the villages and the cities in the south.

Furthermore, Sayyed Abbas used to read incidents differently. He was enjoying a high capacity of analyzing matters based on his strong faith. He who accompanied Sayyed Moussawi quoted him as saying that the future would be for the Resistance, while arrogance would be defeated, “but it is only a matter of time.”

His eminence was among the first prominent figures who warned Muslims of the Takfiri ideology, which “only serves the Zionist enemy since it is achieving the enemy’s goals of dividing our nation.”

Yasser told Al-Manar website that “Sayyed Abbas had developed social and personal relationships with a lot of Sunni Muslim figures, such as Sheikh Fathi Yakan, Sheikh Maher Hammoud, Sheikh Saeed Shaaban and many others, even with those who do not agree today with Hezbollah.”

Sayyed Abbas al-Moussawi's visit to Pakistan, Afghanistan“He was keen to build relations with Sunni leaders, under the title of “Resistance is for all and belongs to all honest people”, he said, pointing out that “Sayyed Abbas was keen to involve people within the resistance combat groups, including Al-Fajr group that participated in abducting a Zionist military vehicle.”

Moreover, Sayyed Abbas’ visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan were also aiming to unite the nation’s efforts to face the world arrogance. He wanted the nation to remain coherent in face of seditions plotted by the enemy. He tried to spread awareness about the concept that the strife would harm everyone and would spare no one, and that the resistance is the school that everyone should learn and benefit from.

Sayyed Abbas al-Moussawi's visit to popular neighborhoodsThe Reformer

After electing him as a secretary-general of Hezbollah in May 1991, Sayyed Abbas provided services for the resistance community, and started to follow up its daily life. He was keen to visit the popular neighborhoods to witness their needs and suffering. His immortal motto was :”We will serve by our lids.”

Yasser narrated that Sayyed Abbas used to devote each Friday to meet the people, listen to their problems, and try to resolve them.

The Commander

A source close to Sayyed Abbas reported an incident with his eminence when they were planning to attack a Zionist post in the occupied Lebanese town of Baraashit. Fighter Majid Ghaddar came to Sayyed Abbas to object for not adding his name to the combat group in the operation. Ghaddar insisted to participate and Sayyed Abbas allowed him to take a part in the military campaign. When the group departed for the battle, Sayyed Abbas informed the field commander that Ghaddar would be martyred in the operation, and actually, the operation ended up with the martyrdom of Ghaddar.

“Sayyed Abbas predicted Ghaddar’s martyrdom, and felt his sincerity and great enthusiasm,” the source said.

Sayyed Abbas al-Moussawi delivers his last speech in Sheikh Ragheb's funeralThe Martyr

On Feb. 16, 1992, His eminence insisted to attend the funeral ceremony marking the martyrdom of Sheikh Ragheb Harb in Jibshit southern town, who was killed by a Zionist agent in 1984 in front of his house during the Israeli occupation of Lebanon.

Sayyed Abbas was accompanied by his wife, Om Yasser, and his youngest son, Hussein. He gave a speech in the ‘farewell sermon’, where he said his immortal commandment: “Basic Commandment is to Keep the Islamic Resistance.”

As the Zionist spy drones were hovering over Jibshit, Sayyed Abbas stepped his last steps towards the car heading to Beirut. When he reached the town of Teffahta, the Israeli warplanes fired missiles at his convoy and killed him, with his wife, Om Yasser, and his youngest son, Hussein.

The Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei have many quotes regarding the personality, the sacrifices, the dedications and the concerns of Sayyed Abbas with respect to his nation, community, resistance and the Muslim world. He was keen to unite different sects of Muslims to face the Zionist enemy.

“The martyrdom of Sayyed Abbas is a turning point in the course of resistance, the fruits of which are the achievements of the resistance and the victories over the enemy,” Imam Khamenei said.

Report by Zolfiqar Daher
Translated by E. al-Rihani

Source: Al-Manar Website

18-02-2015 – 15:42 Last updated 18-02-2015 – 15:42

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PFLP salutes the great leader Ahmed Hussein Abu Maher Yamani on his passing


With great grief, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, its Central Committee, Political Bureau, and General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat, announced the loss of the great Palestinian leader Ahmed Hussein “Abu Maher” Al-Yamani on January 3, 2010.

Comrade Yamani was a legendary leader of the Front and the Palestinian struggle and spent six decades at the forefront of continuous struggle for Arab unity and the liberation of Palestine. 

Today, the PFLP, the Palestinian revolution, the entire Palestinian people, the Arab nation and the progressive forces of the world have lost a great man – a modest fighter and an outstanding leader who dedicated his life until its last moment serving the cause of his people and the Arab nation.
The Palestinian masses in every camp and location know of Abu Maher as a solid fighter and a leader who always held the feelings, problems and concerns of the people at the forefront and gave expression of the struggle for return, freedom, dignity and self-detemination.
The Arab people know of Comrade Abu Maher as a freedom fighter committed to Palestinian and Arab unity as a way to liberate every inch of Palestine and achieve the aspirations of the Arab nation for liberation, democracy, socialism and unity.
The PFLP promises to the masses of our people in Palestine and everywhere in diaspora to continue in the struggle and resistance on the path of Abu Maher Yamani, continuing his approach, methods and principles to achieve the full objectives of our great and glorious Arab nation.
Abu Maher al-Yamani was born in the village of Suhmata near Akka in September 24, 1924; he was married and the father of eight. He studied in elementary school in Suhmata before attending high school in Safed, Akka, and graduated from the Arab College in Jerusalem. He worked in the Department of Agriculture in Akka and the Public Works department in Haifa before al-Nakba. 
He served as the secretary of the workers’ trade union for the staff of the Department of Public Works and secretary of the Palestinian Arab Workers Union in Yafa. He was also Secretary of the People’s Committee of the village of Suhmata and a member of the Higher Arab Committee in the District of Upper Galilee. He played an active role in resistance during the Nakba and was forced to Lebanon with his family in Palestine, where he worked as a teacher and educator in Lebanon, at the College of Education in Tripoli, managed several schools in Baalbek, Ein el-Helweh, and Burj al-Burajneh. 
Abu Maher joined in the military filed of struggle, participating in the establishment of a military organization for the liberation of Palestine in 1949, and was one of the founders of the military branch of the Arab Nationalist Movement.
He participated in establishing the Palestine Division of the ANM, composed of Palestinian Arab youth, and was a member of the leadership of the Palestinian branch of the ANM.
Abu Maher co-founded the Association of Palestinian students in Lebanon and also co-founded the Union of Palestinian Workers in Lebanon, in addition to the establishment of popular committees in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon. He was Deputy General Secretary of the General Union of Palestinian Workers and was the GUPW delegate to the Secretariat of the General Union of International Arab Trade Unions in Cairo. 
Abu Maher al-Yamani was one of the founders of the PFLP and one of its most prominent leaders since its inception, was a member of the First Conference of the Popular Front, a member of its Central Command, a member of the Central Committee and the Political Bureau. 
He was the Secretary of the Palestinian Rejection Front formed in the mid-1970s and was the Secretary of the Palestinian Salvation Front in 1986. He was the representative of the Front to the Executive Committee of the PLO, and was responsible for the Department of Popular Organizations and Chair of the Department of Return, as well as a member of the Palestinian National Council.
He died of a stroke in Beirut, Lebanon on January 3, 2010 and will be buried in a funeral in Beirut on January 5, 2010.

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Farewell Abu Maher: Palaestine Lost Ahmad Alyamani, Another Great Historical Leader


أبو ماهر اليماني .. يعـود إلى سـمحاتا

ولما أيقن «أبو ماهر اليماني» أن الموت وحده هو طريق العودة إلى فلسطين مشى نائماً إليها.
لكأنه استبق المزيد من الكوارث العربية التي كانت في طريقها لالتهام الغد العربي: محاولة ضرب مصر بالفتنة الطائفية وهي مثخنة بجراح الصلح المنفرد مع العدو الإسرائيلي، والتشطير الذي سيمزق السودان دولاً شتى ستموت في حروب القبائل فوق الأرض المتفجرة بالثروة، وشهوة السلطة التي تتهدد اليمن في كيانها الطبيعي، والإنجاز التاريخي للاحتلال الأميركي في العراق ممثلاً بتشطيره كانتونات على الطوائف والمذاهب والعناصر والأعراق ومن بعد على القبائل والعشائر..
أما لبنان الذي صار بالقسر وطنه الثاني فقد عاش «أبو ماهر اليماني» سنواته الأخيرة في قوقعة حزنه عليه وعلى الأذى الذي ألحقته به «الثورة» التي اغتالتها شهوة السلطة بعدما انشغلت بـ«مباهجه» عن الحروب الأهلية التي يستبطنها نظامه الفريد.
ولقد عرفت «أبا ماهر اليماني» في مخيم البداوي قبل حوالى أربعين سنة، وهو يتقبّل التبريك باستشهاد شقيقه على طريق فلسطين، بعد سنة واحدة على هزيمة 1967: سننهض من جديد. لن تسقط هذه الأمة ولاّدة الشهداء!
أما في بيروت فكان «أبو ماهر» يملأ المخيمات والشوارع والأندية والتجمعات حيوية وصدقاً وتنظيماً وحماسة… وكان لا بد أن تلتقيه كل يوم، وهو يمشي في اتجاه فلسطين.. عبر وحدة الأمة.
ومع رحيل كل رفيق في حركة القوميين العرب خاصة، أو من ثوار فلسطين عموماً، كان «أبو ماهر» ينتدب نفسه لتعويضه: هكذا كان بعد رحيل غسان كنفاني والدكتور وديع حداد، ثم بعد رحيل الدكتور جورج حبش، ثم بعد رحيل ياسر عرفات.. فالخلاف إنما كان حول العودة إلى فلسطين وليس عليها.
ابن «سمحاتا» في قضاء عكا، النقابي، المعلم، المناضل، القائد الجماهيري، الإنسان الطيب، الصادق، الطاهر، الذي استعصى على الإفساد والذي رفض أن يستقيل من النضال حتى النفس الأخير، غادرنا بالأمس منطوياً على أحلامه التي هدّه اليأس من استحالة تحقيقها.
لكنّ «أبا ماهر» ترك خلفه كتيبة من المناضلين لتتابع الطريق نحو المقدسة فلسطين.

أبو ماهر اليماني: أعظمُ عـشّاق فلسطين

أبو ماهر اليماني
كان في السادسة حين أخذه والدُه على حماره من سحماتا إلى مدينة عكّا. هناك، من على كتفيْ والده، رأى فؤاد حجازي وعطا الزير ومحمد جمجوم وهم يَصْعدون إلى الكرسيّ الذي أعدّه الجلّادون البريطانيّون لشنقهم، «فتتدلّى أجسامُهم وتتماوجُ حتى تفيضَ أرواحُهم الطاهرة». ومنذ ذلك اليوم صورُهم مرتسمةٌ في مخيّلته. ومنذ ذلك اليوم أبو ماهر يسير إلى فلسطين

سماح إدريس
عصرَ هذا اليوم، سيحتضن ترابُ لبنان واحداً من أنبل القادة العرب وأطهرِهم وأشجعِهم وأصلبِهم وأشدِّهم عشقاً لفلسطين. ولا يسعُني في هذا الوقت القاتل، الذي تُفْجَع فيه أمّتُنا برحيل أخلصِ خلّصها، إلا أن أخطّ كلماتٍ سريعةً وفاءً لهذا الرجل القدوة.

من مميّزات القائد أبي ماهر

أبو ماهر كتلة من المميّزات الإنسانيّة والقياديّة والأخلاقيّة، أكثر ما لفتني منها عنصران أساسيّان.
أولاً: تنوّع مجالات نشاطه في خدمة فلسطين، ولا سيما فلسطينيّو لبنان؛ بل لا نبالغُ في القول إنّه قد يكون أكبرَ مَن خَدم مخيّماتِ لبنان قاطبةً حتى يومنا هذا! وإنّ المرء ليُصابُ بالدُّوار من حيويّةِ هذا المناضل الفذّ وتنقّلاته: من تأسيس نقابةٍ، إلى إنشاء مجموعةٍ عسكريّة، أو نادٍ ثقافيّ

، أو مؤسّسةٍ تربويّة. كذلك فإنّ المرء سيعتريه الذهولُ من كيفيّة توصّل أبي ماهر إلى «اختراع» الوقت لمتابعةِ أعمالِ ما أسّسه: بعينٍ حانيةٍ، وقلبٍ عطوفٍ، وتصميمٍ فولاذيٍّ. وهاكم جردة بسيطة ببعض أعماله ومناصبه. وما سيُلحظ فيها، بلا شكّ، إنّما هو منحاها التأسيسيّ؛ بمعنى أنّ أبا ماهر لم يكن محضَ مشاركٍ أو تابعٍ، بل كان مسؤولاً (أوّلَ أحياناً!) عن تأسيس عددٍ هائلٍ من الهيئات الفلسطينيّة الشعبيّة والنقابيّة والسياسيّة والعسكريّة والتربويّة.
أ) ففي ميدان التعليم، لم يكتفِ بأن أمضى سنواتٍ طويلةً في التدريس (كليّة التربية والتعليم في طرابلس)، وفي الإدارة (مدارس الأونروا في بعلبك وعين الحلوة وبرج البراجنة)، وفي عمل النظارة (الكليّة الأهليّة في بيروت وبعلبك وثانويّة خالد بن الوليد ـــــ المقاصد في بيروت)، بل كان وراء فكرة إنشاء مدرسةٍ في برج البراجنة. كذلك أسهم في تأسيس أنديةٍ ثقافيّةٍ في بعض مخيّمات لبنان. وعلى الرغم من أنه لم يحُزْ تعليماً جامعياً عالياً، فإنّ ما اكتسبه من تربيةٍ وطنيّةٍ صادقةٍ داخل المدارس التي ارتادها (سحماتا وترشيحا وصفد وعكّا والقدس)، وبفضل أساتذةٍ أجلاء (كحامد عطاري)، جعله يتيقّن من أهميّة التعليم والثقافة في تحرير الوطن ـــــ وهذا درسٌ سنعرضه بشيء من التفصيل لاحقاً، ولا يكفّ أبو ماهر عن التشديد عليه على امتداد مذكّراته الثريّة («تجربتي مع الأيّام»، خمسة أجزاء، عيبال وكنعان، دمشق، 2004).
ب) أما في العمل العسكريّ، فقد كان أحدَ مؤسّسي المنظّمة العسكريّة لتحرير فلسطين (1949)، والفرع العسكريّ في حركة القوميين العرب. ولم يكن ذلك غريباً، بالمناسبة، على ابن حسين اليماني: فأبوه باع بقرتَه في بداية الثلاثينيّات من القرن الماضي ليشتري بثمنها بندقيّةً، وليلتحقَ بالثورة التي قادها شيخُ المجاهدين (من جبلة السوريّة) عزّ الدين القسّام. ولم يكن ذلك غريباً على الفتى أحمد، وهو الذي شاهد، بأمّ العين، الآباءَ الفلسطينيين يخبّئون السلاحَ لمقاومة الجيش البريطانيّ ومهاجمةِ المستعمرات الصهيونيّة. هذا بالإضافة إلى انخراطه لاحقاً في ما سمّاه «اشتباكاتٍ صغيرةً» مع الصهاينة، من قبيل ما فعله في تلّ الرميش ومستعمرة حولون.
ج) أما في العمل النقابيّ، فإلى جانب قيادته نشاطاتٍ عمّاليّةً قبل طرده من فلسطين إلى لبنان، فإنه كان مؤسّس اتحاد عمّال فلسطين في لبنان، ونائبَ الأمين العامّ للاتحاد العامّ لعمّال فلسطين، وأحدَ مؤسّسي الكشّاف العربيّ الفلسطينيّ في لبنان، ومؤسّسَ رابطة الطلاب الفلسطينيين في لبنان، وأحدَ مؤسّسي اللجان الشعبيّة في مخيّمات الفلسطينيين في لبنان.
د) وفي المجال السياسيّ المباشر، كان أبو ماهر أحدَ مؤسّسي شعبة فلسطين في حركة القوميين العرب، والجبهة الشعبيّة لتحرير فلسطين، فضلاً عن تأديته دوراً قيادياً طويلاً ومؤثِّراً في الجبهة المذكورة (حتى استقالته منها في أوائل تسعينيّات القرن الماضي) وفي «جبهة الرفض» و«جبهة الإنقاذ» واللجنة التنفيذيّة لمنظمة التحرير الفلسطينيّة. زدْ على ذلك ترؤّسَه «دائرةَ شؤون العائدين»، وعضويّتَه الفاعلة في أكثر من عشرة مؤتمراتٍ قوميّةٍ أو فلسطينيّة.

ثانياً: مناقبيّته الفريدة. لعلّه لا أحد يستطيع تلخيصَ أخلاقيّة أبي ماهر العالية أفضل من جورج حبش، رفيقِه في نبلِ الأخلاق قبل أن يكون رفيقَه في السلاح والموقف. يركّز «حكيمُ الثورة» عند حديثه عن «ضمير الثورة» على الأمور الآتية: نظافة اليد واللسان، النزاهة الأخلاقيّة، التواضع في المأكل والملبس والعيش، الحساسيّة الخاصّة تجاه عوائل الشهداء والأسرى (مقدّمة «تجربتي مع الأيام»، ص 12). ولعلّ الحكيم أدرك خصالَ رفيقه بعمقٍ لا بحكْم دربهما الواحد الطويل فحسب (منذ مطلع عام 1951)، بل لأنّه يشترك وإيّاه كذلك في تلك الخصال أيّما اشتراك. بل لعلّنا نضيفُ إلى تلك الخصال رفضَهما معاً للمناصب حين تتعارض مع قدرتهما على تحمّل المسؤوليّة كاملةً. هكذا يكتب حبش ما يأتي: «مع حلول عقد التسعينات، أقدمَ أبو ماهر على التخلّي عن جميع مواقعه في الجبهة الشعبيّة ليفسحَ في المجال أمام الجيل الجديد… ليأخذَ دورَه. غير أنّ الرجل لم يتوقفْ عن العمل، بل تابع القيامَ بواجباته الوطنيّة التي شملتْ ميادينَ العمل السياسيّ والقوميّ والجماهيريّ…» (المصدر السابق، ص 13). هنا لا تفوتنا ملاحظة أنّ الحكيم استقال من مهمّاته التنظيميّة هو الآخر بعد شعوره بالعجز الصحّيّ عن إكمال مهمّاته، طامحاً إلى بناء «مركز الغد» لشرح أسباب الهزيمة العربيّة وسبلِ النهوض على حدّ تصريحه غيرَ مرّة؛ فيما أقدم أبو ماهر على الاستقالة من الجبهة، طامحاً إلى كتابة مذكّراته لتكون عوناً للأجيال القادمة في تلمّس طريقها في خضمّ الصراعات المضطربة.

وإذا كان لي أن أقدّم واقعتيْن سمعتُهما شخصياً، ولا تزالان تهزّانني هزاً حتى اللحظة، تمثيلاً على مناقبيّة أبي ماهر، فستكون الأولى نقلاً عن أبي ماهر نفسه، والثانية نقلاً عن أخيه ورفيقي ماهر. أما الأولى فهي أنّني زرتُه قبل عدّة أعوام في منزله في الطريق الجديدة، فشكا سوءَ صحّته، فسألتُه لماذا لا يعودُ الطبيبَ، فأجاب إنّ طبيبه (د. إبراهيم السلطي) صديقُه ولا يقْبل أن يأخذ أجراً منه، وهو لذلك يفضّل ألا يذهب عنده إلا للضرورةِ القصوى احتراماً لوقته وصداقته وعمله! أما الثانية فملخّصُها أنّ الجبهة طلبتْ من ماهر (المقصود هنا أخو أبي ماهر) أن يقبضَ على أحد المشتبه في عملهم ضدّ المقاومة لمصلحة «المكتب الثاني»، فتقصّى ماهر تحرّكاتِه، وحين أيقن أنّه في منزله قبل سطوع الفجر قرع بابَه، ففتحتْ زوجتُه، فاستسلم الرجلُ لمعرفته بعزم ماهر وتصميمِه على الإتيان به مخفوراً مهما كان الثمن. عاد ماهر فسلّمه إلى الجبهة، ليُفاجأ بأبي ماهر يستشيطُ غضباً وهو يقول: «ألم يكن في استطاعتك أن تنتظر حتى يخرج من البيت بدلاً من أن تُفزعَ عائلته وترْهبَها؟ أنسيتَ ما كان يَحلُّ بكم حين يهجم عناصرُ المكتب الثاني على البيت في وسط الليل ليقتادوني إلى السجن أكثرَ من 50 مرّة؟». نظر ماهر إلى أخيه مذهولاً وأحجم عن حمل السلاح أيّاماً (مع أنه مسؤول عسكريّ ومقاتل). نعم، هذا هو أبو ماهر، أيّها السادة، وهذه هي التربية التي سلكها ونقلها إلى الآخرين: السلاحُ يُستخدم بأخلاقٍ وشهامةٍ وطهْر، مهما كانت الظروفُ وكان الخصومُ؛ فالغاية لا تبرِّر الوسيلة قطّ.

من دروس التجربة «اليمانيّة»

لا بدّ لكلّ مَن يطالع مذكّرات أبي ماهر أن يخرجَ بخلاصاتٍ كثيرة، سأقتصرُ هنا على أبرزها.
1 ـــــ البعد النضاليّ الفلسطينيّ جزءٌ لا يتجزّأ من النضال العربيّ، مهما كانت شراسةُ تآمر الأنظمة العربيّة، قريبِها وبعيدِها، على القضيّة الفلسطينيّة. لذلك، ربّما، لم ينجرفْ أبو ماهر وراء شعار «يا وحدَنا» الذي روّجه اليمينُ الفلسطينيّ (ولا سيّما بعد هزيمة 1982) ليبرِّرَ استسلامَه أمام العدوّ الإسرائيليّ والولايات المتحدة.
2 ـــــ إنّ للوحدة الوطنيّة الفلسطينيّة ثوابت ينبغي أن ترتكزَ عليها، وهي التي تبنّتها قراراتُ المجالس الوطنيّة الفلسطينيّة المتعاقبة والمجلس المركزيّ واللجنة التنفيذيّة لمنظمة التحرير، وتقضي بعدم التنازل عن شبرٍ من فلسطين ولا عن حقّ العودة إلى كامل فلسطين. ولهذا صرف أبو ماهر سنواتٍ طوالاً وهو يصارع المستسلمين داخل منظمة التحرير، بل وهو يناضل ضدّ بعض «الانحرافات» داخل الجبهة الشعبيّة نفسها على ما يردّد بعضُ العارفين.
3 ـــــ لا انتصار بلا معرفة، والمعلّمُ الشجاعُ هو أساسُ النهضة. وهذا درسٌ لنا، نحن معشرَ الأكاديميين و«المثقفين»، الذين نسينا أو تناسينا أنّ شهاداتنا ومعارفَنا ليست وسيلةً للتباهي والتبجُّح، بل لخدمة الناس والمجتمع والأمّة، ولمواجهة الإدارة الظالمة أو المتقاعسة. لم يتردّدْ أبو ماهر لحظة في عصيان إدارة المدارس التي عمل فيها حين رأى فيها تهاوناً بحقّ فلسطين والطلاب (ولا سيّما مدارس الأونروا)، فطُرد أو سُجن جرّاء ذلك. فكم عددُ أساتذتنا اليوم الذين يؤْثرون السلامة على المواجهة مع الإدارة؟

■ ■ ■

اليوم يحْملك طلابُ المخيّمات والمقاصد وبعلبك وطرابلس وصيدا وبيروت يا أبا ماهر. ويسير بك أحفادُ جورج حبش ووديع حدّاد وغسّان كنفاني وأبي علي مصطفى وتلميذِك النجيب ناجي العلي. وسيردّدون جميعُهم، في قلوبهم، كلماتِك البسيطةَ المفعمةَ بالتحدّي والأمل:
«سأعود إلى أرضي الحبيبة، بلى سأعود. هناك سيُطوى كتابُ حياتي، سيَحْنو عليَّ ثراها الكريمُ ويؤوي رفاتي. سأرجعُ، لا بدّ من عودتي!»
* رئيس تحرير مجلة الآداب

«على العهد باقون»

نعت الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين «عضو اللجنة المركزية للجبهة والقائد الفلسطيني الكبير» أحمد حسين اليماني «أبو ماهر اليماني». وقالت، في بيان النعي: «فقدت الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين والثورة الفلسطينية والشعب الفلسطيني بأسره والأمة العربية وأحرار العالم كله رجلاً مناضلاً فذاً وقائداً متواضعاً… يعيش بكل جوارحه أحاسيس الناس ومشاكلهم وهمومهم وآلامهم وآمالهم في العودة والحرية والاستقلال والكرامة».

وتابع البيان: «كان وحدوياً آمن بالوحدة الوطنية الفلسطينية والوحدة العربية الشاملة طريقاً لتحرير كل ذرة من تراب فلسطين». وقالت «الشعبية» إنها «تعاهد القائد الغالي على الاستمرار في الكفاح والمقاومة ومواصلة السير على نهجه وطريقه ومبادئه لتحقيق كامل أهداف شعبنا».
أما الجبهة الديموقراطية لتحرير فلسطين، فقالت في بيانها: «اليوم يغادرنا أبو ماهر لينضم إلى قوافل الشهداء الميامين وفي القلب منهم رفيق عمره ودربه أبو عدنان قيس عضو المكتب السياسي للجبهة الديموقراطية، حيث كان الراحلان من أوائل قادة اللاجئين في لبنان، الذين أسسوا اللبنات الأولى للحركة الوطنية المعاصرة، ومن أوائل الذين أدركوا مبكراً أهمية الدور الفلسطيني الخاص ممزوجاً ببعده القومي الديموقراطي التحرري».
بدوره، رأى الأمين العام لجبهة التحرير الفلسطينية، الدكتور واصل أبو يوسف، أن اليماني «كان إلى جانب حكيم الثورة الدكتور جورج حبش (الصورة) والقائد الأمين العام الشهيد أبو علي مصطفى من مؤسسي الجبهة الشعبية وحركة القوميين العرب، حيث انتخب لسنوات عديدة عضواً في اللجنة التنفيذية لمنظمة التحرير الفلسطينية وبقي مدافعاً عن برنامجها الوطني وثوابت شعبنا حتى اللحظات الأخيرة».
ويوارى جثمان الراحل بعد صلاة العصر اليوم (الأربعاء)، نحو الثانية والنصف من بعد الظهر، في مقبرة شهداء فلسطين. وتُقبل التعازي في ممثليّة منظّمة التحرير الفلسطينيّة، خلف فندق الماريوت، الجناح، أيّام الأربعاء والخميس والجمعة بين الحادية عشرة والواحدة، وبين الثالثة والسادسة.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Ayatollah Sayyed Fadlullah: A Life of Jihad and Knowledge

04/07/2010 Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlullah was born in Iraq’s holy city of Al-Najaf on November 16, 1935 /1354H. He was raised and educated by his father who greatly influenced the life and thought of his son.

His father Sayyed Abdul Ra`ouf Fadlullah: Born in 1325H/, went to Najaf and studied with Mirza Fatah` Ash-Shahid, Sayyed Abul Hassan Al-Asfahani, and Sayyed Abdul Hadi Al-Shirazi. He became a prominent scholar and a widely sought and appreciated teacher. He stayed with his brother, Sayyed Muhammad Sa’id and went to the south of Lebanon when the latter died. There he continued his studies and became a religious authority capable of issuing religious decrees (Fatwas). He was known for his piety asceticism and good morals. He had a great influence on his son who benefited a lot from him until he died.


Sayyed Fadlullah went first to a traditional school (Kuttab) to learn the Quran and the basic skills of reading and writing. Then he went to a modern school where he stayed for two years and studied in the third and fourth elementary classes. Sayyed Fadlullah began Islamic theology studies at a very young age. He also used to take great interest in the whole cultural and literary scene, which he followed up by reading Lebanese, Egyptian and Iraqi magazines and newspapers.

Sayyed Fadlullah also studied the Arabic language, logic and Jurisprudence, and some philosophy. He did not need another teacher until he studied the second part of the course known as Kifayat al Usul which he studied with an Iranian teacher called Sheikh Mujtaba Al-Linkarani. He attended the Bahth Al-Khariji (External Research) in which the teacher does not restrict himself to a certain book but gives more or less free lectures.


Sayyed Fadlullah attended the Bahth Al-Khariji of some of the greatest scholars and religious authorities of that time including: Sayyed Abulkassim Al Khou’i, Sayyed Mohsen AL-Hakim, Sayyed Mahmoud Shah`roudi, Sheikh Hussein Hilli, Mullah Sadra Al-Qafkazy who was known as Sheikh Sadra Al-Badkoubi.

Academic and literary Activities

When Sayyed Fadlullah was only ten or eleven years old, he joined hands with some friends in publishing a hand written magazine they called Al-Adab. He then took part in editing the Al-Adab magazine (1380H) that was published by Jammat Al- Ulama (Scholars’ Group) at Najaf. He used to write the second editorial called “Kalimatuna” (Our Message) and these articles were then compiled in a book called, “Our issues in the light of Islam”. The first ”Our Message” editorial was written by Martyr Sayyed Mohammed Baqir As-Sadr.

Back to Lebanon

After 21 years of studying under the prominent teachers of the Najaf religious university, Sayyed Fadlullah concluded his studies in 1966/1385 H and returned to Lebanon. He had already visited Lebanon in 1952 where he recited a poem mourning the death of Sayyed Muhsin Al-Amin.

In 1966 he received a invitation from a group of believers who had established a society called ”Usrat Ataakhi” (The family of Fraternity) to come and live with them in the area of Nabaa’a in Eastern Beirut. Sayyed Fadlullah agreed, especially as the conditions at Najaf impelled him to leave.

In Naba’a, he began organizing cultural seminars and delivering religious speeches that discussed social issues as well.

Nevertheless, his main concern was to continue to develop his academic work. Thus he founded a religious school called” The Islamic Sharia Institute” in which several students enrolled and later became prominent religious scholars including Martyr Sheikh Ragib Harb., one of the main founders of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon. He also established a public library, a women’s cultural center and a medical clinic.

When the Lebanese civil war erupted in 1975, he was forced to leave the Naba’a neighborhood. He moved to the Southern suburb of Beirut where he gave priority to teaching and educating the people. He used the Mosque as his center for holding daily prayers giving lessons in Quran interpretation, as well as religious and moral speeches. He even opened a religious school in the Sayyeda Zeinab (daughter of Imam Ali and sister of Imam Hussein pbut) neighborhood in Damascus, where he used to teach regularly.


Sayyed Fadlullah was a staunch fighter against arrogance and for the cause of freedom. He supported the international liberation movements and devoted his efforts to guide and back the international Islamic movements.

In this context, he took part along with Martyr Sayyed Muhammad Baqir As-Sadr in founding the Islamic Movement in Iraq as a first step towards an Islamic movement in the Shiite sphere. Then, in the late seventies, he announced his support to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic movement in Lebanon with all the means possible to ensure its success: speaking, writing, and defending its major arguments at every opportunity.

In his sermons, he strictly called for armed resistance to the Israeli occupations of Lebanon and Palestine, along with opposition to the existence of Israel. The media described him as the spiritual guide of the resistance. Before long he became the target of several assassination plots executed by local regional and international intelligence services.

Attempt of Assassination:

On March 8, 1985, a car bomb equivalent to 200 kg of explosives went off at a few meters from his house in the Bir El-Abed neighborhood in Beirut’s southern suburb. 80 people were martyred and 256 were wounded, most of them were children and women. The blast destroyed a 7-story apartment building, a cinema. The attack was timed to go off as worshippers were leaving Friday Prayers. “Sayyed Fadlullah escaped injury, as a woman had stopped him at the mosque seeking a few answers to some religion-related questions.

Sayyed Fadlullah accused the US, Israel and its internal allies of being behind the explosion.

Social Activities

In addition to academic and religious activities, Sayyed Fadlullah concentrated on social activities.

His Mabarrat Association was born, and it soon became one of the greatest pioneers and models in this field. The association which began its activities by building orphanages expanded and began to build social and medical centers as well as mosques.

The Mabarrat has now nine orphanages, two medical centers nine schools, one Vocational School, eight Islamic centers and other Media and Information centers.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Bereaved Gaza astronomer opens up the heavens

Rami Almeghari writing from , The Electronic Intifada, 4 May 2010

Suleiman Baraka stargazing in Gaza. (Amjad Hammad)

As the sun set on a clear evening in Gaza City, Suleiman Baraka was setting up his telescope on the rooftop of the French Cultural Center as two dozen visitors waited anxiously to gaze into the stars. It was a rare occasion to break away — at least momentarily — from the siege on the ground in the Gaza Strip.

“It is such an exciting experience for me that I never imagined would happen,” said Suzan al-Barashly, one of the waiting star-gazers. “I’ve been used to nothing but Israeli warplanes and drones buzzing over our heads. I have never enjoyed the beauty of our sky. I am seeing the stars close to me — such a beautiful scene.”

In recent years, the Gaza Strip has witnessed widespread Israeli air raids that targeted many parts of the coastal territory, the latest and deadliest of which was in the winter of 2008-09. More than 1,400 persons, mostly civilians, were killed in the attacks.

That reality was not far from al-Barashly’s mind. “I just told a friend that I am afraid to look into this telescope,” she said. “It resembles a rocket launcher, so I am afraid the Israeli unmanned drones will hit us, thinking we are launching rockets.”

Ahmad, another amateur astronomer, said, “I feel glad to have experienced something that is unimaginable in Gaza. Really, thanks to Mr. Suleiman, who made us enjoy such an incredible moment.”

For the past several weeks, astronomer Suleiman Baraka has been touring the Gaza Strip with his telescope to allow as many individuals as possible to enjoy a few moments looking up into the heavens. His first stop was with the schoolmates of his late son, Ibrahim.

Ibrahim Baraka

Baraka, 46, hails from the southern Gaza Strip and holds a doctorate in astrophysics from an Australian university. In 2007, he spent a year doing research at the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States. In January 2009, he returned to Gaza after Ibrahim, aged 11, was killed in an Israeli air strike that hit his home in the town of Bani Suhaila. Baraka now lives at his brother’s home in Bani Suhaila along with his own four-member family.

“The killing of my son inspired in me a message of peace, a message that I decided to convey to his killers,” Baraka said. “I gathered Ibrahim’s fellow students and started teaching them how to be inspired to be scientists.”

“I didn’t teach them sources of horror or terror,” Baraka recalled. “Rather, I wanted to send out a message that the sky, from which my son was killed, is a beautiful sky that has beautiful things to look at.”

Along with the killing of his son and the destruction of his home, Baraka lost his large library of scientific books. With a smile full of pride, the astronomer also spoke about his experience at NASA.

“Man is great, man can do everything, once he is provided with the tools for creation. When you take off the social or economic burdens that always pose an obstacle in the face of achievement, man can do anything and can reach the moon. The Americans have been successful enough, ensuring such proper conditions for creation.”

Before his position at NASA, Baraka had spent time doing research at Virginia Tech. When he first joined NASA, Baraka said, “I felt so proud of being a part of this prestigious American agency,” he recalled.

Asked whether he planned to stay in Gaza or move abroad, Baraka replied that he is thinking of staying in Gaza to foster research for the benefit of the entire Gaza community.

“In coordination with a local university here, I plan to open up the first-ever space research department, hoping that in a course of five years, Gaza will see several space researchers, God willing,” Baraka said.

But even bringing his highly-advanced Meade LXD 75 telescope into the Gaza Strip was enormously difficult due to the strict blockade Israel has imposed on in the territory for almost three years.

“Three countries helped bring this equipment into Gaza, but I am not going to name any of them,” the astronomer said after an evening of star-gazing. As he spoke, he packed up the telescope, ready for the next stop on his tour.

Rami Almeghari is a journalist and university lecturer based in the Gaza Strip.

Remembering Al-Hakim George Habash: A Revolutionary Life, a tribute to the great Palestinian Arab leade

Goerge Habash is dead: the revolutionary ascetic.
Posted by As’ad

I was very sad all day today. I would feel my tears on my face every time I would see his pictures on Arab TV stations which reported on his death. I told part of the story here before: on the first time I met Habash in Beirut when I was in high school. `Aziz woke me up after midnight. I did not know where I was going, but `Aziz was smiling. He knew that I would be happy. We went on his motorcycle.

We entered the living room in that apartment in Hamra Street, and there was George Habash and his wife, Hilda. I was 17 years old in 1978. Habash was drinking whiskey. I was mesmerized–by him, not by the whiskey. I never was affected by meeting a person, like that meeting. I never since then found anybody with his charisma. In my eyes, nobody had Habash’s charisma, although I am objectively critical of his political role and the experience of the PFLP.

Of course, the Western media will portray him as a terrorist, and House of Saud neo-conservative writer, Waddah Shararah (I disliked him when he was a Stalinist and I dislike him even more as a neo-conservative Arab but my consolation is that nobody reads him and those who read him don’t know what he wants to say–Sadiq Jalal Al-`Adhm once told me that Shararah writes as inside joke between himself) will repeat what he said before on Habash, that he was a terrorist. I know better.

I even know that he was a gentle man, not a violent man at all–current Zionist obituaries in the Western press notwithstanding. Ironically, the era of the early hijacking and “international operations” made him notorious worldwide in the early 1970s although he had nothing to do with that. That was the brainchild of Wadi` Haddad, who did not have the patience for “mass work” that Habash so favored, what is now called “collective action” in the political science jargon. So during the conversation, Habash brought up the issue of that right-wing student at IC (my obnoxious elitist high school) that I have “bothered.” I prevented the student from displaying books by right-wing organizations during an Arabic book exhibit at the school. I was merely observing–as I still do–the “isolation” of the Phalanges Party–the fascist party of Lebanon–in the wake of the `Ayn Ar-Rummanah massacre. The student’s father was Habash’s dentist, and the father complained to Habash. So Habash brought up the issue: and I so arrogantly–I get embarrassed when I remember–told him: there is no “wisatah” (mediation) in revolutionary matters. Who am I to talk like this to a symbol of world revolution at the time? Who did I think I was? How arrogant of me. I still remember what he said. He said: we can’t say that he (the fellow in question) is “in`izali”(isolationist) nor we can say that he is “watani” (patriotic).

I was deeply affected by the encounter, and my (personal) admiration for him grew. You often meet people you have read about, and then you lose your admiration when you see them up close. It was not like that in the case of Habash, although politically I was growing increasingly toward anarchism and opposed Marxist-Leninist organizations in college–one Stalinist organization threatened to kill me because they said that I was having a bad influence on their members who had left. But I managed to smoke Habash’s pipe afterwards–I hate smoking, but did not want to miss the opportunity to smoke his pipe.

So Habash was not in favor of “international operations” and he was adamant about that and was forced in late 1971 to expel his very best friend Wadi` Haddad over “the hijacking and international operations.” Haddad believed in actions, and nothing else, and that was not Habash. Habash’s family was of course expelled by Zionist gangs under the leadership of Itzhak Rabin (he talked about the expulsion in the Hebrew edition of his memoirs, but not in the English language–why harm Zionist propaganda in the English speaking world, he must have calculated) in 1948.

I saw Habash a few times over the years, and the last time was a few years ago when the publisher, Riyadh Najib Ar-Rayyis and Fawwaz Trabulsi suggested that I talk with Habash about writing his biography. Nothing came out of that, and he said that his wife did not agree: she wanted to monopolize the process. Habash was somebody you can disagree with: in fact, he had read a very critical article I had written on the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine back in 1987 in the Middle East Journal. I also gave him in that meeting another very critical article I have written about him for the Journal of Palestine Studies (titled “Neither Unity, Nor Liberation”).

Prior to the meeting, his entourage and my sister kindly asked me to not be too critical: they were worried about him because he had become too emotional and excitable. I noticed that. He would get very emotional. But he was mentally alert, although he would forget a date here and there. I offered some criticisms in that last meeting: about how the Front did not promote women’s rights, as it should have. He fully agreed, and told me that they are working on promoting more women in leadership positions. I told him that secularism was not pushed hard enough, and he also agreed. But what bothered me was his sense of resignation: he basically felt that he was willing to leave the Palestinian question in the hands of Hamas and Hizbullah because “we the left, have failed.”

It bothered me that he was not willing to be critical of the Islamists, or be interested in saving or reviving the Left.

I am very critical of the experience of the PFLP: many things along the way. Oil money (directly or indirectly) reached and corrupted all organizations of the Palestinian revolution. And during the experience of the Rejectionist Front (from 1974-1977), Habash and the PFLP allowed the regime of Saddam Husayn to exercise control over all of them in return for hefty subsidies. That was it. Between Zionism and imperialism, oil money, the Syrian and the Iraqi regime, and the lousy leadership of Yasir `Arafat, they succeeded in aborting the Palestinian revolution. Habash uniquely resigned from the PFLP leadership.

He wanted to found think tank. He gave me a copy of the plan–it was super secret in his mind, as he told me to not share with anybody. I read it later, and felt very sad. He basically had a vision of a think tank, organized Leninistically–with a politbureau and a Central Committee, etc. It never took off of course: he had no money. He barely had money to live, I know that. He also refused offers of financial help from wealthy Palestinians. But lest Zionist hoodlums begin their celebrations too prematurely: I still remember his last words to me: he said, as if to take himself out of a gloomy mood: “and there is and there will be a new Palestinian generation.” How true. Stay tuned.

Posted by As’ad at 8:28 PM

Commemorating the second anniversary of the death of Al-Hakim George Habash, we reprint three articles published in homage to this great man who remains an inspiration and a source for millions. The first briefly recounts the legacy of this great man, the second is an interview in which Dr. Habash in his own words describes the decisive moment of his life and the third is a tribute delivered in London by the Communist Party.
WRITTEN BY Yousef Abudayyeh – With the passing of Dr. George Habash, the Arab people as a whole along with peoples of the world struggling for liberation have painfully lost one of the towering legends of decolonization. Dr. Habash, popularly known as Al-Hakeem in dual reference to him being a medical doctor and the conscience of the Palestinian movement, is unmatched in Arab history.

He is the quintessential intersection of Palestinian democratic nationalism, pan-Arabism, progressive internationalism and egalitarianism.

Yet, even such monumental attributes are but a small part of Al-Hakeem’s legacy. It is his unparalleled principled character, humility, love for his comrades and people and unblemished history that coin him as the archetypical revolutionary leader. From the day he became a refugee in 1948, to founding the Arab Nationalist Movement and subsequently the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to emerging as one of the most beloved Palestinian Arab revolutionaries in the seventies, to his final departure in Amman, Jordan, Abu Maysa’s 83-year journey is that of Palestine itself. While many barter for mere crumbs the entirety of their once-existing principles, Abu Maysa gave up none – not an ounce. As purported “leaders” construct palaces through thievery from which to command their gangs of fear, he died just as he lived, in modesty, humility and enormous dignity. This is a leader who set the highest example by voluntarily vacating his top political seat while at the peak of his popularity. Al-Hakeem transcended all organizations, political parties, nation-states and borders. He spoke loudly for the deprived, fought for the needy and healed the wounds of the poor. He was Palestinian in heart, Arab in blood and egalitarian in his principles. He leaves a legacy of internationalism situating the Palestinian struggle within an anti-imperialist struggle that transcends the borders of any one state. Al-Hakeem shunned chauvinists and embraced democratic nationalists who valued unity and home-grown socialism. He rejected the blind mechanical importation of political theory, and argued that it must evolve from our particular Arab conditions. He understood the colonial nature of Zionism as an agent of imperial dominance while also recognizing that it is served by functionaries and servants from within the Arab ranks. He was an ardent advocate of the inseparable duality between national liberation and social equality. Unlike others, Al-Hakeem never saluted a Zionist, never “negotiated” under the Israeli flag, never traded kisses with our people’s killers, never knelt before a king and never stretched a hand in beggary.

He remained true to his belief, never oscillating from one political camp to the next in search of a seat of power. Abu Maysa lived and died never distinguishing along religious lines. He was deeply entrenched in the cumulative totality of our Arab history from the Gulf to the Ocean.

And while the wretched of our people searched for meager pieces of bread and drops of clean water throughout the Gaza Strip and the camps of exile, he did not reside in a palace, nor did he enjoy pay-offs of treason. Ironically, the passing of this exemplary unifying pan-Arabist legend comes at a time when our people in Gaza are tearing down fences to join hands with the Egyptian Arab people across imposed colonial divides. How sad it is to lose George Habash at a time when true leadership is scarce and despots are many. How painful it is to lose such a visionary at a time when our people appear to be led by local agents of Empire. How devastating it is to lose an icon of integrity and pride, when Arab pride is trampled every day, particularly by its presumed custodians. And how untimely his loss is when the need to enhance the democratic pan-Arab nationalist alternative is an existential necessity in today’s era of right wing ascendancy. With the loss of this refugee from the town of Lid, we are all painfully so much less, yet due to his life and legacy we are all so much more. How easy it is to pretend to be a revolutionary during times of luxury, and how almost impossible it is to live and die as one during impossible times. Such is painstakingly achieved only by the select few, of whom El Hakeem is undoubtedly unmatched. Farewell Abu Maysa! The struggle continues… The Free Palestine Alliance January 26, 2008

habash 2nd anniversaryAbout his uprooting during the 1948 battle of Al-Lid Palestine

Interview edited by: Adib S. Kawar, a chapter of his book “Testimonies of Uprooted Palestinians”

Al-Hakim George Habash was a born leader, the respect of whom was inevitable and willingly accepted by the people around him without demand on his part… generations of young and old Palestinians and other Arabs in complete devotion and dedication to the Arab cause in general and the Palestinian one in particular, which is in its core… Al-Hakim (doctor and wise man) George Habash, made irreplaceable and unforgettable favors to all those who accompanied and worked with the beginning of the Arab nationalist movement and Palestinian Arab struggle on the road of return to the stolen and occupied homeland, Palestine and its neighborhood, that is ours in the past, present and future. Al-Hakim exhausted his youth and up till the last breath of his life in the struggle for the cause.

He sacrificed his promising and lucrative profession as a medical doctor that he studied and worked hard to complete for long years, but he sacrificed the profession, wealth and his health without regret or request for gratitude. He deserves all the gratitude, respect and admiration by all his people… In the words of Dr. George Habash: Place and date of birth: Al-Lid Palestine 1927 I left Al-Lid twice, the first time to Yafa at age 13 after completing my elementary schooling. I had the patriotic feelings, simply general patriotic feelings, and I still remember demonstrations and resistance that were organized by Palestinian Arab citizens… In Yafa I joined the secondary Orthodox school, and remained in it up till second secondary. I would like to mention here my Lebanese teacher of the Arabic language, Munah Khoury from the Lebanese south. He left in us a deep and strong impression. Arabic as a language was for him his complete, beloved and full world, he was reciting poetry as if being sung, and I admire him today. I still remember him well.
I met him in Beirut when I joined the American University of Beirut, and I learned that he left later for the United States. As Yafa’s school was an incomplete secondary school, I had to move to Jerusalem to join the Terra Santa secondary school. Upon completing my secondary education I returned to Yafa where I taught for two years, and in 1944 I joined the American University. While in Yafa I used to frequently go the Orthodox Club to read newspapers and magazines that came from Egypt, in which I used to read literary and cultural topics. At the American University I was a top student, paying full attention to my lessons. In my spare time I used to practice my hobbies, especially swimming and sometimes I used to sing. I had a good voice. Politics was out of my mind, and never occurred to me that I would get involved in it, and that it would become my whole life.
This condition of mine remained constant up till the beginning of my fourth year in the university, my second year in the school of medicine. When one day a friend in the university, Maatouk Al-Asmar, approached me and said that there was a professor in the university – meaning Dr. Constantine Zureik – who was conducting small closed cultural circles, talking to a limited number of students (20 – 30 students) about Arab nationalism, and about the Arab nation and how and why it should resurrect. He suggested to me the idea of attending these circles. These were lectures the aim of which was enlightenment and stirring debate, and there were no organizational commitments.
To be specific, Maatouk told me about a person called Ramez Shihadeh who at the time had already graduated from the university. “I want you to meet him to talk about Arab unity and the salvation of Palestine and how to achieve these goals,” but as I was at the time planning to go back home, the meeting didn’t materialize. That was at the end of June/July 1948, when Zionists had been trying to complete the uprooting of Palestinians from their homes and land, which at the time had reached its peak. The year ended and the university closed its doors. I told myself that I should go to Palestine and to Al-Lid in particular. Zionist forces uprooted the people of Yafa to temporally settle in Al-Lid. But my parents asked me to stay in Beirut, and sent me money; my mother was always worrying about me a lot. My arrival surprised the family and my mother said, “What do you want to do son?” And my sister for her part asked: “What could you do?” I wondered whether I could fight. I had already started studying medicine and probably I could help in this field. There was in the hospital a doctor of the Zahlan family, and I started assisting him. Al-Lid, like other Palestinian Arab cities and villages was in severe conditions of confusion and worry. Zionists airplanes were bombarding Palestinians and frightening them.
Conditions were severe and horrible. I was involved in my work when my mother’s aunt came to the hospital and told me that my mother was worrying about me and asked me to return home. I refused and insisted on remaining in the hospital, but she insisted and I in my turn insisted on doing my duty. When I continued refusing then she told me that my elder sister whom I dearly loved had passed away. On my way back home I saw people in the streets in a severe condition of fright, and the injured, including some that I knew, lying unattended on the sidewalk. We buried my sister near our house, as reaching the graveyard was impossible. Three hours later Zionist terrorists attacked our house shouting and ordering us to leave in Arabic, “Yala Barah, yala barah ukhrojo”, go out, leave.
My mother and I, along with my sister’s children – including a baby whom we carried – walked with our relatives and neighbors. We didn’t know where to go. The terrorists were ordering us to walk, and we walked. It was a very hot day, and it was Ramadan. Some of those around us were saying “this is resurrection day” and others said, “This is hell”. Upon reaching the end of the town we saw a Zionist check point to search the people. We didn’t have any arms or weapons. And it seemed that our neighbor’s son, Amin Hanhan, was hiding money; fearing that they would steal it from him, he refused to be searched. The terrorists shot him dead right in front of us. His mother and his younger sister rushed to see him and started wailing. His younger brother, Bishara, was a friend and classmate of mine, and we used to study together. You ask me why I chose this path, why did I become an Arab nationalist. This is Zionism and they speak about peace? This is the Zionism I know, saw and experienced.(*) Al-Hakim referred us to details in the book: “Palestinian Struggle Experience. A full dialogue with George Habash”. One of the founders of ‘The Arab Nationalist Movement” and “The Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine”, and their first secretary general.
George Habash, a revolutionary life The following tribute was delivered to a meeting organised by the Communist Party
( in Central London on Saturday 10 February 2008. Issued by: CPGB-ML Issued on: 10 February 2008 In his 1944 speech, Serve the People, Comrade Mao Zedong said these famous words: “All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said: ‘Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.’ To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.”
Today, the heroic Palestinian people are continuing to resist, whether in the breaking of the barrier with Egypt to alleviate the genocidal siege of Gaza, or in the martyrdom operation at Dimona, the nuclear site where imperialism and its stooges do not demand inspections, to express a sense of grief at the loss of Al-Hakim, Dr George Habash, one of the greatest leaders of the Palestinian people, and, more importantly, to celebrate his glorious life and give real political vitality and clarity to the essential work of building solidarity with the Palestinian people in the British working class and in the anti-war and other progressive movements. Comrade George Habash, who has passed away at the age of 82, gave more than six decades of his life to the revolution. He was born into a prosperous Greek Orthodox family in the Palestinian city of Lydda. At that time, the Palestinian people were under the rule of the British colonial mandate, which was systematically preparing the way for the creation of a zionist settler colonial state, which, in the words of Sir Roland Storrs, the first British governor of Jerusalem in the 1920s, would form “for England a ‘little loyal Jewish Ulster’ in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”.
In the summer of 1948, whilst studying medicine in Beirut, George went back home to help organise resistance to the zionist catastrophe that was sweeping over the Palestinian people, driving them from their ancestral homes and lands into exile and dispossession. At this time, he and his whole family, along with 95 percent of the inhabitants of his native city, were forced out at gunpoint by the zionist terrorists and ethnic cleansers commanded by Yitzhak Rabin. Years later, Habash was to observe: “It is a sight I shall never forget. Thousands of human beings expelled from their homes, running, crying, shouting in terror. After seeing such a thing, you cannot but become a revolutionary.”
During al-Nakba, the catastrophe, more than 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and lands, made stateless and refugees. Graduating as the first in his class, Dr Habash eschewed the chance to pursue a lucrative career, opting instead to open a people’s clinic offering free treatment and a school for refugees in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Book review: A Palestinian century in a poet’s life

Electronic Intifada
Mya Guarnieri, The Electronic Intifada, 20 November 2009

My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness bills itself as “A Poet’s Life in the Palestinian Century.” To better understand Adina Hoffman’s biography of the Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali, however, consider it: “A Palestinian Century in a Poet’s Life.” But this syntactical slip doesn’t discredit Hoffman’s work. By deftly stacking shattered recollections atop dusty stones of history Hoffman has built a literary landmark — not only is My Happiness the first English-language biography of a Palestinian writer, it offers an evocative biography of pre-1948 Palestine.

The biography of place lost begins with the village Saffuriyya, which was perched atop a hill in the Galilee. Ali’s childhood there was difficult but idyllic. His father was hobbled by a bout of polio and unable to work, leaving his family poor. Ali, who was born in 1931, attended school for only four years before he began to support his parents and their growing brood. At a time he should have been learning math, Ali worked as a businessman, selling eggs in Haifa.

Eventually Ali, a savvy entrepreneur, ran a kiosk from his family home. He built a small but bustling business, with an eye turned towards his fiancee, Amira, betrothed to him since birth, “whose trickling laughter and graceful gait,” Hoffman writes, “had entered his bloodstream so profoundly that she almost seemed to be part of him …”

Amira’s presence, along with the gentle Galilee, softened the rough contours of Ali’s early life. The landscape later conjured in Ali’s poetry and recreated in Hoffman’s book, teems with life and seems somehow different from the surrounding world, almost magically so. Hoffman writes:

“The thorns themselves seemed to smell sweetly there, and though he couldn’t say which perfume belonged to what plant — or explain how he knew the difference between the fragrance of a Nazareth sage bush and a sage bush with its roots in the soil of Saffuriyya — the boy was convinced that he could tell in his nose when he’d crossed the border …”

Saffuriyya sat on rich land that yielded mounds of fruit including “the most sought-after pomegranates in the whole Galilee.” Saffurriyya was a “village of the Quran, of epic tales and colored Damascene or Cairene prints of their heroes …” And most importantly, Saffuriyya was a thread weaving Ali and his family through the fabric of Palestine.

But the cloth was torn on a July night in 1948 when Israeli forces bombed the village. Ali and his family fled to Lebanon. There the teenaged Ali hawked goods in a refugee camp until the spring of 1949, when he and his family returned to freshly-named Israel. After sneaking over the border under the cloak of night, they settled in Nazareth, less than 10 kilometers from the remains of their village. Ali opened the kiosk that later became one of the two souvenir shops he owns today.

Though his own career as a poet began late in life, Ali’s store in Nazareth was a frequent meeting place for important Palestinian literary figures, including Michel Haddad amongst others. At this point the book becomes, as Hoffman calls it, a “kind of group portrait.” Hoffman explains, “Taha is hardly the only artist in this story … To understand Taha and his place in Palestinian and indeed Arabic letters, it’s crucial to be conscious of the range of personalities that have surrounded him over the years.”

While the reader occasionally loses Ali in My Happiness, the book compels the reader to search out his poetry — available to English-readers in So What: New and Selected Poems 1971-2005 translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi and Gabriel Levin — and there he comes into full view.

Ali’s poems, each powerful in its own right, resonate most deeply when taken as a whole. When considered in such a gulp, recurring themes and images take on new dimensions. In “Ambergris,” published in So What, he writes:

This land is a whore
holding out a hand to the years …
Our land makes love to the sailors
and strips naked before the newcomers …
there seems to be nothing that would bind it to us,
and I — if not for the lock of your hair,
auburn as the nectar of carob …
Your braid
is the only thing
linking me, like a noose, to this whore.

Here, hair chains the narrator to a land that will betray and suffocate him. But in “The Place Itself, or I Hope You Can’t Digest It,” also published in So What, hair appears again, this time as a thing of comfort:

And so I come to the place itself …
Where are the bleating lambs
and pomegranates of evening —
the smell of bread
and the grouse?
Where are the windows,
and where is the ease of Amira’s braid?

In both Ali’s poetry and Hoffman’s biography — which Booklist recently named one of the top ten biographies of 2009 — Ali’s deep, and deeply complicated, connection to the land is highlighted. Hoffman, in turn, takes great care to explain the historical circumstances his ambivalence is born of. My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness should be considered, then, a crucial complement to — but not substitute for — Ali’s work. Much as Ali’s poems are in tune with each other, so does Hoffman’s biography work in harmony with Ali’s writing, life and times.

Mya Guarnieri is a Tel Aviv-based journalist and writer and a regular contributor to The Jerusalem Post. Her work has also appeared in Outlook India — India’s equivalent to and subsidiary of Newsweek — as well as The National, The Forward, Maan News Agency, Common Ground News Service, Zeek, The Khaleej Times, Daily News Egypt and other international publications.

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Memories of an Anti-Zionist Jew


Hanna BraunI received the text which follows from Ms. Hanna Braun, who is now 82 years old. She was born to a jewish family from Germany, a family which emigrated to Palestine in 1937 due to the increasing animosity against jews in Germany of that time. In her memories which Ms. Braun shares, she remembers the time during which she and her family lived in Palestine between their arrival in 1937 and until their emigration to England in 1958 due to their disillusionment with zionism and Israel. The memories of Ms. Braun are telling because they show from a first-person perspective, how all the propaganda, everything which the zionists say about zionism and Israel, does simply not correspond to truth, that “zionism” had and has nothing to do with “making the desert bloom”, that groups like Hagana were not about defense but about murdering and expelling Palestinians, that despite asseverations to the contrary Jews from Arab countries were lured to “Israel” under false pretexts. In short, the whole text is one scandal when compared with the zionist orthodoxy spread in western countries.

Becoming members of the Hagana involved a secret ceremony at night in a totally deserted spot on Mount Carmel, with torches and oaths of allegiance, something akin to what I imagine the Ku Klux Klan ceremonies were like.

“At the end of reading Hanna’s Braun memories, you are invited to see a short video: “I am Israel”. This video is not part of Hanna’s memories, it was submitted by another reader”.

Ms. Braun became involved in various zionist groups and activities, such as the Hagana, but became increasingly skeptical about the whole zionist project as time passed and she understood more and more what it really was about: grabbing from us Palestinians by any means necessary: terrorism, murder, guile … but read the whole text to see why this jewish lady became an anti-zionist.

From a sheltered middle-class early childhood in Germany with only nominal connections to Judaism, to active participation in the PSC, via a Zionist upbringing in Palestine, including membership of the “Hagana” and later the Israeli Defence Forces, seems a winding if not contradictory route to have travelled. I don’t believe this is, in fact, the case, but I’ll try to explain from scratch.

Hanna9aMy family were not just German, but ridiculously proud North-Germans with a Buddenbrook (title of a novel by the German author Thomas Mann)-like disdain for South-Germans, Jewish or otherwise. Austrians and East Europeans were beyond the pale. Our assimilation into German society had become deeply ingrained over generations, with religion playing a derisory role. My first intimation of being Jewish came in 1933: that Easter I started school and my mother told me the previous evening that I would be asked to state my religion and was to answer “Jewish”, which, my mother assured me, was nothing to be ashamed of. Subsequent events soon proved otherwise: Hitler had come to power and most teachers increasingly railed against Jews in front of the class; some of the staff relegated us to one corner of the classroom and refused to teach us. “Click on the pictures to see them bigger”.

Within a couple of years our former good friends had stopped playing with us and would no longer invite us to their homes nor visit ours. Increasingly, we were excluded from public places of entertainment: theatres, concert halls and swimming establishments to name but a few.

To make matters worse, out went the Christmas tree and Easter Eggs; the alternative festivals of Hanukkah and Passover were not a patch on them! I remember concluding with a Jewish classmate that being Jewish was no big deal at all; in fact we heartily wished we weren’t! The actual peril of German Jewry was largely concealed from us, probably not least because Berlin being a large city, Jews, and particularly the very assimilated ones, were unlikely to be known or recognized as such.

However, there was an increasing exodus from Germany and we followed in 1937. Most of our circle of friends and acquaintances left for other European countries, including Britain, or for the USA. I fear the majority of my relatives were too short sighted to move at all, finding the idea of leaving Germany unimaginable till it was too late; most of them perished in concentration camps.

Why did we immigrate to Palestine? Certainly not because of Zionist ideals, particularly on my mother’s side; however, father had two siblings who had become early Zionists- still a rarity at the time amongst West European Jews although his family came from a far more traditional Transylvanian background- and had settled in Palestine around 1930. Their enthusiastic persuasion prevailed, not least after father explored the possibilities of finding a livelihood and was guaranteed secure employment with the British Mandatory Authorities as a specialist in electrical engineering (he had been working for Siemens).

And so we arrived at the port of Haifa on a beautifully clear and sunny morning in October 1937, in the midst of the second bitter Palestinian uprising, euphemistically termed “disturbances” by the British authorities and Jewish settlers alike. According to my newly acquired relatives who came to welcome us at the port, we had just missed a Khamseen, the hot, dry, wind from the Sahara. The word is Arabic for fifty, as the locals claimed this was the number of days per year we had it. This word has long since been translated to “Sharav”, as have numerous other Arabic terms and expressions in an effort to erase any possible connection between us and the Palestinians, let alone any hints that the Arab Palestinians had lived here long before us and knew more about climatic/geographical conditions.

At the time, the prevailing slogan was “Hebrew work for Hebrew workers”- translatable as a boycott of any dealings with, or employment of, Palestinian Arabs.

When my mother expressed amazement at this, asking how we were expecting to live in peace with the Arabs in such a way, our new relations regarded her with a mixture of pity and consternation – she wasn’t a proper Zionist at all! At the time this was certainly true: most West European Jews, especially the German ones, regarded Zionism as something for poor East European Jews who had trouble making ends meet. I still remember mother musing aloud after a visit to Arthur Ruppin, an early well known Zionist and a distant relation, “I don’t know why he became a Zionist; such a good family!” Years later mother was persuaded to Zionism, albeit a more humane version of a Bi-National State advocated by Professor Buber. The idea was soon marginalised and forgotten altogether.

The revolt (1936-1939) was aimed mainly at the British Mandatory Powers and at the new Jewish settlements that mushroomed continuously, often literally overnight. An old Ottoman law (still existing in Turkey) that allows a new settlement to remain legally in place once a watchtower and a fence are completed, was frequently used during nights by settlers on lands that either had not been fully documented as villagers knew the boundaries of their respective lands and saw no need to resort to official documentation, or via land sale by often absentee landlords.

13394-500-750One of numerous nationalistic songs from that period speaks of “the fence and the watchtower” another of “a dunum here and a dunum there” referring to the continuous land- grab in the country. We used to sing many such songs enthusiastically without ever questioning the glaringly obvious message it contained. Neither did most of us see the contradiction of living in Palestine as Palestinians yet simultaneously singing about our land of Israel in eternity. It was Lenin who coined the term “useful idiots” for blindly loyal followers of the Soviet regime. This term could have been specially tailored for us.

By that time (1937-1938) even the greediest of absentee landlords, often living in Beirut, had stopped selling land to the Jewish National Fund from underneath his tenants’ feet. Palestinian Arab fears of Jewish settler intentions had put increasing pressure on landowners, while such intentions were being completely denied by the Jewish community. We firmly believed that settlements, widely termed “Pioneer Settlements”, were developed on otherwise neglected and unused land, and lacked any understanding of indigenous people’s feelings: we were not taking their lands from them, or so the accepted wisdom went, but turning an arid land into a fruitful and productive one.

To that end, levies were paid on most goods and all public travel, not to mention the obligatory collection boxes in all shops, classrooms, restaurants, places of public entertainment and in many homes. Proceeds went to the Jewish National Fund and to the Settlement Fund. Money also came from Jewish communities in unoccupied Europe, the USA and various British colonies. Years later, in 1950 or 51, I was a Teachers’ Union delegate to some national conference in which a discussion took place on whether to continue these collections and levies, particularly in schools. I could not see the point, as by then we had a state and – so I naively believed – all the land we had wanted and more. I was outvoted by a large majority.

During my school years I became increasingly involved in the Zionist movement as well as the Socialist one, as indeed a large majority of young people were at the time, especially those who stayed on at school after the age of 14. We perceived no contradiction: we were combating colonialism in the shape of the British Authorities and our training, initially in unarmed combat, until most of us joined the underground “Hagana (Defence”) organisation, a year later. By that time the organisation, one of whose founders had been Moshe Dayan, had been outlawed by the British Authorities.


This made it doubly exciting for us youngsters. Becoming members of the Hagana involved a secret ceremony at night in a totally deserted spot on Mount Carmel, with torches and oaths of allegiance, something akin to what I imagine the Ku Klux Klan ceremonies were like. Following this, we started training to armed combat as well as in various endurance courses. It took me years to realise that any socialism that is exclusive to one people or group is a contradiction in terms, as is the idea of a democracy within a demographic context.

Most of our training took place over weekends at nearby Kibbutzim (collective farms), well away from the British Army or Police. Most Kibbutzim had at least some hidden caches.

I relished the difference between living in Germany and Palestine from the start: the freedom from restrictions, the absence of the stigma and anxiety of being a Jew and last but not least, the beauty of the country, its climate and the general air of informality, of a common aim and purpose and of discarding the shackles of an “old” traditional lifestyle for a new, confident and assertive one, captured my heart completely. With hindsight, I realize that many of these sentiments led to a sense of superiority, self-importance, arrogance and aggressiveness, characteristics that are still often found in Israelis nowadays and that have, indeed, increased; for youngsters growing up, however, this was heady stuff!

Most of us dreamt of a pioneering life as founding-members of a new kibbutz; we had experience of working and staying in established ones, very poor at that time, as volunteers during the long summer holidays as well as at weekends spent training in handling a variety of firearms. Most kibbutzim had hidden caches of arms.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian uprising had come to an end in 1939; I was unaware at the time of how cruelly it had been crushed – indeed, the existence of the Arab population seemed somewhat remote and shadowy, barely intruding upon our consciousness. I can well imagine white children in other colonial countries – India, various African countries – growing up hardly noticing the indigenous population, except as servants, menial labourers or strangers occasionally glimpsed from a coach or car window.

This was also the time of growing fears about family members who had stayed behind in Germany: by 1941 all news of them had ceased; prior to this my mother had been trying in vain for some two years to obtain a permit for my widowed grandmother to join us. However, a quota had been imposed as a result of Arab protests, triggered by alarm at the sharp increase in the entry rate caused by Hitler’s regime. Elderly people stood no chance of obtaining a permit. For a long time, mother was distraught: grandmother, so proudly German, had been sent to a concentration camp, as had all my other relatives. Only one survived.

The war years touched the Jewish community mainly by the terrible common anxiety, amounting to dread, of practically all European Jews about the fate of family and friends left behind, and by the mobilisation of large numbers of young men and women and their recruitment into the British army. There was also growing bitterness at the lack of action by the Allied Powers and Britain in particular, to try and rescue Jews in any significant numbers or to speak out against the terrible atrocities, news of which increasingly filtered through.

Our poet laureate of the time wrote a poem of bitter indictment, cursing both the perpetrators of the atrocities and those who stood silently by. However, in archives made public recently it transpired that our first Prime minister to be, David Ben-Gurion, had reiterated more than once that had there been a choice between rescuing one million Jewish children by sending them to the UK prior to the outbreak of WW2 or only half that number by sending them to Palestine, he would have always opted for the latter. So much for our humanity.

Another, for me illuminating, aspect of the war years, however, (discounting a few rather feeble air attacks by the Italian air force) was that for the first time Palestinian Arabs, or at least a few of them, became real to me. We had finally settled in Haifa in late 1941. Prior to that we had moved around between Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa following my father’s work in the government’s telephone exchange modernisation. Our new home was halfway up Mount Carmel, with beautiful views of Haifa Bay and the city of Acre at the opposite end of it. During Ramadan I would listen to the old Napoleonic cannons going off in Acre at dusk to signal the end of the fast; they did so in the pre-dawn as well but I slept too deeply to hear them then. On clear days we could see Mount Hermon, in Lebanon, covered with a layer of snow all year round.

Our neighbours in Haifa, as well as three other families in the street, were Arab. I became friendly with their eldest daughter, who was about my age, and was frequently in their house, always treated with friendliness and warmth although conversation was minimal: the little Arabic we learned at school was formal literary Arabic, fairly remote from daily discourse, and the female members of the family, as well as the father, knew only the colloquial spoken Arabic.

They were first generation town-dwellers, who had moved to Haifa from At-Tireh, a prosperous village not far away, ironically the location of my first teaching post – but of that later. I was fascinated by their lifestyle and attracted to much of it, not to mention developing a crush on the eldest son, who had recently graduated from Beirut University. Through my contact with the family I began to see Arab people as individuals, no doubt influenced by my mother’s attitude to anyone she met, which showed a healthy disregard for origins or “race”.

We had occasional help with heavy laundry from Arab women, often from neighbouring villages, and mother knew all about their families, homes and problems, with hardly any common language. She also persuaded my father, who had Arab colleagues, to obtain some samples and recipes of Middle Eastern cooking, which were added to our own repertoire.

Haifa was still reasonably mixed throughout those years and we often visited the largely Arab downtown area close to the port, with its mixture of large and small shops and stalls, a market boasting a wide variety of fresh products, particularly fish, small restaurants and, last but not least, the largest and best stocked bookshop in Haifa, “Habash”. Occasionally we also visited Acre for sightseeing and excellent meals served in a small open-air restaurant just underneath the old fortress by the sea.

One of my classmates took piano lessons from a notable pacifist Jew (Yossef Abileah), whose music school accommodated Arabs, Jews, Armenians, Greeks and others. Proud parents and friends sat side by side at the annual concerts. Years later, in Birmingham in the late 70s, I was invited by the Palestinian Students’ Association to attend a talk given by him, pleading for peace and recognition of Palestinian aspirations. He had just returned from the USA, a frail old man, who, together with his wife, was still striving for justice.

As a family we also frequently visited Nazareth and other well known Palestinian – Arab towns and there seemed to be a feeling of mutual tolerance at the time, and although I knew of few other Jewish people in Haifa who regularly visited Arab homes, others did exist, firstly amongst the Arab Jews of whom we were totally ignorant, and also in the mixed areas and many towns including Jerusalem. In all these places non-European Jewish communities had lived peacefully side by side with their Muslim or Christian neighbours for hundreds of years.

By and large, these old settled communities had little sympathy with Zionism and neither were the European Zionist settlers interested in them for a long time. With the creation of the Jewish state this changed completely: although still deemed second class, i.e. non-European, they were recruited and persuaded to the Zionist cause for demographic reasons as well as to serve as cannon fodder.

Towards the end of the 2nd world War tensions escalated, especially between the Jewish community and the British authorities, but also between the formers’ main parties and the extremist right-wing “Beitar” party (led by the late Menahem Begin, later to become the “Etzel” and “Stern” gangs). Officially at least, the community defence force, the “Hagana”, claimed to be at war with the right – we were instructed to tear down their posters wherever they appeared; we also attempted – in vain – to have two pupils who were members of “Beitar” expelled from our school. Most of us were still blind, though, to the hidden agenda with its dangers to the Palestinian Arabs.

In 1945 I completed school and went to Jerusalem to study. At that time, we were still free to wander about in the Arab part of the city – far more Arab than it is now, when so much of the Arab sector has been gnawed away, initially by stealth and later openly and increasingly quite blatantly. Tensions continued to mount, with terrorist attacks by Etzel (ex-Beitar) and Stern gangs, with frequent curfews imposed by the British, with desperate attempts to land illegal ships packed with survivors from Europe and with increasing demands for a Jewish state.

Only recently has it come to light that Ben Gurion was himself involved in preventing the hapless refugees on the “Exodus” boat from landing anywhere else but in Germany, from which they had fled. Both France and Denmark had offered to let them land on their shores after the British prevented them landing in Palestine but for our first prime minister to come, the refugees’ importance was solely their use as propaganda material.

We finished our studies early that summer. Jerusalem had been under siege since winter and there was no electricity, petrol or other fuel and very little food or water. Since January most of us, young students and others had spent alternate nights on guard duties for the Hagana in the hills surrounding Jerusalem. In June we became full-time members of the developing “Israel Defence Force”. Many of us, however, had by then experienced the first of many deeply disturbing shocks: the massacre at Deir Yassin.

Early one morning in April 1948, a friend burst into my room with tears streaming down her face: “they are butchering everyone in Deir Yassin!” It took some time to sink in – we had been repeatedly told. At this perilous time, everyone was needed in the defence of the fledgling state and meting out punishment would be counterproductive. Nowadays it is of course widely known that Deir Yassin happened with the full
d that the village’s inhabitants were entirely peaceful and the senseless brutality of such slaughter was incomprehensible. Equally despicable was the parading of some of the male villagers in an open van through the streets of Jerusalem prior to being shot.

Our only comfort, if such it could be called, was that the atrocity was perpetrated by the Stern gang, forerunners of “Likud”. That fig leaf was torn away when, a few months later, Stern and Etzel members were incorporated into the regular army and their commanders became our officers. Complaints fell on deaf ears; we now had one state with one army, we were told. The 1947 declaration by the United Nations of the partition of Palestine and of the creation of such a state were greeted with wild jubilation and all-night street celebrations; we were somewhat taken aback by the grim and worried faces of Arabs the following morning – little did we realise that fighting had begun and that expulsions were already occurring in other parts of the country.

Hostilities escalated sharply after the unceremonious departure of the British in May 1948. Having for years played the game of divide and rule, successfully contributing to the animosity between the Arab Muslims, Christians and the Jewish communities, they washed their hands of the affair and left the sides to their own devices. However, most British police stations, in the main well fortified and stocked with ammunitions, fell into Jewish hands, as did prisons, radar stations and warehouses. Pure coincidence, I now wonder?

That summer there was a brief cease-fire and I returned to Haifa for a week. During my absence the “liberation” of Haifa and of many other towns and villages had occurred: Jaffa, Afula, Safad, Lydda and many more. We had been unaware of any of this in Jerusalem, being cut off by the siege. The inhabitants had been driven out, sometimes by straightforward attacks, at other times by different means, often by deliberately terrorising people.

In Haifa, for example, Palestinian Arabs had been given 24 hours to leave; armed soldiers ensured they complied. The predominantly Arab downtown business area was cleared as well as purely residential areas: our neighbours as well as the owners of the two other Arab houses in the street shared this fate. My mother recounted the story with tears, my father with pride. The term “ethnic cleansing” was as yet unknown, it certainly was a very apt description of what was, and indeed still is, happening.

The large shops and business premises downtown were now “liberated” and in Israeli hands. Only one Arab quarter remained for many years: Wadi Nisnas, a small, largely poor, ghetto-like part of Haifa. What had become of our Arab neighbours, indeed of all Haifa’s large Arab population many of whose families had been settled in that city for hundreds of years? It was a nagging doubt that refused to go away.

Upon my return to Jerusalem, I was assigned to a regiment commanded by Moshe Dayan (later General Dayan, Chief of Staff, later still, defence minister). He had “liberated” Qalkilya, among other towns, and villages and used to boast freely of his fear-striking tactics: he had ordered his troops to release a veritable deluge of shrieking sirens, careering searchlights, massive explosions of shells, grenades and other ammunition, prior to mounting an attack on these places. By that time, most of the inhabitants had fled in sheer terror. Dayan was rather proud of his successes gained by this method; I believe he used it often.

The fact that the Qalkilians, like all Palestinians who had fled or who had simply been away from home during the “Independence War”, had lost any right ever to return was left unmentioned. Indeed, for a long time- far too long – I realise with hindsight, it was so much easier to believe the propaganda we were bombarded with: the bulk of the Arab population had fled despite Israel’s efforts to reassure them and to persuade them to stay put. Moreover, Jews from a variety of Middle Eastern countries were suffering persecution and peril and had to emigrate, or so we were led to believe, so it was a fair exchange. It was not until the early nineteen fifties, when I encountered some of these “persecuted” immigrants, that a very different picture began to emerge.

In early 1950 all female teachers and nurses were released from the army and shortly after that I started my first teaching job in At-Tireh, formerly a prosperous Palestinian village, which we had often glimpsed from the main Haifa – Tel-Aviv road. I was astonished to see the fine, modern school building erected and then abandoned by the villagers: the general perception by the majority of Israeli Jews was that Arab village dwellers, with very few exceptions, were illiterate.

New immigrants now peopled the village, the bulk of them from Bulgaria and Turkey. Initially, we had no means of communication, but in time it became clear that many of our pupils’ parents were less than happy in their new homes. All the Bulgarians had come from Sofia and were used to big-city life; the Turks also felt that the wonderful promises of life in the Jewish homeland had failed to materialise. All of them felt unneeded and even unwelcome; they had been dumped in abandoned villages – if they were lucky – and were usually unemployed or overqualified for the jobs they were doing. The young men, of course, had immediately been drafted into the army.

My opportunity to meet some of these young soldiers came when I was called up to go on reservist duty: in February 1952 I was sent to Eilat for a month. At that time, it was nothing but a military camp on the shores of the Red Sea. I was assigned to a class of new immigrant soldiers who spoke no Hebrew. The hostility of the 25 or so young men I encountered on the first morning shocked me: they wanted to learn no Hebrew!

One young Yemeni who spoke Hebrew explained that all of these men from various Arab and Balkan countries and, had left settled and contented lives in their former homes. They had been persuaded by the constant urgings of Zionist propaganda to come to the aid of the new Israeli state, which was in danger being destroyed by the surrounding Arab states, as indeed were their own communities.

They had been made to feel needed, perhaps essential; what they had not been told was that their main role was to act as cannon- fodder. On arrival, they were sprayed with DDT at the port of entry and then crammed into extremely primitive reception camps. Within a week or two they were drafted into the army for a three-year term and sent to their bases, often without knowledge of where their families had been placed or how they would survive economically.

They were far from unaware of the very different treatment accorded to European immigrants whose camps were far superior, who received help in finding suitable accommodation and who were quickly given jobs. Vast numbers of Eastern immigrants now wished to return to their countries of origin as soon as possible – the Indians even held a sit-down strike in central Tel Aviv demanding their fares back – very few had this wish granted.

One difficulty was the very high level of taxes levied at the time on Israelis travelling abroad. This was compounded by the fact that, at that time, all Jewish immigrants, on arrival in Israel, had been automatically made Israeli citizens without being informed properly, let alone consulted or asked for consent. As a result, most had lost their original citizenship. On a recent visit to Palestine and Israel I met an Iraqi who had been part of this influx; he told me that he still felt bitter about what had happened to him, to his community and to all the other non-European immigrants.

The Eilat experience opened my eyes to the reality of life for the new, mainly non-European immigrants. Later on I saw some of the purpose built, shoddy villages, literally in the middle of nowhere, in which many of them were dumped; quite often these were later abandoned and the disillusioned inhabitants were housed in – inferior – ex-Palestinian accommodation; the better type of such accommodation, particularly in the cities, had gone to European immigrants.

The increasingly blatant inequality of treatment that existed between the Jewish and the remaining Arab citizens of Israel began to worry and to raise doubts and even anger in the minds of progressive Israelis, sadly not many of them. This was explained away by “security” needs: dangers had to be faced up to, especially those posed by the “fedayeen” (armed intruders, many of them farmers desperate to get back to their lands). However, everyone knew that these were few and far between and only affected the southernmost and northernmost borders, not any centres of population. It made no sense not to allow Arab-Israeli citizens to travel freely, not to give them access to health, education and other services in any comparable measure and to restrict their entry into a whole range of studies and professions, not to mention into trade unions.

Some of these issues have now been addressed but many still hold true and today there is the added danger of “Judaisation” – of the Galilee, for instance, and of old villages and settlements being expropriated and their inhabitants transferred against their will. Today we are told that these villages and settlements had never been officially recognised and hence had never had electricity, water or road access introduced; at the time nobody, at least outside government, had ever heard of unrecognised villages. Only recently I learned that Israeli citizens have different nationalities: Jewish, Arab or Druze (a small minority who are Arabs but with a slightly different religion) with full rights and benefits only accorded to the first group – discrimination from cradle to grave.

Our disillusion with the new state reached its climax during the 1956/7 Suez crisis: this could not be explained away as a security measure by any feat of the imagination – it was naked aggression! Most Israelis – excepting communist party members and some farsighted individuals – were jubilant.

We (I had married by that time and was living in Jerusalem once more) found that open criticism led to social ostracism in all but a few cases. During this period, our Indian postman (a graduate of Madras University) knocked on our door very early one morning to inform us in a frightened whisper that all our mail was being opened. So, when in 1958 Bristol University offered my husband a post as research fellow, we finally decided to emigrate. Leaving Israel was very painful for me; despite my political objections I still loved the country and in particular life in the Middle East, into which I had enthusiastically integrated myself.

For many years thereafter I still visited Israel fairly regularly but after 1978, following Menahem Begin’s election as prime minister, I felt too alienated to do so any longer. Not only was there something very disturbing in the way Israelis swaggered through East Jerusalem’s streets as if they owned it all, there were soldiers everywhere as if the whole place had been militarised (which, with hindsight, it actually had become). Moreover, I had nothing but highly unpleasant arguments with what was left of family members or former friends. One former schoolmate, now head teacher of a large secondary school, became quite aggressive in insisting that ALL Jews had to live in Israel; he regarded me as something of a traitor. During this visit a very aged uncle with whom I tried to steer well clear of politics took offence when I praised a restaurant with excellent Middle Eastern cuisine. “I’m a central European”, he grumbled, “I’m not interested in things Middle Eastern”. This left me truly speechless.

During my years in Britain I came across writings by early Zionists (the unedited version of Herzl, inter alia) as well as those by Palestinians such as Edward Said, R. Sayigh and others which had not been widely available in Israel, and I gradually came to realise that my perception of Zionism having lost its way was mistaken: Zionism had never been justifiable from its outset. I also met numerous Palestinians, mainly students, during the seventies in Britain and began to see their side much more clearly. However, it took the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 to turn me from a non-Zionist into an anti- Zionist. At a large demonstration in London that summer I came across small groups of like-minded Britons, former Israelis and/or Jews for the first time and discovered that I could become involved and active in this country.

MIDEASTIn 1989 I went for the first time to the Palestinian Occupied territories during the first Intifada as part of a women’s delegation (from what was the “Socialist Movement”) Over the years I have been fortunate in making a number of good Palestinian friends as well as some Israeli ones and these friends keep my spirits up whenever I feel too pessimistic. Israel still cynically claims to be the “victim”, while it is the second largest arms manufacturer in the world and has the fifth biggest stockpile of nuclear weapons worldwide.

The vast majority of Israelis live in a state of perpetual fear and hatred of Arabs and have hijacked the holocaust in an almost obscene manner in order to justify their own atrocities. By imprisoning the “other” they imprison themselves, most glaringly with the monstrous “Security Wall” now growing apace. This wall eats deeply into Palestinian land so that many farmers can no longer tend their fields and olive groves, and children, the sick and elderly face enormous obstacles in their daily lives. This is not about security; it is naked apartheid.

These days you see graffiti on walls of Arab homes in East Jerusalem or in various Palestinian towns in the occupied territories with the star of David and inscriptions such as “Arabs out” and “Death to Arabs”; eerily reminiscent of what I saw as a child in Germany with the star of David replaced by the swastika and Arabs by Jews. Israel is in a deep moral quagmire and to me only one solution is possible and just: to put Human and Civil Rights above Israeli/Jewish Rights.

It is only by ridding ourselves from the narrow and blinkered view which puts us and our needs above all others that we can attain normality, morality and a sense of justice. To liberate ourselves and live in true freedom and peace we must adopt the idea of one democratic secular state for all its citizens, whoever they are. To me, giving up is not an option and I’ll try to persevere with what Raymond Williams defined as radical: “To be truly radical is to believe in the possibility of good rather than the inevitability of evil”.
Hanna Braun, 2003

On one of my more recent visits to the Palestinian Territories in September/October 2005 I was invited by the coordinator of ADRID (Association for the Defence of the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons in Israel), Dawoud Badr, to come to his committee’s office in Nazareth, where the networking with 21 similar committees of displaced villagers is growing steadily. He showed me an aerial map of their village prior to its destruction by the Israeli Hagana in 1948.

This happened in spite of the village elders at the time, who previously had agreed with the Hagana commander that they were not going to resist. When the Israeli forces appeared on that fateful day, the mukhtar put out a white flag on top of the minaret, as had been agreed, but the Israelis reneged on their agreement. Subsequently he drove me to the area that had been the village but is now completely overgrown, with boulders lying around and some cactus-fruit shrubs.

The mosque still stands but is in poor repair. Dawoud told me that the villagers’ descendants, now resident in the near-by village of Bashiriyeh, still used to go weekly to pray at the mosque until recently, when the Israeli local authorities prevented them because the building was unsafe. Neither could they obtain permission to repair the mosque. The villagers then took to praying outside the mosque, as a result of which the authorities placed barbed wire around it. Adrid, together with Al-Ard have annual marches and festivals to commemorate their expulsions. They have also petitioned the Govt. to permit them to return to their villages and rebuild them. So far the reply is negative.

At the end of reading Hanna’s Braun memories, you are invited to see this short video: “I am Israel”. This film is not part of Hanna’s memories, it was submitted by another reader.

Tony: Based on the regional alliance proposed by Assad, expect joint Syrian-Iraqi-Turkish-Israeli-U.S.-Iranian military exercises pretty soon?


By Mary Rizzo • Oct 11th, 2009 at 12:41 • Category: Biography, Mary’s Choice, Newswire, Opinions and Letters, War

obama superflagEnglish translation: Machetera

In an unusual decision, the Norwegian Nobel Committee put an end to seven months of searching among the 205 nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize and conferred it upon Barack Obama. The Norwegian committee’s decision provoked very mixed international reactions: ranging from stupefaction to huge laughter. The statement by the organization’s president, Thorbjorn Jagland got straight to the point: “It’s important for the Committee to recognize those people who are struggling and idealistic, but we cannot do that every year. We must from time to time go into the realm of realpolitik. It is always a mix of idealism and realpolitik that can change the world.” The problem with Obama is that his idealism remains at the level of rhetoric, while in the world of realpolitik, his initiatives could not be more antagonistic to the search for peace in this world.

According to Robert Higgs, a specialist in military expenditures for the Independent Institute inOakland, California, the way Washington prepares its defense budget systematically conceals the real total. Upon analyzing the figures submitted to Congress by George W. Bush for the 2007-2008 fiscal year, Higgs concluded that they represented just over half of the figure that would actually be disbursed, therefore surpassing the previously unthinkable barrier of a trillion dollars, that is, a million dollars multiplied a million times. And this because, according to Higgs, one must add to the base sum originally designated for the Pentagon, the expenditures related to defense which are spent outside the Pentagon; the extraordinary funds demanded by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the interest associated with the indebtedness incurred by the White House to meet these expenses; and those arising from the medical and psychological attention for the 33,000 men and women wounded in the wars of the United States which require a hefty budget for the National Veterans Administration. Obama has done absolutely nothing to stop this infernal machine of death and destruction, and when through the

mouthpiece of his Secretary of State he denounces arms purchases which “outpace all other countries,” instead of beholding the beam in his own eye, the target of his criticism is the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela!

Obama increased the budget for the war in Afghanistan as a result of his contemplated increase in the number of troops deployed in that country; his troops continue to occupy Iraq; he has given no sign of changing George Bush Jr.’s decision to activate the Fourth

Fleet; he has moved ahead with a still secret treaty with lvaro Uribe to open seven new U.S. military bases in Colombia, and it is said that there are five more that are about to be confirmed, through which he is preparing (or has become complicit in) a new wave of warmongering against Latin America; he maintains his ambassador in Tegucigalpa when

practically all others have been withdrawn, thereby supporting the Honduran putschists; he maintains the blockade against Cuba and is not in the least perturbed by the unjust imprisonment of the five anti-terrorist fighters incarcerated in the United States. Of course, the Norwegian Committee periodically suffers some delusions which translate into decisions as absurd as the present one – whether brought on by its ignorance of world affairs, opportunistic pressures, or the delights of Norwegian aquavit, no-one can be totally sure. But if at one time it granted the Nobel Peace Prize to Henry Kissinger,

correctly defined by Gore Vidal as the biggest war criminal wandering loose in the world, how could they have denied it to Obama, especially after the rebuff he suffered at the hands of Lula in Copenhagen? Realpolitik demanded an immediate rectification of this error. Because after all, as the very President of the United States stated upon learning of his prize, it represents a “reaffirmation of [U.S.] American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.” And so, in a sudden attack of “realism,” the comrades on the Committee put forward their grain of sand to fortify the declining

hegemony of the United States in the international system.

Macetera is a member of Tlaxcala

Mary Rizzo is an art restorer, translator and writer living in Italy. Editor and co-founder of Palestine Think Tank, co-founder of Tlaxcala translations collective. Her personal blog is Peacepalestine.
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Jeff Blankfort – Uri Avnery’s rationalising Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinians


By Guest Post • Sep 5th, 2009 at 20:30 • Category: Analysis, Biography, Hasbara Deconstruction Site, Israel, Newswire, Opinions and Letters, Palestine, Resistance, Zionism

Recently, Uri Avnery, Gush Shalom leader and “darling” of the left-Zionists, has been writing quite a bit more frequently some pieces that ask folks to not renounce the Zionist “dream” and has decided to add his two bits to the Palestinian call to Boycott Israel, standing firmly against said Boycott. Jeff Blankfort, writer, journalist and radio host has addressed him again.

Hello Uri,

I have just read your response to critics of your opposition to boycotting Israel and, having long ago realized the limits of your activism and worldview, it held no surprises. You have quite clearly invested too much time and energy over the years in rationalizing Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinians from their homeland to acknowledge the injustice that was not only inherent but required for Israel’s creation. The passage of time does not erase that injustice no matter how many times you or others invoke the Nazi holocaust. The die for establishing a Jewish state displacing the Palestinians from their homes and villages was cast well before Hitler came to power so that issue should have no place in this argument.

The arguments against establishing a Jewish state in Palestine raised by anti-Zionist and non-Zionist Jews going back to the early years of the last century were well known and all have been proved correct. So it should not be a matter of surprise that Israel’s legitimacy has not been accepted by the Palestinians and the other peoples of the region. It was advertised by Zionists worldwide as a colonial settler enterprise with pride, in fact, until such terminology fell out of favor. That it was established at a time when the rest of the world was engaged in a period of decolonization was even a further guarantee of its rejection and had it not been for the influence of its supporters in the US and Europe and the arms that flowed from that support, Israel, like French Algeria, would have become another episode in history. (And it is noteworthy that it was Israel’s support for the French against the Algerian resistance that led to France being Israel’s chief supplier of weaponry until 1967).

You are also well aware that to maintain Israel as the Sparta of the Middle East, the “Pro-Israel Lobby,” has long held the US Congress in thrall, strangling what little is left of American democracy. Do you not recall writing how one president after another tried to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict and how each one was forced by The Lobby to retire from the field defeated? And with each defeat, the theft of Palestinian land and the growth of the settlements continued. Who has paid the price for that?

As you have already assumed, I am against the existence of the state of Israel or a Jewish state by any other name which is based on the notion that a Jew from anywhere in the world has more of a right to live in what most of the world knew and accepted as Palestine than a Palestinian Arab who was born there or her or his family members. If that is not both immoral and racist, we need new definitions for those words. And yet you, apparently, do not find it so, and reject the opinions of those who do. (The notion that Israel or any country can be a homeland for a person not born there and who cannot trace a single relative that was born there is but another example of how Zionists have twisted the language to justify the unjust.)

Your desperation for an argument against the idea of a single state becomes apparent when you write that the French and the Germans did not agree to live together. Do you really believe there is any comparison to be made between the two situations. Are the French sitting on German land or vice versa?

I continue to be mystified at your continuing efforts to separate the settlers from those Jews living within the Green Line as if the majority of those in Israel proper are not as responsible for electing a series of professional killers as their prime ministers year after year, all of whom have expanded the settlements. There hasn’t been a single poll of Israeli Jews that I have seen going back to 1988, in the early days of the first intifada, where half of those polled did not call for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza. How many settlers were there in 1988?

In your wonderful democracy, every able-bodied Jewish man or woman, with the exception of the chassdim, has served as an occupier in the West Bank or Gaza for the past 42 years. Are they not culpable?

Yesterday, I watched on Al-Jazeera as Israeli soldiers fired waves of tear gas and some smelly green liquid on non-violent Palestinians who were marching to demonstrate the steel fence that cuts through their land at Ni’ilin and who then began targeting the Al-Jazeera reporter. Are we expected to embrace these young thugs wearing an Israeli uniform? Are those who hate them to be condemned and not the thugs and those who sent them there?

You repeatedly use the word peace but not once do you use the word justice. And that is what separates you and your fellow Zionists from the Palestinians and those who genuinely support them. The occupation bothers your conscience, your sense of idenity as an Israeli but how much does it affect your life? Ending the occupation no matter how it is arranged will bring you peace of mind and time to finish your memoirs. Now, try if you can, and imagine yourself as a Palestinian who has been under an Israeli jackboot all of his or her life. Would you be simply looking for peace, an absence of that Israeli jackboot, or would you be seeking and demanding justice?

Your conclusion expresses your confusion. You write that you want “Israel to be a state belonging to all its citizens, without distinction of ethnic origin, gender, religion or language; with completely equal rights for all,” yet you assume there will be a “Hebrew-speaking majority” that will allow its “Arab-speaking citizens…to cherish their close ties with their Palestinian brothers and sisters…” If there is no distinction between one citizen and another, Jewish or Arab, how can you assume that the majority will continue to be Hebrew-speaking (or are you allowing for the possibility that Israel’s Palestinian Arab population which already is largely bi-lingual will become the majority at which point Israel will no longer be a Jewish state?) If that is so, perhaps there is hope for you yet.

Jeff Blankfort

—– Original Message —– From: “Uri Avnery” <xxxx>

To: <xxxx>

Sent: Saturday, September 05, 2009 8:51 AM

Subject: Avnery // again on boycott


Hope this may interest you. Many readers have sent my thoughtful comments on my last article. I am unable to answer them in detail. I am writing my memoirs on top of my regular political and journalistic work, and therefore can only answer laconically. Please excuse.

Shalom, Salamaat,


The Boycott Revisited

THE PEOPLE of Sodom, the Bible tells us, were very wicked indeed.

They had a nasty habit of putting every passing stranger into one particular bed. If the stranger was too tall, his legs were shortened. If he was too short, his body was stretched to the required length.

In a way, each of us has such a bed, into which we put everything new. Confronted with a novel situation, we tend to equate it with a situation we have known in the past.

In politics, this method is especially pervasive. It relieves us of the irksome necessity of studying an unfamiliar situation and drawing new conclusions.

Once, the pattern of Vietnam was applied to every struggle around the world – from Argentina to North Korea. Nowadays, the fashion points to South Africa. Everything resembles the struggle against apartheid, unless proven otherwise.

SINCE SENDING out last week’s article, “Tutu’s Prayer”, I have been flooded with responses, some laudatory, some abusive, some thoughtful, some merely angry.

Generally, I don’t argue with my esteemed readers. I don’t want to impose my views, I just want to provide food for thought and leave it to the reader to form his or her own opinion.

This time I feel that I owe it to my readers to clear up some of the points I was trying to make and answer some of the objections. So here we go.

I HAVE no argument with people who hate Israel. That’s entirely their right. I just don’t think that we have any common ground for discussion.

I would only like to point out that hatred is a very bad advisor. Hatred leads nowhere, but to more hatred. That, by the way, is a positive lesson we can draw from the South African experience. There they overcame hatred to a remarkable extent, largely thanks to the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” headed by Archbishop Tutu, where people admitted their past offenses.

One thing is certain: hatred does not lead towards peace. Let me be quite explicit about this, because I sense that some people, in their righteous indignation over Israel’s occupation, have lost sight of this.

Peace is made between enemies, after war, in which awful things invariably happen. Peace can be made and maintained between peoples who are prepared to live with each other, respect each other, recognize the humanity of each other. They don’t have to love each other.

Describing the other side as monsters may be useful in waging war, but singularly unhelpful in waging peace.

When I receive a missive that is dripping with hatred of Israel, that portrays all Israelis (including myself, of course) as monsters, I fail to envision how the writer imagines peace. Peace with monsters? Angels and monsters living side by side in peace and harmony in one state, hating each other’s guts?

The view of Israel as a monolithic entity composed of racists and brutal oppressors is a caricature. Israel is a complex society, struggling with itself. The forces of good and evil, and many in between, are locked in a daily battle on many different fronts. The settlers and their supporters are strong, perhaps getting stronger (though I doubt it), but are far – even in their own view – from a decisive victory. Neve Gordon, for example, has been left unmolested in his post at Ben-Gurion University, because any attempt to remove him would have caused a public outcry.

I ALSO have no argument with those who want to abolish the State of Israel. It is as much their right to aspire to that as it is my right to want to dismantle, let’s say, the USA or France, neither of which has an unblemished past.

Reading some of the messages sent to me and trying to analyze their contents, I get the feeling they are not so much about a boycott on Israel as about the very existence of Israel. Some of the writers obviously believe that the creation of the State of Israel was a terrible mistake to start with, and therefore should be reversed. Turn the wheel of history back some 62 years and start anew.

What really disturbs me about this is that almost nobody in the West comes out and says clearly: Israel must be abolished. Some of the proposals, like those for a “One State” solution, sound like euphemisms. If one believes that the State of Israel should be abolished and replaced by a State of Palestine or a State of Happiness – why not say so openly?

Of course, that does not mean peace. Peace between Israel and Palestine presupposes that Israel is there. Peace between the Israeli people and the Palestinian people presupposes that both peoples have a right to self-determination and agree to the peace. Does anyone really believe that racist monsters like us would agree to give up our state because of a boycott?

The French and the Germans did not agree to live in one joint state, though the differences between them are incomparably smaller than those between Jewish Israelis and Arab Palestinians. Instead, they set up a European Union, composed of nation-states. Some 50 years ago I called for a similar Semitic Union, including Israel and Palestine. I still do.

Anyway, there is no sense in arguing with those who pray for the disappearance of the sovereign State of Israel, rather than for the appearance of the sovereign State of Palestine at its side.

THE REAL argument is among those who want to see peace between the two states, Israel and Palestine. The question is: how can it be achieved? This is an honest debate and is generally conducted in a civil manner. My debate with Neve Gordon is in this framework.

The advocates of boycott believe that the main, indeed the only way to induce Israel to give up the occupied territories and agree to peace is to exert pressure from the outside.

I have no quarrel with the idea of outside pressure. The question is: pressure on whom? On the government, the settlers and their supporters? Or on the entire Israeli people?

The first answer is, I believe, the right one. That’s why I hope that President Barack Obama will publish a detailed peace plan with a fixed timetable and apply the immense powers of persuasion of the USA to get both sides to agree. I don’t think that this is politically possible without the support of a large part of Israeli society (and, by the way, of the US Jewish community).

Some readers have lost all hope in Obama. That is, without doubt, premature. Obama has not surrendered to Binyamin Netanyahu – indeed, it is quite conceivable that the opposite is happening. The struggle is on, it is a hard struggle against determined opposition, and we should do all we can to help Obama’s peace policy to prevail. We must do this as Israelis, from inside Israel, and thereby show that this is not a struggle of the US against Israel, but a joint struggle against the Israeli government and the settlers.

It follows that any boycott must serve this purpose: to isolate the settlers and the individuals and institutions which openly support them, but not declare war on Israel and the Israeli people as such. In the 11 years since Gush Shalom declared a boycott of the products of the settlements, this process has been gaining momentum. We must laud the Norwegian decision, this week, to divest from the Israeli Elbit company because of their involvement with the “Separation Fence” that is being built on Palestinian land and whose main purposeis to annex occupied territories to Israel. This is a splendid example: a focused action against a specific target, based on a ruling of the International Court.

I think that far more can be done by a concentrated national and international campaign. A central office should be set up to direct this effort throughout the world against clear and specific targets. Such an effort could be helped by world public opinion, which recoils from the idea of boycotting the State of Israel, and not only because of the memory of the Holocaust, but will identify itself with action against the occupation and the oppression.

I have been asked about the Palestinian reaction to the boycott idea. At present, Palestinians do not boycott even the settlements, indeed it is Palestinian workers who are building almost all the houses there, out of economic necessity. Their feelings can only be guessed. All self-respecting Palestinians would, of course, support any effective measure directed against the occupation. But it would not be honest to dangle before their eyes the false hope that a world-wide boycott would bring Israel to its knees. The truth is that only the close cooperation of Palestinian, Israeli and international peace forces could generate the necessary momentum to end the occupation and achieve peace.

This is especially important because our task in Israel today is not so much to convince the majority of Israelis that peace is good and the price acceptable, but first that peace is possible at all. Most Israelis have lost that hope, and its revival is absolutely vital on the way to peace.

TO REMOVE any misconceptions about myself, let me state as clearly as possible where I stand:

I am an Israeli.

I am an Israeli patriot.

I want my state to be democratic, secular, and liberal, ending the occupation and living at peace both with the free and sovereign State of Palestine that will come into being next to it, and with the entire Arab world.

I want Israel to be a state belonging to all its citizens, without distinction of ethnic origin, gender, religion or language; with completely equal rights for all; a state in which the Hebrew-speaking majority will retain its close ties with the Jewish communities around the world, and the Arab-speaking citizens will be free to cherish their close ties with their Palestinian brothers and sisters and the Arab world at large.

If this is racism, Zionism or worse – so be it.

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Gilad Atzmon – Time to Talk about the Rise of Jewish Crime?


By Gilad Atzmon • Jul 24th, 2009 at 13:40 • Category: Biography, Gilad Atzmon, Gilad’s Choice, Newswire, Our Authors, Religion

“I am what you call a matchmaker,” Rosenbaum is quoted as saying at a July 13 meeting with the two undercover agents.

“I’m doing this a long time,” the complaint says Rosenbaum told the two agents. He then added: “Let me explain to you one thing. It’s illegal to buy or sell organs. … So you cannot buy it. What you do is, you’re giving a compensation for the time.”

As we learn from Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Chris Huhne that “Britain is setting a shameful new record in anti-Semitic incidents this year,” we also happen to be informed by every press outlet about the massive New Jersey Corruption Sweep: A shocking tale of money-laundering and human organ trading led by a bunch of Rabbis.

The NY Times reports “It was replete with tales of the illegal sales of body parts; of furtive negotiations in diners, parking lots and boiler rooms”. In an article titled the “Jewish Launderette” the Israeli Ynet takes it further providing the juicy details. “The FBI raided synagogues and arrested a few Rabbis. One of those who are held in custody is Rabbi Yitzchak Levi Rosenbaum of Brooklyn who is suspected of trading in body parts. He is charged with a decade-long activity selling kidneys, exploiting both ill and poor donators. He would convince a donator to sell his kidney for $10.000. Rabbi Levi Rosenbaum would then sell the kidney to the needy for $160.000.”

I may raise the inevitable question here, can you imagine your local priest or Imam trading in ‘body parts’? Can you think of a Muslim cleric or a pastor trying to buy your kidney or sell you one in a ‘parking lot’ or in a ‘diner’?

I do not think so.

Here is my suggestion to Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary and everyone else who happens to be ‘concerned’ with the ‘rise of anti-Semitism’.

In the light of Israeli brutality, the conviction of gross swindler Madoff and the latest images of Rabbis being taken away by FBI agents, it is about time we stop discussing the rise of anti-Semitism and start to elaborate on the rise of Jewish Crime.

Tagged as: , , ,

Gilad Atzmon is a jazz musician, composer, producer and writer.
Email this author All posts by Gilad Atzmon

Three city mayors and several rabbis held in New Jersey corruption inquiry

A Child in Palestine The Cartoons of Naji al-Ali]

Pens and swords: Michel Faber praises the work of a visionary Palestinian cartoonist [A Child in Palestine The Cartoons of Naji al-Ali]

Pens and swords

Michel Faber praises the work of a visionary Palestinian cartoonist

The pen is mightier than the sword, they say. The Palestinian political cartoonist Naji al-Ali certainly hoped it might be, and once drew a sword with a pen nib at its point. More characteristic of his peculiar genius for symbolism is the drawing used on the cover of this book,
in which the pen stands upright, its nib doubling as a candle flame.
It’s a potently simple image, yet complex: the dripping wax suggests sorrowful tears; the pen’s upright balance is perilously unsupported, like the Palestinian state itself; yet the backdrop of night sky, with its foully obscured moon, seems to reference the Amnesty International
catchphrase about it being better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

A Child in Palestine The Cartoons of Naji al-Ali
Few artists could have been more biblically destined for al-Ali’s prophetic status. Born in Galilee, he was a victim of the nakba (“disaster”) in 1948 when the Jews cleared the Promised Land of its previous inhabitants. He grew up in Lebanese refugee camps and prisons, scribbling protest cartoons on the walls, and eventually found work in newspapers. From 1969 onwards, his images featured the figure of Hanthala, the barefoot child who silently watches all the evils perpetrated in the Middle East. Hanthala became phenomenally popular in the Arab world, spawning a Garfield-like industry of coffee mugs, T-shirts, keyrings, and so on. But instead of a spoilt fat cat, here was a ragged witness to atrocity and political betrayal.

Naji al-Ali steadfastly declined to make speeches, allowing his cartoons to speak for him. I don’t know whether he felt, as many visual artists do, that images are diluted by “explanation”, or
whether he figured he might stay alive a bit longer if he (and Hanthala) functioned as mute witnesses rather than quotable demagogues. In any event, his luck ran out in 1987, when he was shot in the head outside the London offices of a Kuwaiti newspaper he was working for. Reportedly, he’d recently been warned by the PLO to “correct” his attitude to Yasser Arafat – a warning to which he responded by lampooning Arafat once more.

Al-Ali’s refusal to be the mouthpiece of a political party – even one representing his own oppressed people – is somewhat compromised by A Child in Palestine. The cartoons are surrounded by an armature of text. Abdul Hadi Ayyad, in a series of introductory essays, delivers exactly the kind of rhetoric that one might expect to hear at an anti-Israel rally.

The “Zionist settler project” or “Zionist entity” drives out the “indigenous” population, but the indomitable Hanthala “proudly declares that he is prepared to grasp his Kalashnikov to find the answers”.

Mahmoud al-Hindi adds captions to the cartoons – “Palestinian children throw rocks at the Israeli road-roller (a symbol of continued land-appropriation confiscation and illegal settlement-building)”.
The Iraqi poet Ahmad Matar weighs in with: “Naji al-Ali’s works were like a compass which always pointed towards Truth; and that truth will always be Palestine.” Why do these words make me wince in suspicion, whereas al-Ali’s cartoons make me wince in sympathy?

Maybe because I’m aware that Israelis have their own truth which will always be Israel, and the words therefore smell of absolutist non-communication. Or maybe it’s because al-Ali’s artistry nuanced and universalised the political views he undoubtedly shared with the editors of this book.

In any case, al-Ali’s views evolved over time, a fact which Ayyad, in his worshipful eagerness to present al-Ali as a timeless prophet, doesn’t acknowledge. Joe Sacco, whose foreword strives for
diplomacy, describes how “devastated” al-Ali was by the 1982 Lebanon invasion and notes that in the subsequent cartoons, Hanthala “lost his cool”. That’s one way of putting it. Hanthala stops watching and starts flagwaving (literally), kicking the Israeli map and throwing rocks. The crucified Jesus yanks a nailed hand from the crossbeam to throw a stone in support of the intifada. It is in such images that one gets a sense of al-Ali being unhinged, perhaps, by the unrelenting scale of Palestinian misery, and
crossing a line into the militarised defiance that made his eventual assassination inevitable. And, while it can’t have been easy for the editors of A Child in Palestine to choose a few dozen cartoons from among the thousands that al-Ali produced, I can’t help seeing a political agenda behind their decision to favour the more militant ones at the expense of so many of his most awesomely sad and tender images. Al-Ali, in his prime, created visionary symbols of inhumanity and the pity of war which transcended the specifics of the Israel/Palestine conflict. A few of them are reproduced here, but most are not.

For much of his working life, al-Ali insisted that it was essential to retain hope. Some of his later cartoons suggest that he found it increasingly impossible to cling to that ideal, and that instead of chronicling the endurance of the Palestinian people during a horrible phase of their history, he may have felt he was paying witness – with Hanthala-like impotence – to a gradual genocide, a final solution that would exterminate forever his boyhood dreams of homecoming. If that’s so, then this book will have two legacies. First, it will introduce British readers to al-Ali’s formidable talent, albeit with a selection that doesn’t do full justice to his greatness. Second, and very sadly, it may serve as documentary proof that the sword is mightier than the pen.

• Michel Faber’s The Fire Gospel is published by Canongate.

posted by annie at 8:17 PM

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat, a man, and a representative of all illegally held Political Prisoners


By Guest Post • Jul 9th, 2009 at 7:35 • Category: Biography, Counter-terrorism, No thanks!, Israel, Newswire, Palestine, Petitions, Resistance, Somoud: Arab Voices of Resistance, Zionism

Today, July 8, 2009, the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat sent the below letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, demanding that he and the United Nations uphold their responsibilities to protect the rights of Palestinian prisoners and secure their freedom. Well over 400 international organizations and individuals (see below for the full list) have supported this call, and we thank you all for your endorsement and support and urge you to distribute this letter widely, link to the website of the Campaign from your own websites, and continue your important work.

Signatories of the letter include youth, student and workers’ unions, solidarity organizations, lawyers’ associations, political parties, human rights groups, and numerous activists, academics and supporters of Palestine from around the world. Please visit our website at and contact the Campaign at to discuss forming local Friends of Ahmad Sa’adat committees and further coordinated statements, days of action and additional activities to inform the world about the case of Ahmad Sa’adat and the struggle of Palestinian prisoners. The Campaign also supports the struggles of political prisoners around the world who fight for justice, freedom and national liberation.

The thousands of Palestinian prisoners are facing an ongoing campaign in denial of their rights – from denial of family visits, to the imposition of solitary confinement and isolation. Every day, they stand on the front lines, confronting the injustice and repression of the occupation, as prisoners for the freedom of Palestinian land and the Palestinian people.

Ahmad Sa’adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a Palestinian national leader, is a leader in the Palestinian prisoners’ movement. His recent hunger strike galvanized attention upon the prisoners’ struggle. He is a living symbol of the oppression of the occupier and the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and the prisoners as they struggle for freedom, justice, liberation and return.

International action and attention are critical to stand in defense of Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian prisoners. Contact the Campaign today – your involvement, support and solidarity are much needed!

This letter was delivered to Ban Ki-Moon’s office on July 8, 2009.

Statement in Italian Statement in French

Dear Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon;

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, call upon you to immediately take action in defense of the lives, health and rights of the over 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners held inside Israeli occupation jails. This number includes numerous elected members of Palestinian Legislative Council, among them Ahmad Sa’adat, General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; Marwan al-Barghouthi, Fateh leader; Abdel-Aziz Dweik, Hamas leader and President of the Council, just freed after three years in prison, and dozens of other elected political leaders, in addition to thousands of other Palestinian activists, union members, community organizers, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters.

Palestinian prisoners suffer in conditions that violate international standards and norms, and are imprisoned because they refuse to accept a brutal occupation of their land and their people. Ahmad Sa’adat recently waged a nine-day hunger strike in protest of the policy of isolation and solitary confinement that has recently been escalated against Palestinian prisoners. Palestinian prisoners have been denied family visits, at times for years, denied access to all books and magazines, and denied even communication with their fellow prisoners in the isolation units. Palestinian prisoners, including Sa’adat, are currently denied necessary health care and medical treatment.

Palestinian prisoners are placed into isolation because they are national leaders and because the Palestinian prisoner movement has been an inspiration to all Palestinians and all who struggle for freedom. Ahmad Sa’adat’s hunger strike has sparked thousands of people around the world to appeal for his release, as a living example who symbolizes the steadfastness and strength of the Palestinian prisoners amid isolation and dire conditions, and it must compel all of those outside the prisons to act. Many Palestinian and international human rights and social justice organizations have called for the release of Sa’adat and to ensure the safety of his life and health, as well as for freedom and protection for all Palestinian prisoners.

The fate of these 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners is a fundamental issue of justice. Palestinians, in Palestine and in exile, are denied their rights – to return home, to self-determination, and to freedom, and those who seek to secure those rights are subject to imprisonment, whether within the open-air prisons of Gaza under siege or the walled-in West Bank, or the jails of the occupation. The silent, and at times, active, complicity of international agencies, particularly the United Nations, in the denial of Palestinian rights must not continue.

We call upon you to uphold your responsibilities and exert all pressure to end torture, cruel and inhuman treatment of Palestinian prisoners, and to free every Palestinian political prisoner from Israel’s occupation jails.


Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat

Al-Awda NY

Al-Awda Newspaper and Publishing House, Chicago
Al-Awda Omaha
Al-Fajr News, Tunisia
Alliance for People’s Health
Almubadara USA
Al-Nakba Awareness Project
American Iranian Friendship Committee
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition – Act Now to Stop War and End Racism
Anti-Imperialist Camp
Artists to End the Occupation
Association Réveil des Consciences
Arab American Community Center, Youngstown, OH
Arab American Union Members Council
Arab Muslim American Federation
Arab Resource and Organizing Center, San Francisco, CA
Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice
Bay Area United Against War
Campaign to Free Marwan Barghouti and All Prisoners
Canadian Arab Federation
Canada Palestine Association – Vancouver
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (Toronto)
Comité ‘Libérez-les!’
Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche Orient, Luxembourg
Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian People – Argentina
Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian People – Brazil
Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian People – Ecuador
Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian People – Uruguay
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
Communist Organization of Greece (KOE)
Coordination de l’Appel de Strasbourg pour une Paix juste au Proche-Orient
Danish Communist Party
Droit Solidarite, France

Free Gaza Movement
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal/NYC
Free Palestine Alliance
The Freedom Archives
Freedom Road Socialist Organization
French Committee to Free Georges Ibrahim Abdallah (Collectiv pour la libération de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah)
Friends of Al-Aqsa
General Union of Palestine Students/NY
General Union of Palestine Students/SF Bay Area
General Union of Workers of Chile
Hammerhard MediaWorks
International Action Center
International Association of Democratic Lawyers
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
International Platform Against Isolation (IPAI)
International Platform of Jurists for East Timor, Leiden, Netherlands
International Republican Socialist Network
International Socialist Organization
International Solidarity Movement – France
Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America
Irish Republican Socialist Party
Jericho Movement – NYC
Jewish People’s Liberation Organization
Justice for Palestinians, San Jose, CA
Kommunistische Initiative Deutschlands (KI)/Communist Initiative Germany
L’Observatoire Tunisien pour les Droits et les Libertés Syndicales
Left Formations of the Youth, Greece
Middle East Children’s Alliance
National Boricua Human Rights Network
National Democratic Action Society of Bahrain
National Lawyers Guild
New Jersey Solidarity – Activists for the Liberation of Palestine
New Orleans Palestine Solidarity
NYC Labor Against the War
NY Committee For Human Rights in the Philippines
No One Is Illegal – Vancouver
Palestine House

PNN – Palestine News Network
Palestine Solidarity Group – Chicago
Palestine Solidarity Committee – Seattle
Palestine Think Tank
Palestinian American Youth, Youngstown, OH
The Palestinian Cultural and Political Club of Boston
Palestinian Democratic Committee – Chile
Palestinian Federation of Chile
Palestinian Youth Network
Palestinian Youth Organization
PATOIS: New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival
PROGRESS Lawyers Network
Progressive Labor Action Front, Palestine
Progressive Student Action Front, Palestine
Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism!
Revolutionary Communist Group, Britain
Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) of Ecuador
Secretariat Nationale de la Voie Democratique Maroc
Socialist Action
Socialist Party of Malaysia
Socialist Viewpoint
SOUL School of Unity & Liberation, Oakland, CA
Students for a Democratic Society, UNC-Chapel Hill chapter
TLAXCALA activist translators’ collective
Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees
Union of the Working People, Greece
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) (Popular Conference)
Vent Libertaire 29, France

Voice of Palestine, Canada
War Times/Tiempo De Guerra
WESPAC Foundation
Women Against Military Madness
Women’s Peace Speakers Series, Honolulu, Hawaii
Workers Party of New Zealand

Leila Khaled
MP George Galloway, UK Parliament Member and coordinator of Viva Palestina USA medical aid caravan to Gaza
Ulla Sandbaek, former Member of European Parliament, Denmark
Eleni Sotiriou, 1st stand-in MEP of the Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA) , Greece
May Abboud, Lebanon
Chbari Abdelmoumen, journalist, Morocco
Rami Abu Ayash, Jordan
Prof. Bashir Abu Manneh, Columbia University
Susan Abulhawa, author, Pennsylvania
Nader Abuljebain, writer
Yousef Abudayyeh, California
Nasser Abu-khdeir, Jerusalem University Political Science Department, Jerusalem-Shuafat, Palestine
Sheriff Abuzahra, Cambridge, MA
Darwish Addassi, Walnut Creek, CA
Musil Akinsanya, Lagos, Nigeria
Ghassan H. Alami, Jordan
Abdul-Rahman Alawi, publisher and journalist, Cologne, Germany
Reham Alhelsi, Jerusalem, Palestine
Musa al-Hindi, Omaha, NE
Sonia Almonacid, Spain
Abdelwahab Amri Secretary-General of the Federation of PDP, Gabes, Tunisia
Steve Amsel, DesertPeace
Giuseppe Ardizzone, Perugia, Italy
Emmanuel Arenes, France
Justo Arriola, Euskal Herria
Jamal Aruri, attorney, Andover, MA
Prof. Emeritus Naseer Aruri, University of Massachussetts at Dartmouth
Boniardi Ambrogio, Milano, Italy
Mary Avice, Canada
Rahef Awadallah, Chicago, IL
A. R. Ayoubi, UK
Mike Baldwin, California, USA
George Elfie Ballis, Prather, CA
Khaled Barakat, Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat, Canada
Nidal A. Barakat, California
Patrice Bardet, France
Anees Barghouthi, Palestine

Halim Bari, France
David Barsamian, Director, Alternative Radio, Boulder, CO
Pawel Michal Bartolik, journalist, Poland
Abdul-Nasser J.G. Baston, London, UK
Levent Basturk, Red Hook, NY
Tahmeena Bax, UK
Dr. Oren Ben-Dor University of Southampton, UK
B. Benhamid, USA
Arnauld Bengochea, Bordeaux-France
Cheryl Benson, Canada
Simone Bilotta, Faenza (RA), Italy
Patricia Blair, Hawaii, USA
Jeff Blankfort, Ukiah, CA
Yoon Bok-Dong, Korea Truth Commission – Hawaii Representative, USA
Thomas Bolt, England
Giulio Bonali, Italy
Hadassah Borreman, Jeshurun-Judaism Against Zionism, Belgium
Yamina Bounir, Comité Verviers Palestine, France
Glenn Bowman, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK
John P. Brassard, elementary teacher, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Andrea Breuer, Klagenfurt, Austria
Richard Brinton, Salinas, CA, USA
Peter Brown, Olives for Palestine/Olives for Peace
Dr.C.J. Burns-Cox MD FRCP, Gloucester UK
William Buttrey, Los Angeles, CA
George Cammarota, San Jose, CA
Daniele Campione, Milan, Italy
José Canali, France
Hadi Chammah, Gainesville, FL, USA
Sukant Chandan, Chair of the British Section of the International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine
Vassilis Chatzilabrou, prefectural council of Achaia (Western Greece)
Sharon Clarke, Cambridge, MA
Irene Clausen, Denmark
Ana Cleja, France
Catherine Cobham, St. Andrews University, Scotland, UK
Prof. William A. Cook, University of La Verne
Sebastiano Cosenza, Milano, Italy
Claude Coursin, Assistante Sociale, Marseilles, France
Maya Cutler, Stanley, ID
Professor Seif Da’Na, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Ilgvar Daga, USA
Elena Davinca, Austria
Rosylin Dean, USA
Prof. Emeritus Dr. Herman De Ley, Ghent University (Belgium)
Paul Delmotte, France
Graham Derrick, UK
Deborah Dexter-Mendez, Fresno, CA
Shaheen Sultan Dhanji, Chairperson, African Socialist Movement
Nicholas Dibs, Long Beach, CA
Waroquiez Dominique, LCR Belgique
Dennis E. Donohue, New York, NY
Idrissi K. Driss, France
Peter Durant, New York, NY
Dr. Adel Elsaie, USA
Ali Faraj, Rennes, France
James C. Faris, Director Emeritus, University of Connecticut Program in Middle East Languages and Area Studies
Mahmoud Faris, Gaza, Palestine
Priscilla Felia, Whitestone, NY
Enrique Ferro, Brussels, Belgium
Franco Ferro, teacher, Italy
Nadia Ferro, teacher, Italy
Sara Flounders, co-director, International Action Center
Linda Frank, Northwest Middle East Peace Forum, USA
Donnie Fraser, UK
Stephanie Frizzell, Garland, CA
Nikos Galanis, member of the National Secretariat of the Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA), Greece
Yolanda Garza-Birdwell, Houston, TX
Elisabeth Geschiere, Minneapolis, MN
Ron George, USA
Sarah Gillespie, musician, London
Francesco Giordano, educator, Milano, Italy
Prof. Emerita Sherna Berger Gluck, California State University Long Beach
Richard Gomez, Fresno Greens, Fresno, CA
Margaret Goodheart, Honolulu, HI
Maligorn Gouez, France
Stephen Gowans, Canada
Phil Grace, Liverpool, England
Michela Graham, Italy
Dr. Anne Gray, London, UK
Anne Gwynne, Aberystwyth, Wales
Lamari Habib, Al-Fajr News, Tunisia
Anita Hadjadji, Bordeaux, France
M. Hadjuk, USA
Prof. Emerita Elaine Hagopian, Simmons College
Samia A. Halaby, artist, New York, NY
Corrinne Hales, Fresno, CA
Hatem Hammad, Canada
Dr. Leila Hanaineh, Jordan
Kamal Hassan, USA
Jean Hays, CA, USA
Jennifer Heath, Boulder, CO
Gary Heisinger, Peace Fresno, Fresno, CA
Monadel Herzallah, San Francisco, CA
Nadia Hijab, writer
Isabella Horn, Italy
Paul Hubbard, Providence, RI
Jay Hubbell, Peace Fresno, Fresno, CA
Mary Hughes Thompson, Women in Black Los Angeles, CA
Prof. Mahmood Ibrahim, CSU Pomona, Los Angeles, CA
Barbara Ida, Malone, NY
Sascha Iversen, International Forum, Denmark
Firas Jaber, writer and researcher, Palestine
Karl Ange Angri Jacobsen, Red-Green Alliance, Denmark
Dr. Mohammed Jadallah, Jerusalem Centre For Development
Francois Jadoul, Belgium
Intisar Jardaneh, Jordan
Randa Jazairi, Gainesville, FL
Humberto Jijón, Ecuador
Richard Jones, Swansea, UK
Maya Joulkva, France
Akis Kaloudis, member of the administration of the Private Employees’ Union , Greece
Sana Kassem, Athens, Greece
Charlotte Kates, attorney
Stathis Katsoulas, member of the administration of the Teachers’ Union of Western Athens, Greece
Ahmad Kawash, Boston, MA
Prof. Mujid S. Kazimi, Massachusetts Institiute of Technology
Nabil Keilani, California
Basem Khader, Chappaqua, NY
Sobhi Khalaf, Gaza, Palestine
Hocine Khelfaoui, Montreal, Canada
Annette Klepzig, Wilhemsfeld, Germany
Peter Klosterman, Ph.D. Oakland, CA
Norman Koerner, educator, Philadelphia, PA
Khaled Kouteich, France
Pantelis Koutsianas, coordinator of Thessaloniki’s Popular Committees against price hikes, Greece
Zbigniew Marcin Kowalewski, researcher and editor, Poland
Garold Langley, Hawaii, USA
Bahauddeen Latif, UK
Carlos Latuff, cartoonist, Brazil
Joelle Laurent-Laneau, France
David Letwin, Brooklyn, NY
Michael Letwin, Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Former President, Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325
Mariah Leung, Al-Nakba Awareness Project, Eugene, OR
Dr. Renee Levant, Instructor, Master of Liberal Studies Program, Fort Hays State University
Nessim Liamani, Italy
Catherine Lieutenant, Belgium
Britta Lillesøe, Denmark
Tammy Bang Luu, Los Angeles, CA
Amir M. Maasoumi, Quebec, Canada
Professor Moshé Machover, London School of Economics
Patrick MacManus, Rebellion, Denmark
Rania Madi, Switzerland
Dr. Bruce J. Malina, Dept of Theology, Creighton University
Hanif Manjoo, South Africa
Polly Mann, Women Against Military Madness, Minneapolis, MN
Sharon Martinas, San Francisco, CA
Professor Nur Masalha, London
Beatriz Maturana, President, Architects for Peace, Australia
Bill McGrath, Minnesota, USA
Marcelo Mendoza Azat, Arauco, Chile
Roberto J. Mercado, photographer, Social Impact Photography, New York, NY
Ali Mili, Phillipsburg, NJ
Emil Mishriky, Palestine
Harald Molgaard, Twickenham, UK
Serajeddin Momeni, Phoenix, AZ
Michael Moore, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Lillian Morgan, East Aurora, NY
Talaat Ahmed Mosallam, Retired General, researcher, co chairman Al A’mal Party, Egypt
Tawfieq Mousa, California, USA
Atiya Munir, Policy Analyst, London, UK
Catherine Myles, UK
Linda Nedjaa, France
Marlene Newesri, New York City, USA
Dr. Marcy Newman, Associate Professor of English, An Najah University, Nablus, Palestine
Prof. Osamu Niikura, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan
Hiyam Noir,, USA/Palestine
Christopher North, Antalya, Turkey
Henry Ode, California
Alain Ollivier, Quebec, Canada
Ivan Olsen, San Francisco Bay, CA
Ardeshir and Eleanor Ommani, Founders, AIFC
Michael Opperskalski, Journalist and Editor, Germany
Manlio Padova, Italy
Yiorgos Papaioannou, member of the administration of the Accountants’ Union of Athens, Greece
Marie-Ange Patrizio, psychologist, Marseille, France
Daniel Perez Creus, Ingenio {Gran Canaria} Spain
Jørgen Petersen, Danish Communist Party, Denmark
Lily Phan, Calgary, AB, Canada
Andrea Pietropaolo, Italy
Paola Pisi,
Gabriel Proulx, Quebec
Karina Rahef, USA
Jespers Raf, Progress Lawyers Network, Belgium
Ahmed S. Rajah, South Africa
Hussin Ramadan, Palestine
Dr. Nagesh Rao, Assistant Professor of English, The College of New Jersey
Gabriele Rapaci, student, University of Milan, Italy
Angel Rebollar, Spain
Dick Reilly, Chicago, IL, US
Mary Rizzo, writer, translator, S Benedetto Tr, Italy
Julian Rodriguez Veiga, Argentina
Diane Roehm, New York, NY
Francesca Rosa, San Francisco, CA
Nadine Rosa-Rosso,, Belgium
Mimi Rosenberg, Esq., Producer & Host Building Bridges: Your Community & Labor Report WBAI Radio, NY
Bob Rossi, union organizer, Salem, OR
Mireille Rumeau, Bordeaux-France
Doug Russell, Dallas, TX
Tony Ryan, Australia
Dr. Hamoudi Hadj Sahraoui, Setif University, Algeria
Nizar Sakhnini, Toronto, Canada
Samia Saleh, northern Virginia, US
Professor Therese Saliba, The Evergreen State College, Washington
Susanne Scheidt, writer, journalist, Italy
Carol Scheller-Doyle, Genève, Switzerland
Guenter Schenk, Strasbourg, France
Einar Schlereth, Sweden
Penny Schoner, paralegal, San Francisco, CA
Paolina Scoccimarro, Italy
Marco Antonio Sechi, Sassari, Italy
Shahin Shabanian, Williamsport, PA
Mark Shapiro, UK
Meena Sharma, USA
Michel Shehadeh, San Francisco, CA
Kemal Sidhoum, Paris, France
Júlio da Silveira Moreira, International Association of People’s Lawyers, Brazil
Hilary Smith, UK
Dr. Ahdaf Soueif, author
Professor Mustapha Soueif, University of Cairo
Maryloo Souied, house cleaner/office worker, New York, NY
Edna Spennato, Maceio, Brazil
Stan Squires, Canada
Burton Steck, Chicago
Robert H. Stiver, Hawaii, USA, retiree and activist

Prof. Emeritus Dr. Y.N. Tamimi, University of Hawaii
Zaid Tayem, the Netherlands
Richard S. Thomas, former Hampden County Commissioner, retired
Angie Tibbs, Canada
Brian Tierney, Union organizer, Washington, DC
Luciano Torresani, Italy
Madjid Tounsi, Montreal, Canada
Mary Tuma, artist, USA
Vic and Barby Ulmer, Our Developing World, Saratoga, CA
Peter Urban, International Republican Socialist Movement

Laura Vance, California
JoAnne VanDatta MS, Eugene, OR
Fay Van Dunk, United Kingdom
Ivan Vanney, student, Haifa, occupied Palestine
Nils Vest, Denmark
Valdemar Vest-Lillesøe, Denmark
William Vest-Lillesøe, Denmark

Erin Wade, Seattle, WA
Claudia Wainerman, occupied Palestine

Darlene Wallach, San Jose, CA
Donna Wallach, San Jose, CA
Viola Ware, Artists to End the Occupation
Dr. Dahlia Wasfi, M.D., USA
Alison Weir, If Americans Knew, USA
Tony Whelan, London, UK
Katherine Wilson, CUNY, New York City

Betsy Wolf-Graves, San Jose, CA
R. Worrell, US
Rami Yaseen, Jordan
Ra’ana-Dilruba Yasmin, USA
Patrick Young, USA
Anthony Joseph Geha Yuja, Italy
Dr. A. B. Zahlan, London and Beirut
Edgar Zarifa, Canada
Dr. Ismail Zayid, Canada
Omar Zietawi, Arab American Community Center, Southern California
Said Zulficar, Network for Colonial Freedom

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"Embers and Ashes:" An intellectual’s exile, struggle and success

Atef Alshaer, The Electronic Intifada, 30 June 2009

“My homeland, you have spurned me … I shall never return to you … I shall never ever return to you …”

So ends Hisham Sharabi’s compelling autobiography, Embers and Ashes: Memoirs of an Arab Intellectual. Sharabi, a leading Palestinian intellectual who died in 2005, uttered these words to himself on board a plane from Amman, Jordan to the United States in 1949. He studied and taught in the US for the rest of his life, retiring as a professor of history at Georgetown University in 1998. Ably translated from Arabic by Issa J. Boullata, Embers and Ashes is a poignant story of an intellectual’s exile and struggle.

Sharabi transports the reader seamlessly from his early life in Palestine, where he was born in 1927, to his studies at the American University of Beirut, and finally his own American experience and life as a university professor at Georgetown. While it occasionally lacks cohesion, the book is unmistakably personal and insightful.

Sharabi’s departure from Amman was preceded by tumultuous events in Lebanon where he was a prominent activist in the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), led by Antun Saadeh. Perhaps more than anyone else, it was Saadeh who influenced Sharabi’s intellectual trajectory. Saadeh’s political line and that of the SSNP was premised on unity between Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. Sharabi depicts Saadeh sympathetically as a man of deep human values: courageous, inspirational and subtly intellectual. But he also shows other aspects of Saadeh’s personality:

“He used to speak of the party as if it were an actual government on the verge of taking power. In his personal behavior and public stance, he acted like a man of state. The party in his view was the only political force that stood up to colonialism and could achieve independence. It was the only force that could liberate Palestine. I think that Saadeh underestimated the depth of sectarian, tribal, and feudal feelings in [Lebanon]” (150-151).

There are two issues regarding Saadeh’s approach to which Sharabi submitted uncritically, and on which he later seems to renege. Firstly, he did not oppose Saadah’s grandiose vision of the Syrian homeland, which shifted from being confined to Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Transjordan, to include Iraq, Kuwait and Cyprus. Secondly, Sharabi embraced Saadah’s view that “the individual was a mere means that society used to achieve its aims; and that society represented a firm and abiding ‘truth,’ whereas individuals fell away like autumn leaves,” thereby “ascribing a universality to society and considering society an ultimate ideal in itself” (59-60). However, Sharabi developed a more nuanced and critical view of these matters, particularly in his attribution of a more central and visible role to the individual in society.

Sharabi was also influenced by German philosopher Nicolai Hartmaan, who “considered moral values as justice, courage, love, and friendship to be objective and timeless. For him, those values enjoyed an eternal existence, like Plato’s ideals” (129).

Embers and Ashes also provides an insightful reading of the Arab and American intellectual landscape. Sharabi is unsparing in his biting criticism of the intellectual and academic environment in the Arab world and points to serious flaws in education. Nor does he hold back in criticizing Arab universities for failing their students. He attributes to them his slowness in grasping the rigorous methods of learning which he encountered in the US. Stating that “I may forgive those to whom I owe my education for their ignorance and their foolishness. But it is far more difficult to forgive them their arrogance and the moral cruelty they practiced in distorting me and calling it an education” (22). For this discussion alone, Sharabi’s book deserves a wide reading, particularly by Arab intellectuals, because it is critical of teachers and professors who are too engrossed in themselves and their self-made grandeur.

Sharabi was born in Jaffa and lived in Acre, and his discussion of Palestine is the familiar but ever-relevant Palestinian yearning for a country that was stolen. He tenderly evokes the image of Acre, the beautiful sea stretching before his eyes, the fertile fields of grain glistening in the eye of the sun, the orange, lemon and olive trees with their scent wafting through; the cascade of houses, finely built and designed; the neighbors sitting peacefully together. But there is often something tragic about Palestinians recollecting or being exposed to images of their towns and villages from which they were expelled in 1948. The Acre that Sharabi knows and evokes before 1948 in his book becomes a less recognizable place as he receives a photograph of it from his Jewish friend, Uri Davis: “familiar, but strange at the same time, in another world … the remaining Arab inhabitants have been forbidden to live in the new city, outside the wall, and have been forced to live within the walled old city, which has become a casbah to the Jews, visited by foreign tourists wanting to buy locally made articles and to see ‘the Arab population of Israel.'” (76).

Sharabi does not dwell on his own significant intellectual contributions as such. In the book, he reflects on his observations and involvement in the SSNP and interactions with events in the Arab world from a distance. He does, however, refer to papers he presented at conferences and gives general comments about his contributions. He considered Zionism as part of an imperial project that could only be understood, and as such dealt with, once there is a proper understanding of the broader context of European colonialism. He also refers to the patrimonial and patriarchal characteristics of Arab societies that weakened their sense of resistance against their aggressors and curtailed their individual freedoms. In this sense, the book provides an incisive reading on many levels of the Arab cultural and political landscape by someone who has been at the thick of major historical events: 1948, the emergence of socialist and nationalist parties in greater Syria and the Arab world and his experience as a Palestinian Arab in America. Sharabi rightly saw value in transmitting his experience and thoughts to new generations, and he does so with distinctive astuteness and sensitivity.

Embers and Ashes is not only a story of exile and struggle, but also of well-deserved resounding success. It is a fitting testament to Sharabi’s life as a Palestinian beacon of humanity and intellectual honesty.

Atef Alshaer has first graduated from Birzeit University in Palestine, where he studied English Language and Literature. He holds a doctorate in Linguistics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

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Nima Shirazi – In Fraud, We Trust?

Nima Shirazi – In Fraud, We Trust?

By Nima Shirazi • Jun 24th, 2009 at 21:53 • Category: Analysis, Biography, Newswire, Religion, Somoud: Arab Voices of Resistance

Douter de tout ou tout croire, ce sont deux solutions également commodes, qui l’une et l’autre nous dispensent de réfléchir.

To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the need for thought.
– Jules Henri Poincaré, La Science et l’Hypothèse (1901)

By now, we all know the story:

Still high from Barack Obama’s Cairo speech and Lebanon’s recent elections that saw the pro-Western March 14 faction barely maintain its majority in the Chamber of Deputies, the mainstream media fully expected a clean sweep for “reformist” candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi in Iran’s June 12th presidential election. They reported surging poll numbers, an ever-growing Green Wave of support for the challenger, while taking every opportunity to get in their tired and juvenile epithets, their final chance to demonize and defame the incumbent Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whom they were convinced had absolutely no chance of winning reelection.

The turnout was a massive 85% by most estimates, resulting in almost forty million ballots cast by the eligible Iranian voting public.

Before the polls even closed, Mousavi had already claimed victory. “In line with the information we have received, I am the winner of this election by a substantial margin,” he said. “We expect to celebrate with people soon.” However, according to the chairman of the Interior Ministry’s Electoral Commission, Kamran Daneshjoo, with the majority of votes counted, the incumbent president had taken a seemingly unassailable lead.

And so it was. Ahmadinejad won. By a lot. Some said by too much.

It didn’t take long before accusations started flying, knee-jerk reactions were reported as expert analysis, and rumor became fact. As Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei congratulated Ahmadinejad on his landslide victory, calling it a “divine assessment,” the opposition candidates all cried foul. Mousavi called the results “treason to the votes of the people” and the election a “dangerous charade.” Karroubi described Ahmadinejad’s reelection as “illegitimate and unacceptable.”

The Western media immediately jumped on board, calling the election a “fraud,” “theft,” and “a crime scene” in both news reports and editorial commentary. Even so-called progressive analysts, from Juan Cole to Stephen Zunes to Dave Zirin to Amy Goodman to Trita Parsi to the New Yorker‘s Laura Secor, opined on the illegitimacy of the results. They cited purported violations, dissident testimony from inside sources, leaked “real” results, and seeming inconsistencies, incongruities, and irregularities with Iran’s electoral history all with the intention of proving that the election was clumsily stolen from Mousavi by Ahmadinejad. These commentators all call the continuing groundswell of protest to the poll results an “unprecedented” show of courage, resistance, and people power, not seen in Iran since the 1979 revolution.

To me, the only thing unprecedented about what we’re seeing in Iran seems to be the constant media hysteria, righteous indignation, and hypocritical pseudo-solidarity of the West; a bogus, biased, and altogether presumptuous and uncritical reaction to hearsay and conjecture, almost totally decontextualized in order to promote sensational headlines and build international consensus for foreign intervention in Iran.

The foregone (and totally unsubstantiated) conclusions drawn by a rabid, clucking media have led to an ever-growing outrage over the elections results. Weak theories are tossed around like beads on Bourbon Street and assumed to be “expert analysis” and beyond reproach. By now, the accusations are well-known. However, with a little perspective and rational thought, the “evidence” that purportedly demonstrates proof of a fixed election winds up sounding pretty forced. With closer inspection and added context, the arguments crumble and are revealed not to be very compelling, let alone convincing.

We read that the reelection of Ahmadinejad was impossible, unbelievable. It was a sham, a hoax, and a coup d’etat. But, in fact, there is no alleged, let alone substantive, proof to suggest that the results were fixed beyond mere speculation, biased and baseless assumptions, and suspect hearsay. It appears quite clear that the pre-election predictions of a soaring Mousavi victory by the Western press were nothing more than the consequence of presumptuous wishful thinking. Analyst James Petras tells us,

“What is astonishing about the West’s universal condemnation of the electoral outcome as fraudulent is that not a single shred of evidence in either written or observational form has been presented either before or a week after the vote count. During the entire electoral campaign, no credible (or even dubious) charge of voter tampering was raised. As long as the Western media believed their own propaganda of an imminent victory for their candidate, the electoral process was described as highly competitive, with heated public debates and unprecedented levels of public activity and unhindered by public proselytizing. The belief in a free and open election was so strong that the Western leaders and mass media believed that their favored candidate would win.”

Most of these claims rest on the brash and offensive assumption that these “experts” know how Iranians would vote better than Iranians do. Clearly, they argue, Mousavi would win his hometown of Tabriz in the heart of East Azerbaijan, since he’s an ethnic Azeri with an “Azeri accent” and Iranians always vote along geographical and ethnic lines. And yet, Ahmadinejad won that province by almost 300,000 votes. Curious, no?

Well, no.

As Flynt Leverett points out,

Ahmadinejad himself speaks Azeri quite fluently as a consequence of his eight years serving as a popular and successful official in two Azeri-majority provinces; during the campaign, he artfully quoted Azeri and Turkish poetry – in the original – in messages designed to appeal to Iran’s Azeri community. (And, we should not forget that the Supreme Leader is Azeri.) The notion that Mousavi was somehow assured of victory in Azeri-majority provinces is simply not grounded in reality.

Furthermore, in a pre-election poll Azeris favored Ahmadinejad by 2 to 1 over Mousavi. Furthermore, Petras notes, “The simplistic assumption [of the Western media] is that ethnic identity or belonging to a linguistic group is the only possible explanation of voting behavior rather than other social or class interests. A closer look at the voting pattern in the East-Azerbaijan region of Iran reveals that Mousavi won only in the city of Shabestar among the upper and the middle classes (and only by a small margin), whereas he was soundly defeated in the larger rural areas, where the re-distributive policies of the Ahmadinejad government had helped the ethnic Azeris write off debt, obtain cheap credits and easy loans for the farmers. Mousavi did win in the West-Azerbaijan region, using his ethnic ties to win over the urban voters.”

Additionally, it should be noted that, although there is a wide diversity of ethnic groups within Iranian society, most of them share a common history and Iranian identity. This is certainly the case within the Azeri community of Northwest Iran. We have been told for quite some time now that “public opinion polls suggest that foreign pressure to discontinue Iran’s nuclear program has contributed to a rise in patriotism because public support for the Iran’s nuclear program has been strong. Support for the program transcends political factions and ethnic groups.” Considering that Ahmadinejad’s four years of standing strong in the face of such aggressive and threatening foreign pressure has played well with the public, as opposed to Mousavi’s more conciliatory tone with regards to bettering relations with Western powers, it is hardly a stretch or a surprise that Ahmadinejad would be supported by such large swaths of the population across all demographics.

The voting habits of ethnic Lur voters in reformist candidate Mehdi Karroubi’s home province are also assumed to be known by Western analysts. If he won five million votes in 2005, why did he only clear about 300,000 this time around? How could Ahmadinejad win in Tehran, when Mousavi’s base of upper and middle class cosmopolitan youths, university students, and wealthy business-owners reside there? Plus, Mousavi is said to have been popular in urban areas, where Ahmadinejad was seen as holding less sway. So how could Mousavi possibly lose? These questions are valid, for sure, but they have equally rational answers.

Karroubi wasn’t a contender in this race like he was four years ago. There was no incumbent president at that time (President Khatami had just completed his second term) and the candidate field was wide open. Karroubi had a pro-reform and pro-populist message that appealed to many unsure of whom to vote for. He did well in his hometown. But 2009 is not 2005. After four years of Ahmadinejad’s presidency, the rural Iranian voting bloc strongly supports his economic, domestic, and foreign policies. It is irresponsible to assume that Karroubi’s “reformist” support would turn heavily to Mousavi since Karroubi had no chance of winning this year. He has long been a staunch opponent of Iranian political stalwart and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is closely aligned with Mousavi. Karroubi’s populist approach to the economy is more like Ahmadinejad’s than Mousavi’s.

Esam Al-Amin, writing for Counterpunch, astutely observes,

The double standard applied by Western news agencies is striking. Richard Nixon trounced George McGovern in his native state of South Dakota in the 1972 elections. Had Al Gore won his home state of Tennessee in 2000, no one would have cared about a Florida recount, nor would there have been a Supreme Court case called Bush v. Gore. If Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards had won the states he was born and raised in (South and North Carolina), President John Kerry would now be serving his second term. But somehow, in Western newsrooms Middle Eastern people choose their candidates not on merit, but on the basis of their “tribe.”

The fact that minor candidates such as Karroubi would garner fewer votes than expected, even in their home regions as critics charge, is not out of the ordinary. Many voters reach the conclusion that they do not want to waste their votes when the contest is perceived to be between two major candidates. Karroubi indeed received far fewer votes this time around than he did in 2005, including in his hometown. Likewise, Ross Perot lost his home state of Texas to Bob Dole of Kansas in 1996, while in 2004, Ralph Nader received one eighth of the votes he had four years earlier.

Ahmadinejad didn’t win Tehran, even though this falsehood is repeated constantly in the Western press as evidence of vote tampering. He won Tehran province, yes, but not the metropolitan area. In Tehran proper, which has a total population of about 7.7 million, Mousavi received 2,166,245 votes, which is over 356,000 more than the incumbent Ahmadinejad, and in Shemiranat – the affluent and westernized Northern section of the greater Tehran area, abounding with shopping malls and luxury cars – Mousavi beat Ahmadinejad by almost a 2 to 1 margin, winning 200,931 votes to Ahmadinjead’s 102,433. In fact, according to the official numbers, Ahmadinejad lost in most cities around the country, including Ardabil, Ardakan, Aqqala, Bandar Torkaman, Baneh, Bastak, Bukan, Chabahar, Dalaho, Ganaveh, Garmi, Iranshahr, Javanroud, Kalaleh, Khaf, Khamir, Khash, Konarak, Mahabad, Mako, Maraveh Tappeh, Marivan, Miandoab, Naghadeh, Nikshahr, Oshnavieh, Pars-Abad, Parsian, Paveh, Pilehsavar, Piranshahr, Qeshm, Ravansar, Shabestar, Sadooq, Salmas, Saqqez, Saravan, Sardasht, Showt, Sibsouran, Yazd, Zaboli, and Zahedan. This deficit was more than made up for, however, in working class suburbs, small towns and rural areas. (Since the election, Ahmadinejad’s detractors have enjoyed flaunting the statistic that only 30% of Iranians live in the countryside, without realizing that the adjoining blue-collar neighborhoods and less affluent suburban sprawl of urban centers are not counted as “rural” areas.)

But weren’t the pre-election polls indicating an easy victory for Mousavi? No, they weren’t. An Iranian opinion poll from early May, conducted in Tehran as well as 29 other provincial capitals and 32 important cities, showed that “58.6% will cast their ballots in favor of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while some 21.9% will vote for Mousavi.” Even though Western media likes to tell us that polling is notoriously difficult in Iran, there was plenty of pre-election data to analyze. Al-Amin writes,

More than thirty pre-election polls were conducted in Iran since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his main opponent, former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, announced their candidacies in early March 2009. The polls varied widely between the two opponents, but if one were to average their results, Ahmadinejad would still come out on top. However, some of the organizations sponsoring these polls, such as Iranian Labor News Agency and Tabnak, admit openly that they have been allies of Mousavi, the opposition, or the so-called reform movement. Their numbers were clearly tilted towards Mousavi and gave him an unrealistic advantage of over 30 per cent in some polls. If such biased polls were excluded, Ahmadinejad’s average over Mousavi would widen to about 21 points.

One poll conducted before the election by two US-based non-profit organizations forecast Ahmadinejad’s reelection with surprising prescience. The survey was jointly commissioned by the BBC and ABC News, funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and conducted by the New America Foundation‘s nonprofit Center for Public Opinion, which, “has a reputation of conducting accurate opinion polls, not only in Iran, but across the Muslim world since 2005.” The poll predicted an election day turnout of 89%, only slightly higher than the actual 85% who voted (that’s a difference of fewer than 2 million ballots). According to pollsters Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty, the “nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin – greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday’s election.”

Moreover, we hear incessantly about Iran’s all-important youth vote. According to many estimates, about 60% of Iran’s population is under 30 years old; however, what isn’t often reported is that almost a quarter of the population is actually under 15 years old. There are about 25 million Iranians between 15 and 29, which is about 36% of the population of the entire country. Voting age in Iran is 18. Additionally, Ballen and Doherty conclude,

“Much commentary has portrayed Iranian youth and the Internet as harbingers of change in this election. But our poll found that only a third of Iranians even have access to the Internet, while 18-to-24-year-olds comprised the strongest voting bloc for Ahmadinejad of all age groups.

The only demographic groups in which our survey found Mousavi leading or competitive with Ahmadinejad were university students and graduates, and the highest-income Iranians. When our poll was taken, almost a third of Iranians were also still undecided. Yet the baseline distributions we found then mirror the results reported by the Iranian authorities, indicating the possibility that the vote is not the product of widespread fraud.”

Furthermore, this poll was conducted before Ahmadnejad’s impressive showing in widely watched televised debates against his opponents. The debates, aired live nightly between June 2nd and 8th, pitted candidates one-on-one for ninety minutes. According to news reports, the Ahmadinejad-Mousavi debate was watched by more than 40 million people. Leverett notes,

American “Iran experts” missed how Ahmadinejad was perceived by most Iranians as having won the nationally televised debates with his three opponents – especially his debate with Mousavi.

Before the debates, both Mousavi and Ahmadinejad campaign aides indicated privately that they perceived a surge of support for Mousavi; after the debates, the same aides concluded that Ahmadinejad’s provocatively impressive performance and Mousavi’s desultory one had boosted the incumbent’s standing. Ahmadinejad’s charge that Mousavi was supported by Rafsanjani’s sons – widely perceived in Iranian society as corrupt figures – seemed to play well with voters.

Similarly, Ahmadinejad’s criticism that Mousavi’s reformist supporters, including former President Khatami, had been willing to suspend Iran’s uranium enrichment program and had won nothing from the West for doing so tapped into popular support for the program – and had the added advantage of being true.

Anyone who actually watched the debates (one wonders how many Western reporters, pundits, Iran “experts,” and commentators are included in this demographic) would have known first-hand how singularly uncharismatic Mousavi was and how particularly lackluster was his debating style. Mousavi is a mumbler, a low-talker, and has about as much on-screen personality as Ben Stein on Klonopin. (How this man, absent from Iranian politics for the past twenty years, could become the leader of an energetic protest movement is anyone’s guess, but you might want to ask the CIA first.)

Conversely, Ahmadinejad – as both his supporters and detractors would readily admit – is nothing if not an engaging, animated, and impassioned speaker. His outspoken nature and refusal to be bullied by opponents is apparent to anyone who has ever heard or seen him speak, whether they agree with what he says or not. Anyone who believes Mousavi won these debates either didn’t actually watch them and/or decided to uncritically believe talking points distributed by the Mousavi campaign about their candidate’s inspired performance.

Opponents of Ahmadinejad in the Western press – or, more accurately, everyone in the Western press – consistently refer to Ahmadinejad as an entrenched, establishment politician who has the unconditional backing of Iran’s powerful theocratic hierarchy. As such, the current unrest in the nation’s capital has been described as a grassroots, largely secular movement aimed at upsetting the religious orthodoxy of the government – embodied in such reports by Ahmadinejad himself – in an effort to fight for more personal freedoms and human rights in defiance of the country’s revolutionary ideals. These reports betray the journalists’ obvious misunderstanding of Iranian politics in general, and certainly of President Ahmadinejad’s personal politics in particular.

In fact, Newsweek reported that, on Wednesday morning of last week, Mousavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard, who was with her husband throughout the presidential campaign, felt the need to remind a group of students that she and her husband still believe in the ideals of the revolution and don’t regard anti-Islamic Revolution elements as their allies.

Furthermore, even though here in the US, he is variably referred to as “hardline” and a religious conservative, Ahmadinejad is far more of a populist politician, consistently favoring nationalization, the redistribution of Iran’s oil wealth, controlled prices of basic consumer goods, increased government subsidies, salaries, benefits, and insurance and continued opposition to foreign investment over his opponents’ calls for more free-market privatization of education and agriculture, as well as the promotion of neoliberal strategies. Leading up to the election, Mousavi condemned what he called Ahmadinejad’s “charity-based economic policy.” I wonder how that attack played with the middle, lower, and impoverished classes of Iran’s voting public. Oh right, Ahmadinejad got 63% of the vote, even if Juan Cole didn’t want him to.

Ahmadinejad has often drawn the ire of both Iranian clerics and legislators alike for his outspoken views. In March 2008, The Economist noted that influential conservative clerics are said to be irritated by his “folksy and superstitious brand of ostentatious piety and his favouritism to men of military rather than clerical backgrounds.” The conservative Rand Corporation even reminds us, “He is not a mullah; public frustration with rule by mullahs made this a very positive characteristic. He comes from a working-class background, which appealed to lower-income Iranians, the bulk of the electorate, yet he has a doctorate in engineering.” In the 2005 presidential election, Ahmadinejad emerged as a dark horse to challenge front-runner and assumed shoe-in, former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. As the son of a blacksmith, “Ahmadinejad benefited from the contrast between his modest lifestyle and Rafsanjani’s obvious wealth, commonly known to stem from corruption.” The Rand report even reiterates that “Rafsanjani is extraordinarily corrupt.”

During both his presidential campaigns of 2005 and 2009, Ahmadinejad focused far more on “bread and butter” issues to win over his constituents, rather than on religion, saying things like this in his speeches: “People think a return to revolutionary values is only a matter of wearing the headscarf. The country’s true problem is employment and housing, not what to wear.”

In the past three months of campaigning for reelection, the incumbent made over sixty campaign trips throughout Iran, while Mousavi visited only major cities. Throughout the recent debates, Ahmadinejad took the opportunity to attack rampant corruption among high-ranking clerics within the Iranian establishment. The New York Times reported that “He accused Mr. Rafsanjani, an influential cleric, and Mr. Rafsanjani’s sons of corruption and said they were financing Mr. Mousavi’s campaign. Mr. Ahmadinejad also cited a long list of officials whom he accused of unspecified corrupt acts, including plundering billions of dollars of the country’s wealth.” The article continued,

Mr. Ahmadinejad contended that the early founders of the Iranian revolution, including Mr. Moussavi, had gradually moved away from the values of the revolution’s early days and had become “a force that considered itself as the owner of the country.”

He suggested that some leaders had indulged in an inappropriately lavish lifestyle, naming, among others, a former speaker of Parliament, Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri, who has opposed some of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s policies. Mr. Nouri, a conservative, ran unsuccessfully for president in 1997. Mr. Ahmadinejad’s remarks seemed to suggest a deepening divide between the president and a number of influential leaders, including some conservatives who belong to a faction that has supported Mr. Ahmadinejad.

Whereas these remarks may have struck a chord with the Iranian public, they provoked a stern rebuke from Supreme Guide Khamenei at last Friday’s post-election prayer service. Khamenei, breaking a long-standing tradition of not mentioning specific people during his address, defended Rafsanjani’s reputation by describing him as “one of the most significant and principal people of the movement in the pre-revolution era…[who] went to the verges of martyrdom several times after the revolution,” also pointing out his bona fides as “a companion of Imam Khomeini, and after the demise of Imam Khomeini was perpetually a comrade of the leader.”

Rafsanjani is currently the speaker of the Assembly of Experts, an 86 member elected council of clerics responsible for appointing and, if need be, dismissing and replacing the Supreme Guide of the Islamic Republic. In September 2007, Rafsanjani was elected speaker after decisively defeating a candidate supported by Ahmadinejad. He is also currently the leader of the Expediency Council which is “responsible for breaking stalemates between the Majlis and the Guardian Council, advising the Supreme Leader, and proposing policy guidelines for the Islamic Republic.” As such, the Expediency Council limits the power wielded by the conservative Guardian Council, a body consisting of twelve jurists who evaluate the compatibility of the Majlis [Parliament]’s legislative decisions with Islamic law and the Iranian constitution. Moreover, in 2005, Khamenei strengthened the role of the Expediency Council by granting it supervisory powers over all branches of government, effectively affording the Expediency Council and its leader, Rafsanjani, oversight over the presidency. As a result, Rafsanjani retains a tremendous amount of power within Iranian politics. His strong support, both outspoken and financial, for Mousavi should show clearly that Mousavi – who was the Iranian Prime Minister during the Iran-Iraq War – is not some scrappy reformist challenger to the upper tiers of the Islamic Republic. He is as establishment as anyone else, if not more so.

But that’s not all. Asia Times correspondant M.K. Bhadrakumar explains,

For those who do not know Iran better, suffice to say that the Rafsanjani family clan owns vast financial empires in Iran, including foreign trade, vast landholdings and the largest network of private universities in Iran. Known as Azad there are 300 branches spread over the country, they are not only money-spinners but could also press into Mousavi’s election campaign an active cadre of student activists numbering some 3 million.

The Azad campuses and auditoria provided the rallying point for Mousavi’s campaign in the provinces. The attempt was to see that the campaign reached the rural poor in their multitudes who formed the bulk of voters and constituted Ahmadinejad’s political base. Rafsanjani’s political style is to build up extensive networking in virtually all the top echelons of the power structure, especially bodies such as the Guardian Council, Expediency Council, the Qom clergy, Majlis, judiciary, bureaucracy, Tehran bazaar and even elements within the circles close to Khamenei. He called into play these pockets of influence.

The Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri has already come out against the election results, once again showing that the dynamic of the Iranian government is not that of a monolithic dictatorship, but a complex network of power plays. Basically, what we’re seeing is all politics, and not a revolutionary uprising.

As allegations of fraud spread, Mousavi supporters in the United States seemed not to be able to get their stories straight. In co-ordinated mass emails, sent widely to promote protests across the country (and with all the “grassroots” pizzazz of those corporate-sponsored Republican Teabagging Parties in April), a number of unsubstantiated claims are noted as “Basic Statistics.”

Some claim that there were not enough ballots available to the voting public, while others suggest that there were too many ballots in an attempt to stuff ballot boxes with pro-Ahmadinejad votes. It is claimed that “Voting irregularities occurred throughout Iran and abroad. Polls closed early, votes were not counted and ballots were confusing.” Without providing any evidence of any of these accusations, the message reveals its own inaccuracy by deliberately spreading misinformation. Because turnout on election day was so high in Iran, polls actually remained open for up to four extra hours to allow as many people to cast ballots as possible. If Iranian authorities were prepared for a totalitarian takeover of the country after a faked election, why bother to keep polls open?

Also, the ballots weren’t confusing. They had no list of names or added legislative initiatives. They had one single, solitary question on them: Who is your pick for president? There is one empty box to note a number corresponding to the candidate of your choice and another box in which you are to write the candidate’s name. No hanging chads, no levers to pull, no political parties to consider. Just write the name of the guy you want to win. How is this confusing?

The suggestion that the ballots were counted too quickly to reflect a genuine result is in itself bizarre and unfounded. Al-Amin tells us, “There were a total of 45,713 ballot boxes that were set up in cities, towns and villages across Iran. With 39.2 million ballots cast, there were less than 860 ballots per box…Why would it take more than an hour or two to count 860 ballots per poll? After the count, the results were then reported electronically to the Ministry of the Interior in Tehran.”

The elections in Iran are organized and monitored. The ballots are counted by teachers and professionals including civil servants and retirees, much like here in the US. An eyewitness from Shiraz provides this account:

“As an employee in City Hall, I was assigned to be a poll worker/watcher at the University of Shiraz on election day and here it was impossible for cheating to have taken place! There were close to 20 observers, from the Guardian Council, the Ministry of the Interior, and more than four-five representatives/observers from each candidate. Everybody was watching every single move, stamp, piece of paper, etc. from the checking of the Shenas-Nameh (personal indentification documentation) to the filling of the ballot boxes, to the counting of each ballot under everyone’s eyes, and then registering the results into the computer and sending them to the Interior Ministry…Also, we had extra ballots in Shiraz. It’s possible that in some of the smaller villages they ran out of ballots, but the voting hours were extended.”

The opposition messages state that “The two main state news agencies in Iran declared the winner before polls closed and votes were counted.” Actually, as mentioned above, it was Mousavi who declared his own victory several hours before the polls closed. Paul Craig Roberts, who is himself a former US government official, suggests that Mousavi’s premature victory declaration is “classic CIA destabilization designed to discredit a contrary outcome. It forces an early declaration of the vote. The longer the time interval between the preemptive declaration of victory and the release of the vote tally, the longer Mousavi has to create the impression that the authorities are using the time to fix the vote. It is amazing that people don’t see through this trick.”

Circulating emails even contain this tidbit: “Two primary opponents of Ahmadinejad reject the notion that he won the election.” Talk about proof!

Even Mousavi’s own official letter of complaint – delivered to the Guardian Council after five days of promoting protests and opposition rallies on the streets of Tehran – is short on substantive allegations and devoid of hard evidence of anything remotely suggestive of voter fraud. The letter, which calls for an annulment of the election results and for a new election to take place, expounds on many non-election related issues, such as the televised debates, the incumbent’s access to state-owned transportation on the campaign trail and use of government-controlled media to promote his candidacy. All previous Iranian presidents, including the reformist Mohammad Khatami, who is a main supporter of Mousavi, have used the resources at their disposal for election purposes. Plus, whereas the last point certainly seems unfair, it hardly amounts to fraud. The debates – the first ever held in the history of the Islamic Republic – also served to even up the score for Ahmadinejad’s challengers.

Kaveh L. Afrasiabi, writing for the Asia Times, explains further:

Mousavi complains that some of his monitors were not accredited by the Interior Ministry and therefore he was unable to independently monitor the elections. However, several thousand monitors representing the various candidates were accredited and that included hundreds of Mousavi’s eyes and ears.

They should have documented any irregularities that, per the guidelines, should have been appended to his complaint. Nothing is appended to Mousavi’s two-page complaint, however. He does allude to some 80 letters that he had previously sent to the Interior Ministry, without either appending those letters or restating their content.

Finally, item eight of the complaint cites Ahmadinejad’s recourse to the support given by various members of Iran’s armed forces, as well as Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki’s brief campaigning on Ahmadinejad’s behalf. These are legitimate complaints that necessitate serious scrutiny since by law such state individuals are forbidden to take sides. It should be noted that Mousavi can be accused of the same irregularity as his headquarters had a division devoted to the armed forces.

Given the thin evidence presented by Mousavi, there can be little chance of an annulment of the result.

In response to the accusation of there being more votes in certain areas than registered voters, it must be acknowledged that in Iran, unlike in the United States, eligible voters may vote anywhere they wish – at any polling location in the entire country – and are not limited to their residential districts or precincts as long as their information is registered and valid in the government’s database. Families vacationing North to avoid the stifling heat of the South would wind up voting in towns in which they are tourists. Afrasiabi even points out that, whereas “Mousavi complains that in some areas the votes cast were higher than the number of registered voters…he fails to add that some of those areas, such as Yazd, were places where he received more votes that Ahmadinejad.”

Are these irrefutable examples of an election that was free of all outside interference, irregularities, or potential problems? No, of course not. But there is also no hard proof of a fixed result, let alone massive vote rigging on a scale never before seen in Iran, a country that – unlike the United States – has no history of fraudulent elections.

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Nima Shirazi is a writer and a musician. He was born and raised in Manhattan. Now living in Brooklyn, he writes the weblog Wide Asleep In America under the moniker Lord Baltimore.
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Reham Alhelsi – The Tale of 3 Palestinian Villages


By Reham Alhelsi • Jun 20th, 2009 at 11:26 • Category: Analysis, Biography, Culture and Heritage, Israel, Newswire, Palestine, Resistance, Somoud: Arab Voices of Resistance, War, Zionism

Every year since June 1967, Israelis celebrate Jerusalem Day. To Palestinians, it is a day to commemorate, to unite, and continue the fight for a free Palestine and a free Jerusalem. To Palestinians, Al Quds is not only the holy sites, the ancient houses and the beautifully old streets and alleys, it’s the land and the people. The Zionists are not ashamed of celebrating a “state” that is built on the bodies of Palestinians and on the ruins of their homes and villages. Speeches and articles on such occasions often talk of how proud they are of their army, those “courageous men” fighting for their state: a state that is watered with the blood of its innocent victims, not the blood of its “courageous” men, for there is no courage in fighting an unarmed civilian population, in killing little children and walking on the bodies of raped women and bullet-riddled elderly to reach a state. They are only courageous as long as they are heavily armed, take away from them their machine guns, tanks and apaches and not one soldier of this “courageous army” would dare stand against a small unarmed Palestinian child. In the internet there’s a countless number of videos and photos that show just how “courageous” they soldiers are: heavily armed they shoot at little school children, beat women and elderly, and take photos near the bodies of slain Palestinians as souvenirs of their “trophies”. But when their weapons are taken away from them, they start crying and are faster than the wind. Yes, the Zionists, with their ideology and history, have a number of things to “celebrate” and be “proud of”: a listing of all the “courageous” acts of the Zionists and their army and their “state”, towards Palestinians and other nations, would be too long, thus a few keywords: Ethnic cleansing, massacres, theft (land theft, theft of property, cultural theft, etc…). As with the Nakba of 1948, during the Nakba of 1967 the Israeli army, the “courageous and most moral army in the world”, carried out organized and wide-scale ethnic cleansing and destruction, particularly in East Jerusalem and the area surrounding it.

The Latroun area, well-known for its ample water resources and fertile land, is located northwest of Jerusalem and close to the Green Line. Before 1948, this area consisted of a number of picturesque villages: Latroun, Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nouba. Imwas alone had a population of 1450 inhabitants and owned some 55,000 dunums of agricultural land. During the Nakba of 1948, the Zionist terrorists tried occupying Imwas several times, but were defeated. As a result of the truce-agreements signed at the time, Imwas lost some 50,000 dunums of its land, some of which becoming a No-Man’s land. The village Latroun, ethnically cleansed of its residents who were forced to move to nearby Imwas, fell within this assigned No-Man’s land. During the 1967 war and with the withdrawal of the Jordanian army, the Israeli army was able to occupy the Latroun area. The three Latroun villages: Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nouba, were ethnically cleansed before being completely wiped off the map. Zionist propaganda claims that the 3 villages were already empty when the Israeli army arrived. But the testimonies of the residents of the 3 villages, in addition to testimonies of some of the Israeli soldiers who were present at the time, speak of a premeditated forced expulsion. Israeli photographer Yosef Hochman, who accompanied the soldiers at the time, reported that when he asked Major General Uzi Narkiss, who was Commanding General of the Central Command in 1967 and gave the orders for the destruction of the villages, why the 3 Latroun villages were destroyed, “Narkiss answered that it was revenge for what happened there in 1948.”[1] In his memories of the 1967 war, Moshe Dayan wrote about the destruction of the Latroun villages and half of Qalqilya: “[houses were destroyed] not in the battle, but as punishment … and in order to chase away the inhabitants.”[2]

On the morning of the 6th of June, Unit 4 of the Israeli army entered the 3 villages accompanied with tanks and bulldozers, yet another proof that the destruction was pre-planned. The majority of the inhabitants had stayed in their homes, because they feared a repetition of the 1948 expulsion and because they had nowhere else to go. Some had left the day before in fear of massacres similar to those committed during the Nakba. Others found refuge in nearby Imwas Monastery. In Imwas, under the orders of Yitzhak Rabin, armoured military jeeps wandered the streets and with loudspeakers ordered the villagers to leave, giving them only 3 hours to gather their possessions. Many refused to leave, so they were forced out under the threat of gun before the bulldozers started razing the houses. The Israeli soldiers told the residents to go to nearby villages such as Yalu and Beit Nouba, which were also being ethnically cleansed. As the villagers made their way out of the 3 villages in groups, the soldiers shot over their heads to hurry them and as warning not to come back. Zahda Abu Qtaish from Imwas remembers:”They told us to come with the children to the Mukhtar’s (community-leader) home. I replied that I couldn’t; I had bread baking in the oven, the closets were open, the house was not tidy, the chickens were hungry. The Jew said it was not important, that later I could come back and fix everything. I took the children. One was holding my hand, one was on my shoulder, one was holding my dress. When we got the Mukhtar’s house, the Israelis said to keep walking, to go to Yula. I pleaded that the house was open, that the bread was in the oven. We left everything, our clothes, our money, everything. When I reached Yula, my legs gave up. Everybody from Imwas was there. We were told to keep walking. We walked for three days to Ramallah (north of Jerusalem). A lot of people died on the road. My feet were bleeding. For the next two months we slept under trees. We had no tents, no blankets. We slept on dirt. My family was thirsty and hungry.”[3]

Even those who found refugee in the nearby Latroun monastery were also expelled by the Israeli army. In a testimony made by Al-Haq, Nihad Thaher from Imwas recalled: “At the dawn the following morning, 6 June 1967, some of the nuns went outside to inform the Israeli soldiers that several residents of Imwas village were present inside the monastery. The soldiers asked us all to get out. After we had done so, we were told by one of the Israeli captains to walk along the road to the city of Ramallah. He told us not to return to our houses and threatened to kill us if we did… thus, we were expelled on Thursday 6 June 1967. The Israeli soldiers were lined up on both sides of the road and would admonish anyone who asked for permission to go to their house to bring milk or food for their children. I was one of those who asked as I had my wife and three children to look after. My eldest child was five years old, the second was 3 years old and the youngest was 8 months old. My children were barefoot and half-naked. We walked on foot between the Israeli jeeps and tanks towards Beit Nouba, and then to Beit Liqya. There, the Israeli soldiers found a Jordanian soldier attempting to surrender. They started to beat him in front of everybody and then shot and beheaded him.”[4] Ahmad Abu Ghoush from Imwas recalled:”Some families went to the Latroun Ministry believing they would be safe there because it was a Christian place but they were not. My family first went to Yalu, then Beit Nouba, then onto Beit Ur before finally being forced to walk all the way to Ramallah. The soldiers emptied all the houses in the villages and forced everyone out onto the streets. The only way open was to Ramallah and they told us to go there. Other soldiers were saying `Go to Jedah, all the land before there is ours and if you stop before Jedah we will kill you!`… people took keys, small things, some were forced to go with no shoes or real clothes, they were forced out in just their nightclothes, I saw people walking barefoot. We walked all the way to Ramallah, 32 km with no food or water, it took us about nine or ten hours. Four people from the village died during this journey.”[5] ‘Aysha Hammad, who lived on the outskirts of Yalu testified to Al-Haq: “On the fourth day, I believe it was 9 June 1967, several people who had fled the village returned. In the evening, my husband came home and said: the Israelis are in the village and they are calling through loudspeakers.” The Israelis were saying “all residents of Yalu must leave to Ramallah. Those who don’t will be in danger.” I got my 3 children ready, but couldn’t carry anything, as I was six months pregnant. We walked to the nearby village of Beit Nouba, only one kilometer from Yalu. As I entered Beit Nouba, I saw several bulldozers guarded by Israeli soldiers razing houses in the village to the ground.”[6] In the documentary Film “Memory of the Cactus”, directed by Hanna Musleh, Hochman comments on a photo he took at the time of an elderly couple forced to leave their home: “I took pictures of a couple trying to put everything onto a donkey and it fell off. With a soldier waiting for them to try again, and it fell off again.”[7] The glee on the soldier’s face shows how much these criminals enjoyed what they were doing.

The first days of the occupation, bulldozers were used to flatten the houses, later with the arrival of the engineering unit of the Israeli army, explosives were used to blast the houses and wipe out the 3 villages completely. Houses, schools and mosques were destroyed. This wide-scale destruction of property, accompanied by looting, took place during and after the war. Few days later, the Israeli army announced in radios that the residents of the villages could come back. But when they did come back, not only did they find their villages destroyed, but were also shot at by Israeli soldiers, killing a number of them (it was reported that at least 5 Palestinians were killed this way). Amos Kenan, a journalist who served as a soldier during the 1967 war, recalled the story of Beit Nouba:

“We were told it was our job to search the village houses; that if we found any armed men there, they were to be taken prisoners. Any unarmed persons should be given time to pack their belongings and then told to get moving – get moving to Beit Sira, a village not far away. We were also told to take up positions around the approaches to the villages, in order to prevent those villagers who had heard the Israeli assurances over the radio that they could return to their homes in peace – from returning to their homes. The order was – shoot over their heads and tell them there is no access to the village. The homes in Beit Nouba are beautiful stone houses, some of them luxurious mansions. Each house stands in an orchid of olives, apricots and grapevines; there are also cypresses and other trees grown for their beauty and the shade they give. Each tree stands in its carefully watered bed. Between the trees, lie neatly hoed and weeded rows of vegetables. At noon the first bulldozer arrived, and ploughed under the house closest to the village edge. With one sweep of the bulldozer, the cypresses and the olive-trees were uprooted. Ten more minutes pass and the house, with its meagre furnishings and belongings, has become a mass of rubble. After three houses had been rowed down, the first convoy of refugees arrives, from the direction of Ramallah. We did not shoot into the air. We did take up positions for coverage, and those of us who spoke Arabic went up to them to give them the orders. There were old men hardly able to walk, old women mumbling to themselves, babies in their mother’s arms, small children weeping, begging for water. The convoy waved white flags. We told them to move on to Beit Sira. They said that wherever they went, they were driven away, that nowhere were they allowed to stay. They said they had been on the way for four days now – without food or water; some had perished on the way. They asked only to be allowed back into their own village; and said we would do better to kill them. Some had brought with them a goat, a sheep, a camel or a donkey. A father crunched grains of wheat in his hand to soften them so that his four children might have something to eat. On the horizon, we spotted the next line approaching. One man was carrying a 50 kg sack of flour on his back, and that was how he had walked mile after mile. More old men, more women, more babies. They flopped down exhausted at the spot where they were told to sit. Some had brought along a cow or two, or a calf – all their earthly possessions. We did not allow them to go into the village to pick up their belongings, for the order was that they must not be allowed to see their homes being destroyed. …. We asked the officers why the refugees were being sent back and forth and driven away from everywhere they went. The officers said it would do them good to walk and asked “why worry about them, they’re only Arabs”? …. More and more lines of refugees kept arriving. By this time there must have been hundreds of them. They couldn’t understand why they had been told to return, and now were not being allowed to return… The platoon commander decided to go to headquarters to find out whether there was any written order as to what should be done with them, where to send them and to try and arrange transportation for the women and children, and food supplies. He came back and said there was no written order; we were to drive them away. Like lost sheep they went on wandering along the roads. The exhausted were rescuing (In other testimonies, Kenan writes here: the weak die).[8] Towards evening we learned that we had been told a falsehood – at Beit Sira too bulldozers had begun their work of destruction, and the refugees had not been allowed to enter. We also learned that it was not in our sector alone that areas were being “straightened out”; the same was going on in all sectors.”[9]Part of them went to Ramallah, where they slept in the bus station for a week, but the majority walked all the way to the Bridge and crossed to Amman. During this second Nakba, some 400,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes. In 1988 Narkiss talked of the transfer operation in an interview:” I placed several buses in Jerusalem and in other cities (of the west bank), written on them: “to amman – free of charge” the bus used to carry them to the (partly) destroyed Allenby bridge and then they would cross it (to Jordan).” He also mentioned the daily telephone calls of Pinhas Sapir, Finance Minister at the time: “Pinhas Sapir used to phone me twice a day, to ask: how many [Arabs] got out today? Is the number of the inhabitants of the West bank diminishing? The number [of those being transported by the buses] began with 600 and 700 persons a day, and then it began to decline until it reached a few scores, and after two or three months the [bus] operation stopped.”[10]

Although often denied by Israel, some houses were destroyed on the heads of their inhabitants, those being mostly elderly and handicapped, who either refused to leave or didn’t have enough time to leave before the destruction began. Some died on the way to Ramallah and other places after being expelled by the Israeli army, and others were shot dead by the Israeli army as they tried to return to their villages. The Latroun monks went to Imwas days after the village had been occupied. “Father Tournay, Catholic priest who has lived in East Jerusalem since 1945 and was head of the Ecole Biblique there, said the Latroun monks “smelled bodies” rotting inside the demolished homes.”[11]In testimonies collected by Al-Haq, a number of eye witnesses, who snuck into the 3 villages immediately after the destruction, mention bodies under the ruins of houses or decomposed bodies in the area. In Beit Nouba, at least 18 residents were found dead under the rubbles of their houses. Ahmad Isa from Beit Nouba testified: “We tried to enter the village from several locations, but we were prohibited from doing so by the soldiers. Accordingly, we were forced to take refuge in Beit Sira, which is close to our village. My father and I snuck to our house in Beit Nouba in order to bring back food, oil and mattresses. We saw horrible things along the way, namely several men and women who had been killed: Lutfi Mahmoud Hassan Abu Rahhal, Mahmoud Ali Baker, who was blind and who appeared to have been killed as a result of his house being demolished while he was inside it … the bodies of another 3 men who were also dead had been thrown amongst the trees: Al Abed Ayyad, Isa Muhammad and Abdallah Zuhdi.”[12] Dr. Ismail Zayid from Beit Nouba recalled:” In the course of the Israel army’s occupation and destruction of my village of Beit Nouba in June 1967, 18 people died under the rubble of their demolished homes because they were too old or disabled to get out of their houses in time, before the Israeli explosives were effected to destroy the houses…. One of those killed was Mohammad Ali Bakr, an uncle of my mother. He was old and infirm, and was buried alive under the rubble of his home in Beit Nouba, not far from ours. My mother also told me that when the Israeli army came to blow up our house, they told my uncle Hussain Zayid, an elderly and arthritic man whose ability to move was severely limited, that they would first blow up the western part of our house, which was in a walled quadrangle. They said they would then move to destroy the eastern part of the house, and should he still be there, he would not be given the opportunity to leave.”[13] In Imwas, at least 10 residents who were not able to leave their homes because they were either elderly or handicapped, are till today unaccounted for, suspected to have been killed inside their houses when the Israeli army destroyed these houses. A further 5 at least died on the way to Ramallah or were killed by landmines. Ahmad Abu Ghoush remembered:” There were ten elders in the village including one disabled man. They didn’t leave. We know they didn’t leave because they couldn’t, but nobody ever saw any of them again after that night. One soldier has written a testimony which said he ´saw another telling one of these old men to leave his house, but the man refused saying `I can’t walk and I won’t leave! You can kill me but I will not leave!`”[14]Dr. Musa Abu Ghosh from Imwas remembered: “In spite of all the difficulties, some of the younger people managed to infiltrate back to their homes to pick up some belongings, and when they dug into the rubble, some found bodies. A relative of mine was found this way – Hasan Shukri, the son of my cousin. He was 19, an invalid, paralyzed from polio. They found his body underneath his house.”[15]Ali Salma from Yalu said: “After 20 days (towards the end of June), I, together with another resident of my village, went to Yalu through the valleys, mountains and fields. As we reached the Beit Nouba fields, I saw 4 corpses laid out beside each other. They were: Ibrahim Shuebi, Al Abed Tayeh, Zuheir Zuhdi and Isa Abu Isa. All of them were from Yalu. I didn’t examine the corpses because they were swollen. We entered the village at around midnight. We first went to the demolished home of Abu Wasim where we saw the body of Isa Ziyada and more demolished houses. We were both very scared. We both took some stuff from the rubble of his house and left to go back towards Kharbatha.”[16]

When the Israeli soldiers were done with their “duty”, more than 10,000 people had been forcibly expelled, no less than 39 residents were reported killed or are till today unaccounted for. In his article “Outrage at Emwas”, John Goddard writes: “I collected 39 names of people said to have been killed in the villages, 17 from Imwas, 11 from Beit Nouba, and 11 from Yalo.”[17]Some 1464 houses were destroyed: 375 in Imwas houses, 539 in Yalu and 550 in Beit Nouba. A couple of months later, the villagers were allowed back to the Latroun, but only to collect their harvest. “my brother drove our truck. We saw everything destroyed, just the mosque was still standing. People were crying and weeping, some were just standing, looking, speechless … some had lost all their land in 1948 but had tried to rebuild their lives and now it had all happened again. People needed anything so took whatever they could find and put in into trucks. Some people found a sheep or a goat but the houses were totally destroyed. We found our `cawasheen` (a big box containing important documents such as deeds to property and land) but couldn’t get any clothes or anything else. We knew there was nothing left but we wanted to see what had happened to our village …”[18]The British reporter Michael Adams visited Imwas in 1968, wrote: “When my companion and I came to Beit Nouba 6 months after Kenan, much had changed. Most significantly, the rubble had disappeared. It had taken the Israelis 6 months to clear it, in great secrecy; while relays of volunteers were engaged in this macabre task, the authorities closed the approach road to Latroun…. Without a guide, I should probably have driven straight through without realising that there had been villages here at all. The demolition squads had been thorough. But when we stopped the car and got out to look, there were plenty of tell-tale signs; it isn’t easy, even in 6 months, to wipe out a thousand years of history without leaving a trace. There were a few pieces of masonry, a broken tile, a twisted rod of steel from some concrete extension and – a sure sign that people had once lived here – the cactus hedges, which the Palestinians use to protect their gardens and orchards against marauders, were starting to grow back. They are very hard to eradicate.”[19]1970, the illegal settlement “Mevo Horon” was built on the lands of Beit Nouba. Three years later, the Jewish National Fund of Canada funded the establishment of a recreational park, the Canada Park, on the ruins of Imwas and Yalu. Zahda Abu Qtaish from Imwas remarked when she first visited the Canada Park: “I couldn’t believe it …My home was down to the ground. They had turned the village into a park. They called it Canada Park. I cried and cried.”[20] Ahmad Abu Ghoush from Imwas talked of his visit to the park: “When returning to the park I had mixed feelings. It’s very hard, standing on the ruins of where you used to live while seeing people laughing, eating and enjoying themselves.”[21]

The ethnic cleansing of the 3 Latroun villages is only one example of the on-going ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the Judization of Jerusalem. In 1948, Israel occupied 85% of Jerusalem (the west part), 4 % were declared No-Man’s land, and the remaining 11% (including with the Old City) fell under Jordanian rule. Up to 80,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes in West Jerusalem and 40 surrounding villages. The villages were wiped off the face of the earth and the homes, lands and property confiscated. In June 1967, during and after the war, Palestinians were expelled from East Jerusalem and the surrounding villages, like the Latroun villages. The war was officially over on the 10th of June, 1967 and on the night of 10/11th of June, Israel began with its first measures to Judize East Jerusalem: the ethnic cleansing and destruction of the Magharbeh Quarter and the Al-Sharaf neighbourhood of the Old City. Given only 3 hours notice, the residents of the Magharbeh Quarter were ordered to pack their belongings and leave. The Quarter was then destroyed to make place for a plaza in front of the Western Wall. Palestinians living in Al-Sharaf neighbourhood were also expelled to enlarge the Jewish Quarter. Among others, Ben-Gurion, Dayan, Kollek and Lahat were responsible for the destruction of these Palestinian neighbourhoods. The eviction and destruction was carried out rapidly to avoid international attention and criticism. The residents were removed by force from their houses by Israeli soldiers. The bulldozers were ready, and the orders were to finish the eviction and destruction that very same night. Al Sharaf neighbourhood and the Magharbeh Quarter were emptied of their residents: over 6000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes and an estimated 135 houses were destroyed in the Old City. The boundaries of Jerusalem were redrawn by central command chief at the time, Rahavan Ze’evi. “The line he drew “took in not only the 5 km² of Arab east Jerusalem – but also 65 km² of surrounding open country and villages, most of which never had any municipal link to Jerusalem. Overnight they became part of Israel’s eternal and indivisible capital.”[21]In 1980, East Jerusalem was annexed to Israel.

Major General Narkiss, who was Commanding General of the Central Command in 1967 and had approved the destruction of the Magharbeh Quarter, recalled before his death in 1997 that a few hours after the capture of East Jerusalem, he was urged by Rabbi Goren to blow up the Aqsa mosque. Although Rabbi Goren’s wish was not fulfilled, it was the first of many future attempts by fanatic Jews and the Israeli government to destroy the Aqsa, whether directly by attempts to burn it or indirectly by building tunnels underneath it. Excavations beneath the Aqsa mosque and the area surrounding it continue, and the several tunnels dug beneath it weaken its foundations. At the same time, much needed renovations to the Aqsa and its surroundings are not permitted. Today, there is almost no Palestinian neighbourhood in Jerusalem that is not threatened with destruction, demolition and ethnic cleansing. Despite international criticism, Israel goes on in its Judization of Jerusalem. While illegal Jewish settlers from all around the world are allowed to buy property in Jerusalem and settle in it, and illegal settlements are rapidly expanding with ring after ring of settlements suffocating the city and the surrounding Palestinian villages and towns, Palestinian Jerusalemites are losing their homes and their lands and their birth right in their city Jerusalem. While Israel continues its brutal military occupation and the destruction of Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Palestinians have two “prime ministers” and two sets of “cabinets” and a “legislative council” whose building is off-limits to Palestinians and where the “representatives of this so-called authority” are either locked up in Israeli jails, in the Gaza open-air prison or the West Bank ghettos or need Israeli permits to move between the Zones A, B or C, D, E and F and all the rest. Maybe while they fight over who gets to be the next president, they might want to stop for a minute and remember that the state they are fighting to rule is STILL under military occupation and that “their” people are either being massacred or expelled by this brutal occupation.

Today, the original inhabitants of the Latrun villages and their descendants are scattered around the world, some live in the Ramallah area, others in Jordan. Adams found it difficult to convince editors to publish articles about the Latroun villages. “The Israeli government and whoever in the army command gave the order to destroy the villages, must have thought that it was possible to rearrange both history and geography in this way: that if they carted away the rubble and raked over the ground and planted seedlings where the homes of 9000 people had been, all of which they did, they would be able to get away with it. Why? Because of the Holocaust, and because Western newspaper editors don’t like to be called anti-Semitic.”[23]When Israel offered money to the inhabitants of the Latroun as compensation for their stolen lands and destroyed houses, they refused. Ahmad Abu Ghoush from Imwas remembers: “My father was on the committee that negotiated with Israel. They were offering money as compensation for our land and homes. My father told them `we will not accept all the money in the world for one dunum of Imwas, and we will not accept one dunum in heaven for one dunum in Imwas!`. The Israeli’s told him that he had three choices `…one, you can go the same way as Abdul Hameed (an exiled Palestinian activist for the Right of Return); two – prison; three – put something sweet in your mouth and keep quiet!”[24] For Zahda Abu Qtaish and all those expelled from the Latroun, things are clear: “I see everything; I remember everything; I will never forget.”[25]

Names of Latroun inhabitants killed under the rubble of their houses destroyed by the Israeli army, or on the road when they were expelled by the Israeli army:[26]

Hajar Khalil

Zaynab Hasan Khalil

Yamna Abu Rayalah

Fatmah Al Qbeibah

Hadia Al Qbeibah

Riyadh ElSkeikh

Hasan Nimer Abu Khalil

Hasan Shukri Abu Ghosh

Amnah Al Sheikh Hussain

Ayshah Salamah

Ahmad Hassan Al Saed

Ali Ismael Abdullah

Khaleel Jazar

Muhammad Abu Illas

Zaynab Ahmad Musa

Isa Ziyada

Hussein Hurani

Ali Alarab

Naimeh Hammad

Halimeh Hamadallah

Sabha Alarab

Fadda Ziyad

Sabha Mallah

Mahmoud Khalil

Ibrahim Shueibi

Suheil Musa

Abdel Rahim Tayeh

Isa Ibrahim

Abdel Karim Nimer

Lutfi Mahmoud

Hassan Abu Rahhal

Mahmoud Ali Baker

Al Abed Ayyad

Isa Muhammad

Abdallah Zuhdi

Bakr Hasan Shukri

Zuheir Zuhdi

Isa Abu Isa

The one year old daughter of Ahmad Atiyah



[4]John Reynolds: Where Villages Stood, (Al-Haq) 2007.


[6]John Reynolds: Where Villages Stood, (Al-Haq) 2007.

[12]John Reynolds: Where Villages Stood, (Al-Haq) 2007.


[16]John Reynolds: Where Villages Stood, (Al-Haq) 2007.

[26] Names collected from several sources: S. Sources.

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Reham Alhelsi is a Jerusalem-born Palestinian. She has worked extensively in the Palestinian Broadcasting Company and since 2000, when she moved to Germany, has trained at various radio and TV networks including Deutsche Welle, SWR and WDR. She is currently writing her PhD in Regional Planning with a focus on Palestinian Land Management and local government.
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Adib Kawar, of the first generation of the “Arab Nationalist Movement”


By Guest Post • Jun 8th, 2009 at 19:17 • Category: Biography, Culture and Heritage, Interviews, Israel, Nakba and Right of Return, Newswire, Palestine, Resistance, Uprooted Palestinians’ Testimonies, War, Zionism

WRITTEN BY: Salwa Atamimi

Forty-four testimonies of uprooted Palestinians, summarize the crime of raping a homeland and expose the truth with clarity and sincerity that many tried to efface or hide, sometimes due to ignorance or avoiding it, and mostly with design and dubiousness.

Emigrants… displaced… uprooted? This is the ordinary and simple question that may not stop us and possibly may make ourselves ask some questions about it, on the pretence that the result is one: An occupied homeland and a dislodged people. But there is a great difference between uprooting and emigration, and there is a purpose or purposes to establish and engrave this understanding in people’s minds.

This could be the importance of this book, which lays light not only on the Palestinian memory, but opens the file of the Nakbah, details, documented events and keeps asking the question, “who is responsible for the loss of Palestine? The British mandate, the Belfour declaration, the Sykes Picot agreement, Zionist gangs and their savage terrorism and massacres, or the weak unstable Arab regimes… or is all these together?”

Questions that put us back at square one, in relation to happenings and events, placing us in an open confrontation with our memories, sentiments, givens and culture about Palestine that the book, “Testimonies of Uprooted Palestinians” published by Baheth Center for Studies, in which its writer the political striver and researcher, Adib S Kawar, wants to focus on various different personalities with different characteristics, standards of education, professions who came from most occupied Palestinian cities and villages. The book speaks with sincerity and righteousness about their roots that go deep in Palestinian soil that were not eradicated along with their uprooting from it; so its veins remained flooded and boiling with Palestinian Arab blood. And the image of which remained alive in their memory with great yearning for return. Facts were recreated as if they are being lived, documented, alive with details, developments and witnesses to uncover the falsity of Zionist claims and defy them fully. The war of annihilation that Zionism practiced even before the Palestinian Nakbah is still an imprint and testimonial that the book refers to is in many patterns and examples, which unmask the enemy’s racism as expressed by many Zionist researchers and historians such as Benny Morris, the Beer Shiva University (Ben Gurion University) professor and “new historian” who uncovered in his interview in Haaretz daily “Survival of the Fittest” the massacres that Zionist invaders committed against the indigenous Arab population with the purpose of uprooting what he called “The Barbarians”, claiming that there is no moral problem in slaughtering Palestinians, and thus he blames Ben Gurion for his incompletion of the uprooting process, and he looks forward for the opportunity for Zionists to complete the long awaited aim to do so.

Kawar refers in his book to the role of the Zionized American press in adopting Zionist claims and refers to the “Source”, a novel by James Michener that connects the Palestinian “emigration” with secret orders by Arab field officers, which aims at the evacuation of Palestinian Arab civilians, and orders them to create the most possible chaos, confusion and infringement of public civil services as mentioned in page 961 of this Zionist novel, “Assure them that Arab Armies shall take control of all Palestine and tell them ‘you shall be able to return to it and take possession of Jewish properties’.” Kawar also referred to the operations of Judification of Palestine, and building of Zionist only colonies (settlements), which are, were and sill active to change the geographical, cultural and constructional features of Palestine to prove the great Zionist lie that “Palestine is a land without a people for a people without a land” and evidencing the legend of the historical and divine promise…

Forty-four testimonies of uprooted men and women from all over Palestine that bear indications, occurrences and information that uncovered many secrets and facts that some people were not aware of or Zionism tried to hide from the public’s attention which also have no longer been discussed in the political scene today. Common factors among strivers, thinkers and ordinary citizens who were brought together by a common cause and one cause of worry, also could be the common dream of returning to the Palestinian homeland where their roots still remain and which is their source of identity: George Habash, Shafik Al-Hout, Ahmad Al-Yamani “Abu Maher”, Salah Salah, Abdul Latif Kanafani, Ibrahim Quombarji, Khalil Al-Wazir “Abu Jihad” and many others who put light on live memories that never tires from embracing the homeland and moving around with it, whether in schools, homes, work along with the youthful friendships and their playgrounds. Some of those passed away have left behind documents and testimony in more than one sort or document or another. Some are still alive, breathing the homeland as a dream that should one day materialize as a living fact. All suffered from exile, but were never fatigued with waiting for their first step on the long road on the way of return to their dear and beloved stolen homeland.

A documented book in more than four hundred pages, the introduction of which was written by thinker, striver Dr. Anis Sayegh with a testimony of his own that sighs with the pulse of Palestine’s lover breathing with a long deep and rich experience. What could be the most outstanding in Dr. Sayegh’s introduction is the Biblical concept of the “Exodus” that spread throughout more than thirty centuries coupling this expression of Jewish history from one side and Biblical myths on the other, considering this so-called fallacious “Exodus” in its foundations, sources, meaning stands ashamed in front another factual, actual and felt exodus in millions of proofs, which is the exodus of three quarters of a million Palestinian Arabs forcefully and savagely uprooted by the force of arms and Zionist terror. Dr. Sayegh reflects the sufferings of their writers, artists men of letters with what was called then the literature of uprooting. He didn’t forget while throwing light on the importance of these testimonies to write his own distinctive testimony in which he related his family’s life in Tiberius (Tabariya) and a lot about life in his beloved town and his birthplace to lay light with his pen that glows with yearning for a childhood, the arteries of which roar with the love of Palestine.

Along with the introduction we have a prologue by the author, the forty-four testimonies that chronicle for the most outstanding personalities of the period and information… What did Adib Kawar want to say in his book, and why now, after over sixty years from the uprooting?

The writer, critic and striver Adib Kawar said: “Palestinian’s memory should always be alert, alive, ardent and continue to live and take roots in their children and grandchildren’s memory and never tire from remembering the stolen homeland.”

But who is Adib Kawar? He also briefly replies that he is a Palestinian from Nazareth, but he lived since 1938 in Lebanon where he studied public administration and political science in the American University of Beirut and graduated in 1954, and among his classmates were the present Lebanese minister of foreign affairs, Fawzi Saloukh and Ambassador Khalil Makawi. Kawar said he was among the first generation of the founders of the Arab Nationalist Movement in the early fifties of the twentieth century.

How was his starting with nationalist striving? He replied: “The start was while studying in the American University of Beirut, which was at the time the center of political and national activism, and it was the birthplace of the Arab Nationalist Movement with Dr. George Habash, Dr. Wadie Haddad, both from Palestine, Dr. Ahamad Al-Khatib from Kuwait where he became a parliament member and headed the biggest block deputies in it, Saleh Shibel and many others from various Arab countries: Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and others.” Kawar’s start was in Al-3oroba Organization in the preparatory Section of the International Collage which joined forces with the Arab Nationalist Movement pioneers in the university, then the movement had a widespread development in the Arab homeland from the Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean. Kawar said the movement stirred the Arab street and lead to an Arab awakening. Among it activities were leading big demonstrations against the Baghdad pact organized by the colonialist powers, the Palestinian cause and anti-imperialism in Algeria, Morocco etc. Student demonstrations in Lebanon were joined by activists from certain organizations and university and school students in Lebanon. This demonstration and others organized in various Arab nationalist occasions lead by the movement were confronted by police during which a martyr fell in addition to some injured demonstrators by police fire. He was arrested along with other demonstrators and some students were expelled from the university who were later admitted to Egyptian universities by order of the late President Gamal Abdul Nasser, but Kawar was lucky enough to be allowed to finish his graduation year.

In the American University the Al-Orwah Al-Wothqa Society established more than two decades earlier as a cultural and literary society to develop into an Arab Nationalist center of activities through which student and other forces were activated to stir the Arab street. Its membership covered besides members the movement members of other parties active at the time such as the Communist Party and the Syrian Nationalist Social Party, but it was always controlled by the A. N. M. A year later the university’s administration closed Al-Orwah forever in an attempt to cripple political and nationalist activism. During his membership in this society he organized the first and second Arab book fair.

The activities of Al-Orwah were continued by the Arab Cultural Club as a center of political and Arab national activism outside the university’s campus. The club continued organizing the book fair, the 53rd exhibition of which shall be organized during the current year, which became one of the largest of its sort in the Arab homeland. Kawar was editor in chief of the club’s quarterly magazine “Arab Culture.”

Kawar is the author of a number of books:

1- “Jewish Women in Occupied Palestine” 1968 published by The Palestine Research Center (Arabic)

2- “Zionist Propaganda in American Fiction” Published by Baheth Center for Research (Arabic) in two editions 2004 and 2005 and in English available on CD.

3- “Testimonies of Uprooted Palestinians” 2007 Published by Baheth Center for Research (Arabic)

4- “Palestinian Education under the Two Occupations” (Arabic) Ready for printing

At last why are these testimonies, and at this time in particular? Kawar says in principle they are to refute the idea, the Zionist movement and its state, “Israel” to try to convince the world that Palestinians deserted their homes and homeland voluntarily, or by orders from their leaderships or both.

In fact they were uprooted though ethnic cleansing operations, terrorist massacres/annihilation and raping and murdering Palestinian girls by members of Zionist gangs. We believe that the best proof for such war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against Palestinian Arabs is the writings of the racist Zionist new historian, Benny Morris, who blamed Ben Gurion for not completing once and for all his ethnic cleansing crimes, refer to Morris’ interview with Haaretz ARI SHAVIT – SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST? AN INTERVIEW WITH BENNY ….ere are also documented testimonies and proofs that the Jewish Legion in the British Army counting about sixty two thousand men and women well trained and some had actual combat experience during WW II in North Africa and Europe, most of who were sent to Europe to fight the Fascists and the Nazis took the advantage of their presence in Europe to collect European Jews, train them wherever they were and send to Palestine instead of fighting the Axis forces. On the other hand Arab forces that took part in defending Palestinian Arabs against the Zionist invasion forces in Palestine did not exceed twenty two thousand fighters. Including Arab Armies, Al-Inqaz army and Palestinian resistance men-

It is very important to note that the Governments of Egypt, Jordan and Iraq were tied by treaties with Great Britain that gave the latter the “right” to control the political and military decision of these three countries. It is also important to note that Great Britain’s aim during its mandate on Palestine was the application of the Balfour Declaration, and to facilitate the establishment of a Zionist state in Palestine, that is why it insisted on during is negotiation with France on the Sykes Picot agreement to have Palestine as its share while dividing their spoils of the Arab territories of the old Ottoman Empire. This is why it was encouraging military training and arming Jews while Arabs were denied this right. This went to the extent if any Palestinian Arab was caught even with an empty bullet was sentenced to life imprisonment if not hanging, actually tens of them were hanged. Many Palestinian Arab leaders were exiled to remote British colonies such as the seychelle islands in the Indian Ocean.

As to how in Adib Kawar’s opinion the liberation of Palestine shall be fulfilled sixty one years after the Nakbah, he confirms that today it shall be achieved earlier than yesterday, but now it shall now not be by Arab Armies, it shall be by popular resistance. The example of the withdrawal of Zionist occupation forces from Gaza unilaterally was the result of years of armed resistance and struggle and not willingly by the Zionist entity, also the failure of the Zionist forces to crush Palestinian resistance during the 23 days long Zionist war on Gaza is also a good example. And the example of Lebanese resistance forces obliging the Zionist occupation of South Lebanon to unilaterally withdraw from occupied South Lebanon in the year 2000 as well as the failure of the Zionist assault on Lebanon July/August 2006 to crush the Lebanese resistance is a big proof of that. He said it is the first time in the history in the Arab Zionist struggle an Arab victory against the Zionist entity achieved.

Adib Kawar is now dedicating all his time and efforts after retiring in research, writing and translating and coordinating with hundreds of Arab and foreign activist for the Palestinian cause mainly through internet and other means of communication, he assures people that resistance is not terrorism, and that the Zionist entity is the biggest terrorist organization in the world and throughout history, which could only be defeated with popular resistance. He says that he shall continue his struggle by use of the pen to uncover the truth about our Arab

Greatest murderers of modern times were Jewish


By Haitham Sabbah • Jun 5th, 2009 at 17:05 • Category: Biography, Haitham’s Choice, Israel, Newswire, Zionism

NOTE: The following piece was published by Yedioth Ahronot on 21.12.2006 online.

Stalin’s Jews

By Sever Plocker

We mustn’t forget that some of greatest murderers of modern times were Jewish

Here’s a particularly forlorn historical date: Almost 90 years ago, between the 19th and 20th of December 1917, in the midst of the Bolshevik revolution and civil war, Lenin signed a decree calling for the establishment of The All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, also known as Cheka.

Within a short period of time, Cheka became the largest and cruelest state security organization. Its organizational structure was changed every few years, as were its names: From Cheka to GPU, later to NKVD, and later to KGB.

We cannot know with certainty the number of deaths Cheka was responsible for in its various manifestations, but the number is surely at least 20 million, including victims of the forced collectivization, the hunger, large purges, expulsions, banishments, executions, and mass death at Gulags.

Whole population strata were eliminated: Independent farmers, ethnic minorities, members of the bourgeoisie, senior officers, intellectuals, artists, labor movement activists, “opposition members” who were defined completely randomly, and countless members of the Communist party itself.

In his new, highly praised book “The War of the World, “Historian Niall Ferguson writes that no revolution in the history of mankind devoured its children with the same unrestrained appetite as did the Soviet revolution. In his book on the Stalinist purges, Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Igal Halfin writes that Stalinist violence was unique in that it was directed internally.

Lenin, Stalin, and their successors could not have carried out their deeds without wide-scale cooperation of disciplined “terror officials,” cruel interrogators, snitches, executioners, guards, judges, perverts, and many bleeding hearts who were members of the progressive Western Left and were deceived by the Soviet regime of horror and even provided it with a kosher certificate.

All these things are well-known to some extent or another, even though the former Soviet Union’s archives have not yet been fully opened to the public. But who knows about this? Within Russia itself, very few people have been brought to justice for their crimes in the NKVD’s and KGB’s service. The Russian public discourse today completely ignores the question of “How could it have happened to us?” As opposed to Eastern European nations, the Russians did not settle the score with their Stalinist past.

And us, the Jews? An Israeli student finishes high school without ever hearing the name “Genrikh Yagoda,” the greatest Jewish murderer of the 20th Century, the GPU’s deputy commander and the founder and commander of the NKVD. Yagoda diligently implemented Stalin’s collectivization orders and is responsible for the deaths of at least 10 million people. His Jewish deputies established and managed the Gulag system. After Stalin no longer viewed him favorably, Yagoda was demoted and executed, and was replaced as chief hangman in 1936 by Yezhov, the “bloodthirsty dwarf.”

Yezhov was not Jewish but was blessed with an active Jewish wife. In his Book “Stalin: Court of the Red Star”, Jewish historian Sebag Montefiore writes that during the darkest period of terror, when the Communist killing machine worked in full force, Stalin was surrounded by beautiful, young Jewish women.

Stalin’s close associates and loyalists included member of the Central Committee and Politburo Lazar Kaganovich. Montefiore characterizes him as the “first Stalinist” and adds that those starving to death in Ukraine, an unparalleled tragedy in the history of human kind aside from the Nazi horrors and Mao’s terror in China, did not move Kaganovich.

Many Jews sold their soul to the devil of the Communist revolution and have blood on their hands for eternity. We’ll mention just one more: Leonid Reichman, head of the NKVD’s special department and the organization’s chief interrogator, who was a particularly cruel sadist.

In 1934, according to published statistics, 38.5 percent of those holding the most senior posts in the Soviet security apparatuses were of Jewish origin. They too, of course, were gradually eliminated in the next purges. In a fascinating lecture at a Tel Aviv University convention this week, Dr. Halfin described the waves of soviet terror as a “carnival of mass murder,” “fantasy of purges”, and “essianism of evil.” Turns out that Jews too, when they become captivated by messianic ideology, can become great murderers, among the greatest known by modern history.

The Jews active in official communist terror apparatuses (In the Soviet Union and abroad) and who at times led them, did not do this, obviously, as Jews, but rather, as Stalinists, communists, and “Soviet people.” Therefore, we find it easy to ignore their origin and “play dumb”: What do we have to do with them? But let’s not forget them. My own view is different. I find it unacceptable that a person will be considered a member of the Jewish people when he does great things, but not considered part of our people when he does amazingly despicable things.

Even if we deny it, we cannot escape the Jewishness of “our hangmen,” who served the Red Terror with loyalty and dedication from its establishment. After all, others will always remind us of their origin.

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Haitham Sabbah is an uprooted Palestinian blogger. He is the webmaster and editor of Palestine Blogs, also webmaster and co-editor of Palestine Think Tank. His personal blog is Sabbah’s Blog:
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Holocaust and Holodomor (Origins of Anti Semitism)




By Nicholas Lyssson

One might think the worst holocaust deniers—at least the only ones who command serious attention—are those who insist the Nazi holocaust, as it involved the Jews only, was without parallel.

Guenter Lewy argues for example in The Nazi Persecution of the Gypsies (Oxford University Press, 2000) that while the Gypsies were gassed, shot and otherwise exterminated in great numbers, right alongside the Jews, they were not true victims of “the” Holocaust (capital “H”) but only of something collateral. Lewy even suggests the Gypsies invited their own destruction with certain cultural traits—in particular, sharply divergent moral standards for dealing among their own and with outsiders.

But pre- or anti-Enlightenment Judaism is hardly a less ethnocentric or hostile moral system. As Edward Gibbon correctly notes in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 1, ch. 15 (1776), “the wise, the humane Maimonides openly teaches [in The Book of Torts, 5:11] that, if an idolator fall into the water, a Jew ought not to save him from instant death.” See also Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai’s remarkable second-century exercise in ejusdem generis: “The best of the heathen merits death; the best of serpents should have its head crushed; and the most pious of women is prone to sorcery” (Yer. Kid. iv. 66c; Massek. Soferim xv. 10; comp. Mek., Beshallah, Wayehi, 1, and Tan., Wayera, 20, all as cited by For “heathen” some translators simply write “goyim”; for “prone to sorcery” they write “a witch.” Rabbi Simeon is mentioned more than 700 times in the Talmud.

Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, in Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (2d ed. 2004), say (p. 1) “that in the usual English translations of talmudic literature some of the most sensitive passages are usually toned down or falsified,” and indeed (pp. 150-51) that “the great majority of books on Judaism and Israel, published in English especially, falsify their subject matter,” in part by omitting or obscuring such teachings. For a fuller discussion of the point, see Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, esp. ch. 2 (1994), available online. As to Jews, Gypsies or anyone else, of course, ethnocentrism or even outright cultural hostility as a rationale for genocide is obscene.
A particularly relevant parallel to the Nazi holocaust is the Ukrainian holodomor of 1932-33, a state-created famine—not a crop failure—that killed an estimated five million people in the Ukraine, one million in the Caucasus, and one million elsewhere after the Soviet state confiscated the harvest at gunpoint. Throughout the famine, the state continued to export grain to pay for industrialization. See Robert Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow (Oxford University Press, 1987). Norman Davies gives the following description in Europe: A History, p. 965 (Oxford University Press, 1996). His first paragraph assembles quotations from Conquest; the bracketed phrase is his own:

“A quarter of the rural population, men, women and children, lay dead or dying” in “a great stretch of territory with some forty million inhabitants,” “like one vast Belsen.” “The rest, in various stages of debilitation,” “had no strength to bury their families or neighbours.” “[As at Belsen] well-fed squads of police or party officials supervised the victims.”
. . . All food stocks were forcibly requisitioned; a military cordon prevented all supplies from entering; and the people were left to die. The aim was to kill Ukrainian nationhood, and with it the “class enemy.” The death toll reached some 7 million. The world has seen many terrible famines. . . . But a famine organized as a genocidal act of state policy must be considered unique.

See also Oksana Procyk, Leonid Heretz and James E. Mace, Famine in the Soviet Ukraine, 1932-33 (Harvard University Press, 1986); Nicolas Werth, “The Great Famine,” in Stephane Courtois, et al., The Black Book of Communism, pp. 159-68 (Harvard University Press, 1999); Edvard Radzinsky, Stalin, pp. 257-59 (1996); Miron Dolot, Execution by Hunger (1985); Simon Sebag Montefiore, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, pp. 84-85 (2003); and the Commission on the Ukrainian Famine, Report to Congress (1988). That report, at pp. 6-7, cites estimates of the number killed that range as high as 8 million in the Ukraine and 9 million overall.
Piers Brendon, The Dark Valley, pp. 248-49 (2000) gives this description, drawn from still further sources, all cited in his notes:

A population of “walking corpses” . . . even ate horse-manure for the whole grains of seed it contained. . . . Cannibalism became so common-place that. . . local authorities issued hundreds of posters announcing that “EATING DEAD CHILDREN IS BARBARISM.”. . .
They staggered into towns and collapsed in the squares. . . . Haunting the railway stations these “swollen human shadows, full of rubbish, alive with lice,” followed passengers with mute appeals. . . . [They] “dragged themselves along, begging for bread or searching for scraps in garbage heaps, frozen and filthy. Each morning wagons rolled along the streets picking up the remains of the dead.” Some were picked up before they died and buried in pits so extensive that they resembled sand dunes and so shallow that bodies were dug up and devoured by wolves.

Boris Pasternak says “what I saw could not be expressed in words. . . . There was such inhuman, unimaginable misery, such a terrible disaster, that it began to seem almost abstract, it would not fit within the bounds of consciousness.” See Brian Moynahan, The Russian Century, p. 130 (1994). Nikita Khrushchev, in Khrushchev Remembers: The Final Testament, p. 120 (1976), says “I can’t give an exact figure because no one was keeping count. All we knew was that people were dying in enormous numbers.”
According to S. J. Taylor, Stalin’s Apologist: Walter Duranty, The New York Times’s Man in Moscow, p. 202 (Oxford University Press 1990), “. . .Soviet authorities
. . . require[d] that the shades of all windows be pulled down on trains traveling through the North Caucasus, the Ukraine and the Volga basin.” At pp. 239-40, Taylor says this famine “remains the greatest man-made disaster ever recorded, exceeding in scale even the Jewish Holocaust of the next decade.”
In September 1933, Duranty—who cultivated his relationship with Stalin, and is remembered today for his public denials that any such thing was happening—privately told fellow journalists Eugene Lyons (United Press) and Anne O’Hare McCormick (herself from the New York Times) that the death toll was 7 million, but that the dead were “only Russians.” (Sic: mostly Ukrainians; and note the word “only.”) See Lyons, Assignment in Utopia, pp. 579-80 (1937). Duranty’s number is described in Lyons’s book only as “the most startling I had. . . heard,” but is revealed in Lyons’s “Memo for Malcolm Muggeridge” (Dec. 9, 1937), quoted by Marco Carynnyk in “The New York Times and the Great Famine, Part III,” available online.

Several days after giving the 7-million number to Lyons and McCormick, Duranty told the assembled staff at the British chancery in Moscow that the toll for the Soviet Union as a whole might be as high as 10 million. See the report of William Strang, the charge d’affaires (Sept. 26, 1933), quoted by Carynnyk in the text accompanying n. 46. The British government referred publicly to the ongoing situation as an “illegal famine.” Id., n. 46.

Duranty’s 10-million number may have come from Stalin himself. It’s reputedly the same number Stalin gave Winston Churchill a decade later; see, e.g., Eric Margolis, “Remembering Ukraine’s Unknown Holocaust,” Toronto Sun, Dec. 13, 1998 (available online).
According to Arthur Koestler, The Ghost in the Machine, pp. 261-62 (1967):

In 1932-3, the years of the great famine which followed the forced collectivisation of the land, I travelled widely in the Soviet Union, writing a book which was never published. I saw entire villages deserted, railway stations blocked by crowds of begging families, and the proverbial starving infants. . . . [T]hey were quite real, with stick-like arms, puffed up bellies and cadaverous heads. I reacted to the brutal impact of reality on illusion in a manner typical of the true believer. I was surprised and bewildered—but the elastic shock-absorbers of my [Communist] Party training began to operate at once. I had eyes to see, and a mind conditioned to explain away what they saw. This “inner censor” is more reliable and effective than any official censorship. . . .

Some Ukrainian accounts, and that of Muggeridge, who covered the holodomor for the Manchester Guardian, take the trouble to say that this mass starvation was imposed largely by Jews. Lazar M. Kaganovich is often identified as an architect of the policy. A photograph in Montefiore, Red Tsar, above, shows him personally searching a farm for concealed food. In Muggeridge’s novel Winter in Moscow (1934) he appears as Kokoshkin, “a Jew” and “Stalin’s chief lieutenant.”

In 2003 Levko Lukyanenko, the first Ukrainian ambassador to Canada, was said to have made an anti-Semitic embarrassment of himself on this subject. But see Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, p. 363 (2d ed. 1994)(“Jews were . . . disproportionately prominent among the Bolsheviks, notably in their leadership, among their tax- and grain-gathering officials, and especially in the despised and feared. . . secret police [emphasis added]”); Montefiore, Red Tsar, above, p. 305 (as late as 1937, Jews accounted for only 5.7 percent of Soviet party members, but “formed a majority in the government” [emphasis added]); Yuri Slezkine, The Jewish Century, p. 254 (Princeton University Press, 2004)(the secret police was “one of the most Jewish of all Soviet institutions”); and Arno J. Mayer, Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?, p. 60 (1988)(“As of the late twenties . . . [a] disproportionate number of Jews came to hold high posts in the secret police and to serve as political commissars in the armed services. They. . . were. . . appointed to high-level and conspicuous positions which called for unimpeach-able political loyalty. . . ”). Mayer, a professor emeritus of history at Princeton, is himself Jewish, and had to flee the Nazis as a refugee.

The Israeli writer Boas Evron says the leaders of the Soviet revolution were scarcely less Jewish than the Zionists. See his book Jewish State or Israeli Nation?, p. 107 (English tr., Indiana University Press, 1995): “The backgrounds of the two groups were much the same. . . . Only differences of chance and temperament caused the one [individual] to be a Zionist and the other a revolutionary socialist.”
On February 8, 1920, Winston Churchill published an article, “Zionism Versus Bolshevism: A Struggle for the Soul of the Jewish People,” in the Illustrated Sunday Herald (London), reprinted in Lenni Brenner, ed., 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis, p. 23 (2002). Among other things, Churchill said (pp. 25-26):

There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshe-vism. . . by. . . international and for the most part atheistical Jews. . . . [I]t probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin [who had a Jewish grandfather and by some accounts a Jewish wife], the majority of leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders. . . . And the prominent, if not indeed the principal, part in the system of terrorism. . . has been taken by Jews. . . . The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews in the brief period of terror during which Bela Kun ruled in Hungary. The same phenomenon has been presented in Germany (especially in Bavaria), so far as this madness has been allowed to prey on the temporary prostration of the German people.

Churchill’s views, as expressed here, resemble those of the Times of London’s correspondent in Russia, Robert Wilton. See George Gustav Telberg and Robert Wilton, The Last Days of the Romanovs (1920), esp. pp. 222-30, 391 (“[t]aken according to numbers of population, the Jews represented one in ten; among the komisars that rule Bolshevik Russia they are nine in ten—if anything, the proportion of Jews is still higher”), 392-93 and 400. The French version of the book, Les Derniers Jours des Romanofs, also published in 1920, contains a list of 556 top figures in the Bolshevik regime, classified by ethnicity. The Jewish proportion is a bit over eight in ten, including two-thirds of the leadership of the secret police.
The non-Jews are divided among various small categories—Russian, Lett, Armenian, German, Georgian, etc. The list is absent from the slightly later English and American editions, but is available online. See also John F. O’Conor, The Sokolov Investigation (1971)(a translation, with commentary, of sections of Nikolai Sokolov’s Enquête judiciaire sur l’assassinat de la famille impériale Russe), especially for the comments of O’Conor and his sources on Wilton.[i]

Jews among the Bolsheviks who imposed the holodomor of 1932-33 would have relished settling scores after the 40 years of bloody pogroms that followed Czar Alexander II’s assassination in 1881—especially the still-recent massacre of 50,000 to 100,000 Jews, mostly in the Ukraine, during the Russian civil war of 1918-21. (Far greater numbers of gentiles, of course, also perished in that war; estimates run well into the millions.)

Albert S. Lindemann, Esau’s Tears, pp. 442-43 (Cambridge University Press, 1997) says that “[i]n. . . the Ukraine, the Cheka leadership was overwhelmingly Jewish”; that “the high percentage of Jews in the secret police continued well into the 1930s”; and that “[c]omparisons to the secret police in Nazi Germany have tempted many observers.

. . . [T]he extent to which both. . . prided themselves in being. . . willing to carry out the most stomach-turning atrocities in the name of an ideal. . . is striking.” Lindemann adds that:
George Leggett, the most recent and authoritative historian of the Russian secret police, speculates that the use of [non-Slavic ethnic minorities in the secret police] may have been a conscious policy, since such ‘detached elements could be better trusted not to sympathise with the repressed local population’.[ii] Of course, in the Ukrainian case that population had the reputation of being especially anti-Semitic, further diminishing the potential sympathies of Jewish Chekists in dealing with it. [Citing Leggett, The Cheka, Lenin’s Political Police, p. 263 (Oxford University Press, 1981).] . . . . Cheka personnel regarded themselves as a class apart. . . with a power of life or death over lesser mortals. (Emphases added.)
Yuri Slezkine’s The Jewish Century, above, illustrates the attitude of Jewish Bolsheviks toward dying Ukrainians. See Kevin MacDonald’s review of Slezkine, entitled “Stalin’s Willing Executioners?”, www.vdare. com/ misc/051105 /macdonald _stalin.htm (a much fuller version of which appears in the Occidental Quarterly, fall 2005, also available online):

Lev Kopelev, a Jewish writer who witnessed and rationalized the Ukrainian famine in which millions died horrible deaths of starvation and disease as an “historical necessity,” is quoted [on p. 230 as] saying “You mustn’t give in to debilitating pity. We are the agents of historical necessity. We are fulfilling our revolutionary duty.” On the next page, Slezkine describes the life of the largely Jewish elite in Moscow and Leningrad where they attended the theater, sent their children to the best schools, [and] had peasant women (whose families were often the victims of mass murder) for nannies. . . .

Kopelev did not offer his opinions from a distance. In his words, “I saw women and children with distended bellies, turning blue, with vacant, lifeless eyes. And corpses. . . . I saw all this and did not go out of my mind or commit suicide. . . .” Moynahan, The Russian Century, above, p. 149. Moynahan, by the way, gives a high-end estimate of the death toll as “probably. . . 14 million.” Id. at 130.

Kopelev was then in his early 20s. (Koestler was six-and-a-half years older.) Kopelev believed without question that “we were warriors on an invisible front, fighting against kulak sabotage for the grain that was needed by the country, by the five-year plan.” See vol. 1 of his memoirs, The Education of a True Believer, p. 226 (1980). He gave speeches to starving peasants at “several meetings a day,” telling them how much more the state needed their grain than they did themselves. Id. at 229. The peasants most often responded, “chop off my head”; they had nothing left to give. Id. at 231.

Fifteen years later, Kopelev himself was in the Butyrka prison in Moscow, where his fellow inmates, the writers Dmitri Panin[iii] and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, challenged his denial of his own Jewishness, and the Jewishness of the revolution. See vol. 3 of Kopelev’s memoirs, Ease My Sorrows, p. 18 (1983):

When I told Solzhenitsyn the history of the various parties and reached the Socialist Revolutionaries, recalling the leaders, Gorovits, Gershuni, Gots, he interrupted in astonishment, almost in disbelief: how can that be— Jewish surnames, when the SRs were a Russian peasant party?

* * *

Panin reproached me for the sinful rejection of my people—for not wanting to avow myself “first and foremost a Jew. . . . But it’s clearer to an outsider.” . . . Solzhenitsyn seconded him. . . . He could not agree with. . . my self-definition: “A Russian intellectual of Jewish descent.”

Notwithstanding Kopelev’s self-definition, he was incontestably Jewish for purposes of the Israeli Law of Return, which came into effect well within his lifetime.[iv] Moreover, while he became a man of far more humane views as he grew older, there would be some irony in excusing his “true believer” phase as a mere youthful folly. Compare the unsparing treatment recently given Günter Grass, concerning service in the Waffen SS that involved no complicity in atrocities, and ended in his late teens.

The phrase “Stalin’s willing executioners”—with its echo of Daniel Jonah Goldhagen—is Slezkine’s (p. 130). At pp. 183-84, translating from the Russian, Slezkine quotes Ia. A. Bromberg (1931) on what Stalinism brought out in its Jewish servitors:

The convinced and unconditional opponent of the death penalty. . . , who could not, as it were, watch a chicken being killed, has been transformed outwardly into a leather-clad person with a revolver and [has], in fact, lost all human likeness. . . , standing in a Cheka basement doing “bloody but honorable revolutionary work.”

Shahak, in Three Thousand Years, above, ch. 4, traces Jewish “hatred and contempt” for peasants— “a hatred of which I know no parallel in other societies”—back to the great Ukrainian uprising of 1648-54, in which tens of thousands of “the accursed Jews” (to quote the Ukrainian Cossack leader Bohdan Khmelnytsky) were killed. Some say the number is more accurately stated in the hundreds of thousands. Heinrich Graetz says the number “may well be. . . a quarter of a million.” See his History of the Jews, vol. 5, p. 15 (1856-70, English tr., Jewish Publication Society of America ed., 1956).

The Jews at the time of the massacres were serving the Polish szlachta (nobility) and Roman Catholic clergy on their Ukrainian latifundia as arendars—toll-, rent- and tax-farmers, enforcers of corvee obligations, licensees of feudal monopolies (e.g., on banking, milling, storekeeping, and distillation and sale of alcohol), and as anti-Christian scourges who even collected tithes at the doors of the peasants’ Greek Orthodox churches and exacted fees to open those doors for weddings, christenings and funerals. They had life and death powers over the local population (the typical form of execution being impalement), and no law above them to which that population had recourse. See Graetz, vol. 5, pp. 3-6; Subtelny, pp. 123-38; Norman Davies, God’s Playground: A History of Poland, vol. 1, p. 444 (Oxford University Press, 1982); and Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski, Jews in Poland, pp. 68-79, 283 (1993). According to the last three of these sources, the arendars leased estates for terms of only two or three years and had every incentive to wring the peasants mercilessly, without regard to long-term consequences.

As Shahak points out in Three Thousand Years, chs. 3 and 5, a non-Jew, in traditional Judaism, was never “thy neighbor” for purposes of Leviticus 19:18—which was doubtless an advantage in such taxing work as an arendar’s. Shahak has much to say about rabbinical pronouncements, abundant in Israel even now, that gentile souls are closer to the souls of animals than to those of Jews. Those pronouncements are grounded, at least in part, on Ezekiel 23:20 (“[their] flesh [i.e., penises] is as the flesh of asses and [their] issue [i.e., semen] is like the issue of horses”).[v]

Norman Cantor comments in The Sacred Chain, p. 184 (1994) that “perhaps the Jews [of the arenda period] were so moved by racist contempt for the Ukrainian and Polish peasantry as to regard them as subhuman. . . . There is a parallel with the recent attitude of the West Bank Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox toward the Palestinians. Judaism can be in its Halakhic form an extremely restrictive and blinding faith.”
According to Chaim Bermant, The Jews, p. 26 (1977):

. . . [O]ne cannot see the events of [1648-49] as entirely the result of crazed fanaticism or mindless superstition. . . . [I]f the nobility were. . . the ultimate exploiters,the Jews were the visible ones and aroused the most immediate hostility. Rabbis warned that Jews were sowing a terrible harvest of hatred, but while the revenues rolled in the warnings were ignored. Moreover, the rabbis themselves were beneficiaries of the system.

Those rabbinical forebodings are also mentioned in Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance, p. 152 (Oxford University Press, 1961). Graetz (vol. 5, pp. 5-6) says of the Jewish arendars that they had lost “integrity and right-mindedness. . . as completely as simplicity and the sense of truth. They found pleasure and a sort of triumphant delight in deception and cheating.” He adds that they “advised the [Polish noble and ecclesiast-ical] possessors of the Cossack colonies how most completely to humiliate, oppress, torment, and ill-use [those colonies]. . . . No wonder that the enslaved Cossacks hated the Jews. . . . The Jews were not without warning what would be their lot, if these embittered enemies once got the upper hand.”

Graetz (vol. 5, p. 7) also says Khmelnytsky had personal reasons for leading the revolt: “A Jew, Zachariah Sabilenki, had played him a trick, by which he was robbed of his wife and property.” It says everything, of course, that it was possible by trickery to rob a Cossack of his wife.

The best-known contemporaneous account of the revolt is Nathan (Nata) ben Moses Hannover, Yewen Mesulah, which appeared in Venice in 1653. An English translation was published three centuries later as The Abyss of Despair (1950). Hannover was well aware of the peasants’ grievances (see pp. 27-30 of The Abyss). He described the massacres in the grimmest of terms, full of biblical allusions. He then gave the rest of his life to the holy mysteries of Lurianic cabbalism. As Graetz puts it (vol. 5, pp. 21-22), “that book of falsehoods, the Zohar, [had] declared that in the year of the world 5408 (1648) the era of redemption would dawn, and precisely in that year Sabbathai [Ze’evi] revealed himself. . . as the messianic redeemer.”
Sabbathai was a manic-depressive one of whose followers, Samuel Primo, preached that “your lament and sorrow must be changed into joy.” Spinoza and other rationalists were not amused. Thousands of Sabbathai’s flock even followed him into “holy apostasy” when he converted to Islam in 1666. His own conversion was under duress; theirs was not. Graetz’s highly-readable account of the fervor (vol. 5, pp. 121-67) is similar in style and tone to Gibbon’s account of the early Christian Church.

Arendas did not disappear after the Khmelnytsky uprising. See Jewish FamilyHistory. org/ Grand_ Duchy_of_Lithuania. htm (“During the 18th century, up to 80 percent of Jewish heads of households in rural areas [of what are now Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and parts of Poland] were arendars, that is, holders of an arenda”). Pogonowski, p. 72, describes the return of the Jews to the Ukraine after 1648-54. Similarly, see Simon M. Dubnow, History of the Jews in Russia and Poland, vol. 1, p. 158 (1916).

Shahak (Three Thousand Years, ch. 4) says that under the arenda system, “the full weight of the Jewish religious laws against gentiles fell upon the peasants.” As to the nature of those laws, see id., ch. 5, especially under the heading “Abuse.” See also such passages as Psalm 2:8-9 (“. . . I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance. . . . Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel”); Psalm 21:8-10 (“[T]hy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the Lord shall swallow them up. . .”); Psalm 79:6-7 (“Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen. . . [f]or they have devoured Jacob [i.e., Israel], and laid waste his dwelling place”); Jeremiah 10:25 (al-most identical); Psalm 137:8-9 (“O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed, . . . [h]appy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones”); Psalm 149:7-8; Isaiah 45:14 (“Thus saith the Lord, . . . in chains. . . they shall fall down unto [Israel]. . .”); Isaiah 60:12 (“. . .[T]he nation and kingdom that will not serve [Israel] shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted” ); Isaiah 61:5-6 (“. . .[S]trangers shall stand and feed your flocks. . . : [Y]e shall eat the riches of the Gentiles. . .”); and of course Esther 8:11 through 10:3. As to the last, and the feast of Purim, celebrated yearly then as now, see Elliott Horowitz, Reckless Rites (Princeton University Press, 2006).


The Babylonian Talmud, cabbalist treatises, and other rabbinical writings extant during the arenda period were even harder on the gentiles, particularly Christians. See Johann Andreas Eisenmenger’s hugely controversial Entdektes Judenthum (1700), translated as Rabbinical Literature: Or the Traditions of the Jews (1748). At p. 253 of that translation we read that:

The [cabbalist] Treatise Emek hammelech, in the Part entitled Shaar shiashue hammelech, gives us the following Passage. “Our Rabbins, of Blessed Memory, have said, Ye Jews are stiled Men; because of the Soul ye have from the Supreme Man (i.e., God; whom the Cabalists call Adam Ahelion; that is, the Supreme Man). But the Nations of the World are not stiled Men, because they have not, from the Holy and Supreme Man, the Neshama (or glorious Soul). But they have the Nephesh (i.e. the Soul) from Adam Belial; that is, the malicious and unnecessary Man, called Sammael, the Supreme Devil.”

The next seven pages are filled with further such quotations. Eisenmenger also discloses a rabbinical obsession with Esau and his nation Edom, themselves deemed satanic (as to which see more from scholars discussed below).

Jacob Katz, the author of Exclusiveness and Tolerance, above, and a professor of Jewish history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is hardly an admirer of Eisen-menger. Very much the contrary. But in From Prejudice to Destruction, pp. 14-15, 21, passim (Harvard University Press, 1980), Katz admits some important points:

[Eisenmenger’s] book was impressive both on account of its size—some 2,120 pages in two volumes—and its tremendous erudition. . . . [He] was acquainted with all the literature a Jewish scholar of standing would have known. . . . Contrary to accusations that have been made against him, he does not falsify his sources. He quotes them in full and translates them literally. . . . The question is how did Eisenmenger arrive at so darkly a negative picture of Judaism while quoting its sources unadulteratedly?
* * * There was a nucleus of truth in all his claims: the Jews lived in a world of. . . ethical duality—following different standards in their internal and external relationships. . . . (Emphases added.)[vi]

The anthropologist John Hartung comments, in an essay entitled “Love Thy Neighbor: The Evolution of In-Group Morality” (1995, available online), that “the half-life and penetrance of such cultural legacies are often under-appreciated.” To illustrate Hartung’s point, “Pour out thy wrath upon our enemies” (“shfoch hamatcha al hagoyim”) is even now a prayer at the Passover seder.

David M. Weinberg, director of public affairs at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies of the Orthodox Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, defends it as being “part of the Haggada text for a reason: to purposefully exclude and ward off the placid, falsely high-minded thinking that has overtaken so much of today’s Western world.” See Weinberg’s essay in the Jerusalem Post, April 21, 2003 (available online). The English translation “upon our enemies”—not “upon thine enemies,” or even “upon the heathen”—is taken here directly from Weinberg. All those renditions seem interchangeable in any event. The actual word, of course, is goyim.

According to Davies (God’s Playground, vol. 1, p. 444) the oppressiveness of the Jews as arendars “provided the most important single cause of the terrible retribution that would descend on them on several occasions in the future. . . .” In 1986 the Stanford history department voted 12-11 against offering tenure to Davies, then a professor visiting from the University of London. Davies sued unsuccessfully for defamation, which suggests the tenor of the discussion. Davies is now a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. The queen awarded him a CMG in 2001.

Actually, the Jewish “hatred and contempt” that Shahak remarks on can be traced back to times well before the events of 1648-54. Such attitudes can be seen, for example, in medieval traditions in which Esau—portrayed in Isaiah 63 and Obadiah as one with whom God himself is at war—came to stand for agricultural Christian Europe. See Rabbi Tzvi Weinberg, “Esau-Edom: Profile of a People” (Dec. 16, 2000), at http://www JH/Parasha/ eng/ vayishlach/ wei.html. See also Exclusiveness and Tolerance, above, p. 6, which says that in medieval Jewish poetry Edom was synonymous with Christianity. In Malachi 1:4 “the Lord hath indignation for ever” against Edom; see also Jeremiah 49:7-8, Lamentations 4:21-22, Ezekiel 35, and Amos 1:11.


Edom was never geographically fixed. It followed the Jews wherever they went—the nation allotted to Israel’s dehumanized twin, as ripe for righteous predation as the original Esau.[vii] Edom’s presence in Europe helped rationalize the Jewish role in the immensely profitable slave trade of the eighth through the 10th centuries. European boys—mostly in the East, but in the West as well—were kidnapped and castrated by Vikings, sold to Jews, taken south down the major rivers, and sold again as eunuchs in Muslim lands from Persia to Spain. See H.R. Trevor-Roper, The Rise of Christian Europe, pp. 92-93 (1965). As Trevor-Roper points out, the words for slave and Slav come from the same root in every European language, a reminder of a commerce whose memory has faded away in the West. The Arabic word for eunuch is from the same root. Some trace this trade as far back as the fifth century. .

A related matter is Ashkenazic—though not Sephardic—eschatological doctrine, which in the “late antique” period followed Jeremiah 46:28 (“Fear thou not, O Jacob [i.e., Israel], my servant, saith the Lord: . . . for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee. . .” ) and Psalms 110:6 and 94:1. See Adiel Schremer, of Bar Ilan University, “Eschatology, Violence and Suicide: An Early Rabbinic Theme and its Influence in the Middle Ages,” at research. ycias/database/Files/MESV6-2.pdf: At p. 4, Schremer says:

[T]he construction of the eschatological redemption in terms of the total eradication of the nations, or at least in association with such an expectation, has a potential of shaping a violent personality and might contribute to. . . a violent mind-setting. For if one is hoping for God’s redemption soon to come, and is inspired by the idea of a total vanquish-ing of Israel’s enemies as an essential part of that redemption, one’s violent inclinations are not entirely suppressed and in a sense they are being fostered. (Emphasis added.)
Schremer’s paper was presented on May 5, 2002 at the Yale Divinity School. The reference in his title to suicide concerns the year 1096, when large numbers of Jews in the Rhineland killed themselves and their own children, siblings and parents, rather than submit to Crusaders’ efforts to convert them by force. By way of explanation, Schremer quotes Sigmund Freud: “No neurotic harbors thoughts of suicide which he has not turned back upon himself from murderous impulses against others.” Schremer cites many biblical passages and rabbinical exegeses that might feed such impulses.

For a much fuller discussion of this whole set of issues, see Israel Jacob Yuval, Two Nations in Your Womb (English tr., University of California Press, 2006). At pp. 120-21 Yuval tells of prayers that:

. . . demonstrate the abyss of hostility and hatred felt by medieval Jews toward Christians. And we have here not only hatred, but an appeal to God to kill indiscriminately and ruthlessly, alongside a vivid description of the anticipated horrors to be brought down upon the Gentiles. These pleas are formulated in a series of verbs—“swallow them, shoot them, lop them off, make them bleed, crush them, strike them, curse them, and ban them. . . destroy them, kill them, smite them. . . crush them [again], abandon them, parch them”—and in the best alphabetical tradition, the string of disasters the poet wishes for the Gentiles goes on and on.

Yuval collects an abundance of such material, from both before and after the events of 1096. In agreement with Schremer, he says (p. 123) that “we are dealing here with a comprehensive religious ideology that sees vengeance as a central component in its messianic doctrine.” He repeats (p. 125) that this vengeance was to be “against the Gentiles”—most of whom, it seems safe to say, were peasants—and that the vengeance stood “at the very heart of the messianic process.” He says tellingly (p. 134) that “the Christians were not unaware of the Jewish desire to see their destruction.”[viii]

The ethnocentric hostility of the Jews—consistently commented on by the peoples who have encountered them over the millennia—can be traced ultimately to the origins of Judaism as set forth in the Torah, e.g., Genesis 9:25 (“Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren”); Exodus 17:14-16 and 34:12-13 ; Numbers 24:8 (“God. . . shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows”), 25:6-13 (wherein God commends Phineas for his initia-tive in running a javelin through both parties to a marriage of Jew and gentile), 31:7-19 and 33:50-56; and Deuteronomy 2:33-35 (“[on God’s command] we. . . utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain”), 3:4-7, 7:1-5 (“thou shalt. . . utterly destroy them”), 7:14-26 (“thine eye shall have no pity”), 20:10-17 (“thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth”) and 25:19. Disdain for ordinary labor—to be performed by Esau and Edom, but to be exploited by Israel—appears as early as Genesis 25:23-27, as discussed in note vii below.

Ethnocentric hostility has lent itself to Jewish tax-farming. This can be traced back to very early times, and has sometimes involved copious use of deadly force, put at the disposal of the tax-farmers by their noble clients. See Flavius Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, bk. 12, ch. 4 (1st c.), available online (Syria violently stripped to its “bones” for Ptolemy III); and Elias Bickerman, The Jews in the Greek Age, p. 120 (Harvard University Press, 1988).

See also Rabbi Simeon’s lumping of gentiles with serpents, above; Cornelius Tacitus, The Histories, bk. 5.5 (c. 109 A.D.) (“[the Jews] regard the rest of mankind with all the hatred of enemies”); Gibbon, ch. 15 (“the[ir] sullen obstinacy. . . and unsocial manners seemed to mark them out a distinct species of men, who boldly professed, or who faintly disguised, their implacable hatred to the rest of humankind”); and Emilio Gabba, “The Growth of Anti-Judaism or the Greek Attitude Toward the Jews,” in W.D. Davies and Louis Finkelstein, eds., The Cambridge History of Judaism, vol. 2 (Cam-bridge University Press, 1990). At p. 629 Gabba attributes to Hecataeus of Abdera (early 3d c. B.C.) an observation about the hostility of the Jews. Gabba excuses that hostility, saying the Jews’ “misanthropic reserve” was understandable in light of the exodus from Egypt. But the exodus—thought by Hecataeus to have been an expulsion, and by Tacitus to have been an expulsion of lepers—was perhaps a thousand years past even when Hecataeus wrote. At p. 645 Gabba cites Posidonius (134 B.C.) on the advice given to his contemporary, King Antiochus Sidetes, to destroy the Jews, “for they alone among all peoples refused all relations with other races and saw everyone as their enemy. . . .”

Almost identical advice was given to King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I, 485-465 B.C.) in Esther 3:8-9. Some two-and-a-half millennia after Ahasuerus, the Jews still celebrate on their most joyous holiday the vengeance he allowed them: “sl[aughter] of their foes seventy and five thousand,” including “both little ones and women,” and hanging not just of the man who gave the advice, but of all ten of his sons. It was an occasion of “light, and. . . joy, and honour,” and of “gladness and feasting.” Id., 8:11-17, 9:13-28.

Martin Luther’s comments on this story, in The Jews and Their Lies (1543), fit with Yuval’s account of “a comprehensive [Jewish] religious ideology that sees vengeance as a central component in its messianic doctrine,” and Schremer’s account of Jewish hopes for “eschatological redemption in terms of the total eradication of the nations”:

Oh how [the Jews] love the Book of Esther, which so nicely agrees with their bloodthirsty, revengeful and murderous desire and hope. The sun never did shine on a more bloodthirsty and revengeful people than they, who imagine themselves to be the people of God, and who desire to, and think they must, murder and crush the heathen. And the foremost undertaking which they expect of their Messiah is that he should slay and murder the whole world with the sword.

This passage—indeed, the whole 64-page essay—is often cited as evidence of Luther’s pathological anti-Semitism, but Yuval and Schremer show that at least on this point he knew whereof he spoke. As Yuval says, “the Christians were not unaware of the Jewish desire to see their destruction.” Luther’s comments also fit with the descriptions of Jewish arendars given above—men who “found pleasure and a sort of triumphant delight in deception and cheating” (Graetz); who sowed “a terrible harvest of hatred” (Bermant); and who may have been “so moved by racist contempt for the Ukrainian and Polish peasantry as to regard them as subhuman” (Cantor).


Even in the 21st century, Israeli children are taught to sing “The Whole World is Against Us”(“Ha’olam Ku’lo heg’denu”). We have not only David M. Weinberg’s defense of the “shfoch hamatcha” prayer, but even Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik, “The Virtue of Hate,” First Things, Feb. 2003 (available online) (“When hate is appropriate, then it is not only virtuous, but essential for Jewish well-being”). Soloveichik is not a fringe figure. He is a member of an exceedingly eminent Orthodox rabbinical family. When he wrote the article he was resident scholar at the Jewish Center in Manhattan and a Beren fellow at Yeshiva University, and was studying the philosophy of religion at the Yale Divinity School.

Note the words “essential for Jewish well-being.” The “virtue of hate” seems to come of a positive need to be hated. The widely-published Rabbi Dr. Dan Cohn-Sher-bok, professor of Jewish history at the University of Wales (Lampeter) and author of The Paradox of Anti-Semitism (2006), says in an interview with the Independent (U.K.), March 19, 2006 (available online) that: “Jews need enemies in order to survive. . . . [I]n the absence of Jew-hatred, Judaism is undergoing a slow death. . . . We want to be loved, and we want Judaism to survive intact. . . . [T]hese are incompatible desires. . . . Why do we endure? Because we’re hated.” (Emphases added.)

Cohn-Sherbok says of a founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl: “He warned that if our Christian hosts were to leave us in peace for two generations, the Jews would merge entirely into surrounding races.” Id. Herzl also wrote in his conclusion to Der Judenstaat (1896): “Universal brotherhood is not even a beautiful dream. Antagonism is essential to man’s greatest efforts.”

In his book (p. 209) Cohn-Sherbok says that “in the past ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders were profoundly aware of this dynamic.” One of his examples is Schneur Zalman of Lyady, the first Lubavitch Rebbe and author of the Tanya (1796), the fundamental book of the Habbad movement, whose first chapter famously concludes by saying gentile souls “contain no good whatever.” [ix] In 1812, Zalman worked with the anti-Semitic Czar Alexander I to defeat Napoleon. He feared Napoleon would liberate the Jews, who might expect to benefit materially—although that’s a much-disputed calculation—but whose souls would be lost to assimilation and intermarriage.

Similarly, according to Ha’aretz, June 3, 2004 (available online), “in the mid-19th century, Rabbi [Samson Raphael] Hirsch, the leader of Germany’s Orthodox Jews, wrote that anti-Semitism is the tool through which the God of Israel preserves his people.” In 1958, Rabbi Dr. Nahum Goldmann, then president of the World Jewish Congress, com-plained that the “current decline of overt anti-Semitism might constitute a new danger to Jewish survival,” one that “has had a very negative effect on our internal life.” In 1957, Leo Pfeffer, then counsel to the same organization, said much the same. As to both, see Alfred M. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection II, p. 412 (1982). See also Charles E. Silberman, A Certain People, p. 165 (1985):

“For all that we are preoccupied by the damage once done to us by our enemies, we are still more concerned by the curse of friendship we now encounter,” Leonard Fein, editor and publisher of Moment magazine, told the Conference of Jewish Communal Service in 1980. . . . “Deep down—and sometimes not so very deep—we still believe that we depended on the pogroms and persecutions to keep us a people, that we have not the fiber to withstand the lures of a genuinely open society.” (Emphasis added.)

Hannah Arendt says of this whole line of thinking, in The Origins of Totali-tarianism, p. 7 (1973 ed.), that “. . . eternal anti-Semitism would imply an eternal guarantee of Jewish [corporate] existence. This superstition is a secularized travesty of the idea of eternity inherent in a faith in chosenness.”


It follows from this “superstition” (or psychological insight) that where anti-Semitism is inadequate to prevent an erosion of Jewish identity, it has to be fabricated or provoked. A seemingly encyclopedic survey of such fabrication—at least as it’s appeared in recent years—can be found in Norman Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah, pp. 21-85 (University of California Press, 2005).[x] As to the other technique, provocation, see Yuval, Two Nations; Shahak, Three Thousand Years; Lindemann, Esau’s Tears; some of the other material discussed above; and the private diary of Moshe Sharett, then prime minister of Israel, for May 26, 1955.

That diary entry records the view of Sharett’s colleague Moshe Dayan that only by a strategy of endless “provocation and revenge” toward its neighbors can Israel survive. Israel, says Sharett (paraphrasing Dayan), “must. . . invent dangers” to “keep its morale high and to retain its moral tension.” Sharett even quotes David Ben Gurion: “It would be worth while to pay an Arab a million pounds to start a war.” See the extended quotation from Sharett’s diary in Livia Rokach, Israel’s Sacred Terrorism, p. 44 (1980) (available online; emphasis in original). Rokach, whose father was Sharett’s minister of the Interior, says (id., p. 8 ) that by the mid ‘50s, if not before:

Terrorism and “revenge” were. . . to be glorified as the “moral . . . and even sacred” values of Israeli society. . . . [T]he military symbol was now Unit 101, led by Arik Sharon. . . . The lives of Jewish victims. . . had to be sacrificed to create provocations justifying subsequent reprisals. . . . A hammering, daily propaganda, controlled by the censors, was directed to feed the Israeli population with images of the monstrosity of the Enemy. (Emphasis added.)

Meanwhile, she says, Israel’s leaders never believed in any external threat to Israel’s survival. What they wanted was regional hegemony, and of course internal cohesion. In 1984, after her book had ceased to be news, Rokach was found dead in a Rome hotel room.

Boas Evron makes some of the same points as Rokach, in Jewish State or Israeli Nation?, above. At p. 251 he says: “In the absence of a positive national bond, Ben Gurion deliberately sought to base the national consciousness on the negative foundation of terror and nightmare. . . .” According to two books by the Mossad defector Victor Ostrovsky, By Way of Deception (1990) and The Other Side of Deception (1994), Mossad doctrine is squarely in accord with the views of Dayan and Ben Gurion, as recorded by Sharett and amplified by Rokach and Evron.[xi]

For more on hostile solidarity as an essential element of Judaism, see three books by Kevin MacDonald, A People That Shall Dwell Alone (1994), Separation and its Discontents (1998), and The Culture of Critique (1998); and John Hartung’s essay “Love Thy Neighbor,” above. Hartung begins with an epigraph from Blaise Pascal’s Pensees (1670): “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”

MacDonald and Hartung see Judaism as an economic strategy for competing with host populations, from whom the sharpest self-differentiation has to be maintained. One might infer from their work—as from such passages as Deuteronomy 7:14-26—a system designed to suppress the recognition of fellow humanity across ethnic and religious lines, a system still functioning millennia after its inception. Of course, any such analysis is taken as purest anti-Semitism, an occasion of “terror and nightmare” call-ing for (of all things) hostile solidarity.[xii]

See also Moses Hadas, Hellenistic Culture: Fusion and Diffusion, chs. 7 and 20 (Columbia University Press, 1959) as to the influence, via Plato, of closed, totalitarian Sparta on Judaism as far back as the Maccabean period (142-63 B.C.).[xiii]

Then there’s the widely-reprinted article that Rabbi Israel Hess, campus rabbi at Bar-Ilan University, wrote for its student magazine, Bat Kol, entitled “Genocide: A Commandment of the Torah” (Feb. 26, 1980). Rabbi Hess took as his text Deuteronomy 25:17-19 (“[T]hou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget [to do] it”). Amalek, he said, is any people that declares war on Israel. The Israeli state rabbinate has never taken direct issue with Rabbi Hess—as it has for example with Reform Judaism.[xiv]

In 2001, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, formerly Sephardi chief rabbi, and founder and leader of Israel’s third largest political party, Shas, called sweepingly for “extermination of the Arabs,” saying “it is forbidden to be merciful to them.” Shas M.K. Eli Yishay (later Ehud Olmert’s vice prime minister) said Rabbi Yosef was merely echoing Ariel Sharon. BBC News, April 10 and 11, 2001, available online.

Desire to escape the Jewish condition—with its ethical double standards, its “virtue of hate,” its abhorrence of “the curse of friendship,” its obsession with “total eradication of the nations,” and the consequent esotericism of the rabbinical literature—motivated those early secular Zionists who longed for direct labor on the land and disparaged intellectual and commercial occupations reminiscent of the arendar role. Lenni Brenner discusses such attitudes in Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, ch. 2 (1983), available online. See also Slezkine, The Jewish Century, above, pp. 327-28. That group of Zionists hoped to make Israel a “normal” nation.

But their religious successors, returning to Judaism’s roots, have countered that normality is precisely what Israel can never have, because of its unique relationship with God. See Shahak and Mezvinsky, Jewish Fundamentalism, above, p. 71:

The Gush Emunim [Bloc of the Faithful] argument is that secular Zionists measured. . . “normality” by applying non-Jewish standards that are satan-ic. . . . [According to] one of the group’s leaders, Rabbi [Shlomo] Avner: “While God requires. . . normal nations to abide by abstract codes of justice and righteousness, such laws do not apply to Jews.” . . . Relying upon the Code of Maimonides and the Halakha, Rabbi [Israel] Ariel [of Gush Emunim] stated: “A Jew who kill[s] a non-Jew is exempt from human judgment and has not violated the [religious] prohibition of murder.”[xv] (Emphases added.)

On the other hand Shahak and Mezvinsky say (id.) that “the murder of a Jew, particularly by a non-Jew, is in Jewish law the worst possible crime.”

Such contemptuous attitudes and narcissistic double standards were very much alive at the time of the holodomor. In 1932, the first year of the famine, the great Eastern European Hebrew poet Chaim Nachman Bialik published the poem “My Father,” which Shahak (Three Thousand Years, ch. 4 n.9) says is still “taught in all Israeli schools.” The poem depicts Bialik’s “righteous and upright” father dispensing vodka in a “den of pigs like men,” to Slavic peasants “rolling in vomit” with “faces of monstrous corruption.”

Bialik calls them “scorpions” for good measure. The father’s “whispered syllables,” meanwhile, audible only to his adoring son, are “pure prayer and law, the words of the living God.” The poem nowhere acknowledges the common complaint that the Jews encouraged Slavic alcoholism, which brought in revenue, exposed peasants’ remaining assets to foreclosure, and made them easier to control.

The poem is missing from Bialik’s supposedly Complete Poetic Works (1948) published in English 14 years after his death. That brings us back to Shahak and Mezvinsky’s point, above, about books and translations that falsify by omission.


A related point: A search of the Library of Congress catalog under the keyword “arenda” brings up 37 apparently relevant items, not one of which is in English. By way of comparison, a search under the combination of “United States” and “slavery” brings up more than 10,000. A search under “Ukrainian famine” brings up all of ten items. A search under “holocaust” brings up more than 10,000.

More evidence of ineradicable attitudes (“. . . I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance. . . . Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel”) was recently seen on Israeli television in the series “The Oligarchs.” The series was most definitely not shown in the U.S. Uri Avnery describes it in an article entitled “How the Virgin Became a Whore” (2004), available online:

Some of its episodes are simply unbelievable—or would have been, if they had not come straight from the horses’ mouths: the heroes of the story, who gleefully boast about their despicable exploits. The series was produced by Israeli immigrants from Russia.
* * *
[The oligarchs] exploited the disintegration of the Soviet system to loot the treasures of the state and to amass plunder amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars. In order to safeguard the perpetuation of their business, they took control of the state. Six of the seven are Jews. . . . [Boris] Berezovsky boasts that he caused the war in Chechnya, in which tens of thousands have been killed and a whole country devastated. He was interested in the mineral resources and a prospective [oil] pipeline there.
. . . In the end there was a reaction: Vladimir Putin, the taciturn and tough ex-KGB operative, assumed power, took control of the media, put one of the oligarchs (Mikhail Khodorkovsky) in prison, [and] caused the others to flee (Berezovsky is in England, Vladimir Gusinsky is in Israel, [and] another, Mikhail Chernoy, is assumed to be hiding here [in Israel]).

In short, then, the history of Jewish relations with Slavic peasants—together with the much longer history of Jewish attitudes toward “the nations”—has enormous rele-vance in explaining why hereditarily-Jewish Bolsheviks in the 1930s, using supposedly scientific Marxist terminology, defined the Ukrainian peasantry as the “class enemy” and carried out a policy of genocidal starvation. In The Jewish Experience, p. 364 (1996), Norman Cantor freely admits as much:

The Bolshevik Revolution and some of its aftermath represented, from one perspective, Jewish revenge. . . . During the heyday of the Cold War, American Jewish publicists spent a lot of time denying that—as 1930s anti-Semites claimed—Jews played a disproportionately important role in Soviet and world Communism. The truth is until the early 1950s Jews did play such a role, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. In time Jews will learn to take pride in the record of the Jewish Communists in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. It was a species of striking back. (Emphases added.)

These words are part of Cantor’s introduction to a chapter by the Russian Jewish writer Arkady Vaksberg, entitled “Stalin’s Jews.” It is most unlikely that Cantor, a professor of history at New York University and a former Rhodes scholar, wrote in ignorance of the scope of Soviet state homicide. Leaving aside issues of pride, shame, and ethnic or religious loyalties, this passage puts Cantor in full agreement with Churchill, Robert Wilton, and Ambassador Levko Lukyanenko, all above.
Edwin Schoonmaker, Democracy and World Dominion, p. 211 (1939) confirms Cantor’s point:

Fifteen years after the Bolshevist Revolution was launched to carry out the Marxist program, the editor of the American Hebrew could write: “According to such information [as] the writer could secure while in Russia a few weeks ago, not one Jewish synagogue has been torn down, as have hundreds—perhaps thousands—of the Greek Catholic churches. . . .” (American Hebrew, Nov. 18, 1932, p. 12.) Apostate Jews, leading a revolution that was to destroy religion as the “opiate of the people,” had somehow spared the synagogues of Russia.[xvi] (Emphasis added.)

Thus the long cycle of violence: (a) throughout the middle ages, the Ashkenazim prayed for divine extermination of the goyim, as described in Two Nations; (b) the atti-tudes reflected in such prayers were reflected as well in speech, conduct and demeanor, plainly intelligible to the goyim themselves, as described both in Two Nations and at greater length in Three Thousand Years; (c) Jews as slave-traders and arendars, in Chaim Bermant’s words, “sow[ed] a terrible harvest of hatred”; (d) peasants responded by killing Jews in great numbers in revolts and pogroms over the centuries; and (e) Jews as Bolsheviks ultimately responded, in Cantor’s phrase, with “Jewish revenge.” That revenge consisted of mass murder on a scale far beyond any theretofore imposed on Jews by Christians, or on the civilians of any European nation by their own government.

Apart from war as such, there has there been no terror on that scale since, either, at least in Europe. (Asia, and particularly Asian Communism, is another matter.) See the numerical estimates in The Black Book of Communism, p. 4, and in Harvest of Sorrow, p. 306. The former set of estimates puts the overall number of deaths from Communist “crimes against civilians” in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe at 21 million. Martin Malia of the University of California at Berkeley, in his foreword to the Black Book, p. xx, says “. . . it is at last becoming clear that our current qualitative judgments are scandalously out of line with the [20th] century’s real balance sheet of political crime.”

There has been little Jewish willingness to accept responsibility for any part of the long cycle. Cantor “learn[ed] to take pride in. . . a species of striking back,” and Shahak (Three Thousand Years, ch. 4) says of the Khmelnytsky rebellion that:

This typical peasant uprising against extreme oppression, an uprising accompanied not only by massacres committed by the rebels but also by even more horrible atrocities and “counter-terror” of the Polish magnates’ private armies, has remained emblazoned in the consciousness of east-European Jews to this very day—not, however, as a peasant uprising, a revolt of the oppressed, of the real wretched of the earth, nor even as a vengeance visited upon all the servants of the Polish nobility, but as an act of gratuitous antisemitism directed against Jews as such.

An example demonstrating Shahak’s point is Louis Finkelstein, ed., The Jews: Their History, Culture and Religion (3d ed., 2 vol., 1960), which tells of the massacres of 1648-49 (pp. 250-51, 388-89), but says nothing of the arenda system. Finkelstein’s index has no entry under that word. Nor, for that matter, does Geoffrey Wigoder, ed., The New Encyclopedia of Judaism (2d. ed., New York University Press, 2002). The essay on Khmelnytsky in the Encyclopedia Judaica (1972), ignoring even Graetz and Nata Hannover, actually denies the existence of evidence the Jewish arendars were oppressive. None of these recent works, of course, says so much as a word about the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33 or its perpetrators.

In The Sacred Chain, pp. 14-16, passim, Cantor says that “. . . rabbinical Judaism prefers silence on history,” and that after the intense historical emphasis of the Bible:

Judaism [swung] radically to become a religion without history by not later than the second century A.D. . . . By and large the Jewish blackout on historical writing continued into the nineteenth century. . . . What was not blotted out was diminished and narcotized into a recital of unprovoked victimization [of Jews]. . . .

To similar effect, see Three Thousand Years, ch. 2, esp. notes 8-14 and accompanying text; and Samuel Grayzel’s preface to The Abyss, above, at p. ix. Even today, Cantor says (p. 15), “realistic, truth-telling history of the Jews is not welcome in the ruling circles of the American and Israeli Jewish communities, among the rabbis, the billionaire patriarchs. . . and the prominent politicians.”[xvii]
See also chapter 8 of Separation and Its Discontents, above (“Self Deception as an Aspect of Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy”). MacDonald begins that chapter with a quotation from Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, above, pp. vii-viii. Arendt notes the “strong polemical and apologetic bias” in Jewish historiography (a matter that also interests Cantor, and especially Shahak), and then says:

When [the] Jewish tradition of an often violent antagonism to Christians and Gentiles came to light “the general Jewish public was not only outraged but genuinely astonished,” so well had its spokesmen succeeded in convincing themselves and everybody else of the non-fact that Jewish separateness was due exclusively to Gentile hostility and lack of enlight-enment. . . . [T]his self-deceiving theory. . . actually amounted to a prolongation and modernization of the old myth of chosenness. . . .[xviii]

Arendt’s interior quotation in this passage is from Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance, above, p. 196. Compare chs. 11 (“Ghetto Segregation”) and 12 (“The Attitude of Estrangement”) in that book. Such self-persuasion as to non-facts may be why Guenter Lewy, above, can argue that the Gypsies brought down genocidal wrath on their own heads with their moral and ethical double standards. Lewy has apparently repressed all awareness that Judaism has, in Katz’s words, its own “ethical duality—following different standards in . . . internal and external relationships.”[xix]


The preference for silence about Jewish history may be also be a corollary of din moser, the law—rooted in Deuteronomy 17:8-12 and openly enforced in the Pale of Settlement through most of the 19th century—under which those suspected of betraying Jewish information to gentile authorities were subject to death without notice, by order of the rabbis and other community leaders. See Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, above, pp. 140-47. At pp. 146-47 Shahak and Mezvinsky say that:

The new Israeli historians have presented evidence showing that until the 1880s the killings of Jewish informers by Jews in the Tsarist Empire were numerous. . . . [T]he writer Shaul Ginzberg. . . wrote in his autobiography that during the nineteenth century hundreds of Jewish informers were drowned in the Dnieper, the largest river in the “Pale.” These informers were charged and convicted under the law of the informers simply because they were suspected of informing the authorities about something. * * * [A] Jewish informer was condemned to death in secret without being able to say anything in his own defense. This mode of execution was employed for hundreds of years until the recent time.

Again, as Hartung says, “the half-life and penetrance of such cultural legacies are often under-appreciated.” Shahak and Mezvinsky discuss din moser in the context of Prime MinisterYitzhak Rabin’s assassination by a religious zealot, heartily encouraged by othodox rabbis, only a few years short of the 21st century. Also as to the Rabin case, see Allan C. Brownfeld, “Growth of Religious Extremism in Israel,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Aug.-Sept. 2000, available online. Din moser may have some-thing to do with the enormous antipathy with which some regard Shahak himself, and with the death of Livia Rokach. It may also illuminate some of the matters discussed in the endnotes below.

While truth-telling is silenced, ad hominem vilification is amplified. David Horowitz of FrontPageMag. com, to pick just one example, calls former President Jimmy Carter a “Jew-hater, genocide-enabler and liar” for saying Israel imposes “apartheid” on the Palestinians in the West Bank. He also accuses Carter of “blood libel.” But Horowitz surely knows that Ariel Sharon told former Italian Premier Massimo D’Alema—at length, according to D’Alema—that Israel means to force the Palestinians into “Bantu-stans.” Ha’aretz, May 13, 2003 (available online). See also Shulamit Aloni (formerly Israeli minister of Education), “Indeed There is Apartheid in Israel,” Jan. 5, 2007 (avail-able online):

On one occasion I witnessed an encounter between a [Palestinian] driver and [an Israeli] soldier who was taking down the details before confisca-ting the vehicle and sending its owner away. “Why?” I asked the soldier. “It’s an order—this is a Jews-only road,” he replied. I inquired as to where was the sign. . . instructing [non-Jewish] drivers not to use it. His answer was. . .: “It is his responsibility to know it, and besides, what do you want us to do, put up a sign. . . and let some anti-Semitic reporter. . . take a photo so he can show the world that apartheid exists here?” (Emphases added.)

Horowitz’s invective is aimed, of course, not so much at Carter as at politicians and others still worried about their jobs. It’s meant to intimidate—which it does—and its style is not new. Esau’s Tears, above, reports complaints of such “intellectual terrorism” (Franz Mehring’s words) from the early 1880s. See p. 136; compare pp. 138-39, 193. There’s no reason to suppose such character-assassination began only then, or that it’s unrelated to the essential, unifying cycle of provocation and revenge discussed above.


The Nazis, no less than the Bolsheviks, regarded Slavic peasants with murderous contempt, an attitude not traditional in the army general staff, but brought to exceedingly full flower in the SS. See, e.g., H.R. Trevor-Roper, The Last Days of Hitler, pp. 5-8 (1947). Arendt says the Nazi plan, on which time blessedly ran out, “aimed at the extermination of the Polish and Ukrainian people, . . . 170 million Russians [and] the intelligentsia of Western Europe.” The Origins of Totalitarianism, above, p. 411. The Ukrainians learned what the Nazis meant to do with them after they initially greeted the Wehrmacht as liberators in 1941—a greeting the holodomor goes far to explain.

It would be interesting to know what the Nazis made of the holodomor, which was still very much in progress when they came to power in 1933.

They surely knew about it. The German intelligence services, even on the unlikely assumption that they had no sources of their own, could hardly have missed the story in the British press as reported by Muggeridge, by former Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s heroic protégé Gareth Jones, and by A.T. Cholerton of the News-Telegraph and the Sunday Times; in the American press as reported by Lyons, by Ralph Barnes of the New York Herald-Tribune, by W.H. Chamberlin of the Christian Science Monitor, by William Stoneman of the Chicago Daily News, by Harry Lang and Richard M. Sanger of the New York Journal, and by Adam J. Tawdul of the New York American; in the French press as reported by Suzanne Bertillon of Le Matin; and in the German press as reported by the liberal (and Jewish) Paul Scheffer of the Berliner Tageblatt, and by Otto Auhagen in the scholarly journal Osteuropa, VII (Aug. 1932). Even at that early date, Auhagen said Ukrainian peasants were reduced to eating the cadavers of horses, from which they contracted infectious diseases.

The Nazis could hardly have failed to notice, moreover, when Theodor Cardinal Innitzer of Vienna called in August 1933 for relief efforts, stating that the Ukrainian famine was claiming lives “likely. . . numbered. . . by the millions” and driving those still alive to infanticide and cannibalism. See the New York Times, Aug. 20, 1933, reporting both Innitzer’s charge and the official denial (“in the Soviet Union we have neither cannibals nor cardinals”). The next day, the Times added Duranty’s own denial.

Other sources can be found by searching on the combination of “Innitzer” and “Ukraine” and “famine.” Also, P.C. Hiebert and the Rev. Charles H. Hagus tried to organize relief efforts on behalf of the German Mennonite community. None of the proposed relief operations had any significant success.

Most likely, the lesson the Nazis drew was how safe, easy, even acceptable it was to murder whole populations. That was demonstrably Hitler’s own conclusion about the early-20th-century Armenian genocide at the hands of the Turks (“Who speaks any more [of that]?”)[xx] and the annihilation of the American Indians (“Treat them like redskins”). Likewise, the Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky actually spoke of the “good name” Hitler himself had supposedly given to forced “mass migrations.”

Just before his death in 1940, Jabotinsky justified “transferring” the Palestinian people out of their homes on the ground that “the world has become accustomed to the idea of mass migrations and has become fond of them. . . . Hitler—as odious as he is to us—has given this idea a good name in the world.” Tom Segev, One Palestine, Complete, p. 406-07 (2000); see generally Nur Masalha, Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of “Transfer” in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948 (1992). Twenty-one years after Jabotinsky’s back-handed compliment to Hitler, Adolf Eichmann was put on trial in Israel. Two of the counts on which he was convicted alleged mass forcible expulsion of people—non-Jews at that—from their homes. Those counts (nos. 9 and 10) both carried the death penalty. Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem, p. 245 (1963).

Israel is now concerned both to cultivate its relations with Turkey and to preserve the claim of Jewish exclusivity for “the” Holocaust (capital “H”). There is also a Jewish tradition in which the Armenians, for obscure reasons, are equated with the Amalekites; see Reckless Rites, above, pp. 10, 122-25. Accordingly Israel not only maintains a diplomatic silence about the slaughter of the Armenians but also lobbies against its commemoration in the U.S. See Larry Derfner in the Jerusalem Post, April 21, 2005 (“[O]n the subject of the Armenian genocide, Israel and some U.S. Jewish organizations, notably the American Jewish Committee, have for many years acted aggressively as silencers”); and Jon Wiener in the Nation, July 12, 1999 (“Lucy Dawidowicz, a leading Holocaust historian, argued that the Turks had ‘a rational reason’ for killing Armenians, unlike the Germans, who had no rational reason for killing Jews”).

Note carefully Dawidowicz’s “rational reason” for killing 1.5 million human beings; Kopelev’s “historical necessity” and “revolutionary duty” to kill 7 (or perhaps even 10) million; Koestler’s “mind conditioned to explain away what [he] saw”; and Cantor’s mature judgment that “there is nothing to be ashamed of.” Bernard Lewis, by the way, a Zionist professor emeritus at Princeton, actually has the distinction of having been convicted in a French court of “holocaust-denial” as to the Armenians. See Norman Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah, p. 59n, above.

The late David Roth, national ethnic liaison of the American Jewish Committee, once testified before Congress—in 1966, when Israel was describing itself as a bastion against Soviet influence in the Middle East, rather than as a magnet drawing it in—that “it is outrageous to think that the death of 7 million Ukrainians is somehow less important than the death of 6 million Jews.” We should, he said, “deny the Soviets the ultimate victory of our silence.”

Nicholas Lysson

  1. In 1920 Wilton and Churchill both expressed hope that through Zionism, Jewish energies could be channeled constructively (that is, one is tempted to say, against non-Europeans) rather than destructively (that is, on the same interpretation, against fellow Europeans, their social and economic order, and their royal houses). Hence the title of Churchill’s article. Churchill’s views evolved as Britain descended what Robert Fisk calls “the bloody staircase”—as to which see my companion essay, “On the Origins of the Balfour Declaration.” Note in that essay threats made by both Chaim Weizmann and his protégé Samuel Landman about the destruction Jews might wreak if frustrated as to Palestine. Weizmann wrote of “overthrow[ing] the world,” and Landman of “pull[ing] down the pillars of civilisation,” a metaphor obviously inspired by Judges 16:21-31. Whence came these ferocious energies? Part of the answer involves traditional eschatological doctrines and attitudes toward gentiles, as discussed in the present essay. Another part involves the Jewish population explosion in the Ukraine during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It swamped the occupations traditionally thought suitable and—together with the pogroms that followed the czar’s assassination in 1881—led to massive emigration, heightened revolutionary activity, and other attempts to recover those occupational niches. See, e.g., Subtelny, above, p. 276:

    Throughout the nineteenth century, especially in its latter part, the Jews experienced a tremendous rise in population. Between 1820 and 1880, while the general population of the [Russian] empire rose by 87%, the number of Jews increased by 150%. On the Right Bank [of the Dnieper] this rise was even more dramatic: between 1844 and 1913 the number of its inhabitants rose by 265% while the Jewish population increased by 844%! Religious sanctions of large families, less exposure to famine, war, and epidemics, and a low mortality rate because of communal self-help and the availability of doctors largely accounted for this extraordinary increase. back

  2. Similarly, the Soviet Union put Jews in charge of camps for German POWs in the immediate aftermath of World War II. For the torture and killing that ensued, see John Sack, An Eye for an Eye (1993). Sack’s book was denounced by Elan Steinberg of the World Jewish Congress on the CBS program “Sixty Minutes,” Nov. 24, 1993. Steinberg accused Sack of “blackening history,” as if such a thing were possible.back
  3. For more on Dmitri Panin, see, e.g., David Remnick, “Seasons in Hell: How the Gulag Grew,” the New Yorker, April 14, 2003. A search on his name, in quotation marks, also brings up considerable material. back
  4. The Law of Return is based on heredity and ethnic affiliation, and ignores issues of religious belief and practice (or lack of either) so long as no other religion has been willingly adopted in lieu of Judaism. Sec. 4A(a) and (b), enacted by Amendment No. 2 (1970) permits qualification through certain Jewish relatives by blood or marriage. Some have suggested connections through which Lenin, and even Stalin, might have qualified. See Dmitri Volkogonov, Lenin, pp. 8-9 (1994) as to Stalin’s suppression of information about Lenin’s Jewish antecedents; compare Robert Service, Lenin: A Biography, pp. 17-21, 28-29 (Harvard University Press, 2000). Stuart Kahan, The Wolf of the Kremlin, pp. 169-71 (1987), alleges that Stalin was married at one point to Rosa Kaganovich, Lazar’s sister. As befits a regime that regularly “blot out the remembrance of [inconvenient people] from under heaven,” the record is unclear. Some have denied even that Lazar had such a sister. She is depicted, though, in Robert Payne, The Rise and Fall of Stalin, pp. 410-12 (1965), in connection with the apparent suicide of Stalin’s second wife.back
  5. See, e.g., Shahak and Mezvinsky, Jewish Fundamentalism, p. xix, discussing the centrality of this theme in Lurianic Cabbalism and in the views of its recent followers, including particularly Avracham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook, chief rabbi of Palestine, 1920-35. They quote him: “The difference between a Jewish soul and the souls of non-Jews—all of them in all different levels—is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.” They add that “according to the Lurianic Cabbala, the world was created solely for the sake of Jews; the existence of non-Jews was subsidiary.” Such tribal narcissism pervades the various teachings discussed by Johann Eisenmenger (p. 9, above), by Shahak in Three Thousand Years, and by Israel Jacob Yuval in Two Nations in Your Womb (pp. 11-12, above). Biblical passages quoted herein, by the way, are taken from the King James Version, but the bracketed reference to penises in Ezekiel 23:20 is based on the Revised Standard Version, where the word is “members.” back
  6. See also Elisheva Carlebach, liided Souls: Converts From Judaism in Germany, 1500-1750, pp. 212-13 (Yale University Press, 2001)(“Eisenmenger did not fabricate. . .; he quoted accurately and translated literally. . .”); and Henry Hart Milman, The History of the Jews, vol. 3, p. 49 (1871 ed.)(“[Eisenmenger’s] reading was vast, his industry indefatigable. . . . I have never heard his accuracy seriously impeached”). Having granted those points, Katz and Carlebach are left to argue—most indignantly—that Eisenmenger errs by assuming Jews are aware of rabbinical writings and take them to mean what they say. On publica-tion, Eisenmenger’s book was suppressed by official decree; influential Jews had complained that it might lead to the sort of massacres seen just 50 years before in the Ukraine. The English-language version even now has a habit of disappearing from libraries (see, e.g., the online catalogue of the New York Public Library) and is available in many university libraries only online, with access restricted. It is, however, available for purchase in a facsimile edition published in 2006. back
  7. See Genesis 25:31-34 (Jacob’s taking advantage of Esau’s mortal distress to acquire his birthright—“I am at the point to die,” answered with “swear to me this day”), and the immediately following verse, 26:1, about “famine in the land”; and 27:15-44 (Jacob’s theft of Esau’s blessing by outright fraud). Note the grandiosity of the blessing (Genesis 27:29): “Let people serve thee and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee; cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.” In Genesis 32:28 and 35:10 Jacob is renamed Israel. In Genesis 33:1-13 Esau good-heartedly forgives his twin. Jacob (Israel), though, retains Esau’s birthright and blessing. Esau remains eternally in liine disfavor (see the sources just cited in the text). This continues the subservient status God ordained not just for him, but also for his “nation” or “manner of people,” even before his birth (Genesis 25:23). Esau’s murderous but transitory rage at being defrauded (Genesis 27:41) puts him afoul of the stolen blessing: “[C]ursed be every one that curseth [Jacob!].” Apart from that, Esau’s only obvious fault is naïve trust in his own mother and his own twin. Esau’s “manner of people,” i.e., mere “m[e]n of the field” (Genesis 25:23, 27) can expect little from that twin, who prefers to stay in his tent (id.), “flee[s],” at the mother’s direction, from the victim of his fraud (Genesis 27:43), and deals underhandedly with Laban, the uncle who gives him refuge (Genesis 30:31-43). Jacob is to be “lord over [his] brethren,” and to him even “nations [are called to] bow down.” This foundational myth may be the earliest record of the “hatred and contempt” referred to by Shahak (see p. 7, above). Later Pharisaic contempt for men of the field is discussed in Evron, Jewish State or Israeli Nation?, above, pp. 29-30. Evron thinks the reaction came in the form of Christianity and its spread among the disfavored. For talmudic vilification of Esau, a metaphor for Rome, then Christianity, see 457&letter=E. And see Alastair G. Hunter, “(De)nominating Amalek: Racist Stereotyping in the Bible and the Justification of Discrimination,” in Jonneke Bekkenkamp and Yvonne Sherwood, eds., Sanctified Aggression, p. 92 (2003). Hunter writes of the expropriator’s invariable dehumanization—not to say demonization—of those he expropriates. back
  8. Yuval is a professor of Jewish history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and was a visiting fellow in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University in the spring of 2004. His ventilation of the matters covered in Two Nations has not been uniformly well received. His introduction (p. xiii) quotes Ezra Fleischer’s reaction to an earlier article Yuval wrote on the same themes: “This article is of the type that it would have been better had it never been written; and once written—it would have been better had it never been published; and once published—it would have been better had it been forgotten as quickly as possible.” Another version of those last five words is “sentenced to oblivion.” See Israel Shamir, “A Yiddishe Medina,” available online. Compare the discussion of din moser at p. 20, above.back
  9. This is one of the milder translations. Others include “totally impure and evil” and “totally satanic.” (See generally Eisenmenger as to such matters.) Yisrael Meyerowitz, “Hasidic Primary Works in English Translation” (2004, available online) says that “due to the difficult homiletic style of most primary Hasidic works, a mere translation will not properly convey the author’s intent.” (Emphasis added.) Three Thousand Years (esp. chs. 2 and 5) might suggest that the supposed futility of “mere translation” is quite intentional, allowing simultaneous (a) practice of the “virtue of hate,” (b) denial to outsiders—especially gentile authorities—that any such thing is actually meant, and (c) assertion that any outsider who perceives hostility does so only because of the anti-Semitism imputed to all gentiles. back
  10. See also, e.g., BBC News, July 18, 2004 (“[Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon said that his advice to French Jews was that moving to Israel was ‘a must and they have to move immediately.’ * * * A week ago, President Jacques Chirac rushed to condemn an apparently anti-Semitic attack on a Paris train that turned out to be a hoax”); Jewish News Weekly of Northern Calif., July 23, 2004 (“Three months after an arson fire that their son has admitted to igniting charred their home, Rabbi Yosef and Hinda Langer are turning their lives right side up again”); Agence France Presse, Aug. 30, 2004 (“French police confirmed that a man arrested in connection with what was first believed to be an anti-Semitic arson attack on a Jewish social center a week ago was a Jewish man who had worked there. . . ”); Associated Press, Sept. 19, 2004 (reporting that Kerri Dunn, a professor at Claremont McKenna College in California, was convicted of attempted insurance fraud after spray-painting her own car with anti-Semitic slurs);, Oct. 19, 2004 (reporting that Olga Abramovich was caught after a spree of painting swastikas through Jewish sections of Queens and Brooklyn, and that her motives were not as might appear); and an FBI notice issued in mid-Sept. 2005 for Adam Pearlman, a/k/a Abu Suhayb Al-Amriki, Abu Suhayb, and Yihya Majadin Adams, wanted for questioning about “Al Qaeda” terrorist threats against the U.S. Pearlman’s grandfather, with whom he had lived, was Carl K. Pearlman, M.D., a prominent Orange County, Calif. urologist and Anti-Defamation League board member. See also note xi, below.back
  11. As to Zionist false-flag terrorism, designed to look like the work of others and (generally) to create the appearance of external threats, see, e.g., By Way of Deception and The Other Side of Deception (including plot to assassinate Pres. George H.W. Bush and frame Palestinians for the crime after Bush froze loan guarantees for Israel); Ari Ben Menashe, Profits of War:Inside the Secret U.S.-Israeli Arms Network (1992)(S.S. Achille Lauro attack, successfully blamed on Palestinians, and an attempt to blow up an El Al airliner in England, successfully blamed on Syria, after which “Margaret Thatcher closed down the Syrian embassy in London”); Patrick Seale, Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire (1992)(City of Poros ferry attack, successfully blamed on Palestinians, assassinations of Palestinian moderates, shooting of Israeli ambassador Shlomo Argov in London in 1982 to provide pretext for invasion of Lebanon); Naeim Giladi, Ben Gurion’s Scandals: How the Haganah and the Mossad Eliminated Jews (1992, available online) (Israeli bombing of synagogues and libraries in Baghdad in the early 1950s to stampede Iraqi Jews into moving to Israel, and a scheme to paint an airplane in Egyptian colors and use it to bomb Israel); Abbas Shiblak, The Lure of Zion (1986)(bombing of Iraqi Jews); Wilbur Crane Eveland, Ropes of Sand: America’s Failure in the Middle East (1980)(same, also Israeli sinking of U.S.S. Liberty in June 1967: Eveland was a high-level CIA official in the region); Cdr. Elmo H. Hutchison, Violent Truce (1956) (Hutchison was the American chairman of the Israeli-Jordanian Joint Armistice Commission, which the Israelis walked out of in 1954, taking as their pretext killings that appear to have been false-flag); Stephen Green, Taking Sides: America’s Secret Relations With a Militant Israel (1984), and Living by the Sword (1988); Rabbi Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals (1977)(Haganah’s blowing up of S.S. Patria in Haifa harbor in 1940 to embarrass British over policy on Jewish immigration to Palestine, falsely blamed on Masada-style mass suicide of passengers, who would otherwise have been taken to safety in Mauritius); Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Nov. 2002 (Israeli false-flag attempt to assassinate John Gunther Dean, once himself a Jewish refugee, and by then U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, in 1980); Barbara Crossette, “Who Killed Zia?” World Policy Journal, fall 2005 (Dean’s accusation in 1988, when he was U.S. ambassador to India, that Israel assassinated Pres. Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan and Arnold Raphel, then U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, by sabotaging their plane—following which Dean was declared mentally unstable and relieved of his office); Procuraduria General de la Republica de Mexico, Boletin No. 697/01 (Oct. 12, 2001)(attempt by Israeli agents to bomb the Mexican legislative palace a month after 9/11); Alfred M. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection II, ch. 10 (1982, available online) (Lilienthal, a lawyer who advised the U.S. delegation at the founding of the UN, is mostly concerned with overt Israeli terrorism that the American and European media refuse to acknowledge as such, but also describes letter bomb campaigns that he thinks were false-flag); Margaret Truman, Harry S. Truman (1973)(reporting Zionist attempts to assassinate Pres. Truman, various of his aides, and British politicians such as Anthony Eden and Ernest Bevin with letter bombs); Robert I. Friedman, The False Prophet (1990) (Israeli plan to use Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Jewish Defense League to embarrass U.S.- Soviet relations by assassinating Soviet diplomats in the U.S.); George W. and Douglas Ball, The Passionate Attachment (1992)(same: the senior Ball was undersecretary of State in the 1960s); many sources on the blowing up of the King David Hotel on July 26, 1946 by Irgun Zvai Leumi agents disguised as Arabs; and Rokach herself, above, on such subjects as the 1954 Lavon Affair, in which Israeli agents bombed USIS libraries, theaters and other sites associated with the U.S. and U.K. in Cairo. This list is hardly exhaustive; nor perhaps could the subject ever be exhausted.back
  12. At the same time, of course, it’s perfectly acceptable—no evidence whatever of bigotry—to use terms like “Islamofascism,” or to trace problems to the very nature of some religion (so long as it’s not Judaism), e.g., the supposed anti-Semitism of such passages as John 8:37-44 and Revelation 2:9—even Luke 10:29-37!—or “jihadist” exhortations in the Koran. Many have remarked on the explosive reaction that would ensue if anyone spoke of Jews in the terms the Talmud uses for gentiles, to say nothing of the terms Maimonides uses for blacks. As to the former, see Eisenmenger. As to the latter, see A Guide for the Perplexed, bk. III, ch. 51 (12th c.); cf. the Talmud tractate Sanhedrin, which as quoted by Eisenmenger (Eng. tr., pp. 105-06) teaches that:

    . . .Three different Kinds mingled carnally in the Ark of Noah: And . . . they were all branded and punish’d for it: Namely the Dog, the Raven, and Shem. The Dog (in Coition) is linked to the Bitch. The Raven emits his Seed by the Mouth. And Shem was punish’d on his Skin; for from him has sprung the Black Cus [i.e., Cushite; compare the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Numbers 12:1, using that word, with the same verse in the King James Version, which more forthrightly—not contemplating sales in the American South—says “Ethiopian”]. back

  13. Hadas, pp. 81-82, quotes a well-known passage from Plato, Laws 942ab (360 B.C.?), which he says provided a model for both Maccabean and then talmudic Judaism:

    The principal thing is that none, man or woman, should ever be without an officer set over him, and that none should get the mental habit of taking any step, whether in earnest or in jest, on his inliidual responsibility. In peace as in war he must live always with his eyes on his superior officer, following his lead and guided by him in his smallest actions. In a word, we must train the mind not to even consider acting as an inliidual or know how to do it.

    Hadas says Jewish religious leaders, unlike Plato and his “Nocturnal Council,” have genuinely believed in liine revelation as a basis for this model. (For Plato, the claim of liine authority was only a necessary lie.) For Shahak’s comments on Hadas, see Three Thousand Years, in the concluding paragraphs of ch. 1. Shahak sees Israel, unless it changes course in a most unlikely way, as becoming “a fully closed and warlike ghetto, a Jewish Sparta, supported by the labour of Arab helots.” The resemblance of the Spartan model to Soviet Communism is also obvious. Some have noticed a similarity between Israel and the Soviet Union of the 1930s in terms of the ideologically-blindered style of their respective apologists, particularly in excusing state terrorism—e.g., Arthur Koestler and Lev Kopelev in their days of hope and illusion, Daniel Pipes and Alan Dershowitz today. That seems understandable in terms of Boas Evron’s point, above, that “the backgrounds of the two groups were much the same.”back

  14. Not only have the rabbis reacted indulgently to such verbal expressions. They have also endorsed mass killing directly after the fact, a time when sober second thoughts might be expected. See David Hirst in the Nation, Feb. 2, 2004 (online only) on Dr. Baruch Goldstein’s Purim 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinians and wounding of scores more, children included, by machine-gunning them in the back as they bent heads-to-ground in prayer (whereupon Israeli troops killed 25 more as the survivors rose to retaliate):

    Many were the rabbis who praised this “act,” “event” or “occurrence,” as they delicately called it. Within two days the walls of Jerusalem’s religious neighborhoods were covered with posters extolling Goldstein’s virtues and lamenting that the toll of dead Palestinians had not been higher. In fact, the satisfaction extended well beyond the religious camp. . . ; polls said that 50 percent of the Israeli people, and especially the young, more or less approved of it. back

  15. See id. at p. 43 for a similar statement by the head of a yeshiva near Nablus, Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh, that a Jew’s killing non-Jews does not constitute murder in the Jewish religion. Ginsburgh wrote this in his contribution to a book of essays praising Baruch Goldstein. The interesting point is that “[n]o influential Israeli rabbi has publicly opposed Ginsburgh’s statements.” At p. 63, Shahak and Mezvinsky quote Rabbi Yehuda Amital—whom Shimon Peres considered a moderate and appointed to his cabinet in 1995—as saying “our war is directed against the impurity of Western culture and against rationality as such.” (Emphasis added.) back
  16. The term “Greek Catholic” refers to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic (or “Uniate”) church formed in 1596 under the rule of Roman Catholic Poland. The rite is Greek Orthodox, but the church recognizes the pope. At the time of the Bolshevik Revolution it included a substantial proportion of the peasantry at which the holodomor was directed, especially in the western Ukraine. back
  17. Power is spoken to truth. See Noam Chomsky, “The Fate of an Honest Intellectual,” available online, on how Norman Finkelstein, then a Princeton doctoral candidate, became a non-person there after he exposed as fraudulent Joan Peters’s hugely successful From Time Immemorial (1984), a purported proof that there had been no significant indigenous population in Palestine prior to Zionist settlement. See also Tony Martin, The Jewish Onslaught: Despatches From the Wellesley Battlefront (1993) on what happened when Martin, using Jewish sources, tried to explore the Jewish role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade that arose more or less contemporaneously with the arenda system. Search on the combination of “Mark Roberts” and “Columbia University” as to the ongoing Zionist “witch hunt” at that institution. Search on the combinations of “Juan Cole” and “Yale,” and “Rashid Khalidi” and “Princeton” for Zionist vetoes over faculty appointments. See Paul Findley, They Dare to Speak Out (1985 and subsequent editions) on other academic and political freezeouts. Findley’s first edition also has stories about how Jewish professionals—doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc.—risk destruction of their livelihood if they oppose the official line (as might be predicted by the observations of Moses Hadas in note xiii and the accompanying text, above). Something similar happened to the New York Times, threatening to put it out of business, when Arthur Hays Sulzberger refused in 1947 to run an advertisement by an alter ego of Menachem Begin’s terrorist organization Irgun Zvai Leumi. See Alfred M. Lilienthal, “Book on New York Times Editor [A.M. Rosen-thal] Helps Explain Media Bias for Israel,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 1989 (avail-able online). See also Victor Ostrovsky, “First-Hand Accounts of Pro-Israel McCarthyism [sic],” Washing-ton Report, Nov. 1997 (available online). Ostrovsky reports threats to the safety of a Montreal law firm’s employees, which forced it to abandon a lawsuit. The suit was based on an Israeli request, televised in Canada, that some “decent” Canadian Jew assassinate Ostrovsky. Ostrovsky also tells of arson that suc-ceeded in burning to the ground his house in an Ottawa suburb. In fairness to the unlamented Joe Mc-Carthy, he never did things quite like those. Again, compare the discussion of din moser at p. 20, above.back
  18. Such moral inversions are pervasive and seem to form with automatic ease. Three examples: First, Sholem Aleichem’s “Tevye der Milkhiker” (1895) and its adaptations (most notably Fiddler on the Roof) present Jews in the highly anomalous role of lovable Ukrainian peasants. (Compare Subtelny, above, p. 276: “Traditionally the Jews were an urban people. Tsarist restrictions against their movement into the countryside reinforced this condition”). Second, the movie version (1960) of Leon Uris’s novel Exodus (1958) has Jews, per Lee J. Cobb, “beseech[ing]” Palestinians in 1948 to remain on their land—whereupon the Palestinians depart of their own volition, presumably out of gratuitous anti-Semitism. (Compare p. 577 of the novel: “If the Arabs of Palestine loved their land, they could not have been forced from it. . . . The Arabs had little to live for. . . . This [departure] is not the reaction of a man who loves his land.”) Third, rabbinical involvement in the American civil rights struggle of the 1960s presents baffling anomalies. As Shahak puts it in ch. 2 of Three Thousand Years:

    Surely one is driven to the hypothesis that quite a few of Martin Luther King’s rabbinical supporters were either anti-black racists who supported him for tactical reasons of “Jewish interest” (wishing to win black support for American Jewry and for Israel’s policies) or were accomplished hypocrites, to the point of schizophrenia, capable of passing very rapidly from a hidden enjoyment of rabid racism to a proclaimed attachment to an anti-racist struggle—and back—and back again.

    At present, Israel’s closest non-Jewish ally is exactly the white “Christian Zionist” element in the Old Confederacy against which much of the civil rights struggle was waged. The alliance is based on shared fear of repressed populations seeking to gain or assert rights. See, e.g., Michael Lind, Made in Texas, p. 156 (2003). Lind also reports (id.) Benjamin Netanyahu’s “contemptuous comparison,” before a Dallas audience in 2002, “between Palestinian Arabs and Mexicans.”back

  19. Norman Finkelstein gives some examples of that duality at pp. 2-3 of Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (2d ed. 2003), where he describes the progress of the philosopher Michael Walzer, of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, from (a) defending Israel on the basis of a universal ethic, in Just and Unjust Wars (1977), to (b) defending it, once that became impossible, on the basis that there is no universal ethic, in Spheres of Justice (1983) and Exodus and Revolution (1985), to (c) arguing, in The Company of Critics (1988), that even if there were a universal ethic, a “connected” social critic would still privilege his “own” people. Finkelstein comments that “for Israel’s ‘friends,’ the ring of Walzer’s message is as welcome as it is familiar: to be ‘connected’ is to ask, ‘Is it good for the Jews?’” Compari-sons, of course, run not just to the Gypsy double standards described by Guenter Lewy, but also to the NSDAP slogan “Think with your blood.” The latter parallel has plainly occurred to Finkelstein. He compares Walzer, in the second and third stages of his metamorphosis, to “the fascist ideologues that Julien Benda chastised in The Treason of the Intellectuals” (1969). As to denial of a universal ethic by another prominent defender of Israel, see Hadley Arkes, “The Rights and Wrongs of Alan Dershowitz,” Claremont Review of Books, fall 2005 (available online)(“Dershowitz has insisted that ‘reason’ has no truths to disclose in the realm of morals”). See also Jewish Fundamentalism and Three Thousand Years, both above, for rabbinical pronouncements, not otherwise translated from the Hebrew, that could easily pass as expressions of Nazi ideology if certain proper nouns were changed. It appears, by the way, that the comparison between Jews and Gypsies has occasionally intruded on Jewish consciousness, and that the subject is a sensitive one. See Graetz, vol. 5, p. 197. The comparison with the Nazis, of course, is absolutely forbidden, as became clear when the Israeli politician Yosef (Tommy) Lapid told the cabinet that a picture of a suffering Palestinian woman reminded him of his own grandmother. See “Gaza Political Storm Hits Israel,” BBC News, May 23, 2004 (available online)(“referring to the TV picture, Mr. Lapid said he was ‘talking about an old woman crouching on all fours, searching for her medicines in the ruins of her house and that she made me think of my grandmother. I said that if we carry on like this, we will be expelled from the United Nations and those responsible will stand trial at The Hague’ . . .”). Lapid’s remarks produced an uproar. He was reprimanded by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and had to deny publicly that he’d intended a comparison of Israel with Nazi Germany. More recently, however, he has returned to the theme. See his article “Stop the Jewish Barbarians in Hebron,” Jerusalem Post, Jan. 17, 2007 (available online)(“[L]iving here among us are Jews that behave toward Palestinians exactly the way that German, Hungarian, Polish and other anti-Semites behaved toward Jews”).back
  20. For an excellent—and thoroughly disgusted—account of the Armenian genocide and the general present-day reluctance to discuss it, see Robert Fisk, The Great War For Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, pp. 316-55 (2005).back
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